6 Days, 3 Hours and 30 Minutes Later

Starting at around 7:00 p.m. this evening, a nice crew from Ontario Line Clearing in Coburg cut the huge old spruce tree and branches that came down on our power line on September 7 during post-tropical storm Dorian. By 8:45 p.m., a line crew had our power reconnected. I thought we would be without power for a couple more days, but these hard-working people really came through for us. Thank you. I’m happy to put the generator to bed for a nice long rest.

Zimbabwe, PEI

Top Internet searches across Atlantic Canada today will probably be for terms like “Dorian” and “what is an emergency kit again?” as we scramble to remove potential outdoor projectiles and gather supplies as a hurricane speeds northward.

The trend bots might note a strange blip in the area around Tyne Valley this morning as those who knew Dr. Joyce Madigane awaken to the news that former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has died. You didn’t need to know Dr. Madigane well or for long to find out her feelings about her former countryman. She wasn’t a fan, to put it mildly.

I remember one of the last conversations I had with her in 2013. Mugabe must have been in the news for some outrageous thing or another (there were too many to recall), and I had asked for her thoughts. She told me what a hero he had been as a freedom fighter against white rule in Rhodesia, and lamented that his intelligence and boundless energy had later been used to oppress those he had fought to free, all while enriching himself and his family. She said wryly that he would outlive us all.

He did outlive Dr. Madigane, who died in 2014, so she didn’t get to see him unrepentantly resign in 2017 (or the sweet deals he and his family received for him stepping aside). She was too kind and professional to ever wish anyone ill, but I can’t help wondering how she would have been feeling today.

Never Too Old

Just watched Never Too Old for the second time, a CBC documentary about Olive Bryanton, who studied older women in rural PEI for her PhD thesis. It was a moving viewing experience for me as I have watched my mother and her contemporaries navigate the challenges of growing older in place. Olive is an inspiring person.

As it happens, we had two of the lovely women who were in the documentary here to visit my mother last week, Ruby Cousins and Olive’s aunt, Lois Brown. I was able to ask Ruby if she bought the vehicle she was considering in the documentary (spoiler: she did buy a vehicle, just not that one!). Lois is a veteran of the Second World War, and she and my mother were both members of a “Lady Vets” group that used to meet on PEI. They travelled with author and historian Katherine Dewar, who is collecting stories from women veterans for a book and was following up on an interview she did with my mother last year.

I love many things about this beautiful island, but the way we are all connected to each other is a constant source of delight!

Phillips Brown Cousins Dewar
Vivian Phillips, Lois Brown, Ruby Cousins, Katherine Dewar – August 30, 2019. Rarely does someone leave my mother’s house without a treat; these ladies got a blueberry muffin and a bag of chocolate chip cookies each, and a gumdrop cake to share!

Tinkering

Moving my site to WordPress from RapidWeaver has been pretty smooth. I know basically nothing about coding, but thankfully lots of smart people generously share what they know and I can copy it (always cautiously, as not all advice works in all situations).

I’ve just played around with the comment function thanks to these folks:

How to Change “Leave a Reply” in WordPress from Jason Artman at itstillworks.com.

How to: move or remove the “Leave A Reply” link in the Twenty Twelve theme from Stefan Johansson.

∞-in-1

It used to be called a 5-in-1, and now some upgrade it to a 9-in-1, but the uses for the handy painter’s tool really are infinite. Cleaning a paint roller with it will change your life, I promise.

Yesterday I used mine as a handy edging guide while painting our boathouse, and also to nudge a little green bug away from wet paint.

Oven Timer

We bought new appliances when we built our house in 2002. They were plain white and as simple as I could find.

The simple part has (knock on wood) been a blessing as all are still working, with only one minor repair to our washer and a couple to our refrigerator (I replaced the freezer defrost thermostat myself last year!)

Our Maytag MGS 5770 propane range, though, has been another story. Pilot lights have replaced electric ignitors in modern stoves, which saves fuel and lessens the explosion risk, but they seem to wear out every 3-4 years.

The first couple of times the ignitors gave out I called a company from Charlottetown, which meant waiting until they were in our area. After watching them quickly install the $50 part and charging me nearly double that for the service call, I decided I could order the part and do it myself. As we have two ranges (my mother has an apartment attached to our house), this has been a big saving.

When the controller on our range stopped working in August 2016, I called a new appliance repair technician who had just moved to our area. Before he arrived, I did an internet search about either buying a new controller or getting the faulty one fixed. The price for a new controller wasn’t quite the price of a new range, but putting nearly $1,000 into a then 14-year-old appliance seemed a bit crazy.

Then I found ApplianceTimers.com, who repair mechanical and digital controls for ranges, washers, dryers and dishwashers. In addition to having an informative website, their testimonial section is helpfully organized by US state and Canadian province. There was only one testimonial from PEI at that time, and it was, of course, from someone I knew (I had taught her Sunday School a looooong time ago before I became a heathen), so I could easily confirm that ApplianceTimers.com weren’t going to take my money and run.

I contacted the company to see if they might have a rebuilt controller. They didn’t have one in stock, but said they had good success repairing the type from my range, so I waited to see what the technician would say.

The technician spent three minutes looking at the range and said I would need a new controller (thank you), but added it would be crazy to put that kind of money into an old appliance (hey, didn’t I just say that?!). I asked about getting the controller repaired and he said I would be wasting my money as it only worked 50% of the time.

50% seemed pretty good odds to me, so I carefully removed the controller, labelling the wires REALLY well as I went along, and shipped it off to their Quebec repair centre. They replaced a resistor, and in less than a week I had it back, wires reconnected, and the oven back in service. 

The repair plus shipping and taxes totalled $262.31, an investment I hoped would get me a couple of more years from the range.

I’m happy to report that the range is still working three years later. I have since had the spark module that controls the burners replaced (a repair I watched closely and feel I could now do myself) and I replaced the oven ignitor and the door gasket last year. The display might be a bit dimmer than when the range was new, but that’s ok. I’m pleased to have kept an appliance out of the waste stream and saved some money, too.

New Library, New Museum?

Great news today that Charlottetown will follow Summerside’s lead and get a new library. The scuttlebutt was that capital city folks were annoyed that Summerside had gotten ahead of them with the Inspire Learning Centre, so good for them for making it happen in Charlottetown.

I hope the next announcement from the provincial government will be to finally establish a central provincial museum in the Confederation Centre library space. Ian Scott has documented the past few half-hearted stabs at a provincial museum on his blog, and talk of such a facility goes back well over 100 years. The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation has a couple of storage facilities filled to the brim with artefacts that should be seen. I know some collectors who would like to donate items to the PEIMHF, but don’t want the objects to end up hidden away forever.

I believe the Confed Centre library space was originally intended to be a museum, so it would make sense to finally make it so. Sense and government don’t always go together, so I won’t hold my breath, but maybe if the folks in Summerside would announce they are building a provincial museum…

97

My mother and I delivered eight dozen sugar cookies that she baked and decorated herself to the vacation bible school group in Tyne Valley today, her 97th birthday. She said it’s not a big deal, but I think it’s kind of a big deal at her age, or any age, really! She wishes she could do as much as she once did, but she still does what she can, and that’s a great lesson for us all.

Everyone needs to feel needed, no matter what age or ability. When my caring responsibilities start to feel heavy, I remember times when I was alone and had no one who needed me, and I know that was much worse. Love and be loved, and make cookies.

Show Your Stripes

The header image on my homepage comes from showyourstripes.info and represents the annual average temperatures for Canada from 1901-2018 using data from Berkeley Earth. Similar images can be generated for other regions or the whole planet. From their FAQ page:

These ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2018. For the UK, USA, Switzerland & Germany, the data starts in the late 19th century.

Canadawarming
Canada warming stripes 1901-2018 from showyourstripes.info

The one for the entire globe using data from 1850-2018 is even more striking. Will I be around long enough to see the cooler shades return?

Globe 1850-2018
Annual average temperatures for GLOBE from 1850-2018 using data from UK Met Office.

Clean Screen

What happens when you drop your iPod Touch in a bucket of water for two seconds while you are washing your floors?

Clean Screen
Still podding!

Nothing! Didn’t skip a beat.

Yes, I still have an iPod Touch (6th generation) and am deluded enough to think my letter to Tim Cook asking him to retain and update the Touch led to Apple releasing the 7th generation earlier this year. Touch+wi-fi+Samsung flip phone = smartish phone!