Bud, my Dad, was a man who always let you know what was on his mind. Even when you didn’t want to know. He was a man who liked things done his way, or at least the way he would do them. This put us at odds, at times, and he would often end up describing my efforts as doing things “ass backwards”. “Meaning?” I would question just to annoy him, “You do things the hard way. Like walking into a room backwards.” I was never really sure what my ass had to do with it, but years later, I got his analogy. And Bud, if you were looking down when we renovated the kitchen a few years back you would have crowned me the Queen of Ass Backwards Land!
I need to preference this story by saying “It wasn’t my fault” (a claim Bud would never accept. If you were even standing near a problem – you owned it). But in this case, it really wasn’t my fault. About five years ago, we were enjoying a lovely Sunday in late August on a friend’s boat, when my cell phone rang. I heard my youngest son use words like “broken pipe” and “wet floor” and handed the cell to my husband. He listened and then told him where the main water shutoff valve was and handed the phone back to me. He didn’t seem upset, so I sat back to finish my glass of wine. In retrospect, I should have chugged the bottle.
When we finally returned home several hours later, most of our second floor bathroom was in our first floor kitchen…..and my son was watching TV. To this day, the actions that lead to this near catastrophic event are unclear. But the chaos that followed included; trash cans, shovels, crowbars, mops, buckets and cursing. The latter part being my contribution. Every one of my white cabinets was filled with water, the wall separating the kitchen and powder room was swollen to twice its normal size. The wooden floors had started to buckle. We all spent that Sunday night bagging up the kitchen ceiling which was now our kitchen floor. We opened the walls to let some of the water out. My husband removed the wainscot paneling we had just installed and I bagged up all of the debris. In the morning, I called the insurance company and was told that our policy included 24/7 damage clean-up and that I should have called them first. Ass backwards.
In the daylight, everything looked worse. The only things left untouched were the refrigerator and the TV that sat on top of it. As I glanced heartbroken around the empty shell that once was my kitchen, I looked up at the news where they were reporting that Katrina’s storm surge had breached the levies and New Orleans was all but gone. Perspective can heal a heart quickly.
As I said, my cabinets were white and my appliances matched. I had always wanted stainless steel appliances so maybe this would be the time to change. But the insurance contractor anointed my current stove, refrigerator and dishwasher as “excluded” from damaged goods and did not include replacing them in the claim. Since two of them were newer, we decided not to “challenge” his decision. (The fact that I did not research our rights with the insurance company until well after the renovation was completed was big time – Ass Backwards.)
But continuing……We decided to throw some of our own money into the remodel and upgraded to high oak cabinets with crown molding and a unique “chocolate cranberry” granite countertop that we hand selected from a stone yard. Once completed, I was thrilled. And besides my scheduling the cabinets to go in before the new floor was installed, I thought things were going very well. Right up until I told my very patient husband that I had always wanted a center island. “Why didn't you say that before they put the counter top in? We will never be able to match that granite! However, he came up with a design that used the remaining tiles from the backsplash as a top for the island while chiding me on my inability to make decisions in a logical manner. I’ve heard. Ass backwards.
I thought of all of this recently as my husband was installing my new dishwasher. I again (regretfully) went with white to keep with the color scheme of the other appliances. “You know”, he said sensing my disappointment. “You could have picked out a stainless steel dishwasher and just caught up as we replaced the other appliances.” He was with me at the store, why didn’t he mention this then? “You are now in an appliance replacement cycle that is totally out of sync with what you want!”….. I saw his mouth moving, but I swear I heard Bud saying, “You do things the hard way, it’s like walking into a room backwards”. Ass backwards, I’m sure. I hear you, Bud. I hear you.