The End of the Rainbow

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I arrived home shortly before 11:00 a.m., having begun my journey at 6:30 a.m.. The drive was tiring. I think that I might need a second cup of coffee, after the first two hours of driving. Next time.

I began loading the car at 5:30 a.m. this morning. When coming out of the door, with the first load, I looked up and was caught by a sky full of bright stars. How crisp and clean and chilled the world seemed.

I headed out just after loading the frozen turkeys into my homemade cardboard cooler. As I pulled away the clock read 6:30 a.m., It was still dark.

The headlights of the oncoming traffic weren’t really an issue until the light in the sky quickened. I found that keeping track of oncoming traffic, in the half-light and the headlights, caused eye strain. I was very glad when the light of dawn arrived. The fog drifted above the fields in the distance, beautiful, making it difficult not to look, which is ill advised while driving. Further down the road, before sunrise, the fog was so thick that the truck in front of me faded from sight. For a distance of about 20 km. it was necessary to proceed slowly, and watch carefully for signs of tail-lights in front of me, and head-lights behind me. As soon as the sun came out, the fog began to vanish.

Then the most extraordinary thing occurred. This has never happened to me before, and I wasn’t aware that it could happen. In front of me, across the width of the road, and extending into the forest on either side, was the end of a rainbow. Colours, light, wow. I drove through it in absolute awe.

Morning light is so full of joy, and driving across the countryside for that first hour or so of daylight was a delight.

Upon arrival, a call was made to let Attila know the journey had concluded safely.

Then the unpacking began. The turkeys were still frozen solid, with just a touch of frost on the exterior packaging. The cardboard was dry.

While I was away, Attila installed drywall on the eleven foot high walls in the upstairs hallway; mudded, sanded, and painted it with primer. It looks amazing! I have to admit I had my doubts. He used small, cast-off pieces of drywall, very cost effective, so it was a real patchwork. You would never know it from the finished job!

Also, he completed bringing in the firewood from the back of the property. It is all split and neatly stacked under a tarp, ready for next winter. This winter’s wood is in the woodshed.

Now Attila will turn his attention to finalizing the plans for the front porch at the little house in the city. He anticipates that it will only take a few days to complete. As usual, I have my doubts. I am a real “doubting Thomas” when it comes to renovation timelines!

The cardboard that was transported home was taking up a great deal of space in the garage. With it out of the way, Attila will have easier access to the wood for the front porch project.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Since arriving home, I have been busy catching up, with paying bills and cooking and all sorts of things. The weather has been flawless, sunny, warm during the day, full of colour as the leaves have all turned.

The computer Attila has been using is a ten year old iBook. While I was away it began to misbehave, not starting up properly. Attila was forced to use the iMac for the duration of my absence.

I began my rescue operation by inserting a repair CD in the drive and starting up the iBook, holding down the C key. That should have worked, it should have booted from the CD. It did not.

Next, I attempted to mount the iBook drive on the iMac, using a Firewire connection and target mode. The iMac mounted the CD in the iBook drive, but it did not detect the hard drive on the iBook. The Disk Utility software on the iMac found the iBook hard drive, but could not access it for verification or repair.

Conclusion, the iBook has died of natural causes, after ten years of almost daily use.

I now have to find a way to wipe the hard drive, which is proving to be quite difficult. I have one more trick up my sleeve, and if that fails I am not sure how I will wipe the hard drive. I may have to remove it and destroy it. However, before going to that extreme, I will try to mount the hard drive in target mode on my old G4 computer. Neither the iBook or the G4 are Intel, but the iMac is Intel. That may be why the iMac cannot find the iBook. If I can mount the iBook hard drive on the G4, then I will wipe it clean and send the iBook to a recycling facility.

The G4 is buried in storage, so this project has to wait until I have time to dig it out and experiment. There is no hurry, other than the clutter of one old laptop and cable.

In the meantime, Attila must use the iMac as his computer. It is only four years old, and still runs the latest software without issue, so it is a real step up for Attila. It would be great if he had his own laptop, but that is not in our budget at the moment, and the need is not crucial. I am keeping my eyes open on the Apple site for refurbished laptops at a great price. A 15% savings is not great, relative to the average Canadian’s income.

I have no work scheduled, and anticipate few hours offered over the winter. The last offering was eight hours, 80 km from home, my route a one hour and fourteen minute drive, one way, according to Google maps, with no compensation for travel, or travel time. Not exactly a job that will pay bills, beyond those incurred owning a car, insurance, and fuel. Then, of course, the employer thinks nothing of suddenly reducing the hours to four, long after the shift is scheduled and accepted, which doesn’t really cover the expense of getting there and back. In reality, travelling that distance for four hours of work is subsiding the big corporation that employs me. Robbing from the poor to pay the rich. Same old, same old; progress, ha!

This week Attila received notice that working hours will be reduced, where he is employed, for everyone there. This is a two edged sword for us. Reduced income is always a challenge, but the silver lining is that I will see more of Attila. This will, of course, seriously restrict the funds for renovation in future, and it will become more challenging to support two properties. Thank goodness the kitchen and bathroom renovations are behind us, at the little house in the city! Also the removal of the old porch and waterproofing of the basement, which transformed the little house into a truly livable space. If we have to sell one of our properties, both are now viable options.

If the interest rates increase significantly, we will find ourselves needing to sell one house, or the other. In this we feel lucky, because there will be many who will be facing the loss of their one and only home.

Attila is working today, which is, according to the weather reports, our last summer-like day of the year. Me? I am sitting here, typing and gazing out the window at bright yellow leaves, drifting, earthbound, towards rebirth.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Saturday 12 October 2013
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 11.2°C
Dewpoint: 7.0°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: SE 9 km/h

Quote

“If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority.”
Yugoslav Proverb

Economic Patriotism

I read this article about economic patriotism with interest and look forward to seeing the documentary when it is broadcast, if I can find it. I had not heard the term before, and like it a lot. I have tried to shop locally all my life, and it has become a bigger and bigger job as the years have passed.

One of the points the article makes is that people have lost touch with the seasonal nature of food production. I’ve always respected local and seasonal availability of food, which reflects my farming background. Another point being made in the article is that many consumer goods are being made in China, well, what other choices do any of us regular people have? Canada’s last company that made refrigerators closed down some years ago, Woods, and now China made appliances are the only option. The initial cost of these appliances is relatively inexpensive, in the short term. But they are poorly made and need to be replaced relatively often, which makes them extremely expensive in terms of purchase price, and environmental impact.

Regardless of how little influence the individual has, it seems to me it is worth making an effort. You just never know when the wings of butterfly will change the course of history.

I had a lovely chat with my Sister, who just returned from Europe, and is celebrating a birthday around this time of year. She and my Mom had a great time! She told me how much it cost, and it seemed quite reasonable to me. Money well spent, in my opinion. My Mom and my Sister are very compatible people, which makes travelling together a pleasure for both of them. They both arrived home tired and happy. My sister said her most cherished experience was eating lunch outdoors, in the parks of Paris. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it!

Tomorrow is the last day of September! The leaves are really turning colour, and are drifting down to mother earth in ever greater numbers. Attila and I had a quiet day, doing errands and getting ready to work on drywall at the country house.

I am contemplating a lone trip to the little house in the city, for a week or two, to get things organized. Attila has decided that he would like to attempt to build the front deck before the snow flies. His only available time for the project are the two weekends we have left for this year, and overnight visits.

The front porch is important, because at the little house in the city, that is the only direct entry into the house. It would be very nice to be able to walk in the front door!

The to-do list for this visit to the little house in the city gets longer and longer. I will be a busy woman on this visit.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 7:09 PM EDT Sunday 29 September 2013
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.0°C
Dewpoint: 14.2°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: SSE 17 km/h

Quote

“Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
1908-2006

In Mr. Galbraith’s book, The Scotch, he describes growing up on a farm that raised Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, in Ontario, Canada. He describes being out for a walk, as a young man, with a young woman, both stopping at a fence by a field, watching the cattle. They observe a bull servicing a cow, and the following conversation ensues:
“He: “I think I would like to try something like that.”
She: “Well, it IS your cow.”
The Scotch, John Kenneth Galbraith
1908 – 2006

I have never liked the subject of “economics”, but I have always liked John Kenneth Galbraith, because he made me laugh.