action!

See this?

It won’t look like this by the end of the day, because the flooring guys just arrived! I had just about given up hope and was starting to get grumpy. And here they are.

They are a grumpy crew themselves. I don’t imagine they relished the hour+ drive down here to the country, but I sure was happy to see them. I hovered upstairs as I waited to make sure the floor was the right brand and color. Them bringing the wrong flooring has been the stuff of nightmares, I confess.

So the sawing and drilling and banging have begun over my head, but those are the sounds of progress. I am in the cozy basement listening to bluegrass and folk music on Pandora.

We’re going to Taco Tuesday tonight at a local restaurant. $7 taco specials and half-price margaritas. What’s not to love?

I wonder if I’ll ever cook again…

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a weekend, a wall and strawberries with the little ones

Seen in Home Depot. Obviously he didn’t want to walk. I know the feeling.

Because our replacement cabinets have yet to arrive, the remodel crew has gone elsewhere to work (as of last Thursday). So someone out there is having their remodel start earlier than they’d anticipated. I hope they celebrated their good fortune.

Supposedly the wrong cabinets are being removed from our living room today and the right cabinets are to be delivered, but I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, we decided to scrap plans for a custom-built closet (we’re tired of projects and carpenters) and fix this wall ourselves, at least temporarily.

I’ve been begging Banjo Man for years to let me finish this drywall job. I have the tape, I have the mud and I am ready! But he refused, saying it was only “temporary” (for 15 years???). So I kept suggesting we just paint it. At least make it less ugly.

Saturday he FINALLY agreed, so I raced to Home Depot (is there any other place I go??) to buy more Silver Bullet paint before he changed his mind.

And then we went over to Sammy’s house for dinner. The appetizers? Chocolate dipped strawberries!

DIY treats.

Sammy’s little sister likes strawberries, too.

I brought a pan of chicken enchiladas and we played cards and partied. A pretty darn good Saturday night!

Sunday morning we saw this on our steps:

A new Keurig to match the new counter.

I’ve bought three Keurigs in the past, but they were purchased at Staples and built for commercial/office use. Meaning they have more metal parts and less plastic parts. This lovely new “sand” Keurig is almost completely plastic.

I am not impressed. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference to how the thing operates, but despite its gorgeous color it looks like it could fall apart easily. It might be going back. I have to think about it.

As of Sunday afternoon (and a few hours of some Texas music on the cd player), the wall had two coats of paint. How I wish I could have taped those seams!!!!!

A painted wall, with plastic ceiling-cover and useless wires removed.

We’ve ordered a wire shelf unit for guests’ clothes and after that arrives? We’re done.

Tomorrow there’s a rumor–how I hope it’s true!–that the flooring is going to be installed. I’m guessing that’s going to take about 3 days. After that we can have the new range delivered and then have the kitchen officially measured for the counter. Then we wait a couple of weeks for the creation and installation.

I came across this picture of the future back splash tile with a tiny square of the future counter. I must have taken it at Lowe’s last week, at the end of the three hour siege.

In the meantime, we are cheerful and cozy here in our little basement apartment. Banjo Man even made Thai chicken on Friday. We finished the last of it last night while watching yet another episode of OUTLANDER, season four. By the way, the series has gotten better and is holding our interest (meaning “keeping us from falling asleep”) until bedtime.

Enjoy your Monday, everyone! I’m off to clean bathrooms and buy shelf liner for those new cabinets that are sure to arrive any day now…

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what’s on tv

I can’t believe there’s a second season of TIN STAR, but we’re excited to start watching it.

Season 1 was absolutely thrilling. Yes, it is a violent show. BUT the characters are great. While dealing with overwhelming grief, the women in the show become strong and the men descend into various forms of crazy.

I think we’ll start season 2 this weekend, as we have zero plans to do anything. I can’t wait to start watching.

Season 4 of OUTLANDER–Brave The New World–has been disappointing. Banjo Man threatened to stop watching after the first episode. Jamie and Claire were shipwrecked on the shores of North Carolina and are now making a home–a little cabin in the woods–in 1768 and continue to battle the evil British. Without the Scottish settings of the previous three seasons, this series is not so appealing. Truthfully? I’m tired of this couple. We have a few more episodes to watch, so hopefully it will get better. I don’t want to pay for STARZ any longer than we have to, so we’re going to finish up the series asap.

THE BACHELOR season is finally over, thank God. Watching Colton fall in love was exhausting and cringe-worthy. But THE BACHELORETTE starts filming this week and guess what? They’re filming in Newport, RI for four days starting next Thursday and I am definitely going to drive over and see if I can spot anything happening in any of the tourist spots.

Banjo Man is enjoying this season of SURVIVOR more than I am. It usually takes me a while to warm up to the players and I still haven’t picked my favorites.

Another favorite of Banjo Man’s that started this week is MASTER CHEF JUNIOR, the cooking competition for children. It’s cute, but some of the children are arrogant and annoying. Others are adorable and sweet. You have to be in the mood.

to be continued….

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taking a stand

See this guy? He’s in Lowe’s and he’s holding his favorite tile for the back splash of our new kitchen. He is also holding my copper vase, the one I use to store my favorite kitchen utensils.

I brought it to Lowe’s to help pick out the right colored counter. Because I do so love copper. I don’t want to polish it all that much, but I like having it around.

This photo was taken in Hour 3. Yes, HOUR THREE. That’s how long this process took. Want to know why? Because Banjo Man would not leave the store until I had picked out a counter top.

He was very nice about it. Very patient. But I should have known there was an ulterior motive involved when he suddenly decided to accompany me on my latest search for the Holy Grail of counter material.

Lowe’s had a sale on granite, but the seven colors available were not even close to being right for us, damn it. We looked at other granite, the stuff not on sale, but no one could find the prices for us. It turned out to be hidden in a corner next to the Formica samples, which I wouldn’t think was the greatest planning on Lowe’s part, but what do I know? I’m only a white-haired consumer with a checkbook and a budget.

Speaking of budget, I’d received the bids for a white quartz, a brown quartz and a brown Formica. $4600, $4500, and $2000 respectively. Does that sound insane to you?

I could have bought an elderly Toyota Highlander for the price of white marble-ish quartz, all 29 square feet of it. As I said to Banjo Man last week, does it make sense to spend thousands on a counter only to put a $60 microwave on top of it?

I’d rather have a second car.

As Banjo Man grew tired of looking at the granite (the pretty ones were not in my budget–I was determined to stick to my own self-imposed number) and the expensive quartz and Lowe’s brand of “solid surface” (aka Corian), he plopped on a chair there at the design counter and checked out emails and stock market reports on his phone.

I continued to agonize. When I mentioned leaving and going home to “think about it”, he explained we weren’t leaving until I’d made a decision. He didn’t even care what it was, but I had to decide once and for all because time was running out. As was his will to live.

We eventually settled on a brown-flecked compromise that was restful and calm and way below the budget. I think this must be a new product line for Lowe’s because I didn’t see it months ago when I first started looking.

This picture doesn’t show the real color. It was taken under fluorescent lighting and is therefore washed out.

We were exhausted. When we finally got home we heated up some leftovers and collapsed into our chairs to watch Survivor and go to bed early.

We might be too old for all of this. Please tell me it will be nice when it’s all done.

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size matters

Yes, indeed. When you expect 36″ high cabinets and the order was mistakenly sent (by the know-it-all kitchen designer from the local cabinet store) for 30″ cabinets, a wrench is thrown in the remodel schedule.

They’d installed two cabinets before the contractor, fortunately arriving at just the right time to check on things, and I caught the mistake.

So we’re now behind a week. Fortunately the crew of so-sweet young men are installing the lower cabinets and seem unfazed by the change in plans.

Nels, second-in-command, brought me two enormous rings of laminate samples for the counter. I am drowning in them, having sent away for samples from Formica and Wilsonart seven times. I have decided not to decide for a while. Not until the floors are in.

Deciding not to decide is very restful. I wonder what other things in my life I can decide not to decide.

My fallback choice is Colorcore 2 New White. In case I have a total breakdown between now and the time Nels needs an answer, Banjo Man has permission to order white without getting in trouble when I recover my mind and begin to function again.

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let there be white

We now have white ceilings. This is momentous, folks. If you’ve ever painted a ceiling or hired it done, you know that nothing is whiter or cleaner or more beautiful.

Even on a gray, rainy morning it still looks radiantly white.
Sofa Mountain.

Yesterday was another busy “let’s get this stuff picked out once and for all” kind of day. We would hit the road early, head north to Stone Depot, stare at large slabs of overpriced rock and find a cheap place to eat lunch.

And then Banjo Man realized he had no access to his upstairs closet. It was taped off. Other than the crummy work pants he was wearing, he had no pants.

Now I’ve spent two years dealing with my ancient mother’s demands and complaints regarding pants. She never thinks she has any…or they are too big…or too small…or the wrong color…etc. Sometimes I order pants online. Sometimes my sister-in-law does (as she has spent several summers listening to the Pants Complaints). Most of the time they have to be shipped back to whatever store they came from. I have taken my mother to Macy’s and to Kohl’s and to Penny’s to search for the elusive pair of perfect pants. Whenever she stares at me and declares, “I need pants” chills run down my spine and my soul shrivels.

Not. Kidding.

So for Banjo Man to need pants? It was a bit unsettling. But I had a Kohl’s coupon and there was an early bird sale going on. I didn’t whine, not even in my head. (Well, maybe I whined in my head a little.)

But first we would stop at the local tile store and see what products they had. Banjo Man was worn down and tired of hearing about my Counter Quest. He was at the weary “buy whatever you want and to hell with the cost” part of the shopping process.

They had a great selection, so we picked out a marble quartz with golden tan swirls, a chocolate brown solid quartz and, after searching through an entire ring of Formica samples, found the one we thought solved our problems: Cocoa Leather. I gave them the measurements of my kitchen and they promised to provide estimates next week.

The store served coffee and muffins, which was welcome. We decided there was no need to go north. Instead we would wait for the estimated costs of our three choices and then decide.

So we bought pants. And went out to lunch. We congratulated ourselves on finding an acceptable and affordable laminate product for the new kitchen. We talked about how beautiful it would be and how perfect it was. And then, returning to the car, we realized we’d forgotten that we had to buy an exhaust fan for over the eventual gas range. It would be installed along with the cabinets this week. So thirty minutes later we were in an appliance store discussing fan suckability and noise-while-sucking.

Very educational. We ordered the fancy one with all the power because I intend to grill a lot of steaks on my new gas griddle element.

By 4:30 I was back in the basement looking up Cocoa Leather–only to discover it had been discontinued.

A pox on Formica!! How could they do this to me!!!

Oh, sure, there are some other choices. But not as good. Not even close to being second best. I may return to solid white and then go crazy with an epic back splash. I just sent away for two more Formica samples, Dark Chocolate in both matte and gloss finishes. I like the idea of the dark wood floors, white cabinets and a lovely darkish brown counter. The Cambria quartz I liked is called “Hazelford”. Tiny black flecks keep it interesting. I’m sure it’s going to cost a small fortune, which I am not going to pay.

So enough babbling here on the blog. It’s raining hard and we’re heading out to hear some bluegrass music tonight.

I’m going to drink a little tequila and celebrate my white ceilings.

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demo day

6:00 AM: ready for the crew to arrive.

Two young men arrived at 7 and immediately began ripping up our 20-year old Pergo floor. That floor still looked good, by the way. When we bought it we could only afford the least expensive version of Pergo and the fact that it held up so beautifully is pretty amazing.

I loved it then and I still love it.

But it’s time for a change, I guess, whether I want a change or not. Change is a-comin’ and I’m standing here on the sidelines praying it all looks good when it’s done.

I spent a sleepless night worrying about the decisions I’d made. There is only one left and that’s the kitchen counter. I will not bore you with my endless dithering about Formica, quartz, granite and Corian. The insurance company isn’t paying for a counter so that’s our problem. We are making one last trip to a place in the city called Stone Depot tomorrow. Everything is expensive, period. I’ve sent away for Formica samples three times and nothing looks good except solid white. But I’m tired of constantly wiping white counters and would love something else.

Here’s the final contenders for the wall paint:

They all look alike, don’t they.
The work has begun.

There’s a dumpster in the driveway now and Banjo Man is pacing around wondering if there is anything here in the basement that he wants to get rid of. The problem is that we’ve been getting rid of stuff for two years and I think we’re done…for now. But I’ll have to keep a close watch on him, just in case.

The electric range and the two chandeliers are leaving this morning, which should make him happy.

The best part of this? More dinners out, as we’ll eventually run out of all those frozen meals I made last month!

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ten more seams

I finally finished this Tuesday night, before we attempted to eat a train wreck of a dinner (we ended up throwing it out) and I resolved to do no more cooking during the remodel of the kitchen. I don’t have the patience or the energy–and it makes me grumpy to cook and eat after 7 PM. We’d gone to town to look at window and door trim, so we had a late start making dinner.

We should have stayed in town and grabbed a burger somewhere.

Anyway…I did finish this quilt top and I was pleased with how it turned out. The browns are warm and golden and the coral and purple give it a lot of personality. I have no idea where it will live, but I hope to quilt it in May, when the dust settles (literally).

We’re in the process of moving to the basement, so the office/music/sewing room has become a major storage area for the next few weeks. Blogs will be written from the basement and I hope I won’t bore you too much with the demo details.

Sunday we’ll be heading over to Wood River Inn for some bluegrass music and seafood with Barb and Rod. I cannot wait. I need a little musical inspiration, as the violin and guitar are here with me in the basement and are ready to be played.

Wish us luck!

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signs of spring?

This was a welcome sight in Home Depot last weekend. Despite the snow and ice in the parking lot, inside it was time to dream of warm weather and sunshine on the deck or at the beach.

Such a happy sight on a cold day!

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holy moly

Banjo Man brought home three of these last week. Maybe they’ve been around for years, but they were new to me.

And very welcome.

We have embarrassing holes in our walls, left by the wall phone (remember those?), previous thermostats and wiring for long ago electric baseboards. I’d hidden the holes with drapes and pictures, but with those packed away in anticipation of the remodel, the ugliness of our walls was way too obvious.

So I had a very good time eliminating them.

Stick the patch over the hole where the phone used to be.
Cover it with spackle paste or drywall mud.

Let dry, sand and give it another coat before sanding smooth once it’s dry.

I bought two larger patches on Sunday, one for a former electrical outlet and one to cover up the hole left by taking down the doorbell.

It was so easy and took only a few minutes each. Banjo Man thinks I’m a miracle worker and is very impressed with my so-called “skills”. Hah!

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