July 10, 2016

Let the Home Renovations Begin!!

MAY 12, 2016
The first thing we did to "improve our home" was to pour a large pad over the small two steps leading to our front door.  I can't believe the HUGE difference this made.  WHY didn't we do this 25 years ago!!  It was especially meaningful to me because I did a lot of flatwork with my dad (when he would let me)...and it all started out when I was about 7 and held the lamp (yes, a LAMP!) for my dad to finish the large cement pad he put in our backyard in Canoga Park, California for us kids to skate on, and play basketball. We put handprints and initials in many new concrete areas, so I thought it appropriate, and meaningful to put my father's initials and his death date on this bit of concrete.




About a week before this, our stove gave up the ghost on it's second burner!  The first one quit working about 2 years ago, but Rod and I weren't highly motivated to purchase a new stove when three burners and the oven were working just fine.  Well, Natalee and Amelia were over one day when they discovered that TWO burners were no longer working.  In unison, they said, "MOM!!  You need a new stove!"  In mock surprise I asked, "WHY??  I've got two working burners?!?!"  They about came unglued, until I laughed and said, "Yes...we're getting a new stove!"  They were relieved until I told them I was NOT getting a flat surface stove...but I did!  And I'm quite enjoying it!  Cinnamon rolls turned out great!!

In the middle of all this...actually back in February...I had checked on the stain protection policy on our two couches in the front room...which just happened to be running out in two months...the company was going to send someone out to clean the couches...but then I never heard from them.  Long story short, they finally called me...about 5 minutes before going into the chapel for my father's funeral on May 1st...Not so good timing!  I asked for them to call me back the next day.  They did.  They gave me a "credit" for the couches since they couldn't find someone to service the couches.  I went shopping at The Boulevard, and got two new couches, both with electric recliners on each end.  What an incredible blessing!!

However...we had just purchased a new sectional couch for our front room in early...so the new couches went downstairs...with a LOT of hard work on the delivery guys' part.  They did an amazing job!!  And the couches make the basement a very nice place to be!

With a new stove, and new couches, things kind of "just happened!"  Suddenly, we had painters, roofers, and aluminum soffit and fascia guys working on the outside of our house...

Our French doors really needed some updating...so out they went!!


Improvements carried over into the garage, which definitely needed paint, and updating.  Who better to help "renovate" by bashing out all of the shelving than APRIL NIELSEN!?!?  And did we ever have a blast "working!"  The soffit guys were a bit worried as they heard yelps and squeals of laughter coming from the garage.  We survived without too much damage!

With EVERYTHING out of the garage, our driveway became a public storage place...only problem was that LOTS of people thought we were having a garage sale...for two weeks...even when we put out signs that said, "THIS IS NOT A GARAGE SALE!"  *_*

We were SO happy with the new paint job, that we just couldn't leave the nearly-30-year old fan up on the ceiling... we got TWO "cooler" fans...
And, since I was spoiled by my father's QUIET garage door opener, we put one in, too...and it is QUIET!!

Next came the Classy Closets...and we loved working with this company.  When I explained that we were taking out our kitchen on Wednesday evening and would have a bunch of stuff in the garage by Thursday morning when they originally planned to install the garage cabinets...they had their guys there Wednesday morning and got the garage done just in the nick of time!!

Now. . . A word to the wise...

NEVER put five quarts of black beans in a rice cooker to take to a special dinner...the weight might break the lid when you least expect it, spilling beans all over your floor, and you might just decide the kitchen needs remodeled!!  What else do you do with bean splatter everywhere???

This was not the FIRST time we've had bean splatter all over our kitchen...the last time was when some of our teenagers were ready for their Homecoming (?) dates, and I dropped the hot Corel dish full of refried beans onto the kitchen floor.  Our nephew, Cory, wasn't sure if he should laugh or not...until I started laughing...assuring the girls, "Well, there's only a little bean splatter on the hem of your formal!"  Cory was secretly GLAD because he never cared much for refried beans!

On to the rest of the remodel. . . 

I have to give credit where credit is due...a special thanks to my patient and supportive husband, who wasn't thrilled with all of the sudden upheaval, but who was willing to "hold on and see where this ride took us!"  Also, thanks to Amelia and Natalee for their ideas, vision, and patience with their mother.  I didn't always SEE what they could...and there were only a couple of times that I put my foot down and said, "No!"  All the rest was pretty easy...they came up with the ideas, and I said, "Sounds good to me!"  Jon Graf was a huge help, sending me names and numbers for subs to consider for the work we needed done.  AND, I am extremely grateful to be the daughter of a general contractor...I felt my dad's help every inch of the way from the other side of the veil!!  It was amazing to me to see how everything fell into place...really!

Our kitchen before all the demolition...

Wednesday evening we "destroyed" the kitchen!
Everything from the cabinets went out into the garage cabinets, and our old cabinets were taken to the backyard..,no room in the driveway!! 

The microwave was relocated to the study...the fridge and dining table worked well in the front room...right next to the rocking chair and the TV..


Dezmond thought it was pretty cool getting all of the stuff out of the cupboards. . .

...And he loved using his BIG muscles and helping Grandpa carry the really heavy stuff outside!!

Lance Shotwell was our demolition guy, and it was fun working with him.  Tearing out the dropdown ceiling in the kitchen released ALL of the blown in insulation from the attic into the kitchen...we were thigh deep in the stuff.  Luckily, Lance suggested we shovel the insulation into garbage bags (which we did...28 of them!!), then stuffed the bags into a different part of the attic until the new ceiling was in place...and then Rod and I went up early in the morning before the attic got too hot, and shook out the saved insulation.  It saved us a bunch of money, too!!

Our corner was great for selling larger items as we could move them out, AND for giving stuff away, too!
 After taking out the old kitchen, the drywallers came in and made short work of putting the ceiling in just a few minutes (seemingly) after the electrician finished his work.  Rod and I got an education by default with some plumbing issues, but we had a good "coach" over the phone, pulled out the copper tubing that was nearly 30 years old, and put in new flex tubing, all while the drywallers worked around us.  Got the tubing in place just in time for them to cover it up!  Whew!

In spite of all the work being done, we still had time for the grandboys to come over!!  We love their swimming and nap times at Grandma's house nearly as much as they do!!

JUNE 2, 2016
Mid-way through the remodel, I told MaryAnn Zabriskie (my executive assistant!) that I'd really appreciate it if she would "look for a truck" for me and Rod.  She called a half hour later and said there was a truck on KSL Classifieds that we might want to look at...it was in Santa Clara...three blocks away!!

It was amazing, nearly exactly what we wanted/needed, and in our price range, and it was immaculate!!! What a huge blessing!!  Rod has always wanted a truck, but the one I use for the horses doesn't "qualify" as HIS truck, so the white truck is now HIS truck, and we still have the "beater horse truck."  I love my old truck because I don't worry about what happens to it...especially with the horses!!  And Rod lets me use "his" truck when we need to pull the horses long distance.  It's a GREAT arrangement!

The day after purchasing the truck, we put Rod's car up for sale, and an hour later it was sold...there were a lot of disappointed people calling us from Craig's List!  We are definitely counting our blessings!!!

I headed up north the morning of June 4th, for some UMTA meetings, and came back that evening.  Rod had most of the truck packed for our camping trip with our family to Palisade Lake.  He left Sunday afternoon for Salt Lake City and a conference he had on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday, June 6th The cabinets arrived!!!  One of the reasons we opted to go with Boardwalk Cabinets was because they gave me a good price, AND because Danny told me they would have them ready to be installed in 3 weeks.  He was speaking my language!!!  Sure enough, they arrived right on time and were installed later that day.  I was ecstatic...but not initially!!  When MaryAnn came over late Monday afternoon, I just started to cry, saying, "It's too big, it's too big!  What have I done?!?!"  MaryAnn assured me it was going to be fine...and then I remembered my reaction when we got out first set of brown couches 10 years ago.  I told the delivery guys they would need to take the couches back because they were "too big!"  They assured me they would be fine...that I should try them for a couple of weeks, and they could always take them back if I still didn't like them.  (I never returned the couches...and the kitchen is NOT too big!  *_*)

At the same time, the cabinets were being installed, Jones Paint and Glass came in and changed out all of our old windows, both upstairs and down.  I'm boggled at what a difference it makes in  interior sound control, the ease of opening the windows, and the more up-to-date look.  I'm wondering how it will impact our AC bill, too!

This same Tuesday morning, I packed the ice chests, food, and my swim suit, and headed to Palisade Lake near Manti, Utah.  MaryAnn agreed to ride "shotgun" on the remaining subs while we had some R&R at the lake.  Our laminate countertops were done by Webster's Countertops.  MaryAnn sent pictures and I loved the way they turned out!   

The flooring guys came in on the heels of the countertops and electrician.  I loved the wood-look vinyl that we chose for the floor and it went perfectly with the cabinets.  Amelia assured me it would...I wasn't too sure...but I trusted her!!  So glad I did!!
The tile guy came and got most of the backsplash done...just had to wait for the kitchen window to be traded out...

On Saturday, June 11th we returned home to a beautiful kitchen!!  Almost all of the hardware throughout the house had been traded out with Lance's and MaryAnn's help, and there were just a few odds and ends to finish up.  Not bad for four weeks of work...if you count camping at Palisade Lake as work!

I really wanted to get HVAC in the basement and I had talked to a few different subs while we were camping.  I decided to go with St. George HVAC, and it turned out extremely well...but there were a couple of rough patches.  When I saw THIS when I came downstairs when they started to work, I went into a panic!!  I could not visualize at ALL, and I may have even said, "STOP!!  I don't think I thought this through very well."  The HVAC guys, the electrician, and my sweet husband were worried.  Luckily, Rod talked me through my fears, and we told them to go ahead...I would leave the house and go swimming at the neighbor's.  It was the perfect remedy!!

 When we got back from camping, we brought Nat's and Rj's Great Dane, Oakley, AND her NINE puppies to our house to stay for a few weeks.  It just gave us (Rod!) one more thing to do!!

 Before long the pups were off to their new homes!!

Did I mention we had Jaida and her puppies here for the week, also?!?!

 We did some major work on the storage rooms, getting rid of lots of boxes SIXTY YEAR OLD food storage!!  Things are organized and we are loving being "reduced and simplified!"   We went from this in the storage rooms...


. . .  to this!!


After four weeks of subcontractors being in and out and around our home, and with VERY few problems or difficulties, we went from a 29 year old home...to a much improved home inside and out!  

We feel extremely grateful to all who helped, and for this incredible blessing in our lives! !