Friday, May 27, 2011

Breaking News

The latest news at Maple Leaf Gardens is that we worked on the kitchen tonight. We poured cement to fill in the voids left after we cut out the old cement pad.

Earlier this week, Troy had finished putting in all the floor joists and foam insulation (on top of the new pad we poured).

For work tonight we threw some plywood down so we could walk around, dragged in the cement mixer and got to it.

Here you can see the gap we were filling:
The red at the top of the picture is the old slab (it still runs around the outside of the room). The bottom part of the picture is the plywood over the floor joists (so where the underfloor will be laid). In this part of the room there was roughly a 1" gap between the two. Most of the room was pretty close to that except the north wall which had a lot more of the floor crumble away.

To keep the concrete from getting all over everywhere we rigged up a shield which worked pretty well.

Troy would mix the concrete,
and pour it into the tub pictured at the top. Then we would dump it into/on the crack and I would work it in:

It all was fairly slick. Troy estimated we could finish by 11:00. I took that to mean 2:00 a.m. when plans hit the real world. Actually we were done by 10:00! Hooray. I think part of why we finished so quickly is that there were jobs we both could do and we didn't have a lot of time wasted because only one person [Troy] could do any of the work that needed to be done.

Our estimates jumped between needing three and four batches for the job. After mixing and spreading three loads, we finished with two half batches since 3.5 just wasn't enough! (That added a little time, but I took a little nap right there while Troy mixed the last half batch so not all was wasted. I have been soo tired this week.)

This is the area that took so much concrete:
The gap was much wider than elsewhere in the room and actually quicker to fill because of it. But it took a lot more concrete. It also had to actually be filled right up to the level of the old slab because Troy is going to need to lay the baseplate for the wall on top of it.

When we were finished, all the empty area under the old slab and between it and the new floor was filled.
The base is done; from here, everything is built up. And first up are the new interior walls...

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I came home to a visitor yesterday. When I came out of the shop, he was really trucking along. I don't know where he thought he was going because he was headed away from any water that might be close. (Do all turtles like to leave near water?) The turtle wasn't huge, but a pretty good size. I'd say the shell was probably 6" x 8".
But once I slammed the door and started watching him, he stopped, plunked himself on the ground and tucked his head away. Can you see that his right eye is closed? He had the indignity of having to put up with an ant crawling on his face as he waited me out.
See the ant now?

I waited and waited, sitting very still, but the turtle out-waited me and eventually I went in the house to eat (and stop my legs from tingling). I went back out a few minutes later, sneaking around the garage, to see if I could catch him, but he was gone. Vanished. Off like a bandit.
(I hadn't known before how truly ugly turtle's tails are.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Free and Clear

As of 9:09 a.m. this morning, we own our house free and clear! It took us four years and 10 months. Woo hoo! We made extra payments any month we could and when it was low enough we just couldn't stand waiting 10 more months of regular payments, we paid the last of it off. Plus we started with a full 20% down payment on the house in the first place.

We both went to the bank. (I was not going to trust them to do it by mail because payments by mail had not worked very well in the past.) We had a discussion about whether we both had to go in person. It ended like this:
One of us: "Whether it's necessary or not, I am going to the bank to pay this off."
And the other responding: "Well, whether I need to or not, I am going to be there too!"
So we went this morning when Troy is off and I told them at work that I would be late. (They agreed that paying off the mortgage was a good reason to miss an hour or two.) It turns out I may as well as not have been there...

We're sitting in the waiting area and Mr Financial Adviser comes up saying, "So Troy, you're going to pay off your mortgage" or something like that with his hand out to shake Troy's hand. And I was apparently invisible. Completely not there (while strangely sitting right next to Troy). Troy noticed this rather odd behaviour and after giving me a look, smoothly said, "Yes, and this is my wife, Christina" clearly indicating the invisible woman beside him. Mr Financial Adviser then suddenly saw me and deigned to shake my hand.

We made it through the payment process where he did things like ask only for Troy's ID and information and not direct any questions to me. I was the one with the payment (since, you know, society has allowed women to do banking for a number of decades by now) but I'm surprised he didn't have Troy look at it first to make sure I did it right.

Paying off the mortgage is reason enough to celebrate, but we were also very much looking forward to kicking Bank of America in particular to the kerb. There have been unpleasant issues over the life of the loan, but I have to say they ended with a particular flourish today.

The part they were correct about was that it really did only take about 10 minutes. In and out. Then we went to McDonald's for breakfast to celebrate, and as if they knew, MickeyD's gave me the supersize Coke instead of the kiddie size you usually get with breakfast. Super, indeed!

We have no other plans for celebration. We didn't really know what to do. I guess a mortgage burning is traditional. Maybe we'll have a barbeque/mortgage burning later this summer when we get the deed. I'll think about that...stay tuned.

P.S. The picture is of the north side of the house, taken when we first moved in. (One of the first things Troy did was put that door back in. It's the one that we use most often as we go to and from the shop.) I'll add a note to David who recently asked if we were planning a sitting area anywhere and I incorrectly answered no. Actually I have had in mind to put a deck off the back door there and wrap it around the west side into the "corner" of the house where Troy hasn't quite expanded the garden. Let me know what you think of that idea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Taste of Spring

So first of all, nothing going on with the kitchen. After saying last fall that he was absolutely not doing a garden this year...except tomatoes and corn of course because saying you're not having a garden can't possibly mean that you do without home-grown tomatoes and corn...Troy has been working like a dog on the garden. (And I don't know about you, but I didn't believe it when he said it anyway. I mean, really.)

He resisted past his usual start time, but in the end couldn't resist adding other edibles. I can't really complain because the first thing he put in was beets which is my "because saying you're not having a garden can't possibly mean that you do without home-grown beets...they're so easy." The only problem with that is that I can't possibly eat that many beets fresh and I have no kitchen in which to can them. Houston, we have a problem. Anyone know off the top of their head if you can freeze beets? I have begun to think that I will have to do a lot more freezing this year. I'm not excited about that.

Anyway, the reason I really decided to go ahead and post something today is that some of our fruit trees are blooming. And who can resist apple and peach blossoms?

We might actually get fruit this year on four of our eight trees in the front orchard. Hmm...that will mean more canning.

Now, about that kitchen....

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Story w/o Words

I got to visit with my mom at my sister's today. We went shopping (of course) and out for lunch.

Here is the story of a girl who was tickled and made to laugh:

Happy mother's day, all!

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