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Kitchen remodel

I had planned a kitchen remodel for "the future." Mentally, to me, that meant 2016. I figured by then I would have recovered from all our other projects and expenses enough to tackle a DIY kitchen remodel. Then our fridge died. It joined the dead dishwasher. And the dead exhaust fan. And the stove with one dead eye. The time had come, and after a bit of deliberation, we replaced the kitchen appliances. A stainless steel French door refrigerator, dishwasher, electric range, and over the stove microwave appeared in the house. A blackhole appeared in my bank account.

The dishwasher installation required me to replace an electrical run from the kitchen to the breaker box. That was time consuming and not without a few swear words and some blood. After that ordeal, the dishwasher slid easily and nicely into place. But I forgot to cut the discharge hose free so I pulled the dishwasher out. With the hose now neatly run to the disposal, I slid the dishwasher back into place with similar ease. But it wouldn’t level. There was too much of a drop between the flooring and the space under the cabinet. I pulled the dishwasher out and added some wood to the under the cabinet space. But now the dishwasher wouldn’t slide in. I checked the wood. I tape things down. I checked the water line and the electrical line. In the end, the adjusting foot in the back was still extended and snagged then tore the vinyl floor. I can patch it. That installation took all day.

The only piece remaining is the microwave. But we didn’t replace the cabinets. Lingering over the stove is a 42 inch cabinet that once fit perfectly over a 1960s gargantuan electric range suitable for Mrs. Cleaver. Our modern range is 30 inches. We debated centering the range under the existing cabinet then filling the gap between the counter and the range with some handmade shelving for cookie sheets etc. Debated just leaving the range butted up against the counter and hanging the microwave offset instead of centered under the cabinet but that left the question of how to handle the duct work. Plus that would leave the microwave hanging too low to the range. We debated hand making an entire new kitchen’s worth of cabinets but didn’t want to wait 5 years to use our kitchen again. Besides, if I’m going to make my own counters, I’m going to lay down a new tile floor first. In dismay, I pulled up Home Depot’s website. To my surprise, a 30x12x12 wall bridge cabinet in unfinished oak was a mere $48.45 and in stock! This is a no-brainer. I couldn’t build one of that. At $49, it is basically disposable so we can hang it, and when the time comes to remodel, we can replace it.

That said, now I have to debate whether to risk doing this construction over the stove, or moving it and possibly not having a stove for several days while the installation happens.

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Fence complete!

Big storm on the way so I awoke at 6:40 to work on completing the installation of a split rail fence along the retaining wall. It’s now complete! Trips to hardware stores? Zero! Completion time including cleanup? 9:40am. I have so much time left in this day I think I’ll remodel the kitchen!

Fence complete

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Finally making progress on staining the bay window

A little less than a year ago, we had a bay window installed in the house. The contractors suggested staining or painting it soon to protect the wood. Having not stained wood since I was a teenager, and with Dad’s guidance, I hesitated…and hesitated…and the window was loved by the children…and the dogs…and the cats…and it was muddied and watercolored and scratched and marked upon. And a few Fridays ago Knoxville was iced in. So I used my sander on the window and it came clean! Thus I created "Dad’s clean room."


I’ve since sanded and removed all the scratches and stains and only in one place which I will never reveal did I almost ruin the veneer. This weekend I vacuumed and made my clean room clean. Btw, it worked really well to contain the dust as I sanded which kept the house clean and the wife migraine free. I’ve now taped the windows and am preparing to apply my first coat of stain! This is good. Hopefully by next weekend (or the end of February at the latest), we will have our window complete.

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The Next Weekend Project – Bathroom

When I bought my house, my father said, "Congratulations, you now have something to do every weekend for the rest of your life." And so it began. Although the clubhouse still requires a roof, floor, windows and a door, timing has prompted us to begin the upstairs bathroom remodel. More than a decade ago, I started the downstairs bathroom remodel and it remains in limbo. If this goes poorly, my family will be living in a hotel.

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Bush Hogging

I own a John Deere weed eater. They used to sell a variety of snap on parts for it like a chainsaw extension, edger and so forth. I never bought any. Last time I was at the John Deere store the sales person responded with surprise, "Are you sure it’s a John Deere?" Apparently they got out of that business a long time ago.

My yard is overgrown. I have about an acre and the brush is shoulder high in places. Using a machete is slow going and painful. Using a lawn mower guarantees bent blades. Renting a bush hog for the weekend has been my desire but is a bit costly and just hasn’t happened. I need to be able to take brief breaks on the yard and pull this down over time. The heavy duty trim line just isn’t working out. For every 5 feet of brush I knock down I have to spend 5 minutes fidgeting with the line or reloading the spool.

The solution? A brush blade! These are about $25 if I can find one which I doubt I could today. Instead, I believe my Dremel and bench grinder are going to help me repurpose a rotary saw or table saw blade into a wicked brush destroying weapon. If I do this correctly, I won’t end up with shards of metal thrown at high speeds into my ankles and the hill out back will have a better chance of being used for sledding this winter.

Read more at Homeowner stupidity, and Modified weed eater, and Redneck Lawncare Update.