Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taking That First Step

Sometimes you just have to take that first step. It can be difficult and scary and most of the time we don't do it. We have so many "reasons" that hold us back: the timing isn't right, something bad will happen, it won't work out, it's too much effort, too much money, it doesn't feel safe... blah blah blah.

 However on the rare occasion that I have taken that first step I have found that space usually opens up for good things to happen. It's weird.

When I got the estimate for the basement flooring I was discouraged - it seemed like so much money and here I am on a pension now - should I really be spending that much money? Perhaps I'm a little unrealistic or naive but I didn't think it would cost that much. BUT I had ripped up the previous flooring, thrown it all in the back of faithful Dougie the Dodge, drove to the large construction dumpster that our condo corporation provides twice a year and tossed it all in. It was gone. I had the choice of living with concrete floors (brrrrr & UGLY) or getting some sort of flooring put in. And if I decided to sell the condo some time in the future floors are kinda necessary.

So I gritted my teeth and approved the estimate and away we went. I took that first step into the abyss! And darn it all if good things didn't happen.

  • First I got a call that the wrong underlay had been chosen. That was corrected with savings of $132 back to me!
  • Then the installers decided that no levelling needed to be done!! And there were 4 packages of flooring that wasn't used in addition to the 2 bags of cement not needed. I received refunds of $303 and $127!! (materials and labour)
  • Finally I noticed that they had charged me for 5 transition pieces into other doorways but I only have 3 doorways in the basement that needed transition pieces! That little observation put another $90 in my pocket!  Ca-ching!!
  • Savings totalling $652 put the price back into the realm of "possibly affordable" and I was thrilled to say the least. The savings helped to cover the cost of new items for the TV room - a new futon cover and pillows, a set of 3 storage ottomans and most of the cost of a new fireplace/TV stand coming tomorrow along with 2 new chairs!!
 Aside: I HIGHLY recommend Futons to Go!! For $149 I received  futon cover, 2  roll cushions and 2 square cushions with covers.  There are literally hundreds of designs to choose from and it took less than a week to ship from the U.S. I am very pleased!

Other good things have happened too - I received a big refund on car/home insurance (not sure why and afraid to call to find out!!) of over $600!! AND I totally forgot that in November and December I don't have to pay my property taxes (I'm on a 10 month plan) saving me another $304!!  The TV room, my new dishes and my beautiful new dining room rug and PAID FOR!! 

On the down side I did lose my Timmy's card on Monday with about $22.00 left on it :( so I just hope someone found it who needed it. 

The moral of my little story is to take a chance and step outside of your comfort zone. I'm hoping the next time I need to take a first step it'll be a little easier than it was this time. Space will open up but I have to make the first move. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting Back to Normal!


and now...
There, my eyes are getting closer together again! And I have ears!! My face is getting back to normal again and it feels great! That small red spot at the top of my forehead was the source of my swelliness and it is nicely healed. I still have a few more days of taking antibiotics and then we'll call it one more of life's odd little experiences over and done with. My laugh lines are back though, but I don't mind that - I'd rather have visible laugh lines than have my eyes move around to the sides of my head!!

While stuck in the house I got lots done - I didn't lie around feeling sorry for myself. No way!! I got really busy while I was feeling sorry for myself!!

The laundry room has been cleaned out! As part of my redecorating efforts it will get a paint job in the new year (yes, no more PINK) and perhaps some new shelves. And a little further down the road I'll be getting a new washer and dryer :)

 My workroom (aka the furnace room) is actually usable again!! I've been putting my work table to use with hammers, screwdrivers, wire etc while putting art and shelves back up on the walls of the TV room and dining room. I'll take some photos to share.

 The storage space "under the stairs" has had a major cleanout.  The really exciting thing is I actually have empty space!! How cool is that!?! There is room for the Christmas bins and there is room under the spring/fall coats for a couple more bins :) The bedding you see is for the futon in the TV room for when we have overnight guests.

This is the storage area off the laundry room - totally reorganized. The stuff furthest away is for a yard sale next June so after that there will be even MORE available space!

But even now I have a couple of empty shelves :)

I am having fun making wall displays - this one is for my dad - his guitar (I have happy memories of sitting at his feet while he played and sang), his tambourine and a picture of the "old sap" drinking from a sap bucket!! He was very proud of the fact that this photo was chosen to be in a Co-op calendar :)

Just one of many boxes that I donated to the local thrift store - making space!!

Some of the empty bins that had been storing decor items and art work over the past year. Hopefully they will fit into the storage space "under the stairs".

There's lots of room for storing the Christmas bins - I have a total of 4 bins of Christmas stuff, about half of what I used to have. "Downsizing and decluttering" are the order of the day!

I need to get busy using this stuff! I had two bins of old gift bags, gift tags, Christmas cards, ribbons and bows and wrapping paper. This is what is left after my D & D efforts (downsizing and decluttering!)

My gorgeous dining room now with a few Christmas decorations and my carpet which I continue to drool over. It's small but I love it!

Just a reminder to myself to face each day with courage...

Yesterday I bought a few things to go into the kittens' stockings - yes, they have totally stolen my heart!!

This Thursday will see the completion of the basement reno with the delivery of my new electric fireplace/TV unit and 2 new chairs!! The set of ottomans arrived yesterday. Oh, and I'm still waiting for my new futon cover and pillows to arrive. They're coming from the States and not sure how long I'll have to wait. Then I'll have to post some MORE PHOTOS!!

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Progress Report

First to answer your questions from my last post:

No I wasn't crossing my eyes on purpose Michelle LOL! For some reason one side of my face was puffier than the other! I have some Oil of Oregano but have difficulties getting it down!

Will I give up cutting my hair so short - NOT ON YOUR LIFE!! But I will leave that area alone for a little bit.  And yes the juicer is back on the counter! I don't eat poorly but I could eat better. I am drinking a nice concoction of apples, spinach, cucumber, yellow pepper, carrots, celery and ginger as we to speak:)

The swelling has decreased to the point where I have hopes of entering the world once again - tomorrow!!

And the big question of course: "With the upcoming holiday season that also marks an anniversary of a not-so-stellar moment in your life, I'm wondering if you have a "game plan" to navigate the next few weeks to keep away the negative feelings and emotions?"

Keeping busy is key as you said Freckles. Hence the whirl of productive activity I now find myself engaged in. And we all benefit - the house is looking better, areas that haven't been touched for awhile are getting a massive re-organization and cleaning and I'm too busy to think. Yesterday I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards to make room for new dishes that I ordered. 

I seem to have a thing for poppies lately:)  I filled 3 boxes for Talize, the local thrift shop - the two of us do not need 30+ wineglasses or 30+ mugs!! The more organized I get the better I feel. I'm getting control back over my environment.  And I like that. 

Getting together with good friends and family helps too. A friend and I went on a Christmas Spirit walk recently - we walked through a candle lit forest, stopped from time to time with our group to sing carols together around campfires and ate way more than our share of hot chocolate and cookies! I felt happy to be sharing a festive couple of hours in the great outdoors with a group of like minded people and it helped raise my spirits.

When we arrived we were greeted by carollers.
There was a large tree covered in lights and candles everywhere. 
Throughout the walk there were several campfires to keep us warm.
Hard to see but the pathways were marked by pairs of lanterns.
Lanterns made from 2L pop bottles and candles!
Staying toasty warm!
Not very fancy but beautifully effective. 
Lined up and waiting to go inside a century old schoolhouse for
a mini-concert (and to warm up!). Then it was time to stand outside
around a roaring fire with hot chocolate and cookies while
singing more carols with a choir of teenagers. Oh,
and we had our picture taken with Santa!! 

The evening had a really good feel to it. I was counting my blessings :)

Another thing I've done is give myself some things to look forward to - like the flooring, new furniture for the TV room coming this Thursday, new dishes, new dining room carpet - I just love getting packages delivered to my door!!

And Kazi (who is boyfriend-less now too) and I decided that we would hold a Christmas Eve party for us and our single friends. Instead of moping about feeling sad I suggested gathering together in our NEW TV ROOM and watching National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation" and our annual favourite "The Christmas Story" so planning that will keep both of us busy in a positive way.

Finally, who can be sad around these 2 lovey dovey girls??

Beautiful Lily - wherever I sit she is sure to follow. 
Mischievous Luna of the very big eyes!! "Life is a picnic"!!
Cuddling together - <3
They make my heart happy!!
 Well, that turned into a whole post! More to come on the renos!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Very Very Ugly!

The Good:
It's been an up and down kind of week. Very busy with the flooring installers finishing up their previous job early so arrived to do my basement ahead of schedule. That's GOOD!
A "basement reno" post will be on its way soon!

I'm way behind in posts but I'll catch up. Now that I'm stuck inside for a few days. That'll be explained in the "Ugly" section of this post.

Back to the GOOD....if cuteness was goodness Lily would be Mother Teresa!
Praying for yummy treats for Christmas!
 Grooming for the holidays...Luna is making sure Lily lays still for her lickin'!! Lily's being GOOD!
Hold still while I'm licking you!
This was such a momentous occasion I had to take a photo!! Five years since I last saw this price!! That's not's GREAT!!
First time gas has been below $1.00/L in 5 years!!
Well, Luna's intentions were GOOD I'm sure! It was nice to have her company while I cleaned out and re-organized the furnace room. Now it's looking GOOD!
My not-so-helpful helper during furnace room cleanup!

 The Bad:
The bad is only temporary thank goodness! And this is only a small part of it. Now that the reno is done I have several basement storage areas jam packed full of a) junk b) yard sale stuff and c) stuff I'm keeping. So let the sorting, tossing and rearranging begin! The furnace room is done.

Next up is the laundry room, the storage area under the stairs and the storage area off the laundry room. I've lugged a couple bags to the dumpster with much more to come. The other part of this job is putting my large collection of paintings etc back up on the walls. When I thought I was moving to PEI I took everything down and stored it in bins. Now I get to put it all back up again on freshly painted walls (mostly). Progress is being made.

Too much stuff!

The Ugly:
On Wednesday I felt my forehead getting tight but sort of ignored it. I've had a tiny bump in my widow's peak for weeks, it didn't seem to change, couldn't be seen and didn't bother me. Thursday morning I woke up with a Klingon forehead and a lot of facial pain. There was swelling on my forehead, around my eyes, bridge of my nose and cheeks. What the hell?

So off to the doctor I went. Their diagnosis - folliculitis.  Massive antibiotics required. Who knew that one miniscule infected hair follicle could cause one's entire face to blow up? I look like I have two black eyes and my glasses keep sliding down because there is just one mass of puffiness between my eyes. The photo doesn't do it justice. I am not a happy camper as I refuse to go out looking like this and Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!! Bah humbug I say!! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Received a couple of interesting comments this week regarding renovations:
 "I hope your flooring install goes smoothly. I am so chicken to do some house renos. We have the money set aside, I just go frozen when I have to make decisions like what kind of tile and where it should go (replacing the carpet in the dining room over to tile = who puts carpet in their dining room!)"  Living Rich on the Cheap

"I can relate to your post so much, especially with using the word "frozen". For me, it's the intimidation factor and the fear of looking stupid. My carpet is trashed and was due to be replaced about 5 years ago. On more than one occasion I have walked into Home Depot, start looking at carpets, and within 10 minutes my pulse is racing and I just leave!! I have noticed that in a few places in my house the carpet has lifted away and I told myself to just start ripping it up, and having the bare floor would be motivation for me to just get over my fear and either figure it out or swallow my pride and ask for help.
Here's my question to those of you who are savvy about these things: My walls need painting too. Is there a particular order that these renovations should be done? Walls first or carpet first? I have baseboards, do the baseboards need to be removed for the carpet to be laid? I assume that walls should be painted first so pain doesn't drip onto new carpets, but is that the only consideration? It's the baseboards that have me confused about when to do what". Freckles
The intimidation factor is huge! So many choices and what do I know?? Not that much! There are times I wish that instead of spending several thousand dollars on new flooring for my basement that I had just painted the cement floors instead. But then I think "resale".  And that's part of what is driving me right now. People want to buy a house that they don't have to put any money into so when the time comes to sell (if I sell) then I either put the price of the house lower or install flooring. So I bit the bullet. 
I picked Home Depot because they are close to me and are Canadian. And also because I could do everything from the website. I never set foot in the store regarding this adventure. It was all online and by telephone (hi Sue!) When I printed off the contract (at home) I noticed that the baseboard on the order were not the size I wanted so again, went on line, perused the selection of baseboards and found what I wanted...made a phone call to Sue who then changed the order and refunded $34 to my credit card because the ones I wanted were on sale! This is how I like to do renos!! 
**Sue found another error, something to do with the underpad which saved me another $130 - again she just credited it to my credit card. Never did I have to enter the store til the deal was done!! The selection of flooring is all online and I filled in a request form to get my basement measured and to receive a quote. Easy peasy and no stress, except for the part where I had to pay :( Once all was arranged I did have to go to Home Depot and pay. 
Regarding Freckles query: yes, baseboards do have to be removed to install carpet. Depending on what shape they are in they can either be reinstalled or you can order new ones. All the choices are on the Home Depot website. Painting before or after installation? I've done both. I've been working like crazy getting the basement walls painted with EXTREME WHITE and just finished a couple hours ago. I'm sure that after the flooring is installed there will likely be some touchups needed. If you wait to paint after installation you'll need lots of drop cloths to protect your new floors. the end of next Thursday I'll have new flooring, new baseboards and fresh white walls in the basement!  I'm thinking it'll be worth the $$ and pain. (My shoulder's killing me!) I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the installers don't have any problems - like cracks in the foundation or something....!!
Recent updates:

Flagstones in place of patio stones

This all had to be cleaned up to install new carpet - DONE!

Living with the subfloors during hardwood installation.

Mattresses etc in the living room - what fun!

I wonder where my tax forms are??

Those walls are now painted and the stairs
are covered in new carpet.

While painting today I had a deep thought. Yes, painting is one of those activities that puts me into my right brain - the creative side. I was thinking about my dad - he had a lot of anxiety and depression that he dealt with over several decades. What I came up with was this (and this has to do with the FROZEN problem.) A lot of the time the IDEA of something is more overwhelming than actually doing it. When I thought about getting the basement flooring done it was overwhelming - just thinking about all I would have to do-where to even start!! But the process wasn't that bad - definitely not as bad as THINKING about it. I'll let you know if that holds true after the installation is done!!

Next renos: foyer, bathrooms

Friday, December 5, 2014

In and Out

Due to my low battery this post must be a quickie - in and out! At the moment Kazi and I are sharing a power cable for our laptops - thank goodness we have the same kind! I'm not 100% sure but my cord may not be working due to tiny kitten teeth! We are trying to be more careful with our cords but it is a challenge. I am using a water bottle to "redirect" their behaviour as Jane suggested in a comment - Jane - do you use a "stream" or a "spray"?? Anyhoo Kazi suggested I look on eBay for a cord as they are much cheaper than in the Apple Store and she was right! I'm paying $19.00 (taxes, shipment included) for a new cord as opposed to $89.00 plus 13% tax!

Who us? Chew on a cord?

 I was laid low by a migraine this week, 2nd in two weeks. I think it's the heavy cloud cover and lack of sunshine. It's been so gloomy I can hardly stand it. I woke up at 4am Tuesday morning with a jackhammer in my head and unfortunately anything I ate, drank or tried to medicate with instantly came back up. Wed. was a bit better, yesterday more improvement but here it is Friday and I'm still not back to normal.

Perhaps another contributing factor was the work I've been doing in the basement. I've been moving furniture and have begun painting in preparation for new flooring going in next week. I'm going to have a whole new basement!! Laundry room is going to change from pink to white.

 The landing at the bottom of the steps has been spackled and sanded and has a first coat. Because it was pale green before it will need a second coat.

Hallway has a first coat of paint except for one narrow strip I missed!!

The kittens helped me move the futon! Hah! You can see their plaster dust footprints all over it!
 Ooooh garbage bags - must explore!  No painting done in the TV room yet but all the spackling has been done so it's ready to go. (NO kittens were present during the painting of the basement!)

All furniture except the futon has been stuffed into the furnace room and the laundry room. The workmen said they could move and work around the futon:) The fun part was taking apart the TV, Blu Ray player, speakers etc etc, labelling all the cords so I can hopefully put it all back together accurately. Strangely I found TWO cords that were doing nothing - not plugged in at either end??

 Yesterday the new flooring and other materials arrived. OOOOOHHH and the lady from Home Depot called me and said I was getting a refund of $130 due to wrong underlay on my original order. It ain't much but it helps :)

Baseboards above; underlay, concrete (to fill those little round holes around the perimeters due to carpet nails)...
and the vinyl planks!!
I'm hoping to get the painting done before they start but we'll see how it goes.
I'm so excited!!