A couple months ago I posted pictures of our old busted kitchen, and the interim state in which it existed for a while during renovations:

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Finally, a few weeks ago, it was done. Well, more or less. We’re still waiting for the backsplash, but we finally have a functional (and beautiful) kitchen!

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More storage, more counter space, new appliances, better design. I love it so much.

To celebrate having a new kitchen we decided to actually put it to use, and signed up for GoodFood. We’ve long contemplated a service like this (where they drop off pre-measured, pre-prepped ingredients and simple instructions) since we have neither the time nor the energy to come up with ideas and recipes. Even shopping for groceries is a stretch, so we end up eating out constantly. From both a health and financial standpoint, this made a ton of sense. I admit to being nervous about the quality of the food though.

However, we prepped our first meals this past week, and I have to say: they were amazing. Like, all three were delicious, and they took 20-25 minutes to prep. So far, a week in, this seems like one of our best ideas ever. Bonus: each meal gave me an excuse to open good bottles of wine from the collection, so:

[Missing: the lovely Domaine Louis Moreau 2016 Chablis we had with our fish.]

Temporary displacement

We’re having renos done on the loft right now. The bathroom already looks great, but the big change is the kitchen, which started Thursday. Everything’s been ripped out. Custom kitchen’s coming in next week, along with all-new appliances. The ones that were here when I bought are ugly and half-busted, and they gotta go. Not to mention the counter. Ugh.

Before:

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Midway:

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“After” pictures to come, I guess. Pray for us.

Meanwhile, we had to get out of the place during the worst of it, so we checked into the Broadview Hotel for a couple of nights. It’s nice, but the rooms are small. And expensive. And (in some cases) overlooking an alley. But also a dog park, so there’s that. I enjoyed the room, the turntable, and the view Friday while I waited for Lindsay to get home after work.

When she got home we were looking for someplace really tasty, but also really laid back. Eastbound was rammed, but we played a hunch and checked out The White Lily Diner, where we’d only ever eaten brunch. After a short wait for a table we sat ourselves down, took advantage of half-price-wine-on-Friday (Closson Chase Chardonnay, as it turns out) and ordered SO much food. Beet salad to start, then a hot turkey sandwich for Lindsay and the special for me, which was basically a giant bone-in piece of pork belly. And enough slaw to seed a lawn. Christ.

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We somehow split a vanilla pudding covered in chocolate sauce and crumbled peanut butter cookie (!) for dessert, and then dragged our asses home where we promptly fell asleep watching The Office. Wild Friday nights r us.

After getting up and doing work this morning we dashed downstairs for breakfast in their cafe, getting steak + eggs (Linds) and buckwheat pancakes covered in peanut butter mousse (me) plus fancy juices. After checking out we walked home to check out the damage — not bad, but not a place we’d be able to effectively work, so we buggered off to Boxcar Social, and then Chez Nous, for coffee –> beer –> wine –> snacks.

I was going to say that we’d need to stop eating like this, but as long as our kitchen is strictly theoretical, I guess there’s a risk we keep this up. OH WELL.

Public speaking

This week has already turned into a bit of a gong show, which has me thinking wistfully back to a wonderful weekend. First, and maybe most importantly, the weather finally turned springlike. Hallelujah.

We had a nice (read: farging huge) Saturday breakfast at the Broadview Hotel café. Lindsay had duck benedict. I had a stack of pancakes covered in peanut butter mousse, I shit you not. Then we drove out to Mississauga to meet our contractor for some kitchen renovation design decisions. While there we bought a whackload of pretty new appliances (all European: Bosch, Miele, and Liebherr) at Tasco and kitchen fixtures at Taps. After all that we drove home, dumped the car, and sauntered up to The Wren where we…well, drank too much. But I mean, their bottle list is just so good.

On Sunday we went back to the Broadview Hotel café for the schmear platter (sesame + poppy seed bagels, citrus-cured salmon, capers, pickled onions, sliced cucumber, smoked mackerel + crème frâiche, horseradish + chive cream cheese, caper lemon + dill whipped ricotta) and Cava before heading up to the Hot Docs theatre to see one of Lindsay’s idols: Fran Lebowitz, in conversation. She’s a consummate wit, and entertained us greatly whilst fending off stupid (and uncomfortably weird, in one case) questions. Fran had a meaningful role in the early days of our relationship too, so…special. Lovely.

Yesterday wasn’t so bad either, frankly — I flew to Ottawa in the morning for meetings, flew back late in the afternoon, did a bunch of work, stopped in at Eastbound, and then met Linds at The Roy for pub heaviness and mediocre beer. Honestly, though, the service and vibe at that place are why we always want to go back.

Cover photo by B Smith, used under Creative Commons license

Warm & Dry

As I write this Lindsay and I are tucked snugly into our loft, waiting out the cold (for Toronto) snap, thankful we’re not dealing with the same cleanup as our family back east. We have leftovers and meat pies and snacks, so our plan is to do some work and stuff and then finish the new season of Black Mirror, which sounds like a pretty damn good Saturday by any measure.

Apart from a brief visit to work yesterday I’ve taken the remainder of this week off, focusing on doing and fixing things around the loft. Even though we moved in 8 months ago I still have books and glasses in boxes, and have been meaning to fix some busted things for ages. I finally tackled some nagging issues over the past few days (medicine cabinet hinge whoo!) and now feel a little less useless around the home than before.

We’re also trying something new in January: easing back a bit on the booze consumption. It’s not a new year’s resolution — I’m already storing beer and choosing wine for February — so much as just slowing down what had become almost reflexive drinking. The small glasses of wine we had at the Halifax airport before our flight home were our last of January. We haven’t decided whether we’re going to aim for cold turkey (save social events we already have on the calendar) or just limit ourselves to a certain amount on weekends, but it seems a worthwhile venture. At the very least, our bank accounts and waistlines should benefit.

.:.

Cover photo by B Smith, used under Creative Commons license

 

On y va

Two weeks ago I mentioned that I was staging this condo for sale.

It listed last Wednesday. There were 34 viewings by Sunday.

Monday there were half a dozen offers. Now someone else owns it. Or will, in a few months.

Most sane humans would sell first, then buy. Or buy first, then rent. I, naturally, chose to parallel-track these things, and bought a new place on Wednesday. So in April, I’ll live somewhere else for the first time in ten years.

Staging

After 4+ years in this condo, I’m selling it. It’s too much for one person to live in, especially one who owns as little stuff (wine notwithstanding) as I do. So it’ll hit the market next week; in the meantime my agent’s stager has been in to dress it up.

They left with strict instructions to touch nothing unless completely necessary, and to repair any damage I leave in my wake for the next few days. By, you know, sleeping and bathing myself. I feel like Michael Bluth living in a model home. Or like I’ve been trapped in a cover story for Canadian Living magazine. It’s nice and all, but so not my style. I mean:

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Anyway, I can’t get wait to get on with this bit and find a new place to live. The Toronto real estate market is calm and highly predictable, right? *sobs*

Photo by -eko-, used under Creative Commons license

Home #2

About seven weeks ago we put in an offer on a new condo. Same building, different floor, more space. We’d been looking for a while, then gave up, right before this one fell in our lap.

Today we took possession. We picked up the keys, popped a bottle of sparkling (13th Street 2008 Premier Cuvée; we opted to save our bottle of Moët for when the sale of our current place closes), and started planning.

Speaking of selling our current place, I’ll have a whole long blog post when that one’s officially in the books. Stay tuned.

.:.

Photo by -eko-, used under Creative Commons license

How to enjoy a fickle summer

I do enjoy a good summer weekend. Yesterday I left work a little early and met Nellie at the Rebel House, and two more friends joined us shortly after. I ate pheasant sausage and a bison burger and drank pints of Denison’s and Neustadt. Nellie ate mac ‘n cheese and drank KLB and Neustadt and Okanagan Springs and (!) Big Rock. It was a pretty Canadian evening.

Today has been an absolutely stellar day. We slept in, watched a movie (Traitor), visited the market and have spent the last little while enjoying a picture-perfect day on the balcony. In fact, I’m writing this on my balcony, using my new Dell netbook, listening to tunes on the outdoor speakers, watching boats sail around the lake. In a few hours we’ll grill the steaks we just picked up, crack a bottle of red, and pretend I don’t have to go to work tomorrow morning.