Oh boy…time to call the UrbanSurvival Board of Directors into special session. If you got this far, you’re on Board so consider attendance mandatory.

Elaine and I want to redo the kitchen. We have four different ways we can to this and I want to get some input on this:

Option 1: We keep the existing (cheap) cabinets and reface just the doors. Pros: Cheap, easy, quick. Cons: Doesn’t look as good as either of the two competing options. Black frames, black doors.

Option 2: We pull off the doors and take the existing framing down to wood and then re-face both the frames (to a stained birch) and then build new doors which will be stained dark to match. All this would be a kind of dark chocolate color. Pros: Easier than ripping out all the cabinets, looks better, and would really dress up the kitchen. Cons: The drawers would still be rough slide/friction, not the fancy ball bearing 100% extending drawers. But more time and money.

Option 3: Run up to the cabinet/home builder closeout center and buy all new cabinets. Pros: Great looking finished product. Cool drawer slides. Cons: Three to five thousand of them. Then there is the hassle of mounting and redoing all the counters…and then a new sink and then a new dishwasher and then…OMG it just goes on…

Option 4: Tear out the whole kitchen, cook on the BBQ for a month, eat off paper plates and have George build up cabinets the right way. Pros: Justifies all the tools in the shop, is a little cheaper than commercially made cabinets, would give me a chance to dovetail join to my heart’s content. Cons: Count the fingers. This is a lot of saw work and time on top of the rest of life. Not that much cheaper than check writing because time is worth something.

This option really eats time like a muther-whater. On the other hand, a new table saw might be snuck into the budget…

In all cases we would redo the counters, though in one case using the epoxy paint approach…

Please feel free to post a comment – advice and experience at this level of decision is a valued thing.

Radioactive Granite?

As long as we are doing a kitchen make-over, I invited my chum from the PNW to come back down for a visit. You’ll recall his last visit was when the left eye got buggered up…so we never completely got around to the ham radio projects.

He wisely declined to enroll in Ure’s School of Carpentry (where tuition just happens to equal the cost of cabinets…you know I was a higher ed. mgt. geek before retiring, right?). So we really will do the ham radio projects.

But in the meantime, I learned something fascinating from him. You remember he’s into subtle energy medicine, right?

Well….he says to check the granite for radioactivity before installing….,


Well, hell: I didn’t know this, and I am supposed to know everything to I went looking. In the archives of the Dr.Weil website (here) I found this part of the radio/radiation from granite discussion that I was looking for:

“The Marble Institute of America (MIA) sponsored a study of 13 granite samples said to be representative of 95 percent of the countertops on the market. Conducted by a geologist from the University of Akron, the study showed that 10 of the 13 samples tested emit only insignificant amounts of radon; of the other three, one added only about seven percent of the amount of radon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems “actionable” (in other words, the levels you should do something about, by installing venting systems for example). The other two granites tested added only one percent of the EPA action level.

On the other hand, according to the Times, preliminary results of another study at Rice University suggest that all of the 55 samples tested emit radiation at higher-than-background levels, some at 100 times background levels.”

The answer seems to be simple enough: Stick to the none striated exotic types of granite and all should be well.

Or, if the Kitchen “doo” turns to just refreshing the faux granite paint (like  GianiTM Countertop Paint Kit, Sicilian Sand from Amazon ($80) which we’ve had on for four years, or so) then the radioactivity issue is off the table.

There are a bunch of granite looking tiles out there, too. And since Labor Day is when many husbands/chief laborers sit down with She Who Trumps All, this is valuable to know. The condo we rented up in Tacoma this summer had “fake” granite tile. And that has me thinking about where to bury a wet-saw for tile in the project budget.

Good luck mdeeting with your She Who Trumps All.. I know how hard it is to sound convincing about being due on a conference call at 9:00 AM on a Holiday Monday. (My success rate with this approach is >13% although now that I’m older, celibacy isn’t such a …well you know who wins all the deal points.)

Short N 2 Dah Point


I figure you need to get a lot done today so you can zoo-out early tomorrow.

We will have a single column mash-up Monday but with market’s closed we may be limited to the “Wit and Wisdom of Zeus the Cat.”

It would be an upgrade.

See you then and write when you get rich,