Two Days Of Vacation Left

9:30 a.m.

Attila goes back to work on Monday, two days of renovation vacation left. How much he will get done over the next two days has yet to be determined.

When I arose last night at around 1:30 a.m., to use the facilities, Attila was still up and at it. I ventured into the garage to see how he was doing. There he was, sitting calmly just out of the rain, under the new rafters, smoking a cigarette, contemplating his handy work, and figuring out what needs to be done. I think he went to bed shortly after that, although I was asleep again, and did not hear him retire for the night.

Garage sheathingThe rafters and sheathing on three quarters of the roof, the last section of roof in the foreground, which came down with the assistance of a winch, and the last bit of the garage open to the sky.

Garage tar layersThe old roof had to be cut into sections, through more than an inch of tar based material (shingles and waterproof membranes), and two inch thick solid wood roof boards and supports. It took ten Sawzall blades, and a lot of pain, to cut the old roof into 56 sections, each weighing between 75 about 100 pounds. If that roof had been designed properly, those materials might well have lasted a lifetime… but the lack of adequate support, and inadequate slope, meant that no matter what kind of money, time, and materials were thrown into making that roof waterproof, it could not be made so. What a shame.

Garage old roof downAnd there we have it, the last sections of the old roof, sitting on the floor of the garage. These monsters had to be rolled into the dumpster. I am so glad that we decided on the dumpster, and that Attila does not have to drive these sections to the dump and unload them! When I got up this morning, all of these sections were out of the garage, loaded into the dumpster as I slept. Who needs elves when you have Attila!

This morning, at his request, I awoke Attila at 8:00 a.m. After relaxing with his morning coffee and a cigarette, he changed into his work clothes and got right to it again.

One of the advantages of having most of the rafters and sheathing installed, is that there is now a dry place for Attila to set up his equipment, saws etc. He and his equipment can work comfortably despite the rain. He has one more very long board to cut in the great outdoors, the equipment won’t setup properly in the garage to do that cut, then he can move the equipment indoors. Up until now, all renovations have required Attila to work out in the open, in the back yard. That meant he had to put away his saws and equipment every time it rained, and set them up again when the rain stopped. He won’t miss having to do that! It rained a little bit this morning, and it looks like more is on the way.

I’m the “runner” again today, making another trip to the building centre, and to the grocery store, Attila has lists for both.

Last night’s dinner, Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken with Vegetables and Rice, was a big success. I am using ground beef for tonight’s dinner, Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Beef with vegetables and rice. I have a quarter of a cabbage that I will shred and add to the dish, in addition to the frozen mixed vegetables.

6:09 p.m.

The Instant Pot has been in use every day since it came into the house. Tonight’s dinner was Sweet & Sour Beef & Cabbage With Rice and Vegetables. Hearty fare. I included five garlic scapes from our garden, which I snipped into pieces with the scissors before adding them to the dish, very tasty they were.

As I was eating my dinner, Attila was hard at work, adding the first sheet of plywood sheathing to the open quarter of the roof, having installed all the rafters earlier today. Now he is working on the next sheet, having stopped for a bite of dinner, of which I am glad because it was still hot. He loved the Sweet & Sour Beef dish, asked me to write down the recipe so that we could enjoy it again.

I have been making up recipes every night for our dinners. Such fun. Now that I have the timing and proportions of dry to liquid figured out, the sky is the limit. We both like rice, so I have been focusing on rice dishes. Tomorrow though, I am thinking of making a Chicken Cacciatore With Pasta, making up a one pot recipe for the Instant Pot. I will precook the chicken though, it is important that it is thoroughly cooked. Since the chicken will be pre-cooked, the cooking time can be safely based on the time needed to cook the pasta. My Tuna Noodle Casserole was a success, so I am optimistic that we will like this Chicken Cacciatore.

The migration of this site and others to a new domain host was so very easy. But, at this end, on this computer, I have been having issues with DNS caches, and after posting an entry, I lose access to my sites from this computer. There is a tedious fix, in Terminal, which I have to perform each time I post an entry. As far as I can tell, only I have this issue! The iMac, our entertainment unit, has no issues with accessing the sites, so I can still get in and do what I need to do on the iMac. Eventually I’ll figure out a fix on the fly, and  it will be so organic that I won’t even notice that I am doing it.  UPDATE: I couldn’t resolve this issue myself, it has to do with software on my computer tripping security measures at the host’s end, and locking me out as a result.  I will pursue this issue with the software developer, of the softeware I am using to upload the entries.

Renovations are slow going, they aren’t like new builds, one is always dealing with decisions made at other times, by other people, in other contexts. The garage is a funny affair. It is narrower at the front than at the back. It sits on a concrete foundation that was not poured square. The roof was almost flat, ergo the almost two inches of added waterproof membranes and shingles to try to keep it from leaking. All of these things complicate the job of renovating the roof.

It has been drizzling off and on all day today, but that hasn’t slowed Attila down at all. It isn’t very warm either, but he is working hard enough that he is quite comfortable in a t-shirt. My idea to run duct tape along the joins in the sheathing worked great, no leaks!

Attila plans on working into the night again tonight. He has set himself the goal of finishing framing in and making weather proof the small section of roof that is beside the new garden shed. That section must be designed to take into account the eves of the garden shed roof. It is a fiddly bit.

I noticed Chippy The Chipmunk clamouring up a board and hopping into the garage. The little monster thinks it is his. That will have to be dealt with once the roof gables, and the roof by the garden shed, have been secured. Until then, there will be no keeping him/her out.

I always thought chipmunks were cute, until I had to compete with them for possession of Mist Cottage. The rascally Chip n’ Dale were on the money, when it comes to chipmunk personalities.

Tomorrow we must go through the items in the garage to determine what must go into the dumpster, as it will be picked up on Monday morning. The old roof and all the water damaged items will be carted away. Worth every penny.

8:15 p.m.

Garage roof sheathing completeThe sheathing is done! This picture was taken before Attila applied duct tape to seal over the joins, to keep water out until the metal roof is installed. Oh happy day, this is a sight for sore eyes.

Garage roof sheathing complete interiorAnd here is it from the interior of the garage, high and dry! The old roof was level with the left wall, this photo shows how much Attila raised the right side of the roof, to create a much needed slope, to shed water and snow. It smells like new lumber in there! Wow!

I think this garage, and the rotting finished basement full of chipmunks and mice, were the reason this house sat empty for years. Mould and mildew are smelly and horrid. When we bought Mist Cottage the smell of animals, mould, and mildew hit your senses full force as you entered the front door. It was disgusting. It improved over time, bit by bit, so that by the time we moved here in 2015 the interior air was sweet. But until this week there were very bad odours in the garage. Fixing the underlying problems has been a huge amount of work. The basement and the garage are fixed now. We gutted the basement within weeks of purchasing the house, filling a dumpster with the contents, and shingles as we also put a new roof on the house. We hired a contractor to dig around the foundation of the basement, lay drainage tiles, and installed a membrane to protect the concrete from water in the soil. And now, at last, the old garage roof, so thick with hopeless shingles and waterproof membranes, has been ripped off, one small section at a time, to be replaced with a lovely metal roof, with a slope adequate to shed rain and snow. Mist Cottage is now, at last, structurally secure. If we didn’t do another renovation, we could live here quite comfortably.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EDT Saturday 23 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.2°C
Dew point: 14.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: NE 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done.”
Julia Louise Woodruff
1833 – 1891


1:32 p.m.

Working late into last evening, Attila’s arms gave out before he could finish installing all of the sheathing on the installed roof rafters. It was after 9:30 p.m. when he threw in the towel.

Yesterday was his big push day, and his arms bore the brunt of the big push. In the wee hours I awoke to find him up and about, the pain in his arms was sufficient to prevent him from sleeping. After taking a few Ibuprofen, waiting for 30 minutes, he returned to bed, and slept soundly through the rest of the night.

I arose as usual 5:30 a.m., and planned on awakening Attila at 8:00 a.m. However, the telephone rang at 7:30 a.m., a call from the dumpster company wanting to come and pick it up today. Well NO! Since Attila is handling the dumpster situation, I roused him to speak with the person on the telephone. They are picking the dumpster up on Monday, which is what Attila arranged with them in the first place. The woman was fairly aggressive about picking it up today, Attila wasn’t having any of it.

This morning the rest of the sheathing was installed on the installed roof rafters. If it rains, the joints of the sheathing can be closed temporarily with duct tape, which was my bright idea, Attila liked it. The taped sheathing will be far more waterproof than the old roof.

After finishing the sheathing, it was time to begin removing the last quarter of the old roof. It is early afternoon as I write this, 1:32 p.m., and Attila is hard at it with the Sawzall. He is hoping to have the rest of the old roof off by 5:00 p.m.

I have been finding anything I can to keep busy, and to keep from thinking about the roofing project. This is difficult, not impossible, but difficult. There is the constant whine of the Sawzall, buzzing its way slowly through the thick tarry layer and wooden boards. I also keep an ear open for uncomfortable noises, or silences, knowing that Attila is working all out on a roof, and on a ladder. No uncomfortable noises so far, and I don’t anticipate there will be, but my being listens carefully just in case.

There was filing to be done this morning, dishes to be washed, dried and put away, plants to water. Dinner will be cooked in the Instant Pot again, Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice and Vegetables; I am very fond of all-in-one dishes. I’ve already been to the building centre with a list from Attila.

8:32 p.m.

Attila’s dream today, to finish demolishing the old roof by 5:00 p.m., was just that. He just brought down the last section of the old roof, just minutes ago. It was a gruelling day for him, operating the Sawzall for hours and hours, and dealing with 100 lb. sections of the old roof, which had to be taken to the dumpster. The last section of roof refused to come down. In the end, a winch was used to pull it down.

A quarter of the garage is open to the sky.

I congratulated Attila, and headed to the grocery store to buy him ice cream. That last piece was a milestone worth celebrating, the last piece of truly disgusting infrastructure was finally disconnected from Mist Cottage, and from our lives.

10:00 p.m.

After a big bowl of ice cream, Attila decided to take a bath. He has plans to go back out to the garage to work into the night, moving the last large heavy sections of the old roof into the dumpster. When that is completed, he will move as many of the water sensitive items as possible to safety under the new roof rafters and sheathing. The items that cannot be moved to the dry area of the garage will be covered with tarps.

Tomorrow, Attila will be able to start installing the remaining roof rafters, and sheathing. He might even get as far as installing the underlay and strapping for the metal roof. There is a possibility that the metal roofing might be installed on Sunday. He will be working in the rain for the next two days, but the pressure will be off once all of the rafters and sheathing have been installed.

I have pictures on the camera, but at this late hour I am not up to getting them downloaded and inserted into the entry.

I am off to my bed, Attila is soaking in the tub, most of the old garage roof is in pieces in the dumpster, all is as it should be. It was a good day.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 PM EDT Friday 22 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.0°C
Dew point: 11.2°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: ENE 10 km/h
Humidex: 23
Visibility: 24 km

Tonight Increasing cloudiness early this evening. 30 percent chance of showers overnight. Low 15.

Sat, 23 Jun Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light in the afternoon. High 19. UV index 6 or high.
Night Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 16.

Sun, 24 Jun Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. High 21.
Night Cloudy periods with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 13.


“Little by little, one travels far.”
J. R. R. Tolkien
1892 – 1973

Welcome Summer

7:45 a.m.

Well, here we are, the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere, planet earth. Glad to be here to see it! If you are reading, glad that you are here to see it (or the first day of winter for those of you in the southern hemisphere, planet earth). Isn’t it wonderful that we are here on this beautiful planet!

After almost no sleep the night before last, I slept soundly for seven hours last night, a sleep marathon for me. I arose at 5:30 a.m., and got busy baking a batch of banana/pineapple/coconut muffins, while the hydro was at its least expensive. Two bananas were threatening to escape to the compost pile, but I captured them and turned them into delicious food. I feel like the goddess of the hunt.

This morning I have paid bills, and sorted out some filing. Morning coffee was enjoyed, with open windows, a lovely breeze, and a freshly baked muffin.

I feel I’ve welcomed summer in fine style.

Attila is still sleeping as I write, soon I will awaken him. This morning I will be taking a run to the building centre to pick up more Sawzall blades. There are a lot more needed than anticipated, sawing through tar based shingles and waterproof membranes destroys the blades quickly. About 1/4 of the old roof is still up there, to be removed today or tomorrow, or whenever Attila feels the need to do it. The saw blades will be at the ready, whenever that is.

6:30 p.m.

The weather today was as perfect as I could ever wish it to be. Sunny, breezy, warm but not hot, birds singing, and bees buzzing.

Attila is in his groove. He says he is now enjoying himself. He has installed three quarters of the roof rafters, and is almost finished installing the supports between the installed rafters. He plans on working until it is too dark to see, to celebrate the first day of summer. He might even cover the installed rafters with the roof sheathing tonight. That would be fantastic, because then it would shed most of the water should it rain. In fact, sheathing would provide better protection against the elements than the old roof ever did.

Tomorrow Attila hopes to remove the last quarter of the old roof, a truly miserable job, and begin installing the last of the rafters, and the sheathing. There is a 60% chance of rain on Saturday, so I hope he can accomplish this goal. If he can, the garage will not leak significantly if it rains, and he can work on installing the metal roof in the rain. Or he can take a break on Sunday, and work on installing the metal roof bit by bit, after work and on weekends… I doubt he will take a break!

When I was out on my supply run, to pick up the Sawzall blades, I ventured into the garden centre. Garden plants were 50% off, it is quite late to be planting them. I purchased Sweet Basil and Tomato plants, to plant in the area where the potatoes did not come up. When I left the building centre I headed for Canadian Tire, where I purchased a child’s water canon, a toy, which says it will shoot 30 feet. I plan on using this to discourage rabbits and squirrels from visiting the garden. I have added a few tablespoons of vinegar to the canon’s water reservoir, the smell of vinegar may deter them from choosing our garden as their restaurant.

Water canon The new water canon, shoots 30 feet. As Elmer Fudd might say, “Say your pwayers, wabbit!” The canon will be shooting harmless water, with a few tablespoons of vinegar added for objectionable aroma.

My afternoon was spent weeding the garden, we have a lot of bindweed to pull out, and preparing the to plant the Basil and the Tomatoes. I ended up planting the Basil inside the fenced in area, so that the rabbits cannot get at it. The Tomato plants were planted in the empty space in the garden, outside the fenced in area. I found bending down to work on the ground very, very hard on my knees and my back, but I managed it. I spent some time watering the new plantings, the climbing Beans and Peas, the Clematis, the Heliopsis, the Echinacea, the Nasturtiums, the Rose, and the Gerbera Daisies. It was lovely to rest in the shady, breezy back porch after all that hard work.

The Instant Pot came through again, this time a Cabbage Roll Casserole, using just the right amount of Rosemary, a pinch. It was delicious. Attila isn’t stopping to eat today, he is soldiering through. I notice he did sneak in to eat a huge portion of the Rhubarb Crisp, lots of sugar in that to keep him going. His portion of the casserole is waiting for him in the refrigerator. My guess is that it will be close to midnight before he gets to it.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EDT Thursday 21 June 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.2°C
Dew point: 5.8°C
Humidity: 36%
Wind: N 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“She is a friend of my mind… The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.”
Toni Morrison
1931 –

I found this quite beautiful.

Another Demolition Day

Last night I could not sleep. At 4:30 a.m. I finally drifted off, only to awaken at 7:30 a.m., not because I had to, only because my being decided not to sleep. I am feeling overwhelmed by this renovation. I arose, opened most of the windows, then hopped in the shower. After puttering around until 9:45, it was past time to awaken Attila so that the day’s work could begin; he worked until 11:00 p.m. last night. Rain is forecast for Friday night, and Saturday, which adds some pressure to the enterprise.

His day began with a cigarette and a coffee on the back porch, then a change into street clothes and a trip to the building centre to buy more Sawzall blades. I was sent yesterday to buy them, but the type he requested were not in stock, and I dared not choose a substitute.

He is doing a terrific job on the garage roof. The project possesses him, he lives and breathes it right now, as I knew he would. There is no room here for relaxed conversation, and even finding time for a shared meal some days. The project will not be completed by the end of Attila’s vacation, although I fervently hope that by Sunday night he has the metal roofing in place on the roof, to keep things dry.

Once the roof is secure, then all the items in the garage need to be sorted through, and what needs to be discarded can go into the dumpster before it is picked up. A lot of items that were once viable are now completely destroyed by water and mould and mildew. I will be involved with this aspect of the project, because some of the articles in the garage are/were mine.

There is much to do after the roof is secure from the weather. New sections of wall near the peak of the roof must be constructed, siding installed. New wiring needs to be installed to supply the garage with electrical power. A window needs to be installed. I am sure there is more I am not aware of yet.

And then there will be animal eviction. Already chipmunks are in the garage, coming in through the open roof. I will have to use a live trap once the dumpster goes, and I have purchased more mouse traps. There is an opening from the garage into the new shed, so the animals will have infiltrated it as well, more time using the live trap and the mouse traps. It might even be necessary to remove all the items from the shed to make sure we get all of the animals out, a big job. None of this is avoidable under the circumstances.

I have always found renovations challenging. Attila prefers to work alone, team work isn’t his thing, and communication over what needs to be done can get sticky at times. The renovations also seem to take much longer than anticipated, Attila felt only a week was needed for this new garage roof, but I know that it will be the focus of life here until the snow flies. The expense is challenging as well, I do the juggling, the borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and any worrying that comes into the administrative side of things. This is not something I enjoy, but it is necessary to move forward towards a home that is warm, dry, and free of animals, mould, and mildew. When this project is complete the house will be almost there!

The wildlife are finding the project interesting. Chipmunks have invaded the garage, and probably mice too, although I haven’t seen them. Birds land on the newly installed rafters. This morning, as I opened the window closest to the dumpster, I watched a little rabbit peeking through the crack at the door, probably wondering if there was any food in there!

Just to note, the funding program, through which we received assistance in paying for the desperately needed new windows, and attic insulation, has been discontinued, as anticipated; due to the new right wing government in Ontario. All environmental programs are now cancelled. For our own good, we are told. Thank goodness I found the program when I did last winter, and that I pursued it to completion. Otherwise, the windows and attic insulation would be huge jobs that Attila would have taken on by himself, over the coming years. The other program I was applying for is a non-starter, the call for the energy audit did not come as promised, nor any explanation. Of course, I know what happened, another cancelled energy program courtesy of right wing politicians.

As I write the whine of the Sawzall fills the air, the smell of hot tar reaches my nostrils through the open windows. Attila is hard at work demolishing the second half of the garage roof. Go Attila go!

Oh, adding a few images of the day’s work, forgot them when I first posted!

Garage roof front sawzall The old roof that Attila is cutting up and removing with the Sawzall. Very heavy going!

Garage roof rear rafters The back section of the garage, with the repaired wall on the right, and the first rafters installed, but many more to go!

Worldly Distractions


18 C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 20 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.9C
Dew point: 14.9 C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832

I’d like to try it for myself to find out!

Hazmat Coverall & A Face Mask

The weather today is perfect for working. Sunny, dry, not too hot, not too humid, just perfect.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning I decided to go for a short walk. After tying up the running shoes, out I went. Oh my it was lovely. The air was cool, 15C, and it was windy, so that the leaves on the trees swayed and whispered as I passed. Few people are out at that hour of the morning, but I did greet in passing one other older woman out walking, and a jogger passed me at one point. About an hour after I got back my bad knee started to ache, oh dear. I rubbed a wee bit of Voltaren on it, and that seemed to settle it down. The elliptical machine does not bother my knee at all, with a similar repetitious movement, so it must be the repetitive impact of stepping on pavement that irritates the joint.

Attila got right down to it today. He donned a hazmat coverall, pulled his face mask into place, grabbed his shovel, the saw, a crowbar, an industrial strength garbage bag, and went to work. What he was shovelling out was the junk at the back end of the garage, where the roof had always leaked, where things like wall studs had rotted to splinters, where mouse nests long abandoned still smelled horrid when wet, oh the list goes on. After cutting out all the rotted wood, removing all the soggy stinking insulation, and the mouse nests, he shovelled it all up and into the waiting garbage bag. Out it went into the dumpster.

Attila shovelling out the garage Attila shovelling out the back wall cavities in the garage. They were filled with soggy stinking insulation, mouse nests, and rotten wood. No more! There was a reason this house sat empty for years and no one wanted to buy it until we came along!

Whoever built the garage was an idiot. It probably leaked right from the beginning, the roof having been almost flat. Water, water, water, it is predictable in its obsession to find mother earth. How could they not know the roof design was untenable.

Now that the rotten wood and rotting materials are removed from the back of the garage, and the water from the storm has evaporated, Attila is ready to begin installing the new roof beams. Oh happy day.

This morning the metal roofing arrived, the driver helped Attila carry it to the back yard. I love the light colour, a shade of light gray. Eventually we will put a new roof on the house itself, with metal roofing of the same colour. By the time we get to that I think Attila’s days of working in high places may well be over, and a contractor will need to be hired to do the job. I have my ever roving eye open for funding or grant programs for low income people, to achieve this. We have many years of service left in the current shingles, which Attila and Lares installed in 2010, so I have lots of time.

Metal roofing This is the new metal roofing. It certainly doesn’t take up much room, when you consider the huge task it performs in keeping a building dry and safe from the elements.

The roof that is being removed consists of: three or more layers of waterproof sheeting, none of which kept the water out; two layers of black shingles, neither of which kept the water out. The garage roof sits in the afternoon sun, so that in the summer it becomes incredibly hot, too hot to touch. This hot air slowly permeates into the house through the walls, and the windows, even though they shut right in the afternoons. It will be very pleasant to have a light coloured roof, properly vented, that will not gather and retain incredible amounts of heat in the summer. The metal roof will also easily shed snow, relieving Attila of the job of shovelling the snow load off the garage roof. There are so many benefits to this project!

Old garage roof profile The old garage roof, the edge of the front half of it. The back half of the roof has been removed, and what you see here has the top layer of shingles and waterproof membrane removed, many layers remain. Attila is removing this roof with Sawzall, and it is brutally hard work, which is only half done. He will install the new roof on the back half of the garage, then he will work on removing the roof on the front half of the garage.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday 19 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dew point: 11.6°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km


“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
Edith Sitwell
1887 – 1964

Oh, and writing!