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Saturday, January 5: Day 53

Ok, I’m gonna be totally honest with you.  I’m frustrated.  If you haven’t noticed yet, there hasn’t been any exciting progress in the kitchen in like, 2 weeks.  At least.

I’ve realized recently that most of the posts I’ve written are all excited and happy.  And if I don’t have anything to report, or things aren’t going my way, I just don’t write about it.  But that’s silly.  If this is a blog about my “big ideas,” that is, ideas that are way over my skill and experience level, then you guys deserve to know when those ideas get the better of me.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s really hard for me to look at that number at the top of the page: Day 53.  Almost two months in, and the kitchen doesn’t look much different than it did at the one-month stage.  And if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s having an unfinished project sitting around in a highly visible place.

If I could move the kitchen to the basement where I didn’t have to look at it, I would.  Problem solved.

Strangely, it’s not the whole “living without a kitchen” thing that’s bugging me.  We have a pretty good set-up in our living room.  We eat a lot of the same foods that we ate when we had a kitchen, we’ve just figured out ways to make them with a microwave and toaster oven instead of a skillet and stovetop.

You can see our lovely white plastic “pantry,” our toaster oven and microwave on the cart, and our kitchen table on the left side in front of the fireplace.  And just around the corner…

…our fridge is in our entryway.  So it’s kind of like a dorm room, but way better.  This set up is not the problem.  I could live like this for quite a while.  We even had a few people over for New Year’s.  Here’s what’s really bugging me:

1) Not enough time, not enough hands.  Chris had just about the worst schedule ever in December.  In the past 3 weeks, he’s only been home for 4-5 days…and they weren’t consecutive.  We’re still very much in the heavy-lifting phase, and there are some things that simply can’t be done by one person.  And with the holidays thrown in there, and my work schedule being awkward as always (my free time is in the middle of the day, when other people are at work, and late at night, when other people want to relax and hang with their own families), I haven’t been able to recruit as much help as I’d like.

2) Lack of control.  We’ve been scratching our heads about our plumbing situation for two weeks.  I had put all the responsibility for plumbing in Chris’s hands, because I knew I wasn’t capable of figuring it out, but he didn’t want to budget for hiring someone competent.  And as I mentioned, Chris hasn’t been home much.  I hate waiting on other people.

3) Lack of progress. This is clearly the direct result of the first two problems.  This is an age-old truism of human motivation: if you don’t see results, you get frustrated and you give up.  Trust me, as a personal trainer, I see this ALL THE TIME.  No matter what your project is, if your progress fails to meet your expectations, you will lose interest.  I’m at that stage, people.  Hence this post.

But all is not lost!  I’m finding my motivation again, and here’s how I’m doing it:

1)  I get by with a little help from my friends. I remind myself that when Chris gets home on Sunday, his schedule officially improves for the month of January.  No promises on what February will look like, but he’s got plenty of time at home in January to help me out.  But even more importantly, I was reminded that I have wonderful friends and family who genuinely want to help–I just have to remember to ask once in a while.  Yesterday I got a big boost when I sent out a couple of texts (and posted on Facebook) that I needed some help with a heavy-item trip to Home Depot.  I got a couple of offers, but the bonus friend-points go to Steve, who was actually available to help right away.  (Thanks Steve! You have no idea how much I needed that).  And thank you to everyone who responded–somehow you all managed to make it sound like a trip to Home Depot was the most exciting thing you could think of. ;)  I’m also planning for a visit from my dad in mid-January.  With his experience, his two hands are more like four.  So I’m super excited for that, and I’m motivated to work hard to make sure there are important projects ready and waiting when he gets here.  All I have to do is get the piddly prep-work done.

2)  If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.  No more waiting on other people.  Notice I didn’t way “If you want it done right.”  I have no intention of tackling the plumbing.  But I did send out emails to four different plumbers asking for estimates, something we should have done at least a week ago.  If nothing else, we should get a couple of detailed descriptions of the work that needs to be done.  I still have to wait a bit, unfortunately–I didn’t get the emails sent until 5:30 on a Friday evening.  I don’t expect to hear from anyone until Monday at the earliest.  But there are things I can do in the meantime, since I managed to accomplish yesterday’s trip to Home Depot.

3)  Why am I doing this??  When I get to a boring part of a project, it helps to think about the parts of the project that I’m actually excited about.  Things I can’t wait to try for the first time: tiling the floor and backsplash, making the concrete counters, making the new millwork to match the old, and showing off my new kitchen and all the things I made with my own two hands.  Sometimes I even come up with new projects (Painting wide horizontal stripes on the powder room walls?  Making wainscoting for the entryway that will match the stuff in the dining room?) to get me excited about building the base.  After all, I can’t tile the floor until it’s all level and even.  And those concrete counters might crack if the cabinets can’t be properly leveled on an uneven floor.  So I might as well work on the subfloor today.  And I can’t do any fancy painting in the powder room until I have a powder room, so once the subfloor is done, I can build the walls.  And all of this can be done while we wait for a plumber.

So with all that in mind, I’m off to reinforce some joists!  If my motivation holds, you can expect another post–maybe one with some actual progress!–by Sunday night.  Thanks for reading!

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