Category Archives: Kitchen

Could you have done that the first time?

Remember here where I complained about the window framing sticking out from the sheetrock and my frustration with not being able to get the window trim to lay as flat as it should?  The foreman came back today and I told him that his finesse level kinda sucked on that one.

His response?  “Oh, I’ve got an electric planer in the truck.  I could go get it right now and shave it down right quick.  I thought about it when I put it up.”

Ummmm….. no.  Though that would have been helpful TWO WEEKS AGO before we did every other damn thing to put the room back together.

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Filed under Bedroom, Carpentry

The shell of a pantry

I’m BACK!!!!!!!!!  Squirrels, rodents, LIFE, second grade, first communion, softball, and a sprained foot caused by the world’s smallest pebble have all inserted themselves into our kitchen timeline.  But we are getting back on track.

The pantry closet is framed, the floor tile in said closet is mortared in place and waiting for grout, and today we begin cutting lumber to rebuild the soffets.  In the meantime, Himself has torn down half of the back fence to reveal – oh my! – at least 5 feet of creek bank erosion – so this blog will slowly transition from Kitchen Only to All the Rest of the Crap to Fix in Our House.

I’ll be posting more regularly again (with pics), so stay tuned!

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Filed under Backyard, Closets, Floor, Kitchen, Priorities

The manic squirrel is not happy

Thank you to the wonderful gardener dude who came to clear out the backyard on Saturday.  He and his assistant spent 6 hours getting us back to a blank slate.  Once we saw how much vegetation ended up in his truck to haul away we realized there is NO WAY we could have done that.  Certainly not in 6 hours.  And certainly not without a significant amount of pain.

We are happy – but with a few reservations.  The blackberry brambles next to the back fence hid a serious issue – we’ve now lost about 3 feet of soil to the creek.  Not good – and a retaining wall will require all sorts of wrangling with the city so we are left to consider how to stop further erosion (and further loss of our yard) without harming creek life.  On a budget.  Another day.

Today I went to Big Orange and bought black plastic tarps which we laid to cover the bare dirt – hopefully baking all remaining weeds and giving us a clean canvas for planning.

Kitchen update: 1.  He made some adjustments to the faucet because it was wiggling around a lot in the hole.  All seems better now.  2.  I’m ready to return to cutting things now that I am more confident that nothing creepy is going to be climbing up my leg.

Critter update: 1.  There was a dead something-or-other under that original black plastic we’d laid last May.  It was quite decayed and not easy to identify.  The neighborhood cat that had been hanging out back there was likely the culprit.   2.  New gopher holes appeared within 24 hours.  Well, naturally, they weren’t new, but we could see them.  3.  A big hunkin squirrel is pretty mad.  He’s been running all over the property wondering where the hell all his stuff is.  I would be sad for him if I were a squirrel.

So much vegetation!

The Trash

Erosion is at the foot of the busted fence in the far end of the yard.

Erosion is at the foot of the back fence - that plank of wood that used to sit on dirt is just hanging there

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Filed under Backyard, Kitchen, Priorities

We have a rodent work stoppage

Twice in the last few weeks, I found a brazen rodent jumping onto the deck – pitch black of night, but the bright porch light illuminated the scene.  Neither time did I get a good enough look at said rodent to identify specifics.  So we will call him “rodent” and leave it at that.

We have done ZERO in the backyard since May – no weed mowing, nothing.  Tall grasses and weeds + creek proximity mean to me that we’ve got prime rodent real estate in the backyard right now.  We are taking care of it by delegating – a gardener dude is coming tomorrow to whack the whole yard down to nubs except for the few small ornamental trees.  Black plastic will be laid (by us) after the destruction to prohibit new growth and give us time to reflect on the backyard’s future life.

In the meantime, I’ve got some routing to do, some sawing to do, some closet building to do – none of which is being done because I refuse to go on the deck without a weapon.  This is also hampering my interest in using the grill to cook burgers in the evening.

I’m envisioning a pristine backyard with no hidey-holes for critters to scamper and then I’ll feel comfortable down at ground level.  Only then will I return to my kitchen punch list.

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I lied when I said flaws are charming

I’ve got both corner cabinet doors installed.  The lower door went on over a week ago and was fabulous.  I just finished tightening the last screw for the upper corner door and it is so crooked that you can see into the cabinet with the door closed.

You see, the stile is crooked.  Yet, the level insisted that it was plumb.  Even when my eyes were telling me it was crooked.  On the lower door, the same thing happened, but a little wiggling of the hinge and all was right with the world.  I was cocky with the upper door – I didn’t do a test install before I refaced it like I did for the bottom.    At this point, I’ve gone back and wiggled the hinges out so this door doesn’t hit its partner door next to it by much.  I’ve leveled to my eye rather than the tool.  You can’t see into the cabinet anymore.

This may be a flaw that will drive me nuts enough to need to fix it.  I’m going to think about this one for a few days and hope that an elegant solution comes to me that WON’T require ripping the veneering off the stile.

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Filed under Cabinets, Kitchen

But YES, the Hippopotamus!

I’ve been having trouble sleeping off and on for the last couple of weeks.  This is different from my usual insomnia because I don’t wake up at witching hours (2:00am to 4:30am), but rather just wake up around 4:30 or 6 and can’t get back to sleep.   My brilliant solution for how to install the drawer fronts came to me at 4:30am last Saturday morning.

Normal drawer front attachments are done by taking the drawer out, clamping it evenly on the drawer face, making holes for the handles, installing said handles, and putting it back in place.  I couldn’t do this because the drawers themselves are uneven and the openings are also out of square.  I needed to mark off where to attach them while they were in place.

Since the doors below the drawers are in place and are level, I had a good starting point.  I needed to use a spacer of sorts to hold the drawer front in place while I used an awl to poke a hole through the holes for the handle all the way to the existing drawer front.  All my carpentry levels were too thick – I needed a spacer that was about a 1/2 inch thick.  Enter Sandra Boynton at 4:30am.  I decided to use one of the little girl’s old board books, figuring the thickness to be about right.  Went into the bookcase looking for “But Not the Hippopotamus” (my favorite, not hers) and found “Blue Hat, Green Hat” instead.  Impulsively, I decided I liked the irony of using a book where 25% of the words are “Oops”.

Blue Hat, Green Hat, Yellow Hat, Oops!

Used Goodnight Moon for the drawer next to the dishwasher.  I needed a little more heft on that side.

Goodnight noises everywhere...

Reading is FUNdamental. For carpentry.

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Filed under Cabinets, Kitchen

Don’t cook in the closet

So, how long have I been talking about having a broom/pantry closet(s) where I can tuck the microwave INTO the pantry closet on a shelf?  Hence having Lola move the electrical outlet to facilitate doing so?  A while.

In separate but VERY related news, I’ve been thinking about the fridge.  I don’t like this fridge.  It is a lemon.  The compressor has gone on it 3 times already.  We ended up having to continue to renew the extended warranty – something we NEVER do – because one day it will finally just give up and die.  And this is a fairly new fridge circa 2005 (I think?).  If we were to get a NEW fridge – only because this one dies – would we get a top freezer again?  No.  I’m tired of bending down to look into the fridge and our little girl is plenty tall enough to reach things in a bottom mounted freezer model.

We originally got the top mounted freezer because of the environment reports saying they are the most energy-efficient of all the styles of fridge – side by sides, the least.  The bottom mounted freezers are somewhere in the middle.  But.  They are all slightly wider than the top mounts – generally 32 inches wide compared to 30 inches wide.

Back to the closet.  I’d miscalculated how much space the fridge required when we laid the floor – I measured a generous 32 inches from the left side of the bottom cabinet.  Which was the one that I accidentally cut 1 1/2 inches from widthwise, forgetting that I couldn’t cut the same amount off its partner top cabinet.  So those two “generous extra inches” were sucked up by the top cabinet to the right of the fridge. Now I’ll need to set the right side of the closet in by another two inches to give me the flexibility of getting the fridge I want down the line.

Which makes the closet at least two inches more narrow.

Remember the IKEA Gorm closet system?  Of course I’m buying it.  If I were to build my own closet interior – it may or may not cost less but will certainly take 15 times as long.  GORM has two widths – 19 and 30.  I’m going to go with the 19 so I can still have a decent amount of broom closet space next to it.

I can’t fit my microwave onto the 19 inch shelf.  The door won’t open.

Yeah, so, it turns out the microwave is staying on the counter as far as the man of the house is concerned.  We go in waves where we use the microwave MANY times a day and then for months never touch the damn thing.  We are in a high microwave usage phase right now.  It sits on the counter above the dishwasher.  It is fine there.  It works there.

This isn’t a problem to solve.  Just keeping you in the loop on the circuitous thought process of this weekend’s project – the closet!

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Filed under Cabinets, Carpentry, Closets, Electrician, Floor, Kitchen