Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And so begins the Kitchen

Kind of. Not really. Karen, you would be proud of me. We had a sit down, where I brought a detailed list of everything I could think of that would be part of the kitchen reno, and we measured, and hammered out prices. When something was too high, I said we needed to do something else, and we now have it to where we want it (Which means it'll go up by 10-15", and we are okay with that). We also spoke about time line. And the truth is, the kitchen won't START until the beginning of September. Cabinets, counter and windows need to be ordered. 4-6 weeks. And then 2-3 weeks from start to finish (4-6 weeks) But.... we HAVE a plan, we have hard and fast pricing, and we have a time line. Refrigerator and stove have been moved out of the kitchen for floor finishing which is happening today. Bathroom, back entry and kitchen all at once. The floors look much nicer in photos than in person. So imagine the dark areas are just completely down to the wood... no finish and dirty And the rest aren't shiny - they're just smooth.
Here's an update to the bathroom, and now no more pictures until it's complete. (End of next week...?)
Now, you may be thinking, "But that kitchen looks pretty cool." It probably was REALLY cool. In 1950. May I walk you through some of the hazards of age? So this is how these doors stay shut. The only way they WILL stay shut. IT's pretty cool that they are in-laid doors (as in, flush with the cabinets). But not cool that they swing open - especially is you are walking in from the back door and get hit in the head with one. Then, it's downright irritating. DO you also like the paint chips? YEARS Of paint. Chipped right down to the original wood. Do you know how much time and effort and money it would take to strip them? More than I have. And there's this: the cabinets are about 4 inches thinner (from the wall to the front), then the standard ones that have been around since, say 1950.
Do you like this?
Yes that IS some kind of nasty stain. On the wall. The plaster wall. That the cabinets are attached to. And I used straight up BLEACH on eery bit of every cabinet. (After Steve's mom had already cleaned them from nasty to as good as possible with bleach). And yet, the stains remained.
Okay, this is cool. It's staying. (It's an old fashioned bottle opener, in case I took that picture too close up to tell)
Isn't that a pretty little light to have over your sink? How do you turn it on? Oh - do you see that CHAIN? You can't see it? It's right up there - about two inches long. Well, it's really easy to reach. I stand on a step stool, and then ON the counter. Then I can turn it on...
Nice window huh? NO vent over the stove. Whatever - just open the window. I'd love to... but perhaps yo can see the clear gel caulk up at the top that has it completely sealed up? Well, sealed enough to not open, but not enough to keep the cold air out...
This is a nice little number. Especially if it were still in a bedroom, with it's original DRESSER DRAWER top on it.
I LOVE this laminate. Especially the parts that haven't been cleaned in AGES. Years, probably. Please don't make me think about it anymore. It makes me want to throw up.
And the truth is, my life is grand. I have a great husband who adores me, a daughter who thinks I'm the best bonus mom a kid could ask for (her words in a card she made for me, not mine), and a really pretty house. But... we knew we would update the kitchen. And now's the time. I just wanted you to be able to fully appreciate the upgrades as much as we will. Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Random Photos of the House

We've lived here since April 6th. Wow - three months. I guess that feels about right. While I"m not ready to show you the whole house, as in a tour of the house, I thought I'd show a few bits and pieces. Here's the front. This is old. Not our car. But every time I try to get an outside shot, the lighting's bad...
Pretty, huh? I'm told it's deceiving. I guess our house is much larger inside than one would think. Here are a couple of other outside shots. Love the round red door. Cool, huh?
The inside, empty.
Dining room - from red to blue.
Cool mail catcher.
Close up of the cool old solid brass chandelier. (We'll replace the shades with something that goes with our new dining room set - pictures later)
So, there's a little bit of it for you!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Trip

The nucleus for the trip was a Family Reunion that Cowboy's mom's family was having in Jackson, TN. We were requested to go, and I thought (as I logically do), "Well, if we're driving ten hours to Jackson, we may as well drive ten more to Richmond, VA." We have friends there, and although I knew my dear friend Martha wouldn't be there, I've wanted Cowboy to see Richmond, and all of the East Coast. Then I thought, "WEll, if we're going to Richmond, DC is only two hours up from there, and then Cowboy and Halle could see DC, and maybe that would help Halle catch up with Social Studies/History in general, or give her a leg up on next year. And, as long as we're going as far as DC, we may as well drive two more hours up and see my College friend Kimberly and her husband Seth, because I want Cowboy to see that area, also." Then, we realized that the date of the Reunion would cause us to do it backwards, which worked as well. So we rented a car, and drove the first day to Columbus, Ohio. This was a long trip. Over 900 miles to Columbus from OKC. But I wanted the first day to be long, so the second day would be shorter, and then maybe we could fit a side trip through Amish Country in Lancaster County. We did. We left at 4:40 am. Before the trip I made Halle a Travel Journal. It had a two page summary for every state we were driving through with a little worksheet about the State at the end. Then there was a page of lined paper for her to write her day's thoughts on, and then I also included an expense sheet, so she could keep track of all of our expenses. Every day had boxes for gas, meals, lodging, miscellaneous. We (I) also packed fruit, sandwiches, snacks (Skittles) and water for the road. Day One was uneventful and long. Day Two took us into Lancaster County, before heading down to Seth and Kimberly's.
There WERE two cuter pics of her, but her eyes were closed... ala Cowboy....
It's so pretty here, isn't it? It was so much fun at Kimberly's. Relaxation, laughter, chatting, laughter, Arts and Crafts for Halle (thus, her favorite stop), laughter, crabs and ... lots of laughter. We went out to the Chesapeake, so they could see it.
Cowboy was hoping for fresh Maryland crabs, and he was NOT disappointed.
Seth, Kimberly's cute husband.
Then with a sad farewell, (and Starbucks to go), we headed on down to DC. We drove through DC and then on out to our First Father's house. Lovely day. Hot, but DUH! it WAS July. (Oh did I mention that we found out on the night of Day Two that the reunions as canceled...?)
Have you ever heard that Civil War soldiers scratched their names into bricks around General Washington's tomb? It's actually a true story, although which names are actually from the Civil War and which ones were carved by copycats is disputable. Mount Vernon was neutral ground during the Civil War.
Cowboy loves to smoke a good cigar. This is a cigar in it's purest form, no?
Although Halle did say she LOVED Mount Vernon, this was probably the picture she was most excited about. Dorothy's ruby slippers at the American History museum.
Yes, we hit the Main Three memorials. I think it gave Cowboy a glimpse into my long days. At one point, I said, "wouldn't you think I'd be in a LOT better shape with all this walking?!" And while he wisely didn't agree to THAT statement, he said, "This is a LOT of walking." (And we didn't do it nearly as long or as much.)
Next day we walked Arlington and then took a tour of the Capitol and the Library of Congress. To say Cowboy was disappointed in the Capitol Tour would be an understatement. I would guess that for 95% of the people that come on the tours I give, that would be the case. But it's pretty.
Then we went down to Richmond, VA where we stayed with the Young's. As luck would have it, poor Joseph, the 23 year old, got stuck with us. But it was a TREAT to see him. We took in Williamsburg,
and then drove over to Jamestown and the Yorktown Surrender field, with a quick sidestep to dip our toes in the James River (Something I've wanted to do for 15 years on tour. It's just not on the schedule...)
Since the Reunion was canceled, we wrangled an invitation from Cowboy's Aunt Debbie, who lives in Knoxville, (home also to his favorite cousin, Dave, and his wife and two children). Also, his Grandpa Curt (WW2 Vet) lives there. It was really nice to see them and have some EXCELLENT smoked ribs for the Fourth, before heading to Jackson to spend the night (in a nasty, scary hotel). Then on home. We had SO hoped to see our bathroom almost completed, but that was a complete disappointment. But the trip was NOT a disappointment. We traveled 3,230 miles in 8 days. Quite a trip. Hopefully, quite a good memory. Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I would really be abetter blogger starting with the summer. But, alas, it hasn't happened. SUMMER has happened, and is happening a little too quickly, to be honest, but blogging, not so much. I can't even pinpoint the reason why. So, a quick recap: The bathroom conversion from half to full is easily in it's 8th week, probably. I'm seriously not counting. Can't take it. SLOW GOING. Not sure why. Is it that they don't show up until 2pm, WHEN they show up? LOVE our contractor, but he doesn't do much of the work. A few pics:
Door closed off to make space for shower:
Floor all trashed.
Floor fixed. (Which is currently ruined again due to tiling of shower)
Tiling in progress.
What needs to happen next. Shower finished.(Grouting, door ordered...) New toilet and sink installed. Walls painted. Light fixture hung. And then the kitchen starts... We also went on our First Family Vacation. It was a success. Pictures forthcoming...