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June, 2006:

We both got stoned late last night…

Don’t get alarmed people, we were not inebriated, intoxicated, defusticated, or otherwise incapacitated in our ability to function. Nor did we drive an automobile while in said state. (WE would NEVER do that!) And we didn’t inhale. (well, okay, we inhaled a little, but only when there wasn’t much choice. I can say truthfully that if and when we did inhale, we didn’t like it. And if we did like it, it wasn’t our faults. Honest! It was that crappy President Bush who forced us to. (And he had already snorted all the cocaine!)

In case you haven’t figured it out yet– yesterday was our granite day. The granite guys were supposed to arrive between 12 and 4 pm. Naturally, and as one could easily expect from our past history with workmen glorious and not so, this was not to be the case.

Stephanie worked at home Thursday afternoon, because I could not be trusted to put the holes in the sinks where they were supposed to go. Truthfully, I prefer that– I don’t like being the middle man in a situation where I’m trying to explain to somebody else what somebody else thinks should be done. Let the first somebody else do it. Unfortunately, I’ve been the middle man very often between Stephanie and some workman trying to explain the very particular way that this thing is supposed to be attached, or hung in a certain place and then it turns out that we put it in the wrong place (according to Stephanie) This increases the stress level for everybody enormously. I mean, if Stephanie would interact with the workman directly, at least I wouldn’t be stressed directly. (Of course I’d hear all about it, and have to offer solutions, so maybe I would be)

Anyway, at least on one occasion, her thought of the right location for a certain hallway light was really the wrong location, and the location that I selected was the right location. It sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. She has even admitted as such to me in private, but I’m not sure she’d be willing to admit the error of her ways in public. And unless I desire to sleep in a non-existent doghouse, I think we shall say “enough said” about this particular incident in our house-building situation and move on.

So anyway, the granite guys were supposed to come today, as was the plumber Santanam and Stephanie took a half day off of work. (She went in from 8-12) Sadly, the plumber called to say he had to go to court for a summons, and the granite guys never really called at all. Around 1, I called them, and they said they’d be running late. How late, they were afraid to commit to. And by 5 when they didn’t show up, we got worried– we called them and said– It has to be tonight– Stephanie can’t do it any other day.

Well, to make a long story short, they rolled up around 9:30 or so. They were here until around 10:45 and they installed the granite. And it looks WONDERFUL!

They will still have to come back to install a couple of backsplash pieces that were measured incorrectly, and there were a couple of minor measuring mishaps that needed to be corrected, but overall, it’s mostly in.

Of course, the plumber hasn’t arrived today even, which means it will be Monday or Tuesday (knock wood) before the sinks are installed and working. But hey, it’s progress.

And because I feel that you deserve it– here are some photos for you to savor at and enjoy….

This is the cooktop with granite on either side– the back of the cooktop still needs to be worked on, as well as the backsplashes for this wall.
This is the entry way island–(next to the pantry)
This is the sink wall. Notice the delicious double sink! (Sadly it’s not connected, and the dishwasher is not yet installed. We’ve still got work to do
This is the island with the round bar sink. It’s got two holes, one for a faucet and one for a pot-filler. Hopefully the pot-filler hose will reach….

I have moved.

I have moved. I hope to never move again. (And by the way I am currently feeling, I may never be able to physically move again. ) I am tired in ways I didn’t know it was possible to be tired. And very very very hot.

And my stuff is mostly in the garage and in the house, and on the floor, and … well, you get the idea. It’s all over.

Enough said. Time to soak in a barrel of ice water and contemplate my fate as a resident of New York state.

A not so moving post about moving.

May I rant for a moment?

I have just spent the day getting ready for the big move tomorrow (in which all of my stuff follows my example and makes the trek from Providence to Yonkers.) Would that it were that easy– If I could train my stuff to do my bidding like fleas, it would be easy! :o)

I haven’t moved in 15 years, and it’s been emotionally and physically draining to get all this stuff together, to throw stuff out I should have thrown out years ago, pack stuff up, and then box it up– oh, did I mention the fact that the elevator is out, which basically makes my apartment a third floor walkup? Lots of fun.

I am exhausted– I have been in Providence for the last couple of days packing– And was up until 3 am last night packing. I’m nervous that we won’t be able to get it all done in time.

Today, I hired two guys from Craigslist to help me pack up books and move stuff around from 1-6 pm. — They did a great job. We packed 17 boxes of books to go to Goodwill (tomorrow at 7 am), and then took the 60 (yes 60– what can I say, I like to read) boxes of heavy books down three flights of stairs and put them next to the doorway, ready to go out tomorrow– Hopefully it won’t rain tomorrow.

I’ve hired the Craigslist guys for tomorrow as well, as well as two guys from Labor-Ready, and the two movers– that means we’ll have 6 guys working here– which means that we should be able to pack it all up in 4-5 hours (I figured we have about 200 trips to make up and down the stairs, at an average of 5 minutes each– that’s 1000 man-minutes, or 16.667 man hours. Rounding up to 20 hours– that would take 5 guys 4 hours– we’ve got 6 guys, plus me, and 60 of those trips up and down the stairs have been made much shorter. So I feel like we are in pretty good shape. (Ain’t math wonderful?)

If I am able to stand, I still have a bunch of packing to do tonight.

And then comes the unpacking. And then qfter thqt

I never want to do this again!

We are officially corked!

And no, “Being corked” is not some allusion to a lascivious state of drunken or debauched excess. (Although Corked.com is some kind of an affiliate/web traffic site, which is about as lascivious as we get over here at yonked.)

What I am trying to say is that we are now the proud owners of an officially installed cork floor. One step closer to the kitchen of our dreams!

Above is a picture of Mike (or Corky, as we like to call him) installing the floor. Mike was recommended to us by the cork company. He did a great job installing the cork. As it turned out, we have at least two people in common that we know– one person in Maryland, and one person in Rhode Island. Guess their is only one degree of separation for clowns.

Cork comes with a lot of restrictions– For the next 8 hours the floor is unwalkable. After that, socks only. After that, 48 hours later– shoes are okay. And 8 days from now, the finish will have hardened and be okay. And after that– we have to re-apply the finish every couple of years or so.

The only snag in our cork-sational plan is that on Thursday of next week (6 days) we are having the granite installed. Which means a round of masonite on the ground to protect the cork from the granite– because you know, they are opposites, and if the two ever manage to actually physically touch, it is possible that the world as we know it would completely explode. I’m not saying that it definitely would– I’m only suggesting that it MIGHT.

Can I also mention that the floor looks beautiful!

Stephanie did a great job of picking the colors– they all match perfectly (that is, they will, assuming that the last piece of our puzzle (the granite) install goes smoothly)

The Kitchen Death March of Frustration

Well, things are not working out quite according to plan. Or rather, they are working out exactly to plan. Just not OUR Plan.

First of all, when you are doing this type of renovation, everybody and your mother tells you “Oh, it’s going to cost twice as much, and take twice as long as you expect.” They tell you this so much that you start to go “Yeah, yeah, I know.” It becomes rote or routine. However, when you are at the beginning of the end of the process, and you are writing checks that you are timing carefully to make sure that the sound of them bouncing will not be heard above the tumult of the air gun, it is quite a different sensation. I used to be cavalier. Now I just cavil. (I have provided a link for those that did not study assiduously for the SAT’s.)

So here’s the latest.

It turns out that we have so far bought three prep sinks. The first was too large, but the right color (brushed stainless) The second was the right size, but the wrong color (polished stainless). The third was the right size (although slightly different dimension, requiring a new measurement for the granite), the right color, but late. Stephanie had ordered the sink with the assurance from the company that it would arrive on Friday. Our plan was to take the sink over to the granite showroom on Friday so they could start cutting. When it become clear that FedEx was not coming on Friday (they couldn’t find the tracking number for a good portion of the day, our plan was to bring it over on Saturday,so they could cut on Monday, install on Tuesday, and then we’d have the cork floor installed on Wednesday. (In the meantime, plumber comes in to connect all of the various plumbing appliances (gas stove, dishwasher, fridge water) and correct all of the stuff that he put in the wrong place the last time he was here (and Aaron kept saying, “I don’t think that’s in the right place.”)

So, Saturday morning we get a call from the granite guys saying “Hey, we might have a problem, there are some gray splotches on your granite that will show. What do you want us to do.” The first thing we said is, “How about placing those spots where the y won’t be seen, like in the cutout for the sink, etc.” But they, consummate professionals that they are, had already thought of that. We told them we’d be there before 4 pm (when they close in Bridgeport) And then we commenced the waiting.

You see, we were waiting for our prep sink to arrive from FedEx, so that we could bring it directly to them, and thus save the measuring worry that we had previously. However, Fedex didn’t have a time for delivery, (except the oh so helpful “Sometime before midnight.” ) And Bridgeport is 1.5 hours away. And if we don’t get the sink if we are here, we have to wait for Tuesday, because this particular part of Fedex delivers Tuesday through Saturday. So we wait, and wait, and wait. At 2 pm we take off to go to Bridgeport without a sink. We leave a note for Fedex saying “Please leave package on front porch.” And we left a note for our neighbors saying “Please don’t steal our sink. Pretty Please?” And we took off.

I admit that it was my FABULOUS idea to take the Hutchinson parkway to the Merritt, which turned out to be a bad idea due to traffic. After a lot of self-incrimination, prostration, and a quick stop for the appropriate libations (diet coke for me, and Sweet Tea for Stephanie) we arrived at the Granite yard only to find out that the reason there was going to be a problem is that they had screwed up! We had them reserve two blocks of our granite for us. But on measuring, they decided they only needed one slab. So they sold the other slab out from under us. After listening to them implore us to take any other color in stock, they listened to reason, and agreed to order a new slab, which will arrive sometime next week.

On returning home (albeit with a $600 stop at Home Depot for garbage disposals, another toilet, and some sundries) we found that our sink had miraculously not been stolen!

So now, here’s our current schedule for this week. (naturally, almost certain to be changed by the vagaries of chance)

Monday and Tuesday plumber does his thing.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, cork floor guy does his thing.
Early next week –Granite cut and installed, with us walking on egg shells that the granite guys don’t get sloppy and drop something very heavy on our nice new cork floor. (and yes, mother, cardboard WILL be laid down over the cork.)

We had brunch this morning with two friends who asked the key question: Are you managing your renovation, or is your renovation managing you.

I leave that to you, dear readers, to discern.

More kitchen pics

I know, I know, we haven’t put nearly enough pictures online. Everyone keeps harping on us about it and I’m sure that from afar it’s not as much fun to hear about the chaos without the proof, but let me tell you, part of the chaos is not knowing where the camera is, whether or not we downloaded the pictures, whose computer the pictures are on….okay, you get the idea. I’ve resorted to taking some pics with my Treo but if you look at the post from 6/2 you can see those results (yucch).

So – here are more kitchen pics, finally. You can see the tin ceiling and the light fixtures and sort of get a feeling for the paint colors in the kitchen (which is a buttercream on the walls and sage green (Martha’s “Everyday Green”) for the ceiling (and later trim)). I also think this is the first look for most people at the cabinets – “cherry spice” – pretty simple design, will be darker than the cork floor (which gets installed starting Wednesday this week).

The light fixtures are from Rejuvenation, one of my new very favorites. Absolutely love their lighting, I could definitely do more damage and get fixtures for the LR/DR there….but I think we’ll have to live with the Home Depot specials in those rooms for a while.

On Friday Aaron started to lay the cement for the floor of the shower in the new master bath, so that Santana the plumber can make his triumphant return on Monday to finish everything up. Just as Aaron was done with the cement, Joey decided to check it out.

Detour: Our trip to Museum City (errr… Chicago)

Sorry that we haven’t been updating the website so much. (Our gracious readers have been clamoring for more, no doubt, so we will do our best to make like Mr. Chesterfield and Satisfy.)

We were in Chicago for five days, and life has been intervening in between all that (Pesky life!) And while this post is not DIRECTLY related to our house in Yonkers, I’m making it anyway.

It was good to be away from the dust and confusion of our half finished home to step into the lap of luxury of Chicago– even if it meant living out of a suitcase (not much different really)

We went to Chicago for a confluence of business and pleasure– Stephanie’s dad turned 65, her sister turned 12, her niece graduated from eighth grade, and there was a big trade show in between all that.

I went along for the ride, to see her family and then to play tourist for a few days. I also had a dinner with an old friend who lives in Evanston, and who I hadn’t seen in six or seven years.

Our travel was marred by delays due to weather in New York. The weather in Chicago was fantastic. We spent a day and a half at the Dunes in Indiana, and bought some draidels for $3 that we later found on ebay (with their accompanying box) for $500. So that was a good day all around!

When we got to Chicago, Stephanie went to her conference, and I put on my tourist hat. I went to a bunch of great museums (Chicago is a great museum city!) I also walked all along Millenium Park, and in general played the tourist. Among my museums were:

Museum of Science and Industry: Saw the Leonardo exhibit of his inventions, an actual captured U-boat, a giant model of a mythical juggling company (where you get to help figure out advertising, financing, and then can watch the manufacturing process of a top with your name etched into it. This may be one of my favorite museums ever. Definitely a don’t miss if you are in Chicagoland.

Art Institute of Chicago: Walked through their contemporary art collection, including a series of fascinating Joseph Cornell boxes (largest collection together in the world); An amazing display of glass paperweights from the 1860’s to the present day; and the Miniature Rooms collection, which are models of rooms in miniature (English Manor Hall circa 1560, Santa Fe living room circa 1950) that are just amazing in their detail and creation of world.

Chicago Cultural Center: Saw a great exhibit of Chicago artist Nick Cave’s Soundsuits. (He’s not the Bad Seeds Nick Cave) It’s set on the fourth floor of a magnificent building in the heart of Chicago opposite Millenium park. The gallery is about 40 feet tall, and features 30 different sound-suits– costumes that Cave has manufactured to make music in. They are fascinating (One is to the left) I spent about an hour and a half taking it all in and trying to figure it all out. I highly recommend checking this exhibit out if you have the chance.

The Field Museum Saw the new King Tut exhibit, which was more hype than substance. It was interesting, and well done, but I thought it would be better than it was. I felt like the museum’s regular old Egypt exhibit gave about the same level of education, and didn’t cost $15 and have huge amounts of lines to see. I much preferred their new evolution exhibit, which takes the bulk of the museum’s natural history collection and turns in into a timeline of the history of life on the planet– it was fascinating, and I gave it short shrift in order to go to my appointed time at King Tut– next time, I want to really spend a couple of hours in there and read it all.

Silk Road Chicago Only caught a little bit of this month long exhibit/project by Yo-Yo Ma and friends, but it was very interesting. Also caught a 50th anniversary of the Sister Cities of Chicago that was across the way, and was also really interesting (although primarily food related.

Marshall Fields While not really a museum, this is perhaps the quintessential department store. (And certainly an essential Chicago experience) I spent a couple of hours perusing its aisles. Especially the mini- boutiques of Levenger, and the Frangemint shops. Sadly, the art vending machines that they had in the basement cafe are now gone. (I brought caramel Frangemints to my friends for dinner, and they were a BIG hit!)

Tunnel vision

I can’t believe that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The kitchen is nearly complete!

Aaron and FX (handyman friend-of-Adam’s-brother that’s been helping) have done an awesome job getting it all together, including putting up the tin ceiling (which looks like it’s always been there), the light fixtures, and installing the cabinets. Aaron, in particular, has been amazing with the custom reworking of the cabinets – we bought standard Home Depot stuff, and he’s had to rework a bunch of them to fit with our cooktop, our brick wall, and the peninsula. His attention to detail is magnificent; you’d never know they weren’t all custom made or delivered just like this. This is why I love Aaron.

Today is actually the first day of the rest of the kitchen: the countertop guys are coming to measure for the template. Last weekend we went to the granite yard to pick out our slab(s) – very difficult to find something we liked that was reasonable, because apparently anything green, which we really wanted, is expensive relative to the browns and yellows and greys. After wandering around the yard in Bridgeport, CT (en route to Providence) we found a really fantastic multi-color piece, called “Gold Butterfly,” that has a nice vein of green in it, along with the cream of the walls, the cherry brown of the cabinets, and the lighter brown of the cork floors. It’s not what I originally had in mind – I was thinking of something with less pattern, more consistent – but it’s perfect, color-wise, and pretty bold; of course, we know who likes bold in this family!

This picture is not at all a good representation of the countertop, but maybe you can sort of get the idea.

And – certainly through no effort of our own, we have roses in the garden! Suddenly there they are; one of them a bit worse for the wear after a tough storm that trampled it down, but Adam staked it up and it seems to be okay. Now if I just had even the smallest clue about roses (let alone the rest of the garden)….

Off to Chicago this evening for family and work stuff, hopefully will return home to an even closer-to-complete kitchen.