It's that time again...

What a year.

It had it's ups, and it's downs.  What with a plethora of funerals, and some serious health issues, it seems it's been mostly downs.  And in all honesty, if you want to know what insanity is like, renovate your house. 

But then, I look at where the house was a year ago, and realize just how much we (well, mostly Dad) have accomplished in the last 12 months.   

The entire upstairs was torn out, reconfigured, insulated and drywalled. 

The two dying trees were removed in the backyard, resulting in a safer yard, a lot of firewood, and more sun for...

My very first vegetable garden.

We started on the downstairs, tearing out and insulating the living room and dining room, and the ceilings everywhere else. 

I got a new roof, figured out I don't like tiling, and started in on moving some windows and the back door.

And of course, most importantly, we added a Katy to the household!

But how did those 2010 Resolutions go?

1. Work more with Kip, especially on agility.

Total fail.  Poor Kip.  He is such a good dog, and is patiently waiting until I have "more time".  I did manage to take a beginners obedience class with Katy, but Kip got the shaft this year in terms of training :(

2.  Find a new job.

Epic fail.  Didn't even manage to get ONE application out.  In 12 months.  Must. Do. Better.

3. Food.

Not bad, but not great.  I did manage to grow a lot of food this year, in spite of the total failure of the oh-so-promising squash crop (that I haven't mentioned yet, because it still grieves me!).  I fell down on the using of that food, however.  I severely mis-judged how much time I'd have this year to deal with the harvest of the garden.  I did manage to use at least 90% of the tomato crop, making my own salsa, canned tomatoes and sauce, so it wasn't a total loss.  I need to plan a lot better for next year, and make time to harvest and preserve the food I grow, instead of taking it directly from the garden to the compost pile.  And I did nothing about finding more sustainable sources of food I cannot produce, short of buying all of one dozen eggs from a cousin who has chickens.

Pretty much a failure all around, and of course, I can come up with reasons for all of the above (no time, a crappy kitchen, no time, no time, no time...) but!

All in all, it wasn't a bad year.  I just accomplished different things than I planned on :)

Now, on to 2011...

Door, window, window, door.

One of the major projects left to do is moving the door and three windows in the kitchen and back addition.
Why are we doing this?  Well...

Basically, it comes down to "if we are putting this much work into the house, we may as well do that as well".

The small (really small) kitchen has both the electric panel and a window that is located too low on the wall for a counter top to go under it.  So, let's swap out that window for the other window in the back wall of the addition, which is longer and shorter.  And while we're at it, let's move the panel... right where that other small window is.  And then let's make that wall an entire wall of storage space, and move the door over next to that, to make the rest of the space more usable, and give enough room for the new laundry area...

Poor Dad :)

This was the small window in the north wall of the addition.  It really was in an odd spot - near the kitchen wall, half way up the wall - just sort of there.  Dad tore it out a while ago, and insulated and drywalled that wall.  That will be the wall that will be storage eventually, and will have the new electric panel.

The old laundry area, with the oddly-located window.  Please ignore the pile of laundry ;)

The window on the back (east) wall of the addition is too close to the wall for the storage area I want, and so, it needed to be moved.  The door, right beside it, also needed to be be moved, to allow me to re-configure the bathroom and furnace area into a bathroom, furnace area and laundry area. 
Window (which will eventually be relocated in the kitchen)
 Door, and poorly-installed hot water heater.  

The hot water heater will be replaced by a smaller, wall-mounted, on-demand system, and that area will become the new laundry "closet", complete with a dog bathtub laundry tub.

Today, being a "warm", sunny, calm day, was the perfect day to do some cutting and pasting, so to speak!  We started by removing the window, then cutting the new space for the door.

The first cut is the deepest...
You measured first, right?
Ohhh, new dog door?

Dad then moved the door over to the new spot, and erected a temporary barrier.
Can I come out and play?
The view from outside, showing the old and new spots for the door.
And from the inside.  A bit more ventilation than I wanted, but it wasn't too cold :)

Dad then put up plywood and tar paper over the open spots, which hopefully will last a few more months until I get the whole house re-sided.

 And... done!

 Dad will be back tomorrow, to insulate and that will be it for renos this year!

Never again

It is done. 
I have now tiled one bathroom floor. 


I have this thing about not paying someone to do something I can do myself.  This attitude has led to some interesting times.  Building my own bedroom furniture springs to mind... however, there are also certain things I will gladly pay others to do for me. 

Tiling has been added to that list :)

I'm now off to soak my aching body parts (wrists and knees and back, oh my!), and enjoy a VERY large G&T. 


I'm seeing spots...

Dad decided to be a Christmas elf, and come over today and help me with the bathroom floor.  I've had the tiles for a while - after a NIGHTMARE trying to find them.  I called almost every tile place in the phone book, and the conversation went the same way at almost every place:

Me:  I'm looking for black and white hexagonal tiles.  Do you carry them?

Store:  Oh, yes, of course.  

Me: They are NOT the octagonal white tiles with the square black tiles, are they?  

Store:  No, they are...  oh, wait....

Basically, EVERY store knew what I wanted, and yet none of them actually carried it.  This is what they have:
NOT hexagonal tiles.  

As an aside, there are an amazing number of people out there who do not know the difference between a hexagon and an octagon.  Schools these days :)

I made it all the way to the Ps before I finally found a store that could actually order the tile in for me.  Since it was a special order, I had to order it by the case, which means I have a lot left over.  Anyone want any?  Anyone know of uses for extra tiles??

But finally, I got it all laid out and cut, and we started laying it today.  I found out while doing the dry fit and cutting that the tiles are not symmetrical, so each tile needed to be laid one way, and one way only, to keep the pattern consistent.  I laid everything out, triple checked, and picked them up in order, making sure they all faced the same way in the stacks... so it would be next to impossible to make an error.  Ahem.  Yep.

 All cut and labelled, waiting to be installed.
 Dad put down the mortar, I laid the tiles.  Gotta love team work!
 First two rows!  Everything lines up perfectly!
Third row!
 Half way there... and no mistakes!
 And done!  Woohoo!
Oh bloody @%**@&!!!  

Neither Dad nor I noticed this, until we looked at these pictures.  Fortunately, I decided to do that right after we were done, and it was a quick fix.  Yes, that is actually a manufacturing flaw, not a mislaid tile!

The one problem area, and the last to be laid.  When we got to the last two rows to be laid, I did the tiles next to the right-hand wall and around the toilet first, then matched up the rest of the rows to them.  As you can see, it's not a perfect match, but as this is behind the toilet, I don't think anyone will notice!

The tile is manufactured by American Olean, and, while not really hard to install, I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't done tile before.

Oh, did I mention neither Dad nor I have every tiled before?  No?  Yeah.

I found it hard to match up the tiles perfectly, for a number of reasons.  The biggest?  Even though the manufacturer recommends a grout spacing, when you attempt to use spacers that size, you quickly realize the "internal" grout lines are MUCH smaller than the recommendation.  So, I did all the spacing by eye.  (That also helps to explain the bad area behind the toilet!)

The corner tiles of each sheet are VERY loose, which also makes lining the sheets up hard.  In fact, MANY of the ties were loose, leading to almost every sheet loosing 2-3 tiles, if not more, which then had to be placed by hand.  I did find some boxes seemed to have a thicker layer of glue holding the tiles onto the mesh - and those sheets were, by far, MUCH easier to work with. 

Added to the manufacturing flaws (we did catch one other before laying that sheet), I don't know if I could recommend this tile or not.  Over all, I'm happy with it, since it is exactly the look I wanted, but I am a bit disappointed by the lack of consistent quality in the product. 

However, I still think I'd buy it again, just for the look!!

And tomorrow, the deluge grout!!

Merry Christmas Eve Day!

Well, the 12 Days of Christmas got sidetracked by some great company, the plague they brought with them, and a busy, busy, busy week at work.  No big deal, the rest can wait for next Christmas :)

From me and the dogs, 


On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

... my two dogs showed to me:

Five Differences Made:

My local shelter,
Toronto SPCA (Katy's former home),
Heifer International,
Médecins Sans Frontières (aka Doctors without Borders),
and the Canadian Red Cross.

four Festive Favourites,
three Canadian Classics,
two other odd ones,
and the worst Christmas Carol ever sung.

Please take some time this year to give to a charity or organization that speaks to you.  Even the smallest donations, like snowflakes, make a difference.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

... my two dogs showed to me:

Four Festive Favourites:

Carol of the Bells
Little Drummer Boy (HAS to be this version!)
Father Christmas
and Happy Christmas

three Canadian Classics,
two other odd ones,
and the worst Christmas Carol ever sung.

I really do love some Christmas music - almost as much as I despise the rest of it ;)

On the Third Day of Christmas...

... my two dogs showed to me:

 Three Canadian Classics (if you sing is fast enough, it fits)

two other odd ones,
and the worst Christmas Carol ever sung.

You just gotta love a Christmas carol sung by a hockey player.  It's a wonder Gretzky never released an album!  "The Sweater" is so famous here, we have a verse of it on our five dollar bill.  And every sentence this time of year should end with "A beer, in a tree"!!

On the Second Day of Christmas...

... my two dogs showed to me:

Two other odd ones,

and the worst Christmas Carol ever sung.

 I actually like the Pogues, and like that song, but "Christmas-y", it's not.  As for the John Denver song, I've got nothing.  (and as an aside, does Shane MacGowan win the prize for worst. teeth. ever?)

On the First Day of Christmas...

... my two dogs showed to me:

The worst Christmas Carol ever sung.

(Back story here.)

Disclaimer:  yes, yes I do know that the 12 days of Christmas actually start on December 25 and end on Epiphany.  Deal with it :)

Tempus fugit and all that...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...