|Google earth shot of my farmhouse & small forest in PEI|
Last year's trip was far from ideal so I made a list of what to do differently this year. If you remember my posts from last July's trip we took turns driving/sleeping (hah!) and didn't spend the night anywhere - we drove straight through. That was mistake #1 as it ain't easy sleeping in a compact car which is so packed with stuff that we couldn't recline the passenger seat! When we started up our .4km laneway to our house in PEI it was DARK (mistake #2) AND the laneway hadn't been cut yet (yes, it's a red dirt and grass road so that was mistake #3).
Mistakes 4 & 5 were doozies: the electricity wasn't on of course so we headed to the basement and flipped the breaker switch - great!! We had light!! (I had called Maritime Electric before leaving London, ON so they would turn on our electricity before we got there - see, not everything we did was a mistake...sort of...) Then we tried to get the pump going because we have a well and had the house winterized before leaving last August. Sounds like a good plan right? Nope. We didn't have a clue about "priming the pump" so decided we could live without water for one night and then see if we could find a plumber the next day. Meanwhile with the electricity turned on the element in our hot water tank was all fired up but the element burned out (unbeknownst to us) because there was NO WATER in the tank!
Of course, we didn't find out about that until we finally got the water going which was not until the following evening. Plumbers aren't that plentiful in our area - especially on the Sunday of the Canada Day holiday weekend. Can you imagine their rates if we had found one??
|There are a lot of friendly people in PEI|
What happened next is one of our BEST friendly PEI people stories: while trying to locate a plumber we had driven to a neighbour's house. He gave us a phone number to try but when we got back to our house we found that the number was incorrect. After many more phone calls and attempts at figuring out the plumbing problem ourselves our neighbour showed up with his father in tow. He was feeling absolutely mortified because he'd realized he'd given us a wrong number. Between him, his dad and Michael they had our pump going within the next half hour. We were thrilled at their kindness and thanked them profusely. They were a bit overwhelmed at our gratitude because to them they'd done nothing out of the ordinary by lending us a hand.
Of course now that we had water we wanted to take showers and this is when we realized we had no hot water. Hoo boy. The next day was Monday so we were able to get in touch with a plumber/jack-of-all- trades that we had met the previous summer. Now this guy does quality work but only on his schedule. He's over 70 and doesn't like to get up too early in the day. Then, like the other guys his age, he hangs out at the local Esso station drinking coffee and jabbering away about the events of the day (and likely making fun of those folks "from away" who don't know how to prime a pump and who don't know enough to make sure the hot water tank is either filled with water or turned OFF before turning on the electricity!)
|The view that makes it all worth while!|
Anyhoo he finally showed up sometime Monday afternoon and declared the element in the hot water tank to be pooched. So off he went to the local Kent store (about 15 minutes away and another favorite spot to catch up with his buddies). Just when I thought he'd forgotten about us he came back and replaced the element. Finally, two days after arriving we had electricity and cold/hot running water. Now I know how the PIONEERS felt!
Our stupidity didn't end there. Michael wanted to show his gratitude to our neighbour in a more tangible way so we drove to O'Leary and bought a Tim Horton's gift card. The look on our neighbour's face when Michael gave him the card was one of complete bewilderment. Why on earth would we give him a gift?? He kept repeating "you don't have to do that" and he really meant it. We had offended him by thinking we had to give him something to repay him for his kindness. To him he was just being neighbourly, in fact, I don't even think he gave conscious thought to his reasons for helping us out - it's just what you do. If there comes a time when he needs help with something he'll know he can come to us. But a gift card? Big NO NO!!
|Where our road -Butcher Rd. - meets Mill River East Rd.|
So we learned many valuable lessons within our first 48 hours on the island last summer. We were there for another seven weeks and learned many more which I'll share in another post. This one has gone on long enough!