Cabinatorial Calculus

Our new house is actually the same design as a house our builder was showcasing last fall. Mrs found it and took a tour, liked it, had me take a tour, etc.. That house had some really nice hand-built cabinets in the kitchen, done by a couple of local guys. We wanted similar cabinets (because they were nice!), but the builder thought those guys took too long to complete them in that other house; so for our house he proposed that we go with a traditional cabinet company. He said it would be cheaper, too. And that it would fit into our allowance, no problem.

Our contract specifies a certain allowance for cabinets in the house (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, etc.). Let’s call it $X.

Five weeks ago we met with the cabinet company to pick out cabinets. We did a 3 hour meeting with the cabinet guy; then nothing happened for three weeks. Then we had a three hour meeting with a woman at the cabinet company. We picked out everything except the kitchen counter top surface – Mrs wants to look around for that. We picked out cabinets and counter tops for all the other rooms. And, everything was their lowest end stuff. There were at least two levels higher.

Then nothing happened for two weeks. After much complaining by us and the builder, the cabinet guy finally came back with an estimate: 160% of $X, not counting the cost of any counter tops. Why no counter tops ? Beats me! But there’s little doubt that they’ll contribute a huge amount to the final cost. 200% of $X wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

So, we’re kinda fucked.

Listening To…

  • King Crimson – Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. Though I love the 80s K.C., and I love 1974’s “Red”, I’ve always been wary of their earlier stuff. I bought a K.C. compilation in the 80s and it had a couple of their early tunes which grated on me: too proggy in that misty medieval minstrel style. And the title of this album certainly suggested more of that. Plus, the list of band members, at the time, included a violinist! Zounds! So I’ve avoided this for 25 years. But I recently read some reviews that convinced me to spend a minute sampling it in iTunes. And I’m glad of it. There’s none of that RenFaire vibe here. This is much more like “Red” – heavy as hell, bombastic and noisy at times, complicated and generally just brilliant. It’s from 1973 and has the same lineup as “Red”, too – less a percussionist who departed after this record. But, in my opinion, if you’ve got Bill Bruford, you don’t really need anyone else playing drums.

  • Jill Scott – Who Is Jill Scott? Since there’s no more Erykah Badu out there for me to buy, I’m looking at people who get grouped together with her under the “neo soul” banner. And, indeed, there’s a lot of similarity between Scott an Badu. They do the same sultry R&B: patiently funky and gently jazzy, densely detailed, precisely produced. Compared to Badu, Scott has a smoother voice and her lyrics are more obviously poetic and more personal. And they’re always romantic or sexy; no politics here. I like the sound, but I can only take so many love songs in a day – even if some are kindof playfully dirty. I’ll check out more from her, eventually.

  • ALA.NI – You & I – Spring. Someone on my Facebook feed linked to a video of her so I investigated. If not for the lack of terrible sound quality and modern multi-track production (ex. she does multi-part harmony with herself), you’d swear these were some from the 1920s or 30s. Gently swinging old-school poppy jazz, very nicely executed.

    She only has this one single out so far, but I expect there will be more.

  • Norah Jones – The Fall. For this, she dropped the soft jazzy pop and picked up some alternative adult soft rock. Her voice is as warm and fuzzy as ever, but the music – though it be gentle as a cloud – just isn’t as snuggley as the stuff on “Come Away With Me”.

  • Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’. Groovy 60’s-style R&B, with some modern flavor. There’s a lot of stuff with that description out there these days. But, like Alabama Shakes, he adds enough new ingredients to the old recipes to keep it from tasting exactly like your gramma’s R&B.

  • Constant Velocity – 7 songs about eric clapton. This is pretty great. Lots of interesting stuff going on in these songs: structurally, melodically, sonically. The songs are full of twists and turns – and following along is half the fun – but they still flow nicely. Which is not an easy feat to pull off. And though comparing bands to other bands is my favorite thing to do, I can’t come up with a solid comparison here. I keep thinking about The Decemberists because there’s a theatrical/narrative feel to many of the songs, the way they change-up every few bars, and the A+ vocabulary of the lyrics. But there’s not much similarity musically, and I find The Decemberists to be pretentious and boring. This is neither. This is more scrappy and spiky and rocks harder and is simply a lot more fun. Plus, it’s commenter Jewish Steel‘s band!

    Check em out at Bandcamp.



Siding is almost complete. It will be painted blue, someday.


Electrical outlets, switches and in-ceiling lights have been tentatively placed (no wires, just the plastic boxes nailed to studs), for our approval. Plumbing is complete. We made a second pass at picking out cabinets on Saturday. And now we’re awaiting the estimate from the cabinet place, to see if we can afford what we asked for. We’ve nearly decided on the floor: natural maple most places, and some streaky grey/white/black tile in the bathrooms.

We’ve decided to install solar panels on the house. So some big old trees have to come down. Which is a drag. But, free electricity!