Tuesday, December 30, 2014

50 Quotes That Sum up Our Year

I think we exchanged some other dialog during 2014, but these stand out as the phrases most often uttered and most easy to remember...

  1. My chicken stool just fell in a gopher hole.
  2. I think we should clean (the chicken) Charlotte's butt vent.
  3. I think we should clean Charlotte's butt feathers.
  4. Flood! Flood! Flood! The washing machine is flooding the hallway!
  5. (Later that same night) Help, there’s a lizard in the dining room!
  6. I’m going to the store to buy Epsom salts so I can give Samantha (the chicken) a bath.
  7. When I was taking out the compost, Zoe escaped out the back door and I had to use a broom to get her out from under the truck.
  8. Did you just drop a screw down the toilet hole?
  9. I’m totally taking a picture of you with your arm down the toilet hole.
  10.  Want to watch another episode of The Love Boat? 
  11. Is that a tarantula in the middle of the street? (It was.)
  12. I have to go give the cat his IV.
  13. I have to go give the cat his insulin shot.
  14. I have to go pick up the cat’s prescription at Rite Aid.
  15. Is that Allison Janney? (It was. At a local restaurant.)
  16. Walter White! (At the Godzilla premiere.)
  17. When I meet John Corbett, I’m telling him my chickens are named after Sex and the City.
  18. Why are those cupboards so much shorter than the other ones?
  19. It’s fine—we’ll just hide it behind the shower curtain.
  20. Give me those tiles and I’ll go cut them (Yes, it was a big deal that I learned to use the tile saw).
  21. There’s drywall in my bra.
  22. I think I’m bleeding from a shard of bathtub.
  23. I thought you were dead in the attic and I was going to have to drag your body out.
  24. Do you want me to get the walkie talkies?
  25. Dad just said “doin’ it in the butt” (while playing Cards Against Humanity).
  26. Mom just said “concealing a boner” (while playing Cards Against Humanity).
  27. Did you just use a #10 envelope to get the cat out from under the bed?
  28. Carrie (the chicken) just pecked me in the front teeth. Do you think I have the bird flu now?
  29. Is my pee beige from the juice fast?
  30. Your hands feel like sandpaper.
  31. I just had to sew up a hole in my pants before we could go to dinner.
  32. My ring is stuck—I think you’re going to have to cut it off of my finger.
  33. The brand new dishwasher is broken.
  34. The brand new pendant light is dented.
  35. The brand new range hood is scratched.
  36. Did you really just hand me two eggs and a giant zucchini, pervert?
  37. (Insert chicken name), get out of the (insert vegetable/plant name).
  38. You snored out loud in class during Savasana.
  39. Zoe just went under the house through the hole in the bathroom floor.
  40. Zoe just threw up from the top of your desk chair.
  41. Have you brushed your teeth yet today?
  42. Did you take a shower today?
  43. I can’t remember the last time I shaved…
  44. I just filled the green bin to the top and I only cleaned about ¼ of the yard.
  45. I need a drink.
  46. I need a massage.
  47. I need a nap.
  48. I need an Advil.
  49. Do you think you could mow the lawn? (Response: How about I teach you to use the lawnmower instead?)
  50. I love you even though __________.

I wonder what new sayings 2015 will bring into our home. Hopefully some like "that seaweed wrap felt so good" and "I can't believe how clean the house is." A girl can dream.

Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Kitchen Hits and Hurdles

When I was in about third grade, my girlfriends and I were obsessed with watching the making of Michael Jackson's Thriller video. There was something about going behind the scenes and learning about all the little details that we just couldn't get enough of. Maybe we just dug Michael. Maybe it made the spooky video less scary. Maybe we all had latent makeup artist dreams. I have no idea, but peeking at the process that led up to the final video was extremely satisfying for our little nine-year-old minds.

Although Mr. W's and my recent kitchen remodel wasn't as scary as the Thriller video (well, maybe as scary as the part with the dancing zombies...), I thought it might be fun to dive into some of the details and share some of the behind the scenes stories with you all.

When you see before-and-after pictures, it's easy to think that everything just fell into place perfectly but we had plenty of blips before getting to our lovely final product.

One of the first was with the hardware we ordered. Mr. W was extremely "particular" about the kind of hardware he wanted, so after spending literally hours researching options, we finally ordered these from Lowe's. And when they arrived, the orientation of them was not what it appeared to be in the picture so we sent them back. Then we ordered these from Home Depot. They had been discontinued, so we had to put in a special order to get the full number of pulls we needed. When they arrived we understood why they'd been discontinued. The quality was awful. So we sent them back... Finally we found these guys in chrome and we felt confident they'd fit well in our space. It's funny because we had talked about tab pulls in the very beginning—clearly we should have trusted our initial instincts.

Another snafu we encountered was with the pendant lights. Again, we did quite a bit of research to find products we liked that weren't a million dollars (like these, which I also loved). We finally settled on ordering three of these from Wayfair. Unfortunately one arrived with a dent in it, so we had to request a new one. The cost to ship back the dented one was high enough that Wayfair told us to just keep it—it wasn't worth the cost to return it. And then they proceeded to send us two replacement lights. Mr. W contacted them and they agreed we could send back one of the undamaged lights. But that left us with four lights....and we quickly decided we only wanted two (not three) in the kitchen. Doh. Thankfully, there's a project in the works at our house right now that involves turning the two extra lights into cool sconces for our smaller bathroom. Stay tuned on the details of that.

When Mr. W went to install the cabinets above the range section of counter, we had another doh moment—which are super interesting to navigate when you're married... I think engaged couples should have to attend weekend retreats where they remodel a room and if they still like each other when the weekend is over, they're cleared for marriage. Remodeling is like the ultimate team-building exercise and can very quickly become fertile ground for fighting if you don't keep the right attitude. So when Mr. W went to hang the cabinets and we realized that making them the same size/height as the range hood created unbalance in the entire room, we quickly had to work together to come up with a solution.

Enter: open shelving.

Yup, these little shelves were totally not planned but I love them and am so glad that our measurements were off so Mr. W could build them. He, of course, was also thrilled that I would have even more surface space for knickknacks...

Ignore the unfinished caulking around the cabinet. We're still working on the final touches in here.

So what did we get right in this room, you may be wondering?

Well, I love the Carrara marble subway tiles and the silestone countertop. I think they strike a nice balance between modern and classic looks.

I had no interest in helping choose a faucet (Mr. W investigated like 100 before finding one that fit his requirements) but I like the one we got a lot. It has a touch sensor which is a blessing and curse. So great to be able to just bump the water on and off when you're doing dishes—but sometimes I accidentally turn the water on my arm when I'm wiping up the sink... Not so much fun.

Another thing we love is the highly functional cabinet additions we ordered for our large, awkward corner cabinets. Before we remodeled, the corner cabinets were like black holes where one might lose a cast iron pot for months or discover a family of tarantulas living inside an infrequently used vase. But now, the lazy susan, slidey outey action makes everything very easily accessible.

Under the two drawer units on either side of the room are a couple more ultra cool space maximizers. These toe-kick drawers are the perfect size for cookie sheets, placemats, and pizza stones. Love that they make such great use of space that would have been wasted otherwise.

Although I really like everything in the new kitchen (boy was Mr. W right about the soft-close hinges) I think the most exciting addition was the pantry closet. When we first started designing the kitchen layout, we didn't have a pantry in the plan. This did not make me happy. After living with awkwardly spread out food for a year, I really, really wanted a pantry. Not sure why it took us so long to realize we could tuck one in the corner where the old hutch had been, but when Mr. W suggested it, I think I jumped up and down and then kissed his whole face off. It was the perfect spot for one and we have it so packed to the gills now, I don't know how we'd survive without it. I luuuurrve it.  

Now that I'm done with this post, I'm not sure it was nearly as thrilling as the making of Thriller. But given how often I dance around the new kitchen to old school Michael Jackson music, the tie-in seems very appropriate.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Big Kitchen Reveal

When I was 21 years old, I moved into a tiny studio guest house that required me to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. Only two burners worked on the stove and one full cupboard was unusable because it was so close to the side of the oven. Pretty sure a racoon lived in there... My next apartment felt like it had a chef's kitchen by comparison. Its olive green, 1970s stove—with four functional burners—and spacious pantry closet felt like a major luxury. Then I moved in with Mr. W and got access to a dishwasher for the first time since I'd left my parents' house. Complete Heaven.

One might think a dishwasher and stainless steel fridge would be enough to keep two foodies content for years, but when Mr. W and I bought our house in Santa Ynez, we immediately began fantasizing about how we'd build the best kitchen ever.

And a little over two years later, we have it.

Well, except for the final cabinet trim and some touch-up paint. Believe me, I had to battle Mr. W a little to write this post when we're not *officially* done with everything. But it looks dang done to me. So here we are.

Anyway, when dreaming up our ideal cooking space, I rooted for things like Carrara marble and lots of storage space while Mr. W insisted on soft-close cabinets and a huge island or peninsula where he could roll out bread and pizza dough.

Thanks to his mad skills with sketchup, we were able to play with layouts and finishes until we achieved what we both felt was pretty much perfection.

And then, of course, we had to do the work to bring it to life. Or rather, Mr. W had to do most of the work and I had to try not to cry as I cleaned drywall dust off my wood floors 857 times. Now that everything is almost finished, I will say it was all totally worth it. Like the lady who is in labor for 36 hours and goes on to have more children, I would do it again now that I know how wonderful it all turns out in the end.

Before I show you the goods, let's take a walk down memory lane shall we...

Before we bought the place, the floor was beige and brown linoleum and the countertops were white with gold sparkles. The cabinets were in okay shape and we talked about salvaging and painting them, but Mr. W was in love with the idea of soft-close. And I was in love with the idea of not having to refinish a bagillion cabinets.

As an interim solution, we painted the floor and the countertops. A lovely shade of grey. (Mr. W says everything in the house is grey and he's not too far off...)

So here's how things looked before we started demo:

 And here's how it looked this weekend (after we cleaned and decluttered and made it photo-ready):

We're pretty in love with how everything turned out. Not only is it lovely to look at, the gas range works like a charm (although I did burn risotto in the pressure cooker one night last week...), the dishwasher is so quiet, and the giant peninsula was so nice to have when my brother and his family came to visit earlier this month.

I'm sure in a few years, we'll start finding little things we'd wished we handled differently. But for now, we're caressing the quartz and snuggling the range hood. Life is good in the northwest quadrant of our home.