The continuing story of life in a small town

  It has been a while since I regaled you readers about my exploits in Small Town Alberta, and seeing how this may be my last chance to expound on the pleasures of living in a smaller community, I'm attempting to wrap up our house renovating experiences along with community living experiences.

 I last left you wondering if I would still have some fingers, patience, baseboards, phlegm coloured walls and cats.  The answer to all is Yes!  I mastered the use of the compound mitre saw after only about 30 or so cuts, and consequently 30 or so wasted boards... Did you know that when you do baseboard measurements, do it at floor level, and not 3 feet up on the wall? It seems that when my house was built in the middle-ages, spirit-levels had not yet been invented.  The net result is that the walls are not exactly straight, or in the case of my dining room, they don't meet at the corner, they CRASH into each other!  Thank God that I had a compound mitre. And a calculator.  Eventually, I got so good that I had some spare baseboards left over and used them to reframe the living room window and door.  It looked quite sharp once the paint dried on them. But that's another story.
 Spring had sprung, pansies and lillies and daffodillies all came crashing through.  With that in mind, and the expected move this summer to some unknown place, we wanted to finish inside the house and get psyched up for the work to be done in the yard.  Once the baseboards were done, all that had to be done was to re-do the bathroom we screwed up during the winter: Call in the plumber, his apprentice, glass repair man and electrician for those "few" minor faults that seemed to crop up during our adventures.  This is method #16 to meet people in the town.  Method #22 is related if you get them all to show up at the same time and the neighbours congregate in front of your house wondering what is going on.  Throw in a Realtor and you have a block party in the making!
 The Phlegm-beige-green-yellow paint that horrified us in the last article actually looked good once it dried. Of course, this was the base coat that was sponged over, and really gives the walls texture and the room, depth.  It added character, enhanced other decorations, and if the colour is right, is quite appealing to the masses (and prospective buyers), as it can be considered a neutral colour.  This consideration goes a long way as we are planning to sell, and neutral colours are a good selling point, especially if they enhance appearances.  Any Realtor will agree with this.

 When we moved here, we had a four year plan for the house, and typically, was severely amended to the new and improved 2 year plan.  Part of this plan was the siding.  Well, as they say in the architects office, we (Ahem)....canned that idea.  I think that at the most we may splash some linseed oil on the cedar siding. At the least, we may wash some cobwebs off.
 My better half is already excited at the progress of the bulbs she planted in January, in the basement of course.  They were already about an inch high in March, and I was getting worried that if the weather does not hold out, our cats may get some extra protein, or is that fibre?  Not if we can help it!  We did plant some bulbs last fall, but we didn't know how they were doing until the snow totally melted and we took the pine boughs off the flower gardens.  The Pine boughs helped protect the bulbs and as a secondary consideration, it seems that cats and dogs alike don't like needles in their bums.
 My neighbour has two huge Malamutes that she used to show at competitions and the like, but since retirement, they just subsist on the occasional alley cat and Schnauzer that happens into their yard.  I don't mind these dogs as they really are suckies...0nce you get their trust.  I got it the hard way, wrestling with the female of the duo whilst the male looked on for the spoils.  Their trust grew to the extent that when they were let out of their yard by some mischievous neighborhood kids, the local constables could not coax the two dogs into their car. They were lucky.  I showed up in my spiffy clean car, having just vacuumed the interior, opened up my door, and a total of about 180 pounds of ecstatic Malamute came flying over my lap to land on the lap of my other neighbors horrified son.  His father, my other neighbour (hint - *hic*) didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the outcome. Neither did I.  Anyways, because of the two dogs roaming around the yard, they have absolutely no snow.  We still had 4 feet in some places, and try as I might, I just cannot convince her to take some of my snow so we could get some work done in the yard.  My other neighbour flatly refused, especially since the "Snow-on-the-roof-to-the-back-of-the-neck episode". He doesn't believe it was his son.  Maybe I can pay his son to take the blame.
 Last fall, just before the first snow, I finally got the saw, axe and pruning shears and gave a haircut to Merlin.  Merlin is the big, ugly, misshapen pine tree directly in front of the house, shading our bedroom window.  This tree is a neighbourhood gossip item as almost all of the men want to cut the darn thing down (including me), but all the women like its appealing individuality.  Basically folks, it's UGLY!  But, I will admit, it has character.  I remembered some of the lessons my father, a barber, taught me, and applied it to the tree.  A little off the sides, clean off the edges, taper the bottom and comb over the mistakes.

In this case, I just used some nylon cord to pull another branch into position, neatly covering up a Minor boo-boo.  You hardly notice it.  Honestly!
Moving Rumours are starting to fly around, some of them with only the date but not the city.  I happen to be one of the lucky recipients that know that I will be gone in 2 months, but not where.  My Significant Other will be pulling her hair our by the roots as soon as she is finished with mine.  After all of this work, do we take the time and enjoy the fruits of our labour for the next two months, or do we immediately call our Realtor and get the aforementioned block party on the road?  I thought that hitting my thumb with the hammer was frustrating (after the fourth time in a row)!!  Either way, we both know that we will be starting this process all over again at our next house.  If we could only win the Lotto.

    I would like to thank all of the friendly people in Small Town Alberta; Jim, my neighbour who never hesitates to holler from across a store something embarrassing as soon as we walk in; The good people from Co-op and some excellent ideas from their hardware section, and, the ladies from the shops in the downtown area who were extremely resilient in the face of my darlings demands to bring in some modern decorations.  For those of you who are staying here for another year and living in Red Deer, hit the Totem store for a good deal, and tell them I sent you.  Just describe me as the guy who could not keep his hands off their Paint-Match-Computer. I actually could run it better than some of the people who worked there.

  - Advice for other household novices - Always, Always ensure the footing of the ladder is FIRMLY planted before proceeding up to the top rung with a can of paint in one hand, a brush in the other and a curious 25+ pound cat worrying at a string attached to the bottom rung.    VVV