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While some projects are slowly moving along, others are coming together quite nicely.  Our room, our office, all three girls’ rooms and our guest room have new windows, walls are primed, and trim and closet doors are installed.  It is going to look fantastic.

My mom is coming next week to help me decorate.  Fabric has been bought to recover headboards, and stools, and for cushion making.  There is still dust to clean up, and our painting chores will have to wait until the spring when we can open the windows.

Back in the city we had a small two bedroom home.  I thought it was the perfect size.  My girls thought otherwise.  They were a little cramped in their shared room.  My two older girls are looking forward to having their own space.  Ruby is dreading it.  She is worried that she’ll be scared in a room all by herself.  To accommodate her 6 year old fears we are going to put an extra bed in Wini’s room, and a secret entryway.  There is a small 1 1/2 x 2 foot doorway in her closet.  Whenever she is scared in the night, she can go in her closet, crawl through the hatch into Wini’s closet, and climb into the extra bed.

I can’t wait to be able to unpack properly.  We have reconfigured our living and sleeping space so many times since we have been here.  I am ready to stop moving furniture around and settle in for the long haul.

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Going Up From Here

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I cried last week.  For those of you who know me well, crying is not my forte.  If I had to save the world by crying, we would all be doomed.  Now if I could use crying and jokes maybe we could be saved, but I certainly could not do it with crying alone.

All this crying was the boiler’s fault.  Thursday afternoon, Jess announced that the boiler was irreparable.  I don’t think either one of us completely knew how to process this information.  We were feeling fairly low.  As any emotionally intact woman would do, I quickly whipped together a batch of rosemary and parmesan scones to make us feel better.  Somehow they did not fix our heating dilemma, but they were tasty.  We threw the uneaten scones at that damn boiler.

Friday rolled around and we had a lovely dinner at a friend’s house, which helped both of us take our minds off our situation.  Saturday we escaped to Toronto to help celebrate Jess’ parents 50th wedding anniversary.  Sunday we made the trek back to the County with minus 11 degree weather.  We returned to an absolutely freezing house.  It was tolerable by Monday morning as the pellet stoves had a chance to heat us up a little bit.  I am grateful that my kids spend their weekdays in a heated school.

It is now a new week.  Winter is here and it is beautiful.   Jess has been working tirelessly on the boiler and has it mostly working.  He reprogrammed, and repaired and it works but not to capacity.  It may get us through the winter.  We have a plumber on our crew that started today.  His job is to install the manifolds, the pumps and tie up any loose ends.

I’m going to say it again, I’m sure we will have heat by next week.  Even though I keep saying that, I still believe it to be true.

Crushed

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Yesterday was a day filled with highs and lows.  Not artificially induced, but just some good, old fashioned, clean ups and downs.  Our electrician was over and finished the last electrical stage of the boiler.  We were all elated that the boiler was hooked up and working!  We had never seen it work and were happy that it did in fact work.  China was back in our good books.  Let me rephrase, China was back in our good books for it’s electrical manufacturing not for it’s human rights abuses.  Whew! that was a close one.

In the afternoon, Jess wanted to see what the boiler could do, so he filled it up with wood pellets and fired her up.  The low down feelings began when the back door of the boiler refused to close and fire was spewing out the back.  There had been some damage to the boiler during shipment, but we were unsure as to the extend of it.  We were crushed especially since we are so close to having a fully heated abode.

It is not always easy to find the appropriate parts in a small town.  We did make a mad dash to the local Home Hardware and Jess is currently on the job.  I am fully confident in his ability to repair the situation both mechanically and emotionally.

On a happier note, we had a lovely weekend.  Family and friends braved the lower than average household temperatures and came to visit us.  We went to a local craft fair and then spent Saturday afternoon making cider.  We had picked several apples from a laden tree by the road side.  Everyone chipped in and chopped four large bags of apples, and then fed them in the cider press.  Over the summer, Jess had harvested natural yeast from the apples at his dad’s farm.  He has been growing that yeast for months.  Now we have about 10 litres of juice fermenting.  All the adults are looking forward to drinking it when it’s ready.

Dusty MacDusty

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This is what I did yesterday.  What did you do?  I spent several hours yesterday afternoon feeding hundreds of feet of PEX tubing into this hole in the floor that Jess dug out with his bare hands.  It is possible he used a tool, since he had to get through 5 inches of concrete.  My 6’5″ husband was in in the 4 foot crawl space running tubing for our heating system.  What was that you just said?  You thought the heating system would be complete by now, did you?  Well it’s easy to judge from a heated room.  I am currently typing with several layers on including long johns, a sweater, a vest, my scarf, and a toque.  When will the insanity end?  The heating should be done in about a week.  I’ve been saying this for weeks now.  It turns out, it takes more than a week.

To help out with the renovations yesterday, I assigned myself clean up duty.  We were getting ready to prime the walls in our new bedrooms but needed to have all the drywall dust vacuumed up first.  Sounded perfect for a non skilled labourer as myself.  The first room cleaned up like a dream.  Half way through the second room, the filter on the shopvac clogged up and dislocated itself.  So all the dust that I sucked up came spewing out the back of the shopvac.  It took me a few minutes to realize what was happening.  Once I figured out the situation, I promptly abandoned my task and got the hell out.  I did have the where with all to turn off the shopvac before I left the room, and close the door.  I’m no slouch, but I don’t think I’m qualified to be on the crew.

I think I’ll stick to the girl jobs from now on.

Getting Through

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I took my dog for an hour long walk today and saw 5 people.  Two of them were workmen, and one was a farmer in a distant field so I’m not sure he counts.  The other two are neighbours who are committed to their daily walk.  Sometimes we stop and chat, other times we stick to our exercise.

In my old hood, I couldn’t get away from all the people I knew.  If I walked one city block, on average, I would see 5 people I knew.  Knowing me, I’d probably stop and chat with all of them.  I may need to go to the city just to roam the streets and see people.

Sometimes I love not seeing a soul around here.  There is a sense of freedom when you are alone, and you can only hear the birds.  Other times you just feel alone.

The last two days, we have woken up to frost on the grass and icy puddles.  Winter is on it’s way.  There is a handful of expatriates here.  We all left Toronto around the same time and this will be our first rural winter.  We are all a little concerned about making it through.  Isolation, and boredom are common themes to our conversations when we speak of winter.  Will we survive?

Well, of course we will.  We just want to survive well enough so that we will want to be here next winter.

We’ve all made an informal pact.  Keep in touch, be entertaining and entertain.  I may not know them well, but we all came from the same place, and we moved here with similar notions.  We all wanted to be less busy, and more free.  Free to spend time with family and friends, have the time to make new friends, and have the space to hear the birds when we are completely alone.

All the tourists are gone.  As it gets chillier, there are less visitors willing to make the drive.  The snow birds are starting to flee south.  We need to find our groove, and I’m counting on my new friends to get me through.