Sunday, December 28, 2014

I have decided to call a phenomena in my life WeMe.

During December Attila and I were able to spend a lot of time with one another. It was wonderful. The month of December flew by. We lived within each other’s sphere of energy, connected in so many ways.

This morning the connectedness altered, Attila and Mist drove away into the north, leaving… me. Suddenly I wasn’t operating in a we environment, but a me environment.

WeMe is a disorienting experience. The initial sadness and sense of loss is difficult. It mellows out though, particularly after Attila and I begin our routine communication by telephone and FaceTime.

After Attila and Mist drove off, I had a good long cry, then I got to work. I started cleaning the house from top to bottom. I cleaned out a closet, washed the floors, chased down all the balls of fluffy cat hair in the corners, and moved the furniture.

And so it begins, the big winter of me. Attila has no more vacation time, and will be working six days a week in the north. Overnight visits in the winter are not feasible. He will have at least two two-day breaks between now and April, and we are hoping the weather will be fine for travel on those rare events, so that he may visit the little house in the city. This arrangement is not what we had planned, it is just what evolved, as our best laid plans took on a life of their own. Life is like that, mostly just coping with the forces of “nature”.

We just spoke on FaceTime. The weather at the country house was mild and sunny when Attila arrived. By the time we spoke, around 8:00 p.m., there was a storm blowing in, and already over 1 1/2 inches of snow had fallen. I miss Attila, but I am not sorry to miss that snow!

Monday, December 29, 2014

After chatting with Attila over our morning coffee, via FaceTime, I ate a breakfast of cinnamon oatmeal with dates. Over the course of December my diet descended into decadence, forsaking my morning oatmeal for pancakes and bacon, and commercial cereals of various kinds. Now it is time to revert to my regular and healthier diet, which consists of homemade oatmeal for breakfast, a lunch that includes vegetables, a light supper, and a “treat” of fruit juice and soda during the evening. I drink a lot of water over the course of the day. This is all kind of boring I suppose, but food is dangerous stuff for people with anaphylaxis, and having dependable food is far more important to me than variety. Routine menus free me from stress, fear, and time consuming planning.

Attila awoke this morning to a world of white, I opened the drapes to a black, brown and grey landscape, with a skiff of snow here and there. Fortunately the snow at the country house was scant enough that shovelling was not required, making Attila’s morning a lot less stressful.

Over the past ten years, during the winter, Attila would build a morning fire and head out for work, leaving me to close the dampers at the end of the burn in the masonry heater. This year, for the first time, I am not there. The upshot is that Attila must rise at 3:00 a.m., begin the firing in the masonry heater, then head back to bed until 6:00 a.m., when he must rise again to close the damper, and prepare to go to work. This will require some adjustments in his sleeping patterns.

Here at the little house the Heat Pump continues to provide almost all the heat for the house. We have had the heat on, at 10C when we are not here, and at 20C when we are here, which I have been almost all of December. I turn the thermostat down to 16C before retiring for the night, as this is my preferred sleeping temperature. The fuel in the oil tank is at the same level as it was in October, so we have used very little fuel oil, perhaps none. Thus far, I am unable to detect if and when the oil furnace is engaged.

Looking at the long range weather forecast for the little house in the city, I can see that the overnight temperatures will be falling below -7C with some regularity. The Heat Pump will not attempt to heat the house when the exterior temperature is below -7C. So it looks like the oil furnace will be put to work for the month of January, at least during the night. We are still waiting to see what the next hydro bill looks like, as it will reflect a period when the heat was turned on over the entire billing cycle.

I have been sitting here thinking how fortunate is was that we experienced our intense winds on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The wind ripped several shingles off the roof. So, on Christmas Day Attila got out his ladder, grabbed his hammer and set to work. I would be in a bit of pickle if this had occurred while Attila was in the North. I am sure though that Lares would have come to the rescue, in case of emergency. It is difficult to admit to myself, but my days of climbing up on the roof are over, otherwise I could fix it myself.

It was a sunny, breezy, cool, and beautiful day. I managed to get out for a walk. I developed a blister on my heel during a walk last week, and the blister is still sore, not completely healed. A cloth bandaid helped protect the wound, but I needed to pace my steps carefully and slowly. After my walk I had a light snack, before taking Tank for a drive downtown. I had to buy postage to mail some forms, which I accomplished. Parking Tank is an intimidating procedure. Luckily I found a perfect spot about two blocks from the Post Office, one where I could drive into the parking spot, and drive out again, without having to back up, or risk practising backing up, near other vehicles.

The rest of the day was spent taking care of administrative tasks online, gathering ingredients for making Chili, which I plan on cooking tomorrow.

The sunshine today has been a real mood lifter.

Bottles. Attila collected these bottles, spoon, and the tin can at our camp. Vintage 1890s to the 1940s, these bottles, spoon, and tin can might have been used in the day-to-day life of my Granny and Grandpa, or their neighbours, people they knew, people who shopped at their store, picked up the mail at their Post Office. The railroad tie nail (spike) is from the J. R. Booth’s Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway, or OA&PS

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EST Sunday 28 December 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.3°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: W 13 km/h

Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 29 December 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -3.1°C
Dewpoint: -8.8°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: NNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -7


“I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust too.”
John Masefield
1878 – 1967


  1. Bex

    Now Maggie… what if you had sold the country house when you put it on the market? What would you both have done then for the winter? I don’t think I’d like the (evolved) arrangement that you have now, being with your partner for such long extended periods of time. If you had sold the house, would he have moved down to the city with you? Or would you have built a house on your plot of land in the woods? I am all confused now about what’s up and what’s down! (But don’t worry, I am normally confused lately…xxx)

  2. Bex, I KNEW what you meant, lol! If we had sold the country house we would have found an apartment in one of the villages less than an hour’s drive from Attila’s work place. The apartment would have… a thermostat! The apartment would have… a ploughed parking lot! The apartment would have… stores nearby that I could walk to for milk etc.! It would not be ideal, but that was the tentative plan for the winters. The summers could have been spent at the camp, just a bit further to commute for Attila.

    Maybe next winter though, you never know.

    Up is north, down is south, in my vocabulary. We always referred to north and south this way when I was a kid, travelling from the farm in the south of Ontario, to my Granny and Grandpa’s house much further north in Ontario. LIke a map right side up, up is north, down is south. 🙂

  3. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Maybe we’ll have a spate of good weather and you can surprise Attila by driving up there a few times to be with him.

    Not sure why you think your menu sounds boring. Oatmeal with dates and chili with veggies sounds good to me! Tonight, DH and I are having chicken wings with cut veggies and dip.

    Is the wood base in the picture the railroad tie? Interestingly, DH’s family worked for CP Railway for at least 2 generations. His grandfather and dad eventually managed the Toronto railyards. Somewhere around his early teens, DH even drove one of the engines in the yard. 🙂

  4. Teri, that would be great if I could travel up for a visit! I dare not hope too much though, the disappointment were it not to work out would be crushing.

    Well, I am glad you asked about the railroad tie, because it should read railroad tie nail, it is the nail on the lower right. The bottles sit on an antique solid wood dresser top that Attila began to refinish more than 30 years ago, and didn’t get finished.

    Sounds exciting and memorable, to drive an engine in the yard at the Toronto rail yards!

  5. NORA

    Gee, Maggie every time Attila leaves it just sounds so heartbreaking. A good cry yes, I would have one too. I don’t know that I could be so strong as you are with the time away from each other. In the 26 years of my marriage to Mr. Wonderful we have spent very little time apart. I can relate to the WeMe change in environment though. Last year though it was a terrible time we were together 24/7 for six months. It was survival mode but it was being together. Now when he goes off to work I sulk like a child! It’s a though part of me went missing.

    Glad that the sunshine was a mood lifter and you got to get out. Hope the blister heals quickly.

    I really like the photo of the bottles etc. They look unique. Stories behind them. My sister has a lot of antique bottles and she puts them on the windows which makes it almost impossible to open them when the weather is nice. I’m an open window person and she is not. They look nice but they are in my way. Ha, Ha, Ha.

    I don’t know what your future plans are but I hope that you get to spend more time with your love.

  6. Randy

    Maggie I do a lot of walking for exercise and I’ve found that wearing two pairs of socks, instead of just one pair, to help against developing blisters. Also I make sure that the shoe laces are tight so that the shoe doesn’t rub against my foot as I walk. Good luck.

  7. Nora, describing the WeMe as “part of me went missing” is very close to how the parting feels. Sometimes it is more intense than other times. This time was very difficult because we have no set date that we will see each other again, so it is very open ended and uncomfortable. We know our winters now, and winter is a very hard task master in the north, that is why I am here at the little house, and Attila is still in the north because he has no choice. I truly doubt I would make it through another winter of complete isolation. Attila works with a good crew six days a week, and does not suffer from isolation; his problem is overwork.

    I too like open windows, so it is going to take some ingenuity to figure out how to display the bottles. As we plan the furniture and storage for the little house we will be considering where to place them.

    Thank you for your good wishes Nora. Although we have had only partial success in spending time together, we are both highly motivated to keep trying anything we can to spend more time together. 🙂

  8. Randy, I wore two pairs of socks this morning for my walk, and spent extra time securing the laces on my boots. Success! My blister did not hurt during the walk, nor did it bleed! Thanks for such good advice!

  9. I had to make yearning a friend. I had no choice. Instead, I chose to embrace yearning as a friend rather than have my heart needlessly seep.

    I suppose a similar love I experience is with my children. They are my everything to make my heart plump with love and yearning. The scenario is different though. I weep ever so briefly when they leave because I know they’re returning to and moving toward their brilliant futures. It’s a different kind of yearning but I’m glad my heart knows the pain.

    I’ve lived a very frugal life regarding utilities. I no longer do. I crank up the heat and relish the warmth. As I believe is the situation with people as they age, my body chills easily. I used to tolerate the chill or bundle myself with layers and layers of clothing. As I type, I wear a T-shirt, some kind of cheap pants that are similar to sweats, knee socks, UGG slippers, and an insanely warm & cozy bathrobe – and the thermostat is cranked to 73 degrees. I’ve never been so decadent with my utilities – ever. And I don’t care. I am warm and will enjoy it. *smiles*

    Maggie, you are so brave to face your winter without Attila. I will worry about you. You two are Salt & Pepper, Frick & Frack, Tick & Tock… and so much more. xoxo

  10. Reenie, you touch my heart with such soft fingers of truth.

    Before I met Attila I was in a relationship with a man whom I loved very deeply, we were both deeply in love with one another. He passed away in a tragic manner, and the yearning was, and still is, staggering. I know some of what you mean when you describe making yearning your friend. I had to do that after my first love died.

    The universe has been kind to me. I met Attila, and soon after meeting him I could not imagine life without him. We were friends from the very beginning, before we became life partners. I think our time together is all the more precious because I know what it is lose a loved one.

    And like you Reenie, I am “glad my heart knows the pain”.

    Comfort! Glad to hear you are keeping warm and comfy, and enjoying it! Your outfit sounds not only warm, but very comfortable.

    Try not to worry Reenie, it is easy to tell how I am doing because I am a “squawker”! I do not believe in suffering in silence, ask Attila! 🙂

    Facing the winter alone is difficult, but it is much better this than allowing my physical health to go downhill at the country house, shut in by the weather, and my mental health decimated by cabin fever. It is very hard for Attila to helplessly watch me suffer through the winters at the country house. That at least will be relieved by my stay at the little house in the city.

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