Monday January 31st, 2011

The exercise:

Today will be our first full day in Jamaica. So let's write about being: in the tropics.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


The sun seems a little bigger,
The people too full of vigour,
These drinks don't ever stop flowing,
The guide don't know where we're going,
The bus is always breaking down,
The driver thinks he's a clown,
The price goes up by the hour,
The other tourists are sour...

But it's still better than a day
Spent shoveling wet snow, I'd say.

Sunday January 30th, 2011

The exercise:

Today Kat and I are flying from Toronto to Montego Bay, Jamaica. So I thought it would be fitting for today's prompt to be: the island.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


On the first day he walked from the south coast to the north coast, through thick jungle that was brimming with the scent of exotic flowers. It took him two hours, and mosquitoes were his constant companions.

On the second day he went east to west. Even with a large hill to drag himself over it only took an hour. The mosquitoes were still glad to see him.

On the third day he traveled around the circumference of the island and the sand flies welcomed him with open jaws. Walking barefoot in soft white sand, devoid of any shelter from the sun's silent gaze, he became disoriented.

It wasn't until just before sunset when he thought he recognized his starting point, though by then every stretch of beach looked the same to him. He lay down in the sand and fell into a sleep filled with hallucinogenic visions and angry voices.

On the fourth day men in rescue boats found him and brought him back to their ship.

On the fifth day, still in the grips of the island's madness, he slaughtered them all.

On the sixth day the ship, with no one at the helm, ran aground on the island. The man began walking again.

Saturday January 29th, 2011

The exercise:

Kat and I are on the road this morning to Kelowna, where we'll catch our flight to Toronto. In my absence, your assignment is to write a four line poem about the word: charge.

See you guys on Valentine's Day :)

I was going to type, 'Wear something nice.', but then decided it was more creepy than funny. Now I'm thinking it's a tie.

Note: I'm away on my honeymoon so this is a scheduled post.


My thoughts are all twisted in knots,
Stress is clogging my arteries.
Skin scarred by all the wars I've fought,
It's time to charge my batteries.

Friday January 28th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: it's time to go.

We're out of here bright and early tomorrow morning, due back on Monday, February 14th. I will be doing my best to avoid computers while I'm away, so you likely won't be hearing anything from me besides the posts I've scheduled to go up in my absence.

A couple of blog notes: 

- The 'days in a row' counter is going to be stuck on 964 until I get back (since I update it manually) - if you see it change, it means I caved and logged in. So feel free to yell at me if that happens.

- All of the scheduled posts will be going up at noon Pacific (go here to figure out what that means for you). I figured the least I could do while I was gone was to give you a consistent posting time, and that seemed as good a time as any.

- I will be responding to all of your comments when I return. But I'm going to be nice to myself and give it a week or so to get through them all. Well, assuming that there are a lot to get through. Don't make me beg.

Alright, I think that's everything. I hope all of you keep yourselves safe and well for the next sixteen days and I'll see you when I get back.


Pierre looked at the name on the call display on his ringing phone and gulped, drops of sweat appearing immediately on his forehead. He knew this would not be good news.

"Ah... hello, Henri... how are you d-?"

"Meet me downstairs by the front door in forty-five seconds or you're fired."

Thursday January 27th, 2011

The exercise:

La prompte du jour: the big freeze.

Mmm, mangled french.

Anyway. Our deep freeze arrived today. It isn't actually plugged in yet - both because we're waiting until after we get back to do that and since we couldn't be bothered to squeeze it into place this afternoon. It was right before dinner and there will be time to get it right tomorrow.

You know, in between packing for our freakin' honeymoon.


He was built like an upright freezer,
With the brains to match;
We were all certain he wasn't born -
He must have been hatched.

I'll admit he came in quite handy
When trouble came 'round;
He never had to hurt anyone,
He just kinda frowned.

That was enough to loosen bowels
And send fools running;
I think the man we called The Big Freeze
Found it rather stunning.

Even though his nickname was frigid,
He was warmhearted;
I cried the day we pulled his plug
And he departed.

Wednesday January 26th, 2011

The exercise:

I think today we shall write about: the barber.

Because I got my Honeymoon Hair Cut today (it's pretty much all Honeymoon, all the time in my thoughts these days). It was fine for the winter here, but I had way too much hair on my head for a tropical location. 

Plus I want to look good in all those pictures that are sure to be taken.


Bobby took one look at the monster with scissors for hands and tried to make a break for it.

"Don't be silly," his mother said, calmly grabbing him by the collar and dragging him back into the barber shop. "Mr. Wilkes isn't going to hurt you - he's going to make you handsome!"

"How? By cutting off my ears?"

"No, of course not, my boy," Mr. Wilkes said with a soft laugh that sounded like the maniacal cackle of a supervillain to Bobby. "I'm just going to lower them a little."

Bobby made another break for it and this time he managed to escape to the sidewalk and halfway down the block before his mother was able to catch him. After bringing him screaming and kicking back to the barber - all the while assuring passers-by that he was in fact her son and that he was in fact perfectly fine - she only had two requests for him.

"Make it quick, Andy," she said as she wrangled her son into the chair. "And please, no more jokes."

Tuesday January 25th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: seeds.

Kat and I are in the midst of figuring out our seed order for the coming garden season. We're hoping to get it decided on and sent out before we leave on Saturday, to lessen the likelihood of the seed companies selling out of what we want.

I got about half of The Honeymoon Posts scheduled last night, and I'm hoping to get the rest done tonight.


From this little seed
hundreds of beans will emerge -
Nature's miracle.

*     *     *

Stick them in the ground,
add water, prayer, and threats,
and then, voila! Food.

Monday January 24th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we shall write about: taking it too far.

Once this post is up and I've replied to yesterday's comments, I'm going to get started on typing up what I shall be referring to as The Honeymoon Posts. They're all in my notebook except for the last day before I get back - I've decided to just type up my take on it as I schedule it.

It's going to be weird not logging into this site every day. For two whole weeks!


Yesterday I saw a pheasant run through our front yard and into the orchard. If you haven't had the pleasure for yourself, the males look like this.

Today Kat saw it go running through our front yard and then pause behind the car. She brought me over and we watched it as it slowly crept into the orchard - as though it knew we were watching.

Once is just happenstance. Twice? That makes him ours.

And that means giving him a name. Kat suggested Phil. I liked it, but wanted to make it a bit more sophisticated - so I suggested Phillip. Phillip The Pheasant. A decent name, but of course I wasn't totally satisfied.

So I declared that he would be called Sir Phillip The Pheasant.

Always taking things too far, that's what I'm all about.

Sunday January 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

Let's write about: visions.

I managed to get prompts and takes done up until February 10th today, so I only have three more days to go. Of course, I still have to get them all typed up and scheduled...

Kat and I got into planning our second week in Jamaica this evening. Starting to get very excited.


The old woman who lived in the apartment across the hall never said hello, never asked to borrow sugar, never gave me cause to complain about her. Until last week.

When I left for work last Thursday morning, she was standing in the hallway, just staring at my door. I asked her if everything was alright and she went back into her apartment without a word. It was a little creepy.

When I got home after work she was standing outside my door again, mumbling under her breath. She saw me before I could say anything and disappeared back into her room. Unnerved, I knocked on her door but she refused to answer.

I made sure I used every lock on my door that night, even though I knew I had little to fear from such a frail little thing. It just doesn't hurt to be too careful these days, you know?

The next morning the hallway was empty, but I'm certain I heard her just on the other side of her door. Watching me. I shook my head and went on my way, making sure I'd locked the door behind me.

I didn't go straight home after work, as a couple of the guys at the office invited me out for drinks. I'll admit I was a little tipsy when I did get to my apartment, but I swear on my life that this is true: she was waiting for me inside my apartment, sitting on my couch as if the place was hers.

I yelled at her to get out, threatened to call the cops, you name it. And she just sat there, mumbling under her breath. I guess I made enough noise for the building manager to come check things out. I told him the problem and you know what that joker told me?

"You mean Miss Savard? Didn't you hear the news? She passed away Wednesday night!"

Saturday January 22nd, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: singing.

Next Saturday we're flying to Toronto and spending the night with some friends. The following morning we catch our flight to Jamaica. This week is going to go by real fast, I suspect.

Anyway, the point. Today I spent some time working on prompts for the days I'll be away. I think I've got about half of them done and I'm hoping to get the other half done tomorrow - that way I can just schedule them up and not worry about the blog for the two weeks we'll be away.

Of course I'll still be writing every day, and I'm sure a lot of it will end up here eventually. But yeah, there will be prompts during the honeymoon - they'll just all be scheduled.

Forgot to take a picture of the new laundry machines, but I did take this today:


Standing in front of the band,
Microphone in hand,
With painted ruby red lips,
She sings from the hips.

Friday January 21st, 2011

The exercise:

Welcome to my second annual Diabetes Donut Day! (Explanation here, if you're curious)

Definitely one of the best ideas I've ever had. I only wish that I had thought of it on the one year anniversary instead of the fourth. Anyway, to celebrate we shall write four lines of prose that take place: in the donut shop.

Kat's dad and I installed the washer and dryer today. It wasn't that bad, except when it came time to level the stupid machines on the very uneven floor. But they're working and we've already done a load of laundry! Picture tomorrow, assuming I remember.


The girl behind the counter couldn't look more bored if she tried. But then, how do I know that she's not trying? Maybe she's an aspiring actress, practicing for a role as... I don't know, a bored counter girl?

"I'll take five apple fritters to go, please," I say at length, putting us both out of our misery... until next Tuesday.

Thursday January 20th, 2011

The exercise:

Here you go: the gateway.

I'm feeling a bit worn out, so I'm just going to get to writing.


They had been standing in the afternoon sun for over an hour, each of the men studying the runes in the arch with a magnifying glass in one hand and a reference book in the other. Tilley hats protected them from the sun's rays but not the biting particles of sand the wind insisted on sending their way in a steady stream.

"They're so familiar," one muttered with a shake of his head, "yet so... foreign."

"Just when I think I've figured out a pattern," the other replied, "the next symbol throws my theory out like used toilet paper. It's bloody maddening."

They returned to their silent inspections, the rest of the dig team busying themselves with preparations for dinner a hundred feet behind them. Neither of the men felt even remotely hungry.

"This one here is repeated five times, at irregular intervals," one said a while later, a sun-darkened finger touching a symbol that was just above eye level. "Well, irregular to my eye anyway."

"And this one repeats four times," his partner said. "But look, here it continues under the arch and to the other side. I wonder if -"

The man twisted his head around to look at the opposite side of the arch, lost his balance, stumbled forward a few steps, and promptly vanished into thin air.

"Great," the man left behind said with a sigh. "Now I'll never know what he was thinking."

Wednesday January 19th, 2011

The exercise:

Let us write about: the secret passageway.

Because Kat and I are convinced that's how all the spiders are getting into the house. And now the wasps have discovered it as well! This just will not do.


We creep down the dark alley, the smell of week-old garbage making my nostrils burn and my stomach roil. Will is leading the way, as usual, and Bruce is bringing up the rear, as usual. That leaves me in the middle with no chance to stop or turn back. It's like they plan it that way every time.

"You're sure this is the right way?" I whisper, hardly daring to open my mouth wide enough to allow the words through.

"Not a doubt in my mind," Will replies, not even bothering to look back.

I'm about to voice my doubts - this time more clearly and perhaps a little louder - when Will makes a sharp right turn and disappears. I skid to a halt, almost slipping on a particularly pungent pile of trash. Staring at where I last saw him, I can just make out a doorway.

"Come on, keep moving!" Bruce gives me a shove for further encouragement.

I do as I'm told, as always, but can't stop myself from thinking that I'd rather have been late for school than take this secret shortcut.

Tuesday January 18th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: laundry day.

Our washer and dryer arrived at last this afternoon. They're not actually installed yet, but at least they're in the basement instead of... wherever the hell they were for the last week.


From a putrid pile
to a tower of freshness -
Mom works miracles.

*     *     *

While machines tumble
I study for my exam...
and that cute freshman.

Monday January 17th, 2011

The exercise:

Looking back through the archives, I see that I've done one acrostic prompt per year so far. So let's get it out of the way for 2011, shall we? And since Protagonize's current poetry tournament (which I'm not participating in) challenge is to write one based on a fear you have, we're going to do that.

So Kat's in bed and just as I walked past our bedroom door a minute ago I was overcome by the urge to sneeze. I did my best to hold it in until I could get further away, but to no avail. What came out was a really loud, odd combination of a sneeze and a cough. I'm pretty sure she didn't hear it, because if she had she would have come check on me, convinced I was dying.

Anyway. Onwards we go.


Slithering through my home,
Not a care for my screams,
A disgusting python -
Kiss goodbye to my dreams.
End this train of thought?
Sadly, I cannot.

Sunday January 16th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write something that takes place: in the casino.

Finally got the towel rack up in the bathroom today. I'd get into how stupid the design of that thing is, but I've wasted enough energy on it already.


Lydia had stopped thinking at least an hour ago. Her body was on autopilot: fingers reached into the bucket resting on her lap, grasped a quarter, pulled it out, placed it in the slot machine, pulled the lever, repeat. If she didn't call it a night, or a morning, or whatever time of day it was, she was going to develop so much muscle in her right arm she wouldn't be able to walk straight.

But still she played, some tiny voice instructing her limbs that the next pull would earn her the jackpot. No, not the next one next one, the one after that. Just keep going, all right? You can't win if you don't play.

Casual gamblers, the ones who didn't have retirement plans based on dice or slots or cards, would stand and watch Lydia for a while before moving on. Some whispered quietly to each other, but none spoke directly to her. It was obvious she wasn't really there.

When, some eight or nine hours later, she finally did hit the jackpot, she didn't even notice. She just kept pulling quarters from the bucket, placing them into the machine, and pulling the lever.

Saturday January 15th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: nests.

Because when we took off the old light fixture above the front porch this morning we discovered a nest crammed full of wasps. Thankfully they were all either dead or barely awake, but it was still rather startling. I have no idea how they managed to get back there.


Little Bobby is not so little now -
He's married with kids and living out west.
This house doesn't feel like a home these days,
Just a big old crumbling empty nest.

Friday January 14th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the dinner guests.

The couple who ran the stall next to us for a portion of the Penticton farmers market this year are around our age and extremely nice, so we got along with them really well. We had been talking about getting together for a visit for a while now, but the timing finally worked out tonight.

We made the half hour drive to their place to check out their farm and have dinner and it was really lovely. We're looking forward to having them over here after we get back from Jamaica.


They arrived late. They ate all our food and drank all our alcohol. They left late.

We're never having The Abominable Snowman and his wife over for dinner ever again.

Thursday January 13th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what happens we when write about: coyotes.

Mine is very loosely based on a dream I had last night, after hearing the local coyotes rather close to the cabin just before bed.

We went up to Penticton today to do some shopping and brought back most of what's left to be done around here - curtain rods for the kitchen and living room windows, a light fixture for the front porch light, and some things for the bathroom. I'm hoping to pick up the washer and dryer tomorrow, but I haven't had any confirmation that they've arrived yet.

Tonight I booked our rental car for our second week in Jamaica. Sweeeet.


When day fled before night, they would lock their doors and keep the hungry fireplace fed, making sure there was enough wood inside to last until day's return. They would huddle together beneath blankets, drinking warm drinks and thinking happy thoughts, as darkness devoured the land beyond their walls.

And all the while, no matter how hard they tried to do otherwise, they would listen. Their eager ears were rarely disappointed.

The coyotes would descend from their diurnal hiding places in the hills, yipping and barking and howling, their numbers unknowable. They would circle the house, sniffing at the windows, scratching at the doors, seeking a way inside. Their hunger was palpable.

The man and woman would hold each other close, hardly daring to breathe until the beasts moved on to the next home on their nightly route. Once the sounds outside stopped, they would smile, perhaps allow a nervous laugh to escape their lips, and then go to their beds.

But one night the man was particularly tired after a long day's work and he fell asleep in his workshop. He woke when his wife called his name, startled to find that the day was already receding. He hurried into his home and locked the door behind him. It wasn't until after the coyotes arrived that he realized they would not have enough wood to last the night.

So he waited until they had moved on, standing at his window and staring hard into the night, searching for movement. When enough time had passed without any indication of their presence, he donned his coat and gloves and slipped outside.

It was difficult to move silently, with the snow crunching beneath his boots, but the wood pile was not far. He quickly filled his bucket with all that it could carry, his breath fogging the air before him, and turned back to the house.

Only to find them waiting for him.

Wednesday January 12th, 2011

The exercise:

Tell us a story about: the newspaper boy.

Finally bought a towel rack for the bathroom this morning. Haven't actually installed it yet, but at least there's one in the house. Chopped some more wood this afternoon, otherwise took things pretty slow. It's that time of year.

I also got around to adding some pages to the blog. If you look over to the left, you'll see a new section for Writing Quotes and a Contact Me page. I'll probably add one or two more pages in the next few days. That's the plan, at any rate.


The ink-stained cloth bags were full to bursting as he heaved them onto his shoulders, one after the other. He wore them like saddlebags, their straps criss-crossing across his chest and back. I wasn't sure if they weighed more than he did or not, but it must have been pretty close.

I watched him shuffle away, his shoes scraping across the pavement. I could see the straps biting into his shoulders but he didn't complain, didn't even wince in pain. He just wanted to get to the first house on his route so that he could start lightening his load, one paper at a time.

Mr. Allen would probably yell at him for being late. Mrs. Henderson would likely have her vicious dog loose in the yard. The Anderson's were guaranteed to have left their gate locked, forcing him to clamber over it in order to leave their paper in their mailbox. And not a one of them would appreciate the poor kid and what he went through to bring them their daily news.

Nope, the job really hadn't changed much in the years since I had done it.

Tuesday January 11th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: motivation.

With all the cutting of wood for the house basically done, I finally got around to cleaning up the front yard this morning. I loaded up the truck with all the bits of leftover and cut laminate and trim, the ridiculous amount of cardboard that was lying around, the old kitchen counter and sink, and other various bits and bobs.

Now all that stuff is at the dump (the cardboard's in the recycling) and the front yard looks fairly reasonable again. Just about ready for us to do something with it once spring returns.


What motivates you?
To speak. To create. To breathe.
Do you even know?

*     *     *

He picks up the pen,
grabs some paper, and pretends
it's not for money.

Monday January 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Today let us write about: the hotel.

Kat and I went snowshoeing yesterday morning and had a great time. We paused on the way up so that I could take this picture looking down on snowy Osoyoos:

And here's one of the pictures I took on the trail:

Today I chopped and hauled wood down to the cabin. I am very tired, so I shall get on with my writing now.


Henri studied the room he was meant to sleep in, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. The window, despite being five floors above street level, had been barred. The bedside table was no table at all - it was merely an overturned cardboard box. Tilting his head to the left to read the words on its side, he saw that it had housed a coffee maker in a previous life.

A glance to his right rewarded him with a view of the bathroom. He looked away again before he could decide if there was more drywall or mould to be seen within.

The bed was the kicker though. It sat on the floor, too proud for a frame, with at least six springs poking through the diaphanous sheet. As if it wasn't enough on its own to dissuade him from making use of it, a family of rats had made the pillow their home.

And they were looking at him as though they were prepared to defend it.

Someone, he thought to himself as he pulled his cellphone out of his breast pocket, is getting fired over this.

Sunday January 9th, 2011

The exercise:

Alright, it's finally time for me to take a look back at 2010. Your job? Share with us one of your favorite memories from the past year.

All of the baseboards are finally attached to the walls. I had a glass of wine with my dinner tonight in order to celebrate.


Let us begin at the beginning: January. I started off the year by finally finishing the first draft of A Fighting Chance. I was so inspired by my initial NaNoWriMo success that I thought I would try to apply the same technique to my first story and it worked very nicely.

One day I will get around to the edits and revisions.

I also spent a good portion of the month putting labels on all of my archived posts. This has helped me tremendously in avoiding unintentionally repeating prompts.

February brought the Winter Olympics to Vancouver. Kat and I escaped to the island to visit my parents and generally did our best to avoid all the hassle. Canada winning the men's hockey gold medal on the final day was pretty fantastic though.

I got to meet up with Nick, the founder of Protagonize, and a few other members of the site for the first time. It was a very fun night at the pub and it was great to finally see them all in person.

March saw us buy a car in preparation for the move from the big city (and all of its transit options) to the small town. Kat also finished her yoga teacher training program while I was going through miserably boring training at work. It was made all the worse by the knowledge that I would be quitting in June.

April was pretty uneventful, up until my appendix had to be removed on the 24th. I could have done with a more boring conclusion to the month, myself.

In May I had the pleasure of meeting Greg in person for the first time. It was so nice, I did it twice. And I finally made it back to work after my surgery. Not that I was in any great hurry.

June, the month we had been looking forward to for so, so long. Kat and I quit our secure, stable, soul destroying jobs, packed up, and headed for Osoyoos. This here blog also hit the two year mark and I had my bachelor party as well. T'was a good month.

July played host to our wedding day. And a whole lot of garden work. There were several trips to the Penticton Farmers Market to sell our veggies as well. Another good month.

In August we took our first of two honeymoons, this one up in Naramata. We're looking forward to the second one in less than three weeks, to Jamaica. Lots of successful farmer markets this month too.

September saw us start our renovations on the cabin. I am currently appreciating every inch of work we accomplished.

October was a month of renovations and winding down at the farmers market. We had our final day for the season and I have to say our first full year of doing it went really, really well.

November was all about The Jester's Journey, my second NaNoWriMo novel. Managed to write over 60,000 words in the month... without finishing the story. I will eventually though. I have this strange feeling my life depends on it. Also... more renovations.

December brought the year to a close, and with it came the decision to move into the cabin to start this year off right. We're still working on the finishing touches, but it's really starting to feel like home now.

It was a hell of a year. As wonderful as it was, I hope to never have another one like it.

Saturday January 8th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: warnings.

Because it was snowing after I got home with the baseboards this afternoon, which would make using the electric saw outside very difficult. So I warned the clouds that they had one hour to stop snowing before I went out there and cut anyway.

Exactly an hour later it stopped snowing.

So the baseboards have been cut, they're in place, and I just need about thirty minutes and a working nail gun before I'm done with them. Hopefully that happens tomorrow.


The warning label reads:
Keep out of reach of children.
But little Tommy pleads:
How else can we play doctor?

Friday January 7th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the concert.

I was able to pick up all the quarter round trim we need but the store still didn't have the baseboards in. Supposedly they will tomorrow. So I spent part of the day cutting the quarter round and then I tidied up the basement a bit - a task which I had been putting off for at least a week.

But I needed to make space for our new washer and dryer. I totally forgot to mention that, didn't I? Probably because they haven't arrived yet. We got them during a Boxing Week sale for a pretty incredible price and they should show up some time this week. I'll get a picture once they're setup.

If I don't get the baseboards done tomorrow I may just lose my mind. We started the renovations four months ago today and they're basically the last thing I need to do. I just want it done already.


"I can't believe you managed to get first row tickets - I don't even want to know who you slept with to get them!"

"Yeah, you really don't."

"This is gonna be so awesome... wait, why do you have that look on your face?"

"No reason... but uh, tell your mom I said hi."

Thursday January 6th, 2011

The exercise:

Let us write about: the first.

Since the kitchen was the first room we moved into.

Today's the final day of the before and after renovation pictures. We'll do Four Line Prose Friday tomorrow, Four Line Poem Saturday after that, and then I'll try to cobble together my 2010 year in review post for Sunday.

I finally got the smoke alarm attached to the ceiling today, after finding the drill bit I needed. Then I got the bedroom curtain put up. Then I went out and chopped a whole lot of wood, which felt good. Tomorrow I'm hoping to at last finish the baseboards.


I think this is my favorite before picture. Both because it really shows how terrible the kitchen was when we first saw it and because it perfectly captures Kat's disgust with the place:

On the floor on the left is the old bathroom sink. The hot water tank got tossed and we installed a full-sized one in the basement, where it's nicely out of the way. The cupboard doors were... around somewhere, desperately needing painting. Here's the view from the living room:

Oh, there are the cupboard doors - leaning on the old stove. Here's a proper look at the decrepit windows we replaced:

No, the one on the right didn't close properly, thanks for asking though. Here's the updated kitchen counter:

We bought an eight foot countertop because we wanted to extend it to the wall. We needed nine feet, but that would have required a custom countertop and that was well out of our budget. As it turned out, the bit we had to cut out for the sink fit perfectly in that last foot of space.

That's the stove we bought at the thrift shop, and beside it is the fridge one of Kat's relatives donated to the cause. The red garbage can was our first purchase for the new home, made shortly after seeing the inside for the first time. It was probably more symbolic than we realized.

Here's the updated view from the living room:

What's new: the countertop, the sink, the paint on the walls and cupboards and ceiling and door, the trim around the door, the baseboards on the ceiling, the light fixture, the window, the stove (sorta), the fridge (sorta), and the linoleum.

What's old: just the structure.

What's left to do: all the baseboards. We're thinking of getting an under the counter dishwasher at some point as well.

I shall leave you with one last picture - the sunset on our first night in the cabin:

Wednesday January 5th, 2011

The exercise:

The prompt today: boarded up.

I wasn't feeling very well today, so I didn't get anything done around the house. I think my body was telling me I needed to rest, so I did.

Life doesn't always have to be complicated.


Once again, only one before picture of the living room. But it's okay this time, as Kat (without realizing it, since we didn't look at the before pictures until we had moved in) had the same pose in an after shot. Here's what we started with:

Yeah, the sawhorse was in the living room. It's sitting out front still, as I'm not quite done with it (along with an impressive pile of garbage that needs to go to the dump). The coffee tin on the ceiling is blocking the stove pipe, so that dirt and... I don't know, wild animals, wouldn't get in. That's the bathroom door you see leaning against the right wall in the background.

Our initial intention was just to paint the wood on the ceiling, but later we decided to step things up a notch. Here we go:

See? Same pose. This time with her painting pants on. Here's a better look at the ceiling:

The problem with just painting it was that there were cracks between all the boards. We could have just filled them, but that was proving to be a pain (the filler kept falling out before it set). So we decided to put baseboards over the cracks and make it look pretty.

It was a lot of work but I think it's totally worth it. Here's the finished (for now) project:

What's new: the flooring, paint on the walls and ceiling, baseboards, the used fireplace we bought, the window, the light fixture, and the baseboards on the ceiling.

What's old: well, the fireplace is technically old I suppose.

What's left to do: a curtain rod above the window and the fireplace needs a fresh coat of paint, but we need it to be off in order to do that. And it's way too cold out to not have the fireplace going. Also: a bookshelf is likely in the near future.

Tomorrow we end with the kitchen. And at some later point I'll have to take more pictures once we have stuff on the walls (both art and shelving) and we've basically settled in.

Tuesday January 4th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the storage room.

I'll do mine and then get to the pictures.


Boxes piled higher
than the sky - and all of them
filled with useless junk.

*     *     *

Memories wait here,
hidden behind dusty masks.
Shall we reminisce?


Apparently I only took one before picture of the guest room. And Kat is making a funny face at me in it, so it's only fair that if I post it I have to post one of myself that she took while we were moving in. Anyway, here's the room picture first:

Isn't it nice that he left a bed for us? Yeah... no. That went to the dump pretty quick. Oh, and the ceiling isn't black - that's just what happens when you smoke inside the house and never clean the walls or ceilings. Yeah, that took some cleaning.

Here's what it looks like now (if you can see around all the stuff that's jammed in there):

Hmm, the ceiling looks dirty in that one as well. But I can assure you it's just shadows. Because I just got up and checked.

Looking the other way we see:

Those two drills are the last of the tools upstairs. They're just waiting for me to get the stupid smoke alarm in the ceiling and some curtain rods on the walls and then they can go back home.

What's new: paint, floor, window, baseboards, light fixture, and we made the closet a bit more sturdy - good thing, huh?

What's old: same as yesterday - just the structure.

What's left to do: one baseboard. Probably some shelving at some point.

Hopefully I'll get the last of the baseboards done tomorrow. If the building supply store has them in yet.

Oh, right. I promised a picture:

That would be me, holding our bed and couch down so that they wouldn't fall out the back of the truck. Thankfully it was a short drive.

Monday January 3rd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we'll write about: the bedroom.

I think all of our stuff is finally down from the house now. Until we get some new bookshelves the guest room is going to be box central.


This was our first look at what was to become our sleeping quarters:

I don't even want to know what those stains on the floor are about. On the plus side: free primer! And, uh, the ladder came in handy too. I don't remember if we used the sheet of wood against the wall for anything or not. It might be a part of the subfloor now.

This was the almost finished product, before we moved in:

Kat had just put the final coat of paint on the baseboards, so that's why the painter's tape is still on the floor. Here's a look at the ceiling:

What's new: the floor, the baseboards, the baseboard heater, the light fixture, the boards on the ceiling (more on that when we get to the living room), the paint on the walls, and the window.

What's old: um... the walls underneath the paint?

What's left to do: the final baseboard on the wall to the right of the window, and putting up a curtain rod. So not very much.

This is the view from our window:

Yes, the house on the left is where we were for the last six months. Shortest move I've ever made, that's for sure. Also: definitely the hardest I've ever had to work to make it happen.

Sunday January 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we make more: comparisons.

I'm going to aim for before and after shots of one room a day for the next... uh, five days I suppose. Looking through all the before pictures, it's apparent that I had absolutely no idea how massive a transformation we were about to orchestrate.

Because I would've taken way more pictures if I had.


We begin today with the bathroom. The first time we saw it, it looked something like this:

The sink was in the living room, I think. Or I might have thrown it outside by then. That board that's missing in the floor was taken out due to water damage, if I recall correctly. Oh and the door was against a wall in the living room. The Ajax kinda cracks me up though. That room needed a lot more than just a good cleaning.

It needed this:

What's new: the window size was cut in half and we replaced it; the wall tile around the bathtub; the tile board on the walls; the faucet and shower head; the toilet (to quote me, shortly after one of our initial tours of the cabin: 'Of course we're getting a new toilet. There is no way my bare ass is touching that thing.'); the sink and vanity; the medicine cabinet; a fresh coat of paint on the door and a new door knob (picture taken before that was put on); and the linoleum (I'll have to get a better picture of that). Oh, and the light fixture. Also not pictured. Bah.

What's old: the bathtub (scrubbed relatively clean) and the shower curtain rod (stolen from the downstairs bathroom of Kat's parent's house).

What's left to do: ceiling trim around the top of the tile board; baseboards around the toilet and sink; a touch up of the bathtub paint; and shelving. The whole place is in desperate need of shelving, actually. I'm going to try to build one or two for the bathroom relatively soon. Oh, we also need a towel rack.

It's a little more presentable now, yes?

Saturday January 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Happy new year! To celebrate, let us write four line poems about: new beginnings.

This morning I did some final caulking in the kitchen and scrubbed out the bathtub while Kat painted and her dad put in light fixtures. After lunch we brought most of our stuff down and got the shower curtain up. We're now basically moved into the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and one bedroom. The other bedroom is now the storage room for the remaining construction materials. Hopefully that will change by tomorrow night.

Still doesn't feel quite real, but we'll be sleeping here for the first time tonight.

Expect the next few days to be heavy on pictures.


A brand new year is finally here.
May all our fears just disappear.
Let us be bold, reach for the gold,
Break the mould, and never grow old.