Monthly Archives: November 2010

Construction Zone

We are now in the midst of a construction zone at our house.  We are getting a new kitchen!  Anyone who has seen our kitchen knows just how badly we need this.  The timing is probably horrible, the expense not one we want to undertake, the inconvenience annoying but the outcome will be fantastic!  We made our falling apart kitchen work for 5 years, but this summer and fall were the end of the making it work.  We were having big plumbing problems, the dishwasher handle broke so that we had to use a wooden spoon to pry it open and we have been living with falling apart cabinets.  We had no drawer front on our utensil drawer and more than one cabinet door didn’t shut and was unrepairable.  It was time!

For nearly two years I have been searching for used cabinets on craigslist.  We have a tiny kitchen, so I’ve been convinced that I could find cabinets for a good price.  I finally did.  The whole buying the used cabinets, picking them up and getting them into a storage unit was a bit of a disaster.  Travis must really love me, ’cause he puts up with all my crazy “good deal” purchases and usually is the one transporting or putting said purchases together.  This is not his idea of a good time, but he endures none the less!  Anyway, I got a kitchen full of cabinets plus a free-standing wine bar for $600.  The cabinets are nice and in good condition.  A real buy!!

We started demolition two weeks ago.  We did the cabinet removal ourselves.  I sold all of our appliance, with the exception of our new (last Christmas) refrigerator, on Craigslist.  We couldn’t remove the sink cabinet because their was no way to shut off the plumbing.  Just one more reason we had to redo this room.  We were planning to patch the drywall where necessary, put in better lighting, add some outlets, fix the plumbing and then put in a new tile floor, cabinets, appliances and a tile backsplash.  Of course, once the cabinets were out we found several crude holes where old plumbing had been removed, or not removed at all and instead was exposed pipes open to the outdoors but not capped.  After a little digging around, it was clear the drywall had to come down.  Turns out, there was drywall on one wall but the rest of the kitchen was still plaster with drywall crudely glued to it.  Once the walls were down we could really see all the issues.  Strange plumbing, bad electrical, no grounded electrical in the entire kitchen, old outlets not cut off but just buried in the walls, not to mention the basement electrical and plumbing running to the kitchen. 

We are two weeks into what was estimated to be a two-week job.  We now have all new electrical throughout the kitchen including more outlets and real lighting.  The insulation is almost finished and with any luck, by the end of today we will have drywall.  The floor still needs to come up, a new window and exterior door are on order, the tile is here, the sink and faucet are here and two additional base cabinets are on order.  Turns out when you take down multiple layers of drywall and plaster, you gain more than a few inches of space.  Luckily I figured out what are cabinets were and that they are available still at Home Depot.  A mixed blessing it turns out…two 15 inch drawer bases set me back over $700.  There goes my “good” cabinet deal!  I guess it makes us feel good that the $600 we paid originally was a pretty darn good deal since the supplement of two more cabinets cost us more.!

I’m actually kind of enjoying the whole construction process.  I’m interested in every step and like learning about the electrical and plumbing.  I haven’t enjoyed picking out tile and granite very much.  This isn’t our dream house, so I’ve been trying to pick materials I like and will enjoy but with a generic buyer or renter in mind.  This is pretty tough!  I settled on floor tile, glass backsplash tile and granite.  I’m narrowing down the paint choices.  I’m already itching for the main bathroom to get ripped out.  Travis on the other hand is less than enthused with this process.  He hates the chaos, he doesn’t like construction and has little interest in the process.  He can’t envision the final product and he just feels stress about the whole thing.  After just a few days he declared that he could never do a major addition because he can’t handle the chaos.  Unfortunately for him, we have lots of construction in our future.  We desperately need a new roof and would love to figure out a way to put in a real staircase instead of the dreaded and dangerous spiral stairs.  Construction is in our lives for the forseeable future.  I’ll continue to love the projects and Travis will continue to loathe them…just another reason why we are a good complement of each other!

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Halloween With Mary

This year for Halloween was extra special.  Our whole family dressed up and we had company for trick-or-treating.  My friend Shalan was in town with her family, so her and Mary joined us for trick-or-treating.  We were a family of bees and Mary was Jessie from Toy Story.  We made our usual rounds of a few neighborhood houses and then went over to the new houses a block away.  This year we ditched the wagon and let the kids walk the entire way.  Our boys were excited about Halloween, but honestly by the time we were 7 houses in and headed to new houses my kids were about done.  Mary was going strong.  That kid loves Halloween and has stamina! 

This was the first year that Garrett really understood what Halloween meant.  He practiced his “Trick-or-Treat” and he was the only one of the kids who consistently said it at the doors.  After about 3 houses he figured out that he was getting all this candy and wanted to know when he could eat it.  So at every house G would get his stash dropped in his bucket, he would immediately retrieve a piece of candy and then say “Mama, I eat this candy right now?  Please, Mama.  Right now.  I eat this right now!”  At every house I’d tell him we had to wait and then finally by the new houses I couldn’t listen to it any longer.  I gave in and he had a chocolate.  Jack really didn’t care about the candy.  By that time he was pretty tired.  In fact, he kept sitting down in between houses.  Mind you, we were in a neighborhood of single family homes that are so close together that people mistake them for townhouses frequently.  He just couldn’t make it the 4 steps to the next door!  G was still asking for candy so Trav opened up a small bag of Swedish fish and we bribed Jack to go on with yummy fish.  Our kids were done!  Mary could have gone on all night.  She was adorable!

Our bee costumes were a hit.  It was fun to all dress up, though I’m not sure we will all do it again.  Poor Travis, though his company was the inspiration for our theme, got the short end of the stick having to wear the full bee mascot.  He took his head off often for a little breathing room!  All the kids were enamored with his costume.  Our next door neighbor, Campbell, wouldn’t leave Travis alone until he tried out the head on himself.  Then he didn’t want to take it off.  Another little girl down the street wanted to give him hugs and kept telling him how nice his costume was.  She is pretty cute too!  It was a cool evening and a school night, so we did much less of our normal hanging out on the street with neighbors.  It was a great Halloween and the boys are already planning their costumes for next year!

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Fright Night at Six Flags

The night before Halloween we made our final trip of the season to Six Flags.  We had a fun night, but it was definitely the end of a family activity we enjoyed countless times this summer.  We already have our passes for next year (thanks to a great discount we took advantage of at the Caps Season Ticket Holder Party) and the boys are counting down to the rides next season.  By the time we return next Spring, both kids should be tall enough to go on several more rides. 

For the last month or so of the season, Six Flags decorates the entire park in a Halloween theme for Fright Night.  We had gone to the park a few times during the day while it was decorated, but the boys were begging to go at night when they could wear their costumes and trick-or-treat.  One of Jack’s favorite rides, the antique cars, closes once they decorate and becomes the site of the kids hayride.  This was bittersweet for Jack since he loves the antique cars but he was excited about the hayride.  Anyway, on October 30th we took the boys in costume for their last night at the park.  We rode all the favorite rides one last time, the boys did the trick-or-treat line and then went on the kids hayride where no adults are allowed.  It was a great night and everyone loved their Bee costumes.  I’m quite sure we will have to partake in Fright Night again next year.  Of course, we didn’t do any of the scary stuff.  Just all the fun kid stuff!

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