Catching our breath…

Attila and I are catching our breath.  We took our vacation over the first two weeks of September.  It was a working vacation.  The day we left two Realtors took prospective buyers through our country house, the second one came in after we left for our little house in the city.  It was extremely hectic, trying to plan, pack, load the car, prepare Mist for her maiden voyage to the little house and make sure all would be secure while we were away.

Mist HATES car rides, and she spent a great part of the journey verbalizing her opinions.  However, within five minutes of arriving at the little house, she was sprawled out on our bed and making herself right at home.  She loves the little house!

Our first task was to try and evict the chipmunks.  It took three days, but we managed to block their entry and keep them from reentering the building.  The dumpster arrived in our driveway on Tuesday morning of the first week, it was 20 feet long and 8 feet wide.  Attila spent Tuesday gutting the basement.  What a job!  He removed drywall, studs, vapour barrier, insulation, doors, closets, ceiling boards, all stained with animal waste and covered with mildew.  For this job Attila wore a disposable coverall with hood and a face mask during the entire project.  Once all the materials had been removed from the basement the bad smells in the house began to dissipate.  I also sprayed an alcohol solution on all the surfaces in the basement to kill mildew and spores and any viruses that may  have been left behind by the evicted animal residents.

The basement remains damp, as it has moisture issues that still need to be resolved.  We purchased a large dehumidifier which has removed much of the dampness temporarily.  However, we must dig around the foundation and put in proper drainage and water barriers before thinking about finishing off the basement.

On Wednesday morning of the first week Attila tore the rotted decking off the back deck, and the frame that held it up, which was cobbled together and quite dangerous.  All of the wood he tore out went into the dumpster.

On Thursday morning of the first week Attila began removing shingles from the roof, which took all day Thursday and Friday.  Saturday Lares arrived to help Attila shingle the roof, and they managed to get about a third of the job completed.  Then Attila worked all day every day until the following Thursday to finish the job.  I hope he never has to do that again, it is very, very  hard work!

Attila worked on cleaning up the roofing job on Thursday morning and then took the afternoon off, as there were torrential rains. How lucky we were that the rain started after the roofing job was completed!  We drove through the countryside in the area, in the rain, and enjoyed ourselves.  While on our drive we passed a pick-your-own apple farm, but it was too wet to consider picking apples on Thursday.

The final Friday of our holiday, our first day of rest, we returned to the apple farm and picked ourselves a bushel of rosy red apples to take home with us.  Then we headed to the city to shop.  Our idea of shopping is to visit the ReStore, and other second hand shops, to look for building materials for our little house.  We did buy a few small things, a curtain rod and a doorstop.  Then we took ourselves out for dinner.

We were so lucky that during our visit granddaughter Tink turned one year old, the twins Imp and Elf turned four years old, and Imp and Elf attended their very first day of school.  It was great to see them.  Attila and I agree, being a grandparent is just plain wonderful.

So, while Attila was doing all his strenuous work on gutting the basement, dismantling the deck and putting a new roof on the house, what was I doing?

Plenty!  First I went shopping and bought a stove for the house.  I wanted to buy a used stove, but without a vehicle to transport it home it just didn’t work.  So, off I went to a chain store and bought the cheapest stove they had, which was delivered the first Tuesday of our two week holiday.  And then I cooked!  We ate like royalty the whole two weeks.  Attila really needed to, with all the physical labour he was doing each day.  The stove, although inexpensive, works very well.

I shopped for several days, running to the building centre for Attila to pick up things he needed for his projects.   I purchased small things from the dollar store, and larger things from the second hand stores.  The role of chief cook and bottle washer was mine alone.  I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Slowly I outfitted the house for comfort.  I did small “repairs” such as my fix for the bathroom faucet rot in the photos; which was very successful and we were thus able to take showers.

Bathtub at the Little House July 2010
Bathtub at the Little House, September18, 2010

On Monday and Tuesday of the second week Luna accompanied Janus on a business trip, and I stayed with Imp and Elf and Tink.  What a great time we had!  We stayed indoors, as the yard was being excavated for a new septic system.  Elf had endless hours of entertainment there, as we moved a stool to the bedroom window so that he could stand and observe the excavation and the installation of the septic system.  Imp enjoyed reading books with Gramma, and Tink just enjoyed everything!  We all had a wonderful time.

An added bonus of the holiday was that we got to see Terra and Lares almost every day.  It was great to spend time, share meals and chat together.  We look forward to moving to our little house, it will be so nice to have them near all the time.

Terra is enjoying her new job, I believe she has found her true calling.  The shift work is difficult to get used to, and being on call 24/7 is very wearing, and she is holding up very well.

We arrived home Sunday last, tired and ready to go back to our jobs for a little rest and relaxation!