June – July 2012

After Elena flew back to Newfoundland I settled down to some serious house completion issues.   First was laying the interlocking brick in the path from entry door under the breezeway to the entry door of the workshop.  I had acquired the bricks in early days of construction in trade for a case of Coors Light 🙂  Now they became my walkway.

I then set about completing work on my patio in front of the south-facing windows of the great room dining area. First I had a truck load of fill sand delivered, and when opportunity arose a fellow with a skid-steer working next door delivered the sand into the retaining wall. I then leveled and compacted it with my gandy dancer dirt tamper (You figure that out:) ) Filled the space up to about 1 1/2 inch of top of retaining wall, so the top of patio blocks would be flush with it.

I decided to manufacture my own patio blocks, since I had some portland cement and a pile of cement gravel and reinforcing mesh left from earlier cement work. I was able to borrow a concrete stamp and releasing liquid from my friend Craig Morley so the top of the block was to be stamped with an Italian Slate pattern. It turned out that the small stamp of his set, was 22 inches square, which coincidentally gave me a perfect fit for 4 blocks to reach from retaining wall to house edge. I built forms on sheets of plywood fastened to pallets which had been under concrete blocks delivered to my site. They were structured so I could remove the end piece, and insert a prybar under the edge to lift the block out of the form when it had cured for 24 hours.

In between batches of cement going into the forms, I kept at other bits that needed to be done. Working on getting the plywood liners into the window wells, and geting them stained and varnished. I also decided to run a pex line from my well pump near the edge of my property up to the edge of the house where I was more a more useful water outlet for lawn and garden and for cement mixing. This was another gift from the guys at CPE, left over from a job they did with a sort of non-standard pex size, 5/8″ instead of 1/2 or 3/4. Anyway I dug the trench, laid the pex and underground rated electrical cable and then covered again with dirt and sod about 8 inches below surface. Not deep enough to escape freezing in the winter but out of the way of lawn mower and other landscaping implements.

Supposedly the VW van in Newfoundland was to have the transplant done by a professional mechanic friend of my son-in-law Dean. Unfortunately this fellow lost one of his regular helpers in the shop, and was no longer able to schedule the job. Hence it was to be just Dean and me to do the honors in completing the transplant of manual transmission and accessories. Anyway on July 22, Kenn Cochrane one of my neighbors took me into London where I caught an airport shuttle to Toronto Pearson and flew from there to St John’s. With a bit of delay we were into it but it took while to get job done. Dean had a recurrence of major muscle spasms in his back when we were about 2/3s done so I had a significant bit where I was mostly on my own to get it finished up. I did feel the need put it together and drive it enough with short haul trips to be sure nothing was going to fall apart before hitting the road for the big jump back to Ontario. I am sorry now but did not take extensive pictures of the transplant operation only one set of the two vehicles sitting side by side in mid operation.


My stay in Newfoundland was prolonged by the freak accident my wife had in which her car was totaled. If it had not been for the airbag she would have been uninjured, but the slide up a guard rail triggered the side airbag which cracked two ribs. If not for that she and her cousin would have emerged shaken but with no physical injuries. So I was involved in helping her get a new car and doing the necessaries which the bad ribs made excruciatingly painful for her till she had healed enough to carry on alone. I finally headed back to Ontario on the last ferry of the season departing September 29 from Argentia to North Sydney which saved me from having to drive the 1000 km to the Port au Basque ferry. I did the trans-border route through Maine and on to New York to save gas money and skirted Montreal in the US crossing the Border from New York state at the Thousand Island bridge. Again dropped some stuff off in Toronto for step-daughter and then home to Newbury.

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