Tuesday, September 30, 2014


You know you've been working on a project for a long time when even the Goodwill attendant asks, "are you done with your kitchen yet?" Every trip I made there to donate things, she would ask!

There are a ton of photos today, so brace yourself!!

With that question in mind, let's get started, shall we?

Why did you undertake this project?
Need I say more? Actually, while some folks love to go see an action thriller, that sort of thing is not my cup of tea. We actually really like to work. Creating is OUR cup of tea.

What did you learn during the remodel? 

  • Having a tent up outside your garage is a good thing, especially during the rainiest September since 1914!!
  • Use the best paint you can afford. 
  • Use Kilz 2 primer. Although I'd read somewhere Zinsser is the best, my experience tells me otherwise. After going through a quart of the Zinsser, I went back to Kilz which did not drip as readily and covered beautifully, albeit both took two coats.
  • Don't believe everything you read on the internet!
  • There is a reason hospitals used to be all white--it feels clean and fresh.
  • I knew it beforehand and having witnessed it first hand, having an amazing carpenter on your team makes everything better.
Are you done with the kitchen yet??? Why, no we are not, however, we are getting closer.
On this side of the kitchen Bruce did things in a more assembly line fashion, however, I ran out of room on the table to prime, paint, and let dry the remaining doors, so good thing we have another large table! I let these dry and harden while I did the ones you see on the quilt.
Did you mind having everything in disorder? 

  • Good grief, yes! I could not wait to get back to normal! I wanted so badly for the living room not to have two sets of dining chairs. 
Did you think it would take you this long?

  • When we first began, way back on September 5, Bruce told Bill he thought it might take a month. Now, that seemed like a long time, yet, it is hard to argue with Bruce because he's spent his working career estimating work time. It did not take a month, however, it did take about 19 days, some of which were very long, or at least to a 60+ year old couple.
Saturday we worked until it was time to go to a dinner party, Sunday we did the market, but on Monday, we put the pedal to the metal. I picked up the remaining glass from Ace Hardware which B installed after the paint finally dried.
How many nights did you have to eat out?

  • Maybe four or five, but that does not count one night of cheese and crackers, and one popcorn night! For most of the time we had a semi-working kitchen along with a willing cook.
What took so long?
  • If you've been following along you already know what took so long! If not, each and every door had to be re-worked with a technique B called "banding" meaning strips of wood had to be glued and stapled around the door's inside perimeter. Multiply that by 27, and you can understand why it took so long. Not to mention he built seven new drawers! And a wine rack!
Are you done with the kitchen yet?
  • Almost!
Hinges and knobs take longer than you might think.
Then too, you have to attach everything and sometimes, what with the new configuration, that takes some expert carpentry skills. You can see from the above that in spite of all my efforts, paint tends to run from one side to the other, although, once up, it seems to be less noticeable.
Bruce is working in the above photo on the last bit of hardware installation. Once he completed that he set to putting them on the frames.
Is it any wonder this man has lost 20 pounds without trying?? Some folks might think I'm working him too hard. :) Actually these are out of sequence--above was last night when he was installing the new drawer. The doors above the oven gave him fits trying to get them to shut and lay perfectly flat, so this morning he saved the doors below the oven for last, knowing it could be more of the same. And it was. Out came the chisel to make it all work.
By the way, his finger, cut by the pictured chisel has healed nicely.

Are you done with the kitchen yet? What do you think?
Ta da!!!! We did it!!!
Because it is a galley kitchen I have a heck of a time showing you the whole thing at once...
So, I either have to go into the foyer, or into the eating area of the kitchen--doing the best I can!

By the numbers:

27 doors painted, and primed, both sides twice=216 coats to both paint and wait to dry.
94 pieces of hardware removed.
94 pieces of hardware re-installed with all new holes drilled.
1 quart of spackle
1 gallon of primer
1 gallon of cabinet and trim paint
1 gallon of paint+primer for the insides which are equally as wonderful.
4 moving boxes used along with two giant plastic tubs
2 saw blades need sharpening!
2 trips to the doctor
Hard to know just how many hours we worked--plenty

Are we done with the kitchen yet? Why, yes we are!
Would you do it again?

  • Not any time soon!
And to think I won't be getting up in the morning and putting on my painting clothes....
The end!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Goal Made!

It was 7:30 at night, but the doors went on, and the fridge returned to its' rightful place--we did it!

The day was actually one of our shorter work days with me putting on the second coat of primer while Bruce made some special things for my cabinets. Poor Baxter could not get away from the noise due to rain outside, instead he stayed as close to me as I would allow.
It was not all that easy with a dog snuggled up next to me, but I managed. My friend Pam had a carpenter make some slots to fit over her oven as a place to put platters and flat pans, which she told me she loves. That wouldn't work in our situation, however, B did cut out the back shelf and put some stops in so I could do a little bit of the same.
The cabinet below got a little something as well.
The drawer guides are in--next step--new drawers. In between the coats of primer, and first coat of paint on the box, I got behind the fridge painted.
When you are working with Bruce you can take no short cuts, that is for sure, so even though the sides of the cabinet adjacent to the fridge will never be seen, they, too, got the full treatment of two coats of primer and paint. The door on the low counter is waiting for more sanding, more spackle, followed by the paint products. Although I'm a good painter, I'm no match for the 3/4" part beside the oven. I happily gave my brush to Bruce.
When not helping me out, he worked more on the doors, applying the spackle like this:
If you are wondering how he cut the window in the door front, here's how it is done.
Surprisingly I was done with my end of things by four in the afternoon, and that is also when B called it quits, wanting to prepare some things for our trip to Miami. Actually, I was not completely done as the doors needed all of their paint, but mostly it was because I was waiting out drying time in between coats. I got anxious and took this before they went up.
Hardly recognize the place right? I could not be happier with how it is all turning out, and after a few months pass, I will never remember all the work that went into it! Bonus points for a poor memory.

We left Orlando around nine in the morning, arriving in Miami just after one. We found the mall where the restaurant is located, Dadeland. Apparently they've built a new extension, which is very, very nice, with several attractive restaurants located in the annex. Because we wanted to see what it was all about, we had lunch there and was it ever wonderful.
 I was dying over the cute salt and pepper mills! Looking around we were most impressed.
We just knew Bill would love the marble communal table. The light fixtures were also something else.
Not only was the food delicious, but the wait staff was excellent as well. We ate in the lounge area, passing through the dining area to get there.
Following our delicious lunch we roamed a bit through the mall before B was to meet the man who'd asked him to come down there at 4. Me? I'm not much of a shopper so I ended up going back to the car in order to get my Smithsonian magazine given to me by my friend Harriet. It was an old issue, packed with great reading, including a feature on scrapbooks. I learned that Mark Twain published scrapbooks with pre pasted pages accounting for 20% of his income! The article was highlighting how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, instead of paper scrapbooks, people do it digitally through Pinterest. I really can't see that it could be nearly as fun as the old-fashioned way, but then again, I'm old-fashioned in that way.

Later on, I joined the men for more fabulous food, dessert,
and my first ever taste of bourbon in I think what was called an Old Fashioned!
Good thing we were staying just across the street!! It was a super fun night for sure.

The following morning we took back to the road, returning to Orlando in time for B to have his stitches removed, and for yours truly to end her doctor visit hiatus of four years. What would finally convince me to see a doctor again? Good question.

Amazingly enough, while we were at Publix a few weeks ago, waiting on a prescription to be filled, on a whim, I sat down at the new fangled machine that takes blood pressure. Except I did not like the results one bit. Trying it again--same reading. Uh oh. I then began my quest to get a doctor's appt. to no avail. During the visit to have the stitches, I asked the nurse if she would be so kind as to take my bp, and darn if it wasn't high again. I learned that B's long time doctor was taking new patients, so I signed up then and there.

It is no wonder they call it the silent killer because I had no inkling whatsoever. During yesterday's visit, it was higher still, as in 174/96!!! The aide took it from both arms, followed by the doctor who ordered an EKG which they do there. That was just fine. As to my hair loss, he claims it is rarely a sign of anything but stress, however, you and I both know I have not one iota of stress. In spite of his doubts, they took blood, and after giving me a script for bp medicine, told me I needed to return in three weeks to see if it is working. Let's hope so. Honestly, I've always had what some would consider low bp, so this whole thing has come as quite the shock.

So, there you go--B thinks we have three more days of work on the kitchen, we had a grand time in Miami, and I'm now on medication. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tent Making

Bruce has gone back to doing what he does best--project managing. Beginning the other side of the kitchen, we did not have a huge plan except for starting on the low cabinet. Aside from that, things happened in not what B considered the correct order. This side will be done on a whole different level.

When I left you yesterday he'd gone to Ace to purchase some plastic to make a tent for sanding. I emptied out my cabinets,
all of them at once, making the pretty little guest room a mess once again.
This time it is filled with all my cooking supplies, spices, along with all my pots and pans. When last we had a tent, it was for the bottom of the cabinets only, however, this time B was not messing around, instead he began at the ceiling.
Moving the refrigerator out of the way, he left me a space to paint the remaining orange away. As well we can do the cabinet sides.
So, once he was in there, he did not stop for 2 1/2 hours! A workhorse? Why, yes he is.
All total for the orbital sander? 12 sheets of sandpaper. Finally, around one in the afternoon, he emerged, completely covered in sawdust!
The shirt, pre saw dust, is navy blue!
While under the tent he vacuumed everything using the shop vac, however, the fine dust I washed away with TSP. Now we are ready to tackle the remaining cabinets!!
Our goal is to have everything done to put the refrigerator back at the end of today. I began the priming process,
followed by painting the wall, as well as the pipe that runs up from the range hood. That was Bill's idea and a good one it is. Following B's plan, I got all that done, he put all the putty in the holes, while I painted the insides. Good grief that part makes a huge difference! Love, love it!
The red stuff is the putty, and the guides on the bottom of the cabinet are for the pull out drawers he made several years ago. God send is what they are, holding my major pans, and corralling all the plastic containers.  BTW--the interior paint is not green despite it's appearance in the photo.
We set a quit time and followed that, not only because we were tired but the caulking and putty had to dry before I could complete the upper interiors. If you can believe it, I've used nearly a gallon on the insides! Normally Bruce's garage does not look quite like this, however, in the midst of this project, it does.
Note the big white thing--that is the rack with all my prints covered for obvious reasons. The little doors on the table saw are the first order of the day for Bruce because they are the over the fridge doors he's hoping to have back in place by day's end.

My sister Nancy called last evening complaining about the quality of my photos! The nerve of her! Actually, as I explained to her, it is fairly difficult to photograph in a long narrow space. Doing the best I can in that department!

Time to check back in with the project manager to get my assignment for the day....

Monday, September 22, 2014

The House of Green

Green used to be my favorite color before orange took over as king of my heart. That said, we are in the process of having a mostly green interior which works infinitely better than orange on the walls.
Saturday was a dreary, rainy day, beginning on Friday, and continuing throughout most of the day. Bruce met with Jon Gardner down at the Orchid Garden for the window cleaning project, which truth be told, was NOT one he really wanted to be a part of. Back at the home front, I made what seems like my weekly trip to Sherwin Williams to pick up yet more of "Sweet Caroline." Angela was pulling for me to paint this wall the yellow of the kitchen, however, I decided to go with the green because I'm trying to bring some continuity to this place we call home!

It is a good thing our son Matthew does not mind me covering up his hard work, the faux painting he spent nearly a full weekend doing, probably ten years ago; one of the reasons I've been reluctant to change it, but knowing him as I do, he will be happy if I am happy. Not only am I working to make this more consistent, but brighter and lighter. All of my girlfriends keep begging me to paint the ceiling white, while all of the men we know are aghast at the idea. It is staying wood, but now with all the lightness on the cabinets, and the wall, it will be a wonderful contrast, not to mention keeping things feeling cozy. So, now every bedroom is green, as well as all of the major living spaces.

Here is a sight absent from our home for the last six months...
Out came the brief case and suitcase.....this Wednesday we are traveling down to Miami for a night in order for B to meet a potential employer. The work is not in Miami, further than that, but we will be able to see the restaurant in question so he can decide if he wants to be involved in the project. This WILL NOT be full time, thank goodness--we shall see.

Bruce came home utterly exhausted from his Saturday work, and by then, after nearly six solid hours of painting with a brush, I was nearly done.
Good thing I'd been to Trader Joe's earlier in the week, and had something super quick to fix for dinner. So, TJ is good, but Publix still rules!
I understand perfectly why loads of people who've moved away from the South, pine for Publix because it is a wonderful store, not to mention so close! Love the dramatic sky. :)

Waking up to perfectly gray skies on Friday, we assumed our beach day was in jeopardy, and indeed it did not happen as the forecast was for all day of clouds and rain. No reason to drive 120 miles round trip only to get rained out. Instead we went to the mall. More specifically, Crate and Barrel to spend a gift card Nadav and Crystal gave us for watching Max months ago. It was surprisingly hard to find $50 worth of items we wanted, probably because I've been cleaning out, not wanting to add to my cabinets. Eventually we checked out, and after some discussion decided to eat lunch at Greens and Grille. So, who should be two people in front of us in the line? Nadav!! Isn't that the craziest? He joined us for a nice lunch and lively conversation.

Following that we returned home to have a television watching binge. I don't know how many years ago Jonathan and Alissa gave us three seasons of "Veronica Mars", but it's been a while--we are known to do this you know. How fun it is! Instead of sanding and painting, we hunkered down on the rainy day spending maybe seven hours watching show after show. Delightful is our assessment--Jonathan never steers us wrong!

In spite of the nicest weather since May, my sales at the market were not stellar, however, we did cross a bit of a milestone--our giant fan only had to be on for a few hours on medium instead of blasting on high all day long. So, there's that to be grateful for.

I was thrilled to come home to the light and bright wall!
We are back at it this morning--I'm typing while B is at Ace picking up more plastic to make the tent before sanding the cabinets on the other side of the room which I emptied earlier this morning.

You would think we are paying no attention to our yard, and you would be mostly correct, however, it is producing food for our outdoor friends while we are painting.
This time of the year all of the palms are producing fruit for both the birds and squirrels, and much to our chagrin, a pesky rat who is defying all of our attempts to make him go away. Furthermore, we have a sweet dove that we think has an injured wing hanging around for the last week in the bushes nearest the back yard bird feeder.
Still on outdoor news, Baxter has been spending more time in the back yard in the last week or so than he has in the nine years we've had him. The noise, between the table saw, mitre saw, orbital sander, and drills, is driving him to distraction, or in this case to seek shelter as far from it as he can. Good thing it is cooling off!

As I'm finishing this Bruce is sanding under the tent--let the good times roll!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air

Angela, after seeing a photograph much like this one,
proclaimed that the paint should be called, "A Breath of Fresh Air" and I tend to agree with her. I am in heaven around here, in spite of the long days of work!

We left off when Bruce was making the wine cabinet which in truth is a box with the lattice work fastened to the inside. I told you he would be doing moldings and such, but first he had to paint it. I suggested spraying, however, he opted for a brush, and I'm glad I was not the one doing it, that's for sure.
While he was working on it, I moved back into the finished cabinets. During the emptying process I did just a wee bit of purging. What is it about mugs that make them so hard to do away with? We had way more than we needed, however, lots of them are gifts, and it pains me to give them away. Do you have the same problem?
Some I could not bear to part with, including the adorable Santa mug on the top shelf, a remnant of Bruce's childhood. Hot chocolate anyone?

You know it is taking you a long time to do a project when even the girl at Goodwill asks, "are you done with the kitchen yet?" Why, no we are not, thank you very much.

We are, however, making great progress.
The tubs in the forefront look way better after I sorted things out. One is for baking stuff, while the other is filled with all types of pasta. Running up to Ross, I was hoping to find more of the same to get the rest of the cabinet looking neat and tidy, however, I had to content myself with some other types. My sister Nancy will be so proud, as she loves an organized cabinet.

To better understand why it is taking so long, here's a close up of the banding that Bruce is adding to each and every door. See the lighter colored wood along the edges? Glued, stapled, spackled and sanded before it comes to me for the de-glossing, two coats of primer, followed by two coats of paint.
Finally I had the pantry doors primed and one coat of paint;  then began the laborious process of hanging them again with four sets of hinges each. The final coat to be done while they are hanging.
While Bruce worked on that, I DUSTED!! Every surface in our living area, not to mention my neglected bedroom was covered in dust. Won't last long, but it feels better for now!

Tuesday afternoon I finally got my hair cut after a six month hiatus. Figuring if anyone could tell about my hair loss, it would be Monica, and indeed it is the sad truth. Running her hands through my conditioned hair she came away with a hand full. I've finally got an appointment with Bruce's doctor, having waited for return calls from my former doctors for nearly a week. Bah humbug on them!

With the dusting and the door hanging out of the way, it was finally time for some fun. Steve and Kirsten Vaughan are the greatest hosts in the world.
The food is always scrumptious and the company? Fantastic!  The occasion? Steve's 60th birthday!
A large deck out back basically hangs over Dickson Azalea Garden, a city owned park. Good for them that when a gigantic, and I'm not using that term lightly, part of their neighbor's tree fell on their beautiful deck, they were not hom,e as they spend lots of time out there. I could not get a good photograph of it, well because it is slightly dangerous, however, Kirsten and Steve were giving tours of what is going on right now.
Do you see what is going on? Incredibly, after the half-tree fell, Kirsten noticed an inordinate amount of bees flying around, so, after finding a bee guy on Craigslist, they went about trying to figure it out, which required cutting a chunk out of the tree. Discovering thousands of bees inside, the bee guy really wanted the queen who as it turns out is up in the part of the tree still standing. The towel is stuffed into the hive area to keep the bees from returning and an artificial hive is what that white box is all about. Here's the nearby bait.
Honey bees were flying around like mad, but apparently, unless severely provoked they will not sting. Good news for me as I'm no good with any sort of insect bite, swelling up like a little balloon at the bite site.

Back inside it was so good not to be painting, AND, for Bruce to hear from folks how much they miss him at Darden. One of the guys told me he always called Bruce the Admiral. :)
Not only do they have that super sized island, but a big square table as well. Nice!

So, it's a good thing that we tackled this project now because in the last week or so, four, if not five different folks have called with job offers for Bruce. I'm afraid I will soon have to be sharing his talents with others once again.

This afternoon, when he returns from errands, he will put the knobs on the pantry doors, and then we are taking a much needed break to go to the beach tomorrow!! At the moment we are debating about the paint color for the brick wall. Should we go with the green of the living room, or the yellow of the kitchen? I'm inclined to go with the green, however, the paint is not purchased yet so weigh in if you have an opinion!
Not counting the wall paint we are getting there as you can see. Only twelve doors and two drawers left to go! That is what is known as positive thinking my friends, which is easy to come by when you are living with a breath of fresh air. :)

p.s. B's finger is not hurting and after a day or so the tetanus shot site is feeling fine once again.

You Just Never Know