Why did Bill Gates think Windows 8 was a good idea and Kitchen Renovation Time!!!

Change…I actually like change although I like some changes much better than others.  For example, we just got a new desktop computer after the old one gave it’s last groan and never woke up after going to sleep one night.  May it rest it peace.  Unfortunately the only PC’s available now are pre-loaded with Microsoft’s all new and totally mind boggling Windows 8.  Maybe it’s great for their new tablet but trust me, Windows 8 has not made current PC customers happy – just take a look at comments on their User Forum.  Windows 8 is a perfect example of techies gone wild with no user input.  I also think those techies are possibly in the 14 to 19 year old bracket who get excited about playing games,  checking out everything that’s “trending”, and buying stuff on line – basically anything other than getting work done.  They even incorporated a cute little idea that must have been a contest for the programmers’ kids called “name the doo-hickeys that magically appear/disappear (sometimes) after waving your mouse all over the screen”.  The winner of that contest won by naming the elusive things “charms”.  Really?  Since I can never get them to appear when I need them (and they do have some important functions on them like shutting down your computer), I think they should also have a customer contest where if you can catch the “charms” a designated number of times, then you could maybe earn points for some free, coherent tech support. Maybe Bill Gates loves to spend hours diddling on his keyboard, but after spending almost 3 weeks just trying to understand how to move around the system, we finally went back to Office Max to return the damn thing. It was either that or try this: cartoons,computers,emotions,frustrated,frustrations,gestures,hammering,hammers,hardware,households,PCS,people,persons,science,Screen Beans®,technology,tools Office Max has been great and ordered a new computer for us – same one except without the known Java virus that slipped in on a number of computers.  Ah, that might explain some of the problems – like why I’m bounced off the internet about every 20 minutes and why my new & exciting “Tiles” suddenly go black – but it doesn’t address a few other complaints I have such as the crapware they’ve installed to “enhance my online experience”.  You know, the pop-up boxes that sell insurance, offer coupons, and the “hot girls who will track you down” – stuff they make money on but that takes you days to find and disable. I used to be a product manager for a large software company and I’ve taken programming courses but that was back in the day when we had terminals on our desks, not pc’s.  My knowledge may be dated, and I was an application specialist, not a techie but I think I understand computers a little more than Mildred down at the senior center yet not as much as 17 year old Jason.  So when I go to tech support help or the forums and try to resolve some of the problems, I get a little frustrated when I get simple fixes like this: I would suggest you to turn off USN journal by following these step and check. a.      Press Windows key + X and select Command prompt(Admin). b.      Now type the following commands in command prompt and press Enter each time. fsutil usn queryjournal F:fsutil usn deletejournal /D F: c.       Now try to create back up. Note: fsutil usn queryjournal F: The output will be USN journal settings which also includes its size (in hex bytes). If it is anything around 30mb, the backup will fail due to snapshot creation failure because of lack of space.

Well of course, dope slap – why didn’t I think to check the ol’ fsutil usn and the hex bytes?  Truly, even Moe can’t figure this stuff out and he’s a pretty smart cat.

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In any case, Microsoft has announced that they “are listening” and are ready to release Windows 8.1 which does address a big complaint of bringing back the Start button but primarily adds in more junk you really don’t need. No word about those pesky problems of your computer freezing up or getting booted out of the internet .  I guess that would be admitting to having released a product with BUGS and that might hurt the public image.

Ah well, I’ve got my Windows 8 rant out of the way and hopefully the new computer will not come pre-loaded with a virus and I’ll be able to actually use my computer and get blogging again. That was the BAD news but I have EXCELLENT news too.  Many of you may remember that last year I was going to update my kitchen. The project started with just replacing the kitchen floor after Lola ate some of it when she was just a puppy. lola eats the floor Then I figured, if we’re replacing the floor I’d really love to get rid of that ugly box of an island.   After talking to kitchen specialists, everyone told me that after putting in a new island, I’d really hate the current, dated honey oak cabinets.  Since the countertops need replacing then it only makes sense to do that now on top of new cabinets.  Oh, and every appliance I have is on it’s last legs.  I think that just about covers the entire kitchen which means a total re-do including that sink that started leaking again after John fixed it. I did some shopping around just looking for ideas of cabinets that I liked but with a project this size, I needed someone I could work with who understood the look that I wanted and who I felt comfortable dealing with.  Even in this economy you’d be surprised at how many places just didn’t bother with calling back for follow-up appointments.  Then I found Mary, the designer/owner at Wayside Kitchens just up 495 about a half hour from here in Littleton, MA.  At our first meeting I was impressed with her showroom, style, and just how well we clicked.  She didn’t try to push something on me based on her tastes, but I trust and like the work I’ve seen her do to know that we appreciate the same look and most importantly, she won’t let me make a dumb mistake.  The last thing I need is to install beautiful new cabinets & blow it by putting the wrong floor down. Also, her husband handles all of the install details and coordinating the plumber, electrician, & whoever else we’ll need. Now we’re just wrapping up the design stage of this project and will be getting into more detail but I can’t tell you how excited I’m getting with what Mary has proposed.  I have to give you a preview although it is preliminary.  This is the 20 year old kitchen as it was built (please excuse the clutter): kitchen 015 kitchen 014 And, are you ready?  This is Mary’s proposal (my only problem is that she can’t order the cabinets & get it installed by the end of this weekend):

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copy of Marteloption2pic22 What do you think?  I’ll have comfortable seating at the island which will have a little seating area at the end for me to prep and sit and chat right where I need it by the stove.  We’ll move the refrigerator to the end of the outside wall so that I’ll have all kinds of prep room to the left and right of the stove.  When Niki visits we’ll have plenty of room to work beside each other without us bumping butts and cutting off each other’s fingers.  We’ll also knock down the short wall at the end  where the fridge used to be. That should open the room up a little and bring some light in from the family room too.  Of course there isn’t a damn thing on the counters and I’m sure I’ll be cluttering things up but when company comes I’ll have plenty of room to hide the junk (yes, junk drawers are part of the plan…I think).

Happy New Year & Time to Re-Do the Kitchen

It’s been quite a while since my last post.  And yes, I have plenty of excuses.  Have you ever noticed how one simple project leads to at least 6 other projects?  And how that “to-do” list with 3 things keeps growing instead of getting smaller?

This is the story of my kitchen.  As I’ve mentioned in “Why is Diane writing about recipes?” I did not put much energy into kitchen design when we built our house 20 years ago.  Not that it’s bad.  There’s plenty of honey oak cabinets which I’m just tired of.  I especially would like to do something with this center island:

I love the amount of cabinet space but I have to admit that most of the “stuff” in there hasn’t been used in about 20 years.  There’s some things that I’m not even sure what their purpose is, so they could probably be gifted to Niki – see if she can figure out what to do with it.  At each end are electrical outlets.  Very handy not just for the food processor but also to plug in the vacuum.  What I don’t like about this island is that it’s just a big old square box that’s not very interesting and you can’t sit at it while you’re working there.  I have a couple of stools but you have to twist & put your legs sideways which isn’t all that comfortable.  If I just extend the counter top it won’t leave much room for walking around, opening the fridge or dishwasher.  And of course it’s not very inviting for people to sit and chat or (help out) while I’m working there.

But the biggest mistake I made when we built was trying to hit one of the builder’s allowances which led to putting a vinyl floor in the kitchen.  Within one week, I moved the refrigerator and ripped up the vinyl in front. After 20 years, seams have pulled apart and edges have curled.

Then along came Lola.  Lola is the third Berner we’ve had so it’s not as though I was clueless about the things that Berners find interesting, funny, or edible.  But Lola was definitely the biggest chewer of the Berners we’ve owned. As a puppy she was a non-stop chewer, a world-class chewer.  Unfortunately for me her favorite chew toys were my body parts.  While she was being housebroken (or the house was being broken) she was confined to the kitchen with baby gates.  I left her napping one day in the kitchen and returned to find this:

and this… notice how refreshed she is after her nap:

Lola after her snack

Even with this latest mishap, my husband was reluctant to go ahead and replace the floor.  I knew I wanted tile but for some reason John thought that Lola would be able to eat that too.  Finally, finally we’ve agreed that this floor has got to go and we picked out a tile.

Of course I was thinking that it would be better to paint the walls before the new tiles went down.  Unfortunately a couple walls had mauve wallpaper (I know, but remember this was built in the early 90’s).  And who would have thought that the wallpaper wasn’t the kind that just peels off in big strips!  Weeks later I was still picking off little 3″ strips of paper but finally got to the original idea of actually painting.

Painting kitchens has to be about the worse painting project in the world because of cabinets and appliances.  Plus the floor and walls include a hallway to the office, another to the back hallway which leads to the downstairs bath, plus a 7’x7′ pantry (they all have the same floor as the kitchen and will be included in the tiling project).  And if you paint the walls, of course you have to paint the trim and the windows, and the doors… see how a simple project gets away from you?

After getting part of the kitchen painted I realized how close to Christmas it was so I picked a point where cabinets sort of hid the fact that the room was two toned.  In addition to Christmas, Niki’s birthday, and New Year’s,  I also got around to getting my dental implant started.  The dental implant being necessary due to that very same Bernese Mountain dog jumping up to give me a kiss as I was bending down to pat her.  Getting smacked in the jaw by a Berner head is a lot like getting hit with a bowling ball. This Berner kiss ending up with my tooth cracking off at the gum line. Lola’s teeth were fine though in case you were worried.

Any oral surgeon will tell you that getting an implant is “not that bad” but of course the surgeon’s on the wrong end of the scalpel to make that determination.  I figured having my mouth drilled and the jaw opened up with, I think, a can opener, deserved a little break and so I’ve just now gotten back to picking up where I left off with that painting project.

And did I mention that part of the project includes a bathroom/laundry room that has a washer & dryer?  And of course once you move the dryer, you realize how much lint can collect in the vent which leads to the next project of cleaning & replacing the dryer duct (but that’s John part of the project I’m happy to say).

At least a good part of this project is done or at least the parts company might easily see if they aren’t too nosey.  Pantry, doors, windows all have to be painted but I do feel like I’ve made some progress. So this mauve Monet-ish wallpaper over Niki’s left shoulder:

has been replaced with “light rafia” – okay, it’s really off- white with a hint of cocoa.

The big decision though will be that center island. The kitchen is long, the island is in the middle & although I have a good size seating area I think I’d like something that is a coordinating color rather than matching, something more open & with some seating.  It has to be decided before the tile however because if I decide on a large work table to open the room up, obviously the floor has to be tiled underneath.  Because of the electrical outlets at each end, wiring needs to be modified if I go with something like this with maybe a longer table length:

So I think the kitchen re-do is progressing but there’s going to be a lot of negotiating going on before it’s done since John kinda likes that old island.  But if I’m going to be writing about recipes, I absolutely have to update the kitchen – right?  Good, I’m glad we’ve all agreed to that!