Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's raining turds.

Being 180-odd years old and formerly owned by an artist, Lonsdale has its quirks. One oddity is a huge room at the back of the house used as a studio. Perhaps odd isn't the right word, 'architectural point of interest' sounds more high-toned. Instead of drywall or lathe and plaster, the walls were done with old barn board.

I would rather have the barn outside than in, but it certainly added some charm and character to the house. And mice apparently. When we head back to the city, I set out a few traps in hopes of not finding dropping throughout the house. Country living I know equals mice, but they should know their place.

Before people get up in arms about how cute mice are, I would let you know that they do not sleep in matchbox beds, use spools for tables or borrow little dollhouse chairs despite what Kenneth Grahame and others might have you think.

They do however, pack down insulation, chew holes in it, crap in it and generally destroy what they don't take to make nests with. The studio was always cooler than the rest of the house and as we wanted new floors put down, we figured we might as well stop the drafts and do a spot of spray foam insulation.

As the boards came down, so did the showers of mini black raisins and pink fibreglass. In addition to expletives for the rodents, there were plenty for former owners Robert and Lena. Massive 4" nails were used to 'tack' up the barn board and the trim used 5" screws. The heads of which were plastered over so you had to find, clear and then remove or risk pulling down the ceiling.

We also discovered the boards were put in before the floor and the ceiling for they run about 8 inches into the attic and 1/2" below the floor. Two more things that dashed my hopes of just "popping" them off.

After our twice as long as usual drive in the snow, wind and ice, I thought this little job would take a couple hours. A full day later, we are about 80% done. I know IronMan loves me and has the patience of the saint as he removed the offending nails as I pried off the boards whilst reminding me to be careful as I scurried up and down the ladder.

I hope that once the spray is in, the mice will be out, of that room anyway, and we can stop using the studio as an extra fridge.

Have to go and get back at it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

18 days, 6 dollars and 6 rabbits

August 26th! My my, where does the time go?

Well, here we are and happy new year!

You'd think, and I'd hope, there'd be more for me to blog about. I do catch myself during the day thinking "oh, I should remember this and blog about it" and my mother, likely the last Light and Flaky fan standing, certainly asks me for new posts. Today I promised I'd write, so here I am.

It must be said that owning two homes is mucho work, especially when one is upwards of 180 years old, and that has really zapped my time. Whoa is me with such first world problems. Acknowledged - I have nothing to complain about.

One thing that has not taken my time is my usual drink. I have now gone 18 days without an alcoholic libation. It would have been 19 but BlueGirl at the dollhouse forced a mimosa down the gullet on New Years day.  My hangover and I protested violently, but in the end, there was no denying my jovial Italian host. The end of my resolution to not drink for a month is in sight, the countdown numbers are now smaller than what's in the rearview mirror and my liver seems happy.

Make no mistake, don't think it's been easy for me. Our well stocked party pantry calls to me upon my daily arrival home. Just yesterday CJ's husband turned 40. A 40th birthday and not a single bubble to tickle my throat in celebration.

There have been 2 Thursday night dinners with the boys - complete with Kitkat's eye rolling at the first. A hunting trip with my cursing cousins, where hot toddies usually keep me warm and sane, saw numerous beverage consumption opportunities slip through my fingers as if I were trying to grasp the liquid itself. Perhaps that's why my aim was better than usual and I was able to contribute more to our haul. Or was it my frustration?

And contrary to what Elmer Fudd has told us, one does not want to be very very quiet when hunting for rabbits. You actually want several loud, heavy footed folks to flush the brush while you lay in wait on the other side.

Let's see, what else have I been up to? Oh right, complaining (insert your high maintenance jokes here). That foolish polar vortex forced me to forgo my usual method of transport to work, Molly the bike, and "ride the rocket" (insert your dirty jokes here).

Picture it. Toronto, 2014 a polar vortex and frozen streetcar brakes. Frozen brakes! Obviously the TTC does not abide by The Bay's "we're made for this" mantra. I get that it was extreme weather and am not suggesting they operate the car in an unsafe manner, but if the brakes weren't working, why was it out in the first place?

Long story short, the streetcar I was on, and by my count, 6 others that got stuck behind it, got, well, stuck. "Buses are coming" an admittedly charming and good natured TTC member told us but one look at the waiting masses told me that there weren't enough buses in the city.

Fur hat flaps down, collar up and Anna Kendricks Cups song on my lips, I headed for home. The "two bottles of whiskey for the way" lyrics tortured me a bit when I turned up 4 km later with popsicle like fingers. Streetcar nor bus passed me on the way, so my choice to walk was sound.

And so was the e-mail I sent to the TTC customer service hotline for just this last Friday, quite a nice letter and TWO tokens, a $6 value, turned up in my mailbox. I had a picture of the tokens but it's a bit of a let down after the rabbits.

This high maintenance squeaky wheel says justice was indeed served.