Saturday, 22 January 2022

Taking it easy and spending big

Many of you suggested I was due for a rest this week after the busyness of last. I agreed. So there isn't a whole lot to share in this post. 

The weather turned ugly again on Tuesday - we were supposed to get a storm Monday evening but it was kind enough to hold off until the following day. We didn't get a whole lot more snow but the wind blew. All of the highways in/out of the city were closed due to poor visibility. It isn't as bad here in the city. I took a photo out the kitchen window of the birds huddled up on the fence, waiting their turn at the feeder. The sun had peeked through but it was blustery out there. Cold too, the temperature dropped throughout the day.

Wednesday was just plain cold again with the temperature at -29C (-20F) when I got up to feed Saku at 6:30.  It warmed up slightly throughout the day, but then a warm front came through and things were much improved after that. I can manage a single day of cold weather!

We had more snow overnight into Friday and it warmed up to near freezing. I shovelled the driveway and sidewalks and enjoyed the nicer temperature. Unfortunately it didn't last long as the temperature dropped throughout the day. This morning, it was -17C (1F). It has been snowing off and on all morning. I'll head out there shortly to shovel once again. We've had enough snow that the the city actually plowed our street. Of course they left big ridges of snow on our sidewalks, which we're expected to clear. :p

Since I wasn't doing a lot of houswork, I spent a good deal of time on Ancestry focusing on my father's side of the family. There is new information available since the last time that I did a review. More exciting (at least for me), is finding a distant cousin here in the city. I've sent her a message as I was hoping she might have more info on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. Her great-grandfather was my grandmother's brother. There is little info for this branch -  just census data from 1842 for my great-great grandfather and his wife, and I located their marriage certificate in the UK, but nothing prior. Nor did I find any evidence of his death in Canada. She got back to me quickly and sadly, she nor her mother met the great/grandfather and she wasn't able to provide anything more. However, she did suggest we meet sometime this spring or summer - I think it's a great idea.

My other big task was ironing clothing that D plans to take to the consignment store on her next visit to the city.  I might have left it until she got here, but the chances of her getting it done in the short time she's visiting is slim to not at all. With the ironing board set up in the living room, I watched television while I worked on it. It is all children's clothing, items that Eli has grown out of....and a few pieces that still had their original tags. 

Oh, and the other big (ticket) item on the list was meeting with the contractor about the basement renovations. He arrived on Tuesday afternoon, armed with a pencil and paper, measuring tape, etc. We walked through the basement and I explained what work I was looking for. He was able to explain what needed to be done in order to get what I wanted, and provided a few different options for doing the work including the products to be used. When we finished discussing the work, he spent another 20 minutes or so taking measurements. 

As he was leaving he recommended I get another quote - I'd told him I probably wouldn't since I'd seen the work he did. But, after some thinking about it, I decided to do so. On Wednesday I reached out to another local contractor based on reviews in the Better Business Bureau listings. He called and we arranged for him to walk through the same afternoon. Hmmm...quite the difference. He showed up with a business card, no paper and pencil, nor anything to take measurements with. As I explained what I wanted done, he told he couldn't do it because a couple of the interior walls are not floated. He told me he'd have to get a permit, and basically the entire basement would have to be gutted to ensure all the walls are properly floated to code. Then he went on to tell me he didn't like my design ideas for the room, and he'd create a drawing to show me what he would recommend.  Before he left he gave me a verbal quote....and I just about collapsed on the spot.

In the meantime, J had e-mailed his quote, and after reading through it I immediately called him. I asked about the permit and he explained we would only need the permit if the basement was being developed. Since the room already exists, and I'm merely adding an interior wall, this wouldn't be necessary. Phew! We went through his quote, and while it is somewhat higher than I had hoped, I do know that the work will be done properly and within the limits of what I have requested. I'm also well aware that the costs of construction material have increased significantly in the past two years.  Maybe I'll get lucky and prices will drop in the next few weeks. Ha!  So we're tentatively scheduled to start the big project at the beginning of April. This will allow Saku and I to spend our days in the sunroom and away from the noise. 

I'm heading to visit D and Eli again on Monday. She has a telephone appointment with the psychologist who will be assessing Eli. He advised the appointment will take up to two hours for their conversation. That's too long for Eli to play quietly while she talks with the doctor.  While she normally would have asked a friend to take him, one family is currently in isolation as one of their children has Covid, and the children of the other family were exposed to Covid at daycare this week. D has keeping him home and limiting their contacts as she wants to get him through these important appointments first. So far, so good. I'll drive up Monday afternoon and come home on Tuesday.

I'll leave you with a photo of a visitor to the yard yesterday. It's a Hungarian partridge.  It and several of it's friends were hanging out on the roof of my house when something startled them. I wasn't quick enough with the camera to catch them.

Have a great week ahead everyone! 

Friday, 21 January 2022

Friday Funny

While it isn't ha-ha funny, it seems apropos to post a Betty White meme this week. Especially one with a great reminder.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Projects, plans, and purging

Wednesday's wordless was indeed a photo of my efforts to get part of the basement floor ready for new flooring. The family who lived here prior to us were a foster family, and they had put down indoor/outdoor carpet in that area - I assume to add to the play area for the children as there was a gate in the open doorway at one time. Several years ago, I had the interior walls framed in, insulated and drywalled, however since we didn't use the area except for cat litter boxes and some dusty exercise equipment I hadn't done anything more with that space. 

When I had the house listed in 2019, it was a bone of contention for the potential buyers. They couldn't identify it's purpose and didn't want to have to spend the money to finish it themselves. As I said then, damn HGTV and all the shows that provide, at least in my mind, unrealistic expectations. 

I've told my son that I will not, repeat not, live in this house beyond the summer of 2023. Between the yard work and the upkeep of the house, I'm ready to sacrifice space for less work. Plus I really don't want to spend another winter in the cold - or at least not all of it. 

I've yet to call the contractor for a quote, but expect I'll do so next week. He did the work in my brother sister-in-law's property here in the city and did a fantastic job. The work to be completed includes, not only the flooring through the entire basement and stairs, but installing a wall between the furnace room and the open area (which will put the cat litter boxes out of sight), a closet, and install a door. There is some electrical work to be done as well. I'm steeling myself for the price but it does need to get done. Besides I've finished paying off the roofing and fencing that was completed last year. :)

The weather finally improved this week, and I was able to get out of the house for a bit. While out, I made a stop at Value Village and the Salvation Army thrift stores before picking up some groceries. At V.V. I got six small balls of yarn, originally priced at $9.99 a piece, while I paid $7-8 for the complete lot. I did even better at the Salvation Army store, finding a pair of Roots sweat pants and two pair of Osh-Kosh summer shorts for Eli for about $6. My daughter tells me she won't use the sweat pants as is, because the cuff isn't elasticized. 

Well, I'll fix her. I had already planned to drive out this week to deliver her television and few other odds and ends that got left behind, so I measured a pair of his current pants to determine the length of elastic I'll need. Now I just have to pick the stitches of a small portion the hem on the pants, insert the elastic and sew it in place. 

The drive out on Thursday was occasionally white knuckled as there was heavy fog in some places. For the most part visibility was better than a half mile but there were times when it dropped to less than a quarter of a mile. My worry is always the dummies driving without headlights (there were a couple) or those that try to pass when visibility is poor (thankfully that day, none).  

After a short visit and a bit of lunch we headed off to Eli's occupational therapy appointment. D's car had to go into the garage for some work so we took my car. I dropped them off and scooted over to the Dollarama for a few bins, and Canadian Tire for some weather strips. I had a plan for the first, and had noted some gaps at both back and front door that needed some additional sealing to keep out the cold weather.

On Thursday evening and overnight we got about 5 inches of snow. D's car was at the shop and she'd ordered groceries for pick-up that morning at 9. Our first order of business was to shovel ourselves out. She did the front sidewalks while I started behind the garage. It took the two of us about 45 minutes to clear the snow so I could get into the alley. Thankfully, a neighbour with a truck had gone through so I had tracks to follow out to the street. 

Back at home, D unloaded and put away the groceries and then we got busy. We pulled everything out of her freezer to defrost it (the front porch was a great freezer until we were ready to put everything away). We sorted everything and put like products in bins. She has a small chest freezer and whatever she wants seems to be on the bottom. This way, she still has to lift out the bins but things won't get knocked upside down or simply lost. She was thrilled when that project was complete.

Then, while the deep freeze continue to defrost, it was onto clearing counters and shelves, sorting through toys and clothing and hanging and putting away clean laundry for her and Eli. When we finished there were four part bags of clothing for drop off at the local thrift store, and a bin of clothing to be taken to a consignment store here in Regina. Much of the clothing was Eli's, that he has simply outgrown over the past two years, but D found a tub in her closet of old clothing she'd forgotten about and lot of that was added to the donate pile.

By the time we finished all the sorting there were two full bags of debris, broken toys, papers, stuff from the bottom of the deep freeze, and other items to be disposed of. It was garbage day so the bin was empty when I took it out. I also put the four bags for the thrift store in her trunk so she can deliver it next she's out. Oh, that reminds me, we ran out after lunch to pick up her car from the shop. Hooray, the repairs cost less than she had anticipated! 

By late afternoon we were all exhausted and my fit-bit said I'd gotten in nearly 14,000 steps and 70 minutes of excercise. I will tell you, it felt like more than that! After dinner we relaxed, watched some television, and went to bed early. Both nights I had company; Eli decided he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed with G'ma. I must have been tired because I actually slept reasonably well with a kid who likes to spread out. Add on a cat (Sheldon) and it was definitely tight quarters.

Saturday morning was busy too.  The television stand she had in the living room wasn't large enough for the base of her new television so we did some furniture swaps in the house as well. There was a credenza in her office/craft room that was originally used as a tv stand when she first bought it (about 2007?), but had been put into use for storing craft supplies. We switched it out for an old dresser in Eli's room, and took the shelving unit she had been using for the tv stand up to his room. Have I confused you yet? This necessitated the movement of books and other items from one room to another. Once the furniture was moved, she took care of the vacuuming on the second level, while I swept and mopped floors on the first. By 9:30 a.m. we had pretty much everything done that needed immediate doing - we'd been up since 5 a.m., and I started getting ready for the drive home. 

The drive home wasn't all that great. The snow plows had been out but the highways still had snow on them with bare tracks where the majority of the traffic drove, there was blowing snow, and in some spots, even wet pavement. I used a fair amount of windshield washer fluid keeping the windshield clear of the moisture flung up by passing vehicles. Semi's are the worst.  

I was home by 10:30 this morning, and back out shovelling snow not long after. We didn't get nearly the amount of snow D did. I cleared the driveway and sidewalks, fed the birds, and then came in to get some lunch and just chill. I can already tell it will be an early night here. 

On that note, I'm off to catch up on my blog reading or maybe that will wait until I've had an afternoon nap. Take care everyone, stay well and have a good week ahead.