Completed projects:

roof, kitchen, master bedroom, main bathroom (sans shower tile), fireplace, hardwood flooring, windows, office, front entry, stairway

Ongoing projects:

shower surround, dapping/painting woodwork, ensuite vanity/lights/mirror, painting outdoor trim, finishing front entry tile work, interior door painting and hardware, decorating

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wow... EVERY window is well dressed as of tonight!

Tonite was Cody's soccer game, so out we went. When we returned, I noticed Janette walking across my driveway and then I looked up.

Woa... all the windows.. ALL of them, wore that gorgeous wood trim around them!

That was alot of work for one night so Janette filled me in on who was here. Thanks Vic, Pete, Ben, Jake and Janette!

Jake told me abit about how they went about it and gave me a quick lesson in caulking. So off I go tomorrow to get what's needed and get to work! It's about time I have some real work to do!

And let me tell you, all I seem to do now when I drive is glimpse at every single window I pass. I take in the window style and trim and colours. I need ideas and need them quick! I'm going to take a picture of the house and then play with colours in my drawing program to get a better idea on what would look best.

I could easily just quit work and work on this house. It most certainly is where my heart's at right now. Unfortunately eating food is kinda fun too, so guess I'll continue to balance it all, one day at a time. Just like what everyone else is doing for us.

Ralph dropped off all the mouldings he painted as well. And Janette was dead on right, he IS good at finding room where there is none! Thanks Ralph, they look great!

You all are amazing.

The humour in renos

Last night the team took a night off, so it was strangely quiet around here. Cody is now tuned in to ask, "Are the workmen coming again?" He loves the activity and how the place becomes alive with laughter and banging.

Lots of visitors came through the house last night. And neighbour Rick picked up all the old windows for his future homemade greenhouse! What a blessing both ways!

During the day, some drywall work was done, although I'm not certain whom it was. Thanks guys, I appreciate it! A sign in wall would be kinda cool... hmmm....

And after work I did meet up with Pete by fluke at Pioneer. So far I've gone shopping with Pete and Rich.. I want Ben next. I want to lead him to a propane tank isle and encourage him to get on outa town...

I'm thinking ahead. Kitchen cabinets are on the go and there's now future plans to gut out what I have left. They say it always gets worse before it gets better, but I'm thinking it gets more humorous. Ben brought over a laundry tub to borrow so I'm seeing the near future now... fridge, stove, laundry tub and a couple fold out tables and a mountain of boxes holding all the kitchen clutter. I canNOT wait for that picture! Honestly? I really mean it! It makes me chuckle at the thought of it to the point of actually wanting it! I've already started to collect boxes. I want it so hilarous that I won't know what hit me when the final stages come into play. Makes you appreciate the finished product even more!

And the humour of no tub is soon becoming a reality. I guess that laundry tub would work out awesome for washing hair too!

I remember when growing up, mom and dad renovated and we had to use a biffy for some time by the barn. They couldn't put it by the house, oh noooo.. it had to be a long trek to the barn in the dark! One night I met up with a possum, I'll never forget it. They are not pretty at night with a flashlight making them squint back at you. That wasn't humorous at all at the time. But sure creates some special memories!

So it could be much much worse. I actually feel safe and secure looking through those incredible new windows to the outside. It just seems so strong and silent in here. And being the true optimist I am, I kinda like tarps over all your stuff. No more dusting! Take out the tarp and shake on occasion. What a concept! See through tarps would be a good invention so I could find my toaster easier though.

Some wonder how I'm doing through the process. I find that just putting away your stuff makes it livable. Moving stuff around is the hard part. If it's just gone, there's nothing in your way to worry about!

It's getting downright humorous (how DO you spell this word anyway? no spell checker on this blog site!) living here. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Window trim day

Tues May 27 2008

Rich met me out at Home Depot this AM to go pick up some lights for the kitchen. Do you have any idea how awesome it was to shop with someone that knew what they were doing?!?

So I also needed to look at tubs. Rich graciously pulled one down so I could try it out. I didn't have to look for someone wearing orange for a change, too cool...

I left Rich to head back to my place on his own while I carried on with my search for appliances. It's an exhausting choice to sift through. It makes me think there ought to be a company that builds them for you upon spec... "I want that top with that dial with that finish." Too much to ask? Someone really ought to think about that kinda biz!

Later Ben and Vic arrived to add some GORGEOUS wood trim around the windows out back. The windows alone still stun me but add that trim and I don't feel like I'm in Yarrow any longer. What is this place?!?

I also met with Doug to discuss the kitchen cabinets. He plans to draw something up then call me in to go confirm and choose a finish. He had some fabulous ideas on this and that. I have struggled so long on wondering what to do with that room and here comes Doug with paper and pencil and had it figured out in 10 minutes. Nice!

Neighbours Francis and Allison and Gerry snuck in to check out the progress and see what's going on. I LOVE watching expressions when they see the results for the first time knowing how it use to look. And I caught a quick glimpse of Janette too.

Thanks to the team for their continued efforts! The results are no less than stunning.

Ben, I have a GREAT idea! How about we park your rv in my driveway so you get some use out of it? My camping fees are reasonable...

Can't sleep

My friend Janis was telling me last week that her favourite time of day when camping was between 5-6 AM.

Anyone try 4 AM lately?!? (other than Ben of course) It's really beautiful and silent outside. The mountain behind me was incased in a wonderfully foggy cloud, creating the perfect moving picture through my new bedroom window.

But at 4, I told myself this just wasn't right and fought with myself to get my mind on things other than the reno project. I forced myself to think about Cody and the beach and whatever else and it worked for abit, I got drowsy, but them BAM.... there's Cody walking through the reno goings-on. Oh well.

Everything is going great! It's not worry about that. I'm in great hands and feel alot of security that way. Every square inch is top notch quality all the way, no worries about that. I suppose I worry about keeping my reno part up, my work part up, financial stuff, just the common things anyone works through I'm sure.

I am so fortunate! But a little scared at the same time.

So, I'll be praying for some added strength to get through the workload in good time and also be praying for a little more sleep in the future... I have to keep up with Ben after all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Window Install Part 2

Tonite Ben, Pete, and Vic came to finish up the kitchen windows. And they are fan-spankin'-tabulous! (I just made that word up cuz it just had a nice ring to it)

And so straight! I feel for Ben. I think this is the first 'graphic designer owned' house he's ever worked on. And I can guarantee you, on all his future contracts, he will indeed ask what the owner's occupation is and upcharge any artsy individuals who think they know what they're talking about. You're my hero Ben, for going the extra mile! I'll always smile at our 'little story' from tonite when I look at my most favorite windows!

Rich also showed up after his vacation to check the progress. Welcome back to reality Pete and Rich! From sunsets to sawdust in a mere few hours...

Jeremy came to do some gyproc work downstairs in preparing for my office. Cody 'helped' him for awhile... thanks for the bonus daycare Jeremy! (gulp!)

Gina came to catch up on the progress and offer up some advice. Janette and I got caught in a big yakfest but then got on with it (once caught of course!) Mandy and her friend came for a quick peek too.

And Cody! He got involved tonite with keeping Jeremy busy, and was the cleanup crew. Good job buddy!

Before the crew showed up tonite, even Dan snuck in for a quick visit to look at the progress. I could see his mind working 100 miles an hour as he took it all in. Whatcha thinkin' 'bout Dan?!? Arg... wish his mind had windows like my house. His thinking is different than most, he sees the future so easily and creatively. He doesn't say much (but did LOVE what he saw!) but I think he does that on purpose to keep me on an excited edge...

I want to thank everyone for giving up their evening tonite. I hope the laughs we get to share around the work make it as enjoyable for you as it is for me.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eye spy... some great lookin' windows!

Today was official window install day! The windows were delivered on Friday and the troops were here bright and early, some starting at 7:45 am Saturday! The weather was perfect, sunny with a slight overcast and wonderful breeze.

Jake, Ben, Ralph, Micah, Jeremy, Gilbert, Erve and Zach were on heavy window duty today, removing the old windows, prepping for the new and installing them.

Janette and I did lunch, cleanup throughout the day, pounded nails out of boards, and I got in the way just enough in other areas to add to the mounding pile of junk we collected throughout the day.

Mandy, Audra, Rudy, Corinne, Ross and Georgia paid some visits throughout the day as well, and I finally got to meet one of Ben's daughters, Rachel. Corinne recieved a 'cord braiding lesson' I learned from Rich. Everyone is quite impressed on the final result when they see my collection of braided up cords and all ask how it's done. I'll have to do up a nice one and get a picture of what I'm talking about.

Getting to some particular memorable moments today...

Ben was creating my dream kitchen windows. And my old crooked house was giving him some grief at times, when I finally commented.. "Looks as if my dream kitchen is your nightmare..." Silly house!

It made me smile when Rachel mentioned she reads the blog daily. Of course she would! Her wonderful Dad has had to this point such an enormous part in this project! I'm so very glad technology makes it easy to update many many people at the same time so I can share my ever growing excitement on the updates. Thanks for reading, Rachel! And it's a pleasure to work along side your Dad.

Micah and Jeremy had the glorious task of removing aluminum siding. And dealing with windows abit smaller than the alloted exsisting holes... what patience and expertise these two have!

Gilbert was helping Jake and Ralph and Ben with the french doors. They turned out awesome! And we even sighted Gilbert doing a little bit of plumbing.

Erve was helping others with the big picture window and french doors. Ralph and Jake were applying this thick tape and tar paper stuff for weather proofing. So many steps!

As you can see from the pictures, the windows really give my little BC box some elegance! The windows are absolutely gorgeous and have all kinds of fancy shmancy features and labels, argon gas, the tinting in the windows has a film on the inside of the glass called Low E [soft, in this case] . The slight tint makes the outside look more vibrant and from the outside, the windows look abit richer due to the slightly darker appearance. The bigger windows have double slides which is awesome for letting those breezes in. I am so incredibly happy with them!!! They totally transform the look of the house, inside and out.

Thanks Ben and crew! They are fabulous!

And Janette, your baking is just amazing. She made some kind of nutty bar squares and 2 fruit homemade platz. I have NEVER had platz like this before! Gotta just love coffee time when Janette's around.

After everyone left, Jake returned for abit and installed a bifold closet door. What a difference a door makes, it's finally time to hide some of my crap... er, treasures!

A very productive day was had by all. And I'm sure everyone will literally fall into their cozy beds tonite. Sweet dreams everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2008

OT: When you keep getting new chances... again and again

(OT = off topic from reno posts)

Remember my post back in April about the tooth fairy that forgets? She forgot AGAIN.

BUT the good news is, she got a lucky break. Again. Cody has a new clock radio that screams him awake each morning. This fine AM we must have both been extremely tired as we both slept through two alarms going off to two different stations.

I finally woke up and arose very sleepy... wandered into the kitchen in a fog to grab the coffee pot...

That's when it hit me! I ran to the change jar, grabbed what I found and quietly while his clock was blaring some tune, did what all good toothfairies do. (reach over a sleeping boy and plunk the change on the windowsill that he opened so the toothfairy can pay him efficiently and easily, quickly retrieving the tooth from the little plastic treasure chest, hoping I wouldn't be caught or fall on him or drop something on him or all of the above)

Did it! THEN I woke Cody up. I'm amazing. All this over a blaring radio.

Just how many chances do I get here?!? When will I learn? Why don't notes I write myself work any longer?

No idea. Guess I'll just keep taking chances. I'm sure, again soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vic and the case of the missing kitchen cabinets! YES!

I've come to the conclusion today that cabinets are rather ugly to look at. Granted, you can't compare my exsisting cabinets to a brand new beautiful kitchen! However, after Vic removed a row of upper cabinets in preparation for the wall of windows to become a reality on Saturday, wow...

I can't WAIT to see that gorgeous outside from in here! But what a lotta work for that to happen.

Vic makes it look pretty easy though. With the right tools, and a good hitting motion, those cabinets dismantled pretty quickly in the right hands. And those cabinets I do admit, look awesome on my driveway by the edge of the road from the 'free pickup and it's yours' pile.

Are my cabinets missing? Yep! Will I miss them? Nope! They've had 30 good long years plus in this house. It was time. Thanks to Vic. This is getting soooo exciting...

And thanks to Rudy for giving Vic a hand for abit. Corinne, you sure are related to a couple of very cool guys...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A world of many worlds

What's going on here hits me in waves. It's as if I have a few different lives on the go with everything that's transpiring so quickly.

What world shall I visit today? It was about working from home today. So I morphed myself in that spot and concentrated on the tasks at hand.

Then I took a break and went upstairs. Reality came rushing back in front of me as I stood in the boarded up kitchen. It far from depressed me. I could only feel excitement for what's to come this weekend when the place will be humming with willing and wonderful volunteers! I instantly morphed into the reno world as I stared at the plywood walls about to become incredible windows!

Break over! Must get back to work.

Lunchtime. A quick drive to the deli and I'll be home quick like... oh wait, there's Dan... I think I'll go over there for a quick visit over lunch... and we morphed into reno world again with our talk. He'd like to help me create something unique and wonderful with my exsisting fireplace... his idea! Cool... Hey.. I was suppose to be working!

Work world, back at it again, only this time with crazy thoughts on what my future fireplace will look like against my dream kitchen... shoooo, go away! I'm working today!

Ohhh, lookit the time. Time to get Cody from school. Then it's Cody world for the next several hours.

Then Janette came by with her awesome pictures from this past weekend. That morphed me right back to reno world again as we joined forces and made plans for the weekend crew.

I suppose we all have those zones we visit. In order to get things accomplished, I tend to have to label my time for what it is so I can 'gitter done.'

Why this reno world is so much more appealing to cooking dinner world or doing laundry world, hard to comprehend, (yeah, right...) but that's the way it is these days in my world.

Just tonite someone commented that now that the house is finally being delt with, I'll be able to concentrate on other future goals when this is over! This reno deal has eaten away alot of energy before help came my way.

I'm so very grateful that the reno team is making that finally possible for me. To create other new and wonderful worlds will be amazing one day!

But for now, I'm really excited to watch my current world, with many other's help, evolve into something so incredible. Guys, you just have no idea how I feel about what you're doing for Cody and I.

Uh oh...emotional world just hit...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stairs are now on the adjenda!

John was by today to drop off my stair rails and pieces. I'm delighted to report, my ugly ugly fully carpeted super 70's wooden banister combo will be history one day soon! Thanks John! I can't wait to see all the pieces to this particular puzzle come together!

And how beautiful these pieces are! How beautiful bare wood unassembled can look I had no idea. There is ALOT to creating beautiful stairs! The rails are long and graceful, the wood edges are, well, so hip and new! I'm accustomed to my old shaggy rug curling around each step. Oh my.. I can't even imagine these components in this place.

And with improvements comes more experience. I'm going to learn all about the wonderful world of staining and varnishing wood! For this is my homework!

Now I just need to find an empty corner in this house to do so... eeeee...

p.s. Jenna refuses to use her backdoor/window. So I get to utilize my ugly stairs many times over before they transform. Perhaps it's nature's way of me bidding my old stairs a final farewell. Or perhaps I just have a stubborn confused dog...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jenna's welcome home surprise!

So Jenna the dog keeps walking over to this one wall in the kitchen. I know what she wants. She wants to be let out onto the back deck, leading to the backyard. Poor confused dog. Her hopeful looks she shoots back at me won't help her either. She CAN'T go that way any longer because...

there's no more back door!

Cody, Jenna and I drove our travel trailer up to Harrison this weekend to get it set up for the season. That was a story in itself, however in an extreme attempt to stay on topic, I'll concentrate on the newer story at hand here.

We came home on Monday, mid afternoon to find the front and garage doors WIDE open. I saw Mandy sitting in the doorway greeting me with a big smile. And out comes Janette with a broom in her hand. Whaaaa....

So.... apparently a few people had a reno party at my house to which I wasn't invited!

Immediate guilt crept up inside me. I should have been here to help! Cry! Whine! Whatever it is I do when I'm here. But I think they were even smarter than I made them out to be. I think they devised this little plan and left me right where I was for good reason! As Janette explained, I was on holidays and how wonderful to come home to something new being done! She was indeed right.

I'll admit this tired house will get worse before it gets better. Fully expecting no renos this weekend, Cody and I carried on with some plans that did NOT include the house. This structure is truely getting alot of attention and somewhat spoiled at that, so we diverted our interest to worrying about rv water leaks and rv towing instead. (there was some fun in there too naturally but this still truthful explanation makes me feel much less guilty!!)

And we came home to a whole lotta been done stuff!

1. Jenna's kitchen door is history. In it's place is lovely 2x6 framed in plywood, prepped all up for my lovely new kitchen windows!

2. Outside stucco around windows is prepped for windows too! Scaffoling and ladders galore out there!

3. Trench down hallway boarded up nice and tight, ready for eventual floor install!

4. Gorgeous pine ceiling installed in the basement downstairs. Remember those ceiling envy pictures? This one truely wins the REAL envy version! And neatly trimmed around a row of potlights to boot!

5. Drywall installed where the woodstove use to be!

6. Janette swept and took pictures!

7. Mandy made lunch!

8. My dream chosen baseboard was found in the garage!

And from there, I don't know more. I do feel so sorry for those that moved all that basement junk out of the way though. That's something I could easily have done had I known what was being worked on in advance. Hard to guess these days where to scoot stuff being that nearly every room in the house is somehow being touched! So thanks to all of you for getting to marvel at just how much crap I store in an open room concept, soon to be hidden in appropriate places I hope!

Although I very much appreciate all the efforts going into the not so pretty aspect of the renos, when something pretty actually happens, it stuns me. I've lived in ugly for so long I don't know what to do with the pretty. Let's just say everytime I go into that pine covered ceiling room, my jaw opens wide open again as if seeing it for the very first time. Fabulous, simply fabulous.

Among the list of hard workers today were:

Jake, Ralph, Ben, Vic, Jeremy, Micha, Dan, Mandy, Janette. Thanks so much to all of you sneaky wonderful folks!

UPDATE: Dave T. was pulled off a job to help get the pine ceiling started. Thanks so much Dave! I can't wait to meet you!!

And Jenna. Let's add her to the list as well. Because she's working really hard at finding her back door! For now, she is reluctantly adjusting to walking through a window with a chair in front and behind the window to form makeshift steps.

Welcome to the world of renos, Jenna! Woof woof back atcha!

Thanks again everyone! I'm sorry I missed all of you but I appreciate what you did for me so very much! (pics to follow soon)

And to add..

I've missed two entries that happened last week.

*Pete and Erna came one evening, late, to quickly cut out some trenches for Rich. Erna wasn't feeling up to par and Pete had just had a very long day doing other things, and here they were at MY house doing this! I felt like tucking them both into bed. I sure appreciate you two! Thanks!

*Rich and Alec came the next day to work on the electrical downstairs so the pine ceiling could be installed this week! Thanks again Rich and Alec, and it was nice to meet Alec for the first time too!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Trailer towing 101 - driving like 'one of them'.

Here's a bit of comedy relief, away from the renos for a moment.

I'm a relatively new travel trailer tower. My good friends Dan and Janis sold me their 17 foot travel trailer last fall when I relinquished one that was too big for me to pull myself. So along with the sale came some towing lessons.

Dan is a quick teacher. He teaches quick and commented on how quick I picked up the fabulous art of towing . And he's a good patient teacher to boot! He had me first tow a horse trailer, then we moved to the real deal, going up and down what seemed like his 30 mile long radically crazy curvy driveway.

I thought I did 'ok' last fall. But you know what they say, practice makes perfect. Well, I haven't been practicing much. Make that not at all.

So I had to pull my travel trailer into an RV place this past week. Not looking forward to the challenge but encouraged to do it anyway for some evenutal fun in the sun kind of weekends, I went for it. With challenge comes great growth does it not? Or something like that...

I am officially 'one of those drivers.' You know, the kind where 20 or so cars are lined up behind you because you are moseying along when you ought to be whipping along. My excuse: there's a whole lotta trailer for my little truck, so not much past 60 km is where I'm officially at, otherwise the trailer tends to sway more than I'm currently ok with. So 60 it is.

But I'm a courteous 60 km driver. As I watch the lineup forming behind me, I pull close to the side, and light up the turn signal to allow others to pass. At least I'm giving them the chance to 'try', right? Method seems to work well for side roads!

Highways are, well, fast. Appropriately so of course, but then there's me. ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM, they all fly by. That's good! We're all doing what we need to and safely, so all is well!

So my white knuckles and I get to the RV place and I was never so happy as to drop that hitch and fly out of there trailorless! FREEDOM!

But I did eventually have to go back and pick it up. Ahhh, here's where the real fun begins.

I'm grateful they hooked it up for me while I was inside. How the guy did it all on his own with no spotter I'll never figure out. But now it was time to get that thing home. Ho boy...

So I pull out with the intention on going the highway again. But I look down at my braking system and the rv has no brakes.. due to finicky plug the rv guy didn't know about. I think quick and drive straight through rather than turning because once you're ON the highway, you want some brakes, yes?!?

Thinking faster, I now realize I got myself in town. TOWN! NOOOOO! It was suppose to be just highway and side road! Town?!? I look everywhere possible with no spot to pull over to, all those no parking signs littered the side of the road. I'm toast... I look down little side roads but baulk in horror at the thought of trying to turn this thing around.

Here I go through traffic with no brakes on the trailer. It's my lucky day!

Ah!!! I spot a school! I look up above and chant thank-you thank-you thank-you!!! and then I dreamily drive in noting how schools allow flow through traffic, perfect for my kinda towing. I stop, fiddle with the plug until it works, just like Dan had coached me only days prior, (whew!) and off I go again, but this time with a smile on my face.

I went 80 going home to boot!

But back to 60 on the side roads. And as I mosey on down the roads, utilizing my system of letting others shushhh by me, I have to laugh. While I do the curves, I can see that growing lineup form almost instantly behind me.

I'm truely 'one of them.' And, by golly, I've earned it!

Another electrical kinda day with...

Rich was by today and had Pastor Eldon as his assistant! I had to leave for a full day's work so I couldn't join in today's fun, but I did take a few of pictures before I left.

Tonite Rich and I touched base on what they got completed today. Wow... lots! I've never seen so many beautifully laid out wires in my life before. When your walls and ceilings are open, it's amazing to see what's actually packed hidden in all those areas.

AND.... Rich fixed my oven! I've been without an oven for a month now and let me tell you, I thought I'd enjoy the fact that I had the perfect excuse to not bake! But I've really missed it. Chicken dinner, here we come!

Also, by the sounds of it, Jenna the dog has two new pals. I tried to get her to go outside in the backyard in the AM before I left but she wouldn't budge, likely thinking, "Why would I do that when I have two people to pet me inside today?!? Smart dog and naturally, she was right. What's this I hear of apple core feeding Eldon?!? :)

Corinne stopped by to get a glimpse of Ceiling Envy #3. (in the picture section) She's also working on her house, so I think viewing my ceiling made her feel abit better about going home to the mud currently surrounding her entire home...

And Janette..I taunted her over to view my ceiling. And of course I glorified it."Oh, you HAVE to see this ceiling! I'm the envy of all of Yarrow! Check this out!" As her eyes widened in wonder, amazed that a simple ceiling could hold so much exquisite anticipation, she rounded the corner and burst out laughing at my built up commentary. But was most impressed by all the wires! And I agree! They are impressive and even slightly intimidating! They are going to race up all this incredible data from one location to another with the simple click of a button! Sounds high tech doesn't it? This poor house will NEVER be the same.

Anyway, thanks Rich and Eldon, for your help today!

p.s. Anyone know when fiberglass insulation itch leaves the building? And why do I have it upstairs when I haven't even spent anytime downstairs?!? scratch scratch scratch...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Being grateful for the Rich's in our lives!

Today Rich worked on the electrical and was fortunate enough to have Jared as his assistant. Nice work Jared! Sorry I didn't get to talk much with you, but I sure appreciated your help today! And of course, thanks to Rich for spending a very very long day working on this house!

I had to leave for the first part of the day, although I joined in later after Jared had to leave. This electrical biz, there's alot of construction to it! Now I totally understand the need for all those trenches. So many hands involved... it's a monumental task in my book! You also have to remove and replace insulation, drill through framework, feed wires through itty bitty little holes, never mind having the mindskills to know what you're doing in the first place.

We're truely indebted to guys like Rich. We utilize this crazy world of electricity like it's just a given. Well, when things don't work right, remove that given and all you have is hope. Folks like Rich give the given back. When things work right and you know you are safe, that is HUGE.

With this house, you couldn't overload the circuits. If I had the microwave going, you couldn't have the coffee maker going. Sparks flew from my blowdryer when plugged in. Some outlets flat out didn't work. Outlets where you could actually reach them were required.

And Rich makes it sound really easy. "Oh yeah, we can do that, just go through there and up here and you're done. No big deal." But it is a big deal. I mean, short of him moving his family to Yarrow so he can be near this loved ones while this monumental project goes on I'd think would at least tempt him! I asked him for an estimated timeframe on how much work was at hand and he said, "Until it's done." With a smile.

So today, I'm just really really feeling grateful for electricians in our wonderful world. And on top of my list would naturally be our very own Rich! Thanks bud!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Demolition Day! And the responsible dudes...

I've been waiting for this day in my dreams many times over. And today was simply my day.

Vic and Ralph were planning to come over and rip the kitchen wall down today.

So they both arrived and walked through my backyard like it was the most natural thing to do. Up the back steps, and in they came with the tools and wasted no time. I couldn't even talk them into a coffee!

So they were hacking and banging and sawing away. I started toting stuff to the pickup and pulling nails out of boards saved for future use. Coffee anyone?!? Nope. Ok... to work we go.

The previous day I had completely gutted the entire upper floor and tarped the sofa and tv for this monumental occasion. And the tarps were not disappointed! They did an outstanding job at what they were made to do. (can't say the same thing for Cody's playroom where all the stuff landed... yeah, I need a picture of that one)

Coffee now?!? Hot chocolate? Nothing?!? Ah, ok, I'll keep working, but I'm now looking for real excuses to get these guys to have something. I'm starving.

The place starts to look AMAZING. I can see it. I love wide open space, and my little kitchen cave is history! I start squealing. The guys stopped for one second and when they realized I hadn't actually passed out from excitement, on they went. I need to teach them how to squeal so they can join in with me. Best to save something special for another day I say.

Work work work work work work work (deep breath) work work work... oh, hi Corinne! A visitor! She's in awe with all the new space going on here. I lead Ross to Cody's bedroom where 'it's safe to play' because that certainly would not be the playroom at this time! Someone remind me to take a picture of that room...

And lunch?!? You'd think these guys don't eat lunch. I finally forced lunch on them by telling them that I was the one famished so they should just stop and eat with me since I was getting some deli stuff anyway. BINGO! I know their secret now.

After they left, I escaped to Gina's to view what the wonderful world of potlights was all about. Miss Gina has the most exceptional taste in decorating and I was taking down lots of mental notes while viewing her beautiful home. I could have spent a week there just enjoying the decorating details I love so much when my cell phone rang. Oops... forgot about the school meeting for Cody! Off I go... guess I shouldn't have hidden my scheduler from the dust...

I'm late and am greeted with the school team. We have somewhat regular meetings on Cody's academic progress. I walk in and they were all wearing big smiles, for they just heard about the Extreme Yarrow project. Warning... if you show interest to this project on one of my highest reno days of my life to date, you'd better have some time on your hands, cuz this girl's gonna babble! LOTS!

So I go home and put in a few (couple) hours of work, and get dinner done, because the guys are returning at 6pm again! Pete is coming with Rich the electrician, and Vic was coming back to dig more trenches in the floors.

I have to say this. Vic, I think you need a hobby. This guy is one of the hardest working fellas I've ever run into. Know what he did while he waited for the others to arrive? Bear in mind, this is the WAITING time, not work time. HE WORKED UP MY GARDEN. He brought chicken manure and did what good gardeners do. And he reminded me that some overflow plants would be on their way soon, out of his greenhouse no less.

So Pete and Rich arrive. And in we go, room to room once again, with Rich seeking out what my needs were for each and every room. And yes, I'm gonna try me some of those potlights for the kitchen too! We're in 2008 after all folks, we need to keep up with the times here. Gotta try at least a few before some thing even MORE larger than life comes into vogue.

Rich is a cool guy. And he makes it all sound so easy. He's making sure all my wiring is up to par and simply done right and that I get enough plugs and cable and this and that.. I'm so not use to having someone worry about this stuff for me; wasn't that my job once upon a time?!? So I brew Rich a pot of coffee. Where'd everyone go anyway? This coffee's gooood...

Pete goes off with Vic to dig some wall, ceiling and floor trenches. Check out the picture of that ceiling envy update, that pic ought to win an award of some kind. Great trenching! Didn't even know there was such a thing but you know, if you learn one new thing a day..

Janette! Come upstairs and squeal with me! She's fast, I could barely keep up with her but I heard it.

And I finally met Pete's wife Erna and friend Karen. Lovely ladies! They were quite amazed at how much was torn up. Yes, some people actually do live like this. Guess I'm one of them because the dust doesn't even phase me at this point.

So everyone finally wraps up for the day just as Ben arrives. BEN! COME AND SEE! He was so pleased with the massive progress accomplished today. What a great great team!

So it was an incredibly long day for these guys and I just want you to know, as I sit here typing in the middle of my gyproc dust oasis, I couldn't be any happier. I look around and my thoughts are on all of you, your hard work, your notes and pencil scribbles on the walls, Vic and Ralph's fine electrical work.. everything is bringing a smile to my face. No finer renovation could be accomplished. As we get more familiar with one another, each day just gets more enjoyable.

Thanks for today's Demolition Smile everyone!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Life with a travel trailer, thanks to Gord and Dan!

I know my friend Gord through my friends, the Sawatzkys. Gord lives next door to them.

I probably hang out at the Sawatzkys a little too much, but they haven't kicked me out quite yet. So while I visit there, I see Gord on occasion. Gord is pretty cool. He's always got an easy care manner about him, always smiling, always wandering over to Dan's to join in whatever others are up to.

A week ago I was at Dan's watching 3 yr old Phoebe playing in the sand outside when Gord wandered over, plunked himself in the middle of the sandpit and started giggling while digging, to Phoebe's delight. Watching those two was pure magic. I just smiled as I watched Gord morph himself to the perfect level of what a child delights in.

It was then that Gord approached me on the Extreme topic. We were talking about what was going on, when he said, "I'd like to help you, but working on the house isn't my thing. But I could do something on your travel trailer..."

I have a little used 17' travel trailer I bought from Dan last year. Not only is Yarrow good for everyone knowing everyone, we buy each other's unwanted crap too it seems... :) Anyway, when something becomes yours, you want reassurance all is well in all areas and I had been somewhat nervous about a few things I left unchecked, not having the ability or knowledge to take care of them myself. I had just been stewing about the tires on this thing, when Gord kicked the travel trailer door option wide open!

Was this for a good cause? In my book, TOPS! Cody has known no other kind of summer all his life. Early on before Cody was in my life, I use to borrow my parent's trailer to take off for a week here and there. Once Dad passed away, the trailer was too much for Mom alone, so she sold it. But that didn't stop me from doing what I love so much. I then approached an rv place and bartered striping their trailers for the use of one for a couple weeks in the summer.

Then Cody came along. The need to have something ready to roll at all times with our stuff already in it became what I truely desired. So, in my then married life, we achieved one of my alltime dreams and bought a used one. It was the best move we ever made! We then tried camping for the entire season, meaning, April to October, just parking it and leaving it. It became our summer home, to dash away at any given moment. The habit was set in stone. THIS is how we spent our summers and more!

As life changes, so do our needs. Just last fall I sold that larger used one for my cute little small one so I could feel comfortable towing it myself. Dan taught me the fine art of towing a trailer last fall, yet another one of my major goals! Who knew you could get free towing lessons with a trailer purchase? Or plumbing help? Or whatever... I laughed when Dan sold it to me and warned him, he may THINK this thing was out of his life, but it was my bet it would be in his driveway at some given point again to be tinkered on... he was hooped now and he didn't even own it! Was I right?!? Ohhhhh yeahhhh...

So here we are, with my travel trailer in Gord's yard yesterday. He pulled off the wheels and adjusted the brakes. He checked lights, tires, fiddled with the chain hookups, had me clean up and sand the contacts of the back lights so they'd work flawlessly, getting the outside nice and sound. He sure knows his trailer stuff, I'm VERY impressed! And I'm smiling because I feel safer, knowing all those things were analized. You rock Mr. Gord!

And where is the trailer today? I think it's in Dan's yard. Again. HA HA HA... when Dan was de-winterizing it yesterday, lovely water fountains sprouted from the bathroom AND kitchen sinks. Nice! Pink goo all over the floor. The bathroom fountain was my doing. I attempted to change the tap set to a new one last fall. Think barbie doll sized everything, too small openings for our hands. Oh, it was a joy to attempt this. And look where it got me... And the kitchen tap was simply toast, so I had a good excuse to get a new tap set for that sink yesterday. We will attempt to tinker with both today to get this show on the road and have my trailer come back to my yard again until it goes to sit for another long enjoyable spring/summer when we can blast outa town for abit here and there.

Anyway, I'm so very grateful that I have such knowledgable and giving folks such as Gord and Dan in my life to make my own personal little world keep going round and round.

To Gord and Dan... thanks from Cody and I, for helping make our summers continue to be very very special!

And for helping keep water fountains an OUTdoor activity... Dan, let me know when it's suitable to paint permanent DONNA'S RV TINKERING PARKING in a given area on your driveway. Always willing to help out here!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nice stuff out there!

I've until now purposely kept myself out of the showrooms and stores. But I had to look today.

Think about it. Why put yourself through the trauma of looking at the ultimate of your dreams only having to go home and have to bang your oven door 7.5 times in order for the light to flick on? (add a maybe to that one)

I'm sure we all could rattle off what we have vs. what we could get. But my oh my, there's one extreme instance that stands out. It's so high end I wouldn't even want it for fear of getting it dirty. Next time you go to an appliance place, go look at an Electrolux stove/oven. The oven racks are on ball bearings, the oven lightS (more than one) slowly fade on when you open the door. All very dramatic and incredibly elegant. Compare that to my 35 yr old dinosaur, with the intermitten light and crooked racks that screeeeee when you 'yank' on them, well...

Last fall when my washer decided to BANG instead of simply doing the job it was to do, I got use to the hushed sound of a 2007 model pretty quick! I suppose if I worked at it REALLY HARD, I could make friends with the particular midrange stove I saw today... :) Too high end and I'd feel rattled. With midrange, I could continue to breathe.

And then there's mouldings. It's a crazy world out there in moulding land. But funny thing is, when you find what you like, THAT is the one! And I'm happy to report, I picked a midrange 'like'! I love it when that happens!

Well anyway, it was fun to get out there and peek at the modern and new world. Wonder if they make stoves that 'just go ahead and cook' for you too? In the midranged price level of course. Now there's a model I could get use to really quick!