Late Week Ramblings

1724 1724_ () 1724 1724 Wow! Posting at 5 p.m. on a Friday seems counter intuitive, but I just realized it’s been over a week since I put anything here and that is counter to my goals of daily posting. So late Friday it is.

The walls are closing in on me, and I am currently shut in my office with Henry and Augie who are watching Winnie the Pooh on a tiny t.v. that is on the floor in a corner of the room. Henry is running back and forth, throwing himself on a beanbag and Augie keeps pausing the movie and asking me to look at the hilarious image that creates. It is funny, I tell him. Over and over again. It’s all wonderful, but makes it really tricky for any long-term, deep meaningful posting going on. But maybe it’s been a while since I’ve come up with any such depth around here anyway. Bottom line: it’s the end of the summer and we’re all just floating along until Tuesday, September the 8th.

The reason for us being holed up in this room is that my kitchen is currently gutted, with new cabinets being installed. The workers are here and we are trying to stay out of the way. I’m very excited and cannot wait to show pictures.

In the meantime, I’m curious: have you ever renovated a kitchen while living in the house? Is it possible to do this without eating at McDonald’s every day for three weeks straight? Please answer no, that is not possible, in the comment, to assuage my guilt. Thank you.

This morning, Paul and I loaded up the boys and headed out to the Granite Capital of the World to pick out counter tops. This had the two-fold purpose of a) picking out counter tops and b) getting us out of the house for most of the day. Also, this was an excuse to eat breakfast on the road and maybe (don’t judge) lunch. This morning, it was all we could do to locate the microwave and warm up some chocolate milk for Henry before heading out. And that was really pushing the envelope.

Also, the boys and I spent the week taking care of a farm for some friends. The couple went to visit their daughter who is a cloistered nun up North, and you will read all about our adventures later next week when I publish my column. Because Tuesday afternoon I got an email (on my Blackberry, because I had crazy-limited Internet) from my editor wondering about my column. The one I had not started or given any thought to or even knew was due. So I had about 90 minutes to a) figure out how to turn on the computer, b) figure out how to sign on to the (dial-up) Internet, c) figure out what to write about and d) write. All while my five boys swirled about me and I had to ardently keep track of what knickknacks Henry was discovering and also what *other* foods the boys were currently ingesting. I felt like that was the theme of the week: feed the animals, feed the boys, feed the animals, feed the boys. The boys got on a pack-a-day popsicle kick that I was helpless to stop.

So I got the column done and I’m sure glad I had no idea what I would have faced that afternoon because I would have been stressing BIG TIME. As it was, I had a publicity-team conference call for my upcoming book (!!!) that I had to deal with (as an aside here, my seven-year-old currently has a major crush on me. He is going through that phase where he stands next to me and wants me to watch him do this and that and this one other thing. I love it, it’s a sweet stage. It’s also a tad intense at times, but I don’t want to ask him to take a break, to give me a little space, because then he might stop doing this. And I’d be sad. It’s complicated.).

So, conference call: went pretty good, and luckily my friend Barbara who lives down the way out at the farm came over to keep the boys occupied and out of the chicken coops while I talked to the fine ladies who will be promoting my book (!!!). It was a good call, I was a little stressed, and I’m just praying all the details come together the way they should.

I will post pictures later. For now, deep breath and because the boys have left the room I need to go found out exactly where they are and what trouble they are finding.

Sorry if you feel dizzy after reading this. I do too. 1724″>



  1. I've never completely gutted the kitchen, but we did have the flooring redone in there a few years ago. I was able to keep stuff in the fridge, which was moved into the living room, but I had no access to the stove, and couldn't even get to the microwave. We hate takeout for several days, had picnics on the floor of our bedroom (which the boys totally loved!!) and washed what few dishes we used (mostly paper products!!) in the bathtub. Boys also loved that!! It was an adventure – so don't feel bad about the McDonald's. You do what you have to do.

  2. ComfyMom~Stacey says:

    I lived in the house while our kitchen was gutted. I was pregnant at the time. The kitchen is the center of the house, you have to walk through it to get just about anywhere else in the house. The contractor was a friend of ours and lived with us for the whole 10 weeks. The fridge was plugged in out on our porch and we had no sink for 5 of those weeks

    I was able to cook most of the time. Assuming the stove was accessible & connected to electricity. But I was only feeding adults who could fend for themselves if need be. Had the boys been born I would have had far more pizza & McD's

  3. ViolinMama says:

    I love how you end your blogs. I know it is reality…but you just make it…I don't know….perfect. Like we all want MIA boys that have stealth capabilities? 🙂

    Good luck with the remodel. My husband and I are either very bad at and procrastinate doing home upgrades, or we just like simplicity and status quo. Hmmmmmm…which one shall I take?

    Love the post, the farm, and the endless feeding. No wonder you seem so fit – the endless caretaker! Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. OH Rachel, we are living the dream right now. And by dream I mean it has really been a dream to get a new kitchen. Our kitchen was gutted(including the floor). We hope to be done this coming week.
    My boys won't eat McD's (me on the other hand…) so we have been having cereal bars and PB&J for every meal. We do have our microwave plugged up in the dining room, so we make those individual cups of mac &cheese too. Those things aren't cheap!
    I keep thinking of it like childbirth, it is rough going through it, but will be exceptional when it is finished.
    Good luck!

  5. coffeemom says:

    Ok, Rachel, this should assuage your guilt. Shortly after my two girls came home as infants (2 separate adoptions, long story) we gutted our kitchen (because we are nutcases). We had NO kitchen at all for 3 1/2 months. We had a fridge and a micro and a tiny bathroom sink just to the side of the construction (go through plastic flap to get there). We ate pop tarts and taco bell for 3-4 months, I swear. It wasn't pretty. It was real. Do the math: 3 kids, TWO infants + no kitchen and ridiculous construction (living in it) = pop tarts, taco bell. Period. Sometimes we mixed it up with subway.
    And we all lived to tell the tale!

    Good luck and my sympathy! M

  6. coffeemom says:

    To clarify: that's 3 kids PLUS 2 infants during the gutting. (and dog and cat). We lived in one room and one bath. It was wild. We got to know our contractor VERY well….You can do it!

  7. Anonymous says:

    We had just gutted the ktichen when our daughter called and said her traveling music ministry team, all six of them, had nowhere to go for a week. Could they come and crash at our house?
    The refrigerator was in the hall and we cooked on top of the washer. Amazing what you can do with a microwave, crockpot and electric frypan. Washed dishes in th laundry tub, though we did use as much paper as possible.

    Yes, it was a huge hassle. Yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat. They were used to making do and all pitched in. It was a wonderful week full of blessings. So hang in there and count your many, many blessings–this roo shall pass.

    And the new kitchen is wonderful!

  8. Michael and Kristine says:

    Stick with it! We tore down walls and completely gutted our kitchen (while doing other work) all while I was pregnant – in my first trimester! Since I was a teacher at the time, and it was summer, I was home. And my husband and father were doing all the work so it took about 3 months. But, I did survive…and laugh when I look back on that crazy time.

  9. Betsy Madison says:

    Oh my dear, I believe that it is IMPOSSIBLE to live in the house with the gutted kitchen and not eat at MckyD's for all meals. My super talented, but ADHD and procrastinating husband, did our remodel. The most effective motivational tool was, "I WILL NOT WASH DISHES IN THE BATHTUB! We will do poptarts for breakfast, eat lunch at school/work, and eat out EVERY night until it is finished." It was amazing how quickly he got it finished!!!

  10. Waiting for the day I can actually gut my kitchen, but can sooooo relate to the end of the summer comments!

  11. mammamilk says:

    We gutted our entire first floor (except for the living room)- kitchen, wood floors, bathroom, laundry room (!), dining room. We had four kids at the time, and one decided to potty train during it. We managed, but it was tough. The pizza delivery gal recognized us and asked us how the remodel was going every time she came. It was stressful, but the results were worth it. I wouldn't recommend doing so much at once, though. We had a water leak and were forced to do it at one time.

  12. We completely gutted our kitchen when I was pregnant with number three, and let me tell you– squishing my substantially pregnant self between the toilet and bathtub to do the dishes was no fun. I apparently have expunged from my memory any recollection of just how we did make it through that time, but I know that I quit doing much of anything in the kitchen until the sink was finally installed.

    And yes, Rachel, there is a way to avoid eating at McDonald's every day for weeks on end. It's called Burger King. Or maybe Taco Bell, but not for breakfast…

    Anyway, you will be so thrilled with your new kitchen that you'll forget all about those weeks of fast food, and the boys will remember all those weeks very fondly.:-) Can't wait to see the pictures!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not only is it possible, we're doing it right NOW. (eating out almost every meal and gutting our kitchen) We are constrained to one living space and have turned the dining room into sort of a kitchen. It holds the microwave, toaster oven, coffee pot and electric skillet. With two large teenage boys, it's getting VERY claustrophobic. But every day is one step closer to being finished. Keep telling yourself that. Also alcohol helps(in large quantites).

  14. Anonymous says:

    You sure love to live on the edge Rachel! God speed girl – And happy "last week of summer" for your brood. – Michelle

  15. Anonymous says:

    We lived in our house while the kitchen was gutted and a family room, garage, etc. were added. During this time (without a kitchen) our youngest daughter got married. I'm really not sure how we pulled that off….
    To answer your question…NO it is not possible to live without a kitchen and still cook dinner at home! Not if you want to save your sanity.
    The end result of our revovations is wonderful….would I do it again? Not in a million years!!
    Mrs. H.

  16. We just completed a total gut/renovation of our kitchen about a month ago. We have 6 children and made it through somehow. One thing that was extremely helpful: Once my cabinets were installed, the construction guys cut a piece of plywood and put my old sink into it so I wouldn't have to wash dishes in the bathroom. They also put a piece of plywood over another section of cabinets so I could sort-of prepare food. So I was without a sink for only a week — definitely not too awful!

    Good luck with the project! It is definitely worth doing!

  17. Courageous Grace says:

    While I have not had to do a kitchen remodel (yet) I do remember when my mother and I were moving from WA to TX (I was 13). We couldn't leave until the closing, and it ended up taking nearly a month longer than it should have. Since we didn't know when it would be, we lived off of Taco Bell nearly all of that month, using boxes for a table and sitting on the floor. Although the appliances were still in the kitchen, everything else was packed up and we didn't feel like unpacking to find dishes/food/cookware/utensils/etc.

    Ah, memories. The kitchen will come in a few years.

  18. Hey Rachel,

    I am SO proud of you and your BOOK!!! You GO girl! How DO you find the time?? I love you!

    -Rony from Cali