Monday, May 12, 2008

Borderland Report 2

Part of the joy of buying a new home is the chance to go in and make "corrections" upon the poor choices in decor made by the previous owner. Whole television series are based around this concept.

For instance, when we gazed upon the deep sea blue that the previous owners (or perhaps even the owners previous to them) had painted the walls of one of the bedrooms, and when we noted how it really sucked the life out of the room, we knew right away that we'd be changing it. And we did, switching it to a tone that I picked out called Camel Back, (which my wife is very annoyed that I insist on referring to as Camel Toe) and it was perfect.

And when we noted the gangrenous shade of green that the previous owners had seen fit to paint the walls of our new master bedroom, we knew that too must change. We actually liked the idea of a green bedroom, just not that one. So we got paint chips and found what we thought was the perfect grayish green that was soothing and non life-sucking. It turned out to be pretty much full on dark gray when we bought a test pint of it. So the wife went back to try again and bought three gallons of what we thought was a cucumbery sort of grayish green, but which we realized, after we'd painted nearly the entire room, was more of an institutional light gray with no green in it at all. We took the two remaining gallons we had back to Lowes and, with the help of their magic computer, transformed it from what it was into a darker, grayer green of my choosing which was PERFECT! Won major brownie points on that one, yes I did.

Then there were poor choices in items, such as with the appliances. Now, I can't blame the immediate previous owners for the appliance mistakes, no matter how much their discarded gift of used cat litter that we had to clean up might make me want to. I know it wasn't their choice as the elderly nature of the appliances themselves have indicated that the choice to include them probably came shortly after the house was built, say round about `1989.

First off, the microwave/oven hood, while a good idea in concept, was a poor one in execution due to the fact that this particular model of microwave sticks out so far above the oven that it prevents the cabinets to its immediate left from being opened. At some point, an owner had simply removed that particular door so they could use the cabinet beyond. The same can be said for the oven, the door of which blocks access to the lower level cabinets to the left. It struck us as the kind of thing that could have been prevented with a little forethought. It also made us determined to use said forethought in all future appliance choices.

The wife began applying it immediately, researching oven hoods, sans microwave, in an effort to find a good brand that would have enough clearance to allow us the use of our cabinet and which would be stainless steel, to match the rest of the appliances that came with the house. After many hours of searching ebay, she finally found one, a Windster brand that was as sleek and sexy as an oven hood could possibly be. The twin jet turbines it is equipped with remind me an awful lot of the Goblin Glider in Spider-Man and, had we not gone through the harrowing ordeal it took to install this thing in our new kitchen this weekend, I might have taken it out for a test ride.

The Windster is designed for duct venting, but can be modified to circulate filtered air into a cabinet as well. Ours came pre-modified from the manufacturer. Installing it, however, is still fairly complicated because while the hood itself is designed to appear as a thin, stainless steel minimalist wafer, there is actually another section that is hidden within the cabinet beneath which it is to be installed, containing the actual engines and power system. This, we knew, would require the cutting of the floor of the cabinet to accommodate. Fortunately, we recently purchased a house-warming gift for ourselves of the kind of power tools that can get the job done. Unfortunately, even after the hole was cut--which was no picnic--our problems were only just beginning.

I thought it would be easy enough to hold the hood in place and then screw it in from the bottom, rather than mucking about with all this tedious measuring. Unfortunately this was countered by the fact that only one side of the oven hood offered access to the support holes, while the other was plated over to protect the wiring. I'll spare you most of the gory details of our many failed attempts at getting the hood installed, cause they're very complicated, hence why it took us so many attempts. No matter what we did, we just could not get the screws that would hold the oven hood placed properly to fit the hood onto them and slide it forward into place. We kept getting the measurements wrong, then ruined our 1x2's screwing new ones in, then had to drill more holes in new wood, then discovered that the lip of wood we'd left in the front floor of the cabinet actually prevented the hood from fitting in there anyway.

In the end, once we got the hole big enough, we decided we would remove all the plating on the blocked side of the oven hood, which pretty much meant we had to take a good chunk of the machine apart, and finally expose the screw holes. Once that was done, I held the oven hood in place while the wife screwed it into place, hell for stout. Then, upside down on our backs lying on the oven itself, we had to put it all back together.

I would also like to point out that even though we turned off the breaker for the oven hood in advance (also the breaker for the fridge) our entire power went out early Sunday morning due to a line of storms coming through. It stayed off for the rest of the day. In fact, it stayed off even though our surrounding neighbors all got their power back. We wondered if perhaps this was God's way of sparing us electrocution from some sort of wiring mistake on our part. The less than ideal part of this (as though something could be less ideal than not getting electrocuted) is that because our power remained out up until the time we were to return to Tri-Metro, we didn't feel we could turn the breaker for the fridge and oven hood back on, lest we risk burning down the house from some faulty wiring mistake we'd made. So we had to pack up all our refrigerated food items and haul them back with us.

By the way, momma bunny moved all her babies. That was the first thing we checked when we arrived Friday night. We crept out into the yard, flashlight in hand and pulled back the opening of her burrow to find no dead baby bunnies. We saw momma bunny lurking in the area, chasing off birds, so evidently they're still nearby. I'll just be careful when mowing from now on.

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