Category Archives: Renovating

Crazy multi-tasking among mad people!

A day at home doing stuff & catching up with myself now that our renovations are finished & I begin painting – again. This sounds great doesn’t it? Just me, Tessy & the cats on our own schedule, but then…

An email from the distributor about the graduation hoodies we are organizing had the graphics of all the kids signatures so I looked for my elder son’s. It was my other class parent who kindly went into school & organized this part of the process so I hadn’t seen it. I looked over it about 10 times to find his name but I was sure it wasn’t there. I only counted 42 names & there should have been 44. I sent a panic email to my other half so she could check. She found 43 names & was also sure my son’s was missing. So, while I was making dinner in the slow cooker, running up & down to the laundry, folding laundry, wiring that bloody elf on a shelf so he can be bendy when he returns next week, packing up the swimming bags & making smoothies because it’s club night, I must have returned a million emails about these wretched hoodies.

In the end my other class parent half went into school early so she could identify each signature & establish who was missing. In the end my son was there he had just decided to sign his name ‘fancy’ so it looked nothing like his name at all. Why? I have yet to discover, but whatever.

I finally placed the order while at the pool during a bit of drama regarding a mentally ill lady who was causing a bit of bother in the lobby because she thought someone was trying to kill her. The cops arrived & everything but the kids still swam up & down the pool non the wiser, I continued my conversation with the hoody lady on the phone, & the world kept turning…



No stairs allowed!!

My contractor only left the house about half an hour ago after sanding the landing & stairs, then cleaning & staining them. All the bedrooms are now out of bounds, that includes bathrooms & all closets etc.

The boys are currently camping in the lounge on futons, with my brainless teddy bear of a dog for security. Hubby is on call & at work. When he finally returns at whatever hour of the night or morning it might be, he will join me in the spare bedroom, which is also upstairs. Thankfully our house has 2 sets of stairs, but to access the spare room we will need to go outside. It used to be a self contained suite but we are slowly knocking down various walls down so that eventually it will be part of the main house. So, at bedtime I will pop out the back kitchen door, take 2 steps towards the suite door & make my way up the 2nd set of stairs that leads to the spare room. We cannot walk on the stairs tomorrow morning, & probably not before Thursday evening at the earliest as it will have about 3 coats of varnish applied tomorrow. The boys think that this is one great adventure, & on a school night too!

What it really is, is chaotic, messy, disruptive & at times very noisy. However, we have a beautiful old home that we are slowly restoring & preserving, it’s only for a couple days days which is nothing really.

(And I have plenty of wine to hand!)

The joy of renovating…

… we are about to be kicked out of our bedrooms for about 3 nights. The final stages of our current renovation have become very chaotic. Today we decided last minute to pack the cats off to board at the vet for a few days while the upstairs floor & the stairs are sanded, stained & varnished. It was becoming too logistically stressful for us & them to have them confined to one room of the house. The dog is much easier to manage as she can patrol the garden.

The basement is also out of bounds now as the heated floor & new distressed wood look tiles are being layed. I had to make sure all our laundry was done at the weekend because that’s it until next weekend. It will all be worth I know, & it’s not too long now before we will have our house back. That’s when some of the real work begins – the great clean up.

Until then I will hibinate in my craft room & hopefully find something more interesting to write about. I’ve become really boring to read recently I know!

Pyjama day…

Well it is Sunday & now officially winter so why not. Hubby was at work again. The dog had taken to the sofa & refused to even venture out even to pee. I personally had a shower & actually put on leggings & a sweatshirt which is the next best thing really. Our Saturday’s are almost as busy as the weekdays so Sunday has become a bit of a dossing day. However, it’s amazing how productive you can be with an extra hour in the day, & that’s after a big sleep in. Not only is most of the laundry done (because it’s never all done), I prepared a stew to simmer in the slow cooker all day, changed the beds (well got the boys to strip their beds which is almost the same thing), took down the Halloween decorations (all 6 of them), & made a good start on making elder child’s new quilt for his newly updated tween room. I am ashamed to say they ate Halloween candy for lunch, but they made up for it with a good hearty dinner which hubby was home in time to also enjoy. We then tested out our newly purchased ‘Professor chairs’ around the games table with a game of Cluedo (or just ‘Clue’ as it is known in North America which is so not right), in front of a roaring fire. Tomorrow it’s back to the chaos of renovating & the madness of parenthood, & not enough hours to sleep again!

Wonder Woman!

Life got in the way of my writing – again! I know I have missed the odd day here & there this year, especially when I was on vacation, but this break was voluntary. I know I am doing too much, my body is telling me so, but have I listened to it? Not a chance! I am still in the process of giving my elder son’s bedroom a makeover. As you can see by  the photo I was inappropriately dressed to go to school yesterday, but I promised the kids I would dress up to do their haunted house craft that had required me to cut out hundreds of pieces of cardstock for over 40 grade 2 students & had me locked in my craft room most nights for 2 weeks. It was all worth it though as it appears to have been raging success so a big high five to me!). We have just started renovating our basement, lifting all the carpets upstairs & restoring the floors upstairs. Among all of this I am continuing to keep house & home while running the kids around, walking the dog, making sure we don’t have to resort to pet food for dinner, & begin getting organized for the crazy month of December (both boys birthday’s are during the holiday festivities, as well as our wedding anniversary & my father-in-laws birthday!).

So something had to give, & sitting down every evening for an hour & boring you with my life events was the least important task at the time. They say you should make time to write, but they don’t share the ingredients or the recipe to actually make more time. I’m still suffering with my neck, maybe not as much, & I’m certainly not taking as many painkillers, but enough to be aware of it most of the time. However, I have managed to squeeze in some fun. A girlfriend & I went for some retail therapy at the huge new outlet mall & had a great day trying on dresses for the up & coming winter gala for school. We were both successful in purchasing a knockout frock & can’t wait to enjoy letting our hair down on the dance floor.

Right now I just need to not be so impatient to get stuff done. I really need to stop & listen to my body when it’s protesting at being worked to hard. The thing is, my son is currently camping out in the spare room on a double bed with a tempur-pedic mattress, a mountain view (when it stops raining), & an en-suite bathroom. If I leave him in there too long I might never get him to leave!

Stove envy!

My apologies for missing yesterday, my BFF has relatives staying with her at the moment & it’s proving to be very challenging. I went over with good listening ears in the hope that if she offloads enough I won’t be visiting her in jail!

Yesterday I popped next door to my lovely neighbour after an ‘over the wall’ conversation with her about how her kitchen makeover was coming along. I have been watching her over the last couple of weeks, cleaning, painting, sorting etc. probably prompted by the fact her stove of 25 years finally gave up on her. She also has relatives arriving from all over the world in preparation for her younger son’s wedding – probably the real reason for the makeover.

I’m not fond of my stove, I’ve used electric since moving here 12 years ago, but until then I’d always used gas – which I much prefer. It is top of my list of changes I would make if we ever renovate our kitchen, & now I’m wishing that it was sooner rather then later. My neighbours new range is beautiful, very shiny stainless steel,which frankly I never find to be stainless. It has a large double oven that if you open by the top handle you can only use the top third of the oven, but then if you open by the side handle you can use the whole oven. It thought this was pretty smart as I often don’t need a full oven. Then, on the front, there is a digital/computerized display with all the knobs & buttons, which is very fancy, but of course it was the burners that I was the most taken with. Gas of course, 4 main burners, 2 large, 2 small, & it even has it’s own cast iron stand for your wok! Then in the centre it has one large oval burner with a cast iron grill which can be used for searing or removed for to use you own griddle or large pan. It was rather fabulous & I must confess to being a little green with envy.

I then came home to my ‘used to be white’ regular, not very fancy stove that only my cleaner can get clean (I don’t ask how because I’m sure what she uses is illegal). I’m used to it & I’m a pretty good cook so I manage, but I do live in the hope that one day I will get to design & install my ideal kitchen… so if about a million people could buy my book that would be awesome – thanks!

Don’t tell hubby…

When 3/4 of the household are learning to play the drums why not have two kits?

Then, why not move up from the basement & have them in our newly renovated dining room?

Oh, and why not have the teacher come to us?

I secretly think it’s all kind of cool but don’t tell hubby!

While hubby’s away…

After a productive week with hubby on stay-cation we have done something I’ve been threatening to do for a while, only without his help just the boys & I – lift the carpet up in younger child’s room. Why & how the hell is what you are thinking, but I see my surgeon again on Friday & I want show her how bad I am if I just get on & do what I normally do in life. Now it’s fair to say I don’t lift bedroom carpets up every week, but if it wasn’t a bedroom carpet it would have been something else, & as my physio has always said, I was given boys for a reason. So, after discovering a little while ago that there was perfectly good wooden flooring underneath, younger child too was desperate for the ‘swamp’ coloured carpet (his description not mine) to go. Hubby was not raving about the idea (thinking of the noise more than anything), so while he was off on an epic bike ride with a friend we began decontaminating…

The wooden flooring underneath was a nice surprise when we found it, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for what else my younger child had been rolling around on for the past 4 years. Remembering that we bought the property from an 80 year old lady who’d lived there for 60 years, it is no surprise that as we’ve been working our way around the house we’ve found some interesting interior design choices. Wallpaper on the ceiling is one, but then there is wallpaper on top of wallpaper, on top of wallpaper in another room. She obviously had a thing about not removing what was there previously because when we lifted enough carpet away from the floor we found it had been fitted over another carpet. If the swamp carpet wasn’t bad enough in terms of stains & dirt, you don’t even want to know what the one underneath looked like, not to mention the offensive odour the escaped when enough of it was exposed. Why would someone do that? I can’t understand why you wouldn’t lift the old one when it is in such poor shape, and then to just put something else on top for it to fester for another few years. It was gross!!

Although hubby returned not best pleased we had taken matters into our own hands, I think he was reasonably impressed with the quality on the flooring we’d exposed – even if it does sound like we’re in a bowling alley when they play marbles, but also removing a large health hazard had to earn me Brownie points too. Of course initially elder child was adamant that his carpet was staying, but of course now he’s seen how much nicer younger brother’s room looks without his cesspit he’s now seriously considering the option. Unfortunately his Ikea furniture is significantly heavier & his room a lot smaller, I now have to somehow convince hubby to help us & who knows what treasures await us under there…

Do you ever find that…

… you don’t know what you’re looking for until you’ve found it?

Well today I found it. Since my craft room was completed in March I’ve been trying to decide what to have at the window. I don’t want drapes because they won’t fit with the room, & they will be awkward to open & close behind my big table. Blinds seem the obvious choice but the way in which the window frame is configured leaves very little to attach anything to. It is a quite a big window & at first I thought roman blind, but that would require a fairly industrial fitting for it to work properly – & as yet I have never made one. I was sure that any decent custom-made blind company would have a solution, but that’s going to cost me an arm & a leg.

In the end my BFF & I set off in search of fabric, first trying our go to place that has never disappointed yet. She was also looking for fabric for a couple of projects. We spent nearly an hour wondering around an extensive selection of patterns, colours & types but neither of us really found anything. I came away with a small amount stuff to attempt to make a small Roman blind for my boys bathroom. At some point we might have mentioned that we should go to our go-to-store for most things, but on that day decided to head to the shopping mall instead!

Then, today, we pop the roof down & enjoy the sunshine while we drove out to a place east of Vancouver. It was the first place I ever bought fabric from & continued to do so for sometime, again it always had lots of choice & was well priced. However, today we discovered that they were obviously doing very well for themselves & had gone a bit up market…

First of all we walked in to find the store was a fraction of the size it used to be & there wasn’t a roll of fabric in sight. I questioned this with the smart business suit sat behind the desk , & she informs us that you now order from the samples – we should have left then, it just screamed out expensive! So we looked anyway, but nothing had prices on them – again we knew what that meant but did it stop us? Nope, we just carried on pawing through all the beautiful fabrics until finally some decisions were made & it was time to enquire about pricing. A large book was then thumbed through to find the code of my fabric, & it turned out it was sold by the yard – which always irritates me. BFF & I work out how much I might need while the business suit thumbed through her bible of codes & announcing what a beautiful fabric I’d chosen…

Oh it was beautiful alright, $70 a yard of beautiful! I was hoping to dress a whole window for less than that. After some sideways glances & an enormous amount of tongue biting we made a sharp exit. There was no way in a million years I’m draping $300 worth of sheer fabric up at my bathroom window – this is meant to be a temporary measure until we renovate it, that price is almost a renovation in itself.

We sat back in the car with the sun beating down on us & took one look at each other knowing we were both thinking the same thing… Ikea. It’s our go place for everything basic & functional at a good price. Half an hour later we had found drapes & fabric for both our projects, & for an added bonus, a blind system that will work in my craft room. It was exactly what I didn’t know I’d been looking for. It fitted both mine & hubby’s criteria without compromising on style or function – in fact it is probably better than just an ordinary blind system. Win, win for all.

Will we learn from this & just go there first next time?

Hell no, we might miss out on something elsewhere!!