Remodeling the Kitchen During a Pandemic


It all started with the mystery wet spot in the carpet next to the kitchen. It was about 4 inches in diameter and had no apparent source.


On May 2, a post on Reddit’s home improvement sub led me to check under the dishwasher. I found water steadily dripping from one side of the dishwasher because an $18 valve had been leaking.

The water inlet valve

We removed the subfloor under the dishwasher and replaced it with plywood. I replaced the valve and began to wonder how extensive the damage had been. I imagined there was an under-floor stream that went from the dishwasher directly across the kitchen to the wet spot in the carpet. It was obvious that we would probably have to remove all of the wood laminate flooring but we had been planning that for some time anyway.

The river under the floor highlighted in blue. The original wet spot is circled in red.

After some rudimentary attempts to facilitate drying, on May 26 I posted on Reddit asking what else I should (or could) do. One helpful user told me to call my homeowners insurance company. This advice changed our lives.


Our insurance claim was accepted on June 9 and two weeks later our kitchen was entirely enclosed in plastic with dryers and dehumidifiers running 24 hours a day. Everything had been torn out including the floor, subfloor and all the cabinetry. We had to move the contents of our kitchen and dining room to the nearby family room.

We packed most of the contents of the kitchen and dining room into our family room.

The temperature inside the house peaked at 93º despite the “bubble” surrounding the dryers. This went on through the rest of the month.

Dehumidifiers and dryers. The kitchen was over 90º at night.


After everything was dry, negotiations between contractor and insurance company stretched over three frustrating weeks. Our original estimator left the contractor company shortly after our project began and the new estimator struggled with the regimented process required by the insurance company. On July 23, we signed a contract to have our kitchen rebuilt from floor to ceiling and it seemed like we would soon be done eating take-out on the picnic table on the deck outside and washing dishes in the laundry room.


Because the moisture had touched all the adjoining rooms – dining, family, living room/office and entryway – we got new floors for five rooms. We elected to have the same vinyl planking installed in all five. The contractor crew installed vinyl planking in all five rooms from August 3-6. They also put in new baseboards and repainted the kitchen.

Planking underway

No further work would be done in August as we awaited the cabinet maker but on August 11 we were able to move the stove back into the kitchen and return to eating at the dining room table. We were still stuck using the laundry room utility sink, though.

We temporarily reassembled the kitchen as best we could.


The new cabinets were installed on September 1 and 2 but we did not have counters yet.

Cabinets but no knobs, pulls or sink.

Tina had purchased the sink of her dreams from Wayfair after we cleared it with the project manager. Unfortunately, he had made a mistake because the sink required granite counters but we had decided to use the less expensive laminate counters. After we considered an upgrade to granite, we decided to send back the sink and go ahead with the laminate. It seemed that we were close to the finish line when a strong, dry wind blew into Oregon on September 7. Two days later the sky began to darken.

Rotating from northern view to western and then southern view.

Eventually the smoke from nearby fires would blanket Portland and the surrounding area for over a week. Our contractor was incommunicado during this time, further delaying the project. Eventually, we realized that they had been evacuated due to their close proximity to forest fires. The smoke cleared by mid-September but counter installation was delayed until the end of the month. In the meantime, they installed our new over-the-range microwave and moved the refrigerator back into place.

Finally, the counters were installed along with the new sink.

We had to wait a few more days for the dishwasher to be installed due to a part that had gone missing.

There should be a rubber gasket around this part.


Five months after discovering the source of the leak, our new kitchen remodel was finally nearing completion. During the first few days of October the dishwasher was installed, the backsplash was put into place and the finishing touch was the addition of door knobs and drawer pulls.

Our glorious new kitchen
Reverse angle of the completed kitchen


I began shopping for a new refrigerator in November and found the perfect deal shortly before Christmas. The deal was so good that the model went out of stock for two months. It was finally delivered in February.

Whirlpool French Door in black stainless steel

Joe Dumars is an asshole

I don’t know how else to explain it. After examining the evidence, it can be the only conclusion. Sure, I know that he was so well-regarded by the NBA as a player that they named their Citizenship Award after him. I also know he was the only player during the Bad Boys era that was considered to be civil. But as an NBA executive, he:

  1. Was named President of Basketball Operations for the Pistons before the start of the season in 2000. Presumably, this means he is the boss there answerable only to the owner of the team.
  2. Hired Rick Carlisle as head coach prior to the 2001 season. Carlisle was named NBA Coach of the year for that season as he led the Pistons to a 50-32 record and the playoffs. The next year the Pistons posted the same record and made the playoffs again. Carlisle was inexplicably fired.
  3. Hired Larry Brown to replace Carlisle as head coach following the 2002-2003 season. Brown led the Pistons to the NBA Finals two years in a row, beating the Lakers in the first and losing to the Spurs in the second. Following the Finals loss to the Spurs, Brown was fired.
  4. Hired Flip Saunders to replace Larry Brown as head coach prior to the 2005 season.

So not only did he fire a coach who posted 50-wins in every season which he coached for Dumars, he also fired a coach who went to the Finals every single season in which he coached the Pistons. Evidently it’s not enough for Dumars to have a winning record or even to go to the Finals, but his team must win the championship every year! How insane is that?

This is precisely the kind of thing that is wrong with professional sports today. There will never be another “Dean Smith era” or “Red Auerbach era” because no team, organization or even fanbase has the patience for a losing season anymore. Did Dean Smith make the NCAA Tournament every year that he coached? Even Auerbach didn’t win the NBA Championship every year (although it seems like it). In fact, he didn’t win a championship until his 7th year as coach of the Celtics. Can you imagine a coach today keeping his job that long with no championship to show for it?

People blather on and on about the culture of selfishness that reigns among NBA players these days, but their attitude is no different than the owners and executives. Namely, “what can you do for me?” and “what have you done for me lately?” Winning in the short term has become so important that the NBA has lost sight of the possibility of winning in the long term.

And where is Dumars in all this? He is the worst possible offender. One could argue for the short-term advantages to firing a coach after a losing season, but firing your coaches after they perform exceptionally well? Inexcusable and an action that only be performed by an asshole.