Backsplash Started

Last week saw another call to the plumbers regarding their work, removal of the bathroom floor (Thank you, David), countertops being installed, and lost dishwasher parts. Today, some tile went up on the kitchen walls and it’s looking good.

Subway tile waits to be grouted.

NY Times: Airbnb Horror Story

Early in the evening of July 4, Micaela Giles’s mobile phone started sounding alerts, and a series of messages straight out of a horror movie began scrolling down her screen.

Her 19-year-old son told her that his Airbnb host in Madrid had locked him in the fourth-floor apartment where he was supposed to be staying and removed the key. The host was still there, he said, rattling knives around in the kitchen drawer and pressing him to submit to a sexual act. He begged his mother for help.

Counter Proposal


The countertop guys came out again and have a solution. We will cut into the base cabinet but not all the way through it. Just enough to get the sink in. And, we’ll probably still strengthen one side. Super happy and hoping we get back on their install schedule soon.


Photo credit:

Kitchen Counter Clustercuss

granite-cuttingSo, not only is there a saying, “cut once, measure twice,” but there’s an earlier saying which predates that gem. It’s “cut once, and at least measure once.” Also, it could fall under “don’t assume.” I bring up these points because the countertop guys didn’t measure the base cabinet which our sink is supposed to go in. As a result, the hole they cut in the granite for the sink is too big. We don’t have room to cut out the cabinet, because the dishwasher is right next to it and it’s a tight fit.

I’m currently waiting for the company to call me in the hopes they can perform some speedy remedy, but man, it’s aggravating. So remember: Don’t assume. Don’t eyeball something; measure it. And even better, measure it twice.



Photo credit: This guy

Crisp Point Chocolate Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

First, you need to walk the sandy woods of Luce County. Breath in the pines, the dry lichen, and bracken fern. Visit Lake Superior and thank God for creating the Upper Peninsula above the rest of Michigan. Listen to the waves wash stones along the beach. Feel the breeze against your face. Finally, it’s time to complete the most important step: pick the sweetest blueberries you’ve ever tasted. Bring an old plastic pitcher and fill it from bush after bush amidst the solitude of the forest.

wild-blueberriesNext, choose your favorite chocolate cake recipe. I go with the chocolate fudge cake from the Joy of Cooking, as the fudge is richer than cocoa-based cakes.

In a 9×13 cake pan, melt one stick of butter in your preheated oven. Once the butter has melted, spread evenly around the pan and add one cup (packed) of brown sugar. Spread the sugar throughout the pan and use a spatula or your hands if necessary. Take two cups of wild blueberries (though farm-grown will do for you city dwellers) and cover the sugary, butter mixture. Finally, pour your cake batter on top and bake for longer than normal. You can always test the doneness of the cake by poking a toothpick in the center and seeing if it comes up clean.

Once the cake is down, put a pan on top of the cake and gently turn over and remove the cake pan. Serve with homemade whipped cream and relish all your hard work.

Photo credit: Paul VanDerWerf,

One Year Old

It’s hard to believe S— was born a year ago. There’s an overflow of emotion that’s hard to communicate. She’s walking. She’s so full of joy and curiosity. She has a tooth or maybe two. And, she’s no longer a baby. She’s a little kid. So much love.

Plaid Floor and More

I’m beat. Just got back to our friend’s house after an evening of installing Marmoleum, which is the flooring we picked.


Half of the kitchen is covered. Thank you Mark and Brent!

The walls and ceiling are textured and painted. We extended a wall and narrowed a door. Tomorrow, we’ll get the flooring finished and some cabinets hung.


This door was four inches wider.


Texturized and primed.


Wish us luck. Drop off prepared meals and beer. Lend a hand and hopefully the next post will show even more progress.

Drywall Is Up

Please Lord, give me the strength to endure subpar subcontractors. The plumbing is finished and our schedule was blown apart by plumbers who didn’t show up and never called to say they weren’t going to show up. Also, they failed to make the drain stay above the ceiling, so we had to build a box around it. I need to remind myself that we no longer have a pipe running down the wall, which would have involved cutting cabinets and jury rigging some method to hang the cabinets. Still, lack of communication and inability to meet expectations has made this a disheartening process.

Moving on to positives, we got the drywall up, subfloor in, electrical worked out, and wallpaper mostly off. More mudding today and then we can get to fun stuff like hanging cabinets, painting, and laying floor.


The box to hide the pipe.


Chili pepper wallpaper border all gone except for some paste.


Plumbing is still not done

Most of the plumbing is complete. However, leaky pipes in a doctor’s office took precedent and the plumbers left after lunch. It’s kind of like being in the emergency room and watching worse cases being treated before you. Hopefully, Monday they will finish the job. In the meantime, we have no water at the house and I’m stressed about all of the delays.