Saturday, May 9, 2015

Kitchen Remodel Stages Update

It's time for a progress update on the stages of our kitchen remodel.  For Phase 6, the old sink is long gone, donated to someone who likes that sort of thing.  Paul is, at this very moment, roughing in the plumbing for the sink.  When done, he will wallboard and goop.  One that is done and painted, the bases can go in.  Phase 7 has the new upper cabinets hung with the exception of one.  We traded that one in for a slightly larger one, and Paul is tweaking the design so that we have a few more inches of counter space in the corner next to the fridge.  Phase 8 is mostly done.  That section just needs some more goop on the walls, and prime and paint.  Phase 9 - complete!  The floor is done and beautiful. And I am adding Phase 10 - Mini-pantry remodel.  We have a small pantry area, the size of a narrow, not-so-deep bookshelf, located as you head to the basement stairs (just inside the doorway in the photo below).  It was sort of made up of old, repurposed materials by a former owner, but Paul is going to replace the wood with nicer wood, so that will be divine!


The Phases (a  indicates completion):
  1. Make it livable (completed in 1988): remove "island", place south wall base cabinets and cheap countertop) 
  2. 2011-2012: New kitchen windows 
  3. 2012: North wall gutting, insulating, initial electrical, wallboard, and upper cabinets, west wall uppers 
  4. 2015: New basement laundry sink 
  5. Knotty pine removal, wallboard, and electrical for east and south walls 
  6. New base cabinets for north and west walls (including a blind corner cabinet with pull-out hardware for easy access), new sink (buh-bye old metallic monstrosity), built-in 18" dishwasher, adjustment of stove on north wall to accommodate new bases, new countertop
  7. New cabinets and countertop for east and south walls
  8. Knotty pine removal, electrical, and wallboard for last portion of south wall (no cabinets here)
  9. New Floor 
  10. Mini-pantry remodel

Stove Disaster

First, here is a preview of our progress.  This is the north wall of the kitchen.  The uppers and the microwave are in.  Paul completed the electrical adjustments and moved the gas pipe so we could center the stove between the two windows - much nicer.  Nothing is in to the left of the stove area because Paul is currently working on the west/sink wall.  The cabinet to the right of the stove is not set in permanently yet - it was there in anticipation of us being able to use the stove again while we complete the kitchen.  But alas, this was not to be.  We had a *little problem* with our current stove.

Originally, we were going to wait on a new stove.  This project has ended up over-budget (big surprise!).  So I spent an hour last weekend cleaning the stove completely.  I even had Paul lift up the burner section so I could clean the area inside/underneath.  That was the mistake.  Although it was not too messy, and I did not do much, I apparently jostled something while cleaning.  Or perhaps when we moved the stove something shifted.  The oven worked well over the weekend; no one tried the burners.  But when I came home from work after a night shift this past Monday morning, trouble ensued.  After so long without a homecooked breakfast, I wanted to have some scrambled eggs and veggie "bacon".  But when I turned on the burner, it was making this hissing noise.  We looked underneath, did not see anything loose.  When we tried again, there was the hissing, followed by a loud pop and a whoosh.  Terrifying.  All I could think of was blowing up the entire house.  We turned off the gas in the basement and at the wall.  And trembled a bit.

We discussed options.  We could have it repaired, but it is old and we were aiming for replacement anyway.  And frankly, I was so traumatized, I never wanted to turn that stove on again, in spite of any repairs we might have done.  Buy a new one?  But then there is the budget.  Oh dear, what to do?  Thankfully, a solution presented itself (more on this later), so that we can replace the stove (Squee!).  I feel completely blessed.  

An updated list of Remodel Stages will follow this post.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Recording with the Church Choir

Last night, and the Thursday before, our church choir recorded a CD in honor of our church's 170th birthday.  We still have a few pieces to tweak, but we got the bulk of it done.  I have no idea how it sounds!  Hopefully it will be a nice addition to our festivities this fall.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Blind Date

39 years ago this very day, I was fixed up on a blind date with a friend of my friend's boyfriend.  His name is Paul.  He was in from college for a long weekend, and we saw each other most of that time.  It is one of my happiest memories.  I married him eight years later.

Celeste and Paul, circa 1976

Happy Update

Paul finished unpacking all of the cabinets last night.  They are all gorgeous; we could not see any flaws or damage.  This is night and day from the first order/different brand.  It pays to upgrade: one can be too economical, to the point that the result is exponentially far worse than the dollar amount would lead one to believe (does that make sense?!).  

Paul has the gas pipe mostly moved.  He needs one more part and then just needs to hook up the new source.  He is also adjusting the electrical for the microwave to be placed above the stove.  I will paint the opposite two walls tomorrow or Friday.  Once that paint is dry we can put up the cabinets there.  As there are no wall adjustments, electrical changes or plumbing changes on that side, we can put in all of the cabinets, one by one, whenever we find the time.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Good Friday - Our Lord's Death - Stabat Mater

Yesterday was Good Friday.  I had the privilege of singing Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with our church's cantor, who is a marvelous soprano.  I used the picture above as inspiration.  We sang it during the Veneration of the Cross.  The piece is beautiful (hear it here, I listened to it endlessly).  The words are in Latin, and depict the sorrow of Mary, Jesus' mother, at the foot of the cross:

Stabat Mater, dolorosa
iuxta Crucem, lacrimosa
dum pendebat Filius

There are translations online more in keeping with the meter, but I wanted to keep the literal translation in my mind.  Here is what I came up with:

Standing Mother, sorrowful
next to the Cross, weeping
while there hung her Son

Monday, March 30, 2015

Phase 9 (Floor) Ready to Launch

So, our floor in the kitchen has mushroomed into a whole new animal.  (In fact, the whole kitchen project has mushroomed, more on that later).  Our hopes of restoring the old floor were dashed: the floor boards were too damaged, to separated, and it would cost so much to restore it that it would cost more than a new floor. Plus the result would not be as nice. We made the decision to replace it.  And it's a good thing we did - the flooring contractor found that the sub-floor was water-damaged, weak, soft in some places.   Added to that, the existing floor smelled icky too, like old grease or something from bygone years spilled long before we moved here.  Buh-bye.

The workers started today, removing the yucky and placing the new sub-flooring.  Here are some photos of the empty room, the night before they started.  There is some weird brown paper-like substance on top of it all: