Happy 13th

This weekend we celebrated 13 yrs of marriage.

In 2005, we were in our mid 30s and 40s, both divorced, and recovering from debt, financially, emotionally and relationally. God has been so very good to us, restoring years the locusts ate, giving us both grace and mercy we never dreamed or imagined. I could go on for pages and pages, but it may bore some. When I think of where I was at and what my future looked like even 15 years ago, I never would have imagined not only owning a home, but having our mortgage paid off, retirement savings, and being able to do this Reno/addition. It’s nothing short of a miracle. The economics of it don’t make sense. I’ve talked with other Believing friends about it, who have experienced similar. It’s not prosperity gospel, I don’t believe in the idiotic idiom of “believe it and you will receive it”.. but I believe in God and His faithfulness, (not in my faith or faithlessness) and am spending this life aiming to always remember that “everything in heaven and on earth is yours Oh Lord…”.

It’s not easy.. but it IS all too easy to revert to “my house” “my van” ” my savings account”. .. we try to always remember we are stewards.. He’s given us responsibility, not ownership. And we want to be found faithful.

So our hope is that in being stewards of the home He’s given us the privilege to live in and care for, we can be conduits of His blessing (to paraphrase Bob, a dear old friend)

So.. Happy anniversary to my love, and thanks to Dad for blessing us.

This weekend we finally received some decent weather we could work in, and got lots done colour me happy!!

We have a good portion of floor lifted and more bricks off the house

Cotton put the Delta wrap on today, and we’re set for backfill tomorrow!

LC started beefing up trusses in the house, and framing begins in a couple days! It feels like we’re back on schedule!

More digging, more demo, more ripping, and a whole lot of cleaning

We learned recently that Bill, who is supposed to be semi retired…. haha… will be working full time M to F for the next several weeks. Next week Saturday we have a wedding to attend, and this past week had a few evening meetings, so time to work on the house is not as available as it was. Thankfully we’re getting close to the end of demo, and soon we will be rebuilding with the help of Lincoln Construction and our amazing trades.

One of them is a cement saw cutting guy. He’s coming on Monday to cut a hole in our foundation wall at the back of the house to allow for an Egress window that we just received. (Ordered over 10 weeks ago!)

Here’s the window that will be going in the future new guest room in the basement.

It tilts as well as opens fully like a door for a fire escape.

And this is my amazing digger.. who dug the 7′ L x 3′ w x 4′ deep hole. Oh yah. He still has to cut the grass too..

The writing on the wall is for Harry who is coming on Monday.

Then Bill got to work on the bricks

A rare break for this hard working guy

Our neighbour came by and brought us yummy cherry tomatoes.

Meanwhile I finished pulling nails, hanging laundry, and then sweeping, shovelling and finally vacuuming all the construction debris, while Bill got started on ripping up the old Quarter Oak floors

My buddies for the day.. a broom, shovel and shop vac (yay for CT points, we picked this new vac up for free!)

Thankfully we finally got a break on the extreme heat, it was a PERFECT day for me.

Parting shots of where we’re at now.

First we tear down walls, then we build them

Tuesday the forms were in place, and last minute, we caught that our request for a 6″ high brick chase wasn’t caught… but it wasn’t too late! The guys came through again, I’m so pleased with the service we’re getting!

Then Wednesday the walls were poured

And today the forms came off!

That’s going to make a really nice workshop for Bill, and a lovely covered front porch for us to sit on at night.

Next week we have backfill and can start building the deck hopefully!

Behind the scenes

I finalized our plumbing fixtures today, and am quite excited. Through work at Lincoln Construction, we’ve been quite pleased with the Contrac Crista toilet, we’ve used this toilet in all our bath Reno’s and new builds the last several years with no issues. Fantastic comfort height elongated seat.. simple, as elegant as a toilet can be, but most importantly comfortable and flushes really well, especially for a 4.8 L toilet.

And I’m in love with our square lav sinks and faucets. They’re not half as high as vessel sinks, but a little bit higher profile than typical drop in sinks.. which will hopefully help with splashy messes. Faucets are the Delta Tesla line. Bill couldn’t resist the name!

But wait! Here is la Piece de Resistance!! Our Franke Manorhouse fireclay double farmhouse sink. I visited it again today in the store.. and it reinforced the decision, paired with the Delta Esque gooseneck faucet with touch technology. It’s just so very lovely…

My mom likes to tell me “You need all the toys”… I guess she’s right! I’m a bit of a germaphobe and always have messy dirty hands when I’m cooking/baking/creating so I am pretty stoked about these fixtures.

I’ll save the shower for when it’s installed and all the pieces are together.. but that’s another exciting piece of the puzzle that will make our new bathroom perfect. I showed the pieces to my BIL tonite.. and he exclaimed “you’re never going to want to leave your bathroom!” Haha.. he might be right!

When I came home I was pleased to see Cotton came a day earlier than expected, and the forms are up.

And this is inside our basement wall where the new opening is to the addition.

Just a couple last pics.. in case you’re feeling in the least sorry for us during our time out of our house while under construction.. here’s the view from our current “home away from home”

Where did I leave off?

Bill’s been bugging me that I haven’t blogged in a bit.. but it’s been a bit frustrating.. again mit de standstill. Cotton dropped off the forms, as we were told walls and foundation would happen end of this week, But then got the disappointing phone call that told us it wasn’t going to start until next week Wednesday, and then it would be another week before backfill. This is turning out to be almost a month after we were supposed to have started. I deal with this everyday in the administration of our construction business.. but to deal with it as a customer it’s a completely different thing.

On the inside of the house however, Bill’s got all the ceiling down now.

A few of you have told me that you don’t know what you’re looking at in the house in the photos, and can’t orient yourself. The above photo shows the view from the garage door into the house. The tile floor you see is the old kitchen and dining area. The wall Bill is standing at is where our fridge and stove used to stand. That wall is coming down, as is the old bedroom wall that was behind our dining room.

Here’s a video (sound on) taken from the front entrance that might help.

It’s over exposed in the beginning, I was trying to capture the forms in the excavated hole out the front door.

A bit of a frustrating week for me.. but then I snapped his pic this morning, and melted. I am so very blessed to have a hard working, strong gifted tenacious man who is committed to this project, and working at it daily. Helps that he’s pretty HOT too…


Our building inspector sent an email this morning to my work email.


A bit of history… I started working at Lincoln Construction in July 2006 – just after the long awaited ground breaking ceremony at Leyenhorst Court, an 11 luxury home cul de sac named after our family.    ‘Long awaited’ because chert and other Native Canadian remains were found on site.  Another 2 building sites close to where we live have been closed down for great lengths of times due to bones being discovered in archeological testing.    We’re located very close to these 3 sites.

So when i got this email.. my heart sank, i felt instantly ill.. and just couldn’t believe it.  We just cut a huge hole in our foundation yesterday – below you’ll see 2 slabs with the hole in them  just sitting there, all cut, waiting for a crane to pull them out.

Here’s a short video of the concrete being cut.

I responded..

“Tell me this is a joke.. you’re kidding, right???”   I know this inspector well, he lives behind me, and we’ve been working together for close to a decade in the building industry.. he’s actually one of the really good guys, one we love to work with.

Turns out it WAS a joke… and i missed it.   He was laughing.. so was Bill when i told him.  He got me.. good.   I’m not usually that gullible.. but wow.. he got me good.

In other news.. the foundation cutout into the existing basement was taken out by crane this morning, and the footings were being laid out.   Found out our windows are still 4 weeks away.. but we’ll work with that.

the footings are in!

Meanwhile last night, Bill took down a large part of the ceiling.

It’s getting hot in the house now with no insulation. Soon enough summer will be over.. but in the meantime.. here’s to one of the longest hot summers I remember in a long time!

Heigh ho…

https://youtu.be/jB2nWiEO9T0 Remember this song? It was going through my head all day

But in order to prepare for today, we suddenly realized last night that we need to take the brick off the front of the house, so after a regular day jobs and a quick dinner, off to the house we were… Or heigh ho heigh ho… off to work we went.

I stripped the jungle of a front garden, and Bill got started on the bricks. He heaved a bunch from the porch into the bin, I filled and wheeled, then threw brick by brick about 7 wheelbarrows full.

Then early this morning.. the machines were floated to our house, and a few hours later the dig started! Larry and Kevin, the 2 Cotton guys were really amazing.

The first unknown we had to deal with was the front porch… but it turned out to not be solid as we feared.. which would have been a lot of added cost. Kevin easily broke it up and got it in our bin.

Next was our addition excavation.. approx 9x 26 with a covered front porch.

I had a great view while I took a quick lunch break from 6 loads of laundry, groceries and pulling nails.

A very successful day and a lot more in the bin!

Found a 60 year old Hires root beer bottle in the excavation

2 seriously cute inspectors came at the end of the day to check out the work, and make sure we were adhering to MOL safety standards, and made my day.

Danger or don’t fence me in

Our house looks like a Construction zone outside now, to match the inside.

All staked out and ready to go for excavation possibly tomorrow or Friday. We’ve been getting lots of rain, which is good for the ground, not so good for construction.

Bill has the gas line exposed (Yellow line) and cable wires (orange) marked out that the Locater missed.

The inside of the house is gutted!! All the insulation in walls is gone! I still have lots of nails to pull, and insulation is being sucked out of the ceiling tomorrow.

Light switch hanging out still..

First aid and FE in place for trades

We’re all fenced in and ready to go!


We are thankful that we’re able to give back a little with this demo/Reno.. not just purging, trashing and selling. Bill took the day off Monday from his day job to do more demo and to be home for the Restore truck from Habitat for Humanity to come pick up our kitchen, some plumbing fixtures, light fixtures and doors.

With their permission, here’s some pics from Bill. Habitat’s ReStore is a Canadian idea, accepting donations of building materials from homeowners and businesses to sell to raise funds for their home building projects.  It’s such a great program all around.. less landfill, raising funds, helping people.  They also take appliances, one of the things they have the greatest need for right now.    Good to know for when we’re ready to make that change!

Life and other more important matters took precedence for me the last couple of days, but I hope to get back in the house tonight to help with demo again.

Excavation is booked for tomorrow weather permitting! Woot!

Tearing out the old

Not sure if it’s cathartic or not.. my bones hurt too much to appreciate that thought.

I pulled out a bucket full of nails today. A Costco Potato salad bucket size.

Old rusty nails that held lath and plaster walls up. Bill took down several more walls today, pulling out the old L&P, and I followed him with a crowbar and hammer pulling all the nails so new drywall could go up after new wiring and insulation.

Front closet was the last part of his day. Very poorly insulated, our 2 closets on outside walls were drafty and mouldy if we weren’t careful. Seeing those ripped out feels good.

Here’s Demo man at work.

I found a great gem and experienced old memories today doing this manual labour, and seeing old building materials.

The Gem: This passage from 1 Chronicles 29 has been our marriage life verse since we took Crown Financial study the first time.. Bill had it up in his office, just a taped piece of paper to the wall.. but rather than throw it out, he moved it to the window where I found it today while pulling nails.

What a great reminder as we do this.. it’s all Gods. Not ours. He is in control. Not us. Thank you Father for giving us might and strength! Thank you for being in control! Thank you for allowing us to be stewards of this home that is yours.. may we be found faithful!

The old memories: We took a brief lunch break on the old front step, (that’s being torn out this coming week) and I started to draw on the concrete with a scrap piece of lath… reminding me of my childhood chalk.. plaster from Dad’s job sites.

So here’s where we are today, a week into Demo..

View from garage entry

view from living room

view from toilet

Speaking of… here’s our new bath space.. toilet is moving to where shower/tub sat, vanity will go where toilet currently sits, and new 36 x 60 walk-in shower will stand in new space created where bedroom closet and vanity were previously.

Above, our demolished bedroom .

Habitat for Humanity Restore is coming on Monday to pick up our kitchen cabinets, interior doors, toilet, booblights and hopefully the tub.

Here’s a look at what we’re finding in the walls.

And here’s our next job we’ve been dreading…. which I may or may not have rubbed up against today with my bare arm…

A great and hard day’s work, even though we slept in and started late.. progress is being made in the short week and a day since we started.

What helps us get by, is this stunning welcome to our current home away from home.. I swear I get reenergized every time I walk through this archway.

Thank you Dick and Wilma… and thank you Father!