Monday, August 30, 2010

Kitchen Project - Monday

We were all grateful for the Sabbath day of rest, but with Monday we were back to work.  I had the day off on the governor's floating August furlough and I did not have to go in on jury duty.  I mailed a small package (with a few pinata goodies from Beat Ben) to my missionary, bought a phone, and stocked up on food.

We cleaned up the work area in preparation for the return Brother De La Cruz.  He seemed pleased with the work we got done on Saturday.  : )     He's a good worker so it was very nice to have pleased him.

Here he is hard at it.
Bishop (wearing his Bishop service clothes - a stained white dress shirt and slacks) doing the electrical.  In the background you cannot really see his beautiful assistant.

Teresa took care of Belen all day (well until she left with her daddy around 2 or 3), an admittedly pleasant, but very important job.  Then she worked for hours removing wall paper (using fabric softener!).  After supper she worked on sanding.  David helped with the guy work all day and then with the sanding in the evening.  I am so glad they are staying with us! 

As you can see, the Ninja was also back in action.

Joseph did some sanding, but I missed shooting him.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday we worked all day - mostly prepping the upper cabinets - which are not being replaced - for painting. Scrub and sand.  We still have to do more sanding on the frames.   Benjamin washed the ceiling.  We need to wash the walls, remove wall paper from one end and contact paper from the other.
Teresa did a LOT of sanding.
We were so glad LD let us use his power sander!  It was still a lot of work.

Benjamin, Ninja scrubber

We learned that 409 smells way better than Purple Power.

We also learned that people should not go to work sick.  Joseph's co-worker did, therefore Joseph has been sick all weekend.  He is missing out on all the 'fun.' (But he will live)

David didn't play with us much, either.  He mostly worked on my computer issues - still a work in progress.

I was so tired and sore from all the scrubbing and sanding, I could hardly pass the Sacrament tray when it came to us today.

Warning: Really Ugly Pictures

Pictures were taken after "we" (by which I pretty much mean Teresa and Benjamin) had cleared out things for the project, but you get the idea of what we have lived with in our kitchen for years.

More than one home refinance included extra money to fix the house, but that money just disappeared.  Last time we actually did fix the plumbing under the house, but the kitchen money went to a new Prius for my now ex.  Since being on my own  I have been trying to save money to get it fixed, but along with the house I got the "house" debt and it has been slow going.  I have wondered if I ever would have enough to fix it - even if "we" (by which I pretty much mean my sons and sons-in-law who have lives of their own to take care of) did a lot of the work.

A few weeks ago, I was told that the Bishop wanted to have the ward help me!  Brethren came over to look things over  (oh, the shame of it all) and estimate what it might cost.

Bishop came over last Monday along with Lucio D.  They expressed surprise that the kitchen was not emptied out!  Teresa explained that we had been unaware of any time line.  Bless her heart, she got right to it.  Mostly she and Benjamin cleared out everything and organized things as best they could for our field kitchen for the duration.

With David's help they set up the appliances in the dining room,
a pantry in the family room - the microwave (lower right) is where the piano belongs.  The piano is in front of the fireplace.  We still have a small sitting area on the other side of the table on the left.  In fact, we can even set up a folding table for dinner.
and the dish washing station on the patio (pretend you're camping).  Sorry no pictures.

Thursday morning, Lucio D, our "head contractor" got to work with help from Bishop, Ron B, Dave A, and my guys at home.  Lucio is Mr Mom for his baby girl while his wife teaches.  Belen (said somewhat like Berlin without the 'r') comes to work with Daddy and Teresa looks after her.  Teresa has to take her for a walk to the park when the poor baby needs a nap because of all the commotion.   Fortunately, after 3 triple digit days (one a record breaker), the temperature dropped dramatically for our project and has been quite pleasant.

LD had given us a two week schedule and I pictured being unable to go through to the garage all that time.  We moved the cats' food and water to the hallway and figured we would have to go outside and in through the car garage door to go in and do laundry.  However, so far we have had access every evening.  Of course the first night we had to be careful not to walk into big holes in the floor where Glen & Mike W had cut access years ago and just patched back. You can see some of the cut lines that were there waiting to get fixed.  Now they were opened up to get good support put back in and fixed properly. (You mean kitchen floors are not supposed to bounce and creak when you walk on them?!)
Furlough Friday morning I spent at the BloodSource.  Late that afternoon, David, LD and I went shopping for materials.  Since my boys had accompanied me on a number of fact finding trips, bringing home samples, consulting with Teresa, etc,  I had some ideas what I wanted.

One fact finding trip - emphasis floors - we found Porcelain tile that I liked on sale at a really good price.  I bought one tile to bring home and think about and to show to Brother B.  He likes laminate, but thought the tile would be ok.  I bought enough to to do the floor and the counter.   Upon further thought - and considering my bouncing floor  (before they had a chance to work on it and see what was what) my experts warned me that the flexible floor would cause tile cracking.  sigh.  I took it all back.  However, by Friday, they knew the floor is strong and I could have anything on it.  I consulted with my contractor - and several others - Bishop was for vinyl - if I remember right Facebook friends were mixed - I decided on the tile again. But just for the floor.

What DL feared would be an all day affair, only took us a couple of hours.  I opened a Home Depot credit card so I could get the 10% discount on a purchase, then I paid for it with American Express so I can get my points there.  "We" (I held Belen) loaded up DL's truck and hauled it home. We set the cabinets 'in place' and just put everything else anywhere we could. 

Then I went to the temple with a grateful heart.

Long, but productive and happy day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let's Play "Beat Ben"

Some time ago Teresa came up with the idea of having a combined surprise birthday party for Debi and a surprise high school graduation party for Benjamin.  This required THREE sets of emails - one where Debi was helping surprise Benjamin (somehow Teresa managed to get Debi to start that string) - one where Benjamin was helping plan Debi's surprise - and one for the rest of us to put it all together.  We had to plan a menu we thought they both would like a lot.  And come up with a cover story.

It was complicated keeping track of 3 sets of emails and remembering who was supposed to know what.  However, in a way it was easier.  We had one cover story – We were doing a surprise party for the other person who thought that Debi was going out with Ruth and Tom and that Benjamin was coming over to babysit.  Each of them thought that (s)he was in on the big secret. They were surprised  Saturday evening when we yelled “Surprise! Happy Birthday! Happy Graduation!” and Teresa came in with the sign:

We had lasagna (Debi made one pan 'for Benjamin's party' and Ruth made another - one was cheese and one had meat).  Salad, garlic bread (David and Teresa made the bread and the spread from scratch), corn, and two luscious desserts by Miriam.Oh, and posh punch. 

After dinner, we went out and played "Beat Ben" - something Debi often suggest, although I am not sure this is what she usually has in mind. 
Ruth and the kids and Miriam made the pinata.  Good job!!
 Jared and Esther each took 2 whacks at him, then Benjamin had a whack, and Debi beat Ben!

Then we went back inside to play Quotable Debi - the match game - featuring such expressions as
"I hate people" and "I hate stupid people"  "Poop and fart"  "Cupcakes" "Nap time for Debi" and "Let's play Beat Ben" 

We had a great time.  Thanks Teresa! (and everyone else!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Demolition – dogs – baby - this is going to be fun

Last night we defrosted the freezer – which was a little past due – as part of the Big Empty. We don’t want to try defrosting it on the wood floor in the living room! And the ice chests in which we put the food while working on the freezer are going to be put somewhere out of the way for the duration. We are running out of places to put things, but not so quickly out of things to put. Teresa and Benjamin are doing wonders. Brother DLC wants to start Thursday – tomorrow!! – I think ‘we’ can be ready. ?

His plan is:
Thursday & Friday - demolition and prep
Monday - get materials
Tuesday - Friday: rough work and installation.
Monday - Tuesday: Finish.
Wednesday: Clean Up

This is interesting. I am on call for Jury Duty starting Monday - the day Brother DLC wants to get materials. Hopefully, they won't need me Monday!

Brother DLC is Mr. Mom to their baby girl while his wife teaches. I think that he will be bringing her with him and that Teresa will care for her.

Add to the fun – today Benjamin starts dog-sitting Tuffy (an Australian Shepherd who was one of my Anna's first friends) for 3 weeks. Demolition – dogs – baby – the kitchen stuff all over the house. Aren’t you sorry you are missing this?!

I was talking to one of the supervisors about needing time off to go out with Brother DLC and get materials – told her about the Church helping me – and the gal by whose cubicle we were talking got all interested. She has mentioned to me before that she used to have some affiliation with the Church. So today she told me that 10 years ago when she was going through a divorce and hard times the Church helped her. She told me she used to help work with Emergency Preparedness. She started to remember some good feelings about the church and said she might want to go back and visit but doesn’t even know what ward she is in. I said, “Oh, that’s easy!” and directed her to She was putting in her address when her phone rang and she had to actually work. I went back to my cube, but,I am hoping that little seeds are trying to sprout and seek the light. (does that count as a missionary experience? I hope so!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Big Empty

I came home after work last night to find the dining room had become a staging area. The table was folded up against the wall, the chairs folded in the front room. Miscellaneous kitchen goods stacked along the dining room wall. A portion of the family room has become a temporary pantry.

Yesterday morning, a couple of brethren from the church came over to look at the kitchen. They expressed surprise that it had not been emptied out! My daughter-in-law was surprised that they were surprised and told them that we had no idea of a time-line. She spent the rest of the day working on the Big Empty. As soon as the kitchen is empty, we call Brother De La Cruz and he starts tearing out the floor!

We plan to move the stove around the corner from the kitchen to the dining room on the opposite side of the wall. David is trying to figure out where we can plug in the freezer and the fridge without overloading the circuits – probably one in the front room next to the fireplace where the bird/aquarium used to be and one in the dining room. We think we are going to be using disposable plates, eating more sandwiches, foil dinners (fewer dirty pots!), BBQ (yum) and cold cereal for awhile. We will likely set up our dish washing station for the unavoidables on a folding table on the patio.

I am so glad that David and Teresa are here to help. Help?! Teresa and Benjamin are basically doing all the getting ready. David helps me figure out stuff and will help with the actual work.

It is going to be ‘interesting’ for a while. But, oh, not to have a rotten floor and rotten cabinets!

It isn’t easy picking flooring, counter tops, etc. I am not a natural designer. I am not really good at imaging the possibilities. And I certainly have not had not much practice!

Even the sink - I think I want a double size sink. What you see on display is mostly double sinks making me think that they are more popular. I think if I have one big sink, but I want two smaller sinks, I use dishpans. What do you do if you have two sinks, but want one big one? Like when I am doing a turkey?

I want flooring, etc that looks and ‘feels’ clean when it is clean. Too many things that supposedly hide dirt, never seem clean. There is no joy in cleaning them.

I want light, bright and airy. I had thought I would like to have the look/feel of being by a stream, but I don’t have any idea how I would do that. I am probably going with light tan/cream color floor – similar in color to the bathroom. In fact, I am quite pleased with the bathroom and may also use the same blue or in the kitchen. What color the cabinets? No idea yet. Medium/light wood? White? Cream?

What is available and not very expensive and what my benefactors want will be big factors, but I am paying for probably most of the materials and they do want me to like it. I need to go out shopping with them soon.

I am so excited at the idea of having a decent kitchen!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

some kind of Kook

Sometimes when I think about all the bad things happening the world – and there are PLENTY – I feel so overwhelmingly sad. And helpless. And frustrated. I am convinced that most of our problems, including natural disasters, would be greatly reduced by people accepting and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Say THAT out loud and you are considered some kind of ignorant, bigoted, severely out-of-date, religiously fanatical KOOK. Modern, scientific, intelligent, educated people would never believe such a thing. Which leaves me with little hope that things are going to get better any time soon. In the meantime, so many innocent suffer. Oh, for the day when the Prince of Peace reigns in righteousness and the earth can be at ease!

Another thing that I have trouble with is separation of church and state. Particularly my desire to be a witness of Christ at all times, and in all things, and in all places. A couple problems there - One (the big one which make number two harder), an acute awareness of my weaknesses which make me a poor example. People are not knocking each other over to ask me the secret of life. Two, evangelizing is frowned upon on the job. It is certainly no secret that I am a Mormon, or member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I cannot go around asking the Golden Questions or (as I tried once during the Christmas season, but got reproved) have Pass-Along cards on the front desk (where I then sat). and as I said no one is beating a path to my cube (if I only I didn't have problem number one!). Across the walkway from me, is the cube of a Free Will Baptist Minister. We recognize and appreciate each other’s Christianity. He often proclaims himself as a minister. People do come to him. He does minister at work. I feel jealous and inadequate. “Oh,” I think, “he is offering you some of the good fruit of the gospel, but he doesn’t have the whole meal.” I am glad for the good work he does, touching hearts and counseling, but I rather wish I could give him a little competition. That’s not really what I mean, but maybe you understand. I wish that I could share the blessings of the restored gospel. I cannot very well interject myself and tell them, "Hey you are missing some really important things here." It would not be well taken.

Besides, Eli is, truth be told, both more educated and more self-assured. I would not do well.

Any words of wisdom or advice?

Oh, I know, you are going to tell me to rely on the Spirit. Either I am hard of hearing (too often too true) or He hasn't had much to say to me about this lately.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Saturday,  July 31,  was not a particularly good day for me.  I felt so overwhelmed with all the things I should do that I was simply paralyzed hardly able to do anything (isn’t that helpful) and burst into tears repeatedly for no good reason.  That distressed Benjamin and concerned Teresa.  I personally did not accomplish much.  I was going to mow the lawn, but the battery had not charged.  While I was out there, a friend of neighbor Gene (Duch’s old house) offered to cut down the tree and cut it into firewood for $100.  It is down now and a lot of it is cut up.  Pretty much all over the front yard.  More needs to be cut up and the branches that are too small for firewood need to be cut down small enough for city pick-up.  I was gone when they left.  Benjamin paid him.  He said he will come back today.  If he doesn’t, we can probably handle it and I still got a pretty good deal.  But I do hope he takes care of those branches in the street!  Of course, now we cannot mow because there are tree parts all over the yard.  In fact, it was bit interesting get the bike out.  I had to carry it.  Joseph always carries his because he doesn’t want to get dog doo on his wheels.  

– Wednesday  we moved the pieces small enough to burn in the fireplace to the backyard along the fence and the pieces that need to be split or cut down to the supposed to be garden area along the fence next to Mrs. Fabiano’s drive way.   I think Bro. Brown has a splitter I can ask to borrow.  I need to buy or borrow a chain saw. 

There was a huge pile of branches from the tree in front of Mrs F’s house.  The tree guy and Gene across the street from Mrs. F said the city will pick it up, but that's not what the city people told me.   The city has extra street pick up 8 times a year – during leaf season or something – with size limits.  Nothing scheduled until October.  Other than that one can call for  special pick up – for a a charge.  If the pile was only 3x3x6, it would cost me $60, with the price going up sharply.   It is more like 10 feet high, more than 3 feet wide for sure,  and pretty much the length of her yard.  If you ask the city to send out someone to give a cost estimate, they will give you a deadline to get rid of it if you don’t agree to pay the fee.  The gal I talked to thought it might be 24-48 hours.  Great.  I was worried about what we could do.  I thought  I could maybe drag it all on to my drive way – that would take some time!!! - and take a year filling my yard can every week – if I had a way to cut it up.   

Wednesday evening Teresa, David and Joseph smashed down the stuff in the yard containers for our house, Mrs F and Gene and added more tree trimmings. There was still a very big pile and we figured we would be filling yard containers again immediately after pick up.  I just hoped that the city wouldn't come after me before we were able to work it down. 

Well, we don't know what happened, because I did NOT ask for a pick up nor for an estimate, but said we were going towork something else out.  However, Thursday morning a city truck and claw team came and took the street pile.  Now I await to see if I get billed for it.