Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I stopped by the house on Friday and there was great progress! We now have a foundation and a subfloor. It was amazing to see, I now have a defined space. "This is our kitchen!" I said to Satchel and Jakob. Their response was rolling their eyes. They just don't get it.

By Monday end-of-day, walls! We have walls! The kids rolled their eyes again. Be wary of doing that I warned, your eyes will stick. Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera.

When I spoke with Ray on Monday, he was in a bit of a mood. Turns out he shovelled all of the stones around the foundation and then found out the majority of the stones were meant for the basement floor. This meant that Tuesday would be spent shovelling all the stones in through the basement window, delaying the reno process by a day.

I found out today that because the weather was calling for rain, the crew didn't show up. Only Ray, shovelling the stones.

This weekend we drove in to London to talk to Shirley about the kitchen. We confirmed quite a few things, colour, hardware, counter top surface, wall of cabinets which include the appliances, the island...but I'm still struggling with the other side of the wall. This really is taking years off my life.

Here's a completely off-topic picture - for Thomas really. Arthur hanging out in a bag. This had Jakob in stitches.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I am sitting at my table, drinking a glass of red wine (only ONE glass of wine Mom and besides, it's good for me), exhausted from having just paid $50,000 in bills. $50,000. Insane. I have writers cramp. Once again it was one of those situations where on two cheques (2nd installment to John, final payment to Ian for drawings and design) I couldn't even fit the numbers on to one line. I had to do some creative wrapping.

At least I now have fully charged batteries in my digital camera so off I went to the house after picking up Satchel to take a few pictures.

There is fantastic progress on the foundation. Building will be starting next week. I am desperate to come home. This "camping" experience is wearing thin. I finally hung some paintings around the first floor of the house so it's looking a bit more like home but we're still living amongst boxes and I fear that we (Paul) have unconsciously decided what is the point of unpacking when we'll be going home soon. Of course I'll be insane by the time we move back because clutter and mess really push me over the edge and obviously Paul is a man who likes to live dangerously by keeping me in this volatile state of mind.

I have also included a picture of our heavily protected $1,400 tree - only missing guard detail - safe at least from the dog down the street and it's negligent owner who only picks up WHEN SOMEONE IS WATCHING. #*&@$^ city. That money better be back in our pocket by the end of the year. There's a stainless steel dishwasher with my name on it and that money is going to pay for it.

After our photo shoot, I took Satchel to his favourite place for dinner (I hesitate to actually call it a restaurant because that would imply quality food), McDogfood. But look how happy he is, polishing off two double cheeseburgers and a carton of chocolate milk.

Afterwards I took Jakey to Wychwood Park to feed bread to the ducks - four male mallards, battling it out for some cracked wheat. Jake had such a good time.

Paul is still sucking on popsicles but finally feels as though has turned a corner with the tonsillectomy. He's still experiencing pain but the pressure seems to be easing off, especially where it had moved in to his ears. He's also refusing to let me take his picture or a picture of the two pussy white medallions that used to be his tonsils. He can't hide from me forever.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I've been delinquent in writing, I know, but it's been an incredibly busy time in our lives. We met up with John on Sunday to confirm the windows (Pella) and go over the budget to see if there is anywhere we can save money. We found that there is in fact no where to cut back and we will instead have to take a zen-like approach to this reno and accept what will be will be. At the end of the project we will beg the bank to renegotiate our mortgage AGAIN to pay the extra.

On Saturday, Paul, Jake & I took a trip back to hell, I mean Taps, to completely throw away our marriage, I mean look at bathroom/kitchen fixtures. Nothing pushes Paul over the edge more than shopping with children. And Jake is not easy. He's cute, but not easy. Especially when he's systematically dismantling all of the floor displays. So we did what all good parents do, we bribed him with candy from the vending machines conveniently situated at the front of the store. As we looked at all the wonderful things Taps had to offer, we realized that NOTHING was within the budget that John prepared. I have no idea where we're supposed to find the toilets, tubs, sinks, fixtures for the amount that he has listed. May as well bite the bullet and buy what we like, what's a couple thousand more when you're already $30,000 over budget.

Monday, Paul had his tonsils removed. We left the house at 6:15 am to drive to Newmarket with the kids. The surgery went very well and Paul is recovering nicely. I hung out for part of the day in a large mall and let the kids go wild in various toy stores. I nearly broke my nose in Zellers while reaching for a toy on the top shelf. I misjudged the reach and the box came crashing down on to the bridge of my nose. The pain was incredible. While holding my nose together, bent over, seeing stars, I could hear the sound of my children screaming "Mom, look at this transformer isn't it cool watch what it does in its other form look mom come on isn't it the coolest look at the back it's only $20
jakob could have the green one I want the red one don't you think it's the cooler of the two? mom Mom MOM MOM MOM MOM!!!!!!!"

My nose isn't broken though still very tender. My state of mind on the other hand...

Back to the house. The footings have been poured and the new foundation is being put up in the existing basement. It looks great, very sturdy and dry. It's incredible how small the existing basement looks now, it's really hard to believe that the space used to contain a laundry room and another room filled with all of our treasures/junk. We also found out today that the surveyor has advised John that our house has to be pushed back 3" because it needs to be a certain distance from the property line and that our neighbour's deck actually encroaches 10" over the property line. Fortunately we can leave their deck as is and think about shaving a bit off in the spring and as much as I hate to lose even 3" of space, have conceded to moving the wall in. After writing this little bit, it seems so innocent now, but I can't tell you how much stress it caused me and my neighbour Kim. I am fairly confident that this encouraged another pound lost today. Well maybe not quite a pound since I drank 1/2 bottle of wine at Kim's. A few ounces anyway.

I really miss my house, my neighbours and my street.

The other upside is that after spending $600 at Costco on the weekend, (very dangerous place to go in to) we now have a memory foam for our bed and what a difference it makes!

Friday, June 09, 2006

It has been said by my husband that my reno blog contains more of my ramblings than actual reno information.

"What ever" I say in return.

So anyway, yesterday was the fun fair at my kid's school. The cupcakes that Jakob and I made were a huge hit - nothing makes a child shriek in delight more than icing, gummy worms, sprinkles and smarties. The kids had a fantastic time though Satchel had sprained his baby finger during gym and had it taped and iced when I arrived at the school. He was not happy - I would say he cried for at least 45 minutes. Even the gym teacher became concerned. Mr Peretta kept pulling me over saying he was fine during gym, he said it hurt but he wasn't crying. I said Satchel has a strong sensitive side and then I mouthed "suck it up princess!" Fortunately for Satchel he doesn't read lips. I think he was more upset that he was missing out on a lot of the activities of the fun fair but after a while, he forgot about his major disability and ran off with his friends to play.

9 year old boys are like pack animals with no sense of direction.

Afterwards we dropped by Pat's for a cooler and then stopped by the house to see the progress. (I still can't find my battery recharger for my camera and also see Paul, reno news) The footings have been framed and are ready for pouring on Monday. Strings are marking where the addition will be built too. Somewhere under a huge pile of muck lie my patio stones. And my plants. Farewell plants, you were too high maintenance anyway.

This weekend we were planning on going to London to visit my Mom since it's been far too long and also my sister to go over a kitchen design. Instead we are now having to go bathroom shopping on Saturday and have a meeting scheduled with John on Sunday to go over the changes and also to go over the window bids since they need to be ordered NOW. I bet you 78 cents in Canadian Tire money that they are going to cost much more than what was budgeted. I just have that feeling. That just been punched in the stomach feeling that I've been getting a lot lately.

Of course I might have the flu.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Paul talked to John the contractor today. I had him email me a list of the items covered off because frankly I'm exhausted and will forget to include most.

I took the kids to McDonald's for dinner tonight, a place of horrors most children would embrace as the best restaurant ever, but not my Jakob. Oh no. Instead he screamed in the car that he hated McDonald's, that the food was disgusting (of course it is) and wanted only to go to Rocky's for a treat. He finally chilled as we arrived but as we walked from the car to the entrance, he managed to walk straight into a garbage can, banging his head, falling to the ground and SCREAMING!

After an uneaten dinner we left my personal nightmare that is called McD and headed home where we baked cupcakes for the school's funfare (fund raiser). I'm not completely used to this electric stove but managed to pull them out before they completely turned black. A little icing, some smarties & sprinkles, maybe a gummy worm - no one will be the wiser.

Here's Paul's email:

John called with following update:

Let us know he has not forgotten us and our need to meet and wants to know our schedule.

He has received quotes from Pella.

They are widening the staircase and making them longer. However this means they are moving the wall (right wall) in the cubby space where the stereo unit was. Further they are achieving the stair width by replacing the existing foundation wall along the side of the stairs.

The ceiling clearance will be 6' 11" not 7' 1" because the footings on the existing foundation are not the same depth and he had to go with the average between them.

The hearth for the existing fireplace has been removed to accommodate the sistering of floor joists at that juncture. We can replace the hearth with stone or something at a later date.

They have completed the sistering (doubling) of all floor joists.

The new foundation wall needs to be 12" instead of 10" due to the height of the grade and the amount of Earth weight it needs to support thereto.

An inspector dropped by ( a neighbour complained, probably because of the noise) and approved all that is being done. However the inspector insisted on a soil testing to confirm that the footings are appropriate for the soil type.

They intend to pour the footings by Friday or Monday at the latest, as the weather (lots of water) has slowed things a bit. The surveyor is supposed to come Friday or Monday to mark the outside corners of the addition.

They have removed some sections of the existing foundation and are replacing those sections thereto.

I think that's it...

Later love,

So.......I wonder who complained?

Monday, June 05, 2006

The neighbours worked hard over the weekend to fill the new swimming pool.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday was a vicious day.

The quote for reinforcing the existing foundation was much higher (over 150% higher!) than was initially estimated by John. So much higher that I became completely depressed at work and couldn't talk to anyone. I am so stressed right now I can barely breath.

And today it's raining, pissing down rain without reprieve. A completely depressing day. Pat came over and helped me blonde my hair but instead of looking like Madonna from her Girlie Show Tour which I had hoped, it turned a horrible yellow colour that I hated in the early 80s when I would also bleach my hair. It reminded me of a time when an old friend from school, who is now on TV bleached, my hair. He covered my hair with a bag, took a blow dryer to it, I think it took 3 times what the box suggested. But it was great! A wonderful platinum blonde colour. I should have used a bag.

I hate it so much that I passed on going to an office party with Paul and will instead sit at home again with my kids, eating too much snack food, drinking way too much wine, and continuing to feel sorry for myself.

Back to the house. The excavator continued digging all day Friday. The hole would make a spectacular swimming pool. My friend Eve suggested that we should leave it a pool and keep the house as it. Rearranging the rooms of course now that the house is half the size. And then instead of camp the kids could come to my house everyday. And I would charge them camp fees and help pay off my ridiculous renovation costs.

Here's a shot of sad little me with my yellow hair. My battery just died on my digital camera so I didn't have the opportunity to keep taking pictures until I actually had a flattering shot.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I've just cut off all my hair - I look a little like Jamie Lee Curtis. I also bought a bottle of hair bleach so will hopefully look less like Jamie (no offense Jamie, but my looking like you also means I look a bit like a transvestite) and more like Madonna during her girlie show tour.

Lots of excitement going on at the house. Today was the beginning of the excavation so with three dump trucks lined up, the excavator and the skid steer began to dig. Unfortunately the skid steer broke down.

The neighbours marvelled at the skill of the dump truck drivers in how they maneuvered through the narrow lane way and managed not to take out their garages. I feel like quite the celeb as different people approach me, commenting on the project. I'm always a bit apprehensive, fearing they're really out to get me because of the early morning noise and commotion and are ready to make me pay...big time.

Pat, Ridley & Griffin came over for dinner. Ridley marked his territory outside as any 3 year old boy would do. Jakob tried to bite Paul in retaliation for refusing him popsicles so had a 5 minute time out and screamed the entire time. I drank, Pat popped Advil. No dying of my hair was done, I think I'll wait until Saturday morning so it's nice and filthy.