52-52-2013: It's almost over....whew....

December 29, 2013 – You know that feeling, the one after Christmas is done, chores are done, and you can finally relax? This shot makes me think of that.

I went to take a shower and found Loki splayed out across the tiles, face pressed to the heat vent. He seemed to be saying “Sorry, the shower is currently occupied! You can have it when the heater turns off and the tiles cool down.”

I intended to find something that spoke to the time of year, to the end of the year and the end of the 52 weeks challenge, but this one-off shot in the bathroom, I just kept coming back to it simply because it made me smile.

I usually put some effort into a setup for a final shot. I make it as perfect as I can. This one is not a great shot, it’s grainy and sort of crappy actually. But I like it because of what it seems to say, so it’s my final shot for my 52 week project.

And we both sort of feel like Loki looks here.

We found all of our Christmas things and got them into one location. We actually got Christmas lights up. We had a small turkey dinner and I managed to do a bit of baking. We steamed up Mom’s two year old Christmas pudding and it was delicious thanks to all the tips from FB friends & family.

We finally got the last of everything out of the condo storage locker and brought the kayak up to the new place. And we sorted and purged and made many trips to the transfer station, the recycling station, and thrift shops to divest ourselves of things we just don’t need to hang onto.

Kirk installed a new thermostat, a new smoke/CO2 detector, and went through totes and totes of old wire, speakers, and car audio equipment that he had on hand from the days he used to install – and purged pretty much everything. He wired up the media rack, though he still has a major challenge ahead of him with respect to figuring out how to run wires through a 62 year old place that has walls made of plaster and lath and two that are solid brick. And some of those that seem like drywall are actually double walls laid over plaster and lath.

We have lots of plans for the new place, but it all hinged on selling the condo, and it has, and it changes hands on New Year’s Eve. An excellent way for both us and the new owner to start the year. We cleaned it up nicely, filled nail holes and touched up paint. We cleaned up the garden, swept and cleaned the deck and the patio, and we will pop a dozen new goldfish in the pond since the raccoons decimated the existing ones while the place was unoccupied. And even though we are happy in the new place, every time we go back into the condo, we both agree that we just loved that place. It’s a gorgeous place and we put a lot of effort into it over the just shy of 20 years that we owned it and lived there. We are sad to see it go.

But it’s done. And we visit the lawyer tomorrow to do all the closing paperwork.

And now we finally feel like we can relax.

Oh sure, we have a million things to do here:

– Renovate the kitchen
– Renovate the bathroom
– Install flooring and cabinetry in the garage
– Completely re-landscape the yard
– Build a new fence
– Install new flooring in the dining room
– Put a new roof over the dining room
– Remove the hot water tank and install a hot-water-on-demand system
– Install a pantry in the furnace room
– Install a new front door
– Build a concrete/tile step up at the front door
– Finish stripping the paint from the front tile
– Install a new garage door
– Install new soffit and recessed pot lighting in it
– Install a rain chain and rain barrel
– Resurface the driveway
– Resurface the upper deck
– Install a glass overhang across a portion of the courtyard to protect the french doors off the dining room from rain and make wet weather BBQs more appealing
– Clean and re-caulk the glass in the overhang at the front entry
– Run an irrigation system outside
– Paint the exterior and install new flashing everywhere
– Pull up the upstairs carpet and expose the original hardwood on the breezeway and the stairs
– Refinish all of the original hardwood
– Cut out the closet in the office and optimize the room for the various functions it is to serve (office, craft room, library, guest room)
– Install house-wide sound system
– Upgrade the electrical panel and wiring where possible during the kitchen renovation (ceiling is to be opened)

Oh, and do some painting inside.

Just a small list, and probably incomplete. It’s a project, but not an unexpected one when you buy a 62 year old place. But it’s built by a master architect, who is an engineer, and who built things to last, who’s son still carried on the tradition, and it’s even featured in a book. So it’s all worth it. We bought and live in a little piece of North Vancouver history, in an amazing neighbourhood. This place will keep us occupied for a long time. I wish we had a few more condos to sell to fund it all πŸ˜‰

It’s a new 20 year undertaking.

I always seem to find the end of a year a bit stressful and saddening. I historically have looked back and regretted the things that I didn’t get done and worried about the things I still had to do. But this was such a rollercoaster of a year with the selling of Mom’s house and saying goodbye to her finally. With finding a new place to live and selling the condo. With many wonderful motorcycle rides on the new machine, and the trip around Washington and Oregon. Moving and organizing. Work and play. It was a busy one, and it was a full one. And although there were things that were left undone, they were few and ultimately, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

So yes, I think Kirk and I deserve to finally feel a bit wiped and lazy, and we deserve to finally feel a bit of stress and pressure melt away.

Loki can teach us a lot:

Eat well, sit still and stare out into the distance sometimes, be curious, play lots, be confident and stand tall, stretch your body, love unconditionally, seek out and enjoy warmth, rest often.

Simple pleasures are the best ones.

So to everyone out there, I wish you a very Happy New Year, filled with health and happiness and wonderful adventure. But also filled with time for yourself to relax and be introspective, and to be grateful with where you are and what & who you have in your life.

Happy 2014.