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.

Glassware

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

Resolving the Christmas Ornament Dilemma

I can get in my high-horse about just about anything if you catch me in the right mood, but when it comes to issues I really care about working conditions is top of the list. And while I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time worrying over this years Christmas decorating “theme” and usually just barely get the tree up in time to take it down, this year I kind of needed ornaments. Apparently the ornaments of your childhood only last so long and through so many kids, cats and dogs before 45+ years of wear and tear leaves the tree looking sort of bare.

So here is my dilemma. Most Christmas decor is made in China, which doesn’t bother me except for the fact that some of it is made under deplorable conditions. We’ve all seen the young man covered in red flocking right? I ignored my inner activist and purchased a fake tree this year. It’s even ‘gasp’ flocked, but I know I’ll use it for a number of years and after 3 years it’s paid for itself in what real trees would have cost.

But the new ‘flocked’ tree was still short of ornaments and looking pretty bare. I looked at ornaments, some of them were even on sale, but all of them were made in China and I kept seeing that young man covered in red flocking every time I looked at them. Even the ones that weren’t red or flocked.

So I decided I was going to make ornaments. Except I dare you to walk into a craft store and find craft supplies that aren’t made in china. All of those tiny bottle brush trees, ribbon, glitter and cute little snowflake cut-outs. Every single one of them made in China under dubious working conditions. Then I saw these really neat looking origami stars, and decided to give it a whirl.

Freezer Paper and metallic spray paint

I started with freezer paper (made in an undisclosed location) and after ripping off a length of it, used metallic spray paint (made in Canada) in copper and brass color to add some bling. Once it was dry I fan-folded the length of freezer paper to cut out my pentagons.

Fist Fold

I’ve spent a couple of evenings folding while watching TV. It cuts down on the whiskey and cigarette consumption if my hands are busy. Finished StarWith this new tree,  there are lots of ‘flocked’ branches, but they are all rather close together. It makes for a nice looking full tree, but doesn’t leave a lot of ‘drop’ room for ornaments. These paper stars fill in the gaps nicely without any hooks or loops. I just nestled them in among the branches and filled in the gaps.

My tree

The best part? Nobody got covered in flocking while earning pennies to make them.

I’m making some more complex ornaments too, but considering I just got started they may be posts for next Christmas. I like to call it planned procrastination.

Ten Things of Thankful, December 11

Here I sit at the computer with my coffee and all around me is chaos. The real reason I haven’t yet posted after pictures of my floors is because I am struggling to find homes for All The Stuff. Through the week, there are dishes, dinner to cook and more dishes. On the weekend there’s laundry to wash and fold and more laundry yet. When did my weeks turn into this endless drudgery of not keeping up?

I’m just going to blame it on these shorter days and see what I can do to make a dent in the squalor this weekend.

So with that in mind…

Happy #1)

My counters are in the same state they were at the end of last weekend, so anything I get done this weekend is progress.

Happy #2)

Filing. I’ve always hated filing, but I got the job started yesterday and should have it wrapped up pretty quick today.

Happy #3)

My laundry is almost caught up, and I’ve already gathered the hoarded wet towels from both boys rooms so no surprise laundry dump right after I finish the last load.

Happy #4)

Justin had work this week. Temporary work, but money is money, and I’m happy to not have to worry about his phone bill.

Happy #5)

Sorted EntryThis space is sorted – for now at least. It’s a sort of utility room off the front door. Odd in shape, it’s nearly impossible to keep tidy. We’ll see if the shelving helps.

Happy #6)

Matthew is finally awake so I can get started on the cleaning. I’ll focus on being grateful that he’s awake and try not to let the fact that he woke up bitching spoil my morning.

Happy #7)

A picture of a very naughty looking vegetable messaged to me by a friend.

Happy #8)

Upholstered OttomanThe makings of a “Doggy Daybed”. Currently our two dogs enjoy their bean-bag chairs. Me not so much. Whether they’re being used for seating or dog beds, bean bag chairs look like a pile of laundry on the floor and I already have real piles of laundry hanging around. Come outside and playAfter seeing how much they enjoyed lounging on Matt’s truck seat (yes, that really is the bench seat from a truck in my house) last winter, I’ve had the idea of making them an upholstered bench lurking in the back of my mind. Finding one that only needs to be re-upholstered for $14? I call that awesome – even if I really wasn’t planning to work on any “projects” this weekend.

Happy #9)

If I manage to get all of the rubble sorted enough to pull out my sewing machine and upholster the doggy daybed, I’ll be able to look after some mending at the same time.

Happy #10)

For now, the doggy daybed is a handy surface for sorting out the excess of crap I have.

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 27th.

Good grief! I am still in shock that the end of the year is so close.

This week proves that life has as many downs as ups, and this weeks post will be a hefty dose of ‘hypo-gratitude’ along with a lot of flat-out harsh and judgmental truth opinions.

Not-so-happy #1)

My youngest, Justin, has a new girlfriend. Before you get all ‘Oh, that’s so sweet’ let me explain that my youngest hasn’t always had the best taste in friends and has horrible taste in girlfriends. Terrible, horrible no-good taste in girlfriends. Every single one he has dated so far, has either  been kind of slutty or a whiny, bitchy, drama-queen. I wish it was just me being mean, but my oldest has dated really nice girls that I’ve liked, so I don’t think it’s me. It’s him, or them, or something – but honestly every one of them has been awful and this one takes first prize in awfulness.

Not-so-happy #2)

The psycho girl has no concept of phone etiquette. On Monday she called 5 or 6 or 10 times in rapid succession while Justin was in the shower. a) he has caller ID – he will see you called. b) yes, it is a cell phone and yes, he usually has it right at hand but c) sometimes people are busy doing shit or hey, maybe they’re even taking a shit, and can’t answer the phone.

Take a deep breath, go do something else for a few minutes and chill princess. While you’re at it, take a few minutes to be thankful you’re a part of the cell phone generation or you would have received a lesson in phone etiquette from me after the third speed dial. Obviously it is a lesson that is sorely needed.

My motherly “incoming psycho!” alert went from caution to code red.

Not-so-happy #3)

Psycho-twit repeated this pattern after Justin went to bed. Apparently psycho-twit does not have a job herself, and feels it’s perfectly acceptable to wake up an entire household by speed-dialing her new schmuck boyfriend for five-minute sessions every 15 minutes or so.

Did you know you can hear a cell phone vibrate through two walls and 40 feet?

Not-so-happy #4)

Once my son, the victim boyfriend is woken up by this BS, he puts her on speaker phone. He may have been in his bedroom with the door closed, but this house is small enough that I got to have a front-row seat to Psycho-bitch’s rantings and ravings – there were some real gems like “I HATE BOYS, THEY’RE ALL ASSHOLES!” For this happily single woman who makes a sincere effort to respect all humans, no matter which toys and equipment they come with, blanket statements against men are just as offensive as blanket statements against women or any other group of people. Hearing these things does NOT make a happy mom.

Not-so-happy #5)

After a couple of days of nagging explaining to my son, the schmuck boyfriend, about setting limits and all that other relationship babble, I did some Facebook creeping.

Not-so-happy #6)

Psycho-bitch has not even finished high-school – as in she dropped-out.

I have forced two boys through an educational system that was stacked against boys and the way they learn, with sheer will, luck, prayers, crossed fingers and toes and a hefty dose of the mom-force. Along the way I’ve celebrated those educators who actually cared, while enduring the ones who really need to reconsider their life plan, along with some very paternalistic pats on the head.

You know who you are Mr. “I find people who have only had a little education are the ones who struggle with the curriculum. If you had no education you would just do this grade 4 math and if you had a university education, you would understand it”, and yes I laughed at you when Matthew revealed he had mixed the batteries in your ‘charged’ bin with the ones in your ‘not charged’ bin. Take that you Putz.

In other words – BEING A HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME.

Not-so-happy #7)

Psycho-bitch has a baby. Now first off – my son is only 20 and he is a very immature young 20. Think more like 17 and that is where he is at in life. He is in no way mature enough to act as a father figure, nor is he in any way equipped to take on the role. He doesn’t even have his driver’s license yet FFS!

My second concern would be – who exactly is looking after this baby while she spends all this time ranting at my son on the phone? I raised two children and there was no way I had time for that nonsense when they were babies or toddlers. They’re 20 and 24 now and still sometimes I have to let my mother go so I can mediate a conflict and make sure my stuff doesn’t get wrecked if it evolves into a brawl. I’m seriously thinking this baby is stuffed in its crib and sitting in its own shit while mommy acts like a fool, looks for a daddy.

By the sounds of what I’ve overheard – this baby needs a far more mature and solid adult in its life than I feel my son is capable of being at this point in his own life. Certainly the mother has indicated she isn’t the mature one.

Not-so-happy #8)

That dream job that Justin started last week? Well he got fired from it on Wednesday. He told me his boss told him he wasn’t getting the trucks clean enough.

The boy was crushed, absolutely crushed.

Given that he was there every day 15 minutes early and happy he was there, my guess is psycho-twat was playing her speed-dial game. I have only instinct to guide me because ever since he could talk, Justin has been willing to lie when it suits him.

Happy #9)

Justin still needs me – a lot. He needs me to get him back and forth to work. He needs me to keep a roof over his head and food in his belly. Which is why there are no holds barred on the next item in my list.

Happy #10)

I don’t play the dignified, long-suffering mother well at all. I’ve always been the mom that’s willing to go to the mat for my boys while slinging the f-bombs and all the other words that are in my arsenal, to defend my boys to non-family. Nor have I ever been shy about giving my boys a love tap up the back of the head for stupidity along with the love, hugs and praise for their accomplishments.

I dote on my boys, but I don’t suffer quietly or patiently when they’re being twits. I’ve teased, cajoled, joked, wrestled, consoled and swatted. Whatever it takes to reach my goal of raising adults. It’s a very testosterone laden, rough-and-tumble household, and always at home we are blunt with each other.

So naturally I’ve told him exactly what I think of this girl. I’ve told him that if it’s that bad less than two weeks in, it will only go downhill from here. I also bluntly said that the stupid bitch will never be allowed in my house because I have no use for silly, selfish drama-queens who have no clue how to care for the people in their lives. I’ve had to bite my tongue while two of my Aunts get treated horribly by their daughter-in-laws these past couple of years, I’m sure as hell not biting my tongue and giving this twit idiot bitch girl a chance to sink her claws any deeper into my boy that I’ve been caring for and guiding into adulthood for twenty years. Nor will I stand quietly by while someone treats him badly.

My brother, whose own youthful experience with a psycho took two years to reach this level of cray-cray, put it even more bluntly and said “Don’t you know you should never stick your dick in crazy?”

My son is still here with his mom, and has confided that he’s pretty close to done with it. I haven’t heard her on speaker phone yet today, and believe me when it comes to protecting my boys I have no qualms about shamelessly eavesdropping when I think it’s necessary.

But I did get to hear my two boys spend an amicable hour or two together tonight, and that makes my heart sing.

Hopefully in a week or two, I’ll be singing that the witch is gone and not that I’m going to be a gramma.

Ten Things of Thankful

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.

One.)

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

Two.)

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.

Three.)

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.

Four.)

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

Five.)

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.

Six.)

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

Seven.)

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

Eight.)

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.

Nine.)

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.

Ten.)

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

The Peel and Stick Floor That Won’t Stick

With my two main living spaces finally painted I was more than ready to start installing my peel & stick vinyl floor tiles on Saturday and probably would have pulled an all nighter just to see it done. Except like painting walls, there is some preparation to do before laying vinyl tiles.

Filling Large CracksYou have to fill any large cracks and divots so the tile won’t crack over the void. This room had carpeting at one point which meant there were still staples here and there to remove. The tiles are thin, and any bumps underneath them turn into wear spots on your flooring pretty quickly.

So I pulled staples, scraped up bumps and lumps and filled in cracks and holes. Then I waited for the mud to dry again. Once it dried, then I had to fill in the paw prints because of course the dog just had to walk and lay on the floor right? Then I primed over the places where I had patched and cleaned the first section of flooring.

Test LayoutIt’s recommended to find the center of your room and use a chalk line to sort of quarter the room. Then you start installing the tiles from the center, one quarter at a time. Except I can’t completely clear the room and because this is a room that adjoins other rooms that are already tiled I’m not doing that. I did lay out a test run though. From experience, I know you don’t want any areas that end up being smaller than a quarter tile. If you have to cut a piece that small it will never stay stuck to the floor.

Lifting Tiles 2Yesterday morning after getting my boys off to work, I finally started to stick my tile down. I managed a 4 x 7 section before it was time to start working, and I was pretty excited to continue later that evening. Getting on with my day I left the house for a while.

Lifting TilesI don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but when I came home and looked at my pretty little section of flooring, I was not impressed. Not one single tile adhered to the floor properly. They are all lifting. I’ve put peel and stick flooring in three other rooms and never had this happen before – ever.

Down, but not out.

More Jumbled FurnitureI was pretty discouraged last night. My house is a mess, there’s furniture all over the place to clear space to work. Navigating the narrow walkways from room to room is irritating and usually there is a dog in front of me when I’m trying to move around. Jumbled Furniture Laundry is always a battle, but it’s a lot worse with no place to sit and fold it all. I just want it all to be done – preferably with flooring. I spent the evening reading and sulking about the situation.

Tonight I’m going to try using an adhesive for vinyl flooring and see what happens.