The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Why Is It Always In December???

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December 2010 has been fairly peaceful and quiet to this point. We managed to get our Christmas shopping done, a little later than expected, but it’s done. This afternoon I also managed to get the last item wrapped and even popped a coconut loaf in the oven for Nat. While I was upstairs doing that, he was downstairs getting things ready for the new sump pump to be installed. Our plumber suggested that one submersible pump should be a little higher than the other and Nat was able to find a couple of small concrete blocks to fix that problem. He also needed a couple of 2 x 4’s for something to do with the pipes leading up to the exterior of the house, and while puttering around in the sump pump room he noticed moisture behind the insulation. Here we go again!!!! Just when you think you’ve got that moisture problem solved, it comes back to bite ya!!

Nat had insulated the sump pump room, but left off the vapour barrier because of the high humidity down there. We’ve also been running the dehumidifier in the basement and things seem to have settled down a bit. The windows upstairs haven’t been dripping with moisture in the morning and the temperature in the basement seems to have levelled itself out. So now we’re back into the same old problem – where in hell is that water coming from, especially on the interior side of the concrete walls?? Before we can determine where the problem is, Nat had to remove all of that insulation in order to keep an eye on the wet walls. He says there isn’t too much we can do until Spring after the snow has melted in order to check on the exterior of the house for the root of this whole problem. From what he can see so far, he’s thinking the water may be seeping in between where the concrete basement and wooden framing meet. As we’ve noticed that some corners were cut when building this house, he’s now thinking that maybe something was left off or omitted when they laid the foundation and then added the wooden framing on top. Perhaps they cut corners by leaving off any barriers between the two to protect each from the other?? It would be so much easier just to have the walls sealed on the interior – plus it would certainly be cheaper – but we both agree that we’re still skirting over the whole issue, which is what we want to resolve permanently.

The past three Decembers while living in this new old house have been weird, busy or the last month of a crappy year. In December 2007 we were busy painting before we moved in, covering over the most God-awful mural in the office, physically moving in and by the end of the month too tired to even put up our Christmas Tree. December of 2008 saw us having that huge Poplar tree in our back yard chopped down before it fell and costing us $1800.00 right before Christmas!! Something everybody wants – a huge expense on top of shopping for Christmas, right?? It was either chop it down or wait for it to come crashing down and do some extensive damage to the house and even the two of us while nestled in our beds!! In 2009 our timing was such that December was the only month our contractor could renovate the one room in the house that we couldn’t stand anymore – the bathroom. We had put up with that bathroom for over a year with it’s sink popping out of the vanity, the damaged tub, the scratched flooring and a light fixture that looked like it had been there for 100 years. Renovations we could handle, but this December was also the end of a crappy year medically speaking. I was still recovering from surgery and the Christmas shopping suffered because of it. We weren’t able to get things finished until 2 days before the 25th, and it was another year where we were too tired to put up the Christmas Tree. What the hell, no one was coming over anyways!!

As far as Decembers go, I’m beginning to believe it’s a month that sees transitions – moving, renovating, prevention and recovery. I don’t see why this December should be any different and hopefully this will be the transition month that sees 2011 the year we finally get that damn water problem fixed in the basement. By the time this whole affair is done my knowledge of sump pumps and humidity would make any contractor proud. Hell, at this rate I’m thinking I could probably install one of those suckers!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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