November 19, 2012

Family Bathroom, continued

Norm says this post and the photos will be super boring for regular people. I say it's my blog today and this is what I want to put in it.

Really, who wants to see my stud(s)? I do have a few shots from behind, of Norm on his hands and knees pulling nails from the floor but good judgment got the better of me and I'm not posting them. Here.

All the drywall was taken out, courtesy of my future son-in-law (thanks Josh!) and Norm spent yesterday finishing the wiring and adding insulation to the exterior wall.

I spent yesterday reading.

It's a hard life. But trust me, I need to do this so that when it comes time to tile and grout I will be well-rested and up to the task.


Here's a sneak-peek of the tub in place. It doesn't look very exciting, but if you could see what I see in my head you would be excited.

And maybe overwhelmed. Sometimes what goes on in my head isn't good for public consumption.

Drywall went up today. Quarter inch for the first layer then half inch for the second layer. Some neat stuff called tile backer for the tub surround - it's almost fancy enough that you don't need the tile.

I'm sad to report that there isn't a way for me to have my longed-for heated floor in this bathroom. It requires a dedicated circuit and there isn't a good way to make that happen. I've almost gotten over the disappointment. I say focus on other things, like the fact that when I'm in this bathroom hopefully I'm in a nice deep soaker tub full of hot water, listening to music, instead of just standing around on a tile floor. On that note, we also decided not to retro-fit speakers into the walls or ceiling - Norm found this teeny little blue tooth speaker. We'll be able to stream music right from our smart phones (including the spa station on Sirius satellite) so this works for me. The sound is fantastic considering how small it is. Also, it won't electrocute me.

November 2, 2012

330 Days

330 days. That's how long it has been since we 'finished' the main floor renos. The tools were packed up and put away on December 7th last year and we haven't even seen so much as a hammer since then. Happy days.

But not every day can be a weekend. It's time to move upstairs (and do the last bit of finishing work on the main floor, since the tools are coming out anyway). So today was bathroom demolition day.

Puppies added for perspective. I'm sure they'll miss the carpet. This is the only room in the house that has any carpet left. Carpet in the bathroom. Ugh.

Big wide counter with two sinks will become a less wide vanity, still with two sinks but with a tall narrow cabinet on the right instead of the weird 'privacy' wall blocking the toilet.

We thought this might be a cast iron once was yellow. Then it was coated with something. Then it started peeling. It's really quite delightful. It turns out that it's not cast iron, but it is steel. Horking that thing out meant taking out a lot of drywall - it will all have to come down anyway. Getting the tub downstairs and to the dumpster in the driveway gave me a scraped ear and a bruised arm. I know, poor me.

We already had all of the upstairs windows replaced. It's a shame they did such a nice job on the trim, because I had to take it off in order to get that fake tile stuff off of the walls.

And under the carpet? Some funky linoleum. My experience with this stuff in the kitchen leads me to believe that the skill saw is in order here. The entire floor must come up in 2 x 2 chunks. We'll be left with the ship lap which we will cover with 3/4 ply and then with some porcelain tile. Already on order.

Rory is happy there is no more bathtub. This is where he used to get his baths. Obviously, with the tub giving up its skin already, I wasn't too concerned about dog nails. Don't worry Rory, it's too cold for baths now anyway.

Does anybody know a good, available, drywaller? We have done it. We CAN do it. But I don't want to.

October 27, 2012

Duty - Loyalty - Integrity - Courage

I found four drafts of this post from July. We were in Montreal and staying at a hotel that didn't have enough bandwidth to upload this post. So here you have it. But just the once.

A little about today. After finally settling into our Montreal hotel room at 3am, we woke at 10 to get ready for the drive into St. Jean. The occasion? The end of course ceremony for Platoons Hobson and Cairns. This is where 14 weeks of physical and mental fortitude would culminate in recruits becoming graduates, and the beginning of the next chapter in their military lives. By tomorrow, all of the privates will have shipped out to various bases for further education in their chosen trades. In the meantime, it was a chance for them to do their thing in a parade square and for family and friends to see them again.

The Reviewing Officer was Colonel S.M. Cadden. In his end of course speech he thanked the families and likened the graduates to resources that are being checked out of the library. They may be returned worn or tattered around the edges but they will be taken care of. They are part of a team now. Not the biggest military in the world, but the best. Here's the thing. Seeing Keelan on parade in his dress uniform didn't make me feel like I'd loaned a book to the army. It was more like I'd donated my heart. And the thing about a donation is that it isn't a loan at all. He isn't really mine to give (our children never are), but he was mine first. He was once an infant that I held close. I marveled at blonde curls and blue eyes. I watched him grow, sometimes by little bits and sometimes by big leaps. He is still the baby brother to his sisters. He is his parents' only son. He is my parents' first grandson. He is the best friend of the son of my best friend. He has made this commitment because he has a deep sense of honour. Remember all of that if you cross paths with him. And not just with him, but with any other soul who cares enough to put their life on the line for yours. The parade was hard. If only because it meant 2 more hours to get through before I would be able to look at him close up. At the reception after the parade, we were able to mingle with the newly-minted private. He's thinner now, most of the muscle he spent months putting on in preparation for basic training gone in a three month race to the finish. But he looks good. Tall, tanned and more confident than I have ever seen him. The absolute best part of the day? The hello hug from Keelan. And the whispered "You smell like Mom".

The Finer Points

2:00 am

Me: Pssst? Hey. Norm?
Norm: Phhferggh.
Me: Hey. Wake up.
Norm: Mwuh?
Me: I ran out of sleep.
Norm: What?
Me: I can't sleep.
Norm: Try harder.

2:00 pm
Ring (bbzzzttt, vibrate)

Me: Hello?
Me: Uh, hi. I'm fine thanks for asking. How are you?
Bree: Oh. Sorry. I love you. BUT THIS IS A CARAMEL EMERGENCY!!

July 22, 2012

City Dogs in the Country

They wouldn't fool anyone. Shiny, sleek, pampered, riding in the truck on a foam padding that is covered in a few layers of furry blanket. It doesn't matter how muddy the truck gets (or how broken the windshield: blasted wind, rain and trailer-trucks), one look at those dogs and you know they're from the city.

If you need a more obvious giveaway though, all you have to do is get them near horses. The dogs and I spent Saturday night with my mother at her cousin's cabin about three hours northwest of Calgary. As we pulled onto the barely-there track that leads to the cabin, we stopped so that my mom could unlock and open the gate. I opened the windows so the dogs could get a good snout full of country air. Cue the horses. Two of them trot over to the barbed-wire fence and the dogs immediately sound the alarm. There was absolutely no shutting them up - it was worse than having a motorcyclist tailing me (that used to send them over the edge, until we waited three hours at a standstill in a ferry lineup with a motorcycle right behind us). So I get out, and figure I'll demonstrate how harmless the horses are. Snuffle, snuffle, pat, pat, pat...and the dogs are now howling and rocking the truck. As if they think I'm going to be eaten alive. The horses, are, to their credit, staring in amazement rather than galloping for home.

Once past the gate, another obstacle awaited. Because having your windshield crunched just is not enough. This tree was laying across the road. (Dog added for perspective). It was a big tree. We could have walked on to the cabin, found some axes, walked all the way back, hacked it up... nah, we just lifted up and moved it off to the side. Eat your spinach boys and girls.

Kittens are also vile beasties that must be snuffed out of existence. See the kitty?

No? That's because it's long gone. On one of our walks, the dogs were bounding around when I noticed a grey and white kitten hunkered down in the grass, trying its best to be invisible. I don't blame it. And in retrospect I should have ignored it, but who can resist the mewling of a little baby kitten? Not I. So...I bend over to pet it and Rory and Gotham pick that moment to come and investigate. Neither one of them has even seen a cat since they left their breeder's house as pups. Now the kitten is petrified - it's the only explanation I have for why it didn't run - and Rory gives it a little poke. I move Rory off and Gotham decides that a bigger poke and a pounce are in order. NOW the kitten begins to hiss and put up a fight and all three of them are off into the bush. F&*#!  Now imagine if you will: two small saplings, just wide enough for a dog at full tilt to barrel through, or, wait, no, not really quite wide enough...I don't know which dog it was because they were pretty far by then, but one of them has a pretty good bounceback.

All the bad things vanquished, the remaining walks were typically Ridgeback. As was the time spent drying out and warming up in front of the wood stove. Unless they were listening to the crazy rooster from the neighbouring property, just one more thing that rankled Gotham.

Bounding through wet, waist-high grass. My shoes are still soaked.

Gotham in an unusually unrefined leap.

Rory...just waiting for Gotham to reappear. Because when he does: LOOK OUT!

Those last two shots? A little Blair Witch Project flair, no? Not particularly good shots, but you get an idea of the breakneck speed at which they'll chase each other around the bush. It was crazy.

Sunday morning dawned bright and with the promise of warmth. It also dawned with me very very sleepy. The country is a quiet place at night. Except the howling, hooting, barking, tweeting and all manner of other animal noises. This didn't bother Rory at all. But Gotham? He kept me up all night just because I knew he wasn't sleeping. Every time I'd click the flashlight on, Gotham would be laying beside my bed, with his head up and aimed to the window, ears on full alert and eyes wide open. He was barely able to keep them open. They'd start closing and he would jerk himself awake again. Pitiful. If he could talk, he would probably tell me that three weekends of adventure in a row is too much for his delicate countenance. Mine too.

May 12, 2012

Why am I tired?

1: Spent the morning cleaning house.
2: Didn't get my Saturday nap.
3: Hopscotch (more like leapscotch, or at least jumpscotch, my nephews don't 'hop' anywhere), neighbour's goldfish pond, making pizza, spinning till you're dizzy at the playground, getting creative with sidewalk chalk. Interestingly, I was more of an observer than a participant and although Connor is now bathed and fast asleep, I think Xander still has some spark left. Not me.


May 11, 2012

Dance Lessons

I haven't posted for a long time. And finally I get my paws on a computer and what do you know? Blogger has changed the setup again. Here's to hoping I get this right.

KP isn't posting stuff - you'll have noticed that I'm sure. But I did want you to see me and Gotham at the park. Because really, I know you can never get enough of this right?

That's me, in the red.  That ear sticking up? That's Gotham's. Ridiculously uncool.

When I'm done showing Gotham the school of hard knocks, he likes to play shadow tag with himself. I won't tell you the other embarassing thing he does, because KP's gonna post about that another time, I'll tell you this has to do with running after a B-A-L-L. Totally insane. And very unRidgebacklike.

Hear that? It totally sounded like "UURNGMPH!" He's not as easy to knock over as he was a few months ago, and he's getting really good a deking me out, but once I catch him, it's game over.

Here are some interesting ones. Cropped so you can see close up how extremely tough and crazy we are (KP says just crazy). Pretty gnarly, huh?

But really, we're just softies. Don't tell anybody.

April 1, 2012

Early Morning

If you're looking for reno photos and stories don't read any further. Frankly, I'm quite enjoying not tripping over tools and materials and not having to scrape layers of dust off of everything. So the tools have been put away since the first week of December, poor lonely things. Norm has since acquired some new tools but he seems content enough to play with them in the garage. That, or he knows it won't be pretty if they come out of hiding. At least not right now.

If, on the other hand, you like early morning walks by the river at the tail end of winter, this post is for you. We went early yesterday too, but no camera. I guess they wanted a do-over because this morning they weren't taking 'no' for an answer when they woke me up. Whine, whine, whine, the "we absolutely MUST go to the PARK now" incessant, in stereo, whine. It's that or they knew there was no dog food and the store doesn't open till 10am. Wouldn't want to miss the store opening.

Weird noises in the mist

What's down there? Rory? Is that you? C'mon out!

The sun is coming! The sun is coming!

A little less brown every day.

The grass isn't always greener.

Always be on guard.

LAST ONE IN THE GULLY IS...well, the last one in. 

Gotham knows Rory is stalking him from the gully...he'll get pounced any second.

Sometimes Rory lets Gotham keep up.

Heading home for breaksfast. They don't know we ran out of dog food yesterday.