Sunday, June 09, 2013

A Successful Weekend.

After a helluva hard week, in which I was officially declared no longer allowed to claim "I'm new" anymore, even though my boss is the first to say it takes a year to even figure out what's going on (I'm just hitting the 3 month mark this week), which I didn't hesitate to point out to him.  He was undeterred - "But you're really smart, it hasn't taken you long at all!" Yeah, I also used my supernatural telepathic talents to learn everything going on that isn't written down anywhere - oh, wait.... OMG, the weekend loomed, which this weekend meant I had two glorious hot and stormy days of DOINGALLTHEOTHERSHITTHATDIDN'TGETDONEDURINGTHEWEEK.  Yeah. Very relaxing.

Actually, it was quite okay!  Saturday morning I ran errands and then went to my women's coffee meetup. I fully admit that I joined this group a year or so ago as a business-generating networking thing, but I continue to go because I really enjoy the women.  It is the most DIVERSE group of women I've met in 30+ years in Central Florida.  We really do span the globe with an incredible cross-cultural mix, and they are nearly all over 40, educated, and interesting.  Our coffees are usually a riot.   At least, usually - yesterday's coffee degenerated into a discussion of communication and then into a round of "You think YOUR ex-husband was an asshole?" storytelling.  That's not the usual tone and direction, and I sat there idly stirring the straw in my raspberry lemonade, listening and commenting now and then. 

We do have one member who frustrates me - I want to take her for a makeover and then give her a massive kick in the ass.  She's sweet, talented and intelligent, but hides her light under a bushel, buried in a bunker, deep in a mountain in the desert, and then endlessly complains about her lot in life.  I was delighted to hear that our group leader (I only half jokingly think of her as Our Own Personal Oprah) has been giving her some one-on-one tough love, and it was welcomed and appreciated.  I delivered a little mild pushing on my own, telling her how it's never too late to get out on your own and do things, and I was raised pretty much the same way she was, and was always responsible for everybody else for most of my life, and my risk-taking has expanded greatly in the last decade, and mostly in the last 5 years. We may get her in for a makeover yet.

It's a great group, and we are plotting Saturdays in St. Augustine and Mount Dora, and a couple of us want to see if we can work out a group yoga class with a private instructor we like.  

So, then I ran other errands and did other stuff.  I still didn't receive the order I placed with WEBS, and I'm not very happy. I got a ship notice on half the order, and apparently it is being walked here on mules, because May 30-June 8 is too slow to blame on the U.S. Mail.  And I still didn't see a ship notice on the OTHER half of the order.  Not impressed.

So I was jonesing for a knitting project. I seriously, seriously needed to knit, needed something repetitive and rhythmic to relax my nerves and clear my head.  And this is when Ravelry really delivers.  I went into my limited remaining stash, looked at my options, and found this.

Why, yes, I DO have random skeins of Euroflax!  Why, yes, I was in the mood for something soothing and rhythmic and almost mantra like. In this case, the mantra is K2tog, yo, k2. Could I have invented it on my own after meditating upon a BGW stitch book?  Yeah, probably, but did I? Did I have time or energy? No, I did not.  And it's also a small-remaining-stash stash buster.  I'm doing a scarf in a soft rose, but I think I have enough black for a shoulder wrap.  Which would, among many other uses, be awesome over this dress. 

I have been on the fence about the maxi.  I was all, "OMG, I'd look like I'm roaming the streets in a nightgown like an escapee from an asylum!" but then the temps hit the mid-90s and the humidity went off the charts, and I'm thinking roaming the streets in a nightgown sounds pretty good.  And I see them more and more, And 50% off?  I think I want to at least try it on. I may shriek in horror and send it right back, but if it doesn't make me shriek, I would at least wear it for casual weekend things.  Because my wardrobe is Very Sad right now, and it needs this sort of kick in the ass.

Today, after the much-delayed Baby's Oil Change, I went to Home Depot to look at Kraftmaid cabinets.  I'd had another brand in mind until I read the online reviews, which were not very complimentary.  I used Kraftmaid when I remodeled the kitchen in the house in June, 2004.  I am still totally delighted with their appearance and construction, so why change brands? 

I was surprised and pleased to see that the kitchen consultant I'd talked to weeks ago was working, and wasn't busy.  We got down to business.  I've scheduled a whole-house measure, becuase yeah, flooring and bathroom vanities are in this too, and ordered a bunch of cabinet samples from the Kraftmaid website, and bought a square foot of the backsplash I liked best. 

And I may go with Formica countertops.  Because This Is Not Your Mother's Formica.  The options are amazing, the finished edges look as sleek as solid surface, and I 'd rather put my money into functional working items and useful storage than granite counters.  I'm in a condo worth $105k as-is and $130k on its best day, and I have a fixed budget for the kitchen ($15,000) beyond which is just because I have to have it. I will do that if I really want to, but I'll do it knowing there's no real return on it.

I'm also doing floors throughout, front and back balcony, new bathroom vanities, some wallpaper removal, some paint.  So yeah, I have a fixed price for this kitchen, and I know it will be hugely improved on my relatively modest budget.

 And oh yeah, I also need to do the small wet bar cabinet base and new countertop to coordinate, as it is all one big connected area.  There's that, too.

So, I'd much rather put my money into great appliances,  a nice big quality sink and quality faucet with a pull-out spray head, great task lighting, the pantry cabinet, a skinny filler spice cabinet on a wasted bit of wall by the oven, and roll-out pot storage, use a great brand of quality cabinets but not go hog-wild with trendy bells and whistles, and make this an awesomely functional, yet still quite small, kitchen.

So we priced granite countertops at $45 a foot installed on the LOW END and up to $68+ a foot installed at the higher end, and I still saw nothing that really thrilled me and screamed I MUST HAVE.  I wasn't excited by the similarly priced solid surface options.  So, I'm totally open to top of the line Formica at $28 a foot at the high end, and I swear to God, my favorite of the many options across all price points is a dark and rich and multi-toned and shimmery Formica.  Put a bullnose edge on that and it will be gorgeous and look like $12k worth of granite.  I can make This Old Condo fabulous, but I'm not an idiot who is going to improve it beyond all possible hope of break even in the next decade. 

So I am psyched and jazzed, and ready to get down to business on this project.  But tonight, I'm ready to go to bed really early. 


Anonymous said...

Kitchen bench tops -- I have always had Formica or Laminex, the current kitchen is 21 years old, the bench top is as new - I chose a matte finish.
Kitchens I remember from my childhood actually had linoleum cut to size on the bench tops, replaced by the man of the house when they got too shabby.
The one thing I did lash out on in this kitchen was DRAWERS -- not just for pots, but for the crockery, dishes & platters, and one has the canisters of flour, sugar and stuff.

Gae, in Callala Bay

Anonymous said...

I order yarn and weaving supplies from WEBS every now and again, and while their selection and pricing is good, I think their shipping policies are crap. There are too many competing places, like Knit Picks, that offer free and speedy shipping, while WEBS seems to charge top dollar their Slow-Boat-to-China service. They also seem to back-order allot of stuff; the last time I ordered from them I wanted several colors of cotton weaving thread to make dishtowels, and they shipped them one at a time over a period of several months. I couldn't start the project until I had received all of them. And I'm with you on the Formica---so many of the newer patterns seem to have real depth to them. (And I must admit I like the ones that have a little glitter, too.)

Liz said...

I love Churchmouse's patterns for really basic "I should/could have designed that but didn't because I didn't feel like it". I'm working on a bias scarf of theirs right now.

Also, while I love our granite counters (my husband had them put in when he built our condo), I'm in love with some of the newer Formica! When we move, there's a good chance I'm going to pick something fun, since most houses in our price range need new counters.

Catherine said...

Yeah, the house has granite counters because at the time they were The Thing, and the house is of course at a different price point than this condo, and also didn't have so much countertop to cover. I am updating that dreadful 80s wet bar, and there's a big expanse of countertop between the kitchen and dining room. I think I'm talking myself into Formica. :-) Ditto on the Churchmouse patterns - they are simple, well written, and yeah, you could design it yourself, but never seem to get around to it.

Catherine said...

Brenda - half my WEBS order showed up today, the other half is...somewhere. No apologies, no update on status.

Catherine said...

Gae, I did pot and pan drawers in the house and loved them! We'll see what fits in this place; if I do a regular cabinet for the pots I'm definitely going for the roll-out shelving inside.

ellen kirkendall said...

I think you're smart to look at Formica so that you can afford to include some other goodies in your makeover. The current choices are really nice.

Anonymous said...

With an ageing back and multi-focal specs, I love the more-than-just-pots drawer system. The widget you want, that is somehow at the back of the cupboard, comes to heel so sweetly. If I ever have the chance to design another kitchen, the only cabinet will be under the (double bowl) sink.
I just had a good long look at my Formica bench tops, in various lights and from various angles, and they are 'as new'. Have always used (wooden) chopping boards of course. Ernst would have a pink fit if I used a knife on the Formica, because it would blunt the knife !!

Gae, in Callala Bay