Ten Things of Thankful, June 24th

It’s hard to believe another month is nearly gone! Next Friday we celebrate Canada Day here and over in the US I’m guessing you’ll be celebrating July 4th. It’s interesting to me how much more is made of July 4th in the US than us Canadians tend to make of Canada Day. Maybe we need to work on that here.

Happy #1)

Most of the garden centers in my area will be soon closing for the season. While I’m hopeful they’ve all had fantastic spring sales, I’m not going to miss the constant temptation they offer. I’ve already made and filled one new garden this year and judging by the number of unplanted plants still here, I think I’ll be starting another one.

Happy #2)

After cataloguing all of my new this year plants, along with some of the ones from last year, I do believe I’ve almost got a workable plan to get everything planted. Right now, I’ve got hardy hibiscus where they will end up blocking walkways and the color scheme is lacking something. It’s tricky to pull together a garden plan when a good part of it is sample plants for a few reasons.

  • The perennials come in singles, which usually gardens look nicer when there are multiples of each plant.
  • They aren’t colors I would necessarily choose. Usually they are all pinks and lavenders, I prefer strong colors heavy to the reds, oranges and yellows.
  • They aren’t selected for my heavily shaded yard.
  • There are always petunias in there, always! Petunias are not one of my favorite plants to grow, they usually poop out on me by mid-summer.

I have no idea what I’m going to do next year, I guess I better hurry up and get the back yard berm and dry creek bed ready. Although that won’t help much with any full-sun perennial samples I happen to get.

Happy #3)

Two weekends ago, I spent the entire weekend building a little garden fence to help keep the dogs out of my plants.

After pounding post inIt was a complete failure.

Fretwork Garden FenceLast weekend I started over, and while there where still some issues, it did end up working out. Which is good, because I’ve got a clematis to plant that will need that little fence for support. I bought that after swearing up and down that I was not going to buy anymore plants. But seriously it was half price!

In the interests of shameless self-promotion – you can see how I made it over at Gardening In The Shade by clicking here.

Happy #4)

Gardening In The Shade – I think I’ve finally hit my blogging stride with the new site. I have so many ideas rolling around in my head for over there that I think I’ll still be going on those ideas when next years gardening season rolls around!

Happy #5)

Succulent Turtle (2)

I made this adorable turtle topiary this week. I just love how he turned out and can’t wait to see how he looks as his shell starts to fill in. Ahem, a little more self-promotion – you can see how I made him over here. Honestly, you would not believe how easy it was to make that turtle. I call him Fred, and his mate is on my work table waiting for some finishing touches. I accidentally broke one of her legs, so I need to find another one.

Happy #6)

There were maple keys this year, but after last year’s bumper crop they were barely noticed. Of course where one thing is taken away, another is given. This year we’ve received a very generous helping of Mayflies!

Patio Door Screen covered in May FliesWhen I woke up Thursday morning, there were so many Mayflies on the front of my house, it looked as if it had grown bark.

Happy #7)

Mayflies are stinky, but way too big to fly in noses and eyes. They also don’t bite or sting.

Happy #8)

This is the time of year I bought a power washer for, and believe me once those mayflies are done for the season, I will be hauling it out to clean up the mess. Before power washers became attainable for home owners, I used to have to scrub all the siding by hand every year with a brush on an extension pole. It was a two day job and I don’t miss it at all now that I can do the same in a few hours with the power washer.

As a benefit there is just something about using a power washer that makes me feel like a bad ass. Except for when the pull start refuses to co-operate with me. Then I just get pissy and go mope somewhere.

Happy #9)

I’m so happy to have outdoor projects this year. Last spring I started out strong on the outside stuff and then had the wind knocked out of my sails with the neighbor issues. That’s not going to happen this year, I refuse to let it happen.

Happy #10)

That three-day weekend coming up and the four-day week before it.

So what are you thankful for this week?


Ten Things of Thankful, June 5th!

How amazing is it that it’s already June?

Happy #1)

Air conditioning for when it’s needed and lots of big windows with good screens for when it isn’t. The weather this week was a bit up and down, a couple of hot, humid still days when I am so grateful I have air conditioning. I grew up without it and at that time there were more households without it than there were with. Today though it’s off, we’ve got nice gusty door slamming breezes happening.

Happy #2)

Did I mention my neighbor from hell has his house up for sale?

Happy #3)

Silly dogs. Louie is a bit of an odd one, with a nose that’s usually dry and sometimes gets so chapped we have to intervene. The only chapsticks I could find were fruity scented ones so there was a brief frenzy of two dogs licking the same nose.

Happy #4)

A new wheelbarrow. My previous one gasped it’s last on a project my oldest was working on last year. With father’s day right around the corner (Dad’s may be hard to buy for, but the sales around their holiday are for way more useful things than the stuff on sale for Mother’s Day.) I managed to get one on sale. Wheelbarrows are not cheap.

Happy #5)

Visits with friends. It’s a simple pleasure, but one I had almost completely abandoned back in the days of the Twat. Now I can almost count on seeing my friends for a gossip and tea every Saturday.

Happy #6)

Two Chairs on a DeckEvenings sitting on my deck. I can’t see the lake from there anymore, but I can still hear the gentle hush of waves coming to shore. I sit out there with my phone and kindle app, but usually I spend more time with my own thoughts than I do reading. It ends up with fewer cigarettes smoked indoors – if only I could come up with a way to make part of the deck covered and screened so I could get even more use from it. A project to think about.

Happy #7)

2016-05-28 17.15.11 2016-06-03 12.33.46 2016-06-03 12.33.55All of my planters are filling in. I’m so happy with the plant choices I’ve made. Next week I have a new garden bed in the works, the grass is already killed off and waiting for a fresh layer of compost.

Happy #8)

Plans, plans and more plans! I’m not sure how many will reach fruition this year but it’s still exciting to have those plans. I’m thinking of a dry creek bed to manage surface water from my neigbor and hopefully divert it around the house. I’m also dreaming of a small potting shed to handle all things garden related and free up some space in our storage shed. It would be lovely to cover a portion of my deck too, even better if I can screen it in too.

Happy #9)

cement barricade with dead end checker-board signFreedom from the anxiety and stress of last summer. It’s also nice that the barricade is moved over against the troublemakers property, so we have the extra parking we need again. It’s so nice to not have to shuffle vehicles around just to leave my driveway.

Happy #10)

Iced Coffee. I’m still not 100% certain the payoff is worth the mess of cold brewing coffee, but it’s nice to have something different and just a little bit special for a Sunday afternoon.

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful, May 22nd.

Oh hey – another long weekend I get to enjoy! One of the many things I appreciate about no longer working in a pack house.

Happy #1)

Speaking of Pack Houses and the Vegetable Greenhouse Industry, there is a documentary out I would dearly love to see called “Migrant Dreams” by Min Sook Lee. I suspect that for a couple of months I worked with the Indonesian women featured in it.

Happy #2)

This – The shame of our disposable workers  – appeared in a Toronto paper. Even in best case scenarios, working conditions in these enormous food factories that our labor code calls “agricultural labor” are horrible. They’re horrible for all workers, not just the Temporary Foreign Workers, although they get the brunt of it. There is no limit to the hours per week worked, there are limits to break entitlements and it’s just a situation ripe for and rife with abuses by employers.

On one article I read a couple of years ago, a woman claimed that if she was provided with housing she would love to take one of those TFW positions. Little do people realize that some workers are housed in bunkhouses that are infested with bedbugs or otherwise simply not what we would consider livable. Bunkhouses are not hotel rooms, they are shared cooking and washroom facilities and rows and rows of bunk beds with only a curtain (if the worker is lucky) around the bed for privacy.

I know how badly employees in this industry are treated from personal experience, but I can’t say too much because of my current position. I want to see people fired up about how poorly our migrant workers are treated while they labor to put food on our tables, instead of blaming the migrant workers for everything they don’t have themselves. Of course I have been diligently avoiding reading the comments on these articles so I can retain some faith in our humanity.

Happy #3)

2016-05-20 20.40.14I have these Skechers shoes I bought right before I went to California. They are super comfortable – which is what I wanted – and they look as cute as sandals with capri’s and crop pants. Perfect for someone going in and out of greenhouses right?

Well as you can see, these are shoes that would look pretty stupid with socks, and after just 10 minutes of me wearing them without socks, my feet STINK so bad that I don’t even have to be sitting down to smell them. That’s right – I can smell them standing up. I wash these shoes, they come out of the washer and look great. Within an hour they’re full of foot funk again.

So I am happy they’re comfortable but wowza – there is nothing, absolutely nothing cute about the smell.

Happy #4)

Three day weekend – Whoo Hoo! Better yet? We get the off peak electricity rate for an extra day!

Happy #5)

Kathleen Wynne, our sorry excuse for a Premier, may have finally delivered the straw that broke the camel’s (or voter’s) back. Her government has proposed a plan that will see the Ontario Building Code outlawing natural gas furnaces by 2030 – it’s only 14 years away people! – and people are outraged! I’ve been aware of what they were going to do with our electricity rates since the days of Dalton McGinty, but somehow the Liberals convinced voters it wouldn’t really cost us that much and voters fell for the rainbows and unicorn glitter farts. People are finally seeing reality and it’s about time!

Happy #6)

Did I mention the 3 day weekend?

Happy #7)

I have all of my patio planters done for the summer. 2016-05-21 18.43.44 2016-05-21 18.42.37 2016-05-21 18.42.26 2016-05-21 18.42.18Now it’s on to the vegetable garden and the flower beds/landscaping.

Happy #8)

My oldest went camping for the weekend with his dad. He took his dog – Jackson with him. I love my son but sometimes when he leaves it’s like an enormous weight or a seriously black cloud has left my personal space. I will fully enjoy it while it lasts and be thankful for him when he returns.

Happy #9)

Kindle Unlimited! I’m not on good terms with my local library (something about late fines and a brand new Jeffery Deaver book my cat managed to cover in spaghetti with sauce) so this Kindle Unlimited subscription is wonderful. I’m getting way more out of that fee than I’ve ever gotten from my Netflix subscription.

Happy #10)

Realizing there are two books in the Harry Potter series that I had never read and that they are available through my Kindle Unlimited subscription!


Ten Things of Thankful

Bonus Happy #11)

It seems I buy domain names like some women buy shoes, but I’ve created a space just for my plant and garden posts. Best of both worlds because I will get to share more of what I learn and know through my job while keeping this space for the somewhat less professional things – like my experience with on-line dating that you can find here. Mind, the language is quite raw so read at your own risk.

I Won’t Be Grateful For Less, Because I Deserve More

I’ve written about the bitter taste of grateful before, and I don’t mean it to sound as if I don’t appreciate the many blessings in my life, because I do. One thing I don’t appreciate though? Men who think I should be grateful for their attention.

So here’s the thing, I’m raising two young men. I have an awesome father who loves and appreciates my mother every day. I have Uncles who do the same with their wives. Because of these fine and wonderful men, I try so very hard to never fall into the habit of judging all men by the actions of a few. But you guys who think you can offer to ‘service’ a woman like she’s a cow in the field and you’re the only bull in sight? You guys suck. You want to know why you suck? You suck because…

I. Have. Value.

I have raised two fine young men – in spite of their father and his own demons – I have raised them mostly on my own. I am one mother of many who have done the same and created men without the man who should have shown them by example how to be men. Both of my boys have held part-time jobs from 15 on. Both of them buy their own clothes and pay their own phone bills – since they were 15.

While neither of them have chosen to go to college or university they are fine. My youngest may still be finding his way, but my oldest? He bought his own fucking house at 22. I did that. I took them from infants, through boyhood and grew them into men any mother or father would be proud of. I taught them how to care for the ones they love and respect themselves. And when it was all said and done? I encouraged my boys to let go of the past and develop an adult relationship with their father.

I own my own damned house. I pay the mortgage from money I earn and it will be mine free and clear in less than 5 years. I pay for the upkeep. I change the filters in my own damned furnace and when the tap leaks I fucking fix it. I’ve paid for every single window in this house and the siding too. I made it comfortable before I even thought to make it pretty. I know every single quirk and flaw in my home. I paid for every fucking screw and I know where they’re buried too.

I spent the week before my 45th birthday fixing my car so it would pass emissions. I spent the time to figure out what I needed to do. I called around for parts and then used my own damn tools to fix it. I fixed my own motherfucking car!

I crocheted two fucking hats over the New Years holidays while you sat at home jerking off to porn and crying into your beer. Two hats big enough to fit my fat head. You want to know why my head is fat? It’s fat because I’m fucking smart. I read science articles for fun while you’re jerking off into a sock.

I spent my Friday evening making home-made pizza that was to die for. I made a kick-ass meal for my family that didn’t cost me $50 on top of a full week of kick ass dinners that my guys were grateful for. On Saturday I made chicken soup with home-made egg noodles. On Sunday I made my own sourdough bread. And doing all that satisfied me in a way your offer to ‘service’ my needs never will.

Tomorrow? I’ll wake up and make sure my boys are off to their jobs with good lunches. I’ll pay bills with money I earned and I’ll do my job. At the end of the day, I’ll serve another kick ass satisfying meal. And while I’m doing all that…

I. Will. Be. Grateful.

Because there are so very many things in my life I am grateful for.

  • I’m grateful to have raised two healthy young men.
  • I’m grateful they are finding their way through life.
  • I’m grateful both of my parents are alive, healthy and still so very much in love with each other.
  • I’m grateful for the job I have and that so far I’ve never faced the trauma of unemployment.
  • I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my fridge and the clothes on my back.
  • I’m grateful for my health and physical well-being.

I. Will. Not. Be. Grateful….

When some man decides I must be desperate and offers to ‘service’ my needs. I have a handheld shower that knows exactly what I like and doesn’t give a flying fuck when I last shaved my legs. And while we’re on the topic of shaving legs? If I peel myself up off of my sofa and shave my legs for you? You had better be capable of carrying a god damned conversation beyond what your favorite sex position is.

When some man is willing to ‘let’ me sleep with him, love his children like they are my own, cook, clean and grocery shop for him, and do all of that while trying to maintain my own home and family? That’s work asshole and I deserve to get as much as I give because what I’m giving has value. You don’t want a relationship but you want all the comforts of a wife? Hey, I want to win the lotto jackpot, but life is never that easy and neither is any partnership worth having. I deserve someone who is willing to give as much as he receives – without keeping score.

And while we’re on the topic of keeping score? Sex is mutual motherfucker. You want to keep track of how many BJ’s you get and how many days since the last one? Well you go right ahead because I know how to count too, and when I keep score? I don’t track the how, I track who made it to the finish line and how often. So far the only 1 for 1 relationship I’ve ever had is with that hand-held shower, so do you really want to go there?

You don’t want a relationship? You want to be ‘friends’ only, but friends with benefits? Well guess what? I am a grown ass woman who doesn’t always expect love from chemistry, but you need to be a fucking friend before you get the benefits. You want easy gratification without an ounce of effort – google your favorite flavor of porn and find yourself a sock.

Like 99% of the population, I am neither astonishingly beautiful nor am I repulsively ugly. I am average and being average does not make me unworthy. I have earned every ounce of respect and admiration I demand. Whether by my hand or by my will, I have created my own path and I have traveled it on my own two feet while carrying my own burdens.

I have value and if you don’t want to know or appreciate my value then just walk on by, because …

I Won’t Be Grateful For Less Than I Deserve.



2016 – Because If Not Now, When?

2016During the mad chaos of painting and cleaning and installing flooring these past few months, I’ve spent more time thinking about what I want to say here than I have spent actually saying it. I’ve blogged sporadically for four or five years now. In 2012 I started blogging as My Half Assed Life. I dreamed up the name one night after one (or five) too many drinks while I reflected on my half-assed boyfriend. The one who loved having me hang-out in his garage, cook and bake for him, take his children shopping and otherwise amused, do his grocery shopping, oh and of course the obvious stuff too. The thing is, after five years it was becoming pretty obvious that he might be loving all the things I was doing for him but he did not love me.

Even worse, he was constantly on my back about my kids. Since his dad was okay with him quitting school without his grade 12 to work and pay a mortgage (that his father held) that should be good enough for my kid too. And since he was an every-other weekend father who did his parenting from his garage with a beer in hand while his teens hung out in the house, he found the mouthiness that comes from teens who are actually being parented, shocking. No way would he ever stand for that from his kids (who were allowed to do as they pleased at his house while their mother did the heavy lifting) and mine should be tossed out of the house for it. Spoiler – that wasn’t going to happen no matter how much he bitched.

There were also the multiple times I heard how my oldest malingered while recovering from a Pilon Fracture of the ankle and subsequent orthopedic surgery because the half-assed boyfriend had made it through his broken ribs without any pain medication (beer and weed don’t count I guess). After all he sneezed a lot, so that made his broken ribs far more severe than a broken ankle that required having screws and plates drilled into bone. He also felt that he knew better than the surgeon, nurses and other health care professionals who insisted that there should be absolutely no weight placed on that ankle for at least 9 months. I guess the weed was giving him delusions of a medical degree on his wall.

So looking back, it’s really no surprise that the half-assed relationship imploded a few months later, even if it was devastating at the time. What is surprising is that it didn’t end with me kicking his ass to the curb. Nope, I was the one who got dumped. I didn’t even get all of my stuff back, I sure as hell didn’t get my really good wireless router back (yes, I am still bitter about that and intend to be for a very long time).

I am truly ashamed that I tolerated that nonsense for longer than a half-minute, because he wasn’t in any way worthy of my time or my care. But you know who was worthy of all that time and care? Me, I was worthy of it. So here’s the thing – when I started Heels and a Toolbox I wanted it to be a reminder to myself and every other single woman out there – you’ve got this.

You can be single and be happy, and I don’t mean just telling people you’re happy with your single life to save face happy either. I mean real happiness and true contentment with your life as a single woman (or man). You can in fact love your single life so much that you question whether you even want to try a relationship, whether you’re really willing to expend your energy and oh so precious free time on someone who may or may not be worthy of you.

You can look after your own house or apartment. So many things seem intimidating if you’ve never done them before, but I think there are a lot of men out there who wish we would stop assuming that men are good at patching drywall or fixing a leaky tap just because they’ve got a penis in their pants. In fact I want you to stop that shit! Everybody, man or woman, learns how to do stuff the same way – by doing it. Fucking it up is always a possibility, whether you’re a guy or a girl, but after it’s done I bet you’ll know how you would do it better the next time.

You can look after your own car. I watched my son spend almost his entire summer sitting under The Duck Dynasty truck with his iPad in his hand. By the time it was over, he had dropped his transmission to replace his clutch and most of the components for the clutch’s hydraulic system. He replaced his ball-joints, tie rods and I have no idea what else. He didn’t know a damn thing about it before he started. So I’m not saying get out there and drop your tranny, but you can check your tire pressure and oil or even change your oil. And hey, if you’re up for it then go ahead and drop that tranny to replace the clutch, just don’t expect to find a tutorial for that here.

You can raise your children/teens/young adults by yourself and you’ll do it better without the judgement of some every-other weekend Daddy who’s only real concern for his own children is to bitch about the support he pays. Dote on your children – even your male children. Don’t think of it as making mama’s boys, that isn’t what it’s about. It’s about teaching your children/teens/young adults by example how to care for the people they will some day (you hope) love, not by doing everything for them but by doing the things you do do, with love and care.

Most importantly? You’re only as lonely as you want to be. You would be surprised how many of your married friends welcome a chance to get together and play cards or watch a movie sans spouse. Even happily married women crave time away from their spouses on occasion. Learn a new craft or rediscover an old one. Binge watch Netflix in your rattiest pj’s without worrying about when you last shaved your legs. I honestly can’t remember once in this past year being bored with my own company.

Enjoy your life as it is now at this moment. With our without a partner because if not now, when?

Ten Things of Thankful – December 25th!

I missed linking up last week, and I have no idea if there will be a TToT linkup this weekend, but I missed it for a very good reason. With it being the last weekend before Christmas, it was time to knuckle down and get my house company ready. I host the family dinner Christmas Eve, and I sometimes think the entire last six months was about getting ready for that one evening. Sure when that day came there was still some fluffing and stuffing that happened, and my bedroom door was firmly closed to hide the mess behind it but it didn’t stop me from feeling pride over my home and all that has been done this year either by my hand or by my will.

FlooredThe flooring that is finally installed in two rooms (there are still two more to go when I’m ready to start tearing apart rooms again.

From the front Finished Rattan Chair 2The comfy chairs that were made over by my hand.


The shelf that I painted and then filled with collected glassware (perhaps black isn’t the right color to show off green glassware) with the plants I’ve managed to keep alive and the telephone lamp that used to live on top of my great-grandmother’s TV.

Sofa and Coffee Table

The sofa that finally fits my home with the corner section removed (you know that corner section took up 12 square feet of floor space and only seated one?), the vintage coffee table purchased through a Facebook group in front, and my father’s grandmother’s paintings hanging above. The two on either end with their black frames look so much better than before.

Vintage Condiment or Relish server

The relish tray, a value village find, that I used for cream cheese and pepper jellies.

My tree

The tree, decorated with memories and origami paper stars made by my hand.

My family history

The family tree written in my grandmother’s schoolteacher hand, finally framed and displayed – even if it is only an old photocopy of the original.

I’m also loving this years unseasonably mild temperatures. Yes, I realize it’s an indication of global warming, but so were the past two years of extremely cold winters. Both are symptoms of the same problem but this year’s symptoms are far more pleasant.

I’m also grateful to have passed my emissions test. My birthday is right before Christmas and so it is also time to renew my license plate sticker ($108), but this year I needed to have an emissions test and my check engine light was on. Matt borrowed a device to read the codes, I replaced the Cam Position Sensor ($70) and the Intake and Exhaust Cam Position Actuator Sensors ($55 each) and then did not drive the car enough to pass the first test ($35) so had to go back the next day for a second test (half-price so only $17.50). All of that and my car runs exactly like it did before I started.

And now I get to enjoy a three day weekend with no family obligations and the bulk of my normal weekend chores already completed.


Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful, December 4th

No matter which day I type out my weekly list of thankfuls, I always use the Friday date. I suppose this means that technically on the weeks I write about things that happened over the weekend I’m actually writing next weeks list, but whatever. Also there will not be a “Ding Dong the Witch is gone listed as a happy here. Hopefully next week…

Happy #1)

Justin has work for a couple of weeks. It’s just a temporary thing, but money is money.

Happy #2)

Pre-lit Christmas TreeI bit the bullet and bought a pre-lit artificial tree this year. When I first set it up I agonized over how big it was and how crowded it made my living room. Then the light-bulb moment happened and the next morning I removed the bottom segment. It fits perfectly now.

It’s a flocked tree, and I know that some poor migrant worker in China spends his days covered in flocking so we can have a snowy looking Christmas tree, but it is pretty. Also since I have not bought a new ornament in about 20 years, this is my first contribution to that migrant workers terrible work days. Yep, I’m completely feeling guilty every time I look at the tree’s snowy branches.

Happy #2)

Organized spices – again.

Lots of spicesYou would think I was some kind of foody or something with all that. I tried to eliminate some of it but I honestly use all of it.

Happy 3, 4, and 5)

I finally got all of my pictures hung.

Great Grandmother's ArtThere’s my great-grandmothers art hung over the sofa.

Owl and Bird GroupMy owl and bird group. The shelf underneath still needs some work, but it’s coming.

Pictures and mirrorsSome pictures and mirrors to lighten up the darkest wall in my house.

Happy #6)

Our elected Premier got blasted this week by the Auditor General. Seems those of us who live in Ontario have been overcharged 37 billion dollars for electricity. Yes, you read that right – 37 billion dollars, with another 120 something billion dollars to come. The only bad part is with Christmas so close, I won’t get to see the Opposition hammer away at her over it very much.

Happy #7)

I’ve actually done some Christmas shopping already. Matthew, my oldest, is a cheapskate practical soul. I bought him new workboots for Christmas. They were on sale and I had a $10 off coupon so bonus! With his ankle full of pins and plates, I’m constantly nagging encouraging him to invest in good shoes and boots.

Happy #8)

While I was in there, I also picked up their boxers they always get from me. I’m glad I got that out of the way early or Matt may have been stuck with candy-canes and reindeer instead of the muted plaid/stripes he prefers.

Happy #9)

There might still be a lot to do around here, but I actually feel like I made some progress this weekend.

Happy #10)

Most of my dishes are done, and I’ve made some headway on the laundry, it would have been done if it hadn’t been foggy yesterday. The towels are even out on the clothesline to save on electricity. Besides – I kind of like scratchy line dried towels.

Ten Things of Thankful, November 20th

I missed participating in the TToT last week, in fact it’s been 2 weeks since I last paid any real attention to this space. I’ve thought about it, but the real life spaces have been so needy.

Happy #1)

For now the patching, sanding, painting and gluing are done. I still have my kitchen and bedroom to look after but the chaos from the last round needs to be sorted first. I know some of you are anxious for a before & after post. I promise it will happen, just not today. I’m proud enough of the results that I would like to have the aforementioned chaos dealt with before I start taking pictures and sharing them on-line. There are also the odds & ends still to deal with in the two rooms I’ve already done. Things like finishing up the wiring that will take internet into my eldest’s room, replacing receptacle covers and switchplates (that haven’t been on the wall since my last round of painting six years ago) and hanging pictures. I may also crawl around under the house one more time to add a phone jack where I want it, rather than having my house phone placed beside the TV.

Happy #2)

Picture with pale matting and frameThis is one that will probably irk my mother a titch. When it comes to pictures, I have three that I treasure. One is a watercolor of a handbag painted by my father’s grandmother in the late 1800’s. It is framed just as it was originally and in some ways shows it’s great age. The other two are high quality color photographs of two other pieces she painted. My mother had them professionally framed for me as a gift one year and I was pleased to have them.

Because I’m well aware of the value of professional matting and framing I never once let it slip that I intensely disliked the color of the frames – they are blue and an odd shade of pink, with the pink being most prominent.One of the photos has a blue mat which is definitely not exciting, but okay. The other one has a mat that exactly matches that odd pink color, and since it’s a photo of a watercolor the combination of muted colors in the picture and the muted colors in the mat & frame were not at all appealing to me. I said thank you and hung them even though neither of them were something I loved as much as I should have.

With my formerly blue walls the pictures were okay, not my taste but okay. With the new yellow walls, that odd shade of pink went from ‘meh’ to ‘blecch’ and I did not want to hang them. So I slipped them out of the frames and spray painted the frames black. While I am sorry that I may hurt my mother’s feelings, the results are pleasing to me.

Three pictures painted by my grandmotherWhile that odd shade of pink matting is still kind of ‘meh’ the black frame shows the painting to much better effect (I would have chosen either white or the color of the yarn in the picture) and the one with the blue matting looks much crisper. Not only that, but now all three paintings feel more cohesive to me. I hope to frame another piece of my family history and hang them all as a group.

Happy #3

New jobs. A couple of weeks ago my son was suddenly dismissed from his job. While the dismissal itself was improper he still lives at home with few bills so we let it go. I updated his resume for him and uploaded it to indeed.com – a jobs listing site. With little hope that he would be ambitious on his own I applied for some jobs on his behalf. My lack of faith in his ambition was misplaced as he applied for some jobs on his own that interested him. He had two solid job prospects when he received a call about the one he most wanted but never expected to get – and got it! While it’s a general labour position washing semi trucks, it has the potential to lead to a mechanic’s apprenticeship which is his end goal, so he is very happy with the work.

My oldest is also working a new job within the same company he’s worked at for a few years. He’s more than happy with the job change, which just goes to prove the old saying that sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed for my sister-in-law.

Happy #4

Half-price boots! Earlier this year I signed up for TSC’s email list. They send a couple of emails a week with exclusive offers. Yesterday’s offers included half-priced steel-toed rubber boots which Justin now needs for his job. While it seems odd to me to order the boots on-line so they can ship them to the store that already has the boots we need, the $30 savings is nice to have.

Happy #5

Snow. Not that I’m fond of the stuff myself, but Jackson adores snow. Watching him romping around in it made me smile. I’m also not minding that mother nature has provided me with a handy excuse to put off cleaning up leaves for another weekend. Late harvest peppers.It’s hard to believe by looking outside now, but earlier this week I picked quite a few peppers and my begonias were still flowering.

Happy #6

Frozen pie shells. While I’m more than capable of making pie dough it’s not something I do often enough to master the art of rolling out a pie shell. Buying them pre-made gave me the opportunity to treat my boys to mostly home-made tourtieres. They were a big hit and I watched two vanish in record time. I may sometimes wish for a break from meal preparation, but making something that’s so obviously appreciated is very satisfying.

Happy #7

A defrosted freezer. I had not defrosted my freezer in about six years. I’m sure you can imagine the build up of ice and the overall dirtiness of it. This week I took the time to defrost it and clean it out. While there were two or three freeze-dried hamburg patties at the bottom, there was surprisingly little freezer burnt meat kicking around. My freezer looks twice as big and I’ll have room for a couple of turkeys the next time they go on sale.

I also took the time to properly set the temperature which will hopefully save some electricity. Our electricity rates here in Ontario are a mess and thanks to time-of-use billing, last January I paid $300 for the month even though I heat my water and my house with natural gas. Since then we’ve had a couple of increases with a big 10% one still  to hit in January so any savings is a good thing. I’ll be scrounging for even more and probably hanging laundry outside even while the snow flies.

Happy #8

Finding out that next month when my cell phone contract is up I’m eligible for a very economical plan that has everything I need. My phone bill will go from $60 to $30. Since I have no desire to replace a working phone just because, I’m thrilled with that.

Happy #9

Weekends and empty trash cans. I think I’ve mentioned I have a lot of cleaning to do. Last weekend my trash cans were to full (from forgetting to take them our the week prior) to throw much away. No excuses this weekend!

Happy #10

Birthdays. Tomorrow is Matt’s birthday. We’ll have dinner at my parents and there will be cake. Even better – it will be the cake with the coconut center. Yummy.

Ten Things of Thankful

What are you grateful for this week?

Ten Things of Thankful, November 6th

My flooring adventure started mid-week, and it started badly! I had laid a small section before starting work, a few hours later it was plainly not sticking to the floor.Lifting Tiles 3I’ve overcome the issue and moved on, but here are ten things I’ve learned this week.


I am convinced dog hair never really goes away – it just floats around until it can join up with others and make tumbleweeds.


Dogs are extremely attracted to wet things on the floor. I’m talking levelling compound here, and a second coat has been necessary every single time to level out the paw prints.

2015-11-08 11.00.50I have strategically placed chairs over the latest attempt to fill in paw prints. Hopefully this works because waiting days for small sections to dry is getting tedious.


Peel and stick tiles are not what they used to be, or at least this particular brand isn’t. I wouldn’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. In the past I’ve used Armstrong tiles and they’ve been a fantastic quick update and installed easily.

This brand required me to use flooring adhesive.


Flooring adhesive exists in two states – wet or sticky. Once it’s dry it stays sticky.


I do not enjoy touching sticky things or having sticky stuff on my hands.

Flooring adhesive has also been the final straw for my working around the house on the weekend pants. The knees now stick to everything. I guess the fine people at the Hardware store will have to get used to me dressing slightly better on my forty trips there every weekend.


2015-11-08 11.00.39Even cheap peel and stick flooring can transform a room.


Heat guns are awesome. I have to remove old tiles and the process goes a lot faster with a heat gun.


Cats still don’t enjoy having sticky feet. Years ago when my ex-husband and I were young and slightly assholeish, we laughed ourselves silly tossing the cat into the middle of the sticky floor and watching him try to shake off each paw before placing it down. When Miss Kitty ran through a patch of dried but sticky glue the effect was just as funny.


For the number of paw prints I’ve had to fill and level this week, watching Jackson try to shake off my glue spreader that stuck to his heel was just as funny.


Jumbled FurnitureOnce these two rooms are finished, I’m taking a break before starting the next room. The current mess is getting on my last nerve.

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful, October 30th

The mess that goes along with painting is not my favorite thing. My house wasn’t very clean before I started and since someone was impatient about hand sanding, and may or may not have used the palm sander on a section of wall, everything has a layer of drywall dust on it. Palm SanderEh, it would have been everywhere no matter what and my shoulders thanked me for making that chore go faster.

Happy #1)

If all goes as planned, I’ll get the last two coats of paint up on my living room walls and then start laying floor tiles today. More Jumbled FurnitureAfter 6 years of walking on gritty painted plywood I can’t begin to tell you how exciting that is for me.

Happy #2)

If all goes as planned, I will get to start arranging furniture this weekend. Jumbled FurnitureI’ve got so many ideas rolling around in my head of what to put where, but until I actually place the furniture I can’t visualize if it will really work or not. I’m looking forward to playing around a bit and creating some happy spaces.

Happy #3)

Not having to take children trick-or-treating! No matter how nice the weather is for the other 30 days of October, the 31st is always cold and wet so as much as I used to love raiding their candy stash, the actual walking around the neighborhood was never my idea of fun. Except for maybe the last year I took them around when a group of us went together and all of us adults had to-go cups (that did not contain coffee) to keep us warm.

Happy #4)

Swatches with final choiceDid I mention I finally get to start laying floor tiles this weekend?

Happy #5)

Spray paint! All of my floor registers are white or brown and will look horrible with the new floor. A couple of cans of spray paint will fix that problem.

Happy #6)

No crawling around in the crawl space this weekend. I’ll have to go back under there soon and replace the furnace filter but not this weekend.

Happy #7)

All of my favorite coupon sites have finally ironed out the issues that were making it too tedious to try and print them. I had pretty much given up on coupons because it was taking hours to try and print a couple of coupons, but now that I know it’s gotten easier I’ll get back into it. As 2015 is drawing to a close my thoughts are on budgeting again and coupons can help on the grocery bill.

Happy #8)

Back to Standard Time! Okay I’m not totally happy with it, I hate it when it’s dark by 6pm but I don’t like it when it’s dark until almost 8 am either. I will probably try to avoid talking to my mom as much as I can for the next couple of weeks – she hates Standard Time.

Happy #9

I am really looking forward to the cleaning as I put my rooms back together. There is never a time any room in my house is as clean as a freshly painted room. Something about moving everything around means it all gets cleaned as it’s put back. Things may or may not get cleaned again before the next time I paint, but it’s the only time everything in a room from floor to ceiling gets cleaned on the same day.

Happy #10)

In between typing the beginning of the post and now, I’ve finished coats 3 & 4, which means the painting is done. At least until the next room.