Remember how I surprised Michael last week with his birthday party? Well last Thursday night HE surprised ME.

I walked into the kitchen after work to discover that unbeknownst to me, the kitchen countertops had been INSTALLED!



We’d been working on picking the counter tops and the guy came out to make the template for it a few weeks ago. Apparently, Michael’s plan was to surprise me with it being installed last Friday (the day before his party) but the material had been damaged and they had rescheduled. He hadn’t told me any of this!


There have been many, many stages for our kitchen remodel. The first stage was the beginning–the ugly, 1970’s decor and dark cabinets with powder blue counter tops. Michael and I were starting to date when the kitchen remodel began. I remember many, many weekends spent at his house demolishing the old kitchen together. It was back-breaking labor but very fulfilling! Demolition was a blast. And there were many Saturday nights where we realized it was almost midnight and we still hadn’t eaten dinner yet because we were so busy with the remodel.

After demolition–complete with removing the floors down to the sub-flooring, then painting, there was redoing the kitchen pantry, and there was also the assembly if the IKEA cabinets.Β Here is a photo of mid-gutting:

If you look carefully you can see the old cabinets (next to the fridge). And after painting:

A fewΒ years ago we installed the upper cabinets as well as the stove vent and the microwave. Then one summer we laid the tile in the humongous kitchen and dining room. Then we hit a wall. We lost steam for a lot of reasons. We got busy with other stuff, training for the Portland Century, traveling, and Michael’s back issues have kept us from finishing. There was also another barrier: there were some DIY mistakes that had to be fixed before we finished the floors.

With Michael losing his jobΒ a few years ago, he had time to finish some of the house projects. We hired a professional to fix the tile mistakes and finish the rest of the project: the grout, sealing the tiles…everything! Then…all the construction stopped for like 2 years. Part of that was planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, etc. We just didn’t have it in us to do house projects amidst wedding planning.

But the last few months we’ve gotten back at it and now we have a kitchen that is 95% DONE!


What’s next? The backsplash, which we’ll be doing ourselves and then we need to paint and install the baseboards and the trim around the pantry. At some point we’re going to replace all the windows in the house but that’s in the future.

I couldn’t believe that I walked into this surprise. It was amazing. I was so happy to see it done and it feels great to have one thing crossed off the list! It looks amazing and I’m just in shock. And it’s funny that he did this secretly.

Mid-day our dog walker had texted me a picture of Bella:


I should have known right then and there that something wasn’t right because usually when the dog walker is over playing with Bella she sends me goofy pictures that look like this:

Apparently Michael had cancelled Amy, took that first picture of Bella and sent it to Amy who texted it to me so that I wouldn’t be suspicious! I seriously had no idea that Michael was home all day preparing this surprise for me!

When I got home the kitchen sink hadn’t been hooked up yet so we had to go out to dinner. We went to Cha Cha Cha for Mexican food:


I ate half of it and saved the rest for lunch the next day. When we got back to the house Michael worked on installing the kitchen sink and I had to meet up my friends (previously planned) for Book Club. Even though I kinda wanted to just stay home and admire the kitchen counters. πŸ˜€


The book club met at Wine:30 and I had a glass of Pinot Gris, we chatted (sometimes about the book LOL) and then shared some chocolate covered blueberries:

I’ll post more about the book we read soon. Anyways, I got home and the kitchen counters were still there! I hadn’t dreamed it. I can’t wait to finish up the rest of the kitchen projects and be COMPLETELY DONE!! Woohoo!!!

Back Breaking Workout

Yesterday was brutal. Hard, labor-intensive, back-breaking work that lasted like 12 hours! But I’m not complaining because we are half way done with the kitchen floor! A little background: Michael bought his house a few years before I met him. He bought it with the plan to update and modernize it and then eventually sell it. Before we met he installed the hardwood floors in the rest of the house all by himself. They are gorgeous! Not long after we started dating, I helped him destroy the old retro-heinous-70’s kitchen all the way down to the sub-flooring.

We have a working kitchen now, with the new cabinets installed. We just don’t have a floor. We also have the old retro-heinous-70’s baby blue counter-top still. πŸ™‚ For various reasons we didn’t work on the kitchen very much in last two years. Well, we finally have tile installed on half of the kitchen floor! It took all day yesterday and I’m sore and tired today but HAPPY!

Yesterday Before:


Yesterday after 12 hours of work:


There’s still a LOT to do. It’s a huge space. The dining room and kitchen are all one room but divided by the counter space. We still need to do the kitchen section, the pantry and then we’ll have to rent a wet saw to cut the tiles to fit around the edge of the room.

We worked hard yesterday. There was a lot of prep work, measuring, double-checking. Michael did the mixing of the adhesive:

He spread the adhesive on the sub-flooring (it’s the picture above that looks like sheet rock on the floor) and I laid the tiles and made sure they lined up and the spacers fit, etc. It was a lot of stretching, standing, bending, twisting….OUCH!

After all the tiles are glued in, we’ll do the grout and sealant. Then we’ll have a real floor!!!! YIPPEE!!!

Since we were working on the kitchen, we had to get “fast” food. For lunch we went to Burgerville. It’s really cool that they post the calories on their receipts:

Very cool! Although my complaint is that they should probably post the calories somewhere in the restaurant BEFORE people order….I usually base my order on calories. I got the Classic Burger without cheese and it was about 500 calories.

After lunch we headed back to the house and continued the flooring.Β  When we stopped working late Saturday night, I picked up a deLite Pizza from Papa Murphy’s and cooked that for a quick dinner.

And we toasted our hard work with a little drink:

I took a hot bath with Lavender Epsom Salts before bed. It was lovely!

This morning I made pancakes! I’ve never successfully made pancakes in the past….either they were too burned or raw! Bummer. But this morning was a success!

I also made some tea–my favorite, Jasmine Pearl tea.

I am off to the pool for a swim and a VERY long soak in the hot tub!