The continuing story of life in a small town
Buying and living in a house these days
seems to be the rage. My wife and I decided that we had had enough of giving
our hard-earned money to a landlord, so we decided to buy a house on this
move. Little did I know!
Actually, I did not know a lot about
buying and keeping up a house (Hence, "little did I know"). Since we have
no kids, we finally settled on a Bungalow (named for the many bungs galore
in the attic) in a small central Alberta town. It SEEMED like a nice quiet
little neighborhood, and, in actuality, was very quiet. The average age
of the home-owner on our block was around 135. My wife and I blew that
age curve away...
The first thing we set out to do was
the Kitchen. Well, being the manly type I am (its in our Genes), I cut
the grass first with my new lawnmower. Then we set out to re-do the kitchen.
I might add that at this time we had 2 cats, 1 black 25+ pound couch-potato
(Mutt) and 1 white Albino-Mutant (Yeti) with a total of 27 claws and half
a brain (well, three quarters maybe...). Several weeks and carpenters later,
we decided to build our own cabinets. I had my trusty hand saw (yard sale
bonus) and some screwdrivers. My wife had a friend working at a hardware
store. She won the ensuing battle 3 falls out of 4 and we bought cupboards
in kits. At least I got to use my screwdrivers to put them together. But
before we could put them up, we had to get rid of the awful brown and checkered
tile floor. WW 2 could not have had a more auspicious beginning. After
we repaired the kitchen window, I called my brother-in-law in with his
pick-up full of really neat tools. It only cost me 2 cases of beer. Humility
and a well timed black-out prevents me from telling exactly how he got
the old flooring off. He tells me now that the cats were a great help.
I wonder if he was just pulling my leg, or did Yeti help him? (Judging
by the marks on the Fridge, I hope it was Yeti - him I can beat!!)
The floor finally got done and our
marriage councilor only marginally richer. Hanging of the cabinets SHOULD
be done AFTER the counter has been put in. Not to say that it can't be
done, but we all learn from experience. I'll even go into the cutting the
sink hole in the counter-top. It was so easy once I made my 33 pilot holes,
then went out and rented a good saber saw! Putting faucets in did not result
in a waterfall (much to the chagrin of my new neighbor) You know the type,
the hanging over your fence to see what-you-are-up-to-next type. You know
how hard it is to figure out which is the hot or cold line under the sink.
Easy, you may say, but try it with the water turned off, the pipes twisted,
its dark, Yeti is chewing on your tong slipper, the other decided to take
a nap on your chest just because you are in a prone position (you guessed
it...the 25 lb one!), and the wife cooking up some simply delish perogies.
Another long distance call to my brother-in-law (and 2 cases of beer) later,
we had hot and luke-warm running water.
It was about this time that we got
a bonus at the hardware store. The friend of my wife previously mentioned,
inherited a cat. Not just any cat, but a 6 week old half Siamese/half Persian
cat, commonly known to cat lovers (and cat putter-uppers) as Himalayan.
This rounded out our family now so that the cats had veto power in so
far as bed-space rights. Suddenly our double twin mattress seemed like
a single. I find myself waking up on the floor more often now, and can
never seem to pinpoint the culprit. But I swear the Fat Black one smiles
in the morning as he peers at me from over the edge of the bed.
Spring finally came along and the firmly
entrenched will to replace just a few windows. It seems that no matter
how good the glass in the windows are, the frame should be at least a little
Wind-Proof! But, the Better Half had other ideas. The Garden needed to
be dug. This sounded a little like Star Trek ..."To dig a garden where
no other garden has gone before"! After several frantic calls, I got a
hold of a 1-800 number where they will get all the utilities to come into
your back yard, comment on your siding, cats, window cleanliness and general
lack of green in your grass. At the same time, they take out a can
of spray paint and play tic-tac-toe with the other utility guys on your
grass. I think that they had a round robin tournament going, judging by
the amount of paint and cans left in the back yard. The decision of where
to put the gardens was easy after that. Any chunk of real-estate larger
than 2 square feet with no paint on it became a flower bed. My cohorts
at work ask me why they didn't use these dinky little flags like most other
utilities, but I figured that it being spring, the grass brown and no flowers
blooming, the paint livened up the yard a bit. Unfortunately, it also livened
up the marriage a bit when the cats got out onto the freshly painted grass.
This summer, I went to the fire pit
strategically place in the middle of the yard to burn some recipe books
(Its in our Genes...) and my neighbour, who also happens to be a volunteer
fire fighter in town mentioned that I had an "Illegal Fire Pit". It had
to be dug in to ground level with a grate on the top. Well I already have
a BBQ, and if I have to dig a pit, I might as well throw some goldfish
in there. So I am!
Have you ever priced the material you
are supposed to use to line ponds? A rock garden is looking better all
the time! At least with the rock garden I won't have the utilities coming
in to play round two of the Central Alberta invitational tic-tac-toe tourny.
As well, my mother-in-law and her mother are coming over the pond for a
visit and I don't think that red, orange, green and blue grass would give
them a good impression of Canada.
I'll let you know how the
Pond comes along in the next edition and let you know how many of the