Maybe We Really Do Live In Canada

Greetings from the relatively cold north.

I’ve mentioned the occasional chance of snow in recent posts. None of those threats have materialized, but another one looms today and it’s cold enough that what is now rain might become snow this afternoon. Something about a “modified arctic air mass” in the forecast. Time will tell.

“But it’s only October. Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet,” I hear you say. You’re quite right. It’s still fall, as you can see:

That’s the only photo I have this week. It’s a Japanese maple in the front yard, doing the “colour turn thing” I so rarely saw in California. The seasons there are different. Instead of the usual four (spring, summer, fall, and winter) they have just two: “rain” (or “mud”) and “fire.” The transition from one to the other takes only a couple of weeks. Deciduous trees go directly from green to brown sometime in August (possibly July) under a blazing sun that is also fanning the literal flames in various places. By that point it hasn’t rained since sometime in March or April, and it won’t until at least October. The trees really don’t stand a chance.

Clearly things are different in Vancouver, and while it really is fall it also seems that someone occasionally forgets and dials winter up a bit in October. That’s the way it is.

We’re still trying to figure out how to heat the new house. Oddly, it’s not that simple. The (still functional) hot water baseboard heat works well for the downstairs bedrooms and office, but the main living area is large, open, and has lots of windows. It’s not all that warm as a result, even as the back of the house is a comfortable 20C (call it 68F). We could set the thermostat a bit higher and run the hot water heat more. That would help, but it might also overheat the back rooms.

Upstairs (and in one room downstairs) we have electric baseboard heat that works but is expensive to run. How expensive remains to be seen. We have yet to see a high electric bill. The weather has been pretty mild until now (it’s still mild in the eyes of the rest of Canada) and electricity is billed every other month in BC, meaning we have another few weeks to go before we see the first bill where the heat has been in use.

More important than the bill is the heat balance. We need a bit more heat in the main living area than we currently have, and the fireplace is not a great option. We’ll work on it, somehow. In the meantime, we wear more layers.

In other news, this past week was a bit slow in terms of progress on projects. I’ve done some painting in the guest room, and while it’s not yet complete it is getting there. I hope to finish that job this weekend.

I’ve spent a surprising amount of time raking leaves dropped by the large maple tree out front that overhangs the driveway. It’s not the one pictured above, though. It’s a standard maple tree on a mission: bury the cars so they cannot be excavated. I keep after it as best I can.

The replacement power switch for the CNC machine has yet to arrive. It’s late, in fact, and I have no clue where it is. The tracking information says it left the carrier facility more than a week ago and nothing more. As a result there is no additional progress on that front.

Canada —including BC —is settling into a second wave of Covid-19. Our case rates are on the rise, and nothing seems to be slowing it back down yet. It’s better here than in many places, but the numbers are still worrying. We continue to hide at home, have no visitors, and rarely go out. We shop for groceries as needed, of course, and I go to hardware stores for project supplies, but that’s about it. Loneliness is a thing, as I am sure you all know. Or maybe it’s ennui, even with a to-do list that is miles long.

We are fine, though. I should not imply otherwise. It’s just life for us all at the moment, and it drags at times.

To end on a lighter note, here’s something that shows a bit about how the rest of Canada — not Vancouver — deals with winter. This was shared with me by a fellow Vancouverite after recent discussion about forecast inaccuracy. And for the record, yes I have started tracking the forecast every day to see if it’s as bad as I claim. I’ll let you know in a month or three. I need data.


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