Archive for August 3rd, 2010

August 3, 2010

Counter Attack

by Cait

Our kitchen is small.  Small and u-shaped.  Thankfully for us, some former homeowners had built an addition so that the tiny eat in kitchen had slightly more counter space and a weird shaped spot in the cabinets left by moving the fridge further to the right and adding a pantry.  Unfortunately we had pretty much filled up the extra space with a microwave and a toaster oven.

microwave situation beforeAlso unfortunately I didn’t take a better before picture, but as you can see, this wasn’t working.
And it was probably a fire hazard (thankfully we didn’t use the toaster oven much).

We saw a microwave shelf built to hold a counter top microwave in the Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen Idea File book that we got from the bargain book section of Barnes&Noble and decided to build one.  We went to Lowe’s with a loose plan & some measurements and left with a 1×12 board we’d had cut to fit to save time, threaded rod, nuts and washers to construct the shelf.  Robert was excited because he was going to get to use his new Ryobi reciprocating saw to cut the threaded rod.  Sorry, I forgot to take picture of the power tool action, I was busy being distracted by Robert’s ripply muscles holding the threaded rod for Robert.

First we lightly sanded and primed the board.  Then we measured to see where the rods would need to go through the bottom of the cabinet above in order to still go through the board and marked. Then we drilled holes in the board and the cabinet, cut the threaded rod fourths (because we weren’t sure how low we wanted the shelf) and test fit everything.

test fitHere you can see that we needed to take everything back apart and cut a little more off the threaded rod.

Note: before you cut your rods to the right length you’ll want to make sure that everything level and then mark where to cut.

Then after that, we actually stopped for a while, because it was raining and we couldn’t put the white coat on the board.  When it was dry enough to paint without asphyxiating ourselves by painting in the shed, we just unscrewed the nuts holding the board up and took the board out to paint.  We also painted the washers that went on the top side of the board to make them blend in a little better.

almost doneHey lookie there, a shelf!

Then the only thing left to do after that was to check again to make sure it’s level, and move the microwave onto the shelf and clean up.  And then maybe celebrate by making some microwave popcorn.

moving back in

I should add that we were able to make this work because our microwave is light. If your microwave is heavier you may need to use thicker, stronger rods, or attach it to the cabinet above somehow other than with nuts and washers.


August 3, 2010

More Insight Into Who the Heck We Are

by Cait

Shifting gears slightly from the project posts in the works, I thought I’d give a little more info on who Robert and I are.

Me with Oak Tree

This is me, Caitlin, known to friends as Cait or Catie.  Animal/dog lover who is obsessed with all things green (mainly the color, but I do love me some earth-friendly products), coffee and football related.  To borrow a line from Sex and the City “I was raised in the church of be nice to people and don’t talk with your mouth full”.  As a former art major, I reserve the rights to play the “I think I can make something out of this” card.  A lot.  Which sometimes results in the dining room table being covered in Starbucks cards a slightly cluttered art room.  And thankfully I have a patient husband who puts up with my craziness.  And does the vacuuming because of my allergies.


Robert is my adventurous and fun-loving husband.  He is also quite handy.  You name it and he has probably done it, knows how to do it, or knows someone who can.  That pretty much goes for all things home renovation related, car or motorcycle related, and sports related (ok, well, maybe I hold the majority of the football knowledge, but he’s catching up on that front).  I don’t know if it comes from his upbringing, all the soccer and baseball he played, the BMX and surfing, the industry he works in or what, but this kid cannot go anywhere without seeing someone he knows.  Seriously.  My college graduation 200 miles away from our home town?  Yup, he knew people there.  He is finishing up a business degree while working full time, which makes him pretty much my hero.  I cannot even imagine working full time and taking college classes that involve math at the same time. I worked part time at a coffee shop during college and only took statistics when I needed a math credit (thank you credits from high school, for taking care of pretty much everything else, seriously, math and I are not BFFs).

You already know that we met at Habitat for Humanity, but you probably don’t know that we met in a shower.  Hey, you in the back, get your dirty mind out of the gutter!  I was scraping paint and plaster over-spray off the shower walls.

Fast forward to 2007 after we’d been back together for awhile and this guy entered our lives.


Freckles is our furry first born.  According to the Humane Society’s records he’s from South Carolina, and the fact that we think he’s a mix of American Staffordshire Terrier, some kind of retreiver, and maybe a little Pointer points to the idea that he may have been bred as a hunting dog.  Having lived with him for three years now though, I can say with absolute certainty that he would have been a terrible hunting dog.  Don’t get me wrong, Freckle Face can tree a cat with the best of them, but he’s terrified of loud noises.  Fireworks make him whine (remind me to tell you the story of the 4th of July in 2009, which was spent on a dock 20 yards from where someone was setting off fireworks… good times), thunder sends him searching for a place to hide or a lap to crawl into, and I don’t really want to know what gunshots make him do.  But I’m guessing it’s not “retreive the fallen animal”.  As far as the rest of his personality, it’s pretty much the dog version of Robert, but without the “knowing someone everywhere he goes”.


Dots came into our lives in 2008 when, as usual, I was “just looking” at the Humane Society’s website.  I was pretty much smitten after seeing her furry little face.  (Wouldn’t you be?)  Her story was heartbreaking, and so after begging and pleading reminding the nice folks at the Humane Society who our other dog was, they let us foster-to-adopt her while she finished up her second heartworm treatment in a year.  Two very wiggly years later, I can’t (or maybe more that I just don’t want to) imagine life without her.  If you’ll excuse the slightly hokey tangent, she’s one of those dogs who seems to sense when you feel sad or when you’re sick, and she takes the sadness or sickness from you.  You could also simply say “it is impossibly to be unhappy around this dog”.  We think she is a mix of American Staffordshire Terrier and Pointer, but sometimes people ask if she has Dalmatian in her.  We don’t have a lot to go off of other than her medical records from the Humane Society, because she wasn’t an owner surrender like Freckles, but we think she was probably a stray and might have had a litter of puppies before the Humane Society got her.

Anyway, that’s a brief introduction to our little family, and later on today I’ll post at least one of the projects we’ve done around the house.

And what does it say about me that I had more to say about the dogs than I did about the hubs and about myself?