The Ugliest Thing

We are living in an almost finished house. It’s not quite done which means we still have workers around from 8 to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, doing a number of jobs. Yesterday, they supposedly finished a customized chimney for our range hood.

This range hood’s original chimney was problematic because the exhaust hole was to the right of it. So the hole was exposed when it should have been covered by the stainless steel casing that came with the range hood. However, there was an oversight in the design of the hood’s location. As a result, we had an ugly exhaust tube spilling out of the chimney.

The solution was to make a new stainless steel chimney to hide this miscalculation. To begin with, this error of the exposed tubing was an eye sore in our kitchen. But yesterday’s solution took the crown for hideousness.

I watched the workers assemble what looked like an over-specked metal case on top of our range hood. At the onset I was a little hopeful. But all hope dimmed as I saw them piece together the most unsightly-looking range good chimney I have ever seen in my life. As they peeled off the protective tape that was supposed to keep the stainless steel scratch-free, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

The steel was banged up and uneven. It had a door on it that was an inch thick which didn’t close completely. Formed into the shape of a rectangular box jutting out of our white wall, it looked like a metal coffin. Upon opening it, which was difficult in itself, there was room enough to hide two little children’s bodies if they were bold enough to use it for hide and seek. The comedy if it all was the workers demonstrated to me the structural integrity of the casing by pulling on it with their weight. I suppose this was meant to impress me. But I couldn’t get over how ugly the finished product was. It dawned upon me that this was their first time to ever make something like this and they had no idea what they were doing.

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My sentiments were difficult to contain. I left the kitchen out of holy fear. If I had stayed and taken in the complete unveiling of this monstrosity, I felt the rising temptation to mouth out expletives of the most unholy nature. At the same time, I felt like the workers had simply been misguided. It wasn’t completely their fault.

Calm down. Calm down. Breathe.

I ran up the stairs to our bedroom balcony to be alone. I tried calling people who were responsible for this mess up and no one was picking up their phones. Neither contractor or architectural party could be contacted. This only increased my feelings of aggravation. I wanted to yell but what would that accomplish? Our balcony’s location was perfect for carrying sound waves down to our neighbor’s houses. So I cried by myself and I prayed for calm and perspective.

There are a few things that have troubled me deeply about our house construction. For the most part, our home has turned out to be better than we imagined. But sometimes, in the little details, I notice bad design decisions. Whether it be thoughtless execution, unnecessary mistakes (like all our sliding glass doors getting scratched up when they were cleaned by the workers), or lack of experience, the results are costly on many levels. First, there is the obvious monetary cost. Second, there is the loss of trust and confidence in the capabilities of those in charge. Third, there is wasted time. Feelings of frustration are only heightened when those who are in the position to fix the problem aren’t available, or they don’t know what they are doing either.

Therefore, homebuilding has been an exercise in self-control over anger. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out as I vacillate between restraint and the desire to spew out verbal venom. It’s so difficult to remain level headed when I am looking at something that has fallen utterly short of my expectations.

However, when I step away and yank myself out of the moment, I am able to see what is really going on. What is an ugly range hood chimney in light of eternity? Nothing. Absolutely nothing worth crying over or getting angry about!

Over dinner tonight my siblings and I talked about a young man who just lost his life to cancer. So many people all over the world have greater issues than banged up stainless steel. But sometimes, building a house can feel so important and essential to happiness that I forget about what really counts.

There are people out there who need to know how much God loves them, who are searching for answers to questions that really matter. There is real ugliness in this world that needs to be healed by Jesus Christ. Am I crying over these things? Am I channeling my energies and resources towards the building of God ‘s kingdom?

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (‭Luke‬ ‭12‬:‭20-21‬ NASB)

Comments

  1. Veronikka Almazan says:

    That is really inspiring. There are times when I feel really sad and frustrated, and I thought that my life sucks. But then as I go on public transportation and see people like the poor and the disabled, or like the barkers and street beggars, thoughts came to me. “If I’m already sad about the problems that I have, how much more are they?” There are times when we think we have the worst scenario when in fact there are many people experience greater suffer and pain.

  2. Hi Joy. I can see and feel your frustration on the design of this chimney.
    I can suggest that you just get the exact outlet of your range hood with plastic pipe/or stainless and cover that with look like a cabinet same design with other cabinet doors so it is hidden and will look like just another kitchen cabinet.

  3. Jean Javier says:

    Hi Joy,

    This has been my recent revelation as well — that now more than ever I must move in light of eternity. For some reason I am now more very deeply aware of the urgency of winning souls for Christ, & building my inheritance in Heaven, our real home, & not here on earth where moth & rust destroy. My greatest earthly material desire is a house & one day during quiet time God asked me “what if I don’t give you your dream house here on earth? What if I give it in Heaven?” I had to take some time to answer that & as I really reflected about it I told God many days later that “yes it’s ok, as long as my loved ones share my inheritance with me” 🙂

    Jean.

  4. I like this article….nakakagising ng pananampalataya….
    Most of the time I also forgot about what really counts.
    Thank you Joy for this very inspiring message!

  5. daniel herrera says:

    Hi Ms. Joy, my wife Normi is very fond reading your blogs and she shares a lot to me, thanks! Anyway, my unsolicited advice as an Architect is no. 1 I agree with Henry on boxing up the hood like a wooden cabinet (I don’t know him by the way) or no. 2 instead of stainless mirror finish make it satin or hairline finish it is more sleek and clean and can hide the dents, however the way I see it the stainless used here is very thin you would need a thicker stainless metal sheet with a hi-grade class and it should be pre-fabricated outside and ready to install.

  6. You can try out the one who did my stainless steel kitchen.
    He is very reliable and does excellent work.
    Freddie Young.. off. no. 372 2831

  7. Hi Joy,

    I just laughed out loud on that “ugliest thing” in your kitchen. I have one word for you – punchlist. You work with you Architect/interior Designer and contractor.

    Being grateful is what makes us realize how bless we are. I would rather have your problem, since I don’t have my house of my own. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Dearest Joy,
    Your blog truly inspires me. I learn so much from you even if I have been married for 22 years now. Which is why I care to share with you some unsolicited advice. I am a semi-retired architect. Did you commission one? A designer can come up with problem-solving tricks such as your range hood flue to make it aesthetically pleasing. Some people feel that there is no need to hire one and just rely on their contractor, so wrong. Maybe they can reconfigure the shape? taper it off to the top so it won’t look massive? as for the imperfections of the steel don’t go for the “smooth” look . Check out hammered, scratch or satin finish in the web. Praying that the workers are skilled enough to achieve this. God bless you and your family

  9. Emily Avelino says:

    Hi Joy. I feel you. The same thoughts and tears have run by me. Our stairs, roof, downspouts, aircon. Even our “overbudget budget” was exhausted trying to remedy everything. I had no choice but to surrender, accept that my house will never be perfect, and like you, choose to be grateful that these problems are nothing in light of eternity. Over time, we’ll learn to live with them. Sometimes choose to overlook them. Sometimes grow to accept them. I love our house now, warts and all. We can compare notes someday, and just roll our eyes and be thankful that we have moved on to more important things 🙂 I praise God for your new home!

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