*Lyrics from St. Vincent’s song Surgeon from their latest album Strange Mercy. I totally dig her voice, their strange and quirky sound, and the fact that this album is so new to me. Have I mentioned that I love music? I do. Can’t help it. Wouldn’t want to.
With the fall season officially upon us, and with rain seemingly never ending, I am just now getting around to noticing that my blog is woefully out of date. Perhaps due to the marathon of painting, prepping and coordinating that I’ve been doing for my mom’s new place. Yes, yes, that’s it. My neglect for my blog is due to the work that I’m doing that I should be blogging about. A vicious cycle.
But, over at ye old condo we’ve made quite a bit of headway. Since last you saw pictures, we’ve completed the following: painted living room; painted kitchen; patched sheetrock in laundry room; painted ceiling and walls in laundry room (after visit from plumber); painted trim in entire downstairs, including doors; sanded and prepped baseboards for painting and reinstall (thanks to a lot of help from my sister and a friend); stenciled and painted a bedroom; painted other bedroom; replaced toilet in main bathroom (extra thanks to sis’ bf); ordered and received (and stacked and acclimated) flooring; and, received new appliances. Phew.
Summer has effortlessly shifted into fall, marking the official close to a season that was full of fire and energy, heat and flooding, plenty and too much plenty. Windows were unceremoniously closed, yet screens remain in place; sweaters were unearthed from the drawers, or backs of closets, yet summer clothing has not been put away yet; seasonal cooking has shifted from tomatoes, fresh herbs and all things raw to squashes, soups and an increased interest in baking. The tides have changed, without us really noticing, though we are certainly aware.
Way back when, in late spring (a full two seasons ago!), we met with Mr and Mrs K to discuss ideas for their new kitchen (at that point merely a hope). Meeting after meeting, month after month and we weren’t sure they were going to choose us. Or even start at all. Drawing after drawing, email after email and we finally arrived at a direction, picked a start date, and boldly attempted to renovate an entire kitchen and bathroom in a month. Well, that didn’t quite happen, but it very nearly did: the kitchen is finally done!
*Lyrics from, you guessed it, more Radiohead! This time from their In Rainbows album, which cemented them for me as a go-to, must-have, favorite band to listen to at all times, preferably late at night, when it’s raining, or when you’re feeling internal (tipsy works, too). This one’s All I Need. Radiohead is all I need.
Client kitchen and bath renovation – weeks 5 & 6
For those of you who are just joining us, or maybe want a refresher, this is where we were merely a month and change ago. With a 4 to 6 week timeframe, and a hope for 4, we began, guns blazing, to tear apart Mr and Mrs K’s kitchen and bathroom. Well, a few weeks later and we’re in the final stretch. I know for them it’s been extremely hard – small child, small dog, small living space, small budget – but I hope it’ll be rewarding in the end. Today they got countertops.
*Lyrics from We Are Family as sung by Sister Sledge. I debated about which of the several horrible videos to share, but settled on the one from Solid Gold. The pyrotechnics alone make it worth the viewing. The outfits, well, they’re just the cherry on top of that sundae. (Oh, and the Solid Gold link is solid.gold.)
Between the after effects of Tropical Storm Irene (hurricane to some of you), and closing on a house for my mom, I’ve had barely a moment to reflect and enjoy the last fleeting moments of a summer that practically sprinted by. Labor Day, traditionally considered the ‘last day’ of summer (though summer lasts well in September, if we’re lucky) became a reason to enjoy not one last lazy day filled with sunshine, hammocks and cookouts, but to enjoy discounts on appliances, toilets and sofas for the new place. And due to the gap in schedules at Mr and Mrs K’s kitchen/bath remodel, I was able to switch gears and get into full remodel zone for my mom’s new condo. So long, summer. I wish I got to know you better.
*Lyrics from the Geto Boys’ song of the same name. As (poorly) fake sung by fake Kermit here. As heard first in Office Space. Totally not safe for work, by the way. Maybe not safe for most. You’ve been warned.
Client renovation – days 18, 19, 20 (+ 20.5, aka Saturday)
By the third day of the cabinet install it was clear that my position as photographer/designer/jack-of-whatever-trade-you-need was going to be utilized in a new way: as a painter. I was already acting as a coffee fetcher (what else is new), lunch grabber, vacuumer, sweeper, holder of things that require extra hands, trash collector, and back acher. Well, that last part was my own contribution to myself. But, no matter how you sliced it, my camera was going to have to be put down for much of the week. Still, I managed to get some photos (don’t cry!), so you can still inspect the progress for yourself(ves).
*Lyrics from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems as resung by Hugo on his album Old Tyme Religion. I may even prefer the Hugo version, though the video is absolutely stupid. The sentiment remains the same. And it ain’t a bitch.
Client kitchen renovation – days 11 & 12
The week started out great. Tile. Flooring. Wall color. Mostly all hits (as I said in my last post, there’s a shade of yellow that’s under investigation). And we even made an ambitious and detailed schedule for all of our sub contractors so we could confirm finish dates and get a game plan for the end date. That’s when we hit our first significant snag. Ugh. The countertop installers have us at the back of the line, the bottom of the list, and aren’t able to complete our project within our overall timeframe. Blerg.
Days 2 & 3: Client Renovation
As predicted by Dave and Team Carpentry, demo and framing was done in two days. A full crew, fully caffeinated, fully focused and fully drenched in sweat ripped apart that room revealing ancient (ok, more like 90+ years old) lathe that was in good enough condition to be able to affix new drywall to. A bonus since that’s what Dave had hoped for. Also discovered (and expected, but not hoped for) non-plumb, non-level spots on the salvageable walls that will definitely make things trickier to install down the road. But, all in all, a successful two days of cleaning out the old to make way for the new.
*Lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s hit 80’s song “Break My Stride.” The video is pretty remarkable – the fashion, the dancing, the Solid Gold. I’ve been saving this one up for today’s post.
Day 1: Client Kitchen & Bath Renovation
It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Jeff and I were excitedly and nervously counting the days in our own renovation, already hitting day 11 by the beginning of August. Well, today was day 1 for my clients’ (heretofore known as Mr & Mrs K) kitchen and bathroom renovation. I don’t know that they’re as nervous or excited as we were, but I know that they’ll be counting the days as we did. How can you not? I mean, when more than half of your house is taken over by teams of people, tools and materials; when the only sounds you can hear during the daytime are hammers banging, power tools vibrating, and things being heaved into a large, and loud, dumpster, it’s pretty hard not to pay attention.
I am sad to report the passing of my beloved baby dog, Bec.
May was a rough month. She was diagnosed with lung cancer on the first of May, and by May 30th she was gone (hence the blog absence). We are devastated by her loss, and are still adjusting to the new reality. We’re still coping, and trying to put our life into an order that has never existed. Until now I’d never known my husband without Bec – they were a package deal when we first started dating. It’s strange for both of us to have the whole house to ourselves… there’s no one to bark at the mailman, there’s no one to try to eat our dinner, or to get startled by the loudness of sound effects in movies, no one to get scared by the thunder and lightening, no one to greet us when we come home, and no one to curl up at the foot of the bed at night. We miss her dearly, and are doing our best to be grateful for our time with her, and to remember her in her healthiest days, rather than how sick she had become.
Firstly, an update on the pup. Thank you guys for caring, and for sharing your own stories. Pet love cannot be underestimated, taken for granted, or fully explained if you haven’t experienced it. And I, for one, am among the lucky who get to experience it. The doggie had her visit with the specialist today who was pleased to see that the palliative care medicines that she’s on are helping. A lot. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s got cancer, and that she’s not a candidate for surgery. After a long visit, and a slightly less-long conversation amongst ourselves, we’ve decided to just try to keep her comfortable for as long as possible. Chemotherapy, while possibly (20-30% chance at 20-30% improvement) assisting in keeping up her physical quality of life for as long as possible, would no doubt strain our baby’s nerves, thus degrading her emotional quality of life (vet visits are the bane of her existence and always have been). Short term problem, sure. But when we’re looking at only a couple of months (at best) for our little one, those short term problems really add up. So, for now, we’re on a hospice-like path. She’s regained her usual spunk, thanks to the steroid/painkiller combo, and has her appetite back. We’ll see how long the current drug therapy works, and adjust as we go. We’re hoping that if she were able to choose for herself, this would be the choice she’d make.