Monday, December 31, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back - Verse 2

Come on - sing it with me. You know the tune.

It seems like everything with this project has gone that way, so I didn't expect anything different.

The cabinets are here.

Not that impressive, huh?
Fortunately, they are more impressive out of the boxes. Unfortunately, there are several issues that we have to correct before we can install them. Besides the wrong stained glass that I mentioned earlier, there are a few cabinets with damage to the drawers and the drawers to the lower cabinets don't have the right closing system that we ordered. Also, the sink base and the appliance garage are completely wrong, so that will have to be corrected before installation can be done.

I guess it's lucky for us that we aren't ready to install them. Procrastination finally pays off.

I'm not sure what the rest of the week will bring since it's another holiday week, but we hope to have a decision made by Wednesday evening on our flooring and have it ordered by Thursday. We also hope to get a few more stud walls in place.

And because I have to occupy the other 20 minutes a day that aren't spent on the remodeling project, I cast on for my Hot Tamale socks. It's a pretty simple design ( and it's being done with (gasp) $1.00 sock yarn from so I don't expect them to be perfect. However, I'm on a stash busting mission for 2008, so it was time to move them from my yarn basket to my sock drawer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

WTF are you people looking for?

Seriously - I want to know.

Every once in a while I get a little report that shows me the search terms that people have used and then landed at my blog.

I can understand searching for "Moderne Log Cabin." After all, it's a very popular pattern from a very popular knitting book. I can also understand "remodeled laundry room" because I'm sure we did our share of searching when we were planning it.

But a few of the terms that have confused me lately? What in the world was someone looking for when they searched "knit doctor's hammer?" I would imagine a doctor's hammer made from knitting wouldn't be very useful.

And what about "buttermilk popcorn ceiling." Having just waged battle with our popcorn ceiling, I can only hope that one made from buttermilk is easier to deal with. You have my prayers.

I also want to be invited to the person's house who searched for "welcome sandwiches." I don't know what they are, but I bet they are yummy.

So if you are one of the people that landed at this blog because of a search on Google, drop me a line and let me know what you really were searching for.

Unless you are the person who searched for "mason-dixon knitting chicken beans crock-pot." I'm a little scared of you.

P.S. I know I promised an update on the cabinets. They are here. And they are still in their boxes until Sunday, except for the stained glass doors which I couldn't wait to see. It's just gorgeous. Too bad they made it in the wrong color. . . . And the wrong pattern.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Cabinets Are Coming! The Cabinets Are Coming!

Oh. Crap.

The cabinets are coming.

And we aren't even close to ready for them.

(As a side note, the holidays and vacations have played serious havoc on my blogging routine. Things return to normal tonight, so I'll be updating soon and back to a somewhat regular schedule.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's 5 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Parents Are?

Most people who know us know that the only way we are going to see 5 a.m. is to sneak up behind it rather than in front of it. Part of that is because of Vern's work schedule but also because we are both confirmed night owls.

It creates a dilemma because my very favorite meal to eat in a restaurant is breakfast. Not at lunchtime and not at dinnertime. I want my breakfast in the morning. But we almost never make it out in time for breakfast.

Today we found ourselves working early into the morning as we often do. Later than normal even.

So at 5 a.m. we packed it up and went to breakfast. And let me tell you, it was good.
I can also tell you that the people who are seeing 5 a.m. at the start of a fresh new day and the people who are seeing it at the end of their day are very different. We felt like zombies in a field of sunflowers.

He's Psychic

(Ten points extra if you can identify this photo. One hundred points if you have actually dressed up like this for an office party.)

Remember back to Thanksgiving when I mentioned that my dad frantically was trying to find the paperwork for his prepaid funeral plans? It was very unlike him to be tearing the house apart and to be worrying about something that was settled years ago. Fortunately, I made a couple of calls to the funeral home, discussed everything with the Funeral Director (who was extremely understanding by the way) and got all of the details nailed down and was able to reassure dad that things were, indeed, taken care of and fully paid for no matter how much the cost is at that time.

Well dad must have had some sort of a premonition because just three short weeks later he got word that his sister had passed away. She lived in Florida and although they had spoken recently, he hadn't been aware that she had been suffering from a long term illness.

Anyway, back to the point of my story - - - it seems that her family had prearranged and purchased a funeral plan and somehow it wasn't sufficient to cover even half of the cost of her funeral.

Despite how irritated I was at the time to have to make those calls at Thanksgiving, I'm now very grateful that I was able to put dad's mind at rest about such a serious subject.

Oh, and if the name escapes you - it's Carnac the Magnificent. And yes, I did indeed dress up as Carnac for an office party several years ago. It was for a skit making fun of the lawyers in our office. I was Carlac the Magnificent. I was pretty damn funny too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Do I Hate Thee; Let Me Count the Ways

Since the very first day we moved into this house, we have found a 100 ways to curse the former owners, both under our breath and out loud. They left such a mess here that it has taken us literally four years to get through it. Every time we throw out something they left here or some mess that we have had to undo and deal with, we give them a little "f-you" as we put it in the trash.

We always knew that they fixed up this house just to sell it. And by "fixed up" I mean covered things up and got the hell out of here.

The latest find lies under the sparkly popcorn ceiling. I could have forgiven them their horrendously bad taste had the ceiling been done when the house was originally built or even into the 1970s. However, we determined pretty quickly as I scraped off mounds of wet "popcorn" (also known as Styrofoam balls) and found that it had most definitely been done only a few months before we purchased the house. Not only that, we also figured out the reason - to hide a bad patch job where they replaced part of the ceiling.

What we don't know is why that part of the ceiling was replaced. What we do know is that it was a very bad patch job and that they also didn't use any sort of primer or paint and applied the popcorn texture directly to the raw drywall.
It just made an already messy and labor intensive job that much harder and messier. And now we have to wonder if there is a deeper problem that we need to investigate before we go further into finishing this room.

Meanwhile, with Christmas fast approaching, I'm multi-tasking. Or at the very least, my sewing machine is helping me multi-task.

I'm working on a special project for my Scottish father. I should finish it tonight, so stay tuned for the final project.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dear Former Owners of Our House



The Unos

(details to follow soon)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ho, Ho, Snow

I can't remember the last time we had a White Christmas, but we will definitely have one this year. We got buried in 8" to 10" of snow on Saturday night and Sunday morning, and the forecast is for 2 or 3 more days of snow, possibly heavy, before Christmas.

At least it gave Vern a chance to use the new toy he bought last year. It sure beats shoveling by hand. Which I did. But I took a lesson from the woodpile and only cleared the sidewalks and a path on the deck.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Meet the Labs

Meet the labs - Jackson the chocolate lab and Lincoln the black lab. They are both a little over four years old.

Officially, they are Uno's Chocolate Kiss and Uno's Black Thunder, but our trainer thinks those names make them sound like porn stars.

We had them neutered, so we just call them Lincoln and Jackson.

It's Too Late to Turn Back Now

At every step of the demolition, Vern keeps saying "It's too late to turn back now."

Most of the cabinets are down (only the sink and dishwasher cabinets remain for now) and we can begin to see how the two rooms are going to tie together. The room where Vern is sweeping used to be a formal living room. It will now become the dining room, although there will be a small office in the general area where the closet door is located now.

As a comparison, this is the "before" kitchen.

We're really hoping to make a lot of progress next week. Vern is on vacation so we are going to really work hard to make some changes. The cabinets are scheduled to arrive on December 27. Merry Christmas to us!

I know that even if it wasn't too late to turn back, I wouldn't want to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In My New Home

The kitchen has officially been moved into the garage. It's not as bad as it could be - we fortunately have heat in the garage and we already had a refrigerator out there as well as cabinets, so it was the logical choice for a temporary kitchen.

Vern ran some wiring for the range, and we moved one of the old cabinets out there for a work surface, so I at least have a little room to work.

I packed away some of the storage items we had in the cabinets and then I just put most of my kitchen equipment right into the cabinets. I really didn't have to pack much away, so things should remain pretty much normal until we are able to move into the new kitchen.

Except for the part where I don't have a dishwasher. That part sucks.

If I was a fortune cookie, I would read "I see a lot of paper plates in your future."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Subs - Floors and Sandwiches

We've decided to take up the entire subfloor in both the dining room and the kitchen. There is still a lot of the original 30 year old linoleum that we weren't able to get up easily and quite a bit of the subfloor was damaged by water or simply in poor condition.

However, it's not going to come up easily. As if we had any illusion that it would go any other way.

We had our last official meal in our old kitchen/dining room/living room. I made meatball sub sandwiches. I can't believe I spent all those years buying crappy grocery store meatballs. They are so easy to make and so much better.


*2 slices white sandwich bread (crusts discarded), torn into small cubes
*1/2 cup buttermilk
or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons sweet milk
*3/4 pound ground beef chuck ( or 1 pound if omitting ground pork below)
*1/4 pound ground pork (to be mixed with ground chuck)
*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

*1 large egg yolk

*1 small clove garlic
, minced (1 teaspoon)
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*Ground black pepper
*vegetable oil for pan-frying (about 1 1/4 cups)

1. Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.

2. Mix all meatball ingredients, including bread mixture and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Lightly form 3 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 14 meatballs.

3. Heat 1/4 -inch vegetable oil over medium-high heat in 10- or 11-inch sauté pan. When edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, regulating heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to paper towel--lined plate; set aside. Repeat, if necessary, with remaining meatballs.

To make the meatball sub sandwiches, I remove the meatballs from the pan, drain the oil, and add pasta sauce, scraping the "bits" of browned meatballs from the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Add meatballs to the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve on hoagie buns.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm Giddy with Excitement

Yes, I admit it. I'm a huge dork.

I am giddy with excitement.

Because of the writer's strike, they will be having an "extra" season of Big Brother. Big Brother 9 will premier on February 12, 2008.

I. Can't. Wait.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Fell Off the Wagon

I've been very, very bad. I fell off my yarn diet. Pretty significantly.

Yes, that is a faux Christmas tree made out of 26 one-pound skeins of cotton. When I fall off the wagon, I not only fall off, but I get run over by it too.

I've been selling quite a few dishcloth sets (I love mindless knitting) on Etsy and while I won't be able to get all of this knit up before the holidays, I will be set for the next year. Or ten.

And while I'm admitting my sins, look at the pretty self striping sock yarn I got yesterday when we were coming home from Chicago.

We'll just call that dessert, okay?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Moving Out

Really, I swear my kitchen isn't always this much of a mess.

The time has come to start moving everything out of the cabinets so that we can tear out the cabinets.

Because we are doing the work ourselves and the remodel is such a large project, it's just going to be too long to depend on a hot plate or eating out for the entire time. Fortunately, I'll be able to set up a temporary kitchen in the garage. There is already a refrigerator out there, and we will move the stove out there. We have a whole wall of cabinets that I can move most of my stuff into.

Just don't show up and expect any gourmet meals.

Head Games

The header is up and now the rest of the old support wall between the kitchen and dining room can come down!

This is the new open wall between the kitchen and where the dining room will be. There's so much more work to do, but the structure is starting to take shape.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lots of Progress

Whew, I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted, but things have been flying fast and furious around here.

Thanksgiving was good. Except for the part where my dad started to frantically search for the paperwork for his prepaid funeral plan. Nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like thoughts of funerals.

Now that the work is (mostly) done on the well and (mostly) done on the deck, we’re putting 100% full effort into the kitchen and dining room remodel because it will only be a matter of a week or so before our new cabinets are here and there is a lot of work to be done before we can install them.

“Install new cabinets” is waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy over to the right side of our timeline. So much timeline, so little time.

Like I said – 100% effort.

We finished tearing out all of the tile in the kitchen and all the way down the hall. I ran the jackhammer, and Vern tore out the cement board and two layers of linoleum underneath.

We realized afterwards that some of the flooring was probably asbestos. Oh well, I guess we all have to die of something.

We also ripped out the drywall in the hallway and the former living room. You just can’t have too many stud walls in a home. Especially during the holidays – it’s so festive. I think we may actually have more open stud walls than walls with drywall actually on them at this point.

And speaking of the hallway, this used to be a linen closet.

A very ineffective linen closet. I now use it to store craft and sewing supplies. It’s on the backside of my actual craft room closet, so we’re planning to drywall over the front of it and then enlarge the closet in the craft room.

In the meantime, we removed the bifold doors. Vern really hates bifold doors, so he was happy to take a crowbar to them.

Finally, and best of all, the first cabinet has been removed from the kitchen. We’re not ready to take all of them out but it was great progress to at least get one out and see what we are dealing with.

Apparently what we are dealing with is more of that lovely asbestos flooring. Goody.