BIG JOB: Maggie Cooper tried very hard not to complain during the renovation of her kitchen.
BIG JOB: Maggie Cooper tried very hard not to complain during the renovation of her kitchen.

How my kitchen renovation turned into a six-week nightmare

I'VE JUST emerged - far from unscathed - after embarking on what must rate highly on the scale of stressful endeavours.

Six weeks of home renovations have left me a shadow of my former self (but not, sadly, in the weight department).

After three years of testing the waters, so to speak, I decided to bite the bullet and install a new kitchen after a leaky pipe caused too much damage in the old one (barely functional and an eyesore, to boot). I lived with the mid-80s' décor for as long as I could. And yes, I am well aware of how lucky I am to have been able it all done, and I have tried very hard to not complain. But the last week has almost tipped me over the edge.

While ripping out the old cupboards and appliances, I decided that I would do the flooring also; it made sense to start with a clean slate and lift the mismatched ceramic tiles, vinyl floorboards (glued to some not-chic retro quarry tiles) and manky carpet.

I knew it would be a big job; the builder must have mentioned a jackhammer, but I chose to ignore that in the interests of not developing cold feet (coincidentally a consequence of the tiles).

My own abhorrence of throwing stuff away meant working hard to keep things out of landfill; the only bits to end up thus are the old power-points and light switches.

Everything else was either sold or recycled; luckily the local council has found companies that use particleboard and polystyrene packaging, and the stove, dishwasher, rangehood, laundry tub, floorboards and washing machine moved to new homes.

The tiles were used as clean fill in a neighbour's renovation. Dealing with those who wanted cheap whitegoods was, in itself, a challenge.

Good manners were nowhere to be found, with interested parties not turning up despite firm promises to the contrary. A few turned up with less than the agreed-upon money, expecting something for nothing.

Eventually cupboards were removed (farewell, lime-green benchtops!), a floor laid, a new kitchen installed.

Friends kindly allowed me to use their laundries, while I boiled a kettle to wash up dishes and ate way too much microwaved food - on the plus side of that, I can now read a book in bed at night without turning on the lamp, and I reckon the new ear that grew out of my forehead will come in handy.

A-Day (the date the new appliances were installed) was eagerly anticipated. Sadly, three of the four big-name shiny beasts - dishwasher, cooktop and washing machine - arrived in a non-working state.

Now I am doing the Repairman Shuffle, a dance that brings more frustration and stress. Will they arrive when they say they will?

Only time will tell.