Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And we wait

Things are looking good in the kitchen. The cabinets are in and I've waited for two days now for the counter top people (who are also the flooring people) to schedule a time to come in and do the counters. This does not come as a surprise to me. The salesperson at the flooring/counter store has been in no hurry at all to follow up with what I've wanted. I definitely won't recommend his company in the future. Hopefully today I'll hear something.

But I love the cabinets. The color is lovely and there is a ton of storage space. That's a wine rack to the left of the hole for the dishwasher. There was a bit of miscommunication about that, where it was originally a wine rack, then the contractor said we could make it into a space for cookie sheets, and then it ended up a wine rack. That's fine. I'll buy some wine. 

I've been super busy at work with a load of timed experiments that have to happen on mosquitoes that are 3-7 days old. It's been go go go since last Friday with that, but today should be the last day. The results are good and interesting and I've got boxes full of tubes of dead mosquitoes that died after a certain amount of time exposed to insecticides, so that's very good. 

I did apply for the university job and turned in my application yesterday. That also was a lot of work, and although I had a month to work on it, I did most of it in the last few days. I'm satisfied that the application (cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement) represents my qualifications and experience adequately, so that's good. It will be interesting to see if I even get an interview. I need to tell my boss and his boss that I put them down as references. I know they'll understand because it's a really good opportunity, but I still feel a little smarmy doing it.

And it's been hot this week. Mr W's school is not air conditioned, so they've got these huge fans moving air through, and they keep the lights down. I know I can't do anything about it except make sure he's got his water bottle, and I do.

Hopefully now that the timed experiments are winding down, the application is in, and the kitchen is almost done, things will feel like they are less rushed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The beginning of cabinets

As someone mentioned to me, it really starts looking like a kitchen once the cabinets start going in.

I would like to say here and now that I LOVE the cabinets, which is a good thing because I don't think there's any going back on this part of it. I'm not sure if they will drill holes for knobs, but right now it's all smooth. You can see the corner where I got a lazy susan. I think that makes good use of the space. For some reason, the original layout had both corners (this one and the one to my left as I took the photo) with 8" doors and then about three feet of space into the corner. It's lots of storage, but a small opening. Now, it's just the one corner to my left that's like that. Design restriction, I guess.

When I got to work yesterday, it occurred to me that they would likely hang the upper cabinets, so I called the contractor and asked if I should come home and get the tile out that I bought for the backsplash. I also told him he was welcome to gather it in the three spots I had stored the boxes, and gave a very detailed text as to the order. This is it! Well, turn it 90 degrees and it is it. I love this, too. It'll be 18" of tile all together. 

I came home yesterday and the window was gone, replaced with plastic sheeting. There are more cabinets that got put up yesterday, but again it's too dark in there this morning yet to take photos. There's also a spec sheet for the sink I picked, so it's probably in the garage. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Something I hadn't considered

I've been having some back and hip pain lately. Stiffness, mostly. I have wanted to incorporate some stretching into my exercise routine, but just have not managed to do so. I did morning yoga with the PBS lady for about a year, but it's been five years. No wonder I'm stiff.

In the minor upheaval that has been August, where my kitchen is being remodeled, I have closed my Etsy shop to work on new things, suspended my banjo lessons and am very busy at work, I also did not sign up for another three months of the spinning class I've been faithfully going to twice a week for almost the last three years because I need to structure that stretching time.

I went over to one of the local health clubs in town and signed up for a month to month membership because they offer spinning, yoga, and a couple of other group fitness things. There are several classes to choose from most days, and I live about the same distance from the north and the central locations, so I get even more choices. I haven't told my spin ladies that I'm leaving yet, but this is the right decision for me at this time.

I had an evaluation by one of their trainers. They did a strength test (meh), flexibility (it was so low, she had to do it twice), and cardio. The cardio had me step up and down on a stool for three minutes to the timing of a metronome, then she took my heart rate. I came out on the high end of "very good", which made me happy. I may be overweight and not flexible, but my heart is good.

Well, I went to my first yoga class last night. It was called "Deep Stretch Yoga". Holy cow. I knew I was tight around my hips and back, but man-o-man, I had no idea how much. I was late because I got stopped by a train, something that is sadly common in that part of town during rush hour, and sort of ducked in, grabbed a mat and followed along. I loved this class. They freely use props like foam support blocks, folded blankets, and pillow bolsters for support in the poses. You just shim in what you need and try to hold the pose for the 3 minutes or so. It was AWESOME! She worked on some relaxation stuff and breathing. It was all I had hoped. I will stop gushing now.

Here's a kitchen picture from two days ago. Yesterday they started on cabinets, but it's not light enough in there yet today to take a picture (no lights).

The plaster on the walls and ceiling is done and it is smooth and lovely. The rest of the house has old lathe and plaster, some covered with wall paper, so the smooth texture fits with the rest of it. They got the old gas line out as well. 

I need to take some garden pictures. I've been very pleased with the big zinnias and Black Eyed Susans I've planted from seed, and will do even more cut flower varieties next year. I really like having a little bouquet on the table. This was taken on the window they will be replacing soon, hence all the debris.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Plaster and drywall and pediatrician frustration

The plasterers and drywallers (Do they have better names? I don't know) have been in and here is what my kitchen looks like this morning. It was very plaster-y-wet smelling Friday night into Saturday, but it has dried and looks good. 

I thought they'd be putting drywall over everything, but they are plastering most of it, so that the original door frames and baseboards will still stick out, so to speak. I hadn't realized that, and am glad it will be this way. 

The ceiling had to be dropped about 5 inches so they could easily get the electric wires everywhere they needed to go. A big plus there is that all of the wiring in the kitchen will be new, including separate breaker switches for a couple of the appliances. 

So it's going. I'm a little weary of the disruption, but it will be OK. Mr W will be with his dad this week and that will make logistics easier. His first day of school is tomorrow, but he's got Cross Country practice today. 

I'm a little miffed at his doctor's office, who I need to sign a medical release form so he can practice with the CC team. He just decided/I just brought it up last Wednesday, and the Dr.'s office wants five business days to sign the form saying he's had a physical in the last year. I faxed the form to them last Thursday, with a note asking if they could please rush it, and heard nothing. I called this morning to ask about it, was on hold for 10 minutes, talked to someone briefly who said they had not processed it, and got put into voicemail again. I'm thinking that if this is their normal operating procedure, it ain't workin' for me. I've looked over the website for another group of pediatricians in town and I think we will be switching. I don't need the frustration.

Friday, August 16, 2013


No new kitchen pictures today. They've installed a new ceiling and put in the wiring, but the room doesn't look much different. I met with the flooring person here yesterday and don't know how they'll manage to get it all done in the time window the contractor planned for.

We are reasonably comfortable, though. Sally has been dropped off at the local doggie day care, and I don't think she minds too much, although she'd rather sleep on my bed all day (me too, now that I think of it). Mr W's been shuttled over to his dad's house. And while that has come with some drama, as they've got a new puppy and Mr W grows weary of the responsibility, I was very proud of the kid for coming up with a plan that involved tethering the dog to the tree in the yard, and camping out close by with his computer. They just stayed outside most of the day.

I have felt really busy lately. Not quite frantic, but overextended and hoping I don't forget something that has to be done. Most certainly not enjoying the ride. And my back has hurt lately. It is, I believe, related to my old hip injury, which has left me with a stiff back a lot of the time. Stretching helps a lot, but I don't do it regularly enough.

I've also not been finding the time to practice my banjo. The last two weeks have been so hectic that I either forget, or put it off until the end of the day and then decide not to do it.

I have decided to shuffle the deck a bit.

I've suspended my banjo lessons for a month or so. Also, when it was time to sign up again for another three months of spin class yesterday, I did not. I'm going to join a local health club that has a lot of group fitness options, as well as yoga and "body flow" type classes. My employer will reimburse me up to $30 a month for a health club, so I'm going to give that a go for three months. I'm hoping it will make my back feel better.

Last thing is that I'm going to close my Etsy shop until the end of September. I haven't made anything new for a while, and will use the time to get my stock back up and think up some new things. My muse did visit a couple of months ago, and I need to follow up. I hate feeling like "OK, I've got an hour and a half to be creative, then I have to go to Target". That shuts down the process pretty fast for me.

It is amazing to me how these things mill around in my headspace for a long time, and then - bam - it's time to do it and the decisions come easily. Especially the banjo. I feel guilty for not keeping that up, but I just need to throw my free time up into the air and reschedule it.

I leave you with a recent picture. I can't remember what I called the post, but I wrote a few months ago about the people who empty my garbage.  They regularly leave the bin right in my driveway so I have to get out of my car and put the thing away before I can pull in. I thought it was accidental, but now think otherwise.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kitchen demo complete

In the course of about nine hours, the crews came and took everything but the floor out of my kitchen. Above you can see the gas line for the stove, which will be relocated to the wall that is on my left from where I took this picture. 

I am THRILLED that they were able to take down the drop ceiling and now I've got a 9' ceiling in there. It feels bigger. The plan is to get a ceiling fan and light for the center of the room. 

They won't be able to use the wood floors that are under the vinyl, as everything was glued to the floor and it's not really worth the hassle. In the photo above, you can see how they ran the electric through the dropped ceiling. My contractor said they'd either go through the attic to run those wires, or make something on top of the cabinets (which won't go to the ceiling). Either is OK with me. 

We did talk about running the VCT (vinyl composition tiles) into the bathroom, which is through the narrow door in the top picture. The sheet vinyl runs continuously in there as it is now, and despite the extra expense, it's probably a good idea to do the floor in the bathroom. While they're at it, the contractor suggested they do the back hallway as well (only another 40 square feet). These additional little side things make me nervous because of the extra expense, but they are things that need to be done, and since the professionals are there, might as well take advantage of that, right? 

I'm going to work today. The project I'm working on involves rearing lots of mosquitoes and I need to go in an identify larvae. There's two similar species and we only want one of them, so I'll weed out the other by doing this.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day One of Kitchen Remodel

Not much to see yet except a bare kitchen, but here's a "before" picture that will show the changes. Demolition begins today!

How can a person generate so many orphan tupperware lids? They got recycled.

Note the shallow sink, the short, shallow and stained counter tops, pitted floor and window (oops, you can't see it but it's there) that is held open with a small wooden spoon.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I'm almost done deciding on things for the kitchen renovation. It's been fun, but also kind of nerve wracking, despite deciding that I'm picking things for me, instead of for the next people that live here (whenever that may be).

When it came time to decide on flooring, I liked the look of Marmoleum. It's pretty green, environmentally because it's like linoleum, but hipper. Here's an example:

I like the speckles, and I like how it comes in 12" squares, and so a person could make a pattern or a mix of colors and that might be interesting. Marmoleum is about $6-7 a square foot, and ended up being out of my price range. 

Then I found some other, commercial vinyl tiles called Azrock. I have to buy a case, which covers about 45 square feet, so am looking at getting these three colors and mixing them into a random pattern with a little more of the tan than the green or blue:

I'm waiting on a price, but it's supposed to be in the $2-3 a square foot range. The tan matches the cabinet color really well, and the other colors compliment the counter and backsplash tile. 

A note from a past self

I'm cleaning out cupboards in preparation for the kitchen demo that happens Thursday. It's not too bad, but I had one shelf that held bits of this and that and stuff I intended to file away or do something with. I found a notebook that I used to carry around in my purse. It had a quote that I had copied from, it says, the ceiling of a local coffee shop. Here it is:

"Life is about discovering and accepting yourself. Life is about stepping outside your boundaries and believing that you can. It is about following your dreams and knowing you are capable of achieving all that you desire. It is about recognizing possibilities and taking risks. Life is about loving, enjoying and being active in every sense. It is about appreciating the people, community and nature surrounding your being. Life is." Stacy Page

Isn't that nice? A little food for thought.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sink and faucet choices

The choices are bewildering, but I have made my sink and faucet selections.

Here's the sink, Wheatland by Kohler. I really wanted the two different sized bowls so dishes can be rinsed on their way to the dishwasher (when I use the dishwasher), leaving a nice big bowl for filling pots or whatever.

That's a very unexciting picture, I'm realizing. The holes are kind of weirdly set on the sink, so I picked a one-handle faucet with a sprayer that can be put in that corner hole.

It's not green, but a stainless steel finish. 

Getting these decided was a lot of work! Glad it's done.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

So those countertops? Here's what I'm thinking.

Well, I finally (FINALLY) got the counter top estimates. It took entirely too long. As many would have guessed, the Cambria manufactured stone I really liked is twice as expensive as laminate. I took a good hard look at what I wanted and how much money I had and the Cambria just isn't worth it.

But that's not bad news. I'm a person that likes color, and once a person is freed from the constraint of having something look like/ be like stone, it's a big bright world out there. To review, I love this glass tile:

It is pricey ($35 a sheet) so I will cut it into three strips (vertically in this photo) that measure 4" x 12" and lay them end to end to have a 4" high strip running parallel to the counter, with two rows of white subway tile above and below the colored tile strip. To match the Cambria, I was going to border it with 1" strips of 1" x 3" clear blue tile, but now I'm not sure about that. As far as installation goes (which I'm going to do myself) it might be better to have 6" of glass tile (or thereabouts, with joints) so that I cut less subway tile (which measures 3" x 6", and there's usually 18" of backsplash space). (Lots of parentheses in this paragraph).

OK, so now what to do for countertops? Nevamar has many, many kinds of laminate to choose from. And if one is not trying to make it look like stone, as I am repeating, one can have some fun with the choice. Here's what I'm thinking:

There will still be plenty of white because the backsplash is mostly white, but I thought this would be a fun choice. It's called Extreme Bamboo Green.

Here's another picture of it:

So then this leaves me with new decisions as to sink color and faucet color. I thought ivory for the sink and a dark faucet, but will need to try to picture in my mind how it will all look. 

I just saw this color palette on Pinterest today - lovely!!