It’s been forever, mostly because we’ve been overwhelmed by the back-to-school rush and a huge home improvement project.

Our home improvement project is that we are repainting the kitchen and all of the kitchen cabinets. It is kind of nuts.

Here’s the deal: when we bought this house, there were many, many, many things about the house that we found unsatisfactory. There still are many things that we don’t enjoy. The neighborhood is awesome, the size is almost right, the lilac tree is pretty, sure, but there’s a ton I don’t love about this house, and even more that poor Cute W doesn’t love, because he recognizes things that I don’t even notice, and then he wakes up in the middle of the night to worry about issues of basic structural integrity. There are many aesthetic things that I would like to fix, but unless it’s something that I can easily manage on my own, I’ll defer to what Cute W wants to do, for the most part. When re-painting the kitchen and cabinets percolated to the top of his “to do” list, I was super-excited. It hadn’t really occurred to me that we would ever get to this job.

When we started talking about it, we agreed: the walls and cabinets looked awful, there were dings and stains we couldn’t easily fix, whoever had painted the cabinets before–off white on top of a dark wood stain–hadn’t properly prepared the surface in the first place, and some of the doors weren’t even hung quite right, making the cabinets prone to refusing to close ever (as I’ve mentioned). Listening to all of this, M said, “I can’t believe you waited this long to do it.” At which point Cute W and I both turned on her and pointed out that we weren’t “just waiting.” We were too busy finishing the basement and replacing the roof and fixing the sun porch and removing those dreadful plastic awnings and removing the prison-like fence and painting their rooms and putting in a second full bath and redoing the original full bath and removing those awful shrubs from the front yard and repainting their rooms and repainting the basement. But, you know: whatever.

The project is massive, which means if you’re ever going to do it, you have to just start, jumping-in-feet-first style. So Cute W started removing the cabinet doors (like this one, where you can see the old stain from under the paint)

. . . and bringing them to the garage to remove the paint and sand them, and sand them, and sand them.


He is a rock star. He is still sanding these doors.

Meanwhile, inside the house, we’ve primed and painted the walls and cabinets. If you look at that upper picture, you can see that we had a faded-out yellow paint on the walls and off-white paint on the cabinets. We are switching to blue for the walls and bright-white for the cabinets. As you might expect, the house is a bit of a disaster area. For several days we had paper and plastic lining the entire kitchen floor, drawers full of silverware in our living room, and paint supplies just about everywhere. We’ve been doing quite a bit of take-out as well as half-assed dinners (exhibit A: last night’s dinner was nachos).

Was it awesome that we ended up having yet another heat wave that we hadn’t anticipated? No, it was not. Was it truly excellent timing to do this during the first week of school? No. But in fairness, we are always busy, anyway. So. Some of the inside-the-house chaos has receded by, like, a smidgen. The majority of the immovable surfaces have been painted to our satisfaction, and now we will chug away at sanding and painting drawers and doors. Also, Cute W has determined that the hinges, which were 40+ years old, just had to be replaced. So that’s another job.

The really big deadline is that we need to get this place put back together before our Spanish exchange student comes. Did I mention that we’ll be hosting a Spanish exchange student? It is only for about 11 days, but still, we are hoping to have a fully-functional (if modest) home for her to live in while she’s here. She arrives at the end of the month. Wish us luck!


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Of course, along with all of the DIY stuff going on, there’s school and fall sports for both girls. That means plenty of work for us parents, too. Since the seasons have started, we have attended at least 10 different games,  I have provided snacks and drinks, made a fruit platter, baked-wrapped-delivered brownies, and worked concessions, and ferried the girls to all sorts of “bonding” social events, while Cute W has been taking photos of as many games as he can, setting up and taking down tents for a sleepover, and has started, along with a friend, a Twitter account for M’s soccer team (why yes, you should follow: why wouldn’t you?).  There’s also signing roughly a ga-jillion syllabi and agreements that you and your student solemnly swear, for example, that you won’t recklessly blow up the science lab.

School has been good. The girls are happy and they like their friends and their teams and they are not overly stressed out about their academics. M was excited to get back to see her Latin teacher, and she’s feeling pretty enthusiastic about her social studies teacher so far. J is feeling good about 8th grade math, which was M’s toughest adjustment in 8th grade, so that’s a relief. Of course, it helps that they really do ease into the school year, with just a portion of a week before they immediately break for a 3-day weekend for Rosh Hashana. Here’s hoping for a sweet year for all of us, and for you, too!




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