Archives for 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012 in Them kids o' mine

Emma turned 12

She is a Young Lady, not a kid.

She really likes portal

Her presents were either Portal or Minecraft related, or money. Which is just as good, because she can buy things relating to either game.

I need to post a picture of the two of us standing together. She comes up to my nose.

Over the past year, she has had a couple of ridiculous growth spurts.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 in House stuff

This got long

Roundabout the time of this post back in May, we figured out a few things.

Did I mention Meaghan wanted to find work? Well she did. And when Sarah was living out here in the woods with us and had a job, the only way to get to work was have us drive her. Not only the cost of gas, but the cost of an hour of lost work. Each way. So.. one thing that occurred to use was the cost of gas etc was enough to pay to rent a room for Meg if she moved to Fredericton. Which, coincidentally she wanted to do anyway since there are more jobs in the big city. Go figure. And the scary part was – we could afford to do that.

The internet in the house was also the best we could get. We’d explored all the option and we were seriously considering renting a place nearby with better internet. We’d even found a place with fibre internet, 15 minutes away. And yes, we could afford that too.

So… we could afford to rent a place for our daughter to help her out until she had enough to pay for a place on her own. We could afford a second place for us to work.

Then we realized the place we were actually IN we did not want to be there any more. And that sucked. Also a five bedroom three bathroom rambling farmhouse we literally got lost in was just.. .yeah.

It probably took a month of thinking to ourselves, privately, how we could manage to finish what we could on the house and be able to sell it.

Meanwhile, Meaghan was getting antsy, so to kill two birds with one stone, we rented a place in Fredericton in the spring. We had to jump on it, because.. university town. We figured we’d spend half the week there with better internet, and half the week in our house, slogging through what we needed to do.

Somewhere in there, in a moment of lucid clarity, we called a realtor. Had her look at the house. She whittled our to-do list down by half, easy. Like, a manageable, do-able, work our asses off half. Something we could do that wasn’t an insurmountable mountain of money and work for a house that was quickly becoming … well… not fun.

Another brilliant idea we had? And I mean this with a completely lack of sarcasm. We started cleaning out our crap. All the “just in case”es and “somedays” and maybe stuff. We rented a storage container 20 mins away and drove back and forth too many times to count. We sorted we tossed and we packed up things we knew we did not need for six months.

Side note: realizing you can stuff a storage container with things you won’t need for literally *months*? Oh heck yeah that is terribly sobering.

I like to hang on to things.

I’ve been letting go of a LOT.

Somewhere in there, the house got emptier. Ron was able to start working room by room, to finish things up. Paint tin ceilings, finish minor repairs. Go over (and over and over) lists of all makings. Hired the neighbour guy to help out with a couple things.

Did not garden, did not buy flowers for the summer.

The house got emptier and we spent more time in Fredericton. Eventually, just Ron went on the weekends, working his butt off. Sometimes I’d go help. We’d lug stuff into storage and to our rental place and off to donation piles.

Everything took ages longer than we estimated. Some of it by a lot. And then? We discovered bats in the attic. That was a month lost of basically going “GAAAHHHH!!!!!!” It also explained the weird rash I’d developed and why my allergies lessened when I was not in the house.

The short version? We traded the tractor, which we no longer need, for the bat cleanup and new attic insulation. So that worked out well. Especially since we recently realized the new insulation that was in the attic when we moved in, was not done right. So now the house is a whole pile warmer too.

But by then we’d stopped calling it home. It was Lakeville or our country place. We’d started thinking of where do we want to settle next, and came up with our 5 year plan for the next little while, which is basically rent and be here in Fredericton close to our kids and especially the grandkids.

The house still needs a heating system and still is not on the market. We moved everything from a storage container near the old house, to one an hour and a half away, but near here. And we still go get boxes out and re-sort and clean out more crap. Amazing what taking items out of your sight for a few months does to help you decide if you really need it or not.

And honestly, if I had blogged everything while it happened, it would have added too much stress. Things changed weekly – sometimes daily.

It’s been a huge hassle.

It’s been expensive.

It’s been hard on my head.

It’s been hard on my husband.

But it’s been damn worth it – to the point we went a few days kicking ourselves why we didn’t do this sooner. Like, cut our losses earlier.

There are things about the rental we really do not like (one bathroom? oh heck no..) but the lease is up in June. This is easily fixable. Anything falling apart here is Not Our Problem and indeed when the bathroom vanity let go, it was handled by someone else for a change.

We don’t worry about our internet connection, or heat or if the water is going to stop or if something else is going to fall apart, or how many zeros is it going to need at the end of the bill.

We’ve seen the grown up kids way more often. We were here to help out Addison and Kaytlyn when their car broke down and they need driving around. We’re here to spend oodles of time with the grandkids. Usually we see them twice a week, and you know what?

That’s worth it.

Personal growth always hurts, and in between the work, there’s been a lot of thinking. Makes my head hurt. It occurred to me the other day, when I was berating myself for yet again not updating, that the me who started this blog would be so horribly confused by the me now.

But that’s okay.

He’s happier, I’m happier – the kids are pretty chuffed and the grandkids wail when we leave.

Can’t ask for much more than that. Everything else is gravy. It’s getting nice having time to be bored.

Saturday, September 15, 2012 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Bridging the cultural gap

I was at the Fredericton market this morning, getting half our groceries (meat, fresh veggies) when I stopped at Betty Lee’s Chinese food stall. I picked up some shrimp chips and pot stickers. Betty is awesome and her food is delicious. I said something about loving food a bit too much and patted my belly. She said to me that the Chinese have a saying about how food is meant to be savoured and enjoyed.

“My mom has a saying too,” I told her.

“Oh?” she asked, intrigued.

“Never trust a skinny cook.”

Betty laughed. “That’s a good one!”

I love the market.

Saturday, July 28, 2012 in family

Meet Ayla

We are grandparents again.

Happy Family

Yes, it is mind-blowingly awesome. 🙂 We have been close by and helping out in the lead up to Ayla’s arrival and feel so blessed and lucky to be a part of it.

Mommy and Ayla

In the context of a blog and my online life and how the remaining steadfast readers I have here are still here, this is one big head trip, isn’t it? 🙂

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in country living

Working on the house

We hired our neighbour Vince to come do some work on our house. He actually works in construction, as well as farming. This is not as an unusual combo as you may think – it’s pretty common.

Anyway, this morning as I lay in bed trying to catch a few extra winks from being up half the night from sciatica, I heard him tell Ron this story.

“Some local boys at the high school, well they went and got a couple small pigs. Musta cost ’em sixty, seventy bucks a piece. So then they went and wrote a number one on the first one and a number three on the second one. Then they let ’em loose in the boy’s washroom, you know?

I guess they hunted all day for pig number two.”

Guffaws followed.

But the big gaping hole in my dining room ceiling (since we moved in) is being fixed. A post is run across the ceiling to level up the floor above and support it, plus the toilet drain on the side wall is getting covered up. New drywall on the ceiling in the office and the green bathroom so the plaster doesn’t look like it’ll fall on your head any minute now.

Pig story’s kind of a bonus, really.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 in family

Talking to my Mom

This is what talking to my mom is like, with this actual conversation from yesterday. We were in Fredericton to go to Sarah’s graduation ceremony. (Yay! She’s done!)

Mom: “You know that cute consignent store downtown next to Home Hardware?”

Me: “There’s a Home Hardware downtown?” (most big stores in Freddy are up on the hill or out in malls in the burbs. Or, THE mall..)

Carl: “The one on, you know, Main St.”

Me: “Main Street is across the river.”

Mom: “No, not that Main street, the big street right downtown, you know the one that does the thing at the end where it splits? With the intersection?”

Me: “Queen street?”

Mom: “Yeah, Queen street. Or maybe King. It has the Home hardware right at the end before it loops back to go out of town and go to the Dam.”

Me: “There’s a Home Hardware there?”

Carl: “Yeah, been there for years.”

Mom: “Yes! And the consignment store next to it – they have really good stuff. They sell gently used clothing to help women get back on their feet, for like job interviews and stuff?”

Me: “Okay maybe I do remember a Home Hardware down there.”

Mom: “Yes, it’s been there for years!”

Me: “Huh. Never really noticed.”

Mom: “So anyway, the consignent store? They moved up the hill. They’re on Hanwell Road. Really nice spot.”

I swear, one of these days I’m recording our conversations.