I've been meaning to make a fan page on Facebook for my music.... It's been in the back of my mind for about a year now. The trouble with Facebook is that people get so many invites and so many requests that I feel sort of badly for adding to the flood. I know I can't really keep up with the amount of stuff I get.

Anyway. With two gigs happening in May, I figured it was high time for me to get that page going. It's just easier to let folks know about shows without hounding them via e-mail etc. I set it up yesterday, and although it's not the most exciting page I've ever seen, people are actually joining it! People I don't even know! I'm thrilled. Seriously.*

In other news, the renovations from hell continue at our apartment. You know what's bad about it? The landlord is only doing the bare minimum to make a quick buck. He wants to fix up the units and sell them off, but he's doing a completely half-assed job at it. My BH overheard him yesterday telling his contractors to not bother making a wall fit the fire code because "nobody will check." You know what honey? If there's a fire and someone dies, that's on your head. Especially since he just built a wall over everyone's back door. No escape route and no fire safe walls. That's just great.

Also? This guy is one of the main home inspectors in the city.

We're thinking of reporting the building to the fire marshall when we're a little closer to our move date.

Let's swing back to more positive news. My overtime money is starting to come in! Granted, it's already allotted to the house renos, but it's nice to get compensated for that insane workload.

Oh, and I've set up the home reno blog! I'll give y'all the link when it's a bit prettier. I haven't actually posted anything yet.

*I guess I'm assuming that most of you know the real me, name-wise. If you don't and you want to know more about my tunes, feel free to drop me a line at hello.hella.stella AT gmail DOT com.

March 26, 2010

Broken Record


At risk of sounding like a broken record, there's not a lot of juicy bloggable stuff going on at the moment. I am inching closer to starting a home reno blog, though. I think it would complement this one, since I don't think I'm ready to give up on Hella Stella.

Brain dump:

I have a very, very long list of things I'm slowly checking off. This week I booked the movers, the plumber and the electrician. Next I have to book the furnace / hot water heater dudes. We are upgrading those suckers! (The old furnace and the tank, not the dudes) I also need to hammer down some dates to meet with a cabinetmaker and a contractor. (Haha, hammer.... The wit slays you, no?)

I'm showing the house to potential tenants next weekend. They seem lovely, so it would be fun if they liked the upstairs apartment. However, seeing as how it currently has a bad case of UGLY, I don't know if they'll be able to see past the dusty rose walls and the fake panelling. These are things I'll be fixing as soon as I take possession, but still - ugly is ugly. Worst case scenario, I'll find tenants after I finish prettying up the space.

My former landlord from my days in Old Ottawa South has agreed to meet with me to talk about, well, how to be a landlord. I do not plan to learn by making really awful mistakes. Granted, the mistakes will happen, but I'd rather be as informed as possible about the process. It's going to be fun - I always liked her. She was saucy.

My BH and I met with our very gay real estate lawyer last week. He broke down how much money we had to give him in a nice, itemized list. It was very fun, except near the end when I saw the total. Then I cried a bit on the inside.

Hmmm, after reading over this post, I guess I see why I haven't had much to say. My life has been swallowed by this house business. Hopefully y'all don't mind hearing about real estate for a bit, because I think it's consumed my mind.

In other news, Morty kicked me in the ribs while he was dreaming last night, and I have a big ol' bruise now. I'd be annoyed if he wasn't so freaking cute. Dude has wicked vivid dreams (and wicked strong legs, apparently).

March 24, 2010



I have reason to believe that Morty's charms have cast a spell on my BH's mother.

She took Morty a few days ago to spend some time running him around her backyard. We got several phone calls in the first few hours, all detailing how adorable Morty is, how cute he is when he naps, how cuddly he is.... How he might as well spend the night with them since he was already there. We said okay, but I'm not sure we really had a choice.

The next day was the same. Oh, he's just the cutest, he's so sweet, he's having fun here.... He should stay another night. We said okay, although come to think of it, we weren't really asked this time.

This is the third day I've been without my little dude, and I've communicated as sweetly as I can that Morty HAS to come back now. My house is so quiet! My BH and I sat around stupidly last night, unable to figure out what to do with ourselves. I realize this points to a larger problem of us being a bit attached to our dog, but hey, he's our dog. I like being attached to him.

Jury's out on whether we'll get our guy back this evening, but if he's not there by supper time, I'm going to steal a car and get him myself.

In other news....

My days are filled up with preparations for the house, mostly. It's such a crazy process, no? So many layers of things to keep track of. Thankfully, buying a house has revived my obsession with listmaking and organization. I'm not really sure how I could do it otherwise. I know disorganized people buy houses - I just don't know how they get through it without accidentally blowing something up / forgetting a payment / missing a meeting / skipping an essential repair.

There are lots of big things going on with my BH right now. He's one class away from being finished with his degree. He's celebrating a very special birthday in a month. And of course, he's figuring out the whole home ownership thing. Go BH!

Although we expected it, we're predictably getting lots of questions from relatives over whether or not we're going to get hitched. Maybe we'll do it all backwards - house, babies, wedding. Or maybe we'll marry ourselves to the house. Or maybe.... Well. You get the idea. It's still not our top priority. Besides, ten years ago this spring, we went on our first date. Now THAT'S something to celebrate!

More soon, bunnies.

March 18, 2010

Good Things

My taxes are done! Office job and music alike.

In the process of doing my music taxes, I went to check my total online sales so I could add the number to my chart. Do you know what I discovered? Let me tell you.

The company that manages my site sales had switched from sending me quarterly paycheques to letting the money pile up until I choose to have it deposited. I forgot about this in the madness of the past few months. Because I hadn't signed in for so long, there was money waiting for me! Thank goodness for tax season. And thank goodness for the kind souls who still buy my music.

What else? The Large Angry Dog(s) Situation is resolved, thanks to some very diplomatic chatting on the part of my BH. That man is an angel. And now I don't need to resort to having panic attacks every time I walk Morty at night.

But wait! There's more! I was interviewed by a local newspaper, discussing the role of internet publicity for independent musicians. It's something I've talked about before, but I guess since the industry has been turned on its head, it's as relevant as ever. I have no idea when or if it will be published, but it was fun to do the interview. I guess music isn't so hopeless after all.

In that same vein, I'm very seriously planning out my closet studio. It's going to be very small, and very soundproof. I can't wait.

I'm off to drink some port. Hugs to you, Internet.

I'm becoming an absentee blogger! Bad Stella.

I'm afraid I have nothing particularly exciting to report, but I can give you the rundown on my comings and goings anyway.

1. Ongoing renovations aka My landlord is a jackass

It has actually become a bit of a joke. Every morning at 8am, we are startled by some new deafening sound caused by the destruction of part of the house. This morning it was the sound of giant metal scaffolding being assembled outside my bedroom window, followed by the sound of a giant drill going through the exterior of the building to prep it for siding. Siding! Do you have any idea how much hammering it's going to take to put siding up? My poor nerves. The other day it was the sound of our basement wall getting knocked out with sledgehammers. In case you were wondering, we don't get a warning about any of these jobs ahead of time. I know that's illegal, but I'm past the point of caring. I just need to get out.

2. New neighbours

We have two new neighbours on the street who, I'm sorry to say, are really not cool. They have two large dogs, one a pit bull, one a shepherd, and they walk them off leash all the time. Did I mention that both dogs are aggressive? As are the owners? Yes, it is a sticky situation. I have come to the conclusion that I will absolutely kick their dogs in the teeth if they try and attack Morty one more time. If that sounds harsh, keep in mind that watching Morty fight off two large angry dogs is not a nice alternative either. Unfortunately, the owners so far seem unwilling to listen to reason, and were walking them off leash again this morning. The situation makes me so anxious I actually feel sick about it.

3. We really did buy a house

We don't get possession of the house until late May, but I'm planning as best I can in the meantime. I have lists upon lists upon lists of things I need to do, pay for, or get ready to pay for. I'm not sure yet if the lists are helping yet. They are just do damn long. Also? I'm nearly out of money.

4. Music!

I have two great gigs booked for May, and then I'll probably take another gigging break while we move into the house. As I mentioned in a previous post, I really am trying to build a tiny studio into a closet as part of our house renos. I think that will make me feel very happy. I guess you'll hear about it soon enough.

5. Death and near death

In the past week, we've had one family friend slip into a coma after a stroke, and the mother of another friend die. It's got both my BH and I thinking a lot about how we want to live our lives. Live each day to the fullest, etc etc, embrace that cliche a little more than we have been. On a more practical note, it also makes me want to write a will.

Jeez, I didn't mean to sound that morose.... But there you have it.

I hope you have a very sunny spring day, folks.

March 14, 2010

Social Life!


Happy Sunday!

Thanks for all your encouraging comments on the last post. I think I'll just push through the craziness of the next few months and then prioritize getting a good songwriting space together. Whatever will be will be.

I know I had said my nutty work hours were over, but I'll actually be working late shifts for the next ten days or so.... Then it's REALLY over. Holy crap, it's been a long haul.

Luckily the shifts aren't quite as lengthy as they were before, so at least I've had a bit of a social life. Last night I even put on lipstick, slipped on a leather vest and drank pink champagne with some of my favourite people. It's fun making conversation with someone other than my dog or my co-workers. Also: leather vest! Fun!

Today my BH and I are going on a hot coffee date, followed by some hot grocery shopping and some hot dinner making. When you barely see your partner, everything suddenly seems exciting.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

March 11, 2010

My Admission


I took two days off work this week to recharge after the craziness that was February. Most of my time off was spent arguing with my landlord, but I did get some quality napping in. I also gave Morty a bath after he rolled around in a mud puddle. That was fun, although by the end of it, I needed a bath of my own.

Something's been on my mind, and I'm just going to say it since this is a blog and hey, WHY NOT?

Admission: I'm feeling a bit dispirited about music.

I don't have time to write songs, and when I *finally* carve out some time I get nervous about writing something good and then I choke. I'm tired of the same old same old but I don't know how to break out of it. My brain feels completely full of other things and the songs just don't want to fight their way through. These days, I am getting my musical fix from choir, which at least lets me use my voice. But choir isn't songwriting.

I'm worried I'll never write a good song again. What if I used up my quota of good songs? I used to write a few a week. Now I write nothing.

I'm scared of who I'd be without songwriting. It's a huge part of my identity. I'm starting to understand the panic writers feel when they get writers block.

I really miss having a private space to write songs in. When we move to the new house, I'm thinking of having someone handy build me a big closet that I can turn into a tiny studio. With a lock on the door. And soundproof drywall.

It just brings me down a bit. That's all. I feel like I'm not good at anything when I'm not writing songs.

Thanks Internet. I needed to get that out. It's nice to chat into your virtual ear.

Does anyone out there have fears they need to put out in the open? I'm listening.

March 8, 2010



Now that my work craziness is over, I've replaced the insanity with buying a house. Not the best planning perhaps, but there you have it.

I'm learning so much already, and things will only snowball from here. I've decided to take on some renos myself. Wanna hear what I'm going to try? OKAY!

- tearing down a wall
- putting up a wall elsewhere
- laying engineered wood throughout most of the house
- drywalling
- painting
- tearing up old rotten tile and re-tiling a shower stall
- replacing light fixtures
- putting up bedboard

What's interesting about that list is that I only know how to do one of those things: painting. Am I crazy? Likely.

I might even start up a secret home reno blog so that the public can watch me stumble through my steep learning curve. We'll see.

In the meantime... I'll tell you stories about my clumsiness. Yesterday I tripped on the edge of the sidewalk and fell over. Other than being surprised, I felt fine. I dusted myself off and went along my way.

Today, however, it has become clear that I've pulled all my ass muscles. I'm not even sure how one pulls all their ass muscles in one quick fall, but apparently I've done it. That, and I've pulled my ankle to shit and my shoulder too. It's weird - it seemed like such a small tumble. Now I'm limping all over the place and people keep catching me trying to massage my own butt cheeks.

Enough about that. Thanks for all the well wishes on the house - you bloggy folk have been so supportive!

March 6, 2010

True Vintage

I don't move for several months, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you some of the vintage flooring I'll have the pleasure of ripping out once we take over the house.


Red quasi-leopard print carpeting:

Linoleum from the... 40s maybe? It's old, dudes.

Original hardwood. I'll keep this.

Staying within budget for the repairs I need to do is going to be a giant challenge. I'm waffling between hiring contractors or doing it myself. If I did it myself, I'd need to take a couple of courses (drywall and hardwood installation, mostly), but that would be dirt cheap compared to the cost of hiring a contractor. All things I need to mull over, I guess.

Did I mention that the house is a duplex? I also need to learn how to be a landlord! I'll be renting out part of the house after we take over and rip up the floors.

I think I'm going to learn a lot over the next year.

March 3, 2010




The inspection went well. Not perfectly, seeing as how part of the house is about 100 years old, but well enough that we can go ahead and buy that sucker without having to worry about the foundation crumbling beneath us.

WOOT! Happy dance!

Now, this process has all happened very quickly, but let me tell you about a trend I've identified. I tell someone I've bought a house. They congratulate me. They ask me about some of my plans - I mention a few. Then they say, "Oh, you don't want to do THAT...." followed by between ten and twenty minutes of advice that *so far* has been completely ill-suited to my house.

I'm trying to be gracious, but I've been devoting a few hours per day to hearing people's opinions on a house they haven't seen. It's difficult to sort the good advice from the insulting advice too - because I'm young-ish, people lecture me.

Yes, this is my first house, but I came prepared. I've been reading books on buying and fixing houses for years. I've been financially preparing for about four years. I have really skilled people working with me. So I know which walls I can knock down, what I can bulldoze, what repairs I need to make right away, and whether or not I got a good deal on the building. I know about insulation and vapour barriers and knob and tube wiring. I can drag myself through a crawlspace like a pro. I can recognize dry rot when I see it. I know all about the slope of the house and what it means. I'll probably make mistakes here and there, but I feel pretty good about my abilities, you know?

(Had to get that out of my system. I'm sure you understand.)

Back to the happy stuff: I BOUGHT A MOTHERFUCKING HOUSE!