Last night the electrician came back and wired up all our various new expensive toys to the panel, which means that 1/2 the lights, our dishwasher, and our stove all work now. This whole process has been a learning experience, like going to a spanish-speaking samba class on crutches: There are complicated dance steps involved, but they don’t tell you what order things go in unless you ask exactly the right questions. Knowing what these questions are is key, like asking the installation guys where they needed outlets, and then transferring that knowledge to the electricians so that you don’t wind up with four rectangular holes in the wall that need to be patched after the cabinets are installed.

The installers have been here twice and will need to return again (for the counter installation); the electricians three times (and need to come back once more for final fit-out) and the plumbers twice (and they’re coming back for the sink and disposal installation.) It’s getting so that we’re just going to give everybody a key and keep a twelve-pack of beer in the fridge so they can come and go when they need to.

All this has left us with a pretty sweet kitchen, so far. Last night I flipped one of the two new switches on the wall and 3/4 of the under-cabinet lighting came on, and it looked GREAT. This morning we read the phone-book sized manual for the dishwasher and figured out how to turn it on, and it burbled and hummed quietly, and Jen ovulated at the thought of not having to face another sinkload of dishes to wash by hand. The stove lights with a fast tick-tick-WHOOSH, and it heats the shit out of a pot of hot water.

I’d have to say, we’ve been blessed with some of the nicest contractors in the universe. Our electrician I’ve written about before. The plumbers are a pair of old-school Bawlmer fellas, and speak through syrup-thick Dundalk accents, but damn if they didn’t have the gas line wrangled in about fifteen minutes. These are the guys who would be at home in the engine room of a nuclear aircraft carrier, keeping it floating with a pipe wrench and some chewing gum. The cabinet install guys showed up at 8:30 in the morning, unloaded two vans full of wood, assembled the entire kitchen and hung it expertly on some of the most out-of-square walls in this state, put in the lighting, dishwasher (and its plumbing), and fridge, all without marking up the floor or burning the house down. And they were nice guys. I’d recommend them to anybody, really—I’ve worked with gruff contractors, ex-felons (that was an interesting summer), guys that treated me the customer like a moron, guys that overcharged, guys that never showed up, guys that never finished, and guys that wanted full payment up front. Everybody I’ve worked with on this project has spoiled me for any future contracting, and I suppose that’s alright with me, just as long as we can have a machine wash our dishes and bake a cake that’s not burned on one side.

Date posted: October 28, 2005 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Contracting.

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