Saturday, June 19, 2010


1 a : to remove from the usual or proper place; specifically : to expel or force to flee from home or homeland

Do you ever have insomnia? Last night I was awake from 3 AM to 4 AM, thinking about, amongst other things, our kitchen renovation. We've hit a few snags in our first week of demolition, electrical and framing. The first was finding HVAC running through a wall slated to hold a bar and pass through area. We solved this particular problem by removing the HVAC to our master bedroom. Not an ideal solution, but the one vent we had didn't make a huge difference in making our room more temperate, so it's no great loss.

The other, bigger problem, is that we ordered the wrong kind of stove for our space. We ordered a freestanding stove, like the one you probably have in your kitchen. It's a five burner gas stove with a double oven. The problem? Our stove is going to be placed at a diagonal in our kitchen, with a granite countertop running behind it. So a freestanding stove leaves the countertop eight inches below the back of the clock display. Once our contractor pointed out that a stove without a back display would have been a better option, J and I could easily see that we had ordered the wrong stove. We've never renovated a kitchen before and were doing the best we could with the kitchen planner's blueprint. How did we miss this? I don't know, but we did.

This still doesn't sound like a huge problem, does it? The stove hadn't been hooked up and we've had possession of it for less than a week. Surely we could just return it? The only problem was we had special ordered the stove and were told we would not be able to return it, so we were nervous. Would they allow us to pay a restocking fee and simply buy another stove from them? Plus, we still needed a refrigerator and would be happy to buy it from them as well with a bit of help on the stove situation. No such luck. The store were we bought it refuses to allow us to return it. (I'd recommend that you not shop here if you're ever renovating your kitchen.)

So I lay awake last night fretting over trying to sell a brand new stove and the need to get another new stove in our home before Wednesday when the granite company arrives to make the template for our countertop. I didn't know it at first, but I wasn't the only one laying there awake. About twenty minutes into my inner dialogue about our options for the kitchen and how our budget would fare with not only a new stove to be purchased, but an old one to sell, J mumbled, "I'm so awake." I responded, "Me, too." So we spent the next half hour talking through our appliance options and the kitchen renovation in general. At one point, I shared with J that it's been exhausting to have people here working all the time.

His reply? "Well, of course. You've been displaced." That word captured it perfectly. I have been removed from my usual place and have been forced to flee my home for the park, the playground, anywhere but here, where dust covers everything and none of us can relax.

I've spent years trying to make our home a haven for our family. It's a place where we eat together, play together, rest together. So it's disconcerting to feel in the way while here. It's humbling to need to think through the gyrations I have to go through to put a meal on the table (Need to heat something? Pick up the microwave from the dining room floor and haul it into the dusty kitchen. Heat your veggies. Carry the microwave back to the other room as a daughter holds the tarp separating the two rooms out of your way.) It's sad to be unable to use our home in one of the ways I love best - by having others here. (Poor B desperately needs some friend time, but I just can't bring myself to invite someone else's child to spend the night in this makeshift situation.)

The saddest part of this? Our kitchen renovation is voluntary. We want a new, more functional kitchen. We're not doing this because we have to. (Although we do have to at this point. We certainly can't leave it in process!) But there are others in my own city who are completely displaced from their homes. Who are living with friends or family. Who don't know when - or if - they'll be able to ever get back into the home holding years of memories. Knowing this doesn't really make me any less heartsick that we've made a $1,500 mistake in buying the wrong stove. But it does make me thankful that I can look forward to eventually being back at home in my home. I'm not forever displaced.


Anonymous said...

Since the countertop template has not been made could you have the back behind the stove built up 8 inches?

Allison in Texas said...

Wow, I can't even imagine. But I did notice that when we got our new roof, the guys walking around and banging over our heads all day made me incredibly anxious. I didn't anticipate that. Hope it goes smoothly for you from here on out.