Category Archives: update


The first reconnect happened this week.  I remember way back to April when power was cut to the house and how symbolic that was.
It really felt like the life blood was cut off from the old place and I found it quite affecting– more so than the demolition.  By demo day, it felt that the important emotional connections were already gone when the symbolically appropriate hollow walls came down.   But when the power got connected back this week, there was no corresponding feeling. It was all quite anodyne– a heart beat, but no heart I guess…  It was a nice little reminder of the difference between house and home that I dont want to lose site of.

But, Home Building will start!  In the mean time drywall is going in and close to 80% of the siding is done!  Also, with the construction fence gone, the place is decidedly looking less like a compound ! With the walls and ceilings being screwed in, it feels more cozy on the main floor and less overly open.  The upstairs never really had that feel to it since the walls were sort of there from the insulation. Its still all quite exciting, and more so as I get close to the finishline!



Kitchen being worked on

Walking Into The Plans

Had a quick coordination meeting with the General Contractor today.  It was a pretty cool to be there to see the first wall come up in front of me as well as stand in my building for the very first time. Chalk outlines There is a lot of visual progress right now. Once the framing and roofing is done it will seem as if not much is happening, but thats only because its all behind the scenes at that stage. But for now, its quite exciting to literally see it happening before my eyes.vStanding in my house was really cool too.  We were looking at the full sized drawings taking about rough ins and plumbing etc  and then walked into the structure where the elements were all chalked in.  Walls, support columns, doors etc. It really felt like this cool middle ground between initial concept and final reality.

I had this strange flash of realization yesterday when coming back from the mortgage signing and final Kitchen meeting. I remembered back to last August when I began in earnest to contemplate rebuilding my house/home. It all seemed overwhelming and improbable, vague and insurmountable. What would I build ? Who would I talk to? How do I do all the financing? How would I find a place to live with Orville while its done ? It really was a bit by bit process that I chipped away at. Those initial days were WAY harder than now. It really felt like I was pushing a giant boulder up a hill. Now that its pushed over the top, I am just running (sometimes staggering) after it as it rolls down with its own momentum.  Still many, many things to do, but they are now a series of bite sized details that all seem individually doable and solvable.




One of Orville’s windows that he will look out of to watch all the entertaining foot traffic 🙂



Lots done in one day!

“Look Out Honey, Cuz I’m Using Technology”

Its remarkable the momentum that has been carrying the house forward.  Mentally and physically, I had kind of checked out from the build to attend to my mum and the details around my father’s passing.  I still would come by to take a look at the site pretty well every day.  My mum enjoyed coming as well.  She too likes the symbolism of the “Tancsa castle” as my father felt success as a father in my success.

A little shout out to Iggy Pop in the title of today’s post from the song Search and Destroy…. I was thinking about it last Friday when the foundation was poured. hqdefault Gone are the days of pure human brute force building things.  Sure, there has always been technology involved, but its just that much more advanced.  Instead of wheelbarrows and human raw power, giant concrete pump trucks with snaking articulating arms to hose in the foundation. It was done in an easy 2 hours. Routine for the construction workers, amazing for me to watch.
It cured over the weekend and the forms were removed on Saturday and vanished leaving what felt like the legs of a creature slowly materializing in front of me.
It was really cool to watch it all just appear like that in such a short period of time.wp-1461939751835.jpg
Meanwhile, on the inside stuff, I bought a new stove and, Ooooooohhhh Luxury…. A Dishwasher!!!! The old house had no room for one. Also, more design work on the Kitchen. Progress. And next week starts Framing already.  Some services were already roughed in as well.  Technology, its amazing!


Click on the images for larger versions
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The cool thing about building a house from scratch is that you get to pick everything.  The shitty thing about building a house from scratch is that you have to pick everything.   My good friend Keith Winter pointed out, we only seem to have so much energy every day that we can allocate to making choices.  Too many choices and you just get burnt out and stop caring and look for the easy way out.  This was one of the dangers that took effort to navigate around in the lead up to demo day. Picking a rough plan to start from and then modify from there– its exhausting mentally.
Also, for all of our adult lives, Kathleen and I kind of lived like university students.  So I am coming from zero.   I almost feel like I am coming at this like a HillBilly. My Kitchen Island was my Corelle Plate I bought from the Bi-Way 20yrs ago that I would balance on my sink’s edge.  I love good design. I think good design like good art enhances our lives and is a necessary part of it.  But prices?!?! Holy cow, you can blow your brains out on stuff.  Bathroom fixtures were a real eye opener.  Somewhere between a garden hose and a $2,000 set of shower fixtures must be a happy medium for me.  I am just not sure where.


One luxury I know I will go for is an oversized bathtub.  As a kid I used to LOVE to soak.  But by age 15 or so, I could no longer fit into a tub without feeling like I was sitting in a bucket.  As a recreational long distance runner, having the ability to do an ice bath post long run would be very, very nice indeed. So to me, spending $500 on a normal tub does not make sense. I wont use it.  $1800 for one that I will, does seem like an investment in my enjoyment of life.


There it goes– Demolition day +1

It feels like I just rolled a large chunk of my psyche off the top of a five month effort to get to the top of the hill.  There is a chunk of me, now rolling down, set in motion and no longer in my full control. Not to overuse the metaphor, but when the Waterloo North hydro guys cut the power two weeks ago, the last safety line was cut and the boulder was ready for its final push. If the boulder lands and stops at the right place– At the bottom of the hill is my new house and my next home.Cutting the Hydro

It took perhaps 20-25min to be a pile of tinder.  The wood snapped like match sticks as the digger went through it like it was a cardboard house. It was ready to come down.

Some pictures at 

some videos at

I was quite positive and up about seeing the process. Really, I had removed all the memories and those I keep. In the end, it was a shell of a structure. I think too, because I have been in this sort of controlled stagger forward since November, this was more of a big step than a leap. Its been exhausting to get here, so a little more potential emotion gets blended into the bigger picture. Yes, a big day but I felt very prepared and very happy.

The weather cooperated. Overcast black and white– a nice day for transition. By Thursday, Spring returns and by Friday the footings for the new house are scheduled to be poured and will begin to cure. There is a wonderful congruence of symbolism there for me.