Monday, May 21, 2012

Last Few Hours…

Well, as all great weeks off must do, mine is coming to an end.  It’s 5:00 PM on my last day off before returning to work and I’m just doing a little puttering and thinking.  In looking over the past week I had some great successes and some items not done.

First of all, I have to tell you that I had glorious weather for my week off – GLORIOUS!

A couple of days before it started I wrote out a list:
  • Wednesday night – hang screen door
  • Thursday night – have drywall done
  • Friday night – relax
  • Saturday night – primer
  • Sunday – paint & have friends over for dinner
  • Monday – Nephew and Grandma day
  • Tuesday – Lay insulation in attic
  • Wednesday – pull carpet & underlay
  • Thursday – have friends from work over for coffee, have a load of stuff taken off to the dump
  • Friday – Mum, Dad & Grandpa up for lunch & then do some gardening & yard work
  • Saturday, Sunday and Monday – relax & go to the cabin for a few hours in there somewhere.

Lists are funny things.  They give me a guideline of what I want to accomplish, but remember the old adage of “man makes plans & God laughs”? Yup – that was what actually happened.

What I didn’t count on was having a HELLISH 5 days of back and neck pain accompanied by the most horrific of headaches – starting on Wednesday.  That took me out until roughly Tuesday.  It also changed how I got things done, but all in all, I managed most of it.  What didn’t get done was the insulation and having some friends over for dinner last Sunday… everything else eventually got done, just not as I had initially planned it. There were also a couple of unplanned additions – namely having to have Giant Hogweed removed.

Sunday, my first official day of vacation, started out sunny and bright, with me and Jasmine in the back yard enjoying a late and lazy breakfast and coffee. My neighbours were out as well and just in passing, the wife of the couple mentioned that I would want to get rid of what at a glance looked to be cow parsley.

I was game (if still a little sore and headachy) and thought that I would tackle it after breakfast.  My usual modus operandi is to just jump in and do things, but this time I thought it might be smart to see if I could compost all of that lovely green material or, like walnut husks, would it be poisonous to my compost… and so in after the computer I went.

A little bit of research later I found out that it WASN’T cow parsley – though it looked quite a bit like it.  It was actually something called Giant Hogweed (the Latin name is Heracleum mantegazzianum) which in pictures looks like HUMUNGOUS Queen Anne’s Lace, but in reality is considered to be a pernicious invasive plant, not native to North America and extremely dangerous to humans.  The sap is toxic and sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet radiation - causing third degree burns that come back over and over again, any time you get sunshine on it. If the sap gets into the eyes it can cause blindness - PLEASE take some time to review the information here on the Coastal Invasive Plant Committee website and here on the BC Ministry of Agriculture website.

After reading the information, I decided I needed help to get rid of this – for starters, I do not have a hazmat suit, completely rubberized gloves or, quite frankly, the bravery needed to attack this stuff – did you SEE the pictures???  It took me a couple of days to connect with the right people, but on Wednesday I managed to get in touch with the right person who sent out a crew to inspect the infestation & if within what they could do in one afternoon, remove it for me.

Tuesday was the day that I tackled the removal of the carpet and underlay - I did find a couple of surprises in the flooring, but nothing that can’t be dealt with eventually.

Starting the job & uncovering the painted wood floors

Surprise #1 - it isn't ALL painted!

Nice tight grain on most of the planks! This a a GOOD thing!

Surprise #2 - particle board AND tack strips to pull out!

Another pile of stuff to be removed to the dump...
Wednesday I puttered around and dealt with the rest of the flooring surprises issues, was the day the crew came to remove the Giant Hogweed AND the day that my extraordinary contractors came in to sand down and apply mud coat number 2 to the drywall.

Thursday did actually go according to plan – friends over for coffee in the morning and then the young fellows who have the haulage business came over and took away the carpet and underlay.

On Friday my parents came up for a visit and brought my Grandpa with them – his first visit to the house… it wasn’t quite as put together as I had hoped it would be by that point, but they were pleased to see all of my progress so far.

Saturday, eschewing responsibility and all of the unfinished tasks, I loaded Jasmine into the car and we ran away to the cabin for a few hours. It was great – warm sunny day, not too much wind, excellent visit with Rob, Carrie & Finn and traffic was relatively cooperative.

That evening, Kel and Roger (my contractors) came by to do the final sanding for me on the drywall. 
Wall completed, coats of primer done.
Yesterday I put on a couple of layers of primer and then painted the wall. I screwed up a little – I put tape on top of not 100% dry paint and when I pulled off the tape it pulled off the paint as well.  Oh well!

All done, furniture back in place - SO much brighter!
Pictures and masks back up

SO much nicer!
Today has been a do very little day.  I did some laundry, re-hung pictures in the living room, re-arranged the furniture, washed more drywall dust off of, well, everything, baked a cake and generally relaxed.

Tomorrow (sob) is back to work…

With love across the waters,