I wanted to post this now, because it's going to be a couple of days, at least, before we can get everything back together and pictures taken and I know some of you will be wondering....
The way things went down on
installation was really, kind of Weird and maybe a little Wonderful,
at least from the standpoint of a job well done, though I really
don't want to call it that, because I wish no harm to anyone just for
the sake of a countertop, know what I mean?
The man who appeared at our door to do
the installation on Tuesday was a different man. There was no crew.
Just him. He was not a young man, either, but he turned out to be
almost 15 years younger than the first man, though he was sporting
gray hair, too. It's hard to gauge age in some older folks. But the
man that I had reservations about was actually in his late 70's and
the man who arrived at our door on Tuesday was in his mid-60's.
I was a little concerned at first
because I was expecting a crew. He went about his work without much
conversation, we asked if he needed help carrying things in and out,
and he said, “Only if I yell...”. He went in and out, in and
out, having set up his saw under the carport in the driveway. I had
made cinnamon rolls and offered some to him a couple of times, which
he politely declined but thanked me. He was with us from 9am to
about 5pm and he did not ask where the bathroom was, never wandered
off the path between the kitchen and the front door. He must've
eaten his lunch where we didn't see or skipped it entirely. I
offered to fix him a sandwich and he said, “I have food” and left
it at that. If he pee'd in the bushes, we never saw that, so all I
can think is maybe he had some kind of “facilities” in his van.
Some of these construction-type guys do that. But most of them trek
back and forth to the customer's bathroom, where they track their
construction mess through the house, and once inside the bathroom,
splatter on the floor and the wall, and, I have to admit, it does
feel a bit uncomfortable to me, having someone I do not know going
into a space that has a door that can be closed and locked. Some
people snoop when they are in a strange bathroom. A few people look
for things they can put in their pockets. You just never know what
people will do these days.
Hubs wanted to sit at the coffee bar
and stare at him while he worked, but I discouraged him from that
because, well, would YOU want YOUR every move to be watched while you
work? I wouldn't. So both of us went about our day as best people
can, with their kitchen off-limits to them and with a stranger in the
house, and left him alone to do his work. You never really think
about how much time you spend in your kitchen till you can't.
The countertop had the miter-cuts
already made. And that was what I was given to expect, and part of
what concerned me, because no house, and this house in particular, is
exactly square. I thought, “What if, when the countertop pieces
are joined at the miter-cuts, the extended ends don't fit close
enough to the wall? I did not want there to be a big gap there that
might have to be filled. I knew something like that would talk to me
every time I was in the kitchen, and not very politely, either. This
kitchen is a galley-style kitchen, 3-sided, with all three sides
against a wall. And the ends butt up against built-in's.
We tried to watch the job without being
intrusive. Well, I had to help Hubs do that several times, as he
isn't very good at it. So sometimes while the installer was outside
sawing, we'd slip into the kitchen and Look At Stuff. It got kind of
funny a few times, when we were almost caught. All that sawing he
did made it very obvious that the countertops were made to be several
inches deeper from back wall to the front edges, than they would need
to be, thus allowing the back edge to be trimmed for differences in
the “square” or lack of it, in the walls against which it needs
to fit. This is hard for me to explain so that it makes sense.
There were a lot of “thumping” noises so he may have had to push
the countertop into the wall in some areas, not sure. If
measurements aren't precise, one bad cut means the entire
installation is bad, and there were multiple opportunities for a bad
cut. Not only did he have to fit it precisely in the space allowed.
He also had to cut a hole into which the new sink would fit, and one
for the cooktop, too.
He never announced to us that he was
finished, we just noticed him carrying out his tools, so I went into
the kitchen then, with Hubs at my heels, and I asked, “Are you
finished?” with my best smile. He replied, “Don't rush me,
you'll make me forget something...” This is one of those things
that could be misunderstood as something kind of off-putting, but I
saw a small glimmer of a smile and I realized that here is a man of
few words. When words are measured out, they can come out kind of
short. I know this because I have lived with Hubs for 50 years, and
I have, in the past, accused him of measuring words out as if the
saying of them is painful or something, to the point where now he
seems to talk “in code”. Almost every time I ask him a question,
he answers a question I have not asked, often just telling me
something that's so obvious that I already know it. So then we have
to “play Twenty Questions”, just so I can get an answer to the
question I originally asked. *Sigh*.
But anyway, I looked the job over and
told the man that he had done A Wonderful Thing, and that I, a woman
who is sometimes not easily made happy, was. And then he warmed up a
little, and we had somewhat of a conversation, where he said more
words than he had said during the whole day.
It turned out that he and the man who
had come to measure were maybe partners – or maybe one of them
worked for the other – he didn't make that clear and I didn't feel
comfortable, under the circumstances, about asking too many
questions. He did say that the other man had been having some little
mini-strokes and there had been some problems with some past jobs,
and that this man had called him and asked him if he'd do this job,
last-minute, saying that he thought he'd just had another
mini-stroke. And that is what I mean. I'm not grateful that the
reason why we got a good installation was because the man had an
event. I'm grateful, though, for the timing of it. And I've added
this man to the people that I pray for. Our installer also said that
he, himself, had some concerns about whether he personally would be
able to do a good job for us when he saw how tightly things would
have to fit. He said that the fact that the ends were enclosed
against the built-in's was not mentioned in the notes that the first
man had made when he came to measure before the material was ordered.
So, thank you's go out to those who
prayed for me and my kitchen. And praise be to God. I will do a
post, with pictures, after we've been able to get it back together.
Maybe I will move this information into that post and then delete
this one, at that time, just so everything will be together in one
post. Hubs has the sink to put in, and I might take this opportunity
to put another coat of paint on the drawer fronts and cabinet doors,
as we took many of my old glass handles off so that there wouldn't be
any danger of getting one broken.