Hi everybody, Mike here. Looks like it has been a while since an update. We are starting to get settled in, and it is really starting to feel like home. One of the drawbacks to this, is that after a full day at the day job, we don’t tend to do as much when we get home (the living room is very comfortable). That being said, the last month and a half have still managed to be extremely busy. I built a shed, then performed hurricane repairs the next day. We had some friends over to use the kitchen like it is supposed to be. We finally had our open house, and we also had a wonderful housewarming party (followed by a parade the next day!).
I’m not big on Halloween. It’s not that I have anything against it, I just find I get busy and it sneaks up and I’m scrambling to figure out a costume. Leah, on the other hand LOVES Halloween. We have a whole Rubbermaid storage bin full of costumes and accessories. Living in the city we never got any kids trick or treating. Partially due to the neighborhood, and as we were on a side street. However this year, Leah was very excited by the prospect of handing out candy. She got dressed up and when she saw a group turning down the street she would jump and wave and call them over. There were a lot of people who didn’t know someone lived here now, or didn’t think we would be handing out candy. We ended up getting 39 kids, hopefully next year it isn’t raining.
So the shed was supposed to be a two day project done by two people (according to the manual). It ended up being a month and a half project done mostly by me. I’m not entirely convinced it is more cost effective to go with the kits, having done it. I may have been further ahead to just buy some lumber and a table saw. Cause then I’d have a shed and a table saw (and probably more money). The kit gives you most of the wood you need to build the shed. You need to buy whatever you are using for the floor system, plus the floor panels, plus the shingles. Plus more nails. Plus more wood if you want it to be able to hold something heavy (like a motorbike). Plus more nails again. All money frustration aside, I think it was a good experience. I learned a lot about building things. Slivers hurt. Don’t do roofing at night. Most importantly I learned why it is important to MAKE SURE the floor is square before continuing. It is the kind of issue you don’t see the consequences of until the last roof panel does not fit, and you are too far ahead to take the whole thing apart and start over. I also learned that those fancy looking shingles are really just a cash cow, cause you have to buy three different kinds of shingles to get the job done, rather than normal three tab shingles that you can complete a whole roof with. The day I finished putting the shingles on, Hurricane Sandy blew through and decided that it didn’t like how I did the top three rows, so it took those off for me. Oh well, I know now for the next shed I build. It is done now, and our gardening stuff, bicycles and Leah’s motorcycle all fit comfortably. It still needs to get painted but that will happen next Spring.
When Leah and I set the deadline for our open house, we had to get on hanging the art. After much research, we decided to go with a gallery art hanging system from ashanging.com. I’ve used this hanging system several times when helping setup for the Visual Fringe show every year at The Arts Project in London. It uses an aluminium rail, and aircraft wire hangs from it. You attach a special hook to the wire and that’s how you hang your picture. It’s nice as you can have unlimited configurations for your art, and it doesn’t cause a bunch of holes in the wall. It took a couple of days to get it installed, but it looks great. I had to get several prints replaced that had sold, but we got our Fringe displays from the last two years hung. We also got a large china cabinet, and Leah is using it to display her fibre art, as well has hanging several of her pieces. We also put the art up in the living room, a combination of ours and other artists we know. As an early Christmas present for Leah, I ordered a large canvas print of a picture I took at the French River, and we hung it over the fireplace.
Giving The Kitchen A Proper Test Drive
Our friends, Lionel and Juanita, came over to help us put the storm windows up in the sanctuary before the winter hit full force. They actually went up a lot easier than I thought they would, though working on a 20 foot stepladder while holding a ten foot tall window is somewhat nerve wracking. After we finished the windows, we all went to the kitchen where Lionel showed us how to prepare Gnocchi from scratch (Leah also made some amazing bread sticks ). It may have been the most fun I’ve had cooking. Having a kitchen where four people can work comfortably really helps.
The Front Staircase
As we got closer to the open house, we decided we had to get the painting done in the front staircase. It was a bigger job than I had thought it would be. The staircase itself is rather big, I’ve had bedrooms smaller than the landings. Even though I have done A LOT of painting over the last few months, I like it about as much as when we first started. I have gotten better at it, I suppose. The hard part with this space was not having scaffolding. There were areas we couldn’t get to with a ladder, but we did our best, and I think it turned out ok.
The Open House!
So finally we were ready to show off the place to our friends and neighbours. We put a flyer at our mailbox, and told people from work, as well as the folks who used to attend church here. We got up at 7AM and did some finishing touches, cleaning up and sweeping and laying out snacks. People started showing up promptly at 1PM, and continued till around 4. We had in total about 75 people through the place. It got so crazy that people who had attended here were helping by showing other people through the building. We got a lot of positive feedback on our work, especially from people of the congregation. It was very important to us that we treat the building with respect, and we wanted to keep the heritage of the building intact. We were glad that they thought we had done so.
Later that evening , we had about 35 or so friends come by and had a wonderful housewarming party. As we showed people through the house, it became something of a kitchen party, with several of our friends from different circles meeting and getting to know each other. At one point some people went upstairs to start jamming, and when we followed we were met with the most wonderful sound. Cresting the stairs to hear the place filled with music is probably going to be one of my favourite memories for a long time. It seems that everyone had a good time, I know we certainly did.
Note – the day was so crazy that I completely forgot to take enough pictures – so imagine the pictures of the room, but full of people!
The next day we walked out into our front yard to watch the Annual Fingal Santa Claus Parade. Apparently the parade used to start in our parking lot, but this year they started it in the municipal office lot (we would have been cool with it starting here, who wouldn’t want a parade to start in their yard?).
Well as we go into Christmas , hopefully we find the time to update more often, thanks for continuing to check in and see how things are going!