Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tiling in the Nude

The last big undertaking in the kitchen remodel is tiling the wall behind the sink and range. I think I bought every piece of tile that Lowe's and Home Depot sell before I settled on this one:

We got started the job yesterday, and after a VERY slow start -- two hours, two tiles set -- we (OK, mostly Mason) made great progress. And yes, it was hot outside, but luckily our little house stays reasonably comfortable inside until late afternoon. So no, we weren't naked while tiling. But nearly. (And that headline did get you to read this boring update, right?)

Mason predicts we may have her grouted by Sunday, so the final kitchen photos should come next week. Drumroll, please ...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Father's Day on Flat Top

I know, everyone thinks it's a little weird that Mason and I each get along so well with our respective ex-spouses, but how's THIS for strange: My ex, Mike, and his wife, Glenda, and their daughter, Teagan, came to visit us on Flat Top this past week and celebrated Father's Day here!

That's Teagan, above, making a hell of a game out of throwing bean bags at her dad as he tried to relax in our now-famous hammock. They flew from Minneapolis to Nashville and drove a rental car down and spent two days soaking up the Flat Top lifestyle. In addition to the usual walks, naps and card games, we also borrowed some neighbors' canoes and went for a little paddle in the little lake here.

By Day Three, urbanite Mike was ready for some signs of civilization, so we headed downtown for a walk on the pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge and out to lunch. Then Teagan, with Glenda and me in tow, spent an hour in kids' heaven: a water fountain park where kids get to run through circles and circles of splashing water. Mike and Mason? They were supposed to be retrieving the car, but they also decided to hit a bar to throw back beers and watch soccer. Some things never change.

Once they had their Flat Top fill, we trekked east about three hours to the shadows of the Smokey Mountains and rented a "cabin." (Air-conditioning? Satellite TV? And a dishwasher? Mason and I would call it more of a chalet). The next day we did the Smokies. Beauuuutiful area! But here's a tip: Avoid Pigeon Forge. It's the town north of the Smokey Mountains and it's a complete tourist trap for families -- Mason's coined it the Hillbilly Vegas Strip.

From there, Mike et al. drove to the Mammoth Caves in southern Kentucky, then did a couple of nights in Nashville eating at the foodie restaurants and hitting the Grand Ol' Opry for some live music.

We, however, headed home, where it's been summer-hot and we've been lazy ever since. Tomorrow's Monday, so maybe that will motivate us to get back on that kitchen, where we still have to tile the backsplash, install toe-kicks on the cabinets, finish some painting and put up some towel racks. Oh, that kitchen island? It's done and we LOVE it! It was the central gathering place for our guests. Can't wait for you all to see it in person! (Yes, indeed, I am a tease.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Island Dreams

Today was a big day for the kitchen: creating one island countertop from two pieces of butcherblock.

It was the first time Mason had used a biscuit joiner, so there were some nerves involved. We know it looks more like a torture table right now, but give us a few days. All those clamps and tie-down straps are keeping the two pieces tightly together while the glue sets and the biscuits expand in their slots.

Then we'll sand the thing and turn one corner into a nice curve and do some more sanding. Then there's oiling. For three days. Finally, we'll be sitting at the island counter, throwing back homebrews in celebration. Oh wait, we do that EVERY night.

Meanwhile, today, about 18 months after packing up our kitchen in Minnesota, I finally unpacked it. So  glad to have access to my George W. Bush commemorative shot glass once again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sneak Peak of the NEW Kitchen

OK, so it's been a while, but I promise it's only because we've been working so hard, it almost feels like we have jobs. OK, I lie, it's nowhere NEAR that bad. No matter how hard we work, we dutifully get in about 10 hours of sleep (heaven) and once we do get to work, after our leisurely breakfast routine, we only have to answer to each other (yeah, that's a bit rougher on Mason, poor guy) -- and to Nick the Dog, who still gets his two walks a day, rain or shine. But we HAVE been hitting it pretty hard.

To start with, we made a total of FOUR trips to Atlanta -- without air-conditioning, mind you -- to get everything we needed from IKEA. A neighbor up here on the mountain says she'd rather get a whoopin' than go to Atlanta. And believe me, she's serious.

So above is a sneak peak. Look at those island cabinets -- drawer heaven, no more gray plastic tubs!! All we have left to install is the island countertop, some lighting and the tiled backsplash. We MAY get to it all before Saturday, when guests -- my ex, Mike, and his most-excellent wife, Glenda, and their Mandarin-speaking 7-year-old, Teagan -- arrive for a visit!!  So maybe you'll get the full pics by then. Or not. Whenever. Chill, people.

And thank you, Colleen and Laurie, for prodding me for an update.