Did you know that Ottawa is the place I’ve lived the longest? It became that at 6 years, so in November 2006. I’ve now doubled the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent in any other city.

Did you know that in Ottawa, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere is 5 years? And at 4 years, I was so twitchy, I renovated my kitchen. Because I couldn’t stand it any longer. Not the kitchen – that was okay (except for the mice. God, those mice were horrendous.). The stability.

I’ve lived here for 4 years and two months, and the twitch is in full effect. I haven’t actually gone to see any houses, but I’ve looked at them on the internet, a lot. Condos, mostly, because house maintenance is a pain in the ass. Specifically, nail pops are a pain in my ass. (I fixed them, but then they came back, and they’re really fricking ugly.) Also, weeds and the vine that is intently trying to take over my back yard. It’s like something from Little Shop of Horrors – I yank it out, and it keeps growing and growing and growing.

I looked at changing cars, even though I still have 22 payments left on this one. I even test drove a Toyota Prius-C (the hatchback), which is small (my style), very fuel efficient (extra my style), has cool electronic bits inside (I like toys), and has a lot more get up and go than my current fuel sipper of a Kia (which, by the way, needs to get a door repainted, which I’ve been putting off since March).

I’ve got no major trips in the hopper, which isn’t helping me at all. I feel very rootless right now, which is totally weird because I have a job (root), a house (big giant ass root), a car (small root), and tons of friends and family, both in town and out (excellent root). I just feel twitchy.

I decided to settle the house twitchiness the least expensive way I could: by getting the whole thing repainted. Most of the house was still the colour the building chose. It’s called Russian White, but don’t be fooled because it’s not white at all. In fact, it’s a green-undertoned dirty light beige colour. Also, the world’s cheapest paint that smudged every time I carried something to the third floor (like a suitcase, which inevitably brushes against the wall), and couldn’t be scrubbed. This meant I did spot repainting every six months.

I was sitting at home on Tuesday, trapped on the first floor with the doors open, waiting for them to dry (painted them myself because I thought that would be a way to stop the twitchiness) and I called Mike Golle, painter extraordinaire. Actually, his company is painters extraordinaire. He has about 16 guys who work on crews, and about three years ago, the did a couple of accent walls for me. Mike gave me a quote to paint everything (including the newly finished basement and ALL the baseboards and window and door trim) and to fix the nail pops and clean up my old paint job from two years ago and he mentioned that he had an opening for the next day.

I mentally shuffled my bank accounts around and boom. They painted. I came home this afternoon after two days out of the house and yeah, it reeks of paint, but it looks ALL NEW!  The ceilings are perfect. There’s no paint splotches. Even the paint colours I kept have been refreshed with new coats.

My craft room is now a lovely turquoisey sky blue (called “windfall”). My halls, kitchen, guest bedroom and bathrooms are all called “powdered snow” (a creamy white). My dining room is a very lightly yellow tinted cream (to replicate the sunlight that pours in that window). My basement is a lovely lovely light yellow that’s called “whisper yellow”, and is a lovely colour for a basement or a dark hallway.

I’m filled with promise and the opportunity to change some accessories to punch things up. It’s like new!

So, since everything looked so nice and shiny and clean (well, after I swept and cleaned the bathrooms, because patching and sanding and the cleaning of paintbrushes is messy messy work), I decided I should really just move my cutlery from one side of the kitchen sink to the other, where there’s more prep space.

That seems like such a small project, doesn’t it?

Except that the drawer I was moving the cutlery to is smaller than the original drawer, and this meant I was going to have to rejig some stuff and maybe I should just go through my other drawers to find some space and then I moved this and that and the next thing you know, I’ve emptied out all but the actual junk drawer, including two “miscellaneous items” cupboards.

In a move that is sure to get my mother to publicly disown me, I’m going to demonstrate how much I resemble my father in my ability to collect stuff and promptly forget that I own it. In my cleaning, I found:

  • over 200 napkins
  • several hundred miscellaneous pieces of plastic cutlery
  • eight rolls of scotch tape
  • six pairs of scissors (mostly useless small ones that Ikea sells with the useful big ones)
  • seven grapefruit spoons
  • four peelers
  • two corkscrews (I don’t even drink, people)
  • 160 or so paper or styrofoam plates, various sizes
  • more votive candles than you can shake a stick at
  • five re-usable shopping bags that are too small to be useful
  • three sets of picture hanging kits (side note: where do all the nails go from those kits, anyway? why are there only ever hangers?)
  • a graveyard of chapstick
  • old old old gum.
  • two old bank cards (from the bank where I only have investment and credit instruments) and an Ikea credit card (from the 2007 kitchen renovation!)
  • An assortment of housewarming and/or hostess gifts from various parties I’ve hosted here (side note: don’t buy me anything. I have everything.)
  • Three separate boxes of kitchen garbage bags (note: this is my mother’s fault. She switched from full sized garbage to tiny garbage and gave me all her old bags. Own it, mum, Own it.)

Did I mention that I haven’t actually opened the true junk drawer yet? But, I have two whole free drawers, and most importantly, my new prep area has cutlery, spices, cutting boards and measuring equipment all lined up in drawers on top of each other, located in between the fridge and the sink, under the plates and adjacent to the dishwasher. I’m going to tackle the junk drawer tomorrow.

Small projects. They always lead to big ones, don’t they?