dreaminghope: (Christmas)
Russ and I spent many hours working on our house over the last month. We tidied and cleaned inside and out. We hung art work we've owned for years. Russ finished the living room floor, a project that's been pending since we moved in more than three years ago. My sister's Christmas present to us was a custom-made bedroom curtain, replacing the cat-covered sheets we'd pinned up.

The prompt for this sudden productivity was Christmas Eve: We were to host my extended family, including Grandma.

In classic upper-middle-class WASP style, I spent much of my time cultivating a "oh, this old thing" style. The Star Trek books get tucked behind everything else where they can't be found, but Harry Potter stays visible – not too embarrassing, and too many high brow books might look fake. But I do leave my old poli sci books and Charles Dickens out too.

Everything was ready: seasonal music in the CD player, egg nog and homemade ginger beer in the fridge, red and green towels in the bathroom… and we watched the snow come down. And come down.

Vancouver doesn't do snow.

At mid-afternoon, after consulting with my parents and aunts and uncles, we had to call it:

Christmas Eve was cancelled.

We were left with a lot of egg nog and Satsuma mandarins and the promise that we can host next year. That gives me one more year to get the bathroom ceiling repaired, replace the sagging futon in the living room, and get a better stand for our water filtration system.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
There are stories to tell.

There was an afternoon at Quest spent cleaning up rodent droppings and re-shelving hundreds of dented cans and dusty pasta packages with a recovering drug addict. She had just moved to Vancouver to enter her father's treatment center, and she was looking forward to having spaghetti for dinner.

There's the new website at work, and the long list of complaints and struggles and other associated annoyances. And there's my assistant, The Kid, who sure gets sick a lot and should maybe start investing in large bottles of Pepto.

There's the deck... well, the deck isn't so much a story as a saga. The project sounds reasonable: remove the poorly made railings, yank up the rotting plywood, replace any rotten boards in the structure, then put down new plywood, treat with a deck finishing product, and put up new railings. Simple. But our deck is almost 300 square feet... a small Yaletown apartment.

If you've been through East Van lately and noticed some any weird(er) behaviour, it's probably my neighbours, high on the fumes from the deck surfacing. Russ put on three undercoats and one topcoat, which made for some pretty intense fumes. And since houses are pretty close together here and our deck is seven feet up, a lot of people were getting whiffs of our deck. Luckily, our neighbours on all sides are kind and tolerant. Mostly, they are just teasing us because the project's now four weeks old and not yet complete.

There was the 3-Day Novel Contest. I only wrote just over 17,000 words, and the resulting story – Dream in Toner – features a magical photocopier, a bunch of pigeons, and Bananagrams.

And there's my new love: a Rigid Heddle Loom. I bought a assembled-but-never-used 24-inch Ashford from a neighbour a couple of months ago. Since then, I've made a couple of scarves, a set of place mats, and a whole lot of dishcloths.



There are plenty of stories, but I just haven't had the right words. But if I wait for the words to come to me, I'll never write. So here I am again, trying to tell a story with what words I have.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
White appliances are horrible because they show all the splatters. Black appliances are almost as bad because every water mark looks like grease, and all grease splatters show. Stainless steel... I am not a competent enough cleaner to even think about stainless steel. I wish they still made avocado green appliances. They seem to look pretty much the same whether they are clean or not.

When I was a little girl, my parents had these Lazy-Boy chairs and a matching couch with arm covers and head rest covers. The covers were always getting crooked, and I was always straightening them out. It was an afternoon routine when I got home from school: go around the family room and fix all the covers. I would do it again before going to bed. Sometimes I would do it in the morning before school too. They drove me crazy; always crooked and hanging off at weird angles. I was eight when I vowed to never have the dreadful things on my own furniture, and I don't. I do have an area rug that never stays lined up with the wall and the furniture, even with a rubber mat under it. I don't fix it every day, though, because it's under the futon and Russ' desk chair. I fix it every time I vacuum, and I try not to look at it the rest of the time.

When I do laundry, I hang my underwear in a line so the greens are all together, followed by the blues, then the purples, pinks, and the red pairs at the far end. Just because it's just laundry doesn't mean it can't look nice.

I have developed an obsession with paisley. It looks like a really beautiful comma, or maybe an apostrophe. Russ isn't fond of paisley. He doesn't share my deep love of punctuation either. But he lets me babble to him about both, and he pretends to appreciate my newest paisley acquisitions. He even goes out in public with me when I'm wearing my tacky orange paisley shirt.

I have one set of matching bath towels and two sets of matching bed sheets. One of the sheet sets was from a remainder sale, and the top sheet is completely crooked; when it's at my chin, it only reaches Russ' nipples. Some part of me likes when things match – when they are right and straight and tidy and perfect – but I'm cheap. Instead, I adapt my aesthetic sense to appreciate the less appreciated beauty of non-matching towels and crooked sheets. But I still want my rug to be straight.
dreaminghope: (Cute but Deranged)
I'm coming down off my Pine-Sol high. The rum and Coke has only mellowed the hang-over a little. Don't get into cleaning, man; it'll fuck you up.

Eight hours of constant scrubbing, and the walls, kitchen appliances, and bathroom are clean in our rental suite. I'm doing the floors tomorrow and getting a carpet cleaner on Tuesday. Does anyone happen to know what'll get six month old cat pee out of carpet? The pee is six months old, not the cat that made the pee. He was about a year and a half old.

I don't normally go for the hard stuff: Pine-Sol, Vim, Lysol. I try to stick to environmentally-friendly, locally-made, fair-traded, organic, biodegradable, unscented, made-of-sunshine-and-flower-petal kind of stuff. But this job needed something that would melt the dirt right off every surface.

Never again white appliances! But I now know how to get old maple syrup off the inside of a fridge without Vim or anything similar: spray with diluted vinegar, let sit, rub. Repeat until maple syrup is gone.

Ten foot ceilings in a bathroom without a fan: bad idea. Just trust me. Russ got them clean with a sponge mop and a lot of scrubbing. It took him about twenty minutes – the same amount of time it took me to get the stove top de-greased using lemon-scented dish washing liquid. It would've taken me twice as long to wash that ceiling; I need to go to the gym more to achieve optimum cleaning ability.

I'm a bit jittery; I suppose that's the Pine-Sol. Or maybe that's the Coke. I’m kind of dopey and sleepy too; I think that's the rum. Or maybe that's the Pine-Sol. Don't mix your highs, kids.

I need to do an extra half-shift tomorrow, so I'm starting at 6 AM. I was supposed to work today, but I was cleaning. That's a sign of a problem, isn't it? I'm missing work to clean.

I do think I may have a problem. It all started when I helped Shannon clean her old basement suite with Pine-Sol in hot water without ventilation. You could smell the fresh pine scent from the street. After, we laid in the grass and giggled. Good times. The first time's always the best.

I'm going to go sleep this off.
dreaminghope: (Cave Gargoyle)
Subtitled: Why we can't have nice things.

My friends from the suburbs, or even from the wealthier areas of Vancouver, have often noted the complete lack of garbage cans on the streets of my neighbourhood on the East side, especially at bus stops.

Strathcona is a lovely neighbourhood. It is a neighbourhood with tradition, with Italian and Chinese families who've been here for generations, taking advantage of its proximity to both Chinatown and Little Italy. It is a neighbourhood with energy, with hip up-and-coming artists scattered everywhere in studios, garages, and basement suites.

We finally got a garbage can at the bus stop near the park and community garden. It was full to overflowing most of the time, which either shows how desperately we needed it or how infrequently the city emptied it. It isn't an issue anymore, though, because someone, who was probably looking for cans and bottles to return, cracked the garage can open – split it top to bottom – and now they've taken our garbage can away.

Russ and I got broken into on Monday morning, not long after we left for work. Someone jimmied the basement door's lock. They didn't get any further then that basement storage room. As soon as they got the basement door open, our monitored alarm system went off, and functioned exactly as it was supposed to: the intruder ran off, the police came, we didn’t lose anything. There wasn't even any damage.

When we moved into this neighbourhood a year ago, there was this ugly lump of a building two doors down from us. It was free-standing from the house, right on the alley. It was covered by a massive black tarp, with flapping corners where it wasn't tied down completely, and it dominated the view from our deck.

As with most of the lots on our street, the main house's size meant that there was already more building on the lot then was allowed, so the second building must have been old enough to have been grandfathered in. As long as the building stood, it could remain, but if the owners ever tore it down, they would not be allowed to build anything new in its place.

Recently, the owners decided to re-roof and start fixing up the lump. They've been re-shingling, making additions, basically rebuilding it from scratch without it ever coming down. In talking to them about their plans, we found out that the building was actually a 100-year-old horse barn. This was one of the last areas of Vancouver to have horses.

We heard stories about the building when we first moved in. A previous house owner had divided the old barn into bedrooms. Though the building did not have electricity or running water, people would rent the rooms (stalls?), then go into the main house to use the washroom.

There was also gossip that the barn was once a bordello… but I may have started that rumour.

There are old houses in our neighbourhood being fixed up, getting heritage status. There are some gorgeous buildings near us now, painted with rich colours, with so many details like trims and stained glass and beautiful railings and fences. A lot of time and money went into those buildings.

The summer's rash of arsons seems to have ended, though no one was ever apprehended. Some brand new homes, still unfinished, and a importer's warehouse were among the victims. The warehouse was only damaged, and it is fully repaired now. The houses were completely destroyed, but they have almost been completely rebuilt.

Russ and I put down a deposit on our new windows today. They will be installed in January. Our house is a long way from being heritage, but it will look nicer with shiny new windows. They will also cut down the noise from the street and will help with our energy costs. As soon as they are installed, we will have our alarm company come in to upgrade our system.

Someone was sleeping in the next door neighbour's car port the other morning.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I am enjoying the unpacking of the house much more then I enjoyed the packing of the apartment. It is partially because there isn’t a deadline: I can do as little or as much as I want at a time, without worrying about a rapidly approaching moving day. It is also partially because it is the end of the task instead of the beginning. When packing, I knew that everything that got packed would have to be moved and then unpacked and put away. Unpacking is very satisfying because it indicates completion.

There is also the feeling of discovery as things that have been in boxes for months get unwrapped and a home is found for them. The only problem with this is the temptation to start flipping through and reading books as you unpack them.

We acquired some new-to-us furniture this week. My uncle gave us a lovely wood kitchen table with matching chairs and a small Ikea bookcase. The items are from the estate of my uncle's son by his first marriage, who passed away from AIDS a couple of months ago.

The new table is a wonderful match for the cabinet my Dad made for us for Christmas a couple of years ago, and they both look quite nice with our new kitchen. I’m hoping the attractiveness and newness of the table will inspire us to keep it clear enough to eat at without shoveling piles of papers and tools off first. That might be a bit of a lost cause until there's somewhere else to put the papers in particular, so my next task to convince Russ to help me carry the filing cabinet up the stairs.

Oh, and I got a little stabbing pain in my gut when I found out that my cousin just bought a 70 year old, 3 bedroom house in Nova Scotia for about the same as our down payment. He is living in a suburb in Nova Scotia, which wouldn’t suit me at all. I do love Vancouver. And it comforts me to think that if we ever do decide to move outside of Vancouver, we will do great selling our house and buying something newer, or in better condition at least. But my first reaction was "ouch!"
dreaminghope: ("I hate everything" - Happy Bunny)
I like doing laundry. Being able to do my own is one of the things I was looking forward to about buying this house.

My washing machine doesn't work. It makes all the right noises, and soapy water comes out, etc., but it doesn't get things clean.

I actually own two washing machines, as they both came with the house. I have to get up the energy to try the other one - it's in the external storage room, so it means going outside and around the side of the house for every load.

I have no dryer at all, and no drying rack for inside, so doing laundry in Vancouver rain isn't much good anyway.

So, I own two washing machines and I am still almost out of clean underwear.
dreaminghope: (Firelight - Cinnamonsqueak)
The next post in my many posts about renovating my house simply must be one about my family and community, without whom nothing would be done.

I cannot believe how much time, effort and energy people have been putting in. I am deeply touched and incredibly grateful for all of it. I cannot express how awed and humbled I am by the work other people have been willing to offer. I had workcrews of up to nine people in my house at a time, all putting in amazing efforts.

Though I've tried to thank everyone as we go, and I plan on thanking everyone again at the house warming, here's my list of heroes* so far, in no particular order:

My heroes )

Please, please tell me if I forgot anyone or any major tasks. I really want to remember everyone's hard work and I want to keep a record of how far this house has come and what it took to do it.

A huge, public thank you to all these people. I expect there will be more thank you lists before this is all done.

*Please don't hate me if I forgot to thank you for something, but please do let me know so I can keep records of the work that went into this house.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
The overwhelming task of recording my last couple of weeks looms. I begin with where I am right now, in terms of the move, the renovations, etc.

First, a quick review: Russ and I bought a house. It is 105 years old, and a legal duplex in Vancouver. There's the ground floor, where we will be living, a basement for our crafts and things, an illegal basement suite that we probably aren't going to rent out, and a top floor suite, which we will be renting out.

Most of our possessions are currently in the basement or piled in various nooks, for reasons that will probably soon become apparent.

Our bedroom is set-up, though I can't find all my clothing. But I have underwear and jeans and a shirt or two, so it isn't so tough.

Our main bathroom had a rotten floor, which my father kindly ripped up and replaced. However, since new flooring has to be laid and everything has to be sealed before it can be safely exposed to any water, we can't use that bathroom. We currently trek down to the basement for the bathroom. Luckily, the basement suite has its own shower and tub, so we can get clean. It is a little like camping, really.

Our livingroom is half-finished. The wall that used to divide it into two rooms is gone, the drop-ceiling is gone, the old carpets are gone. It has been drywalled, though the mudding isn't finished. After mudding, there is sanding, floor re-finishing, priming and painting. Currently, our lounge chairs and our TV are sitting in the middle of an otherwise empty space, along with a ladder and some tools.

Our kitchen is going to be replaced in early September, which is the earliest date we could book the installer for. So we aren't unpacking any of our kitchen stuff, but just pulling out the bare basics and working around the stacks of boxes. We will be eating lots of microwave foods, lots of one-pot meals and lots of things that can be steamed (the T & T Market is very close by). I still need to pull out the espresso machine, though. The Union Market is wonderful, but their lattes suck.

The upstairs suite still has an incomplete bathroom and kitchen.

Russ and I took yesterday off. We slept in, puttered around town, set-up our computer, and read. Today is about laundry (I can't find any spare sheets, so the ones from the bed have to get cleaned) and errands. We need the stuff to finish our bathroom, as the charm of going down the stairs and winding our way past most of our worldly possessions to pee will soon start to wear off.

The work continues.
dreaminghope: (Sleeping Zoey)
First, I've been off LJ for about three weeks, so if I've missed anything important, please let me know. I've been having serious withdrawal, so it is really good to have Internet access at home again.

Second, I am now officially in my new place. The old basement suite has been emptied, cleaned and the keys have been returned.

Third, I am exhausted, and just finished dealing with as many of my 250+ new emails as I could stand, and Russ just came home last night from a week away on business, so that's all for now. Hopefully the updates on my last couple of weeks will start tomorrow, because there's a lot I want to remember.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
I am renovating a house.

I have no home phone, no email and no LJ access.

More later.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Good weekend, but crazy.

I honestly don't remember Friday night. No idea what I did.

Saturday: Cleaning, packing, baking. Then off to Topless Wish Faeries, which was wonderful and fun and magical and exhausting. Maybe more on that later in its own post. Then to Illuminaires after that, until way later then I should've stayed up.

Sunday: Cleaning at Shannon and Dallas' old place. Their new place is gorgeous - congratulations guys! Then Silver Spiral Lammas in the evening.

Had a little nervous breakdown on Sunday night, just getting overwhelmed with all the moving, Gathering and work related things that have to get done in a very short amount of time. Russ calmed me down, and we got a lot done Monday night, which helped a lot. I also managed to get some Gathering stuff done, so everything remaining on that is actually dependent on other people finishing their stuff first. Hopefully that'll all get done on Wednesday night.

Just an apology, partially in advance: I'm not on LJ much these days. I read about four days worth of posts today, but hardly commented on anything. Then I'm away for the long weekend, and my home web access moves to the new house on August 5th, while the computer may not move for a couple of weeks. All in all, I won't be a good LJ friend for the next couple of weeks.

OK, I'm going back to packing.
dreaminghope: (Little Miss Helpful)
We get possession of the house one month from today. Despite having filled many boxes, there's still tons of stuff to sort and pack. And my to-do lists keep getting longer, no matter how many things I check off of them.

Stuff is getting done, though. I packed two more boxes last night, so almost all the books are packed. And I got the last of the books I wanted to sell to Abraham's yesterday. I only got $10 in credit for them, but they were ones Banyen wouldn't even take, so that's OK with me.

My goal for this coming week is to actually book the movers, now that I've confirmed with work that I can get the day I want (August 17th) off, to fill the last four boxes that are already in the house, and to sort my desk stuff. I'll get the warehouse to set aside more boxes for me, and next weekend I think I'm tackling the lesser-used kitchen stuff.

I can't believe we will be walking into our new house in a month. It is starting to feel a little surreal: Did we really buy a house? Because of it was so long ago that we were last in the house and last doing anything directly related to it (i.e., signed papers, etc.), it feels un-real. But I saw the house from the bus on Friday, and that gave me a little jolt.

Russ is still in bed, but I am going to have to find some quiet work to do. Getting something done will make me feel more in control. I hope.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Russ and I went to a community garage sale in our neighbourhood-to-be on Saturday and got:

- A black dress trench coat for Russ ($5).

- An electric steamer, new ($10).

- A brand new (still in all its original packaging), horizontal-style breadmaker ($40).

Also, I sold off some of my fluffy Pagan books to Banyen for $66.00 in credit. I'll go back and spend it later.

I was a successful hunter and gatherer!

And Russ and I got to spend the whole weekend together, just running errands, sorting and packing, watching movies, etc. It was a very nice time.

Cold lust

Jun. 10th, 2005 07:07 pm
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
I have been catching myself fantasising and lusting at odd moments. I can't keep my mind from yearning. Every time I go near the kitchen, it starts again: the passionate desire for my new fridge.

The house, the one we're finally getting in August, has a huge, gleaming white fridge, with a beautiful freezer on it. I want it. I want it bad and I want it now.

Every time I try to find a new way to cram something into our dinky little freezer, I imagine what I can put into all that space.

Every time I open the fridge by pulling on the side of the door, as there is no handle, and dig around in the dark, mysterious depths, I dream of a handle and a light that turns on when you open the door.

Every time I pull a carrot out of the produce drawer, hereafter refered to as the "dildo maker", and it goes "wibble-wibble-wibble" (imagine holding the end of the carrot and wiggling it in the air while making that noise, and you'll figure out what I mean), I dream of a crisper worthy of the name.

Automatic defrost, oh baby!
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
Assuming nothing goes wrong with the bank (it really shouldn't, but we'll know for absolutely certain later today):




RUSS AND I ARE BUYING A HOUSE!





Details of what happened with the house inspection and some pictures will follow at some point in the "House Buying" CG. More info about the house for general consumption will also be posted. But I've got to work now; I'm behind because I took half a day off yesterday.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
- Yeah and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] misselaineeous for new underwear!

- Dinner out and a chance to see my Oma. She looks better then the last time I saw her, so that was really nice.

- Russ and I found another neighbourhood we'd be willing to live in (part of Strathcona). We wandered around, and there's some really nice houses and lots of work being done. And the streets just had a nice vibe, especially along the 600 and 700 blocks of Union and of Pacific.

- It was nice to spend time alone with Russ in the car to and from Beltane and while walking around Strathcona. We laughed a lot.

- Lots of creative stuff going on in my house, though it has resulted in a bit of a mess. I sure am glad that nothing's happening at my house this week!

- The ants have retreated!

- My part of the Gathering confirmation package is done and has been sent to the Board for final checks and comments. I should be able to mail/email them starting the first Tuesday in May!

- Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] tareija, could I get Eats, Shoots and Leaves back from you tommorow at drumming? My dad is really eager to read it.

- The weather this weekend was simply gorgeous! I got to pull out my sun hat and I didn't wear a jacket today.

On those happy notes, I'm off to bed now!
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
It is a beautiful day out here in lovely Vancouver! I can't believe it is March; I remember the almost annual March snowstorms of my youth in Ontario and cannot believe I went out without a jacket today.

I decided to come in when I found an ant in my cleavage, despite sitting cross-legged on a kitchen chair on the lawn. How did it manage to get there?

I've been trying to write, but I am distracted by the beautiful day, the fact that my computer is not portable and I can't seem to write on paper anymore, and by thoughts of houses.

Russ and I went to our first open house yesterday. It wasn't anything we actually wanted (too strangely laid out, too new, too expensive), but we happened to be in the neighbourhood when the open house started, so we took a wander through. The only great thing about it (besides a gas range in the kitchen and counters in the bathroom) was a balcony on the third floor, sort of cut into the building so that no one could see you (except the people next door, who have an identical balcony), but you can see everything for many blocks around.

Then we walked a bunch of the residential streets between Victoria and Nanaimo, from Kitchener to a few blocks short of Venables, day dreaming about potential homes. I managed to find Rose Street to show Russ: it is this adorable little street of beautiful, colourful heritage houses, and there's a gorgeous old church at the end of the block.

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February 2014

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