Antici . . . pation
What does that word bring to mind? A old ketchup commercial? A scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show? If you’re too young for either of those references that’s a shame, since the commercials were just adorable and I will still remember lines from Rocky Horror when I’m 95 and in a nursing home. Of course, so will everyone else my age, so we will all get together on Wednesday afternoons and dance the Time Warp (there’s a mental image I won’t be able to get out of my head today). We’ll bring hot dogs and toast and playing cards. Honestly, am I the only one who can’t see Susan Sarandon or Tim Curry without visualizing them in corsets and full makeup?
Am I the only one who went to so many midnight showings on Saturday nights that the odds eventually caught up with me and I showed up once for Sunday School without remembering to remove all my makeup? Thankfully, though, one of the guys in the crowd I ran with was in the same Sunday School class and he hadn’t gotten all his makeup off, either, which was MUCH more disturbing to our teacher. I’m sure she’s still praying for both of us, and I’m sure we both still need it. Thank you, Connie! BUT I DIGRESS.
This is a post about anticipation . . . patience . . . waiting for the right time. Hang with me here, and I will explain the value of patience. Patience is so VERY important, especially when you are trying to be frugal! Where am I going with this? To the kitchen – my kitchen – my new kitchen, which has been a long time comin’.
We’d lived in this house 14 years before we’d been able to do any major renovations. There was crisis after crisis, and only the most urgent things got taken care of. Two trees fell on the house, so we got a new roof; the hot water heater died, the back bathroom water pipes froze and burst – you know how it goes. But one spring I went with my friend Lisa to a going-out-of-business sale at a granite showroom. We had recently turned a “screened porch enclosed and turned into a den” into our beautiful new dining room, learning how to tile a floor in the process, so I was starting to think a new kitchen might just be a possibility. OK, you have to visualize this granite sale. The two young guys hosting (let’s call them Rocky and Bullwinkle) were personable Asian guys whose command of the English language was limited to the phrases “cash only”, “no sales tax”, and “we no deliver – you pick up”. They also wore Naugahyde jackets and smiled too much. The prices were so outrageously low I knew I had to buy some granite and get it out of there before the authorities showed up. I also knew there was no way I could afford granite any other way, so I made it happen. It involved some fast thinking, fast talking, and a lot of risk-taking, but I ended up with a lot of beautiful granite leaning up against a wall in my house. Enter Mark, my next door neighbor’s cousin, who is trained as a master carpenter. He’s one of those people who can fix anything, build nearly anything, and is generally a person you really need in your life. He also can’t hold a job because he has a problem with authority, he’s on probation for something I really don’t want to know the details about, and looks like someone you’d cross the street to avoid encountering. I asked Mark to come over and discuss the possibility of building a new kitchen. Not remodeling my current kitchen, but building a new one in what was our old dining room, which would allow me to turn our old kitchen into a pantry / laundry room.
We sat down and sketched out a plan on Derby Day (the first Saturday in May if you don’t live in Kentuckiana) and then I didn’t see him again until the end of July. But then he got started and worked steadily for several weeks. He custom built my cabinets in our garage from Indonesian birch, we discussed details about the kitchen layout ad nauseum, and he humored me in many decisions he very obviously thought were wrong. He agreed to stain the cabinets black, which he knew I would hate (I love them), and he built my indoor window box herb garden perfectly while never for a moment understanding what it was. He came up with fabulous ideas (pull-out shelves for all my Pampered Chef stuff, adjustable shelves for my bazillion spices)
while napping in a lawn chair in my backyard. And I was cool with that. Occasionally, he would “get a job” and be obligated to spend most of his day somewhere else. I told him I was fine with this, to take his time and work me in when he could – no hurry. The jobs never lasted long. Someone would accuse him of being lazy or dishonest and he would walk out. I was patient. Yes, I know that’s a surprise for those of you who know me well, but I was! I knew Mark was the person who could best do what I needed, so I held my tongue and waited. Fast forward to today. Mark has finished everything (although I think I may still want some pot lights installed) and today Michael and I finished the tile back splash (I love to tile!) and hung my “ebay bargain” roman shades. The moral of this story: Remodeling an existing kitchen costs at least $50,000 (for a small kitchen). We built a new kitchen, never went a day without a usable kitchen, just had to be patient, and we paid $10,000. Custom built cabinets, granite counter tops, tiled back splash, textured walls. Wait for the sale, wait for the coupon, be patient with the contractor, think it all through before you do it, do what you can yourself. In the end, you will appreciate it all the more! 2009 has been “The Year of Learning To Be Patient” for me, and I wish all its blessings on all of you! Looking for more frugal tips? Visit The Thrifty Home every Wednesday for the Penny Pinching Party, there’s much to be learned!