I got it into my head to do some home improvement today. My wife and I have figured out the schedule for the bathroom and expect to have all major renovations completed by Martin Luther King weekend and to repaint during Spring Break. That sound you hear is God laughing; longtime readers remember how long tiling the bathroom took.
I started off with simple stuff:
I really, really tried to get my son to ask for either the Captain America’s shield or Mjolnir variation of this nightlight, but he wasn’t having it; it was Iron Man’s hand or nothing. The sticker was actually the biggest pain in the butt on this one; additional fun was had upon realizing someone had stolen the hardware out of the particular box we’d purchased, and additional additional fun was had upon realizing that the two places in the back where you mount the screws are different sizes, one far too small for any other screw I had, so I had to get creative with a nail. Whatever, it’s solidly attached and not going anywhere unless we want it to (the batteries will need changing eventually) and the kid loves it so screw you, nail.
Then a minor improvement to the bathroom:
It would have made sense to complete all the work before adding things like towel racks, but I’d gotten tired of having to walk across the bathroom to get my towel when I invariably forgot to put it on top of the toilet tank before my shower. This was actually a piece of cake to install; they include a paper template that you can attach to the wall with painter’s tape to make sure you drill the holes in the right places, and the design is pretty forgiving of minor mistakes anyway. This is also rock-solid and not going anywhere.
On to the day’s big project. Our microwave is from 1992. It came with the house. It still cooked food, which is, after all, the primary purpose of a microwave, but the light underneath it had gone bad (not the bulb, the light itself had died) and the button to make the fan work was getting increasingly more difficult to deal with, and being from 1992 it didn’t have a turntable, so it was time for an upgrade.
It would have cost an additional $114 to have them install. “Scoff!” I scoffed. “I retiled my bathroom! I put a stereo into my car! I can do this!”
Step the first: tear out the old microwave. This took a bit of time, not because it was difficult but because we wanted to make sure that at no point did the microwave fall out of its spot in the cabinets, so we had to make absolutely sure we knew where all the appropriate screws were and what they’d loosen before we pulled them off– because, see, if the microwave ever falls, it lands on our countertop range, which is glass, and then we’re out $1300 for a new one. So we gotta be careful.
I failed to get a picture of the old microwave in situ. Here’s what the hole looked like, with a few holes bashed in the drywall behind it to make sure I knew where the studs were:
At this point there was a pause, to very carefully read and understand everything and use the templates they gave us and make sure everything was going to work properly. The actual installation itself wasn’t any more complicated than drilling a couple of holes and mounting the wall bracket against the back wall; not a big deal.
Take a look at that picture of the hole up there. See that piece of trim running horizontally underneath the cabinets? That was causing us some problems, as the lag bolts they gave us to mount the microwave under the cabinets weren’t quite long enough. So Dad and I ran out to Lowe’s to come up with a better solution. We came up with something we both thought would work and came back, ready to have a working microwave ten minutes later.
The problem we hadn’t noticed: the template for the back of the microwave fit perfectly on the back wall. We knew that the trim was going to cause problems and bought appropriate bolts. It didn’t hit us until trying to mount the thing that we couldn’t actually install it flush because the template against the wall extended up higher than the trim. So the microwave was at maybe a 20 degree tilt forward, meaning that the only way I was going to get it to hold in place was with bungee cord.
The trim had to come out.
I’ll spare you the details; there was lots of consternation about whether the trim in any way represented structure (don’t think so; at this point really hope not) and how best to get it out without noticeably damaging the cabinets around it. The thing was screwed in place in some really weird ways and getting it out required some creative use of my dremel and the new drill bits I’d bought to install the towel rack. (Yes, I was at the hardware store twice today.) But eventually it came out and as of right now, an hour or so later, the microwave hasn’t pulled all of our cabinets out of the ceiling yet, so I think it’s installed properly. The fan ducting even lined up right, although the original owners installed the duct backwards so I need to go in tomorrow and retape everything. But we have a working microwave again!
Books of 2014 post tomorrow, I swear.