Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Well, now you can see some progress! The outside of my house is completely resided with Tuscan Clay vinyl siding. I am extremely pleased with how fantastic my old red door looks with the siding, and all I will need to do is repaint the door. Kevin and I bought new black lights to go by the front door and on both sides of the garage, and a friend offered to come install those for me over Labor Day weekend. Finally, since shutters are not as expensive as I feared, I ordered black shutters for the front window. They'll be here in a few weeks. Thanks to Cheya and Mom, who instructed me that my shutters and front door should be different colors so the front door will be more inviting.

The back view gives you a better idea of how the siding looks, and I tried to avoid taking a picture of all the clutter in my back yard. At this very moment, when I was taking the picture, the guys were finishing up texturing the walls and ceilings; that's why the NEW back slider is open. By the way, have I mentioned that the new slider is 6 feet, instead of 5 feet, wide? I can't wait to walk through my new dining room and out this door.

Painting on Friday night and Saturday! Cabinets on Monday! I've even bought two new low-fat, healthy cookbooks to celebrate cooking again--whenever that happens!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Remodel's Coming Along

Last Saturday, a friend's husband took out my
old cabinets. My friend bought them for the canning kitchen she's making in her garage. When I finish with my stove, she'll buy it also. I don't know why I'm hanging on to the stove since it's disconnected and I can't cook with it any more. Well, at least it's a convenient place for all the workers to set their tools, screws, and paper work!

With the old cabinets out, I realized just how small my kitchen really was. Those old cabinet outlines just didn't look very roomy.

With the cabinets out, the contractor began taking out the existing back wall. When I asked him if I could swing the sledge hammer, he just laughed. Evidently, busting the wall out with a sledge hammer only happens on the TV remodeling programs. Wayne and his helper carefully and methodically cut out sections of the old wall.

My son Kevin was here all last week, taking a vacation. Boy, what a good thing to have him here to supervise the electrician. I am glad, though, that Kevin resisted the urge to crawl up in the attic when the electrician asked if he wanted to. By the way, the electrician is a former student . . . I'm glad I didn't fail the kid!
After the cans for recessed lighting and an abundance of outlet boxes were installed, Kevin and Corey insulated the addition. Even though insulating only took two hours, I'm afraid it was a miserable two hours for my sons. What a great vacation for Kevin! But what would I have done without him.

While work was going on inside the house, vinyl siding started going on the outside. This picture doesn't even begin to show the improvement in the way my house looks. When I came home the first day, only the Polar insulating stuff was up, and I thought that looked great! The siding is now almost completed and looks fantastic.
While Julie, Kevin, and I went camping with Corey and Audree and the kids this past weekend, the sheet rockers came. Kevin and I came home to the smell of plaster and the echo of a huge hollow room behind a sheet of Mylar plastic. A thick layer of dust still covers all my furniture, and I can't quite face cleaning yet. I managed to wipe off the couches so I could take a quick nap Sunday afternoon.
Even as I write, the guys are back, finishing plastering and texturing. Wayne says we'll be ready to paint on Friday; he'll buy the paint tomorrow. The cabinets come Monday, then we'll get the appliances. Perhaps my next update will be the final product, but no . . . I think I need to blog before that and show family and friends painting walls and ceiling and laying the floor on Saturday.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Remodeling My Kitchen -- What an Adventure!

For years I have toyed with the idea of adding on to my tiny kitchen and dining room. When a nice amount of money simply dropped out of Heaven, I decided to just go ahead and remodel. What the heck! The money would get spent one way or another, so I began planning last summer. What I really wanted was a dishwasher and another bank of drawers, but my contractor convinced me it was more cost effective to add 8-10 feet.

As the end of the 2009 school year came to an end, I assumed the project would begin immediately and be finished by the end of July with plenty of time for me to get everything back in order again. That did not happen! The rear of my house looked the same way it had for the last 6-7 years. Notice the beautiful Linden tree that has provided very nice shade this summer.

On July 27 the contractor finally showed up in my back yard, followed by a little back hoe and driver. Within two hours a trench was dug for concrete footings, but unfortunately, my beautiful Linden tree had to be demolished and discarded.

On August 4, the concrete was set and the contractor showed up ready to work. By the following Tuesday, August 11, the addition was framed in and tresses were in place. One of the biggest challenges was how to connect the new roof into the existing roof because of the steep, angled slope of the old roof. Luckily, my contractor is also a genius math teacher, so the new roof seems just like a natural addition of the former. Today, while we were enjoying our first back-to-school meeting, the roofers came and finished roofing.

Even as I write, a new kitchen window and nice 6-foot sliding door are being installed and the old ones inside removed. On Saturday, we're knocking down the inside back wall of my kitchen and a friend and her husband will remove my cabinets and take my old stove.

Projected construction schedule:
  • Electrician comes Monday morning to run wiring.
  • Also on Monday, the rest of my windows will be replaced. Not as overwhelming as it sounds since I only have 3 bedroom windows and the big picture window in front to replace.
  • And still on Monday, new siding will begin on the entire house. Can't wait to show those pictures!
  • Sheet rock and plaster will be completed by the end of this week or next, and I will start priming the walls and ceilings.
  • The old laminate flooring will be taken out, hopefully to be resold at my garage sale in a few weeks.
  • On Saturday, August 29, my kids and friends are coming to paint and lay new flooring.
  • Finally, the following week, the cabinets will be installed and my new appliances will arrive.

What a learning experience and exciting process! I can't believe what it takes to remodel. This remodeling project seem to have taken on a life of its own and has become much more than the I ever imagined.

One last reflection before I close. The night after the trenches had been dug and my wonderful shade tree destroyed, I woke up in a cold sweat, wondering if I was doing the right thing or if I was simply throwing all this money away. Good thing I didn't have that nightmare a week earlier!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Starting All Over . . . Again!

Well, here I am at the end of my summer break, and I hope I have finally been inspired to continue blogging on a regular basis. As you may have noticed, my blog's title has changed to reflect a renewed commitment to blogging, as well as expanding the field of possible topics.

At least two events prompted my starting over again (for the second time). First, my daughter Julie and I went to see Julie and Julia, the movie about a modern wannabee writer who blogs about making all 574 of Julia Child's recipes in one year. I have felt like the character Julie did about blogging -- that she needed a central theme around which to base her blog. My daughter Julie, however, told me today that I don't necessarily need to write about the same thing, which is what I had thought I should do in my previous blog about walking. After Julie turned down my request for her to think of a new name for my blog, I told her, "What the heck (paraphrased for my mother's sake)! I am just going to do it!" And, voila, I came up with my new title. And this title allows me to cover anything. I must admit I am feeling quite optimistic about my blogging future.

The second event that prompted my blogging reconfirmation was reading a chapter in a book Jean, our media specialist, loaned me about using modern technology in the classroom, including blogging. So far I've only read the chapter about blogging, which, naturally, says that if a teacher expects her students to blog, she must blog herself. Since school starts next week, I'd better get on the ball and start blogging.

As I've thought about blogging today, I realized I really have quite a bit to write about and can't wait to start. But I think I'll start tomorrow. In closing, like the character Julie, I have thought of writing a book but haven't even dreamed of starting. As a recently divorced woman many years ago, I learned how to change the oil in my car out of sheer necessity because I was too poor to pay to have it done. Within three months of my divorce, I had to move my family to a dumpy apartment which continually had a clogged kitchen sink and which I continually had to unclog. Over the course of time, I realized I could do anything a man could do even though it always took me quite a bit longer, so my book would have been titled something like Anything a Man Can Do, A Woman Can Do and would contain stories of things women had accomplished as they lived on their own.

Obviously I have never written the book, but I still amaze myself at what I do on my own. Granted I get a great deal of help and advise from my adult children, thank Heavens. My blog, I hope, will reflect the fact that I, like everyone else, just keep doin' it because, what the heck! most of us don't have any other choice.