Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chip and Joanna Gaines We are Not

It's been over a year now and the pain has subsided a bit so i feel i can talk about it.  They say time will do that to you, ease the pain.  Mothers venture on to have more than one baby despite the pain of labor so maybe one day we too will be brave enough to remodel another portion of a house.  Still too soon to predict that though.

Over a year ago we braved the real estate market where we searched high and low to find a house that would be categorized as an extra extra large Hobbit home.   We didn't think it was too much to ask.

We wanted 3 things really: 
a home that didn't leak
4 Bed/2 bath 
and a master bedroom that would hold our King Size bed 

We have come to accept that Kiwis just need less space than Americans.  Here many bedrooms won't have closets and a 4 bedroom/1 bath house is completely normal.  Rooms are very small sized and one family sharing one bathroom means less bathrooms to clean.  That is the theory anyways.  On the up side, ocean views are very easy to come by!  

We finally found a place in a great location with only one thing that had to be fixed right away.

This teeny tiny Hobbit sized refrigerator space.  Those are not LARGE boxes my friends.  Those boxes are sticking half way out of that space.  This space was made for a DORM sized refrigerator.  A fridge for a very tiny college girl who possibly didn't eat much, not a family of 4 who actually grocery shop. 

So until the remodel started we kept the fridge in our living room of course.
 Cool mint Green carpet right?!

We started the whole ugly process shortly after moving in and never felt more like foreigners than we did during this time.  We were advised to sell our current OLD kitchen online.  Yeah, that was my thought too... ??? What the what??  

"Oh, yip yip! List it online and someone will PAY YOU to come in tear out the kitchen and remove it."  

i had never heard of such a crazy idea.  The very thought of having some stranger with no construction experience come into my home and start hacking away at my walls made my skin crawl.  That is just a disaster waiting to happen.

This is me photographing & waiting for said disaster to happen.  

The highest bidders to our online auction showed up and got to work.  (There were LOTS of kitchens for sale online.)  This lovely family who knew what they were doing showed up, disassembled and removed our entire kitchen.  All of it!  Hauled it away in a truck.  Bonus, they paid us 800$ and there was no damage.  It saved us $1000+ that we would have paid to have a professional to do it plus additional fees for disposal.   
Kiwi Do it Yourself for the win!


The part i was most fearful about in this whole process was the ONE thing that went effortlessly.  After the smooth start with the sale of the first kitchen i was ready for the paid professionals to get in and start the second kitchen.

    i will spare you all the details but this project which should have taken 6 weeks took a total of 6 months to be completed.  i wish i could say in that time i had custom wood cabinets handcrafted and hewn from the forests of some distant country and marble shipped in from another exotic location.  You can't get wood cabinets here, or if you can, i'm not sure where to buy them and i doubt we could afford them.  i am not entirely sure why but i know Kiwis DO NOT like the look of them and some people told us it won't hold up in the humidity.   i DID have floors shipped in all the way from Australia TWICE.   Nothing exotic though just a laminate and it's not because we are all fancy and what not, it's because NZ has to ship most of their supplies from Australia anyways. 

Hmmm..?  What color should i choose to replace the lovely Spanish tile with?  

One annoying thing about living in NZ is the lack of selection and  having been spoiled with so MANY options in the US.  Here when we shop for shoes, clothing, furniture or flooring it is limited choices and those choices are pricey.  In the States if you want a light colored floor you'd have lots of "light" colors to choose from even within various price ranges.   For us it was pretty much this: Dark, Medium or Light. 

The flooring was going to be the constant struggle in this endeavor.  More precisely the Flooring STORE was my nemesis.  They advised wrongly from the beginning and although they came highly recommended within our area i won't use them again. EVER.   We have since learned they are recommend to BUY your floor through but NOT to INSTALL.   i can't even get into all the dismal details but MY inexperience in the construction world still knew their processes and techniques were all wrong.  Completely backwards.  After weeks of this the floor was finally in and the kitchen company (which i was happy with) had completed their portion and the kitchen was on its way to being done!

The only problem was we didn't like it.  The floor was WAY too dark (obviously NOT the fault of the flooring company).  But also almost every plank of wood had weird marks on it like a defect.  i had pointed this out to the installer at the beginning but he insisted it would wash off.  Three weeks later it still wasn't off AND we discovered the floor had been installed wrong.  i was starting to hate the color.  The "scratch" resistant floor was showing up with all sorts of scratches, every speck of dirt was on display and even puppy paw prints were becoming obvious.  EEEEEKKK!

After much contact with the flooring manufacturer, they had some GOOD NEWS and the BAD NEWS for us!  The bad news was they had sold defective flooring to the local store which had then been passed on to us.  It appeared that 40% of our floor was flawed and they would replace that 40%.  However, when they brought out THEIR expert and realized the entire floor was ruined due to the store's installation the GOOD NEWS was we get an entire new floor!  This was good of course because we could change our minds on the color.  However that meant moving everything out again.  

A different installer came in and pulled out the old floor and prepped it again for the next floor.  In the process he cut a pipe under the kitchen sink.  At this point i just shake my head and laugh. 

This meant my plumber had to come out and repair the pipe AFTER the kitchen people came and took apart portions of the kitchen so the plumber could get to the wounded pipe.  This of course had to be followed up by a reinstallation of that portion of the kitchen and then further prep for the floor.

 In the end the lighter floor was installed and we love the look.  How often does one get to try on a floor and decide it isn't the right color then change it?  

The final step, aside from painters coming in to redo all the baseboards, was to make sure one doorway of carpet was tacked down to the this final floor.  The carpet store said they would come out and nail down the 3 foot section for $250.  Wide eye... WHAT?!  i explained how ridiculous this was due to my situation.  However often things are just policy and can't be changed around here.  

People in the USA.... don't ever take customer service for granted!!  It is a beautiful thing when a company values the customer.  

After bemoaning to this sales person,  he finally said to me, "Well, i can send my mate over who installs carpet and he will do it for a box of Corona beer."  DONE!  

MR. Will Work for Beer comes and has the job done in less than 5 minutes!   Kiwi Do It Yourself for the win!

At this point i must explain one other fault of our house that we didn't discover until AFTER we made the purchase.  We have a very steep driveway, as the majority of homes have driveways that are a nightmare to navigate down or up.  Ours however has an additional bonus if you will.  At the bottom of the steep drive is quite a big dip.  IF you happen to back out at just the right angle you will scrape the bottom of your car.  IF you have a large, low or heavy truck you could possibly get stuck in that little dip.  Because we have lived in this house for over 6 months, i have learned to well advise all my guests prior to their backing out.  On this particular occasion for some reason, i felt obliged to tell Mr. Will Work for Beer 3 times that he needs to back up wide so as to NOT hit the dip.  It was pouring rain that afternoon and after he left my house, i got the feeling he hadn't actually left.  

That would be because he hadn't.  He tried on his own for about 15 minutes to escape my dip.  Unsuccessful, he knocked on my door requesting help.  Upon inspection i see his tailpipe is actually lodged into the asphalt.  In the pouring rain for 45 minutes i try to get him out.  i continue to summon neighbors to help push and we created all sorts of makeshift traction to get him moving.  In the end we free him with the help of FIVE college boys, ONE granny (who is awesome by the way) ONE very annoyed housewife and ONE husband who has just shown up and wondering why he is helping a strange man with a case of his beer leave his driveway. 

But i am happy to say that after all that our refrigerator now fits in our kitchen.  


Les Regier said...

I am glad we came to visit, after tbe old was out, qne the new was redone, and the ref. was where it was suppose to be. I truly had to laugh remembering what all you had to go through, and the van, stuck in the drive way. I have pic's of that drive way, and the hill.!!!!!!!!!! I am glad you have written a blog about your experiences. Some day your grand kids will be able to read and say , "Grandma, you did what"????
Omma told me this morning, just as she was about to leave, Yesterday Trey was here and she was getting ready to take him to VBS, she was trying to put on her sandals, and was having a problem, Trey is watching her, he says, Omma, if you will loosen the strap, they will go on easier@!!!!!!!! From the mouth of a young child, who is way to smart for his age!!!!!!!!

Lovella said...

Words cannot express...well, MY words cannot express the feelings and thoughts that I have when reading your blog!! You teach me how to go through frustrating experiences, and come out with a sense of humor. At least, that's the plan!!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back on Blogger! Missed your stories :)

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