We’re approaching 5 months in our house. We moved in during the fall, and it felt like winter was upon us before we knew it.
Winter always feels long. But it feels exceptionally long this year. We weren’t as prepared for the season as we would have liked. We moved in planning to use our wood stove and fireplace for our main source of heat and only use our oil furnace when it was just too cold to maintain comfortable temperatures. When we got our wood stove inspected for insurance purposes, we were told that it needed some repair work. By the time the (back ordered) parts finally came in, we spent more than we wanted to on oil.
We were thrilled when we could finally use our wood stove. Not only is it really helping offset heating costs, but the smell of wood burning is just so homey.
We have some big plans for our house. In its current state, it is liveable but some areas of the house definitely need attention. But unfortunately our priority of what areas need attention first have changed over the last couple of months with some unexpected surprises. We knew moving into an old house to expect the unexpected. But we’ve just had more than we bargained for… In November over Mark’s 30th birthday, we dealt with some plumbing issues. Though Mark dealt with them, we knew it would be just a bandaid fix until we could do some bigger repairs in the spring. Unfortunately his fix didn’t last us till spring as we again have been battling plumbing issues this week. We are praying that the groundhog was right in predicting an early spring. Unfortunately, since Groundhog Day we’ve seen our coldest temperatures yet this winter… We’ve been playing Russian roulette with our oil wanting to draw out this remaining tank for as long as we can before the temperatures warm up.
Yesterday was Family Day, and Mark and I were excited to spend the day as a family relaxing before I head off for a work trip next week and school work really picks up until the end of April. Unfortunately we woke up to no heat and a frigid house… Mark managed to fix the furnace, but it really cut into our family time. When I went to wash diapers in the evening, we found out our wash machine was broken. After the last couple of weeks we’ve been having, the things that go wrong don’t even really seem to surprise us anymore… Don’t get me wrong, we are bummed by the things that go wrong (and the money it costs), but we just kind of shrug and say “of course something else would go wrong.” At the end of the day, we are thankful for a roof over our head and food in our fridge. We remind ourselves that we have much more than many others across the world. But in below freezing temperatures, it’s hard not to let plumbing and heating issues get to us. And let’s face it, it could be worse. We could have found a human skeleton in our basement…
The week before A.J.’s birthday, Mark and I were hit with the worst stomach flu of our lives. It totally put us out of commission and we were thankful when my parents took A.J. overnight so we could recover. I think it was the day after they brought her home that they came over again to look after her because we still weren’t 100% but functional enough to drag our butts out of the house to get party supplies for that weekend. My dad was doing some work in our basement because we were getting some horrible funky smell up through our ducts and into the kitchen. This required crawling through a very small crawlspace, one that Mark hadn’t even been in. It was creepy and boarded up. When we got back from groceries, Mark joined my dad in the crawlspace.
After my parents had left and A.J. was put to bed, Mark shared with me that he had found what appeared to be a bone as he was crawling out of the crawlspace that afternoon. He said it looked like a rib bone… We didn’t know for sure, so we Googled “human rib bone” and sure enough it looked identical. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know if it was silly to call the police, but we also didn’t know the history of the house (or its occupants….) so we called them. I wasn’t sure how seriously they would take it. But shortly there was a squad car in our driveway. The officer looked at what we thought was a bone and agreed that it did indeed look like one. With his call, there were two more squad cars in our driveway at 10:00 PM. At this point we had been in the house more than 3 months and all I could think of was “what are our new neighbours going to think of us….???” The friendly officers confirmed that it was a bone of some sort and took it. They took a statement from Mark asking questions like where did he find it, who had touched it, did we have the names of previous occupants in our house. They left telling us that they would send it to their regional anthropologist to identify if it was human remains. They also told us not to go back into the basement because if in fact the bone was human, our basement would likely be torn up. At this point we had dealt with a number of “expected unexpecteds” of moving into an old house that this almost appeared like dark humour. Of course we would find a bone in our creepy basement because it was just the next thing that could happen in our series of unfortunate events.
I told the police officer “we have my daughter’s first birthday party here this weekend…” He joked that maybe we should change it to a dinosaur bone themed party.
You would think that sleeping would be difficult that night with our minds racing, but we were still so exhausted from the stomach bug that we passed out easily.
The next day Mark got a call from the police; the anthropologist couldn’t identify whether it was human or not, so the bone was being sent to a neighbouring (larger) police service to be identified by a coroner. Again we were told not to touch our basement because there was a chance it would need to be ripped up. There was nothing Mark and I could do but be humorous about the situation in order not to worry, and I joked to Mark “could you tell the officers that if they have to dig out our basement, please dig deep enough that it’s no longer a crawlspace but useable space to finish it?”
Soon enough, we were notified that the bone was not human. Mark asked the officer what it was, but they weren’t sure (we’re assuming deer). So as we encounter heating and plumbing problems, we remind ourselves: it could be worse, there could have been a dead body in our basement…