Archive for December, 2010

Settling in

Posted: 12/28/2010 in loving our new space, real life

Thanks to a LOT of help from the girls and Ken, we have begun the process of settling back in to the first floor of the house. It sounds crazy, but when you’ve spent over 3 months basically out of one floor of your house, it’s like moving in all over again.

For two trash/recycling days in a row, we have had a MONSTROUS amount of boxes and packing paper to put out. Last night it was especially challenging because the winds were so high. Packing tape to the rescue! Ken taped large sections of boxes together and wedged them in place until morning.

Then there’s the whole challenge of “where is the…?” game. I still haven’t found some of the things that I would put up or want to use (pictures, candlesticks, cooling racks for cookies) because they are still MIA. I did find the Christmas decorations that were “MUSTs” – stockings, tree ornaments and lights.  But all in all, things are going well. And as an added bonus, I moved eight boxes of clutter to GoodWill to benefit someone else. We also are giving furniture to friends who have a contract on their first house — and that in itself is a blessing. Sharing what we have is one of our key values.

Here’s a few shots around the first floor. Still a little messy, but we’re loving it and you can tell it’s a “lived in” home! Oh yeah, and the Crème brûlée from Chef CJ?  YUM!!! (You would have loved it too!)

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We’re in the final stages of this project. It’s hard to believe. We started thinking about doing this remodeling job a year ago. It took six months of research and interviewing before we found a company we trusted. And it took three more months to get a design and begin the process.

Yesterday most of the punchlist was completed. There were very few items for the punchlist, and they were all minor tweaks. And I do mean “minor”! The few that remain are miniscule. A “great” contractor makes the punchlist a minor part of the process. In the past (with other contractors), the punchlist has seemed like half of the job.

Our neighbors are grateful that the outward signs of a big remodeling job are almost all gone. There’s no dumpster in the front yard (we seriously thought about decorating it with Christmas lights!) and the Anthony Wilder sign is also down. And when we had coffee this morning, we didn’t see George!

The kitchen was well used yesterday for baking cookies, bread and cooking a wonderful dinner. (FYI – “Taste of Thai” spicy peanut seasoning on tilapia, baked in the oven, is DELICIOUS!) The dining room is set up and I’m working on decorating it for Christmas. We still have a few miscellaneous pieces of furniture that need placing, but all in all, I’m very happy with how things are looking.

The other part of a “great” contractor is the warranty service. They will be back in the spring to re-seed and grade the back yard, and to recover the area in front where the dumpster was. They are also going to do some ongoing work with installation issues relating to the fridge. We didn’t have to ask — it was offered and handled for us. In the next month or two, the AWDB team will also host the subcontractors for breakfast so that they can see the finished project. They will also do a professional photo shoot of their work. They are proud of what they do!

Word on the street is that if you “hate” your contractor at the end of a job, that’s pretty typical. I can’t say that at all – in fact, we appreciate them! (And George can stop by for coffee any time! 🙂 )

P.S. Purtified pictures up in a few days. I’m still settling the pantry and cabinets.

Controlled chaos

Posted: 12/19/2010 in almost ready to go!

We are in a state of controlled chaos here. There’s loads of empty boxes. And loads of half-unpacked-because-I-don’t-know-where-they-go-yet boxes. And there’s piles of things that need washing. And there’s shelves not installed because the suggested layout didn’t quite work so there’s some needed exchanges/adjustments. And there’s #1 daughter home from college with boyfriend, making and eating cookies with #2 daughter. And it’s Advent, with all that brings (shopping, wrapping and celebrating…!!!) And it’s all fun and tiring and wonderful.

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And oh… I can’t find

– the cookbooks

– the Christmas tree skirt

– the stockings

– the candles for the Advent wreath (ergo, we had to make a trip and go buy them… because!)

Punchlists and pictures!

Posted: 12/16/2010 in AWDB TLC :)

The place is not settled in at all (in fact it is kind of a mad chaos of boxes) but here’s some shots of the kitchen! Today CJ baked the inaugural batch of her amazing brownies, and I actually fixed dinner on a REAL stove!! And we at a REAL table with real silverware. I did not get the dishes from storage yet, so we had to make do with some plastic plates, but hey. Progress!!!

Wednesday the AWDB “Swat Team” came through and did some final cleaning and checking of the installation and the kitchen itself. They left us a really cool “welcome to your new space” gift. If you are a future client, I don’t want to spoil the surprise by telling you the specifics. It was just one more little thing that sets this company apart from the others.

Today we did a walk-through and had a very small “punch list” of items to be fixed. One of them involves the pantry, which can’t be finished because I have to exchange some things for the things that will work. You never know until you are IN the space what will work and what won’t. The Container Store is SOoooo easy that way. We will take the “ooops” items and get some things exchanged. Easy.

On with the slide show! When we are really moved in and there’s fewer boxes, I’ll add some more shots. Trust me, we are really happy! 🙂

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Today was an errand day. I made the rounds: Home Depot, Container Store, Pier One… and by the time I finished at Pier One, the crazed holiday shoppers were bad enough that I went home to do some chores. Among other things, I scrubbed and re-waxed the steps. They look… well… a little better. In the single digit wind chill tonight, Ken and I took down the front storm door which has rusted from the inside out. 😦 We would like to replace it, but for now will do without.

I spent plenty of buckages at The Container Store, getting the right size drawer inserts for silverware and serving utentils. Not only are the new drawers larger, there are more of them. One of the cooler inserts I found was a knife garage that is made of cork and bamboo. The cork is loosely fitted at one end so that knives of various sizes can go in. Me likey!

I also nabbed some drawer liners for spices, and a “thingy sorter” (aka kitchen tools).

Finally, I picked up a bamboo dish rack and an absorbent rack diaper. I like the look of it, and it folds away for quick storage when we aren’t using it.

Other items: some shelf and drawer liners, some bins for mixes and seasoning packets and other things. I resisted all kinds of cool Click-Clack canisters and gizmos. I’m going to wait and see what works and what doesn’t work from the old kitchen in terms of size and space before I spend more money.

The house was full of workers today – electrical and painting contractors,  and then George and John doing all of the endless carpentry tasks towards finishing. The dishwasher, stove hood and fridge are up and running. (And don’t tell John, but we heated garlic bread in the oven. Just to make sure it worked. 😉 It did.)

I didn’t get around to taking pictures. When everything is in place, I will.

Things are progressing but it seems way too S-L-O-W-L-Y for me. I am off two days this week and had hoped to get the kitchen 75% loaded in on Tuesday so that we could start using the kitchen this week. I confess to being pretty sick of the washtub/toaster oven/microwave/paper plates kind of life. But the news at the meeting this morning was clear. Unfortunately, no. 😦 But by Saturday, we will be! So that’s pretty cool.

We have to wait for the final inspection to take place from the county, for the  walk-through and punch list to be done, and for a boatload of electrical trim, hardware installation, painting touch-ups, etc. etc. etc… It’s a lot of the little extras that make the difference though between a “slop job” and an AWDB job. Guess which one I’d rather have? 😉

This weekend is the last weekend before Christmas and I had hoped to have the tree up, cookies baked, and get someone home from college. The last one WILL happen. We’ll see about the others.


Let’s Play I Spy…

Posted: 12/10/2010 in cat herding

I spy a cat behind the curtain…  under the covers… behind the TV console…

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Now I’m just picturing what it is going to be like to get them back IN those cat carriers in a few days…



Camping with Cats

Posted: 12/08/2010 in cat herding

You’ve heard of Dancing with Wolves? Well, tonight we’re Camping with Cats. They were indeed successfully corralled last night into carriers, transported (yelling all the way) and installed in a hotel room. They’ve spent the day freaking out.

Now it’s time to sleep, and somehow I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep. Not to mention that the hotel heat pump doesn’t seem to keep up with the wind chill. It’s COLD outside!

Word from the street is that the floors were sanded and stained (thus we are “camping”) and look amazing. Two coats of polyurethane, a little drying time and de-stink-a-fying, and if it all goes well, we’ll be home before the weekend is over!


With big stuff going on at work, a boatload of assignments due for the students among us, and that whole December shopping thing, (which I haven’t even started!!) it’s a little crazy around here. I kind of had a “What were you thinking???” moment when I looked at this week’s schedule.

For one thing, we have to negotiate moving 3 cats out of the house this week. They can’t be in the house during the floors’ refinishing because of the fumes. Polyurethane fumes are hard enough on human lungs, let alone our furry kids. So when we have to sequester them, we have to find the most paranoid/psychotic one first. Once she figures out the carriers are out, all bets are off. Have you ever tried to get a cat out from under a king sized waterbed? We’ve used a vacuum (to scare her out where we can grab her) but it’s amazing how a frightened cat has no “handles.”

So if we survive that, the stress of the car ride, and re-situating them in a strange hotel room, I think we’re good. But it did make me think of this old EDS commercial:

For a true “WHAT were they thinking??” moment, check out this video of an Ikea store in Great Britain who let 100 cats loose in the store. Seriously. I wonder at the brain cells (or lack there of)…

Today’s on-site construction meeting was helpful in terms of getting those final pieces in place. We really are close to the end. But the thought occurs to me — what will it be like to get up and have breakfast without George showing up? 🙂