The Fruits of Labour

Tada! Three weeks ago, our basement looked like this:
As some of you know, the basement has been a no-man’s-land for over eight years now. When we bought the house, the former owner told us she would clean up the basement prior to leaving, and then neglected to do so. The contents at that time included hundreds of pieces of wood, in various sizes; and the previous owner made it very clear that it was her wood, and she wanted it. After eight years, we figure she’s not coming back for it, after all.
Since then, we’ve been busy renovating upstairs, so we have very much ignored the basement. We were both storing things for other people – I had Alison’s old Tandy computer down there, and Andrew had, among other things, his ex-girlfriend’s wedding dress 😛
Jeannine, the world’s greatest mother-in-law, has been visiting since the end of September, and she and I decided to roll up our sleeves and clean up the basement. It took us two and a half weeks, but the results are astonishing:
Now the kids have a designated play area, which means their room is much easier to keep tidy, and my laundry area is roomy and well-organized. The dark, crowded cold-storage room is now a bright clean pantry, and under the layers of solidified coal in the furnace room we discovered a tidy tool room. I love it!
Many, many thanks to Jeannine, without whom this would not have been possible. Also, many thanks to the very understanding sanitation engineers who took away tons (and that’s not as figurative as you would like to think) of trash. Finally, thanks also to Zip and Kathryn and Lou and Tilly, who between them got rid of all the wood, as well as the leftover wainscotting from the kitchen and half a dozen old storm doors.

Sept. 2002 Archives

Sunday, September 29, 2002
One more thing
AND we turned on the furnace. Who ordered this weather? It’s those damned ski people, isn’t it? Hmph.
Weekend Retrospective
This has been one of those great weekends – the kind in which you accomplish a lot, but still feel like you’ve had a relaxing couple of days.
On Friday, Jeannine and I spent another hour in the basement, then I rushed off to the Alexis Nihon mall to meet Garran and, more importantly, his Jeep. We loaded up the kids’ new train table and brought it home. After we unloaded the table into the basement, Garran went off to more glamorous things, and Andrew came home for lunch. We loaded up the car with about six boxes of dishes culled from the basement clean-up operation, and then Jeannine and I dropped Andrew off at work. We proceeded to Village des Valeurs, dropped off the dishes, and found a great new raincoat (20$) for Jeannine, and yet another leather jacket for me (8$).
Then we took a break at Rockaberry’s, where we had fabulous pie and a cup of coffee. We strolled through a bed store looking for bunk bed inspirations, and at some point we picked Andrew up, dropped him off at the car rental lot, and hit the stores once again.
Andrew, by the way, was renting a car to take himself and a few other members of the Montreal Scrabble Club to a tourney in TO. He gets back tonight.
Yesterday, we did some general tidying, and Dina and Steve came by for a visit in the afternoon, with presents for Colin. After supper, Jeannine went into hyper-Grandma mode and looked after bathtime and bedtime while I had grown-up time (kind of) at Terence and Irene’s for Geek Night – recommendations include Greg the Bunny and SeaLab 2021.
Today started with Kathryn and Zip coming by with Zip’s very manly pick-up to make one trip to the wood dump in NDG, followed by loading the truck with all the wainscotting that used to be in the kitchen, as well as most of the spare shutters and windows that have been languishing in the basement for more than eight years. My imaginative sister plans to make said shutters and windows into her kitchen cabinets. The wainscotting is destined for their bathroom.
Other weekend activities included filling up three garbage bags with clothes for Village des Valeurs, tons of laundry, various cleaning projects, and lots of snuggly coffee-sipping and paper-reading in the comfort of my own bed, sans children, thanks to the World’s Best Mother-in-Law.
And yet I still have time to blog it all!
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Construction zone
I’ll be playing with the template occasionally – one thing I plan to create is a separate page for the photos, to save time and space on the main page.
Many apologies for any temporary inconveniences during this construction period.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Many thanks
Colin thoroughly enjoyed his birthday.
Thanks to all who called and e-mailed, and a special thanks to Grandma, who supplied the cake.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
And where were you five years ago today?
Today’s the big day – Colin is FIVE years old!
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Little Radio Receivers in my Brain
I’ve had Sinatra’s I Get a Kick Out of You going through my head all morning. All things considered, this is not a bad thing. I had a narrow escape the other day, when a certain very tall friend-in-law mentioned She’s Havin’ My Baby, no doubt the most nefarious song of all time. A former flame and I used to play a dangerous game in which we innocently hummed the tune to a song in an effort to inflict upon the other the torment of hearing an endless loop of something dreadful…
Girls’ Night
I got a last-minute invitation to join Dina for a girls’ night at Jen’s place, with Jen’s two sisters and Fanny. The theme: a Pride and Prejudice marathon, in which we watched the entire miniseries. Five hours of Colin Firth scowling and occasionally getting wet. *Sigh*
Many, many thanks to Jen for the hospitality!
Also, many, many apologies to Fanny, since she was right and I was wrong: Mr. Darcy’s first name is, indeed, Fitzwilliam.
Friday, September 20, 2002
As you may have noted, commenting is now an option (thanks to Bill and her astounding brain). So please feel free to let me know what you think. As I said to Mr. Big, just because you’re wrong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be heard.
Billding my Blog
A gazillion thanks to my mentor, the bountiful Bill, who supplied me not only with invaluable help with blog maintenance, but also vodka. If other instructors did this kind of thing, I would be much more inclined to continue my studies.
Okay, I Lied
I am actually inclined to continue my studies. After much discussion with my better half, the decision has been made – I will pursue my Ph.D (last seen entering a Walmart in Idaho, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap. If you have seen my Ph.D. please send any info to the hotline ASAP).
I have emailed the Universite de Montreal to set up a meeting with someone to discuss what I want to do; I’ve also contacted one of my favourite profs from Concordia, to see if he can give me any direction. I want to focus on 18th and 19th century women authors (i.e., Austen, Eliot, Gaskell, the Brontes, etc.) in a historical context. Beyond that I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing.
Plus ca change…
I’ve also planted the seed with my Softitler supervisor that I would be interested in negotiating a permanent part-time gig, which would be ideal in conjunction with studying. Something like 25-30 hours a week. Barring that, the freelance deal is pretty sweet, and we can survive on the reduced income for the three or fours years of the degree.
So there!

Method to My Madness?

I spent the better part of today “cleaning” the guest room in preparation for the arrival of my mother-in-law. Those familiar with my house will know that I have a lot of books (understatement of the year nominee), and that many of said books are housed in the guest room.
You see, I have always wanted a Woody Allenesque room in the house, with many, many shelves teeming with many, many books. So one whole wall of the guest room is bookshelves, and there’s a medium-sized Ikea bookcase in there as well.
So I decided to rearrange my library…
Since the better part of my reading takes place in bed, I thought it would make sense to shelve all of my unread books in the guest room for easy access. The bottom shelf in unread nonfiction, and the next two shelves are unread fiction. I have a lot of reading to do!
Anyway, right now the room looks slightly messier than before I started cleaning. This is saying a lot, considering that with our recent renovations, the guest room became a temporary storage facility, not only for our odds and ends from other rooms, but also for the thick layer of dust created by the floor guys. On the other hand, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (I can also see the closet, which is perhaps more relevant).
I have scheduled a blog tutorial tomorrow with the incomparable Bill, so I hope to have a comment feature, among many other bells and whistles, very soon. In the meantime, if you have a comment that can’t wait, please feel free to send me e-mail.