Tag: life

Tackling home improvements, DIY style

For someone who claims to hate the upheaval that comes with home improvement projects, I certainly engage in that activity often. In the six years since we bought our home, we have undergone four major home improvement projects. And we’ve decided to tackle another one this summer.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty hands-off with the actual work. We know our limits and have hired professionals to install the new vanity and sink in the ensuite and the new kitchen. Last summer’s main level floor replacement was the result of water damage, so again, professionals were involved in that six week process. Painting is something I feel comfortable handling myself and my brothers helped install new floors in all four bedrooms, as well as the main entry way and kitchen. I’ve never been super confident in my own handiness, but this summer, with M back at school, there wasn’t exactly room in the budget to hire pros.

Unfortunately, a leaky toilet, stopped up sink and general ugly gloom of the main bathroom wasn’t going to cut it when we have guests coming to stay with us for a week in the middle of August, so…

This room has been in desperate need of an update. We didn’t paint it when we moved in. I’ve been ignoring the paint stains on the floor from the previous owner. I’ve tried not to look too closely at the out-of-date countertop. I pretended not to notice that the toilet was while and the sink was off-while, caulked with almond-coloured caulk. It’s the only room on the entire upper floor that hasn’t had any work done to it. So it’s time.

Time to tackle another home improvement project. And this one, it’s going to be DIY all the way.

The plans for this hopefully cost-effective bathroom up-date are:

  • Replace sink & plumbing under the sink
  • Replace toilet
  • Update countertop
  • Paint walls & ceiling
  • Update flooring

Fingers crossed that we’ll survive this and that the main bathroom will be useable once we’re through with it…

A Quick Thought on Saying Sorry

As you should be, Loki.

When did it become uncool to apologize?

Saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it seems to have developed a whole new meaning lately.  I’ve read countless articles in men’s and women’s magazines alike warning against apologizing.  I’ve seen so many blog posts championing the ‘times you should never ever apologize’ mentality.  Bloggers and columnists are telling us that apologizing for certain things can show weakness, or worse, could cost us ‘winning’ an argument.

Now, maybe my Canadian is showing, but I fail to see how admitting you made a mistake and feeling a bit of regret for effing up is a sign of weakness. Or that winning every argument is the most important thing when it comes to conflicts.

Sure, apologizing is not always the most comfortable thing to do in the world. It can be awkward. It can be hard to admit you’ve made a mistake. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, and as a general rule, we humans do not like that so much. But sometimes, a genuine, authentic apology is the first step to letting go of your fuck ups, of working through hurt feelings and, most important of all in my opinion; an apology requires the reflection on a situation that helps you learn from your mistakes.

 

 

 

When you live in the suburbs…

The Hell MouthLast summer, a hell mouth opened up in our dining room. To get the problem fixed, we had to coordinate our condo corporation and our insurance company, so it took an entire year to get the problem dealt with. In order to close the hell mouth, the contractor had to pull the kitchen, rip up all of the floors on the main level, set up abatement machines and tents to manage the asbestos tiles in some of the floor, and use some pretty intense mould killers (Buffy wasn’t available). So, we moved to a cute little rental house in the suburbs.

And man, has it been weird.

Like… When you live in the suburbs, your neighbours knock on your door.  A lot. At first, I thought it was because they were nosy. But after observing them for four weeks, I’ve come to discover it’s because they’re kind of a community. So they want to be sure you’re not an axe murderer.

When you live in the suburbs, you own a lot of cars. Sometimes, there seems to be more cars than people attached to a house.  And you drive absolutely everywhere, because you’re living a good twenty-five minute walk to any form of public transit.

There is no such thing as a quick walk with the dog or a quiet afternoon on your porch reading a book. Because your neighbours will interrupt you. They will stop you on the street for small talk, or lean over their fence and ask you what you’re reading.

SuburbiaWhen you live in the suburbs, you’re a million miles away from things like coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and going out at night means you’re either leaving early or paying a lot of money for a cab ride home.

People don’t seem to be as territorial about their space as they are in the city.  Neighbours have no trouble invading your space, borrowing your driveway to park their cars or enjoying a cigarette in your garden.

People feel completely safe leaving their doors open. I don’t mean unlocked, I mean wide open. All day and even at night.

It’s really quiet at night. Like, it’s practically silent. And on weekends, people disappear to cottages and the neighbourhood becomes a ghost town.

I guess I can see how suburbia would be appealing to someone.  But me? I cannot wait to get back to my own home, in my own neighbourhood, where neighbours just wave or nod at each other, the sound of sirens, traffic and loud parties lull you to sleep at night, and you lock your door even when you’re running to the mailbox or putting out the rubbish.

 

 

 

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Condo

Home Sweet Home Just over five years ago, we bought our first home. We chose a townhouse condo, and we figured it was perfect. Two stories, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gas fireplace. It was tucked away from the busy main street, but close to highway access. It was on the lower end of our budget; a decision we made purposefully in order to be able to afford the upgrades we wanted to do (Redo the floors upstairs, reno the kitchen, update the bathrooms). We’d be responsible for tending to the backyard, but the front lawn and other landscaping came included with our condo fees.  Past-me figured we were making a safe venture into first-time home ownership.  Man, was Past-me naive.  (more…)

Siblings

Siblings

Yesterday I went out to get bagels at my favourite bagel shop.  There used to be a lot more of them around, they are a franchise.  But they never had the franchisey feel.  Growing up, on Sunday mornings, usually after church, we would go to our local bagel place and we’d either eat in or get a dozen takeaway ones for Sunday brunch.  Our local one closed years ago and the closest one to my house is actually in another town.  But the nostalgia has me heading out there every so often for bagels. (more…)