Friday, February 28, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 37.

I stopped writing about my kitchen for awhile because...

(1) I was bored with it, and
(2) I was traumatized by it.

You see, the floor was damaged.

It looked to me like they spilled some sort of thick, sticky, black motor oil on it, and then tried to clean it up with a number of various and strong spot removers, failing to completely remove the spot and damaging the flooring.

Of course, this is only what it looks like to me.  I did not see anything happen.   One day I walked down and a worker was on his knees with paper towels and my window cleaner, going over the entire floor.  This was an uncharacteristic move at an unexplained point in the process.  Soon after--that evening or the next day--I noticed the black spot.  Shawn noticed some bottles of "Spot Remover" sitting around.  I got most of the spot out myself, using baking soda and dish detergent.  But a few days later, that piece of flooring was coming apart.

We asked them about it, and of course they knew nothing.

Have I told you before how afraid I am of these people?  I am absolutely terrified, because whenever he makes a mistake, the one guy gets mad at me.  So this issue, this was beyond what I was prepared to confront in every way, shape and form.

I emailed the flooring company, but I am sure that they will say it isn't covered because of some loophole: improper installation, or inappropriate cleaning methods.  And even if it is covered, they will refund the cost of the materials.  Period.  I don't want some money back.  I want a functional kitchen floor.  I want the project over and my house back.  This piece of flooring is smack in the middle of the room.  And they installed the flooring all the way to the walls, and then installed the cabinets over it.  So to replace this one piece of flooring would require tearing out the entire kitchen.  Literally. 

I do not have it in me even to consider doing what it would take to replace that plank.

When I first saw the damaged plank, I felt like I had been kicked in the gut by someone wearing spiked cowboy boots.  I started to shake. I felt guilty, as though I had done it, and I thought I was going to vomit.

I prayed, and after awhile God helped me to realize two things:
  1. This is not my fault.  I did not do it.  Scrubbing a black spot with baking soda and dish detergent did not make my new floor come apart.
  2. OK.  My brand new floor is coming apart before my kitchen is even finished, and this is a sad thing, but it does not reflect a  moral failing on my part.  It is not a moral failing.  I did not sin.
I still feel physical symptoms of guilt when I think about this, but in my rational mind, God is helping me realize that I do not need to feel guilty.  I prayed and prayed some more.  I did some internet research on adhesives.  I prayed some more.  I told God, "This is Your house and Your kitchen, and You have the power to fix it.  I am going to trust You and believe that You will work this out for my good and Your glory.  A kitchen is a silly thing to be fixated on, and I don't need a perfect kitchen, but at the same time, every part of my life is Yours and You can show Your power in every detail.  I don't think You want me to be consumed with worry over this, or for me to be distracted from things that are more important.  So I am going to trust You."

Online, I found an adhesive that looked promising.  I went to my local Ace Hardware, and they had it, in stock, for a fraction of the online price.  I bought a trial tube and brought it home.  Shawn and I tested it on some extra flooring we had lying around, and it worked great.  God is good and His mercies are everlasting.  Tonight we plan to patch up our damaged floor--ourselves--and pray again, prayers of both supplication and thanksgiving. 

On other fronts, they put in our stove, dishwasher and microwave.  The microwave is especially nice to have.  Now we can heat up leftovers from the crockpot (or a restaurant!).  Additionally, we have new paint, and I love the color, a very soft, understated yellow that is cheery and light.  I had no idea the color could make the room look this new and uplifting.

Another bright note:  the counter people measured for the counters today, well ahead of the recently expected schedule.

It has been a long, harsh winter and a long, dusty construction project.  Many times I've thought of Narnia under the reign of the white witch: always winter and never Christmas. But then there appeared holly berries and the trickling sounds of melting ice. . .  Aslan was on the move.

In my real life, I see God on the move.  And I am glad.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 28.

It has been four (4) complete weeks since we began this project.  Since we started on a Thursday, that also means four weekends without a kitchen.

We have eaten many various and sundry things out of the crockpot, including canned chicken and dumplings "enhanced" with canned mixed vegetables, canned soups, pot roasts, and bratwurst and beans.  I have learned to allow for over an hour to heat up soup.

We sometimes reheat leftovers in the toaster oven (not a bad system for the right type of leftovers).  We've also used the toaster oven to make quite a few chicken patties, as well as sliced potatoes with butter and salt wrapped in foil (the old camping dish), which isn't half bad.

We dug out our griddle from the sun porch where it had been packed away, and we've enjoyed fried eggs.  Let me tell you, it's a kick eating fried eggs out of your lap in an upstairs bedroom.

Now we have the dubious pleasure of waiting on the counter-tops.  It takes a week for the counters to be fabricated, once the company comes out and measures for them.  What nobody seemed to know before yesterday is:  it takes a long time to get into the counter-top company's queue for being measured.  We are ready to be measured, but I don't think we are in the queue for measurement.


At this point we will have counters a week after we get measured, but it could be as long as five weeks before they measure us (even longer if were aren't even in the queue yet).  After the counters are installed, we still need to have the backsplash installed, the finish electrical (I think that means switches and switch plates), and faucets and such.

In the meantime, they still have painting they can do.

They may be able to install some appliances.  Maybe... the ones that don't depend on finish electrical being done, and the ones that are not in any way connected to the sink, which will arrive when the counter-tops arrive.  That definitely counts out the dishwasher, and maybe the refrigerator.  Fortunately, our old refrigerator is in the basement.  Our new appliances are in the garage.

I hesitate to show pictures because I asked for a lot of advice, and I didn't take everybody's.  I also hesitate because my camera's light meter is out of whack, and I really struggle to get a picture with decent lighting, especially after the sun starts to set, which is what happens by the time the workers leave.  My flash is broken, too.

But, in all fairness, some of you have been waiting to see this, so I am going to give you an idea, but please realize that these pictures are darker than reality, and they fail to show details that I wish you could see.

Here you see, from left to right, the space for the refrigerator, the space for the dishwasher, the corner sink cabinet, and the space for the oven and microwave.

At the left you see, again, the space for the oven and microwave.  
Front and center, Piper inspects the new digs.
Along the wall is our new buffet counter area, 
from which I hope to serve holiday dinners someday.

Here is my new pantry, across the doorway from the buffet,
and I am very excited to start filling it.
The door-style of the upper doors is incorrect and will be changed.
They will be square.

I did use two finishes, a controversial move.  The carpenters call them my red cabinets and my black cabinets.  They are more accurately reddish brown and blackish brown, or, as the company names them, briarwood and chocolate.

So there you have it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jesus loves me.

Yesterday I was tremendously stressed out.

The day just did not go well.  The weather was terrible, and I'd had to drive through slippery, icy, slushy, white-out conditions to get home from a morning meeting.  When I arrived at home, the kitchen project was full of tension.  My upstairs bunker never seemed so claustrophobic. 

It was just a really rough day.

But my husband came home and gave me hugs.  He listened to me, and we ate corned beef, potatoes and carrots from the crockpot.  He gave me lots and lots of hugs.  He reassured me of his love when I tearfully asked, again and again, "Do you even love me?"  He had the patience of Job.

We watched ice dancing on the Olympics last night.  I hate watching and wondering if they are going to fall, or take a blade to the face, or drop someone on her head; it's so stressful.  My husband gently comforted me and told me that Meryl and Charlie had already won gold, so I could relax and enjoy the skating.

We went to bed, and I was exhausted, for no apparent, solid reason, just that I'd been feeling emotional duress the whole day.

But this morning when my alram went off, I opened my eyes and saw this:

My maple tree--the unutterably gorgeous tree that I'd thought belonged to our neighbors but realized last fall that it was ours--was coated in clear ice, and the rising sun shone up through it, illuminating the branches as though they were gilded with sparkling lights.

I sat up in bed, my eyes wide open, and I could hardly breathe, it was so pretty.  (Unfortunately there is something wrong with the light meter on my camera, so I could not get a picture that accurately portrays what I was seeing, but this gives you some idea, especially if you click on the picture to enlarge your view.)

I just looked at it for quite a long time, trying to decide whether it looked like Christmas tree lights glowing, or like polished silver shining, or like something liquid and brilliant and bright, or like a monument in heaven that angels would encircle.  After awhile I decided to try to get a picture, and after not being particularly successful in that endeavor, I just sat back down on my bed and watched the shimmering for as long as I could before I had to take my shower.

The joy that filled my heart as I gazed on this beauty made my morning awakening tremendously unusual.

The horrible weather of yesterday yielded transcendent beauty today.  I showered and readied myself, and set off for Bible study, driving down the freeway, seeing that the beauty went on and on.  Bare trees along the road sparkled like my tree at home, and even the tall prairie grass was coated with ice, gracefully leaning in brilliant arcs that reflected the sun like so many rainbows of crystal in the spreading fields.

And my day just got better and better.

After Bible study, I found a place to walk, and a friend to walk with.  Unbelievable.  The thing I have most longed for these last few weeks was a warm place to walk and a friend to walk with, and today, here they were, effortlessly it seemed.  We walked at a decent clip for an hour and it was blessed.

Somebody must be praying for me.

Because even the carpenters, who have seemed surly lately, were full of smiles and good cheer.  We had a good chat about the kitchen, and everybody was very congenial.

I know that Jesus loves me every day, but it is easier to feel His love on a day like today.  Thank you--from the depths of my heart--to my Lord and to those who have been lifting me before Him in prayer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 26.

I did not take any pictures on Friday, or over the weekend, although there was a small amount of visible progress, really nice visible progress, in fact.

But I was too traumatized.

I didn't feel like venturing near the computer all weekend.  All I did was clean, and then, when the sun came out on Sunday, I observed all the places I'd missed when I cleaned.

The carpenters hate me now.

When it came time to install the cabinets, it became clear that the wiring that happened on that fateful day, Day 7, is all messed up.  The electricians came back once to move some things, and now I've found more mistakes, so more things will have to be moved.

And every time they have to move something, it opens up another drywall project, complete with mudding and multiple sandings of drywall compound.

This is messy.  And it is time consuming; it prolongs the project.  It's three steps forward, two steps back, day after day.  And more drywall powder on my brand new cabinet finishes.

Maybe this is normal.

I just wish the carpenters didn't hate me.  It's not my fault the electricians put the lights and the wiring in the wrong places.  Or maybe it is.  Maybe I should have been on top of it all.  I thought we'd hired professionals, and given them drawings, and they would know what to do.  I didn't realize that I should be on top of every detail.  Indeed, they did not encourage me to be on top of details.  They seemed happier the farther away I was from the worksite.  The electricians just came raring in here like a small, destructive army, and everybody's body language was sending the message, "Get the dang homeowner out of the way."  So I retreated.  And now there are all these mistakes, and when we point them out we encounter thinly veiled attitude and hostility. 

Anyway, I think all the cabinets are set in place now, except for the one over the refrigerator.  There are, of course, spaces where the appliances will go.  I could post a picture, but I am not ready yet, psychologically.  I'm battered.

I think I'd be excited about the progress if I didn't feel like such a prisoner in the upstairs bunker of my home, where today I hid out, hunkered down, and listened to the icy chunks of snow pelting the large window in my bedroom.

Spring will surely come,
and my kitchen will be done.
I'll cook again some day,
and take walks out in the sun.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The hardest people to love.

Back in January when people were thinking about making resolutions for the New Year, I saw a theme recurring in various places.  It was the theme of purging friends.

Currently, a mindset is evolving that says, "I can only afford to have people in my life who build me up and make me feel good about myself.  This is what I deserve from my friends.  Thus, anyone who drains me and brings me down shall be henceforth purged from my life."

This makes me profoundly sad.  Maybe it's because I feel as though I am a person who brings people down, and I am the one on the chopping block of life.  I've had a rough year, and I've probably been a needy, draining person to be close to.  In life, there are seasons when we can give generously, and there are seasons when we need others to help us shoulder our load.  I hope that I do offer something of value to the people I love, but I also hope (desperately) that the people I love will not kick me out of their lives when I don't have much to give and I long for a shoulder to cry on.

The truth is, the people who need love the most are often the hardest to love.

The people who need love the most are the hardest to love.

The mindset of only ever surrounding yourself with people who "bring you up," is one of the most selfish and futile attitudes I have ever encountered.

It is selfish because it exemplifies the trend of thinking, "Me.  Me.  Me." It is astounding that people do not even try to hide their selfishness anymore.  There isn't even any pretense about being concerned with the way others feel.  The media encourages us to put ourselves first, to focus on gratifying our personal desires, to measure our relationships in terms of what we can get out of them, and not in terms of how we can give to build up others.

Giving is always more gratifying than receiving.  The old adage says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and this is absolutely true.  If you are suffering from depression, if you are down in the dumps, one of the best things you can do is to go out and perform kindnesses for those less fortunate than yourself.

When you reach out to someone who has profound needs and can never pay you back, you have tremendous opportunities.  Entering the mess of someone else's situation will help you put your own situation into perspective.  You often find gratitude welling up in your heart as a result:  you recognize your own blessings and you are thankful to have them.  You may even feel thankful to be able to share them, thankful to see evidence of the good you can do when you break out of selfish mode.

When you shower love on a hurting person, you have the blessing of seeing the power of love at work.

When you use kind and encouraging words to build up someone with serious problems, you have given a priceless gift.  Our words have more value and power than we can imagine.  Proverbs 25:11 (NIV) says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  We can affect the course of another human's whole day by the way we respond to them in a moment.  Can you say something calming (without being demeaning)?  Can you diffuse a situation with humor?

However, it requires getting out of our own heads and into the heads of others.  We have to make heroic efforts to step back from the sensations of our own thoughts and feelings, and try to imagine how the other person feels.  "Put yourself in his shoes," they used to tell us, and it was a good way to look at it, but it is very hard to do if your automatic default is to ask yourself, "How do I feel about this?  What do I get out of this? Does this make me happy?"  Instead, as the Bible tells us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 2:3-5, NIV)

Selfishness is ugly, but it is also unproductive.  Trying to build yourself up by only choosing friends who make you happy is fated to fail.  If you depend on others to make you happy, you will never be happy.

Seeking happiness is a self-defeating goal.  I know it is supposed to be one of our inalienable rights ("...the pursuit of happiness"), but in making it a goal, we make it utterly illusive.  Happiness is called happiness because it just happens, unpredictably.  Get it?  Happy.  Happen.  Same word root.  Happiness is not something you can plan, put on the agenda, check off a list or mold into being.  Happiness happens most often when you least expect it, when you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, when you relax and love, let go, breathe, give, see.

So if you decide to make yourself happy by purging all your needy friends from your life, you might end up with less friends, but you won't likely end up much happier.

In fact, if you cast off all your needy friends, you may be left with a group of very un-needy friends.  The thing about un-needy people is that they are often fairly unscathed.  And unscathed people are also often unsympathetic.  So while they might make for a hilarious get-together when everything in your life is clicking along smoothly, they might not be there for you when you find that you, yourself, are needy.

If you choose your friends for what you can get out of them and what they can do for you, then don't be surprised if they treat you exactly the same way.  Then, the day you have nothing more to offer will be the last day of your friendships.  Your friends won't like you anymore, because you are bringing them down, draining them, needing help and support and comfort. You will be the cast off.

In my own life, I've found that the very best people, the kindest and most sympathetic and the most worth spending time with, are the ones who have come through deep hurts.  Suffering tenders people.  But in order to have relationships with this kind of person, you sometimes have to put your faith in God and the future.  If you cut them off while they are going through something--suffering, hurting, needing--you may not have the opportunity to know them when they have been tendered, matured and made beautiful in their souls.

The people who need love the most can be the hardest to love, but if you give them the love they need, you could help them through an event that will make them the best friends you ever imagined having.

And... on a day when you yourself are hard to love, wouldn't you hope that someone would share that same kind of grace with you?

Be the friend you want to have.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 21.

I stopped updating for awhile because I was so bored by the lack of visible progress, I figured everyone else must be, too.

We've undergone a great deal of drywall work and sub-floor work, both of which are important (and messy), and we are thankful that they were done well.  We trust that they were done well.

Yesterday they began to lay the flooring, and today they finished the flooring in the kitchen, but not in the laundry room.  I may be visiting the laundromat this weekend.

Yes, they finished the floor in the kitchen, and the upper cabinets were delivered today.  Observe them in my kitchen, in those cardboard boxes.

Tomorrow they will start to hang the upper cabinets, and when those are done, they will install the lower cabinets.  After that, the counter-top people come out to measure for the counters, and while we are waiting for the counters to be fabricated... then they will finish the laundry room floor.

Yes, I may be visiting the laundromat this weekend.  Or maybe even before that.


If you are bored with this kitchen stuff, I wrote about something else over here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 16.

Day 16. Leading into Weekend #3 without a kitchen... and this time, we are also without a washer and dryer.

Oh my.

Yesterday we had a difficult and incredibly scary talk with the contractors about the floor, and how we are not happy about the level of the floor, and the resulting bump right at the edge of a step down into our family room.

Both Shawn and I were extremely nervous to bring up a criticism, and dreaded doing it, fearing that we would ruin our working relationship with the people we have hired.  They are really very nice, polite, careful and even good about cleaning up after themselves.  However, I've taken two serious falls (not related to the kitchen) in less than a week (lupus?), and a tripping hazard right between the kitchen and the family room where we are always going back and forth, up and down two steps... well that is big concern.

We probably should have them tear up the whole sub-floor and re-lay it at a lower level, but since we will be charged by the hour and for materials involved in any rework, that simply isn't in the budget.  So we had this talk, which by the grace of God was very calm -- and I didn't cry, either -- and I think they heard our concern about safety.  The solution is yet to be seen.  I'm praying for an adequate one.

Ach.  Yuck.

And yes.  No laundry.  The washer, as you can see, is not in the laundry room.

The washer is here...

The drywall work is coming along.

I sure hope that by the end of next week I have my washer and dryer back.  I am not making this up.

Funny story.  When they detached my washer, one of the guys asked me, "Is this the only washer you have in this house?"

Ummmmm... yes.  I didn't know anybody ever had more than one washer.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cooking without a kitchen

We ate homemade food at home last night, balanced on slightly wobbling TV trays, washed down with glasses of water drawn from the bathroom sink.

It wasn't too bad.

Crockpot Chicken Lentil Chili

28-30 oz. can crushed tomatoes

10-15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies

3-5 oz. can chopped green chilies

1 cup dried lentils

½ cup brown rice

2 --1.25 oz. envelopes MSG-free chili seasoning mix

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 lbs.)

1 quart (4 cups) water

Stir crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, green chilies, lentils, rice and one packet of chili seasoning mix together in your crockpot.  Stir in water.  Lay chicken on top (it will sink).  Sprinkle the second packet of chili seasoning mix over the top.

Cook on high for about 2-3 hours.  Reduce to low and cook for another 2 hours or so.  Or just cook on low for 6-8 hours.  When the chicken is fully cooked, shred it with two forks.  You can do this right in the crockpot, in which case you will miss some of the chicken and end up with a large chicken chunk here and there.  If you want it to be uniformly shredded, remove to a plate, shred, and return to crockpot.  Stir to distribute the chicken throughout the dish.

Cook on low for another hour if you have time, to let the flavors thoroughly permeate the chicken.  This is a nice but non-crucial step.

Serve hot with shredded cheese and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

If you are not camping out in an upstairs bedroom with only a crockpot and very limited cooking supplies (while your kitchen is torn out for a remodel), you can substitute your own seasoning for the chili seasoning mix.  Try mixing these and dividing into two piles to use in place of the two envelopes:

2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. oregano
chili powder or paprika as desired

  • If Jon and DJ had been home, this would have made one meal.
  • It was tasty, but I'm not sure I would have liked it without the cheese and sour cream.
  • Stress causes lupus flares, and I am in one.
  • It is virtually impossible to write poetry on MSWord, and even though nobody likes to read poetry, sometimes it is the only thing I want to write.
  • Bwahahahaha.  No.  I do not write for an audience.
  • I am having failures in life lately.  It feels like getting a math exam back, and seeing that I've failed, totally messed up the problem and gotten it wrong, wrong, wrong.  But.  Even though I know I failed, got it wrong, have a red slash and no points...I can't specifically figure out what my mistake was or how to fix it.  Not a good feeling.
  • However, we ate plentifully and fairly nutritiously last night, so maybe I get some points for that?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snowed in

Being snowed in is historically one of my very favorite things in the world.

I love when the world is quietly muffled with a thick layer of new, white snow.  New snow is so fresh and clean and relaxing.  I love staying home with nothing to do, sleeping in, drinking hot steaming drinks out of warm, chunky mugs: tea, coffee, hot chocolate.  I love when people I love can't leave my house, when school and work are out of reach and we can sit around with board games and homemade soup.

Today we are snowed in.  It is mainly Shawn and me, but of course the two dogs are also here, needing their food and their medicine and even a walk, which was fun and fluffy, and like a miracle the snow hardly stuck to them when we came inside afterwards.

After their walk, I went out to scoop the lighter layer of snow off the front porch.   Shortly into this task, I began to feel not-so-good, and then I remembered the doctor telling me that after my surgery, I was not to shovel or vacuum.  "How long before I can shovel or vacuum again?" I asked her.  "Forever," she replied, leaving me to wonder what the 4-6 week recovery period was leading up to.  I already did something to myself last week, vacuuming behind the electricians.  I may have compounded that today, in the ten minutes I spent shoveling before I remembered not to.  Sigh.  What am I even good for anymore, anyway?  God, please don't make me have to go in for more reconstructive surgery.  Please.  Please be merciful.  I know I am stupid and forgetful and do dumb things to myself, but please have mercy on me.

Construction has been delayed for the day, so once again, the kitchen project agony will be extended but at the same time mitigated (today would have been Day 14).  I am not against mitigation.  Although, the sooner I can cook again, the better.  It is impossible to accommodate my dietary needs the way we are.  We have succumbed to canned soup, which takes approximately 45 minutes to heat up in the crockpot, MSG and all.  Pshaw.

Today I am going to try to make a chicken, rice and lentil dish in the crockpot.  I made it up in my head and perused recipes online to try to figure out a method.  Since all my spices and seasonings are packed away, I bought some MSG-free chili seasoning mix at the store.  We shall see how this works, and we will eat it whether it is good or bad.

I also plan to have a nice long soak in the tub today, because why not?  After I have started supper in the crockpot and soaked in the tub, I will work on wiping things... because everything needs to be wiped, and it is much easier for me than sorting through things (which will always need to be done), and it is not against the doctor's orders like vacuuming.

Too bad we don't have dust covers for everything like the English gentry used to.  I suppose I should take the opportunity of this day and pack away everything on shelves.  If only I knew where to pack it.

We also need to figure out how to get the water out of that heat duct.  Still.  Suggestions have not been pouring in.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 13.

Day 13.  Well, Day 7 was not particularly impressively good**, and Day 13 (today) was not particularly impressively bad.

I didn't take any photos today.  I'm just tired.  My back went out after I went to bed last night (yes, after I cuddled down beneath the quilts).  I spent from 11:00 p.m. to 2:44 a.m. in blinding pain, but it was the dark of night, so I guess it didn't matter that much.  Finally, at 2:44 poor Shawn got up and brought me 600 mg of Advil, and after that I slept until 6:45.

If you were to look at my kitchen today, it wouldn't look that different from yesterday.  There is more sub-flooring down on the floor, and much of the sub-flooring is covered with some sort of brown paper, taped down with blue tape.  In the corner with the bay window, all the appliances stand clustered, or at least the washing machine and the refrigerator.  Perhaps the dryer is in the garage.  The laundry room is empty now, and its floor is partially covered with sub-flooring as well.

It is progress.  It just feels slow, and photographically uninteresting, which probably means that it is more-boring-than-tap-water to read about.

We are in the midst of quite a winter storm, with 6-12 inches of snow predicted, and what looks like 5 inches already fallen, and the state has already used up its stores of road salt for the year.  This may mean that nobody will be able to make it to the work site tomorrow, and it probably means that the workers will be called out on emergencies on Thursday and Friday once the storm passes.  We had chicken patties in the toaster oven tonight, and they were fine, plenty filling.

The fragment of something more interesting to say flitted through my mind and escaped, dissolved, evaporated.***

So I will end for the day and hope for more dramatic progress to report soon.

** Actually, in retrospect, Day 7 was probably our hardest day so far.  It was tremendously loud, long and dirty, dirty, dirty.  I am still finding clumps of pink fiberglass insulation hither and yon, despite cleaning efforts that may have prolapsed all my remaining internal organs.  If it hadn't been for the lights they put into my bathroom, that day would surely have driven me over the brink.

*** Oh dear.  I remembered.  Today, Shawn noticed that our laundry room heat vent was not putting forth any heat.  Upon close inspection, he discovered that the heat duct that runs from the furnace through the basement crawlspace to the laundry room is full of water, blocking the flow of warm air.   Apparently on the day of the flood, a bunch of water ran down the heat vent into the duct, and stayed there.  It's bowed down, curved like a drain pipe with a trap.  We have to figure out how to get the water out, but we have to be able to do it with what we have, because we can't drive to a hardware store in this weather.  It's pretty low, so it's going to be hard to get gravity on our side.  Ideas appreciated. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 12.

They are still here, but I'm going to start this post.

I spent most of the day out of the house today.  In the morning I babysat for a Bible Study Fellowship leadership meeting.  It was a very easy gig, two workers and two little baby boys.  One of the babies got fussy, so maybe it wasn't as easy as it sounds.

After that, I went to Meijer.  My plan was to buy more coffee for Shawn, and to try to get a cheap manicure, because two of my fingernails had torn and I wondered if they could be saved.  I arrived at the store, and the nail salon was closed.  So I walked through the aisles and bought kefir, yogurt, salad fixings and ingredients for crockpot-chicken-lentil-chili.  Upon arriving home, I realized that I had forgotten Shawn's coffee.  So I failed to complete either of my original goals.


Then, this afternoon, I had to take Piper to the vet.  Unwisely, I also took Schubert, not wanting to leave him home alone with the workers.  If you have ever struggled with a screaming, miserable infant for hours while waiting to see your pediatrician, you have some idea what I went through with these dogs at the vet today.  If they could do a surgical "bark"-ectomy, I would take Shubert in for the procedure immediately.

When we had finally finished the vet-appointment-of-eternal-punishment, we went out to pay.  Just as we entered the waiting area from the exam room, another lady, a Model Dog Owner, entered from outdoors.  Her dog was perfectly groomed and perfectly behaved.  It pranced on delicate feet and looked haughtily away from us as Schubert embarked on another frenzy of skull-shattering yelps.  Piper joined with his harsh monotone expectoration of noise (he's mostly deaf).  I tried to apologize to the Model Dog Owner, and she gave me a look that said, "Some people.  Why do you even have a dog, if you aren't going to train him and control him?"  She took her dog outdoors to avoid us.

I waited yet another eardrum-blasting eternity for the receptionist to get off the phone.  Finally she looked up at me and, over the din of my dogs, asked my name.  Lip reading ensued: How do you spell it?  What is the dog's name?  Do you have an appointment?  She could not find me in the system.  Finally she asked with annoyance, "What are we trying to do here, anyway?" 

A feeling rather akin to hatred welled up in me, and I cast pretenses of civility aside.

"I am trying to pay," I said, biting my lip and (surprisingly) choking back tears, "so we can go home."

Piper, however, has up-to-date shots and two new heart medications.

I missed most of the work at home today.  The muscles in my head, neck shoulders and upper arms are rather tight.

There is one carpenter, a very tall, lanky guy, who seems to head up a lot of the work.  He is young and polite, and he listens to country music, singing along (on tune).  I don't know much country music, but just now the radio was crooning out "Can I Have this Dance for the Rest of my Life?" by Anne Murray.  It brought a little grin to the corners of my mouth.

They are working on the floor.  Right now they are placing sub-floor, not the actual floor.

But they have not mudded the new ceilings and walls that they patched and hung last week.  I really, really wish they would finish the drywall work before they lay the floor.  I know how messy this gets.  I don't want the mess on my brand new floor!

I am in agony.  I don't know whether to say something, or if I would just annoy them.  "Stupid woman," they might think. "When has she ever done any of this kind of work?  What does she know about it?  How come she thinks she can tell us how to do our job?"

Also, it is getting to the point where soon I will be afraid to post pictures because I fear that people will think the elements I have chosen for my kitchen are dumb and ugly.  I feel self-conscious and insecure.