06 September 2013

Further Adventures

It has been a full on couple of weeks. I didn't post last week because we were in the middle of a really big push to get the kitchen functional again and my post would have been the verbal equivalent of drooling on myself from exhaustion.

But now here we are in September - seven weeks after the first hammer fall - and I have hot water, a fridge in its final home, and a stove back in place. Wonders never cease I tell you.

It's been a surreal adventure. I love learning how the guts of a home works. It is messy and complicated in learning, but not knowing how to do something like this really bothers me - not because it is costly to hire people but because it is something within my domain that will likely need to be fixed at some point in my life. I find it aggravating when I don't know how to fix things that are part of basic, everyday living. Waiting on other people? Not a fan. The real trick however is not just knowing how to do something, but how to do it right.

We are so incredibly blessed to have parents and friends who have very unique and awesome skills and more importantly are willing to patiently show us how to do these things. I am a better painter because of family, I am learning how to wire thanks to Jeff's dad and the willingness of a friend's dad (who happens to be a master electrician) come over and show us the ropes, I will be able to plumb a bathroom by the time we finish thanks to my boyfriend (who in turn learned from his family). The sharing of experience by others is a gift I and it means that I am able to learn to do more with less.

Our everyday life is technologically more complicated than our grandparents lives were, and their grandparents before them. Men and women historically could run a household, do the needed repairs, and be relatively self-sufficient without involving specialists. Today this is not the case, at all. And before anyone scoffs that this is going to be a waxing on about the old days post, I assure you I am the last person to do that. Old days meant poor personal hygiene, dysentery, and it being socially acceptable to tar and feather folks -- REALLY not a fan.

It is a fine line to walk between doing something oneself and paying a craftsman to do their job. Craftsmen deserve to be paid well for their time, experience, and an executed job. We pay them because we don't have the time it takes to figure things out and do it right. But - and this is the biggest problem I feel with involving other people in the workings of a home - when you hire someone else to do the job, they're there to be paid, not out of a labor of love or in duty to the home itself.

For Jeff and I, we've discovered that we do have limits and there are some things absolutely worth hiring out which in our case seems to be installing new windows. Tiling, electrical, plumbing... we either know how to do or are learning as we go and adjusting accordingly. Other folks might be old hands at installing windows and think tiling is a ridiculous waste of their time and have someone else do it. It's really a matter of what we are each personally able to handle.

All told, six weeks without a kitchen sink pushed what I was able to handle to the brink of crazytown. We have running water again and everything is slowly finding its way into the cabinets marked with painters tape to help ease the traffic of what goes where. First dinner looks to be homemade alfredo where I might get to use the magical over-the-stove-pot-filler. There's still time in the season, albeit belatedly, to get to the farmers market and pick up foodstuffs for canning.

And of course there are still a lot of little things left to do: Molding, spacers between the cabinet stacks, cabinet lighting... the end of phase two is still several weeks off, but being able to just function in the kitchen makes a huge world of difference. This also means I can start planning thank you dinners! Mmm dinners...

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