Archive for the ‘vehicles’ Category

We had a bunch of running around to do in town yesterday, including a vet appointment for one of the dogs.  We are desperately trying to wrap up projects, including getting the laminate flooring finished, the barn cleaned, and the house in some semblance of order.  Anything ‘big’ we want done needs to be finished before I go back to work full time on Monday, as it will be near-impossible for Hubby to accomplish much with a clingy 10 month old hanging off his leg, and no ability to do anything noisy during nap time.  Unfinished projects had been piling up, and we realized that we were never going to be able to do the eavestroughing ourselves before work starts – between the late spring and all the other half-finished things in the house, we decided to admit defeat and hire someone else to do it for us.  I was really reluctant to spend the money, but, a couple of weeks later, it is melting, and we have no icicles or large and growing puddles by the basement walls, which is completely worth it.  Maybe the basement will even stay dry this year.


I had ordered a truck load of water, so that I could run several extra loads of laundry over the weekend – I want to wash the spare-bedroom bedding, as well as all my packed-away work clothes, just so that they’re fresh.   I mentioned to the business owner that our driveway is fairly slushy right now, but that it is still freezing up at night, so would be okay as long as he came first thing in the morning.


The driver showed up at 1pm.


He made it about halfway up the drive.


Now, I like the water guys – both the business owner and this particular driver have been very good to us.  However, I was pretty frustrated with them yesterday afternoon.  You see, the driver, having gotten quite stuck, decided to try to get out, and wouldn’t hear of us calling a neighbor to bring a tractor over.  So, instead of a ten-minute tow job, we ended up with an hour and a half of diesel fumes, spinning tires, back-up beepers, shoveling, and general frustration.  While buddy did get out in the end, about a quarter of our driveway is now a huge mud pit with foot-deep dug-out ruts, and we missed our vet appointment and had to re-schedule.  We were late getting to town, late for dinner and chores, and very late getting to bed, despite having to be up early this morning to go on our annual book sale date.


Now, admitting defeat really isn’t my forte, but sometimes, even I recognize it’s better to just stop digging bigger holes and go ask for help…


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Wrenches in Gears

It has been a long, long couple of weeks.  The two little boys we had here a while back were supposed to be coming to stay, so we child-proofed the house, re-arranged the furniture, picked up some things that would have made life a lot easier, like a toilet seat insert and some booster seats for the table, and then…


…and then their father cropped up, after months of being incommunicado, and threw a wrench in the gears by stating that he absolutely did not want them coming to us.  All this after the mother, aunties, and all of the grandparents had consulted and agreed that this was a good placement.  So then it looked like we weren’t getting them after all.  Hubby was particularly let down, as he had really bonded with the little guys.  I have to admit, I was pretty sad, too.


The boys are not formally in the foster care system – they are distantly related, but their parents are unable to care for them right now.  Other family members had been taking care of them, but did not have the resources to manage over the long term.  Word had leaked out that Hubby and I were taking the initial steps to be foster parents, so we were approached about these two, and agreed to take them for a week and see how things went.  Of course, despite frustrations, things went fairly well, and we agreed to take them.  Until the father intervened, of course.  Realistically, we just aren’t in a position to get into a legal battle over these little guys, especially since they are not wards of the state, and we are not officially foster parents, so therefore, we would have no legal standing whatsoever.


Then, we get a call – could we take the boys again for another week?  Their current caregivers had a situation come up that they just can’t watch them this week.  Of course we could – where else could they possibly go?  So, we have a busy house again.


Then a note, that the father may have changed his mind. Nothing for sure, of course….


Can you say rollercoaster?


Meanwhile, the truck we purchased is partially fixed.  It needed brakes, a new brake line in the back, and a seal replaced, as well as a few minor things like a new battery and some tidying up.  The brakes went pretty well, but we ran into trouble with the brake line, and had to leave it for another week.  I say we, but really, it was our buddy who has done all the work, and he has traveled from a town several hours away for the privilege.  We are unspeakably grateful, and just wish things went smoother, as now he is going to have to drive back in again, to finish it up for us…he has donated a huge amount of his time to us, and I can’t imagine how we will ever manage to return the favor.


So all in all we seem to have a lot of loose ends hanging around here, and no firm answers to be seen…

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After several frustrating attempts at getting various fencing supplies out to the Acreage, Hubby and I caved and acknowledged that we really do need a truck.  So far, friends have been very kind in helping us get the things we need out here, but most of our friends are not from our immediate area, and we have to wait for them to be passing through in order to use their vehicles.  The Co-op Agro Centre will deliver, but they charge basically a dollar a kilometer, so whatever we get delivered had better be big, as it’ll cost us around a hundred bucks.  That is not really the preferred option, since we were planning to do the house renovations, fencing, and barn roofing as we could afford it, $200 here and $500 there, but it makes no sense to do that if your material delivery makes up a third of the material cost.


Once we recognized that we needed a truck, we started saving up for one.  We had seen some appropriate vehicles advertized locally – our plan was to go for our usual:  a fairly cheap older model, preferably ugly as sin, but in decent mechanical shape.  I hate to be the first to scratch the paint on a vehicle, and this truck is going to see some heavy use.   A good friend of ours, a mechanic, even sat down with us and helped us find some good options, and offered to test-drive vehicles in his own area on our behalf.  We figured we’d saved enough for purchase price plus insurance, as we started the hunt.


Then, last weekend, the stove bit me.


When I say bit me, I mean, sent a jolt of 220v up my right arm, totally unprovoked.  I had set the kettle on for a cup of tea, and it had boiled.  I reached over to turn the burner off, and whammo!  I dropped the kettle (luckily without spilling boiling water all over myself, and went to lean against the wall and cradle my arm and whimper for a minute.  I got a funny twitch in my right eye, and my heartbeat did a few swoops and skips, but I was mostly okay.  The stove, however, clearly had to go.  Hubby went downstairs and turned off that breaker, and I finished making my tea.
Of course, the stove, being quite probably older than Hubby or I, was actually hard-wired to the breaker box, and could not just be unplugged and moved.  Noooo, we actually had to get a professional in if we wanted to fix it.


We had actually purchased a new stove back in March or April, when we ordered the new fridge – those darn delivery charges made it more economical to buy a stove we knew we weren’t going to use for months, rather than getting it delivered later.  It has been sitting in the corner of the kitchen, quietly accumulating stacks of papers and holding up various half-finished projects.  While I would rather have been using it the whole time (you would not believe how filthy the old stove was), that little wiring problem promised to be just a little too expensive to be worth it, at least until we had a few more bucks saved up.  Then, of course, life intervened…


On Monday, I started calling around for an electrician, and the first place I called assured me that they could get someone out the very next day…for a price.  Hourly rate for the travel time, to be precise, plus mileage.  The fellow I talked to was very pleasant, though, and I liked that he did not talk down to me, despite me clearly not knowing much at all about electrical, and being a gal, to boot.  I booked an appointment.


Tuesday morning, the workman arrived, and he was also pleasant and personable, with the added bonus of being able to explain what he was doing in little words for the non-technical.   There were concerns that the wire running to the old stove would not be heavy enough to support the new stove, and that would have added a hundred bucks or more to the bill – apparently copper is expensive, these days – but luckily, we did not have to replace any wires.   He had a nice, shiny new outlet wired into the wall in short order, then, I told him that I would like quotes on a couple of other things, while we were at it.


I know the panel in our house is ancient, probably dating back to when Rural Electrification actually made it here, likely in the early sixties, though it is also possible that it dates right back to when the house was built.   Since then, someone installed a light fixture here and a dryer plug-in there, and added a bunch of circuits to the panel, without adding enough breakers to manage them.   As well, the service is 60 or 70 amp, not nearly sufficient in a time when 100 amp is considered to be standard.  I asked the electrician for a quote on fixing the incoming service and replacing the panel, as this place is unlikely to sell without that being upgraded.   He took a look, and told me he would mail a quote later, though he suggested I be sitting down when I look at it.  Ouch.


I also took him around the yardsite, and asked him what it would cost to bring down all the wires running to various buildings, then re-run proper service to the barn.  He went around with a little tester, and discovered that there is actually electricity to a bunch of buildings that I thought were not working anymore, plus he discovered a wire just laying on the ground (formerly running to one of the garages) that was also hot.   I am so glad I asked him to have a look around, as Hubby was planning to mow that area, with the metal scythe, later this week.   My little 220v jolt was unpleasant enough, I can’t imagine what hitting a main wire with a metal implement would be like.  The electrician fixed that one up right away, and said he would send a quote for the rest of the work later.   I would love to get a light or two in the barn, and maybe even a plug-in, though I expect that will be out of our price range for the immediate future.


At any rate, we got the bill today, though not the quote for fixing that stupid (dangerous) electrical panel.   I’m thinking we’ll have to start over with saving up for the truck…

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