How to Drive a Pregnant Woman to a Sobbing, Hysterical Breakdown in Three Easy Steps
In Which I Do Not Talk About My Kitchen

In Which I Start To Think That Maybe Remodeling the Kitchen Was a Bad Idea

My apologies for the lack of an Advice Smackdown yesterday. I was too busy not talking about my kitchen to write anything.

We are still not talking about my kitchen.

(Silence. Angry, terrible silence.)

Well, since there is clearly nothing else to talk about, I suppose we can talk about my kitchen.

When we last visited my personal Land of Make Believe Kitchen Progress, I had many cabinets in my dining room, minus two base corner cabinets that were mysteriously missing, and one small upper cabinet that was all busted to shit, or something.

The two corner cabinets were located, thanks to an Amber Alert and somebody deciding to maybe go check that there delivery truck one more time.

Wednesday, 6:30 am: We are reunited with our corner cabinets, and work can now begin, as these corner cabinets are the cabinets that, of course, need to be installed first and from whom all other cabinets and blessings flow.

Or something. It was early. Either way, our cabinets were going to be installed yesterday, just one day late. The broken cabinet was not essential and LORD, I DON'T CARE ABOUT IT, JUST INSTALL SOMETHING SO I CAN GET MY CASSEROLE DISHES OFF THE TELEVISION.

So. Here is what we started with:


At first glance? Not such a bad kitchen. However, every corner cabinet was a black hole of inaccessibility and required me to fully CLIMB INTO IT if I wanted to reach something in the back. Also: saggy shelves, one too many coats of white paint, ugly-as-all-living-hell laminate countertop and peel-and-stick vinyl flooring that offends me on many levels.

So we thought, way back in May (MAAAY) that hell, let's remodel the kitchen before the baby gets here. We got a loan, picked a contractor and were promised Big Plans involving lazy susans in the corners and an honest-to-god pantry and so, so much more.

And now, in September (SEPTEMBERRRRR), our dreams are finally coming true!

Only not!

This is what was accomplished on Tuesday, The Day Everything Was Supposed To Be Done:


Well! That's quite a lot of progress! Why, I love it! Let's just call it a day.

So Wednesday officially became The Day That Everything Was Supposed To Be Done, Really, We Mean It This Time.

I came home last night and our contractor was starting to load stuff up in his van. He told me to go make myself a nice stiff drink and then we'd "talk."

I patiently reminded him that a nice stiff drink was out of the question for me, so why don't we just have that talk now so the killing could commence already.


This corner has a pylon/pillar thing, WHICH WE TOLD MANY PEOPLE ABOUT. The cabinet guy came and measured and witnessed the presence of this pylon and assured us that the pylon was not a problem, this lazy susan cabinet would fit.

This cabinet does not fit. Thus, one side of the kitchen, the side with our sink, dishwasher and my glorious, glorious pantry, cannot be completed.


The rest looks very nice, except for the old ugly countertop. But I suppose I should be grateful the contractors didn't sledgehammer it into oblivion since GOD ONLY KNOWS when the rest of the cabinets will be done and the lovely new countertop will arrive, especially since (AND I AM JUST GUESSING HERE) we're probably going to have a frillion problems with THAT too and perhaps the contractors will be able to give me tips on breastfeeding and proper swaddling techniques.

Living room? Still in shambles.


Diana is coming to visit me this weekend and I don't think this is going to work so well. Nobody wants to sleep in a room where there is an actual real chance of getting crushed to death by cans of Campbell's soup and a fondue pot.

I'd offer her the crib, but there's kind of a sink issue going on in there.





Looks beautiful so far! Good luck....let your contractor know I am praying for him, I think he needs all the prayers he can get...he he.


Ah yes, the Fondue Pot of Death. I think there are worse ways to die, though. Are you doing those deep cleansing breaths?

In through the nose...out through the mouth.

At least you're getting new cabinets; my only solution for mine (right now) is a nice coat of paint. But hey, my appliances all color-coordinate! Good luck sweetie.


Dont fret, sinks are all the rage now in nurseries, didnt you know? You're just hip.


We're building a house, and have the same exact column in the corner of our kitchen. No lazy susan for me, either. I hope for all their sakes that your contractors get their shit together and stop tempting the fates of the Angry Pregnant Hormones.


One of these days I will locate and present to you the photos of my house being moved -- yes, the ENTIRE HOUSE AND ALL IT'S CONTENTS -- further back on our property while I was 7 1/2 months pregnant.

I know your pain. All will be fine. Deep breathing and since no libations allowed, I recommend lots more pudding.


you know, maybe hiring IKEA as your contractor wasn't such a good idea... *ducks* Now you have me thinking about cheee fondue... mmm, cheeeeese...


We did this a while back, and survived. We are still married, and the cabinets are still hanging on the walls. I only say this to give you hope, not to gloat, really ... Also words cannot express how much you make me laugh. I'd have to use scientific notation. You rule.


Dude, I can totally feel you. We started our renovation project in mid June. It is now mid September, one month AFTER the project was to be completed. And we're STILL not done. My house is buried in drywall dust, construction debris and cat hair. It sucks the big one. But I don't have a baby on the way.

Hang in there girl and keep making noise. That's the only thing contractors respond to, unless you can bring yourself to cry in front of them. That might help.


At the risk of a giant hand coming through my computer screen and strangling me, I must ask, why are you doing this now?

Why not just chill (mygodiamsoooowhite) and count down the days until you can finally have a glass of red wine?

Again, good luck and take care, my wife just got a pregnancy toothache. That's right, a pregnancyfriggintoothache.


Everything sucks, yes, but that WCW knockoff poem of yours was absolutely the best thing ever.

Johnny Sapphire

My heart, it bleeds for you.




Aw baby. I feel your pain. Contractors lie, FYI. Even if you met them at Church. They all lie.

We are trying to finish the house we built (all by ourselves) so that we can sell it this month and begin AGAIN on another house that we are building by contractors, no subs, no electricians, no plumbers. Just the hubby and me.

Oh, did I mention I'm 9.5 weeks pregnant? This party has just started.


*sigh* you make me feel just a bit better about the old-as-my-baby master bath remodeling project going on in my house. Which we're doing ourselves. Which, um, you should pick a bathroom as your first major remodeling project. Plumbing. Nightmare.


Sweet baby jesus. I have no words.

And we start our kitchen remodeling project in the next few weeks. Our guy is bringing drawings on Friday. I will make him sign deadlines in blood.


Your kitchen does look lovely though -- nice cabinets.
Like the other Lori above, we are remodelling our bathroom -- we thought we'd do it before we had baby #2. (it's the only bathroom with a shower in the entire house.) the designer we hired promised 3 weeks.
It's been about 2.5 months, I think.
It involved dealing with a leaking hillside issue, moving plumbing around, drilling into the concrete foundation, adding electriciy (there were no outlets) --
anyway it's usable now -- although all the workers appear to have abandoned us and we need to finish the painting, electrical, and everything else ourselves.
sigh. and if I am relying on my husband, I'm not sure if it's going to get done before Dec, when we have the baby.


I feel your pain.
When I was pregnant with fetuses 1 & 2 ,and then baby 1 we were in the midst of a 4 YEAR remodel of a 100 yr old house which hadn't had ANYTHING done to it since the '20s. New electrical, new plumbing, sheetrock, piers, beams, kitchen, floors, doors.....the list goes on and on, practically a whole damn new house....but not. We had been doing it ourselves for the most part, but then were put under time crunch (6 wks) to get it finished and on the market so hubs could be transferred. I had ZERO interest in moving twice, so kick it into high gear we did. Showered in the back yard for at least 2 weeks, climbed over mounds of furniture covered with tarps , and lived my life with crappy contractor after crappy contractor traipsing through my shit for friggin' ever. It got done, sold in record time, and I was so sad that it hadn't looked like that when we lived there...
Deep breaths, it will be ok.


I think this is pretty common. However, keep in mind, the only other alternative is Doing It Yourself. And, if you're anything like my beloved and me, then you would have a new kitchen and no marriage.

At least you still like Jason.


I am sure you have UBER email from yesterday but mine isn't SPAM... read it, it involves DISCOUNTS from Coach and now added bonus Lidnt chocolate!


Well, if they can actually give you tips on breastfeeding and proper swaddling techniques that might be handy!
I know this isn't the time for humor - but good God what did you do to piss off the giver of good karma?


Ok, LOVE the tribute to William Carlos Williams. A college friend and I STILL jokingly quote the original to each other when reminicent of the worst Poetry class ever inflicted on seniors desperate to graduate before they die


hello! i am a lurker, but i understand your kitchen pain. we had a similar problem with our kitchen remodel. our corner base cabinet was damaged upon arrival (the first box the installer opened). you didn't order kraftmaid cabinets did you? or should i say crapmaid? that is what we call them. good luck! we hope to have our kitchen completed in 2 weeks. yes, the job that was supposed to take 1 week has taken 3 months!


Yes, well... your wall colors are beautiful!! Someday you'll look back and laugh. A very, very long time from now...


For the love of god, someone get the pregnant chick a RELIABLE contractor. STAT!

Lisa Ann

At least you have an excuse for not cooking!


Oh, honnneeey....I am not going to offer any stories or sage advice, just a giant hug! This would have reduced me to a blithering ball of tears in my last month of pregnancy. I am so sorry!

Real Girl

But the new kitchen cabinets do look nice! Especially that new accessible corner! And who wants Susan anyway, that lazy bitch?

Lazy Sue'll get there. Pantry will join. Sink will vanish from nursery. Envision it...

suzanna danna

I could come visit and sit in the corner of your kitchen and voila! Lazy Susan. Complete with Sacasm and the ability to make Southern food.

Much loave.


at least the ironing board isn't giving you problems that's a plus!


Hi Amy- So I was totally going to email you this just as soon as I got home from my trip to San Francisco over the weekend (don't worry, you don't know me, I just read your blog). I don't know how the time passed me by...oh yeah, they're making me do real work at work these days. Anyways, on my plane ride back from Oakland, the flight attendent called out "Let's give a happy birthday shout out to ________" (sorry I wasn't paying attention at this point. Did you know you can watch the food network on JetBlue?) "This is a message from you band, CARBON LEAF!" Now, the funny thing is, I am not all that familiar with this band so I had no clue what they looked like. All I knew is there were these hipster looking guys waiting for their flight to DC with me and I thought to myself "God Damn, these people must NOT be from DC. No good looking guys really reside in DC" (I tend to romantisize my homeland of CA as being superior to all other places). So, to make a long story short, carbon leaf was on my plane and that's that. They fly coach for sure.


I have enjoyed your website.
I know you're pregnant. Big news. Part of your life. Important to share. Scary, overwhelming, hormonal.

However, have you been watching the news? I have a hard time being empathetic with your "kitchen struggles" when people are homeless.

I don't mean to be sarcastic. Just honest.


If you want? I will totally register for a finished kitchen for you. It seems to work...people will buy anything if it's on a list!


At least the little one isn't here yet... our baby is allergic to everything (and I mean EVERYTHING -- vegetables, meats, fruits, ect) and our dishwasher committed suicide last week.

Right now we are trying to hook the new one up (we've been without for 9 days!) and my husband told me to take a "break."

Good marriage, yes. Do-it-yourselfer, yes. Total control freak, yes. How anyone hires a contractor and doesn't murder them is beyond me.


jesus, mary and joseph, that's quite the cluster. see, because i'm building an actual HOUSE and it's not that much hassle. nowhere near. also, the cabinets from which you cannot retrieve anything, i just posted a pic on my blog of one such cabinet and know exactly and precisely from where you come on that issue. only i, wisely, am moving AWAY from said cabinet rather than trying to rebuild it. you should have done so too.

i wish you new cabinets long before baby comes!


maybe that sink could work as a nice handy bassinet thinger for the babalah when he first comes home. you know, with some snuggly blankets to cushion it, of course.
my mom was a waitress--a very financially challenged waitress, poor girl--when she first had me, and she swears she took a drawer out of her nightstand and had me sleep in it.
and i turned out mostly fine.


funny, my living room looked like that after thew baby was born...

your blog is awesome.. i am hooked!

S. Faolan Wolf

Will you be getting new appliances to match those gorgeous cabinets now? I supposed to start running away fast because I asked a question you don't want to think about right now?


Come on, Christen, that's not fair. Do you honestly think that Amalah views her frustrations in her kitchen in even the same league as those who are suffering from the hurricane?

I too have a personal blog and haven't written about the hurricane. Does it mean that in "real" life I don't read the news non-stop? Does it mean that I haven't checked in with loved ones or donated money? No, it doesn't.

Some of us don't want to co-opt a tragedy for blog fodder, or we have no words to describe how crazy sad it all is, or haven't written about it for a million other reasons that are valid and honest.

Why would you come to, knowing that it tends to be about Amalah's life, when that's not what you want to read about?


I agree Amylou. It's been emotionally draining to read and watch news about the hurricane and the death and the devastation and the finger pointing day in and day out. There's nothing wrong with a little humor (albeit at Amalah's expense) to lighten things up.


Amen, Amylou! I could not concur more heartily. Perhaps Christen could click on the link to Snarkywood, of which amalah is such an integral part, and see the good that has been done from there.
Reading about amalah's domestic disasters is a welcome respite from reading about Katrina's.


Points well taken.

Perhaps I was harsh. I believe it's hard when we're all overwhelmed with the tragedy to put things in perspective.

Apologies offered.

Amalah's website is a place for respite from the sadness.


May I just applaud your choice in hiring someone to do the work because my husband and I tried to do it all ourselves and oh my GOD we've tried to kill each other so many times, its unfuckingbelievable that it hasn't stuck yet.


OMG, OJ almost shot out my nose when I saw that sink! I'm very curious, BUT I won't ask! Do you have a bottle of wine packed with your hospital stuff so you can down that thing as soon as babalah comes out? You poor thing you.


Oh... My. Due to a BAAAD contractor (who was also the landlord. How handy is that that?! HA HA HA can you hear my spiteful rage echoing through each painful barking laugh?) I lived like that for almost a year. I thought I was slowly going nuts, but when we moved and I had the ability to think and string coherent sentences together, we just blamed it on the landlord.



I love you even MORE!


As you now know, this is the missing chapter in most pregnancy books: Chapter 10 - Moving House/Building House/Ripping the Crap out of the Kitchen Just Before/Just After/During Giving Birth to a Baby.

Baby 1 I did it right: moved house at six months, lay back on the first comfy item to be put into new house and directed burly blokes. Babies 2&3 (simultaneous) husband got urgent call to major job promotion and I packed house with two week old twins plus 4yo, lived in boxes for a week inold house while owners of new house fucked around delaying settlement, then moved house and got twin breastfeeding advice from five burly removalists, then lived in boxes for six months until beloved friend offered to help my weeping self unpack. Here's hoping your beloved friends don't take so long to offer same!

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