Happy First Birthday to my little EvyBella!
May 31, 2016
May 31, 2016
Happy First Birthday to my little EvyBella!
February 16, 2015
This kitchen was probably quite awesome in the 1970s (estimated) when it was installed, but it had reached its end of life. The countertop was warped and rotting, and the cabinets were beginning to disintegrate. The leaf pattern on the upper cabinet doors was a nice conversation piece (Isn’t that leaf pattern… interesting? Is that contact paper? What festive cabinets you have!), but it had to go.
Enter my Mom: a Certified Kitchen Designer with 15 years of experience.
Also my Dad: a handyman hobbyist who loves to build & remodel stuff.
My spouse & I: engineers with a preference for tech and utility.
My Father-in-law and our Best Man: demolition and installation helping hands.
One of our primary goals was to add more countertop and cabinet space. The old kitchen had a blank wall where the previous owner had kept a small table. My spouse & I didn’t see any need for the table, so the wall looked like this:
(Our cat, Hines W., is featured in a couple of these photos.)
My dad extended the existing bulkhead across this wall:
We briefly considered ripping out all of the bulkheads, but there was plumbing from an upstairs bathroom, and ductwork for a vent fan hidden inside. So, we decided that in order to stay within budget, this was the better solution.
The next thing we did was rip out the existing tile, which we think had been updated when our house was put on the market. The tile was installed up to the front of the existing cabinets, so the footprint wouldn’t have matched our new plan, and my spouse and I both thought that it always looked dirty, no matter how many times we tried to clean it. MacBeth tile.
(So long, conversation piece cabinets.) We donated the cabinets to Construction Junction, so they may still be available (although CJ almost didn’t take them). Once all of the cabinets had been pulled out, we hired a plumber to move the supply and drain lines for the sink. Then, we tiled the entire floor with slate-patterned porcelain tile.
We ordered Crystal Cabinets, which are my mother’s brand of choice. Crystal Cabinet Works is a family-owned company based in Minnesota. When the cabinets arrived, we were relieved that they all fit in our garage:
Next came a fresh coat of Olympic paint. The color is, “Cold Steel”.
Once the paint had dried, we started installing the upper cabinets. Here’s my mom posing with her creation-in-progress:
These cabinets were installed on the new bulkhead – hooray! They are Current Frameless cabinets in Alder with a Midland Door and a Toasted Rye finish.
Next we started on the lower cabinets. Two of these cabinets were very bulky and heavy: the lazy susan and the pantry. The lazy susan almost didn’t make it though the doorway into the kitchen, but we made it work. Our installation helping hands almost didn’t make it up the stairs while carrying these cabinets, but we made them work too (ha-ha… thanks guys!). It should be noted that we fed them filet mingon afterwards.
I splurged on a double oven electric range with lots of buttons:
We hired an electrician to upgrade all of the electrical circuits and install GFCI outlets:
I splurged again on a counter-depth refrigerator with all of the doors:
My spouse had to re-level the still-ornery lazy susan before this quartz countertop could be installed, but it was worth it:
The countertop is Eternia Quartz, “Stardust”.
Next we installed cabinet hardware… and were informed that our dishwasher was backordered. Luckily our cool Kohler undermount sink was operational by then. We had been washing our dishes in the basement up until this point, so having a sink on the first floor was a big upgrade.
July 27, 2014
My husband and I went to a wedding in Detroit last weekend… well, actually White Lake, MI. The definition of Metro Detroit is ever-expanding, much like the associated suburban sprawl. We spent some time driving around the Waterford / White Lake area, and I couldn’t help but notice the repeating big box stores and housing plans.
I created a Google map that illustrates the distance between the neighborhood on the East Side where my Dad grew up to the hotel we stayed at for the wedding. I included a stop in Ferndale, because we visisted there, and also because Ferndale was developed in part because of the access to the city provided by Detroit Interurban Streetcars.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t live there anymore, so I’m not complaining… just wondering.
June 6, 2014
I have been playing video games for a long time. I started out playing games on my family’s Atari 2600. My mom was really good at Ms. Pac-Man. After that, for reasons unknown to me, there was a video game hiatus, until we acquired an Apple IIGS sometime around 1988. Thus began my enthusiasm for Sierra games, which survived our platform switch to a Gateway 2000 486 DX2 in 1993.
The last video game that Sierra Entertainment produced before it was sold in 1996 was Phantasmagoria, an “interactive movie” thriller, with, wonder of wonders, a female protagonist. This appealed to my teenage feminist sensibilities, except for, well, the rather over the top violence depicted in the game, including a scene with an attempted rape.
I’ll try to channel my fake teenage angst with this archive from my internal monologue: “I finally get to play a character in a game that isn’t a guy, but I have to endure virtual abuse. What a load of crap!” (I didn’t really swear until I started writing computer software.)
Fast forward 17 – 18 years, to the following 3 games:
Each of these games have 2 things in common: Female Protagonist (playable only part of the time in The Last of Us), and… attempted rape.
Here’s my adult outrage: “What the Fuck!?! Video Game writers have had my entire lifetime to come up with less oppressive plot devices, but they keep coming back to this!”
I realize that most successful modern video games are violent (that’s a topic for another blog post), but here is the basic difference between games with a male protagonist and those with a female one:
Male: I am a total bad ass, and I’m going to kill all of these bad people/monsters/aliens (and maybe solve some puzzles) to save the world!
Female: I am a total bad ass, and I’m going to kill all of these bad people/monsters/aliens (and maybe solve some puzzles), to save the world! Oh, and by the way, at least one of the bad people/monsters/aliens is going to try to rape me.
Video game writers, you can do better than this. As video games become more cinematic, please refer to the following examples of awesomeness from Hollywood:
April 7, 2014
My cousin Isabelle (once removed) passed away on March 1st.
When I was growing up, she would visit her Aunt Marion (my grandmother) while she was travelling though Detroit on road trips.
I remember her dog, Marco Polo, and her modesty when we would talk about her accomplishments:
The last time I saw her was at the SWE National Conference in Birmingham, Alabama in 2003. She greeted me with a big smile and a big hug, and we went on a quest with a couple of her friends to find some good southern food.
She provided a great example of how to live with self integrity, and of how to be gracious and strong when doing so.
March 30, 2014
It is finished.
Except… hey, where’s my hammer? Scott had better put it back.
November 19, 2013
It seems like only yesterday that I met you, and now you are my dinner.
When a cow has twins, she rejects one of them. You were the one she rejected. So were both of your friends. Shortly after you arrived at my parents’ property, the neighbor kids named the three of you Thunder, Lightning, and Black Betty. I hope you had a nice life hanging out and munching on grass. I appreciate your sacrifice.
P.S. You are delicious.
Processing done by Merindorf Meats.
October 19, 2013
Scott & I saw Gravity in 3D IMAX last weekend. I thought it was a great movie: it was Alien without the alien. Some of the distances between spacecraft were unrealistic, but I’m willing to overlook that.
However, the purpose of this post is not to describe the movie. It is to describe something much more grave: the state of the women’s rest room at the movie theatre. It is to rant a little about something that I am tired of overlooking.
This thing is: Wet toilet seats, left behind (ahem) by ladies who are afraid to sit down in public restrooms.
Hovering your bare ass inches over a toilet seat is admittedly challenging. It requires strong quadriceps, and is stressful on the knees. Accuracy and precision can be difficult in this situation, especially if you drank a beverage from the snack bar that was 6 times the volume of your bladder.
I am an engineer, so I try to fix problems with better design. I offer up a solution that works for most non-western countries: the squat toilet.
I have spent some time in China, so I have used a squat toilet. It takes a little getting used to, but the only part of you that has to touch anything is the soles of your shoes. Note the step-on flush handle! If you’re hovering over a western toilet seat, you’re pretty close to squatting, anyway, and this is more sanitary. There are also health benefits.
Still not convinced? Check out this somewhat amusing (or maybe you had to be there) tutorial about how to use a squat toilet. Unlike in China, toilet paper and hand soap would be provided.
I expect that my proposal will be about as well received in the USA as the roundabout.