Thursday, June 22, 2006

progress masquerades as chaos

The theatuh
Oh, vey! Rehearsal was 3 hours on my feet last night, some of it in heels, which my Dansko-pampered feet aren't at all used to. After a night's sleep, they still don't feel right! But the good news is I'm beginning to have the teensiest glimmer of hope that I might just be able to get through all this tap dancing without being a noticeable disgrace. Woo hoo!

Contractor wrap-up
The contractor finished up yesterday, hanging and mudding the drywall (it's green because it's a special moisture-resistant type) and helping me think about a variety of decisions yet to be made. Rich showed me what's left to be done with mudding, caulking and painting, and advised me where to buy the paint and whose advice to take about the best mold and moisture resistant products for a kitchen wall. The electrical subcontractor came in and put in the wiring for the undercabinet lights. And then off they went, after first tearing down the plastic "wall" they'd hung to keep the mess out of the rest of the house, sweeping up, and removing the paper taped to the wooden floor leading outdoors. These Peachtree Builders guys are great, and I told them I would say so on my blog, so this one's for you, Rich!

So, here's the new sink! It's an undermount, so the granite will cover everything that looks like a rim in the picture. We liked it because it's a heavy gauge stainless steel (less prone to denting), and I love the grill inserts, which will provide a strong, flat surface for pots to sit on. One of the stopper baskets is extra-deep so when I'm cooking away, cleaning lots of veggies and other more disgusting stuff, I won't have to stop often to dump it out of the basket. And we got the brushed finish so it won't need to be wiped out after every use and the inevitable scratches just don't matter as much as they would have if we'd gotten the mirror polish finish. And that's about all you can say about a sink, I think!

The faucet, on the other hand, is worth rhapsodizing about. We've never had a good quality faucet, and this one from Grohe (left) is just off the scale. The features that led us to choose it are the hands-free handle that can be operated easily with just a touch of the wrist (no more cleaning off chicken fat from the faucet handles!) and the pull-out sprayer. The salesperson demonstrated how some pull-out sprayers are positioned in such a way that you tend to pull them out from the top and then turn them toward the sink. The one at right might be an example of that. The one we purchased is just naturally grasped in the spraying position. And it has two settings, one for spray and one for stream. And, as you can see, it's really tall! I decided I wanted a shiny one, so we have a satin finish in the sink and all shiny hardware. I think it's going to look wonderful.

A dilemma
But here's a dilemma for you. We went to a local kitchen & bath place to investigate fixtures, and the salesperson was very helpful, convincing us that you skimp on other things, but not on your kitchen faucet. She had this exact model installed in her kitchen, and she demonstrated why. But the price they were selling it for was actually above MSRP! We saved, believe it or not, $420 by buying it in an Ebay auction. So, it feels a little like we used her ... but honestly, how can you justify buying anything at those prices? I don't feel great about it, but I don't know what else we could have done. It's easy to say, "They need to lower their prices," but they have this beautiful showroom that we could walk around in and try things, and they pay salespeople who are knowledgeable and take time to talk with you (unlike their competitors), so obviously they can't compete on price. But I don't have hundreds of dollars to toss around willy-nilly. It's an uncomfortable position to be in. What do you think?

With a kitchen like this, it's going to be a long while before I can participate in Sweetnicks' ARF Tuesday. Why don't you substitute for me? What is it, you say? Well, let's let Cate speak for herself:
"Simple. Just my little way of keeping healthier eating in check. Every Tuesday, food bloggers who made a recipe that includes an ARF (Antioxidant Rich Food), fruit, veggie or any combination of the three can be included in my ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday evening round-up. The recipe doesn't have to have been made that day. Just e-mail me your permalink by 8 pm EST on Tuesday to be included, and post a link to my site in your post on your site, so your readers can get a chance to check out the round-up as well. All designed to keep us eating healthy and inspire us with new recipes and ideas."

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