Saturday 28 March 2020

Home bound (mostly) - week 2

Staying home 24/7 is certainly ensuring I get things done!  I did take Monday off as I was tired but I spent the day having to remind myself that it was my "day off".  By the end of day I felt like a slug and was ready to get to it early Tuesday morning.

The three bedrooms on the main floor are painted, including the trim, and the floors in the spare rooms have been re-scrubbed to ensure there are no spots that I missed the first time around.  The first bedroom (which I posted a couple of weeks ago) contains just the toys that Eli plays with when he is here; the second room shown here is my sewing room.  For the moment, it is neat and tidy because everything is tucked away in the closet.  It won't last. :)

My bedroom is done for the most part, though I'm going to have to buy a quart of paint to put a second coat on the feature wall.  Unfortunately I just didn't have enough to do the two coats.  :(
The difference between the two colors is more prominent in real life, but I'm happy the way the two colors complement one another.  I think I've figured out the old color. I used the Behr color match app to take a photo of the wall and it came up with three different options.  One of them seems familiar to me.  I really have to remember to keep the paint chip or write it down somewhere.  Like perhaps my blog?  For posterity the new color is natural simple would that be to remember?  Knowing me, not so much.

We did have a bit of a scare this week, as my SIL began showing possible sign of Covid-19.  Thankfully, her test came back negative and things went back to normal for a couple of days.  Then her doctor's office called and told her that since she was still showing symptoms she needed to self isolate.  She had been doing so at the lake house while waiting for the test results - I'm not sure if she'll be going back there or not.  My brother was off work as well but had gone back.  I'm a bit worried about him as he is starting to feel winded climbing stairs.  This is a guy who runs marathons for fun.  If it ends up they both have it, he'll likely have passed it on to others at work as well.  It's all very worrisome.

On another note, I've decided to cancel my cruise in June.  I'm sure that comes as no surprise to anyone.  I had so hoped things would settle down, but the longer this goes on, and with the increasing number of cases and countries shutting down their borders it is clear this trip isn't going to happen.  I'm definitely disappointed for a number of reasons.  I won't get to see my friend J this year, it's unlikely I'll ever get to do this particular cruise as the pricing was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and frankly, I'm itching to travel.  That's an itch I won't be scratching anytime soon!

While I was mourning the decision, I went through photos from the TransAtlantic cruise friends and I did in the spring of 2014.  J met us when we docked in Southampton, as did a cousin of one of our party and his partner. J gave us all a day to remember.  I have over 120 photos to prove it, but I'll only share a few here.  

Our first stop was Sir Harold Hillier gardens, where J was then employed.  We spent a few hours there and I was in heaven!  What a beautiful place!

The day was a bit damp but the gardens were so lovely it did not matter a bit.

Every where I turned there was another gorgeous tree in full bloom.  
The flowers were simply spectacular!

This was my favorite piece of artwork in the garden.

After we had wandered to our heart's content, J had arranged for us to enjoy a ploughman's lunch at the main building.  It was wonderful and totally unexpected.  After lunch I know we went to another spot but I can't recall the name.  I do remember that they had plants for sale...which had I been able to smuggle home in my suitcase I might have.  Probably not, though because that would have been an issue at border control.

It will be weeks yet, before our garden centres will open so I'm living vicariously through these photos!  

The grand finale of the day, of which I have no photos, was a proper English tea at J's home.  A good friend of hers made the cakes especially for our visit.  It was just an incredible day and one that will live on in my memory.  It was my first chance to travel to Europe and only served to whet my desire to return.*

Back to the mundane I spent the rest of the week cleaning house. The kitchen was first up and the bathrooms right behind it.  While I keep the rooms reasonably clean and tidy, I spent more time scrubbing cabinets and counters than I normally would.  I tackled the areas under the bathroom sinks and got rid of more items that haven't been used in months or have dried up.  I washed the floors on my hands and knees in order to get into the corners better than I can with my mop.  

On Friday, the crew showed up to replace the shingles on the roof.  They arrived by 8:30 in the morning - I was just about to go and feed the birds as they pulled up.  I warned them about the ice on the east side of the house and we agreed they would work off the front patio side.  About 2 hours later the shingles were off and I could see them rolling out the underlay.  I'm sure that isn't the technical term but it works.

The original truck and trailer for the garbage left just as the truck with the new shingles arrived.  I watched the crane lifted the supplies onto the roof.  It was a long day as the original crew of two completed the shingling, replacement of vents and turbine thingy (again, another technical term) about 6 p.m.  I had wandered out about 5:30 with a garbage bag to pick up a few pieces of shingle and the wrap from shingles.  The guys were good enough to ball it up and toss it off one side of the house.  I could have left it for them, but I figured it would save them a few minutes at the end of the day.  

Saturday I went out shopping for cat food, bird food, and a few groceries. I had planned my trip to hit the three stores I needed in order of opening.  That plan was thwarted when I arrived at Peavey Mart to find they didn't open until 10, rather than their normal 7:30 a.m. start.  No matter, I took my items home, wiped everything down with wipes before putting them away and then did the quick trip for the bird seed.  I shouldn't have to go out again for another 10-14 days again. My son has been called into work for a few hours Monday and Tuesday so if I think of something I'll ask him to grab it.

This post is getting incredibly long, so I'll wrap it up for this week.  Take care everyone and stay well!

*I know that J reads my blog too, so I hope you've enjoyed the memories of our last visit.  I'll get there again, one day, I promise!

Sunday 22 March 2020

Semi-Isolation - week one

As is the case with most of Canada, our province is under a state of emergency (as is our city now) and we've all been asked to practice social distancing. No groups greater than ten are recommended as long as we stay well apart.  All local libraries, gyms, recreational centres and many of the stores have been closed down or will be doing so this weekend.  Only essential businesses and services will remain open.  

I'm not a social butterfly so staying home isn't a real hardship for me.  My son went to work Monday through Wednesday before he was sent home.  At this point they've told to return on Monday, April 6, but that may change as circumstances dictate.  He told me it will feel strange to be at home for so long, so I've offered to make a list of things for him to do. Funny, he hasn't taken me up on my offer as yet.

In the meantime I'm keeping busy with painting, crocheting, reading, and watching television.  I did go out briefly on Monday to pick up a few groceries and on Tuesday to get more paint but I won't be going out again for awhile unless necessary.  We have lots of food in the house and when I run out of paint, I'll start doing some deep cleaning.  

When I was at the grocery store on Monday they were nearly out of toilet paper, but the oddest thing I saw was the empty unit that normally holds bagged potatoes.  Of course, that was one of the items I was there for - I did get five reasonably sized potatoes from the pile of loose potatoes, but was shocked when I got home, read the receipt and realized I'd paid nearly $5 for them!  For the next while, rice and pasta will be the mainstays around here.  That and eggs because I bought when they were on sale!

I've finished painting both spare bedrooms, the hall, and most of my master bedroom.  I still have the one wall (the darker one) to finish.  I'll use the paint I used for the bathrooms as it is slightly darker than the new color so that it creates a feature wall behind the bed.  

Next up is the basement, as I am hiring professionals to complete the painting of the kitchen, living room, front foyer, and basement stairwell.  I don't have either the equipment nor the height to manage to properly manage painting those walls.

I did allow the company representative into my home on Saturday to provide a quote.  I was thrilled when it came less than I had anticipated, plus I got a 10% discount for signing the agreement that day.  We managed to keep a social distance from one another and I ensured I wiped down anything she may have touched with disinfectant wipes when she left.  The work won't happen until May at the earliest but I'll be thrilled to have it done.  

In between painting and cleaning up after painting, I've been watching curling.  While this year's women's worlds has been cancelled, TSN has been replaying the last two year's games.  I know who won the final but not the other games or at least the details of the games.  In other words, I'm enjoying seeing the replays!  

My newest crochet project is a new pillow cover.  This is the photo I snagged from the website, isn't it pretty?  I had purchased some blue yarn from the thrift store a few weeks ago and when I opened it up I discovered it is "scratchy" yarn.  I can't/won't use it for a sweater since I can't stand that itchy feeling but decided as pillow covers it would be fine.  I've nearing completing the first piece (the front) and will use some cream material I have for the back.  For the flowers and leaves I have bits and pieces from past projects I can use, and since my yarn is blue I'll likely use white for some of the flowers.  I doubt it will look as professional as the one on the website but I'll do my best!

The weather has been up and down here all week. We had a bit of snow, some colder temperatures but the weekend has been quite nice.  When the sun room warms up the sun room I've been letting the cats out to enjoy the warmth and the sun puddles.  They've both been happy. I've yet to manage to find time to actually go out and enjoy it myself, silly me. Next week for certain as we're going to reach 11C (52F) on Monday!  I'm going to take a day off from painting and housecleaning and just relax.  At least that's what I'm telling myself right now.

How are you managing with this pandemic?  My friend J in the UK is being asked to self-isolate for 12 weeks!  I can't imagine doing so but I know it is for the safety of seniors and those with underlying health issues that this recommendation has been made.  As another blogger said, better to be safe than sorry.  I know others are working from home and every one is limiting their social interactions to a minimum.  I am hopeful that we will all come through this time unscathed.  

Take care of yourselves, your families (furbabies included), and stay well!  Let's all be like the cats, relax, take plenty of naps, and wash, wash, wash. 

Sunday 15 March 2020

A week in review

I'm exhausted! It has been a busy week and my mind and body are feeling it. I've decided today will be a pyjama (pajama) day - and other than feed birds and my son and I, that's about all I have planned.

This is how the week played out:

On Monday I ran out and picked up some bird seed and a few groceries for the week.  At home I did some additional patching and sanding in the bedroom and two bathrooms (I wasn't satisfied with the work I'd done last spring in the bathrooms). I also got the new printer set up and printed off my insurance documents for the cruise/flights.  

Tuesday, after cleaning the bedroom, first sweeping up the drywall dust, then vacuuming and washing the floor, I headed over to Home Depot to pick up my paint.  I also checked out the carpet area to see if they have any deals as I'd like to replace the carpet in my bedroom and I have a letter that would permit the cost to be paid off over 18 months, interest free.  Sadly, no specials so that will have to wait.  

Back at home, I wiped down the walls to get rid of any remaining dust, and then it was finally time to start painting.  I spent a good deal of time, cutting in around the ceiling, window, and baseboard edges. I am determined to be spills or splotches allowed!  I moved on to the bathrooms and went through the same cleaning process before painting a portion of the walls.  I still had a partial can of paint that simply needed to be stirred thoroughly.  I'm thinking I may use that paint in my master bedroom and paint the one wall at the head of the bed as a contrast as it is slightly darker than the new paint I'm using.  

On Wednesday morning, I was painting by 7:30 in the morning!  The cats were fed, coffee made, and I was ready to get moving.  I finished painting the room in a couple of hours, including touch ups.  I sure love how quickly the paint dries!  After cleaning up my paint brush and rollers, I had a quick shower before breakfast.  I put the covers back on the outlets, took the tape off the window frame, and threw my painting clothes into the washing machine. 
This is not a great photo but the one on the left is the original color of the walls throughout the house.  The one the right is, of course, the new color.  I had turned on the overhead light in both rooms and the light from the windows does affect the way it looks but I think you can see the difference.

Here is another photo of the one corner of the room.  I'm happy with the work I did to clean up the damage from the chair rail and wall paper.  The interior needs to be painted yet, but I'll hold off on that until the rooms have been painted. I'm planning to contact a couple of local painting businesses for quotes to do the painting of the living room, kitchen, front foyer and stairwell.  Since I have vaulted ceiling in the main room, I simply cannot reach the top of the wall and don't have the equipment needed to get me up there.  I have a call into a local company to get a quote next week.

I needed a break by Wednesday afternoon, so I headed off to the stitch and chat at the library. There were just two of us there so it was quiet couple of hours.  I did learn something though, that I can use in my counted cross stitch projects.  S explained she always photocopies her pattern and colors it in as she goes. This way she always knows where is in the pattern and doesn't have to waste time counting lines and squares...which I tend to spend a lot of time doing.  For 20 cents I was able to make a copy right at the library.  

Thursday morning, my body was aching from the up and down the step ladder, squatting, and other movements I don't do as often as I should.  No painting was done, but I did spend most of the morning cleaning up the first bedroom and prepping the second bedroom for painting.  I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the floor - I was so proud of myself for not getting paint on the floor - but I was just fooling myself.  Even with the plastic down I still managed to drip a bit.  Thankfully it's easy to clean up with soap and water.

The roofing guy came by to look at the roof that afternoon and prepared a quote.  It's a bit above what I was hoping for, but since it is reasonable I'm going ahead with it.  I learned that the shingles are the original, so have been on the house for nearly 32 years.  It's definitely time.  The whirly birds and roof vents, as well as stack flashing need to be replaced as well.  

After he left, I was off to my daughter's for a couple of days.  Eli turned three on March 2, and she booked the indoor playground for his birthday party on March 14.  As it turns out it is the last event to be held there as the venue will be closed for the next couple of weeks due to the coronavirus.  Sad, but necessary I think.

We did go to the park on Friday morning, and then to the furniture store in the afternoon.  G'ma's gift to Eli (and herself) was a big boy bed.  He still prefers to sleep with his mom and will need some encouragement to transition to his own room.  In the meantime, when I visit I get to use it, instead of the old couch downstairs.  Win-win!

The party was wonderful, lots of noisy, excited children.  There were a multitude of toys and equipment to play with, snacks to eat, pictures to color, a birthday cake to share, and moments of laughter and tears.  Here a couple of photos from the event.
 We were early to the park to set up so Eli had the equipment to himself.  He's climbing through one of the tunnels to use the slide.  Happy boy!

Blowing out the candle on his piece of cake.  D thought of this, rather than having him (potentially) spit on the entire cake, she'd keep his germs to the one piece.  

After everyone left and we finishing cleaning up, I went back to the house to help D unload her car.  Then I headed the car towards home.  It was a good two days, but I was sure ready for the quiet of my own home and a good night's sleep in my own bed.

That pretty much wraps up the week.  It's been busy and productive and I'm ready for a day off.  Have a good week ahead everyone, and stay well!

Sunday 8 March 2020

What's up with the weather?

My brother sent me this the other day:

Canada's 11 seasons
Fool's spring
Second winter
Spring of deception
Third winter
Mud season
Actual spring
False fall
Second summer (1 week)
Actual fall

I believe we've reached second winter as we've definitely had a bit of fool's spring.  Earlier this week my cross street neighbour's lawn was clear of snow.  On Thursday, not so much!

I shovelled about two to three inches of the stuff, heavy wet snow!  Friday our temperatures soared to 11C (52F), and when I woke up Saturday morning, it was still 1C, just above freezing. And the neighbour's lawn has no snow again. Finally, on Sunday we had more snow, about 1/2 inch or so.  Spring of deception, perhaps? 

Most of the week has been taken up with curling and crocheting, though I did manage to pull nails and remove wallpaper in the spare bedroom. I used the last of my Rona gift cards to pick some drywall compound to do a skim coat as there are some dents and larger holes in the wall.  Some of it was damage from removing the chair molding, a lot was damage covered up by the wallpaper.  The family before has had foster children and I'm assuming some of it was from various kids that used that room.  Who knows for sure?

I also picked up some supplies for painting.  I'll get the paint once I've got the room ready to go.  If you've read this blog for a long time, you may remember the fiasco with the paint from Rona that kept separating on me.  I got no satisfaction when I returned the can to the store - they suggested I allowed it to freeze and would not give me a refund.  After several e-mails to the head office and then to the store manager I received the gift cards as compensation.  I will NOT be buying the paint from Rona for certain.

Then, of course, because it seems that every week something around here breaks, I bought a new printer.  I had bought an ink cartridge replacement and when I went to replace it, a piece inside the printer broke off! So I bought a printer compatible with the cartridge - another HP all-in-one.  The store employee told me that it isn't unusual for this piece to break but hopefully this new machine will last as long as the original.  I believe I've had this one for about 5-8 years.

I needed the printer to print off my insurance policy for my June trip.  My travel agent, L is a gem!  She called me early this week to let me know Manualife was likely going to change their policy for cancellation as a result of the coronavirus.  I bought my policy on Tuesday, they changed their policy on Thursday.  So I'm covered in case the cruise has to be cancelled, and I bought coverage for my flight as well.  Unfortunately, the gal who was planning to travel with me has to cancel due to an underlying medical condition.  I'll be solo for this trip, but I'm excited as I know I'll get a chance to visit with J in England prior to the cruise!  We chatted today and she's going to meet me (and stay) at my hotel and we'll do a bit of touring together while I'm there.  I know how very fortunate I am.

For those who are thinking I'm crazy to consider a cruise during this pandemic, my thoughts are these:
I'm relatively healthy, just overweight, thus have no underlying health issues that would be a major concern.  Canada has not issued a travel advisory for UK/Europe due to the coronavirus, though if that happens I have the insurance.  As a result, at this point, I have no valid reason for cancelling and doing so would be an expensive proposition.  The cruise company is allowing passengers to cancel, with a partial refund and future cruise credits.  However, my flight would not be refundable.

On the ship, I know that the crew will be doing everything to keep the ship clean as they do every cruise.  However, I have been on cruises where norovirus has been an issue, though I've never been affected.  I'll avoid the buffet, where some passengers have a bad habit of picking up food and putting it back, wash my hands frequently, use my elbows on the stair rails, and try to avoid touching my face. The latter is probably the hardest for me.  I tend not to use the elevator, not are they often crowded, but I use the stairs to help stave off gaining any more weight.  I'll try to avoid large gatherings, and my off ship excursions will also be focused away from high numbers of tourists.

Is the risk of getting ill more significant on the cruise than at home?  Probably, because of the number of people who I'll encounter.  But it's a risk I'm willing to take because I think at some point we'll all be exposed to this virus.  Regardless I refuse to be trapped in my home, I'll continue to live my life and look forward to this bucket list cruise.  

On a much more pleasant note, I received a photo from my cousin of her DIL with the blanket and toy I sent.  They love it, which is lovely to hear.  

Baby will be born on March 27, with a scheduled C-section.  I hope I'll get another photo of the wee one with the blanket too.  

I'm very near to finishing another blanket and will share a photo of that next week.  In the meantime our Saskatchewan team is playing the semi-final against a very strong team from Newfoundland. The game is very close, both teams playing well with the odd miss.  Fingers crossed our team makes into this evening's final.

One last photo, of a wee bird near the feeder this week.  It appeared to be injured as there were several loose feathers, and bit of excrement in the snow.  It did a bit of flapping of its wings but didn't fly off while I filled the feeder.  I did put a bit of seed down nearby, in case it was simply stunned and needed to rest a bit.  When I went out an hour or so later to check, it was gone.  I don't know if it had hit the sunroom window, but I found it odd that it had lost some feathers, so have to wonder if it hadn't tangled with a larger bird/predator.  I'm hopeful that its absence was indication that it survived and was able to fly off.
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 1 March 2020

Catching up and looking forward

Things were back to (almost) normal around here this week, with no curling to watch (until Friday).  I did manage to catch up on several television programs I enjoy watching.  Survivor is one of those - this season is particularly interesting because all of the contestants are previous winners.  Honestly I only remember four of them...the rest, if I watched the season obviously had no real impression on me.  

A good part of the week was spent doing housework.  Laundry and bathrooms scrubbed down on Monday, vacuuming, a little rearranging furniture, a bit of sewing on Tuesday, and washing floors on Wednesday.  That afternoon I joined the ladies at the library for stitch and make.  I realized as I drove to the library, it was the first time, other than feeding the birds and picking up the mail, that I was out of the house since Sunday.  

I did get out to the farm last weekend, no photos as proof though, and did a bit more sewing with L.  Upon closer examination, I discovered my machine has a one step button hole option, but no matter what I did I couldn't get the darn thing to make a buttonhole properly.  So I brought the machine home, read my instruction booklet and after some fiddling with stitch length, width, and tension I finally made a satisfactory buttonhole.  A second, not so much.  According to the instructions the needle should stop when the buttonhole is complete, mine does not.  But, if I switch back to a regular sewing stitch and then back to buttonhole mode, I can make another buttonhole.  I remember my mom's machine worked much better and much more easily but a memory is tricky thing.  I might just be making that up.

Thursday was shopping day.  Cat food, cat litter, a few groceries, a shipping box for the baby blanket, and I picked up my daughter's medicines.  On Friday, my brother and I made a trip to D's to drop off a piece of furniture he made for her so I'll drop those off at the same time.  He started making benches from old dressers and salvaged wood at Christmas, and so far he's on his fourth piece.  

This is the first piece, made for his son for a Christmas gift.  The base is part of an old dresser, the rest is salvaged wood.  I love the mirror he added to the back!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember that my nephew K and his g/f S found two puppies on the side of a highway last spring.  They brought the two of the home, intending to keep only one.  Ha!  They've both grown up since then. Rider is the white one, Whistler the brown.  They are sweet dogs.

Here is the piece he made for my daughter. The back piece and most of the box are made from boards removed from their farmhouse kitchen ceiling. The shelf and top of the box are just plywood.  He's disappointed that the plywood didn't stain the same color as the other boards, but I think it looks great.  They have room for their coats, a shelf for her keys and purse, and there is ample storage in the box for seasonal footwear and other items like mitts and toques, etc.  I suspect a few toys will get lost in there too!  When I talked to D Saturday morning, Eli had filled it with shoes and boots. :)

After we returned to the city R was kind enough to help me remove the chair rail in the guest bedroom.  Actually I'd asked to show me how, and by the time I'd finished removing one piece he'd finished the rest of the room.  As we removed the pieces we discovered, a) it was cheap, cheap almost cardboard trim, and b) the old owner didn't bother to remove the wallpaper that was underneath.  In fact, now that I think about it he probably put up the trim to cover where the two pieces of wallpaper met. 

I had removed the wallpaper some time ago, and repainted the walls.  The top portion was blue with white clouds, the bottom a pink/green gingham pattern. It was obviously a baby's bedroom at one point.

My plan is to remove the nails and wallpaper, fill the holes and repaint the room.  I think it's the first room I'll work on, as I'll move my bedroom into it when while I do the rest of the bedrooms.  It must be getting close to spring as I'm getting the itch to start fixing things up a bit more.  I still want to the list the house this summer.  Sadly, it seems prices have dropped even further based on current listings but I'm prepared to bite the bullet in order to start a new chapter in my life.

On Saturday morning, I ran out to the post office to mail off the parcel with the lamb and baby blanket.  It is so expensive to mail a parcel, nearly $20 for a small box!  I spent the rest of the morning, putzing around the house and catching up on television programs before the curling games started at 1 p.m.  It was a pretty lazy day after that.

Sunday I was awake early, 5:30 a.m., for no apparent reason.  The cats were still asleep and both slept for another hour while I tried to go back to sleep.  It didn't work as the winds were howling.  We had a storm blow through last night with winds up to 70 km/h (45 mph) and snow.  When I looked out this morning, we didn't get much snow but what came down was blown around.  I won't need to shovel though as we're forecast for another day of above freezing temperatures tomorrow. 

It's another full day of curling, three games over the course of the day.  I'll get a few things done between ends, dishes, cat litter, feed the birds and so forth.  While the games are on I've got another blanket on the go.  This time a granny square which I may regret.  I'm not following the pattern exactly and will need to make some modifications so we'll see whether I'm smart enough to figure it out. 

Have a great week everyone!  Hope the sun is shining where you are.