DISCLAIMER: This is an absolutely mundane posting. In fact, I'm probably completely presumptuous for thinking anyone would find interesting this tale of the challenges of grown-up living. Enjoy.
Generally speaking, I feel that I have taken our kitchen pretty far from where it started, but I still have some major issues with it. The least of which was the appliances. As you can see in the picture below, it was a monstrosity that was, no joke, a dishwasher-stovetop-oven-exhaust fan combo. The oven was way too small. The handle on the oven door was half metal, so if you didn't open it just so, you'd assuredly end up with burns on your hand. Despite it's lack of room for cooking, it proved to be far too large to loom over the cooktop. Because the exhaust fan was housed above the oven, all of the steam from cooking on the stovetop would rush along the contours of the oven right into your face. It was a nightmare, but because it was all one unit, there was no way to really "ease" into replacing it. It was all or none.
When the dishwasher lock broke, I decided that the time had come to start replacing. I figured I'd rather just sink the money into a full replacement than waste another $200 for a repairman to fix something I hated. I say "another" because about a year ago the stove seemed to inexplicably stop working after I messed with the timer one day. After taking the whole thing apart and finding more wires than I had ever seen before in my life, we ended up paying a repairman about $150 to come tell us that the stove wasn't working because the timer had a built-in shut-off. In my defense, it was poorly labeled.
So we set out on what I anticipated to be a two-week, $1200 investment for a new stove, microwave, and 18" dishwasher that would need to be moved to the other side of the sink. Actually, the main reason I took my so-called crafting hiatus is because this whole endeavor ended up being such a pain in the but, and a lot more time and money than we ever expected.
First of all, I'd like to rant about the absolute lack of expertise in today's appliance departments. The guys at the local Sear's knew no more about the appliances they were selling than I did after a few days of online research. It was ridiculous. Then they began to reveal all of the hidden expenses that we didn't anticipate needing. For example, moving electrical and plumbing. BUT they completely downplayed how much these things would cost us and assured us that our installers would take care of it for us. In fact, they charged us an additional "estimation fee" for these extras.
After purchasing, the installers call the next day to schedule a time, and I am disappointed that they can't come for another 3 weeks. When the installation date finally rolls around, they come in, look at the current set-up, tell us we need to have the electrical and plumbing done before they can come back, leave the microwave and dishwasher in the middle of our living room floor (we live in a total of 600 sq. ft., mind you), and leave. I know that codes are in place for safety reasons and whatnot, but finding out that we needed a dedicated circuit for an appliance that doesn't need one when sitting on your countertop (i.e. the microwave) was extremely frustrating. Getting estimates from electricians as high as $1000 and finding out the work would result in rather large holes in the wall literally brought me to tears.
We eventually found a guy on Craig's List (which admittedly may not be the best idea) who only charged us $400. At this point, I felt like he was doing it for free! So, the electrical is done, but this guy convinces Michael that we need an actual plumber to come move the line for the dishwasher from one side of the sink to another. Estimates for this are as high as $400. More tears. Eventually, Google emboldens me with the belief that I can do the plumbing myself, and I totally did it with absolutely no problem! In fact, I completely installed the dishwasher all by myself!
By this time, we have both the old appliances and the new appliances strewn throughout our minuscule apartment, and I'm having to hand wash everything. I had no idea how dependent upon the dishwasher I was. Even with all the professional work done, we continue to face more problems. For one, the outlet that had recently been installed on the wall for the microwave had to be removed in order to install the upper cabinet to which the microwave would be bolted. It's like the screws that were used to install the box were literally welded to a metal stud. It took us hours to get this damn thing off the wall, until we are eventually saw the screws in half with a hacksaw. Success. Unfortunately, our opening was 30", but our Ikea cabinet was like 30.5" despite specs to the contrary. So, Michael planes for hours. We eventually have everything set up just the way it needs to be for the installers to come plop it all in for an ungodly inflated fee.
This is around the time that Michael leaves to study for the Bar in TN for 6 weeks. Having our apartment in such utter chaos really exacerbated my sadness for seeing him go. It just felt like everything was ALL wrong. In the end, the installation was complete, the holes were patched, and we are left a step closer to the perfect kitchen (given other insurmountable constraints).