What Does $1000 Look Like?

Recently I finished a set off doors for our home. I’m really happy with the results. But it got me thinking about how $1000 can look differently every time. With each and every purchase or experience being worthwhile.

I treated my wife to a night out on the town at a spa and hotel. We needed that time off. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

We bought tickets to Queen for the five of us. Such an amazing show. Queen

We now have a back up generator for when the power goes out. Like it does every year… sometimes for days on end.

My son got a pair of Long Track Speed Skates. Chasing that Olympic Dream! Fastest Ice

We bought a couple of kayaks and accessories. Gotta stay in shape as we grow older. Kayak Adventure

That’s all from this year. In the past- a thousand dollars bought three iPad Minis, or a video game system and accessories, or tickets to Disneyland, even a new mattress…

Like they say, a thousand here and thousand there- pretty soon it adds up to real money.

I’m starting to feel broke. Maybe it’s time to slow down on the spending. The kids need a post secondary education. A thousand bucks might buy a couple of textbooks.

We Have a Set Of Doors!

Last week I had a hole in the wall leading to the outdoors. Read about it: Oh No! This week, the doors are up and I finished the staining to match the rest of the wood throughout our home.

And the doors look amazing!

*Pats self on back*

I’m also happy with the hardware on the doors and how they will protect our home. I put locking pins in the doors that go directly into the steel beam along the door frame. Because the doors swung outwards- the hinges are secured and not able to be knocked out. To complete the doors- all I have left to do is paint the frame and add weather stripping. That’ll be tomorrow morning once the stain sets.

Yay! I love completing home renovations. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with a job well done.

Oh No. I Made A Big Hole In My House

You read that right. I made a seven foot high by twelve foot wide hole in my living room. And it needed to be closed off…

There used to be a sliding glass door. My two youngest helped me move it out (after I figured out how to get it out.) As my daughter said, “It’s now open concept like they say on HGTV.”

So I put her to more work for the snide remarks. I hit Home Depot early this morning and picked up four door slabs. I got lucky since barn doors are all the rage and I was able to get them at seven feet tall- fitting my opening perfectly.

After a bit of trimming and cutting out placements for the hinges- the doors are now installed. Now my daughter is quoting more HGTV saying, “It’s rustic farmhouse chic.” Which will ring true once our new doors are finished.

Tomorrow is installation of the doorknobs and adding the finishing trim around the doors. On Saturday (or more likely next week) I will stain the doors to match the wood finish in our home. My brother-in-law stopped by earlier and is impressed that I was able to keep with the look of the home.

I appreciated the help that both my kids gave me today. And it took all day. I hope they learned some DIY and door installation.

What Have I Done?

I love DIY and working on Home Improvements. Over the years I have realized that most of my projects hit a small roadblock or unforeseen circumstances. Last year I had a vision to Build A Door to replace a busted sliding glass door. But my ambition faltered and diminished rather quickly and the project went by the wayside. Over the past few days, my desire to do complete (or at the very least start) the project has returned.

My wife is out of town for a few days at the moment for a work function. Whenever she leaves me for more than a couple of days- I take on a project and usually get it 85-95% done. I figured this should be no different. So I have begun.

As with most projects- I guesstimate how long it will take and double that time. This project I figure will take me a day and a half- not including painting or staining the doors. But an hour in, and only the door half of the old sliding door out, and I’ve got a literal brick wall. I’ve had to pause to re-evaluate what to do. The sliding door is somehow attached to the brick wall. But I cannot find screws or flanges. Ugh.

I can’t put the old door back, and I don’t know how to move to the next part of the removal. It also brought up some concerns of how to install the new door frame. I’m going to finish this break and start some clean up as I process my dilemma.

Wish me luck. Or I’ll take any advice short of selling the house!

Summer Clean Up

Our kids have already been enjoying over a month away from school. We’ve kept them busy and active for the most part. Or at least tried to. Somehow they always resort back to playing on screens both big and small. Ask them to get off the computer, straight to the iPad. Ask them to put down the iPad, off to the iPhone. Then the PlayStation or the Nintendo Switch. The kids need to be occupied with something.

Today my wife and I are going to keep them occupied with a massive cleaning of our home. Inside and out. Our kids’ responses: GROAN. That was to be expected. But our lovely home has fallen into some disarray. It’s time to get things back on track and try to keep it that way.

Hahahahaha… I know the house will get messy again. Of course no one wants to do chores. But we all love living here. So…

GET TO WORK!

Hopefully the weather stays calm and we can enjoy our first night at the Drive In. You know- reward the kids with the biggest screen of all!

A Nice Day To Relax

No big goals today. Just things to occupy myself. I’ve been doing odds and ends around the house. Such as starting dinner. Beginning preparations for fixing the leak around our shower. Dyeing my wife’s hair. And tidying around the house a bit.

But mostly I’m just relaxing. Lots of time plopping on the couch, bed or beanbag chair. Whichever is closest. It’s a good day to chill out. Maybe I’ll turn on some Netflix or music in a bit. Who knows. I’m taking it easy.

Little People

Having an older home with minimal closet and storage space can make it challenging to save stuff. We do have some buildings on our property that have been used for storage. But two of the three are old and dilapidated. One is an old garden shed where a tree fell on it a few years back. So we moved everything from there to an old playhouse. The other is a woodshed/small barn/workshop. Unfortunately that has a rotten roof and back wall.

This past weekend I went into the barn and began to take some of our belongings out. It was obvious from the moment I got in there that rodents have made homes in the upper part. Not too surprising considering we live in the country with squirrels, raccoons, and all sorts of small furry creatures. Most of our stuff was left untouched- which was good. It also didn’t look like we had to much left to move out.

It wasn’t until I got everything into our home that I realized how wrong I was.

My wife and I saved our children’s collection of “Little People”. Three kids and about ten years of buying these toys accumulated to a huge collection. Everything from a castle to a circus, an airplane to a zoo- our kids received almost everything imaginable. I remember the kids spending hours playing with them when they were younger.

On Saturday, our fifteen year old daughter decided she wanted to open up every box and play again. This had all three of our kids sharing memories and stories of playing with the toys and watching videos of “Little People” at the same time.

I’m glad my wife and I saved these toys. We will pass them on to our children or (even grandchildren?) one day. From my youth I saved all my LEGO. My sister saved her Barbies and My Little Pony toys. Both my sister and I passed these toys on to our children. It’s a great way to keep memories alive while creating new ones.

What does do you keep from your youth? Or what toys have you kept of your children’s that you can’t wait to pass on? Let me know!

Easter Was Sooooo Last Week…

Our home gets decorated for the seasons and special holidays- Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Today we had our daughter pack up the Easter decorations. The same ones she set out about a month ago…

Since we are family of Atheists, the religious aspect of Easter isn’t represented. Just a bunch of cutesy bunnies and pastel colours. Which to me is more mainstream Easter (just like Santa equates Christmas).

With Easter behind us, it’s time for spring cleaning. Time to rid ourselves of unused and unwanted items. A rebirth of our household. A chance to also bring back to life our garden and yard. Filling bird feeders and getting our pond set up once more. A time to put behind the pastel colours and bring forth the vibrant greenery and rainbow flowers.

Time to get ready for summer weather and sunny days.

Burn!

Having an acre full of trees and bushes is wonderful. The lush abundance of nature is tranquil and serene. As well, we have a sense of privacy from our neighbors which is fantastic. The only problem is the upkeep of the yard.

But we have two times of the year that we can really tackle and take back the yard- October and April. That’s because we get to burn all the dead branches and leaves. My wife claims it to be the best yard work job to do. In other words- she loves destroying with fire!

Burning Season means we also get the entire family out in the yard to help. Cutting branches, ripping out brambles, pulling out invasive plants… All of which gets tossed onto the fire. My wife likes to take full advantage of the weather and her days off in order to make a big dent in the landscaping. Next month we will be maintaining what we planted as well as basic chores.

I enjoy the final results. After a hard day of yard work, you just want to sit and relax. I have come to be using our wheelbarrow as a seat now. I chill with a cold beverage and watch the fire as it winds down. A great opportunity to reflect on life. A fire pit and the sun setting on our abode ends the day.

Bonsai

I have always wanted a Bonsai. I tried to make one about 15 years ago, but I failed miserably. Mainly because I didn’t put in the care and effort needed to keep it alive. So why not try again..? I am using this as a zen inspired activity. Keeping it watered and trimmed from time to time will help to calm and relax.

I picked up a small juniper since they are the heartiest and easiest to form. I took it out of the plastic pot and planted it into a new clay pot. Unfortunately the pot I do have is a tad large for the roots. A healthy bonsai needs to have the roots trimmed as well as the branches. Unless I want the tree to grow fairly large. So another transplant may occur by the end of summer. We’ll see how it does.

Then came the time to trim away almost everything. A bit of wire was used to help form the branches. This is just the start of my bonsai. Keeping it trimmed and cared for will be ongoing for the remainder of my time. And a desperate hope to keep it alive…

Wish me luck in my Zen Adventure.