Tag Archives: ikea

Some Things I Did You Don’t Know About

1. I read Clash of Kings, the second installment of the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I liked it while I was reading it, and I honest to goodness cannot tell you why or what I liked about it and I’d forgotten all about having read it. I had been really excited about more Danaerys because she was such a favorite character in the first book (and the first season of the HBO series), and I was very, very disappointed in her appearances. Also, there were like forty extra pages of appendix and excerpt material at the end of the book, and I was really sad when the book ended about forty pages earlier than I thought. I’d sort of hunkered down in a cozy place to finish out the book, and although it wasn’t a terrible ending, I was not prepared for my cozy reading evening to be interrupted like that.

2. I totally got tools out of the garage and busted into a bedroom that had locked and shut itself and drilled right right through the doorknob to get the damn thing opened. Nobody really knows when the door was locked on account of it having been latched into an open position, and unlatching the door to vacuum behind it set it free. While we were out, a cross breeze did us in. It wasn’t even one of those locks you could pop open from the outside with a tiny screwdriver or anything; this had tumblers and pins for some unfathomable reason). I mean, I can fathom why a door lock had tumblers and pins; I cannot fathom why a lock of this caliber had been installed on this door in the first place. It’s the other bedroom that has the wet bar in it. I cannot fathom why we didn’t replace this door knob when we replaced the door knob on the bathroom after the baby locked himself in it. (He played happily with the toilet paper the whole time I was removing the door knob.) I suppose we’d gotten used to the door being latched open (I was so sick of that door slamming shut in a room that had no need for privacy) that we’d just forgotten about it.

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The Kitchen Remodel–Day 1

I have been bitching about this kitchen since we moved into it in 2003. Imagine 50 linear feet of gray, faux wood grain, laminate cabinets, 50 square feet of white countertops and breakfast bar, and 250 square feet of gray tile with white flowers. Imagine a wallpaper with faux paint splotches in maroon, teal, and silver. Imagine pink carpet and a floor-to-ceiling mirrored alcove in the dining room. Now imagine a raw, gaping wound of dust and shattered tile, a black subfloor and exposed drywall. I couldn’t be happier.

For the purpose of full disclosure, I have to admit that the wall paper and pink carpet came out by the end of 2004, maybe the spring of 2005. We put bamboo flooring in the dining room and ripped the mirrors off of the walls. I started complaining bitterly about the kitchen around then, but kitchens don’t grow on trees and then I got pregnant, and we started playing the what-if-we-move? game. I started hoping that the 1972 original installation appliances (except the dishwasher, which was new when we bought it) would fail so we would be forced to replace everything–the counter would have to be destroyed to swap anything out, and the cabinets were not worth putting a new countertop on. We got close when the refrigerator failed, but a replacement refrigerator fit in the spot. We got closer when the cooktop failed, but managed to chisel a hole in the tile counter to cram a Craigslist replacement into. Then my mother remodeled her kitchen in October, 2007 and we inherited her perfectly good appliances, and I started shopping around. Then I stopped shopping around because I thought we might move again, but then we built that wall upstairs to turn the giant room into two little bedrooms and a playroom, so we could house two kids.

This year I think we were just sick of how the smoke detectors would go off if you baked anything in the oven above 400 degrees, of how the sink was so scratched up that you couldn’t clean it, of how the stupid European hinges in the doors meant that you couldn’t replace them should the door start to hang funny, of how messy the breakfast bar always was, and how stupid the placement of the phone jack was. IKEA started advertising its kitchen sale, all the legwork I’d done the year or two before paid off, and it was super easy to pull it all together. I’ve said here before that I originally wanted the Liljestad style, which is a darker wood with a more traditional pattern, but we ended up with the Adel Medium Brown that I think will look really good with the bamboo. We let ourselves be talked into a Caesarstone countertop (Jerusalem Sand), and we’ll install another tile floor with a tile backsplash. It was easy to buy, it was easy to schedule installers, and I (perhaps naively) believe that it’s going to be an easy finish, despite the fact that the guy demolishing the kitchen cracked the corner of the cooktop I was going to try to sell on Craigslist. I know I should probably be annoyed and demand reparations, but we aren’t putting it back in the kitchen and we bought it off Craigslist in the first place. I don’t really care.

The only snafu has been with IKEA itself, regarding the delivery of the materials. I originally scheduled a delivery date of June 10 (a Wednesday) but after talking with the install people I tried to change to June 4. Turns out IKEA was in the middle of switching delivery companies, and screwed up my shipment. I had to delay all the contractors a week, but they all had availability. When the shipment finally came (albeit two days later), everything was delivered that was on the packing slip, and everything was on the packing slip that was on my store receipt–plus a piece from someone else’s shipment! (It was easily delivered to its rightful owner–Adel Light Brown–who lives in my neighborhood. We didn’t have to involve the authorities at all.)

So here I sit, on the morning of the first day of demolition, feeling pretty chill about the whole thing. The floor guys were in and out of here on Monday really before you could blink, and I’d had the last of everything out of the kitchen by a semi-reasonable hour last night, so I didn’t have anything like an all-nighter (which I pulled the night before the tile guys came). Puff Cat is annoyed that she can’t be out with the workmen (she loves workmen), and Sam Cat is hiding in my bedroom closet, but no one’s heart rate seems to be elevated. Fella and Filly are out and about with Husband, and we will be staying at my mother’s house instead of coping with the mess of all this–and my mother isn’t even there! I repeat, perhaps I’m being naive, but this is starting out as a relatively painless process. Until I step on a nail, I bet. And because no one really cares about kitchen remodeling stories but because everyone really likes remodeling pictures, I’ll post them now:

Hideous Gray Tile Floor Detail

Hideous Gray Tile Floor Receiving Its Just Rewards

Kitchen: Before

The H1N1 Flu (Actual) Pandemic of Aught-Nine: Day 8–Perfunctory Attention

My tongue is getting sore, at the back of my throat, and I’m kind of hoarse and I have sneezed a couple times today and I’m really tired, but I’ve had a hard day of hard thinking, so that’s a moot point as always. I’m just sneaking in here to update the CDC report before we lose the data entirely, and to say that I committed to a kitchen. I paid for cabinets and I have installation estimates and we picked our countertop and color, but are rounding up estimates for it.

Lest you’ve forgotten, we’re going with the IKEA Adel Medium Brown, and we decided that the CaesarStone “Jerusalem Sand” is the perfectest thing ever. IKEA sells it, but we’re getting other quotes just because. I was grateful to have been warned yesterday by a blog visitor that the swine flu had shut down the IKEA playroom, so I ended up placing the order for the kitchen cabinets (and guts–they tempt you with lots and lots of drawer inserts, and I don’t even want to get started on how many spice rack trays I fell for) all by myself. Fella and Filly stayed home with Husband while I chummed it up with Fernando and gave him a big pile of my money. I have a feeling that IKEA will be the best price for our countertop, considering how other places seem to give quotes that rely an awful lot on linear inches in addition to square feet, but I’ve got a week more to figure it out. Turns out that the swine flu has disrupted the schedule for the media center sale somehow (parts have been delayed in Mexico, Fernando told me, and I put the pieces together), so it can’t start tomorrow like they wanted to. Lest they be entirely without a sale, they are extending the kitchen sale a week. I am sort of glad that I didn’t know that before today. I worked myself into a right state last night over an estimate from a contractor that I just had funny feelings about but who was offering a good price, and decided to just go with the major distributor. I went in this morning with my mind all made up, was one of the first people to get a salesperson (I tell you what that store got busy this afternoon), and just placed the order. If I waited another week, I’d end up in another right state.

The contractor wasn’t even a bad, icky guy. He came to my house to take measurements and seemed OK, but there were just little things about the whole transaction that felt weird. Like the website was completely devoid of content. Like his name came up with a bunch of other businesses, usually real estate wheeling and dealing. Like he was the guy behind a bunch of domain names. Like I didn’t get an estimate for counters and cabinets separate. Like you had to pay by check. Like all the references he provided were men. Like the website in the advertisement was defunct. Like there was a spelling error on the business card. Meanwhile, the quote I got (which came in too high for us) from the recommended place with the really nice people I felt absolutely confident about. The quote I got from the local IKEA recommended installer was someone I’d gotten estimates from two years ago and really liked, and I really liked dealing with them again. Husband says that all of the things I felt funny about with the one guy was nothing he would have worried about, so I feel a little paranoid, but it’s a non-issue now. And where is that CDC report you wanted? Sorry! Right after the quick tomato report:

The Tomato Report:
I have lots and lots of flowers, and a roma plant is finally showing its first buds, too. The BFF yellow pear that is still at my house is also budding–lucky her–and the three plants for Book Club Buddy that were starting to languish in their styrofoam cups (which were supposed to be temporary!) got moved into plastic beer cups. She’s moving to a house with a yard any week now, but the yellow pear plant she’s getting was really two stalks, and they were starting to hurt each other with their proximity. I broke those two up and had to tear some roots, but the stalks appeared strong and I fully expect that both of them made the transition. I also had a four openings in the herb pot holding a red currant plant in the center and four cilantro plants in the other openings, so I planted more cilantro. Fella likes to walk over and pick the leaves right from the stalk and eat them, and because it’s practically a weed I figured I might as well grow an abundance. I have a bunch of seeds lying around.

There! All my chatter is done! Here’s your Swine Flu Numbers for the United States of America and for the rest of the world. That is, your H1N1 Flu numbers–they’ve officially changed the name. I’ll transition myself.

The CDC Update on US Cases of H1N1 Flu:
May 2, 2009, 11:00 AM EDT
Arizona: 4 people
California: 24 people (+11)
Colorado: 2 people
Connecticut: 1 person (new!)
Delaware: 4 people
Florida: 2 people (new!)
Illinois: 3 people
Indiana: 3 people
Kansas: 2 people
Kentucky: 1 person
Massachusetts: 6 people (+4)
Michigan: 2 people
Nebraska: no cases reported (-1 from yesterday)
Nevada: 1 person
New York: 51 people (+1)
Ohio: 1 person
South Carolina: 13 (-3)
Texas: 28 people, 1 death
Virginia: 2 people

The WHO is up to its tenth update, so I’ve missed a few. They’ve also changed to the new name.

The situation continues to evolve. As of 18:00 GMT+1, 2 May 2009, 16 countries have officially reported 658 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

Mexico has reported 397 confirmed human cases of infection, including 16 deaths. The higher number of cases from Mexico in the past 48 hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The United States Government has reported 160 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (51), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (6), Israel (3), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).

Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty hasn’t been on in a while, but it came back this week and I enjoyed it well enough. I don’t often find a lot to discuss about the show these days, because it’s pretty straightforward, but I had to speak up about this. Wilhelmina is so lying to Christina, don’t you think? So lying. She’s not afraid that Christina would do anything to the baby; she’s hired another nanny so no one sees the baby getting older in Christina’s arms. I feel terrible for Wilhelmina in this situation, and I’m not sure what to make of it, really. Genetics don’t make a parent. Of course, Christina never dreamed she was carrying her own child. Yet poor Wilhelmina! She really loves this child and I will argue her side on this. Not the legal, ethical side–the side of perhaps she got pregnant as a pawn but this baby is her chance to be a better mother, which she has demonstrated that she wishes she were.

So Much for New Hotness…

…our garage door is old and busted. Busted, friends. So busted I am afraid to go in the garage, and don’t know how I am going to get the garbage out for the trash collection on Thursday. I know repair guys can come over right away, but replacement guys? Supplier guys? Plus we have to go through the stupid HOA first to get the name of the products we can use, and who knows how long it will take to get a return phone call from them. I don’t intend to let the garbage truck come and go, especially not without taking our recyclables (they plumb forgot to come last week and our bins runneth over), but I really don’t relish the thought of

1) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash (it is stinky beyond the usual trash parameters) up a full flight of death stairs
2) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash through my living room
3) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash down another flight of stairs off of my front patio
4) dragging a garbage can full of stinky trash down the road, around the building, and to the back of my condo

What makes it worse is that the broken door is probably our own fault. I am blaming it partly on a cheap Wal-Mart umbrella stroller…

…we weren’t even supposed to have: we bought in in Ohio two years ago instead of bringing our fancy stroller…

…to be broken on the plane, and then figured we might as well see if it came through baggage claim without breaking, which it did, and then we left it on the car trunk sticking out and closed the garage door, which caught the curved handles and bent the crap out of one of the panels and pull it off the track, which a garage door guy was able to bang back together for a hundred dollars. I am blaming physics for the rest of it: the bent panel failed to bear the stress it was supposed to bear, which put undue pressure on the hinges, which snapped, and then transferred the stress to other panels, which bent out of shape, which snapped other hinges… you get the idea. The noises this thing has been making for the past few weeks have been precisely the sounds I imagine the Battlestar Galactica made when the integrity of its hull had been breached. Or a tiny submarine full of human rebels hiding on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean shuddering under the water pressure while SkyNet sent aquatic probes to find and kill them. Garages can be terrible, if convenient, places. Mostly I’m sad that having the cars parked outside of the garage door gives me absolutely no excuses not to sweep it.

On the bright side, our trip to

was totally worth it. It quite possibly was the best trip to IKEA I have ever had. First of all, it was in the middle of a work day, so I almost had the store to myself, which is good because I hate 1) sharing and 2) mingling. Second, Little Fella is not so little anymore, and met the potty training and height requirements for hanging out in the IKEA play room, so I could shop with only one kid in the cart. (We stopped and had a Swedish apple pie in the cafe… it was good. I wouldn’t get it again, but I’m really glad I didn’t get the chocolate cake.) Then, I had the presence of mind to confirm with the employees in the showrooms exactly where the items I wanted were to pick up, so I didn’t have to do that thing where I wander around the three-dimensional IKEA maze and go up and down stairs until I find that lamp I want. Finally, they allow shopping carts to leave the store now! For years I’ve had to abandon my cart at the door and schlep myself, two children, and loose packages (they got rid of shopping bags a while ago, too, even for a nickel purchase) across a parking lot shared with some horrible stores for parking lots (like CostCo and Lowe’s) to get to my car. Not this time! We tootalootalooed ourselves on wheels all the way out to where the car was parked in the shade. Had I known I’d have a cart before I parked the car, I would have looked for a cart corral, but what can you do? I even resisted an impulse buy that would have added $60 to the purchase: two little round floor pillow/seats for the playroom. They were appealing in their compactness, stackability, and rigid forms. I inherited these two floppy footstool things that work OK as stools, but I don’t really like them. They look sloppy and they are a little too tall for Fella and Filly to sit on comfortably. On the other hand… sixty dollars so kids can sit on the floor seems a little pricey. But they were so cute! But they were sixty dollars! But they were washable! You can see my dilemma.

I didn’t actually get the containers I wanted at IKEA but I found some at the Container Store, so the goals of my day have been met. I read in a magazine that if you have the right arrangement of bins and boxes, toys will put themselves away. I have such bins and boxes in the room right now, and I am almost done teaching the toys how to find their new homes, so I can’t wait to see what they do tomorrow! This is quite possibly the most extraordinary promise that has ever been made to me, but it is also the promise that could change my life the most. If these toys really, truly do put themselves away, then I might have to reward them with floor cushions. I’m torn between blue/green or blue/red. There’s a lot of blue/red in the room already; I’m never sure if I should try to coordinate or mix it up. I did find at IKEA a magnetic board to hang up in the playroom, too, so I can move the alphabet letters and talking alphabet docking stations out of the kitchen. I liked hearing the kids play with the alphabet docking station and singing the songs, but I am sick of them flinging letters around the kitchen. There are more than fifty of them, and they were the number one impediment to me sweeping the floor. I will not miss these toys being downstairs. I just hope the board isn’t something you have to mount on wall studs because I care more right now that it is centered in the space that I want it than I care that it falls off the wall. If it falls off the wall, it’s going to be low to the ground and to the side of where people sit to read, so it wouldn’t crash on anyone’s head or knock anyone’s brains out. We are the sort of family that prefers everyone’s brains to be inside their heads. I know, I know–prudish Americans. I can’t help it. It was the way I was raised.

Once the playroom is set up, hopefully all play will happen there. This could mean that my downstairs will be fit for company at all times, and could mean that I’ll actually start working in my office! Imagine how much work I could get done then. It boggles the mind.

TOMATO UPDATE: I flicked a few aphids off of my tomato plants and counted blossoms. For some reason, the Red Currant plant that is sharing a pot with the cilantro has really taken off, and is sporting at least ten yellow flowers. I expect some teeny tiny red currant tomatoes by the end of next week. This will be the first fruit I will have ever harvested, and it will have been from a plant I started with seed. It’s really too bad that I don’t really like little tomatoes. Like the Borg, I’ll adapt.