Mise en Place

Everything in its place

Before and after the kitchen remodel.  It looks nothing like the old space - it’s more open, better organized, a real cook’s kitchen.  We have a few touch-ups to do here and there, but it is done, and I’m in love with it!

Sometimes people say such stupid shit.  

Life is so, so good right now.  Over the weekend, we celebrated my Mom’s 90th birthday with a backyard BBQ at my brother’s house.  Most of her grandchildren were there, with their spouses/SOs, and so many of my cousins came, one flying in from California with his wife and daughter, another from Philadelphia with his wife.  We made all Mom’s summer favorites:  my brother grilled chicken using my Dad’s recipe, one sister brought corn from Iowa freshly picked, my other sister made a giant fruit salad, and I made German potato salad for 40 people (in my neighbor’s kitchen).  My sister Gretchen made a beautiful cake, and my niece made enough jello shots for an army, then taught Grandma how to properly consume them.  Grandma is now a big fan of the jello shot.  My favorite picture of the day is the one of Emily, Mom and me.  Mom was so happy that so many people came to celebrate with her.

The kitchen continues to come together - we now have a microwave and the magic oven.  Love the pendant lights and the chairs; just trying to be patient waiting on the granite.

The little garden continues to grow - tomatoes will be ready soon - if the damn squirrels don’t beat me to it.  And how hot do we think that Hungarian hot pepper is? 

It’s starting to come together (at last)!  Most of the appliances arrived this week, cabinets are being installed.  The electrician is here now (Sunday morning) to change out the electrical panel, and the ovens arrive tomorrow.

Things I am excited about:  That wall of cabinets is more storage than I had total in the old kitchen, the garbage and recycling will now be hidden away.  They miscounted the handles - I need 41, not 35!!  Six more places to put things.

Also, made a really good pizza in a cast iron pan on the grill with Ghost Pepperoni from Underground Meats.  Not as spicy as I feared.  I may miss making pizza on the grill (not really).

Edit:  That is not the countertop, it is an old door that we are using as a counter until the grate arrives.

True Confession Monday

We are having houseguests for the week.  We have no kitchen, and stuff that was in the kitchen is everywhere.  Being the good hostess, I have cleared drawer space in the guest room by unloading those drawers into suitcases that are stashed in closets.

Icy Moon Drops

That’s the name of the paint color for the kitchen.  Who names this stuff, the person who couldn’t cut it naming nail polish?


Ruth is the absolute best neighbor.  She offered her garage as a warehouse for our stuff during the kitchen remodel.  When we pointed out that we had a perfectly good garage to put stuff in, she said, “But I never park my car in the garage, and you guys don’t have a driveway.  You can’t park your nice cars on the street.”  So, her garage is now a warehouse, full of old appliances, the contractor’s drywall, saws and tools.  She also gave me a key to her house, with instructions to feel free to come over and cook in her kitchen if I needed to.  Last Friday, Lou and I were in her kitchen making dinner for her when she came home from work - Sea Bass Veracruz with couscous and a salad.  She thought that was very nice of us.  Good neighbors are the reason we chose to remodel rather than move.

I miss my kitchen.  Not the ugly-ass cheap cabinets and the dysfunctional layout, but the ability to cook and bake.  The last of the appliances and the sink were pulled over the weekend (thank goodness no ugly surprises in the sink wall).  We are now on option 5 for a range hood, as they keep running into I-beams holding things up and restricting/blocking the exhaust path.  I truly want to be able to exhaust to the outside, but it just may not be feasible.  We are now reduced to the grill and a toaster for cooking, although I managed a very good pizza Margherita for dinner last night, and a serviceable braised pork shoulder over the weekend.

New floors go in on Thursday/Friday! 

So, this week, is it over yet?

It’s been a week.

  • In Canada again.  They apparently have quite the notes on my file, because I was in immigration (again) for half an hour.  At the end of reading through everything on my file, he asked, “Are you here for the same thing this time?  Only 4 days?” Yes.  And yes.  ”OK, go ahead.”  
  • Drivers in Montreal are the worst.  It explains why my friend was repeatedly flipped off in Toronto.  He was driving a rental car with Quebec plates.  
  • Why, in the rest of Canada, are the signs in both English and French, but in Quebec, they are ONLY in French?  
  • My French-door double oven probably isn’t going to happen.  The contractor actually read through the installation instructions (what?) and pointed out that we lack the clearance for the doors.  Poop.  Regular old Viking double oven for me.  Feel sorry for me, people!
  • United sent me a text at 1 am that they cancelled my flight home today (Thursday). And rebooked me.  FOR SUNDAY.  Oh, hell, NO!  I got on the phone with the travel agent who booked my travel, and am leaving on Air Canada at the EXACT same time.  30 minutes later, I got an email from United that they had rebooked me on Air Canada.  I see what you did there, and United, you are full of shit.
  • I had an email from an old friend that her brother died.  He was my first boyfriend in high school, and was a great friend to me in a very awkward stage in my life. I was always the smart girl, and he made me feel like the beautiful smart girl.  I was always grateful for the confidence he gave me.  
  • The hotel this week was overrun with preteen girls and their mothers in Montreal for the North American Irish Dancing Championships.  I did not know that many rhinestones existed.  And really, girls, eat something.  I heard one mother make a comment to her daughter that she was really “pigging out.”  The girl responded that she was done with her competition and would “be good” next week.  It made me a little sad.
  • I’m working on the statement of work for my next project, trying to keep it to 20-25 hours per week.  People keep adding things, and I keep saying no.  I really want to wrap things up by the time Baby S arrives.  
  • At the airport, waiting to go home for a 4-day weekend.  Long posts like this are the result of too much time at the airport.  Have a happy and safe 4th, everyone! 

The tomatoes are growing, the basil bed is overflowing, the Hungarian hot pepper plant already has 3 peppers, one of which is fully grown.  And then there is my poor little Serrano pepper plant, which appears to have remained the exact same size for the last month.  It probably doesn’t help that the squirrels have dug it up twice already.