The Confession

In my last entry, I promised you Steve’s “confession,” so here it is: as I was prepping Callum’s room to paint it, Steve casually mentioned that he used to be a professional painter. Somehow, we managed to get through painting both an apartment and a house in Ottawa without this ever coming up. As soon as he revealed this to me, I began to imagine him painting our current home from top to bottom, from ceilings to baseboards, and everything in between, including the kitchen cabinets (they’re those ubiquitous 80’s jobs with the oak trim at the bottom). I wonder why he had kept his previous life as a painter to himself until now?

I suppose that divulging this information might have worked contrary to his desire to do as little work as possible on our rental home. Oh well. At least he left this on my pillow to make up for it:

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That’s right, folks. Let your imaginations run WILD about what I might have had to do for all that Canadian Tire dough! I’m a lucky lady!

At any rate, we did get Callum’s room painted last week, and with a hectic week of him starting daycare, I’m finally getting around to posting some before and after pics. I’m much happier with the sunny yellow and crisp white trim than the drab mix of browns that was up before. What do you think?

Here’s a photo of the nursery with the old colours, as I was preparing the room to be painted:

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And here’s a photo of the nursery after:

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I painted the walls and Steve did the trim. Can you tell the difference between the professional and the amateur’s work?

In the meantime, transitioning Callum to daycare continues to be a bit of a struggle. I was thrown into a complete tailspin last Friday, when I went to pick him up and found—horror of horrors—processed cheese and 2% milk in the fridge in the infant room! The friend that I spoke to after these discoveries would attest to the fact that I was very upset by this. In retrospect, it may have been an overreaction, but so far, I’ve cooked all of Callum’s food, and as a result, he’s had nothing processed. Also, children under the age of two should only drink whole milk, because it contains fat that is important for their developing brains.

In the end, a quick talk with the lead caregiver in Callum’s room and the daycare centre’s owner seems to have resolved the situation. We went over what kinds of food Callum will be getting as snacks, and processed cheese is not on the list. They explained that they only occasionally give the children milk at all and that, when they do, it’s just a small amount on their cereal, and they let me know that I was free to bring in whole milk for Callum should I so desire. I have since done so.

Although these may seem like small things, everything seems all-important when raising a child, and the choices I’ve made along the way, such as making Callum’s food myself in order to keep processed foods our of his diet, seem all the more important now that I am letting go of having him at home with me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I imagine the next twenty years or more will be a gradual process of letting go, but these first few steps are difficult!

The house…

Nearly four months ago, our family moved to Vancouver from Ottawa. My husband, Steve, had been commuting between the two cities since February (flying home for three-day weekends every week, so that he could spend time with us), because I was committed to teaching a course at the University of Ottawa. When the course finally came to an end, I was thrilled to have my husband with us full time once again, excited to finally be moving to the West Coast, and eager to see the house that Steve had rented for us!

Taking care of a baby and teaching a university course meant that I hadn’t had the time to fly out and see it in person before moving in: the first time I would see the house would be the  moving day! Photographs that I had seen online led me to believe it had promise: a Victorian-style home built in the Edwardian era, it had lots of character in the form of mouldings and stained glass, its rooms appeared to be a decent size, and it had a big back yard as well as a large deck.

In person, I could still see the potential of the place, but I felt it needed some work to make it feel like our home. I’m no interior decorator, but I do like to take pride in my home. We would have to do some painting and change some lighting: the baby’s room was a drab beige with brown trim, there were watermarks on the paint near the window in the master bedroom, the matching eighties fixtures in the living/ dining area, one of which was also a ceiling fan, felt dated, but my two main points of contention were the burgundy and pink flowery wallpaper in the entrance and kitchen (complemented with a matching blue house border in the kitchen) and—wait for it—the pink ceiling fan in the master bedroom.

While I was gung-ho to fix everything right away, Steve was understandably apprehensive about wasting too much time and money on a rental. But, bit by bit, we’ve been making this place our home over the past few months: the landlord paid to have the wallpaper in the kitchen removed and a coat of off-white paint put up in its place, so I (unfortunately?) have no photos of the kitchen before. Steve has already replaced the light fixtures in the living and dining area, so I have no photos of those either, but here is a photo of something similar:

I wasn’t too sad to say goodbye to that one, but it was a bit of ordeal for poor Steve. The wiring in this house is O-L-D, and pieces of the ceiling fall out when he tries to change anything! Yipes! To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, here’s a fuzzy picture of the light switches from our entranceway:

Side by side like these ones, they look like boobies. Quaint, no? But tricky to put new fixtures in without a junction box… The wires in the living/ dining area weren’t hooked up to any switches, so Steve had to convert the fixtures we bought with some pull switches (See the little pull switch on the left of the light? Steve did that!):

Today, Steve went out and bought paint, and tomorrow I’m going to start in Callum’s room! I can’t wait to start decorating in there and to turn that drab room into a fun space for our now one-year old guy! Stay tuned…