Thursday, September 3, 2009


The outhouse is progressing, it seems slow but it probably isn't really.

Yesterday Mike went to Canning to buy all the stuff we needed to finish it, but he didn't get everything. He could get plywood for the roof but not for the walls because a local farmer had bought up all the 3/8" plywood earlier in the morning for something he was building. They had a toilet seat but it was rather expensive; Mike figured I could get a cheaper one another time.

He picked up about a pound of nails and they charged $85 for that! Must have been a typo, they probably meant $0.85, but Mike'll have to go back to get them to fix it.

So yesterday we got the roof on and all the wall studs up, and we hung the door. It looks quite handsome.

I stapled tarpaper onto the roof.

Today I planned to buy the plywood for the walls and the rest of the stuff we needed, the toilet seat, a thumb latch for the door, stain for the plywood, and also some groceries. I need coffee! Mike had to go down to the Valley too, we ended up leaving at the same time. But Mike turned off on the road to Canning and I continued on to Wolfville.

Driving down the Mountain, I smelled antifreeze. Then I saw a light on the dash behind my pen, I moved the pen and the light said "CHECK GAGES". I looked at all the dials, wondering what I was supposed to be looking for. Then I saw the Temperature gauge up in the red zone. I pulled off the road immediately. Lifted the hood and sure enough there was steam or smoke puffing out. Whups.

I usually carry a phone book in the truck so I got that out to look for the number of the garage that fixed my truck the other day. A truck passing in the other direction stopped and the driver asked if I needed a phone. I said, No thanks, waving my cell phone at him. He drove off. But when I turned it on it immediately told me that my battery was low and needed to be charged right away. Double whups.

I tried calling anyway. When the garage answered I spoke quickly trying to tell them who I was, where I was, what the problem was and that my cell phone was about to die. Then the woman who answered put me on hold! And of course my cell phone died.

I walked down the road looking for a house with a car in front of it. I found one a short distance away, in fact the car owner was puttering in his driveway. When I asked if I could use his phone he led me into his house and his wife directed me to the phone. I called the garage, got their voice mail and told them the address and phone number of this house. The woman at the garage called back in a few minutes and said that Albert was on his way. So I went outside to wait for him.

It turned out that the fellow and his wife whose phone I used were from the Harbour. In fact he grew up there. When he told me where he used to live, I knew who he was, I had heard of him. We talked a bit about the Harbour and Wenega. He was friends with Mike but hadn't seen him in a while, he asked after Mike.

Albert showed up a few minutes later and quickly found that radiator hose clamp had come loose, thus emptying the rad and causing the engine to overheat. He was able to re-install the clamp and refill the rad with antifreeze, and then suggested that I follow him back to the garage where he could double check the clamp and also the antifreeze and water ratio in rad. This we did, and after he had satisfied himself that everything was as it should be, he offered me a card entitling me to a free oil change in compensation for the aggravation.

I continued on to Wolfville and picked up all the things I needed, but I got back home much later than I had planned. Plus the whole event took its toll on my physical, emotional and mental stamina, I felt exhausted and nearly brain-dead.

Nevertheless Mike and I tackled the outhouse again. Mike and Ruth are planning to go away on the weekend so Mike wanted to get far enough along that I could continue without him, or his Skilsaw. I think I would have preferred to go somewhere and stare at a wall for an hour or two, but never mind we ploughed ahead.

I rather suspect Mike was in a similar state of mind, it seemed like we made all kinds of mistakes and barely managed to avoid snapping at each other. The mosquitoes just swarmed, the outhouse is in a damp shady area and we were hot and sweaty.

At one point, after having miscut a sheet of plywood and discovering that it was not only the wrong size but the wrong shape, and then debating what to do about that, Mike said there were two choices: slap the damn thing up and ignore the fact that it was the wrong size and shape, or go cut another sheet of plywood correctly. I opted for the former (slap it up). Mike said nothing and we slapped it up. I am beyond caring.

Then Peter phoned to say that he had found in his workshop basement a bunch of clapboard I could use on the walls of the outhouse. I told him I had just bought the plywood for that. Oh well. He had a few more suggestions, and they were all useful and kind, but my mental and emotional exhaustion was such that I could not really comprehend what was being suggested. I just thanked him.

Mike finally left around 6pm. He still has to get me started on the roofing, we think we will do that tomorrow. I met Valerie on the road back into the woods on my way back from the Valley, she was at the pond with her dog Phoebe. She motioned for me to stop because she was worried Phoebe might bound up from the pond and into my path. She said she had missed me on the morning dog walks this week and hoped I would be out tomorrow. I said I would, but now it looks like I won't be able to.

It's amazing how a relatively minor incident can completely overwhelm you for the rest of the day. There was no real harm done, the incident only lasted an hour, but it wiped me out for the rest of the day.


Alan G said...

Lookin' good!

Wisewebwoman said...

I totally understand, Annie, and totally sympathize. Amazing how we can be thrown off by a small incident that then magnifies itself into delays and stress and working beyond our capacity.
Better to call it quits and crawl into bed with a book.

Friko said...

Hi Annie
You are a better man than me, Gunga Din.
Sorry, I get carried away, the mere thought of diy brings me out in a sweat.
We share a couple of sites on the web and I just saw your comment on 20Cwoman and Alan G. and decided to visit. I'll be back!
btw, there's story of mine at the moment on Elderbloggers.