While the Cat’s Away…

So. I had to wander off on a business trip for a few days at the end of November. Funny, the weather in Providence was nicer than it was here. Lots of work, lots of travel, and I learned a lot, but all that’s another story.

About the same time, the wife took off for a Caribbean cruise with her parents. One of us got the short end of the stick I suppose…heh heh…but the jury’s still out on which one it was. We’ll compare notes later.

Anyway, I’m back, but she’s going to be gone till around the 19th of December. That leaves me…what…hey lookatthat!…there’s enough fingers and toes!…16 days till she comes home again. (I could’ve counted to 21 ya know).

Gad! 16 days. And already I need to get laid. Sigh.

So, what am I to do with myself? Usually, I work too much, ride too much, and manage to bend something expensive on my motorcycle while she’s gone. Maybe I’ll even get away without any blood or bruises this time. Yeah, the dark side comes out. It’s that “guy” brain thing again. If only it could be harnessed for something useful!

I’m sure I’ll be doing all of that, but this time there’s something else too…

Soooo…what to do when the cat’s away? Well, the mice will use power tools in the kitchen, of course!

Tools in the kitchen (remind anybody of a  Foghat song?)

Tools in the kitchen (remind anybody of a Foghat song?)

Normally I have a rule about Christmas presents for the wife…and that is “no cords”. I’m breaking that this time, and as usual, when I break a rule, I break it in a big way.

She’s getting a (mostly new) kitchen.

For the ladies in the audience, never fear, there will be something small and intimate under the tree for her on Christmas day (but necessarily inexpensive, as you’ll see why further down).

Oh, and yes, it really is “her” kitchen. Except for when I’m candy making, she won’t let me in the place, except there is a narrow corridor of free passage to the refrigerator and the iced-tea making supplies. Neither of us would have survived long without that.

We’ve needed this for a while. The stove came with the house and was never a good model to begin with. I’ve patched it up a couple times, but it’s got problems again.

The old stove. I've pulled it out here to hang the new microwave.

The old stove. I've pulled it out here to hang the new microwave.

The refrigerator is the one I bought before we were married…right after my house burned down in…sheesh…1982? That makes it 25 years old or so? It was a cheap one as that’s all I could afford. It’s small, and the ice-maker doesn’t work anymore. I can’t even get parts to fix that as the company is out of business (Montgomery Wards).

The old fridge. Got room for a bit more, yes?

The old fridge. Got room for a bit more, yes?

The dishwasher’s only a couple years old…and a Maytag…so it stays for now. I dare not touch it…after the last time. I do…occasionally…learn something.

Our microwave takes up a lot of valuable counter-space and is of a vintage when they were still called “radar-ranges”. Seriously, it is mid-70’s vintage, and was given to me by my friend Mike after my house burned up. He told me at the time it probably wouldn’t last long. It still works (if you know the secret). The door latch is tricky, and many of the buttons don’t work anymore. I’m pretty sure we’re down to the “9” and the “start” button. Hey, that’ll do popcorn!

The old microwave (on the counter), and the new one installed!

The old microwave (on the counter), and the new one installed!

So, I’ve been sneaking around for a few months saving money. A lot of money. Yesterday I dropped around $4000 on new appliances. All Maytag of course.

The wife has left the country and hasn’t a clue. I hope I get her kitchen put back together before she comes home…should be an interesting surprise.

First thing I got was the appliance we needed the most. I bought a new double oven-range, with a ceramic cook top…not the induction kind that needs special pans, but the flat ceramic surface with elements underneath. Looks kick-ass, has 5 burners (two of which you flip a switch and they can be 12”, 9”, or 6”) and is super easy to clean. Both ovens (a normal sized one and a smaller one) are self-cleaning.

The new stove...except it doesn't show the 5 burner top. This is from Maytag's website.

The new stove...except it doesn't show the 5 burner top. This is from Maytag's website.

Next, an over the range, vent-a-hood microwave. I ripped that nasty, noisy ugly vent-a-hood that came with the house out and put a new microwave in it’s place.

The new microwave and backsplash installed

The new microwave and backsplash installed

Then, the expensive part. I bought a double door refrigerator. Not a side-by-side fridge/freezer thing, but rather, the double doors open onto one big refrigerator space. The freezer is a large drawer underneath. It holds twice as much as our old one, uses nearly 1/3 the energy, and should last for years. Water and ice through the door of course. It’s the top-of-the-line.

The new fridge, pic from Maytag's site

The new fridge, pic from Maytag's site

The insides...our model is black, stock photo

The insides...our model is black, stock photo

Oh, and then when I dropped by the local homeowner hell to get a new back-splash (that black ceramic coated steel plate on the wall under the microwave) for the stove, the guy managed to sell me a deep freeze. Ours died last summer and I hadn’t replaced the 35 year old hand-me-down yet. This one was dented in shipping (a little pimple on the side near the bottom. I ended up paying $120 for a $268 freezer.

The microwave’s in, and the freezer’s in. The stove and refrigerator are supposed to be delivered Friday Dec 9th.

Friday

So…now it’s time to get ready for the new stove. That means cleaning around the old one. I pulled it out to work on the microwave and promptly discovered that it was installed without a stove cord/plug. The cheap SOB’s that built the house just ran a cable out of the wall and wired it right to the stove! Yeah, I guess it’ll work, but I was an electrician for years and we wouldn’t have been caught dead doing such a thing.

The Maytag guy warned me they won’t install ranges that way, and I can’t say I blame them. So, it’s time to install a plug for the range.

My old stove was installed with no cord! Just a cable out of the wall!

My old stove was installed with no cord! Just a cable out of the wall!

Turn the breaker for the range off. Do I really need to say that? Probably, I’m still stunned my can of peanuts says “FOOD ALLERGY WARNING: May contain peanuts or peanut products or may have been processed on equipment that has handled peanuts”…yeah, it’s probably necessary. Turn off the power. And just because I’m paranoid (comes from being an electrician…AND the fact that “they’re” out to get me), check for voltage before handling the cables.

The obligatory safety hint. Turn the power off...then CHECK the cable for voltage!

The obligatory safety hint. Turn the power off...then CHECK the cable for voltage!

I warned you guys that all this stuff is connected didn’t I? Well, it really is. Seriously. I promptly discovered my neutral was carrying around 40v ac to ground. That means a loose neutral cable downstream of my neutral bus…so either in my panel or the city’s connection. I fixed that too, but it involves opening things that I shouldn’t admit to opening and tightening connections that I’m not responsible for so I’ll just say the problem magically corrected itself after 30 minutes’ tracing, the timely intervention of a pair of bolt-cutters, a half-a-dozen rather creative swear words, and a bit of work.

So, a 4 square and extension, a cable clamp, some screws, and a range plug are all that’s needed.

Installing a plug...cut the hole

Installing a plug...cut the hole

Cut the cable to length and clamp it in the box.

Cut the cable to length and clamp it in the box.

Tip the box to get it in the hole.

Tip the box to get it in the hole.

Range cords take a lot of force to plug in and unplug, so make sure your box is firmly attached. In my case I drilled a few extra holes in the box to screw it down to the floor runner stud thingy (technical term).

Screw it up...ur...in...screw it in.

Screw it up...ur...in...screw it in.

Wire the plug in.

Wire the plug in.

Screw on the cover and you're done!

Screw on the cover and you're done!

Of course, 10 minutes after I finished the wiring job the Maytag guys called to tell me the stove didn’t come in…I used some of those creative swear words again…but supposedly the refrigerator is coming.

Total destruction in the kitchen…and the stove won’t come. Gad.

Fridge Delivery

I figured out the best way to install a monster refrigerator like this one. It’s really pretty simple. Give the Maytag boys a bit of money and let them do it. It’s big. It’s heavy. And it’s expensive. Plus, they brought all the fittings to hook up the water/icemaker.

I have a sliding glass door that opens from the kitchen to the backyard…and they still had to remove the doors to get it in the house.

They had to remove the doors to get it in even my patio door!

They had to remove the doors to get it in even my patio door!

Freezer drawer removed

Freezer drawer removed

It only took them about 10 minutes to get the water hooked up, get it leveled, and test it.

The Monster is in place!

The Monster is in place!

Installed...wait...something's not quite right here....

Installed...wait...something's not quite right here....

Ahhh! NOW it is done!

Ahhh! NOW it is done!

It will be sometime next week before I get the range. Ugh. The old one is gone. I wasn’t about to buy a cord for that piece ‘O cr.. ur… for that old thing, since I paid for a cord for the new one already. Anyway, I had them haul it off. I’ll do without for the weekend. (hello Dominos?).

Besides, I’m itching to try my “seared nachos” recipe…hmmm…wonder where I left that propane torch?

Update Dec 12

Aha! The range is here! Things are coming together!

I also built a pull out drawer for her pots and pans…AND added new sliders to some of the other drawers that weren’t right (gad! What a pain that was)

It slides nice and smoothly on roller-ball bearing full-extender sliders (big wampum $$).

Should be an interesting day (next week) when the wife gets home (she hasn’t a clue any of this is going on).

Getting ready to put the drawer together

Getting ready to put the drawer together

A little glue and a couple nails on the subject

A little glue and a couple nails on the subject

The completed drawer

The completed drawer

That will do the job

That will do the job

Another view

Another view

Pulled out on the sliders

Pulled out on the sliders

I can’t begin to describe the total awesome this stove is. Both ovens are complete (broiler and lower burners in each) with auto preheat…you select the temp you want digitally (say 432 degrees!) and it kicks on and preheats…telling you all the way what the temp is currently…beeps when it’s ready etc…

The bottom oven is full size…for your turkey dinner and such…the top is just right for about 99% of your other cooking…you can use both at the same time…they are self cleaning/etc.

The top is really cool…5 burners…one (the center one) is a warming eye, but the rest are full burners. The front two you flip a switch and they can be different sizes… left (9″ or 6″) or right (12″ or 9″) depending on what size pan you want to use on it. It heats up FAST and evenly.

What a pleasure to cook on! SUPER easy to clean too.

Got it in place

Got it in place

Looks pretty good

Looks pretty good

Coming together!

Coming together!

Well, other than cleaning up and putting the pots and pans away…I guess that’s it. I’m done. There’s more that needs done…floors and ceilings…but the money’s gone for now!

Y’all take care…

So…back to singing I go…’cause I’ve got tools in the kitchen…

Tools in the Kitchen (sung to “Fool for the City” by Foghat)

Goin’ to the super store, got you on my mind,
Money sure is pretty, I’ll leave it all behind,
This is my decision, I’m praying I’m done ‘fore you come home this time.

‘Cause I’ve got tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen,
Tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen.

Breathin’ all the dusty air, cuttin’ and drillin’ some,
If I can’t get it done on time, I’ll just get up and run.
I’m ready for the doghouse, ‘cause the delivery hasn’t come!

‘Cause I’ve got tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen,
Tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen.

I’m like a fish out of water, I’m just a man in a hole.
The kitchen’s a mess and the shipment’s on hold.
I ain’t no winey boy, I’m just a desperate man.
I’m gonna get it done just as fast as I can.

I’m tired of layin’ back, hangin’ around,
Waitin’ for that truck, that should be city bound.

{rippin guitar solo here}

I ain’t no winey boy, I’m just a desperate man.
I’m gonna get it done just as fast as I can.

I’ll hightail it for Main Street, step into the crowd,
Jump from a building, if I don’t do this job proud.
If she sees the mess I’ve got, I’ll be standin’ on a cloud.

‘Cause I’ve got tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen,
I’ve got tools in the kitchen, I’ve got tools in the kitchen…
I’ve got tools, (tools in the kitchen) Tools in the kitchen, (tools in the kitchen)
I’ve got tools, (tools in the kitchen) Tools in the kitchen, (tools in the kitchen)

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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