Thursday, May 21, 2015

the road to St. John Cantius



I wear my city boots on these gravel roads. Red patent leather coated in dust kick up stones like they own the place. Like they invented walking. 

There is a world of difference between the Portland airport and the main drag of Shoal Lake, PDX versus rural MB, “keep it weird” meets "git ‘er dun”. 

Although I could never live here, the lines and the light fire the Broca’s area of my brain, where words are said to live. It notes the way perfectly spaced rows of stubble crest at the sky, where the silhouette of a pair of nesting geese keeps guard over the sunset. It ponders the way the gravel road curves down from the abandoned homestead, around the lake, to the old Polish graveyard where strange names hide the hopes of generations. 

My feet refuse to switch from city to rural time. My boot heels continue to strike the gravel as forcefully as they once did the pavement. My mind, though, crawls back to another time until the gravel turns to memories under truck tires headed west.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

no stepping back

 Week two of the great reno adventure did not see any letup in productivity. The addition of a nail gun compressor for the installation of the hardwood floors did, however, ramp up the decibels in the environment. The finesse work that is going into these stair runs is making for a slow start to the flooring, but once the stairs are complete, just watch for nails to start flying. Figuratively only, one hopes.

In other flooring news, the back hallway and back powder room tiles are now laid. Grouting shouldn't take long, and since the brothers started ripping out the back bathroom not five minutes after telling me that nah, there was no need for me to clear it out because they weren't ready to do it yet, I expect that very soon we will no longer have toilets in our living room and our back yard. 

The painter is nearly finished his work, with just the stair rails and some touch ups left to do. The red bedroom is now officially in the history books. I am still processing the colour that I picked to replace it - a sort of browny-greeny-greyey-taupey melange.
 
We kept the upper cabinets in two of the bathrooms, painting those tired old oak cabinets white in the main bathroom and dark chocolate brown in the ensuite. I am not afraid to tell you that I have been strutting around like a boss for thinking of that one, because they look amazing, if I do say so myself.

I can't wait to see what this week brings. Stay tuned for more transformations.

Monday, May 04, 2015

five day fixing

 What a difference a week makes. To your left you see the same view that headed up the previous post, taken four days later. And that's just one room. I may be shopping for a new shower curtain before the week is out.

The brothers continue their no holds barred assault on leaky plumbing and buckled linoleum. With barely enough time lapsed between removal and rebuilding for me to snap a few progress photos, the rebuild is happening at an exhilarating (and accelerated) pace. The latest surprise was the back hall flooring; I returned home from running some brief errands to find it gone. The same thing (but opposite) occurred today, when I returned home from running a brief errand to find it had been tiled.
 
The brothers are known for their fast, but high quality, work. They are an exercise in efficiency, sometimes too efficient, it seems. Legend has it that one time a guy for whom they built a deck refused to pay them because they got it done too quickly. 

They say of renovations that there are three options: fast, cheap, or good. You can only pick two. I think we picked the right two. 

And with painting started on the bathrooms today and a couple of toilets sitting in our living room waiting to be installed when that is done, I have high hopes that the house guest we are expecting this weekend will not have to pee in the back yard after all.