Thursday, May 07, 2009

Fluctuat nec mergitur (despite everything and the kitchen sink)

I was going to post pictures of the state of advancement of the Big Paris Kitchen Project tonight, but I couldn't find my camera in the mess that has overtaken the apartment. When I did find it ("In the china cabinet, next to the onions," my husband said) I was dismayed to discover I hadn't taken any pictures at the height of the chaos, when both the washing machine and the dishwasher were in the living room, wall cabinets were stacked like blocks behind the dinner table, and our bedroom was barricaded with Ikea boxes.

Things are better now. The washing machine has been repatriated, although the dishwasher still sits at a forlorn distance from the coffee table, covered in the accumulated grime I haven't had time to clean off the sides. In my new kitchen, the appliances will be sheltered from kitchen splatter by our beautiful new butcher block counter top.

The counter top, the cabinets, the stove, oven and the sink are all installed as of today. The new floor tile is already showing its stain-camouflaging prowess by dissimulating the dust of two weeks of drilling, sawing and painting. Tomorrow the wall tile will be laid, and by Monday there should be nothing left but details like drilling holes for drawer pulls. I'm hoping to take a day off on Tuesday to clean, unpack, and organize.

It has been a rough couple of weeks, though, and I'm not sure I recommend that anyone with a child under three embark on a major home improvement project. We survived with our sanity intact thanks in large part to my in-laws, who live close enough to provide moral support and feed us dinner every night. My mother-in-law not only let me drag three loads of laundry to her apartment weekly, but insisted on folding and packing it for me. My dishtowels are ironed for the first time ever.

The low points, ready to be recorded in the Big Book of Family History:

1) My husband staying up until almost 4 a.m. painting the second coat on the walls so the cabinets could be installed the next day. Le Petit waking up at approximately 4:15 the same morning and staying awake in my arms until 6.

2) Practically walking right past my husband's car, all the while screaming at him into my cell phone as we tried to rendez-vous after work to go select tile.

3) Realizing this morning, as my husband got ready to leave for a very early morning business trip to Switzerland, that I needed to get some big, heavy things out of the basement. My in-laws came later at my emergency call for help, and when they rang at the door, I had le Petit on the changing table and had halfway removed his very dirty diaper. I picked him up and ran to the front door with him anyway, diaper and all.

And my favorite -

4) Standing in line at IKEA with a overloaded cart of kitchen pieces, fielding a frantic call from my mother-in-law who had just discovered that le Petit could climb out of his crib. Getting yelled at by the guy directly behind us, who decided we weren't moving quickly enough. Without lowering his voice, he self-righteously skipped ahead of us. Only in France, I thought, and gave him a less-than-polite English vocabulary lesson.

Le Petit seems relieved that his parents folie is subsiding and he can once again play soccer in the kitchen. I don't know what he thinks of the new design, but he has already discovered the buttons on the new stove -- and, we fear, may not be that far off from figuring out how to defeat the child lock mechanism.

Tomorrow is a holiday in France, so we're all off bright and early to the family house in Troyes, where I can play with le Petit in the garden. The dust may be settling, but the kitchen faucet still isn't installed and I'm fed up with washing dishes in the bathroom sink.

(I hope I'll be posting more often now, so stay tuned!)


Isabelle said...

#2 really made me laugh, and #4 is yet another example of why being French can be terribly embarassing sometimes...

caramama said...

Yeow! The remodeling process does not sound fun. But it sounds like it'll be worth it.