Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Absolutely Nothing!

...remains of the old kitchen now.  Today the rest of the wall between the dining room and kitchen (save for the one post.  I told the builders my one rule is simple:  I DON'T WANT MY BEDROOM CRASHING DOWN INTO THE KITCHEN!)

And the totally useless "kitchen desk" is gone (in its place will be a new beverage/entertaining counter with a small wine fridge and ICE MAKER!  Finally, enough ice to handle all the ice tea demands of this house!) AND (because I thought this was WAY COOL!) when our electrician puts in extra outlets there (because it is, after all, the natural place to recharge phones, tablets, baby monitors, etc.) he's going to install the kind that are standard plug on one end and USB on the other!!!  Ain't technology grand?

Looking into the dining room from the kitchen.  One lone post is left (it was at the far end of the butler's pantry).  In the new kitchen, the oven, fridge and pantry cupboard will be on the left wall and there will be a wonderfully huge island in the center (pretty much directly in the front of this picture).  Sad to say (NOT!) it was the total demise of the ancient, archaic, obsolete, incredibly ugly, and perfectly annoying intercom system - now there are just ugly wall decor in the bedrooms!)

This is looking at where the kitchen desk was (with that funky corner on the right side).  The door to the deck area will be changing out (it will actually now swing out! (YAY!) and it will hinge on the right hand side).

Unfortunately (for the present time anyway) this has left a wicked corner to deal with.  I'm hoping that while we navigate the plastic screen, nobody inadvertently trips!

~later, tw

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The space formerly known as...


It's amazing, kind of sad actually, to think how little time and energy demolition requires.  What for past fifteen years has been the heart of our home is, quite simply, no more.  There is no more carpeting in the dining room, there are no more appliances, sinks, cabinets or island.  Gone!  In roughly one day, it all disappeared.  (Would that reconstruction could be accomplished that quickly!)

<==This is taken basically from the base of the "straight" stairs looking into the kitchen.  The sink and dishwasher were below the window and the pipes sticking up in the center of the room are all that remains of the island with its cooktop and bar sink.  The wall between the kitchen and dining room (where the ovens and refrigerator were) is in the process of coming down.

Below, looking from the TV room towards the dining room, gives a better idea of where the appliances are no more.  The doorway through the butler's pantry will be coming completely down in the next day or so.

<== This is the view from the "breakfast nook" looking towards the pantry wall.  That little paint section was were the microwave and "beverage service" (aka tea and coffee makers) used to live.

Fun part of remodeling: Each day brings new curiousities to the forefront - how come the hot water appears to travel up through the middle of the wall (we're trying to bring down), into the ceiling and across towards the upstairs master bath?  That's a really long way for hot water to travel to get upstairs!

Hard part of remodeling: Every time something is removed or a wall exposed leads to more and more questions.  I like little details as much as the next person (okay...maybe not) but there are so many ideas, options, suggestions, questions being thrown at me I'm really glad I set aside space in the laundry room for a "mini bar" - I figure we're going to have REALLY CLEAN CLOTHES for the next two months!!!

~later, tw

Monday, February 25, 2013

Demolition Day

Just about 8:30 am this morning, the workers arrived...first Todd (the "MacGiver" of the crew who will be reworking the electrical, the cabinetry, the heat registers, etc.)  He was quickly followed by David, the general contractor.  Then Hymie (painter) and Lloyd (comedian - though I anticipate he brings other skills to the table as well) and murders' row was complete.

The work is turning out to be pretty fast and furious (a true testament to why you never want to start these projects as DIY!  This job is definitely on the clock/calendar and at least for now, appears to be aiming toward ending on time.)

First things first - while some of the team began with floor protection, David gave Todd (2nd in command - at least today) the lay of the land.  Todd would clearly prefer that all of this be in writing and thorough is making mental notes and asking really good questions - "aren't you going to want light outside when you put in those french doors to the back deck?"  Uh - yeah, that's probably a good idea!

David clears out soon enough and the work of demolition begins in earnest.  Refrigerator temporarily relocated to the foyer - check.  Carpeting in the dining room removed - check.  All electrical circuits for the kitchen confirmed and turned off - check. Rooms/stairways sealed - check.

They're taking a lunch break now but this afternoon, much like in Jericho, the walls will begin a-tumblin' down.  Gerry has many, many more photos of much better quality but I was anxious to share so I snapped these with my cellphone.

In its new home, I can offer visitors refreshment BEFORE they enter the house!

Hymie (on his knees), David, Lloyd and Todd - it's a happening place around here!
 ~later, tw

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buy One Get One Free?

Doubleheader funeral after husband dies on way to wife's wake

They met in Europe where they were both serving in World War II (he was in the US Army, she was in the British Air Force).  Norman and Gwen Hendrickson married in May 1947 and had been together for nearly 66 years, jokingly promising to never leave one spouse behind.

And they kept that promise - on the way to her funeral, Norman collapsed and died on the sidewalk in front of the funeral home.  Stunned, but knowing how their father not only liked to joke but also save a penny where he could, the kids threw a "doubleheader" wake for their parents.

I hope our kids are taking note...but more importantly I hope that Gerry and I are together for at least 66 years (only 34 this April - quite a ways to go yet!)

~later, tw

Friday, February 22, 2013

Leggo My Eggo!

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

This should be an advertisement for a waffle iron (or a Darwin nominee) because apparently heating them up in the oven is not good for your health!  Everyone knows that you should NOT store the ammo with the gun but I'm not sure they meant to keep the magazine (aka BULLETS) in the oven.  When she began to preheat the oven, the magazine exploded spraying her with casing fragments.  Not seriously injured, she took a bus to the hospital where she was treated and released (some friend - he didn't even offer to take her?)

No charges have been filed but the oven remains under house arrest.

~later, tw

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Side Order of Security...

...with your bacon and eggs:  The Waffle House in Atlanta, GA offers their customers the peace of mind knowing that an armed off-duty police officer is on duty to assist with crowd control and safety.

I'll agree that their location is less than "savory."  They are open 24/7 in a rather undesirable part of town.  And now they are the first of their kind to actually CHARGE for your safety - a 20% fee is included on your tab to cover "Security."  (Proof positive that those carbs can be really, truly bad for your health!)

~later, (keeping my hands in plain sight while I eat) tw

PS: Still not quite have regained my "living" status - apparently it still has to be "approved"

PPS: Still time to make some banana bread!

Monday, February 18, 2013

International Banana Bread Day... Saturday, February 23rd (according to Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles' mystery books and the All About Thyme blog) and because I know you'll need time to buy bananas now so they'll be ripe enough to use in banana bread, I'm sharing the most fabulous, perfect every time, Banana Bread recipe (I'd love to be able to credit the original author but can't right now since all my cookbooks are packed and in storage awaiting the completion of our kitchen remodel):

Perfect Banana Bread (every time!)

1 c. Butter or margarine
2 c. Sugar
4 eggs
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking soda
4 c. Flour
6 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. Finely chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add bananas and nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 275° F. for 1 1/2 hrs.

Enjoy the holiday!

~later, still awaiting word of financial resurrection, tw

Friday, February 15, 2013

But..But...I'm Not Dead Yet!

[one of my favorites scenes in "Spamalot"]

I've been gathering up all our paperwork to dump on give to our CPA so he could start working on our taxes this week (which partially explains the lack of postings).  Many of our accounts, for which we have statements that generate IRS forms, underwent a conversion process last year.  Part of the switch over involved getting new accounts numbers (which I hate) but what I didn't anticipate is that during the conversion someone (they really can't blame this on the computer!) "coded" me as...DECEASED!

Yes, indeedy - one of the statements we (well I guess that would be just Gerry now) received was one detailing his receipt of a "death distribution" from what was previously known as MY ACCOUNT!  (Which begs the question: why am I working on OUR taxes when apparently Gerry is filing single this year?)

While I am contemplating throwing myself a wake (I'm thinking I might have to wait until after the kitchen remodel is complete and by that time, hopefully, our financial institution will have once again figured out I'M ALIVE!), in the meantime I just wanted to assure you that I am, in fact, very much alive!

~"late"r (but not as "late" as some might think!), tw

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pretty Anemic If You Ask Me...

Classic Monopoly Game Tokens

Sure, it was never my first choice. Come to think of it, it was actually my last choice (after the thimble, the boot, the top hat, the Scottie dog, the ocean liner and the sports car), but this cat doesn't belong in the mix. It isn't even a cute cat!  (They should have brought back the spinning wheel instead!)

Who votes for these things anyway??? Shouldn't they be doing something way more important??? These are probably the same people who messed with my Trix (everyone knows purple grape-shaped things absolutely DO NOT belong in Trix!!!)  I blame the invention of Permanent Press (not my usual whipping boy Ted Turner) for Iron's demise - nobody knows what one is anymore!

RIP Iron Token

later, (Passing Go, Not Collecting $200 and feeling especially iron deficient just now) tw

Monday, February 4, 2013

And so it begins...

We moved into our house ("Wyoming" as the kids originally called it since it is out in middle of nowhere and definitely not close to any of their friends) in December 1998.  After searching for two years for either a house or property to build, we found this one.  It's really wonderful in so many ways - 2.5+ acres of property, a large home with large rooms - pretty much ideal, right out of the box and we've truly enjoyed our 15 years here.

Given that it had such a large kitchen and ample room we were surprised that it only had a small concrete pad for a "patio" but we quickly remedied that before concluding our first two years here by putting in a really wonderful outdoor kitchen (which sees use for BBQing and entertaining pretty much year round).

The kitchen/dining room areas, while relatively large, were not often cramped.  We frequently have 20+ people here at mealtime (and that's just family and friends - not even a party!) and it's pretty "cozy" (in realtor terms - packed in like sardines is how I'd describe it)!

Over the years we've kicked around various ideas, plans, "if we had all the money in the world" ideas but nothing seemed to really work.  Gerry always liked the notion of pushing out wall(s) but our roof line alone makes that too complicated to seriously consider.

Finally, the decision to remodel was made for us.  First the refrigerator died making replacement a necessity. And it seems that the dishwasher had signed a suicide pact with the refrigerator so replacement of that item also shot up on our "to do" (immediately!) list.

We picked out a new one at Sears (took us about 10 minutes - would have been five but Gerry likes to ask at least one question to make the kid earn his commission and we thought it only polite to hear the answer before letting him write up the sale).  As a final thought, I asked would this appliance definitely, POSITIVELY fit in the hole to be left by the old appliance and was told "absolutely - all dishwashers are the same size."

Not surprisingly (given our track record) this turned out NOT to be the case (I should have gotten it in writing!).  Naturally the fact that the new one would not fit was not discovered until AFTER the old one was removed, loaded onto the truck and destined (hopefully) for the dump. So it sticks out - isn't attached to anything - and (even more fun) if you pull out the top rack while the bottom rack is out the entire thing falls forward crashing plates and glasses (it's a wonder anything is surviving!)  Gerry & I took this as a sign from above - it's time to remodel the kitchen and make this absolutely the most expensive dishwasher on the entire planet!

The official start to construction won't begin until later this month but for us the project has already begun.  Gerry & I have begun the "packing" phase and I have to say it's been fun/surprising/shocking to pull out things (some of which we had long ago forgotten we even had!) and box them up (while anticipating where they will go in the new kitchen).  We tackled the dining room first because the things in there we won't really miss for the 3-4 months we will be without them.  From there we moved to the butler's pantry (totally wasted space that will be so improved/useful when completed!) and now we're starting on the kitchen itself.

The Hutch - Before and After

Probably not coming back...
if interested in purchasing let me know!

Moved to the piano room -
Our "temp" kitchen for the duration

Yesterday we held our last party in the old kitchen.  Family & friends joined us for allegedly for a Super Bowl party (but we just needed some extra "muscle" to move the furniture from the dining room - good thing the power went out at the game in the 3rd quarter!)  As everyone brought things to contribute to our "tailgating" party, I had to explain that my usual supply of serving platters was "already packed" - it's become my new mantra!

Mom's China Hutch
Probably not coming back

We don't have final plans yet - hopefully soon as things will need to be ordered in time to be here to accommodate our builder's schedule!  But appliances have been selected and are eagerly awaited (ovens where I don't have to fold my cookie sheets to get them in there!!!) and now we're (actually I'm) in the process of determining what types of cabinets, cupboards, drawers, pullouts, etc. I simply must have.  Those are all "functional" decisions that I enjoy but I'm dreading the not-so-functional ones (colors, counter top materials, drawer/cupboard hardware, faucet, etc.)  We're have a timeline though - the project (for us) needs to be absolutely completed before Sarah and family arrive this summer.  More importantly we're scheduled between two projects for our builder and our window is not endless, fortunately for us - until completion our "kitchen" will be the foyer where we've put the dining room cupboard and eventually the microwave and refrigerator.

Relocating from the dining room to the piano room

Wish I could say that was "construction" dust!

The last group shot in front of this wall -
scheduled for demolition later this month!

~later, "it's already packed" tw

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sketchy At Best

A hulu hoop, a slinky and an Etch a Sketch - all toys of the 50's but definitely still part of my childhood in the 60's.  Sadly, Andre Cassagnes, inventor of the Etch A Sketch, passed away last week.  While my skills were pretty much limited to straight lines (okay they weren't always even so straight), other kids apparently developed an artistry for this medium (and obviously had way more time to devote to it than I):



And of course this toy rose again to prominence during the 2012 campaign:

RIP Mr. Cassagnes - your invention lives on (even if the drawings do not)!

~later, tw