Friday, July 29, 2016

Cape Breton Update - My Overboard Vacation

My favorite movie of all time is Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.  I know I should say it's Citizen Kane but I'm shallow like that.

overboard movie

My current 'vacation' at our family's old farm house in Cape Breton, Canada, has turned out to be a learning experience (hell) and something that I would be very careful to ever embark on again (never).

While trying to salvage something positive from the 4 weeks that I'm committed to being here I've resorted to looking at the humorous side of things.  One must endure...

Luckily, I have great lines from Overboard to describe my situation.

overboard movie

"These gnats keep landing on my wet nail polish. I guess I'm supposed to walk around with their little corpses stuck to my fingers, is that it?... It's easy for you to say. You don't have to sit out here in the brine with your perm frizzing to oblivion. I look like a bushman."


I would be happy with gnats.  We have horseflies who swarm and bite relentlessly.  They are impervious to DEET.

bad hair

The well water turns my hair a weird dirt color and the ocean air frizzes it to oblivion...

hay field

"I don't belong here, I feel it, don't you think I feel it?  I can't do any of these vile things and I wouldn't WANT to."  Overboard.

The old house is surrounded by hay fields which have been mowed by a neighbor but now need to be raked by hand.  After the raking, the acreage needs to be mowed using a regular push lawn mower.

The well runs dry most days and the pump is in a crawl space under the house that closely resembles the gates of hell for earthworms.  The pump needs to be 'primed'.  There is also danger of electrical shock.

Normally I would hire someone to do these things.  Unfortunately, here in Cape Breton, people have 'more than enough work'.  This seems to be a phrase unique to this area.  In Houston, where we live, Mexican landscapers work like demons.  They will garden the heck out of anything that doesn't move.  I am certain there is no Spanish translation for 'more than enough work'.

house falling down

"Did I just go downhill?  Everything slants down here towards the bedroom."  Overboard.

Most tragic of all is that the old house be probably be left to fall down.  It's an "heir property" which means my mother and her five siblings own it jointly.  The house is in need of major foundation and other work NOW.  I had the idea a couple of years ago that my husband and I could have it done.  The land has been in our family since the original settlers came from Scotland so I had ideas of "family pride, future generations, keep our heritage alive, blah, blah, blah...".

Keep in mind that the property is virtually worthless.  It has never been properly surveyed.  The house would pass no codes for resale.  We have a very dubious right-of-way through a neighbor's junkyard.  It's not the Hampton's we're talking about here.

I can't even think of a line from Overboard for how misguided I was.  Let's just say we've been blocked, criticized and resented and leave out the really mean bits.  Big learning experience.  Huge.

Last, but certainly not least, is what has gone on in Houston while I've been gone...

overboard yacht

"Captain Karl!  Why is the land on the wrong side of the yacht?"  Overboard.

new fence

Our $5000 fence at our new house was installed exactly backwards.  None of the neighbors were interested in chipping in so the smooth side should be facing us all around.  It's not.  Awesome.

The fence company's bottom line - they wrote the plan wrong but I signed it.

Keep finding the humor - it's the only way!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Working Vacation on Big Rory Road

We're just about settled in our new (to us) house in Houston and are off to Nova Scotia for 'vacation'.

Cape Breton is an island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the weather is sure to be so much cooler than Houston!

We're engaged in trying to keep this from happening to the sweet old farmhouse my mother was born in but I'm not sure if we're winning...

Just trying to keep the hay mowed and the forest from encroaching is a constant struggle...

My husband mostly thinks it's crazy at this point but he bravely soldiers (and pays) on...

Feumaidh mi ruith (I must run)