The great kitchen remodel massacre


I am a sucker. It’s okay. I’m not offended.

In fact, I’ve come to embrace that about myself. I figure if I was any smarter than I am right now, I would be unemployed.

Every single time we take on a home improvement project I swear with God as my Witness that I will never do such an idiotic thing again. Ever!

I’m very Scarlett O’Hara in the turnips when provoked. Then, much like childbirth, I focus on the outcome, forget all the pain, and agree to do it all again.

Told you, I’m a sucker.

The cabinets

Recently Mr. Wonderful and I started poking around the kitchen.

The floor is cracked, the dishwasher is on it’s last legs, and Mr. Wonderful said, without a hint of foreshadowing, “well if we are going to mess with the floor these cheap cupboards need to come out.” He’s a sucker too.

In horror movies this is where you hear the ominous music and shout “Don’t open the door! The killer is in there!” Me, I open the door. Every single time.

We now have someone coming “just to measure” for cabinets. Just a fun visit to see if maybe some nice affordable wood could be crafted into kitchen cabinets that aren’t held together by sheer force of will and habit.

The cabinets we have now are not original. They are paint grade, cheap, builder quality cabinetry taken straight off the shelves of a big box store about 22 years ago give or take.

They were intended to have a lifespan of maybe a decade. Despite valiant effort by Mr. Wonderful to keep them solid and secure, they are well past their prime.

Test of time

Around here doors are wonky, shelves have been reinforced endlessly, and drawers are always braced with a hip or knee lest they drop straight off onto the floor.

When GirlWonder was a crawling infant, her father once watched in horror as an upper shelf gave way and sent an entire shelf full of dishes crashing out onto the floor where our baby was sitting.

Miraculously he swept her up at the last moment but from then on those cabinets were on his hit list.

He ended up reinforcing all the shelves to hurricane structure codes it seems. Still, these are well past any useful life.


As with all things, he has a friend who is an artist with woodcrafts. If you live in a 120’ish-year-old house you find that handcrafted is almost always necessary.

There was no Home Depot or Lowes at the turn of the 20th Century, so if it wasn’t shipped by rail, they did it on site.

In the ensuing twelve decades things shifted and settled. Square is just hip lingo, it has no bearing on any actual measurement in this home.

I feel like real friends wouldn’t ask a friend to even work on this house, but our friends tend to be suckers too and we haven’t burned this one out yet.


I now sit waiting for ‘cabinet guy.” I’m torn between hoping the price meets our budget, and kind of hoping it does not.

On one hand, with two kids soon to be attending college, our budget is about five bucks. The chances of dodging the renovation budget are high.

Our kitchen may be old but it’s clean and serves a purpose. The current size of my waistband says we haven’t starved while living out of this kitchen yet.

Of course it’s always nice to put quality back. (Cue the ominous music).

I’m always going to be that heroine saying “let’s just go investigate …” completely oblivious to the chaos — and possible bloodshed — that awaits.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.


  1. Great waker-upper. I was just THINKING about remodeling my kitchen when I came across your article.. I am alone and on social security so I don’t think I can remodel anytime soon but it is nice to dream.

    Thank you for waking me up.


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