I hate flying in an airplane. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. And yet at least once a year I tend to find myself doing it anyway. Not because I want to, but because I do want to experience whatever is on the other side of the plane ride and no one else seems to buy my argument that taking your time to drive to your destination not only creates a nice bonding experience between you and your fellow car-trippers but also allows you to create your own schedule and stop at some great local places you would never see otherwise.
Ugh. Despite my better judgment I’m getting on a plane tomorrow morning with my friend Lauren for a girls’ weekend in Nashville. I’m sure we will have a great time and I know I sound like a total brat complaining since I know a lot of moms who would kill for the chance to get away for 3 days. I’m totally excited to get a break, to sleep, see Nashville, sleep, hang out with Lauren, and especially sleep. But I hate flying. HATE IT!
I’m not afraid of terrorists or emergency landings or strip searches. I’m not even afraid to die. It’s very irrational, but being in a plane gives me intense panic attacks. Every time there is the slightest noise from the landing gear or whenever the plane leans a little bit to one side I am suddenly convinced that there is a dire emergency and the entire plane is going to rip in half and I will be sucked through the engine and ripped to shreds or fall 10,000 feet and splat on the pavement, both very unflattering an uncomfortable ways to die, I imagine. I’m not scared to be dead, I’m afraid of knowing I’m about to die a agonizing death and then having to experience it.
I’m also afraid of leaving Eddie to raise two small children by himself and of leaving my kids without a mom, but this really has nothing to do with flying since I could potentially die any number of other ways. (I sincerely hope you weren’t hoping for a pick-me-up today because this certainly is not it.)
So every time I have to fly my poor husband gets the pleasure of being woken up at 3:00 in the morning for several days in a row by me either in tears saying things like “What if this is our last chance to hold each other?” Or very seriously saying something along the lines of “If you have to raise the kids by yourself I want you to make sure that Nicholas leans how to be chivalrous.” Or “Maybe I should make a video for the kids, just in case.” To his credit, even though I know he thinks I’m ridiculous, he is always very patient with this process and tries to say something reassuring like telling me I need to trust God more. I guess he’s optimistic that the more times I fly the more chances I’ll get to be convinced that I’m totally safe.
But I’ll never be convinced of that no matter how true it might be.
So if I die tomorrow, or today for that matter, these are the things I want for my children:
1. A solid foundation in their faith.
2. Friends and family who will rise to the occasion and help Eddie raise them.
3. A college education
4. The knowledge that I loved them
5. Financial security (Hopefully those hefty life insurance policies we’re paying for will do their job.)
6. Traditions that will be carried on and maybe passed on to their own children
7. Good manners
8. The desire to help others
If they were older I would also hope for fond memories.
Mommy loves you, babies.
I plan to be back Sunday.
Isn’t she pretty? Guess what? She was FREE. Actually, I made $5 for upgrading. “How?” you might say. It’s all part of my Craigslist Kitchen Transformation. It might be taking forever, but I estimate that in the end I will have saved about $20,000.
It all started a year ago when we got a decent tax refund and I went to Lowes to get a quote for new cabinets. You see, our old kitchen looked like this:
When we first bought the house I was planning to live with this for a while. “A while” lasted all of about 6 months before I couldn’t take it anymore. The old cabinets were literally disintegrating, as in you would put your clean dishes away and before you could use them again you had to re-wash them because they were full of sawdust. There was also an uneven and ugly floor, fake bricks, and a giant burn mark on the white-with-gold-flecks laminate counter top.
Anyway, back to my story. Lowes wanted $12,000 for mid-grade cabinets. Um, no. Our tax refund wasn’t that big. But I had big dreams for this kitchen, I wanted it nice and I wanted it NOW. (The “now” part turned out to be negotiable.) I was NOT paying that much just for cabinets. I wanted to stay under 5 grand for the entire kitchen.
So I started scouring Craigslist and I found out about Re-source York, a local store that re-sells building materials at discount prices. I decided that we could go green and save big bucks at the same time by reusing someone else’s old cabinets.
I know God loves me because one day I happened to find an ad on Craigslist for an entire kitchen that had almost the same layout as ours. Solid cherry cabinets, solid surface counters, a porcelain sink, a stove, and a dishwasher. They wanted $2,500 dollars. SOLD! We rented a U-Haul and rounded up cousins & fraternity brothers and they helped us haul all of it up the sellers 100+ foot inclined driveway and across town into our garage where it sat until we could save up enough money to hire a contractor to install it. That was July 3rd, 2009.
In the meantime, their stove was electric and we have a gas hook-up, so I re-listed their stove on Craigslist and got $500 for it. Therefore my kitchen only cost $2,000.
In October we decided to sell some stock and hire a contractor because I was completely fed up with the old kitchen. Hubby is handy, but not quite handy enough to tackle a job this big. Lucky for us, our neighbor and his dad are contractors and they ripped up the old floor & installed the cabinets, counters, etc for $1,600.
This is when we learned that the counters are Silestone and go for anywhere between $45-$90 per foot. We have a BIG kitchen. Those counters would have easily cost the $2,000 we paid for the whole kitchen.
Plus, we saved even more money be re-using the old cabinets in the garage to store Eddie’s tools.
So now my total was up to $3,900 (counting the U-Haul and some new cabinet hardware) and I had my cabinets, counters, and sink. We decided to live without a floor and with our old appliances for a while. In the meantime we bought some paint and trim and a little beadboard for the soffet. That all cost about $150. At $4,050 I was getting dangerously close to my limit and I still need a floor, new pantry door, a stove, a back splash, and a fridge.
In April of this year we got another tax refund and used it to buy a vinyl floor. So far this was the only compromise I had to make. I REALLY wanted tile, but it just couldn’t be done without taking out and replacing the entire sub-floor. That was not in the budget and we were going to be in danger of over-improving for the area. Plus our kitchen & dining room area is huge, so just the tile itself was going to be expensive. As it was, the Allure vinyl cost us about $800.
That’s the original vinyl floor on the left, which was hiding under the red floor and is also glued directly to the sub-floor. It took us almost a month of working on the weekends, leveling the old floor, and enlisting the help of my father-in-law to get this thing laid down.
That put me at $4,850 and with our new pantry door $4,887. For the record, do not buy 2 panel doors at Lowes. The only one they had cost $120. Home Depot had the same thing for $37. Go to Home Depot for doors.
We’ve decided to do bead board in a cream color for a back splash, but it isn’t up yet. I think that’s going to put me right at my limit. But noooooo…I still needed a new stove & a fridge. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid going over budget on a fridge. It’s going to happen, but maybe not until next year’s tax refund comes around. However, I did manage to score a sweet stove for free this week.
When I saw an ad on Craigslist for a stainless steel gas stove for $75 my eyes just about popped right out of my head! We really didn’t have an extra $75 laying around at the time, but I told Eddie I was almost positive that if the new stove worked (that was a big “if”) I could sell our old stove for at least that much, if not more, which would make the new stove free.
So we bought the stainless steel stove and it does work. The old owner said one of the burners was broken, but Hubby gave it a good cleaning and read the manual that they were kind enough to give us. It turned out the child safety lock was on and everything works perfectly!
This morning I sold our old stove for $80. When the man came to pick it up I had my little brother lock himself in the house with the kids and I went out to meet the guy with some Mace and a knife in the waistband of my skirt as a precaution. That’s the first time I’ve sold something on Craigslist without Eddie home, but it went well. The man was very nice. (and I didn’t even have to assault him)
So far I have been ridiculously lucky with my Craigslist finds, but I do caution you to be careful if you try this yourself!
Last week marked a year since we began this kitchen remodel. We’ve still got a solid few months to go, but eventually it will be GORGEOUS! (and cheap, he he)