Sump pumps suck when they don’t suck

after this long, cold winter I had been looking forward to spring.
Then came the call from our friend who checks on the house. The sump pump in the root cellar had quit and the cellar was filling fast. Nothing between us and the icy cold ground water other than our hardwood floors and a few electric pumps.

After careful electrical disconnects and discovering a fortunate second sump socked away in the shed, we’ve been able to stop in in flow from becoming a totally disastrous deluge. Thanks to our kind friend and ex-neighbour we have saved the house from major damage once again.

Needless to say for this reason (and others) we have very little interest in that new Russell Crowe flood film.

Brighten up your home: An infographic

Looking for some new lighting ideas?

Anyone who has been to our condo has likely bumped their heads on our dining room overhead lamp that lights a little too low. We are looking at our options to re-light soon. In the meantime here is an infographic to give you a few ideas.
Brighten up your home this Spring

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Pinkish is the new red

We finally stained the picnic table but it can be said that the colour is not reflective of the name of the stain.
Pinky picnic table

I considered calling this post, “Redwood my ass” but thought better of it when thinking about what search terms would be used that combined “wood” and “ass”.

We have had the table for a year but just got around to staining it. It has darkened somewhat but not to a degree I would call redwood.

Some fresh decorating ideas – an infographic

Here’s a little infographic that might inspire and incite some change.

Nothing too fancy here but also nothing that any of us could try on say a long weekend? Happy Family Day weekend everyone!

Interior design plan of action: an infographic

It’s almost February and I need some inspiration.

The bland and boring days of winter are making me look around and think it is time to really focus on getting some decorating done.  I found this brightly coloured infographic the other day to help inspire me to work on some ideas. What do you think?

A counter I can count on

The counter is holding.

The experiment with waxing the wood seems to have worked. It still looks smooth and shiny. We can’t use a lot of water on it but that is the only downside. Other than that it cleans up nicely and the smell of the wax is nice.

counter wood wax

Kitchen counter is waxed and wonderful

She’s a brick house

Well the schoolhouse is anyway.

We’ve got a red brick schoolhouse but most of the brick is buried behind plaster. The two bedrooms each have a brick wall. Wonder what we could do…

Source: via Ariel on Pinterest

Did we resolve our resolutions?


The answer to that is a resounding “meh”.

Last year I made a list of “to do’s” for 2012 for both the schoolhouse and the condo. Did we do them?


  1. Paint front door – uh no. Haven’t done this one yet.
  2. Put down flooring in vestibule. – see above
  3. Paint vestibule – I am beginning to sense a pattern here…
  4. Replace eavestrough – hey this one I can say, “sort of”. We didn’t replace but we did take them down and fix the one that moves water over the hydro meter and into a rain barrel.
  5. Complete herb garden – not really.
  6. Build nicer garden along the front of the house – again this is a “sort of”. I put in a new perennial garden at the front but we’ll see if the boiling summer of 2012 ravaged it completely. It also turned out to be a lot less sunnier than I thought so things may have to move.
  7. Clear out the back bedroom – yes and no. We started cleaning it out but managed to fill it again to make space for our winter tenant.
  8. Paint bathroom – nope.
  9. Revive the composter – let’s hope for the spring?
  10. Research and install if feasible some new lighting – Well sort of once again. Our tenant has fixed the overhead light which is great. He’s also installing a solar flood light (these exist? Who knew?)
  11. While this wasn’t on the original list I’d like to point out most of our time (and money) went to two things: Removing two fallen trees on the property and replacing just about everything you can on a well system.

Our condo

  1. Come up with a design for the living room – done! I finally have a master plan. I just have to figure out how to pay for it.
  2. paint upstairs bathroom – done! I’ll post photos soon.
  3. fix dining room chairs – less done. And by less I mean not at all.
  4. Paint kitchen – totally done! Pat painted and I got bitten by a cat in the process.
  5. Buy new living room furniture. picked out but not bought.
  6. Hide the dreadful air conditioner cord that is in the dining room – not done and it still drives me mad.
  7. Fix all the general irritations – not done and still totally irritating.
  8. Make alterations to the dining room so that the overhead light isn’t going to cause any “concussion-like symptoms” to my guests – nope.
  9. Re-organize and decorate the office and make it better accommodate my home office space (which requires space for documents, files and coffee) with our home computer (this requires space for chips, beer and other accoutrements that accompany video games and well, this blog). – mostly. This isn’t too bad.
  10. Get more frames for art and photos – some of this is done. We’ve got a couple of new things and a couple of things ordered. But they are all still in a pile…
  11. Oh and jazz up the ol’ patio. last year’s garden was a good start but we need more life out there – started. We’ve new planters and I have almost finished repainting the furniture.
  12. Again while not on the original list, I’d like to point out that we also had repairs to our dishwasher (still doesn’t totally work), washer and dryer so that is where the couch money went.

So that is where we are at. I’m not going to add anything else until we get this lot done. Fingers crossed for 2013!

Don’t pan the pantry

One day I will have a pantry that will rival that of Michael Smith.

I don’t watch much on the Food Network and I think most foodies are a-holes but damn that guy’s pantry on Chef at Home kind of rocks.

We just bought some basic jars at Ikea to replace the “olde tyme” fruit-covered ones my grandmother game me two decades ago (yeesh). These look a little better here in the condo and I want to start collecting some good sturdy ones for the schoolhouse that keeps items fresh and keeps our friends out of our food.

So for now I will content myself with a few items clearly displayed on my condo counter.

There are many blog posts and websites on what to put in your pantry and all that but we are not about food here. But in case you are interested, here are a couple of good ones:

But enough of that. I have been searching Pinterest and have found a few nice examples of what I would like to have one day at the schoolhouse.

Source: via Ariel on Pinterest


I like the look of all of these. Simple, organized and chock-a-block with what you need. I think that when you put this stuff on display you may be more likely to use it. Since we put out our new jars I’ve already baked.

And clearly I have proven this theory with our clearly displayed bar (see photo at top). It is well used and well displayed.