SHHHHHHHouldn’t we work harder to overcome this cliche?

I like Me & Goji alot, but they’ve crossed the line with their new cereal description:

healthy hoops!

for our new base, we boosted organic O’s of quinoa, spelt and kamut with our raw wheat germ and amaranth blend.

warning: these whole-grain O’s are so crunchy that libraries in 40 states have banned indoor consumption!  watch these life-savers float atop your milk and know that you are throwin’ your body a life line (made of healthy fibers).  O, how [un]sweetened it is!

I love libraries and crunchy cereals- is that so wrong?

Ikea, and you can too!

The northern wind was biting as we left for Bolingbrook on Sunday, but we had a mission to fulfill: the acquisition of Ikea kitchen cabinets.  Removal of the old cabinets and installation of the new is Phase 3 of the Kitchexplosion 2009, and in planning Phase 3 I remembered the biggest challenge of remodeling the bathroom (last year’s project): we didn’t have a replacement vanity for the one we’d just ripped out.  Thus, before removing the kitchen cabinets, I vowed that we would have the new cabinets on hand.

For those unfamiliar with buying things at Ikea, it’s kind of a crapshoot.  You can check inventory online before you go, but there’s no guarantee the things you want will be in stock, nor will they hold items under any circumstances.  So the night before we spot-checked the inventory of most of the cabinets we had picked out, and hoped against all odds that the stuff we wanted would still be available.

The voyage to Bolingbrook consisted of me, Ape, and my parents, followed by a cargo trailer, driving about 160 miles through the barren plains of central Illinois.  Once we arrived, we made straight for the self-service area; a vast warehouse filled with flat-packed furniture of all sorts.  We couldn’t find any of the kitchen pieces, so we asked for help.  The response was simple: we couldn’t find any of the kitchen stuff because it wasn’t available to the public; one had only to go upstairs to the kitchen department and find a kitchen specialist, who would submit an order and all the pieces would be brought out of the bowels of the warehouse.

In the kitchen department, we had the fortune of finding someone intelligent and interested in helping us, a rare combination in some places.  He spent about a half-hour figuring out what we would need, and having finished that, even helped us pick out door hardware.  Super.

The receipt is roughly half as long as April
The receipt is roughly half as long as April

After we got the full manifest, we ambled back to the warehouse, where the checkout lines live.  It only took a few minutes to purchase the cabinets, but it tooks months to pay for them!  Afterward, we took the manifest and a receipt to the pick-up area, where we were treated to a very thorough inspection of all the pieces we’d purchased.  Satisfied that everything was present, we loaded the trailer and headed to lunch.

That’s all it took- a few months of planning, a trailer, a couple of grand, and parents to help.  Now that you know the secret to procuring Ikea cabinets, stay tuned as I attempt to assemble them!

Oh yeah, and watch out for the cabinet organization stuff; it’s where you really get taken 🙂

I will play for Gumball

A bumper crop
A bumper crop

It’s gumball season, and this looks to be a vintage year.  This haul is just from my front yard, and is therefore only a portion of the gumball harvest.  Soon we’ll be making gumball sauce, gumball cider, candied gumballs, gumbalaya, and much more!  The best part is that I don’t even have any Sweetgum trees in my yard- 3 gargantuous trees are planted in my neighbour’s yard, which means I get all of the gumballs and none of the pesky shade.

My legs are rather sore from bending down to pick the pointy pricklies from the damp soil, but getting to spend some time outdoors is worth the effort.  A little fresh air is a welcome respite from the glue-perfumed air of the house.

Sleep, Comrade!

It’s been a week of surprises, both pleasant and otherwise.  The work on Kitchexplosion 2009 continues, and now phase 1 is successfully completed.  You can witness the results here.

Phase 1, as you may recall, was breaking open the wall between the kitchen and living room, and recessing the fridge into what was previously the pantry.  Phase 2 began even before the completion of Phase 1, with shocking results.  You see, Phase 2 was destined to be the replacement of our ugly stick-on vinyl floor.  Ape and I had our hearts set on the pinnacle of modern, responsible flooring, Marmoleum.  Sadly, our bank accounts can’t keep pace with our wishes, so we settled on a lovely bamboo remnant from a larger job (must’ve been very large, since the leftovers could easily cover our kitchen floor).  We took a sample home to make sure it looked alright, and decided that it looked nice, and we would sleep on it to be sure.

The next day, April called me at work to let me know she had a surprise waiting for me when I got home.  Perplexed as I was, it slipped my mind as the day wore on.  As I was getting ready to head home, a horrible stabbing pain seized the back of my left eyeball and refused to let go.  I laid out on the floor to try to relieve the pain, but no change.  I walked home in the rain, and by the time I reached my door, the pain was so intense I felt nauseous.  Unable to contain the surprise any longer, Ape reported that in the course of working on the kitchen wall, she’d discovered that there was a hardwood floor beneath several layers of vinyl.  Under better circumstances, I would have been thrilled; instead, I went and laid down on the bathroom floor.

The newly-discovered wood floor
The newly-discovered wood floor

I eventually made it out of the bathroom and into a bed.  After a couple restless hours, I fell asleep at about seven o’clock and didn’t wake until my alarm went off the next morning at 7:10.  Whatever had afflicted me so strongly the evening before was long gone, and I felt ready to properly celebrate the discovery of the wood floor.  Little did I know what lingering effect it would have on my circadian rhythm.

It turns out the wood is a perfect match to the wood covering the rest of our house.  Of course, there were some challenges to recovering the floor, not the least of which was a 5-layer sandwich of vinyl floors and adhesives covering the last 50 years.  Once the previous floors had been removed, there remained a layer of paper and adhesive.  For the next several days I labored with soapy water and a putty knife to peel off the sticky sh*t.  Everyday at about 8:00 I felt exhausted, and fell asleep well in advance of 9pm.  The natural sequitur to going to bed so early is rising early, and these last few days have seen me awake at 5 or 6 in the morning, an hour usually reserved for starting long trips.

I’m glad to say that the floor is now clean, and I’m slowly trying to slide back in to a more normal sleep schedule.  Here’s what I’ll be dreaming of:

The floor (not pictured: glue and other crap)

I hope for Spring eternally

The Sun has finally returned to the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere.  Saturday saw the temperature outside my door rise to 65 degrees, which is practically unheard of for February.  Sure, there was a strong southern breeze blowing through, which certainly helped to warm things up.  But the warmth of the Sun, and the smell of wet soil reminded me of what I’ve been  missing for several months.

To take advantage of the gorgeous day, I decided to jump on my Honda and go for a ride.  To my great surprise, I rolled over 1,000 miles on Saturday.  A foregone conclusion, of course, but to cross the 1,000 mile mark in February was surprising.

What was perhaps even more surprising was that I saw a peacock in the middle of the road.  Naturally, I didn’t have my camera handy when it was most needed, but I reckon I can track the peacock down again; it didn’t move too quickly.

Kitchexplosion 2009 update:

April and I may have found our new kitchen floor; a fllooring place in Eville had about 120 sq. ft. of bamboo left over from another job, and it just so happens we like the color.  Otherwise, not much has changed over the weekend- if things go well, we should complete Phase one this week.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

I begin the 100th post to Quebecker with the swing of a hammer and a cloud of dust.  The Kitchexplosion 2009 has officially begun!

Of course, the story of my kitchen doesn’t begin with the hammer swing; it begins in 1946 when some nitwit decided that a solid wall separating the east and west sides of my house (or specifically, the kitchen and living room) was more useful than a dining space.  If you’re serious about sitting down to eat in my house, it has to done in the basement or on a card table in the living room.  63 years later, April and I set to the task of correcting this major oversight.

Phase 1:

We planned to remove a portion of the wall and to use the open portion as a eating/working space in our kitchen.  This turns out to be no small feat, since the wall in question is bearing the weight of the roof, and is itself supported by a steel I-beam.  The second plan of attack for phase 1 is refitting our rather narrow and deep pantry to be home to our refridgerator.  Unfortunately, the pantry is a hair past 29″ in width, and we own a 32″ fridge.  A quick trip to Lowe’s and $500 got us a new 28″ GE.  Lastly, we’re having an outlet installed over the stove for a wall-mounted microwave.  Owning a wall-mounted microwave has pretty been April’s dream since she was a little girl.

So far Phase 1 has been….dusty.  Plaster walls disintegrate under the slightest pressure, sublimating from a solid wall to a gaseous cloud.  The cloud either settles onto everything in the house, or is inhaled and settles in the lungs.  And since it was a whopping 8 degrees yesterday morning, opening the windows to blow out the dust was not an option.  Still, we thrive.  The sight of a floor-to-ceiling opening between the two rooms was inspiring, and leads to think that the glorious completion of Phase 1 cannot be far off.

Until then, the fate of Phase 2 hangs in the balance, riding on a cloud of carcinogenic dust.