Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hoarding and the remote control

Have you ever watched that TV show Hoarders? It's one of TLCs new reality programs that profiles the lives of individuals trying to dig themselves out of mountains of stuff. It's a surprisingly depressing and shocking sort of show that makes you want to clean your house from top to bottom. I kind of feel like a temporary hoarder right now. Over the last few months we've accumulated a lot of items from Craigslist to furnish our new home. Simultaneously we have kept all of the inherited furniture that has served us so well for the last three years. What this has meant is that in our living room (in addition to our regular furniture) we have 2 couches, 2 coffee tables, 2 dressers, a vanity sink, a banister railing and a mountain of receipts from Home Depot.

I had a moment tonight at a dinner party when I realized that it had gotten really bad. I caught myself telling the story of how we had stopped watching TV lately because about two months ago we lost our remote control somewhere in the house and still haven't found it. The fact that our current living room layout requires us to climb over a dismantled wardrobe to get to the TV, has meant that we have reduced our evening indulgences in television programming to zero.

While (as you can see) we haven't yet tackled the furniture, we have begun to downsize other aspects of our lifestyle to prepare for the move to a smaller home. Unfortunately this has not always been successful...

For those of you that know Brendon, you must be well aware of his obsession for bikes. This year Brendon's fleet of two wheelers grew to 5. You add my 2 and we are a 7 bicycle family. A few months ago I made the request to let one of his babies go. Brendon whimpered a little but committed to selling his titanium road bike. It took almost three months to sell but two weeks ago a lucky buyer picked up the treasure and took it away. Brendon came into the house to share the good news and wave a good wad of cash in my face. And then he paused. And I paused. He had listed the bike for $500 more than he had come home with and I knew that he wasn't willing to go lower. He gently turned my gaze toward the back door and low and behold, there was another bike. Yup, we are now (still) the owners of 7 bikes. Apparently the trade was too tempting to pass up. Anyone looking for a fancy single speed? Also, if you see anything else you like in the images above, let me know. I'll cut you a great deal.

Bike A: SOLD (Brendon carried the bike to the roof at sunset to get this shot.)

 BIKE B: Acquired in a trade. Interested anyone?

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's all in the details

15 more sleeps till we're in our home and the countdown is on! Canucks? Canucks who? For us (I mean me) the only thing on my mind in moving into our home. But in order to do that Smallworks and the Purdy-Schatz construction company have been put into high gear.  There are still a lot of details that need to be finished before Smallworks can call up an inspector and get us temporary occupancy.

Over the last few weeks Smallworks has hooked us up...literally. We now have electricity, water and gas. Indoor and outdoor lights illuminate our cute little home day and night. With an installed and working toilet, faucets and a shower head too, we can now handle a whole host of human habits. Last but certainly not least, we have a hook-up inside and outside for gas. This means that our heated concrete floors and the gas stove are ready to work and our bbq can be connected for our future outdoor patio.

                                                             No more electrical cords!

Have you ever seen a more beautiful mechanical room?

On our end, I've spent the last week caulking just about anything with a crack. And when I wasn't sealing our home I was building a pony wall cap from scratch, cutting and stalling baseboards and finishing the tiling around the vanity. Brendon's taken his talents to the exterior and has been coating our beautiful cedar with an environmentally friendly oil protectant. We've even mobilized Barb and Roger and our windows are better for it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two weeks + infinity

The most common question we get these days is "are you in yet?" and believe it or not - we're not. 

The house will not finish itself. You'd think that by only being 500 square feet, it would be way easier to put together. The truth is though, is that size doesn't matter. Yup. You heard it here first. And to throw another awkward analogy into the mix, "Building a house is kind of like going on a camping trip. Whether you go for two days or a week - you pretty much need all the same stuff." And is seems to be the small things - like finding the camping utensils - or in our case finishing the baseboards, that seem to take the most time. 

We've been saying 'two weeks' since March and I'm starting to feel a little like a sheep in wolf's clothing. But after a conversation with our friends at Smallworks on Friday, I'm feeling confident that we'll be in by mid June. So - two weeks till we can officially say two weeks. 

Brendon is in St. Lucia shooting a wedding. Not to be the one to slow down progress on the house, I borrowed a table saw and a mitre saw so that I could work on finishing the baseboards. I finally had it all set up, cut and measured a few pieces and was ready to go. I just needed to make one small trip to the hardware store. Off I went and upon my return I dug into my pockets for the keys to the house and... they weren't there. The house was locked and I couldn't find my keys anywhere. I spent almost the entire day looking for them - 5 hours to be exact. Finally, once I'd almost given up I noticed a shiny bit of metal on the sidewalk. Low and behold it was our house key.  

Ugh. It just wasn't meant to be today. I'm packing it up an watching the hockey game. 

P.s. You probably notice the absence of photos. Brendon returns (with a sunburn apparently) and we'll be back to sharing photos and videos with our posts. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

If you can't get David Suzuki...

One of the benefits of working at the David Suzuki Foundation is that there are opportunities that come your way that would just never happen in a normal office setting. For example, on Friday one of the guys that sits across from me got a call from Daryl Hannah hoping to brainstorm with David about a movie she was working on. Something similar (though not as spectacular) happened to me about a week ago. A local paper - the Westender - contacted the Foundation to see if they could profile David's home for a column called My Digs. They had just profiled the home of Vancouver's Mayor Gregor Robertson and thought that following the success of that article, the Doc (an environmental icon) would have an interesting space to share with their readership. As often happens with a man that gets thousands of requests a month, David wasn't able to do it...but we were!

So this week I submitted answers to a series of questions on our home. Since the Westender profiles finished homes, we bought ourselves extra time to 'fake' the finished product, by negotiating that Brendon would shoot the photo for the article. We cleaned furiously, strategically placed flowers over open sockets and chose an angle that didn't reveal the fact that we were missing a hood fan. The finished product should be online soon. But in the meantime, take a look at this great little video Brendon did of our kitchen coming together. (It ends with the photo that will appear in the Westender.)