July 16, 2010

Yee Haw!!

Rory's first Stampede adventure was rather inadvertent. I took a detour to go get a coffee as we were walking to the dog park early this morning. The coffee place is on a crescent with a bunch of boutique type stores a couple of blocks from the house. This morning that entire street had been commandeered by the official Stampede Caravan people. Stage, music, ponies, hot air balloon, tables and tables of griddles for pancake breakfast. The works. And this was just the set-up, breakfast didn't start until 9. Obviously, we missed that memo too; like the other perks of the new neighbourhood, I don't know anything about them until they happen. Somehow I always assumed cowboys only loved sheepdogs, but there was no shortage of loving for Rory this morning. He does tend to gather attention in a crowd. Maybe they thought one of the ponies had escaped?

And really, who *wouldn't* love you, right Rory?

Since the pancakes weren't ready yet, Rory was happy enough to move on and lasso somebody to play with at the park.

July 11, 2010

Let The Sunshine In

The blue room is finished for now. We're holding off on re-doing the floor - I'm on the lookout for a deal on cork flooring, maybe some extra left-over from somebody else's project. We only need about 80 square feet and at retail that's still pretty expensive. Kijiji and I will be friends for a while.

Kid tested...

I know I promised that the room would be orange. And it was. For a day. I loved the contrast of bright orange against the 'citron' green that I used on the cabinets. An important part of painting a room is understanding how the light plays into it. We've been here for almost a year, so I have a pretty good idea of the light at different times of the year and different times of day in various parts of the house. This room faces south, which ordinarily I think would work with orange - nice, bright, sunshiney place for a kid (yah, okay Rory, or for a dog). BUT what I didn't realize since we haven't spent any time hanging out in the room is that for most the day the light that comes through the window is tinted green because it's filtered through and bounced off the foliage in the back yard. Orange with a green glow = not so good. Probably would be fine in the winter without the greenery. Back to the drawing board I went, with my orange paint chip - now the walls are actually a very pale orange, almost yellow - and you can see that they actually look pale green in some of the shots, it's the light from the window. Xander loved it. Actually, he probably didn't care about the colour so much as having a place of his own to go when he comes over. And Rory? If I'm home, he tends to be wherever I am, but I suspect he's biding his time, just waiting for an opportunity to sprawl on that bed in the sun. There is no doubt in my mind that I'll need to throw a sheet over the bed when I go back to work tomorrow. Ridgeback hairs will be tough to disguise on a dark-blue duvet.

...Dog approved.

July 5, 2010

Space for One

Holidays re-energize me. At least until 9:00am. Then I remember what I started the day before and what I need to finish before my nephews come and spend the night this Friday. From our second floor hallway there is another short flight of steps up to a dormer room. I intended this room for when kids (specifically, four nephews and/or a niece) come to visit but it wasn't high on the list of priorities to finish. It is however one of those things that could be done as an "in-between" projects project. Like when you're not quite ready to tackle the kitchen. Besides, nothing like a deadline as a bit of incentive - if it isn't done, those little kids will be bunking in our room.

Here it is. The Room Formerly Known As The Blue Room. Nice view out onto the backyard and a couple of safety features designed to keep little kids, and dogs I suppose, from tumbling out the window. See the little closet? It has a twin on the other side of the window. Closet 1 and Closet 2. This will make more sense later (or perhaps not). The Room has by default become a repository for stuff we haven't unpacked. Some of it is actually stuff for the kids' room. No matter, it all had to be moved to the guest room across the hall.

Voila! Empty room. Except the bucket of drywall compound I lugged upstairs to fill the hundreds of nail holes. Nails, tacks, pins, screws. I'll bet there was enough stuff hanging on the wall that there wasn't a square inch of blue visible. Last to leave was the horse. It's a stuffed rocking horse that belonged to my baby brother. One day I'll refurbish it, but that's not even a project for in between projects right now. Besides, I think Rory was making friends with it. Or having a stare-down.

Rory wavers...head down, but eyes still on the horse.

The horse wins. And is happily removed from the room. Now that it is empty, Rory seems to have decided that it's a good room just for him.

Holes, holes and more holes. Plus a patch job to fill the box that used to hold the intercom.

And more holes.

Rory banished to frolic in the sunbeams from the new skylights - he wants to know if "his" room is done yet. Nope. But he has to stay downstairs while I sand. What he thinks I don't know is that as soon as I go back up to the room and close the door, he comes upstairs, over to the steps and puts his front paws on the top step with his nose right at the space under the door.

So here's the thing. The light switch plate had a label on it. Just like this. Except it read "LIGHT SWITCH". I thought it was strange, and took it off. The switch plate had to come off anyway so I can paint. That weirdness over with, I discovered that both the closets are labeled - on the inside - so we have CLOSET 1 and CLOSET 2. I silently speculate and come up with a number of reasons for the label-machine-gone-wild scenario. Nothing spectacularly rational came to mind but the mental exercise was worthwhile. Then this. I'd never been in the room with the door shut. Why would I? Whenever I was in the room, the door was open. All we had ever done was put stuff in the room and close the door behind us on the way out. But now I have the door closed so that Rory doesn't get covered in drywall dust. And I'm inside. And apparently I'll have no trouble finding my way out because the door knob is quite clearly labeled. And in case I need more help I can just follow the sound of the 100 pound dog breathing heavy at the bottom of the door.

July 3, 2010


Some jobs just beg to be done. Really. Like when you're sitting in the dining room eating your breakfast of granola (liberally sprinkled with a handful of Sugar Crisp cereal plucked from your partner's bowl) the living room ceiling calls. It says "cut me!". Well, why not? What better way to determine if the nails that the roofers pounded through the ceiling really are marking the four corners of the skylights they installed for us?

I think this is his brave face. There are a couple of things at play here. We've never actually 'done' a skylight before. In our other house we built a glass wall and installed some windows, but no skylight. The other thing is that I have this weird thing about holes in my house. It's a thing. It's weird. And it pretty much drives Norm insane. Any time we have a project to do - and there is no shortage of them now - my first question is "Do we need to make a hole?" That tells me how much I need to think about drinking. If these holes don't work out, Norm knows it will be a long night. And it's only lunchtime.

Here's an action shot. See it? The little bits of drywall falling? The ceiling it turns out, is like the rest of the house, two layers of drywall.

The hole. Looks like we're in the right place. Perhaps I can put that bottle of wine away.

Norm started out with a power tool. Rory joined in from his vantage point in the dining room. He has the uncanny ability to mimic the high-pitched whine this particular tool makes.

I can do more than take photos. Besides, I wanted to try on the cool Darth Vader mask. With goggles.

I prefer a drywall knife. No cords to trip over on the ladder. No singing dog to contend with.

Open on the left.

Open on the right.

You can practically hear the choir as the light floods the room, can't you?

Stuck to the inside of the second window. The installation DVD. Maybe the roofers had a portable player, watched the whole thing while they were up on the roof, repackaged the DVD, then taped it to the inside of the window for us?

Slippery when wet. And when dry.

Yesterday I went to Bass Pro Shops. I didn't get to go last time because my people didn't know that dogs are allowed. What a HUGE place. Full of wildlife, but it's stuffed. Except the trout, they're still real enough. Also...not so sure about the heads on the walls, but I didn't see any dogs up there, so I guess it's okay. This picture was supposed to be of me standing underneath the sign. What you can't see (because Momma's red curly head was covering it, plus she cropped herself out) is that we are in the Archery Pro Shop part of the store. The REDHEAD Archery Pro Shop. Doesn't matter...the light here didn't play up my red anyway.

There were tons of things to smell and see. And lots of kids to get pats from. Some better than others. I especially like the ones who actually want to pet me - they aren't scared and their parents make them ask for permission first. Then there are kids whose parents want the kids to see me more than the kids actually do. They're okay too, but nervous and get weirded out when I try to smell their toes. That's what happens - I can tell if you've spent the day at the Calgary Zoo in your sandals, you know.

All in all, a good trip. Except for the red shiny floor. I walked through to doors of that place like I'd been there a hundred times. Up three flights of concrete stairs. On the red floor. On the cement floor. On the carpeted floor. But then in one aisle, I did a Bambi on the red floor. Then I figured I would just avoid all red shiny floors for the rest of the trip. Easy enough until we had to get back to the stairs, since we had to walk down a strip of red floor to get to the stairs. Given the available options - lay down and stay put while watching my people leave, or tough it up and tiptoe across - I'm happy to report I chose the second option. And I made it back to tell you about it. Evil, nasty floor. Bad floor.

July 2, 2010

Hatchling II

Obviously too much time on my hands. Not that I mind...