The kitchen update summary

The kitchen remodeling projects are trucking along at top speed. Since Monday, we’ve gotten can lights installed and the old tile taken out. It’s not the most exciting part of the work being done, but necessary.

The new drywall is up and ready for skim coat tomorrow and paint soon after. I think we’re going white, which makes me very happy. I’m oh so fond of a white and cobalt blue kitchen and white walls are the first step. Monday or Tuesday of next week the new floors will be laid.

The cabinets are confirmed to deliver on Thursday April 9th, right as originally scheduled. Things get exciting after that. Cabinets hang and then they come out to measure and make templates for the new counter top. The house originally had beige laminate, but we’re upgrading and I can hardly wait to see it in place.


Monday March 31 was Aunt Net’s funeral.

I didn’t really ever get to say goodbye. In my family, we don’t say goodbye. It’s “bad luck” to say goodbye. We say see you later, or toodles, and we make bunny ears at each other. At least Maman and I do. I don’t know if my sisters know the secret sign for all is well and I’ll see you again soon.

By the time Aunt Net’s cancer had become really advanced, she’d pushed me away and refused all offers of visits. She said she didn’t want me to remember her that way and she made me say toodles, like it was just another phone call.

But it wasn’t. It was the most gut-wrenching, horrible thing I’d ever done because I knew it was really goodbye. Aunt Net wouldn’t take my calls after that and told Maman to tell me that everything was fine and not to worry, but I knew it wasn’t.

How can it possibly be “fine” when your life is ending because your own body has betrayed you and is eating away your vitality from the inside? How can it be “fine” when it’s so bad that you don’t want anyone to see you “that way?”

So this is what I’m stuck with – a lack of closure because I needed to say goodbye to her and yet she needed me not to for some reason that I’m not sure I’ll ever understand because to me love means that sometimes you have nothing more you can do but hold someone’s hand.

And when you offer you offer your hand and it’s pushed away? Well, it leaves a whole lot of empty to work through before it feels right and I’m not sure I’ve got enough time left on this earth even if I live to be 115 to work through it all or that it will ever really feel right. And this is the place I’m at a year later: stuck hand that was rejected and toodles when it should have been goodbye.

Without walls

Google "auto awesome" put this panoramic together.
Google “auto awesome” put this panoramic together.

This is how my kitchen and dining area looks without walls. I’m so very happy with how this is coming along.

The “auto awesome” makes’ AJ look odd, but it’s a great representation of what my new open floor plan is going to look like when it’s finished. The run is long enough that have to keep a small post in the center, but that works out just fine because code says we have to run power to the island (marked in duct tape on the tile section) anyway.

More pictures (including the pre “awesome” pictures) at:

how I spent my Saturday

We went from this:

Looking into the kitchen: Before
Looking into the kitchen: Before

To this:

Looking into the kitchen: After
Looking into the kitchen: After

Remodeling Stage 1 (Demo) is complete. No injuries on the job site, unless you count my completely gutted kitchen. Beigelandia is history.

For those who are interested, more documentary pictures can be found here:

The New Job

I don’t normally talk about my job in public forums. It’s a sort of rule with me. I’m breaking the rule for the moment because it’s part of the theme of the week, but also because I really love my job.

Weds March 26 – 3:00 PM – Interview for what becomes my current job
Thurs March 27 – job offer for the job I interviewed for on Wednesday

Changing jobs is stressful, whether it’s by choice or not. Interviewing, while not officially on the Holmes and Rahe scale is stressful by merit of being part of that process. By this point in the week last year, I’d already racked up 20 points for a change in residence and 25 points for a change in living conditions (due to living in a semi-construction zone), 47 points for dismissal from work, and 63 points for the death of a close family member. At 155 points, that’s at the point where there’s moderate risk of stress actually impacting your health.

When you add them all up and put them on the average internet stress survey, it tends to put you in the “at risk” category and recommend counseling or stress management assistance. I could have used it by then, but I was too numb to realize it at the time.

Of the things that happened during this stressful week last year, interviewing for and getting this job was one of the most positive (the house being the other despite my trepidation).

The interview was extremely hard. I went into it doing everything I knew how to do to avoid revealing that on the inside I was a total mess. I wanted to sit on the floor in the middle of the new place and rock until things didn’t hurt anymore, but there just wasn’t any time for it. I would have had to delay my interview for that, and despite everything else I was so excited for the opportunity this particular interview that I didn’t want to do anything that might jeopardize my chances.

As hard as it was to keep it together, I’m glad I didn’t put the interview off. I was so much more excited about the position by the time I left that I did something I’ve never done before: as I was being escorted out after the interview time, I flat-out told the boss that I really wanted the job, loved the idea of it, and that I really wanted to join their team. I also let them know that I had some really great interviews coming up in the next few days, but I was super excited and this was my first choice.

I was afraid I fan-girled it. Too enthusiastic. Tripping over myself to try to make a good impression and ultimately falling on my face. I consoled myself with the idea that I had six interviews lined up over the next two weeks and certainly something good would come through if this particular opportunity didn’t work out.

I got the offer the next day and accepted it immediately.  I’ve been extremely happy that I did.

It’s not always an easy job to love. I help facilitate items through our new product introduction area. The work is interesting and fulfilling, at least to me, but very often items land on my desk not just “hot” or “on fire” but complete infernos because they’re either pushing deadlines or people forgot to get me involved in the process earlier. I’m getting people cued in to add me earlier, but due to the nature of the area I work in, there are always going to be time constraints and logistical challenges.

I have great coworkers. Management in my department is very responsive to suggestions and are always looking for opportunities to improve. Best of all, I’m being given some exciting opportunities to develop and take my career to the next level.

It’s challenging sometimes, especially when things are flaming out all around me, but also extremely rewarding when things finally come together. The worst day here is far and away better than the best day at my previous job.

Aunt Net

I was skimming the offerings on Zulily the other day, looking to see if there was anything I needed when I came across a black rooster statue.  My first thought was Aunt Net would like that. It’s not terribly expensive. Maybe I should pick it up for her.

Except, she’s gone and has been gone for a year now.

I really didn’t have time to process that she had actually passed when it happened. I was in the middle of what was arguably the worst week I’ve ever had, and there just wasn’t room in that week to fit in processing everything that was happening.

So this is the way I’ve lost Aunt Net. Not at the viewing or during the planning of her funeral, but bit by bit like clawing chunks out of my flesh. A bouquet of brightly colored flowers here. A skinny stray cat we helped find a home there. A salt and pepper set another time. A black rooster statue or Guernsey cow print that remained unbought because it was for Aunt Net.

There’s no more reason to buy anything for her. I wonder when I’ll stop discovering she’s gone all over again. I wonder how many times I’ll stab myself on that realization before I finally learn that fact and can live with it as part of my life.

An apology

I know the blog has been really morose lately and for that, I apologize.

I’ve been actively treating my depression for 12 days now and I can see some improvements in that I actually have the urge to write again, but I also can see just how depressed I’ve really been and how many things I just haven’t been mentally dealing with because I just didn’t have the emotional strength or capacity to do much more than get up and go to work. Some of that urge to write is just deep cleaning my mental space so that I can move on to better, more positive things.

Writing this blog is one of my treatment actions. Yes, it can be sad to learn that your friend has been struggling for a very long time and has put on the as happy as I can make it face and made a good front. From my standpoint, some of this has been tough to write. I’ve been very used to not talking about it with anyone because I didn’t want to burden them.

Fat lot of good that’s done for me, obviously.

The thing is, as hard as this is, it has a positive benefit in that I can acknowledge it and put it away instead of brooding about it and letting myself sink deeper. As I do this bit of mental housekeeping, it makes room for thinking about other things.

It seems like with every post I find something more positive to think about and write about like “Will I try to do RAGBRAI this year?” (maybe? – Lots of variables here.) “When will it be warm enough to go on the first Kayak trip?” (not soon enough. I want to Kayak NAO!!) or my current mental obsession “Will the kitchen remodel be as awesome when it’s finished as I think it will?” (spoiler alert on the last one: oh, yes. It’s gonna be amazing.)

And that’s really the point of all of this: I’m handing all the things that have been dragging me down over to the universe to mind. I just don’t have the strength to carry them all anymore.

What was I doing a year ago today

I don’t remember what I did a year ago today. I might have been painting and moving boxes into the new house. I might have been looking through the want ads for job postings. I might have been doing any number of things.

When I was doing them, I was too numb to feel the weight of it all.

I went through the motions of the work that needed done and somehow I managed to do it, despite the numb or perhaps because of it. You get used to the numbness, to not feeling anything as you go about your day and while it isn’t pleasant to feel numb, either, you tell yourself it’s got to be better than falling into the black abyss that you’re teetering beside. You just do what you have to and the rest falls away. It just takes so much energy to do what you have to do when you’re battling depression, too, that there’s no time for anything else.

I’ve hit the point now, a year later, where the medication it took me far to long to finally get is starting to work and I feel again. It’s not always good – the feeling, but it’s better than the not feeling and there’s starting to be enough time between the wound and the present for things to have some semblance of normality.

The New House

We got possession of the new house, the house on Teakwood, on Friday March 21, but it didn’t really feel like it was really ours until we walked in the door on Saturday, March 22nd, to start the painting and to some degree, I didn’t really want the new house.

House hunting had been a perennial part of our lives since at least the spring of 2008 (and perhaps even starting as early as 2006.) The old place, as much as it was the right choice when we moved in, wasn’t fitting the bill anymore and hadn’t for some time and when we looked at bringing in contractors to try to remodel the interior, we found that the effort was far beyond our means. If we wanted a different configuration, we needed a different house – which, on the Love It or List It scale was a firm “list it.”

But I didn’t really want to move.

We’d lived there for so long by the time we found the new place. Almost 15 years, which is to say the vast majority of my adult life and nearly as long as I lived in the house I grew up in – which was 17 years. It was painful and far from perfect, but it represented the longest period of stability of any kind in my life and I was afraid that leaving the old house would also mean abandoning the rock my life was anchored to and drifting away.

But ithe new place really was a good house. There was room for all of us, including the roommate’s cousin, who was staying with us at the time. The backyard looked back into a greenspace – flood abatement for the little creek that ran through the area. It needed some paint and a kitchen remodel (which starts this weekend – finally) but I really couldn’t find much to complain about except the color of the brand new carpet and the walls, and so the roommate made the offer and after a month of back and forth, we got the house.

When we finally got posession, we bought paint and set to work. It was early on Saturday morning. The day was cool, but sunny and bright. We’d barely gotten the paint cans opened when I got the call from my contact at the temp agency telling me my job wouldn’t need me on Monday March 24. I wasn’t terribly surprised. Things had been slow since before Christmas and the contractors are the first to go, so I’d been looking since the first of the year and even had some interviews lined up for the next week.

I still sat down in the middle of the kitchen cried. No matter how prepared I might have been, it still felt like yet another blow in what had been years of relentless pounding and I just kind of broke then. New house. Painting to do. No job. Uncertain prospects and the knowledge my Aunt was coming home from the hospital for what was certain to be the final time – and the week was just getting started.