Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now THIS is cute

This morning, I was reading the paper at the dining room table and Andrew was watching Star Trek with Jack. Jack got bored with Star Trek’s inexplicable lack of blue clue-leaving dogs, and wandered over to the doorway to poke at the wires running along the wall. “Jack, no! Don’t touch!” said Andrew.

In response, Jack came into the dining room, stood in the corner and counted to six: “One, doo, free, foh-ah, six.” Then he went back to the doorway to shake his finger at the wire and say, “Doh dah!” (Don’t touch!)

In other words, Jack put himself in time out.

He did it a few more times, going back and forth from the wire to the corner. He never touched the wire, he just went near it and said, “No!” and then put himself in time out. He wrapped it all up by throwing in a self-imposed time out for going near the plant he’s not allowed to touch.

As a bonus adorable trick, Jack has added “I fine” to his growing repertoire of words. (And growing really fast as he has entered a “repeat every single sound we make” stage.) As in, “Jack, do you want more beets?” “No. I fine”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Update on the kitchen situation

Still waiting for doors. But today, Jesus came and took out the old doors, so now we have no bathroom door. But he hung cleanish tarps up, so there's some privacy at least. And I'm a mom, so I rarely close the bathroom door anyway.

In other news, Jesus has offered us a really good deal on having the floor redone, so we are going for it. Andrew ripped up the old floor on Sunday and now we have to walk on a small carpet-remnant pathway to avoid skewering ourselves on rusty nails. It will be worth it though, because while the old floor looked fine in the room with the grease-stained walls, it would have looked horrendous next to the shiny new walls. Jesus says he is giving us the deal because he likes us, but I think it's also because he can't stand the thought of putting all that work into new walls only to leave us with the old, cracked floor.

I admit that I am starting to get really tired of living with the refrigerator in the dining room and no stove and no counters. It's very frustrating, because if we had decided to put new doors in when we planned the remodel, Jesus would have ordered them weeks ago and we'd be done now. but I keep reminding myself that it will be so worth it in the end. If the end ever comes. Supposedly it will be 3 weeks from now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Update on the toddler situation

Jack turns 18 months old in four days. Yes, I know. Time flies by so fast, yada yada, but I have to say, I am loving the toddler stage. First of all, the stories about that cute thing my kid did the other day are a lot more interesting for the people I inflict them on. Let’s compare them:

3 Months Story
ME: You won’t believe what Jack did yesterday. It was so cute! He sort of tried to grab his toe! And chew on it!
THE INFLICTED: (rolls eyes)

17 Months Story
ME: Jack sometimes tries to sneak cookies into the living room by putting them behind his back, but then he turns his back to me as he leaves.
THE INFLICTED: OK, that is kind of cute.

And I have lots more stories like that! Like how the other day I asked Jack, “Who’s the best little guy?” The answer to this question is usually “Jack,” but this time he said, with no prompting or prepping of any kind, “Zhuss.” That is how he says, “Jesus,” the name of our contractor. And there’s also the way he made up a new game where he clutches my red boot to his bosom and says, “Bye! Bye! Bye-bye!” and then leaves the room by one door and comes back in through the other. The red boot seems to be integral to this game, because he has not played it since I put my boots away.

But the best part of that game came when he started adding on “Wuh!” after saying “Bye-bye.” At first this development was less than exciting, but then I realized that “Wuh!” is what he says when I ask him, “What does Mama say?” to which the correct answer is, “I love you!” So, you see, he was telling me, “Bye! I love you!” during the red boot game. That was kind of awesome.

Yes, toddlerhood beats babyhood by leaps and bounds. It doesn’t hurt that we are blessed with the easiest toddler in the history of toddlers. I realize I am about to jinx myself and ruin everything, but as of now, he naps well, sleeps through the night, and spends most of the rest of the day in a cheery playful mood. Sure, he has his tantrumy moments but they are usually tied to fatigue, low blood sugar, or a denial of crayon privileges.

Speaking of low blood sugar, have I told you how Jack eats? I have heard many sad tales from parents whose children eat nothing that is not in nugget form, but things are different here. Let me present you the following lists to demonstrate:

What Jack Does Not Eat*

What Jack Does Eat
All other food

*Probably only because we have not yet offered them to him.

Seriously, Jack routinely has spinach, mushroom and onion pizza. He happily ate grilled salmon and garlic mashed potatoes on Friday, and he’d eat an entire can of beets if we let him. He eats everything. Well, everything but jalapeno cheese which he had by accident on Easter.

He’s not a fan of jalapeno cheese.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not so blog-worthy

Clamorers, rejoice! I have for you a picture-laden post about my kitchen remodel. Perhaps, given the number of angry diatribes I wrote about The Bathroom Remodel, you expected a lot more posts about the current ordeal, but the kitchen remodel is going so much more smoothly that I just don’t have as much to say! I’m not even bothering to capitalize "kitchen remodel." Not that I am complaining, mind you. But that is exactly the problem. Posts about home renovations are only worthwhile if there is something to complain about.

Sure, there have been a few delays, but over the course of the past two weeks, the kitchen has gone from this:

to this:

to this:

Just look at those walls. See how there are no grease stains whatsoever? Lack of grease stains is a real plus in a wall, in my opinion. And all of this in only two weeks!

There have of course been a few delays, but all have been minor. For example, Andrew and I have just learned that we cannot paint the plaster for at least one more week because we have to make sure it sets properly. But there has only been one serious (and boring) problem, and it hinges on the location of the vent for the microwave. The vent, you see, is not where we wanted it to be. When this was discovered on Friday night, there was a lot of worrying about the possibility that we would not be able to vent the microwave at all which changed to concern that the drywall would have to be removed in order to move one of the new outlets, but it turns out our contractor will be able to patch it instead. So, no harm done! In fact, we’re going to end up with slightly more counter space than we had before!

So now we are waiting for the plaster to dry and for the doors to come in. The doors are actually the cause of the other major delay, but that is only because we decided to replace the doors at the last minute and they need to be special ordered. And unfortunately, the contractor can’t install any trim or wainscoting until the doors are in, which won’t be for another two weeks. But do you realize how easy it will be to paint the walls with no trim to worry about? No taping, and we can roll the whole thing. I’m almost looking forward to it.

The main reason this renovation is going so well is that we hired professionals rather than do it ourselves after work. That sort of thing makes a difference. But the other reason I think things are going so swimmingly is that The Bathroom Remodel was just so unbelievably painful, all other home improvements projects pale in comparison. It’s like sitting through a bad movie after having already sat through Gigli. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem that bad.

In closing, I present you with the following pictorial list:

Top Reasons The Kitchen Remodel Is Easier To Endure Than The Bathroom Remodel

1. The dining room:

During the kitchen remodel

During the Bathroom Remodel

2. The living room

During the KR

During the BR

3. The kitchen sink:

During the KR

During the BR
4. The bathroom sink:

During the KR

During the BR

5. The shower:

During the KR

During the BR

6. The toilet:

During the KR

During the BR

OK, just kidding on that one:

Not all THAT much better, though, huh.

7. Landing:

During KR

During BR

8. Dishwasher:

During KR

During BR

9. And last but most important of all, Jack:

During BR

During KR

Things are better this time, no?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Paint my kitchen

OK, Internet. I know you are clamoring for photos of the kitchen during the construction (if by "clamoring" I mean "in my imagination, I am assuming that you would be interested in photos"), but my computer is not working at the moment, and that's where the pictures are.

In the meantime, I need your help. As evidenced by my bathroom, I am incapable of picking paint colors. Witness:

That pink under the mirror? Well, monitor colors differ, blah blah blah, but that's pretty much what the pink looks like in person. Maybe a tad lighter. I thought it was going to be a lovely dusky rose.

So for the kitchen, we would like to avoid similar mistakes. We want a yellow and white kitchen, but there is some discussion about which yellow, which white, and what color the cabinets and ceiling should be. The yellow we settled on in the inside pantry is Benjamin Moore "Pernod," and in the pantry, it is bright with hints of green. I like it in the pantry, but I am very worried that it will look too bright, or not bright enough, or too green in the actual kitchen, because of course the light will be different. However, as you may be aware, I loathe painting, and do not want to repaint the pantry if it can be at all avoided. But I am concerned that if we paint the kitchen a different yellow, it will look like we tried to match it but failed.

The bottom half of the walls will have wainscoting, and we want that and the trim to be the same white. The white I originally picked was Sherwin-Williams "Bakery Box White," but I can't find that on the internet, and wonder if they discontinued it. I think Benjamin Moore "Oxford White" will work, though. It's white. And I don't mind repainting the trim in the inside pantry because there is hardly any in there, so it will only take an extra 10 minutes. (There will be no wainscoting in the pantry.)

Finally, Andrew wants the cabinets to be the same white as the trim, but I am afraid it is going to be too much white, so I want to paint them a creamy off-white. I am leaning towards Benjamin Moore "Indian White." Andrew thinks that will look stupid, but based on a picture I saw in a magazine, I think it will be nice.

As for the ceiling, I am at a loss. We don't want it white since there will be so much white in there already, and also white ceilings are a little boring. We're thinking half-tone of whatever yellow we pick for the walls or maybe cream? But is there a completely different color that would be cool? Like maybe a light green or something?

For those of you with enough of your own problems to worry about, I have three quick questions. First, do you think having two different yellows will look stupid? Second, do you think cream, white, and yellow go together? And is there any other color that will go with them for the ceiling?

For those of you who are bored at work, I ask the above questions but also have an assignment. Go to the Benjamin Moore website and use the "Personal Color Viewer" to examine the color combination of Pernod/Oxford White/Indian White. Do those go? Do you have a suggestion for a different yellow and/or off-white? And what should we put on the ceiling?

Please, don't let this happen again:

Friday, April 4, 2008

We are familiar with the rough electrical inspection

Our contractor called at the end of the day to discuss a few unexpected costs. He needed to put some two-by-fours in the ceiling to make room for the insulation. “You see,” he said, “because of the way they used to build houses, I have to buy some special fire-proof insulation.”

“Oh, you mean Rock Wool?” I said. Surprised at my intimate knowledge of obscure building materials, he said yes. “I think we have some of that in the attic.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I almost forgot to tell y'all: The demo is basically finished. There is no turning back now.

Yes, we have two pantries

Update: Emily informs me that the generosity has been overwhelming. The internet rocks. Now back to our regularly scheduled whining about trivialities.

There has been some confusion about the "outside" and inside pantries in our kitchen, so I have put together the following floor plan for your enlightenment, because I am nothing if not helpful. Well, that and Andrew actually made this a long time ago when we redid the bathroom.

floor plan jpg 1

In the original floor plan, our bathroom and inside pantry were both rectangular and the same size. During the renovation, we broke through the wall between them and made the bathroom into the L-shape you see on the current floor plan. It is approximately 10,000 times better.

The so-called “outside pantry” is really just an unheated room from which we can access the attic, but it is an unheated room with shelves in it. Hence: pantry. There also used to be access to the first floor apartment there, but as it would be weird to have a staircase connecting our apartment to our tenant’s, and as our bedroom closet was terrible and the downstairs back bedroom had no closet at all, we threw down a floor and threw up some walls and made a bunch of closets*. Much better all around. See, look:

Old bedroom closet

New bedroom closet

The new closet is better because, unlike the old closet, it can hold more than five outfits. Not that I have more than five outfits.

I’m not going to post any actual pictures of the outside pantry, because the layout is such that I can’t get in a position to take a picture of the whole thing at once, and splitting it into two pictures defeats the purpose because there is no sense of scale that way. It doesn’t matter anyway, as we are not currently renovating the outside pantry, so suffice it to say it’s a kind of dingy room with shelves, a closet, and a crappy storage cabinet. Eventually, Andrew is going to build a new storage unit, and in the meantime we just keep the door shut.

*Andrew would like me to note that by “we” I actually mean “Andrew and his dad.” He was amused by the blasé tone I am using to describe the closet construction, but it’s just that the entire process was very easy and painless for me.