I poured milk on my salad.

marcoloAugust 20, 2010

I didn't even notice.

If you've been wondering why I went quiet on my kitchen planning ("tiny 20s kitchen), it's because we planned a month overlap with our apartment to do a few little jobs in the house before tackling the kitchen. You know, do the floors. Add a few outlets and some lights. Add A/C, which I planned as one of those mini-duct systems--that was supposed to be the one big job.

Instead, we have:

- Replaced the entire heating system

- Spent enough on electrical to purchase a small car. The 8-day job turned into 28 days as the contractor went off to start other jobs

- Replaced large amounts of trim throughout the house, for reasons I can't remember now

- Had to replaster room after room after room, because the HVAC and electrical people never, ever ever want to seem to leave my house. The plasterer doesn't anymore, either, unless it's in the new Lexus I bought him

- Gutted the only bathroom

Yes, gutted the only bath. We move in next Saturday. Gutted. Bath. No bath. None.

The reason is, the town lost our permit a month ago and forgot to tell us it had been signed. We weren't even going to reno this bath; it wasn't to our taste, but we thought a buff and puff would be fine. Until we discovered the diverter leak, the black mold in the kitchen from the diverter leak, and the fact that the subfloor clearly had done something to offend the walls, because they were really trying to avoid each other. Etc. Then I accidentally ordered tile that was five times--yes, five times--higher than my budget. Accidentally. After rejecting the tile I really wanted because it was way too expensive.

So, I'm sort of trying to pack, and ps my leg broke, I'm on crutches and a brace, and I go to the fridge and make a salad, and pour milk on it. Because I'm really thinking about who opened a hole in the kitchen wall that we aren't even renovating yet, and who will put it back, and why my garage is filled with construction debris that I swear came from another house, because we hadn't demo'd anything yet.

The best part is not actually the pouring of milk on the salad. It's the telling of the story, which I did several days later to a friend.

"I poured milk on my salad."

Friend: "So?"

"What do you mean, 'so?' I POURED MILK. ON MY SALAD. ON MY SALAD. MILK. SALAD. Don't you find that odd? A bad sign? Something?"

Friend:"Everybody does that."

Me (screaming): "Are you f&*&^% nuts?? Who pours milk on their salad? Are you even listening to me? SALAD SALAD SALAD."

At that precise moment, I realized that, while I had meant to say "salad," I had actually been saying "cereal" the entire time.


Screaming, mind you.

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Oh, Marcolo. ((((HUGS))))

It could have been worse; it could have been rancid milk. ;^)

*Shelayne always trying to find the silver lining, even in the wilted lettuce*

(I don't dare ask about the broken leg...)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:17PM
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Thank you for the sincere laugh this evening. Oh dear I hope you get some completion soon before you start adding liquor to your oatmeal!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:19PM
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Thanks for the update. HOpe that the unforeseen and the accidental are now done and that things go forward better and with real purpose and economy.

Your insights and comments in the past were wonderful. Thanks for rejoining us, even if you're really feeling screwy. Can't imagine that I would handle things as well as you seem to be doing, broken bone and all. Dump out the mess in the bowl and start the day again, better than before. Go scream, marcolo. Go scream as much as you need to.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Well the good news is when they put you in the rubber room (that's probably who your wife is whispering into the phone to right now), when you fall down it will be very hard to break your other leg. See, there is always a silver lining.

I always tend to think knowing your crazy is half the battle. Any chance it is one of those Gaslight\Midnight Lace deals where they are trying to drive you crazy? I think adding a little paranoia to the mix is only going to enrich the journey for you.

Good luck going forward - I'm curious are you also putting salad dressing on your cereal (that would be salad to you)? If the asnwer is yes your in deeper than you know.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:28PM
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thank you for the laugh, hang in there. Keep us up todate!

Your story reminds me of when my oldest dd was 6 years old, I was a sleep deprived mom to 3 little ones. I grabbed the container with the cereal (yes, not salad) and poured it in her bowl for breakfast...she just stared at it.

It was cat food.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:42PM
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I love the idea of you yelling about the craziness of pouring milk on cereal. My wife and I have both done this to each other where we don't realize we're saying the 'right' word that makes sense and we wonder why it doesn't sound crazy to the other person... good times.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:42PM
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If it's any consolation, I've used a bucket to pee during bathroom reno and gave up wiping plaster dust off dishes anymore... so I just ingest it... it keeps reappearing anyway no matter how much I wipe stuff down. The voices in my head have become confidantes and wonder if a milk drenched salad might make a pretty picture for one of our food porn threads.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:43PM
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Thanks, all!

Latest is, now that it's Friday night, I've run out of packing material--and ordered more boxes that will either be delivered tomorrow morning, or a week from tomorrow morning, which will be day after we've already moved, I can't tell which from the stupid email confirmation--ANYWAY, so now that I am deep into my cups (Berger Gruener, nice crisp easy summer white, recommended) the floor guy has just informed us that we have to pick stains at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning for our entire house.

Sure, I can't wait to see what stain I pick after no sleep and a large liter of wine. I mean, if I make a mistake, what will it matter? Who will notice that thousands of square feet of wood throughout two floors of a house are the exact color of a soiled diaper? What-ev.

In any case, I have no choice. I have to rise like a reverse vampire at 6 a.m. and show up ready and raring. Because he used that Contractor Spell. You've heard it. The incantation goes:


And then you do whatever they tell you.

So, I'm going to pick out stains. Which means that now, the box delivery people will find no one home, and dump five tons of packing material in the entryway, four floors down, which I will have to carry up tied to my crutch. But it's all good.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:50PM
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I have heard of buttermilk dressing, but yours seems more lo-cal.

I am so sorry for you. You sound like how I was post partum when I got no sleep and hormones were still raging. Lack of sleep can really play tricks on your mind, and I am guessing all the chaos has made you do some major tossing and turning.

You will get through this somehow and laugh about it someday (nor very soon, but someday). Thanks for making us laugh in the meantime. You have a way with words, especially when you are saying them on purpose ;)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:54PM
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Experience of life demonstrates that if you want a good outcome, sometimes you have pay big time up front. By that principle, marcolo, it looks as though you are going to end up with a fabulous home.

It would be having things go swimmingly at the outset that would have been cause for worry, so your is a very clever strategy. The milk on salad is a bit too ephemeral to count, but the broken leg is pure genius.

Stiff upper lip.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:56PM
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This sounds like the title for maybe Chapter 2 in a very funny book you should write! I always tell my kids if things go smoothly it makes for very boring stories to share later. I'd say things can only get better, but I'm afraid to. Hang in there and keep sharing. And I'm REALLY hoping you find someone to help you lug those boxes upstairs...No more broken body parts! (My kids know my rule: "No falling!") You have no control over some of these things, but you can hopefully keep that from happening again.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Thanks, dianalo.

In other circumstances, I'd be alarmed that we spent the entire night packing boxes with paper and bubble wrap and tape around each item, sealed them up, and then immediately both looked at each other and said, "Um. What's in this box?"

However, I was given time to prepare for this mental state ever since we were driving around at night last week, and our conversation went like this:

Q "Um, where are you going?"

A "Huh. I'm not sure."

Q "Are you going to the house? Or are we going to Home Depot?"

A "I don't remember."


Q: "Do you remember getting in the car?

A: "Not really."

Q: "OK. Me neither.

And then we continued to drive.

Don't ask me where we went or what happened next. I don't remember.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:06PM
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Hope you went off to get some sleep, and that next week goes better!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:07PM
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oh marcolo. I'm so sorry. It is a great story though! If it helps at all (and I know from experience that it won't) we had a similarly awful start to our reno and I broke my ankle half way through. The critical and entirely unoriginal (but quite pertinent in this situation) words to live by here: STAY CALM AND CARRY ON.

Take care of that leg and good luck tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:08PM
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Ah, sleep deprivation. That and a milky salad and a few eggs give you a quiche. If you remember to cook it.

Best wishes on a speedy recovery and a magical lifting of boxes up four flights of stairs.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:15PM
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I ate a bad egg! Just tonight my husband and I were at minor odds over his part of the diy detail with me being a bit of a B!+$# because I wasn't feeling well. Then I sat down to read GW with a glass of wine to calm down and further bother my belly when came across your post. You gave me such a good laugh. I had to read it twice to husband because I was laughing so hard the first time. Thank you for sharing and putting a nice end to our stressful day...hope the rest of your remodel runs smooth and you get some salad dressing for your birthday.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:16PM
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"You sound like how I was post partum when I got no sleep and hormones were still raging."


Also, remember how we used to get up early on Saturday to watch cartoons while our parents would sleep in? With my cousins one time, and we were up with cartoons and wanted breakfast -- cereal of course. But there was no milk. So we thought and thought, and realized that orange juice was a breakfast drink, too, so we put orange juice on our cheerios. I don't recommend it.

Anyway, that's what you reminded me of.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:33PM
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Oh dear. Thank you for the laugh tonight. I needed it.

I hope you wake up in the morning well rested to pick out the stain. Humor will keep you sane.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 1:08AM
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Did your leg break because you kicked somebody's keester? That would be my excuse, after reading what has happened.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 1:44AM
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All will be well, in the end. Just hang in there.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 1:54AM
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You could look on the bright side, you're getting a couple of food groups out of the way without an extra trip to the fridge on your bad leg.

I'm keenly conscious of fridge distance myself, now that mine is at the very end of the florida room which is at the very back of the house, pretty much as far apart as possible in the entire domicile from the water source which is now the bathroom sink.

Good times indeed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 7:28AM
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"You will get through this somehow and laugh about it someday ".

Thanks for making me laugh now!

On the bright side, one of the benefits of having house PTSD is you start to find the same tragedies funny faster.

I had my own mini-meltdown when the hinge pin broke yesterday and you have restored some of my perspective. Thank you and take care.

Here is a link that might be useful: New wave crutch

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:23AM
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This really made me laugh! Hope things get better for you!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:36AM
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I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. Seriously. Tears. Snorting. Calling the husband over. The whole bit. Your leg may be broken, but at least your sense of humor's still intact.

Who the hell can think about stain at 8 am? Sounds like triple espresso time. Uber-caffeinated decisions are never wrong. Right? No such thing as caffeine goggles.

Hope things go more smoothly, and that your greens stay separate from your milk.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 9:02AM
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Thanks for the great laugh! Really funny except the broken leg part, of course. Keep your sense of humor and you'll get through this.

It helps because roofers are up on the roof--fourth straight day. The high ceilings that we love have turned our family room into a giant sound amplifier. They'll be back Monday too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:56AM
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"...adding liquor to your oatmeal!" Wouldn't that make it Irish (whiskey) oatmeal?

marcolo, I often think one word but my mouth says another. I call it mental dyslexia. It does make for very funny conversations, as you've discovered.

A broken leg? Oh, dear. But since you're still driving, I'm assuming it wasn't your right leg. It could be worse! I ruptured the ligament in my left ankle shortly after we moved into our house (I fell off the garage steps, what a clutz). It wouldn't have been a problem if my car wasn't a standard transmission but with a bunged up clutch foot, I was housebound for 8 weeks. With small children. Can you say stir-crazy? I was so there. btw, the doctor told me that what I did was worse than a break. Breaks heal more quickly. So here's hoping yours does just that.

Keep finding the funny. You'll get through this.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Marcolo! Please please please write a book about your whole experience. Being able to make people laugh is an extremely rare talent. Your first piece about the salad and milk made me throw my head back and laugh out loud. I haven't done that since reading David Sedaris's description of trying to order meat from a butcher in French in France. And your posting about the conversation in the car -- it's perfectly modulated and understated and hilarious. Anyone who's ever remodeled anything (a big cohort) will relate and want to buy the book.

Then get rich on the book. It will help pay for the remodeling.


(PS -- sorry about the broken leg. That's not funny -- yet.)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Sorry to hear about your leg! I'm with rcvt: you should put this all into a book! Is there a "Home Renovation Memoirs" genre?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 1:02PM
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There must be something about remodeling kitchens and broken bones. I have read several stories about such a phenomenon. Yours will probably be the best--at least the funniest! HaHa funny, not the funny peculiar kind. :^D

Right after we disassembled our kitchen--everything but the fridge and range, I broke my foot doing laundry. (It is a DANGEROUS activity!) A week before Thanksgiving. Yes, they all still expected me to prepare it--with guests. How nice that they all called me Gimpy. "Gimpy, would you mind getting us some more potatoes?" I am so happy to have been their entertainment. :^p

I surely can empathize with you. How DID you break it? Wait! Let me get some popcorn first! ;^)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 3:31PM
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LOL! You will get through this with your sense of humor leading the way.

Btw, you have a real talent for story-telling. Very entertainingly written. :-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Oh my. Reading your tale reminds me of my own so much. My movers are coming next Saturday, will be delivering my furniture on the day the cabinets arrive. Where this is all going is beyond me but there isn't anything I can do about it.

I'm not even moving in yet. There is no bathroom in the house at this moment. I had yet another plumbing disaster this past week and it took an entire week for each separate contractor to be able to coordinate themselves to figure out exactly how to handle the problem (plumber, tile guy, who was going to fix the wall afterwards, why wasn't the floor prepped right to reset the toilet for 3 days so contractors could use the facilities? On and on). As of this writing I *think* there will be a toilet Monday only because I went an purchase 2 of them and they are being delivered at some point. I'm hoping the plumber will be there to bolt it to the floor.

I have no shower either yet. No kitchen. Walls just went up and are being taped and plastered this weekend. Will the tile guy show up to tile the shower this week? Maybe, maybe not. The appliances arrive Friday. Will not be hooked up until - the week after, maybe? Again, coordination issues.

We're going to be living in a hotel for a week. I hope no more than that. And when it rains it pours; my apartment's hot water heater broke this past week and we had no hot water for 3 days. 3 days! Ok, it's not a broken leg but still not fun.

By the time we move in, it will be about 4 months of DOB hell, 60% over budget (it's not only the kitchen we're doing), things going wrong left and right like the movie "The Money Pit". I'm convinced at this point that I'm going to have to sell this place sooner than later if the bleeding doesn't stop soon.

Are we having fun yet?

/me snorts

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 7:38PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, but glad I'm not the only one experiencing this type of malfunction. This morning I was so mad at my contractor that I poured orange juice in my oatmeal. I'm liking the idea of liquor better.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:25PM
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Oh my. Whenever I hear sleep deprivation to this day I think of back to 1997 just after my first daughter was born. I was reading Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and the descriptions of not having slept for days prior to the ascent... rang so many bells.

Marcolo, best wishes for a speedy recovery and may the color choice be one you continue to love. Thanks for a great post. Unfortunately, it's due to contributors like you that I've been skipping my morning workout and instead heading straight to the computer with my cup of coffee. (And unfortunately staying there until about 2 minutes before I HAVE to leave for work....).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Thanks for the laugh just as I'm signing off. But first, in the It-Could-Have-Been-Worse department . . . on Tuesday my neighbor was washing his exterior windows, fell off the ladder, and broke BOTH legs!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Here's hoping your project heals quickly and that your leg gets better too. I so appreciated your post, and I know things will work out for you because anyone who can relate these events in such a hilarious way has a great way of looking at life. And stain choices. Even if it's through bloodshot eyes . . .

Keep us informed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:54PM
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Thank you all for the support. Wait, what was I saying?

So we showed up at 8 am this morning to see the stains. No stains to see. No contractor to show us the stains. Just us. Some birds. Thank god, no sign of that weasel or possum or whatever long-snouted hideous thing we saw in the backyard last night that sent us running like ninnies to the car. This house is just a 9 minute bus ride to Harvard Square. Why are there woodland creatures here? Why am I living where woodland creatures are? I don't like nature. I am Italian. We invented Western Civilization so that mankind could stop camping.

Anyway, so the contractor finally shows up. He shows me 8 different stains. Now, these guys are meticulous and really want to do a good job. They're great. But I think the the number of choices you can deal with are equal to the time of the day, minus 8. So at 8 am, I want 0 choices. At 8 am, I need to have my fingers wrapped around a cup of coffee by someone else, and told exactly what clothes to wear. Instead, I have to decide, do I want Jacobean? Old Walnut? Provincial? Early American? Afternoon Delight? Morning Phlegm?

"Jacobean is too green," he says, pointing to a black stain. Why does everybody in the design or construction business do this? They point to yellow, and say, OMG that's way too pink. They point to green, and say, "Too purple." NO IT ISN'T. IT's YELLOW. IT's GREEN. SHUT UP YOU PEOPLE.

So I'm mulling over the green blacks and the orange browns and the pink yellows. All of a sudden, I realized this floor is going to be the dominant color of my entire house. It's going to cover thousands of square feet. And once it's down, I can't change it.

You have to realize, I don't do well with this kind of decision. We spent $600 on paint swatches alone. I painted so many different test patches on my dining room wall it looked like the Partridge Family bus.

So I started to sweat like an Ebola victim. I'm wondering if this is going to end in another 911 call. Do you know, since this house purchase and renovation started, we've been told we are now on the "Fast Track" at the local ER? I am not kidding or making that up in any way. The nurse told us this. Other people build up points on their Visa and get three nights in Vegas. For us, we're frequent flyers in Triage. We get to sit in a special back waiting room with all the people whose coughs have to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control.

But I held it together and just focused on the Old Walnut and Early American and Tijuana Rash and finally picked the Provincial.

Then I went outside and my backyard neighbor's daughter rode her bike directly into my fractured knee. Twice.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:41AM
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Oh Marcolo - I read all of this again & again and am still laughing, out loud: "What do you mean, 'so?'
I POURED MILK. ON MY SALAD. ON MY SALAD. MILK. SALAD. Don't you find that odd? A bad sign? Something?"

Friend: "Everybody does that."

Me (screaming): "Are you f&*&^% nuts?? Who pours milk on their salad? Are you even listening to me? SALAD SALAD SALAD." !!!
( I just had to add these Exclamation Points, guess that I want to be the editor of your first & best book, called " I poured milk on my SALAD SALAD SALAD !!!"

At that precise moment, I realized that, while I had meant to say "salad," I had actually been saying "cereal" the entire time.


Screaming, mind you. !!! (added more Exclamations, for you!)
Well, I too have been averaging 1 to 3 hours of sleep per day, so we all completely understand why your mind and perhaps your body, has gone over the edge! Speaking of your body, did you fall over the edge and BREAK your LEG? Just have to know, so that I will not fall again, like when I tore up the ligaments in my knee, that really hurts and the healing takes a long time.
Yes, you want to know what happened: well, I cleaverly fell off the edge of the bath tub, while trying to open the blinds on the other side - the fall was in slow motion, I was thinking "Oh no, I hope that I will not hit my head on the toilet and knock myself out, spralled underneath it!"
So I tried to turn myself away from the dreaded toilet and twisted my knee, which tore it all up! Could not move, could not believe it - but gathered my senses between the waves of pain, then realized that my cell phone was just barely in reach, I could Call for help! ... Because my Screams for HELP from the bathroom floor were not heard down the hall by my husband! So he answered the cell phone, thank God, and I said where are you, didn't you hear me screaming for Help, I fell? Oh, he said I thought I heard a bump but I was finishing my lunch, just about then!
He finally found me on the bathroom floor but since there was nothing gushing from my head, he was calm, guess he thought, Oh well, last year she fell and twisted the hell out of her ankle and foot, so this is par for the course! I just looked up at him, with my knee bent under me and asked to be lifted up! He reached down for my hand and it was obvious that no way, was my leg going to be of any use! By the grace of God, our Son was home and they both lifted me to the bed where I began to swallow pain pills! It was the week of the worst Ice & Snow storms, so most of the roads were impassable for a week! The next week the Doctor decided to close his office, probably he thought it was a really good time to go South! I was not bleeding, so was told to sit tight and use ice packs. By the end of the 3rd week, my leg was still dragging behind me, as I tried to move about the house on one leg, while balancing with a chair! Since my knee was not working and the swelling was so bad, even the ice pack was very painful! Oh well, it did heal pretty much, just some intermittant pain, just like my foot - after lots of physical therapy!
We know that your leg will heal, also. But this was sure an Inconvenient Break, in your schedule!
We have done so much building and DIY renovating that we should have had enough, right? But we needed another challenge and want to move back to the city where help is more readily available for Emergencies! So we have been fixing up & selling our house for almost 9 months! But a miracle has happened and at our age and we are giving birth to our next renovation, an hour from here. Not ashamed to say that we prayed to St. Joseph & St. Anthony to sell our house and help us find another one that we could afford with the little bit of profit!
Looks like it only needs to be Landscaped, Painted, Fix a bit of Electrical wiring, and the Kitchen to be Updated! Then the Sunroom/family room/office must be winterized with a new floor, insulated windows, walls, ceiling and an exit door - that we will NEED - to throw ourselves into a pile of snow this winter so we might drift away to slumber land to get some rest!!
So please, Share with us just how your leg became entangled in your busy life and was broken?! We really need laughter as much as we need sleep, right about now! Looking forward to lots more of your exciting rebirth & renovation - count your blessings, the DIY way is very sobering, if you live through it! roseofblue

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:08AM
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oh my goodness...not to make light of your situation but I've been ROFLMAO. My family thinks I've gone nuts...I hope things improve for you and thanks for the laugh!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:25AM
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Ah Marcolo, you have a knack for storytelling. what is your profession/vocation? Are you a professional writer? Sorry about that knee. It sounds painful and I am waiting for the story on how it was fractured.

Possum may look like the walking dead, but they are your friend. They eat all kinds of things you don't want in your yard. Things that are less evolved, things that are slimy and creepy. They also eat the things that attract mice and rats. Opposum are better than mice or rats because they don't want to come inside and party with you. They are antisocial, solitary little critters who do their yard janitorial work at night. So, unless you have dogs who like to hunt and defend your yard, they will never bother you. They just look as ugly as sin and have jagged, sharp teeth and a naked slimy-looking tail and hiss when cornered.

My contractor will often ask me a question about how I want something. Then he will take my answer and tell me why I chose the wrong option. He explains why it is wrong in a very nice way, not even realizing what he is doing. "You know, if you do it that way, though, when Z happens, then X will be the result."

I always answer, "Then do it the other way, it seems better."

It got so that I once said, "Jim do it the way you think is best." He said, "No, it is your house, you have to decide, I don't know how you want it." I picked one of the choices, and then he proceeded to do the little "but if" dance.

I always have to laugh. I fully understand why he does this, and it is good of him to be so exacting about things. I dance this little dance with him and smile, letting him think I am making all the decisions!

Enjoy the experience. You may find you miss your contractor once he is gone. I always miss Jim and his banter. The kitchen is so empty without him! But I don't miss his dust.

Here is a link that might be useful: wikiopossum

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:29AM
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So I started to sweat like an Ebola victim. I'm wondering if this is going to end in another 911 call. Do you know, since this house purchase and renovation started, we've been told we are now on the "Fast Track" at the local ER? I am not kidding or making that up in any way. The nurse told us this. Other people build up points on their Visa and get three nights in Vegas. For us, we're frequent flyers in Triage. We get to sit in a special back waiting room with all the people whose coughs have to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control.

I think I just peed my pants.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I should be planning meals for the next week and putting my grocery list together, but instead am ROFLMAO with family looking at me like I've gone crazy! Thanks so much for this humerous interlude, Marcolo. If you ever decide to write a book, I'd love to be your editor!

Here's hoping your leg heals ASAP and your remodel goes forward without any further problems or accidents!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:12PM
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roseofblue, are you Italian? Because I'm trying to imagine any other ethnic group that would actually pray to two saints for the opportunity to go bankrupt and injure yourself while destroying the roof over your own head at the same time. Actually, what really sounds Italian is your gratitude for the misfortune of finding another fixer-upper: "Thank you, God, for giving me a new way of punishing myself for years on end. Because of Your gracious gift, I don't have to buy myself another cat-o-nine-tails from that bondage shop with the creepy checkout girl. Amen."

nancy, you may think the possum is not going to bother us, but I saw how it looked at me. It knows I am lame and has marked me out for easy prey. I've seen those nature shows.

So today, it rained lightly, and immediately a cheerful babbling waterfall announced itself around the vent pipe for my new HVAC system. At least I now have a place to shower, even without the bathroom.

Our perfectionist floor sanders called me several times. They were supposed to finish sanding last week. They're still at it. The floor was originally stained, and it's oak, so it's hard to get all the original stain out. I suggested that if they started seeing warm pools of light on the floor they're sanding, it's probably the recessed lighting from the floor below and they should probably call it quits. Are we ever going to be allowed to move in, or are we going to be making mortgage payments from our car?

We spent today packing. I was just remarking that I couldn't walk six inches through this six-foot-tall labyrinth of boxes without banging my fractured knee, when all the lights went out and I banged my knee.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 7:42PM
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Wait for the man-eating woodchucks.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:27PM
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I think you should wrap any extra bubble wrap around your knees--several times around.

I'm laughing and crying so hard my two kids came running to see why mom is making such strange noises. Oh my.

I wish you well!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:48PM
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Great idea! I am so ready to get jiggy wit the bubble wrap on the knee. Pure brilliance. I think I'll wear it to my ortho tomorrow, a nice bright green donut of Home Depot bubble wrap. I think his office is far enough from the hospital nut farm that I can still make a break for it if he calls security.

So, anyway, I just checked on the schedule for our clockwork-precision move. No TV next weekend, won't be installed for four more days. No refrigerator, because Lowe's lost our delivery order. No washer/dryer either, ditto on the Lowe's.

Oh, yeah, and no bathroom. Almost forgot about that one.

So either I use my credit card to pay for the move, or I use it to check into the Four Seasons and spend my remaining credit on booze and nitrous until I get shut off. Because from where I'm sitting right now, that is way the better option.

And here I come to read about all the people whose kitchen renovations have lasted ten months, or ten years, and I can't even get started, because I can't get a KD to call me back. One graciously dropped me a line to tell me she was busy with a game show. Two others were busy as well. Another has a website showing designs that look exactly like the room in Hell where I'll be spending all eternity. My favorite was the weird "lodge"-style family room with antlers over the fireplace and two ceiling boob lights mounted on either side of the wall instead of sconces. With the fire lit, the whole setup looked like a dragon wearing a battery-operated illuminated bra. How much you wanna bet she'll be the only one available?

Oh, just got a text message from the floor guy. Still working at 10:30 Sunday night. He says we're all good so long as it's dry the next few days. Clearly he doesn't get the weather on his cell phone.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:34PM
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Circus Peanut

So ... which stain color did you choose (sounds like the Minwax palette)? I know you're not revealing it because the second you do, there will be three consecutive posts by desperate folks who just got a hideous new stain job in color Marcolo, pleading for ways to change it. But still. Inquiring minds.

Oh yes, and: your future kitchen faucet:

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:49PM
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I so needed the laugh that reading this post forced upon me. I have been sitting here having a pity party about my misery and wondering will I still have my sanity when we reach the end of our 4 year (and counting) building process.

After ROFL and snorting, I feel much better. I hope that your humor helps you as much as it does the rest of us!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:55PM
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OMG. I'm doomed, aren't I? My kitchen is going to look like an Indiana Jones-themed casino in Vegas, isn't it?

Did I tell you the number of my earnest money check for buying this is house was 666? God strike me dead if I'm lying; it really was.

Yes, a Minwax palette for testing but not for the real stain--I'm getting Bona Drag--wait, that's an '80s Morrisey album--I mean Bona Traffic, which you're supposed to be able to land a plane on. Which, given my track record, would not be an entirely unexpected event. Anyway, it's claimed to be stronger than oil-based poly, which is good because my red oak is oddly yellow, and thus the amber in oil-based poly makes my floor suggest incontinence.

You know, what's funny about your faucet is that as insane as it is, it would fit perfectly into the '20s-style Chinese-themed powder room I wanted to install. You've seen that antique home style site that features a collection of '20s bathroom advertisements, I assume. I wanted to put in cool Walker Zanger tile in '20s teal combined with a red pagoda lantern light and yellow botanical wallpaper, so the dragon faucet would've been perfect. That was back when I thought I would splurge 10K just on frivolously decorating the powder room. Today of course after paying all these contractors I have to trick for food.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Marcolo, thank you. Thank you so much.

Before I read this post, I'd been having a very nice pity party for myself. The plumber on our job wouldn't come back to finish, even after we paid him the $3600 our builder owed him for the rough-in. Finally our builder brought in someone he said was a "sub" to the plumber. It was a nice man and his teenage daughter. They were very pleasant. They hooked up all our fixtures.

We finally got our gas connection last week so we now have hot water. Unfortunately, about half of the fixtures are hooked up backwards. So the cold wash of my daughters' bright and sparkly shirts? HOT HOT HOT.

I didn't understand how the plumber could have done this. The water supply is PEX. The red tube brings hot water, the blue brings cold. Now I know what happened. Half the time the plumber was doing the hook-ups, and half the time it was his daughter. All teen girls know that ... hmm, I have no idea why half of our fixtures are plumbed backwards.

Please, explain this to me. You have such insight!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:08AM
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marcolo, SOoo, please tell us how you fractured your knee.... you fell as you were leaving your sailboat or your dock! This part doesn't have to be funny, we all understand pain....it's just that if we're blessed the laughter finds us, later!
Thanks for the laugh out loud, re-counting of your life and thank you for the idea about using the 1920's site re: Antique Home Styles! Our new, vintage house is over 80 yrs. old with some of the original lighting, re-wired. And it has white Vintage Youngstown Steel Kitchen Cabinets with a 13 ft. stainless steel counter-top, and built-in, double bowl SS sinks! We decided to keep the Steel Cabinets and SS counter-top/sinks....painting the Cabinets Dix Blue from Farrow & Ball Paint, a blue/green hue. On the Vintage Kitchen Color Scheme - as seen on the American Home 1920's Kitchen....we are in the color range of #28, blue kitchen and our Cabinets will be between the two blue/green shades that you see in this Kitchen.
Unfortunately the original floor must have worn out or something and was replaced by a neutral modern day tile! I hate tile because my legs and feet are not happy on that hard surface! So, my question to You All.... what is an appropriate vintage looking Wood, perhaps, that will compliment the Cabinets? And where do you suggest that we find this affordable floor, in the next 2-3 weeks? We must be out of this house before the end of September, Help....need more laughter, please & suggestions, too!
And now, my wonderful Husband wants to replace the ugly black modern range with a SS Gas stove to bring the Kitchen up to par with our new SS Dacor Epicure French Door Frig. and the SS Bosch Dishwasher and the GE Advantium Speed Oven/Microwave, which we really use a lot. Of course, this will look much better, but the budget only allows for a Range under $999.00! We are open to suggestions for the Gas Range & Floor. And please share with us the Appliances & Cabinets & Floors & Counters that you have selected for your Vintage Kitchen? What is your color scheme, select the vintage kitchen from the antique site that most represents your goal? Have you already made the selections for your Kitchen, update?
By the way, my family name is traced back to Ireland....where they had to crawl on their knees searching for Potatoes, to survive....so maybe that is the way we all began to storm our heavenly Father and the Saints above.... St. Anthony, please help us to find something to eat!! St. Joseph please help us to take care of our family! And I hope there is a bit of Italian mixed in somewhere since that is my 2nd favorite food group after a baked Potato & fresh veggies, of course! We visited the coast of Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, Nice' France and Paris about 10 yrs. ago. Really loved the Sea and the mountains of Switzerland! Good thing that we took the time to travel then, cause we have nothing left for such expenses, now! Did I forget to tell you that the highlight was our visit to honor Mother Mary in Lourdes!! That figures, right, but it was really miraculous and beautiful!
So, anyone, Please offer your suggestions and Resources for our 36" max. Gas Range & Kitchen floor? The rest of the house is very nicely restored, Oak Hardwood floors except for the tile bathrooms. Has Anyone used a Re-Claimed Wood floor and where did you buy it, how expensive is it... Thanks for sharing?
Don't forget the bubble wrap around your leg, marcolo! We did that gut the bathroom scene on this last house that we have just sold...that is A HORRIBLE MESS and our kitchen was completely gutted at the same time...a nightmare for well over 6 months! So you see, we ARE counting our blessings because the bathrooms are already finished! roseofblue

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:31PM
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Please, please warn people to empty their bladder before they read your next chapter.

I thought you were really Dave Barry until I remember that you said you were close to Harvard Square. but now I figured it out -- you must be related to Fric and Frac -- Toma and Ray from Car Talk. Right?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:21PM
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Please, please give us another installment. The roofers will be here again tomorrow, their seventh day, and I need a good laugh. They're doing a great job, but it's noisy.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:17PM
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Thank you for reminding me to laugh. We are living in the tail end of a whole house remodel and have lost the humor of it all. Even the bad luck injuries, timings, etc have started to feel like a genuine curse. Our finely sanded floors are really gorgeous, though ;)

I hope that girl with the bike stays away and your culinary creativity sticks to the story and not to the bowl.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:36AM
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I was going to update my dispatches from the cuckoo's nest earlier, but the other night I fell asleep at my keyboard writing my post. I think in my twilight daze I successfully emailed my bank account number to General Uzuku's wife because she asked so nicely, and because, frankly, at this point, getting a Nigerian to send me free money is pretty much my best and only hope. I woke up at 3, still at the keyboard, with my neck shaped like a sink trap. So, no update.

Yesterday I was supposed to see my orthopod to find out if I could finally get rid of my creaking knee brace. It was very easy to get a seat on the T with my cane, once I learned to explain to the fat slob sitting in the handicap seat and pretending to really, really concentrate on his book precisely what it was I intended to do with the cane, and to what body part, and make clear that this time, It Is Not Just An Expression.

"Oh. You're the 11:30," the doctor's secretary told me as I arrived precisely on time for my 12:00 o'clock appointment. "Wait here and I'll find out if he can see you." Half an hour later, he returned to tell me to wait another hour. I made a much-needed reference to the cane again, and left.

Since I was in town, I thought I might as well stop at a hardware store on the completely other side of town and pick up some Farrow and Ball paint samples. Because, you see, I have become convinced that the Next Yellow I pick will be the right one for the living room, the one that you see in all the pictures, the one that "really works as a neutral," as the evil lying #@$%^ designers say, instead of looking like baby's underwear. I don't know why it seemed like a good idea to hoof it on my gamey leg carrying pots of paint. I must've looked like a three-legged dog trying to steal a fire hydrant.

Anyway, in case you're wondering, Lancaster Yellow isn't the right one, either. We just skipped the endless testing and bought two gallons of BM Lighthouse. I'm going to ignore the fact that all the Google hits you get on that paint show pictures of baby's rooms and solaria at mental institutions. It'll be fine. If not, I've already penciled in an extra 30 minutes for uncontrolled screaming.

So today, I followed up my missed ortho appointment with a missed physical therapy appointment. Because my contractor thought it would be a good idea to have our one and only conversation with his crew about my bathroom today at 7:30 am before he goes to France for the weekend. No comment needed.

I arrive to find one of his guys down in the basement, which "has never had any accumulation of water," according to the sellers' written statement, standing in a river of water. "This is bad," he says. Thank you, your decades of experience really pay off, don't they? When home sellers say their house occasionally gets just a tiny trickle after weeks of heavy rain, they really mean you get Old Man River in your basement every time a poodle takes a leak in New Hampshire.

The floors look mostly great, although I am curious to know what they would have looked like in the color I actually picked. I'm also wondering if I can see a version WITHOUT the work boot tread going up every single effing step right from the front door.

The kitchen, which we will move into Saturday, is covered with piles of lumber with nails sticking out of them. No one admits to putting them there, and no one is going to get rid of them. In this, they remind me of the fire alarm, which is now hanging by wires after someone decided, for no reason, to remove the ceiling plate and throw it away, even though no one was working on the alarm, the wires or the ceiling. If they were working on a fire, at this point I think I might join them.

There is a huge, huge hole in the kitchen ceiling. There just is. No, no one is planning to fix it.

Did I tell you it's going to cost me over $2K to hook up my new Samsung FL washer/dryer combo? More than I paid for the W/D? Because now washers have to go on the left, dryers on the right. My setups were reversed. So I had the electrician switch the outlets. My bath contractor offered to take care of adding the hookups in the right place, and, oh yea, pitching the floor drain so that the water actually flows out of the house for a change. When I went back to the house tonight, the plumber proudly showed me the new hookups--placed precisely in the wrong order. Then he tried to persuade me it was fine, I could have the washer on the right. Um. I do have the washer on the right. Already. WHY WOULD I PAY YOU TO LEAVE EVERYTHING EXACTLY WHERE IT WAS?

I tried to explain to the poor guy why he had to undo all of his work before this weekend, and, oh yea, could you please TOUCH the drain which you were supposed to fix, but I really don't think his English is that great. Normally I'd call the GC directly, but I can't, because while I am busy looking at mysterious holes in my kitchen and the rising Missisippi in my basement and trying to find all of my underwear which I have sealed inside some unlabeled box with strapping tape, my contractor is in France for the weekend.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:47PM
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Maybe he is secretly going to Nigeria to meet with that Prince and he just doesn't want to tell you....

Oh, and I too have some odd holes in places in my ceiling and walls due to a plumbing leak, turns out that this look has a name: Foreclosure Chic.

You hang in there, hopefully the writing is helping you in some way, because it really is enjoyable reading for us. Now, go pour yourself a nice big bowl of salad...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Marcolo: please start a blog! This is all so bloggity blogerific!

For the first time in my life, I desperately wish I were Italian. I positively loathe camping (though I live in a community where everyone, and everyone's great-grandmother is frolicking to an outhouse every other day). If I were Italian, I would have that brilliantly witty quote about Western Civ professionaly printed and framed to hang in my home. Since I can't, I think you should.

(I'm restoring a 1929 kitchen. It is all worth it in the end!!)



    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:58AM
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I'm just crying for you now. It's not even funny anymore if any of this is remotely true. How many days has it been since you got a good night's sleep?

But, I'm not feeling so bad about paying the extra 700 bucks for the one washer on the sales floor with the reversible door so I wouldn't have to move my connections.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:47PM
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I think I want to marry your contractor.

So sorry for the continued mishaps. Do make sleep your priority. Surely things can only get better at this point??

And thank you for sharing and making me laugh out loud.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:03PM
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Wow, somebody who actually makes me feel like I have a kitchen and not a glitchen!

Just wanted to chime in and add to those thanking you for a good laugh. Sorry it's at your expense. Literally.

Good luck with that knee!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:29PM
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I have to say...this really is some of the wittiest stuff I've read in a long time. It's also terrifying me about our upcoming reno.

I also appreciate the Boston references, as I used to live there (and miss it).

And while I'm enjoying this immensely, I hope the next installment has some good news for your sake!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 3:33PM
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Thanks so much for the good vibes. I can feel them. At least, I hope that's them. The contractor removed a load-bearing wall that he said wasn't really holding anything up. So, I'm really hoping it's the vibes.

Anyway, I will be signing off after today, since this is my last night in my apartment. Tomorrow the packers come, our beds go into shrink wrap, and then on Saturday we move. We're staying at a B&B round the corner from our old condo, which we sold five years ago despite the fabulous neighborhood, so that we could get out at the market peak. This seemed like a great idea at the time. I'm wiser now.

The bath contractor was supposed to install the shower today, so we can bathe when we move in. Also, we hoped he would review the difference between his left and right hands, and install the washer hookup in the correct place. Perhaps this all seemed too overwhelming, and he took to his bed with melancholia, since nobody showed up.

The electrical contractor appeared out of nowhere for one last review before the inspection of all the rewiring. I mentioned to him that I found it pretty astonishing for an 8-day job to turn into a 28-day job. "You're a newbie," he said.

Off to finish packing. We forgot to pick up boxes from the liquor store with those dividers in them, so we could pack up our bar. That leaves only one place to put all that liquor.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 6:41PM
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Quick update. Just came back from the house to check on things.

The good: So far, the BM Lighthouse looks really nice after one coat. It's sunny and cheery but seems like that classic Colonial/English Country yellow, the one that looks so good behind Southern women and English dandies. Fingers crossed.

The bad: My front yard has suddenly developed two large sinkholes.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:26PM
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We're moved in!! Sort of.

The painters promised they'd use every effort to a get two rooms painted in two days. Well, we thought that's what they said. What they really said, was, "Hey, even if we paint only one room, we'll make every effort to charge you for two."

So we've been spending the last two days painting the master. Which means, we moved in our stuff but had to stay at a hotel because the house isn't actually habitable, which is something you kind of assume your house will be when you move in. Tonight's our first night here.

And tomorrow, our first shower in a gutted bathroom. The tub is wrapped in big sheets of white plastic, like those basement bathrooms in the movies where victims get dismembered.

At least our tiny fridge arrived. We were excited to see that it came with an ice maker, until we realized some random contractor had decided to remove the existing water supply for the fridge. Just because. No work was supposed to have started in the kitchen yet. But I don't know, perhaps some KD has submitted plans already to a strange contractor and they will simply come into my house and redo my kitchen without telling me. I'll just get a bill, appreciating payment in 10 days. Wouldn't surprise me.

Today the floor guys came and sanded off all the finish on the only staircase in the house, which they just refinished a week ago. Just because.

Then, of course, Friday is the hurricane.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 8:19PM
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You're still laughing?!

Glad you were able to sorta move in. Bath and kitchen reno same time is no problem, just shower with the hose and do dishes in a bucket.

At this point, I might be on the phone getting some explanations for all this.

Anyway at least you still have your sense of humor.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Well, now that you're moved in, hopefully you'll be able to supervise all the gremlins who are redoing your house! Wishing you a safe and warm shower tomorrow...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 11:05PM
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