The countertops arrived and my new kitchen is ruined – expectations, disappointment and acceptance

I haven’t written about my kitchen renovation progress even though the counters were installed a week ago.

The counter is beautiful.  And the cabinets are beautiful.

But the shade of the countertops isn’t a perfect match for the cabinets.  The cabinets are a pinkish beige and the countertop is a yellowish beige and while that doesn’t sound like a big deal, it’s off.  It’s not what I was envisioning.

The loss of a dream can be a very painful thing.

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When Yirmiyahu was born and I found out he had Trisomy 21, I accepted it very quickly – in less than a minute.  No regrets, no what if, no wishing it would be different.

But most parents go through a mourning period after learning of the diagnosis, because it’s hard to let go of your dream of who your child will be.

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Why was it so easy for me to accept my newborn son had Down syndrome and after a week I’m still struggling to accept my countertops being a different shade than I anticipated?

When I got the news about the T21, it was clear that was the reality and there was nothing that was going to change that.  The only option was to look forward and do the best I could to nurture the child I had.

I also  have a very strong belief that everything in this world happens as it’s meant to happen, when it’s meant to happen, to whom it’s meant to happen.  G-d doesn’t make mistakes and nothing about Yirmiyahu or him being part of our family was a mistake.

But this countertop…it felt like a mistake.  My mistake.  I have a good sense of what looks right together.  This isn’t the kind of mistake that I should have made.  Except that I did and how it happened doesn’t really matter.

And  –  I don’t want to call it grieving because that should be saved for really serious situations – I’m feeling a sense of loss and sadness.  I invested a lot into this project because the final vision of what it would look like motivated me.   After the countertops arrived, I lost all interest in finishing the kitchen.  I wished I hadn’t started it.  Better to have kept the old tiny yucky kitchen than to invest myself in a project that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, my mind said.

While I can accept what G-d sends, it’s harder for me to accept a mistake that I made and realize, this is also the way that G-d wanted it.

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As long as I’m wishing I could change the countertops, tell myself that I can’t bear looking at it every day, think how it’s a reminder of my failure – I’m not going to find acceptance.  And without acceptance there’s no emotional peace and definitely no happiness.

Acceptance truly is the answer.   Acceptance will only come when I can internalize that this is how it is, this is how it’s meant to be and this is G-d’s will just as much as something that doesn’t have any element of human involvement attached to it.  It means focusing on what I have, not on what doesn’t fit my image of how it should be.

When I begin to let go of my insistence that something is wrong and realign my vision with the reality that’s now in front of me, it’s freeing.  I can focus on what’s right.  I have a well-designed kitchen that uses the space well, that’s easy to organize.  I have all the features in my kitchen that I wanted.  All while staying within my budget.

Since what I want is emotional health, serenity and peace, this is what I’m choosing.  To accept that I don’t always get what I want, to enjoy what I have, and to notice what a beautiful countertop I have – even if it’s not the right shade.

Avivah

25 thoughts on “The countertops arrived and my new kitchen is ruined – expectations, disappointment and acceptance

  1. Oh wow I’m so sorry about that, that is so disappointing!

    Interesting point, about sometimes things are easier to accept when they’re not our own mistakes. I have to think about that one.

  2. Oh Avivah! I TOTALLY hear you! I felt nauseated just reading the part about pinkish beige and yellowish beige being what greats you first thing in the morning every day! That is so upsetting. May the agmas nefesh count as a big kapara for you and your family! In the long run you will either forget about it or maybe paint the cabinet doors or have the veneer changed on them. It is a set back but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever! Sometimes when something makes us that uncomfortable we can somehow find a way to put the discomfort of it on a heavenly scale (moznaim) and ask H’ to put another issue we are struggling with on the other side (think shidduchim or some other challenge that is not really in our hands.) This doesn’t resolve the issue, but it at least puts it to good use!
    hugs!
    Shoshana

    1. Shoshana, I’m unfortunately not a person who stops noticing details or this wouldn’t be the challenge it is for me. :(

      I’ve spent a week thinking and thinking of what I can do about this, short of spending another big sum of money to replace them which isn’t an option even though I was so unhappy about this that I told my husband that’s what we should do. I can’t paint the cabinet doors because they are covered with laminate and I would also have to change all the external hardware in order for them to match, which would not only be a big expense but I’d be removing the high end finishes and lowering the quality. To reface them would be thousands of shekels and I might as well just buy new countertops if I were spending that kind of money. And I really like the cabinets as they are, that’s what the original kitchen vision was based on.

      But I asked myself something similar to what you said and this helped me put it into perspective. If I knew that in the heavenly court things were being weighed for me and it was determined I was meant to incur a loss, wouldn’t I rather it be the countertops than G-d forbid something happening to one of my family members?

      My husband reminded me that just because we aren’t changing it now doesn’t mean that one day it can’t be changed. I was skeptical about that but it’s true, I don’t know what the future holds and what my resources will be at a later time.

  3. I want to wish you full acceptance in with this disappointment, as well as thank you.
    I too am doing some fixing in my home and so many small details are not to my desired image. Thank you for writing this. I totally hear how much easier it is to accept what we view as in “Hashem’s hands” and to be frustrated Ito an incredible level about what we view as “our mistakes”. Thank you for sharing that our mistakes are also the ratzon of Hashem and that the path to emotional health accepting what the reality IS and letting go of the image that exists only in our minds.
    Thank you for sharing your growth through this it is a great lesson and comfort for me going through a similar process. As the other commenter wrote- may the Agmas nefesh be a kapara and may you have smooth sailing from here on out.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Mikki. I’m so glad to know that this was of some comfort to you. The little bumps in life don’t always feel so little, and they definitely have big growth potential!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Regina! I can’t see the link because my filter won’t allow it, but when I did a search for painting countertops I could only find how to paint laminate countertops.

      If I had bought laminate I wouldn’t be so disappointed because they’re inexpensive enough to replace. I bought Caeserstone – and I even upgraded to a more expensive grade in order to get the exact shade that I wanted. :(

  4. Acceptance us the answer. ” nothing happens in G-d’s world by mistake.”
    “Until I accept the person place or thing as it is I will have no serenity.” Your tale is a wonderful testimony to the asset of acceptance!

  5. “While I can accept what G-d sends, it’s harder for me to accept a mistake that I made and realize, this is also the way that G-d wanted it.” This is a great line and a struggle most of us go through at one time or another – sometimes with mistakes that really hurt other people. This is also something to keep in mind when someone close to us makes a mistake – so long as they apologize, we also have to keep in mind that this was something G-d wanted and not put all the blame on our loved one.

  6. Here’s a hug! It’s like that in music as well – two notes that are almost the same are much (MUCH) more discordant than two that are farther away from one another. I’m sorry the shades are so close but so not, and that it’s in your life in such an integral way.

    Besides everything you’re doing, and I support your path towards acceptance, I also want to embrace and honor your feeling of discordance. Your husband is correct that you don’t know what your resources will be in the future. I don’t know, either, what you will learn about yourself, the world and relationships from having this experience of living with something that rubs you the wrong way. I don’t think it is just that you made a mistake and not Hashem – I think that this particular discordance hurts your soul – and I don’t think Yirmiyahu’s diagnosis did in the same way.

    It’s funny how we humans can be very accepting of things that seem very scary to others, and yet, we each have our own areas in which we really need things to be just so. It is often tempting to disregard those areas, or to value them less because really, how important is it compared to really serious things. But value it. Hashem made you this way for a reason. I respect his judgement, and honor your feelings. I hope that the period of time in which you are living with this kitchen is fruitful, peaceful, constructive and that it leads to a situation in which your need for things to be more congruent is met in the best possible way.

  7. Delurking to write that I’m sorry you’re not fully happy with your new kitchen. I actually have a similar issue. Could you paint the walls? We used a green apple color that pulls the pink out of the cabinets (meaning that it doesn’t look pink), so that what you see is beige.

    1. Jendeis!!! I haven’t heard from you in ages and I’m glad to know you’re still here!

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I wouldn’t have thought of using a different color to pull out the pinkish tint. That’s a really interesting idea. Hmm. I wanted a monochromatic look but maybe adding some color is a good way to compensate for the color variations. I was thinking of very pale shades of different beiges and pale greens and blues, but maybe I should go with something stronger. I really have to think about this. Want to send me a picture of your kitchen for inspiration? :)

  8. hi Avivah. I totally get your pain. I would also be devastated. You out so much effort and money into this project only for it not to turn out the way you envisioned!
    I’m just wondering if maybe you could install some kind of under cabinet lighting that would kind of match up in color with cabinets and that would give the counter top a more pinkish colorcast?

  9. Oh Avivah, I feel for you because this is SO something I would do. I think this statement you made above was the best way to continue looking at it & to even help you *thank* God for it:

    “But I asked myself something similar to what you said and this helped me put it into perspective. If I knew that in the heavenly court things were being weighed for me and it was determined I was meant to incur a loss, wouldn’t I rather it be the countertops than G-d forbid something happening to one of my family members?”

    Big hugs to you from across the world,
    Kel

  10. I’m not visual in that way. Maybe I’d see it, but I’m not sure it would irk me forever. But just yesterday I was discussing with my husband a problem I’m having with a relative. Some of her actions in my adult life were extremely hurtful and potentially damaging to me. This was so out of place with the loving and supportive person she was in my childhood. I don’t see her often and I don’t call her, so I haven’t had to deal with it, but as she’s aging and has many problems I’m feeling greatly torn about what to do. I’m beginning to realize that I have to come to my own acceptance of her, that she is flawed, that this doesn’t negate the kindness she brought me. That people are complex and we can’t always toss them just because their flaws hurt us. And that this is true of our own flaws, or the flaws in, perhaps, one of my own children, that have been eating away at me. I have to learn to be more accepting of the whole people who are close to me. That even though I got past this point with some people, I’m still stuck there with others.
    So, I think I understand some of the feeling, and I appreciate your efforts to find and internalize a healing message.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Sharon. Acceptance is such a powerful – and difficult – position to take and we need it in so many areas of life.

  11. I agree with a previous poster. You might very well be able to add an accent (hardware, decal, back splash) that will pull the colors into a better space.
    Embrace this as a creative opportunity to spend some time finding a different solution.
    Hugs…

  12. so sorry to hear about this. I would find it hard to get to acceptance and it would probably eat me up. I haven’t read the article all the way through (sorry no time today!) or the comments so you might have had this suggested to you – but can you find lighting that is a colour that neutralises the clash? Just a thought……..
    I hope they tone together….
    Regards,
    Sue.

    1. Rachaman, Sue, and Batya – I’m really thinking about how to do this, thank you for the suggestions and comments!

  13. I agree: Pinkish beige does NOT go with yellowish beige!

    Could you sell the counters, buy cheap laminate & save up for nice counters later? I guess it would depend on how much you could sell the countertops for. If they are good quality, shouldn’t you be able to sell them for quite a lot?

    1. I initially thought they don’t have laminate countertops here (or I would have bought them from the beginning), then found out that IKEA sells them. But then you can’t do a flush-mount or under-mount sink, none of them had a ‘lip’ to keep water running off and none of the colors available were compelling.

      I’ve been thinking of selling the countertops and if replacing them is something I’m going to do, have to stop thinking and start doing. The problem with stone countertops is that they’re cut to your exact specifications, and that the tools to cut them to a different size aren’t the tools of a do-it-yourselfer. You have to have a professional to do the sizing but most of those I spoke to have no interest in doing this because that’s not where they make the big money from.

  14. I really think you could add a backsplash or paint/ wallpaper border on top to pull everything together ( perhaps in a multicolored glass tiles. ) that are very popular in US. Can you post a picture ? I’m no decorator but maybe someone else is. Don’t be hard on yourself . It is very hard to match colors even when using samples due to different dye lots etc . I had a situation in which we bought matching drapery , exactly same items with same number, but colors were slightly off…, so now my drapery pieces look striped . Someone asked if I did it on purpose :).

    1. Batya, thank you so much – this was very sweet of you to reassure me and it really did make me feel better.

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