Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tah Dah!

It's finished.  So am I.  And the stuff piled in the living room has been sorted, purged, and returned (more on that later)

I love those commercials where someone picks out a paint color, and the next scene is them in their newly painted room looking happy.  They seem to have left the middle part out ("at this point, a miracle occurs").  The part where you drag everything out of the way, put down drop cloths, scrub things clean.  And, in the case of painting cabinets, taking off all of the doors (28 of them), removing the hinges and door pulls (total of 328 screws), taking the doors outside to the sawhorses and painting them, painting all the cabinet frames, and putting those 328 screws back in.  Oh--and I did a copper wash on the hinges and [lizard] door pulls.

And deal with the drying time. I had space out on the porch to paint four doors at a time.  According to the paint can, allow "1 hour to dry to touch, 2 hour before recoating."  Not in Florida in the summer!  One day I thought I'd get ambitious and try to paint a set before I went to work (at 11:00).  I got the first coat on at 7:30, went out to do the second coat at 10:00 and absolutely no drying had taken place.  About the time I was sick and tired of the whole process the kitchen looked like this:

Getting there--when I was waiting for one set of doors to dry, I could put the hardware back onto the previous day's painting and hang those.  But it was one of those cases of being *almost* done but never quite getting there.  Especially for the last set of doors--I knew I had about 15 minutes of painting to do--and I had to wait 5 hours to do it, then until the next day to hang them.  Arrrghhhh!  The drawers had been painted earlier, but it was easier to re-attach the doors without them being in the way so we pulled them out, which mean running into the living room every time we needed a spoon.
But it's done (almost.  It will always be almost.  We still have to put in some trim and decide what to do with the window frame and maybe get a new light over the sink).  And I'm happy, because I think it's beautiful.  So here's where we started
And here's where we are.

 I'm going to go have a cookie.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Baby Bear Paint

Which is sort of a play on words because I'm using Behr paint.

Remember all those color chips on the counter?  I finally decided that I wanted a bluish green, or more likely a greenish blue, and the color that I finally chose turned out to be  "green meets blue", or, to be more precise, Behr color S 430-4.

Only I thought that was a little light.  So when Bob went to Home Depot on Sunday, he picked me up a sample of "Long Meadow" aka S 430-5

I painted a sample cabinet door, admired it--tried to admire it--realized that I was going to be sad seeing my orange cabinets go.  The color was . . . pretty.  Pretty in a nice, innocuous "oh, don't pay any attention to me" way.  I'm used to cabinets that slap me in the face in the morning.  Cabinets with personality.  This color was . . . nice.
I pondered it for awhile.  I decided that the color was perfect with the new counters--there just wasn't enough of it.  What I needed was the next shade down.  So off to Home Depot on Monday to get the gallon of paint.  Smart ass that I am, I showed the nice man at the paint counter the streak of paint on my arm, and said "I want this color, only one shade darker."  After he got the "I'm dealing with a crazy woman" look on his face, I laughed, handed him the paint chip, and we chatted as he mixed it and I went home to start painting.
Then I took the lid off.  Apparently when I handed him the chip, he thought that was the same one that Bob had used the previous day (he remembered Bob--people do), and I wanted a shade darker.  In reality, the chip I handed him was the one I actually wanted.  In other words, the paint at hand was two shades darker.  S 430-7, "Fir"

I wanted more color, I *really* got more color.  I was going to get my statement.  It was dark.  Really dark.  Darker than it shows on the monitor.  But color is what I wanted, right?  Besides, I had it, and Home Depot is some 17 or 18 miles away and we had already been there four days in a row.  This would be fine, really.

I painted a bit.  Took a break and called my brother to chat.  Mentioned that this paint was really dark, but maybe I liked it that way.  Maybe I would go ahead and paint with it, and if I ended up not liking it I could always repaint it in a few months.  It would be fine.  Of course it would be fine.

Tuesday morning I woke up bolt upright at 5:30 a.m. saying "it's too dark!" 

Bob, bless his heart, offered to drive me to Home Depot, but I just rebelled.  I was over it.  Didn't want to go.  We stayed home, and I sorted and put away some of the stuff we had dragged out, did laundry, fixed up the small release cage and moved a couple of opossums into it to, and otherwise did stuff not connected to paint or trips to Home Depot.

Wednesday morning I had five (5!) museum programs (short ones), and we ran some other errands, and then to Home Depot where they were very nice and exchanged my paint for the one I wanted.  S 430-6, "Forest Edge"

And today I spent many hours painting (and there are many hours to go) but yes, Goldilocks, this color is juuuuuust right!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sink Me!

It's taken several days, a few trips to the hardware store, and a lot of swearing, but we have a sink!

We've had almost six days of washing dishes in the bathroom.  Not only that--I never realized how many times a day I give my hands (or a spoon, or whatever) a quick rinse.

I've really tried not to complain and to be mindful of gratitude, because Bob and I have both lived in places where people had to walk to a fountain with jugs to get water.  I just had to walk an extra 13 steps a few dozen times a day to get all the fresh running water I want.   But even that got old after awhile.

It's far from over.  There's still all that . . . stuff . . . in the living room to be sorted and put away.  And the cabinets need to be painted.    But today--we celebrate (meaning we had a beer at lunch and now I may not get anything done this afternoon)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday: Interlude

Saturday I get to take a break from the kitchen because I was scheduled to teach a felting class at the local yarn store.  Bob met friends for lunch and then made the next trip to Home Depot *and* Lowes to get a selection of plumbing part.

The class was fun--we were making felt scarves.  It's pretty simple--lay out wisps of colored wool, get it wet and a bit soapy, roll it up in bubble wrap and rock it for awhile until it turns into felt.  Pretty instant gratification compared to the hours and hours it takes to knit or weave.

As the saying goes--a good time was had by all.  My students told the shop owner that this class should be offered on a regular basis so I would call that a success.

This afternoon we pulled the sink out and Bob turned the faucet around, replaced the drain, and sealed it with a new tube of caulking.  Hopefully that will set up and we try installing tomorrow.

Bit by bit things are moving back into the kitchen--but I'm being very firm about what makes the cut.  I started to do a bit more purging after the sink removal but decided that I needed to finish catching up with the blog instead.  I believe that's referred to as "creative work avoidance."

Friday: The Saga of the Sink

We did have one major splurge on this update.  As long as we were saving money by doing our own destruction, we went for a hammered copper sink.  We ordered an undermount one, because that would eliminate the little edge that gunk gets caught under.  Then we found out that in order to use an undermount you have to have a solid counter, not a laminate one.  So we had to return that sink and get a drop in.

That should have clued us that the sink was not going to be cooperative.

So . . . back to Tuesday.  The new counter is in, the mess has been cleaned up, and Bob starts to put together the new sink.  One of the things you have to do is "insert the enclosed clamps."  There are no enclosed clamps.  So off to the Home Depot (all projects are gauged by how many trips to the hardware store you make) to buy clamps.  Got home--and they were too big.  That was another Wednesday errand--returning the clamps.  Contact the company and they pop the set of clamps into UPS.

So on Thursday (expecting the clamps on Friday) Bob preps the sink by installing the faucet and drains, caulking in the latter.  Friday morning--the caulk is still just as wet and gooey as the day before.  Not setting at all.  Bob scrapes it off and uses plumber putty instead.  It's ready to go by the time UPS delivers the clamps.  Clamps are installed and we drop in the sink and crawl under the cabinet to tighten things down.

The new sink is bigger than our old one, and there was very little leeway between the sink and the cabinet wall on one side.  I got to tighten those because I have smaller hands.  More awkward posturing under a cabinet.

Finally the great moment arrives--after 5 days, we will have a kitchen sink and no longer need to wash dishes in the bathroom!  I reach to turn on a tap (we actually found a faucet set with hot and cold taps).  "Bob,"  I say.  "This is weird.  The faucets turn back instead of forward."  A bit of swearing ensues as he realizes that he had the sink upside-down when he installed the faucet so it's backwards.  That gets put on the "deal with it later" list.  So water is turned on . . . and the leak is found.  He tightens and wraps that seal--and something else jiggers loose and leaks.  Fittings don't fit.  He's cutting bits off PVC pipe.  Finally he tightens the last fitting--and the plumbers putty gives way and the sink drain pops loose.

We have alcohol and give it up for the night.

Wednesday: We Rest. Thursday: I Paint

Sort of rested on Wednesday.  I had a morning off-grounds program for the Museum, which by the time you go there, load up animals and program materials in the car, drive to the program, do it, reload, return, put animals back in cages, wash carriers  and put program materials away takes about a half day.  And we ran some errands.  So about the only kitchen work that got done on Wednesday was that I purged and returned three drawers.

Thursday was a painting day.  As long as I had the cabinets empty, I thought I would paint the insides of the cabinets, changing the light-sucking drab brown into gloss white.  It doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but it does mean being down on the knees in some pretty awkward positions so I needed frequent breaks.  And they all needed two coats.  But it makes quite the difference!

There will be more painting--a lot more.  I really like my bright orange cabinets, but I knew they would not go with the copper oxide counters.  And they need repainting anyway.  Rob was wondering why we just didn't splurge and get new cabinets but 1) that would be another pain in the backside, and 2) I'm used to having vivid cabinets and plain wood of any type wouldn't do it for me.
Of course, the decision has to be made about the color.  One of Wednesday errands was going to Home Depot for that gloss white paint, and while I was there I grabbed a lot of paint color chips and tossed them on the counter.
There were eventually many more, and I cut up the multi-color strips so I could view them individually.  I'd play with them as I walked by, and pulled out the obvious losers, and realized that what I was hunting for was the green verdigris that copper gets as it ages.  There was a long of angsting (that looks weird--how does one angst?).  It got down to a few strips of a lot of "I want it bluer than this, but greener than that".  The winner turned out to be--wait for it--a color called "green meets blue".  Bob's picking up a sample can today.

Day Two: Tuesday

Tuesday morning we finished pulling off the old counters and yanked out the sink.

Then I had some serious cleaning to do.  I don't think ever the most Martha Stewart type every take off their countertops to clean under them.  At one point I felt a little cut on my thumb and assumed that I had scraped a staple or something--but then my thumb turned the most interesting shade of purple so I suspect that one of the various spiders I was evicting took her revenge on me (no--I didn't go to the doctor--it didn't look like a black widow or brown recluse bite and the purple eventually stopped spreading).

Then we pulled out the stove.  In today's parlance:  OMG!!  Shall we say a bit more cleaning . . .

Finally--cleaned and ready.

Then, in the afternoon, just as it started pouring down rain, the installer arrived.  No worries--they set up shop on our front porch, and sure enough, in about an hour we had out new counters.  Copper oxide pattern (beautiful and won't show stains)

I did have a bit of a comeuppance.  After all, I had been rather proud of myself for being able to squeeze into that 8.5" opening to get to the back corner.  As I was wondering if I was going to have to offer my services again for the installation, the 6'7" assistant popped into it like a bunny going down a burrow.  Ahem.  The 6'7" *lanky* assistant.  And young.  It was pretty hysterical.

So the new counters are in.  And beautiful.  But we're not quite done . . . .

Day One (Monday, July 11)

So Bob and I are in the kitchen dealing with the gifts of the garden--making several batches of pesto to freeze and some habanero jelly.  In the middle of this pleasant domestic chaos we get a phone call from the installer--our countertops have arrived and he could install them tomorrow.

We weren't exactly ready--but we bit the bullet and said yes (as Lady Macbeth said--"if 'tis down when 'tis done, 'twere best 'twere done quickly").

Goodbye, old counters.

(actually it never does look quite this nice--we had already cleaned all the stuff off the counters.)  At this distance it doesn't look that bad--but here's the closeup.

 It wasn't a matter of just waiting for the next day.  Frugal beings that we are, we had elected to take off the old counter ourselves.  But first--and this is a big but--we had to empty out the cabinets.  All of them.  Even the "zombie" cabinets--those corner ones that have unreachable depths and where you shove everything that you don't use but for some reason keep anyway.  And the drawers had to be pulled out.

So now my living room looks like this.

Trust me--that's not all going back in.  There's going to be some serious purging.
*Then* we could start removing the countertops.  The challenge was to get to the screws in the far back corners.  Remember those "zombie" cabinets?  They are about 3 feet deep--but the cabinet door is only 8.5 inches wide.  Neither of us have arms that are three feet long--so I had to get into the cabinet.  Um--I'm a little more that 8.5 inches wide.  It took quite a bit of wiggling and rearranging of the squishy bits but I managed. 


And then I had to be able to work upside down--but I got all the screws out.
We slept well that night.

The Great Kitchen Update

The kitchen is getting a facelift.  No--not a full "tear out and redo."  I'd just buy another house before I'd live in a full kitchen renovation.  But ours definitely needs a facelift.

When we first moved in (25 years ago!!) it was a drab brown kitchen.  Rough brown wood walls (think exterior siding--what was the builder thinking?), drab brown cabinets, and yellow Formica countertops.  I really disliked the walls--not only were they drab brown, but the rough surface caught every bit of dust and spiderweb.  But I really couldn't stand the idea of taking all the cabinets down, prying off that siding, putting up drywall . . . you get the idea.

Then I made the mistake of watching one of those DIY shows where they make over a house in 24 hours--and they just used joint compound to cover the ugly wall.  Eureka!

It ended up taking a bit more than 24 hours.  And 12 gallons of drywall compound.  And moving the fridge and the washer and dryer to the middle of the room.  But I do like the results.

A few years later we pulled up the torn and stained linoleum floor and tiled it.  That also was . . . a bit of work.

The yellow Formica was the next to go--or at least disappear.  At the time we couldn't afford the $500 or so to replace it, so I painted and polyurethaned it a tomato-leaf green.  Then I painted the cabinets a bright orange (they were supposed to be tomato-colored).  At that point I declared it done and was happy for about 10 years.

But over that decade the counters got stained, and chipped, and some of the paint peeled.  I thought about repainting (and you can get paint meant for counters now) but as the saying goes "you can't polish a turd."  We really needed new counters.  And I had already picked out the one I wanted a few years ago (yes, I procrastinate).  What's the big deal--you actually hire a professional to do it, and it's a one-day job.

Yeah, right.  Stay tuned.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Y'know, I've lived in Florida since 1981.  You'd think that I would figure it out by now that summer is *hot*.   Perhaps it's to keep me happy in the land of denial instead of just cowering under my bed.  It's the sort of heat that just hits you in the chest when you step outside and has you looking for the fire, or at least an open oven door.  Specifically, the heat index has been hitting 103 or 104 every day for a couple of weeks.  And much as love working at the museum, it's an outdoor job.  And while there are a couple of places that I can duck into the air conditioning for a few minutes, I find that it's best not to--because you then get that "hit in the chest" effect when you go back out.  It's best to literally sweat it out.

There are a few compensations--we're eating a lot from the garden these days.

We live a lot on a version of ratatouille.  Just cut up whatever we have, douse it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and shove it in the oven for awhile.  When done, eat it with quinoa or pasta.  Leftovers make a great cold salad.  Otherwise, we live with the irony that just when this great stuff is coming in--we don't particularly feel like cooking, or even eating.  Sometimes we say the heck with it and have a root beer float instead.  But then the eggplants sort of sulk on the counter and guilt us into cooking them.
And living in the sub-tropics, Bob manages to grow pineapples--I think he has six or seven of them now.  It started off several years ago when a friend was cutting up a pineapple and getting ready to throw the top away.  Bob grabbed it and gave it a home in a flower pot and in a couple of years he had a wee pineapple.  "Wee" seems to be the norm--they normally get to be about 3 inches tall and have just a few bites of fruit it them.  But they make up in flavor what they lack in size.

And of course summer brings the baby animals that need a little help.  I've acquired two more little armadillos (the siblings of one of my previous ones).  I try not to name my fosters; it makes releasing them a lot easier.  But these have turned into Big Bug, Little Bug, Scar Bug (injury healed but left a scar) and Other Bug.  This is Little Bug getting his tummy scratched.
And (as I mentioned previously) it's been rather hot here, so we put a large pan of water into their pen--and they immediately dove in.

There's a lot of rolling on the back and kicking and splashing and it's all rather adorable.  We watch and laugh for awhile, then slap at the biting flies and mosquitoes and wipe the sweat off our faces and head back inside to the air conditioning and the second or third shower of the day.  The joys of summer!