Attic Hatch

Here it is, the last week in February. March, at Mist Cottage, has so far shown signs of spring. Sure, we get snow storms, ice storms, below normal temperatures in March, but not endlessly, there are breaks to remind us that it is only a matter of time before the weather turns milder, kinder.

Today I asked Attila to lift the attic hatch so that I could install weather stripping. What a messy job! Even though I vacuumed the ledge in question, copious amounts of insulation and gritty black crap fell all over my head and body, as I cleaned the surface that was to accept the weather stripping. It didn’t take very long though, to get the job done. The cleanup was the longest task. I ended up vacuuming my hair and body, and enlisted Attila in vacuuming off the back of me. Then there was the floor, this insulation stuff blows around everywhere, and fibres of it float in the air for days. The gritty black crap was the crumbled remains of the ancient weather stripping that had disintegrated in place. I’ll be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning for the next few weeks, but that should do it. I won’t be opening up the attic hatch again!

The last task involved with the attic insulation, is disconnecting the power to the on/off switch for the kitchen ceiling fan, as it has been sealed off. Attila must do that, and I am hoping he will get to it this weekend. He certainly has the time, but it remains to be seen if he has the motivation.

I have been interested in electromagnetic fields (EMF) in our house, but loath to spend money on a meter that would measure such levels. To my surprise, there is an app for Attila’s iPad, free of charge, that will measure EMF levels. I installed it and gave it a try. The readings were shockingly high, ranging from .77 microteslas (µT) to 1.25 microteslas (µT). This was disturbing, as the common literature indicates that homes are typically under .4 microteslas(µT). Ah, BUT the iPad itself would emit electromagnetic fields! So I took it out to the backyard, where there are no power lines, or any source of electricity at all, and voila, it read .77 to .79 microteslas(µT). That is the baseline reading, the internal reading of the iPad itself. So once I subtracted the baseline reading from the high readings in the house, away from appliances, of.97 microteslas(µT), they translated into .2 microteslas (µT)… ah, that is much better!

Attila decided to cook a turkey dinner today, with all the fixings. He loves his turkey dinner, and I love his turkey dinners too. That will relieve me from cooking for most of the week to come. The leftovers usually last a week.

This morning I baked a batch of squash muffins. I have also done a bit more work finishing up the web site I designed. The payment I will receive will really help towards the attic insulation! A very timely project.

The weather continues to be relatively mild. The air source heat pump is supplying all the heat in the house these days, so with any luck we won’t need a delivery of fuel oil before the spring weather officially arrives. Fingers crossed.

On Thursday morning I saw a very sad thing. On the street light pole, at the end of our street, where the trees have been ripped out of the ground and piled at the jagged edges of the muddy clearing created, clung a beautiful pileated woodpecker, the first I’ve seen in these parts. The bird gazed across the field of mud that had once been a wildlife habitat, it looked confused. It was there for the longest time, surveying the destruction of a previous haunt, and then it flew away to seek refuge elsewhere.

I didn’t manage to get to Tai Chi this past week, but I did attend the meditation class, and made progress with my ongoing adjustments to single life. Next week I will be back at my Tai Chi class, and continuing with the meditation as well.

My Mom is driving herself home from Florida tomorrow. She times her travels around the weather reports. The trip usually takes two days of all-day driving. What a gal! Mom lives with my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, who will be looking forward to her homecoming! Happy trails Mom!

And here I am at the end of an entry, and once again, no spelling mistakes! I am flummoxed! How did I get this good this fast! Maybe there are spelling elves.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 2:00 PM EST Saturday 24 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Satchel Paige
1906 – 1982

bwhahahaha

I value face-to-face contact above all other forms of human interaction. Having said that, in my present life, the richest and most valuable form of human contact is digital; it is on this blog, through VOIP, email, Facebook, and Messages. I feel deep attachment to, and respect for, the people in my digital life. Some people I have met, they include loved ones and old friends; while others I have not met, but have grown over the course of time to appreciate. It is true, it is possible some of the people that I have not met and have become attached to, exclusively in the digital world, may not be who they say they are… be that as it may, the persona that they bring to our interactions is one that I appreciate.

I think the turning point that I experienced over the last few days, has been the realization that parts of my life are very rich. It is an incomplete wealth, for face-to-face contact is something I consider necessary to maintain balance, something which I am losing with my marriage coming to an end, a loss that I grieve. But my digital life is a sustaining wealth, a valuable cornerstone.

My present bizarre state of co-habitation with Attila does offer some bemusing situations.

Attila wants me to cook during the week. Attila lives to eat and sleep and smoke cigarettes. To Attila, food matters a lot. He had harboured some bitter feelings towards me that he had been doing all the cooking. Fair enough, I have time, I have skills, I am willing to cook, so almost two weeks ago I was to take over the job of cooking during the week.

So far, of the seven nights I have been slated to cook, he has cooked two of the meals, at his own request, and has decided what he has wanted for dinner three other nights, then gathered together the ingredients before he left for work in the morning, left them on the kitchen counter, so that I could prepare the meal. So five times out of seven he has decided what we would eat. He thinks of this as helping me. I call this micromanagement. This is how he ended up doing all the cooking over the 25 years of our previous relationship. I did not care for being micromanaged, so I withdrew to let him take over and do his thing. It is happening again. I’ve pointed this out to him, but so far the micromanagement continues unabated. I have some ideas on how to meet the micromanagement head on. The first is that I will prepare menus for the coming week, rather than decide each day what I will prepare as I prefer to do. That way, when he asks me if I have decided what I will make for dinner, I can say yes… BUT, bwhahahaha, I can always ignore the menu and change my mind! There is a reason I call this quirky person Attila.

Yesterday the attic insulation was installed. The first appointment was scheduled for early in the morning. On Monday I received a message requesting a change in the time of the appointment to around lunch time. Lunch time came and went… no insulation people. So I called the company and left a message. I received a return call within 15 minutes, to assure me they were on their way. The slight inconvenience in their being late turned into a real bonus for Mist Cottage. They had a surplus of insulation on the truck, which is an issue with weight restrictions for the vehicle, so they wanted to install the surplus insulation in our attic, free of charge. It worked for them, it worked for us. We are now insulated with R60 in our attic, but we paid only for R40, and the attic meets EnergyStar standards.

They installed rafter vents, and a crib around the attic hatch, and checked for any issues in the attic, none were found. They also sealed off a redundant ceiling fan that was installed in the kitchen ceiling. That fan vented directly into the attic, and there was a lot of heat loss through it, no more.

The insulation job is certified, and the certificate was stapled to the attic hatch. Apparently there were areas in the attic that had less than one inch of insulation, which is not a good thing. Now the entire attic is covered evenly with insulation at an R60 value.

We chose cellulose insulation for the attic, which is basically paper treated with fire retardant. The biggest downside to this is that if it gets wet, it will be ruined, so a leak in the roof could be expensive, and a misery to clean up. It will be crucial to maintain the integrity of the roof, and to insist that any work done on the roof be done in fine weather.

The insulation installation left two jobs that need doing. One is to disconnect the power to the ceiling fan, this must be done by Attila, as he has the skills needed to do it. The other is to apply a weather strip to the perimeter of the attic hatch. I could do the attic hatch weather stripping, but would have serious difficulty getting the heavy hatch moved out of the way. I will try to get Attila to move the hatch, then do the weather stripping myself, and then have him replace the hatch.

The fellow who certified our insulation installation also mentioned to me that there were two areas of a home that need good insulation for energy efficiency. One was the attic, we can check that off the list. The second is the insulating the basement rim joists. This is a project I can tackle myself, and I will. This project has to wait though, until the new windows have been installed. Mist cottage will have all new basement windows, and all new windows on the main floor of the house, except for the dining area, where Attila installed new energy efficient windows last fall.

That is the first of three renovation projects almost done! Next the window installation, which represents three days of serious domestic disruption, but well worth it. Then the garage roof project will begin. Attila had slated a specific date for beginning the garage roof project, but has decided to be more flexible about the start date. He will begin the roof project as soon as the new windows have been installed. He is highly motivated to make the garage a reasonable place to spend his time, and as a secure, dry storage space.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 22 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.5°C
Dew point: -8.7°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968