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The biggest problem with remodeling is making sure you have enough money to pay for your contractor's boat and all the subcontractors' yacht club memberships. Because the last thing you want to do is disappoint them - this is your kitchen we're talking about, and once you've stopped bleeding money into that sinkhole, your binding spell is broken and the crew will return to the demon depths from whence you summoned them.

So it's important to identify how much money is involved right from the beginning. Fortunately, I've developed a handy guide to making that determination. All that's required is a tape measure, paper and pencil, and a stop watch.

Step One: Measure your kitchen's length and width, and multiply these numbers to determine square footage. With that number at hand, start the stopwatch. Multiply the square footage by 1000, and add a dollar sign.

When you regain consciousness, stop the stopwatch and determine how many minutes you were out. Multiply this number by 1500, and add to the above figure.

Step Two: Determine the number of cabinets that will be in your kitchen. Multiply the number of wall cabinets by $500. Multiply the number of base cabinets by $750. Add these numbers to the above figure. Now count the number of stiff drinks it takes to get your hands to stop shaking, multiply that by 1000, and add to the above number.

Step Three: For every appliance you will be replacing, multiply by 2000. For every child whose college education you will no longer be supplementing, multiply by $3000. Add.

Step Four: Lie down on your bed and start the stopwatch. Multiply the number of minutes that it takes for your heart to return to a normal rate by $400. Add.

Step Five: Review the final number. Realize that it's almost as much as you paid for the house. Show it to your significant other or a close personal friend. Count the number of times they exclaim that this number is too high, ridiculous, impossible, etc. Multiply that total by $1000. Add.

Step Six: Just to be certain that you don't come up short, double the final result. Consider vacations in foreign countries as an alternative to your remodeling plans.

Breathe into a bag until you're no longer hyperventilated, then phone your contractor to make the appointment. Quickly estimate the date of completion by taking the date you want it done and adding 4 years.

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zoethe

September 2012

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