Saturday, 16 June 2012

As Derek would say, "This Vacuum Sucks!"

Warning: images in this post might shock and terrify. Not for the faint of heart.

For those of you who have been to the apartment that Vickie, Lana, and I lived in for a year and a half, you probably have some inclination of what this post contains. You may have even heard my our laments on the state of our carpet. When we first moved in to the apartment, we were given a vacuum, but when we pulled it out the first time to clean up our carpets, we discovered that it didn't work. And like our adventures with a living room lamp (note: it took probably 3 or 4 months for us to finally get a lamp, even though since the beginning, we'd decided we needed one), it took us way, way too long - and by that I mean, it didn't happen.

So, once in a while we borrowed a vacuum cleaner from a friend, or a neighbour... But thinking back, I'm pretty sure that the last succesful borrow (because there were vacuums that didn't work that we borrowed) was back in October (EEK!) when I borrowed Sean Bucholz's vacuum to clean Derek's car - and to simultaneously vacuum the apartment.

Needless to say, the carpets in the apartment were disgusting when Derek moved in at the end of May. Well, Derek and I honeymooned and on our return, the first thing we did together was go out and buy a vacuum, a Bissell Cleanview Helix Vacuum, to be precise. We wanted something that would work well, but was in our price-range - aka, not a Dyson.

Image found here.

So, we read the reviews, looked at the cleaners, went to Canadian Tire, and brought back our baby. Mr. Cleanview. (I don't actually call him that, just... well, everyone needs a name, right?).

It worked beautifully - as in, our carpets were beautiful afterwards. Though, you can now better see the carpet stains, since they are no longer hidden by layers of dirt....

And on to the disgusting, only read further if you're ready to hurl your cookies!

Yes, that was our bag-less vacuum dirt holder after vacuuming the apartment once...

Here's another close up if you weren't properly disgusted the first time. 
I'm surprised there aren't things living in there....

And here ends the post. Thanks for reading! Any gross cleaning stories of your own? Ever move somewhere only to discover that the previous inhabitants hadn't kept up the cleaning? (sorry, Derek.) Let me know!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Two Days of Paint

So, I had this crazy idea when we first started talking about Derek moving in here after the wedding - back many months ago - that when he did move in, we would paint the walls! And would you like to know what colour I thought would be best? White. Everyone must now be surprised. "White?" you say, "Why would you paint white walls....white?" There are two reasons for this. The first being, that if we were to paint the walls any colour other than white, we'd have to repaint it white when we move out - which we are hoping will be within a year or two. The second reason for painting our walls: the smoke marks on our ceiling, the various pin holes and stains scattering the walls, the children's pencil drawings in the walk-in... the list goes on. And so, yesterday, Derek and I bought a gallon of Benjamin Moore's Chinchilla White wall paint and a gallon of the same in ceiling paint.

And we got to work, removing everything from our bathroom. We spread out a drop cloth, got our roller, our pole, our paint tray, our paint can. We taped outlets, doors, trim, etc. I attached the roller to the pole, stuck it in the paint, started painting the ceiling... I even got two strokes done, when suddenly we heard a loud crack, and the roller was lying on the ground. Good thing we had a drop cloth!

Yup. Turned out that our pole didn't seem to be able to handle the weight of the roller. Guess that's what we get for buying the cheapest stuff at Canadian Tire. So, off Derek went to buy a new roller (and a new paint tray, because we discovered the one we had hardly worked, and a second roller, because I forgot that part earlier). While he was gone, I finished painting the ceiling, and started cutting in on the walls - he was gone for forever, I swear.

Here's a shot of me painting the ceiling without a pole. 
The bathtub, the toilet, and a friendly stool became great ladders.

We just about finished painting the room last night, but around 9:00 (I started moving things out around 4:00) I was so exhausted - and Derek left at 7:00 - that I decided to call it quits. Besides, all I had to do was touch up some of the corners and edges. Figured it would be easy enough to do the next morning. 

Though, having coke to drink really did help me keep going. Mmm. Coke.

So then, today I got up late bright and early (of course.....) and got to work on the bathroom. In about a half hour, I'd finished up the spots that needed fixing, and within another hour, the bathroom looked like normal again (except with much cleaner, fresher looking walls) and I'd even cleaned it! I also even put up the shower curtain rod all by myself, and I finally finished putting up the last square shelf (it had been simply sitting on top of one of the others for about half a year). All in all, an accomplished morning. 

But was it accomplished enough? Not for Chana, the DIY fiend! I also decided it was time to finish spray paint some of my projects! And why do one thing at a time, when you can do three? Unfortunately, I don't have a before picture for the large mirror that you'll see below, but here's item #1 and #2.

#1 is the brown stool, left here by my wonderful friend, Lana, and #2 is a lamp we picked up from MCC because our living room needed much help in that department when we moved in... 
Both were in sore need of some TLC.

I won't say much about the stool, because I plan on doing a much more in-depth post about that in the near future, but here's a picture of what my balcony looked like this afternoon.

The brown stool got a lovely coat of Rustoleum's flat black spray paint, while the lamp and the mirror (which is the flat white object on the left) got a fresh new look with Rustoleum's glossy white spray paint.  For anyone wondering what I did to keep the mirror from getting covered in paint, I simply taped down newspapers and voila! I also taped over the place where the lightbulb screws in on the lamp. Don't want to accidentally start another fire in the apartment! 

So that was my day today (and yesterday). And there will be much more painting in the days to come, including some paint that isn't white (or black!). Stay tuned for more deets!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hello Honeymoon: Ontario Bound

Well, Derek and I are returned. Actually, we got back a week ago, but life has been insane, so nothing has been written about it. In fact, as I sit here on my living room couch, I am secretly very openly appalled at the mess which overruns my living room and kitchen. There is a giant pile of stuff to go to MCC waiting here, picture frames we received from people sitting all over my loveseat, various items of decor that are currently waiting for homes scattered, well, everywhere... The list goes on. However, compared to what it looked like after we unloaded the car last Sunday evening - the house looks great... So, I suppose I'm not that terribly appalled. Instead, eagerly anticipating the return of order and beauty. In the meantime, I remember all the wonderful that this house will eventually be! And all the wonderful that already exists in it - such as the breadmaker that my sister, Rachel, and her boyfriend, Brent, got for me and Derek (with which, of course, as soon as we were able to buy ingredients, I made - and then ate - delicious rum and raisin bread). The breadmaker that is so large, it doesn't fit in our cupboards, but instead lives in our linen closet.

There it is, living with the laundry soap and the lightbulbs... Ah, what a perfect home.

Now, on to the purpose of this post (Isn't it interesting how rabbit trails appear even in my writing?): The Honeymoon! Or rather, vacation, as we plan on honeymooning for reals in February. You see, at the chicken factory, it is difficult to get time off around this point in the year, busy season and all, so even getting one week off was a stretch for Derek, but we managed, and we headed to southern Ontario. We left (early) the morning after the wedding, arrived Sunday night, spent Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday there, and then left Saturday again to arrive back home Sunday night, so that Derek could go to bed early in order to get up at 4:00 for work the next day. 

We had planned on going camping, but it turned out that both Derek and I got sick after the wedding, so camping was out, and being a tourist was in! As Derek's visits to Ontario before had lacked much of the tourist part, we first went to Niagara Falls! 

Here is Derek at the falls, super excited about seeing them.

While there, we visited Ripley's Believe It or Not, and had supper at Montana's, where we drew a lovely mural to commemorate our time at the falls.


It includes a unicorn named Kyle, after our good friend; Derek and I in a hot air balloon; a man making weird faces; a beach ball... It's not necessarily an accurate description of our time there...

We planned to visit the criminal mastermind wax museum, because Derek and I are criminal masterminds, but after the meal, we were so stuffed that we just drove home. 

We also visited Canada's Wonderland and the CN Tower, but we have no photos of that. The CN Tower was exciting for me, because it was my first time being up there! I even stood on the glass floor ....for a couple seconds. And Derek had to hold onto me the whole time. Apparently I'm not so good at being miles above the city and being able to see the ground? Alas, it is not one of my personal skills. 

To remember all the wonderful fun of our time there, I created a jar of Ontario. 

I simply took some of our ticket stubs and a couple other items from the trip and put them inside a mason jar, labelling it with a bit of masking tape. The idea is one I started with my trip to Paraguay, as you can see next to it. Derek and I plan on continuing to make jars of our vacations - perhaps for the rest of our lives!