Sunday, June 30, 2013


13June30tuckered House renovations STILL aren’t finished – a good part of that owing to the record amounts of rain we’ve had this Spring! No one has ever seen the B.C. desert so green before! Poor Ginger, and especially Rusty!, have put up with a lot these last few weeks. We all just want it to stop! The outdoor paving work, which was arranged for and paid for in April (when the weather was very sunny and warm) is not finished. And the deck work can’t start until the paving work is 13June30floor finished (something about stairs and other things).

Aside from the fact that this all began when strong winds blew the deck roof off last Spring (2012), it physically started with the furnace installation in mid-April. Then the new windows shortly after that. I’ve been painting almost non-stop since the windows went in, so it would all be done before the flooring went in. Well, the walls were finished, but the textured ceiling is another story all in itself. Long story short, I’m still working on it. But the walls are beautiful (except 13June30normal for the black marks where the flooring installer hit them with his rubber mallet!!! – nothing that can’t be touched up). The solid hardwood maple flooring is pretty nice. And what is done of the paving is very, very nice. The front walk really puts the rest of the yard to shame.

We are all sooo ready for the noise to stop and to have things return to normal, but the paving and the deck still have to be finished. Did you know that cats can 13June30rusty climb ladders? Both up and down. Sweet Frankie, my sweet little stray boy, still comes for breakfast, lunch and supper every day, but he has to climb an extension ladder to get up onto the deck where I feed him. We had to take the stairs off the deck to accommodate the new heat pump back in April. Part of the deck renovations will be to replace the 13June30mess stairs, but that hasn’t happened yet.

And even though the hall and living room, with its new paint and floor, looks soooo beautiful, It still needs moulding and touch ups where the walls were accidentally marked. So, my sewing machine remains tucked away in a corner. I haven’t been able to do a darn thing on it (too bad it doesn’t paint!) in weeks. And it’ll probably be another 2-3 weeks before I can move it back into its old spot and actually start using it again (three weeks seems to coincide with my vacation). I am so looking forward to that!

Until next time,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Out of chaos…

13June9reno1 Often arises something beautiful. Or, at least, satisfying.

Taking out this old fireplace was only one small part of the renovation, but a large part of what we’ve done couldn’t happen until that was done – and we’ve been wanting to do it for over 10 years.

Once it was gone, we replaced all of the windows… You can see the old front window in the first two pictures, the new window is in the third picture. Now we’re painting and getting ready for new 13June9reno2 flooring. You can’t do any of that when you know that you’ll be removing a large chunk of the living room. After we removed the fireplace, we had to re-texture the ceiling that it covered. What a messy job! I got one-quarter of the gunk on the ceiling, one-third on myself, and the rest of it hit the floor! No wonder they only sell it in huge tubs!

13June9reno3 I wanted to paint the ceiling first, but we decided to do the corner where the TV usually sits so that we can move it back and remove the carpetting underneath where it is right now. Then we can remove the carpetting there and pile all of the future hardwood flooring where the TV used to sit. One day it will all be over. And it will be beautiful! Here’s hoping that we live that long. Rusty and Ginger don’t like it, but they’re coping.

Until next time,

Monday, June 3, 2013


13June3backyard Deep in the middle of house renovations now, still. The furnace/air conditioner has been replaced (after 41 years), the DIY fireplace has been removed, and the new windows have been installed (after much cursing and laughing by the window installers). No regrets on any of them. The new furnace/AC is wonderful, the new windows are fantastic! and getting rid of the unusable fireplace means that we can finally replace the flooring, which we’ve already purchased – hardwood maple. After I’ve finished painting the ceiling and walls, the flooring will go in. Hopefully, while I’m painting, Mr. ZQ and our handyman helper will be renovating the deck. Last Spring we lost part of the roof, so that still needs to be replaced. And after that, we’ve purchased the material to replace the decking itself with a vinyl non-skid surface, and we’ve also bought new aluminum railings with safety glass inserts.

13June3deck Yes, we are certifiably insane. This began in April with the new furnace. Mr. ZQ says it should all be finished by mid-summer, but I think he’s pushing it. The outside work finally began again today after weeks of non-action. Apparently the “paver guys” don’t work when the ground is wet, and it’s been raining every day for the past two and a half weeks! Today they were back on the job and the guy they sent to do the preliminaries injured his hand late in the day and went home. It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. That’s their excavator sitting where my greenhouse will someday be, if they ever get to finish the job of paving. We’re getting them to pave an area next to the garden for a greenhouse, the fire pit area so our chairs no longer sink into the soft ground and send us hurtling towards the fire, a nice large area below the deck for a patio, and a walk way in the front yard to replace the old decrepit and twisted DIY sidewalk that a previous owner had put in.

13June3LR After two months into the renos, we decided to de-stress by watching The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Has been one of our favourites for years. (This is our third house together, and we’ve done renovations in the last two.) We still have painting, flooring, deck renovations and outside paving left to go. If we survive it all, the place will be beautiful! Houses are so often “let go” by the owners. Either they spend all of their money buying a high end house and can’t afford the upkeep, or they just don’t realize how much houses deteriorate when over time without any work. I was talking renos to a friend this week and she said she and her husband had gone looking at houses locally for their son and found that at least three-quarters of the ones on the market hadn’t had any work at all done to them in the past two or three decades.

13June3window I understand. It certainly takes a lot of money. Thank goodness we have a bank loan. And even if money is no object, renovations of any size are a major PAIN! My sewing machine has been mothballed, first because it was close to a window being replaced, and now because I’ll be painting the wall nearby in the next week. I’m wondering if I’ll get any sort of garden in this year, either. Because of the outside work, I wasn’t sure where the soil was getting dumped – until tonight. It’s getting stored right in the middle of my vegetable garden. So possibly no garden this year. My tomato seedlings are still in the tray, being murdered by the constant rain. Did I mention that it’s been raining steadily for the past two and a half weeks? The desert interior of British Columbia is looking almost as green as Prince Rupert on the coast! My poor lavender in the front yard had a ladder planted in the middle of it while the window guys installed the front windows… It’s just how it goes during renovations.

As a side note, we have textured ceilings in the house so when the fireplace was removed, the ceiling had to be replaced – and textured. We bought sprayed-on product that didn’t work, and spackling that no one wanted to use, and then a huge pail of “stuff” with an electric applicator. I used it last night to re-texture an area approximately 3 feet by 3 feet. I guess it was better than doing it by hand, but approximately one-quarter hit the intended area on the ceiling, one-third covered me, and the rest hit the floor and walls. What a mess!

The stairs to the deck had to be removed in April when the furnace was replaced because the heat pump was larger than the old AC unit and, well, the stairs had to be removed. I put the cat food dishes on the ground but… Frankie insisted on being fed on the deck! He quickly learned how to climb the extension ladder leaning against the deck. We have a few other free-loaders who just make the leap from the ground onto the deck, but Frankie is the smart one. I’m hoping, for his sake, that the stairs will be back on the deck before the summer is over.

Until next time,