Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kitchen Renovations #6

Here you see the tile being put on the walls for the backsplash. What a difficult process when the tiles are different sizes! We were surprised to find black tile at all, so when we did, we bought it right up thinking that the white tile right next to it was the same tile. We didn't realize until today that they are two different sizes...about an eighth of an inch off which makes it really hard to lay tile in straight. So, we had to do some rethinking on the design, but I think that it will look great once it is finished tomorrow!
Jayson even wanted to help clean up, too. He had to see what machine papa was using and wanted to help. It was only the shop vac as we were busy cleaning up all the sawdust trying to get it ready for the painter.
Diane Marine has even been over to help on these long days. She and her husband have hardly seen each other because of this project, so I think she decided to join in the fun! Actually, she has been a huge help in trying to get this all done before the kids return in less than two weeks!

We find ourselves working all the time on this kitchen now. I mean, literally at least 12 hours a day. Needless to say, we are going through the cokes to keep us going:) Amazing thing is...I have lost weight. oops, off topic again. Anyway, we now have the countertops on and all with formica(sp?). You probably cannot tell from these pictures because we covered them back up for the tile to be put on the walls and the paint and stain to be applied to the walls and cabinets. I did not put pics on of when we got the faceplates on the cabinets. They are really nice, but don't show up well in the pictures. You can see them in some of these pictures. Once they are stained, I think they will stand out more. Ok, that wraps up another edition of the kitchen renovations, 2008....(I hope you are happy Doug)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

4th of July, Niamey style

Many people ask us some peculiar questions at times. One of those we often get, "Is there a 4th of July in Africa?" Now, I pause here for two reasons....1...well of course there is a fourth of July, how would they get from the third to the fifth? 2. Do all countries celebrate America's birth? silly I know, but it just sounds funny to us who live in a culture that has different holidays than the ones to which we are accustomed. I digress. I do want to share some photos of our celebration of the fourth of July. We do try to celebrate our American and Canadian holidays when it is possible. We don't get the days off here, but we do what we can. We started the day by playing a game of softball in the heat of the afternoon...Yes, we are crazy Americans. There is Janice making a diving catch in right field.
About 5:30 in the afternoon, we all went to Brian and Cathy Blisses house for a good ole barbeque. We had some hamburgers and hot dogs and even played some crochet. How American is that? Funny thing was that some of the tenns here had no clue what this silly game was. Others just loved it, it reminded them of their childhood.
Once darkness was upon us, we found some sparklers for the kids to play with. Our kids weren't too sure at first. In fact, Mikaylah refused to touch one until she saw how much fun everyone was having with them, then she joined in. When it first lit up, she would almost drop it out of fear, then she would have some fun as you can see in her pictures.
Jayson was the same way. It was a bit nervous of them, but then wanted to hold it, but where it was burning:) Aside from that, it was a Saturday as usual, or was it Friday? Other activities some did was to pick some great looking Mangos, ride on Rover, the campus turtle, and sit around and eat. We had just a wonderful time. Thank you Blisses for putting that together for us.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kitchen Renovations #5

Ok, tonight, you are going to be caught up on the renovation project here at our dorm. Things really began to move quickly once the plumber and electrician and others were finished with their part of the project. The first picture is taken right after the painters left. They left this really bright red paint on the walls, but left a bunch of the wall unpainted. Why? you ask?
Because that is where the two stoves will go and one of the sinks! The strip around the kitchen will be tiled, too.Janice really wanted to do the kitchen in coca cola stuff, so that is why the red. Most of it won't even show after we get the cabinets up and the doors on. Janice thought about painting the cabinets black and the doors white with black or red handles...We have had some controversy here because everyone has their own opinion of what is best. Some have even brought magazines with new kitchens in it to show how varnished cabinets look best, but some of the best ones I saw, were painted! So, Janice has gone back and forth. The third picture you will see Janice contemplating what to do...or just checking out the work to be sure we did it right!:)
Here you see me doing something to the wall. I must have been putting in brochette sticks to hang the cabinets. Yes, all you cabinets hangers out there, I said brochette sticks! With these concrete walls, those seems to hold the best to put these wooden sticks in small holes an fasten them in. We are able to hang from the cabinets. Wow! But we don't do that. That makes Janice a bit nervous.

Here, Chris Marine is checking out the levelness of the cabinets to see how straight they hang on the wall. Unfortunately, the walls were nowhere near square, so we had a lot of shimming to do and some creative hanging. The cabinet you see Chris working on was the worst one, I think. Just a word about Chris and Diane Marine...they were the masterminds behind this whole project. When they realized they would be home, in Niger, this whole summer, they thought it would be good to use left over funds from their dorm at ICA and combine those with funds here to do this project. Without them, we would not have been able to do this. God has a great way of putting the right people and circumstances in place when He needs them to be. We are very thankful for all of Chris's work, sweat, and planning of this kitchen. Sorry I do not have a picture of Diane thinking about things and how to do this as well. Hopefully, I can get them in the kitchen when it is all done, so you can see it! THANK YOU CHRIS AND DIANE!!!
And here you see most of the cabinets up on the wall, without doors and stuff like that. Now, the question, stain or paint??? Just thought I would throw that out there to all of you as well.
Well, that about wraps it up. You have come as far as we have. Oh, we do have two or three cabinets to set tomorrow, but most are already done. See you next time on Kitchen renovations, part 6!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kitchen Renovations #4

We left you last time with the floor all torn up and the kids playing in the trenches. The first picture here is of the floor ready to be tiled and finished so we could set the cabinets. What you see here is the cement back in the trenches covering the plumbing and gas lines.
Then we move straight up to the ceiling. It was a great thing to get the ceiling back up because we were being eaten by mosquitoes. Very odd way of ceiling tiles, though. You put some quarter sheet plywood up and then put these baggettes up to make it look like they are ceiling tiles. It is impossible to replace just one, though:) Now we can begin to tile the floor to make it completely finished. This is the process that most fasinates me. Of course, a level floor is very important to getting the cabinets set. The first thing we told the guys who laid the tile was that we needed a level floor, So, they brought in the sand, the cement, and the water and began to mix it all. Now, the amazing thing is that they used only a board to level this floor and never once touched a level. They went over and over the floor with this 2 X 4, and to my amazement, the floor is perfectly level. You could put a marble in the middle of the room and it would not go anywhere.

What you are seeing here is the pile of sand and cement as they get ready to lay the floor back in before they lay the tile. When the have the floor ready, they begin to lay the tile. Now, laying tile in a totally empty room is ok, but trying to do it to match an already existing tiled room and hallway, it gets a bit tricky. We didn't have extra tiles, so it was super important for them not to waste any.After they lay the tile on this cement, sand mix, they pour water over the whole floor to drain down into the cement to help set it. They next day, they come in with the grout to finish it all up. When they were all done, you see the final product.Here is Janice posing for the camera on the new floor. Now the room is ready for the cabinets to go in...oops, not quite yet...we still have to paint! Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kitchen Renovations #3

Ok, these pictures are pretty self explanatory. From Doug and Chris working on the cabinets, to our kids walking around in the new kitchen in all the trenches. They found it great fun to walk along those like rats in a maze! Now, you may be wondering...so what did Tim do on these cabinets? ahhhh, good question. I had the most important job of all...the job that all the carpenters I know like the least...the job where they think anyone can do it because they wouldn't let me touch the power tools...besides the sander. Yes, I sanded almost everyone of the boards before it was put together by Doug and Chris. Yes, they would stand around drinking cokes while I continued to sand away. Do you feel sorry for me yet? You shouldn't. It wasn't all that bad. After all, while I was sanding, I found lots of time to think, to pray, and best of all...I couldn't hear what the others were saying about me the whole time:)

Aside from that, you see Mikaylah and Jayson having some fun in the new kitchen, you see the drywell with the cover on and of course a picure of our kids with their Uncle Doug. They really enjoyed him out here and hopefully kept him busy enough so he didn't miss his own son too much.(Grant is one month old now:))

Kitchen Renovations #2

Ok, ok, I haven't put enough pictures on the blog about this kitchen. Many of you are begging for more....others are saying, please, no:) So, here you will have some more. As a word of explanation, you will find the floor with some "trails" going through it for the plumbing and gas lines. Some electrical lines were buried in the floor as well. After we had the floor torn out, they made these "trenches" down to the dirt and added the lines, then covered them up again. You can see the electrician putting lines into the walls. It is so different here because of the walls all being made of concrete. You chisel a line out of the wall, put you wires in a tube in that same line and then cement it back in. Even with new construction, you put all the walls in, let it set, then go back and chisel some out for your electricity! The 2nd from the bottom picture is of the drywell we put out back. This is used for drainage of the sinks in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. Just the sinks and showers though. These guys kept digging and digging and digging until we had our whole back yard one great big dirt pile. Oh, they used nothing but shovels and a pickax. When we thought they were about to stop, they dug another foot or so. I think it was about 20-25 feet deep. What you see in this picture is right after the put all those bricks in which they made the week before. Now you can nothing of this well as it has been closed in and dirt put over the top.
The third picture is just a shot of some of the cabinets assembled in our dining room waiting to be set into place after the wall were painted. As of today....those cabinets are all in place:) We struggles a bit getting these nicely built cabinets put on to some walls that had trouble being square. Needless to say, many shims later, they are up and attached solidly to the walls.
The fourth picture, or second from the top is of my brother who was changing the electrical panel from one side of the wall in the new kitchen, to the other side, in the hallway. While I do have a better picture of him, I thought I would include this picture when I turned the juice back on...little to his dismay!!!! Just kidding. :)

And last but not least, I just had to include this picture of Jayson whom I found in our bathroom sink! How did he get there, you ask? He found the stool and bathtub the kids use and used them to get up into the sink. He is quite the climber...not afraid of a whole lot. Just thought I would share this little guilty look with you all.

Okay, they sums it all up for now. I will send another episode of our kitchen renovations later! You will see pictures of some of this going together very soon....I promise! Thanks for all your inquiries and prayers as we try to get this dorm ready for the kids to return in less than 1 month!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kitchen Renovations #1

Just thought we would update the progress so far. Last picture you saw was a picture of Mikaylah drawing on the wall and a picture of the old kitchen. Yes, the old kitchen is still there, but the wall is not! We had a great time being very destructive in tearing that wall down. It was hard work....not like those walls made of drywall like in the US! In fact, we have the ceiling done now and the floor was laid today. I will put in some pictures of earlier construction and then some with things as they are. When you live here, you learn so many new things. The way they tile, put ceilings in, make walls square(rarely), etc. When you need cabinets, you don't just go down to your local Menard's and order them...you build them from plywood that would not be used by many in the states. You even tile a floor with square tiles that are not even square! But, you work with what you have and when it is all done? It looks great! We praise God that He has provided not only the money to fund this project, but also with people who know exactly what needs to be done. Many of our latest pics are still on the camera, so I will include pictures from when my brother was here. We really enjoyed his visit. He got the great privilege of riding a camel, along with building cabinets. He also played "Santa Claus" to us when he packed his bags full of goodies! We are really thankful to Grace Baptist Church in Cedarville for helping to send him over here. You notice the beautiful sunset we happened to have the day we took Doug out for brochettes at the Grand Hotel. A beautiful shot of the Niger River and the Kennedy Bridge.