Monday, April 30, 2012

remind yourself.

I know I've been slacking on the kitchen updates. Not to worry ('cause I know you were)...progress is constant. It's just that most of the progress these days consists of spending hours attending to tiny details, none of which are noticeable to the naked (read: non-neurotic) eye afterwards. But just so you know? And - just so I know, so I can remind myself?

The week we moved in (June 2009)

April 2012
Yes, just to remind myself: things are moving along.

Got some major (and minor) things done last week during my staycation:
  • Patched the hole left by the phone jack
  • Patched and sanded the ceiling above the sink and next to the new corner cabinet
  • Patched and sanded the gouges left behind by removing the cabinetry crown moulding
  • Touched up all the blue paint (including painting some new areas blue)
  • Caulked ten million mitered-moulding corners on the cabinet doors
  • Did the final coat of paint on 21 of the 30 doors/drawer fronts
  • Purchased a range hood and microwave
  • Put the iron gate, the bathroom light fixture, the medicine cabinet, and the microwave on Craigslist
  • Made final (like, mostly final) counter and flooring decisions
Zephyr Tamburo range hood comin' my way!

Zodiaq (quartz) Minera Pearl countertop maybe comin' my way!
Style Selections Patina Shale Slate Finish flooring from Lowe's comin' my way!

Decisions are good, but finishing is better. So what's left? Well, the most immediate projects include:
  • Install range hood
  • Install floating shelf for microwave
  • Install floating shelves next to corner cabinet to balance that area out
  • Retrofit two cabinet doors and attach them
  • Install the trash cabinet hardware and door
  • Level out and fix the front of the trash cabinet
  • Finish the Ikea dresser-hack and attach the drawer pulls
  • Cut and attach the moulding to the last two drawers and the side of the upper cabinet
  • Finish trimming out the fridge surround; attach it to wall; attach decorative moulding and paint it
  • Cut holes in trash cabinet, 8" base cabinet, and fridge surround for wiring
  • Buy a new, longer range cord
  • Actually attach the Ikea dresser, trash cabinet, and 8" cabinet to the wall
  • Trim out the side of the trash cabinet once the range is scooted over?
  • Choose and install light for over sink, and two lights to replace the boob lights
  • Call the electrician back (wiring for range hood; new circuit for fridge)
  • Call the HVAC people back (new vent OR fans in the two existing ones)
Aaand the longer-term projects include:
  • Order countertops and schedule installation
  • Find and purchase undermount sink (the one from Craigslist?)
  • Install backsplash
  • Cut and attach cabinet crown moulding
  • Build, install, and paint pantry
  • Figure out where to store cleaning supplies (broom/mop/etc.)
  • Install flooring
  • Find and install flooring transition (on the edge of the step between the kitchen and family room)
  • Cut and attach shoe moulding
  • Find/build desk area next to the fridge surround
  • Mayyybe do crown moulding all the way around the kitchen
Oh, man. It's overwhelming to look at that list. But! SO MUCH is already done. I'll feel way better once the cabinets are leveled out and attached to the wall, which will mean we can order the counters. And when the pantry is built, which will mean we can put our damn food away. And...when it's freakin' DONE.

In the meantime, more posts to come with details on the cabinet door moulding and painting process, building the fridge surround, retrofitting our thrifted cabinetry (four pieces so far), and all sorts of juicy, kitcheny details.

I'm telling you. It'll be better than eating cake balls in the bathtub.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

maybe don't do it yourself (part II).

Ah, oui, part deux of the downstairs bathroom debacle saga, in which I officially proclaim IT IS DONE (except for one tiiiiny thing that can't be done until later).

When I last left you, dear readers, the bathroom was looking like this:

Three things here just weren't cutting it for me: the light fixture, the blinds, and the medicine cabinet. All were fine in theory...but they didn't match the updated decor, you know? I'm happy to say, though, that these three projects ended up being relatively easy - even though two had unforeseen complications, and the last one I took on - the medicine cabinet - ended up being the reason that the bathroom didn't get finished until this weekend.

I started with the light fixture. I bought a new one (oil-rubbed bronze, woo!) and thought, I can do this BY MYSELF like a big girl. The maybe-not-so-bright (bright...ha, light pun) idea was doing it while I was home alone. I did warn my co-workers before I left for my lunch break that I'd be tackling electrical work, so if I didn't return in an hour, call 911. So, you know, precautions were taken. And, probably way more important than alerting my co-workers, I remembered to turn off the electricity.

Removing the old fixture was a piece of cake. I even paid attention to the wires to inform my re-wiring process, which ended up being crucial. Way to go, Cath.

I patched and painted the wall where the fixture had been, since the new fixture has a smaller base...

...and set out to re-wire the new fixture, even though I'm afraid of touching wires when I'm home alone.


And here, kids, is where I learned all about "ground wires" and their function. After quickly realizing that there were two wires coming out of the wall and three places to re-attach wires to the fixture, I turned to my favorite DIY teacher, YouTube. That's where I learned that the copper wire grounds the fixture, which means my house won't burn down and die if the fixture short-circuits (...um...that's roughly what it means...how about don't quote me on that). This all happened two months ago, so I can't really remember the deets, but I'm pretty sure the new fixture came with a copper wire attached, and I found a way to hook it all up correctly. Unless that means my house is in imminent fire danger. In that case, I did something else way more electrically gooder. In any case, I ended up with this:

I also ended up with this, because like I mentioned before, karma is feisty and screwdrivers are wily.

The two scratches on the drain are from J.J.
The two chunks missing from the porcelain are from karma.

I mostly fixed the chunk debacle with white waterproof caulk, and everything was looking pretty good. Pretty done. But then...I started looking at pictures. Aaand after perusing all these pictures, I decided I hated the blinds.

I don't really know why. It's just that I tend to be a minimalist, and the blinds aren't serving any function thanks to the frosted lower window, and we have never, ever lowered them in the 2.5 years we've lived here, except to take that picture. So why keep them? Presto-chango - they're gone now. It took all of 10 minutes - I lifted the blinds off their brackets, unscrewed the brackets from the wall, patched, sanded, painted, and was done. Woo. Easiest project yet, but no one even knew they were there (including J.J.), so it's also the least noticeable.

On to the medicine cabinet. It was a little crooked, but it was the silver frame that was really bugging me. Yeah, that's just how picky I got in this tiny, tiny room. But really, it wasn't jiving with everything else.

My first plan was to DIY a frame (side note: it is unacceptable to use "DIY" as a verb, and I apologize). I thought I could just glue white moulding to the existing mirror, which would simultaneously tie it in with everything else and give it the illusion of being level, because I would trick the eye by making the frame level. I bought moulding for, like, three bucks, measured stuff out, cut a few pieces, and promptly made a cut at the wrong angle, which left me with not enough moulding to finish the project. I bought more moulding, but somehow? The materials have been sitting in the corner of the tiny bathroom, untouched, FOR THE LAST TWO MONTHS.

I kind of got sidetracked by the kitchen stuff. In the end, though, it was the kitchen that brought me back to the bathroom (don't read into that sentence too much). See, I've been on vacation this week. I spent last weekend in Las Vegas with my entire family of origin (minus one), and, since I returned on Monday, I've been loathe to do anything kitchen-related, despite grand plans to "pretty much finish the whole thing this week!" What was I saying in the last post about estimated time having an inverse relationship to actual time? Yeah. Regardless, I spent Wednesday working on the kitchen and six hours on Thursday shopping for the kitchen (which was harder than it sounds), and by Friday, I was burned out on the stupid kitchen. If I were tending to my mental health, I would have allowed myself the rest of my vacation for relaxing. But...I'm not being a good caretaker, and the cracks are showing, and I'm forging ahead nonetheless.

Not with the kitchen, mind you. Nope - I've taken procrastination to a whole new sad level, wherein instead of working on the kitchen, I returned to the bathroom to finish off the medicine cabinet. After all the mind-numbing detail work I've been doing in the kitchen, I just couldn't stomach doing the frame for the cabinet. I know it sounds dumb, and maybe wasteful, but when I thought about purchasing a new cabinet rather than spending hours measuring and cutting and gluing and waiting...only to have a semi-okay final result? No way. Couldn't do it. So I bought a new one. Judge not, lest ye end up in a similar bathroom debacle.

Of course, this didn't necessarily make things easier or take less time. I'd made a decision, though, and it was less mental work to follow through on it than to back out. Heehee. I don't pretend to understand, don't worry. 

First, I had to cut out the glued, screwed, and caulked old medicine cabinet.

I cringed as I pried the cabinet out of the wall, for two reasons. First, as you can see in the picture above, the paint and drywall around the cabinet tore and came up in chunks, which equals more spackling, sanding, and painting...which I am so. sick. of. Second, this is a recessed medicine cabinet. As in, there's a hole in the wall behind it. Would squirrels jump out at me? Would I discover a spider colony worse than the one in the kitchen? Would I finally discover where all those razors go when people shove them in the little hole in the back of the cabinet?

Luckily, the answer to all three of those questions was no. BUT. I was home alone, and I may or may not have squealed out loud in utter terror as I was pulling the cabinet out of the wall. ANYTHING COULD HAVE HAPPENED. Anything. But then, by the grace of the DIY gods, the cabinet was out, and the resulting hole was relatively clean and spider-free.

In that picture, as you can see, I had already spackled the perimeter. I ended up having to spackle, dry, and sand twice to really fill in the gaps, but it paid off - it's pretty smooth. I painted and left it to dry overnight. No way in hell was I going to let the wall-squirrels and ghosts invade my bed and my ears during the night, though, so I took precautionary measures.

Don't laugh. It worked. My sleep was squirrel- and ghost-free. And the next day, I installed the new medicine cabinet (set it in the hole, messed with it until it was level, screwed it into the wood frame) and was done.


Done with a room!

(Except for the floor. But that's happening when we do the kitchen floor.)

Summer 2009

April 2012

Since we moved in, we have:

  • replaced the window (including a frosted lower pane)
  • painted the walls yellow and the trim white
  • removed all the wooden fixtures and replaced with bronze ones
  • hung art on two walls
  • replaced the toilet and sink (added a cabinet)
  • replaced the light fixture
  • removed the blinds
  • replaced the medicine cabinet
We've spent about $400 in this tiny room, not including the paint (which was part of the whole first floor being painted), the window (which was done when we got all the windows replaced), and the art (the metal circles were a gift; we had the frames - from Target - already). Not bad for a complete overhaul, especially since we replaced a water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow one. Here's the breakdown:
  • Trash can/towel hook/toilet paper holder: ~$20
  • Toilet: $200
  • Vanity: $42
  • Faucet: $47 (+ ~$20 for random parts)
  • Light fixture: $45
  • Medicine cabinet: $25
  • TOTAL: $399

Some more "after" pics:

I'm calling it done, officially.

(Until I magically come into a huge amount of magical money that allows me to magically build an addition over the garage and off the back of the house...in which case, this bathroom will be relocated. <Evil laugh>)

hope for yourself.

There's something about making a list of things to do that just clashes with the very essence of summer - which ought to be full of lazy days, spontaneity, nothingness that's so full it becomes everything. It's sunny outside today, though, and it makes me think back to our two-week stretch of summer that came in March (um...the one that sparked the premature bloom of flowers, leaves, and crops, and was followed by week after week of freezing nighttime temps that have threatened the local fruit production...oopsie). I remember mentioning that we might not get another stretch of weather like that until May. I remember thinking I was exaggerating. Nope!

But it's May on Tuesday. My favorite month. One of my favorite words (for the feelings of serenity and warmth it evokes). And it kicks off my favorite season - summer. Every year, though, I have high hopes for all the summery things I want to do, and they just don't happen. I get bogged down in weddings and yard work and exhaustion from my day job (camp counselor...which I am not this year, much to my dismay. Like, tears in my eyes right now about it).

Since I love lists and I love summer, I'm gonna go ahead and venture that they can coexist. I'm letting myself off the hook before I even write it - proffering the disclaimer that this list may not be accomplished. Its main purpose is to create hope about a summer that will be different in lots of big, scary ways. Hope will be vital this summer: I won't play with kids all day long, I don't get to bask in the sunshine and water every day, I'll be working a high-stress desk job (what have I done?), we'll potentially be trying to get pregnant, and I no longer have weekly therapy support. Hope helps soothe anxiety for me, so the list is a step in that direction.

But the bottom line is that it's summer, so if the list doesn't get completed - or even touched? It'll just be because I'm off doing other awesome, summery things. There's my disclaimer.

Summer 2012 Anti-To-Do List
  • Go canoeing at Gallup
  • Picnic at the Botanical Gardens
  • Read/write by the river
  • Re-institute No-Plan Sundays
  • [Must...stop...self...from putting house projects on this list]
  • Sub in for a couple softball games
  • Hit up the Farmers' Market
  • Take Fin to Washtenaw Dairy
  • Take myself to Washtenaw Dairy (mmm...Milky Way ice cream...)
  • Make some of my Pinterest art ideas...just make art
  • Go to a local carnival
  • Catch fireflies in our back yard
  • Make my way up north for Adapted WWF Tubing with Ebeth (adapted for our recently-acquired leg and shoulder injuries, of course)
  • Eat dinner outside downtown
  • Play my guitar outside
  • Stop being a townie snob and go to Art Fair
  • Take Violet to the Arb
  • Go to Cedar Point WITH CARRIE DAMMIT!
  • Breathe, every day
  • Go to the neighborhood ice cream social...with or without a prop child
  • Take walks at night with J.J.
  • Go to Top of the Park as many times as possible
  • Plan a vacation for late 2012...just to stretch the hope out

Washtenaw Dairy. I've been there three times in one day.
On more than one occasion.
Saline Fair a couple years ago. I cried on the Fireball.
WWF Tubing...I'm on the right. I won't name the other two
non-awesome tubers who weren't catching mad air.
The Arb

For now, though? It's Sunday morning on the last day of my vacation, and I need to go soak up some immediate hope. It's not coming to me readily right now, but...it will. It will. And hey - what's on your summertime list? What else should I add to mine? I can already taste the Milky Way ice cream...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

maybe don't do it yourself (part I).

I think...a room in my house might be officially finished.

No, it's not the effing kitchen, thanks for asking.

It's the downstairs bathroom.

It started out looking like this when we moved in:

Those are all the "before" pictures I have, but I think the point is conveyed: This was...not a pretty room. Salmon-colored fixtures (to match the exterior siding? Who knows), faux-wood hardware, crooked medicine cabinet...All in all, bad news.

I replaced the hardware with oil-rubbed bronze pieces (the towel bars, toilet paper holder, and trash can) and put a new white vent cover on pretty much immediately after we moved in. When we did the major interior painting two years ago (and by "we" I mean "a dad from my work who's a professional painter"), the bathroom transformed into SUNSHINE IN YOUR FACE FLASHY CLASHY CITY.

Salmon pink + sunshine yellow = not so much.
I wanted to wait until we did the kitchen remodel to replace the sink and toilet (for masochism's sake? I don' t know), but I did add some art about a year and a half ago - two metal-circle pieces that we got for our wedding (from...Crate + Barrel, I think) placed side by side, and a frame wall with some of my favorite quotes. Because you gotta have something to read while gracing the salmon throne.

I meant to rotate out the quotes with new ones periodically, but eh, intentions. And speaking of intentions, the rest of this restroom sat unchanged for a long time after adding the art. Like...until a few months ago, when we finally replaced the toilet and then the vanity.

I would link to the blog post about replacing the vanity, but? There isn't one. Because it took almost a month, when all was said and done, and I was so bitter about the whole process that writing about it just never happened. And then I was all, "Oh, I'll just post about it after I replace the light fixture," and then I broke the new sink replacing the light fixture, so I was all, "Eh, I'll just post about it after I update the medicine cabinet," and that brings us to TODAY.

The vanity, the vanity. I went back and forth about replacing the wall-mounted sink with either a pedestal sink (more stylish, leaves more space in a tiny bathroom) or a cabinet/sink combo (more functional to store crap that we actually don't even have yet, like - I don't know, diapers or something? It made sense at the time). I ended up going with the cabinet/sink combo.

$40 from Home Depot...score.
I liked the look, it was a good size, and I could add bronze fixtures to it (most sinks I saw came standard with stainless steel...but I wanted oil-rubbed bronze).

$35 from Amazon...almost as much as the whole vanity. Whatever.
Pieces and parts secured, all that was left was to follow the instructions to remove Pink Sink and install the new stuff. So I read through the instructions, followed them diligently, and was done a couple hours later.

NOPE. Rewind. The vanity? Came with instructions. ("Remove your old stuff. Screw this thing into the wall. Done-zo.") The faucet? NO INSTRUCTIONS. I'm guessing this is because it's just common sense plus basic plumbing know-how, but sometimes I'm lacking in both of those departments, so it turned into a epic struggle. My brother happened to be over one afternoon, and he kindly helped us remove Pink Sink (glued, screwed, and caulked to the wall, just like everything else in this freaking house, including towel hooks).

I even removed the base moulding and cut it to size so the new vanity would sit flush against the wall (ha...flush...bathroom humor).

I figured all we'd have to do is re-attach the pipes. I tried it myself one day when J.J. wasn't home - that's how easy I thought it would be. But because my assumption of difficulty level tends to have an inverse relationship with the actual difficulty level, chaos ensued, and I couldn't do it on my own. PLUMBING CONFUSING. Plus, we needed an extension pipe, which was way beyond my DIY capability patience level at that point. J.J. and I tackled it together when he got home, and then over the course of the next couple weeks, but I'm telling you - we watched YouTube videos, we thought things through, we fought things out...and nothing worked. His dad looked at it. Our brother-in-law looked at it. We took it apart again and again. Basically, the pipes kept leaking, despite everything we tried. I don't even have pictures of this process; that's how annoying and frustrating it was.

And. J.J. scraped the new drain plug while trying to fix it. Right after I told him to be careful NOT to do that. I was mad at him until I dropped a screwdriver a few weeks later (while installing a new light fixture) and chipped the shit out of the sink. Wonk-wonk. Karma...she's feisty.

In the end? J.J. wrapped plumber's tape around the *outside* of the pipe extension connection, the leaking stopped, and we had a functioning vanity. (Don't try this at home, kids.)

So - before, during, and after:

And there's more to come! I've since replaced the light fixture and the medicine cabinet (after half-ass attempting a DIY fix), and I removed something that had been bothering me since day one. But this post has ten million pictures already, so I'm saving those for next time. I know you can't wait. Here's an ugly "before" to entice you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

follow yourself.

I'm learning to follow my instincts.

I can't tell you how tricky this is for me, because my instincts are tangled up in anxiety, and it's nearly impossible to extricate them from one another. I'm working really hard on differentiating between beneficial anxiety and detrimental, or false, anxiety. Beneficial anxiety? Well, yeah. Truth be told, a lot of my strengths and successes are actually rooted in anxiety. I'm hard-working and detail-oriented, and I think ahead. I have high expectations of those around me, but in the end, I'm always pushing myself the hardest. I can play devil's advocate better than almost anyone I know, and the insight and empathy that arise from examining all sides of a story are probably my biggest gifts as a social worker.

Analysis: it's how I roll. I actually got a perfect score on the analysis section of the GRE (and then spent 10 minutes analyzing whether the computer miscalculated my score, because certainly "800" was not my actual number). The trick is using my superpower of keen analysis for good, and not evil. Ay, there's the rub. Attention to detail flips over to perfectionism. Analysis slips into obsession. My Libra-esque internal scales eternally weigh options and opinions without ever making a firm decision. Not only that, but my mind makes magical, ridiculous leaps: It believes that thoughts control outcomes. Lots of times, this really is the case. For example, I turn a problem over in my head until a solution is revealed. I let a riddle marinate until the answer emerges. I can manage a dozen work programs at once, and successfully, because I think about them. I foresee issues and develop work-arounds; I balance the divergent needs of children, families, and staff.  (Hey, not always, but I try.) And, finally, I can ward off plane crashes by performing rituals.

Um. What?

Yeah. No, I know. I can look you in the eye and tell you that, logically, I know that's not how it works. Sure, some problems require careful thought, which will eventually lead to a solution. But most of the things I worry about can't be solved by analysis alone. Take, for example, my fear of flying. When I have an impending flight (ahem...day after tomorrow), I must tell everyone around me that it'll be my last, and please say nice things at my funeral. If I reveal to anyone that I believe I'm actually preventing my plane from crashing by performing this ritual, then the magic is broken, and I have to start over from square one. Yes, I know; pardon me while I adjust the waistband of my crazypants. But think about it: You can't tell me it hasn't worked. In fact, it's been proven effective dozens of times in the decade or so of my flying phobia. I know this because I haven't crashed yet. ...See how that works? Ah, magical thinking: for toddlers and Cathys alike.

I'm working really, really hard to extract myself from ropes of anxiety in regards to the magical thinking. It's really just an intense cognitive-behavioral process (until recently, performed under the close supervision of a professional) of recognizing when anxiety is tricking me - i.e., determining when anxiety is rightfully protective ("That man has a gun; I should duck") vs. false and detrimental ("If I don't worry the right amount about this presentation, then it'll be a flop"). The worry may lead to extreme preparation, which isn't such a bad thing in and of itself, but - and this is key - the preparation can still happen without the worry. And wouldn't it be nicer to have fun preparing instead of sweat my way through seven T-shirts whilst preparing? Most definitely.

And just because I'm feeling anxious does not mean that death and doom are imminent, as I'll often believe when I have to fly. I actually figured out earlier this year that most of my flying anxiety dissipates once I'm through airport security, and that (for the time being, at least) I should expect a certain level of anxiety, but that it's only anxiety - not some "Final Destination"-type instinct. (Damn that movie. DAMN THAT MOVIE!)

So, learning to follow my instincts, for me, is mostly about recognizing my instincts. Once I can hear them through the anxiety buzz, I'm usually all about them. It doesn't hurt that I've been reading another Martha Beck book, The Joy Diet, which is all about injecting joy into all your daily happenings. Last night, it translated into me falling asleep on the couch around seven, eating red velvet cake balls in a hot bath (and reading the latest issue of Family Handyman...dorkus), and going to bed after watching mindless TV. Joy, pure and simple.

source: www.bakerella.com

And here's hoping that the kitchen leads to joy soon enough. I think I've turned the corner. At the very least? The freakin' doors are up. (Not DONE...just UP. [MOSTLY.])

More on the kitchen soon. In the meantime? Following my joy tonight, via spinach-cheese enchiladas with a great friend, writing, and cuddling with mah main squeeze. (Meaning cake balls. J.J. might be there, too.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

understand yourself.

Dear Self,

Heyyy. Happy Sunday. -Or, as you ought to have figured out by this point, TOTALLY FRUSTRATING ANNOYING Sunday! Like, seriously, how many Sundays of projects gone wrong will it take for you to recognize that mayyybe Sunday should be devoted to anything BUT the kitchen?!

Please go eat jellybeans and take a nap, or play outside in the windy sunshine.


Restful Sundays 4-eva,


So, yeah. I even tried to take it easy today - I was only going to finish up the doors. That meant finishing painting a few of them, finishing the moulding on a few others, adding hinges, adding hardware, and re-attaching them. I did manage to get through most of that.

Then...the hardware.

I scrapped my initial plan to use the generic pulls that I've seen everywhere lately - namely, everywhere in IKEA.

It just wasn't doing it for me (even though I'd already purchased the builder's pack of 20). So when I was at Lowe's for the 32899th time earlier this week and stumbled on these, I decided to make a switch.

Similar, but unique - and they're pewter, which I lurrrve. Not super-lurving the matching knobs, but I'm only using four knobs anyway.

Once I (finally) made a decision about where to use knobs vs. pulls (knobs for drawers, pulls for doors: that's my decision, and I'm sticking to it...for now, and unless someone else can convince me otherwise), I began marking spots for drilling the holes. I was hoping J.J. could drill the holes, since it's hard for me to make holes in the drawers/doors - only because I've already invested so many hours in making them clean and pretty and non-holey. I ended up not being able to use my handy-dandy hardware hole guide to make the hole marks, since the moulding got in its way (major bummer). So instead, I started with the drawer fronts, since all I'd have to do was measure the dead middle of the drawers and make a little mark. 

Easy enough, right? Right. Then all J.J. had to do was drill the hole. Easy enough, right?


First, I realized that the screws that came with the knobs and pulls aren't long enough. Mehhh. I set off on my now-nearly-daily surprise trip to the hardware store. (Not sure how this daily/twice-daily trip is still a surprise to me, but maybe I'm just a slow learner.) The local one was closed (Easter...who knew?), so I trucked it out to Home Depot - mostly because I wanted to vet their hardware selection and make sure there weren't any knobs that were more my style. There weren't, which was probably a good thing at this point...one less decision to make. I grabbed a box of longer screws and some more half-round moulding (because somehow I keep running out of moulding, even though I swear I measured the necessary amount correctly the first time) and headed back home.

...Where J.J. promptly drilled a too-big hole, and where I promptly discovered that my 1-3/4" screws are about a quarter-inch too long. SON OF A MOTHER. Then J.J. and I got into a fun fight about how to measure things, he stormed outside to channel his rage into digging up dandelions with our special weeding tool (it's really therapeutic and addictive, actually), and I cleaned up the kitchen and calmly decided to torch it later today.

I am definitely feeling the kitchen burnout at this point. The first few days were all sexy and exciting, what with the deconstruction and the major painting. Now? Now I can spend hours and hours working on stuff, only to have the overall look go from this:

To this:

Also known as: pretty much the same, except maybe worse and even farther from being finished. (Or further from being finished? I never know.)

I've run into some pretty major obstacles that I'm still not quite sure how to fix. There are three major ones:

  1. There are about two inches of dead space on either side of the range. May not sound like a lot, but trust me, it does NOT work, either aesthetically or functionally. I've thought of every potential solution - filler pieces, a wider range, ignoring it, returning the range to its original spot, etc. - but there are secondary and tertiary problems associated with each of those solutions. Not only that, but it turns out that having the range butting up to the fridge surround (well, butting up to about two inches of dead space and then the fridge surround) also isn't aesthetically or functionally pleasing. It's better to have counter space on either side of the range and to have your pot handles be able to move freely (they hit the fridge surround on the left). It's looking like I'm going to have to add a slim base cabinet in between the range and the fridge surround. Still leaves us with a weird issue on top - there would be dead space between the last upper cabinet and the fridge surround - but I think that can at least be filled in. I don't know. No clue.
  2. The floor area where the range used to be - where the IKEA-hacked dresser and the trash cabinet will go - is potentially uneven. When we removed the old base cabinet, we discovered it was attached to the subfloor, so it left an approximately half-inch-deep rectangle of random subfloor. The IKEA hack is currently 35" high from the linoleum. The trash cabinet is only about 34" high, for some reason. So we've got some major unevenness going on that could really mess up the countertop. It's going to be a matter of either building some cabinets up a little or removing an area of linoleum, but I don't want to remove any linoleum (there's a very good chance that there's an asbestos lining in there somewhere...and who knows, maybe the asbestos is already leaking out of the hole in the linoleum. Is that how asbestos works? By leaking?).
  3. The wall where the copper backsplash used to be and the ceiling where the wavy decorative crown moulding was...they're sort of disastrous. Full of gouges, holes, and some weird stuff that looks and acts like the inside of cardboard (falls apart, rips easily). J.J.'s dad spent a couple days trying to even it all out, and he did make it more even, but it's still bad. He said all we needed to do was sand down the cardboard-eque areas and paint them, but...I think he's wrong (shh). That stuff is not paintable wall. I primed it anyway,  but it's bad news. I may need to call a painter to figure it out. Or it may be just fine with a backsplash over it. But I conveniently forgot to plan a backsplash, so I don't have any ideas for that.
Whatever. So much for "just" having the doors re-attached today. They're still in half-painted, half-moulded, half-hinged pieces all over the front room of our house. I've also totally failed at building a drawer for the IKEA dresser, and at attaching the trash cabinet mechanism to the trash cabinet drawer.

Which leaves me, once and for all, at the conclusion that Sundays are not for kitchen work. This is not ideal, considering I have weeknights and weekends to work on the kitchen, but eh. Whatever. Seriously, I totally understand those HGTV shows where a professional has to go in and finish some major remodeling project because the homeowners gave up halfway through. I could easily re-attach the doors (well, not easily, apparently, but maybe potentially) and just live with my kitchen the way it is right now.

Someone tell me this will be worth it when it's done!!

P.S. Source for all hardware pictures: www.lowes.com


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