Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Fort

He thinks I pile everything onto the sofa a few times a week so that he's got a fort to play in.

Maybe someday, I'll hang out in the fort while he vacuums the house.

That'd be nice. But I think I'd have to get a different kind of vacuum first.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bathroom Project is done

It took longer for me to finish than I had planned and it cost more; but the bathroom project is finished.



As mentioned previously, the budget for this project expanded a bit. I wanted to do it for under $150, but that was really tight. It's not easy to redo a bathroom for $200... or thereabouts.

Paint and materials- free (left over from previous projects)
Wall Cabinet - $20
Mirror - $40
Light fixture - $75
Towels - $30
Towel hooks plaque thingy- $12.50
Shower curtain liner - $8 (I reused the old shower curtain)
Print on wall, including frame - $27
Basket to hold tp - $8

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crates not approved

Before I got Cotton, I didn't know much about dogs. I'd had a few dogs as a child, but only really remember the one (Ellie the Standard Poodle.... one of the Best Dogs Ever).

When I moved out on my own, I moved in with an amazing lady who had a little dog named Mitzu. I can't say that I was overly fond of Mitzu. That could perhaps be because of how spoiled she was... Mitzu was the reigning queen of our home, and called all the shots. She actually had her own seat at the dinner table. She weighed about 30 pounds (the vet thought she should lose about 10-15), had fat rolls on her forehead and used to drop little poop nuggets all over the house because of anal gland problems. Oh, and she barked. Non stop. And, if I tried to sit on the couch while she was on it, she bit me.

After living with Mitzu for a year, I decided that I wouldn't ever get a dog of my own. As much as I loved Ellie, I knew how attached I get to animals, and how quickly it happens. I was afraid that I'd be stuck with a dog like that and unable to give it up.

I lasted about 10 years.

Then, my sister got a dog. Maddie's a little sheltie/minpin/mystery breed cross. She started off quite nervous and shy, so sister signed her up for dog agility to build her confidence. The training made a world of difference, and Maddie ended up a confident, happy dog.

After seeing how much of a difference the proper training can make (not really understanding what that proper training would be) I decided that I'd get a dog of my own, and give it a shot. That's when Cotton came to live with me.

Since Ellie had been crated at night, and Mitzu hadn't, I concluded that being crated had a big impact on a dog's behaviour. Cotton would be crated at night.

I thought it worked. Cotton was the easiest puppy ever. I could put him in a basket, and he'd stay there for hours. He was paper trained within days, and had full run of the house (even when I wasn't home) right away. But he slept in a crate at night.

Not only was I enamored with the new puppy, Winter the cat was too. Cotton was Winter's puppy as much as mine, and they bonded from the very beginning. (Winter used to sit on top of him and bath him from head to toe every night.)

About the time that Cotton came home, Winter started to yowl at night. He'd screech at the top of his lungs, all night, every night. It was awful. I had to sleep with earplugs every night, and even then, I could hear him. I tried everything everything I could think of; but for three very long years, I never once got an uninterrupted night of sleep. As much as I love him, I gave a lot of serious thought to giving him up; but couldn't bring myself to do it. Sleep deprivation became the norm for me.

Then, I got the crazy idea to get another dog. I'd had a yen for another Standard Poodle for a while, and I finally acted on it. Tallulah came home, worked her way into my heart and took over Cotton's crate. I had a full-sized crate for when she grew up, but it was far too big at first. TI new that it would only be a few weeks before she outgrew a small crate, so Tallulah started out in Cotton's crate. Cotton slept with me, on the bed.

That was temporary, of course. Once Tallulah moved into her own crate, Cotton would return to his.

It wasn't long before I realized that I was sleeping again at night. Right about the time that Tallulah had taken over Cotton's crate, Winter started settling in at the end of my bed and sleeping - quietly - all night long.

Then, a few months later, when Tallulah grew into her own crate, I started crating Cotton at night again. Winter started yowling again. If Cotton slept with me, Winter did too. If Cotton was confined to a crate - even beside my bed - Winter screamed bloody murder. Finally, after many nights of experimentation and not enough sleep; I gave in.

Cotton got his own side of the bed. Winter was quiet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Explanation

I work almost exclusively with men. I love it. They pretty much exist without drama, they're easy going and they're a lot of fun. However, we don't always speak the same language.

Today, some of the girls from another office came over, and asked me to go purse shopping with them over lunch. I've been looking for a new purse for a while, so was happy to go along. And, not only did I find one new purse, I found two! (This is a pretty big step, for the girl who tends to use the same purse every single day.)

After I returned, I piled the new purses with my old one at the side of my desk and went to work. A lady that I work with came over and noticed the new purses right away. As women do, she checked them out, opened them up, and declared that I'd chosen the right colours. As we spoke, two of the guys came over. Hearing our discussion, one of them asked why I could possibly need two purses. Would I switch everything over from one purse to another each morning? Would I need to have duplicates of everything, so that each purse was properly stocked? My having two purses made no more sense to him than it would for a man to have two wallets.

Then the other guy - happily married and clearly well educated - spoke up and said that multiple purses for women is like multiple computers for men.

Oooh, the first guy said. And he understood.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Frame

I've been wanting a big, ornate frame in my bedroom for a long time. I don't want anything in it, I just want a frame. I know exactly what I want, and can even picture it in my mind; but I'm not having much luck finding it.

Actually, I did find it. My sister took me to a fantastic nursery/garden decor store and set me free to roam. After wandering around outside and oohing and ahhing forever, I went inside to their little checkout store. That's when I saw it.

Queue the music.

It was THE frame. Solid wood, carved into ornate filigree and curls. It was gorgeous, and it was the one... The one I've been coveting for months and months. Sure, it had a mirror inside of it; but that's easy enough to remove. I called my sister and her boys over and announced that I Must Have This Frame!

The price on this particular frame was - Honest to God - $999.00.

Who spends that kind of money on home decor?!? Obviously, I'm still coveting it; and not the proud owner. (Because - seriously - if I was the owner of a $1K piece of art like that, ya'll'd never hear the end of it.)

Moving on.

Last week, I thought I'd found the next best thing. I found a frame that was 60% off. It wasn't ideal, but it was Big! and Ornate! And grey with yellow undertones (kind of like nickle) So, I bought this frame - which still came in at a cool $80 - and loaded it into my car.

Except, my hands came away awfully dirty when I pulled back from loading it into the car. That's when I realized it was covered in dust. So much dust, in fact, that it was actually a Gold frame, and not grey or nickle. Even worse, the ornateness of it was made of plastic; which means that I can't paint it.

Back it went.

But the thought of painting the unpaintable frame gave me an idea. What if I made the frame from trim at the home store? Since I'm not going to put anything in it, I can attach it right to the walls. All I have to do is miter the corners together, and that should be easy enough.

I looked at the Mecca (AKA Home Depot) but they didn't have anything ornate enough, since Shaker is all the rage around here. I needed something more... out of style. So, I hit another home store that caters to the farmers around here and I hit the jackpot. Not only did they have what I was looking for, it was on clearance.

$15 per piece. Two pieces. Throw in some paint....
Methinks that's a whole lot less than where I started.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Confessions of a TV addict.

This is one of my favorite times of year, when the new season of TV shows starts up. Yes folks, I am a complete TV addict. I try not to be. I have even cut my cable down to just basic, local channels (CBC, CTV, NBC, ABC); but I still watch a few hours every day. I spend far too much time in front of the boob tube; but when new programming starts in the fall, I give myself a break and allow myself to soak it all in. I've been reading about the new and returning shows, and I'm very happy to finally have new shows available after months of reruns.

My DVR is packed to the gills right now with scheduled shows to record. Besides old shows that I used to watch, I think there are about 12-15 new ones that I'm going to try out. (I suspect, for most of them, I'll watch the first five minutes, rule them out and delete from the schedule/recorder.)

So far, I'm loving the corniness of Glee. After all nastiness and WhoTheHellCares drama of reality TV, (most of which I don't even watch because I refuse to watch TV that pisses me off) I'm happy to see something that's about good, simple fun again.

I'm also looking forward to Wentworth Miller's guest starring stint on Law & Order SVU, and secretly hoping that he becomes a regular. Love Benson and Stabler... not a fan of any of the other actors/cops on that show. Although, I've got to admit, I'm wondering if Wentworth Miller can step outside of his distant, 'how am I gonna get us out of this' glare that he did so often on Prison Break. That glare may have been appropriate - if overused - in Prison Break; but I'm hoping that he gets away from it and proves himself to be a good actor, rather than just eye candy.

I didn't really like CSI last season. I don't know if it'll ever be the same without Grissom.

Then there's a whole slew of new shows that are coming out over the next week or so. I think I've got about 4 shows scheduled to be recorded every day. If I go missing, that means that more than expected were better than expected and I've gone into my zombie TV mode. I might eventually need somebody to come over and drag me away from the Lazyboy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bed Hog

It may be hard to tell from this photo

But you're looking at a bed hog.

He's both a heat seeker and a big source of heat. I keep waking up, feeling over heated because the little dude is curled into me as close as he can get. The house rules are such that the animals are not supposed to be on my side of the bed when I sleep. You'd think that half of a queen-sized bed would be large enough for a cat and a 8 pound dog, but apparently it's not.

There's been a lot of encroachment lately.

When Cotton was going through his panic attacks this summer, I broke a lot of rules in attempt to calm him down. One of the biggest rules that I broke was that I let him sleep in my arms. It was a huge disruption in my sleep; and now that he's so much better, I'm trying to reinstate house rules.

He's OK with being cut off from people food, but he's not very happy about having to go back to his own side of the bed. I never dreamed that I'd ever share my bed with a dog - let alone let to have him sleep under the covers - so I think he's lucky. If he wasn't so spoiled, he'd be sleeping on a dog bed, like the poodle, or in a crate.

But if you think you can say no to that face, I say that you should go ahead and try.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Into the Ether

Yesterday, I had three jobs. Sand/stain (oil based stain) the closet doors. Paint the cupboard and mirror (latex paint) for the bathroom. Install light in the bathroom.

  • I got home, and changed into my painting clothes.
  • I went down to the basement and painted with the latex.
  • I put the latex brushes and supplies away.
  • I came upstairs took the brush for the oil stain out of the freezer, gathered the other supplies I'd need and went out to the garage. I sanded the doors
  • My dad arrived to check out the progress that I've made, as well as to act as my third arm when installing the light fixture. (How anybody manages to hold the fixture up, and wire it in place at the same time is beyond me.)
  • After my dad left, I went to stain the doors; but I'll be darned if I could find that brush.
It had vanished into the Ether. I checked the garage, the basement, the bathroom, both freezers and the fridge. Heck, I even checked my car. I looked for over an hour, but that paint brush is nowhere to be found. So, I did the only thing I could think of.

I gave up and walked the dogs.

Tonight, after work, I stopped at the Mecca (AKA Home Depot) and picked up another paint brush. It's a good thing that it was the brush for oil paints that I lost, or I'd have had to tack on another $15 onto my bathroom budget.

By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure, I need to admit that the new light fixture for the $150 bathroom project cost $75. That leaves me $35 over budget. So, the $150 bathroom project has now been officially renamed to the $200 bathroom project. That way, when I am finished in a few days from now, I'm hoping to be able to brag about coming in $15 under budget.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Too Much? Bathroom progress.

I think that I may have finally gone too far with the blue.

My efforts on the $150 bathroom do-over continue. Today, I painted three walls in a left over paint that I'd bought 4 years ago and never used. The reason why I didn't use it was because I thought it was too light, and would look white. And the first few paint strokes did, in fact, seem very white. However, by the time I finished painting two walls, the room seemed overwhelmingly blue.

Or, maybe the problem is that it looks like "baby" blue, which is very much not the look I'm going for.

At this point, I'm hoping that the brown trim and all of the accessories will help to tone it down. I'm also contemplating painting the 4Th wall in another colour, but that would put me over an already struggling budget. (I've only got $40 left, and I still need a light fixture.)

Besides the colour debate, I start what I consider to be something of a Pandora's box on the 4Th wall tomorrow. I need to remove the old wall of mirror and the old (Hollywood) light fixture. When I removed the Hollywood lights from the main bathroom, I discovered that the boneheaded builder hadn't used a junction box behind it (as required by building codes). I am expecting the same problem in this bathroom, and hoping that there will be a stud close enough that I can add this junction box without having to cut/repair the drywall. Either way, it's a big job. As much as I dislike Hollywood lights, I'm kind of afraid to take these ones down.

I still have to find a new bathroom light, too. I haven't had much luck with the local sales or second hand stores yet. At this point, I'm thinking that I may need to bite the bullet and go a little bit over budget to get what I need.

Whatever happens, I need to do it soon. My bathroom is out of commission until I get all this done.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breaking the rules...

Today, I finally started one of the projects I was going to do over my vacation week. I'm aware that today is the last week day of my vacation time, but I was distracted by an overwhelming need to clean my house and prove that I'm not a hoarder. As a result, I didn't get started on the $150 master bathroom revamp project until today.

This project has actually been going on for a while. I took a break from it over the summer so that I could focus on the gardens; and now I've got all the painting to get done, as well as some cleanup left over from the spring.

I've got a hangup about towels and towel bars. Call me lazy, but if I turn off the water from the shower at one end, it seems logical to me that I should be able to get my towels from that same end. Last spring, it finally bothered me enough that I removed the towel bar from the "foot" of the tub, and put up hooks for towels at the "head" of the tub, on the wall above the toilet.

That left the wall beside the foot of the tub - across from the toilet - looking blank to me. The solution to that was to buy and hang this print:

(psst! That's a $12 print in a $15 dollar diploma frame.)

Ideally, prints are supposed to be hanged so that their center is about 60" from the floor. Except, it seems to me that if a print is going to be hanged on the wall opposite of the throne, then it is more likely to be viewed from a sitting position. So, today I lowered it so that it's centered at about 35".

I think it looks quirky and fun; as though I didn't just break the rules, I threw them out the window.

I'm such a rebel.


I was in an airplane, taxiing out to the runway and about to fly to Toronto when the first plane hit the Twin Towers.

I'll never forget that day. We sat in that plane on the tarmac for over an hour, knowing that there had been a plane crash - hearing whispers of terrorism - but not knowing who or when. Then, shortly after they finally let us off our plane, the airport started playing the CBC news over the PA system. Everybody stopped what they were doing to listen.

Looking around, all I could see was the same shock and horror that I was feeling.

9-11 was an attack on the US; but I don't think that there is a Canadian who can't tell you where they were and what they were doing at that moment. We were devastated as we gathered around TVs and watched the coverage over, and over and over again. It felt as though we had been attacked, not "just" the country beside us.

Today is the anniversary of a day that will go down in the history books as one of the worst acts of terrorism ever. Eight years later, it still feels raw.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where I diagnose my own OCD

Forget that after watching an episode of the show Hoarders, I spent three days cleaning out my basement and my garage. Then, after watching another episode, I needed to declutter so badly that I deleted the vast majority of my Internet favorites, emails and Facebook friends.

Beyond that, I have yet another reason why I'm sure I have OCD.

I bought a new dining room set in the spring. I'd saved up for years for it, so I wanted it to be perfect. When it arrived with a chip on one of the leaves, I asked for the table top to be replaced rather than repaired.

Weeks later, after fighting with the manufacturer on my behalf, the store I bought it from finally bought a whole new table for me, and agreed to do a straight across swap. Today, that new table arrived. The delivery guys were kind enough to allow me to inspect said table before even taking it off the truck. I didn't find any scratches or dents, so they went ahead with the swap. That's when I discovered that I don't like the new pedestal. There's a minute scratch on it, I don't like the wood grains as much on this one as the other one. I was embarrassed to say that, though, so I let the delivery guys leave with the old table.

That was a mistake. After they left, I felt the stress rev up until I couldn't handle it anymore and I ended up calling the store. Bless their hearts, the service department - who had been on the receiving end of my wrath when the manufacturer balked at replacing the table top - barely blinked. They got on the phone, called the delivery guys (who had managed to drive half way across town by then) and told them to come back. They swapped out the pieces so that I get to keep the old pedestal with the new table top.

They think I'm crazy, but my stress level is once again at a manageable level.

Now, as soon as I finish writing the thank you letter to the store, I can get back to cleaning, decluttering and otherwise proving to myself that I'm not a hoarder.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I think...

...there's some compensating going on.

And I'm not talking about the size of the truck, the decals, the bullet holes or the skulls.

ps - These photos are poor quality because I took them with my cell phone.
Thanks to Mr Moosepants for his assistance in uploading them!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reigning it in

Hi. My name is Janice, and I have a spending problem.
Well, actually, I have no problems spending... it's that saving thing that I struggle with.

Between vet bills, home improvements, giving away my lawn mower, and things that keep breaking, it has occurred to me lately that I'm really broke. So broke, in fact, that I've had to cancel a trip I had planned with the girls. We were going to go to Vegas in November, and it would have been loads of fun. We were going to shop, eat out at fancy restaurants, and see some fancy shows.

We were going to drive me further into debt.

I was prepared to embrace that debt; but then my vacuum broke. With my allergies and proximity to pet hair, I had to buy a new one. It's something that I need, but I can't seem to get past the fact that I just bought something else that I can't afford.

So, I decided to bow out of the Vegas trip and I promised myself - once again - that I'd cut back on the spending. Start brown bagging my lunches, avoid temptation by not window shopping, write down what I spend... yadda yadda yadda.

That was Wednesday. Yesterday - Thursday - I found myself wandering around HomeSense with an ornate wooden mirror that was perfect for my bedroom.

Except, it was $100. One hundred unnecessary dollars.

Except, if I can't go to Vegas, don't I at least deserve an ornate Vegas-like mirror for my bedroom?

Back and forth, I went. It took me a half an hour to talk myself out of buying that mirror (during which time, I lugged all fifty pounds of it around the store to ensure that nobody swooped in and bought it from under me while I debated with my bank account.)

It made me realize even more that I need a plan to get my spending under control. So, I'm starting something that has worked for me in the past. I'm going Cash Only.

Every Sunday, I am going to withdraw $200 from the bank. I can spend that $200 on whatever I want; but it's all I get to cover groceries, gas, vet bills and nearly everything else. (Utility bills, taxes, mortgage and insurance comes out of a separate account.) Once the $200 is gone, I don't get to buy anything else until the next week starts. The money left in my "spending" account at the end of each month will be applied to the debt.

So, you'll have to excuse me. I've got a day and a half before my credit cards are retired on Sunday. I need to get out there and get that shopping out of my system.

Don't worry, I'm joking in that last paragraph.

Kind of.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good:

The drugs are still working. Sergent Cotton Dog is once again on duty, patrolling the deck; and life is good. He's alert again, and has had no panic attacks since we changed the dose in early August.

The bad:

Tallulah Belle Poodle fell down the stairs last week. It was after I'd gone to bed. She was wandering around in the dark, fell down a full flight of tiled stairs and landed on the concrete floor. She shook it off and came back up on her own steam, but it scared the stuffing out of me.

I don't know what happened - I only arrived in time to see her land - but the possibility that her long hair could have hampered her vision and caused the fall is heart wrenching to me. I was thinking about the fun Tallulah got from the attention of having a funky hairdo; and I never would have knowingly endangered her. I really thought having her hair pulled back into the pony tail was enough.

Needless to say, I'm not willing to take any more chances, so I called the groomer and had top knot removed.

The Ugly:

That's the top of her head. I didn't discover it until a few days after the fall, when the hair fell out. The gash/bald spot is about 2" long. Amazingly, she seems to be unfazed by it all. Me? I'm not doing quite as well. I'm beyond upset to think that I caused her to be hurt.

I didn't see it happen, but my theory is that she somehow whacked her head, putting pressure on the clip holding her top knot , and it dug into the skin. After a week, it seems to be healing. I have no idea if the hair will grow back in, but I can tell you one thing: I won't be growing her top knot long again to cover it up if it doesn't.