The great thing about doing a house remodel/add-on is that when you leave for the weekend you don’t have to worry about whether you left the stove on.
You no longer have a stove.
You no longer have a dishwasher.
You no longer have a kitchen sink with running water.
Your refrigerator opens into your hallway, which is just across from the bathroom that’s been repurposed from its traditional use and is now your new kitchen — all 125 square feet of it. If your bathroom is close to the kitchen consider remodeling your bathroom as well, visit https://floform.com/ideal-surface-almost-every-bathroom/ for some ideas on remodeling.
You can brush your teeth with your right hand and pop your bagel into the microwave with your left.
Some of you are saying, “Been there, done that.” For me and She Whose Cats Are Freaking Out, however, this is a first.
Oh, 15 years ago I did a two-week kitchen nook project that I finished in seven months. But this one is a bit more of a logistical challenge in that it means doing without a kitchen until March.
Since the builders broke ground, I’ve been reminded what creatures of habit we are.
I instinctively reach for my cereal box in the well-gutted kitchen only to realize it is now in the living room.
I take my recycle items to the side of the carport only to realize we no longer have a carport.
I reach for the door to let the cat out only to realize it is no longer a door but a sheet of plywood. (The cat still believes it is a door, and will likely continue to do so after it becomes a wall. You know cats: They, too, are creatures of habit.)
But here’s what might surprise you — and I say this realizing that while I believe it now I may not believe it a month from now.
This is kind of fun.
“It won’t always be fun,” our contractor, Greg Rose, has reminded us.
But he and his wife, Jody, a designer, help make it so, even if at times they have to look me in the eye and say, “No, Bob. It would not be physically possible to do that.”
Greg keeps us apprised of what particular people will be milling about the house on what days (if it’s Friday it must be plumbers); what demolition work I still need to do in preparation (ripping down cupboards was a hoot); and what the forecast is for coming days (partly chaotic with a chance of electricians).
Yesterday I was working in my out-of-the-fray office when I heard a noise in the basement — just a plumber I hadn’t realized was in the house.
Roofers, carpenters, engineers pop up like the characters on Disneyland’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. They poke and prod the house as if they were medical students and our house was their patient.
“A month from now you’re going to say, ‘What were we thinking?’ ” a friend said. “Five months from now, you’re going to say it was all worth it.”
I’m supposing she’s right.
Meanwhile, we’re learning all sorts of lessons, like: You can’t get there from here.
Get to the lawnmower shed, now a storage unit, from the back door? Sorry. With the deck gone it’d be like walking through an empty swimming pool.
Another lesson: Everything is somewhere else. “The Atlas of Oregon” I was looking for is two miles away in a storage unit, undoubtedly encased beneath boxes of “Cascade Summer.”
It’s like living aboard a sailboat: Whatever you want to reach is beneath something else. Or beneath you.
The goal is to graft a new room onto a 1939 house. As the workers peel away the layers of the latter, we find ourselves in a discombobulated world of past, present and future.
Here: a lathe-and-plaster wall from yesteryear, exposed in the kitchen demolition. There: a semblance of what was once our living room, a third of it now overtaken by stacked boxes. My UO dorm room was more expansive.
Outside: a mound of dirt, a pile of gravel and a port-a-potty protrude like a poor man’s Three Sisters.
Part of my much-labored-over rock wall has been dismantled to make room for a pipe. Shrubs have been lopped off like the newel post Chevy Chase takes the chainsaw to in “Christmas Vacation.” And with the Dumpster, don’t even think about cars in the driveway.
In short, the place looks like a war zone. But I remind myself that every privilege asks a price — even as I notice that our bedroom’s clock radios are both flashing “12:00.”
Seems as if the electricians have already been here.