Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Zen of Kitchens

We are still working very hard on Miss Odessa's house at the farm, preparing it for our move. We still have the two rooms to paint and maybe can move forward with the painting this weekend. The past few days I've been organizing the kitchen while Marvin concentrated on cleaning out the carport. The lower cabinets had quite a bit of mouse activity in them, so I vacuumed them out, sanitized them, and covered them with shelf paper. I have washed all of her dishes, glasses, and silverware, sorting out what we will be keeping versus what is yard sale material. It has taken me several weeks to finish this task. There is an upper cabinet that I need to sort through one more time, because there are things in there that will also go in the yard sale I'm having this weekend. I have decided to devote the cabinets nearest the stove to the pots and pans I use more frequently in my daily cooking. The cabinets on the other side of the room will be devoted to my baking pans and the serving dishes I use. It took me a while to come to grips with how I wanted to organize things.

The pantry is in a small room on the inside wall of the kitchen. There are four very long shelves where I can stock enough groceries to last a very long time. This room was overrun with mice when I first started working on it. I regretfully had to throw away most of the groceries in it due to the high level of mouse activity. What I learned was that anything that is in a cardboard box will need to be transferred to a glass or plastic storage container to keep the mice out. This includes cereal, ramen noodles, sugar, drink mixes, jello, and flour. I have some very nice canisters that I can use for this purpose. On each side of the sink are also cabinets. The left side cabinet will hold my cookbook collection. The right side cabinet will hold my spices and herbs.

What I have learned over the past few months is to be grateful for this house that we have inherited. It has not been in the greatest shape, but we are going to make it into a place we can be proud of. I think that its not what you inherit that matters, but what you do to improve it and make it better for those who will be inheriting it from you.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ain't No Cure...For The Summertime Blues

Well, I have managed to let summer completely pass by. These past few weeks have been extremely busy with working on the house we're moving in to. We've gotten a lot done, and have become very familiar with all of the product offerings at our local Lowe's store. First of all we bought some new lighting that our son Jonathan helped us install. I have been working very hard in the kitchen and pantry also. The pantry had been overrun with mice, so I've been doing a lot of cleaning and sanitizing, and...catching mice. We are also painting and remodeling the other rooms in the house. We want to get things pretty much the way we want them before moving in. Otherwise we'll never get it done.

We bought some Italian leather furniture for the living room. The lighter color makes the room look bigger. We also bought a chrome home theater system and added a black & chrome tv stand and speakers. On one wall we also have a piano and organ that have been there for many years. The piano will need to be tuned, and I have been working with the organ to get it back in playing shape. I opened the back and removed the remains of three dead mice and used some electronic component cleaner to clear out the dust. I am now just turning it on everytime I'm over, so that it gets used to being on and warming up. I tried playing it a few months ago, and it overheated a little. I just have to be patient with it, but I think that it will eventually be able to handle someone playing it.

The computer room is now a very nice beige color with a seascape border. We made some desks out of some old shelves and cabinets, so now we have Nintendo and Atari set up on one wall for children when they come over to visit. We also put together some white oak computer desks for when we get our computers moved over. I'm still looking for a nice set of bookshelves to finish out the room. We also have repainted a guest bedroom. This one has red carpet, so we painted it "air pink". This will have a butterfly/dragonfly decor, and we will be moving over the bedroom suite soon. This will also let us sleep over some on weekends so that we can get more work done.

There are two more rooms to remodel before we completely move in. We're trying to find someone to help us with replacing a ceiling fan and then we will be able to paint the next room. Once that's done, we are moving the bedroom suite out of the master bedroom and we can work on it. The floor needs to be jacked up because one of the walls seems to be settling in a little too much. Then we also have the matter of replacing the bathtub in the main bathroom. First of all, the roof needs to be patched in that general vicinity. We have found someone who will do that for us next month after the temperatures cool down. Miss Odessa had started remodeling the bathroom and there are wall panels in the garage that are ready to put up as soon as we replace the tub.

The swimming pool area is mostly ready. Marvin cleaned out the pool and we have been swimming quite a bit this summer. We moved all of our videotapes out to the area near the pool table. It took a couple of nights, because she had around 1500 tapes, 30 alone were of the first Gulf War. She continuously taped a satellite station that sent information back to the States. We will also be bringing over about 200 tapes of our own. I have already migrated my houseplants to the pool area along the sliding glass doors. I am planning to add some bamboo blinds to give it sort of a tropical look. We are trying to find someone who might be able to fix the pinball machines, and will probably add some more games like air hockey out in that area.

There's still a lot to be done, but we've made a lot of progress and should be able to get moved in within the next couple of months. Then our next mission is to prepare our house for selling. I see a lot of yard sales in my future...

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