The kitchen reno went rather smoothly this week, all things considered. And by “all things considered,” I mean several fairly large problems that involved a potentially lethal support beam and a deranged cat.
The demolition phase (which I discussed here) unearthed more than I had expected. Yes, knob and tube wiring and a complete absence of insulation were on my radar—and so was the need for a large metal support beam to stop the second floor from sagging any further into the kitchen.
What I had not expected was the need for a second support beam—one to stop the kitchen, itself, from continuing its leisurely descent into the basement. The bowl-shaped floor had been cleverly hidden under old sheets of plywood and four layers of linoleum. Like icing on a cake, those layers had disguised the ugly truth: there were not enough shims in Ontario to level the cupboards if we didn’t fix the damned floor, first.
Here’s the conversation I had with the contractor two weeks ago (in my defense, I was still reeling from the cost of tearing out all the knob and tube):
HIM [frowning at floor]: “We’re going to need to put a beam in the basement to fix this. You’ve got a couple of options that…”
ME [flapping hands wildly while backing away]: “Whatever’s cheap and works. I don’t care what it looks like.”
Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully. I now have two massive steel posts holding up a wooden support beam the size of a Douglas fir. I’m only 5’6”, yet even I have trouble doing the limbo under it. I’ve decided, in the spirit of Carpe Vinum (Seize the Wine), to turn that part of my basement into a mini-winery. I’m now reading Home Winemaking for Dummies. I’ll keep you posted.
But back to the deranged cat. After a few weeks of stress farting and binge eating, my two old, fat cats had finally adjusted to the bedlam of the ongoing renovation. Then The Terror arrived.
The Terror is my middle daughter’s loud, perky, playful, freshly-declawed 2-year-old cat (which needed a home). When it arrived, the effect was not unlike what happens when someone starts a blender without putting on the lid. An entire room became coated with cat hair, dander and speckles of blood (thanks to the cat’s recent declawing, combined with its almost demonic level of energy). Old, fat cat #1 is coping with The Terror’s arrival by wiping his spit on every surface of the house to mark his territory. Old, fat cat #2 is getting revenge by savaging my last two surviving houseplants. And how am I coping? I’ll let you know as soon as the first batch of wine is ready.