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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ron the Framer

Another week has passed and we survived the bits of snow - it really didn't amount to a whole lot and even though we had wet snow last night, there's hardly anything on the ground.  The moisture did make soup of our driveway, so we've come to the inevitable conclusion that we have to address the issue.  Ironically we had our snow tires put on this week - better safe than sorry.  But here's a shot out the kitchen window, from today, the 27th of November.

We had our first power outage and it's quite hard to describe (at least to city dwellers) how dark it is here when you don't have light.  In the dead of night you can't see your hand in front of your face because there's no external sources of light anywhere nearby.  You can see the glow of distant towns on the horizons but nothing like the permanent glow coming from a major city.  (That's why we have a night light in the upstairs hall to get to the bathroom at night - but that just doesn't help when there's no power.)  It was a short outage affecting only a small area and power was back on in just under two hours.

Ron has successfully complete the hallway framing job and I think he did very well for his first time.  It looks quite professional and is a vast improvement.  (Our motto is "It's better than what was there before!" for anything we do to the house.  It makes us feel better, even if we don't do the most perfect job - not that this was one of those cases.)

The new corner wall.

Hallway overview

Previous light fixture for reference.
We admit that the new light fixture may not be perfect but...(refer to our motto above.)  You have to admit that the stair rail is quite beautiful.  We're going to try to get a stained glass window for above the door, just to lay over what's there already.  Our house is coming we start on the dining room.  To all of you following this, we thank you.  There are times when we feel so far away from everyone that we wonder if we're "out of sight - out of mind".  Know that you are all in our thoughts regularly.  Miss you all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our First Snowfall

As mentioned in my last blog installment, we were expecting snow.  It started  mid-day with very small light little flakes drifting down and not coating anything at all.  As the day progressed the flakes got larger and turned in to that wonderful Christmas-sy snow that you see on greeting cards.  That type of snow always brings to mind family and friends, the upcoming holidays and how far away we really are, but we're glad to have the first snow fall over and done with and makes us glad that we're having the snow tires put on the car this week.

The ensuing blanket didn't get very deep, but snow it was and snow we have.  Here are a few photos.  (I'm pretty sure all you West Coasters will be mildly disappointed as it's much like looking out your own windows today.  My bad...did that seems like a bit of a jab?)  I'm just going to let the pictures load however they want, as no matter how I fight with them to try and get some order, they just refuse to co-operate and depending on your computer screen you see them laid out differently anyway.

From the back porch.

Farmer's field

Fledgling icicles
 Work on the house continues, today we are framing in the ventilation pipe that was added to the office.  (Can you imagine, it didn't have any heat before!)  It's our first framing job and we've taken some liberties with the tried and true method, but hey, it's not like it's a supporting wall or anything and trust me it's toe-nailed like no body's business.  You might wonder about the green painter's tape at the top; we had to use ""No More Nails" to help secure the top of the supports (I'm sure there's a name for them, but I can't bring it to mind) as the ceiling doesn't seem to have anywhere that will secure nails and we were too lazy to use gyprock plugs etc.

Ron nailing in a support bar.
 Now we just have to finish insulating, put up the wall board, continue the base board around and paint to match the existing wall - no problem!  ;0)
Our handy work.
We've managed to keep all of our limbs and digits and no small children were hurt during the process, so all is well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter Vancouver???

I've planned to put in pictures of our kitchen, as I realised that most people haven't seen much of it so far, but I couldn't resist a gentle ribbing to all my West Coast friends...I hear that snow is falling and there's more to come through the week?  "What about the snow?" we were asked after disclosing our future plans to move to PEI to which I now must respond "Ha!".  (I think even the locals here don't think we'll make it...there's always a long telling pause that follows the questions "Have you been here in the winter?" to which we always answer "no", of course...insert pregnant pause here.)

I can't poke too much fun, however, as we also have snow in the forecast, with some gentle little flakes drifting down as we least we're not getting dumped on.  (Sorry couldn't resist one last poke!)  Just last Saturday it was 16 degrees here and we went out for a lovely bike ride, the following day it was clear and sunny, but the temperature dropped down in to the 4 range.  We took a nice long final autumn walk.

Road to Bedeque

1st Church for my Calender - maybe.


I'm fairing well at my new job.  There's only been a couple of cultural confusions.  If someone says "she's a way about her" here, they don't mean in a good way...I think it's similar to saying "she's a cow".  (Now that I think on it, considering this is a pretty serious farming province, that might construe some sort of bovine insult and why they say "a way about her/him" as opposed to maligning cows.)  The other cultural clash was more interesting by way of self discovery.  Around here, you can pretty well call up anyone, whether you know them or not and ask a question, request assistance or try and get information about someone.  There's no intermediary. 

Example: You want to rent a (fill in an item or service), so you mention it to someone at work.  The someone at work says "Oh, I think so and so did that for his grandson's birthday, you should call him."  (They assume that you know what part of PEI so and so lives in and to look up his number in the phone book.)  They wouldn't think to let so and so know that you might call or perhaps get him to call you, should he want just look him up and give him a call.  To me that just stomps all over some unspoken social moray that I wasn't even aware of until placed in the situation.  Anyhow, just a bit fascinating...

Here's some photos of our kitchen, just so you can imagine us in the heart of our home.  Ron has cooked dinner twice (by the way), the roast lamb was first and he did a bang up job and then he made a stew in our new slow cooker - also very tasty.

Looking in from the back door.

Looking toward the back door.

As mentioned previously, I have more cupboard space than ever before.  My pots and pans are laid out neatly, not stacked (at least for the most part) and almost everything has a place that makes sense and you don't have to move something else to get to it.  That is the definition of kitchen happiness in my books.  My biggest challenge in the kitchen is that the oven and cook top run off propane.  Now it doesn't seem to affect baking too much - except for the rather disconcerting flames that blast up the sides of the oven; it never fails to freak me out.  The stove top runs hot, so I'm burning things way more often than usual.  (I had very little trouble with natural gas cook tops.)  We've been searching for some sort of heat withstanding riser for the burners, maybe wok style, but with the lack of Asian supplies, we aren't holding our breath.

Ron has been touching up paint in the halls, doing household chores and (as mentioned) cooking when he can.  (He even cleaned the chandelier in the living room - bless him.)  I'm not sure how long he'll last in the role of house husband, he seems to think there isn't enough work to be done and I think he's getting bored already, but that's something to worry over in another blog...

Until next time, when I'm certain we'll have pictures of snow to show you; be well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget...

While I strive for levity on my posts, today is a day introspection.  I find myself thinking about our lives as Canadians, whether east, west or somewhere in between; the simple freedom of being able to get up and go out when we wish, the plentifulness of food, shelter and water...the security of living in a democratic society, albeit with a monarch.

This state of grace, and no matter your struggle, be certain that it is indeed just that, has been built on the bodies of those who have served in our militaries and peace forces.  Those that have died in conflicts, that that came back unwhole, either in body, mind or both have used their flesh to build this thing that we complain about, ignore and drown with our apathy day to day.  Thanks to them, that is our right and it's easy to do, when we don't have to worry about armed gunmen coming in the night and decimating our neighbourhoods, supported by the government, that we can be certain of water to clean and cook with and that the next rain fall (or lack there of) will not lead our families to starvation.

It strikes me that peace, true peace, is an impossibility...we are incapable of achieving it, but like any unattainable goal the victory lies in its pursuit.  So take today to be at peace, find gratitude, even in the things that are irritants in your day to day life.  

My heart is with all the families, including my own, that have people who serve or have served, our country, who fear picking up the telephone or answering the doorbell; with those that have done so and survived the dreaded news and to all of those that have served and are serving, be they alive or moved on to what ever is beyond this life.  I thank all of you and am humbled.  You are not forgotten.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Battle Wallpaper - Victory Declared & Guest Room Photos

Now, I don't mean to make light of war, considering that Remembrance Day is coming up, but it took us 3 weeks to get the living room walls in order.  Not the carpet, which is still disgusting, or the lighting switched around as we would have liked, but just the walls...5 layers of actual wallpaper, plus 3 more of wallpaper backing that no one ever took the time to remove, crumbling plaster walls, uneven and incomplete trim, cracks filled with what I can only assume was rubber cement, textured wall board and unfinished ceiling was a process.

I'm sure you remember those hideous photos I posted, but for your viewing ease, I am re posting them.  Please stop to admire the "after" pictures (please ignore the carpet, it will be dealt with in due course) and send us heaps of praise as this was a big job and we're glad to see the improvements. (Don't forget, you can click on the photos for a larger view - recommended on the "afters", not so much on the "befores".)


This is where the difference really came in...the painting that we got in Montreal really looks sensational, I must say.  (Thanks Ed Grimly! - If you don't know who he is, that's what search engines are for.)


Now, really, isn't that just the slightest bit better?  The walls are actually the colour of Adam's Peanut butter (though its called "Tea Time"), minus the dark flecks (smooth, not chunky, not that I think there's a difference). I know because I compared.


Tell me if you think this is strange or not...when I was about 10 or so, I found a chandelier bauble in Mom's jewelry box, which I've kept ever since, wearing it as an earring in the 80's, an embellishment on a rhinestone necklace in the 90's and as a keepsake ever since.  Here's the weird part: the chandelier in the living room has those exact same baubles and was missing ONE.  It's pretty well a perfect match, except it doesn't need a good cleaning and the others do.  If we move again, I'm taking it with me (the bauble, not the chandelier.)  Still, it struck me as rather strange that I'd carried this little sparkly thing around (okay...those of you who know me well enough know I'm like a magpie and secretly like all things glittery) for 30 years.  One last set of "before and afters" and then the guest room...


Peanut butter yumminess!

Frosted floral felony...


For any of you considering a stay as Windy Pines (just trying that one on for commitment is made) behold your accommodations:

Bay teddy is waiting to greet you and we even have fancy things like a set of guest towels...I know, we go classy all the way.  Check out the warm wool HBC blanket (6 points...that means bigger) just ready for those cold wintery nights.  (Don't worry, we both know that if any of you come visit, it will likely be in the more clement weather, but, like the boy scouts (that thing that Ron did for 15 minutes and decided was stupid) it's best to be prepared.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


No, sillies!  Not THAT word, but another four letter word that starts with "s"...yes, that's right  -snow!  We had some, a lot of some...on November 2nd!   There was little snow, there was bigger snow; thankfully it didn't stick.  Well, we know it will eventually, I'm contemplating buying snow shoes to hike the some 14 - 15 kms to work.  Funny that just the other day we got our bicycles so we can tour around in the good weather - I'm sure the locals thought we were completely certifiable.  (Hello, May -  I`m quite looking forward to you!)  Even though it snowed intermittently throughout the day (perhaps I should have been a weather girl?), it never built up enough to take a picture, but not to fear...I'm fairly certain I'll have plenty of pictures to get the West Coaster's laughing their you-know-what's off soon enough.

Ron is fully rigged out with puffy winter jacket, boots (good up to minus 40) and gloves fit to explore the arctic in the dead of winter.  As for me, I`m counting on layering -  I mean really, how cold can it get?  The million dollar question is how will we get the car down that long driveway after a huge dump of snow?  (Which may or may not happen - the type of winter is being hotly debated in several Summerside circles and no one can agree.  I`m siding with the wasp theory...they`re building their nests close to the ground, so that apparently means that there won`t be much snow.  I keep picturing little yellow and black news casters in suit and tie giving the "buzz" about the news - sorry couldn't help the terrible pun.)

We've almost completed the epic battle of the living room.  We've been painting for two days now and still have the trim to go...what a waste of two relatively agile brains!  That being said (as per our mantra for everything we do to the house) "It's better than what was there!".  My time off is quickly coming to a close and I'm not too sure how much time I'll be able to spend adding more minutiae to these pages.

We miss you all and think about our old lives on the other side of the country., but so far, so good, as they say.  We aren't ready to turn tail and run yet and I think we both feel strangely at home...I know, I know...we'll wait for the first big dump of snow.  Any takers on the pool going on in town as to whether we'll make it through the first winter or not???

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkins, Painting and Other Scarey Things (Danica's Big News)

Yes all, we are still alive and well!  It's been a busy week on the Robertson homestead...still waiting on name suggestions.  (Right now, "Windy Pines" comes to mind as the breeze howls through the tree line.)

We took the time to carve a pumpkin and buy treats for any kids crazy enough to walk up our long drive way in the pitch dark.  (As I've mentioned before, PEI folk are immensely practical, so we had no takers.)  Here's a picture of the pumpkin (I've titled the piece "Excedrin Headache Case #107").

I might have been channeling how I felt when we discovered yet another layer of wall paper in the living room.  We spent 5 days peeling, patching and sanding and then another 2 and half wall papering (keep in mind that it still needs a coat of paint).  The rest of the half day was spent painting the ceiling and we've finally gotten round to painting the walls.  You've seen the before pictures and the "we have some of it stripped off" pictures.  Here's the "we have some wall paper up" photos:

Here's the texture, so you don't think we're nuts for putting up white wall paper.

Pretty and clean white walls, at least temporarily.

You can see a peek of the dining room down the hall and that's the new sofa in the foreground, but you don't really get a true appreciation of it.

Finally, my big news.  (No, I'm not pregnant!  Ewwww!)  I am officially employed.  I've taken on a contract role at Malpeque Bay Credit Union where I'll be working (wait for it.....) FULL TIME for the next 16 months.  It's a long story, but the best decision for us at this point in time.  (In a previous post, I believe I mentioned that bathroom renos are expensive!)  Anyhow, that's the big shocker!  I think it will be fine as it's an administrative position supporting the lenders and investment folk.  (Read that to say "no members to deal with"; not that I didn't love a good portion of them.)  I'll finish off with a photo of our furry friend Heathcliffe, who has developed a certain unholy love of torturing Ron by hanging around the car and running up over the tires.  (He's going to find his way in to a stew if he chews any of the wires!)

Sittin' on the back porch surveying his kingdom.

Note our pretty maple tree in the back ground. (I think Heathcliffe is ignoring me.)