Monday, September 24, 2007

A True Sign on Insanity

From everything I've ever heard, I now know that I've reached the brink of sanity, the precipice of psychosis, the ledge of lunacy...yes, if you've done it yourself, you know what I'm talking about - remodeling the kitchen.

We're not going for the full Bob Vila - a complete tear-out; no I'm not THAT crazy. I suppose you could say we're just rehabbing the kitchen. But to a guy that hasn't done it before and hasn't done any painting/papering, or much of anything like it in at least 5 years, it sure seems like a full remodel.

So, what's the a plan, you ask...ok, I'll tell ya:
  • Strip the wallpaper off and clean all of the old wallpaper glue/residue off
  • Clean all of the dirt & grease from the last 25 years off of the ceiling and walls
  • Strip the paint off of all of the woodwork around the doors and windows
  • Strip the top finish off of the 60 year old wood cabinets
  • Re-stain/urethane the cabinets.
  • Re-stain/urethane or repaint the door & window frames (not sure which yet)
  • Replace the 20+ year old faux-brick linoleum with new vinyl
  • Kilz, then paint the walls
  • Put up a wallpaper border
  • Get a new gas line installed
  • REPLACE THE STOVE!!!!! (more on that later)
  • Install some new cabinets on either side of the new range
  • Add some additional cabinets to the primary counter to extend it, both above and below
  • Install new countertop & sink
  • Replace the refrigerator
  • Repair the 60+year old 42" Nutone range hood (an old model 3060)
  • Repair some of the loose/missing wall tile (all tin)

I'm exhausted just writing all of that.
The good news is that we've already picked:
  • a color scheme/theme
  • the wall color picked out
  • bought the wallpaper border
  • the new vinyl flooring
  • the new refrigerator
and I've narrowed my choice of range down to three or four - all dual fuel, gas on top , electric in the oven, with convection:
A Jenn-Air, a GE Profile, a Bosch, and a Kenmore Elite. (yup, all in black...)

Any opinions?

Here's some "before" photos:
Above: From the back of the kitchen looking towards the front

Above: from the front looking at the back

Above: The current range (a 1950 Frigidaire model RM-60 electric range) & fridge

Above: The counter, sink & cabinets

Above: Over the sink, the cabinets, & window (and tomatoes from the garden!)

Definitely ready for an update, don't you think?

So far, I've gotten the wallpaper down and about 1/4 of the gluey residue off. What a pain.
And as with all remodels, I've hit a snag - I'm going to have to have some of the wall covered over - the wallpaper pulled off layers of paint with it, right down to the original snowy white plaster. It's only happened on the soffit over the sink/counter. I'd scrape it off, but I don't know if it's lead paint so I'm just going to have it covered over with some drywall and mudded up. It's not too much, so it should take long or cost TOO much (oh, I hope those words don't come back to haunt me...)

Above: The pulled off paint

Wish me luck! I'll keep posting updates...


Monday, September 03, 2007

Idiots Among Us

This is going to be my first rant... bear with me, please.

I was off to do the grocery shopping today, with Boogie, my trusty sidekick, in tow. We usually go to a Kroger about 5 miles away, bypassing the Kroger closest to us, because, well, because the closer one sucks. I'd been going there for years, but last year they remodeled it, took out he service meats and seafood, moved everything around, stopped carrying products I like, just sucks there. So off to Grandview we go, to a much nicer, cleaner, well stocked, SERVICE-ORIENTED store. I like it there. It's pretty nice for a Kroger store. They even have a computerized touch-screen deli ordering system, so we never have to wait at the deli to place our order, wait for it to be sliced, etc... They have a sushi counter where I can actually see the sushi chef making the day's selections. They have a Starbucks (I know, the devil's coffee shop, but still..) , they have everything in the weekly flier in stock, even on the last day of the sale, and I don't get sneered at asking for paper bags - if I even have to ask; the cashiers there usually ask first.

The clientèle are even prettier there.

Anyway, we're on our way, driving along, obeying the speed limit (please don't speed through Valleyview) and I'm approaching the intersection of Hague and Fisher when I realize there is a light blue mini-van riding my rear bumper. I turn onto Fisher and he's right behind me still, so close I can read the number on the handicap placard dangling from his rear view mirror. I proceed as I normally do down Fisher at 35 MPH - I generally drive the speed limit, especially in town, and Mr. mini-van is still right there climbing into my trunk. I turn onto McKinley and he's still right behind me, trying to climb up my tailpipe, starting to appear a bit impatient. I then turn onto 5th, where the speed limit drops to 25 MPH and the cops like to hang out. I am NOT going any faster just because Mr mini-van can practically change my radio station. I can almost count his nose hairs he so close now, and he's getting pissed - most people fly right down this section of 5th Ave at 40-45 MPH. Not me. Never do. Especially now. We get to Lake Shore, where the road widens from 1 lane each way to 2. Mr Mini-van jumps on the gas, swerves around me on the right, blasts ahead and cuts in front of me, just in time to get stopped behind another car at the light at Dublin Rd. This desperate passing all happens in the length of perhaps 300 feet. No kidding see for yourself.
So now he's in front of me. He should be happy. I'm a bit peeved.

And that's when I see it. The sticker on his rear window. It's one of these:I'm laughing now. Yep. This idiot wants an "Idiot Free America". Then I notice exactly where on the rear window the sticker is placed . It's completely covering his 3rd light, the required safety light in the center of the rear window., just like this:
(Note: this is not the ACTUAL idiot mini-van, just my own personal rendering of it)

All I could think of was that someone gave Mr mini-van the sticker in jest and he still doesn't get that the joke is on him.

I was gladdened a bit more, even, as the car in from of Mr Mini-van wasn't in as much of a hurry as Mr Minivan was either. Am I evil for this making me feel very good inside.? Once they got up to Arlington Ave, Mr Mini-van squeezed between the car in front of him and the curb on the right so he could make a right turn, almost jumping the curb to do it... Good riddance.

So here's to you, Mr minivan, and on the off-chance that you're reading this, on the even slimmer chance that you recognize yourself in this rant, I salute you - one finger only, though.

Try and guess which one.



Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy 20th Birthday, Emily!

A 20th birthday may not sound like that big of a deal, but for Emily it sure is. Well, maybe not for her, but certainly for us. Emily has been around for 20 years now and, in early October will also celebrate 20 years of living with us. She's not our daughter, cousin, sister, or for that matter, any kind of blood relative - we don't share the same DNA in any way. She's not even the same species...

Emily, you see, is our cat, our first cat, and we also call her our first born since we took her in after being married less than a month.

Emily's story:
One of Karen's brothers found her in a parking lot while working on a construction site in southern Ohio. It was a cold, rainy early October evening when he saw her brutally ejected from the parking lot's guard shack by the foot of the lot's attendant. He went over and picked up the little kitten, barely a month old as far as he could tell, cold and shivering and hungry. He brought her to his car, so she could stay dry and wrapped her so she could warm up. After he got off work, he brought her home to his mom's house. Karen arrived the next day and took her to the vet, who gave her a shot of something, cleaned her eyes and ears (both were badly infected) and gave her a positive prognosis, given continued care. Her sense of smell worked fine as she was easily ab;e to sniff out her food bowl and munched down with great gusto. As she began to regain her sight (rather quickly after the vet visit), one of the first things she seemed to see clearly was Karen. Munch, munch, look - ok, good, she's still there watching me eat...munch, minch look- ok, good, she's still there watching me eat...

Karen brought her right home after that and the two have been inseparable ever since.

This is Emily at what we think is about 6 weeks old , shortly after we brought her home in early October, 1987

About a year later we brought home Gretchen, a "sister" for Emily.

Emily was NOT pleased, and though the two occasionally got along, Emily was usually pretty indifferent to Gretchen.
The above photo was in August of 1988, when we brought little 6 week old Gretchen home. Emily made sure to eat all of Gretchen's food -as you can tell Emily was already very skilled at eating all of her OWN food. This was also just before Emily tried to eat Gretchen's head...

Gretchen left us in April, 2003 after losing her long battle with irritable bowel and diabetes, but Emily pushed on, doing just as well as ever, and as the years past, continuing to impress her vet, Dr. Seimer, of Suburban Animal Clinic, even rebounding well from her recent diagnosis of high blood pressure...
(Suburban Animal Clinic, Wilson Road, Columbus, Oh)

Dr. Seimer is a wonderful vet, and has been Emily's vet almost from the start - of course there was that first visit in Huber Heights, then her first routine shots were administered by a friend of mine, Cheryl Burger, who was a vet student at O.S.U. at the time (and is now a vet in Beavercreek). Emily has on occasion also seen some of the other doctors at Suburban, like Dr Weale, and we like them all. I can't say enough good things about the staff at Suburban; they're all wonderful and have treated us and our feline family with great care and kindness over the years.

And today we saw this as we drove past:

So, Happy Birthday, Emily, with hopefully many more to come.
(Emily today)

(Emily's little Birthday cake)

(Emily licking her slice of cake)

And thanks to Suburban for the great care, support, and birthday wishes.

For more cat blogging, take a look at Weekend Cat Blogging...


UPDATE: 12/28/2007
It is with deep sadness that I pass along the news that our beloved feline family member, Emily, died the morning of December 26th, 2007. Her death came quite suddenly, but she died in the arms of her "mom", Karen. Her vet, Dr. Siemer was also present. We will miss her very much.

Again, we'd like to thank the entire staff of Suburban Animal Clinic for the wonderful care they provided to Emily and to us.