Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tiling our kitchen

I've somehow lost the cord for my cameras somewhere between my office in Paris and my bedroom in Wisconsin so there won't be any photos for awhile, which is such a shame because we are in the middle of tiling our kitchen (finally!) and I need some encouraging words. I'm worrying because I think that it looks very.... colorful. Like Bozo the Clown colorful. Big Top circus colorful. I am really hoping that it is just the shock of having something on the wall after looking at plain plasterboard for the past, oh what is it now? 6 months. And after all the trouble I went to to get these stupid tiles, maybe I have expectations that are a bit high? I definitely need some unbiased opinions.

I don't think I mentioned here all the trouble that I went this summer through trying to order these tiles. After months of sort hemming and hawing about it, when I arrived in the States in July, we put the cash in my bank account there and I emailed my order to the company, with all the details of my American credit card. Then, the next day, I get a call that my card was rejected. What?!! Oh, yeah. I forget that this card has something ridiculous like a 200 dollar limit so I had to call the bank to raise my limit for this purchase. Then I called back the company and told them to put the charge through. The next day, I get another call from the company telling me that it was rejected a second time. Apparently, the actual charge was 7 dollars over the figure that I had given the bank (I'm not going to embarrass myself by telling you how much these tiles cost because I was slightly shocked myself when I got the total. And then, to add insult to injury, it was 7 dollars more than that. I am used to working in metric now so when the price was given to me per square foot I didn't have a very good idea of how many feet we were dealing with. A VERY LARGE number of square feet it turns out...) So third times a charm, the charge went through. Now it was just a question of waiting.

Well, the third week of August rolls around and there is no news on the tiles. By this time, B is in the States getting hysterical and asking me to telephone the company every other day to check up on the delivery. I finally cave in and ask if it would be possible to rush the delivery since we would only be in the States for another 5 days to accept delivery and it turns out they are on their way. But nothing is as simple as that, in my world. Turns out that on the date of delivery, no one would be home so my poor cancer-ridden mother had to meet the delivery guy in the parking lot of Farm & Fleet on her way to radiation treatment to get them. So, now I feel even worse about not liking the tiles because my poor mother had to actually sacrifice her health for me to have the tiles.

Now, when we were originally talking about whether or not we thought we should have the tiles shipped to France or bring them ourselves, I thought B told me that the documents indicated that the total weight of the tiles was only around 45 pounds. That didn't sound like very much so I said lets just throw them in our bags. I guess it was 45 kilos because by the time we unpacked all the boxes and stashed the tiles among our clothes and in our carry-ons, I could barely move a single suitcase. Turns out we had something like 105 pounds of tiles. We spent an entire afternoon shifting around stuff from one bag to another, trying desperately to keep everything under the weight limit after hearing some very scary stories this summer from our friends about overweight baggage charges.

So finally, we check in and everything seems fine. We arrive in France and check for chips or cracks in the tiles- nothing. Everything made it here in perfect condition. B finds the right tile cutter (naturally, they required some ridiculously special diamond bladed German saw which cost a mere 300 euro. Although we figure we should happily pay it as we got so lucky on the overweight bags and sneaking through customs) and manages to special order the grout that the company says is essential. He spends the entire day putting up tile and when I took at it? All I can think is that it makes the countertops look gray. And that these skinny 1 inch by 8 inch tiles make A LOT of pattern on the wall. And for a mix of whites and beiges, they sure are colorful tiles.

I'm hoping hoping hoping that when I get up tomorrow morning I change my mind and think that they look awesome. Its a really big change and its normal that it looks strange to me, right? Right now, B still has his tools everywhere and plastic on all the surfaces so its hard to judge. My project tomorrow is to go to an electronics store and buy a new cord to download pictures because I need some advice. Argh!! Its moments like these when I really wish I had managed to find a real decorator to help design the kitchen, someone with enough experience to know what is going to look like too much once it is up on the wall, even though it looks discreet and chic on paper. Well, live and learn. Even if the tiles are messed up, I guess I would consider the kitchen 90% successful. I can live with that.

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