Is this our last anniversary?
The Sunday Column
On March 31, 2020, my wife and I will be married for 58 years — if we make it. We are presently experiencing one of the most difficult times that can occur to married couples, we are remodeling our kitchen.
During the first six years of our marriage, we moved 13 times, including four times across country. These moves were not courtesy of United Van Lines but rather put your stuff in cardboard boxes and try to jam everything in the back seat of your car, which was hooked to a small overloaded utility trailer.
No, we were not running from the law — the bulk of the moves were courtesy of my Uncle Sam and the U.S. Army, who could never seem to decide where they wanted me. We moved so much my wife and I slept in a box in the utility trailer for two months just in case we had to relocate in the middle of the night.
While most people bought dinner and silverware in services of eight or 12, we bought ours in sets of two. We found it easier to pack, and we never were anywhere long enough to make friends anyway.
Anyone who can put up with that instability for six years can pretty much handle anything and, for the most part, we did well over the next 52 years, which included going through the stress of building a new home and remodeling our kitchen once since moving in.
However, I was younger then.
Maybe it is because I am older or maybe it is because a new refrigerator today cost more than our first new car years ago.
All I know for sure is that remodeling your kitchen at my age is like trying to pet a porcupine — no matter how careful you are, you are going to get stuck multiple times.
For those of you considering a kitchen makeover, let me give you a hint in the cost department. A rough estimate can be based on the price of your home. If you are planning to remodel your kitchen in a home that you have lived in for more than 20 years, chances are it is going to cost you more than your house originally cost. Don’t laugh, that’s no joke.
I have learned that husbands and wives look at a kitchen remodel quite differently.
Wives will be all giggly and happy like a high school teenager going to her first dance as she lugs home samples of cabinet finishes, counter tops, flooring and paints for the walls and ceiling, all while the husband has the perpetual strong smell of burning money in his nostrils.
A good friend of mine went through a kitchen remodel several years ago, and he told me, “It was the closest we every came to getting a divorce. The only reason we didn’t get divorced was everyone thinks my wife is wonderful so I would have been blamed for the break-up and chances are she would have got the house with the new kitchen and I would have got stuck with the bill. It was a no-brainer, I had to stay and finish the kitchen.”
You are in for your first real shock when you realize that appliance manufacturers have changed standard dimensions. So, if you are planning on painting your cabinets and updating your appliances, think again. Refrigerators are higher and deeper than your present model. The only way to get your new refrigerator into your old kitchen space is to get a running start and hope the overhead cabinet breaks away cleanly. Also, over-the-range microwaves, which originally were about the size of a large breadbox, are now the size of a small bread truck. Chances are good that if your microwave and your refrigerator face each other across the kitchen, you may not be able to open both doors at the same time.
I suggest any young couple wanting to get married first put in a kitchen together. That will tell them a lot about their ability to live together.
Also, I would put off the honeymoon until after the kitchen remodel.
Trust me you will need a vacation.
John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville, which presently is filled with various paint, tile and cabinet samples, catalogs and home decorating magazines showing deluxe kitchens normally only found in places like the Trump Towers. (John and Sandy Kasun and their four-legged child, Abbey, want to wish all of their readers the blessed and healthiest Christmas and New Year.)