Daily Life, Remodel, Uncategorized

It Really is a Miracle

Monday morning I was prepared to spend a day without power to the house. I got up and ready, started a load of dishes in hopes they’d be done in time and I started washing all the pots and pans that we owned because they were all dirty. All. Of. Them.

The workers showed up and shortly after the power to my house was cut and I was doing dishes in a dim basement kitchen. Fine by me.

My friend generously offered to have me at her house during the day when we had no power. She cooked lunch for us as well. It was so sweet of her. And it was nice to visit as well.

They finally finished putting the new panel in around 6:30. The main electrician said he thought back through all the jobs he’s done and ours was one of the most difficult jobs he’s ever worked on. Yikes!

Once the power was on we quickly started dinner. We’ve lived in this house nine years next month and we put in a range hood in basement kitchen we installed that year shortly after that. It stopped working soon after we put it in. Well, it would work sporadically but it was rare. Alex tonight, on a whim whilst we were cooking, turned it on. It turned on! What?! And the real test- we opened the fridge in the basement and the room lights didn’t flicker! They’ve been flickering when the fridge opens for months. We thought it might have just been an overloaded circuit. Not so. Corroded breakers, ya’ll.

Everything works now! Can you imagine how happy that makes me?! I was finally able to put all the extension cords away! I was able to plug the fridge in and it worked! The dishwasher and the washing machine can run at the same time without extension cords! The dryer won’t turn off mid cycle!! I can plug the radio in by it rather than running the cord across the counter! This is all supposed to be normal but for the last few months, and years in some cases,, it hasn’t been for me and I am so so so grateful to have it all fixed and working properly and how we designed it to be.

Now, as I see it, this kitchen remodel is a blessing in so many ways. The non-working outlets in the kitchen were the reason we started this whole project. During the project when the walls were all open we found that the walls had scorch marks from the wires. We were almost finished when they discovered the electrical panel was on its last leg. Now that it is all fixed we realize how close this house was to going up in flames from multiple different areas. It is a scary thought but we were preserved until we had the ability to pay for repairs.

Blessings.

Miracles.

Electricity is a miracle in itself. I am incredibly grateful for it. I hope I don’t ever take it for granted. It might sound dumb, but after the past 8 months of dealing with it not working right, I am so grateful when it does.

And I have to laugh. My next door neighbor “casually” came over yesterday as I was unloading groceries (holding almost a case of heavy cans) to ask why I had so many work trucks at my house all day Monday. It makes me giggle but roll my eyes at how all the old men on my street always have to know what’s going on. Always. At least I know they are watching and will let me know if they see something amiss. I wonder if they come because they want to know or if their wives want information?

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Daily Life, Remodel

Second Wind

It is getting real.

We are down to four days left until we can officially move into the kitchen. That’s soon! I am so excited and I started moving kitchen stuff into the drawers that I probably won’t use in the next few days. If I need it I can just go get it.

I cut some mats to go in the bottom of the drawers and I bought some removable adhesive liners. I like the Pioneer Woman ones but I figured it would be too busy looking and make it hard to see what we in the drawer. I decided on the gingham print. It is one of my favorite colors so that is a big plus.

I pulled my label maker out and did what I’ve wanted to do for over ten years- I labeled where everything goes. The kids are in charge of unloading the dishwasher and I hope this helps them know where everything goes. Is it a little crazy? Yes. Do I care? Apparently not.

While I was working on moving some of the stuff upstairs and cleaning and all that stuff, Alex was finishing building the laundry shelves. It took him hours but he finished them all. I am so grateful he did it all. It was really cold in the garage and he spent a lot of the day out there building. Such a good man. In the next week or so he’ll build the cabinet for the sink. Eventually we’ll get to the long wall and broom closet.

This is just the first one.

I primed the wall behind the cabinets and the washer and dryer. I haven’t pushed the washer and dryer where they need to be yet because I’ve been procrastinating finishing the room for lots of reasons but I think I’ve gotten my second wind and can finish it. I am pretty sure the whole electrical issue threw me off and took up way too much space in my brain. But since the electrical will be fixed on Monday and the countertops done on Wednesday I can see the end in sight.

Speaking of electrical, I had Alex turn on the dryer power to see if I could dry all the loads I’d washed. I really didn’t want to go to the laundromat. The dryer worked all day- the breaker didn’t pop off! I was so grateful. I had so many clothes that needed done.

It was a long busy day and we got a lot done. We didn’t have a plan for the day but it worked out. When it is all done I will bake up a storm. My kids are excited to give it a try as well. It should be fun.

Daily Life

Talent Show

At our church this week there was a talent show. My kids, unbeknownst to me, signed up.

Talent shows are usually cringe worthy events. There’s always fun ones, impressive ones, etc. I was prepared to cringe last night. I didn’t. I was impressed. Usually you just know people in passing but it was fun to get to know people on a different level.

There were teens who played difficult piano pieces and made me think I am slacking teaching my kids. Then my kids got up. I never had the guts to do that. I try to stand back and keep my fears to myself and let them do life their way. I offer suggestions and try to support.

So Lauren had signed up and was going to do something. I suggested she do what she’s been working on for school. Y’all, she memorized the periodic table of elements song in less than a week. She’s 11. I am impressed. Also, she choked at the school musical auditions but at the talent show she just went for it and you wouldn’t have known she was nervous. She did awesome.

Then she got up again to help Elizabeth, whom she helped memorize the Cup Song. Elizabeth was adorable and Lauren did the cups the whole song without messing up. They were so cute.

Then Lauren, Gideon, and Elizabeth, along with their friend, did a dance that they made up together. It was cute and fun and I am glad they did it.

It was good to see them get up in front of people and be confident and support each other. While they might not have performing talents we usually think of like playing an instrument (though they do that too) they have other things they work on.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any of it on video because I didn’t bring my camera and the kids used my phone for their talent. So I’ve come up with a solution. I’m going to have a family talent show and this time we will record it and more of us can participate- without an audience. It should be fun.

And as a bonus, we’ve started planning for next year.

Daily Life, Remodel, Uncategorized

So Much Snow and Laundry Issues

Okay. Snow. The whole country it seems is getting snow. Well, apparently not because my sister posted a picture this morning of her tulips coming out. She lives in Northern Utah. Two and a half hours south from me and her tulips are coming out of the ground.

Me….

You guys. It makes me tired looking at this picture for so many reasons.

Can I just buy all the snow throwers? Shoveling all that by hand. Seriously. I’ve made most of those piles. Idaho is amazing, it really is. It is beautiful. But the winters. That picture says enough.

This morning we drove the big van to take the kids to a video game tournament their friend set up at the high school. Yeah, he got permission to use the high school. Small town thing I guess. Anyways, I drove the big van because I knew the little car would get stuck. I even brought Alex along in case the van got stuck. It didn’t, thank goodness. I even managed to not slide anywhere. If you thought sliding around on the road was scary wait until the entire back end of a 15 passenger van swings around out of your control.

Since it is just a big snowy mess out there we decided we needed to get back to work on the house. Yes, even if most of the upstairs is being run with extension cords. It’s ridiculous. But whatever we need to do to make it work we’ll do. Nine days until it is fixed.

I told Alex I need- yes need- my laundry room finished. I need the table and sorting shelves all built so my laundry is contained. Right now so much laundry is scattered hither and yon. We have most of the material so it was just a matter of building it.

I love that my husband can build custom furniture for me. Well, I can build stuff too but he’s better at it. He got a bunch of it done but we’ll be working on it through the week and hopefully have it done next weekend. It is cold in the garage where we are building it which makes us wish it were summer. I am going to make a wood top for the folding/sorting table. I am going to have to wait until spring or summer to do it because I’m not going to work out in the cold garage. I’ve done that before and I just don’t want to now.

So I’ve been trying to do laundry this week but the dryer breaker keeps popping off. So I’ve resorted to hanging everything on racks and putting the fan on it. It is taking way too long to dry it all but I really don’t have another choice unless I want to go to the laundromat, which I don’t. We’ll just pioneer it for a little bit. We are so close do being done. I keep telling myself that to keep myself from losing my mind when all the little (or big) things pile up.

I will not take appliances and electricity and cars for granted. It makes life that much harder when you don’t have them or they don’t work. I am so grateful for all of them.

Daily Life, Remodel, Uncategorized

Longer Than We Planned

So the electrical issue. I’m not happy about it. Monday would have been a good day to have it fixed. Nope. Found out it was worse. Today would have been a good day to fix it. Not happening. Needed the power company to come disconnect it. Plus we need the city to do inspections and all that jazz. Well, none of that happened today.

The company called and we scheduled for the first of March. That is less than two weeks away. We’ll survive. I hope. Nah, we will. Its been a problem for awhile and we’ve been okay. The only difference is now we know about it. Okay, being honest, I think its worse.

So we just turn on the breakers we absolutely need and call it good enough. Am I upset that its taking so long? Yes, and no. Yes, because I have all these new lights and appliances and I can’t use them and a whole house that is iffy. No, because it was way unplanned and the budget just got too tight. The time is needed to figure out funds.

I walked into the kitchen a little downhearted because I have this new kitchen that I can’t use. Ignore the fact that the counters aren’t in yet. I had been using the dishwasher and washing machine with an extension cord- don’t lecture on the hazards of that unless you have experience cleaning up after 10 people the old fashioned way. Yeah, I am back to washing dishes by hand. *sigh* And I might have to hang dry clothes. Hmmm.

It got me down yesterday. That and the fact that it was just snow snow snow and cold and grey for weeks. It was finally sunny today and I went out and sat on the front steps. It was 20° F and it felt amazing. It was “warm” and sunny and I loved it.

What I didn’t love was the snow the plows left in my walkway and in front of the mailbox. I just looked at it and my arms got weak. The piles are so high now that it takes more effort than I can muster to lift the snow that high.

Why yes, the kids do sled down it. It is a veritable mountain to them. It is almost six feet tall.

After the storm I drove to get errands done and the plows had only left room for one car to drive down it. There is normally room for 4 cars across. I guess someone complained or fixed it themselves because when I came back the snow had been pushed back and the road was wider. It is worse just 15 miles north so I can’t complain too bitterly. But suffice it to say, I am very ready for spring. I am sure everyone is. The groundhog actually got it right this year, with a vengeance.

And to those who thought 2021 would be better, who did you think you were fooling?

Daily Life, Remodel

Ay yi yi

Well, the weekend of flicking electricity was fixed. Mostly. So we thought. I called and left a message and they came out first thing Monday morning. The electrician who came out thought the guy who had installed the outlets had crossed the wires. I’m thinking I will go with a different company next time? He was the apprentice I guess. But, the breakers, we found out, were corroded as well. The electrician tried to put a new one in but because the electrical panel is so old it didn’t fit quite right and they don’t make the kind my house has anymore. Great.

They thought it was all fixed and they went out to their vans. I proceeded to start plugging things in and guess what? The outlets didn’t work. What?!!

I ran outside and luckily they were still there. I called them back in. Well, they thought it was a breaker popped and worked on it for a few minutes. They came back in and said we were going to need a new panel. Alex and I already knew that but wanted to put it off until later. We can’t anymore. There was electricity buzzing and acting weird due to the corroded breakers. We have no choice but to get it replaced.

I asked them to go turn on what they could and then they would be back to replace it the next day. Well, they turned the entire panel off and left. We had no electricity at all. What the heck? And they left the attic access panel open and cold air was coming into my house.

Up to this point, the company has been very professional. Yesterday I was not pleased.

I called my friend and asked if we could spend the day since we had no power. I didn’t want to risk turning it on. She was gracious enough to let us one over. And it was all my kids, too, because it was presidents day. It was an enjoyable day.

Alex came home and we turned on the power to the basement and furnace. The kids all stayed downstairs for the night, having a sleepover in the family room. Alex and dealt with the dark upstairs. The electrical downstairs was still blinking. I am hoping that the panel replacement fixes all the weird blinking and shorts. And then- cross my fingers- I hope, hope, hope, that all the issues are fixed. Its been a ridiculous winter and I just want it to be done. Can we just have it all fixed and working proper from here on out?

We’ve fixed the plumbing, electrical, leaks, insulation, windows, the basement, the water heater, etc. There is so much in this house we have fixed it isn’t even funny. I had a thought that it might be nice to live in a rental and not have to deal with these issues. But I remember thr rental days and I really disliked them I was always nervous that the kids would ruin something, I couldn’t change anything, stuff still went wrong and I had to try and get management to fix it. I couldn’t pick colors or have what I liked. So even though it is kind of a pain being a homeowner, I do enjoy being able to work on stuff and fix things and make it mine. And we have a yard and garden and can have animals and such where rentals usually frown on that stuff. And do you know how much a rental for ten people costs (if you can find one that will even rent to that many people) versus how much my actual mortgage is? No contest. We’ve got a better deal owning the home. Even with all the messes we’ve had to deal with this past year. I wouldn’t trade it.

So, I’ll let you know if we get this all straightened out or if we have more drama.

Daily Life, Remodel, Uncategorized

Installation and Issues

I know you are all dying to see some progress pictures. They are coming.

So Thursday our fridge was delivered. They called before coming and I told them that the fridge wouldn’t fit unless they took off the fridge doors. When they got to my house they saw the front door and said it should fit. Yes, through the front door, but no, not through the entry door to the kitchen. Ohhhh. They saw what I meant and took the doors off the fridge.

Right as they were leaving the electricians finally showed up. It was almost noon. They got right to work and 6 hours later they had it all done. But we tested the disposal and it didn’t work. The other guy who had already left had installed it but hooked it up different from what it was supposed to be. Quick fix. It all looked good and we thought it was.

We went to plug in the fridge into the outlet that we had made for it and it didn’t work. We plugged it into another one and it did. We checked all the outlets and four of them didn’t work. Great. We figured we’d call in the morning to have them fix it.

Later that night, actually morning, we woke up to our alarm clock blinking and flickering. I checked my phone for the time and it was dead when it had been half full at bedtime and had been charging. It was 4 a.m. we turned on the bathroom light and it was strobing, and if we turned on one light the other stuff in the room would turn off. What the heck. If the electrical hadn’t been worked on we would have thought the house was haunted. We unplugged everything and went back to sleep.

In the morning we tried to figure it out. We thought maybe it was our high school bathroom fluorescent light fixture in the bathroom causing problems. It turned out not to be, as we found out when we unplugged it, and we installed a new, more modern fixture. About time we got rid of that ugly thing.

We checked all the outlets again but things had gotten worse. The outlets still didn’t work. The master bedroom and bathroom electricity was acting normal and then it would fritz, blink, flicker, turn on and off. Then the kitchen would do stuff too. The power would work, then it wouldn’t and with stuff we thought was fine. The dishwasher wouldn’t stay on, the light in the fridge would flicker. It is a concerning mess that wasn’t happening until the electricians came so I’m am for sure expecting them to fix it and I will not let them charge me for it.

But other than that it has been wonderful. We installed the ovens. I will not do that again. It was so heavy and so hard to do. But it is in and we’ve used them a couple times. We made pizza and used all the ovens at once. Dinner was done all at once instead of dragging it out for over an hour waiting for one pizza at a time. I know it sounds ridiculous and spoiled but it was still, so nice to cut the baking time down by so much. We made valentine’s cookies and the three batches were done in 10 minutes instead of half an hour. Time saver!

She was so helpful.
They weighed so much. We used a car jack to lift it up and slide it it.
Alex put the cooktop in place but we can’t use it until we hook up the gas which we won’t do until the counters are in.
I finally got a new fridge. It has an ice maker! I’ve never had one before. I’m excited about that.

We still have a ways to go but it is so close now. And I love it. I love the colors, the space, the storage. It doesn’t even look like the same place- thank goodness because the before was very worn out.

The kitchen and front room are looking great. Now to get the rest of the house to match.

Daily Life

The Weekend

Hours later and a bunch of trips to the hardware store and we finally got it all set up. The sink drain, garbage disposal, and dishwasher are functional. The faucet isn’t workable yet but is that really a big deal? I could install it temporarily but won’t. Why do it twice?

I have a functioning dishwasher now, and you can bet I have used it. I hauled up a bin full of dirty dishes and loaded it up Saturday night and again around lunchtime on Sunday. It was glorious. We had to use an extension cord but by golly it worked and my dish washing time was cut down by so much. I then washed all the rest by hand because they needed to be done and a bunch were hand wash only. Before this past year I would only wash the big stuff that wouldn’t fit and only after it got bad and they’d been soaking for days. I will never take a dishwasher for granted again. My kids won’t either. Okay, they will.

When we got the dishwasher all set up Noah asked what a dishwasher was. He’d forgotten in the 8 months of his short life we were without. Evangeline is too young to remember as well but that didn’t stop her from climbing in. I’ll have to keep an eye on her.

I don’t have the finished countertops but this Thursday we’ll finally have electricity and all the appliances. I am going to start bringing stuff upstairs and figuring out where to put it all and you can bet I will be labeling the whole kitchen. I’ve always wanted to. Yes, I’m weird.

This past weekend we’ve taken the internet away from the kids. They used and went over the max for our internet plan. So we took it away and the kids have gotten creative. Think blanket forts, cooking shows, messes galore and tons of noise. Same as they always do but without the TV and computers going, I guess. They are talented that way, (insert eye-roll). If it were summer I’d send them all outside but its cold and winter.

So the weight loss attempt is going well. I am learning a lot and Alex has joined me. I printed off the rules and approved food list and he’s on board. I’m excited for us. It is always better to have help in something like this. We can celebrate our successes together.

I best get the day going. Now that we are pretty close to finishing I can put all the tools away and clean my living room up. We haven’t used it properly in months and it shows. I have been struggling to find the motivation to o anything lately so I might just have to dig deep and just do it because heaven knows nobody else will. Such is life.

Daily Life, Remodel

Big Day For the Kitchen

Well, the usual stuff is going on. I’m overwhelmed but time passes and life goes on. We are in the home stretch on the house and I couldn’t be happier to get back to normal. In fact I just had a thought that I will hold off on any major projects until all my kids are in school. That’s about 3 years. But I remembered that it won’t be possible because there are some things that need immediate attention, namely the fascia and soffit of our house. Its rotting and needs replacing asap. But I’ll try.

So last night the cabinets were delivered! Evangeline and I watched them bring them all in. We were so excited. Well, I was but Evangeline was just having fun watching and playing with her doll while I held her on the windowsill. Get ready for picture overload.

That is a lot of cabinets. I’m so excited to get moved back in upstairs and have light. Lots of light.

Sink and corner are put in. There better be a shelf in there.

Then I walked through again and found this…

Do you see that? This house is a bit of a wreck, still. Honestly though, the slope is only noticeable when there’s liquid spilled and maybe marbles dropped. Or cabinets installed. That said, do I worry about the structure? Kind of. We’ve been all over this house and its been like that and that bad since we moved in almost 9 years ago. We’ve seen no new signs of settling but with all the new work we’ll keep our eyes peeled and if necessary we will get it fixed. For now its just kind of annoying.

The peninsula.

Later in the day:

The workers left and we had the run of the place. We took pictures, saw what the heck was what, unpacked and dry fit appliances.

We measured a million times but we always picture the fridge being to the left a little bit (when it is there, of course).
So many cabinets to play hide and seek in. For a few days anyways.
The sink was supposed to fit into that spot. 3 inches off.

We apparently had a miscommunication. I said 30 inch sink. Well, that is what the name of the sink and package said. Well, that is the inside of the sink, not the exterior measurements. Oops. It will need to be fixed but it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Cut a few spots and move a cupboard over. Luckily we have the space for it. But still, it is annoying.

I got a phone call today. It was the appliance store. My fridge finally came! Yay! They will deliver it Thursday which is the same day the electricians will be here to finish it all up. Then all we’ll need is the countertops. Lauren said it was all happening so fast. Well, yeah, at the end after months and months of work it all just wraps up nicely.

They still have to fine tune the cabinet doors, put the handles on and fix the sink. So exciting!

Daily Life

Just Jump

Last night we finally did it. We did something big for family home evening. We went to the local trampoline park. We’d gotten free passes a couple years ago and we finally used them last night. The kids and Alex went and jumped for an hour and it looked like so much fun. I watched and held jackets. I’ve had eight kids and thus haven’t got the control back that I need to to jump. I have to cross my legs when I sneeze so jumping is out for now.

I did love watching them though. Evangeline, we found, is fearless. She’s two and was jumping eight to ten feet down into the foam pit. Anything she could find to jump off from she did. The kids were all running and swinging and bouncing off from everything. I’ll have to take them again sometime.

I figured they would all be tired when they woke up. I was right. Alex though groaned when he had to eventually get up and go to work. I giggled to myself over that. He plays soccer once a week for exercise and this was not soccer.

Last night before bed after we got home, Gideon brought a book to us to read. Dr. Seuss ABC book. We have that memorized. We started to read it and all the kids read along with us. Evangeline was looking at us all like she couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was cute and it was fun. Probably ought to do it more often.

Noah has been bringing me a book nightly to read and its been a good thing. Each kid is starting to get a thing that we do nightly when I tuck them in. One is a book, one likes long hugs, another a song, etc. Noah found this book he likes me to read.

In the book there is a picture that I’ve had hanging on the wall in the hallway until the renovation and its been months so Noah didn’t remember I had it. I pulled it out and hung it on his wall. He and Evangeline were so excited and jumping and squealing with sheer joy when I hung it in his room.

My friend gave it to me years ago and I am glad that Noah wanted it. It is a pretty painting.

I did something yesterday that I’ve been meaning to do for months.. The eating/dieting program I follow is called Code Red. She has a 10 Pound Takedown Challenge and I bit the bullet and joined it. It starts on Monday the 8th but I started it today. I just needed a bit more incentive for myself and I’ll admit help, support, and direction. I ate really well yesterday and even said no to the little things that usually take me off track. It takes getting the mindset straight and focused. I have failed for months to make it even one day because of different things I let pull me away from my goals.

Yesterday I was reading something and it said Focus on ___. The word “yourself” popped into my head. I decided to make February Focus on Yourself month. It sounds selfish but it is a good thing. Back when I was doing and feeling my best and thus able to do better for others I was taking time to take care of myself. The old saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup is true. And no, eating cakes and crap and watching TV isn’t filling the cup. Its opposite. I needed to take care of myself, get healthy, work harder, not take a break. So that is what I decided to do this month and hopefully get the habits down and not screw up so bad the next time.

Its an exciting week and I’m looking forward to it because the cabinets will be delivered tomorrow and installed the day after. One giant step closer to being done. I can even start moving stuff into the drawers nd figuring where stuff goes. When we designed the kitchen we had a pretty good idea what each drawer would hold as we figured them out but real life and planes don’t always go exactly hand in hand. But it is exciting nonetheless less. I can start baking in the upstairs kitchen next week. The sink and dishwasher will be in but the sink won’t have a faucet. I could use the dishwasher still though. Yesterday Michael said he was so excited for a dishwasher and he rarely washes dishes. Imagine how I feel!

I have no idea what to do with myself today other than fold and wash more clothes. That is a chore that along with dishes never ends. Oh well. It is what it is. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.