And The Good News Is…

What a day!

First, near our former residence, the country house, where our Ancestral Camp is located, they are expecting 31 cm of snow today. And the good news is, I am not there!!!!!! It is snowing here at Mist Cottage, and the predicted accumulation is between 2 and 4 cm, tropical!

Next on my good news list is that a visit to the lawyers office, the signing of a stack of papers, and the handing over of funds, means that the Rideau Camp is ours as of the end of this week.

And last, but definitely not least, I received a call back from the nurse at my country GP’s office. My GP went over the hospital reports from my last visit, reviewed all of my records, and has categorically stated that I DO NOT have Chronic Kidney Disease. How cool is that!!!!!!

I intend to follow up the happy diagnosis with some tests and checks when we get a family doctor here at Mist Cottage, but for now I am content with the diagnosis, and very grateful that I have such a thorough and conscientious GP to rely on for information. I think the doctor in the emergency department was just a little too enthusiastic with her diagnosis, she is young, and due to her age must be inexperienced. No harm done. Actually, it was a a wake up call, I have improved my diet as a result of the inaccurate diagnosis, and will continue with some of the moderate dietary changes I have made over the last few weeks, as they are good for general health.

In future I will be insisting on seeing details of test results. It is best to monitor what the health care practitioners are doing, they make mistakes sometimes, they are only human.

So that is me, happy as a clam, celebrating my good fortune with a glass of cranberry juice! Cheers!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT
A band of snow is moving through the regions north of Lake Ontario early this afternoon.
The snow will be briefly heavy at times, with a quick 2 to 4 centimetres possible in some areas.
Motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions with low visibility in bursts of heavy snow. Untreated roads may briefly become covered in snow or slush.
The snow is expected to end or change over to some rain later today as milder air arrives from the southwest.

-1°C
Date: 1:05 PM EDT Wednesday 6 April 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -0.7°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: S 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -8

Quote

“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.”
Unknown

Lost and Found

The ground was blanketed in white when I threw open the kitchen curtains this morning. Attila said the roads were slippery on his way home from work. The sun has been peeping out from behind the clouds, off and on all day, and most of the snow has melted under its scrutiny. The roads were already dry when I ventured out for my daily walk around noon.

Attila sleeps during the day, and I find that I am very conscious of how much noise I am making. I avoid using noisy appliances like the vacuum cleaner. I even turn the sound down on my computer when I am using it during the day. The house is small, and it would be very easy to disturb Attila’s rest.

I began the process of contacting my GP near the country house, to inquire about the Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis. I really don’t know what to expect. A message was left with the receptionist, as the doctor and his nurse were with a patient when I called. I requested that the nurse call me back; she is very good about things like that. Now all I have to do is to be patient, and see how things unfold.

I have to admit to feeling a little better after eliminating all the recommended foods from my diet. Not a huge change, but the pressure in my head is definitely not so intense now.

I spent the morning looking for a birth registration that I have somehow misplaced. I know I saw it years ago. Because I usually save all of these files, I have been looking for it in my backups, no luck so far. There is probably something odd about it, like a misspelled name, so I will have to keep on plugging away with the search.

The book is coming together very, very slowly. Because I am now working on more recent generations there is a lot more documentation to cover, and a lot more detail about people’s lives.

For instance, there is the instance of my Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann. She was born in 1846 in Lanark County, Ontario, a first born child. She was deaf and blind from birth. In 1884, at the age of 38, Mary Ann gave birth to a baby girl, Mary Ann. No father was listed and the baby Mary Ann was registered with her mother’s surname. Later baby Mary Ann would adopt an alternative given name, keeping her original surname. This is the birth registration I have lost track of, and am searching for, I know I have it somewhere in my files. I will include a copy of the registration in the book, as it is an important to link the baby Mary Ann as a member of our family.

After the birth of the baby my Great Grand Aunt lived with her family until the death of her mother in 1897. When her mother died she moved in with one of her younger brothers (my Great Grandfather) and his family. There is no record at all of the baby Mary Ann in the census, until after she marries. I believe that the baby Mary Ann was brought up as my Great Grandfather’s child, as her descendants believe him to be the baby’s father. Since he was only 11 years old when the baby was born, it seems unlikely that he is the baby’s father, even though it is technically possible.

In 1914 my Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann moved in with her daughter and his husband, who were to care for her for the rest of her life, according to a legal agreement between my Great Grandfather and Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann’s daughter. For some reason, it did not work out, and in 1921 Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann is found incarcerated in a Home of Refuge, where she lives until the time of her death in 1922 at the age of 75. Unfortunately her death registration declares that her family is unknown. How very sad.

My Great Grandfather arranged for and paid for her burial, far from home.

I knew nothing of Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann when I was growing up, and was shocked when her Grandson’s wife contacted me in 2002 to inquire about a family connection. Thinking I knew all of my Great Aunts and Uncles, I told her that there was no family connection. But the claim niggled away at me, and I began to research the possibility, only to find that indeed Mary Ann’s Grandson is a member of the family, and little Mary Ann the baby was probably raised as one of my Great Grandfather’s children. I have written to and apologized to the Grandson’s wife, for such a glaring error. It just goes to show you that there are a lot of hidden details in silence, and census records are not necessarily accurate historical records. As one of my relatives told me during an interview, “people just hid them in the basement when the census people came around.”

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Monday 4 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -1.3°C
Dewpoint: -16.0°C
Humidity: 32%
Wind: N 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

With me it is always the dishes!

April Snow Showers

Friday, April 1, 2016

At last, here we are in April. This year April is feeling a little shy, arriving with warm breezes and showers, only to take a brief retreat into sub-zero temperatures and snow for her first week debut.

This week has been the week of legal and financial arrangements in regards to the Rideau Camp, and tidying up the loose ends around the trailer purchase. Next week we take possession of the camp, it is very exciting.

Attila leaves almost all the administrative aspects of life to me, except for tax returns, a task I was responsible for my whole adult life until Attila took it over, to my great relief.

Wednesday was a cleaning day. The weather was mild and sunny, perfect for opening up Iris and getting started on a thorough wash down.

Below the front bunk there is storage, and in that storage area was a tarp, I believe it is the original tarp for the trailer, which would make it almost 40 years old. It was only when it was picked up to be carried outside that the overwhelming odour of mildew filled the trailer and our nostrils. The tarp was dry, but there were areas that were black with mildew, particularly around the grommets for the poles. Out it came and over the back clothes line it went. It received a heavy spraying of hydrogen peroxide to kill the mildew and spores. It will be left on the line for a week or so, to be rinsed by rain and snow, then bleached by the sun.

The awning for Iris. After several days in the rain, snow, and sunshine, it still smells like mildew. We will have to use bleach, I hate to, but I think we have to.
Awning

Because significant reaching and stretching were involved to reach the mildew under the front bunk, Attila did the grunt work with brush and cloth. When it was finished the hatches were left open to allow the area to dry, it looks great. After I mark where I want the to drill ventilation holes in the side of the bunk, Attila will drill them out, which should alleviate any further mildew issues in that area of the trailer.

I tackled the mildew on the ceiling around the vent opening. Weeks ago I had dismantled the interior section of the roof vent, exposing the wet and mildewed areas. The area had dried thoroughly, thanks to the tarp over the trailer which prevents further leaks. The inside area around the roof vent opening is now ready for the new roof vent to be installed.

The windows in the trailer were left open for the rest of the day, and by the time I went out after dark to close Iris up for the night, she there was only a hint of mildew odour. That should be taken care of during our next cleaning session, as there is one more area of mildew at the back of the trailer, where we had discovered the leak.

Another small “stitch in time” step taken. Electrical tape was used to cover a small opening in the fibreglass near the wheel well of the trailer. The little round hole was the size of a dime, which is supposedly big enough for a mouse to pass through. Wasps also might come in that way to make a nest. The way in is now blocked.

The new roof vent will be installed when there is a week of sunny warm weather. Then the tarp can be safely removed and a hole in the roof temporarily opened to the sky.

On Wednesday night we caught a second mouse in the basement. The second mouse is what I call a field mouse, while the first mouse we caught is what I call a house mouse. They are very different breeds. This says to me that we have an entry point in the house that really needs to be plugged up. But where! Attila’s theory is that they are coming through the attic and down the chimney frame, so that is where the first measures will be taken.

As I write there is a Grackle pecking away at the wood on the roof facia. I rise from my chair, unlock the front door and step out onto the landing. The Grackle flies off and out of site. As I watch her, I wonder how many generations of Grackles it will take before they forget about our roof as a nesting ground. Do Grackles have endless social memory? Will I be chasing Grackles away from my roof for the duration? I return to my chair and begin to type. The Grackle returns and up I get.

Earlier in the spring we killed quite a few wasps near that corner of the house. There are a lot of wasps here. We remove nests around the roof constantly. There are fewer now though, than when we first bought the place, so perhaps our efforts are diminishing the population. I surely hope so.

On the CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) front, I continue to watch my protein, potassium, and phosphorus consumption. The biggest intrusion in my diet so far is avoiding beans, potatoes, tomatoes, whole grains, and spinach. I am amazed at the number of condiments that contain phosphorus (phosphate). The salad dressing I have been enjoying on my salads uses it as a preservative, to my disappointment. I have several bottles of the salad dressing, bought on sale, which I will consume slowly, with small daily servings. Attila doesn’t like it, or he would eat it. Then I will move on to homemade salad dressing, which will contain none of the minerals I am trying to cut down on. Commercial products like salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and the list goes on, use phosphates in their recipes. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but we do enjoy our condiments. I will be looking for kidney friendly recipes for all of these things. Even if I eventually find that my condition is not serious enough to necessitate big changes in diet, I think I will continue to avoid phosphates in food, knowing how much stress they put on the kidneys.

I find it interesting that at this point I feel no symptoms related to Chronic Kidney Disease, which from what I have been reading, is perfectly normal. I have my fingers crossed that it never develops to the point where I do feel symptoms.

When I went for my walk this morning I realized that it isn’t just Grackles who are enjoying the spring weather. There were lots of Chickadees, Robins, and Blue Jays flying from tree to tree, calling out to each other. The buds are just beginning to quicken on the maple trees. It was a beautiful mild morning out there, and sunny.

A Robin enjoying the sunshine and balmy weather in the back yard.
Robin

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today Attila and I took a drive out to see the Rideau Camp. It was sunny off and on, after having snowed during the morning before we left. It was cold, with the wind it was very cold.

The trip was interesting as an alternate route was chosen. There was property for sale along the alternate route, near the Rideau Camp, and Attila wanted to have a look at it. The road in to the available property was pretty bad, the potholes were very large, but it wasn’t too far in. The land itself was half the price we paid for our camp, but 1/3 the size. It was wet, with standing pools of water along the road, and there was a ditch in front of the property that would necessitate putting in a culvert and a driveway. We had to put in a driveway like that at our Ancestral Camp, and it is a pricey project, increasing the actual price of the property by quite a bit. Attila was satisfied that we chose the right property when we bought our Rideau Camp!

We proceeded towards the Rideau Camp, parked, and took a stroll down to the water. The water level was quite high, and the wind felt bitter as it blew in across the lapping waves. After walking back to the car, we walked around checking out the drainage patterns on the property, which is easy to do at this time of year because there is a lot of runoff, and there are no leaves on the trees.

After eating our lunch in the car, where we were warm and cozy, we headed home so that Attila could sleep before he heads off to work tonight.

Sunday seems to be the day we venture out in the car to explore.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Friday 1 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 10.2°C
Dewpoint: 8.2°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: iWSW 15 km/h

-2°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 3 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -2.3°C
Dewpoint: -18.5°C
Humidity: 28%
Wind: W 20 gust 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -8

Quote

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

This is why the mass media is of no practical positive use to the human species.

Grackles and Mice

Thursday we had an ice storm. Luckily there was no loss of power where we live, so we were cozily tucked up at Mist Cottage for the duration. With one small exception. I wasn’t feeling at all well. What to do, no doctor here. So I took myself off to the Emergency Room at the hospital. The car was coated with about a half inch of ice, which Attila chipped away for me. It was a little slippery, so I crawled along the road, through the parking lot, to park as close as I could to the entrance. Most of the walkways were salted, but there were a few ice patches to contend with on the walk from the car to the Emergency Room, which I navigated without instance.

They checked out my heart, no problems there thank goodness. What I wasn’t expecting was the news that I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Who knew! I have had no specific symptoms, but in hindsight it makes sense. I am to follow up with my family doctor, which isn’t going to happen since his office is a five to six hour drive away. I have been researching the disease ever since, and now realize I needed more details to have any idea how to proceed with diet and lifestyle changes. I have come to the conclusion that I need a doctor to do more tests and clarify exactly what course of action needs to be taken with this. I hope we reach the top of the waiting list for a family doctor soon, I need a doctor.

There is a government provincial service that will place individuals with doctors, but the stipulation is that you must be completely without a doctor to qualify to put your name on that list, and there is no time line on placement. I do not qualify, as this agency specifically told me I cannot be on that list because I am still listed under the care of the doctor near the country house, so very far away. But I need that doctor to prescribe the medications I must take, and the Emergency Room at the hospital will not prescribe or renew medications of any kind. I must keep my distant doctor if I am to survive. But I am hobbled in finding a local doctor near Mist Cottage because I must keep my distant doctor to survive. Bureaucracy at its worst, in my opinion. It is insanity. I am hoping my GP near the country house will agree to consult with me from a distance, fingers crossed.

When I walked out to my car from the Emergency Room visit, the car was covered with a thick sheet of ice. Feeling in no condition to get out of the car and chip away at it, I sat with the heating fans blasting away at the windows until it melted, which took about fifteen minutes.

When I arrived home Attila was glad to see me. I was glad to be home.

Yesterday, Good Friday, began with freezing rain, which changed to rain for part of the day, then it began to snow. Again, we remained warm and dry and safe at home. The weather was doubly disappointing because Sister-the-youngest invited us to Easter Dinner with the family, and we missed it.

We are disappointed that we have a mouse in the house!

We heard a noise in the basement last week, something falling. We investigated and found nothing. Yesterday Attila discovered a bag of mung beans on the shelf in the basement that had escaped being stored in a glass jar. The bag had been chewed through, and there were mouse droppings all around. The presence of a mouse was confirmed.

We put out a glue trap, but no luck so far. We removed the bag of mung beans, and perused our food stores in the basement to ensure there were no other chewable containers available to the mouse/mice. Today we will be visiting the local hardware store to buy more glue traps. I want to put one in Iris as well, just in case some enterprising mouse has setup a household in there.

The Grackles continue to peck away at the wood covering the hole in the roof facia. So far Attila’s repair is holding fast against them. I don’t remember having to fight so hard to evict wildlife in a house before!

Attila has some ideas on sealing up some of the entry points that mice might be using. I think that will be one of our priority projects this summer.

As I sit here writing Attila sleeps soundly in the bedroom. The light of dawn is beginning to reveal the tree branches just outside the window, where birds are beginning to call. A thick frost coats every horizontal surface in sight. The enshrouded field and trees in the distance lie peacefully in icy silence. I love early morning.

Easter Monday

Yesterday, Sunday, was warm and sunny. Attila and I decided to go out to the Rideau Camp to have a look around. Technically we do not own it yet, but we will in a few days after the last of the legal work is done.

We had a nice walk around the bush, and even saw a magnificent Blue Heron in the nearby wetland. When I first saw the Heron I thought is was a piece of art plunked in the water, when it moved I was mesmerized. It slowly rose above the water on its great wings, and glided silently to the other side of the water, where is stood once again, silent and unmoving in the shallows.

We visit the Rideau Camp and plan and dream. It is very private, and when it is quiet it is very quiet. However, there are nearby cottages, and they are occupied by people with ATVs. The ATVs make a hell of racket. I hate them as much as I hate snowmobiles, because of the noise pollution. Thankfully the noisy machines were only used intermittently.

Our Rideau Camp is vacant land, almost. We have inherited a few items. One is a bag of garbage, mostly plastic items, that has been scattered all along the drainage area. I picked out four large empty vinegar bottles yesterday, flattened them, then bagged them for the recycling bin at Mist Cottage. There is more work to do on that score.

Another inheritance at the Rideau Camp, a high pile of old logs and brush. We will burn the brush and haven’t decided what to do with the old logs, which are partially rotted.
Pile of brush rideau
And another inheritance at the Rideau Camp. This is a septic tank. It is unused because it is cracked. We are thinking about what we can do with a cracked septic tank, it doesn’t seem that there are too many viable uses for it, but we will keep trying to think of something. Maybe a tree house for the grandkids, with a ladder. I don’t know!
Cracked septic tank

We returned home early in the afternoon so that Attila could get some sleep before heading out for the night shift.

This morning the weather is still mild, 10C, with rain and winds gusting to 80 kmh. My walk this morning was lovely, as I was warm in my parka, protected from wind and rain. The birds are in full spring celebration, and quite undaunted by the rain and wind.

We caught a mouse yesterday and reset the trap. Another mouse “bothered” the trap but did not get caught. We now know that there is more than one mouse in the house, so we need to keep baiting traps until we catch them all. Attila thinks they are coming down the outside of the chimney through the wall, which he is going to seal completely.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Saturday 26 March 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dewpoint: -5.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: calm

7°C
Date: 1:28 PM EDT Monday 28 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 7.2°C
Dewpoint: 4.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: SW 33 gust 45 km/h

Quote

“Humor is also a way of saying something serious.”
T. S. Eliot
1888 – 1965