Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Kitchen

Apartments are ridiculously expensive in Jackson.  We have really really cheap rent because we know the owner of our condo.  She lives in Idaho and doesn't bother us, and we don't bother her.  If something goes wrong with the apartment, we fix it.  That's the deal.  Because of this awesome deal, we pay about $400-500 under the going rate for a 2 bedroom apartment.  It's excellent.

Because the condo owner doesn't seem to care too much about this apartment, it hasn't really been updated in... forever.  The kitchen is tiny and old and sort of ewwy, but we're used to it.  Still, the counters bugged me when we first moved in, so I covered them with contact paper.  A year later, the contact paper was looking less than fresh, so I redid it.  It sounds super ghetto because it is. BUT.  If you live in an apartment with gross countertops, and you don't mind taking a few hours to work on a project that cost next to nothing, you should try this.  Warning:  it does leave sticky stuff on your counters, so you'll have to use a lot of goo-gone and elbow grease to get the stuff off when you move.  Still, the end result is surprisingly great.

I got blue faux-granite contact paper from the Dollar Tree.  Yep.  This entire project cost me about $6. 

First step:

Look at how terrible your counters are.  Complain, and pout.

Doesn't look that bad until you look closely and realize that people have used the counter as a cutting board for years and years and years.  Apparently wood cutting boards are just too posh for some people.

Mmmmm, old, stained, AND cracked!!
The old countertops compared to the new contact paper countertops
Our cast of characters (or tools, whatevs):  some sort of stiff card (credit, library, whatever), an X-acto knife, scissors
The most difficult part of this project is lining up the edges of the paper with the edge of your counter.  You can always cut anything that hangs over the edge closest to you, but you want the back edge to look good, or it will be super obvious that you use contact paper on your countertops.  I recommend laying the paper with the backing still on it and pushing it down onto the counter; if you get the counter a big wet, it'll create a natural stickiness and you can see where you need to cut your first piece.  I fold the edge down and crease it so I remember about where to cut.  Now comes the hard part:  line up the side edge of the paper with the side edge of the counter, as well as lining up the back edge.  Peel a bit of the paper off and stick it to the edge, making sure that it's lined up nicely on the back and the sides.  Slooowly peel off the backing while pressing down the vinyl paper.  Use the credit card to smooth out the paper while it is slowly being stuck.  Make sure there are no air bubbles.  If you mess up, pull it up right away, but slowly, so it doesn't stretch out of shape. 

What it looks like when it's done
Here's the awesome thing about patterned contact paper:  if you mess up, it's not that obvious.  Let's say that you put down a bit that's not coming up: simply cut the strip with an X-acto knife (carefully, so as not to cut the horrible countertop below) and place a new piece of paper with a slight overlap.  You want to make sure there's overlap on every piece of contact paper - I recommend about a centimeter.  This way you won't have water escaping underneath.  Every time you put down a bit of paper, whole sheet or a tiny bit to cover an imperfection, use the credit/library/whatever card to firmly press it down.  You want the overlapped parts to be as smooth as possible.  This makes it easy to clean (just use water and soap or surface cleaner), and keeps crumbs from gathering in the in-between bits.

Just like regular countertops, contact paper does stain.  You can try to get the stain off or you can just peel it off and put down more paper.  If it's a big enough area, you can try covering it will additional paper; if you have lighter stuff than the blue above, you'll see the overlap, though, so be warned.

This is how it looks with the appliances in their proper places:

You look good, super ghetto Dollar Tree countertops.

The whole kitchen (we have terrible light in our apartment, my apologies):

I think the light blue brightens the place off, and shows off the gross faux-wood laminate cabinets.  Seriously, how freaking small is this kitchen?  That's the ENTIRE THING.

So that's my tip of the day.  Nasty countertops can easily be covered with contact paper for super cheap.  Just takes time, patience, an X-acto knife, scissors, and a library card, and you're done.  Easy-peasy.  Seems to last for a year if you're careful with it. 

Update on my life

I'm finding it difficult to even consider writing blog entries.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I've given up feeling guilty about it.  When I have something to say, I'll say it.  When I have a dumb picture to post, I'll post it.  Until then, this is a boring blog.  Sowry.

But wait!  I will write a blog entry.  Now.  Probably.  You're welcome.

I don't mean this entry.  There's another one coming.  But here's my basic updates.

I'm not pregnant.  Apparently it takes a while.  I'm not good at waiting, but children still scare me, so whatever.  My provider recommended Clomid, a fertility medication, and I think I'll try that in August if I am not pregnant by then.

My job is weird right now.  One of the audiologists quit, so I'll be working on Fridays by myself, just fixing hearing aids and selling batteries and stuff.  Apparently I'll be getting more training and taking on more responsibility.  It was mentioned I may be sent away for audiology technician training (I'm just an assistant now) so that I could possibly do screening hearing tests.  I think I'll ask for a raise if it comes to that, since that's a lot more responsibility than what I was hired to do.  We'll see.  It could be interesting.

I went to a super awesome retreat with 17 other women from my church a couple of weekends ago and it was great.  It was about holy leisure, the idea that you need to step back from life and rest and relax and mediate and recognize God in all parts of your life, even the mundane.  I'm trying to be more intentional about things.  We talked about this Benedictine idea of the "Rule of Life," which is sort of a guideline for how you do some daily things, including creativity, rest, work, worship, and hospitality.  I'm going to try to do a morning/evening/compline prayer out of the Book of Common Prayer once a day, as well as do 2 sun salutations a day.  I also want to find one poem each week to mediate on.  And I want us to have people over for dinner at least once a month.  So far I still need a lot of work, but I'm trying to be more intentional.

Bryan's back is still hurt.  I think I mentioned that on here before.  We found out a couple of weeks ago that he has herniated disc and one that may have ruptured.  It sucks.  It happened initially back in November, and he's still dealing with daily pain.  He's doing physical therapy and is constantly on Vicodin, so I hope that he eventually heals.  Apparently it could take over six months to feel better.  Surgery is the last resort, but they aren't even talking about that yet.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to snowboard this winter and he won't be able to mountain bike this summer, so that puts a SERIOUS damper in his hobbies.  I feel bad for my baby.

I managed to hurt my neck on Wednesday, possibly doing yoga?  Ugh.  I went to see the Ortho doc and he thinks it's just a nasty sprain, so I'm on Tramadol and an anti-inflammatory, and I have to start physical therapy as well.  Late 20's is the new late 80's in the Lords family.  SUCKS.

There's a good possibility that my folks and brother and sister (in law... I hate saying that, it sounds so not-intimate) will be visiting in August, which I am ECSTATIC about.  We haven't all been together in a long time, so it would be awesome to be here in Jackson for family time.  We even have a storage space now, so the second room is slowly being converted into a guest room (we need to buy a hide-a-couch) and will eventually be a nursery as well.  It's a super tiny room, so we'll see how that all works out.

Bryan is doing well at his job and he enjoys it; his goal is to be promoted within a year or two, otherwise I think he'll move on.  He wants to be making "real money;"  realistically, be both have good jobs (especially compared to much of the seasonal work around here), but Jackson is pricey.  I'll be working approximately 3 days a week when we have a kid because there's no way I could stay at home (not that I'd really want to be a full-time stay at home mom).  He wants to see if we can buy our condo from the owner, but I'm still skittish about buying ANY piece of property in this sort of economic climate. 

Spring came early in Jackson, where it's normally still snowy at this time.  The last few days have been cold though, and we've had snow flurries and hail.  BUT, it was in the high 60's and 70's for the last few weeks, so we've had it REALLY good this spring.  I'm hoping the summer hangs around long into September and part of October, but we'll see.  Jackson is known for its very short warm seasons. 

So that's all I know. Oh, Bryan and I played in the handbell choir last Sunday.  THAT was weird and won't happen again.  Not a bad experience, just strange (I'm not a big joiner, and I have very little rhythm).  Also, we're addicted to Doctor Who now, so I'll just add that to my geeky resume.  That's about it.  Stay tuned for another actual blog post.  I know. I'm so good to you.