Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

Are we on vacation??

In our last post, we were starting to move forward but one step forward and one step back! Now that we have the reno permit, you would think that it would be free wheeling but alas, we are still at the discretion of the HVAC contractor. Now that we have agreed in the placement of the furnace and before they hang any duct work, they think we should have the building inspector out to ensure they are happy with our sub structure so we don’t have to make any changes after. This makes sense but these are small steps forward and now we wait until Monday for the city ok before HVAC work can begin. Sometimes you think these are just delay tactics so the customer doesn’t think they are being handled!

Terry installing a nailer for hallway wall.In the mean time, we work on some make work 1407152 July 13 Barb Adding Bracing For Wallprojects that have to be done at some time. HVAC says they want to use the wall between the hallway and bedroom for the cold air return so the wall can not be on the adjacent floor joist. So, for added support, Barb cut and nailed the cross bracing for the wall to rest on while I put a nailer in place for the wall to butt up to. We also added some nailing mending plates on the new cross ceiling joists under the vaulted ceiling1407153 July 13 Terry Adding Mending Plates To Vaulted Ceiling. This was our initiative to assure that the inspector ‘likes’ what we have done. Both of us are very nervous about this first inspection visit – will we have to move the trailer, is the vaulted ceiling going to pass or will they insist on an engineers stamp of the structural integrity? Almost enough to drive us to drink!

1407155 July 13 All Bracing Installed

1407162 July 13 All Reading About The PalacadeLater in the day (Sunday), Terri, Mark and Mark’s mom Sandra, came out for a visit. After  giving Sandra a tour of our little hobby house, we take a walk along the Niagara River and then off to dinner at He’s Not Here. By now, you are probably getting the sense that we like this eatery!




1407165 July 14 Terry And Tony Looking At Floor JoistsMonday is our day of reckoning – the building inspector arrives around lunch time and we have been on pins and needles all morning. To add to our tension, we have been told by a few folk that he is very persnickety and sometimes he is not in your corner. We tried to keep an eye out so we could meet him in the house so maybe he wouldn’t notice the trailer in the back! Right, the trailer is almost as long as the house so how is he not going to notice it! But, we missed him and he knocks on the door to announce his arrival – opps, now he knows we’re in a trailer on site. After quick intros, we go inside and he asks what we needed from him. We explain the HVAC fears and he takes a look around and says we should be good to go. He commented on the good work we have done and that everything looks fine. He did suggest that we should be covering and sealing the dirt in the crawl space under the floor with at least a 6mil poly. We informed him that we had discussed this option with the insulation contractor and decided that the space is too small to be able to completely seal the poly effectively and that it might be more harmful and or damp if it was not completely sealed and it might be best to leave it open so the circulating air will keep it drier. All in all, it was a friendly inspection and he was impressed on what we have done so far. Barb & I are so relieved! I immediately informed the HVAC guys and they said they will start on Monday! Hurray, action next week!

1407168 July 15 Digging The Dirt Away From Edge1407171 July 15 Barb Digging In The Clay1407174 July 15 Barb Washing Mud Off Sidewalk







Now that we know that the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train, we sit & make our wiring plans for each room, defining the wiring layout and listing all the parts and pieces required according to the electrical code. Later in the day, we dig out the front walk that was covered by the dumpsters we rented. The walkway was covered with old dirt and mud from the spring rains. Once we started, we couldn’t believe how wide it is. We have some extra hosta plants and planted them along the edge of the walk. We dug down the edge, planted the hostas and then back filled with mulch so now we’ll see if the rain run off floods the walk now! Barb always has great ideas to improve things and this is no exception.

1407185 July 16 Figured Out How To Handle Old StepWednesday is ‘hang water heater’ day. Before we 1407189 July 16 Moved Project Board To Back Roomdo that, we want to put up some water resistant drywall behind it so off to HD in Niagara. Our choice to go there was because of a deal they have for a dishwasher and a refrigerator and we need both so it was a fun shopping tour. When we got back home, Barb came up with an idea to improve the step into the back door of the house. It was a cement step that was just under the door so we framed 1407196 July 17 Barb Hold Tankless Water Heater On Wallit out so the floor would go across the width of the sun room. Then we hung the drywall and created a project centre that shows our design plans, time line, permit documents and any other instructions required. It was in the garage but that was not the best place for it but now, we use it all the time.

First thing Thursday, we hung the water heater 1407198 July 17 Nailing Up Shim In Great Roomand started to make some plumbing connections but before we get too far along, we have some other plumbing work to do. You might remember that we moved our water meter up into the heated part of the house and Barb had made some design changes so it wouldn’t be too conspicuous. Well, since the crawl space will now be heated, we decided to move it back down and put an access hatch in the floor of the bedroom 1407203 July 18 Barb Cutting Water Pipecloset so if need be, it can be serviced. The plumbing requirements of the new hot water heater dictates that the cold and hot water line must be 3/4” for it to perform properly. So while we had the water off and moving the meter back under the floor, we ran 3/4” mains 1407206 July 18 Cold Water Installed Hot Water Need Partsfrom the meter and we will carry them through out the house and drop to 1/2” at the fixture. This will also reduce any pressure changes when more than one tap or fixture is open at the same time. Ever been in the shower and someone else runs water in the kitchen or flushes the toilet? Yikes that could be a blast of hot or cold water on you but now that won’t happen!

That’s about it for our week, not much more we can do until next week after our HVAC is installed. Hope all is good wherever you are….1407226 July 22 Hey You Looking At Me

Back to Work

Our little holiday with Nathanial is over and we’re back to work – sort of. We still do not have our HVAC installed so no plumbing can go in and we’re still waiting for a permit to do this reno. I know, your as tired of hearing about this as we are of waiting but this gives me a place to vent or rant. Anyway, I hope it does not dissuade you from reading on.

Our late return from dropping Nate off at home brought us driving south on the QEW at about 10:30PM and we were still about 10Kms from Fort Erie, the night sky was ablaze with the July 4 celebrations from Buffalo, NY. We were tempted to carry on down to the river and watch but figured they would be done by the time we found a parking space. The fireworks still were erupting a good 20 minutes after we settled in at home so maybe we could have seen more but once we kicked our shoes off, the our easy chairs called out our names, we were done for the night!

1407109 July 05 Barb Cutting WoodSaturday found us making some changes 1407114 July 05 New Header For Furnace Pipesto the back wall where the furnace was going. Under direction of the HVAC contractor, we had to move a couple of studs and being an outside wall supporting some roof rafters, we thought the building inspector would be happier with a header under the top plate where the studs were supporting. So Barb did the planning and the cutting and I did the nailing and in short order, we had an area that could be opened from floor to ceiling if necessary for the HVAC ducts. We’re both concerned on what the inspector would want for the vaulted ceiling in the ‘great room’. Barb suggested we should place a 2x4 strap across from rafter to rafter on the underside for added support. I agreed that was an excellent idea and so after calculating the roof angle, we cut and installed the members complete with nailing plates – just like the pros!

1407119 July 06 Sewer Layout Looks GoodOn Sunday, we dry fit the plumbing drain layout in order for the HVAC guys to see  so they knew what our plans were. Our nephew-in-law gave us some ideas on what we needed to do and with some other input, we managed to get it right – according to our HVAC contractor who is also does plumbing.



1407121 July 07 Money Wasted Furnace Cant Go There

Monday is HVAC day! Yes, we’re seeing some forward motion. But wait, with the toilet drain where we want it, completely blocks the duct work coming from the back of the house. It doesn’t matter where in the bathroom we put it, it will be in the way so now what, put it in the living room! One suggestion from the HVAC guys was to turn the floor joists in the back the other way which would allow us to place the toilet drain up into the joist area and not below as we had it. That idea is considerable work and expense not to mention the little gain for us. We would have to chip out some spray foam on the foundation in order to install a header to support the floor joists in a different direction. This is not an ideal situation. We discussed a couple of other options and told them we would think about it and let them know so they could begin building the duct work. By now, we are getting really frustrated with the whole process. With the insulation we’re planning on putting in, it has been said that we could heat this place with a candle!

Anyway, back to the drawing board for us and see which plan works best for us. One suggestion was to put it in the bedroom closet – what! Who wants to hear that coming on in the middle of the night so no thanks, that is not an option but with such a small space, we are limited. The final decision is to put it at the other end of the bathroom, between the bathroom and the kitchen. We’ll need to build a small room for it, fill the walls with Roxul for sound deadening. By the end of the day, Barb has designed a new plan, designed the bathroom that works and we notified the HAVC guys and now they can move ahead with the build.

1407122 July 08 Our Building Permit Finally ArrivesTuesday was a brighter day for us, we got the call that our permit had been approved. Armed with our check book, we excitedly went to the town hall and picked it up. We met with the inspector that reviewed our plans and went over some of his changes. It all sounded pretty easy going at the time but we’ll see what they say and do when they are actually on site. He suggested we needed an additional 2x8 in the beam that goes across the back and that 2x10 headers were required over the 6 foot living room window. We have an 8 inch header now with no more room to increase it to 9 1/2 so like I said, we’ll see. He also said we need to install 3 smoke detectors that are interconnected, meaning when one goes off, they all go off! Hey, we’re talking 750 sq. feet on 1 floor! Who wouldn’t hear 1 smoke detector in this space? How many of you out there remove your smoke detector in your RVs when your making toast? I informed our HVAC guy that we had our permit. He said the inspector may want an amendment to the design since we are moving the furnace from back to midway, the ducts sizes may change – crap another delay. HVAC said he would connect with the engineer and get it changed non gratis.

Wednesday we went to the vampire clinic for upcoming doc appointments and while we were out, decided that we should see what our kitchen cabinets were going to cost us. Off to Lowes and looked at the off-the-shelf stuff and decided that they did 1407124 July 10 Our New Bathroom Sinknot actually completely fulfill our needs. We stepped up to the kitchen design area to sit with a professional (tongue in check here) and see what a custom set would do for us. We previously did this in Ikea, were served immediately and had a rough idea on our costs so we expect similar service this time and Lowes has been fairly good with their service. We were wrong in this case – the ‘professional’ was at the desk but asked us to make an appointment so ‘they’ could schedule the time for us – she was about to go to lunch in 60 minutes and had another 1407127 July 10 Terry Carrying In The Water Heaterappointment after that – so I guess they do not accept walk-ins! I’m sure enough of you know us by now that we did not make that appointment or go back later – we did go back to Ikea on Thursday though and sat again with one of their professionals and finalized a kitchen plan that fills our needs. While we were there, we picked up our bathroom vanity and a wall cabinet. Now, all we need are some floors and walls and we can install them! On our way home, we picked up our tankless water heater – if only we had some plumbing to hook up to it! I know, stop whining, it will be done in time, we just hope it happens before the snow flies!

1407130 July 10 Barb With Her New ToyAfter our shopping excursion and everything was safely stored away, Barb washed down the house to get rid of the old spidery webs and dirt from the trenching in May. Me, I was on spider guard – you can imagine how many spiders were heading for the hills when Barb hit the cedar shakes with a 1600 PSI water canon!1407134 July 11 Terry Barb Cutting Window Panel

On Friday, we replaced the temporary plywood covering the windows in the back room that we took out early in the project. These windows were all re-purposed else where in the house and the  replaced windows are in the garage, waiting to be sold. Anybody need some good windows? Terri & Mark came down on Friday evening to help us put some siding up on the garage. I had ordered the siding on line but had to use a store in Etobicoke that Terri & Mark picked up but when they arrived, the siding they were given was not the siding we ordered so, break out the lawn chairs and we’ll have a beverage instead of hard work!

1407136 July 11 Barb Nails Up Panel1407141 July 11 Barb Carrying 8x4 Sheet1407142 July 11 Barb Putting Sheet On Wall






Saturday, they returned the product for refund and we’ll try again when the 1407145 July 12 Replacing 2x4 We Took Out For Furnacelocal store has stock. Barb & I replaced the 2x4 studs we took out to accommodate the HVAC ducts. Only problem was that the studs we removed were the originals, real 2x4s so I had to pick up 2x6s and rip them to the exact dimension. All fun at the end of the day.






That’s it for that week, we hope all is good where you are….

1407044 July 02 Beauty In The Undergrowth

Camp Nana & Bumpa

1406265 Jun 30 Nana Nate Measure For Electric BoxOur timing was perfect, our grandson 1407004 July 01 Nana Gives Nate A HandNathaniel is here for a visit for a few days and we do not have anything pressing to be done in the reno as we are waiting still for HVAC & the building permit. Once the HVAC is in, we can drop our plumbing in and once we get the permit, we can have an inspection and then put our subfloor down and really start making hay! That will be a happy day. Many people, neighbours and contractors have said that we have made a mistake getting a permit but I am steadfast to do it right thinking that it will improve our resale value.

1407014 July 01 Nate Bumpa With SpinnerAnyway, our week with Nate was fun. He helped us a little in the house, working with Nana placing outlet boxes on the exterior walls (we don`t have interior walls yet – read the above rant). Barb had a couple of crafts planned and we set the patio table up in the house so we would be out of the elements. While Nate and Nana were painting a miniature bird house, I made a wind spinner for Corrie – she thought mine was cool and I buckled and 1407018 July 01 Nate Holds Up The Cachecommitted to make her one. We took Nate Geocaching with us last year and he was very eager to go again this visit. There are many caches in the area and we loaded up our GPS units with a few and headed out. Our first one was the smallest cache we had ever found – it was so small that it could have been disguised as an insect cocoon – luckily this one wasn’t or we may not found it. Today is Canada’s birthday and what kind of celebration would it be without some fireworks. We took out blanket and parked near the Fort and walked down into the park and picked us a patch of grass to watch. We kept teasing Nate that our time sitting would only be a few minutes – hey, Fort Erie is a small town but we were pleasantly surprised how good the fireworks were – good quality and lots of them!

1407043 July 02 The Search Is OnI had a doctors appointment on Wednesday so we did a few geocaches on the way into Hamilton and then a few here in Fort Erie when we got back. Our success was only 50% this time. We left a couple of geocaches out there and we got caught in a rain shower but we didn’t melt even though I am made of sugar!




1407069 July 03 Nate Collects More WoodOn Thursday, we made a dump run to clean up1407062 July 03 Nate Shows His Pattern the garage of lots of building materials. Nate loved standing in the truck bed and tossing what he could in the dumpster – see, it’s fun when it’s not work. Anyway, after that, Nana had another craft to do, melting beads to make sun catchers. They were supposed to use the oven to melt the plastic beads but Barb used the BBQ instead to keep the stinkies out doors. Barb & Nate made 3 sun catchers with improvements in each one. It was fun and a neat craft that even our neighbour wants to try one – I hope she knows she has to use her own BBQ!

1407063 July 03 Nate Enjoys His Suncatchers








1407081 July 04 Picnic In The ParkFriday, Nathaniel`s last day with us so, we are going on a picnic, hike along some of the Friendship Trail and tour the Old Fort Erie before we drive him back home. We learned some of Fort Erie’s history as we walked along the Friendship Trail and read the story boards along the promenade at Erie Beach. Where did the glory of those days go?




1407091 July 04 Getting Ready To Light The MorterAfter our picnic, our guided tour of the Fort was great. 1407107 July 03 Readying To Shoot MusketsEveryone was in period dress and we witnessed the soldiers firing a canon and 3 other soldiers firing their muskets. We toured the barracks, kitchen, stores shop and the grounds. This area was one of the bloodiest battle grounds of the War of 1812. It is hard to imagine life here back then but the tour and video help to drive it home.


Our week off with Nate was fun and somewhat restful. We expect our HVAC guy to start and we have been in touch with the town regarding our permit and we may even have that next week too. Hope all is good where you are….

1407048 July 02 Hollyhocks By Niagara Rivers

Slow but Steady

1406213 Jun 22 My Sept Oct Pillow Cases FinishedI know it is hard for some of you to believe but on Sunday, we took another day off. When we take time off to recharge our batteries, we usually discuss issues with the house or plans for the house or what we’re going to smoke into the next day. It also gives Barb an opportunity to do some quilting or other crafty activity. Me, well I just try to stay out of trouble.

A neighbour set out 3 doors at the curb on Saturday and we talked about whether we should or need to pick them over. Common sense won over and we sauntered over to have a look see. Well, the door jamb on our garage had a broken tread so maybe – well, it also had a full length French steel door that just happened to open the same way our back door did so wh1406222 Jun 22 Robin Comes To See Baby Robinsat do you think – yes, we picked it up and took it home!

We have another set of Robins – or maybe the same one with new babies again – nesting on the wall of our garage. Barb got some great shots of the kids from when they had a film over their eyes to the day they left the nest. Boy, they grew up quickly, it must been over 7 or 8 days. Now, 2 weeks later we don’t see them and they don’t write or call – not much different from human kids today!

Now all nature watching is over, back to work – we are still waiting for HVAC & the permit so we find the little jobs to do. Now that we have a ‘new’ door, it is an easy change – pull the pins, take off the ‘old’ door and put the ‘new’ one on and re-insert the pins. Crap, the door sweep is damaged so we’ll have to get a new one – you just can’t get a quality door at the curb anymore…. Now, the plan is to remove the old frame from the garage and re-install the ‘new’ frame and put our ‘old’ door on and put the garage door out to the curb. Remember the onion? Well, the ‘new’ jamb swings the other way on the garage so we’ll put that job in the back burner as we will have to re-build the RSO for the door.

1406227 Jun 24 Off Comes A BoardThe windows had large white frames on them and since we have been moving and rebuilding the windows, we decided that we do not want the large white frames and will look into a more modern way of capping the windows off. So, off comes the old wide frames on the windows we didn’t touch. It was a job only I could do because of all the spiders that were sent scurrying when I started ripping off the 1406234 Jun 26 Removing The Old Kitchen Windowwood frames!

Lastly, we re-built the window for the bathroom. I did the de-construction while Barb cleaned the window edges, removing 5 pounds of 1406235 Jun 26 Barb Removing Foam From Windowcaulking, another pound of foam and all the cooking crud from the previous owner! Yeach it was awful! By the end of the day, we had the window back in place, built to code and clean!

Friday, we are off to Terri & Mark’s cabin for some R&R. We happen to fall into a Joann’s fabrics on the way, browsed through Home Depot for some ideas and met up Terri & Mark.1406247 Jun 28 Breakfast In The Sun It was great to kick back and not have to think about what was next – oh, except which beer to try this time. It was a relaxing few days but all too soon we were heading back with still no word from the town and our permit or from the HVAC guys.

We are having Nathaniel, our grandson stay with us for a few days and we look forward to that. So, all is good here and hoping you are doing great where ever you are….


1406251 Jun 28 Relaxing After Lunch


1406243 Jun 27 Moth At Cabin