Monday, March 31, 2008

Panic (updated)

Panic...near the finish line. Why? Because the finish line has been moved! The appraiser starts jury duty on the 9th and needs to do our appraisal early to avoid any time conflicts.

We have one week until the bank appraisal. That's next Monday! ONLY ONE WEEK! (faints....)

What must be finished by then?

Hubby's jobs:
Finish rock above jacuzzi. (done)
Set jacuzzi and trim out. (done)
Finish bathroom countertops. (done)
Plumbing in master bath (sinks (in-progress), toilet (done), shower (done).
Put up the rest of the interior trim. (done)
Install closet doors.
Install kitchen cabinet doors (in-progress) and drawer-facings. (done)
Get gravel hauled and spread it on driveway.
Finish odd jobs that needed materials.

My jobs:
Wipe down, then polyurethene the kitchen cabinets, doors, and drawer facings before installation. (done)
Finish staining all trim before installation. (done) Polyurethene the same. (done, with my dad's help)
Seal all bathroom tile and grout.
Paint the bit of wall above the jacuzzi rock. (thanks, Dad!)
Sand, stain, and poly the bathroom cabinets.
Stain then poly closet doors. (in-progress)
Have the house looking like a beautiful new home.

The game plan:
Monday (today) - Wipe down the kitchen cabinets and next I'll polyurethene them. Then I'll start on the doors and drawer-facings. Hubby will finish up the rock above the jacuzzi and perhaps finish the grout on the bathroom countertops.
Tuesday - I will finish my work on the kitchen cabinets. Then I'll stain the last of the interior trim and hopefully do the closet doors too . Hubby will finish the jacuzzi.
Wednesday - I will poly all the trim and closet doors. Hubby can install the kitchen cabinet doors and drawer-facings then perhaps start work on the bathroom plumbing.
Thursday - I'll paint the spot above the jacuzzi , then start on the bathroom cabinets; sand, stain, then poly. Hubby can install all the interior trim that I worked on and then we can install the closet doors.
Friday - Work on finishing the bathroom cabinets some more. Clean up around house if the weather permits. Hubby can finish plumbing or work on other jobs that need completion.
Saturday - My job will be to seal all the bathroom tile and grout. Hubby will most likely be finishing up odd jobs all day then cleaning up.
Sunday - Oh, how I hope that Sunday we will be done and can rest. Oh, I hope and pray!
Monday - Get up early and give the house a good cleaning and stage it for photos.

Dear family and friends,
You are most welcome to visit us this week. (wink) Just choose a day that you would like to join the chaos and remember to wear your old clothes. That's right, I'm not above putting you to work at this stage! Just make sure you eat first, because the kitchen here is closed for business until next week.

If you don't want to visit (wink), then at least say a prayer (seriously).

Things just don't go as planned! It seemed like everything took twice as long to do and led to more work that wasn't on the list. But we were blessed twice over - (1) my dad came up and helped me for a day and a half. He was tremendous. (2) the appraiser called on Thursday afternoon to say that he had escaped jury duty and to call him when we were ready! What a relief. Even though we kept working as if we had to be finished by the end of the week, here I am, typing this after midnight on Sunday (Mon. morning) having just finished with the kitchen cabinets! We have been working 14+ hours a day and only took Sunday morning off to sleep/restore our exhausted bodies and minds.

But, I will have some great pictures to show you after the appraisal is finished. Until then, keep us in your prayers that nothing else will "come up" and that we have the stamia to finish perhaps tomorrow. Or as my dad says, "intestinal fortitude!"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kitchen cabinets

Once upon a time, there was an empty room that dreamed of being a kitchen. Not just any kitchen though... a kitchen that would be built by the very family it would surround. It did not want to be built by men who would never see it again. It began with a layout drawn by the housewife who would spend many hours there. Then she picked out paint and tile. Then the wife found a lovely picture in a magazine (much to the husband's initial dismay). It was a photo of a French farmhouse kitchen. The cabinets were simple shelves placed in between brick supports. But the husband was a clever and inventive man and accepted the challenge.
Besides, he loved the wife very much...
...and did his work in uncomfortable positions
...and put up with her snapping photos of him.

Then he tiled the countertops to save them a LOT of money.

Then he faced the cabinets with redwood and ceder to compliment the brick. All she did was stain the insides.
She was so happy with the new cabinets and so was the kitchen. Thousands of dollars were saved.
But then time started to run out, so the husband found a neighbor who was a retired cabinet-maker. He asked him to finish the cabinets for them. The neighbor kindly built the top cabinets and the cabinet doors exactly like the family had planned to do. And he charged them a minor fraction of what other cabinets would cost.
And they were installed by the husband and the neighbor this weekend.
Now the wife only has to put polyurethane on the wood and then the family can put all the cabinet doors and drawer facings on.

To be continued next week....

Earth Hour 2008

We participated in Earth Hour this past Saturday, March 29th between 8-9 p.m.

I lit candles and placed them in the bathroom and daughter's room. I placed our 3 oil lamps in our bathroom because....Poor Hubby was not quite finished with grouting the countertops. He finished wiping them down by lamplight, proof without a word that he loves me...

...because I realized that he respected that I wanted to participate even though it put him at an inconvenience for about 20 minutes.

When he had finished, we sat on the front porch together. We checked on our daughter and visiting nephew. They were playing happily with Legos by candlelight and making ghost noises every now and then.

Later, when the t.v. was switched back on for the evening news, I called the kids to see scenes from Earth Hour across the world. It was then that it dawned on me that more than helping the Earth by participating, we have influenced both of those children, by giving them a memory of being part of the very first ever "Earth Hour" movement in the United States. Perhaps they will participate in future energy conservation with the same sense of adventure as their Lego "Indiana Jones" models did in the flickering firelight.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Tribute

In memory of my aunt Nancy, who passed on this morning, March 22nd.

Nancy sitting in her mother's lap and looking at her older brother, her grandmother.

Nancy in the middle of her brothers and sister with her dad behind them.
With her two brothers
Looking very sweet in the front row while with her cousins.
Looking quite the sophisticated young woman.In the kitchen with her mother and sister-in-law.Married in 1951
As I remember her:
Nancy Jane Rice Reynolds

Married 56 years.
Mother of 3 children, 7 grandchildren.
11 great-grandchildren. 1 great-great-grandchild.
Devoted Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister-In-Law, Mother-In Law.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Master Bath part 3

Hubby has been so hard at work on our bathroom. He really is the greatest and such a hard worker. Today, he worked in the office all day, came home and cooked supper (gasp!), and then started tiling the bathroom counters. Scroll down to my last post to see the before of the cabinets.
Above: close-up of the tile, also used as an accent in the shower.

A note about the different counter-top heights: Hubby is much taller than me and I'm a hobbit. Since we are building this house for US we customized our cabinets to our heights. My cabinet has about 2-3 inches sawed off of the bottom of it so I can lean comfortably over my sink bowl to wash my face.

Then, the corner counter-top is meant to be a customized dressing table.

O-kay, admitting that my husband came home and had to cook supper is just BOTHERING me! I have to explain....

We have discovered that I have a knack for planning meals and menus but I really dislike actually cooking. I do the budget and bills and many other things, but cooking is just my Achilles heel.

Hubby likes to cook as long as he doesn't have to plan or clean up afterwards. And he loves to have fresh garden veggies, but he doesn't like to garden like I do. Soooooo...we have compromised! Now, I feel a little bit better for having explained why I let my Hubby cook after working all day. LOL! Now to take him up on his offer more often. (Hear that, Baby?!!!)

Master Bath part 2

Here are some update photos of the Master Bath. Refer back to my earlier post. Close-up of the finished shower trim.

Pre-fab cabinets are installed and the last of the floor tile is lain.

Shower is all finished except grout-sealant and hardware. Didn't Hubby do a great job?!!

Cabinets are trimmed and floor tile is grouted!

We had to find our paint color again because we used all of the original and threw away the can. Luckily we were able to find it to do some touch-ups.

More photos are on the way!

Construction Fall-out

The Dining Room: Back in August when I was just setting up some of the house.

The Dining Room: today as it is.

Confession: I miss my dining room! But I'm getting a finished house in return for the temporary chaos.

Can you see what I did today? I sanded and stained over 30 pieces of trim. I looked like a striped tiger but felt like a whooped puppy when I finished.

I can't wait to show you the master bath progress!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Deck and Trim

Before picture: notice the one window with brown casing? That's my fault...I insisted on adding that window because it has a pretty design in the glass. The windows were bought in bulk from leftover inventory and therefore CHEAP so I figured I'd manage to adapt it in with the rest somehow.

Now for the current photos:

See that the casing is white now? Thank you spray paint! Btw, the white on the siding is not my fault but from where the silicone/weather sealent hadn't dried before a big rain hit us, so it ran some. We think we can scrub it out.

There will be a retaining wall yet, that will run the length of the deck end.

Ignore the ladder and bricks.
View from the end of the front porch. Steps will go down from the large post. I'm thinking that post would be a good clothes line support...tee, hee.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Normal Life

O-kay, so maybe that title is misleading because I don't feel like we're very normal right now. With all the pressure to complete the house, Hubby has taken 3 vacation days this week and it's been a constant press to do as much as possible. But it has come with it's share of blessings too.

Last week, Hubby bought me flowers. No special reason and not normal, but he saw purple roses while doing the shopping and thought of me. (Purple being my favorite color.) They have opened beautifully. I like flowers when they are given randomly and sparsely. Usually I see them as a waste of money. Not last week though. (smile.)

With gas prices the way they've been, Hubby stops after work to buy the groceries. I send him the list via email. I still get out of the house at least twice a week for now to run son to pottery class and daughter to art class. Letting Hubby do the shopping has had the added bonus of cutting the grocery bill since he is less prone to impulse buy than I am - especially since he is ready to get home quickly. But there are days when he blames some "little boy" for sneaking things into the cart. Yet, he finds the heart to pay for these extra items when he gets to the checkout. Hmmmm....

To report some blessings:

Hubby stopped to speak to a semi-retired neighbor who is a cabinet maker. He asked about having him to make our kitchen cabinet doors and drawer facings. The fellow was so nice and said he would be glad to. Friday, Hubby dropped off the materials. MONDAY night they were done! And were inexpensive! They are just what we wanted too.

So Hubby decided to ask if he would be able to build our top cabinets also. We spent half the day in town (yesterday) buying supplies. Last night, Hubby asks...and the answer is yes! I know this is a weight off of us as far as time and labor. We couldn't have found a better situation.

Speaking of being in town for house supplies, we were also looking for the remaining tile to cover our bathroom countertop. Every time we've checked, the store has been completely out! We were getting a bit concerned. Yesterday, we get to the tile aisle and saw a couple taking the last of the tile that we came for! They were friendly enough when they saw we were disappointed that the bin was now empty, but it was a simple case of "we got here first" that couldn't be denied. I knew it was a blow, just 10 minutes earlier and we would've had them! It takes 7-10 business days to get more ordered. Then you have to hope that someone else doesn't snatch them up.

We were so deflated. This project has been hard enough to complete without a delay on supplies. I took a bathroom break while Hubby picked up some more grout. While in there I said a little prayer for the couple to change their mind if it was in His will. After all, they really could've needed it as bad or worse than we did.

Long story short, 15 minutes later we were profusely thanking the couple for giving up the tile! They saw us checking about ordering more and offered it to us. We weren't pushy or pitiful or anything. Out of the blue, they came from the next aisle and said that they decided to wait because they didn't need it for another 6 months! They had seemed so determined to keep it before. Prayer works people! Don't get me wrong, it isn't so you can just get your way. But we needed it to finish and I prayed HIS will over ours. He knew the whole situation and just saw fit to bless us, perhaps because I simply asked for His intervention. God is good.

Other news:

Son is trying out for track this week. If he makes it, he has promised to quit his job. He says he got "sick" three times during practice yesterday and lost all of his lunch. But he kept going. I do hope he makes it. I think his job is getting in the way of his future.

He is more passionate than ever about pottery. We have told him that if he brings all his grades up to straight A's that we will buy him a pottery wheel. He can do it.

Daughter is doing well in art class. We have just been doing the bare bones in homeschooling until the house is appraised. All our "extra" time is spent on this house. We are all ready to be done.

Well, enough for now. Hubby is up on this last day of his "vacation" and ready to get started on the house again. I'll post pictures very soon.

Btw, my step-mom very appropriately named the snow sculpture from last post a "snowmode".

Blessing to you all!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Snow Art?

FINALLY! We got a decent snow, about 3-4 inches. This was the biggest snowfall in several years. Daughter went outside to play and Hubby joined her in building what I thought was going to be the typical snowman. But, I guess we are just too redneck for that... What country yard would be complete without a toilet in it? I was half expecting them to place flowers in it next....but no....!

They made a snowman after all.

I thought it couldn't get any more hick, but when this beautiful sculpture fell over and half-melted they put a Pepsi can on the back of the toilet and shot pellet pistols at it. It's not a full day if you don't get in a little target practice, eh?