Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thank You, Spook (& Dad)

So, last Friday, after picking up Princess at mom's and having lunch, she helped me tape... A LOT of tape... I've decided Frog tape sucks, and I love painter's Blue tape. I also love Amy Matthews .

Princess and I had to tape off the ceiling throughout the whole house (except the kitchen), and all the trim in the hall and living room. By that point, it was too hot to paint (the a/c unit had been temporarily disconnected for two reasons -- one: so we could paint around the opening in the wall, and two: so we could replace the unit with a newer digital model). Saturday, I had to work and Princess had a cooking class, so no painting that day either...

Sunday, Ace and I got up a little earlier than is our normal time, had our mochas, got set up, and got to work. I cut in (Princess helped) and he followed behind me with the rollers (Princess got to use the 4" for smaller areas). Half hour passed (lunch break), and we were ready for a second coat. After waiting an hour or so, we pulled all the tape, and moved the living room furniture back.

Monday, the flooring installers came to demo the last two rooms. For our comfort, they actually decided to demo only part of the dining room carpet, and all the tile in the kitchen. With the tile came the subfloor, which (after installing a vapor barrier) was fully replaced. One problem: when I got home from work around 3p, I heard a leak. After finding where it was coming from (long nail in new subfloor), Ace turned off the hot water and crawled into the crawlspace to get a photo. He then called our installer, who called a plumber to get it fixed.

Tuesday, I left for work before any contractors got here, so Ace kept me updated by text. The plumber came by and replaced the pipe (nail went straight through); no cost to us, of course. Then, the electrician showed up and did all his rough-ins (there's a hole in my floor -- but this one is supposed to be there; it's for the outlet on the new island!). Everyone was gone by 4p, which left us free to take Princess to her first soccer practice of the season!

Yesterday, the drywallers were here to replace all the crap they removed (about one and a half walls worth). They'll be back today to tape, mud, and texture. I actually had to call our main contractor a few times to get some things worked out; hence the title of this blog -- had I not had experience working for my brother years ago, and helping dad with many projects through the years, I wouldn't have known enough to question them.

Anyway, after today, we're free through Monday to get those three walls painted, and get the rest of the lighting back up. I have a dilemma, though... with the "Bordeaux" color of the cherry cabinets, I'm not sure I want to do burgundy on the kitchen's east wall... All the other east walls in my house's main living areas are burgundy, so, for cohesiveness, it makes sense. BUT, I'm afraid we may lose some of the stand-out quality of the cabinets by putting some of them against a wall of similar color. My other choice is to paint it the same as the other two, which is grey like the rest of our home... Thoughts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Between Coats...

Yesterday, we spent the whole day prepping the house to paint the ceiling -- figured since the demo crew and the plumber finished up this week's projects early, we'd take advantage of it. Finished prepping by 7p, then had enough time (and light) to get the walls base-primed (going over other paint, pen marks, etc) and to get one coat of primer on the ceiling.

This morning, after mochas (which, btw, take a lot longer to make considering we have no kitchen -- it's like camping, but in a house), we put up another coat of primer, and cut-in the walls. I have a moment right now (between coats) to get this blog down, and have some lunch... Then, prime the walls and actually paint the ceiling. My "plan" is to paint the grey walls tomorrow, but we'll see how the day looks...

In other news, my Princess returns to the area tonight, but she gets in so late, I'm having her stay at "Mimi's" and I'll get her in the morning. She likes to paint, so she can help me tomorrow. I am looking forward to hearing all about her trip, and seeing the pictures she's taken!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Was Wrong...

We've gotten two more emails, and a postcard, from Princess since the last post. On the 16th, she sent, "i miss you! Even though i am the only girl i am having lots of fun with the boys." I replied, "I am so glad you're having fun!! We miss you, too, but we're focused on work and the kitchen. Monday, they'll be here to take all the cabinets away and remove a couple of walls, so that Tuesday & Wednesday, they can run new wires & water lines! Did you remember to send Papa a "Happy Birthday" message? Continue to have fun, and I'll look forward to your next email (or just catching up when you get home, if you don't have time for more emails). LOVE YOU! -mom-" I chuckled at her response, "Yay! It is about time . Yes, I sent papa a birthday message. I hope to have fun in Hiedelburg. I love you guys! See you in a week."

In the meantime, the kitchen is proceeding nicely. Monday, the demo guys were here for about 3 hours (I quote, "Took us longer to drive here than it did to do the work!" Probably not, but still...). My kitchen is now completely gutted. Today the plumber redid all the old lines, built a box for a shut off from the bathroom to the ice maker (same water line, now it has it's own shut off valve), and ran new for a new outside faucet (which, due to the old one's shut off valve leaking, hasn't been in use for about 6 years).

Next week's plan --> Monday: flooring installers remove carpet from dining room, and tile & subfloor from kitchen, then replace all the subfloor; making sure it's all level. Tuesday: electrician works his magic. Wednesday: drywallers install new drywall to the walls currently missing it. Thursday through the weekend is left for us to finish painting...

Steve, our contractor, gave us an estimate of 4 weeks. I am estimating 6... we'll see soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One More... And, GO!

So, Tuesday morning (equal to around noon, Germany time), I got one more email from my angelpie: "Reporting on wardrobe malfunctions! My Aeropostle shirt is too tight, and is not comfortable. So I am going to use it as a painting shirt when we paint later this week. Also, my San Francisco shirt had a rip on the right seam. Mimi hand sewed it for me, and I will machine sew it when I get back to Portland. It cooled down last night and I had ice cream twice yesterday! I also mailed a postcard to you yesterday. Guten tag!"

Obviously, Princess didn't write this one herself, but she did tell mom what to write. That was the last communication I got, and I'm sure that means she's super-busy, having a great time, and exhausted by the end of her days. During all her other overseas trips, I didn't get any communication except the "We're here!" email, so this is an improvement...

In other news, our kitchen demo starts this Monday!! We still have the majority of our things in storage, and will probably be moving a few more things there this weekend to make room for the cabinets here. We already have the new dishwasher, range, faucet unit, and all the drawer handles. Still waiting for sink, et al (back ordered, but should be here before end of month), and range hood (next week). We also need to remove everything from inside the current cabinets, & store what we don't need -- we'll do that Sunday.

Basically, the kitchen will be completely demo'd w/partial drywall removal, the plumbing & electrical will be brought up to code (including an outlet on the new island), all water damage (if they find any... and we think they will -- no thanks to he-who-installed-my-dishwasher) will be addressed, and they'll install new drywall on two walls. Ace & I will paint, and the flooring people will demo the remaining two rooms (dining & kitchen) then repair and level. After that's done, the cabinets go in, the new flooring goes in, and the countertops/sink/faucet are last!

The contractors' hope is six weeks; our personal thoughts are more like eight. We're also assuming they'll find more water damage between the kitchen & bathroom, which will push our bathroom remodel up. Not a big deal; it's a small room (less than 50 sq ft), and the last "big" inside project. I already have some ideas...

Monday, July 12, 2010


So far, I've gotten two emails from Princess, and one from mom. We miss her, but not nearly as much as we did last year... But, last year, we were home and the older kids weren't being as helpful as they should have been. This time, we've had a few things to keep us busy. So far, we've been doing a lot of cleaning (and cleaning OUT), prepping for the kitchen demo. I work a full day tomorrow, so probably Wednesday and Sunday we'll be packing up the majority of the kitchen in boxes; what we don't absolutely NEED will be taken to storage.

When they first got in, we all got, "Long flights (I slept about 4 hours - M******* says she slept about 2!) - Got to hotel... at 9 am, but can't get into our room until 2 pm, so we've been wandering the streets, walking along the... River, etc. Keyboard on German computers different - Z and Y are reversed and punctuation different! More later."

Princess then sent Ace & I, "We made it here safely. I love you and miss you both - M*******," to which I replied, "We love you and miss you too. - mom & Papa" Then, I got another email this morning, "I slept for 12 hours last night, and then had another 3 hour nap this morning! I woke up at 3:25 this morning, but went back to sleep until 6. It is HOT here - Mimi dragged me to a cathedral so she could take pictures of the stained glass windows. Love, M*******" Awww, poor thing (hahaha, not).

Mom also sent (and posted as her FB status), "M*******and I slept 12 hours last night - then, after breakfast (of which she ate very little!), she slept for another three hours. Rest of group arrived about noon - turns out she's the only girl (three boys), but she says she's okay with that. Classes start tomorrow - today we ate and toured the city in the heat!" (She actually said what city, but I don't want to post that here.)

Anyway, we look forward to more emails, and I will post them here when we do get them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Off She Goes

Princess started traveling overseas at the age of 7, but the idea actually started when she was 4 and I took a trip to London with my mother (whom Princess refers to as "Mimi"). To make her more comfortable with my absence (with which she's had trouble since she was 17 months, and her father left our family home -- she used to think I would leave her, too; poor thing... but that's a whole other story), I showed her maps and told her all about the things I was going to do, and that when I got back, I would show her pictures!

After mom & I returned, she asked, "Mimi, when do I get to go to London?" Thinking nothing of it, mom answered,"I think when you're 7, you'll be ready." My daughter is NOT one to forget anything, much less a promise, so right after her 7th birthday, I started putting the pieces in place to get her passport. Since I have full legal custody, I made sure I didn't need her BD's permission, 'cuz he has a habit of trying to stop her travels (in and outside the US); unsuccessfully, of course. Once her passport was acquired, mom made arrangements for her first trip overseas -- to London; just like mommy!

Mom then wrote an article for I.T.N., explaining some of the legalities of traveling overseas with a grandchild, as well as some of the cool things they did together; she included a couple photos that Princess took (yes, she got proper credit), and a few months after that article was printed, mom was contacted by Sally Wendkos Olds, who was writing a book about things to do with your grandchildren. She interviewed my mom and asked to use info about her & Princess' trip to London in her book (Princess has been published!). Since that trip, Princess has also been to Amsterdam and Costa Rica, and mom continues to submit to I.T.N.

Tomorrow morning, bright & early, my Princess "abandons" me once again... This time, she and her Mimi are off on a two-week adventure in Germany! They, along with other grandparents and grandchildren (who are all around Princess' age) will be exploring castles & old monasteries, taking a boat tour, playing and learning about the Knighthood, and being part of a mystery tour! I will miss her, as I always do, but (as always) she'll have a great time and will have many pictures, stories, and souvenirs (she's hoping to get her Papa a specific item to bring back for his birthday) to share with us when she returns.

Besides, we have a full-on KITCHEN REMODEL to keep us busy while she's gone! Demolition starts July 19th!