Sunday, August 3, 2014

Progress--at last!

Based on the title of what is inarguably the best album from the Grateful Dead, "What a long, strange trip it has been" is the best phrase that accurately describes the last year  in my life.  Nearly a year ago I was in the final stretch for school and we had begun our kitchen remodel. What began as a innocuous assumption that the remodel would be straightforward and  we would finish the project in a few months was  blown to smithereens. We didn't expect to have things be quite so problematic. We didn't expect my step dad (who was our main source of help) to get sick. (He is fully recovered now, thank goodness). We didn't expect such a severe winter which put a hurt on our already precarious finances. We didn't expect issues with the hubb's job which required him to be working 6-7 days week for weeks at a time. We certainly didn't expect or plan for several events leading to financial catastrophe for us.  C'est la vie!  Such is life especially when  living in a 133 year old house.

The good news we are FINALLY-albeit ever so slowly- clawing our way back out of the pit of doom and gloom. As y'all know, I graduated in June and I have been at my job for 3 months now and have past the "trial" stage. YIPPEE! I sit for the national certification exam on August 11 -gulp! This is a huge step for me. Fingers crossed I pass. If so, this will net me an extra $3/hr at my job. While that may not seem like much, it is the difference between me taking on a part time job, in addition to my full time job. Yadda, yadda, I know life is tough all over the place!

The best part of progress is we have resumed work on the kitchen! After 10 months without a kitchen and 5 months after the remodel came to a grinding halt, we had the electrician out to inspect the wiring (which passed-YAY for the hubbs!). We were given the all clear to close the walls up.  

Thanks to my brother-in-law, his best friend, my step dad and the hubbs, they had the drywall installed  in 3 hours (including a break for food and beer). My brother-in-law has his own construction company, so he has access to tools we normally would not--like a drywall lift! I can honestly say before this I had no ideal what that meant! This is a picture of  a lift from Harbor Freight. These can be found at most hardware/ home improvement stores and retail for $150.00-$200.00. It was a wonderful piece of equipment to have for this job.  Unfortunately I was too busy grilling food to get any good action shots of the guys using the lift. We went with 12 foot sheets of drywall which was perfect for our room size (nearly 12x12), only a few cuts and less seams to mud and tape.

First piece of drywall on the ceiling using the lift!
My step dad
We installed the green board on the sink side (basically where there is a chance of water or water lines coming in) as as a precautionary measure. Trying to limit the opportunities for mold and mildew could grow in my new kitchen.

Last little piece being patched in at the top. Unfortunately, we have a slope from one side to to the other (South to North). This was originally a porch and an area over a cistern.  There was settling over the years but it is secure. Especially with jacks installed in the dungeon/cellar/basement/crawl tunnel areas. The joists were pounded up, sistered and shimmed, along with ledger boards reducing the slope from 4 inches to about 1 and 1/2 inches over a 12 foot span. Had I KNOWN about it before the lighting went in I would have made the guys build a false ceiling frame, so there would have been a more level surface, ugh! My brother-in-laws swears once everything is mudded, taped, primed , painted and crown molding installed it won't be noticeable.  Just part of the quirky charm of a 133 year old house, right?

Tada! Notice I have 7-SEVEN-lights in the ceiling. I should be able to land a plane int he kitchen it will be so bright.  And see all the outlets behind the hubbs? This will be the "cook/work" side of the kitchen with a 6 foot run of open counter, lots of under cabinet storage and stove.  No more dark and dreary dungeon feel or running an extension cord because there were only 2 plugs available for use..Woot!
The hubbs being silly!
Up next...The messy part. with mud, tape and sanding. We are going to do as much of this as we can. More than likely we will call in help for the corners and ceiling. This is not the hubbs  favorite thing to work on but we WILL get this done. We are giving ourselves 2 weeks since we have to work on it after work/ weekends--bearing in mind the hubbs is on call during this time--to mud, tape, sand, prime and paint. We are waiting until all the messy stuff is done  before calling the electrician to make the final connections to the breaker box. We plan (and by we, I mean the hubbs) to install all the plugs and light switches the day the connection will be made.

Here's my list from my earlier kitchen remodel post with some additions/ modifications
  • Finish tearing out the plaster and lathe on the North wall
  • Tear out ceiling
  • Cut out the wall boards in the sink area to remove mold. It appears to be contained in a few spots. Decided to do a complete tear out
  • Patch/ repair the remaining 2 walls. Possibly skim coat. Decided to do a complete tear out
  • Build temporary supports for new headers over door and window.
  • Bleach and Odo-Ban the walls and allow to dry. 
  • Cut out a  2 foot by 8 foot floor section (sink area)
  • Sister the joist beams and shim where the floor slopes
  • Determine if sill plate needs repaired  Damage is minimal-yay!
  • Install a floor jack on North-East corner--where the the sill plate is water damaged
  • Move the stove outlet from floor to the wall and update to a new receptacle-IN PROGRESS
  • Install necessary outlet for gas hookup (no connection to line, preparing in advance for stove replacement)--Maybe--checking on requirements Decided to scratch this for now
  • Build bump out wall (west wall/ kitchen sink side) to accommodate for out of plumb wall.
  • Lay a new subfloor
  • Replace, update and attach the outlet to a stud on east wall
  • Add 1-2 new receptacle(s) to the east wall (window wall)
  • Add 1 new receptacle to west wall-IN PROGRESS
  • Purchase recessed light housing and trim kits
  • Order focal/ center light
  • Move center junction box, update and wire in a wall a 2 way switch for the ceiling fixture. IN PROGRESS 
  • Install recessed lights perimeter of the kitchen (3 on each wall) and install dimmer switch. IN PROGRESS
  • Install/ wire in electric for stove exhaust hood
  • Replace the window
  • Attach furring strips to the exterior walls (North and East) to bump out the depth
  • Insulate and seal. Minimize any possible cracks, leaks or vermin/bug/ draft entry points-IN PROGRESS
  • Install furring strips to bump out north wall (entry door wall) so drywall is flush with door frame
  • Electrician inspection
  • Drywall, mud, tape, prime and paint IN PROGRESS
  • Install plugs and light switches
  • Final electric connection to the breaker
  • Install the linoleum
  • Purchase additional corner cabinet
  • Install cabinets
  • Order remaining counter top (stove side of the kitchen)
  • Install counter tops
  • Install sink
  • Order and install stove exhaust hood
  • Install new door
  • Trim work (doors, the window, baseboards, crown molding)
  • Purchase  tile for backsplash
  • Install tile back splash (sink area), considering backsplash installation on stove side
  • Install stove and refrigerator
  • Purchase and install cabinet hardware
  • Purchase end panel for dishwasher installation
  • Purchase ceiling medallion
  • Install the ceiling medallion and chandelier
  • Purchase and install a dishwasher
  • Decide on window treatment
  • Order fabric for window valance/ curtains/ shade
  • Paint  mobile island/ cart
  • DIY some wall art
  • Purchase/ DIY 2 kitchen stools
  • Accessorize
  • Cook, bake and ENJOY the finished kitchen!
How I feel with the kitchen remodel back on track...HAPPY!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Saying goodbye to my boy

I have cried a river of tears the last 2 weeks as I dealt with the knowledge of my beloved boy Chubb's aka Tubblywubblybubblyboo time had come to cross the rainbow bridge. My mind knows it was the humane choice but my heart is broken. It doesn't matter how many times I have faced this decision in my life, I am still never quite prepared for the onslaught of grief.  

To some people they would say, "He is just an animal". But he wasn't. He was my companion, my confidant, my protector and my family.

I hope you all will take a moment to join me in celebrating the gift of nearly 12 years I was lucky enough to be Chubb's human.

You were a roly poly gangly furball with the big ears and even bigger paws. And absolutely irresistible.

Those long nights filled with whimpering and crying because you wouldn't go to sleep without me. And then there was the actual  puppy whimpering because you wouldn't go to sleep without me. The terrible toddler years. Oh, how many shoes, sunglasses, pillows, and blankets did we replace because of the teething stage? I would be so upset until I looked into your soulful brown eyes and I would just melt as you wagged your tail.

You were the annoying little brother dog always tagging along and hanging on (literally) to your patient older brother dog Maxwell. I think this is the epitome of puppy love.

Even when you outgrew the little brother description

There were the rambunctious tween years when you would have "mad dog" tantrums tearing through the house at top speed, leaving a trail of overturned chairs, tables and broken  everything  in your wake. You were the alpha male with attitude.

As you matured in a somewhat mellow fellow you found some of your favorite activities involved riding in the car, eating and sitting as close to mommy as possible...preferably in her lap. But your all time favorite activity was lounging. It didn't matter where...couch, floor, bed, doggie den or steps. 

 The last few years have been hard (for me) as your steps slowed, your vision faded and your muzzle turned frosty. The one thing that never changed is the unconditional love you had for me and I had for you.  I hope you feel no more pain, are running free with a never ending supply of "ewies" (that's rawhide chewies). I love you, Tubblywubblybubblyboo. You will always be my number 1 boy!

If it should be.... 
If it should be that I grow frail and weak,
and pain should keep me from my sleep,
then you must do what must be done,
for we know this last battle can't be won.

You will be sad, I understand,
but don't let grief then stay your hand,
for this day, more than the rest,
your love and friendship must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years,
what is to come can hold no fears.
Would you want me to suffer? So,
when the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend,
only stay with me until the end,
and hold me firm and speak to me,
until my eyes no longer see.

It is a kindness that you do to me,
although my tail it's last has waved,
from pain and suffering I have been saved.

Do not grieve, it should be you,
who must decide this thing to do.
We've been so close, we two these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

by Julia Napier, copyright 1999

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day and a little buzz...

 I hope everyone has a happy and safe celebration this weekend!

While surfin' the web today I came across a series -This Built America- based on businesses for Made in America products. One of  the featured videos was for Kelley Beekeeping

They have expanded into chicken flock keeping by building and selling nesting boxes but I didn't see those on the website. It is noted they have products at Rural King. I LOOOOVVVE Rural King, haha.

How many of you bloggies use Kelley products?  I am not a beekeeper (to scared because I am allergic!) or a chicken flock keeper (well...because of my dogs and an unfenced yard--maybe someday) but  though this was great story on a  little company that has done right by keeping jobs in America, all while providing products to help people towards self sufficiency. You can watch the video HERE. And after watching this it made me have a craving for honey.

This made me think how many little businesses are out there that can proudly state Made in America, promote self sufficiency and --for the perfect trifecta--are environmentally responsible? Who do you know, that you want to share?

What are everyone's plans for today? Grilling out? Camping? Fireworks? The hubbs has some backyard fireworks planned and we are grilling out. Although I am feeling slightly inadequate after perusing pinterest and seeing all of the AWESOME patriotic themed dishes. We are cooking burgers, hot dogs, chicken and foil veggie packets. Nothing fancy. 

I would love to read about what y'all are doing, so be sure to post a comment. I am off to enjoy the day! Happy 4th y'all!