Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Emma-nator

Hello. Things are settling in nicely here with Emma the cat. She has an incredibly sweet personality and has completely won both of us over (I was easy.) She likes to sleep under the bed or on the corner by my feet, and one of her favourite activities, when she's not getting pets and snuggles is to sit in the windowsill and look out the window.

In other news, yesterday we got a call from the Mayor telling us to come get that wood. He's actually resigning and moving to another part of Nova Scotia, so he was getting rid of just about everything. You know us, in addition to two truckloads worth of wood, we picked up two trunks, an NFB film carrying case, and a picture frame. I wonder how long before our very big house starts to feel very small....

Anyway, there was some really nice pieces in the pile. It was mostly spruce and pine, but there were also oak, beech and birch boards as well. I planed up a couple of small pieces of beech today, and it's beautiful stuff - lots of character, just the way I like it.

Also today we finally got our new light hung in the bedroom. We took the ceiling fan out yesterday and tried to put up the new light, but we had trouble figuring out the wiring because it was so complicated. We could either get the bedroom light to go on, but not turn off, the closet light to work, but not the bedroom, or nothing working at all. We had to call in the reinforcements and get Stan on the job. After Jai talked to his Dad, everything became much clearer and we finally got the stupid thing to work. But we both felt like our arms might drop off by the time we were done. So, how many hours does it take Jai and Lauren to hang a new light fixture? I don't even want to think about it.

And...HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAD!!! Hope you had a good one. Looks like a pretty yummy cake.

We just heard Emma crunching away on something in the closet, and when jai investigated, it turned out Emma found a bag of her treats, dragged it into her bed in the closet (which is where we give her treats), opened it, and got all the treats out of it. We managed to recover most of them, but certainly not all. No WONDER she was so quiet all day today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Emma's home!

Emma's home!!! That's the big news of the day. But first: we had a nice weekend. We went down to Halifax to do a bunch of stuff - some of which we actually got done. We went to the Atlantic woodworking show and picked up a few odds and ends that we've been needing, like hose for the dust collection. Then we had an amazing dinner and a great visit with Steph, Johanne and Justin. Steph made shish-ke-bob (yum!yum!) They were nice enough to let us sleep over at their house.

We were planning on going to see Danny Michel play again because he was playing in Halifax that night, but we had to go to Home Depot after dinner instead of before, because of the CRAZY Halifax traffic. We spent over half an hour in total gridlock. Then after Home Depot, neither one of us felt like going back over the bridge, and we were right by a movie theatre, so we went and saw Casino Royale instead. It was really good, just exactly what I was hoping it would be, and maybe even more. Yay! So even though we missed Danny Michel, neither one of us felt like the night was a loss.
In the morning we were planning on going to the auction in Truro, but our truck started leaking major anitfreeze all over the carpet on the passenger side, so instead we bought leak stop stuff and drove home. We did make one stop at Kent along the way, though, and it was really good that we did because we couldn't find any tile we liked at Home Depot, but found just the perfect tile for our kitchen counter from Kent. So it's on order, and we were feeling all jazzed about the kitchen and actually figured out a plan for what we want to do in there. We've been going back and forth for weeks, so it was nice to figure something out that we could both agree on.
Today was Emma! She meowed the whole way home, but she's settling in very nicely now. After some initial hesitation, she has now explored all the rooms we have open to her, as thouroughly as she can. She wants to be around us constantly, following us from room to room. It's very sweet.

We've just about finished up the bedroom. I got the headboard finished today, and we put the bed together. Our reading lights are hung, and we found a replacement for the overhead light at Home Depot, so we'll put that up tomorrow. We also bought that last roll of wallpaper we were needing, so that can get finished up as well. Almost there, and then it's on to the pantry.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Cattery

Happy Birthday to me! Yay! I had a GREAT birthday, it was so much fun. Normally I have to work on my birthday, and it was so much fun to just take the WHOLE day off and goof around. We had an awesome relaxing morrning, and then we went to "The Cattery" and met all 25 cats that live there. We quickly narrowed it down to three cats, and then down to two. But how to decide between the two? I don't know. It's very difficult, they were both SO sweet. We finally decided on a little black one named Emma, but when I think about it, I still think we should bring Shasta home too, so Jai has had to very firmly put his foot down that we can only get one. ONE! I don't know how people do these things. It's hard to leave one behind.
This is Shatsi. She's a shoulder sitter, but got left behind because she snarled at me when I was petting her:

This is Shasta, she was incredibly sweet:

And this is Emma, the one we are going to take. She was so sweet and friendly. You can't see it in this picture but she's got "double paw" - like an extra toe (apparently it's a Nova Scotia thing.) She really likes Jai.

Anyway, after that we drove into Greenwood and had Chinese Buffet and bought kitty supllies. Then we came home and went to the pub for a piece of cake. It was ladies' night at the Home Hardware, so we dropped in there too (there were other men there, already.)
Oh, and this morning I got all sorts of fabulous mail - thanks everybody that sent stuff, that was so much fun! I had lots more things to say, but since it's really late, it'll all have to wait for another day! Goodnight!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Birthday Countdown

Hello! Three more days till my birthday! I got two more birthday cards in the mail today (thanks Grandma & Grandpa & Aunty Gen!) For my birthday, we are getting a little cat. Yay! I'm so excited! They don't have an SPCA here, so all the cats are fostered out to homes, and then they have profiles posted on-line ( We faxed the lady our application this morning (free faxes, whenever you like from town hall!) and she called us tonight to say we were approved. Now we have to call the foster homes of the cats we want to meet, and go see them. Quite a process!

We had another curling game tonight. We played against a team that was actually really good, and our skip wasn't there to save us. We were DEMOLISHED! They were so good, I couldn't even understand the plays they were making. They stopped trying after three ends, when the score was 10-0. The scoreboard only goes up to 16, so I felt good that we at least kept them on the scoreboard, and we did end up scoring three goals. Final score: 16-3. At least they were very nice. At our club, if you lose, the winning team buys the losers drinks - so everyone's a winner. They were a really fun group, too, we enjoyed hanging out with them after the game. I'm sure one day we'll be that good (now that we have our shoes!)

That's pretty much it for news. We have been steadily chipping away at the bedroom projects. Today Jai primed all the moldings and baseboards, and I stripped some more paint off the door we will use as a headboard. This door had at least six layers of paint on it, and I have so far spent about eight hours stripping it. I bought a stronger stripper today, and it still didn't get it all. One more coat, I'm hoping, it feels like such a thankless job. Meanwhile we have been puzzling out what we want to do in the kitchen. We'll start by taking the pantry apart and stripping the existing shelves (more stripping! Ugh!) and fixing the floor, walls, and ceiling. The pantry & kitchen is going to be a HUGE job with a very small budget. I'll keep you updated on how it goes!

I guess that's it, for now. Didn't really have any new pics, but here's a before shot of the kitchen (in all its glory!):

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Well, it's been a busy couple of days. Yesterday, we rented a 32' ladder so we could finish up some of the outside chores. We hung the Christmas lights right up into the peak of the house - a very hairy operation that had everyone driving by at 10km/hr.
Jai at the top of the ladder:

Then Jai cleaned all the gutters while I held the ladder and got splattered with gutter gunk. Then we trimmed a brach off the tree that was overhanging the house. Another hairy operation - that branch was a lot bigger-looking once it was on the ground than it looked when it was way up in the air. Anyway, mission accomplished:

So we felt pretty good about ourselves. Then we went to curling practice. I tried the slider for the first time. Yikes! Let's just say Doug gave us his own personal key so we could come in and practice. This is a picture of my knee (the next day!)

It looks like my Olympic career may be on hold. Now we must rely on Jai, who has been using the slider all along.

Today we finally pulled all the wood out of the trailer and re-organized it so it's accessible. And yesterday when we were hanging out at town hall, the mayor came in and asked if we had a moment to speak to him "as good neighbours." Curious. Then he proceeded to offer us a bunch of free wood he has sitting in his basement! Yay, those are the magic words! ("free wood," not, "as good nieghbours")

And I finally finished a box I have been working on for a while. My parent's cat, Tieling had to be put to sleep a little while ago. She was the sweetest little cat ever, and I wanted to make something for her ashes to be kept in, because they just give you the same crappy jar. So, this box will be on it's way to you, Mom and Errol, some time soon. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hello. No progress reports on the bedroom yet. We spent a large portion of yesterday working on it. We got the curtains hung (they look great - a huge improvement over the nubby orange ones on the broken rod that were there before,) hung a mirror (which matches the room perfectly - go Ikea!) and then Jai worked on caulking the window while I worked on stipping the door we are turning into a headboard. Then we had a lovely visit from Steph, Johanne, and Justin. They didn't stay for too long, but we got to show them the house and a little of the area. Justin said our house was a "perfect hide and seek house" and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of that before. He also found all the dusty spots, and Johanne had to explain to him that it was a work zone, like Steph's shop. Oops, guess he inherited Errol's "neat" genes - we'll have to dust next time!

It was great to see them, they are always so much fun. And hopefully we will see them all again soon, as it looks like we may be in Halifax, or they may be in the valley again, in the next couple of weeks.

Then we went to our second curling game. And we won again, so now we can claim the title of undefeated. Good thing we've got a good skip. And we met the other fellow on our team, Steve. He was super friendly, too. We're really enjoying curling, spent way too long today humming and hawing in the Canadian Tire over whether or not to buy curling shoes. A hundred bucks a pair. We both feel like it's something we'll want to keep doing, though, so I'm sure we'll reconcile ourselves to spending the money. It wouldn't hurt so much, if we hadn't had to buy our house insurance today. We knew it was going to be more, but were a little shocked to find out it's more than double the cost of renter's insurance. Oh well, it's just one of those things.

Today was a weird and atmospheric kind of day, very strange lighting, check out these picks from around 4:30 in the afernoon.
Facing West:

Facing East:

It was very warm and muggy, and we were hoping for thunder and lightning, but it didn't happen. Oh well.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The wonders and woes of wallpaper

Hello. Well we went to the Remembrance Day Parade yesterday. They told us the parade went from the legion to the cenotaph, but what they didn't tell us is that the cenotaph is part of the leagion. So the parade was about ten steps long. It was great, though, it's really too bad we didn't bring the camera. It felt very much like a homey, small-town kind of thing, and there was a really good turnout. And the weather has been AMAZING for the last two days. You would hardly believe it's November. We went for a drive when we got back from the parade, up the North Mountain area. It was the perfect day for it, I got a couple of pics of that.

I also managed to get some pictures of birds at our feeder. I almost had the PERFECT bluejay shot, he turned full-profile, and flapped his wings, but the camera batteries died right that second! Isn't that always the way, I will have to sit at the dining room table until it happens again, but with full batteries this time!

Today all we did was wallpaper. We both decided we don't really like wallpapering. It's a lot of work, we were wet and slimy all day. And then we ran out of paper. I don't know how it happened, we thought we had extra. So it will be a couple of weeks before we can finish the last little bit of wall, because we have to go all the way back to Home Depot to get more paper. The nefarious bit of wall:

It does look really cool on the walls, though. We both keep staring at it, it's SUCH an improvement over what was there before, and it's a little bit mesmerising, as it changes depending on where you are in the room.

I'll post some more pics after we get the room a little more decked out (curtains hung, etc.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Well, we're working on the bedroom at the moment. I think we're both surprised at the amount of prep that goes into wallpapering. Tomorrow we are finally ready to put it up. Yay! Here's a shot of after peeling that ugly brown stripey wallpaper off (yes, that is fake wood panelling wallpaper underneath...shudder), and then a shot of how it looks now, after primer (just so you can appreciate the work we have done!)

Jai has started to put the finish on the floor in the library, and it's looking great! Today we went over to the lot next door and salvaged some stuff we found lying around outside. There's a huge pile of wood in behind one of the buildings, although I have no idea how long it has been sitting, piled up outside. Some of it is very rotten. But we took the electric chainsaw over and got a bunch of 2"x6"x9' long boards, all full dimensions. We also found an old hand-made ladder that we thought would look cool in the bathroom as a towel holder and a couple of old shaker-style benches that need a little bit of repair, but might end up being perfect in the dining room. Oh, and a birdhouse that reminds us a little of our house:

Some time in the next couple of days we will call the caretaker and get into the buildings, as it looks like there are all sorts of things that we could salvage out of them. From the window of the one that must have been a warehouse, you can see partition walls made up of boards that have to be at least 13" wide. Hello, library shelves.
We got some very nice mail today, a letter from Grandma and Grandpa and a birthday card from Opa. That was a great way to start the day, hooray for Canada Post. Yesterday we got a care package from Mom and Errol, who thoughtfully sent heating pads our way. The last two days have been very warm - hopefully we won't need them anytime soon.
Tomorrow morning, we will be attending the veteran's parade from the legion to the cenotaph. We have no idea what to expect, other than that I think it will probably be a very short parade. Just the way I like'em. I think there are a lot of veterans on the East Coast, so hopefully there will be a big turnout, and the weather will co-operate.

I thought I would throw in a few pictures of the dining room, too, now that we have had a little time to decorate and live in it:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Weather willing

Not too much has happened here over the last couple of days. Yesterday was a beautiful day outside, and we decided to take advantage of it, just in case it was the last beautiful day we see for a while. We raked up all the leaves in the garden, and dug another row up. Then we moved some of the dirt from the rows that we dug up in the part of the property we may be selling into the part that we aren't selling, so we have some really nice raised beds. After that, Jai mulched the leaves with the lawn mower and we spread the mulch on the raised beds. I'm going to put either newspaper and straw, or just straw over the whole garden, and then in the spring, we should be ready to go.

We found all sorts of neat things in the ground as we were digging. Some things not so old, like a yellow plastic seahorse watergun, and some things very old, like bones. Jai found a bunch of brick under one part of the garden that we think was maybe a foundation for something at one point. Our imaginations were going crazy, imagining all sorts of different things that it could have been. It made me feel really happy about owning this land. It's so neat to feel connected to the history, and to know that all this was here long before us, and hopefully will remain long after. And that any changes we make to the house or land will contribute to that, leaving clues for other generations. I feel exremely lucky.
Today it rained, so we stayed inside. I played around with layouts for the web-site, and Jai finished filling the cracks in the library floor. We went all over town looking for bunny food, and we actually found it. Also, I put the leaf ornamentation on the front door. I think it looks really great, it lets in all the light, is pretty, and helps us keep some privacy. Perfect!

I had to use the flash to get a picture, and the leafs look doubled up in the pic, but not in real life. And for all you worryworts, it will come off if we ever decide to do something different!
I spent a bit of time in the shop today, had to re-adjust my crosscutting jig, something changed in the move. I guess that's the price you pay for using wood runners, although it was relatively easy to repair. Jai and I have an interesting business idea that I will share later, if it looks like it will work out. All in all, just a blustery sort of day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We're the curling champs! We're savouring this moment, because we know it might be shortlived. We have a great skip named Doug - it was just the three of us today, as our fourth couldn't make it, so Jai and I got a little more practice at throwing rocks. I haven't seen anyone stretching or anything like that yet, but I can see that WE are going to have to stretch, even if we're the only ones, and we look like dweebs, cause we don't look very cool hobbling home, either!

Today we had our first snow.

This is us getting snowed on, and enjoying it. Tragically, Jai's face froze that way forever.

We got our dining room painted today. Yesterday we sanded and primed the walls, and today we got two coats of colour up. We think it looks great, and a major improvement on the Pepto Bismol pink. We also replaced the light with a much nicer one, which really helped the room. We'll probably put the old light up in the library, as even it is better than the existing light in there.
Before and after:

Some other shots:

That last one is in the daylight, and much closer to the true colour. What do you think?
We also primed the ugly old piece of furniture the previous owners left behind, and it looks MUCH better white. We actually kind of like it now, so that worked out well. Unfortunately, I don't have a before shot of it.

While we were painting, the birds finally discovered our little bird feeder, so we had a little chickadee visiting us all afternoon. It was great. Yesterday, while Jai was cleaning the gutters, we hung the suet feeder as well, so hopefully soon we'll get all sorts of birds. Does anyone know what kind of seed chickadees like? Right now we have sunflower seeds in the feeder, because I saw the bluejays eating Pearl's sunflower. They seem kind of big for chickadees, but the little guy did keep coming back. If anyone knows, and they prefer something smaller, let us know...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Maritime Adventure Madness

Hello everybody. We've had a few days off from working on the house, as we visited with Joel and Jocelyn, so there's not a lot to report on the house front. We dropped Joel & Joc at the airport yesterday after spending a fun afternoon tootling around in Halifax. It's such a neat city, one of these months we'll have to take another day or two to look around at stuff. We DID find time this trip to visit Halifax's newest restaurant - Bubble's mansion.

It was very fine dining, I had Gourmet Mac ' Cheese, and Jai had Deep-fried Venison Pepperoni. We also ordered an Atlantic pizza - pumpkinseed pesto, peppered smoked salmon & mozzarella. So next time you're in Halifax, you should check it out.

The day before that we spent bumming around the Valley. In the morning we went down to the river and did some whale watching. Yes, Bridgetown has it's very own whale. We were walking over the bridge when we first noticed all the commotion. The first fellow we talked to told us it was a "Mako Shark" (he was a little confused) but we think he was trying to say "Minke Whale." It had just swum down to the Rail Bridge, so we took a little detour and walked down. He's just a little guy, somewhere around 10-15ft long. He was doing laps right in front of us, and I tried to get a picture every time he came up.

He's in this one - can you spot the fin? (hint: you may need to blow the picture up by clicking on it!)

He was so close, I got a little excited and forgot to look where I was pointing the camera for this shot, but at least you can tell how far away he was:

We decided to continue our fishy theme by going down to Digby for some scallops and a lobster dinner. I didn't have a lobster, but everyone else enjoyed theirs immensely, and they just looked so cute in their little bibs. Here's a before and after for ya:

You can't get the full picture unless you hum loudly to yourself an instrumental version of "sexual healing" and other Muzak as you contemplate the scene.

This morning we had our second curling lesson which went very well. We're really enjoying ourselves and looking forward to our first game on Monday night. Dave (our teacher so far and the man who is in charge of our league) has put us on the team of a fellow who has taught junior curling for some 20+ years, so we're feeling like we'll be in good hands, and we stopped at the Canadian Tire last night on our way home from dropping Joel & Joc off, so Jai could pick up a slider.
We spent the afternoon tidying up and doing little chores before we get back to tackling the big jobs. I did a test on a piece of glass for the treatment I want to do on the front door. We used spray-on adhesive to stick some leaves on a piece of glass I found on the empty lot. Then we sprayed glass frosting over the glass, and peeled off the leaves. It worked pretty well, and Jai stuck it up in the kitchen window so we could take down the ugly curtains. He took a picture of it from the outside.

We're both liking it, so I'll probably do the front door in the next day or two. It's fun to do something easy like that which turns out to be so dramatic.