Enough home improvement for now

posted by Jeff | Saturday, October 15, 2011, 10:05 PM | comments: 0

I've officially decided that I'm done home improving for now. I'm burned out. When things are easy and go well, it's awesome. When they don't, I just want to finish and move on.

Today was a little bit like that. Diana and Jennie went nuts painting the last living room wall, while I got up and tore down the giant and hideous fluorescent light from the kitchen. I f'ing hated that light, pretty much from the moment I got the keys, a decade ago. It's weird that for the eight years I lived here before, I never thought about simply replacing the things I didn't like. God knows I had enough down time.

In any case, we thought some kind of spot lighting would be best for the kitchen. We found a simple five-light fixture with the brushed nickel finish we've been using on everything else. Not particularly inexpensive compared to the $11 domes we put up in the hallways, but not ridiculous, either. My architect brother-in-law has been known to spend $300-500 on a light fixture, so I'm keeping it real.

I actually felt fortunate that I could put a new fixture up there at all, because the big ugly box thing (with razor blades holding the cover on, much to the dismay of thumb) was screwed in with toggle bolts, and I couldn't see if there was a round box in the ceiling. I think that's code, but who knows with the fuck-ups that Pulte hired to build the place. I was relieved to see there was a box there, and we ran out to Home Depot to get the new fixture.

I would go back a little later, because the screws provided to attach the bracket to the box were metric. WTF? I'd expect that from Ikea, but not something from Home Depot. Once we had new screws, we both dangled 12 feet from the ladder and got it mounted, and it was all good. I positioned the lights, and the whole kitchen felt warmer. You can actually see in the pantry now. Even though I hate the counter tops and the cabinets, they look better. The shitty laminate floor still looks shitty. Living out west amongst the million-dollar houses has made me realize how shitty suburban Cleveland houses are.

In any case, the whole issue with the screws and difficulty doing what should have been a simple task made me cranky. Simon has been whiny all day, which just made it worse. He's teething his molars now, so at least he has an excuse. I like home improvement projects when they go smoothly, but freak out when they don't.

Getting the awesome mounted-elsewhere-but-never-used microwave up was next. I originally wasn't comfortable with buying it from friends just because of the lack of hardware and a place to return it, but with downloaded installation instructions, we went for it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be pretty simple, provided I could make solid guesses on where to drill holes in the above cabinet.

The back mounting brackets needed toggle bolts, which seemed like overkill, but I didn't have a drill bit big enough for them. Did I mention I love my new drill? So off to Home Depot for a third time today. Got the holes drilled, three toggle bolts, two into studs, and then the first attempt at mounting it. Hole for the plug was no problem, of course, and one of the holes for the top bolts was right on, but the other was not. There was a template that came with the microwave if you bought it in the store. Oh well, I just drilled a second hole on the other side. It came with "self-adjusting bolts," but I had to fake it with some washers since there's no telling where those went. It worked out fine.

I was pretty pleased with myself getting the microwave mounted. It's the simple things, I suppose. I was also horrified at the hack job the Pulte guys did with the old range hood, splitting the cabinet wood in suboptimal ways. They also left the saw dust behind the stove, which I had never seen before.

So I'm really done for now. Although I'll probably do something next weekend. We've got a new dining light fixture in the mail, so I suppose there will be that. My new old house is starting to feel comfortable.


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