Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's the night of the 23rd. My period has started, I have a terrible head cold, I feel like shit.

And I'm stressed. I haven't hit that zen-like calm yet reinforcing what has been done is all that will be done and there is no point worrying about it any longer. That little voice that says "Have a stiff drink. Relax. Go to bed." And I can't because my head feels so heavy I think it's going to fall off and roll under the Christmas tree.

Just so that you don't think I'm completely out of Christmas spirit, Paul and I just finished watching A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim and feeling heart warmed I took a picture of Jakob & Paul cuddled in a chair pulled in to the kitchen beside our little tree.

Outside of the teetering on bankruptcy from the sheer commercialization of the holiday and the pressure to buy, buy, BUY!!! - I really do love Christmas, with all the lights, decorations, carols, tv specials, good will stories, time with family, the food, the cheer, the excitement...

But what do I get Norm? I'm running out of time!

Friday, December 22, 2006

3 days until Christmas.

I don't know whether to hide myself away in my bedroom, rest my head on my arms and weep, open a bottle of many options but so much to do. And I feel helpless and frustrated. Thankfully all of my presents are wrapped. I have spent so many hours in purgatory, I mean the filthy attic, wrapping the gifts that once finished I finally emerged and told Satchel that every present he gets this year I thought of, I bought and I wrapped...and he had better be thrilled. PMS is a dangerous time.

I'm sitting here at my island in a bathrobe and drinking tea. I'm not feeling great today - my head hurts, I have a cold, my period is starting, my chest mound hurts, I'm not sum up, I feel like crap.

FIrst I have to tell you that I actually made it to my sons' Christmas concert at the school. I was thrilled! Jakob sang three songs with his kindergarten class (there is nothing more adorable than seeing the little ones perform - especially Jakob when he decided he was hot in his sweater and started stripping off on stage and then wrapped the sweater around his head like a turban until a teacher finally reached over and took it away), Satchel sang 2 songs with his class and he was selected for the steel drum band and performed for the first time in front of an audience. They were both fantastic.

John the contractor came over to walk through the house and complete the final deficiency list. We both buried the hatchet - in a way men do, we avoided the whole issue that we had as if it never happened. I being the bigger person, even offered him a glass of wine. Once the barn door is complete, the amount of work that still needs to be done could be completed in roughly a day. And then, this nasty, financially destroying event will be over. OVER! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for mid-January,

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jakob turned 5 today!

How this happened I have no idea, sometimes I wish I could just slow the time down a little.

The day started with opening presents and then having breakfast. We saved the big present for after breakfast. A present far bigger than I expected: a race track which took up the entire floor of the library and took Paul roughly 3 hours to to put together.

After the presents, Satchel and Jakob put together a gingerbread train which was fantastic. Normally I pick up a traditional gingerbread house with the romantic notion of how wonderful it will be for the children to put it together. I end up a lunatic trying to fight the affects of gravity pulling down the roof; damaging my children as I curse a blue streak. But this train was amazingly civilized - it went together so well. Not once did I feel the need to pull out a bottle of wine from our stash. Not once!

At 3pm we had the neighbours over and Paul's brother Yves to help celebrate Jakob's birthday and share in some birthday cake chosen by Jakob: chocolate cake with chocolate pudding in between the layers and chocolate icing. Jakob was vibrating after consuming one small piece.

Now it's dinner time and I'm making his favourite dinner: Taco Pizza. I'll wrap the night up later.

Happy Birthday Jakob! You still are the most wonderful Christmas present I have ever been given.

Love Mommy xoxoxoxox

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Big fight with the contractor yesterday.

He casually tried to slip in that he will be billing us the cost for having the two doors restained - and quite a bit of money especially since he'd be tacking on his 21% change order fee and GST on top of the $300. I LOST IT.

I ended up writing a not very nice email saying we refused to pay the amount; that it was his fault, he's our contractor and we should be able to request a colour and get the colour we asked for, not get the completely wrong colour and then have to pay to fix it. I didn't include "you fucker" though I really wanted to.

He wrote back the nastiest email ever - even trying to bully us by saying he'll take the doors away and replace them with commercial grade and how he took a special interest in our project and has gone beyond the call of duty, and it wasn't his was NASTY. I felt like saying "good luck using the doors on another project, considering they are SCRATCHED."

I was completely enraged and of coursed forwarded the whole exchange to my friend who was shocked by his behaviour and said that was the last straw for her, she will not be having him bid on a project for her.

Paul sent an email placating him and he responded "fine, we'll split the amount." I said "fine, whatever, I want this DONE."

I am sick of him and sick of the whole process. They were supposed to be finished November 15 and here we are approaching Christmas. God help the people he doesn't take a special interest in.

If I end up having a couple glasses of wine tonight - I just might have to post the whole exchange.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I find I'm not sleeping well and I'm not sure why. I wonder if it's because I stopped taking my heavy drugs since they just weren't doing it for me anymore. If only I had more pills left, I would hobble down to Queen St and try to sell them; I hear they have a good street value and might help pay for some of this renovation.

I was down at Princess Margaret Hospital this morning for an 8:45 appointment with Dr. McCready (my oncologist surgeon) and after waiting for an hour I finally saw him. I always forget how boyishly cute he is until he smiles. He checked out my chest mound and said with his big toothy grin "that looks just great!" Paul says I should stop calling my chest mound a chest mound, that it might be depressing me. I think he finds it kind of icky.

But I have to say, I have NEVER had so many positive remarks about my breasts until I had to lose one and replace it with a CHEST MOUND. I feel a bit like Pamela Anderson - more than a bit actually.

Anyway, he reiterated that it was strictly DCIS and my lymph nodes were clear but did suggest seeing a radiologist to get their opinion because it was such a close margin. In his opinion he didn't feel I needed radiation. I'm hoping not to go through with it because it would ruin the natural look created by my fabulous plastic surgeon.

On to house news.

Brace yourself, I'm actually including a few pictures. Something my blog has seriously been lacking. I have to tried to make up for this deficiency, mind you, by sharing all the ridiculous drama in my life.

First the insurance company sent over someone to reassess my house so that my insurance payments will only go way up. I did such a sad job tidying the kitchen but thought what a perfect opportunity to finally share what it looks like so far, especially since we picked up a Christmas tree on Saturday. Unfortunately no chance of the tree lasting until Christmas; Haemish, after initially being suspicious of it, now thinks of it as his own personal jungle gym.

After the insurance guy left, Tim arrived to INSTALL THE DOORS FOR THE POWDER ROOM and the entrance to the basement. This makes me so incredibly happy because Jakey has decided that the powder room is his personal pooping room. He arms himself with his Nintendo Gameboy and off he goes for 20 minutes. Longer if I forget about him. The smell is enough to clear the house. And he's such a little guy - he's quite content to just sit there in his own stench for the entire evening, playing his Gameboy, until I pull his little red bottom off of it. And then he complains he's lost all feeling in his legs because the circulation has been cut off forever.

Sorry, I digressed a bit. This living with only guys pushes me over the edge occasionally. Even Arthur the (male) cat refuses to cover his mess in the litter box. He just looks at it with disdain (or maybe it's pride, I don't know) and waddles away.

Here are pictures of the doors.

After Tim left and I finally had a chance to lay down, I heard a knock on the door. It was the electrical inspector to give final inspection. I was cranky because I hadn't been warned he would be coming and you really should never get between me and a nap. But after calls to Paul and to John, I let him in and John showed up minutes later to talk to him. A few things need to be fixed but other than that, everything is fine. The inspector left with the admonition to John to make sure he lets his clients know at least 24 hours in advance before an inspection. John said "Definitely!" and then rolled his eyes.

Now do I try again for what is becoming that elusive nap or do I wait for Ron to show up to finish the plastering and sanding in the powder room before the painters come tonight? I think I just might try.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Excellent news!

I had my first post-op appointment with Dr. Lipa (my plastic surgeon) today and she had a copy of my pathology report: the cancer was contained in the breast, there was no spreading to the lymph nodes. But it was close, 0.09 mm close. A number which had me mixing Baileys in to the left-over coffee when Paul and I returned from the hospital.

House news: not so wonderful. Blown off again by both painters and Ron. At least the heating guys came and installed the humidifier. And there is an advantage to looking like death, the younger one brought up all the recycling bins to my front porch for me.

Time to get another needle for the old voodoo doll.

But I can't describe how relieved I am, now I only have to focus on healing...and harassing the contractor.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I have been retired by my nurse. She came by today to check the incisions and has proclaimed me healed sufficiently and that I will not need further care. She was saddened by the occasion; it was obvious by the emotion and great affection shown that I was her favourite patient. Perhaps because I share the same birthday as her 10-year-old son, perhaps because I'm probably her easiest patient, or perhaps because I offered her cinnamon buns the first time around and sympathized with her early start to the day. She came as close to hugging me good bye as you can someone who has just had major surgery and is walking around like an 80-year-old woman holding her insides together.

Good bye nurse, I never did remember your name.

Ron never showed up today which was disconcerting because he had left a half-ass plastering job in the powder room with the intention of fixing it today and the painters are coming tomorrow to do the final touch up. The Pella guys came today to replace the defective door and found that the replacement door has a good size dent in it and will also need replacing. The three Pella guys were very tall. Incredibly tall. I felt like a young girl beside them - and I'm just shy of 5'10". Maybe it's because I'm stooped and probably closer to 5'7" right now and weigh in at a waifish 127 pounds. But they were so polite and nice and so very very tall...and loud. The main guy spoke in loud booming voice, it was as if he had a bit of a giant gene mixed in to the old DNA cocktail. But I quite liked them and was sad when they finally left over 2 hours later.

Satchel came home with a couple of friends and when the father came to pick up one of the kids he asked if my paleness was due to the surgery and being tired. I said "Definitely, and also because of the constant pain but then there's also all the fabulous drugs I've been given - like heroine."

Oh, I'm just kidding. With all the cut backs to the health care system, they'll only hand out crack.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I think I have managed to modify my blog so that anyone can comment - now if I could only figure out how to determine how many people actually ready it...
With the last bandage removed yesterday, so came my first shower today. I can't even begin to describe how good it felt. Feeling completely invigorated, I was motiviated to get dressed, and not just a clean pair of pj's, actual clothes.

The only downside is that with the removal of the final bandages came the removal of the final bandages. I now have to see myself in all my cut up glory.

The plumber came today and (hopefully) fixed the sink. I could hear swearing from the bathroom but I chose to ignore it. Pella stood me up because it's a "small" job but I am told that they will be here tomorrow. The painters are coming Thursday to fix up the place. The powder room and basement door has been taken away to see what can be done regarding the colour. And the missing hardware, the all important handle, for the french door will be replaced next Wednesday - about time seeing as John knew it disappeared months ago.

Martha is bringing me lunch today, I think I hear her at the door.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I fucking hate this reno process. Fucking hate it. The doors for the basement and powder room just got dropped off and they're the wrong colour - they look like shit. I am so fucking sick of this. Nothing works out. ever. The new pella door has marks all over it that look likes tar.

I'm going to flip out.

Everytime we take a step towards completion we get knocked back two steps.

At this point would I recommend my contractor? NO!

And where is my nurse? I really want to have a nap.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday and the house is quiet. Paul has taken the kids to my office Christmas party. I kind of wanted to go - kept weighing my options: if I pop strong pain killers, put on a clean pair of pajamas and just sit while all the activity swirls around me...well that wouldn't be so bad. And I could have one of the latte's that I have been so desperately missing.

Anyway, I'm here at home in my dirty pajamas, listening to Blue Rodeo on the stereo and enjoying the solitude.

We were blown off again on Friday by the contractor - the plumber and the doors were supposed to come. Paul didn't want to call but he's going back to work on Monday and I'll be up to my own devices. And I'll call, constantly. Between naps anyway.

I was helping Jakob write his letter to Santa yesterday and wanted to share a part of his letter:

Dear Santa,

My name is Jakob. I have been very good this year. I take good care of both my cats, if I hurt people I say sorry and I hug my parents.

Please try to bring the whole family presents, and all the houses...Except for one house: Callum's.

Then he continues with his never ending list of desires. I put the pen down after getting a hand cramp.

I also have to tell you that I weigh the same as what I did in 1991, the year I got married. And my stomach is ridiculously flat with a gigantic smile - a bit old happy face. The verdict is still out on the breast.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm weepy today. I think everything is taking it's toll on me. I'm sore, I don't know my body, I'm limited to what I can do, my house is filthy...I wish the nurse would come so that I can go have a nap.

Fortunately (heavy use of sarcasm here), Ron the sub-contractor stayed away from the house the entire time I was away at the hospital, only to return my first full day home. On Tuesday. There are so many problems that keep getting added to the deficiency list. The kitchen sink leaks, the powder room sink leaks and is ruining the paint job - this added to all the other problems. There are still no doors for the basement or powder room. Every time something gets fixed, it's worse. The powder room now pours water on the floor instead of leaking it in behind the wall. The light fixture was finally rehung but so poorly it looks like it's going to fall down and Ron damaged the ceiling.

I still have no idea where anything is, all I know is that it's in the basement.

No wonder I'm weeping.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm home! I survived my mastectomy and reconstruction!

But it was 15 hours long, not the 8 hours that had initially stressed me about.

And I feel like I was hit by a truck, which then backed up and then drove off again. But that's why the good drugs are dispensed I suppose and with the drugs, the insane dreams to keep me entertained.

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement during this time, it truly helped me get through it. My thanks especially to my incredible plastic surgeon, Dr. Joan Lipa, for her amazing work. I had tried to prepare myself for the end results by looking at images of other women who had gone through similar surgeries and I couldn't be happier with the results. Dr. Lipa is quite an artist as well as accomplished surgeon; a young beautiful willowy blonde with a team of young handsome doctors. One nurse likened her and her entourage to that of a rock star.

I will write later but wanted to get one quick note out saying that I am fine and am thrilled the surgery is finally over so that I can now focus on healing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More house news...I just couldn't resist throwing the images of Haemish in to the blog.

The appliance installers came Monday so that we finally had, well, appliances. They were twins: Dave & Bill. Their company: Twin Installations. They were hysterical - both heavily in to online poker. Dave was more fun than Bill, Bill was going through poker withdrawal.

The plumber finally showed up on Tuesday to connect the powder room sink so that we now had 2 sinks: the basement and the powder room. The main bathroom taps that were supposed to arrive Tuesday at TAPs did not show up until Thursday morning - the day the stainless steel guy showed up and also the plumber. By Thursday night we now had access to all sinks and a dishwasher and a washing machine. Thursday night was spent clearing all the dirty dishes that had piled up since Saturday.

Friday night we had our first guests over for drinks and take out: Kim & Scott from next door and Lauraine from work. It felt wonderful to be able to entertain - even amongst the dirt and the boxes.

Saturday our contractor left for Disneyland.

Sunday we began to compile our list of everything we are not happy with and what still needs to be done, it's quite a long list.

I'm going to start clearing off the island so I can take a few more pictures.

Before I go though, I must show you the green both Satch and Jakob chose for their bedroom. I have to avert my eyes every time I walk in to their rooms. I limited it to one wall each. This is taken before the carpeting was installed - also last Friday, before the move. Both greens are the same, more close in colour to the lime in Jakob's pictures vs. the picture of Satchel's room.

I came home to find Haemish enjoying the new bathroom...

...and also his new favourite past time.

Haemish. He's a little devil that one.
Saturday came and with it 3 movers and a not as big truck as I was led to believe. Paul's brother also joined us and his brother-in-law showed as well.

We were not ready. Paul went to the house with a car load of stuff and to await the arrival of the movers. I watched the kids, packed and coordinated the movers from this end. Yves (Paul's brother) packed kitchen stuff and then would ferry car loads to the house. Absolute madness.

Meanwhile, the plumber never showed up, the sub-contractor was at the house trying to finish a few things up before the movers came - it was a really horrible day. By the time the movers left, at just after 3 in the afternoon, we were all exhausted emotionally and physically.

And here are a few pictures to what we arrived at:

One (exceptionally beautiful) kitchen with no island top, sink or appliances.

But at least we are home and even with all the inconveniences, we are so happy to be here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where do I continue from...

Saturday during the move the plumber was to return to hook up sinks. He blew us off. The stainless steel guy ended up saying that ___ had been 2 days late in giving him his deposit so the stainless steel wasn't even finished. It would take days before we had working sinks and a dishwasher. Until Thursday in fact when the plumber came in to install the faucets that had been reordered from Montreal, hook up the dishwasher, the washing machine and the sinks.

We were down to the last of our clean dishes when I kicked myself thinking why hadn't we used paper plates.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

We are home! And most importantly we're back sleeping in our wonderful, fantastic, comfortable, KING-SIZED bed again! After roughly 180 days, we are finally getting a good night sleep. Well, Paul may contest that since he had to up and get PNEUMONIA. But I digress.

The move was hell. HELL.

I took Friday, October 27th off to prepare for the Saturday movers. Instead of packing I spent the day running around trying to put out fires because most of our taps didn't work. Either they were defective, didn't fit, were the wrong product... Then the light fixtures didn't fit, weren't up to code, looked horrible...

Every few minutes Ron would call with another problem to solve.

Thankfully Dave & Jodie drove in from London to help for the day and Dave spent most of the time driving around with Paul which helped keep him fairly calm. And Jodie kept me company as I drove to TAPs and back and tried to find quick replacement light fixtures from neighbourhood the rain. A side note, when Paul and Dave were at TAPs, they ran in to Sarah Richardson, Jodie was a tad jealous I think. We saw no one, even though we arrived mere moments after they had left.

By the end of Friday, when all was to be done (except for a few doors installed) so we could move in comfortably on the Saturday: we had no sinks except for the laundry tub in the basement, no appliances hooked up, no stainless steel counter top on the island and the place was filthy.

I desperately tried to reschedule the movers to Sunday to give me one more day to ready myself for them but no luck, in fact just to test my sanity they showed up early.

I will write more tomorrow, I need to go reacquaint myself with the king size bed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This is how stupid my life is: Paul has pneumonia and we're set to move this weekend. And it's Paul's second day at his new job.

Do you ever feel like the gods are bored and have decided (just for fun) to see how much havoc they can wreck in your life before you completely snap?

Ron called; my bathroom lights from Restoration Hardware are too small for the boxes that have been installed so they need to be returned and I have to quickly find wider ones. Can I find my receipt for the fucking lights. Of course not.

The handle for the back french door is still missing. Ron is adamant that Paul took it home with the bathroom stuff (Paul didn't, it's not here - unless it's with the Restoration Hardware receipt) but I think it's more he's afraid of John's wrath because John is going to have to spend the $450 to replace it.

I'll rant later - must put away groceries, keep looking for receipt and then get kids.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

There only a few days left until we move home, but so much still needs to be done.

In fact, there is absolutely no way John is going to be finished on time; but really, we're tough and considering how long we've slept on that horrible double bed (just to prove how tough we are), what's not having a kitchen sink for a couple of weeks? Of course having said that, I did a bit of a pirouette in the bedroom today and put out my upper back and neck.

This afternoon I went to Ikea to look at lighting. I picked up a couple for over the island and one for the top of the stairs leading to the basement. But I'm constantly filled with self-doubt; if only I had an unlimited budget. As soon as I brought the two lights home I began to question them: Are they too big? Are they really horrible? What should I do? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Breath, breathing is good.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm off to Yorkdale Mall to Homesense to check out bathroom hardware by Umbra - they have a BOGOFHO (or whatever the ridiculous acronym is).

I'm far behind on the choosing of light fixtures as I'm reminded by John and Paul. Well maybe if I had Ringo and George...never mind. I'm too tired to be witty. I still need powder room, library, top of stairs - is that it? Maybe replacements for kitchen island.

Right now I'm banned from the house so I can't take any pictures of the paint job; the staining of floors is in progress. The stainers were able to start Friday and should be finished Tuesday - a few days early. But again the self doubt nags me - I hope the chosen colour looks okay. At least I know I can always blame the breast cancer: "I was preoccupied!" I'll say to anyone who questions what we've done.

Time to go brush my teeth and get some rest - must look pretty for Dr. McCready tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

But of course life wouldn't feel as overwhelming if I had a bag to crawl in to.

Today has been a horrible day. Not only has it pissed down rain for the entire day but I have entered my 5th day of virtually no sleep - thank you Jakob.

The start of the day had me yelling at Jakob (yes, I'm harbouring resentment, I need sleep!) because that child of Paul's is incredibly rude. I only admit to him during the sweet times.

Then because of the rain I opted to cram my body into a packed smelly subway car because it was too miserable to walk and the yelling at Jakob took up precious time.

Canadian Blood Services called to remind me of my appointment on Thursday to donate - which I do religiously every 2 months - only to tell me that they were retiring me as a donor because of my breast cancer. I had figured that because it was DCIS and I was having a mastectomy and no chemo or radiation I would be fine to continue after the recommended amount of time post surgery. I thought wrong. The woman did tell me that I have helped save 21 lives with this past 1 year plus of donating. I wanted to cry. I hate how this breast cancer is starting to define me and dictate the terms of my life.

My crappy day continued with a bad headache that even Tylenol wouldn't curb.

I drove over to the house to drop off hardware for the doors and found my car wasn't handling properly. Once I parked and got out I found the tire deflated to the rim. I left the car and walked in the pouring rain to pick up the kids. Jakob cried because we had to walk home. We dropped by the house with Satchel, Jakob, Geoff and Ethan and then continued home to the rental house. We were all soaked so I threw the boys pants and socks and Jakob's beloved Spiderman coat into the dryer. Unfortunately one of the kids neglected to tell me that he had a black marker and a bottle of white out in his pants pocket (who carries white out in their pockets anymore?) and both exploded in the dryer covering EVERYTHING. Especially Jakob's coat which now looks like a piece by Pollock.

Wait until Jakob sees it. To make matters worse, I think someone has stolen his fabulous firefighter style raincoat from the daycare.

My contractor called to say that the kitchen that was installed wasn't the same as the drawings he had been given or the plan that had been outlined on the floor and therefore the pendant lights over the island are out of placement. The electrician is coming tomorrow morning so I need to go over tonight in the pissing rain to mark where they should be.

And I am completely out of wine.

If I didn't have a bunch of screaming boys in the basement playing gamecube I would rest my head on the table and weep.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Our little Haemish is home again, he left a boy and returned a eunuch. But he seems okay with it.

Arthur on the other hand...

Friday, October 13, 2006

The surgery date has been confirmed: November 21 is M-day.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

My boys were desperate for a proper Thanksgiving dinner so off we went to the grocery store to see what we could find.

The smallest fresh turkey weighed in at nearly 14 pounds, huge considering we are a small family of four and I knew that Jakob would have none of it. But it was fabulous and I'm sure I've gained back most of the weight I've lost over the past 4 weeks. We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, carrots and peas - finishing up with pumpkin pie and ice cream.

I am so incredibly full.

Fantastic news: our rental home is rented for November 1. Hopefully we will have no problems getting our deposit cheque back from the landlords as it will nicely cover the cost of the stainless steel top and sink for our gigantic new island!

The painters have worked all weekend. I think because we're tired we keep defaulting to the non-colour Cloud White. Everytime John calls us and says "we need a colour for X room," my eyes lose focus, I rest my head on my arm and say "just do cloud white."

Here is what I give thanks for: first and most importantly, my family and my friends. Without all of you my life would be such a struggle and you make this journey of mine much easier. Second: that my beautiful boys are healthy and strong. Third: that my house is nearly finished and we'll be moving back in 3 weeks and our rental house is no longer our financial burden! Finally, kind of tied with number three, that we will be back sleeping in our king sized bed once again (thank God, for that double mattress, even with the memory foam top, is killing us and we intentionally try to farm Satchel out for sleepovers just so one of us can have his bed) and we will once again have a dishwasher - and a housecleaner as soon as we find a new one.

For the record, we haven't slept in our beloved kind size for roughly 182 nights.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The kitchen was installed today - look at how beautiful it is!

Next Tuesday Jon returns with countertops and John is getting stainless steel priced for us for the island.

I am also enclosing a picture of the bathroom that shows off the tiles we chose for both floor and walls.

It's count down time! We may even have someone to take over the rental house - a family showed up yesterday and today to take a peek. This would be fabulous!

My other news, because this reno is no longer only about the house but also my body, is that I met with the plastic surgeon today and now have many decisions to make. When do I want to do the reconstruction, immediately or afterwards. What kind of reconstruction do I want to do - implants/autogenous/combination of both?

What I want to say is that I really just want to keep my body the way it is thank you very much. But I suppose that would be akin to walking around with a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. Right now I'm leaning towards autogenous reconstruction which would leave me on the operating table for 8+ hours, 4-5 days in the hospital and scars that would rival Frankenstein. Plus a second surgery to create the finishing touches (you really need to be part surgeon, part artist in this line of work) and tuck in the dog ears that would result from the hip to hip scar. I should ask to see how Dr. Lipa wraps her Christmas presents - if she wraps like I do, those dog ear flaps are going to hang to my knees. If she wraps like a friend of mine, I'll look pretty darn good.

I'm beginning to know way too much about this &$^#.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My life is so surreal right now.

I had a voice message at my office from my surgeon's assistant. In a sing song kind of voice, she apologized for missing my last call and then told me that there has been a cancellation next week (the 12th) if I would like it for my mastectomy. Or the next available appointment is on the 26th. The woman who was initially booked next week needs to have chemo before her surgery.

I just want to scream "this isn't a hair appointment! So no thank you, I don't want to have my breast cut off next week. I don't want my breast cut off EVER!"

I also received pamphlets today from my plastic surgeon for me to go over before my appointment outlining various forms of implants and types of reconstruction.

I also had a message from John the contractor to hurry up and choose paint colours because he would like the painters to start on Thursday.

Breast implants and paint colours. These are the choices I need to make quickly.

I think I need a drink. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

More non-reno news.

Because my life just doesn't have enough drama in it.

I had a call from Jakob's daycare yesterday saying "don't worry, he's fine (they always preface every call with that), but he's had an accident on the teeter totter and there's quite a bit of blood and I think one of his front teeth is wiggly."

I called Paul asking if there was anyway he could go get Jakey because Bob & Bill (my big brothers) were taking me out for lunch and I didn't know how to get in touch with them until meeting at our prearranged destination. Paul said sure.

It turns out what the daycare should have said was "don't worry, he's fine, he's just driven one of his teeth up into his gums and his gums are swollen and bleeding and the other tooth is really wiggly and he really should be promptly driven to the hospital or emergency dentist."

Which is what happened.

Thank goodness the dental clinic at Sick Kids was empty and took Jakob right away. While Paul sat in the dentist chair with his legs wrapped around Jakob's legs, Paul's arms pinning Jakob's arms, an attendant holding Jakob's head, Jakob screaming "FOR GOD'S SAKE, STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", they froze his mouth with needles and removed both teeth.

My first thought was "Thank God picture day was Thursday." and then I gave him his birthday present early - a Pikachu Gameboy Advance SP. He was so happy, he kept lisping "Thank you Mommy, I love it!" And then the toothfairy came and left him a neatly stacked pile of 20 quarters beside his now empty toothfairy box.

Here are a few pictures of toothless Jakey (and then the battery died on my camera). I can just imagine what his school picture is going to look like, even with teeth.

I tried, I really tried.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I have non-renovation news which will explain why I haven't been writing.

I have been diagnosed with DCIS, a non-invasive breast cancer confined to the milk ducts, and the recommendation is that I have a mastectomy. I'm still in shock having just been given the news this past Friday. Especially since less than 3 weeks ago I thought I was the vision of health - sure I wanted to lose 5-8 pounds, complained that my body always hurt when I first got up in the morning, thought about doing a few sit-ups, heading back to the gym, eating more vegetables, trying to make my stomach look more like a stomach and not something that belonged on my lower backside (you know what I mean and thank god for photoshop)...but all in all, I thought I was in pretty darn good shape.

And then the bomb dropped - what started with my going to the doctor complaining of something that felt like an infection, thinking she would hand me a prescription for antibiotics, pat me on my head and send me on my way turned into my needing a mammogram and then getting a message 15 minutes later to come back to the hospital for more tests. And so I had a deeper scan, then an ultrasound, and while still on the table dripping with the goo they use, I had a biopsy.

Overwhelmed and sore I walked home from the hospital trying to collect myself before getting the kids. And then DCIS started being bandied about and I had an appointment quickly booked with Dr. McCready last Friday morning at Princess Margaret and a breast MRI scheduled that Friday night.

Dr. McCready explained that the DCIS was so wide-spread (and I'm not that big) that it was impossible to do a lumpectomy with the traditional follow-up of radiation but would instead have to do a mastectomy. The upside is that if it is solely DCIS I will need no further treatment - after all, there's nothing left to treat. If there is a rogue cancer cell spreading in to my lymph nodes then I will need to have further surgery to remove them and go through chemo.

My emotions are all over the map. Before writing this I wanted to talk to everyone in my family personally and after speaking to my Mom last night and my brother Thomas tonight, it was time to write.

Not that timing is ever good but I really wish we were back in the house before I found out because decisions still need to made, life still needs to go on while I try to deal with something dark and scary. I also want to recover at home where I am surrounded by my wonderful friends.

I have an appointment scheduled with a plastic surgeon for next week to discuss reconstruction and am awaiting a date for surgery; probably in a month.

But I will be fine, I will get through this, and then Paul and I are going on a vacation,...without the kids.

Now, on to the house.

I will add a few pictures because since I last wrote I now have the insulation pictures as well as shots of the house with drywall. I need to go back again because now that the plastering and sanding is finished, primer has gone up and again the house is transformed. We are down to details now. John was hoping to finish up for October 15 but it's not possible and we now have a date of October 26 for having appliances delivered so I suppose we can move in any time after that. Now if I can only find someone to sublet this house for a few months (call me or email me if you know of anyone who would like to rent a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house with a finished basement and laundry room!).

We have chosen the tiles for the bathroom and I love them! For the floor, a colour comparable to lagos blue limestone; for the vanity something lighter, speckly, made of limestone - and because John has the sample I can't tell you what it's called. They are beautiful together - they would be insanely stunning if we could have afforded the Water Works sink we initially looked at but are still beautiful with the wood vanity.

We have chosen doors for the bedrooms and bathroom and they look great. I want to try to achieve a french apartment look on the second floor for the room I call the "library" and the white doors with their 2 simple rectangle design will compliment the look. For the powder room and basement I wanted a darker flat panel door in keeping with the kitchen design and of course, crazy me, I thought they would be simple and less expensive to get. Something even Home Depot could provide. But no, John will have them custom made and I will be presented with yet another change order. We have very expensive taste it seems.

But seeing the rooms transform makes me so very excited that we will be going home in a month. Hopefully before the surgery happens.

On to the pictures...

For some reason this cursed blogging program has randomly thrown in the pictures which drives the incredibly anal side of me INSANE since I had plotted them quite carefully to show the transition from insulation to drywall for each room. But f**k it, it's 11:30, I want to go to bed and get this bit of news posted.

The following pictures in random order include the kitchen, Satchel's room, Jakob's room, the library, the hallway leading from the boys' room to the library, and the bathroom with the heating coils.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Much is happening in our little house. We have walls...WALLS! And not just pink fuzzy insulation, actual drywall is in place and it's being taped. I can walk through the house and see the size and shape of the physical space - the kitchen is going to be fantastic. Now becomes a time of excitement as I visualize what the rooms can be transformed in to.

And our contractor is really working hard to get us home for October...I may just have to remove a few pins from the earlier voodoo doll I created because he also has a client that he wants to try to convince to take over our rental house for a few months.

We're having a lot of problems with the inspector - for the most part it works to our advantage because his demands ensure the work is perfect though potentially delays the job and always seems to cost us more money, but he is also driving John crazy. His last directive is insane. The firebox over Jakob's bedroom window that was approved by the city, the box that was the only way to ensure we could install a window due to fire regulations, is now 1" too big according to the inspector. The firebox has also tripled in price since John installed one on an earlier job only months ago. Rather than $1,400 (the only price that John was able to put down with absolute confidence because he had just installed it) is now $5,000. Fucking manufacturer, fucking inspector. I brainstormed and thought I had found a solution; because we had removed the bathroom window on the same wall, the bedroom would be the equivalent space and therefore grandfathered the new window from any city bylaws. Hopefully the inspector wouldn't realize that the bathroom window was much smaller than the bedroom window. Unfortunately he did notice. I'm not sure if he feels we should remove the window, put the firebox on the inside of the house, tear down the entire side of the house and move it in 1". John's trying to find another manufacturer who might make them an inch smaller in size and also in line with the original quote - he also suggested we just bash the box to the right size, though it wouldn't exactly work anymore. I'd like to say fuck the box, tell the inspector we will install the correct size at the end of the reno and then tell him that it's in the process of being made which will take FOREVER. The inspector didn't even seem receptive to having William (our neighbour) sign an affidavit saying he was fine with the 1 inch - after all, it's on the second floor and barely visible unless your a contortionist. I'm feeling the need to create a new voodoo doll.

Anyway, the plan today is to torture the children and take them to Olympia Tile to choose the tiles we want in the bathroom. They are going to love us, for it was only yesterday that we bundled the darlings in to the car complete with gameboys but no snack and drove through horrible traffic to find that they are closed on Saturdays. And now we get to do it again.

This weekend we also need to choose the style of doors for the room (I don't really like any of the options, but it could be because I will miss the heavy wood doors that we had but could not be salvaged and will be replaced with hollow core masonite), the colour of flashing, the stain colour for the wood floors (we did choose the size of planking). I need to order a kitchen sink - the source of another debate - and faucet and order stone for the bathroom vanity. So many decisions that sometimes I feel like I can't breath.

I experienced my first MRI Friday morning; I can understand why people would opt to be sedated. I had to be at the hospital for 4:30 am and it was actually quite pleasant driving the streets of downtown Toronto at that time. It had rained earlier so the streets were wet and reflected the colours of Honest Ed's and there were very few cars on the road. I was taken in to change almost immediately and then put on the bed. The technician wrapped me in a blanket warm from a dryer, put earplugs in my ears, a weight on my hand, the device on my shoulder and in I went. I opened my eyes briefly, felt like I was in a coffin, thought this is why people freak out, quickly shut my eyes and pretended I was on a noisy beach. I should find out the results in a couple of weeks.

Time to try the brownies that Jakob and I baked this morning. I have to download the insulation pictures and then will include them.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'm back after my 9-day hiatus.

What have I been doing these past days? Well, dear readers, I have been scuba diving in the warm waters of the South China Sea, sampling wines in southern Italy, deciphering hieroglyphics in the Valley of the Kings and working on my first novel which is destined to become a great literary hit and eventually turned into a fabulous movie staring fabulous people.

What have I really been doing?

Satchel and Jakob returned to school, grade 5 and senior kindergarten respectively and both seem to be enjoying it. Satchel usually does enjoy school, Jake...well, I'm not holding my breath, but he does quite like Ms. David. When I ask him what she's like, he says "well, she has long hair that's blonde and big and kind of goes like this (hand motions across the forehead, I think he means bangs) and she's bigger than you and daddy." I think that means she can take us.

Paul and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on the 7th of September and had a wonderful evening out together while Pat watched our boys for us.

We spoke with John about moving into our house in October but it doesn't seem likely. Though there does seem to be quite a bit of activity going on in the house and in fact they should start drywalling tomorrow. Our next decisions to make are floor stain and tiles.

Lets see what recent photos I can include.

This is a picture of the kitchen with potlights being set up. It's not an exciting picture so I will also add a picture of my little Jakob who is growing so quickly and has discovered "Crazy Frog" courtesy of his brother.

I will swing by the house today and take a picture, I understand that insulation is in place and vapour barrier so that should provide a great photo opportunity.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Look at the back of my house!

Compared to what it was (a few short stressful months ago)....