Respite Open Thread

This week has been unsettled for me. I’m getting new kitchen countertops and sink and cooktop. I planned ahead and have plenty of stuff in the refrigerator that can be eaten on paper plates with plastic utensils. Which is a good thing because, surprise, things are not entirely going as planned.

The plan was that the plumber would unhook everything on Monday. The installers would install on Tuesday. And the plumber would hook stuff up again today.

But the order for the faucet got bollixed up. And part of the backsplash still needed to be cut and finished.

With any luck, the faucet will arrive tomorrow, the installers will install the backsplash, and the plumber will finish hooking stuff up. Right now, everything but the sink is working, and the drawer under the cooktop needs to be cut down a bit.

Yesterday was traumatic for the kitties. They were locked in the bedroom because people were carrying heavy pieces of stone around with the doors open. The kitties are getting over it today. And tomorrow everything should be back to normal.

Here are Zooey (left) and Ric (right) being relaxed.

54 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    Treats would help them recover…just sayin’

  2. 2

    I ar dead from the cute. Squee.

  3. 3

    My sister was kind enough to send a large envelope of wild turkey feathers. The kitties appreciate it.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Awww, Zooey and Ric. They are chill and gorgeous.

    P. S. Agree with SC. Squee to the infinite power.

  5. 5
    Dan B says:

    @schrodingers_cat: But wait, you are Schrodinger’s Cat. How do I tell if you’re faking me out? Are you secretly alive? Oh the humanity!

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    I want to see what you got for your countertops and backsplash. What did you go with?

    I went with the cheap stuff when I renovated and in a couple years I hope to upgrade, but everything has just cost so much money it’s a distant dream right now.

  7. 7
    Leto says:

    My day started out like shyte with an email from Service members Group Life Insurance staying that’ll I’ll need to continue to send documentation of my ongoing medical issues, and that after 9 months of these a-holes dilly dallying around, that’s it’s going to be even longer before a resolution. The day simply went downhill from there.

    @Cheryl: sorry the work in your kitchen is taking longer than expected. Hopefully it finishes soon and you can get back to a normal routine. Your kitties are adorable 😀

  8. 8
    cmorenc says:

    When we got new Quartz countertops & sink for our kitchen a year ago, there were numerous SNAFUs.
    1) The contractor inadvertently ordered the wrong color sink (supposed to be white to match the new countertops – came in an ugly brown instead). But before this error was discovered, the contractor completely ripped out and disposed of the old countertops & sink. So the contractor agreed to temporarily install the “wrong” sink pending arrival of the correct sink (which turned out to be back-ordered at least two weeks) – which the contractor couldn’t then return used, but planned to use it in a demo display at their showroom.
    2) They had already begun cutting the hole in the new countertops for the kitchen faucet, assuming the configuration of the cabinets underneath were standard dimensions – which due to extra bracing that was present in the cabinetry this wasn’t quite so, meaning that the faucet install was impossible due to the bracing blocking the ability to tighten the washer/nut securing the faucet from underneath. Why hadn’t they checked this out before drilling through the countertop piece? Fortunately, the contractor was willing to eat the expensive cost of a new quartz piece for the sink area if they couldn’t figure a satisfactory workaround – but it turned out the extra bracing (which had been added for the old, quite heavy cast iron / porcelain sink) was superfluous, and could be cut out to accommodate the faucet where they had drilled the hole – but just barely. Bottom line: it took a couple of weeks longer than projected to get the kitchen back up & running.
    3) The plumber initially reversed the hot & cold water lines to the faucet (and dishwasher) – but fortunately, promptly returned when informed of the error and fixed it at no charge.

    Kitchen remodeling isn’t for sissies or the impatient – it’s important to choose a contractor who will stick with it and as promptly as possible make right any of the inevitable screw-ups that will happen.

  9. 9
    Brachiator says:

    Very sweet photo

  10. 10
    CatFacts says:

    Kitties!! And a much-needed respite thread.

    Any suggestions about surviving a bathroom reno? I’ve got a new tub and shower surround in my future. The old ones are on their last legs.

  11. 11
    Redshift says:

    We got a lovely new dishwasher and range a couple of months ago, which in opposite sides of a corner of our kitchen. The only problem (other than some get-off-my-lawn complaints about the digital controls on the oven) is that the handle in the drawer under the oven sticks out a lot more than our old one, and it blocks the door of the dishwasher from coming down flat.

    I figured out I can open the drawer by pulling it from underneath, so I guess I’m going to try taking the handle off and see if it can be made not to look too bad. Still annoying, though.

  12. 12
    Tom Levenson says:

    Our kitchen remodel was a six month hellscape. We got a fantastic result, but there came a point about four months in when I wanted to find a yurt to live in. I hope yours ends soon and happily.

  13. 13
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @CatFacts: have three other bathrooms? Which was still problematic for us, with three females in the house

  14. 14
    Chris T. says:


    Any suggestions about surviving a bathroom reno?

    Have a spare bathroom.

    Seriously, that’s the only decent way. Well, that, or a spare house / apartment. Gym showers suck.

  15. 15
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    I wanted to find a yurt to live in

    Wilmer/Stein 2020!

  16. 16
    NotMax says:


    it’s possible you could find and order a drawer of the same dimensions which comes with an inset handle. Or, depending on how your drawer is constructed, maybe even just a substitute drawer facing.

  17. 17
    CaseyL says:

    I’ve never had a real remodel (went with the cheaper resurfacing option) but my impression from everything I’ve heard is that any remodel, no matter how small, will take at least twice as long as expected and cost at least half again as much as planned.

    IOW, never on schedule, and never on budget.

  18. 18
    Redshift says:

    @NotMax: Ah, I’ll investigate that. If those are options, they would definitely be better than my improvised solution.

  19. 19
    Martin says:

    ‘With any luck’. That’s a good one. Murphy is the god of remodels, you know.

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    @Chris T.: The only good thing about our involuntary nature of our bathroom renovation (water damage to the wood under the floor) was that the insurance paid for us to live somewhere else until it was done.

  21. 21
    Amir Khalid says:

    Yeesh. I can’t see the kitteh picture. I have a recurring problem on this site with images failing to load and not being viewable because they “have errors”.

  22. 22

    @John Cole: The new countertops are granite – white with black, tan, and red. The sink is white.

    The old countertops were dark gray Corian with a lighter fleck. What I liked least about them was their darkness. My kitchen is the darkest room in the house, on the north side. I’ve thought about getting a skylight.

    The old cooktop and sink had increasing problems, and the dishwasher was making ominous noises, so I decided it was time.

  23. 23
    AliceBlue says:

    Thanks for the respite and your adorable kitties. Some of the folks in the thread downstairs are about ready to set themselves on fire.

  24. 24
    Dan B says:

    @Redshift: There are handles that fit nearly flush and open out when you push on the top portion so they’re easy to “handle” (sorry). O got some at IKEA but they’re probably easier to find online under ‘flush drawer handles”. Some may require chiseling out some of the drawer surface. Cultivate a handy friend if that’s what you need.

  25. 25
    David Higgins says:

    @Amir Khalid: It’s not working for me, either. It happens.

  26. 26
    Suzanne says:


    Any suggestions about surviving a bathroom reno?

    Get a good contractor, and then let go and let God.

    I am an architect and a huge part of my job is dealing with the inevitable issues that occur during construction. It will be easier if you just accept that there will be issues, and have a 10% contingency—both in money and time.

  27. 27
    Dan B says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We had lots of dark areas in the house and installed SolarTubes. They are cylindrical with an extremely reflective interior to transmit light. The install is easier than traditional skylights since all you need are big round holes and caulking.

    I got a very inexpensive model at Costco, about $140. It had the advantage of not transmitting heat from the sun. Most are good at keeping heat in the room but this also kept heat out.

    The install time was about an hour each – by a carpenter.

  28. 28
    opiejeanne says:

    @CatFacts: I’m dreading that but we need a new master bath. We have the funds, I’m just worried about turning loose of them yet. We had an outstanding contractor for the kitchen addition, and we hired him again when things were slow to build our deck a couple of years later. I’d like to have him do the bathroom work but he’s expensive. The work is impeccable, but expensive.
    The small guest bathroom we did piecemeal. Bought a new sink and toilet, left the tub alone because it’s ok, had a new floor installed. Marble basket-weave pattern. The tile guy showed up with the wrong tile, argued with me for a while, then agreed to take it back to the shop and get the right stuff. It was in stock, he just hadn’t paid attention when I pointed to which one I wanted. Not too expensive or crazy-making. Hired a plumber to install the faucet, the tile guy set the sink and toilet and hooked them up. .
    The Master bath will definitely be crazy-making. There’s a Jacuzzi tub that I’m guessing has never worked correctly, and how they got it in there is a puzzle. It must have been brought up to the second floor before the drywall was up. I think they might have to cut it in half. The tile on the floor is huge squares in a darkish green; looks like Stormy Sea could have been the name of the color. The house was built 24 years ago. It’s time. The room is just slightly too narrow to make it into a great bathroom, but I have an idea of what I want now.

  29. 29
    Quinerly says:

    140 year old house.
    4 month long kitchen redo ’95.
    6 month long full bath redo in 2002 (I showered in the basement in temporary shower set up)
    6 month full bathroom addition on 3rd floor in 2012.
    2 year full apartment build for eventual rental in walk out basement, still ongoing, 2017-????
    I have seriously been considering camper van life on the road with Poco. True story.
    Good luck, Cheryl. It’s never as we plan it.

  30. 30
    Suzanne says:


    Some of the folks in the thread downstairs are about ready to set themselves on fire.

    That thread is a shitshow. I have only ever pied one person on this blog, but I think at least a third of the comments are about pie.

  31. 31

    @Dan B: One of my friends has those – like a little sun in each room, but yes, not the heat.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    @cmorenc: The installers cracked the quartzite counter right over the spot where the dishwasher is when they installed it. Then they left, pretending not to notice it. The contractor was so upset he almost couldn’t talk. I was calm but felt like screaming at someone. The owner came back and did some work on the underside of the counter. We agreed to that fix because at that point if they tried to remove it we risked tearing up the cabinets. We were done at that point, thoroughly cooked. That was in late October, the whole process started in July (fast, you think, but we didn’t finish until December) and we were tired of paper plates and meals cooked in the electric skillet and microwave. That was six years ago.
    I know where they broke it, I can see it, but no one else ever notices it because the repair was pretty good. But I know where they broke it and that they did break it.

  33. 33
    Elizabelle says:


    I am amazed at how clever so many of those pie quotes are.

    Also amazed that I don’t end up hungry for pie, thread after thread. That suggestion does not work, subliminally. I am just grateful for the diversion.

  34. 34
    Dan B says:

    @Suzanne: Yep. Truer words haven’t ever been spoken, although 25percent may be wiser.

    Also keeping in mind that the disasters will probably be good stories later so keep in mind that it will feel good sharing them.

    -Landscaoe contractor and designer for 30 years- 1/4 acre to 75 acre projects.

  35. 35
    opiejeanne says:

    @Suzanne: I’m here because of that thread. I gave up after about 130 comments. Not fun.

  36. 36
    CatFacts says:

    Thanks, everybody! We do have a second bathroom, so that’s covered. Guess I’ll just roll with it when the time comes.

  37. 37
    Jay says:


    Some of the things I do as a Contractor, when dealing with Kitchen/Bathroom remodels, are:

    Shop with clients, educate them on appliances/materials, leave samples on site so they can see them day/dusk/night to ensure that’s what they want.

    Write up detailed material lists/finishings/colours, confirm with customers and attach to contract, with the deposit.

    Order vendor materials and start building cabinetry and countertops. ( the deposit covers this and some of the labour)

    Double check fitment on a grid square including things like appliances, sinks, taps.

    Every customer change requires a written, detailed change order and costs sheet.

    When everything is ready for install, then I schedule the tear out and install. A full bathroom, new subfloor, new drywall, infloor heating, scheutler-ditra, full tile, toilet, tub, walk in 4’x4’ shower, vanity, ventilation, new shut offs, new wire runs, added breakers, gfi’s, ususally takes about 4 days on site.

    Kitchens, 7 to 14 dependant on kitchen size and finishes.

    I always try to get my clients to choose a flooring that they will love for at least 2 or 3 kitchens, that way we install wall to wall, and the next remodel, no matter how much changes, is half a day faster or more.

  38. 38
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Hoping to get my window AC put in tomorrow to cool my place down. July…

  39. 39
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Redshift: Pretty much the same thing happened to us when we got a new dishwasher. The old one had a stationary panel on tne bottom and the new one doesn’t and that changed everything.

    We just live with the door not opening all the way, and dream of the day we can afford to reconfigure things. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have bought a narrower, apartment-sized dishwasher and moved it to the far side of the opening in tne cabinet.

    @Dan B: We need to do something in the front yard because rain water collects on the wrong spots. Any advice on finding a landscaper who will keep things simple (and to anyone thinking we can just plant a willow too close to the house, for a variety of reasons, that won’t work).

  40. 40
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    (and to anyone thinking we can just plant a willow too close to the house, for a variety of reasons, that won’t work).

    This blog only big enough for one willow planted too close to a house.

  41. 41
    Suzanne says:

    @Dan B: I am on maternity leave for another month, but I am in the middle of a $100M project right now. The GC is in the early stages right now…..doing the overex and then caissons start in a couple of weeks. I do a lot more interior planning and construction, but we are already working through issues even though there isn’t even a superstructure yet. Anyway, I have been watching HGTV as part of my enforced relaxation and it astonishes me how people keep buying old houses and then being surprised when they have old-house problems. We had a bunch of work done to our house last year and they found some very predictable problems, which I paid to have fixed. And our house was built in the late 80s. But everyone is like fucken AGHAST when it turns out that their old house isn’t up to code.

    My in-laws were just complaining to me that their house, which was built in the 70s, didn’t have proper ducting of the range hood through the roof, and how terribly unfair it was that they had to pay “extra” to rectify that when they did their kitchen reno, and blah blah blah they thought their contractor was scamming them. Apparently none of the houses in the neighborhood had it done when the houses were developed. I told them that it was totally reasonable to expect to find weird shit and that it wasn’t a contractor’s plot to fleece them and they got very grumpy with me. Oh well.

  42. 42
    Jay says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    If you have a proper slope, you can install underground rock drains yourself to drain the low spots. Then top the low spots with soil and seed.

    If you don’t, then it probably needs regrading.


    I like old houses, that preferably havn’t been renovated.

    I spent much more time and money dealing with 1940’s added services and 1980’s renovations done badly/cheaply/wrong in my first house that what was origional in 1873.

  43. 43
    MoCA Ace says:

    With any luck, the faucet will arrive tomorrow, the installers will install the backsplash, and the plumber will finish hooking stuff up

    So you still think this will be done somewhere in the neighborhood of the original time-frame?

    Well bless your heart!

  44. 44
    laura says:

    @CatFacts: get the nicest Porto-let you can find and hang a lantern and fancy candle, get a short term gym membership for serious scrubbing up and a bag of sport towels – like good sized wet wipe that is a shower in a towel.
    It was a long handful of weeks, but worth it.

  45. 45
    Suzanne says:

    @Jay: I like old houses, too. But I’m not surprised that old houses have hazardous materials, or need new wiring, or have too-steep stairs or missing handrails. It happens.

  46. 46
    NotMax says:


    When I replaced my landlady’s range hood for her, discovered that the power for it came from a length of Romex cable strung across the inside bottom of the cabinet above and down through a hole drilled in the cabinet bottom. Also that the opening for the duct had been cut right through a wall stud.

  47. 47
    Suzanne says:

    @NotMax: My in-laws’ range hood had no duct at all. They did note that it was nicer to cook in there now that the kitchen doesn’t get so smoky. Whatever. Janky shit is just par for the course in old buildings. I spent a couple of years working on LAX. Talk about janky shit. There are times I wonder how those buildings are still standing.

  48. 48
    NotMax says:


    Yeah, the hood in my little cottage is one of those with no outside ducting. Can honestly say have turned on the fan only once in the 36 years have lived here.

  49. 49
    Jay says:


    1873 house had no insulation, lathe and plaster walls, had to replace 4 cedar siding shingles.

    The 1940’s mods added indoor plumbing, knob and tube wiring, a shed roofed kitchen, and bathroom addition of timber on dirt.

    The 1980’s reno’s cut out a supporting wall, braced it improperly, rewired in some cases, modern boxes and outlets, some pig tied to live knob and tube, slapped up some drywall, added a stove hood wrong, added a gas furnace and hot water heater, vented into the old wood stove brick chimney with failed parging.

    The next house was a 1960’s “Owner Custom” with nothing to “undo”.

    After that, late ‘70’s subdivision ranch with nothing to “undo”,

    Next, a renovated ‘80’s box with an “Owner Finished” basement that proved that while anybody can buy a nail gun at Home Depot, not everyone should.

  50. 50
    Gemina13 says:

    @Chris T.: I hear you. My best friends live in an old, Boeing-era tract house near Kent, WA, and have been remodeling the place a room at a time. It has two bathrooms. They got the downstairs bath finished 7 years ago. Last month, they went to work on the upstairs bath. Out came everything – sink, vanity, toilet, bathtub, floor, and door. Then the mistakes started.

    First, they discovered that the previous owners had cut a 3″ deep hole in the floor beneath the vanity, so they had to take care of that. The tub had also never been properly sealed. One of the guys was running on only 2 hours of sleep per night (long story), and screwed up the floor and shower stall tile, so that much of it had to be recut. They couldn’t get a plastic runner to fit in the new shower doors, so they left it out. The new mirror was hung crookedly. The grout was the wrong color, and had to be redone. And last, but not least, when the vanity arrived, it was broken at the base. They’re waiting for a replacement this week.

    At least the new toilet has a bidet, even if the bathroom still has no door so that no one has privacy when they use it. So they’re using the downstairs one for now.

  51. 51
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jay: A lathe is a tool. A lath is a flat strip of wood. It’s lath and plaster. I thought you’d know this.

  52. 52
    opiejeanne says:

    @Gemina13: Oh God, that’s terrible.

  53. 53
    Jackie says:

    Never go with the cheapest bid. It will not save you money. If your spidey sense tingles trouble do not ignore it.
    Check the work every day. There will be mistakes and the sooner mended the easier it is.

    You will be stressed but be extra special nice to the workers. A smile ,a beverage and an occasional treat can pay big dividends .

  54. 54
    J R in WV says:


    any remodel, no matter how small, will take at least twice as long as expected and cost at least half again TWICE as much as planned.

    Fixed that for ya.

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