Category Archives: Kris Blog

Where Kris discusses project management issues and any other stuff she wants.

If It Should Be

If it should be that I grow weak 

And pain should keep me from my sleep, 
Then you must do what must be done, 
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand. 
Don’t let your grief then stay your hand. 
For this day, more than all the rest, 
Your love for me must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years. 
What is to come can hold no fears. 
You’d not want me to suffer so; 
The time has come — please let me go.

Take me where my need they’ll tend, 
And please stay with me till the end. 
Hold me firm and speak to me, 
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see 
The kindness that you did for me. 
Although my tail its last has waved, 
From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

Please do not grieve — it must be you 
Who had this painful thing to do. 
We’ve been so close, we two, these years; 
Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.

— Anonymous —

Posted for our dear Chevey.

The seder is WHEN??

Heck’s kitchen has been online for a couple of weeks now, and because things are functional, neither Randy nor I have been really pushing to finish things, even those that we can control, like figuring out where things will go and then putting them there. With the impending seder, however, we’ve had to start pulling things out of boxes so we can cook.

Randy’s mom is here, helping with the cooking, and we are methodically stealing – oops, I mean “borrowing” recipes by writing everything down. Right now we’re learning about Passover-style cabbage rolls (with matzo instead of rice).

We used the kitchen in earnest for the first time today, using all resources, including the new island prep sink and garbage disposal. Guess what? The new prep sink clogged up. Randy spent a while using the plumber’s snake to fix the problem, and we’ll need to have the contractor redo the pipes underneath.

Yesterday I went a little nuts buying furniture. I bought a new round table for the breakfast room and six chairs. The table is oval when the leaf is in. It has beautiful inlaid wood in a pattern on the top, and a four-column pedestal. Randy didn’t like the chairs I picked out so we spent some time walking around the store and finally settled on the chairs they originally had around the table. They’re OK and yes they’re more cushy than the ones I picked, but less cool. Anyway, while we were there, we bought a 9 x 12 wool rug for the dining room that is just stunning. It has beige, green, and gold colors and also lots of the gorgeous ginger color of the dining room walls, above the wainscoting. I still don’t have a chaise for the sanctuary, though. I’m making do with the loveseat from my living room but it’s just too big and overstuffed. I’ll find it, I’ll just need to be patient.

Chevey is doing really well with his new food, but I’m having trouble finding it. I did find a store that will order it for me, and it will be in on Wednesday evening.

What fun last night!

Our first full “Heck’s Kitchen” meal for dear friends. Tuna, salmon, and sea bass (in courses) with Randy’s famous kid-friendly Brussels sprouts, salad, and risotto. Southbrook Winery provided a lovely 2001 Pinot Noir and a 1999 Lailey Chardonnay. Randy made his famous (and exclusive!) maple sugar butter tart pie for dessert, and friends brought an incredible 1980-something white port to go with. It was an amazing meal with a great table of participants.

Tonight Randy is making his mustard-herb standing rib roast. I’m doing my twice-baked potatoes and Texas green beans (bacon, onion, garlic salt, splash of lemon juice).

Spring is trying very hard to peek through. It was supposed to be 12 degrees today but made it only to about 5. Still, the weather people keep saying that it’s going to be 15 and 17 next week (which is a little bit above normal)

Chevey was feeling a little overwhelmed today, and Randy thought he was sick. Frankly, Randy focuses a bit too much on . . . shall we say, “elimination” . . . as an indicator of health J

Chev seems fine tonight, and he’s purring up a storm, even for Rhys.

Builder’s Plans?

Remember when I called the City for a copy of the original builder’s permits and plans? Randy went to pick them up last week. First, they gave us the wrong plans – for a house a few doors down from ours. Then, when they did retrieve the plans associated with our house number, it’s a different house. Different layout, different size, different everything. (Library? What library?) Uh oh. I can think of a number of implications, but I’d rather not. None of them are good.

If you’ve been keeping up with Randy’s Current Status blog, you’re aware that we had an issue with the granite supplier. I think we were waiting for a big problem to occur, because we hadn’t really had one up to this point. Today was to be the big finish day, when the plumbing would be hooked up to the sinks and the dishwasher would finally be on-line. Not having the granite backsplash causes the tile to be delayed. Not having the main sink installed means that the plumbing can’t be completed, and there will be yet another day with no dishwasher. Yes. ANOTHER day with no dishwasher. Honestly, if I have to wash dishes by hand in the laundry room sink much longer, there’s gonna be trouble. Perhaps even some breaking of plates, with no happy dancing, nor “Opah!” involved. If they’re broken, they don’t have to be washed, right? In any case, we are both very surprised that we are having difficulty with this particular company. Of all of the parties involved in this renovation, they were the last people we expected to cause problems or do poor work.

Chevey is widening his scope a bit in the house, as we’ve been able to let him out more often while we’re there. There’s less danger and risk that he’ll get into something he can’t get out of, or that might hurt him, now that the countertops are in place and most of the chemicals and sharp objects are gone. He still loves plastic and has now decided that the bathtub in the master bathroom is his own personal giant water bowl. He’s now putting things he likes in there. I hope that next time he steals my earrings, he’ll continue to put them in his real water bowl or else they’ll likely go into the bathtub drain. Oh – and he is now running up to me to say hello when I come home, with the purr meter on high. So cute!

So Long Since…

I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve blogged. There’s just so much going on and, frankly, Randy has taken over most of the project management piece of this effort. I can give you my take on things, however. When have I ever been reticent about my opinions? Hmm? 😉

Randy has been managing the crew and participating in the work, as well. He has all the tools that they don’t have and in the one case where he didn’t, he found one online and went out and bought one. What on earth would these guys have done without him? I’ll tell you what they would have done – they would have had to stop and come back later/next day, and our project would be very late instead of ahead of schedule. In addition to helping in the kitchen, Randy has managed to put up wainscoting and paint the dining room. It looks amazing. Then, as well as painting and framing/installing the antique air return grates, he painted the floor heat registers the same antique bronze color. So he solved our unusual size grate problem! Our only other option was to pay a fortune for real salvaged antique grates and somehow change the size of the duct holes in the floors. He’s amazing. I think I should marry him.

So the new, reworked pantry didn’t show up today. It’s now scheduled for tomorrow morning. Also tomorrow, the guys will be finishing the work on the outside window casings and brickwork from the vent hood installation. The island will be positioned and the electrical installed. And best of all, the cabinet installer will finish up, with the crown moldings and pantry. He’ll need to carefully fine-tune the cabinet door adjustments. One of my pet peeves is inconsistent gaps between double doors and uneven door bottoms. He’ll need to drill the hardware holes, too.

After tomorrow, we wait. Literally. For the granite countertops to be ready. Installation is now scheduled for a week from Friday – and that signals the end of the reno. Woo hoo!!

The Guys are Gone

Well, the guys are gone now. The drywall is sanded and almost completely primed (Randy did the priming) and ready for paint. I covered everything I could find on the main floor in sheets and Randy and I used a roll of plastic to cover the armoire and the south side of the family room. Despite all of this, there’s still a lot of cleaning work waiting for Christine. And, I’m going to have to take each palm leaf off of our huge fake palm trees and clean them individually. Yuck.

Randy and I went to Restoration Hardware on the weekend to pick cabinet hardware. The people at the cabinet manufacturer and our designer, Marie Ann, all said that, for what we picked, the color was right but the hardware was just “too dainty”. Randy wanted Craftsman hardware. Sorry, no. J So today Marie-Anne went to the same shop where I got the new front door hardware. She picked some really nice handles, including $220 pot drawer handles. Randy and I went by this evening. OK…so four drawers…$880. I didn’t like the pot drawer pulls that much. What I did see was the style that my amazingly beautiful door latch set emulates. And that’s what I think I want.

House History

I actually contacted, via email, the city of Richmond Hill this morning to ask about the history of our house. I understand that we have no recourse with the builder, as we are the third owners and the house is 20 years old. I just want to know.

The contractors put down a new sub-floor in the kitchen today, and the breakfast room sub-floor is in progress. Randy had them put in an extra little piece of joist against the bay area as there was no support there at all. He’s also looking around for another 2X10 to put in yet another one himself. He overbuilds everything J

So…given rearrangement of the inspections and the additional work on the floors, we should be one day off schedule. Randy, God love him, scheduled the cabinet delivery for two days in the project plan, so we are back on exact schedule. Unbelievable! We’ve also gotten one of the contractor guys to agree (maybe) to do the drywall on Saturday and Sunday, so we’ll be home, and we’ll be right on schedule. Sweet!

Still Sick

I’m still sick, but I’m going back to work tomorrow (Monday) because I just have to. I can’t be away any longer.

Randy cooked a nice meal, mostly on the BBQ grill, and I made microwave veggies and potatoes. The challenge was to actually make a chocolate soufflé in our makeshift kitchen. Randy did it! See the pictures.

Randy spent the day scrubbing the dining room walls, to rid them of the remaining sizing. He also started sheetrock repair and got at least one wall done. He’s worked so hard this weekend, and I’ve been too sick to help him much. I feel bad about that. I went to Value Village and got all the $2.99 sheets I could get my hands on. $30 worth! I’ll cover everything in the downstairs with sheets to help keep the dust down during the drywall work next week.

Joey and Rhys were pretty good boys this weekend. I won’t see them for Valentines Day, so I gave them candy and Valentine roses with a request that they each pass the rose on to a girl of their choice J

Our little family seems to be settling in well to the kitchen renovation!

Chevy was sick this morning. He had diarrhea in his box twice today. He’s been as sweet as usual, but we’re worried that he’s not feeling well. Randy will contact Joy tomorrow for history and advice. Poor Kitty.

Cleaning and Wallpaper Stripping Day!

We played “Beat the Clock” on the 24-hour wall paper steamer rental. The remaining wallpaper in the kitchen was over oil-based paint, so it came off easily with the steamer. The dining room, however, was a big pain in the @** because it was put on with sizing. Now, I remember my mom using sizing when ironing . . . that’s my whole experience with “sizing”. This “sizing” stuff on the walls? Flour and water. What?? Doesn’t that attract insects and animals and stuff? How gross is that? So when you steam it off the walls, you have to scrape it with a tool, and it falls on the floor with the old wallpaper bits, and gets all over everything, and, just – eeeeeww! One way we cut down the amount of dust in the dining room was by three of five people in the house dumping over the colander of water Randy was using to clean the scraper as he went. And no, we couldn’t find where the water went. I suppose we’ll find out some day!

Our little makeshift kitchen seems to be working fine, as long as we don’t need a lot of counter space. We have the island from the old kitchen in the dining room, and have stored flatware, pots and pans, utensils, etc. in it. On top of the island, is the second microwave, the convection toaster-oven, the coffee pot, a one-burner hotplate (thanks, Judy!!), and the electric kettle. One of the boys pointed out at lunch that we actually have all of the same cooking options that were available (and that worked) in the old kitchen! Too funny.

Christine did a fantastic job cleaning up dust while also cleaning the bathrooms, etc. as usual. She’s such a gem!! She has a stunningly beautiful 13-year-old daughter who occasionally comes with her. Oddly, Joseph “had to” take a shower this morning before they got here. Julia didn’t come with her mom today, but I’m told that she’ll be here next time.

We had supper at a local pub and the boys watched hockey (Toronto vs. somebody-or-other) and I watched the Pro Bowl on a different TV. Dallas had the QB for NFC. I so miss the old days of the Cowboys – Mister Landry, Roger Staubach . . . those were the football glory days for me as a youngster J But I digress.

Chevy was such a sweetheart today. He played with both boys, “helped“ Christine clean the master bathroom, and even did a back flip with the feather toy for Joey today. Heck’s Kitty is really settling down into life in our home, and we couldn’t be happier with him!

I Think Mike Holmes is My New Hero.

We watched one of his shows last night where he said over and over that permits should always be taken out for remodeling. Randy made some phone calls today, and found that as of January 2007, permits are required by Ontario law. I guess that hasn’t been communicated very well, as our contractor’s agent told us three times that we didn’t need permits. I kept on it and even made Randy really mad at one point over it. Anyway, Randy spoke to the owner of the contracting company and he said that we absolutely do need permits. He met with the agent and the site supervisor right away, and sent them down to apply for the permits. The good news is that the electrical and plumbing inspections have a 24-hour turnaround (amazing!) and the gas inspection is done after the stove is installed. So that, combined with the decision to use blown-in insulation on the outside walls, impacts the schedule, but not as much as it could have. Just think if this was the U.S. . . . if we asked for a 24-hour inspection turnaround there, I figure that, after they stopped laughing, they’d book us in for 2 or 3 months from now.

The boys are here tonight, and tomorrow the housekeeper comes (whom, I hope, is bringing help!) Randy and I will be stripping wallpaper in the dining room, preparing for the Jatoba floor installation. Now I actually have to start thinking about colors. I can’t wait to take down the awful pink drapes and Celtic lace sheers in there. I might put the lace sheers in the garage sale, but the pink drapes have gotta go! Maybe we’ll post some before and after pics of Heck’s Dining Room, too.

Chevey met the boys again tonight and seemed to take to Joey right away. Rhys, who is a little bit rambunctious, didn’t get Chevey’s cooperation right away. Joey is calmer, like his dad, so they hit it off pretty well. Chev is definitely Randy’s kitty.