One Month of Eating Out

Okay, so we haven't really been eating out for a full month, since we've had our stove back in the kitchen for the last week or two, but we have been a bit out of sorts in our meal planning and preparations for the past four weeks. Scrambled eggs, simple pasta dishes, and brats on the grill have been staples around here. And endless bowls of cereal. But it's all been worth it. You see, this past Saturday officially marked one month since we said adios to yellow laminate counters, saw-dusty cabinets, and a windowless kitchen.

And said hello to fresh white cabs, rich brown floors, and a glorious window:

As you can see, we still have work to do. Namely: installing a granite counter (which won't happen for another few weeks since it's on backorder), framing out the window, adding crown molding to the cabinets, finish installing the drawers, adding drawer pulls and door knobs, finishing off the floors with base trim, reattaching one ceiling light, and a whole lot of painting. Note: since I started writing this post Saturday morning we've checked some of those items off our list! I'll share those updates and more soon!

Here's a glimpse at what we've been up to this past week and a half since my last post.

One night Evan and I wrestled these tall refrigerator sideboards into our kitchen. You think I'm kidding about the wrestling? These things were the heaviest, most awkward part of the entire project, and here we were at 11pm, E probably on 4 hours of sleep, and we're trying to carry them in through a tight side door. And we didn't have to do it once, but rather a total of four times, since each board had to be measured in place and then brought outside to be cut (above photo is before cutting, as you can see by how far it sticks out on the sides). On one of these occasions we had a little friend who just had to get in on the action.
Seriously the biggest flying bug I've seen ... looked more like a flying cockroach really. Needless to say, this caused a slight delay in our project while E and I both ran around, arms flailing, voices pitched a little higher than normal, trying to figure out how to get him out of the house. (Scenes from our recent bee situation came to mind.) I had the brilliant plan of turning out all the lights, then flipping one on and hope that he was like a moth and drawn to the light. But we both decided that walking around the house in the dark with a huge beetle underfoot wasn't the best plan of attack, and luckily we found him huddled in the corner anyway, so we scooped him up and tossed him outside. Cuz we're nice like that.

By the end of the night, we had the refrigerator nook ready, complete with overhead cabinet! (Actually, at this point, I don't think those sideboards were actually fastened in place...)

You know you want to see where Evan plans on stashing his cow collection:

Other highlights from the past couple weeks include some plumbing work:

Above left is when we installed the dishwasher. See the copper wire twisted around the screw in between the orange caps? Finally those years of making jewelry back in gradeschool paid off. For me, not for Evan. In case you were wondering.

That sink was a pain to install. We had leaks a few nights later and had to re-do the process. We've been told we'll have to undo it again when the countertop is installed. At least we're Evan is getting practice.

Yes! Dishwasher in working order! For those of you who haven't shared a meal at our house, I'll fill ya in on a little secret. Evan is pretty protective of his dishwashers. In fact, he's so particular of how we load the dishes that he often unloads whatever I've put in to rearrange the whole thing!

Why hello Mr. Primer. Actually, this is a paint and primer in one I used since we already had it on hand. (Once upon a time I was planning on painting our old cabinets ... yea, that didn't happen).
One Saturday evening, after we spent the day driving all over the metro for various odds and ends, I whipped out my trusty paint brush and got to work preparing our new base trim. We had to buy three separate pieces to create something that mimics the rest of the trim in our house. They just don't make 'em like they used to! (Note: I only used the above paint brush for two seconds before switching out to a high density foam roller and my short-handled angled brush to get in the grooves.)

Pretty sunset ... squint and the ugly wire disappear. 

 And the next morning I was back at it, this time with a trusty cup of coffee in my hand. And for those of you who don't know, C + coffee = crazytown. Not a typical morning activity for me, but I absolutely love it, so I had to indulge. And contrary to what my cup may have you believe, there was no kahlua in my coffee.

I know this is a long post, but we gotta keep truckin. We're behind folks! And it's 10:52pm and I'm missing the Olympics for this. (women's gymnastics too! ... don't worry, I have it recording)

 Example A of what happens when C has coffee:

No, I was simply trimming some of the toe boards that fit under the cabinets. Our handyman left his saw at our house, and it's quite the contraption where it turns into a collapsable table that you can wheel away. I told Evan we should buy a cool saw like that for our anniversary this year (which is Saturday!). The gift for #5 is wood ... so I thought it was fitting. E said it's a little sinister and suggested we buy a tree instead. 

This is the piddly stuff we had fun doing almost every night for about a week. Gradually assembling the shelves, doors and drawers to the cabinets (photo on the right) and installing the cabinet toe board (on the left). We learned a few things along the way: when your floor isn't completely level it's hard to install a perfectly level toe board. And sometimes a rickety wire basket can make your spouse go crazy and result in multiple trips to Ikea. True story.

Mr. E has become quite the perfectionist. Here he is inspecting a piece of wood. I wonder if that's what his "teacher eye" looks like?

Other piddly projects include installing the side panels to the cabinets and the extension under the cabinets, to give it that nice finished look and to hide our under cab lights. 

This too, involved a trip to Ikea (we weren't sure if they were supposed to overhang or be trimmed to fit), and of course an obligatory $1 frozen yogurt.

And last project for this post: some electrical work. You know how fun it is to set the mood when you're cooking, so we had to install some under cabinet lights. Actually, Mark and Evan did most of this during the day (including some in-cabinet lights for our glass shelves) but we had to finish up next to the stove. Mark had the brilliant idea to remove the nails from these little plastic staples and insert screws in their place, so that you can screw those suckers up into the cabinets instead of fighting gravity while hammering up. I'm sure there was another reason, but that was good enough for me.

And then it was the weekend. And we said goodbye to house projects forever and ran away to the sea!

Actually it was just Lake Pepin and we were only gone a day. But it was fun sailing with Mr. E's long-time high school friend and forgetting about kitchens for a while.

I'll be back soon!

Read up on the first half of our kitchen renovation project: day 0day 1day 2day 3day 4, the big window day, and renovating with a baby (aka, our friends help us install cabinets)


  1. Awesome post Carolyn! You have come a long way in your project since I was there a month ago! Can't wait to visit again and see the finished product...and eat your yummy food!

  2. Thanks Kirst! Yes, I keep saying we should host a big dinner party with everyone who has chipped in on this project. I wish St. L was closer and we could have you over soon!


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