Friday, January 29, 2010
Another Round of Home Improvement
We will be having a guest next weekend. One of Mrs Elliott's longtime girlfriends is coming up to stay a few days, see about some skiing, and generally cheer the place up, being the cheerful sort that she is.
I have learned to expect Mrs Elliott to get a home improvement bug right before a visit from friend or family. Last year, before the Great Big Official Annual Family Reunion, the front yard got landscaped with sturdy Zone 1 perennials and a bit of lawn.
It looked mighty nice and I'm glad we did it. It will look nice again when the plants wake up and turn green again, I go with the flow on these things.
So when she started mumbling about window treatments and we need to do something about the kitchen, I was unsurprised.
Fortunately we bought the services of Nancy Snyder, a professional interior designer, last year at a charity auction. I say this is fortunate because we have recently become aware of the dismaying fact that we are both totally hopeless when it comes to interior design.
And I'm proud to say that we seem to have driven Nancy very close to a nervous breakdown with our inveterate indecisiveness and baffling inability to visualize how the room with look with this tile, or this tile.
Which do you like better? This tile, or this tile?
I swear it's like getting your eyes examined with a phoropter -- "Is this better? Or this? This -- or this?"
When someone shows me a catalog of window treatments, all I know is that I don't want frilly. Beyond that I'm hopeless.
Mrs Elliott is not much help, either. I should call her "Mrs. Waffles," she dithers so.
Anyway, after much discussion, a few confidence-building exercises, and a couple sessions with a top-notch marriage counselor, Nancy managed to get us to pick a nice earth-toned tile for the counter top and back splash, this to replace the existing dark granite tiles and stainless steel bits; and we've decided to wrap wainscoting around the kitchen, painted white to match the cabinets.
I think it will look right spiffy.
So this morning I had a licensed electrician (Randy, from Chet's Electric in Redmond, I can't say enough about this guy -- he knows what he's doing) install a couple junction boxes in the kitchen ceiling over the butcher block island so we can drop a couple lights over it; and to put in under-cabinet lighting over the counters. BIG difference. Me likee.
With the counter tops nicely lighted I proceeded to re-aim the track lights for better overall fill, when p-twang! a little plastic tab and a dinky metal spring snapped off the side of one of the fixtures' swivel mount and launched themselves in two different directions. Without these parts there is nothing keeping the fixture from working loose from the track and beaning one on the head.
"You hear where that went?" I asked the electrician.
I found the black plastic tab in the sink, sitting atop the black rubber gasket thing at the opening to the garbage disposer. Could of fallen right into the maw of the thing, but the gods cut me a good deal this time around.
The spring turned up underfoot shortly thereafter. So I got all the parts, I just need to reassemble the thing. After a brief inspection it became clear that I'll need to take the entire fixture apart to put this bits in: to try to force them in would invite breakage. Best not to fuck with a good deal when the gods pitch one into your lap.
Now here's the thing: we're going to have to find some nice lights to hang over the butcher block island. Flipping through the online catalogs, I can see that there are only a million choices.
Is this better? Or is this better? This -- or this?
"Honey -- can you call Nancy?"