Those were the exact words my friend Joe commented on my first post after a long hiatus! Really, who decides to embark upon a major renovation in the midst of a pandemic and a severe disruption in the supply chain resulting in LONG delays in furniture and appliances? Well, we did, that’s who. As if packing up and moving from Chicago after being happily settled there for 10 years, wasn’t enough of a challenge, what started out as a little “tweaking” of the kitchen in our newly purchased Houston home turned into a total gut job. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? We were lucky to find a contractor who could start right away and his 90 day timeline didn’t seem unreasonable in February, bringing us to about Memorial Day. I had been through a complete renovation of our Chicago kitchen, and I was pretty clear on what I wanted, so I set about making selections of appliances and fixtures. I was advised that appliances were backordered by about 12 weeks, which didn’t seem like such a big deal since the mid-May delivery dates I was being quoted seemed just about in keeping with the timeline.
Well, that was the week before the historic freeze that hit Houston in mid-February, shutting the city and its power grid down for the better part of a week. Once the power grid was restored and burst pipes repaired and thus water restored, we thought we were back on track. Then came the great national foam shortage. As we all know, foam is needed for furniture, but it is also necessary for insulation in appliances such as the refrigerators, freezers and ice maker that I had just ordered. It turns out several of the largest foam manufacturers are in Houston and they were victims of the freeze. Our 12 week backorder more than doubled with mid-September the new estimated delivery time. This was going to be painful.
The contractors were back on track in a mere 2 weeks and were making great progress with the cabinets. I pivoted with selections if something was backordered and the new kitchen began to take shape. We were looking at a late June move in, which was only a month off, and I know from experience that you need to tack on a few weeks to keep expectations in check and frustration at bay. We anxiously awaited word on the wood for the flooring as lumber prices soared, and we breathed a sigh of relief when it arrived a week early,
Our pack up in Chicago was scheduled for the third week of June, so we let the contractor know he had a hard deadline of June 29th, at which point we would be moving in. The walls of the temporary apartment that we were in since the end of January were beginning to close in on us and with our belongings packed up in Chicago and headed to Houston, it was “ready or not, here we come”. The painting contractor brought in extra crews and the house was habitable, though we still were waiting for appliances. We moved the refrigerator that came with the house to the laundry room, and the washer and dryer were in, so we could manage. In late August the refrigerator/freezers arrived and we seemed to be close to the finish line. Then the project manager quit…not our job, but the contractor. Thankfully, one of the partners took charge and set about fixing the things the project manager had dropped the ball on. Clearly he had “left” before giving his notice, and there was a long list of things that were wrong (outlets for refrigerators too high and needed to be moved), broken (cracked mirror on a new piece of furniture) or lost (like all the doorknobs removed by the painters that we planned to reuse). The profit margin was dwindling, but while that wasn’t our problem, and it was our problem, as the delays continued due to the need to order replacements, reschedule installations, and make repairs.
Meanwhile, furniture ordered in the spring began to arrive . . . Dining room table and chairs, the extra counter stools for the kitchen island, so the house was starting to look like a home. Finally in early October the range arrived and was installed! There was still a hole for the further delayed ice maker, but at long last we were operational and ready to host our first dinner party!
While the move from Chicago to Houston was emotional, the transition has been made easier thanks to the blessing of great friendships . . .both those we have known for many years from our time in London together and are like family, as well as new friends who have welcomed us with open arms. The menu of a Mediterranean Mezze with Hummus (HUMMUS), Tabbouli (TABBOULI) & Olive Sourdough Bread (SOURDOUGH BREAD), Braised Lamb Shanks and Creme Brulee was a hit (recipes coming).
The long renovation was worth it and KtinasKitchen is officially Back in Business…new recipes and posts on the way!
Oh yeah, the ice maker arrived the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and the panel is finally being installed next week!