An Open Window

There is nothing like an open window to make a day peaceful. It doesn’t matter that in the distance there are hammers hammering, diggers digging, men shouting, radios playing, trucks on the highway humming… it doesn’t matter. What I mostly hear is the wind in the leaves, the cooing of the rock dove outside the window. The peaceful sounds are accompanied by a light breeze playing through the house, curtains billowing then resting with a sigh, and the sight of white clouds in a blue sky.

Now, all that is needed here is a night rain, long and steady, to give the gasping landscape relief.

After recently upgrading our internet connection to an unlimited account, to avoid paying for over usage, which is outrageously costly, I noticed while looking at the most recent bill, that the account number didn’t seem right. Sure enough, they changed it! But, since upgrading the account a payment had been made to the old account number. Carefully checking the previous bill, the payment had been processed as it should have been. A call to the company revealed that there was a short grace period where payments to the previous account numbers would transferred to the new account. Well, it is a good thing I noticed! There were no clues in the bill that this change had occurred, and it was not an easy catch to notice it, those long account numbers aren’t usually read. I caught it though, and updated the payment process. Dodged that bullet!

This evening a load of rotting mouldy wood was on its way to the dump. There will be a charge for this, but it was decided that even though the wood could be taken to the Rideau Camp for a camp fire, the journey with the material in the back of Tank would be extremely unpleasant, the smell is very strong. As well, there are drought conditions here, and it would be very ill advised to have a campfire, even if they are not yet banned. So the dump it was.

Whether canned goods are being processed in lower quality containers, or the can opener suddenly wore out, opening cans had become an ordeal. The final straw came about a week ago, when I suffered two deep cuts to my hands while attempting to open a can. The cuts are still not completely healed. So, after a short bit of research, a new can opener was ordered, and it arrived a few days ago. Wow, what a difference, the new can opener, a ZYLISS, works like a charm. The problem must have been with the old can opener, it had just worn out. The need to avoid canned goods due to the difficulty in opening them has ended. I feel like a new woman.

Earlier in the month the pepper mill stopped working, replaced by a Peugeot, made affordable only because it was temporarily on sale at a significant discount.

It’s the little things, the things that you interact with every day, or often, where you appreciate small but significant changes. Almost every day I use either the pepper mill, or the can opener, and every day that I do, I notice how well the new tools work.

A modest investment has provided a large amount of pleasure.

Attila and I were craving pizza last night. Nope, not gonna make pizza right now, so that craving will have be put on hold. Instead Nachos, with Guacamole on the side, were prepared and enjoyed. A quick and nutritious dinner. And tonight it is a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. But that pizza is still on my mind!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 18 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We touch other peoples lives simply by existing.”
J. K. Rowling

Being There

Monday, July 16, 2018

It looks like the humidex today will top 40C, stinking hot. I won’t be poking my nose out the door until things cool down. Well, I will venture onto the back porch in the afternoon to close the cabana curtains against the sun, otherwise it will be humidex 50C on the back porch. I feel extremely lucky to have the air source heat pump, otherwise I would be suffering, and unbearable. As it is I am just a little irritated by being housebound due to the extreme heat. Things could be a lot worse, counting my blessings.

After a busy weekend in the kitchen, there is food aplenty in the house. Baked potatoes, sweet and sour meatballs with rice and vegetables, BBQ chicken, vegetable soup, homemade bread. It will be midweek before the Instant Pot will be back in service.

The bathroom is being cleaned today, top to bottom. It is a big job, not a favourite either, but one that, once completed, is very satisfying. There are only five rooms in the house, perhaps another will be tackled!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another quiet day here at Mist Cottage. Another hot, humid day. I won’t be poking my nose out of the air conditioned atmosphere for any length of time today.

Things are looking very, very brown in our neck of the woods. The grass in the neighbour’s yard has been brown for a few weeks, and I fear it will not recover, although it has in the past after long dry spells. Even our yard is starting to look a little brown. Our yard is does have grass in it, some, but it is mostly things like plantain, wild strawberries, dandelions, red and white clover, bindweed, birdsfoot trefoil (my personal favourite), and many as yet unidentified weeds. Although still green, most of the weeds are beginning to look distressed from the drought; except the birdsfoot trefoil, it is thriving with bright yellow flowers and luxuriant greenery. Attila continues to water the garden every night.

Tonight will be a second night of leftovers for dinner. Last night it was leftover BBQ Chicken, and Vegetable Soup for Attila, leftover Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Rice and Mixed Vegetables for me. Tonight dinner will consist the last of the Vegetable Soup and homemade whole wheat bread. Tomorrow evening it is back to cooking again.

There are still bits and pieces to be done on the back wall of the garage, more studs must be installed. Attila didn’t want to tackle much last night, it was just so hot, and he had been working in it all day, so he decided to paint the new back wall white. Attila likes white, so I suggested he paint the walls of the garage white. It will brighten the back of the garage no end, reflecting any light that enters, and make things like wasps nests easy to detect. I have my fingers crossed that this weekend coming up will see the last of the finicky parts of the back wall construction completed, the new window installed, with security guard, and most of the fiddly bits taken care of. The point where the renovation is no longer a pressing priority, and becomes an ongoing relaxed project, if fast approaching.

It has only rained once since the metal went onto the roof, and it held dry then. It has not rained since, except for a few drops here and there, that evaporated within a few minutes. It has been weeks since we had rain!

The garden needs a real soaker of a rain.

I am not really sure where the time goes these days. You would think, alone here for most of my waking hours, that I would be climbing the walls with boredom and loneliness. That does not seem to be happening. The days fly swiftly, they soar. Attila, off at work, or on his own with his garage renovation and garden, might spend fifteen or twenty minutes talking to me, over the course of the day, weekdays, weekends, the same. Occasionally, Attila and I will have a longer chat, but that has been on hold for the duration of this garage renovation. There are no other face-to-face conversations in my day-to-day world.

I have met some wonderful people online, and have come to appreciate and value their (your) intelligence and compassion. So many have shared their perspectives, hearts, minds… well, thanks, just thanks, for being who you are, and being there.

The humidity dropped this afternoon! Oh sweet relief, it is still hot, but not suffocating.

My Mom is in Las Vegas on vacation with my sister, they get on very well together, and are perfect travel companions. I think they will have a great time!

The Back Section Of The Garage Back Wall

The garage back wall closed in on Sunday.

ng>Worldly Distractions

garage back wall painted white

The garage back wall closed in and painted white on Monday.

Weather

26°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 16 July 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 22.4°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 36
Visibility: 19 km

29°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 29.2°C
Dew point: 12.7°C
Humidity: 36%
Wind: WSW 23 gust 34 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“…Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

A Long Heat Wave

The heat wave seems to be lasting FOREVER! Another stinker of a day out there.

Attila only has one day off this weekend, today. Today is the day the last of the back wall comes out of the garage. All morning the house vibrated as he sawed off the last of the studs and sheathing and siding. By tonight new studs and sheathing and siding will be installed, and probably the new siding will be painted. Tearing out the rotting back wall wasn’t on the list of tasks for replacing the garage roof, a project that is not finished yet. Securing the back rotting wall was on the list. The way Attila figured it, it was the same amount of work to tear out and replace the wall, as it was to secure it against the weather, AND a secured wall would still be rotten and mouldy and need to be replaced. He saved himself about a week of work by skipping securing the wall, and rebuilding it now.

He is out there in the heat and humidity, working away, happily. He is experiencing intense relief, getting this nightmare project underway, and today removing the last of the rotting, mouldy wood and insulation. He is claiming his space, and as miserable as it has been; the pressure to remove the old roof and get another on to keep the rain out; the misery of removing rotting, mouldy materials; working in the extreme heat of the very long heat wave we have been experiencing… well as miserable as all that has been and still is, he comes up into the kitchen for a coffee, soaked to the skin, with a big grin on his face.

open section in back wall

The last section of the back wall to be replaced with new studs, sheathing and siding. Attila reckons that this will be closed in and painted by the end of the day.

I baked bread yesterday, on the back porch. Today, Sunday, Attila is tackling an electric-tool-intense day of work, so the one exterior electric outlet is all his. The Instant Pot, and the air source heat pump to cool the air, will allow indoor cooking in reasonable comfort. The hydro is half the price during the weekend, so this luxury isn’t going to set us back too much on our hydro bill. It is an added expense of replacing the garage roof.

Well, that’s us here at Mist Cottage. Attila renovating, me writing this, keeping the kitchen clean, planning and preparing another hot meal in the Instant Pot, paying bills, updating web sites… lots of this n’ that in my daily life. And of course, our friends, the mosquitoes (they survive hot dry weather just fine), the bumblebees (beautiful!), the goldfinches, the robins, the grackles, the cardinals, the squirrels, the chipmunks, the rabbits, and lots of life we are not really aware of that surrounds us.

I’ve tried and tried to give up thinking and writing “us”. I might just have to accept failure on this one, as long as Attila and I are living in the same dwelling. It isn’t the same “us” it was last summer, not at all, but it is an “us” of another kind.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

26°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Sunday 15 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.0°C
Dew point: 21.3°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: S 19 km/h
Humidex: 35
Visibility: 24 km
Mainly sunny. High 30 except 26 near Lake Ontario. Humidex 38. UV index 9 or very high.

Quote

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
Mahatma Gandhi
1869 – 1948

Paradise

I am sitting on the back porch. The day is overcast. It is the weekend, a Saturday, and Attila was mandated to work today, so he is at work. I can hear the birds singing. I’ve seen a cardinal couple this morning, they flew across the back neighbour’s yard and into the trees. The rabbits have been to visit. The squirrel has also been here this morning. Robins and grackles are looking for food in the browning grass.

What I am hearing mostly this morning though, is the awful sound of trees being ripped out of the ground. The development at the end of the street has circled the standing houses and is ripping out the beautiful mature trees behind us. The splitting of the trees as they are jerked out of the ground is a horrible, horrible sound. With each screech as a tree is destroyed, I send the pain I hear to people who are doing this to make money. Greed. They don’t need the money, they want the money, big house, big trips, big vehicles, big strutters. I send the pain their way, where it belongs.

It seems as if by the end of the day the cardinals will lose their paradise, and so will we.

This morning I am baking a loaf of whole wheat bread. We have several bags of whole wheat flour, and they are getting on in age. Whole wheat does not store well long term. The wheat I was using was unpleasant, but Attila insisted that I make bread with it and that he liked it and wanted to eat it. I found myself avoiding bread baking because it disgusted me to use the flour. I have talked him into abandoning that flour, what little is left of it. There is another bag of flour which has been stored properly, but for quite some time. Today I opened the bag, and so far, so good. It smelled fresh. Whole wheat flour, when it isn’t fresh, can smell awful. Today’s loaf is 100% whole wheat, it is in the bread machine, on the back porch, and it should be ready for a taste test by lunch time.

We had rain! Well, you might call it rain, but then again, you might say the sky was just a bit teary. There were wet spots visible on the top of the BBQ. There were not enough drops to wet the whole surface. Things are very, very dry. The grass is brown, rain barrels are empty, the garden needs to be watered twice a day. The day is overcast and my fingers are crossed that we get a few hours of showers.

Yesterday Attila picked some of our peas. There are four plants still standing, four out of the dozen or so planted. They are pod peas, meant to be eaten pod and all. A few leftover fresh mushrooms from the refrigerator, the fresh garden peas, a quarter pound of ground beef, frozen mixed vegetables and flavourings, into the Instant Pot and forty minutes later a fantastic soup for dinner. Attila is over the moon with this daily hot meal that he doesn’t have to cook!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Saturday 14 July 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 23.3°C
Dew point: 18.7°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind:WSW 8 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.”
Kurt Vonnegut
1922 – 2007

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

My mind wandered today, following a discussion about home schooling, thinking about my own childhood. School, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good: Mrs. xxx, my grade six teacher, a woman who was born in Germany, German speaking with a heavy accent in English, Jewish, escaped Germany buried in a coal car with her parents and sister during World War Two. I loved her, quite literally. She encouraged me to write, and did not tolerate bullies in the classroom, or in the playground when she was on duty. She was an incredible human being.

The bad: Miss xxx, my grade nine typing instructor, a woman who thought a physical disability was a challenge to her authority, an act of defiance. I would be sitting there struggling with the typing, my right arm on fire with the pain of it. My elbow stuck out, it couldn’t be lowered without breaking it, which meant I certainly could not lower it myself. She would approach me from behind with her wooden yard stick, take a wide swing and CRACK. Right down on my arm and elbow. “Elbow down”, she would shout at me. I get a stomach ache just thinking about the meanness of it, the humiliation of being beaten in front of the class, and of having my “difference” contemptuously exposed. She was one mean little human being. There was no recourse.

The ugly: I was co-captain of the cheerleading team. When it was time to run auditions for new members to the team, a jury of teachers graded the girls performances. It was down to the captain and I to tally the scores and announce the winners. The captain had a favourite who did not make the cut. She wanted to alter the records to cut another girl, who she didn’t like, and bring her favourite onto the team. My response was NO! She pushed. NO! She fussed. NO! She threatened me with social disapproval. NO! NO! NO! NO! She lost the struggle, and I remember watching the girl at the games, the girl who deserved to be there, but might not have been. I enjoying that she was such a great member of the team. I never told the girl who deserved to be there what happened, it wouldn’t have made her feel better about being there. We all knew the captain was an asshole, we needn’t have counted the ways.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 12 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.4°C
Dew point: 20.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: SSE 19 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

Not always surprised to find though, some bullies have weapons and a long memory… choose your battles.