Don’t Take Your Kitchen for Granite

21 Nov

by Roger White

We’ve been camping out in our own house for weeks now, and I think I’m actually getting the hang of it. You see, my dear wife decided recently it was time to upgrade our kitchen and downstairs guest bathroom, and, like the naïve simpleton I am, I glibly went along with it all.

I presumed this entailed dabbing on a fresh coat or two of paint, getting a new commode cover, and buying a fancy oven mitt or three.

No, sir. “Upgrade” by my wife’s definition meant, of course, demolishing all countertops, tearing off all wall coverings, and conducting interviews with no fewer than 59 contractors, handymen, painters, tile folks, grout guys, electrical experts, plumbing people, sink installers, toilet types, granite excavators, countertop wholesalers, and all kinds of strange, hairy men who have been traipsing in and out of our house at all hours doing God only knows what.

So at present our groceries are in little clumps and piles all over the place, and our family forages for food intermittently, pretty much Cro-Magnon style. I keep a stash of chips and cookies hidden in my own special place, just to be safe. Every man for himself, you know.

And for weeks now our humble little abode has taken on the appearance of an archeological dig for ancient artifacts. In fact, amid the dust and debris I was amazed to discover some ancient artifacts of my very own, such as floppy disks from one of my early attempts at the Mediocre American Novel. Floppy disks, mind you. Pre-internet era. Thank God they can only be accessed by now-obsolete technology because I don’t want anybody looking at this stuff. 

“Oh, James,” Harriet opined, deciding it was better not to tell her former lover that the baby she carried was not his or even his brother’s but that of the motorcycle gang leader she hitched a ride with back in Needles, California. Harriet trudged off into the dark and stormy night, not knowing if James would ever want her back or, for that matter, if he’d want her front.

You get the idea. This is treasure better left buried.

Anyway, through all the smoke and drill bits and extension cords and horrible noise, I do believe something is starting to take shape. Our countertops, which I must admit I never really gave a second thought to, are now a gleaming river of exquisite polished granite. I’m scared to put anything on them now. I don’t feel worthy. Our cat’s pretty skittish about the whole deal, as well. When he hops up on the countertop, he’s at risk of skating freeform all the way across the kitchen and into the dining room. Schweeee…..thunk! Meow?

Moreover, our downstairs bathroom sink has been transformed into this fascinating concave of hammered copper, beautiful and odd. I think of Abe Lincoln every time I wash my hands now. (Y’know, he’s on the penny and all.) I feel the need to be very quiet in the downstairs bathroom all of a sudden, I guess because it has taken on this aura of a stately museum. It is gorgeous and finely appointed, and presently I can’t do my business in there because I’m a bit intimidated. When I’m in there, I start thinking, “Man, this room doesn’t deserve this. I should get outta here.” I’m of a mind to rope off the downstairs john with velvet and have a docent charge admission.

And through it all, I have become good friends with our main contractor guy, Bruce, who happens to be a Cowboys fan like me. We’ve practically shared half the season together. I’ve noticed, however, that I’ve begun to hope and pray for dull games because if anything really exciting happens while Bruce is tiling our kitchen backsplash, it ain’t good. “Touchdown, Cowboys!” Smash, flinkle, kar-rump. “Uh, Mr. White.”

I’ve also become well-versed in the finer points of Contractor Time. You see, there’s Eastern Time, Central, Mountain, Pacific—and Contractor Time (CT). When a contractor says he’ll be at your house by 8 a.m., that actually means 10:30 a.m. CT. If he says he’s heading to lunch for an hour, what he means is he’s heading to lunch for three hours and forty-five minutes CT. And, when your friendly contractor guy tells you he can have that job finished in two weeks, this, of course, equates to two and half months CT.

I’m just funnin’ ya, Bruce. Ya done good, son. Just remember, no tiling while Romo’s in the pocket. And can I take this oxygen mask off now?

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit


5 Responses to “Don’t Take Your Kitchen for Granite”

  1. lexy3587 November 22, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Haha, you definitely see the more enjoyable side of renovations. We’re living through the renovation of our main upstairs bathroom (ie, the only shower in the house apart from the basement shower), and it’s kind of similar to camping as well. If there’s an emergency requiring first aid supplies, we’re screwed. Also, I’m really tired of dragging myself down two flights of stairs to do my business. The kitchen woudl be the worst, though.

  2. shrink on the couch November 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    CT time – good one. They aren’t called CON-tractors for nothing.

    • oldspouse November 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      don’t get me on Rodney’s bad side. he’s one of the good uns

      • bestbathroombooks November 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

        Don’t worry about the granite. It will stay shiny forever as long as you don’t drag pots and pans across it too often.
        (I’m in the biz.)
        Congrats and enjoy!

  3. april D. November 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    I like your comments on the “CT” time. That’s about true. We had actually added onto our first home. Then turned around and sold it a few years later. Indeed, I must say, it was quite interesting.

    One thing you need to really pay attention to, do not let the contractor tell you one quote, and when completed with the job tell you, “well, sorry to inform you Mr. White, but the materials were a little more expensive then I initially anticipated; therefore, I will have to charge you a little more.” That happened to us! That’s a no, no! He’s the Contractor, he should have done his homework. Make him stick to his estimate. Make sure he’s bonded, too! I mean Properly bonded. Since, I worked a lot of commercial insurance claims, I’ve learned a thing or to and what to watch for.

    By the way, congratulations on the redecorating. Enjoy it and take photos to remind you later on in case you guys want to do more decorating again. Take care and God Bless you guys.

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