Critters!

I am working four days this week!  Today is my one day off and Attila has left me with a list of places to call; I am on a verbal information gathering expedition.  I must call metal roofing manufacturers and retailers for prices and delivery schedules.  I must call waste management firms for prices and delivery schedules for dumpsters.  I must call asphalt shingle retailers for prices and delivery schedules.  We are going to be roofing very soon!  We have our fingers crossed for fair weather! A big project, in terms of time and money.  It has to be done.

Bumblebee on a zucchini bloom.

We will need a dumpster to discard the three layers of shingles that already exist on the roof.  We will be adding all kinds of other building materials to the dumpster.  Old carpeting (mildewed and disgusting), the existing deck boards (particle board!  A silly, silly, silly choice!), drywall, insulation and wood panelling, boards and who knows what else, will go into that dumpster.

The little house has a distinctive odour, very unpleasant.  We’ve wondered about the source.  Part of it is the mildewed carpet which will go into the dumptster, part of it dampness from a water problem in the basement, but there is another smell that we thought may have been the toilet leaking.  Yesterday Attila tore down the ceiling drywall in the family room below the bathroom.  It wasn’t our toilet that has been causing the odour, oh no.  A community of chipmunks have invaded the house, long before we purchased it, and they used/use that area as their toilet.  And they are still in residence!  Critters! We are not alone!

Attila boarded up every exterior opening he could find and used steel wool to seal every tiny crack that wasn’t taken care of by the boards.  We will have to completely strip down that family room; we will remove all panelling, drywall and insulation and then assess the damage and strategize the measures we need to take to permanently evict our unwanted tenants.

Yesterday, while Attila explored the odour problem, I was busy washing the hardwood floor in the living room.  It is badly stained and there are many nails visible to the eye.  It is not a good candidate for sanding and refinishing.  I am going to explore the option of painting the hardwood.  I also put up newer canvas drapes in the corner window, allowing us privacy while letting in lots of light.  Terra came over for a visit and helped me arrange the chairs in that sunny little corner.  Now Attila and I will have a pleasant place to sit when we take short breaks from our labours.

I still need to tackle the lower kitchen cabinets.  There is still a bit of carpet down there that has to come out, disgusting!  My plan is to remove the carpet, spray things down with alcohol, remove the rodent droppings and rodent food debris, wash the every surface with soap and bleach, spray a second time with alcohol, and paint all surfaces.  Then I will measure and cut cedar boards to line the shelves, varathane the top surface of the cedar for wear and waterproofing and nail them into place.  Only after all this is accomplished will I use the space for kitchen storage.  The cedar boards are old spacers which we rescued before they could be burned as garbage.

Attila and I have a busy few months ahead of us.

Today the sun is shining and the day has started off cool and refreshing.  Apparently that will not last, heat and humidity are predicted.  I have the house wide open to capture the cool morning breezes, and will close it up tight as soon as the outdoor temperature is the same as the indoor temperature.

The tomatoes are ripening on the deck garden!  I am really looking forward to having a few home grown tomatoes this year.  There is one zucchini!  Better one than none.  I won’t be bothered with another deck garden, it isn’t worth all that trouble for a half dozen tomatoes and one zucchini.  I’m glad I tried it though, it was fun.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20 °C
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.0°C
Dewpoint: 18.1°C
Humidity: 89 %
Wind: S 5 km/h
Humidex: 26

Quote

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.”
Ursula K. LeGuin

The leaves are turning!

Looking out the window this morning a bit of colour caught my eye. Up until today the view has been green, green, green. This morning a bit of yellow and red have stolen into the landscape. Autumn is on its way.

First Autumn Colours 2010

First Autumn Colours 2010

It was raining again this morning, but not cold, or even terribly humid. I have only had to water my deck garden a few times this summer, the rain has arrived consistently to do the job. I’m not sure I’d go to the trouble again. Although we will harvest enough tomatoes, basil and zucchini to justify the initial cost of putting in the garden, it doesn’t yield enough to provide for more than few light meals. I am hoping that we can put in a more substantial garden at the little house, where bears aren’t an issue.

I’ve two days off this week. I’ll spend my time preparing for our next excursion to the little house. The list of things to take with us gets longer and longer. Anything we take in the car during these visits will not need to be transported by moving van in the future. Some things are making the trip back and forth, like power tools, because we use them at both locations.

Next week I have one day of work.

My to do list is short today. I have a few phone calls to make, but I have to wait until after 9:00 am to make them. It seems I’m always waiting for the rest of the world to wake up! Most of the morning chores are already done, just the bed to make and then the house is ready to “show”.

I think it is time for me to return to my book project, which has been neglected all summer long. The Canadian research is complete, I just need to pay to see the US records to fill in the blanks for one line of the family. However, I hesitate to spend any money on such non-necessities, because we are supporting two houses and a car. Perhaps I’ll publish without the US relatives, one has to work within one’s means.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 21.0°C
Dewpoint: 16.0°C
Humidity: 73 %
Wind: 9 km/h
Humidex: 26

Quote

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1807 – 1882)

Working, working, working…

Attila and I decided to stay in our country home this weekend.  We both worked a six day week and although Attila does this week after week, I am not accustomed to so much consecutive work.  I am surprised that I am not worn down, not at all.  I feel quite energetic and a little restless; I’m looking forward to our next visit to the little house!

After preparing bread dough a few weeks ago, a portion of it went into the freezer to be used as pizza dough.  This morning that dough was removed from the freezer and placed in the refrigerator and tonight it was topped with all our favorite pizza toppings.  We haven’t made pizza since last June, so this is a rare treat. However, my timing was off, the dough was frozen after the second rise and didn’t rise at all when baked. The meal was flavourful, but the texture of the dough was disappointing.

Cherry Tomato Ripening

My deck garden is an interesting project.  The tomatoes are coming along moderately, with a few cherry tomatoes already ripened.  The swiss chard is a complete failure, about three inches high and going nowhere.  The basil is limping along, there will be some to harvest but not enough to satisfy our needs for pesto.  My red geranium is preparing to bloom again, after a two week hiatus.  We have two small zucchinis that look like they will mature, and one butternut squash the size of a large marble.

Attila continues to move firewood into the wood shed, in preparation for the winter.  Today was wet and chilly and the idea of a roaring fire seems quite inviting.  We won’t begin to charge the masonry heater until after Thanksgiving.

The people who viewed our home have made no further enquiries.  We are not surprised, as we don’t expect any activity on the house sale until next spring.  Still, we are prepared with plan A, B, C and D, just in case the house does sell, before we remove it from the market for the winter.

We have no plans for tomorrow, our big day off.  Perhaps fate will intervene with a pleasant surprise; then again, perhaps it will be a relaxing day of puttering for both of us.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.0°C
Dewpoint: 17.4°C
Humidity: 85 %
Wind: SE 13 km/h

Quote

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”
E. B. White
(1899 – 1985)

Now the hard work begins…

Attila and I are working hard. Attila enjoys the responsibility of his new position, it is a breath of fresh air for him. I have been offered more hours of work in the last month than I had the entire span of last winter. We are working hard to support our two homes. It is a lot of responsibility, and yet we seem to be enjoying ourselves and have begun a new chapter in our lives.

When we are not working at our jobs, we are planning our renovation projects for the little house. The roofing project is looming large, and thankfully Lares is planning on helping Attila install the new roof. I still need to choose the colour, so that Attila can order the materials. This will entail a trip to the building center, with both of us in attendance, so that I can choose the colour while Attila chooses the type of product he wants to work with.

After the new roof goes on, we have a list of issues that just keeps getting longer. This poor little house has not been treated with respect for a very long time. We have water issues, with the basement and with the plumbing. I think we will need to deal with the plumbing first, due to some very beautiful blue mold sprouting on the basement ceiling just below the bathroom.

Bathtub at the Little House July 2010

I do wonder how anyone lived in this house in the condition it is in. It couldn’t have been healthy and it certainly wouldn’t have been comfortable. It will be though, both healthy and comfortable, when Attila and I have worked with it for a few years.

Our country home has not sold, although potential buyers visited yesterday. I have mixed feelings about parting with this home, as Attila has worked so hard to make it comfortable and cozy, and we have so many good memories here. In a way I am feeling quite relieved that the housing market has slowed down to a crawl, so that it is unlikely that our country house will sell at this time.

Terra is doing well at her new job. She and Lares are working hard to adjust to one partner working shift work. It is quite a challenge and much harder than it sounds.

We seem to have passed through the heat wave. The humidity has gone down and the temperatures fall into the teens during the night, which makes for comfortable sleeping. The days are mostly sunny and the bugs are almost gone, beautiful!

I am becoming accustomed to keeping the house in “show” condition, which has been quite a challenge. Before leaving for work in the morning I must do the dishes, make the bed, de-clutter and straighten up all the little objects that were used the night before. It doesn’t really take very long to do all this, it is just that I haven’t bothered with the little stuff for years, many years. Still, I find I like spending time in an environment without chaos; so there is a bright side.

I find that initiating change is fun and exhilarating. The hard work is persevering with the project after the “honeymoon stage” is over.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 17.0°C
Dewpoint: 16.7°C
Humidity: 98 %
Wind: SSE 8 km/h

Quotes

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”
John Quincy Adams
(1767 – 1848)

“Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.”
Samuel Johnson
(1709 – 1784)

“If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.”
Joseph Addison
(1672 – 1719)

The good news is…

The good news is that Attila got a promotion at work, that I worked five half days in a row and we might just squeak by with expenses of owning two properties.  Our wild country house has not yet sold.

There is no bad news.

Attila installing locks on the kitchen window at the little house, August 1, 2010.

Attila installing locks on the kitchen window at the little house, August 1, 2010.

Attila took on his new position last week, worked long hours and almost wore himself out getting things organized the way he wants them.  It is going very well.  I worked five half days in a row last week, all but one of them with wonderful people, and only one morning with a person who hates everyone, including me.  Attila and I were very, very tired on Saturday afternoon when we were finished our week’s work.

This morning we felt much better and ventured forth for a short visit to Harriet and Hogan at their cottage.  They bought a neglected cottage on a wonderful site, and have been improving it for the last few summers.  They have worked wonders, but still have a bit of work to do to make it as comfortable as an urban home.

Our drive home from their cottage was interesting; the rain came down in torrents, one couldn’t see the road and many people had pulled off onto the shoulder to wait out the storm.  Harriet and Hogan were driving through that stormy weather, I hope they arrived home safe and sound.

We are going to visit the little house next Saturday.  Terra and Lares have been keeping an eye on it for us, and yesterday Lares arranged with his Dad, to have the second hand refrigerator we purchased delivered to the garage.  Our list of things we want to do on our Sunday visit to the little house keeps getting longer.  We want to put a coat of paint on the bedroom walls and the living room walls, and I plan on scrubbing down the wallboard in the dining room, with a scrub brush and a lot of elbow grease.  Attila will make his first foray into the attic, to see what is going on up there; could be gruesome!  And of course we want to get the refrigerator setup, so that we can start using it and put our cooler back into storage.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20 °C
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.0°C
Dewpoint: 18.8°C
Humidity: 93 %
Wind: W 5 km/h
Humidex: 27

Quote

“Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”
Iris Murdoch
(1919 – 1999)