Posted in Children

15 Years

Somehow I have three 15 year olds. Three mid-teenage-year people who are all taller than me (although one by only a little) that don’t look like little children anymore. The time has FLOWN by. Someone once told me “the days go slow, the years go fast”. When they were little it didn’t seem like it, but now, just WOW. We are only three short years from college for two of them. I’m seeing posts on Facebook of friends taking their kids to college and don’t know how I’ll manage it. Really. With cyber school they are home so much and I’m so used to that. No sense borrowing trouble, though.

15 years old triplets and one in heaven. Happy Birthday to my crew.

Posted in Kitchen Reno

11 Weeks

If you had told me, back in May, that at 11 weeks I’d still be in the thick of this I would have cried. If you could have told me that a ENTIRE DAY would be taken up on ONE FRIDGE PANEL I would have been in disbelief. Yet that is a true statement.

Last Friday Jim took off work so we could really bang out a lot this weekend. That strategy sort of flopped, but it’s ok in the end.

Our plan calls for two large (LARGE) panels on either side of the fridge to box it in. They would attach to the cabinet at the top and I guess hang down and rest on the floor (we would floor around them, not under). Sounds simple, yes?


Our walls are not plumb. Our floors, for all that work that we did, are not really level. Our ceiling is so out of level it’s ridiculous.

We took the 36×96 panel to the basement to use the table saw (yes, Jim owns one). It was really heavy and unwieldy. Got everything set up, cut off the side and the bottom. Bring it upstairs a little more easily because it’s now smaller and less unwieldy. Hope for the best and put it against the cabinet. Not even close. The wall is rather unplumb (meaning it bumps out several places doesn’t sit at a 90 degree angle to the floor). Get out the circular saw and try to shave down some of the side to make it sit for even against the wall. First battery on the saw dies. Change battery. Try again. 2nd battery dies. It starts to rain, so our impromptu sawing area on the back deck is unusable. Jim takes Laura on a road trip to get a different brand (aka good brand) of circular saw because we have many, many cuts ahead of us and using one that can’t even get through one panel is not an option.

The rain finally stops, we try again and finally FINALLY can hang the panel and get it into place. Followed by a giant fight and raised voices. It was pretty yucky.

Renovations are HARD, people!

The next day we picked Ethan up from his week-long camp, had brunch in Philly with Jim’s sister, came home hoping to do stuff but then Jim felt sick. We ended up taking the whole day off. Also, there were apologies and talking things out because we are married and love each other and that is what we do.


Up and at ’em at 9am. Hang the 2nd panel with so much less stress and strife because we learned from the first one. Started locking uppers in place and screwing to each other, only to discover that the electrical outlet for the microwave was too low. Jim managed, after finagling, to move it up (thank you God for handy husbands!) and we finished the rest of the uppers and one of the lowers. Then he cut 2×6’s to support the weight of the granite in the corner where there is no cabinets.

Brought in the other wall of cabinets, built them and put up the upper railing. Installed the two parts of the full-length pantry and put the other upper in place, but couldn’t do anything with the base because the electrician forgot to move the outlet and you can’t bury it legally.

Here is the fridge wall and those lovely panels.

End of Date Sun Aug 14 A

And here is the pantry wall. You can’t see the outlet behind that bottom cabinet, but it’s sure there! And the shelves in the pantries will be moving up so they form a bottom shelf for when we install the upper doors (each pantry has an upper short door and a lower long door).

End of Date Sun Aug 14 B

The theme for the weekend seems to be “All’s Well That End’s Well”

Posted in Kitchen Reno

Lots of Progress

It’s good to finally put that into the title, even if I’m typing it with a really-sore-I-hope-I-jammed-and-not-broke-it-left-pointer-finger.

This will be a post with a lot of pictures!  *insert cheesy smile* So happy to do THAT as well!

July 26 I dove into this pile (so much behind that pile that you can’t see!):

All the Boxes
That’s our flooring to the right of the cabinets. Sigh. Someday, right?

With this “helper”

Stitch Helping
Stitch is a great cat, but can be a little annoying sometimes!

And I was SO PROUD when I built my first ever Ikea box:

First Box Built
One down, 18 to go!

I built three the first day, then we went away for the weekend to Knoebels Amusement Park (more on that in another post), then we came home and I built a couple more and we did this:

Uppers West
The microwave cabinet needs to be cut in the back for the outlet!

It looked so weird. For so long it’s been a big empty rectangle of a room and then finally it started to take off. The rail system that Ikea uses? Meh. It has its pros and cons. We aren’t sold on the concept and Jim declared tonight he wouldn’t use Ikea again. Not because they have a bad product–everything has been pretty perfect–but the lack of box flexibility with our less-than-perfect walls is causing problems.

I built more boxes this week. Wall cabinets are much easier with having solid sides. Base cabinets just have two strips of metal across the top for structure. I have three more bases to build, one wall and two halves of a pantry.

Today we worked on the north wall, where the sink and dishwasher are:

Aug 9 A

Jim locking a cabinet into place

End of today is pretty great. The wall where the dishwasher is has all the cabinets installed and locked into the rail system. They are done and ready for finish work (shelves, doors etc). On the other wall the cabinets can still be moved around  because we are still working on final placement. We need to get the refrigerator panels in and see where they go and move towards the wall from there. Everything is approximately in the right place, but not exact.

End of Date Tue Aug 9

All in all, a great way to end the day!

Posted in Kitchen Reno

Painting is DONE

Not sure how well it comes across in the picture, but it’s a warm gray–almost has a little beige in it. The areas that we left white will be behind cabinets. No sense wasting paint (or the time to paint)!

Today I’m going to find and get the boxes from the garage to build the uppers on the far wall (where fridge and stove will go) and hopefully will start building tomorrow!

Painting Done

Posted in Kitchen Reno

Drywall is DONE

Oh my word! Two full weekends for something as dumb as drywall patching! The layers just took so long to dry!

I need to go out and buy roller covers so we can start priming, but I think that’s all we need at this point. CANNOT WAIT!

Jim finishing up the very last little bit of sanding:


And here’s how awesome the ceiling looks (used to have a huge soffit there!)


Posted in Kitchen Reno


We have a picture of the finished product on the wall to remind us where we are going.

Final Plan

Personally, I have stopped believing that the picture will ever become a reality. It is a lie, perpetuated by contractors who secretly laugh because we try to do it ourselves, and by HGTV, whose sole purpose is to delude hapless homeowners that they, too, can do it and Home Depot can help.

We are again stuck. Two layers of drywall mud are applied (2nd was still drying by end of day Sunday). We need a 3rd layer (maybe 4th in really bad places, according to Jim) and then lots of sanding. I’ve never personally done drywall and don’t have any memory of watching the process so I take him at his word. Unfortunately, he and his word go to the world of WORK M-F and then he has commitments outside the home Monday and Wednesdays after work. So I walk past the unfinished kitchen a million times per day on my way to the laundry room to our makeshift kitchenette.

I had hoped to paint this week. Not gonna happen. He hopes to finish painting by end of day Sunday. We’ll see.

Posted in Kitchen Reno

One Last Final Fix

Here’s where things are as of today:

End of Date Mon Jul 4

What you see/can’t see: Under all that lovely luan (aka underlayment) is a leveled-with-concrete floor. Sorry, no pics of it. The luan is LOVELY to walk on. It’s smooth, soft and just feels great on bare feet (as opposed to every other part of this journey when you HAD to wear shoes).

What you can also see is the torn up walls and that yellow remnant stripe of construction glue left over from the previous countertop’s backsplash. I just tried removing a small spot yesterday with citrus stripper and it worked great. I’ll be doing more of that today now that Jim saw and approved what was left afterwards.

This weekend is –as far as I KNOW–the final fixing of things. Jim will repair all the drywall holes and slices and patches. That’s also, as far as I know, the last thing I’m kind of unable to help with. Drywall patching needs to be pretty perfect because it will show clearly through paint. Jim used to drywall for a living. Therefore, he will do it by himself. After that? I can help prime, paint, put together cabinets, install flooring…etc.

Oh, and for my sanity I bumped the “I hope we finish by this date” date to July 31st.