My Kitchen Renovation Is In Progress

by Venomous Kate

The kitchen is really the center of our house, as it probably is in yours, too. Ours has a fireplace and one wall that’s almost entirely windows. You can’t enter the house without traipsing through or past the kitchen, and since I’m an avid home cook, most of our visitors wind up hanging out there. So I guess it’s not surprising that the kitchen is the room for which I have the biggest plans, and yet the room in which we’ve done the least.

Oh, we’ve rid the room of the hideous roosters and apple green paint. We repainted the wood cabinets and replaced their contractor-grade door- and drawer-pulls with tiny silver spoons and forks I bought at an antiques store. When our refrigerator died a couple of years ago we bought one that actually matches the other appliances. I felt like a real grown-up then.

One thing we haven’t fixed? The floor. The white porcelain tile floor that shows every drip, drab and crumb. The white floor that’s still shiny enough in most spots to make it obvious when I skip mopping for the day. The white tile floor that is cracked in at least a half-dozen places where we walk, while by the stove there’s an entire tile missing so I have to keep a mat there to cover the subfloor.

I hate that floor.

So why haven’t we replaced it? Well, like a lot of things in our lives, it still works. That is, we’re not walking on plywood, and spills are still easy enough to mop up. (Daily.) But the main reason is because ripping out a porcelain tile floor is a truly tedious, back-breaking job that involves spending hours on one’s knees wielding a hammer to crack the tile, then a chisel to get down to the subfloor, then a wheelbarrow to cart loads of broken tiles out to the garage where our trash company will not pick them up. That means, getting them out of the house doesn’t mean the work’s done: we still have to load them into the van and drive them to the city dump, one van load at a time. It’s work for young people, I tell you, which is probably why we should have made it our first project in the house since these last six years have been doozies.

Today, though, I decided I could stand it no more. I’d taken the kitchen rugs out to the deck so I could mop the floor (again), and forgot to bring them in before washing the breakfast dishes. One wrong move and — YOWZA — a cracked tile sliced a nice chunk off the bottom of my foot. Naturally, I bled everywhere.

Now, I could’ve cleaned up the carnage. That’s one nice thing about porcelain: blood splatters wipe up real well. But I’d already mopped the dang thing once today; I wasn’t about to do it again. So, after tying a kitchen towel to the bottom of my blood-soaked foot, I hobbled to my husband’s tool bench and found his hammer and chisel. By the time I needed to pick my son up from school, I’d only been able to crack up and haul out six tiles. SIX! And meanwhile I’ve worked so hard that my knees are locked up, my back is aching, and my hand has stiffened into something sore and claw-like.

So I’ve decided I was right: tearing out this tile really IS a young person’s job. As it happens, I know a young person with destructive tendencies and too much time on his hands. A young person whose adolescent hormones have lately led him to mouth off far too much for my liking. A young, smart-mouthed person who, when it comes down to it, is behind 99% of the drips, drabs and crumbs that made me hate this white porcelain tile floor in the first place.

Now, every time he mouths off, talks back, argues, rolls his eyes, calls me names or even breathes funny, he’s required to crack, remove and haul out one tile. At the rate he’s been at it this afternoon, we’ll be down to the subfloor in my 20′x26′ kitchen this weekend.

I love it when a plan comes together.

10 Comments to “My Kitchen Renovation Is In Progress”

  1. This is a much better response on your part, to the transgressions committed by the hormonally challenged yout, who happens to reside in your house. Me, I would have required said miscreant to kneel on a couple of pencils (long ways at 90 degrees to the direction of the legs). Just a little something the nuns used back in the day.

  2. Guy, I remember kneeling on pencils! Unfortunately, it falls under the same heading of “These Things Bring Social Services To Your Door” as spanking, sending your kid to his/her room without dinner, or confining said kid to his/her room for more than a couple of hours.

    (And we wonder why kids are out of control? Because we’re no longer allowed to control them!)

  3. I know a tile man who does good work. He did the kitchen floor and bathroom floor for me when I was rehabing the forclosed duplex my daughter bought. A word from you will get his phone number via Email.

  4. Deb remembers them too. And you are, sadly, correct about what comes to the door should you try to affect change in the genetic hostage(s) by using anything stronger than a time out.

    Remember when Social Services coming to the door ment you had been paid a visit by the local “Ladies Auxiliary”, or the PTA. If you were male, it might mean the local country club was stopping by to personally invite you to their ranks. Yeah, and back then, “gay” ment being happy, and Coke not only came in bottles, you could get 5 cents for each one you returned to your neighborhood grocer (Remember those?). *Sigh*, I am off to yell at some kids to “Get off my lawn!”.

  5. Twoma, we actually enjoy DIY projects. It’s just the busting up and carrying out of tile that’s no fun. But there HAS to be a reason why we had kids. This one’s as good as any!

    Guy, you forgot to mention how our schools were always at the top of snow-covered hills!

  6. My schools were not on an incline. However, the wind, rain, and or sleet, snow, or hail, were always blowing AT you regardless of the direction you were traveling. And it was at least a mile, one way, to high school. Did not have a car, we walked, every day, and we liked it that way!!

    Home projects can be fun. Years ago, I replaced all of the hot water pipes in the house i had at that time, re-did the bathroom too (new tub, toilet, sink, and tile). Did the kitchen tile right after that. You are right, that is a job for youngsters (in early 30′s at that time). Would not want to be chipping tile at this point in time. But more than willing to use management skilz on resident teenagers to do same.

  7. Actually, when I was a kid I noticed that it always stopped raining when it was time for me to walk to school and would start again shortly after I got there. No doubt this reinforced my belief that I was the center of the universe.

    As for home projects, we really enjoy the DIY aspect. Hopefully we’ll pass that on to the BEB as he sees his own contribution to work turn into something that makes our house more livable and attractive. Or, maybe he’ll just take an intense dislike to forced, manual labor. That could prove useful in the future.

  8. Are you considering installing radiant heat on your kitchen floor since you are redoing it???

  9. No, it’s more cost-effective to run our fireplace. It opens on both the kitchen and the living room, so it heats two rooms rather well. Radiant heat flooring would only heat the kitchen, and with the deck and garage both opening off of it that heat would be lost whenever someone came home or went outside.

  10. I looked through the pictures of the renovation. Looks like nice work. How long did it take from the time you started until it was completely finished? I deal with a lot of people remodeling their kitchens or offices and always try to get a time frame down. Thanks