The continuing story of life in a small town
Ahhh... Winter is here. Well, not officially,
but I can't use my nifty electric lawn mower any more. I had to actually
break out the snow shovel from the garden shed. Originally, I had always
wanted a sno-blower, and while I was digging around the shed, I had to
pull out some boxes and stuff, Stuff being the lawnmower. A twinkle came
to my eye. I've seen the neighbours use their mowers to pick up leaves,
so shouldn't it work on snow? After all, snow is lighter (the snow was
powder), and I could save some work on my back. Needless to say, next spring
I have to go out and buy a new blade. I had forgotten to pick up a few
golf balls laying around in the yard, and my neighbour will consider suing
me for a new kitchen window.
Since the last article, I did some
more digging around (pardon the pun) on materials for the pond in the back-yard.
My wife and I have it down to about $200.00 in materials and 3 tubes of
A-5-3-5. This is just the planning stage! The best bet we can get for the
pond liner, if you want to use the PROPER stuff, is around $250.00 available
at most garden centres. Unfortunately this blows our budget, so we went
to the local farmers. Seems that they can get HUGH rolls of pond liners
for ponds that can hold a herd of cattle for dirt cheap. I would have bought
a roll for my self, but what do I do with the remaining 5000 square feet.
You cannot buy the materials in pieces - you have to buy the complete roll.
It is too late in the season to
start digging the back-yard up so its time to move indoors for some major
renovations. Major for me that is. Not much I can do renovating with some
screwdrivers and a hand saw. My wife, however, has some other ideas. We
got the paint out, realized that we still had some left for the fence,
and guess what ...moved back outside to finish off the fence before the
big freeze moved in.
In the last article, I mentioned
that my In-Laws were coming for a month or so (the or-so lasted forever).
The day they landed, the old decrepit almond coloured (uugh) stove finally
bit the dirt, and in all the glory of a Hollywood FX movie. My first thought
was that we would have to repaint the kitchen again, but that was soon
overshadowed by the glee I felt when I realized that I could finally get
rid of that antique dragon and go out and make VISA happy acquiring a Brand-New,
Self-Cleaning, Self-Timing, Auto-Shutoff, The Lightbulb-in-the-oven-works,
WHITE Stove! Unfortunately, Wifey did not totally agree. Mother-In-Law
graciously paid all restaurants for the next week while we went around
bargain hunting for a "reasonable" stove that hopefully would match our
kitchen. It seems that the 235 or so stoves we looked at were brown, almond,
green, red (including the rusty variety), too small or not for sale. My
wonderful, gracious, generous, loving, caring and doting mother-in-law
finally said something in German to me, but it came so fast that all I
got out of it was something to do with "grease", "hackfliesch" (hamburger),
"dirty washrooms" (in restaurants) and most important of all, "I'll help
pay for a new one." Its off to use the "Brick Card..."
If you have ever been to Germany,
you have to know that the Germans are the most pretentious group of people
on this planet. In the case of my Mother-in-law and Grand-mother-in-law
(known henceforth as Mutti and Oma), their greatest pretension they have
on vacation is the cleanliness of washrooms in public places. Memorize
this word - "SAUBER". In every, and I mean every washroom they went
into, the first item of discussion around the hamburger was " Schon Sauber"
or "Schlect". Glad I cleaned my washroom at home before they came.
We got our new stove, installed
it and promptly burned the first meal. Seems we have to adjust from the
old stoves setting of 10 to warm water to the new stoves setting of 1 to
boil oil. Almost had to paint the kitchen again. My neighbour, the one
right out of "Home Improvement", had to be sedated as his laughter almost
burst his spleen.
4,875 km's later, we dropped off
Omi and Oma and returned to the battleground known as "Home". As I stated
earlier, I wanted to finish the kitchen before wielding the paint swords.
My dearest had some darling ceramic tiles to go as counter splash plates,
and I had a 4 x 8 ft sheet of white mel mac style wood to finish off the
kick-boards of the kitchen. I did not really want to see the space under
the counters go to waste. Have you ever seen how much room is wasted under
the counters? There is a good 4 to 6 inches wasted there. We plan to put
kick-drawers (for lack of better name) on the floor. In these drawers we
can hide dirty dishes, frying pans that we don't want to clutter up the
oven with, and if my measurements bear me out, all canned goods that normally
end up in the basement behind the 25 kg bags of kitty litter and are a
pain to retrieve. "Why don't we have any creamed corn with this broccoli
stew?" "Because its behind the Cat litter dear." My neighbour refuses to
step in our house sober anymore. Wonder why?
I finally got hold of that MONO
caulking stuff for making windows draft proof. Unfortunately, the stuff
is not totally idiot proof. We dutifully removed all the trimming around
the windows revealing some minor gaps (like the "Battle of the Bulge" had),
laid down some paper on the carpets and proceeded to squirt away to my
merry content. I had to take off my surgical gloves to chase the cats out
of the room and forgot to put them back on. The Living room window is Very
airtight now considering the amount of foam I used, and what I find really
neat is that you can wait 10 or 15 minutes, take an exacto knife and trim
off the access to replace the trim around the windows. Do Not, repeat,
Do Not use same said procedure to trim off foam from fingers!
I just picked up a water softener
system for $100 from a friend. Its one of those huge thingies that take
up half the basement and require 3 or 4 tons of salt in a separate container.
We are having the darndest time trying to figure out where to put it. It
should go right next to where the water service enters the house, but that
is also where the wash machine hook-up is. So.. If we move the wash machine
to where the dryer is, move the dryer to where the seasonal clothing schrank
is, move that schrank next to the litter boxes, move the litter bags to
the spare bedroom, displacing the cats, the cats will move onto my side
of the bed and I will end up in the basement next to the wash machine where
the other spare bed is. Seems that no matter what I do, just can't find
a solution that suits me. The Wife - she has no problem with this solution.
Talk to you next time about besotted
neighbours, how to install ceramic tiles on walls and tons and tons o'salt.