Christmas Under Renovation

Any spare time this fall has largely been consumed with doing minor renovations to the Deobald hacienda. The house is now twenty something years old, and while it’s still in very good shape overall, it’s showing some signs of being dated. Or, maybe, since we’ve had satellite TV, we’ve just watched to many home improvement shows. Or, perhaps we were inspired by seeing what a difference a few changes made to Aaron’s House.

At any rate, the renovation saga began when we ordered windows in June. We had replaced a couple of windows five years ago, but it was now time to deal with the rest of the upstairs windows, partly because we were tired of painting peeling exterior window frames, but also because our massive living room window doesn’t open, making it hard to cool off the oven at the end of a hot summer’s day. The original plan was to install these windows in August; however, that plan flew out the window (pardon me) when the supplier didn’t get them to us until mid-November. When the windows arrived the dominoes began to fall something like this:

  • New windows meant new blinds. That only took three trips to Medicine Hat.
  • New windows meant replacing the interior window trim.
  • Since we have never liked the trim in our house (pre-finished crap), we didn’t want to replace it with the same trim.
  • And, if we were going to change the trim on the windows, we really should replace ALL the other trim in the house to match, n’est-ce pas?
  • All that new trim needed to be painted.
  • And while we’re painting the trim, we might as well paint the hallway, the entryway, the stair railing (spindles a different colour than the rail, just for a challenge) and a couple of bedrooms, right? We want that trim to show up nicely against the new colours.
  • Now, wait a minute. Before we put on new baseboards, wouldn’t it make sense to replace the flooring in the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway? The carpet is worn and pretty nasty in the dining room and there is a patch in the carpet between the living room and the dining from my ripping out a stub wall last spring. So off we go to Medicine Hat to pick up a truckload of hardwood.
  • That’s when it hits me; I’m going to have to do the hardwood on the stairs from the bottom up, which means that if we are going to replace the flooring on the landing with ceramic tile, now would be the time. Add cement board, tile, grout and tools to the list. (I already had received the wet saw as a father’s day gift in spring.)

So here it is, December 21st, and the sum total of our Christmas preparations consist of a bare tree standing forlorn in the middle of the living room and some exterior lights on the roof. No presents bought, no baking done, no decorating – at least no Christmas decorating. And we still have two bedrooms to paint and the tile and hardwood to lay.
But, for the time being, we are putting a halt to that. Steven flies in to Calgary today. Aaron is coming home late tonight, and tomorrow he will travel with us to Calgary to pick up Steven. Somehow in the next 72 hours or so, most of which will be spent in Calgary, we will get all our Christmas preparations done. No problem

On the Decline of Civilization

In an idle moment, I stumbled upon this quote from JFK on “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

That got me thinking. Let’s just disregard for a moment whether or not you agree or disagree with the sentiment expressed. Let’s even dismiss that fact that someone else – a speech writer, perhaps – may have written this pithy little gem for JFK. We are still left with these logical conclusions:

  • FK was able to articulate this verbally and be understood by his public.
  • He most likely understood the essence of what he was saying.

Here’s the question that arises from this, for me: Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, that George W. Bush would be capable of this? Or Stephen Harper, for that matter?

If not, then do we draw the conclusion that our society has allowed it self to settle for lesser leaders than those of the past? Or were those leaders just exceptional people who only surface every half century or so? Inquiring minds want to know.