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The cats’ perspectives on 2020

For most humans, 2020 just hasn’t been the best-est ever. But for the pets of the new work-from-home cohort, I think it’s been a happy time. Cats might be more independent than dogs, but I believe they still enjoy having more opportunities to make demands of their humans.

March 2020, and no stress for these guys at all
Whereas I had to adjust to my new office-mates being a bit on the lazy side

Doesn’t necessarily mean that everything‘s coming up roses for them, however.

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Our master bedroom / main bathroom renovation, originally estimated as a 4- to 5-week job, actually took about 11 weeks. But now, it’s (basically) done!

And we are happy with the results. This was the starting point for the bathroom:

And this is how it ended up:


And, OK, we aren’t completely sure about that blue shade for the wall colour, but that’s easy enough to change later. But to take in what happened here:

  • Complete tear-down and replacement of walls and flooring
  • Room made smaller, to accommodate a closet in the bedroom
  • Entrance from the bedroom closed off
  • Separate shower and bathtub combined into one new unit
  • (Toilet is not shown, but it is beside the bathtub)
  • One sink replaced with two
  • New sink cabinet with seven drawers
  • Mirrors above the sink with shelving behind them
  • New countertop, flooring, lighting, tile, and ceiling fan

So generally, despite less square footage, we have more storage space, and all new stuff. The new flooring feels nice under the feet.

As for the bedroom, this where it started (except it normally had furniture in it):

And this is how it ended up:


Here we are pleased with the paint colours! And with getting the yucky carpet replaced with cork flooring; having a bigger closet; the extra space in general; the cool barn door; and the overhead new light (not pictured but it is installed).

Work by Schweitzer’s Plumbing. Though it did take longer than estimated, they did seem to do a good job on each phase of the project.


Dinner was served

I don’t do dinner parties very often, and when I do, it’s only after a lot of planning. Often the planning is so exhausting, I don’t get to enjoy the actual party. But this time I managed. I kind of had to, given the effort Tim and Kristi put in, helping us renovate the living room. Thanks were definitely in order. So we invited them, and added Karen and Herb, whom we owed dinner to, and whom we thought would balance things out well.

We’d hoped to be showing off a largely finished living room, but were deterred by our new couches not having been delivered yet. (We’re getting them tomorrow, about a month late.) As a result, other finishing touches weren’t quite done yet, either: paintings not put up yet, area rug not purchased. But people still needed to sit, so “move downstairs couches upstairs” had to be added to the list of tasks to do.

The planning challenge for this meal was the combination of a vegetarian, a meat and potatoes guy who doesn’t really eat vegetables, and an idiosyncratic eater. I came up with the idea of a multi-course Italian menu, figuring that each person would eventually get to a course featuring food they liked, and then they could stick there. That actually worked out! Here was the menu (which I also typed and put at each place):


Black pepper pâté, brie cheese, crackers

Wine: Cuvée Catherine, Henry of Pelham (Ontario)


Fresh oysters [for the daring]

Wine: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)

Prosciutto-wrapped melon (or just Melon)

Wine: Collavini 2005 Pinot Grigio, Villa Canlungo (Italy). “Crisp, lively, and jolting. This will get you going.”


Vegetable Lasagna

Source: The Best Light Recipe. “We wanted to make a vegetable lasagne comprised of tender noodles enveloping evenly cooked vegetables… Creamy cheese and tangy tomato sauce pull the dish together into a hearty crowd pleaser for vegetarians and carnivores alike.”

Wine: Fontanafredda 2004, Barbara d’Alba (Italy). “Plummy meets rustic”


Parmesan-herb chicken with Herbed roasted potatoes and seasonal steamed vegetables

Source: In Shape magazine, HM magazine. Brady’s chicken coated in herbs and Parmesan; Crisp-roasted, small gourmet red and white potatoes; Ontario broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in butter and maple wine vinegar.

White wine: Mike Weir 2005 Chardonnay (Ontario). “This charmingly impressionable wine is easy drinking on its own or a great accompaniment to food. It’s the wine for all, and all occasions.”


Red wine: Domaines Bernard 2005 Côtes du Rhône-Villages (France). “Gorgeous, fruity, peppery flavours and a ton of charm and vitality.”


Easy romaine salad, with basil, balsamic, and pine nut dressing (on the side)

Source (dressing): Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef Takes Off. The way to get Jean to eat his greens—add meat, nuts, and fruit.

Wine: Your call!



Source: Cooking Light magazine—their most requested recipe ever

Chocolate gelato

Source: Whole Lotta Gelata Waterloo).

Wine: Rush Creek Wines Framboise. “Rush Creek’s premier dessert wine. Very rich and full bodied bursting with luscious raspberry flavour and smooth raspberry essence.”

Coffee, tea

Minimal last-minute preparations were required, other than throwing things into the oven at the right times, and everything seemed to turn out well. More importantly, though, everyone seemed to have a good time. Things were pretty relaxed, and fun, and several of us are getting together again in a couple weeks!

So maybe I’ll do this again sometime. But not for a little while.