Kitchen Update: It’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Have you been wondering how the kitchen has been coming along? Probably not I know you have more pressing concerns in your life. 🙂  It’s been frustrating some days. Just as I think things are moving along smoothly I come across something else that slows down the process. To add insult to injury plumbing issues in the bathroom arose at the same time.

This is where things were at last I shared a kitchen update.

half way

My son picked up the rest of the flooring and delivered it a week later. I excitedly got to work then found I needed help.  The plan was to remove the cabinet next to the sink to accommodate a new smaller cabinet and a washing machine.  But we couldn’t get the cabinet out, the screws were stripped.  Moving on I figured I’d as much of the flooring laid as I could while I waited for muscle to show up.  I couldn’t get the last piece of the old laminate up because it was laid under the dishwasher and that too was stuck.

Muscle arrived, finally, and pulled the cabinet off of the wall. The first thing I hear after “got it” was “keep my kids out of here till you get this fixed”. Now what.  Black mold!

mold

When removing drywall with black mold it’s best to spray it down with white vinegar, even water. The point is to dampen the mold so the spores don’t flake off when you are working with it.

Then the dishwasher reluctantly came out (I’ll spare you these pictures) to find a mouse had built a nest on the top of the dishwasher and sure enough died on the side of it.  The droppings were every where. I had expected to have a mouse problem because the house sat empty for two years before I moved in but I saw no signs of any mice. Never in my wildest dreams did I think of pulling out the dishwasher when I was cleaning the kitchen upon moving in. Now I wish I had.  Anyway, that’s been cleaned but now I need a new cover for the dishwasher.

But the flooring got finished. I’m loving the new floor.

WP_20160325_15_30_43_Pro
The small piece in the corner my daughter-in-law helped me to finish. Bending to get under the counter top to reach that final spot was harder than I thought.

My plan to install the washing machine under the cabinet right next to the sink had to go because unlike European models our washing machines are too tall to fit under a standard counter.  After conferring with the contractor who will be doing the work we solved the problem. The new cabinet I am installing is a set of three drawers. Drawers do not go all the way to the back of the cabinet so there is room to run the plumbing and have it protected. That was supposed to be done tomorrow morning but my guy is busy and can’t do the work for me until next week.

The Sears Outlet sells refurbished appliances! I purchased a front loading washer (normally priced at $749) for $318, with a warranty. With the contractor not able to be here until next weekend I’ve had to call and reschedule the delivery until next week.  Already my house feels cluttered with a new cabinet not completely installed and its drawers stored in the bedroom to keep them out of the way while work is going on, the last thing I need is to try and figure where to put a washing machine for a week.

After a busy day disinfecting the outside of my dishwasher, cleaning and laying the floor and moving the appliances back into place I was ready for a nice hot shower. Not going to happen.  The knob you pull to redirect the water from the spigot to the shower head came off in my hand.  After trying to repair it I gave up and realized I needed a new spigot.

All the plumbing fixtures in the house are by Delta, while popular this brand does not hold up and can’t be repaired when parts break,  I wasn’t going to purchase another Delta product.  Tub spigots range in price from $10 to $30, I erred on the side of caution and purchase a model priced at $25. My theory is you get what you pay for.  Removing the paperwork and parts I found this note.  I tried several times to get a clear photo but it wasn’t going to happen.

warning

It reads: Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Just what I needed. I called the store and asked which brands, if any, they carried that don’t come with this warning of cancer and birth defects and was told they would call me back.  Their answer was none of them had warnings on the outside of the packaging, mine didn’t either,  and they couldn’t open all the packages but that most had plastic parts, which is what I believe is the part that causes the warnings.  They offered the suggestion that I could order a Moen online as they don’t carry that brand in the store.

Moen’s spigots are limited and start at $60, you receive a better deal when purchasing the whole sets but even that starts at around $200. So for now I have to live with this spigot and will upgrade to a Moen when I have the tub replaced as part of the overall bathroom remodel.

Removing the old spigot I spotted a weird part that had to be removed in order to install the new spigot but when I tried to remove it the pipe coming from the inside of the wall began to move as well. Not good! I stopped and called for help.

plumbing

Immediately I pictured breaking the pipe and having water every where. The shut off for the tub is in the basement. I called my son telling him I had a problem and needed his help.  When I mentioned the spigot his response was “I don’t work on plumbing”. I insisted all I needed from him was an extra pipe wrench and a pair of hands to hold the pipe while I removed the extension.  His answer was “I’ll call my plumber”.

I’ve joked with you before on the unusual arrangement I have with my son. Here’s another example. When I say I need your help and he says I’ll call my guy. What he’s saying is I don’t want to be a part of this so I’ll pay for it instead.

As soon as the plumber arrived and saw the extension on the pipe he shook his head and informed me this was a part unique to Delta.  I didn’t feel too bad when he had to look at the installation instructions to see how to change from Delta to the standard spigots. Anyway, 20 minutes later I have a working shower again. Well, that is as soon as the new caulk dries. He too suggested that I try a Moen as it’s the only brand he installs but to switch out all the pieces it would involve cutting a hole in the wall in the kitchen.  Glad to know this as I’ll wait to update that wall until after remodeling the bathroom. Btw, the pipe coming out of the wall that moved when I tried to remove the extension turned out to be what’s called a nipple and is another extension on the house’s plumbing so no harm was done when it turned while I was trying to do the work myself.

You may be wondering, am I still having fun. The answer is yes. Sure it would be nice to tackle a project and have no surprises but surprises are part and parcel of all home improvement jobs. With each completed task, such as seeing the floors finished, I feel that sense of accomplishment that makes home improvement worth all the stops and starts that will happen. It’s also worth it when the nine year old neighbor boy stops over and even though the appliance are in the middle of the room and the counters are cluttered with tools exclaims “You’re house is so beautiful”.  I get both an on-going project that gives me purpose now and if a child can see beyond the clutter to see the improvements then I trust when I have to leave here the next tenants will appreciate the improvements.

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30 comments

  1. The floor looks so nice now that you have finished. What an accomplishment! It’s been my experience also that every project has surprises and takes more work than it “should”. I’m so impressed at all the things you tackle by yourself.

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    • Cynthia, this house had definitely surprised me by the number of things that pop up during each project but you are correct, no home improvement can be done without expecting a few unexpected repairs needed. I’ve definitely decided this will be the last house I work on. I love working on houses but this is the only one I’ve done from a seated position and it’s too frustrating to consider ever doing again.

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  2. One of the reasons I like to read your blog is that you tell us about finished projects. It easy for the rest of us to get distracted or frustrated enough that we move onto other things before we complete the first thing. Even though your projects seem delayed to you, you are making remarkable progress in an old house that hadn’t had much care in a long time.

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  3. Well, you re plugging along nicely despite all the ups and downs 🙂 How incredible that stores can even sell items that come with labeling like that, I just shake my head at that considering new laws around raw milk are going through the policy makers here right now. I am once again way behind on my reading Lois, sorry I haven’t caught up.

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    • Hi Wendy, I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how your new granddaughter is doing. Isn’t that shocking to find a paper with that kind of warning inside the faucet? There were no warnings on the packaging either. Nothing like just assuming we don’t care enough so they can hide the information in a obscure place.

      So the raw milk laws are coming to you too, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s been illegal to sell raw milk around here for a very long time. I’m not sure if some states allow it but mine doesn’t. The Amish, who are exempt from many of our laws, drink raw milk but even though it’s part of their lifestyle they can’t even sell it. So by all means, prevent all from drinking raw milk for our health but go ahead and sell us junk food and cancer causing bathroom fixtures.

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      • Exactly Lois. We never, ever used to have the sort of laws our present government are bringing in, I am so disgusted by it all – never ending BS! My grocery budget is being very careful where it goes these days, all we can do is shop wisely because it seems they can sell what chemical catastrophes they like nowadays as long as it’s not chemical free raw milk!
        My granddaughter is doing very well at present thanks, a little trouper 🙂 she will be seeing an eye specialist soon to see what they can do for her – anything else is a “see what time brings” thing.

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        • In terms of the raw milk that’s been in effect here for a long time. I wonder if there is any corner of the world that isn’t being affected like we are left. If there is a buck to be made there will be a rule to follow. Did you ever see the movie Still Mine? It’s a true story of a man who built a home on land he owned. They almost jailed him and it turned out his house exceeded the building requirements.

          I’m looking even closer to where I spend my money too. I even did the one thing my family is astonished by and that’s I’ve stopped spending money with Amazon.

          I’ve got a good feeling about your wee one. There’s a reason she’s been fighting so hard to be here. 🙂

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          • I have a good feeling about her too Lois 🙂
            No, I have never seen the movie, oh it’s just so awful what is happening to people’s rights everywhere! I think people are getting so sick of it all and I feel a time is coming where they will rebel.
            I feel a real need to shop more conscientiously than I have – which I try hard at already but it needs to be better….I get Kindle books generally on amazon but haven’t found a need to even do that this last few months.

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          • I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said that our country needed a revolution every seven years. The premise was that without the possibility of the people revolting government could get out of control and lose the values the country was based on. We are well past the seven year mark so a revolt would not surprise me.

            I think there are more people than just us who are finding less of a need for online shopping while another segment is just starting to turn to it in answer to the closing of the retail stores. I wonder where the balance will end up between local and online shopping.

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  4. Congrats on the finished floor. Sigh of relief. 🙂 Plumbing parts are not all created equal. I have a miserably wasteful shower head I want to replace but the parts are so expensive that it just has to wait. They look nice but are just not efficient so I turn the water down myself. That will come after I finish the work outside where the HOA can see. My last husband (a cheap man) always bought Moen fixtures. It takes a bit of mess to make things better. The neighbor boy is getting quite an education. You are teaching him that he can make good things himself. You’ve changed his outlook on life whether you know it or not. Your kids will be talking about how resourceful you were for years after you are gone and so will your grandchildren. That kind of exposure changes everyone you come near. Keep up the good work. 🙂 Happy Sunday.

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    • Thank you, Marlene, I stop constantly and admire my new floor. 🙂 Have you looked at the WaterPic shower heads that have the hose making them removable? They aren’t all that high priced and have models with the water saver features. I have one, which are easy to replace as you just unscrew one and screw on the other. I was able to get mine for about $20, here’s a link to their page. I find it hilarious that your husband who was “cheap” spent the money on Moen fixtures.

      If I had a HOA I would have been fined or evicted by now. 🙂 This place was in such a shambles that the amount of work and my bank account were too far apart to make all the changes immediately that an HOA would require. I hope your HOA hasn’t been on your case too much. You would think any one with any kind of common sense would be willing to back off as long as they saw improvements being made rather than assume new owners have unlimited funds to tackle everything at once. I think my town is content to see some work being done on my house because I’ve watched owners and landlords working on their homes because they had received fines for weeds and such while my drive was a huge mess last year and I received no notices or fines from them.

      Oh and you’ll find this funny. When I finished the floor I gave the neighbor (the boys’ mother) the remaining pieces of flooring to replace the old carpet in her entry way, he spotted the junk pieces (those that I had to make weird cuts into or had to remove the glue strips from). When I told him those were garbage he asked if he could have them. I showed him why they were no good but he still wanted them. He’s now attempting to cover the gravel patch in front of his house with them to make a patio for his mother. 🙂

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      • I knew you would inspired those young boys. I’ll look into that shower head. My last husband was cheap, but lazy. Wanted to do the job only once. The HOA is leaving me alone for now, We have another inspection coming in June so I want it done by then. Kid started working on the side gate this week. Painted boards and posts. I’ll get it all done eventually. Skirting and railing around the new deck are next. Everything else must wait.

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        • At least you know when the next inspection will be. You sure have a lot going on so early in the season. We didn’t have that kind of system where I lived. The owner would just show up and then leave a note on your door that you had a certain number of days to get the changes made. It drove me nuts because he rarely gave more than 3-4 days for the work to be completed.

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    • Cindy, you made my day. 🙂 I’m sorry you are still working on your kitchen but it helps to know I’m not the only one who can’t start and finish a room makeover in a week or two. The internet is great but some people make it look so easy and effortless to restore their homes.

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  5. Holy Kazoli – you are so much braver than I am. And you’re making me glad that the new kitchen faucet I installed was a Moen! Anyhow, good luck with that black mold – I think that’s one of the advantages of living in a very arid climate – mold problems are not impossible, but rare.

    This is a bit off topic, but I thought you might get a kick out of it:
    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/04/05/an-open-letter-to-tiny-house-hunters/

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    • Be very glad you bought a Moen! They do cost more but are well worth the peace of mind. Mold in homes here is something that can happen but if you do proper maintenance it can be prevented. Most mold here comes from a leaky roof or in the bathroom. I suspect the spot of mold I have came from a leaky refrigerator which had the water and ice maker in the door and sat in that corner.

      Loved the article! The comments are just as funny, those who are so very angry about tiny houses reminded me of the people who took offense to my moving to a studio apartment. On a more serious note, I have noticed several bloggers who built/lived in tiny homes moving out of them lately. Not sure the percentage but the down sides do seem to get to some of the people.

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      • I’d bet that the success rates depend a lot on both lifestyle and on one’s definition of “tiny.” I tend to think that the novelty of the really itty bitty ones (under 100 square feet) would wear off pretty quickly, especially if you were sharing the space with other humans or animals. I mean, it sorta depends on your location and lifestyle – If you lead a life where you’re not home most of the time – like you’re out and about at work & play and mostly just come home to sleep, or you live in a nice climate with lots of outdoor living space, then that’s one thing. But I can’t imagine being cooped up in a 75 square foot trailer for months at a time during the winter – I think it would very quickly start to feel more like a cage than a cozy den at that point. And I think I share the author’s opinions about the lack of proper bathroom facilities. Gotta have a tub and a real toilet – just non-negotiable!

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        • I agree. I loved my studio which was 300 sq feet and even gave careful consideration to how I could have been happy with slightly less if the layout had been different. For example the closet had better access or the wasted space in the bathroom was utilized better. When I looked for a new home I knew by then that anything under 250 would be too small for me to be content. Now if we had warm weather year round, I might have considered something smaller but only if I had acreage. I think what would drive me nuts would be living in someone’s back yard which many tiny home owners do.

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