28 February 2006

And the good news is ...

... we can rebuild it!

The truck has a busted connection rod and crankshaft, but it can be rebuilt. The parts aren't going to be particularly easy to find, but at least it can be put back together. This is very, very good news.

The bad news is that it is snowing something fierce here, and I am driving Union Guy's *car*. I miss my truck. Couldn't it have died when we had dry roads and plus five weather every day? Oh well. I have to drive to the airport tonight to pick up The Boy - he has spent the past week on Vancouver Island visiting his grandparents. The roads are pretty nasty, but hopefully they'll clear up a bit by the time his plane gets in.
This picture is him waiting for his plane on the way out to BC ... sounds like he had an amazing time. I sure missed him, but I've had this really nasty cold (still do, and it is day 8 since it started) so it was probably good timing all around.

26 February 2006

A kitchen ... with appliances!

Yesterday I rented a truck and went to Lacombe to pick up my stove (my mom got me a great deal on my appliances from her Appliance Guy, so all my things came from there, except the fridge). After that round trip I stopped at Union Guy's house and had lunch, then headed over to Home Depot to get some of the beaded pine plywood (for the ceiling) and drove out to Apple Jack Creek. Just as I was coming up the road, I saw Neighbour out for a run and asked him if he'd give me a hand unloading. He finished his loop and we got everything off the truck and inside - and I was able to get the truck back to the city in time to spare myself an extra days' rent.

Today Union Guy and I worked on the kitchen - we got the countertop installed, a necessary prerequisite for Plumber Man to come and install the sink and dishwasher. We did some fiddling with the floor plan layout to find the best arrangement - I was never quite sure if I would put the stove right next to the dishwasher, or over against the outer wall. It is a bit of a pain having the stove up against the wall, as you have to make the wall beside it fire resistant (meaning more tile, ugh) but that is where it ended up looking best. It's very useful to have a longish stretch of countertop, and I wasn't going to have much if the stove was next to the dishwasher.
The stove is a Crosley gas range that requires no electricity whatsoever. It looks a bit odd seeing a stove without a clock and timers and other electrical widgets across the back, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Anything that uses minimal power is a good thing!

I did take a picture of the wood stove - nobody can locate the glass door that goes on the front, so it isn't ready to burn yet. We have hunted all over the house, but the box that holds the door is nowhere to be found: Plumber Man is sure it was there, as he checked it off on the QA sheet, but we can't find it now so I guess we have to order another one. There is a fresh air vent that still has to be installed (that's the metal pieces you see to the side, they go underneath the stove and feed it fresh air from outdoors). You can use this stove with the glass door open - the screen which you see here is used if you are enjoying the "open fire". I am so looking forward to using this, I hope it gets up and running soon.

The other job I worked on today was staining some of the pine plywood for the ceiling - the pickling stain lightens it up nicely, we'll have to see what it looks like once it is actually mounted on the roof.

That's it for now, more updates this week!

24 February 2006

And the adventure continues

My truck died. Really died. I thought it was just frozen from the cold, with gelled fuel lines. Apparently the engine has seized, and diagnostics and research into options are underway. This has struck all the experts by surprise as nobody can figure out what would make a truck like mine do this sort of thing at this point in it's life cycle. The timing couldn't be worse - all my funds tied up in the house ... I mean, normally I would have a reserve fund for truck repairs, but things are a bit dicey when you are this close to that last draw for the mortgage. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be sorted out.

So, I have a rented truck for the weekend so that I can go pick up my stove. Well, one does what one must. Hopefully I can get my countertop installed, and then Plumber Man can come give me a sink and hook up my stove, and then we are truly on our way.

So ... the adventure continues. It's really just one thing after another, but you just keep taking one step after another and eventually you get where you are going.

I wonder where that is?

20 February 2006

A kitchen! We have a kitchen!

It's a long weekend here in Alberta, and Union Guy volunteered to come work on the house with me. Man, did we get lots done! He worked hard on the wiring - we now have light fixtures that turn on when you - gasp - flip a switch! You don't have to hook up the extension cord to the inverter and then plug the trouble light into that and drag it around the house, finding a nail somewhere to hang it on ... you just touch the switch on the wall, and voila! Light! We also have plug ins that you can actually plug stuff into now. Wow. It was hard work, but boy, is it ever nice.
I spent the weekend working on the kitchen. I got the cabinets put together, and mounted to the walls. I find it amazing that the little metal rail you attach to the wall is sufficient to hold those big cabinets up there, but it all feels remarkably sturdy. I still can't get the kitchen sink doors to hang straight, but with some finagling I'm sure they'll behave. What was very cool was actually cooking in the kitchen: we put the countertop on top of the cupboards, and then balanced the electric cookstove on another cabinet, and voila - cooking in the kitchen!
The other exciting thing is that we have a refrigerator: the widget arrived in the mail on Friday, just in time for the weekend. See that chest freezer, at the left of the picture? That's the fridge. The freezer is connected to a second thermostat which cuts power to the compressor when the inside of the freezer is about 8 degrees (or whatever you set the thermostat to). It was very simple to set up - just plug the freezer into the widget, hang the metal thermostat tip inside the freezer, and set the thermostat to the desired temperature. This is the most energy efficient kind of fridge you can get for $400CDN! The cold doesn't fall out when you open the door, and as an added bonus, there's room for a bigger cabinet over the fridge.
The other thing that happened this weekend is that The Boy got to sleep in his very own room by his very own self for the first time in six months. Well, part of it still serves as the dining area, but my goodness he has a lot of space up there! He has subsequently organized everything and tidied up - this is a picture of his room as a work-in-progress.
My bedroom is finally far enough along that the remaining work won't be impeded much by having my bed in there - it's on casters and can be shuffled to one side if I need to work. Union Guy carried it downstairs and set it up (and then decided it was time for a break!)

With light switches, power outlets, some kitchen cabinets and a working fridge it is really starting to feel like a house now. We are still washing dishes in the bathroom sink, but Plumber Man is coming this week to install the wood stove and we may have the kitchen sink in the next week or so - that just depends on getting the counter top in place, and there are a few things that need to be done first.

All in all it was a very productive weekend - of course, my truck died this afternoon (fortunately just after reaching the city limits and not out in the country somewhere) ... I think the fuel filter got gunked up when everything froze. Diesel's can get a little particular that way. It's sitting at the garage, I'll talk to the guys tomorrow about repairing it, and in the meantime, Union Guy has a car I can use.

Anyone want to buy a 1998 Olds Intrigue? Not until my truck is fixed, of course ... Union Guy has been trying to sell this car for awhile. Hey, it starts even when it's been sitting in the cold for 4 days! What else could you want?

17 February 2006


My goodness, it's been awhile since I posted!

It has been VERY cold the past couple of days: yesterday the busses were cancelled, the generator was frozen solid, the batteries were very low, and my truck wouldn't start.

Fortunately, the sun came out, powered up the batteries, I plugged in the truck, and eventually it got going. We came to town so that I could be sure of making it to work today!

This is the first winter for me with my truck, and I'm still discovering how it behaves in cold weather. I made several mistakes - I let the fuel tank get too low, didn't let it warm up long enough, and so this morning when I headed off from Union Guy's place, I made it down the block and it sputtered and died. Fortunately Union Guy had a car for me to borrow, so I'm at work now ... and the weather is supposed to warm up, so the truck should be recovered by afternoon.

More updates later!


09 February 2006

Finally, some new pictures

Here we go, pictures!

This is the kitchen. Well, it's the corner cabinet and the sink cabinet, the freezer (fridge) is just at the bottom left corner of the picture. The black lump is Union Guy's jacket, sitting on top of the microwave/vent hood thing. We have been plugging that into the super duper extension cord and using it to heat water or dinner - my goodness, having a microwave opens up whole new horizons in cooking!

Next up, the bedroom: You can see that I've got one of the tall walls done, this is the wall between the living room and the bedroom. If you look closely you will see that I need to get some pretty wide trim to cover the seams here, as my cutting skills still leave a bit to be desired. (Please remember that the bedroom is the practice space where I'm testing out the various finishes and techniques!) I have just started putting ceiling boards on so that I could visualize the contrast between the white pickled pine and the golden wall colour. I think it's enough of a contrast that it looks good.

This is a lovely shot of my 'fireplace'. Well, the fireplace will go here, for now there's a candle serving as a placeholder. Last night I actually did the grout, it is all very dusty looking at the moment but the linen grout colour goes nicely with the tile, at least. It's an awful lot like filling holes in drywall and smoothing it over, I discovered, but I really don't like tile installation that much. I think I'll give Contractor Man my tiling tools once the job is complete, when I return his (fantastic) tile saw to him. He's welcome to keep the stuff - I have no desire to do any more tiling!

Last but not least, a picture of Union Guy. Well, sort of. He is hiding behind his birthday present, a lovely new frying pan. Yes, it's what he asked for. :)

06 February 2006

Slow but steady

I will post pictures when I have a bit more time (very busy at work right now) but here's the brief status update.

The walls in my bedroom are about half done with the pine panels, and stained with the Honey Pine all-in-one stuff (one coat, anyway). I started putting up some of the ceiling boards, too, so I could see how they look. They are okay, but zoinks it is a lot of work.

The freezer arrived and has been delivered and put in the kitchen. I think it'll be okay, not as weird as expected. I will put all the snacks in the very bottom, as The Boy is too short and can't reach that low. :D

Ummm, what else? Oh yes, ceiling. I found pine plywood (real pine, looks very nice) that is grooved to look like tongue and groove beadboard, but you can stain it and the real wood and grain shows through. It's not cheap, but it's better than standing on scaffolding putting tiny pieces of 3" pine on the ceiling for hours and hours. That is being considered, anyway.

No other news yet ... more soon, I hope!

01 February 2006

Flu season is rotten

Yup, flu season is rotten. I *knew* I should have made time for immunizations, but I was so busy ... and now I am tired and sniffly and wishing I'd made the time a few months back, instead of needing to rest and sleep now. Oh well, next year I'll try harder.

The Boy is doing a bit better, he is off to school today anyway, and we'll see how he manages come end of day. He is "Student of the Month" this month, and gets an award presented at the school on Thursday afternoon. I am trying to figure out if there is any way I can be there for the presentation.

We stayed at our house last night, and I finally had a really good sleep. Hopefully my energy doesn't flag completely by suppertime and I'll be able to put the legs on the kitchen cabinets tonight so I at least feel like I am making some progress, however slow.

The power was pretty low this morning, so I'll have to run the generator tonight: it's overcast so we won't get much from Mother Nature today.

The only real 'house' news today is that the freezer-that-will-be-the-fridge has arrived, so I will likely pick that up tomorrow after work and Union Guy will help me unload it. It'll sure be nice to have refrigeration!