Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mov'n slow and deep thoughts on kitchen renovations.....

 I was wondering why I was moving so slow so I checked the last blog post, 8 days ago and realized why! 

The geese are flocking and flying, the garden is slowing down, the mouse traps are checked daily as furry wee ones seek shelter inside the basement, the first leaf fluttered down as I let the chickens out.  I realize outside time is going to become limited.   When the kitchen faucet got the big replacement, cobwebs were shaken off my renovation brain cells........and so it begins.  

Usually I tackle these projects the week before Christmas, but wait, all the equipment can be set up outside now!  Jeeze, that only took 40 years to figure out.  I have not had the fortitude to start another project in the kitchen since I ripped this place apart in 2009.  That renovation just about killed me.  So now I have lived with the kitchen I built for 11 years and made a lot of mental notes on what needed to happen to make kitchen duties a bit easier.  Disclaimer, I have no skills and everything I do is of my own deluded vision of the final outcome with help from YouTube.  It's solving a problem, a puzzle.  How to make things fit on a swiftly tilting floor.  So this kitchen will never be featured in Architectural Digest or even Cute Country Mansions.  It's my learning school and makes me wildly happy to work here.

#1 find the tools.  
I have my tools and He has his tools.  Why because we work very differently.  I like to be organized.  He, well, not so much.  Last week I pruned the front beds and found two nice screwdrivers stuck in the ground.  Just stuck in the ground for no apparent reason.  I looked around and realized he had adjusted a window cover.  Project done, he walked away, tools left behind.  My brain exploded right in the azalea bed.  But then He helped out with the chicken coop and borrowed my precious tools and the nightmarish hunt began.  With many texts back and forth asking for hints as to wear my air nailer might be or certain drill bits I covet, I looked up to find his car barreling in the driveway at 2 pm in the afternoon.  He read the desperation in my text messages and came home to help with this scavenger hunt.  How hard is it to put a tool back on a labeled shelf I whined? Impossible, I muttered under my breath for He who shall remain nameless.  Finally finding most of what I needed, he barreled back down the driveway. The chickens and I cheered.  Plugging in MY circular saw, blue ear guards in place, I started to cut my first board, WooHoo!  *&@!!!!   He had changed out the blade to a masonry blade when he put the grill garage together. I made up new curse words as I hunted for the wrench and old blade somewhere in his back shed amidst his Christmas decoration palooza and I was not saying FaLalalala!  By Friday night not much was accomplished other than finding tools and two trips to Home Depot.  One for wood and trim and one to replace missing drill bits. There are not enough swear words in the English language for my Friday but by 9 pm I was toast, no I was fucking toast
Saturday up at the crack of dawn and ready to jump in.  Ran out to let the chickens out and found this.... 
You want these?

You get these........

Nuts!@ forgot to close the trap I use for groundhogs.  Chickens out and Miller relocation services kick into action.  Back by 7 am and thought I'd make breakfast to start the day off on a good vibe. 
Pancakes and coffee, yes please.  Kirby got pancakes, the chickens got pancakes, we all got pancakes and everybody was happy! 

Surely this had to be a better day!  And then I heard the four worst words ...... HOW CAN I HELP?  
Please go mow the lawn, go sailing, go to the store, just go...... and he did!  

By 10 am the sawdust was flying.  First problem, two levels to this floor! 

build up the floor and figure it out.... and so the day waged on.  
By Saturday night I had only advanced to this stage and was still working on puzzles.
Things were just not flush or fitting. 

I think I had done 1,000 squats, my knees were in shell shock and I had butt cramps.  I broke two drill bits screwing into a rock maple counter top and was tired.  I had cannibalized old booth shelves, the old post holding the counter top and other pieces of wood from long forgotten projects.  Every body should have an old woodpile from recycled projects.  I took two aspirin, showered and poured myself into bed.  

Sunday Morning
rinse and repeat....

#7 this year...... back to meet your brother in a secret location far far away! 

Sunday...... who's body is this?  Two more aspirin, no pancakes and lots of hot coffee after relocation services were complete.  Felt like I had been on a week long bender.  The aspirin kicked in, the kneed pads were slapped on and I was back at it by 9 am.  Around 2 pm I needed hydration and wanted watermelon.  I ran out to the front flower bed and looked at my last remaining watermelon.  The last two I had picked too early but this one needed to be ripe as we only had one more hot day before temperatures were predicted to plummet.  I whipped out my utility knife and cut this guy off, 25 pounds!   

It was lunch time!!  After mowing the lawn, guess who brought home grocery store sushi? 
So good...... and he was back on the plus side :) 

after an hour strap of sitting it was hard to strap on the knee pads and jump back in....
the hardest part of this project is making things look seamless. 

joining new work to existing cabinets was almost my Waterloo.  I ended up hand cutting almost everything with my fine toothed handsaw.  

By 9 pm I was giddy as I slapped the last coat of paint on the trim. 

Monday morning I mopped the floors, stacked the tools in the corner for the next project and thought I'd be in the yard by noon.  Nope....... I moved stuff around, filled the shelves, decided to permanently plug in the Kitchen Aid Mixer and that dropped me down a hole I really did not want to go down.  To get to an existing plug I had to move the fridge.  I dreaded this as I expected to find a dead mouse or a nest of beavers but alas I wanted that mixer plugged in.   I pulled out the fridge, huffing and puffing and no good place to get a grip I gently rocked it back and forth.... not too bad.  OMG am I winning the mouse war? 

Plug in the mixer, push the behemoth back into place and it will not fit.  Pull fridge back out.  
ARGH!  fridge plug is a 90 degree plug and mixer plug is not.  Unplug, wash down sides of fridge, floor and counter, slide back in.  
OH NO that means slide out the stove to access the other plug.  My stove has never been level, it has driven me nuts for 11 years but that insanity was easier than pulling out the stove because I have to wrangle it over a few tiles on the floor.  Well why stop now?  Plug fit perfect, no mice or even mouse poop and the floor got washed.  I decided to elevate the stove to just above counter height.  Another genius move for people with strong minds and weak backs.  I lifted and jimmied that stove for over an hour.  Finally moved back into place.  

I was soaked and breathing hard but that gushing feeling of success when I stood back and looked at a level stove and working mixer.  Just Wow and sure ticks all my boxes!!  

Today is painting and staining the last of the trim work. Pick up a couple glass jars for the new shelf. 
 This place is a work in progress and not sure it will ever be over.  This project has spurred me on to a list of projects I would love to have finished before the snow flies.  

Notes on my functional kitchen: 
I hate digging for stuff.  I have lived with cabinets where stuff is pushed to the netherlands of blackness, never to be found until you move or die.  When I ripped this place apart I built most of the cabinets.  
I wanted open shelving for just my small appliances and other stuff.  I built them out of 2x4's and sunk the money into trim work and good air nailer. 

Oh and table was picked off somebodies curb, it used to be pink. 
The chairs were throw outs too and I rewove the seats and gave them a good scrubbing.  The bench is old barn wood.  I traded a couple mugs and pot for the labor.  The pot rack is copper tubing and plumbing fixtures. 

I trimmed out the floor of the cabinets from the end cuts off the dinning room floor I replaced.

Try to explain this to a contractor.  I have tried over the years with little success.  Most want to do what they always do for the same kitchen one block away.  I did not need to pay anybody to complete my dream of a working kitchen and I am really OK with nobody in the house until this Covid thing is flying south with the geese.  So I will muddle my way through and keep watching youtube and yes, you can just leave me my illusions....... 

still lots to do but for now I have to get these tomatoes in the freezer! 

Next project to commence as soon as I am vertical again....... 3-5 days!  


  1. Makes me tired just reading that!!
    Well done

    1. It’s a good tired.... just so happy to cross a couple projects off my list. Helps me sleep at night LOL!

  2. Looks great! Kitchen renovations are not for the faint hearted. I also live with someone who rarely puts something back where it belongs. I too find tools in the bushes... or by running them over with the lawn mower. :-(

    1. Hi Michèle! what is it with not putting tools back? It drives me nuts. Every time I hear; Great we can do a project together! I count my tools! I also painted the handles red and pink on some of my tools so they don't get left behind :)

  3. I have a very similar kitchen, took the doors off of every cabinet and all shelves are open where I can see what I own, if I can't see it I forget I have it! My kitchen is a WORKING kitchen and will never be ready for a magazine photo shoot!
    Re: tools- I have mine and he got his last Christmas so he would leave mine alone! I bought him a very expensive Hori Hori a few years ago and found it, like you, stuck in the ground one too many times before I just went off about it! My tools are clean and organized, his? probably all lost by now lol.

    1. I never got doors. Even when my kids were little if they could reach the granola on the bottom shelf they were gold to go. I don't want to hide stuff, I love all my kitchen stuff! I have three bottom cupboards for weird stuff and no matter how many times I clean them out, I open the door and it looks like a bomb went off. I am sure if the doors were gone that would not happen!

      I have two Hori Hori's and nobody touches those! Honestly it is the one tool I don't think I could garden without. It gets jammed in my back pocket and stays there when it's not in my hand. I also figured out some of my tool handles got painted pink a few years ago. I can spot them in a minute when I do cleanup! That is what winter is for LOL! I used to tung oil all my handles and take great good care. Now they get sharpened, oiled and painted!