The Ordinary

I continue to be amazed by the ordinary. The ordinary can be quite engaging, if one avoids developing an addiction to drama.

The ordinary thing that has captured my attention this morning, is the degree to which a residential relocation brings disorientation into day-to-day life. I am noticing this today only because the disorientation is beginning to dissipate. A pleasant feeling of constancy is steadily, and very slowly, increasing; today it became noticeable.

It was something very small that triggered the pleasant feeling. We are still moving furniture all over the place, sorting through drawers and boxes of items, discarding some, storing others. It was when I knew where to place the two packages of pens that I found in the bottom of a drawer I was emptying, that I realized that we have reached a stage in the move where most things have a place. What a good feeling that is!

Attila is home today, it is one of his short breaks between changing shifts. He is assembling one of the low end wardrobes we purchased. This piece of furniture will be a more than welcome addition. As an additional bonus to the sale price, Attila discovered that the furniture is made right here in Ontario. Local! How sweet is that?!

Yesterday we returned to the city together, in the car, to have the lug nuts tightened after the new tire installation. It was quick and easy. Since we were already in the city, having spent the money on fuel to get there, it seemed appropriate to poke around a bit at the retail establishments. We visited the Restore, which sells used renovation items, and some furniture. We will need a small kitchen cabinet unit to go between the fridge and range, used would be perfect. The Restore had nothing suitable.

The next stop was Home Depot, where we found metal wire shelving units on sale. The sale price was so low that we bought three to use as storage units in the basement. The open wire racks are perfect for the basement because they are well ventilated, which is essential in potentially damp locations. We keep the dehumidifier running constantly down there, and it is dry, but that could change with a power outage. While we were at Home Depot we also picked up two small Poinsettias, beautiful and grown in Canada. We will not put up a Christmas Tree this year, no room for that yet, but these colourful plants seem a good substitute under the circumstances.

We have at least two pieces of large furniture in the basement that we need to get out of the house. One is an L-shaped computer desk, which is a great working space, but it takes up half the living room, so it has to go. I am finding that I can successfully work on the kitchen table with my laptop. The desktop computer has a much smaller computer desk, which is also sitting in the basement, waiting for a space to open up in the living area of the house. It is a patient piece of furniture, as it needs to be.

The other piece of large furniture in the basement is a large wooden storage cupboard, which over the years developed a case of mildew. Attila brought that with him when we moved in together. It isn’t a practical piece of furniture, large with awkward storage space. Attila would love to have it in his workshop in the garage, so it will be moved to the garage to hold shovels and rakes and other tall implements.

When these items have been shifted out of the basement, there will be room for the storage shelves. When the storage shelves are assembled, there will be room for the boxes from the front bedroom.

We found a kitchen cabinet today, suddenly, a surprise. It is a stainless steel workshop cabinet with a wood counter on top. It has a drawer, and two cabinet doors. It has wheels too, but I doubt that we will want to move it. Although, when renovating, one never knows when moving things out of the way will come in handy. The cabinet is less wide than the table it will replace, allowing a wider traffic area. It was on sale at 25% off, and is cheaper than the particle board kitchen cabinets we have been looking at.

Downsizing is a big job.

It would be a lot quicker if I didn’t get lost in my memories while sorting through the boxes! Tonight I found a box full of old posters for gigs in the 80s, when my musician partner, and his friends, were in their heyday. What a magical time that was! They look so young, and I guess I did too. Some of them are still plying their trade in the bars and cafes of Toronto. I won’t be culling anything out of those boxes!

We have a self-imposed deadline for getting the boxes out of the front bedroom, and the living space organized. Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies plan on visiting for a few nights at Christmas. This is wonderful, and will be the first time the Grandbabies, or Luna and Janus for that matter, have stayed with us during the actual Christmas season. It will be a very merry event.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Thursday 3 December 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 1.9°C
Dewpoint: -0.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: WNW 17 km/h

Quote

“Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to Love.”
Virgil
70 BC – 19 BC

“I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968
A Christmas Sermon for Peace on Dec 24, 1967

December!

Here we are, December already! I have been living in Mist Cottage for about 12 weeks now; Attila has been living here for 10 weeks. We have come a long way with our purging and unpacking, and we still have a long way to go! We are in a constant state of flux, furniture and belongings moved from here to there constantly, as the space is too small to set things aside easily while working on a project.

Yesterday I donated two boxes of items, and a green garbage bag full of clothing, to a local charity. The items have been unused for the last 25 years, and the clothing no longer fits. While in the city I also had new tires installed on the car that Attila uses to commute, and had my printer cartridge refilled. While I was waiting for the printer cartridge, and the tires, I walked around Costco, for over an hour, and I managed not to buy anything. We call Costco the $500 Store. It felt good to get all of these errands accomplished, while Attila was home sleeping in preparation for the night shift.

It was fortuitous that the tires were replaced yesterday, because the roads were very slippery due to ice, on Attila’s commute home from work this morning. He was able to navigate the roads with ease and confidence, and arrived home safely.

We purchased beds with storage drawers beneath, and they are to arrive next week. We also purchased a wardrobe that was on sale at an unbelievably low price, as part of a Black Friday sale. It wasn’t the one I was dreaming of, but it will serve the purpose, even if it falls apart after a short time, as cheap furniture often does. When Attila has assembled it, we can relieve the congestion in the one closet in the house, and perhaps begin to wear some of our regular clothing.

Last weekend Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies arrived at Terra’s big country house, for a family Christmas celebration. It was the only time all of us were able to be in the same place, at the same time, for the next few months. We had a grand time! Terra prepared an outstanding turkey dinner. I brought pumpkin pie squares, which were gobbled up completely, to my surprise. As well, I brought a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and those too were gobbled up quickly. Presents were not the focus of the event, but Attila and I could not resist wrapping up little surprises for everyone to open.

When we lived in the country house, we were able to burn garbage that had sensitive information on it. This cannot be done at Mist Cottage, so we have been accumulating quite a bit of material in our “burn bag”. Luckily, we brought the “burn bag” with us to Terra’s house, and Lares was out in the back with a large fire to burn errant branches. They heat with wood, and Lares, with the help of Attila, Janus, and Elf, was busy felling the last of the trees for firewood, sectioning them, splitting them, and stacking the wood in the wood shed. I took the opportunity to incinerate the contents of the “burn bag”, assisted by Imp, and Elf, and Tink. They couldn’t get close to the fire, so we made paper airplanes out of the paper items, which they then sent sailing into the fire. Great fun!

My Mom is experiencing a health issue. She is receiving the medical attention she needs, is as cheerful as ever, and it isn’t slowing her down much! Love from all of us Mom!

The day slipped by me today. I went for my walk, in spite of the cold and drizzle. The trick was not to wear my glasses, which blur my vision when raindrops cling to them, and fog over completely when I come in from the outdoors. They are reading glasses, and I don’t need the when I am out walking.

I baked bread, and a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, as squares instead of individual cookies.

Tonight I have the problem of deciding whether to sample the homemade bread, or the cookies. I am trying very hard not to sample both!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5:37 PM EST Tuesday 1 December 2015
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 7.1°C
Dewpoint: 6.1°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SE 28 km/h

Quote

“Years ago my mother said to me, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
Written by Mary Chase (1887 – 1973
Spoken by character Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) in “Harvey”, 1950

[I love this movie!]

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).

Winter Window Treatment

The days are getting shorter and shorter. This is presenting me with a new challenge!

Our bathroom is a tiny room, 5 foot by 6 foot. It has a little window, which is new and was installed during our bathroom renovation, replacing the two storm windows that served to cover the hole in the wall. The window is above the tub. The window is placed so that as I shower, I can look out the window. The window looks out onto the front yard, and across the street to the neighbouring houses. If I can see them, they can see me.

In the summer this is not an issue. A tree in the front yard is in full leaf, basically blocking the view to and from the neighbours windows, and the street. It is light early, and I have plenty of light from the window.

In the winter, the leaves have fallen, leaving the tree branches bare, and view clear. It is dark early in the morning, so that I need to turn on the light in order to shower. Oh dear, that means the neighbours can see me. I have been handling this by waiting until it is light out to have my shower. This is not a good solution for me, as I tend to get busy with my projects and find myself procrastinating on taking my shower. Sometimes I procrastinate all day long, and then it is evening again, and dark, so I have to wait until the next day to shower.

I like to shower when I first get up in the morning. Last week I put sticky tack on a piece of newspaper and attached it to the window frame, it worked well. It was ugly. I took it down for my sister’s visit. Then I didn’t want to put it up again because it was so ugly. I have been on the lookout for an alternative solution.

This morning Attila and I went to the store for milk and vegetables, and stopped in at the hardware store to begin purchasing materials to renovate the backyard shed, which is currently not functional. While there I saw a placemat that was pretty, it was silver, patterned with snowflakes, and let the light through. I bought it.

I first tried to stick it over the screen in the window using that tacky blue stuff, that is a bit like PlayDoh. That would not hold it, it kept falling off the wall. Then I tried packing tape, and that worked. The glue will be a challenge to get off the window frame come spring, but we are confident we can find a way to do the job when the time comes.

The window treatment is a work in progress. It now has the placemat over the glass, and over all is sheet of bubble wrap, which protects the window and frame from getting wet during a shower.

Eventually I will find a way to replace the bubble wrap with something a little more appealing, but for now it is doing double duty, and doing it well. The bubble wrap insulates the window, and it keeps the window dry during showers.

The current incarnation of the bathroom window treatment. A patterned placemat covering the screen and glass area, and a sheet of bubble wrap over all, protecting the frame and window during a shower.
Bathroomplacemat

Attila has just finished a three day “weekbreak”, which is what I am going to call his “weekends” that fall during the week. He used this time off work on our hall cupboard. It has been used as a tool cupboard for the last five years. It is where the mice came in last fall, and where I set the traps to catch them. It was rough, just studs with supports nailed into them, and boards laid across the supports. It took me quite a while to clean that closet last winter!

Attila started by moving the tools out of the closet. He secured the cupboard so that no rodents could gain entry again. Then the drywall was installed, supports were installed, shelves were lined with mahogany, and the whole interior was primed with white paint. We decided to finish the painting next spring when we can open the windows for ventilation.

As Attila slept today, I emptied four totes full of bathroom and kitchen linens into the cupboard. By the time Attila awoke, it was all organized, and the empty totes were ready to be taken down to the basement.

We gained about three square feet of clear floor space in the front bedroom. As Attila says, those three square feet are significant, in a 100 square foot room. We also gained air space, the boxes and totes are now stacked only three deep, instead of to the ceiling.

Progress, slow and steady, is being made.

The ex-tool-cupboard, now a linen cupboard. It is a welcome addition to the household! It is the only built in storage space outside the kitchen.
Linencloset

“The blog was independently invented by Ian Ring, in 1997. His online journaling platform was called an “e-journal”, and was written using ASP, with an ODBC Access db layer on the back end. Ring’s project was later abandoned, but was rewritten in PHP in 2006 but didn’t become popular amid the overwhelming flood of other CMS systems becoming available, including WordPress. Ring still maintains that he “invented the blog”,[6] which is technically true even though there were other projects that could make the same claim with greater authority.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

I found this very interesting, as I debuted my first journal entry on October 22, 1999. Encouraged by John Bailey, I have continued to write into the ether ever since then. John, who began his online journal before I did, is a former computer programmer in England, who stopped his frequent entries a few years ago. He coded his own pages, as did I, eventually converting to blogging software, then tried out twitter, before going off the air.

I switched to WordPress, from my hand coded web site format, in 2010, reluctantly, as I preferred to have my journal available to me in its entirety in text format. Now it resides in an sql file on a server, with backups on CDs and on my hard drive. I can’t just read the entries though, I have to use specialized software to access the contents of the database where the entries are stored. I hate that!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Friday 20 November 2015
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dewpoint: -5.0°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: W 23 gust 43 km/h

Quote

“I am a galley slave to pen and ink.”
Honore de Balzac
1799 – 1850

I share the sentiment, but bow to changes in the craft.

Weekend!

We had a lovely weekend. A weekend! My sister and her hubby came for a visit on Saturday. We had a spaghetti supper, then headed downtown to look at the Christmas display, which is quite pretty. We also visited some of the older buildings in town, viewing the architecture of the exteriors, which were well lit.

They stayed the night, and that was an adventure, but we did it. We made enough room for the pull out couch to be opened up into a bed, which Sis says was quite comfortable, with the memory foam that we added to the top of the mattress.

The next day, after a bacon and egg breakfast, we all drove down to Terra and Lares place to show it off to their Auntie and Uncle. Terra and Lares were out of town visiting Lares’ brother’s brand new baby girl, born on the 11th of November. So we walked around the property, peered through the windows, and enjoyed the wonderful view. The dogs watched us through the sliding doors, they were so cute! Attila and I also took the visit as an opportunity to drop off a chair we were giving to Terra and Lares.

Sis and hubby then drove towards home, taking the scenic route, which they quite enjoyed by all accounts, travelling through wine country, on the slower, quieter highways. Attila and I headed home.

The weather is unbelievably pleasant for mid-November! The sun shone all day, and one needed nothing but a sweater to stay comfortable out of doors.

Today Attila started working at his new job. He is working 12 hour shifts, I think they call it a “continental shift” rotation. This was his choice, he feels there are several advantages, like fewer trips to and from work, as he will be working fewer days to put in the same number of hours as the regular shift. We now have something tangible to adjust to!

My day has been happily busy.

The projects began with sweeping up the pine cones and needles on the driveway. There are a frightful number of pine cones and seeds from the next door neighbour’s ash tree. These were swept into piles, then dumped into a pail using a broom and dustpan. The organic debris was carted to the back yard and placed in the open compost.

When I took the first bucket to the back yard, our feline friend was sitting in front of the compost, trying his luck with hunting. He was glad to see me though, rubbed against my legs, and followed me back to the front driveway. There he enjoyed rolling in my gathered pile of pine cones and needles. I enjoyed his company.

The cell phone rang just after the first bucket load was dumped. It was Lares, stuck at the car dealership in town, as they decided his car needed more work than anticipated. He wondered if I would drive him home. So I stowed my bucket, broom, and dust pan in the garage. Then I loaded the firewood in to Tank, that we had saved for Terra and Lares, from the dead branches of the Crabapple tree in our front yard. Then I headed out to pick up Lares.

It was a beautiful day for a drive, Terra and Lares live about 20 minutes out of town. When we arrived I helped Lares stack the firewood, then headed indoors to visit with Terra and the dogs and the kitties. Terra was busy unpacking Christmas decorations. She does a lovely job of decorating her house for Christmas. We chatted for a bit, then Lares headed off to work, and I left to enjoy the beautiful drive home.

After a quick lunch, I prepared two more books for shipping. I was quite surprised to get an order from Australia. I know of the relatives there, and have corresponded with my distant cousin on many occasions. She ordered the book, much to my surprise, as she does excellent research herself. The postage was very costly.

Once home, the rest of the day was spent cleaning the driveway.

It has been a satisfying day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 6:00 PM EST Monday 16 November 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.2°C
Dewpoint: -4.9°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: NE 15 km/h

Quote

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968