Friday, April 29, 2016

The knitting reward

OH my goodness does it ever feel good to be free!  Today I finally finished the absolute worst job on my Urgent To Do list, the one that's been hanging over me for months, and I had to force myself to push past the line late this afternoon in a sunpatch at my desk but it is over.  Finally, I get my reward:

Guilt-free knitting time to work on this exploding yarn mass that may or may not end up being a stripey fingerless glove.  And yes, I think this single solitary item is going to push me over the edge into finally learning how to run in ends as I go.

(really this is Trish's fault.  She showed me an incredibly beautiful way to run in ends on the purl side of plain knitting - I thought I showed the method here once but I can't find the post now - and ever since I have taken incredible satisfaction in using it, even as I curse the need to run in lots of ends.  I am almost as contrary as my namesake sometimes.)

Do you ever procrastinate about the stuff you must do, as opposed to the stuff you 'should' do and which may disappear if you ignore it long enough?  Because honestly I don't.  I will stay up till 3am if that's what it takes to wrap up the must-do items.  But this time, MAN.  I just could NOT make myself put together all the numbers and receipts for our taxes! 

I think taxes are due a bit earlier in the US but in Canada, they have to be in by midnight April 30th every year, unless that day falls on a weekend (thank you, 2016 calendar) in which case it's midnight on whatever weekday the government specifies (Monday).  So, this year - technically - we had a little extension.  Pete and I have a pretty good system for tax prep that has always worked well for us, if not as well as tallying everything up at the end of each month which, I know, is what smarter people do.  Basically, I file all the relevant paperwork in one place all year long, and some time before the due date I tally up all the numbers, and then I hand it off to Pete and go frolicking off into the meadow while he plugs them into the right places on all the forms.

I don't know what was wrong with me this year.  Maybe just the constant grind of responsibility from everyday life plus expensive renovation?  All I know is, I haven't been able to do more than a few sections a day for the last two weeks, and sitting down to wrap up was harder than all of those days put together.

But I did, and I am free! and Pete is... not so much.  So I'm trying not to rub it in while I binge on TV and knitting.

In other news, check out the super exciting thing I got in the mail today!!

I know, it just pretty much looks brown. I thought it was pretty brown too, and it was a bit of a letdown if I'm honest.  For some reason I thought that when I advocated for a dining chair seat that matched the wood finish I chose one that was a bit more luminescent or caramely or something.  I hope the whole combination doesn't look too old-fashioned when we get it into the house.

Either way: with these samples of the wood and the leather for our dining set, I now have everything I need to do a proper colour scheme for the whole house and start shortlisting paint colours and drapery fabrics. 

(erm, did that sound as much like taxes to you as it did to me?  I'm not sure I'm hearing right any more.)

Meanwhile the house really is coming along.  Last week I was in and took this picture down the stairwell opening:

Brian's crew was putting in the radiant heat tubes for the basement.

A couple of days later I took this one from the same spot:

Cement!  The next thing that is going down on that floor is engineered hardwood, though probably not till June.  We are kind of taking our life in our hands there but we have done SO much waterproofing and drainage gravel and you name it, plus a top of the line sump pump for insurance, so we decided to risk it.  We use our basement a LOT and it's going to be lovely to have it be just as cosy as upstairs.

Okay, that's it for me for this week - hope you all have a lovely weekend and I'll see you on Monday!


Su said...

I'm a bit weird, I enjoy weaving in the ends!

Unknown said...

HI Mary,

I love your blog - the way you write and what you write about :-) I was wondering if you would be willing to share what you decided about foam insulation? We need to add some insulation to our little house and are just starting the research process. We live in London Ontario so perhaps would have similar choices to what you had available in Toronto. Thanks for any info!

Mary Keenan said...

I think I must secretly like it too Su... you know what, it's probably that I have to LOOK when I'm running in ends. I'll have to make up my mind that running in ends is audiobook time, not costume drama watching time :^)

Mary Keenan said...

Elle, thank you so much - that's really kind!

We definitely have the same resources available to us so please feel free to e-mail me at the address on the sidebar if you want to go majorly in depth about insulation of any kind... it would be good not to let the insane amount of research I did go to waste, heh. We did decide to go ahead with spray foam but I reeeaaaally am not happy so we will be exercising a lot of caution when we choose the type of foam (there are many options) and who will install it.

The first question is, are you prepared to remove all your drywall to do it? Because there are firms apparently who will tell you they can just drill in a few holes and spray through them - but that solution leaves a lot of gaps and the general consensus I've found from homeowners and professionals in the field is that it ends up being a waste of money. I would also question how much you'd have to bag and cover in the house if you were doing that - this stuff is not safe until it's cured completely, and it's quite messy! You have to be out of the house while they do it (some installers won't even tell you that much) but 24 hours out is best, and some say 72 is safer.

Basically, the only reason we are willing to do spray foam is because the entire house is wide open and nobody is living in there... our crew will get a break from work while it cures.

Insulation and ventilation are so complicated. When we bought our place it was in its as-built 1942 condition, which is to say 'a tent'. After a few years we found Ray and he replaced the interior glass-paned door that had been used as the side door - I am not kidding, we would have been so easy to rob - with an actual exterior door and trim, and we IMMEDIATELY started to get mold, just from that small difference in the natural ventilation.

I comfort myself that the chemicals from spray foam can't be worse than mold really, and also, that we are installing a very good mechanical ventilation system which should keep moving bad air out for many years to come.

(that's another thing about spray foam - if it's done right, you have to have a mechanical ventilation system because fans and open windows are nowhere near enough to keep the indoor air healthy!)

If I had the choice, I would insulate with mineral wool, after ensuring it had no formaldehyde in it.

I sent myself a ton of web links while I was researching so do e-mail me if you'd like them, or want more info!

Su said...

Interesting what you say about drilling holes and spraying in insulation. Over here in the UK, there are government grants to have cavity walls insulated, basically it sounds like the same kind of idea. I was initially told that my cavity was too narrow to be insulated. When the grants first started I was absolutely plagued by cold callers, at least 10 a week, offering to do the cavity wall insulation. I was never entirely convinced about it, I watched several houses being done and it seemed to me that they drilled random holes and then pumped in whatever amount of chemical they felt like, I honestly could not see how it was supposed to work. I never had my house done and now that you have mentioned the concerns regarding the chemicals used, I am very glad. Since my house is a mid terrace and has very good roof insulation, I don't think I'm losing masses of heat through my walls.

Mary Keenan said...

Su, I have been SUPER interested to read thoughts from specialists in the UK about insulation and ventilation, in terms of balancing health needs and climate change initiatives. There is a school of thought that in a milder climate than, say, much of Canada, it's not worse to ventilate through a lack of insulation and just wear sweaters and warm wool socks in winter... and even in Toronto, I found that we were able to manage in our uninsulated house without a lot of heat.

And you're so right about the moneymaking opportunities that climate change presents, not all of them helpful! Just last week we watched a documentary about wind farms in Ontario - the government heavily promoted them to meet climate change requirements, but in fact, they aren't helping us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and their vibrations cause actual physical harm to the people who live near them. The corporations involved are making a TON of money out of selling them, though. Doesn't exactly make me feel better about the chemical-based insulation the government is promoting to reduce emissions, I'll tell you that much!

So glad you didn't have your house done; I wish I hadn't been backed into a corner from the design stage of our house reno, before I started to ask questions and think for myself.

Su said...

Oh, the wind farm issue is exactly the same here! There are at least 4 wind farms very near here, my mother was very active in the fight against the one that is nearest. When the ecology study was done, it said there were no bats. I wonder where the dead bats under several of the turbines came from then? I don't actually find the turbines unattractive, but I know that I am in a minority, but their actual usefulness is very questionable.

Industry lobbyists have a lot to answer for, and on that note before I get too political I will shut up!

Mary Keenan said...

I agree about the attractiveness Su - I find them remarkably beautiful and awe-inspiring. I even like the sweeping sound of them, but I don't live near one, and I'm sure it would sound as menacing to me as it is harmful, if I did.

Bats are SO important... but I suppose inconvenient for lobbyists to acknowledge that or much else, when there is money to be made. I am grateful I never had to make a living in that line of work!