9/17/2014

and then it was fall...

I can’t believe we’re half-way through September. I’m still trying to figure out where June went, not to mention July and August.

We had a crazy-busy summer including a 5-day road drip to Cape Breton Island (basically straight there and back), our first music festival (as hired musicians) up in Thunder Bay plus a small-but-mighty Ontario tour.

Being that we were gigging so much, it didn’t leave alot of time for working on Miss Winnie (sad face here). We finally finished gutting the interior (fully, completely) and removed the many layers of the old rotting roof. She remained a convertible for most of the summer, but we’ve been back down to the farm a few times in the last couple of weeks and she’s sporting a brand new plywood roof. The rubber membrane has yet to be applied, but this was a pretty major step.



The plywood has only been cut and laid into place, not secured yet - but progress none the less!


Hank has already claimed his spot. 
Those chairs will be re-covered, not down with the dusty rose or the ruffles.


Helping out with the roof, before getting called out for taking a selfie (in overalls no less).

We're hoping to have the drive lines inspected and wheels back on by Thanksgiving - when she'll hopefully be making her migration up to Oro to spend her winter in a lovely horse arena - and will receive the major interior work.

5/21/2014

Getting ahead of myself

I realize we're a long (looooong) way off from getting the interior of Miss Winnie ready for livin' the high-life, but that won't stop me from dreaming up what she'll look like.

A few weeks ago I won some super-luxe wallpaper from this blog - I nearly shit my pants when I found out I had won. It was a pure and utter coincidence that the giveaway was for the exact wallpaper that I was dreaming about for Miss Winnie, but with a lofty price tag of $125/roll, I was really on the fence about pulling the trigger. Clearly it was meant to be.

Voila!





























So here's what I'm thinking:
For the kitchen cabinets, we're going to use Ikea wall units for the bases. Why wall cabinets, you ask? Since they come in a shallower depth (13" vs 26"), it'll help open up the floor space - making the kitchen/living room feel slightly bigger.

I'm trying to decide whether to go with laminate wood flooring or commercial-grade vinyl tiles. Still on the fence, but I think I'm leaning towards the vinyl tiles. For one, I love the look of a black floor and two, I think the installation will be waaay easier.

I'm going to order this chair from Amazon, hoping it will help create an airy feel - again, trying to make the tiny space feel bigger than it is. Optical illusions, y'all.

The fold-down table is also from Ikea and will be great to tuck-away to open up the space even more. On the other side of the table, we'll be building a bench seat/mini-couch with hopefully lots of comfy pillows (that I'm sure Hank will claim right away).

but alas, there's still so much to do...

5/20/2014

The Grand Gut (part one of many)

"We can just put up some wallpaper, re-cover the cushions and we'll be ready to go!"
Not. Even. Close.

What started out as a rose-coloured dream has turned into a full-on Holmes on Homes reno.


































Here she is folks - Miss Winnie. Our 1976 Winnebago Chieftain. 23-feet of almond-coloured aluminum soon to be chugging up the back roads and northern highways.

Our initial thought when we forked over the three grand to make her ours was to "lightly" freshen her up. But sometimes things don't go according to plan. We knew she needed some new rubber and a roof-redo, and for the most part those are still the big issues with the old girl. But after living in a camper for 3-months, Brad and I knew what was going to work with our potential new home, and what wasn't. So upon a closer inspection we decided to give Miss Winnie an extreme make-over.

I forgot to take photos of the original layout. At some point in the 1980's, the original owners gave Winnie a make-over and re-did all the upholstery, wall paper and kitchen counter tops in a lovely shade of dusty rose.
It really did compliment the abundance of dark wood that was everywhere, and even further off-set the navy blue airplane-grade carpet. Nice. Real. Nice.

Yesterday marked the 3rd day of demo and she's pretty much empty now (except for the shower stall which will be removed when the roof comes off - it sure as hell won't fit through the tiny door).

Here's a peek of the dusty rose upholstery, and the cockpit. The passenger chair is basically a small love seat sofa (the perfect size to accommodate one person and two dogs).
Here's the back section. To the left is where the kitchen was and the bedroom area is in the back.

Across from the kitchen is the 3-piece bath (behind the lovely wood-panel wall).


Here is the bathroom after we removed the walls, and Brad getting ready to rip out the sink cabinet.
More updates to come, stay tuned!

2/18/2014

And so it begins...

Yesterday was Family Day here in Ontario - a much-needed 3-day weekend. But despite having the day off work, my alarm rang at 6:50am and both Brad and I were on the move. We pulled out of the driveway at 7:30am, made a quick stop for coffee then continued on what would turn out to be a two-hour drive. After trading the highway for rural roads, we passed through tiny towns and hamlets, across vast open spaces and through fields of wind turbines. Eventually we made the right turn onto County Road 14 in the village of Conn. Brad's scrawled notes indicated that we were looking for the 2nd place on the right, and then we were there. The driveway was long but as we crested the slight hill we saw it. Swagged with a green tarp and covered in snow, but not to be missed.



It is with great pride and extreme happiness that I can finally say that we are the owners of this 1976 Winnebago Chieftain.

Winnie's in pretty good shape for being 37 years old, but she does need some loving care. Next month she'll be making the northern migration to a lovely barn in Oro, where she will rest comfortably while we gussy her up. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

11/08/2013

Busted Flat


Stranded at the side of the road waiting for CAA to arrive. My tire - flat, my anxiety - racing. I was due to be at the Orillia Opera House no later than 6pm for soundcheck. Not. Going. To. Happen. The chipper CAA lady advised me that the Newmarket area was experiencing a delayed response time of up to 2 hours. The current time was 4:42pm. Shit.

After what seemed like for-ev-er (47 minutes in reality). The bluetooth-sporting, 30-something CAA guy pulled up behind me and we began the task of changing the flat. I didn't want to seem like a prissy broad (cause I totally am), so I tightened my hood around my face and got out of the car. It was freezing and windy, but I stood by - nodding and sharing his frustration while he manually loosen the fused lugs (the air compressor wasn't cutting it). Finally the wheel popped off and he carried it over to me "you got screwed" he grumbled... pointing out the very large phillips-head screw embedded into the tread.

Within 10 minutes I was back on the road, pushing the wagon for everything that she's got. The drive home wasn't too bad until I found myself smack-dab in the middle of a blizzard. Me, and every car around was puttering along at 50km. Fuck.

I stormed through the door at 6:40pm and hastily got my shit together. Put on a dress. Took off said dress after a glance in the mirror determined that I looked prego - never a good look for me. Jeans, shirt, brushed my teeth - hair would do and was back out the door again.

I was backstage at 7:15pm (showtime was 7:30pm) scrambling to find the director. No time for sound check, we decided that I would "wing it" and cross our fingers. I remember standing side stage prior to my performance, aching for a drink (water or whiskey, either would suffice). In what will not be known as my finest moment, I spotted a half-empty bottle of water wedged between 2 stage riders and proceed to unscrew the cap and gulp it down.

Four minutes later, I was walking off stage. My song was done, I didn't forget the words and the audience was cheering. Yay, me.

Tonight B and I are playing at one of our regular spots in Barrie (The Local), and tomorrow night we'll be trekking up to Bracebridge for a show at The Griffin. Knock on wood we encounter no more surprises.

11/07/2013

and then it was November



The past 9 months have flown by since I last checked in. So, so many things have happened that I don't even know where to begin. After leaving New Orleans, we headed North to Tennessee and spent a few days in Memphis and Nashville. I have such a strong pull to the city of country music (Nashville, that is), that I can't even begin to explain from where and whence it came. B and I took our first road trip there almost 8 years ago and it's been rooted in my heart ever since. This time, I found myself buzzed on $2 PBR, soaking up as much live music and neon glow that I could possibly take in. I remember choking back tears as we walked up Broadway towards the car, knowing quite well that the next day our little rig would be departing the city that I was totally infatuated with.

Two days after leaving the rolling hills of Tennessee, we rolled back through the familiar streets of Orillia. It was cold and traces of snow still lingered around front porches and driveways. We were back, our adventure over, and the decisions of what would come next were staring us down point blank.
Within 2 weeks of coming "home". We sold the truck and trailer, moved into a little cottage by the lake and committed to a one-year lease on a storefront in downtown Orillia. B and I had decided to follow (yet another) dream and open a guitar shop. Within one month of handing over the lease agreement, the doors were open, the walls were lined with a seriously-cool collection of guitars and we were heartily welcomed by the local musicians.

Over the summer, business was good. B had taking to working at the shop full-time, while I took on the role as a nanny for 3 kids. I was basically Mary Poppins transported to a horse farm in Oro. I spent my days swimming, feeding chickens and preparing endless ego waffles. The summer flew by, and when September came, I was saddened to be leaving the nanny-life behind.

Somewhere during that time we also moved out of the little cottage to the apartment above the shop. B's commute is officially 6 seconds.

I spent the better part of September holed-up in the apartment writing songs. How that happened I'll never know, but the muse was paying me a visit and she stayed for 2 weeks. In that time, I managed to write an entire album. We're booked to return to Blue Rodeo's studio at the end of November. To say I'm pumped would be the understatement of the year. We also changed the band name (yes again).

So that pretty much wraps up the time inbetween. I've taken on a new job as the graphic designer for the environmental department with York region. In the beginning I thought I'd be designing posters for the dump - I couldn't have been more wrong (in a good way).

It's funny to think that 1 year ago, we were hammering a For Sale sign into the front lawn of our home and dreaming about what the coming months would hold. That seems like forever ago.

I'll try not to be such a stranger from here on out.
-a.

3/22/2013

The Lower Ninth



I wasn’t sure what I expected as we drove up and over the bridge that spanned the mighty Mississippi, into the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. To me, it seems like ages ago that Katrina flooded this city. I remember hearing about it for weeks afterwards on the news, and seeing the wake of destruction on the front page of newspapers and on evening news broadcasts. But then, just like everything else, it eventually becomes old news and gets filed away.

As we drove through the sparse and barren blocks where homes and community once thrived, I was engulfed in this strange feeling. The scene struck a chord with me, a dissonant one. I didn’t feel right pulling out my camera as we drove along, I couldn’t bare to think how I would feel if it was my house or my neighborhood, that was washed away and some tourists were driving along taking pictures of it (to make matters worse, we were sitting in the car eating a bag of beignets. Note to self: don’t attempt to eat powdered donuts in the car. Powdered sugar will always win).

The rebuilding projects are quite remarkable (yet seem to be very slow in progress). The homes are modern marvels of sleek design. Just last week I read an article about the houses that Frank Gehry built for the relief effort, and was pleased that we actually found it. We also saw the house that Mike Holmes built during his time down here.

It was a depressing site, but I’m glad we took the time to check it out. The drive back to our trailer was a quiet one, with Terry Reid’s Brave New Awakening playing softly – it was quite fitting.

Today we’re packing up, once again, and headed to Memphis. We’ve got a gig on Saturday afternoon, which I’m really looking forward to. New Orleans has been a bit of a dry city for us, with regards to gig opportunities.

We’ll see you further down the road,
-a.


p.s. If we had a tow-hitch on the back of the trailer, we would have definitely been bringing this little guy back with us.