Sunday, July 30, 2006

We're Home

After 24 nights away from home, we finally slept in our own beds last night. Our house is dusty, messy, disorganized, and completely impractical to live in, but I don’t care. There really is no place like home. I was hoping to clean and organize everything, but that proved to be too lofty a goal. The kitchen and basement bathroom are reasonably clean and functional, so that’s good enough for now.

We’re all happy to be back home, but the sleeping arrangements are a problem once again. Neve really needs her own room. I can’t even put her back in the bathroom because it’s our only one. I was thinking of the storage room, but the workers are always going in there to deal with the electrical panel. Last night she was fast asleep when I put the other kids to bed, but after a few minutes, Spencer comes up and says, “MOM! For no reason - FOR NO REASON! – Neve just suddenly stood up and I couldn’t help it but I started laughing and now she’s wide awake.” I sent him back down with strict instructions to ignore her, and I guess it must have all worked out because suddenly it was 7:00 a.m. Sleeping complications aside, I just can’t imagine being here all day with the kids. They really can’t play outside in our war-torn backyard, especially when the workers are here. Spencer has been busy digging a hole in the backyard (in the grass under the staircase). He’s out there with his toy tool goggles and his shovel every chance he gets. This hole is becoming quite large and he feels quite strongly about it. And Chloe has been bringing huge sheets of OSB into the house to use for crafts. So I’ve decided to bring them to my parents for a few days. It will also give me a chance to clean some more and go shopping for light fixtures and stuff. And maybe sneak in a massage and pedicure (okay I admit it – that’s the real reason).

Dale decided to shingle the garage roof this weekend. It’s been on the to-do list for a few years, so he decided to do it while we still had a dumpster to throw the old shingles into. And what better day to be on a roof working with black shingles with the temperature at 40 C with the humidity. It took longer than he thought it would, but fortunately my parents came yesterday and my dad helped a lot. Dale finished up today, so now we have a nice new garage roof to match our nice new house roof. The bad part about our house roof is that no one can see the shingles because of the way our roofline goes. Hopefully the airplanes that fly overhead will appreciate it. Dale is very sore and tired tonight; I wonder how he’ll feel in the morning. At least he can rest his weary bones in our own bed tonight.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Front Door Photo

I guess I could have moved the ladder before taking the picture.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


This week hasn’t been the best so far. Things are still happening, but there seem to be lots of delays and waiting.

All the windows are in, except for one that we added as an afterthought. It was supposed to arrive this week, but now they’re saying August 4th. We’re also waiting for the shower base we ordered, so that the plumber can rough that in (which will also cover the hole to the basement bathroom).

We still haven’t ordered the shower doors for the main floor bathroom because we can’t find the ones we want. Home Depot has them on display, but we can’t order them because they don’t carry them anymore. They are still on display for the sole purpose of annoying customers that want to order them. We were told Rona carries them, but they are too lazy to check their catalogue. Windsor Plywood has them, but at double Home Depot’s price (but of course Home Depot could post any price they want, because they’re not available anyway). We haven’t seen any other doors that we like as much, so we might end up ordering them from Windsor Plywood.

Another incident this week was one of the workers set off the house alarm and didn’t know the password that the alarm company needs, so the guard service had to come check it out. They charged us $65, but I guess I can’t complain when it’s the same worker who is saving us a ton of money by doing all the electrical work.

Jim took our new front door to his house to paint on the weekend, and on Monday morning I get a call from Clay. I asked how things were going, and he said “could be better. Your front door….” and his voice trailed off. I suddenly realized I forgot to tell him it was at Jim’s, so he was very relieved to find out it wasn’t stolen. The door’s now painted (a deep red) and was installed today and it looks great. I was trying to post a photo but it wasn't working, so I'll try later. But I think it's beautiful and just seeing it in place has lifted my spirits and made the frustrations of the week fade away...

Here's a photo of the family in Rona. Not only were we crazy enough to go to the new Rona on the day of its grand opening, we were even crazier to allow the kids to ride around in this car cart. The store was so crowded and what fun it was to push around a cart the size of our van. The real reason I took this photo was to show Dale in the background (look closely) talking to not one, but TWO Rona employees. Can you believe it? Unfortunately neither of them knew anything about anything, so it was kind of useless. But still worth a picture.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Big Long Rambling Update

What a gorgeous summer we’ve been having!! Who wouldn’t want to live here (Siobhan)?? Every day is perfect. Today we spent the afternoon at Rob & Gabrielle’s pool. It was the best thing ever. Of course it would have been even better if Rob & Gab had been home, but still. We’re planning to go back again tomorrow (thanks guys!).

As I floated around the pool, I was thinking about how nice it was that the workers were working on our house while we played. It would suck to be a do-it-yourselfer. The plumber, the electrician, Clay and one of his workers were all working today. We stopped by the house in the morning to answer some of the electrician’s questions. The electrician that’s doing the work is a guy that the temp agency sent for miscellaneous work, who just happened to be an electrician. So Clay asked him to do all the electrical, and he’s awesome. He is familiar with the electrical codes and everything. He was telling me about a major addition he built onto his house years ago and I was wondering how a guy goes from being an electrician with a big house and family, to a guy who now lives by himself in an apartment, works for a temp agency and doesn’t have a car. The alcohol on his breath at 10:00 a.m. perhaps sheds some light on it, but maybe that’s as a result of his current situation and not the cause. Anyway, he brought us this enormous light fixture today that he was quite pleased about. He had gotten it from a house in Tuxedo (I didn’t ask any questions about that), and he said it was a $300 fixture, but we could buy it for $40. It’s actually quite nice, probably not something I would have chosen, but the picture in my mind of him transporting this huge fixture on the bus, from the Redwood Bridge area to our house – the bus connections are probably dodgy at best, never mind with a Saturday morning bus schedule – was enough to convince me to take it. At least there’ll be a story behind it.

One more exciting development today – we now have a sink (with running water) in our basement bathroom. 7 ½ years ago, when we bought the house, I was appalled to see there was no sink in the bathroom basement. The plumbing for it was all roughed in, and I wondered what kind of uncivilized person wouldn’t just pop in a sink. Funny how you get used to something. But we’ve turned the corner and instead of having only one fully functioning bathroom, by the end of this renovation, we’ll have three. One per female in the family. The males can go in the bush.

We got a lot accomplished earlier this week when the kids were at my parents. We bought all the bedroom, bathroom, and closet doors and doorknobs, the door handle/lock set for the front door, and the countertop for the upstairs vanity. We have a few things that we need to buy tomorrow – bathroom fans, light switches, plug-ins, and a hard-wired smoke detector. We also need to pick out our light fixtures soon.

As I suspected, things were just not quite at the moving-home point yet, so we moved back to Dale’s mom’s today. The kids are very comfortable here and we’ve got the house to ourselves for a week. After that I vow, come hell or high water or workmen watching us in the bathroom, we are moving back to Lindsay Street. The children have been such troopers (apart from the odd meltdown) but they must feel like they are being shuffled around like a deck of cards. I sometimes wonder what Neve is thinking in her little head. When she wakes up in her playpen in a strange room, does she wonder where she is? Probably she just thinks. “Hmmm. I don’t know where I am but I wonder what trouble I can get into today. Maybe I’ll bite my brother again. I made such nice teeth marks on his wrist yesterday. Now I’m going to stand up and cry so someone will pick me up. Will it be the grumpy lady who lies down on the couch while I play around or the man who smiles at me and takes me for a walk?”

We had a nice time staying at Jim & Sabrina’s. Spencer (and Dale) loved watching the big TV (although he (Spencer) was banned from watching it a couple of days as punishment for an assortment of naughty behaviour), Chloe loved the basketball hoop, and Neve loved the cats. The cats didn’t feel the same way about her, but they were admirably tolerant and learned to run away quickly when they saw her toddling towards them.

One more week until I can sleep in my own bed – I think I can, I think I can.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Just a quick update before we head to the beach for the afternoon...

The soffits and fascia are up, the plumbing is mostly roughed in, and the electrician is starting the wiring today. Clay was hoping to put in some windows today, but more likely they'll be put in on Monday. They're also working on the main floor bathroom today, drywalling over where the hall closet used to be. We ordered a sink, faucet and shower base for the main floor bathroom, which should be in sometime next week. Next week they're hoping to drywall upstairs. Henry, the finishing guy is scheduled to come on August 7th and is estimating he'll be here 2 weeks. So that brings the completion date to the middle/end of August.

I was really hoping to move back to our house this weekend, but I don't think that's going to happen. It's noisy and messy and the kids are in the way. Or the workers are in our way, depending how you look at it. Even though the basement bathroom is functioning, you can see right down into it from the main floor bathroom. That's not exactly conducive to relaxing bathroom time. So we'll probably go to Dale's mom's for a week (she's going to Banff with Dale's sister), and then move back here the following weekend. I can't wait to be home again....

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Work is progressing well, which gives us a glimmer of hope that we may someday be able to live in our own home again. We've been lucky to have good places to stay, but we are very ready to live normally again. We are all running out of steam. I daydream about putting the children to sleep in their own beds/crib in their own rooms and not living out of a suitcase and not going to Home Depot every single day. Just a word about Home Depot. I hate that store. Finding an employee to help is almost impossible. They must have some secret little room to hide in to avoid customers. When you actually find someone, they are not happy about it. One miserable worker told me in the most irritated way "I was supposed to go for lunch half an hour ago." I really hate that store. And Rona is no better.

But on a more positive note, we have running water again. The plumber's been here the last couple of days, and today (yes, he even works Sundays) he turned on the water. So that's a big step towards moving back home. Everything's still dusty and messy, but we'll see how things are towards the end of the week.

The interior walls are all framed upstairs. It's very cool to be able to see the size and layout of the rooms. We bought a vanity, which Dale is currently assembling. I'm a little skeptical about the quality of this vanity, but the 16-year-old "associate" we found in a closet at Home Depot said it was sturdy, so I'm sure it's all good.

Here's Neve at Jim & Sabrina's (where we're staying this week). She stands on the coffee table every chance she gets. She's fallen off and banged her head, but that hasn't deterred her at all. Check out the TV and movie library - maybe we won't be in a hurry to move back home...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nice New Bathtub

It’s been almost a week since the last update, so I’ll try and get you up to date on what’s happening. Starting from the top down, the roof is completely on except for the shingles which are sitting in the back lane. There’s tar paper on the roof, which is keeping water out until the shingles are put on Monday. The windows are all framed in, and so is the bathroom. The tub unit is in place and looks good. I am so excited for the children to be able to take a bath without being horrified by the disgusting condition of the tub. I can hardly believe I bathed my babies in that tub. But that’s all behind us now and I’m going to try and focus on the future. Moving down to the main floor, the bathtub has been removed so the bathroom is completely empty. It’s ready for the plumber, who is supposed to be coming any day now. The entrance is all framed up with the roof and everything. I’m very happy with the size of it. Oh yeah, moving back up to the top of the house, our chimney had to be made 3 feet higher because our roof is now higher. Two ancient guys came to do it – the young one was probably 75. For real. They each came in their own vans, which had signs with their company name duct-taped onto the side. I watched one of them climb way up to the top of the chimney on his shaky ladder, set up on the wet, slippery deck. I decided I didn’t want to witness a bloody death, so I left. On the subject of workers, I was right about prison time. One of the guys from the temp agency told Clay he had been in Stony Mountain for manslaughter. He said it was an accident. Apparently there was an awkward silence at the end of that conservation. Everyone was very polite to him after that.

It’s too dark to take any meaningful photos right now, so here's one from last Friday. I'll get some more recent ones up soon. And FYI, anonymous Commenter - that was not Dale with his shirt off. He's much more modest (and he's not aboriginal). Actually he just doesn't want everyone to see his Celine Dion tattoo.

We had a great time at Bob & Janet’s cabin. I was stressed out when I got there and totally relaxed when I left. The weather was gorgeous, so we swam and I read a whole book and magazines and played Boggle and read to the kids. Dale’s sister Jean arrived from Florida with her daughters yesterday, so we saw them last night and stayed at Dale’s mom’s for night. This morning, Dale & I went to Home Depot to choose some bathroom fixtures for our main floor bathroom. Then we moved our stuff over to Jim & Sabrina’s (brother & sister in law) this afternoon. Tonight I played my first soccer game and I’m hurting. I have no idea how I’m going to get off this chair. But I have to – it’s almost 11:30 p.m. and Spencer is here at the house with me and I must go back to J & S’s and get that boy to bed.

Friday, July 07, 2006


This is the house on Wednesday.

Here's Dale putting in his sweat equity.

Our House's Identity Crisis

Our house was a one and a half storey on Tuesday, a bungalow on Wednesday, and a two-storey on Friday. The picture uploading feature doesn't seem to be working, but I'll try to post some photos later.

It looked surreal on Wednesday - it looked like it was naked from the waist up. It's funny to see people's reactions as they drove or walked by. Angela, our neighbour, said lots of people have come to ask her what is happening with our house. On Thursday, they cleaned up the scrap lumber from the roof, finished the floor (around the edges of the house) and got some foam insulation sprayed into the joists around the perimeter of the second floor. The rafters and all the rest of the wood was delivered, and today the walls are up and they’re just finishing putting up the rafters as we speak. Dale came home early from work to be a helper. Jim said he’d show up as well. Clay’s got a few guys staying late today, so the sheeting should all be in place tonight. I ordered the shingles today and they’re being delivered on Monday. There was very little to choose from colour-wise, so I picked a dual tone black. I got them at Rona, so Air Miles here we come. Maybe all these house expenses will get us a trip to Regina to celebrate. We can always dream.

The weather has been on our side all week. The guys working upstairs in 30+ degrees, losing 10 lbs a day in sweat, might disagree. But despite the weather people predicting “absolute probability” of rain this afternoon, it never materialized. The sky looked very dark and Clay said at one point he was about to get the tarp ready. But we didn’t have a drop of rain here all week. If it could just hold off til the shingles are on, that would be perfect.

We got our tub/shower unit delivered today and it’s already upstairs. We decided to order another window (just for the Air Miles) for upstairs on the north side, near the front of the house. I love windows. Clay says we’re doing okay with the budget so far (asbestos removal aside), so we can do a few extras.

I’m taking the kids (and maybe Dale, if he’s done being a helper) to Bob & Janet’s cabin tomorrow. I’m hoping to stay til Wednesday, but I feel a little anxious if I’m away from the house too long, so we’ll see. We’re being evicted from Dale’s mom’s next week. Dale’s sister Jean from is coming from Florida with her daughters on Wednesday. There is a slim possibility we might be able to back in our house by then, but more realistically we will wander off to someone else’s house. So if you don’t want squatters in your house, don’t answer your phone if you see our number on your call display.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Goodbye Roof

I’m at home to do some computer work, and I have to go to the bathroom so bad. The water is turned off, so my options are asking the neighbours if I can use their washroom or using the outhouse. I can’t make a decision, but it’s getting critical. Even worse, I actually need a shower; we spent the day at the beach and I’m going straight from here to a friend’s house. I wonder how my neighbours would feel about that. They’d probably be just fine, but I don’t have the nerve to ask.

Anyway, today was a big day on Lindsay Street. My cousin Wes, the roofer, was here this morning to strip the roof of shingles. Then my roof started coming off. It’s about half off now, which is pretty bizarre. Clay said this would be the night that we would least want rain. With the roof half off, it’s pretty tough to tarp right now. They’re predicting a 0% chance of precipitation, so the odds are in our favour. Tomorrow all the framing is supposed to be gone, so it will be easier to put a tarp on it after that. I've posted a couple of photos, one of Dale looking like a runway model.

Okay now I have to go really bad.