Posts Tagged ‘renovations’

Tomorrow marks my seventh week without a functioning oven. Yes, seven weeks. Let’s count ‘em, shall we? One… two… three… oh, god, that noise you just heard was my spirit stabbing itself with a serving fork.  Either that, or my spirit stabbing my husband with a serving fork.

Here’s what happened.

My oven broke. To get really technical about it, that thingy that you have to pull out to light the thing got pulled out for good. And since the oven door was the detachable sort (not in a good way) and the knobs fell off when you looked at them sharpishly, we decided to replace the whole thing.

Unfortunately we then had to wait two weeks for some money to come in so we could afford to replace it.

But come that happy day, we marched into our local white goods store to order Our Brand New Oven. But somewhere somehow, in the middle of the ordering process, my husband changed his mind and decided we needed to consider renovating the whole kitchen before committing to one model or another.

For the record, my ability to talk renovations doesn’t extend much past the three minute mark, after which I start to glaze over and think about the bottle of wine in the fridge. If the conversation, say, wanders onto the topic of splashbacks and cupboard door handles, I start to think about the vodka bottle in the freezer. And if you tried, for example, to get me into some kind of FLOOR EMPORIUM to look at and discuss lino and carpet samples, then please be prepared to see me there swigging from the wine bottle and drinking straight from that vodka bottle with a straw at the same time. Just sayin’.

ANYWAY so I didn’t actually have to discuss renovations with him, I agreed to let my husband invite our friend C, who designs kitchens for a living, to come over and talk about them with him instead.

Within ten minutes of C arriving, I realised this was what’s officially known as a Bad Idea.  C and my husband began running about excitedly together, talking about knocking down walls and digging a three foot deep trench down the side of the house. And in one of those horror movie moments, C’s wife – who was helping me out with that bottle of wine in the fridge –  turned to me and revealed she hadn’t had running water in her kitchen or bathroom for over two years due to her husband’s own renovation project. I mean, she may as well have told me she no longer had a soul and wanted to eat my offal on toast for breakfast, such was my terror.

After C and his family left, my husband found me sobbing into my wine glass about “just wanting a fucking oven that worked”.

Luckily, my husband is a sensitive man. He saw my pain and realised it was all too much for me. He reassured me we’d just buy a replacement oven. The renovations could wait a few more years…

And then he changed his mind. Again.

Oh, he bought a new oven, all right. A good one, too. One that I am happy with – or rather, would be happy with except that it has been sitting, all warm and cozy and wrapped in plastic, cardboard and polystyrene in our garage for over a week now… while my husband has taken to one of our kitchen walls with a crowbar.

This is my kitchen now.

Extra points for spotting the almost empty bottle of vodka

And no, I didn’t see that coming, either.

The fact of the matter is I’m writing this blog post in the lounge room with the fridge next to me. The contents of my entire spice rack are currently alongside my bed just waiting for someone to make a joke about ‘spicing things up’ in the bedroom. For the record: don’t make that joke. DO NOT MAKE THAT JOKE.

But I think Tiddles McGee, all of four years old, put it best. When my husband first started pulling out the cupboards, he reportedly said  “I’m telling mummy you’re destroying the kitchen! She will think you’ve turned evil!”

Now where was that second bottle of vodka…

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I read the other day that renovating a house could put even the strongest of marriages under considerable strain. My beloved husband and I are only in the initial “Discussion” stage of the renovation process and I often feel we’re standing on opposite ends of an icy field looking at each other with equally icy eyes (not to be confused with the “ice eyes” you get from drinking a frozen margarita too quickly. It really wouldn’t make sense to be drinking frozen margaritas on a frozen field but then again, it’s summer here in Australia so the whole metaphor is a bit of a stretch in the first place, so  – what the heck – we may as well throw a frozen beverage or three into the mix. Cheers!)

ANYWAY, the main tension is currently being caused by the fact he wants to do it and I don’t. (The Renovation, that is). You see, I’m focusing on the immediate task at hand (Christmas) which we can barely afford,  and my husband has chosen instead to focus on The Extension, which we definitely can’t afford. But it’s not just about the money – it’s that I am totally without enthusiasm for the project. 

Look, it’s not like I don’t feel for the guy. As the only person legally able to handle powertools in our household (my experience with the Bar Mix has seen me black-banned for life – see “Up in Arms”), my husband has to slot the role of “Caretaker” in with his other roles as “Man Working for The Man”, “Loving Husband and Father” and “Sophisticated City Gent Speaking Like Sean Connery at the Pub” (which is almost always followed by the role of “Sad and Sorry Shadow-of-a-Man Throwing Up in the Toilet”). He therefore takes every single squeak in the floorboards and every single crack in the walls very very personally. And when he can’t cross a room without stepping on a rogue piece of Bionicle armour or knocking a teetering pile of caseless videos off a shelf, he gets just a little grumpy. I know in my heart-of-hearts that he would most certainly spend all day every day making more shelves for our house if a) he could afford the wood, b) he could afford the time and c) it would actually solve anything. The problem with shelves in this house is that they tend to get filled. And very quickly at that. No sooner has the last nail gone in than I’ve cried “Op Shop Crawl!” and brought back a bumper box of vintage Tupperware containers mostly without lids because “you never know when you’ll need them.” ‘Cause you really don’t. 

Other (lesser) men  might consider finding themselves another wife with more finely honed housekeeping skills and an aversion to garage sales, but my husband – god bless his odd socks – has decided to channel all his energies into ‘fixing the house up’. Like that’s really going to make me a better housekeeper – all there’ll be  is even more space for me to fill with op-shop junk. You see, what he hasn’t realised is that I like fact that the house is unrenovated because it provides me with the perfect cover for my lack of housekeeping. I can always shrug my shoulders at the mess, look out the (cracked) window wistfully and say “some day…”. But if the renovation has been done, then all my excuses are gone. Just like that. 

So, with this little confession in mind, you can understand why, if we really must renovate, I might be leaning towards Mr Justice’s floor plans for a New’n’Improved House, which include: 

  • a special area for light saber battles
  • a Kung Fu practice room
  • a “secret door” to mummy and daddy’s bedroom so that we can “surprise people”
  • a subway 

At least then, when people come over, I can either blame the mess on the light saber battles (“Bloody Jedis. But what can you do?”) or shove as much as I can in the subway. And if all else fails, I can retreat behind the “secret door” where nobody will ever be to find me and judge me. Perfect.

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