One Days, Todays, and Labor Days

Remember when we were I was all sorts of ambitious and thought we could complete a whole house flooring project in forty days? Smirk.  

In my defense, it has been an unusual summer. My grandfather passed away at the end of June, one of our dear family friends passed away in August, and Chris started a new job (vacation days now reset to zero). Life happens, or so ‘they’ say. Death happens, too.

Trouble is, I’m starting to realize that this is the new normal.

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As a child, I was a dreamer, always envisioning how things would be one day. In eighth grade, we were given a prompt to write about which age we thought would be the best age and why. Most of my classmates immediately thought of ages like 16, 18, 21, etc. I secretly thought retirement age would be best but was embarrassed about why I would want to be an ‘old person’ puttering around a garden or sitting in a rocking chair on a farmhouse porch instead of a hip teenager with a cool car and independence. {Sidenote: Why do we spend so much time wishing to be older only to become old and wish we were young instead?} 

As a young adult, I developed into a planner and hard worker, carefully setting goals, making schedules, checking off to do lists, all in the interests of achieving and earning the right to enjoy the ‘one day’ that I had envisioned retirement being.  My family has a work now, play later mentality. We handle delayed gratification well. Except not so much anymore.

I’ve watched my parents work very hard for many years, but to what end? Caring for people with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease is definitely not the peaceful retirement life I imagined. Having dementia/Alzheimer’s isn’t either.

At 31, I’ve finally realized that there is no ‘one day’–at least, not in this life. If we live for ‘one day’, we will miss today.  And tomorrow makes no promises.

One day our floors will be done.  It won’t be today, tomorrow, or anytime soon. As tired of living in chaos as I am, I am slowly accepting that chaos is normal for people who bought a fixer upper and are fixing it up as time and money allow while living in it. Also insanity.IMG_5109-2

Plus, as a DIYer, the day ‘one day’ arrives is a death sentence. This means you have ‘finished’ your space, and there is nothing left to do to improve upon it. But one day will never come, because there will always be something new that catches your eye and inspires you to tackle another project. In this sense, one day simply isn’t coming because there is a part of us that refuses to let it.

My creative desire to prolong one day clashes with my perfectionist need for one day to have come yesterday. For the floors to be done and for everything to be back in its place so that we can host dinner parties. For me to have the time to host dinner parties. For me to have the time (and space) to make dinner. For me to have the time to eat dinner. Kidding, I ALWAYS make time for eating dinner.

Dreaming and planning, like most things, are good in moderation and can bring joy. But for a recovering perfectionist like me, I have come to the conclusion that dreams and plans are also killjoys, stealing my ‘todays’ while I’m caught up in the ‘one days’ they promise to deliver. Like the plans I made to accomplish ALL THE FLOORS! in forty, no fifty, days. My plans whispered, Follow me, and you’ll have everything back to normal in no time at all! Fool that I am, I believed their lies.  IMG_5063-1

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone,  when Harry is held captive (figuratively) by the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore cautions, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Despite how many times I have read this book/watched the movie and thought this was sage advice, only now do I feel the depth of the knowledge and experience bound up in Dumbledore’s words.  It is one thing to know something in your head and entirely another to know it in your heart.

Our neighbors have stopped asking us if our floors are finished yet. Smart people. The eardrum shattering whine of the wet saw tells them we are making progress slowly and steadily. They know we’ll invite them over to see the finished product. One day.

We’ll be spending this Labor Day weekend grouting, cleaning, and moving furniture back into place so we can switch to working on the rest of the house (and stop paying rent on our storage unit-ugh). We will also be knocking out some of the fencing this weekend, too, if time allows. Fun times.

IMG_5040Oh, and this happened a couple of weeks ago when we were doing dishes. Our cabinets are literally falling apart. The up close picture shows you how worn they are. We think the kitchen is trying to tell us something….We hear you, kitchen. We do. You’re next. One day. 😉

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Getting a Handle on Things

We aren’t quite finished with the range hood situation, so today we’re sharing a smaller yet satisfying kitchen upgrade: cabinet hardware.

One of the most annoying things about moving into this house was how difficult it was to open our kitchen cabinets (and bathroom cabinets) without hardware of any kind.  Although the doors and drawers technically had that weird routed out part of “wood” you could grab to pull, the cabinets had been repainted at some point before our time with semi-gloss paint (when the humidity in the house was relatively high), so we had to play tug-of-war to counteract the gloss-on-gloss stickiness.  IMG_0512

After a few months of this, we were ready for some hardware.  We prefer pulls to knobs, so while we were at Lowe’s using our other 10% off coupon, we grabbed a couple of contractor packs of simple brushed nickel pulls.  We thought these would best complement our growing collection of stainless appliances but not draw too much attention to the cheapness of the existing cabinets.

My dad offered to install the first drawer pull as a test-run of what we would need to do for the rest.  I helped him measure and mark the locations of the holes we would need to drill.  The distance from the center of one pull leg to the other (leg = where it attaches to cabinet) was 3 inches, so we measured the length of the drawer to find its midpoint and then measured 1 1/2 inches to the left and to the right to mark the holes.  We decided to place the handles at a 2/3 height from the bottom of the drawer face rather than exactly halfway because they looked a bit low at the halfway point.  Although playing with thirds can be tricky, the 2/3 height turned out to be right at 3.5 inches from the bottom of the drawer front.

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As you can see in the picture above, we had to drill through the interior wall of the drawer and then into the drawer face, but the screws included in the hardware pack would not be long enough to go through both and stick out enough on the front to screw into the pull.

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My dad suggested a drilling sequence of (1) pilot hole, (2) large hole in interior wall for screw head to pass through it, (3) small hole for screw to pass through drawer face. It worked like a charm.

 

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After my dad left, I measured and marked all the remaining drawers and doors on the lower kitchen cabinets. For the doors, I just found the midpoint of the flat face on the opening side of the cabinet to center the pull and then used a level to mark a tiny line across the top of the recessed panel on that same flat part for the height of the pull.  Once Chris got home from work, we installed all the remaining hardware.  We didn’t put any pulls on the uppers since we knew those were going to be coming down anyway to make room for the range hood.

Before

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After

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Now that we’ve had pulls for a few weeks, we both agree that they are a small upgrade that makes a big difference in our kitchen’s functionality.  We plan to reuse the pulls when we eventually upgrade our cabinets (plus a few extra we have in reserve for adding more cabinets at that point), which also makes it a worthwhile investment that we can continue to enjoy down the road.  If we were going with special order fancy pants pulls, we would not have bought hardware in advance of our major upgrade down the road in case of running out of pulls and not being able to re-order more, but since we went with the plain Jane pulls, we were able to buy enough at a decent price to have plenty for the upgrade later…and they are likely to stay in stock if we did run out for some reason.  For the time being, it’s nice to have a handle on the kitchen (and everything in it).

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