6/23/2017

{Friday Foto Friends} Dogs, Flowers, & History

Linking up with Deb this week (since I missed last week due to be so distraught about my kitchen!). I managed to take a few pictures this week!
Garage Sale that took place in the garages!
Last Friday & Saturday, my brother organized a garage sale to see how much more stuff from my parents' house we could dispose of. His wife and SIL worked their butts off with pricing and then working those 2 days. My back was doing much better, so I was able to go down and help out as well.
Girl Dog is settling in
Just in case you missed it on Wed., MS' dog is our year-long house guest. She's as cute as can be, so get ready for a few pictures!
This broke my heart.
The above picture was taken after MS left. She looked at every car going by to see if it was MS.
She's making herself at home!
This is where she lays when I'm sitting at my desk. The other night she also got under our bed for a while.
I haven't killed anything yet!
Updated picture of my front porch planter. Everything is still living...for now!
Could she be any cuter?
This is what I saw when I turned to go back inside. I couldn't resist, even with the reflection of my bare feet in the window!
Lilies at Daddy's
The flowers down at my parents' house are blooming, proving that life does go on. Walking around the yard makes me smile as I see things that Daddy planted continue to live and bloom beautifully.
Volunteer sunflower
This sunflower popped up. It's right next to the porch where the birdfeeders are. I use sunflower seeds in the winter, so I guess 1 seed took.
This sign is in the county where I live. (You may have to double click to make it bigger so you can read it. I had no idea this happened so near to me. I drove by it on Monday as I was driving to a friend's house.
Blackberries!
The blackberries are ripening in my back yard. We have an area that is kind of "brushy"; we have no intention of cleaning that part up; it provides a nice little privacy fence of sorts for us. It definitely hides the neighbors' houses from us.
There aren't a lot, but they are pretty!
Do you have blackberries in your yard? Do you pick them or leave them alone?










6/22/2017

{State of the Kitchen} Part 5: Screeching Halt

Sticky notes all over my cabinet doors indicating which ones need to be replaced.
I thought by this time, my cabinets would be in, measuring for the countertops would have been done, and the finishing touches would be taking place. Instead, construction came to a screeching halt.
CH & I had a meeting with an assistant manager & the designer at Home Depot on Sunday. I had pictures & videos ready, as well as a list of things we wanted to discuss. The outcome was that the Rep from Thomasville would call us Monday morning. He, the contractor, and the designer would all meet at the house to look at the project and get things cleared up so we're all on the same page.
Monday morning, the Rep called. By Tuesday we had a meeting set up for Wed. afternoon. That afternoon, we all gathered in the kitchen and the Rep got to work. I don't think he was too happy that the doors weren't smooth, or that 3 of the drawers were "flimsy".
The flaw in the tall cabinet is moot because we are going to get a larger one, but he said he had never seen that before.
"Dots" on the bar between the doors.
The result from his visit: 20 new doors, 3 new drawers, 1 new drawer front.
Then we had to discuss things with the contractor. CH determined the timeline: the contractor's estimate came after the final plans, so he had to know that the back wall would be extended, which means that the flooring and the ceiling had to be fixed. We knew the pantry cabinets would have to be taken out and put back in due to them being off-center. They should also be flush with the doorframe, but they aren't because the boards that the previous shelves were on weren't taken out.
The old pantry with the boards still in it.
Result from contractor: Boards in pantry will be taken out, flooring in pantry will be taken out since we have a floating floor (the cabinets can't sit on it because it will case the flooring to buckle), strip in floor will be fixed, ceiling will be fixed.
So...we can restart the project since it's not necessary for them to be on for the cabinets to be installed. They won't be done in the time frame I wanted it, but it will be done correctly. I feel like we had a productive meeting and can get the ball rolling again. Let's just hope nothing else goes wrong so it will be finished before I have to go back to school.

6/21/2017

Summery Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce comes up with a few questions almost every Wednesday for us to answer...kind of like a virtual meet & greet! 

1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?
10???? Are you kidding me??? I just want to get through this kitchen renovation before I go back to work on July 24th! I can't think about what I'd rather be doing; I just want this to be over so I can start enjoying my new beautiful kitchen.

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas
I'm not much for collecting or searching for seashells, because of the clean up after to make sure they don't smell. I do enjoy looking at them while walking the seashore, but that's about it.  When we were at the Outer Banks last year, I did keep a look out for sea glass but had no luck.
I went to Ocracoke last summer, and I went a crappy band trip to The Bahamas my senior year. I don't think I've ever been to Galveston Island; if I have it was when I was really little & I obviously don't remember it. There are so many other places I'd rather go than the ones listed.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.
Wow. This renovation seemed to be moving right along, but now it's at a snail's pace and I foresee that I'll have to shell out some money. CH is causing me to come out of my shell to get what I want when I'm happy as a clam to clam up and let him drop the bombshell. I just want to go back into my shell and come out when it's over.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?
The Small Town's "FreedomFest". For starters, they're having it this Saturday, which is over a full week before the 4th of July. The fireworks have Laika hiding behind CH's chair, shaking like a leaf. 

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?
Trick or Treat. It's sad that this country has become such a place where the kids can't have the memories or fun that we had when we were growing up. Or, that Halloween is seen as "the devil". People need to lighten up.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Look at this sweet girl:
We have a year-long house guest
Looks like she'll be staying with her grams for a year until MS gets through with Law School.  We're having an adjustment period, but she's settling in, and Laika and Pepper are learning to tolerate. It was pitiful when MS left on Sunday: Girl Dog kept running to the living room window, looking out and watching each car as it went by. Hopefully this year will go by quickly and they will be reunited.

6/15/2017

{State of the Kitchen} Part 4: What a Difference!

Things really started hopping on Monday. The contractor called me Friday afternoon to let me know demo would start on Monday. Sure enough, the demo guy was at the house that morning, ready to get started. He had to do it by himself, but he was very efficient and managed to get it all done before he left.
I was holding my breath as he started. With the house being 55 years old, there was no telling what he was going to find.
So far, so good. Nothing bad yet!
When he took down the cabinets over the cooktop, he said that they bolted the cabinets into the beams, which is how it should be done. WHEW! That was 1 area of concern.
The gaping hole in the ceiling may be a problem. Fingers crossed!
The sink area was another concern
Who am I kidding? It was ALL a concern! The demo guy is a firefighter who has a cabinet business on his days off. He mentioned that it was a good thing we were remodeling now...before we had a fire. The wire to the garbage disposal had just been laid over the cabinet frame (instead of a hole being drilled through the frame). The wire had frayed and had arched...there was a burnt place on the frame. That was a bit scary, but it was the worst thing he found.
Goodbye, yucky pantry!
Things are real, now!
Everything was dumped off of the back porch to be removed the next morning:
There goes the old kitchen!
Side view
True to their word, it was gone the next morning!
Looks like nothing ever happened!
The electrician/plumber came on Tuesday to get everything up to code, ready for inspection on Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning, the cabinet guy opened all of the boxes and we inspected the cabinets. At first glance, there were a couple of things that aren't up to par.
This drawer (along with another one) was chipped...supposedly during delivery)
This is the bar between the doors in a pantry cabinet. Dots are not okay.
As CH started looking closer at things, he found some things that will need to be replaced, like 12 of the doors. They should all be smooth, but some feel like they weren't sanded enough because they have rough spots. So, those will all be going back, along with the top drawer of a drawer cabinet. It had some chips in it which I didn't see before because it was still in plastic.
The cabinet guy started putting in the cabinets, which was really exciting!
Things are starting to happen!
He got 1 corner done before the inspector came to inspect the electricity:
Moving along nicely!
Except for 1 minor mistake which is easily remedied, we passed inspection!
The cabinets for the pantry were put in, but they'll have to be redone because they aren't centered. I hate it for him, but it needs to be right.
It's going to look great when it's done properly and the filler/trim is put in!
 CH also looked at the drawers in the base cabinets. The top drawers have gaps in them on one side...not good.
This was disappointing
Another disappointment was the pantry cabinet. I wanted to put my microwave in there, but the cabinet we received isn't wide enough. I don't feel comfortable with the cabinet guy trimming part of the opening to make it fit. We have a few more inches in the area where it's going to go, but I'm not sure what the next size is.
Not quite wide enough to get the microwave in
Since we have plans to extend the back wall a couple of feet but are keeping the current flooring, there's a strip of floor that is of concern (see above picture just to the left of the cabinet). We were told by the designer that the contractor would take care of that; the contractor didn't know about it. 
I'm not going to lie...this was a hard post to finish because yesterday was a rollercoaster day. I was so excited to see the cabinets going in that I was blind to the irregularities. We're paying a lot of money for this, so we want it to be as perfect as it can be. 
I don't know what I was expecting; I guess I was expecting things to go so smoothly without any crisis. The quality of the cabinets is a bit disappointing, but it is better than what we've ever had, for sure. Even with 2 new houses in our past, these are better quality.
On top of everything else, I threw my back out on Saturday & am not 100% yet, so I'm not really able to get out of the house for an extended amount of time. (Gotta stay close to the ice pack!) I realize we really just started, but I'm so ready for this to be done!

10:21 a.m. update: With the cabinets not being the quality we were told they would be, we're at a standstill. We were told the doors would be all wood (they aren't), that we would have plywood ends (they all aren't), and that there would be nails...no staples (there are staples). Next step (before the cabinet guy comes back in) is to go down and talk to the kitchen design manager at Home Depot & voice our displeasure at the quality of the cabinets.  They're Thomasville, so we expected much better quality. Yes, we're extremely disappointed because this means we're without a kitchen longer than we anticipated, but with the small fortune we're paying, it needs to be remedied.

6/14/2017

{Wednesday Hodgepodge} American Dad Issue

I'm linking up with Joyce at From this Side of the Pond for another round of Wednesday Hodgepodge.
1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)
Since we don't have a proper way to fly Old Glory, we don't have the flag flying.
I've never been to Philly...or to Baltimore. I need to get out more.

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.
White flag. My house is a total mess (see my "State of the Kitchen" posts) so I have no choice.

3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?
When I was younger, I used to be. Now, I'm more likely to stay in my car listening to talk radio.

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? What's an expression you associate with your father?
Patience, willingness to spend time with the child. The expression that I'll always associate with my father: "Gosh darn it, Mary"!!!  (I don't want to say I was a handful growing up, but...!!!)

5. What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?
My curfew. In a way, it is still part of my life, especially now that I'm older and try to be in bed by 10:00 during school nights!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Y'all won't believe what's been happening at my house this week! I don't want to spoil anything, so come back on Thursday and see what's going on!!!

6/08/2017

{State of the Kitchen} Part 3: Deliveries Galore

Several deliveries were made this week
Things are starting to look a little different! I've cleaned out almost all of the cabinets and the pantry, except for some things I can just throw in a bag at the last minute. I canceled my cleaning ladies for this month; there's no need to have them come when my whole house is a wreck.
The dining room is now a storage area
1 of the spare bedrooms is also being used for storage
My range was delivered on Monday; the hood was here on Tuesday.
Deliveries early in the week
The big delivery was made on Wednesday. Before the delivery, I had to clean out that area.
It looks pretty empty in this area
We weren't sure if everything was going to fit
Just to be on the safe side, I moved the kitchen table to this area
I was given a 4 hour window for the cabinet delivery, which was kind of a bummer, but par for the course. I lucked out with the range & cabinet deliveries: both were delivered in the earlier part of the window. All of the delivery men were extremely polite and efficient. Better than that, everything appears to be delivered in good condition. I say "appears" because the cabinets are still in the boxes; the contractor will have to look over them. With the cabinets, 1 of the guys told me what was in the box as I marked off the list he gave me, and then checked it against my invoice. I have a few things that weren't delivered; nothing big or major. I'm not sure if those things are already in the boxes or will be coming. 
We've hit a snag: When we first spoke with the designer at Home Depot, we were told that the demo would happen a couple of days before the cabinets are delivered. The cabinets were completed earlier than expected; as soon as I had the date I let the designer know. But then she was out sick, so it was almost a whole week before she was back at work. She is only at the store 3x/week and isn't on a fixed schedule. I went by on Sunday to make another payment and to pay for the tile & under-cabinet lights. As soon as I did that, she emailed the contractor. I didn't hear from him on Monday, so I called him on Tuesday. He said he was finishing up a couple of projects and would be ready to demo next week; I just don't know what day. Everything is in place, just waiting for the contractor to get started.
The actual delivery went pretty smoothly. 
At first, they started bringing the boxes in the front, but decided it would be more efficient to go through the back. They did an excellent job of not tearing up the yard.
The boxes fit almost perfectly
And now I wait some more.



6/02/2017

{Friday Foto Friends} Winds, Sky, and a Recipe

Deb at Breathing in Grace hosts this linky most Fridays. I take it as an opportunity to let y'all know what's going on during the week in the Small Town.
Last Friday, I received a phone call from a tree service that I hired a month and a half ago. I almost called him on Thursday to ask if he was going to be able to trim our trees, because if he wasn't, we were going to have to pay someone else just a little more to get it done. We had a branch from the hickory tree outside of our living room window that was pushing against the window. The guy called on Friday and said that they were about 45 minutes from being finished with a job not far from me, so if I was going to be home, they would come by and clean the trees. I wasn't about to tell him 'no', so they came and conquered.
Trees being cleaned up in our yard.
It turned out to be an extremely good thing, because we had a horrendous storm on Saturday night. Big oak trees fell, and many fell on power lines and houses. I drove by my parents' house before Mass on Sunday, not expecting to see anything. I was in for a surprise:
Oak tree and landscaping fallen;
It reminded me of Wonder Works.
It was heartbreaking to see this tree on the ground. Daddy landscaped the area below it; he even won a beautification award for it & had an article in the newspaper. And, my brother spent a lot of time cleaning and weeding that area out the day before (I think it was). Luckily, it just missed the house. That is no exaggeration, either. 
None of us expected to spend our Memorial Day weekend cleaning up. A guy drove by on Sunday and asked if he could have the wood. He was told that if he sawed it, he could have it. He spent most of the day Sunday and Monday sawing and loading up the wood. As it turned out, he was the son of 1 (or more) of my sibling's classmates.  (Small town, remember?)
The great clean-up
Just to give an example of how close the tree came to the house:
The tree fell too close to the house for comfort.
And just how old the tree was:
The many rings on the tree
So, how did the landscaping and trunk get turned over?  Funny you should ask! CH got to play with his winch. It actually came in pretty handy to have a redneck for a husband! 😉
Our house was fine; we were only without power until Sunday around 2:00. I wasn't going to complain about not having internet knowing people were without power! The good thing was that it wasn't humid, or very hot over the weekend. 
The top of a tree fell on a power line just behind us & took out the power box.
CH had another chance to use his winch to pull down our next-door-neighbor's top of a tree that was stuck.
I shot these pictures one evening as I sat on the couch. These pictures all have the same settings. Every time I sat down and looked out, the colors changed.
It was amazing to see how the sky changed. The settings were not changed for each picture.
I tried a new recipe: Steak Burrito Bowl from Six Sisters' Stuff. This is definitely a keeper! This is one of the few times CH and YS have had no suggestions of add-ins or changes to make a dish taste better. YS did the staging for me.
Steak Burrito Bowl from Six Sisters' Stuff
A bottled Sangria paired very well with it!
After 5 years, the radio in my car was having issues. First it was the bluetooth. Kia said that there was an update that messed it up with Androids. Great. It wasn't under warranty any longer, and it was suggested that another radio (not a stock radio) would be less expensive than if the dealership put one in. Lately, my radio was just resetting by itself. Yeah, it was pretty aggravating! At CH's suggestion, I went to the place that he's used a couple of times and he hooked me up with a new radio.
New radio!
You don't realize how much you appreciate bluetooth until you don't have it. Not having a hands-free radio was not fun. AND, I got 3 free months of SiriusXM, which I had canceled a couple of months ago.
And...that's it. Finally! It's been a busy week, and next week is going to be just as busy, if not busier. I'm going to try to rest up this weekend and hopefully get a 2nd wind!

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