When Jason and I bought this house, it was in serious need of (mostly cosmetic) updates. The kitchen was particularly depressing, despite the fact that the previous owners had recently "renovated" it. We slapped a coat of paint on it, put up some shelves and a pot rack, and lived with it that way for two years.
Despite the fact that there is a counter that's almost 20 feet long, there never seemed to be a place to work when serious cooking was taking place. The lack of overhead cabinets meant that anytime we wanted to get out a plate, we practically had to stand on our heads to reach them in the lower cabinets. And the kitchen stuff that we don't use that often - such as the food processor and souvenir beer glasses Jason won't let me put out on the yard sale - were stored in our basement. Our nasty, damp, dusty basement, the one that Sam the Electrician has been drilling holes in and ripping insulation out of for the past few months to get to the wiring on the first floor. I went down to get something from there the other day and it was covered in all manner of foul stuff.
Adding upper cabinets in the kitchen has always been on my short list of things to do with the house, but I always figured it would cost an arm and a leg and be a real pain to do. But I got bored while Jason was away this week and decided to investigate the situation. A neighbor and I made the trip down to the surplus sales place where the previous owners bought the lower cabinets, in hopes that the same model would still be available. Really, it was more of an excuse to make a mini road trip down to Corbin, where our MapQuest directions were hideously wrong and ended up taking us past endless rows of trailers, some of which had outhouses out back (I wish I was kidding about that). We had to backtrack, call the store, then drive for another 20 minutes to get there, only to find out that they had nothing similar to our cabinets unless we wanted to buy unfinished ones and stain them to match. If I had been driving the minivan I would have been tempted, but in the Impala I would have been lucky to cram one cabinet in, much less the three that I was hoping to get, so I decided to drag Jason back there this weekend to get them.
In the interest of fully researching my options, I decided to go check out the cabinets at Lowe's to see if we were really going to save any money with the "stain it yourself" route. Nope - Lowe's had finished cabinets that coordinate with our existing ones, for less than the place in Corbin. Just goes to show, you never can tell ... and you should think twice about buying kitchen stuff from a place you have to drive past outhouses to reach.
So I e-mailed Jason on Tuesday to let him know that I found cabinets for about $500 - that's total, not just for one - and had figured out a way to use one of the under-the-cabinet microwaves that has a built-in vent fan. He sounded impressed that I had managed to find a way to get the cabinets for so little ... I think he was expecting it to cost thousands. I went ahead and bought the microwave, which just barely fit in the front seat of the Impala and led to some rather non-traditional right-hand turns on the way home. Then I realized they gave me the black one rather than the white one, so it was funky right turns all the way back to the store and home again with the proper one.
What Jason didn't know was that I went ahead and purchased the cabinets from Lowe's on Wednesday morning (thanks to one neighbor who loaned me her Suburban to haul them home while another neighbor stayed at home with the napping Liza) and had the cabinets installed by Wednesday evening. That's right, I installed upper cabinets BY MYSELF. Because I TOTALLY KICK ASS. Actually, it's more likely due to four years on the set construction crew in high school, where things like clamps and jigs were in short supply but there were plenty of arms and legs (and where I learned how to screw one-handed while holding heavy things up with the other hand and one knee while balanced on a stepladder).
Thursday I installed the microwave (thanks to a third and fourth neighbor who helped lift the sucker in place while I fastened it to the cabinet) and got the wall ready for Sam the Electrician to wire it in. I had hoped to have it wired and ready to go before Jason got home, but Sam wasn't able to come Thursday or Friday, so it will have to wait for next week.
But the upshot of this whole thing is that Jason is expecting to come home to the same old kitchen, and he's probably dreading a couple weekends of backbreaking, annoying cabinet installation. Instead, he's coming home to this:
I plan to put Post-It notes on the cabinets so he can find his coffee on Sunday morning :)