Friday, May 18, 2012

Step One: New Tile Floor

Now, of course, most of this will be covered with cabinets and the little island, but I'm hoping enough of it shows to make a whimsical impact. We still have to grout it, and we're still hammering out the countertop options, but we're making progress.

In the meantime, the old stove is out on the front porch. Nothing says Tennessee mountain life like frying up the morning bacon on the front porch. Hee-Haw!

Monday, May 7, 2012

How's the Kitchen, You Ask?

OK, here's my vision for the "new" kitchen, minus the little center island. Yes, I'm a doodler. In 2002, when I was selling all my belongings ahead of our sailing adventure, I drew little depictions of my furniture and posted it in my apartment building's lobby. It sold surprisingly fast. If only I had listened more often when my artist mom gave me her artist tips.

So, what I failed to envision for our kitchen remodel was what a challenge it was going to be to buy the cabinets from IKEA.  Yes, I realized the closest IKEA was in Atlanta, almost 3 hours' drive south. And I figured at least two trips would be required. But Trip No. 3 is already on the docket, thanks to finding a giant crack in the farmhouse sink when we opened the box today.

Always something, right? Oh, did I mention we still have no air conditioning in the Jeep? And temps have been in the 90s. (Some relief in sight this week, I'm happy to report.) And one more thing: Nick barks at every single semitrailer truck we pass on the interstate. It's a quick but brutal road trip.

But there has been progress. The new electronic-free propane range is ready to go, and seven of the 10 cabinets are built. Next is ripping up the flooring so we can start tiling and installing everything. But that doesn't happen until IKEA Journey No. 3, which means my third on-the-road Egg McMuffin breakfast and 50-cent IKEA hot dog lunch in a week. Kitchen remodeling is hell for my good health.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Snakes and Guns

When we moved in more than 15 months ago, we were told that there were some poisonous snakes to be concerned about here: mostly cooperheads and rattlers. But since then, we've only seen dead ones in the road and two little tiny ones on the property that only made one-time appearances. Clearly, our guard was down.

So over the weekend, I'm on the front porch, finishing off a book of short stories ("The Boys of My Youth," by Jo Ann Beard - I recommend it, thanks Book Fairy Natalie!!!), when I noticed that a small friendly lizard has climbed up on the porch with me. So I'm chatting with Mr. Lizard when I then hear rustling under the house and then the porch, and in no time, I watch this BIG black snake come sidewinding out into the front flower bed. He's chasing something that's hopping for its life. A baby mouse? No, it's a small toad. Run, toad, run!

SNAKE! BIG SNAKE! I yell to Mason, who's inside the cabin. Now I hear rustling inside the cabin, and for a few seconds I'm whispering expletives in my head, wondering what's taking Mason so long to come to my rescue. But then I realize he's going for the shotgun.

Seconds fly by and the snake has snatched the toad in its mouth and is now quite still, perhaps waiting for its poison to disable Mr. Toad. Mason comes racing out the front screen door with his shotgun raised. I point to the snake and Mason take 3 seconds to decide if it's a poisonous model, then, BOOM!

The snake is dead. He's got multiple shotgun pellets peppered into his triangular little head. And sorry, the toad does, too, as he was in the snake's jaws.

Now we investigate. The snake's sharp little triangular head makes us think it's poisonous, but it's skin doesn't look like the argyle pattern of a copperhead and there's no rattler. We turn to the smartphone and determine nothing. So maybe it was poisonous, or maybe not. But it's dead. (Sorry for the blurry photo; I was a bit unnerved.)

So when all is said and done, I ask Mason: So was I right? Was it a big snake?

"I wasn't disappointed that I got the gun," he returned. And that's saying something, because now he's gotta clean the shotgun.

Meanwhile, minutes after the flurry of activity, we realize the ear-piercing crack of the gun has promptly sent Nick into full panic mode. He's missing, which means he's under the house. Under the house, where the snake came from. Grrrrrrrrreat. (Don't worry, he's the second-greatest-dog-ever; he came out when we called!)