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.