Life On Hold

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Blog entry by dennis mitchell posted 02-26-2007 05:30 AM 923 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My bathroom vanity is on the back burner. I’ve been hoping to get the sink installed so I could do the last blog on it and get it put into projects. Instead I’ve been back to real work. I’ve spent a whole week out doing kitchen installs. It is worst than it sounds I agreed to do a kitchen. When I was an apprentice with a muralist he gave a piece of advice. “Be very careful of what you do because you will end up doing it.” So I will start building kitchens again. Part of understanding me is you have to know I really enjoy building kitchens, but I’ve always wanted to do creative work and kitchens are usually about low bid. Am I selling myself out? I know this about myself I’m an idealist. I think the world would be a better place if people let art teach them to see beauty. I keep thinking one of these days. The reality is I have really enjoyed my work when I’m doing something for a family. Real honest to God human beings compleat with yelling kids and hope and dreams. I often am treated like family after getting to build, getting the honor to build, someones dream kitchen. On the other hand being dragged into the business/construction world I go kicking and screaming. Why must we lose so much of our values when it come to money. So many of the truly miserable people I know are very successful, respected contractors.
Just thinking out loud. I’m on this journey and have it pretty darn good. Next winter I’ll probably hole up again and build some more “artistic” pieces to take up space in my shop. Of course if I’m doing a kitchen I’ll need some new tools. So today I ordered a cheap dovetail jig.(Woodtek) I hope they enjoy the free dovetail drawer upgrade in their new kitchen. I’ll at least feel better about it. Something else I’ve had no experience with is an air powered sander. A 6 inch PorterCable sander is on the way also. There is a lot of sanding in a kitchen, hope this helps.
I spent the weekend getting caught up on the books and taxes so I could concentrate on this kitchen. I’ve got one more install on Monday and Tuesday then into the shop to start this kitchen. Snow on the ground this morning, but I feel spring just around the corner. Hope it finds you all doing well!

7 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4202 days

#1 posted 02-26-2007 06:18 AM

I used to sell modular kitchens to distributors. It was a funny business, but not one I stuck at for long. The manufacturer for whom I worked was less than honest with people and traded on their ignorance. I would sell one kind of wood, they would substitute another. I would specify solid wood, they would used veneered particle board. So – when I found that out, they were history as far as I was concerned.

At the same time, I learned a lot about the construction business, and that people who had money didn’t mind paying for a good product. The argument was never over money – just that when they were told one thing and got another they naturally felt cheated.

It’s honest work, Dennis, if you keep it that way and it provides an honest income. Something we all need.


-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4231 days

#2 posted 02-26-2007 11:44 AM

Hi Dennis;
One of the greatest joys I have ever learned to look for in doing kitchen and living room renovations, is when the little man of the house starts hanging around during the day. Usually they start out asking questions and watching, and then comes the day when you see them come to visit with a hammer in hand. Kids love to imatate and so I often wonder how many I’ve inspired to go after wood! Ha!;....sometimes I wonder if this is a good thing I’ve done?

And yes, they are real people all complete with yelling, screaming, laughing….and I’ve also watched as they have learned to eat out, cook in other parts of the house and do dishes in the bath tub.

Great story….

-- --frank, NH,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#3 posted 02-26-2007 01:57 PM

isn’t it interesting how something can hold so many feelings at one time—frustration, joy, annoyance, bliss…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4339 days

#4 posted 02-26-2007 03:37 PM

Thanks everyone, Frank I remember one job where the owners grand kids came to visit. Next thing I know this little toddler had my screws all out of their little boxes in one nice big pile…the mother didn’t even offer to sort them all out according to size and type took me an hour. Then there was the time the fox stole my knee pads…

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#5 posted 02-26-2007 03:59 PM

speaking from a mother’s point of view and knowing that I have had my insensitive and thoughtless moments, sometimes it comes from embarrassment—we want our children to behave perfectly and if overwhelmed, “ignoring” it makes it all disappear.
On behalf of all mothers out there, “I’m sorry that our children get in your way”.
I remember when my Mom had her pool put in (many years ago) and when they had the cement smoothed my toddler son threw pebbles down into the hole. Twice.
I’m still embarrassed—not only by it happening, but because I didn’t say anything, I just “tried” (unsuccessfully) to keep him away from the work area.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4430 days

#6 posted 02-26-2007 05:14 PM

This is a big decision, one that I have known you were considering for several weeks. Your desires to work directly with families is the same reason that I don’t enjoy selling through galleries. Being a part of someone’s family, trusted, befriended, and complimented, is hard to replace with just checks from a gallery store owner. When I have sold something in a store where I didn’t know who bought it, my first thought is to wonder about who they were, what they were doing in their life, and other personal questions that can only be discovered in a relationship with someone. Plan some time in your bids to focus on those relationships, as I know you and the families will enjoy that time.

Spring is coming, and a few tornados, but life is greening up, and enjoy it.

your Kansas buddy,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4324 days

#7 posted 02-26-2007 06:22 PM

I can imagine when you sell something you created is going to be cherished as much as you do. I think selling some of my stuff would be just as hard as not being able to see my own family again.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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