We’ve decided that its time to get on with renovating the kitchen, a clever ruse on my part to distract Gail from her perceptions of my health issues; ya, right… like that’s gonna work. (We see the surgeon, Dr. Williams, as part of the three-month follow-up this afternoon.)

On Saturday we tore out the sunshine ceiling and the fluorescent light fixtures. I’m really glad we took out the fluorescents; all the ballasts were leaking a dark, tarry ooze…it was definitely time for them to go. I’m not so glad that we took out the t-bar and the light baffles. We can now see the real ceiling, and its a bloody mess. The townhouse was constructed during a boom period 20 years ago, and the workmanship on the drywall ceiling shows it. We’ll need to get a drywaller in to fix the mess before we can paint the ceiling…

After removing the old lighting system, we put up some track lighting. It gives a nice, warm quality of light, but Gail is concerned that it also gives off substantially more heat than the previous ceiling lighting. Well, quite honestly, if we can’t get a drywaller in to fix the mess that is the current ceiling, we’ll be going back to a sunshine ceiling anyway. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it may be the best solution to the problem… time for some research into contemporary sunshine ceiling configurations.

And we called Home Depot to get them to come do some measurements and estimates for new cupboards and counter tops, installed. Now, that’s a frustrating experience. First of all, they want you to do your own measurements and pick your styles for cupboards and counter tops, and then they will decide if the job is worth doing. The questions about budgets and whether we were going to redo the appliances, and several other questions seemed quite invasive given that we were really looking for estimates that had a high probability of turning into an order. And even then they want you to pay for the estimates upfront, before they will even contact the installers to schedule the appointment. Yes, the site visit, measurements and estimates are NOT done by Home Depot’s in-house designers; they are done by the contracted installers. On one level that’s pretty smart before placing the final order, but from a sales perspective its a bit cumbersome. In fact, the designers don’t seem to ever see the places that they are recommending features and fittings for. They are completely missing the boat on upselling, and on problem solving.

We were told that the measurements for the cupboards could be from two to four weeks after we paid the monies, but they wouldn’t promise us when they would actually set the dates for the installers to come and take those measurements, nor when we would see a firm estimate. We are expected to pay estimator fees up front, wait for someone to call us back to actually book the appointment, and then wait two to four weeks for the visit, with no clear idea of when we’ll know about costs, and, as a logical follow-on, when we would be able to place the order. Delivery and installation of the cabinetry would be somewhere in December… hopefully… maybe. ( I asked if the install could be completed by Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October) and the designer laughed!) And then, and only then, would they take the measurements, and make templates, for the counters. Delivery and installation of the counter tops would be three to four weeks later. Right… like we could live through a December/January with no counter tops!

So, from Home Depot, it looks something like this:

  • Pay $100+ for the measurements and estimates
  • Wait until someone representing the installer of the cabinetry calls to make an appointment
  • If the day the installer has available doesn’t work for you, you may be completely out of luck. Home Depot will try to find another installer or refund your fees.
  • The site visit may be two weeks to four weeks away.
  • The estimate (notice I have never used the word ‘quote’!) is several days away from that.
  • Once there is an estimate, an order is placed for the cabinetry.
  • The cabinetry is delivered and installed 10 to 12 weeks later.
  • Once the cabinetry is delivered and installed, measurements are taken for the counter tops, and templates drawn up for use by the ‘factory’ to make/cut the shapes.
  • An estimate on the counter tops is prepared and an order is placed.
  • The counter tops are delivered and installed three to four weeks later.

We’re going shopping for a renovation general contractor to do this… someone who will give us a quote, handle the measurements, the ordering, the coordination that will leave us without a functional kitchen for no more than a week.

Yes, I know this is Alberta, that we’re in a boom economy… and I’m being completely unreasonable!

Hey, but at least its enough of a challenge to keep someone’s mind off my health…

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