Thursday, 6 July 2017

Long overdue

It's been a few months, hasn't it? I'd gotten a couple of nudges on my previous post so I had to take a few moments to check in. For whatever reason, I just haven't gotten back into the blogging vibe. Thanks for the Happy Sesquicentennial, LX, and the query about my wellbeing, Mago! Happy 4th of July a bit late to all my American friends! I hope you all had time with family and friends enjoying the holiday.

But all is well with me and the kitties. Frosti is six months old now and a real hellion! He torments the girls endlessly and I sometimes have to put him in a time out in the bedroom. He bites. A lot. Not with me, as he plays gently and doesn't even use his claws, but with them, it is tackle and bite constantly. I sure hope he outgrows this phase soon because I feel bad for them! Tanner was so much gentler when he played with the girls. *sigh*

I have renewed my mortgage for three years, after which time I am selling the house. Retirement will be 2 years after that and I want to be a debt free as possible when I stop working. So I have a finite amount of time to fix the house up for selling. Best get my ass moving!

At least I now have a mostly normal energy level. I've found my thyroid hasn't been working normally (probably slowly declining for years but really plummeted in the past year) so a few blood tests and I am now on thyroid medication plus a bunch of supplements to support thyroid function. It has required a few tweaks here and there but I feel so much better! I now have both the mental and physical wherewithal to tackle everything that needs doing. I am doing things in steps (and not really in this order... #7 is actually first.):

1. Scrape all that stipple crap off all the ceiling! Besides hating how it looks, there are cracks in both the living room and kitchen ceilings that need repair and you can't fix those and patch the stipple without it looking like a horrible botch job. I've seen a youtube video on taping a 6" putty knife to the floor attachment of a shopvac and using that to scrape it off. I'd done the bedroom ceiling a few years ago up on a ladder and what a mess! Looks great once done, but holy moly that stuff gets everywhere. I'm hoping this will be much neater (and hopefully faster!).

2. Repair all the cracks in walls and ceilings caused by the saggy main beam and subsequent relevelling of the house. That was a slow process and took about 1 1/2 years before the house finally adjusted to its final form. The teleposts I installed in the basement have not needed tightening for about a year now so I think it is finally done. No point patching cracks if the house is still shifting.

3. Once steps 1 and 2 are done, paint! Ceiling and walls in every room. Good thing this is a small house...

4. After completely all that messy stuff, time to install the laminate flooring that has been stored in the basement for the past 4 years. When I renovated my bedroom, I had purchased some laminate (the nice thick stuff [14mm] with the foam backing) on sale (I think it was 30% off). I liked it so much I went right back and bought enough to do the rest of the upstairs (minus kitchen and bathroom). I am sure it is well acclimated to my house's environment by now.

5. I need to have an exhaust fan installed in the bathroom. There are NO exhaust fans in this little old house anywhere so I tend to run the furnace fan whenever I shower. I also need to replace the bathroom window as it is rusty (it's right in the shower but given the tiny size of the bathroom, there really wasn't anywhere else to put it). The tub surround I put in a few years ago will be ripped out and either a new one, or tiles, will replace it. I'm happy with the sink and toilet that I've already put in. The floor with be changed too, as right now it is the same as the kitchen (there was a leftover bit of vinyl flooring from the kitchen that was done before I bought the house).

6. And the cherry on top will be a kitchen gut and redo. At first, I had grand ideas of ripping out the wall between the kitchen and living room to make it open but given the cost and time that takes, I have decided to update it without major structural rearrangements. (This is, after all, to improve it for selling it.) It is small (I do live in a little house) and at 8x10, I have limited space be creative. But the plan is to just move the fridge a bit to give me more room to expand the number of cabinets and counter space. By just doing that, I will be able to double what exists now. So this will be a yank out of all the old cabinets and flooring and replace the same. The local hardware store has lovely vinyl laminate flooring that I have had experience installing in a former boyfriend's house and it is 100% waterproof so even if there is a major water leak, the flooring will not be damaged. (I'm sure the rest of the floor would be, but this stuff could be pulled up, dried and reinstalled.) The new cabinets will be from Ikea and I can install those. I'll need help to hoist the upper ones but the rest won't be an issue. I like their rail system to secure the cabinets to the wall. I will put a microwave with exhaust fan above the stove. I've already bought a new sink. Do you know how hard it is to find a 1 1/2 bowl sink to fit a 24" cabinet?!?

7. This is really #1! The basement windows... what a headache those have been! The two on the east wall are at ground level. Right at ground level! And with old wooden frames, you know what that means. Water. In my basement. With the spring melt and heavy rain, the water flowed unimpeded through the rotten wood. Luckily, the basement floor is bare concrete but what a pain in the ass! I have fans and a dehumidifier running 24/7 because of damp concrete. The shopvac got many a good workout. Finally found a solution. Glass block windows with vent for air circulation. Set directly into the concrete, with the bottom row of bricks being concrete to prevent further water incursion. Watched a youtube video on how to do that. I also need to redo the window in the laundry room in the basement as the glass is cracked. At least that one is higher up as the ground slopes a bit east to west. I think I will do this one out of polycarbonate. The dryer vent and water line for the hose bib run outside through it. Much easier to drill holes in plastic! These take precedence over everything else right now.

So that's the blueprint for the next three years. I work at work and will then work at home. Don't get me wrong! There will be plenty of feet up on the recliner time too, as well as getting out and about. Will post pics when I have things on the go.

In the meantime, here are the cats.

A rare moment of quiet

The usual state of affairs

The tub makes a great background

Stalking me from on top of the fridge

Another quiet moment

Judging the distance to jump at the other cat in the mirror


  1. Thanks for the kitty update and photos! Nikko tends to pester Lola like that. I think mostly because of youthful exuberance.

    I have seen ceiling texture removed on TV by wetting with water from a garden sprayer, then scraping. Less dust and flakes.

    1. When I did the bedroom ceiling, I sprayed and scraped. Still had little bits all over the place, but no dust. I will keep you posted on the shopvac method when I get to it.

      I am hoping Frosti is just full of youthful piss and vinegar. I keep apologizing to the girls.

  2. Wow...that's quite a list! Then again, the satisfaction of getting it done and knowing retirement will be easier.

    Ah, pet children. Baby Bourbon will be 11 months old next week, weighs over 80 lbs. and if he doesn't quit his enthusiastic greetings, I may be scarred for life. :) But he's a big bundle of love when sleep approaches. I need to time naps with his. :)

    1. It's a list for 3 years, so hopefully I get around to everything.

      I recall my Zoe when when was growing. Much more low key than your Bourbon though and she never ever jumped, thankfully. She was 100 lbs!

  3. Hey friend, a man is getting thirsty just reading that list! Fancy a cider?

    1. Tomorrow I will have a cider. I work tomorrow so am up at 5 a.m. and it's a bit late now for a drink. I'll 'clink' glasses with you tomorrow!

  4. Glad to learn that anything thyroid-related is sorted, pretty important this. Something with iron levels I vaguely remember, may be totally wrong, sorry.

    Hayayay ... renovating ! That is an impressive agenda, even for three years. I hope you don't undertake too much in one go - yes, you know yourself best and all, but please ; You do not have an easy profession, just be careful, I know you will.
    A wet basement is something I fear, really. Driving over land I see old houses a plenty, and at some I can watch the humidity going up the walls. Especially in spring. So tackling this first before the next winter and melting period seems to be essential to me. Of course I have no idea what the solution is you describe. I think I would try to lower the outside level of earth / soil, but of course have no idea how your winters are - and what would happen to the exposed wall of the cellar. Perhaps earth is the best insulation, I do not know. (And what on earth is a "shopvac" ?)

    It is very nice to see you post something, easing my terrible curiosity I have to admit it, pure selfishness - thank you !

    1. Hello Mago! Happy to ease your curiosity, terrible or otherwise. You are welcome! I can't guarantee when I will do so again though. ;-)

      Iron levels can drop very low with a low thyroid so sometimes supplementation is required. Luckily, mine is good. My vitamins B12 and D are quite low though, so I take those every day.

      Lowering the soil around the foundation of a house here in the middle of Canada is asking for everything to be frozen solid in winter. It is not unusual to go down to -30C. Yes the earth is quite insulating! Just preventing access for the water to seep into the basement (those pesky rotting windows, in my case) is the best thing to do. A shopvac is an industrial vacuum that can suck up all kinds of dust or particles with a bag installed, or water with no bag. Very handy thing to have!

  5. My house would benefit from a simple declutter!
    You are always so busy.... I am scared to make a list of all the things that need doing here.... even some of the everyday chores have gone to pot lately - i.e the jungle that was once a very nice garden.
    Lovely to see Frosti, he's a real character :-)

    1. I am not actually busy much at all! I could have had all this done a couple of years ago but just kept procrastinating. Plus with the thyroid issue, I didn't really have the energy. But I have a deadline now, and getting all this done will mean money in the bank when I sell. I hear you on the everyday chores... I actually detest housework, and especially gardening!
      We need to see more of Sidney on your blog, Scarlet. He is such a handsome little guy!! xoxo

  6. I'm the "idea gal" around here, not the "DIY gal" and that's OK by me. Glad you have the thyroid issue in hand now. I know it really makes a difference! xoxox


So you have something to say about all this, do you?
Well, let's hear it, then!