Bathroom Part II

I believe that your relationship will survive anything, if it can survive a renovation.

I say this with ample experience. We had a massive renovation/addition at our previous home that involved our back entrance, master bedroom, kitchen and adding an ensuite. That was almost 15 years ago! Things are looking good for us!

While you “lived” through our emergency bathroom reno from last year, I’m thrilled to let you know that, yes gentle reader, we hate ourselves enough to subject our marriage and family to ANOTHER bathroom renovation. Thank Sweet Baby Jesus that there are only two bathrooms in this house.

Mercifully, there is no dire, structural emergency prompting this reno. Thanks also to the experience (also known as “character building”) of the first bathroom, we are far more prepared for the cost. This time, we are PREPARED!

So let’s start at the beginning…

SHOWER

This is the “shower”, which is only 3/4 of a standard shower, made more difficult to access by the dumbass door which only allows you a foot and a half to squeeze through. The Big Guy and First Born Son took to this bathroom when we moved in, which makes ZERO sense because neither of them can fit under the door frame never mind the shower head. Since the last reno made the upstairs bathroom too “nice”, Second Born Son has taken to showering down here too. Again, at 6’2 this is not logical. ANYWAYS!

TUB

To the right of the door is the Jacuzzi tub. Yes folks Jacuzzi – trademarked and everything. I’m pretty sure this was the first generation, if not the prototype. I tried using it once, and dared not to activate the jets as a quick pre-soak inspection told me everything I needed to know about the condition of the calcified tube work. We were also fairly suspect of the condition of the wiring for the motor after 30+ years.

I’m going to assume you judged me for my poor choice of wall color, but that’s ok, because now you can see there isn’t much you can do with calf-scour brown tiles. Yes, those ARE the same tiles from the upstairs reno. So observant you are! Gold star! 1-inch tile was all the rage in 1983.

You might think the tiles are my favorite feature of this area, and I would say “No, good sir, you are mistaken!” It’s the du-lux hand-held shower modification. It ALWAYS leaked and because a Jacuzzi is not designed to be “shower tub”, water that didn’t hit directly dead centre of the tub, and ended up on the top of the tub, and was instantly redirected around the walls of the enclosure to the floor. Basically, if you tried to bathe in this beast, you’d have a flood on your hands or a fire. Good times.

CLOSET

Here you get a much better angle of the aforementioned shower basterdization modification. You will also see the staining in the tub. Did I mention we have crappy water? Fear not, we spent a small fortune on that too. Nothing like investing in new bathrooms and having them look like century-farm indoor plumbing within a year!

Here you can appreciate how the owner/builders maximized the use of space. Not only did they have a shower installed that could only fit adolescent girls, but they also crammed the world’s smallest linen closet. As we were going to update our doors, TBG pulled this one off as well, only to find out YOU CAN’T ORDER DOORS THIS SMALL ANYMORE. Son of a Doorknob! Yes, I did suggest he go back to the repurpose area of the landfill to reclaim the old door. No, he did not do it. I’m hitting Pinterest hard for a solution. I’m open to suggestions y’all!

SINK TOILET

This is the image that gives me nightmares. We have removed the toilet already, to protect the more sensitive readers amongst you. What remains is what a raw plaster wall looks like when you don’t paint before the plumber comes…30 years later, that is. The shower is to the right of the sink. Not a big room, but a main one as this is the one our guests tend to use. That’s right, we allowed friends and extended family to use this space looking the way it did. Hey, we don’t discriminate!

It was right about this time when I came with an idea! “I’ve got an idea” no longer fills TBG’s heart full of fear, but rather a knowing dread that this “idea” is going to involve him. And perhaps some money.

Originally we were going to close in the dinky shower and use it for a closet, but then I thought, “Why waste the storage space in the bathroom?” While the shower was tiny in its current form, it would make a great pantry for the kitchen which is across from the outer wall!!

Thankfully TBG agreed and made it so.

SIDE BY SIDE

Apparently I like plaster dust throughout my house, because let me tell you, this did it! The attempt at tarping you see in the image on the right was noble, but not as effective as one would hope. Therefore, I’ve suspended any house cleaning until this project is complete. It’s been a month with no end in sight. Don’t drop by, we are days away from being condemned for being a public safety hazard.

DOORWAY

Here he is. The Creator of the dreams I come up with. He spends all his spare time, such as it is, working on this. No comments on the kitchen floor – he doesn’t have time for a kitchen reno right now.

Next year darling???

 

Secrets & Lies

I have a confession to make. It’s rather awkward to share, and I hope you will be understanding and won’t rush to judgement.

I have been lying to my husband. For weeks. I have also been keeping things from him. I’m not sorry. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

You see, I felt very strongly about something, and I knew he wouldn’t necessarily agree, so I just went behind his back, did what I wanted to do. He never saw it coming.

We had a surprise 50th Birthday Party for The Big Guy.

I knew I was going to have to be deceitful when I heard TBG’s response to my question regarding his milestone birthday. When I asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday, he replied, “I don’t want a party, if that’s what you are asking. Let’s just go out for a nice meal with the boys.”

I new in my heart, when I smiled and nodded in agreement, that I would not, could not agree to this. I knew that I would go against my husband’s wishes.

Tough noogies I say.

Weeks of planning went into a week of setting the scene. Firstly, TBG’s birthday was celebrated the way HE wanted over the Christmas Holidays. A nice dinner with his little family. We even had the wait staff sing to him. We celebrated with presents on his ACTUAL birthday, which happened to fall on a Wednesday. Ironically, he was sick this year, and didn’t go to work. Anyone who knows him knows that it had to be fairly serious for him to miss a day of work. He actually ended up missing two days of work.

Then there was the advertisement we put in the local paper – eluding that this was the extent of the extravagance.

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But it wasn’t until the following weekend that the ultimate deception took place. Although he still wasn’t at 100% per cent, he agreed that we would go to the movies; something we had hoped to do, but never got around to over the holidays. Just as we were about to head out the door, his brother, sister-in-law and niece showed up. SURPRISE! TBG is shocked, confused and thrilled. He thinks the surprise is that they have come for a visit, but they have brought quite a bit of food for just us….

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They got to work at putting up the decorations I had stashed away. Within 20 minutes, we had another vehicle pull in – then another – and then it hit him, we were in the midst of PAR-TAY! The food I had told him was a pro-active food prep for the following week, WRONG – was actually for the people who came to the door every 20 minutes or so. Instead of having a typical surprise where the guest of honour is brought in to a fully amassed group of friends and family, I asked them to come whenever they could, which meant a steady stream of people from 3 p.m. onward.

It. Was. PERFECT!

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The gifts, while appreciated were unnecessary. I say that because I don’t drink beer. Little Sister and her hubby, Thing 2, gave TBG 50 Beers for 50 Years. He was spoiled by many of his guests.

One of my favourite gifts was the large container of ornaments given by dear friends of ours, who also read this blog…they wanted to help TBG with next year’s Christmas tree after reading what happened to this year’s tree. Perfection!

It was a wonderful time. The pool table was well used. The food was snapped up and the cake was eaten.

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While TBG was thrilled to see so many friendly faces who wanted to celebrate how awesome he is, he found himself unable to go to sleep once the last pair of tail lights left the driveway. He questioned every action that had taken place for the past few weeks. As much as he enjoyed himself, he couldn’t believe that so much had taken place right under his nose.

“So there’s no more surprises?” he asked, after piecing together the puzzle.

“Nope, that’s it,” I replied, relieved.

…other than my secret family and off-shore bank accounts….

 

Without Tradition, We Have Nothing

Anyone who has read The Bowery Girl for any length of time knows that we really like Christmas and take our decorating rather seriously.

When it comes to Christmas trees, we like them big, and we like them to be real.

And we aren’t above risking life and limb to get the “perfect” tree!

It has involved going out into the wild yonder with a saw in hand. Then there was the task of getting it into the house.

But this year’s tree was truly unique. As Little Sister now lives at my parents’ former home, we didn’t think it would be cool to hike back and steal a tree. We’ll let them get their boxes unpacked before we start helping ourselves. You know, manners.

So we went to the neighbours of my parents’/my sister and brother in law, who, ironically, own and operate and Christmas tree farm. I’ll let you think about that. Yes, we have been slogging trees out of various bush areas for the past several years when we could have simply selected a pre-cut tree while sipping hot chocolate and cider under twinkle lights while being serenaded by festive music.

Yup. That’s how we do things around here. The hard way.

Which takes us back around to this year’s tree. Once again, we needed the “perfect” tree. Something that had the ability to inspire the Christmas Spirit even in the most jaded of Grinch-like hearts. It needed to be the one thing that people remembered about The Bowery Girl Christmas, because, once again, we were hosting at least one side of the family.

Yes, we were asking A LOT of one tree.

So when I came upon a stunning blue spruce, full and lush and standing well over 7 ft tall, I   knew I was in love. The Big Guy questioned whether or not it was too tall. I think he forgot about this tree…

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To be clear, that tree is above the eavestrough.

First Bon Son was not nearly as convinced.

“I don’t like it,” he declared, no particular reason given.

Second Born Son was more accommodating. He gave it his blessing.

To appease everyone, we purchased a smaller, Charlie Brown-like tree in a pot that we can plant in the spring. The boys agreed they would put one single decoration on the tree, although I did lend them a star and some garland so it didn’t look so naked.

After the appropriate pruning and trunk trimming, the blue spruce was in the corner of the living room awaiting embellishment. I was particularly excited because TBG agreed to a new colour scheme for our Christmas decor. Instead of the red, green and gold we had used for the past 22 Christmases, this year we would go gold, silver, white and rustic – burlap bows and pine cones.

FBS left before the decorating began, declaring that he had contributed enough to the family tradition. It was his silent protest since he still didn’t approve of a perfectly beautiful blue spruce.

This left SBS and TBG to help put the new decorations on the tree. I strung the new ornaments and the two of them placed them on the tree. When it was done, it was stunning.

Breathtaking, wouldn’t you agree? The colour and textures were spot-on. We wrapped up the Sunday evening in our jammies, admiring the afternoon of work we had put in. I take a photo and text it to FBS, who is back at college. He begrudgingly admits it looks good.

TBG decided he was ready for the nest around 10:30 p.m. and, as every good owner of a real Christmas tree knows, he unplugged the lights. While he was under the tree, the festive masterpiece went from a 90 degree angle to a 45 degree angle, only saved from further horizontalness by the black leather love seat that broke it’s fall. This sudden stop, however, launched the brand new glittered star from the back corner of the living room, clear across to the opposite end of the space. The TV dogged a bullet…as it were. A third of the ornaments were on the floor. Of those, half were broken. We could tell because the shards were floating across the hardwood laminate floor in the water that had been in the stone filled bucket we were using to anchor the tree.

TBG swore, jumped up, grabbed the tree and yanked it upright. It fell over. He swore again. More broken ornaments. More ornaments the floor. 98% of the water is now creating a tsunami across the living room. TBG said all the words. ALL of them.

SBS launched from the couch and grabbed dry towel in our house. Unfortunately, due to an old war wound, my back prevented me from doing anything other than holding the tree, which seemed to be incapable of staying vertical.

Upon inspection, it became clear that the tree was rather off balance. Almost all of the ornaments are on the front side of the tree. When TBG unplugged the lights, he disengaged the only thing keeping that thing upright.

SBS is moping the floor like he’s getting paid. I’m trying to evaluate how many ornaments have been lost, how many I can salvage and how many are still on the tree, when TBG turns to me and asks to hold the tree. I oblige. HE SHAKES THE TREE. FOUR MORE ORNAMENTS FALL ON THE FLOOR AND SHATTER.

I look at him in disbelief.

“Are you FREAKING kidding me?!?!”

Without missing a beat he replies, “I wanted to see if the trunk shifted in the bucket.”

I shoot him the death stare.

It took another half an hour to get everything picked up, the floor mopped up and the dehumidifier strategically placed in the middle of the room. Ever my son, SBS made the perfect observation.

“You know, it could be worse,” he said, “this could have happened at 3 in the morning and we might not have heard and woke up to the tree on the floor and the floor would have been ruined.”

So proud. He was absolutely right. Except his father begged to differ. He was heading back to the shower in an attempt to de-adhese himself of all the sap on every square inch of him. TBG is in the pit of despair. It’s like someone gave him a lump of coal after telling him that  there was no Santa Claus. And that he’s allergic to chocolate. And there’s no gravy for Christmas dinner. It was THAT BAD.

Which I understand, because the tree is a sad shadow of it’s former self.

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You thought I was exaggerating, didn’t you. I sent this photo to FBS. He texts back, “I told you there was something wrong with that tree.” He’s lucky he’s an hour away.

Back on the home front, we have glitter in the floor, in the loveseat, in parts of our bodies that we didn’t realize were exposed to glitter. I’m fairly certain I’ve eaten more than a peck of glitter.

TBG’s foul mood continued once he was re-bathed and tucked into bed. He relived the moment over and over again. Ranted about how upsetting the incident was. How his ENTIRE CHRISTMAS WAS RUINED!

<PAUSE> Not kidding. He said that. You should note, he’s weeks away from his 50th birthday. Not 5. Forty nine. <PLAY>

Throughout this so-called Christmas Catastrophe, I’ve been the voice of calm. THIS is when I finally lose it.

“SHUT UP! I’m the one who picked and bought the ornaments. I’m the one who will have to replace the old ones. I never yelled or blamed you for making it front heavy. SBS is absolutely right; we could have found it in the morning and the floor would have been ruined!”

“Well,” he said, “we won’t know about the floor until the morning.”

I take a fist and drive it into his stomach.

I then remind him about the real trees we had before having kids when we were at our previous home. It always fell over. There was the decorating of the tree, and the redecorating of the tree after TBG picks it up off of me. The answer was to anchor the tree in the corner to the hinge of the front door we never used. We simply had to find another solution for this house.

Three days later, when TBG had finally cooled down enough to discuss the “tree situation”, and I had purchased the replacement ornaments, and it was certain that the floor wasn’t ruined – just really clean; we tried decorating 2.0. And counter balanced with a tractor weight wrapped like a gift.

Some families have traditions of eating certain foods at Christmas. Some have specific songs they always play. We have a collapsing Christmas Tree.

Hope your Holidays were magical, and dry…..

 

When is More Simply Too Much – Archive

This isn’t the first incarnation of The Bowery Girl, and I’ve been having a blast going through the previous site and reviewing my posts. Here’s one I had to share, and hopefully you find it timely, given that it is Wedding Season…

 

Monday, May 17, 2010

When More is Simply Too Much
Since when is “more” better?

I prefer to err on the side of “less” especially when it comes to public displays of affection, demonstrative actions etc. unless it is something truly funny. Funny needs to be shared.

But lavish, meh, not so much.

So I’m standing in the bridal salon that I shall not name because I’m still mad at them, waiting for the rolly polly seamstress. In the wall of mirrors I’m watching a tiny young woman leafing through wedding dresses. Honestly, she weighs about as much as my thigh. She’s with her mother and while the young woman is very collegiate looking, her mother looks very tired, dishevelled and not nearly as current in her wardrobe as her daughter.

The woman sits in the middle of the room on the bench and watches her daughter fanning through the gowns and I notice she only looking at short, strappy styles. I figure she’s having a small wedding and doesn’t want to overpower her small frame with a large gown. In my head I’m giving this girl a lot of credit – she’s going to spend about half to three-quarters what she would have spent on the larger dress.

I’m annoyed at the mother, who doesn’t seem engaged in this time with her daughter. Instead of revelling the time to being with her to pick her wedding dress, the woman looks and acts like she’s afraid to touch any of the dresses, and that she’s not buying into the idea of the wedding at all. I’m annoyed big time. If I’ve learned anything in my many trips down the aisle, it’s that the wedding is not about anyone other than the bride and groom – egos and attitudes need to be checked at the door.

Then grandma walks in. Wiry white hair cut bluntly that frames her face, makeup stylish appliced and a kick-ass outfit that makes the mother look even more frumpy. Her artisan jewelery plays off beautifully with the chic hand-crafted wrap and dark-wash jeans she’s wearing. She looks impecable and carries herself with an air of sophistication reserved for Katherine Hepburn. As soon as the woman walks in, the young girl starts to squeal, and the mother stops talking entirely.

Grandma fawns over the young girl, pulling out various dresses and suggesting various alterations to make the dress “her own”. My pleasure at seeing the older woman relishing the time with her granddaughter comes to a screeching halt when the younger female corrects the sales associate.

“Oh, this isn’t my wedding dress,” she said. “I already have my wedding gown.”

dead air

“This is for after the service – and pictures – for the reception,” she clarifies. Now I understand why Mom is hanging her head. She can’t afford this. And the daughter – a recent grad, can’t either. So thank goodness Money Bags showed up.

“I LOVE my dress,” she said. “But I just can’t imagine wearing it ALL DAY!” she gushes. “I mean it’s SO big and SO heavy, I would just DIE wearing it ALL DAY – it’s going to be too hot!”

What

the

hell

So you are getting married at the end of June – you’ve picked your dress – DON’T YOU PICK YOUR DRESS BASED ON WHEN YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED? I felt like asking, “What are you wearing, Angora wool? RAYON? PIG IRON??”

Unless this woman is marrying a multi-millionaire, she is about to start her married life under a grave misapprehension. It’s clear she wasn’t raised with a lot of money, but money is around her. She is having a wedding with TWO wedding gowns because, after all, didn’t Jennifer Lopez or Katie Holmes do that? The cost of having a second dress was over $750 – how much did you pay for your initial gown? Likely between $1,200 – $2,500 – and I’ll bet the farm it was closer to the top end amount. So now, you are looking at well over $3,000 AND TAX just for one day.

Because there was no time to order the dress in, the girl was negotiating the cost of alterations and the sales rep was having a dandy time trying to calculate how much it would cost to alter and cut down a sample dress. Grandma never blinked at the cost. She only concurred with her granddaughter – one dress simply would not DO! Mom just sat there like she was watching it all happen to strangers.

I wondered if she had tried to instill a sense of frugality in her daughter all these years, knowing she had limited resources. Had her mother then trumped her and usurped her rights as a mother when she felt she had the overpowering right as a grandmother? Did the daughter see this dynamic and play one off the other? At what point would the grandmother stand down and let this girl see things for what they are? Maybe the girl was embarassed that her mother was not in the same world as her grandmother was, but I daresay, unless her grandmother planned on supporting her for the rest of her life, the young woman’s wake up call was going to greet her the morning after her honeymoon.

It’s a disturbing trend, young people starting out expecting the best of everything. My parents were the most fortunate of all their friends. They had saved enough money to buy a house when they got married. Many of their friends had to rent an apartment for the first couple of years, finally saving a down payment in time for the first baby to arrive.

Homes were furnished with miss-matched furniture and dinnerware, save for the nicer items they received as wedding gifts. You worked hard and gained throughout your marriage. You had goals and dreams and set targets for yourself, including one day, GASP, buying a NEW car.

When did we decide it was ok to start at top? Newlyweds moving into homes that are fully furnished and model-home ready. Neither of their cars are more than 3 years old. A trip up north or to Niagara Falls is not be considered a worthy honeymoon, and if it didn’t include either a cruise or a number of spa treatments (for both of them)it simply wasn’t worth writing home about.

Methinks we need to adjust our expectations. Otherwise, what do you have to look forward to, other than a mountain of debt and a divorce decree?

Out with the Old, In with the New!

In typical Bowery Girl fashion, just as we were prepping (aka cleaning) to welcome The Big Guy’s family to our home for Christmas festivities we made a rather disturbing discovery.

It happened when TBG was cleaning the upstairs shower.

Them thar are some crook'd lines thar Captn'!

Them thar are some crook’d lines thar Captn’!

The tiles were most definitely wonky! I thought I noticed some heaves in the wall in recent weeks, but honestly, didn’t realize how bad it was until now (and figured they had been there all along). Fearing the worst, that water was somehow getting into the bathroom from the exterior (the bathroom borders two rooflines), we slapped a happy face on each other, and proceeded to advise our overnight Boxing Day guests that we were down to one shower.  Thankfully, they were too full of Sweet Potato Casserole to notice.

As soon as the last family member had cleared the driveway, we immediately started the investigation. Now, before you see these photos, keep in mind that this house is more than 30 YEARS OLD and this bathroom has not been updated. To say we were due for a reno would be an understatement.

Remember, you can't un-see this!!!!

Remember, you can’t un-see this!!!!

The vanity doubles as a coffin….

The vanity doubles as a coffin….

"Quality" workmanship….not…. And who in their right mind needs to lock in their toothbrush?!?

“Quality” workmanship….not…. And who in their right mind needs to lock in their toothbrush?!?

And if you like the swirly sink….

And if you like the swirly sink….

 

….you'll LOVE the swirly toilet! :(

….you’ll LOVE the swirly toilet! 😦

There are no words for the flooring. But on the up side, you know where to put the mat!

There are no words for the flooring. But on the up side, you know where to put the mat!

In the 20 minutes it took me to tear down the curtains, decor, etc., TBG was grabbing tools and getting ready to cause havoc!

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The entire process took him less time to get down to the studs and insulation than it did for me to pack the clutter away!! The tiles popped like Tic Tacs. In the end, the good news is, there’s no external leak. The bad news is TBG thinks he may have contributed to the water seeping through the grout with his “enthusiastic” cleaning technique and tools. He was so upset, that he declared that the entire bathroom would have to be renovated.

I, being completed stunned with this revelation and assumed I mis-heard or that he mis-spoke, stammered,  “You mean we’ll get a new tub-surround”, to which I was corrected. No – he said, we would rip EVERYTHING out and start over!

Who am I to argue with someone so motivated by passion. You DID look at those photos didn’t you?! I did try to ease his guilt by pointing out that the insulation proved that we needed to tackle this project before black mould consumed us all. So, actually, he did a good thing! See! I can make a positive out of ANYTHING!

This project quickly dominated the Christmas holidays. My original plan was no plan at all, outside of wearing PJs 24/7 and limiting my social interaction to one trip to the “City” to see the latest Star Wars instalment. This was quickly scrapped when it became obvious that we needed to spend quality commerce time in our local hardware and big box stores.

And folks, I can tell you, it has been an education.

LEARNING POINT #1 Showering isn’t “showering” anymore. It’s an “experience.”

Every time we asked to look at showers, we were shuffled in front of displays of glass, retina-frying chrome and a quarry worth of tile. Showers have become somewhat of a spectator sport, complete with clear glass, rain shower heads, and, if you’re lucky, a surplus of water jets at various levels that basically sandblast your undercarriage.  This kind of luxury is lost on me. TBG has got himself a basic kinda gal. I think I disappointed a couple of sales reps when I didn’t squeal like a redneck at NASCAR.

LEARNING POINT #2 What you gain in water conservation you lose in costly plumber labor.

I do make every effort to consider environmental impact whenever I can, so I was very disappointed to learn that most sales reps are steering customers away from the “dual flush” toilets. You know, the one that has two flush options: a trickle for a #1 and a torrent for #2? Apparently users find these toilets confusing and either a) use the full flush for little tasks thereby negating the efficiency, or b) clog the toilet because you didn’t use the “big” flush for the your “big” job! Time to call the plumber!

LEARNING POINT #3 Yes Virginia, there IS a difference in toilets!

What can I say, I was sadly ignorant in my toilet knowledge. When a sales rep told me she had a “favourite” toilet, I couldn’t help but scoff. Literally. I laughed at her. Then she walked me in front of this beauty, and I apologized profusely.

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Firstly, the base of the toilet curves up toward the tank so there is no nasty place where guck can party; just a nice smooth area that wipes easily. Secondly, LOOK AT THE BASE OF THE TOILET! No weird roller coaster of pipes and capped screws, simply a smooth vertical wall. That means no nasty areas where funky stuff gathers. (You mothers of sons know of which I speak!!!) Let’s face it, you have to wipe the floor around the toilet anyway, but with this model, the clean up is fast and simple!! The lip of the lid is oversized to cover the seat down to the bowl, again, eliminating the amount of dust that accumulates on the horizontal surfaces. Finally, the lid has a soft closing mechanism. No more slamming seats and lids in the middle of the night! I’M. IN. LOVE.

LEARNING POINT #4 I need to find out how to sell a kidney to afford this toilet.

While my tastes are not extravagant, when I find something I like, I have a hard time “settling”.  It’s too bad we don’t pay blood donors in Canada…..

LEARNING POINT #5 Everything old is new again!

TBG is crushing hard on oil rubbed copper finishes for the faucets etc.

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But while he sees THIS (above), I see THIS (below) –

LOOK. AT. THE. HARDWARE!!

LOOK. AT. THE. HARDWARE!!

Not sure I can stomach it, but we’ll see. If he’ll agree to the toilet, I’ll concede on the old-timey taps!

LEARNING POINT #6 All “deals” are not equal!

TBG and I got excited when we were told that we’d benefit from sale pricing at a couple of locations, however, our thrill was quickly tempered but the realization that one man’s “deal” is another man’s pocket change.

LEARNING POINT #7 It’s time to get creative.

Maybe it’s too much HGTV, but I have found it very interesting to see what happens after I tell a sales rep “that’s not in my budget”. I don’t think for a minute every costumer jumps at the first suggestion, but I have been encouraged to see that some of the people we have been working with have been very helpful and come up with some great ideas for those of us who don’t have the billfold for a hotel-calibre salle de bain.  It gives a girl hope!

We’ve made this a family affair…(yes, the kitchen floor can induce seizures – one renovation at a time people!)

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And at present, the project awaits some serious decision making on our end.

Specifically, which son do we sell to afford this, and how much more could we make if we throw in the dogs??

To be continued……

 

 

Road Trip!

To say I was a bit excited when The Big Guy agreed to go away for the weekend would be a serious understatement.

You see, it’s been six and a half years since the last time the two of us went away without les enfants. The purpose was to visit The Big Guy’s niece at university in Kingston, since the poor girl doesn’t get home too often and visits from family are even more rare.

I was so excited, that I didn’t even give him a hard time when we left over an hour late from our mutually agreed upon departure time. I simply programmed the GPS and slipped behind the steering wheel.

That’s when we hit the first bump in the road — pun intended. The Big Guy is old school when it comes to driving. He’s not a fan of the GPS and reaches for the map every time. I agreed to the “scenic route” he wanted, keeping off the 401 on a Friday afternoon is a no-brainer for me! However, when he started arguing with the GPS lady, I knew we were going to have problems. While the route he opted for was lovely (hard to fully appreciate while driving) we were losing light fast and needed to stop for dinner. Passing several opportunities, I begged him to decide on a location. Losing strength and hallucinating platers of food, I was relieved when The Big Guy declared that a tiny roadside diner with a full parking lot was our destination. What made it special from the dozen or so eateries we had passed? Hullo – the parking lot was FULL!

Upon entry, I knew we were in for an experience. It was like stepping back in time to when smokers could kill you indoors and drinking and driving was politically correct. The decor was part corrugated steel wainscotting, part rough cut lumber. The Big Guy was THRILLED! My doubts were reinforced when I entered the ladies’ room.

NEVER a good sign!

NEVER a good sign!

Take a good look at this picture. Exactly what is going on in that stall that required the occupant to use such force that they broke the lock on multiple occasions?!?

Then there was the rest of the bathroom decor…

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Hey, I don’t have anything against a good karaoke session, but one has to question the half naked females used to promote it (cropped it out of shot!!). Don’t even START me on the Halloween poster! Top it off with that lovely chemical toilet smell and you can imagine how I anticipated my meal.

In spite of my reservations, the food was amazing. It gave me a little pain to say so, but The Big Guy nailed it. Chicken Marsala – that’s all I need to say about that!

While The Big Guy flirted with the waitress, which earned him extra serviettes and wet wipes, I realized that the sun had set. So much for the “scenic route”. Determined to stick to his plan The Big Guy insisted we could still take the path less traveled. We stuck with this less than bright idea for about 45 minutes, when I begged him to let me hit the 401 so we could arrive a the hotel the same night.

Long trip short – the four hour drive we were anticipating morphed into a 7 hour adventure. Yes, we are still married.

It was a wonderful weekend of food and family, landmarks and laughs.

The Big Guy's first selfie. After all, his arms are longer than mine!

The Big Guy’s first selfie. After all, his arms are longer than mine!

But like all good things, the weekend came to an end and it was time to head home.

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While the return trip was much shorter, it was dinner by the time we got home. Imagine my surprise when we walked in the door to this…

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Yes folks, that’s two teenaged boys making dinner in a spotless kitchen! I managed this shot just before losing consciousness.

I think I’m going away next weekend too!

Hi! My name is Sarah!

Okay, so we didn’t actually break up, stop being so dramatic!

The fact is, Summer is my favorite season and thanks to my ever evolving career (standard work week – yeah, shift work – BOOOO) I’ve tried to max my time outside as much as possible.

So let’s catch up, shall we?

For starters, this guy –

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Has grown into this guy….

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And folks, that photo is over a month old. The most recent check-up revealed that Roman is a fighting 33 kgs and Cane is 27 kgs!!!! He’s only six months old. I’m actually thinking about using him as a sled dog to get me to work this winter!

Naturally we watched ball. M&M was on a kick-ass team and had a very successful season at a number of tournaments, not to mention the Super-Duper Nationals in Nova Scotia in August. They won. Of course.

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As you can see, she picked #22 because it is the date of the birth of her favorite Aunt. She’s so thoughtful that way. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

During the skills competition in Nationals she won for fastest runner.

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Which is why THIS is such a dangerous posture for the opposing team.

First Born Son took to the field for his final year in ball.

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And he had a great season! Lost in the finals for the A-Side Championship, but hey, going down swinging means there’s no shame in the game! He’s also had some other big events in his life.

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Sumthin’ missin’ here? THE BRACES ARE GONE! We are really proud of the fact that he’s done so well in caring for this teeth, which meant the braces could come off early for all the late summer/early fall activities on the calendar.

However, we are still paying for the braces…… For a couple of months…. Seems wrong don’t it?

With a family wedding coming up, we needed a suit for FBS. Thankfully, my Dad was able to help us out with this!

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With as much experience as my father has in selling suits, NOT taking him was not an option. Watching him flip through the fabric actually made my eyes a little leaky! Love how FBS is ROCKIN’ the running shoes, shorts and jacket look!

Second Born Son had easily the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. After starting with a party for his Confirmation….

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…he only had a few short weeks until he left for camp….

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…where the first thing they do is check for lice. I’ll give you a moment to scratch your scalp.

Better?

He also got his trip to Canada’s Wonderland, with his best bud, (who also went camping with him).

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The two of them mastered the rides. While The Big Guy and I waved from the ground in a couple of instances.

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This is Leviathan. It’s stupid big. We STARTED our day on this ride, and the boys ended their day with it. It’s so big, that when you think you should be at the top of the first big hill you look up and realize, you’re only half-way to the top!!!!

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That is my child up there. I could not fit the top and the bottom of the hill in this frame. They loved it. I am apparently getting old.

We also enjoyed the prerequisite trips to the beach. We love laying out on a blanket and enjoying the sand. Until some ass comes along and parks right in front of us with la-z-boy style “beach chairs” that obliterate our view of the water. We’ve decided to stick with the more secluded beaches from now on!

Then there is “The Party”. We decided to have a pork roast this summer, which coincided with our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

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Yup – did it up right. Got a tent, tables, and waited for the friends and family to arrive! Some even stayed over. We had our own little tent city!

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Needless to say, the highlight was the pig. My parents had pork roasts on our farm and I’ve always remembered how much fun we had, and how good the food was!

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SBS could have done without the head on the pig, but Roman didn’t seem to mind! Some wanted to contribute and brought their own favorite salads…

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So if anyone left hungry, it was their own damn fault! We had a fire pit that night and enjoyed a huge breakfast in the morning for those who stayed overnight. The kids are ready to do it again.

I think I’ll need a year to think about it!

The boys and I headed to the beach with LS’s family and my parents.

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The beach is my father’s favorite place. It’s a genetic thing as I’m pretty much ready to live near water NOW! The weather was perfect and the kids had a blast. ALL the kids…

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**STYLE NOTE** LS has buzzed 85% of her hair off. And yes, she’s rocking it!

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When I had to back to work (shift work – BOOOO) the boys had a little fun in Toronto.

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The Hobbit House made out of Lego – such a wonderful, family-oriented place, Fan Expo…

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…uh…ahem, where exactly is your hand my husband????

Okay, we’ll wrap this up now. Suffice it to say that it’s been a jam-packed summer and with the “fun” associated with back to school – FBS in Grade 11 (sniff sniff) and SBS entering Grade 8 (whaaaaaaa) I’m just starting to catch my breath now!!!

Would love to hear below how you spent your summer!