Waterfall at the entrance of the New Brunswick Botanical Garden

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.

Into the cloud

Into the cloud
Hill behind the houses disappears into the cloud.

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.

Home again

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.

Down river

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.

Up 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.

2012 in Reverse

‘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.

25th Christmas

25 roses for 25 Christmases
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.


Sans Teenagers

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 🙂


bannerOnce 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 🙂

Snowy Walking Trail

Yesterday morning I took the car to get winter tires installed. It started snowing around 8:30. By the time I got there they had a few hours booked so I walked back home instead of waiting. When I went back I decided to go through the walking trails in Odell park.

Storm a brewing

Storm clouds
Storm brewing to the east

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.

One down

Three coats of paint later

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.

Office ceiling
Vince built and installed the carrying beam on Monday

Just primed (2 weeks ago)

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.

Tin ceilings

Our house has six tin ceilings circa 1900 or so. The house had been left unheated the two winters before we bought it. The combination of cold and moisture separated some of the paint from the tin ceilings.

When there were five of us living in the house it was a bit difficult to free up a room to scrape the ceiling. After Sarah moved out about 3 years ago we had been able to cycle things around and empty a room at a time. While the room was empty, we painted, repaired walls & scraped the ceiling if it was tin. One of the six rooms is one of the upstairs hallway (and stairs). To do that ceiling I needed to block off the stairs plus put some type of staging over the stairs so that I could get the ceiling above them.

In addition to picking a time to block the stairs I’ve been waiting for warm weather where we could leave the upstairs windows open for a couple days at a time. The exposed tin cannot be directly painted with latex paint. The tin needs a coat of metal primer paint. The grey areas are the areas with metal primer.

Had to prime the whole ceiling

Metal primer is solvent based so when I’m painting it gives off quite a bit of fumes. I have a respirator mask so I’m protected but that doesn’t protect anyone else in the house. Every time I paint a ceiling we vacate the house for 1-2 days while the fumes dissipate through the open windows. I’m hoping to get five of the six ceilings primed and painted this month. It is going to make for some busy weekends and few days away from home each week.

Of the six ceilings, almost all of the paint on two of them had mostly separated from the metal. I have one of those primed. It took about 5 hours with a brush. We can write a couple hours of that off to education & learning what techniques do and do not work.