Monday, July 31, 2006

I haven't stopped by the house today but assume not much happened.

I have received two emails from John today: the first, a request for the next payment installment, and stating that windows and doors will be installed starting tomorrow and to pick out stucco, siding and eaves trough colours; the second that his hvac quote was way under (surprise) necessitating a change order for an extra $3,565.58, and when can he pick up the cheques.

I have been home today with my 2 lovely sons who hate the outdoors. Who would rather hole up in the dark playing gamecube all day. I had to drag them out in to the burning sunshine so that Satchel could be taken to his orthodontist appointment. You would think I was the worst mother in the world, exposing them to "fresh" Toronto air and light. And yet their skin didn't melt off, their eyes didn't pop out, bits and pieces didn't fall off...they were fine!

Nice thing is that Satchel no longer needs to wear a retainer - thank god, because his no longer fits and I really didn't feel like shelling out another $250. Also we don't have to go back for six months, which is great because as nice as Dr. Venditelli is, his blindingly unnatural bright white smile and spray-on tan completely unnerve me. He's one step away from turning in to George Hamilton. One other nice thing, it took roughly 25 minutes to drive home (normally a 7-minute drive) and Jakob fell asleep - and is still asleep!

When Paul goes to work out tonight, I'll have him check the house out for any improvements made and will dutifully report back.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I went to the house today, mainly to walk through in solitude before Paul and the kids showed up and take a few pictures. Outside of the bathroom stuff showing up I really don't think much was done this past week. The plumber didn't show up as scheduled, the electrician didn't show up... so what did the guys do outside of framing the stairs leading to the basement?

(A contentious point (but then aren't all the points contentious?) between Paul and myself as I think they were finished the week before, not yesterday.) I'll take a shot in the dark on this one and say NOTHING.

Paul, Jakob and I went to Home Depot Friday night after dropping off Satchel at his friend's for a sleep-over. We have picked out a sink and a faucet. Crazily the sink is just a bit more than what John allocated and the faucet is a lot less! This makes me so happy because outside of the kitchen cabinets (and this is only because Shirley is my sister and gave me a great price), everything has been quite a bit over.

I would like to interject that I will never renovate at this scale again for many reasons...the main one being that I would probably end up in jail for manslaughter and I don't think my keen criminal attorney brother would be able to get me off. Especially since he just dropped his tractor like lawn mower on his foot resulting in 10 stitches. But then again, if the judge was a woman, who was married to a man, who went through a major renovation herself...

Yesterday we went to a stone place to check out pieces of limestone for the bathroom vanity. It would come in roughly at $1,300 - let's see what John has allocated: $400. Stupid plastic laminate. I think we bite the bullet on this one and buy the cheap stupid plastic laminate for the kitchen so we don't owe John more money in fees. In fact, I'm thinking cheap wood wrapped in tinfoil would make quite a statement.

Paul keeps burping. And not excusing himself. What is he teaching the children?

On to the pictures:

Jakob's bedroom

A view of the second floor

The back of our house and some of our Pella windows (why are the outside? We're wondering the same thing.)

The basement, still dark but look how much bigger it is!

Satchel's room.

What will one day be a fabulous 3rd floor deck!

Monday, July 24, 2006

It has been a while since I last wrote. But trust me, my life is only about the house. We do have the roof and according to sources there has been progress in the basement. My trusty neighbours swear that piles of gravel have been tossed in but I will have to take that at their word because I am not in the mood to climb down a rickety old ladder into a darkened basement to find out for myself. When I wander the floors I will access, I see nothing new.

I'm a little on edge. My TAPS order was supposed to be delivered today at the insistence of John the contractor but was there anyone there to receive it? No. Is John returning my calls? No. Is the house progressing as it should be? I'm not sure. Having now spoken to a guy at TAPs, they cannot reship the order until Wednesday at earliest or Thursday with the bathtub.

Paul and I are filled with questions like why are the windows not installed? where are the windows? where is John? why is John not responding to our messages? why is there no one working on our house? where is the plumber?

Of course, when we are asking these questions, we're not speaking as cleanly as I'm writing. Fuck seems to be our/my favourite word of the moment. I am finding myself so irritated and stressed and financially strapped that the word is slipping out like melted butter and in all contexts. I am finding it handy to use as an adjective, an objective, a noun... Some car boxed me in at the school while I was picking up Jakob and I couldn't get my car out so the word "fucker" just poured out of me. Unfortunate that Satchel's new friend was sitting beside me, coming home with us for his first and probably last play-date.

Satchel and I spent the weekend in London working with my sister Shirley and her husband Jon to finalize the details on the kitchen and the bathroom vanity. All I need to do is find a kitchen sink and pick the hardware and counter top. I am told that laminate is not the horrible product I had always thought it as so I may have to check in to it - which irks me to no end because from the beginning of this project, John the contractor was always saying to me "Meg, you have to give up on the stone for your countertops, you can't afford it, you have to take laminate." No fucking way I would think to myself. But now that everything seems to be costing a hell of a lot more than expected, bring on the laminate samples.

Here's the link to Shirley and Jon's shop, Artisan Interiors. Jon does fantastic mill work and it is definitely worth working with them even if they are based in London:

I will list my friend Eve's email address because she has been so wonderful; patiently answering my never-ending list of questions on counter tops, hardware, appliances and she has such a fantastic modern flair to her sense of design:

Satchel has a friend over, they are driving me insane. No, they are driving me fucking insane. I'm going to have to finish up later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

After receiving an urgent email from my contractor reminding me that we need a bathtub and fixtures at the house by July 24, I packed my sick son into the car and drove to his favourite place this afternoon - TAPS. Second, I should say, only to the dentist or the doctor when it's time for him to have a needle.

After screaming "I HATE THIS PLACE" over and over, and then hiding behind a bathtub display making guttural noises (finally realizing he was stuck and began screaming to be freed), we managed to find a brave soul who would help us.

St. Peter (I've elevated him to Sainthood for having to contend with Jakob) was fabulous and helped me make very quick but good choices while alternately staring at Jakob like he was from another planet, or perhaps a science experiment gone wrong. What I also really liked about Peter is that Jim Caruk from Real Reno's was competing for his attention and Peter didn't make me feel like he was blowing me off. Even though we were in the presence of a superstar contractor with his own TV show, he was very devoted to me. I must add that Jim looks better in person and slimmer then he does on TV (where I think he looks charmingly goofy).

So Jakob and I left TAPS having ordered every single bit of bathroom hardware for both the main bathroom and powder room for less than a fortune and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

I think it's time for a beverage.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I've been home with Jakob this week - he has hand foot mouth disease. Something right out of a Dickens' novel. Next it will be Scarlet Fever and then he'll be talking with a British accent, saying "please sir, I'd like some more."

We've had a rough few days with Jakob's mouth covered in sores. He can't eat, drinking hurts and he's taken to shrieking every 20 minutes at night so I'm completely exhausted too. But having said that, last night he woke up every hour and has only shrieked a couple of times today...I think we've finally turned the corner!

Monday night, after Paul came home from work, I escaped for a couple of hours to Kim's and gave her and William a tour of the house. It was raining and the floors were soaked. But we're soldiers of sort so we climbed up to the third floor and out the window to enjoy what will one day be a fantastic deck with a south-facing view of the Toronto skyline. I didn't bring my camera since it was so wet but will take pictures on the weekend.

We are now in a crunch to order all our fixtures and appliances, I hope we can get a bathtub in time...cursed bathtub. Who knew there was such mind-numbing selection out there. All I want is a soaker tub that will allow me to escape my life periodically. I'm hoping to make it over to Taps tomorrow and pretty much order everything. Then head to Appliance Canada to find a stove, dishwasher and range hood. And then finally I shall have peace for a little while. I also had to make out a gigantic cheque tonight to John the Contractor for the replacement foundation. A cheque that brings out the battle call in me (and raises my blood pressure, has me seeing red, makes me want to drink more, etc.) whenever Paul and I talk about it.

Since this is such a sorry little posting, I will leave you with some eye candy courtesy of Kim.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

No house news today.

Jakob has hand foot mouth disease so will devote all my attention to his misery.

And man, is he miserable. The mouth sores are really bothering him and I'm struggling to figure out what to give him. The sugars in popsicles and ice cream seem to aggravate it so he's sucking on cold cloths and I'm giving him lots of ice water as well as dosing him with advil.

If any one has any advice, please feel free to pass it on...and no, I can't sedate him or give him alcohol. That's only for me.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Paul, the kids and I stopped by the house today to meet up with John the contractor.

We have a roof! And the framing has been put in place for the boys' rooms so I was able to stand with the boys and say "Jakob, this is YOUR bedroom, isn't it amazing!" and then hop through the framing and say "Satchel, this is YOUR room, isn't it great!"

The boys once again rolled their eyes and Jakob said "Mommy can we go home, I really want to go home."

It turns out some of the framing for the bathroom is warped and rotting so needs to be replaced (which pretty much sums up everything that has been discovered in the house).

We are reconfiguring the bathroom to maximize the use of the space. Pushing the toilet over to the side of the wall with vanity and allowing for a long bathtub without encroaching on to Jakob's bedroom space. I believe this was my original design for the bathroom which had been vetoed by Paul because it involves moving the toileet stack. But I won't comment. No sirree. But I digressed, the boys' rooms look great - even Jake's is a good size with a huge window overlooking...the neighbour's wall.

Shirley and Jon are building our vanity for us from an Italian line (see Golf 22). I love it. I love that it's floating, even though I can already visualize the size of the dust balls that will take over the space. I also am THRILLED that there will be two sinks! I've sourced out the sinks and taps so outside of picking out a 66" bathtub, that room is finished.

We found the carpenter was shut down again today by a woman who lives across the laneway. I was royally pissed off, mainly because I don't know who she is and people who exhibit what I consider god complexes make me want to scream. This woman doesn't live beside us, the carpenters by law are allowed to work from 9 until 6, this is just preventing another attempt to catch up and now pushes the project's end time further into the year. I would be far more respectful if B/W or K/S had issues because they are right beside us, impacted the most.

I kind of want to find this woman.

I asked John if there was any chance the project could be finished by end of September because I know someone who would be happy to rent our place, but disappointingly he said no.

I have no pictures from today but I will enclose a picture of the new addition to our family. Haemish will arrive next Friday.

Another boy.

I have lost my mind!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My apologies for the delay, I've been distracted with everything else...but there has been great progress!

We went to the house on the weekend to confirm where we wanted the dividing walls on the second floor - the boys' rooms. We also went armed with duct tape to mask out the kitchen cabinets - mainly to see how much family room space will be left. We think we have an idea for the east wall design which is a great relief, the west wall and island are finished.

I spent time at Taps on Monday afternoon trying to nail down all the details but failed miserably. Still need confirm a few things.

According to Ron, the roof will be up on Thursday and then it's all indoor work for the next few months.

Would you consider me insane to adopt a kitten during all this upheaval? I look forward to comments.

Here at long last are the pictures.

2nd floor (soon to be the boys' rooms).

Good bye window, you were never much use anyway.

Satchel in the kitchen.

The boys' new bedroom (just kidding - maybe).

View from the backyard.

Jakob in the kitchen.