Tag Archives: Texas

Life in Waco

continues to revolve around the Kitchen Remodel.
Floor progress-1
However, we have found a few opportunities to check out spots in Waco that didn’t involve the word “Lowes” or “kitchen”. 🙂
The day before the official demolition began we were joined by friends Jo and Roy as we checked out the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Texas Ranger 1
It was a great little museum that was filled with not only the history and art of the Texas Rangers,
Texas Ranger 2
Texas Ranger
but also how the Rangers have been treated by Hollywood! We put together our own little troupe of Texas Ranger wannabes with our very own bad guy!
Texas Ranger Fun
Check it out if you’re ever in Waco. It’s definitely a fun POI (point of interest).

We shared a lovely Thanksgiving Day with housemate Katie and her parents at their friends Steve and Jenna (and adorable son 3 year old son Henry). Jenna went over the top with spectacular food, the fellowship was sweet, and we were all reminded of how very much we have to be thankful for. It was a great day.

And while Gary did get to Home Depot at 5AM on Black Friday (while the rest of us slept in!) to pick up a shop vac, the rest of us stayed far away from the shopping mayhem. Instead we all (including buddies Jo and Roy) went to the Homestead Heritage Fair.
Heritage Homestead Fair-2
Heritage Homestead Fair-1
It was full of beautiful handcrafts, lots of demonstrations and opportunites to make items, wonderful homemade food, and great music!
We really enjoyed the baby chick/duckling barn –
Heritage Homestead Fair-4
Heritage Homestead Fair-5
and naturally I couldn’t stay away from the quilts!
Heritage Homestead Fair-3
It was really a fun (and yummy) day!

But of course, most of our focus has been on the kitchen (or lack of at this point!).
We did get all the floor cleaned out so it was all ready for the new floor joists –
Really Empty
Gary picked up the floor joists (now that was a fun ride through town)-
New Floor
and the re-construct began –
Floor progress-7
Kitchen Re-do-4
Once the floor joists were in, it was time to run the new plumbing.
plumbing
And then there’s the rest of the water lines, the drain lines, the gas line and the electric. And THEN he can put down the floor for “real”. He has a busy week ahead of him!
Meanwhile, the design team (that would be Lara, Katie, and I) has been busy trying to figure out wall colors, floor options, countertop choices and backsplash possibilities. Any and all suggestions are welcome, as we are pretty much brain-dead in these departments.

Kitchen Re-do-6
I think Nali has the right idea!

PS – if you’d like to see some additional pictures of our progress without having to see ALL of them, here’s a link that should take you to closer to the end of the set!

A Dishwasher

Honest, that’s all she wanted. Lara really liked her kitchen, but the one thing that was missing was a dishwasher.
Kitchen Before-1
And that made entertaining (which she loves to do) a real pain in the neck.
Kitchen Before-2
Installing a dishwasher was well within the Daddy Can Do list, but try as we might we couldn’t figure any way to install a dishwasher that didn’t require changing her sink.
sink
And if you had to move the sink, you had to replace the counters.
And if you had to replace the counters, you also had to reconfigure the cabinets.
So before we knew it, we were at sitting at the Lowes kitchen design center talking about doing the whole shooting match. Because really, if you’re going to do your kitchen, you might as well DO your kitchen!
She lined up her financing, got a really good deal on some gorgeous cabinets, shopped around for the best deal on appliances (hey, no point putting an old stove next to a spankin’ new dishwasher in a new kitchen, right?), and hired Dad as her General Contractor (because he’s just that kind of guy!). All of this happened when we were hanging around here off and on in October, and we made plans to return after our November project and hang around until the job was done – probably through Christmas anyway. And now that we’re back, and the job has begun, we’re really glad that we’ve got LOTS of time to get the job done.
Did I mention that her house was built in 1919? Never underestimate the number of surprises you will uncover when you start tearing up floors and removing walls in an almost century old house!
First the floor –
Kitchen During-1
We were hoping that underneath the quarry tile floor would be the original wood floors (that are throughout the rest of the house) and they would be in good enough shape to refinish.
First sign of trouble was this huge patch in the middle of the floor –
Kitchen During-2
And then there was the fact that under the quarry tile was a blue and white linoleum tile, a layer of backer board, a layer of red linoleum tile and then tar paper.
Kitchen During-7
Yeah, the “refinishing the wood floors” was rapidly becoming “let’s go tile shopping!”
Deciding not to worry about keeping the floors in one piece did allow for easier removal of the floor in general, and would allow Gary the opportunity to make sure the floor was good and level. But more on that later!
Once the tiles were removed, it was on to the (what we thought was) the real demolition – getting the cabinets out and removing any extraneous walls. Our good SOWER buddies, Roy and Jo Butler, were kind enough to join us for the demo, and with the addition of the housemates and a friend or two stopping by, it was quite the productive day!
Kitchen During-18
Stove out.
Kitchen During-25
Counter disassembly.
Kitchen During-28
Sink out.
Kitchen During-29
Just what IS holding these cabinets here?
Kitchen During-31
Pulling, pulling……
Kitchen During-32
At last! And just what is behind those cabinets?
Once the cabinets were out it was on to finish removing the partion wall, get the rest of the tile up, remove the drywall and cute backsplash tiles and get ready to pull up that floor!
Kitchen During-40
Kitchen During-45
Ah, yes, the floor.
Kitchen During-48
You can’t really see it in this picture, but most of those joists aren’t even attached to the side wall. Pretty much the weight of the floor and cabinets kept the joists on the sills, but it helps explain why the floor tiles were cracking in different areas.
Kitchen During-49
And while it will make certain electrical, gas line, and water line changes easier, actually rebuilding the floor from the dirt up wasn’t exactly in the budget. Somehow the “miscellaneous” column just ballooned!
But then again, you never know what you might find when you expose those ancient walls –
Kitchen During-41
The sink plumbing could certainly use an upgrade, and will benefit from all new flooring.
Kitchen During-23
Uh, my computer was plugged into this outlet.
Kitchen During-10
I think this connection could be handled just a little bit neater.

Hopefully we’ve identified all of the trouble spots (“hopefully” being the operative word here!), and tomorrow Gary will begin work on the floor joists. Today he hooked up a utility sink in the laundry room – a great addition to our “temporary kitchen” (um, an electric frying pan, a crockpot, and a George Foreman Grill!), and he was even able to reuse one of the kitchen cabinets for a base!
Kitchen Remodel-2

There is a long way to go – and I’ll try to keep you’all updated as work progresses. If you’d like to see more pictures, there are several more HERE!

Oh, and Lara wants me to make sure to note that the red checked apron was functional only. It was the only thing she had that had a pocket in it for all the nails she was pulling out. What’s a girl to do! 🙂

Where, oh where, did October go?

Wow, we really had a busy October. During the week we were at the SOWER office in Lindale where Gary was replacing the central A/C system and I was busy with some post-Board meeting document review. It wasn’t all work – since the SOWER office is located on the edge of a small community where lots of our SOWER friends have settled, we did manage to get in a couple of runs to the Texas Stop Sign (Dairy Queen) and a couple nights of cards. It was great to see the SOWER office in action, and also great to hang out with some of our wonderful SOWER friends.
Bass Lake
Toward the end of each week we would head to Waco and the Parrott Avenue Zoo. Along with playing with all the critters (and of course visiting with daughter Lara), we also got a fair bit of work done. I’ve already mentioned the fence, but our main inside project was the downstairs bathroom. The bathroom had great vintage tile and cool embossed wallpaper, but the paper was peeling off the walls, the lighting was icky and ceiling was purple. Yes, purple.
Bath Before-1
Bath Before-2
Bath Before-3
After we got the wallpaper off and the walls washed down, the next big job was getting the ceiling white!
Bath During-2
Yeah, that took a couple of coats.
But then the wall color wasn’t a one coat job either –
Bath During-1
It took the entire month before it really came together, and it still needs the finishing touches (I think she is looking for some great black and white prints for the walls), but I love it! And I know Lara’s delighted to finally keep her toothbrush in the bathroom again!
Bath Done-1
Bath Done-2
Bath Done-3
Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Lara was gone one weekend so that weekend we worked on a surprise raised garden for her (at the prompting of her housemates).
Lara's Garden-1
Lara's Garden-2
Lara's Garden-3
(look, he let me use his hammer!)
After we got the beds made, it was on to the fence (you know, to keep the zoo out!). After about 20 minutes with a post hole digger, we located the closest rental center and got ourselves a REAL post hole digger.
Lara's Garden-4
Let me tell you, it was the best $60.00 we’ve ever spent!
Lara's Garden-5
And even with the REAL tool, it still took two of us to get through some of that good old Texas dirt/clay/sand/roots……
Hugh (one of the housemates) got home in time to help wrap up the fence,
Lara's Garden-6
and by the end of the day, it was pretty well finished.
Lara's Garden-7
By the time Lara got home on Sunday, the gardens were full of dirt and their first crop (broccoli, kale and lettuce) was planted. She was delighted!
Don’t think we worked all the time, though! Along with getting totally addicted to HGTV and all of the “Sell the House” and “Property Virgins” type shows, we also set records for the number of trips to LOWES in a day, sampled some great local food joints, and took in the Baylor Homecoming Parade.
Baylor Parade-1
Baylor Parade-2
That’s Judge Ken Starr, the new president of Baylor followed by one giant bear –
Baylor Parade-3
This parade had some pretty elaborate floats
Baylor Parade-4
Baylor Parade-7
and then some not quite as elaborate floats –
Baylor Parade-9
A little rain to make it interesting
Baylor Parade-5
A little wind to keep you on your toes
Baylor Parade-8
and we personally had one very large white dog that was like having a “Can we pet her?” magnet at our feet!
Baylor Parade-6
Lara will never be at a loss for folks to talk to as long as she has Nali out for a walk!

But it was truly a great month. We worked hard and we played hard. We got to spend time with friends and we got to spend time with family. I’m not sure it really gets any better than that!

Parrott Avenue Zoo

Our daughter Lara has a big heart. A very big heart. And she also has a dog. A very big dog.
Meet Nali –
Nali
Nali (short for Denali in honor of her trip to Alaska last summer) is a Great Pyrenees and she is one big gentle giant.
Lara also has two big fluffy cats -Clementine, who has the loudest purr engine I have ever heard and is definitely the “queen cat” of the house-
Clementine
Clementine-1_edited-1
and Bear – who is quite the classic cat, with a “you’ll see me if I want you to see me” attitude –
Bear_edited-1
Also sharing the house are Angel and Emery, who belong to one of her housemates-
Emery and Angel
and Evie, who belongs to the other housemate.
IMG_8607
All in all, quite the assortment of critters for one house.
But remember that big heart I mentioned earlier?
Lara also takes in Foster Puppies from the local animal shelter –
Meet Stretch – who is quite the combination of short basset legs and giant feet, a cute beagle face, and the fetching speed of a labrador retriever. All he really wants to do is play and be with you – and I’m happy to report that Stretch has found a forever home with Lara’s next door neighbors!
Stretch
And Squirt – full of energy and waiting for a good home. Where Stretch is a fetcher, Squirt’s game is tug-of-war.
Squirt
And then this fellow arrived for the weekend –
IMG_8657
Hans? Scotty? He hasn’t gotten an official name yet since we think he’s only staying for the weekend.
IMG_8653
There’s always lots of puppy activity going on –
IMG_8632
Friends
Playing
Playing-1
Squirt and Nali
Big Heart – Big (Fenced)Yard – Big Fun!
The Parrott Avenue Zoo

So, Waco

Waco-Dr Pepper-1
Waco, Texas, is known for many things. It’s home to Baylor University, (oldest institute of higher education in Texas), the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and beautiful Waco Lake.
IMG_2359
There’s the Waco Suspension Bridge, that was the longest single-span suspension bridge west of the Mississippi when it was completed in 1870.
WacoSuspensionBridge1912
And Waco is also the birthplace of the Dr. Pepper softdrink, and the Dr. Pepper Museum –
Waco-Dr Pepper-4
We finally made it to the museum and were pleased to have our own personal tour guide – Katie, who is one of Lara’s housemates.
Waco-Dr Pepper
(Sorry, Katie – I should have asked you to stop and smile so I could have gotten a better picture of you doing your “thing”!)
Katie not only gave us a great tour of the museum
Waco-Dr Pepper-5
but also arranged for a “behind the scenes” tour of some of the Dr. Pepper “overflow” –
Waco-Dr Pepper-6
Waco-Dr Pepper-7
Waco-Dr Pepper-9
Waco-Dr Pepper-10
It was fun to see all the extra’s waiting for just the right spot in the museum. Or to try to imagine that dress on someone. Anyone.
As you can see, Waco is home to lots of interesting things to see and do. And we’ve been able to enjoy some of them. But to us, Waco is home to our daughter –
Lara 10_10
and THAT’s what we love about Waco!