Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, once again, too much time has passed since I've posted. I've been really busy working (but tomorrow is my last shift! Phew!), and trying to finish up some things around the house as well. The living room is mostly finished, and is decorated for Christmas, complete with a tree!

We have Ian's family all coming for dinner on Christmas eve. We'll be celebrating a Mexican Christmas, with chili, enchiladas, fresh salsa, margaritas, etc! So we've been busy preparing for that. I spent one day making the chili and enchiladas, and freezing them. I spent yesterday doing some baking.

Meanwhile we've had a few more leaks, frozen windshield fluid, and our furnace died! Luckily, my father-in-law has been amazing, coming to our rescue on several occassions, and Ian has been very quick to learn how to fix things!!

Yesterday, while the furnace was out of commission, we borrowed electric heaters from Ian's parents. I was doing some baking in the kitchen, with one of the heaters on the floor, as much out of the way as I could get it, when I hopped over it. Somehow, I managed to kick the oven drawer with the side of my foot and have developed one heck of a nasty bruise on the side of my foot. It's swollen, looks like it might be blistering even, and the purple splotch wraps around, even under my foot! It's pretty gross. I'll include a picture in case you don't believe me!

Missing my friends and family incredibly right now. Can't say it's been a month free of break-downs, between that, work, the weather, the car, and the multitude of issues we've encountered around the house... It feels very overwhelming at times. But it passes. Life goes on. We've had a very exciting year, with a lot of big changes. It's a lot to adjust to I suppose. But we've been incredibly lucky and I am counting my blessings. Christmas is upon us and I am looking forward to spending it with my new husband, in our new home. We will be very lucky if the coming year brings even half as many blessings as this one has.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year!! I hope it's everything you wish it to be!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It suddenly dawned on me last night that I haven't posted anything in.. I didn't even know how long! I almost can't remember how to log in! I haven't updated pictures, or progress, or even logged in to complain, gripe, and whine!!

So I guess now for a quick update, and my excuses. We have completed the main bathroom, dining room, and are in the final stages of finishing off the living room! All that's left to do on the main floor is to finish the hall and kitchen, and do the two spare bedrooms. We also have some touch-ups to do in the living room, and finishing touches such as the quarter round on the floor and the crown moulding. I haven't actually taken many pictures of the progress as I've been too busy working on making progress. I have been busy all day every day. I guess that's the way it is with renovating. I get up in the morning, drink my coffee and eat my cereal while trying not to get too much drywall dust in it. I change into my dirty work clothes. I work until lunch time when I find I'm absolutely starving. I eat a peanut butter and banana wrap (pretty much the only thing I can fathom making at this point of low blood sugar and ravenous hunger!), I get back to work until Ian gets home. At this point the remainder of my evening is determined by how much more we can do (like you can't do anymore if you just painted and have to wait for it to dry, but if you're sanding and filling holes it's a never ending process). So if there's lots more to do and I'm filthy dirty, I usually plead with Ian to make dinner and I keep working, so I don't have to get cleaned up (shower, clean clothes, etc.) in order to keep our dinner somewhat free of renovation extras. Then I will keep working until dinner, stop to eat, then get right back to work after dinner. I will work until I'm too tired to work anymore at which time I'll shower and maybe watch tv for a bit before bed. If there's not much I can keep working on after dinner, I'll have a shower and get dinner on. Then I try to spend some time relaxing, although usually this time is used for getting groceries, making another trip to Home Depot, or in the past few days, wrapping Christmas presents.

Last weekend was my 30th birthday. Ian took me out to dinner, we stayed in a hotel room overlooking the falls, had a very yummy buffet breakfast, did some shopping, then came home and painted for a few hours before Ian made a delicious French toast dinner followed by chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.

On Tuesday I started my Christmas job. Tuesday was only yesterday. It feels like days and days ago already! I am completely exhausted. My legs hurt, my back hurts, my hands, wrists, arms, fingers... It all hurts. I had aches and pains every day from all the work I've been doing around here. My shins have become perma-bruised I think. But now I have standing around on concrete aches, and repetitive motion pains. They seem to be a bit different. So, it's now past the time I intended to go to bed, my eyes are slowly closing, and I will be working another 8 hour day tomorrow! I think I'll have to leave my whining at this for now and hopefully talk more about my job a little later, if I have time. I actually only have 3 days off between now and Christmas! Crazy!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I feel like it's been a while since I posted on the blog.

We've had a few delays in our plans this past week, as can be expected with these sorts of projects. But as a result, I've been grumpy and very wrapped up in what I'm doing. I've been stripping wall paper. Well, it started with stripping wall paper, but the paint started coming off too. So I've been stripping paint really. It started very easy! It always does, doesn't it? Then came the tough spots. There are a number of spots where the plaster walls have been patched, or sanded, or are rougher than the rest of the wall for some unknown reason. The paint DOES NOT want to be separated from these spots. Unfortunately, the back of the wall paper doesn't want to be separated from the paint either. So we've been scratching, and picking, and chipping, and scraping these spots off. I think, it retrospect, a bit of water might have helped do the trick, but I suppose that would have to be scrubbed at too. Ahhhh, retrospect..

Anyways, I have been working on that for 8 days now! But finally, the walls are bare (almost!) Honestly, there are a few spots to go, but the dining room is finished and ready to be patched, and then sanded. I will be doing that tomorrow.

Earlier today, as I was trying to finish the scraping of the walls in the dining room I realized that there were some bare patches in the ceiling where Ian had removed the crown molding and chips of paint had come off. I poked one at one, the paint around it seemed loose. Don't ever do that. It fell off. The paint across the whole ceiling of the dining room could be picked off. We couldn't paint it like that. So we had to chip it all off! The floor was a disaster! I'll try to post pictures of what this looks like later, when I have more energy. Maybe I'll make a post on DIY disasters! We were hoping to have all the scraping finished, and the walls washed tonight. Also, Ian has a few other projects I was hoping he'd finish off this weekend, but we've been tied up with other things. So this additional delay was NOT a welcome one. I'm sure you can imagine what I was thinking as I started knocking chunks of paint off. But maybe in every disaster, good things can be found if you just look hard enough. We had no light fixture in the dining room, and no attic access to install something, so we couldn't figure out what we were going to do to light that room appropriately. But underneath all that paint we chipped off, in the center of the ceiling, Ian found a perfectly round patch that wouldn't come off! Could it be..? Hmmm, there is also a small rectangular patch on the wall beside the kitchen door! Is it..? How do we find out for sure? We chip them out! (Another delay, but at this point I'm starting to think this annoyance may have been quite worth while!) So we did that, starting with the wall, and sure enough, the rectangular patch contained a metal switch box, complete with live wires! So Ian knocked out the circle in the ceiling, and sure enough, there was a ceiling box, also complete with live wires! (The wires were marretted, BTW!) And now, because the paint on the dining room ceiling was chipping off, we get to shop for a new lighting fixture, and we will have light when we eat!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Master's Suite

After nearly four months separated, we have finally been able to sleep in our own bed! It took us 9 days to prime (2 coats), paint the trim (2 coats), paint the walls (2 coats), pull out the carpet, scrub and scratch the old spilled paint off of the floor, etc.. We still haven't finished the closet, we need to hang a picture above the bed, and we need bedside lamps, but it's close enough to being complete that it feels like home!

The first 2 nights back in our own bed were the best nights sleep I've had in the past 4 months, and much needed! After a week and a half of sleeping on twin beds, it was nice to cuddle up to my husband again, and fall asleep with my head on his chest.

After. Before.

Next project is the main floor bathroom.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hard work

I don't think I've ever worked quite so hard in my life. We got the keys to our place Friday evening. We came over then and I started cleaning the kitchen while Ian and his dad went to Sears to pick up our new couch and chair.
We began the "big move" Saturday morning. We brought our first load, from the in-laws house, by 10:30 that morning. By 1PM we had picked up most of the stuff in our storage room also. I stayed here and started cleaning, while Ian and his dad went back for the bed and mattress. I sorted boxes and cleaned for several hours I think. Ian and I also started washing the walls in the bedroom. We took a little break around dinner time to go to J's. J is my sister-in-law's mother-in-law. She lives at their place in a basement suite. She made a lovely roast beef and mashed potato dinner for us all, complete with chocolate cake and pumpkin pie! It was very generous of her. Then we worked until midnight that night, Ian in the bedroom washing walls and the ceiling, and me in the kitchen unpacking boxes. Those stinking walls in the bedroom were washed with TSP and rinsed 4 times and the water was STILL coming out a disgusting orangey-brown colour from all the smoke!

On Sunday we started priming the master bedroom. We worked until 10:30 or so that night. That was also Halloween and our first dinner in our new house. We only had about 11 trick-or-treaters. I was a bit disappointed.
On Monday, Ian went back to work. When I woke up, I sat in the dining room and had my coffee and oatmeal. I watched the birds chase eachother around the yard. They ate the berries from an overgrown bush outside my window. I was going to remove the bush, but the robins seem to really like it. Also, Ian's mom put out some birdseed on the weekend, so we had chickadees, red finches, and something else (I'm not sure what it was) all flitting around the bird feeder. They were an absolute joy to watch. I took some excellent pictures of them. Then I put a second coat of primer on in the bedroom, but ran out of primer about 3/4 of the way around the room, and I hadn' t done the closet or ensuite yet. So then I finished unpacking the kitchen and tidying up, making it look a little more like home and less like we "just moved in." On Monday night my very kind father-in-law came over and fixed the leaky plumbing under my kitchen sink, and extended the tap in my laundry tub for me! Oh how lucky we are to have a plumber in the family! Now if only we had an electrician... We can only plug small appliances into the stove it seems, as every time I try to make coffee or boil water plugged into the wall outlet, I blow the fuse. A painter would be good too...

On Tuesday Ian went to work. I finished the second coat of primer in the bedroom, and primed the ensuite and closet. My sister-in-law came over and put a second coat of primer on some of the trim, and my mother-in-law came over and showed me how to use the caulking gun to seal the gaps around the windows and between the baseboards and walls. My mother-in-law invited us over for perogies (how could I turn that down? I was planning grilled cheese...) so when Ian got home from work we went over there. Then we went to Home Depot (we've been there every single day so far...) and bought a can of white paint to go over the primer (to help cover the purple, rather than using all the expensive primer). Ian finished the second coat in the closet and bedroom, and his parents came over also. His dad removed the carpet tack around the walls, and his mom and I sanded the baseboard and trim. Ian and I didn't stay up much later after they left. By 10PM I was in bed, exhausted.
Today... Today is Wednesday. I would like to paint the ceiling today, but I'm not sure if I have the energy to do it myself. It's at an angle, and quite high on one half of the room so I can't reach it comfortably, even on the ladder. I'm not too good with heights, so it really depends on how I'm feeling, whether I can do it or not. So I haven't quite decided if I should even try. If I get all the paint and stuff out and decide I just can't do it, I'll have to clean it all up... I could also paint all the trim. But I'd really like to get the ceiling done! I think if I got started, we might be able to set our bedroom up this weekend! But if I can't do the ceiling, it won't get done until this weekend. Which means we won't be in our room until next week... At any rate, I have to finish priming the baseboard in the closet, and I could start priming the main floor bathroom as well. Seems like a heck of a lot of work. Harder than I expected. So this morning I've chosen to update my blog, and have a second cup of coffee, while sitting in the dining room. I caught a quick glimpse of the robins and a chickadee, but the bird food is all gone now so they didn't hang around for long. I will have to get some more. In a few minutes I suppose I wish wash my face, then put on my painting clothes again.
Our new couch and chair.

The spare bedroom, already set up for us. We pulled the sheets and blankets off and are sleeping in our sleeping bags.

Ian raking leaves in our backyard.

Our walls in the process of washing. If you look closely you can see a slight line above the door, on the right hand side where Ian had washed up to.


First coat of primer.

Second coat of primer.


Hungry, greedy neighbours. Didn't even offer me any.

Friendly little fellas.


My favourite, a red finch?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Today is Key Day!

We get the keys around 5PM tonight. I have a million things to do today. On that note, I'm just going to copy the email I sent to my mother last night, giving you an overview of what the next few days are probably going to look like.

So Mom, you don't have to read this again.

Friday morning I work, and Ian works all day. Then I have a bunch of running around to do and things to buy... alarm clock, telephone, some more cleaning stuff, etc. Also have to do laundry, clean the bathroom at Ian's parents', and finish packing our stuff here...

Friday evening we should get the key, at 5. I guess we'll take a quick swing by the house to make sure everything's in order there. Then, we will take both vans (Ian's parents' new one, and their old one) to the mall in St. Catharines where our couch and chair are waiting. We'll bring those back to the house. Might leave them in the garage for now, so that they don't smell like smoke... but we'll see...

Then, providing it's not already too late and we're not already exhausted, I would like to get started on cleaning. Just a quick wipe down of the kitchen, appliances, and all three bathrooms in particular. The fridge in the kitchen is going to need some attention I think, we peeked in it last night and there appears to be some rust in the freezer, so we'll just have to see what we can do....

So then Saturday we'll get our stuff from storage, and bring it all to the house. Also, we have a load or two here at Ian's parents' I'm thinking... We're still debating if it will go into the basement, or into the garage... It depends on what kind of time-frame we're looking at to get everything done I suppose... Don't want to start putting stuff on the main floor because it will get in the way of cleaning, etc. But we do need to pick it up because there is a lot of stuff in there we'll need, like towels, dishes, some cleaning things, etc...

Next on the agenda is to pull down all the light fixtures, and wash those. Also the heat registers, they looked like they could use a good scrubbing... We want to take a look under the carpet in the master bedroom, and see how that floor looks for starters. We may pull that carpet up right away, if it looks pretty good, so that we don't get our bed and matress smelling like smoke, and we can set it up right away... Anyways, then we'll get on to removing all of the ten zillion nails and picture hooks in the walls, and stripping wallpaper. Then washing walls, and filling holes. Then priming. And have to do the ceiling too.

That should pretty much take us into mid November I'm afraid, and that hasn't included actually unpacking ;)

No, hopefully within a few days we can feel somewhat settled... But I guess we'll see!!

Phone, cable, and internet will be installed on Monday evening.

Mom's response?
Whew, thankfully I'm here when you're moving! LOL
(Here being Kamloops, not in NF where we are.)

On that note, I doubt I'll have time to update until we're in there. Maybe Monday night or Tuesday. I can imagine I'll be anxious to check my email and Facebook. Pathetic, I know.

Point being, I'll try to remember to take lots of pictures, and will update as soon as I can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

5 Days! 4 days?

Well it's nearly 4pm on Monday afternoon... Does that mean only five days until we get possession, or 4 days? I'm not going to count the rest of today because it's mostly over, right? But I will count Friday as a day because we don't get the key until around 5pm that day... But if I didn't count Friday it would be 3 days!! How exciting is this? Actually, I'm a bit tired just thinking about it, and the breakouts on my face suggest that I'm more than just a little stressed about the whole thing..

We did, however, find a couch, along with a multitude of other items we'd been hunting for. Here's the couch, only we got it in a really pretty green colour. We also got this coordinating chair in a limey-green leather... It probably doesn't sound as nice as I think it is. It seems to be a very trendy colour this year and will be very easy to accessorize with, I hope. I love the chair. I think that's what sold me. And the price, we got floor models for 50% off the regular prices (which is not the prices listed, by the way) and then the salesperson knocked an additional $60 off the total. Good deal I think.

We also got this set of dishes at Canadian Tire, but now that I am reading the reviews of them, I'm not sure if we should keep them. It says many of the plates have broken. But I guess that's okay for now, we can get dishes we like better at a later date. Or something.

Other items purchased include a new coffee maker, a toaster, a cheap paint tray with cheap rollers and brushes to get us started with priming, a jumbo carton of TSP, a duvet (for a really great deal at The Bay!), numerous cleaning supplies (spounges, Vim, bleach, scrub brush, dust pan, etc.), a full-length mirror, a laundry basket, aaand... Oh yeah, a few things from Costco (a set of knives, and some groceries we'll need this week and when we move in.)

I'm getting tired. Shopping made me tired. Sometimes I tear up for no reason at all. I just get sad and my eyes get all watery. For some reason I was thinking the other day about our drive out here and I can't remember what I said about it. I might have to go back and read it. But it was sad. I think I cried most of the way from Kamloops to Salmon Arm, and probably the only reason I stopped at that point was I had to drive.

I'm starting to anticipate my birthday. It's a big one coming up. Someone told me we don't celebrate adult birthdays here, we just go for dinner... I'm not sure I'll do anything and that makes me sad. I'm really missing my friends and family these days. When we were shopping the other day I came to a realization that made me very sad. I was looking at big tables and shying away from the smaller ones. I thought I wanted a big table for when we have all our friends over for Waffle Sundays, or maybe hockey games, or barbeques, or whatever... But then I realized we don't have that many friends here. In fact, I have none and we've only spent any real amount of time with one of Ian's friends here. He's starting to think maybe there are no others left. He's starting to feel a bit sad, too. So what's the point of having a big table for just the two of us, to remind us that we don't really have any friends here? He was hoping to make some friends at work, but finds himself working with people who are much older than him, and he's struggling to connect or to find anything in common with them. I'm not a "friend maker." I don't make friends easily. I do make friends, but sometimes it takes time. I don't think this two weeks is going to cut it. I haven't met anyone I really connect with, or feel I have much in common with. When I make friends, it may take longer, but I like to keep them close when I do. I like to think I make friends for life. Obviously not all friends, but I guess the point is I have a few very close friends, rather than a whole lot of acquintances or quasi-friends.

I know we're lucky. People keep reminding me. I keep reminding myself. We're very lucky we got a house. We're very lucky Ian's parents have supported us these past three months. But I can't help but think we'd be luckier still if I had a job. Or if Ian was making more money. Or if we were surrounded by our old group of friends...

So please come visit? I have one booking tentatively for April... Anyone else?? Accomodation with us is free! We will even let you eat with us! ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I saw a big truck at the house today. Guess what that means? It's getting closer! I suspect it's the auction company picking up all of the beautiful pieces of furniture we can't afford to buy from Mrs. S. Once that stuff is out, I'm pretty sure most of what's left will be ours... I know there were a few pieces that her daughter was taking and I'm not sure if those are still there.

I still can't believe how lucky we are that Mrs. S. is leaving us so much of her stuff! She keeps saying she doesn't want us to think she's just leaving her junk. We keep trying to reassure her that it's fine, and we don't think it's junk at all! We have almost no furniture, so anything she leaves will be appreciated.
Next week we'll do the final walk-through. That will be really exciting! We'll get a sneak peak at what she's leaving I guess. I'm almost tempted to drive past the house again and see if I can get a look at what's coming out, but that's pretty creepy. And actually, I don't really care that much, I'm just excited to get in there ourselves!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


10 days until possession day! We have been out shopping for furniture, electronics, appliances, accessories, paint colours, etc... We haven't bought much yet and I'm incredibly anxious to get going with things. I know we should wait until we're in there to see how things look and feel, but seeing as we've brought so little across the country with us, I'm anxious to have some furniture at least when we move in. We have a bed, a tv stand, and a bookshelf, but that's all the furniture we trucked over. Last weekend we bought a dresser and two night stands that match our bed. I guess we'll be sitting in the bedroom, and possibly eatting in the bedroom. It's all good, as long as we don't have company over - that could get a bit cozy! ("Here, please, come in, come sit with us on the bed!")

I'm particularly eager to have a couch, but Ian and I seem to have some difficulties agreeing on them. I thought we were on the same page when it came to colour (or more precisely, lack thereof), but when we were shopping this weekend I realized we may have a ways to go yet. He likes deeper and higher couches, because he's tall and has long legs and a long body. I like shorter, smaller couches; I'm short and I get tired of swinging my legs or sitting on my feet. But I thought we would probably find something in between. We found one he particularly liked, and I didn't mind, so we started talking about colour. I like the white, he likes the beige. He thinks the white looks unfinished, I think the beige does.... I told him we'd put some nice, bright, decorative throw pillows on it, but he's not convinced. It's a slipcovered sofa also, so we could wash it when it gets dirty! We left without a sofa. We're still thinking, apparently.
On another note, I started my two-week job yesterday. It went very well, though we were very late getting started that day, so I didn't get home until 11:30am. Today was better, I was home by 10am! (I started at 8am, but get paid for 3 hours no matter what.)

Yesterday, when I got home, I used my new Kitchen-Aid stand mixer mix up some bread dough (using my new whole wheat flour from the mill at Balls Falls!) It turned out better than I expected, though a bit heavy (as could be predicted given the stone ground flour!) More about the mixer: I bought it this past weekend for a fantastic price while we were out shopping for house things. It seems to work really well and I am super excited to make A LOT more with it. It's the pretty candy-apple red colour, and I'm actually considering decorating our kitchen around it, so that I can just leave it on the counter all the time. I'm sure I'll use it frequently, and it's awfully heavy to be lifting up and putting away all the time. Or maybe I should keep it put away so that I'm not tempted to bake sweets every day!
I don't know how we'll ever pick paint colours! There's just so much I like... I might be one of those people that re-paints their house ten million times; every time they finish they begin again... Also dreaming about re-doing the kitchen and bathrooms... Although that may be a bit over our heads for this moment. Once I'm working regularly we can talk about doing the things that are going to cost real money!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giving Thanks

I spent a lot of time this Thanksgiving weekend thinking about the things I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for:
  • my health.
  • my friends' and family's health and happiness.
  • my husband. He is supportive, understanding, patient, encouraging, etc.. Sometimes I wonder what on Earth I have done to deserve someone so wonderful.
  • my mother and father-in-law for letting us stay at their house for three months, rent free! I don't know how we'll ever repay them.
  • Mrs. S. for her generosity and kind spirit.
  • our new house, even though we have a lot of work to do.
  • sun-shiney days.
  • red, orange, and yellow leaves.
  • the smell of dry leaves.
  • the smell of fresh rain.
  • hiking on the Bruce Trail, particularly in the fall. 800km of trail from here to Tobermory for us to explore. I think we covered 5.5km yesterday, but seeing as we have to hike one way, then turn around and go back for the car, it was an 11kms and 2 hours... I am looking forward to much more of that though. Fresh air, crunchy leaves, the escarpment... Ahh...
  • sales. Who doesn't appreciate a good sale??
  • the internet, for giving me something to do every day, and helping me keep in touch with friends.
  • work, even though my training is tomorrow and I'm really nervous. Then I have a test on Thursday and the possibility of a holiday position, on-call. But it's an hour away. But I've heard it could be $22/hour. But it could be night shifts. An hour away. In the winter. On-call. But $22/hour!
  • yarn. I've been knitting up a storm. I hope you like scarves.
  • books. I must have read nearly 10 books already since I've been here.
  • Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. It's given me something to look forward to daily.
  • turkey dinner, with all the fixings, but no brussel sprouts! (Sorry Mom, I just don't like them!)
  • a glass of wine (or two or three...)
  • my wedding pictures, on the beach. They make me smile.
  • any pictures of a beach, especially if I've been there. I like the beach.
  • the sound of rain at night, especially when accompanied with thunder and lightning!
  • peanut butter cookies.
  • rice krispie squares with peanut butter and chocolate.
I'm sure there's more, but that's a good start. What are you thankful for?

Saturday, October 2, 2010


It comes as no surprise that with every ending there is a new beginning. But sometimes, when I find myself at the brink of a beginning, I don't remember all of the endings that may be involved. For instance, moving into this house is an end to our renting days. It's an end to living with my in-laws. It's also an end to the seller.
We had the privilage of meeting her (let's call her Mrs. S) this week, for the first time. She is 80-some years old, and has moved into a retirement residence. She must weigh less than 100 lbs, smokes, and uses a walker. She asked us to come over so she could tell us a few things about the house, and so we could discuss some furniture and other items she had and wanted to get rid of. She has very kindly offered to leave us numerous items, free of charge, including two single beds, a dresser (or three), a "craft" table, a laundry drying rack, all of her garden tools, lawn chairs, a glider, knitting needles, a filing cabinet, a desk, garment storage bags, etc... I am actually excited to see what we find the day we get the house. We kept telling her she can leave whatever she wants. If she's just giving it away, or to goodwill, or to the dump, we will gladly take it and either keep it, or dispose of it for her. There are also a great number of items she is offering to sell us. We are waiting to hear what she'd like to charge for these items so we can decide if we can afford them. She has a beautiful dining set that we're particularly interested in. She is one of the dearest people I've ever met. I instantly loved her. She said that she hopes we'll have as many happy years in the house as she has. She's not sad to leave. She says she will not cry.

She's dying.
We're all dying, but some sooner than others I suppose. She's been on dialysis for a year, but hated it and 10 weeks ago decided to quit. Her doctor (whom she says looks like a Greek god) told her she may only have 3 weeks to live. She's lasted 7 weeks longer than that already.

It makes me sad to realize our new beginning is tied to this ending... I realize death is a fact of life. But I wish for just a little more time to get to know this woman, and learn her stories. I'd like to hear about all these items she's leaving with us, like the desk that was her husbands. It's huge, solid oak, and painted green because that was his favourite colour. Like the red oak tree in the front yard, and how the man who cuts the lawn says oak trees have no business being in residential areas, they belong in the forest, because he has to rake up all the acorns. The linden trees in the back yard: the one on the left is the female, the one on the right is the male, but she doesn't know why that's important. There are two naval maps on the walls, and she said they have significance, but didn't elaborate on what that was.

There are many stories in this new house we may never learn.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We bought a house!

It all began just over a week and a half ago. Well, that's not entirely true. We started looking at houses before we even moved here. But just over a week and a half ago we met with our realtor for the first time. The first house she told us about, on our first meeting, sounded wonderful to all of us. It had just been listed that day and she was excited to show it to us, however, another agent had already put an offer on it! So, not wanting to be disappointed, we didn't go see it. We talked about some other houses we were interested in, and thought we'd start looking at some with the realtor on the following Saturday. She called the following day and said that the realtor had been offered a counter offer, and had not accepted it, so the house was still available. However, the seller would not be showing the house for another three days because she had some family there and was finding it too stressful to deal with at the time. So we decided we would go see the house on the Friday (the night before we had planned to "start" our search with our realtor). Then we heard that they would be presenting offers between 6 and 7 that Friday evening. So we would see the house shortly after 5, and if we were interested, would have to present an offer immediately (no sleeping on it!)

So we went to see the house on Friday. And we both loved it! It's not an open concept, but has a lovely, spacious feel to it! All of the rooms are such a nice size and there are cathedral ceilings! The basement is bright (relatively), and more than half of it is unfinished. The woman had it professional decorated 30-some years ago and it still looks pretty good, apart from years of her smoking leaving stains in the carpet and on the walls. The back yard is quite large, and it's in a really nice neighbourhood. It has a huge laundry room downstairs that I could really see doubling as my "sewing/craft" room, with lots of storage space and bright light. There are three bedrooms upstairs, and two and a half bathrooms in the house.
We decided we liked it enough to put in an offer, even if it meant we had competition. The house was definitly priced right, and we thought (realtor included) a little low for it's condition and location. So we were prepared to pay a little more than they were asking, we felt we could be competitive. We rushed to the realtor's office, wrote up our offer for three thousand dollars more than asking, downed coffees for dinner, and then drove to the retirement residence where the lady was living so our realtor could present the offer herself. Ian and I waited in the car for a nearly agonizing 20 or so minutes. Maybe longer. It felt like a long time.

Our realtor was going to go in there and sell us a newly married young couple who had just relocated to the Falls, and were hoping to settle down and start a family. She told us that she was going to make the lady think that the sun shone out of Ian's butt (which of course it does!) She was also going to offer our services to dispose of anything she couldn't handle, or didn't have time for. We would be more than willing to take any furniture or other items she had no need for, we would even pay for them. She came back and told us that the seller was "as smart as a whip!" and also that all her furniture was taken care of - it was to be auctioned off in Toronto. Our realtor also told the woman that we were outside if she wanted to meet us. She said there was no need for that.
So we waited. In the car. In the parking lot. Of a retirement residence. Shifts changed. We waited. Finally the seller's realtor emerged and rambled about having been unable to locate the van we were in "around the corner".. WELL!? He says "well your's wasn't the highest offer, but for our purposes it's the one we're going to work with." So does that mean... You mean..?! We got it?!?! Wait, there are some changes. The chest freezer is broken. The water tank is owned, not rented. Closing Oct. 29th (not the 15th we'd requested). That's all?! Of course we agreed!

We had seven days then to get our mortgage secured, seek insurance, and have the house inspected.

The following Sunday we went back to the house with Ian's parents. We found evidence of a water leak in the foundation at the front of the house. The house inspector said it may simply have been due to bad grading and eavestroughs draining directly down into the weeping tile (which we can easily fix). Also said many of the outlets aren't grounded. We should have the trees and hedges trimmed away from the house. We should install bathroom fans. That was the worst of it I think. We called a few basement waterproofing companies. One quoted us $1500 to fix the basement. Another quoted $2500.

Insurance people finally called back. We got some quotes. Our mortgage company called and said we'd been approved.
We made an amendment to the deal asking for $1500 off the purchase price, to help us pay for the cost of fixing the foundation wall. She accepted, and apparently said she felt so badly about it that she may be leaving us some furniture after all!
We have a house! We absolutely can not wait to move in, and my mind is constantly racing with ideas for renovating and decorating!!

None of the furnishings in the following pictures are ours at this point. You can pretty much tell what will definitly be auctioned off!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Will you meet me for a coffee?

I could really use a coffee and a friend. Well, actually, it's the friend part I could really use. Not to say that Ian's family isn't great. But I'm missing my friends and family like crazy. Who will come visit me? I may even have a room for you! (More on this point later!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Things I Like

With all my whining and complaining, you'd think I was really miserable here. I'm not. It's hard, but I'm not miserable. There are moments when I feel very sad, very frustrated, very useless, very displaced... But they're moments, and they pass...

So what do I like about this place?

Yesterday Ian and I went on an excellent hike on the Bruce Trail, near Queenston Heights. The sun was shining through the trees, lighting up the leaves a bright green. The wind on the branches sounded like a rushing river. We were walking along the top of the escarpment, with views through the tree branches, over the fields towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. There were wild flowers. Some satellite thing left from the Cold War. Limestone kilns that look like wells. An old quarry. Very nice walk.

I like getting to know Ian's family better. We've obviously spent a lot more time together recently, particularly Ian's mom and I. Spending all this extra time with someone really allows you to understand them better, and I've enjoyed that. Ian's mom is even teaching me some tole painting things. Maybe next I can get her to help me with my watercolour. I'm looking forward to spending more time with his sister, and getting to know her even better.

I like tomatoes fresh from the garden. Ian's mom has lots of tomatoes and there's nothing better than picking your dinner from the garden right before you eat it. We've had BLTs at least once a week since we've been here, and I love BLTs! We'll be having BLTs again tomorrow. I can't wait!

I like the Outlet mall. It's got good stores, and it's not even in the States! I've only been there twice this trip though. That's probably a good thing.

I like our proximity to the US. Good shopping. Not that I have money for shopping. But we could even just go over for dinner if we wanted. That's neat. Buffalo wings, coming up! Looking forward to cheaper hockey games in Buffalo, too!

I like that we're buying a house. Based only on Ian's income, we've been approved for a mortgage. The mortgage is big enough to buy a house, with a yard. In Vancouver, even with both of us working, we would never have been able to afford a house. Maybe in the suburbs.

I like that Ian's happy to be here. That's the most important thing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finding my place

Still no job. Nothing even good posted on Job Bank. Blah.

House hunting. Nothing good yet. Lots of options, but nothing's really felt right yet. Hopefully there will be some great new postings to choose from soon!

Trying to find little things I like here. Like a radio station. Have yet to find a radio station I really enjoy. I'm not sure how among all these huge cities around us I can't find anything on the radio that I really like! Seem to be a lot of stations that play top 40, top 20, you know, the same old songs every time you change the dial. Maybe it's time for Sirius or some other satellite radio... I miss my old stations! I miss the Peak from Vancouver and the End from Seattle... Those were my favourite stations. I guess I can still get them here on the internet.. but that's not the same when I'm in the car. That's when I listened to the radio the most. It's funny, I even miss the traffic station. You know, the one that plays all traffic reports all the time?? It's funny because I haven't even been driving here, nor have I been stuck in traffic. It's just that it's familiar I guess. I miss the familiar.

I miss my coffee shops. I miss my malls. I miss my lunch places. I miss my beaches, my walks, my bridges. I miss the light reflecting off all the windows downtown. I even miss my stuffy little 100 year old apartment. Mostly, I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss feeling like I belonged somewhere. My aunt-in-law said that she remembers feeling very displaced. That's a good description. I feel displaced. I'm not sure where or how I fit here yet.

I know this will pass and I will look back on it and it will all be worthwhile, but sometimes you feel very stranded in the moments...

Friday, September 3, 2010


The hardest part about coming here has been having to share my husband. He's been all mine for 5 years. He went to work during the day (so did I), played badminton maybe two nights a week, and occasionally met up with friends... Otherwise, I had him all to myself, apart from the numerous trips here over the years. I had to share him a bit then. I've liked having him all to myself. When we came home from work we'd chat, cook dinner together, watch TV, fiddle on our computers, chat some more... Just across the room from each other. I could roll my eyes, gasp at the TV, growl and wave my fists when something was frustrating me, and he was there to notice. Sometimes we'd go for dinner with friends, or have people over for waffles, or have family stay from out of town. But mostly, it was just the two of us. We got to spend a lot of quality time together. Given that, maybe it's surprising we're still together. We've lived each other for 5 years. And I miss it.

It's sort of making me reconsider if I ever want children. I'm selfish that way. I've liked having him all to myself. It's been difficult getting use to sharing him. Now, when he gets home from work I barely get a hello. Today was better, today I got a hello kiss. But other days I'm just part of the crowd. On his first day at work we all sat around when he got home so he could tell us all about it together, and wouldn't have to repeat it. He sometimes sits downstairs, sometimes in the living room upstairs. I usually sit in the bedroom we're sleeping in so that my computer can be plugged in... or I read... It's not really my home here... I feel a bit like I'm hiding away... But I'm trying to stay out of the way. And I like my alone time. But for 5 years my alone time has included my husband. Suddenly my alone time is either really alone, or with 3 other people. He's been like a part of me. I miss him. It's funny how you can feel lonelier surrounded by people than you can when you're really on your own.

I know it's good to share, but do I have to??

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Goosebumps and sun burns

Did you know it is possible to get a sun burn while you have goosebumps? It makes for an interesting, speckled sort of pattern along the edges of the burn.

We went to the beach yesterday, Ian's family, minus Ian. Poor Ian had to work.

They have security at the beach. They search your bags. I thought it was a bit stupid, but I guess some people like that.. I don't mind the armed gaurds patrolling the beach in Mexico, keeping us safe and free from annoyances... but this seemed a little ridiculous. Are animals and drunk people at the beach really such a big issue here? This is not like the beaches at home... Sometimes I feel worlds away.

The wind off the water was cold. I don't think it could have been any more than 20 degrees. I tried to take my sweater off, only to put it back on within about ten minutes. There is no way I could have sat there in a bathing suit. My bikini was disappointed, it hasn't seen nearly enough sun this year. So I sat in my shorts and sweatshirt, while everyone around me was in bathing suits, and I had goosebumps on my legs. Goosebumps. In August. At the beach. Ian's mom felt my legs and was surprised at how cold they were. Her's were hot she said. Maybe I'm cold blooded. I could be a lizard. I will be now. I have a sunburn on my poor goosebumpy legs. I should have known. Of course I know you can get a sunburn even in the cold. Like in the winter, when it's ten times worse because the sun reflects off the snow when you least expect it... Did I put on sunscreen before we went out? No, I usually put it on when we get there, so I can get a bit of sun on my pasty skin before I cover it up... But I was so chilly, the thought didn't even cross my mind. That and the sand was already stuck to my feet and ankles, from the lotion I used on them in the morning. Putting on sunscreen would have rubbed them raw. I never thought twice.

Until I got home. And saw the red stripes on my knees and thighs. I had had my legs crossed. I have slightly less pink lines where my legs covered eachother. Stupid. Nearly 30 and I still haven't learned to use sun screen every day. What was I thinking?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's hot here today. And muggy. Wet, and rainy. My whole body feels heavy. A run is definitly needed but I find it hard to catch my breath just walking around the house this morning. The doors and windows are all open. To let some fresh air in I believe. Maybe it's cooler outside than it is in here. I just know I woke up finding it hard to breath. Uncomfortable. This bed is not the best, and I wake up eager to get out of it, but still tired and aching all over. Maybe I need to be busier during the day so I can sleep better. I'm getting bored now. We've been here nearly a month. I still don't feel at home. I feel like we're visiting here, still living out of suitcases, in a room that's not ours, sleeping in a bed we both dislike... I've woken up grumpy three days in a row, and it's not even PMS. I'm breaking out, and it's not due to an excessive amount of chocolate. I think stress is getting to me. It's hard to accept stress when you're not working, don't have many bills to pay, and seem to be having an extended vacation... But the stress is there, none the less, maybe for all of those same reasons.

We want a house. We've been pre-approved for a small mortgage, and a little goes a long way here if you're careful. But we won't rush into anything, Ian hasn't even started work yet, and I still don't even have a job. I should get a job, but the thought of tutoring just doesn't sit well with me. I don't want to do it. Right now, I don't even miss teaching. I don't miss the kids. I miss money. I think I need to try something new... But I don't know what to do.

I hate waiting. Waiting for something to happen, waiting for things to get going... It's all in the works, but I'm not a very patient person. I like to feel like I have control over things. I like to feel like I'm actively involved in getting things going. I feel like much of what I need to do right now is be patient. Think positive. Breath in. Breath out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The past few days

On Thursday we spent the entire day waiting for our stuff to be delivered by the moving company. They originally said it would arrive by noon. It got here at about 5:20PM. To the storage site actually. But at least it got here. And after a thorough inspection of the boxes today, I am thrilled to report that only three items appear to be broken. I'm sad about those items though. One of them is my Scholastic teacher Blackboard mug. I had two of them, but got rid of one in Vancouver, thinking I don't need them both. But they're freebie things from Scholastic, and they were my school mugs, you know, the ones I kept in my drawer for the days I wanted tea! The other one was my special tea mug that my friend Bill gave me years ago. It's just the perfect size for a cup of tea! The last item I'm the saddest about. Happiness. We figured it would probably be Success, given the current state of things... But alas, it was Happiness, a clean break, right at the stem... That IS a bad sign. Maybe I can fix it?

Happiness and Success are the words written on my favourite wine glasses,
given to us from Lyn. I miss Lyn!!!
Friday we went to the Buffalo Zoo with Steph, Chris, and Spencer. My camera battery died about half-way through, if that, but Ian got some amazing pictures on his camera. Those pictures, sadly, are not included here.

Here are a few of my favourite critters, before my battery died...

Saturday we looked at several appartments. We wrapped the evening up down on Queen Street, listening to Guns'N Roses and Bob Marley tribute bands, and then we watched the ever fantastic "Back to the Future" outside, on the grass at City Hall! They even had a DeLorean on hand, complete with lights and a license plate that said "OUTATME". It was excellent!

On Sunday, we celebrated Waffle Sunday at Steph and Chris'. The waffles were fantastic, with peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and chocolate and cherry ice cream... Of course, the requisite syrup and whipped cream tied the whole thing together... Mmmm. I forgot to take a picture, as usual when it comes to waffles. I concentrate on eatting them.

Today, I turned in my BC drivers license, with my excellent, short, easy to remember number. I got a piece of paper with a huge long ridiculous number on it. I want my short number back. And, they wouldn't take my marriage certificate in Spanish, which we figured but thought we'd try. So I'll have to go back and change my name anyways. We're in the process of getting that translated this week.

We also went to the bank to see about a mortgage. Not sure what will happen with that. Will keep you posted.

Appartment hunting is not going particularly well. There are two apartments we could live with if we had to, so far, but nothing to "blog about"...

Aaaaand, finally, I had a job interview this morning at a tutoring place. The interview lasted about 5 minutes. I'm not holding my breath, and I forgot to ask what they pay. It was too fast. I wasn't sure what happened. I don't think it went badly, just fast.