Pout :: Part 2

•March 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I really need to change the title of these latest posts to reflection or something, but pout works!

The reason I am pouting today is due to our trip to London Poetry Slam last night. It’s not that the poetry was bad, or that we didn’t have a great time, actually the complete opposite. It was a great time and I even got to participate as a judge for the competition which was a lot of fun and kept me engaged the whole time.

The thing that concerns me about the future is our plans to start a family, which is approaching rather quickly. For those who don’t know, Katrina and I really want to move out of the city and buy a nice country property with some land that we can raise our own food, become more self sustained and start our family. Last Friday we took a long drive out to Zurich to check out a place that we were eyeing online. This house was absolutely our dream home and although we can’t afford it right now, and the drive would be too long, it made me excited about the future of moving away from the hustle and bustle of a larger city. That was reinforced yesterday afternoon as Katrina and I tried to enjoy our backyard in this lovely spring weather and we could hardly hear each other over the sounds of lawnmowers, traffic and screaming neighbour kids. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine all those sounds disappearing as I sit on my country property and soak up the sun.

But during all these exciting  plans to start a family and move away from the city I forgot a couple of important things. I am invested in the arts and culture of London, and over the last several years that we have lived here, we have become even more attached to some of the great events and organizations in the city like London Poetry Slam. On our way home last night I realized that once the family comes along and we live 30 minutes (or more) out of the city, the opportunity to attend events like this will be few and far between. It makes me sad that I will have to detach myself from the city life that I have grown accustom to over the last 6 years we have lived in London, but all is not lost. Arts and culture will continue to flourish without me, and I am sure it will only grow stronger over the years. I look forward to taking the knowledge and ideas that I have gained being exposed to such great events over the years and passing along those experiences along to my own children and teaching them the importance of arts and creativity, different cultures and beliefs, and the satisfaction of volunteerism.

We wont be ditching London all together. Katrina is very happy with her career at Kings College, and I have a lot of faith in London’s future and I am currently looking for work that will allow me to also start a satisfying career in London as well, while keep my finger on the pulse of the arts and culture scene. So this is not farewell or goodbye, but rather a reflection on my life changing in the near future. I look forward to taking my past experiences and moving forward without regret.

Pout

•March 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am not normally one to be a “Sour Sally” but this weekend is going to be a tough pill to swallow. With the Fringe 62 Hour Film Contest kicking off tonight, I am left watching from the sidelines.

Back in September I was fortunate enough to receive a position on the board of London Fringe. I have throughly enjoyed my time so far, and look forward to continuing my contributions to this great arts organization in London. The downside to being involved in the community and supporting local groups like Fringe is sometimes you are not allowed to participate in great events like the film contest.

In 2009, Sunny Day Jazz Productions participated in the Fringe 62 Hour Film Contest and we were fortunate enough to come away with second place for our film Denfield Road. The experience was something that I will never forget, and it was a true test of our film making abilities. You can tell by the last picture that it was a stressful and tiring weekend but the feeling of finishing the challenge was well worth the loss of sleep.

Because of my involvement on the Board of London Fringe, and the fact that Sunny Day Jazz is fairly well-known in the community, they asked that I not participate in the contest this year due to the potential conflict of interest in regards to the “secret elements” that will be revealed at tonight’s kick off. Although it breaks my heart to not take part in this great event I am not bitter about Fringes decision and have found another way to participate in the event. This weekend and into next week I will be managing London Fringe’s Twitter Account. I am looking forward to hearing all the great stories throughout the weekend and interacting with the filmmakers VIA twitter. This event is also a huge win for the London film community and the excitement leading up to tonight’s kick off is amazing. Other major cities like Toronto have film contest very similar to this one, but for most filmmakers packing up gear, actors and crew to shoot in Toronto is just not feasible, not to mention the added costs of hotel, travel and food. Having an event like this in London is even more proof that film is alive and well in our community.

Best of luck to all the filmmakers participating in this years event and I hope that you have invested in lots of energy drinks. For all those who want to see what can be done in 62 hours, come out to the film screenings and awards on March 21st. Details at http://www.londonfringe.ca

Progress Slowed, but not Stopped!

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So, I know that I have not posted an update on the Bathroom Renovations in a while, but trust me I am still working away at it. I have gotten everything hooked up and working, and we are just finishing up some of the last little details. We are hoping to have it all wrapped up by next weekend. I have also started to cut together some of the footage that I have been taking during the renovations. I learned early on that it was very difficult to do the renos, tape my progress and edit all the footage at the same time. I also learned that trying to shoot something in a very tiny bathroom proves to be difficult as well and there fore was not able to get as much footage as I had originally hoped for. Now that I have started back to school, I have also lost a lot of time to school work. That is why I was happy to get the bulk of the work done during my holidays. Katrina and I are working diligently to finish this project up, and throughly enjoy it. More pictures and video coming soon!

Absolutely Floored!

•January 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, the holidays are over and the bathroom is almost done. I’ve made some great progress since New Years and have had some major wins towards finishing.

I started by getting some paint up on the walls. I was very happy to see that it only took 2 coats of paint to cover the wall very nicely. It must have had something to do with the 3 coats of primer that I slapped up earlier. I was a little unsure of the colour, but once it dried I started putting together the rest of the room. I started with the new curved shower rod, which makes the shower feel huge and very spa-like. Once I added the new shower curtain that we got as a wedding gift the room really started to come together. Next, I wired up the light over the vanity. We decided to keep the light from the old bathroom. I replaced it a couple of years ago and it works well, so why waste it. We also decided to keep the old mirror as it’s a nice big mirror and others retail for over $100. I think I got a little too excited when hanging it though. I planned it out very carefully, measuring out the exact center of the wall and mirror so that it would look really nice in the room. Once finished, I took a step back to take a look at my work, and realized that it was too low and cut off my entire head ( not literally of course). I’m sure it would have worked perfect for Katrina, but I need something with a little more….head. After a couple adjustments, it was perfect and better than before. Lastly, I assembled the new bathroom vanity, and wall cabinet. Once I got them into place the bathroom looked amazing. I was reluctant to take any photos because I want to wait until it’s fully finished before the big reveal.

On Saturday I had the luxury of working with my cousin Grant to lay the new ceramic tile down. I used to do residential construction with my Uncle Joe and now Grant is planning on entering the trade. He offered to help over Christmas and I can’t say no to free labour. It turns out I couldn’t have done it without him. The job proved to be much more labour intensive than I expected. We started by removing the last of the linoleum tile off the floors. When I attempted this earlier in the project I knew it was going to be challenging. The tiles were secured with a very sticky glue that’s hard to remove. I had to heat them with a hair dryer and pry them off with a scraper. So, when I was in Home Depot I decided to look for a floor scraper. I was hesitant at first because of the price and I was unsure if it would even do the trick, but it has been the best $40 investment into this project to date. The old tiles scraped away like a dream. I was able to finish removing the old floors in less than an hour, including cleanup. Next we removed washer and dryer from the laundry room and got mixing the thin set. I found this video online that helped in the learning process for how to lay tiles.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trl5IViolmM&feature=fvw]

After we got everything figured out and ready to go, we started laying some tile down. We soon found that Grant had a great knack for cutting tiles and I for laying them. We were really able to move quickly after we got the system down.  There were some tricky cuts, uneven walls, excess swearing, sore knees and mistakes but in the end, the floor turned out great for 2 guys that have never done it before. One of the biggest challenges was actually with clean up. The wet saw that I rented from Home Depot to cut the tiles, sprayed a lot of water. We originally had it in the house, but fortunately we moved it to the Shed. It sprayed so much extra water, that I filled the mop pail twice trying clean it up. Once we finished, Katrina made Grant and I a wonderful meatloaf dinner that really hit the spot.

Sunday turned into a relax day as I had to let the tile set for 24 hours before even walking on it. Once it had set, I cleaned out all the seams in preparation for grout which I will be doing today. Hopefully by Wednesday I can have the sink and toilet fully installed, and have a fully functioning bathroom again.

The Sweet (un)Smell of Success!

•December 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Today was an epic win for our bathroom renovations. Not only did I get all the walls sanded and primed (two coats) we also had the luxury of having our first showers! Definitely one of the most satisfying showers I have ever had.

On Tuesday I was still on a roll from my great day on Monday. The tub surround had set overnight so it was ready to be sealed up water tight with caulking. Early on in the day I picked up some fancy caulking tools that were supposed to help make nice clean seams. They were promptly thrown out after about 10 minutes of use.

DIY TIP: When applying caulking, moisten your finger and run it over your caulking to create a nice clean seam. This will also prevent the caulking from sticking to your finger.

This proved to be a frustrating part of the job, and I am still not completely happy with the end result. There are some messy edges that I will be going back to fix up once the bathroom is done, but for now its water tight! Tuesday was also productive as I finished up all the mudding and taping of the drywall. I was feeling a little more confident with my skills here, but still feel like I am not going to be making a career as a drywaller any time soon.

Wednesday started off a little shaky as I was out the night before for a friend’s birthday and a very fun pub night. After shaking off the cobwebs, I got to work with one goal in mind – showering before work! I finished sanding all the mud down before putting on a couple coats of primer. It’s finally starting to look like a bathroom again. After touching up a couple of spots after work and putting one last coat of primer on, I think it might be ready for paint tomorrow morning before we head out for the night. Saturday’s goal….floors. That is if I can get the old floor off. Have a Happy New Year!

It must be the Baileys!

•December 29, 2009 • 1 Comment

After a much needed 4 day break for the holidays, I was actually excited to get back at the bathroom renovations. So when I woke up yesterday I poured myself a Baileys and coffee and got right to work.

My goal conitnues to be getting the shower ready so that I can smell pretty again! Thankfully my friends and family have been very helpful lending us their showers. I started the day by painting the area around the tub so that the surround would bond properly. I put on  3 coats of primer just to make sure that I sealed everything in and hopefully to prevent more mold. Between coats I hung the remaining drywall on the rest of the walls. I had a moment of panic when I thought I was going to run out of drywall. Fortunately, Katrina refilled my Baileys and coffee and I found a bunch of large scrap pieces behind some other materials. Once all the drywall was up and the paint was dry, it was time to tackle the tub surround. I was worried this might prove to be challenging, putting an end to an otherwise swear-free day. To my surprise it was fairly easy and the day continued swearless. I was especially happy when I realized that I didn’t need to cut anything to make it fit. Gluing the surround to the wall proved to be the most challenging part as it dried very quickly so it was a race against the clock, but once in it looks great. After the tub surround was in, I installed all the the shiny new hardware and retested the plumbing. Still seems to be working great.

The last thing I did for the day was mud and tape the walls. I was not entirely happy with the work I did around the tub surround and was hoping to make up for it with the rest of the walls. I found this good video about how to tape a seam.

I feel like I did a bit better this time, but I think that drywalling is definitely a skilled trade, and requires lots of practice.

Today I will be finishing up with some more mudding and sanding, as well as caulking the new surround. I think we will be able to shower by tomorrow morning! Now off to Home Depot for yet more supplies. Wish me luck!

Frustration….Renovation!

•December 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The renovations took on an angry note today as I hit several issues. The combination of working alone and not showering have finally caught up with me. Hopefully venting them here will give me the strength to continue a little more today! I was ready and willing this morning to have another productive day. The plan was to try to get the shower ready so that we could be clean for Christmas. I started by hanging the two remaining sheets of drywall that surround the tub. I had expected the first sheet to be a challenge, as I would not only need to cut around the tub, but also cut the holes for shower controls and faucets. So I took my time and measured out all the funny angles and holes, layed it out and made nice clean cuts. As I struggled to even get the drywall into the bathroom, I knew it was going to be a challenging day. When I finally got the drywall into place, I realized that the holes I cut were off, and the board wouldn’t fit. After some quick/hack modifications I was able to jam it into place. SIGH! Ok, now onto the other side. This should have been much easier because there were no pipes to cut around. But yet again my measurements didn’t work out, and the drywall was long! SIGH! Now that I have a new tape measure (my old one went for a trip across the living room) I should be good to get the tub surround in. After opening the box, the first thing that fell out was the instructions. I figured with my luck today, I should check out how this thing was supposed to go together. Sure enough, the instructions stated that the surround should not be applied to unprimed drywall…SIGH! So now I have to mud and tape, sand, mud and paint before the surround can even go on. Fine…where is my drywall mud…..SIGH! Turns out someone took it off my cart overnight at Home Depot on Friday. Time to make a trip to the Hardware Store.

Maybe this will be good — get out of the house and get some fresh air and spend some money. We decided to go to the Dundas Home Depot because they had a part of the vanity that we wanted that the other store did not have in stock. I also needed to (once again!) rent the van to get some more drywall and the ceramic tile. As we pulled up to the store, I noticed right away that the van was not in the parking lot. I went in to ask, and they told me that guy just left and warned that he would be gone for most of the day. So we got our vanity and left to trek across town to the other Home Depot. Luckily the van was in the parking lot when I arrived, and I promptly went to warn them that I was going to be coming back to rent it once I got all my materials. Katrina came along with me to help pick a paint colour and see if it would match the tile we were wanting. WIN-tile, paint and vanity matched perfectly! So we gathered up the rest of our material, paid and headed back to get the van keys. When I told the guy at the rental desk that I was ready to fill out the paper work, he seemed concerned.

“Um — someone else was planning on using it this afternoon.”

“Yeah that’s me, I just asked to hold it 20 minutes ago.” I said

“No, it was someone else.”

“But I thought you couldn’t reserve the van?” (I know because I have tried in the past)

“Well its the store manager, so I kinda have to.”

This is the point where I was no longer angry, because I had just given up! Luckily, the guy at the rentals must have sensed my frustration, because he decided to forget his boss’s request and give me the van. So I motored home with the material, got it loaded and got the van back in 30 minutes. I think I took a lot of my frustration out on the poor van. For the rest of the afternoon I taped and mudded the walls, and did a much-needed clean up around my “work area” which seemed to calm me down.

This will most likely be my last post until Monday, as we move into the Christmas weekend. Hopefully the short break and turkey will renew my spirits!

Happy Holidays!