The Blue Bowl

This morning I am sitting in the light of the rising sun, listening to the High Mountains of Portugal audio book, and crocheting a warm blanket. I will breakfast later, when my stomach wrenches me out of this circle of warmth.

I will briefly mention here, in this record of the events and small passages in my life, the property dispute that arose at the Rideau Camp during our vacation early in September. We had erected No Trespassing signs in the spring of this year, where someone had cut down trees on our property at the roadside. To our dismay, a person unknown to us made entry while we were there, doing additional damage to the property. The authorities were called, and we discovered that our neighbour claimed the property to be hers. The issue evolved over the month of September, culminating at last in an amicable meeting with the neighbour, who acknowledged our rightful claim, based on surveyor’s stakes, and apologized for the mistake. An understanding had been reached and the matter closed. I dealt with the entire matter myself, and found it to be extremely stressful. It certainly took the shine off the vacation! Maybe next year’s vacation will be better, one can only hope. At this point I feel I have highly overrated the concept of vacations.

My backup drive arrived on Monday, and the Cloud drive has been successfully backed up to it, the files are now easily available and have been catalogued for easy searches. It helped to work on the book while setting up the backup drive, experiencing immediately any issues, that would make using the drive to access archived files difficult. The new drive is very small, and light. It will hold all of the files I have saved since 1985. I was lucky enough to have most of my academic work, which was created on the technology of the time, floppy disks, transferred first on the smaller diskettes, and then on to hard drives. The changes in technology have been amazing.

My book it beginning to take shape. I have moved on from editing sources to setting up thumbnail images to be included beside the text description for each individual. Most of my images are very low quality. The copies sent to me are photocopies, the originals belonging to individuals who do not own scanners and find the photocopy machine the best way to share them. Poor quality images are better than no images. I spent yesterday scanning the photocopies at 600 dpi, which is the highest quality my scanner will produce.

I am thinking about how to actually publish this book. Epub is interesting, paper will be preferred by many family members, but the cost of shipping is a big concern. My first book shipped as oversize letter, which was only around $5 postage per book. The second book will be longer and heavier, and will have to ship paying for package postage, at a much higher rate.

I do not publish anything on ancestry, or on the any of the sites on the internet. These are corporate organizations seeking profit, and they may not have my research to charge my relatives, and future generations, for access to their own family history.

Recently on Facebook a fellow mentioned that he had been in the area, where my ancestors pioneered, for fifty years. I am not really sure why he mentioned how long he had been visiting the area, it wasn’t relevant to the posting. At first I replied that my family had lived in the area for 147 years, give or take a few months, and their presence was preceded by the Aboriginal people who hunted and fished in the area for generations unknown. The “who has been here longer” discussion has very little to offer in the way of building present healthy communities. I deleted my response. I found out a little bit about the person who posted the comment. He has a cottage, a recreational property, and does not make the area his primary residence. He has vacationed in the area for 50 years. Vacations are not the same as living in an area. More relevant to me is that the Aboriginal people relied on the land for survival, my family survived by building a community in which people worked, lived and died, and that non-resident, recreational use of property does offer the same opportunities to support viable communities. I say this of course, as a person who owns two Camps, two recreational properties, and as such I am very aware that the people who live in the areas surrounding our Camps form a community, which I would very much like to support, but am not committed to as I would be if I lived there. It is in my best interest to honour their commitment to the area.

It is interesting to think of the land my ancestors farmed. Humans first moved through it in temporary shelters, hunting and fishing. Then humans created modest permanent homes and farmed it. Then humans lined the water bodies with small recreational seasonal buildings. Then humans replaced most of the small recreational seasonal buildings with large, sometimes palatial, “cottages” on the water, and bought up much of the rest of the countryside for large country estates. I witnessed the last progression, and it hasn’t been pretty. I wonder what will evolve next; perhaps it will be like the Scottish highlands, with lords on estates where most of the local inhabitants have been evicted, to fill the ever growing cities.

And finally I feel like writing about a blue bowl, a blue cereal bowl. I took it out of the china cabinet last spring, and it is now sitting on the kitchen cupboard. It is a patient bowl. It has never been used. It was made just for me, by a friend who is a talented potter, almost 25 years ago. I am thinking that now might be a good time to start using it. Thanks goodness I have the time to use the blue bowl.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 4 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.5°C
Dew point: 14.3°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: S 31 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Fortune does not change men, it unmasks them.”
Suzanne Necker
1739 – 1794

I believe this statement would have been based on keen, first hand observations, over a long period of time.

Day One: Arrival

We have just returned from our vacation, spent at the Rideau Camp. We arrived home to find everything ship shape, and with only one bill waiting for us in the mailbox. The unpacking is almost complete. The garden has been harvested, a plentiful harvest.

While we were at the Camp this past week, I wrote a few entries. I had lots of time to do this, because after our first day the weather took a bad turn and we spent most of our nine days sheltering from the rain, dealing with high winds, and longing for sunshine. All in all though, it was good to have a vacation.

I wrote five entries while we were at the Camp, and will share them over the next five days. I didn’t post while away, as we have no internet, not even cell phone service, at the Rideau Camp. We are off grid in just about any sense you would care to think of.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Last night was a cold one, not quite cold enough for frost, but close enough. It seemed like a good idea to sleep at home last night, in the warmth of Mist Cottage. Waiting until this morning to leave for our vacation had other advantages as well, more time to pack for one. We didn’t do much packing though, last night, we mostly puttered, then kicked back to watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then to head off to bed for a comfortable night’s rest.

This morning we slept in a little bit, which for us means getting up around 7 a.m.. We showered, we enjoyed our morning coffee together, we ate a leisurely breakfast, and then we began to get things ready to pack into Tank. By 10 a.m. we were backing out of the drive at Mist Cottage, and were on our way. This is to be our longest camping excursion, and we will spend it at the Rideau Camp.

As we turned into the drive at the Camp, a small red fox hurried out of our way and into the shadow of the trees. She stopped to watch us pass, and later came up the drive to investigate the intruders. Finding nothing of interest, she turned and left the way she had come.

It didn’t take long to unpack once we arrived, just food and clothing. Attila setup the new portable generator, so that I could toast bread for my tomato sandwich for lunch, Attila ate a can of pea soup, his favourite meal. After lunch we worked together to setup the awning, Grace The Trailer has a very large awning attached to her side. It is quite a big deal to get this awning setup, requiring two pairs of hands. I made an error in the way I was holding my end, the support slipped the wrong way and I was wrenched forward by the full weight of the awning. My back and arm were very sore, Ibuprofen and a bit of rest seemed to take care of that. We got the awning up, that is where I am sitting right now.

Relaxing under the awning, I watch the dragonflies swoop and dive in the sunshine, and the glint of silken spider threads caught by the breeze. I listen to the wind whispering in the pine at the edge of the clearing, and smile to myself as Attila snores loudly to my left. He brought the lounge chair under the awning and into the shade, then plopped on the cushion, and stretched himself out for a much coveted snooze in the open air. He isn’t the only one making loud noises though. Somewhere nearby there is a partridge beating its wings with such force that the vibrations seem to echo in my chest. Nearby crickets chirp, and a distant airplane whines. A jay calls from the top of a nearby ash tree. A brightly coloured Katydid watches me silently, motionless, a few steps away.

It is quiet here.

DSCF1109 Attila kicking back, starting his vacation with his socks and his boots off!

DSCF1113 The whispering pine. In the foreground is the stake marking the edge of the area to be covered with crushed stone, and in front of that the mound of crushed stone still to be spread.

Worldly Distractions


The sky is a cloudless blue, the breeze is warm and intermittent, the air is pleasantly cool and dry. A perfect day.


“A shy, solitary child, my dreaming head was always stuck in a story, where I’d meet interesting characters – or characters I thought to be more like me than the people around me; where I had company…”
From Island of Dreams: A Personal history of a Remarkable Place, by Dan Boothby

Traditional Camp

The sun comes out and the sun goes in behind the clouds this morning. It is the beginning of what both Attila and I hope will be a quiet and uneventful week.

We made a brief visit to our Traditional Camp in Parry Sound on the weekend, where everything is looking as we left it, thank goodness. The last time we were there was last summer, when we were on our first one week vacation in over 20 years, and it was a disaster. That was the week my brother had a sudden heart attack and passed away. This year, around the same time of year we were in the area to attend a reunion of cousins at my sister’s cottage. Thoughts of my brother and how much my Granny and Grandpa’s house meant to him were at the back of my mind all weekend.

The reunion was organized by my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, and my cousin who is renting a cottage on the same beach as my sister’s cottage. Together with my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl they organized and hosted a get together of all of my Grandpa and Granny’s living Granddaughters, seven of us, except for one Granddaughter who did not attend. We all drove over from the cottages to my Granny and Grandpa’s house and multiple photos were taken of the group. I hadn’t seen one of my cousins for over 30 years, it was wonderful to catch up. My newlywed niece and her husband were there; they treated us to a slide show of their beautiful wedding. My Mom was there, and I got to spend a lovely evening chatting with her. Mom and her daughters, and our spouses but one, all stayed Saturday night at Sister-The-Middle-Girl’s cottage, it was comfortable, and the cottage and beach are beautiful. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl has a beautiful cottage facing west on the lake, the sunsets are stunning.

It is now a 5 ½ to 6 hour drive, one way, to reach our Traditional Camp. We decided to take a scenic journey, heading straight north for quite a distance before turning west to travel through hills and forests. The drive was a treat, the scenery was so beautiful. We took the same route home, but there was quite a bit more traffic, many slower moving RVs on the road, that crawled up the many hills. We were very tired when we arrived home.

I have been growing my hair out for what seems like forever. The idea was to have long hair with no bangs. It is driving me to distraction at times, and at its present length it looks awful all of the time. Usually I do not care, as no one sees me here in the house, or at the camp, save for Attila. It was too bad though that it was looking the way it did for those once in a lifetime pictures at the reunion. I will be very glad indeed when the bangs grow long enough to at least stay tucked neatly behind my ears.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Monday 10 July 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.9°C
Dew point: 17.6°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: SSW 19 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km


“My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.”
P. J. Plauger

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again! Week Two

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!

The Bathroom Renovation

Sunday, September 8, Day Eight

A beautiful sunny day! After breakfast Attila and I got busy. I headed for the city and the big box stores with a list. Attila worked on framing in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and installing the drywall around the opening.

Then, after a quick lunch, we jumped in the car and headed out to Terra and Lares place for a visit. They have a wonderful view from their house, overlooking a vista of open water.

I washed laundry and hung it out to dry on Terra’s clothes line. There was a stiff breeze coming off the water, which really helped to dry the clothes while we were there.

Terra and I sat chatting for a bit, felt chilly and moved to the back yard, which is protected from the wind coming off the water. We had a lovely visit, Terra and I.

Attila and Lares headed for the bush on ATVs to cut firewood. They came back a few hours later with a load to be stacked. As Attila stacked wood, Lares and his brother proceeded to install a metal roof on the new wood shed, that Lares recently built.

After gathering in the dry laundry, and folding it, I found Attila, and off we went home to continue on our bathroom renovation. After we arrived home we ate a lovely supper of herbed fish, boiled new beets, boiled new potatoes and corn niblets. Right after our meal Attila was back in the bathroom mudding drywall and planning out the vanity plumbing for the next day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another early morning, quick breakfast and right into the bathroom renovation. The vanity was brought into the bathroom for measuring, and discussion. It fits very nicely into the bathroom. We chose a vanity, and a sink, that are only twelve inches deep. The water tap will be installed to the left of the sink. Since the sink is so small there is no backsplash, which could create water problems as water splashes up when washing hands etc. We decided the that a backsplash is necessary behind the sink.

Attila finished installing the rest of the drywall around the vanity area, and finished caulking around the window.

The drywall around the vanity is installed, the caulking around the window is done and drywall mudding has begun.
DSCF3323 mudding and caulking

We spent the afternoon shopping. First we went to the building supply store in town to return a variety of plumbing hardware pieces we did not end up using. Then we filled our cart with PVC window trim, more caulking, window edging and other bits and bobs for the plumbing. Then we headed to the big box stores in the city to search out the materials we could not find at the local store.

We found a large rectangular tile that will serve well as a backsplash for the sink, at a big box store. Then we revisited the Restore and found a perfect globe for one of the ceiling fixtures, used, for $2.00 and a whole bag of screws and such like. The inventory changes daily at the Restore, so you just never know what you might find there!

One last visit to Winners to look for a shower curtain. Terra and Lares have a lovely shower curtain that is heavy gage and does not “float” around as the air moves while having a hot shower. I wanted to buy one just like it, but there were no more. I tried four different stores with no success. Then we visited Winners, and found a heavy gage shower liner that will do nicely, at a very reasonable price.

As far as materials are concerned, I think we are on the home stretch for the bathroom! Everything is new, either brand new or new to us. I am shocked at how many bits and bobs are involved in successfully installing a bathroom which is up to code!

What I am looking forward to most is having my first shower in the new bathroom. We are still several days work away from that goal!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Attila did more mudding and sanding this morning, then painted most of the walls with primer. After that dried he applied another coat of paint, in preparation for installing the tub surround. While paint dried Attila is busy with fiddly bits, like the layers required to finish the window, and the plumbing for the vanity. He likes to work on a lot of things at the same time, so he is in his element.

Attila offered to spend time temporarily installing the fixtures in the bathroom, so that I could have a bath. It was a tough decision for me, should I agree to what might be a significant delay in getting the tub truly functional with an installed surround and framed window; or should I bite the bullet, spot wash at the kitchen sink, let my hair do whatever it is doing while waiting for a good wash, and see the project through till this evening, when I might be able to take a more relaxing bath, in a finished tub. Either way, it is a gamble, so I opted to forging ahead with the tub surround, hoping to take a real bath at the end of the day.

Primer coat of paint applied, when it dried Attila will begin installing the tub surround!
DSCF3327 primer before tub surround

The five tomato plants in the garden have yielded quarts and quarts of ripe, luscious fruit. The yield is high enough that eating the tomatoes fresh just would not keep up with the supply. I peeled and quartered a few quarts into a saucepan. Since it is extremely hot and humid, the hot plate was set up on the back porch, and the tomatoes brought to a boil and cooled in the great outdoors. When they had cooled they were poured into a mason jar and refrigerated for a spaghetti sauce, to be made later in the week when the weather cools down.

We have a yellow jacket nest in the foundation of the house, just at the front corner, at the driveway where we park the car. They are a small and angry nest, very active and aggressive. Attila sprayed the next at night, but it is too deep within the foundation to reach with spray. I have devised a little plastic tunnel to place over the entry to the next, which will be lined with paper towels soaked with wasp spray. I am hoping that they will perish upon exit and entry. Tonight I will tack the tunnel over the entry point and see what happens tomorrow. My homemade device may or may not work, but it is worth a try.

My homemade yellow jacket tunnel of death.
DSCF3326 homemade wasp tunnel of death

Yellow Jackets are our next unwelcome housemates that need to be evicted. We rid the house of chipmunks, mice and now we are working towards evicting all the Yellow Jacket wasps. We will be using trial and error methods until we succeed.

I got my bath!

The tub surround is almost on! When the last panel is installed, Attila will temporarily install the faucet and tap handle, so that I can take a bath!
DSCF3331 tub surround install

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The vacation progresses.

The bathroom is taking shape, slowly but surely. At the end of the today, this is what we are looking at.
DSCF3339 tub surround almost

Attila spent the day mudding and painting in the bathroom. There is still much to be done.

To be installed still:
medicine cabinet
roof vent for fan
ceiling fan
ceiling light
one small section of drywall
window trim
tub fixtures permanently installed
ceiling trim
new heating vent

And we need to:
paint floor
paint walls

By Saturday, our last full day here, it may be possible to take a shower! I truly hope so!

The sink and vanity still need to be installed. The roof vent for the fan needs to be installed. The rest of the drywall, one small panel, needs to be installed. The tub surround needs to be caulked. The window trim needs to be installed.

He also dismantled an Ikea child’s bed that Luna and Janus had donated to our little house. The Grandbabies haven’t slept here since, so it is not really needed here, in this tiny house. However, Terra’s new house is huge, and she does have quite a few visitors, so we decided to re-donate the bed to Terra. Attila delivered it to Terra’s house in the afternoon.

The weather was hot and muggy, truly ugly weather in my book. We have not been cooking indoors the last few days due to the hot weather. While out “go-fering” on the bathroom project, which is how I am spending my vacation, I found my ideal propane BBQ. It is a Napoleon BBQ, small, with a side burner. The side burner is a must, so that we can easily cook outside when the weather it hot. I have “champagne taste, and a beer bottle budget, as they say. The Napoleon BBQ cost $599 on sale. I stopped to look at it again.

As I was heading for the check out counter with my small purchase for the bathroom, I bumped into a row of propane BBQs that were on sale. And there, in a stacked box, was a small BBQ with a side burner for $139. It wasn’t a high quality item, but I knew it would work for us, possibly for a decade or more. I asked a clerk for help getting the box onto a cart, and then into the car. Then I headed home with my shopping list complete, a laundry tub for the basement and a propane BB@.

The rest of my day was spent in the back yard assembling said BBQ, it took hours and hours to build it from the box. When I was finished Attila immediately used the burner to fry potatoes, onions and peppers, and at the same time BBQ a few hot dogs. Now we can cook outdoors when it is hot. Attila loves to cook, no instant food for him, not if he can help it. This will make him very happy for many years to come.

At the end of the day we headed out to Terra and Lares house for dinner and a visit. Dinner was delicious, Terra makes a terrific macaroni and cheese! And then we watched the light show, lightning! There was a storm warning in effect, so we sat in the cooling evening, enjoying the breeze, the crickets and the flashing skies. The storm didn’t arrive in full force, so we had the show without the consequences.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Attila painted the floor area where the vanity was to be installed, installed the vanity, the sink, the sink faucet, the sink backsplash, the medicine cabinet, and hooked up the water supply.

Things are beginning to come together int he bathroom. The vanity, sink and plumbing were installed today. The medicine cabinet went in, and part of the window trim was installed. We need more trim, I will have to “go-fer” it tomorrow!
DSCF3343 sink lights

Attila also installed the ceiling light fixture, and completed the installation of the wall mounted lights.

While Attila was busy with the nitty gritty of the renovation, I went shopping, that is Terra and I went shoppiong. Well, not exactly shopping, because what I really wanted to do was to take the very, very large and heavy CRT television, given to us by Luna and Janus, to be recycled. I tried to give it away at the Salvation Army store, but they would not take it and suggested the Restore down the road, where they recieve old televisions for recycling. The Restore accepted it gladly and even moved it out of the car for me, as it was well beyond my capability to get it out of trunk.

While at the Restore I purchased a case of very inexpensive exterior caulking, which we will use to seal the bottom of the siding, and other openings where wasps enter and build nests. Terra, on the other hand, made a fantastic find of a truly beautiful dining room light fixture. It was a real bargain, at $10! She also purchased trim for her living room door. We headed home after that, to see what Attila had accomplished.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The day began with a quick trip to the building center, for more window trim and some light bulbs. Attila finished mudding and sanding the last wall of the bathroom.

The trim on the window was completed and caulked, to seal it well as it is located in the shower! The ceiling trim was installed, and another coat of paint was applied to the walls.

Attila cut the lawn today, for the first time since we arrived. Just in time it was, because we are leaving the day after tomorrow. While the lawn was being cut, I grabbed a bucket of hot soapy water and washed the car and hub caps. The car was very, very dirty!

Attila finished off his evening by applying yet another layer of paint on the walls, installing the shower curtain, installing the shower head, and permanently installing the tub fixtures. His goal is that it will be ready for my first shower tomorrow morning! Go, Attila, Go!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

First thing this morning I hung the shower curtain, and had a hot shower! Oh, the luxury!

I can see that we will need to cover the window while showering, for two reasons. First and foremost, to protect the window from water, which bounces off the body. Second, for privacy. As I stood showering I could watch all the business of the neighbourhood, the window is level with my neck, allowing me a great view. However, if I can see them, they can see me, and I do not fancy making eye contact with a neighbour as I am shampooing my hair.

This is the last day of our vacation. Attila was under orders: no renovating! We ate a leisurely breakfast, relaxed with our morning coffee and decided to visit a nearby provincial park. A picnic lunch was packed.

Just as we were ready to go, Attila suggested we paint the the bathroom floor so that it could dry while we were away. I couldn’t resist, the paint has to be applied in three coats. So, coat one went on just before we walked out the door, so that it would be dry when we got back from our outing.

The day was perfect. The sun shone brightly, the bright blue sky stretched endlessly into the distance and clouds floated lazily in gauzy strips.

We paid our fee and stopped along the roadside in the park, to peruse the map and choose a hiking trail. The first trail we walked was 2 km long. It took us through cedar woods, and along an inland stream.

Looking down on the stream from a lookout point.
DSCF3385 sand dunes

After our hike, we were ready for our picnic. We found a table in the shade near the beach. The wind coming off the water was brisk and cold. There were people in bathing suits, but we were wearing jackets. The view was wonderful as we sat eating our sandwiches.

The view from our picnic table, as we were eating our picnic.
DSCF3474 the beach

The second trail we hiked was 2.5 km long and had some challenging sections through sand. It took us through dying pine forests, which are in the process of being destroyed by a type of wasp. We also hiked up and down and dunes, and along the side of a marsh. We were tired when we arrived back at the car, so we indulged in some lovely Coronation grapes, cool and delicious from our cooler.

After we arrived home I started up the BBQ for hamburgers, and we relaxed in front of the the telly (Youtube), watching an episode of Inspector Linley.

As I cleaned the BBQ and washed up the dishes, Attila dismantled the old vanity, which had been sitting in a heap in the back yard. The rotting boards were pile on the deck for later disposal and the sink stored int he garage until I have a chance to donate it to the Restore for reuse.

After relaxing for a short while, Attila was keen to get a few more small jobs done on the bathroom renovation. Tonight he will finish sanding the last wall and apply the primer paint. He will also apply caulking along the ceiling trim. Me, well I will be fast asleep as he goes to town on his projects. Terra is dropping in for a coffee after she finishes her night shift, and I want to be wide awake so that I can enjoy my time with her. Attila loves to sleep in, so that is how he can spend his morning. He will have earned it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We are rushing through our last few hours at the little house, our vacation is over. The renovation lives on, it has a life of its own. This morning I returned some of the materials we had purchased for a ceiling fan in the bathroom. That project will not be tackled this year. There are more parts to return, but I do not have the receipts with me, as they were purchased during my last lone visit to the little house, and the receipts are filed at the country house.

This morning I arose later than I had hoped, and missed a visit from Terra. She came after work, arriving about ten minutes before I woke up, and when we did not answer her knock, she headed home. I was disappointed that I had slept in! However, after working all night, it was probably a better idea for Terra to head home and get some rest.

Attila slept in, as he had stayed up late into the night finishing the sanding and ceiling trim. He spent the rest of the visit cutting the hole for the heating vent, and applying another coat of paint to the last wall. He tidied up his tools, and began to set things aside to be packed into the car for our long drive home. Just as we are leaving, Attila will apply another coat of floor paint to the bathroom floor; then there will only be one coat left to apply before it is finished.

We will still need a new shower curtain rod, the old one is badly worn, and baseboards. It is looking wonderful and bathing is an enjoyable experience for the first time in three years, since we purchased the house!

Well, here it is, white and wonderful! Still a few things to do, but nothing expensive and nothing crucial. It needs a curtain of sorts to protect the window during showers, and baseboards, and one more coat of paint on the floor. These are all “pick-up” jobs, in that they can be picked up and worked on, then put down and left as they are indefinitely. The high pressure renovation is over!!!! Hooray!
DSCF3543 bathroom Sept 15

I am unspeakably glad that the bathroom is all but finished. It ate up all but one day of our vacation. Thank goodness we managed a few visits with Terra and Lares, and one visit to a Provincial Park for a picnic.

The front porch was a non-starter. Renovations always take more time than estimated. The front porch will be the next project, but I am hoping it will not be the intricate, detailed and time consuming work that the bathroom renovation demanded.

So, we have the kitchen partially renovated, and the bathroom totally renovated. We have worked through the last four two week vacations renovating this house. I think we need some time away from this project next year!

The drive home was uneventful. Of course, our resident royalty felt that it was all a grave injustice, being consigned to a cage in the back seat for the duration of the trip. However, when we arrived home, she again strolled out of the cage, took a quick tour of her domain, and then settled in for a much needed nap. Complaining for hours is hard work for a cat!

It is chilly, 13C, and raining hard. Attila and I stopped in town to pick up our mail, and are now unloading our gear from the car. Attila carries it in, I put it away. The only calls we received while away were from the car dealership and Attila’s Mom, she sold her house! Congratulations to her! She will be moving closer to Attila’s brother and his wife and son.

And so ends the two week odyssey of the bathroom renovation. Attila says he feels he had no vacation, I feel the same way. But Attila also says he doesn’t feel he needs a vacation, and I do not feel the same way. I guess I will just have to find a vacation to take by myself.

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again! Week One

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!

The Bathroom Renovation

Day One Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day one of the holidays, Sunday! Attila did not want to work on renovations today, he wanted to shop. So off we went on a grand retail tour. On our travels we picked up sound damping insulation to install in the interior bathroom walls, for privacy in a small house. Then we went to Sears, because we have accumulated points on our Sears card over the course of the renovation. We had just walked in the store when Attila spotted a $799 set of pots and pans that we both loved. They had every feature we wanted, including metal lids with little holes to release steam. There was a short sale on the this set of pots and pans, for $199, and we had $140 worth of points. So for the difference we got ourselves a really nice set of pots and pans for the little house. That meant we could return the large pot we had borrowed from Terra; and she took all the old pots and pans home to hers, because she has lots of room, lots of company, and can use them.
DSCF3243 potsNpans sept 1
Day One Sunday: Of course we brought Mist with us for our extended holiday stay at the little house. She was quiet on the trip down, but that all changed when we pulled in the driveway and opened the car doors. She went wild, the cage was literally rocking in the back seat. So unlike our meek and mild little Mist. She roared and clawed and thrashed. Attila got her litter box set up quickly, and then brought her into the house and released the door. She sauntered out, cool and collected, and began to explore. Within a half hour she was resting happily on Attila’s chair, queen of the world once again. She likes the little house in the city.
DSCF3249 Mist Sept 1

Day Two Monday, September 2, 2013

We are doing all the renovation work on the little house in the city ourselves. We have little experience, and have to teach ourselves how to do most of the work involved. It is pretty slow going, because a lot of what we are doing is for the first time, with a lot of trial and error. And we live a long way away, and have little time off at work to devote to renovations. Still, we do eventually get the job done, and we do it well. We are just slow. I would not say we enjoy doing this work, but we do enjoy the end result, and the feeling of accomplishment that results from our efforts. As for the “sweat equity” aspect of the little house, financially we will not recoup our time and effort. We could recoup the money spent on the renovations, if we sold the little house in the city. But we like it at the little house, and hope to live here someday. This is not a “house flipping” project, it is a labour of love. We are investing in ourselves, in more ways than one, in working on this house.

Day Two Monday: Bathroom Starting Point: On our last visit Attila installed part of the subfloor, as well as a one inch temporary plywood toilet pedestal, and the toilet. The toilet as seen here was temporarily installed, and would have to come out again to install the flooring. Note, this is one tiny teeny bathroom, measuring 5 feet by 6 feet. Note also, the bathtub tap has leaked since we first turned on the water after buying the house. In the picture you can see a blue tote on the left, which is usually a quarter full after a night of dripping. I will be very glad indeed see the last drip dripping out of that tap! It has been dripping for three years!
DSCF3250 bathroom Sept 1
Day Two Monday: Bathroom subfloor installation is completed. Note that the mahogany subfloor around the toilet is brand new wood, while back towards the window the mahogany subfloor is darkened and weathered. We purchased the weathered mahogany subfloor from the lumber yard. Originally it had been purchased and delivered to a different customer. The customer stored it out of doors and then decided to return it to the lumber yard. We purchased it at a very reasonable price. The wood is sound, it just doesn’t look pretty. Since it goes underneath the actual flooring, we don’t care how weathered it looks, as long as it is up to the job at hand!
DSCF3252 bathroom sept 1
Day Two Monday: What Attila Did. After removing the toilet and temporary plywood toilet pedestal, Attila proceeded to install the new pine floor. We purchased this 1×6 red pine on a similar deal to the mahogany subfloor. The flooring had been sitting in the lumber yard for many years. Much of it is weathered and stained, but all of it is sound. For a reasonable price we purchased enough the install pine flooring in the entire little house, except the living room. Since the pine flooring isn’t all that pretty, we are going to paint it white, in the bathroom and throughout the entire house. The bathroom floor is the first bit of this pine flooring to be installed. I am very pleased with it. We will paint it white with floor paint.
DSCF3254 bathroom sept 2

Day Three Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day Three Tuesday: After Attila installed the new pine floor in the bathroom, I cut up the cardboard box that the toilet had come in and spread a protective layer of cardboard over the floor to protect it during the rest of the renovation process.
DSCF3256 bathroom sept 2

Attila installed sound damping insulation in the interior walls surrounding the tub, and put a coat of primer on the new pine bathroom floor. While waiting for it to dry we went shopping. The tub surround, paint, duct work for the ceiling fan, electric parts for the rewiring, and sundry other materials for the renovation were purchased. We also spent a lot of time at the Restore, purchasing a breaker for the electric panel and a huge assortment of “stuff”, including new white ceramic knobs for the hall closet at the little house in the city.

After arriving home, Attila unpacked the new tub, which we carried to the bathroom, ready to install. Since the installation package we purchased did not include a vital part, Attila had to stop the project, ready to resume after a trip to the building centre on the morrow. Just as well, because it was after 11:00 p.m., and we were both very tired.

Day Three Tuesday: Attila installed sound damping insulation around the tub area, and applied a coat of primer to the red pine floor. Later in the day, after the primer dried, we carried the new tub into the bathroom. Missing a part to install, stores all closed for the day, so we will be back at it tomorrow.
DSCF3260 bathroom floor primer tub

I discovered the hard way that one must follow the manufacturers instructions when purchasing new stainless steel pots and pans. I did not wash the new large pot thoroughly enough before preparing macaroni and cheese for dinner. The finished dish tasted heavily metallic and had to be thrown away. I got all the new pans out of the cupboard and scrubbed them thoroughly, then tested one by boiling water in it. We tasted the water after it cooled and there was no metallic taste.

Day Four Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Today we are working on getting the tub in. I was able to have a bath, and wash my hair, last Saturday! Feeling truly grungy now, and really looking forward to having the tub installed. I am refusing to leave the house again, and be seen in public, until the tub is in, and I’ve had a bath and washed my hair! Hopefully today will be the day.

Attila has had to remove all the wiring in the bathroom, all to be replaced and rerouted. The former renovations in this house were incredibly bad, one bad easy-way-out decision after another. The bathroom will be up to code and all new; when we are done. It will probably take us the whole two weeks to get the bathroom to rights, and I honestly do not think we will have enough time to finish it during this holiday. Nor do I think we will get around to getting a front porch on the house during this vacation. Still, a working bathroom, even it isn’t completely finished, will be a wonderful luxury!

While Attila works on the wiring and plumbing, one man jobs for which he demands no help, I do little things, like install cup hooks and light globes, lots of little pesky stuff that only takes a little effort to make a big difference in comfort.

We are enjoying tomatoes from the garden, hundreds of them! I only planted five plants and we have had about 6 quarts since we got here. We offered the neighbours all the ripe tomatoes when we aren’t here, and they said that they have been picking all kinds of them over the last two weeks of August. What a bountiful harvest, for under $2.00 for a tray of very sickly looking plants.

A big discovery is Coronation grapes, they are seedless, grown by James Bartkiw Produce in Jordan Station, Ontario, and taste like Concords. I found them at a No Frills grocery store, but when I went back for more they were sold out. I look for them every year now, because we really like them, and they are grown in the province where we live.

The end of the day is approaching. Attila, after many challenges related to an uneven floor, finally got the tub installed and levelled. I tested it out by taking a much needed bath, and washed my hair. The drain leaks a bit, so that will need to be rectified, but otherwise it seems to work very well. It is such a relief to be clean!

Day Five, Thursday, September 5, 2013

A misery of a day on the renovation front. Attila managed to install cement board on two walls around the tub, and remove all the bathroom wiring. He rewired the some circuits, splitting the living room and bedrooms off, so that they are on separate circuits from the bathroom. The wiring is too big a job for just one day, so he will be back at it tomorrow.

Here we are, with the insulation and cement board installed around the tub. The insulation around the plumbing has been left uncovered, because we still need to replace the cartridge and fixtures, which will require an acetylene torch to accomplish. Lares will be loaning us that equipment over the weekend. All I have to do now is use stick pins to cover the insulation with plastic and we can bath. Tonight is the night!!
DSCF3269 duroc tub

The new tub drain leaks, due to an issue with the old metal drain pipe. We seem to be moving backwards on this, as we began the project with only the tap leaking. Now the tap and the drain leak! Attila thinks to replace the drain pipe, across the house and right back to the sewer pipe. This will take several days.

Day Six, Friday, September 6, 2013

This morning I suggested we slightly notch the wood around the metal sewage pipe to allow a bit of give to it, and see if that resolved the problem. It did. That took ten minutes, better than two days. The metal drain pipe can be replaced at a later date, if it is ever replaced. It is sound, and works well.

We are in need of gruntlement! We are both suffering from disgruntlement at the moment.

We haven’t had a break from renovating since we arrived, taking time only for quick and easy meals, then back at it, from just after breakfast till the time we lie down to sleep.

I need a break, something that remotely smacks of “vacation”; even if only for a day. Shopping for renovation materials is not a balancing break for me. We are not pacing ourselves in such a way that I can find a balance. Nothing for it but to keep trying to find that balance!

The bathroom is definitely the most intrusive, high pressure, and miserable renovation so far. We need to use the bathroom while we are renovating it. The old plumbing was archaic and the 1970s renovation only served to magnify the original problems. Trying to update things to code is very challenging and extremely time consuming.

I look longingly out the window at the beautiful sunny day, as we plod along, in and out of the basement, working on the plumbing. At the end of the day, everything looks just the way it did the when we started in the morning! That is the way of it when working on things like wiring and plumbing, the stuff that has to be done right, and will be hidden away behind the walls.

Why is it you can never find a good gruntle when you really need it!

As a partial remedy to the disgruntlement, I cooked a lovely meal in our new pots and pans. No metallic taste at all could be detected in the food, so the thorough washing recommended by the manufacturer worked as it should have. We enjoyed corn, potatoes and some lovely sausages. Snacks were blueberries and Coronation grapes, which were once more available in the grocery store this morning, a pleasant surprise.

Today Attila spent his time installing the new electrical boxes in the bathroom and new drain pipes from the bathroom tub. That fixes the leak from the tub drain! His efforts have not resulted in any visible progress, but have laid the groundwork for a perfectly functioning bathroom. That is one of the two leaks resolved.

The other leak, the leaking tub tap, will be resolved when Lares brings us his soldering equipment. Once we have that the rest of the cement board can be installed, the old but fixtures removed and the new soldered onto the pipes. It will be a few more days before all that gets under way.

In the meantime, I can pin up my plastic bags to protect the new insulation from splashes, and we can each have a leisurely bath this evening. I can feel the hot soothing water already… we have even remembered to turn the hot water on, after 7 p.m. of course, when the electricity is cheaper.

The new GFIC plug and light fixture. This doesn’t look like much, but half the house had to be rewired to get this little number working as it should!
DSCF3274 gfic receptacle

I was glad when the wiring, and the day, came to a successful close!

Day Seven, Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lares and Terra arrived mid-morning, with lots of energy and equipment. Lares was a dynamo of productivity. He used the acetylene torch to prepare the tub and shower plumbing for fixture installation, and installed most of the drywall in the bathroom. He and Attila worked hard most of the day, and the results were visible!

The tub and shower plumbing prepared for fixture installation, and the drywall installed! Things are beginning to visibly change.
DSCF3297 drywall installed

Today is Tink’s fourth birthday! What a big girl she is now! Luna called Terra via Facetime, so we all got to talk with Tink on her Birthday, since Terra and Lares were at ours to help with the bathroom renovation. I had mailed a card and gift, and Luna said they had arrived. Tink looked happy and was her usual spirited self, full of fun. We also got to say hello to Imp and Elf. The Grandbabies are not babies anymore!

And so this concludes the first week of our holidays, done and dusted. We worked really hard all week, every day, from just after breakfast till we went to bed each night. The project isn’t finished yet, but we have made progress!