Monthly Archives: June 2013


It’s been a month since I’ve posted anything. Every weekend, Eric tells me, “You’ll have something to write about tomorrow.” But the kitchen looks exactly like it did when I last posted. Exactly.

Let us review. The base cabinets still look like this.

base cabinets in place without doors

The tower cabinet looks like this—the inside is finished, but it’s sitting in the wrong corner of the room.

tower cabinet

The walls still look like this. Oh gawd …

walls with torn wallpaper

The sorry old linoleum still looks … well … very, very sorry.

torn old linoleum

And the dining room still looks like this. I think I left a table under there somewhere. This is why people go crazy during remodels. I want my house back!

dining room table heaped with kitchen stuff

It’s not that we haven’t been doing anything. We’ve been going to work every day. And trying to cram all of our remodeling into the weekends … along with any fun we might want to have. Eric’s been painstakingly fiddling around with the drawer glides, which seem to be a weak link in our progress.

In fact, we have made progress. You just can’t see it. The base cabinets are now permanently installed. The first step in that process involved making a maze in the kitchen as Eric pulled the cabinets away from the wall. Meal prep is fun when you can’t get to the sink! Counter space? Who needs it!

cabinet bases pulled out into middle of kitchen floor

Next, under foreman Duke’s supervision, Eric cut new plywood underlayment to fill the footprint of the cabinets . (When we removed the old cabinets, we found they’d been sitting directly on the subfloor.)

Eric installs plywood over subfloor

Then we filled the footprint to the top with a thin layer of self-leveling compound. We’d never used this stuff before, but we’ll need to use it over the entire floor before we install the new linoleum. It’s basically concrete goop that sets up in a few hours. We found that a bag of dry mix doesn’t go very far. It barely covered this small space.

self-leveling compound

Checkers, our inspector cat, gave it his stamp of approval.

Cat's paw print in wet concrete

When the leveler dried, we pushed the cabinets back into position. Eric glued, clamped, and bolted the two sections together, and then bolted them to the wall. They’re not going anywhere, not even into the middle of our kitchen, ever again.

cabinet bases in position and clamped

Of course, there are the usual alignment problems. We’re constantly reminded that this old house is not plumb. See how this piece of bead board is flush at the bottom of the cabinet, but not at the top? Eric was able to tweak it so that it’s reasonably level now. We can’t expect perfection unless we tear down the house and rebuild from the foundation up! (The foundation is probably just as crooked.)

bead board is not flush against cabinet

So that brings you up to date. Why can’t our remodel be like an HGTV show, where a professional crew swoops down on the house at dawn, and three days later, the happy homeowners are throwing a party for all their friends?

Because we don’t have a professional crew, that’s why! We don’t even have any friends—at least not the kind that want to do our remodel grunt work. What we do have is an entire week of vacation! Yes, one precious week—nine consecutive, awesome, alarm-clock-free days in which to:

  • Finish the drawer glides on base cabinets 1 and 2
  • Install pulls on the drawer fronts
  • Attach drawer fronts to drawer boxes
  • Go to the symphony
  • Touch up paint on the base cabinets
  • Install the tower cabinet
  • Buy a new car
  • Install shelves in the tower cabinet
  • Build the door for the tower cabinet
  • Play golf
  • Have the sink refinished
  • Buy a dishwasher
  • Buy a faucet
  • Have a 4th of July barbecue
  • Peel up the ancient linoleum
  • Paint the ceiling
  • Paint the walls
  • Paint the bead board
  • Go to an art fair
  • Weed the gardens
  • Install the old kitchen ceiling fan in the bedroom
  • And above all, install the big AC unit in the dining room window. It’s gonna be in the 90s.

What the heck am I doing, then, sitting here on my keester, writing this? Just as soon as I’m adequately caffeinated, the fun begins!

Ready … set … REMODEL!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July, everyone!