Tonight Fred and I do something that Iíve wanted done since 1983 when I moved into my house. Of course I was a young mother back then with a young husband and two children when I moved in. Because of the American way we were virtually bankrupted moving from an apartment to our own home.

You know how it is with down deposits and closing costs and attorneys. We moved in with pennies left to our name. We also moved into a small cottage in which you could look out between the boards of the living room walls and see outside.

There was no insulation, no inside walls and it was September with winter coming fast. We threw cheap insulation and paneling at the problem downstairs and the upstairs was only finished by Artie last Summer.

You can imagine the particle board mess I picked out of Gr0ssmanís Bargain Outlet that become my kitchen base and cabinets 24 years ago. Theyíve since disintegrated. I think I wrote about how one cabinet dissolved and fell and broke all my dishes and glasses as well as almost killing my dog. The other cabinet is still hanging in there (no pun intended, although accurate),

The kitchen sink base was pure laminated particle board and of the three drawers only one is functional now. Of the three doors none are fully functional and all have hinge issues. I think the cheap vinyl laminate sheets held it together all these years.

Iíve been dealing with no pantry combined with no real cabinet space and the little I had fell down. I have a plastic 30 dollar bookcase next to my refrigerator that houses things like coffee machines, slow cookers, mixers, rotisseries and bread makers. My toaster oven obscures the one food preparation site that I have and my microwave is on a wheeled cart thatís has only one placement in the room that is not in the direct way of walking or eating and that placement obscures the dishwasher entry as does my wastebasket and another basket for recyclables.

The counter top has a laminated oak print but since itís made of much thicker particle board than the cabinets or kitchen base it sits upon, believe it or not, it doesnít look too bad despite the abuse and use itís seen over the years.

I canít emphasize how much I detest my kitchen. Iíve been ashamed of it for years and NEVER EVER invite anyone over for a meal because of it. Itís absolute shite and has been from the moment it was installed.

Iíve tried to remodel it before but I disliked the design I first picked out and it didnít include everything I wanted, like a bigger kitchen window, and everything would look badly and have to be redone over and over if I did it in stages.

The ceiling is a paneled lowered ceiling covering bare beams. The walls are that shit, cheap paneling that I could barely afford with the money I had left after buying the house with my first winter fast approaching, To make it worse they are now *painted* shit panels that are peeling.

So imagine my joy when Fred backed me up and promised to help me. I would be too terrified to do this on my own. But with his assurance I picked out a 5 foot, two tier, 1200 dollar garden window with casement handles to open the ends for a summer ocean breeze and a person to install it.

Iíve hired a plasterer to hang blue board and plaster my ceiling and walls. Fred and I are going to strip the room bare of all the crap paneling and old cabinetry to save money.

Iíve hired a plumber to move the pipes to my sink and my gas stove.

Iím trusting Fred to install new lighting, possibly recessed, and to move/add electric outlets, as needed (heís an electrical engineer. He should be able to figure it out)

And Iíve ordered 8000 dollars worth of cabinets, including pull out drawers for waste and recyclables, an overhead built in for the microwave, pull outs for appliances and more cabinet space than my oldest daughter has in that huge house of hers.

In addition I finally put down my foot and said, ďIf Iím going to live with this for another twenty years Iím FINALLY getting what I want as long as it isnít made of gold.Ē So I bought toasted almond with brownish aged glazing on a cottagey bead board which looks AWESOME.

I also bought a counter top that will probably last until Iím dead and buried. It better, as it cost 72 dollars a square foot and is 2000 dollars installed with a free double stainless steel sink.

Iím in heaven! I am sooo happy! FINALLY!! YAAY!

But how do I afford this? Well I have some Christmas money for the window and Fred is paying for the installation. I am charging the cabinets and counter top with 12 months no interest. I will pay off what I can and then take a refinance on my equity loan. Hopefully the payments will still be somewhere close to what they are now. Again, Fred is paying for the install. As for affording the new walls and ceiling, I really donít know how Iím doing that except that I am working and making money again and I think I can charge the blue board and take down the old paneling myself. If I install the new blue board too the plasterer will only charge me 600 dollars.

Iím just going to have to work it because this is happening BABEE! I already ordered the window and the cabinets get ordered tonight. Iíll be sure to take a before and after picture because I wonít have to be ashamed of how I live ever again.

Iím so happy! Did any of you see the Extreme Home Makeover of the bi-racial couple that owned a castle-like home with no kitchen? When they gave her one she praised God and then promptly fainted from joy. Thatís kind of what I feel like!

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