Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The plumbers came yesterday, while one worked in my bathroom, the other worked in the kitchen. The first thing he did (after disconnecting the water) was put in the pot filler. It looks very striking with the stove.

And while the pot filler, kitchen sink, etc. were being plumbed in the kitchen, my bathroom was getting it's new sink, tub, and toilet all plumbed.

And, I want you to know, they work. Especially the tub filler. I had my first bath in years last night! What a luxury! The tub may be short, but it's comfy!

Jose, from Campbell and Company connecting my stove. I need to call someone to come over and adust the burners, etc. but they all work.

Bill and Vince on the roof installing the fan motor for the stove! Yes, it goes outside! (Unlike my last hood which was vented into the attic! Arrrggghhhh!!!!!) Tomorrow, they will connect the motor to the hood so I can actually use it;-)

I have already begun moving back into the rooms. It's like moving into a new home. I'm not sure where everything is going to go, and once there, can I find it again? But, it sure is fun. There are still odds 'n' bods that need to be done, but, basically, it's all over but the touch ups! And grouting the kitchen tile;-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Red Stove Kitchen!

Paca Belle (from south of the border) has taken over the job of Supervisor! She was right in the thick of it yesterday when the island was being moved back into the kitchen telling the guys to 'go there' and 'no no, it goes here!'

I knew she was good for something ;-)

Bill, Vince, and Marco moving the island into position. Not an easy feat to accomplish! The red & blue thing on the left is the hood, standing on end.

The hood, being mounted. They will remove the blue plastic when the electricians are finished. The motor for the hood (I call it the 'engine' because it is as loud as a small jet engine!) goes on the roof!

And here it is, coming down the runway! The Red Stove! The guys from Campbell & Co will be here this morning to connect it, then I have to call someone to come and adjust it so all the burners are set correctly. 15,000 BTU of cooking capacity. Now, I just have to learn to cook, all over again!

The plumber called in sick yesterday, so I didn't have a kitchen sink to wash dishes in last night. Sure hope he makes it today! The little bathroom sink just isn't a good alternative. It works, but....

This has been fun, but you know, in this case a little bit of fun goes a long way, and I'm ready for the fun to stop now ;-) I want a bath in my new tub, I want to re-hang my pot rack, I want to get all my things put away! "Soon," Bill says, "soon."

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Tile Man Leaveth

Alex starting the kitchen tile behind where the stove will go. Remember, the stove is Racing Red.

All the tile is up in the kitchen. This is the mural behind my stove. If you look to the left you may see a tile with a design on it in the back splash. There are 5 back splash tiles with different, compatible designs throughout the kitchen.

The only tile left to set in the bathroom is the back splash, but the vanity has to be in place first. I hope Alex comes back for that, he doesn't know if he is the one who will come put the grout in, or if that will be someone else. (He's lays tile, someone else frequently grouts it - depends on the schedule.)

The floors are done. What's left? The grout, putting in the hood, motor, stove, framing in the window and new doors, trim/mill work, last minute connections of electricity and plumbing. I think Monday and Tuesday are going to be verrrrrry busy days. Oh, and of course, moving back into my house ;-) The end is in sight. At least that's what they tell me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Floor Men Cometh

The kitchen island needed to be moved out of the kitchen so the floor guys could put the flooring down. The glue needs to set for a couple of days. Bill had considered putting it in the entry, thinking it would just be for over night. So, we moved Grandmother's breakfront and some other stuff further into the living room and I now have about 12 inches to walk between the island (yellow top with stuff on it) and my 'kitchen' cart, and a wee bit less to get to the sofa. If company comes, there is NO place for them to sit, unless we go outside.

As you can see, it's tight! And, now, my stove hood is on top of the island. It's hard to believe that in just a few days, everything will be back to 'normal'. Oh, wait! Let me rephrase that. It's hard to believe that in just a few days I will have a new bathroom and a new kitchen in which to put all the stuff that is currently in the guest rooms, and the living room, and God only knows where else.

The good thing is, the end is in sight AND maybe, just maybe, I'll find that shoe box in which I so carefully packed away my Life at one point in time ;-)

OK, here is the kitchen floor without the island. Yes, it is BLUE. It will, of course, show all the dirt and dust that will blow in from the outside, and in this part of the world, well, what can I say. You know that shoe box I mentioned above? Well it contains not only my Life, but my Sanity.

But, wait until you see the red hood and red stove!

And here is my shower/tub surround. Alex will put in the back splash to the kitchen tomorrow (the floor guys will put in the floor in the bathroom tomorrow) and at some time, someone - maybe Alex, maybe not - will grout the tiles. This is white subway tile, and I asked for it to be put in like he did, including the one horizontal 'stripe'. All the blue things are spacers - unless it's tape. He will put in the backsplash for the vanity after the floor guys get the floor in and the vanity get's set in place.

Bill says it will all come together and I can still plan on my bath come Tuesday night. Well, seeing it will be believing it. (Call me a skeptic, but I spent too many years working, and seeing schedules slide to the right far more than slide to the left ;-)

Soon, I'm told, soon, and this madness will be over. Soon, I will have my house to myself, soon I'll be able to move back into it. Soon. Soon.

The Tile Man Tiling

Alex arrived right on time yesterday with all the tile AND donuts! (Evil person, he ;-) Here he is painting the seams with waterproofing. It goes on pink and dries red!

Trimming tiles

Placing the first two tiles on the front of my tub.

The floor guys came yesterday afternoon, and smeared mud over all the seams and filled in all the staple holes. They also left my flooring in the kitchen (rolled) to warm up. Today Bill &c will move the island out of the kitchen, and the floor guys will have an open space in which to work. The bathroom vanity is in the garage so Alex has room to tile, and the floor guys will have room to floor.

Paco Belle has decided I'm her people, and as long as I don't go away, she's happy. She prefers if I sit so she has a lap (as in now) but is comfortable if I carry her. (Safer to carry her in this madness than to let her run free and escape - or get glued under the linoleum or a tile ;-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paco Belle it is!

My Auntie Marie was one of my most favoritest peoples in the whole wide world, and she had a little Chihuahua named Paco that was nuttier than a squirrel's lunch, but in a good sort of way.

Little BeBe just doesn't fit Killer, as much as I like the name, so I think her name is going to be Paco Belle. Julian is giving her the evil eye, but Paco Belle isn't being intimidated. Nothing stands between a dog and her breakfast - not even a cat!

Tom, who is trimming the island Formica isn't being intimidated, either!

The Island with one of my table runners/toppers on it.

Alex (Alejandro) putting in the 'wet board' (or whatever it's called) for my tub surround. He will do the tiling, tomorrow.

Killer in the House!

This is Tom. He is about to realize my worstest fears. Tom is cutting the Formica for my cabinet tops. Uh, Tom, the tops are wider than 2 inches. Honest. Trust me.

Oh, of course, the strips are for the edges. The big pieces are for the tops. How silly of me!

While Tom was here in the morning, Neil, the plumber came to remove the clog in the sewer line again. While here he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. In the meantime, Neil left, Tom left, Neil returned, Tom returned...the tops are all down now, but not all trimmed. I was in hopes the blue would be light enough, but, alas, it reflects on the yellow, and is giving a slightly greenish cast to my beautiful yellow formica. Aaaarrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!

However, Neil's offer I couldn't refuse is now here, squinty from sleep and not overly happy at being set down to take her picture! Her name is BeBe, but I call her killer. She is 4 years old, about 4 pounds, and very, very quiet. She is a lap dog not a yap dog as a friend of mine calls them. But she has the cats cowed. Well, Tash isn't cowed, she's just disgusted I brought yet another dog into the house. Julian, however, throws a real hissing fit every time he sees her! Killer ignores the cats-she's used to cats. Tashiko was raised by larger dogs than Killer. Julian was not raised around dogs and just doesn't understand why anyone would willingly have one in the house!

Ah, life! Ain't it Grand????

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Doors! New Window (well, sort of;-)

Vince (left) and Bill (right) taking out the old sliding doors. The sliding part is gone, this is the immovable object. Well, sort of immovable;-)

Bill using brute strength to get the (sort of) immovable object out. Who woulda thunk it took so much to get a glass door out? I probably would have used a heavy hammer -- and still be outside cleaning up shards, with the frame intact!

Bill putting the new slider into the sewing room door (taken through the kitchen over-the-sink window hole).

So, I have two new sliding glass doors and one new sliding glass and plywood window over the kitchen sink. Fortunately, it was the glass guy who broke the window, now me;-) They will replace the wndow when the new one comes in.

All the counter tops are on, and all the sub flooring is in. Monday the Formica Guys will be here!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The end is in sight!

Corner cabinet - first of the upper ones to go in. The cords you see sticking out of the wall are for under cabinet lights. The pipe in the lower left of the picture is for the pot filler.

Vince (gray shirt) and Marco hanging the other cabinets

The other cabinets are hung. End panels still need to be placed, and the refrigerator and end pantry. They will go in after the flooring is down.

The end of the kitchen where my grandmother's buffet and chest of drawers used to sit. Friday, they will put the top on the buffet, and probably the remaining end panels. They will also put in my new sliding glass doors and new kitchen window.

It wasn't until I got home with the sample, after I'd picked out the color of the wood (chicory) that I discovered it was the same color as grandmother's buffet. I must like that color, huh?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's come Together....

Marco working on the bathroom vanity.

Vanity in place
Formica will be added next week, and then the tiling of the tub surround, and the sink...

Vince, making sure the first 3 of the island cabinets are level

The kitchen as it is tonight. The upper cabinets are placed and will be hung tomorrow. The island top is 6.5 ft by 3.5 ft with a 3" overhang all around. This is very important for when my sisters come over and we make jam. We need to have room to fasten the implements of fruit torture securely so we can pit/mash/strain/whatever all that fruity goodness!

Monday, March 15, 2010

They're Going In!

Aaron (my son) came over on Saturday and painted my new bathroom Salmon Berry pink, using natural light, and this light.

For those of you who don't know, one normally wants their bathroom a pink color - it can be a pink terra cotta, or a salmon pink, it doesn't have to be PINK, but it should have pinkish tones to it.

Why? a couple of reasons. 1. If you wear makeup and apply it in a green or blue or yellow bathroom (or any other color) you will probably overcorrect for the reflected color of the walls on your skin and when you go forth into the world your makeup will be skewed. 2. You will look healthier when your skin picks up the pink tones vs. the other colors and if you look healthier, you will feel better.

My free advice for the day;-)

The linen closet went in! I can't believe all the storage! The tilers will be here next week to tile in the unfinished area - tub surround, front of tub, and new window sill.

The very first cabinet to come to the kitchen! The
corner piece. The door is much larger than the other one, and the spinners are on shelves, so they are very stable. I am soooo excited!

Tomorrow, they will finish installing the cabinets. The guys will be here next week to put the formica on the counters, do the tiling, and put in the flooring. (The drawers for the 'open' cabintet are stacked in the lower left part of the photo)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I've got a blue kitchen!

Several folks have asked me what I'm using as my kitchen during the remodel -- well, here it is! My friend, Arlyn, made this cart for me to use during canning and to store canning supplies in. It now holds some dishes, some food, the top has my microwave and coffee pot -- to the left is the front door, to the right is my living room. I wash dishes in the bathroom sink.

Vince starting the painting of the kitchen. He sprayed the color on, then Marco went over it with a roller. Too many fumes and paint particles for me to keep the camera in during this process.

The blue kitchen. (Now, why do I keep hearing Elvis singing in my mind?)

The blue kitchen with the yellow hall. The orange stripe at the top is a camera glitch, whatever it is, it isn't there for real. The blue will be toned down when all the cabinets and counters are in place. The really nice thing is, yesterday was a gray day and the blue stayed blue, it did not go gray.

Aaron is coming over today to help me paint the bathroom.

I think David Bromstad would be proud of me, don't you?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let there be Heat!

The guys from the stove store came back yesterday and finished the last minute tweakings of my new fireplace. Now, when the doors and windows are open for ventilation, and the furnace is off, I can turn up the fireplace and have heat! It really pours it out, too.

While Bill was spraying primer I happened to glance outside and saw a truck backing into my driveway...

and 30 boxes of cabinets are now filling my garage!

Vince spraying texture on the walls of the kitchen. The kitchen is now mostly white. This morning they will put texture on the bathroom, lower the kitchen floor a wee bit (no pictures will be forthcoming of that exercise - they will be under the house, and I'm not going there!), put in the new subflooring for the linoleum, and place the floor cabinets.

Tomorrow, I paint. I'll probably paint Sunday, too.

What with all the air compressors running the sprayers, the strawboss turned her job over to me and hid someplace to save her delicate ears. (I think she was under the bed)