We didn’t get outta Dodge by DE 8. It is seriously cold, but warmer than usual in these parts. (Thank the Gods.) We had no choice, but to tough-it-out and stay … a little longer.
Two major todos just had to get done – 1. Getting out of one of the storages (cost: $170./month); 2. Telling the gas people to take a flying leap (infrastructure fees of more than $50./month Before we even use any gas and whether or Not we’re in the house!!!). Finished both – a couple of days ago:))) Just over the next 4 – 6 months of being gone back to the west, we’ll save: $800 – $1200.)
It has already been a long haul this living in renovations and construction. Since we want to stay debt-free/low-debt and we have only us and one paid person doing the work, it is gonna be at least a 5 year project. More, probably. Parts of the house are now, however, almost livable. And the major step of moving the kitchen from where it was, to across from the dining room, now frees-up its previous space to become our master bedroom with ensuite bathroom, has been accomplished!!!
All 3 of us are sick(ish). Something has been trying to ‘get us’ for over a week. We keep poppin’ the echinacea and immune FX. It is working, but we’re draggin’ more than a little. At the same time we’re pushing even harder since we’ve realized there is no way to endure the cold that mid DE and beyond will bring. Not enough progress in insulation, in enough walls and under the house, in the crawl-space, has been made.
(So, no holiday season in our ‘dream house’. No my birthday on this side of the country:( We will, however, head out on DE 8th, travel by RV (yuck from me and the catpeople, yeah from the cowboy) through the USA and land, on my birthday!!!, in Missoula, MT. One my very favourite places on the planet:)) But I digress.)
We custom-ordered 8 more windows. They arrived! (Big-ass bill) Today and tomorrow some of them will be changed. Draughty, old, painted-shut, screens that let everybody in to bite Me!, will make room for LowE, Argon-filled, double-hung full screens!!! And, of course, the old windows will be kept to be turned into a greenhouse … one day, some day:)
We have a window! What I mean is – one of the 21 old, draughty, painted shut windows in the ‘dream’ house got changed today!!! – LowE, Argon filled, screen, double-hung and easy clean.
Ho-ly! It is positively amazing to me just how much I take for granted. Having working windows, like in our place in the west, blinds on windows, electricity, enough circuits, internet, coat hooks, a toilet tissue holder, a towel bar, a place to keep clean linens clean, doors that close and latch, a kitchen floor …
We have a window! And in a few weeks we’ll have a few more. (They need to be custom-ordered:))
We’ve been at this 5 months. We’ve lost, for various reasons, about 2 months of that time. So, although it feels like we’re getting no where. The is actually some progress beginning to show. Thank the Gods. I was getting weary. Today, filled up the hope-bucket a little:))
The utility companies I’m talking about – gas, electric, water. For years we have chosen a low-consumption lifestyle. And we work hard to make the choices to get better and better at how much electricity, gas, water we use and how much of a footprint we leave … and All long before it became fashionable. This ‘dream house’ is the perfect opportunity for us to build in more efficiency, even less burden on the planet, lower costs (over time) without suffering lifestyle reduction.
One of the ways we are working to achieve that is to pay only one bandit – between gas and electric. (Water is another issue for another post.) Ever notice that between the delivery charges, the taxes, the storage charges, the interest on debt that ‘they’ chose to take on, customer charge!!! ... the bill is $40 – $60 Before you even use any of their ‘service’ (gas and/or electricity)?
For us, who plan on living on both sides of the country each year, this means infrastructure charges of, more or less, $50. a month – when we’re not there! If we turn it off while we’re gone to the other side, and then turn it back on, they guesstimate the costs and charge for the missing service months! Bandits! This makes us crazy.
So, even though I grew up cooking on gas and would prefer to cook on gas and there is a gas stove hookup in the kitchen (that we are moving) and gas hot water heater – we bought an electric stove. And intend to get rid of the gas people as soon as we can buy and hook up electric (hard to come by in Canada) tankless water heaters. Yes! Electricity is expensive, but the extra costs that we will incur until we can get ourselves ‘off / partially off the grid’ is less than the costs of paying the 2 bandits. And if things goes exceptionally well, we’ll be able to get involved in the micro-power producer program … and sell power back to them at 80 cents a kilowatt!!!
(Flick!) Take that … ‘arm and leg’ bandits!
As I write, the surveyors of our property are finally here, doing the final measurements that will stake the land! $1400. yikes! But that includes the topographical survey as well – which will be required by the town and necessary for us too when we go to construct the addition and other out buildings. OMG!!! I hear the stakes being hammered into the ground:))) So, exciting to be able to know that we’re Not putting our stuff, choices, needs on somebody else’s property.
And … the holes are being dug for the foundation for the posts that the potting shed will be built on – next week! This little building will end up as a place to begin my home-grown food, gardening supplies, tools … In the meantime it will multi-task as storage (in the late fall and winter) so we can get ourselves out of one of the 4 X $150./month offsite storage units. And for a little while it will give me a space, away from catpeople hands & feet, to begin art glass and mosaic projects. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet:)
And … the plumbing is being worked for in-floor (under tile) heat (& cool) in what will be the kitchen … (cross my fingers) in time for (Canadian) Thanksgiving:)
Thank the Gods:)
Tonight I cooked on our brand new, nothing fancy, eco-conscious stove, for the 1st time! I was nervous. Its been a while since I even cooked, much less one of my signature dishes – eggs florentine with made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce and home-made pan fries on the side.
Timing is always a little critical with eggs. When you down’t know the stove, have a guest and husband whose mouths are both watering … it can be the undoing of a reluctant cook. I did it! In fact, I aced it.
... the new levels of chaos that get created by moving one’s life 4300 kms to a house that needs to be totally gutted, electrical upgrade, insulation, bathroom … – so just about everything needs to stay packed in storage units. For us it’s 2 on the Ontario side and 2 on the BC side! ($600. a month – and cowboy says he purged as much as he could, lol. His portion is about 3 units filled with tools and product; 1/2 unit of us stuff; 1/2 unit of my stuff. I’m thinkin’ we still have waaaaaaaaaaayyy too much)
The new levels of filth that come out of a 106 year old (not 100, as it turns out) attic and the demo of the walls made of lathe and plaster which will be on-going with each wall that gets opened up. Why don’t we do it all at once? We only have so much time, and we have to get to a ‘point’ before winter, and we only have so much money – and we are working hard to live through the hardships in order to stay debt-free.
Now we are finally!!!, after 4 weeks of just setting up the upstairs of the house where we and the catpeople will live while the downstairs is gutted, plus a mild but 10 day delaying motorcycle accident by our reno/tech friend who joined us until the end of JL, are making a little progress!!! YEAH!
The downstairs walls of the entryway, living room, (new) kitchen (we’re moving the kitchen) and the dining room are off. The reframing of the walls has begun. But, The most exciting part of the progress thus far is (drumroll please) ... today!!! I will be able to
turn on a kettle And an air conditioner (supposed to be 32°C today)at the same time. There are only 4 circuits in this 1900 sq ft house. The power is only 60 amps. The upgrade has begun:)))
Within a couple of weeks, we’ll have the stove hooked up, in a temporary / make-shift, but functional way!
Soooooooo, we are on our way to being able to fulfill my goal – Host Vegetarian Thanksgiving (Canadian) in my home. We won’t be even nearly done the renos, but we will be able to have ‘festive’ food:)
I got really jazzed about a messy (in the thrown / splattered / textured artsy sense) floor in a little local bistro that serves these great fired pickles, the other day. The look, the feel, the rawness of it is Exactly what I would be wanting for our entryway and kitchen!
Apparently, our 100 year old little house does Not have the sturdiness in the sub-floor to handle the weight of concrete. And it would be extremely time-consuming to make it able to take the weight. Bummer! I’m not giving up yet though, I really like it and think it could be a perfect effect and great match for the house.
Interesting. I never imagined concrete as an indoor material.
I have been having some concerns about what to use for the kitchen counters. I want at least a relatively if not totally natural and eco-happy product, but everything I’ve thought of so far has too much character. I mean I need something that is tame in comparison to the spash-art, hodge-podge mosaic backsplash that I’m planning. It will have so much going on that other aspects will need to be quiet to balance.
Concrete. But isn’t that really heavy? Hmmmmm? It can be tinted. I can imbed a few beads and crystals and embellishments in it … hmmmm? Environmentally-sound? Need to do some research.
Yeah! Last year practically Nothing worked out about our ‘Live part of the year on each side of the country’ project. (As I always say: in a competition for rightly-timed outcomes between me [and you and everybody else] and the Universe, I am / we are seriously out-classed!:))
This year – everything is coming together with surprisingly few glitches. Like – not only has our techie / reno guy agreed to join us, in the east for about 3 months, he is currently living with us and helping with the disassembling and packing of things. In a couple of weeks, we have to be out of our rental house (gulp) and he will be doing the big truck trip, to the east, with my cowboy! I am so glad ‘cowboy’ won’t be on the road by himself. He gets a little crazed with the idea of getting the job done. I prefer that he eat and sleep, at least a little, on the way.