Going Rogue

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We recently bought a new car (well, crossover) a few weeks ago for the wife. Her old car (the blue Dodge Stratus Coupe on the left in this photo, with more photos on Flickr) is paid off in few months and was starting to show its age. I only drive less than 2 miles to work, where she drives 30 each way. We decided that one car payment would be much more enjoyable, plus there were some amazing deals going on currently as well.

So we picked up a 2010 Nissan Rogue SL and traded in my 2006 Nissan Sentra SE. My trade (plus two coupons) made us break even on our trade, and 0% financing for the life of the loan made us nearly break even on car payments of my Sentra! We actually test drove one of these Rogues during the ‘Cash For Clunkers’ program – and were not all that impressed. But after running the numbers and comparing quite a few of our options, plus test driving these again – we were blown away. For being a smaller CUV, it is actually more comfortable and has more room (at least feels like it) than the Nissan Altima we were also looking at. And while I originally thought you got more for your money with the Altima, the deals going on with the Rogues actually made them a better deal.

We finally got to take it back to the dealer today to get the spoiler installed (which they threw in for free), plus get it detailed. Since everything was finally complete, I took a few moments to take a few pictures of the new car, and posted them on Flickr.

Kitchen Remodel – Part 2 – Demolition!

With about 3 weeks to go before everything was going to be installed, we finally started tearing out the kitchen. While we probably could have done everything in a day or two, we had to do all the work after we got off work, and it’s actually much harder than you think. It was a lot of fun tearing things out, but also very tiring.

Over the course of a week or so, we did one of these a night.

Once of the last things we did was remove the sink and the cabinets around it. We had one of the plumbers come out a week before demo to let us know how to unhook everything. But when I started doing what he said, I realized we were going to have a few problems. Mainly, the knob on the water supply line was somewhat broken, and would not shut off. Luckily another plumber from the same company came out and took care of it for us. I started to take apart the rest of the sink, but decided to wait until later to actual remove the drain.

The week before things were to be installed, the guy in charge of installations came out to measure everything, make any final notes, and make sure things were good to go. While he was here, he wanted to help us remove the rest of the sink so he could check it all out. We cut the drain line, removed the rest of the counters and cabinets, and then noticed a pretty big problem.

We had years of water damage underneath it all.

Under our cabinets there was a bit of particle board used above the subfloor, below the actual ‘flooring’. This has swollen over an inch in some areas, and was going to have to be fixed before we could get the new cabinets put in. This was the thursday before Memorial Day, a long holiday weekend. Who could we get out on such short notice, and how would we know we were getting the work done at a fair price, etc?

The guy we were working with noticed our confusion and concern. And then the unimaginable happened. He went outside and grabbed his saw. 30 minutes later, this is what the floor looked like. He told us he realized our concerns, and due to various reasons, wanted to help us out. After showing me what was left to be done, I removed the rest of the floor under where the stove was going. He left us with a shopping list, and told us he would be back later during the weekend.

Sure enough, that weekend we got back together, and finished the task, plus plenty more. We cut and fit the plywood you see in this picture, removed a bit of drywall on the inside wall (where the fridge and stove are) and planed the studs to make the wall more even, and he even showed us how to skim coat the walls. We were blown away by this companies hospitality, and are so happy for this. We went from just a quick refresh of our kitchen, to worrying if it would ever be done, to knocking it out of the park in just 2 weeks.

While we did ‘take our time’ when it came to demolishing everything – we really should have planned things out slightly better. Some notes to take away are:

  • Start early. You can’t start ‘too early’. We put it off here and there, and ended up having some late nights in the end. Nothing was too bad, but there were plenty of days in the end where we had to work every night, and didn’t get to take a break.
  • Demo before you even order if you can. We ordered and planned everything out with original measurements. This isn’t a big deal – but if you can give the company building everything a completely clean slate, they may be able to even better plan things out. Due to our 50+ year home, things are sagging a little bit, and some measurements were slightly off (but fixed in the end).
  • Work with great people. We are still amazed by the company we went with, and have already referred multiple customers to them.
  • People like to tear things out. Invite friends over. Get rid of your anger. It can be tiring, but was a lot of fun doing this. Plus just the general activity was fun.