Archive for Damage and destruction

As in the time of Franklin

Tomorrow something monumental will happen in my home.

I will have, before noon, a reasonable electrical outlet in my bathroom. To me, it’s almost like the discovery of electricity itself.

Since 1964, the occupants of this residence have resorted to extreme measures to use a blow dryer, curling iron or radio.


The only outlet, in the light fixture above the mirror.


The cord, strewn across the mirror.


The sad outlet, hanging near the grotesque bathroom floor.

This is something that should’ve happened before I even moved in. It was listed in the conditions under which I would buy my home. But somehow, it was too difficult to get this done.


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Really burned me up

Now for the story of why I have my childhood range in my adulthood home.

This is the range that came with my house. You’ll notice it’s sitting in my driveway.

Old range

Getting ready for Spring Garbage Pickup Week.

One night as I was heating water for tea, the burner started on fire.

As in, I looked at my tea kettle and for an instant thought I was using a gas stove. Reality set in, and I remembered that my stove was in fact electric.

I pulled the kettle from the burner, and began to blow. I blew so hard I became lightheaded.

Old range

Impressively old and crusty.

That’s the last time I used my stove.

I unplugged it and let it set for quite some time.

I don’t remember if it was weeks, or more than a month, but eventually my parents brought me their old range. They were upgrading anyway. They said this incident just helped them do so more quickly.


Empty space for my childhood range. I'll always remember the first time the buzzer went off in my own home.

I left this one out for spring garbage pickup. My boyfriend removed the obviously valuable cord. I think my dad took it for something.

Old range

Glad others know the value in these things.

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Project Paint Kitchen Cabinets: Undone

I’m in the middle of a huge project. I knew it would be a monster from the get-go, and I know I deserve no sympathy for taking it on. However, as I sit here today (sick), I can’t help but agonize.

I started this project Feb. 3, when my faithful helper helped me take down the doors on the top cabinets. I was going to start slowly to make this easy on myself.

kitchen cabinet painting

Day two: Painting to commence.

Aside: If you look at the photo above, you’ll see the stove I have here is different from what you saw in Preheating the oven. The reason for the change is a story in itself which I plan to share later. This new stove comes from my parent’s house, since they were getting new appliances anyway.

Kitchen cabinet painting

Sink side.

The first weekend of painting focused on prepping.

The first full day, I spent six hours prepping the doors from the top of the cabinets. I didn’t take photos.

Rest assured, there was probably an easier way out there. And I learned of one that was easier in some ways and harder in others in the post below…

Source: via Tracie on Pinterest

HA! I never would’ve done this if I had read that post first. NEVER! But my end results would probably be much nicer if I had, and then decided to follow in her footsteps. Moving on…

As I was prepping the doors, I first tried sanding. But when the cabinets had last been painted, they weren’t prepped very well. The paint was sort of balling up with the sandpaper. So, I started using a razor blade. I kid you not, I smelled the delicious smell of bacon as I scraped away that paint. It was probably the bacon of 20 years ago, but it smelled great.

Eventually, I was able to paint the backs of those doors, and move on to the cabinets on the wall. I lightly sanded those, and got a coat on. I loved it.

Kitchen cabinet painting

One coat on.

I began to see the progress I was hoping for. The kitchen looked brighter and cleaner. There would be a light at the end of this tunnel!

I just realized I never told you why I decided I should do this in the first place. I need to replace my kitchen floor. You’ll remember its true ugliness from Preheating the oven. Now, there is a lot to this story as well.

Long story short, it was very difficult to find flooring that matched the color of those cabinets. I knew I could go with almost any color if my cabinets were white.

Also, on Pinterest, I saw many many examples of beautiful kitchens with white cabinets. I loved the look of it, and I knew I could have it for myself with a little work. A little work. A little work. I keep telling myself that.

Kitchen cabinet painting

Progress, progress.

As of today, the work continues.

I’m not showing the latest photos here, because I want to be done with this before I bring my camera out again.

I hope to soon buy a range hood, stove, and refrigerator in white. I have found several nice used stoves for sale in my hometown. People who buy homes and want to upgrade to stainless steel appliances right away just sell the white stoves online. That’s a good thing for me! For my refrigerator, I would like to get something smaller, more suited to my small kitchen. Once all that is white, I really think everything will pop.

Today, the doors are downstairs, their fronts curing before I lightly sand them again for hopefully their final coat.

The drawers are in their slots, freshly painted, their knobs shining gorgeously against the Delicate White backdrop.

Source: via Olympic on Pinterest

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Undoing the sub-mediocre

My headline today is supposed to mean: There is quite a bit in my house done by previous owners that was less than good enough. However, while I’m fixing bad workmanship, I’m not going overboard. I’m certainly not putting the best-of-the-best into my house. It simply wouldn’t make sense financially. But my boyfriend and I are putting the best of our elbow grease into it. We’re doing the best we know how, and sometimes I call in the professionals.

electrical outlet


Check out this electrical outlet in the guest bedroom, for example. This is how all the outlets were in that room. As I was repainting the room, you could tell it had been painted many different colors in the past. But don’t you think this is the very highest level of laziness, to just paint over the outlets to the point you can’t use them?

I think it’s despicable. I called in the electrician, who has replaced many of these, and installed them the right side up, to boot.

Also, I believe it was Christmas Eve 2010 when I painted many of my closets. The living room closet was the most gratifying. You can see the closet here, closed of course. I didn’t get before and after photos, which I’m still angry about today. But I do believe that closet had never been repainted since 1964. Coating it with fresh paint was akin to… well… something I can’t compare it to now, but just a whole new feeling of refreshment and rejuvenation. Ahhhh….

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Preheating the oven

What a title, eh? Here’s the deal: after I closed on my house, I did not live in it for another three weeks. I had quite a bit of time to get things ready for the big move.

Cleaning my kitchen was a big job. The people who lived here before me were not clean. One of the strangest things was that there was what seemed to be cracker dust in every single kitchen cabinet and drawer. We joked that it might have been the remnants of crack. How does that happen?

Anyway, here are some pics from the first days of working on my kitchen. There have been many changes to these rooms since: new paint, new ceiling light, new stove. But you have to see where I started to be somewhat impressed with the transformation.

The kitchen

A view of my kitchen, as seen from the dining room.

The kitchen rug

This is one of the first things I bought for my house. I did it in the two months between offer accepted and closing.

There are many more photos. Read the rest of this entry »

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The sky opens up before me

Two days after work was supposed to begin, again a note telling us there had been delays.

Note 11.3.2010

But, miracle upon miracles, when I came home after work, I saw that my balcony was finally missing. All the balconies on my side of the building are missing.

But sadly enough for some folks on the other side of the building, they’re still missing theirs, too.

No balcony

It's sort of a creepy feeling.

This weekend saw temperatures in the upper 60s and into the 70s. This is weather that should not be squandered in November. I was able to use my balcony. I can’t imagine if I couldn’t have.

Patio door handle

Locked in, like a witch oven.

However, there is still something that makes me quite unhappy.

I can’t open my patio door! I mentioned the warm temperatures above. My air conditioner has been covered and unplugged since September (when it snowed).

So, I have no way to bring cool air into my apartment, except my bedroom window.

When I got home today, it was 79.9 degrees in my living space. Four hours later, it is 78.6 degrees. Hopefully my bedroom is cooling at a much quicker pace.

I’m glad I’ll have a new balcony soon.

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Build balconies while the sun shines

I told you there’d be a sequel to The latest in incompentence. This is it. However, this will be turn into a series quickly.

Some of the apartment-dwellers on the north side of my apartment building must be very frustrated. We are now coming up on a month that these people haven’t been able to use their balcony, while others have had their new balcony for weeks.

Balconies in progress

A job unfinished. New balcony on top, unfinished balcony below.

I don’t know what the deal is. I know there was issues with the weather. There was a blizzard just as the contractors got to work on that bottom balcony. However, you can see that the weather was gorgeous today… as it was yesterday.

Latest note

My side of the building got a new shot of hope. Yes, the project would begin again, meaning our balconies were soon on the way to the dumpster in favor of flashy newness.

Old balconies

The south side of the building. Waiting for new balconies.

But November 1 came and went. As did November 2. What is going on here? Are the apartment managers choosing the cheapest quotes for balcony building contractors — and therefore getting the worst service? What does that say for the quality of work we’ll be receiving?

I believe the apartment managers must’ve gone with the cheapest quote for snow removal, and that service has been horrible. In the aftermath of the blizzard I mentioned above, they never moved an ounce of snow. They simply waited for it to melt.

Current balcony

Sure, there are worse balconies out there. But what kind of standard is that?

I told you at the top of this post that this story would become a series. I plan to post an update when my balcony is new and safe. We’ll see how long it takes.

Close up

An up-close look at the deteriorated balcony.

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