Lit Up

by Jinryu

I’ve got this grand plan which I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to bring to fruition yet.  It involves converting my backyard– although perhaps ‘terraforming’ is the better verb– into a social gathering spot.

So far, all the social gatherings in my new apartment have 9 times out of 10 revolved around the living room, in large part because of the presence of the widescreen plasma, Xbox, and Gears of War 2 (of whom I’ve converted several of my friends into entry-level junkies).  I don’t want it to become a gamer house though.  Aside from the obvious hygenic concerns, I’d like to think that we’re all capable of a wider spectrum of social activity (and no, that doesn’t include my roomies’ recreational use of marijuana), and that means that I want to enable the place to be used not only for the occasional barbecue but to have the same functions as a bar/grill or coffee shop with a terrace.

The terrace is the big thing.  The problem right now is that backyard area is completely wasted.  [Terminator] put some grass in last year but it’s full of weeds and the fences are lined with miscelaneous ugly shrubberies and such.  The weeds have to go, the bushes need to be dug out and replaced by things with actual color.  And the patio itself? I suppose we can do without a paintjob if we want to be going for that rustic look, but at the very least we need to improve lighting conditions so that we can go out there at night.  The entire patio is lit only by the kitchen lights at night, along with a single incandescent signal light.  It’s really not enough for people outside to sit under.

The plan, and [Terminator’s] gf Kim agrees, is that we’re going to install a web of christmas lights all throughout the backyard.  I’m thinking of netting the entire underside of the patio roof (there’s a balcony above us from the tennants upstairs) and then running some lights over the backyard, anchored either on the rails or the above balcony, and stretching out to the post where the clothesline is hooked up.  I don’t know if you’d call that the South American or the Mediteranean feel but regardless of the teminology, we want to make it more homely, and not just a typical college-bachelor-guys apartment.  Terminator wants to get an oldschool phonograph for style.  Maybe some windchimes.

The project is moving rather slowly, but at least it’s moving. The first step so far was to buy some cheap LEDs on eBay.  We’ll see what they look like when they arrive.  Aside from that, I’m going to borrow a spade from my house to dig up the backyard.  Kim’s going to search for the unused Christmas lights back at her home.  My mom’s going to donate a bunch of colorful flora from our backyard.  There are plans in the works– I just hope to get this all started before it gets too cold and back into winter mode.


I’ve been working since late high school so I manage my money pretty well I think.  I don’t earn a huge salary, and I’m by no means rich, but I do invest a lot.  Anywhere between 50% and 80% of my paychque usually gets stashed away, so whenever I say I’m broke, it’s not that I can’t make ends meet– it means simply that I’ve used up my ‘entertainment and other’ budget until the next paychque comes in.

Living away from home in Montreal is very different from living along in Asia though, and the primary reason for this is financial.  In Korea, I could save a ton of cash and still be able to party like mad.  If I blew a week’s salary on a week’s entertainment entertainment in Korea?  That amount of eating, singing and alcohol would probably kill me.

In contrast, in Montreal, I can really only afford to go out once or twice a week.  That’s a big reason why I’m trying to get added value out of my apartment.  After all, the venue is only half of the equation to a social gathering– people are pretty important too, right?  It stands to reason then that with the right people, any place can be fun.  My living room with a bunch of the guys and an Xbox is a perfect example.

I would however like to make our apartment more accomodating to the interests of the fairer sex though, and that means the eating, coffee and drinking that we’d otherwise pay craploads to do outside.

I’m of the firm belief that home shouldn’t just be a hotel, where after a long day we throw our keys on the dresser and our heads to our pillows– home should be where you find ways to appreciate and build memories with your family.

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