Friday, March 27, 2009

Blogger's Block Breaking

Haven't blogged in a long time. Nothing seems all that exciting lately.

Politics; Obama and the Dem's. It makes me want to laugh, but unfortunately these are serious things these imbeciles are playing at. Geithner's new trillion dollar plan to buy up toxic assets. Wait a minute. . . isn't that what they said they were going to do when they sold us on the first trillion dollar plan 6 months ago? The feigned outrage at bonuses that they wrote specific protections for into the bill at the beginning. The constitutionally illegal dog and pony show bill to get the bonus money back. The fact that people are worried about the bonuses ( 1/10th of 1 percent) and not all that concerned about the other 99.9%. The admin's pleading with foreign governments to assist with the stimulus. Why should they when were doing it for them. A good part of that 99.9% (of american taxpayer money) went to overseas companies.

Career; Been doing just enough job hunting to satisfy the unemployment people. Enjoying receiving unemployment for the first time in my life. Giving myself time to recover from the surgery and to do house projects. Had one company call me in for an interview. They found me on Monster.com, I hadn't applied to them. It was more than I felt qualified for so I didn't interview very positively and of course haven't heard from them again. I suppose if I had been beaming with confidence and B.S.'d them that I could do it, I might have had a chance, but the thought of being let go later and not qualifying for unemployment kept me from taking the risk.

Projects; The kitchen is at a stand-still at the moment. I want to do a temporary countertop of some sort, something for a year or two until debts are paid and savings are recovered, but haven't settled on just how much effort or money should go into a temporary item. I think I'll just put down the 1/2 inch plywood that will go under the solid-surface countertop, but paint it up nicely with a good hard enamel paint. Perhaps do a temporary backsplash with the extra 1/2 inch plywood also. This would be the cheapest alternative (2 sheets of good 1/2 inch plywood) and also not be thrown away when the actual countertop is installed over it in the future.

In the mean time with the weather finally turning warmer I've returned to working on the back porch windows. The second set of three large windows were built last summer but never had the glazing and painting finished. Two of the three are now done and I've ripped out the old windows and will do the framing today.

Health; I believe the back is getting better. For quite a while not I've had some stiffness and soreness in the shoulders and shoulder blade region. I'm beginning to think it's cause is my ongoing stress and not all that related to the injury or surgery. I had a few beers for my birthday the other day and the next morning woke up without pain or stiffness in my back for the first time in a long time. I've been battleing stress for several years now, but starting new healthy habits and daily routines of healthy activities is not my strong suit.

In other developments, I'm having another bout of Plantar Fasciitis. Too much hiking the neighborhood concrete sidewalks in worn out tennis shoes. Also not enough stretching and too much sitting at office desks. I've been stretching the calf muscles and achilles tendon and also the plantar region and things are getting better again. The actual pain is from damage already done and the only cure for that is to stay off it and let time heal the inflamation. I built a slanted board to stand on and to put under my feet while watching tv. It's pretty good at helping to stretch the calf muscles.

Events; We're hosting Easter this year. I started to get the back yard into shape. Our back lawn has become hilly tufts of grass with deep gully runnels in-between. I've tried re-seeding and filling in-between with mulch but with no luck in the past. Without research I'm just guessing but I think the problem may be insects and grubs, so for the first time I've treated the lawns with an insecticide. I also reseeded and fertilized with a weed and feed. It may not be changed much by Easter, but hopefully it'll fix the gully problem in the long run. It's become bad enough you nearly twist your ankle just walking on it.

Animals; Toby is doing quite well as the only dog. He's really enjoying finally coming into his own, being top dog and being the sole recipient of attention. Pyro the cat is getting more and more senile and crotchety in his old age. He seems to forget where his food bowl is and comes into the house yowling as if saying "where is everyone?". Being woken up in the middle of the night by a senile cat. . . the pleasures of pet ownership.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh yeah . . . drapes

Two years after I finished the living room renovation we finally got around to sewing and installing the living room drapes. We had all the other shades and sheers installed, but the final red swag drapes on the picture window have been procrastinated for the longest time. The side panels were easy enough, just pressing in a few folds and stapling to the wooden rod. The three swags took a long time to figure out how to fold and drape to get a proper swaggish look. It's all just nailed to the 1-1/2" stained closet rod. Behind the sheers is a pull down grey patterned pleated shade which helps to block the sun in the summer and adds a little insulation effect in the winter.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bridget is Back!

Bridget the Cutting Board is re-installed in the kitchen. On another note, I used "craigslist" for the first time yesterday afternoon to get rid of the old portable dishwasher. Should have asked more . . . it was bought within a couple of hours and they came and got it today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kitchen is Operational

I haven't posted for a few weeks so below are several posts with plenty of pictures to catch people up on the kitchen remodel.

We've officially moved back into the kitchen. Everything is operational. Microwave, built-in dishwasher, range hood, ice/water in the refrigerator. Flooring is only plywood subfloor, countertops are pre-temporary left over scrap, and the sink is still the old p.o.s.. But we're in! The wife is happy again!

All the cabinets in place

West wall (northwest corner). The arch is the short hallway which opens onto the dining room and the rest of the house and also to the family room. The old cabinet layout had the stove at the end. I wanted countertop space on both sides of the stove even if its only 12 inches. This also gives a cabinet as the view when entering the kitchen, not the side of a stove. The old layout also had no ventilation at all. This hood has two little halogen lights with low and high. It's nice to see things on the stove.
West wall, southwest corner. Yes the corner is a standard lazy susan cabinet, but heh, what else is there really?
South wall main kitchen area. I literally picked up the old sink out of the old cabinet complete with plumbing and disposal attached and set it onto this one. It sits flat and fairly secure just sitting there. We don't have the funds for the solid surface countertops yet, so we're talking about cheap temporary alternatives. But before I've even done the temporary I threw down some old left over pieces of fake tile masonite and presto we've moved into the new kitchen. This would be the "Pre - Temporary" countertops?
South wall, extension area. The baking center cabinet. The base cabinets are an extra One inch taller than standard and the baking center cabinet is two inches taller. This cabinet is the one which will receive the maple cutting board top that has been in Beth's family for years.
North wall of the extension area. The refrigerator is once again hooked up to water for in the door water and ice. The microwave has a dedicated circuit for its plug. I was worried the "wall oven" door would all but hit the floor, but it turns out not to be bad at all. You do bend over more than a regular stove so you have to be careful about the heat hitting you in the face when you open it. The oven is inside a tin shield which has a fan which kicks on anytime it gets hot. This is how it can be placed into a wood cabinet and not burn it (always wondered myself).
Northeast corner. Here's the back stairs leading to the back porch and driveway, and to the basement. The peninsula makes a great "drop your purse" area as you walk in.
North wall. This is the Pantry Hutch. The idea was to resemble a free standing hutch piece of furniture. It has a built out base and crown moulding top. The upper doors also have removeable panels and will receive glass at some point in the future. The bottom cabinet may also receive solid surface countertop along with the rest of the kitchen. It was built by the cabinet makers with a wood stained top.

This cabinet had to be very shallow. The bottom cabinet is 8" deep and the top is 7". The countertop of the bottom is 9-1/4" deep. The reason for this is it stands right in the pathway between the back door and the entry to the rest of the house. The backdoor is also the entrance to the full basement which gets considerable use. The previouse owners of the house actually had their refrigerator standing here. You had to do zigzag dance every time you walked between the two doors.
And back around to the northwest corner again. One thing to note here is that the refrigerator (with doors off) should be able to navigate through this door (it came in that way some months back). It should be able to get past the upper cabinets. However the base cabinet is a problem. My solution is to insure that the small base cabinet to the right of the stove remains removeable. The flooring will be installed under it and just a few screws and it can be moved out of the way along with the stove.

The Cabinet Horse

Moving the largest piece of upper cabinet using home built furniture dollys I've had around for years.
This is the "Cabinet Horse". The tops have been covered with towels to not scratch the cabinets. These cabinets are a lot heavier than you can imagine. This allowed us to do a one time lift and then fuss with getting things in place and drilled and screwed. In different places I added length to the uprights to hold the different cabinets such as the the ones above the sink.
The bottoms have carriage bolts allowing precise raising and tilting with a lift range of more than 2 inches.

Extension Cabinets

The first cabinet to go in was a bearcat. We had things too precisely measured out with no give and take room. Here I'm shaving an extra 1/8" off the window frame with a plane.
Here the cabinet is screwed into place but still with the "cabinet horse" underneath.
Here is the left cabinet in the extension on the south side.
Here the "Baking center" cabinet is in place and temporarily topped with a piece of sheetrock and covered with tools.
This is the Peninsula cabinet which will also house the second oven.

Range Hood Vent

Here I had to get the vent duct into the soffit before installing the cabinets, and yet get the duct to line up with the hole in the cabinet not yet installed. The range hood comes with either 3-1/4 by 10 or 7" round. Problem is home stores don't sell 7" duct, they sell 6". They did however have a 7 to 6" round adapter which I put immediately above the range hood inside the cabinet.
Turns out the vent exited in an ideal location. Right in the corner under the protection of the roof. It also was in the wood trim rather than in the stucco, which is a bear to cut or drill.
It ended up being a tight fit. I had to hold the telephone lines out of the way with a large screw and the rain gutter required to be modified (beat a dent in with a hammer) to allow the flaps to open.

lights and electricals

For hardware we've decided to go with a brushed nickel look. Here's a light fixture we picked up at Fred-Meyers. This is the smaller one in the extension (one bulb) and there's a larger version in the main part (three bulb).All the covers were brushed nickel also.
The cabinet pulls and knobs will eventually be brushed nickel. At the moment we've re-used the old hardware and only bought what we had to.

Underlayment

Haven't posted in a couple of weeks, so I'll do some catching up today. The old 9" square green and white tile was stripped off the floor. It mostly popped right up since the glue was so old and brittle. Underneath was the original fir flooring which was fairly flat. Here I'm putting down 1/4" plywood which I had pre-painted with a grey "porch and floor" paint.
A shot of the extension (formerly breakfast nook).
Here Pyro enjoys the clean new floor. In a sunbeam and next to the heater vent, thank you very much.