A Day At Home With Attila

“In his experience, there is a way to overcome that kind of division. “Compassion and openness is the kryptonite for terrorism and fundamentalism,” says Choudhury. “What draws young people into that process is the feeling of not belonging.”
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/syrian-canadian-immigration-paris-attacks-1.3324291

This was always obvious. It has been obvious for hundreds and hundreds of years. Add hard work and opportunity for advancement into the mix, and you have a recipe for a healthy communities.

I grew up with “it isn’t what you know, it is who you know”, and I found that to be very true over my life span of experience in the working world, in the academy, in the corporate environments I worked in, even in the elementary schools I taught in. And that is sad.

I think we can do better.

I think that hard work, integrity, honesty, and positive human traits can be rewarded. I think that greed, avarice, contempt for others, ruthless ambition, and those ugly human traits that have been recently glorified by the perpetrators, have no place in healthy human communities. I think back to economic theories that informed policy over the last three decades in Canada, the burgeoning focus on competition and globally mobile capital, theories about society that revolve almost exclusively around money, and profit, and I shudder. And this too was always obvious, at least to those who saw a society as a community of people, of families, of friends, of mutual support.

And I still think we can do better.

And suddenly today, after having a look at the news, I feel that maybe we are beginning to move in the right direction. I suspect the 1%, who engineer all large scale change on the planet, have suddenly become aware that the planet is where they have to live. The voyage to Mars is unlikely to provide them with an easy out when their mistakes catch up with all of us. Being king of the castle isn’t much fun when the castle collapses around you. And this too was always obvious.

My Mom went in for day surgery on Saturday, and returned home feeling fine. I doubt this will slow her down for long, she is a force of nature is my Mom. Wishing you a speedy recovery Mom, ((hugs)).

Attila worked nights for the last few days, and as we go forward with this new experience of rotating 12 hour shifts, we learn, and laugh. On Saturday when Mom went in for surgery I asked my sister if she had taken time off work to accompany Mom. Sis reminded me that it was Saturday, the traditional break in the week for working people. Attila worked through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so to me these days were “weekdays”. I had to laugh at myself! I think I need to keep a calendar displayed in a prominent location, marking Attila’s shifts in bright colours so that I can figure out at a glance just where we are in relation to those who keep traditional schedules. Eventually it will all just flow, but there is more to learn.

It is colder now, the temperature falling below freezing at night, but not by much. We awoke to a light dusting of snow on the roof, but the roads were merely wet.

Attila has the day off and decided he wanted to spend it on small projects inside the house. To that end we decided to put shelving above the stairs to the basement, in the stairwell.

First we had to decide what would be stored in the stairwell. The items stored would have to be lightweight, as the shelves would be very high and hard to reach. They would also have to be items we seldom use, so that we would seldom need to access them in such an awkward storage space. We decided that Christmas decorations would be the appropriate items to store in the stairwell.

The next step was to gather together the scattered boxes of Christmas decorations, that had been stacked at various locations all over the house. There were boxes in the living room, boxes in the basement, and boxes in the front bedroom. Once we had gathered all the boxes we sat down and sorted through the items in each one.

We condensed the Christmas decorations from six boxes to four boxes. One box is dedicated exclusively to Christmas tree decorations. We will not have room for a Christmas tree this year, but we are optimistic that by next Christmas we will have downsized sufficiently to have available space for a Christmas tree. Another box is dedicated to Christmas lights. The other two boxes are a collection of decorations that will adorn the house this year, such as a wreath for the front door, and baubles for the windows.

Attila then tackled building the shelves. As usual, this was not a straightforward job. The wall studs on either side of the stairs are on two foot centres, which was up to code when the house was built

The linen cupboard, which was built above the stairs, opening on the other side of the wall into the central hall. It was built using 2x2s. The structure is not very sturdy.

Attila removed all the trim in the corners of the stairwell, to get at the 2x2s. That couldn’t be managed without severely damaging the drywall. Which was surprising, as the trim was secured only by the wallpaper that covered it. We do a lot of head shaking during these projects.

Attila then screwed L brackets into the 2x2s on the back wall, and ran support boards from the L brackets at the back, to the studs two feet out from the back wall. This provided a load bearing framework for the shelves.

To work on the wall above the stairwell, Attila screwed two pieces of 2x2s into the floor joists on either side of the stairs. Then he cut boards to place across the 2x2s, creating a platform for his ladder. The boards can be removed easily, and he will leave the 2x2s where they are so that we can reassemble the platform whenever we want to access the shelves. The repaired drywall, the supporting structures, and the shelves will be painted in the spring.

This little house was never a state-of-the-art architectural wonder. It was built with odd sized lumber, windows, and doors. Not only were the materials an odd size, in some cases they were recycled, which is evident because some of them were painted different colours before they were used to build the house. Despite all of that, the house is sturdy and cozy. We make improvements where we can, as we go along. It will never be a showpiece, but it is already a home. We love our little house.

The 2x2s on either side of the stairs, that hold up the boards for the platform to access the top of the stairwell. The stairs are steep and I navigate them carefully, holding on to the railing with two hands going up, and coming down. These stairs were covered with mildewed carpet when we bought the house five years ago. The carpet went into the dumpster that first autumn. We haven’t gotten around to painting the stairs yet, there are other, more pressing projects to tackle first.
StairPlatform

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 4:00 PM EST Tuesday 24 November 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 3.7°C
Dewpoint: -2.5°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: SW 8 km/h

Quote

“Ill fares the land, to hast’ning ill a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;
Princes and Lords may flourish, or may fade:
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
but a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed can never be supplied.”
Oliver Goldsmith
1730 – 1774

Oliver Goldsmith, (born Nov. 10, 1730, Kilkenny West, County Westmeath, Ire.—died April 4, 1774, London), Anglo-Irish essayist, poet, novelist, dramatist, and eccentric, made famous by such works as the series of essays The Citizen of the World, or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher (1762), the poem The Deserted Village (1770), the novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), and the play She Stoops to Conquer (1773).

10 Comments

  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I fear I’m not feeling as positive about the 1%, right now. I look at Donald Trump and Ben Carson who are runniig for the US presidency and they frighten me. They preach divisiveness to the angry members of their party, and I fearvwhere those people might head, with or without them.

    I’m glad you chose very light things to store in your new storage area. Two by two’s don’t instill a lot of confidence when it comes to holding weight. I hope none of your other walls are like that!

    Lucky you for having just a dusting of snow! We ended up with between 3 and 4 inches, which is now slowly melting.

  2. crochetlady or Lee Ann

    Your house is very lucky to still be standing if it was all built with left overs!
    As far as the state of the world, I will need to catch up with it in a few days when our TV gets hooked up. Right now, we only listen to a country station which doesn’t give us much in news. So I toddle along in my own little world, setting up my new household, happy that we are both healthy enough.
    I am glad you and Attila are adjusting. And I hope you morher is well also.

  3. With all of the care and attention you have put into sorting, and organizing the lights and decorations, your house will be the showplace of the area! We are only thinking about beginning the annual trek to the storage room for lights and things we only see once a year. I’m not very motivated about it this year!

  4. They frighten me too Teri.

    The 2x2s will be fine with a moderate amount of weight, as they are nailed to 2x6s. It is hard to believe anyone ever decided to put a cupboard together using 2x2s, it was a different world back then.

    I do not envy you your snow! I hope it melts quickly.

  5. Lee Ann, I think that because the foundation was sound and the roof never leaked, the house was able to maintain its integrity without too much trouble. The elements have had no access to it.

    Your little world sound quite comforting, I hope you are settling in happily in your new environment.

    Thank you for the good wishes for my Mom, she reads this blog so I am sure she will appreciate your well wishes.

  6. Lucky Few, we love Christmas lights, so as long as we have those up, we will be happy. Our neighbours across the street have their outdoor Christmas lights on each night, but it is too early for us. We like to wait until a few weeks before Christmas to get going on decorating, except for the lights of course.

  7. Bex

    Since we don’t have children, only dogs, celebrating holidays for us is much more simple than for most people. Decorations have been dwindling over the years to now just two tiny fake Xmas trees that I only decorate with colored lights (the large sizes) and which I call my “Feel good trees”. They aren’t exactly for Christmas but for the Holiday Season… and I think I had them up last year until March sometime! My neighbors liked looking at them in the front windows for weeks and weeks after December was long gone… and they acted as nice soft lighting for the Reading Room. But my poor Carroller dolls just stay in their box in the basement… I should try to get rid of them but who wants them anymore?

    I love the idea of making storage in the stairwell. I need handrails on both sides of the stairs to get up and down them… so I rarely go into the basement because there is only one side with a rail.

    xxxxx

  8. Bex, simple celebrations are great as far as I am concerned. Attila and I, despite having children, spend almost all of our Christmas Eves and Christmas Days with just the two of us.

    We have come to enjoy our turkey dinner, the colourful lights, and our memories of childhood Christmases. It still feels special to us.

    We are very pleased with the shelves above the basement stairs. All of the Christmas decorations are up there now. I can even get at them with one board from the basement to hold up the back of the step ladder!

    We have a handrail on only one side of the stairs as well Bex, and it is a challenge. I go down sideways, stepping twice on each step, which is working so far, but there may come a day…

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