Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lipstick on a pig...

Back at the end of July I decided I couldn't live with our kitchen any longer. I'm not entirely sure what changed, but I think the breaking point was the day that the sprayer broke for the third time in less than a year, the drainpipes completely gave up draining any water into the sewer in favor of our lower cabinets, and the second piece of peel and stick tile cracked, broke free of the un-primed sub floor and revealed yet another issue with our long suffering kitchen.

Whatever it was, I cracked. I actually threatened J that if one more thing in the kitchen broke I was going to light a match, throw it over my shoulder, and walk away. (Not really. The bathroom we spent nearly a year remodeling is next to the kitchen and apparently it's poor form to run out of your burning house not with your dreamed-of, prayed-for, and much-loved baby but with your dreamed-of, prayed-for, and much-loved bathroom vanity in your arms.)

So I started dreaming and sketching, imagining the kitchen I would love instead of the kitchen I live with. Believe me, it is fabulous!  It is also, if my initial calculations are even close to correct, fabulously expensive.  Even pared down, that kitchen is outside our budget. Rather than mope about the kitchen we can't afford I sat down an made a list of the five things I like well enough about our kitchen and the five things I couldn't stand.  The list of the things I like got me out of the kitchen doldrums. The list of things I hated helped create a budget-friendly remodel I've taken to calling the "lipstick on a pig" plan.

The what?!?

You know the saying that you can put lipstick on a pig, but that it is still a pig?  Well, in our case, we are applying some pretty finishes on our least favorite parts of our pig of a kitchen. At the end of the day, it will still be a pig, a kitchen we dream of replacing. But it will be a pig we can live with for a few more years.

So what's the plan?  I started with a list of five things I couldn't live with:
  • The back door looks awful. Zep used to scratch at it, and his nails did a number on the soft wood.
  • The sink drains into the base cabinet. That's a problem. And the faucet sprayer keeps breaking.
  • I strongly dislike the four-inch ceramic tile counter. And I hate the grout lines in between those tiles. Seriously. No one should ever use tile for a kitchen counter, as there's no way to keep the grout clean. Ever. Even if you are great about cleaning it every day. Which we aren't.
  • The cabinets. Ugh. The doors are weird off-white laminate. Trimmed in yellowing oak. Which matches the cabinet frames, but little else.
  • The peel & stick tile is not my favorite to start with. The fact that it's cracking and popping off makes it worse. The thought of our baby crawling on the floor makes my skin crawl. (The thought of our baby crawling period makes my skin crawl, but apparently that's going to happen whether I like it or not.)
...and using that list of problems, I created my lipstick solution:
  • Skim coat the hideous ceramic tile counters with concrete and seal
  • Replace the back-splash which, also made of that four inch ceramic tile, won't match the new counter
  • Fill the scratched up back door with wood filler, sand and paint
  • Fix the faulty plumbing under the sink
  • Prime and paint those awful laminated cabinet doors (and frames)
  • Replace the cracked peel & stick laminate floor
That's the plan. Stay tuned for progress updates!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Six months!

Our little nugget is six months old.  Half a year!  How on earth did that happen?  It's not just the sleep-deprivation, I'm sure, that makes this time feel as though it passed in the blink of an eye.

We will get 'official' numbers at Tuesday's doctor's appointment, but Miss Kate has unofficially reached her goal milestone for weight (twice her birth weight) and loves playing with solid food which we started introducing a couple weeks ago.  J and I are using a method called Baby-Led Weaning, which is really more about baby self-feeding rather than any kind of weaning.  For now and the foreseeable future, Kate will continue to receive the majority of her nutrients through breast milk.  The motto we've adopted is that food is for fun until baby is one.  In other words, we give Kate what we're eating, or even order her own plate of food at restaurants.  She plays with the food, figuring out how to feed herself and if anything goes down, that's great.  If not, it's no big deal--she still relies on mama for her nutrition and I'm okay with that.  At some point we'll introduce utensils and let her figure those out, too.

I'm almost surprised to report that Kate is a scooter, but not yet a crawler.  She has been on the verge of crawling for two weeks now, slowly figuring out the different parts of crawling, but not having put those parts together.  I don't suspect we will make it another month without reaching that milestone.  She does roll over almost immediately when laid on her back, which led to a rather interesting photo-shoot this month.  In fact, the big picture below happened right after I laid her on her back for our standard photo.  There were no back pictures to be had this month.  Every shot I tried resulted in her rolling over before I could sit down to snap the picture.  In fact, many of the pictures were taken much closer as I was afraid she would tumble off her chair with me just out of reach.

Join us in celebrating six sweet months!