The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Puddles of Water, A Crack In The Wall And Oh Yes, A Deteriorating Deck

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As weeks go this one was pretty usual with a few fairly expensive exceptions. Last week we headed out for groceries early in anticipation of another snow storm and we stayed close to home pretty much every day thereafter. With well laid plans for staying indoors, Nat and I both got a few things accomplished that are usually put aside for those rainy days, and so it seemed such days were upon us.

With Family Day (Monday the 21st of February) finding certain businesses closed, Nat decided to tackle his first little project – cleaning up the mess of insulation and drywall he had dismantled a few days previous searching for where the water was coming from on the basement floor. His first attempt was unsuccessful and felt maybe it was a fluke from that major downpour of rain a few days beforehand. He then tore up the sump pump room of insulation and cleaned up what he could before re-assembling the shelves lining the back wall of that little room, and which we use for storage. I continued on with Bonnie’s font project and was pleased with the headway I had made. I’m in the final stages of completing one binder and only have one (or possibly two) more to go.

Another thing on our list of little projects was silencing that awful clickety-clack noise coming from the fridge fan. Nat knew where it was coming from and periodically in the past had managed to put back the cardboard cover that had fallen and was scraping against the fan. Whenever the fan started up that clickety-clack noise began and on certain quiet days we had constant reminders that the fridge was at least running. However, the noise was now sounding more severe and, unsure if our suspicions were right, we checked with Nickerson’s Appliances and got the name of their repair guy in our area. He showed up on Thursday afternoon and within 15 minutes that little problem was fixed. Our instincts were right and apparently it was only a matter of removing that piece of cardboard used by the manufacturer to buffer the sound of the fan. After a service call costing all of $56.50 we’re now enjoying beautiful peace and quiet coming from the kitchen.

A few days after repairing the hole in the basement wall, and with a good day of melting snow and rain, more puddles of water were detected. The water was pooling along the baseboard of the wall at the bottom of the stairs and finding its way towards the south-facing wall of the basement. Now it was getting serious and Nat knew he had to dig a little further to see if he had missed something the last time. After tearing away even more drywall, insulation and vapour barrier he found exactly what he didn’t want to find, but at least had discovered the source of the problem. A crack in the concrete wall was now staring us in the face, starting a few inches from the floor and meandering its merry way further up the wall and partially into an empty spare bedroom used by the previous owner’s son. Discussing the options available and the expense involved, we both knew we couldn’t ignore it anymore and had to get this issue resolved once and for all.

Nat and I have also been discussing having the back patio dismantled and an even bigger one built. During the summer months we spend a great deal of time on our little deck, including having our lunch out there on an almost daily basis. As I enjoy baking and as our kitchen isn’t exactly conducive to my way of doing things, I’d dearly love to have the whole thing ripped up and redesigned. Nat and I both know that’s not going to happen anytime soon and we’d have to pick our battles in another area. After some discussion we both felt that the patio would be the least expensive reno of the two and that we’d both get satisfaction in having it done. With two jobs now on our list, the requisite phone call was made to our contractor for a quote on the patio and getting that basement wall fixed.

Simon showed up on Monday the 28th and it wasn’t long before he was up and down the stairs checking the crack in the basement wall, along with going in and out of our patio door taking measurements for the new deck and discussing design ideas. It was apparent from the beginning that he’d be unable to fix the concrete wall, as that’s not his area of expertise, but he would certainly refer us to the professional that could. With some great design suggestions, Simon also made us rethink our original plans for the patio and after giving our okay he would work up a couple of quotes and get back in touch with us. Being the nice lad that he is, he also had a second look at our sump pump situation and despite his best efforts could not explain why the moisture was building up behind the insulation. It was agreed that the door to that little room would remain closed and we’d continue on with our dehumidifier when needed, as we’ve been successful so far having it run in the basement. The burning question still remains – where in hell is all that moisture coming from – and I’m certain we’ll have to address it one of these years!!

With some errands to run on Tuesday morning, we arrived home to a message on our machine that Simon had called the concrete professional to see about the basement wall. He’d be by in the afternoon and explain the process of repair, give us a quote and answer any questions. We were pleased with what he had to say and as Nat had heard of this process, felt it would be our best option. It was either repairing this crack with an epoxy injection from the inside or we’d be spending mega bucks digging around the exterior of the house to repair it from the outside. We were assured that this method was 98% effective, that this technology has been around since the 1950’s (a long explanation, but developed in conjunction with the atomic bomb), was about a 3 hour job and, had a 20 year warranty. The lower price was a welcome bonus. It was a go for Friday afternoon of this week.

With the little money we’ve managed to stash away in our savings account, we’ve also now managed to spend faster than we could save. We both recognize we have no choice if we want to maintain our new little home to the best of our abilities in order to enjoy it and live in relative comfort.

During our little schmozzel at home I continued to think about Gail, Bonnie, Claudia, Michele and Thamazine. They had taken the time to drive up to Sudbury to surprise our only brother on his pending 60th birthday. Two of them would return home Sunday morning while the other three would take the time to drive up to North Bay to visit a beloved Uncle that was in ill health. Not feeling completely up to snuff I decided to remain at home but sent along my best wishes.

It took his sisters a few emails back and forth, some shopping trips by a select few and I’m sure some phone calls at the same time, but we had finally settled on a new watch with a small diamond on the face. It’s become a tradition in this family that once you reach the age of 50 or 60 (depending on the pecking order of when you were born) to receive something with a diamond in it. For us girls we’ve been giving or receiving a nice piece of jewellery (bracelet, ring or necklace) but with dear little brother a dilemma ensued. We soon sorted it out and a new watch was ordered and gift wrapped ready for the big occasion. When the girls returned home they soon brought me up-to-date with their adventure and it sounded like they all had a nice time. The three that visited with Uncle Bill reported that he seemed in good spirits and was really glad to see some of “Lloyd’s” (his brother) girls. We all continue to think about our loveable Uncle Bill and send him all of our love and best wishes.

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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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