Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Triptych

Pre-trick-or-treating. Little G's shirt is wet because he threw a fit when I tried to put a costume on him. Once he got used to the idea, though, he really got into the spirit of things. He actually went to more houses than Big C.

The Pumpkin. Big C asked me to make a "vampire pumpkin" to match his costume. There was a second pumpkin - a scary ghostie - but the candle broke in the high winds and it almost caught on fire.

Post-trick-or-treating. The boys decided it was much more fun to give out candy than to go get it. (Huh??? Not my children, obviously.) They sat on the porch for more than 45 minutes giving out candy. Big C complimented children on their costumes and Little G tried to give them only candy that he had eaten first.
Good times.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kitchen Porn (Reno Day 1)

Someone, I can't remember who, described posting pictures of your renovation as "kitchen porn". Well, all I can say is, if this is porn then I am doing it wrong.

There is nothing - NOTHING - even remotely arousing about these pictures:

Ah, yes, I like to pretend that I live in a clutter-free world but that is very, very far from the truth. In my defence, there is very little storage in this kitchen. OK, who I am kidding? I am a cluttery, cluttery person. AND, I hate to clean. Good combo.

Do you like my IKEA cabinets circa 1980? You can't see it, but the sink is NOT centred under the window. Was the designer of this fab kitchen trying to hurt me? (Please future designers, think of us OCD people when you're designing!)

Ah yes, the oven and cooktop in the MIDDLE of the kitchen. With no ventilation. And a door that opens like a cabinet. VERY safe with small children about. They can just open it up and sit right in it. But it does have the name Eaton on it, and I like to support Canadian businesses.

My pantry wall. We've had many good years together. Stuffing groceries into one tall, thin cabinet. But don't you think it's artistically decorated? Buddha overlooks the garbage and recycling, keeping it safe and calm. The clock was a recent addition, courtesy of my mother. And true to my artsy nature, there is no food in my kitchen, only one script on a bright, plastic tray.

When we bought the house, we both agreed that the kitchen was livable, but needed to be redone asap. That was seven years ago. Before fixing:
  • knob and tube wiring
  • tree roots growing in our drains
  • the roof
  • hardwood floors so old that nails popped out of it
  • a porch that was rotting
I can't believe - still don't believe - that this is actually happening. But I have a very empty kitchen to my left that has been torn down to the subfloor. I also have large holes in my walls where, apparently, the people before didn't feel it was necessary to insulate or finish the drywall.

Oh, and somewhere out there, we have a mouse. He left us some gifties. Nice.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Totally Bad Ad. Really.

I don't know if it's the popularity of Mad Men, or just the fact that I watch far too much tv, but I am fascinated with ads.

People spend thousands of dollars, more even, to get a campaign just right. And Donald Draper makes it looks so easy. Flicking off one-liners like they're ashes from his elegantly smoking cigarette. I don't know how he does it. His underlings come to him with what I believe is a super idea, and he picks it apart effortlessly, pointing out mistakes that I would never have seen.

But I see enough ads to know what speaks to me. I also fancy myself savvy enough to know when an ad is just plain awful.

Case in point, the new campaign for Dufferin Mall: "Dufferin Mall. Really."

Now, for those not familiar with this mall, I would describe it as, well, at best, "sketchy". It has some nice stores like Toys R Us, Winners, and H&M. Most of the stores, however, are the kind where plaid shirts and acid wash jeans have ruled supreme for the past 20 years, and are not just a nod to 80's fashion revival. They are trying to be family friendly, with a huge family washroom, and a small Early Years Centre. I visit there frequently on my way to Dufferin Grove Park, which is possibly the best park in the whole of the west end.

I see what they're trying to do. I see that they are trying to make themselves seem more upscale, more like a destination mall rather than a mall on the way to a destination. They are trying to be more hip. But this poster could not represent them less.

On a good day, I am the youngest, most attractive person there. (That should end the conversation right there....). Me, with my saggy jeans, un-made-up face and two screaming kids. I seriously doubt you could find an outfit like that in the mall - possibly at H&M - and you certainly can't find anyone who looks like that who would be caught dead there. Yes, they are trying to seem posh. But sometimes, though, you should bank on your strengths: a family friendly mall that offers some cost-effective alternatives.

All that aside, though, did no one - NO ONE - look at this ad and read it out loud the way I read it the first time I saw it:

"Dufferin Mall. REALLY??" (Insert tone of derision and contempt on last word.)

That's a bad ad. Really.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Six of One, Half a Dozen of Another

For the love of all that is holy, I can't make a decision to save my life. We're renovating our kitchen. I've narrowed down the floor to two choices:

A) Wild Cherry - left
B) Chesnut - right

The Wild Cherry works with the mid-tones of the current American Cherry hardwood. The Chesnut pulls out the deeper red tones. The Cherry looks nicer next to the white cabinets. The Chesnut looks nicer next to the hardwood.The Cherry is the safer choice. The Chesnut is the more dynamic one.

We're renovating with an eye to resale, but still have to live with the kitchen in the meantime.

Help, please.