Archive for the 'Renovations' Category

The definition of insanity…

is repainting your kitchen. Including the cabinets. Because to do it properly you have to take everything out of the cabinets and it all ends up piled on the kitchen table…

and under the table and downstairs piled up on the treadmill, and the washer and dryer….

Which means, of course, that you won’t be cooking any meals, or exercising, or doing laundry, for the duration of the painting project.

Hey, wait. That doesn’t sound crazy. That sounds like a vacation.

And the colors…

The colors are coming out FABULOUS.

We should be done in about two more days. I’ll post some pictures then. ūüôā


We could SO be on a Fireman Sam episode.

So, last week, the oven broke down. Halfway through cooking the chicken, it seemed to somehow… stop… cooking… the… chicken…. At some point during the not-cooking of the chicken, I walked by the oven and thought to myself: Gee, that doesn’t look right at all. It should be much browner by NOW.

And then we decided not to eat the chicken and got us some pizza instead.

When we bought this place, it came with a home warranty. Since an oven is a necessary item, we called our warranty company and said our oven was, like, BROKEN, or something, so could they please send someone over here to replace fix it.

So, they sent someone from Sears, who arrived mid-Saturday morning. He poked around in the appliance for a while, and then he hooked up a bunch of wires from it to some sort of gizmo he pulled from his satchel, and then pressed lots of cool looking buttons on it for a while. Then he disconnected all the wires, sent a few emails from his archaic-looking laptop and then turned to me and said: Well, the good news is, the oven’s working just fine.

And I was all like: The GOOD NEWS? THAT’S the GOOD NEWS?¬†No, dude. It would have been good news if you told me that the oven was a pile of scrap metal just posing as an appliance and that you’d just emailed two other guys to drive over here with a brand new super-sweet, stainless-steel, state-of-the-art-double oven, complete with steam injection so I could make fabulous homemade artisian breads every day.

The GOOD NEWS would have been that after saying all that, he would have given me a commendation signed by the mayor for actually having successfully cooked dozens of meals in that ancient, not-even-digital thing currently posing as an oven in my little kitchen. Said commendation would have been accompanied with a Very Large Check and an all expenses paid trip to DisneyWorld. Or Williams Sonoma. Or Super Target. Whatever. I’m not picky.

That’s what I would have called GOOD NEWS. But I’m weird like that. And because I’m aware of my essential weirdness, I kept my mouth shut (RegularDad would have been SO PROUD!) and just raised my eyebrows expectantly, ready and waiting for the BAD NEWS. Whatever that could be.

The BAD NEWS, he said, is that you’re not getting enough power into the kitchen. Your electrical system’s got a failure in it somewhere.

So, he called this all in to the warranty company and they sent a fax to their electricians, who don’t work on the weekend, of course. And it was Monday morning when we were finally able to get in touch with them and tell them our situation.

They sent a guy over yesterday, who took a look at our electrical, laughed hysterically and said wait…tell me again…how much did you pay for this place? and then laughed some more when we told him, jumped into his truck and sped off, still laughing like a loon.

Well. Okay. No. That’s not what happened. What happened was that he took a look and saw that the house was still on the old fashioned fuses. The original system that was installed back in 1960.¬† It looked like this:

You know that’s not up to code, don’t you? he said. Yes. We know, we said.

He replaced the blown fuse and technically, the oven was working again. But he also assured us that he’d be back again within a month to replace the same fuse. And every month like clockwork until we upgraded the electrical. He also pointed out to us that because our fusebox was so out-of-date, our dryer hookup was a house-fire waiting to happen, and recommended a clothesline until we upgraded our electrical.

That’s when we became immediately ready to upgrade the electrical. The guy came back the next day and now our electrical looks like this:

And now I’m not afraid to run the dryer. And now I’m back to cooking meals in the Oven That Wouldn’t Die. And now I know where that tax refund is going.

At least it’s done, though. We knew it needed doing. It’s not one of the more glamourous moments in a home renovation, but I still found myself wandering down to the laundry room all afternoon to just look at the new circuit breakers, and marvel at that shiny box and smell that awful leftover odor of that weird cement he used to seal up a line or something.

If I squint at it, I can almost convince myself it’s a stainless steel box. And anything stainless is good.


Look! Under the counter! It’s a mini-fridge! It’s a trash-compactor! No! Wait! It’s a… DISHWASHER!!!!


It’s stainless! It’s beautiful! It’s infinitely cooler and more intense than that other piece of crap we returned to Best Buy. And right now — RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT — it’s washing the dishes while I’m up in the attic typing this.

It’s so incredible. Let’s zoom in a little bit, shall we?


See those little green lights? See how they’re glowing a nice green? That means it’s working. It’s actually washing my dishes for me. Right now. While I’m not in the kitchen with a sore back and aching feet.

I’m gonna save these and keep them in their own special little photo album. Sort of like when you bring a new baby home. Except this thing doesn’t wear diapers. And it’s not as loud as a new baby either.

It’s actually pretty quiet. It’s one of those whisper-wash things. Pretty cool, huh? But I swear, when it first started up, I could hear the Hallelujah Chorus starting up somewhere behind the control panel.

Or maybe it was just in my head.


[sonific 0211285bc6b3f86f4109fca7f0d3ab34611d33ae]

Expanding our lexicon.

At the end of dinner, last night:

Me to 7-year-old who is in the act of picking up her plate and taking it to the kitchen counter: “Aren’t you going to eat your salad?”

7-year-old: “Oh, yeah. I was just going to clear this plate to make some room for my salad plate.”

Me: “Well, that’s very sweet of you, but it’s best to just set it aside tonight. There’s dishes everywhere in there right now.”

(We all glance in to the kitchen, where the counters are piled high with dishes that we used that day, not to mention the dishes we had to take out of the faulty dishwasher so that it can be hauled away.)

Me: “Once we get the new dishwasher installed, it’ll be a lot easier for you to help out and clear your place. But for now, just let me deal with it. I’ve got dish ish— ¬†dish…ish… dish… PROBLEMS. I’ve got issues. With dishes….”

RegularDad: “You’ve got dissues.”

Well…it’s…installed…sort of…

So, here’s where we’re at:


I show you this picture with a nod to Weaver, especially, who commented on my previous post¬†that this is how her husband would install the dishwasher, and that he would think nothing was wrong with it whatsoever. Ah, Weaver, our husbands are kindred spirits, aren’t they? Or maybe they’re identical twins separated at birth. We could be in-laws, Weaver. Think of it. And then run. As far and as fast as you can. To the hills and beyond. Just run.

Now before you all start shouting at me to be kind to RegularDad, let me assure you that I know with every fiber of being that he’s been working diligently and nonstop to get this thing working. I do, after all, live here, and I’m an ongoing witness to this unholy nightmare we call Installing A Dishwasher In This Kitchen That Simply Will Not Cooperate.

So, yes, I know with all my heart and soul that RegularDad is not to blame for our current dishwasher situation. I also know, deep in the furthest reaches of my soul, that I’ll be doing dishes by hand tonight. Dammit.

The reason the hose is sticking out the wrong way and thus has been snaked up and duct taped to the sink is because RegularDad ran out of the right kind of pipe to finish it all off properly, and then he had to work half the weekend so he hasn’t gotten a chance to get back to Lowe’s for more piping.

But that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that the dishwasher itself is faulty and will have to be returned. Right after RegularDad rigged it up and turned on the power to test it, we heard this alarming POP! from somewhere inside the machine. The kind of POP! that sounds electrical. And smells like lemon.

This machine just won’t finish a wash cycle. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the wash, it shuts down and starts flashing the letters “PF” on the display panel. “PF” stands for POWER FAILURE. Urgh. We researched it online and discovered that this particular make and model of dishwasher is prone to this glitch. And hence, the dishwasher will be returning to the store on Wednesday and we will never be purchasing anything from Best Buy Online again. Ever.

We’ve been testing different wash cycles to see if just the Normal cycle is messed up. And once — just once — we got the thing to do a complete wash while using the “Pots and Pans” cycle. But then, that cycle never worked again. Now, no matter what we try, the thing powers down after 15 minutes or so.

And during that one complete wash cycle, the thing still wasn’t working completely right. I went in to check how much time was left on the cycle only to discover that the display panel was flashing the letters “HO” over and over again.

“What’s it say?” RegularDad called to me from the living room.
“It’s flashing the letters ‘HO’. What’s that mean?” I said.
“Hmmm…not sure. And the only way to check is to open the door and look on the inside at the cheat sheet. And I’m not openin’ it. It’s runnin’.”

I stared at the panel for a few seconds, watching the message flash at me again and again: HO…HO…HO…HO….

And then it hit me.

“The dishwasher is calling me a ho,” I said. (Either that, or it’s channeling Santa. Badly.)

Talk about adding insult to injury. I¬†wonder if¬†Sarah Connor¬†ever had problems like this. It’s probably one of the scenes they cut from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Oh well, maybe the cheesy new TV series will add it back in.

Well, off to those dishes now. They certainly ain’t gonna wash themselves.

Dishwasher Installation 101*

RegularDad got an unexpected day off today. He arrived home carrying a Grande Vanilla Latte for me from Starbucks, and then immediately got to work installing our new dishwasher. (Doesn’t RegularDad just totally ROCK?!)

First, he demolished the mildewing cabinets that used to live in the space where the dishwasher will reign supreme forever and ever. Then he crawled under the sink and poked around for a while and determined that the easiest way to install the thing would be to simply also install a new kitchen sink at the same time. So he rushed out to the store for a new sink and all things that go with it.

By the time he got back, it was lunchtime, so we had sandwiches and then the girls and I rushed out to a homeschool gym day. When we got home, he was on his way out again for some more parts and pieces that he needed, because he realized that as long as he was poking around under the sink, he really ought to hook up the lines for the ice maker in the new fridge. Then some friends of ours stopped by to see the new house even though I’d told them that it was a Serious Mess. But they really wanted to see it, so for about 15 minutes, we wandered around showing the house to people.

After they left, it was getting on to late in the afternoon and the kitchen looked like this:


And when the kitchen looks like this, I like to get the camera out and Capture The Moment, ya know.

“Hey, RegularDad! How’s it goin’ in here?”

“Oh, pretty good. Just trying to get this thing to work, is all.”


“Hmmm….maybe it just needs a couple of whacks with this sledgehammer.”


“I’ll get this thing working if it’s the last thing I do.”


Trust me…there’s a saint for this. There’s a saint for everything.


And then, after all else fails…


It’s your basic dishwasher installation. Things are really starting to come together around here.

*Just kidding, by the way. This post is a Spoof on Installing a Dishwasher. These are not actual, real steps one should take when installing any appliance anywhere. So, don’t even think about blaming your broken dishwasher on me.

Looks like Spongebob could use a nap.

The one bonus about buying a house and moving during the holiday season is that you know exactly who in your neighborhood does this every year:


Because, let’s face it, it’s nice to know ahead of time if the people that live across the street from you have this sort of fever. Because that could really be a deciding factor in whether or not you buy a certain house.

(This isn’t the house across the street from us, by the way. It’s close by, but Not In Visual Range.)

And this picture doesn’t even fit the whole thing in the shot. My wide angle lens couldn’t get all of it in…it was THAT ostentatious. There’s lots more of that inflatable stuff spilling over into the yards on both sides of this place. It just seems to go on FOREVER.

And ever. And ever. And ever.

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