Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: Neck (occasional but severe), back spasms

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe, Invest Like a Pro

Recent listening: YNAB podcast, This American Life, Very Bad Wizards, Sound Opinions, Radiolab

Recent viewing: Mr. Corman, Ted Lasso, Muhammad Ali (Ken Burns), The Morning Show, Catch and Kill

Recent playing: n/a

Recent events: first rain since June

Recently accomplished: Finished refurbishing the picnic table, bass lessons/practice, grass planting, ongoing drainage work, gutter cleaning, tree trimming

Imperative To Do: Contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, revisit roof replacement, finish drainage projects, replace the shed roof

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: Neck (occasional but severe), crack in right heel

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: YNAB podcast, This American Life, Very Bad Wizards, Dissect (Lemonade)

Recent viewing: Call the Midwife, 63 Up, Mr. Corman, Ted Lasso, Schmigadoon!

Recent playing: Mini Metro+

Recent events: Tina got a promotion and spent a week in Chicago training, new glasses, cancelled Netflix, office happy hour

Recently accomplished: Replaced the bench legs on our old picnic table, bass lessons/practice,

Imperative To Do: Contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, repaint picnic table, revisit roof replacement, fall lawn maintenance

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: Neck (occasional but severe), shoulders

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: Planet Money, YNAB podcast, This American Life

Recent viewing: Hit & Run, Lupin, Ted Lasso, CODA

Recent playing: Mini Metro+

Recent events: Class of 1985 reunion, Wapsi Days

Recently accomplished: Patched cement at my mom’s house, dosed cats, visited the Buddy Holly crash site

Imperative To Do: Contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, repaint picnic table, revisit roof replacement

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: Neck (occasional but severe), hands/fingers, sciatica manifested as itching in left leg, wound below right knee

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: Very Bad Wizards, Dissect: Yeezus, This American Life, YNAB podcast, Making Sense with Sam Harris

Recent viewing: NBA Finals, Falcon & Winter Soldier, Gunpowder Milkshake, Blood Red Sky, Naomi Osaka, I Think You Should Leave, WandaVision, Loki

Recent playing: Mini Metro+

Recent events: Heatwave (over 110º), 1st haircut since COVID, Thomas home, drinks with the Feirer’s

Recently accomplished: Patched gutter leaks, replaced broken drainage pipe, disposed rhododendron clippings, took Rory and Baby to the vet, ongoing bass lessons

Imperative To Do: Prep for Iowa vacation and class reunion, contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, repaint picnic table

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: sciatica, lower back, left wrist and shoulder, ankles/feet

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: The House Song by Beta Band, Come Together by The Beatles, Money by Pink Floyd, WTF Podcast (Jackson Browne), Very Bad Wizards, Making Sense with Sam Harris, Radiolab, This American Life

Recent viewing: Mythic Quest, Mosquito Coast, Hacks, Childrens Hospital, Real Time with Bill Maher, Jazz vs. Clippers, Bucks vs. Nets, Suns vs. Nuggets, Trying, Dirty John, Lucifer

Recent playing: Mini Motorways

Recent events: Rain, real-life happy hour, WWDC, dinner at a restaurant

Recently accomplished: added edging and river rock to the south side of the house, sharpened mower blades, cleaned grill, tree trimming, learned 4 different scales on bass

Imperative To Do: ride bike, store CD boxes, contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, clean gutters, visit J&J, fix gutter leaks

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: sciatica (left thigh tingling, waking from sleep on my back, morning stiffness)

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: The House Song by Beta Band, Come Together by The Beatles, Accidental Tech Podcast, Hidden Brain, WTF Podcast (Kristen Hersh), Very Bad Wizards, Making Sense with Sam Harris

Recent viewing: Mythic Quest, The Mosquito Coast, Hacks, Childrens Hospital, Lakers vs. Suns playoffs, Miranda, 1971: The Year That Music Changed

Recent playing: Mini Motorways

Recent events: Started bass lessons with Graham, annual physical (all good), bought an RB60 spreader

Recently accomplished: opened Roth IRA, planted sunflowers, cleaned the floors, poa trivialis removal, compost harvest, switched mobile carriers

Imperative To Do: ride bike, store CD boxes, contact kitchen contractor for warranty items, clean gutters, visit J&J

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: lower back, right ankle

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: Quadrophenia by The Who, Live at Leeds by The Who, Face Dances by The Who, Very Bad Wizards, Planet Money, Radiolab

Recent viewing: Mythic Quest, The Mosquito Coast, The Expanse, For All Mankind, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, White Boy, Stowaway, The Serpent, Sound of Metal, One Night in Miami, MANK, Atlanta, Nomadland

Recent playing: Mini Motorways

Recent events: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations, Graham graduated magna cum laude, shattered the screen on my iPhone 11, planted new grass, new refrigerator delivered

Recently accomplished: transferred IRA to Vanguard, finished the kitchen story, refurbished Thomas’ bass, pressure washing, filed & paid taxes

Imperative To Do: finish unpacking boxes, finish laundry room re-organization, ride bike, clean the floors, store CD boxes

Remodeling the Kitchen During a Pandemic

April

It all started with the mystery wet spot in the carpet next to the kitchen. It was about 4 inches in diameter and had no apparent source.

May

On May 2, a post on Reddit’s home improvement sub led me to check under the dishwasher. I found water steadily dripping from one side of the dishwasher because an $18 valve had been leaking.

The water inlet valve

We removed the subfloor under the dishwasher and replaced it with plywood. I replaced the valve and began to wonder how extensive the damage had been. I imagined there was an under-floor stream that went from the dishwasher directly across the kitchen to the wet spot in the carpet. It was obvious that we would probably have to remove all of the wood laminate flooring but we had been planning that for some time anyway.

The river under the floor highlighted in blue. The original wet spot is circled in red.

After some rudimentary attempts to facilitate drying, on May 26 I posted on Reddit asking what else I should (or could) do. One helpful user told me to call my homeowners insurance company. This advice changed our lives.

June

Our insurance claim was accepted on June 9 and two weeks later our kitchen was entirely enclosed in plastic with dryers and dehumidifiers running 24 hours a day. Everything had been torn out including the floor, subfloor and all the cabinetry. We had to move the contents of our kitchen and dining room to the nearby family room.

We packed most of the contents of the kitchen and dining room into our family room.

The temperature inside the house peaked at 93º despite the “bubble” surrounding the dryers. This went on through the rest of the month.

Dehumidifiers and dryers. The kitchen was over 90º at night.

July

After everything was dry, negotiations between contractor and insurance company stretched over three frustrating weeks. Our original estimator left the contractor company shortly after our project began and the new estimator struggled with the regimented process required by the insurance company. On July 23, we signed a contract to have our kitchen rebuilt from floor to ceiling and it seemed like we would soon be done eating take-out on the picnic table on the deck outside and washing dishes in the laundry room.

August

Because the moisture had touched all the adjoining rooms – dining, family, living room/office and entryway – we got new floors for five rooms. We elected to have the same vinyl planking installed in all five. The contractor crew installed vinyl planking in all five rooms from August 3-6. They also put in new baseboards and repainted the kitchen.

Planking underway

No further work would be done in August as we awaited the cabinet maker but on August 11 we were able to move the stove back into the kitchen and return to eating at the dining room table. We were still stuck using the laundry room utility sink, though.

We temporarily reassembled the kitchen as best we could.

September

The new cabinets were installed on September 1 and 2 but we did not have counters yet.

Cabinets but no knobs, pulls or sink.

Tina had purchased the sink of her dreams from Wayfair after we cleared it with the project manager. Unfortunately, he had made a mistake because the sink required granite counters but we had decided to use the less expensive laminate counters. After we considered an upgrade to granite, we decided to send back the sink and go ahead with the laminate. It seemed that we were close to the finish line when a strong, dry wind blew into Oregon on September 7. Two days later the sky began to darken.

Rotating from northern view to western and then southern view.

Eventually the smoke from nearby fires would blanket Portland and the surrounding area for over a week. Our contractor was incommunicado during this time, further delaying the project. Eventually, we realized that they had been evacuated due to their close proximity to forest fires. The smoke cleared by mid-September but counter installation was delayed until the end of the month. In the meantime, they installed our new over-the-range microwave and moved the refrigerator back into place.

Finally, the counters were installed along with the new sink.

We had to wait a few more days for the dishwasher to be installed due to a part that had gone missing.

There should be a rubber gasket around this part.

October

Five months after discovering the source of the leak, our new kitchen remodel was finally nearing completion. During the first few days of October the dishwasher was installed, the backsplash was put into place and the finishing touch was the addition of door knobs and drawer pulls.

Our glorious new kitchen
Reverse angle of the completed kitchen

Epilog

I began shopping for a new refrigerator in November and found the perfect deal shortly before Christmas. The deal was so good that the model went out of stock for two months. It was finally delivered in February.

Whirlpool French Door in black stainless steel

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2021: 0

Aches & pains: subconjunctival hemorrhage

Current reading: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Recent listening: Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys, Hidden Brain, Making Sense with Sam Harris, Women and Children First by Van Halen

Recent viewing: Young Wallander, Wallander, The Crown (season 4), Hinterland, Evil, Manhunt, The Professor and the Madmen, Star Wars (episodes 1-9), The Mandalorian (season 2), The Flight Attendant, The Undoing

Recent playing: n/a

Recent events: Election Day, Thanksgiving, mortgage refinance, shaved, Xmas vacation, fitted for hearing aids, bought Apple Watch Series 6

Recently accomplished: survived 2020, replaced living room couches, bought a new refrigerator (delivery pending), replaced CPAP machine, dryer duct inspection, roof replacement estimates, installed standing desk, gave away most of my books

Imperative To Do: finish unpacking boxes, transfer IRA to Vanguard, finish office re-organization, finish laundry room re-organization, finish the kitchen story, ride bike

Vital Statistics

Bike miles in 2020: 92

Aches & pains: right ankle and foot, back of my head, right elbow

Current reading: n/a

Recent listening: You Need a Budget podcast, Hidden Brain, Reply All, Radiolab, Van Halen II, Small Change by Tom Waits

Recent viewing: World Series game 5, NBA Finals, Raised by Wolves, Schitt’s Creek, Queen’s Gambit, Tehran, Ted Lasso, Class Action Park, The Boys, Lovecraft Country

Recent playing: Outlanders

Recent events: kitchen remodel completed, sustained a subarachnoid hematoma

Recently accomplished: back yard renovation, cleaned roof & gutters (with Graham), new outlets in dining room, GFCI outlet outside, hauled off yard debris & junk

Imperative To Do: finish refinancing mortgage, finish unpacking boxes, vote, winterize, buy a new refrigerator