Do you hear that? If you listen hard I'm sure you can hear the self-satisfied hum of the first dishwasher ever to call our house home. That's right, we're running our first load of dishes as I type this. Well, I'm sitting here at work typing this, but I composed this opening in my head last night while listening to the whoosh and splash of cleansing water irrigating Julia's bottles. So I think that counts. Especially since you couldn't have heard it even if you listened very hard. Though I appreciate how much you tried to humor me. Really, I do. It makes this whole remodeling thing worth it.
When last we talked the sweet, sweet words of kitchen remodel, I left you with the image of nearly-nude grouting. Well, here is the image to complement that image. If my kitchen were capable of celebratory smoking, it would be flicking away its butt in this shot: ready to get dressed and call a cab.
Saturday morning we took Kristin's car to my brother's shop for a pre-roadtrip check and oil change, grabbed coffee, thought about scavenging an antique chair from a neighbor's garbage pile, and met my parents back at the house a little after 9 AM. The first words out of my dad's mouth were "Your brother just called, your top's not done." I just stared at him for a moment in disbelief. Then I told him exactly how un-funny that particular joke was. He said, "No, really, it's true, the guy didn't get your top done. He Who Could Sell Snow to Polar Bears is right now pushing him to get it finished, but there's only the one guy there and he has to handle all the will call customers, so there's a chance it won't get done." I looked to my mom for confirmation. See, Dad is completely capable of thinking that saying something like that is funny. But no, it was true. I wanted to break down into tears right there. I wasn't mad at HWCSSPB, but I was furious at the countertop guy. We ordered a full cove top (where the laminate forms a backsplash that reaches all the way from the counter to the bottom of the wall cabinets) because our walls are so damaged and that was easiest way to deal with the walls, but the full cove top takes a bit longer to make than the standard 4 inch splash. We were prepared to order the standard and tile the backsplash if the full cove top couldn't be completed in time, but my brother's countertop guy assured us that he could get it done on time. That's the only reason we went ahead and ordered the full cove top. To hear that he HADN'T completed it even though he knew that we were counting on it being done infuriated me. But there was nothing I could do. I told my dad that if the top wasn't done we still needed to set the sink, we'd just have to do it on plywood. There's no way we could have housesitters in a house that didn't have a kitchen sink!
Anyway, we got to work. Dad unloaded the cabinets and our suspended chairs. He placed the first cabinets and the mechanism for the chairs. We made a slight change to our original plans. Based on a comment that J made we moved the sink cabinet toward the stove and placed the bank of drawers right next to the bar -- trying to give ourselves some more space between the sink and the dishwasher. It seems simple, but sometimes you look at something so many times that you don't see what's staring you in the face. After the first few cabinets were placed, he began to build a sink cabinet for us. Our space was so narrow that a standard sink cabinet wouldn't fit. So he had to build one for us out of a bathroom vanity and some spare parts. . He did such a great job you would never be able to tell.
By this time it was a bit after noon. The countertop shop was only open until 2. My stress level was starting to creep up and I was beginning to wonder exactly how much damage to our already damaged wall could an improperly set sink on plywood do over the course of three weeks when HWCSSPB called, the top was DONE!!! Julia was napping, so Kristin elected to stay behind, and the rest of us climbed into my parents' truck and raced to pick the top up.
At HWCSSPB's showroom I made sure to let him know that I had not been mad at him at all, and I paid for the countertop and we loaded it up and took off for home. After a quick bite of lunch, Dad and I got the top set and then Dad crawled up into the attic space to finish the rewiring and I bolted the suspended chairs to the floor. Then I began putting the sink together -- attaching drain baskets and disposal (also a first for this house) and faucet.
When Dad had finished the wiring we got the sink into the hole, and while I installed the sink he brought the dishwasher in from the garage. And here's where things started going downhill.
We are not a plumbing people. If there were going to be any problems, even a foolish man would have been able to predict that they would occur with the plumbing. And my house is not at its most cooperative when it comes to plumbing. The old pipes are brittle. They break. And the main shut off, you know, the shut off that turns off all the water to the house, the shut off of last resort, doesn't really shut the water off. At most it sort of reprimands the water a bit. It slows it down. I really need to talk to the City about shutting our water off at the street so I can replace the main shut off, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Anway, to shut the water to our house off so that individual pipe shutoffs can be changed or installed, one turns the main shut off as hard as one can, and then one turns on all the hoses, showers, and faucets in the house and hopes that enough water is diverted that the pipe one needs to work on is empty. So that is what we did. But first we went to the store.
At the store, we couldn't find a dishwasher supply line long enough. But it sure seemed like that icemaker supply line that was long enough had the right connections. So we bought it. And we bought a new shutoff with a diverter for the dishwasher. A compression shut off for the copper pipe. Because we thought the copper pipe had a compression fitting. Only it didn't. So we took a hacksaw and cut the pipe. Excellent, problem solved, now the compression fixture fits. So then we threaded the supply line through the cabinets. And Dad wired the dishwasher. And then he tried to connect the supply line to the dishwasher. And that's when we realized that there was a reason the package said "Ice Maker Supply Line" and not "Ice Maker Supply Line But Could Still Be Used as a Dishwasher Supply Line if You So Desire". It wouldn't connect.
Now, I am used to the mysterious ways of Things That Look Like They'll Work When They're in the Store But Don't Actually Work Once You Get Them Home and There's Water Involved, so I have a large collection of little brass plumbing bits and pieces that I have bought for various projects and just kept around when they didn't work. I mean, who knows, they might work next time, right? I gathered up my collection and my dad poked through it. Alas, no luck there. So it was back to the store. There Dad found a coupling that he was pretty sure would join the supply line to the dishwasher. An expensive little coupling, but who cares, right? He comes back home and tries to put it on. It fits! Yay! We're all ready to test it out. But first Dad wants to make sure that the shut off really works, so I go turn the water main "on" and he turns the new shut off on. No leaks, excellent. Things are looking good. Even Julia seems surprised!
But then, then somehow (and exactly how, I have blocked out) we realize that we have connected the dishwasher to the cold water supply! ARGHHHH!!!! Because of course, the cold water is coming through a copper pipe and the hot water is coming through a galvanized pipe, and the pipes are of different widths and so the new shutoff will not fit on the hot water pipe. Which means it's back to the store for a new shut off for the cold water (because we cut the old one off, remember, and so the old one won't work any more) and a new shut off with a diverter for the hot water. But before heading to the store we decided to see if the new dishwasher connection really did work. We turned it on. The dishwasher started filling with (cold) water. Everyone listened. And then I, and only I, heard it. The drip of a leak. I flung myself to the floor, reached my hand under the dishwasher, pulled it out cupping water and screamed "Turn it off! Turn it off!" luckily I had seen where the water was coming from. And yes, it was the new coupling.
Back at the store, Dad found the new shutoffs we needed, and then he found a package of rubber washers to go in the coupling. And we even thought to open the package and see if they would fit the new coupling before buying them and leaving the store. Good thing we did, too, because they didn't really fit, so we went back and searched through packages until we found some that did fit. And I'm happy to tell you that even though they came in a package of 10, and we had to open the package to check fit, and we so easily could have just put the package back with only 9 in it and steal the one little washer we needed, we didn't. Because we're good people. And we needed the good karma.
Back at home we did the whole rigamarole of trying to turn the water main off, putting the new shutoffs on, and reattaching the coupling. This time when we tested the dishwasher it filled with HOT water, and there were no leaks. Hallelueia! Then we moved on to testing the drains. And, of course, they leaked. Right where the old meets the new. And, of course, we needed a new part. So it was back to the store, just as it was closing. And even after the new part was on it STILL leaked. It seemed to want a big rubber washer and the plastic compression ring we had just wasn't cutting it. But it was late. The store was closed. My dad was frustrated and I was getting apathetic. "Just cram the compression ring full of plumbers putty," I suggested. And that's exactly what we did. And it worked. I just need to remember that there's putty in that joint so I have more if I ever have to take the drain apart. LORD HELP ME NEVER TO HAVE TO TAKE THAT DRAIN APART.
Finally, Mom and Dad left. It was after 11 PM. The kitchen is 1/3 of the way done. I spent Mother's Day cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. And it feels as if we're beginning to get our house back.
This is it until after we come back from vacation. Then it's 2 more days of work to get it finished. I can see the end of the tunnel, which is good, because it was pretty grim Saturday night.