Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm not dead

Despite the break I've taken from blogging, I'm not dead. I've simply been busy.

Busy with what? you might ask. Well, for one, I've been trying out this new blogger beta thing, so there are some changes to my blog. I'll post on how I like Blogger Beta sometime soon, but not today.

For another, I've been working on my house. Mel and I bought a bit of a fixer-upper last year, and I've been furiously working on that while the weather is nice. That way my southern and northern friends (that's you, Alethia!) can come and visit anytime they like and not be grossed out by the 40 year old carpet in the kitchen. Or the grand canyon plastered across our dining room wall. Or the black-and-pink bathroom.

I know, I know, the post is useless without pics. So, here they are.

First, the kitchen. Here is before:
Notice, if you will, the grand canyon in the background. Notice the carpet in the kitchen. Notice the cooktop that is literally 50 years old and ready to burst into a white-hot grease fire at any moment. Notice the knobs on the cabinet doors that went out of style with the Apollo project.

Here is the middle of the kitchen remodel. This picture was taken from the opposite direction.

Notice, if you will, the exposed studs, the wiring hanging from the ceiling. Notice me doubled-over because I've probably just dropped something heavy and/or sharp on my foot for the 100th time.

And, here is the finale:
Now, it's not entirely done, but for the most part it is. Just a little touch-up here and there and I'll be done. Notice the tile floor, the modern cooking surface. Notice the track lighting for the pantry. Notice the plastic purple shoes on the floor. This kitchen really has it all.

But wait, that's not all! We also prepped Madelyn's room and promoted her to a big-girl bed!



Madelyn's Grandmomma made the acoutriments, which have little fairies all over them. This picture doesn't do it justice. The room really looks nice.

To my delightful surprise, Madelyn has made the transition from crib to bed without any real problems. Good breeding and all.

And, not that anyone cares, but I also painted all the walls in the upstairs. I mention this because it I learned something important: use oil-based primer when covering old paint. I know, I know, they tell you that the latex based stuff is just as good, but I'm living proof that it isn't. If the paint you wish to cover looks like the chalky white paint in your grandmother's hall, use oil-based primer on it. For the love of God, use oil-based primer. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

But, after learning that hard lesson, I was able to finally work on the living room.

Notice, if you will the people having a good time even though the place is a mess. That could be you.

Also notice the chalky white paint that crawled out of the deepest pits of Hell.


And, while I think that the place looks nice, it takes it's toll.

Here is me before:


Yes, the fumes from oil-based primer are so strong they willl knock out your teeth and turn you into an old chinese man.

But it is soooo worth it.


lorri said...

you are hilarious. the house does look really good. i didn't know you were handy in a construction sort of way. how long 'til baby #2?

Stacy said...

this post made me laugh...out loud. how we've missed you! incidentally, the house looks great! i think i have those barstools. i got mine at wal-mart. where'd you get yours?

Catherine said...

OK, first of all, are you talking about OUR grandmother's hallway or just generic grandmothers?

The house really does look great. You want to hire out to do our kitchen? As I told Mel, grandmomma outdid herself on the bedding. I am so proud that Madelyn is sleeping in the big girl bed.

Finally, please do not let my mom know that you took away the Grand Canyon wall. It is one of her new favorite places since her recent trip there and she would be so disappointed that you took away the majesty from your den area.

Love you guys! I want to be one of the people having fun in your living room soon!

Benjamin said...

Baby #2 is only about 5 weeks away. Melissa is getting miserable. Evidentally, this baby is pretty active.

Alethia, I fancy myself pretty handy, though my wife often has her doubts. I guess these days there are lots of things you don't know about me. For one, I'm handy in a construction sort of way. I'm also very cheap. That's why I got my counter stools at wal-mart. I mean, $90 for a chair without cushions, a back, or swivel-seat? I'll take the $20 wal-mart version with all those, thank you very much. I suspect, Stacy, you felt the same way.

And, Cat, I'm talking about grandmothers in the generic sense. Our grandmother likes semi-gloss paint, which is not chalky at all. (How on earth do I know that?!?!)

The old people we bought the house from are the ones who built it - we are only the second owners of this 50 year old house. But for some reason that grandma loved the funky white paint. If you can't tell, I'm not a fan.

As far as the grand canyon wall, I think even Aunt Lou would have approved of us pulling it down. It was just time.
You and Jerms (and Momma Lou and Papa John) should come up here sometime. Minnesota is a great place to visit, especially in the summer. It's not quite the grand canyon, but we do have the Mall of America, which is just about as big.

Catherine said...

You know the mall is our mothership. I think even Jer could get into the Mall of America. I would love to visit and the summer would be great (especially when we are in a who knows how may days 100 degree string)

Our grandmother certainly does favor the semi-gloss, I'm so proud you have noticed! If you want my advice, I would not engage her about kitchen makeovers because, in case you don't know, she has recently done hers over and she has details for days. If it does come up, just remark on the fantastic look of it and move on.

Benjamin said...

That's right! I forgot she re-did her kitchen. I haven't seen it yet, so your words of caution are well taken.

I suppose I'll see it at Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, Stacy, will you be around Monroe during Thanksgiving? If so, what are the chances you'd like to do some ice-cream at the PeGe?

KellyC said...

Well (insert expletive here)! I just typed up a very humerous message and then I clicked the wrong button and it all disappeared into cyber space (is that one word or hypenated or something?) Either that or you will have about three or four message from me here shortly.

Anyway, I was going to say that I was sorry for not getting to talk to you for longer this morning. If you didn't find the information you were looking for we can try again. You might have been looking for this:

Oh, and the house looks great! I only have one question. Where is the pinball machine?!? That thing rocked!

disclaimer: the first message really was better, but it is getting late now and I don't have my contacts in so I am really just guessing at what I am typing here.

Benjamin said...

KellyC! Good to hear from you.

I was just thinking this morning that I should call and apologize for interrupting your meeting without asking if it was a good time to talk. I know I hate it when people do that to me.

In any case, thanks for the link - I'll definitely be looking at it. Evidentally, most of the BmE programs up here only have 1 course of EE in their senior year, which is woefully inadequate. Most newgrads can't even run a scope. People around here have taken to calling them "not real engineers", which tells me they are looking at the wrong program. Hopefully I'll be able to shine some light on Tech's program. I still need to talk with Jones, though. We're playing phone tag.

As far as the pinball machine, I don't have it anymore. It actually belonged to my Uncle Steve, and he took it back when I graduated. There is, however, one of the largest vintage pinball warehouses in the country about 4 miles from where I am sitting right now. One day when the wife is on vacation, I'll sneak one home.

Stephanie said...

Hey Ben!

Everything looks so great - I really want to see it in person! I knew you had been working really hard, but it's great to see some pics of what ya'll are doing. The kitchen is fabulous. Especially the plastic purple shoes. We've not been doing any major house construction, but have been re-landscaping and re-doing some furniture. Home improvement never ends, I think.
Well, I miss you guys. We are really looking forward to Thanksgiving! And we're praying for the arrival of Pipsqueek... not too far away now!! Love you bro!

Stacy said...

i will be in town because i am on call thanksgiving. so i will most definitely be available for some pege's ice cream, curly Q fries, etc. dang, that's making me hungry. i think i'll go get some now!