Controlled Chaos

Source: New York Times

As I type this, there is a demolition crew ripping out tile from what used to be our kitchen floor. Prior to that they did the same to the cupboards and the countertops. The work started this morning at 8:00am sharp. Men with large claw hammers, chisels, and floor scrapers arrived and made themselves immediately useful.

We are doing a complete renovation including all new appliances. Literally out with the old, and in with the new.

The sound that they’re currently making is also deafening. Once the noise started in earnest, Gorgeous ran to the relative sanctuary of her office and closed the door. I tried sitting in my own office (door open), but quickly discovered that wasn’t going to work because our contractor has lots of early questions. One of us has to be the actual POC, so I’ve stationed myself in the adjacent living room.

Where is the water shutoff switch?” (outside). “Where is the circuit breaker panel?” (behind the big oil painting). “If you want, we can temporarily move your old washer and dryer back after we pull up that area of flooring since we’re not getting to that section for another few weeks.” (Oh darn. There goes an early opportunity for peace and quiet at a nearby laundromat).

As I sit here twiddling my thumbs, the dominant (read sophomoric) part of my personality wants to turn on an “I Love Lucy” episode via our Paramount+ subscription just to add some hilarity along with the mayhem. What stops me is that I know Gorgeous would immediately open her door and make a bee line to me with a face telegraphing: “Are you KIDDING me?!!” Honestly, she acts like such a 60 year old sometimes. So instead, I’m choosing a safer route by portraying myself as Serious Homeowner — head down while typing Important Words into his computer (hat tip to the late, great blogger Cordelia for the verbiage). I hate having to put on the adult facade.

This is only day one and already I’m wondering how we’re going to carry on over the next (contractually-estimated) six weeks of construction.

What does one do when parts of your home are literally being ripped up by complete strangers? Do you keep a polite, professional distance or do you passively incorporate them into some aspects of your lifestyle? For instance, we usually have new age “spa” music playing softly during the morning and afternoon as a way of keeping my wife in the right frame of mind (Gorgeous is a professional psychic; it’s to my economic benefit to keep her in a peaceful state at least until the 5:00pm cocktail hour — after that, my own charm pervades the household). But perhaps instead I should be blaring a bit of Elvie Shane, the Florida Georgia Line, or Miranda Lambert to keep these guys content. I do understand that I shouldn’t be offering them a beer; give me some credit for that at least.

All of this makes me a tad bit suspicious of blogger Kate, who recently chronicled her own newly-renovated (and beautiful) kitchen. Back when I was reading her occasional updates about it, she made it all sound rather low-key. Very similar to, say, scheduled maintenance visits for heating and air conditioning service. Now, though, I realize that she must have been popping Ativan to get through it all. Don’t sue me for slander, Kate. It’s just an educated guess on my part. But seriously, can you share some of that stash of yours with me?

The current look where our stove used to be. For once I’m not accused of making a mess.

In time, probably as early as tomorrow, I suspect I’ll be able to return to the friendly confines of my office to while away the afternoons. This is where my books and toys are available to me. Well, somewhat. It’s also where, unbeknownst to me only 24 hours ago, nearly all of the kitchen pantry inventory ended up being stored. They all sit in boxes which presently surround my desk and bookshelves. None of it is the good stuff either. I noticed that all the nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, etc. ended up being stored in Gorgeous’ office, while I have the wax paper rolls, the food storage bags, 30 different type of flour (don’t ask), and a jar of wheat germ.

We did buy a small refrigerator to be able to keep a bit of milk, cheeses, yogurt, etc,. So thankfully we’ll have a few things available besides restaurant and takeout meals.

Thankfully it’s times like this when it’s nice to have friendly neighbors who are willing to offer a bit of support. Earlier, one spent time on his hands and knees showing our contractor exactly where the water shut-off valve for our unit is located. Another offered us her kitchen if we ever wish to use it to cook a meal for ourselves. When I said that sounded fantastic and asked if it would it be okay if we fried up some fish filets some upcoming evening, Gorgeous quickly jumped in and said “He’s kidding, please don’t pay any attention to him.”

And because of all this noise, we did do our part by apologizing to everyone ahead of time who live nearby. Our condo association requires that all renovation projects be approved in advance by an elite group of residents who comprise the somewhat threateningly named Architectural Improvements Review and Oversight Committee. We heard of a few sordid stories of residents who had their projects delayed because they hadn’t submitted enough information to the committee. It was therefore a relief when our application came back approved. At least I think it’s approved. A sloppy “Ok” is hand-written with a red Sharpie on the top of it.

So my attitude for the next several weeks is to follow the airline pilots’ mantra: Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. What could possibly go wrong?

Until next time…

28 thoughts on “Controlled Chaos

  1. I’ve had a sufficient amount of experience with what you are going through so that I can say with authority that you approach the whole chaotic, dusty, noisy mess with quiet aplomb. Yes, I used the A-word. You remain professionally detached while admitting you’re filled with childlike wonder about what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Six weeks? They said it would take 8 weeks for my kitchen and it took 11. We are now in the middle of a new deck. Started last Monday (was supposed to start first week in April). So far they haven’t worked past 2, leaving at noon most days. Wood supply issues, school appointment, who knows what. They are making me crazy but promise it will be done by the end of next week. If that happens I will be over the moon but I’m not betting on it. The best part is that it’s all outside but the noise is still loud. Try a margarita drip. Very soothing. Healthy too all that lime.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our kitchen is quite tiny, so I suspect that’s the reason for the shorter time estimate. I’m still not holding my breath, though! Let’s hope that deck is finished in time so you can enjoy it this summer at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ A margarita drip, you say? I’ll give it a go!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thatโ€™s hilarious Marty! May be now youโ€™d have more time to blog ๐Ÿ˜‚ Itโ€™s pretty awful renovations! Our one took 2 years! Luckily we didnโ€™t live there whilst it was going on. I think you might have to swap the boxes with Gorgeous and bring some goodies back to your office ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “…while I have the wax paper rolls, the food storage bags, 30 different type of flour (donโ€™t ask), and a jar of wheat germ.”
    Don’t open that jar of wheat germ unless you have the space in your tiny fridge to store it after opening!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SIX WEEKS? Sorry, I’ll stop shouting….

    You are brave sir, I think hearing that’s how long it was going to take would’ve had me questioning whether I really really needed a refurbished kitchen. Enjoy eating takeout, you may get to find some great new places. And, yes, we do expect to hear about the whole painful process in your usual style ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re hoping it’ll be more like four weeks. But, you know the old saying: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do a blow-by-blow of this one the blog. But I’m sure something is bound to come up that I can’t resist. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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