Get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down...

 Sooooo gud!

After making an amazing lasagne with some Trader Joe's Marinara sauce, the question on my mind of late is thus:

In Middleton, will we be ANY closer to a Trader Joe's than we are now?

To find the answer I turned to my lovely and intrepid research assistant, Google.

Upon consulting TraderJoes.com, I learned that the closest location is Minneapolis, MN - a mere 12 hours and 43 minutes away from Regina.   Once upon a time, this would have fallen quite handily into the "one day drive" category.

Not too bad, really. But what about when we move to Middleton?

After once again consulting Trader Joe's map, my brow furrowed anxiously as I entered the coordinates into Google Maps.


We would now be TWO HOURS closer to TJ's! Plus, there's a boat ride involved!

Middleton to Portland, ME - 10 hours 16 minutes!

TJ's! Portland! Long weekend! Road trip!

... but what about BulkBarn?


One day at a time (sweet cheeses)...

It's been a busy week for us.

I took this photo on my first trip to the valley.  The house will be placed to the left middle foreground - right where those grey little alders are.  This photo will approximate the view out the front windows of the house (dining, living and master).  I wish we were there now, if only to take a photo from the exact site and capture the newly budding leaves.

Since returning, we have been communicating with our builder several times daily. We've gone from an ultra modern in/exterior, to a more traditional (and warmer) look.  Even though the skeleton of the building is of a more modern style, I think the materials are in line with the design.

This is a far cry from our neo-Craftsman style, designed by Robinson Design here in Regina. But it still carries an echo of FLW, particularly in his later years.  I am excited about the huge south-facing windows and the fireplace.

See mock up of the interior and exterior below - we will be adding the deck as per the illustration. There is a sliding "French" door (a wood door with a single obscured glass light) dividing the public area from the bedrooms. I'm also excited about this - we can close that door and not only separate spaces, but also will also be better able to control heated areas.  The fireplace is designed to carry heat to the basement, as well.

We will have a walk-in in the Master, and the boy already has an armoire set for his room.  I think we can safely accommodate 12 people in the dining room and will eventually have space in the walk-out basement for overnight guests (with their own 3 piece bathroom).  

If we have guests in the mean-time, I am sure boy would be ecstatic to sleep on the (plastic wrapped) living room sofa!  I anticipate at least Terri and James for US Thanksgiving at our new home this fall!

From what I understand, the builder is getting bids from subs over the next two weeks. I keep thinking about the garden, acquiring and planting fruit trees, getting my chicken coop built and putting in a few oaks and maples along the driveway.  I keep looking at all the lumber I have in our current garage, and have to restrain myself from starting construction on Cluckingham Palace.  There's no point in building a big beautiful chicken coop, only to move it a few thousand kms across the country!


Oh what a difference a day makes...

Well, we're back - safe and sound, albeit a bit depressed having to return.

Our trip was eventful, to say the least.  Upon arriving in Halifax, we immediately went out to the property so Laura could have a look.

After initial impressions had been made, we retired to our motel for the night.

It's funny how three hours time difference can play with your sleep and eating patterns.  On any given day, Laura is in bed by 8:30pm.  This is because she gets up early and can usually be found at work by 6am.  Because we were in Nova Scotia, this meant that Laur's normal bed time was 11:30pm! Crazy!  Even crazier was that she did not wake until well after 9am the following morning!  Except for the last night, this was to be the norm for the duration of our visit.

After breakfast, we once again toddled out to the property to have another look around.  We walked down to the creek, then back up to the circle, where Laura and discussed possibilities.

After a brief meeting with the builder on-site, we followed him back to the office, where a rather surprising development took place.   Laur wasn't convinced our house plan was appropriate for the land.  Neither of us felt visually attached to the plan - yes the interior met our needs to a T, but the exterior did not appeal to us.  We decided there and then that we would not use our (expensive) plan.

So, the builder handed us a book of plans, whereupon Laura set to leafing through the pages.  Our needs centred around the master - it had to be large, main floor and with en suite.  We were thinking to the future, when both of us would be crippled old ladies, moving about upon our decrepit legs.

We wanted lots of space for the boy to grow into, lots of storage space, room for the dogs, and a fireplace.

All of the sudden, Laura stopped. "This is it," she simply stated.

Wow! In the span of seconds, we went from shingled two-story with loft to modern shed roof design on a walk out basement.

This blew me away... I had proposed a very similar kit house to her some time ago, which she had flatly dismissed with very little conversation.  To say I was surprised would be an understatement.

The builder had a look, calculated some quick numbers and we surmised that it would tentatively fit into our budget.  A little surprised that we would abandon our custom plan so quickly, he cautioned us to think on it. 

We took the plan book back to the property where we both agreed that this was what we'd been looking for - big, bright southern exposure; large dining/living room; large main-floor master with en suite; large, simple, closely-located room for the boy.  We'd put it on a walk out basement, in which we'd rough in a third bathroom, and where Laur would initially have her office.  Once the boy is a bit older, he would swap spaces with Laur's office, and she would then be upstairs.

Where I was once somewhat doubtful, I am now very excited.  Although colours have yet to be decided upon (I'd like to incorporate the distinct colour of the soil, sky, water and trees), I can see this house on our property, peeking through the alders and over the meadow.

Brace yourself... it's different.

 First floor plan


My tiny hero!

*Warning - This is story about using a public washroom*

The whole reason for me blogging tonight is because I wanted to share a story with all of you.

The boy is afraid of auto-flushing toilets.   Completely terrified.

Every time we visit a public washroom, he makes a careful inspection of the flush handle - if it meets his psychological needs, he will declare "this toilet not flush by itself!" and proceed to do his business. 

If he spies a tiny red light mounted on the tell-tale black oval, he'll whip down his pants, squeeze out exactly one drop then beat a hasty retreat to the farthest corner of the stall whilst loudly stating that he's done. 

This afternoon while Laur was otherwise engaged renting a vehicle at Hertz, His Four Year Oldness loudly declared, "I have go pee!"  Dutifully, we toddled off to the bathroom to take care of business.

But soft, what light through yonder electronic eye breaks? It is the auto-flush and the boy is a-feared.  Covering the electronic eye with my hand, the boy released an epic flow.  Dooder had to pee!  He quickly hopped off and retreated to the farthest corner of the stall, pants around his knees, hands clasped over his ears to dull the toilet's roar.

However, I also had to pee.  As I'm sitting down, the toilet (suddenly bidet) flushes.

The boy stares at me, his eyes are as wide a saucers - incredulous.  He runs over and holds me in a tiny-boy death grip. 

"I got you", he says. "I got you".

And as the roar fades, he leans in closer and whispers in my ear, "It's ok, I got you."

His fear, his compassion, his action - in that brief moment, in the weirdest of all public spaces, I was so proud of him!

And if I hadn't been sitting in the women's public pee-condo at Stanfield International Airport, I probably would have cried.

How do you solve a problem like Marina?

What a great day.  It really behooves me that the boy can misbehave so terribly in school and yet is an absolute doll at home.  I don't get it... anyways...

We had a really good day on the road, or air as the case may be.  Despite having little sleep last night, I managed to keep crazy at bay and kept it together.  Boy is a natural traveler and he does it well. He was agreeable all day, interested in the world around him and asked some really great questions.  On the plane he was occupied by "Half Naked Animals". Apparently this is some sort of pre-school comedy show, because Laur reported on several occasions that he was in stitches.

We arrived safely in Halifax and were pleasantly surprised by Hertz car rental.  Instead of the economy class car we had requested, they hooked us up with a VW Routan ("Oh! A min-eeeee van!", said the boy, his eyes like saucers).  It's nice to have a real-world test drive of a vehicle neither of us would ever choose (VW teamed with Chrysler to make this incarnation of a turd-box), but the boy is super happy. 

In fact, he was so happy that on the drive from the airport to the property he promptly fell asleep. We stopped, had a brief repast at Swiss Chalette (by deliberately mispronouncing the name you will be joining us in our weirdness), and carried on to the Valley.

We took a brief walk on the property, up to the creek and back, then came checked into the hotel to hunker down 'til morning.

Laur and the boy are sleeping.  I am currently wondering why I took a 2 hour power nap after supper.  Laur was contentedly working on some non-nonsensical (to me) work issue, and the boy was plugged into a My Little Pony episode or two. What was I to do, but close my eyes and drift off.

At 1030 (local) everyone else came to bed. Naturally, I was now wide awake.  I tossed and turned for about an hour before getting.  No sense in Laur having a crappy sleep because I can't get comfortable.

So here I sit, numb-bum on the edge of the tub, using the bathroom vanity as a makeshift desk, hiding out with Marina.  Ok, I'm the one hiding.  The toilet isn't making any special effort to conceal itself.

Yeah, the toilet has a name.

I don't think I can pee here anymore.


Where did we get the tiny Bostonian?

Having worked until one this morning, I was more than a little disoriented when my 5am wake-up call rolled around. Nonetheless, I was up and at 'em, dressed and showered by 0515.  Apparently Laur woke the boy while I was in the shower, because when I got out I peeked into his room and saw a wobbly little boy trying to put on his pants.  It was cute and sad all at the same time.

As I was helping him, he pointed his wonky little thumb at the window and made a poking motion.  I looked at him like he'd misplaced his only marble, and he did it again.  

"Look," he said poking his little digit at the window.

I looked. I didn't really see anything, so I looked harder.

"Look," he said again this time with a wee grin.  "It's dike outside."

"Yup, it's still night time," I replied.

"Look. Over dere. It's still dike, too"

For some reason, at 5-something in the morning, this struck him as hilarious. He continued to point his tiny thumb (Who points with their thumb? That guy!) at each window in the house, laughing hysterically at each one's darkness.  I couldn't tell if he was in a good mood, or crazed with sleep-deprivation. 

Either way it was going to be a good day.


Off to the country...

We're heading out!

Drop by the property if you're around... if you see the rental car, that means we're tramping about!

Stay tuned for photos.