On the afternoon that the cabinets and built-ins were delivered, I was so excited. I ran through the house, snapping pictures of all the woodwork propped against walls and laying on the floors. I beamed with pride as I identified my living room mantle and the utility room cabinetry. I skipped through the unfinished pieces and tried to imagine where everything was going to fit.
The next morning, I was showing the photos to my mother on my phone. There was a photo of one of my living room bookcases propped on its side. It was then that I first noticed a vertical support beam down the center of my bookcase.
“Hold on a minute! That’s not supposed to be there! It’s not that way on my plans! That middle bar is going to disrupt the flow of my shelves!!!!” I flung my massive sheets of house plans across mom’s kitchen table as I sought to prove myself right. “See?!!!! No center bar. They messed up! I gotta call Dominick!!” In my panicky state of mind, and on my itty-bitty phone, it actually looked like I would have all of twelve inches on either side of the center bar to display my bookshelf items. And twelve or so inches simply was not gonna do!!!
I decided it was best not to call Dominick and tell him my dilemma, since I was already determined to drive out to the site and size it all up again. That way, I could show him exactly what I didn’t like about my bookshelves. And, with a small moment of clarity, I also knew that my builder is too much like me. Had I called him and said, “I’ll be there in 30 to talk about that center beam on the bookcase,” he would have stewed and worried until I arrived, at which point we would have both been so frazzled that we would have been absolutely no good to each other. Instead, I dropped Vic off at school and headed south to my new home site unannounced.
When I walked in, Dominick was tied up with one of the trim carpenters, so I marched on over to the bookcases and proceeded to size them up. Dominick later would tell me that he saw the look on my face and immediately said, “Oh, Jesus, help me through this one!” My mom remarked that, “At least he knew who to go to!”
While sizing up my bookcases, I chastised myself for worrying. I stood there, eyeball to wood beam, looking at the edge of one of my bookcases which easily stood five feet off the ground with the whole unit laying on its side. On. Its. Side!!!! Each shelf on the sides of the center beam was about 2½ feet wide. So much for my piddly little twelve inches theory. In fact, the bookcases are so wide that they HAVE to have the center beam for support. Once Dominick explained all that to me, I was okay, but I had unintentionally scared him well enough. I believe we call that, “my bad.” 😉
My builder got me back the next week. We were watching the stucco crew install my front porch columns when Dominick asked how I liked my doorknob. I eagerly looked at the front door and thought I spied something [cough, sputter] gold. He said, “Oh, come over here. You can see it better on this door.” We walked into the house and he led me to the back door where my fears were confirmed as I laid eyes on yet another plain, round, brass doorknob. I stared at it in disbelief, thinking that it was so unlike my builder to not let me pick something so prominently seen. I tried to be genteel about it as I stammered my inquiry: “Ohhh. Um…are they all going to be, you know, gold??”
He couldn’t hold it in any longer…he doubled over with laughter and staggered a few steps as he explained the concept of construction locks to me. (For those of you who are clueless like me, construction locks are temporary doorknobs that are installed once any remotely-movable items of value are added to the home. They are removed when the permanent, pretty knobs are ready to be installed.) The best part was when he said, “I KNEW you would have that reaction!!! I could have bet money on it!!!!”
And then I threw my head back and yelled, “Oh, thank GOD those are not my doorknobs!!!”
Here’s a little kitchen preview while we wait for the painters to come in and stain all these cabinets that I can’t reach.