Monday, December 27, 2004

Countertops by Hagrid

The natural gas project for our street started with a loud bang at 9 a.m. I opened the backdoor just in time to see a terrified cat (Betaille) dash out of the yard. There were several trucks, guys with jackhammers, plus a vehicle with a small claw that was digging rectangles in the sidewalk. By noon they had tunneled from the street to the rear of our side yard, and the meter was installed.

It's not exactly invisble work. Though the tunneling is far underground, they dug up part of the lawn and garden in back of the house to bring the line to the house and up to the meter. Nothing serious, but they didn't seem aware that plants like hostas die back and are not visible in the winter (and now are probably buried two feet deep!) Oh well. It was definitely the least elaborate part of the garden.

Now they are roaring away two doors down.

Meanwhile, the Corian company called and ask if they could swing by. Our so-to-be-disposed-of electric stove is surounded by Corian countertop, including a couple of inches in back. The new Wolf stove will sit flush against the wall, so that extra countertop in back had to be sliced away. The Corian guy was about 7 feet tall, hefty and looked like a Northwest cousin of Hagrid. The normally shy kittens loved him. After he trimmed the counter, he helped me analyze why the adhesive between Corian counter and Corian backsplash over the dishwasher had separated. Answer: the guy who built the counters skimped and didn't put any supports for the Corian at the back of the dishwasher, so the counter was sagging. We agreed that Hagrid would recaulk and I would have the plumber pull the dishwasher so that I could install some supports against the studs at the back. Yes, I could do this myself, but it would be wiser to have the plumber here to make sure I don't damage the water hookup.

And, of course, the plumber will be here next week. The half-hour of Corian work was cheap, but the plumbing price (for running gas piping and valves to a dryer, a new hot water heater, and the stove—-plus venting the hot water heater to the outside) is mind-boggling.

My only gripe with our plumber (who is a very honest and savvy fellow) is that he always assumes the customer wants the basic appliance. During the original kitchen remodel two years ago I had to specially request a quiet dispose-all (for about $15 bucks more) and this time I had to grill him to get him to reveal that there are several types of 50-gallon hot water heaters, some of which have notably faster recovery (meaning that while you are taking a bath, they are heating up enough water for someone else to take a bath in 30 minutes). Of course, I requested a fast-recovery hot water heater.

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