Saturday, April 14, 2012

Google earth shot of my farmhouse & small forest in PEI
So it's that time of year again when we start getting excited and making plans for this summer's trip to PEI. After my crappy day on Thursday Michael and I had a looooooooooong talk which we then decided to continue at Swiss Chalet. After discussing our days - the good, the bad and the ugly - we switched gears to talk about when we might leave for PEI. I'm finished work by about noon on Friday, June 29th so we're mulling whether to leave that afternoon or wait til the Saturday. Things that influence our decision - driving through Montreal (it's best to drive through Montreal well after rush hour - much quicker) and where to spend the night (usually in Edmunston, N.B.) and what time we'd like to arrive at our house in PEI (before dark!).

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).

Our laneway

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!


Christy said...

I am getting excited for you already!  We (meaning mainly DH!) put the water in at the cottage today, so I know all about priming the pump!
Will Michael be able to be down there all summer or does he have to work?

Susanna said...

nope - hasn't gone on long enough LOL! sounds like you learned a lot last year so you'll be in better shape this year! you're gonna have so much fun!

debby said...

Just had to laugh at your many adventures! It would be so worth it to have a sweet little house like you have.

Jane @The maple Syrup Mob said...

How come I can laugh at your misfortune but when it happened to us the day we moved into this house, I hid under the sheets shivering and crying "I can't do this, I can't do it"?
Jane x

Sharon said...

I can't believe we are nearing summer time already!  Where does the time go?

Jane, I love hearing about all of your adventures in PEI.  I hope this year you get *internet access* :)! because I really, really missed your posts last summer! 
This summer will be great because you already know your neighbors, how to prime a pump, get hot/cold water, etc. !t should be GREAT!  I LOVE the views too!

Jharrison56 said...

Yes, I'll try to post on a more regular basis this summer. I'll be there on my own for about 5 weeks  as Michael is just coming for two weeks, so I'll have more time on my hands.

Jharrison56 said...

Oh things are ALWAYS funnier when they happen to someone else!!

Jharrison56 said...

It seemed awful at the time as we were tired and cranky but I can look back now and laugh at how silly we were!

Jharrison56 said...

Well with old houses there will always be issues, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger right??

Jharrison56 said...

Michael has to work so he'll come for the first two weeks and then come back at the end of August to help me close up. I'll have five weeks on my own and have a long list of places to explore and people to visit. Several people I blog with plus a couple of readers live in PEI so I won't be lonely or bored :)

Susanna said...

I think there's always surprises with property - I bought a townhome 12 yrs ago and thought I didn't have hot water - turns out the gas was one but for some crazy reason all the faucets were mislabeled LOL - I usually turn on the hot first and let it settle then add the cold - so I started with cold and assumed I didn't have the gas turned on. luckily I still had my old apartment another week..thenf ou nd out the faucets were wrong - first plumbing repair I needed 3 yrs later I had the guy install new ones.

Christy said...

I am sure you could never be bored!
I agree that stopping in Edmunston is a good idea.  That's usually where we stop on our trips East (Motel La Roma). 

Savingfortravel said...

Oh, it is so exciting to hear your past stories, I LOVE THEM! 
Where we live is very neighbourly too. Our next door neighbours are wonderful.

Can't wait to hear more of your plans! More more please!

Sft x

Michelle Comeau said...

Aw.... (I'm secretly chuckling) I feel your pain but I must tell you that we've had the hot water tank experience. Our pump was getting old. Every six months Gary would have to drain it and do this and that. I never go in the basement as it creeps me out. Anyway, the first time he drained the pump, he fried the element. Fortunately, we rent our tank so the fix was not an added expense. The fellow who serviced our tank knew right away what had happened. Probably heard it from a neighbour at the Esso gas station down the road whilst having coffee and catching up on the local gossip. LOL!

Jharrison56 said...

LOL, yes, no doubt that's what happened. I'm thinking about going with a tankless hot water heater as the one we have is small but also it's in a freezing cold basement and must use an awful lot of electricity to keep the water hot.

Jharrison56 said...

Ok, just for you! All kidding aside, I LOVE to talk about our plans - it makes it all more real!

Jharrison56 said...

Oh my, I would have them changed also - imagine people living with them mislabeled - their guests would be really confused!

judy said...

The pictures are beautiful...and I missed you :)

the witch said...

That's the Island way!!!
Funny story but so true when you aren't familiar with a pump and especially closing up a house for the Winter.
Just be glad your house is tight and you didn't come home to find out some creatures had taken up resident.
Won't be long till you are back on this gentle Island.

Jharrison56 said...

The feeling's mutual my dear!

Jharrison56 said...

Yes, neighbours have been checking and no little furry animals or squeaky ones this year either thankfully :)