30 April 2014

The remodel ball is rolling... Kitchen Guy has been out here to measure, we picked out cabinets and have seen the computer mockup, and holy carp, it's going to be gorgeous.

Kitchen as is, from the living room
Mock up with the cabinets
I've been nervous as hell about this, but Monday we met with Kitchen Guy and then headed for a warehouse to look at granite and quartz slabs and backsplash tile and flooring, and I started to get really excited about it.  We found the counter surface we want, and thought we'd found the backsplash tile and flooring, but then yesterday we went to Home Depot and Lowes and found some better choices.

Y'all can play along if you want; I set up a Flickr album. There are a lot of pictures of the existing kitchen, the mock up, and a few of our choices.

The cabinets have been ordered and it looks like demo will start in 4-5 weeks. After that, 2-3 weeks, and we should have a brand new kitchen.

This means I have to start cooking, doesn't it...?

Not sure how much work I'll get done while this is going on. I am sure that the cats are going to be displeased, since they'll be locked in a room a lot of the time. I actually feel bad about that.

I feel bad, too, that Buddah will lose his access to the top of the cabinets.

Poor kitty.


25 April 2014

Lesson learned, education that I hope we'll never again have to act upon: when you buy a foreclosure, whoever owned it before you may not have been as careful about the maintenance of the house as you would like. You might see the surface things--like the kitchen floor that looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 5 years, but hey, you can clean that--but there are a lot of hidden things that don't pop up on inspection and you don't find out about until after you've moved in and are making payments.

Things like...the previous owner was an apparent DIY sort of person where electrical wiring is concerned. And you may have to have an electrician come out more than once to stop the sound of zzzzt happening when you flip a light switch (or to fix and entire room, as happened about a month after we moved in...)

And after a while, when you realize that in spite of repeatedly getting on your hands and knees to scrub the floor, in spite of steaming the tiles, and then using an acid wash, that floor is never coming clean, you begin to despise that damned floor. You already hated the freaking counters because they're basically bathroom tile to which every wayward cat hair sticks, but now you hate the floor, and by association, the entire kitchen.

So you muse about getting it remodeled, but never do anything about it because that seems like paying a lot of money for a lot of inconvenience. The kitchen is serviceable. Leave it.

But then cabinets start to crack, and counters start to fracture. And you start really looking at things, and realize structurally, things are not as sound as they should be.

They're also kind of ugly. With all the lights on, you can really see how faded the finish is on the cabinets; nothing looks really dirty, per se, but it all looks very old and very tired, and when you think about it you realize the house is 20 years old and this is all original and contractor grade materials, and it was never cared for properly.

Replacing the kitchen becomes not a want but pretty much a necessity, lest the cracks become fissures and swallow the first kitty to walk across them.

So...yeah. It's about time to replace the cabinets and counters and floor in the kitchen.

On one hand, I really really really don't want to do this because it will be a pain in the asterisk and I'm not in favor of pain, but on the other...we could have a kitchen I won't be embarrassed about.

We've found the company to do it, I think. Measurements have been taken, we have a really good idea of the colors we want, and Monday we're going to their showroom to see what they have to offer. We're not committed yet, no official contracts have been signed, but...

It would be a shame if the kitchen ate a kitty.


20 April 2014

Um. I know I said I wasn't going to do this in 2014, but I was feeling really squirrely about it and figured I would at least register and train, and see what happens.

2014 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in San Francisco.

I haven't had a lot of luck with the Avon; two years ago I was sicker than sick, and last year I got there and realized I was not up to it for similar reasons.


I have to try this year.

I won't be doing a lot of fundraising because of the odds of not walking, so no worries about me getting in your face with donation requests. But I am going to try to walk it, even if I only walk part of it.

Worst case scenario, I don't walk.

Not so bad scenario, I go there and follow my friends around in my topless little red car, mocking them as they sweat.

Good scenario, I walk the half marathon option Day 1 and finish Day 2. Or even chase people Day 1 and walk Day 2.

Best...I walk the whole damn thing, but really, I just want to get there, and be healthy enough to start the first day, even if I sweep a lot of it.

Training begins....well, soon, since the walk is in two and a half months.


14 April 2014

I had to get up at a normal-people hour this morning because of an annual show-up-prove-you're-not-dead appointment with my endocrinologist. This required getting bloodwork last Monday--which is rarely an easy thing for me because my veins are apparently shy--and today was really just a visit to have her look at the results, tell me I have wonderful things in my blood, refill my meds, and then schedule another appointment for one year from today at a normal-people hour. I have to get up at a normal-people hour tomorrow for one more blood test (nothing big, just seeing where my cortisol is right now; I've had some low blood sugar symptoms that are likely nothing, but given my history cortisol might be a culprit).

I don't like morning.

It burns.

Still...I've never been a morning person but I would like to be a morning person. Being a night person is kind of sucky when you're night blind. When you sleep until 9:30-10:00 and dark happens at 5ish during the winter, there's not much time to get things done and go places when you have to get home by 8-year-old-curfew times.

There's no snooze button on this alarm...
Now, I have a furry little alarm clock. He goes off every morning at 6:15 and then again at about 7:15. The first time it seems to be him just saying hello, pet me and I'll go away; the second is get up and feed me. On the mornings when the Spouse Thingy is coming home from work, I tell my furry little alarm clock to frak off, and I roll over and go back to sleep.

Other days I feed him and then go back to bed.

The only way I'm going to become a morning person is to get up when it burns. So tomorrow I will get up, whine, go get my blood drawn, come home, whine, and then try to get to bed at a normal-people hour tomorrow night. And maybe--maybe--I'll drag myself up on Wednesday and feed the furballs and not go back to bed. And then Thursday.

By Friday I will either be dead or used to it.

I will still whine.

You are forewarned.


10 April 2014

Because of...reasons, my dad gave me a healthy appreciation of avoiding fire. That tends to happen when your house burns down when you're a kid; we never had a fire in the fireplace--when we had one--or had Christmas lights outside when I was a kid. He relented on that latter thing later in life, but for all of my childhood he was a manical kind of careful where the potential for fire was concerned.

My mother was fully on board with that; there were times she would have liked a toasty fire crackling away in the fireplace and she wanted outside holiday decorations, but she couldn't imagine the horror of that particular scar on his childhood and wasn't about to push those limits. She knew his biggest concern wasn't necessarily of losing another home to a fire, but of losing his family. My dad was a quiet man, emotionally reserved, but he was a family man to the core. He lived for his wife and his kids, and then his grandkids, and was not risking anything.

So fire was limited to the BBQ grill, and he was pretty obsessive about making sure it was put out after he was done grilling.

I am not as obsessive, but he did drill some of that caution pretty deeply into my psyche. So, when I noticed the other night that one of the lights in my ceiling light continued to glow after I turned it off, I snapped to attention. When it kept glowing, I was more than concerned. When it continued for 20 minutes, I was online looking for answers.

It was the middle of the night but there was no way I was sleeping until I knew for sure there was nothing about that fixture that would lead to a fire.

Yes, CFLs can glow for a bit, but not 20 minutes.

That thing was not being turned on again. Blame my dad, but no. Not turning it on.

This meant replacing the entire thing--the fan part hasn't worked in a long time--and replacing it meant taking the bed apart and hauling it out into the front room.

Max was annoyed. His nap time was seriously disrupted.

Buddah, on the other hand...he was thrilled.

 He helped us drag the box springs out of the room by jumping on top and riding until we made him get down, but his disappointment over that was soon soothed by the discovery of the mattress standing in the front room.

He ran for it and climbed it like  tree.

He jumped down, and did it again...but this time decided he was staying put.

An hour later, he was still there, watching everything going on around him.

An hour after that, he was asleep, stretched out on that narrow strip of mattress.

After the Spouse Thingy got the new ceiling fan installed (with minimal help from me...I mainly just handed him a few screws and then played on Facebook) we ran out to get some lunch and to go to the grocery store; when we came back an hour later he was finally down, but the mattress was still warm.

I almost felt bad for him when we dragged everything back into the bedroom.

So now...I won't worry about turning the light on, and the fan on that thing is super quiet. I've been sleeping with a fan for over 30 years, but they've always been loud desk fans or floor fans on tall poles. They've provided enough white noise that I sometimes wonder if they've damaged my hearing, but I can't sleep without one.

Last night the quiet of this fan let me hear all the nighttime house noise, and as noisy as I've always thought Max is...he's worse. That little chit talks *a lot* during the night. I heard him on the other side of the house, probably bitching at Buddah. I heard him in the next room, announcing his decision to sleep on his tower in there for a while. I heard his feet pad up and down the hall.

No wonder he sleeps most of the day away. He wanders the house all night.

Well...he wanders when he's not curled up next to my head.

That horribly furry spot Buddah's on top of?

That's where Max waits in the morning for me to wake up. That's where Max waits for breakfast. It's where he waits for me to roll over and give him sleepy head skritches.

No, that's not a month's worth of fur. It's about a week's worth.

Yeah, you don't want to stay here if you have cat allergies.

The house won't burn down on you now, thanks to the Spouse Thingy's willingness to take seriously my want of a new ceiling fan you will probably swell up like a Macy's Parade Balloon, and while I keep lots of Benedryl on hand, it probably wouldn't be enough.


7 April 2014

When Max talks about getting a Twinkie, either on his blog or on FB, this is what he's talking about:

That's it.

Just a dab on my finger.

I do not feed my cats entire Twinkies.

All right?

All right.