Saturday, January 24, 2015

Adjusting to Rural Life. And Retirement.

Now that we've had a couple of months in our new home and settled into somewhat of a routine that no longer includes unpacking vast quantities of boxes (and not that there aren't plenty to go through still) the insomniac  thought you might enjoy a post about a typical day in the Little Gothic Cottage. Although she realizes everyone is far more interested in seeing how the Buckleberry turned out, but as that involves wading through almost 700 pictures of the build and whipping them into some semblance of order, writing this post seemed the lesser of two evils.

Upon awakening - time varying depending on the quantity of sleep the previous night -  the first order of business is to grab the tablet off the nightstand and check for any important incoming mail. Or Facebook updates. Or something exciting on Pinterest. Basically anything to delay having to crawl out of the very warm, cozy and comfortable bed. During the first half of the month, this is an enjoyable part of the day as internet speed is almost acceptable. By around the twelfth of the month, the 20GB limit has been used up and everything slows to a crawl. Is anybody reading this old enough to remember dial-up connections back in the day? It's every bit as bad as that.

After performing her morning ablutions, which often don't include brushing out her braid (because there are seldom unannounced visitors at the cottage) she heads into the kitchen to make the first pot of coffee of the day, to be enjoyed in the Four Seasons Sunroom.

Obviously, no tidying up was done for this photo ...

Once comfortably settled in the sunroom, the spouse likes to check the weather forecast on his cell phone by extending his arm in the air and waving the phone around until he finally gets a signal, and the resultant generic weather report for Alberta Zip (even our phones can't figure out where we are). The insomniac  prefers to use the old-fashioned method of forecasting, commonly called Looking out the Window.

The more frost on the windows, the colder it is.

It's a pretty accurate indicator.

This is a Chinook arch. It's windy and warm. All the snow will melt.

He's all puffed up. It's cold.

After we've finished the first pot of coffee and determined the day's weather, it's time to start our exercise routine. This consists of running from the main floor to the second floor and from window to window to see what wildlife is visiting the neighbourhood that day. And then running between floors trying to locate the camera. Further trips up and down the stairs occur frequently during the day, as we attempt to get cell service to receive any incoming texts or phone calls.

Red squirrels are voracious eaters.

So are mulie young'uns.

You'll notice how the insomniac is already adopting the rural dialect ...

There were a pair, but they caught sight
of the spouse and the camera ...

Flee! Flee!

After all this vigorous exercise, it's time for the second pot of coffee ...

The rest of the morning is spent performing various activities around the cottage; said activities determined by the weather. -15°C or less and you'll find the insomniac, roll of paper towels clutched firmly in hand, mopping up water from the melting frost on the windows and trying to prevent the wooden sills from being ruined. If we're having a Chinook, the day is spent moving the lasagna pan around the sunroom floor, trying to catch the drips from the melting snow that enters around the roof cresting. Since the caulking was done last year during the dreaded Polar Vortex, we'd probably have been more surprised if it didn't  leak.

The purple lasagna pan has become a permanent fixture in the middle of the floor, but as it matches one of the settees it's not too annoying. Unless one is attempting to sneak into the sunroom in the middle of the night without waking the spouse and stubs her toe on it. Then it's annoying.

Time for the third pot of coffee, followed by a brief discussion on what to make for lunch ...

In the afternoon, the insomniac will wander around the cottage deciding what bathroom fixtures are in need of a dose of Iron Out or Calcium Lime Rust Remover. Our well water, although it has been “shocked” (which means it had bleach poured into it - oh, the things you'll learn on this blog ... next week, septic tanks and fields) has quite a high iron content, and toilets and sinks and washing machines and every other appliance in the cottage require a great deal of maintenance to keep them looking pristine. So that takes some time.

Around 3:00 p.m., the insomniac  spends fifteen minutes getting into her winter gear and walks down the highway to get the mail. On the way down the driveway she checks the tracks in the snow to see who has been there previous to her, aided by her handy guide “Animal Tracks in Alberta”.

R-L: Size 8 Sorel - Female;
Vulpes Vulpes or Red Fox - Gender Unknown;
Case International Farmall B Tractor - definitely Male.

Once on the highway (and one is using that word somewhat loosely, although it is paved) a person can expect to be greeted by one or two drivers also on their way to their mailboxes, with the age-old rural acknowledgement of another's existence - a slight lift of the index finger off the steering wheel. Quite different from the middle finger salute one had become accustomed to in the city.

The walk down to the mailbox ...

... looks identical to the walk back home.

Our closest neighbours live on the left. Within a month of our moving into the Little Gothic Cottage,  a House for Sale by Owner sign appeared in their driveway. Probably just coincidence.

And there she is ... the Little Gothic Cottage.

Before entering the LGC, the insomniac  stops out front and spends a few minutes (or an hour, depending on weather) feeding the chickadees.

Also voracious eaters ...

Back inside and it's time to switch from coffee to tea. A debate on what to make for supper ensues. 

After the meal we head upstairs, where the spouse watches TV and the insomniac  sits down at the computer; how long she sits depending on speed. According to our Internet Service Provider, the cause of the drastic slowdown in the evening is because every child who's been at school all day long are now playing on their computers until their bedtimes. And so we all suffer.

And since some of the inhabitants in the cottage don't care much for television, they will give up in disgust and retire to bed early to read. During the first few weeks of being in our own home again, the insomniac  slept like the dead. But after six months of hotel living and being awakened EVERY night at 1:00 a.m. when the saloon started emptying out, firstly by the joyful sounds of people laughing and singing, then degenerating into arguing and shouting, and inevitably ending with somebody getting their head slammed into the hood of a pick-up truck, that shouldn't come as any great surprise.

But just lately the old habits have returned, and it's actually pretty awesome being up in the middle of the night in the sunroom with only the moon and millions of stars for company - and whatever carnivorous beasts are out in the forest staring in at her. Much like a sitting duck.

Pretty awesome, indeed ...

People said the insomniac  wouldn't like living in the country and probably wouldn't like being retired very much either. “You'll be bored!”, they said. But, as you can see, we have very full days out here. Never a dull moment.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.