A Kitchen, a Driveway, Some Steps and a Poem

I have been so time aware lately.  Aware that the time for working on the house is drawing to a close - or at least to a time when it is not as convenient to do so.

We are NOT in our new house yet.  You may remember that I said we'd had a hiccup with the first kitchen installation, and they ordered us all new cabinets with redesign in areas that needed tidying up some. Here's a photo from the first set that was returned:

So the next set of cabinets arrived in 8 weeks.  The workmanship on them was horrid this time - like they were in a huge hurry to get them here, so they skipped a few steps like: looking for cracks, making sure the cabinet sides were the same size, making sure they had all the coats of paint on, making the surface smooth, making sure no glue made huge drips at the edges, butting the mitered joints together tightly... I could continue, but you get the picture.  My contractor tried installing a few, but they weren't going together well.  I saw them and immediately cried, of course, because that's what you do when you are at the end of your rope.

We are on our third try for a kitchen.  We are not having a big box store do it this time.  We have a custom cabinet guy who is really excited about the possibilities of this house even though it is a tiny kitchen.  The very fortunate thing is that we ARE getting all our money back on the returned kitchen.  We have been waiting to see if we were going to have to take the matter to arbitration to try to get a refund, but it looks as if we won't now!

Then at the house we are in, we decided to upgrade the kitchen and take the formica countertop out and put in granite and a new sink.  So in order to template for the new granite, my husband and son took out the formica and we are going with a new look until it is installed.

The plastic is because - I think I've mentioned a long time ago that we had a house fire of sorts where a tv burned up in our basement, sending slimy, plastic soot throughout the house, coating everything.  It even came up between the showerstalls and walls, necessitating the removal of the showers.  We also had to refinish all the walls to seal in the soot.  All for me.  I got these uncontrollable coughing jags whenever I went in the house.

The plastic is because the formica countertop's under surface and the plywood on the now exposed ends of the cabinets all have soot on them.  We discovered that when I went into coughing fits again.  I couldn't believe it!  But I ran a wet paper towel across the newly exposed surfaces, and it came up with the familiar gray, black, non-particulate crud that was in the house when I couldn't live there.

The plastic seems to be working.  I'm back in the kitchen for the second time in three days.  I've been either out of the house or holed up in the bedroom with the air purifier on.
I can hardly wait for the countertop to arrive!

We took our front steps off to replace them.  That means we don't have a set of steps to get out of our house.  We never did get back steps or a deck for this house (though it was supposed to be in the works years ago - the crew never arrived to do it, and we never pursued it again).

Because it started raining on and off yesterday, we couldn't finish the job.  Ginger had to be lifted off the porch to get out...oh, so confusing to a young and very solid Yellow Lab.  She isn't used to being picked up, let alone carried off high places...we tried making a ramp for her so she could get back up on her own, but nope.   So this morning our goal is to get the steps finished very early so she can use them before breakfast!  We were able to stain them and get the stringers leveled last night, and stain the tops of the steps.  I'm going to stain the bottom sides this morning and we'll attach them still wet.

Did it!  I know, it's a mess out there still...old steps, rock pile, saw... but we're getting there!

I forgot to mention that we got in and out of the house via a ladder and crawling through a space in our railing.  Steps are still damp, so I guess Ginger gets to be carried again.  This stain is supposed to dry in 2 hours, but it seems like it's going to be more like 4 days. Good thing our railing isn't quite legal in most areas - there is just enough space to crawl through!

Oh, and then there's the driveway here.  Trying to get that all squared away before winter to ward off the mudseason that follows winter, and to get ready to sell this place.

And finally, the awareness of time left to ride is setting in.  It is almost time to park the bikes for the winter.  It has been a glorious summer for riding.  I've even been able to ride in for some of my Teacher Mentoring and Certification work this fall.  But each morning it takes longer and longer for the day to heat up enough, and it's earlier and earlier for setting sun to end the day.  
I want more days for this:

Ok, time to finish the steps!  The dog wants out!

A found poem from the above:

time aware -
aware that the time
is drawing to a close 
each morning it takes
longer for the day to heat up
it's earlier for setting sun 
to end the day
I want more

 by Donna JT Smith, 10/7/2017


  1. OH, my goodness....not an easy post to write but a fun one to read. You've certainly had your trials and troubles with the kitchen! I cannot imagine cupboards showing up in such a state not once but twice. And, poor Ginger. I love that you distilled all of that craziness into a nice , neat poem. I want more time, too!

  2. Donna, I am sorry about your kitchen craziness, and the coughing! No fun! But, the steps look great, and the motorcycle rides sound inspiring... hang in there. xo

  3. I am exhausted today! Climbing the ladder to slide between railings about 20 times, bending to paint, lifting heavy stair treads...I can't be getting too old for this!

  4. Your writing is so good for many reasons. Today's reason is that it is so raw and honest, so real life. I am sorry for all your troubles, but thankful you can find the TIME to tell about the hard things and then create a beautiful poem. Best of luck with the "finishing work." Keep us posted!

    1. Lol! It took two days to recuperate from the front steps job! Staining, lifting and hauling rocks for the base, plus climbing a ladder to go between rails...all used muscles I was saving for some other day...or never. Even my thumb and the tips of my toes hurt! But today we got a beautiful day to take a break and ride the motorcycles. I will post more about the progress as it happens. Maybe the next post should be about how all the delays have worked out for the best.


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