Playing House, Part VIII Continued

Our latest reno marathon is over for the week. The end result of it won’t show up in any of the following photos, though: cool air. Just in time for this heat wave, we’ve got air conditioning. Thank you, Jason!! Only half the house is done – two out of our four thermostat-controlled zones – the great room, kitchen and office upstairs, and the main area of the basement. The bedroom was still overly warm last night at about 26 degrees, but with the AC on for several hours this evening it should be cooler all over tonight. There is still lots of work to be done to hook up ducting to the remaining zones, finish replacing the plumbing, and complete the wiring. But the amount of work completed since Friday morning was incredible. Here are the highlights.

Playing House, Part VIII

It’s a good thing we spent the first five days of July relaxing and recharging our batteries, because since we got home a week ago it’s been full steam ahead. Chris came up over the weekend to do the gas-fitting for us, and while that was underway, Richard got most of the plumbing done as well as removing most of the old ducting. Rob stopped in on his way east and joined us for a rotisserie roast Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning, then he went on his way and the guys went back to work. I continued with my drywall demolition in the upstairs master bedroom Saturday, but a cold has slowed me down a bit, so I left the last hard-to-reach edges around the ceiling for another day (the ceiling itself has to come down soon, too). The transformation going on in the basement was rapid and gratifying, so each time I took a break I headed downstairs with the camera. Because I took so many photos over the past week, I think I’m going to make this post more of a photo-gallery and keep the explanations to a minimum. So, here are Chris and Richard threading gas pipe in the yard, the scrap ducting behind them. The canopy is up over his threading machine because it is still raining daily here. Also below are shots of the new gas lines and the plumbing – including our Rinnai “instant-on” hot water heater, 2.5 gallon tank, filters, and hot and cold manifolds – in what will be a closet in the downstairs bathroom. There are a few photos from the 7th as well, when we were tidying up around the house and enjoying being back at home. We visited with the neighbours, a group of us all gathered at the llama pen fence to watch Smoky’s new baby, born at 2pm on Thursday. (The Barbados sheep also provided some unusual bedtime entertainment: on Friday night as we waited for Chris to arrive, Jonathan and Sandra roamed the neighbourhood with flashlights. Richard went out at midnight to help track down the flock, which was discovered missing when one of the visiting grandchildren realized she hadn’t closed the front gate. We’ll have to nickname her Bo Peep! The Barbies were found curled up on the next door lawn soon after.) This week, our next door neighbours’ son-in-law Kevin, an electrician, has been working on our electrical upgrade (which is why I’m so late getting this post done – we ripped out the corner wall in my office and it’s a mess in here). We’ve also hired a neighbour with a backhoe to dig a 13 foot long trench from the foundation through my poppy field so we can lay the ground wire for the upgrade perpendicular to the house. (Bye bye, lilac.) Then Jason arrives on Friday with our heat pump. Hopefully he and Richard can install the heat pump components, ducts, and other equipment by the end of the weekend, … Continue Reading →

Now That Was a Vacation

We’ve just come home from an extended long weekend at our friends’ beachfront property near Port Townsend in Washington. This was our third time at the Lund’s annual gathering to celebrate the Fourth of July, and as usual, it was a great mix of people, great food including a fresh seafood boil with local crab and clams, and lots of rest and relaxation. Just what we needed. Richard and I started the weekend with a Canada Day quiz on Friday night, giving out packages of Canada-coloured Smarties as prizes. That spawned a funny conversation in which I sang the Smarties song – turns out they don’t have chocolate covered Smarties in the States, their “smarties” are compressed sugar things. Our American friends get a lot of amusement out of Canadian jokes at our expense, so this was our way of educating them a little on this great land of ours. (Last year our response was to play the Song of 1812, which didn’t go over well at all.) And we were very happy to see our friend Lisa, an ex-patriated Canadian who could translate for us. For example, as we were sharing the latest plans for our home reno, I got blank looks while explaining the changes to our “ensuite”. Master bath, I was corrected. At one point I had enough of my badminton birdie landing “OOOT”, and suggested we buy young Dallas a one-way ticket to backwoods Ontario so he could see how long he lasted teasing the Canadians who actually do talk like that. Hmph. We all got sunburns in odd spots – tops of knees, noses, one foot – and spent equal amounts of time buried in sweatshirts and fleece blankets around the fire, but it was near-perfect weather for eating, gabbing, reading, badminton, sleeping, and eating some more. There’s always great food at these weekends, since each couple is assigned a meal to orchestrate and each one lasts several hours it seems. We brought our chafing dishes and Richard’s gigantic stock pots again this year and they were put to good use. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Ideas for next year include an Iron Chef weekend – all the guests supply the food and Richard and John, another capable and avid cook, will each do a dinner extravaganza. But they had so much fun making chowder together out of the leftover seafood boil that I think they’d rather cook together the whole weekend than make a competition out of it. And how could people so sleepily satiated from morning to night judge anything anyway? And it’s hard to keep Richard out of a kitchen. Many thanks to Tim and Debbie and family for hosting another great getaway – we’re looking forward to next year, and to having you up for a visit here. Cheers.