{State of the Kitchen} Part 10: Highs and Lows

What a week!
This past week was full of highs & lows. It seems like every time we start going, something happens to make it screech to a halt. I expected the replacements to be delivered to the house Friday. The contractor was going to go by the courier on Thursday and pick them up as soon as they were delivered. Except...the Thomasville Rep called me around 4:30 to let me know that 3 items did not pass Quality Control, so nothing was shipped. Wasn't that nice of them to not let me know? 
The sheetrock guys came and halfway repaired the strip in the ceiling where the cabinets used to be. I sent the designer the picture and asked if they were planning on finishing. She said that they may not be finished; she will get with the contractor about finishing.
The ceiling is kind of repaired
They got some patching material on the chimney of the hood.
Saturday was a very bad day for us. CH was at a function and I did a load of laundry. I heard some weird sounds coming from the temporary sink.  When I went to investigate, the sink was almost overflowing and there was sludge coming up from the pipe.

How gross is this?
I bailed the water until the washing machine stopped draining (I couldn't stop the washer because it's in the basement), then went down to see if anything else had happened. It had.  There was water pouring out of the vent pipe, onto the shelf where CH has all of our camping equipment. I called him, and the contractor. Then I called our plumber, who said it sounded like there was something stopping up the pipe. He referred me to someone to clean out the pipes. 
So here we are, on the hottest day of the year, carrying out all of our camping equipment and setting it up so it will dry. The contractor denied that they had anything to do with it, although this is the first time we've ever had this problem. Also, there was a new clamp around the vent pipe, and we haven't had any plumbing done in that area. Very suspicious. 
Camping equipment had to be set up to dry after the monsoon in our basement.
The replacements ended up coming in on Monday and were delivered by the contractor on Tuesday. Since I went back to work on Tuesday, they came after I got home so there would be "an adult who can make decisions" on site (per Home Depot's policy). After feeling the doors, there were still 5 that are rough, and 2 of the drawers are giving on the sides. At this point, we just want them done, so I told the Rep that those 5 will just be rough, and once the drawers fall in I'll have them replaced through our warranty. However, CG2 used a very soft sandpaper and was able to smooth the doors. I have no idea why this wasn't done before, but maybe they were too rough the first time. Anyway, he did a fantastic job with them, and they are all smooth!!!
The measurements for the countertops were done on Monday; I looked at the slab on Wed.
The granite against the range & cabinet.
I'll have the appointment for them to be installed in about a week and a half.
My slab!
I also sent this picture to the designer. The contractor put up a board behind the range to house the wire. I noticed the wire from the outlet is not behind the board. This will be a concern when they start trimming the bottom.
Wire from the outlet in the peninsula is not behind the board.
Tuesday night, this is what the kitchen looked like:
Replacement doors came in and 1 wall cabinet is up.
Replacement cabinet is in the pantry.
Oh, but Wednesday night! It was a huge difference!
I have handles!!!
Just to remind you what the old pantry looked like:
I was so glad to see those doors go!
To how it looks today:
I love how it looks!
I love the "Pet Center"...Gurl Dogg does, too!
Now we're waiting for the utility cabinet to come in; it's supposed to be finished tomorrow so hopefully it will be delivered next week. We're also waiting for the other wall cabinet. Once those are in, the trim, valance, undercabinet lights & pendant lights can be put in. The blind corner cabinet still needs to be put together...I can't wait to see how that works when it's finished.
Then it will be the countertop & sink (with the garbage disposal hooked back up), followed by the backsplash and we'll be DONE. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

{State of the Kitchen} Part 9: Finally Some Progress

It's starting to take shape!
First all, I think it's a shame that there even is a part 9. Just ridiculous.
Amazingly, the contractor had a cabinet guy at my house on Friday to put in the base cabinets.
Base cabinets finally in on Friday. 
See all of those blue stickies on the doors? Those are the ones that have to be replaced. The replacement doors, cabinets, and drawers are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.
On Saturday, I opened up the box for what I thought was my tiered cutlery dividers. I expected this:
I was really excited that this was going to be in my kitchen.
But what I got was this:
Not acceptable. This is a cheap piece of plastic.
I took it down to Home Depot to speak with the designer, but she wasn't back until Monday. The manager is on vacation this week, and the assistant manager whose name he gave me as a contact had the day off. The assistant manager who sat in the first meeting was there, so I spoke to him. He said that I received the wrong item. I emailed the rep, who confirmed that the plastic one was what was ordered. I told him that I didn't even know plastic was an option because we had never been shown the plastic one. Y'all...it's so cheap; no way would I have wanted that in my old cabinets, much less my new ones. The plastic dividers that I bought from WalMart are nicer than that. I also told the Rep that I can buy a bamboo divider on Amazon for $20 that will do nicely, so this plastic one will be returned for reimbursement. He emailed me back and said he would order the one I was expecting. This Rep is awesome.  It's just too bad not everyone else in the company has the same kind of commitment to excellence.

Monday, the original cabinet guy was here, but he wasn't sure why. He hung around and helped the 2nd cabinet guy put in the flooring and the hood. The contractor gave me a "Change Order Estimate", charging me $670 to replace the flooring. Yep, you saw that right...to replace the flooring.  I told him that the designer told me I was not going to be charged for that. He said, "Well, we can stop right here", so I told him I was going down to HD to talk to the designer. I was shaking I was so mad! I got to HD and no one was there: the designer, the assistant manager who I was told to talk to since the manager is on vacation, and the assistant manager who sat in on "the meeting". I told the associate that I needed to speak with someone in charge now. I spoke with another assistant manager and gave him the quick story. I showed him the email from the designer where she said that the contractor told her he was not going to charge us for the flooring or the ceiling. He checked with another assistant manager who confirmed that she sat in on the meeting where the contractor made that statement. The assistant manager said that I would not be responsible for the charge and that one way or the other it would be taken care of.
The owner of the construction company was at the house on Monday, and I gave him an earful. He said that he is a plumber by trade, and he wasn't happy with the plumbing to the sink. When we moved in, the plumber we used updated the plumbing from the basement to the kitchen floor, so he is replacing the plumbing from the kitchen floor to the sink...no charge. He is also giving us a temporary sink so we will have some water. That's a start, but no way does it make up for what I've been through this summer.

Tuesday, I met with the designer to clear some things up. We are not being charged for the flooring. On that same "Change Order Estimate", there was a $986 charge to put in the undercabinet lighting. The lighting was in the plan from the beginning. Apparently in the estimate, the part of the cabinet to hide the lighting was included, but not the labor. My question is: if the cabinet was in the estimate, how could he not have known I was having lighting put in? The designer is going to question that. I did tell her that it was her job to double check and make sure everything was on there.
The 2nd CG & the electrician knocked out a lot on Tuesday. I am starting to get excited again. Especially now that I can cook and wash dishes.
I can now cook and wash dishes!
No one was at the house yesterday. They really can't do anything with the cabinets until the replacements get here. CG2 said that someone would be on Thursday to work on the sheetrock and the ceiling.
On Tuesday when I got home from my piano lesson, 3 wall cabinets that were on the floor were gone. That would have been okay, but 1 of them was not being replaced. I told CG2 that I had white sticky notes with the word "Replace" on the ones that were being replaced. He said he didn't know because there were sticky notes all over the cabinets. Uh, yes...but there were only 3 that were white & said "Replace" on them, and 1 of those is on the wall. I've told them every day that the one on the wall is being replaced, but no one has taken it down yet. They didn't bother to ask CH (who was at home) about it. Someone was supposed to bring it back to the house yesterday, but no one came. I really hope they haven't tossed it.
I spent yesterday calling contractors that I know to get estimates on the undercabinet lighting. I'm going to fight to not have to pay for the contractor's mistake of not including it. I still have a situation of paying over $300 for permits that only cost $54. I discovered that yesterday and will have to take that up with the designer. This contractor may have gotten away with this in the past, but I'm not going to let him do this to me. There may be a logical explanation, but I don't know what it could be.

So...I'm finally getting excited again. There's a light at the end of the tunnel! The appointment for my countertops to be measured is Monday morning; hopefully I can view the slab Monday afternoon, then it will be a couple of weeks before it is installed. Providing the cabinets, drawers, and doors are all okay when they get to the house, I would think they could get an awful lot done before I go back to work on Tuesday.

{Wednesday Hodgepodge} Grandparents, Babies, and Sour Things

From this Side of the Pond
1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.
I only had my maternal grandmother living when I was born, and I only saw her every other year when we made the trek down to Texas. As I got older, she was bedridden, so I only saw her for a few minutes out of the whole time we were there. I remember the 1 time I saw her walk: she was in my aunt's kitchen and she got out of her wheelchair, holding onto the counter as she walked.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?
I don't think I was attached to anything as a child...unless it was my thumb! It's still on my hand!

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.
Literally: the trees. I live in a neighborhood that has wonderful big trees, but no forest.
Figuratively: the forest. Until I get this kitchen redone, there are too many forests out there.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?
I don't like sour things. I don't consider Greek yogurt to be sour, especially if it has fruit or some kind of flavor to it, so I'll go with it as being my favorite.
I've never eaten a kumquat. Key Lime Pie is pretty awesome, especially if it's fried!

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.
Sucky. (See my "State of the Kitchen" posts.)
6. Insert your own random thought here.
Summer is all but over for me. I go back to work on Tuesday...my kitchen won't be completely done; the measurement for countertops is scheduled on Monday, then it will be 10-12 business days after I view the slab for the installment. With any luck, I'll be able to cook in my new oven before then.

I'm linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge.

{State of the Kitchen} Part 8: Getting Restarted

When is this ever going to done??? I'm so ready to have my things in my new cabinet and to be able to cook & bake in my new range. Not to mention to have water in the kitchen.
Last Thurs., the contractor texted to let me know CG will be here Tuesday to restart. He said CG had something to attend Wed. morning, but would come back in the afternoon.  I originally planned to spend a couple of days in Baton Rouge with MS, or drive up to North Alabama & spend the night with my Cooper SIL, but since the restart was happening on Tues., I ended up leaving early Mon. morning and driving the whole way.
I guess I should've said the restart was supposed to happen on Tues. I woke up early, walked, took a shower, and waited. I finally received a call from the contractor at 9:45 to tell me that he didn't have CG that day. He said he didn't know what happened. (I've heard that before.) I reminded him that I go back to work on the 25th and if the kitchen isn't done, they'll have to do it in the evenings.
I went to my piano lesson, then marched right down to Home Depot to talk to the manager. I told him about last Wed. when the contractor said that CG would be there next day, our original finish date was the 5th because I was going out of town on the 6th, and that work was supposed to start on Tues. but didn't because he didn't have CG that day. The manager said that he is going through some renovations on his house, so he completely understands what we're going through (although somehow I doubt that). He said that calling over an hour after I was expecting someone to be there was not acceptable. I told him I was beyond mad, and I'm tired of getting jerked around. I also slipped in that our son works for a law firm who represents contractors, and he said I should fire them and get someone else. The manager said he didn't know what was going on, this company is usually really good; they always do turn-key...at which point I said, "except for us" and told the manager that the contractor said he didn't know he was supposed to fix the strips in the floor and ceiling. The manager called the contractor and told him that Home Depot is at his mercy, but he is representing HD. He told the contractor that he is to call me to tell me what time to expect someone to be here. Next thing I know, I'm getting a text from the contractor telling me that a different CG will be at the house at 8:30, but the original CG will "probably" be there in the afternoon.
While I was at HD, I talked to the lady that the designer told me to talk to about viewing the slab for my countertop. She called the countertop people and relayed to me that I wouldn't view it until after the measurement had taken place. It's possible that the designer meant to tell me to see about the viewing if the cabinets had been measured, not hadn't.  No big deal; hopefully I can call and set up the measurement for next week. I also asked this lady about the new utility cabinet, which came to the store on Monday. I didn't get an answer from the assistant manager about how it was going to get from the store to the house; she only said that she had notified the installer. The lady called the contractor to see if the new CG was going to pick it up. I was told that the contractor said that someone would transport it from the store to the house. (Although when I talked to the contractor Wed. morning, he said "they are going to deliver it today"....I'm not sure who "they" are, but he sure made it sound like he wasn't going to be the one doing it.)
Wed. at 8:45, the contractor gets to the house; the new CG around 9:15. The contractor confirmed that the pantry cabinets have to be taken out, the floor has to be taken out, and the boards in the back have to be taken out. Then they all have to be put back in. He also said they need to determine the floor that needs to be taken out for the new peninsula, and the intercom has to come out because part of a cabinet will be there. I told the new CG that CH is quite a perfectionist, so if the cabinets are in perfectly he'll want them redone.
He said he only needed to take the back boards out from 1 side...the other side was flush with the top and side. Gotta love an older house.
So, the new CG is working and everything is moving along.  And then the larger utility cabinet was delivered. I looked outside and saw that it was out of the box, so I went out and asked if they wanted me to look at it before they brought it in. They showed me a blemish on the outside of it:
Blemish on outside of cabinet
Closer look
The guy delivering it asked if I'm going to accept it, and I told him no. I'm paying too much for it not to be perfect. Even the manager at Home Depot said that we're paying for premier cabinets and they should be perfect.  I emailed the above pictures to the manager & assistant manager of Home Depot, the supervisor of consumer affairs for Thomasville, the Thomasville Rep, and the designer (who is out of town this week). The store manager replied back and asked for my phone number, then he called me pretty quickly. The Rep also called and said he emailed my pictures to the plant manager. He agreed that it is not acceptable.
Yesterday, CG2 came and redid the pantry cabinets, except for the one that is being replaced. He came, started work about 45 minutes later, took a break an hour later, then lunch an hour after that. He took out the plumbing and made holes in the sink cabinet for the pipes. He moved the cabinets where they will go when they are actually installed. Before he left, he said that CG will be here on Monday. I asked if he knew if anyone else is coming Thursday or Friday, but he said he didn't know. I texted the contractor last night and asked, but haven't heard back from him. Guess another call to the store manager will be made today. I'm pretty tired of getting jerked around.
The range will go in the open space
The spice cabinet and sheet cabinet will be on either side of the range.
Update: Received text message from contractor as to if someone is coming today. His response: "Maybe tomorrow for Monday for sure." I certainly hope they can do everything in a week, because the deadline is July 24th since I go back to work on the 25th. I am now in the "I'm so mad I'm going to cry" phase.

Another update: The Rep called me and said that the plant manager said the blemish looks like it happened during shipping. He has ordered another one for me.
I received a text from the contractor saying that the new CG will be here tomorrow.

A Neighborly Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
The Hodgepodge is back this week! 

1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)
This is going to sound awful, but it's been about a month ago, after the big wind storm we had. We wave in passing, but are rarely outside at the same time.

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why?
Waterfall. I'm definitely not feeling very peaceful or serene right now with my kitchen hassles!

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?
I've never been to Delaware. Tennessee is the Volunteer State; makes complete sense to me. During the War of 1812, Tennesseeans volunteered and play a big role. Also, in the Mexican War, volunteers were requested & Tennessee responded According to statesymbolsusa.org, Tennessee has also been called "Big Bend State" because of the big bend in the Tennessee River, and "hog and hominy state". They didn't teach us that in school; or if they did, I must not have been paying attention!

4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?
Blueberry buckle. The last day of school, we had a breakfast. This is something my mom used to make, and it's really easy and delicious.
When I go to a potluck, I usually take Mexican Trifle. (I couldn't find the recipe online, but it's a Pampered Chef recipe.)

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?
I actually have 2: Sleep when the baby sleeps, and it's okay for the baby to cry a little.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I had a long weekend in New Orleans for a conference. I have a group of online speech pathologist friends, and we decided a few months ago that we were all going to go. None of us had met everyone else. We're from all over the country: California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Colorado (who wasn't able to attend), and, of course, Tennessee. I won free registration at the state convention in Oct., which helped a LOT, because it's a rather expensive conference. 1 of the girls made us all bracelets with charms for each state.
State bracelets
We hope to make this an annual event, whether it's at a conference or on our own. I really hope we can. These ladies are just amazing.
Ohio is missing in this picture!
The conference was just "eh", but the evenings were OH! SO FUUUUUN!!! The Louisiana girl was our tour guide, so we got a little off the beaten path.
Some of us managed to make it to an 8:00 presentation on Sat.! (NH went to a different session.)
After the conference, I drove to Baton Rouge and spent the night with MS. I got to see his new place (which is on the same property as his old one) and spend a little bit of time with him. 
He was so happy to see me!
We had an alligator appetizer with Andy Gator Abita Beer

{Friday Foto Friends} Amazing Nature

I'm linking up with Deb at Breathing in Grace for another Friday Foto Friends. 
I'm proud of not killing this plant over the last 4 years I've had it!
My hibiscus bloomed for the first time since I put it outside. It blooms in the winter when I have it inside, but didn't bloom last summer at all. Not once, but about a week after I brought it in when the weather started getting cooler, it bloomed. Go figure.
Flowers from 1 of my Daddy's gardens.
I've been taking Laika & "Gurl Dogg" down to my parents' in the evenings to give them a chance to get out some of their energy. I walk around the yard, looking at what's blooming, and reminiscing.
Never in my life!
I have never seen a squirrel with a white tail! The picture is a little blurry...I didn't have time to grab my big girl camera and I zoomed in to get this guy. I've seen white squirrels in Brevard, NC, but nothing like this!
Rainbow on the 4th
My brother and SIL almost always host a family gathering at their house on the 4th. We had some clouds, rain, and sun, which was perfect for a rainbow. This picture doesn't do it justice: the colors were so vivid. It was just beautiful.
Beginning of rainbow
This was the first rainbow that I've seen the beginning of it. If you look closely under the arrow, you can just make out all of the colors.
Jose has a new home
My daddy made this; it used to sit on their back porch. My brother had the perfect spot for it next to his pool. Some of the blades were missing (and my brother thought he lost them) so he used an old license plate and made blades for him. This was the first 4th without my daddy; we had a good time, but I definitely felt like something was missing.
She has found a safe place!
Did you really think I was going to get through a FFF post without a puppy picture? 😀 Gurl Dogg found her "safe place": under our bed. She stayed under there when fireworks were going off (even though it's illegal in the Small Town).
Last puppy picture...for now! Who could resist that face? I just love when she comes up to me and rests her little head on the couch. Such a sweetie!

{State of the Kitchen} Part 7: Over It

If you've kept up with these "State of the Kitchen" posts, you may feel as if you're stuck in something similar to the "Groundhog" movie. We are now in Week 3 of nothing being done. My cabinets have been sitting on my kitchen floor for 28 days. 28 days, y'all.
Last Thursday, I showed CH the cabinet that CG (cabinet guy) said I could start loading up. Then I showed him a cabinet next to it that needs to wait because the utility cabinet is going to be next to it. This is what he noticed (you may have to click on the picture for a better view):
Glue holding the bottom of the shelf together
I started checking the other cabinets & found another one that is the same:
Another cabinet where glue is holding the bottom of the shelf together
And in 1, they didn't even try to fix:
At least they tried to fix the other 2
This is what it should look like:
This one is as it should be
I was so upset. I put the pictures on Facebook, tagging Thomasville Cabinetry and Home Depot.  (I also sent an email to the Rep and designer including the pictures.) Thomasville responded, requesting that I pm them with my information. I did, and the Supervisor of Consumer Affairs from the corporate office called me on Friday. I went through the whole thing: This house is 55 years old, we've been here for almost 13 years, the kitchen is the last thing that has to be updated inside, this is a once in a lifetime thing for me, all of the problems we've had, etc.  First she asked if I wanted to get somebody to come out and scrape the glue off. Uh...no. She asked if I wanted the cabinets replaced. (DUUUUH!) I told her yes, because I'm afraid that in a few years the cabinets will fall apart. As it turns out, the Rep immediately ordered replacements upon receiving my email. I told the supervisor that my father was a woodworker, not by trade but by hobby, and he would have never let this fly. He would have torn them apart and would have redone them. I received a follow-up email assuring me that the quality manager will look over everything before they ship out. I'm very skeptical, but hopeful.
I received a couple of calls from Home Depot on Monday. 1 was from an assistant manager to let me know about delivery of the replacements. My new (and larger) utility cabinet is scheduled to be delivered to the store on Monday. How it's going to get from the store to my house is still in question. I asked her, and all she said was that she has contacted the installer. I made it clear that we were not going to come and get it. So, we'll see. The replacement doors, drawers, drawer face, and wall cabinets will be delivered to the house the following week.
The other call was to ask me when I was going to come by and pick up the undercabinet lighting. Ummmm....I picked that up last week. She had to check to see what they were holding (I could have told her it was the tile, but wanted to make sure that's what they had.), then confirmed it was the tile. I told her it is staying there until we need it, which may be about 3 weeks.  Without getting into everything, I just told her that we were not happy, and it is staying there where it has less of a chance of being broken than in our basement.  She said she will make a note of it staying there for 3 more weeks.
As far as the contractor is concerned: He was supposed to have called last Wed. after he talked to CG to see if he was going to be able to come out this week. I ended up calling him on Thursday evening and got the same story: They will start back on the 11th (next Tuesday) unless I wanted CG to come in and do something this week. I told him absolutely; whatever we could get done would be great.  I told him about the 3 wall cabinets that will be replaced, but told him that if we could get the base cabinets in so I could get the countertop measured it would be good. He said he would talk to CG and get back with me on Friday. I finally received a call from him on Wed. This makes the 3rd time he has said he was going to call me and didn't. This does not make me happy. It's my expectation that when someone tells me they will call, they actually call. Even if it was to tell me that CG is taking a few days off or he wasn't able to get in touch with him.
He said that he texted me but didn't get a response. I told him that I never received a text & that I always return texts when I get them. Then he said that the CG was going to come tomorrow to get started. Uh, no he isn't. I told him from day 1 that I was leaving for a conference on the 6th. He said he didn't know how he got mixed up. He said that he will get with CG & talk about next week. I wish I had thought about this when I was on the phone with him: He should have already discussed this with CG since the contractor told me they would get started on the 11th. If CG has to work at the fire station on that day, does that mean that they won't  get started then? UGH. Somebody had better be at the house on the 11th doing something.
CH went down to Home Depot on Monday and talked with the store manager. He took him our timeline, documented calls to the contractor, and the notes from the in-store and home meetings. He said he will look into it and call him on Wed. He ended up calling me on Tues. We keep getting apologies of promises that it will "be looked in to", but that's about it. The manager said that he has a call in to the contractor, but didn't think he was working on the 4th. I totally understand that construction people work hard & need time off, but we things should have already cranked back up. I asked the designer on 06/25 if they could go ahead and do something...anything. In fact, the contractor told me (on 06/16) that there may be something the electrician could come in and do. He was supposed to get back with me on that, but he didn't. I don't know if the designer talked to him about doing anything after our conversation on the 25th. 
I'm sick of looking at these cabinets on the floor. I'm sick of looking at that strip on the floor and the ceiling. I'm sick of having the contents of my kitchen all over my dining room table and spare bedroom. I'm tired of going down to my parents' house if I want to cook something for supper. Last week, I cleaned out our sink in our laundry area so I could use it to wash dishes instead of going down to my parents'. It's slightly more convenient, but I still have to lug the dishes up and down the stairs. It's really a pain in the rear. 
If it were up to CH, we would send everything back and start all over, but then I wouldn't get the kitchen I want. This is the kitchen I want. For this house, this is my dream kitchen. Right now, though, I feel like it's hell's kitchen.

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