The laminate is falling off of the cupboards, and the equipment is starting to fail - the dishwasher broke a few weeks ago (and was replaced instantly!), the oven door doesn't like to stay closed all of the time when you are cooking and the extractor fan needs a bit of 'Onslowing' whenever you turn it on (for those who haven't seen 'Keeping up Appearances' that means that when you turn it on you have to hit it to stop it making horrible noises!).
We picked a new one out a few months ago and have been going through the various processes that you have to do to get the new kitchen since then. So someone came around and checked whether the house was square (it's not) and if everything was measured correctly by us before we went to the kitchen centre (we did!).
And then we started the upgrade roundabout. Well, OK, I started the upgrade roundabout, it's not fair to include Mrs Stace in that sentence :)
In the town where we live Siemens has a special showroom (pretentiously called 'The Siemens Experience') where you can see all of the equipment that they make to ensure that you like it in reality - as the kitchen showrooms just do not have enough space to show everything from each company, and it can be quite different in real life to how it looks in the book. We decided to upgrade the hob, extractor fan and fridge freezer at that point. For not much more we decided that we would be much happier with the better kit (and if we hadn't, then we would of course be spending the next 15 years wishing we had!)
But... They had a beautiful hob in there, so much space for cooking, 5 induction zones so you can use more pans and just an amazing looking piece of kitchen equipment.
But it needs power, lots of power - Tim Allen levels even. Our current induction hob already has two groups in the fuse box dedicated to it, this one needs three. Gulp.
We needed a builder for fitting the new kitchen (well the fitting was free, but the plaster work etc wasn't!) and decided to use the one that would be sent from the kitchen place as he has all of the qualifications etc to do everything.
He took a look in the electric cupboard and said something I was not expecting. In order to use three groups for one appliance you need three phase power into the house (something that most Dutch houses seem to have anyway, just not wired in). He would find out what the cost for that is as the electricity companies themselves have to do that for you, and then include it as a separate point in his offer.
It came back at just under our max budget for the work... So we went and ordered the hob from the kitchen place (where it was only half the increase in price that we were expecting - a nice surprise!). And then someone in the office gave me a wonderful question.
"So what will you pay for your electricity now?"
Say what? I had not thought of that question, you have to pay for what you use surely, why should I need to pay more just for having the option of using more?
Getting a little scared I though that I had better check with the electric company, just to settle my nerves.
Called them up, told them I was getting 380 volts into the house for a new kitchen and asked if it was going to cost more. "Yes," came the response, "180 euros a month in transportation costs, because you need 3 * 80 amp capability for that system."
What! A month! 180 euros!
I asked what my current costs were... "18 a month." A tenth of what it is going to cost.
Holy crap! Whilst trying to find support as my knees were collapsing on me, I tried to think about how to cancel the new hob before it was too late. 2000 a year! It's a nice hob, but 2000 a year nice before you turn it on? I don't think so!
I double checked with the woman on the phone "2000 a year just for a kitchen hob! I guess I need to cancel it!"
She disappeared for a couple of minutes.
"I've just checked, for a kitchen appliance you don't need 3 * 80, you only need 3 * 25. For that you don't pay any extra. Sorry!"
Phew! My heart started to slow down again and the panic drained. I guess my Dutch still needs some work if it can still cause this type of confusion! I'm glad I checked a bit instead of just accepting it and cancelling everything :)
So now we just have to wait for the kitchen to be delivered (and hope that our mortgage company pay tyhe kitchen company on time!). Fingers crossed that by the middle of July I'll be posting pictures of the nice things I'll be making to try out the new kitchen!