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Officially Moved

Officially Moved

October 24th, 2006  · stk

We're officially moved into our new Vancouver Island home. Rats, deer, dial-up, boxes, wood stoves ... we've been here one week and there's still lots to do ...

Knee-Deep in Boxes, But Functional

It's been nearly a month since we vacated our Edmonton abode. Rachel has been working and living in Nanaimo, renting a room from Liz, who lives close to the hospital. Scott and the Oop have been to California and back, visiting grandparents (who all think that the Oop is 90% cute and only 10% "pain in the ass").

We took possession of our Yellow Point home on October 17th, as planned. It was nice that Cathy (the previous owner) allowed us to put our stuff in the garage, because it meant (in essence) we were ALREADY moved! Of course, the big task was still to haul it all INSIDE and UP the stairs.

We've been here a week. Read on about our current state of chaos ...

New Life in the Woods

Moving from a city lot to a rural plot will take some adjustments. We've got two wood stoves to heat the house and most of the fire wood comes from these five acres. Fortunately, Cathy left us a good chord of dry, seasoned wood in the wood-shed, so we've got some time to buy a chain saw and other tools we'll need to start cutting our own wood.

It's nice that our heat is "free", but there will be lots of cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking and moving, in order to make that happen. Scott's been chopping a bunch of kindling, so that we're all set for those rainy, dreary winter days. We've got a couple of axes, but no real way to cut fallen logs and move them, at the moment.

We do now live in the land of lumber and to underscore this, Rachel found a company that will provide cut pine and cedar ends, for free, to the public. From what I gather, they're a deck and fence company that goes through quite a bit of two-inch lumber. They'll load you up with a ton of wood, for free, when you make a Saturday appointment with them (it's $120 for 8 chords, if they deliver it). What a deal!! This might provide us with our first winter's supply and take the pressure off finding new logs, till next season, when we're more on top of things here. (And Rachel's got a friend, who just happened to move in nearby, who's got a 3/4-ton truck. They're eager to take advantage of the deal too, so the plan is to get wood this next weekend.

We've been amazed at how quiet the property is. There's one neighbor to the west (a family with three kids, 7 to 13 years of age). Aside from their noise, it's as quiet as, well, a forest! We haven't seen any deer on our property yet, but neighbors report loads in the area ... so much so that they're considered pests.

We think to ourselves, "Gee, how bad can life be if you consider deer as pests?"

It's not all rosy, as Scott figured out when he poked his head into the attic space, thinking that he'd drop a new telephone line to the "office". The attic is filled with rat poop and urine. Apparently, when the previous owners added onto the house, the open attic space was a warm haven for these large rodents. They made it their home for who knows how long, but long enough to tunnel through the pink insulation and defecate everywhere (some places there are piles over an inch deep). It stinks up there and we're not sure what we're ultimately going to do about it.

For now, the telephone cable snakes along the hallway and after several beers, Scott's steeled himself to a rat poop project, at some point in the future. He had a sleepless night, listening to every creak and groan, wondering if rats were dancing on our heads. After talking with Cathy, however, we learned that there's no mistaking a rat problem.

"Oh, you'll hear them," she said, "They sound like they're wearing clogs, they're so noisy."

There's a lot of cleaning up to do on the property. Cathy, her husband and their three kids, lived here for over 24 years. They built the house themselves and so there's a lot of equipment, lumber, supplies and whatnot, lying about the place. We'll need to rent/buy a trailer, to haul a lot of the stuff that's rotted in the woods, off to the dump. No shortage of things to do.

Connecting to the Outside World

We've got our broadband ADSL connection, finally. There were a few days where we wondered if we would even qualify for a high-speed line.

Rachel put in a transfer order with the telephone company, during August, while we were still in Edmonton. We had our new phone number and were expecting the phone to be working, when we first moved in.

It wasn't.

The line was "dead" for several days. There's no cell phone service here, no corner public phone, so we had to borrow a phone from our neighbor, just to get the problem sorted.

Finally, a phone. But we couldn't make long distance calls or even reach an operator.

We had to contact them again and sort out the problem. (Somehow, they got "we don't want you as our long distance provider" mixed up with "we don't want to make long distance calls from our phone"). As a result, our phone connection was "limited".

Finally, we had our phone, but when the computer finally got unpacked and connected, we discovered that we weren't getting an ADSL signal. WTF? On Friday, we called about this and were told, "You might not have a telephone line that is ADSL-capable."

We were steamed!! Mostly because we had checked to see if service was available on the house line (first Cathy's number, from Edmonton, and then our own number, once it was in service). The check said "Congratulations! Your number is eligible for High Speed Service".

"Oh," the Telus representative said, "That's just very general."

"What?!" we said, "Either it's accurate, or it's useless. We based our home purchase on the fact that Telus indicated that we COULD get high-speed service".

"Well, I'm 90% certain you can get it, because others on your 'block' have it, but you'll have to wait till Monday to find out," she said. Then she added, "It might be as late as 8PM, but call back on Tuesday, if you aren't yet connected."

Customer service is a thing of the past, it seems. Why they couldn't get all this stuff going the day we moved in, considering that we'd requested service a month earlier, is beyond me.

Scott was thinking he'd sue the company for the value of the home, if it turned out that High Speed Service was unavailable. Especially since he asked, "If it turns out that high-speed service isn't available, is there something we can do or pay for to make it happen?" and her answer was, "Nope. Some places will never have high-speed capability."

Monday came and went and sure enough, it wasn't until after dinner that the red "Alert" light went out on the ADSL modem, indicating that we were "connected". Relief turned to frustration, however, when we tried to connect, because we couldn't. The problem would have to wait till the morning.

So Tuesday morning, Scott spent a bit of time trying to get the thing working, but couldn't. In frustration and anticipating a problem, he called Telus technical support and was connected with Mike, who turned out to be proficient in every way that, up till now, no one at Telus had been. He was able to get us connected in less than a half hour and for the first time since we've moved in, we don't feel quite as isolated. Using a 44K dial-up, after having been on broadband for 4 years, is untenable.

Back in the Saddle Again

Now that we have an Internet connection and some semblance of a home, we're announcing that "We're Back", still alive and busy making the transition from a cold, Edmonton city existence, to a more moderate, rain-forest damp, rural lifestyle. Hopefully, Scott won't chop off his foot, while splitting logs, Alex won't wander off and be eaten by a mountain lion, and Rachel won't hit a deer, while making the 25-minute commute to her hospital job.

Yesterday, was Rachel's first drive in to work. On the one hand, she thought that the 25-minute commute was a tad long. She saw deer just off our street, in our neighbor's yard. However, she was listening to a Vancouver radio station, as she was driving through Nanaimo, a little after 7 AM. As she sat at a red light, behind two cars, she heard that Vancouver traffic was backed up and was stop and go all the way in from the Port Mann bridge. She realized that things could be a LOT worse!

Alex is enjoying the new house. She's got her own room, upstairs, with "A L E X" (a birthday gift from her Aunt Michelle) on the door. She's learning to play in the woods, but still hasn't gotten the concept that the rocks, sticks and other items that she collects, are meant to stay OUTSIDE (she keeps trying to take her indoor toys, outdoors and the outdoors stuff, indoors).

The cat is basically freaking out because he's never seen such a large "yard". He still spends most of his time, curled up on the couch. He was using a kitty litter box, for the first few days, but Scott put an end to that yesterday, informing 'the big guy', "You're now OFF the kitty litter box, buddy. From here on in, you'll be doing your business out-of-doors. Either that, or you'll be spending a LOT more time out-of-doors."

He meowed and walked over to his food bowl, figuring that he needed some food so he could think about all that stuff.

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Updated: 25-Oct-2006
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1.flag Wendy J Comment
I'm pretty sure I was sitting in that traffic jam on the Port Mann bridge that day Rachel. Way to go you guys! I'm so happy for you. Welcome back to the rainforest.
2.flag stk Comment
LOL ... That bridge sure is a bottle-neck and it seems the number of ppl coming in from Langley, Mission, Abbotsford & Chilliwack only continues to grow.

Come on over for a visit!! It'd be great to see you.