Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Tell Me No

If I could pinpoint the reason for any success (however small) I've enjoyed throughout my life, I would have to say it's happened most often when someone told me I couldn't do something I wanted to do.

Whether it was a choice of major in college or the "you'll be back in a month" that I heard as I packed up my car for California (almost 15 years ago), there's something a little thrilling about hearing the word "no" and doing it anyway. (And here I give my daughter a hard time for that very thing.)

Our kitchen is no exception. When I saw the estimate from a contractor for things that I thought I could handle myself, I was given every excuse in the book for why it couldn't be done. When I saw the amount of money they wanted for cabinet demolition and haul away, I asked "couldn't we donate the good cabinets to someone and have them pull them out?"

"No, no one will want to do that."

Apparently "no one" means like 50 people.

I put an ad on Craigslist for free cabinets, instructing readers that they must provide own professional contractor. I also offered up our 15-year-old double oven and four-year-old carpet. I couldn't keep up with the response! Larry, a contractor, emailed me first and told me he does remodeling for apartments and such and would love to come get them.

I had Jeff call him to see how crazy he sounded (come on, it's Craigslist!) and they discussed the job. All seemed good to go. Another guy wanted our double oven, so Jeff called him too.

Saturday morning, Greg the oven guy shows up. As I open the door to greet him, I see his friend (the one with the truck) and instantly recognize him. We used to work together! So they came in, grabbed the appliance, and went on their way.

Sunday, Larry the contractor arrives in a huge truck, ready to rock. Thankfully Jeff and his dad were there to help -- it was a BIG job. But I knew all would go well when I overheard Larry say, "Let's keep the mess to a minimum."

Now I do realize the story could have taken a drastic turn and I could be on the news right now as the victim of a Craigslist scam... or worse. But I took extra steps to ensure we weren't in danger. Ladies, NEVER let someone in without at least one (I would say more) back up ADULTS in the house. Get references from those entering your home and always have phone conversations to determine if something doesn't feel "right." I also took lots of pics of the job, not only to see the difference in the kitchen, but to have photos of the contractor if, God forbid, something went wrong. I may be paranoid but it made me feel better by documenting it. Sites like Craigslist can be an amazing tool if you practice common sense and safety.

But the real moral of the story is... When I ask for what I want, you may tell me it's "no," But to me? It's ON!

Some photos of the transition...

Our kitchen before...
After detecting a leak...

During mold removal...

After mold removal...

Jeff and Papa get the job started...

Ready for tile demo and new cabinets/floors and $1000 still in our pockets!

(Psst: there's still 200 feet of carpet, a stove top and built-in microwave up for grabs.)