Category Archives: back east

The shoveling of Snow and housekeeping of home

On Sunday, Saint John received it’s first snowfall. And with that comes the task of clearing of said snow from walkways, stairs, driveways and decks. I was pooped after shoveling, only to have to clean up the house afterwords.

Each Sunday, I strip the tenants beds, wash linens and towels, vacuum, clean the bathrooms and basically restock toilet paper, hand towels and other common goods that are included with the rent. I’ve got it down to a science, after doing this for the last four months and it takes me about four hours from beginning to end to do the housekeeping chores. I look it at as my part-time job. I claim the income from the rentals and pay much extra for residential insurance as opposed to regular home insurance which will not cover you when you rent to more than one person within your own home. And I rent to up to three people at times. At the moment, I have two tenants; one long-term and one short-term and am hoping to have another tenant by mid-next week who is coming to Saint John from Montreal for a work contract.

By doing it by the book, I am able to claim a percentage of all cleaning supplies, toilet paper, heating, power, cable, internet, furniture, bedding etc that the tenants use. On top of that, because I run and operate a business within this home I needed additional business insurance and therefore can claim all related utilities, basically a 1/4 of the main floor of the house. I can claim about 4/5 of my home as business due to the rental and art business combined, and do pay dearly for the insurance of both. The paperwork of running two businesses is a another job unto itself!

I raised the rents from $125 per week to $150 per week as the expenses were a bit more than I initially calculated. However, when compared to other room rentals available within the city my rooms are on the higher end of renting but they are legal, clean, bright, spacious and well maintained.

And I guess, that is what matters.

Needless to say, come late Sunday night I was exhausted after shoveling snow for two and half hours and then cleaning house for four hours, as both are very labour intensive. I definitely do not need a gym membership.

Begin RANT – I was just today declined for life insurance. Don’t ever get Crohn’s disease and/or mental health or addiction issues as you will be declined if you are self-employed and single in Canada. This is frustrating. I can’t get health insurance and now life insurance to, unless I am employed by a company who offers group insurance or am married and under my partners plan. Thank god I live in Canada where at least health care is free. We do need to pay for dental, eye care and prescription drugs (which would be covered if you had insurance) but anything else is free. BUT STILL I’ve been in remission from Crohn’s for 12 freaking years and clean of addiction for four years! End RANT

Backyard Blossom – The Miniature Plum Tree

This tree is loaded with pretty petite white blossoms. Each blossom turns into a miniature plum complete with mini pit and at the mature size of a blueberry they are the sweetest little plums I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

I’ll be regularly updating the Garden 2009 Set on Flickr with both photos from my current residence with my folks and that of my own house once I move in 😉

Whilst driving home on Saturday night I hit this stillness of noise

Let me elaborate:

The roads in Saint John are not for the faint of heart. They are twisting, potted, patched and pitted with most yellow and white lines missing or faded beyond recognition. Decades of shaded grey tar and layered pavement speckle the streets, avenues and thruways of this industrial seaside city. If you are not familiar from whence you are going you will get lost or in the least damage your car during your trek.

One learns quickly and avidly takes delight in swerving into oncoming traffic so as to not hit a monstrous gaping hole in the road and becomes adept in the management of not looking ahead to far while driving which in turn circumvents everything one was taught when learning to drive as a teenager.

I can remember the driving instructor saying “Jessica, look ahead 3 telephone poles and follow at least a car length behind the vehicle in front of you for every 10KM of speed you are travelling.”

LOOK.

At 11:00PM on Saturday night I was driving home on the twisting winding Old Red Head road after deciding not to take the new, improved, speedy highway as the old road is vintage and just plain to damn cool to not drive upon when I hit this patch of blazing black freshly paved surface. No bumps. No more swerving. No more orange pylons marking where the road had washed out or deteriorated. I slowed right down to 20 clicks. I smiled deeply looking at the moon upwards in the sky and staring at the glittering sea to the left and with the looming gigantic science fiction inspiring Irving oil refinery in front of me… Wow! Inspiration. Juxtaposition. SILENCE.

Brain on Overload

I almost wanted to pull over and just listen to it all. It was so quiet on that road that night. As quickly as it began it was stolen again and I resumed the road war to get home along Bayside Drive. Holy shit that road is in rough shape.

On a side note:
I’m 14 days smoke free today!
I get the keys to my new house on Thursday!
I was visiting my good friends Lisa and Jillian that Saturday night!
And I’ve been gardening!

Fermenting Canadian Ice Wine

I think I miss the point completely on occasion and float away into my own little world forgetting that which exists and already surrounds me. Then I get to thinking about that point and why it has to be tipped and pointy and why is can’t be round, soft and interchangeable with beams of light infused with grape juice.

And then again if beams of light were infused with grape juice they would ferment as they travelled to earth at the speed of light and once here we’d all be drunk on clear burgundy sun drops.

Except here in Canada those infused beams of light would freeze and ice wine would fall from the air.

It’s -28ºC / -18ºF here in Saint John, New Brunswick!

Wooden, 8×8 inch /20,3cm by20,3cm plate distressed and painted by me

STATS on Karen, I and an itsy-bitsy pine tree

Karen and I

The Stats from left (Karen) to right (Jessica)

Location – Fredericton and Saint John
Age – both 34
Marital Status – Both Single
Children – Neither one has kids after two long term relationships have ended
Size – both size 6
Height – 5’7″ and 5’5″
Profession – Fabulous Federal Government Employee and World Renowned Artist
Wants – Men who actually want to have children someday

A little tree growing out of a piece of wood

The Stats – mini pine tree

Location – An undisclosed Downtown Fredericton Driveway growing out of an old building timber
Height – 6 inches
Wants – forest

I spent last weekend in Fredericton. We had much fun walking, BBQing, rummaging through second hand clothing shops and enjoying the beginnings of summer. Karen and I have been friends for 16 years. We met shortly after high school and have stayed close ever since.

About Wearing Industrial Breathing Masks or the Fine Line Between Hammer and Pen.

Brick(s)

Often, I’ve thought that it you devoted your life to doing the things you love then the money would follow. Last month I wrote a test. The test was three weeks in duration. The final grade was fantastic.

Come the middle of June I’ll begin testing again. This time however there is no fail safe… nothing to fall back upon.

I quit my part-time job in March. I began working for my bother and dad shortly thereafter except for three weeks in May when I devoted my time to online endevours. These last 10 days I’ve been working 8 long hours per day as the 2 family home we own and are working on has sold before it’s completed. Now, I’ve worked many full-time jobs in the past but never had a shop to tend to and the work I was doing was not, both physically and mentally demanding. Office jobs may be mental but they certainly do not get you up and moving around.

I sat down last night and gripped my pen as a hammer; my paintbrush as a chisel and my mouse as a plaster sander.

Good Grief! My fingers are manly and calloused. My shoulders hurt incredibly as I spent four hours today sanding the bathroom ceiling, walls and baseboard, then priming them with BIN; an industrial cover-all-stinky-ass-paint-primer-sealant.

Yesterday I scraped the two bathtubs with a razor blade removing years of built up dirt, grime and cocking revealing the enamel underneath. The day before that I hauled demolition mega garbage down two flight of stairs.

My bother jovially nick-named me Clean Up Crew. I call him the Stupid Foreman. Oddly enough he is a smart foreman at his day job. We dawned industrial breathing masks this past Saturday and sanded the shit-out-of the century old hardwood floors with industrial sanders that I couldn’t fathom operating. I was the clean up crew.

We are so close to being finished. :) I haven’t written much about the renovations and sometimes I ask myself why and maybe the answer is because I like the work…

I have nothing nasty to say.

I’m payed reasonably well and can sit and take a break when needed. I get to do varying jobs apprenticing as a mason, carpenter, painter and lastly a labourer AKA Clean Up Crew. And I’m supplied with proper safety gear to wear when needed.

Burning Bush Leaves

I’ve been working outside in the garden but alas it remains too cold for planting most vegetables and herbs as the rain has been heavy. I expanded the garden plot 2 feet by 30 feet. It took me five hours of chopping grass root deep then cutting… no yanking it out then falling and hauling it away to the compost pile. Next, my mother and I dug another 8 inches down and sifted hundreds of pounds of gravel out of the soil which in turn had to be piled elsewhere. Once we ad some black earth, sheep and cow manure, compost and lastly the greenery the Doyle garden will be well on it’s way to growing.

One year has come and gone since I landed back in Saint John on May 29th, 2007.

And I’m not looking back.

Photo Credits – both captured by me last weekend. You can see the beginnings of the 2008 garden here.