Monday, October 27, 2008

My Kitchen Is in My Garage

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

Well, that's not exactly true. My new kitchen cabinets, sink, and range hood are in the garage. Waiting. What for? Not the contractor, surprisingly. He's eager to start.

When the new cabinets arrived two weeks ago, John and I found many inconsistencies, cracks, and other damage. So, a rep from the cabinet manufacturer came to see exactly what these unsatisfied customers were seeing for himself.

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

John, the rep, and I spent a few hours in the garage as the sun set and darkness fell, examining the cabinets. Even the rep found a few issues we didn't spot during our looks at the cabinets. We were pretty disappointed, however, not entirely surprised either.

We had joined Direct Buy a few months ago, and ordered a few light fixtures right away. They took a long time to arrive, and when I went down to Edison to pick them up, I was very surprised and dismayed to see how damaged the lights were. It was if they had skipped quality control. I was only able to keep one of the three fixtures. So, I had Direct Buy send them back to the manufacturer. They did, and six weeks later when the second set arrived, they too were in poor shape. Scratched and generally pretty beat up. John had gone with me this time to see for himself. I'm glad he did.

So, when he and I opened up all the kitchen cabinets we had ordered from Direct Buy, our expectations were pretty low. However, we didn't expect it to be THAT bad.

Although I have an entire collection of photos of the cabinets up at my Picasa Web Album (feel free to take a look), I just share a few of the worst offenders here:

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

That entire cabinet will be replaced. It had cracks in the pull-out drawers along with a few other structural issues.

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

All of the shelves arrived with their laminate cracked and damaged. The rep said that the fabricators probably didn't change their saw blades between sessions. I'm not sure, but the way they arrived, they weren't well protected from shipping damage, either.

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

This was interesting. We had a couple of cabinets that had red marks on them -- as if they shouldn't have gone out the door. This one revealed a pretty sizable crack.

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

There are quite a few more, but the take-home message is that the rep was very decent about the whole thing and said he'd put a rush on the replacement cabinets, doors, and other parts. We should get the new ones next week. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Island Beach State Park, NJ

From Island Beach State Park in October, Granola, Pie

Well, that's how much gas costs in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Or at least what it cost as we drove down to Island Beach State Park on Saturday. Just thought I'd record it before it jumps back up to $4.00. My condolences to my friends in other states with higher gas prices.

But I'm not posting now about gas or politics or any other un-fun topic. I'm writing about my recent visit to the beach. Or the Shore, if you're from Joisey, which I never feel like I am despite the fact I've lived here most of my life.

From Island Beach State Park in October, Granola, Pie

John and I had been to Island Beach State Park before, but had yet to drive all the way out to the end. Above is a photo of what you see when you get all the way to the end. Before I go any further, I have to impress upon you how incredibly windy it was on Saturday. Well, not gale-force winds, but probably around 40-45 mph winds. We walked up the beach first because the wind would be in our faces, then, we walked back with the winds pushing us along.

From Island Beach State Park in October, Granola, Pie

Surprisingly, there were no surfers. However, there were plenty of people (mostly men) fishing for what we assumed would be bass. We saw one fellow wearing waders with neoprene socks, but no boots, catch a couple of nice fish that he threw back because they were too small. There were no fly-fishers due to the insane winds.

From Island Beach State Park in October, Granola, Pie

We came at low tide, so we walked along what looked like a sand shelf with shells stuck half inside it. The wind was so noisy that when I pulled my hood back to straighten my hat and sunglasses, I was amazed that John could hear me over it.

From Island Beach State Park in October, Granola, Pie

Above is a shell I found and took with me. It's interior is rimmed with different shades of purple. It's exterior is striped in many different colors. I'm not sure where I'll put it yet, but it will always remind me of the very windy day we spent at the beach in October.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GE Loves Polish Pottery Too!

From Kitchen Cabinets, Upstate NY, Mani Niall's new book

OK, I grant you that it might not be GE who loves Polish pottery, but rather, their ad team. However, it's great exposure for it. And, they're using my pattern, the classic Peacock! This ad, by the way, is from the October 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. I asked GE for an "official" copy, but they never responded to my email. Oh well. I can scan with the best of them.

For those of you who might be new to the blog, I'm an avid collector and user of Polish pottery. (That ugly cabinet will soon be a lovely new cabinet. Well, "soon" is a relative term.) Here's a search of all my Polish pottery posts, if you want to see even more of my collection.

And, if you want a close-up of the inside that very dish she's holding (albeit with food inside), here it is.

In other topics, I'm so glad to be up and running on my computer again. Big, big thanks to my hero, John, who came to my rescue and replaced the errant hard drive. Now it works better than ever before! Yay! Best of all, I don't have to plunk down another $1500 for a new laptop!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Not The Best of Situations, But Not Dire, Either

My hard drive died a pretty rough death over the weekend, so I'm using John's laptop just to let y'all know I probably won't be posting until I'm up and running with either a new hard drive in my old laptop or new computer.

While I'm pretty bummed about the situation, I'm not terribly depressed since I saved mostly everything a few weeks ago. So I lose some emails and some photos. There are far worse fates. In fact, generally speaking, I'm pretty darn lucky.

Wishing you all the best until my next post.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One Purple Boob Later...

Today I had a visit from a reader named CreativeCarryout who said,

I stumbled across your blog today as my sister and I were googling stereotactic breast biopsy. I just had the procedure yesterday and was curious to see if we could find what to expect for the next couple of days. And your blog came up, which was great to share w/ my sister - esp. since you had pictures to help you explain the procedure.
I also had so much kindness and gentleness showered upon me by the doctor, radiologist and nurse. The environment was very caring, even if the procedure was just plain strange.
Congratulations on your good test results. We don't expect to hear mine until Friday or Monday. I know you must be very relieved - I'm happy for you!
And thank you for sharing your experience...

I'm always glad to hear this blog (or Altered Plates, for that matter) has been helpful in any way. Since it's been 1 week to the hour, actually, and Ms. CreativeCarryout just had her stereotactic biopsy yesterday, I thought I'd share with you all what life has been like in the week post-biopsy.

From the time I arrived home last Thursday until around noon on Saturday, I had an ice pack in my bra every 30 minutes. I moved as little as possible since the radiologist had made the incisions on my left side, near where my breast hits my left arm. Because I have a bit up front, it was tough avoiding accidentally brushing against my breast. But, I spent most of my time in bed, trying to find a comfortable position.

I didn't actually see the bruising until Friday evening when I removed the bandage to shower. That was pretty painful -- pulling the tape off my already very sensitive skin and trying very hard not to put any pressure on my very swollen breast. Having the bandage off was a great relief, since I'd swollen some and the tape had been pulling quite a bit. After the bandage was off, I could see the steri-strips placed like Xes over the incisions. They're still on, by the way. The nurse said they'd fall off, so I'm not fussing with them at all.

Cathy at University Radiology had warned me that the bruising might seem a bit weird due to gravity. I didn't know what she meant until Wednesday of this week when the bruise moved around a bit and my nipple turned green. Now, that's not something I'd normally share, but if it's in the least bit helpful, there it is. But, for the first couple of days, the whole left side and some of the front of my left breast was a range of purples and deep reds.

I still wore a bra to bed for a couple of days because it provided some relief, but couldn't take anything more than tylenol because I could start bleeding internally if I took something like alleve or advil. Overall, I was pretty uncomfortable for about 5 days. Yesterday, I felt much more like myself, although as I mentioned, the bruising's pretty strange.

I'm most grateful for all the support and kindness I've been shown during this time. I'm also very grateful that my breast doesn't feel like it weighs 15 lbs anymore. It really felt like something other than mine. But that passed, thankfully.

Finally, I'm glad that the first week is over, and I can ramp (slowly) back up to my workout routine. This weekend, I'm spending time with some friends in upstate NY, and am looking forward to hiking and biking a little bit.

So, just like you did for me, please send Ms. CreativeCarryout your most positive energy for her good news too. Thanks!