All In Good Time

Attila and I sold our home in the country in September, and turned our lives upside down. Since then our existence has been largely based on “a wing and a prayer”. Attila had no job here at Mist Cottage, and continued to work in the country, living in his vehicle. Then, after two weeks of “camping” in Tank (old Toyota FJ Cruiser), he found a minimum wage, temporary position near Mist Cottage, and took the leap. He has been job hunting ever since, as his present position could evaporate at any instant, is very low paying, offers no benefits, and has zero job security.

Yesterday Attila attended a job interview for a real job, we have our fingers crossed, but won’t find out anything for a few weeks. We are very happy with this development.

The unpacking has slowed somewhat, as we are now faced with the issue of where to put everything. Clearly, more must go, but what?! Every day I try to sort through a box, or a pile of stuff.

What we need here is small-house appropriate furniture. There were two homemade closets in this house when we bought it. They were very rough, and the one in the back bedroom was covered with mildew and mold, which had permeated the wood, and was impossible to conquer; that closet was ripped out and taken to the dump, leaving one closet in the front bedroom. That one closet is jammed full of our clothes, to the point that any piece of clothing coming out of that closet is hopelessly wrinkled, too wrinkled to be worn. The house worked well as it was, as a cottage, but needs some adjustments to live in full time.

We need wardrobes to hang our clothes. We also need beds with drawers beneath them, as there is little room for dressers in this house. I have my eye on practical wood furniture from a Canadian manufacturer, but it is costly, so we must wait to see if our income recovers before considering this alternative. I also have my eye on Kijiji, watching for the items we need, because you just never know. We also need practical storage units for the living room and dining room, but that is less important to us than the bedroom.

Just after the move there were two of everything in the kitchen, two ketchup bottles, two bags of flour, etc. etc. It has been almost two months since the move, and clutter in the kitchen is beginning to diminish. For the first four weeks the recycling box was overflowing, but no more. We have purchased very few food supplies since arriving, mostly milk and fresh vegetables, so that our stored food clutter is diminishing daily. The kitchen is becoming a lot more user friendly.

Yesterday I paid the last of the moving bills! I also sent off the Bell modem, returning it after cancelling their internet service. Their service was so very slow, our new cable service is like lighting by comparison, and it is almost the slowest cable service available. Bell has given me such a difficult time over the years. They are such a large company, and there is little administrative cohesion. I dreaded calling them for any reason at all, because the problem always got a lot worse before it got better, and often they created new problems during the call. During our last fiasco, they sold us a product that didn’t exist at our location, claiming that it did exist, billed us for it, ignored the loss of service we suffered as a result of it, and just generally do not own their own processes of interaction with their customers. I will never do business with Bell again unless I have no other choice.

My genealogy book went up for sale yesterday, I have sold two copies thus far. I am not expecting to sell a lot of books, but it would be nice to sell enough of them to pay for the cost of publishing the books. I had to send one copy to Library and Archives Canada, which was not a sale, but a requirement of the government. It is a very big relief to get the book to this stage. I am already planning the outline for the second volume. And beginning to research my Grandmother’s side of the family more thoroughly, aiming at another series of books, which will give me projects to work on well into the future.

I was pleasantly surprised by a friendly missive from a distant relative, on my Granny’s side, who I did not know existed. There are gaps in my research! I have been corresponding with my newly found cousins, who live out west, where their branch of the family headed three generations ago. They are warm, friendly people, such a pleasure to meet them.

My days here at Mist Cottage pass quickly and peacefully. It has been many years since I have been this busy, and since I have been allowed by the universe to have so much of Attila’s company. It still feels as if we are on an extended vacation. I imagine that feeling will pass, the “honeymoon” phase of our new life will slowly evolve into a quiet, low-key existence. As my little sister is fond of saying, “it’s all good”.

Radon Gas

For the last five years I have wondered about radon gas in the basement at Mist Cottage, do we have a problem here? Since we did not live here, and we were supporting two homes, I took no action. This past week a missive arrived from the Canadian government, reminding people to test their homes for radon gas, as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country. I decided that it is time to test the house, and if necessary take steps to correct any issues. To that end I found a link for a radon gas detection device at the Canadian Lung Association web site, and ordered the item. It has shipped, I got notice yesterday, so it should arrive in the mail soon. We don’t spend a lot of time in our basement, it is a large storage closet/laundry room/utility room; but it won’t hurt to know where we stand on radon gas.

Since it is such a problem for long-term health, I think our Canadian, and/or Provincial governments would be well advised to step in and require a testing program for all newly built homes, and offer the testing free to homeowners in existing homes, and to people who live in basement apartments. If the country wants to reduce health care usage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We offer free flu shots here, why not free radon gas testing?

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Mostly Cloudy
14°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Friday 6 November 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 13.7°C
Dewpoint: 11.4°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: SSE 9 km/h

Quote

“Charity sees the need not the cause.”
German Proverb

Therein lies the problem.

Quiet

Really, I cannot adequately describe how overwhelmingly tiresome it is to live in a house that is for sale! We have had people going through our home several times a week for months, another comes through on Friday. Our home has been inspected, poked, and prodded. I have to leave to sit in the park several times a week, with no way of knowing when the visitors have left. Keeping the house ready to show takes hours of work each and every day. It is all very, very tiresome!

Well, there isn’t any other way to sell the house, so complain as I might, the parade will continue until we sell.

The sky is rumbling angrily tonight. Attila had a few outdoor projects planned, that have been postponed. One is to spray the driveway with the mixture of epsom salts, vinegar, and dish soap. This works to kill weeds. Our driveway is long, and we have several walkways to tend as well, so spraying it is a lot of work and a significant expense. It needs to be done though, to keep the place looking good. But not tonight, rain would wash it away before it does its job. We are expecting rain.

The hot muggy weather has me wilting. I spend these miserably hot and humid days trying not to move, because when I do my body temperature rises at an alarming rate. It is after 8 pm now, and the temperature has dropped to the point where we have opened the windows, to gain a very slight improvement.

Last night Attila setup the portable air conditioner, for which I am grateful. The heat and humidity are much easier to tolerate after a good night’s sleep.

I am now doing the final edits on my genealogy book. But fate does not want me to complete it just yet! I found and contacted a distant cousin, who sent me not only information about her branch of the family, but also a series of photographs. She began by sending me a photograph of two children, all she had was their surname. Using the photographers information on the cardboard frame, I tracked down the studio, and determined the dates he was in operation, and thereby the approximate birth dates of the children. From that information I identified the children within the family tree. I will include some of the photographs in the book, and have updated the data, which requires a big edit job, but it is well worth it.

I still need to write back to this particular cousin and share with her everything I have on her branch of the family, I am sure there are a few tidbits in my notes that will be helpful to her. She has certainly helped me a great deal.

Most of the other edits are spelling corrections, formatting issues with place names, and ensuring that the conventions used are consistent throughout the book. The data was collected over a period of more than twenty years, so there are inconsistencies in my methods of recording. I try to not only correct this in the book, but also go back into the database to make the corrections there as well.

Well that’s me, busy with the ongoing attempt to sell the country house, my genealogy book, and trying to survive the heat. Life is quiet, and good.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Muskoka Airport
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Tuesday 18 August 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dewpoint: 20.2°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Humidex: 30

Quote

“I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first, I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down.”
Mitch Hedberg
1968 – 2005

Breezes

Saturday, August 1, 2015, 7:45 a.m.

What a lovely morning! The sun is just peeking over the treetops, the breeze is cool and delicious. At times like this I am very happy to be sitting in the country house.

The one ring on the telephone the other day was my sister. She called but something came up for her before I answered, so she hung up. She and my Mom are leaving for a holiday in Greece in a few weeks. They travel well together, as they are very much alike in many ways, and both enjoy good health. Bon voyage!

Here at the country house, with only the breezes, the wildlife, and the trees for company, I have been busy working on my genealogy book. The last, I hope, task in preparing to publish is the creation and insertion of charts. I had created quite a few when I discovered a branch of the family that had been neglected. After going back to the primary data sources, updating my data, and finding, after all these years, the burial place of my GGGG Grandfather, the charts all needed editing. So I began again. Thirty charts are now waiting to be inserted, and more than that still need to be created. I am contemplating the inclusion of a map, but quite frankly the digital world has nothing to offer me that wouldn’t take weeks to prepare. It will be more pragmatic to find a digital line map, add coloured dots with Photoshop, and a text box legend, than to deal with the complexities of mapping software. I anticipate publishing the book sometime in September.

The house needs a bit of tidying, it always does when we kick back to cook our meals, sleep in the bed, take showers. Our food is cooked from scratch, from raw ingredients, the state of the kitchen at meal time reflects that sort of activity. Human activity “messes” up the house. Potential buyers apparently are put off by signs of that sort of “mess”. We are considering, if the house does not sell this year, buying a trailer to relax in next summer, in the driveway here, so that we aren’t constantly erasing all signs of our own life. We can just close the curtains and lock the door when people are touring through our property.

Today I feel a weariness with the world. I listen to the trees. They gently, ever so gently, tell me that there isn’t any substance to the fuss and bother, the striving and vying, the outrage and the complacency. The troubling details that vibrate the social drum today will be forgotten when I am gone, and will essentially stay the same after I am gone. The future is only different from today in that there will be other people worrying this poor planet, people other than the ones that are alive right now. There will be other people who walk unseeing and unknowing past my mouldering bones, who will try to make the world a better place, and their every success, no matter how small, is a victory for our uneasy species. They have always existed, these hewers of love and tolerance, and I believe that is why our species is still in existence.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 1 August 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 15.9°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 28

Quote

“Age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

Honorable Me

I am now recovering nicely from my fall almost a month ago. The hematoma is still there, still painful to the touch, but it is smaller and much less intrusive. Pain from my tailbone has been with me for decades, my body already has ways of coping with that, so the fracture isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. I am also nicely recovering from a nasty summer cold, which saw me feverish and miserable for two days, but only two days, which was a blessing. I probably picked that up in the emergency ward at the hospital, which is not an ideal place for non-life threatening health issues. Where we live, there are no other options.

The weather has been wonderful, until today, which has brought with it a slow steady rain.

The house has had no recent viewers, we have accepted that it will not likely sell this summer. So we ordered firewood, a big financial investment, enough to take us through the winter, which Attila has been busy stacking in the woodshed. It looks like we will be spending much of next winter apart, something that neither of us is happy about.

I have been working feverishly on my genealogy book, and have taken up a new temporary volunteer position as a member of working group studying health care outcomes for older people. Most of the volunteer work I do is self-generated, anonymous, and low-profile, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

I am looking forward to getting back to my physiotherapist recommended exercises, which have fallen by the wayside as I recover from my fall. I have also given up my daily walk, as I am back at the country house, where walking is distasteful rather than a source of pleasure. I find that to sustain a health routine, it must be something I do not come to loath, as I have walking at the country house. At the little house in the city I look forward to walking, every day, and it is sometimes the highlight of my day. What a contrast: location, location, location!

As I continue to follow my natural way of eating, my weight continues to fall towards my own “normal”. This is quite pleasing. I enjoy eating things I shouldn’t, and I still do that from time to time, but I love the control aspects of eating to live. Mostly, I just avoid big helpings, empty calories, and drink lots of water, not much of a formula, but it works for me.

The unfortunate truth that our “puddle problem” was indeed Mist generated has led us to keep her confined to the mud room, where we clean up after her daily. She still uses the kitty litter most of the time, but will unpredictably resort to using the floor, or furniture, occasionally. Occasionally is too much for us. The objectionable smell has all but disappeared in the rest of the house, thank goodness.

Mist is also becoming a bit more difficult to care for in other ways. Yesterday I heard a loud crash, and went downstairs to investigate. She had been on the windowsill, looking out the window, and decided to break through the window screen to gain entrance to the screened in porch. Having accomplished that goal, by demolishing the window screen, she was actively seeking a way to break through the screens in the screened in porch, to escape into the yard. I caught her before she made her great escape, which likely would have cost her her life, as the wildlife here is ever present, and always looking for its next meal. When I opened the door to the screened in porch she stared at me, then sauntered slowly past me into the mud room for a bite to eat. “No problem here,” she seemed to say.

Now we must keep the window closed to keep her safe, and have placed an air cleaning unit in the mud room to keep the air cleaned and the smell under control, at least to some degree. Attila will have to make time to repair the screen for future house viewings.

All in all things seem pretty darn good right now. I am loving this summer weather, with a few moderately hot days, around 30C, cooling night temperatures, occasional rain, and lots of sunny days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 2:41 PM EDT Friday 17 July 2015
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 15.3°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 18 gust 32 km/h

Quote

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

[Well! I am feeling pretty damn honorable just now!]

The Weekend

Friday, February 27, 2015

Last night may have been our coldest night of the winter here at the little house in the city! This morning, early, around 6:00 a.m., around the time the temperature usually dips to its lowest point, the house gave one loud, resounding “crack”! This happens frequently at the country house, as the temperature difference between the arctic outdoors and the warm indoors causes sudden, violent contraction in the frame of the house. At the little house in the city, this was the first time I had heard that sound! Cold!

The sun came out strong and bright this morning, but I did not head out there until it managed to warm the world a bit!

My project for today is motivated by the warming temperatures. The thermometer mounted on the exterior wall of our back porch, in the sun, read -4C this afternoon. That is quite a jump, from -29c, to -4C! The heat pump is configured to heat the house when the temperature rises above -7C. It is installed along the north wall of the house, where the sun does not shine and today’s temperature did not rise above -7C. That was today. Warmer weather is on the way though, if the weather people are even close to reality in their predictions. It was time to remove the winter snow load from the heat pump.

Before removing the snow from heat pump, I had to reach it. Not an easy task. First I had to shovel through the high snow bank at the side of the driveway, to make an opening. Then the path to the front door was shovelled out, the snow below the crust was like dry sand, slippery, heavy dry sand. Clearing the path to the front porch was a big job. Then the porch itself needed to be shovelled off, which took a bit more time. Then it was time for a short break, standing looking at the blue sky, listening to a bird song, which was a real treat.

Back to work again. Using a dustpan to remove the light top layer of snow, about a foot and half deep, I scooped my way towards the north end of the house. When I stepped onto the light crust of snow that I had just exposed, my foot went into it to the top of my boot. Scooping and stepping, I slowly crossed in front of the house and down the north wall of the house to the heat pump. Again using the dustpan, the snow was removed from the top of the heat pump, and deep snow cleared well away from the base. Having accomplished this, I headed back to towards the driveway to fetch the snow shovel.

It was a hard slog, shovelling out that sand like snow from the path I have created to the heat pump. I did it though! Now it will be possible to check on the heat pump when the temperature rises above -7C.

The rest of my day consisted of working away at my genealogy book. I ran into a few more problems with the images, it took several hours to remedy that problem. The other time consuming sidetrack I followed, was doing a bit of additional research on individuals for whom no conclusive records have been found. These people are GGG Granduncles and GGG Grandaunts, for whom I have birth records from Scotland. Other researchers studying my ancestors, and theirs, have attributed identities to these individuals based on speculation about their later lives. Not a good idea. They may be correct, but then again, they may not be correct in claiming these familial connections. I decided to write about the available evidence, and suggest what further research needed to be done in order to confirm connections, or perhaps discover connections. Very time consuming, but fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March! This is the last month of winter! In four short weeks, which will seem long, a snow storm will be considered an outlier, an anomaly, something that will discourage those waiting for spring, but will also disappear quickly. March is my least favourite month of the year! Foolishly, Attila and I were married in the month of March, thinking that adding something to celebrate to this long difficult month would brighten it up. So far, that ambition has proven false. Usually there is some sort of ice storm, or blizzard, going on around our anniversary, so that we are hunkered down at home, trying to keep the house warm, chopping wood, and sometimes enduring a power failure. Still, we live in hope! When/if we finally move to the little house in the city, it could be that March will not be quite as harsh. I will be staying at the little house in the city for the month of March this year, so it will be interesting to watch how spring progresses, or does not progress, over the next few weeks. We will be celebrating our anniversary over FaceTime, but anticipate a modest celebration during Attila’s overnight March visit, when gets his winter “once a month” Saturday off work.

I am sitting in the kitchen and feeling relieved. I had procrastinated on pouring hot water into the heat pump, figuring that it was going to be quite cold during the night and that I would end up with more ice than I started with. Cool air is blowing over my feet as I sit here, which is what happens when the heat pump is circulating air as it warms the outdoor coil to melt any ice that may be on it. It seems to me it is working! The house is once again being heated by the heat pump.

A busy week awaits, physiotherapy, laundry at the laundromat, yoga, a trip to the pharmacy to fill a prescription… sounds dull, but in my world this is a whirlwind of activity! If I were at the country house there would be no list at all, I would be sitting in the bush dragging through the last weeks of winter, in isolation. The contrast in lifestyle between our two properties is shocking in the experience of it, although it doesn’t really sound like such a big deal, it is.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-29°C
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 27 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -23.9°C
Dewpoint: -27.2°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: NNW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -39

Country House

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-33°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Friday 27 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -31.9°C
Dewpoint: -35.2°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: SSE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -37

Little House in the City
-23°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Saturday 28 February 2015
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 104.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -22.0°C
Dewpoint: -24.2°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: E 3 km/h
Wind Chill: -26

Country House
-28°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Saturday 28 February 2015
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -28.1°C
Dewpoint: -30.9°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -32

Little House in the City
-7°C
Date: 11:13 AM EST Sunday 1 March 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -7.3°C
Dewpoint: -9.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: S 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Country House
-6°C
Date: 12:00 PM EST Sunday 1 March 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -5.9°C
Dewpoint: -13.4°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -11

Quote

“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”
Ernest Hemingway
1899 – 1961