Kitchen Sink Drama

Today I bought a cooker. This probably has some weird name in the USA, like range or hob or even hobgoblin. “Welcome to Hobwarts, Mr Potter! Would you like to see our range of goblins?” Yes, that sounds right, doesn’t it? Maybe not. Not even in the shop (or shoppe) where I went today, the Watford Cooker Emporium, although it doesn’t remind me of a joke about gobbling.

As for the not quite random cooker purchase, I blame Pete for this. He doesn’t read these boards so he’s a handy scapegoat. He sent me along to the Watford Cooker Emporium–aka. A&A Refrigerators, which makes even less sense–because they specialise in reconditioned kitchen appliances and he thought I’d get something cheap there. I bought something new for three times as much as I intended to pay. And I’m still not sure it’s what I want.

I’ve been working on the kitchen on and off for a few weeks now and have spent the past few days putting up ceramic tiles. Nice easy job, you might think, and you’d be right except for all the fiddly bits around pipes and electrical outlets and stuff which you have to cut shapes out for. I used an electrical jigsaw and made a lot of dust while spilling gobs and goblins of tile cement around the place.

Something else you might not appreciate about tiles with all these shapes to cut around is that there are no short cuts. You can’t simply whack up the ones which don’t need cutting on the wall and leave the exactly right space for the cut tiles to fit in later. Woah, no. Because when you come back, your new (cut) tiles don’t fit in those spaces. So you have to smash some off with a chisel (loud) or sandpaper tile edges for ages until a fit is possible.

Sandpapering tiles creates an odour akin to being at the dentist, by the way, which apart from being vaguely unpleasant at least confirms that both teeth and tiles are made of the same thing–ceramic. How come you don’t have to bake teeth in a kiln to harden them, though? There’s no need to answer that.

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Okay, so the kitchen looks great and I’ve procrastinated long enough and it’s time to phone Simon to find out what’s happening with The Car. Plus there’s the whole drama of getting the print of Fate & Fortune shipped from Fort Lauderdale to Michigan for a screening tomorrow. Nothing is ever easy.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The Car. Simon is no longer working on the feature project he’d taken on which, although sad for him that he won’t be earning money for a while, means he’s now free to concentrate on my short as of this week. We yak yak for a while and he promises to take the rushes around to Pete (sound guy) tomorrow to be sync’ed up.

Tomorrow there are festivals to enter, expenses to be mailed out, bills to pay (rather a lot of them) and the stair case needs to be cleared so the nice people can haul this heavy lump of kitchen hardware up to my kitchen. It’s that cleaning part which will probably be the hardest, I suspect.

Then I’ve got to get grout into all those gaps in the tiles and I was going to lay new vinyl tiles on the floor. Hey, presto! Harry Pottery. A reasonably priced kitchen revamp. Even the cooker wasn’t particularly expensive (240, since you asked) although if I was going for broke, I’d have bought something with six burners and two ovens. “Going for broke” is the right word to use when doing a kitchen, methinks.

Still, the whole point of the exercise is to add value to the property and it should certainly do that. You can’t fool all of your bank managers much of the time, but you can certainly fool a large percentage of the house buying public most of the time. Even if you end up with a few tiles on Diagon Alley [groan]. Anyone for Quidditch?

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Two days later…

I’ve got to get grout into all those gaps in the tiles

Top Decorating Tip #1: Never work grout into gaps with your fingertips no matter how tempting or simple this procedure may look. You will slice them up on sharp edges and then get grout in the cuts. These will sting painfully and not heal easily because grout–especially waterproof grout–sets and doesn’t wash out of cuts. This hurts to type.

I was going to lay new vinyl tiles on the floor

Top Decorating Tip #2: Measure the floor space *accurately* before buying tiles and then you’ll have enough to finish the job rather than be left with three gaps at the end.

This concludes today’s home improvement course.

– Kit ‘The Toolman’ Taylor

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