Sunday, November 28, 2010

Status Report: The Kitchen Remodel and the Christmas Cactus

And were we successful in our race to complete our kitchen remodeling in time for Thanksgiving?

Well. . . . yes and no.

This is the stairwell and living room just outside of our kitchen, Tuesday morning, before Thanksgiving. And many of these boxes happen to contain all those little things you need for cooking, like bottles of oil, spices, pots and pans. . . .

But this is the condition of the kitchen Tuesday morning. The contractor was very apologetic about not having completed the kitchen by Thanksgiving. He finally heard our desperation to have a functional kitchen in which to bake and cook our feast, and he did manage to put the microwave back in, just above the stove, before leaving for the day. Luckily, on Wednesday, the electrician came and finished the wiring in order for us to actually power the microwave to use for Thanksgiving preparations.

It's not finished yet, but it is now such a treat to get to pull open drawers for spoons, and open cabinets for bowls, rather than rummaging around in boxes in the living room! I'm hoping to soon quit looking for the microwave on the floor of the dining room, and remember that it's at eye level in the kitchen now!

And to celebrate the progress, and Dianna being home, my Christmas Cactus decided to bloom for the first time ever!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Snowy Night in Grand Forks . . . and

Out and about last night, and it was the first significant snow fall in Grand Forks. It's very weird for this to be so late in the year, and it was nice and fluffy. Look how strange in photographs. . . like little octagons falling out of the sky. . . .

. . . and this is STILL the condition of my living room/dining room/kitchen because we've been so abandoned by our contractor. Over the past two and a half week, he's told us 4 times that he was going to show up. . . and maybe tomorrow he actually will!

Four days before Thanksgiving, and my "work arounds" only go so far in trying to prepare for Thanksgiving. If Craig (the contractor) still won't surface, I'm thinking about repacking/rearranging all the boxes to retrieve more of what I need for baking/cooking, moving the microwave to our coffee table, and running extension cords. We think he actually may show up tomorrow after my extensive, pathetic, begging at LumberMart, where we bought the cabinets, and who referred us to Craig. They actually did get him to return our phone call last week!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Celebrate! And trashing a novel

I can be a positive and happy person; I really can! For example, look at this burst of joy that is in my office:

(double click for full oomph)

A dear friend of mine, Claudette, whom I've worked with for 20 years, recently retired. But this is what she brought to our office about a week ago! I may live in North Dakota, the veritable epitome of winter, but I have this exotic, tropical, plant blooming in my office. Now, if only the friggin' building would fix its heat, now that we're in the 30s. . . .

But the better reason, the more, glorious, over-the-top, joyous reason I have to be positive and happy is that my oldest "child", Scott, is getting married in October! The hibiscus doesn't even begin to compare to the delight I feel about Scott and Elizabeth!

OK, that being said, now I can sneak in some of my negativity, and it's about this book,
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

and my view of it, posted on Goodreads:
"This book does have a compelling central conflict that does pull you in right from the beginning, but I found little else to recommend this book. Dr. David Henry and Norah have twins during a blizzard in 1964; he delivers them, and tells her that the 2nd child, Phoebe, a little girl with Down syndrome, died at birth, and instructs his nurse, Carolyn Gill, to whisk the newborn away off to an institution. Carolyn cannot go through with this, and runs away with the baby.

Obviously, there are going to be some problems, and I wanted to know the outcome, of how someone could live with this terrible deception and what it would do to the people involved.

But the process of resolving it is needlessly, laboriously, drawn out--for many, many pages. Enough pages that if you have a chunk of hours of your life that you hate, you can waste them on the middle 7/8ths of this book. Otherwise, turn it into a short story, read the first 50 or so pages, and then skip to the last 20, and call it a day!

I did not like the main characters or find them to be particular believable, interesting, or likable. The only main character who showed any promise was Carolyn, who, although still not particularly believable, was somewhat interesting. This was sadly diluted, however, by frequent introductions of minor characters who seem to show no other purpose than to allow for endlessly descriptive, dull, detours and passages that delayed getting to any kind of resolution.

The experience of reading this book is like being told that something monumental and significant is about to be announced, like you are holding the winning ticket in a contest, and then enduring a great deal of hype only to be told something anti-climactic and lame, like "you just won a $2.00 off coupon."

Seriously, read something else!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Black Sink and Two Steps Forward

I have no clue why, but I'm really enjoying my new black sink. And I don't know why I picked out a black sink, other than that on the spur of the moment, I decided to get a new sink, rather than put back in my old sink, and I suddenly decided that a deep, graphite, sink, would look nice again the new brownish speckled countertops.

Take two steps forward --

-- but one step back--

Note to self: when buying a sink, and you want to use your old faucet, count the holes in the sink. This might save the plumber having to head to the store to buy a faucet that will actually work with your sink.

So. . . it looks like I got a new faucet, too!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Color Drama!

I have two sons, one who is color-blind, and one who is not. It always baffles me that my non-color blind son will consult the color-blind one for his fashion sense. Even though color-blind, Brian really does care greatly about his clothing, and actually took 4 years of art in high school because he enjoyed it so much.

But to not see the full range of colors!

Does this mean he doesn't get the full, dramatic, glory of the color of flamingos?

Or will he "see" the new color I finally settled on for my kitchen?

It's slowly coming along (the kitchen,not the flamingos). The lilac you see on the walls will be covered by cabinets. (The only reason I even had lilac on the walls was because of a minor dispute with my daughter. I painted the bathroom a type of pink/mauve. She objected, saying it would stress her out, and that she "spent the most time in the bathroom" so should have the choice of color. I really didn't want purple in the bathroom (think color casts on your face!) and compromised by painting the kitchen lilac.

It was ok in the kitchen, but more "eh?" than anything else.

See that little grate on the floor? The one that matches the new cabinets? I myself painted that with spraypaint all by myself! Impressive, huh? It looks much better now that the old grate for the heat vent, the "gold" was all rusty and grungy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

North Dakota Measusure 2: Does this make YOU want to live here?

SUBTITLE I Too like to Shoot Zebras

In North Dakota, people can petition to have a measure on the ballot, like this measure, Measure 2, which came before the citizens for a vote. It failed.

Fee killing of certain captive game animals prohibited – Penalty – Exception. A person is guilty of a class A
misdemeanor if the person obtains fees or other remuneration from another person for the killing or attempted killing of privately-owned
big game species or exotic mammals confined in or released from any man-made enclosure designed to prevent escape. This section
does not apply to the actions of a government employee or agent to control an animal population, to prevent or control diseases, or when
government action is otherwise required or authorized by law.


Like everything else in politics, there are at least two sides to any story. One side to this story is that government should not tell people what to do with their land. They also argue that this hunting is really no different than any other type of raising livestock for slaughter.

The other side is, do you really think it's ok to allow the fencing of animals,"canned hunting," including exotic animals, to provide a shooting experience to people with money who want to be hunters and shoot them.

And the bill failed to pass, which means that, just as in the last 12 years in North Dakota, this is a legal industry. Over the last 12 years, there has not, to my knowledge, been a practice of shooting exotic animals such as giraffes and zebras, although it is legal to do so. Other animals are shot in this canned hunting, however, in case you want to bypass Disney World this year and, do this instead.

So does this sound like a desirable state for you to live in?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Surprise! Guess What's Behind that Wall!

As my dear sister-in-law, Maria, knows, remodeling is Fun! Fun! Fun! I used to envy all my brothers and sisters and the collective wisdom they have in tackling their remodeling their projects themselves, but I am now even more aware of how completely out of our depth Doug and I are when it comes to this. I didn't even buy the right fan light/dimmer switch today!

But our project is coming along. . . . and I'm hoping (desperately) to be up and running by Thanksgiving.

But my first . . . hesitation. . . was when I saw a splash of the color of the paint I picked out. And no matter how I tried to spin it, I knew I could not live with bright cherry red walls in the kitchen. Bright cherry red would probably be a SIREN call to all the Cedar Waxwings in North America, making them crash through my windows and eat my interior walls! I tried getting some brown paint added to the paint. . . and then decided that I should just cut my losses and buy new paint. Not a big problem, once I got beyond the indecision. . .

The bigger problem was discovered by the contractor. Take a look to the left of our oven, toward the floor. . .

. . . and NO that is not a Nikon lens scandalously, wantonly, lying around among the dust and construction! I'd never!

That's plumbing stuff. Pipes. Kind of like the big honker of a pipe in the wall, just above it, discovered by the contractor to be--well--cracked! As in, leaking. In the wall, between the kitchen and the bathroom.

See! I actually DO know some construction stuff! I know leaking pipes in the wall are bad. So is the resulting mold. . .

And another thing that's bad is how all the plumbing and pulling-out-the-cabinets banging around reveals the problem with the electrical connection and knocks out the lighting in the bathroom, so now you have to wash your dishes in the dark in the bathroom.

But first, we tried flipping some circuit switches. Because that's what you always do when the lights/power goes out; you go down to the laundry room and flip switches. And the lights come back on and all is good.

Except, of course, instead, our crazed flipping of switches just blew out our internet router. Which for us, is NOT simple and easy to repair, and left me going through Serious Blogger Withdrawal.

*sigh* But now I'm reconnected to the internet, have new paint on the wall, have new pipes in the wall. . . . but a lot of dark in the bathroom.

And that dimmer switch? Seems I didn't remember that the switch that turns on the fan is really NOT also connected to the light switch. Oh. . . and the light doesn't dim, either. . . . And eventually after searching the parking lot at LumberMart, I found the receipt (which fell out of the car)for Lowes to return that ridiculously expensive switch.