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Rain, Renovations and then Rain Again

It isn’t usual that I would write one newsletter so close to another-but I have been doing lots of “house thinking “this summer-not just professionally, that’s normal, but personally.
We live in a house that was built in about 1941, two storey, and red brick on the bottom and asbestos siding on the top. Yes, I said asbestos siding and I do know that isn’t good .Now the ivy that covers our whole exterior does a pretty good job of covering the asbestos, not that we are trying to hide the nasty fact-I am telling you we have it so I guess I am not truly hiding the fact-just the siding. I love our house-in the industry we would say, it is a very “charming” house .It even has a name. ”Ivy Cottage”. Once when we were in England and staying in a lovely little village there was a house that reminded me of ours and it was called “Ivy Cottage”-so when we got home I had the name written above the door in English Script-fun when a house has a name.( but you have to remember I love houses, always have ).
So, a 70 year old house needs to be attended to on a regular basis. We bought this house about 13 years ago .Over those years we have replaced the kitchen(about 5 years ago), all new windows , new heating system (we have hot water heating and the new furnace is no larger than a painting and hangs on the wall –amazing!) We converted the two fireplaces to gas after the ice storm, as did many people .We learned in Ottawa that wood burning fireplaces were never intended to heat the house-just to be attractive. There were several fires caused by burning wood continuously for a few days during the storm-chimney cracks etc .We have rewired, we had a large deck built all across the back of the house and call it “The Cottage”. Last year we had new wooden shutters made, replicating the old ones, a new side and garage door installed. We had a room finished in the basement, a home office, although we both prefer to work at the office-more fun.
So now it is 2009 and let me tell you what we are up to. We had one really big job that we knew had to be done at some point and then we thought we would be finished for our lifetime, anyway. The family bathroom was pretty original (70 yrs). David uses this bathroom .We have a very small ensuite, it is not totally original but not magazine style either, but I love it and no one ever uses it but me. Now that we are “renovating” David is using it. His complaints are that I have so much “ xxxx “ all over the place—I do ...I have my necklaces hanging all over the walls, I have my makeup on every surface possible . I even still have room for several artsy things hanging between the necklaces .But I keep it very clean and it is all mine-so “whatever” I say .I find men are not the cleanest people with whom to share a facility-and it has now been two months of this close living. I have removed many of my” lovely” things in an effort to be a better roommate.
The problem is that I chose a tile that wasn’t easily obtained by the tile store-so they tell me well after the fact!! The latest set back being they said it would now be August end or early September before the tile came in. I asked to speak to the owner, “He is in Europe,” “Perfect, maybe he could pick it up,” I suggested. I was told that wouldn’t be happening. So now a bit of a design change, you see, we love our paintings and have a house full, truly they are everywhere. We found the most amazing piece of art, of a female silhouette painted on a piece of maple wood, and she is in the shower. It has painted water drops all over .We both just fell in love with it and that is what really started the whole renovation .The painting is being set right in to a niche in the wall .And all else is being designed to compliment the painting. But as we are adjusting to fewer tiles in the bathroom, tile just in the shower, I think it will be even nicer than the first design.
I do digress, all the time I do. But it did occur to me that the other two toilets in our house , although not original, were old .So while the plumber will be in the house may as well get new toilets everywhere .Down I go to Preston Hardware (if you aren’t living in Ottawa, you would love this store) My friend tells me one should really sit on the toilets before purchasing .It does feel odd to go around a store sitting on the toilets (she tells me she even sits in the bathtubs too before selecting new ones) Actually it is a good idea. In my mind I thought a new toilet would cost about 100 dollars, maybe a bit more—wrong again!! I was told that these new toilets were more ergonomically correct. I wish I hadn’t asked for the meaning of that-way too much information. But, I fell for it and came away much poorer and now the proud owner of two ergonomically correct toilets, to be installed in the unrenovated bathrooms. David said I had just flushed away another thousand!
It is a rainy Friday as I write this. We are fortunate in real estate .We work Saturdays and Sundays. I have to bite my tongue as people always say “Have a nice weekend”. But the good news for us is, especially this summer when the sun shines we try very hard to get outside , play a little golf, snooze at “the Cottage” (on the deck) and work when the rain falls-lot of work this summer. Hope you find a sunny spot wherever you are. And, if you are renovating a bath do go for the new ergonomically correct toilets,and don’t forget to sit on them and to sit in the tubs, oh yes, David will have warm feet this winter, he will have a radiantly heated floor as well-me, I will buy cozy new slippers!!
Till the next time, Mary

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