Another Demolition Day

Last night I could not sleep. At 4:30 a.m. I finally drifted off, only to awaken at 7:30 a.m., not because I had to, only because my being decided not to sleep. I am feeling overwhelmed by this renovation. I arose, opened most of the windows, then hopped in the shower. After puttering around until 9:45, it was past time to awaken Attila so that the day’s work could begin; he worked until 11:00 p.m. last night. Rain is forecast for Friday night, and Saturday, which adds some pressure to the enterprise.

His day began with a cigarette and a coffee on the back porch, then a change into street clothes and a trip to the building centre to buy more Sawzall blades. I was sent yesterday to buy them, but the type he requested were not in stock, and I dared not choose a substitute.

He is doing a terrific job on the garage roof. The project possesses him, he lives and breathes it right now, as I knew he would. There is no room here for relaxed conversation, and even finding time for a shared meal some days. The project will not be completed by the end of Attila’s vacation, although I fervently hope that by Sunday night he has the metal roofing in place on the roof, to keep things dry.

Once the roof is secure, then all the items in the garage need to be sorted through, and what needs to be discarded can go into the dumpster before it is picked up. A lot of items that were once viable are now completely destroyed by water and mould and mildew. I will be involved with this aspect of the project, because some of the articles in the garage are/were mine.

There is much to do after the roof is secure from the weather. New sections of wall near the peak of the roof must be constructed, siding installed. New wiring needs to be installed to supply the garage with electrical power. A window needs to be installed. I am sure there is more I am not aware of yet.

And then there will be animal eviction. Already chipmunks are in the garage, coming in through the open roof. I will have to use a live trap once the dumpster goes, and I have purchased more mouse traps. There is an opening from the garage into the new shed, so the animals will have infiltrated it as well, more time using the live trap and the mouse traps. It might even be necessary to remove all the items from the shed to make sure we get all of the animals out, a big job. None of this is avoidable under the circumstances.

I have always found renovations challenging. Attila prefers to work alone, team work isn’t his thing, and communication over what needs to be done can get sticky at times. The renovations also seem to take much longer than anticipated, Attila felt only a week was needed for this new garage roof, but I know that it will be the focus of life here until the snow flies. The expense is challenging as well, I do the juggling, the borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and any worrying that comes into the administrative side of things. This is not something I enjoy, but it is necessary to move forward towards a home that is warm, dry, and free of animals, mould, and mildew. When this project is complete the house will be almost there!

The wildlife are finding the project interesting. Chipmunks have invaded the garage, and probably mice too, although I haven’t seen them. Birds land on the newly installed rafters. This morning, as I opened the window closest to the dumpster, I watched a little rabbit peeking through the crack at the door, probably wondering if there was any food in there!

Just to note, the funding program, through which we received assistance in paying for the desperately needed new windows, and attic insulation, has been discontinued, as anticipated; due to the new right wing government in Ontario. All environmental programs are now cancelled. For our own good, we are told. Thank goodness I found the program when I did last winter, and that I pursued it to completion. Otherwise, the windows and attic insulation would be huge jobs that Attila would have taken on by himself, over the coming years. The other program I was applying for is a non-starter, the call for the energy audit did not come as promised, nor any explanation. Of course, I know what happened, another cancelled energy program courtesy of right wing politicians.

As I write the whine of the Sawzall fills the air, the smell of hot tar reaches my nostrils through the open windows. Attila is hard at work demolishing the second half of the garage roof. Go Attila go!

Oh, adding a few images of the day’s work, forgot them when I first posted!

Garage roof front sawzall The old roof that Attila is cutting up and removing with the Sawzall. Very heavy going!

Garage roof rear rafters The back section of the garage, with the repaired wall on the right, and the first rafters installed, but many more to go!

Worldly Distractions


18 C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 20 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.9C
Dew point: 14.9 C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832

I’d like to try it for myself to find out!

Hazmat Coverall & A Face Mask

The weather today is perfect for working. Sunny, dry, not too hot, not too humid, just perfect.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning I decided to go for a short walk. After tying up the running shoes, out I went. Oh my it was lovely. The air was cool, 15C, and it was windy, so that the leaves on the trees swayed and whispered as I passed. Few people are out at that hour of the morning, but I did greet in passing one other older woman out walking, and a jogger passed me at one point. About an hour after I got back my bad knee started to ache, oh dear. I rubbed a wee bit of Voltaren on it, and that seemed to settle it down. The elliptical machine does not bother my knee at all, with a similar repetitious movement, so it must be the repetitive impact of stepping on pavement that irritates the joint.

Attila got right down to it today. He donned a hazmat coverall, pulled his face mask into place, grabbed his shovel, the saw, a crowbar, an industrial strength garbage bag, and went to work. What he was shovelling out was the junk at the back end of the garage, where the roof had always leaked, where things like wall studs had rotted to splinters, where mouse nests long abandoned still smelled horrid when wet, oh the list goes on. After cutting out all the rotted wood, removing all the soggy stinking insulation, and the mouse nests, he shovelled it all up and into the waiting garbage bag. Out it went into the dumpster.

Attila shovelling out the garage Attila shovelling out the back wall cavities in the garage. They were filled with soggy stinking insulation, mouse nests, and rotten wood. No more! There was a reason this house sat empty for years and no one wanted to buy it until we came along!

Whoever built the garage was an idiot. It probably leaked right from the beginning, the roof having been almost flat. Water, water, water, it is predictable in its obsession to find mother earth. How could they not know the roof design was untenable.

Now that the rotten wood and rotting materials are removed from the back of the garage, and the water from the storm has evaporated, Attila is ready to begin installing the new roof beams. Oh happy day.

This morning the metal roofing arrived, the driver helped Attila carry it to the back yard. I love the light colour, a shade of light gray. Eventually we will put a new roof on the house itself, with metal roofing of the same colour. By the time we get to that I think Attila’s days of working in high places may well be over, and a contractor will need to be hired to do the job. I have my ever roving eye open for funding or grant programs for low income people, to achieve this. We have many years of service left in the current shingles, which Attila and Lares installed in 2010, so I have lots of time.

Metal roofing This is the new metal roofing. It certainly doesn’t take up much room, when you consider the huge task it performs in keeping a building dry and safe from the elements.

The roof that is being removed consists of: three or more layers of waterproof sheeting, none of which kept the water out; two layers of black shingles, neither of which kept the water out. The garage roof sits in the afternoon sun, so that in the summer it becomes incredibly hot, too hot to touch. This hot air slowly permeates into the house through the walls, and the windows, even though they shut right in the afternoons. It will be very pleasant to have a light coloured roof, properly vented, that will not gather and retain incredible amounts of heat in the summer. The metal roof will also easily shed snow, relieving Attila of the job of shovelling the snow load off the garage roof. There are so many benefits to this project!

Old garage roof profile The old garage roof, the edge of the front half of it. The back half of the roof has been removed, and what you see here has the top layer of shingles and waterproof membrane removed, many layers remain. Attila is removing this roof with Sawzall, and it is brutally hard work, which is only half done. He will install the new roof on the back half of the garage, then he will work on removing the roof on the front half of the garage.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday 19 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dew point: 11.6°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km


“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
Edith Sitwell
1887 – 1964

Oh, and writing!

Garage Floor or Bathtub?

Yesterday half of the garage roof was off, and the rotten wood from the back walls of the garage had been removed. That left everything in the back half of the garage completely exposed to the sky and to the yard. We worried a bit that someone might decide to sneak in during the night and steal our stuff. But really, what kind of a thief would take anything that smelled as bad as the interior of our garage! This morning revealed that no one was interested in touching our smelly belongings, in the smelly garage.

The first order of the day day today on the garage project, was to replace the wall studs, on 16 inch centres. The original sill plate was in excellent condition, and securely attached to the concrete foundation, so it was kept. It took all day to repair the wall, which means the roof was gone and there was a gaping hole above the back half of the garage, and what remained of the roof sloped into the cavity.

Of course a huge thunderstorm rolled right in this afternoon, and a deluge of rain fell into the back of the garage, from the sky and running off from the front half of the roof. There is about an inch of standing water on the floor of the garage right now. It is much like a bathtub. But since no more rain is forecast until next weekend, it will probably evaporate in a few days time.

Attila decided to soldier through tonight, to finish rebuilding the walls. Two sheets of plywood have been installed, and two more must be custom cut to cover the remaining wall studs. After the roof is on, Attila will return to finish this wall with ship lap pine, and paint it the same colour as the house. But first the roof.

Because Attila is using the only outdoor electrical outlet to power his tools, the outdoor kitchen was closed today. Every meal consisted of leftovers. We both love leftovers, so this worked out very well.

Tomorrow Attila will begin to install the roof joists, and perhaps even get the sheeting nailed onto the back part of the roof. Also, first thing in the morning, the metal roofing will be delivered, and will need to be carried to the back yard. Another busy day coming up.

I’ve run into a weird problem with one of my domains, which I discovered when updating name servers with a different company. The other company made a real mess of several of my account, when they “improved” their billing system, which had been moved from France to the US. I am thinking of pulling all of my accounts out of there, to one of the companies I deal with that make the technical stuff look easy, no small feat. A project for another day.

The baked potatoes, prepared a few days ago, are all gone. Time to bake a few more in the Instant Pot tonight!

With the garage wall gone overnight, I did not sleep well. I think my ears were listening in the night for strange sounds. The new walls are installed, so tonight I hope to sleep soundly!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Monday 18 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.5°C
Dew point: 21.4°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: W 16 gust 28 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km


“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

Moving Domain Hosts

An email arrived in the inbox, offering free services to move my domain host to more up to date servers, at a slightly lower cost. Moving hosts is a huge pain, but they offered to do almost all the work! So I took them up on it. This site now sits on a completely different data storage device, as of this morning. The transition has been relatively painless, a few glitches occurred, one set of email addresses didn’t make the transition, but that was remedied almost immediately. Some of the password protected files on some of the domains aren’t functioning properly, I’ll need to fix that myself. But here we are, we’ve been modernized. Bet you didn’t notice. Hope you didn’t notice.

They did most of the work, transferred files, email accounts, databases, web sites… I had to test that all was working as it should, and to change the domain name servers for all of the domains, which ended up taking quite a while and kept me busy all day yesterday. Not all the sites are live on the new server yet, but this one is.

The new account provides me with 24/7 telephone support, which is great. The old account had email support, and it was awesome, but telephone support is terrific for working through glitchy things. The new account also has auto-install, so that I can install programs like WordPress in one click. I had to manually download, then upload, then uncompress, then install WordPress on the server, with the old account.

The cheque came in the mail yesterday! The grant for the window installation arrived. A trip to the bank to deposit it was undertaken immediately. What a relief, it would have taken us a long time to find the funds to cover the grant portion of the new windows. One task left now, to get the company that installed the windows to replace the cracked window pane in one of the living room windows. Next week pressure will be applied to get that resolved, now that the funding is secure, and there is no danger of interference there.

Attila removed a quarter of the old garage roof today. It was rough going, using an electric saw. Apparently there were many, many layers of roofing, close to half an inch depth of old shingles.It will take days to get the old roof off, then he can start to build the frame for the new roof. It is 9:00 p.m., he has come down from the roof, and is moving the new lumber, delivered early this morning, into a secure location. Then he will clean up the debris that fell into the garage. Finally he will come in, eat and probably go to bed. Same thing every day for the next eight days.

What has been accomplished so far has made an amazing difference. Before there was a horrid musty mildewy smell in the garage, and the air was damp and cloying. With no roof, open to the sun all day long, the smell is not longer there! This project was long overdue.

Tomorrow the daytime high temperature will reach 30C, with high humidity. It is going to be very uncomfortable out there on the roof. The heat does not bother Attila the way it bothers me, so he will push on, as he must cover a lot of ground during his vacation. I am thinking that tomorrow would be a good day to have the air conditioning running, so that Attila has a comfortable spot to take his breaks. The only rain in the forecast is for Monday, I am crossing my fingers that it passes us by, or waits for eight days.

I cooked baked potatoes in the Instant Pot today, and I would say they are a success. For dinner, it was the Instant Pot again, on the back porch, a cabbage roll casserole. I didn’t like it, but Attila did. I like the basic recipe, but what I was thinking when I added a teaspoon of rosemary I’ll never know! I don’t like rosemary, but add it to dishes with red meat, to mitigate the free radicals. A quarter of a teaspoon would have sufficed for my purposes. The taste of rosemary overwhelmed my taste buds. Next time I will know better. I ate it anyway, it was nourishing if not enjoyable.

Collecting recipes for the Instant Pot is a lot of fun. It seemed desirable to create a list of basic ingredients to be cooked in the Instant Pot. The time required to cook an item, and the proportion of liquid to the ingredient were recorded for: pasta, rice, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, red lentils, potatoes, and squash. A casserole can be created with pasta, rice, or beans, mixed with cooked meats and raw vegetables, which have a shorter cooking time. The exception is red lentils, they need only two minutes to cook, so vegetables would need to be precooked to create a casserole with them. Potatoes and squash are staples in our diet, so being able to cook them quickly and efficiently is a real bonus.

The rhubarb needs to be picked again. Tomorrow the Nesco will bake a rhubarb crisp on the back porch, keeping the house cool, probably using less hydro in the heat of the day, win/win.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Saturday 16 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 16.4°C
Dew point: 13.1°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: SSE 5 km/h


“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
Joan Didion
1934 –


I looked up the shelf life of long grain rice, on the internet, and found so many different answers that the information was virtually useless. Best to use common sense I reckon.

So here is the thing. We purchased long grain rice in 1999, in preparation for Y2K. We were ready for many eventualities. In addition to things like a generator, fuel, water, we stored foods that would last in dry storage, not requiring refrigeration, or processing. Rice, beans, lentils, oats, dried peas, we stocked up on these items. One of the things we bought lots of was long grain rice. We purchased bags and bags of it, then stored them in tightly closed, moisture proof containers. Well here we are, 19 years later, and the very last bag of long grain rice, 1999 vintage, came out of storage and into the glass canister tonight. That rice moved with us from our city house, to our country house, to Mist Cottage, it is vintage food.

Now some people would be horrified, this has to be past its best before date. That doesn’t matter to us. Rice, if stored properly, it can last a long time. For instance, the Utah State University says it will store well for 25 to 30 years, so we are well under the limit with our 19 year old rice.

Tonight’s dinner emptied the glass container of long grain rice that sits on the shelf in the kitchen, down to the last grain. The canister needed to be refilled.

After looking at multiple recipes for rice and chicken dishes for the Instant Pot, I ended up writing down the proportions of liquid to rice, 1 1/3 cup rice, 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth, and using those measurements, I winged the rest of the recipe. My recipe had to revolve around one leftover BBQ chicken breast, the dry long grain rice, and an old and partial package of frozen Italian vegetables that I found in the refrigerator freezer. Lets face it, I wasn’t using the best of the best in the way of ingredients. Attila and I aren’t “only the best for us” kind of people. We eat what we have. So I wasn’t expecting much of a meal to emerge out of these ingredients.

The Instant Pot is easy to use. I sautéed a chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil, added the rice, the broth, garlic granules, three shakes from the salt shaker, freshly ground pepper, the vegetables (rinsed to remove the ice that had accumulated during their long tenure in the frost free freezer), and the diced chicken breast. Then I put on the lid, turned the pressure cooker on high, and set the timer to five minutes. It takes time to warm up, then five minutes to cook, then about 20 minutes or more to cool down so that the pressure release valve collapses. About 40 minutes till dinner time after the start button is pushed.

The jury is in, a jury of two, that this was an outstanding meal! We both loved it. Attila added hot sauce to his, he adds hot sauce to everything. I allowed myself a few tablespoons of Hot Tai Chili Sauce on mine.

The Instant Pot so far has cooked Rice Pudding, Baked Beans, Chili Kidney Beans, Tuna Noodle Casserole, fresh Butternut Squash, and now Rice And Chicken Casserole. I am addicted to this machine, it is so easy to use. Once I know the proportions of liquid to dry, with pastas, beans, rice, and other legumes, I’ll be all set, the sky is the limit. There are some aging potatoes in the basement pantry, so the hunt has begun for Instant Pot recipes using potatoes. Another “not only the best for us” meal will be served. Creating a tasty meal from those potatoes is going to be challenging, and fun!

Thinking about this vintage rice reminds me of a bag of vintage tomatoes that was made into soup, while we lived at the Country House. The tomatoes had spent at least 10 years in the chest freezer, and they moved with us from the house in the little city to Country House. One day two ladies dropped in on me unexpectedly around lunch time. Knowing that they had quite a trip home ahead of them, I invited them to share lunch with me, the tomato soup. I didn’t mention it had been made with vintage tomatoes. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever received more effusive compliments on a dish I created, they loved the soup, had to have the recipe. But the secret ingredient remained secret I’m afraid, I never did tell them about the all important vintage tomatoes. It was great soup.

Tonight the garage roof project begins. Wish Attila luck! I doubt it will be over in a week, which is the length of Attila’s vacation, which he is using to work on the project. There is some urgency with a roof project, keeping water out if it rains is a major concern. I am hoping that within the week the project will be far enough along to keep water out!

Dumpster Here it is, the super dumpster. It is hard to imagine this thing full, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Attila has this baby full by the end of the project! This is the big purge!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EDT Friday 15 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 24.4°C
Dew point: 9.9°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: WSW 9 km/h
Humidex: 26
Visibility: 24 km


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Albert Camus
1913 – 1960

I do not find Mr. Camus’ approach to life light and joyful, but this quote makes up for all that.