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Went looking again today, this time at Zeller’s, which just happens to be beside the grocery store I frequent regularly.  Had looked there before but that was before P decided that he would wear jeans.  I lucked out.  All of the boy jeans were marked down to $15 and if you spent more than $50 on clothing you got an extra $10 off.  I bought four pairs of jeans, three for P and one for D and hoped and prayed that they would like them.  The grand total was $50 (plus tax) which works out to about $12.50 per pair (before tax).  That’s so much better than the $27.99 a pair I was finding in other stores.  The best part was that the boys tried them on as soon as I got them home and haven’t yet taken them off.  I think I can safely say “sought and found” and check “buy P pants” off my  “to do list”.

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(Comments made while I was trying to sneakily take photos of the boys in their new jeans:

D:  Mom, what are you doing?  You’re the weirdest person I know.

Me:  D, you don’t know enough people.)

Did some shopping for P today.  The boy is sprouting and ripping pants at an unprecedented rate and will soon be going to school in shorts unless I hit the stores.  Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything in his size that I was certain he would like.  (He’s at that stage in life where he’s suddenly picky about what goes on his body.  There’s no point buying him something I think is good enough.  If he doesn’t think it’s good enough it will just sit in his closet and he’ll opt to go to school in the same clothes days on end.  Anyways, I digress…)  What I did find were a few things that I liked at prices that actually brought me to the cashier with a few things in hand.

I found this:

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You’re probably oohing and aahing at that amazing photo.  It’s a close up of the black herringbone pattern tablecloth I got.  Did I really need another tablecloth?  No.  But the price was too good to pass up and I could see myself pairing this beauty with all kinds of things.  Like my red chargers.

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Very snazzy.

I also found these:

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A pretty little teapot, creamer and sugar bowl set with handpainted cardinals on them.  They’re much prettier than my jealous camera is willing to show them.  Do I really need this set? No.  I think I snagged them up to go on the “gift shelf”.  I have a couple of candidates in mind for them already.  I couldn’t resist using them, though, as a centerpiece for a tablescape.  Here’s the teapot filled with some of P’s unused aquarium greenery and a couple of white silk roses:

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And here’s attempt #2 using DA’s red roses which have finished drying:

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Red roses dry very, VERY dark and try as I might I couldn’t get a good picture of them or of the teapot.  Must rig up lighting in that room specifically for taking photos.  If only P could wear table accessories, the boy would be all set!

It’s done underway.  The kitchen I mean.

The scratched up countertops in that colour I don’t really care for got replaced with pretty brown/black ones.

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Kind of hard to see in that photo.  Take a look at these closer up ones.

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Aaah….so much nicer.

And get a load of the sink and faucet.

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What an improvement over the stained, cracked, clogged and broken ones they replaced!  I can’t tell you how nice it is to do dishes and not have to worry about the stinky water that’s collecting below and to have a faucet where you can actually control the temperature of the water.  Imagine!  Life doesn’t get much better than that!

I was tempted to call this post “It’s Done!” but the kitchen isn’t really done.  It’s en route.  We still would very much like to have a custom made island to fill the big hole that is most of the room and I would very much like to have better lighting installed.  (The current lighting was obviously done with finances in mind.  It’s neither pretty nor practical.)  Another day, though, when we’ve saved another dollar or two or two thousand.  For now, I will rejoice in the steps we’ve made to having a truly great kitchen.

I have started putting the guest bedroom back together with what I have.  Absolutely nothing in the room is new.  It certainly won’t win me any awards for interior decorating but it has given me a lot of pleasure working on it which is probably better than an award anyways.

I’m not sure that I really like the duvet cover but seeing it marked for $4.99 at the Salvation Army Store, I couldn’t resist purchasing it and trying it out.  The doodads are also an odd assortment of items given to me over the years or found at garage sales.  The roses were a gift from a special ladies’ group I used to belong to.  They’re totally dried out now but still remind me of those dear women who surprised me with flowers at a low point in my life.  When I do get guests, I want to open the basket and fill it with towels and toiletries and fill the wooden bowl with fruit and goodies.  They look a little bit funny in the photos now but they will serve a purpose Lord willing one day.

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I’ve been thinking how the basement reno has been a bit like giving birth.  The timing of it wasn’t exactly convenient but “babies” come when they are ready to not necessarily when you are ready for them.

At first, it was exciting but as it dragged on and became more “painful”, we got to the point of saying, “How much longer?” and “I don’t think I can take much more of this!”.

Now that the basement has been completed, the “baby’s been birthed” (so to speak) and looking a bit like a newborn (i.e. not so photogenic yet).  In a few days, I’ll show pics of the “new one” when she’s (hopefully) looking just a little prettier.

The Good – the furnace got up and running again with little effort on the part of the service guys.

The Not So Good – the kitchen installer guy called to say that our countertop had a manufacturer’s defect in it and therefore it would have to be returned and a new one would have to be picked up, thus delaying installation.

The Very Good – the furnace problem was a result of a blunder by the basement workers and therefore they are covering the cost of the service visit and since the original countertop was defective, the kitchen installer guy got us a new one for $80 less.  (I guess that’s to cover the misery of having to wait extra days to get our kitchen updated.)

The sink is unplugged!  Three cheers!

The countertops, sink and faucet are slated to be installed today!  Yipee!

The living room has been healed of its box infestation!  Woo Hoo!

The stuff in the storage bin promises to be freed either today or Monday.  Hip, hip, hooray!

And the furnace stopped working last night.  Why?  Well, maybe it just wanted to feel like it was a part of the home improvement movement that’s been happening here of late.  Praise God for my in-laws.  I think I called them more times yesterday than I have in my whole life.  They had lots of helpful advice to offer but the end of the story is that the little furnace that wouldn’t still won’t and I discovered that this town is woefully short of technicians who will service oil heaters.  Sigh.  Actually, make that shiver, shiver.  It be a wee bit nippy here this morning.  Well, soon I expect a monsoon of workers to arrive.  Some will finish up the basement, some will install in the kitchen and hopefully at least one will service that silent furnace.  Three companies in one morning.  Whew!

P.S.  If you’ve been kind enough to read to this point, please pray especially for DA.  He didn’t get home from work last night until well after 3 a.m. and it’s awfully rough on him to have the hammering, yammering, big booted, “door opening and closing often” crew here at 8 a.m. each morning.  Sleep deprivation is starting to seriously kick in!

Things are starting to come together around here.  The latest bunch of guys working downstairs announced yesterday that they expect by Monday to be hauling our stuff back in.  Yahoo!  DA and I have been going down there more often and feeling good about reclaiming the space.  The walls are pretty much painted, the carpet and vinyl flooring look amazing and the trim and finishing touches are under way.  It will feel SO GOOD to put things away and thoroughly clean rooms again.

Today is also the day workers are supposed to show up to install our new kitchen sink, faucet and countertops.  Only one more day of this:

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I can hardly wait to enjoy my improved home.  How refreshing it will be to get up and make breakfast without hearing hammering and workboots and gentlemanly banter in the background.  How wonderful to be able to do dishes in the kitchen sink and let the bathroom be just a bathroom.  How freeing it will be to NOT have to empty the stinky water catchers under the sink before they overflow.  I am excited.  Now if the kitchen guys would just show up!

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Serious carbs.

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Serious play.

(Seriously silly post I know.  I have a thing for photographing food.  I didn’t stage P’s plate.  It just turned out looking all “perty” and since he was late for dinner I had a chance to snap a pic of it.  As for the hockey photo, I’m glad I finally got one where everything isn’t a blur.)

Sometimes you just have to sit down and laugh at the absurdity of things.  Yesterday was one of those days.  The carpet/vinyl flooring installers showed up without any warning in the morning.  I was in the shower when they rang the doorbell and stuck my head out long enough to yell down to the boys to let them in.  I came down moments later make-up-less, with dripping hair and sporting my painting duds which look more like painting rags now.  That’s not the funny part though.  The funny part was when the fellows hauled in the two giant rolls of carpet and the one medium size roll of vinyl flooring and piled them up so that the enormous entrance to our cavernous kitchen was completely blocked.

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With DA trying to sleep in on his day off upstairs and guys working downstairs, I decided to try to clean the kitchen.  There were a pile of dishes waiting.  Doing them became quite the exercise program.  Since our kitchen sink is out of commission still the dishes must be hauled upstairs to the bathroom that has a little bit of countertop.  (The downstairs bath has a pedestal sink; very pretty but not so great for doing dishes in.)

So yesterday I found myself stacking dishes so that I could carry as many as possible, taking a giant step over the carpet and vinyl, going up seven steps, rounding a landing, going up seven more steps, plunking the dishes down on a very tiny counter, washing them in a sink that clearly wasn’t designed for that purpose, restacking them, going down seven steps, rounding the landing, going down seven more steps and doing a giant step over the carpet and vinyl.  Repeat six more times until all the dishes are washed.  (That’s 98 steps up, 98 steps down and 14 giant steps if you’re into math.)  Then on to drying  the dishes and taking eight more giant steps over carpet and vinyl to put them away in the hutch in the dining room.  Whew!  What a lot of work for such a simple task!

DA just looked at me and said, “Do think God is trying to tell us we need to exercise more?”  I could only laugh and say, “Yes, I think that’s what He’s up to.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.