Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Locked Doors

One recent afternoon, I took a few minutes to go visit with
my husband's aunt in our local nursing home facility.
Aunt Mary's face lighted up when she saw me
and I instantly regretted not coming sooner.
You see, just a few days ago she lost her beloved companion
whom had been by her side for over 70 years.
And now she is alone.
Alone in a strange room, an unfamiliar place, sharing the space
with someone else that is alone.
Through no fault of her family that loves here dearly,
she cannot live out of these surroundings on her own.

Aunt Mary, like her sister who was my mother-in-law,
has Alzheimer's.
Her mind can still be quite sharp &  she usually knows who I am
and calls me by my name.
But as she talks, I realize that she thinks I am someone from "home"...
from her past...where she is living today.

I try not to mention her husband, yet she remembers &  begins to talk about him.
I don't mention her daughter, their only child,
 that they lost not too many years ago.
I don't mention the two sisters &  two brothers
that have made their final journey,
 some many years ahead of her.

We visit & talk about springtime,
about our gardens, about things that will not trouble her
and she seems content.

I looked at the clock & saw that it was time for me to go.
And she followed me
to that locked door,
holding on to my arm,
wanting to go with me...
and it broke my heart to have the nurse gently take her by the hand
and lead her back to her new friends
and I looked away from her to the hallway ahead
and hated it when I heard the heavy thud of that locked door.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Putting Bob the Builder to Work!

Being married to a builder...and a guy named Bob at that!
I'm always dreaming about one of the projects he has going.
Our house was built in 1979-
back before the days of the open floor plans,
with kitchens & family areas blending together--
when bulk heads were in style--
when we would never, ever think of putting wood floors in our kitchens,
much less ceramic!

I love my home & there is no way we will be moving--
Tipton Lakes would frown on Bob's car shop
& long, long car trailer.
So we will be here on the top of Carr Hill
until one or the other of us can no longer climb the stairs to the bedrooms.

And my dream is about to come true...

 You may remember my post from last October,
asking for any advise on redoing our kitchen.

I was anxious to get rid of the almond appliances-
the country blue vinyl floor
and the "country" decor! 

About 3 weeks ago, I decided I had lived with that dirty wallpaper long enough,
so the stripping began.
I was pretty sure there was another layer of wallpaper under there.
(Who knew we would live here so long?)
Not only was there another layer of wallpaper that had been painted over,
there were two layers of border that would only come off with steam!

I worked for days
steaming & stripping & scraping.
I began to plead with my Bob the builder,
telling him that this would be the perfect time to remodel.
I didn't even know where to start.
I knew I wanted a farmhouse sink,
so off I went to our local plumbing supply store,
pretty sure that I would be ordering a white sink.

Our sales lady quickly convinced me that "cane sugar" was the color
I needed as she had just what I wanted, already in their warehouse,
& at a bargain price. 
And so it began.

Meanwhile, I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to have
company in early May.  Discussing this one evening, Bob told me
that there was no way in the world that the kitchen
would be completed that soon. 
I quickly responded by reminding him that he if he could do it for a client,
 he could do it for me!
My two cousins were coming for a girl week,
one of them having never been here before, & I wasn't about to let her
see this mess!  I did a little arm twisting/convincing/begging, and workers
crawled out of the woodwork!  I knew with this economy that some of
these guys would be happy for a little extra work.

Notice the bulk head.

I knew the next hurdle would be the flooring.
My heart was sort of set on ceramic tile,
mostly because I knew we wouldn't be replacing the cabinets
and I didn't want the kitchen too dark.
Margie the floor expert was call & she soon arrived with a trunk load of samples.
My idea of ceramic was thrown out the window as we had a floor problem
& didn't want broken tiles.
Cork?  Nope...I hated it.
Tile that looked like ceramic that was really vinyl?  Noooooo....
Decision was made...and boxes of wooden flooring
are sitting in the middle of my family room at this moment.

Back to the bulk heads.
I had been wanting them out since 1993...
I remember because that's when I began buying Longaberger baskets
and really needed lots and lots of space to put them.
But Bob said there was plumbing in them from the upstairs bath
and it couldn't be done.

But someone else convinced him differently!
Margie (the floor expert/interior designer) said...
"Bob, why don't you take out those bulk heads as they
really are out of style.  And that hood...it needs to be raised up!
It's way too low"
That's all it took.

So, after I steamed, stripped & scraped,
the bulk heads were torn out!
And guess what...
the plumbing wasn't down in the bulk head!
I could have had this look 18 years ago!
I am actually very thankful that it is happening now.

And this is our dining room...
two tables full of what was in our cabinets.
I can't believe I am showing you this mess...
but this is what happens when you remodel.

Mr. Drywaller & his assistants were here for a couple of days,
stirring up quite the dust.
Since the bulk heads were torn out & new drywall installed,
ceiling textures had to be blended...

...way into the family room
since there is no where to stop!
My family room was draped with plastic for a day or two
and still in quite the mess. 

And this is my entryway.
Flocked, yes flocked!!! wallpaper
which has never been changed since we moved in here almost 32 years ago
and it is someone dirty, to say the least.

And it is two stories tall!

Bob & I had every intention of tackling this job ourselves.
Until I fell a few weeks ago & hurt my knee.
That's when I called the man that my friend had used..
(and she about "un-friended" me when I told her we would do it ourselves!...)
He is coming Monday
to strip the entryway wallpaper
and repaint the walls.

Might as well make another mess while we are at it!

So, if you don't hear from me for a while,
you will be able to figure out where I am.
It all started with stripping a little wallpaper and I thought
I would be finished in a few days.
At this point all of my downstairs looks like it's been bombed!
I had to go on a treasure hunt this morning just to find my mail key.
We are breakfasting in the upstairs playroom
and having lunch in the garage.
Needless to say, there is no way to cook around here for a while.
One thing has lead to another
that I will tell you about later.

I hope that we have made the right choices.
Bob has a good eye for putting things together in his houses
so I have depended on him to help me make some decisions.
This is something that we shouldn't have to ever do again.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
Wish me luck!
Company's coming!

Monday, March 14, 2011

We're Off to See The Wizard!

The last few weeks have been a little hectic around my household.
Thus...blogging has been put on hold for a while.

It seems that my wish is finally coming true
and we are in the process of re-doing our kitchen.
One day I decided to tear into the wallpaper,
steamed, stripped, chiseled, scored layers of way outdated design
and found myself in a total mess.
I casually mentioned to hubby that I really wanted to get some things done
and they needed to be finished before

May as that is when company was coming.
Glaring at me, he said "no way will that happen"
& I sweetly smiled back (well maybe not so sweetly...)
and said...


And so as of this moment,
I have no functioning kitchen.
This morning everything was removed from our cabinets,
the upper cabinets were hauled to the garage,
work began reinforcing the swagging floor,
and we are to the point of no return.
It looks like we've been bombed!

I'll not bore you with the details...
but I've been busy.
In a few weeks I'll show you what we have been up to.

Meanwhile . . .

It is our daughter's birthday! 

This morning I frantically called her up to wish her a happy birthday...
and then to tell her if she was going to have a party
it was going to have to be at her house
as mine was a disaster.
I think she freaked out a little herself, but agreed to spend her day off work
preparing for her own party!

Since she is a "Dirt Cake" lover 
and would much rather have a dessert like that
than a store purchased cake,
I went over & whipped up her favorite
in her kitchen.

Our family did celebrate by having dinner at Johnny Carinos.
Thankfully, Karen was a good sport & enjoyed her day in spite of our difficulties.
Next year I promise to do better! 

And in the middle of our remodeling-
I'm leaving town!

Wednesday afternoon, I will be doing some back seat driving
and grandkid watching
as Karen, her 3 children & I travel to Kansas to visit with my sister.
Karen has been wanting to go for quite some time
so we are going out on Spring Break.
Karen was so exited to hear that the Princess Diana Exhibit
will be in town while we are there.
That is definitely on our "to do" list.
And Paige can hardly wait to go to the
American Girl Doll store!
I've even heard that there is some kind of
dinasour place that the boys might enjoy.

So for a few days
we will be "off to see the Wizard"--
in the land of Oz. . .

Overland Park, to be exact!

By the way...
the photos are some of my favorites of Karen as a little girl.
I can't believe we just celebrated her 37th year!