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At Home With Ailsa

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February '05 * January '05 * December '04 * November '04 * October '04 * September '04

August 2nd - 6th * Aug. 7th - 12th * Aug. 13th- 17th * Aug. 18th - 23rd * Aug. 24th - 31st

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Tuesday, August 17th, 2004. Hi, Honey! You're Home, again! I'm watching Monster House, right now -- I haven't seen it before, and there's absolutely nothing else on (ah, Summer Programming...they left the Dog in charge of that!), but it's an interesting, albeit a bit weird, Show. They are taking a nice, regular home and turning it into a Tropical Paradise. Sounds great, but when they started to put the crazy foam 'stones' all over the house -- in the Living Room and Bathroom, that's where they lost me. Yuck. Now I'm all for unconventional looks, and I'm sure the Back Yard will be amazing with a Lagoon Pool, but the Interior of the house looks like a complete disaster. We often wonder with these Make-Over Shows how much it costs the home owners to put it all back to 'normal' if they hate their 'New Home Design'. Hmmm...

That's the thing about having a Designer come in to do your home -- you need to get a good handle on what it is that THEY like, because, generally, that's what you're going to get. There are some fantastic Designers out there who actually take into consideration what their Client wants, but perhaps not as many as the designers who run rough-shod over their Clients and push their ideas on some poor, unsuspecting folks. There's many a Builder or Contractor who will do the same thing, and it can be difficult to stand up to them. I know a situation, right now, where the Home Owner wanted a Deck to span the entire back of the house, which would have been gorgeous, but her builder told her that SHE didn't want that, because he couldn't be bothered building it. Happens all the time.

If you're a long-time Reader, or you've glanced through my Time-Line for this Build, you might remember our first Finishing Carpenter, 'Rick the Dick', I called him -- but not to his face, of course... what a jerk. And a yuck. I designed our Kitchen and all the other rooms with Cabinetry, so I knew exactly what I wanted, and this guy was intent on telling me what I wanted and what I needed, and what his wife (her name was apparently 'The', since he constantly talked about 'The Wife', and how she would want it...) wanted. Ugh. It was painful beyond belief, and just before I finally put an end to it and fired the guy, I used to drive up to the house and just feel sick whenever I saw his truck. Sometimes you just don't have a good match with the people who are coming in to work and the Home Owners, so when that happens, go ahead and see if you can find someone else, then fire their beeehind! A Build or Renovation is hard enough when everyone gets along, but when some one starts to run rough-shod over you, they gots to go, right? ha,ha!

Oh, and just so you know, the rest of the Build went very smoothly -- there's quite often one bad apple, but you can't let that spoil the whole bunch -- there are so many terrible Contractor and Builder Stories out there, but the reality is that the vast majority of jobs are done quickly and efficiently, because everybody has a business to run. If a Contractor is too slow on a job, he (or she) won't make any money, and you're never highly skilled and in business for yourself to lose money, right? And it's that old thing that you are more likely to hear the story of what went wrong before what went right, since when stuff goes right, you just move on, but when there's a big problem, that's where you get stuck...

I saw the News, last night, and it just looks disastrous in Florida and along the Eastern States. They had a bit about Myrtle Beach in South Carolina where I've spent many a vacation, and many of the buildings were completely demolished. What a nightmare for all those poor folks. My heart goes out to them. Now they will be gathering up what's left of their Properties and trying to decide whether they should rebuild from what's left of their home, or to tear it right down and start again. As with many really Large Renovations, it's often less expensive to start fresh, rather than trying to piece the old parts together, since that takes more time than building from scratch, but it's a personal decision,and sometimes it's too hard to let go of one more thing.

Tip of the Day: Know what you want and stand your ground. Unless there's a really good reason for doing a project a better way, (and not just because the person tells you to -- it has to come with a brief explanation... those long-winded explanations are designed to confuse you and prevent you from asking any more questions, but that isn't right, so be sure you have a solid understanding of something before you sign on the dotted line for it -- and hand over your check!). And maybe put together an Emergency Kit 'just in case'. One thing that is rarely in an Emergency Kit but might be more precious in times of real disaster is a container that is water-tight and fireproof where you can keep all your really important papers and some family pictures. Those are the things that will keep you going when the Insurance Agent comes by to Assess the Damage and ask for the Forms, and you can sit and look at some pictures of loved ones, to remind you of what's truly important. And maybe put some cash in there, too, since you don't always know what you'll be faced with, and that's when cash is essential.

Thanks for popping in for a little visit! I'll go grab you some new pictures -- be right back!

Here's my lovely kitchen where all the fighting went on with that first crazy Carpenter! It was well worth the fight, though, because this is the best kitchen I've ever had -- it's fantastic!

** **

See that area that is open under the Countertop toward the Front Entry? I left that open to use as a desk, in case we wanted to have a Computer Station in the Kitchen. Turned out that no one wanted to work in the Kitchen, so we use that for al those papers that come into a household, and underneath that area I kep my Recyclable 'Bins' for Newspapers and Tin Cans (okay, mostly pop cans!). Works for me!

Aidan is all over me trying to get me to play Scrabble with him -- it's always fun to play a Spelling Game with a Four-year old! ha,ha!

See you tomorrow! Later, Baby! Ailsa!!

Well, after al the stress of building and renovating, you might have noticed a few brand new wrinkles! Or maybe that's just me! ha,ha,ha! Ah, well, however they might have gotten there, or if you have no wrinkles whatsoever, maybe you'd like to look like Angelina Jolie for a day...! Hey, maybe you'll get a better price on your Construction Job! har, har!

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Monday, August 16th, 2004. Hey, Sugar! Sugar Cake! But not Sugar CUBE (although, I used to love those when I was a kid!) -- see how some Greetings work and some 'not so much'?! ha,ha! We had kind of a weird weekend -- one of tose times when nothing works out quite the way you thought it would go... that's why Life seems to be a whole lot easier when you just let things happen, since when it's all carefully planned out, then doesn't work, it's very disappointing. Not that you shouldn't plan at all -- then we'd be living like monkeys... although, I've gotta say that I've hardly ever seen an unhappy monkey...! ha,ha! Ah, well. I spent a good portion of the weekend trying to remember that 'What's for you will not go by you'... sometimes you need that phrase more than others!

It's funny when you look back over your life at all the things you might have desperately hoped for that either didn't happen (Thank God, because your Life turned out much better by going in a different direction, anyway...) or DID turn out and it didn't go well at all... you just never know how things will unfold. When that comes to Real Estate, there was an Acreage up the road from here that we had put an Offer on before we went for a Trip to California (to get married...), and we didn't get the house. At the time, we were really disappointed, but in the long run, it was one of the best things that happened for us, because it introduced us to this area just outside of Calgary, and it eventually led us to build this house, which we would never have thought of way back then. Some of the best things that happen to you in your life are things that you didn't even consider for you future, then once you're in it, you can't believe your luck.

Have you been watching the Olympics? They're on every channel, it seems... I can't get into it, this time around, because I heard some idiot saying that only 1% of Athletes test positive for Drugs, which is just silly. You know Ben Johnson is my old Boyfriend, and he's a really good guy, so it drives me craaazy when I hear that load of crap. You could give a regular person a whole crate full of 'enhancement drugs' and if they don't have the bottom-line skills and ability, it won't do them any good, anyway. Why not just let them Race, and we'll enjoy the outcome? And why are the Athletes treated like Criminals, but Real Criminals are dealt with in the most gentle way? (Especially in Canada) I'm not saying in any way that it's great that these Athletes do this, but we might as well live in reality, and go with it.

Cara just came downstairs, and guess what she turned on to watch? That's right -- the Olympics! ha,ha! I just hate when they take a livelihood away from one person in all their smug self-righteousness, and let others who are doing (or had done) the same thing continue on ... now that's no spirit of Fair Play. And really, you can say that all sorts of things could lead to unequal opportunities. This person was born with an inherent ability, so that's not fair to the folks who were born NOT to run... and then there are the situations where an Athlete is transgender -- they go from Male to Female, but continue in the same sport ... how to deal with that?? I say, live and let live. Run as fast as you can. Do what you have to do. There. Now let me go get a chocolate bar while we watch the Olympics, together! ha,ha,ha!

I have to go find out some information about Aidan going to School, this Fall, and what my options really are. I was hoping to get a Bite on this House over the Weekend, so I would have a better handle on how long we're going to be here, since there's not much point in Aidan starting a new school for only a month before a move, but now I don't know how long that will take, so that changes everything. And Cara has stated that she isn't going back to her regular School -- one of the reasons we moved out here was for Cara to attend this Fine Arts School -- so I'm not happy about that. She wants to attend an Alternative Program, which I'm all for in special circumstances, but those 'special circumstances' shouldn't be 'I don't feel like getting up in the morning...' I'm sure there's more to the story, but it's frustrating to deal with as a parent. If I knew when we were moving, it would all be a whole lot easier, but it's out of my hands, right now. We'll see what great thing God has in store for us next, right?? ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: Keep your kids (and yourself) relatively regimented. Not regimented up the waazoo, like in the 'old days', but regimented enough that they don't forget how to get up at a certain time, do regular activites that have to be done... things that make them Active Participants in Life. It's easy to fall into a pattern of not doing anything, and thinking that there must be some easy way to get through life like that, but there isn't. There's not a job out there that doesn't require any work... it's just a matter of what type of work. Are you ever surprised by the sheer number of people wo don't seem to care whether they do a good job or not? I don't get that. Why wouldn't you do the best job you could wherever you are? And if you don't like it, get some new skills and move on... That seems so simple, but I think we have a big problem on our hands of too many folks thinking it's a choice not to do anything. When on earth did that start? It's not even fun not to do anything, and they are the first people to tell you how bored they are... hmmmm.

Okay, thus ends the lecture part of the course! ha,ha! Whatevah' -- think I really will go get a chocolate, and see if that doesn't cheer me up a bit! Man, two children at home, fighting, for a whole year -- no wonder I'm not all that happy, today! Must figure out a way to get them both into School!

I'll go get you some nice new pictures!

There's my Office over there in the Corner, then the Lower Living Room (this is the Walk-Out Level), then the Big Screen where Cara has been watching the Olympics all day...

** **

So here's what I'm thinking -- if I could stop making life so easy and cushy for Cara, maybe she'd want to go back to school... must go find some 'chores' for her to do! Wish me luck! ha,ha,ha! Oh, and the Ceilings in the Lower Level are all 9 foot ceilings, with a California Knockdown Finish -- and I highly recommend both!

Thanks for stopping in -- it's always nice to see you, and did I tell you that I think the Dog-Collar really looks good on you? Yep. I say, keep it, until about the Fifth Job Interview, then maybe lose it...unless you are in that 'particular' line of work, in which case, I'm sure you're already highly skilled -- maybe a little stoned, but what to I know?? I only know what I've learned on TV, mostly on The Casino, which is pretty much the only thing on Sunday Nights, so the only thing I can remember this morning! ha,ha,ha!

Okay, I'll see ya', Baby! Don't work too, too hard! Ailsa!!

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It's The Weekend! WooHoo! Sat. & Sun., Aug. 14th & 15th, 2004. Hey there, Good Lookin'! Man, I'm up early, this morning -- it's just a little before 6:00 a.m. -- highly unusual for me! Ah, the life of the underemployed, eh? ha,ha,ha! No, no. Dwight had to go into the Casino to oversee a Welding Job, this morning, so I had to get up, too, to make sure he actually left on time. You can only do certain jobs in the middle of the night, and this was one of them. I figured that since I was up, anyway, and the Open House is at 1:00 p.m., so this seemed like a good time to write my Weekend Update.

Well, I did get the Lawn all cut -- oi, what a hot day! Our weather has been really screwy this summer, so you never know what it will be like, and I thought it might be a bit cooler if I waited until after 5: p.m. to go out to mow the lawn, but it was just stifling. (No, not like Edith on Archie Bunker...) Now here's the weird thing I actually gave some serious consideration to while I was out on the Riding Lawn Mower -- that it would be a good idea to have some strings attached to my hat to tie under my chin, since every time I turned the Lawn Mower East, my hat would just about fly off... luckily, I haven't entered that level of geekdom, yet (I hope never to get that far in! ha,ha,ha!), so I ruled it out as a generally bad idea...! But the Garden looks great, now, and I finished cleaning the house last night, so we're all set for a couple of relaxing days with the Open House.

It is still a sad state of affairs that the only time I have all to myself is when I'm out on the Riding Lawn Mower -- that's probably not a good sign, is it? It'll be strange when Aidan heads off to school, then I suppose I would have a fair bit of time to myself -- then I would be tempted to immediately go out and find a 'regular job'! I haven't figured out what to do with Aidan, yet, for Kindergarten this year. So much is dependent on when we get a house deal (when the House sells), since it doesn't seem all that necessary to enroll Aidan in a school in Okotoks (the nearest Town) for only a month, if we were to have a deal with an October Possession Date... and I used to Teach Kindergarten, so it's not like I couldn't just do his work with him At Home... hmmmm. There's a lot to consider. Must find out my options!

You know, there was a time when I seriously considered opening up my very own School. I had been teaching in the Regular System for many, many years, and could see where there were some much-needed improvements, and I thought (I could have been crazy -- who knows?? ha,ha,ha!) I could just start my own school and that would solve a myriad of problems... I even drew up some Plans for Building the School! Of course, I'm obsessed with Building Plans, so it's not like that was the only thing I drew up at that (or any other) time! Even as I'm writing this, I'm looking at some new House Plans that I totally loooove! I have a House Plan Book open bside me to the house I would most like to build, next.

I think I've mentioned before that I would really like to build a Two-Storey House, next. Oh, and according to my new House Plans Book, it looks like the American spelling of 'Two-Storey' is 'Two-Story' -- who knew? Not me, apparently! Anyway, I wrote to the Company who carry this House Plan to see if I can send you in to se it, so I'll let you know when I hear back from them. It's a beautiful Two-Story, though, with an Attached Triple Garage (of course, and if room permitted, I would make that into a 5-car garage, since that seems very functional to me...). It's a gorgeous house but has a fairly straight-forward Roof-line, so that's good for Pricing... the Steeper and Fancier the Roof, the more 'Tens of Thousands' the House will cost, so that's good to keep in mind.

Tip of the Day: Don't wear a hat with strings you can tie under your chin, no matter how practical that might seem... ha,ha,ha! Just kiddink! No, no. Here's your much better Tip -- if you live in a Home that is over Ten Years Old, or you are considering Buying a Home in this Age Range, a quick way to update the Look of the Home is to Replace the Exterior Doors. Quite often, the Garage Doors can look too Dated for the number of years old they are (or is that me?? ha,ha,ha! Can you tell I should have gotten a little more sleep?? ha,ha! Now I'm giddy! Just what you want in a Writer, no??).

Garage Doors are not terribly expensive, anymore, and they come in a wide variety, so I'm sure you could find something very nice to update the overall look of the house. And increase it's Market Value. The Metal Ones and the Wooden Ones are the best -- metal is the most common choice, since it's Maintenance-Free. And you'll get a nice new set of Garage Door Openers, too, which is always nice. Watch when they are stting the Remote Openers, though, since when you have a Triple Garage (or, lucky you, more than a Triple...!), the Sensors can get crossed, and then none of them work. Guess how I know that? Took us months to figure that one out!

I'll get some new pictures when I'm not so bleary-eyed! See you in a bit!

Okay, now I really am sleepy, so I'm heading off to bed... is it Good Morning or Good Night when it's morning but still dark outside?? Anyhoooo, I'm glad you swung by for a wee visit! Have a Fabulous Weekend, and if you know anyone who wants to buy a beautiful big house, send 'em over to my Open House! ha,ha!

Later, Baby! Ailsa!!

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Friday, August 13th, 2004. Friday the 13th! My Lucky Day!! I hope it turns out to be a lucky day for you, too -- change your thinking on it to make it into a lucky day, and you'll be all set! Oh, I forgot to say 'Hello'... so, "Hey, Baaaby! How you doin'??" There, now back to the Friday the 13th thing -- that's the day I finally got my old Divorce -- waaaay back in '95, but I waited for sooo long for that stoopid thing, and I finally got it on a Friday the 13th, so ever since then it's been my big lucky day! Now who would have foreseen that as a source of luck, hmmmm? Not the sort of thing you dream about as a lucky occasion when you're a kid!

Well, just after I wrote that, it occurred to me that if I were to get another Divorce, and that happened in 2005, that would make a Divorce every 10 years... now there's a habit I'll need to be careful to get into, right?? And yes, those are the sorts of cheery things I think about in the morning -- what does that mean? ha,ha! Whatevah... I'm sure I'm not the only one out there whose mind wanders into those depths every now and then ... you just have to watch it when that's ALL you think about, 'cause that ain't a good sign! And God Knows I don't want to be 80, headin' down to the Courthouse to File yet another set of Divorce Papers! And then you get there and they all know your name, like Norm on Cheers! ha,ha!

Man, I hardly got anything done, yesterday, in terms of tidying up for the Open House on the Weekend. The house never gets all that messy (according to me, but Dwight thinks the house should always look like a Show Home, which I strongly disagree with... but I digress, once again, down a path that's only gonna make me well-known in certain offices I'm trying to stay out of! ha,ha!), since it's so big, but still, I like to make it extra-neat when there's an Open House. When I'm done writng this, I think I'll head out and jump on the Riding Lawn Mower -- it seems like Mowing the Lawn (it's an Acreage, so it takes hours and hours...) has become MY job... hey, what happened to the 'You do the outside and I'll do the inside' rule? Apparently, it's gone right out the window.

Tip of the Day: Speaking of 'going right out the window', we have a running 'debate' or 'discussion' (it drives me crazy..!) about 'Window Safety'. Every so often on the News you'll hear yet another case of a small child falling through a Screen Window. So scary. And easily preventable. We have those little screw-on locks on all the Windows to keep Aidan in, but Dwight keeps removing the lock on the Window on his side of the bed (every couple has 'their side of the bed', not to be intruded upon by the other -- after you're married, anyway... ha,ha,ha!) so he can open the window right up. This is insane because there's at least a 15 foot drop out that window, and every single time that window is open, Aidan seems to make his way over to it -- must be some homing device set into children to see how much stress their parents can withstand.

Anyway, I have tried to get Dwight to agree to putting the Lock 4" or 5" above the opening, so he can still open the window, but Aidan wouldn't be able to fall out. This is critical in any window that is well above Ground Level, but I think it's practical to do in all windows that are relatively easy to open that a child could gain access to. You hardly ever hear much about that. Now, I don't know why Dwight even needs to open a window, at all, because he has this house Air Conditioned up the waazoo, so it's not like he needs a breeze, or anything... but if you can get everyone in your house to agree to putting and leaving those little screw-locks on your windows, then you'll be less-stressed than I am, and your kids will be a whole lot safer. I'll see if I can find them on the Net, and get you a link.

Let me go get you some nice new pictures -- be right back!

Okay, so here's a Window in the Sunroom, which is adjacent to the Master Bedroom, so the Windows are at the same height. See how far it is to the ground? And I see I better take a few minutes and clean all the Window Sills, too! Ah, well!

** ** **

I just ran upstairs to take these pictures, so I'll go clean them, later -- after I'm done with the Mowing! And that's what the little Window Locks look like. You can get them in most Home Improvement Stores.

Thanks for popping in for a little visit! I better 'get-to-mowin'!

See you on The Weekend -- and I hope you get lucky on Friday the 13th!! ha,ha! Ailsa!!

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