In the true sense of the term "Labor Day," we're laboring the day away on our "temporary" kitchen renovation that seems to be snowballing very quickly into a full scale kitchen overhaul. What started as a simple bargain rug purchase, that has turned into window treatments, a "wine bar" (man, I'm using quotes a lot today), new counter tops, and tile back splash, may have taken it's final turn to officially spiraling out of control.

Yep, this little bit of snow that began rolling down a hill several months ago has grown into a massive snowball, taking out woodland creatures, cars, trucks, houses, villages, and eventually a dam or some sort of power station. You may be wondering, "What tipped the scales to turn your overkill kitchen upgrades into something crazy?" Simple, the Sunday circular.

After wrapping up a long day of kitchen work that included tending to and entertaining our recovering-from-surgery-pets, I trudged upstairs from the basement to find Wendy on the laptop, comparing prices at several different outlets on major kitchen appliances. She was using our new counter top space quite effectively, which made me rather happy. But the thought of dropping potentially north of about $2,500 on appliances that we're not sure we'll actually need in a few years, well, it had my stomach in a bit of a knot.

I looked at her and said "What are you doing?" To which she responded, "When we renovate the kitchen for real, we can just sell these."

Before I go any further, let me fill you in on a little secret. This, my friends, is a total role reversal.

In our relationship, Wendy is the saver, I'm the spender. Historically this has almost always been the case. When we started our life together I spent way more and Wendy spent way less. As we've moved through the various aspects of our lives, we've met far more in the middle, but we still maintain a status quo where I'm the one saying "It's okay to buy that," and Wendy saying "But I'm just not sure it's worth it." But every once in a while, Wendy will agonize on a decision long enough that she can convince herself to throw caution to the wind and drop a bit more coin than she'd be normally comfortable with, as long as it's reasonably justifiable. In this case, I think we can say this may be reasonably justifiable.

We've lived with the horrible appliances in our house for nearly a full decade, and we've done it rather unapologetically. There's no way we could have afforded to replace them when we bought our house, so we made due with spray painted counter tops and the old and nearly broken down appliances.

Our stove, dishwasher, and fridge are all original to when we purchased the house, and seem to be largely original to the Reagan administration as well. The fridge is new-ish, as I believe the previous owner replaced it just before selling. Though new, it is decidedly free of bells and whistles, even lacking an ice maker. Yep, we still use ice trays. Here's what the previous owner was using it for.

Yep, the fridge was stocked with candy bars, dry pasta, potato chips, condiments, and some drinks. And the freezer, some ice cream, ice cream bars, and some more ice cream. (We snuck this photo during our home inspection.)

The stove is really on its last legs. We think it was a early to mid 1980s Kenmore, and boasts such niceties as an oven light, an oven that randomly turns off for no reason, and burners that take forever to heat up and cool down.

And finally, not to be forgotten, is the black front dishwasher. Don't worry, if its looks alone don't allow you to forget about it, the noise it creates during its wash cycle surely will. It sounds like a helicopter is taking off from our kitchen.

Now that we're in the throws of this two week long kitchen spruce up, we started to jokingly say "what if we just replace the dishwasher?" That then moved to, "A stainless fridge would be really nice, no?" And now we've entered the danger territory, the area where it not only seems like it might not be a bad idea to buy this stuff, but it seems like it might be a bad idea not to

So, as the marketing gods, luck, and our struggling economy have it, Labor Day sales seem to be rather enticing this year, especially of you're working on a temporary kitchen renovation and you have no idea just how temporary it will actually be. We're going to be headed out to h.h. gregg to, ahem, see what we see, and figure out our next moves. 

So I ask you this. Are we crazy? Have we lost it? Should a purchase of a bargain rug spiral this far out of control? Or are we justified in finally being able to give ourselves a kitchen upgrade that's been nearly a decade in the making, even if we have plans to do a more permanent one in a few years time? I know many people will say "Just use what you buy now in your future kitchen." This makes sense, but we've got pretty specific plans for the future kitchen, and most of them won't involve these appliances. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

And for anyone here looking for an update on our crew members, Lulu and Mel, who are both recovering from mast cell tumor surgery last Friday, are both doing well. Friday night was pretty unnerving when they were both coming out of anesthesia, which made Mel hiss at everything, including us, inanimate objects, and his own tail. Lulu was in the perpetual state of crying, which is a pretty normal anesthesia side effect, but unfortunately it has the same effect on Wendy -- made Wendy stay in a perpetual state of crying. 

I think we're through the initial worst of it, and now Mel is grumpy to say the least, (he did have a portion of his tail amputated, after all!) but he's eating and acting pretty normal. Lulu, well, I don't even think she realizes she has a giant incision and stitches on her side. She's in great spirits, and if anything we need to remind her not to jump up on us or the furniture. So now we're waiting for the pathology results to find out just how serious the tumors were, if they had the potential to spread, and what the next course of treatment will be. Thanks to everyone for all of your support. It means a lot!

Comments 12


9/3/2012 at 3:33 PM
I hope you come back with something nice! We too have cruddy appliances, and even if one makes nice upgrades to the kitchen, it will still look at tad shabby with the old dishwasher, etc. The new ones may dazzle so much that you might delay the huge overhaul and take on some other project! (basement scoop out?!) Warm thoughts to your sweet pets.
That's exactly what we were thinking. Gosh, the new counters are looking so nice, that the appliances now look even more terrible! It's amazing how it all snowballs. Labor Day is a good time to shop for appliances with the sales going on, right? I mean, how could we miss such a great opportunity. ;-)
9/3/2012 at 7:06 PM
Go for it! I definitely recommend hhGregg. I bought an induction range and a built in convection/microwave there almost 3 years ago. Because it was a new technology for Samsung, we also bought the extended warranty ( not something I usually do). Well, yes, we have had appliance problems, but those warranties have been a huge asset! To make a long story short, the microwave had big problems, and I am the owner of a brand new one, just reinstalled by hhGregg with not an additional penny paid by me!
So glad you had a good experience there! Thanks, Bea.
9/3/2012 at 7:17 PM
Wow. You've both had a terrible to you all..about the kitchen: after twelve years of terrible appliances, countertops and floors ( cannot overstate the terribleness) we just renovated the whole thing. I'm a saver, and when faced with replacing our cruddy dishwasher, I broke down and agreed it was the time...
After ten weeks of living like nomads the job was done and I have to say it was worth every penny. We used a contractor who works with a lot of houses in Old Town so he was prepared for the worst..and the best. I'm thrilled with the result and could kick myself for waiting so long...
Deep breaths, it might just be time for the renovation. Hugs to the pets.
Congratulations on the completion of your renovation! It must be a wonderful feeling.

I'm really excited about the prospect of new appliances, especially since I didn't think it was something we'd look at for many more years. I suppose the ones made today are MUCH more energy efficient than the dinosaurs we have. The savings in energy bills will also help offset the cost, right? ;-)
9/4/2012 at 9:07 AM
On appliances as old as yours the energy savings alone should justify the purchase. Enjoy your 'new' kitchen!!
My thoughts exactly! :-)
9/4/2012 at 9:29 AM
I have one of those awful 1980s ranges myself. I can't wait to replace it (as the piggy back is still rather lean). Even if the "final" upgrade is a few years away, I think the expenditure may be worth it. The whole 'random oven events' sound dangerous, to be truthful - a real fire hazard.
I couldn't agree with you more. At worst, a fire hazard, but at the minimum a total inconvenience. Plus I've been worrying that the stove will give out at a terrible time (right before a dinner party, company in town, etc.) so better to beat it to the punch and take advantage of the sale prices going on right now. :-)
9/4/2012 at 7:50 PM
OK, what's up with all the snacks in the frig??!! So, tell me, are Crispy Crunch any good??
The snacks in the fridge all belonged to the previous owner. I've never had a Crispy Crunch bar, but I imagine they're pretty good.

Our fridge is much less "exciting." Currently we have beets, tomatoes, and an eggplant from the farmers market, as well as a lot of beer left over from our last party, and carrots for Lulu of course. We're overdue for a grocery store trip for sure!
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