For the Love of Elephants

For my second Christmas, my parents gave me a fluffy stuffed elephant. They may have been trying to insinuate something. I was a bit fluffy myself in those days.

My first elephant.

Forty years later, I started to seriously accumulate elephants. It began when my father-in-law passed away and I inherited my late mother-in-law’s elephants.

One of my mother-in-law’s favourite elephants. She received it from an artisan she met when on a cruise. She watched him make it and was so amazed by his talent that he gave it to her when it was finished.
I started buying elephants as souvenirs when we travelled. I bought this little guy for myself on our way home from my Mother’s funeral.

My husband, children and grandchildren started buying me elephants.

Dan bought me this elephant (piggy) bank when our granddaughter Maddy was about nine months old. She would come in and go straight to the bookshelf to feed the elephant toonies.
My son Mark picked up this ‘Ganesh’ statuette when he went to British Columbia with Erin and their son Dominic.
Gabby, Lucas and Cason picked up this cutie when my son Dan and Amanda took a family trip to California last summer.
This “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” trio of elephants was a birthday gift from my daughter Jennifer and family.
This bridge of elephants was a present from my sister Denise and her husband Ray. We went to visit them in White Rock, BC a few years ago and were able to celebrate our anniversary with them while we were there.

I have another seventy or so elephants right now. I have garden elephants, stuffed elephants, stone elephants – even a crystal elephant. I will share more pictures of my elephant friends in future posts.

Getting Domestic

I have been home for six days, hiding out from Covid-19. I don’t have the lungs to be comfortable taking chances with any contagious respiratory disease – especially one that does not have a cure. I am happy to lay low.

So far it hasn’t been too bad. My husband has been home for the past four days. Tomorrow he goes back for three twelve hour day shifts, followed by two twelve hour night shifts. Normally, I am used to it – but normally I am happy to have some alone time after being at work all week. Normally, I am not worried about my husband picking up a potentially fatal disease, or bringing it home to me, or passing it on to anyone else. Normally I am not the type of person who wants to throttle our premier for putting money and power and steel/pipe plants before people’s lives. Now things are not normal.

Anyway, I have been working on pulling myself together and being productive enough to keep myself from totally losing it. For the last couple of days, I have been working on becoming the domestic diva I plan to be once I retire at the end of July. My laundry (including bedding) is done, folded and put away, my house is somewhat tidy and our finances are in order.

I defrosted the feezer
I cooked some (lots) of bacon and baked an apple pie. Ok, I defrosted an apple pie.
I’ve been brushing my dog – a lot!
I’ve been cleaning my kitchen cupboards and lining my shelves and drawers.
I made chilli for supper

Tomorrow it is supposed to start warming up outside. It will be easier once I can get outside and start cleaning up the yard, the barbecue, and the lawn furniture. It will be fun to start prepping and planning for our garden, flower beds and pond. It will be nice to get out and get some fresh air and SUNSHINE.

Renovations Part 2

With my husband on a mission to clean and organize our garage, I am once again feeling the renovation bug. Living in a normal house, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t live in a ‘normal’ house. We live in the house my husband’s family lived in before he was born sixty years ago. Renovations in an older home are a big deal – a huge deal.

When I met my (second) husband, I was renting a duplex for my three teenagers and myself. After my sons graduated from school and moved out, Dan decided we should move into his house. Dan, my daughter and I, living in his house. The first couple of years we worked on the interior of the house to make it a bit homier – a bit of paint here, new sink taps there, some new flooring. We did things in manageable projects and worked as a team.

With the interior of the house coming together, we felt it was time to start working on the exterior. Nothing heroic, a little fresh paint on the window frames. This was when Dan decided to educate me on the real challenges of renovating an older home.

Apparently, one could not just paint the exterior window frames. First they had to be scraped and sanded. These were not normal windows. These were windows made up of a number of small, framed panels. I started with the living room window. Having broken several of those miserable little panels, we decided it would be easier to just replace the entire mess with a new picture window. Dan scraped and sanded the rest of the windows, saving me the aggravation of fighting with them and us the cost of replacing any more of them.  Now they were ready to paint – or so I thought.

Dan decided that before we painted the window frames, we should paint the house. That made sense, as painting the house later would risk getting paint spills on the freshly painted windows.  Now it was time to call in my son Mark, to help me tear all the eaves troughs off the house, as one does not paint an old house without replacing the eaves troughs.

I don’t remember why we had to cut down the twenty foot tree in the back yard, but it had to go. The stump is still there. Every summer it becomes host to a huge patch of mushrooms which we dig out only to have them magically re-appear. However, with the tree gone, we were ready to paint the house – as soon as Dan repaired a few cracks in the stucco and brushed any dried paint flakes off it.

Fortunately, by the time we had the house prepared and painted, the window frames painted and the new eave troughs installed, winter was well on it’s way. The new roof, garage and garden shed had to wait for another round of ambition that hit us a few years later.

There are a few projects we would still like to tackle. It would be nice to finally have that home gym in the garage. Would it really be worth it? That is questionable, but we will see how we are feeling after Dan finishes his cleaning and organizing.