Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Before and After Bathroom Photos 4


The wall paint started out more hideous (Jim said it was the wrong colour, but I insisted - that's one of the things I like about him - he will let me do stupid things occasionally, so I learn my lesson), but once we added more black to the green it came out a very nice hue. The towel rack and the wood trim capped off our bathroom renovations, and it's a joy to take a bath in there.

And that's our bathroom adventure! (Aside from a few savage stories about living here for a week without plumbing that I couldn't possibly talk about on the Internet.)

Before and After Bathroom Photos 3


(Someday I will be able to make this photo thing work as prettily as my sister, but bear with me)

So, we ripped it all down to the studs, lined the floor and walls with cement board, insulated, vapour-barriered, got some nice fellows to put in black and white tile (love that honeycomb tile), painted the blue tub white, put back in all the fixtures, and got ourselves some gorgeous new taps. I also spent a good deal of time stripping and refinishing all the fir woodwork on the window and cabinets.

This being our first big home reno project, this was where we learned that we are both very spoiled brats and that any project we budget for will ultimately cost us double because of our high-falutin sense of taste.

Before and After Bathroom Photos 2


When we took the tub surround apart, we discovered a lot of water damage over the years, and a lot of dirt. There was also some very pretty old linoleum that was visible in patches on the floor underneath, and 1950s newspaper comics stuffed in under the surround plaster!

The toilet came out easily, but we discovered that the toilet flange was made of two mis-matched pieces - which explained some of the water damage (ick). Getting the clawfoot tub out of the room so we could work required the muscular help of a nice fellow named Dave (who got a bottle of rum for his efforts).

Before and After Bathroom Photos


On the day that we got possession of our house, we immediately started ripping out the bathroom. All the woodwork was painted, the clawfoot tub had been encased in a tub surround in the 1950s, and the floor lino was very boring.

The Pee Train

'Ride on the pee train...' (Cat Stevens would really hate this, wouldn't he)

Sprout is daytime potty-trained, but up until two days ago was still wearing a pull-up diaper to bed. Being the brave sort, I have purchased a few extra flannel bedsheets, and am attempting to help him learn not to pee in his pants at night.

It feels like gambling. Will he pee? Will he stay dry? What is my plan if he pees in the middle of the night?

I have extra bedsheets at the ready, along with extra underwear and pajamas. I have prepared my internal mindset to be supportive and encouraging. I have, in my mental checklist, a plan not to let him stay sleeping with me if he crawls up on the unrubberized bed to nurse.

The first night, Sprout went to sleep early and Jim and I watched a movie. Every time he twitched, we leapt up and ran in there to see if he was going to pee. At eleven, he sat up in bed and whined, and I took him to the potty where he peed while being basically asleep. After that, he stayed dry all night. Whoo-hoo!

Last night he peed in his pants without really waking up or waking me up, so I changed him at 4:00 a.m. and we went back to sleep. The flaw in my plan was that I got extra sheets but few extra blankets. I should know that he always bunches up his blankets and sleeps on top of them. Must scare up a few extra baby blankets this morning, before I go to work.

Ah well, I always need to try something a few times before I perfect my system. In the meantime, we're on the train heading west.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Can you tell that I have the day off? Let's face it, I'll never be a steady blogger - I am destined to be more of the bingeing type.

My favourite Vicki Carr recording is blasting all over the house, and I am attempting to make a pot roast as per my husband's instructions (never having eaten a pot roast myself, I can't yet picture the end result). The house is clean and calm, and the music is taking me back to my bohemian youth. Squirrel pirouettes on the lino. I am struck by the sudden euphoria of paid holidays.

God, I love a day off.

Sprout and Wonnie in the Leaves

Sprout and his pal from down the street had a great time jumping in my leaf pile. Don't you just love Autumn?

Posted by Picasa

Before and After Renovation Photos: House Front (Before)

I have recently gathered all of my photos of our renovations in progress, and am having some fun with 'before' and 'after' shots. This is how our house looked right after we bought it four years ago. A little white house amid many other little white houses on the street. Very dull. Peeling paint, worn out front steps, zero landscaping, trees that were growing in places merely because that is where the seeds had fallen, offset front path, etc, etc. Not much to look at.
Posted by Picasa

House Front (After)

This is the front of our house as of one month ago. New paint job, lattice with happy clematis, new cedar steps, shrubs, rocks, and a weeping caragana, and a beautiful stone and brick path made by my genius sister. The pile of leaves in the lawn has since been raked, and we are just waiting for the City to repour our sidewalk after replacing the sewer lines. When I tell people that we painted our house red and orange, they always look very worried, but I like it.
Posted by Picasa


I am starting to think that shamanism has genetic beginnings. This morning, Sprout took all the heads off of his little tiny Lego people and collected them together in a jar. "Dat is my jar full of heads," he said. Oooh, that sent a tiny frisson up my spine. Tres voudou-esque. Then he took them out and put them all together into what looked like a totem pole of heads. My little shaman. Aunt Frieda would be proud.

I Love Boggle

Jim and I have been hooked on the daily crossword and cryptoquip in the newspaper since my sister turned us onto them during the Summer. This weekend, we took the obsession further and dusted off the Boggle game that we had up in the cupboard. I love Boggle almost as much as I love groovy words, and so almost no one will play with me because I'm pretty good at it. Jim has a few very competitive bones in his body, though, and has decided to take me on.

This is fun, but is also a worry. Jim is really good at getting good at things. Like the time when we were first dating that we used to go and play pool (billiards) for fun. I've played pool since I was a teenager, and could keep up if not excel in it. Jim and I were pretty evenly matched, for a while. UNTIL HE STARTED READING BOOKS ON HOW TO PLAY POOL.

Now, I AM a librarian, and I do think reading is a universal good. However, it really ticks me off that someone can read three books on how to play billiards, and then I can never beat him again! WHO learns to play a sport better by reading books??? I ask you!! That is somehow fundamentally unfair. This squirrel tried and tried to beat him after that, and then pitched a childish fit, and now we don't go playing pool anymore.

I just hope that no-one has written a book on how to win at Boggle.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Go Mau

When Sprout was littler, I used to say "Sprout, would you like to go to the mall?" and he would respond, "Yes. Go mau!" Going mau always seemed to mean wander, snack, look at stuff, do a little aimless shopping, ride in the little fibreglass car with purple Barney.

Well, tonight I was doing the 5-9 stint of 'Library at the Mall'. It was busier than last week, but the people were more rushed - less time to stop and chat. This was a more upper-middle-class neighbourhood than last time, and you could tell that people worked all day and just didn't really want to tax their brains any further. 'Yes, Library Lady, you may talk me into entering your draw for a free prize, and I might let you tell me about one groovy online service, but that's about it.'

They just wanted to go mau.

Saskatchewan Pop Quiz

Quick! Which Saskatchewan place name is a palindrome?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Holy Moly

Squirrel on a treadmill!

So last night I did a computer class with the librarian at the Deep Dark Woods Branch, and since I was doing a program downtown first thing this morning, I loaded all the computer equipment into my car to take back here. I also got a head-cold mid-program, which made me slightly dull and whiny.

Half-way downtown, my car died. Oh, very dull.

I can't really complain since it died a half-block from my favourite service station, and the tow-truck guy and the taxi driver were very helpful. A break-down can't happen in a better way. I was feeling very tense, however, when I had to leave $4000.00 of computer equipment alone in my car while I called the tow-truck. Could you imagine the fur that would fly if someone walked off with the library's computer equipment? Not good.

By 10:15 p.m., I was home, by 11:00 p.m. I was sleeping, and by 8:15 a.m. I was back downtown (avec my new friends the hard drive and three bags of other stuff) to set up for the day's programs. This morning I taught a staff training program on 'Searching the Invisible Web' with a colleague, and this afternoon, I taught 'Advanced Internet Searching' with someone else. Both classes went well, but now I am spent. I am toast. I am an airhead who just wants a cheeseburger and a really big milkshake.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Hates Leeses to Pieces

So, we're having a head lice scare around our neck of the woods. Oh. So. Dull.

Three weeks ago, Sprout's caregiver learned that her friend (who also takes care of children in her home) had a child in her daycare with head lice. So, for two weeks, they didn't allow their charges to fraternize and it seemed like all had cleared up. Late last week, they all got together for a day of play, and then 3 hours after our group returned to Sue's house, she got a call from the other woman - "Check all your kids - now the sister of the girl who had it first has it!"

We love our caregiver, especially because she is always straight with us about the tough stuff. (Like "Sprout was hitting people today, and spent some time standing in the corner for it.")(Proud parental moment.)

So, we heard all about the lice threat when we went to pick up our little man that evening. We have been checking his head anxiously for days now, and if something is going to happen, it will be within the next few days. I have also been reading health care articles on head lice (is horrifying to read articles sometimes) and have learned the following fact: the active ingredient in most medicated head lice shampoos is a central nervous system toxin. Somehow this appalls me. But what did I think kills all those little critters? Liquid marshmallows??

Sprout has eczema, and although he hasn't had an outbreak in about 5 months, we did put steriodal creams on his head for about a year to combat it. If I remember correctly, steroidal creams can thin the skin. This fact, and the fact that he has sensitive skin/eczema in the first place, makes me really, really, REALLY not want to put a central nervous system toxin on his head.

On the 'bright' side, the good thing about reading health care articles is that now I know that you shouldn't do the lice shampoo treatment as a preventative measure because it doesn't work that way. It only kills live, hatched bugs. It doesn't keep them from getting there. And because the shampoo is so toxic, you can only use it every 7-10 days anyway. Why use up one of your chances on nothing.

The selfish id part of myself, of course, is also worried about getting lice myself. I have been itchy ever since I heard the news, and nothing has happened yet. Sprout still sleeps with us, so if he gets it, we get it. Can't cope with that idea. Especially since Jim reminded me that lice don't just live in the hair on your head but on any hair on your body. Omigod. A doctor we know has seen people have lice so bad that they have lice on their eyelashes. It's not my EYELASHES that are giving me the heebies.

And once I finally get over the ickies and greeblies of thinking about having lice, the boring reality sets in. If we get lice, then we have to wash every item of clothing, towel, sheet, rug, and pillow we've had contact with recently, and stop sitting on couches and chairs for at least two days. Am not happy about this.

Need kick in pants. Must remind myself that I am not homeless and bereaved in Pakistan. What's a few prospective bugs in a life that has a family, a house, a bed, fresh water, and a full refrigerator. It is shamefully hard to keep it all in perspective.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Jim worked Saturday, and Sprout and I decided to go on a big adventure.

We took the wagon and hopped on the bus to Riversdale. My plan: to start at the 'toboggan hill' (still green at this time of year) south of Avenue C, and walk the Meewasin Trail along the river until we arrived back home.

Somebody many years ago had the brilliant idea to limit development along the riverbank in Saskatoon, and to create a wild space in the middle of the City. This means that on both banks, there are trees, woods, walking trails, and incredible views of the river and our seven(?) bridges.

We rolled down the toboggan hill, chased gophers, had a picnic, hiked the trail, looked at clouds, played frisbee, etc. It was great fun. We detoured to the Library to see Daddy (and use the potty), and we stopped for coffee and muffins at one of our favourite haunts.

At some point, Sprout got sleepy and I made a bed in the bottom of the wagon. Man, kids can sleep anywhere. If I bounced along with my head on the edge of a wagon, with no matter how much padding, I'd pay. By the time we got home, I was sleepy and Sprout was awake and refreshed. Thank goodness Ronnie showed up from down the street to play, and so they played in the dirt while I sat on the porch and stared at nothing.

It was a fantastic day.


The other day, Jim and I both had to work at 9:00 a.m., and Sprout would not put on his pants to go to daycare (a.k.a. 'Auntie's house'). This is Saskatchewan, so even in early October the weather is getting a little nippy. We cajoled, we begged, but to no avail. "No pants!!!", he bellowed.

Now, in this situation, you can sit on him and force his pants on, but that only teaches him that the biggest gorilla wins the argument. A method to be used sparingly. The other option is to be creative.

Taking a loose tip from Barbara Coloroso ('maybe they won't wear their mitts because they don't really know what frostbite is'), I said, "Either you put your pants on, or we're going to Auntie's without pants." And so, in a few minutes, there we were out in the sunshine, and he had on shoes, socks, underwear, and his long winter coat. He looked like the world's smallest flasher.

"Sprout," I would say, "We'll put your pants on when you get cold. Are you cold?" "No, I'm good without pants!", he said, delighted. Being the voice of instructive reason (in the future to be called incessant nattering), I thought I'd fill him in on the reality of being cold. "Touch the sidewalk." I said, "If you fall down without pants, that's how cold it would be on your knees." No effect. It was all too much fun.

Finally, after half a block (it's only a block to get there, in total), I said, "Sprout, if we show up without any pants on you, Auntie will not be impressed with me. We're going to sit down on that rock there, and put your pants on." To this he made no argument, and so we did the deed. And the tiniest flasher was no more.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I have no good coherent stories. But, of course, there is that pressure to blog and keep up with the written output of certain Ontario furniture school students.

I probably have no good stories because I am working like a mad person at work. The Mall Tour project is coming along nicely, with daily tweaking, and I've finished some of the computer classes that I committed to recently. Other classes loom in the near future, such as a staff training session on 'searching the invisible web', and the new-to-me portion of 'advanced internet searching'.

I am going to cover the 'future trends' portion of our invisible web class for staff, so today I have been having fun(?) with Google Scholar,, and the OCLC Open WorldCat project. I don't know that much about them, so the class will be another case of the blind leading the blind, but if I give everyone a sense of what might make the invisible web more visible, then maybe they can take it from there.

In other news, I get to write an article for our Library News magazine about our new Subject Guides, and I have no creative bones in my body today. Must dash out for chocolate, which is a near substitute in a pinch.

Disappearing Squirrel

For some reason, Library Squirrel is not loading into my browser. I am not scampering incognito, for those of you with a yen for conspiracy theory; I am simply disparue! (This is a test.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Birthday Week

Yay, it's birthday week!

My birthday is in a few days, but a number of years ago my lovely husband stretched 'birthday' into 'birthday week'. It's too good. It basically means that I get to be queen for a day for 7-10 days!

Yesterday, for example, we went shopping all together as a family unit (Jim dislikes too much shopping, but was willing to go anyway), followed by pancakes at the Broadway Cafe, followed by collective puttering in the yard, and capped off by homemade lasagne a la Umberto Menghi cookbook (3 hours prep). Friday night, he babysat the Sprout while I went for drinks with the librarians. Today he spoiled me with perogies, eggs, and farmer's sausage for breakfast (I am a German girl, after all), and then gave me a ride to work.

I think I'm going to turn 37, but I've seriously lost track and don't have the mental energy to do the math. Sounds like a bad case of denial, doesn't it. Deny? Me? Nope. No way. No how. Uh-uh. Nay.

But I'll be sure take all that birthday week has to offer anyway. Since I worked today (Sunday), I get tomorrow off. I'm going to putter some more in the garden, and maybe even have a snooze on the lounge chair with my fuzzy Fall coat on. Nothing like watching the leaves turn colour on a brisk day.

And my dorky haircut is suddenly becoming an act of genius, like Carie's cuts always do. It's all shaping up to be a great week.