Archive for the ‘home renovations’ Category

Our life is like drywall dust….you never know where we’re going to land   5 comments

IMG_0456A year ago today…my life was unfolding nicely. We had just finished our latest home improvement project/necessary repair of damage caused by a huge bathroom flood, and we were enjoying a much needed time out from the gang at Home Depot. Lovely people, helpful, super styling in their orange aprons; but sometimes you just have to widen your social circle to include those who don’t know the intimate details of every structural failure your home has ever bestowed upon you. It was also nice to have some disposable income again for those little extras like food and name brand toilet paper.

Did I mention we completely renovated our entire house top to bottom? I didn’t? Well let’s back this story up to the beginning of the end. ( if you chose to…now would be a good time to bask in the excitement of my flawless foreshadowing) take as long as you like. The story will continue as soon as your finished.

And for those of you just rejoining us …back to the story …or as like to call it the Reno to end all others.

It all began one morning in late August. I was headed downstairs to do laundry when I felt a drop of water land on my head. I looked up and to my horror saw that the ceiling light was filled with water and once again I knew that our house was giving us the middle finger.

The leak was coming from the ensuite. So the demo began. However, once we changed the tiles, tub, toilet, vanity and re-painted the bathroom the rest of the house didn’t quite match up. So logically we decided to rip up the rest of the flooring and replace it too. And as anyone knows if you’re replacing the floors it’s a perfect time to paint and install wainscotting …so of course we did. This was turning into a real life “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation..

Once we had finished the painting, the light fixtures looked tired so we replaced the lot, and after we shed the new light on the old kitchen cupboards well you know they had to go too. Going without an en suite for 6 months meant I had spent a lot more time in the main bathroom and it inspired me to change out the vanity and toilet in both the remaining bathrooms. I felt there should be a cohesive flow to the house and they were really the only rooms that had remained unchanged and It seemed cruel to leave them out.

Spoiler alert.. we went with the low flow push button flush option on the toilet, I thought it would get the kids excited about flushing again….it did not.

Side note. If you ever decide to change out the flooring of your house and have pets and reside with numerous people who are incapable of removing footwear or carrying a beverage without splashing it all about like a drunken cave person, you must avoid purchasing and installing black tile. It was a beautiful lesson in buyers remorse if ever I’ve lived one and I have lived a few of those in my time. But glass half full gal that I am, I managed to push through with a tiny tweak to my medication and a slightly lower bulb wattage. Sometimes the dark is the least scariest place to be.

So after all that fuss we were suddenly project-less. Having nothing on our home improvement “to do” list was something we had only ever dreamed about, an impossible goal like me finally losing the baby weight or my husband cooking an edible meal. It was our Mount Everest and we had made it to the top; and much like Everest the view from there was spectacular (minus the black tile floors of course) and for 5 maybe 10 days we were content.

You see, the thing about achieving the impossible that people never talk about is that once you’ve done it, and the dust settles ( literally…because dry wall dust can linger like a chilli fart in a hot car mid July…true story) you find yourself in a sort of anti climactic state. The day to day moan and groan of the project is suddenly over and you’ve got nothing but free time.

So we decided to travel. We went to Victoria, Cabo San Lucas ( where we got a little drunk and bought a time share…another story for another day) and finally we took a cruise from New York City up through Atlantic Canada.

And that’s when it happened; when everything changed. Caution met wind and said “what the hell” and reason and logic decided to pack their bags call the movers and change time zones. We had an epiphany and it’s name was Cape Breton Nova Scotia. One minute we’re floating on the Atlantic eating at a lacklustre buffet and the next we are moving clear across Canada a mere 6,020 km from home.

Most people thought we had lost our minds, some people even speculated we had been entered the witness protection program. The truth is we’d found a new mountain top to climb.(not literally…I have a fear of heights and feel strongly that ascending mountains that require an oxygen tank and changes to my life insurance disclosure form are going to remain forever on my “never gonna happen” bucket list)

I guess for us life is supposed to be an adventure. Never dull never boring. And in keeping with that theme….I’ve saved the best for last..

We bought our new house on line sight unseen. Super exciting ( she wrote with a thick note of sarcasm) We Skyped the house inspection and our internet connection was spotty at best. Hind sight being 20/20 I would probably remember to not do that again because apparently during one of the spotty bits we missed the part that discussed the significant furnace and plumbing issues.

So as you can imagine, It’s been a roller coaster ride from the get go. So many stories. Like the one about the the septic system backing up into the basement 2 days after we moved in. Or the one where we left our milk out of the fridge over night and it was frozen like a slushy in the morning due to the furnace not being hugely functional.

Our beautiful new home is 125 years old and leaks like a broken sieve. It might try and break us but we will not falter. And while it’s true we may just have met our white whale, only time and me will tell that story, for now we ( and when I say “we” I am referring to my husband) will strap on our tool belts and charge up our power tools. We have preferred parking at homedepot and a new credit limit is being discussed. Let the adventures begin!

Babysitting Chaos   3 comments

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So we finally finished the house. Yeah us!,

 

We got it just the way we always dreamed it could be…it was perfect. Well…apart from the black tile floors.

 

Don’t get me wrong they were stunning…I first met them in the dust free, pet free, humans having a life free …showroom of our local flooring store. I fell in love..so elegant..so rich looking…I just had to have them…..I imagined the statement they would make when I moved them into my home…how they would majestically redefine the hallways, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the family room, laundry room and the staircase…in that moment I felt as though nothing would ever feel so right.
And then the man came and laid my beautiful treasured tile…and in an instant I knew nothing would ever be right again.

 

 

They were a mistake…huge mistake…a huge soul sucking mistake…Did you know that black tile floors expose every single fleck of dirt, dust and hair and magnify them to the power of infinity? I had to up my OCD medication just so I didn’t stand in the corner all day wielding a Swiffer wet jet like lady Macbeth…screaming “Out, damned spot.” It was a thing…I got help…it didn’t help…so we put the house up for sale.

 

 

Yes, you heard me….we decided to move…

 

 

No, not just because of the tile…I mean obviously….we’re not that obsessive….however if questioned in a court of law….I would be unable to deny ….under oath…that it was not not a contributing factor.

 
The truth is we went on a cruise and one of the places we visited was Nova Scotia and we fell in love. Not like the “black tile” love…that ended in betrayal and sadness…but real life affirming this feels like home…love. We jokingly said if there was ever a job opportunity there we would seriously consider moving.

 

 

Never joke…true story…you’re welcome.

 
Now, I’m pretty convinced the Universe eavesdrops on my off the cuff remarks like an ambulance chasing lawyer desperate to have some relevant skin in the game. I could be wrong…but just one week later, we were staring at a job offer that was too good to turn down…and 2 weeks after that we were sitting at our dining room table talking to a realtor about home cost evaluations and curb appeal.

 

 

And just one short month later …contracts were signed, our house was sold and the movers were booked. It was November 25th and in a mere 5 days we would be leaving beautiful British Columbia to start our new adventure in Sydney Nova Scotia.

 

 

You’d think the story would just end there, wouldn’t you? Probably for most people it would. But our family’s freak flag flies torn and tattered and at half mast at least fifty percent of the time so this story is not quite over yet.

 
You see we operate under the assumption that Irony and Bad Luck had a love child (Chaos- its Christian name) and when they want a night off….they leave Chaos at our house for safe keeping.
I remember it as though it were yesterday…it was Friday night and I was watching the news and a story came on about a massive flood in our almost new town of Sydney. I remember thinking it was very sad.

 

 

Now at that time I did not know I was babysitting Chaos….they truly are the worst parents….they never call ahead and make sure I’m free….they just drop him off and run…usually I don’t even know he’s there until it’s too late…and yes I have tried calling child protective services…but the last time I did they just opened a file on me….which I thought was very rude and completely unsupportive.

 

 

Anyway that night as we slept…blissfully unaware that Chaos was in our charge….our dishwasher sprung a leak and by morning our ceiling was buckling and we had 3 inches of water in our basement. It seemed that Chaos wasn’t very sleepy that night so he decided to entertain himself by making our home into a rather sad little water park.

 

We were to close on the sale of our house 6 days later.

 

 

The good news is it all worked out. Not without a modicum of trouble and strife but all things being what they are…for us…business as usual.

 

 

The bad news…It’s the end of this chapter…but don’t worry…I haven’t even got to the good part…so stay tuned…

In for a penny…. In for a pound.   32 comments

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Have you ever had an Oprah-esque (not sure that is a word….yet) moment when you can no longer reconcile your version of the truth with the cold hard slap in the face real life reflects back at you? It’s like waking up and realizing it is still Monday.

There you are just living your life and out of nowhere some sort of cosmic epiphany downloads to your brain which forces you to face or accept some new fact or reality. To which I always say, “Thank you real life for interrupting my regularly programmed and most enjoyable sense of contentment.”

I just would prefer to live in a softly lit bubble of fictional reality. Who wouldn’t? Truth for the most part is highly over-rated.

Sadly today, that bubble burst along with a pipe in our bathroom.

Yes folks, my home’s terrorist assault has continued and it has now begun to water board us; and by water boarding I mean rotting out my floor boards with a leaking pipe in our shower. The good news is we were able to discover the problem early when some dingy water drizzled on a friend of ours who had stopped by for a visit.

If I wasn’t before, I am now completely convinced our house is trying to break us or at the very least evict us. If my house was an animal I am certain I’d be advised to have it put down. I may have said that out loud last night…..do you think I caused this?

Regardless of who or what is responsible, we are now facing a demo and a rebuild. We considered hiring a professional to do the work, and then we just laughed and said why pay someone to do something that we can so effortlessly do ourselves? I mean how hard can it be? Some new pipe and a bit of soldering and Bob’s your uncle. Realistically, we should be able to knock this off in a day or two and be living the life of non-leakage in no time.

Now I know what you’re thinking, statistically speaking we haven’t had the best track record on home improvement projects; but practice makes perfect right? And we rarely make the same mistake three times. We make similar mistakes a lot but not the exact same ones, because that would make us complete idiots. I feel really good about this.

These are the things I’m telling myself to try and ward off the mother of all panic attack I sense is about to envelop me.

On a positive note we have decided to totally change the design of the bathroom. It was entirely too small; not even enough room to swing a cat. Not that I would, or have ever, swung a cat. (Please no letters). However, for arguments sake, I would assume that if ever the need did arise (to swing a cat) I would be unable to do so.

The new design will require us to bang out a couple of walls and re-plumb a few things….no big deal… just the toilet, sink and shower. This of course might add a day or two to the projected completion date but you know us… in for a penny, in for a pound.

Death of a Dishwasher   39 comments

Recently, my dishwasher passed away. We held a small funeral; immediate family members only. It was a sad day, but as I’m not one to dwell, I put on my big girl pants and started shopping for a replacement. Sounds callous, I know, but I think wherever old Dishy Mcdisherson is, she understands.

It didn’t take long to find the “one”. She was perfect. Gleaming stainless steel with a heavy load capacity. She even had a food disposer, which is great for us because my children think pre-scraping is something that happens right before they start a fight with one another.

I was in love, or at the very least, willing to stop seeing other dishwashers.

I purchased her and brought her to her new forever home. Weird how I refer to her as a her . . . Perhaps because doing the dishes is a woman’s job . . . Said no woman ever. I just put that in there to see if you were paying attention.

Anyhow, back to my story.

I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to have her moved in so she could begin making my dishes sparkle and my silverware shine. I called my husband and told him to strap on his work belt, charge up his power tools and channel his inner handyman.

When I arrived home my hubby and I brought her in and carefully carried her up the stairs and into our kitchen. I should qualify the word “carefully”. We may have hit a wall or two on the way up, which will probably require a smidge or so of dry wall repair and a dab of paint but luckily, she came through unscathed.

At that point, feeling I had done my part, I left to share the big news with my Facebook friends. Just as I was about to send my exciting status update, however, I heard my husband express himself in the most colourful way. Judging by his tone and his preference for words that rhyme “truck “and “spit”, I immediately knew that something was amiss.

I called out, asked him what was the matter. He then said three words to me that I will never forget.

“It doesn’t fit.” Just like me in high school, she was too tall.

I couldn’t believe it. How was this possible? I had done all the research, asked all the right questions. I had even stared into the salesman’s eyes and asked him “is that your best price?” This situation was unacceptable. I told my husband to take the wheels off and any other non-essential parts; make it fit. Sadly, he had already thought of that.

So I walked away. I needed time to think and my husband was starting to become poor company to be around. It wasn’t five minutes later that I heard the sound. It didn’t make sense at first; it was just this loud buzzing and grinding noise.

I followed the sound into the kitchen and it was there I found the source. My husband was wielding a jigsaw like Jason from Friday the 13th, minus the hockey mask. It seemed that he had concluded, in his infinite wisdom, to cut our kitchen counter in half and slide her into place. When I asked him how he had come to this decision he said “it didn’t fit…so I made it fit.” While I did argue the method I really couldn’t fight the simplicity of his logic.

So what began as an innocent quest for cleaner dishes ended up as a rather extensive and expensive kitchen renovation.

You might be wondering what the moral of this story is, and that, my friends, is surprisingly simple.

Measure twice ….cut NEVER!!!

 

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