November 21, 2010

Red Door Decor

-17C. Too cold to start tearing out the old kitchen and hauling it out to the dumpster in the driveway (which is slowly but surely being buried by the snow). The tile I ordered for the front entrance and back hall hasn't arrived yet so I can't start that either.

There are still options. Since the couch and chair have been sold we have unrestricted access to the fireplace - for the first time since we moved in.

The stone needs to be cleaned and the grout redone or painted but in the meantime Rory was VERY happy that I was able to get the pilot on, get the glass cleaned and make sure everything was in working order, including the remote control. How modern for a stone fireplace. Rory was kind enough to test the heat output and fan for me.

Not his greatest look, but you'll forgive him, he was in the throes of heat-induced ecstasy. You should have seen the baleful look he gave me when I turned off the fan after a couple of hours.

The other thing to do on a cold day while you wait for the football game to start is to get festive. If only to counteract the look that the dumpster lends to the front yard. Y'know, put something pretty on the front door and hope people won't notice the big green thing in the driveway.

Start with this:

Then spend an hour or so getting glitter all over yourself, your dog and your dining room. Till you get this:

That's about as crafty as I get. The poinsettias are Norm's contribution.

I can't see the dumpster, can you see the dumpster? No? Obviously my plan is working.

November 19, 2010

Little World

I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but my realtor once told me that she took us to see over 80 houses when we were looking for a 'project house' in 2009. Eighty. And the minute I walked into the house we have now, I knew it was the one. Seriously, one step inside the door and I told the realtor to get the paperwork going. Buying the house wasn't without strife. It took a few months and some luck and good timing, but that's a whole other post. The point of all this is that I knew I was meant to live in this house, as odd as that sounds. My worries about moving out of my old place, where I'd lived and raised my kids for 17 years came to nought. I was at home here before my stuff was even moved in.

As we've gotten to know neighbours, gone through crawl spaces, opened drawers and checked behind doors we have come across remnants of the lives lived here before. There were childrens' names on labels, the instructions and diagrams in the boiler room, handwritten lists, and things left behind. The house was built in 1959/60 and owned by the same family ever since. By all accounts, houses rarely come up for sale on this crescent. The woman down the street (who was friends with the kids who grew up in this house) recently returned to the city and her childhood home to care for her father who still lives down the street - and has since he built his house in the early 50's. We know that the couple who lived in this house were loathe to leave it, but it had just become too much maintenance for two elderly people.

I know the people who sold this house believe it was worth more than they got for it. But it was a tough time in an off market, and you've seen the pictures - this place, though solidly built, really needs a lot of work. Even so, I still carried a bit of, well, I don't know... Something. Not guilt, but I felt sad for them. They had moved out of home where they had raised their family. Then the house sat empty for months and months because it wouldn't sell.

Right. On to the story. Norm and I had some errands to run this afternoon, after which we stopped at a new restaurant for dinner. Sitting down the way from us was a couple that Norm had spoken of on occasion but I had yet to meet in the eleven years that I've known him. In fact, I had once suggested that he had simply made these friends up. Well, F and T are real and they came to sit with us for a bit after they finished eating.  (They're real, or Norm paid a really nice couple to pretend to be his friends and they in turn secretly paid for our dinner). It's not terribly unusual to run into people you know, even in a city of a million people. What is unusual is when you tell them where you're living now, and they know the street. Not only do they know the street, but F was best friends in grade one with one of the kids who lived in this very house. T, who  moved to this neighbourhood in grade 8, was also friends with one of the girls. Not only was, but still is. Both F and T remember the house well and are excited to tell their friends that the house ended up in good hands. Though there is the added bit of pressure for me now that I know one of the friends is an interior designer. Goodness knows why she didn't convince her parents to do something with the place before they tried to sell it.

In the end though, I know that the original owners will at least hear about how much we love this house and how not a day goes by where we aren't excited about restoring it to a wonderful home. A place where family and friends gravitate. A home of celebrations and comfort. A place to come home to.

November 6, 2010

One Year Later

Are you there Seth? It's me, Rory. Momma says it has been 365 sleeps since I saw you last and that I probably don't remember you. But I think if you walked in the door I'd still recognize you. And Momma sees lots of you in me because you taught me everything you knew before you left.

Do you remember? I tried to copy everything you did. And even though it looks like you didn't like me, I know you did. Just deeper down. But you came around, didn't you?

You had to. Because I really was a lot of fun, and perked you right up, huh? We had great times. You howling and me dancin'.

You went from letting me share your bed....

 letting me share YOU....

 putting up with me EATING all your beds...

Gosh, we sure had a lot of beds, didn't we?

I still remember lots of the stuff you taught me. Like how to sniff REAL deep. It's important to get your nose right into it.

And to always come back when called.

How to squish into a sunbeam.

How to look ma-toor. I haven't quite got this yet, but I'm workin' on it. Momma says I have to get grey whiskers first and even then there's no guarantee.

Also, how to be with other dogs. Look 'em in the eye but don't be too intense. See my ears at the bottom here? I'm listening to you.

And how to generally just be a star. This is you making it all look so easy.

I know she misses you still. I'm doing my best to fill your paws. Even though it's me that walks on her left side now, you're still there. And I never let her out of my sight, no matter what. 'Cause I think that's what you would have wanted. It's how you showed me.

If you're watching, I hope you think I'm doing it okay.
Love, Rory