Friday, April 13, 2012


It’s Friday night and my mind can’t stop thinking about details. I crawled into bed and a few minutes later I was downstairs hunting for a flashlight to check the color of the crown and baseboard molding. When I was given the ins and outs of painted cabinets versus stained cabinets, the practical part of me won out. Larry said it was my choice but given that the painted cabinets could show cracks in the mitered joints after several years, I agreed to stain. Troy mentioned that one way to make the cabinets pop out would be to have the crown and base moldings be a little darker stain. After looking at a cabinet color similar to ours and trim in a dark black coffee color we placed our order. What I realized was that when Troy had come to the house to check the cabinet install he was holding a piece of trim and it was the same color as the cabinets. Too late to do anything until Monday.

Easy you say. Well we were leaving for Las Vegas to visit with our daughter Kelly, son-in-law Kyle, and when they leave for a wedding out of state, we will get to take care of our grandson for six days.

I am not a control freak but I do take after my mom and dad when attending to details. My mother is an extremely talented quilter who learned from her grandmother at age five. I have watched her rip seams until a corner of a triangle was perfect or she would continue to work on it until it looked exactly as she thought it should look. My dad was a master carpenter who took pride in his workmanship and his employers always found his skills and precision were qualities they valued. I am not OCD (obsessive, compulsive, disorder) but I do put my tools, paints, and equipment back after using them, and with my short term memory loss this is a must for me. I am explaining that while I need to do some things for my own orderly world, I am also like my parents in wanting things to look the way they should. We get one shot at this remodel and considering we have had to remodel more than a kitchen and the budget has increased way more than the ten percent we had allowed, I not only want but need this kitchen to be my dream kitchen when it is finished and not feel like I settled and let something slide when I should have spoken up.

We made compromises on removing a whole bank of cabinets in the pantry, changing the color of the cabinets, and even the floor color when we changed cabinet color--and our word of the day, week, and months has been flexibility….up to a point. I may drive a few people nuts but we have to live with the end results and that must be the vision in idea sheets, pinterest photos, the paper layout, and the vision in my head.

Bear with us…that would be Larry backing me up and sometimes acting as a go-between me and everyone else. That would be Larry listening to me when I need to vent or wonder about endless details. Going to Vegas in the final weeks of this remodel is a comfort to Larry, he wants to return home with basically everything done and I can’t stop thinking about what is going to happen when I am not there and will everyone remember what I wanted done here and there.

Saturday morning we flew out of Bellingham on a straight through flight on Alaska Airlines to Las Vegas. We were late leaving and that meant Kelly and the baby were driving around the airport for about fifteen minutes before we showed up at passenger pickup. Good thing we only had carry on bags.

We stopped at In N Out Burgers for takeout lunch. When we got to the house and unloaded our bags, I held out my arms wide and asked the baby if grandma could have a hug and he opened his arms and ran to me. He put his little arms around my neck, laid his head down on my shoulder and just hugged me. This is what being a grandmother is all about. The little guy was born almost three months early and when he came home form the hospital all he wanted to do was sleep with his mom holding him, which was just fine with her. His first Christmas, Larry and I flew down to spend the holidays with them and I was content to just sit on the sofa with a baby on my shoulder asleep. I think he must remember those hours because he just seems to find comfort on my shoulder. After lunch it was nap time for the baby and rest time for everyone else. Kelly and I did a little shopping at Target later in the afternoon and then a trip to Smith’s (part of the Kroger family grocery stores) for groceries. I watched and paid close attention to the little guy’s evening routine (dinner, bath, teeth brushed, prayers, bedtime) so I would be able to keep him on the same schedule and try not to disrupt his life any more than I had to.

Sunday morning we attended Canyon Ridge Church. I thought Cornwall Church was large with about twenty-five hundred attending each weekend but this church has over six thousand attending each weekend. The church is only about seven miles from the house and Kelly, Kyle, and the grandbaby attend regularly.

We stopped at Wal-Mart for a quick shopping trip and then it was home. We sat outside on the patio in the late afternoon and Kelly watered her garden plants and we talked while the baby played. We spent a quiet evening and Kelly finished packing her suitcase and getting ready.

Monday morning we dropped Kelly off at the airport and then returned home to fix breakfast and have playtime. After the baby’s nap we ventured out to do a little more grocery shopping in preparation for Easter Sunday dinner. Michael called to give a report on the construction zone. He is staying at the house while we are gone and taking care of Deuce the dog. The flooring and toilets are all installed and baseboard molding in the bathrooms is installed. The flooring has been started in the entry and living room and he likes what we have selected. His car is in the shop so he is driving my SUV and finding with gas prices rising that my car is not nearly as economical to drive back and forth to Seattle between work and school.

Tuesday we had a quiet day at home and then drove to south Las Vegas to have dinner at In N Out Burgers before going to the Bass Pro shop at the Silverton Casino. The Easter bunny is making an appearance and we are going to kill two birds with one stone on this trip. Papa gets to look at fishing tackle and the baby gets to see the Easter bunny. We were the first in line and thankfully the little guy doesn’t mind oversized white rabbits and people snapping photos of him.

Michael called to let us know the kitchen island has been built and Wednesday they will come to measure for the butcher block countertop. More of the flooring was installed and finish details. This is killing me not being able to be there to watch and take photos.

Wednesday we went to Wal-Mart shopping for a lawn mower and, of course, more groceries. We seem to go through a lot of food. Remember we have been living on whatever you can microwave for almost seven weeks and this little guy can really eat and he stays so skinny. Michael sent a photo of the new floors….thank you sweetie.

Thursday we spent a quiet day at home playing with toys, watching Disney, enjoying our grandson. It has been a bit windy since we arrived so there has not been much outdoor playtime. It’s okay because we have baskets, tubs, and drawers full of toys.

Friday was laundry day and I took a quick trip to Target with the baby to get last minute items for Easter dinner. The wind has died down and we finally can sit on the patio in the sunshine and bask in the warmth while watching the little guy soak up the rays as he plays in the yard but refusing to run through the sprinklers.

Michael called to give us an update on the remodel. The granite was installed and the holes drilled for the faucet and soap dispenser. This caused me a little angst, stressing Larry out that I was nervous over where they drilled the holes. Something we had not discussed before we left thinking they would wait until we returned because their instructions were the homeowner made the decision and if it was wrong it was on us. Michael called a second time when he got back to the house to let us know where the faucet /soap dispensers were installed and it it was okay. I hate not being there and making the decisions.

Michael also sent a new photo of the kitchen showing the new floors and it looks like a different house than the one we have lived in for the past thirteen years. There are still wall cabinets to be hung, a cabinet frame that has not arrived, the stove hood to be installed, tile, and appliances hooked up.

Saturday was sunny and warm again with no wind. Larry mowed the lawn again and watered Kelly’s garden. Playtime for the little guy outside while I prepped for Easter dinner, making deviled eggs, a Boston cream pie for dessert, and boiling eggs to decorate later in the evening.

After dinner we stripped the little guy down to a diaper, covered everything up with plastic bags and gave the boy markers to color his first set of eggs. Then the fun part…a dye bath for the remaining eggs. It took four adult hands and two baby hands to do one egg. We only broke one egg and that is much better than last year when the little guy just picked up the eggs and smashed them in his hands. No more eggs to decorate and only one small spill which was contained quickly and then it was bath time.

After Kyler went to bed, Larry and I just sort of looked at each other and I said that when Kelly and Kyle returned home tomorrow we would be chopped liver. The little guy would hold the phone and look at Kelly’s picture and say “love you” or call out “mommy” which was cute and sad at the same time. He somehow thought Kyle was at work so it took a few days before he realized that dad was gone also.

Sunday morning, Ky decided to sleep in and we had to wake him so he could go with Larry to the airport to pick up Kelly and Kyle. Larry said they were parked in short term parking and the baby was in the front seat when he saw his parents before Larry did and started getting very excited.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, I was making special breakfast (eggs, bread, cheese casserole my mom began fixing on holidays when my kids were little) because it just wouldn’t be a holiday without special breakfast. With full stomachs and a busy morning, everyone took a nap or rest time in the early afternoon.

Nap/rest time was over and Larry prepared two half hams while I fixed au gratin potatoes and green bean casserole. Abby, Sean, Ryan, and baby Will were coming for dinner and an egg hunt. The potatoes didn’t want to cook so we were a little behind schedule but after the rolls were baked we put the potatoes in the microwave to speed them up and dinner was served. We had more than enough food for seconds, sent leftovers home with Abby, and have plenty to enjoy another meal at home, plus sandwiches.

Kelly had this wonderful idea to put glow in the dark bracelets inside the plastic eggs and the kids could have a nighttime egg hunt. Abby and Kelly twisted and forced the bracelets into the eggs, securing them with clean packing tape and then hid them around the yard. Cameras were ready and the kids were off and the parents were laughing. You could barely see the kids but the eggs glowed in the yard and then you would see a little flash as one of the kids would run across the yard or throw one of the eggs. It was so much fun, Kelly threw all the eggs they found back out and let them run and grab again. The sound of children’s laughter is priceless. This will be a family tradition that I am sure Kelly will repeat every year.

Monday we had leftover special breakfast, always a good choice, and then we headed to the park. The ducks and geese were waiting for us to feed them and they even showed an inclination to aggressively follow us to get what they wanted--bread. We looked at the waterfall, crossed over the bridge, and watched the turtles sun bathing along the edge of the pond. If we approached too closely, the turtles would back flip and dive into the water to avoid us. We moved on to the slides and Larry and I stayed grounded, cheering Kelly, Kyle, and the baby on as they climbed, slid, and repeated this over and over while we listened to the happy squeals of laughter the baby made. The smaller set of slides was just as exciting and less difficult for the little guy to step up or climb a ladder to get to and as fast he slid down he was on the run for the next round. We didn’t get to play in the dinosaur sprinkler because the park system has not designated it warm enough to run them yet. Kyler did run through the belly of the dinosaur, which was filled with sand, before we made our exit to find a treat. A yogurt shop where you fill your cup with as many flavors of soft serve yogurt as you want, sprinkles of every kind--fruits, and chocolate, caramel, strawberry, and assorted other sauce to drizzle over the top. You pay buy the weight. Between all of us, I think we had just about every flavor offered. My favorite was girl scout chocolate mint cookie and pineapple. Larry had several assorted flavors but I think his favorite was the sugar free praline.

Home for nap time, back yard play time, dinner, and the big kids had date night while grandma and papa stayed home and watched movies and played with the little guy. Who needs glitter, glam, lights, and casinos, when you have a grandbaby.

Tuesdy morning Larry talked to the contractor while I talked to Sears to try and work out what needed to be done to get our new thirty-one cubic foot refrigerator, into it’s new cabinet in the kitchen. It won’t fit and one solution was to remove the doors. Remove the doors and the warranty is voided. Sears told the contractor to watch a video on YouTube to see how to remove the doors. I told Sears they could come out and they could remove the doors and install the refrigerator as it was contracted to do when we purchased it and if they needed to remove the doors the warranty would not be voided. After a few more phone calls Sears worked it out with the contractor on what to do with the doors on, warranty intact, and my nerves just a little frazzled, and the day has not even begun.

We headed out to Hash House for breakfast. Larry had read about this restaurant and it has been featured on several television shows. I stepped through the doors and was visually assaulted with diamond plate, barn wood, chrome, black cast iron, corrugated metal roofing, so much to see I had to pull out the camera and take pictures. I also had to take pictures of the food when it arrive. Literally the four adults and one little guy could have been satisfied with only one of the huge breakfasts that were served to us, but we each had our own. Yes we had to-go boxes and they were full just like us. Kelly said there are actually three Hash Houses in Vegas and on a weekend you might have to wait an hour to get in and get seated.

We stopped for water and snacks, I know this seems to counter what I just said about being full, but babies always seem to need food and no sooner did we start the truck than the little guy needed his first snack. We headed to Red Rock Canyon and Larry had his handy dandy over sixty-five national park discount card so we got in free. The park ranger laughed when Kyle handed him the discount card and said you aren’t old enough for this and Larry leaned over toward the open window and said “no, but I am”.

The rock formations are beautiful and parking was a little crowded but not like it would have been on a weekend. People were climbing along the edges of the outcroppings and some on the far edges of the north facing walls appeared to be just tiny moving blimps. We drove through the valley and marveled at the beauty that most people don’t even know exists just west of the Las Vegas strip. Most people don’t realize you can ski just north of Las Vegas and Mt. Charleston still had two feet of snow on the summit while we were there, although we did not visit the mountain this time.

Kelly and I left all of the guys to nap or rest while we took a wild ride to the south side of Vegas to pick up a free wooden industrial spool. We pulled up, got out and begin to check out what size spool we wanted and how we were going to get it into the back of the truck. One was loaded but we weren’t totally sure this was “the right one” so we kept looking. A worker on the loading dock above us said hi and I asked if we wanted help. He didn’t but one of the other guys was kind enough to assist us. We decided we liked a spool in the back, the one on the bottom, with two others sitting on top of it. Kelly and I unloaded the other spool back to the stack we got it from and watched as our helper pushed the two spools over and onto the ground to get to the one we really wanted. About that time he called for reinforcements because this was a bigger heavier spool. Mission accomplished and we were on our way home, the back roads, slowly. A quick stop at the grocery store for dinner makings and then to Home Depot to buy paint, rope and sandpaper.

Kelly is going to transform the industrial spool, which probably held electrical wire, into a backyard patio table. The base already has a warm finish on it and the nails give it a grunge bling. She is going to wrap the rope around the middle section and spray paint the top a deeper turquoise color and add a clear glass marble mosaic over the top of the paint. It will be a beautiful pop of color in the backyard, useful, and satifiying to know you have made it.

We had a quiet dinner, played with the baby, and watched a little television. My gift from the baby was he finally said “gam gam”. Such sweet words.

Wednesday morning Kelly was up early and fixed breakfast and cinnamon rolls to go with hot coffee. The little guy calls his sun tea, “coffee” and he had his cup with us. I checked Larry and I in online for our flight home and was able to move our seats, finally, from the back of the plane to row six. Kisses at the airport and an love you gam gam and we all waved goodbye as we headed into the airport and they drove away.

We printed our boarding passes and headed to our gate. Security wasn’t bad but just as we boarded the tram to the D gates and took off it reversed and took us back to the main terminal. The whole system shut down for about ten minutes and we wondered if they would bus us out to the gate or what would happen. Finally the glitch was fixed and we were back on our way. Starbucks was right by our gate so Larry settled down with our bags and I got coffee and food for the flight. A day of glitches because we pulled back from the gate and stopped. Seems one of the engines would not fire up and they were going to have to jump start it. Then the navigation system needed to reset. I am not sure giving passengers all this information is a good thing, because it just tends to make me nervous. The air conditioning stopped; and when I take off my coat on a plane, you know it is getting warm. Fire one but not two, and we waited and then nothing. After almost forty-five minutes both engines fired up and we began to move towards the runway and home.

When Kelly downloaded photos off my camera Wednesdy morning she laughed because I had taken one hundred and fifty¬-eight. It really didn’t seem like that many and really I did not shoot a photo at every little thing our grandson did, just adorable, funny, memorable moments that I could share with them while they were away from their son and I can treasure and look at until I see him again.

We are leaving the sun, the warmth, and the dry wind behind to go home to cold rainy weather. The forecast for the weekend has only a slight chance of rain so maybe we will get to ride with our friends.

The anticipation of going home and seeing the transformation is exciting and knowing we really are down to small things and little details until we are finished. A working refrigerator to put our to-go food in without going out into the garage is progress. Michael said the funny thing was testing the dishwasher, it wouldn’t work, wouldn’t work, wouldn’t work, and finally they put a fork in the dishwasher and it could detect the metal and ran just fine (lesson learned always put a fork in the dishwasher…ha-ha). The sink and faucet look beautiful and the granite is stunning so much to look at and take in all at once. The floors really compliment the cabinets and everything has an open inviting feeling. Larry brought the microwave inside from the garage so we have almost, not quite officially decommissioned our temporary garage kitchen. Now to move the coffee maker from my studio into the kitchen will be real progress.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails