Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D


Friday, May 30

I Must Be Crazy

My good friend Kamis is a cross-stitching fiend. She can whip out a large finished piece in a week. She's the one who got me interested in giving cross stitch a try. Mostly I just did little mini samplers to get the hang of it. I haven't actually made anything useful (i.e. bookmarks or pieces suitable for framing). But watching Kamis finish more and more large pieces inspired me to give it a go. This is what I'm currently working on...I'm hoping to get it done by the end of the year...but we'll see how that goes. So far I have so little done that it's not worth taking a picture of my progress yet. Once I get a little further in I'll post a photo.
Thursday, May 29

A Couple Garden Pictures

No new updates, just wanted to throw in some pictures of our garden.

Friday, May 23

Holly, Holly Very Jolly...How Does Your Garden Grow?

Well, the romaine, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are planted. Still need to plant the radishes, possibly asparagus, and transplant the strawberries to pots. It's been rainy (quite rainy for "the sunniest city in Canada") but on the bright side we don't need to water the garden yet! And it's gotten cooler again (there's no AC in this apt. so when it was warm it was a bit miserable). Forgot to bring the camera along so I'll have to post garden pictures some other time.
Tuesday, May 20

Small Update on the New Place

Well, turns out the sons out voted dad on the carpet thing so it's laminate flooring after all. But they might get us some area rugs, which seems very out-of-the-ordinary-nice for landlords to do. But these landlords do seem to be exceptionally awesome. We stopped by yesterday because they called to tell us the garden was ready already. It's HUGE! It takes up almost the entire back yard! And they bought a shovel and hose for us, even mentioned putting in a garden shed for us. How cool is that? They also asked us to pick out some paint colors to negotiate. They're fine with us picking the colors, as long as they're not crazy. I think they mentioned purple as an example of crazy...I wouldn't mind a light lilac in the bedroom but we'll see.
Sunday, May 18

We Found A Place To Live...In A Slum!

EDITED TO INCLUDE: So, I spent forever on this post, uploading the pictures and then organizing them just so. Well, turns out my blog server can't seem to match how I set up the text/photos in the editing phase with how things appear on the actual blog you see. My apologies, but the text and pictures are not going to line up. So if I say "such and such is to the right" and it's not, you know why.
K, just kidding about the slum part. Though, right now it would be an accurate description of the place. Apparently the last tenants did over $10,000 worth of damage. We won't be able to move in until July 1st since the place is being completely fixed up. What's really nice is that we get to have a say in how they fix things up (i.e. we're getting carpet instead of laminate floors, and we should be able to pick the paint colors). So tonight I'll post the "Before Pictures" with descriptions of our soon to be digs. When we get all moved in I'll post "After Pictures." And FYI:
this townhouse is LESS money than the 2 bedroom we're in right now and has THREE bedrooms (plus a bonus room), our OWN washer and dryer, our OWN backyard, and TWO FULL bathrooms. One of the reasons we love it is that it's a great deal and we can stay there for the next 5-10 years while we save up for a down payment on a house. Plus we get to control our utilities instead of sharing the cost with the downstairs tenant who probably isn't nearly as eco-friendly/frugal as we are (our current situation).

Above is the front yard. The land lord (who we go to Church with) co-owns the property with his sons. He wants to put in a chain link fence. His sons want to put in a wood fence (because they look nicer). Either way we will be getting a new fence. To the right is the lock on the front door. We'll get to program our own code. No keys to lose/forget/make copies of! Nifty!
To the left is the view from the front door back to the family/dining room. On the left is the way to the basement (YES, WE WILL HAVE A BASEMENT) and on the right is the kitchen (pictures to follow). If you think this area is in bad shape it really isn't. Wait until I show you some of the really "good" stuff. This is mostly just dirty. We don't believe the previous tenant ever once cleaned a single thing in this place. I pity our land lords who have to fix up all the damage and clean up all the mess.

Here's the kitchen. It has less cabinet/counter space than we'd prefer (but are quite used to). However (and it's hard to from the picture) there's plenty of space on the left for a big table or kitchen cart to use as a work space (and a portable dishwasher). It's probably meant for an eating table but we'll be putting that in the other room. Check out the picture of the oven...see what I mean about the last guy NEVER cleaning? That oven is only a year or so old and it's currently disgusting. How do you live like that?

Above left is a shot of the family/dining room (which was seen from the front door). Though I'm thrilled to have carpet in most of the house I'm glad the kitchen area, entrance, and dining area won't be carpet. Mud, spills, and life happens and I want to be able to keep things stain free. Above right is the backyard. Now, it's unfortunate that we have to wait a month and a half to move in BUT the land lords said they'll get the yard roto-tilled for us this week (instead of putting in sod as originally planned). Know what that means? A VEGETABLE GARDEN! I've been researching easy veggies to grow (since my plant track record is somewhat iffy) and we can plant this week. Which apparently the frost danger just passed a week or so ago so it's not too late to be planting after all (we thought we were going to have to wait until next year).
To the right is a picture of the basement. At the top of the basement stairs is a little closet-like area which we will use as our pantry. The basement is mostly finished. The ceiling will be put in before we move in. And all the damage will be fixed. The basement seems to have gotten the most damage. Holes in walls (see below left), and doors...stickers and writing (including obscenities) also on walls and doors. There are also little cigarette burns on the carpet. The townhouse is supposed to be smoke free but obviously the last tenant didn't care. He also left behind some of his drug paraphernalia (which the land lords are going to gladly bring with them when they take this guy to court). I imagine smoking/drugs is why the guy ripped down 2 out of the 3 smoke detectors (and left the third damaged). I'm sorry, but this guy has to be one of the dumbest/jerkiest men alive.

Above left is the basement bathroom (you can't see the tub, but it's there). Above right is the "bonus room." It can't technically be called a bedroom because there are no windows, but it does have a closet. At this point in our lives it'll work quite nicely as a seasonal and food storage room.
And now...the upstairs! That's the view down the hallway after going up the staircase. You can just barely see Adam and I waving in the bathroom mirror. On the left are two bedrooms, on the right one more (pictures to follow). I've never lived with more than one level and suddenly I'm going to have three! Good exercise, right? Can't say I'm looking forward to lugging the vacuum up and down the stairs. But I do like the smaller ecological footprint multiple story houses have vs. sprawling single stories (unless of course you can't do stairs). You may notice in the pictures of the bedrooms some hideous wallpaper borders along the ceiling. Yup, those are coming down. And while all the rest of the damage/mess in these pictures is the fault of the last tenant the upstairs floors are not. The carpets are being ripped up already so new flooring can be put down.
Below left is the master bedroom. It's not huge, but we don't need huge. We pretty much just need space for a bed. And believe it or not it's bigger than the bedroom we had for the last two years! On the right is the master bedroom closet.

Below left is Adam in the smallest bedroom (his gymnastics should give you an idea of just how small). But small is A-OK with us (and compared to our home in Provo this place is HUGE). Below right is the other bedroom (which has a walk-in closet...too bad the master bedroom doesn't).
Here on the left is another picture of the upstairs bathroom. I'm not sure yet whether I'll make our guests go upstairs or downstairs to use the restroom. I like the basement bathroom better (newer cabinets). But since the basement is where we'll be drying our clothes (we have an indoor clothes line, and a drying rack) to save on utilities (the dryer is the biggest energy sucker in your home FYI) the basement might be a bit more cluttered looking. We'll see when we move in!
To the right is a shot of the window in the staircase area. I didn't even notice it the first time we looked at the place. But I saw it this evening when we took pictures. It's nice to get all that extra light! Actually the whole townhouse gets good light with the exception of the kitchen. However they're knocking out part of the wall between the family room and kitchen which is WONDERFUL! It'll let in more light and whoever is in the kitchen can still be in on conversations, movies, or whatever else might be happening in the family room! And to the left is the staircase itself. Other than being dirty the carpet seems to be in good condition. Hopefully the poor owners won't have to replace that as well. Like I said, the last guy did over $10,000 worth of damage (the security deposit was only $750).
So that's it! We're not sure what to do with all the space yet. But it'll be nice to have a place we can stay and grow in for a nice, long time. And, like I said, the rent is cheaper than where we are now. We know it looks all crummy and scary right now. But the place isn't just getting fixed up. The owners are using this misfortune as an opportunity to modernize the place; new floors, fresh paint, some remodeling, new doors on rooms and closets, new air conditioning, refinished ceilings (the last tenant let the tub overflow), etc. and we get to have a say in what they do. The back yard is a perfect example. They were just gonna put in sod but since WE want a garden they're gonna do that instead. We'll get fresh, organic veggies, and Adam won't have much mowing to do! The floors are another example. They were all set on putting in laminate, but since WE want carpet that's what we're getting! It helps that we go to Church with one of them, like I mentioned. They know WE certainly won't be smoking or doing drugs in their nice, fixed up townhouse! We're just thrilled. The only real problem is that we can't move in until July! :)
Sunday, May 11

My First Canadian Post (this will be in metric of course...just kidding)!

Well, we made it to Medicine Hat in one piece (though with not as much stuff as we had before). We ran into a bit of a blizzard in Idaho, but got off the high way temporarily until a plow went by, then promptly stayed at the first hotel we got to.
Now we're on the hunt for a different apartment. We accepted the apartment we're currently in because the land lord was the only one willing to rent to us unseen. However, the rent is too high, and the utilities are way too high. Besides, we don't need quite this much space. We do however need a land lord who takes better care of his property and tenants.
We're still living out of boxes. And our desks and drawers remain disassembled since we'll only have to move them all again in less than a month. But we're starting to get settled in. We actually have food in the house (though we still have some staples to pick up like flour, rice vinegar, etc.).
Adam started working last week. The days are long and hard but so far it seems pretty good. Vaughn, the guy that hired him took us out for dinner a few days ago with his wife Reece (spl?). It was nice to get out and meet some-one. I've been mostly stuck alone in the apartment aside from running errands with Adam.
I've got plenty of pictures to post today, so enjoy!

This is the back seat (where I sat to keep the cats from going crazy). The vet gave us some kitty sedatives, which helped them handle two days of being in the car.

This is where we have moved...the middle of nowhere. Actually Medicine Hat is in a "bowl" in the middle of the plains so it's very hilly. But as soon as you leave town you're in flat, opressive prairie.
This is the house we're renting the top half of, for now. We have a nice little vestibule on the front door which we can't use because the land lord is too lazy and/or cheap to put new hardware on the door and he doesn't have keys for the current hardware.

This is Girla, hiding in the car top carrier once it was brought inside. She also likes to hide behind the toilet, but they're both adjusting better than expected.

This is Adam eating a dragon fruit! The grocery store has an UNBELIEVABLE selection of produce! Since Medicine Hat is so much more diverse than Provo they stock fruits and veggies from all over the world. We also had star fruit. But we both like the dragon fruit better. It's like a cross between kiwi and pear.

Close up of the dragon fruit. I have a goal to eventually try each and every kind of produce they sell at The Real Canadian Superstore (our grocery).
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