Browsing Archives for January 2013

A Cheerleader’s Reunion.

January 30th, 2013

My sister posted this video on her site and I am afraid I had to post it here as well. It’s a video of my sister and her best friend Carmen and myself trying to remember our old cheers from highschool. We are completely ridiculous, but dang it! It was fun!

Sixteen

January 16th, 2013

The one in the hazard pants is sixteen now. He’s my artist, my musician, my actor, my singer, my reader, my heart. Other than the first nine month of his life during which he could only be described as a very fussy baby – not colicky – just a plain old fuss bucket, he’s been a joy to raise. As an infant, Ethan was never quite content with anything I did for him.  But then at nine months he figured out how to walk and suddenly – little mister fussbucket became practically angelic. Evidently, all he needed was the ability to get around on his own.

The Head Plant

When he was two, the CD called Ethan “The twoiest two year old”. He only had two speeds – hyper drive and stop. He would do this thing that I came to call “the head plant”. At two years, Ethan’s energy would evaporate suddenly and without warning and I would turn to find him with his head planted against whatever soft surface was nearby. There he would be, suddenly lying quietly on the floor, staring into space with his head cemented onto a surface so firmly, I was unsure I would be able to unweld him and carry him to his crib. This was how I knew Ethan was ready for a nap. By his head plant.

I’m Getting Lonely!!!

When Ethan was a toddler, we lived in a cute little cottage in which the CD and I’s bedroom was on the main floor and our three young sons shared a large room under the eaves on the second floor. At night we would carry the boys upstairs, read stories, tuck them in and then head back down the stairs for a few precious hours of peace. Many nights, after everyone was tucked up tight and the CD and I were lying in our own bed just about to sleep we would hear Ethan’s young voice wafting down the stairs in a tremulous tone as he wailed…

“I’m Getting LONELY! “I’m Getting LONELY!”

One of us would climb the stairs again and tuck him up one more time, situate a few stuffed animals around him, rub his little noggin, pat his little back and assure him that not only were his two brothers in the same room with him, but his parents were just right at the bottom of the stairs. Usually this would cure his case of loneliness, but occasionally it simply was not enough and Ethan would end up in our bed whereupon his intense loneliness would instantly depart.

His Own Man

Ethan has always had this wonderful ability to be himself with little regard to what others might think of him.  He’s comfortable in all sorts of situations.  He has quirky arty friends and hangs with the jocks and basically doesn’t know a stranger.  I have always been amazed by his ability to morph into whatever group he was in and still maintain his own identity.  He’ll sit at the piano and sing and play (without reservation) the latest pop tune he’s trying to master while a series of husky contractors tear into the sheet rock right next to him.  He forces his athlete friends to listen to Broadway show tunes on the way to baseball games and is completely unafraid to unabashedly sing along at the top of his voice.  Ethan has always just been extremely comfortable in his own skin.  As a person that has never been quite comfortable in my own, I have always found this to be amazing about him.  I don’t know if it comes from being a middle child, or if it is just who he is, but it’s such a lovely thing to see a young person feel completely at ease with himself.

Okay – that is probably enough bragging about my kid for today.  Tune in tomorrow when I go on ad nauseam about the good looks of my third child Drew.

Just kidding.

Sort of…  Ha ha.

Renovation Rubble

January 16th, 2013

There exists a strata of human among us whose eyeballs are drawn to the examination of a house-plan the way the hungry are drawn to a saucy dish of rice and beans. If a house-plan comes within a snifter’s distance from us, we will dive across a barrel, over a mountain, under a briefcase, or even around an exploding volcano to gaze upon the minute details of the plan.

I am one of these unfortunate creatures.  House-plans are my drug.  I can never stare at one too long.  And drawing one!  Holy Moly!  It’s a narcotic straight from God’s own crack pipe!

And so -  in many delicious and concentrated hours prior to leaving my former home, I drew and I drew and I drew -  hoping to come up with a renovation plan for the pink nightmare we had purchased that would turn a purple pumpkin into perhaps a less warty spaghetti squash or at least a very mild zucchini.

Exhibit A.

The following plan is the new house we bought  in all its former purple glory. Most troubling you will immediately note is the fact that the living room is completely cut off from the kitchen forcing the inhabitants of the two rooms to communicate with one another via either a series of knocks upon the offending wall, shouting down the offending hall or sending one another offending texts.   The original builder may have intended for these separated spaces to be an echo of a more romantic lamp lit era when vital thoughts were communicated via ink quills and women corseted themselves into the carcasses of dead whales. But in these hefty modern times where women have freely untethered their mid sectionals and allowed them to run wild like rabid wolf packs of undercooked bread dough all over the waist bands of their low riding jeans, I felt not an ounce of remorse as I ruthlessly decided to knock a hole in the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room.

Second to the need for a connection between the kitchen and living areas was the complete lack of a decent mud room entrance for a family with kids. The house desperately needed a spot for backpacks and sports equipment and trumpets and saxophones and gloves and hats and jackets and scarves and crumpled notes from teachers with extremely important information that I will never see because it is wadded up into a ball resembling trash in the mud room that I don’t even have!  And so I  removed two more walls to create a larger mud entry, a bigger bathroom and a dedicated laundry.  Alas, with the creation of these much needed rooms, a tiny bedroom was swallowed whole, and so the hallway had to go.  It was taken into the weird office/nursery and voila!  A new bedroom emerged!

Peruse at your leisure!

BEFORE

AFTER

Phase one of this plan is already underway.

In the above photo, you can see the where the old pantry closet was removed and a new one built right next to it.

The wall that used to separate the nursery/office from the hall way was removed and the ceiling over that space which used to be vaulted had to be lowered to the level of the rest of the new bedroom.

In this photo, you can see a new entry has been framed coming from the laundry room to the kitchen.

The contractor who has been taking out the walls and building the new ones is married to one of my work mates at the Garden Center.

On the day we took the kitchen cabinets down, he brought reinforcements.

Here’s the kitchen without any cabinets.

Except I did manage to persuade the contractor to leave my sink and dishwasher in place as long as possible.

I don’t even want to think about going weeks without a sink and dishwasher.

And here is the first glimpse of the living room from the kitchen!

And the finished product.

Actually – we eventually had to remove another foot of the wall so that the refrigerator could swing past the door and fully open.  Otherwise we would not have been able to remove the drawers from the fridge!

Also – ever since we have started the project I can’t seem to say the word “refrigerator”.  I keep saying “frigerator” which is driving me crazy.  Why can’t I say RE frigerator!  It’s like my tongue is paralyzed.  And the more I think about it, the less I am able to say REfrigerator.  I have tried saying “fridge”, but then my throat seizes up and spits out “orator” before I can stop it!  I feel like a hillbilly.  Me and my frigerator.  Someone send help!

We moved the cabinets to the basement where I am painting them with Annie Sloan Chalk paint. The plan is to re-configure some sections of the old cabinets to fit the new kitchen walls.  A local cabinet maker is building a new kitchen island and fridge (0rator) GAH!  cabinet to go with.

I attended an Annie Sloan Chalk paint workshop in Kansas City to find out about using her paint on the old cabinets. The nice thing about her paint is that you do not have to prime or sand an old surface before applying it. It does require a few coats of wax after the paint has dried, so I am not really sure that it saves much time. But it is kind of fun to work with and I am going to try out the dark wax and see how it looks over the exposed wood and the white paint.

I made this frame at the workshop. It is a coat of Annie Sloan Versailles underneath Annie Sloan Paris Gray with a coat of clear wax and a coat of dark wax. The yellow that is coming through the gray is actually paint and not wood.  I also gilded that bit of fa di la on the frame.  I know!  Who knew I was capable of such magical things!

Here are a few other finishes we learned how to apply with her paint. Clearly, I am not an artist, but I think I learned enough to at least use the paint and the clear wax.  I plan to experiment with the dark wax and see how it looks before I put it on the final cabinets.

Wine has been very helpful to me in this period of renovation.

Here are my two current favorites.

The German reisling “Clean Slate” is SOOOOOO GOOOOOD!

And here is a photo of what the most necessary items are for me in my kitchen with no cabinets.  Coffee, mugs, cereal, glasses, cereal bowls, spoons, forks, salt, sugar, cutting board and oven mitts. If I half squint my eyes shut and turn off all the lights, sometimes I think I live in an uber cool, minimalistic urban loft.  This is not the rubble of renovation, this is just rustic bistro design!

And if you only had one small 3 foot by 2 foot counter space in your kitchen to store all your most necessary items, what would it contain?