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)....