Friday, 18 April 2008

A moving story, chapter 2: Livin' the dream

Here's Danijela and Adam's house adventure after three weeks: things are a mess, but it's a mess in progress. (And I am a poet, and I don't know it.) For those who saw the house on our moving day, or soon after, you may remember a basically clean if very dated and colour-challenged house. Today there is dust everywhere, there are holes in the walls, bits of furniture everywhere, drop sheets hiding boxes, there is a TV on the floor, and one naked room awaiting insulation and drywall. But let me start where I left off.

In the first week, progress moved slowly. It took us that whole week just to get the kitchen in working order--that being the most important room for frugal people after a move. We took the highly varnished doors off of the numerous cupboards, scrubbed them with TSP, sanded down the bits of goo that wouldn't come off otherwise, then painted them all white, along with the cupboards themselves--inside and out. We soaked the hardware in TSP and found that they were actually brass, not sticky brown. (Only glazed meat products, generally found in Korean or Chinese restaurants, should ever be sticky brown.) Then we put the whole shebang back together and finally emptied our first boxes. Oh the excitement of that day! But remember that took most of a week, and that was only half of the kitchen. The other half still awaits attention.

I had begun preparing one of the upstairs rooms for painting--washing the smoke-stained walls. If you remember, they were brown from paint, but they were extra brown from various types of smoke. And I noticed something special the other day: I don't want to judge the people who previously lived here, but there are a few points that really annoy me. One in particular is that in each of the window screens on the second floor--where the daughter and son-in-law of the owner lived with two of their kids--there is a small hole cut to allow for easy cigarette ash and butt disposal. In fact, in the bathroom, they cut out half of the screen right to the edges of the frame. We found a nice pile of butts outside under that window, as well as on the front lawn and in the vegetable garden. No further comment. Anyway, Danijela and I decided to work together to get the kitchen done and to entertain each other. We actually listened to the radio for most of that week--mostly because we couldn't be bothered to dig out our CDs. Actually, we were better off then--our stereo is buried again now.

Then we were off to Montreal to surprise the young James Braithwaite and usher him into old age. I hope the attendants are treating you well at the retirement home my good friend. We had a great time there, though, as always, too short. And for the first weekend of April, there was so much snow still on the ground! I mean, there was still snow in Toronto--a lot for that time of year--but my goodness, Montreal, I hope you've recovered at last! I shouldn't talk though, Danijela and I have been past Yorkdale mall a few times recently on our way to Ikea North York (more on that later), and there are still piles of the brown stuff in the parking lots there. Anyway, the mood came down a bit on the drive home when we learned that someone had stolen our brand new barbeque from our garage. We discovered this because we had left our house key in there for Danijela's dad and uncle to come in and do some work. Some time after he found out, he called us, about four hours away, to let us know. The garage was unlocked because we had had trouble with the lock, so I suppose it was an easy target. But it is a pretty crap welcome to the neighbourhood. Still, we learned a valuable lesson--not "lock up your stuff, because your neighbours are all crooks", but "listen to your instincts": I had the idea on a couple of occasions to at least lock things up inside the garage if we couldn't lock the garage itself. So, while we will certainly warm the house this summer, I'm afraid that we will have to use a little $10 barbeque from Canadian Tire. I would still like to have a look around the neighbourhood pawn shops to see if I can find our lost beauty, but I haven't got around to it yet. The joys of home ownership!

At any rate, while we were away in la belle province, eating delicious salads and basking in the beautiful early spring weather, some big things were happening back home in the Junction. On Saturday, my dad came in to enlarge the opening between the two front rooms on our main floor. He raised the doorway about half a metre or so, and it looks great. It will look especially good once it's framed and finished. Right now, and for the past two weeks, the opening has been covered by a plastic sheet help up by duct tape. On Sunday, Danijela's dad and uncle came in and tore down the plaster and lath on the outer walls and ceiling of the main floor front room, exposing the frame of this beautiful house of ours. This created about fifteen massive bags of dust and bundles of wood, which weighed down our already sagging porch for several days. (Did I forget to mention that one corner of the porch appears to have sunk about 15-20 cm from the time it was built?)

Danijela soon heard from a friendly neighbour that we had best not catch the eye of the local building inspector, so with the help of a go-ped left behind (probably in the crawl space) we moved most of the bags around the side of the house and left them to be rained on for a couple of days. Not surprisingly, then, they got soggy. Surprisingly, though, only one of them actually broke.

What next, what next?

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