My last posts would have been dated, what, mid June? At that point in time I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed over the pending release of 8th Edition Warhammer 40k and getting some serious gaming going over the summer months…
That obviously got derailed…
HOOBOY. Been a long, wild summer eh? Buckle up for yet another excuse post (or proof of life).
June – FLOODS
I was happily assembling, priming and painting up my first few Primaris Marines when the rains came, overwhelmed the pitiful defenses of our basement window wells and put our basement under an inch or so of water.
It could have been a lot worse, in that all we had to throw out was our carpets in the basement, and we don’t actually own any of the drywall down there.
Long story short, I knew it would be an easy fix, but after 4 storms with 4 instances of water in our basement and the apparent non-movement of our landlord in the matter, I knew I had to explore other housing options. Fortunately, we were blessed in that the banks were willing to throw us a lot more money than we thought for purchasing a home, so we hit the market without really having too much in the way of expectations in the matter…
EDIT: I made allusion to the Primaris Marines and I’d be remiss to post a pic or two of them before stuff went sideways:
July – The Toronto Housing Market
We first started looking at houses on July 1st, and our second round was on July 3rd. We found a place that we really enjoyed, and thought had potential. That evening we put in an offer. Within 36 hours the offer was accepted. Within 8 days, we had satisfied all conditions for the sale. Within 6 weeks, the process was completed, and we were officially home owners.
What a whirlwind. I have a new respect for Real Estate Agents, despite goofy and apparently clumsy advertising practices. Mine in particular was up and open for business as late as 1:30am, talking us through papers we had to sign, helping us deal with mortgage brokers and navigating the whole process.
August 10-18 – Home Renos
Alrighty, I’m an Engineer, and have some knowledge on how building repairs work. I’m a painter, so I have some concept of how to work on application of coatings on surfaces.
When no contractors offered to provide us a quotation to sand and refinish our floors after closing (the sq. ft was too small for them, apparently), I figured I may as well take a stab at it myself.
I have a new respect for renovation contractors. The amount of skill and patience that is required in order to achieve a product that would satisfy a picky home owner is borderline obscene. I learned a lot about the process that would probably be *facepalm* worthy for most contractors or DIY’ers, but here’s a handful of lessons I learned through the process:
- Sanding evenly and in parallel is important. I went nuts with the hand sander and we’ve got a nice ring around the floors that contrasts poorly with the open field which I did with the big-boy sander.
- DUST. Oh god so much dust. Dust control is a must. Mine wasn’t working properly. For each pass of the sander I spent twice as long vacuuming, unclogging the vacuum filter, and re-vacuuming.
- Buy many many more staining rags than you think you need. I ate through a lot more than I thought.
- Do NOT use a water based Urethane over an oil based stain, or if you do I understand a quick wipe with mineral spirits goes a long way. I mean, it turned out OK, but certainly not as good as it could have been.
- Leave more time than a week to complete a project of this size, particularly if you have no idea what you’re doing. Y’know, maybe even take some time off of work in order to do it. You’ll need those hours.
Why a week? Well the idea was to get the urethane down and drying before we left the country in mid-August.
August 19 – September 2 – Bolivia
My church organizes a regular trip down to Bolivia, to assist in local ministries down in that section and generally try to learn about how we can help folks in need in that part of the world. It is a trip of discovery, but you get your hands dirty too. Specifically on this trip we focused on the following:
- Chagas’ Disease prevention: Chagas’ is spread in rural areas by being bitten by the Vinchuka beetle, which can reside in Adobe walls that is ubiquitous in these areas. Ultimately the disease ends with death after it reaches the ‘chronic’ phase, which typically manifests within 10-20 years after initial infection. Prevention includes using pesticides, and plastering the interior of the adobe homes, to prevent the ingress of the beetle.The families we met were large (~10 children per Matriarch) and initially very timid (who the hell are these people working on our homes?!) but within 3 days we were playing soccer in a dust field, sharing jokes in broken English, Spanish, or Quechua, sharing meals, etc. One family gifted the local workers with a baby goat, and the Canadian team with one of their lambs upon completing the work, in a farewell that had our tear ducts working pretty well.
- Casa de la Amistad: When you go to prison in Bolivia, often if your Family can’t afford to live life apart from your income, they also go to live in prison with you. It’s not like a North American set up, where you share a single cell with another inmate. It’s more like you get shoved into an office building with a kitchen per floor and a bathroom, and lock the door so no one can come in or out (except the families of the inmates, who are free to come and go as they please).So if your dad is in jail, there’s a good chance you grow up in jail. Your neighbours are convicted sex offenders, felons and murderers?
The Casa provides a meal a day for these kids, and tutoring before or after school. We met the kids, played with them in the yard, and took them to the cinema. For many, it was their first time.
I could go on about this trip, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. It was deeply profound, and broke my heart repeatedly. Trips like this help you put your own life in perspective, and inspire to advocate for those who have less despite struggling more.
September 4 – Moving
After 2 days of last-minute frantic packing, we moved into our new home on labour day Monday. We couldn’t be happier about it. Our internet was installed yesterday, and everything’s coming together nicely.
The leaves are starting to change, and life is starting to calm down a bit more. I won’t make the mistake about promising more frequent posts, but please know that life is good. Take care out there folks, and catch you on twitter, maybe.