The Visit

Luna, Janus, the Grandbabies Imp and Elf and Tink, and the dogs Bennie and Bim, have been here and gone. They stayed with us two nights; the second night was an extra bonus.

The night they arrived we had a campfire in the back yard, over which we cooked hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Imp and Elf enjoyed tending the fire with “poking sticks”. We stayed up late and had a very nice time.

The next day Attila was off to work at 5:00 a.m. I got up with Attila, and waited patiently for our visitors to awake, which was just after 8:30 a.m. We had breakfast, packed a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter into their van, and off we went on a day trip.

Our first stop of the day was to visit Attila at work. Attila enjoyed showing off the Grandbabies and showing them what he does all day. They got to meet the “boss”, who offered Imp a job, her first job offer! They also had a great time sitting on the tow motor, and watching a train go by. What northern town doesn’t have a train track running through it!

Attila and the Grandbabies at work.
Dscf2953 tow motor

After leaving Attila, our next stop was my Grandparents house. In the past it was the local Post Office, and General Store. All of that closed in the sixties, when the Post Office closed due to centralization. The “village” is now a “ghost town”, and the former store is frequently photographed, and displayed by artists, and also by trespassers, on the internet. Some people even boast about their illegal presence on the property.

My Grandmother passed away in 1976, and my Grandfather in 1984. Their house passed to my Mom and her sisters. Both of my Aunts have passed away, and now the property belongs to my Mom and my Uncle (my Mom’s brother-in-law). They do not see eye-to-eye about the property, both holding it dear. The upshot is that we Grandchildren visit the house, some stay for short periods of time, but no one maintains the buildings. My sister spends time with her husband cutting the “grass” around the buildings, and checking on it, for my mother. Other than that, the building sits empty, and it is broken into several times a year by partying young people, curious day-trippers, and antique hunters. Almost all of my Grandparents belongings have been stolen. The locks are crow-barred off within weeks of installation.

I tried to purchase the property from my Uncle and my Mom, with the intention of maintaining the buildings. It was my hearts desire. It is close enough to Attila’s work place that he could have commuted from the location. But neither were seriously interested in selling. No means no, so Attila and I have moved on. When I join my Grandparents in the great beyond, I can tell them I tried.

When I was very, very young, I was convinced that my Grandparent’s house was heaven, literally. All the descriptions of heaven that were provided at Sunday school fit, that is how I knew! I can still feel the love there, as can all the Grandchildren. When I step onto that property I am immersed in love and acceptance. There is no other place on planet earth where I feel this way; it is a unique place in my life. And although my Grandparents have been gone a very long time, I can still feel their presence, and their love, in that place.

I wanted the Grandbabies to see the house, to be present where that loving energy exists, before it begins to collapse. I wanted them to see it before they leave Canada for England. It is where their Great Great Grandparents lived and died, it is where their Great Grandmother grew up, it is where their Grandmother was happiest in this world, and it is where their Mother got to meet her Great Grandparents, and spend time with her Great Grandfather, making maple syrup the old way, playing at his knee. It is a place where five generations of memories meet, all of them happy.

Granny’s House. Home, Post Office, General Store… heaven! Generations Three, Four and Five visit; I am Generation Three, taking the picture.
DSCF3079 grannys house

We walked around the building, taking pictures, sharing memories. Then in we went. The interior is now almost empty. In the last few months someone broke in and stole my Grandmother’s refrigerator, which still worked after more than sixty years, and her freezer. The dining room set was stolen long ago, as was the pedal sewing machine, which my Grandmother used to make quilts, among them a Centennial Quilt for the Canada’s 100th Birthday. The piano is still there. The Grandbabies enjoyed playing at the piano, and Luna gave it a whirl as well. The familiar echo filled the house with memories. I remember that my sister loved to play that piano when she was little, she always wanted to take lessons; she never did.

I think the visit was memorable for the Grandbabies, Luna, and Janus. It was for me. I think my Grandmother would have been pleased. She would also have liked that the oldest Grandbaby Imp, has her middle name, after her, and a relative on Janus side of the family.

Next we headed to Harriet’s cottage on the lake. The Grandbabies played in the shallow water, on the dock, and in the paddle boat. This beach too has seen generations of my family. We have a picture of my Grandfather and Aunt standing on this beach in the 1940s. Harriet’s property was not previously owned by the family though. My Great Grandfather, my Grandfather and Great Uncles, owned farm fields that were on lakefront, on another nearby lake. That other lake is where we played as children. The beach I played on as a child has been sold out of the family.

Luna, Janus, Imp and Tink on the dock, and Elf in the paddle boat; at Harriet’s cottage.
DSCF3105 Luna and family

We had our peanut butter sandwich picnic on Harriet’s beach, and had a lovely time. Janus took all three Grandbabies in the paddle boat, on an excursion to the island near the cottage. They got to climb onto the island and explore, which looked like a lot of fun.

The voyage to the island!
Dscf3141 to the island
How Tink sees me. Tink demands the camera, and takes my picture; she is three years old.
DSCF320 grandma

Then we all climbed into the van and headed for home.

On the second night we had another campfire, but did not stay up quite so late. Janus bought some “jiffy pop” popcorn to cook over the open fire. We commented on the false use of the adjective “jiffy”, because it took a very long time for that popcorn to pop. Janus cooked it to perfection though, and we all enjoyed it.

The next morning Attila left for work at 5:00 a.m. Tink had awakened while he was getting ready for work, so Luna woke up and comforted her back to sleep. When I arose Luna was sitting in the living room reading a book. We had a leisurely breakfast, and then the packing began. Soon they were backing out of the driveway and waving goodbye.

What trip is accomplished without leaving something behind! This trip Elf’s pillow was forgotten, as were Imp and Tink’s sweatshirt jackets.

It was a wonderful visit.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 14.3°C
Dewpoint: 8.8°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNW 18 gust 30 km/h

Quote

“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined… to strengthen each other… to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”
George Eliot
1819 – 1880

Maggie the Unnailer

Today I feel like Rosie the Riveter, in my oversized and wonderfully loose bib overalls and steel-toed shoes, hammer in hand, standing on the ladder pulling nails out of wall studs. Pulling out nails while standing on a ladder is tricky business. Erring on the side of caution, I hold on to the studs for dear life, as I muscle those nails out of the wood. I have discovered that I very much like demolition, particularly when I can take my time.

Maggie the Unnailer, enjoying the golden years. Removing nails left behind by the fake wood panelling; doing the prep work to install drywall.
Maggie at work

August has begun as it will continue. Yesterday Attila visited the Dermatologist and will spend the next three weeks following a routine set out by the doctor. Next week I briefly visit the hospital for my every-five-year, routine colonoscopy. The month of August ends with five days of work. The money is needed, but I’d rather not go there, really I would rather not. It makes me more than a little unhappy. I will go though.

One bright spot in August is a promised overnight visit from Luna, Janus and the three Grandbabies.

Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies haven’t been here in years, so this is a very rare and special occasion. We are planning to have the Grandbabies help us bring firewood out of the bush; nothing strenuous or dangerous, and just enough effort to be fun. It will be an experience for them, because they will be helping with the full-blown, heating-exclusively-with-wood job; this isn’t just cottage or summer camp fun. If it is not raining we might have a campfire, complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and s’mores.

Janus has a new job which will find them all living seasonally in Europe, for several months each year. We will see them a lot less than we see them now, which is about twice a year. The Grandbabies are growing up so fast! I think I’ve made my peace with not seeing them often enough to know them as people; we usually only see them at family gatherings, large, happy, hectic times. It hurts to think about it, so I don’t; it is what it is.

The weather today is perfect, from where I am standing. Sunny, a few clouds in the sky, mild, breezy and quiet but for the sounds of things that grow.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20°C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.6°C
Dewpoint: 13.4°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: W 11 km/h

Quote

“Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.”
Henry Adams

Canada Day Long Weekend

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday morning, after a breakfast of Giant Oven Pancake and fresh strawberries, I sat with my coffee contemplating the bathtub drain. It was disgusting when we bought the property, and it has not changed, still disgusting.

So I did a bit of reading on the internet, went into the bathroom and completely removed the pop up drain mechanism. Eew, gross! Then I got the tweezers and began to remove the disgusting hair clumps. Got all of that out, but the drain was still not draining properly. I poured in a bit of liquid plumber and waited. Still no luck. Then I researched unplugging bathtub drains, which alerted me to the possibility of using a plunger. Bingo! It worked, the drain now runs clear! All I have to now is purchase an inexpensive rubber stopper, and then we are in business for a bath!

But the shower is dripping when I turn on the tap. So I’ll have to fix that before trying to wash my hair or bath in the tub. Or I’ll have to create a plastic bag wall over the bare studs to protect the remaining drywall from moisture. A large shopping bag, cut down the sides and opened up, served the purpose. With the tub clean, the drain cleared, and drywall protected, I am able to bath in the tub!

The plastic bag wall protecting the drywall behind the bathtub plumbing. A temporary and satisfactory solution!
Bathtub shower wall

Thus ended my demolition pursuits for the weekend. Last weekend was a long weekend, Canada Day. Attila had Sunday off, which he always does thank goodness, and he did not have to work on Monday, a statutory holiday in Canada. That meant he had two consecutive days off work!

Attila’s Mom arrived safely at the country house on Friday night. She had a very long drive, it is over six hours in optimal conditions, and conditions were not optimal. She stayed the night and relaxed at our country house while Attila went to work on Saturday. When he arrived home they got themselves ready and headed for the little house in the city, in Mom’s car, Attila driving. They arrived safe and sound after dark.

I had been out visiting at Terra’s house, not knowing when to expect Attila and his Mom. They were home when I arrived, to my great relief.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday we spent puttering about, and I got to spend a lot of time chatting with Attila’s Mom. It was wonderful, I got to hear all about her experiences caring for Attila’s StepDad, as his dementia progressed. She has been through a harrowing time, but she is tough, and cared for him at home until he was rushed to hospital for the last time. She also caught me up on all of Attila’s family news, two weddings and some of the projects currently occupying Attila’s two brothers.

After lunch we all piled into the car and headed out to Terra and Lare’s place for a visit. It was fun. Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies were there, and my how they have grown! They played happily outdoors all the rest of the day. It was a beautiful day, sunny, warm and breezy. Such a wonderful time. Terra and Lares had the house and garden looking great, they put so much work into making it look nice!

At one point Attila, his Mom, and I sat on the front porch overlooking the lake, watching the water shimmer and a fishing boat slowly make its way up the shoreline. Later, as darkness lowered, we looked into the sky and enjoyed a beautiful display of fireworks, on three sides! We watched the beautiful bursts of light across the water, across the fields of grain and behind the barn at Terra’s. After that there was a campfire at the well-built fire pit that Lares had constructed for the occasion. We drove home that night tired and happy.

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Monday Attila, his Mom and I had a leisurely breakfast, and another long and happy chat. Then Attila and I reviewed the wiring in the bathroom, and sorted out the tools I would need to continue the bathroom project. All too soon it was time for Attila and his Mom to return to the country house! After they departed I missed them terribly, so there was nothing for it but to start working on the bathroom again, to distract myself.

After removing all the contents of the medicine cabinet and below the sink, I turned off the water, and was all set to remove the sink and taps. Or so I thought. After trying every tool in the box, I concluded that a pipe wrench was a necessity for the job. It was getting late so I decided to get ready for bed, testing a new bed for a second night.

On Saturday, when I was on my way back from the grocery store, I drove past a sign that said Estate Sale. I decided to see what was being sold, so I pulled over. It was the end of the event, and I didn’t see anything I really wanted, most of what was left were expensive antiques. But, as I was wandering around the house, one of the daughters of the former owner asked me if I wanted a single bed, for free. Intrigued I went into the spare bedroom to have a look. It was a new bed, and had not been slept in, according to the family it was meant as a guest bed. It was immaculate, so I decided to take it. Since it would not fit into my car, the gentleman helping with the sale agreed to transport it to my house for a fee of $15.00, which I thought a little steep considering we were travelling less than two kilometers. But since the bed was free, this would be the only cost involved, so I readily agreed.

As soon as the gentleman drove off in his pickup truck, I removed all the bedding from the bed, as it was fully decked out with new mattress cover, a full set of sheets and a comforter. I bundled all the linens, and my own dirty laundry into the car and spent an hour washing the lot at the laundromat. I brought it all home wet and hung it up to dry on the rope strung across the back porch.

On Sunday morning Attila and I brought the bed into the bedroom and got it setup, then I made it up with the clean linens washed the day before. I’ve slept on that bed for the last few nights and it is very comfortable. Free is good, very good.

Beds are tough to give away, impossible to sell. Bedbugs are in increasing problem. I took a chance on this bed, but the risk was low. I saw the bed in situ, and could judge for myself what the chances were, that it might be infected with bedbugs. There wasn’t a stain or a mark on the mattress or the box spring, it was like new.

Before retiring I sent a message off to Terra, asking to borrow a pipe wrench and a drill for driving screws into the two additional studs I need to install. She said she would visit on the morrow, and bring the tools with her.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This morning I called Attila and his Mom at 5:30 a.m. I wanted to catch them before they left the house, Attila to work, his Mom on her long drive home. We had a cheery hello and goodbye.

After a leisurely cup of coffee, and breakfast, I started on my list of tasks. First on my list was adjusting the new gate. The arm that catches on the latch was shifting, making it impossible to latch the gate shut. Attila showed me on Sunday what needed adjusting, so I took my wrench, loosened the metal clasp holding the arm, adjusted it and tightened it up. That should do it. Time will tell though, it may loosen again, but now I know what to do about it, if it does.

I am waiting on tools, and possibly assistance, to get the bathroom sink, taps and vanity out of the bathroom. What I could accomplish with the tools on hand was the removal of the light fixture. Again, Attila had gone over the process with me, and we had reviewed the electrical panel so that I would be sure about which breaker to turn off before beginning the project.

The light fixture is out! The medicine cabinet is out!
Bathroom medicine cabinet light removal

I had one little surprise. After turning off the power to the bathroom I found, with the line tester, that there is one electrical line that is still live. I labelled it with masking tape, to make sure anyone helping me knows that is a live electrical wire.

Removing a light fixture is a very easy job! I was pleased to get that done. I used Marettes to cap off the electrical wires that were sticking out of the wall when I was finished. I don’t intend on turning the breaker back on though, not during this visit.

The medicine cabinet took a little bit of muscle to remove from the wall, but I got it out without incident or injury.

When I get the sink, taps and vanity out, I will be able to remove the last little bit of tile board, and drywall.

Next on my list is removing the goop that was used as a sealant around the tub. A yucky job but it will be oh so satisfying when it is done.

The goal this trip is to have everything stripped out of the bathroom so that Attila can do any rewiring that needs doing, and install a bathroom fan. After that we start putting in insulation, vapour barrier, duroc and drywall. It will be some time before this bathroom project comes together, but I feel great about giving it a kick start by gutting the bathroom.

Terra dropped by with the Vaders, a family friend, and Isaac, her brother-in-law. She brought tools!

The three of them helped me remove the last of the tile board. First Terra disconnected the hot and cold water lines from the taps, then disconnected the drain, and then lifted the sink, taps and all, off the vanity and placed them out on the back porch for later disposal. Isaac stepped in to remove the vanity, which was attached to the wall, which he carried out to the back porch. Vaders helped remove the tile board, which was really tricky around the electrical boxes, the water supply lines and the drain. Then they were off and running to get a tire fixed. On her way here, Terra had a flat tire! It was replaced on the spot with the spare, she needed take the flat tire in for repair. I was glad of the company, and of the help!

I was ready to tackle the last of the drywall. It too was a bit tricky to remove around the electrical boxes and the plumbing. The nice thing about drywall, is that you can bash it with a hammer and it breaks apart. That is the technique I used to clear the drywall away from the electrical boxes and the plumbing.

Then the clean up! And voila!

Every last bit of tile board and drywall have been removed! Bit of wonky wiring, the light fixture was affixed to the drywall, now it is hanging by a wire. The power is off and will stay that way until further notice.
DSCF2419 bathroom gutted vanity out

I have decided to leave the floor in for now, it is easy to clean, and there will be more clean up needed before this project is done. It is late afternoon now, almost 5:00 p.m., so I think I will slow right down and only work on removing the adhesives that were used to seal the tile board around the tub. That is a terrible mess!

I ran into this on Facebook.

Fun to watch! When Terra was in Grade 7 or 8, her best friend was visiting and they were making weird noises in the basement, and laughing hysterically. I came down the stairs to two girls bouncing off one another, each wearing couch cushions tied all around their bodies. They were having a “ball”, and it was very entertaining from my perspective!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Condition: Haze
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNE 19 km/h

Quote

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegaard
1813 – 1855