*Lyrics from “If I Were a Bell” as sung by Beverly Kenney which can be found on her album Come Swing With Me. I know this song from Guys and Dolls (the movie), but this version is decidedly sweeter, and somehow fresher than the version I know so well. Maybe it’s because I have Mad Men on the brain, or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to the Ella Fitzgerald station on Pandora. Either way, this song, combined with the crazy-beautiful weather we’ve been having, has been lingering in my mind.
Ok, so, remember how at the end of last summer I teamed up with Dave, Jonas and Pappy to help some clients renovate their kitchen and powder room? Of course you do. But, in case you may have forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.
Well, now it looks like this:
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 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.
I have to celebrate you, J.J., I have to praise you like I should.
After weeks and weeks of incrementally improving the family bath, and after hours and hours of extra effort and care the tile is officially DONE! I know, I can’t believe it either! Scheduling work on the weekends can be over (for now, until we need the plumber back), and we can finally, finally break down the work-room protections in the guest room. Seriously, I can’t even tell you how ready I was/am for this to be over. Of course I still have tons of painting, patching and protecting to do (as well as figuring out window treatments and shower curtains), but J.J. is done, and for that, I am soooo grateful.
Today, as I’m still thinking about Japan, I’m also thinking about the individual humans who are living through this tragedy, disaster, experience. Are they frightened? I’m sure of it. Are they tired? Certainly. How are they coping with the emotion, the fear, the lack of warmth, food and comfort? I personally don’t know how I’d survive. I count my blessings, my good fortunes, my own comforts and am grateful to my bones.
And, while sadness, fear and anxiety are no doubt the primary feelings that most of the survivors are experiencing, I think that it is important to remember that, eventually, everything is going to be alright. It will never be the same. But it can be alright.
It’s been too long since my last post, but so much has happened, and all in the span of just a few days. I completed my joint compound homework (as promised), preparing the walls and gaps around the ceiling lights as best I could. Team Tile (J.J. and mini-Caleb) arrived on Friday, as scheduled, and worked to get the room ready for Team Carpentry’s (Dave and Jonas) arrival on Monday (today). Not only did they finish the work that absolutely needed to get done before the built-ins could go in, they also made some good progress on one of the shower walls. Bonus!
With a sickly (feverish) wee one at home awaiting his arrival, Dave (& Jonas) arrived on Sunday to do the hour or so of work that needed to get done before J.J. could (can) finish the floor in the bathroom. A bit of mud, tape, sawdust and vacuuming, and suddenly the room felt like it was ready to move on. (I’ve been ready to move on for weeks, now. But I digress.) The seam between the durock and sheetrock was bound together – though multiple coats of compound still need to be applied – making the room instantly feel more finished. Nothing like plugging up holes to make a room settle a bit. And, after patching a few more spots where attic air could penetrate our cozy little room, and cleaning up the threshold so that a new non-beveled piece of marble could be installed, Dave and Jonas made a date to come back and finish up the carpentry portion of the project.
We. Have. Floors! (Again!) Well, mostly. J.J. arrived on Friday, as promised (thanks, J.J.!) and worked his knees to the bone to get the floor in the family bath done. As done as he could get them, considering that we need a tiny bit of help from Team Carpentry to get the threshold in (need to trim back the wood flooring a bit), and to patch up the wall adjacent the pony wall (which J.J. needs to tile before the built-in gets installed). If you’re confused, you’re not alone. It’s one of those projects where everyone needs everyone else to get the job done correctly. And the fact that our Teams live far from us (a fact that was not a problem during the regular half-house renovation since they were here for days or weeks or months at a time) has become a bit problematic, especially since it’s winter. But we’re all managing as best we can. J.J. sacrificed by putting in two looonnng days to get the floors ready to be walked on, and for that we are eternally grateful. We have a few steps to take yet before this project will really feel like it’s in full swing. But for now, I’m just so happy that something tangible has been done! (No offense to our dear Brad, but I can’t exactly get as excited about electrical that’s operable, ready, and safe, but hidden in the walls and ceilings. Sometimes you just have to see it, you know?)
It’s Groundhog Day. The day we’re supposed to (superstitiously) find out how much longer winter is going to last. And the snow in our yard is at least 3′ deep. Groundhog or not, winter is here, and she’s not leaving anytime soon. Our Family Bath project looks like it might not end any time soon, either. Which is starting to really bring me over (you’ll have to watch Better Off Dead for that reference). Sigh.
But let me rewind a bit.
As winter tromps along, with seemingly no end in sight, so does our Family Bath Project. Brad’s been fitting in bits of the project between winter storms, while Dave and Jonas have been giving us time on the weekends to fit us in amid their busy (weather-altered) schedule. We knew that the wintertime project would be inevitably affected by the weather, other bigger jobs (this is, after all, just a tiny bathroom compared to the whole houses all these dudes are working on), and colds and flus. So far we’ve been incredibly lucky, and the scheduling has worked out very well for everyone. Until…