I value face-to-face contact above all other forms of human interaction. Having said that, in my present life, the richest and most valuable form of human contact is digital; it is on this blog, through VOIP, email, Facebook, and Messages. I feel deep attachment to, and respect for, the people in my digital life. Some people I have met, they include loved ones and old friends; while others I have not met, but have grown over the course of time to appreciate. It is true, it is possible some of the people that I have not met and have become attached to, exclusively in the digital world, may not be who they say they are… be that as it may, the persona that they bring to our interactions is one that I appreciate.

I think the turning point that I experienced over the last few days, has been the realization that parts of my life are very rich. It is an incomplete wealth, for face-to-face contact is something I consider necessary to maintain balance, something which I am losing with my marriage coming to an end, a loss that I grieve. But my digital life is a sustaining wealth, a valuable cornerstone.

My present bizarre state of co-habitation with Attila does offer some bemusing situations.

Attila wants me to cook during the week. Attila lives to eat and sleep and smoke cigarettes. To Attila, food matters a lot. He had harboured some bitter feelings towards me that he had been doing all the cooking. Fair enough, I have time, I have skills, I am willing to cook, so almost two weeks ago I was to take over the job of cooking during the week.

So far, of the seven nights I have been slated to cook, he has cooked two of the meals, at his own request, and has decided what he has wanted for dinner three other nights, then gathered together the ingredients before he left for work in the morning, left them on the kitchen counter, so that I could prepare the meal. So five times out of seven he has decided what we would eat. He thinks of this as helping me. I call this micromanagement. This is how he ended up doing all the cooking over the 25 years of our previous relationship. I did not care for being micromanaged, so I withdrew to let him take over and do his thing. It is happening again. I’ve pointed this out to him, but so far the micromanagement continues unabated. I have some ideas on how to meet the micromanagement head on. The first is that I will prepare menus for the coming week, rather than decide each day what I will prepare as I prefer to do. That way, when he asks me if I have decided what I will make for dinner, I can say yes… BUT, bwhahahaha, I can always ignore the menu and change my mind! There is a reason I call this quirky person Attila.

Yesterday the attic insulation was installed. The first appointment was scheduled for early in the morning. On Monday I received a message requesting a change in the time of the appointment to around lunch time. Lunch time came and went… no insulation people. So I called the company and left a message. I received a return call within 15 minutes, to assure me they were on their way. The slight inconvenience in their being late turned into a real bonus for Mist Cottage. They had a surplus of insulation on the truck, which is an issue with weight restrictions for the vehicle, so they wanted to install the surplus insulation in our attic, free of charge. It worked for them, it worked for us. We are now insulated with R60 in our attic, but we paid only for R40, and the attic meets EnergyStar standards.

They installed rafter vents, and a crib around the attic hatch, and checked for any issues in the attic, none were found. They also sealed off a redundant ceiling fan that was installed in the kitchen ceiling. That fan vented directly into the attic, and there was a lot of heat loss through it, no more.

The insulation job is certified, and the certificate was stapled to the attic hatch. Apparently there were areas in the attic that had less than one inch of insulation, which is not a good thing. Now the entire attic is covered evenly with insulation at an R60 value.

We chose cellulose insulation for the attic, which is basically paper treated with fire retardant. The biggest downside to this is that if it gets wet, it will be ruined, so a leak in the roof could be expensive, and a misery to clean up. It will be crucial to maintain the integrity of the roof, and to insist that any work done on the roof be done in fine weather.

The insulation installation left two jobs that need doing. One is to disconnect the power to the ceiling fan, this must be done by Attila, as he has the skills needed to do it. The other is to apply a weather strip to the perimeter of the attic hatch. I could do the attic hatch weather stripping, but would have serious difficulty getting the heavy hatch moved out of the way. I will try to get Attila to move the hatch, then do the weather stripping myself, and then have him replace the hatch.

The fellow who certified our insulation installation also mentioned to me that there were two areas of a home that need good insulation for energy efficiency. One was the attic, we can check that off the list. The second is the insulating the basement rim joists. This is a project I can tackle myself, and I will. This project has to wait though, until the new windows have been installed. Mist cottage will have all new basement windows, and all new windows on the main floor of the house, except for the dining area, where Attila installed new energy efficient windows last fall.

That is the first of three renovation projects almost done! Next the window installation, which represents three days of serious domestic disruption, but well worth it. Then the garage roof project will begin. Attila had slated a specific date for beginning the garage roof project, but has decided to be more flexible about the start date. He will begin the roof project as soon as the new windows have been installed. He is highly motivated to make the garage a reasonable place to spend his time, and as a secure, dry storage space.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 22 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.5°C
Dew point: -8.7°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968


  1. Wow. I am wordless. Y’know what? Your whole story would make a good book. It’s so different! You guys are different. Your story is compelling and so out-of-the-ordinary. I also didn’t realize Attila smoked. I hope he doesn’t do it IN your house! I could not abide that. If smoke comes anywhere near me in space, I revolt. I grew up in it from my mum and then 1st husb. did it for a while (almost burned down our house once) and now I am fortunate enough to never breathe in that gross stuff at all. I feel for you! (((hugs)))

  2. Bex! Attila is a chain smoker, he did quit for a few years, then started again but was afraid to tell me, and finally did because we had to change our insurance policy, smoking costs $$. Attila’s smoking is part of the problem, he does not do it in the house, at my insistence. But he feels he needs to smoke to relax, so he spends a LOT of time in the garage smoking cigarettes. Over the years he was constantly exiting conversations, meals, what have you, to go and have a cigarette. He is totally addicted to them. So, he can’t smoke in the house, he wants to paint and smoke, he has to have a place to do both. I’ve always urged him to create such a space, but he insisted it wasn’t necessary. He was very, very wrong. Once the garage roof is fixed, and he can smoke and paint whenever he wants to, we shall see how things lie.

    I tried smoking a cigarette when I was 13 and did not like it. I tried again in Grade 9, I wanted to fit in, but cigarettes cost money and I wasn’t going to be spending any of mine on that junk, I wanted clothes, music, teen stuff. I realize now the kids who were provided with clothes and music and teen stuff, used their money for smoking and drugs. Luckily I wanted mine for basic things, and so resented spending any on unhealthy habits.

    A third time I tried to smoke was during the months I was preparing for my comprehensive exams for my PhD. I was studying long hours into the night, and still had all my parenting duties to accomplish as well. I couldn’t afford to drink alcohol, or smoke relaxing substances, because I needed my mind alert and on top of things, I had a lot on my plate. So, my solution was to purchase one package of menthol cigarettes, and try to smoke one when the stress levels were building. I didn’t make it through the whole pack, had to give the rest away after I passed the exam.

    Smoking was one of my biggest failures, thank goodness!


  3. I’ve had a man try to control what I cook, too. It’s all about control; very different from a polite request and/or appreciation for one’s efforts even when they don’t quite fit the bill. A man sneering or unappreciative of what I cook has soon found that he gets less and less of what he wants; i.e. that approach has been like shooting himself in the foot. Ask me nicely and with respect and I will very often do your bidding. Demand and criticize, and … well, you’ve just cut off your nose to spite your face. I’m stubborn that way. -Kate

  4. Sandy

    Creating a weekly menu is a great idea. I give you great credit for not strangling Attila in his sleep.

    I smoked in college and off and on afterwards until I turned 30. Then I quit cold turkey. It’s one of my regrets that I ever started.

  5. I hear you Kate! I think I am similarly stubborn!

    Attila is very accommodating about most things, but food is not one of them, LOL. I will accommodate this foible of his, because I don’t care that much about the menu myself, it is not important to me, but it is to him. What is important to me is that whatever the menu may be, it must be healthy, and he has that accommodated to a great degree, even though it has diminished his enjoyment of food.

  6. “I give you great credit for not strangling Attila in his sleep.”

    I laughed out loud at this Sandy!!

    Quitting smoking is a lot harder than it sounds, to those of us who never started! I am so grateful I dodged that bullet.

  7. LOL Diane! Yes, Sandy’s suggestion is a good alternative, never rule anything out.

    I am definitely on the up side of things at the moment. There will be another dip, but this next one won’t be so far down as the last, and the next up swing won’t be so far up as the last, and so on until a relative equilibrium is achieved… I am rubber balling. For a while there I wondered if the bounce up was ever going to arrive.

  8. Sandra

    Maggie, you are doing so much better now. It may not seem like it to you but from your original posts when the unthinkable happened to now, I notice a much stronger you emerging – still reeling but more grounded, accepting and forward looking. I was thinking of you on family day and silently sending warm and healing thoughts your way.

  9. Thank you Joan, I hope your weekend is wonderful! I lived with a smoker who smoked in the house, and decided not to do that again. Aside from the horrid smell and deposits, there is the fact that an open flame is present in the house a lot of the time, and I consider that a fire hazard, much like having a lit candle around a lot of the time.
    The insulation is a real bonus, not only did we get R60 (the max allowed), the whole deal is under a government subsidy, so we should get a cheque later this year to help us pay for the job. Same with the new windows.

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