On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kitchen Slowly Coming Back Together Again!

We have had a few bumps along the way but our kitchen is getting closer to being complete. The road has being rather bumpy.

Chapter 1:

Our dishwasher's handle broke. We might have been able to order the part and replace it, but since it was over 10 years old we felt that it might be best to just to buy a new one. After a week's wait our dishwasher finally got delivered. We asked Steve (our plumber) to come in and swap out the dishwashers prior to our countertops being installed. The install was a little difficult, but Steve managed all the obstacles that this old house threw his way. After some maneuvering we managed to get it in place without scratching our floors. We ran it through a cycle just to make sure everything worked okay. Everything was going fine until it got to the dry cycle, that is when we got an error message. I got on the phone with the manufacturer right away and they gave me the names of two companies that I could call. I called and a repairman came a couple days later. Well lets just say that I was not very impressed with the guy. The first thing he wanted to do was pull out the dryer without protecting the floor. I asked him to stop while I went and fetched a piece of cardboard. I am not sure what his experience level was, given that the next thing he did was call the manufacture's techline. They told him that he had to replace the lower fan. When I noticed that he was wearing brand new workboots with the tags still attached, I decided to call Lowes and see if they would just replace the whole dishwasher. They agreed to do so, but we would have to wait another whole week for a new one to get delivered. So far the second one is working just fine.

Chapter 2:

Less than a week after our dishwasher broke, our wall oven decided to call it quits too. The weird thing is that a couple of days later it decided to work again. So we are crossing our fingers that it will hold out a bit longer, our budget can certainly not afford to replace all the things that have been breaking down lately.

Chapter 3:

June 12 was supposed to be the big day, we would finally have countertops. Unfortunately, a piece of one of our templates got lost during shipment and they cut one of our countertop pieces a foot and half too short. So they were unable to complete the job. They did rush the production of a new one and they were ready to install this past Monday, but unfortunately LD and I were both pretty busy at work and I could not take the day off until Friday.

Chapter 4:

The installers were here first thing Friday morning, and they got everything done by noon. We had arranged for Steve to come by and reinstall the plumbing, and he showed up but the installers told us that the sink had to sit for at least 24 hours before anything was reconnected. So Steve agreed to come back on Monday. We have been out of a kitchen sink for over two weeks, so a couple more days was not going to kill us.

Chapter 5:

After finally deciding to spray our cabinet doors in the backyard, we got them sprayed this weekend (we were blessed with no rain). I am now brushing the topcoat on the edges, which we did not get very well with the sprayer. As soon as we get the hinges cleaned up, the doors will go back up.

Chapter 6:

Steve came back today to install the garbage disposal and get our new faucet connected. We finally have a working sink! We were so excited about finally being able to cook a decent meal in our kitchen, that we bought some steaks to grill. It was one of the best home cooked meals we have had in several months.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In Loving Memory of McBaine aka "Pretty Boy"

We feel a great void in Robin Hood's Hideaway today. Our companion of 11 years "McBaine" passed away in LD's arms this morning. A big thanks to the doctors and staff of Welborn Pet Hospital for all of their efforts, and the compassion they showed us as we said goodbye to our loved one.

We think he was actually 15-16 years old, but we never knew his true age. And we think he was a Pointer/Border Collie mix. He found us 11 years ago on a crisp March morning. We went for a run on the Katy Trail near McBaine, Missouri just to break up our routine, which usually consisted of running on the MKT Trail in Columbia. Given that there were not many people on the trail, I turned around to make sure that LD was okay. It was then that I realized that a beautiful red and white dog was following LD. I asked her if she was aware that she was being followed by a dog, and she was surprised. Well that beautiful dog kept us company for the rest of our run. We figured he must have been a stray, and we literally went door to door trying to find his owners. Nobody claimed him, and a man we spoke with told us that he had seen him running around for about a week. He also told us that the area was a popular place for people to drop off unwanted pets. So we decided to take him home with us, and made a report at the Columbia Humane Society just in case somebody reported a missing pet. After having him for more than a month, we figured nobody was going to claim him, and we decided to make him a permanent part of our family.

We enrolled him in a dog obedience class taught by a local sheriff officer. Baine was a very fast learner. At the end of our training class, the instructor suggested that he might be good for search and rescue. We didn't think much about search and rescue at that time, but a friend of ours told us that there was a person who lived right down the street from us who was a member of a search and rescue team. So LD decided to give her a call, and they invited her to bring in Baine for a tryout. LD took Baine to the local rubble pile; they were very impressed with his agility and his ability to "dance" in the rubble pile. So LD and Baine started training with the FEMA Missouri Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team, and certified him soon thereafter.  Not only was Baine a disaster search dog, but he was also a wilderness search dog with the Boone County Fire Department Wilderness Search and Rescue Team.

Baine retired from search and rescue in 2003. He was an awesome partner, teacher, friend, assistant dog trainer, puppy trainer, mentor, and hero. He made us better human beings, and we are grateful for all his gifts and unconditional love.  He changed our lives forever and enriched us. Without Baine, LD could not have accomplished all their search and rescue efforts, and the many lives she, Baine and Katy have touched.

Outside of search and rescue, he was a great friend and companion. He was with us through thick and thin. He loved going on trail runs, swimming, and always did his best at making sure that stray branches or logs in lakes or rivers made their way back to shore.

We are forever grateful to him for saving Morgan from herself when she was a puppy. As a puppy our independent-minded Morgan went on her little adventures into the tall grass prairie where a den of coyotes lived. All we had to do was ask Baine to get Morgan, and he would bravely run into the grass and retrieve our little puppy for us.

He was also a great couch potato and a food mongrel. One day we came home to find that our freshly baked loaf of bread had dissapeared. He also loved to beg strangers for their food. I was a little embarrased when after participating in the local vet school dog jog, he started barking at strangers asking them to share a piece of their bagel with him. He was definitely a "carbo boy".

Pretty Boy we love and miss you, and are grateful to you for having touched our lives forever and bringing such joy and unconditional love to us.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Finally took that IKEA trek this weekend!

We took a week off from work to concentrate on the kitchen cabinets, but after 6 straight days of staining and topcoating, we contracted cabin fever. So we decided to take a break from the kitchen, and go shopping at the IKEA in Minnesota.

We left a little after 10:00 am on Friday, and got there just in time for dinner. After devouring some of IKEA's famous meatballs, we laid out our strategy. We had already developed a list of items from the catalog and the website, but we needed to see them in person. So, we conducted a hasty search (search and rescue terminology) throughout the showroom that night. We prioritized all the items, and made decisions on color or stain. The next step was to actually buy the items.

IKEA did not open until 10:00 am, so we drove to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and enjoyed some of the views and wildlife on their trails. Unfortunately, the visitor center was closed for some major renovations. So after a really nice hike, we headed out to IKEA.

After buying all the items that made the final cut, we prayed that it would all fit in Junee (the name of my Honda Element). We took out the rear seats prior to our trip, hoping to avoid renting a U-haul trailer. Thanks to LD's excellent packing skills, it all fit, and the dogs still had plenty of room on top of all the new furniture to lounge around. We looked at each other and smiled because of all the extra space we still had. Then.......we did what anybody else in our shoes would do, we went back in for more! Why not? We drove all that way, and we still had some space to fit more items. So we got 4 bar stools and a coffee table to complete the list.

Well, we couldn't leave Minnesota without stopping at Black Dog Lake/Black Dog Park. It is one of the wetland units in the MN Valley NWR. After making our way through a residential neighborhood, we finally came across Black Dog Park. The trail was nice, but we were not sure it would lead us to Black Dog Lake.
It was getting late, so we decided to turn around. It was okay that we didn't make it to the lake because we have to go back anyways. There's so much more we need for the house! Well, we got home at 11:30pm, tired, but safe and sound. The dogs, however, were ready to go on another road trip the next morning! That's easy for them-they didn't drive, they slept the whole way!