Renovation Update: Wandering Jews in Diaspora

That’s not just a picture of a ladder. It’s a picture of an ex-hole.

People have asked me why it’s been so long since the last update. To tell the truth, it’s not that a lot hasn’t happened. In fact, we moved a second time since the last update. No, not quite back home, but that’s coming soon.

The truth is, lots of stuff has been happening, but it’s small stuff. Not the dramatic before and after pictures stuff that I’ve been posting in the past. However, since you’ve already seen my apartment with pretty much everything out of it, now is probably a good time to show the little things that have been progressing.

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Renovation: The Saga Continues

Most of the illegal plumbing here had been removed, along with the walls it destroyed…

So, all we wanted was a new floor and some kitchen cabinets, and now this. We now literally have just an empty shell of a box, filled with rubble. Hopefully though, it was all carted out yesterday.

So, we’re looking at a gut renovation at this point. It sounds horrible, but considering we live in such a small studio apartment, it isn’t all that much, in the scheme of things. What’s irksome about it is that we live in a co-op building, and this past renovation was done under their watch (circa 2000). Of course, they do not wish to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the building violations we’ve uncovered, which have ranged from stupid to downright illegal. Which brings about a serious question: with all their rules, regulations, and insistence on scrutinizing all our building plans, what is the point if they don’t scrutinize the work that was done? What does their inspection and “approval” of a completed job ultimately mean? If it’s nothing, then what is the purpose of this co-op board and management company? Regardless of the philosophical rights and wrongs here, we steadly tread ever forward. It’s our home, and we love it.

In anticipation of your next question, oh yes, I have found more artifacts from ghosts of contractors past. Feast your eyes on this:

That’s the back of an electrical socket. It was just sorry of plastered in there; no box or anything. Note the vintage newspaper for support.

So… Many… Layers… Of… Wall…

“Let’s see… We need to build a shower. What should we use to build that? Oh, I know! Untreated wood!” *Facepalm*

Check out this state-of-the-art premium plastic grocery bag window insulation!

This is what was found *under* the lead shower pan. They liked the baseboard tile so much, I guess they wanted to keep them…

We also found out why our toilet kept clogging…

And there more. I won’t bother you with all that now. We need to keep some for later, right? Anyway, if you want more late breaking news please feel free to follow our renovation adventures on Facebook, The Mystical Temple of the Immaculate Renovation (@RenovationNow). It’ll be swell.

Renovation Stories, 4/26/2015

Things muscled forward today. Plumber is still AWOL, but the electricians did a bang up job rewiring things. That job, at least, appears to be halfway done. More of the floorboards have been pulled up. It seems the previous renovation folks both nailed AND glued these suckers down, which makes it really slow going. 

I think that’s mastic. Who does this???

Some interesting finds today include an abandoned ant nest. Whether it’s better to have found an abandoned one or an active one, I’ll leave you to decide. 

Blech. I hate ants.

Yesterday, we found a very old Heineken bottle wedged in between the kitchen pipes (circa late 1990’s). To our contractor’s shock and amusement, it actually had sediment in it. We decided not to open it, so it remains on display, for all to see.

There’s also something else, which I will upload tomorrow, since there were too many people in the way to get a good picture. It’s pretty cool, though. What’s not so cool is that when the kitchen wall came down,  we were looking at the back side of the bathroom wall, and it’s not looking so great. You know how these things go, right? More updates tomorrow. Until then, build upwards!

It Begins


Time to throw your hats up, because my apartment is BROKEN! Yes, this is intentional breaking, and about seven years in the making, if you’ve followed this saga at all. The plan is to make a new kitchen and put a new floor into our modest little abode (you can see a news feature about our tiny apartment here), and for this job, we’ve been quoted about a month’s worth of dust to avoid, so we’ve moved into a sublet during the heavy part of it. But who knows how long, really?

Here are some before and after shots of the current demolition:

Our kitchen, ready to demolish…

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Exploring Emotions and Self

Astrid feels distracted, and Max feels happy! Being able to understand ones own emotions and read the emotions of others is an important part of child development.

I don’t receive any sponsorship for running this blog. In fact, the whole reason I started it in the first place was to give my kids a place to go if they wanted, sometime down the line, to remember things that happened while they were at home, and look up a recipe or two. It’s completely a labor of love. However, every so often, I come across an item that completely knocks my socks off, and I’m not afraid to tell the world about it.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m speaking of the Crayola DIY Trikky by Kidrobot… Continue reading



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Max: Ooo! What’s that?

Me: It’s trail mix.

Max: I want some! Can I have some?

Me: But, you don’t like nuts.

Max: Yes, I do. I like THOSE nuts.

Me: You pick nuts out of your granola.

Max: Please, Mommy? I want a bag of trail mix, too.

Me: No, I think you’re going to pick out the chocolate chips and leave the rest.

Max: Mommy, I love cashews, and almonds, and those green nuts, and I also love cranberries. I promise I will eat it all.

Me: I don’t know… You always say you’ll eat stuff, and then you don’t.

Max: Please, Mommy? 

Me: Well, what happens if you don’t?

Max: Nothing, because I will eat it ALL.

Me: Fine. *Hands over small bag of trail mix*

Max: *picks out chocolate chips*



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​At a play date yesterday: 

Max: (whiny voice) Mooooommmmmmyyyyy! I have a cut on my finger! 

Me: I don’t see a cut…


Me: Oh, I see it. It’s very small.

Max: But, it HURTS!!! (tearing up)

Me: Wait… Are you SURE that’s a cut? Or, is it…A radioactive spider bite?

Max: (look of surprise)

Me: Yeah, that’s no cut, man. It’s totally a spider bite. (Gasp!) Maybe you have superpowers, now!