Thursday Tidbits

Posted on November 14, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

“Mussel” Beach


While I would hardly consider myself a couch potato, I can be as lazy as sin if left to my own devices.

I love to walk. Since I retired four years ago, I have started every day with an 8Km-10Km walk. Since completing the Camino in May, I have also done a weekend walk typically covering 30-35Km. One of my summer walks covered 50Km which I have discovered is my limit! With winter setting in, the long walks will take a hiatus. My winter Sunday afternoons and evenings are usually filled with watching sports and eating sweets.

Now that I am in Northern Quebec, I’m re-evaluating my weekend protocol. For one thing, I don’t have a television… yet.  Streaming movies or sporting events can be challenging as the internet signal is not always strong.

On my first day of school last Thursday, I discovered that there were some active walkers in the school which was music to my ears. The school has an outdoor adventure program. Several students are in training for a five day wilderness expedition to be held in the dead of winter. Temperatures can get into the -50s. On Saturdays, a few staff members and the students go for a long walk and once the snow gets a bit deeper, they will cross country ski. I was invited to join them and eagerly agreed. The good news is that it was a fantastic experience. The bad news is that my winter wardrobe is totally inadequate for the weather conditions in the north.

There are seven lakes separated by patches of tundra that eventually reach a bay. Our walk last Saturday traversed the (mostly!) frozen landscape. It was quite cold and the wind was at our back on the outward journey. The students were in great spirits and the air was filled with laughter and snowballs.

By the time we reached our halfway point, I wasn’t quite frozen but there were hints of rigormortis setting in. To the rescue came V, the young woman who has admirably and professionally led my class at school after the departure of my predecessor. She and her colleague, L, have been showing me the ropes as I adapt to life in the classroom after a considerable absence.

She handed me two small packets of LittleHotties hand warmers which I put inside my gloves. Instant nirvana. Even though the return walk was considerably colder, having warm hands made all the difference. My need for a proper winter coat has moved to the top of my “to do” list. (A local woman has agreed to make me a coat this week. I will model it once it’s done). When we got back to town, I went immediately to the Coop and purchased a pair of proper winter footwear… “Good to -40”!

On Sunday, a handful of the staff went for a long hike, something they do every week when the weather permits. After the previous day’s bone chilling walk, I was going to take a pass until my neighbour graciously loaned me a real winter coat and neck warmer.

We walked around Wakem Bay at low tide and meandered through the mountains and valleys for nearly four hours. The landscape was ever changing and the scenery simply staggering. So was I! My bad knee protested loudly but I was so glad that I went.

Monday was a holiday. I was still waiting for my personal effects to arrive from home so I only had a handful of clothes. In order not to get suspended from school for malodorous attire, I decided to wash everything except my pajamas. My apartment has a brand new Whirlpool wash machine. It is so new that the plastic wrap was still on it when I went to do my laundry. It didn’t come with an instructional booklet but having done laundry my entire adult life, I didn’t think that this would be problematic.


This is not a washing machine that needs a NASA engineer to figure out. I loaded up the machine. I closed the lid and hit the start button. It started to make sounds like R2D2. I couldn’t hear the tub filling with water. That’s when I discovered that the installers hadn’t turned on the hot and cold water taps. I hit the start button and nothing happened. There was a small dribble of water but at the rate it was entering the tub, I would be back in Nova Scotia for Christmas by the time it filled.

The washer and dryer are in the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and pondered my conundrum. I wondered how I would explain to my colleagues and the children in my class the following day why I was wearing pajamas to school.

YouTube! With the warranty card in hand along with the model number, I did a search and found a video which didn’t help one bit. I then went to the trouble shooting section. I should have known after years of computer malfunctions that unplugging the wash machine for a few minutes would do the trick. In addition, I had to open and close the lid of the machine 6 times in 12 minutes in order for the electronics to re-set. Bingo! It worked.

Happily, I was able to return to school on Tuesday wearing clean clothes with my dignity intact.

Have a great weekend.



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