Friday, April 17, 2015

P is for Paint

I'm hanging in there with the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

If you're just tuning in to my A to Z posts, I'm blogging about my home renovation. It wasn't easy.

I'm a pretty lousy decision maker. One of the most difficult things for me was choosing paint colors. I knew what I liked, but I sure didn't know how to pull it all together.

I go from one extreme to the other. I either like extremely neutral colors, or outrageously bold. 

You probably know that paint doesn't look the same on the wall as it does on that little square of paper. Visualizing how a room will look with green walls ... or blue ... or yellow is beyond my capabilities. I wanted to say, "Paint the walls, then I'll tell you if I like it!"

Painting a wall is a lot like cutting hair. Hair grows back and you can paint over the wall. With paint, there's always a do over!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

O is for Oven

I'm hanging in there with the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

I got a new dishwasher, new stove top and a new oven. The oven is the problem. It's incredibly LOUD! It blows air...though I'm not sure why. Something about a cooling fan inside. I didn't choose the oven, Mr. Contractor did. Because he could get it at a great price and we were trying to cut expenses, we bought into this so-called dream oven, as he described it. Sadly, our oven came with no how-to book. There's no doubt it was brand new. Here's the tale we got about the missing booklet: Mr. Contractor had truck trouble. Because his truck was his office, he had the booklet to my oven there and somewhere between his son's house, the towing company and the auto mechanic, my oven booklet disappeared.

Oh well...

The point is, there are buttons on my oven I don't know how to use. Of course, I'm not a fancy cook so it does what I want it to do. I just wish it was a little quieter.

Anyone have an oven that sounds like an idling 18-wheeler?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

N is for Newlyweds

I'm hanging in there with the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

I'm so tired of talking about our renovation that I thought I'd use N for Newlyweds. After all, while the renovation was going on we were planning a wedding. Talk about stress. Here are some pics of the newlyweds--a cheery break from renovation!

Don't even think about planning a wedding and renovating a house!


Happily Ever After!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

M is for Monkey

I'm hanging in there with the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

When I made my notes for what I would write about during this A to Z Challenge, I wrote M is for Monkey Glue. Well... not far wrong. M is for gorilla glue but it sure made a monkey out of us.

Before we started our renovation, we purchased two new toilets and had them connected by a licensed plumber. During the renovation, Mr. Contractor disassembled them several times. In fact, he disconnected our guest bathroom way sooner than he should have. I mean living with one bathroom is definitely an inconvenience! I know, we're spoiled, but I put toilets right up there with cell phones--a necessity!

During one of Mr. Contractor's disappearing acts, our guest toilet started leaking. We tracked down Mr. Contractor and asked him to come fix it.  He did. This happened two different times. The third time it leaked was right before our bedroom flooded so when we had the real plumber in the house, we asked him to take a look. Guess what he found--our brand new toilet had been cracked and glued back together. Oh yes, Mr. Contractor had broken it and tried to hide it. That's when we made the final decision to let Mr. Contractor go. He did not finish the job. He put us through a lot, but this was the last straw.

This contractor would NOT make a monkey out of us ever again.

When you renovate, you need a plumber for the plumbing. An electrician for the electrical work. Painters for painting. Expert floor people for putting down the floor.  When we hired Mr. Contractor, he told us he had an excellent crew. We didn't know that crew was  him and his son. Of course he had to hire out the cabinets and stuff, but I'm sure he purchased the cheapest of labor.  Do your homework and know who will be working in your house ... and their qualifications.

All day I've been singing:
"Hey, hey, we're the Monkees and people say we monkey around
But we're too busy singing to put anybody down
We're just tryin' to be friendly, come and watch us sing and play"
Don't monkey around when it comes to plumbing!


Monday, April 13, 2015

L is for Living Room

I'm hanging in there with the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

I'd like to tell you about my living room. It's a sunken living room and that in itself is a whole new set of problems. Contractors seem to get pretty confused on what to do with a sunken living room. Don't ask me why. It's like any other room, except it a step down. Right?

Problems were pretty evident with our living room floor long before the actual flooding. The wood laminate buckled. We learned after the fact, that there were some obvious reasons why. Our contractor had stored our wood laminate in the garage. When he brought it inside, he didn't let it acclimate to the house temperature. Did you know that was necessary? We didn't either. But any contractor worth his reputation knows or should know that flooring has to acclimate, so make certain your contractor (or your husband) doesn't bring it from outside and start putting it down immediately. This is a crucial step. Some manufacturers suggest 24 hours while others suggest a couple days longer.

You should also test to see how much moisture is in your concrete. Wood laminate
can not get wet--on top or beneath. Believe me, we know from experience.

Also, make certain your concrete is relatively smooth, doesn't have gouges and chips. Those holes and low places need to be filled in. Here's a good website that will give you information on laying wood laminate. I wish I'd read it before Mr. Contractor entered my life. Read it. Even if you don't do the work yourself, you should research and read about the procedure so you'll know if your contractor is doing it right or wrong. Don't hesitate to call his hand on things.

The pictures here are before the floor buckled and had to be removed, and hubby stacking the floor we removed, trying to salvage it for daughter and her husband.

I know I'm painting a real horror story about my renovation experience, but only because YOUR experience doesn't have to be.

K is for Kitchen

This post is part of the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge, and whoopee, we're on our eleventh day! It's K-day. Do me a favor, please. If you haven't checked out the A to Z Challenge website, and the other participants, go to You'll learn more about the challenge and its founder.

Now, to continue with my posts on home renovation: I didn't want
new kitchen cabinets. I just wanted mine painted. I had huge drawers that I could cram a lot of things inside; they were very convenient. Didn't take them long to demolish my kitchen! Here you see the beginning, the middle and the end, just like in a (horror) novel.

Yes, Mr. Contractor shamed us. "It will be terrible to do all this updating and keep your old kitchen cabinets." He had a point so we agreed, but for some reason I thought my new cabinets would look exactly like my old cabinets--only better. After all, he didn't ask my opinion or inquire about my needs. There again, my naivete. I should have TOLD him exactly what I wanted.

What you don't see is my wonderful kitchen drawers. See inside the cabinet? Not even a shelf to place my pots and pans on.  I just toss them inside and stand on my head to dig them out.

Also, look at the handles on my cabinet drawers. See two missing? I tried to make them uniform because that corner drawer can't open because of the handle on the opposite drawer. Ridiculous, right? You'd think contractors, cabinet builders would know "their numbers" and how to measure. Believe me, they don't! 

See how pretty my lights look beneath my cabinets. Of course, I asked my little contractor how I "change the bulbs" when they burn out. Know what he said? "Uhhhh, you can't change the bulbs... in fact, you shouldn't use them that much, just when you have company."  Here's what those lights really look like ... they're pretend!

Life has been interesting during this renovation. I don't advise anyone to go through it, but if you do, at least be prepared. Walk through each room and know EXACTLY what you want. Don't assume you're going to get it just because you say you want it, and don't assume your contractor knows basic arithmetic.  Be smart--take nothing for granted.

See you tomorrow?

Friday, April 10, 2015

J is for Junk

This post is part of the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator, please visit

Before and during our renovation, we had to pack up everything ... and I do mean EVERYTHING! We always knew we had a lot of junk but this confirmed it. Hubby and I are both packrats--or maybe I should say, sentimental rats. I have dishes from my mom's house, depression glass I collected over the years, a collection of bookmarks and post cards, pictures, paperbacks, posters--you name it and we've got it! DVDs, videos, cassette tapes--Oh my! We still have much of our daughter's treasures too. I'm not a fan of the old adage if we haven't used it in a year, get rid of it.  I've tried that, and if I get rid of something I usually need it the following week.

The bad thing
about our renovation is that we lost a lot of our storage space. The wet bar was a great hiding place. It had shelves for the fancy glassware my aunt gave me, and drawers on both sides. In the kitchen, I lost shelving and drawers too. And since the contractor lost our cabinet doors in the laundry room, we can't 'hide' anything there.

I'm always threatening to give up writing and create jewelry.
Can I really get rid of my jewelry making supplies, even though I've never made anything except this necklace. I want to make jewelry--but it's hard.

And what can I do with John Wayne?

During renovation, we gave a lot of our furniture, pots and pans to a young woman whose house burned down. She brought her ten year old son with her to help her load up; as he was looking around our garage, I told him, "We have too much junk, don't we?" And he answered, "Yeah, but it's good junk."

Awwww, my little soul mate. I agree! I like my junk, but I guess the time has come to get serious. We need to determine what's important to us and what can go to Good Will.

My heart is sad as I start this process.