Mar 29, 2021

Multivoltine Monday


multivoltine ~ having several broods in one season

I know that this might be a little hard to believe, but the kitchen is…

(wait for it)

…FINISHED!

Feel free to throw confetti and have a happy dance. The contractor was in last week, put the trim up around the tops of the cupboards and the new door on the cupboard beside the stove. Done, done, done!

It’s been a long (super long) haul, but I have to admit it’s been worth it. You can have more than one person in the kitchen at a time and not trip over them. It looks so pretty, and it’s organized, and while because of the shape and style of the cupboards I don’t know that I’ve got more cupboard space, I definitely have a lot more counter space.

So…let’s start with the sink that looks out over our fabulous backyard. Here’s the before picture (more or less):



I really wish I’d taken before pictures before we cleaned everything up, because trust me, the counter and window ledge was never that clean. It was pretty cluttered, which was one of the things we wanted to get a handle on. And here’s the sink counter now:



You notice we’ve left the curtains off – we really like the extra light. And while I may add another plant on the window ledge, we really want to keep it as uncluttered as possible. I can picture brackets to hang plants from on either side of the window, but the hubby can’t so we’ll have to see who wins that debate.

Going to the right, we go to the counter beside the sink:



Because of the placement of the dishwasher, there was a lot of wasted space in this corner. But this was one of the things the renovation dealt with admirably.



The star of this corner is the lower cabinet, which opens up to a lazy susan on both levels (sorry, no inside picture). And moving the dishwasher to the end of the wall gave us extra counter space.

Moving on to the right of the sink, we have the refrigerator/stove side of the kitchen:



I really regret not getting a proper before picture. You can see the lines on the walls where the cupboards were, and there was enough space between the stove and the counter for our tall, narrow recycling and garbage bins. The lower cupboard was another great waste of space, and really hard to get to.



The new countertop is wider than the old one, which means we lost the space for the bins beside the stove. The picture’s kind of dark, but there’s a narrow, bi-fold door beside the stove that lets us into a huge space that’s perfect for storing my rarely used appliances – the George Formans, indoor barbecue, and indoor grill on the top shelf, and things like the blender, food processor, and spiralizer on the bottom shelf.

We used to have the microwave on the counter in the corner where the toaster oven is now – it’s so much handier to have it above the stove. And it comes with a built in hood fan, which we never had before. Because the fridge is in an alcove now, the cupboard above it is much deeper. It holds both my crock pots, and my collection of baskets (that I rarely use, but couldn’t seem to part with).

And finally, we come to my favourite section of the kitchen, the coffee counter.



Again, the picture doesn’t do justice to the former ugliness. Along that bare wall was more or less a bookcase with doors that we used as a pantry, and above it were shelves that held the appliances we now have in that corner cabinet beside the stove. It was a really tight fit if you were making toast or coffee, or wanted anything from the cupboards.

And look at it now:



Even with the coffee maker, tea kettle, cookie jars, and soda stream on the counter, there’s still plenty of room to work. The small, upper drawer on the left holds tea, and the coffee pods for the coffee maker. The larger drawer below that holds most of my baking accessories, the one on the bottom the rest of my baking stuff, cat food, and spill-over from the pantry.

On the right we have cutlery on the top, bread, hot chocolate, and excess tea in the next drawer down, and our brand new set of T-fal pots and pans in the bottom drawer.

The kitchen is officially open for business!

Mar 15, 2021

Monitory Monday


monitory ~ letter containing a warning

Well, there’s still not much going on around here. Kitchen’s still not totally finished – we got a call from the company that delivers for the cupboard people and they’re going to drop something off this week. Could be the trim for above the cupboards, could be the replacement door for the cupboard beside the stove. Who knows?

I’ve been plugging away at getting the bins emptied and out of the office, and I even managed to unbury the couch and dining room table. My kitchen is about as organized as I can make it, which is pretty darned organized if I do say so myself.

One of the things I’m rather proud of … We have this small, free standing wet bar in the dining room that I’ve been using as a plant stand. It has a handy drawer up top and two shelves down below. The top one has slots in the top to hang wine glasses from, and below a wooden X divided the space, presumably to hold wine bottles.

The X wasn’t attached to anything inside, so I took the back off the stand and pulled the X out. My plastic bin full of flower pots fits perfectly in the bottom space, and the shelf above holds my bird seed and peanuts for my feathered friends, as well as a plastic container for the summer stuff that was in the drawer – sidewalk chalk, bubble stuff, sun tan lotions. The drawer now holds dining room stuff – hot plates, napkin rings, place mats.

So much organization!

Seeing as we’re not putting the carpet back down in the dining room, the hubby decided we needed to protect the floor from the table and chair legs. So I got little felt disks that self-stuck to the bottom of the legs. However, we still can’t really sit at the table because on one side we have the ever growing pile of donations, on the other (on the floor) is the old microwave that needs a new home, and behind it (against the wall) are the two rolled up carpets, the two previous (wrong) orders of trim, and the big mystery panel.

I can, however, use my office again. The pink wing chair that was taking up way too much space in my office has replaced the stack of bins in the hubby’s office. It’s still a little messy, but I can work at my desk and even sit in my reading chair if I want.

Now that I’m pretty much done with the kitchen I have some free time on my hands and I’ve been using it to work on an afghan. I’ve had the urge for a while now and finally gave in. But rather than dig through the craft closet to get to my yarn stash, I bought some fresh yarn at Walmart. Of course they didn’t have as much as I needed, but it was enough to get me started and I ended up ordering the rest that I needed online.

I was originally going to get at least one other colour to do a pin stripe every few rows, but this yarn, being variegated, makes its own stripes and I rather like it the way it is.

Guess I’ll just have to figure out something else to do with the purple yarn I added to my order.

Mar 1, 2021

Mimetic Monday



mimetic ~ imitative; of, like or pertaining to mimicry

Happy first day of March!

That’s it. That’s all I got. The above picture is one I took last year of the sun rising at the lakeshore – I haven’t even been doing anything picture worthy lately.

Now that the renovation is pretty much over, there’s not a lot of excitement around here. We’re out of the lockdown – I think we’re in orange now – but we’re still not getting out much. We went to Home Depot last weekend and picked up the two missing door pulls for the cupboard above the microwave . . . which, because of the microwave plug inside of it, is pretty useless.

I’m still really loving all that shiny counter space. The new kitchen layout gives us more space to work with – we can both be doing stuff in the kitchen at the same time without tripping over each other, which is nice.

But the emptying of the bins and the putting stuff away is slow going. I’ve been plugging away at it but there’s just so much stuff! I really can’t figure out how it all fit in the old kitchen in the first place.

When I was filling the bins in the first place I got rid of a lot of stuff – some of it that was still usable got donated, and a lot of it just got chucked. I have two big boxes and one plastic bin of stuff destined to be donated, and yet there’s still at least half a dozen bins still stacked up in the office waiting to be dealt with.

I’ll tell you something truthfully. We may have gained in counter space, but we lost on cupboard space. The lower cabinet beside the stove, despite its tiny opening, is more usable, and a lot of the stuff that used to be in it has been disposed of. But the upper cabinets on either side of the sink, because of their wedge shape, don’t hold nearly as much. And the other upper cupboards aren’t as deep, which really makes a difference.

I’m still trying to keep things organized which means a lot of shuffling stuff around. And I really, really need some kind of a stool so I can reach those upper shelves.

My baking dishes (cake pans, cookie cutters, etc.) ended up taking up a drawer and a half, but it’s all in one place, which is nice. The glassware has been washed and put away, and is going to be moved to a different cupboard this week. One set of my good dishes is in half of the cupboard with the glass doors, but I think the other set will probably end up staying in a bin for now.

Like I say, it’s slow going but at least it’s going. And the stack of empty bins is slowly getting bigger.

Feb 15, 2021

Metanomen Monday


metanomen ~ metaphorical name

Belated Happy Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been enjoying my fully functional kitchen but one serious problem has arisen – I no longer have an excuse for not making cookies. Hence the cookies pictured above.

The recipe for these cookies is the same one my mother used. They were a special treat when I was a kid, although hers were date filled and mine are filled with raspberry jam. She didn’t make them often (which is why they were such a treat) and I came to learn it was probably because they’re such a pain in the butt to make.

A couple of years ago the hubby gave me a stand mixer for Christmas which makes mixing up these cookies much easier, but they’re still pretty labour intensive. You mix up the dough, refrigerate it overnight, then you have to roll them out and cut them.

When you’re getting them ready to bake to have to have to lay the bottom cookies out on the cookie sheet, then put just the right amount of jam in the center of each one – too much and it’ll leak out during baking, too little and you won’t taste it – and then I use a paintbrush to dampen the edges of each cookie before putting the top cookie over it. This seals it better for baking.
<.br> When the daughter had her first Valentine’s Day in kindergarten, I was at a loss as to what to do because I had no idea what the names were of her classmates. So I thought of my mother’s jam filled cookies, and for fun I put them on a stick. One cookie for each kids and a few extra for the teachers.

And I’ve been making them every Valentine’s Day since.

I thought I’d get a break when the daughter started high school, but no such luck. She even had kids she’d gone to primary school with asking her about them. And then for sure I thought when she went away to university I could skip making the cookies, but the daughter was so appalled at the thought of not having her cookies for Valentine’s Day, I hurried up and made them.

A few times I substituted pink sugar cookie dough for the oatmeal because it was easier to mix up, and once I made them like a sandwich cookie with a cut out. They did not go over well. At least I was allowed to ditch the sticks finally.

Making these cookies always makes me think of my mother though. A little bit of nostalgia and a true labour of love.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Feb 8, 2021

Membral Monday


membral ~ of, like or pertaining to the limbs rather than the trunk

I have a functioning kitchen! Huzzah!!!

Monday the installers from Stoneworx arrived with the hefty slabs of stone that became our new counters. It was a glorious moment . . . until we were told we couldn’t use them for 48 hours to give the epoxy a chance to dry. It was almost worse than having no counters.

The plumber was supposed to come either Tuesday or Wednesday. He didn’t show up Tuesday, but the contractor came to install our microwave. Then he had to uninstall it again. It fit in the space all right, but because it’s set back so much further than the alcove surrounding the fridge, we couldn’t open the door more than halfway.

Fortunately, there was a spacer panel between the corner cupboard and the cupboard above the microwave, that came down about a foot and a half. The contractor cut the part off that hung below the cupboard and fixed it to the other side of the space, then reinstalled the microwave. Everything worked out fine.

It was another couple of days before the plumber came, but at least he came early in the morning. And because this is the renovation from hell, there were a couple of problems. First of all, the dishwasher had been moved several feet from where it had been, and the hoses were too short. He was able to fix that, but during the test run discovered one of the seals was leaking, which he wasn’t able to fix. So . . . the dishwasher is hooked up, but we can’t use it until the seal is fixed.

Then we come to the sink itself. When the old sink was removed, the drainage pipe was just capped off. The problem is, the new sinks are way deeper than the old ones, so the drains are much lower. You can’t just cut the drainage pipe off, so he had to drill a hole through the bottom of the cabinet under the sink and the ceiling in the basement so the drain could run straight down.

Then we discovered that the covers for the drains in the sink didn’t match. One was for a sink with a garbage disposal, which we can’t have in our community because there’s a bylaw against them. So, to make sure they matched, the plumber use plain old chrome covers and we can get the proper ones whenever.

So . . . we have to get new drain covers, the seal on the dishwasher needs to be fixed, and we’re still waiting for the trim for above the cupboards. But for all intents and purposes, the kitchen is done.





Now comes the fun part (not!), reloading the cupboards.

Feb 1, 2021

Manducate Monday


manducate ~ to chew or eat

I have a cautionary tale for you today that doesn’t show me in a good light, but it does have a happy(ish) ending.

Saturday night after dinner, I fired up my lap top intending to do some editing. Naturally I didn’t just dive right into work, I had to check my email first. There was a message from one of my sisters – not unheard of, although she usually emails me in the morning, not the evening.

Anyway, the reason she was emailing was because she needed a favour. She was trying to purchase a gift card on Amazon to give to a friend for her birthday, but her credit card wasn’t being accepted. Could I do her a favour and make the purchase for her and she’d pay me back when she got her credit card straightened out.

There were a number of things that should have tipped me off that this wasn’t on the up and up. To name just a few:

Why would my sister email me instead of texting me?
It’s unlikely she’d send a gift card via email
It’s really unlikely she’d spend $100 on a gift card for a friend
And why wouldn’t she just use her hubby’s credit card instead?

In my defense, I was tired and not thinking clearly, and while the request seemed a little unusual, it didn’t raise any alarms with me. So I logged into my Amazon account, ordered up the gift card, and sent it off. I even sent her a copy of the receipt.

Then I logged into Facebook where one of the first messages I saw on my feed was from a cousin who warned us that my sister’s email account had been hacked.

O. M. G.

I immediately phoned Amazon support and they were pretty damn amazing. They’d already flagged the activity as suspicious and temporarily suspended my account. To my relief, the purchase hadn’t gone through. They sent me an email confirming what was going on and followed up with a phone call letting me know I’d have to reset my password and any other account information.

I don’t make purchases with that account very often and my credit card information was out of date, so when I placed the order I had to fill that in again. After I finished straightening things out with Amazon I called my credit card company, just in case. A purchase from Amazon had been attempted but it didn’t go through, and they suggested I keep an eye on my account for the next couple of days. If I see any activity I haven’t authorized I need to call them immediately.

So when all is said and done, I got off lucky, thanks to being able to take action so quickly. Other than the embarrassment of being gullible, the only fallout from all of this was having to reset my Amazon account. I resent the password for my email as well, just in case.

It happened to me; it could happen to you; it could happen to anyone.

Be safe out there in cyberspace.

Jan 25, 2021

Molochize Monday


molochize ~ to offer up or immolate to a god

So . . . the contractor came and installed the cupboard that goes above the microwave and that was pretty much all he was able to do because the microwave (that turned out to be even bigger than our old one) was delivered a few hours after he left. Supposedly he’ll be back today to take care of it.

You might be wondering why he didn’t get the trim up to at least finish the other cupboards. Well, there’s a good reason for that. He was going to, but he opened the wrapping around the trim and discovered . . . it was the wrong stuff. Instead of the thick stuff that goes above the cupboards, it was the thin stuff that goes below them.

ARGH!

But at least we heard from the counter people, and they should be ready by early February. And with any luck the plumber will be able to come the same day to hook up the sinks and dishwasher. Be still my heart! *knock on wood*

In other news . . . I learned something new last week. Foxes can climb fences.



I was sitting in the living reading when a flash of orange out on the deck caught my eye. It was our friendly neighbourhood fox on our deck. Winter has finally come to our neck of the woods and I think he was looking for a drink of water because he went out onto the frozen surface of the pool.

By the time I made it to the deck doors with my camera, he’d crossed the pool, paused at the edge, then jumped down again. I watched to see how he was going to get out of the yard again, and to my surprise he climbed the back fence.

He perched on it for a few seconds, and then followed along the top of it like a squirrel before jumping down into the neighbour’s yard.



It was nice to see my old friend again.