Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mom's Kitchen!

After much much hard work, and sweat and tears, lots of lots of tears, I have finally taken a preliminary after picture of Mom's Kitchen! I have been working on this project since January. It has been ever changing and expanding in scope, but now the is the only a pot rack over the island, some electrical, and the tile back splash left to go. The tile is picked out, but not ordered yet. I did everything but the counter-tops, the electrical and the plumbing.

These are the before pictures when it was a sun-room. One from each end of the room. The doorway is off the dining room. I had to tear out the bathroom and closet at the end of the room, pull up the floor, pull down the ceiling, and build a wall over the brick wall to accommodate plumbing, electrical, and cabinet hanging. The doorway to the dining room was closed down about six inches on each side to make enough space for the hutch Mom wanted to put to the left of the doorway.

After gutting it, and pulling down the ceiling which was the most heinous phase, I added insulation, leveled the ceiling, and ran the duct out for the range hood. I also blacked out the window on the end wall. Next came framing in the wall over the brick wall, then sheet rock.

After sheet rock came painting, then the new hard wood floor. Then cabinets, crown molding, other moldings, modifying and assembling the island, and trimming out the doorway. Ta-dah!

The blurr is mom running through the kitchen trying to pick things up when she sees me with a camera in my hand!

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Official

Fiddleheads from my backyard!

Spring is here everyone. I'm pretty sure I won't be getting anymore snow for a while! If I have left any doubt in your mind how I feel about this, I'm p.f. happy!

I am having a house guest, so this has led to a major spring cleaning crunch. My ex and still very good friend, is coming to visit me from California. The weather has been fantastic, for the last two weeks, like summer almost! In the seventies, close to eighties, sunny. It's exactly this kind of thing that brain washes all New Englanders into staying here, and living through yet another cursed winter! Even I have almost forgotten how dismal it all seemed just last month.

I planned all kinds of activities for us, like cycling, kayaking, hiking...etc. so of course it's going to drop to the 50's and rain all weekend! Good ol' New England. Unpredictable my ass! It's a sure bet when someone from a beautiful climate comes to visit, they will leave questioning your sanity for living here.

I spent the day yesterday cleaning up all the leaves and branches and crap off my lawn, and mowed it. Not that it's really grown that much, but it does in spots, plus the mower does a great job of sucking up and mulching the leaves. It was a pretty gruesome task. The leaves were all dry and the mower made a huge dust cloud for me to walk around in and breathe in as I mowed. But wait, there's more...the little black flies are out. They buzzed around my face and head the entire time, in my ears, in my eyes, pinging off my forehead, and my personal favorite, up my nose when I inhaled. I swear those little flies would make me crazy if I had to endure them for very long. It would be a very effective torture method. It was almost enough to make me wish for snow again. Almost!

Chronic complainer! One more from the bitch, bitch, bitch series...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A New Post!

This post should be read to the tune of "I Want a New Drug" by Huey Lewis and The News, or he'll scratch your eyes out!

I need a new post
One that won't be too long
One that makes people laugh out loud
Or that reads as if it's a song

I need a new post
One that knows when to quit
One that won't take up all your time
Or that showcases my sharp wit

One where I can say thank you
For awards I've won
Thanks to Ces and Anony for thinking of me
For Creativity

I need a new post
One to pass it along
One to drop some blogger's names
Or 'cause the last one's been up too long

I need a new post
One for having some fun
One that pays off all my bills
Or lets me lay out in the sun

Oh...I'm tired don't make me do the last one. Well, now you'll have that song stuck in your head not only for the rest of the day, but every time you think about how you need a new post! Ha! Gotcha! You may have ascertained from my brilliant lyrics, that I have been given an award. One award from two awesome bloggers!
It is a Pico award, in the name of spirit, fun and laughter. I would like to present this award to three men who never fail to make me laugh, with their blogs and their comments, Jonah of Gefilte Fish Blues, perhaps the funniest, and most polished writer I've read in blog-land thus far. Ben of No Ordinary Roller Coaster, who hits the mark every time humor is his goal, and last but not least, a guy who's only in it for the laughs, Ve of Ve's Fantastical Nonsense. Congratulations guys, and thanks for all the laughs!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Random Thoughts While Stripping

I am working on a refinishing project right now that needs to be completed by the weekend. I am still doing the stripping which is bad, because It takes time for stain and subsequent coats of polyurethane to dry. Be that as it may, this is where I am, and what I should be doing right now instead of writing this! But, my birthday is over and I couldn't leave that tired old post up for days on end, so onward and upward, then downstairs to continue with the stripping. I never knew stripping could be so tiring, and it doesn't pay as well as one would think either, of course, I'm not done yet!

Today was a beautiful spring day. I spent a little time outside breaking up and disbursing a large snow bank on the side of my house that doesn't get a lot of sun, so it'll melt. The large pile was caused by all of the snow that slid off that half of the roof all winter long, and that was a LOT of snow.

The goldfinches are starting to brighten for their mating season and things that should be green are starting to become green. I love to see my surroundings coming back to life, it makes me happy, and it makes me want to clean, even though no company is coming! I KNOW!!!!

Yesterday, for my birthday row, I rowed a personal best for 16,000 meters. I guess I needed to prove that being one year older wouldn't slow me down. It sped me up!

Thursday it's supposed to be sunny and 67 degrees. I'll be taking the convertible for a spin, maybe to the driving range to hit some balls for the first time this year! That is making me smile already!

On that note, I need to get back to it. I hope you all are letting some good energy flow through your lives as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


-April 7th. It's my birthday and I'll die if I want to, die if I want to, die if I want to...fortunately, I don't. In fact, I think I'd like to delay that as where's my martini? long as possible. I'm not going to get all depressed just because I keep getting older each year, and don't even look like myself in the where's my fucking martini?! mirror anymore. Everyday of life is a gift. I welcome all the signs I had it two minutes ago of aging with open arms, for I am becoming wiser and more evolved with each day. I know that I am still as vital and coherant as that's it...the writing stops until I find my God damned birthday martini, the last place I remember having it was in the kitchen, when I went in there for the Estrovin, then I wanted another twist, so I opened the fridge, and...oh, there it is behind the prune juice, now where was I?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Make Me Shudder

This opening is 7' x 5' It's quite large! This opening is at the top of a vaulted ceiling through to an office area upstairs. On the second floor it is at window height. My customer was losing all of her heat to the upper level and wanted a way to close it off during the winter.

Finally, Shutters. I took on this project and what I thought would take weeks, turned into months. I just got home from saying goodbye to these suckers!

In theory, and on paper these seemed simple and straight forward. I listened to what the customer wanted, drew up a design, gave her a quote, took a partial advance and bought wood. Off to the races. I planned to build them at night and on weekends, I was doing a kitchen remodel during the day, which also was intruding on my weekends. Snow slowed me down a lot too. The fact that I had to spend a good deal of time clearing it, getting sand, etc.

The first thing that happened was my router bit was causing considerable tear-out. Some pieces were unusable, others had to be patched. They all had to be sanded, because my joints didn't come out perfectly flush.

I was putting in some brutal, physically exhausting days on the kitchen and just couldn't make myself go back to work after dinner. When I finally got them together, I went over to check the fit before painting them. Three times I planned to go for the fitting, and three times it snowed. I finally made it over there and they needed to be cut down. I did that and then primed them. Once I started painting them I noticed some seems were still noticeable, so I sanded them down again. I had promised to deliver brushed nickel hardware, and finding hinges in that finish that would support the weight of the panels and fit a 3/4'' door proved to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated. I found some I thought would work ordered them, and a couple knobs, and when they arrived, too small. I thought the width measurement was one side of the hinge, but it was the width of the hinge open, so they would be great for a jewelry box, but not big heavy shutters! I had to call and reschedule while I waited for the correct hardware to arrive.

I also ordered a hinge mortising template kit, that the salesman at the local woodworker's supply, assured me would work for cabinet hinges as well as door hinges. I had 24 mortises to do, so I didn't want to screw around with the hammer and chisel. It arrived the day before I had rescheduled to go over there, and it did not accommodate small hinges at all, only full door hinges!

I had too much hand mortising to do, to make the appointment, so I called to reschedule it again. It got to be like a sick joke, and I had a mini-panic attack when I knew I'd have to make the call.

The afternoon I was supposed to go, my customer called me and asked me if I would mind pushing it off another night or two, she had romantic dinner plans. No problem, I went the next night. When I got there I framed the opening, didn't have my nail gun because it is still at the other job site, so I hand nailed and set the nails, not hard, just slower. I put the first shutter in place and one side fit but the other side was too tall. The ceiling sloped down in the middle of the opening. I hadn't noticed it. I mitered the door stop strips and painted them. Filled the nail holes, sanded them, and painted the frame. Threw the shutters back in the truck to take them home and cut them down some more.

Today, I cut down the shutters, and was loading them back in the truck, I thought about the knobs. I bought normal cabinet knobs. They'd have to be on the upstairs side of the shutters and the stupid screw head would be visible from the living room. Wrongo! I thought of the wooden knobs with screws attached. If I could find those nothing would show in the living room. I couldn't find those, so I decided to buy 4 different knobs, and some #8 threaded rod, cut it to size, and have a knob on both sides. I went to the hardware store and bought the stuff. Then back to the customer's house.

The next issue was the hardware itself. I bought very expensive high quality hinges, because the shutters are heavy and I wanted smooth movement. The screws that came with these hinges were just as cheap and shoddy as a Yugo full of fifty-year-old hookers. They were slotted, and they were small. I had my mult-tip screwdriver, but when I switched to the number 1 flat-tip, it was broken. I had a small tweeker, I tried using that, but I couldn't get any torque so I had to leave, and go to a nearby lumberyard, that had some tools in the store. I found a set of four with the right size flat-tip and bought it. That helped a lot. However some of the screws were unusable. The slot wasn't deep enough to hold the screwdriver. Half the head just broke clean off one of them and three broke off flush halfway in the hole making it impossible for me to put another screw in that spot. Two of the screws were actually glued together and I couldn't get them apart. What a pain in the ass. Also, it was a struggle getting the doors hinged because I was by myself, the doors were large and heavy and I only have two hands.

Once I managed to get them all hung, I installed the door stop strips and as the customer left to go out to dinner, I had only to install the knobs, do some touch up painting, and caulk. I cut the threaded rod to length, marked the knob hole locations, picked up the drill and the battery died. I'd have to go home and get the other battery. By this time, I was starving and tired. I drove home, let the dogs out, fed them, grabbed my battery and bolted back to the house. I finally finished, cleaned up, loaded my truck, and the customer arrived back home, surprised to find me still there, but very happy with the end result, which somehow makes it all worth it. I went to take the picture, and my camera said to replace the batteries, typical.