The Cabinet Place

I don’t recall now what started it–whether dad saw an ad in the paper, or (more likely) someone told him about a place with cheap cabinets. I think it was a KraftMaid. It was some sort of factory/warehouse or some such. But the main thing was…cheap cabinets!

As I recall it, you’d get there, be in line (and there’d be quite a line!) and when you got in, it was first-come/first-serve on the cabinets. And they were all some flat price. $50 or $75 or something ridiculously cheap compared to say, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

So Dad had gone there at least once, and got some high quality/high end cabinet for cheap. He decided that wasn’t enough, and “dragged” his son along the next time they had an open ‘sale’.

I remember at least a couple way-early-morning trips to the place; and even one essentially all-nighter with a rented box truck. At the time–1997ish I think this was–I certainly did NOT “appreciate” the experience. Who wanted to spend a Friday night or wee hours Saturday morning somewhere for CABINETS?

Of course, now, nearly two and a half decades later and missing him, I realize that whatever I thought of the cabinets and remodeling and such…it was something that he involved me with, for the shared experience. Something to do, but rather than do it on his own, he wanted me, his son, with him.

And I know a LOT of stuff he got me involved in was stuff that he wished he could have done with Grandpa/vice versa; and wanting to pass stuff along to me.

ANYway…”the cabinet place” as I dubbed it–not knowing, not caring the brand name/etc; at the house, if we said “the cabinet place,” everyone knew what was being referred to.

And one time when he’d gone without me (I’d probably resisted enough that he didn’t want to fight me on going?) he ended up helping with “crowd control” and a situation that threatened to turn ugly…and wound up one of the guys that worked there in turn would let him in some other time rather than a Saturday morning, which meant no more “camping in a parking lot” to get in.

Back in 1997/1998/1999, thanks to getting these cabinets and such, huge parts of the house got redone. It started out as a floor-to-ceiling cabinet housing the microwave. Then on to a couple pantry cabinets for either side of the fridge. Then wall cabinets, and new base cabinets…eventually a new countertop and the entire kitchen was redone.

He also built up this huge “entertainment center” for the living room. Originally, the stairs were “open” and there was a maybe waist-high “wall” that you could simply look over and see to the front door, landing, stairs, etc. A couple of tall cabinets for the ends, a couple of base cabinets, a couple of wall cabinets, connect them all, add in a couple of packing blocks that worked as shelves, and paneling on both sides and the living room side was an entertainment center while the other side was a wall when you first walked in the fron tdoor.

While the kitchen and entertainment center were the primary “big projects,” we wound up with plenty of other cabinets. Come to think of it, several base cabinets, a board, and some edging made a base in the computer room; another board and a couple of smaller cabinets made a computer desk. A pair of large cabinets became “the twins” and–not being turned into permanent fixtures–came over to the current house in the 2015 move. There’s also a cabinet in the bedroom I currently use that is a remanant from this time.

All this without even talking about the fact that as 16/17/18-year-olds, Dad often recruited me along with my friend Jim to help with (often DO) the “heavy lifting” and such. Getting some of these cabinets into the house to begin with was very much a challenge, with several being wider than the stairs such that we had to lift the cabinet up over the banister and walk it up the stairs…while ALSO making sure to NOT tear up the wall and its wallpaper.

And that’s another thing: at one point, I don’t think there was a white wall left in that house. Must’ve been particularly around 1991 with having bought the house AND his being freshly retired from the Navy but not yet with DFAS, he wallpapered the bulk of the house. Also got paneling and redid several rooms with paneling at the bottom, new paint for the upper half.

Heck, even the basement/computer room had stuff done to it…having begun with him taking out the “fake wall” that split the main room into two to make it one large, open room; with the computer stuff and that new base setup in one part, the huge stereo cabinet on the other side, with the piano, treadmill, and a huge recliner opposite.

Dad always had to have some sort of “project” going on. He often cited some story or proverb or such about the man that had this huge patchwork house, because he kept adding onto it, because he couldn’t die if he still had projects unfinished or something (I’m probably oversimplifying).

Even now…there’s stuff in The Cave that Mom and I have to deal with from ongoing changes/projects that never got finished. He had plans for adding more shelves for his cookie jars, and to get a full-sized casino slot machine (or multiple). There’s a fountain in pieces in the back yard and a replacement for a broken piece on a pallet in the driveway where it was delivered in November but too cold/wet to be dealt with. He wanted to have more lights installed throughout the house (there’s a surprising lack of overhead fixtures).

Even into mid December he was focused on “working on the garage,” going through stuff and getting things cleaned up, reorganized, organized, other stuff gotten rid of, etc. Project…after project…after project.

And I never much appreciated them. Not the way he did. But then, he was more of a “doer,” the physical/tangible…where I’m more of a “writer” or “virtual” or whatever. Not to mention “collector,” though what I collect tends to be much much smaller than what he collected.

But that probably gets into what ought to be some other posts, eventually.

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