Batman, Ramses II, Hitler, Will Smith, Neil Armstrong, Joe and Anne Cospito.
These revered, historical figures all have something in common. No, it isn’t that they all hate broccoli or resent rising gas prices (I hear your gripe, Ramses II. Even though our chariot mileage has vastly improved from your days, they still gouge you at the pump/stables). It’s not even the fact that they all gazed at the same moon (although Ramses worshiped it while Neil just walked on it – whole group snickers at Ramses.)
No, no, no. These historical figures share one common thread: they all have a house they built and call home. Their proverbial ‘crib’. A place of tranquility from which to save the world (Batman and Will high 5 at this point). Or in SOMEONE’S case (awkward cough as Batman, Neil, Ramses and Will all raise an eyebrow in Hitler’s direction) attempt to dominate the world. Or in Anne’s and my case from which to eat pasta and Google ticket prices to Disneyland.
So I decided to have these fellows over, put on a pot of coffee and do our own little version of MTV cribs. The room’s a little cramped right now, and Batman and Hitler keep giving each other the evil eye. Ramses is in the corner attempting to worship his mug of coffee, and we only got his attention back on the blog by telling him to stop by the shrine of Timmy Ho’s on his chariot ride home for a truly spiritual experience. Will Smith and Neil are arguing incessantly in the background about who is more awesome. No doubt a question for the ages.
So with no further ado, let’s go visit these guys’ pads, because they want to play some Wii before heading out. They each gave me a mug shot of themselves followed by the place they live in.
Ok, we got a ton of photos this time around, and I need to get it done before Will Smith strangles Batman for looking cooler than he does and whupping him at Wii Fit. I told Batman that he is not allowed to use his grappling hook in my place, but who am I kidding here, Batman uses his grappling hook as often as you and I put on pants every morning. We are on borrowed time, let’s get moving:
Friends, here is a very special picture………..I was really excited about this one. A picture of firsts at the new house:
Finally my friends, we have reached the end of relevant photos. I could continue a relentless barrage of nonsensical photos, but it sounds like Batman is getting the best of Will Smith upstairs, Neil Armstrong has just discovered Google Earth and is bickering that the view of earth no longer belongs to just him, and Adolf is playing with our BBQ lighter. I better go get things back under control up there. Besides, Ramses and I want more coffee.
As usual……only the photo of my best friend in the whole world left to go……
Hello again friends, family and foes,
I am slipping into 3 weeks hiatus’ (hiati? Or is that a country?) from the bloggage. Life has spiralled madly out of control, like a B-17 super fortress blasted from the skies by a ME-109 and is now a plummeting, flaming, spiraling ball of fire heading to earth. Except it is one of those spiraling, flaming, plummeting falls that is really enjoyable, setting you down – nay – kissing down, in a vibrant green field, next to sheep, who promptly pick you a bouquet of daisies as soon as you step out of the wreckage, ask you to shear them so they can sew you a new blankey, then offer you infallible advice on your stock performance.
Life is grand in a busy way, in other words. The end of construction is rushing towards us like a meteor of pleasure, and we are standing there with arms wide open and huge silly grins plastered on our faces. We got a ton of pictures to show you guys from the last 3 weeks, so strap on your water wings and lets dive into the pictorial pool, shall we?
Two Queen Mothers for $1,000. Not a bad deal eh? And not just one of them – BUT 2!!! I was shocked to find that written in my wife’s impeccable hand writing on a sticky note sitting on my office desk. I mean, I am a big fan of the British royalty and all, but what gives here? Is my wife planning a house warming party and has rented the services of 2 Queen Mothers? What would a queen mother do at a house party? Why is she renting her self out so cheaply? $1,000? I can’t even get Clarence the Clown from Family Fun Rentals to make an appearance for a grand. Maybe the Queen Mother is saving for William and Kate’s baby shower and needed extra cash, resulting in her……………selling herself to 2 Canadians in the boonies in Ontario?? And why 2?? Is 1 Queen Mother not enough? I mean look at her……
Does this picture scream ‘high maintenance’ or what? Look at that broach. She would go straight to the bottom if she went swimming with that on. Although she could probably paddle herself to shore with that fan before she got in any serious trouble. Why is my wife buying this lady x2 for a cool grand? Do we need her to finish our place? Is she really good at cleaning? Is she helping me move the freezer? That’s got to be it. Joe + 2 Queen Mothers would be just about the right manpower to move our behemoth freezer. Just as I was getting excited about my reduced scope of moving labour, my eyes glanced at the note again.
2 Queen Mattresses for $1,000.
Right, photos, Joe, photos. Swan diving into the pictorial pool right now…………
Allow me to tell you about this picture. We bought our laminate flooring from Winnipeg and had it shipped to Dryden, where my wife went to pick it up. Obviously, from this photo, one can deduce that the flooring was shipped in one of the following manners:
1) In a tank that picked up our flooring and then did a tour of duty in Afghanistan
2) They strapped our flooring to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and fired it at Dryden.
My wife surveyed the carnage, scolded the tank driver, and then directed the soldiers to load the packages in our pickup truck.
However, the little packer men / soldiers decided they would rather go cause more collateral damage with their tank to other innocents, so they left my wife and the wonderful Mrs. Susan Hochstedler to pack up our ½ ton truck. And so they did! Look at those pecs. Pectacular.
Not surprisingly, the silly tank drivers damaged about 3 boxes of the flooring before my wife and Susan wrestled the packages from their destructive hands. The flooring for our living and dining rooms is called “Noguera Walnut” What is a ‘Noguera’? Sounds more like a car than a nut.
This is the PSX-TL3000 ‘Ice Age’ edition air conditioner we had installed. Ok, ok, so the name is maybe a little fictitious, but Anne and I have high hopes for this unit. There were many, many nights this summer where we laid in bed, sweltering and suffocating – with the only thing missing being the jungle drums from the tribal village and an anaconda hanging from our ceiling. No longer. ‘Hey there heat – TASTE MY PAIN!’ Can’t wait to fire this bad boy up next summer. I think Anne and I will fire it up for the first time drinking tall glasses of lemonade.
While investigating the PSX-TL3000, we found this guy. I wanted to keep him and launch him at the Germans, but Anne refused to even look at it. Really hard to load ammunition when you can’t even look at it.
After a long gestation period, our kitchen was finally birthed last week………here it is in its freshly delivered state. A little messy, a little crabby, but the doctor says it’s a girl and she is going to be healthy and beautiful. We have hired a private nanny to come put it together for us.
My family came by to conduct a building inspection and to make sure the kitchen is ‘Italian Cooking Approved (ICA)’. That is a huge approval by the way, since it dictates our diet until the mortgage is paid off. I was as nervous as I was at my first job interview.
Fortunately, I know the kitchen inspector personally. Earlier that day, I threw a couple wheels of provolone cheese and some prosciutto her way which practically guarantees a pass on our kitchen. Mangia mangia bella Nonna!
My brother Julian coming out of the closet.
I call this photo “The Twin Towers”. I want to frame it and put it in our dining room.
Here is our kitchen, partially assembled, but still being nursed to maturity by our nanny (carpenter). I think we have enough cupboards to hide the great pyramids of Giza in our kitchen, but Anne assures me that ‘there are enough’ in a voice that implies that we almost didn’t have ‘enough’. I am sort of expecting to move in and place each one of our forks in a cabinet of its own, but my wife never ceases to amaze me with how much kitchen gear she has. She is like a Navy Kitchen Seal with all sorts of black ops kitchen utensils used to carry out clandestine culinary missions. Come to think of it, it’s less of a kitchen and more of an armoury for her weapons against bland cooking. My wife, the champion of Italian eatery, thank you dear Lord.
Do you guys know what this place is? I know I am getting a lot of looks right now with raised eyebrows and rolled eyes. Being from Sioux Lookout, the only time I have used an Ikea is in a game of scrabble, and not even legally since it is a proper noun. This place is happiness. Pure, unadulterated mind blowing happiness for new home owners. Allow me to digress. My wife, my brother and myself went to southern Ontario for a wedding and to visit an old university friends of mine, Steve. I know a lot of Steves. Anyhow, my buddy took us to this place, sort of like you would take someone to show them where you get your mail. Then in total amazement you watch as they get all glazey eyed, start foaming at the mouth and rubbing their bodies all over your mailbox. That would be weird right? Of course. Nearly the same thing happened here when Steve nonchalantly took us to Ikea. Bless those Swedes. Bless them with a blessing.
The best part of Ikea, by far, was the names of their products. I was expecting to find an assortment of brand names. Oh no. It is all Ikea brand, and they give their products utterly ridiculous names in Swedish. I assume Swedish names are given to boost the appeal of the product. Take for example this bed. Wait, it is not a bed, as the tag proclaims, but a Hemnes. Sounds way cooler than saying ‘bed’. Makes the purchse way more exciting when you can say, “I want to buy 3 hemnes, 4 glockespiels, and ½ a box of lubenfluffens”. In reality, all you purchased was 3 beds, 4 slippers and ½ box of earplugs. You see, WAY COOLER IN SWEDISH!! However, I should note, I personally would not be comfortable sleeping in a bed called a “Hemnes”. Sounds a little too much like an STD for my preference.
A ‘Godmorgon’………fancy Swedish for “drawer organizer’. For some reason, I couldn’t look at this without picturing Morgan Freemen in a white suit holding it up with a big cheesy smile in a commercial. Wierd.
Steve and I explored the kitchen section of Ikea where I believe I found one of the original stone slabs used by Moses for the 10 commandments trying to pass itself off as a cutting board. If a thief breaks into my house, I ain’t running for my gun, I heading straight to the kitchen to get my cutting board. Look at the thickness of that beast!! It’s like a chopping block from the French Revolution. Villainy doesn’t stand a chance in my household when I am wielding this. Oh no.
My brother Clement found the ‘wearable blankey section’. I think as a child, this would have scared the living daylights out of me. Sort of looks like a Shrek who just got ran over by a steamroller. Or perhaps a sapient pickle with a bad case of self-awareness. Either way, I couldn’t stick my little body inside this abomination as a child and expect to sleep at night.
In an awkward moment of discovery while writing this blog, I came across this extremely recent photo of Neil Armstrong posing with my wife at a dinner party. Neil, I see right through your web of lies. Get out of my Jacuzzi and make yourself useful around here.
So my friends, there you have it…..another 2 weeks in the exciting construction life of the Cospito family. Only about 3 more weeks until we move in!! I better go pick up those Queen Mothers, we are going to need them.
Until next time…….
My homies. Microsoft Word is telling me that is the incorrect way to spell “homies”, but neither does it have a suggestion to spell “homies” the right way. Nothing like telling someone they are doing something wrong when you have no idea how to do it either. Microsoft for the win!
I wanted to apologize for the serious delay in the bloggage. I wish I can say it was because I was out saving kitties, or selling homemade lemonade or doing something heroic like stopping the entire USA from going bankrupt, but truly I have to blame Neil Armstrong for the delay in the bloggage. Yes, Neil. I AM TALKING TO YOU!!! The crazed moonwalker has been boarding with us for the past 3 weeks as he teaches a low gravity cooking course at the local high school. Whenever I get home from work all he wants to do is “watch Star Wars and do the manly bonding”. Turns out that while watching Star Wars, all 6 of them, he slowly became more and more sullen, finally slipping into a chocolate pudding and Nutella binge which lasted for 4 days. When he finally kicked the calories and went into withdrawal, he confessed what had been bothering him. He pulled out an old photo from 1969 and placed his photo next to a picture of his all-time #1 hero and role model. Here is what I saw:
Obviously, none of the above points went over very well with Neil. Anne and I have been beside him night and day for the last 2 weeks in case he felt tempted to pull out his black umbilical cord and end things. Many sleepless tear-filled nights with Neil have passed, but I believe now we are firmly on the road to healing and recovery. We bought him a Lego Apollo 11 model which has been helping him cope.
Upon deep reflection, I believe there will truly be no references to weapons, Nazis or catapults in this edition of the bloggage. A sure sign house construction is going well. In fact we had a very special guest visitor at our house……..truly! My dear, canonized Nonna. My only living grandparent. She ranks in the top 3 women in my life. Do you have a top 3 women list? You should have one, they’re great. Anyhow, allow me to introduce 2 of the 3 women in my top 3 list:
My Nonna is simply an epic woman, for better lack of a description. Her heart is humongous. One of the most dedicated women I have ever encountered. She and Nonno came over from Italy after their country was ravaged during WWII. She still remembers running from American fighter planes who were bombing the Nazis out of her village and living in a cave for 3 months. She even remembers the Germans coming to her house. My great grandfather, Dominic, begged them not to harm his family. Instead the Germans simply took off with food and cooking utensils.
Man, if I was a German invader, I hope I would realize what a goldmine I had just stumbled across. I would yell to my sergeant as he climbs back into his Panzer: “Yeah boys, good luck in your battle for the Fuhrer, I am gonna chill here, get all agricultural and stuff, work with Tony at the bakery AND EAT NONNA’S PASTA!!” Yet another reason why the Germans lost that war. Panzers over garlic bread is a lose-lose situation on any reasonable day.
Side Note: Did I really just talk about Nazis again, 1 paragraph after saying I wasn’t in this blog???? Net Nanny just gave me a withering look and sent me to the corner with a crust of bread and a glass of lukewarm water.
Back to my Nonna, another thing you should know is that she has a black belt in Italian cooking. In fact this woman invented Italian cooking. If you come to our house right now, you may not leave. Ever. She will strap you to a chair and feed you pasta until you bleed sauce. Italians don’t take no when it comes to feeding people. “Never Say Never” was an Italian cook book written by my Nonna before Justin Beiber bought the movie rights. I am not kidding when I say she arrived in Sioux with a suitcase of sausage and cheeses from little Italy, praise the good Lord. She took one look at me and said “Jose! You a lose a weight! NO MORE!! MANGIA!!”
At which point my eyes glazed over and my inhibitions dropped away like the fuel tanks off the Challenger shuttle. YES NONNA!! LET’S START RIGHT NOW!!
And then the eating started. It is still going on. I have stopped using water for my showers and have switched to pasta sauce for the next month. Tomorrow night we are going over for Tiatelli. I have no idea what that is. But I am pretty sure it is not a sports car. Not unless it is a car slathered in sauce with a robust side of garlic bread. Bring on the tiatelli, Nonna. I will be sitting on the floor at your feet, eagerly begging you to stuff more foods that end in “elli” down my gullet.
Pasta in my family is as necessary as oxygen and gravity. We have never questioned life without pasta. Such a thing borders on madness…….why would you not have pasta? Why not walk down the street shirtless flogging your own back with a whip? Going pasta-less in this Italian family is comparably just as mad. In fact, one of the last things I heard my Mom ask her brother before Nonna spent the night at his house on Saturday was “Do you have canned tomatoes in the house?”
That’s right, ’cause we Italians don’t go anywhere unless there is canned tomatoes in the house.
I love my Nonna. Rivaling Peter for sainthood, she is an absolute shoe-in for my top 3 women list.
Anyhow, all that to say that Nonna visiting was a major highlight of the past 2 weeks. The second highlight was traveling to Utopia to buy all sorts of goodies for the new house.
In legends of old, there is rumor of a store staffed by intelligent humans, not monkeys, who are knowledgeable in what they are selling. A place of legend where what you see on the display shelf can actually be purchased. A place where goods can be purchased at prices not requiring you to go into slavery to the store owner for the next 10 years, making mud and straw bricks in an outdoor kiln like the Israelites did for their Egyptian masters.
I doubted such a store existed – until yesterday. My eyes have seen, my ears have heard and my tongue hath tasted the sweet bounty of this fabled store. Behold, allow me to introduce the topic of this week’s bloggage:
I have babbled far too much in this bloggage already. With no further ado, allow me to take you on a walking photo tour of our shopping trip to this store. Our visit in the store lasted 5 hours; 5 hours of unadulterated home shopping bliss. My eyes are already moist.
After purchasing a welder’s mask to facilitate entry to the lighting department, we encountered Tom. Tom was the bomb. In fact, I am pretty sure Tom is still alive so that should read, “Tom is the bomb”. Behold:
The best, bestest, bestly part of shopping at Menards was that we could buy things off the shelf. We could literally walk into the store and see something for sale and they would sell it to us. That doesn’t happen here in Sioux. They mostly just tease you and jest that things are for sale then tell you they are out of stock because their supply ship got hit by a rogue artillery shell off the coast of Mozambique and it will be 37 years before they get another light/handle/piece of wood in that you need.
And so we find ourselves at the end of another bloggage, and as we all know, there is only one way to finish this off properly….
In all seriousness, we are truly blessed by all these secondary things. Our thanks goes to our Heavenly Father above who makes all this possible and so enjoyable and for blessing this marriage with such compatibility and friendship. Blessings are what we are experiencing and we need to be careful and realize that blessings are exactly what it is, not something of our own efforts. Tough times will surely come, but for now, we want to enjoy the blessings:) We hope you can come visit us and Neil when this is all over.
Until the next bloggage…….
My friends, it is time. Tim to slog through another blog. However, I must warn you that this bloggage is one of chastisement. A veritable volcano of constructive criticism, spewing forth from the swirling sea of emotion within. Of what am I speaking? The procurement of building materials.
Since we are more like the little piggy who built his house out of brick, rather than the silly little piece of bacon who built his house out of straw, the procurement of raw building materials is fairly essential to said building process. However, with two building supply / hardware stores in town we confidently sallied forth, thinking that we could simply select the materials locally.
So totally wrong. On what scale were we wrong? Probably comparable to how wrong those poor white-wigged chaps were who believed the earth was flat until they witnessed Magellan came barreling around that last point back into the harbour.
If you want to look at pictures, just skip the raging monologue to follow and head to the bottom for the pictures.
So allow me to tell you about mein kemf. Yes, it started with a small hiccup with the siding. We chose our siding months ago, and sent the product line and name to the hardware store. A nice deep, chocolatey brown. However, what arrived on site last week was more of a snot grey. Now, both snot and grey are fine, on their own and all. But when we combine them into siding, yeah, no. No worries, we called up Steve who was understandably upset with the supplier since he wanted to do siding this week. Poor Steve was stripped of that right. So he called up the hardware store and told them about their mistake. What we got back was that they made the order mistake because “they couldn’t keep up with all our changes”. All the changes eh. I guess that must be referring to the single email we sent 2 months earlier choosing our siding – FOR THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME. I guess picking something once is just too much. I suppose we could have just stuck with this…..
Steve made us laugh though. When we went back a few days later we found he had left the supplier some signage to instruct them about the new load of siding:
I still have my doubts though. The above signage could be too complex. Perhaps a picture would have been better. With an angry T-Rex in it eating any wrongly-coloured siding.
So the work continued! Good times. Until it came time to order the laminate flooring. I should add that it took no less than 30 days to get samples from the hardware store. “Yup,” they kept telling us. “We just can’t get ahold of anyone, and have left messages and all”.
At that point, Anne and I googled the manufacturer, my wife called them over breakfast, received instructions on ordering samples, and within 10 minutes she had ordered the samples to be delivered. This impossible feat of daring exhausted us, and left us nearly too weak to continue with the home building experience, but we forged on. Anyhow, the samplage came in and we made our selection. We then sent it back to our supplier for pricing.
I did not realize it at the time, but apparently asking for flooring pricing in Sioux, is equivalent to asking for depleted uranium fuel rods.
It just ain’t happening, my friends. Another 2 weeks went by. Finally we called a place in Winnipeg, 5 hours from here and had a quote in 48 hours. Our supplier eventually did deliver a quote, though it seemed about as difficult as a heifer having quadruplets. Then came the pure shock of the local quote being $1000 more for the exact same amount of flooring compared to the other place. $1000.
$1000. We are only 60 klicks off the highway, not like we are building a lunar landing base on freaking Jupiter. Perhaps our military has to deliver building materials to Sioux in a Hercules, complete with a fighter escort. I can understand the fuel costs in doing that. But seriously, other than a large scale military mobilization to deliver materials, what could possibly lead to these ridiculous prices? I slapped a great big “F” for FAIL on that quote and sent it back, requesting that they stop playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and give me a call when they are ready to try again. If it doesn’t change, I’ll send them an envelope of Monopoly money and tell them to dispatch the truck. Sheesh.
Ah yes. But the best is the door hardware. This is the case of Andrea vs. Un-named Sioux Hardware Store. Well, Steve asked us to go get our door hardware (just knobs and handles is all that means) for our outside doors so that he can begin locking up the house at the end of the day. Makes sense! So off we went to the hardware store to buy hardware. No worries, right? I mean it’s like going to Pizza Hut to buy a pizza right? I mean, what I am looking for is even in the name of their store!
If looking for flooring was like trying to buy depleted uranium fuel rods, then hardware is like trying to find the Holy Grail.
We walked into the un-named hardware store and within 10 minutes had picked what we wanted off their display shelf.
That was as far as we ever got.
After an exhaustive search, they told us “we’ll search the truck that just came in and get back to you tomorrow.” Well they did, and this was the message:
“Uh, yeah, got some bad news on that hardware. We don’t carry that line anymore. In fact we can’t even order it. In fact I am not even sure what it is called, we have no record of those models”.
Nothing like screwing some random pieces of metal to a display board and then trying to sell them to your customers eh? Not sure where they came from, what they are and what they do. I’LL TAKE EM ALL!
Sadly, it does not end here. We decided to buy the floor models – who cares if we don’t know what their model numbers or name is. We got a decent discount too. We then chose a main entrance handle set that they could order and asked them to place the order.
We were informed that we had to choose a “trim” to complete the order. No problem! I love choosing stuff. We asked them what “trim” was for a door handle set and what our options were.
They told us they had no idea.
Rather then make a rash, rushed decision on trim based on their eloquent description, we asked them to call their supplier and figure out what our choices were.
Apparently their supplier lives on the dark side of the moon and is attacked on a weekly basis by aliens. The hardware store kept telling us that they were “getting the run around” from the supplier on what the trim options were. Obviously, between shelling and strafing runs on their moon base, the hardware supplier was having a hard time accessing their inventory logs. I checked in every other day for a week and a half. It peaked when I called last Monday and said “yeah, I am calling about my door hardware”, to which I received the following response from the hardware support staff.
“Oh yes! Did you make your trim selection yet?”
After I laughed out loud on the phone. I called up my wife. She googled the manufacturer. She called them. She spoke to a nice old lady. She told my wife trim meant the style of handle on the inside of the door. My wife picked a trim. She took it in and deposited the selection on the desk of the hardware staff and told them not to bother the poor, battle sieged moon base supplier any longer. We then suggested that they hire our good friend, Neil Armstrong, to replace the inventory manager on their hardware moon base since you know, he is a moonwalker and has been consulting us through the house building process.
You owe me one, Neil. Send me your tips.
It helps to belt out a few stanzas of “The Love of Jesus is So Wonderful” when things get a little tense in ordering materials.
So besides playing Legos with our kindergarten hardware stores, we have also had the most epic Festive Feasting Friday last week! My wife is amazing, and is continuing to plumpen up all our contractors with her mad baking skills. To what end, I do not know. In fact this week she tag-teamed with another Sioux Lookout baking legend. Together these twoaccomplices drew up battle plans and prepared for D-Day (Donut Day).
Yes, homemade donuts. Weaponized food. The Hiroshima of flavor. Susan’s donuts have been used on several NATO missions to quell uprisings in rogue states by randomly carpet bombing the country side with these oval food hugs. In fact, what the US military is keeping under wraps, is that in fact, a load was dropped on Osama’s compound mere hours before the SEALs stormed the place. They all died happy men with big donuty sugar creme smiles on their faces. Anne and Susan made dozens of donuts and then descended upon the job site…………..
After the paramedics left with this crew, the next crew came in and finished off all the insulation, vapour barrier and taping. I managed to sneak the photo below while dancing around all the body chalk lines on the floor.
So there you have it! I want to thank you all for letting me vent. I feel my blood pressure has dropped to normal levels, and only half my monitor is covered in spittle.
Before we leave, here are my favorite photos from the week……..
There is an ancient legend of a powerful samurai warrior, who lived deep in the Shianzi mountains, across the jade river in the Hunan Province. This powerful warrior was feared and respected throughout all the land; renowned for his wisdom in passing judgement on quarrels and disagreements. Warlords, emperors and even the commoners would cross the jade river and brave the arduous hike up the steep slopes of the Shianzi mountains to sit at the feet of the samurai warrior in his dojo high atop the highest peak. It was here the powerful warrior passed his judgements with both tongue and steel. When his judgements were not heeded by those who sought him, the warrior was forced to unsheathe Klacksang, his ancient blade, which was said to be forged from the metal of a heavenly body that plummeted to earth many empires past. With Klacksang in hand, it became an extension of his arm, reverberating with the power of elements not born of this world. Those who refused his judgements and quarreled would taste the justice of Klacksang. The sword’s song would sing out as it would cut through the flesh of the wicked, seeming to drink in the purity of the justice it was administering. And so the Hunan province was kept in order and the stature and wisdom of the legendary warrior grew beyond the borders of the Shianzi mountains. But then the recession of 2008 hit. Gas prices skyrocketed and our warrior could no longer afford the drive to pick the rarest flower which grew atop the next peak over and which provided him with exfoliating relief from the chaffing handle of Klacksang. His investments in foreign oil took a beating when the US moved the 5th Marine core into Iraq in 2002 and with the rising success of the Chevrolet volt, eco-car. Not surprisingly, the final blow which caused the collapse of the legendary warrior of the Shianzi mountains, in the province of Hunan who lived across the jad river was not in fact the cold steel of a quarreling warlord, but the E coli laced bean sprouts from northern Germany which he had brought in special order for his usual Samurai Soup Sunday. Broken, destitute and his body ravaged from E coli induced diarrhea, the warrior turned to the Kajiji for help. He sold Klacksang to the highest bidder and bought the first plane ticket to the University Hospital in Cleveland, which has a special medical wing dedicated to Samurai suffering from acute E coli symptoms. Friends, this is where the story comes home. Turns out Klacksang was sold to a culinary expert in Sioux Lookout who craved a finer cut of French Fries and was hoping Klacksang would give him the edge he needed. Sadly, his 4 year old took Klacksang to Grade 2 show-and-tell, where it was handled by grubby cheez-whiz hands all morning long before being tossed into the bed of the wrong pick up truck by the teacher at the end of the day. Lo and behold, that pickup truck belonged to one of the guys on our Contractor’s framing crew who soon discovered that Klacksang makes a far better exacto knife for cutting vapour barrier than his leatherman. At the end of the work day, when Anne and I came for our regular visit, alas, we entered the master bedroom, and there laying forlorn and rejected on the floor, was the mighty klacksang.
Upon seeing this mighty blade in such a sad state, I did the only thing I could think of given such short notice to help assuage the sword’s suffering.
So, besides taming the mighty Klacksang, it has been a ridiculous week of business at the Castle de JoAnne. You know what the keyword has been this week? Starts with “s” and ends with “hingles”. I know that none of us have time for difficult word games at the end of our busy workdays, so how about you glare at me, and say “Joe, just start the pictures already”. Sheesh, ok, here we go.
The Steve also was quite aggressive in fenestrating our house. Yes, that is a word, although no, I don’t blame you for thinking I would just make up a word. In fact it is typically used in the sense of “de-fenestrating” which is, in plain English “to throw someone or something through a window”. So in fact, fenestrating is basically the constructive part of installing windows rather than breaking them. Hence, Steve our contractor has been quite the fenestrator this week.
For date night the other week, Anne and I grabbed some burgers and fries and headed out for a true 5 star dining experience. We set up some sawhorses in the kitchen, and made a table with a piece of plywood. We then toasted life, love and other mysteries (such as – would my brother notice if we slowly started stealing fence sections to make out own????)
We were also pretty stoked because our jacuzzi was delivered to site. It has more buttons and switches on it than Apollo 13. Neil Armstrong, we are going to need to talk after all. Show me how to work this thing and together we can blast off into a world of total relaxation; preferably separately. No Neil, you can’t borrow my shorts. Yes Neil, I remembered to account for the optimal angle of tranquility when filling the tub. Moonwalkers. They think they know everything.
But dear friends, as I bring this senseless bloggage romp to an end, I come to my usual favorite photo subject I like to close with. The real reason I love building this house is because of this person…….
There is no other person on earth I would want to do this with. My amazing wife………wow……she captures the best parts of what God made a woman to be and then blasts me with it ever day. The absolute best part of this process is watching her, and soaking up her excitement which is literally exploding out of her every time we go to site. I love this woman something fierce……so blessed we can build this home together……it doesn’t even make sense. Our Father in Heaven we thank you – from the bottom of our hearts.
To my wife…..I am the video game and you are the code.
It is time for the bloggage. I managed to evade the bloggage last weekend, insisting that progress on the house did not provide enough meat and cheese for a tasty blogwich. Alas, the platter of bloggage condiments is virtually overflowing at this point.
So here I sit in my flannel track pants and #14 Curtis Granderson Yankees T shirt on a blustery Sunday afternoon, listening to 90’s on 9 on my XM radio whilst completing the bloggage. My level of comfort at this moment is total. To my dear family in the states, I would blog in an Indians T shirt if I had one, and no doubt my level of comfort would skyrocket to Biblical proportions, but today the Yankees will have to do.
People, our house is virtually erupting out of the ground. But before we get to specifics, for those of you who doubt we are actually installing a fat-apult to provide door-free access to our house for those of us to lazy to crawl through our windows, behold:
I had this almost insatiable desire to push that giant red button on the fatapult. Seriously, it is a major distraction every time I visit the house. But clearly, we all know from watching movies that pushing the big red button is never a good thing – it usually results in self-destruction, or some sort of countdown timer, or the release of a noxious substance into the air, or the firing of an explosive warhead, or perhaps the revival of Brittany Spears’ career. All equally devastating events, none of which I want to inflict upon a guest of ours using the fatapult. So the button will remain unpushed.
So with no further ado, strap on your water wings and let’s dive into the picture pool. Here is a general picture of the construction so far:
A touch smaller than we had anticipated, but it oozes coziness. Ok, ok, so actually this is my brother’s shed also being constructed on the other side of the fence. I was spying. Shhhhh.
Rather than waste time babbling, or performing an interpretative dance, I am going to spin this tale via copious amounts of pictures. So, here we go:
But we are jumping way, way ahead here!! Steve has unleashed his forces upon the house like the attack of orcs on Helm’s Deep, minus the carnage and death, and destruction. So not really like that at all. What I mean to say is it has been busy around the house and we got lots of pictures to share that lead up to the one above…………..let’s do it.
We have been so impressed with the speed and quality of the work, that my wife came up with the idea of implementing “Festive Feasting Fridays”, in which she brings libations, assorted baked goods, snacks and other consumable goods to the work crew and we praise their skill and offer other words of condolence. Here are some party pictures from the first Festive Feasting Friday:
The days following Festive Feasting Friday’s saw a flurry of work accomplished on the main floor. Steve and his forces waged a building blitzkrieg, constructing the walls for the main floor faster than my pudgy 8 year hands could construct a $10 Lego model in the 90s.
So we were thinking the other day while walking around on the main floor – hey! why not just move in now? The crew can work around us, and yes, it may be a bit drafty, but as inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther so eloquently puts it “Ooooooo! That breeze feels good!”. So we moved in for a day, and here are some photos of our first day at home:
After the walls went up, Steve brought in the roofing crew to install the trusses. It could just be me, but there seemed to be a few more guys than usual on site that day.
I didn’t know Steve had Amish connections but apparently, I stand corrected. These guys rallied the troops and wrestled the entire structure into submission. Their tools? Apparently, nothing more than testosterone and rope, as can be seen in the above picture. Mashed potatoes and baked chicken on the house tonight boys!
What a week it was! It is crazy how fast things are happening. By the end of this week, we are hoping the roof will be sheathed and maybe even shingling started. It is so exciting to think of transferring all our routines into this new house. Making it our own, decorating it at Christmas, starting the memories. Guys, it still feels like a dream. Every time we go out there, I feel like I am walking on someone else’s property……living someone else’s life. We still feel like we are way too young, and besides, only “grown ups” build houses, right?. Is that how we are looked at now by the younger generation? Are we considered old people? Is this what it is like? If so, I can definitely say, life gets waaaaaaaaaaay better the older you get. This house trumps my Legos any day. Thank you Lord, thank you.
To close off this week’s bloggage, I am going to end with a couple of photos of that foreman. She is just so dang awesome! Bloggage out.
Hello dear friends, family and other random bloggage lurkers.
Firstly, you will notice that our bloggage is now officially affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. My household is in a state of Defcon One Indian frenzy right now. A total lockdown. In fact my wife is currently listening to a game right now. Travis Brady. Tom Sizemore. Brian Adams. Shin Sue Yo Yo Ma. Household names around here right now. Even the little drummer boy (Brian Adams) who sits in the grandstand at every Indians game and bangs his huge drum is appluaded. The ox and lamb keep time quite well with Brian Adams indeed.
Well guys, I must admit I am a little downhearted I am doing the bloggage right now. Why? Because I am supposed to be chillaxin on a golden beach with my wife in Heaven right now and grovelling on earth no longer. Apparently, the rapture was supposed to happen yesterday and, according to CNN, I now have to suffer through 5 unspeakble months of horror, suffering and general terror. 5 MONTHS!!! For me that started with a cold shower this morning. I assume if you are reading this, then you as well missed the boat. Dog gone it, why can’t the whackos just be right for once????? There is crazy, and then there is just downright stark raving, foaming at the mouth, doomsday t-shirt wearing, pamphlet handing out, quit your job, blow your savings crazy. What the heck are these people thinking? If someone came up to them and said BEST BUY IS GIVING AWAY FREE TV’s AND FOOT MASSAGES !!! IN FACT BEST BUY STAFF ARE MUGGING PEOPLE IN THE PARKING LOT AND STUFFING TV’S INTO THEIR VEHICLES!!! Would they believe it? Of course not!! But some lunatic, self taught Biblical scholar comes along and using complex formulas figures out the world is going to end 7000 years to the day after the flood ended – and we all lose our minds. 7000 years, eh. Must have found Noah’s day planner lodged in the top of a pine tree to nail down that date. Maybe the guy forgot to carry the one in his calculation. Maybe he forgot it was a leap year for Noah that year. Maybe he isn’t getting enough Calcium. Who knows? But the sad fact is we now have 5 months of abominable suffering ahead, before the total destruction of the world at the hands of rogue clown samuari warriors…….wait, I think that was a movie trailer I saw……
But onwards to the house. Our house is practically springing out of the ground like lava out of the summit of Mount Vesuvius. Minus the destruction, ash and eradication of life. It is being built at a goodly pace is what I mean. With no further ado, allow me to intruce you to Ernie,
Ernie is what we have named the first wall of our house.
But as we all know, it is going to be hard to ride out the next 5 months of tribulation in a one wall house. So we decided to splurge and built 3 more walls to keep Ernie company.
Ok, so coming back to reality for awhile, yes, our basement walls are up! The plumbing for the mechanical room and future basement washroom are also installed. All our basement windows are roughed in, and our concrete bearing pads for the main floor teleposts are properly located. We moved two concrete pads to allow for a bigger rec room in the basement, which meant increasing the sizes of the LVL beams which span beneath the dining and living room. Rather than do an interpretive dance to explain the rooms and stuff, here are some pictures…..
I have also noticed that, currently, our house has a very unique feature: no door. Nope. X-nay on the doornay. Behold:
There are obvious cost savings associated with door free houses. Firstly, of course, you don’t need to buy a door. You don’t need a door bell. Door mat. Entry light. Shoe rack. Butler. Keys. Christmas wreath. Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching. Quite frankly, I don’t understand those people who live opulently enough to afford two doors into their homes. TWO DOORS! Here is how we will save money and still gain access to the house:
We have doors into every single room of our house from the outside using this method. Simple yet effective. But wait. What about those who want to visit but don’t want to climb through windows? I haven’t the slightest clue why someone would have a problem crawling through windows, but I am sure they are out there. Anyhow, we need communion with friends and family so we have devised an alternative method of entry into our home:
Yes, a catapult. Some of you may recognize this ensemble from the famous siege of Minas Tirith in the final Lord of the Rings. Did the orcs use the door to the city (initially)? No they did not. Rather they launched whatever they wanted right over the walls, circumventing said door.
The definition of a catapult, courtesy of Wikipedia, is as follows: A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices.
Hurling. Projectile. Great distances. No explosives. It meets all my criteria for a safe home entry. To avoid copyright infringments lawsuits with Peter Jackson we will simply call it a fat-apult rather than catapult, since I am assuming those who would select this method of entry are simply too lazy to knock on my window and crawl on in. We are proposing the construction of a fat-apult on our front lawn to launch our guests over our walls into the soft nougaty centre of our home. Foolproof. However, ogres to load the catapult are somewhat hard to come by following the recession, leaving me scratching my head on how to load the fatapult. The only other alternative we are evaluating at this time is a zipline from my brothers house nextdoor. Clement, I should add, has a door, but he is too modest to talk about it.
We may have to look into getting a door. It made alot more sense before I put it on paper.
Well, this week Steve will be installing the telposts and main floor of the house. Once that’s done they can begin framing up the main floor walls. Anne and I just love going out there every night after work to check things out. We haven’t seen a single of the framing crew yet, so it’s almost like magic when we stop by at the end of the day and a ton of work has been done. It’s almost like little magical forest gnomes come frolicking out of the treeline under the moonlight, chanting some happy little tune while they build the house with their little gnome hammers. Except in our case the gnomes are buff, tanned guys who smoke and don’t wear little red pointy hats. We have been very blessed with an excellent contractor.
In all seriousness, we thank God every single morning for the blessings this summer has in store for us. We don’t know why or how He is allowing us to do this, but friends, it is a blast and without His providence, we would have nothing. Not even enough legos to make a pretend house. All the praise and glory goes to our God:) Even if He decided to wait a few more days to come back.
Joe & Anne