days… dutch days

The dog keeps staring at us… We have been up at the bunkie working all day.. Came down to the house at five, I threw some food in his dish and started to make a salad for dinner… Time passed, we finished dinner and the dog is still pacing back and forth staring at us… Cut it out.. You have food and water and I gave you a bone today…

We were in the boat and on the water to pick up lumber at a near by island by 8 AM. We needed to repay the lumber loan from our neigbhour and after three mixups at the lumber yard we finally had the 4 2X10 14′ pressure treated boards we owed him. Safely dropped off at the other end of the island, we came home for a second cup of coffee at 8:45.

My job d’jour was to stain the 12 1X12 rough cedar boards which arrived on Tuesday to finish the siding for our house. E’s was to build the porch/deck on the guest cabin. Yes, I know, normally one would build a porch/deck last but we don’t have roofing so drywall is on hold and when we do have the roofing he is going to need the deck to put it up safely. The porch/deck will be covered and it was all I could stand for E to climb the ladder for the shorter side for the front rafters.. He quite rightly drew the line for the steeper side. The last rafter can wait til the deck is built.

The weather was on again, off again rain but we managed to ignore it and worked anyways… Actually prefer a little rain than heat. My garden is soooo happy!

When we got the puppy my dear friend from Ladner, (hi Kerry) gave me a hint about training dogs… which we did.. So when we put his food down he isn’t allowed to eat it until he shakes a paw and I push it toward him and say ok… Apparently I was in such a hurry when we came down hungry and exhausted that I forgot to give the okay for the dog to eat his dinner… That was why he kept staring at us….. I clued in and gave him the okay and he inhaled his dinner.. too funny.

On the water picking up lumber at 7:30, back for some coffee at 9. work from 10-5 with no break…. we now call these

days… dutch days

with the seniors

In grade twelve I didn’t attend many classes. I was busy hanging out in a tiny room set aside for the “seniors” down the hall from the office, across from the auditorium, playing Bridge. Once introduced to the game, it can be addictive. That being said, I am a terrible bridge player. But if I can find a forgiving partner, I do love to try.

Two of my favorite women on the island were here this week. They were friends of my father in law. The first neighbours we met here in ’82. One, is a Bridge expert. a genius with cards. She is in her early 80’s and has very kindly accepted the role of tutor to my limited capacities for playing no trump or what the hell to open with when I have eleven points but six or more cards in one suit…

Her sister, in her late eighties, is not as good a player as the card genius but she still maintains her annual ski pass at Whistler cause she is and I quote here “a speed freak” so, it must be said, both women are worth my mad respect. I repeat again, as I often do… The women I have met here on this island are amazing..

So my winter Bridge partner (who is over the charts better at Bridge than me) and I met the sisters for a game of bridge on a beautiful sunny Monday morning in July when most normal people were outside playing or working in the sun and blue skies. Whatever we four had to do, could wait… There was a Bridge game going on!!!

E was back at the house puttering on the guest house, Not so much moving further ahead as fine tuning what has been done. In a holding pattern til more supplies arrived and this afternoon, they did.

Today, we got the boards we need to begin the porch for the guest cabin and the fascia to finish the siding on our house.. On Thursday, we can dig in and make some visible progress while we wait for the roofing to arrive. We feel we have been stalled for a while.

Card expert sister encouraged me to play Bridge at least twice a week to get decent at the game and not forget what I have learned. Awesome, I am in. I’m sure E will understand. I will explain that just like forty years ago, I might need to ignore my work for a bit while I play Bridge

with the seniors

since the eighties

We kept a lot of things for sentimental reasons from the family home and brought them here with us. We kept some useful things and a lot of useless things. All of it has spent the last seven years gathering dust in our studio and in our neighbour’s workshop. The guest cabin, once finished, will hopefully make use of some of the treasures. The rest should be burned.

For example, you know that piece of wall you might have had in your home where you measured the growth of your children. Ours was on the wall of the garage where all of our children and their friends hung out over the 22 years we lived there. In addition to marking the usual childhood milestones, it seems anyone who partied in our garage was inspired at some time or other to also add their name to the wall. It was a thing of beauty. We cut that piece of drywall out and brought it with us. Yes, I am that sentimental. It is going in the guest cabin and our granddaughter can mark her height next to her dad, grand parents, aunt, uncle and whoever the hell Harp is.

More usefully, we kept a lot of the children’s books and brought bins of them with us. Although Robert Munsch books continue to be a hit, many of the books are looking pretty ratty and need upgrading. I had a suspicion that new books might have been written since the 80’s which might be worth adding to the collection. It is time to update the stash.

I asked for recommendations from grand parent friends. I also this morning checked Amazon. I checked top children’s books for 2019. Rated number three on the list is a book called “Grow the F*ck up” by John Kyle.

Children’s literature and/or parenting has apparently changed

since the eighties

patience than I

I kissed the baby and turned on the musical mobile above his resting head. I handed E a handful of T3’s and closed his bedroom door. I went downstairs, feeling not so sorry for E with a bruised and swollen face but mostly just sorry for me. Sure, he had just had his wisdom teeth pulled but it was my birthday. I was 30 and alone on the couch. There was no Netflix, or YOUTUBE, not even a VCR and the only thing on TV was Meet the Press. It was 1987.

At 8 PM there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find my two girlfriends from the Big Blue company where I worked. They carried brown paper bags filled with chips, dip, red wine and most memorably a Sara Lee frozen chocolate cake complete with the requisite birthday candles.

We talked, drank, ate, sang and danced long into the night and after I bid them goodbye, I went upstairs to fall happily into our bed. I found there, that neither my son or husband had so much as woken to blink an eye thru the noise of all the shenanigans.

We continue to require an inordinate amount of patience to build on this island. I am not normally known for my patience.

We ordered the fascia to finish the house siding two weeks ago and it was to arrive on Wednesday. It is now Friday and might arrive by next Thursday. So that task is on hold.

The roofing for the guest cabin was supposed to arrive weeks ago and now won’t be here until the 24th!!! The 24th!!! I refuse to pay for two more barges to bring supplies, so that means the tongue and groove is also on hold. We will fill that barge to the brim with every conceivable thing we might need to finish this project, any future projects and if there is still room, I will fill it with soils for the garden.

In the meantime we will do everything we can on the cabin without a roof. As backward and out of order as it may be.

The friend who came to my door thirty two years ago came to work with us this week with her husband. Through the years she has always been just a phone call away and I treasure the friendship and loyalty she has always shown to this imperfect soul. My friend is a woman who seems to be able to ignore my many faults. She apparently has much more

patience than I.

sleep sitting up

Our Dutch guests/workers left yesterday. Everyone worked hard all week. Me, less so, but still I did my share making sure everyone else had what they needed to give it their all.. and they did.

After our guests/workers left, we dragged ourselves to the wine store to bottle 120 bottles of wine.. some for our son’s wedding and some for my medicine chest. The wine store guy booked us in for four hours to complete the job. E, my sister in law and I got it done in one. We impressed the guy with our efficiency making the wine……. He should see how fast we can drink it…

We had every expectation that the materials we needed to finish the house would be delivered on the barge today. We were naive. Tongue and groove for the ceiling and the metal roofing were late from the suppliers and missed the barge. So we will need yet another barge next week. We filled the extra space with lattice sheets for the under side of the cabin. Don’t want otter thinking all that nice dry space has been provided for their defecating comfort.

We were going to paint and install the tongue and groove this week with our next guests/workers… I’m going to have to think of something else to entertain them. Again, hate to disappoint enthusiastic participants. I’m thinking they would love to help us wrap the cabin in Tyvek.

With the low daytime tides, the barge had to come this morning at 7:30. E and I loaded up our two trucks twice, with lumber, lattice, posts, and a shower stall. By 10:30 it was all stacked at our building site waiting for the rain to stop and work to begin again. We were not unhappy that it is raining today.

I put a second pot of coffee on and then promptly fell asleep sitting up

on the couch.

be framed in

Good morning! Rise and shine. It is 6 AM, I’ve had my shower and coffee is in hand. E and our guests (workers) are still asleep. I’m afraid I broke them. They all worked so hard. So much was accomplished yesterday.

We are going through 2×4’s like red wine… We have already gone through 200 with more coming on Saturday’s barge, but Tuesday night we ran out, again. We have willing guests here who couldn’t help as much as they wanted without more materials. I hate to disappoint..

Fortunately Arbutus Lumber on the neighbouring island answered the phone at 730 AM and by ten had delivered more 2X4’s to our boat at the local dock. E and one of the guests finished the bathroom wall, put up the final OSB, picked up the lumber and were back in time for coffee and cookies at 11. (I am in charge of coffee and cookies). By five o’clock all walls were done, the pony wall along the centre of the cabin was up and the 28 foot 4×10 beam built and raised.. wow.. whew,,

Our other guest loves to wash windows. I know! She says it’s a Dutch thing. I recommend, especially if you live in a glass house, getting yourself some Dutch friends. She washed all of my windows, inside and out. Did you know if you wash windows, they shine? Who knew? Gorgeous.. she just uses vinegar, water and a drop of blue dawn.

It goes without saying that after a lovely dinner, bottle of wine and a glass of port, everyone was sound asleep by nine pm. I’m worried maybe it was too much and I broke them. I do hope they wake up. The bathroom ceiling has to

be framed in

to bury itself

That moment when you have been laying in bed for hours listening to the silence of the world outside the window when in an instant the birds wake up and begin to sing. You look at the clock and it is 4:39 AM.

Why am I unable to sleep like the dog? He is deep in dream filled bliss the moment he snuggles down between us. I never notice him tossing and turning, unable to settle during the night, thinking about sinks and toilets.

It isn’t that I have any worries. I don’t. I just have a million things I want to accomplish and my ideas get carried away from practicality. It is not practical to pull all of my material stash out to plan quilts when I will have no time to sew until well into October. It is not realistic and I need to cease and get back to figuring out my sink dilemma.

We are making great progress on the guest cabin considering we are, as is always the case, hampered by the realities of getting the materials to the work site. The culprit at the moment is the tide. This time of year the tides are often too low for the barge to come through the cut. There is a huge demand on barge guys time as it seems like everyone is building something right now and his availability to get through the cut with our supplies is limited.

We try to work around barge guys schedule. We were able to borrow lumber from a kind neighbour who doesn’t need his 2X10’s til mid July. E needs his this week for the beam but our barge doesn’t come til Saturday. Great neighbour eh? People on this island are awesome!

We were in town this week and ordered a shower. It is also coming on the barge. It needs to be installed before the bathroom wall goes up. We already have an extra toilet. (long story) but are thinking the sink we have tucked away is too big..

Hmmm, I’ll think of something but maybe not in the middle of the night.. I am trying to learn from the dog. He sleeps well and it isn’t like he doesn’t have things to worry about. There is an endless supply of socks which need stealing and that bone isn’t going

to bury itself