The Importance of Knowing Stanley

I mentioned soon after my arrival here that I had managed to get a few “guys”. I mean the kind of guy people refer to when something has to be done or acquired and the phrase “I know a guy” is used. My primary is a man named Stanley.

An early purchase was this refrigerator. One of its most defining characteristics, as far as this kitchen is concerned, is that it is normal human sized. This, of course, meant that it wouldn’t fit in the existing fridge-shaped hole in the cupboards. I took on the task of removing these obstacles.

From an amazing hardware store in Maine I got assorted screw drivers (remember all my tools are on a moving van), a pry bar, and hammer, and set to work.

I started on the bottom and, although you can’t tell by looking at it, that there is an example of what Cthulhu can do on the weekend in his garage. It is diabolical.

It doesn’t matter what the diy guides tell you – that cupboard planned to stay there for the next 100 years. I spent hours over a series of days and only managed to strip it down to the carcass.

Stanley came in periodically and would look at my progress. To his credit he never actually smirked.

I finally decided that I’m just too much of a wuss to do even this basic task and asked Stanley to get rid of these_=##?_%#?%_ cupboards for me.

He came over this morning.

I learned some new swear words.

It took a giant reciprocating saw to remove the forest of 2 inch nails holding that thing to the floor and wall. It turns out it wasn’t me. It really was Cthulhu.

— it needs to be said that I wrote the above paragraphs before Stanley came back with a big pot of steamed clams. He was already my hero before the feast! —

Also, I think we found the original 1937 floor under that cupboard. At least I don’t believe this has been in fashion since then.

About That Moving Van

Moving your belongings across this country is a process fraught with peril. The big moving companies no longer handle everything themselves … everybody contracts out to small independent outfits.

The horror stories that can result include truck drivers that demand thousands in cash over and above what was contracted or they just don’t unload, entire loads smashed to pieces, and/or valuable items just vanishing in transit.

One company said they would transport a 2 bedroom house worth of goods for me more than 6000 km (that’s more than 3600 miles in american) for $1800. No, I didn’t believe them either.

My only real concern with the company I chose was that it was very difficult to pin them down to dates. It turns out that my discomfort was well founded. After more than 5 weeks I have still not received my stuff.

I kept trying to explain that after the local private ferry stops running there is no way for them to get here except through Maine. The owner of the company called the other day (with sincere apologies) and he finally understood. I have also talked to the truck driver. There is, therefore, a new level of confidence that I will have a bed by the middle of the week.

Now I’m fretting that I haven’t gotten everything done I’d planned before the furniture arrives.

Sigh

Releasing My Inner Highlander

Someday I’ll unpack my camera, but until then phone pics of the morning walk will have to do.

I know that there are many areas of the country (and world) far more remote than this island. I am very fortunate that Canada Post has two offices here. Amazon Prime and I make use of them on an almost daily basis.

The bad news is I can’t get everything I need or want from just one internet site.

There are a couple of large web-based retailers who offer free shipping and, when they get my postal code, either say they won’t ship here or suddenly decide “free shipping” costs $400.

Then there is the issue of courier companies. They’ll accept contracts from a retailer only to decide after they have the package that they really don’t feel like delivering it after all.

I ordered 2 large rugs recently and FedEx had the contract to bring them here. I was told by locals that they wouldn’t arrive and, sure enough, the scheduled day came and went without a delivery. The good news is that a local entrepreneur has started an island service and contracts with FedEx to actually get the stuff onto this island.

Having said that, it turns out “delivery” literally means dropping them at my feet on the driveway. According to the waybills one of them weighed 54 pounds, the other 79.

“But you’re old and have no upper body strength” I can hear you cry. That’s true. I thought about leaving a message for Stanley to come help me, but I think he’s collecting his Dad from the hospital today. So …..

I channeled my inner highlander. I flipped each rug end over end, in a poor imitation of caber tossing, and got them one at a time up the stairs, onto the porch, through the mud room and into the kitchen.

Once there, it turned out that, as long as they were resting upright on an end, I could “walk” them to the correct room.

The one in the living room is currently hampered by the wood burning stove, but you get the general idea.

I only had one real concern when I ordered them – would I actually like them. Luckily I do.

They’re not Persian rugs, although they use many of the same motifs. They’re a nice wool and the colours are what I expected. Now that I know for certain I can actually get them here, I will eventually order more.

After all, caber tossing is damn good exercise.

Regional Variations

I’d gotten enough done that I felt Jamie could win the argument and we’d go for a walk. Also it was a glorious day after 48 hours of wind and rain.

She’s doing remarkably well for an old dog whose back end tends to head off in different directions. Usually I pick her up when she starts limping, but she lasted an hour on her own 4 paws this time.

I received a text from Alex teasing me that I’d probably acquired the local accent by now. It’s possible, I’m an unconscious mimic, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if I did. The voices here are very soothing.

Well most of them are. We disturbed a convention of tiny chipmunk-like beasts and they make noise way out of proportion to their size. They also have a vocabulary that would make the proverbial sailor blush.

This morning the fog has returned – you might be able to make out the dark hulk that is the old repair facility across the cove.

In the foreground are a few of the local seagulls enjoying low tide.

The foghorns are in full voice, both here and from the US side of the Bay. None of them, of course, have the basso profundo superiority of the pre-electronic lighthouses I listened to as a child. I loved falling asleep to that sound. I’m trying to convince myself that the current soprano tones have their own charm.

The last voice I’ll mention today belongs to the fellow in the above photo. Well him and his cousins.

Most of the seagulls here are much like the ones I know from the West Coast. Then there are the ones with the really dark, charcoal grey feathers.

Some of you wake up to the delightful sounds of song birds. I get the very loud philosophical opinions of groups of these avian creatures who must have started smoking & drinking right out of the shell. They don’t know a note above a bottom C and don’t care.

They sound like seals with a cough using a megaphone.

The little darlings.

Rose Hips & Mysteries

I explore new territory the way a cat does. I move out in increasingly larger circles and see what I can discover. I’ve found both the mostly ordinary and a couple of mysteries so far. There are, what I believe to be, rugosa roses growing wild all over the island. The most prominent feature of them at the moment is their gigantic hips. Even Jamie is impressed.

The first of the mysteries shouldn’t be possible in a society built on, and consumed, by ownership & acquisition. Across the cove from me is an old structure which was used for boat repair (among other things). You can tell by looking at it that nobody has stepped foot on it for a long time.

Coincidentally, next door to me is an old Victorian home nobody has lived in for years. It must have been an impressive showplace when it was newly painted and the stained glass shone.

Ask anybody about these two structures and they tell you nobody owns them. It’s a little more complicated than that … muddy legal situations with estates. This means, though, that nobody can buy them, or rescue them, or tear them down. Apparently it is accepted that at some point they will both just collapse.

See this door? It’s not really at an angle, it’s just a bad shot. But look at the design of it. I can tell you first hand that it is constructed beautifully. I can’t find out anything about it though. The previous owner doesn’t remember a time when it wasn’t there – and her family lived in the house for 75 years. The first owner built the place in 1937, so I guess it’s possible the door is that old.

I wonder if it was made by a ship’s carpenter during a slow season. I found another door, which is obviously by the same person, just up the street. I’ll look for more of them on the island and maybe someday I’ll find out who the artist was (or is).

A Project-rich Life

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I did get the wood burning stove on my shopping trip the other day and it was delivered, along with everything else, less than 24 hours later. This is amazing service to a small island most retailers seem to prefer to ignore.

The good news is that Canada Post sees no problem with us as a destination. This means that Amazon and other internet-friendly outlets love me at the moment. I’m even willing to go through the lengthy process of finding a different food for the cats because I refuse to drive to Saint John just  to buy their preferred dinner.

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I seem to always have about 6 projects going at the same time. I think finally arriving on the island after the stress of the West Coast, and the long drive, has allowed me to relax. But too much. It means I’m not being as efficient as I’d like to be right now.

Oh stuff is getting done. Just slowly.

That’s part of the load of 5 cords of firewood I got from Sheldon and Steve. It’s being stacked in what is amusingly referred to as my garage. Think shed and you’ll be closer to an accurate picture of the place.

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I’m also ripping out some kitchen cabinets so there’s room for the fridge. I didn’t get a giant sized one if that’s what you’re thinking. No, it’s just that the room was designed for leprechauns and I’m not willing to live on that scale.

I’m also painting and sanding and removing and assembling. Not everything though. This is being written on a tablet using WiFi from the nearby whale watching outfit. I’ll install my own internet and tv (thanks a lot Bell) once my furniture arrives.

Which brings me to the one thing I’ve actually finished.

I don’t know, maybe guilt does work on me after all.

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Fire & Water

I will start with another phone pic of Herring Cove Provincial Park because nobody should have to look at my basement, and that’s where much of this post’s news is centered.

Today I have 5 cords of firewood arriving to feed the stove I will purchase later this afternoon. Unfortunately that means I have to leave the island again, but I want that stove! The good news is that Molly won’t have to carry it, Kent’s is going to deliver everything in my order. Which brings me to the water part of this chapter.

It turns out that the state of the well on this property was not communicated as clearly as one might have liked. Water isn’t available as consistently as we’re trained to expect in big cities.

I’ve tracked down a few contributing factors – running toilets, shutoff valves which think 90% is good enough, etc. My septic system guy found a possible solution though – a second well!!! Last night my well guy tested it and it is a bountiful source of all the water anybody could want. Yay!

So, in addition to a wood burning stove, I will be buying the bits I need to add the second well to my household water supply. Once it’s hooked up we’re going to run a hose from my first well to an elderly neighbour’s. She hasn’t had running water for a month and I’ll be able to spare enough to keep hers topped up. So it’s win/win.

This all leads to the final bits I’ll pick up today. The laundry room/back porch will be a test area for paint and floor tiles. With any luck the after picture will be worth the hassle of the shopping. 🙂