Archive for the 'This Old House' Category

Game. On.

There is a mouse  rat  kangaroo horrifying creature living in my basement.

I realized this just prior to Christmas when I was working in my office in the wee hours of the morning, and I could hear the knawing, scratching noises below the floor.  As discomforting as this seemed, I was at least grateful the varmint was in my basement, all dark and clay and icky, and not living in the lighter, drier, crammed-with-clutter upstairs I call home.

I heard my new downstairs neighbour several times over the holidays under various floors, so I mixed up a wee cocktail of Cheez Whiz and warfarin, summoned up my gumption, and trugged to my now creature infested basement to leave a little “welcome to the neighbourhood” snack.  Apparently he wasn’t fooled, as days later the pitter patter of little feet could still occasionally be heard beneath the floor.

Now, if I may sidestep here for a moment, any reader of Harry Potter knows the best cure for a touch with Dementors is chocolate.  For Christmas, my dear Goddaughter was kind enough to include Godiva chocolate truffles in my gift.  I will admit it here now… while I willingly share my Christmas chocolate with my family, I will sneak away and hide the really, really good stuff for myself.  And that I did.  In case of Dementors, of course.  After enjoying half the box a truffle or two, I hid the remaining manna in the bottom drawer of my dresser and proceeded to share the rest of my suggary gifts over the holiday season until my children are now a bit addicted to chocolate.

So the night before last, while seemingly deep in sleep, I had a dream that my neighbour under the floorboards has made his way to the upper house and was currently eating my hidden Godiva chocolate.  I woke up, and listened in the dark wondering if this could actually be real… I listened harder…. I leaned closer… nothing.  And back to bed I went.

Later yesterday, I start to tell Rainbow about my silly dream, and how I was listening in the dark close to my hidden stash.  “What if it wasn’t a dream?” she asked.  “Or what if your like a dream psychic or something?”  (In retrospect I realize this was probably just a ruse to find out where my chocolate stash is).  No, I assured her.  It was completely quiet.  And I proceeded to open the drawer to show her the proof it was a dream…

Only to find…

A half gnawed Godiva wrapper.  And no Godiva truffle in it.

The dang kangaroo beast found and ate my Godiva chocolate.  And there was no way I was going to eat the three remaining truffles, regardless of possible Dementor attacks.  If you think “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, you should see the fury of a woman whose Godiva has been tainted.

Clearly my basement neighbour had more refined taste than Cheez Whiz.

A plot was immediately hatched.  The. Beast. Must. Die.

Surgery was intricately performed on my remaining truffles, their insides hollowed out with a toothpick, a new warfarin-truffle centre was carefully prepared and refilled, they were smooshed back together, rewrapped, and placed back in the box in the bottom drawer of my dresser.

Game. On.



If I were to choose a movie to watch it would either be a kid’s film, or a romantic comedy.  So last night I surfed the channels for something to watch and picked a sappy chick flick that had obvious plot holes, was not all that interesting, but had attractive actors that I nonetheless hoped would find love in the end (they did, of course).

And as I watched the movie, it occurred to me that when I tried to relate to the movie, I found myself longing to be there, but not for the reasons you might think.  I do not long to be in search of love.  I do not long for a romantic happily ever after any different than my current life.  What I longed for, dear people, was the heroine’s kick a** house.  There was space.  There were glorious windows.  And a porch.  And the gardens were weeded.  And there was no clutter.  I am not even sure what the hero’s house looked like because whenever he was shown in his home he was in a chair with a beer, but I have no doubt it would be a spacious, immaculate, well lit abode as well.

The houses of movies are always dream homes. Heck, even Shrek lived in a house that was clutter free.  That just isn’t my life.  But oh, how I want it to be.  Space, and storage, and light… I long for that.  Almost as I long to be in the position to make that a reality.

People in movies never have rented homes with creepy clay basements.  Any bathroom lineups shown have the purpose of building tension or delivering a punch line.  They never do laundry (though I have no doubt they would have laundry facilities to die for) or clean beyond clearing a dinner table or drying a dish.  And the homes are almost always bigger than a single person living alone needs.

I feel I must clarify that this is not a rant.  I am not at all complaining, for I have a place to live that accommodates the people and critters that are my family.  We have a roof, a working furnace, and a fridge covered in art work.  And those are very big blessings.  But it is not my dream home.  This is about the dream.

My dream house is not a mansion.  It is roomy though, but not so large that I couldn’t clean it easily myself.  It has a modest garden, or window boxes… just enough to make it pretty, but wouldn’t make me feel like I needed a team of gardeners to keep up with or like a failure when I don’t.  It has a washer and dryer that is not in the basement.  It has storage and big closets.  There are at least three bedrooms (though a spare would be a bonus) and there is room to do more than just walk around the furniture.  It has shelves and cupboards and drawers that work, and all our stuff is in those things.  There is room to bake.  And a welcoming place to take off your boots. And lots of windows.  Maybe there is a deck, or a porch, or even just bench outside to read and think and stretch one’s imagination.  It feels like home.  Maybe something like this.

Is your living space your dream house?  If so, what makes it feel that way?  If not, what does your dream space look like?  I’d love to hear from you.


Well, we’re having our second bit of a cold snap here, so yesterday I stopped by the furnace oil company and put some money on the account and asked if I could have $300 of oil delivered…  for the last year or so $300 has been the minimum delivery order (or $400 if you wanted it faster).  The woman looked at me like I had two heads…

“The minimum oil delivery is $351.89,” she stated in a matter of fact tone that implied everyone on the planet knew that.

So I asked for $351.89 worth of oil.

Seriously, who comes up with a number like that?  What genius said, “hey… we need to raise our minimum order price… how about $351.89?”  I understand that in all likelihood that is the cost of a certain number of litres, or many some top secret significant number only memorable to oil company workers, but couldn’t they have rounded it to $350 or $355?  And what would happen if I already had oil in my tank and only $351.88 would fit?

Which brings me to my other cold weather point.  Our house is drafty in certain places… the front door, the corner of the master bedroom, and the entire kitchen are significant heat eaters.  I had to move the pile of sweaters I have against the cold bedroom corner wall and there was snow, or frost, or white cold stuff ON THE INSIDE of the house there.  I have no idea how that’s even possible, but it is. 

So, in my attempt to at least warm up the draft from the front door, off to the hardware store I went and bought some window plastic.  Our plan was to seal it from inside the porch like it was a big window.  That way, the door could still be accessed in an emergency (just break the thin plastic), but the draft would be blocked in a way that is not visible from the living room.  The plan worked beautifully and the living room has warmed up significantly.  It worked so well, in fact, that now I’m wondering…

Why don’t they make really big house plastic so I can just wrap my whole house in it from the outside until winter is over?  They could make it all shrink wrappy for people who care about asthetic appeal, or make the plastic some festive colour or pattern or something for those who like something a little funky or artistic.  They could even make wrapping accessories to boost sales, like ribbon and bows and things, so people could make their wrapped houses look like presents.  And there would be a whole new job market for expert gift wrappers.  It would extend their season significantly.  Some wrappers might even get their own show on HGTV.

It was -23C yesterday… (that’s -9.4 F) … and -31C with the windchill (-23.8F)… I’m only partially kidding about this.

Cat on a Wet Wood Deck

At some point on the weekend a cat showed up on our deck.  It was cute, friendly, and (we guessed) in all likelihood belonged to a neighbour and would venture off on its way home again. 

It hasn’t.

Each morning kitty can be found crying at our door to get in as if it lived here.  It is making me crazy.

Yesterday, when I let the dog out to do his business, I watched from the door as the cat tried to prevent the dog from coming back on the deck to get back in.  He would go to the steps and she would jump over, back arched, and hiss.  He would go to the other entrance and she would run over and do the same thing. How forward is that?  The dog actually does live here. Finally, in frustration and probably to my neighbours great amusement, I ran outside in my scruffy sleep clothes, yelling “Shoo, Shoo, Get, Get” and doing my own interpretation of a cat hiss with a throaty “Kkkkkkkkkk” complete with fingers curled in a menacing manner.  I continued doing this, chasing the cat out of the yard, knowing full well it would be back eventually.  And it was.

Can you imagine being like that cat in real life?  …Just deciding, hey I want to live there, or work there, or do that, and planting yourself at the door like its your G*d given right.  What if, for example, I were to walk into a Human Resources department of some fabulous employer and say, “I’ve decided to work here, and I’ve come to do the paperwork,” and then chase some other employee out of the office with a hiss and a snarl.  Would that work? 

Yeah, It’s not working for Cat either.

Spring Gardening

I think it’s G*ds way of reminding us how out of shape we really are.

45 minutes of hauling out dead foilage and today I feel like I’m 80! And I’m not even close to being done.

Remind me again why I was so anxious for spring….

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Boiling Water

You know how in movies they always yell “boil water” when someone goes into labour and nobody has a clue what to do? Do you know how many babies could have been born by the clueless with the amount of water I’ve boiled on the stove in the last two days?

You know how in old westerns there always someone taking a steamy bath in a giant washtub which was carefully filled by some saloon barmaid? And the bath looks almost comfortable and relaxing…all steamy and bubbly? Do you have any idea how many freaking pots it takes to get enough water in a bathtub to even soak your feet, let alone your entire self?

If it didn’t mean I’d probably need a bath by going down to the watering hole the basement, I’d march right down there and hug my waterheater right now. Then I’d weep big lonely tears so it would know how much it is missed.

I have new found respect for pioneers. And campers.

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