Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunshine in December.

Today was a beautiful day, not too cold, clear and pretty - unusual for mid-December.  My family woke to find a pan of porridge on the back of the Aga, and their excitement was definitely disproportionate to the 5 minutes it took for me to make it last night!  Bri taught the girls how to cook toast on the top, and off they went, well fed, happy, and ready to enjoy Saturday! We got the woodstores filled, the driveway cleaned, the girls rode their bikes, we baked bread, did a spot of cleaning, and then this afternoon Becca and I made muffins. 

Dinner was roast chicken, with rice and roasted onions/peppers/carrots - Rebecca liked the peppers best, Caity liked the carrots, Brian and I were just so glad to be eating out of the Aga.  The fruit is soaking in brandy, ready to bake the Christmas cake tomorrow, and it has been a lovely day, in the kitchen and out! 

Everyone is in bed now, except me, it's that late-at-night quiet time that I so love.  I have tv (an old David Jason series on Netflix), tea, knitting, and the blog.  Who could ask for more? 

and finally...

... the Aga in the kitchen is working!  She came to life at about 4.30pm PST and she is now up to temperature and ready to rock and roll.  Well, truthfully, she is more likely to just gently stroll along, but I am ready to rock and roll! 

I have so much to do before Christmas, and only a week to get it all done, and I'm excited!  First stop, roasting a chicken, I have been craving good roast chicken and the combi oven just isn't up to the job, unfortunately!  Then cranberry sauce, stollen, Christmas cake, Christmas puddings, mince pies, fudge - all the things! 

We are so excited, it feels so nice in the kitchen to have that gentle glow of warmth coming from her side of the room.  We have named her Constance, because she is always ready to feed us, and everything else feels like it's going to be okay now that we have this beautiful, dependable friend sharing our home.  Welcome, Constance, we are thankful for you and we will be spending a LOT of time with you! 

Friday, December 16, 2011


The gas man called, 15 minutes ago, to tell us he was on his way...

Brian left work and drove home, because the gas man said that Brian HAD to be here, his name is the one on the county permit, after all. 

The gas man knocked on the door and said that he can't do the work now because he has to go on 'a mergency' - he told us this about 6 times, and then he went and got in his van. 

Then a second van arrived...  and the two drivers sat on our driveway, talking about their 'mergency.


They could have used that time to turn the gas on and it would all be done by now, it's a 30 second job! 


So Close We Can Taste It...

It's been a busy couple of weeks here, Becca has had her very first finals, and we have had a lot of work to do on the house, to try to get it cleaned up for the insurance company, who wanted ALL the things mended at once before theyw ould insure us for another year!  We now have a new roof, a new garage door that doesn't scream like a banshee very time we open it, and 2 large woodstores stocked to the rafters with cut wood.  My dear husbands jeans are falling down, he has, literally, worked his butt off cleaning up 30 years of debris and hoarding from around the yard! 
New roof, new gutter, new garage door.  I can't wait to wash the shingles and get them cleaned up a little, too!  

Last weekend we lost patience with the Aga company, who have made no effort whatsoever to send us the parts we ordered, and we spent Sunday evening on our computers (all 4 of us) searching HVAC and commercial cooking suppliers for the 2 small pieces we needed.  They arrived today. 

Tiny aren't they?  Amazing how much trouble little things can be!


This evening Brian rebuilt the burner, with the new natural gas compatible parts, and it's installed and ready to go.  Tomorrow morning he will call the gas company and ask them to come out and turn on the gas supply and light the pilot light, and then we will be ready to go.  It takes about 2 days to get the Aga up to full cooking temperature but, at this point, it is still possible that we will have proper cooking facilities for Christmas! 

In other excellent news - for those of you who are sick of winter already, do not despair - spring is on the way, it said so in Safeway...

Oddly enough, this display was only present that one time, and it has now been hidden away til after Christmas! 

I feel quite disoriented this evening - today was such a strange day.  Caity got up, ate breakfast, didn't feel well, and went off to sleep in my bed til 11am!  Becca didn't even show up until 1.30pm - after several very late nights working on last minute exam prep, she really needed some sleep!  I was up late last night, and woke at 7 this morning, so by mid-afternoon I was napping on the couch, and Bri has just gone to bed after a 90-minute long snooze by the fire - we really need to get some 'normal' sleeping going on! 

The fire is so inviting though, it's hard to leave it and go to a chilly bed, far nicer to snuggle up here and doze off...maybe I'll stay just a little longer... 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It Just Gets Better and Better...

I've finished uploading today's post, and sat back to drink my tea...

'what's that noise?'  I wondered, aloud...

Darling husband said 'I can hear the bread machine kneading the bread upstairs in the kitchen, the woodstove clicking, the fan is running to move the heat around the house...'

'Yes', I said, 'and I can hear a vehicle'.

I ran upstairs to find that time management is also an issue for our talented roofer - the dumpster is being hauled away as I type, even though the job is not finished!!! 

Oopsie, looks like the rest of the cleanup is going to have to be hauled away in trash cans then, doesn't it? 

In Which We Are Reminded Of Why We Usually Opt To DO IT OURSELVES!!!!

A veritable catalogue of disasters this week, but I refuse to be stressed out.  Our roofer has committed many crimes, most of them against grade school mathematics, at which he cannot be said to excel! 

It all started when he posted a 30% off coupon on his website, and then tried to deduct $300 from my $10,000 bill (using simple numbers here for those who are percentage impaired, his numbers were both bigger and more complicated, but he did have a calculator!), which he called 'honoring the coupon'!  When I pointed out his error, he looked at me horrified, and said 'I can't do THAT, I'd lose money'! 

So he wrote up a 3% discount instead.  Then he went home, and edited his website, and is now offering a 5% coupon - which is clearly worth MORE than the 3% he gave me - we're still waiting to have THAT conversation!

Now at this point you are probably wondering why we did not simply select a different builder.  Well, the fact is that, even without the 30% coupon, this guy came in several thousand dollars under the next lowest quote and, as we don't have money to burn, it seemed impractical to spend 25% more on the same product just by buying it in a different store. 

Yesterday, I got home, after dark, to find that the roofers had gone away.  This was a little worrying, since there was still a mess of dropped shingles all over the floor - they hadn't cleaned up!  A walk outside with a flashlight revealed that they hadn't finished the roof either - they have no more shingles!!!!  A full 1/6th of the roof is not done, but the shingles are all gone!  So now the truck will have to come out and deliver another batch, and the roofers will have to come back for the 4th day of a 2 day job. 

I guess now that 1/6th of the roof is not completed, we can see how his quote was so much lower than everyone elses - not only are we dealing with the percentage impaired, but it seems that 'area' isn't too sound of a concept either...

This would not be so bad but for 2 things - the dumpster is supposed to be leaving today.  This is because at 11am Monday the garage door is being delivered and installed!  I see a conflict arising...