The Recipe Box

I’m sure the last thing any reader comes here for are recipes, but believe it or not I am rather accomplished when it comes to finding my way around the kitchen. I have my mom to thank for that since she is an excellent cook! Many of the recipes I will post in my virtual recipe box come from her, but over the years I have collected a number of recipes off well known food sites, as well as just Google searches for whatever I am in the mood for.

My 4×6 index card holder is just too cluttered and I figured this would be a great way to organize my recipes, as well as get many of them online. I do have a number of favorites that I could cook everyday, but my intent is two-fold. First, as I mentioned is to get my recipe box organized. Second to find some new recipes that I have in box and have never cooked or not cooked in a long time.

Many of the recipes I have collected are simple to make. I can’t say I like to follow a recipe that is too difficult or to long to make. I have seen some chef’s recipes from the well known sites and while the outcome is fantastic, I know my won’t be nearly as good. So rarely do I follow the master chefs and their recipes. Thankfully some chefs do have simple recipes that are quick and easy to follow.

Remodel: The Sequel

Wow, what a hell of a year this has been since April. It’s bad enough we had waste water leak out a few toilets upstairs, as well as out a crack in  (Phoenix) ABS pipe that was recalled back in the early 1990s. Guess the previous owners decided not to correct the problems and we were just unfortunate enough to have that water make its way out of a light fixture and onto our wood floor.

Now don’t get me wrong, remodeling is great! Especially now since we aren’t pay for anything out of pocket. So it’s probably not the “right” way to go about it, but every cent is legit, minus the reimbursement on my Blackberry I threw against the wall when our first leak occurred.

At the end of October we finally finished the majority of the work. The only remaining work was wiring a few new outlets, hanging a new bathroom door and molding around the base of the walls. Carpet had been in for 2 days. 2 days! This was when the second leak hit, undetected or unannounced.

After a few weeks of phone calls to the insurance company, as well as to a leak detection specialist, a plumber, the restoration company and the insurance adjuster, things got moving rather quickly. I was surprised to see three checks in the mail within a week to cover the initial damages. They also provided us with hotel accommodations since we had no water.

Yesterday was the start of the repipe of the house. The insurance company covered a partial reroute of the hot and cold water to the kitchen sink. The plumbers recommendation, to repipe the entire house. So we decided to spend our money in order to make up the difference and do the entire house. Last thing we want is a third leak.

While fixing the leak was the primary issue, I was shocked when the insurance company said they would cover the repair. It is not often you get that response from them. The remaining issue at hand is what else, in terms of damages will be covered? We have three waterlogged cabinets, that were months old. They are visibly damaged. Our Corian counter top was destroyed when the clean up company removed the cabinets. Have you priced Corian recently?

The other sticking point, our floors. This is both the new tiles in the kitchen and the new carpet in the dining room. The clean up company took a 3’x’4′ piece, along with a 1′ strip about 3′ long from our dining room. It was wet with mold, along with the padding and tack strips.

The kitchen floor has yet to be torn up. The cabinets were removed, but the tile left in place. They mitigation company (clean up guys) recommended the carpet and tile flooring be removed. Of course not all of it needs to be taken out and replaced. But the insurance company has been very hesitant on making this call. I decided to talk to the guy who sold and installed all the flooring and he quoted $3000 to fix both. The only problem being the tint of the carpet and tile might not match what is currently on the floor. *sigh*

This did not make my wife happy at all. So I have put her in charge of talking to the insurance company, in order to sell them on the fact they need to pony up for the flooring as well as the cabinets. Both of which they are balking on.

In comes the insurance adjuster, who has been to the house once, when the mitigation company set up their equipment. Since then, he has not seen the damage to the cabinets or the fact they removed carpet and all the cabinets, along with about 2′ high strip of drywall around the perimeter walls of the kitchen. On the exterior, I had to remove the wood siding and insulation in order to give the plumbers access to bring the new pipes in.

In my estimate, there is probably close to $15,000 worth of money I feel we are owed. Will we get it? I don’t know but after going through this already this year, most of the remaining items are “damage” which should be covered by insurance. I must give props to Ameriprise (through Costco), they have been great since April! Hopefully we will see the remainder of the work covered and have our house back in order by Christmas, although with work and holidays I fear we will ride the remodel through the new year. “Oh what fun…”

Remodeling is Hell

Next time you file an insurance claim, make it a big one! Make it a claim which will allow you to do as much remodeling or construction as you need. I know, this is flat out insurance fraud, but damn it my wife and I are stuck in the middle of this and are still discussing how to proceed. Thankfully, we have already received three insurance checks, one for personal property and two for repairs. Actually, I liked the idea of a friend at work to make the repairs, then take the rest of the money and walk from the mortgage. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

So here we are with this money and it’s a good amount to make the repairs to the downstairs bathroom and replace all the carpet and remove the wood floors for tile. But we decided to stretch this amount to include the kitchen. Why? Because it is old and falling apart, as the cabinets are nothing more than press board (high density fiberboard, as they call it now).

We also have a pipe (maybe two) that require repair. I have called 10, count them 10 plumbers in the Oakley, Brentwood, Antioch area. Of those, 4 did not answer, 3 said they would call me back, 1 did want to give me an estimate, 1 gave me an estimate over the phone and one stood me up on coming to see the pipe. I then got the names and numbers of two other plumbers, both of whom have yet to call me or stop by. Why the hell is a plumber so hard to come by? I guess they all have better work than repairing my pipe.

Back to the kitchen, the sum of money if budgeted wisely could stretch to include the kitchen, the catch. I would have to do a considerable amount of work, including the tear down and replacement of the cabinets. As long as I get my buddy, Greg from SoCal, I don’t see why this would be out of the question. There are no fixtures, switches or lights that need to be removed, so I am fine on electrical. The plumbing should be fine, the only area of question is the pipe feeding the sink.

So we were given an estimate yesterday from a contractor and I think we were both speechless after he ran down the itemized list. I figured it would come in a bit higher, but got of lucky, I guess. Still after going through it, asking questions and discussing our situation there is a good chance only portion of what he included will get accomplished, if not by the contractor then by myself. The only problem with that, it will take twice as long. How much is convenience actually worth?

I was shocked at the price of kitchen cabinets. The estimate I saw was nearly double what I figured. Then I checked with Lowes since that he where he went to price cabinets and I was appalled when the cabinets I asked for were not the same ones he got a quote on. Huh? So I am headed back to Lowes on Tuesday to sit down with a planner and work out our new kitchen. Rest assured it won’t come in nearly as high as the contractor’s estimate.

The end of August is my target date, not sure I am on pace to make that, but rest assured when things start to happen it will go quicker than what is happening currently.

We’re in the [Insurance] Money

Work as commenced on the house this past weekend. On my days off I started removing drywall in the dining room, pantry and the exterior of the bathroom. I have two more walls in the entry way to replace, but I am holding off on those because it will June 1 before the clean up company will start the mold remediation in the bathroom. Regardless of their work I plan on knocking all the walls out anyway, but won’t happen until next month.There are many things that need to happen before I hang all the drywall. I was able to fix the

Work as commenced on the house this past weekend. On my days off I started removing drywall in the dining room, pantry and the exterior of the bathroom. I have two more walls in the entry way to replace, but I am holding off on those because it will June 1 before the clean up company will start the mold remediation in the bathroom. Regardless of their work I plan on knocking all the walls out anyway, but won’t happen until next month.

There are many things that need to happen before I hang all the drywall. I was able to fix the leak in the HVAC system, but won’t attempt to tackle the plumbing issue. For that I need a plumber and I am still looking for one. I had hoped to get an estimate today from a general contractor who is local, but he needed to reschedule. I am hoping his company can replace the sliding glass door, replace all the wood flooring with tile, install the kitchen cabinets (and marble counter top) and probably a few other smaller items that I cannot remember at this time.

I still plan on doing ALL the demolition myself. Knowing how long it took me to knock down the drywall and rip up a portion of the wood floor I could have have most of the house devoid of old shit within 2 days. Unfortunately, the new carpet will be a bit slow because of moving belongings from room to room in order to lay the carpet will be a tedious process. But much like the drywall and kitchen cabinets I plan on pulling up all the carpet.

I had hoped to have a bit more done before my wife and son arrived home. But I need to get the plumbing in the ceiling fixed before I install the new drywall for the ceiling. This weekend is all but lost because of the CQWW WPX contest. Sunday might give me some time to work on the house depending on how close to 36 hours worked in the contest I am.

The leak is in the HVAC system, but won’t attempt to tackle the plumbing issue. For that I need a plumber and I am still looking for one. I had hoped to get an estimate today from a general contractor who is local, but he needed to reschedule. I am hoping his company can replace the sliding glass door, replace all the wood flooring with tile, install the kitchen cabinets (and marble counter top) and probably a few other smaller items that I cannot remember at this time.

I still plan on doing ALL the demolition myself. Knowing how long it took me to knock down the drywall and rip up a portion of the wood floor I could have have most of the house devoid of old shit within 2 days. Unfortunately, the new carpet will be a bit slow because of moving belongings from room to room in order to lay the carpet will be a tedious process. But much like the drywall and kitchen cabinets I plan on pulling up all the carpet.

I had hoped to have a bit more done before my wife and son arrived home. But I need to get the plumbing in the ceiling fixed before I install the new drywall for the ceiling. This weekend is all but lost because of the CQWW WPX contest. Sunday might give me some time to work on the house depending on how close to 36 hours worked in the contest I am.