Monday, 9 December 2013

Well, that's done.

Finished scraping all the stipple off the bedroom ceiling today.

Had to wear nuclear fallout gear due to the dust it created, even with spraying each section with water before scraping it off.

I developed a technique hooking one finger from the scraper hand onto the edge of the plastic container I was holding up to collect as much of the debris as possible.

The floor still got covered with little bits. But much less than if I hadn't done anything. Now I need to give it a wipe down to get rid of the dust, repair the spots that need doing, then hopefully paint on the weekend. Hopefully paint the whole room, or at least get the ceiling done and primer on the walls.

Working 12 hour shifts during the week, and playing in a volleyball tournament (fund raiser for the Christmas Cheer Board) from 3:30 to midnight on Friday, means it will probably be Saturday or Sunday before I get back to it.

Hopefully, things will progress a little faster now that that's done. I'd like to have my free time my own again... or at least until the next project is under way!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Change of plan

I was going to try and very carefully paint the stipple ceiling in the bedroom.

I purchased the appropriate multi-sliced foam roller. I knew that you only roll the paint on once, not back and forth. I know that if that crap gets too wet, it comes off.

Little did I realize that the stipple was so thinly put on that all you had to do was look at it sideways and it would come off with the paint. Very fragile.

So... change of plans. I will be scraping all that stipple off the ceiling, doing the necessary drywall repairs (old minor leak from poorly installed chimney flashing ~ since repaired ~ the flashing, that is) and then painting.

(Eye protection ~ check. Water sprayer ~ check. Scraper ~ check.
Bin to catch all the bits ~ check.
Any which way you like it ladder ~ check.)

I do prefer a smooth ceiling but scraping is a lot of work and hard on the neck for one with a herniated disk awaiting a consult with the neurosurgeon (end of January). So this slows me down as I can only do it for so long on any given day.

But I sure hope there are no more surprises underneath all that flaky shit. I have always hated stipple ceilings. I guess now I have to do something about it.

And this is what will be in store for the rest of the main floor rooms. *sigh*

Oh well. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

AND... I have to admit I will like the look much better when it's all said and done.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Turkey Day!

To all my friends in the US of A,
I wish you all a peaceful, restful and delicious Thanksgiving.

I'll be a while...

Got back from Las Vegas last night and had a great time! Although it did rain continuously the first couple of days... (Vegas is a desert, for crying out loud!) And Monday night, Maart came down with some kind of bug ~ fever, chills, nausea. At least it was our last night there. Would have been even more terrible if he'd picked up this bug when we first go there. The plane flight home on Tuesday was so not fun for him, poor guy! He's feeling much better today, although still weak. Thankfully no upchucking occurred at all (especially thankful for that on the plane) due to regular ingestion of Gravol.

But we saw Michael Bublé (love that man ~ he is very entertaining! plus can he sing), went to a shooting range and shot a few WWII guns (I have targets to prove I would survive the zombie apocalypse as I can definitely hit the head ~ the big head, you two... get your minds out of the gutter!) and took in one of Cirque de Soleil's productions. They have 8 in town ~ we saw Zumanity (here's a brief clip ~ the real show has the girls topless). Spent time walking around, people watching and just enjoying each others company. Neither of us gambled at all (no interest) but we found a bar right in our hotel with bikini-clad cowgirl waitresses and a mechanical bull. Had good laughs at the drunks who got on that thing!

Well... I still have lots to do in the bedroom. I have to finish the smoothing of wall imperfections. I will be taking down the cheap little white ceiling fan light fixture and replacing it with one a bit more stylish, but will repaint the ceiling while it is fixture-less. A pain in the ass to do, what with the stipple texture crap that so many houses have. I hate that stuff but it is too much work to remove. So I will spruce it up instead with a fresh coat of paint. It hasn't had one since the place was built, I'm sure.

Then I'll roll primer over the patches and crap green walls, then paint a lovely pale cream (aptly named 'goat cheese') over it all. All the trim will be nice and white, but first the floor must go in.

I picked up 11 boxes of a nice 12mm thick laminate (Sacramento Pine) today (to do the bedroom and hallway). And I can order more later when I get around to doing the living room and front bedroom. It is a regular item at my local hardware and everything else store. The blades of the new ceiling fan are a very close colour match to the flooring, which was a guess until I opened the box at home... and I am pleased!

I still have to find the closet doors but haven't even asked anywhere about them because I am nowhere close to being ready to install them. I want the floor to ceiling mirrored sliding ones. That means one whole wall will be mirrors.

Run with that one, boys! ;-)

So the final picture will be... pale creamy walls, crisp white trim, cocoa brown cellular window blind, warm rich pine floor, brushed nickel fan with matching wood blades, room expanding mirrored wall and soft amber light from Himalayan rock salt lamps nestled on small white shelves flanking the queen bed, which is cloaked in a rich purple, soft green and warm mushroom watercolour floral duvet.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Slow process

My bedroom is in a state of chaos, having had almost all of the furniture moved out (except the bed and nightstand), the carpet pulled out, and the trim pulled off.

(No, my house isn't tilted... and no, I wasn't drunk!)

It is a very slow process to get things patched up, what with the shifting of the house and the original wooden studs being rather rough cut and uneven (the house is 63 years old, after all).

(The former closet door with two layers of mud and tape ~ more to go.)

Having closed off the original closet and drywalled over the opening, I am now in the process of applying multiple layers of drywall compound (mud) to cover the joints (and all the other cracks and nail holes elsewhere in the room). Because the studs we used to frame in the door opening are nice and straight, and the original ones are rather wonky, the drywall edges dip in and stick out in various places. *sigh*

(This wall will become the new closet ~ looks tiny but is 10' long.)

It's going to take a while to complete this part of things, especially given that Maart and I will be winging our way south to Las Vegas on Thursday for a 5 day stint in Glitz and Glitter Ville. We are going to see Michael Bublé in concert on Saturday, take in one of Cirque de Soleil's performances (we are eyeballing Zumanity ~ they have 8 different shows going around town) and visiting the Gun Shoppe for a little firearms action. Other than that, we'll just wander around and play it by ear as to what we do.

It will be nice to get away for a bit. We now have snow here in the Centre of Canadia and temps of around -8C. The forecast for Vegas is overcast and +16C or so. I think we can handle that!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Tearing it down and building it back up

My bedroom is a very modest thing. It is rather small ~ only 10'4" by 9'9". One window only 28" wide but a good 52" tall. And one electrical outlet.

Why only one outlet? I can't imagine, even back in the mid 1950s when the house was built, that one outlet would be sufficient for any room larger than a bathroom.

But it's how my house was built. Both bedrooms have only one outlet each.

At least the bedroom I sleep in had a closet. The other one doesn't even have that.
But given that it is used as my computer room, a closet isn't really necessary.

The one in my bedroom was virtually microscopic.

You'll notice I keep saying 'was'... because it is no more. Last weekend, Maart and I closed it off. I had removed all the furniture other than the bed from the room. Having a lingerie chest (6 drawers high), a chest of (5) drawers and an armoire in there, along with the bed and a nightstand, meant it was pretty crowded.

So here's the plan: build a closet the full length of one wall and eliminate all the furniture other than the bed. Smaller floor area but should be more useful space with a closet that will have ample hanging space, shelves and 2 dozen wire basket-drawers from Ikea.

So Maart and I pulled out the closet door and trim, all the baseboards and the door frame. We also tore out the wall to wall carpet and foam underlay (which was firmly attached to the floor with at least 5000 staples!) to expose the horrible and rather elderly adhesive floor tiles that are supposed to look like parquet flooring.

We crawled around on the floor, prying up all the staples and their associated bits of foam. (Which, by the way, make the absolute best cat toys as far as Lila is concerned! She's a hoot to watch, flinging those tiny bits around.) My back was killing me by the time that was done.

All the demolition detritus was subsequently chucked into my truck and hauled to the dump. We put up a few scrap pieces of drywall over the former closet, as it now opened directly into the kitchen and I was not going to be wakened by one big hairy cat whose name starts with L standing on my chest, purring and kneading me with her claws, all the while head butting my nose and licking my eyelids.

That's just downright rude, and she doesn't understand the term "WTF?!?!? Get OFF of me, you Damn Cat!!!"

We then died for the evening and lounged around trying to recover from all that. The next day we went out and bought wood studs and drywall to cover the door sized hole properly.

So here's the plan: All the cracks in the walls from the house settling over the years, plus nails from things being hung, plus the new chunk of wall, will be repaired with mud and tape. Following that being completed, the entire room will be painted with primer. I will be going from the same crap green that the living room was to a pale creamy colour called "goat cheese", with all the trim white. I'll have to install new baseboards and door frame. The window frame can stay as is, just with fresh white paint.

I need an electrician to come and move the existing outlet, as its current position will see it living inside the new closet. Not very convenient, as you can well imagine. I also need two new outlets installed on the wall where the bed has moved. The phone jack needs to be moved as well, as it is also in the designated closet space, but I can do that myself.

The pink metal mini blind that's on the window is leaving, as is the green floral valance. Both are remnants of the previous owner. I am sure someone at the local thrift shop will delight in the acquisition of these items. I have a cocoa brown cellular (room darkening) shade to take their place and it will fit right inside the window frame.

The nightstand is being replace by several small shelves on either side of the bed. I have ordered a pair of rock salt lamps to act as ambiance lighting. If I really need to see what I am doing, the ceiling fixture gives the room a good bright glare. I am considering replacing that light/fan thing (cheap little white thing that it is) with one of those ceiling fixtures that looks like large woven bamboo leaves with lights in the centre.

The floor will be covered with some kind of laminate that will be accessible in the future for the rest of the main floor. Since I can't afford real hardwood, nor can I afford to buy flooring for the whole main floor all at once, it has to be something that is consistently carried in one of the local stores.

Once all that is done, then the closet hardware installation will take place. I am doing a combination of a Rubbermaid closet organizer with the wire basket towers from Ikea. It should be more than sufficient to replace all the chests of drawers previously cluttering up the room. The finishing touch will be mirrored sliding doors along the entire wall. Wall to wall and floor to ceiling.

Now that will make the room appear much larger!

And speaking of building, Maart and I are still continuing along really well. We are going to Las Vegas later on this month for a 5 day get-away. We've got a concert lined up (Michael Bublé), and have plans to catch a Circe de Soleil performance as well as some time spent behind the barrel of a gun or two at a shooting range. Neither of us is much into gambling, but getting away for a bit and just doing whatever we want will be a welcome change! We've got a room with a Strip view so we'll be able to catch the pirates' show whenever we want. He's a good man, my Maart. He treats me well and has become very special to me.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

All fixed up

Yes, Mago... my foot is still attached. And it has healed... but it did require a visit to the Emergency Room to be seen after day 6, when it had blown up rather nastily and was itchier than a dog with a wicked case of fleas.

Just prior to seeing the doctor on Sept. 27th.

24 hours later and it's already looking much better.

While the colour looks worse, this is actually
an improvement as the swelling and itching were greatly reduced.
This is after 3 days of meds.

I got the necessary medications... and then went to see my family doctor and am awaiting allergy testing to make sure future stings won't be even more of an issue. It took weeks for the redness to fade away.

So that's all good.

And so is my crack.

All fixed up, that is.

Okay, so it's my house's crack. And a big one it was. After getting a few estimates on repairs, I decided to tackle the thing myself with a kit from the local hardware store. I figure this is the more affordable option at this point. If it leaks again, then I will hire someone to do something further about it.

Here, in sequence, is a series of photos showing the progression of the repair and the final thing.

You may recall this gaping maw?

This is the inside view. That bit of blue in the middle is
daylight ~ you could see right outside!

First thing was to glue plastic injection ports
every 6 - 8 inches along the crack.

Then seal the ports and the open crack with
quick drying concrete.

Polyurethane polymer foam was injected into the ports, 
starting at the bottom and working up.

Once fully cured (2 days), the ports were nipped off.
That way, nothing will poke holes in the insulation when I
get around to finishing the wall on the inside.

Here, the foam is beginning to ooze out the crack.

Fully cured, the foam looks like some
kind of giant fungus.

I then hacked away at the foam (it's tough stuff, that!) to
trim it to just inside wall level.

The foam was sealed against the elements with
concrete caulking.

For added insurance, I put a clear plastic window well cover over
the repaired area, just to keep rain and snow as far away from the
wall as is practical.

So far, the basement is dry. We've had some pretty good rain a few times and snow will be on the way very soon. I'm hoping this holds out for a long time. Sometimes... the simplest fix works for years. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Last... sting? at summer

On Saturday, Maart and I were doing some yard work at his place. It was a beautiful sunny day, turning out to be pleasantly warm.

Needless to say, I just had on my Crocs (go ahead and shudder if you will, but they offer my poor work-abused feet proper cushioning) and no socks. Who needs socks when it's warm out?

We were getting close to being finished, enjoying working together and seeing our hard work accomplish what was needed (stump removal) when I felt a little something on my foot.

Just as I lifted my pant leg and moved my foot to have a look, someone jabbed a high powered electrically charged pointy tipped jack hammer into my foot!!!

I started jumping around and yelling "ow!" and "fuck!" like a madwoman. I briefly caught the look on Maart's face ~ I swear he thought I'd been possessed by demons.

No, not possessed. STUNG. By a damn wasp. What the hell was it doing in my shoe anyway? There's nothing in my shoe fit for any wasp.

"FUCK!" I yelled. "I just got stung by a wasp!!!! FUCK, it hurts! What do you put on a sting anyway!?!?!?" The last time I'd been stung by anything, I was still in grade school. So we're talking well over 40 years. And I sure don't have any memory of it hurting this much!!!

"Vinegar." Maart says. "There's a jug under the sink." So I hop and hobble as fast as I can into the house, find the jug, soak a tissue and hold it against the sting.

It did nothing. Applying an icepack was the only thing that remotely helped, because it numbed the area. Can only do that so often before the risk of frostbite becomes very real, unfortunately.

(the white stuff is hydrocortisone cream applied after the vinegar poultice)

My foot was exquisitely painful for the rest of that day. And at bedtime, it felt like a swarm of electric eels was squirming under the skin. I had to take drugs to fall asleep. Lots of drugs.

Since then, the pain has gone away and it's just majorly itchy. My foot has swelled a little bit, and is very red. At first, I was getting concerned that perhaps I was developing cellulitis, which is quite a serious skin and deep tissue infection that usually requires IV antibiotics (I took the MoS to the ER for just that last year).

(three days post sting)

But after doing some medical research online, I discovered that cellulitis with stings is uncommon, but having an intense localized reaction is not. And given that I have no more pain, I have no fever or chills, I don't feel ill, and the swelling is quite minor, I have diagnosed it as a localized reaction. Apparently this will last for 4 - 7 days. I am already at 4 days. I think I have a few more to go, considering how it is today. *sigh*

It's enough to drive a girl crazy, however, with the itching. I have been applying a fairly strong steroid cream 2 - 3 times a day, as well as the ice packs, and that helps. Guess I will just have to tough it out!

(this morning ~ wearing shoes is a bitch, let me tell you!)

Monday, 5 August 2013

On we go...

Time keeps ramblin' on and on... whether I want it to slow down or not. Funny how it seems time crawls when you're a kid but as you get older, it zooms by faster and faster. That is just soooo wrong!

But... can't do a damn thing about it, can we?

So Maart and I remain a hot item, and all is going well. Much better than any of the other relationships I have had in the past 6 years. That has to count for something, right?

Yesterday we went out quadding (that's riding an all terrain vehicle along provincial trails through the countryside, to those of you who aren't in the know) with 5 other people. The others each had their own ATV, while Maart and I rode in his RZR, which is a 2 seater (side by side type, not one behind the other). He had had a glass windshield and wiper put on it a little while ago, so we were stylin'!

(this is my artsy rendering using Photoshop Elements ~ cool eh!)

First time in my life I got to drive an offroad vehicle. It was a blast! I had been out with him once in June but was just a passenger that time.

(Maart and his RZR ~ a cool little 'jeep' like vehicle)

We saw deer, a couple of blue herons, lots of little birds (the swallows were out in full force devouring mosquitoes ~ yay for them!), beautiful green fields, acres of golden sunflowers, beaver dams, marshes, and babbling brooks. It was dry and dusty that first half of the trip and parts of the trail were black dirt, other parts gravel, so needless to say, we all got filthy!

(you want dirt? go ahead ~ click to make it bigger!)

We drove for close to 3 hours (yes, there were pitstops along the way for port-a-potty use, as well as the occasional cold beverage), stopped in a town for lunch and then headed back. The rain started while we were eating so the ride back was partially on gravel roads and not completely on the trails, as the others weren't prepared for wet weather, and two of the guys (silly men!) didn't even wear helmets. Besides being against the law, it also meant their heads were wet and cold in no time. Not pleasant for them.

Being the considerate guy that he is, Maart gave up his warm sheltered seat to the youngest member of the group (late teens, early 20s?) who was getting cramped hands from hanging onto the handlebars of her ATV in the cold and wet. She rode with me and I gave her my gloves to warm her hands. I also traded helmets with Maart, as mine has a full face shield and his is open faced. Since I was behind the windshield, it only made sense. Good thing my head isn't too much smaller than his! He had a pretty good red mark on his forehead from my helmet by the time we got home.

Maart and I were warm and cozy, with helmets, gloves and rain jackets. Yes, we got wet legs and feet, but being behind the windshield meant we didn't feel the cooling effects of the breeze as we drove. Not until we got back to his place and stood up did we feel the full effect of soggy clothes! Time for a hot shower to warm up after that.

And along with having fun, are the unforeseen catastrophes that go hand in hand with home ownership. In late July, I had a little family gathering at my place and Maart got to meet everyone (that lives here) plus a couple of cousins visiting from the Wet Coast. It was afternoon for the soiree and the beginnings of rain put an end to things only slightly quicker than would have happened on their own accord. We got a pretty good storm that night. The next morning, I found lots of water in my basement. A couple of days later, there was a repeat of both the rain and the wet basement. I was not a happy bunny!

Because the basement is fully insulated and drywalled, I had no idea where it was coming in. I suspected the little window in the laundry room that had been drywalled over but had the dryer, bathroom fan and central vacuum vented through it. I only noticed there was a window when looking at the outside of the house. Couldn't tell on the inside at all!

So down came the cupboard (that I didn't use) above the washer, as well as tearing out some of the drywall and insulation. But nope, the wall and the window were bone dry. So I went back outside to check around further and this is what I found:

(this is on the outside of the foundation)

Of course, this now meant I had to figure out where on the inside this crack was. So I measured from the window to the crack outside and went back inside and did the same.

The shower in the basement bathroom had to come out (which I had planned on doing at some point anyway, but not quite so soon). I took that out and Maart came over and helped me pull out the drywall and insulation, and the platform the shower had been on. So we could see this:

(see that blue bit in the middle of the bottom photo?
that is the outside world...)

The plan is to make calls tomorrow to four outfits to get quotes on the necessary repair. I have lots of questions about how this will be done, and whether or not digging on the outside is required. I noticed that my air conditioner is tipping towards the house a bit now as well (it's fairly close to the crack) so will need that shored up too.

Good thing I will be getting the money from my compensation claim for that shoulder injury from 2 1/2 years ago... Seems every time I come into some money, something happens that is expensive and needs to be fixed.

*sigh* So, on the one hand, life is wonderful! And on the other... not so much. But it all balances out, right?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Summertime Blues?


No blues here.

All is excellent, thankyouverymuch. :-)

The last of the kittens are gone, thank goodness. I had them for 8 weeks and that was more than enough. The final two were taken in to the vet's a couple of weeks ago, to be spayed and neutered at the age of 12 weeks. When the vet got a gander at little Celeste's reproductive parts, she got quite the surprise.

The little minx had been bred! Meaning, that at the extremely young age of (prior to) 12 weeks, Clooney and Celeste had been going at it behind closed doors. The vet had never ever seen kittens that young be sexually active.

I never saw or heard anything, but when I was not home, they were in their room with the door closed (to keep them contained and their food safe from Lila). So they had time on their hands... um, paws. Guess they made the most of it!

They went to a new foster home after they were fixed and I just found out today, that foster family has adopted the two of them together. How sweet is that! They are lovely little cats and Clooney was my fave. I just didn't want more cats in my house, although I was sorely tempted towards the end.

So now it is just me and my girls again. I have the front room back and can get at my computer without getting sliced and diced by squirrelly little kitty claws screaming around playing, using me for a jungle gym. Lila has emerged from hiding most of the time in the basement. Pips revels in having my lap all to herself again.

Lila has even decided that Maart is a good guy. She has come out when he's here, stood in his lap... and then is taken by surprise when she realizes that it is him petting her and not me! She's such a dipstick sometimes. Pips of course loves everyone.

Speaking of everyone, I am having a little family get together this afternoon. Maart will get to meet most of my family, including my two elderly aunts, and a couple of cousins visiting from Vancouver. When I told him I was doing this, and asked if he would come, he said sure. Last weekend, when I reminded him it was coming up and asked him if he was still game, he said (and I quote) "all inclusive or nothing". After only two months of dating me, that's pretty brave! But my family is wonderful (even my slightly loony oldest auntie) and I am sure he will be accepted in no problem.

So you will have to excuse me now, as I have some last minute tidying to do.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Did ya miss me!?!?

I'm not gone... and I'm not dead. I'm just busy and the foster kittens (still have two, the other three went to their new homes last Sunday) are still zooming around the house, although a bit bigger (they are 12 weeks old) and more coordinated now. Pips is much more accepting and will play a bit and try and groom them. Lila remains terrified and growls terribly. Although... it is quite hilarious to see a big fluffy cat leap backwards when one of the kittens jumps in her direction. She is such a twit!

Summer is here in full force. It's been hot (30C +/-) and on the (more) humid side (than I like but...), with tons of sunshine but also lots of rain. That means lots of mosquitoes, damn their pointy little faces anyway. I'm loving the hot weather though. Beats -40 C/F any day!!

Still seeing Maart. It's all great. I like him, he likes me, we get along well. So far, that is the story. It's only been eight weeks so what more can I say!!

I've missed lots, and I have no idea when I can catch up. Between work, kittens and Maart, my time is not my own. But I am happy with how things are.

On a side note, I finally got the decision from the Appeal Commission on my shoulder injury as to whether or not the workers compensation board owes me my wages. It has been 2 1/2 years in this battle, and I am so glad it is finally over. And.... I WON!!! Huge relief to know that I will be able to pay down some of the debt that I incurred through that struggle. *big happy sigh*

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What have I gotten myself into?!?!?

On Saturday just past, I made a commitment that will last approximately 6 - 8 weeks. And it is a demanding one.

I am fostering a litter of kittens. Good gawd, what have I done!?!

Five squeaky squirmy babies who are about 4 weeks old. They are cute beyond words! Their mum was a feral cat who was captured, spayed and released back to her colony. Truly feral cats are almost impossible to tame. Their feral babies, when captured at this early age, are very easy to tame.

There is an organization run by a wonderful young woman named Jessica to trap,  neuter and release the feral cats in Windypeg (we're past the cold so can no longer call it Winterpeg). It's a monumental task but they, along with a dedicated group of volunteers, are making good headway into stopping the growth of the city's feral cat population. And any cats that are trapped that are tame strays are fixed and adopted out. As are the kittens they take in. They also do very low cost spays and neuters for the low income families who otherwise could not afford to get their pets fixed.

It's a job that is becoming noticed and their efforts are very much appreciated!

So. Onto these babies. Here's a photo of the litter from Saturday after I got them home.

Starting at the top: cinnamon tabby girl, brown tabby boy, black boy, brown tabby girl, cinnamon tabby boy.

The cinnamon tabby is a very rare colouration in domestic cats. A total absence of black. They are a combination of milk chocolate, cream, orange and russet. It will be interesting to see how they turn out when they have their adult coats and not baby fluff. Apparently mum was a medium haired cat, but I can't yet tell if any or all of the babies will have longer hair.

They are taming very quickly and swarm me whenever I come into the room. They purr and climb all over me and love to have their little faces rubbed. But their litter box skills are just developing and watching one of them trying to poop without falling on their noses is pretty amusing! Balance is not yet fully acquired. They eat canned kitten food with gusto and require hosing down afterwards as it gets everywhere! They are learning about crunchy kibble. They play like little squeaky toys armed with micro mini shark teeth! Bite inhibition is a learned skill, apparently. They practice on each other constantly.

Pips and Lila are understandably affronted by this invasion. Pips has taken to growling and hissing whenever she passes the door to the kitty nursery (aka my computer room). Lila is hiding in the basement and will only come up stairs at night. And if she even smells them on me, she bolts back down. She is such a chicken! But given that it's only been a few days, I am sure they will eventually settle down and accept the babies. Because it won't be long before the kitties will be out and about in the rest of the house.

On a secondary (not really!) note, a while back I had ventured once again into the alternate universe of online dating. Much as I hate that place, it really is the only place to get out and meet someone. And, it seems... I have!

I will call him Maart. He's Dutch, born and raised in Canada, although his parents and older brother were born in the Netherlands. He contacted me about three weeks ago and we started talking. Did the meet and greet a week ago last Saturday and have had three dates since then. All is going well. He's the same age as me, also works in the healthcare field, although in a different capacity (and at a different facility), has two grown kids and a desire to be with someone for a real live honest-to-goodness relationship. He's not afraid of commitment (ala MoS) and vows he is not seeing anyone else (ala Long Haul Trucker). He lives in a town close to mine.

Maart is very comfortable to be around and easy to talk to. We have lots in common and both like how things have started and are looking forward to where this journey leads. So I will post updates periodically.

Spring is sprung and there is now greenery poking spikes up through the soil in the garden out back. I don't know yet what most things are, other than the ferns because they are instantly recognizable. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, there will be blossoms of some sort! It is raining steadily today and pleasant temperature-wise (forecast high is 21C). That should hasten the emergence of plant life quite nicely.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Prepare your taste buds...

Here is the pancake recipe that I mentioned in a blog comment... I think maybe on Roses's blog? Can't remember where, but a few days ago, Mago reminded me that I was going to share the recipe, since I blathered on and on about how good these are!

So here it is:

Blueberry Pancakes with Orange Sauce


Mix in a bowl:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Whisk together in a measuring cup:
1 egg
3 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups milk

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients. Mix lightly. Pour onto a hot griddle in batches. To the top of each pancake, sprinkle a few blueberries immediately after pouring batter on griddle. Cook as you would normally do pancakes, turning only once. If you choose to mix the blueberries into the batter before cooking, they will turn the batter rather purpley.

Orange Sauce:
(make ahead of time and let sit in the fridge ~ develops the flavour nicely)

1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup liquid honey
juice and zest of one orange

Beat cream cheese and honey with mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Mix in orange juice thoroughly. Then stir in orange zest with wooden spoon. Refrigerate. May be brought to room temp a bit before serving.

These chill and freeze well (the pancakes) and the sauce is even better the next day! When I was a kid, we'd spend 2 weeks every July camping. It was the job of the kids to go pick wild blueberries. My mum would have brought all the other ingredients and we'd feast on these in the summer morning's sun. Even just writing about these, I can taste and smell them. If you can find wild frozen blueberries at your store, or pick wild ones, those are the best for flavour.

If anyone tries these, let me know what you think!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

May day! May day!

No... no emergencies here. It's just another day in May. So I'm a smart ass. Bite me.

I figure I might as well do a post so I can keep up with my "post a month" venture... not that I've joined some group doing that type of thing (like the  post a day people) but that so far, that's all I've managed and it seems to be a comfortable pace for me right now.

So. What's happened since I drew you all here with my last post?

March 21 to May 18 this year

Well, the most noticeable thing is the lack of snow. Once it started melting in earnest, it disappeared very quickly. One Monday, we had snow falling, and by the weekend it was +20! Although it has warmed up considerably, our large fresh water lakes are still mostly covered with ice and with the high winds we had recently, these poor folks were in for a very nasty surprise! Thankfully no was was hurt, but a lot of damage was done.

Now that we've had seasonable temps for a bit, the greenery is starting get, well... green! I think I might have a clump of peonies sprouting in the back yard but am not yet sure as they are only about 1" out of the soil. That is the only thing coming up so far. The trees and shrubs are leafing out now and the grass is rising up from the depths of winter killed lawn. I've raked up lots of thatch and sprinkled some seed over what's left. What with the rain today and yesterday, it should start looking more like a fresh inviting space every day!

With the rain, the fire ban will be lifted and one can have open fires again. It was so dry up until Thursday this past week, there were grass fires gone wild in a number of places in and around Winnipeg, one of which was just down the road from my ex's place. Not that I worried about him, but his horses I did. It never got close to them, although the water bombers were called in to combat the blaze.

Yesterday, I traded in my little 2006 Ford Focus hatchback on a 2010 Ford Ranger Sport Supercab 4x4 truck. Since I now have a house, and need something to haul stuff either to the house or away from the house, I decided a truck would be much more practical than a lunchbox on wheels, but I didn't want a full sized one. Although the MoS and I are still friends, and he willingly lets me borrow his truck, I didn't think it fair if I was calling him up every few weeks to use it. This way, I can do what I need when I need to. Besides, I am now much higher up when I drive, which makes seeing through traffic easier. Plus it is easier to find in a parking lot. If I parked the Focus between two full sized pickups, I couldn't even see its roof! So the Ranger will be infinitely more useful, although I will miss the Focus's sunroof and the heated seats in the winter. But there's always trade offs, right?

And on the work frontier, I will be interviewing at the dialysis unit here in my little city to pick up shifts on a casual basis on days off from my other job. Same duties, different hospital. It's a 3 minute drive from home, versus a 45 minute drive into the city. Who knows? Maybe I will end up with a permanent position there at some point in the future and not have to drive into the city at all unless I want to?

I have been back in the online dating pool for months, with pretty much nothing to show for all the time and effort I have put into sending email, flirts and winks. Talked with a few guys, and the most promising had turned out to be anaphylacticly (or however you would spell that) allergic to cats. Nix that then! Did have a face to face with a man who lives too far away to make things practical (a 2 1/2 hour drive) and there was absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.

However, today I met with a man who lives in a town close by. We'd been emailing for several days. He's my age, works in the healthcare field also, and we had a great chat over drinks and wings. At the end, he wanted to see my new truck, as he'd seriously thought of buying one the same but didn't. So he walked me out to it and we chatted some more. And then he asked me if I'd like to actually go on a real date. I said I thought that would be a lovely idea. So now I await word from him on when and where that will be.

Perhaps in next month's installment, I will have more news on that!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Never Ending Winter

It is April 21st, right?

Spring has been here officially for a month, right?


I think time has literally frozen and I live in the Land of the Never Ending Winter.

I am not amused.

And neither is Pips, apparently.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Since I last posted...

...the amount of snow has increased, by at least 20 cm and the threat of flooding this spring has increased from minor - moderate... to moderate - major. I'm glad I have a functioning sump pump in my basement. Now I just have to find the where with all to try and move a lot of the snow away from my house so it doesn't end up in my basement when it melts. Several young strong men would be a good thing...

Had to deal with a ruptured AV fistula at work last week, which was a complete blood bath. (Same amount of blood flow as if you sliced someone's carotid artery in their neck.) Isn't it amazing how little blood it actually takes to make a scene look horrifying? Needless to say, despite several of us nurses being covered in the stuff, the patient survived with no real ill effects, other than she no longer has a fistula and had to have a temporary dialysis catheter inserted into her jugular vein. Sure made the shift pass quickly, though, and I assisted the vascular surgeon during the ligation of said ruptured vessel. Good thing, also, that my watch survived getting scrubbed with antibacterial/viricidal soap when I washed off the blood that was up past my elbows. How I managed to only get one spot on my uniform is beyond me.

I sat through a grueling 3 hour appeal for my compensation case relating to my shoulder injury of (yes, it's been that long) 2 years ago. They sent me a letter the other day stating they will have an independent sports medicine specialist review the case and give an opinion and they then have 60 days to state their decision. So I should have news by sometime in June. If they do decide in my favour, I should end up with a few dollars to help dig me out of the debt-filled hole I had to dig to survive without a proper income for over a year. I have no feel for how it went, other than I would like to punch out the hospital's representative who stated in the politest terms that I was a liar, as was my union labour relations officer, my two doctors and my physiotherapist. If she was an American lawyer, I could see it... she was just that slimy.

I briefly had a dog. A nice doberman named Kaluha that was my best friend's dog. Due to her mum being very ill with cancer and the process of moving to another province to be with her mum, I agreed to take in the dog, as I had known her since she was 8 weeks old (and she is now almost 8 years old). However, I didn't know she would try and kill Lila. Luckily, she didn't, the cat is safe, but the dog now has another new home with another friend, who lives in the country and had also know the dog for years. Kaluha is very well trained, and was no trouble at all, other than the cat issue. Pips, being her outgoing self, did her best to befriend the dog, and kind of succeeded. Kaluha would be pretty good with her, but as she was settling in, started getting a bit too nippy, but would stop the instant I said anything. But the other morning, she flew down the basement stairs after Lila, growling and snarling. The cat made it up to the top of the cat tree and so was safe, but that was it. I can't have a dog in the house who isn't 100% trustworthy with the cats. They have seniority, after all.

And now... I have a cold. Air passing over my tonsils hurts me. Luckily, my nose isn't very congested at all (crossing my fingers it doesn't get that way) so I don't have to resort to being a mouth breather. I have a cough... one of those horrible, chesty coughs where you sound like a damn seal barking, and my voice makes me sounds like a pubescent boy or an old geezer, often in the same sentence. So far, what I'm coughing up is white, but if it changes to yellow or green, off to the doctor I go.

So there you have it... my life in a nutshell for the past little while.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

On the plus side of nothing

It would seem (fingers crossed behind my back) that Spring may be in the air.

I say this because, despite the mounds of thigh deep snow everywhere, the thermometer has actually inched up to just a tad above zero. Visual proof below, taken through my livingroom window, mere moments ago.

Now I realize that I live in an area with a climate virtually identical to Siberia's, but sometimes the seasonal change comes early and isn't plagued with spring blizzards and wicked cold snaps. No way of telling if those will occur, but for now, I can revel in the fact that the sun is shining cheerily out there and the roads will be slushy. Best top up the windshield washer fluid before I head to work this afternoon!

The flood forecast is supposed to be issued sometime this week. Looking at the amount of snow in my tiny little yard, I am wondering if any of it will end up trying to seep (read: pour) into my tiny little basement. Good thing I have a sump pump down there.

I also wonder about the humongous cap of snow on my rooftop. (No, I don't have a photo of that.) It looks nice, and is very insulating, but what happens when it starts to melt? Will it avalanche off in huge clumps, smothering me as I walk along to my back door? I'll have to keep my wits about me and leap under the overhang if that happens. (And if I don't, they'll find me after the spring thaw.)

So, I am back, I guess. Not sure if I will keep this up regularly but I will try and post once in a while. I've not fallen down a facebook hole, never to be seen or heard from again.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Gone (ice) fishin'

Sorry to cause any worry out there, but for whatever reason, I just haven't had anything to post. Please know that everything is fine and I am doing well (as are the kitties). I also haven't really be going around reading other blogs either. My bad.

So if I see you on facebook, you'll know the scoop. If you're not on there, that's where I tend to surface when I go online.

Hope everyone is having a good year so far! Only 361 more days until the next one starts...

Okay, never mind. Be good! Take care! Have fun!

If you can't be good, at least be careful.