Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creating The Island

This phase of the renovation truly changed the feel of our kitchen. Ready for some good stuff? Yay!

First, we took out a big, mean, sturdy wall.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moving the Kitchen Sink: 3 $#&% Days!

Around 10am the Sunday after Thanksgiving I lost it. The frustrations of a year of DIY projects finally boiled over. After a 10 minute rant and a hundred expletives later all my Dad could say was "I get it." At that point, we pulled the sink cabinet back out and got to it.

This story all started about 13 years ago when the less than skilled tradesmen and poor supervision of an unqualified builder cared less about doing something right and cared more about getting it done. The kitchen in our unit had many flaws, but one that drove me nuts more than anything is that the sink and the window didn't line up. Was the sink in the wrong spot or the window in the wrong spot? I have no idea, but our kitchen update gave us the chance to fix that.

Mrs. Fix-It and I had been making progress on the kitchen renovation, but relocating the sink was the one item I knew I would have to enlist the help of my Dad. I know, how cute, father and son working together. Typically he and I working together is anything but cute.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb10: Make

December 6 :
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I'll keep this one short and sweet since I'm behind on my reverbing. Plus, you'll get to see lots more of this project on this blog.

We're renovating our kitchen. All by ourselves. I'm really proud of Mr. Fix-It, and I'm also proud of my contributions. It's a lot of work, washing dishes in the bathroom is a giant pain, and losing weekend after weekend to physical labor is tedious but it will all be worth it in the end.

Reverb10: Let Go

December 5:
Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I allowed myself to let go of me and embrace we.

My independence is of paramount importance. That's partially a tribute to how I was raised, and partially speaks to how I operate in the world. If I decided I want to do something, up until recently, I was just going to go ahead and do it. The idea of asking someone for their feedback didn't feel romantic, it felt childish. I struggled greatly with moving from me to we.

My husband, on the other hand, embraced the we from the start. Being part of a team clicked for him immediately. "Checking in" over the purchase of a sweater didn't feel disempowering, it was for the greater good of our future, finances, and he actually liked my input. (That's probably a silly example, but a perfect one - the idea of asking someone if I could buy a sweater makes me batty as a grown, working woman. I have to ask you if I can buy a sweater?! This is a conversation?)

There have been many instances where I have had to challenge myself to "let go" of my previous mode of operating, and accept that I am now part of something greater than myself.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to the Backsplash

Remember when I bid our backsplash adieu? I thought it was due time to update you on the latest.

 So, when we left off, we not only had a removed backsplash but also gaping holes in the wall. Why, you ask?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reverb10: Wonder

December 4:
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

When I hear the word "wonder" or think of cultivating a sense of wonder I can't help but picture children marveling at the world with wide eyes. Something about those sentiments are intertwined.

For me, cultivating a sense of wonder has occurred within the last few days. Last year at this time, Mr. Fix-It and I had just bought our condo, were recently engaged, and for all intents and purposes should have been celebrating a "first" Christmas of sorts. But we didn't. We didn't decorate, we didn't embrace the season. We spent the holidays 1,000 miles apart. Christmas was non-existent in our home. Nothing feel cold, or absent, it just felt like life went on. We made the decision that our real first Christmas would be our first married Christmas.

And so it was.

Warming our home with decorations, lights, holiday music and smells of family recipes has cultivated a sense of wonder in my life. It has for Mr. Fix-It too. Traditions, whatever they are, connect you to a piece of the past and help you look to the future. Mr. Fix-It and I opened a bottle of wine, curled up on our sofa, shared stories of Christmases from our childhoods and imagined years to come with our own children.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb10: Moment

December 3:  
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I mulled over this post all day yesterday. I mulled over it this morning. I can cut myself some slack because I only started reverbing yesterday, so I'm playing a little catch up, but also I'm struggling with a thought: are all my posts going to be about the same two things? Namely, losing Mr. Fix-Its mom and our wedding?

 Part of me says these will be the most boring and tedious 31 days of posting if I write about the same things over and over, and the other part of me says that those are the two most powerful experiences that have occurred in the past year and yes, they will come up again and again. Where does that leave me? Frankly, I'm not sure - so bear with me.

The best writing is honest, so I'm going to share my most honest experience of my most "alive moment". Our home phone rang at 5:48am on the morning of Tuesday, July 20. My heart dropped into my stomach and all I could think was, "oh, shit". Then I told myself, "no, no one calls our home phone. It's a wrong number at this hour. I'll just go back to bed." Then Mr. Fix-It's cell phone rang. We both looked at each other and knew something bad was happening. My heart raced. My stomach sank.

Four days prior we had learned that Mr. Fix-It's Mom's cancer was beyond treatment. They had given her a few months to live, and we were all in shock, denial, and disbelief. At that point, they were projecting her to live to approximately our wedding date. It was like a cruel joke. The days ahead that we were all so anxiously counting down, suddenly became unthinkable. All we wanted to do was hit pause. We received the news on a Friday. Our bachelor and bachelorette parties were planned for that weekend. We decided to proceed with our plans and then regroup once the weekend was over. Thoughts of an "emergency wedding" were already swirling in my head.

I went to Vegas. I returned to Chicago Midway at 11:55pm on July 19. By the time I got home I curled up with Mr. Fix-It in bed. We talked, we cried, we shared our thoughts and fears regarding the next few weeks and months. No sooner did we slip into sleep, than the phone rang with "the call".

"She just threw up a bunch of blood. We're on our way to the hospital. Come now." We leapt out of bed. Mr. Fix-It asked me if I thought he should shower. I said yes, it would probably be a long day. I can still hear the squeak of the shower handle and as he entered the bathroom he looked back and me and said, "Well, here we go..." I put on my work clothes. Black pants, ruffly purple top, black cashmere cardigan. I can still feel my feet slipping into my silver Tory Burch's. My hands were shaking. I was cold. Cold and terrified. That is the moment I felt most alive.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb10: One Word

I'm a little late to the party, but at least I showed up, right?

One Word: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now imagine it's one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

This year has shown me the power of the heart. Heartache. Heartbreak. Heart-racing anticipation. Heart-filling joy! This year has brought such an extreme of emotion it seems like a feat of the human spirit to be able to withstand it all.

The year started with a sense of worry - Mr. Fix-It's Mom's cancer had returned, and my Mom had gotten word she had a tumor in her pancreas. Both underwent treatment, my Mom's surgery was as successful as possible, and Mr. Fix-It's Mom began chemotherapy. However, as many of you know, we lost her in July. The loss will remain in our hearts for a lifetime.

The year also brought the most amazingly heart-filling, heart-brimming, overwhelming, beautiful joy.