December 23, 2011

Design Flaw

I couldn't begin to tell you how much time we spent planning the kitchen, well before even one strip of wallpaper was ripped off. The home reno shows and the professional kitchen designers could make you think it's not so hard, but there is a lot to consider. A whole lot. I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished and the last two weeks has seen me spend more time cooking and baking than I have in the last two years. My dawning realization? There is something I didn't consider.  I guess I had assumed that the dogs would hang out on their beds in the TV room, or on the sheepskin in front of the fireplace in the living room. And they do. As long as I'm there with them. Which I haven't been, because a) I'm excited to have my kitchen back, and b) it's just a good time of year to bake.

So, here's my problem:

Yes, I should have bought TWO of those chef's gel mats. One for in front of the stove, but also one for in front of the fridge. Because even though I don't stand in front of the fridge for any length of time, I think I know a dog who would put a second mat to good use.

Oh, sure, the other thing is that I can't get to the fridge or the stove without telling a dog to move. The looks I if they thought the countertop should be plenty of space for me.

December 12, 2011

You asked for it

Whew! Thanks to all for reading and thanks to those who came out for the open house! Your patience during the last couple of years is commendable - I am happy to know we still have friends. :)  Even though we didn`t quite get all the last bits of stuff done that we wanted to, we were ready to entertain on Saturday night and really appreciated the show of support. And the wine! Sunday was the first day in I cannot remember how long where there wasn`t a tool in sight and no sawdust to be found. It looks like a REAL house. Apparently, it looks so much like a real house people can`t remember what it looked like before. For those who asked for more `before` photos (somehow I thought there were enough in two years of blog entries, but perhaps not) I`ve put a bunch together. Nothing comprehensive and the order isn`t the best, but it will give you something to go on. Check the picassa web album link below. They scare me now. A lot. Now is not a good time to ask if I`d do it again.

House Before

You can click the link, then pick `slideshow`near the top - let it run through the show or speed it up by clicking the arrows at the bottom.

December 4, 2011


Today was one of those great-walking-in-the-snow-days. Know what I mean? Cold, but not biting. Fresh, fluffy, snow with just a little stickiness. Blue sky with some wispy clouds.  Besides, my other option was to stay home and finish painting the front closet.

But that's just me. I wear a down-filled parka and a pair of old boots by Pajar (no, not while I'm painting.) This makes me toasty warm on these excursions. If it was all up to me we'd stay home and watch the snow from the inside. Preferably in front of the fire with a good book and a cup of something hot. And alcoholic. I know the dogs are with me on this. They don't have much in the way of body fat or underfur, but one puppy plus one boisterous 4-year old dog means you go outside whether or not the going's good. Anything 'warmer' than -10C means we go. Oh, right, I'm supposed to tell you we also don't go in the rain. Duh.

Last weekend, this meant we were out in the windstorm of the century. Granted, we didn't realize how windy it really was until we got to the park in the open and there were Christmas tree sized branches scattered about on the ground. We didn't stay out long.

As I was saying, today was a terrific day for a romp in the snow. I wore mittens because they were in my pocket from when I shoveled the sidewalk this morning. And the driveway (did I tell you the front closet needed to be painted?). Mittens make button pushing a bit of a challenge so some of the shots I was trying to take didn't get taken in time. On the other hand (ha ha) I ended up with some gems I didn't even try for. I love mittens.

This pretty much exemplifies Rory. The look in his eyes, the expression on his face: the focused insanity that is typical of Rory. The ears are just a bonus.

The park we frequent has a pretty steep hill down to the river in some spots. The blurbs of fencing are a nice touch, but realistically, you need to be careful near the edge. Gotham knows this. Rory fancies himself a bit of a daredevil.

What Gotham also knows is that this is entirely a ruse. Edge or no, Rory will make like he just found the most interesting delicious bit of rabbit poo and poor Gotham will be unable to help himself. He'll be compelled to go over and investigate. And when he does all bets are off. Unless you`re betting on Rory. Not much for the mercy is our Rory.

Gotham did end up going for a tumble today. Luckily there are a lot of bushes and shrubby grass and snow to ease the way. Oh, and we weren't at the steep part. Not to be outdone, Rory went flying after him to show him the way back.

Here is Gotham thinking that Rory must have had enough by now. Not. Flying snowdog.

This is where Gotham is in his element. He must think he is still Little because he loves running through the copses  - dodging this way and that - and he knows Rory won't come in. Rory waits for him on the outside, our hero not being a fan of having branches dump their load of snow on him and then smack him on the way out.

They aren`t always at a flat-out run. Sometimes, stillness prevails. That, or he's trying to figure out why his little kiwis are so cold.
Then it's right back to one more demonstration of brotherly affection before we head home.

November 30, 2011

Blustery Day

The wind here last weekend left no shortage of dog toys in its wake. Twigs, branches, boughs, entire trees. You name it, it was on the ground and available for the taking. But only if you were quick.

 You also had to be willing to navigate obstacle courses to go anywhere.

 I wouldn't let them bring this one home. Meanie.

 You wouldn't know it from this shot, but Gotham really is getting much better at running. He's not so much ass over teakettle anymore. Usually. What really gets me is the expression on Rory's face. Teeth and all.

"Play Bough"? Rory completely lost his head. Gotham thought it would make a great Christmas tree.

 You must know precisely what happened exactly .002 seconds after this shot was taken. Luckily, my lens survived the onslaught.

November 20, 2011


I can't cope. I thought I could. I thought coping was a good idea. Coping made sense. Having tried it now, I just don't see the point.

Coping is highly overrated.

It's a cool word though. Cope. Coped. Coping. Copable (okay, maybe not).

Lest you think I've given up on something really important, you need to know that coping is a method of cutting crown molding to fit inside corners. You find the spring angle of the molding, set your jig to this angle, and cut the molding at 45° (assuming your corner is 90). Then you take the cut end and cut away the material behind your original cut. The idea being that this piece will now fit without gapping over top of the other piece in the corner, which you've installed butted up flush against the adjacent wall. Make sense? Don't worry about it. For the amount of effort it takes, you're best to just cut two 45°s and piece them together, using wood filler for any gapping. Don't get me wrong. I'm all about good, solid, work. After all, I'd like to live in this house without things coming down around my ears.  Coping, by some accounts, is supposed to be a better way to join crown molding in the corner. I happen to disagree. When it's all said and done - after filling, sanding, and painting, which you have to do to coped and non-coped corners anyway - the only difference is the time it took. One of these inside corners is not coped. I won't tell if you won't.


November 10, 2011

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Skit, skitter, skit.


Sniff. Sniff.


Crunch. Nom, nom, nom. Crunch crunch.

Skitter, taptaptap.

Sniff, slurp, crunch crunch crunch.

Answer here this time tomorrow.

Just kidding.

That, faithful readers, is the sound of a puppy losing his teeth. While the rest of the house is peacefully sleeping, Gotham's baby teeth are falling out. And what better way to amuse one's doggy-self in the middle of the night than to spit your tooth out onto the wood floor, wonder what the heck it is, and pick it back up to give it a little chew?  Sick, I know.

Toof? What toof?

October 19, 2011

Holy Dressup, Batman!

Gotham got mail today. A lovely little parcel from some extended Ridgeback family, Odin and Kika. Now he's all set for Halloween. I've never had a dog with a Halloween costume. Really, what's better than a Batman costume for a Ridgeback named Gotham? I guess Odin and Kika's owner figured she just couldn't pass this up.  I'm thinking Gotham wished she had.

Truthfully though, Gotham is so easy going I'm not even sure he knew anything was different. He let me put the (extra-large, by the way) costume on him, headpiece and all and didn't even bat an eye.

Okay, bad pun.

He was even pretty happy to strut his stuff as Rory looked on from a distance, in horror. Probably hoping like heck we weren't going to go to the park with Gotham dressed like THAT. Or dressed at all, even.

...or perhaps it was jealousy.
Nope. Horror.

October 16, 2011


{Posting for technical difficulties abound on his outdated version of blogger. Why doesn't that dog keep himself up to date?}

Some days ago, the red-haired lady formerly known as my Momma (just kidding) went to run some errands. That happens sometimes. I don't always get to go with her. After she was gone a while, Pops took me to the dog park. Just me 'n him - that doesn't happen hardly ever. I would have been uber excited, except it was freakin pouring rain out. Who does that?

Guess who we found at the park? Momma! And also this dog that looks like me, but littler. He was pretty shy. But not so shy that he couldn't follow us home. And that part? That never happens. I never get to bring dogs home with me. Except for Kiri. But she's crazy and never stays long. This dog came home. And stayed. And he's still here.

I mostly like him. He has some stuff to learn though. I taught him about power tools and that you can pretty much sleep right through the drilling and banging that goes on in this house. He's cool with that. He also rang the bell to go outside. I don't even do that normally. Just when I'm feeling cooperative. We play a lot. And wrestle. And chase each other around the park. Of course he does some other stuff too. See the white leather in the photo?

Yeah, well, buster thought that since the couch was delivered yesterday and there was no room for it in the living room because the floor wasn't finished yet, so they put it in the dining room, so it must be meant for him to sit in, right? Oh, I could have told him that was a big negatory (at least when the parental units are home), but sometimes you just gotta learn these things on your own. And sometimes it takes three times. I totally get where he was coming from. I mean, there isn't a dining room table in the dining room. Not till Tuesday anyway. And since our beds are in the dining room, well, that couch is a better spot to catch the sunbeams. I get it. But I know better. ba ha ha ha ha. Me. The angel dog. Can you imagine?

That photo IS pretty angelic. Try this one in which Gotham gets schooled by Rory; though I have been told it won't be long and the tables may turn. Whatever that means.

October 10, 2011

Today's Special

While I've been busy STILL installing hardwood, Norm was building a bulkhead to hold the pendant lighting between the living room and dining room. Since I got to a point in the floor where it couldn't go any further because we need some stair nosing (hard to come by on a Thanksgiving Monday) I was enlisted to help with the wiring. Rory supervised, as usual. And Gotham? Well, I know he's coming out of his shell because any cardboard and bubble wrap that landed on the floor was promptly carted away by a playful puppy.

October 9, 2011

Gotham Under Construction

This is a very wary Gotham right after I picked him up from the airport. Happy to be out of his crate and no problem getting him IN the truck (it was raining and cold though, so he probably wasn't so interested in me or the truck as he was in staying dry).

His first meeting with Rory was at the dog park, where we went directly after the airport. I had Norm meet us there with Rory so they could get to know each other at the park and then Gotham could just `follow` us home. That was fun for Rory. For a while. But then he didn't leave. So far, they are pretty much even on the 'instigator' scale. Here they are having a discussion about Rory's favourite toy.

 This one is Gotham's second trip to the 'big' dog park yesterday. He ventures forth a bit more each time. We've been going to the park a few times each day. There is a lot he needs to get used to, including dogs other than the ones he lived with, and traffic. He's taking things in stride, walks beautifully on a leash, and liver treats and general  "are you still there?" worry ensure his recall is excellent.

Rory and Gotham tag team the little white dog that loved being chased.

Friday afternoon Gotham met some delivery people at the house. Saturday he met my mother and aunt, and he was introduced to power tools. Today he met the floor nailer. I was a little concerned since it's really loud and sporadic. Gotham pretty much slept through the drone of the drill while I screwed down some subfloor yesterday but today I had to lay more hardwood down. He's not as interested in sleeping right beside where I'm working like Rory does, but happily plunks himself down a little further away and plays, sleeps or watches. Though this photo is from yesterday, you'll get the idea of how he's fitting in.

September 18, 2011

Old Habits

One weekend down, and half of a dining room floored. Doesn't seem like much, does it? My quads and calves tell me otherwise. I really didn't want any more dust in the house, so I'm cutting in the garage. Flooring layed at a 45 degree angle (or 44.5 - 46.5, depending on what wall you're at) means a lot of cutting. Walk 9 steps through the kitchen, down four steps to the back hall, five steps to the garage, 11 steps to the end of the garage and there's the saw. Back and forth, back and forth.

This morning, Rory was acting like he had ants in his pants. Construction noise doesn't bother him so it wasn't that. It wasn't time for a walk. I'd given him a chew-treat. And he was still pacing around and every so often would come over and poke my arm with his nose. NOT conducive to detail work.

You know what his problem was? C'mon, guess.

I'd moved his blanket so I could start installing the floor. And there was his morning sunbeam, slowly making its way across the floor. Without Rory. I'm almost positive he was worried he'd miss it.

The toughest part (aside from solving Rory's problem)? Backfilling as I came around the wall and into the living room. Now I have about 15 rows of straight down and back from in the living room and the dining room before I hit another wall. But that's enough for this weekend.

September 16, 2011

Rory isn't my first Ridgeback. So, I expect certain things and much of his doggy-isms don't surprise me. They've all had distinct personalities. And they all get to a stage where they look, well, regal. That's probably the best word for it. This December Rory will turn four. Regal is rare.

Even his stalking can be lackadaisical. Today we were hunting German Shepherd. Only the stalking part turned into a bit of a lay-down. Or maybe he was in super stealth mode trying to meld into the ground. Hadn't thought of that until just now.

But then, there was this! Look...regal!

Oh. Wait. Look closer. See? This is more what I expect from Rory. I'm surprised it's not a big stringer of drool instead of grass. Maybe it won't show up so much on the blog. It definitely shows up in the full size version on my desktop.

This is much more typical Rory. Examining the piece of fluff that just floated down to his toes.


September 5, 2011

We came home from lunch today to find Rory had fallen into a vat of paint. Okay, that's a lie. But he looked like he had fallen into a vat of paint. His entire left half was grey. Just dust, as it turns out. And the culprit? A sunbeam.

We tore up floor yesterday, down to the planks. It made a lot of dust. A lot. Here's our hero, making sure he gets evenly toasty. And evenly dusty.

I've had Ridgebacks who knew how to pull their blankets around to follow the sunbeams through the house. Not Rory. He chose to lay directly on the wood planks even though his blanket was ten feet away. I've since exercised my considerable blanket-relocation skills, much to Rory's satisfaction.

September 4, 2011

Two Steps Forward

Two foward. And none back. So far. Keelan was kind enough to donate his muscle and a couple of hours of time to get the rusty plush off the stairs and pull out all of the staples, carpet tacks and nails.

Much to our surprise, the stairs turned out to be oak, and possibly salvagable. Some sanding and some stain to match the new tiger wood, or just a clear finish. Who knows, maybe it`ll work.

See the feet on the left side of the photo? Those are the feet of a true friend. One that thinks spending a day or two out of the last long weekend of the summer pulling up subfloor and screws and nails is, well, better than what she had planned. She`s crazy but I love her for it.

And the square of carpet in the photo above? It`s the last remnant of the shaggy stuff. It looked kind of lonesome, up close.

September 3, 2011


Hood and fan, check.
Stove and gas, check.
Base cabinets, check.

View from the dining room.

 View from the far side.

Still to go: Counter. Upper cabinets. Cabinet doors and drawers. Crown molding. And no doubt lots of little futzy things we haven't thought of yet.

But I'm feeling happy.

August 28, 2011

Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t...

Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.   ...

...Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist, then he gave his brush another gentle sweep and surveyed the result, as before. Ben ranged up alongside of him. Tom’s mouth watered for the apple, but he stuck to his work. Ben said:

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say – I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work – wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticised the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Oh, it is alright. It's work for sure. And everybody knows it. It doesn't matter how much Elton John you play, how much you hum while you work and how chipper you are when your son or dog or significant other passes you by, nobody will fall prey to Tom Sawyer antics. Especially not when there  are friends to visit, sunbeams to be had, or cabinets to be built.

(You too can get the full transcript of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at the University of Virginia Library. Here: Or, you could just come over and help me paint the very high ceiling.)