Demo day 3…

I was able to help do some demo today.. great way to get frustrations out (anybody got some they wanna get out this week??). I was in charge of trim.. so I took down closet and window trim all through the main area, as well as the remaining kitchen wall tile. Hot messy work, but fun!

Bill took down some more lights and took out the bathroom vanity, as well as the last of the kitchen uppers with John’s help.

Then we got going on the bathroom wall..

And here’s the end of today’s work, looking from the front bay window to back of house.

Here’s the view as if one were standing at the bathroom sink.

Demo Day 2

My man is a machine. He works hard all day at his day job, and then comes home to start demo. I brought him dinner 2 hrs in tonite, and the spare room (we lovingly call it “Beth’s room) was gone!

Check it out!! (These are all panos so not entirely reflective, but you get the idea)

And this video shows the new space. Yes, the framing is coming down as well, but not until we get the new LVL beam in the ceiling.

Demolition Derby

I’ll let the pics speak for themselves mostly. Today Bill got a big head start on the demo, taking off all the plug and light covers first, taking wall mount microwave down, then cabinets… opening up a wall…and WOW we have open concept!

The tile is gonna be a bear…

Meanwhile I made runs back and forth between our house and the J lounge, making chili and bringing Bill lunch, bringing last few items from house into storage as well.

Featuring jalapeños and garlic from last summers garden, and using up more of the pantry! Woot!

I also got a bit of quiet play time in with Brooke and Oma Wilma. I’m so gonna enjoy the next few months getting to know some of my great nieces and nephew better.

I rigged this paper warning under the chandelier, cause I fit under it easily walking, but Bill, not so much. Note the paper.. “everything must go!”

Oh and you know what I was saying about paper clips?

There is no end to them!!!

Bill and Amy’s kitchen on location

We’re moved into the J lounge. What a wonderful place! So well appointed. I’m actually looking forward to cooking here.

We brought along my convection toaster oven, so tonight’s dinner is one of Bills favourites. Crab and broccoli quiche on a potato crust.

With a side of arugula and what else do we have? salad.

Dressing features Saskatoon berry syrup gifted to us by a dear friend from SK.

Goal is to use up my pantry stores, that is far too much for someone who had to move. Had we planned further in advance, I wouldn’t have had so much. I do NOT intend to move it twice!

Thankfully my sister provided this awesome Globe Wernicke bookcase for my pantry.

Looking forward to this next chapter, spending more time with family,

Bon apetit!

Mama if that’s movin’ up Then I’m movin’ out

“You oughtta know by now…”  I love Billy Joel.   ’nuff said.

Why do we gather, keep, hoard so much stuff??  We’re finally moving out.. it’s been 3 weeks of packing/purging.   There’s still stuff in the basement and garage(s).. but the main floor will be (mostly) empty as of tomorrow.   We’re almost there.. we CAN do it!

it’s this end stuff that takes the most energy.  The big stuff.. the appliances, the big furniture pieces, and all the little crap that doesn’t have a place.. so why do i keep it?  Cause i might need it someday?   like this little bottle of bubbles from a wedding 3 yrs ago some little girl might like.  the plastic storage containers that have no lids, the banana tree with one banana left on it.. The computer, wifi, router, phones, The big pieces of art you don’t want to put in storage,  oh.. and the vaccuum cleaner!   And paper clips everywhere?  Do they multiply like rabbits?  What’s with all the paper clips?  Oh and Bill’s favourite.. my hair elastics.  They keep turning up all over the place.

I’m losing steam.. while everything moved REALLY fast at first from when we decided to do this, it’s now coming to a standstill it seems.

Locates are taking longer than their promised 2 weeks, and things are showing up where we don’t want them.. like the gas and hydro lines..

The building permit should have been in last week, this Friday it will be a week overdue, and still no word on it

Plans have changed for the porch removal, and I can’t tell the guy who’s doing it now, cause he’s on holidays.

An egress window for the basement we ordered 6 weeks ago will likely be another 4 weeks or longer to come in.

Do we move tonite to my sister’s to sleep, or wait til the weekend?   If we move out now, we can start demo, and feel like things are happening again.

I did some smart things (i think)  On the weekend, I moved most of our kitchen pantry, bath products, clothing and bedding to my sister’s house.  I even made the bed right away with our linens and duvet, so no matter when we go, it’s ready for us.  I kept just what we needed in our house for 3-4 days until our official move day.

I got us down to ONE box of photos, letters, cards… I’ll find a better box later and organize it all.. but knowing we’ll we can’t take it with us…

So.. we enter the next stage.. moved out, and demo. Here we go! No turning back now!

Things I won’t miss

At least a few times a day, one of us asks… “are we nuts?”   Our house needs a lot of work to sustain us, and we need to be good stewards of it.  There are so many things we’ve been putting off until .. until when?  Until we could come to a joint decision of what to do?  Until we had time/money?  Until we couldn’t turn a blind eye anymore?      Once we tackle one thing.. like the cracked tiles missing grout, and the cracked walls.. where do we stop?    So to help us remember we’re not so crazy… here’s a list of things we won’t miss..

Creaky sticky bifold doors that we often fight to close: **sound on

Cracked walls

Broken tiles that were never sealed, installed without subfloor, causing all the grout to come out within first 2 yrs thanks to previous owner: aka “Houseflipper Extraordinaire”


rusty sinks, window handles and mouldy grout

old rotten window frames


poopy gross paint colours, by a really drunk  blind inept painter

creaky floors

water damaged cabinets with really poor plumbing.   Again, thanks to Houseflipper ExtraOrdinaire – when we first used the kitchen sink over 12 yrs ago, the Ptrap just FELL… it wasn’t even attached.  sink was also never sealed in properly, and other ongoing issues.. Bill fixed each as it came along, but the dripping started again..


 bumpy and pitted lath and plaster walls img_2311

Weird ceiling configurations (likely for floor to ceiling drapes?


and unfinished items.. like floor transitions, door frames.. 

the packing, purging has been cathartic and exhausting.. but we’re doing it.. and I can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished in 3 short weeks.  The kitchen is almost completely packed, other than what we need to use the next couple of days, same with Bill’s office, and our bedroom.  We’ve purged through ALL our clothing, and packed up what we won’t use the next few months that we’ve decided to keep.  I toured my sister Wilma’s amazing basement apt (the J Lounge) yesterday, the first time as a prospective tenant.  I’ve been in the J lounge numerous times over the years, but never looked at it as a place I would live… I don’t think i’d ever stepped foot in the bedrooms, or opened the cupboard doors.  It’s amazing.  She’s thought of every detail.  I’ll blog about that likely next week.  We are incredibly blessed to have family close by with incredible living quarters available to people like us in transition.  Dick & Wilma have the most hospitable hearts and home.  There aren’t enough words for people like them.  But I will try.. next time.

Another week flies by

and i don’t feel like we accomplished much, but thinking back on it…. the week that flew by did have it’s accomplishments.  Writing is cathartic.  I’d forgotten that.. I’ve lost that, looking forward to regaining this self-therapy.

We: chose our siding (still need to choose our stone/brick), did a lot more packing/purging, nailed down our “move out date” (less than 2 weeks!), arranged our hydro move, attended several church meetings/events, planned and executed a family Niagara touring day… and the list goes on, making the writer feel more productive! 🙂

In the past week’s news – we watched and grieve with those who were injured or lost family killed senselessly in the Danforth shooting (Toronto) and we grieve the passing of a dear young woman, Sherri Merritt who lost her life in a tragic car accident last Monday.   We grieve with the families of Sherri that are also dear lifetime long friends, especially her 13 yr old son, Donovan and her parents, Karl & Bev.

It was a busy week with evening commitments and long days at work – but we still managed to get most of the office packed up, and more of the kitchen.  Sold another dresser and again.. expanded the size of the job!   We are now gutting the ENTIRE main floor, including the office and our bedroom,  replacing those windows, flooring and walls as well.   I think we’ve reached the capacity of what we can/are doing.. unless we tackle the basement at the same time… shhhh.. i did NOT say that!

img_2217Packing up the office was/is tough.  Lots of memories in files and in desk drawers.  Old photos and letters.. I had a couple of drawers of childhood mementos (including the above Child’s Prayer that hung in the bedroom I shared with my sister, Judi) that I wasn’t ready to part with the last time i did a purge..but we’re letting them go now.  I’m glad I found this..  It may be my evening prayer through this journey.    Also found a couple old fun letters from friends/family dating back 25 yrs. I’ve decided to mail them back to the people who wrote them to me as they are filled with their own thoughts and time capsules.

Office “Before” pics, actually “mid packing”.. including an Elliptical we’re selling.  Any takers??

I ordered a 20 yrd waste bin  – Bill thought we were getting a 12yrd.. and what we received instead was a 40!  It fills 2/3 of the driveway.. but it will come in handy, as it’s lower in height ,and has back doors we can walk into, making it much easier for the demo.



Bill did a vanload run to Bibles for Missions of purged items, asking them and Foodland both for boxes.  They offered to hold on to any boxes throughout the day if we picked up end of day.  Foodland for the WIN.. we got great heavy duty boxes from them that will easily pack up the rest of the kitchen, pantry and our belongings.

Saturday we took a break with dear cousins who were visiting from out of town, to take them on a tour of our lovely wine region.  It was a great day of exploring, tasting, learning, savouring and spending quality time with loved ones. img_2244


We actually managed to cook for ourselves on Friday.. Grilled Italian sausage and zucchini from the garden, with roasted mini potatoes & sage.  (LOVE grilled sage..SO YUM) as promised.. here’s a bit of food porn to bring us back to the original intent of “Bill and Amy’s Kitchen”…                                       Bon Appetit!



Weekend Update


The packing, purging, selling continues!     A cousin told us about this book she read recently about purging.  I can’t remember the book title, but one phrase that I’m going to butcher, stood out.  “[If you hold something and it no longer brings you joy.. get rid of it.]”  So we have been getting rid of a LOT.. with JOY! 🙂


However, i FOUND something with great JOY!   A cassette from “Super Star Recording Studio” (aka a place to lose money & make bad memories on Clifton Hill) circa 1986 with my BFF Elizabeth.   This will NOT be purged.  Oh we sounded so GREAT! TERRIBLE!!img_2185.jpg

We’ve come to embrace the Facebook Buy & Sell Groups.  Bill was able to sell our old snowblower in JULY.    The best part was.. this guy was also heading to the scrap yard, and took TWO defunct lawnmowers we had in our back garage and some old brake discs.  I’m tempted to invite him back to see what else he wants to help us purge!   He had his sweet little girls with him, along with his dad.  Reminded me of when i was little, going on fun dump runs with my Dad on Saturdays.  img_2191

Somehow we often came home with more than we left with, much to my mother’s chagrin.    One really cool thing  is that we’re meeting some really awesome people we never would otherwise thru this project.  A young man came by earlier this week to pick up a cabinet he’d purchased on FB Buy & Sell, and we had a great chat as well.  I’m praying Bill & I can be a witness to others around us – that God can use this time in our lives as we tear down walls & rebuild .. to do that in not only our little house & lives, but in others as well.  and BONUS –  we’ve paid for ONE new window just by selling items we no longer need.

On a bittersweet note..  We’ve decided not to try to keep our hydrangeas, in spite of the stellar bloom year they are gracing us with.   They grow so incredibly well in our soil (our brother claims our soil is radioactive, LOL!).  We know we’ll be able to replace them in a matter of 2 years.. so we’re going to part with them.  In the meantime, I’m taking lots of photos to remember them.


My goal during this phase is to retain enough energy at the end of each day to return our main living spaces to as normal as possible so we have places to retreat to from the mess.  On days like yesterday when we spent most of the day packing/purging.. that’s difficult.

We are so blessed to have storage right across the street.  It’s so clean and tidy – it’s making this all so much easier as we slowly prepare for the next stage.  (DEMOLITION!)

Bill was a MACHINE all day long.. he dismantled the guest bed completely and got it moved across to storage as well as all the other totes & boxes we packed up during the morning.

Meanwhile, Life goes on!  A wedding shower to go to in the afternoon yesterday, and bible study in the evening. (not at our house, it was actually nice to close the door and leave for a while)  Transpiring into a very late night last night, into an early morning today as I was leading worship at church.

Soon we’ll start removing baseboard & start lifting the floors.  I have a love/hate relationship with the Quarter Oak.  it’s squeeky/creaky nature, and it’s warm orangey/red tones .. i fell in love with it over the years.. but am really ready to let it go.  However – I will NOT miss our horrible ceramic tiles that were installed by previous owner.  Lifting & trashing them will be VERY cathartic. They cracked and lost all their grout within a couple years of install on a very bad or possibly non existent subfloor.  We’ll soon find out!

We were able to take a much needed Sabbath rest after church today, while also prepping some meals so we are ready for the week ahead that is filled with work, family, ministry, and this project.  We are confident we’ll be able to continue to move ahead in bite sized pieces, and be ready in time for when the trades come in and take over.

Thanks be to the One who gives us Strength!


Permit is IN!

I will not be posting daily.. no worries.. but today is too important NOT to commemorate!   We received our plans today, and I brought them in immediately to the Town of Lincoln to apply for the permit.  Summer students are all in, so what should have normally been a 5 minute drop off, took over 1.5 hrs.   So in 2 short weeks we should have our permit, so that when the trades are ready, so are we!   In the meantime we’ll continue to finalize our interiors.. plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, lighting.. as well as our exterior cladding.  And continue to PURGE, PACK and SELL!

this is getting really real!  One of the walls that is coming down is currently our “plans & inspiration” wall.  How fun is that?   img_2167

best laid plans

I’m gonna get personal & real here…..  One of my favourite bloggers is “Story of this Life”.. Esther Anderson is a mommy blogger from Rochester, NY who shares real life.  If you’re on Facebook,  where she posts more often, follow her.  Go ahead, I dare you to feel normal, especially if you’re a parent of small kids, or have been.   The good,the bad, the mess.  She makes the reader feel that they too are normal.  So i too, will attempt to do that… Be real. Honest.  Oft times messy, and hopefully encouraging.

As organized as I **think** I might be, ahead of the game, ducks in a row etc.. ‘something’ never fails to come along that blows that theory completely apart – then I do just that… fall apart.   When I’m on track, focused, in full steam ahead mode..  “someone”, we’ll call him “Guillermo” will ask a simple question that will knock me off that track…  mad emoji  and that  full steam comes out of my head.  I’m ashamed to admit that.  Especially when I’m tired or have had a crazy day at work.. which is more often than not.  Last night, Guillermo asked me a simple question about one aspect of the building process that I thought we had dealt with, signed/sealed/delivered.. and well.. yah.. i didn’t respond well.    SIGGGGHHHHHH..   Hear me on this:  being tired or stressed is not an excuse…  I’m not looking to be excused. I need to strive for better. 

One of my Dad’s favourite quotes by St. Jerome goes like this:


A short month ago, when we first made this decision to demo/build/add, I shared with Bill that my biggest fear was how it would affect our relationship.  Face it..  ANY big life change is a huge stress on any relationship.  And if you know us, you know that we both LOVE to argue.. we get a kick out of it…  but here’s the thing:  I want to argue WELL.  Bill is much better at it than I.  He doesn’t get personal.  He doesn’t raise his voice, get offensive or defensive. (man, i am blessed!)

When i’m tired, stressed, and then de-railed.. i lose my ability or desire to argue well.   So yah.. i need to be cognizant of that, breathe, count to 10, assess the question.. pray,  wait to respond.  I don’t want to fight in attack/defense mode, when i have no resources left but that of an angry cat.  We’re just starting.. and I need to work on this weakness of mine as much as i’m working on the project.  Thank GOD I’m not alone.


Ok.. ENOUGH about me… let’s talk PLANS!!!

TADA!!!   here’s the “new” front elevation.  ignore my horrible colouring skills with a mouse.  and the window grilles – please do ignore those.   Amy don’t do grilles.   Just last week the old garage door sprung a spring.. BOING.. our dear friend Gord came to the rescue and fixed it for us temporarily.   He will install a much needed new door after the double wide driveway is in.  🙂  (refer to last post.. when that was our initial plan.. haha.. now you have some insight as to how I dealt with THAT particular derailment!)North Elevation

Below is our floor plan.  Yellow line shows the addition.  For now we are leaving the existing bedroom & office out of the project.  We have some ideas there, but we’re not doing them yet.  Everything, i mean EVERYTHING else is being gutted.

New Ground Floor

Thanks to the handy dandy free on-line Ikea room planners that are pretty user friendly, I started having fun.  This is a very early iteration, before we added 3′ more to the front addition. It’s still cramped, even with the open space afforded by taking out the guest room.  What I like most about this early plan is the flowers  and the lighter floors – i may go back to that.   layout 2

birds eye w butler's pantry


I believe these next 3 views are Version 5.3    seriously.. there have been many revisions!  Our main goals: open living space that could house a large Small group comfortably, and also be able to change and move with needs.. larger living area, no prob, shrink or pull out the dining table, or add another one for large dinner parties.. NO problem.

Also, moving our personal entry to come in from the garage, using the new “Butler’s Pantry” for our coats/boots, recycling, bringing the W/D to the main floor, adding storage/pantry space.. larger front entrance, and most importantly, a powder room.

again, ignore the window grilles.  and that the basement steps are not shown, and our bathrooms have no doors, and the island is much too small..  (hrmmm. i just brought attention to all the things you need to ignore..)  this does however flesh out what the new living space will look like.

view 1View 3

So here we are.. our contractors are working on their quotes, final plans are being drawn up, and we should be able to apply for our building permit early next week.  EEKS!!!  Our HVAC installer visited last night to look at the plans and our current system, and gave us great ideas.    It is so helpful to have personal relationships with many of our trades.  We are indeed blessed.  I know and trust these guys, respect them and their work.  I can’t imagine what our clients feel, when they don’t know us (Lincoln Construction) or our trades at all.. This will be quite the journey to making me more empathetic to our clients, I’m sure!

I’ll stop for now.. it’s time to get busy in Bill & Amy’s Kitchen … where Guillermo is doing all the work right now…