Monday, August 20, 2018

One week into the era of New Kitchen

It still feels like New Kitchen, not just *my kitchen.* I didn’t think it would be like this. I’m not an HGTV person. But I so love it. I can’t stop staring at it.

A few friends saw it last weekend, a couple more during the week, and another this past Saturday. My first dinner guest came over Friday. They all loved it (no, they’re not just being polite, as my mother might have suggested). I’m not sure she would have liked it, or admitted to liking it; the woman fed on criticizing everything in her field of vision. She would have been horrified at the price (which was overwhelmingly reasonable, as these things go), but I already talked about that in another post. I bring it up again because I ran into a sort-of friend—the woman I refer to as my well-meaning friend. Like my mother, she’s taken it upon herself to critique my spending choices (she once told me $50 was too much to spend on a haircut, which is exactly the kind of thing my mother, who also barely has any hair, would say). So my boundary instincts get especially fired up around this woman.

Now,  a bunch of people have asked me how much my kitchen cost, and I’ve been forthcoming about it. A friend likened it to talking about salaries: the more information out there, the better decisions people can make. With that, I direct you to this inspiring article about Carrie Grace and her fight for equal pay (and how solidarity was what decided it in her favor); to the movie, Battle of the Sexes; and to this tweet. But I digress.

And I’ll digress a bit more. Enough people asked me how much I spent on my kitchen, itemized, that I went into my credit card accounts to get more precise numbers (they are so large that it’s easy to round). I wanted to see how much I ended up spending on backsplash, rather than “about twice as much as intended.” Which is when I noticed that the tile store only credited me for half my return (I had leftover tile). I was livid. I wouldn’t have put it past the guy to have done it on purpose. I was distracted; my air conditioner was leaking (or so I thought) and I had to go meet the repairman. He was chatting me up and trying to upsell me. But how do you prove a negative? I was determined to at least try, and then drag them in reviews if I failed. I’d thought I was done hitting home improvement stores after work but this was pricy tile and also, I don’t like being ripped off, so off I drove. I explained my situation to the manager. He said he believed me but asked if I’d wait while he checked the tapes. There were tapes! Saved by Big Brother. He wouldn’t have to take my word for it. Sure enough, the tapes vindicated me and I got my money back. And the manager would have seen whether the checkout dude did it on purpose and proceeded accordingly. Lesson: always watch what you’re signing, and check your receipts.

Anyway: I’ve been talking openly about the cost of the remodel. I don’t find questions about it personal or prying. But well-meaning friend didn’t ask me how much it cost. She asked me whether I borrowed money for it, which, holy shit, is personal and inappropriate AF. I ran my gut reaction by some other people, who had the same reaction. A cost is a cost; whether one borrowed money is an intrusion into one’s personal finances. Don’t ask people that shit.

Monday, August 13, 2018

It's been a long month

The Fourth of July wasn't so long ago, but it feels like another era—the era of Old Kitchen. That was when I wrote about overcoming my conditioning to order appliances. The Fourth--a Wednesday--was the day I committed to New Kitchen by ordering appliances. The following weekend, I bought some floor tile and agreed to a proposal from my friend's friend's contractor. The following Wednesday, I chose cabinets and counters.

Saturday morning, while my kitchen was being demolished, I shopped (unsuccessfully) for backsplash and can-lights. Before I got on a plane that afternoon, I came back to No Kitchen.

Which, while I was in Vienna, went to No-Kitchen with better walls and floors.