There is a temptation to write our present reality with a rose coloured pen. That would be to write from a position of fear. And I am afraid. I am fearful of our circumstances. That is a healthy fear, born of reality.
But an unhealthy fear, a despair, stalks my nights. I am afraid that all is lost, as it is for so many among us. I am afraid that if I allow myself to experience my fear, to write about it, then I will become the author of my own misfortune. And certainly there are many strangers waiting and eager to cast the first stone of this aspersion.
I have decided to write about what life is like at the moment, the multi-coloured version, and to take my chances with karmic consequences. What I am describing isn't wise, or funny, or tragic, or even particularly philosophical. But it is personal, and it is real.
December 20, 2004
This morning the temperature dipped to -34 degrees Centigrade. The trees are snapping outside. The trees, the snow,the welcome mat outside the back door, all of it has solidified into rocklike rigidity.
We sat up deep into the night to keep the wood stove fed. It paid off, the temperature in the kitchen was 12 degrees this morning. That is a 46 degree Centigrade difference between the temperature inside the wall, and the temperature three feet away, outside the wall.
I do admit to intense relief as consciousness dawned in the morning, and I felt nothing more intense than a small nip in the air.
December 29, 2004
We had a very quiet Christmas. No family, no friends available to share time with. Just what one might expect after uprooting one's life and moving it to a new location. Funny old world. Of all the Christmas's Attila and I have had together, this one was the one where we most needed to feel our "people connection".
Christmas Eve was very hard, I found. However, our Christmas Day was a happy one. We enjoyed exchanging very modest gifts. We prepared our Christmas feast with pleasure. We enjoyed the Christmas Lights on our Christmas Tree, a tree Attila cut from our own property. We celebrated each other. We celebrated Mist the cat. That night I fell asleep surrounded by loud love. Attila on my left, snoring to beat the band, and Mist on my right gently whistling in harmony. There is much to celebrate.
We are steadily working on our home, nudging it towards habitability. It was built as a summer home, and needs attention to prepare it for year-round occupation. The winters here command respect.
The wood stove downstairs continues to provide adequate heat if fed regularly. Our wood supply may last the winter.
We are battling ice dams along the edges of our roof. We knew that the roof needed a ridge vent when we bought the house. However, we could afford neither the time nor the money to accomplish this project. So far the water has not entered the house. However, the leakage is working its way back towards the walls of the house. We have shovelled the snow off the roof, and applied "Alaskan Melt" to the thick layer of ice along the edges of the roof. We expect rain tomorrow and have our fingers crossed that the water will drain properly.
Today Attila is beginning to install our new hot water heater. It was purchased months ago when we were both employed. It will take him several weeks, because he is learning how to do it as he goes along, and will discover he needs parts he does not have. We only visit the town that stocks these kinds of parts once a week. Usually he makes several "parts needed" discoveries per project. That is the basis for my prediction that we should have hot water again in several weeks. Until then I will heat water on the wood stove to use for bathing.
The hot water heater that came with the house consumed so much electricity that we could not afford to run it. In the electrical panel, we turned off the power switch to the original hot water heater. When we wanted to bath, we flipped the switch on, and let the water heat for a few hours, then flipped the switch off again. This reduced our electricity bill by approximately $300.00 per month.
The new hot water heater is better insulated, has a lower water capacity, and features a thermostat so that the water temperature can be adjusted lower. We hope that once it is installed we can leave it on continuously.
We continue to reduce our consumption of electricity in other ways. I now dry our clothes on racks in front of the wood stove, rather than use the power-guzzling dryer. As anyone who has heated with wood will know, there is an added benefit to drying the laundry in this manner. It adds moisture to the air. Wood heat is very dry.
Attila and I continue to search for work on a daily basis. We have been told by local residents not to expect to find anything, until the spring. A major industry in this region is tourism, which is seasonal in nature.
In Canada there are Employment Insurance Benefits, which we have paid into, that provide a minimal income for those who have just lost their jobs. However, we still do not know if these benefits will be provided to us, although we certainly meet with all the qualifying requirements. It is easy to fall between the cracks in Canada.
Having no source of income is like an itch. Little else can compete with it for attention. We try to keep busy.
P.S. Thanks to those who sent me messages expressing your concern. It means a lot to me.
|RECIPES :: Cast
By the Easy Chair
Hearts in Atlantis
by Stephen King
"And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal - carries the cross of the redeemer - not in the bright moments of his tribe's great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair."
from "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell, page 391.
On the Screen
A Family Thing (1996)
starring Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones
Wind: N 11 km/h
Barometric: 102.15 kPa
Sunrise 7:55 AM EST
Sunset 4:44 PM EST
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