Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kitchen Renovation Week 2

Last week the cabinets came out and the floor was finished. Now the new cabinets are in and the new lighting has been installed. The guys removed the old bulkhead and replaced it with a shorter one so the cabinets are about 2 inches higher. They removed part of the wall next to the fridge so it will fit. They will finish that later in the week.

The backsplash tile has been ordered and the cabinet door knobs have been purchased. I have to remember to call the painter and get on his schedule. The countertops were templated yesterday and I should have a working kitchen next week when the new tops are installed. These will be the longest three weeks in my life. I hate washing dishes in the bathtub.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More news from the kitchen in progress

The new 'fridge was scheduled to be delivered Saturday morning, between 10 and 2. Don'cha love delivery windows like that?

The fun started when I pulled the old fridge away from the wall to make room for the new one. I was greeted by a lovely spray of water in my face. The copper water supply line to the icemaker had gotten kinked and finally gave out when I moved the 'fridge. I turned off the water supply and took off the old tubing. Luckily I had another coil of 1/4" OD tubing in my tool box in the garage for this very moment. But I didn't have any more compression nuts, and I couldn't go anywhere until the delivery guys came.

When my new fridge did arrive, it didn't fit. It's supposed to, it's 35 5/8" wide going into a space 36" wide. The shoe moulding was in the way and I don't have a thin enough pry bar to get it off the wall. And the base cabinet next to the fridge wasn't over against the far wall, so I had to take out the cabinet B put in on Friday.

Well, I really couldn't do anything else about it then, I did get compression nuts and hooked up the icemaker to get it going, we've been too long without the ability to make iced tea. I also moved over the food. I won't bore you with what I found, but it is safely in the garbage can waiting for collection on Tuesday.

Until a few hours ago I had two refrigerators in my kitchen, neither in the cubby where they'd fit, both plugged in. Try walking around in there like that! I advertised the old one on freecycle to get rid of it, got a taker, and a very nice couple who just moved to our town came and took it away. I didn't even clean it out.

My copy of Harry Potter from Amazon.UK come on Wednesday, sooner than expected. I finished reading HP6 Thursday morning and have been slowly reading thru the new book. I found a phrase in the UK version I not familiar with: like baize over a budgerigar. I looked it up in our American copy and found it translates to blanket over a birdcage. Would you have known that?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another bunch of pictures

This past weekend was my husband's high school reunion. The family part was a picnic at the New River, second oldest river in the world. The park is split into two parts, the top, where you park and enter the river if you're tubing or canoing, and the bottom, where you get out and take the bus back up to the top to do it over again. The picnic area was set up at the bottom.

My husband and son rented tubes and tubed down the river. I went the dryer and seemingly safer route: canoe. The river looked pretty flat so my plan was to go down solo to the picnic area and get my daughter so she could canoe too. On the way down I start to panic with visions of the times I got thrown out of a raft on the Lower Youghiogheny. But then I got the canoe unstuck from the rocks without tipping over and I was fine the rest of the way.

My next time down the river was uneventful, except Fern was in the back steering. And we almost went over some rapids backwards. Rapids being kind of flat given the low river level.

A view over the bow.


Kitchen renovations started Monday. I'm doing OK with some decisions, but I have two kinda big ones left: chrome or satin stainless faucets and the color of backsplash tile. I wanted to go with chrome, but the instant hot water dispenser only comes in the satin finish. Which means either it won't match the other chrome pieces, or I change everything. Again.

This the the "before" picture.

This is what we came home to after day one.

A very large box was waiting for me when I got home yesterday. My husband greeted me (before I saw it) and said he thought it was my new Harry Potter book. It was the kitchen sink.


The last picture today is of my son in the pool at the hotel at twilight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I heard an ad on the radio this morning for a new service from OnStar: step-by-step directions. With the gaining popularity of GPS devices and now this new service, I wonder what happened to maps.

My dad tells a story of me reading a USGS 24K quad sheet (topography map) at age 3. I love maps, my college degree was in geography. I'm a visual-spatial person, I need to see where I am on a map and how it relates to everywhere else.

A couple springs ago we took a cruise out of Florida. The traffic getting down there was horrible, standstill traffic the whole length of Georgia. Checked the map and hopped over to the state route that parallels the Interstate. The state route was empty. What? don't people know this road is here? Not that I minded it being empty, but still, our van could not have been the only vehicle taking the alternate route.

It baffles me why the sudden need for a service to help you get somewhere, how did you get there before? Maps. Every utility/repair van had a map book of the metro area on the front dash. (Yay maps!)

I just can't get that lady's voice on the OnStar step-by-step directions commercial out of my head, "I use it all the time." Are there that many carto-illiterate people out there who need this service? Are people that lazy?

Do you use a GPS for directions everywhere you go? How do you feel about being dumber than a computer?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

On the way back from my husband's high school reunion, —I'll post pictures later—my daughter announces she has finished reading HP7. It was 2:13 pm. Less than 30 seconds later my husband starts reading the book. (I was driving.)

I'm waiting for my preordered (February!) my copy from Amazon.uk, but it has yet to arrive.

Now it's almost 10:30 and 400 some pages later my husband says to me, "I'm not giving away anything from the story, but the the witches could benefit from the Internet."

Friday, July 20, 2007

If you can't stand the heat...

Stuff is finally starting to happen on the kitchen front. The deadlines are forcing me to make the decisions I've been having trouble making. (Maybe I should go back to therapy for this indecisiveness, I really don't know why it's so hard for me. Maybe because I've been burned by bad color choices before, maybe I'm afraid I have a longevity—will it look dated in ten years—fear, maybe I want to make sure everyone else likes what I pick, maybe I don't have a clear vision of what I want my kitchen to look like or feel like or the mood it should exude so I can't pick things to go with this absent vision.) I finally picked a sink and ordered it. I finally picked a faucet and ordered it. I'm very close to picking a counter top color. I going with glass tile as a backsplash, I just don't know what color yet.

B, my builder is coming on Monday to take the base cabinets out. Then the floor guy comes on Tuesday to repair the floor and put down new tile where the old cabinets were. There's no turning back now.

My living room is starting to look like a yard sale. I've started emptying out the base cabinets into boxes. I know I'm going to get overwhelmed and I hate that. Too much in there, and too much stuff we never use, I know I'll have to be make more decisions, this time about what to purge. And, I'm not looking forward to not having a kitchen for a couple weeks.

On top of all this, I haven't lost the 10 pounds to get down to trophy wife status for my husband's thirty year high school reunion this weekend. (So I won't be at home emptying out cabinets! Argh!) I'm kidding (really!) about being a trophy wife, I'm a little too old, and I think I look pretty good as it is. But I gotta figure out what outfit to pack. Sheesh, another decision....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ever have one of those weeks?

You just don't feel in top shape,
you're still feeling sluggish from having eaten too much party food from the weekend and the scale still reads several pounds up,
you're able to sneak in a rare nap, and you still feel tired and try to go to bed early,
you think about making an appointment at your doctors office,
you hardly laugh during a comedy on TV,
you make it through a day of work but you're not sure how,
then you go to the bathroom and when you turn to flush you notice the liquid in the bowl is not the usual color, but is now twinged brightly with pink, and you're really panicking now, should I go straight to the emergency room, make arrangements myself with the funeral home,
then you remember you had beets for dinner last night?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Interesting thing happened today when I gave my son a pair of swim goggles. He put them on.

For most of his life he's had issues with anything on his face, the most prevalent thing: water. Shampooing was a big problem for a long time. Within the last two years he's gotten over having water on his face and has started going under the water voluntarily. His swimming has gotten better, evident by his medal at the Special Olympics this past winter.

This afternoon the three of us were playing in the pool, my daughter and I are trying to teach my son how to do a handstand in the water. He puts his hands on the bottom, but can't get his feet straight up, keeping his knees bent. After a while he lost interest so I got out to get my daughter's goggles for her. I grabbed a second pair and handed them to my son just to see what he would do. Much to my surprise, he put them on and headed straight for the lap lane, (thank goodness there wasn't anyone already using it,) and he swam several laps, obviously very proud of the goggles on his face and of himself.
I'm still recovering from Fern's Birthday party. Friday she had a gaggle of friends over for a pool party at our club, then to the theater for the late showing of Harry Potter 5, followed by a sleepover.

Kevin doesn't like to go to bed until every one else is in bed, then will come and check on us. thus, at 3 in the morning I was greeted with"Hi," and he won't go away until you say "Hi" back, thus waking you up.

Saturday night I went with AM to the adult party at our pool club, featuring the local rock (cover) band, the Crayfish. One of the members lives in our neighborhood, so there were a lot of neighbors at the party.

My husband took Fern to the Orioles game for her birthday, complete with her name on the scoreboard.

I got to sleep in a little late, but still the bad eating all weekend from party food is making me feel sluggish. Argh.

Now it's back on the straight and narrow...

But, darn it, I can't walk in the morning, I've been called for Jury Duty and I have to be there at 7:30. yikes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fave Five

I'm just curious, how many times do you visit a blog before you blogroll them, if they are just a few clicks away?

Kate commented on my blog the other day. I sometimes wander over to her blog from Greeny's. The other day I wandered over and clicked on one of her 'rolled blogs, 25 Year Plan. He had been visited by Michele who does a blog of the day. A couple clicks later I found some new and interesting reads. Blogs I'd go back to, blogs worth going back to.

So, do I follow the chain of links every time I want to visit or just blogroll them myself? If you bring a new blog into your life, how long do you date this new read until you invite it to stay, as it were.

I don't want to list any old blog I've read once or twice. I guess I want to be careful about the fiends I pick. I kinda think your list of regularly read blogs reflects on you, or does it?

If a blog you like is just one click away, if it is listed on a tried-and-true friend's blog, do you need to list it yourself? What if that friend "breaks up" with that blog, no longer reads it and removes it from their list?

I've recently added VariantE to my list and 1000 Days at Sea is listed there, which I read sometimes. How many times do I visit before I list them, too?

Do you wait for them to add you before you'll add them?

Or, is having a long list of blog friends like a badge of honor? But wouldn't it be the other way round, having a lot of friends who list you, be the honor?

Who's in your fave five?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Curried Chicken Salad

This is what I took to AM's pool party last week, I got a request for the recipe, so here goes.

I'm not into measuring, I just eyeball it.
  • drain two 12 oz. cans of cooked chicken, (mine came from Costco) reserving some liquid (of course you can cook your own chicken, but I didn't for this party)

  • Put the chicken in a mixing bowl and use your fingers to mush the chicken hunks into smaller pieces, you can chop it up with a knife if you really want to, but it takes longer.

  • add

    • a large handful or two of golden raisins and/or grapes cut in half, champagne grapes are good, too, for this if they are in season

    • a very large handful coarsely chopped pecans

    • a chopped crunchy apple or two

    • (other fruit could include chopped dates and pineapple, add to your taste, I think I used dried cranberries last week, too)

  • put about 1/4 cup of the reserved chicken stock in a pan and stir in 2 or 3 teaspoons curry powder, I used sweet curry.

  • bring to a boil and simmer, stirring, until you have a thick paste remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit.

  • when you can stick your finger in there without burning yourself, add about a cup of mayo and stir until smooth

  • add the mayo to the chicken & fruit mix and stir thoroughly

  • refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavor intensify before serving

let me know how it turns out!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Photos

These were waiting for me at the restaurant last night at dinner...

Fern's cousin, Rose, came to visit last week. One evening we went to the pool. Not only did Rose work up the courage to dive face first off the high-dive during the time, she'd gotten pretty good at flips.

This is the Rt. 17 bridge going into Charleston, SC shot through the car windshield.

The entrance Camp David

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Seventeen years ago, today, I married Dan.

I love you, Hon! Thanks for all these wonderful years.
I'm a bit overwhelmed about the kitchen right now, and I need to vent. I hate being overwhelmed. The cabinets are sitting on the back porch, in huge massive boxes. Waiting to be installed. Haunting me, mocking me.

B, my builder has been on vacation this week, so I've been unable to contact him to discuss the procedures. I'd opted to save $12k by going with him, rather than a independant contracting company, but that meant I'm doing my own general contracting, coordinating all the pieces to this puzzle. All those project management classes I took last year should be coming in handy.

The tile on the kitchen floor was put down two years ago and sometime later it developed a crack that runs the width of the cooking area, right over a joint of subflooring. So, I'd like that fixed. And the best time to have it fixed is when the base cabinets are removed. However, I need to coordinate the tile company's availability with B so they can work together, and B is on vacation. Furthermore, I'm having quartz counters put in. Can the floor structure handle the extra weight if it cracks under normal walking? B will have to put supports in the ceiling downstairs, but he doesn't know that, because he's on vacation this week.

I picked the backsplash tile. It's a beautiful blue mottled pattern. I look at other choices and keep coming back to this blue. So, if I'm so stuck on this blue, I need to pick my countertop color accordingly, but I don't have all the samples form all my available choices, just pictures on the web. I want to be happy with the countertop for a long time. I've made color choices in the past on other things (permanent things, like bathroom tile and floor tile) that I regret, and I don't want to do that again. I want to make sure the countertop goes with the backsplash, and the cabinet color, and the color doesn't overwhelm the room, make it too dated, trendy, or institutional looking.

I need to pick out, order and buy a sink, a faucet, instant hot water dispenser, and under cabinet lighting, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a thing or two, oh, like the knobs (how many and I going to need?). I'd really like a new fridge and a new over-the-stove microwave, too.

And during all of this, the construction time, the time when we have no sink, or cabinets, or counter space, for who knows how long, I'll need to live in my house. With my family. And eat decent meals. Sheesh.

Overwhelmed, just a bit. Thanks for letting me vent.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'm home right now, in the middle of the day, bread in the toaster for a sandwich, waiting for the delivery guys with my cabinets. They should be here soon, my window was noon to 6, now it's 11:30 to 12:30.

I need to clean up the kitchen a bit, empty the dishwasher, etc., and get some before pictures taken before my builder starts the work next week (I think that's when he's coming, he's on vacation this week). I'm not looking forward to a week or two without a kitchen. I wish he could have done with work while we were out of town, but the timing didn't work out that way.

Mmm, good sandwich, peanut butter on wheat toast. need some chocolate milk with this. Ah, that's better.

I was thinking about making more chicken salad for lunch today, but decided it was too much work. I made some for Miss Kingsfield's Independence Day Pool Party yesterday. I make it curried with raisins, apples, and pecans. It disappeared in a heartbeat and I got complements on it, so that made me feel good.

The party was fun, and my kids seemed to have a good time, for the most part. Thanks CG!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I fell prey to an infomercial. I bought stuff that is supposed to get rid of fine lines better than anything else because of the super antioxidants it contains. OK. Why not?

The box came in the mail the other day. Here's the before picture of my eye (self portrait). Remind me to post a 30-days later picture. Or not.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm back to work after a two-week vacation and I have a boatload of email to catch up on. I had checked it a couple of times while I was away, just in case there were any disasters. Most was boring stuff, except this. One email was from a collegue who had photos of what happened in our office garage.

Apparently someone forgot the difference between "Drive" and "Reverse."