Almost to the Wire

IMG_9390
.
IMG_9381We’ve passed the home stretch – we’re down to only 4 things left for the contractors to do. The painter has more to do but I’ve told him we’re calling a stop at the end of this week. That should take complete the kitchen/breakfast room/front hall. The other things will happen later. I need a break!!!!

A lot happened during my writing hiatus. The chairs for the bistro table came in, the backsplash was installed – it is SENSATIONAL, the broom closet was built, the range hood was installed, all the little things that needed balancing and patching and adjusting were balanced and patched and adjusted. IMG_9375The under sink bins for garbage and recycling were installed. The lighting under the cabinets was installed (which includes zillions of electrical outlets along with the lights). The walls were painted and the wood was stained and I ordered art work for the kitchen. 🙂

Four things left to go: the radiators, the cold water filter under the sink, deck lights, and the CORRECT hardware for the pocket door. *grin* There IS hardware but there was a little goof and the wrong hardware was sent out instead of the specially-picked oil-rubbed bronze hardware Don had gotten to match our faucet. 🙂

IMG_9382The delay in the radiators is an amusing story. Kenny (the head plumber) called one of the places I’d found online and spent several phone calls chatting with the company. It turned out that despite their photo, they don’t have radiators that are floor-mounted, they are all wall-mounted. They can do the floor mount but it is a special order as opposed to out of standard stock. Kenny gave them all the specs, they were working out all the details, and then he gave them the shipping address. “Oh, we don’t ship to the US” they said. *laughing* Turns out he’d been talking with Canada the whole time and had not realized it. So he started over again looking for what I wanted. I hear that he did indeed find some (I saw a picture) but it’s unclear how long it will take to get the correct size and then get them installed. IMG_9385I know from my experience back in March, when I had to get a new furnace (or whatever it is called for hot water radiator heating), that once you install the radiators, you need to then fill them all with water. Then you need to bleed off any trapped air, and make sure they are all heating up. This is a whole day process. I hope they make it before the cold weather returns, or I’ll have to spend my entire life curled up on the rug in front of the gas-log fireplace.

IMG_9387The cold water filter under the sink was another case of miscommunication. Don came by one day and I went through my list of “open items and can we still do’s”. They had removed my cold water filter when they did the demolition way back in May (remember that?). I told them that they could toss the one that was there, we could put on a new one when we rebuilt everything. I mentioned this to Don and showed him what I wanted (some $30 thing you can get at the big box stores) and he said “oh, no, you can’t do that with your faucet”. What do I know, right? He showed me the kind of faucet I need to get and they’d drill a hole in the counter for it. Later when I tried to explain to my husband why I could not put in the cold water filter as we’d had before, I realized I had no idea why it wouldn’t work. I could see exactly where it would go under the sink. I found the installation instructions for what I wanted online, sent that and a picture of the pipes under the sink to Don, and asked why it would not work. IMG_9388Don is a professional. He does things the CORRECT way. From his perspective (and undoubtedly from MANY people’s pov) you do NOT put the filter on the cold water for the main faucet – you spin off the filtered cold water to a separate faucet, and then use the unfiltered cold water for whatever you do with unfiltered water. I HAVE filtered water and ice in my new refrigerator, which is also one of the reasons why Don was confused about my desire for a water filter on the sink. For many years now, many many years now, I’ve had a filter on the cold water, and every time I run the cold water I get filtered water. This is great if I am filling the cats’ automatic water fountain, or if I am filling a pot to boil pasta or whatever. But yes, it IS a waste if I’m pulling cold water while I’m washing dishes or some other rinsing activity. Many people think that is wasteful. I understand that perspective. IMG_9383MY pov is that it’s much easier and cheaper to stick the filter under the sink on the cold water, change the filter every 3-6 months for some nominal cost, than it is to install a whole-house filter or make a hole in my gorgeous counter or any of the other correct approaches. 🙂 Result – waiting for the plumbers to put in the under-sink filter on the cold water when they return. The cats will appreciate the clean tasting water.

IMG_9341I have no idea what will happen with the deck lighting. I put this change order into the plans back in July, and nothing happened on it. I walked around the deck with Don a few weeks ago and explained what I wanted, and he said he understood and it would happen. Last time I saw the electricians they knew it was happening (that had not been the case on prior visits). It’s happening. But I don’t know what it will look like, when it will happen, nor what it will cost. 🙂 All I DO know is that I have a working switch in my kitchen that will turn on the deck lights once they exist.

So what do you think – is my kitchen sensational or what???IMG_9391

Advertisements

Resuscitated

You may have noticed that I’ve not posted here for nearly 2 weeks. I claimed to those who asked that I took a break for the High Holidays. I suppose that is true, but there is, of course, more to it than that.

On Yom Kippur those who are able fast. It is a complete fast – no food, no water. It begins at sundown and goes until after sundown the next day. A good 25 hours minimum. While you might think that going without food and water is a hardship, the REAL hardship for many of us is going without coffee. If your body is used to the morning jolt of coffee, spending a day without it leads to a headache. A very very very bad headache. So many years ago I learned to begin weaning myself off of my coffee before Yom Kippur so that I could concentrate on the holiday without trying to focus through the pain of a fierce headache.

I like very strong coffee. Dark roast. Strong. 2 cups. I began the withdrawal a day or so before Rosh Hashanah. I switched to decaf in order to satisfy the behavioral habit. I made very strong decaf (hey, there IS caffeine in decaf). I was doing okay – no headaches. 2 or 3 times between then and post-Yom Kippur I even allowed myself some REAL coffee. I thought I was doing fine.

I wasn’t doing fine. I was in misery. Rebecca Klempner says it best in her totally-on-the-mark post in Tablet magazine: “But the problem with this was that I didn’t really like myself off caffeine. I not only felt less awake, I also felt less sharp, less witty, and less creative. I navigated L.A. traffic with a fuzzy brain, I forgot to pick up the milk on the way home from carpool, and I couldn’t think of appropriate come-backs to my husband’s banter over dinner. And don’t even ask about how my writing was going. I felt like a G-rated William Burroughs deprived of his junk.” Oh, Rebecca, you speak for us all!!!

For the last 2 weeks I have been dispirited. Lethargic. I wake and I am without purpose. Everyone is wrong and horrible and mean and I am so small and overwhelmed and forgotten and everything is just too much effort and what is the point anyway and so what and who cares?

Yom Kippur ended yesterday. I broke my fast with some water after services, then a friend and I returned home and I had something to eat, a glass of wine, and some chocolate. But life was still gray and bleak.
IMG_9374
This morning I woke to a gray world. I snarled at the cats. I dragged myself downstairs. But then – I made a cup of REAL coffee. Real strong dark coffee. And I drank it. Ahhhhhh. I made a SECOND cup and drank it. The sun rose. The air brightened. The world lightened. Flowers bloomed. Wow, I have so much energy I could tackle anything. I feel GREAT!!!!!!! And here it is, 16 hours later and I am still going strong, way too energized to sleep. Here I sit, posting to my blog. Smiling. Happy. Caffeinated.

Coffee, ah coffee!
Oh coffee coffee coffee!!!!!
coffee ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh coffee!

Putting Things Back

That’s not a very accurate title. A better one would be clearing the dining room. But if you saw the dining room “clear” is NOT the word that would come to mind. So the title stands as is.

IMG_9277The “back” part of the title is that my sideboard – my gorgeous, wood, custom-made sideboard – has migrated from the dining room into the breakfast room. If you look at my “before” pictures you can see that it used to reside in the kitchen. It is now BACK in use in the breakfast room giving us additional counter and storage in that room. I have been worried that there would be too much wood in that room when both the sideboard and the bistro table were in, but I think it’s doing okay. That’s still my concern about adding the stools for the table. They are scheduled for delivery tomorrow. 🙂

IMG_9278The other major furniture migration was removing the old refrigerator from the dining room into the BACK of the garage. My sister has been in charge of disposing of old appliances. We both feel strongly about not adding to landfills so she has been posting them for sale on swap meets and such. I told her she can keep all the money as long as I don’t have to talk to any potential buyers. The first one we had (for the dishwasher) made me totally crazy, and I was in Arizona for part of that story. She is a prime example of why I don’t sell on the internet. If we can’t sell the refrigerator, I can get it moved out to the curb in October for the town’s bulk pick-up. 🙂 Always have a Plan B.

The hardest part of migrating the refrigerator was moving what was in it into the new refrigerator. IMG_9309 Although that refrigerator is MUCH larger than the old one, it has a completely different structure. For starters, I can tell that no one who designed it or used it or sold it drinks wine. I went to put an open, corked wine bottle in the fridge, and there was NO place sufficiently tall. I finally moved one of the door shelves up to what I think is a somewhat inconvenient location in order to fit the wine. Priorities! I did grocery shopping as well and discovered that I buy much more produce than those 2 (little) external drawers can handle. 🙂 There are 2 more internal drawers and I put them to good use too. I decided to put the “snack” fruits and veggies in the external drawers and put the “need to be prepared” vegetables in the inside drawers (lettuce, peppers, onions, etc.). I’m getting used to it.

One thing I really dislike on the refrigerator are the self-closing doors. IMG_9280That is one of the stupidest things I’ve encountered. Why do I say this? Because my husband relied on the self-closing and I walked in to find the refrigerator open. I told him forget the whole concept and just shut the doors. I don’t even enjoy them on the cabinets, truth be told. That’s the problem with being old – you’re so used to doing things a certain way, that when newfangled conveniences come along you can’t appreciate them properly. So self-closing drawers don’t thrill me, but all the rest of the newfangled stuff is totally wonderful!!!

Ahhhhhh!

IMG_9273My first cup of coffee made in the new setup. 🙂 I’m not sure, however, that I’ll leave the pot there. It depends on where I have to place all of the other appliances. It’s amazing how many appliances we have accumulated that need electrical outlets. Microwave, toaster oven, food processor, mixer, phone, radio, and 2 coffee pots (one for him, one for me). I also need counter space for things that DON’T need outlets: sodastream, knife block.

Besides setting up the bistro table on Saturday, we went shopping for pots and pans. My husband insisted he needed new ones. Our old set is only 12 years old and good quality but he neeeeeeeeded new ones. He decided they had to be space-saving as well as quality. I insisted we needed to keep some of the old HUGE pots we have. We do a lot of steaming and large batches of soup and other crowd-sized cooking. IMG_9276Those pots are in good shape and there were not comparable pieces in the sets we were considering. We settled on the Calphalon® Premier™ Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set. We were fortunate enough to buy it at a location that was offering a special deal: the matching 4.5 quart soup pot for free when you spent enough dollars on Calphalon. We did. 🙂 We also got two 12 inch pans for the chef: the matching 12 inch every day pan and the matching 12 inch fryer. I told my husband that because I was sooooo indulgent, I expected to be able to decide which recipes got followed. 🙂

This weekend we have preparation for the Jewish holidays. The prep starts with reading the manuals for all of our appliances so we can figure out HOW to use them. The test is on Monday. 🙂

First Meal

Saturday morning I got up bright and early and refreshed and went to tackle the bistro table. IMG_9256I’d looked at the instructions the night before, which caused a raging headache which led to yelling and misery. 🙂 I know – none of YOU have ever had a melt-down. The directions, although ostensibly in English, seemed extremely convoluted. In addition, there was a piece on the table base that did not appear in any picture I had of the completed table – not online, not in the directions. My husband was convinced he knew what it was and I thought he was probably correct, but it was making me crazy not to see it anywhere or have it mentioned anywhere. After repeated readings of the instructions, I finally realized where a different piece was “hidden” in the packing and things began to make a bit more sense. Lesson learned: don’t try to function when you are dehydrated and tired.

IMG_9257ANYWAY, I got up Saturday morning and put the table base together. Extremely simple. The table top is large and very heavy – it took the 2 of us to lift it, place it and turn it until it locked in place. I was surprised at the height of the completed table. It was several inches higher than I’d expected. I went back and began reading every review and all of the specifications for the table. I’d misread one of the measurements but I loved the table. The more I looked at it the less inclined I was to worry about the height. In fact, when I sat on the bay window seat, it was the perfect height for the table. I’ve been eating all my meals there! The more I looked, the more I loved. My husband loved it right from the start. I still worry that when we move the sideboard back into that room the overall effect of the 2 pieces will be too “heavy”. In the meantime I have ordered 2 counter height chairs for the table. And the electricians, who were here all day yesterday, also love the table. *grin* Which reminds me….

IMG_9271Bert, our neighbor, El Exigente, approves of the table. He came on Sunday to do his weekly critique. He told me he couldn’t find anything to criticize – he loved everything. *laughing* Of course he DID find things he didn’t like. He started in again about the blinds, expressed reservations about the wood color. He actually mentioned something that I thought was worth a follow-up but I can’t remember at the moment. The best part of his visit was that he annoyed my husband, who has always been amused at how annoyed all the rest of us get, but he himself is not annoyed. Until Sunday, when Bert got under HIS skin. LOVED IT! Schadenfreude for the win!

Let There Be Lights!

IMG_9255Friday was a full house – the electricians and Tom returned. The rest of the cabinet hardware was installed and the spackling completed. The broken tiles in the front hall (from the old radiator) were removed. The workers were kind enough to bring in the 2 huge, heavy boxes with the bistro table – they were in the garage. And it DID take 2 people to lift one of those boxes. I’m very grateful they were kind enough to do that as my husband and I would have struggled and one of us would probably have gotten hurt.

All of the high hat lights are installed and working. Eli set up the switches so we can just flow from one room to another without having to back-track to find a light switch. We will need Remedial Light Switches 101 also. IMG_9254I think I’m fairly solid on them now but I do sometimes miss and use a ceiling fan switch instead of a light switch. All of the high hats are LED lights with dimmer switches. At the start of all our discussions, I told the electricians I did not need to have a ceiling fan with a light, so they did not need to put in a switch for the light, only the fan. Of course all of the fans I liked had lights. I said fine, I don’t care, you don’t have to worry about it if it can’t be hooked up. Apparently ceiling fans now all get operated by remote controls, and a remote will over-ride anything on a switch. I have a working light on my kitchen ceiling fan. It’s so much nicer than what was there before that I could see myself using it. But it’s a halogen bulb. Given that the LEDs can all dim, and they are much more energy-efficient than the halogens, that light may not get much use. IMG_9253The fan, however, has been running since it first had power. It will probably be on non-stop until November.

Speaking of the ceiling fans, I LOVE the new one in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure it would work when I saw it in the box. It looked too large and too dark. But once I saw it up and running, I’m thrilled. It’s exactly the kind of look I wanted. We put back the ceiling fan/light that had been in the breakfast room. It’s white, and blends into the ceiling there, which I want. I’m trying to keep that room open and airy – eyes on the space, and not on the ceiling.

IMG_9251Friday night when all was calm and quiet, my husband and I stood in the kitchen, loving it. We started playing the “where shall we put x?” game. “What goes in this cabinet?” We agreed that we would put the roll-out garbage can under the sink, along with the recycling can, which has been under the sink all the time. If I ever hear back from the foreman about the custom work in the broom closet, I’ll let him know.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kitchen

Soooooooo much has happened since my last post I’m not even sure where to begin. Nothing happened on Wednesday except for frequent visits to admire the counters. Then on Thursday everything began to happen.

running waterThe day dawned early with the plumbers there before 8 am. I was lucky I was ready for them because I’d slept late that day. If they’d been any earlier or I’d slept longer, I might have had to leave them idling on the sidewalk. They began attaching water to the sink and refrigerator, and gas to the stove, and setting up the faucet!!! RUNNING WATER!!!!! I was so excited I took pictures of water coming out of the faucet. 🙂 I’ll say now, although I only realized it much later, that my husband and I are going to need Remedial Kitchen Appliances 101. I couldn’t understand the faucet – how it worked, why there seem to be 2 on/off levers – without assistance from the contractor. Not only did we now have running water in the kitchen sink, but the dishwasher migrated back to the kitchen, away from the refrigerator, so once again there was a wide-open doorway. *grin* It’s those little things that make life so much more comfortable.

IMG_9219.jpgTom came by soon after the plumbers to begin hooking up appliances, installing hardware and all sorts of other “putting things right”. I love love LOVE my cabinet knobs and pulls. That day’s big decision was where to situate the knobs on the various cabinets. I have no experience in this – I’ve never had a new cabinet without some sort of knob or pull. I started the morning thinking that every knob had to be situated in the exact same position on every cabinet. Tom assured me that these were my cabinets and I could do what I wanted. It’s very hard for me to visualize some of these smaller details. I went across the street to see if my neighbor Stephanie was home. She is an artist and has a great eye for placement (we both garden and I often check with her about placement of perennials). IMG_9229Luckily for me she was available and came back to look. She agreed with Tom that I could place the knobs in different areas on different cabinets, depending on where it felt natural to me to open the cabinet. She said it would look fine. Then she did something I would NEVER have considered: she rotated the knobs 90 degrees. Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVED that look. Not only did it give more space between adjoining knobs, but the new angle worked so much better with the tall slender cabinets. We did all of the knobs at that angle with the exception of the 2 roll-out spice cabinets, where a horizontal placement was better (and thanks to Tom for suggesting that). The knobs and pulls are worth every single penny. They are, I believe, hand-made for Schaub and Company: Solid Brass Knob with Violet Oyster, Tiger Penshell and Yellow Mother of Pearl inlays on Antique Brass Finish. IMG_9228 The pulls were a bit larger than I was expecting but that worked out beautifully as well. 🙂 SO HAPPY!!!!

Tom also patched the various holes in the walls and ceilings, left by the knob & tube electrical adventures. He hooked up the refrigerator using an extension cord (since the electricians had not yet been here, there was no outlet for the refrigerator yet). He put in the piece joining the breakfast room floor to the bathroom floor (I thought those were called thresholds but according to my latest internet search they are called “transition strips’). Tom gave me my first class in Remedial Kitchen Appliances by helping explain the faucet, IMG_9222and giving me an overview of the refrigerator. We’ve never had a refrigerator that made ice or dispensed water and ice from the door. So much to learn. He suggested that we run at least a gallon or 2 of water through the door before drinking it and to dump the first few ice bins as well, to clear the lines.

By the end of Thursday, we had running water in the HUGE kitchen sink, a working refrigerator (it worked – just plugged in a temporary spot), patched walls and ceilings and the majority of the cabinets had knobs and pulls! A VERY exciting day!
.
knobs and pulls installed


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics
Advertisements