We are in hot water!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Funny when I think about it, when I was a kid, receiving at Christmas was all I thought about. It was magical, the thought that an entity existing in the “outside” world would be kind or generous in any way, Santa Clause was a myth with a heart. It wasn’t that we received much, a box of crayons, a colouring book, an orange, a banana and a handful of chocolate creams in our stockings, and one modest gift under the tree. It just meant the world to us, the joy of being accepted by the spirit of goodwill, that was Santa Clause. In reality, that was my Mom, and my Mom alone, who gave us that.

I don’t recall when it all shifted for me. I think it was when I first left home, and came back for Christmas. I spent my few dollars on…. fresh milk for my brothers and sisters, quarts and quarts of fresh milk. We didn’t drink pure fresh milk when I was a child, after the milk cow was slaughtered, always instant mixed with fresh. It was awful, instant milk. So I brought fresh milk for my siblings, for Christmas, so that they could drink as much as they wanted, for a short time.

Just to note for posterity: As a child I believed that Santa Clause had a heart, but I didn’t believe that Jesus did. My concept of Jesus was down to the humans at the local Churches, who left us with bad feelings, always bad feelings, they exuded condescension, contempt, intolerance, judgement, we could feel their poor opinion of us through all those superior smiles. We accepted Santa Clause into our hearts because Santa Clause accepted us. Jesus was keeping bad company, in our view, and it was best to leave him to sort that out for himself. It was generally believed that he was capable of accomplishing this.

Back at the country house, another grey day has dawned. Another day where the trees provide all the sunny yellow a person could possibly need.

On Tuesday night Attila brought home a new not water heater, one that he managed to procure at an excellent price. The down side to it is that we are not sure that it is functional, but will not lose our investment if it is not. If it does not work, another new water heater will be ordered locally, and will arrive next week. We have our fingers crossed that this new hot water heater will work!

Last night, after a quick supper, Attila began work on the new installation. The old hot water heater had to come out, to make room for the new. As Attila was maneuvering the old hot water heater out the door, he called to me for assistance. Mist figured it was a perfect opportunity to take a little trip into the great outdoors. I grabbed her just as she was about the make her great escape. She and I retreated to the back kitchen for some petting and conversation, until Attila had moved the old water heater out and the new water heater in.

It was a long job, and in the end, long after I had retired for the night, Attila had to leave it unfinished. One little part was missing on the new hot water heater, a plug. Attila was not able to find the part needed near here, so we will have to wait till next week to get the part and finish the project. That hot water is so close I can feel it!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Last night after Attila arrived home from work, we had a quick supper, bit the bullet, and made the trip to town for parts for the hot water heater. We arrived back late in the evening, and Attila went right to work on it. An hour or so later he announced, “it is done, it works”! After waiting half an hour for the water to heat up, I had my first shower since Monday morning. Bliss!

We did dishes, we did laundry, Attila had a long hot bath… what luxury.

It was a late night, for all of that.

Today was the final day of curing for the masonry heater. Tomorrow it will be throwing some serious heat, and just in time! Overnight temperatures will begin to fall below freezing, starting tonight.

Attila and I are researching a replacement for our little car. It is a 1998 vintage model, which makes it 16 years old. Attila manages to keep it on the road, but this is becoming more and more difficult as time goes by. We have experienced several episodes of late, where it was off the road for repairs for an extended period of time. It is becoming less reliable.

There is another issue with it though, and that is that it can no longer travel long distances reliably. That means it cannot travel to the little house in the city, or to visit relatives. That means that when I am staying at the little house, and Attila needs to be there too, I must make the four to five hour drive back to the country to bring Attila back down to the little house, and then return him to the country house, before heading back to the little house myself. So bringing Attila to the little house involves 16 to 20 hours of driving. We do this.

However, if our 1998 vintage vehicle were replaced with a vehicle that could make the journey to the little house, then Attila could travel a one-way trip, to get there, and a second one-way trip, back to the country, which would entail 8 to 10 hours of driving. Half the time, half the cost of fuel.

We are also thinking that it would be a bad idea to wait until we are in desperate need, to replace the 1998 vintage vehicle. It would be much wiser to begin the search now, when we have time to be fussy, and to make careful, informed decisions.

Our present lifestyle was never the plan! We bought the little house to move there. We have both looked for work near the little house for over four years, without success. We have had our country house up for sale twice, with no success. Life is weird. When we bought the little house, to live there, Attila was working under the supervision of a drug addict, the company I was working for was folding, and we had nothing to lose by picking up and leaving. A few days after we took possession of the little house, the drug addict quit, Attila was promoted, and now values, even enjoys, his job. He and we suddenly had a lot to lose. So we carry on, renovating and maintaining both homes, wondering what twists and turns lie ahead.

We still make plans, and that is a faith based thing.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 11:33 AM EDT Thursday 16 October 2014
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: W 9 km/h

7°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Saturday 18 October 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.8°C
Dewpoint: 6.2°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: NW 22 km/h

Quote

“Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.”
Sir Julian Huxley
1887 – 1975

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12 Responses to We are in hot water!

  1. Bex says:

    I don’t know how you do all that traveling. Isn’t fuel costly up there as it is here? Wow, 16 hours on the road. I can’t even fathom that. If you had to pick ONE house to keep, which would it be? I would say the country house because it’s nearer your plot of land… but then the kids live near the city house… what a conundrum. I would think only having one house would save you huge sums of money, too.

    Glad you are in hot water again! Nothing like a hot shower after all that time (or a bath, whichever you prefer!). xxxx

  2. I can so relate to your memories of Santa Claus, Jesus and Christmas. Not so much when it comes to having things, as an only child living with my mother, and her mother and father, I had more than enough and never wanted for anything (though I still had things like some handmade clothing). But yes, Christmas was a time of receiving wonderful things from magical, loving Santa Claus – and church, well church was a place where surly pastors yelled at you because you were sure you hadn’t sinned that week and told you to come back when you had sins to talk about. I remember going outside and throwing up on the grass after that encounter. I truly didn’t have any sins to tell the man.

    But Christmas itself, it was warmth, family, baking wonderful foods, listening to the Christmas carols, being lost in the Christmas lights, and love.

    Glad to hear you were able to get your hot water heater up and running. Since our water heater died about a year ago, I have recent experience as to what it’s like to be without.

    Perfect timing, with getting the masonry heater up and running. Yes, it’s supposed to be below freezing at night for us, too. But we have had the heat on for a few weeks, now. It’s just turned low enough that it only comes on a few times per day.

    When we traded in my 1997 car it was 10 years old and was becoming unreliable, so I can understand your concern. But 16 to 20 hours of driving?! The only time I’ve done that is to visit my grandmother every year for Thanksgiving, back in the 1990’s. I think maybe I’m too cheap to accept doing that on a continuous basis. I even balk at DH driving the hour to SS28’s place in the country to pick them up, bring them here, bring them home, and return home, all in one day. Four hours worth of driving just isn’t worth it and has been extremely wearing on DH, not to mention the cost of gas at the recent high prices and with as little discretionary funds as we’ve had.

  3. Maggie says:

    Yes Bex, fuel is as costly here as it is where you live. Fuel costs us more than food, almost as much as the monthly mortgage. We are very keen that the universe assists us in working this out!

    We have chosen to sell the country house. We have family near the camp, and the little house in the city, both are attractive to us. We hope to retire someday, summer at the camp, and winter at the little house in the city.

    The fates do not allow. No luck at all selling the country house, which would move us closer to our goal.

  4. Maggie says:

    Teri, living in the country is cheaper in some ways, but travel becomes the major expense for low income rural residents – travel expenses are not discretionary, nothing is close by. We drive an hour to get groceries, we drive two hours to visit the doctor or pick up a prescription, or to get a blood test, we drive six hours to visit my mother, we drive six hours to visit Luna, we drive 8 to 10 hours to visit Terra and our little house in the city. For work I am regularly asked to drive two hours to fulfill a three hour shift, and the employer thinks they are doing me a really big favour by offering work, they pay no mileage, I supply the car; local people are lined up around here for jobs like mine, for any job for that matter. Although the driving to and from the little house is high mileage and the fuel bills are high, the mileage and bills for my horrid little job are higher. Rural life involves spending huge amounts of time in a vehicle, unless you live near family, and own a self-sufficient farm, there are other exceptions, but they represent a minority, not the norm.

    We are certainly not happy with the way things have evolved, and have gone out of our way to change them, but to no avail. The country house does not sell, no work is found near the little house in the city. For the moment we are stuck making the best of what we have. To do this we give up a lot of other things, and economize in ways that other people find unacceptable, even ridiculous.

    Everything changes eventually, we are hoping for a gentle and positive shift in our fortunes. Until then we are treading water and watching the shoreline.

  5. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    That’s an excellent point, Maggie. Living in the country, expenses are somewhat reversed. You have lower housing costs but higher groceries, driving, and probably gasoline costs.

  6. Irene Bean says:

    If it wasn’t for the Vanderbilt trips to Nashville, my fuel budget would be zilch. I used to put fuel in my car maybe once each month. If that!

    My parents weren’t much interested in faith of any kind while I was growing up so Santa was our focus at Christmas. A bunny at Easter. My childhood was fairly empty of any substance or direction. I know it always sounds like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not – my sister and I reared ourselves. Period. In today’s world, Child Protective Services would yank us out. As sad as my childhood was, I’m glad we weren’t yanked.

    It was during my childhood that I marched my tiny self to St. Philip Neri and asked the priest for catechism lessons. There was a hole in my life. Something was missing. I went searching. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones – I’ve never heard a hellfire and brimstone sermon. My God has always loved me.

  7. Reenie, most of the time we’re like that with only putting fuel in DH’s car once a month. Though before we moved here we had to fuel up both cars every week as we lived about an hour out of the city. So glad we moved! Especially since our timing couldn’t have been better, with the move happening just as the price of gas was going up.

    I’ve personally never been through a hellfire and brimstone sermon. I just happened to hit a very self-righteous Catholic priest that felt all children were sinners on a weekly basis, and he made that known to me in extremely angry tones. Since my home life was usually very gentle and the people around me kind and upright being spoken to in that manner was mortifying for me, and my body reacted.

  8. Irene Bean says:

    TT: Point in case that everyone’s journey and choices are unique to their own life experiences, and though I’m not immune to judging, I try my very best not to. Mind, you, my tiara slips all the time! As people age I think they either become more narrow in thinking or more open and accepting. I choose to accept. Well, most the time. *laughing* You were fortunate to have such a lovely childhood. What a blessing! My difficult childhood anointed me in a different way. By golly! I think we both turned out splendidly!

  9. Well, my home life slipped when I turned 11 and my mother died, Reenie. She died of leukemia, as I said before. She went into the hospital and the doctors gave her only 6 weeks to live, and that’s exactly how long she lived. A few months later, I was forced to give away my dog, walking away from him as he tried to get to me from behind a desk at the pound. And then we moved to New England, a place where children were not at all accepting of a child who didn’t have the same accent as they did.

    We all have good and bad in life. I guess when I was quite young it just all seemed to slide to either one side or the other, with not much neutral ground.

  10. Sleeps_With_Rocks says:

    Maggie,

    Your driving all those hours to different locations is mind boggling. I could not do it. We (hubby and I) traveled across country (twice) last year at a snail’s pace. It was exhausting.

    I was born into the Methodist religion. It’s sort of like a non-religion compared to others. As a young child I remember a large painting in the classroom (church) of Jesus and he was surrounded by animals. I adopted him.

    Christmas at our house was a war zone. Mucho stress and I was glad when it was over. The best part for me was opening my stocking gifts while my parents were still asleep.

    I think it was very thoughtful of you to gift your siblings with fresh milk for the holiday.

    Congrats on the hot water. I can relate. As a former camper I know the bliss of a hot shower and also the invigoration and grip of a cold one.

    We live in a very busy and congested town. Not to my liking but hubby’s job is just a 15-20 minute ride away. Our 1995 Buick is good on gas. Built like a tank as well.

    The farthest we have driven here was four hours to OBX to dance with the ocean. We thought that was a long ways to go!

  11. Maggie says:

    Nora, my maternal ancestors were Methodist, but that was not one of the religions to which I was exposed as a child, and perhaps my feelings towards Jesus would have been quite different if I had. The small rural church that my maternal Granny attended was a source of comfort and connection for her, and when I was older I enjoyed going with her. The ministers at that church were a different breed, they attended things like family 50th Wedding Anniversary picnics, and were friendly and open.

    Living close to place of work is very important I think, Attila is less than 3 miles from his place of work, which shortens his long days considerably. That is how he can use 1998 vintage car for his work commute, it is not far to go.

  12. When I lived in Michigan, I went to a Free Methodist Church for a number of years. They were an open and loving church, though I often had the feeling they never wanted to take responsibility for sorting out any conflicts that might happen.

    From the time I left the Catholic Church when I was around 20, that’s the only other church I’ve been affiliated with. I kind of just went my own way. I will admit, though, there are times at Christmas that I think about walking over to the church that’s near our house, just to hear the singing at the midnight service.