Hardwood explosion

Over the last couple of days, we've been quite busy at the house!  Kel's finished laying down hardwood for not just the master ensuite, but also the office, living, dining, and hallway!  All that's left now are the linen and coat closets.  Erica and her dad's been here for the last few days, too.  They've been helping out with the detailing.  Her dad's been framing doors around the house as well as hanging doors.  And of course, Erica's been plastering and sanding all the nicks Kel's been making in the process. :)  Kel's also ripped out the nasty green carpet that was in the foyer and his dad's tiled it.  Kel is actually grouting the foyer tiles as I type.  (No, we don't actually have Internet at the house yet, but our neighbour, "Joe" does and his connection is not protected. :)

Below, you can see the temporary rails Kel's put in for our staircase.  He had to rip out the old ones to lay the hardwood and the new ones can't be installed until the new hardwood's down.

I wasn't going to post any pictures of our floors yet because their current condition simply doesn't do it justice!  We've laid out all the hardwood planks on the floor to size to speed up the installation process.  It's like the hardwood's exploded all over our living-dining room!

And here's Kelly, grouting our foyer tiles at 11:52pm!

Hoppy Holidays and Bunny Christmas to all!

Ms Bunny couldn't wait to get into her Christmas presents! Thanks Godmom Erica, Aunt Winnie and Uncle Wally!

Another finishing touch completed

If you remember, the last picture we had of our kitchen island from four posts ago, was still missing the toe boards and the microwave shelf was unfinished.  Thanks to Erica's dad, its now all done.  Below, you can see his handywork.  He's also put up all the window and door frames around the house.

Ensuite bathroom 99% complete!

This weekend, we've finished touching up the paint in the ensuite bathroom, as well as install the toilet, the vanity lights, and the cabinet drawers/doors.  The only missing piece now is filling in the white gap under the sink, but that should be fast with Erica's dad's help.

One step closer!

Erica finished painting the ensuite washroom and the walk-in closet last night :)  There's still some touch up to be done in the master bedroom, but we'll get to that later.

Below: The view from inside the ensuite washroom. You can see the shower, the darker grey wall of the washroom, the lighter grey in the closet, and the light green master bedroom with hardwood floors installed.  Next up, finishing the hardwood floors in the walk-in closet!

Hardwood floors have begun!

We've started installing hardwood floors this week! Right when you thought there's nothing else to rip out of the house, too! We've ripped up the old hardwood from the master bedroom, closet, and hallway. My job was to rip out all the nails that were still stuck on the wooden planks before people stepped all over them. I sure hope they had a nail gun back in the day, because there were a whole lot in there!

Below you can see the wax paper we've laid out and the newly installed planks.  And of course, Kel taking a break enjoying his work.

Meanwhile, Erica's busy running around trying to finish painting as much as she can before the hardwood goes in.

Photos as promised!

Our shower with the glass up, faucets, and rainshower installed.

Our vanity; overhang sink with plumbing and faucets installed; Just missing the cabinet doors now.

Our first window frame is up! Courtesy of Erica's dad over the weekend :P

Shot of our island in the kitchen, from the other side where you can actually see the apron sink.


It has been a very good weekend. I finally got all the plumbing in the house completed! My Dad got the majority of the lights re-wired and working, Erica’s dad did a awesome job in putting finishing touches in the kitchen and Erica scrape the remaining wall paper from the house and primed the master bedroom. During the weekday, I am going to try and prime the final walls (walk in closet and the last wall in the ensuite) so that we can start laying the new hardwood floor. I will get Patsy to take some photos and post them this week for sure.

Overall progress

Kel finished insulating the attic last weekend and we've scheduled for the energy auditor to come in next Monday.  Ken came over yesterday and together with Kel and Erica, they've put up the glass pieces for the ensuite shower. Yayy!  I'm holding out on the pictures until Kel's got the faucets and shower heads screwed in for the full effect.  Next, will be cutting the ensuite counter top to fit in the vanity sink and faucets.  And now that the tiling is officially finished in the ensuite, Erica can finish sanding and plastering the closet walls for priming. :)
As well, the hood was installed last weekend, so the kitchen looks whole now :D

Ensuite shower tiles

We finished tiling our shower walls tonight.  As promised, photos are below.  We still need to grout this weekend before putting up the glass walls, but that should be quick.  :)

Another room painted

We've lost our dedicated painter Ceci for almost two weeks now, so the progression of painting has gone to a stand still.  It's almost like our foreman Erica has been grieving over this lost and chose to do other work around the house instead.  Well last night, since Kel was tiling the shower wall, Erica was unable to do any sanding around the vicinity, and was left with either putting up foam boards behind the furnace or painting the office.  I convinced her to start painting the office since we had a couple hours, and putting up foam boards need not be a continuous task.  (You can put one up and go do something else, but you can't paint a patch of the wall and walk off.)  So here's to another room done!

When Kel walked in, his first comment was.. I love it, but is this... Hippo's color? 
Oddly enough, it does remind me of our Moomin hippo...

Materials for the house

Kel finally made it to the flooring store today before their warehouse closed and picked up our lot of hardwood for the living/dining and hallway!  We were originally planning on getting someone in to sand and repolish our existing hardwood floors, but with the current sale, it isn't costing us very much more to get new ones.  Next step would be to pick out the hardwood for the office off of their sale list, and order the ones for our master ensuite!

One of our tasks for tonight is to finish tiling the shower wall in our ensuite.  Kel's already pre-cut all the necessary pieces over the weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed, I might just be able to post pictures of the finished wall tiles later tonight. :)

One step forward, two steps back...

This weekend, while Kel was working on reinforcing our staircase, he found a piece of rotted wood. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that the bottom piece of wood where our once brick wallpaper covered wall stood, was ninety percent rotted through. Apparently, the hole where the wall sat on the basement floor was not lined with cement. This meant that for the last fifty odd years, it's been sitting on top of moist soil, slowly rotting away. Conclusion? Kel took down the bottom part of that big wall and relined the slit in the ground with cement. And of course, if this was happening on one side of the stairs, it was also happening on the other side. This meant he also had to remove that wall as well. The stairs to our basement is now free standing, with no walls or rails on either side. It opened up our basement even more, but is definitely tacking on extra work and time.

View from our front door looking down:
(Yes, that's Kel and his dad we see in the basement)

View from the bottom of the stairs (in the basement):

View from the top of the main floor:

We've got kitchen counters!

The counters we ordered came in this Saturday.  Our island counter was so big, they had to send three guys to carry it and still they had to ask Kel for his help!  Out kitchen definitely looks a lot more complete now, and we realize how much more space we've got!

On the other hand, Sears called to say the timer part for our range hasn't come in yet and they'll let us know when they do get it and can schedule a repairman.

Bunny Break!

Bunny had a play date with Winnie's dog Yoshi.  They didn't exactly become friends, but it's a start!

Basement insulation is almost done!

The last couple of weeks, one of our parallel jobs has been to clean up the basement walls and prep it for insulating.  We've glued the foam boards on, build the metal frames/studs, and are almost done filling it with insulation.  Speaking of which, we've already made three insulation runs to Lowe's to date.  And for anyone needing a reference, the Caravan fits 9 bags.  Kel has also build the metal frame for the walls to the laundry.

Below: the before clean up, during insulating, and now.

On the right, wall tiling of our ensuite shower has begun!  For anyone who watches renovation shows on TV, you'll recognize the orange membrane Kel's prepped on the walls this past weekend.  Can't wait to see the finished shower!

Summary of our past eight days

Yes, I realized I haven't posted in a week now, so here's the short and sweet of it.

Ceci came by that Tuesday and helped us finish painting the rest of the ensuite walls.  She also came by on Sunday and painted the first layer of the big wall joining the living and dining room under Erica's guidance and Kelly finished the top layer.

 Sears delivered the dryer that day as expected *phew* so that's done.  However, the crediting on the bill wasn't done and we were charged a second delivery fee, so I had to email Vicky the customer service rep to get that fixed.

 The repairman for the range came in the weekend after.  He looked at the range, and by that I seriously mean he looked at it.  He didn't pull it out from the slot between the cabinets, nor did he take anything apart.  He simply looked at it, made a call to inquire what he needed to fix it and then told us he needed the "timer" part, which he didn't have and would need to order and come back when he has it...  Really? We already told him what the problem was and what the serial model of our range was, but I guess he had to see it for himself to believe it.  We're thinking we should try baking something in the oven just to make sure it works so we don't have to deal with this madness all over again.

Besides that, we've been working on insulating the basement, and Kel's been building the frames for the basement walls.  He did another water test last weekend for the shower faucet in the bathroom and let's just say we had another water show.  LoL

Below, you can see how we (and by we, I mean Erica) adds fun to our days of work.

Painting has begun!

This past Sunday, Ceci came over to paint again.  Since Queenie and Lotus finished priming the living/dining room the weekend before, there were no more rooms ready for priming. So... Erica got Ceci to help start painting the ensuite bathroom! :)

Below Left: Ceci inspecting her work.. and you can see the frame Kel's dad had prepped for the closet doors.
Below Right: The pile of rubble Kel's dug up in the basement to move the toilet pipe.  (In the process, he also broke the main drain pipe... but that's fixed now and the hole's filled up again.)

Below:  The three walls Ceci and Erica painted. (And we've managed to schedule Ceci to come help paint some more on Tuesday, too!) :D

William Ashley Warehouse Sale

Kel and I went to the William Ashley Warehouse Sale last Friday, along with Ceci, Irene, Coral, and Erica.  The sales as usual are awesome.  (Maybe not all were 90% off, but most were at least 50% off.)  The only difference this year, was that we actually have a house to put things in. :)  We scored 2 bar stools, a floor lamp, an espresso machine, and other things for the kitchen for cheap.  I think the highlight of the night had to be when Ceci and Irene decided to purchase the Gund Bear.  It was gi-normous!  The bear itself was like 70" in height.  Everybody walking by had an inquisitive smile on their face.  It took 2 ladies, Ceci, and Irene to bag the bear at the cashier. Each limb took a bag, and plastic bags had to be taped to protect it's body.  The bear was so tall, it had to go in sideways in the backseat of Ceci's sedan, with the front passenger seat shifted up!

Plugged in our fridge

Guess who's freezer that is?  Our place!  Yes, we went a little crazy on the Haagen-Dazs sale at Loblaws last week.  But to our defense, some of those are Erica's.. she just hasn't taken them home yet!

Our fridge is stocked full of drinks thanks to Erica.  She highly believes in workers comp.

And... right when I thought we're done dealing with Sears, Kel tells me one of the lights on our panel burnt out...  It's no longer 18:30.... it's 1a:30

Here we go again..

Sears Customer Service - Part 2

We didn't end up getting the same color dryer we wanted, but at least we got the same model we had previously ordered and for the same outlet price.  However, Vicky, the customer service rep was able to get us the better deal in that we now have a 1 year warranty on the dryer versus the previous "as-is" sale.  Our dryer is now scheduled to arrive on October 31st.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it does arrive as planned, and the credits on the billing goes through correctly.


From: webmaster@sears.ca
Sent: October 21, 2009 3:41:25 PM
To: me
Subject: CASE: 1558188 Vicky / Order Issues: I just want my dryer!

Hello Ms. Chu,

Thank you very much for your email to Sears.ca and for taking my several calls this afternoon.

I wish to confirm that we have ordered a replacement front load dryer in the item number described in your last email. We tried to order the blue model and it was no longer available. We are sorry for this problem.

In any event, the pricing on the item ordered today was $699.00, and we note that your sales receipt from June showed a special price of $399.00. When I spoke with you today we discussed me crediting the entire order made today, and leaving the June charge in place. On reflection, this does not give you the best result. The dryer you purchased in June was an outlet item and would have been "as is". The item I have ordered for you today will have a full one year warranty commencing from the date of delivery.

As a result, it is better for you if I credit the June 2009 order in total, and then apply a credit to today’s order to reduce the price, delivery, and taxes to the amount you paid in June.

Thus you will, after October 31, 2009, see two credits on your Sears account rather than one. This involves a little more paperwork, but preserves your warranty.

I hope that this is satisfactory for you and we do apologize for this error and for the lack of your preferred colour at this time.

Thank you for working with me on this matter.


Sears Corporate Customer Service

We've found our painter! Now we just need her onboard...

Ceci proved to be an awesome primer!  The best we have thus far!  We're trying to convince her she should use her talent on the colour layers, too.  We'll let you know how that goes...

Ceci primed our main bathroom and most of the office.  Erica's dad came over and put in most of our kitchen cabinet doors and drawers.  The kitchen is really coming together!  We should be scheduling someone to come in to give us estimates on those granite countertops this week.  Kel's dad and Erica started putting in the first layer of insulation foam boards in the basement. Kel's finished tiling the ensuite tonight. :)

Below, you can see the kitchen with all the doors, and our hallway finally has the door to our master ensuite built.

We broke the record tonight

Usually on the weekdays, we go to the house after work and leave around midnight. Tonight, I didn't get home until 1:15! And I live 4 minutes away! (Google said so.) What's funny is with our move-in date having moved month to month to month, Kel's always said regardless, we'll definitely be in before the first snowfall. Guess what? The Weather Network predicts mixed rain-snow starting from 2am all the way to scattered flurries tomorrow morning! Who would've thought we'd get our first snow of the year mid-October?! It normally doesn't happen until late November, early December! I told Kel about the weather forecast and whether that meant we should move in tonight and he says he doesn't warrant such weather anomalies! LOL!

What we did tonight, Erica cutting drywall for the walk-in closet; Kel continuing his tiling job in the ensuite


It has been a while since I wrote for the blog. I have keep myself busy with the house =D Here are some updates to the various projects in the house:

Kitchen – We got the water hooked up! I just have to finalize the sink placement and hook up the drains and we will have a working kitchen sink. Just have to make a minor modification to the sink cabinet and they island should be done.

Ensuite – I started to tile last night. Took me close to 4 hours to lay down 9 pieces of tiles. It’s a real pain but the tiles look great! Hopefully I can get the entire ensuite done by this weekend. Ken helped me to pour the base for the shower kit over the weekend and have to say it looks great. Now the shower is sitting nice and flat on the floor.

Basement – Got the materials needed to start insulating and framing. This will be an interesting project as Erica and Co. will be handling this one =D

Hopefully Patsy will have some nice photos of the ensuite by the end of the week!

Sears Customer Service

As expected, no one from Sears called me back in 48 hours so I gave them a call by the third day.  That did not resolve anything, except them offering me fifty dollars credit and no more.  I asked to speak to their manager and was told their manager did not take calls, but was only there to guide them on their calls.... which resulted in me writing the below email to Sears customer service and their response.

Subject:  Order Issues: I just want my dryer!‏
From:  me
Sent:  October 9, 2009 2:21:01 AM
To:  home@sears.ca

To whomever this may concern,

We've recently purchased a house, much like many friends and coworkers of ours, and we were quite impressed with your salespeople.  They were knowledgeable, sincere, and helpful in every way imaginable.  We were very much in awe with the flexibility Sears had to offer in terms of payment options, delivery dates, and even price matching.  Although, we've heard and read many complaints about your company, we were sure that they were one off events, and people tend to only remember and talk about the unpleasant.  We've even been recommending Sears to many of our friends and family, and mentioned time and time again on our blog what a pleasant experience we've had.  To date, we've purchased a refrigerator, range, washer, and dryer for our new home, and we've been able to move our delivery date along with our delayed renovation date.   Unfortunately, this was where our troubles began.

On the date of our delivery, only the refrigerator and range arrived.  When asked, the delivery man told us these were the only ones loaded on to his truck.  Maybe the washer and dryer were coming in a separate truck?  He didn't know.  Nearing the end of our 12pm to 6pm window, I decided to give Sears a call.  The customer rep looked into our order and told us that the order for the washer and dryer had been cancelled the week before, but no note was made as to why that was.  I assured her that we did not cancel it, and she proceeded to look further.  She explained that maybe it was a clearance item and they no longer had it in stock, which was why it was cancelled, but shouldn't someone have called us to let us know ahead of time?  Or, even advise us that this could happen?  She looked deeper and found that the washer was still available and told me she was going to place the order again and call me back with details.  Sure enough, she called me back later that evening to arrange a delivery date for the washer.  The dryer, however, she could do nothing about because we had bought it at a Sears warehouse sale and so we would need to call them directly to arrange something.  By then, it was late Saturday night, and I'd have to call them on Monday.

So on Monday, I gave them a call.  It was a while before anyone picked up, and even then, the man on the other side told me there was nothing he could do for me and referred me to a 1-800 number.  Calling that number, landed me with another reference to another 1-800 number.  After waiting 25 minutes there, the customer rep confirmed the order was indeed cancelled (maybe due to a computer glitch), and that he would investigate into the matter and see about reordering the dryer.  He told me he'd call back within 24 to 48 hours with the results.  Three days past and I have not heard back, so I call the same 1-800 number again.  The customer rep I got this time said he couldn't help me and that I need to call the warehouse.  I explained to him that I tried that already and 3 days ago, someone at this number told me they'd look into it.  He told me he'd transfer my call to another department, only I got transferred to a lady that only spoke French.  She then transferred me to a second lady who ALSO only spoke French, who then bounced me to some guy who's new on the job and I can hear someone coaching him from behind.  He was nice, but also was unable to help me.  He gave me the number to the delivery hotline, but what good is it when I was told the order was cancelled?!  He then told me to try calling this OTHER 1-800 number.  At that number, I had to re-explain my situation, and the lady put me on hold to try to call the warehouse herself.  She then came back to say no one picked up and she left a message with the manager there and he'd call me back.  I asked her to give me the number to the warehouse and the manager's name in case I don't hear back.  She says she wouldn't be able to do that and I'd just have to wait.

A couple hours passed, and I decided to call again and see if I can get a more definite answer.  This time, the customer rep Glenda, told me she'd personally follow up with the warehouse and call me back later that day, or the next day at the latest.  She seemed understanding and so I hung up.  Later that afternoon, Glenda called me back to say that the dryer we ordered was no longer in stock.  I asked how that could be, since we had bought it from the warehouse that day.  I mean, they made sure the unit was there before we paid.  We personally saw them fill out a form and stuck it to the unit, OUR UNIT's box!  She says she has no idea, but we could look through their catalogue and order something similar and they'll offer us $50 credit.  As generous as that sounds, the dryer we had ordered and paid in full, was a 6.7 cubic feet Kenmore, front loading, see through glass door, for $399.99!!  The cheapest front loading dryer you have with a glass door was already at $599.99!!  And it doesn't have all the functions of our previous one, and it's also only 5.8 cubic feet!  What good is $50 credit going to do me?  I've always thought of Sears as a responsible corporation committed to customer satisfaction, but this is an outrage.  Shouldn't Sears own up to their own mistakes and at least replace my previous dryer with something comparable?

I'm deeply disappointed that a big corporation such as Sears would not step up and try to win a loyal customer back, but instead have their customers shoulder their responsibility for them.  I'm sure that a corporation such as yours would have calculated average customer lifetime values.  I'm only 27 to-date, which means this is the start of my journey with Sears.  I now leave it upon you to make right this situation, so I can go on recommending your services to many of my friends and colleagues, who are also just starting on their journey.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Subject: CASE: 1558188 Order Issues: I just want my dryer!‏
From: home@sears.ca
Sent:  October 10, 2009 2:34:36 PM
To:   me
Hello Ms. Chu,

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention. We value you as a Sears customer and regret that you have had an unpleasant experience.

We have directed this important issue to our Corporate Customer Service Department for further review. One of our Customer Service Representatives will be in touch with you to address your concerns.

We appreciate your continued patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.



Subject:  CASE: 1558188 Vicky / Order Issues: I just want my dryer!‏
From: webmaster@sears.ca
Sent: October 11, 2009 2:26:21 PM
To: me

Hello Ms. Chu,

Thank you for your email to Sears.ca and for bringing this issue to our attention.

I can certainly understand your consternation over these developments and we very much apologize for the error made at the warehouse in terms of the sale of your dryer. I also acknowledge that you are not accepting the prior offer made to you of a $50.00 credit on another machine.

In order to look into possible resolutions for you I have sent a note to our buying team asking for information as to the replacement model for the dryer you purchased. Once I have heard back from the buying team I will advise what dryers are now available with equivalent features. My understanding from looking at the order was that you chose a model in a black colour. Is this correct?

After I am aware of availability and costs I can then propose a resolution. Please be assured that you are a valued customer and we will do everything reasonably possible to resolve this for you.

Again, we are very sorry for the difficulties you have experienced in the purchase of this dryer and we regret the further time you have had to expend on the telephone in connection with this matter.

Thank you for using Sears online.


Sears Corporate Customer Service

We've assembled all the kitchen cabinets today!

All the cabinets are done, some of the doors are up. We're leaving the rest of the doors (mostly for the island) for Ceci to do us the honour! Kel's also made the necessary cutting to fit the apron sink in.  We still need to get the hood and get that installed, and of course the counter top.  Ken will be coming by tomorrow to help Kel with the ensuite bathroom floor. If we're on track, we should have tiles in by the end of this weekend.

Hot off the press!

I know I said I wanted the next picture to be of the kitchen with all the cabinets installed, but there's been requests to see how things are. That, and Kel had to switch it up and work on the air ducts first. It's really starting to get cold these days, so it'll be nice to get that working. Most of the ducts were connected by the end of the night and we've got the heat going now!

Left: Our kitchen's current status. You can see Erica sanding the exterior. :)
Right: Kel working on fitting ducts into the openings.

Oh, and I've had feedback that the pictures of the kitchen after tiling didn't really show our tiles, so below is a picture of *just* the tiles.

As you can see, we still need to assemble a few more cabinets and put the doors in, and apparently Kel says we need to exchange one of them because they gave us the wrong one. The one we have now doesn't have the slot for our apron sink so I guess another trip to IKEA is inevitable.