Taking Shape

We are still in the midst of remodel madness, but everything is really starting to take shape. A little visible progress is what gives us hope in the midst of the dust, the noise, the disruption.

The tile is all done for the shower. It looks beautiful. The MR splurged on a special drain that simply disappears into the wall with a “V” center section. It’s pretty slick.

So now we need the showerhead and controls to be installed, and then the glass surround would be nice.

Our new counter is in. It’s similar in shape and size to the last one, but we’ve traded one drawer for five drawers plus two large end cupboards.

In here, we need countertops, sinks, faucets, a mirror, two pendants, and lovely tile to the ceiling.

On the other wall, we’ve have one tall and deep cabinet. We’re still needing a decorative light, a shelf, a heated towel rack, and a bathtub in the corner.

Now shall we move to the other end of the house? The laundry room has all the cabinetry installed. It looks gigantic; I’m going to need a really tall stepstool.

What’s left to do you say? They’re going to build a box for the washer and dryer to sit on to make room for the dryer venting. In this way, the appliances can be moved back in line with the cabinets. We have a sink and counters to be installed, and then my days at the laundromat will be over.

The butler’s pantry looks amazing. I really like the dark wood. It may be the closest to being finished.

The wine fridge and extra fridge are on back order. We need a brighter light, a countertop, sinks, and some tile, and we’re done.

Speaking of done, the workers have finished their work in the kitchen. Yes, in the kitchen; I know you’re surprised. We replaced the backsplash with some mosaic tile. We’ve gone from plain to color, texture, and beauty. Sometimes it’s fun to have a little sparkle. It looked a little busy at first, but when you add in all the everyday stuff it’s like it’s always been there.

Big things are in the mix. I’m looking forward to the finishing line.

As I write, we have guys installing a new door in the laundry room, someone measuring for the shower glass, another guy servicing the boiler, and the cleaning lady whisking away the dusk. We are a veritable hive of activity.

Spring is in the air; things are looking up. Hope they are for you, too.

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Anticipation

You know how they say you have to tear it down before you can build it back up again? Well, we’ve been in the stage where you tear it down, make lots of noise, and create a big mess for the last few weeks.

While our master bath looks like a big empty room, the plumbing and outlets have been moved. We have a floor where the tub once was. Massive amounts of blue tile and a wall have disappeared.

In the laundry room, the bathroom is a thing of the past but so are all the cabinetry, a wall, and my washer and dryer.

This has forced me into new experiences. I haven’t been to a laundromat in 20 years; those industrial machines are really fast. I did three loads of laundry in under 90 minutes and made it to work with time to spare.

So where are we at? Our guy from Semco is here redoing the floors to match up with the rest of the rooms, the MR picked up our order of beautiful tile last week, and we’re doing our best to keep up with the dust that’s everywhere.

I’m looking forward to seeing the cabinets in place, and the rooms coming together. The floors need a few days to cure, so it’ll be Thursday before we start seeing more progress.

The weather is unseasonably cold, our boiler isn’t working, snow is in the forecast again this week, but in the end, it will all work out. I’m praying for patience and a few more sunny days.

Cocoa wanted to chase off a pair of mountain lions, but the MR convinced her that was a bad idea. We stayed safely on the deck and enjoyed the sunshine.

How was your February? Sunny days ahead?

How Do You Choose?

We were out to dinner with friends awhile back, and when we were choosing our appetizers, the other fellow (last to pick) chose something completely different. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, he admitted he’d rather have had something else, but he wanted to see what all the choices looked like.

His wife explained that she picks safe options, but her husband is more adventurous when it comes to food. Wow! They were just like us, but I’m the one who chooses the unusual, and the MR stays with the tried and true.

Has this always served me well? No. I remember on our honeymoon in Switzerland, I chose spaetzle and the MR a nice pork chop. He was much happier.

In other ways, it’s been a good choice. Since I’m the one who makes most of the meals around here, our kids will try just about anything when it comes to food. That makes them an easy dinner guest and helps when traveling.

My penchant for the unusual led me to a lovely discovery the other day. We were at Sip Thai Bistro in Redmond for lunch, and I saw tea that was described as blue. I’ve had black tea, green tea, white tea, even red herbal tea, but never blue. Of course, I had to try it.

The waitress warned me, I guess the color can be off putting, but I was game.

The tea came with lemon, and the server explained that a squeeze of it would turns the tea purple.

Sure enough, she was right. The tea had a delicate flavor, but I was charmed by the color.

There’s so much joy to be found in trying something new. Perhaps that’s why I’m brewing a batch of coffee kombucha and flavoring the regular batch with rosemary and strawberries.

We still have snow on the ground, so I think I’ll whip up a batch of knoephla soup for dinner tomorrow. I’d never heard of it either till this morning, but it sounds tasty—look it up.

How about you? Do you stick with your favorite foods or are you always willing to try something new?

Good News, Bad News

We’re taking the good with the bad around here. Remember the remodel I keep talking about? It still hasn’t started, and in a crazy sort of way that’s good news.

You see it’s been snowing off and on for over a week. This is not normal Seattle weather.

The good news is that the cabinets have arrived.

The bad news is that we’re totally snowed in.

While it’s snowing now, some forecasts say it will turn to rain this afternoon. It’s hard to believe, but I’m looking forward to some rain melting the snow.

So far the only damage has been in the orchard. The netting filled with heavy snow and bent some of the posts.

The power has been off and on since last night, but our new generator is working perfectly. It turns on within seconds of the power going out. Our new larger propane tank makes outages painless these days.

Stuck at home with all my outings canceled, I’ve been catching up on my knitting.

If the snow melts and if the roads clear, work is tentatively scheduled to start on Thursday. Don’t worry; I’ll keep you posted.

Hope you are warm, and safe, and dry in your neck of the woods.

It’s the Little Things

I was sitting by the windows enjoying bright wintry sunshine, when I smelled a wonderful scent.

It may be snowing, all my outings for the week may have been canceled, but our little orange tree is in bloom, and oh, does it smell sweet.

And now in a few short–nine months–we’ll enjoy a harvest of oranges. Last year it was one. If we get two fruit, we’ll have doubled our production. We are not in this for the money, it is a labor of love…with the bonus of lovely, mood-boosting smells.

Hoping you are safe and warm on blustery winter days.

Blessings in Disguise

I read a sappy blog post, walked over to the kitchen to grab a tissue, and became distracted by a dozen little, brown birds hopping around near the orchard; they’d found the only bit of ground not covered by the half foot of snow we got last weekend. And I counted my blessings.

You see, me and the MR have been packing up our things. No, we’re not going on another wonderful trip. We’ve packed up the laundry room, the master bathroom, and my closet. Back in November, the contractor’s plan was to start February 1, and we wanted to be prepared. There’s nothing like moving your socks and underwear while workers are tearing apart your house.

I moved my things to the guest room, I went through all those potions and lotions a woman has, I packed up my jewelry, and I decided which shoes I’d need for a few weeks, and then the MR taped off the rest with plastic sheeting.

We were ready, and then nothing. February 1 was looming; the MR emailed. They’ll be here on the 11th. Can you hear the groans? Do I move all my things back? Can I live with toiletries in boxes for weeks? I was a little grumpy.

Then came Sunday. We were watching the Super Bowl, celebrating a birthday, chatting with family, and keeping an eye on the falling snow. Our company left at halftime, and the snow continued to fall. The next morning we woke to fields and trees covered in white. Tuesday, it warmed up enough for the railings to melt, but last night the temperature dropped to 16-degrees.

So while I dabbed my eyes, and watched those little birds, I thought to myself how lucky we are. It would have been horrible to have workers coming in and out in the snow. I would have worried about their safety traveling an hour to get to our house in icy conditions.

Sometimes instead of wanting everything to follow my plan, I can just be thankful for what is. They say it’s going to snow next weekend, but I’m going to take a deep breath and let it be.

What do you do when things go awry? Any crazy weather to share?

A Few Good Things

You know how sometimes things just all fall into place? It’s a Felix Felicis kind of day. Well, I thought I’d share with you a few things that make good days even better.

So back in December when we took the kids to Costa Rica, on the last night, probably the highlight of our trip, we went on a night hike in the middle of a deluge. And while most of the family wore rain ponchos that look very similar to trash bags, I wore my raincoat. At the end of the night, we’d seen sloths, scorpions, pit vipers, toucans, and many more animals in the night, and who was dryer? Trash bag people or Mom? You know your mother’s always right.

Sweet Miss had a pass to the Columbia Company Store a few years ago, and on the way home from Dad’s Weekend with Baby Girl, we went on a buying spree. The Columbia Outdry Ex Reign Coat is pretty awesome.

What else makes me happy? Well, when you bring a bunch of twenty-somethings (or maybe just three) home after trekking through the wilds, they might have some laundry to do. Remember My Green Fills (the laundry soap service I signed up for last summer)? When I noticed I was almost out of laundry detergent, they were Johnny on the spot and shipped out more soap immediately. You can learn more about My Green Fills at Shake, Shake, Shake.

But that’s not all. I’m kind of loving how you can get whatever you want put on a sign on the internet. Baby Girl gave me this for Christmas. If you’re a parent, I think you’ll understand that while you love them, these kids that God gave you can push your buttons like no one else. Perhaps that’s why I may have quoted this sign on more than one occasion. If you want to buy a sign for your mom, a friend, or maybe a Valentine, Etsy is a great place to start.

I’m writing this as the sunsets at a little after 5 pm. It’s winter; we need light. The MR recently replaced the 25-year-old, undercounter fixtures in the kitchen. Thank you dear. A little light when I’m making dinner or making breakfast is oh-so welcome; let’s face it, sometimes I need extra light at lunch time.

And finally, Sweet Miss encouraged us to all get away for a wine tasting weekend in Dundee, Oregon. She likes her pinot noir, and our Washington wine cellar was sorely lacking. After a few days with the family, we’ve righted the situation. Time with the kids is always a win, and Dundee has some very nice wines.

I also have a new hat pattern I’ll be sharing soon, and a fairly compliant model.

What have you been up to in January? What is making you happy? FYI, my daffodils are up. Blooms will follow soon.