Transitioning from 2007 to 2008...
November/December 07 - January 08:
We were very glad to have taken November through January off, although it was difficult to see the numerous building projects going on around Sidney.  However, we remembered how last winter we had walked through construction sites and saw plywood floors under 3 inches of water and felt the blowing, bitter-cold conditions that the workers slugged through...
 

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Yes, we remembered it well and didn't want to put ourselves or the house through all that!  We've had so much fun up to this point; why ruin the experience by worrying about the state of the wood as well as the state of us working in those conditions.

It has also been hard to see how quickly some projects are going up, but then I just have to remind myself that there are many different trades people working on those projects - as seen in this picture... which I had to take to remind myself of this fact.  When we start back up on our project again in the new year - it will be just the 2 of us again!!!!


 

So Thomas set sail for the cottage to immerse himself in his writing again.  He was really keen to get back at it. The outline of his book has taken form and he has already transcribed all the journals he kept over the time he cared for Oma in her last year.  Now he is sorting through many of her things including audio tapes, videos, writings, books, and letters.  His family is contributing by answering his query emails in reflection and contemplation.

I set out to get into a routine of sorting through stuff and pitching, reading/studying (project preparation) and getting back into shape for the next stage of the project.  Soon after Thomas left though Cali, my cat, was involved in some sort of accident or attack that required her to have emergency surgery and aftercare which occurred over a two week period (1st-14th).  Thomas even came back for a visit to help out, as I was pretty distraught at the antics involved in getting her to the vet for checkup and then to have the stitches out.  That last episode saw me in emergency until two in the morning getting a tetanus shot and prescription for heavy duty antibiotics (for 2 puncture wounds to my middle finger from someone's fangs).  My sister took me because Thomas was nursing his back from wrenching it after hurtling after Cali to catch her to put her in the carrier!
 

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November 9th - 19th:  We had a surprise visit from my sister, Nancy!  She was on her way home (to Ontario) from a holiday in Hawaii (with her husband and another couple) when she decided to stop over and visit with us!  We had a gals' get-away, from the 15th- 17th, (my Mom, her and I) to Whistler for a-2 night-stay!  It was very exciting to see the sites and preparation for the 2010 Olympics.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't all that co-operative - it was rainy and foggy, so we didn't see a whole lot of the mountains but that didn't take away from our time together - it was wonderful and we had lots of laughs!
 

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November 24th - 27th:  I got word from our Hydro rep. that the excavating company would be coming at the end of the week to dig and lay pipes for going underground with Hydro and Telus.  I had to clear out a large portion of the berm beforehand as they were snubbing over to the next property in anticipation (and to save money) for development in the future. It was most unfortunate (and alot of work) to have to move/disturb the majority of planting we had done last Summer.  They all got put into containers and dug into the side of the house - hoping they will last until the Spring when we can replant them.
  

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November 28th-30th
It was amazing to watch the fellow operating the excavator... he's been doing it for 43 years... started when he was 16! He was so good at it!; amazing precision! and I thought Thomas was good!  

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It was a big job; not only did they go through the berm but they tore up in front of Nancy & Larry's house because that is where the utility boxes needed to go.  So that work is all done now and ready for us to go underground after we complete the first floor framing and install the service panel.
 
November 29th - Wood Design Luncheon Conference
I attended a "Wood Design Luncheon Conference" sponsored by "Wood WORKS! / Canadian Wood Council".  It was very inspiring to have sat with a group of Architects and Engineers; I talked about our project, etc., and got some good feedback!

I had a Technical Consultant of the CWC actually offer to look at our drawings to comment on some of the concerns we have for protecting our beams and decking outside... how wonderful is that?!  There were four seminars: "Why use timber as your structural material; "Passive Houses, Wood Construction - State of the Art in Europe"; "Wood Design Awards in British Columbia - Winning Projects 2007"; and "Airplanes and Boats: Little Boxes and Big Boxes". I learned alot, it felt good to mingle with that group of people, it was fun, a great lunch at the Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel, and it was free!

 
December mainly consisted of doing lots of chores around the house and readying for the Christmas season... 
Mom decided to go back East for the holidays, so we decided to spend a quiet season between the cottage and here.  I went over to the cottage for a few days in mid-December, Thomas came here for the week of Christmas, and then we both went back over to spend New Years in rest and contemplation. 

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stretching on Mt. Young...

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amazing vista...

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Christmas at Malaview

 

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January was a real mix of some sunny, cold days and overcast or rainy days.  I enjoyed being outside alot and finally got around to planting bulbs that we had saved from our excavating last summer!  We had put them in a basket in the studio and low and behold there they were sprouting away excited knowing that Spring was around the corner.  I am amazed at how tenacious nature is - it is so full of life and wants to spring forth even, in what seems to us, the poorest of conditions!
 


temporary fix...


permanent fix.

The end of January brought really frosty nights and I awoke one morning to a frozen water pipe.  Having never had to deal with this before, I got on the phone to Thomas to talk me through how to handle it.  He advised me well about warming the pipe to thaw it out, however I was overzealous and used a heat-gun on it which subsequently started melting the pipe!  I realized it and turned off the water just as a pinhole leak started.  I got on the phone to Thomas again and we decided that I should attempt to patch it to hold it for the time being.  It worked, but it wouldn't have held for long so Thomas sailed over so we could do the repair right! We kicked through the floorboard (rotten) in the broom closet to expose everything and repaired it with elbows and hose clamps.  We shoveled in dirt around the pipe coming out of the ground (to replace old shag carpet) to insulate it and cut a piece of board to put over it for a "floor" for the closet.

So... what did I learn from that experience?  1) to think ahead a number of steps before attempting something, 2) to slow down and not be overzealous, as that can have serious consequences, 3) I've got alot to learn, and 4) I am excited about it all!  So, on that note... February 4th start date is just next week!!  Thomas is sailing back on Friday and we'll have a weekend to ready for starting back to work on Monday!!
       
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