We Do Not Have Three Bats In Our House

March 6th, 2019 § Comments Off on We Do Not Have Three Bats In Our House § permalink

I found this post saved as a draft when I resurrected this website. This story took place in August 2013, very shortly before our first child was born… I got distracted.

We do not have three bats in our house. We also do not have mice. I’m sure there are other rodents we don’t have in our house but we’ll leave them out of this.

I came home for lunch one day and saw a pile of “mouse” droppings just inside the door, underneath the coat hooks.  I cleaned them up, made a mental note to pick up mouse traps next time I was at the hardware store, and then ate my lunch.  On my way out the door I noticed there was another dropping in the same place.  “I probably just missed one from earlier” I thought to myself and cleaned this one up too.

When I came home from work at the end of the day there were more droppings in the same place.  Some thoughts started to go through my mind:

  • “This mouse seems to poop a lot!”
  • “This mouse seems very particular about where he poops.”
  • “Perhaps I can train him to poop somewhere more convenient.”
  • “I should get those mouse traps sooner rather than later.”

I cleaned up the poops, turned my back on the designated pooping spot to throw the poops in the garbage and then turned back… AND THERE WAS ANOTHER POOP!!!!

Now I was getting annoyed.  I know I didn’t miss any poops this time.  The only explanation I could imagine was that the mouse had waited for me to turn my back, darted out from his hiding spot, pooped in the pooping place and then darted back into his hiding spot.  Now he’s just screwing with me!

The only problem is that the pooping spot was out in the open, far from any hiding spots.  I would have seen a mouse running across the floor, straining and grunting to do a fast poop, and then run back.

Where was the poop coming from?  Did we have phantom mice?

The only possible explanationI could imagine was that the mouse had somehow jumped from the floor into a jacket hanging on the hooks above the pooping spot.  But that was too high.  A mouse couldn’t jump 3 feet straight up, could he?

On  whim as much as anything else I gave the jackets a swat and then many things happened all at once:

  • Two bats dropped from the jackets and began flapping;
  • The Lovely Christina (who was 8 months pregnant at the time) screamed and threw the box of Triscuits she was snacking on;
  • I nearly jumped out of my skin, more from the shrieking than the sudden flurry of bats in my face;
  • The upstairs bathroom door slammed.

I never saw The Lovely Christina go.  She was there one second and gone the next.  I never thought it was possible for a very pregnant lady to move so quickly.

Bats in the house are rare but we’ve had them before.  Once my heart slowed a little I caught the two bats and threw them out into the evening.  I picked up the fallen Triscuits and then spent the next ten minutes trying to talk The Lovely Christina out of the bathroom.

Crisis over.

We ate supper and then went for a walk to calm our nerves.

Late that night I was doing some paperwork when I heard a scratching sound in the ceiling.  Deep down I knew it was another bat but I thought if I ignored it long enough it might go away.  It didn’t.

Another bat had gotten into the first floor ceilings, probably through the pocket door opening, and was fluttering and scratching wildly between the 4 main first floor rooms.

I called my father (who, remarkably, is always willing to drop everything to help) and between the two of us we determined that the thrid bat had wedged himself in the framing inside the pocket door cavity. We used a shop vac and a curtain rod to try to pry him out, all to no avail. Sadly, the rescue mission turned to a recovery mission in the wee hours of the morning.

It was a late night and an early morning the next day because Dad and I drove to Penetanguishene and back for some reason I can’t quite remember. But I’ll never forget the bats.

It’s been six years and no bats.

And then this happened…

March 4th, 2019 § Comments Off on And then this happened… § permalink

Henry William McGauley, September 22, 2013

…and then this…

Audrey Lauren McGauley, July 13, 2015

…and then somehow we ended up here…

Audrey & Henry, Christmas 2018

It’s been a whirlwind these past few years. The work on the house has not stopped, but rather lurched ahead in fits and starts. Spare moments here and there… renovating quietly during nap time, squeezing in 30 minutes between daycare drop off and the start of my work day and working through the night (it’s incredible what little people can sleep through).

This blog has been neglected but the work has carried on. Bear with me as I try to catch you up on the last 6 years…

The Finishing of the Back Bedroom

December 3rd, 2012 § Comments Off on The Finishing of the Back Bedroom § permalink

We chose Farrow & Ball Hardwick White for the walls. I first tried Farrow & Ball paints last year when we did the living room and dining room and I fell in love with them – it is wonderful paint to work with.

Dad worked his wallpaper magic on the wall behind the bed:
20121203-184724.jpgThe Lovely Christina spent a lot of time trolling the Internet for antiques to furnish the bedroom. She found a bed frame on Kijiji which happened to be about 6 blocks from our house, we found a side table to use as a night stand at a small antique store in Arnprior, and on a trip to Penetanguishene we found a beautiful old chair.

However, The Lovely Christina’s most impressive find/best deal was a solid mahogany armoire by The Widdicomb Furniture Co.:
20121203-190035.jpgThe woman we bought it from insisted she had to meet with us first and ask the Universe for guidance before she made any decisions – apparently The Lovely Christina and I pleased the Universe sufficiently. As interesting as the things we buy from Kijiji are, they are no comparison to the people who sell things on Kijiji.

The armoire needed a good cleaning – in fact we didn’t realize until a few months after we bought it just how dirty it was. We thought the wood was naturally dark. After many hours of cleaning with ammonia and Murphy’s Oil Soap we uncovered the true colour of the wood you see in the picture.

Here’s a close up of some of the carving for those of you who enjoy such things:20121203-191022.jpgAfter the cleaning I attended to some small repairs, replaced the knobs with antique reproductions we found on a trip to Toronto, installed a closet rod and had some glass shelves cut to fit inside.

Before we show he finished bedroom lets take a quick look back:

20121203-192317.jpgAnd as it stands today:
20121203-192453.jpgWe still need to find some art for the walls and pick up a few accessories but the that can wait for now. Now I think I’ll take a nap in that comfortable looking bed.

The Secret Art of Coffering

November 20th, 2012 § Comments Off on The Secret Art of Coffering § permalink

Coffer: noun, architecture: a decorative sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, soffit, or vault. (thefreedictionary.com)

Coffered ceiling: noun
1) an arrangement of coffers, typically in a grid, to form a decorative ceiling
2) a beautiful yet time consuming pain in the ass

Dad and I spent an entire week constructing the ceiling. We first skinned the entire ceiling in 3/8″ thick plywood to provide a solid base to build on. We then furred out for the beams to ensure there was enough of a reveal for the coffers. There was not enough space between the window casing and the ceiling to install a typical 6″ deep coffer so instead we decided to do a shallow coffered ceiling – about 1″ deep – this gave us enough height to install a two piece crown.
Once the beams were installed we fit drywall inside each of nine coffers. Next I trimmed each coffer with a custom cove moulding. The two piece crown moulding was installed last (you can see the first half on the wall already) and is the same that has been installed in the rest of the second floor.
Three coats of primer and two coats of Farrow and Ball Wimborne White finished off the ceiling. My neck still has a kink in it.20121120-071537.jpgThe secret to a good coffered ceiling is math, lots and lots of math.

Back Bedroom Demolition

November 13th, 2012 § Comments Off on Back Bedroom Demolition § permalink

The back bedroom has always been an awkward room – there is a chimney bump out in one corner, a closet that was built into the room in the opposite corner, and the bedroom door is on an angle in another corner. The result of all this is that a bed will only fit in one position in the room and even then there was not much room to move around it.

We demolished the closet and dropped the plaster ceiling. You can see the beautiful pink outline where the closet used to be.

20121113-071044.jpgWe discovered an old closet that had been covered up by the closet we demolished. The old closet opening had been covered with a piece of drywall.

When the house was converted into apartments in the 30’s/40’s the back staircase was partially removed and this extra space was converted into a closet in this upstairs bedroom. When the staircase was rebuilt in the 80’s the bottom part of the closet had to be sacrificed to provide enough headroom when coming up the back stairs. Some time after that the closet was boarded up and another closet was built in front of it.

20121113-071848.jpgThe plaster walls in this room were in pretty good shape so we decided to leave well enough alone. Aside from stripping the paint and a few patches the trim was also in great shape.

Santa Fit Down There?!?

October 31st, 2012 § Comments Off on Santa Fit Down There?!? § permalink

My first priority after tax season this year was to get the two chimneys inspected and repaired. Over the years we have had numerous critters find their way down our chimneys and there’s nothing like a distressed, moaning squirrel to lull you to sleep at night.

20121101-002109.jpgThe other compliant we had is that the stainless steel chimney liners were not fastened and rattled all the way down the chimney when it got windy.

20121101-002758.jpgNow our chimneys are properly capped, pointed, and most importantly, quiet.

New Lid

November 26th, 2011 § Comments Off on New Lid § permalink

This fall we got the remaining portion of the roof done.  We had previously had two smaller jobs done to address the trouble spots.  The most recent roofing job encompassed about 2/3 of the total roof area – it took a crew of five roofers four days.

Heating & Cooling

November 26th, 2011 § Comments Off on Heating & Cooling § permalink

It’s that time of year again when I start wondering if our furnace will last through another winter.  When the furnace guy came to do the annual tune-up this summer he informed me that I would probably get 1 more winter out of it, maybe 2 winters, and 3 would be pushing my luck.

The furnace ran for one day when it got chilly in October and then died.  The repair man who came to fix the furnace came up from the basement shaking his head and said “If I were you I would start saving your pennies.”

Here’s the old girl, after 20 years of faithful service:

Since the government energy retrofit grant program is about to expire we decided to bite the bullet and replace the furnace and add air conditioning as well.  A couple of energy audits and some paperwork should get us some grant money from the Federal and Provincial governments.

Here’s the sexy new furnace.  96% efficient, 75,000 Btu’s, dual stage, variable speed DC motor, electrostatic air filter and lifetime warranty on all major components:

The venting for the furnace and hot water tank was also replaced to bring it up to current building code.  The furnace condensate drain was rerouted to the sump hole rather than to the hole in the floor where the previous furnace was drained.

Here is the a/c unit.  We won’t get to use it for a while but it’s nice knowing it’s there.

The Last Door

November 26th, 2011 § Comments Off on The Last Door § permalink

The Woody Housing Project came with most of it’s original doors, some in better condition than others.  Dad and I have stripped, repaired and refinished various doors as we’ve renovated the different rooms.  We’ve done the upstairs bathroom door, the 3 bedroom doors, the front door, the side door, the living room door, and the 2 pocket doors between the living and dining rooms.

Now there’s only 1 left – the office door.  There are 3 other doors in the house (basement, downstairs bathroom, pantry) but they’re cheap home centre hollow core doors that will be getting the heave-ho when it’s time.

Here’s the patient on the operating table:

I’m having trouble finding the motivation to start working on it.  I’ve been refinishing doors for so long that I never thought I would see the end, and now that the end is in sight I think I’ll miss the work.

I’m being foolish and should just put on my big boy pants and get on with it.

Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

September 28th, 2011 § Comments Off on Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead! § permalink

Looking back, I have no idea why I named the previous post (We’re Off To See The Wizard…) the way I did.  I seemed to be in a Wizard of Oz frame of mind and rather than change horses in midstream I will forge ahead and declare the witch to be dead:

Ding-dong! The witch is dead!

At long last, after almost exactly five months, the living room and dining room renovation is complete. And none too soon. I’m nearly out of vacation and more critically, patience.

Lets look at some pictures:
At first glance it looks as though all that has happened since the last post is painting but rest assured that there is much more:

  • All of the woodwork including baseboard, window and door casing, two interior doors, 1 exterior door and 2 pocket doors were painstakingly repaired, restored and refinished.
  • New picture rail was added to both rooms.
  • New panel moulding was installed in both rooms.
  • All electrical was repaired/replaced and new solid brass face plates were installed.
  • A side project of rewiring a significant portion of the first floor was undertaken.
  • The living room was wired with two network connections, a satellite connection and a phone jack.
  • All communication/satellite services were consolidated into their own cabinet in the basement.
  • Every piece of hardware (hinges, screws, locksets, heating grates and door handles) were stripped, cleaned, repaired where needed, and refinished with either clear acrylic or gloss white paint.
  • Everything received a coat of primer (many things received two coats) and at least two topcoats.

I the middle of that list The Lovely Christina and I managed a week in Boston and Nantucket (photos here), a weekend in Batavia, a weekend in North Bay and a weekend spent helping a family member renovate their house.

This is the part of post where I make my thank you’s:

  • Dad for the countless hours of labour, consulting services and ideas.
  • Mom for helping with trim installation, furniture moving and muffins.
  • Sorcha and Megan at Uproar Paint and Paper for the advice and friendly service.
  • and finally The Lovely Christina for her support and patience with my sometimes over-meticulousness.

Here’s the best picture to come out of this most recent renovation.  The Lovely Christina captured this candid shot while Dad and I were discussing the best way to proceed with whatever we were trying to do.  Note the look on Dad’s face.

“You want to do what?!?”

There are some small projects yet to be completed such as replacing the weather stripping on the windows and finding suitable handles for the dining room side of the pocket doors but those are minor and I can do them when I get my reno-mojo back.

For now I am worn out, tired of renovating and in need of some down time. If you’ll excuse me I’m going for a nap and then maybe some video games.