Sunday, February 24, 2008

A huge project with daddy, and a big surprise for mommy!

It has been a while since I have posted, but it's been a busy time at the Ng household. Karen recently took a one-day holiday to go on a road trip down to Seattle with Katherine. So, Erich and I decided to get busy making Mommy a huge surprise. We decided to renovate the bedroom.

If you've ever visited our house, you will know that we have these wonderful, full-of-character wood paneling pieces all along our hallway. You can sort of see them in this photo taken when Erich was younger. They were probably built back in the 1930s when the house was built.

Well to make a long story short, Erich and I decided we would try to replicate this along two walls in the master bedroom - to serve as a continuation of the hallway theme, but also to serve as a backboard for our bed.

We would attempt to, in one day:

  • measure and model the renovation using Google Sketch-up.
  • paint the top portion of the wall a new colour
  • paint the back of the door a new colour
  • obtain all the paneling from Home Depot.
  • cut all the paneling
  • paint all the paneling
  • obtain all the trim wood from Home Depot
  • cut to size all of the trim
  • position and affix paneling to the wall
  • position and affix trim to the wall.
The above photo shows the finished product. Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture - but it is essentially the two walls you see without any of the moulding, paneling or paint.

Ambitious. In fact - crazy ambitious, especially with a two year old. But apparently doable. We did it, and here's how.

In the morning, after feeding Erich breakfast, I told him we had a big project that I needed his help with. I warned him it would be an all day project, and that it was a big surprise for mommy. I then meticulously measured with him every wall, and every piece of existing paneling I could find, and inputted all of the information into Google Sketch Up. (Sketch up is a wonderful program to help with this kind of stuff by the way.)

Then in the afternoon: off to Home Depot we went. You'd be surprised at the number of heads that get turned when they see a Dad walking in Home Depot with a two-year-old in tow ... particularly when that Dad is talking to the two year old as if he's his fellow contractor. :-) No worries - Erich was totally game for the conversation and enjoyed immensely as I explained to him the difference between various types of plywood, and what we were going to do with them. He also enjoyed watching Mr. Home Depot cut up the wood in the giant saw. To speed things up, I purchased the molding pre-primed by the foot, and did all my cutting in the store.

We arrived back home where I proceeded to madly paint every panel. This was by far the most challenging part, as I had to hold at bay a very eager two-year-old helper. He was afterall eagar to use his newfound art skills he learned at daycare! He did get his chance in the end to do a few strokes with the paint brush. :-)

Then, we affixed the paneling. This is when I ran into my first problem. Finding studs on an old lathe and plaster wall is next to impossible. After I finally found one, all my 16" measurements stemmed out from there. But a tip I learned from my father-in-law really saved the day: use glue. Using some specially formulated moulding and paneling glue, I affixed the panels to the wall.

Needless to say, this went way past Erich's usual bedtime. He was such a good sport though and insisted on staying up to present Mommy with the surprise. In the end though, Erich dozed off while watching Daddy put the finishing touches. When Karen did finally make it home, she had the shock of her lifetime. :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A month of blessings...

Oddly enough, this month has also been a month of great blessings and surprises. Count your blessings name them one by one... Count your blessings see what God has done...

  • An old, old, old time classmate (from elementary school) whom I used to carpool with recently found me on Facebook. After reconnecting, she told me that she is (now) a Christian and is serving at Willingdon. You don't know how encouraging this is to me.
  • Karen and I have had more opportunity (than usual) to connect with each another this month. (Perhaps it's because we've been sick so much...) or perhaps it's because we've grown to know how to serve each other better. Whichever it is, I have found a new appreciation for my wife.
  • Erich is growing up to be a fine young boy. He has an amazing affinity for remembering things (particularly people's names) which always brings a smile to them. He's also got a great affinity for remembering words in hymns. (I'm not kidding folks...) He already knows the chorus to "O to be like Thee!" and "Turn your eyes upon Jesus".
  • Erich has been adjusting well to his new daycare which he is starting to enjoy... particularly when Kimberly (one of the daycare workers) brings out her guitar. Erich promptly asked her where her guitar pick was - much to Kimberly's surprise.
  • The Bridge (the church we attend) is experiencing some new growth and we are excited at what God is going to do amongst us this year.
  • Eddie Wong has completed his training in Texas and is doing his practicum in the Dominican Republic. It has been a blessing and a great encouragement to see God working in those close to us.
  • A certain someone got offered a job this month - an answer to many years of prayer.
  • We sold our rarely used(!) exercise bike. Interesting story: we posted it on craigslist, found several interested parties.
    • The first was a guy who asked for "real" photos of the bike even though I had posted real photos. I have never felt so complimented and insulted at the same time at my photographic abilities.
    • The second was an athletic lady who had recently injured her foot and needed something to keep her in shape. She ended up purchasing the bike from us. When she came to pick up the bike she mentioned that she too was a Christian. We asked her how she knew. Apparently, she had read this blog.
It is good to take inventory of blessings - and they are good to remember particularly in difficult months. And it is good to remember that God is at work, even when we think we're not.

A month of sickness...

It has been quite the month since I last updated this blog. They say these things come in cycles. Well, I guess we have been long overdue. :-(

  • My coworker (who incidentally is in his mid-30s) suffered a sudden stroke last month. I won't elaborate on it here. I have shared with some of you the details of this and am grateful that you are praying for him. My coworker has also written about it on his blog here, here and here.
  • A week after my coworker's stroke, Erich caught a cold at daycare which then turned into pink-eye. It's basically an infection in the eye which required antibiotics eye drops.
  • A week after that, Karen and I caught the flu. Stayed home for two days straight and slept almost the entire time. We woke up feeling just as tired as when we went to bed - horribly nasty virus this one!
  • When I returned to work, my boss got strep throat and my coworker suffered a bad cold.
  • This past week, Erich caught the flu. Vomit, and high fever for a whole week. Not fun, particularly for his poor parents who are trying not to be overly worried but are worried nonetheless.
  • Now, recurring coughs for Karen and I ... most likely still lingering from when we had the flu.
It has been one interesting month. I am hoping that this will all end soon. It is exhausting being sick or having your kid sick.

Good health wishes to all of you and make sure you get the flu shot! :-)