Last week, I filled you in on the tumultuous start to my kitchen reno (you can read about it here). My kitchen now has no walls, no ceiling, no flooring, no cabinets, no insulation, no wiring and no plumbing. In case you’re planning on doing something this foolish, here are a few things you should know:
*Knob and tube is alive and (un)well. Knob and tube wiring was used in the early 1900s. It was a nifty invention for folks who wanted indoor lighting and didn’t mind if their walls occasionally burst into flames. Think knob and tube is no longer used? Don’t be naive. It’s still buried in the walls of a multitude of old homes—and when an electrician has to rip it all out and rewire an entire house, well, it’s time to sell off your cutest kid, because this is going to get pricey.
*Sometimes insulation doesn’t…insulate. The construction workers have demolished three rooms—the kitchen, powder room and laundry room. Oddly, they only found insulation behind the walls of the laundry room—a space so numbingly cold that it’s been doubling as a second refrigerator in the winter.
*Cats are jerks. I mentioned how the first few days of sledgehammering turned my cats into stress-farting fiends. Now they’ve changed tactics—they sneak into the basement as soon as the construction crew arrives, gorge themselves on cat food and then run upstairs and barf in as many rooms as possible. I’m living in Puke-a-Palooza.
*Mirrors are overrated. I have no idea what I look like each morning, because there’s no hydro to my bathroom (thanks to the ripped-out knob and tube). I’m not saying this is a bad thing—I’m actually happier when I don’t have to look at myself in the morning—but if you’re hung up about good grooming, practice putting on mascara while staring at a wall before letting contractors into your home.
*The right dinner fixes everything. I’ve discovered the secret to staying happy when it sounds like rabid beavers are attacking your house and a thick layer of dust is coating everything you own. Here’s what to do: Toss a slab of meat into a slow cooker and let it simmer all day. Once the construction crew leaves, pile that meat into a rollup, cover it with enough cheese to make your neighbor’s arteries thicken and serve it with a glass of wine the size of a goldfish bowl. Feeling better? I thought so.
This should be an interesting week. The construction crew will be installing an enormous steel beam to stop the upstairs floors from drooping down into the kitchen (turns out 200-year-old wooden beams do eventually sag). The goal is to get the beam in place without cracking every plaster wall upstairs. I’ll keep you posted.