It started, as natural disasters often do, completely without warning. Mr. Wonderful and I were enjoying a relaxing weekend morning coffee and chatting about all manner of things in that scattershot way married people have.
“We need more cat food, hey did you drop off/pick up/pay that?” “How about that crazy friend on Facebook?”
Somehow the talk turned to the crack in the kitchen floor. I say crack like there is one. There is not.
There are … more. Correction: there were “some” and NOW there are “more.”
Last year in the throes of bathroom renovation we steadfastly ignored them.
It helps to have a positive attitude when living anywhere. In an old house it is necessary for sanity and survival. If something cracks, sags or snaps off in your hand, you call it “charming” and put it back. If you can’t put it back you set it aside and pretend you never really needed that anyway.
As an example: the kickplate routinely falls off the kitchen cabinet baseboard. I prop it back up and prefer to think of it as “easily removable for cleaning” rather than “broken.”
It always starts with something necessary, like the floors. This is how your house tricks you. In the case of our kitchen, the porcelain tile really is cracked in several places. After nearly 16 years, it has seen better days.
Normal people could and would just replace the floor. Then they would be done. Being abnormal and suffering from some sort of collective amnesia, Mr. Wonderful and I wandered into the kitchen to just “look at some things.” This is a gateway step to disaster. Looking leads to talking and this often leads to measuring. Once the measuring starts — we are good and truly in the thick of things. If sketches make an appearance, we are as good as living with the debris and drywall dust at that very moment.
It was like I could hear the little voice in my head saying “Back away, don’t go there, danger!” yet somehow was powerless to stop. There stood Mr. Wonderful, facing the kitchen wall. The wall that goes outside. The wall that holds one of the only handful of new replacement windows we own, and he said, as if it were no big deal, “this wall would have to go.”
Twenty years ago I would have found this amazing. Who says that? As if they are saying you should move your purse, or maybe a bookshelf, he will just pronounce walls, floors and entirely buildings “moveable.”
That’s how you fall in love with a person. The ability to move mountains for you — or at the very least a two-car garage (he’s done that). He moved an entire garage to accommodate my new patio set, and I thought to myself, “I could get used to this.” Then I did.
So there I am, me and my kitchen, just minding our own business and suddenly he is planning to remove a wall and add a room.
I, in turn, jump on the bandwagon. If we are knocking out walls then these cheap pre-fab circa 1994 kitchen cabinets have got to go. I like the overall design of our kitchen, I would just prefer cabinets that weren’t fabricated out of particleboard and pure hope. I’m tired of honing catlike ninja reflexes in order to catch randomly falling dishes post shelf-collapse with my bare hands.
I would also move the refrigerator. Mind you, the refrigerator has stood in the same place for the entire time I have lived in this house — suddenly, on a Sunday morning, I couldn’t stand looking at it there another minute.
The next thing you know we were discussing moving radiator pipes (in an old house there is always a radiator pipe or errant chimney mucking up the best laid plans. We were running radiant floor heating, installing cathedral ceilings in a (non-existent) family room, and debating the merits of French doors versus floor to ceiling windows.
Keep in mind we are the people who have never managed to add the four missing holly bushes to our front landscaping in 18 years. Suddenly we were designing entire landscapes with our minds.
In my defense the coffee had not kicked in yet.
At this point the caffeine kicked in and common sense — and our budget — caught up with us. It is minus six degrees. Now is probably not the time to be knocking out the side wall of the house.
Then again, there’s always next Sunday. I hear the weather might be getting warmer, even if we don’t get even a little bit smarter.
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