Monday, June 30, 2008

Dr. Claw

We spent last night at the apartment, woke up early, and got to work. We cleaned the place out in under four hours, and now we officially live here.

Now that we know that the amount of stuff coming in here has relatively stabilized, we are much better off. The dehumidifier is downstairs, kicking ass and taking names, and things have dried out to the point that I'm okay with putting stuff down there. The master bedroom still needs to be painted, and I'm hoping that we can finalize our colour choice tonight/tomorrow, and go pick up the paint and start painting on Wednesday. Once that's done, we can build our bed, and set up the dressers. Come Friday, the split boxspring for the bed will be delivered, and the room will be good to go. Once that happens, the guest room will empty out a bit, and I'll be able to get into the (currently completely packed) craft room and start organizing and prepping for paint there. I put a pretty good dent in the dining room today, but a lot of the stuff there belongs to The Boyfriend, and I'm not quite sure what he intends to do with all of it.

James came over last night, and brought a house warming gift all the way from Sudbury - he brought us a hermit crab and its complete habitat. The crab has a coconut house. It's so fun. I was worried that he was dead, but he moved from his cocohut to his sponge, so I guess he's doing okay. I have to feed him tomorrow, and mist his sponge. I also have to try to convince Mat that we should name him Dr. Claw.

I got my first fun mail at the new house today: two parcels. The first contained my swap kit from HSKS5, which was full of tremendous things, including some of the most beautiful sock yarn imaginable; the second was from KnitPicks, which was unexpected. The last time I ordered from them, it took a really long time to get here...nearly three weeks. This one came within 9 days of me ordering, all the more impressive given that 3 of those days were weekends, and that it ships from the States.

I got some bare yarn to dye, a set of their laminated wood DPNs, and the dye starter set (2 blues, 2 reds, a yellow and a black). A couple of the girls from the knitting guild here are going to show me how to dye the yarn--I'm so excited.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

working hard...

So today The Boyfriend's parents came up, bringing with them everything he has ever owned. Our house is now full of stuff. It is going to take forever to get it organized.

We had a bit of a scare on Friday when we realized the box spring for our new mattress was not going to go upstairs. Thankfully we were able to get the delivery guys to take it back to the Brick, and exchange it for a split box, which is coming (hopefully) on Friday of this week. Our original plan had been to take The Boyfriend's old mattress and set that up in the second bedroom for our guest room, but that was foiled today when we tried to get the box (only a double) up the stairs and failed at it. (We wound up, eventually, at Home Depot, where 4 4x4s and two sheets of chipboard are taking the place of the boxspring...not ideal, but it's a guest room, so hopefuly no one will be there long term.)

Tomorrow we have to finish moving out of the apartment, and clean it. And then the cleaning here can begin...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

now we're getting somewhere

If nothing else, the living room is more or less ready to go. Every time I feel a little bit panicked, I come in here and look at my beautiful sofa and loveseat, and the nice tables. It calms me right down. Eventually stuff will get done. It might seem unbelievably chaotic right now, but in good time we will get things in order.

Also, we now have a barbeque, courtesy of the best parents in the world. It is full of AWESOME.

Friday, June 27, 2008

our house, in the middle of our street

I am the kind of person who likes things to work out. I was originally going to write that I'm not a patient person, but that actually isn't true: I'm normally very patient. I just like it when things work out the way that they are supposed to. I like people who meet deadlines (or, if they miss them, who can communicate what's happening clearly). I'm very much my father's type A daughter.

Buying houses and moving is not for type A people.

It has been a couple of very crazy, very overwhelming days around here. Somethings have gone well: We spent a lot of money yesterday, but we got excellent value for our money. We successfully cleaned the carpets. The phone, internet, and satellite all got hooked up like they were supposed to be (and Bell Canada continues to astound me by actually treating me well as a customer). On the whole, though, I feel like there's been a lot of one step forward, two step back. The house was not very clean when we took possession. I wasn't expecting it to be immaculate by any stretch of the imagination, but this is a little outside what I would normally consider acceptable. The tub is hideous. The judicious application of CLR is helping to clear it up, but it will still have to be replaced. The previous owners also decided it would be a good idea to paint the unfinished cement floor in the basement with some of that cement paint, which is actually a good idea, if you can be troubled to take the time to actually sweep and scrub the floor before painting, and also run a dehumidifier in the basement, which is exceptionally damp. So damp, in fact, that when you walk downstairs, the paint will come off whatever you are walking on...

The real kicker, though? We have mice. We found a trap in one cupboard and evidence of tunnelling in another. Upon further examination outside, we discovered that they are probably coming in our chimney. Awesome. On one hand, I can understand why a seller would be reluctant to disclose something like prior to a sale, but that would have been a lot nicer than getting that fun surprise all on our own.

The silver lining in that cloud is that my "Can we please get a cat?" argument is suddenly much more valid.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


This will likely go down in history as the most expensive week of my life. We paid our closing costs yesterday, and took possession of the house today at about noon. Since then, we have been shopping, shopping, shopping, and will likely do more of the same tomorrow.

Things we have purchased in the last week: Sofa, loveseat, mattress and boxspring, sleigh bedframe (sounds extravagant but wasn't - we got it for 25% of the original price because it's a floor model), chest, three tables, an enormous bucket of primer, rollers, spackle, spackle spatulas, two fans, eavestrough extenders, gardening gloves, wastebaskets, doormats, new doorknobs/locks, lightbulbs, oven cleaner, CLR, frying pans, paper towels, dropcloths, used towels and sheets for cleaning/painting, a tape measure, ant traps, painters' tape, and about a million other things that I can't remember right now.

We still haven't actually decided on paint colours so we'll get to back tomorrow and do it that too.

We also rented a rug shampoo-er, so we need to go get cracking on that. I'll update more later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In which I am relieved to not be a pedophile...

I was out for coffee last week with a friend, and our conversation turned to our mutual admiration for the late, lamented TV show Everwood. There were (and are!) lots of reasons to like Everwood: great writing, directing, and acting; lots of interesting stories; DR. HAROLD ABBOTT; Bright and the Promebago. But one of the things that I used to like especially much about Everwood was the certain je-ne-sais-quoi of young Gregory Smith.

As I was telling Brett this, I realized that there was potentially something weird about what I was saying (vis-a-vis the age difference between myself and Ephram Brown) so I felt it necessary to qualify this statement by explaining that I was quite a bit younger at the time that Everwood was actually on TV, and thus closer in age to Ephram, and thus, not a pervert.

I forgot all about that until I saw some previews for Wanted, which gets a theatrical release this weekend. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the gentle beauty of a (now older) Gregory Smith doing things like dodging bullets and making eyes at Angelina Jolie and her tattoos. And then I decided that, in the interests of not being weird, I should probably find out exactly how much younger than me Gregory Smith is.

So I looked up Wanted on the IMDB. It turns out that young Gregory Smith is only two years younger than I am (and if we are being precise, he is in fact one month and two days older than The Boyfriend), which pretty much officially absolves me from being weird. It also turns out that Gregory Smith is not actually in Wanted, and the object of my viewing pleasure is actually James McAvoy. Who, incidentally, is two years *older* than me. And Scottish. And hot. Did I mention that already?

So yeah. Wanted and Wall-e this weekend, but I suspect we'll be too busy with the house to make it into either.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

an open letter to Ben Mulroney...

Dear Ben Mulroney,

I don't know that having your father be the man who signed Canada to the North American Free Trade Agreement is anything to be bragging about, especially on national TV.

A Concerned Citizen

Complaints About Harry Potter

I've been thinking about the Potter series a lot lately; partly because of my participation in the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap and partly just because it's summer, and aside from packing I haven't really done much lately except crack through the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD and read. Oh, and knit a little bit, I guess.

Anyhow. Harry Potter. I have two main problems with these books, and they are probably not what you think they are. Yes, blah blah blah romance, blah blah blah epilogue--I'm not a huge fan of the epilogue, exactly, but at the end of the day I can accept that, you know, J.K. Rowling wrote these books and I didn't, and that as much as she's realized a very wonderful, wonderfully vivid world that I feel like I could belong to, I...don't. And it's her world, so what she says goes.

Problem the first: I have a very hard time accepting that the wizarding world is as ignorant of the Muggle world as the books make it out to be. It just doesn't make sense. First of all, there aren't *that* many wizarding communities in Britain, so most of these wizards are living in some proximity to Muggles, and it seems illogical to me that the wizards are so completely oblivious. What about money, for example? Where do wizards shop when they need things not available at Diagon Alley? (Like groceries, for example.) Additionally, I think that the younger generation of wizards (i.e., those at Hogwarts) would be much better equipped to deal with the Muggle world based on their interactions with their Muggle born counterparts.

Problem the second: which is really the more serious of the two. In the face of Muggle-born/pure blood discourse, difference becomes totalized, to the point where that difference is the only one that exists: there is no racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no religious tensions, no nationalism (which is a bigger deal in the UK than it might seem to those of us in North American, particularly to the Irish and the Scottish), etc. Upon reflection, this does actually tie in nicely with my earlier point, and I'm afraid I still don't buy it. All of these prejudices are so deeply seated that they don't just disappear with the wave of a magic wand, and Rowling does her readers a real disservice by pretending that they don't exist. Oh, sure, there's the possible parallels between blood status and racism in many countries, including Canada, but all of that becomes even more confused when you actually take the time to think about it, because, well, it doesn't really make sense. The only distinctions Rowling makes are full and half, where historical examples of "blood mania" tend to extend that concern much further many as five generations, even.

Don't get me wrong--I still very much enjoy the books, and continue to marvel at the fullness of the realm Rowling has created. I just think there are things that could have been thought out more fully.

Friday, June 13, 2008

comin' round the bend...

As of yesterday, we are two weeks away from our closing date on the house, and starting to kick in to high gear to get everything organized. Today, that means getting quotes on insurance rates. I'd had the local Co-operators Group recommended to me by a couple of people, so we started our search there.

It was an unqualified disaster.

Though The Boyfriend and I are buying the house together, in the sense that we are paying for everything together, in the more technical legal/financial sense of everything, I am buying the house. So when we went to the Co-operators office, and asked to speak with a representative to get a quote, the man we spoke to asked whose name the house would be in. Naturally, The Boyfriend told him that it was my show (his exact phrase), so of course the insurance guy decided to address himself only to The Boyfriend, asking him all the questions and handing all of the documents, including his business card, to The Boyfriend. I'm pretty sure that the only time he spoke to me directly was to take down the correct spelling of my name, since it's the one that has to go on all of the documentation.

At the end of the meeting, we found out that he is just being trained on doing quotes for home, and isn't actually licensed to sell us any of that insurance, so if we decide to take it we'll be dealing with his superior. I still kind of can't believe that it happened like that; if it weren't for the fact that it was the first thing that The Boyfriend commented on after we left, I'd think I were being too sensitive.

The quote also seemed a little high to me (not that I have much experience with these things), so I called up TD Canada Trust's insurance division this afternoon and they gave me a quote for a package that covers more and costs about 65% of the other (plus discounts when I move my auto insurance there later this month). I will be quite happy not to give Co-operators my business.

Monday, June 09, 2008

nothing matters but the weekend...

Took a quick trip home for the weekend, as The Boyfriend's brother was turning 19, and I wanted to see my parents before they took their trip across the pond. (They're on a ten day driving tour of Scotland, and it will be the second time my dad has been back since his family emigrated to Canada - the last was when he was sixteen.) It was not the best weekend I've had in a while, something of a mixed bag. The Good: Spending time with Youngest Sister and Mz. T, drinking Orangina in a martini bar, the Stompin' Tom Story, the continued love and devotion of the grey stripey cat. The Bad: The 30+ degree weather that made my parents' unairconditioned house pretty much impossible to sleep in at night, my attempt at making dinner for everyone resulting in me slicing open my ring finger.

My finger was pretty gross; my dad and sister took good care of me. I always forget (or, more correctly, never think to consider at all) that while my mom is the nurse, my dad is also a first responder in his own right, and taught first aid and CPR both for the Red Cross and for the police force. He was awesome. I was not. The heat had really wiped me out, and I'd let myself get dehydrated, so the sight of my own blood all over the kitchen made me almost pass out. Not cool at all.

What was cool is that, as I was lying on the floor in the bathroom trying to convince myself that fainting was not a option, my poor sweet Jasper cat came a tapping at the door, and came into the bathroom to check up on me. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but under normal circumstances he's afraid of the bathroom, and won't go in at all.

On the way down, we stopped at my favourite yarn store in Huntsville. I was hoping to find some worsted weight superwash, but no dice - so now I am back to the drawing table to come up with two baby shower gifts by Sunday. There was some gorgeous Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino Sock, which I scooped up, along with a set of Brittany Birch DPNs. This put me over my limit to earn my yarn credit, so I promptly cashed that in on a skein of Handmaiden's Merino Cashmere sock yarn in lovely purples. Talk about exciting. Am on yarn diet FOR REALZ now, otherwise boyfriend may be forced to find somewhere else to live.

His hobbies aren't any less expensive, they just take up less space.