Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Skynet cooks and cleans for me

Lots of blogging in my head lately, very little of it making it through my fingers to the keyboard. Life is good and fairly dull overall. Good dull! Lots of domesticity.

Speaking of which, the dishwasher has been successfully installed! I'm quite proud of it, actually. The various tasks were exactly the opposite levels of difficulty I'd anticipated. I was very nervous about wiring the thing, but that turned out to be the easiest part. The few carpentry skills I have (plus some borrowed tools and the stock pieces we bought) served me well for building the counter, as did my improvisational approach from a decade of fixing props on the fly in low-budget theater (no hot glue was involved, but shelf brackets are my friends!).

We're not crazy about our existing countertops, and were also amazed to discover how many variations on that brown-ish speckled pattern there are at Home Depot, so rather than try to match something we don't like anyway, we went in the direction we'll ultimately head in if we ever decide to redo the whole kitchen properly. Instead of looking like Frankencounter like I thought it would, the new section feels of a piece with the dishwasher, making it look like a "normal" (in my worldview) appliance with its own skin.

Which leaves us with the plumbing, which I foolishly thought would be the easy part. Even the simple task of attaching the water line became stressful when I discovered that the hot water valve to our kitchen sink doesn't close completely and had to race to finish before the small container I had catching the drip filled up, while trying not to burn my fingers too badly. Then it turned out our drain pipe was extremely bendy, made up of many pieces of copper pipe, at many different angles. The first piece out of the sink was only a couple of inches long, and was followed by a curved piece. Dishwasher "tailpiece" attachments only come in one size that I could find. You can trim the bottom easily enough, but the piece where the dishwasher's hose attaches was already too far down from the top for my drain to accommodate in its odd configuration. So off came the second piece of pipe. And then the third. Much sweating and frustration and mild panic under the sink ensued, and in the end, I cobbled together out of bendy-straw-like PVC pipe and duct tape a contraption that looks like something the A-Team would use to shoot non-lethal projectiles at bad guys. It's on the list to replace eventually, but it works for now.

(The crooked outlet, for the record, was like that when we moved in - not my doing at all!)

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. The entrance to the kitchen is a little tight now, but that had been almost totally unused space before, so opening up the actual working part of the room is a worthwhile trade-off to have made. I love having the extra counter space, and shelf/hanging space above, and everything feels a little brighter. Oh, and it washes dishes too! I'm never satisfied, of course, and I want the dishwasher to basically be magical. I don't understand why some things dry nicely and others (made of the same material and just inches away) don't, and I'd really like it if it could teleport the clean dishes away to the cabinet when it finished with them. Is that so much to ask? But no, I love it, and I can never live without one ever again.

The weekend of the dishwasher turned out to be a big one for our kitchen all around, as it was also Boy's birthday. I'd made bread a few weeks earlier, which prompted him to declare that we should get a bread machine. I was skeptical for no logical reason, and said I could just make bread more often. But then it got really hot and every time I thought about doing it I didn't want to take the time or run the oven, and he hadn't really talked about wanting anything else, so it seemed like the perfect birthday present. And it's really kind of awesome. It still takes hours for dough to rise and what-not, but it's all automatic. You dump in the ingredients and walk away. I've used it once, but mostly it's Boy's toy and he keeps trying new recipes and I keep getting to eat them. It's a win-win! The machine has a Cylon-esque look about it, so in keeping with the theme of Colonel Tigh, Boy named it Number Six. Because it has a bun in the oven.