Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, la familia, The Joy of Homeownership

The Long-Awaited And Highly Anticipated Final Kitchen Renovation Post, Six Months Later.

Alternate Title: How to Remodel a Kitchen for under Three Grand.

Or: Next Year, I’m Using My Tax Return For A Friggin’ Vacation.

Step One:
Do the majority of the work yourself, or find someone in your family that will do the work for cheap. And by cheap I mean: will work for lunch, beer, and a nice dinner out when all is said and done.
Enter Big Poppa.

Honestly and truly, if it weren’t for my father, this project would have never gotten done, because I simply did not have the budget to hire a contractor or handyman.
My daddy is awesome. I love him dearly. I owe him a steak. And possibly some King Crab legs.

Step Two:
Realize that you will not be able to do everything. My main goal with the renovation was to install a new floor, and maybe get a fridge. I told Big Poppa going into the project if anything else was to be done, I would want to do it right; remove the wallpaper, install new countertops, paint the cabinets, replace fixtures, new sink…I knew I would never be able to afford brand new cabinets, and I was okay with that. I think they came out pretty nice anyway. I ended up not getting the new fridge yet, deciding instead to focus on the big picture since the fridge is still in working condition. I’m going to do some bargain hunting after Christmas, maybe then.

100_1214 by you.

I got extremely lucky with the new countertops, which brings me to…

Step Three:
DO NOT be afraid to bargain hunt. Do your homework when you’re shopping for materials. Do the leg work. Look online for coupons, check craigslist, poll your coworkers, comparison shop. If I hadn’t done that, I would have never found the remnant sale at the stone yard, and therefore would never have gotten my gorgeous countertops.

100_1226 by you.

Sigh. So pretty….

One good tip: Look on eBay for coupons for Lowe’s and/or Home Depot. They can usually be bought for about two dollars each, and can save you a buttload of money.

Step Four:
Be prepared for mistakes. For foul-ups. For cussing, for fighting, and for whining. Oh, good lord, the whining.

100_1361 by you.

Mostly on my part. (Yes, that is a Hello Kitty toaster. Don’t judge me.)

Step Five:
Be patient. Don’t expect the project to get done over night. We started the renovation back in early May, and just finished last weekend. Six months, start to finish.

100_1362 by you.

Not that we were working every weekend for six months straight, obviously. Just be aware, life gets in the way. I didn’t want my dad’s summer to be taken away from him. I made sure he wasn’t pressured to get the floor finished. I understood he had things at his house he wanted to get done as well. Something to think about when relying on friends/family to help or to do the work for you.

100_1365 by you.

Frustrating? You bet your ass. There were weeks when I just wanted to finish the work myself. When I wanted to throw my hands up in defeat and say, “Screw it, I’ll just live with the crappy linoleum.”

100_1367 by you.

But I was patient. And I waited. And finally, three weeks ago, we began the final stages of this project, this renovation. This labor of love.

100_1368 by you.
100_1371 by you.

Because I loved this project, no matter how frustrating it got.

Finished, finally. by you.

I love my dad. For taking on this project, for dealing with my incessant whining, and for helping me realize my ‘vision’ for my kitchen (why, hello, melodrama. Welcome to my blog.).

100_1369 by you.

100_1372 by you.

And I really love my kitchen.

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, la familia, The Joy of Homeownership

Also it’s 8:30 but it feels like 9:30.

Now that the time change nonsense is out of the way, can we please get on with November? Every time we have to change the clocks I have to go through the whole “It feels like this time, but it’s actually this time” dance with Big Poppa, who’s a total goober that thinks he’s funny and that it’s the first time I’ve heard that joke. But he’s my daddy and he does things like remodel my kitchen and take me to Penn State games so I let it slide.

Speaking of the kitchen reno, you should know that it’s pretty much done. We started on the floor last weekend and just finished it yesterday. We just have to put in stuff with names like ‘Base Shoe’ and “Cave Moulding’, which are the kind of things you install so you don’t have an inch of space between the floor and the wall, so it’s kind of important? I guess. I’ll have pictures up after today, hopefully.

On a side note, I previously mentioned we were thinking about taking the new floor all the way into the living room, which would look awesome, but after the experience we had installing the kitchen floor, that’s not going to happen right away. I won’t get into the details just in case anyone who might want to purchase my house in the future somehow finds this entry, but last weekend was not fun. There were many ‘sons of bitches’ and ‘mother effers’ and ‘stupid whores’ in my kitchen last weekend. And they were all related to the laminate flooring. Odd. So we’re going to wait until after the holidays to install the living room floor.

Yay, new project.

She says without an ounce of excitement.

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, la familia, life, RIP, who needs a psychiatrist?

Dudes. I Don’t Even Know Where to START.

It’s been a really weird couple of weeks for me, let’s just leave it at that. I’ve been fighting off some sort of weird depressive episode, which was brought on by a number of factors, one of which I’ll get to later, and my day to day operations have been severely affected by it. I wake up, I go to work, I come home, I collapse on the sofa. Fun? No. Depressing.

I’m slowly working through it, though; this past weekend really helped, as did a small amount (Small. Very Small. Like minuscule.) of Retail Therapy in the form of Marshall’s Home Goods and Old Navy online. The trip to Marshall’s barely counts because I used my birthday money, so kindly shut it. I finally, finally got an enameled cast iron dutch oven very much like the Le Creuset I’ve been coveting for years, except for a fraction of the price because, hello? Expensive much? And last Monday I ordered a pair of jeans and some cute tops for fall from Old Navy, which have yet to arrive. What the hey, Old Navy? Send me my shit.

As for the weekend, we had some gorgeous fall weather in the Lehigh Valley, and I took advantage of it by…cleaning. (Par-tay!) The house really needed it, too. With all the pouting and laziness of the past few weeks I had kind of let everything go, so Saturday I opened the doors and windows to let in the air and sunshine and went at it.

Sunday was a banner day in that I finally bought my new kitchen floor! Seriously, I cannot tell you how happy this made me. Of course, the floor hasn’t been installed yet, but IT IS IN MY HOUSE. And that’s the most important part. Not sure when Big Poppa wants to install, but will post pics as soon as we do. We’re focusing on getting the kitchen done first, then the living room if all goes well (fingers are crossed).

Let’s see, what else…Oh! I went to Lowe’s over my lunch break today, and had kind of a weird encounter with one of their employees. I was in the seasonal section looking for a winter cover for my air conditioner because we’re so not taking that big bitch out the window this year, and from out of nowhere, 20 feet behind me, some dude is all, “Hi Ma’am! How are you today? Can I help you find anything?!” I looked around, startled, and was all, “Uh, no, I’m cool, thanks.” Dude says, “Okay! Well, just let me know if you need anything!”

This might have been nice and not at all creepy had he not already been helping another customer and also not 20 feet away from me talking to me while my back was turned. I then recalled seeing this very same fellow a few weeks ago when I stopped into this very same Lowe’s and he reacted the very same way. While I was in line to check out. As a matter of fact, at the time it was so peculiar that the person in line in front of me said, “I thought he knew you or something.” Uh, no. Not at all. Needless to say, when I saw this ever so helpful and not at all creepy Ohmifuggingod so creepy fellow by himself walking towards me I shot down another aisle and got my ass out of there. I’ve since been assured that many Lowe’s employees of the male persuasion react in the same manner when there’s breasts about, but all the same, I don’t believe I’ll be returning to that particular Lowe’s by myself any time soon.

And finally, the bad news. And I have to write this part because it’ll help to get it out, no matter how much it sucks. My great-aunt Madlyn, the wife of my great-uncle Bob and the mother to my cousin Randy, passed away two weeks ago after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer. Three years. With pancreatic cancer. If you know anything at all about pancreatic CA, you know that surviving with it for three years is unheard of. I like to think the fact she fought so long is a testament to the kind of woman my Aunt Madlyn was.

My great-aunt Madlyn was the woman in my family that never forgot a birthday, ever. She made sure we all – every kid in the family- got ‘just a little something’ for Christmas and Easter. If any of us made the newspaper for anything; sports, honor roll, engagement or birth announcements; she kept the clipping in a scrap book. She could keep you on the phone for hours at a time. She made the best fruit salad ever. She loved her family, all of us, to no end. And now she’s gone. Sometimes you don’t realize just how fucking much you love someone until they leave you, you know? I’ll always remember Aunt Madlyn. I’ll always try to love as much as she did. I’ll always be grateful to her for being the mother my mom should have had, and the friend she needed the most. One day it’s going to stop hurting to think about her. One day I’m just going to remember how wonderful she was, instead of how much I miss her. I know it won’t be soon.

Until then I’m coping, and avoiding the creepy dudes at Lowe’s.

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, life, The Joy of Homeownership

Project: Kitchen; Day Eleventy Thousand and Twenty-Seven

Or so it feels.

Tasks assigned at beginning of Project: Kitchen:
1. Pain Cabinets. Replace hardware.
2. Remove the ‘God-Forsaken’ wall paper, sand, prime, and paint walls.
Mutha-Humpin’ CHECK!
3. Replace range hood.

Check. (Namaste, Buddha)

4. Replace overhead light that resembles a frosted glass breast with brighter, more modern light fixture.

Erm, check. And how about a HALLELUJAH! ?

5. Replace nasty-ass burnt sienna/orange laminate counters with gorgeous OMFGSQUEEIT’SSOPRETTYMEWANT granite:

Giggity-giggity. Check.

6. Replace tired-ass sink and lame dripping faucet with New! Awesome! Under-mount! Sink! And one of those faucets with the pull-out sprayers:

Check. *air hump*

7. Replace ugly, nasty, worn-out, damaged cheapo stick-on lineolum floor tiles with pretty cherry wood laminate:
Almost done, my babies. Then my house, my life, and my (waning more each day) sanity can return to normal.
Posted in daily, Jasper, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

The Inevitable Snag

The beauty of an eat-in kitchen is in the name: You can eat. In your kitchen. There’s room to cook and serve a meal. And when you renovate said eat-in kitchen, there’s enough space to move all your shit to one side of the room while you work on the other.

And that’s what I’ve been living with for the past week. Everything from the countertops was pushed onto my table and everything in the drawers was put in a box and dumped unceremoniously in the living room.

Like this, only more stabby.

And that’s how I was living with my kitchen for over a week. I dealt with it, but my latent OCD was thisclose to making me flip the fuck out.

Saturday, we didn’t make a huge amount of progress, but finished painting all the cabinets and doors, and finished sanding, priming and painting the ‘kitchen’ half of my kitchen. So that’s all done, which enabled me to move everything back onto the countertops and off my table, which allowed me to breathe again. The twitching and the voices stopped, too, so, you know, bonus.

We tried to get the doors hung back on the cabinets, but alas, as it always goes when I attempt a home improvement project, it turns out I bought the wrong effing hinges. I’ve sinced returned the wrong effing hinges to the hinge store and proceeded to purchase the correct effing hinges, but have not attempted to hang my cabinet doors back up due to my inability to screw in or nail anything in a straight line.

So I continue to live like this, with my freak doorless cabinets, wide open for the world to see.

I know, white people’s problems.

At least I’ve got one door up. (I had to make sure I actually did buy the correct hinges and that they worked correctly. You should have seen me trying to hang this damn door. There were quite a few sons of bitches in my kitchen the other night, and it’s TOTALLY THE DOORS’ FAULT.)

Isn’t it beautiful? I stare at it all day. I stroke it lovingly and dream of the day all my cabinets will have doors.

Why, no, I don’t think I have a ‘problem’ at all.

“I do. I’m so over this shit. I can haz Snausages nao?”

Coming up this weekend: Picking out granite at the remnant sale (SQUEEE!), actually making a fucking decision re: the new flooring, and, whattayaknow, more painting! Huzzah!

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

Project Kitchen; End Day 1


And now that I’m seeing the changes taking place, I’m really liking what I’m seeing. I took this past Thursday and Friday off to prep the kitchen and go to Lowes for supplies. I had a coupon for 10% off my whole order, so I got my new light fixture, range hood, paint, drawer hinges and handles, etc.

Big Poppa and Momma-San arrived around 10 A.M., and we were off to the races. Dad had the doors sanded and off the cupboards in no time, and mom started on the wall paper. We didn’t get it all down, we’re focusing on the area around the stove and fridge this weekend so the kitchen is still functional during the week. I stuck mostly with priming and painting the cupboards – I did the doors and drawer fronts outside, then came inside to finish the cupboards.

I couldn’t get a lot of painting done while Mom and Dad were still here (I have a ‘thing’ with working in crowded spaces. For some reason I get anxious and claustrophobic, and three people in an 11×13 kitchen with many tools and shit [not to mention a dog underfoot] gets crowded pretty damn quickly, hence why I stayed outside most of the day), so after they hit the road around 6:30, I finished the two coats on the cupboards, and slapped the topcoat on them and the drawers as well. Now it’s 11:30 and I’m tired as a motherfucker, so here’s some pics of our progress.

My sad little door-less freak cupboards. I’m really liking the white, though. It opens up the space and makes the kitchen so much brighter.

Speaking of brighter, I *love* the color yellow I picked. It’s a light, buttery yellow, and it really pops against the white cupboards and the green paint I have for under the chair rail.

The chair rail that’s hidden behind this mess. Hold me.

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership


This weekend, I finally got somewhere with my kitchen renovation project. We didn’t actually start yet, but Momma-San and I visited what seemed to be my eleventy billionth granite dealer yesterday, and I finally, finally got a quote that made me say “Let’s do this. Granite me up, bitches.”

So I didn’t actually say that last part. But I almost kissed the granite lady on the mouth after the words remnant sale came out of it. I’ll have to wait until mid-May to pick out the granite, and we’ll have to get to the show room ridiculously early that weekend, but hey, if I can get what I want in my kitchen for a price I can actually live with, I will show up. I will show up at that granite place like a motherfucker.

I’ll be saving so much on the granite that it’s affected the rest of the process. I’ve been looking at laminate flooring for the kitchen, but now am thinking we might be able to go throughout the whole first floor (which, granted, just includes the living room and isn’t that big) with it. This all depends, of course, on how much work Big Poppa wants to take on, but it’s just an idea for now. A totally awesome idea.

Paint color was another problem for me. When I originally started planning the reno, I fell in love with the idea of an apple green paint for the kitchen. Apple green walls, white cabinets, gray countertops. Love. I even went and bought a few paint samples to try. Now?

Not so much, right? I think it’s a light issue, in that I don’t have a lot of it in the kitchen. But I still love you, apple green. Perhaps in my next house. Last night I took another look at the Behr website, just to get some other ideas, and I think I’ve decided to go with a pale yellow on top of the chair rail, and a medium green below for just a pop of color (ugh, I sound like one of those HGTV people. It’s a sickness, that channel.).

So, yeah. Progress, which is good. I was actually starting to get a little burned out before we even began the reno, I was tired of going to home shows and granite dealers and looking at freaking paint samples and faucets and light fixtures and every other damn thing and I just wanted to get STARTED, ALREADY, but now that I’ve decided on a granite dealer and colors I feel much better. Now the hard part begins. Wish me luck!

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

Visions of Undermount Sinks Dance in My Head

I have a great kitchen. It’s one of the main reasons I bought my house – most places I looked at had teeny little galley kitchens, with horrible appliances and two cabinets. My kitchen is 13 x 14 square, with lots of usable open space. I can fit a microwave cart, garbage can, Jasper’s food and dishes, a five-shelf baker’s rack, a small butcher-block top rolling cart and my table in this kitchen and still have room to actually, you know, cook. All of the appliances, while certainly not fancy or brand new were at least in good condition and functioning properly, and the decor (when I moved in) was tolerable.

Now? Not so much. The textured wall paper, the ivory/beige-y/eggshell walls, the horrible fake wood sticky linoleum tiles, the ORANGE FORMICA COUNTER TOP…they burn my eyes. The cabinets are butt-ass ugly dark wood, the fixtures and the range hood are outdated, and the overhead light barely casts any light at all. I’m tired of the whole room, and I’m itching for a change.

There’s no way I’d be able to afford a complete remodel, but there’s plenty of little things that can be done to update it. My parents are going to help me again, but this time around it’s a bit bigger job than the bathroom we did last year, so I’m a little anxious. I’m just hoping I can do it all under budget, within a three month time period, keep a handle on my sanity, and not commit matricide after hearing for the five millionth time how much my mother hates the color paint I picked.