Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year

As 2016 is looming right around the corner, only about 13 hours away, I have been thinking on what things I need to accomplish. I've never been one to make resolutions. This is more of a list of Things To Do.

I have a Plan.

This Plan has a Timeline.

Because of my health issues, I must plan things out, spaced so that it is reasonable that I may accomplish them realistically. My energy level isn't the greatest, but it is a bit better since I surrendered Teak back to the shelter. (That was a very difficult thing to do, but I have seen him several times since then and he is doing well, although still not re-adopted.)

The 5 year term for my mortgage is up in September 2017 and I plan on selling the house so that I will not have that huge debt when I head into retirement. When I had first moved into this house, I had a lot more energy and thought I would stay here but I now know that is not possible. As I get older, I realize that the physical upkeep just isn't going to be possible for me, so my efforts are going into doing the renos that will be possible for me and to increase the value of the house in that time frame.

I need to finish the basement that has already been started: complete the drywall, then paint and put in some flooring. I may have to do a little concrete levelling as the 60 year old floor isn't in the greatest shape, but at least it is not cracked and leaking, just a bit crumbly and dusty in spots. I am going to leave the ceiling open and spray paint all the joists and ceiling a flat white. It is a low ceiling (only 7 ft) so reinstalling drywall just makes it even lower. So visually, it will be more open in all white. My electrician has given me the go-ahead to do so on all the wires and junction boxes. The little half bathroom down there needs a new toilet, sink and vanity. I have already bought the sink. That won't be too bad as I already know how to do all that. Where the shower stall was in that bathroom (torn out to repair that big crack in the foundation wall), will become a built-in work bench in the furnace room. I will  just move the existing wall forward into the bathroom to make the bathroom smaller and use that space for a work space. Easy to build with plywood and 2x4s.

Because of the saggy main beam in the house, and the installation of steel teleposts to correct that, there are many cracks in the drywall upstairs that will need to be repaired. That of course means more painting to cover the repairs. After that is all done, I will install the rest of the new flooring (just like the laminate I put in the bedroom) but want the work on the walls finished so I won't ruin the floor.

The biggest project will be the kitchen. It is old. It is soooo inefficient. I have planned it all out and will take down the wall between the living room and kitchen to open the space up, with a peninsula counter that will have two chairs for eating. This house doesn't have a dining area and the kitchen is too small for an eat-in area, so this will give more space for that. The appliances will be relocated, and I will install an 18" dishwasher (yes, that is small but a full sized one won't fit here) that can have a front to match the cupboards. It will improve the house so much!

The bathroom needs a new tub and there is a company here that scans and measures your existing one and makes a new one that fits right over top, which means the bathroom won't need to be gutted to get a new one in. I've already replaced the toilet, and have a new sink and vanity ready to go, so that won't be too bad. They will do the installation of the tub so just the sink and vanity for me to do. Piece of cake!

I will look at the cost of new front windows, as the existing ones are original and crap! They are double pane but the seal is broken and so there is some moisture build up between the panes. Also need a new front door as the existing one is 60 years old and is quite warped. Very drafty in the winter! Brrr...

I am also going to be going through all my stuff and downsizing drastically. Once I don't have the house anymore, a lot of the tools will no longer be needed so I can sell those. Same with the lawnmower, trimmer, rakes and such. I am a bit (ahem!) of a pack rat and have accumulated all kinds of stuff that I just don't use anymore. Now that is going to take a lot of time and hard decisions!

I guess this is more than enough for one year, and I do have until the summer of 2017 to get it all done, but it is a plan nonetheless!

Wishing all of you and your families all the love, health and happiness in 2016 and always.

Happy New Year!!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Friday, 7 August 2015

The toll

I have mentioned in some past post that I have fibromyalgia. There is always some part of me that hurts, and all the current medications that help with that hurting... well, I get every side effect known and just can't take them. And I won't take narcotics because I don't want to be a basket case that can't function. So I put up with it.

But some of the hallmarks of FMS (FibroMyalgia Syndrome) are the tiredness and also trouble sleeping. And I have both to varying degrees on any given day. I am finding it difficult to sometimes get done what needs to be done.

Like when I have to work (say the evening shift which starts at 3:30 p.m.), and there is housework or yardwork that needs to be done. Plus I have to walk the dog, make my lunch for work, iron my uniform... all things that most people don't think twice about. I can get one of those things done, along with walking the dog and going to work. Because the dog comes first. So I can do some laundry or cut the grass or do the dishes. And walk the dog, get ready for work and then head off to work. But not more than that. It is not that I couldn't force myself to do all those things... I have on occasion done just that when the need has arisen. But then I am so tired and unmotivated the next day.

So, with the renovations that I am doing on the house, plus all the other stuff in life, I am thinking that having a dog is adding a bit too much to my plate. Because everything else will go by the wayside so that he gets his walks every day (he dislikes using the yard as a toilet, and I can't blame him, really). I haven't gotten back to sanding the drywall and it just sits there. I need to get it done. There are things that need doing that I just don't have the get up and go to do.

So I am coming to the realization that I may need to take him back to the rescue place I got him from and see if we can find him another good home. In all reality he would be best suited to one or two retired people who are experienced with dogs that have anxiety issues. Because he certainly does. (That is another issue: his terror of thunderstorms has actually caused me to miss work: if it is at night and I am supposed to work the next day but I spend most of the night trying to keep him from going absolutely nuts, I can't function and actually feel ill if I don't get enough sleep and so have called in sick a few times.) Today, someone started their car on the street and the fan belt started squealing... and Teak got freaked out for a little while. Any loud sharp noise and he has a meltdown. Not to mention the thunder and fireworks. I bought one of those thundershirts but don't think it does much. I also picked up some tablets with valerian root that make him pretty sleepy, although not while it is thundering, but he settles quickly afterwards.

So, as much as I love him, I may need to rehome him. I have some long and hard thinking to do on this. It is not going to be an easy decision.

Thursday, 23 July 2015


The new furnace and air conditioner are being installed as I type, and so the cats are safely ensconced in the front bedroom, with food, water and litter box near their cat tree (which is in front of the window), so they are all set for the day. They also have the portable a/c unit in there, so at least they are cool and comfy. The dog and I are on the warm and sticky side. At 10:30 a.m. it already feels like 31C out there. I think that is about 88F. It is overcast and there is the chance of afternoon thunderstorms, so that "feels like" temp may climb up to around 37C/98F. Like I said... sticky.

But, by the end of the day, there will be a brand spankin' new a/c unit cooling the house. I am getting the smallest one installed and it is actually huge for this size of house (624 sq. ft.). Doing his calculations, the mechanical guy said I would need a 28,000 BTU unit and the smallest they have is 40,000... so I could probably make the house into a walk-in cooler if I so chose! I think not... just comfortably cool works just fine for me, thanks.

And speaking of endings, the beginnings of things with that new guy are now over. I just wasn't what he wanted/needed and although we had a great time for the past few weeks, it was time to move on. I found him very intriguing and I know there was definitely mutual attraction and connection, but in the end, it has to 'feel' right for both parties involved and for him, it just wasn't quite there. So we talked a lot about everything and it's all okay. It would have been nice because he is an artist/teacher/musician and we had a lot of things in common.

I guess that leaves more time for me to get on with the taping and mudding of the drywall in the basement. I really do want to get that done this summer some time! I am very good at procrastinating sometimes...

Lila developed a bladder infection the other evening so it was a trip to the vet yesterday. She isn't the most compliant of customers, so she growled and hissed her way through the exam and antibiotic injection. Luckily she didn't try to bite, so everyone escaped the ordeal unscathed. Well, except the cat. I opted for the shot as I could easily see her becoming more skittish and hard to handle if I had to stuff a pill down her throat twice a day. Hopefully the shot does the trick. The vet said it is probably a bladder infection but could possibly be (1) bladder stones, which means the shot will help but the infection keeps coming back, or (2) stressed induced cystitis (inflammation of the lining of the bladder) in which the antibiotics do absolutely nothing, because there is no infection. The treatment for that scenario involved environment enrichment and behaviour modification. Considering Lila gets stressed just by the moving of the vacuum or a power cord... it better be a real infection. She is already noticably better, so I will stick with that one.

Thursday, 9 July 2015


Not as in a gun, but as in a style of listing things. So here goes:

  • The drywall is up in the basement. Have not gotten to the taping and mudding part yet but that will come soon. And I need to frame in under the stairs to build a couple of fixed shelves for long term storage of bulky items like the cooler and sleeping bags. But that's not bad for doing it all on my own... I have a few scrapes and bruises to attest to that.
  • I had estimates on a new furnace and air conditioner. Have set the date for install on July 23rd. Price tag comes in at just under $8K for both so it qualifies for the hydro loan so it gets tacked on to my monthly gas and electric bill. No out of pocket $$! Yay! My pockets don't have any $$ these days.
  • Teak survived the Canada Day fireworks at my bedside, when I should have been asleep. They started at 10:45 pm and went on for a full 30 minutes. The beginning bangs saw him trying to get under my bed. A 60 lbs dog just does not fit. So I spent that whole 30 minutes and then some leaning over the bed, playing music on my phone, singing away and rubbing his ears, trying to drown out the fireworks. It didn't work very well but was probably better than doing nothing. I had hoped he would go into the basement to his hidey spot (which is much quieter than upstairs) but no. He had to stay with me... and be beside himself with fear. *sigh*
  • I have suspended my television cable service for the summer. (I know... crazy eh!!) I want to get more done around the house and tv is too alluring at times when I am feeling lazy. The only thing I have really done is started watching "Orange is the New Black" on netflix. So far 3 episodes starting at Season 1 Episode 1. Give me a year or two and I might actually make it to the current season! LoL
  • I ventured back online again a while back. You know... the dating game. So few people responded to flirts and emails, it was getting quite discouraging. One guy (my view counter said he had looked 16 times) finally messaged back saying the site does weird things to make you think someone is looking lots. I don't see why. And there are only a few that seemed to look many times. But whatever. I chatted a number of times with a man who lives about 2 hours away. I told him right off the hop that I was pretty skeptical about the distance but we met for a coffee anyway. Turns out he is really into alternative healing methods (energy grids, reiki, crystals, etc) and felt he had to turn me into a 'believer'. Well, no surprise.. I balked at that right off. I am very solidly science based, thankyouverymuch, so did not really like him pushing me to agree with what he believes. I know lots of people put stock into this but I have never had someone prove to me in a repeatable observable way that it actually works. So... no. And besides, he lives too far away, and was shorter than he put on his profile (being 5'9" means I am a bit of a stickler about being able to look someone in the eye at the very least).
  • Shortly after that meeting, I met someone else on the same site. He is very close to my age, and a few inches taller (always good!). We have started seeing each other and have been really enjoying getting to know one another. He is educated, witty, creative, caring, compassionate and really fun to be with. As with everything, I am going with the flow and seeing what develops. We've had a number of pretty indepth talks and it's all been good. I am going to be hopefully optimistic. So far there's been no scary things creeping out of the closet. LoL So keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck.
And for your viewing delight, I bring you a few photos I have snapped in the past little while. All with my cell phone camera.

Lila's "Einstein" hair
I did not photoshop this at all
The effect is the flash ~ she was only about 2 feet from the wall

The smoke from the forest fires out west made for some crazy sun
This was taken at about 6:00 a.m. last Saturday

A beautiful hibiscus in someone's front yard
These become indoor plants for the winter or they
freeze solid and die

A dragonfly on the wall of a building
Seeing lots of these right now which is great
because they eat mosquitoes!!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Have some cake. We are 148 today.

Yeah, I know. Still wet behind the ears.

But hey! We are polite, fun loving and will
be throwing one helluva party in
two years!!

Come join us!!!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Welcome to my dungeon

My basement is rapidly becoming a windowless dungeon.

Okay, maybe not a dungeon, but definitely windowless!

My tiny little house,which I am certain is based on this Sears kit home, had such tiny windows in the basement foundation that only a 10 year old boy could fit through one. Plus the two that were in the rec room had steel mesh bolted on the outside to protect the glass from the gravel lane. That, of course, made it impossible to use them as an emergency exit! There is one other, in the laundry room, that the dryer vent and plumbing for the outside tap run through. Same size.

So. As I have been working in the basement, I have been formulating a plan on what to do with these things. One would have water dripping inside when it rained. The last thing I need is more leaking in the basement!!! (I fixed that already... and it still holding nicely, thankyouverymuch.)

The way these things were built is like this: single pane wooden framed window on the outside, set in a wooden frame that is set in the concrete foundation; dead space the thickness of the foundation (8" ~ completely lined with wood); second single pane wooden frame window inside on the rec room wall, but set back because the basement has been framed, insulated and drywalled.

Here in Central Canadia, in the Land of Ice and Snow (and cold, for a up to 6 months of the year), single panes of glass are as useless as putting a layer of plastic food wrap over the opening.

This is what has become of those useless things. Well, the two in the rec room, at least. I still have the laundry room one to do. I unbolted the metal screens from the windows. You can see that these things are literally at ground level. Which is idiotic. But it is what it is.

I then removed the window. Using pressure treated plywood, which you can use to make a wooden basement if you so desire (and people do ~ and they work well), I covered the opening. It is glued in place with construction adhesive and secured with screws. Nice snug fit.

I have wood preservative rated for below grade wood that will be applied to these pieces of plywood (and the wooden frames) once I have them all in place. I was told I could put several coats on to make sure it soaks in well, and then once it is well dried, the plywood can be painted. I will get some light grey to match the concrete as best possible.

On the inside of this piece of plywood, I glued 1" thick rigid styrofoam insulation. I then caulked completely around the styrofoam to make sure it is well sealed. In the rec room where the inside window pane had been, I glued and screwed a piece of plywood and also glued styrofoam to the inside of this surface. That space between outside and inside windows is now a completely sealed unit.

The area between the former windows and the front edge of the wall framing will be filled with pink insulation, covered in plastic, and then drywalled over like it had never existed. I have lots of adjustable lighting in the rec room (part of the electrical upgrade that Old Fish and I did during the winter) so no worries about it being too dark. Those windows didn't really add any lights anyway!

I work this week and then have 2 weeks' staycation, during which I plan on finishing the windows completely, and the drywall in the basement, and build a couple of storage shelves under the stairs, and make a lattice cover for one side of the stairs where I have put the cats' litter box. The rec room side of the stairs will be drywalled. The other side is in the furnace room. I will make the cats a little opening ~ that the dog can't fit his head through ~ in the lattice. It will be on hinges so I can pull the box out to clean it.

I'll let you know how much I actually get done.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

My philosophy on life.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Ch.. ch... ch... Changes

I am going to steal Roses's bullet format for today's post. I like how you can flit from thought to thought without being considered a scatterbrain. ;-)

  • The house renos continue, and with that comes changing my living room furniture. What I have now is much too big and bulky for my tiny house. I'd bought it 7 years ago when I bought my previous house, which had a much larger living room. Plus Pips used all the arms as scratching posts until I finally found ones that she will use regularly (when strategically placed close to the ends of the furniture. I have my eye on a red leather loveseat now (not the same couch as mentioned before ~ it was lovely but just too big) that I saw in a flyer the other day. I went to the store, sat on it, wandered around and looked at other stuff, both in store and online. I am now having the debate with myself about affordability. I'll let you know who wins!
  • I will be spending this weekend organizing the basement. I need storage areas more defined, and a space to set up my weights and treadclimber so that I can get back at the exercise thing. It is still at the bare concrete floor and no drywall on the walls (just insulation and poly vapour barrier) stage. I do walk the dog, but that is more ambling along because he has to sniff and pee on every little thing that someone else has visited. He is always on leash, because he just doesn't interact with other dogs well. Whether that is from a lack of socialization with other canines as a youngster, or from being attacked in the past, I will never know. But this town is bad for unruly dogs running up to him, so to keep both him and the other dog as safe as I can, he is never allowed to run loose. The only place I can do that is the outdoor ice rink near my sister's house. We got here for play dates with her two Aussies.d In fact, we will be doing that tomorrow. He loves to run and run, so I am happy to spend the time (and gas, as she is in the Big City and I am in the Little Nearby City) to allow him the freedom. He truly is a sweetheart in all other ways. Love him to bits, I do!
  • Like others, spring time has become my time to shed. Not just stuff in the house, but the excess of me as well. I am certain I am pre-diabetic. While I have not been having high blood sugars (have had my Hemoglobin A1C checked and it shows my average sugars over several months within normal limits), I do have drops significant enough that I can feel them. I get all rubbery legged feeling, jittery and horrible. I have had to buy glucose tabs to carry with me for those instances, and have had to use them too. Because I am also much too squidgy in the middle (and that weight distribution negatively affects my back pain issues, I can tell you!), on Monday I started on the Atkins diet routine. From my starting weight to Thursday, I dropped 6.2 lbs. I already feel better because my blood sugar is not yoyoing all over the place. I am hoping (if you would all cheer me on this ~ support is always greatly appreciated!) to be down a good 50 lbs by the end of summer. Yes, that much. Being tall means it doesn't look that bad, but it is, I can tell you. It is.
  • I am doing my darnedest to stay away from dating websites. I am finding myself lonely right now (to be expected) but I really don't want to get into that right now. If ever again. I have had my heart and trust broken too many times. I've not figured out why guys keep doing this, but it certainly has damaged my ability to take people at face value. When I read Old Fish's profile online, one of the things that struck me was this line: "The truth is important ALWAYS." That is a direct quote, caps and all. I guess it was just good for show and not much else. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it is much better to be truthful with the person you are involved with AND yourself, even if it is difficult to do. Much easier to live with yourself that way too. So for now, I give up.
  • I have a small back yard. It is completely fenced in, which is wonderful for Teak. It also means that the leaves that the ten (yes, you read that right) trees that live there do not blow away in the wind. Plus the small area that is supposed to be grass is mostly dirt with scattered green bits because of the shade. So this summer will mean major tree removal. Seven of the ten are destined for the wood pile. There is also a juniper that did not fare well over winter, so it will come out as well. The juniper that is in the front also did poorly so out it will come as well. Greenery that is orange is not a good look. Plus a fire hazard (the one in the back yard is about 12 feet from the firepit and I had planned to remove it anyway, but now it is imperative). I am sure all this removal will make it a much sunnier and more inviting area. I will be planting some colourful annuals (read: opening a container and scattering seeds) soon. I am hesitant to do it yet because we have been known to having winter try and return in April.
  • The outside water spigot needs to be installed. Because the shutoff valve for the old one was leaking, that bit of pipe was replaced during the winter. Now that it is much warmer out, I can get this done. That also means redoing the dryer exhaust vent and that little basement window that everything runs through to the outside. I won't be installing glass back in it. No point. It would be very small and only over the washer, and so not needed. And why go to the expense? Plywood and a coating of waterproofing will do just fine. That way, it will be weatherproof and functional.
  • I am pretty sure I have enough to keep myself busy for the next few months (or even years... there is still the kitchen gut and reno to do, but that will be lots of $$ so needs to piece together everything else first and then try and recoup from that expenditure.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Digging out

Now that I am back in my house, I'm glad I have a couple of days off. Despite only having been temporarily relocated to Old Fish's place, I had a boatload of stuff to haul back. Granted, half of it was animal related: dog bed and blanket (yes, he had both, although OF's cat, Kitty, commandeered the dog bed right away so no dog slept in it), cat tree, litter box, food containers, cans of cat food, toys. Then of course, my clothes, all of which were winter related and therefore bulky.

So between working and moving this stuff back over the course of three days, all I could do was dump the stuff on the floor and head out again. Now the weekend will be spent putting things away and organizing stuff. The basement is an issue, where winter clothing had been stored, because it is all torn apart. I will have to work on the storage closet down there so I have some place to hang winter coats and such. I already have the plan for that in my head, and on paper, so it will be just a matter of building it.

I also have to take the time to properly patch the drywall around the numerous outlets and switches on the main floor. There are some fair sized openings in all the rooms. Some have been done, but because of the time crunch, others are covered with pieces of cardboard taped in place to prevent curious kitties from going exploring inside the walls. You just know Pips would be in there in half a shake of a little white paw. There are a couple that can't be done yet as there is still electrical work to do in those areas. Like relocating the wires for the furnace thermostat. I have purchased a new programmable one and since the eventual plan is to knock out the wall between the front bedroom and living room, I am going to move it now so that it is a non-issue (if and) when that takes place. Might just tackle that today since it is not too chilly out. (Colder weather is coming, so will need the heat on then. No, not the return of winter, just back to seasonal temps; we have been way above norm this past week or two.)

I have seen new leather furniture I want for the living room. Why do I have to choose the $2200 sofa? I sat on it. I loved it. Will have to ponder that one well.

Right. I'd best get my butt in gear and get this house livable again.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Busy busy busy

I've got enough work (read: repairs and renovations) in my house to keep me busy for the next 5 years. At least!

Patch the holes from running wires and installing new switches and outlets. The electrical is pretty much good to go until I get around to doing the kitchen reno (down the road a ways), at which time new outlets will need to be installed and things rearranged. And when it is warmer, I need to replace the outside motion activated light where I park.

Plus finish the basement. That involves all new drywall, paint and flooring. There are already new light fixtures throughout the basement. I need to install a new outside water tap that a hose can be attached to, as the old pipe was leaking and has been replaced to the wall inside but nothing run outside yet. And in that same area, redo the little (ancient... relatively speaking) window that the dryer vent runs through, to make things weather tight.

Move the wall in the little bathroom in the basement where that crack was (remember that?) as the drywall was torn out for that repair. The shower stall that was in that area will not be replaced, because I am going to move the wall in to build a work bench in the utility/furnace room so I have a place to do little things. I want to put peg board on the wall so the most commonly used tools will be readily available (had that in a previous house and loved it!) and easily seen.

There are trees to be cut down in the back yard as well this summer. I have ten (yes, you read that right) trees in a back yard that is about 29 x 40. It is way too crowded! Never mind the leaves that need to be raked up in the fall...

Which is probably a good thing, because things between the Old Fish and myself just got flushed down the drain. He told me early on that he had been in Special Ops in the army and that a Bad Thing had happened in January that caused him sleep issues. At Christmas he broke down and told me the actual incident (which I cannot repeat) and all its horrifying details. He suffers some PTSD because of what he had to do and when the date came and his nights became more disrupted, I was prepared for that. What I began to notice, mid February, was that physical contact began to disappear. Given that he drives truck five nights a week, and tries to sleep during the day, and has the PTSD thing, I could see the intimacy taking a nose dive for a while. But when even getting a hug became more remote and when it would happen, it was very brief, no lingering, just a quick snug and that was it, I began to wonder what was going on.

In March, things became more friend-like and less lover-like than ever. We still got along well and did lots of stuff together but I was feeling more like a roommate and reno buddy than a girlfriend. One evening, when he was off driving and I was using his laptop in front of the tv, the little pop-up notification for an email appeared in the corner of the screen. From Plenty of Fish, the dating site we had met on. Stating "it's a mutual match!", which only meant one thing. He was online, trolling the waters back on the pond, looking to snag a different fish.

I decided to do some detective work, and recalled that when his internet and router had issues a couple months ago, he'd had to get technical help and that involved resetting the password. He quipped that he made it easy (his dog's name) as he had problems remembering lots of passwords. So I tried that for his PoF account and there it was. Current activity. At that point I could read messages back to mid(ish) February (they only keep the past 29 days on the site). He had the occasional message (and had replied) at that point but no real conversations going on, so I just sat back and watched. It changed.

This past Saturday, when I was working the day shift, he gave his name and number to one woman, with instructions to call after 9:30 p.m. as he worked nights, but not that day because his daughter was coming over for a  BBQ (for some reason, he neglected to state that I would be there too). So on Sunday, I confronted him. He flat out denied it, stating that it wasn't him. I told him the manner of "speaking" in the messages was definitely him, as were all the little details of the renos he was doing in his house. He told me that all the other drivers know about the renos and one of them could have hacked his profile. (Yeah, like that's plausible.) Even today, he still denied that it was him, and he was surprised that I hacked his profile to spy on him. When I told him that I've had this experience before, he just looked at me. (Remember Maart? Turns out he spent the entire year that we dated chatting with the ladies online. What is with these guys???)

So I am packing up my stuff and my pets and heading back to my house. It will take a couple of days, due to my work schedule and as I have brought over more things than I thought (that cat tree takes up a lot of space in the back of the truck) but come Friday, it will be a done deal.

Now I really think I WILL become a crazy cat lady. At least I know they will appreciate me and won't cheat on me.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A little update...

Sorry I've been so distant these days. My last post was actually on New Year's Day! Wow... the time just flies by.

So, to answer Mago, yes, there is still an Old Fish in my life. Right now I am living with him; me, the dog and the cats. More on that in a minute.

No, Teak has not had surgery. I have not succeeded in raising the $5000 needed for the hip operation and he is doing fairly well on carefully controlled meds, top quality food and plenty of not too strenuous exercise. He has actually built up muscle in his hip and thigh, although it is obvious he still prefers to be pretty light on that leg at times. He's a lovely dog. The longer I have him, the more attached to me he becomes, and the more obvious it is that he's spent time on his own (not really socialized with other dogs at all, so that involves careful introductions and close supervision), has had exposure to people and especially children (you should see his tail wag when we walk past the playground!), and has unfortunately been yelled at a lot. He takes any loud voice as a direct reprimand, whether it is intended for him or not (it is usually the Old Fish's dog [a fuzzy brained youngster who has ball OCD] or Lila...).

So. Here's the scoop. Because of the absolute chaos in my house due to of the basement reno, life is mostly happening (still) at the Old Fish's place. Everyone (including me) has settled into a routine with him and his two furry friends. His dog is learning that I am an alpha bitch (in the dogworld sense, not as in being a meany) but his cat has taken a definite dislike to me. Now, I don't know of that is because I brought two other felines into the fray, or because I take up a lot of the Old Fish's attention these days (or a combo thereof) but he can be pretty snarky if I come near him. Unless I am feeding him, that is. Then he will let me close, but remains suspicious. Oh well. The dog is fine, playful and friendly, and has learned what being growled at means. He really hasn't ever learned what respecting someone's space is, or when shoving a ball into your lap is no longer welcome. He's part goofy teenager, part toy obsessed border collie cross. One day he'll grow some brain cells!

Life with the Old Fish is great. Except for our work schedules, but we live with that. As a nurse, I work shifts, but not nights. And I always have Sundays off. His bookkeeping business is very slow to take off so to supplement that, he drives truck at night. Just short runs out to a hub 3.5 hours away, usually hauling 3 trailers of food stuffs for restaurants, and bringing 2-3 empty trailers back. All things being good (like the weather and a truck that runs properly), he is out and back in 7 hours. Some nights, like tonight, he is on his way before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nights are late, 11:30, but occasionally he lucks out and they have the trailers loaded and ready to go by 9:30 or 10. He drives Sunday to Thursday, so has Fridays and Saturdays off. I work every second Saturday so we make sue with what we've got! It's not perfect, but we're making it work.

This weekend, I am off, so we will be hauling a truckload of debris to the dump. Half of my basement has been gutted down to the insulation. There is a mass of panelling, drywall, wood bits, nails and screws to clean up. We have replaced all the posts supporting the main beam in the basement with steel teleposts and have levelled the house as much as possible. (Once the basement is redone, I will have lots to do repairing all the cracks in the drywall upstairs so I can paint and put in the flooring [to match what I put in the bedroom last year].)

This weekend, my electrician friend will be installing a new and larger electrical panel. This weekend we will start rewiring all the circuits that need to be rewired, add in a few outlets and switches that don't yet exist, and swap out some of the light fixtures in the basement for new LED ones. The upstairs is included in all this and because the ceiling is open in the basement, running wires upstairs will be relatively easy.

Last weekend, we mapped out all the circuits on the electrical panel to see what was what. (That involved me going around the house, turning on lights and plugging a little lamp into outlets while he flipped breaker switches.) It's ugly. There are numerous lights and outlets on the refrigerator circuit, when it should be all by its lonesome. (Yikes!) Plus, the outlet that runs outside where I plug in my truck (up here in the bitterly cold Canadian winters, we have things called block heaters installed in vehicle engines to keep the oil warm enough to allow the engine to crank ~ frozen oil = no going anywhere) is. not. grounded. =O Plus (yeah, the list goes one and on) one of the breakers started sizzling not long before we were going to leave. An emergency call to Lee (caught him going through the McD's drivethru) and he popped by in a few minutes. So that one is now turned off, and he said that it's a good thing we're replacing the entire panel as those breakers are old (you can't get ones like that anymore) and obviously at the end of their lifespan. I'm just relieved we avoided burning the house down!!

Doing a lot of the work ourselves, and having an electrician for a friend, means I should be able to get all of this done for around $1000. That is his labour costs, and all the parts and fixtures. Not bad, I'd say. And because he works for the local hydro company, he will be able to disconnect the main power, do the panel and then hook back up and seal the meter. Very handy indeed!

I've been gluten free for the past 3 1/2 weeks, to see if it makes a difference in how I feel. I have a sister and niece who are truly gluten allergic (celiac disease) and it is thought that gluten may cause chronic inflammation that exacerbates fibromyalgia, which I have. I have steered away from the store bought gluten free breads and most other products (except pasta, of which I have had two servings in that time) because they are very high on the glycemic index and it is becoming known that they cause celiacs to become overweight and diabetics by raising blood sugar tremendously. So I have been making paleo bread with almond flour. I think I have made 4 loaves in the past few weeks, but because it is so calorically dense, I've actually put on about 7 pounds. Not happy!!!! So now, since both Old Fish and I want to slim down, we are doing a modified low carb (think Atkins) diet. But modified because the Atkins thing is just too extreme. So we will see how that goes.

So there you go. Now you're up to snuff on what's happening in my little corner of the woods.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A New Beginning

2015 has just begun.

It finds me on a new journey, with a new relationship, a new dog, the beginnings of a 'new' house.

And it is all good. Very good, in fact. My journey with Old Fish is beginning on solid ground, with both of us enjoying being together. In fact, since my basement has been destructed, we (the dog, cats and I) have been living with Old Fish. It started out as a safety thing for the pets due to the wreckage in the basement. Lila is terrified of the noises we were making, Pips was in the way all the time (and so not safe) and Teak just got anxious. So Old Fish suggested we move everyone to his place while all that is going on. Of course, that meant me too, because there would be no point in me being in my house, all alone, and him looking after my pets.

So I brought the animals and all their accoutrements to his place. And some of my clothes and such. And me. We are together as much as you can be, given our work schedules. And we like it. Both of us. Very much. I worry that it is too much too soon, and expressed this to him just yesterday, but he held me close and told me me really likes having me here.

So here I am. Not fully ensconced in his home, but enough that it is comfortable. We will be working on the renos in both my house and his (yes, he has a partially finished basement that needs work, and he wants to redo both the kitchen and bathroom eventually) in stints as time allows.

Will I ever move back into my house? Only time will tell that. For now, I am cohabiting with Old Fish and loving every minute of it.

Wishing all of you a Very Happy New Year and all the best that 2015 can bring.