Category Archives: Family Life

The Need for Change: Reconfiguring and Remodeling Your House

Most homeowners fit in one of the following categories: just finished a project, need to start a project, or started and gave up on the last project. If you are at all like me, I get very antsy when things stay the same for any extended period of time. I need change! Well, I’m sure if I really explored the depths of myself I would find that I don’t really need it & that my need for change is covering up something else. But, I feel like I need constant change, especially in my surroundings. For a good stretch of my young adult life, that meant moving every year, if not more, even within the same cities just for a new experience, new perspective.

Since Kathy & I moved into our current house in Venice Neighborhood, we’ve tried to actually stay in one place for a time and build some more lasting connections with our neighbors. But, for me, the restlessness is still there. And since the house isn’t changing (for now), there is the constant urge to adjust the environment inside. My list of projects I would like to start is endless. Starting in the kitchen. I would love to re-tile the floor, since what we inherited is a mess. But I hate to do that, when I really would like to completely shell the kitchen and start over. But I don’t have money for that, and even if I did, I would want to open up the wall between it and the dining room. And now we’re talking major remodel. I have neither the time nor money nor energy for all of that right now. I guess we are stuck with the floor for a while.

So, without the budget to do these kinds of projects, I have resorted to reconfiguring rooms and furniture. It has become one of my favorite and not-so-favorite past times. I think friends and family are so used to showing up at our house only to find the rooms and furniture completely re-arranged that they don’t even comment any more. Someone did comment the other day, “you moved things again?” We hadn’t, but I guess their minds were still a few revisions back.

Many of my projects of late have been longstanding, small maintenance jobs that you kind of learn to ignore after a time, so you don’t have to deal with it. But, for me, after a certain period of annoyance, I feel like I have to resolve the issue. And, having done some commercial building maintenance for a while, I have learned that when you go to repair something, you are more often than not going to find or create a bigger mess than what you thought. That happened with my most recent job.

Our dishwasher has been a piece of you-know-what since we moved into the house almost 5 years ago. It didn’t clean the dishes well, which is really not that uncommon I guess. But it also had several faulty parts. The small door that closes up your detergent hadn’t functioned well in years. So, you knew there were certain spots in the dishwasher not to put your dishes or silverware, because more often than not, it would come out with a random glob of detergent baked on.

For those of you we’re not around everyday, we are on an extremely tight budget right now. So, we quit using the washer weeks ago, and resorted to hand washing. Then, one afternoon my generous and resourceful mother-in-law, Jeanie, calls to tell us there was one on the way. She had somehow tracked down a free one–old, but free. So, I immediately starting tearing into the old one, disconnecting plumbing, taking cabinet facing off, etc.  I get the thing out & what do I find??  Four things in particular:  1. tons of dirt, 2. even more mouse droppings, 3. the skeleton of mouse, and 4. a huge hole in the drywall behind.  Most people would probably sweep the junk up and throw the new one in. But no, I had to thoroughly clean and patch the 2×2′ hole in the wall first.

He's learned from daddy the importance of using your mouth in repair jobs.

Needless to say, over the course of the entire afternoon, evening, and following morning I patched the wall and installed the new (old) dishwasher.  Miraculously, it works, and fortunately it’s not green.  I did have to do some homemade insulation work to bring the sound level down, but it works & all it cost us was the $20 worth of supplies to repair the wall and about 12 hours of Caleb’s and my time (for those of you who are parents, you understand that a 3yr-old assistant while trusty and hilarious will typically turn a 4 hour job into 12).

On that subject, repairs, remodels, and reconfigures will be the topic for next week or so on Urban Living OKC.  In the next post, I want share some valuable resources I’ve found for green remodels.  If you are planning a project in the near or distant future, check back in a day or so for some helpful info.

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Crazy Caleb’s First “Rumble”

This weekend, my brother, Kevin, treated my 3 year old son Caleb and I to our first OKC Thunder game.  The Thunder experience has become a vital part of urban okc life.  Leading up to the game, we had been talking to Caleb about what to expect.  When we talked about going to watch a basketball game, Caleb’s only point of reference was his 7 year old cousin, Matthew’s, YMCA game from the week before.  He kept saying, “I’m going to yell, ‘Go Matthew!!!'”  Kathy and I just kind of laughed and assured him this was going to be a little different.

Rumble the Mascot of the Oklahoma City Thunder

We arrived at our seats and started looking around the arena.  He seemed pretty unfazed by it all.  When the time came for the teams to be announced, he just wanted to know where “that thunder guy” (aka Rumble the mascot) was.  Throughout the entire game, he constantly asked where was that Rumble guy.  We would tell him, he must be taking a break.  He was totally fascinated by Rumble.

Everyone was really gracious to Caleb.  When the plastic b-balls were shot and thrown into the crowd, a middle aged man came over and gave him a ball.  When we went to get some snacks, they gave him a blue wig & made him a balloon dog.  He used some of his snack money from his grandparents to buy what any 3 yr old boy would…blue cotton candy.  In a matter of minutes, his entire face and hands were bright thunder blue.  We talked to him about some of the players & he loved yelling, “Go Kevin Durant!”

Later, we got a monster order of nachos.  At one point, he leaned over and said, “more defense!”  I knew he had been yelling go defense off and on throughout the game with us.  But I asked him, “what are talking about?”  He pointed directly into the tray of nachos and said, “MORE DEFENSE!”  Every time he wanted another nacho, he yelled, “more defense!”  Kevin and I were rolling.  Thanks largely in part to Crazy Caleb, our section in Loud City won the Craziest Section contest and free crazy bread from Little Caesars.  I even shamelessly shoved him in front of the camera when they were introducing the “Loud City” crew directly in front of us.

The Thunder won the game going away, and Caleb had an night of non-stop action.  Of course the one thing about a cheapo father who parks at Bass Pro and a 3 yr old out way past his bedtime is that dad must carry said 3 yr old the half mile from the area to the car.

Crazy Caleb - Unofficial Mascot of the Thunder & Our Home

I think my favorite part of the experience was actually the next day.  I had been at a meeting early that morning.  As I pulled up to the house, I looked up to our front patio only to see Caleb in full blue wig, swinging his loud city towel, and laughing hysterically.  Thank you, Oklahoma City Thunder, for making Caleb’s first experience one to remember!!