Is This What it’s Like to Camp at Fort Wilderness?

| June 9, 2008

As we enter week three of the ‘Kitchen Rehab Project’ I have to wonder if this is what camping is like? And if so it’s the closest I will ever come to it.

As I finish up the last of tonight’s dishes in the bathroom sink I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder in my own pioneering adventure – Little Townhouse on the Prairie.

In case you haven’t heard Kevin and I are in the middle of a small house project, and it’s not going well. 

We live in a modest home.  It is what they call a ‘Villa’ here in Florida – it’s a modest size and we are attached to two other homes on either side.  We own the land the house sits on and about a foot from the foundation so there is little space for planting fields of crops or letting the cows run free. 

Now picture our cozy kitchen, all of 12 feet by 10 feet, completely ripped apart for 2 weeks.  The Romans built roads faster than we are getting cabinets!!

We’re not talking about a huge HGTV make-over here.  We bought new cabinets and a new countertop – granite of course; otherwise we might as well live in a cave with Osama Bin Laden according to every home design show on TV.

The cabinets were easy, one day to remove and one day to install.  The countertops on the other hand – well let’s just say that when the kitchen is finished it is staying this way until Disney’s next Millennium Celebration.

Once the counters were in they measured for the granite – “how long will it take?” I ask hopefully.  “We will have them next Tuesday” – sweet, in just 5 days I will have new granite and my kitchen will be back together.  We can live a week without a kitchen sink and with the entire contents of our kitchen in the living/dining room I tell myself.  After all Martha Stewart did 5 months in prison right?

Tuesday arrives and we are soooo excited.  The granite guys bring in the first few pieces and set them in place…I know what the Pharaohs’ felt when the first columns were put in place in their temples.  Angels sang in my head and I felt giddie…..until I heard one of them say “Oh Shoot!!”   Except it wasn’t shoot.  My heart sank because I knew what had happened before they said anything.

The one larger piece of granite with the sink hole cracked.  Not just a small, little ‘we’ll put the cutting board over it and no one will know’ crack.  This was a split in two pieces right at the sink crack.

I called and told Kevin, who was out with his folks at the time, about the granite and that they said they could fix it and we would never know.  The phone had just landed on the receiver when he flew into the house to see what had happened.

“Don’t worry sir; you’ll never know it cracked when I get through with it.”
“I’LL KNOW!!!”  Kevin replied. 

OK – so now we’re talking about getting all new granite…and how long that will take…and you have to come pick it out….blah, blah, blah.  We then get the call “we have a piece of granite that matches, we can have it cut and install it by the end of the week.” Good, breathe, think happy thoughts, this isn’t as bad as we thought.

After 4 more days of cramming dirty dishes in the dishwasher, balancing plates on the top of unfinished cabinets and washing the coffee pot out in a very small bathroom sink our new granite arrives!!! 

They bring in the large piece for the sink first (the one that cracked last time) – it fits nicely in place (hmmm they must have used the old one for a template, they didn’t need to make any cuts this time) – I get closer to take a look and there it is, I see it plain as day, two large repaired cracks – right where the cracks were last time. Kevin quickly tells them all to stop working.  He calls the decorating place…says some things I cannot repeat here…and the workers quickly remove the broken/repaired granite.

Now, we are told that this is a brand new piece of granite that just happened to break in the same place as the other one.  Sure…OK.  Kevin then asks if they knew we didn’t want the first broken piece, what made them think we wanted the second broken piece.  I’m not sure he ever got a reply to his inquiry. 

It’s 3PM on a Friday – we need to pick out new granite but we need to be at the place by 4PM and it’s an hour’s drive.  We quickly get in the car and get there in time to pick out new granite. 

I’m not sure if you’ve ever selected granite at Mr. Slate’s quarry before but basically you have these huge slabs of granite with about an inch exposed.  It’s not really easy to get an idea of what the piece will look like from that small sample so they bring over this small crane to lift out the piece you want to look at.

While they are doing this the granite guy says to Kevin “What do you think about Uba Tuba?” 

I can tell Kevin thinks he just heard him wrong – he must have said something else – why would a grown man say ‘Uba Tuba’?

Kevin says “Excuse me” and the man repeats “What do you think of Uba Tuba?”.  Kevin looks at me and I say “He wants to know what you think of Uba Tuba” and quickly hide behind some granite to avoid the death rays shooting out of his eyes.  Kevin then says “I have no idea what you’re saying”.  “Uba Tuba, Uba Tuba” the man repeats.  Finally Kevin says “I have no idea what Uba Tuba is”. The man rubs his hand on a piece of green granite and explains this color/pattern is known as ‘Uba Tuba’.

We picked out some non-Uba Tuba looking granite and left.

Well tomorrow is the day they deliver the new granite.  I’m not sure I will be able to sleep tonight – visions of clean dishes and flat services dancing in my head.  Let’s hope the Granite Fairy pays us a visit and we can live happily every after.

Category: Disney World

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  • 3DisneyKids

    Loved this post! Made me laugh out loud. And I have uba tuba in my kitchen and it is beautiful! lol

  • daneenm

    John, you crack me up! Sorry it has been so difficult. It makes me wonder if I am dumb to keep watching for the stock to hit my ‘magic number’ so I too can redo my kitchen.

  • calypso

    Awwww…I hope the next slab is a winner! I know this has been very frustrating for both Kevin and you and hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out. (Afterall, Kevin needs somewhere to store his new Kitchenaid besides the back of the toilet!) ha,ha

  • safetymom

    Uba Tuba to you. You learn something new every day. I hope everything goes smoothly with the new countertop today.

  • disneybridein2k3

    I lost the coffee at “Little Townhouse on the Prairie” – maybe I should’ve read the warning label on your blog – too funny! So sorry for your misfortune but you tell a wonderful story. I can practically see Kevin with the installers trying to put in the repaired granite – those guys never stood a chance! What were they thinking????? Thanks for the early morning laugh – I just love you guys!

  • nwohioangela

    You have a typo in the last paragraph. At least I THINK its a typo. You wrote “I’m not *sue* I will be able to sleep tonight ” Sure looks like a Freudian slip to me!

  • pjupton

    I’m in the middle of my 4th week without a kitchen and we still don’t have cabinets. We’re hoping to have the job complete by mid-July and now we’re hoping for a better granite experience than you guys. If anything goes wrong, can I get Kevin to deal with the fabricator & installers for me?

  • cocowum

    You crack me up!!! LMAO! Ahhh, the joys of kitchen remodeling. ;) I can just imagine Kevin’s face when they tried to install the “new” (but cracked in the same place) granite. lol. Thanks for the laugh John, another great blog!

  • mommyceratops

    Oh man, it is good when you can find humor in life! I can just imagine Kevin….”Overpriced mediocre cracked granite and pretentious service make for a bad experience” Or was that the WGP review?! Was it the Robert Palmer girls installing the granite…. ;) LOL! I love you guys and hope it is all smooth and crack free today.

  • crazydisneyman

    I wish I could have been there John when you asked Kevin if he wanted to use Uba Tuba. ;-) Now that was funny. I can’t stop laughing and I am at work.

    You guys are great!

  • Madi100

    Great blog. Sorry it’s not working out the best. A lot of my friends have had problems with granite also. I’m glad we are poor and aren’t planning a remodel :)

  • LilGMom

    Oh my!!! While it isn’t funny it makes for a great story. Can’t believe that they tried to pass off the repaired granite as new granite. Ok… yes I can since I deal with contractors a lot.

    Here’s hoping you have an Uba Tuba and cracked granite free Tuesday!

  • amandamouse

    Ah Laura, I mean John I know how you feel, we had to move from Colorado just to escape home renovations. :)


  • kab407

    You both knew Bob would get you to camp someway, somehow!

    Seriously, I’ve lived thru this. Send you both prayers and kitchen pixi dust.

  • Cyrano

    Made me laugh too. Funny how ordinary people who become a tradesman think the rest of us are dummies :)

  • Snoopywoodstockus

    I know you are both ready to get this finished, but WOW that was funny.

    Thanks and keep the updates coming.

  • ladydanger

    I feel for you guys! We just had our kitchen redone and it took waaaaay longer than we expected. We started the first week of November and were told it’d be done by Christmas so we could have Christmas at home.

    It wasn’t completely finished by *St. Patrick’s Day.*

    We obviously have more done that you did (though it wasn’t a HGTV worthy remodel either!), but not 5 months’ worth! If we ever get tired of a room in our house again, we’re just moving. That’s much less traumatic!

  • checkwriter

    Two words: Stainless steel.

    I also hear that concrete is making a name for itself as a countertop material. I think they mix in some pigments to achieve that elusive “ubu tubu” effect . . . .