Sunday, June 24, 2012

On Sadness and Loss

Earlier this week, our family dynamic changed a fair bit.  Thursday night, before going to bed, I forgot to shut the sliding glass door to our back deck and only the screen door was shut. The next morning as I was in the shower, I heard Cory screaming, "you didn't shut the back door before bed, the screen door is open, the boys are both gone."

I immediately jumped out, threw on some clothes and ran outside.  We managed to find Greyson 2 houses down, lounging casually in the neighbours very long grass.  He didn't seem too concerned that we had been running around, screaming first thing in the morning.  We never did though, manage to find Mischu.  We searched for about an hour that morning and were both quite late for work.  I was absolutely devastated and thought about him all morning.  I checked the
Humane Society's  website, called the Pound, logged a missing animal report with them and of course printed up some posters.  I left food and water, as well as a trail leading up to them at both the front and back entrances.  I came home at lunch to see if anything had been touched or if there was any sign of him.  Before going back to work, I put up a few signs and spoke with a few of the construction guys in the area to see if they'd seen him.

When we got home that evening, we walked the neighbourhood in the rain, putting up more signs and calling his name over and over.  we shook bags of cat treats and attracted a few neighbourhood felines, but of course, no Mischu.

My emotions were all over the map.  I would be fine one minute, then the next I would look at the lost cat sign I was hanging and burst into tears as I told Cory about how I made sure to choose the most handsome picture for the signs.  I don't know how many times on Friday I burst into tears. 

My sister and brother in law came over that evening.  I'd be talking, and randomly scream out his name, hoping he had come back from his excursion.  I was worried that he was lost and that the rain had washed away his scent and he'd have trouble finding his way back as he wasn't an outside kitty.

Saturday and Sunday were much of the same.  It took a bit of convincing to get me to leave the house for any number of time.  I was worried that he'd come home but no one would be home to see him and that he'd take off again.  Eventually, I drove all the way across city to check the kennels at the Humane Society and Animal Control.

I looked at over 100 cats and kittens in kennels.  All stray/lost animals.  It took absolutely everything I had not to burst into tears.  So many poor little animals, lost, unwanted, with no one searching for them.  No one wanting to give them a good home.  Kennel after kennel, I listened to their sad little meows as I peeked in, hoping to see my Mischu.

The good news, is that he wasn't there.  The bad news is that he wasn't there.

I burst into tears again on my way home.  I've been inconsolable these last few days.  I think back to bringing Mischu home.

I was single at the time, living alone in an apartment and had already adopted Grey.  Mischu was 2 months old.  The roommate of a girl I worked with, had gotten him and was never home to take care of him.  Plus. she had decided to move into a new place that she knew did not allow cats.  I was told that he would be getting surrendered to the Humane Society.  That was all it took for me.  I said I would take him on the condition he got along with Grey.  We drove around the block,  Mischu fitting in 1 hand.  He was soooo tiny, and a biter.  Since he was never played with, he loved to nibble toes and fingers.

When we got to my place, we put him down with Grey.  They both let out a few hisses and gave each other a couple bats.  We let them be as they tussled and got to know each other.  After a game of bridge, it was clear that they were fast friends.  There was nothing else to decide. 

They of course, had their ups and downs.  They'd fight and even had a period last year for several months where they hated one another.  But then, we'd catch them laying smashed together in the tiny little flower petal bed, grooming one another and it was apparently that brotherly love would always prevail.

People have asked why they didn't stick together when they snuck out the other day.  The simple answer is that they were just very different personalities. Grey is kind, soft and lazy.  Mischu has always thought he was the Alpha, the brave boy.  He just wanted to get out there and be curious.  He loved to hang off everything, always being up above, watching.

My hope is that he eventually just wanders home when he's done wandering.  After he's chased mice, rabbits, butterflies, and tired and hungry. 

Last night, while watching a movie, I swear I heard something crunching the food on the back porch.  By the time I jumped up, whatever it was, was gone.  I woke Cory up off the couch and we ran outside with a flashlight.  We found nothing....

The water dish was spilled a little (which now we don't know if we accidentally kicked over when we ran out there).  The food dish appeared disturbed and less full.  There were also food bits, but we didn't know if they were from earlier in the day when the dog decided to help herself.

So many what ifs... But we filled the dishes back up and placed them back out there, along with the dirty litter box (as advised by the Humane Society).  I am really hoping it will help.

I know that cats aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm sad to say I have heard some incredibly hurtful things these last few days, from "friends".  All I have to say to these people is that while you may not understand the bond people have with pets, cats in particular, to someone, they are family.
They sleep in our beds, give us kisses and snuggles and fill our hearts the same way (sometimes more) than our real family does.

If you're out there Mischu, please come home.  Mommy, Daddy, Finley and Greyson miss you and love you very much!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Fence, The Final Stage - Staining!

Cory had the weekend off and we had no plans so it was a perfect weekend to get our fence painted stained!

Here's what it looked like as of a couple weeks ago:
Pretty much exactly the same as we left it last year....

Our area is pretty strongly Architecturally controlled so while we had a choice of 3 different fence styles, we had to stain it a specific color (Cloverdale's Beige Grey), which was the same color the developer had already painted the back fence onto the main road.  Which was fine since we really didn't mind the color.

It actually matches pretty bang on with the color of our siding.

We only went with 1 coat cause I thought the coverage looked good and I loved the color. 

Although, looking at it here now, it's quite a bit lighter than the back fence.... that was built over three years ago so I am fine with the difference.  Which, to be honest, we didn't really notice when we were out there, since there's a lot off shade along the back anyhow.

When I hit up the paint store, I went without any measurements at all. So I wasn't sure how much I would need and just got them to mix up 2 gallons. We were really close, but Cory's pretty "liberal" with the paint so we did run out.  He went to get more but they had closed and of course aren't open Sundays... :(

We have 3 panels left to finish, as well as the tops of the fence and the gate.  I think we're also gonna use that color and finish up the exposed posts and wood on the deck.  I was originally going to paint them in a light brown to match the trex-decking that the used on the top part of the skirt, but not the whole thing.  (Don't get me started, that was a big fight I had with the builder...)

It'll just really help lighten everything up down there on the lower patio.

We haven't decided yet if we're going to just visit Home Depot and get them to color match so we can finish tomorrow.  Or Cory might use his Monday and Tuesday off and just finish himself so that we can ensure consistency.

Overall, I am really happy with how it looks!

One thing I am slightly confused about is how the product we were using can be classified as "stain"?  It's creamy, goes on opaque and looks just like paint.  Anyone know the difference?

How did you spend your Saturday??

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Light the Way!

I had originally planned to hit up an outdoor music festival today with a girlfriend but she had to bail last minute and then of course it decided to pour, so I spent the day shopping and running errands.

I really wanted to find some lanterns for the back deck so I decided to hit up HomeSense  on the way home.  My criteria was simple:

1. Had to be black
2. Medium sized so that they were substantial enough to put off a fair bit of light but not too big that they would be too overwhelming on the table if people were talking over one another.
3. There had to be at least 2 matching ones.

A lot harder than you think to get all three check marks!  While they had a ton of lanterns, most of them were GINORMOUS, colorful (greys, whites, blues) and of course only one of each that I liked.

But I lucked out on the last shelf I looked and found these beauties:

(excuse the crummy shots, there's a thunder storm outside so bleak and dreary outside and in!)

Simple in styling, they are actually FLAMELESS lanterns, which I wasn't looking for, but I actually kinda like!
At $14.99 each, I couldn't pass them up!!
The candles actually flicker like a real candle and I don't have to worry about forgetting them lit, and burning down the house!

Since it's disgusting outside and is suppossed to be tomorrow as well, I couldn't wait to show them off, so I decided they'd look pretty great on our dining table.

The whole look here is a lot more formal than I typicallygo for, but I really like it.

The tray is a gorgeous Princess House oil rubbed bronze scrolly tray with floral etched glass and the pretty little Cyclamen plant was a gift from my mom who was here on Thursday.

Works well with the reds and oranges with the painting behind it!

For a spot that I don't really love (table and chairs need updating and I've been waiting for someone to switch out that light fixture for 2 years now....) I actually am pretty happy with this little arrangement today.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Master Bedroom Ideas

I decided that it was high time to get my butt in gear and get working on our Master Bedroom.  We've been in the house almost three years now and really haven't done too much since then.

The biggest reason for that is that our bed is GINORMOUS and while we absolutely love the SUPER KING size,we don't love that we can barely find duvet covers to fit it, nevermind attractive ones.

Now, I know that most people are thinking that it's crazy to delay doing anything else in the room until I find bedding, but since it's the largest thing in the room and the most difficult to track down, it really hasn't made sense to start when I don't know what direction I want to go in.  I was hoping to let the bedding guide me based on color choices and vibe.

We literally have 1 store, Quilts Etc. that we can shop at for bedding and quite honestly, since they don't carry every pattern in the Super King size, we are very limited.  In fact, I own 1 of 4 sets that I would be interested in.

I did have my eye on another set that I had seen online, but when we checked it out in person this psat weekend, the colors weren't quite what I had in mind:

I really liked the big, bold floral pattern of the "Costa" pattern shown here and I thought it might be just the excuse I needed to take the room in a whole different direction.  I was looking at possibly picking up the grey in the leaves and doing a grey velvet headboard.  My plan was to pick up the blue by keeping the existing lamps we have and possibly finding a complimentary blue and white geometric patterned drape.  

But the background of the duvet was ivory NOT now I'm not sure how I feel about it.

And then I fell ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with another Dwell Studio fabric

But of course, the King is too small for us....

This fabric just makes me so happy/  Its exactly the color scheme I wanted in here  PLUS it's the perfect mix of campy/whimsical and elegant/regal.  And we know I love Birds!!  Plus apparently the fabric is DIVINE!!

Unfortunately they do not appear to sell just the fabric for this particular pattern online.  So I put in a call to our fabric and drapery guru today.  (Actually, I sent a text to our designer who spent the morning there for another job).  The Dwell Studio book was apparently checked out, but they are going to send me over some LARGE samples of all the patterns I was interested in so I can better see the colors.  I am PRAYING that they have access to this fabric.  I would even be interested in paying them to make the cover/shams for me, despite knowing how pricey that can get. 

I'm still leaving towards a lighter grey velvet fabric for the headboard (all supplies needed for said project are just waiting around the house for me to execute....)

Since we already have these dressers as nightstands:
I thought maybe we could just add a little interest with some">Overlays . 
I like both of these and think they would work with the slight Ming Dynasty vibe going on in the duvet.

We could keep our current turquoise lamps for the pop of color

But I think it might be fun to switch them out for Lucite ball lamps below (with different shades obviously.

On the windows, I'd sew up some panels in the gorgeous Dwell Studio Gate fabric.  Keeping the dark wood blinds we currently have for privacy.

Underneath the window, I hope to eventually put this chair.   You know, when I finally get around to recovering her in the gorgeous dark turquoisey blue paisley floral embroidered velvet I've had for about 3 years....

Last but not least, the beautiful ginger jar I snagged from an old showhome at work is the perfect thing for atop my existing dresser.

With the addition of a new light fixture that I may or may not already have hidding in a closet... I think this will eventually be a room I am proud to showcase here.
Feminine but not too girly.  Relaxing but not boring


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hanging Around

Wow!  It's been a busy week!  We've been getting random bits and bobs of things that need to get done tackled which has been FANTASTIC!! 

Cory has had a sudden urge to be handy (probably inspired by our late 40-something police officer neighbour who we call Mr. Do It All) and you'll hear no complaints from me about that!  :)

Tonight's task was to tackle hanging the curtain rod we picked up for the large window in the Master Bedroom.  You see, we got the wood blinds when we moved in (3 years ago this month) but the light seemed to sneak in right where they ended, bounce off the glossy white window sills and hit me smack dab in the eye when I lay in bed.  NOT condusive to trying to get a good night sleep.

A few months ago, I grabbed the only pair of drapes we had kicking around (Ikea from my first apartment) and tacked the up.  Yes, literally TACKED them up:

It was originally meant as a temporary solution to stop the light from sneaking in, and of course, see if the curtains would work up here.  But as things seem to happen around here, they stayed like that for quite some time, until this week.  We had a bit of a windstorm, but I insisted on keeping the windows open so half the one side had fallen.

Yikes, I can't believe I was living with that either...

Anyhow, this weekend I decided it was high time for us to pick up a curtain rod.  I had a white one in mind, but happened to come across 50% all curtain rods at a local fabric store and the only one that peaked my interest was a thick black one, so I figured we could work with it... Or eventually paint it our if we needed to.

After work, we got to work hanging our FIRST EVER CURTAIN ROD!!  Yup, I am totally serious.  We've only ever had blinds as I can never find curtains I love!

You'll see here that Cory mistakenly hung the brackets matching up with the window casing, which has since been fixed.
Weird how small this window looks in photos!

WOW!!  I bet I am the only person who realizes how much a difference this makes.
Of course, these aren't the curtains that I plan on keeping.  They are just the only ones I have on hand, so we're working with them.

Love the classic look of the rectangular finial!

This photo is really actually quite bad and makes me realize all the stuff I need to attend to:

1. Obviously find new curtains
2. Paint the patched spot under the window
3. Either find a second ottoman for under the window or relocate that one so it doesn't look so wimpy.
4. Get 2 matching flameless taper candles from Restoration Hardware for those lovely candlestick holders.
5. Paint out those red sticks to white and possibly just relocate the vasse entirely.
6. Designate a spot in the house for Cory's gym bag that seems to make it into soooo many house photos!

and of course the biggest question of all:

7. Does the second, much smaller window need a rod and curtain as well??

I am seriously thinking YES!

So I will have to track down a smaller version of the rod for the other window on that wall and of course, find me some curtains, but overall, I am happy with the slow and steady small transformations that are taking place!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This thing SUCKS!!

We made a new purchase this week... a rather expensive one at that.   Yes, after buying a new vacuum every 1 - 2 years, we finally shelled out and bought into the hype that is Dyson

Having made the mistake of selecting uber dark flooring (with 3 pets) for the main floor and always feeling that the carpet was never really clean, we decided it was high time to make the jump.  When we first bought the house, we always planned on getting a central vac system installed, since the house came roughed in for it.  But for a similar price, we decided that the Dyson was a better option since we don't plan on staying here for the long run, so it could come with us wherever we end up.

Cory got to work checking out our options and reading reviews and spoke to friends who are also dog owners and we agreed that the "Animal" model was definitely the way to go.  We also decided that we were NOT going to go with another Upright vacuum.  After vacuuming the stairs on the hottest day of the year last summer with the world's shortest hose on a vacuum and having the whole thing come careening down on me, We knew we wanted something with a super long hose. 

So, we decided to hit some stores and check it out in person and of course check prices.  At our first (and subsequently, ONLY) stop, Sears I quickly convinced Cory  that it was worth the extra $150 to get the power head attachment for the carpet.  Then, when we found out that there was a promo going for a FREE 4-piece Animal Kit Set, we were SOLD!

The model we decided to go with is
The DC23 Motorhead Animal Turbine.

I am not gonna lie and say we weren't super excited to get this baby home and test it out. 

First thing we did was get out the old (actually about 1 yr old) Hoover and vacuum everything.  Then we immediately took the Dyson over the same path and got excited as we saw the canister fill up. 
Now, I am not entirely sure if it was really picking up THAT much more hair and yuck off our carpet or if the fact that I could make the vacuum go almost completely flat and reach so many more places that hadn't seen a vacuum in a very long time was really what made a difference... But I do know that I felt so much better when laying on the floor playing with the dog tonight.

In fact, since it hadn't been put away yet, Cory even vacuumed the main floor TWICE tonight!  Even after yesterday's full house clean.

After owning "The Animal" for 2 days now, here's my un-biased opinion:

~I LOVE having a long hose on a vacuum.  I was able to do the stairs with NO problems.
  ~I also love how strong the suction on this machine is.  There are soooo many sticing attachments for this machine, it's wonderful. 
~I like that there is a telescoping handle - we can adjust the height depending on who is vaccuming.  As well, I can dust tall things like the blinds in the stairwell now, without falling off a precariously perched ottoman and crashing down on my wrist.... :( 
~ I also like that I can shut the powerbrush off if I want to use it on flat surfaces so I don't have to worry about it kicking crumbs back at my feet!!

However, I am NOT completely in love yet....
~I truly found it a little hard to maneuver the caniter around.  This might just be from me being so used to an upright though, so I am going to give it some time to see how I adjust. 
~ I miss having the power switch on the handle, especially when the phone rings and I am scrambling to turn it find it.
~ There isn't much on-board storage for all the fancy schmancy attachments that it comes with, so I am going to have to track down an attractive little basket or something.
~ It is going to harder to store than my upright.

All in all, I am pleased we made the purchase and I think most of my concerns are just based on me needing to get used it it a little more.  The ability to clean solid-surface flooring without having crumbs/kitty litter bits/sand/etc fly back at me was worth it alone.

Plus, we were purchasing a new vacuum every few years, and if you total up the price and consider that we now have a 5 year warranty, it's probably about the same expense.

Just look at how much hose I have now!! :)