Progress, I Guess

Jeff Powell
3 min readJan 27, 2023


Last week went… away. Mostly it disappeared in a haze of tax filing preparation, but there was some progress on the house as well.

Those of you who have been here long enough know my annual lament by heart:

  • Preparing your taxes is a pain.
  • It’s even worse for Americans living abroad.
  • It’s worse still for Americans living in Canada.

Thanks to things like FATCA and FBAR the act of filing taxes for Americans living outside the US is astonishingly complicated. Even worse is the fact that I have to file taxes in the USA until I die.

That’s right, despite living in another country I am required by US law to file with the IRS every year until I die or renounce my US citizenship. (And, just to be fun, it’s apparently illegal to renounce your US citizenship for financial reasons.) It’s called “citizenship based taxation” and the US and Eritrea are the only countries on the planet that do it. Everywhere else is much more enlightened.

So the annual tax filing takes forever and requires paying accountants to keep us in the good graces of both the Canadian and American governments. Getting ready for that takes many hours, so I’ve started the process.

But I did do some more painting. Here are the before photos:

And here are the after photos:

The “main event” was painting the area under the windows. The second and fourth photos attempt to show that. The contraption in the lower right is a dehumidifier to help dry the paint by the back door before the dogs bump into it.

The other two photos show progress in the living room. If you look closely you can see where the colour change moved on the wall.

There is still painting to do on the ceiling in this general area, and there is a large area around the piano that needs a ton of work. I’ll get there eventually, but this will drag on forever.

Oh, and I haven’t yet painted the baseboard or other trim, but I’ll get to that. Someday.

The other bit of progress was dropping into a local flooring store to ask about getting less than an entire box of flooring. This issue is a tad complicated.

In the last photo, just to the right of the dehumidifier in the lower right corner, you’ll see the sill for the back door. It is just painted wood covering the pipe that carries water around the baseboard heating loop in the house. The problem is that the wood is soft and gets torn up by dog toenails. Also, it’s dumb to use anything white like that where it will show every bit of dirt tracked in from the back yard.

I need to cover it with something more durable and “floorlike.” The obvious answer is some kind of glue down flooring but most places only sell that stuff by the box, and I only need one or two pieces. So I visited a local flooring store to see if they had any advice. Turns out they had one kind of flooring that has been discontinued and there were a few samples they could just give me. Now I have free flooring to use to cover the sill. Doing that is on the list in the near future, but I am still working on the best treatment for the exposed corner that will be present. It’s a bit tricky to do well.

That’s the status this week. More news next Friday. Until then, keep safe!



Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.