Tuesday, February 24, 2015

kitchen diary: week 8, trim.

Feb. 16,18-20 -  carpenters install trim on everything: crown molding, door and window casing, toe kicks, and baseboards.

this is a huge job, and the results are flawless. just beautiful. it turns out the light rail (trim for under the upper cabinets) was fabricated incorrectly, so that is not yet installed. cabinet and drawer pulls are installed, with the exception of a couple drawers - we were about 6 pulls short in our order.

the last bits of wiring are run, and the recessed lighting gets its final touches - it all blends so nicely with the ceiling that i hardly even noticed it was done!

also, final decisions are made for the countertop, since a minor change from the supplier came up at the last minute.

Feb. 21 - Amanda takes a trip to the Depot to get all of the paint and a couple other random supplies. 
   Mark paints a third (and hopefully final) coat on the ceiling. He also caulks all of the baseboards in preparation for paint. the baseboards look great - makes me wonder why we didnt do this years ago.
   Amanda pulls nails out of the old shoe molding in case it can be reused, and watches a lot of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

Feb. 22 - Mark moves the attic access.  the old access was tiny, and hidden in the closet in the guest bedroom.  it was accessible, but it was also kind of a pain: any time we wanted to get into the attic, we had to completely empty the closet and remove the shelf and hanging bar.

moving it was on the to-do list for some time down the line, but it got bumped to the top of the list so that our contractor/uncle has easier access in order to vent the microwave to the outside. 

now, the opening is larger, and located at the end of the hallway.  all it needs is a little nail filler and touch up paint.

Amanda shovels the driveway, and then spends the rest of the afternoon in bed because reasons.  we go out to eat because there is zero food in our house and go to bed early.

Monday, February 23, 2015

it was Pap.

i was shoveling the driveway on Sunday afternoon. the biggest snow event of the season, a whopping 6 whole inches, and i was digging us out while Mark worked inside on moving the attic access.  i about jumped out of my skin at the sound of his voice as it carried so loud and clear across the winter silence of the fresh snow- "Amanda, your mom is on the phone."

my mind was racing as i sprinted up the driveway and tossed my shovel into a snowbank, covering miles of mental ground as my body covered a couple hundred feet. it couldn't be Pap. he had to have more time than this.  Dad had just texted on Thursday night, a message that i didn't read until Friday morning, "Pap isn't doing well."  i had, just moments prior, laughed to myself about Pap's winter hat sitting high up on his head well above his ears, as i had just pushed my own hat up off my overheating forehead. he had to have more time than this.

we didn't go visit this weekend. we figured it would stress Gram out to have us arrive without any advance notice. we knew Pap would not recognize us, and we were not sure we wanted to remember him not remembering us. its selfish, but i wanted to remember him from this past summer, when he called me Girl and we danced in the kitchen. "Manda Dawn, what's that flower you have on?" in that moment, behind those eyes that had been confused and lost for so long, it was Pap.

mom's voice broke on the phone as she choked out the words that she didn't want to have to say and i didn't want to hear. it was Pap.

Monday, February 16, 2015

kitchen diary: week 7, hardwoods and cabinets.

Feb. 9 - Ed the hardwood guy patches the existing hardwood floors where the walls used to be, and installs new hardwood in the new dining room.  He is a magician.  You can't even tell that there used to be a wall there. the floor is gorgeous.

there is a flush transition along the long opening from the dining room to the kitchen(!), and there will be a tiny stepped transition through the smaller doorway up into the kitchen from the living room.

(clockwise from top: tile, transition turnboard, new wood, old wood)
Mark and Amanda spend the evening (into the early morning) painting the entire ceiling, and the few walls in the kitchen that will not eventually be covered by cabinets or the backsplash. one late night yields two coats on everything, although a third coat might be necessary in some areas. it's nice to have the bulk of the painting done though, before the cabinets are installed.

Feb. 10 - THE CABINETS ARE HERE! our house is full of brown paper packages tied up with string filled with our pretty pretty cabinets! the pendant light for over the sink also arrives, although for some reason we recieve two of them. but one of them is broken, so its nice to have a replacement already on hand.

after work, Mark grouts the kitchen floor and i dont know how its possible but that floor has gotten even prettier. 

Amanda paints small patches of the living room wall color (SW-Calico) where the kitchen and dining room meet, and around various light switches and outlets.

Feb. 11 - Will the carpenter arrives to start the cabinet installation. the first words out of his mouth are "wow that floor looks awesome" and my entire week is made. about half of the base cabinets get installed, and we already have more storage than we used to have in the old kitchen.

Feb. 12 - the rest of the base cabinets get installed on the fridge wall, including the peninsula. 

and we have appliances! they're not hooked up, but they are in our house and like everything else they are lovely!!! i toyed briefly with the idea of white appliances (since that is a style that is apparently making a comeback) but there were more options with the stainless so that's what we ended up with.

Feb. 13 - upper cabinets are installed and the countertop gets templated. (the plywood in the pictures is ultra-temporary - it is not the template)

i can't get over how amazing this whole renovation has been so far, how great all the guys have been to work with, and how pretty everything is.  it really is beginning to feel like a kitchen in here!

Feb. 14-15 - contractor/uncle does some prepwork for the trim (crown molding and door/window casings to be installed next week) and Amanda determines the placement for the cabinet hardware and the downrod length of the sink pendant. the estimated project schedule has everything getting wrapped up by the first week in March, so it seems like we are getting into the home stretch. is it too early to start planning my birthday party??

Monday, February 9, 2015

kitchen diary: week(end) 6, tile.

Feb. 6 - the last bit of necessary tile prep - Ditra (waffle board) - is installed in the kitchen.  since it gets set with thinset, it can't be walked on until it dries overnight.

evening painting plans get postponed, and we do some much-needed laundry instead.

Feb. 7 - three Marks convene to tile the kitchen floor - husband Mark, cousin Mark, and Uncle Mark.

hilarity ensues as Mark asks Mark to hand Mark the pencil to mark the floor with a line from mark to mark. (no lie - that was practically verbatim) everyone becomes hyper-aware of the work 'mark' for the rest of the day

while husband Mark marks and trims the edges of every. single. silver tile so they match the size of the slightly smaller darker gray tiles, the other Marks prep the floor in the new dining room for hardwood by installing several layers of roofing felt paper under plywood to match the height of the old subfloor.

this is true love. 

and then its all tile, all day.  Uncle Mark lays most of the tile, husband Mark does most of the cuts, cousin Mark does everything else, and Amanda brings the Marks lunch.  by the end of the night, most of the tile is laid in the kitchen - and it is super gorgeous!

gotta love a good diagonal checkerboard
Feb. 8 - after church, husband Mark finishes tiling the remaining corners of the kitchen.

Amanda helps by keeping Mark company, being his go-fer, and also laying one tile. it is tiny and unnecessary and will ultimately be completely covered by cabinetry, but she did that one sad little tile all by herself and is inordinately proud of that.

 (my tile)

tile and cleanup run well into the evening, but the long hours are well worth it. the tile floor is set and ready for grout by the end of the weekend and things are really beginning to shape up.

coming soon: hardwood and cabinets! get excited!

kitchen diary: week 6, drywall and paint.

Feb. 1 - we talk schedule and budget with contractor/uncle, everything is looking good.  decisions are made about hardwood stain color, paint color, and kitchen faucet.

(the color on the far right is the winner. the gray is for the hallway) 

we discover that our floor tiles are two different sizes (sad trombone).  thankfully, it is a fixable issue with just a little more time/energy investment and i will still be able to have my checkerboard kitchen floor. 

trip to Lowes for kitchen sink pendant light, giant bucket of primer, and space heater for the basement. can't find small, simple light fixtures for the hallway - they just don't make 'em like they used to.

Feb. 2 - realize we bought the wrong pendant light. order the right one, add 'return pendant light' to to-do list. drywall joints all get sanded nice and smooth and pretty.

Feb. 3 - realize we can't get the faucet we like. back to the drawing board on that particular decision. hardwood arrives to hang out and acclimate for a while, and studs get marked. 

Mark and Amanda cut in all the corners of the new drywall and around all the electrical boxes and light-holes with primer. we roll primer on one and a half walls, just to avoid having to dump the extra paint back into the bucket.

(apparently Amanda gets weird when painting late at night) 

Feb. 5 - 3/4" subfloor gets installed in the kitchen, and WE HAVE LIGHTS! most of the cans for the recessed lighting are installed, and about half of them have lightbulbs and it is SO bright i love it!

Mark and Amanda spend the evening finishing up a coat of primer on all of the new drywall on the ceiling and in the hallway and kitchen, and pick a grout color.  


yay for our newfound ability for photography after dark!

more to come to round out the week/weekend, but that deserves a post all its own...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

in which i am reminded.

this post is long overdue. really, any post is long overdue. its been a while since i have actually taken some time to sit and think with myself and put into writing some of my thoughts, my struggles, my hopes and dreams, my fears.  i have neglected this blog recently - i forgot that its value lies not just in providing home improvement and general life updates to my family with marginally more words than is possible or generally acceptable in a Facebook post, but that i benefit from it as an outlet. it is a space to let off the steam that builds up between my ears so my head does not explode.  it is a place where i work through my thoughts in writing - typing, editing, deleting, discovering, and sharing. 

the sharing is an important part of this whole blogging process. i have tried journaling in various forms before, but none of them has ever really stuck.  for some reason, keeping my words private under lock and key just does not hold the same appeal for me as throwing my words out into the wild unknown ether of the interwebs. sharing my experiences with someone, anyone, somehow validates them- makes them known. maybe that makes me an attention whore? hmm...

this winter has been tough. i dont think i can go so far as to call it hard, because relatively speaking i am extremely fortunate, but maybe just a smidge on the less desireable side of comfortable. i think i come to this same conclusion every single winter. probably every single February, if you were crazy enough to take the time to go back through my archives of things i have written here, you would find either those exact words or a variation on the theme. winter is tough. i am not built for the cold. i'm having a hard time finding my joy in the cold months following Christmas. i just can't wait for spring to get here. as if the fact that i struggle with the winter months - the cold, the dark, the gray - is a new and surprising revelation. as if.

the fact that this is a recurring theme in my life year after year does not diminish the truth of the fact - i am not in a good place right now, at least that's how i'm feeling.  on the face of things, everything is great: i am married to a wonderful man who loves me. we are remodeling our home to better suit our needs and wants which will increase the value of our home and we're not going further into debt to do it. we have good jobs that we like going to every day. our families are generally happy and healthy and we have good relationships with them.

but because it is winter, i am unable to focus on all of those good things. Satan uses the cold dreary winter months to worm his way into my brain so that all i can see is how i am failing: how i am stressed and unorganized through the renovation. how i'm probably 25 or so pounds heavier than i would like to be. how my body is either unable or unwilling to cooperate with my desires to expand our family.  how my Pap's mind and health are failing and that is somehow reflective of a failing on my part - either to be able to fix it or to make it better or to just be there.

but i am learning. because my God is good. the best, really. and He is the one in control. and i am working on loosening my white-knuckle grip on the illusion that i am the one in control of my life. it's not easy, and i'm not there yet, and i'm not really even the one doing the work on this one.  because part of letting go and allowing God to be in control is actually about letting God work. and He promises that doing things His way will be so much better than the alternative i have been living.
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11

Monday, February 2, 2015

kitchen diary: week 5, drywall.

Jan. 26 - we put down floor protection and taped plastic up over all the doorways in the hallway to prep for drywall - basement, bathroom, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and hall closet doors. we have to duck down to make it through the basement door, and i get tangled in the bedroom door at least once a day. its like living in a fun-house!

we had to cover each individual door rather than just the opening to the hallway, because not only are all the new walls getting new drywalled, but we are taking this opportunity (while the drywall guy is here and everything is going to be a mess anyway) to cover the swirly textured ceiling that Mark has hated from day one with a nice smooth finish. similar to the process that Mark did in the fireplace room, the ceiling throughout the kitchen, living room, and hallway is getting laminated with a layer of drywall.  once this is done, only the guest bedroom will be sporting the old swirly look. 

Jan. 27 - drywall begins! ceilings go up first, and the walls in the kitchen are covered.  we can no longer see straight through the kitchen wall!

Mark and Amanda discuss and begin to decide on light fixtures, paint colors, and the kitchen faucet. dining room chandelier gets ordered.

Jan. 28 - the rest of the drywall goes up on the walls, and various patches are patched. 

hallway shoes are implemented - designated shoes that are exclusively used for traveling through the hallway between the bedroom and basement. everything is a dusty mess, and the spackle-sand-spackle-sand process hasn't even started yet!

Jan. 29 - all seams, ceiling and walls, get taped and their first coat of spackle. Amanda picks up a color block of the cabinet finish to help compare with flooring, wall colors, etc.

Jan. 30 - more drywall spackle.
Amanda picks up four test pots of paint - one for the hallway color and three for the walls. we've narrowed it down to a light gray for the hallway and kitchen, and some sort of blue-green-teal for the rest of the walls.

Jan. 31 - even more drywall spackle. Amanda forgets to take a panoramic picture with all the seams and screwholes spackled over while it is light outside. she also does not take pictures of the paint samples or the hardwood samples. sorry about that. the dining room chandelier arrives!

its still in the box right now because it will be one of the very last things to be installed, but it feels good to be even just a little bit ahead on something right now, and be thinking about the finishing touches in the midst of the dusty mess.