Saturday, August 9, 2008


The desk is a hit already! Phil and I quickly moved in and claimed our spots. It is wide enough that we can work at the desk together without being in each other's way. Woohoo!! We love it. And there is plenty of room for a dining room table. The space for the dining room is about 10 x 10. When we have company, we'll put the computers away and use the desk as a serving bar.

One challenge for us will be to resist dumping things on the end of the desk. You can see that we have already begun doing that. It is awfully easy to do. We will also need to get two chairs...alike. But that is later. Now we are working on tile.

Phil first laid out the pantry and under the kitchen appliances to get the hang of tiling. Then he tiled most of the kitchen. Today I tried my hand at tiling. Damn! That's hard work. I am convinced that if a tiler ever demands that you do something for it! Tilers have got to have tremendous physical stamina and upper body strength that is to die for. On the other hand, we got a good bit of tile laid for a couple of wimpy book worms.

You can see from the photo on the left that it is going to look pretty good. this pic was taken from the front door. We laid all the tiles with the dots on them today. We put the dots on them so we will remember not to step on them.

We have also put tiles out for Monday's work. They're the ones without the dots (to the right of the cat). We also put out the tiles which run at a 90 degree angle to that long run you see from the front door. We have them laid out just so we can stay on track. With this long a run of tile it would be easy to get out of line and make the whole thing look like amateurs laid the tile. So we are trying really hard to keep everything square as possible.

You can't see it but we have little spacers between the tiles. That helps us line them up properly. They hurt when you step on them in your bare feet, too.

I've been unpacking book boxes. I am trying to put the books out in some logical order. Not Dewey Decimal System or anything like that but by type: Theology, all Biblical References, Biographies, History, World Culture, Computer, Novels, etc. Within category by author or editor. That makes putting books up a bit slower than I would like but I would like to have some order to them, if possible. I'll get back to unpacking and organizing books after we finish the tile, though. Tile has got to take priority. School starts week after next for Phil and that means that I will do what I can and then save the hard stuff for him for weekends. He'll love that. On the other hand, I may be pressed to learn how to do some things I would not have tried. I'll love that.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Countertop Install

The guys from Best Countertops arrived at about 9:30 this morning. They went right to work installing the counter top. This time they were the correct color.

One of the guys spoke little English and the other, who spoke excellent English, was clearly his apprentice. The discussed things often in Spanish. While I could not understand everything they said, I could certainly understand what they were talking about. Gradually it became clear that there was a problem.

Apparently, the center piece and the right-hand side had been fabricated at the shop but it was four inches too long. At first glance that does not sound like a big deal. But...the right and left hand are mitered to the center section. They knew that if they trimmed the left hand they would be running the risk of not getting the angle correct. After much discussion, making up their minds about what to do, more discussion, changing their minds, and more discussion, they decided to attempt to trim the center section on their own. Sure enough, the angle was a little off but these guys are masters at figuring out how to make it work. And they did.

The wall is kind of mangled in a couple of places. Nothing I can't fix. The apprentice spent a lot of time "fixing" the left hand seam and he did a good job. The breakfast bar has a 1/4" gap between wall and counter that is filled with gobs of filler that is supposed to harden. I keep thinking this will be okay when it is covered by the backsplash. It was a tense morning. These guys did a good job.

The counter top for the desk/serving bar in the dining room was installed with much less drama. But, of course, it is a simple straight counter. We may have to add a support for the center but for now, it is fine. I may work with Dan to build some kind of support that can incorporate the electric we want want under the counter top.
It is very nice to sit in here and work on my computer and be able to look out the window. It is light and airy. Books are beginning to fill the shelves. Nice.
We will have to buy two chairs that will work at this desk. It is an inch or two higher than a regular desk but not as high as a counter top. That seems odd to me as it is supposed to be at table height...30 inches. Instead it is 33 1/4 inches. Mmmmm. I measured the kitchen cabinets. They are at about 36 inches with the counter top installed. I'm wondering if we will need to buy counter height chairs. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Almost a Kitchen!

Yes!! It's almost a kitchen! Okay, not quite but at least its a functional kitchen. Here's what happened. The countertops were supposed to be delivered and installed on Thursday (yesterday). The guys got here 3 hours late and went right to work. I kept thinking something was not right. So I went and found my sample of countertop and compared it to the countertop they were installing. Sure enough, it was about two shades lighter. One of the guys called his office. Turns out someone made a mistake as they made out the work order. They offered me a $250 cash card if I would accept this countertop. I was insulted and told them the only way I would accept it was if they sold it to me at a 50% reduction. The manager backed off and said they would make a new countertop for me and that it would be ready on Monday. They will install the sink since I have Paul the plumber coming Friday (today) to do all the plumbing installs. And they said they would leave the main portion of the cabinet so we would at least be functional.

Paul the plumber brought his little boy Paul, Jr. to work with him today. He was a good little boy and was very helpful to his Dad. Paul installed cutoff valves on the sink and a new u-trap, and then hooked up the sink. He installed the dishwasher. Yippee!! And installed the line to the refrigerator for ice and water. Then he went out to the backyard and installed a pressure regulator to reduce water pressure to the house from 120 psi to 65 psi. That will keep all our appliances from blowing up. And everything works; no leaks. Ahhhh.

I cooked dinner in my newly functional kitchen. It's not done yet but at least its functional. The new sink is just perfect. I was able to get my entire wok into it. My new chopping block, which arrived yesterday and we had to put together (thank God for an education and a lot of common sense), was sooo nice. Admittedly the cardboard on the floor is a trip hazard but that will come up once we finish the floor and get little feet for the appliances. Admittedly there's no door on the pantry but that will be replaced once the floor is finished. Admittedly, the dishwasher is a tip hazard until the new countertop is installed but at least it works and will be anchored more better after the tile under it is installed. We really need to finish the floors. And that is the next project. To begin work on the tile in earnest.

And, I have started the process of unpacking book boxes. It will take awhile to get all the books organized. I have to find room for my books and Phil's and have them somehow organized enough to find particular books when we want them. For now, I have stacks of books in different places and particular sections designated for particular topics. It is nice to pick them up, touch them, smell remember them as the old friends we know them as. I look forward to unpacking them all.