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

Weather

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

Quote

“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!

And So It Begins

And so it begins. Attila ordered the new roofing material. It will be delivered. Two more large scale orders to go, the lumber for the project, and the large dumpster. Fiddly bits will be needed as well, but they are an in situ decision. We will be leaking $$$$ for a while. Attila’s attention is shifting from the garden to the garage, spending time now moving things out and sorting for throwing things out. From now on, he will be busy with this project every single moment he isn’t at work, eating, bathing, attending to hygiene, or sleeping.

I am girding my loins, preparing for the wave of renovation that will soon hit the house. At least this isn’t taking place inside the house!

It was cold today. Sitting on the back porch became uncomfortably chilly after a short time, even with a jacket on. Yesterday’s rain seems to have pleased the garden. The new Cosmos are already blooming, and in the yard the Hawkweed and the White Clover look beautiful. The Wild Geranium, Columbine, and Irises continue to bloom beautifully and profusely.

The rabbits have not found a way into the fenced in portion of the yard. That inner sanctum was made even more impenetrable with large granite rocks that Attila brought home from the Rideau Camp on Sunday. Birds still wander there at will, and squirrels scale the fence without effort. Next year I am voting that he plant strawberries, protected by chicken wire, or those birds and squirrels will eat the lot on me!

It looks like most of the climbing beans and peas have survived inside the fence, as the squirrels have taken no interest in them. I’ve realized why the bunnies like our yard. The diversity of the plants in our “lawn” is extensive, and the plants are native and wild. This is fast becoming the only natural field of plants in the area, where rabbits can find suitable food, and eat in peace. It is difficult to tell what they are currently eating out there in the yard, it isn’t the white clover, could it be dandelion greens. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Tuesday 5 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SW 11 km/h

Quote

“We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.”
Maurice Maeterlinck
1862 – 1949

I will say though, we are tolerated by cats, as long as we keep our service standards up to scratch.

Every Day Is A Good Day When You Aren’t Going Bald

Renovating is a bit like holding your breath. Life as we know it is suspended during a renovation project. The flow of the house is altered, temporary compensations must be made, and when the project is done, a new normal has to be established. There is a state of flux until the last lick of paint is brushed, the last nail is hammered, the last tile is laid. Attila started the the new kitchen floor project a week ago Friday, and is still hard at it. He is slowed down by moving furniture, appliances, fitting baseboard and trim, repairing holes in the floor before tiling, and keeping the kitchen functional to a degree for the duration of the job. After the floor is laid I will need to clean it and apply three coats of commercial floor finish, and that will take an entire day of moving appliances, and waiting for each application to dry before the next is applied. We have one more weekend of disruption to navigate.

The floor finish was not in stock within a hundred miles of our house. I requested that the Home Depot near here order it, and they did. It is supposed to arrive at the store this week, which means a trip to the city will be in order. We keep a “to do” list for our visits to the city, and try to accomplish a lot when we are there. The list is a little longer right now because Tank has been out of commission until we can get it in to the garage to address some issues, hopefully minor issues.

I finished the edging on my crocheted blanket. When I held it up though, it did not drape nicely, but curled. I will be looking at this blanket for perhaps the rest of my life, and that curl would be something to annoy me every time I used the blanket, or even looked at it. So, I ripped out the entire border and will start again. I am using one hook size larger this time, and will monitor the drape as I go along. I am sure I can create a nice drape for this blanket, and I will rework it until I do.

I don’t get out of the house much these days. My only forays, in the last month or so, have been to buy food, and another trip to buy more yarn for a second blanket, as the yarn was on sale at Walmart. This is the time of year, when the season for visiting the Rideau Camp is over, that being housebound becomes an issue to be dealt with. I really have nowhere to go, and no people to see, and to compound the issue, I like spending my time in my own space, doing whatever I like. But really, if I ignore the issue it will bloom into cabin fever, which I would like to avoid.

I look for events of interest online, in our local area, but find very little to participate in that doesn’t involve shopping (bazaars, concerts etc.), or spending more money than we have for entertainment, or spending time in the midst of cliques that make us both feel like the-morning-after-a-one-night-stand. We keep trying though, you never know when you will find a pocket of people you can connect with. It happened online, so in theory it could happen in face-to-face.

Our local community, although quite superficially friendly and pleasant, making it a truly nice place to live, offers little opportunity to connect with others at a meaningful-to-us level. Attila and I are like icebergs in this social milieu, what people see is only a small bit at the lightest tip. We always receive friendly, positive feedback about our nice white little tip. Like icebergs, what lies beneath is not seen, and if suspected is considered unknown, and therefore frightening.

And here is a little day-in-the-life detail. I parted my hair on the other side this morning, while brushing it out after I got out of the shower. When I looked in the mirror I saw a bald patch in the part! Oh no! Having always been someone who loses a lot of hair on a daily basis, I thought it had finally caught up with me, and that now my hair is thinning in my old age. But wait! Further inspection, with my glasses on, revealed a brand new streak of white hair, which, when viewed from a distance, and without one’s much needed spectacles, looks like a bald spot. Well, I guess that is better than an actual bald spot. And besides, maybe in a few years the rest of the hair will be white and the illusion of balding will be mediated. I guess every day is a good day when you aren’t going bald.

I can always manufacture something to be grateful for. I am a very self-sufficient woman.

Oh yes, and when I got up this morning there was snow all over the place, and more coming down. It has almost all melted away now. Another thing to be grateful for!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 12:00 PM EST Sunday 19 November 2017
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.3°C
Dew point: -3.5°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: W 20 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”
Italian Proverb

Back At It

We have had rain at regular intervals for the last little while, and the gardens are lush and flourishing. I cut peonies for vases in the living room and on the kitchen window sill, and love to look out into the back yard and see the Yellow Hawkweed dancing in the wind; we have had a lot of wind lately.

Peonies from my garden.
Peony june
Yellow Hawkweed in the back yard. I won’t let Attila cut the grass, not until the Hawkweed stops flowering!
Hawkweed June 2016

We are finally settled enough to approach items on our renovation list. It has been a long time coming, about a year since we tackled anything of note in the line of renovations. It was a year ago that I returned to the country house and we began the work of readying the place to put it up for sale. The summer was spent at the country house, keeping it spic and span and ready for viewing, and there were a lot of viewings. When it finally sold we had two weeks notice to get packed and move out. We managed that, taking Attila’s vacation time to do it, and squeezed our belongings into tiny Mist Cottage. During the fall, autumn, and winter, Attila first worked at his old job, living in Tank; then worked a temporary worker on rotating shifts, near Mist Cottages; then worked as a full time employee on rotating shifts; then worked as a full time employee working night shifts; and finally as of one month ago he is working as a full time employee working day shifts, with weekends off. Working days with weekends off has literally transformed our world, for the better.

Of course, all through this time we were busy at home either selling the old place, moving, or working on downsizing at Mist Cottage. We also searched for, found, and purchased the Rideau Camp this spring. We have accomplished much, but none of it was in the line of home renovation. Now we are well situated to continue with the projects on our list.

Attila and I both agreed that the priority project for this summer was to tear down and rebuild the garden shed. We decided also that this would be accomplished in the month of June, the worst month for biting insects at the Rideau Camp and outdoors in general. So, to kick off the renovation season Attila ordered the lumber for the shed this past week.

Yesterday when Attila got home from work he was raring to go on the shed project. After a quick supper, which I had prepared in the morning in the crockpot, he headed out to the back yard to begin, and down came the shed.

The garden shed yesterday afternoon. Note the door, a silly little thing cut from particle board. A previous owner loved particle board, and poorly understood its properties. The floor of the back deck, which we tore down, was particle board. It was worth life and limb to tread on it, it was so rotten! The door of the shed must have been built about the same time.
Shed June Reno 1
The shed with the roof and siding removed. Oodles of mildew from the leaky roof and the earth that had crept up the siding on the left side. Attila said there were mushrooms growing along the bottom sill plate there. The front left corner was eaten away by carpenter ants, long gone now.
Shed June Reno 2
Attila dismantling the roof, some of the wood was rotted right through.
Shed June Reno 3
Pulling down the walls. I found it interesting that Attila left the entire contents of the shed in place as he tore it apart. Nothing was damaged, which included the large panes of glass from the former dining room window.
Shed June Reno 4
In response to Bex and Wendy’s interest, I have added this photo of Attila’s progress. The old shed of this morning, no more! Attila decided to move all the contents of the shed this morning, to make it easier to move around on the concrete pad that will be the floor. He actually had to shovel earth/mushroom/rotten wood debris off the concrete, it was quite a mess. We also found items we had been looking for, like the old plastic toilet seat that will work wonderfully for our composting toilet at the Rideau Camp.
Shed June Reno 5

Attila, at my insistence, covered the contents of the shed overnight with a plastic sheet. My adamance was a good thing, because when we got up this morning it was raining cats and dogs!

The lumber and door for the new shed arrived early this morning. As soon as the rain let up, Attila began to set aside the salvageable materials from the old shed. The roof rafters that are sound will become a bin for our yard waste compost. The insulation will be cleaned, sanitized, and used somewhere in the house. There wasn’t much else worth reusing, so I researched methods of disposal. We cannot fit this much construction waste in a vehicle, so I am researching companies that will take it away. I would like to get rid of it before the Hawkweed stops blooming. I don’t want the construction waste to kill the grass beneath it. Attila seldom pays attention to these sorts of niceties, but I do. I find it expedient to keep adding my two cents worth to the project.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 11 June 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 15.2°C
Dewpoint: 13.1°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 16 km/h

Quote

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”
George Washington
1732 – 1799

When I read this I think of those with over 100 “friends” on Facebook, which has largely replaced face-to-face interactions between people. And I wonder at those with thousands of “friends” on Facebook. It seems the meaning of the word friend has been drastically altered by technology.

Need and Want

This morning I decided to fill an hour or so with “virtual shopping”. What I mean by “virtual”, in this instance, is that I had no intention whatsoever of purchasing anything. I was only intending to pretend to shop.

I visited Kijiji, and found nothing I was interested in. I visited Amazon.ca, and found nothing I was interested in. The only items I might be interested in, and do not need, could not be purchased sight unseen. I would like to buy comfortable clothing that I feel is attractive. But what attracts me on the rack, or on a model, is not necessarily something that will look reasonable hanging on my body. I need to take my time, to try things on, to consider carefully. That is fun for another time. I would like to buy comfortable casual shoes, as the ones that I have are more than ten years old, and they are beginning to show serious wear. Shoes need to be comfortable and suitable for walking some distance, so trying on shoes before a purchase is a necessity. Again, that is fun for another time. Beyond that, I can think of nothing that I need, and nothing that I want.

How odd, to come to a point in my life where my needs are met, so completely that I feel no want.

Of course, there are larger items that I am interested in. We would love to: rebuild the garden shed in the back yard; gut and rebuild the walls in the bedrooms and the living room; replace the windows and doors in those rooms; install new flooring in every room but the bathroom; renovate the back porch and repair the roof; put a new roof on the garage. Well, you get the picture, there is a lot of renovating yet to be done.

We would also love to find an inexpensive and small travel trailer, so that we can spend our one week vacation at our camp “up north”. YES, we get a one week vacation in the SUMMER with Attila’s new job!

But, all of these larger items are not integral to our happiness, or even our comfort. They are just things to dream about.

We bought two significant items recently, both were needed.

One of the items was a Squatty Potty. The medications I have to take have affected the efficiency of my processing unit. I knew from experience that squat toilets offer a superior experience, but had not devised a way to emulate them in our home. I will say that this product, although I do not find it miraculous, is something I would not want to live without.

The other item is MagicJackGo. We have been using our cell phones as the only means by which businesses and government agencies can contact us. This has been very problematic, as cell phones cost a lot of money to operate, and I find the messaging system inadequate. My pay-as-you-go cell phone costs fifty cents a minute to use. I reviewed many alternatives, and finally decided to try the MagicJackGo. Although the ads boast prices such as $39.95, don’t you believe it! For that price you have to also purchase a power pack, which is supposedly free, but you are billed an additional $19.95 for it, plus almost $18 shipping if you live in Canada. The unit is $69.96, plus 15% sales tax, at the local Walmart. On top of that, whether you buy it online or in the store, one must pay an extra $10 plus 15% sales tax, to obtain a Canadian phone number. The first year of service is free, and includes outgoing and incoming calls within North America, that is in Canada and the continental U.S. All in all we paid almost $100 to get the unit, a Canadian phone number, and one years service.

Local VOIP basic service charges $14.99 per month for the first six months, then $34.99 a month or more forever more. Clearly, if MagicJackGo works out, it is significantly less expensive than our service providers VOIP offering. Local VOIP service, comparable to MagicJackGo costs $52.99 per month for the first six months and $62.99 per month or more thereafter. Add 15% sales tax to all these figures.

We can’t even contemplate a Bell telephone land line, they are priced beyond our means, weighing in from $36.95 to $51.95 plus 15% sales tax.

Setting up MagicJackGo was not as straightforward as I might have hoped. The method for using my computer to set it up failed completely, and I have no idea why. Not to be deterred, I went on to try a direct connection to the modem, which worked on the first try. Now we have a Panasonic phone plugged into the line, a Canadian phone number local to where we live, and an answering machine. I have my fingers crossed that we do not run into technical difficulties in the long run, as I have read about numerous customers reporting this issue.

When I went to bed last night it was just beginning to snow. When I got up this morning several inches had accumulated, and there was a bitter wind. About a half an hour before Attila was to arrive home from work, the snow plough came through.

Winter arrived many days ago, winter weather arrived last night.

I donned my warm clothing and headed out to the garage to see if I could find the snow shovel. I wasn’t sure where it ended up after the big move. Right enough, there it was where I would have expected it to be, leaning up against the wall near the door. I unlocked the door, grabbed the shovel, and began to shovel a narrow path from the door towards the road. Attila drove up and parked across the end of the driveway, when I was about half way down the driveway. He waited until my shovelled path reached the road, then he took over.

After a while Attila decided to take a break, and during that short break he found another snow shovel, meant to be kept in a car. So we both shovelled snow until the driveway was clear.

We are expecting more snow, and freezing drizzle, later today. I have my fingers crossed that the roads will be good by the time Attila has to leave for work. As you can see below, the weather reports are rapidly changing.

Just for fun, have a look at a globe showing active surface wind movement on planet earth, it is fascinating. You can visually understand the storm Frank, and see why York is getting such a lot of rain.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT
-7C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Light Freezing Drizzle
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: -6.9°C
Dewpoint: -8.6°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: NE 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-4C
Date: 2:08 PM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: -3.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -8

Quote

“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”
Albert Camus
1913 – 1960