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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

I was trying to remember the date when we started working on the kitchen in our house so that I could lay out a time frame to give perspective on how long we've been dealing with this end of our renovation. The more I thought about it the further the date went into the past. It felt wrong to discount everything that we have done in months past in preparation for what we have accomplished in this month simply because those particular hurdles were not nearly as climactic. So, the story of our kitchen renovation goes back so far that I'm going to have to break up the blog a bit and spread it out over the course of a few posts. I could probably give you the nutshell version of everything and like good little impatient fast-food only Americans you will be satisfied. However, if you know me at all, you know that I am never handing out nutshell versions of anything. If I tell you I'm hungry it's usually in enough words that could fill the pages of some of the smaller paperback novels.

The kitchen renovation began shortly after we bought the house in February of '07 and has been part of our lives ever since. I don't think that there has been a single moment in all of that time where we have not had at least one tool taking up residence in this room. The reality is that there has been a constant flow of building materials, tools, paints, broken tile, and household items (that have no business in a kitchen) that has been circulating through use and unuse and finding temporary placement in a room that is commonly the most used room in a house. It would be a gross understatement to say that it has been inconvenient and well more accurately stated as a test of our sanity, patience, and claims that we actually enjoy this sort of thing.

From the first photo you can see how dated everything was. This photo was taken on Dec. 4, 2006 while we were looking at the house with our realtor. Note: Jodi (eight months pregnant) is dark in this photo only from the shadow formed by the flash hitting the wide-angle lens. Just in case you cared to know. Let me give you the official tour. Let's start with the ceiling that had large sections of (most certainly) lead paint peeling off and ominously threatening to land in some innocent person's food when they turned their back. Then there was the bottle collection left behind by a previous tenant who clearly assumed that the next home owner would share his/her appreciation for such a random selection of cheap liquor containers. Next comes the walls sporting their beautiful wall paper that someone proudly installed at some point in history. I apologize now to this person for we couldn't wait to remove your handiwork. The cabinets weren't too awful except that they had no backs to them, they were always filling up with pieces of plaster and drywall dust when we were working on something nearby, they seemed to have been built by someone who kept in mind that mice need to eat too, and half the doors were extremely hard to open due to the misplacement of the latches.
So, yeah, I guess that they were pretty awful. The floor was 12" x 12" laminate tiles that I can only hope someone got for free, because what a waste of money otherwise. There was hardwood under those hideous tiles, but it would've cost a small fortune to refinish it since the installers of the laminate tile thought that it would be a good idea to use that hardwood as their base to stick the tar paper to. The tar paper can be seen in the next photo (taken 3/3/07) as well as the bare plaster walls.

The last photo was taken while tiling the floor in June '07. We managed to successfully continue to use all the appliances by staging out the process and moving them around. This wasn't fun, but it was exciting to get rid of nasty tar paper floor. The floor quickly came together and in a few days it was complete.

To be continued... Part Two.

Bad for Business

It's not every day that standing in the water aisle at the grocery store makes me laugh, so I knew as I was laughing out loud and receiving puzzled sideways looks from other shoppers that this would inevitably become a blog. It's only proper anyway since so much time has passed since my last entry. You all must think that things have been very boring around my house for me to not find anything worth writing about. But, that's simply not the case. It's rarely boring around my house.

So, I'm looking for some distilled water to purchase at the local PriceCutter right up the road and I find the water seen in this photo. If you haven't already laughed then let me either remind you or just come out and tell you depending on whether or not you've seen the movie Erin Brockovich. Ms. Brockovich is a single mom of three who finds herself working as a file clerk at a small law firm in the early nineties. She stumbles across a pro bono case (a legal case done at no cost to the client, not to be confused with a small box that campaigns for the lead singer of U2) that is dealing with several families that have been ill due to drinking their well water. All these people lived around a PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) plant that had been polluting the groundwater with rust inhibitor that contained Chromium 6. The town that these folks lived in was Hinkley, California.

Erin Brockovich won several awards and was nominated for many others. This was no small movie so I was curious as to why a company would make such a mistake in choosing a name without researching where else it might already have been used. That's when a closer look taught me that the company has been around since 1888. So, then I'm thinking, "What must have these guys felt when they saw the movie?" Then I'm thinking, "WAIT! 1888?! Come on! Who was buying bottled water in the nineteenth century? But that's what their website says. Go see for yourself if you don't believe me. It's at

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