Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kitchen Progress

Well, I can't say much for "progress," but I can say the room looks bigger. On Monday, our countertops (Ah!), our cabinets (No!), and our floor (Double No!) were removed. Thankfully, the crew saved the backsplash. I was mentally exhausted thinking about what I would do if I had to tile that all over again.

There has been a remediation crew in here checking on things for three days now, and we've been running fans and dehumidifiers night and day. We've got dirt, what looks like old soot from a past fire on the walls, some mold, some rot, and maybe a little asbestos from a few patches of old linoleum mixed in there too.

Needless to say, we've been spending a lot of time outside.

There have been lots of park days.

What is that half-mullet hairdo on my two year old, you ask?

This was Lyla on Good Friday. 

Look at those big eyes. Awwwe.

Let's just say it wasn't a "Good Friday" for her. While Sam and I were watching Justin Beiber videos on Youtube, something horribly quiet was going on in the other room. Dang you, Justin Beiber! Why do you have to be so smooth? I went around the corner to discover Lyla, post "scissor rendezvous." 
Sam and I laughed hysterically for a couple of minutes, then tried to pull it together and act mad. It took me back to when Ava tried to cut her own hair for the first time. She was the same age, and I acted hysterical and fake cried hoping I would traumatize her enough to never, EVER cut her hair again. That was all it took with Ava. I don't think it worked with Lyla because I've caught her "taking a little off the top" two more times.

I did my best to blend it out... but is there really anything you can do at this point other than shake your head and give her a big squeeze? I just love her. We are crossing our fingers and hoping there are no more self-induced haircuts.

Anyway, back to this post. Yes, we've been outside A LOT. 

Sam and his softball team, "Smackin' Pitches," played the other day. My husband is AH-MAZING at sports and I love watching him when he is in his element. That's him with his two buddies, doing a "Little League" pose.

It gets better:

That's my man, such a dork.

We went swimming at the YMCA (yay for showers!), spent another afternoon at the park, and we have been eating out like crazy. I'm about done with ALL restaurants; last night's "Shari's" was the last straw.  I think I will make sandwiches or something from here on out.

If things fall into place, the repairs will start soon. We are gathering estimates and will be dealing with the insurance side of things before we can get a crew in here to rebuild our kitchen. I've done well up until this point, but I can tell my husband is getting crabby; I'm trying to focus on how nice it will be to have a new kitchen floor and my sink back again.

Until then, while you are in your hot, steamy shower, scrubbing down with your bath pouf, getting in there "real deep-like" (name that movie), and lathering in your conditioner- think of me. 

On second thought,  no, don't think of me (I need a shower just after reading that).


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It All Started With a Cracked Tile

Oh the joys of being a homeowner. First you sign your name on a million pieces of paper, then you get to paint the walls any color you want, play the music loud, and mow your own lawn. It's all fun and games until the unexpected crisis occurs.

We bought our sweet little home when we first married, and it has been a labor of love from the get-go. We've been able to make it ours over the years and one of the largest improvements we made was on our kitchen. When we moved in (NINE years ago, HOLY COW!), the original 1950's cabinets were painted Off-White, so were the walls, and the Formica countertops to match. Being my first house, I was determined to flip every room upside down with color!

Our family room was painted a bold Red, the dining room, a bright Periwinkle, and the kitchen- well there was a lot going on in there by the time I was through with it.

I went for a Tuscan vibe at the time, so I repainted the cabinets a dark Olive Green, and the walls got a "I-don't-even-know-what-you'd-call-it" treatment.

 It started with a base coat of soft Buttery Yellow, then I rubbed some watered down Burnt Sienna paint onto the walls with lamb's wool.  The end result was a soft Orange with a Venetian Plaster/Faux Marble finish that was just plain cool. It was not for the faint of heart, but I loved it!

You know that old saying, "It's like putting lipstick on a pig"? Well, beneath that fancy paint job were broken handles, drawers without gliders (they made that horrible wood-on-wood screeching sound when you opened them, and they were just asking to fall out and break a toe), gashed up linoleum, and eighties appliances.

Then, one day the stars aligned and my husband found a killer deal on brand NEW kitchen cabinets. Lowes had discontinued their in-stock Alder wood cabinets and they had been marked down considerably. We jumped on it, and in one afternoon, we had the entire kitchen measured and designed with cabinets to fit!
They were beautiful, we just couldn't pass them up, so with the addition of new tile countertops, free floor tile from a friend, and scratch-and-dent appliances, we dug in for a full renovation. It was crazy fast the way things fell into place, but exciting too.

Goodbye old cabinets!

Ava was a baby, only six months old, but she slept through the sound of a sledgehammer crushing cabinets- well, like a baby.  

The best way to cut tile is in a rain poncho and garden gloves! 
Wet saws are no fun unless you get to wear a dorky costume.

We were so excited, Sam even made a video to show my in-laws. We couldn't wait for them to see our progress, so he sent them a link!


Check out those graphics! lol. I love how the last half of the video is a black screen with music.

The old went out, the new came in, and after a few months of slacking, I installed a Tumbled Marble backsplash with Slate mosaic tile accents. We've loved it ever since.

Then this happened.

Which made me think "Someone's not been too careful putting away the cast-iron pots." (not me, of course). Then I noticed the tile next door had a new crack in it as well. Then I noticed that the grout lines seemed a little darker than usual and not just from living in our own filth. Something was definitely wrong!

Ack! (My floors are really that gross?! I don't know what's more alarming, the broken tiles or the closeup of my nasty floors).

It was my worst fear come true. I started having flashbacks of our home inspection, then I started thinking about what Mike Holmes would say if he was here. Panic set in.

When we bought our house, being the super-excited, 21 year-old, first-time homebuyers that we were, it never occurred to us that our home inspector made no mention of  the condition of our water heater. Why is that so important, you ask? Because he never found it! We never found it. It was like we had magic hot water and never questioned where it was coming from.
We didn't think about it, that is, until we started demolishing our old kitchen and discovered it behind the cabinets. That was a nice surprise, "Oh look, there's our water heater. Hmmm." So then what? Well, we inspected it, things were in good condition, and we just went on with it and took note.

 Note to self: the water heater is small and weird and is hiding behind the kitchen cabinets and will be extremely difficult to replace when the time comes.

So when I saw the signs of what looked like water damage, I immediately thought of Mike and his show "Holmes on Homes" on HGTV. Have you ever watched it? It's awesome. He rescues homeowners  from their carpetbagging contractors and worst-nightmare homebuying scenarios. You know, the people who bought their dream home and then discovered it was covered with toxic mold? The folks who paid a guy to renovate their basement and nothing was done to code and he leaves with all of their money and the job half done?

Mike Holmes is a true rescue hero, he comes in with his crew and "makes it right." Not only that, but he is Canadian, and I enjoy listening to his accent. This guy is a building genius. He can look at any structure and tell you exactly what is wrong. The second I realized we had water damage, I was really wishing I had him on speed dial.

When I installed the kitchen cabinets (Yes, me. My husband is a lot of things. But a builder is not one of them. I like him to sit there and "look pretty" and just hand me stuff. kidding. He's perfectly capable, but he's just one of those burly lumberjack guys with no patience that doesn't know his own strength. He'd rather force something in place simultaneously breaking it, and then get all worked up and mad he broke it and proceed to throw tools or something.  At the risk breaking things, I would rather he cook dinner and leave the building jobs to me- it's win-win. Haha.) I built a removable panel so that when the water heater did need replaced we would  have room to work without tearing up our countertops and removing the cabinets.

See, that was me thinking ahead. But what I didn't plan for is what we are dealing with now. Not only is our water heater broken, but it is/has been leaking, and because it was hidden, we had no way of knowing until the tile floor started to lift up.

This is where we are now:

Cracked, lifted tiles. Wet underlayment. Surface Mold. AND an insurance claim on our hands. So gross. *insert barf sound here*

It will be two weeks before the replacement water heater arrives, and in-between estimates, tearing out our cabinets, replacing the floor, and praying that this is the extent of the damage; this has really thrown a wrench into my summer building plans.

But the good news is our insurance company is working with us, and they even provided us with a nice hotel room last night. Our kids loved it. Indoor pool, ice machines, continental breakfast- they were living it up, I tell ya!

We're back home tonight. It's manageable. Living without hot water for awhile just feels like camping. No showers, no dishes, and no laundry (I'm secretly rejoicing about no laundry, don't tell my husband I can still wash in cold water). And see that hole there? That's where my stove goes. It's out of commission too.

I wish the picture of this dehumidifier and fan had sound, because it  feels like I am living inside the engine of a jumbo jet. Four more days of this, the disaster cleanup crew says- and after that (if there is any hair left on my head), we will begin the task of salvaging what we can and replacing what is lost. In the meantime, please contact me via email, because I am too deaf to hear your voice over the phone.

Tonight I'm thankful for the roof over my head (even if the floor is falling out from under me), Fifty-cent wing Tuesdays at Buffalo Wild Wings, and homeowner's insurance.

Here's to having plenty to blog about!

And please keep our family in your prayers, we need them!

The Saga Continues...see more of my kitchen nightmare.