Normally Mondays are when  I share a new Flavor of the Week, but this weekend was once again filled with home renovation projects that took up more of my time than I anticipated, so it’ll be postponed until next Monday. Today’s post is a mix of home renovations and a very fun and frolicky episode of 23 Paws, sponsored by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri! I’ll start with the serious business of home renovations first. :)

It all began on Saturday with my husband opening up a wall panel out on the porch and discovering an infestation of these picnic crashers in a corner post which has supported this lovely house for over 200 years (I made the picture small in case anyone doesn’t care for bugs/insect pics, click on the picture to see a larger view):

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants! The closet on the porch had some water damage. After opening up the wall panel, we realized how extensive the damage really was. These carpenter ants are eating away at one of the main posts of the house. It seems their nest has been exposed, but we’re definitely having an exterminator come over to get rid of them once and for all!

After seeing this damage, I got really upset…more like mad…more like pee-ohed! I felt invaded by these tiny creatures, and the added expense getting rid of them just pushes back other projects we had planned. There was nothing I could do about these ants, or about the rotting pillar, and I needed to take my anger out on something…ah, the kitchen floor!

Before: cracked and water-damaged vinyl tiles made the kitchen floor uneven, dirty, and our chairs always got caught up on the curled-up edges of the tile.

After: the bare wood floors are nice and even, no water damage.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to remove all the nailed-down sheets of tile, and the thousands of nails that were used excessively to hold them down. The next day, my plan was to move out the stove and a section of cabinets to remove the rest of the old tile. The cabinets were nailed to the floor as well as the walls, but my husband and I were able to pry and saw it free! After that, I decided to start painting.

Still had enough anger the next day to prime some of the cabinets, part of the wall, and spray paint the handles shiny silver.

All in all, it took about 5 1/2 hours to pry the cabinets from the floor & walls, get rid of the tile underneath, and paint just this section. Still lots more to go, and if it weren’t for the discover of the ants, I would have never been motivated to get started. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?

Okay, now to the fun part of today’s post: it’s 23 Paws, hosted by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri23 Paws is a monthly meet-up for bloggers showing off pictures of their favorite animals in action. Since the first half of my post was all serious and a bit stressful, here are some not-so-serious and very relaxing photos of my cats enjoying their favorite plant: catnip!

Here’s Sammy hogging the catnip shortly after I planted it. I thought that plant wouldn’t make it through the week, but it’s pretty resilient.

That catnip plant that used to be picked on grew like the weed that it is! Sammy is going nuts over a freshly crumpled leaf. That’s his drool that he’s lying in. :)

Awww…Wolfie had a whole branch of catnip and Trixie cautiously looked on.

Trixie, unabashedly giving herself to the allure of the catnip.

Do you have any catnip for your cats? How do they react to it? :D

Hi, everyone! My apologies for not having the Flavor of the Week post ready today. My husband was busy updating the plumbing and electrical in the kitchen, and I was kind of helping:

Exposing the pipes to rerun water lines and electrical to sink, porch and stove (he had to replace the plug on that, too!)

He cut through the floorboards to rerun the water line to the kitchen, then cut a hole in the wall to run it out to the porch for our washer and dryer (currently in the kitchen by the front door.)

The pipes were weird: they ran under the floor, then jumped up a few inches to run above the floor (bottom center.) The fridge was propped up on 1×2’s to accommodate for this unusual plumbing design.

The other side of the kitchen sink: the bottom of the wall was removed to run the water and electrical for the washer & dryer. The white box is where the shut off valves will be.

Future location of our washer and dryer, back left corner.

Dinner from the Doctor! My husband said it’s like the Kraft brand in Germany. :)

It’s not burnt, we like our cheese well-done! It wasn’t bad for a frozen thin-crust pizza, but since it was a wheat crust, my belly inflated like a party balloon. Oh well, at least it was the end of the day!

My husband is slowly working on home improvement projects here and there, and I can’t wait for the kitchen to be updated! We’ll be doing some painting and installing new floors in the next few weeks, so I’ll keep you posted on that.

I know some of you are working on home renovations as well, how’s it coming along? Or if you are in the process of moving, what are your plans for decorating your new home? What’s your favorite room to decorate? (it’s the kitchen, right?)

In the meantime, I’ll post the Flavor of the Week by Wednesday, so stay tuned!