Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were my kitchen cabinets

I consider myself to be a very patient person, but even a patient person can get pretty frustrated living in Egypt trying to get kitchen cabinets installed. We've been in this flat for 1 1/2 years and we've been living with the bare essentials: one small countertop w/ matching top and bottom cabinets, very outdated and worn, but useful, a large table used as a countertop, a small table which holds my beloved $9.99 Kmart Sunbeam coffee maker, a stove, a sink, and refrigerator.

When Hassan was here the one thing I demanded (yes, I can be demanding) was to have a kitchen installed -- ok, well, not installed but hopefully installed before he left on July 4th to return to the States. Well, the kitchen was designed, submitted, and money paid down for our new kitchen; however, it was not installed by July 4th.

Before Hassan left he had an understanding with the builder that the builder would take and dispose of, however he wished, of the old cabinets, sink, table, and matching 6 chairs which were sitting on my balconies for the past 1 1/2 years. Last Thursday the kitchen cabinets arrived -- did I mention only the bottom half was being installed? Ok, no problem, I'll take half a kitchen and countertop.

In any event, Shaban, thanks again, was overseeing the entire project, including the installation of the cabinets. Mira and I were excited as we saw the truck pull in with the cabinets on board for all our neighbors to envy (yes, envy) because I always envy any of my neighbors getting cabinets and countertop installed hoping one day it would happen to me too.

So the cabinets were unloaded and left downstairs. Shabaan arrived in the apartment, 4 or 5 floors up w/o steps, depending on what country you're from, and I was very happy to see him. I told him that I cleaned out the kitchen stuff (ok, crap) and had it packed away in various areas of my flat. I then reminded him that the builder was going to dispose of the dining room set (oh, I forgot to mention the large buffet Mira's using in her bedroom as her "catch all"), cabinets, sink, and anything else I could dispose of while I had use of the truck. Shaban told me, "Oh, the truck already left."

Ok, I was frustrated but pleased to see the cabinets. I told Shabaan that old stuff can be stored on the front balcony until the builder installs the top half of the cabinets.

So, the day was long and exhausting, but I was left with what I think is a beautiful kitchen in the making. I asked Shabaan if the builder needs anymore money. Shabaan, being the ever-so-wise Egyptian man says "Don't give him anymore money. I am going to talk him down." My kind of man!

I asked him what the timetable is for the rest of the kitchen. I told him I know Egyptian time schedules and realistically I'd need it installed before the beginning of Ramadan (because nobody works for a month except my school). He said that he already told the builder he has one week to install the remainder of the kitchen.

So here I sit with my Fred Sanford balconies waiting and dreaming for the rest of my kitchen cabinets to be installed, but more importantly to have the old stuff removed. Oh yes, and to start cooking, which I've already done and is such a joy, but don't expect me to gain any weight because I'm not turning back to my old habits, no matter how tempting the food. I love to cook and I love to eat, but not to that extent.

Oh, and I can't wait to start splurging, and the first thing I'll buy is some great Egyptian bakeware.



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