Thursday, September 28, 2017

T minus 10 to Maui

Ten days. We are going to Maui in ten days. 

The condo has been booked for eight months; the flights bought for seven. I wouldn't allow myself to drag out the suitcase before the ten day mark. Although I did sneak my carry-on out of the closet last night and begin to fill it. 

I'm so excited to be vacationing with B&K and the girlies. At four months old, this will be Daphne's first flight. I believe I was also on Beatrice's first fight back in January 2015 when she was five months. (Which is kind of odd - I don't really fly that much.) Bea flew like a rock star and I anticipate Daffers will be no different - she is such a good good baby. 

Bea has flown a number of times in her young life, and she is a good traveller. Well, she is just an all-round good kid. I trust this flight will be no different. Seeing that it is a six hour flight after a six hour wait (for the Kamloops folk) in the Vancouver airport, Granny is going to be prepared to entertain the 3-year-old in the air. 

My carry-on will of course have my travel pillow and a fold up fuzzy blanket, assorted electronic cords and gum, but the rest of it will be stuffed with random small gifts for Beatrice to open as often as necessary to shock and amaze (and cause to recant the evil thoughts of) the travellers around us who are sure to think, as they buckle their seatbelts on their tropical vacation, "Oh shit. A toddler AND a newborn. This is NOT what I signed up for." We'll show 'em. Right girls? 

I sat on the floor with my pile of goodies to wrap: sticker books, Paw Patrol grab bag, a few hot wheels, three small Shimmer Shine dolls with hair to brush, a couple of mini play dough etc. Hold on! Mini play dough? "I wonder if this is a good idea?" I think to myself. "Ahh,they are only small. And I will watch her and play with it with her. We will leave no trace crumbs behind."  

As I continue wrapping, I get another red flag in my consciousness. Is play dough a gel? Could this be an issue at customs? I start imagining the scene that could unfold as my mini gifts are confiscated, holding up the line going through security. 

I think it best to ask Siri what I should do, "Siri, is play dough allowed in my carry-on on an international flight?" She responds with, "I found this on the web: Play dough can look like the putty in home made explosives and there is an ingredient in it that can set off an alarm in the bomb ingredient detector machine. While it is considered a legal and valid carry on item, it may cause a bit of a disruption and lead to a pat down and thorough inspection of your items. But when all is said and done, you should get through security just fine." 

Uh, yeah. Thanks Siri. I think I will just keep the play dough to hand out at halloween as originally intended. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Growing Pains

I've never read the book The Prayer of Jabez, which is based on 1 Chronicles 4:10.   
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 
However, I have prayed the same prayer, perhaps with different motives, many times. Especially the "keep me from harm and free of pain" part. Call me wimp, but I really don't like harm and pain. 

I have also found myself this past winter praying the "enlarge my territory" part. Specifically the size of my house. For general day-to-day living Albert and I can survive quite well living the "tiny home" experience - as proved by our love of spending time in our one room cabin at the lake. 

Our real house is just over 1000 square feet. Not a tiny home, but by no means a mansion. Especially when you factor in that we have never had full use of the basement, which went from being unfinished to being 50% a suite which has been occupied for the majority of the time since being finished in 2008. 

And in the times the suite was empty, I felt like a stranger in someone else's home when I went down there, and we really never made use of the space. Mostly because I didn't want to expand into the space and then have to somehow find a new home for my crap if someone else moved in. 

I realized the time had come to expand my territory and reclaim my space this past winter when, with the suite occupied, my pregnant daughter, her over 6-foot husband, and their not-very-petite 2-year-old were crammed in a double bed in the second bedroom of our home, which also doubles as a playroom for the grandkidlets.  I knew the next time they would visit they would be a family of four and cramming wouldn't even be an option. 

The basement occupant gave notice in March, and within a week of him leaving I had someone practically beg me to let her daughter live here while she attended her final year of university this fall. There were also a couple of other inquiries from prospective tenants as well. 

As difficult as it was to kiss 750 dollars a month goodbye, I declined their requests saying I was moving in myself. And I have. Well, we have. And for the first time in twelve years of being in this house, my downstairs feels like home. Which is a good thing because the main living area upstairs is completely gutted in the midst of an extreme makeover. 

So I find myself living half upstairs and half downstairs with no actual increase in my territory. And come to think of it, neither am I free from pain, as I find myself doing about 30 flights of stairs each day. Growing pains I suppose, as God and Albert grant my requests once again. This too shall pass.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Paint Palette Panic!

I have made most of my major decisions concerning our current major renovations. I got my cupboards all selected, chosen the countertop, bought the flooring, got lights, ordered a new window.

I will need to get some new furniture as well but I'm not too worried about that right now. I don't want to store new furniture in my dusty renovation space, and besides, we will probably be sitting on tree stumps and using boxes for tables by the time I spend all my money travelling and getting new shoes.

But paint. I am going to need paint.

I have bits of creative thought rambling around in my brain but I know we are a ways away from painting so I haven't been feeling too stressed. I know I want to use Dulux Diamond paint. I'm not an expert by any means when it comes to painting and decorating. But I used this paint when I did the basement a few years ago - simply because I got a BOGO-free coupon in the mail. It was the best paint I have ever used, it rolled on nicely, covered amazingly and washes wonderfully. It was also $78 a gallon. Acceptable when it's buy one get one free.

I had a thought the other day that I should start periodically checking the Dulux website for sales. Which I promptly did. And low and behold if the BOGO sale didn't start that day.

What!!??! Crap.

Well, not crap that the sale is happening. But crap, it's happening now. Which means I have to make some decisions.

Bizarrely enough, this is the decision I am stressing the most about in the entire renovation. Which is so silly. It's only paint. And for $78 you can change your mind twice a year if you don't like it. The cupboards, flooring, lighting, appliances are all major purchases that I will live with for a long time - some of them probably the rest of my life.

I have quite literally lost many hours sleep this week and I completely change my palette vision every 12 hours or so. I am in a complete tizzy over somewhat temporary colour while I'm pretty chill with the things that are most permanent.

Sadly, such is life many times. We get all freaked out over little things in the here and now, and casually brush off the things that affect the more permanent big picture.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Object of my Disdain

 It's all a matter of perspective.

I've hated the laminate flooring that was in our house when we bought it twelve years ago. Well, hate might be a strong word, but I knew it would bring my heart great pleasure when the time came to dispose of it. And with the great renovation project now underway, that time was last week.

We have a dumpster sitting in our driveway, and much of what was my home is now piled inside. Layers of multi-papered wall, ceiling tiles and fire engine red cabinets have all been dismantled and tossed into the bin. However, the despised flooring got neatly stacked into the back of the truck and hauled off to the cabin. It didn't make much sense to send it off to the landfill when we were living on pieced together peeling plywood at the lake.

What a surprise when I arrived at the cabin at 10:30pm after facilitating an art party the other night, to find that my man-slave had already gotten it installed. It looks truly amazing. It has completely transformed the cabin, and it makes me happy. How fun to slide across the floor in sock feet rather than walking gingerly half expecting a giant splinter to jump out and stab you in the foot.

The object of my disdain now brings me pleasure.

It makes me wonder how many other things/people/situations in my life that bring me angst and frustration could actually become a source of joy if I'd only change my perspective.

Goodbye lovely peeling teal plywood floor

The 'rag rug' I made with 40 pieces of Mama's good quilting fabric looks amazing on it's new background. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

$635.76 Spending money left over

I print stuff. A lot. I simply cannot go without a printer and have used a colour laser printer for about 15 years. The toner does last for more than a year but it's always painful to replace. The low level indicators are starting to alert me, so it's that painful time again. A quick peruse of the Dell website and inquiry with the online chat window dude, informed me that a set of CMYK toner will set me back a mere $1061.76 including tax. Shipping is free.

Yes, that is over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS! For ink. That is almost twice what I pay for fuel in my Grannymobile in a year. And the fuel costs I can dole out in  forty dollar shots every 3 weeks or so.

Like most things in life that shock the shit out of you, a Facebook rant resulted. And I received much sympathy and suggestions from friends and acquaintances. Many encouraged me to find knock-off recycled and/or refilled cartridges. I did price this out and can find cartridges for about half the price of the genuine article. But I am hesitant to do this.

I did get some refilled toner from China through Ebay about 10 years ago for an HP printer I had at the time. After a couple of months the printer started putting random strips of colour on pages I printed. One look inside the printer showed me why. Apparently every time I used the printer, it was farting out little puffs of dry toner powder everywhere. And my $200 savings resulted in a $700 purchase of a new printer.

I know many people think I'm a bit of an exhibitionist when it comes to Facebook and blogging, and I can't really argue their point. However, sometimes it pays off.

As a result of my Facebook rant, I was offered a set of genuine Dell toner for my exact model of printer for free. Yes, FREE. Let me remind you, this is over a thousand dollar value. The toner is free, but shipping isn't. And it's located in Texas.

Conveniently, Air Canada was celebrating it's 80th anniversary this week. Round trip flights from Prince George to Dallas, Texas, with one short stop in Vancouver were $426 in Canadian funds, including all taxes and fees. So, long story short, I am flying to Texas to pick up my free toner, hanging out with my baby sister for 13 days, and have $635.76 spending money left over. Problem solved.

Yay for Facebook rants!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stuff to say. Don't wanna talk.

So, we are 12 years into the 5-year renovation plan we had for this old house when we bought it. Granted, many projects came up in the meantime and kinda changed the plan along the way.

I'm super stoked to be getting a new open concept living space and fabulous kitchen, complete with real flooring. This will finalize the renovation of the entire main floor since we moved in. And by finalize, I don't mean we are done. I simply mean every room will have been renovated. I already have plans for a bedroom makeover swirling in my head. After all, it has been 12 years since it was done.

Currently I sit here in my little office corner viewing the open space with wires hanging out the walls where plugs and switches used to be and plumbing parts poking out, waiting to be rerouted to their new locations.

Removing the walls and flooring has exposed a half dozen different patterns of flooring and a variety of wallpapers, some of which have been painted right over top of. Twice. I think I will actually gain a few square feet of living space by the time the walls are peeled back to the 2x4 studs - layers of wallpaper, 2 layers of wall panelling on top of drywall, on top of at least one layer of donnacona fibreboard. (I had to google 'donnacona' because the word sounds sort of stupid to me. There's a city in Quebec by this name, so I can only assume production of this fibreboard originated there. But that's only an assumption.)

I can't help but imagine the transformations this place has seen over the years. Opening the walls exposed previous window frames in the wall between the master bedroom and living room - further confirming what we had observed in a previous renovation - the back half of the house is actually an addition. There are various fill-ins in the floor and framed-in doors and windows in the walls that indicate there have been many substantial changes. There is even an old electrical panel box, highly illegally buried in the end wall. And yes it has live wires running into and out of it. So glad I sleep with an electrician who can deal with issues like this.

One of those changes is our reno from nearly two years ago - turning the large bathroom with a lot of wasted space into a smaller nicer one, giving space to create a fabulous walk-in pantry off the kitchen.

I am so in love with my pantry, but it has always felt a bit temporary to me with its unfinished floor and collection of items that don't belong in a pantry - the mop and pail, a shelf of cleaners and bug sprays, a box of empty wine bottles and pop cans awaiting recycling etc. Things that will have their own special cupboards and closets in my new kitchen. Meanwhile there were a couple of cupboards full of food items in the kitchen waiting for the mop and Raid to move out of the pantry so they could move into their rightful space.

As I was emptying out the food and spice cupboards I was refreshed in my admiration of people who keep well-stocked cupboards. My sister, for example, always has at least 2 extra bottles of ketchup on hand, 6 boxes of cereal and enough soup to last through a famine. I've never been like that. I'm just way to disorganized to keep stuff cycled and fresh on the shelves. And emptying out my kitchen has shown me just how bad it is.

The expired food I threw into black trash bags is mind boggling. Popcorn from 2013. Seriously. We just aren't popcorn eaters. Boxes of Breton crackers. Whatever possessed me to buy a 6-pack of crackers from Costco for Christmas 2015? One box tends to go stale before it gets eaten.

I have enough dry pasta to open a soup kitchen. Most of it is in sealed plastic packaging. I don't think it goes bad. We will eventually eat it. I think. Many of these plastic packages of pasta were still inside plastic grocery bags sitting in the cupboard, where you couldn't easily see what was in them. Probably exactly why I kept buying more. Upon emptying the grocery bags, among the packs of linguine and spaghettini I found two new eyeliner pencils I had purchased a couple of months ago at Superstore, then spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for when I got home. I gave them up for lost - assuming someone else got free eyeliner that I left on the grocery counter while packing my noodles into 5cent bags. Score!

My intention was to make a Facebook status update indicating I found the missing eyeliner. Somehow a blog oozed out. Sometimes I just have stuff to say but don't wanna talk.

There was even an electrical panel box hidden in the wall

Layers and layers of wall

It won't be recognizable when we are finished.

His Song Has Ended But the Melody Lingers

On November 28, 2018 my world imploded. My husband was my everything, but he also had a profound impact on everyone else in his life. ...