Equinox

I swear time is doing funny things to us here. I feel like it is both flying by and crawling forward. Perhaps that’s just life with a toddler.

Week one of the 21 day fix wraps up today. It’s been an interesting week! It has been a challenge to work out daily, but not as much as I thought it would be. I also thought it would be harder to follow the meal plan, but it’s amazing how easy it is once you wrap your head around it. A week ago, it took me nearly 4 hours to plan for the week. Now I can replan and day in 10 minutes, tops. (Which we had to do yesterday due to grocery limitations and other pain in the butt issues, such as my car being a total piece of crap). I have really enjoyed sharing this experience with Pat. He has been a massive motivator to me. No major change on the scale yet, but I’m not going to do an official End of Week 1 weigh in until tomorrow morning.

Other observations:

  • I hate cardio. I am screwed when the apocalypse happens.
  • I have very little in the way of work-out attire. In the process of remedying that.
  • It’s amazing how quickly your body adapts. I went from drinking almost no water a day, and 3+ cups of coffee (full of milk and sugar), to a TONNE of water and almost no coffee in a day (only a quick glug of milk and stevia now).
  • I freaking love balsamic vinegar. On everything. EVERYTHING.

For those that are into this, this is my meal plan for this coming week. I know it doesn’t look like much, but the portions are HUGE.

21daywk2

Aside from this massive lifestyle change, we got out to see some more houses and have a renewed hope. We are returning to getting our place done and will hopefully have it on the market by next week. We are moving our target area a bit and have fallen in love with a small town further south. We have FOUR places that we are really interested in now, so I am very excited.

Hopefully we get our acts together and get going so that it isn’t freaking February when we are moving. Ugh.

It seems fitting that all of this change is going on now, at Mabon time.

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I have to say, I love this time of year. I never feel more like myself than I do now. I live for sweater weather, apples and spice, fallen acorns, changing leaves and tea. Seriously, my heart is set to burst with how much I adore it. I hate how short lived it is.

mabon

I don’t have any major plans for Mabon this year. Maybe a few crafts with my boy, a walk in the woods and a cleansing of the home (also a good idea for getting some welcoming vibes for the house hunters). I have some yard work to do, to both enhance the curb appeal and prep for the coming winter. That feels like it should round out the day perfectly :)

What are you doing for the equinox?

Still in the middle

What a whirlwind life has been. The house prep has been a all consuming project. I plan on sharing some pictures with you soon as part of my UFYH series. We finally came to an agreement with the bank (who own the house we love) and have conditionally purchased it. The three conditions that we made were: 1. Home inspection 2. Financing 3. Selling our place

Yesterday was the home and septic inspection. I have to be honest and say I am overwhelmed. I still absolutely love the house, but there was more than I hoped. The place is almost 70 years old, so I shouldn’t be surprised….but we have to now sit down and really decide if we can live with what we now know.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

In the mean time, we are getting all the last bit of information to the bank to get our mortgage application in, as well as finishing up all the prep to get our place listed. On top of that, I am still working in the evening a couple days a week and Pat still has classes two nights a week. I haven’t been this exhausted and stressed in such a long time. I have cut my hours down, and Pat finished his course next week, so hopefully things will mellow out a bit. I was hoping to have our home listed by now, so hopefully this delay won’t screw up our plans.

So far, we have:

-Decluttered. We have a storage unit outside full of large pieces of furniture and items that were clogging up the space

-Made some repairs

-Painted trim.

Doesn’t sound like much, but I swear it is. I have been a hermit for weeks, focusing on this place. Gods, I hope it all pays off.

Overwhelmed

I am having one of those weeks where I am so overwhelmed by the events of the world that I don’t know what to say about any of it. My heart is broken and I am scared for the world, really.

Life continues on here. I am still decluttering and packing. I’m not sure that we, as a family, have for sure decided to move, but I have decided, as an individual, to take the leap and start prepping for it anyway. I have a storage unit that arrived yesterday, and we have a short list of houses left to see. We have two contenders at the moment, so we are close. Once we have decided on the house we want, we will list ours. I am absolutely dreading the showing process, but it’s a necessary evil in this process. For those looking to snag some free stuff, I will be posting a lot of the stuff I am hoping to get rid of on facebook. Add me! :D Local pick up only, please. Ain’t nobody got time for the post office.

In an attempt to get past all the crazy in the world right now, I want to focus on the things that make me smile. Here are some of my current favourite things:

 

For the Home:

One of my fave things in the world right now is the Buy Nothing movement. Inspired by the various Freecycle communities online, the Buy Nothing groups are neighbourhood specific. Ours in Barrhaven is super busy and has some great items and services. This is where I am posting the majority of my stuff. I have also snagged some amazing items here for us. So, if you want to find some great used items for your home, while being frugal, or you need a place to declutter, check to see if there is a Buy Nothing group near you.

For my Kid:

Liam recently received a Tricycle from a neighbour and has been practically attached to the thing. To keep my kiddo safe and to practice safe bicycle riding, I insist on him wearing a helmet. Good habits are awesome when they start young. We especially love this great Nutcase helmet we got him:

For my ears:

I’ve been really digging this Hey Rosetta! song, “Welcome”, about the birth of a child.

And my tune for the summer has for sure been Kongos, Come with me now.

And my latest obsession is July Talk. They are just so cute.

And with that, I am off. I will try to post more “Stuff I love” posts as I have plenty of those things that I adore. Cheers!

 

UFMH – An update

This is not an update I wanted to make. About two weeks ago, shortly after my last post, Pat and I heard from a mortgage broker that we had contacted concerning a second opinion. She broke the news that we were not in a great position to move and would honestly be better off waiting until we were in a better financial position. Shortly after that phone call, we found out our real estate agent (who we LOVE), left his firm (We were informed by the team lead that they had restructured). This cemented things for us. We weren’t ready to start over with someone new, or to force ourselves into a bad financial situation.

So, here we are. Stuck in a home that we don’t love and don’t trust. At very least, I’m trying to remain positive about the situation. We have done a ton of work and now have a much more livable space.

As you can imagine, though, the work came to a grinding halt. There’s still a lot to do. A lot of clutter to conquer. I’m trying to stay motivated, but it’s hard. We did get some news today that put the fire under my ass to do some house work. We may have a house guest staying with us for a bit. We’ll know more next week. In the mean time, I plug away!

Today I:

-Tidied the main floor, including the kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom and front hall.

-Vacuumed the main floor

-Washed all the floors on the main floor (Love the shark mop!)

-Clean the main floor bathroom

-Did a load of dishes

-Tidied the basement, including the laundry room.

-Did 4 loads of laundry

-Vacuumed and washed the floors in the basement

-Tidied upstairs, including all three bedrooms and the main bathroom

-Vacuumed upstairs

-Washed the floors, sinks, counter and toilet in the main bathroom

-Put away newly cleaned clothing

-Got all garbage and recycling out on the curb

 

I also:

-Made smoothie popcicles (first time this summer! Such a shame I waited so long! Can’t wait to try them)

-Signed us up for a CSA, Bryson Farms. Our first basket arrives Wednesday!

-Put a bag together for donation (pick up next week)

 

It’s been a productive day! It’s going to be a busy week, so I’m glad to get as much done as possible. We’re going to be making a trip to the Experimental Farm/Agriculture Museum sometime with Jan, Beth, Cassidy and Brenda. Cassidy’s birthday party is Saturday and we’re having a family bbq at my SIL’s on Monday. Good times ahead!

 

UFYH – Master Bedroom

I wish I had some before pictures for you. Maybe it was the shame I felt about the room that made made me “forget”. Our room hadn’t been touched since we moved in, unless you count the addition of the crib to the space (and even then, it didn’t really change the layout)

How it used to look (pre-baby)

Since then, we have done:

  • Brought in crib
  • Replaced bed linens
  • Removed white dresser
  • Moved small dresser to closet
  • Got rid of snakes
  • New chair
  • Added another bookcase
  • Added another light
  • Organized walk in closet (7 bags of clothes donated, 3 bags thrown away)
  • Changed curtains (twice. They were an awful teal, then brown black out, now a light leafy pattern)

Left to do:

  • Cleaning (dusting, washing walls)
  • Touching up trim
  • Replace night stands
  • Remove bookcases
  • Clean up bedding for crib
  • Hang artwork
  • Hide the last bit of clutter on dresser and crib before showing
  • Steam clean carpet

UFYH – Basement Update

It’s been a busy and difficult couple of weeks. Liam seems to have developed a mystery rash which has been diagnosed as anything from hives, to chicken pox to some random viral reaction. I had a hard time with Melissa’s disappearance, death and her husband being charged with the crime. To deal, I’ve been trying to refocus on getting our house done and ready for market.

Here’s the basement update. Done since my last post:

  • Major dent in laundry
  • Installed bookshelves and moved DVD collection there
  • Put together coffee table
  • Put in area rug
  • Hung painting
  • Printed and Framed artwork for laundry room

Left to do:

  • Finish laundry
  • Clean laundry room top to bottom
  • Hang Laundry Room Art
  • Store remaining clutter
  • Post items on freecycle
  • Clear desks for showing

Unfucking My Habitat

The past few years have been tough. Anyone who has read my blog will know that. I won’t rehash everything again, but I will say that we hit another bump in the road a couple months ago.

Before Liam was born, we started a massive re-haul of the basement. We wanted more livable space. It ended up being quite the fiasco (water damage, mold, our contractors going out of business, the work being delayed by months, the work that was done failing).

basement3

Part-way through the renovations in 2012

After the renos in 2012, pre-flood

After the renos in 2012, pre-flood

A couple months ago, we had our windows and doors replaced. I then hired a contractor to paint our garage door to match out new doors. When they were cleaning up, I offered them the use of our back hose. 6 hours later, Pat came home and we discovered the pipe to that hose burst. The basement had been filling with water for 6 hours. Our new couch, our floors, the walls, soaked. Luckily the floor wasn’t level so our media center and computers were fine, but there was still massive damage.

The damage, after we tore out the floor and walls

The damage, after we tore out the floor and walls

We went through insurance and finally got it cleaned up and redone. While this process was starting, Pat and I had a sit down and decided that we were done with this crap. We were done with always wondering what was going to happen next. We were done feeling betrayed by this house and needed a fresh start. We’ve decided to list and move on.

What this means is that we have to, in a very short time, declutter, clean and decorate this place to make it sellable. All while house hunting and living with a very active toddler. It hasn’t been going well. So, I’ve been doing some reading.

I came across Unfuck Your Habitat and this great post on Decluttering. We are going to tackle this one room at a time, and to keep me motivated, I’m going to post our progress here. First up, we’ll be finishing the basement, seeing as how it’s been the project that doesn’t seem to want to end.

Done:

  • Couch replaced
  • Rug purchased
  • Floors replaced
  • Walls repaired and painted
  • Media Center reorganized
  • Storage built
  • Gone through all files and paperwork, shredded and tossed old stuff.

To Do:

  • Clean Laundry Room
  • Finish massive mounds of laundry
  • Frame free laundry art and hang
  • Hang painting
  • Clear out garbage
  • Final Repairs

Meanwhile, while I’m off doing all that, check out my friend Phil’s youtube series called “Out of the Doghouse“. He hasn’t updated in a while (3 years), but it’s a series that’s essentially about unfucking your life, starting with your habitat. That, and Phil is awesome. Go give him some love.

Community Spirit

I grew up in a suburb on the east end of town. We moved there in 1988 when the majority of the area was still in development or fields. Today, the landscape has completely changed and the area is considered a “mature” ‘burb, with full grown trees and houses needing or having recently had renovations. This childhood neighbourhood, despite being called “cookie cutter” by many of my more recent friends, was amazing for me as a child. There were a bunch of families with kids the same age, lots of people who knew each other’s names, mowed each other’s lawns and helped shovel when the snowbanks were higher than the garage doors. We had a small wooded area nearby with a park, and the traffic was light and cautious, so we were always encouraged to be outside.

I grew up in a community that cared about it’s people. When my father died, neighbours I haven’t seen in years brought us casseroles and dinners. They helped Mum with landscaping and chores. They kept an eye on her for me when I couldn’t be there.

Today, I live in a burb on the southwest side of town. It’s only maybe a decade younger than my old home, but it couldn’t be more different. We’ve lived here three years, and I still don’t know the names of any of our neighbours. No one helps you, no one says hi, with an exception to the one family across the street and a few doors down. I really miss feeling like I’m surrounded by good, kind people.

Lately, I’ve been going to see my chiropractor twice a week. She’s in an older urban neighbourhood known as Westboro. I normally grab a coffee at the cafe next door and head back to work afterwards. It’s funny, but even though I only spend maybe 30 minutes in the area at a time, each time I go down there, people remind me of how sweet they can be. I get smiles and conversation. People hold doors open for each other. Today, I had about 40 minutes between appointments (my therapist is a block down), so I had breakfast in that cafe. The coffee guy made latte art for me (also known as Rosetta’s, btw. Find some great pictures here). The staff all chatted with those of us taking a break inside. There were genuine smiles and laughter. Funny how the small things can make an area feel like home.

My rosetta was similar to this

We’ll never live there (housing is WAY too expensive in that part of town, and it’s too urban for Pat) but it’s a wonderful place to visit. I hope that one day, I settle down in a place where the community has a heart. Meanwhile, thanks Westboro for being so welcoming. You make this difficult time that much brighter.

Healing

I’m trying to figure out how to move on from this place. I’m functioning. I’m not usually a blubbering mess, but I’m hurt in an extremely profound way. My mother’s death has broken my heart, but the subsequent family drama has nearly broken my spirit. I can’t get into details, because of the legal issues surrounding the whole thing, but I can say that my loss has been much greater than I could have imagined.

I find myself full of fear, anger and denial. I don’t want to accept any of it, and it would be so easy to walk over that line of sanity and lie to myself that Mum is still here and that we, as a clan, aren’t broken. Too easy. I feel the fire and acid of rage and hurt bubbling away in my stomach. I feel the swallowed screams and rants sitting like a burning lump of coal in my chest. I need to move forward. I need to honour my Mother and do what is right for me. I need to grieve and heal and go on with my life.

I just wish I knew how.

I’m trying to infuse elements of regular life back in. I’m trying to refocus on the wedding stuff. I have my hair trial booked, my first dress fitting. I got my hair cut, finally. I’ve been playing with makeup and watching bad tv. I had a job interview. These are all good steps, but nothing is touching the deep seeded badness. I know it’ll take time, but I’d love any suggestions you might have for me.  Meanwhile, here’s the new hair:

So much curlier! Yay!

In the mean time, Pat and I are no longer moving into the family home. We’re staying put until the estate is settled and then we’ll start looking. I’m daydreaming about a house like this:

For now, I’m going to enjoy my oatmeal and my coffee and wait for my sister to call. I’m heading back to the Family Home for the night for a girly sleepover night. This weekend, Pat and I are unpacking and visiting with his family. Oh, I want to share the prettiest Tarot deck ever. Can’t wait to own my very own copy!

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Fool Card from her Shadowscape deck

The Fool

Timeline is set

It was a very busy weekend for Pat and I. We had a BBQ, two easter dinners, a meeting with our real estate agent, and several trips to the Home Depot. Yesterday we finally found out what our timeline was for getting the house done.

Monday.

As in, we have less than a week to get ‘ur done.

Cue the hair pulling and teeth gnashing. I’m trying to face this with grace and poise, but I think beer and wine are going to be big helpers this week. Pat’s working two days, and then hopefully home to finish the basement and help me pack. I’m about to book movers after I make this post, and today, we’re getting the space in Orleans completely ready.

I have to shower, do some shopping (I hate that I need to buy boxes for this freakin’ move), go to a doctor’s appointment and then Orleans. Every day is packed like this. It’s craziness. And for some ridiculous reason, I decided this week was an awesome time to book a hair appointment. At least I will look perfectly coifed as I lug boxes around town.

It is an exciting appointment for me. I have had almost zero luck with hair dressers for most of my life. You see, I have curly/wavy hair and most hair dressers go “Uh, do you ever straighten it? Yes? GOOD! I’ll just cut it so it looks good straight.” This lovely woman, Kim, who I am seeing tomorrow, is a Curl Specialist. Yes, this is a big deal. Not only is the salon well priced (it’s only going to cost about 60 for cut, wash, dry and style), but they have actual specialists for difficult hair! WOO! I am really hoping it goes better than most of my previous cuts. NOW! For your amusement, a demonstration of said cuts:

My Natural Curls. My hair is about 3 inches longer than this now, with no layers at all.

My last real haircut, about a year ago. Cost about 200, with a coupon. NEVER AGAIN.

My hair, about 4 years ago. I got bored, and decided to cut it all off...

Yep. All gone. Loved it for about a day and then realized "Oh crap. That was dumb"

A few years later, my hair had grown out. I decided I wanted a trim and bangs. This is the before...

Yeah. This is what I got when I asked for a "trim and bangs". In fact, this is a couple of months AFTER, so this is an inch or so longer than it had been. Looks cute right? Well, remember that I have curly hair.

Yeah, a little different when curly. Ugh.

So, you can understand my fear. I’m really excited, but I hope it turns out! We shall see :D

And now, I have to get back at it. I apologize if I don’t post for a while. That may not be the case, but I have no idea what this week is going to actually entail for us. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: So, after giving it some thought, I rescheduled my hair appointment for next week. No need to cause myself undue stress over my ‘do. So, the hair update will be the Thursday after next. <3 Sorry!