Monday, July 20, 2009

The Destruction Hath Begun....

So, this is how we started our twenty-ninth year of marriage: tearing out a kitchen.

Yesterday morning I took a few pictures before we got started. My husband was kind enough to let me take my time. He knew I was having a hard time with it. I don't know what it is: this house does that to you. I remember the woman who lived here before us crying as she unloaded all her items from this kitchen, and having to say goodbye to the house when it came time to pack up THAT room. A mom spends a lot of time in the kitchen. And she thinks a lot while she works in there, too. So I guess we all bond with our kitchens! And if the kitchen is the heart of the home, that's what tugged at my heart yesterday morning was that bond I feel with the kitchen.

Thinking on her feet, my daughter reminded me on the phone that morning that I would want some pictures to keep. So.... I got out the camera, took the different views, then started to unload the contents of my whole kitchen into boxes and totes.

I said my good-byes. (I'm serious. I never start a project out in this house without some sentimentality. I'm getting teary now!) I remembered how I watched my oldest two kids catch the bus (or get home) from the window here, watched my husband pull in with the truck after a day at work.

After she became a driver, I watched my daughter pull into her "parking spot" right in front of the window over the sink, relieved that she made it home safely once again.

As I cleaned out the drawer that held the dishtowels, I found a couple of my youngest son's bibs from his babyhood. The hot tears fell again. I remember spooning the food in that hungry little mouth while his chubby fists slapped the tray of his high chair. Those days were such happy ones, caring for an innocent little guy. Those then turned into the ones where we sat on the floor and played with his Fisher-Price ABC magnets on the fridge and those changed into the kind of sunny days that found me setting him up to coloring in a coloring book with beginner crayons in a "big-boy" chair at the table.

My mind went back to more warm memories, the days that I home schooled my son from kindergarten through fifth grade here at this table; that alone is reason enough to cry: we had some wonderful times together learning, both of us.

There are sweet memories of me on the floor with the kids as we played with the dogs, all of them loved very much, most of them long gone, now. We celebrated holidays, birthdays, carved pumpkins all together on top of newspapers spread on that table, frosted hundreds of cut out sugar cookies, did dishes at the sink while I watched the snow fall, watched deer cross the road as I peeled potatoes, heard the call of a pheasant through the screen on a gentle fall day, watched as the farmers around us worked their fields with the excitement that only harvest can bring. I remember cool fall nights as we all worked together to package the venison from a deer that one of the guys was thrilled to have gotten out behind the house.

Yes, there's been lots of living in this kitchen.

But times change. Things go bad, get crooked, are worn out. Drawers stick and become impossible to open, doors become irreparable and won't stay shut, paint peels, and electrical outlets become out of date and dangerous. Lighting becomes too dim and impractical. It's time, past time, really to make it all new again. And so we began what will be a big project here at the farmhouse.

We ripped out the heart of our house, so that we can transplant it and make it better.

The first bang of the hammer on the old plaster began the mess of taking it all down that would last for two days...and it ain't over yet, but I thought I'd take plenty of pictures to show you our progress, and hopefully one day soon, you will see a metamorphosis: the result in a new "farmhouse kitchen" because of of lots of hard work by my husband, mostly, (sainted man that he is) and with our help he can get this turned into a farmhouse kitchen with all the modern amenities. Today he/we deconstructed all the stick-built cabinets and then worked on getting all the rest of the plaster off the walls.

We set up a makeshift sort of kitchen in our attached garage, with an electric grill and fry pan, dishpans, my pie safe with the basic dishes inside and crates and totes full of the rest sitting in stacks for when it's all finished and we can move back in. Mealtimes will be VERY basic for awhile. If it cannot be done in an electric fry pan or grill, or cooked outside on the grill...guess we won't be having it!

Let me just say this about my long-suffering husband. Owning an old farmhouse was NOT ever his dream. It was mine. We both wanted to live in the country, but he never has said "OOhhhhh!" when he saw a pretty old farmhouse.

But I can tell you that if it were not for THIS man, I would not be able to live this dream. Men who know how to DO THINGS on a house are a marvel to me. This man doesn't let much get to him. He works diligently and is not as in love with this house as I am, and yet does it all anyway. He only turns the air blue every now and then, and I can't say that I blame him. NOTHING is level. NOTHING goes smoothly. NOTHING ever turns out like we think it will. We have to accept compromises on what we THOUGHT we could or would do. We have to make do sometimes instead of making it like we want it.

But I enjoy working with this man I call my husband very much, and we have made a lot of memories working as a team in each and every room we've redone. It's been eighteen years...and we've had something going on almost all the time.

And, thankfully, this kitchen is the last room this poor man will have to totally break down and start over on in this old house. He has my undying respect and thanks for putting up with me and this old house for so long. I am so glad that he isn't afraid of hard work and that he loves me enough to help me make a dream come true. If it were up to him, we'd be in a new build that didn't require this sort of work!

He remembered a doo-rag he had, and got that out to wear because the dust was just a-flyin'! The weather was very pleasant, and we only had to open the window for a nice, cool breeze. Unreal for the middle of July!

Here he's standing on what's left of the old counter to get the plaster off up near the ceiling over the sink. I helped with cleanup of the cupboards as he ripped them out and hauled the pieces outside...and got to help a little bit with the ripping down of the old plaster. He's like an old pro at it, and I am as bad about handling a crow bar and hammer as I am about properly throwing a baseball: I do it like a GIRL.

Tomorrow I have some shopping to do: I need to get a faucet, light fixtures and stamped tin for the ceiling. I also have to stop in at the countertop shop and look at materials and get someone scheduled to come out and measure for countertops.

My long-suffering husband took a week of vacation to get this going. We have a bet going about how long it will take. He says it will be done before the tomatoes are ready to can. I hope so!

It sure looks pretty sad right now! Doesn't this make YOU want an old farmhouse?


Sue said...

Best of luck to you!
We've done this TWICE. And each time I've redone an old house, I say NEVER AGAIN. But wow, I'm always very very happy with the result. So maybe in another 20 years..........

Chicken Herder from Westville said...

That seems like a tremendous job. One week does not seem enough time to finish it. You are a lucky woman, your husband sure sounds like a keeper!

KathyB. said...

I especially love your words about your husband, because yes, the life I love involving a flock of sheep, a pack of dogs, and flocks of poultry is NOT the life my husband envisioned. He builds the pens, and helps me manage the animals because he loves me! What does a woman do without someone in her life who loves her enough to support her and help make her life more fulfilling and enjoyable? I think this post has reminded me of how very much of my life just assumes a good husband is always there, and how much I truly do appreciate him...and how very much he deserves the same from me. Thank-you. I am looking forward to seeing what the team at Old Centennial Farmhouse will be accomplishing this summer.

Carol Murdock said... are a brave soul to start this before canning time! LOL
I'm wishing you good luck and can't wait to see the finished project! xoxo

Farmgirl Cyn said...

SO many things to be thankful for! What a blessing the new kitchen will be. And what a perfect time of year to re-model. I rarely cook on my stove in the summer...nearly everything is done on the grill these days! Can't wait to see the end results.

Chrissy...The Apothecary Shop said...

Big job yes,well worth it in the end though!!! Love your farmhouse and can not wait to see the kitchen finished!! Chrissy

Ali said...

I am so excited for you! And a stamped tin ceiling? That is going to be beautiful!! I am sorry you are sad thinking about the memories in the "old" kitchen (even made me tear up!), maybe if your kitchen looked like mine it wouldn't make you sad, mine is AWFUL! I would LOVE for it to look like yours did lol! Good luck, I hope things run as smoothly as possible, and I can't WAIT to see the end result!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Oh girlfriend...I FEEL your pain! -grin- We've been at it for donkey's years and it ain't over yet...sigh. The new kitchen will be beautiful and full of memories in no time atall, keep the faith!


YES I want an old farmhouse!! I love remodeling, but then again I don't have to figure out how to make things work when the walls and floors are all wonky!! Have fun and I can't wait to see the pic's when its all done(;

Unknown said...

This made my eyes well up with tears. I get sentimental about things like this too. You will love your new kitchen and the old photo's will keep the memories alive. I hope it's finished before canning needs to be done.

I just hired a cabinet maker to build an island for my kitchen. I told him I wanted it done before sweet corn comes on. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.;D

Parisienne Farmgirl said...


I can not wait to see what you do with your kitchen. I love kitchens!

Thank you so much for sharing all your memories. Have you ever heard that old Amy Grant song called "If these Walls Could Speak" - this post reminds me of that.

So lovely to share your memories. I would have been choked up too.

Kathie Truitt said...

Yes, it DOES make me want to go and buy an old farm house. Take pictures of the step by step process and maybe you can use it in your book.

I, too, have a husband that can do anything and everything around the house. I've never had to call a plumber or anything like that.

By the way, are you on Facebook? if so, come over and 'friend' me.

Angelina said...

I just love your kitchen re-do! It is so hard to say goodbye- when we moved out of our house- i cried and cried- but I love our old farmhouse sooo much! It was a good move! And I have pictures of all those moments I hold dear- so Ive adjusted...Cant wait to see the finished project!

Jana said...

Yes it totally makes me want an old farmhouse. I cried a little too, I think I may have some issues with being overly empathetic...but I am so excited to see how the process goes, what a great Man you have!!

English Cottage in Georgia said...

I look forward to watching your kitchen transformation. How wonderful that your husband is so capable with "home remodeling" and what a wonderful tribute you posted about him and your kitchen memories.
I wish my "old" kitchen had some cabinets to tear down:-)

Hardin County Keepsakes said...

It will be so worth all the work.
We did the same thing in 2007.Our home is not a farm house but it is over 110 years old so nothing is ever easy when it comes to a redo.
I enjoy my new kitchen every single day.
My DH. ,bless his heart sounds a lot like yours.He makes all my projects happen.
If you care to see, I have redo pics in my webshots albums.We put in a dropped wood ceiling and a lot more.
judy j

Unknown said...

Thanks for the sweet walk down your memory lane!! I got teary with you!! You have a wonderful way with words, Joni...drawing a picture, drawing us in. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen Grace said...

Aren't real men the greatest? My husband does so much of the hard work and fixing things and I am eternally grateful for his strength and willingnesss to fix things for me. Your kitchen was a true old farmhouse kitchen, I loved it! It's the kind I grew up with but I know it will be so beautiful when youa re done and you can make new memories on top of the old. Some day you may laugh at some of the memories associated with remodeling:>)

Mary said...

I'm so excited for you that your dream is coming true. I'm sure you have a little dread of the enormity of it all along with the sadness of saying goodbye to an old friend. And your husband is a dear for tackling the job! kind of makes ya glad ya didn't marry a sissy man who'd need a manicure after picking up a hammer, right? Good job, you two!
Hugs n' kisses to the hard workin' Mr. and Mrs.