Wrecking our new house

September 7, 2010

So we destroyed our new house on the weekend, just two days after being handed the keys.

This is how it looked on Friday morning:

And this is how it looks now, after the long weekend:

On Friday and Saturday, I had help from my uncle, my brother-in-law, my father-in-law, my Dad, and The Best Man (circa 2004) in tearing our 129-year-old church/home a new one.

We took up the main floor carpeting, saving enough to redo two bedrooms upstairs in the coming weeks. We took out the kitchen, stripped the lath and plaster and paneling off the walls of the kitchen and dining room (which was a den), pulled down the old ceiling tiles, removed an antique woodstove and the two layers of bricks supporting it, and took out a four-foot section of wall. We also removed about 8,000 tiny staples that held the former carpet’s underlay in place, as well as another 8,000 which held the ceiling tiles up.

And that’s just on the main floor. The Boss – a trooper, despite being 24 weeks pregnant – and her sister, my Mom, a friend and even The Hurricane did an awesome job stripping decades-old wallpaper off the walls of two bedrooms and a bathroom, setting us up nicely for painting within the next few days upstairs.

Luckily, we’re not living in this mess, and we hope to have all the renovations completed in time for October 1, but you just never know what you’re going to find in an old house. Although I’m knocking firmly on wood as I type this, we haven’t come across anything earth shattering yet, and that’s a testament to the care the previous owners took of the home in the 40-plus years they owned it.

While all this destruction was taking place, The Hurricane was just in her glory. She spent two full days running from the ground floor to the second floor and back  to make sure everything was on track, seeing if she could help out in any way, and chatting non-stop, even if nobody was really listening, which is hard to do with all that work and noise and dust and swear words going on.

We were worried she wouldn’t let us get as much done as we wanted, forcing one of us to be on parental duty at all times, but she really stepped up and let us accomplish everything on our weekend to do list, and then some.

So now we have to get our electrical roughed-in, and then our carpenter begins his task of drywalling and levelling out the floors of the old girl, before handing it over to the kitchen guy and then the hardwood floor installer. Although it looks like it’s a long way off right now, I’m pretty happy with the progress we made this weekend and can only hope the rest of the renovation goes as smoothly from here on out.

Oh, and I now know ripping down walls is as fun as it looks on TV (except for the dust and the crowbar-accelerated chunk of wood in the nuts, which made me a little more tentative for a few minutes, but gave the brother-in-law a good laugh so, uh, no harm done).


New house, another new start

August 31, 2010

On Wednesday we get our new house.

Well, our-built-as-a-church-in-1881-and-turned-into-a-house-in-1910, new house.

It’s our fourth house since 2003, and the second we’ve owned in The Hurricane’s lifetime, although she likely considers my parents’ cottage, where we’ve been living the past four months, as a third home.

It’s amazing how adaptable the young are. We tried our best to explain the move we made this past April from the only hometown Layne had ever known – Port Hope – to my and The Boss’s hometown of Ripley, about 350 kilometres away. She was familiar with Ripley, having spent plenty of weekends here at The In-Laws farm in her almost-three years, but she always pined to get back to her bed in Port Hope at the end of a weekend.

But once we actually packed our boxes and said goodbye to our place in Port Hope, she’s barely looked back. For the first month or so, she’d ask when we were heading back, and, once told we were living in Ripley now, she’d shrug her shoulders and start running at 100 miles per hour again, seemingly unfazed.

Gradually, she has quit asking about our old house, and her old babysitter, and our old neighbours, and Port Hope in general, although she’ll throw something out there from time to time, like how Carolyn (the sitter we all adored) would twirl her spaghetti, which came up when The Hurricane couldn’t quite figure out how to do so last night.

So another move, which likely won’t take place for a month or so after some extensive upgrades to our dated but sturdy new home, probably won’t faze the little one that much. Although the deal has only been done for a month, it was a month-long process prior to the final signatures for a variety of reasons, and in a town of 600 you can’t avoid walking by it from time to time, so she’s had plenty of chances to see where she’ll be living and get used to the neighbourhood. Luckily, it’s a block from the ball diamond, arena, day care and two blocks from where she’ll go to school in the fall of 2011 (yikes!).

So, besides moving her to a new town, having to explain to her numerous times about the baby in Mommy’s tummy that will come around Christmastime, and the new home, The Hurricane (and her parents) have had quite the summer. And, starting tomorrow, it’s about to get a whole lot busier, as every spare moment will likely be spent preparing to bring the house from a well-kept but still late-60s decor into 2010.

But whenever we are prepared to move, I know one little girl who won’t even flinch, as she chooses the colours for yet another new room.

A living journal

August 28, 2010

I honestly didn’t think writing that post yesterday would have such an uplifting effect (or affect? Ah, I hate those words!) on me.

Oddly, I feel lighter today. Some people need to yell and scream, or go for a five mile run (yeah, right) to clear their head, but I just needed to do some typing.

My cousin Derek summed it up perfectly in a comment on Facebook:

“Writing is like walking, for you, so just put one word in front of the other!”

I’ve never thought of it like that, but love the analogy. So yeah, maybe sitting on my ass spewing words is the equivalent to a nice, long run for me (think my doctor and her judgmental Body Mass Index will buy that? Mildly obese? I wrote 2,000 words this week!).

This morning, as we took a break from playing in bed with The Hurricane, who again slept in until a very-late-for-her 7:30 a.m., The Boss said I need to keep writing in the blog because it’s like a living journal. It documented, in too great of detail most likely, six whole months of our family’s existence. As she looked back through old posts last night, she found events (small in hindsight, but big at the time) that she had completely forgotten… like the time The Hurricane probably ate poo, or the time she landed her first two-foot jump. You think you’d never forget things like that, but you do.

But life moves forward, and memories stay behind.

Another pearl of wisdom I pulled out of that Happiness Project book was the quote:

The days are long, but the years are short.

It’s so true. So many things happen in one day when you have a full-of-life three-year-old that you’re exhausted by day’s end, but there’s so many memorable things happen (like her bang-on use of her… uh… mother’s favourite swears) that you think you’ll never forget them.

But in a snap, a year – or in the blog’s case, 17 months – passes you by and, at least in my case, those memories fade and will only be remembered if one of us happens to tweak sometime and bring it up. It’s a ‘Remember when…’ moment, instead of a fully-documented account of exactly what happened one day in the beautiful life of our first child.

I’m saddened I tired of my blog back then, because there have been so many unbelievably amazing everyday things happen in our lives since March, 2009, and I’d now struggle to explain any of them in great detail.

The days are long, and the years are short.

At least now I realize it though.

Back to the world of blogging

August 27, 2010

March 14, 2009.

That was the last time I posted to this blog, which I called Wrapped Around Her Finger back on Nov. 15, 2008, when I launched it.

And I honestly had to Google Search my own name (hello vanity!) to find the blog, because I had completely forgotten what it was called or where it was even hosted. All I could remember was that I used to get hits from people who had searched for the lyrics to the song ‘Linger’ by the Cranberries, although I couldn’t remember the actual words people would search.

So yeah, my blog hasn’t exactly encompassed my thoughts since I ditched it 17 months ago.

But since that time, (actually, just since this past April) I’ve left the newspaper industry and entered the world of corporate communications. I’m really enjoying the change in duties, pace, deadlines, hours, and family life, as myself and The Boss have returned to our hometown of 600 people, exposing The Hurricane, who is now a three-year-old wild child, to small-town life where nearly all of our extensive extended families live, meaning she’ll be sharing a classroom and soccer pitch and hockey ice and first beer with her second, third and fourth cousins, much like her parents did.

Some day, there will be some first cousins too, we hope. Hint, hint, honeymooners…

So now that my job no longer requires much writing, and now that I’ve had a few months to get away from the written word – barely even glancing at my hometown newspapers, despite one of them having employed me as both a reporter and editor – I’m starting to get the itch again.

I need to write.

I need to tell stories about The Hurricane, and document my family’s second foray into parenthood, as we await the arrival of our second child around Christmastime.

I need to generate interest in topics amongst friends and random strangers, not because I need to be the centre of attention or crave positive comments from people in a social setting, but because it’s something I’ve done for a third of my life. I’m closing in on 31, and these are the first few months since I was 17 I haven’t been involved in newspapers and/or blogging at one time or another.

It’s in my blood, despite my new-found status as a corporate sell-out, which my old newspaper friends still mention from time-to-time, much like I did when I was still in the game and working 50 hours a week and being paid a pittance for 35.

So, I think I’m back.

I’ve just finished a book that I neither loved nor hated, but finished to the end because it had enough pearls of wisdom that hit home to deserve my hanging in there. It was called ‘The Happiness Project’ and it documented one woman’s year-long focus on becoming a happier person. One of her fundamentals to becoming happy was to be herself, and to not deny herself of something she truly loved, whether she felt she should be doing it or not.

So, I’m going to be me and stop stifling my urge to just write something… anything!

I learned from my first foray into family-life blogging that it absolutely cannot become more important than spending every waking moment with my family (hence why I dropped it in early-2009), but it can be a fun and healthy way to make use of the little downtime I do have.

So, if you somehow stumble across this, welcome back!

Shut up Saturdays

March 14, 2009


Anybody here?


Well, if anyone does bother to drop by the ol’ blog anymore, after an almost two-week hiatus, please accept my apologies.

The Hurricane went through a five- or six-day vomit-and-diarrhea-fest, while The Boss and I have also been busy on the meetings/work/sports circuit. So I just haven’t had the time and/or energy to update the blog for the past couple of weeks.

It’s actually been a nice break. Although I enjoy telling the tales of The Hurricane’s life, it was starting to become a distraction and a drain.

Otherwise, known as a job.

Instead of enjoying the little one every moment I could, I found myself worrying about what I’d post about that night, and y’know what, that’s just not the point of writing a blog for fun.

So from here on out, I’ll post when I have something to say or pictures to share, but I’m not going to make myself crazy trying to post every day. I get enough stress at the office, there’s no sense having it at home too.

But I hope you’ll keep dropping in and saying hello whenever you do. Here’s some pictures of The Hurricane now that she has passed the 20-month mark.






Getting ready for our first bike ride!

Getting ready for our first bike ride!




I should have stayed in bed

March 2, 2009

Mondays are never easy.

It’s tough to get amped up for the work week after spending two carefree days chasing your 20-month-old around the house.

But this morning was tougher than most Mondays — to the point where I look at the clock, see it’s still not 9 a.m., and consider heading back home and crawling back under the covers.

This morning was just one of those mornings. I woke up with an unsettled stomach, which is never a nice way to open the eyes. But I soldiered on, aided by my daughter, who felt like cuddling and reading books this morning instead of turning the house upside down, which is her normal routine. I like the quieter pace at 7 a.m.

Then, once The Boss and The Hurricane had headed for work/daycare, I got ready for work with the hopes nothing else would go wrong.

Oh, how wrong I was.

While making my peanut butter sandwich, I somehow ended up with PB halfway up to my elbow.

Then, I spilled coffee on my hand.

Not long after, when loading my car with my laptop, gym bag and my travel mug of coffee, I set my coffee down on my trunk. Not three seconds later, I hit my trunk-popper, spilling coffee all the way the side of my car.

With today’s frigid temperatures, it immediately began to freeze. I ran back into the house to get a wet towel to wipe the car down. Somehow, I managed to complete this task without harming myself or others. After I cleaned the coffee off the car, I wound up to throw the towel from the street to my doorstop (no time for walkin’), and as my arm — covered in rust during baseball’s off-season — came forward, my feet slipped on a collection of pebbles that are everywhere in the winter.

Although I didn’t go down, it was close, and my throw up the driveway came up about 15 feet short. I sheepishly looked over my shoulder to see how many neighbours were outside watching. Although no one else was outside, I’m sure most just happened to be walking by their windows during my hideous display.

So, if you’re trying to get a hold of me today and I don’t answer my phone, it means something else happened, and I have officially declared today a write-off, and am huddled under my covers, just waiting for Tuesday.

Shut up Saturdays

February 28, 2009

Wow, that was a busy week. No time to post, and no time to even get the camera out to take pictures of The Hurricane.

I know, crazy.

So here’s some of my all-time favourites.




Right before the exploding shit that hit me in the shoulder ...

Right before the exploding shit that hit me in the shoulder ...