Firstly, dear friends, I must say that it is impossible to escape the office for the next hour or so for several reasons: 1) I have been informed that if the bloggage does not happen soon (read: now), the consequences will be felt in my diet. Since my dear wife is the best cook who has ever seduced my taste buds, this is a very real consequence. Also, since my skills in the kitchen stop at boiling water, we could have a very real problem in several hours (days for most, but I am Italian). 2) She is cleaning the floors. This basically turns our house into a Palestinian minefield, since I must dance from dry patch to dry patch risking a broken 5th lumbar if I miss or possibly the consequences of 1) above. All kidding aside, my wife would never threaten me in such a manner and I am sitting here performing the bloggage of my own accord. However, she really is cleaning the floors, so the best plan is to find a place to sit and sit there for awhile.
So here we go! When we last left you guys, we were sitting in the living room in PJ’s looking over blueprints. Blueprints make way more sense when you are in PJ’s. Well, lots has transpired since then, and most of it outside of PJ’s. On the eve of our glorious 3rd anniversary, we took off for the thriving metropolis of Winnipeg to partake in the sinful pleasures of WalMart and Olive Garden. After indulging in the finer things in life we stopped at a kitchen show room for the manufacturer crafting our cabinets – Kitchencraft. Top marks for name originality. Anyhow, the place rocked! There was about 10 or 12 kitchens set up in different wood styles and finishes. We had already fully designed our kitchen, but just needed to pick out the cabinet style and wood finish. It’s funny the ridiculous names that manufactuers give cabinets. Seriously. Toffee Mocha Maple Glaze. Does that sound like a donut to you? Man, I left that showroom starving. It’s like some sort of advertising gimic. Sheesh. I seriously would have handed over fistfuls of cash if there was a cabinet style called “Saucey Pasta with Garlic Bread Glaze”. Here is a samplage of what we saw:
The bread was fake. I tried it. Cheapos!
I'll have a grande with that, double double, please.
So yeah, basically, we chose “Lexington” style cabinets in “ginger”. The first word, to me at least, had up to that point meant the name of a US battleship, and the other word, obviously, is used to make little baked Christmas men cookies and houses. Combine the two and, apparently, you have our cabinets. I can only picture a giant gingerbread battleship.
So we returned to Sioux Lookout, drunk on love and happy with our cabinet selection.
It is at this point, I must introduce a major character who will play largely in our posts from here on out. Allow me to introduce the Fabulous Fabricator, the Studly Stud Builder, the Excellent Excavator, the King of Swing (hammer swing that is), the Radical Roofer and the Chieftain of Contractors………….Steve.
Behold. The Steve.
Steve said that if we were ready to go, he would get the house going early. After a meeting of the high council, at which only two members showed up (Anne and I) we decided unanimously to commence. The Steve immediately lit the beacons and summoned the trades from far and wide. The next night this showed up on our property.
Checking the structural integrity of the scoop plow thingy.
The guy who excavated our house is actually the brother of one of my coworkers. That is what is cool about living in this small town – we know 90% of the people who will be building our house just by bumping into them during everyday life. I’ve worked with Steve before, Anne teaches the kids of Chris, the guy providing all the materials through the hardware store, we both work out at the gym with the drywaller and we’ve been family friends with Bill and Evan our plumbers ever since ever.
After inspecting the scoop plow thingy on the excavator, I made the most startling discovery during this epic house building journey. There are deer on our property. Little Bambi hoof prints right behind this very excavator. Ok, now I hear you say “Joe, big deal. There are deer everywhere. in fact I am feeding a deer with my left hand while reading your post. He comes around every day between 6 and 7 for tea and crumpets”. Yes, well, for those of us not endowed with a magnetic deer personality, allow me to inform you that not all of us can be Bambi seducers and partake in an “open-door” policy with deer. In fact allow me to share a startling fact with you. I have hunted deer religiously for the past 3 years. During each of those years, I dragged my butt out of bed at the ridiculous hour of 4:30 am, put on 15 layers of winter clothing, doused myself in deer excrement, waddled out to my Xterra, drove 40 minutes to an utterly forsaken cutover and sat in my blind in -20 degree Celsius cold until I could stand the cold no longer, then walked for miles through the cutover until I was plastered with sweat. You know how many deer I saw? 0. Nada. None. Zilch. But what happens when Anne and I go to Dryden for date night? They are practically knocking on the doors of the Xterra begging for a ride to Tim Horton’s or prancing across the road basting themselves in BBQ sauce or throwing safe grad on the shoulders. Usually I glare darkly at them as I pass and utter some ridiculous comment about wanting to mount machine guns on my hood, while Anne soothingly takes my hand and coos to me until I become lucid again. But this was the last straw. In my own yard, 5 minutes from my current apartment where I am sitting right now. Munching on my flora. The flora that actually is located where the future master bedroom will be. This is how it is going to go down. From now until fall I am gonna throw flax, barley, deer popsicles or whatever deer enjoy to eat in my back yard. On the opening day of hunting season, I am going to set my alarm for 7 am, climb into my bathrobe, put on my moose head slippers, brew a mug of coffee, grab the paper, grab my 12 gauge, walk onto my deck, put my shotty on the deck table, nod casually to Bambi, drink my coffee, read my paper, put down my paper, pick up my shotty, put down bambi, and then return to my warm bed where my lovely wife is still sleeping, and at 10 am or so, stroll out to the back yard and collect the Bambi, and then deposit him in my freezer a mere 50 feet away.
I am way off track here. The deer bloodlust clouded my vision. What I really meant to say is behind the excavator, is this:
Clement's house is right next to ours. Bro's for life!
Yup, we will share a common fence with Sioux Lookout’s finest paramedic. We are thinking of putting a telescope and baby monitor on his deck so he can give us a play by play.
So yeah, the hole for our house was completely excavated a few days ago, and they took a ton of dirt out of there. We signed up for the “Clods for Clogs” program, which donates excavated dirt to the people of the Netherlands so that they can build their country up above sea level again. The box and ribbon for that dirt pile are coming tomorrow.
Here is our future basement......and our donation to "Clods for Clogs" in the background.
And here is a view looking towards the street and our driveway………
Standing in the back yard on the Bambi hoof prints looking at our entrance.
Is it......is it still alive????? Quick, grab another rock.
Can she get any better looking? I submit she can not!! Also, please note the house excavation behind.
On Thursday the Steve formed and poured our footings……this was actually really exciting because we got to see the shape our house will actually be; until this moment it was just ink on paper.
Our concrete footing!
An epic battle occured at this location between Robin's Donuts coffee cups and yard rakes. As you can see, there were no survivors.
On Friday, we signed our official contract with Steve for the construction of the house. We didn’t drink any fluids that day because fluids thin the blood, and construction contracts in Canada are signed with thicker blood.
The construction contract.....we are a little pale from the blood loss.
Next week Steve is going to begin framing our house. It is a whirlwind right now – things happening so fast. The lumber arrived yesterday, delivered by King Hiram on a masted ship along with our peacocks and baboons (a bonus for purchasing out of country)………..I will unleash them into my game preserve in the back yard.
Thank you Steve, for donating your lumber.
The most exciting part of building this house will be having a place to call fully our own and to have family in. We’ll have enough room to have all of you over for sleepovers and toe nail painting. Also, if the Yankees, Indians or Labron James ever come to Sioux, they can stay with us and we can be one big happy family. Happy. Family. All of us. Together. Ahem.
Well guys, I think you are caught up! Also I am feeling a little blogged out. I think I will emerge like a spring flower from the office and sally forth in search of searchable objects and check on how dry that floor is. It is 3 well placed bounds to the stairs, 4 more to upstairs and 2.8 to the coffee pot. Please dear Lord, let the floor be dry. I only gamble with my life around here.
Joe & Anne