Conversations with Colin

"Mommy?" (I'm trying to ignore him.  He is supposed to be going to sleep)
"Mommy?" (He always wins the repeating my name until I finally answer game.)
"What Colin?"
"What sound do bears make."
"Uh, Rar.  Or Grr. Something like that."
"How do you know?"
"I just know stuff."
"Lots of stuff?"
"Yep.  Lots of stuff."
"But you don't know my secret moves." (Seriously!  Where does he come up with this stuff?)
"No. I don't know your secret moves."
(He does some fancy kicky motion that I can't see because most of him is covered by a superman blanket.)
"Those are my secret moves.  Don't tell anybody."
"I wouldn't dream of it."

Kitchen Designing For Dummies

The title of this post would probably be more accurate if it was "Kitchen Designing BY Dummies" because I don't know what I am doing. Planning my kitchen is both exciting and terrifying.  And stressful as anything.  I've come up with a few arbitrary things that are important to me that the design is based around, but I'm afraid that as soon as the kitchen is put in, other more important things will become obvious and painful and we will be kicking ourselves for not having the foresight to plan for them.  I've tried to think of everything.  I know that I have failed.  And I am always second guessing myself, but at some point we'll just have to pick a design and run with it.

Here are some of the things that are on my kitchen mind.

1. The ideal for the kitchen triangle (which may not be as important as we've always been told) would be to put either my oven or my sink in the kitchen island.  I don't want to do either. At all.  I don't want my dirty dishes stacked on the island.  Period.  Cooking on the island might be nice, but I'm looking forward to a big stretch of uninterrupted counter space, for rolling out cookies, painting masterpieces with my kids. cutting fabric, or just filling up with clutter and stacks of stuff that I haven't found the energy to put away yet.  Which means the island is off limits, leaving me two walls for fitting everything on.

2. The mudroom enters the house right through the kitchen.  This might be annoying. I'm hoping it will be bearable, because it is too late to change our plans now and it really was the only viable option anyway.  But I want to prepare for the fact that there will be more traffic through the kitchen than I am used to.  I don't know HOW to prepare for it.  But it is surely something I should keep in might, right?

3.One wistful day we spent an hour looking at counter depth refrigerators. And then suddenly realized in a moment of brilliance that since we are still in the construction phase, we can build a recess in the wall and set the fridge at whatever depth we want.  Instead of paying more for a smaller fridge, we can have a big fridge, and have it counter-depth too.  Win Win Wahoo!.  This is my favorite idea for the kitchen so far, but it does effect where we are able to put the fridge.  There is a large support beam that runs through the wall right where I had been planning to put the fridge all along, which means I'll have to put the fridge somewhere else.  That alone is messing up my plans more than anything else.  I had everything where I liked it.  I am doing this all on instinct (which may not even exist, by the way.  I don't know if a sense of most correct kitchen layout comes naturally to me or not).  I keep making up a drawings in Google Sketchup, and hoping that when I see the right one I will know it.  So now I have to come up with another drawing that feels ok to my sense of kitchen rightness. It is proving difficult.

I know I have been fretting over more than just 3 things.  But I have no idea what they are.

Richard said we have to decide on the layout tonight, because he wants to run all the plumbing for the kitchen tomorrow.  But then he went to bed.  It stresses me out, but he is the one who actually has to RUN all the pipes, so it is fair to say he is more stressed out that I.  Which is a huge relief.  I'd hate to be the stressedest.

So here is my favorite layout at the moment.  Hopefully you can tell what is a sink and what is an oven.  The dishwasher is right next to the sink.  And next to the fridge is a tall, deep cabinet.  The countertops are dark, with white upper cabinets above.  Making sense?  In this picture the fridge is built into the wall in the utility room, which really is a great place for it.  But will the fridge feel too far away?  How will I know until it is built and way too late?


I like the sink being over on the left wall, but the opening just below that goes into the mudroom and I have some concerns about children running by while I'm washing dishes.  Will it really matter though?  No matter where I put the sink, the children will find me.

So that is where we are at the moment.  My tiny little brain is about taxed to the breaking point.  It is just too many decisions for my simple mind to make.  To sleep!


No new progress to report. However, in the time since Lani the Builder left a week ago, it has not stopped raining. I'm concerned about all the new wood and sub floor they just laid but it is my original house that has me really concerned. With half a wall and part of the roof gone upstairs there is plenty of space for rain to run in. And water is getting EVERYWHERE.

Here is the 2nd Bedroom with part of it's roof gone.  There is a good chance the floor slopes to the left and that is why the water is running All The Way Across The Room.

This is the ceiling in the living room, which is right underneath the 2nd bedroom. It is covered in blisters full of water.  

Upstairs is one big puddle.

The addition downstairs looks surprisingly dry by comparison.

Someday maybe it will stop raining. I mean, come on, how much moisture do those crops really NEED anyway?


It was the most gorgeous day today.  My men have gone off camping (Father and Sons Campout: No Moms allowed) and it is blissful.  Just after the sun went down I went over to the house all by myself and the weather was perfect and I took pictures and basked in the beauty of everything and the conviction that no one was going to fall 12 feet to their death.  Not this day.

So today was the last day of building for the next 3 weeks.  They worked as hard and fast as they could to get as many interior walls up as possible.  Feel like seeing a bunch of pictures of 2x4's? What could be more funner?  

Here is the view from our neighbor's house.  Oh wow.  That addition is enormous.  It may very well look horrendous when it is done.  Our old brick house with a behemoth glued onto the back.  Like a little brick hermit crab. Seeing our drawings become reality is scary.

They cleaned up a lot when they finished working today, so I'm including some more pictures of the downstairs, just for the heck of it.

This will be the pantry.

And here is the kitchen, dining room, living space.  Almost move in ready, no?

Another kitchen shot.  That wall at the back is right where my oven will go.  Sometimes I stand there and imagine I am cooking, just to try to see what it will be like.

Here is the utility closet.  

Lets head upstairs, shall we?
Here we have the doorway into what used to be the master bedroom, but what I am going to call the 2nd bedroom.  

Just outside the 2nd bedroom is the laundry closet.  Big enough that I can have a regular washer and dryer instead of stacking, which means I don't have to use a front loading washer any more.  Hooray! I don't know if it is just the way they make washers nowadays, or just front loading washers, but what I do know is that about 8 years ago we sold our regular washer and dryer to my parents so we could get the stacking kind, and we have gone through 2 washing machines since then, while the pair we sold to my parents is still working just fine.  What is that about?

This picture is taken from inside the 2nd bedroom.  The doorway over on the right goes into the closet.

And here is the new wall they built to replace that sad old brick wall that was falling apart. Nifty.

Further down the hall, we have the entryway to the 3rd bedroom.

And this, boys and girls, is a wall.
089 5-1-15 (1)

Here is the closet for the 3rd bedroom.

And here is the master bedroom.

Doorway into the master bathroom.

My Shower.

And lastly, the master closet.  It is pretty big.  We have a lot of crap, and need somewhere to put it.

A mess of 2x4 walls, for your viewing pleasure.

Last, but not least, a hall.  I love how open and airy it is, right?  Ceilings are overrated.  They just block the sun.  I think we'll leave this one off.  

And that is the end.  

While Lani the builder is gone Richard is going to run all the electrical wiring and plumbing.  Or most of it.  He'll run what he can.  But I probably won't be updated you so regularly as I have been, because a new wire attached to a wall is not very exciting, not like this thrilling lumber filled post has been.  So I'm sorry, but you'll have to survive without your construction site fix for a little while.  But you'll be in my heart.  Never doubt that.  Au Revoir.  


Every time I stop by the house, I swear to myself that I absolutely will not take my kids back until all the walls on the 2nd floor are up so that they can't jump over the edge and fall to their deaths.  Which is what they seem to be determined to do.  They can't stay away from the edge, no matter how much I yell.  I'm not much afraid of heights, but watching my kids run around up there just about sends me into fits.   But every time I stop by, somehow I have at least one fearless child with me.  I hope my sanity holds out.

Anyhoo, progress is being made.  Most of the exterior walls are up. 

In this space will be 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a hallway.

And this is a view from my bedroom window to be.  

Ah.  Backyard filled with crap.  So magical.


Here is where things stand at the house as of right now.

That brick wall that was halfway torn out last time we talked has been completely removed.  It wasn't really "supporting" anything as it was.  So they tore it out and are going to frame in a new wall.   You might be thinking that things should be moving along faster than this, but tying a new build onto an old house comes with a lot of special circumstances and snags along the way.  For instance, when they knocked out the wall to make the hallway from our old master bedroom to our new master bedroom, they found that the new floor and the old floor aren't even.  It is flush on the west side of the room, but the floor in the original house slopes down about and inch or so and they didn't realize it until they knocked the wall out.  So that is an exciting little development that they have to find a way to deal with.

There is one wall up on the 2nd floor.  And this Teepee you see in the above picture is going to help them build the roof or something?  I don't ask questions anymore, so I don't really know.

So, yeah.  That is where things are.  
Fun fact!  Lani the builder is going to New Zealand for 3 weeks on Saturday.  So things are going to come to a grinding halt very soon.  He had hoped to finish all the framing and get the roof on before he left, but what with uneven floors, and falling apart brick walls, that is not going to happen.  Richard's job while Lani is gone is to do all the electrical and plumbing.  Which isn't totally possible without a ceiling, but he'll do what he can. You know, I actually thought that once the building finally STARTED, that all my stress would melt away, and we could just sit back and watch the new house materialize before our eyes.  Ha ha.  I am so naive.  The stress NEVER ENDS. Unlike this post.  Which is over.  Goodbye.


A bit of porch going on here.
a few holes being knocked out there.
Not to mention that a lot of the subfloor has been laid for the 2nd floor.
And you would never know it from the following picture, but these are the walls for the new downstairs bathroom.  Instead of putting it in the front room like we planned, we are putting it in what was the office.  It will still be the office, just smaller.
Any questions?


I beam installed.
  Floor joists for 2nd floor halfway installed.

Some of the sheeting put on.
A start on the front porch.
A thrilling end to an action packed week!


They have framed out the pantry and the utility closet. That is right.  A whole closet just for the utilities! We are living the high life now!

They also widened the doorway from the living room. That involved taking out bricks, which I'm so glad we were not a part of.


At this point I think they are waiting on an I-beam to support the 2nd floor, so there might not be much progress for the next few days.  I know you are disappointed.  Try to cope.