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 while 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. Happy shoveling!
Kitchen Before Construction (BC) Kitchen After Destruction (AD)
        Before Construction                                                                         After Destruction