Saturday, June 28, 2008

One day at The Summer Place

Friday, June 27, 2008

Proof that she's mine :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Party trick

On the weekend, we were invited to a BBQ by a work colleague. It was meant to be an adults-only affair, and despite having a few weeks’ notice of the event, we still had no babysitter lined up by Friday. We’ve been lucky to have had Grampa and Gramma pretty much at our disposal for the past three years, and we know it’s time to find other babysitters so we can still get out and do things without constantly roping them into watching our kids. In fact, we have two new babysitters lined up – both teenage girls in our new neighbourhood. However… we won’t be using them til we are actually living there, and our first time using them won’t be when we are traveling out of town, as we did to get to the BBQ.As I was picking the kids up from Cindy’s on Friday night, she asked whether we were planning to attend the BBQ (since she had been invited as well) and I told her that we were not, since we didn’t have a babysitter. To which she replied that another friend had already told her she was bringing their kids to the event, so why didn’t we just bring Liam and Mallory along?I thought about it for a bit, not wanting to invite my kids to an event they had not been invited to in the first place; but I also felt bad about the prospect of missing my first social function in my new work group. So I called the host and left a message for him saying I’d heard another family was bringing the kids and I hoped it would be OK if I brought my kids too.Fast forward to the BBQ… two others showed up with their kids in tow also, which made me feel better, but the friend Cindy told me had decided to bring her kids first? I spoke to her and she said, “I’m so glad Cindy said you were bringing your kids… that’s when I decided to bring mine, too!” I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of this and I still don’t know who the first to invite their kids along was; I still hope it wasn’t us – I would hate to have been presumptuous. To make matters worse, Mallory has a newfound fascination with her belly button, and because she was wearing a dress, she spent the first hour or so that we were there flashing everyone as she went around the room lifting up her dress to make sure that they all saw her belly button. It was kind of cute and kind of mortifying all at the same time. Here she is doing it again on Sunday:I'm not sure that we will be invited back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's strawberry season...

...and that means shortcake! Mmm mmm!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Making progress

Welcome to our garage! This is what it looks like right now: stuffed to the roof with lighting fixtures, sinks, towel bars, moving boxes... you name it. If we have any more damaging storms around here, you can bet I'll be more worried about this garage than I am about the current house. We have a lot of $$ tied up in there.We made a trip to the new house on Friday night. The bricking is done and they finished off by putting in our number stone dead last. How do you like our little sunburst? Frankly, I am not crazy about it, and we tried to get out of including it. The developer supplies these stones to all the houses in his developments and he didn't return our calls to discuss it. I guess it was not negotiable. Could have been worse though; some of his developments have uglier iconography than a setting sun.We finally have proper columns supporting our portico, instead of a couple of 2x4s hastily shoved underneath to keep it propped up. I feel a lot safer using the front door now!Here's the full front exterior. We still need eavestrough, shutters, and a copper/metal roof on the portico. (And a lawn and a driveway, but I think those things are still a ways off.)Inside, the drywall is pretty much done... maybe some final touch-ups/sanding, but otherwise complete. Back view - the back patio pillar got bricked on Friday as well. Mallory likes running up and down the hill, saying "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" the whole way... ...Liam would rather hang out at the water at the bottom of the hill.He made friends with one of the resident herons on Friday. Given his love of birds, it's going to be tough keeping him away from the creek.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Splish, splash

Friday, June 20, 2008

Clean/dirty (how can she not like ice cream???)

Tomorrow, we’re having a yard sale. Right now I am busy rounding up things from around the house that don’t get as much use as I think they should. If I can make a buck from it, and won’t have to pack it and move it, and it’s not nailed down… then it’s fair game. You cannot even get in the dining room door right now, since that was designated as a holding tank for the paraphernalia of our lives a couple of weeks ago when I started stockpiling it. I find it difficult, this process of purging. I have things that came into our current house in boxes that were never unpacked, and yet I still have a hard time getting rid of them now, particularly since we have kids. Leftover yarn from a knitting project I took on 15 years ago? – the kids can maybe use it for a craft project someday. Nursery rhyme toile fabric in blue? – well, Mallory COULD have been a boy, I MIGHT have made something for her from it, and maybe someone else I know will have a boy and maybe I will sew something for them… (Note that my sewing machine, which I bunged up back in March, is still not fixed now at the end of June, though I need to get that remedied because fabric for Roman blinds for the new house is on its way...)

I have to face facts though; I am putting some things out for sale that I considered putting out in the first yard sale we had, about 5 years ago. I didn’t part with them then and they’ve been living in storage ever since – I think I am now ready to let them go.

We have lots of stuff that is perfectly good, but just doesn’t fit into the new place, and it kills me that at a yard sale you take something you bought for $300 and put a $5 price tag on it and hope someone doesn’t haggle you down to $2.50. (We all know that by some strange law of nature, the complete and utter crap sells much faster than the good stuff you are actually hesitant to part with. There are a handful of ugly cheapy-cheapy commercial florists’ grade vases that were left behind in a closet when we moved into this house, and I am putting my money on those as being the first things to sell.) There is also the small matter of getting rid of old stuff before replacing it with new, or before outgrowing the need for it. Our current living room has no light fixtures and we make do with floor lamps. This will be gloriously rectified in the new house, where we will have ceiling fixtures aplenty, but the question remains: do I sell my lamps now, while the crowds are swarming, and live in the dark all summer? Or do I wait til the week we move, and then try to deal with them when I am already so short on time that I am staying up til 2 a.m. each morning to get the packing done?

I’m sure the best way to declutter and make a small fortune would be to sell off the kids’ toy collection, but we are not going to go there with this sale. I don’t want to traumatize the kids by having them watch out the window as other kids trot away with their belovedness in exchange for a buck or two. Moving is a hard enough process as it is; I think we’ll wait til we’re comfortably settled in the new house, and then the Toy Fairy will come and fly off with a mysterious Goodwill donation in the middle of the night.


In other news, it’s official – Liam and Mallory are trading rooms. Liam gets the back room with the long stretch of uninterrupted wall space, and Mallory gets the front bedroom. Liam has fully bought into this new state of affairs, and soon it will be too late to go back on the decision: the painters are starting on Tuesday.

And remember how I warned that we were on a bad luck streak and that you should stay away lest it spread? Well, you didn't listen, did you? My sister had a car accident this week, and my friend hit a deer. Consider yourselves triply warned!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweet lil' baby picture

My friend Jeannine welcomed Damon to the family a few weeks ago. Here he is at just one week old. Come on now - collective Awwwww!

On the road

Lately, we have been having a bit of an issue with Mallory on long car trips. Gone are the days when the start of the engine would lull her to sleep – these days, if we don’t plan a long road trip to coincide exactly with naptime, then we have some logistics to figure out to ensure we all survive the trip with our sanity intact. We bring books, we bring her doll, we bring food and drink… but still we sometimes suffer.

She is pretty good at entertaining herself for a little while. First, she strips off her socks and shoes (as she has done in the top photo). For whatever reason, car rides are now the realm of the bare feet. Then, she babbles to herself for a while, which can be cute but can also get pretty loud and therefore, distracting! And then the crankiness sets in – when she is done with her monologue, she wants some attention. This is where the snacks seem to come into play best. We made it to London a few weeks back sustained on nothing but a bag of Creamy Dill chips – she LOVED them. (I had planned them as a snack for Chad and I after the kids fell asleep, but Liam woke up when he heard the bag pop open, and Mallory never fell asleep in the first place!)

We did get a portable DVD player at Christmas, which we have used exactly once to date. Liam was not all that crazy about it - I don't think he liked the sensation of the earphones blocking out the noises of the outside world. That was back in January, so it is high time that we give it another try. From then til now I guess we have done a stellar job of coordinating our long road trips with naptime! I am thinking that even if Liam still doesn't like the DVD player, Mallory may be a good candidate for it now.

When she’s tired, thankfully, sometimes all she needs is her doll, who lives in the car now – just to provide that snuggle she’s looking for at the end of a long day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


In the midst of all my woe-is-me-the-Jetta-took-a-bump, I neglected to post about Father's Day. We made Chad some blueberry pancakes and then spent the morning at Mitchell's Bay. How convenient that those are things the kids enjoy, too. We puttered around in the afternoon, barbecued some steak (was it wrong of me to put Chad to work on Father's Day??)

Anyway, a belated but still very happy Father's Day to some of the best dads we know.And also to Chad, who I am thankful to have as the father to our kiddos.I'll leave you with a funny photo comparison: shots taken at Mitchell's Bay both on our weekend trip, and in June of 2007. At first I thought the only give-away as to which is which would be the shoes... little did I realize how much the fit of the swim trunks has changed, too. :)Well, crap, I just accidentally deleted the other shot, and it's on the computer at home!... arrgh. Will have to update later.
ETA: Here it is! Man, this cracks me up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Part two: Unfair

This was the sight that greeted us as we came home from the fair. Kind of put a kibosh on the whole festive mood of the day, don't you think? We left the car parked on the road while we were gone, and someone making a delivery to a neighbour decided to pull into our driveway to turn around, and then cranked Chad's car on the way out. They did leave a name and phone number, and it turns out it was a high school aged girl driving with her mother in the vehicle with her. So we called and talked to the mom. She was not apologetic. She insinuated that we were asking for trouble by leaving our car on the road and that we live on a dangerous street. (For the record, we have lived here for 7 years and have not seen anyone experience this type of thing before. On-street parking is perfectly legal on our street, as it is across almost the entire city. Sheesh.) She gave us the whole 'my daughter is going to university in the fall, this was not in our budget' sob story. It infuriates me to think about it - they had absolutely no business being on our property in the first place, and then to fail to accept responsibility and try to make us feel bad like that? - terrible. *sigh* It sounds like they want to pay the bill to keep it off the girl's insurance record, though part of me would like to stick it to them and put it through insurance just to spite them. We are expecting a couple of quotes today - which may come as a bit of a shock to her in their magnitude, since we already know the whole door has to be replaced - but the other thing working against us is that the local body shops are positively swamped after last week's hailstorm. Some are saying October-November before anyone new is getting an appointment. Ay yi yi. Oh yes, the woman we talked to also has some half-assed idea that we should be going to some hick body shop way out of town to have our repairs done there because she has heard they are cheap. I do not think she gets any say in who we choose to fix her mistake. We have busy lives, and she has inconvenienced us enough without working out cockamamie logistics like that.

When I was about 17 or 18, I backed into a parked car, and though my vehicle wasn't damaged, the other one was. I left a note and I paid for the other party's repairs (I think my parents split the cost with me?), but more than that, I really did feel awful about doing it. It seems like nobody involved in this is all that upset over it, and life will go on regardless, but it's amazing how far a simple "I'm sorry" can go and how much it grates on me that we haven't got one.

For what it's worth, you may want to steer clear of the Cook family for the forseeable future... we seem to be on a string of bad luck. Yesterday, one of our drywallers fell off a ladder over at the new house, and broke his leg. Thank goodness that's a headache for our builder and not for us, but at least I have the decency to feel badly for the guy.

ETA: I stopped by the house at lunch to see how things are going. It turns out the guy who 'broke a leg' actually broke both heels, his morphine is not working, and he may never return to work. The downside of having a conscience is that I feel very, very guilty right now. Poor guy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Part one: Fair

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And so it goes

We did get over to the new house on Tuesday, and confirmed that it’s still standing. There’s a bit of water in the garage from where the shingled garage roof meets the second story brick of the house, because it’s not flashed (?) yet, but that’s the worst of it. There are no baseball-size holes in the roof, thank goodness. It’s still hard for me to believe how bad it was on the South side when we only got a few ice chunks here and there on the North, but we’re moving into Deanna’s neck of the woods, and I hear she has $7000 in car repairs coming her way. Deanna, that sucks!

(As an aside, back when we were deciding whether to buy or build and where to locate, we did argue the North side vs South side issue to death. Chad grew up on the South side and I’d never lived anywhere other than North, and we duked it out over many rounds. The greenbelt lot is really what sealed the deal, but leading up to that and even ever since then, I kept a running mental tally of what it will be like to live on the South side. Pro: on the greenbelt. Con: across the train tracks from both work and the hospital. Pro: closer to the 401. Con: further from Wal Mart. Pro: further from Wal Mart… and now I have to add Con: Murderous hail storms to my list.)

Our inspection of the house on Tuesday did turn up a few issues, which are some of the first ‘problems,’ so to speak, that we have really encountered. Everyone always tells you how stressful it is to build a house and how there will be so many mistakes and you will grow to hate your contractor enormously. Luckily, we are still not there. I definitely not cannot credit that to my easy-going laid-back personality, since I don’t have one… but I do think we are realistic regarding what to nitpick about and what to accept and move forward with.

Issue #1: the wall outlets in the master bath were amazingly skewed. There are supposed to be 2 of them, one on each end of the vanity. And there were 2, but one was right off the end of the vanity, and the other was directly over top of the sink. We only noticed this AFTER the drywall had gone up. Oh well… called the builder and asked for it to be fixed. Already done.
Issue #2: the shower in the master bath is 11 inches bigger than it’s supposed to be. It looks great and it centres the tub (which is already installed), but… bigger shower = more expensive glass and tile to finish it off. Ay yi yi. We’ll keep it as is, and suck up the cost.
Issue #3: the kids’ bedroom closet lights and the pantry light were all installed as wall fixtures rather than the ceiling fixtures they were meant to be. Apparently this has to do with rules about how close you’re allowed to locate a ceiling fixture to a shelf. Who knew?? While I wish the electrician would have told us that when we did our walk through, since it would have stopped me from buying a ceiling fixture for the pantry (one of the purchases we made across the border last week, i.e. not-so-easy-to-return), this now saves me from agonizing any further for a ceiling fixture for the mudroom: I think I just found it.

The other problem we have right now is not one involving the builder; it involves the kids. Long ago we designated the front bedroom as Liam’s room and the back bedroom as Mallory’s room, and Liam has grown very accustomed to ‘his’ room and ‘his’ closet (and even ‘his’ bathroom, which he thinks is in his room, because the tub insert in the bathroom backs onto his bedroom wall – won’t he be surprised to go back now that the drywall is up, to find there is no bathtub in his room after all!) But lately I’ve been thinking that Liam’s room should be the back one and Mal’s should be the front, because his big bunk bed will fit better into what is currently known as Mal’s room. The rooms are the exact same size, but have different window and door layouts that the furniture placement has to work around. Anyway, I floated the idea of switching rooms to him a couple of days ago and the idea went over like a lead balloon. (Mallory’s closet, though the same size as Liam’s, is laid out better – much nicer for a girl down the road and maybe a good reason to keep things as they are?) Hmmm… we’ll need to think about this one a little bit more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

14 months, and still marking the milestones

Minutes before his big face plant

Last night we got a walloping spring storm that dumped a whole truckload of hail in the area. I don't think I've ever seen hail in the 17+ years that I have lived here, so it was kind of unnerving. When Chad was finishing his Shore to Shore run a few weeks ago, and we went to pick him up from the last leg of it, we encountered a hailstorm there; but that hail was small enough that there were still runners on the course, though if I'd been them I would have jumped into the sag vehicle, pronto. Anyway, that was up by the lake and we can always shrug off the weather they get with a What do you expect? - it's lake-effect excuse. Around these parts, we don't expect anything nearly so wild.

The hail we got at home last night was limited to some golfball-sized pieces that were noisy as all heck coming down, and confused Liam to no end, but the car roof remains undented and the windshield uncracked, so we wrote it off as a mildly bemusing non-event in the grand scheme of things. Then I read the paper this morning, and saw that just a few minutes across town, the hail was baseball-sized. And then it hit me - ack! - that just across town is also where the new house is located.

It's been a few days since we've been on the premises, so for sure this warrants a visit today, to scope for damage as well as progress. Our Sun Tunnels were installed last week, and we're hoping they survived the pounding.

Monday, June 09, 2008

With a post like this, the pictures do the talking

(OK, I will interject just once to say that this picture cracks me up - he looks like a little Roman statue to me here)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Finally got the snap today to finish off this page

Friday, June 06, 2008

My protege (this post should really be accompanied by a picture of Liam!!)

A couple of weeks ago, we were in London, and Chad went his way to do his thing and I went my way with the kiddos to do mine. And on my way to doing my thing, I decided on the spur of the moment to pull into Antiques at Hyde Park. This is one of those multi-vendor antiques shops/flea markets with dozens of booths. Years ago – I mean, a good ten years ago – this is the kind of place I would go to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to pick up bits and bobs for around the house – casing the entire joint once, then backtracking to compare favourites, and finally going around again to pick up a few pieces. You can get lost in there for hours – it is huge, and simply crammed full of stuff.

Fast forward ten years and add two kids to the mix, and the shopping experience changes. I was on my way to meet someone, so my time was limited anyway – I can’t fully blame the kids for that. Mallory went into the stroller and Liam was on his own two feet with explicit instructions from me not to touch anything without asking me first. Of course, telling him he was not supposed to touch anything was all he needed to hear to decide that EVERYTHING needed to be touched. But only lightly, and with a single finger. Just to see what would happen, I suppose. For the first few minutes I kept reminding him that he was not supposed to touch anything, but clearly that was not effective, and I was just about to save my breath and give up (since he was really behaving very well, blatantly-ignoring-me-aside), when he suddenly started peppering me with questions: “Can I touch this bowl? Can I touch this chair? Can I touch this doll? Can I touch this lamp?” – his words coming rapid-fire as he struggled to keep up while touching as much stuff as possible. Eventually the questions just gave way to running commentary about the things he was touching: “Phone-dresser-plate-cup-wagon-chair…” Mostly he was touching the big clunky furniture pieces and not the respective Ming Vases of the place, and nothing was errantly broken.

I knew the novelty would soon wear off though, and when Mallory saw Liam touching things, she started straining at the shoulder straps to break free from the stroller. So after a breakneck blitz up and down the aisles, we went with two items: a bright yellow old wire egg basket, the type I have always coveted (“What’s it for?” asked Chad. “Umm… I don’t know, I’ll find something to put in it,” I said, and I will… mail? Snapshots? Kids’ stuff? – a use will come.) And second, something Liam chose himself. I told him we were heading for the cash register with my egg basket in hand, and just as I did, he bent down and picked up a pretty little blue tin with red and yellow flowers on it, and asked if we could get it too. And the answer was yes – it will totally look fab in our new kitchen, and it was under $10 to boot. He keeps asking now if we can put cookies in it, but the thing is, it’s only about 6-7” tall and 4” across. (And, I like it for decorative reasons, but the idea of putting foodstuffs in it kind of skeeves me out). So far I’ve held him at bay on the cookie storage front, but Mallory plucked it off the kitchen shelf and took it into the living room the other day, and Liam indignantly returned it – apparently the kitchen designation is non-negotiable.

I do wish we’d had a little more time to spend at the store that night. I was looking at a big old Mason jar full of vintage glass marbles when Liam started doing his pee-pee dance, and I dropped everything to cart him through the warehouse to the cash register to ask where we could find a bathroom, not knowing how much time we had to spare. And after that I never did get back to the marbles, though I have thought about them often since then, a sure sign of non-buyers remorse. I don’t entirely know what I would do with a bunch of glass marbles, but they sure would look pretty.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Clean Air Day

Yesterday was Clean Air Day, and so the city was offering free public transit. So rather than driving them as she usually does when they go on an excursion, Cindy decided to take the kids on the city bus to get to Kingston Park. From the reports I have heard, Liam was thrilled. He simply adores buses, both school buses and the public transit buses we see when we are out and about. I had always planned to take him on a bus ride on a rainy day for something fun to do, and it just got away from me – Cindy beat me to the punch. I am so glad that Liam got a chance to experience it, though I’m still a little sad that I didn’t get to do it myself.I have a lot of housekeeping to do on this site in the near future – updating links, removing sidebar items (I read Bloodletting last YEAR, for crying out loud), maybe time for a new banner, etc. I dipped my toe in the housekeeping waters a couple of weeks ago, when I updated some of my blog links. At that time I took off a link to the Dalai Mama’s blog, not being able to remember the last time I read it, and surely to goodness what happens? – I stumble across her latest entry yesterday, and it simply takes my breath away. I love the things she writes about, and I love the way she writes, period; it’s like poetry. I think I have read this little piece about ten times since I found it yesterday. She is so inside my head, the kind of writer I read in a full-body way, continuously either nodding or laughing along. Here's an excerpt from it to whet your appetite:

It's not that I take my maternal duties lightly. I am not one of those parents who birthed a cluster of kids and then was all "What the...?" when they turned out to require my care and attention (okay, occasionally I am like, "What the...?"). They're not trying to irritate us, the children, what with their incessant hunger and colds and fecal emergencies — they are simply incapable of taking care of themselves, and I understand this. I love caring for them, overall. I enjoy waking up with them and lathering their fragrant hair and teaching them how to fill a dumpling wrapper and the bird feeder and putting them to sleep with a kiss. I think, in fact, that I am in love with caring for them. Or maybe I'm just in love with them. Either way, it's hard to explain these very occasional moments where I am suddenly pricked all over with the Scroogey prongs of miserly resentment. Like when Birdy spies me grabbing a quick bite of, say, peanut butter spread on a cracker — I mean, she could be pumping her legs on a swing two counties away and her internal "Mama's eating her own private snack" siren would blare — and she beetles over to ask politely, "Oooh, can I have a taste of that?" And of course she can, but I might hold it out towards her with a small, grudging sigh that means, "I daily prepare and feed you twenty trillion meals and still you need a bite of my one cracker the size of a poker chip?"

Priceless, I tell you – that is SO me. I also love that she named her daughter Birdy, in a that's-so-cute-for-you-but-I-could-never-do-it-myself sort of way. I am pretty sure I would not have been able to get that one past Chad.

Finally, here are a few up-to-date build pics, since I was asked for something more recent. Don’t you be worrying; I will keep you up to speed with what’s going on. (Case in point: the insulation looked like it was just about finished yesterday, and the drywall was delivered, so I see some walls in the near future.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More about the build (like you didn't think this was coming?)

As I've been saying, this house business has been taking up an awful lot of our waking hours, so the relief we feel at now only having to deal with one house instead of two is enormous. Of course, it's also the more important house, being the one we plan to spend the next 30 years in, not the one we are leaving in 12 weeks. While I've been known to wax philosophical about the stewardship of old homes... well, practical concerns are winning out these days. Now, it's going to be all about how little we can get away with from now until move out day. I hope the movers we've booked don't have allergies, because I'm sure there will be more than our fair share of dust bunnies lurking about under the beds by the end of the summer.

Even as we've been dealing with selling house #1, house #2 has taken up an extraordinary amount of our time. We visit the site pretty much daily, and are finding it good to do so. While we have been extremely happy with all our subcontractors so far, we have also come to the realization that in our absence, if a decision needs to be made, they will make it - and they will often make a different decision than we would have made ourselves. It never fails that a simple trip 'just to see what is going on' gets us involved in one aspect of the project or another.

Since the unplanned visits always take longer than expected, it naturally follows that the planned visits do, too. A couple of weeks ago we spent nearly two hours walking through with the electrician to map out the outlets, switches and controls we want to have, and this was after we spent a good three or four hours on our own with some floor plans drawing it all out. I can live with an awkwardly placed light switch if I am moving into a pre-existing home, but if I'm responsible for locating that switch awkwardly... I know it's going to bug me forever and ever, amen.

That said, everyone always says, when you are building your house, that there are going to be snafus along the way that you can do nothing about, and the best thing you can do is embrace the imperfection. We have not hit too many of these (YET). A few light switches had to be relocated because the framing wouldn't allow for a box, or because the plumber beat the electrician to the punch and already ran something where the electrician had been planning to. We also found out that instead of going washer-dryer, left to right, we are going to have to go dryer-washer, which is kind of counterintuitive to me, but will allow the dryer to vent without sticking out an additional foot into the room. So I am cool with that. We did realize that by centering a light box in the breakfast nook, it actually would not be centered over the table, and we got that fixed before it was too late; likewise we adjusted the kitchen island pendants by a few inches. It remains to see how well those will work out; without the cabinetry in place, it's still just guesswork. We are putting a floor outlet in the great room (meant to go under a sofa so we can plug in lamps on a sofa table behind it), and I keep thinking that no matter where we locate it, we are going to decide to move the furniture and leave it exposed. But it will drive me crazy to have extension cords running around, so we've taken some measurements and checked them twice and then twice more, and I think it's worth taking the chance.

And I guess that is what it really boils down to: regardless of what we wind up with in the new house, it is bound to be a huge improvement over the old one, which is the reason why we are moving in the first place. We currently have a back hall that is less than three feet wide, and when we come home at the end of the day with a diaper bag and a purse and a lunch bag and sometimes a laptop bag and two kids who need to get coats and boots off... ay yi yi, it's a mess. So while the mudroom at the new house is of a modest size, I am tickled that we will have a mudroom. A place just for dropping things that need go no further into the house. Heaven. And even if I have a floor outlet that - gasp! - is inadvertently exposed, that will sure beat our current living room, which not only doesn't have any floor outlets - it doesn't have any ceiling light fixtures, either. It's pretty much a big dark cave. The move up to a room with two banks of recessed lights on dimmers, plus sofa table lamps, has me swooning. Don't even get me started on the fact that we will be able to have a small TV set up in our bedroom without a power bar and an extension cord running across the floor; old houses have character, but they certainly don't have a lot of outlets...

This weekend, again, we have a lot of house stuff on the agenda. Did you know how much cheaper you can buy light and plumbing fixtures in the US than Canada (not to mention the vastly improved selection)? Did you know that you can order items from US suppliers and have them sent to a UPS store just across the border for them to hold for you to pick up? 'Tis true. We need to make a run across the border this weekend to pick up 8 packages from UPS, another at Lowes and yet one more at IKEA (which we TRIED to get at IKEA Burlington on our side of the border, only to be told it was a special order and we'd have to make a return trip - not so easy to do when it's a 2-1/2 hour drive and you have 2 kids in tow). We need to meet with the cabinet guy to review the sample boards and edge finish options. We need to pick out countertops for the bathrooms. We need to do a heckuvalot, while still enjoying our summer. 12 weeks til moving day... the countdown is on.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The photo I've been waiting to snap for the past six weeks

Like everything else in life, the story of selling our house is one that I would have gone into in exhaustive detail had I given a daily play-by-play of events... but now that it's over... I don't have any desire to do that. Suffice it to say that selling a house sucks, that I probably cleaned it more these past six weeks than I did the six years prior to that, that you really do put the kids in the car and wash the floor behind you as you work your way out the door before a showing, that the kids missed Captain terribly when he moved into Gramma and Grampa's house for the duration of the sell (and I think Gramma and Grampa are totally relieved to have him gone now), that you really do start out the first few weeks leaving the house immaculate before you run out the door in the morning and with fresh flowers on the counter every day... only to see your standards drastically lower as the weeks pass and you realize that, more often than not, you are cleaning it up for nothing because nobody comes to see it when you are most prepared for them... and you just can't keep that kind of lifestyle up long-term, anyhow.We did have your typical flurry of activity when it first hit the market, and were lucky to have an offer after only two weeks. Unfortunately, the offer fell through a couple of weeks later when the buyer's financing didn't get approved, and let me tell you - I still daydream about running into this guy on the street and giving him a piece of my mind about what he put us through.It took a bit of time to get momentum back and resume showing the house, but another offer came a week later, and that was it. Not quite as much $ as the first offer, but with this one we kept the good appliances, so it probably works out pretty evenly in the end. Anyway, it was enough to make us happy and the peace of mind at getting our closing date agreed to was enormous. It then took another couple of weeks for all the conditions to be waived - other properties to sell, etc. - and yesterday it finally became official. Meanwhile - meanwhile - we broke ground on the new house just two days after signing the listing mandate. There's no incentive to sell your house quite like starting a new one. That first day the site was fully excavated and the footings poured... they made speedy progress... it was such a shock to see the exact footprint of the house... breakfast nook and all......and now, just six weeks later, the pace has not let up any - it's really a house. It's got a roof (fully shingled) and is half bricked (which makes this shot a week out of date now - it's time to take some new ones!) The framing went up super quick and it was so cool to actually walk around inside what was once just a bunch of ideas in our heads. We didn't buy plans for this house; we drew it all out on a sheet of graph paper, adjusted it a hundred times by a few inches here and there, took it to an architect to have it approved... so it's totally us. And it's been a lot of fun watching it all come together. The kids have been completely fantastic about it. Liam has been very excited about the new house. We go over to check on progress almost every day, and although we often make it a lunch hour destination for Chad and I, if we go too many days in a row while Liam is at Cindy's, he starts to ask when he can go, too. When we get there, he likes to take a lap around his new bedroom and see what's new. Of course, he also likes to check out what the construction workers have left behind... ...and the machinery that's been on site has been to die for!