Monday, December 5, 2011


I have said it before, but here I am, saying it again.  I have....THE BEST PARENTS EVER!!!  I'm not saying that because I'm biased.  I'm saying that because now, at the age of 42, when life has taken some unexpected twists and turns and all seems to be lost, they are still always there for me.  Without fail.  I love them so dearly, and would be quite lost without their unceasing love and care.

It's really difficult to make much progress around here.  Richard has to work a lot of hours in his new job, even though it's only a 35 minute commute instead of a 1.5 hour commute.  He works late nights and by the time we eat supper, it's time for bed.  This means that it's hard for me to make significant progress here by myself.  I go slow and steady, one day at a time.  Then, suddenly, my parents will visit for a day, and massive progress is made!  Let me show you some of the progress!

We have a bit of an issue with water when showering.  You see, the bathtub that was installed by the former owner is not the type that is supposed to be used with a shower.  The side edges are not designed to guide water into the tub and down the drain.  Therefore, when the shower is used, water accumulates in the corners of the tub surround and it gradually fills up until it pours out onto the bathroom floor.  Not so good. We have been making-do with towels stuffed into the gap.  Here you can see on far left side and on the right hand end, there is nothing to stop the water pouring out as it accumulates.
As a result, we had to figure out a way to prevent this problem - Dad to the rescue!  My Dad, woodworking genius that he is, took some very careful measurements on his last visit.  He then went home and built a wooden surround for the two sides that have this water accumulation problem.  It fits exactly in the space that is available.  
He also installed a sloped side on the far end of the tub so that water will simply drain back into the tub from there too.  A simple but elegant solution.  
The next step is for me to use the tiles that we bought to tile the surface of the surround, such that the water that accumulates will not be able to go anywhere but back into the tub and down the drain.  Even though the wood barrier has several coats of primer, it is still vulnerable to water, so we need to finish the job properly.  Of course, I'll be showing you pictures of that when it's complete.  Stay tuned!

While my Dad was working to install this useful improvement, my mother and I were working on the future office space.  Remember that dreadful space with the dog-pee soaked carpet and the vast swaths of dust and grime?  Oh yes, it was unforgettable!  As you may recall, I had begun painting it and cleaning it out for our eventual use as a home office.  Now, my wonderful bookshelves have been installed.

First, she and I worked on installing a piece of carpet (I had to buy carpet remnants because at the moment, due to the fact that the winery plan is non-functional, thanks ever so much to the previous owner's failure to follow through on his promises, we don't have enough money to buy full carpet for the room).  I was getting ready to install the remnant with the cut side that was the most even-looking side snugged up to the wall.  She pointed out that with the space under the baseboards,  we could put the raggedy side up to the wall because it would disappear under the baseboard, and thus have the better side facing out!  My mother is full of energy and good ideas!  We then cut a space to just perfectly fit the old fashioned vent for the wood furnace - she helped feel around for the vent while I cut the carpet.  I will later be stripping and re-painting all the vents.
We'll need more carpet to finish the room, but for now, at least we could stabilize the shelving by using the carpet to compensate for the warped floorboards.

After we installed the carpet section, my mother and I assembled some shelves that my Dad made for me when I was a small child.  These shelves have traveled far and wide with me, and been dis-assembled and re-assembled more times than I can count.  Still, they go together like clockwork, and they are an old friend, carrying loads of books no matter where I live.  My mother and I not only assembled them....we unpacked countless boxes of books to rest on those dear shelves.  All this, coupled with the background of my new goldenrod-coloured walls and green trim...well, it was enough to bring me to tears.

The difference between the former room and the current room is that my books are not weighed down with dust and dirt and lack of use.  My books are cherished, loved, and treated with respect.  This....this is how it should be.

We even found some places for well loved friends!

Also special places for my green glass bottles, which I just adore, and for the wonderful cocobolo wood pear that my father turned for me on his lathe.  I have always loved that piece!
Since the large mound of book boxes has been reduced, I can now paint the remainder of the office more easily.  These things can only happen in stages!  After I have finished painting, we will try to use the remnants to go around the outside of the room and then try to find a dark green carpet remnant for the centre of the room to tie the colours together.

I unpacked more boxes of books today and ran out of room on the shelves.  Fortunately we have more bookshelves, but they're not in place yet, so many boxes will remain unpacked for now.

Oh, and in case you should wonder, we were well fueled in our work!  My mother, supreme chef that she is, brought her excellent split pea and ham soup to give us all strength, and we enjoyed her homemade smoked salmon spread on fresh baked bread, along with a cool glass of sparkling pear cider.  Really, in the face of adversity, who could ask for more?  These are the things that matter....not the pain of the failed hopes, the hurt caused by someone who would not follow through on his promises.  It is the love of family and the care that we show for those that we love....these are the things that get us through the hard times.


Lin said...

Um...could you parents stop here for a bit? Please? I could use a little help AND a little parental love. They sound like lovely folks--you are very lucky to have them.

Hey--I noticed that I have the same Woman's Yoga book that you do!! I LOVE that book!! (I can see that your hedgehog does too)

denise f said...

With such fabulous cooking and all the good cheer, I'd like you to know that I am available to work. ;]

fullfreezer said...

The room is looking lovely! How wonderful that your parents could come help out.
We stripped and repainted the vents at our old house. I can't remember what my husband used to strip them but it worked well.
Good luck with all the work, I know well what it's like to have a house that needs lots and lots of work.

Texan said...

You are so right about what matters :O)... How wonderful you have both your parents still here on this earth to spend time with, to help you :O) and to love :O).

Anonymous said...

You certainly have been blessed with a wonderful set of parents. I know that things are difficult right now, but with your wonderful spirit, things will certainly improve. I love the way the bookshelves look.



Flartus said...

Wow, your Dad and Mom are very talented! I'm sure it will feel wonderful to have at least one clean, comfortable room for yourself. I'm also thinking I could spend quite a lot of time perusing your bookshelves!

Pricilla said...

It's so lovely that your parents are there to sprinkle love all over you and your new house.

It all looks so pretty and I'm sure you are thrilled with the progress

Nancy K. said...

You are truly blessed!
Just as YOU are a BLESSING to others.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

That's so lovely! You have very nice (and talented) parents! The book room looks terrific and we like the colors! I'm so glad that you had a feel-good time! xoxoxoxo

Tayet Silverspoon said...

It's starting to look like an actual place that you would want to live in!

Marigold said...

The colors look so wonderfully rich! Love it! We cherish our books too, so know what you mean. Thanks to mom and dad! Lovely people with a lovely daughter!

CINDY LOU said...

Oh Claire! It looks wonderful! I'm sorry the old guy hasn't followed through on his promises. I read your blog and facebook with delight and wish I was there too!!

CINDY LOU said...

Oh Claire! It looks wonderful! I'm sorry the old guy hasn't followed through on his promises. I read your blog and facebook with delight and wish I was there too!!

thecrazysheeplady said...

It's those "little" things that mean so much, eh?

Marg said...

We came over from Pricilla's place who we adore. We love your bathtub under the eave of the roof. I bet that whole house is very interesting. We also like goats a lot. You do have fabulous parents. What a good job fixing that bathtub. Take care and have a great week end.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

I'm still picturing you guys in that see-through shower....... :)

I know the task must be daunting but I've said it before and I'll say it again.......what a sublime treasure! (read: jealous!) ;)