Sunday, August 27, 2006

So I Lied...

Since Shaw is so generously providing i-net service I'll post again from Calgary. I'll show you Tony's bunk - this pulls out to a double bed.

The furniture is all gone from the house, so we spent the night in the trailer. Very comfortable. It got down to 10C and we were still fine without heat. The solar panel was kicking energy into the batteries all day yesterday and the DC lights work very well. As long as we have sunshine we may never use an AC bulb.

Now we're surrounded by stuff that still needs to be packed, as well as stacks of boxes which will have to be carried out to the trailer and truck as the day progresses. I have to pack the dishes and whatever food we take with us. With the exception of breakfast we'll probably eat out on the way. Pack some snacks into the truck, along with the cat, his litter box (a regrettable necessity), water, etc etc.

But time's a wastin'. We're hoping to leave tomorrow (Monday) morning and arrive on Wednesday. We are in no hurry. We've had no time to relax for months, the holiday begins when we pull out of the driveway.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Until We Light Again...

A very quick post to say that we are in the final throes of purging, packing and cleaning. We lose our internet connection tonight, so I won't be posting again until we are resettled.

Until then, a few pics, as of this morning.

Salvador helps Mama pack.

The back side of the trailer, couldn't get a view of the front - too close to the garage.

The dinette, and the back bunks.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What About Friday?

The day started too early for me. I wanted breakfast in bed, a long hot bath and a mid-morning nap. What I got was a bowl of cold cereal poured by myself, no bath (we had no water courtesy the construction crew down the street) and a nasty backache.

Oh well, enough about me. Ian was here shortly after breakfast, installed the tie-down for the fridge and we continued the clearing process. Good grief!! We could build a small house with the stuff we have left over from this project!

It took us until almost 2:00 to get things squared away and the trailer hitched up. The tire store is only eight-ten blocks away, so it was a quick trip. Ian was very adept at maneuvering the trailer. He pulled it like a pro. The tires ($600.00) were on in about two hours, and we had the trailer back in the driveway by 4:00.

We learned in this short shakedown cruise that we had forgotten to put drawer sliders on two drawers, and that the pantry and closet doors need an extra catch each. Otherwise everything travelled without incident, even though we bumped up and down several rough back lanes en route. Ours is like a mine field and Ian had to circle the tire store via the lane to pull into their bay.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tony has been sorting out the contents of the office. This is a job for the strong of heart. Thank goodness he's tackled it while we were busy with other things.

We've decided that our new departure date is Monday the 28th. There's just no point killing ourselves to get out of here a day earlier.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Obviously I'm Not Psychic

Or I'd have known that we were not going to be able to get the trailer in for new shoes today.

Ian left work at noon, and was here by 12:30. We realized that we couldn't move the trailer without first installing the tie-downs for the fridge. And, we have to have towing mirrors and (okay, we're trailer virgins) we didn't know if the main battery has to be in place for the trailer lights to work. Time to shop....

$300.00 and an hour later we had two batteries, towing mirrors, a toolbox and a bag of brightly wrapped candies for the glove box. Not that the glove box will eat them, but that's where they are going until we hit the road.

By the time we got back to the house we realized there was no way we could get the necessary work done (including clearing all the tools and loose junk from the trailer) in time to get the trailer in before traffic time. So we called and rescheduled for tomorrow.

That left time to .... shop!!! All the stuff I've been putting off buying. A smoke detector, a fire extinguisher, light bulbs, cushy cupboard lining which keeps things from sliding around as you corner, velcro to hang pictures with, pillows (many pillows), throw rugs, hardware, battery covers, a black water tank wand (you don't even want to know, trust me, but in an RV you are up close and personal with your own effluent. Those little holding tanks get mighty high if they aren't washed out after they are dumped.) Let's just say that $400 worth of stuff went out the door and that it took two carts.

Back home we dumped the stuff into the trailer and went to work. Ian started installing batteries and reinstalling the platform for the propane tanks. Inside Tony and I busied ourselves trying to sort out tools and clear the decks.

Friends and fellow Buddhists Wendy and Yoshiko arrived at 7:30 for a lovely visit and a chanting session. We've been so busy that we've had little time to meet with our district members lately. I'm going to miss this little extended family.

After Wendy and Yoshiko left we resumed work, but all any of us were doing was going in circles, accomplishing nothing at all. We decided to eat and call it a day. Maybe tomorrow we can actually get those tires on.

Thank God for Friends!

The theme (if theme there be) of this post must be friendship. During one of our last visits Ian took a picture of good friend SMM and the two of us with SMM's camera.

Ian and several of his friends plus Mandy's parents (Bill and Carol) and her brother Dan arrived about 7:00 pm last night to help. These same friends helped us move into this place about two years ago. Ian has fantastic friends. The guys moved the furniture. Bill and Dan hung the remaining heater in the trailer while Carol and I packed china.The place is almost empty now except for ginormous dust balls and some nervous spiders. We're left with a bookcase, a bed, two chairs and a wobbly old table which will go into the alley when we're done with them. Oh, and piles of flotsam and jetsam we don't quite know what to do with. Thrift store, brace yourself.

Thank God for friends!

Today we continue going through stuff, separating what goes from what goes out. We clean. We shop. We take the trailer to get its new tires. Time to get moving.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It Was Groovey in the 70s baby!

This morning finds me on the heating pad. I finally gave in and took two pain pills so I can get up and be useful. Right now I can only cripple around while moaning like an old cow. My legs want to go on holiday right now.

Here's a reminder of what we started with. While lying here I have been channel flipping. I watched about five minutes of Candice Olson's "Divine Design". I now realize we aren't the only people in the world who were faced with classic 70s design. In this episode she was hired to redesign a huge walk-out basement that still sported its original 70s decor. It could have been our trailer, ten times larger. Maybe they had the same decorator.

Their carpet was orange and rust. The trailer's original carpet was still in place when we got it - orange, yellow, white and rust shag. Yummy! Where we had yellow, brown, green and gold stripes on the upholstery, they had them on two walls. Their other walls were wood paneling. (I believe we have discussed wood paneling here before - that's what got us into this mess to begin with.) They had smoked unframed mirrors attached to the wall, we had smoked unframed mirrors attached to the cabinet faces.

The only thing the trailer lacked that this big room had was a floor-to-ceiling fireplace of red brick. Guess it would have been too heavy to drag along. But there must have been brick wallpaper they could have incorporated somewhere! In fact I remember shopping for just such an insult to nature myself, when Zak was a baby. The only thing that kept me from "bricking" our living room wall was the price of the paper. It would have looked nice with the orange and rust rug, the green upholstery and wood paneled walls we had then. I have always been interested in interior decorating. I've just lived long enough to know that what's tres chic today is ghastly in five years time. Best not follow the trends too closely.

Ian has a host of friends coming tonight to help move furniture. Mandy's Mom Carol is coming to help me pack the antique china, that's going to live with Mandy and Zak. I'm so happy they are taking it. Some of it has been in the family for four and five generations and it would be a shame to send it to auction.

I need to shop but also have to clear a dresser of clothing before tonight. All I want to do is curl up and go to sleep. What I need is for those wretched pain pills to kick in and for a big shot of energy to zap me from outer space. Where are the Aliens with the zapper guns when you need them?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It Might as Well be Pretty

We all need a good long holiday. This has been a very busy couple of months and we are all very tired. Tonight we (mostly Ian) got the carpet secured to the floor and about 75% of the quarter round put down. We decided the rest of the quarter round can wait till we get to BC.

During the day Tony and I sorted, purged and packed. Everything we take has to work for its living, but we don't have to use plastic or paper dishes, just because we're in a travel trailer. I've packed my four favorite porcelain teacups. We have to take cups and saucers, they might as well be pretty.

We also took the bedding out and made the beds. I'm using the quilt my dearly loved friend Jackie made for my birthday last year, shortly before she passed away unexpectedly. It's a very colorful pinwheel quilt, made with floral prints and bright pastels. Doesn't exactly match our colour scheme, but I want it with me.

The truck got its maintenance today, and we ordered new tires for the trailer. They will be expensive, but can you believe it appears that the original tires on still on it??? They still have tread on them too, but the sidewalls are cracking, which is not a good sign. We'd rather spend the $$ than risk having a tire come apart on us on the way.

I have a big list of "must gets" before we go. We have to get ready to have most of the furniture hauled out tomorrow, so I'm not sure I'll have time or energy to shop. But for the first time the "to gets" list is longer than the "to do" list. So we're making progress.

Monday, August 21, 2006

If I Were Two Ones...

I'd get more done. I cleared the trailer of the piles of tools and construction debris this afternoon. I threw away the debris, but the closet and pantry are stuffed with cans of paint, tools, and various construction moosh. We pulled in the cushions for the couch/beds in the back. Everything got a dust and vacuum, in preparation for carpet laying. I also put another coat of paint on the hitch.

It was 31 degrees C. (approx 88 degrees F) today. The trailer has been very uncomfortable to work in any time it was that hot, even with the vents and all the windows open and two large fans running. The roof coat has made a huge difference. I didn't turn on the fan until the temperature reached 28 or 29 degrees. I opened the back windows about 3:00, but never did bother to open the front windows. It was cool and comfortable inside all day.

When Ian arrived tonight after work we set to work measuring and laying the carpet. It took us about two and a half hours to get it measured, cut and laid, but tomorrow we should be able to secure it to the floor and put in the quarter-round moldings.

We ended the day at 10:30 by dropping the truck off to be serviced. There's a list of maintenance which needs to be done on it before we can hitch up and go.

The list on the trailer is beginning to look manageable, but tomorrow and Wednesday will be devoted to packing so Ian and some friends can move furniture on Wednesday night. I'd like to be twins right about now.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What Light Through Yonder Tunnel Break?

It was a perfectly beautiful day. Perfect temperature, a bit of a breeze, cloudless.... and we got lots done. Ian got the second and third coats of roof coat on. The difference in temperature in the trailer is very apparent. Any time the temperature has been over 20 degrees we've had to open the vents and all the windows and turn on a fan to be comfortable. Today it was 23, which is not hot, but we didn't even open the vents in the trailer until mid-afternoon, and we never needed a fan.

Besides finishing the roof, we also put up the bracket up for the TV, painted the hitch, fibreglassed the water intake port (which was cracked), caulked several spots which needed attention, worked on the breakaway and charging systems, and even did a bit of bodywork on the truck where stone chips had rusted.

While doing all this we managed to find time to head off to our local sushi spot for a big mid-afternoon nosh. SMM will be jealous. Don't worry. I ate enough for both of us. :)

Ian brought a stack of boxes and carted home some art and small furniture. He's proposed that we try to spend Thursday night in the KOA campground at the city's western edge, just to give the trailer a shakedown and make certain everything works properly before we leave town.

In the pre-decision inspection we paid for the dealer stated that all plugs and lights in the trailer worked. But when we started replacing old fixtures we discovered that there was no way many of them could have possibly worked, as they weren't even connected. Most been taped together and had come apart, some had burned wires.

The breakaway cable was rusted through, and the wires leading to the DC motor it activates were corroded and only loosely globbed together with electrician's tape. This important safety feature would not have worked should it have been activated, and it was completely overlooked by both the dealer's inspection ($175.00) and the safety inspection we paid $150.00 for at Fountain Tire. I'm not impressed. We also paid to have the roof repaired, and it still leaked. So, our confidence level in the dealer's service department is not as high as it could be. Hence we feel a shakedown is in order to make certain all the other systems they "certified" actually do work.

Tomorrow I'll clear the trailer of tools and materials so we can lay carpet tomorrow night. Also have to arrange a servicing for the truck, a visit to the vet for the cat, and find a place to inspect our propane tanks. Then there's more shopping, more more... I will be so glad when we can stop buying things. But, we can see light at the end of the tunnel now. It may just be a train headed our way, but I'm hoping for the best.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Ford Philosophy of Colour

Henry Ford said, "They can have a Model T in any colour they want, as long as they want black."

Well, we found that the carpet warehouse subscribes to the Ford Philosophy of Colour, except their colour of choice is beige. There are three hundred shades of beige and they had a roll in every one of them. They had one roll of "bluish" carpet, of such abysmal quality and design that no one in their right mind would have wanted it. Even their salesman admitted it would be best used as a drop cloth.

So, we hove ourselves to the Home Depot. They announced our arrival on the loudspeaker as we entered the store, presumably to allow the sales staff time to hide. But, praise all Cosmic Forces, they had a roll of blue, acceptable quality, carpet. It's not exactly what I wanted but I was desperate. We also bought underlay (underlay, underlay, arriba!!!) and several hundred dollars worth of other odds and ends. We left there loaded to the gills.

I was up and painted the second coat on the light blue stripe before 10:00 am. It dried like lightening and two hours later I put a coat of varathane over it, to give it more gloss and protect it a bit. Ian arrived about 11:00 and began working on the roof. We now have to hope it doesn't rain until this first of roof coat is dry. It was drying fast, as the roof was too hot to touch with a bare hand.

Tonio, who has finally recovered from his long spell of weakness induced by too much activity, sat outside in a lawn chair, soaked up the sun and supervised the cat and the painting.

Unfortunately the directions on the can of roof coat were optimistic about the coverage. Using their calculations we should have had lots for two coats, but Ian barely managed to finish the first coat with one gallon. So, as soon as he finished we headed off to buy another gallon, and some other stuff we had forgotten before. Will this never end?

Now Ian's off to get ready to attend the wedding of two friends, and I'm gathering the energy to go out and do more. There are several small jobs we could do, if we can get up steam to do them.

I just realized there's no beige anywhere in the trailer. We've taken it from seven shades of brown, dirty gold and dark green to ice white, pale apricot and blue with stainless steel accents. Looks pretty sharp.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Aversion Therapy

Finally a mover who returns calls! Whooppee! We've arranged to get the stuff we're sending to Vancouver moved, even though it will have to live with Ian for a week before the mover picks it up.

The landlord, bless him, has agreed (for a price) to get the carpets cleaned after we are out, so I don't have to worry with that. He's a funny guy, early 40s, very dapper and with Bollywood good looks. He seems to have realized that the suite is in high demand, and between yesterday and today I noted that the price he's quoting lookers has gone up by $100.00 a month. He's now jumped it $300 a month more than we have paid the past year. I'm glad we're not staying!

Tony and I patted the wolves down by hanging the full-length mirror and installing the light above the sink, so we are down to a few jobs inside. We might have done a couple more things, but we couldn't figure out how to get the grinder off the drill.

The major job of the day will be to buy carpet. I went to the only carpet shop in this end of town and all they carry are samples. I have no time left to order stuff and wait for it. Guess Ian and I will have to go to the big carpet warehouse all the way across town tonight. My longing for material goods is rapidly diminishing through the aversion therapy called shopping.

The Hour of the Wolf

Three a.m. is known as "the hour of the wolf" because that's when all your anxieties rise up with gleaming teeth and attack you in your soft little underbelly.

We have eight days to go and it's hard to see how we are going to be ready. Ian had a large cyst removed from one of the fingers on his right hand yesterday, another removed from his wrist and two removed over his hipbone. He was in a lot of pain when he arrived here at 6:00 pm (now yesterday). He couldn't bend his finger for the swelling. We picked up the cushions, ran one other errand and he went home at 7:45.

This doesn't bode well for getting things done. I still haven't bought the carpet, or found a mover who will return my phone calls. We still have to seal the roof - the most important outside task, but the sealant can't get wet for 48 hours and we've not had two days in a row without rain lately.

The remaining "decor" items I can put off until we are settled in BC, but the roof and carpet can't wait, nor can the tiedowns for the fridge and MW. There's a list as long as my arm of "to buys" yet; towing mirrors, smoke, carbon monoxide and propane detectors, a new fire extinguisher, batteries, various and sundry plumbing supplies, more paint (it appears our goal is to buy at least one litre of every type of paint manufactured in North America). We'll come out of this with half a can left over of about 10 different kinds of paint. Every surface requires its own coating.

The wolf has chewed its way through my innards. I'm going to go drink some Maalox. For some reason I have a stomachache.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You Want My Stuff? You Can't Have it!

Ian and I picked up the cushions from the upholsterer tonight. They look nice, a bit hmmm puckery in some places, but that material must have been the pits to sew. It's very stiff and thick. It should wear like iron and hopefully the cat's hair will slide off of it.

I painted for a while, got the second light blue stripe painted and put a second coat on the panel in front of the trailer. It looks good in the two colours of blue. I'm thinking of looking for a finish coat to put on the stripes, as the finish is more matte than the ivory-coloured siding and I want it to shine baby!

But we started the day housecleaning. I'd let things go inside while I've been working outside. I did a thorough clean last week, and Tony's been keeping up with the laundry and dishes while I worked in the trailer, but I'd let a lot slide. So there was a bit of panic when the landlord called at 10:00 am to say he'd booked showings for the afternoon and evening. Tony vacuumed the kitchen floor and took care of garbage and cat's box. I mopped the kitchen, gave the bathroom a quick going over, dusted, and did a general straightening.

There's an acute shortage of rental housing in Calgary and the first lookers arrived by 2:00. There was a steady stream from 3:00 to 4:30. The last set made me quite uncomfortable. All the others had been couples or young women. This was a set of two young men, early 20's, who looked and acted like street toughs. They weren't the least bit interested in the apt. They were simply looking at our stuff - i.e. casing the joint.

This is a bit ironic. While I'm looking to get rid of stuff I'm pretty sure what they were most interested in are things I'd just as soon keep. Maybe I'm just being a nervous Nelly but my spider senses are tingling. I'm keeping my cell phone close at hand tonight, and we will leave some lights on. We also warned the upstairs neighbour, because he's moving too and the landlord took them through his place while he was at work.

Hopefully they didn't see much that they could easily fence. Oh, somebody tell me I'm being an overanxious old ninny....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Waiting For the "Simple" Part

I did a lot of wandering around with a glazed look in my eyes today and I wasn't doing any kind of walking meditation. I just didn't know what to do next! I'm still waiting for the "simple" part to start.

I made some necessary phone calls and cleared out a couple of drawers, but when it appeared that the forecasted rain wasn't going to happen I went out and started painting on the stripes again. I got the final (fourth) coat of dark blue on the top stripe and the first coat of light blue on the bottom stripe on one side and the large front panel. Thankfully the light blue will cover in two coats, rather than the four the dark blue took, or I may be hanging onto the side of the trailer as it is pulled down the highway, paintbrush in hand and bugs in my teeth.

That's all that got accomplished today. Ian had long-scheduled minor surgery today and was not up to renovation tonight. (Honestly, the lengths some people will go to to avoid turning a few screws!) He offered to go shopping with me, as there's still a long list of needed supplies, but I was too tired.

The upholstery shop called about dinner time to say that the cushions are finished and ready to be picked up, so maybe we will do that tomorrow night. I hope to get the rest of the painting done tomorrow and move on to something else. I'd love to get the interior work done once and for all so I can start loading stuff from the house into the trailer. Right now the trailer is a fancy tool shed!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Reminder to self: Do NOT Forget Your Meds!

I have Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis and I am, as a rule, meticulous with my meds. I can't remember when I last missed a dose - until yesterday when I was busy painting and forgot my noon pills. I have to take them with a full meal, so it was only after dinner that I realized I'd not taken the noon dose. In the end I took one less dose of one med, but it is the one which makes me hang onto potassium and I'm sure feeling it today.

My muscles feel as if they weigh a ton and I'm having trouble moving with any speed or precision, i.e I'm having an abortive attack. If I'm not careful these can evolve into an episode which need hospital treatment and since I don't want to end up in the emergency room I've spent the morning watching videos, rather than working on my task list. ACK!!! ACK!!! ACK!!!

But we had a very productive weekend. Zak was a tremendous help, and we are very close to finishing the interior. Zak and Mandy's brother Dan began working on the exterior on the weekend. It's now been washed, waxed, the back "bumper" and hitch cleaned of old paint and rust and repainted. Ian did the hitch last night, removing all the equipment and hardware, grinding off the rust and painting the hitch. He found a serious glitch in the safety system. The emergency breakaway was only loosely tied on and was completely corroded. The wiring was missing much of its sheathing, and had been "mended" with great wads of electrical tape. (tut tut) That has to be rewired and fixed.

I painted the top stripe (of two) which run down the long sides of the trailer yesterday. Royal blue. Very nice. The bottom stripe and the coloured area in the front will be a lighter blue.

Zak left for home early this morning. Having him here was wonderful. We're so grateful that he came. We had a good visit and he really moved us along the way toward completion of the reno project.

Now I have to relax and drink potassium solution by the litre, and try to get myself better.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bill the Bunny

I took this picture of Bill the Bunny through the office window. We were very happy that Zak got to see Bill, who is an Arctic hare. Bill hangs out under the big fir tree just outside our office window for a couple of hours three or four days a week year round. He was there this morning, just chillin' out and occasionally washing his face or ears. He is grizzled brown in the summer but in the fall he begins to develop white patches. By the time we have cold weather he's entirely white except for the tips of his ears, which are black. I startled him by accident one day and he cleared our lawn and the street, landing on the neighbour's lawn across the street, in two magnificent leaps. He's something I'll miss about this place.

Today was both a work and shop day. We started the day by priming the icky brown and gold stripes on the trailer. Tomorrow, assuming clear weather, we'll paint those stripes two shades of blue.

Once we'd done the painting we headed out to shop. The largest purchase of the day was a stainless steel fridge. It looks very good. :) Things are coming together, bit by bit.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Wonders of Youth and Strength

I have picked up a stomach bug and was down with it yesterday. I got very little done. Thankfully the young men of the family came to the rescue. Though Ian was committed to photographing a wedding in BC this weekend he came over yesterday afternoon and spent a couple of hours working before he had to take off. Between him and Zak they got the mini-blinds hung. Zak assembled and attached the shelves above the couch/bed units in back. These will give us a place for books, CDs, DVDs, small baskets for socks, undies, medication, etc.

This morning Zak (bless him) gave the carpets in the house a good vacuuming, a job that usually puts me down for two days. He washed doors and did some general helpful "getting ready to move" stuff before lunch time.

Shortly after noon Mandy's Mom (Carol) and 22-year-old brother (Dan) arrived. Carol brought a wonderful lunch which everyone enjoyed. I even managed to eat a bit of turkey and some cherries without feeling sick. Once we'd eaten and had a good visit Carol went on her way, leaving the 6' 4" Dan to help Zak. Honestly, one forgets what can be accomplished by young strong men in only a few hours. I was amazed as they scrubbed the trailer down, rinsed it and waxed it in less than two hours. It looks so much better.

Zak sanded the back bumper down to bare metal, so we can repaint it. Had it not been raining they'd have gone on to caulk the seams and prime the stripes, but the weather is cold with intermittent rain, so the caulking and priming must wait for a sunny, warmer day. Inside they hung a heating unit, and insulated some hard-to-reach areas. Dan volunteered to come back next weekend to help Ian, which I know Ian will appreciate. Some jobs just take two sets of strong arms.

I did some painting (shelves) and finished and hung the front curtain panels. They look really nice. I love the colours, the motion of the waves, the koi.... all of it I guess.

In the end we ran out of jobs we could do without shopping, but we made a lot of progress. I can see the thing actually being finished in time now. Still have loads to do in the house, but more progress has been made than is visible. Cupboards and closets are cleaned out, and we've done a lot of purging. I still don't know what I'm going to do with all my research papers. Three books in progress, all with attendant research... But how do I justify three bank boxes of documents when all we have to store our clothes is one drawer each and a 16" wide closet which we have to share?

I have to think quick. It's only two weeks now. But today, even though the Trailer Gremlins took to the field, we came off 10 to 1 in favor of the Home Team.

Friday, August 11, 2006

All Things Take Time

Kitty was the typical nocturnal naughty cat in the night. He woke me at 4:00, 4:30 and 4:45, trying to lick the skin off my chin. He snuggled me, he pulled at my hand to get me to pet him. He was charming and sweet. Then he grew naughty and became determined to leap on top of the cupboard adjacent to the bed. I got up and made sure he had food and water and locked him from our room.

However by then I was too wide awake to fall asleep again. After lying there a couple of hours I got the laptop and visited one of my favorite sites, one devoted to the life and mission of Peace Pilgrim. I find constant inspiration and considerable challenge there. Her philosophy was practical and direct and she lived it daily. Two of her quotes which struck me as I read in the growing grey dawn were:

"Problems that help us grow are really opportunities in disguise. In all things be thankful."

"Never be impatient, all good things take time."

Is panic a form of impatience? Am I using this project as an opportunity for growth, or is it just something to get through so I can get on to the real life waiting down the road? The only moment I have is now, I'll try not to lose it worrying about the what if's. Inner peace was one of the forms of peace she advocated, and one which needs to cultivated as carefully as any exotic orchid.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Last Cabinet Door Hung!

It feels like we climbed K-2! Ian finally managed to get that last cabinet door hung. Can we say hoo-ray?

We (by "we" I mean Ian and Zak) also got four (of eight) mini-blinds hung. They look very crisp and tidy. I made a stab at making the Roman blinds for the front and after doing one have decided I don't like the way they look. I want to see the fabric without folds, so I've come up with a new design. I'll post a picture when I have them hung.

Unfortunately the caulking Zak and I did this afternoon didn't fix the leakage problem. We had another downpour about 7:30 tonight and the roof still leaks. It's hard to say where it's leaking. It's easy to see where the water is ending up, but it must be flowing down a seam until it drips off. ACK!! ACK!! ACK!!

Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better and have more energy. Just putting one foot in front of the next was work today. Too much walking at the airport last night.

I guess I can say we're down to 58 1/2 jobs now. We're inching toward the goal like lame turtles, but at least we scored a couple of points on the Trailer Gremlins before the day was done.

Sixteen Days and Sixty Jobs to Go

We had a HUGE thunderstorm last night. A big lightening strike took our power out at about 9:30. Good thing I'd bought a flashlight the night before. We left Tony and the cat with a flashlight and crank powered radio and Ian and I drove through pouring rain and flowing water to the airport where Zak was to land at shortly after 10:00 pm.

Zak's plane landed a few minutes early, however, because of the storm planes weren't allowed to approach the gates and deplane passengers, so it was 11:30 before he finally came through the gate. None of us were in bed before 2:00, so we aren't exactly bundles of energy and vitality today.

Worse, the ceiling in the trailer leaked last night, after three rounds of repair. I think we have now found the spot and filled it with caulking, and hopefully we'll have no more water incursions. Otherwise we may be spending the winter in a tin bathtub. To ice the cake the once highly successful ceiling paper has begun to peel away like banana skins. ACK!! ACK!! ACK!! I glued some of it back up, but can't reach much of it. Someone taller will have to do it.

The names we call the trailer keep getting more and more rude.

Today the score is; Trailer Gremlins 10, Home Team 0.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Vikings are Coming!

The big excitement for the day is the anticipated arrival of son #2 tonight. He's coming in to lend his considerable clout to the project. We wish his significant other, Mandy, was coming with him, but she has deadlines to meet. This is one mother-in-law who feels her son couldn't have found a better life partner than the beautiful, and highly talented, Mandy. We are blessed with wonderful children. They are our wealth, the gifts given to us by a generous and loving universe.

Last night Ian and I shopped. We needed that cabinet hinge and hardware to mount the full-length mirror I bought. (Although that mirror gives me the willies - it's kind of like a fun mirror at the carnival. It makes you look short and fat!) We also needed paint for the exterior stripes, a tarp, shelf brackets, and....oh yeah, MINI-BLINDS!!!

Calgary is a weird city in that the shopping opportunities in our section of the city, mid-town west, are limited. No Home Despot and the RONA is a mini-store, with short hours and a limited selection. So we end up driving to a big Home Depot a long way away. But buddy, when we get there we find what we need. How refreshing!

Today I'm kicking back, so I'll hopefully have the energy to keep up with my favorite Viking the next few days. :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And the Table....

I couldn't get three images to work in that last post, so here's one of the deep deep blue varathaned dining table. This table's surface was wood patterned melamine, with the pattern worn right off in places. Now it's cool.... :)

A Lifetime of FUN!

Let's document our progress.

Though we both were so tired we didn't get a lot done on Saturday, and we lost Sunday to caring for a sick kitty, we made reasonable progress yesterday. As promised, finally some photos that show we are actually accomplishing something. First a view from the back toward the front, second a view of the kitchen. We'll probably be neater once the construction is finished.

Would you believe none of the cabinet bolts we had bought before to install the handles would work with the new cupboard doors, because they are thinner than the original doors? So we had to go buy more bolts before we could put the handles on the new doors.

We got all the cupboard doors hung and the catches installed except for one, and the only reason we didn't get that done was because we ran out of cabinet hinges. One short. Where that one went is beyond both of us. We turned the place upside down looking for it, without success.

We did some repairs to the banquette seat nearest the door, insulated some more areas and did paint touch ups. Having most of the cabinet doors on makes a big difference in how the trailer looks.

We need several bits and pieces of hardware, so I will try to take a trip in the next day or two and get those things. Merchants now rub their hands in glee when I pull into their parking lot.

Today I'd decided I'd make curtains. I unpacked the sewing machine I bought last Feb or March and have never used. (Okay, tell me I should have checked it out. I know, but I felt good when I bought it and immediately went into a nose dive and didn't feel well for months. It just got pushed into the corner and forgotten.) Hmmmmm, no manual. Not good. But there is fabric in the feed-dog showing it works on all the preprogrammed stitch options and I've been sewing since I was 10 so.... I hook it up, thread it and get a scrap to practice on before I start stitching.

ACK!! ACK!! ACK!! The bobbin simply knots into huge snarls underneath and breaks the top thread. I fiddle, I whine and threaten. No good. It sits there, shiny and new, speaking only Mandarin Chinese while I swear at it in Martian. ACK!!! ACK!!ACK!! What does it want? Only the Mandarin Chinese know.

Now what? My back is breaking in half, one reason I don't sew much. No idea what possessed me to buy this machine. Okay, I do know. I love to sew, but it kills my back. I remember this and think of all the lovely fabric I have - waiting to be made up into something nice. So, I come in to pound out my frustration on the laptop, and consider my options.

Aluminum foil on the windows? Naaa, that's just tooo trashy. This is very light material, gauzy sari stuff, maybe iron-on tape will hold the hems. I can hand stitch the rod channels.

Okay, four hours later. I tried the iron-on tape routine. By the time the iron is hot enough to melt the tape it also melts the fabric. ACK!! ACK!! ACK!!! So I try just pinking the edges and handstitching the rod channel. That's great. It takes two hours for one panel and I have 18 to do. Nope. Think, think, think. Better yet get on the web and surf the Big Box....

Aha! Home Despot has white vinyl mini-blinds cheap like dirt. $60.00 will outfit the whole trailer except for the big front windows. I will hand sew a Roman shade of the koi fabric for those two windows.

Seriously, I'm having way too much fun for one lifetime.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday 9:30 am

He's had several small meals, mainly because he tackles me when I get anywhere near the kitchen. He seems to be fine, no untoward events at either end.

He's forgiven me. When I sat in the rocker and picked up my laptop he shoved it away and climbed onto my chest. After three or four minutes sprawled on me he rolled over in my lap, feet up, and blissed out.

He loves to be rocked. It just occurred to me that there's no rocking chair in the trailer. But this is a small (small) tub chair rocker. I think it will fit in the hallway at the back between the two couch/beds. I'll measure today and see. One of the rascal's great pleasures is being rocked, and I'll admit one of my great pleasures is rocking him.

I just reorganized my "to do" list. It's got about 75 items on it, some of which will require significant work. Twenty days to go... I can't even think of a phrase to convey my panic.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

10:30 Home again home again Jiggety jig

We're home with the furry baby. He's miffed with us, for abandoning him to those awful people who poked him with needles and locked him in a nasty cage. So we're not getting time of day from him. He's obviously thinking of adopting himself out to another mama and papa.

We're under orders not to feed him until tomorrow morning, and not even to give him water. I picked up his food dishes before we left, because the vet had said over the phone that he'd be coming home with a special bland food to eat for a few days. But she said he could drink right away, so I didn't pick up his water bowl.

When we picked him up she'd changed her mind and said not to give him food or water until tomorrow morning. He didn't hear the instructions, so after checking that there was no food in his dishes he went to his water bowl and drank and drank and drank. So far it doesn't seem to have hurt him. If he was that thirsty I figure he needed it. For that matter he is now begging at the fridge door. He wants food. Maybe a teaspoon of that bland food will be okay. Okay, so I'm not following doctor's orders, I'm caving in to the cat's begging. But I figure he knows how he feels better than she does.

Cross your fingers he doesn't start barfing again.

Boo Boo update 7:30 pm

Boy, I know who has friends. (grin) No one calls when I say I'm sick, but the phone has been ringing off the hook since I posted that the Red Chief is sick. So here's that update I've promised all his concerned hu-man friends.

The vet just called, and:

  1. The x-rays show that he doesn't have an obstructed bowel.
  2. The bloodwork isn't all back yet but he has some mild kidney failure and metabolic acidosis, probably because he's dehydrated from vomiting so much. He will be getting fluids for the dehydration as soon as the bloodwork is complete.

The results of the tests for bacterial or viral infection aren't back yet. Those should be back within the next 90 minutes. She will be calling again when she gets those results. I'll post them when they come in.

No Rest for Mama

Today was supposed to be the day we took it easy and tried to recover a bit. Ian and I were both dragging our tails behind us yesterday. We were so tired it was hard to get anything done. We did get stuff done but it took real dedication. Don't ever question if that boy loves his ma and pa. There's no way we could have done this without his help.

But, his VW van desperately needs several hours of maintenance, and he hasn't had any time off for bike-riding or other fun in weeks, so we agreed that today he'd do the needed car stuff and I would do nothing at all.

That changed at 8:00 this morning when our big red rascal baby jumped up on me, woke me up and said, "Mama, kitty be sick."

I got up with him, which was what he wanted, and he ran to the kitchen crying and panting as he ran. He threw up a big hairball, threw up twice more and then ran for the cat box where he cried and tried to do a poop. Within a short time it was obvious he was in great distress, and he was vomiting steadily.

Since he's too big for me to carry and the emergency vet is on the other side of town I called Ian and woke him up. He drug himself out of bed and drove over here. We loaded the cat in his carrier and off we went to the emergency animal hospital.

We waited two hours before we saw the vet. The last 30 minutes of that was in an exam room, where kitty puked (and did worse) on the floor several times. He was distraught over not having a cat box, so he climbed into the garbage can, pulled it over, stuck his head in and pooped on the floor. He won't fit in a garbage can, not one that size anyway.

The vet and assistant informed me that he is a perfect example of the Maine Coon Cat - and yes, he loves to splash in water - which apparently Maine Coon cats are known for.

We had to leave him for tests and observation. As the assistant carried him from the room he stuck his front paws and legs out and reached for me, just as a baby would. "Maaaammmmaaaaaa....." he cried, "Where are they taking me?"

It doesn't bear thinking about. I can't even repeat what she said it might be and it's not because I don't know and understand medical terminiology. He's going to have needles, x-rays, and exams he won't enjoy a bit. There's a crater in my pocketbook but an even bigger hole in my heart! I just want my baby back!

So much for my "restful" day.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A barn; 75 feet by 40

If I had the strength I'd haul myself out to the trailer in the driveway and take pictures of our progress, but I am 100 today, having aged 40 years yesterday. Honestly, who knew that simplifying one's life would require such grinding physical labour? Yesterday was a "purge" day. Where did all this junk come from and why have I been hauling it around all these years???

Thoreau said, "How many a poor, immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and 100 acres of land, tillage, mowing pasture and wood-lot! The portionless, who struggle with no such inherited encumbrances, find it labor enough to cultivate and subdue a few cubic feet of flesh."

He didn't address how one rids oneself of the barn and gets down to the subjugation of the flesh. I suppose you could bulldoze, but in this day and age of environmental awareness you have to dismantle anything timber by timber and nail by nail. Your guilt at filling the landfill with usable manure overcomes the temptation to simply pour gasoline over it, throw a match and run like hell.

However, what irks me most is that, despite all this exercise, one thing I haven't shed is weight. You can throw away old clothes and give away extra sets of steak knives, but your fat clings to you like a colony of octopuses, and is just about as attractive. (Don't visualize that, I don't want to damage your tender psyche.)

On a brighter note, the six replacement cabinet doors arrived yesterday. Ian's friend Dean cut them out for us, of beautiful white Russian Birch. (What a generous gift!) Ian sanded and primed them last night. It was a shame to cover that beautiful wood. Had the trailer's interior been *that* color of wood I would have happily left it alone.

We also insulated and covered a 20" x 20" vent in the side of the trailer which served as the air intake for the old propane fridge. Since we are switching to an electric fridge we don't need a 20" x 20" open hole behind it. That should cut down on heat loss in the winter. Knock a huge hole in the side of your house when it's -25 degrees and try to figure out why it's cold inside as well as out!

I'm feeling cozier now. My main worry for this winter was staying warm enough. I don't want to become a senior-sized mom and popsicle during a cold snap mid-January. The Inuit traditionally disposed of their elderly on ice floes. Sometimes their old would go off on their own, looking to catch an ice floe south. That is not our intent!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

And In This Corner....

This morning I began pinning the fabric together for the slipcovers. It quickly became apparent that, having no large table to work on, no strength to work with, and a cat who was under the mistaken impression that whatever I was doing was for his amusement, I had bitten off more than I could chew.

RV banquette cushions are called "jack-knife" cushions. This is supposed to refer to the fact that they fold like a jack-knife, but it actually means they are armed with deadly weapons and are willing to use them. We're talking HEFTY FOAM ladies, three five inch thick cushions (one 42" x 24" , two 42" x 10"). They are joined together at the long seams by some kind of secret pact. They fold neatly into a seat and back for your banquette, then unfold swiftly into a mattress if the need arises. This ability to switch identities so effortlessly might be a clue to their true nature, but it never occured to me that they might be more complex than they seem.

Challenge them and you quickly learn that they have been trained in resistance techniques by Ofoama Bin Mattress. I became the hapless victim of their violence when all I was trying to do was make them a nice new suit of clothes! I got the sh*t kicked out of me.

When the bell rang on the first round I had pins in both my thumbs and had pinned one layer of fabric on wrong side out. I had to take it all out, wrasslin' the foam and fending off the cat, who kept making raids to sharpen his claws on the back side of the cushion.

When the bell rang to begin round two I had fortified myself with platitudes about enjoying the moment, not becoming ruffled by adversity etc. etc. I was half way through pinning the long sides together when I found I was pinning one piece on upside down. (This fabric has a nap.) Ding!

I staggered to my chair and sank into it. I glared at the cushions and they glared back. They were primed for a 10 round match and I was already sweating and shaking.

Ding! Round three began with a walk through the yellow pages. Within half an hour I had engaged the services of a professional upholsterer and the cushions were delivered to her workshop. I may have lost a couple of rounds but I won the war.