As soon as you step out of the reception centre at the New Brunswick Botanical Garden you can hear this waterfall. You have to walk a few yards before you can see it.
It was overcast today so the greens really stood out. The brook runs down through the middle of the Iris & Daylily garden.
It’s been raining here quite a bit over the last week & it is cool with the humidity quite high. I saw several instances of hills disappearing into a cloud.
January went by fast. Part of the reason for that was that both Andrea & I had a nasty cold that lasted two weeks between the two of us. In my last post I mentioned we had rented a space big enough for all of us. I didn’t mention that it was barely big enough for all of us in that it’s the upper floor of a small house.
We went from 19 rooms in Lakeville to six here. The kitchen which is an okay size for a kitchen serves as both a kitchen and laundry room. The living room is serving triple duty as a workspace/office, dining & living room. Our bedroom had a dresser serving double duty as a standup desk for my development server & as a small sewing area for Andrea.
Needless to say we didn’t rent it with the intention of staying longer than the one year. In addition to being quite cramped we picked the area which would give Meaghan the best access to potential jobs vs a location more suited to Andrea & I.
When we were looking for places to rent last year, many of the places that sounded better (size, location, etc.) for us were being listed anywhere up to six months in advance. Once we were through Christmas, I started checking for rentals that were for an entire house and in locations where we would feel more at home. Within a few days I found three houses that all looked like they might fit the bill. We signed a lease on one of them about two weeks later.
We got our keys on Thursday night and will be moving on Monday. Andrea uploaded a few pics of some of the interior. Except the last eight months, Andrea & I have had a water view of either a lake or river since 2001. Our new back yard has waterfront on the Saint John River. The two pics on the right are up & down river.
One of the things I’ve been doing over the last year has been sketching out plans for eventually building a new house. Interestingly, this house has roughly the same floor space as many of those sketches. We both expect that living in roughly the same square footage will help us with morphing those sketches into plans.
We’re both very excited to feel at home again.
‘Tis the season for year in review posts. I didn’t write one of these last year. I thought I would change things up and cover the highlights of our year in reverse.
This Christmas was number 25 for Andrea & I. We had officially met 2-3 weeks before Christmas 1988. I gave her roses that year. This year I surprised her with 2 dozen long stemmed roses for the 24th anniversary of officially meeting.
I had a second romantic surprise for her on Christmas Day which was a sterling silver pendant with a birth stone for each of the children and grandchildren. Click through for the rest of our Christmas fun.
In 1990, Addison turned 13 years old. This year Meaghan turned 20. We have another year or so until Emma turns 13. Time flies when you are having fun. It’s amazing for us to see our oldest three all adults, all working & seeing their lives unfold
WordPress Community Summit
In October, Andrea & I attended the WordPress Community Summit on Tybee Island, Georgia. It was our first WP community event since WordCamp Toronto in 2011. It was awesome to get together (again in many cases) with folks that we work with online in the WP Community.
Early in the year Meaghan let us know that she wanted to move to Fredericton to look for work. We rented a place for her so that she would be within walking/bus distance to business/retail areas of the city. She’s been enjoying a job at Costco for about 3 months.
We were right on hand for welcoming our second grandchild Ayla this summer. We did lots of Izzy babysitting while Mom had doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, etc. We’ve gotten used to seeing them a couple times a week. The next best thing to being a parent is being a grandparent
Once Meaghan let us know that she was planning on moving out we started thinking about 3 of us living in a five bedroom, three bathroom house with two stairways and when it would be time for us to put it on the market. We decided we wanted to start the final renovations right away. We rented a storage locker and started working our way through all of our stuff. We ended up splitting our possessions into three categories: need to keep with us, want to keep but don’t need right away & we can part with this. Moving the things we wanted to keep but didn’t need right away to a storage locker made things easier for us in a few ways. First, those items were the easiest to pick out (ex. Christmas decorations). Second, it gave us space for both renovations and sorting through the remaining stuff. Finally, it helped crystalize the line between this is something we want to keep and this is something we can part with.
One of the renovation items that had been on the list since we bought the house was cleaning up and painting six tin ceilings. Tin ceilings need an initial coat of metal paint before being painted with regular house paint. Because metal paint is solvent based, it’s not safe for breathing. That meant that we would need to vacate the house while the metal paint in each room was curing. Given that we work at home that was going to be rather disruptive. We decided that a workable solution was to rent a place for Meaghan that was big enough for all of us.
We rented the place we have now in Fredericton and had fiber optic Internet installed. Within a couple weeks we realized that the speed of our Internet connection significantly improved our work environment. By the end of June we had pretty much switched over to spending the entire work week in Fredericton.
South by Southwest
In March we went to our first SxSW and met the rest of our Copyblogger co-workers. both andrea & I love the autonomy of working for a distributed company but there is no substitute for meeting up the people you work with. We have already booked our flight and hotel for SxSW 2013.
That kinda covers the highlights of the year. We did have a setback or two, but overall a very positive year for us
I made a Lakeville/Fredericton return trip earlier today. I stopped at the Subway in Woodstock to grab a sub for supper. Even though it was bright and sunny at the Subway, some folk not too far away were getting a good soaking. By the time I left Subway 5 minutes later it was overcast to the point where the shadows had disappeared.
Today I finished the first tin ceiling. I wanted to get the one in the hallway done first because our carpenter neighbor (Vince) is doing some reno work for us. The 2x10s that I was using for staging were destined to be a carrying beam in the dining room. the span across the dining room is 18 feet and the second floor joists are 2x8s.
I have two more tin ceilings partially done. Both have their coat of metal primer. The ceiling in the lower picture now has two coats of white on about 2/3 of it. The remaining 1/3 has one coat. The third ceiling looks pretty much like the lower picture except there is a ceiling fan in the center of the room.
The good news is that the latex paint goes on much faster than the metal primer. So much faster that two coats of the latex takes less time to apply than the coat of primer does. I’m hoping that by the end of next weekend I’ll have primer on a fourth ceiling and the other two ceilings completely done.
A week ago, Andrea wrote in her blog
Meaghan is moving out and going to Fredericton for work, so we are cleaning out all kinds of crap that I’d been keeping “just in case” When you’re down to one kid, there’s a lot you suddenly realize you don’t need any more. We’re motivated to finish up a few things on our house too, with room to shuffle around.
This weekend was a long weekend & we had a two-day yard sale. Interestingly, the most appropriate post shows up in that post’s related post list.
After that last move I had said I didn’t want to move again until the kids had all moved out. When Meaghan told us earlier this year that she was planning on moving out we started giving thought to the day where we would put our house on the market.
Even though we had had a few clean out sessions we still had (and have) quite a bit of stuff that we were mostly hanging onto just in case. This is a big house and we have lots more room than we need. Keeping most of that extra stuff wasn’t inconveniencing us much at all. So, there wasn’t a great deal of urgency in trimming it down.
What we decided to do was work our way through the house and put everything into one of five categories: things to keep that we are currently using, things to keep that we won’t need for six months (ex. winter tires), things to sell (hence the yard sale), things to donate to charity, and things to toss.
A couple months ago we rented storage space for six months. As we’ve been working our way through the house, we’ve accumulated stacks of each category. Once we get a carload of charity items or storage items we load up the car & off it goes. Now that we had the yard sale, Andrea has a list of the “to sell” items that are going to go to charity.
It’s been really good for us to go through and decide on the things that we really want to keep and the things that we can let go of. I’m glad we decided to do this now rather than wait until Emma was in the range of thinking about moving out.
A side benefit to this is that once Meaghan moves we’re going to have enough empty space that it’s going to be relatively easy to empty some rooms to do some renovations that we’ve been postponing. To date we haven’t applied a fresh coat of paint to any of the tin ceilings. With just the three of us here we’ll be able to move sleeping quarters to one half of the house or the other and keep the fumes out of the half we are sleeping in.