Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The saga continues

Electrical, insulation and vapour barrier on most walls = DONE!

The renos are continuing. Our friend has done as much as he can but is now stalled until two things happen:

1. the furnace guys need to move some ducts and the gas line so we can proceed with the insulating , ceiling electricals, and drywalling

2. the electrician has to finish up the last little bit of wiring (mostly 3- and 4-way switches)

So while we wait for them to show up, which they keep promising they will and then they don't, we can do one of two things:

1. wait and do nothing else

2. start tearing out the other side of the basement

I can't help much, especially lately. Having now entered the 7th month with this pregnancy, and experiencing some rather uncomfortable discomforts, I tend to have to spend a lot of time lying down with my legs elevated. I don't really need a premie in my life right now....

So...the saga continues.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pasta dish

Grilled veggies from the garden, add pasta, and there's your dinner!

See recipe on quick Slow Food link.

Sleeping paradox

When our toddler doesn't nap at all, he falls asleep a little earlier than usual at night. But he doesn't sleep through the night. He wanders into our room after about 4 or 5 hours of sleeping and wishes to continue the rest of his night in our bed. If he is allowed in (too tired to get up and put him back) he normally falls asleep immediately. And sleeps till morning.

If however he does nap at the standard nap time, odds are he will sleep through the entire night without once waking up.

Now isn't that strange?

You would think that if you're overtired you would sleep more....but not this kid.

* * * *

My brother and his wife have a 5-day old newborn. They presently have a system in place while my brother is on leave that he will stay up the first part of the night, while she will stay up the second part of the night.

They use sentences like "when the baby sleeps through the night...etc"....

If. Only.

* * *

My kid was a fantastic sleeper after the initial 6-8 week screaming fits at night. He slept from 8 pm to 8 am, consistently. That is, until the teething started.

The teething interrupted his every attempt to sleep. Or nap. He was just miserable.

Some kids react to the teething with ear infections, diaper rashes, digestive issues. My kid had none of that.


* * *

I do not use sentences like "when he will sleep through the night". What's the point? He'll do it when he'll do it.


Friday, July 27, 2007

People are idiots

So this morning we hear something beeping incessantly.

I check to see if it's a car alarm (no), our phone (no), or my senior citizen neighbour's smoke detector (again, no). My husband notices it's coming from the low-rise apartment building across the street, and calls the landlord to tell him that it's been beeping for a while.

Husband leaves to pick something up at the hardware store, comes back, and the thing is still beeping.

He walks over and realizes the beeping is coming from the garbage bags.


The bags should actually be placed in rigid, closed containers as per the bi-law. Not to mention for hygiene reasons. We live close to the lake and there is plenty of wildlife that likes to go sample the goodies in the garbage bags.

But of course the renters in that apartment building do not use the containers. Even though they containers are there, right beside the building.

But I digress.

So my husband decides to actually go through the bags to find out what the heck is in there making this racket.

He digs out a smoke detector.

With the batteries intact.


Most of us know that batteries are hazardous materials and should not be thrown in the garbage. I know that people do it anyway, hence the title of my post.

But to leave the batteries in the smoke detector and then to throw the entire thing out along with your food waste....again, hence the title of this post.

(Apartment buildings do not compost their food wastes).

The food waste emitted some sort of odour, which attracted the wildlife, who ripped open the bags and made a mess, which inevitably set off the detector.

Hence. The. Title. Of. This. Post.

Aren't smoke detectors radio-active? At the very least, they're hazardous and are supposed to be disposed of appropriately.

My husband repacks the garbage in new garbage bags (ours) and then proceeds to continue with his day.

And I debate on what to do. I'm already all worked up about the noise and idiocy of some people, for various other reasons I won't get into now, so I know I have to do something.

I decide to leave a message on the side door of the building explaining what has happened. Hopefully this will alert the offenders, or at least their neighbours.

I would think someone in that building would care.

But probably not.

Reading labels

I take my little toddler to the newly renovated Toys R Us this morning. We see the whole Thomas the Tank Engine set up and I thought I'll buy him a new train for his wooden train set.

We select Gordon with a trailer and pick up a video as well (VHS).

We get home and unpack Gordon.

Gordon doesn't fit on the wooden train tracks.

The package has a little blurb on the back, which I neglected to read. It says:

Not compatible with Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway or Erti Diecast.

So we're back to reading labels.

I have issues with labels.

We are living in a society of label-readers.

- No food should be purchased without the reading of labels. (Never mind teaching people to eat whole foods)
- No food should be consumed without the memorization of nutritional information. (Never mind about the additives and flavour enhancers)
- Apparently, no toys should be bought without reading the compatibility disclaimer.

I could rant, but I have to go back to Toys R Us and return Gordon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm an idiot

The whole time I'm posting my toilet training sagas into blogger, I completely miss his pooping.

Naturally we had a mess to clean up.

Lesson Number 1 for mommy:


Toilet training saga Part II

Later. (see previous post)

He wakes up from his nap.

Insists on putting 'cur gors' on (Curious George underwear).

I tell him that it's underwear, not pull-ups or diapers, and that he has to go make pipi in the potty.

He tries but nothing comes out. Fine. Sometimes you just don't have to go.
(I actually don't know what that feels like. Even when I'm not pregnant, I always manage to make at least a little tinkle. But he's a boy. What do I know about boys...)

He stays dry forEVER. For hours. During the walk with the dog. While at home as I'm preparing dinner. Hm.

Every once in a while I say "do you want to make pipi in the potty" or something to that effect. I'm getting tired of hearing myself talk potty talk.

He doesn't pee.

He does ask to sit on the potty in front of the tv.

So now that's what we do now. Watch Treehouse and sit with Curious George underwear at his ankles on the potty. Along with Nuggi-Bello (soother and dog he sleeps with).


He sits there while I make dinner, then ask him to come have dinner.

I remind him again that he is not wearing a diaper and that we don't want to pee on Curious George.

He sits at the table and eats his dinner. DRY.

Afterwards, while he's still sitting there, I remind him that he's not wearing a diaper (etc, see above).

He gets up and as he's putting his bib on the back of the chair, he looks down and says

I'm all wet.

So this is accident number 1.

PS we go through the whole song and dance again and I leave him bare-bottomed. He's not impressed though and wants to wear his underwear again.

PPS he hasn't pooped yet. Usually he poops twice a day....

PPSS this should be an interesting evening.

Toilet training updates Part I

This morning, he's walking around with no pants on.

I ask him to make poops in the potty or toilet.

He doesn't.


At all.

Whether in the diaper or anywhere else.


He announces "pipi is coming" and runs to the potty and pees in it.

He's been doing this for a while. Months.

But usually only if he doesn't wear any pants.

He doesn't go to the potty when he's wearing diapers or pull-ups unless I tell him to go, and then he does.

Point is he should go before the pipi comes out. Regardless of what type of contraption he's wearing around his bottom.

Reason why today is memorable is because I moved the potty in front of Curious George this morning at 8 am.


I let him watch tv at 8 am.

So sue me.

I'm trying to catch the poops in the potty.

He even picked out some Curious George underwear yesterday at Zellers.

We'll try those as soon as they're laundered.

We're on our way. Continued with Part II here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Toddler safety schmafty

There are so many safety concerns these days to keep in mind that I sometimes just get confused, tired, fed-up or pissed-off.

Keeping an eye on a toddler at all times is an unpaid, full-time, 24/7 job that requires more energy than anything else I've ever done.

Yet sometimes, I just don't have the energy to stop the play and give him a lecture about safety.

So, I have been known to let him:
  • play with long rope
  • watch the 5-year old neighbour play with rope and then copy her ideas, like tying buckets to one end of the rope and the wrapping the rope around a tree to hang up the bucket
  • climb onto his stroller without opening the cupholder thingy at the front
  • play with the vacuum cleaner cables
  • play with loose coins
  • play in the bathtub with more than an inch of water in it by himself while I get a drink of water, a towel, the phone, etc.
  • cross the street without holding my hand (although I speak incessantly about cars coming and not stopping to admire dog poop in the middle of the street and walking quickly to the sidewalk and not loitering, bladibla)
  • climb into the driver's seat of the station wagon from the open trunk
  • close the car door all by himself (along with a lecture about never putting fingers in certain locations)

There are probably other things that elude me right now which would likely make me cringe if I were to think about them too long.

But so far, he hasn't required any stiches, casts, or visits to the emerg. Although there was that one incident where daddy slammed the car door on the toddler's thumb....and where daddy and mommy got into a huge, useless fight about whether or not we should go to the emerg, ending with daddy stomping off after mommy insisted we wait and see, and mommy spending a sleepless night worrying about her baby's thumb having to be ambutated....

PS The thumb is fine. He wanted a bandaid on it, and fell asleep with some Montrin in his system.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Lost pants

Stress of the morning:

He's getting ready to go fly his airplane.
He's putting on his uniform.
He's all stressed out.
He can't find the second pair of pants.
Apparently, he saw me wash them.
Weeks ago.
But he can't find them.
They are ripped at some spot and need to be fixed.

What I wonder is why he can't find the pants.
It's not like this is a big house.
Or there is a lot of closet space.
Where do I normally put the washed pants?

So my list of things to do today includes the entry:
-find his pants

* * * * *

No pipi no poops

This is what the little guy says whenever I suggest we
change the diaper
go sit on the potty.

No matter if there are yellow streaks of liquid dripping down his leg.
No matter how offensive the odour surrounding him.

It's always:

no pippi no poops

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wall is gone

The wall to the left that is hiding the steps is now gone. The wall behind the white freezer, which will be relocated to someplace else, will be torn out as well.
This will give us a big opening...

Picture below shows the steps, with the wall removed.
The wall alongside the steps, going up to the side door, is not insulated. The little closet beside the steps on the right will be removed and shelving for coats and wet boots will likely go in its spot.

The new approach to sleep in own bed

So far he's slept in his own bed through the night for several nights in a row.

The usual "I want mommy's bed" to fall asleep at night has been getting a little annoying for me. On the days that I'm tired and want to go lie down at the same time as him, the last thing I want is a bouncy, jumpy, twitchy toddler next to me.

But lately I'm abound with energy (I still slump after 4 pm but I seem to get a second wind at 8 pm) so now the new approach seems to be working. So far.
  1. By 9 pm (ish) he's bathed, in pjs, teeth brushed, and with Nuggi-Bello.
  2. He climbs in mommy's bed and rolls around in anticipation for me to join him.
  3. I fold laundry in that room and put it away, keeping the lights dim and the conversation and eye contact to a minimum.
  4. I head back to the kitchen after turning the bedroom light off to finish dishes or otherwise putter around. The kitchen is directly off his bedroom and he can see and hear me if he were in his bed as opposed to mine.
  5. At some point I mention I'm putting the gate up to his room (he doesn't mind the gate at naptime), and that "mommy will be lonely in here all alone without Benjamin".
  6. He comes to the gate and wants into his room.
  7. I lift him in.
  8. He says "mommy wanna come too?"
  9. I say "yes, after the dishes I'll come tuck you in".
  10. I keep puttering around and he lies on this bed. If he's really tired he rolls around with a stuffed toy or two, if he's less tired he may take a toy car and play with it on his bed.
  11. He falls asleep without me present.
  12. If he doesn't, I sometimes go join him for a few minutes to calm him down.

If the above doesn't happen and I get fed up I either

  • encourage him to play in his room quietly as it is NIGHT TIME NOW AND TIME TO SLEEP and then to to my own room. This may or may not work. I adjust whatever is necessary.
  • or, I go to my own room and slam the door and leave the screeching toddler with daddy if he's home.
Luckily the second option hasn't happened too often.

Does this mean I'll never let him fall asleep with me again? No. I like it when we snuggle together sometimes. There are times when he's just too agitated that he needs his mommy to calm down and fall asleep.

But I'm happy that he's adjusted back to the normal routine so easily. So far. If I can keep it up until he starts school again in September, this will make my life easier. I'll be 8 months pregnant by then and likely more interested in earlier bedtimes anyway, for him and for me.



It is rather unfortunate that there are only 24 hours in a day, and that during some of those hours you have to do things like sleep and eat.

We have the construction bin until Tues. Hubby was on reserve today at his airline and had several less senior guys below him in the schedule. He was hoping that he would not have to go in so he could tear out a little bit more wall on the one side where the furnace is located.

I wish we could tear out all of the other side, including that stupid raised floor. Then we wouldn't have to get another bin later.

This will now not happen. Hubby has to work on Sun to Mon again. Out of town and away over night.

It's not like I can go tear out stuff in my pregnant condition, with a toddler running around.

This sucks.

Especially on the financial front...there is only so much cash we have access to. We are not the Gates for crying out loud.

Or the Spellings.


Thursday, July 19, 2007


Yes, it's true. I'm annoyed a lot. Seems Chris over in the trenches talks about it as well...she chalks it up to PMS.

Well, I don't have PMS, I'm 6 months pregnant. And as hubby, as much as I hate to admit it, mentioned correctly yesterday, I seem to rarely be completely happy. Something always annoys me.

Especially after 4 pm. That notorious time of:

-toddler wake-up time from nap
-toddler cranky-time because of no nap
-dinner hour approaching
-cooking, which means dirty dishes (I like cooking, I hate cleanup)
-that natural slumpy feeling adults get around this time of day
-hubby coming home from somewhere and bringing with him all his clutter
-the general mess of the day's activities looming to be cleaned up

We're also renovating. In the basement, not upstairs, but since a lot of the bulky stuff from downstairs is now upstairs in our not big house, the place feels even more cluttered. And confining. Suffocating.

Did I mention clutter annoys me?
And dust?
Dog hair?
And why does the dog shed so much? Why does he shake at the door? Can he not wait 5 seconds with the shaking until he steps outside?

I have to work on this. I hate being in a bad mood.

Perhaps using nap time to my advantage and getting some of the dinner hour activites prepared will help keep the after 4 pm time slot a little more manageable. I do this sometimes, and everytime I do I intend to do it again tomorrow.

But some days I want to sit on the couch and watch Frasier. Or some soap. Or read. Or sit. Or doze. Or eat.

Better get in the habit before the second kid comes along.


PS As I type this, it's early morning and no one is up yet. It's dark and gloomy and rainy. The renos downstairs haven't started yet. It's quiet. I have coffee and peace. I am currently in a VERY good mood.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Toodler library fines

Clearly, my toddler must get his act together.

He has his own library card, knows how to pick out books and videos, stand in line, wait his turn, hand over the card, wait for the items to be scanned without impatient commentary, then carry items home.

So why is it that he can't remember to bring them back on time?

It's not like mommy doesn't write it on the calendar, or keep the nifty little receipt posted on the bulletin board.

Today, he owes over a buck.


Clearly, we have to have a chat.

Day 2 - Framing has begun

Things are moving along nicely. Framing the wall where the new flat screen TV will go has begun. And hubby is painting a water sealer on the brick where the stone mason will not have to do any patching.


He said, excuuuse me, whined, for 25 minutes straight:

I want lollipop!

In that super-whiny voice that he has mastered recently. With the associated scrunched up face and watery eyes.

Music to my ears, I tell you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Day 1 - Naked basement

Panels, ceiling, crap from basement...

The raised area next to the dresser is where the old oil tank used to be (before our time). It used to have panels around it, and we used to store our wine there.

This is the middle section that could turn into closet space, or a fire place...the indented area is due to the bay window upstairs. This wall faces the front of the house. Behind the lamp in this picture (on the right) is a storage room. It used to have a door on there. The storage is actually directly underneath our front steps. We have to do something creative with it because it is the only area in the entire basement that has mold (due to water leakage from the steps in the winter time). But it's a big enough place to function as a great storage room for things like fishing gear, camping gear, outdoor seasonal toys, stuff like that. Duct work hanging off the middle of the ceiling is just lovely, isn't it.

This is the side facing the driveway, and the electrical panel with room to spare is on that wall too.

That window faces our other neighbour, and her driveway. The drywall (the back of it) leads to the office/bedroom near the back of the hosue. It has a raised floor which will come out once this side has been done. More ducts hanging everywhere, lovely isn't it.

The junk and closet you see in this picture leads to a space below the steps that lead upstairs. It is useless space. You can't do anything with this space bec the furnace takes up room and can't be blocked in case of maintenance requirements. So, the steps are behind the wall to the left and lead first to the side door (driveway), then to the right upstairs into the hallway. See how the furnace is right next to the freezer there? Right in the middle of the entire basement? Duh. It's moving to someplace against a wall. Along with the ducts, and the white gas line. And that black pole? Is that holding up the kitchen floor? I don't know what it is for.

The rest of the basement isn't photographable bec of the mess. There is a laundryroom with a toilet direclty ahead of the last picture, a spacious, bright office and bedroom combination to the right of it. The water tank in the laundryroom is in the middle of the room as well and if we take it out (to insulate the wall behind it) we may find a new spot for it to give us more room (and hopefully closet space).

Did I mention we need closet space?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shove it up your ...

If he asks me "where do you want this?" one more time, I'm going to finish the sentence with a not-so-nice word.

Storage tips:

Pamper boxes are GREAT for storing outgrown baby clothes you can't/won't get rid of yet. Or toys. Or board books.

The boxes are great for stacking, easy for carrying because of the nifty handles on the side, and not too heavy for pregnant people to schlep around.

Don't ask me why he wants to keep his old vinyls.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Social lesson

So we're at Chapters the other day, because I wanted a Starbucks tall latte.

Near the kids section there was a big table set up full of Thomas the Tank Engine railroad toys.

Benjamin likes Thomas. It's one of few, branded toys he recognized and even has a shirt-pant set he likes to wear.

Anyway, he quietly starts playing with the trains. He's so relaxed and so gentle with the toys that I can actually venture about a bit and browse some of the book shelves.

After a while, I sit in a chair nearby and watch my toddler play. A girl of about 6 or 7 comes by and starts playing alongside with him, rather aggressively. At one point, Benjamin's train, which by this time is rather long, falls off the table and he sits down on the floor and tries to put it back together before putting it back on the table.

The girl skips over him and generally ignores him.

Ben is intrigued. He watches her with wide eyes and continues about his business.

I turn to my latte and my book and keep half an eye and half an ear on him.

Suddenly, through my peripheral vision, I see her grab one toy out of Ben's hands and start playing with it.

Ben stares at me and almost, but not quite, starts to cry. His huge brown eyes are filled with tears but he's very brave.

He doesn't reach back for the toy or show any aggression whatsoever.

I say very quietly to the girl, who is standing with her back to me about 3 feet away, "did you just take that toy out of his hand"?

She turns, gives me the most vile stare, and throws the toy back at Ben and runs off to find her mom.

All returns to normal.

A little while later a fat woman comes back carrying the same girl. She glances in my general direction, notices the size of the kid at the table, realizes he's only 2, and says loudly enough for the rest of us to hear that "we all have to share toys". Then she marches her fat self off carrying her vile girl with her.

This situation makes me reflect back on the zoo woman who snatched her son's bottle out of his hands. Did the girl at the Chapters take the toy from Ben because that is what her mother does to her? Or is it just because that is how she is, or how she was taught? That aggression gets you what you want?

At Ben's Montessori daycare they teach the children to not take materials away from each other, but to exercise patience and wait until the material has been put back in its original place. The teachers' prime responsibility there is to protect the engrossed child from such aggressive behaviour in order to encourage prime learning and concentration.

At home, we teach and make every effort to set examples in "my turn, your turn" exercises. We ask for help or encourage sharing.

It's not without challenge, but the kind of behaviour that girl at the store demonstrated is what scares me for Ben. Will this be what he will encounter on a regular basis as soon as he joins the 'public' system?

I hope to be able to keep him in the Montessori environment until he's old enough to start school. If not, well, we'll have to cross that bridge when it happens.

Interestingly, after the girl left the store, a mother and her 2 and a half year old boy showed up. The boy wanted to play with Benjamin's train set, and since Ben had managed to put almost all the trains together to form a really long one, I interrupted my relaxation pose and helped Ben share his train with the boy.

The boy wasn't interested in obtaining half of Ben's toys.

He wanted the one that Ben had.

His mother tried to talk to him and reason with him, but the boy started screaming, so she gave up right away.

I tried to show the two kids how to do an exchange, "you play with this one, he plays with that one, we'll take turns", and although Ben wasn't totally on board, he tolerated it, and even handed over his trains. The boy however was very loud, very obnoxious, and absolutely not interested in any sharing. The mother just laughed it off and wandered away....as if the entire ordeal wasn't her concern.

She was clearly frustrated at her boy's inability to listen to reason. She chalked it up to "boys will be boys", and "you know how toddlers are".

Well. My toddler wasn't behaving that way, and I was very proud of him. I told him that he was a good boy for sharing, or trying to share, even though the other kids weren't interested.

I praised him for being brave, not crying, and not making a fuss.

He certainly knows how to make a fuss, but so far he's exhibited that kind of behaviour mostly for our own benefit, in the comforts of our home/neighbourhood/family setting. Rarely in public.

Since it was impossible to do anything with the little boy, or his mother, and since Benjamin had spent more than half an hour playing by himself, I was able to distract him enough to wander over to the book shelf filled with truck books. And fire engine books. And tractor books.

We sat and looked at books for a good 15 minutes, then I had to pee.

That was the end of our day.

And probably a very interesting lesson for Ben, socially speaking.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monkey's and acrobats

I gave birth to a monkey. The monkey is now 2 years old.

I will be giving birth to an acrobat. She is 6 months pre-birthday old.

Give it back!

I remember a situation I witnessed at the zoo that has me be more alert to similar situations at home.

There was a woman talking with another adult. While she was talking she wanted to take her about 8 year old son's bottle to take a swig.

I couldn't tell if the drink was the woman's bottle, or if it was the boy's bottle.

However, she asked him once to give it to her and he said no. She then continued talking with the other adult and simply used her size and force to tear the bottle out of the boy's hands.

The boy wasn't impressed, and shortly after that we moved on, so I don't know what happened next. I have a feeling the boy just gave up since it was obvious that he couldn't win this fight against a bigger and stronger person.

What made me think about this is how often I find myself in a similar situation with my toddler.

A toddler finds adult things very enticing (my glass with straw in it, scissors, small tools, felt pens, etc). Often, he may reach for it and proceed to play with it, and then I have to come up with a way to get the item back, particularly if it's a dangerous item for a toddler to have.

I could do what the woman did and just snatch it out of Benjamin's hands.
Or yell.
Or give a long-winded explanation that likely would just go over his head anyway.

But everytime this happens, I have a fleeting moment where I think of the woman at the zoo.

Kids copy adults, particularly adults whom they love and trust.

What are the odds that her 8 year old does the same thing his mother demonstrated to another child at school or the playground?

I want Benjamin to know the difference between what's mommy's or daddy's and what's not. Or what mommy and daddy consider safe to share with him. I also want him to understand about sharing, and "your turn, my turn".

It's not that hard, but it takes time and diligence to not use force and size to retrieve an item back from chubby hands.

I give short reasons like "no, this is mommy's drink", offer him another item "this is Ben's cup".
Or, "put mommy's drink on this table, thank you".
Or, "you can drink from mommy's straw if I hold it".

Sometimes I get close to taking the item away from him, particularly if it's scissors or a knife. But I never take it without a comment to him directly.

Even dangerous objects can be replaced with "Ben's scissors" or "here's a plastic knife", or, "where is your tool box, this is mommy's screwdriver".

But so far it has worked. He's accepted, sometimes with protest, which is ok, that certain items he simply can't have.

I hope to keep this in mind as he grows.

PS I have tolerated protests in various forms and volume, including temper tantrums. That's inevitable. How I deal with these is another post.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Futon be gone!

Our contractor/friend called. His wife's nephew is moving here from somewhere and will take our futon.

This will be a BIG load off. The futon is gone! More space in the basement!! And our c/f has a truck...he's taking it to his garage so our basement will be ready quicker for him to start doing work on it on Monday!

It's nice to have good friends.

* * * * *

The little guy is napping today. I'm surprised, we did next to nothing this morning. He seems surprisingly calm for a guy who wants to get exercised twice a day on a regular basis.

I didn't take him swimming, although it was the perfect day for it. SOOOOO HOOOOTTTTT!!

But I'm so tired. The humidity is making us all schlapp.

Schlapp is German for, um, lazy. Or something. Schlapp is a wet washcloth. That's what we all feel like.

Anyway, he kept bugging me to go somewhere in the car. So I loaded up some of the lighter boxes filled with baby clothes and toys, hubby's two guitars, and the hockey bag and some winter gear and took it to the storage.

Benjamin loved helping with the trolley. And lugging the boxes. And hearing his loud voice echo in the maze-like storage building.

We're on our way.


We have off-site storage.

Contractor starts Monday.

I'm tired.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

First reno dilemma, one of many to come

Our contractor/friend/neighbour told us last Thursday that he is available as of Monday for our basement.

All we need to do is clean out the basement.

We started.
We are not finished.
Hubby is working as an airline pilot.
He's being recruited for two new jobs.
We have a toddler.
I am almost 6 months pregnant.
We are on a very tight budget.

Because of our budget, hubby wants to do most of the tearing apart himself. To save on cost. But that can't be done till we finish cleaning out the basement.

We thought we could fit all the stuff in our garage/shed, but we were wrong.

We have to get some sort of temporary storage. Which isn't a problem as there are many local ones nearby.

But it will take time to transport the stuff there. We have a station wagon, not a truck, so that limits what we can bring with us.

It being Sunday today, and as I guessed correctly, hubby not having called our contractor/friend to confirm we won't be ready for tomorrow, he emails me from some destination. Could I please call our friend and tell him that we're not quite ready.

I called.

His wife answered.

Her first question was "how goes the basement cleaning?".

I told her we're not ready for Monday.

She told me they're going away on Thursday for the weekend.

I'm thinking in my head 'great, that will give us the rest of the week to prepare and demolish, get a bin, storage, etc'.

But she suggested that our friend will be ready to start on Tuesday and continue a bit more on Wednesday, before going on their vacation.

My feeling is that she wants to keep him working. Everyone needs a paycheck.

For some reason I couldn't stop her though process. She talked and I listened. Then the call was suddently over.

Maybe I'm a pushover, maybe part of me is hoping we can start on Tuesday. But realistically, that puts a lot of stress on our family life.

I do not need stress.

It's not like I could help out today during hubby's absence. Toddler didn't nap, and although he was in a great mood, I wasn't really able to put a dent into the basement while keeping an eye on him at the same time.

Besides, it was raining on and off, and since the garage is full, and we don't have the storage confirmed yet, where should I have put the stuff?

Better to wait for hubby to come home.

The contractor will probably not mind having a bit of time off. He's just finished a basement last Friday...but I never spoke to him. Didn't even ask if he was home.


I feel like she made our decision for us.

Been trying to get ahold of hubby at his destination but all I get is voicemail.

So...he'll have to deal with it when he gets home tomorrow.

Except, I expect delays since there are a lot of thunderstorms in the area, and that always means red alerts at airports, and delays....


Note to self: this is only the first challenge I will inevitably encounter on this long and winding road to a new basement.

Too bad I can't drown my sorrows in Riesling.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Environment day

We live in the most western part of Toronto, a burb called Etobicoke. Etobicoke is known as one of the most environmentally-conscious parts of the city, although different areas within the city are more so than others. And it's catching on to the rest of Toronto as well.

Toronto, or the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) as it is known in these parts, consists of many so-called little neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood used to be a town (I don't know how accurate my historical analysis is, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), and a revitalization of town-functions and town-living has occurred in many of these neighbourhoods.

I noticed for example that city people eat more organic, and better food in general, than most people who live in the suburbs. I also notice that city people walk. Suburban people seem to prefer the car, probably most likely because many suburbs in these areas have nothing to walk to. I also notice that when I'm at my most frustrated because of my small house with my lack of
storage or closest space, I inevitably bump into another person living in the neighbourhood who has come across similar problems and overcame their challenges through some creative renovating or rearranging. And in general, we city folks seem to want to live with less, not more.

In my neighbourood, I can honestly say that if I had no car, I could survive quite well. I may not be able to frequent big box stores or malls as often (although they are accessible by transit from where I live), but then I don't frequent them that much anyway. I much prefer the little delis, butchers, mom-and-pop shops anyway, which are all within walking distance from my house.

Having said that, I do NOT in any way discredit my access to the car. In fact, I am often glad I can count my fortune to be able to say at a moment's notice: "let's go here", pack up the toddler and/or dog, and then go there.

But I digress.

While living in Etobicoke, first as renters and then as home owners, we have participated in all environmentally proactive functions that we could. We had a compost bin in our little backyard well before they introduced the green bin, a city composting service where they pick up not only food waste, but also diapers and dog poop! We grew veggies and herbs, we re-use water from the salad spinner to water the plants, and we recycle. Despite of our limited storage capacity in our little home, we have a designated spot for dead batteries which we keep until the community environment days occur during the summer. Then we make the effort to dispose of them in an environmentally effective manner.

This year we took our 2-year old child to our local Environment Day Community Event.

  • The child who knows the difference between the garbage in our house, and the compost bin.
  • The child who knows the difference between which compost bin the diapers go into (the city one), and which bin the potato peels go into (the one in the backyard).
  • The child who points out dog poop on the sidewalk and says "people should pick up dog poop".
  • The child who has learned to point at graffity and say "that's not nice".

He got to carry the batteries in a baggie and give them to the guy at the Hazardous Waste Zone.
He watches us deposit several bags and boxes of stuff we no longer use to the Goodwill Truck.
He helped us exchange the broken compost and recycling bins with new ones.
He helped us carry empty paint cans to the Hazardous Waste Zone.
He carried a remote while I carried the old VCR to the Electronics Section.

This Environment Day in our area was the most visited, best organized one I have seen since living in the area.

This makes me happy.

And encourages me to continue recycling and composting.

Less is more!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Renovation project


That's all I can say right now about that topic.

BUT, the baby is due in the fall, and it's mid summer, so if not now, when?


Monday, July 02, 2007

Auntie Ingrid

Well, Auntie Ing came for a visit. We sat outside on the steps and waited for her to come. We had a spray bottle and some bubbles to keep ourselves amused as we waited for her Subaru to drive down the street and into our driveway.

She finally came. She was a little late. But she arrived with a surprise.

A glass bowl with two guppy fish in it.

Benjamin's first pet(s).

Unfortunately this morning, I noticed one of them floating. Not sure if my little guy will notice that there's only one fish left. Or even ask.

Not sure what killed it either. Might be the fact that Ben dumped a rather large amount of food into the bowl last night after we demonstrated how to sprinkle a tiny bit in the bowl.

Wonder how long the other fish will live.

* * *

We had a nice visit till daddy came home.

Then the crying started. Auntie Ing, who is hubby's sister, talked about how Uncle John has been dealing (or not dealing) with this recent diagnosis of ALS.

Benjamin was exhausted but unable to go to bed while the visit was going on. He was a little confused about the crying and laughing that seemed to happen with regular occurrance (how can one not laugh when a toddler is around!), and he managed to flood the entire bathroom with water during bathtime.

He finally fell asleep against me, sitting outside on the deck, while the neighbour's fired off fireworks for Canada Day.

* * *

Can't sleep. Been up since 5 am. Trying to research about John's condition. Not much there that I don't already know.