Mini Winter

Monday, February 15, 2016

We lost power during the night. I would not have known, but for the flashing lights of the clocks on the range and the microwave in the kitchen, which caught my attention when I arose to put the kettle on for coffee this morning. There was a point in the night when I was vaguely aware of feeling chilly, but it did not awaken me. The power could not have been out for long, it was cold enough last night that the house would have become frigid very quickly, had the heating system failed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A blizzard! First we had a cold snap, and now we have a blizzard. This is a mini-winter, a very short and intense version of the six months of winter we received every winter at the country house, all compressed into a week or two.

We are receiving a steady driven bombardment of heavy wet horizontal whiteness. Attila said the drive home from work this morning was dangerous. The roads had not been ploughed at all, so the conditions were a slippery undefined roadway, with poor visibility from the driven snow. He arrived safe and sound, and after a short rest, he headed out the door to start shovelling the drive.

I was unable to assist him. The recent cold snap meant that our heat was supplied by the oil furnace. The heat from the oil furnace is warmer, and much dryer than the heat supplied by the heat pump. We were down to 27% humidity in the house this morning, and my nose bleeds have begun again. I wanted to help Attila with the snow shovelling, but dared not risk it because any exertion would result in another nose bleed. I wet a few towels in the sink and hung them to dry, which will hopefully bring the humidity up and give my poor nose some relief.

As Attila slept today the snowfall intensified, and it snowed all day long. Then the snow plow came through, and it piled the snow waist high across the end of our driveway. When Attila arose from his rest, he had a little snack, bundled himself up in warm clothing and headed back out with his snow shovel. I don’t know how much snow fell, but I do know that the grass around the composter was visible yesterday, and today the composter has disappeared underneath the snow.

Attila shovels the driveway for the second time today. It is still snowing!
Attila shovels feb 16 2016

The computer backup project is going great guns now, almost all the files are on the cloud, on the external usb drive, and burned onto DVDs. There is a learning curve with the cloud and cloud related software, but every challenge is tackled and resolved in time. The real issue is that I must make myself keep going until the whole project is completed. It would be so very easy to get distracted with other projects, as this backing up odyssey plods on and on and on.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 15 February 2016
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -21.5°C
Dewpoint: -24.7°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 16 February 2016
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 0.6 km
Temperature: -3.2°C
Dewpoint: -4.3°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NNE 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -9


“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

Backing Up

Monday, February 8, 2016

Winter has returned. Or just arrived, depending on how you look at it. We received snow yesterday, snow that melted slowly over the course of the day. The roads, which are my focus due to my desire to go for my daily walk, are still clear. I have been taking advantage of the clear roads to strike out daily for my brisk wander around the neighbourhood.

My time lately has been devoted to backing up the files on my computers, on DVDs, on an external usb drive, and on an in-house Cloud. The cloud is something I have been considering for quite a while. I have two computers, and with the addition of Attila’s iPad there are now three devices with which we would like to share files. Moving the files back and forth with a small usb stick has been possible, and very time consuming. I plan on storing all non-personal files on the cloud, all personal files on the external usb drive, and everything burned onto DVDs.

My genealogy reference material has so far filled eight DVDs. I do use the material, as often I need to refer back to the original source to clarify a piece of information, or to see if there are additional details that have become relevant.

I estimate it will take two weeks of constant effort to put the entire filing/backup system into place. It is a lot of work, but that is not surprising, since I began accumulating files in 1984, and still store a lot of them for reference. It was in 1984 that I transitioned from a Commodore 64 to an Apple 11E, and have used Apple Macintosh computers ever since. I actually still have some of the 8 inch floppy disks. I donated the original 11E to a collector, and provided him with the operating system disks, there was no internal hard drive, the computer ran from floppy disks. He kindly transferred all the material on the floppy disks to small diskettes, which I subsequently burned onto CDs. All through those early computing years I was also using the mainframe computer at the university. From the viewpoint of technology, those were exciting years.

We are settling into Mist Cottage quite nicely now. There is still a lot of sorting and purging to do, but it is not urgent, things are not in our way, we have achieved a bearable “flow” in the house.

As I sit here writing this I am aware of the neighbour slamming his van door. I rarely notice these sounds now, because I know what they are, and who makes them. These neighbourhood sounds have faded into the background of life. I no longer need to listen carefully to distinguish the sound of Attila driving into the driveway, from the sound of a neighbour arriving or leaving. I know the sounds of the house, the furnace’s occasional squeal, the refrigerators occasional growl, all these familiar sounds fade into the background of life.

The windows at the front of our house are the originals. They are single pain glass, with leaky storm windows installed over them. Sound carries through them with ease, as does the cold. When we come to replacing the windows, years from now, sound will be one of the issues we consider when making our choice, as will heat retention, ease of opening, and of course design.

Our move here is still in its initial stage. We are in the process of getting comfortable using what we have, in the way of furniture and belongings. When we have accomplished that, we will move into a phase where we work on renovations. When a room has been renovated, we will replace the existing furniture with smaller scale items that fit in this very small house.

We have only one renovation project planned for the warm weather months this year, and that is to repair the shed in the back yard. That will allow Attila to free up a lot of room in the garage, which is still a maze of tunnels through piles of building materials and all sorts of things like ladders. Next winter we will focus on organizing the garage and the basement.

This year though, we have our fingers crossed that we can spend our one week vacation relaxing. We would like to stay at our camp, but we may not have a travel trailer by the time our vacation arrives. I do not want to stay in a tent, there are too many bears in the area. So we are up in the air as to how we will spend our one week vacation, perhaps a road trip. We really enjoyed our trip to New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake, to pay tribute to Attila’s Dad, who grew up there.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My prescriptions have been transferred! I am so relieved. The very first thing the new pharmacist did was contact me by email (which they do not normally do) to let me know my phone didn’t work, to ask me to bring in my MedCheck so that they could take a copy of it, and to fill a prescription for EpiPens, which she had called my doctor about. I am over the moon happy with these people!

Although they were a bit taken aback by my first emotional visit to the drugstore, a call to my doctor’s office confirmed the serious nature of my dilemma. That factor, combined with the refusal by Shopper’s Drug Mart to send them a copy of my MedCheck file, alerted the new drug store that I do indeed have some issues to deal with.

Upon receiving the email message, I hopped in the car to pay the new pharmacy a visit. I took my MedCheck file, which they copied, we changed the telephone number to my cell phone and tested that it worked, it did, and filled my prescription for two EpiPens, since mine had expired. The new drug store is thorough, conscientious, respectful, and efficient.

The telephone issue is something we will have to think about. Our telephone is VOIP, a Magic Jack account. It seems that single telephone lines, and cell phones, can call us without any issues. But calls from phone systems where there is more than one line, those calls are not accepted by our Magic Jack phone. That means the small business and office telephones cannot call us.

The pro to not being able to receive calls from multiple line systems, is that the calls from unsolicited sources do not get through, most wonderfully, the telemarketers. The con is that we cannot give this telephone number to small offices that we want to hear from, such as the doctor’s office, the pharmacist. Also, if a relative or friend called the VOIP number from a small office, they would not be able to get through to us.

For now we will give our VOIP number to offices we do not want to hear from, and our cell phone numbers to offices that we would very much want to hear from.

I got a message from my Mom yesterday, she made me laugh! The treatment she is undergoing is horrendous, and yet she is funny and upbeat. Three more weeks to go Mom! My sisters and my brother-in-law are doing her proud, they have her back, as she gets through the experience.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 8 February 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -6.3°C
Dewpoint: -11.1°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NE 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -13

Date: 6:00 AM EST Tuesday 9 February 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: -6.3°C
Dewpoint: -8.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: NE 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -14


“Life is full of obstacle illusions.”
Grant Frazier