Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Doggy Photoshoot

Dogs can’t say much when you start pointing a camera in their face. Unlike people, they can’t throw their hands up in front of their face or do a silly pose that completely ruins your pretty candid shot. Dogs are silent photoshoot victims.

Also, dogs can be lured outside simply by waving their leash in their face so they think they’re getting a second long walk.

Dogs can turn their heads away. They can move too fast for your shutter speed. They can come in close for a snuggle. They can stand by the door begging to be let back inside when really, you want them out by the shed because there’s grass there and not concrete or piles of junk. 
Dogs can grin at you, even if they are annoyed by the noises your camera makes, dogs with their wet noses and their big teeth and their happy brown eyes. Dogs can be super crazy photogenic even when they don’t want to be. 

Some dogs defend themselves against the camera by moving so fast, with so much energy, you can’t get them to sit still long enough for more than one decent shot. That defense mechanism works really really well.
Especially since those dogs have also perfected the morose expression to go along with being told to sit still. 
(Also, those dogs still need a hair cut.)
(Apologies for the nothing-to-do-with-renos post. Once I get a few more pictures, there might be a kitchen update coming along. Soonish.)

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Filed under bernese mountain dog, cockapoo, dogs, Liia, Mocha, Pets

A Lesson for Every Home Renovator

This is a lesson every renovator should learn as quickly and as painlessly as possible:
Home improvement stores stop renting their vans, trucks and other means to get your large purchase home at approximately 8:00.
I repeat: after 8:00, you can’t get your large purchase home unless you’re one of those crazies who owns a large truck in the city or one of those enviable people who own a small truck in the city.
(We wish we owned a small truck. Oh, we wish…)
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how would you like to help us out a bit?
See, tonight, we did a little home improvement store hopping. It’s kind of like bar hopping but with less alcohol. We wanted to check out our vanity options at Rona and Lowes since we had been so disappointed with our options at Home Depot. And besides, I think we’ve resigned ourselves to the price tag this is going to require. When budgets stretch, options open up!
We have found two that we like. And, for a while, we were pretty certain we had decided. We even bought one. And then tried to squeeze it into the little red Ford Focus that could…n’t. No worries! The guy who got it off the shelf for us told us that if it didn’t fit into our car, we could always rent a van for 20 bucks and some mileage.
Again. Home improvement stores stop renting their vans, trucks and other means to get your large purchase home at approximately 8:00. And not all of their employees know this.

Frustrated, we brought the vanity to customer service and returned it. To raise our spirits a little, we poked around the store for another 15 minutes and somehow ended up back in the vanity aisle. We started second guessing, wondering. We each had our top choice, but liked the other’s choice enough to readily agree. Standstill. So, I turn to you, the blogosphere and all the family and friends that read this blog.
Which would you prefer?
Option #1
Option #2
With this vessel sink:
And why?

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Filed under bathroom sink, bathroom vanity, home improvement stores

This is what a kitchen looks like

This morning, I woke up with a headache. I could not bring myself to get out of bed knowing I would have to spend another day staring at a computer screen with a sinus headache and zip energy. So, I emailed in sick and slept for two more hours. Do you know how amazing an extra two hours of sleep is when you’re battling a ferocious cold?
It’s amazing.
Especially when your fur baby comes and snuggles with you and makes no end of silly little sleep noises.
I woke up still groggy and kind of crummy feeling (you know that eye burning feeling? The one you get when it’s a really late night and you’ve been concentrating on something for too long? That. All the time. I probably burn lots of calories trying to keep my eyes open. They’re that heavy.) but I’m more or less determined to not waste the whole day throwing myself a pity party.
So, really, this is just a quick post to show you exactly what an awesome kitchen looks like.
Thanks to a very good friend with a truck, we picked all of these up last night! One of my projects for tomorrow while I’m all alone is to figure out how to put one or two together. Hopefully, sometime this week, we’ll have them all in place and we’ll be able to call in some granite people.
Any recommendations for a well-priced, reliable granite company? Or should we just call up Ikea?
And now, I’m off to fold laundry. And pick up the pieces of a Poang chair Mocha chewed to bits. And try to sweep up some of the long black hairs our house guest tends to leave everywhere. And do some dishes. And mostly try to get our life back in control in general.

— Nette

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Filed under Ikea cabinets, kitchen, progress

Let’s Shut Those Curtains…

This might freak you out a bit. Might make you wonder what kind of people we actually are. You’ll probably think we’re really weird.

See.

We don’t have any curtains on our windows.

Not even a sheet.

Or a blind.

On any of them.

Are you weirded out yet?

While we were doing the majority of our demoing and such, I hung a sheet kind of haphazardly over the big picture window in the front of the house. I didn’t really want any of our neighbours to get too curious. They were already plenty curious enough, considering the house stood vacant for a year. But then it fell down and I just didn’t bother hanging it back up. We were mostly finished with all the big stuff, and besides, we weren’t living upstairs yet. Not that we’d hung curtains in the basement… we shoved a couple old pillows into the window well of our bedroom and called it a day. With so much to do, curtains came really really low on the priority scale.

But guess what? I have a weekend coming up with nothing to do. The Husband is golfing (in a tournament he totally cleaned up at last year. I’m hoping for another gift card to Milestones this year!) and I’m not so confident in my ability to put together a kitchen all by myself, even if that kitchen happens to come from Ikea and is supposed to be the easiest things to put together ever.

But, I can make curtains! (Actually, I’ve never made curtains before, but I’m pretty confident that they’re easier than, say, that cute purple skirt I made from a pattern from the 80s.) So, last night, while the Husband was playing hockey (is there a trend going on here? Since when did the Husband get so involved in extracurriculars?), I rode 4 extra subway stations and walked 10 minutes to find the most easily accessible fabric store I could.

I was looking for a fabric that would give me curtains something like these:

I wanted a pattern with some colour, a little bit of boldness. Also, um. Cheap.

Half an hour later, I left empty handed and disappointed. Every time I go into a fabric store, I am reminded again how expensive fabric is. At 9.99 a yard, a single panel of a curtain set would come to at least $30! I knew I could buy curtains for cheaper than that.

So, today, I did some research, confirmed my suspicions that making my own curtains was not going to be worth it, and then changed my mind again when I discovered the Ikea fabric section on their webpage. Um, yes!

Or these.

I don’t really want to be an Ikea supporter… they’re a big, evil box store. And I know they make you look like you have no creativity or imagination. But what am I supposed to do when I don’t like anything found at my local mom’n’pop store, regardless of price?

If there’s time, I’ll pick up a couple lengths of one of these tonight when we pick up our kitchen cabinets and hopefully, by Saturday night, we’ll finally have a little privacy!

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Filed under curtains, windows

Ssshhhh….

We’re having some quiet time here at the dusty house. It’s my fault. I went away for a sleepless weekend with 900 kids, some good speakers, and some amazing praise and worship. I came back with a squeeze-your-throat-and-rip-your-nose-off kind of cold, had a terrible Tuesday morning and reluctantly missed a consistory meeting Tuesday night so I could stay on the couch and feel my head balloon and detach itself from my body.

Ok, not really, but I feel pretty terrible.

Which means I haven’t written here since last Thursday. Which feels like a long time for this blog.

When I came back Monday afternoon the house was quiet. The Husband was out playing golf with a friend, so I had a chance to walk through our bare living room/kitchen, into the bathroom, and check out the changes without knowing much about how the weekend went.

The changes were little, but important. The toilet was installed (more on that later). The shower fixtures were added to our beautifully tiled shower. A shower curtain hung from a rather attractive curtain rod, almost completing the bathroom. The baseboard ran along the bottom of our walls, everywhere except where the kitchen cabinets and vanity will be installed.

Will be installed? Yeah. We don’t have a finished bathroom yet. See, while I was hanging out and having fun on Saturday, the Husband was at Ikea trying to find this bedside table:

The plan was to add a vessel sink, drill some holes for plumbing, and, voila. Unique vanity. That is, if they could find it. And if it wasn’t grey. Does anyone else think the image looks black? That’s what I thought too. Apparently, it’s actually grey. Grey, grey, grey. Also, they couldn’t find it. They could find it’s big sisters and it’s little brothers. Just not that one.

The Husband and his helpful friend left, frustrated, with two hot dogs and a drink.

Now, we’re not sure what to do. Home Depot doesn’t have any vanities that I actually like until you get into the $600-1000 range, especially with our depth limitation. We don’t really want to spend that much. And I have no idea where else to look. Rona, Lowes? Won’t they just have the same stuff?

Perhaps we’ll just throw a big laundry tub in there and call it a day.

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Filed under bathroom vanity, frustrations, progress

Now Is The Time

This weekend is special. I hope it pushes, stretches me. I pray that it’s hard, that it’s rich, that it’s full to overflowing. I know it’s going to be just a little weird.

At 5:30, I’ll be picking up three kids from the youth group* and driving them to the small city down the road to attend a youth convention with approximately 800 kids. I used to go to this convention as teenager myself. I loved it, looked forward to it every year knowing that I would come home re-energized (if sleep deprived) and quieted, spiritually.

These times were my favourite:

In a crowd of people all raising their hands to worship, I found the comfort to open up my heart to a mysterious God. I learned to move with His presence and breath the praise pouring out all around me.

Of course, it never lasts. A week, maybe two weeks, and the mundane takes over and pulls you down from the spiritual high. Is the weekend of emotions and hard thinking worth it? It’s a controversial question, but for me, I think I know the answer. It is there I learned the motions, there I learned the feeling of the depth of my soul in communion. You don’t forget that feeling. Over time, I have had to learn a different style of worship, a style of worship that will access that depth without the flashing lights, without the raised hands, without the empathy pouring out of the crowd around me. I fully believe that that learning was made possible by the initial experience. Absolutely, those weekends were worth it.

But this weekend is going to be different. I’m not going as a high school student. I’m going as an adult. I’m not going as a conventioneer. I’m going as a leader. I’m not going with the primary goal of being moved, but with the primary goal of being a part of that moving. It’s going to be different. I fully expect I may struggle to embrace that new role, struggle to find a balance between personal communion and mentoring. I pray that I will be able to make a difference to just one young person, that I will be able to help to plaster this weekend into just one mind so that it will be a weekend they never forget in the same way that I have never forgotten them myself.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.

Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96 : 8-9

* I never announced it, because life was really busy when the announcement was made from the pulpit, but, here’s a new bit of news! As of May 1st, I took over as the part-time youth leader to a great group of kids at the church we have been attending. This role is new and exciting and important and huge and just a little overwhelming. If you’re a praying type, please keep me and all these kids in your prayers as we transition and as we find an identity for this small group of kids.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Coffee Keeps Me Going

Especially half-and-half with a dollop of golden curls.

Oh, you thought I was actually talking about coffee? The beverage?

The weekend we got Mocha, we took her to a family camp out and introduced her to one half of the Husband’s large family. On the 2 hour drive up, we searched for a name, suggesting one imperfect name after another. Duchess, Cinnamon, Tulip. The Husband’s request for short, one syllable names directly conflicted with my desire for a longer name that would just slide off your tongue. Each time we came up with something, we turned to the puppy sleeping on the mound of bedding on the back seat, considered for a moment, and kept looking.
By the second day of the weekend, it had become a bit of joke — the unnamed, adorable puppy. A few people suggested a naming contest, and many threw our their own suggestions. I’m not sure who suggested ‘Mocha’ but, by the last day of the weekend, I knew it had stuck. 
She’s not the most well-behaved dog — I wasn’t joking in my comment at the end of my last post! She has eaten my wedding shoes. — but she’s our dog and we love her as much as we can love an animal. How can you resist that wiggly bum that just goes crazy the minute you step in the door? Or the way she snuggles against our feet at night and chews quietly on a bone? Or rolls right over for a good belly scratching whenever she thinks you might be in the snuggly sort of mood?
Yup. She’s awesome.
(If you can’t tell, she desperately needs a hair cut.) 

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Filed under cockapoo, Mocha, Pets

Tea Is Like A Snuggle

You’ve seen a wiggly bum and some super clean whiskers on this blog already, but I haven’t done a particularly good job introducing you to all our precious pets. Since we love them just a little less than we’re likely to love our future children, I definitely believe it’s time to rectify the lack of snuggles.

Meet Pekoe:

Pekoe has been with me forever, much longer than the Husband. He was the boy who made it complicated every time I needed to find a new place to live as a university student. But I never cared because he was also the boy who was always there, pulling me through rough semesters, comforting me through rough break-ups, loyally licking my nose through rough roommate situations. 
He’s moved from house, to apartment, to apartment, to apartment, to house, to apartment, and finally, back again. He’s a trooper. Never seems to have any issues adapting. One semester, he even essentially lived in one room with me, an uncomfortable semester in which I lived with an older woman who had a toothless cat that ruled the rest of the apartment.  
Never again will I do that to my Pekoe.
Now, he loves our new house. He’s a wanderer by heart. It took him a few days of twitching his nose at the sunlight in our backyard, but now he’s taken to spending hours, even nights, out there, coming back to eat and snuggle and sleep. He’s happy when he can get the best of all worlds. 
Pekoe is six this year. Six! And oh, so sophisticated and stand-offish until you lift the duvet just enough for him to crawl under and curl into a ball to purr against your stomach. The Husband thinks he looks mad all the time, but I know the truth: he’s just waiting for you to scoop him up to snuggle so he can lick you with his rough, sandpaper tongue.
Coming soon: the one you’ve already met; the only thing that could eat my wedding shoes and still have my love and affection!

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Filed under cats, Pekoe, Pets

Progress Update

We didn’t get nearly as far as I would have liked this weekend. I’ve learned something about myself in the process of this project: I am very good at setting unrealistic goals for myself and other people.

It had been my hope that, by the end of this weekend, we would have a functioning main bathroom. That meant painting the ceiling, the trim, and the wall, twice each. It also meant buying our vanity and sink, painting the vanity, fixing up the plumping and installing it and the toilet. Oh, how I wanted that ‘Voila’ moment, when I could step back to survey our handiwork and pretend the whole project had been so easy.

In the main room, it had been the Husband’s hope that he would have the ceiling and trim finished and at least the first coat of our colours on the walls. At 3 in the afternoon, he stood back and surveyed the ceiling paint. It didn’t take long to realize that the damp weather was going to slow us down.

None of our plans found fruition. By the end of Saturday, the ceiling of the bathroom had been painted, but needed a third coat, at least around the edges of the tub ceiling where the durock shimmered through the white just slightly. The bathroom walls needed a second coat. There was no vanity — not even in our possession — and our toilet remained in its box. In the living room/kitchen, the humidity hung heavy and our walls remained white.

Did I mention that we don’t work much on the house on Sundays? Especially Sundays that we spend with the youth group of our church?

Our drop clothes remain on the floor, carefully protecting out beautiful bamboo floors, so I was surprised when the Husband, after finishing another coat on all the ceilings and trim last night, announced, “You know, we could be done upstairs in two weeks.”

Really? Two weeks? The place still feels so under construction. It’s hard to imagine it being finished, let alone so soon. Is this yet another of our unrealistic deadlines?

Perhaps, but consider this: if we finished painting this weekend, I can take off for the weekend with the youth group to the annual convention and leave the Husband behind to install the toilet and get the vanity in place. I will come home to a finished bathroom and a painted living room/kitchen. Then, the following week, we can pick up and get going at assembling our cabinets. By the end of the next week, we can hang them, move our living room furniture up and bring in the people to measure for our countertops.

I know… there’s no way it could realistically be completely finished in two weeks. After all, don’t granite counter tops take at least that long from ordering to installation? But the fact that we’re reaching a point in which our role, our labour, is diminished and our credit card’s role increases? It’s kind of exciting! 
(Maybe not the credit card thing so much…)

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Filed under painting, progress

The Radiator, Complete!

You might remember, though you can’t go back to confirm since Blogger conveniently never brought back my post in its entirety after it’s fit last week, I posted a mysterious picture of a radiator shrouded in old sheets and cardboard. A photo something like this one:

The photo wasn’t particularly mysterious, I know. I’m sure you all knew what I was doing. Because seriously? That radiator needed some help. And not just a little bit. Not just a good scrub. Not even a good sanding was enough. Consider, especially, the fact that the rad had been flipped in order to be installed in this particular location. And trust me: no one has hands small enough to paint the back of a radiator when it’s installed against a wall. 
While the Husband played hockey, I put my paintin’ pants on and shook up a can of Ivory Rustoleum. Two minutes later I was running through the house opening every single window on the first floor, coughing the paint fumes out of my lungs. I had quickly learned the reason the can specifically insists on using the stuff in a well ventilated area. The bathroom fan did not equal ventilation.
I know, I know. I should have had a mask. Some of you, my more cautious readers, would insist I should have a respirator. Give me a break — I’m completely new to spray painting! Instead of giving up and rushing out to buy some kind of lung protection, I fell into a pattern of gulping air, ducking into the bathroom, spraying, breathing shallowly, leaning out of the bathroom, gulping air, repeat. The task that was supposed to take me 20 minutes turned into an hour. And then I ran out of spray paint.
I finished up Saturday morning and finally took down the drop clothes. The difference is astounding.
Crisp, clean, white.
(No, the speckles along the wall are not spray paint on our brand new tile. Just drywall dust left behind by the Husband’s sanding.)
A vast improvement, though I’m the first to admit that anything would have been an improvement. Finally, time to get some paint on the walls!

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Filed under painted radiator, radiator, spray paint