Though we’ve been updating you over the last week on the progress we've made involving our kitchen work, we were actually getting you up to speed on the work we finished prior to taking a vacation. Wendy and I were wandering around several countries in Europe over the last week, all in the name of celebrating our 10 year anniversary. We’ll fill you in a little more on the details of our destination a little bit later this week, but until then, we have some more great kitchen progress to share with you.
Just before we left for our trip we received a bit of good…no, GREAT news. The word -- our new appliances were scheduled to be delivered. Oh what a happy day it had the potential to be. We’ve been living with our old and outdated appliances for nearly a full decade, and we were absolutely ready to upgrade. Though we’ve long been wearing our tired, dated, and ugly appliances as a badge of honor and courage, we were very excited to finally be able to put the function and visual appeal of new appliances to use.
The morning of the delivery I took some final photos of our appliances before we disconnected them and bid them a fond farewell. I have to be completely honest here, it was a little bit of a bittersweet moment, but it was only a tiny bit bitter, and a whole lot of sweet. These old workhorses were our first appliances in the first house that we bought together, and they're representative of what our home was when we purchased it -- tired but functional.
Due to the appliance delivery, I was working from home this day and Wendy was at her office, so there was no help on this job, I was flying solo. But this was just a delivery, how hard could it be, right? Wrong! It turned out to be one of the most stressful events I’ve encountered while working on our house. No, I’m not even joking.
The delivery was scheduled for the morning, but the delivery guys were going to call about 45 minutes out so that I’d have a good sense of their arrival. My plan was to wake up, get things disconnected and uninstalled, wait for their call, then unload the items from our refrigerator just before they arrived. Good plan, simple enough.
Stress Level: Low
When I woke up and started to work a bit on my plan, I hit my first wrinkle. A minor item at work that needed immediate attention meant that my day started with work, rather than with the disconnect of the old appliances. No problem, I just figured I’d work through the issue and then I’d be a bit tighter on time, but hopefully the delivery guys would be on the later end of their schedule and I’d still be able to take care of everything.
Stress Level: Moderate Low
Did I mention that, due to our alley and low trees, that we’d request the delivery guys not drive their truck behind our house, but rather take the items from the street around to the back door? Oh, also, it happened to be raining quite hard all morning.
Stress Level: Moderate
As I wrapped up my work crisis (yes, it turned into a minor crisis), I checked the clock and noticed that we were solidly in the earlier window for appliance delivery. No sooner than I thought to myself that I should probably get moving on appliance disconnect than the phone rings. “Hello, we’re running a little bit ahead of schedule this morning, and we’ll be at your house in about 40 minutes.” Wait, what? Delivery guys running early? That never happens. I jumped to it and started running around the house like a crazy person. I started with the dishwasher disconnect and then hoped to have time to unpack our fridge, otherwise someone was going to get a whole bunch of spoiled food with whatever they do with our old fridge.
Stress Level: Moderate High
The dishwasher was a pretty straight forward dishwasher hookup, but I had a heck of a time getting a wrench on the supply line. Luckily I remembered to shut off the water to the dishwasher prior to beginning the work.
I popped of the supply line, unhooked the electrical (also remember to turn off the circuit, score), and unscrewed the dishwasher from the underside of the counter top where it was secured.
I was so happy to be removing this monster once and for all. No, calling it a monster is not impolite. It is a big, black, loud and imposing appliance that breathes steam and leaves our dishes and silverware covered in residue. I’d say that labeling the beast a “monster” is really quite fitting. I threw out a drop cloth to slide it out of place, and as I moved it forward I was starting to feel good about everything, that is until I made a little mistake.
We had run a final cycle in the dishwasher the night before, and though it had completed, there was apparently a significant amount of water that I was unaware of sitting in the bottom of the unit. To get a better grip to hopefully carry it outside I tilted the unit forward. At about this time, I heard a sound similar to that of a large cup of water being pushed over, gushing out onto the surrounding area. I glanced down to see my feet soaking wet, the drop cloth saturated, and a puddle of water spread out towards the wine fridge. What had I done?
After quickly righting the old dishwasher, a dishwasher that apparently didn’t appreciate being called a “monster” and made sure it would get the last laugh, I hurriedly mopped up the water before it infiltrated the area beneath our new cabinets. Crisis averted, but only barely. I decided the leave the old dishwasher in the middle of the kitchen and allow the delivery guys the honor of removing it.
Stress Level: High
Having removing the dishwasher, I knew I only had a few minutes left until the delivery men would arrive with our new appliances, but I still had to unload the refrigerator. Wendy had been preparing both for the delivery and for our vacation for the last week, so she made sure we were working our way through what was in the fridge. This way, on delivery day, we wouldn’t have a fridge full of items that could go bad. Theoretically, this would also make the transition to the new fridge rather easy.
In the days prior to the delivery, Wendy kept telling me how little we had in the fridge, and how we had really “used everything up.” Taking this at face value, I assumed the transfer of items would be more or less a simple task. Boy was I wrong.
As I begin to unload the freezer into a small cooler, I got a better idea of how much we actually had packed away. Boxes of Omaha Steaks, frozen away since my meat eating days, microwave dinners, frozen veggies, vodka, ice packs, desserts...you name it, it was in there. Once I filled up the cooler, I moved to putting things in the sink, and then in the area below the sink.
The fridge area, though it appeared to have “very little,” was also rather stocked. Cheese, veggies, bread, eggs, condiments, and beer, oh we had beer for days it seemed. Out of room, I hastily packed away food in paper bags that had been hoarded and shoved under the sink (they came in very handy, I’ll be truthful here). I was nearly complete with the unloading when a knock came at the front door. The delivery men were here, and the fridge was 90% unloaded. As they prepared to slog the appliances through the rain and down our side alley, I completed the unload by spreading bottles of beer all over the floor. It was a disaster area in our kitchen and Wendy was happily at work where I couldn’t share it with her.
Stress Level: Critical
The one bit of saving grace to this whole ordeal were the delivery guys’ wonderful demeanor and treatment of our home. They were both very courteous and paid attention not to damage the items in our home.
When I let one of them know of the dishwasher water issue, they carefully lifted it and made sure not to tip it until they were outside. Farewell old friend, it was not very nice knowing you.
As the delivery guys brought the various items into the house, they placed the boxes wherever there happened to be room. Calling the kitchen a hectic and hell-holeish mess is a gross understatement. The room was packed with quickly thawing food, large boxes appliances, and mosquitoes on account of the dreary and humid day outside while needed to keep the kitchen door open for long periods of time. During this period is when I started text messaging Wendy random spewings of home-related hatred. I knew I had my work cutout for me, that this wasn't some simply delivery, and this was a marathon that was just getting started.
Stress Level: Overload
As soon as the delivery guys headed out I looked at what I had ahead of me, and it was overwhelming. Just look at the veritable disaster of food and appliances.
Like any good project, I started with step one. In this case, I needed to get the food into the fridge. I plugged it in and got started on the reload. Unfortunately though, knowing we had to do some cabinet trimming to make it fit, I couldn't put the fridge into its final resting place. So there it sat in the middle of the kitchen.
After about 40 minutes of putting all of the items back into the fridge and freezer, the majority of which hadn’t completely thawed, our fridge’s contents were no longer all over the kitchen and we were on the way to "normalcy."
Wanting to get as much accomplished by the end of the day as possible, I turned my focus to installing the dishwasher. I felt I should be able to handle this pretty easily as the unit isn’t heavy. The first significant issue with this is that I didn’t detatch the 90 degree elbow from the old dishwasher, so I realized I’d need to buy another one. The second major issue with installing it on the same day as delivery, there was a major problem with the dishwasher.
Upon further inspection (meaning, when I opened the box and actually looked at the dishwasher), it appears that someone, somewhere along the delivery line from the factory to our home, dropped the dishwasher on its head. The dishwasher appears to have landed on its handle, effectively crushing the entire front of the unit, and causing significant wrinkling and bending in the stainless steel all along the front.
I couldn’t believe it. I had hoped to have this installed the same day, but now we’d need to wait over a week to get the new one. This was one of the most frustrating things that could have happened.
Stress Level: Seriously…WTF!?!
I called h.h. gregg and they immediately offered to take care of a replacement, which did help the whole situation quite a bit. Accidents happen, and as long they’re willing to handle it, I can’t be too upset, but I can be frustrated that our long awaited appliances need to wait just a little bit longer.
At about this same time I noticed another problem with the refrigerator. Though far more minor than the massive damage on the dishwasher, I discovered a large scratch on the left side panel of the fridge. It’s horizontal and jagged and runs nearly the length of the side in the painted area.
The side isn’t damaged, but the paint is scratched off the side. It’s something we’ll need to fix with some touchup paint, and it’s not worth the time and effort to exchange it for a new one, but it is disappointing none the less. I think it actually occurred during delivery when the delivery carriers brought it in through the back gate. My guess is that they scraped it along our back gate’s handle as they walked it through the door. It’s at about the height I’d expect from something like that.
A bit dejected, I went back to teleworking for the rest of the day so that I could dedicate the evening to the big payoff for all of my stress, getting our appliances into place.
Rather than let a crushed dishwasher rain on our parade, we started to work on the partial install of our appliances once Wendy was finally home a few hours later. Though it was slow going, it was some of the most gratifying work we’ve every done (like a big payoff of final touches after weeks of hard work). The most difficult aspect was the leveling and placement of the two appliances. As I’ve said before, our kitchen is far from level and square, and our new fridge is actually a hair too large for the upper cabinets. This is something we knew about going into it, so it wasn’t a surprise that we’d need to do a little trimming. To give ourselves enough room we had to remove the upper cabinet from the wall and trim off about 1/2” from the lower overhang.
Though it sounds a little difficult, it’s actually pretty easy to do something like this. The main thing you need to be sure of is that you are protecting the paint/finish of the cabinets. To do this I covered the surface of the of the cabinet where I’d be cutting in painters/masking tape. This would allow me to slide the circular saw along the cabinet without worrying about scuffing and damaging the paint.
Once fully protected, it was as easy as marking my cut and zipping off the excess. All that was left was to reinstall the cabinet and slide the fridge back into place.
As we slid the fridge back into place we rolled it up on a bit of wood that acts like a shim for the right side of the fridge. This wood raised the right side roughly ¾” and brought it level. The fridge also fit perfectly under the slightly trimmed upper cabinet.
Though the fridge only required about ¾” to bring it level, the range actually needed quite a bit more to bring it into level and up to the height of the counters. Using some of the excess butcher block I cut a few pieces to act as risers. Each one had to be a slightly different size, but after much effort, we finally had the stove perfectly level and matched to the height of the new counters.
Phew! Who knew installing a new fridge and range would be so much effort? Here's a look at the final installation. Well worth the hard work though, in our opinion.
No matter how much I want to show you a grand after photo of all of our appliances installed, that isn’t possible today. We still have a gaping hole where our old dishwasher once lived. Until we receive and install our dishwasher we’ll be washing dishes by hand and living with this missing section of our kitchen. We’ve got some duct tape covering the dishwasher inlet for the disposal which leaks from time to time. It’s a rather ghetto solution, but we’re used to using duct tape to solve water issues for temporary periods of time.
We hope to be back with gleeful news of dishwasher installs very soon, but until then, we hope you’ll share some of your appliance delivery highs and lows. Has anyone else had any really good or really bad experiences with major appliance delivery? I’d love to hear what you all think.