The accumulation of it all is starting to get heavy now…

Two and a half months ago, I committed to fully renovate (by myself) the cabin we recently purchased by April 15th, so I could lend it to a friend, his wife and two daughters who needed a house for a month. This being a side-project, on top of my full time job and being a dad of 3 married to an ever-traveling flight attendant, needless to say I didn’t get a break in said last 2.5 months.

But I made it. Mostly…

Things that didn’t happen:

  • Internet connection: required, Andy works from remote, like I do. 2 telcos bailed on me for DSL. When I say bailed, I do mean I went all the way up to the cabin (100km) during the week, waited for a tech who never showed all day twice, and then went through phone hell to find out why, only to find out they decided I was too far to provide me with the services they already billed me for after all. I’m now still waiting for over $600 in refunds from one DSL provider, which is likely to take a couple of months, as per their forums… Then I found an alternative with a satellite internet connection (expensive, but still cheaper than the highway robbery that are mobile hotspot connectivity prices), only to have their tech tell us that she couldn’t install it until we cut some of our trees. Not sure how having trees at a cabin which they fully knew was in the woods was unexpected to them… So that’s where we’re at right now with that.
  • Couldn’t get plumbers or electricians to wire the dryer in time: oh well, that’s now dealt with.

Things that did happen at the end but I wish had not:

  • I had a busted heel the last 2 weeks: still kept going, limping the whole way
  • I had the flu for the final 4 days of the job: still kept going
  • We had a freak snow storm on April 12th which made it impossible for non-4×4 vehicles to get to the cabin, the day before I had a shipment of wood and 4 appliances (fridge, stove, washer, dryer) coming up in trucks for delivery: I kept going, shoveling my driveway by hand because the snow-plow guy had finished his season, so the trucks could make it (which they did)
  • I had to dig through 24″ of snow and 12″ of ice to get to one valve to turn on our artesian well
  • I had to break through 12″ of ice to free some pipes from it so the kitchen sink would work
  • My dog “ran away” for 10-15 minutes, which is not like him, leading to full blown panic and search (he came back, he was hiking in the woods)
  • And to top it all off, once it was all done and my friends had moved in, I drove to the side of my driveway on what I though was hard ground (never saw the place without snow) but turned out to be an ice dam, which finally broke from under me. To point out how insidious that ice was, I drove over it to park all winter long with my 2 tons car, and two 5 tons delivery truck were driving on it 2 days before. My car dropped 12-16 inches, right on a large sharp stone, and snapped my steering rod clean in half, therefore not being able to move my front wheels any longer. I now expect the insurance company to decide that my 1999 Land Rover is not worth their time, and total it, which is likely going to make me lose around $5000 and leave me car-less, with a cabin 100km away. Edit: I forgot to mention that this happened Monday night, that the insurance company file was opened Tuesday, and that I still have no news from them, nor have they moved my car or provided me with the replacement vehicle my policy entitles me to, today on Friday…

But I’m keeping going… Not letting it all bring me down. If I let that happen, I think I’ll be out of commission for a while, both psychologically and physically. Sometimes, not letting go is the only way to not sink to the bottom. This is one of those times.

So I’m using the personal philosophy I told another blogger about a few days ago. I’m staring at “whatever is conspiring to make my life so much harder” and uttering those simple words: “fuck you, you’re nothing, I’m stronger than you are and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want”.

Almost over now… Wish me luck. :)

11 thoughts on “The accumulation of it all is starting to get heavy now…

  1. Wow, and you MEANT it! Everything that can go wrong, right? But yet you’re still going. I tip my hat to you, and will no doubt keep this bookmarked for one of those days I’m feeling properly shitty.

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  2. y’know, sometimes….. what doesn’t kill you outright, far from leaving you stronger, leaves you needing a long, long rest…… i suggest a Mayan-style hammock from Lee Valley…… use whichever trees you want…..get someone to bring you soup after a while…..

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  3. Wow, first of all well done for your valiant efforts on the cabin. Weather has been awful here too, unseasonably late snows etc so my wife and I fully understand your frustrations as we’ve also had jobs put on hold until the warm weather arrives.

    Second, surely a steering arm is less than $100? Depends on what you mean but knowing the vehicles quite well (as you know) I’d reckon on a new track rod or steering link being at most £100 in the UK. Are prices really that much steeper over there? To put it in perspective I completely rebuilt my Series II for less than £5000 and that includes new galvanised chassis, completely rebuilt axles with all new parts, new suspension, new steering, rebuilt engine etc, etc. Surely they can’t write the truck off for such relatively trivial damage???

    Shame you are so far away or I’d pop around and help you fix it!

    Keep your chin up,

    Ian

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    • Rover: yup, the part is $174.95, and I’d be glad to swap it myself. But what concerned me is what else might be broken, or worse, now just a few miles away from snapping as I’m driving 60 on the road. That’s why I’ve started an insurance claim.

      If they decide to total my car, I can then make the decision to take the money they give me for it, or cancel the claim altogether then and tell them I’ll just keep the car and deal with it myself.

      The alternative is that they realize that it is indeed not that big a deal (just spectacular) and actually fix it, in which case it’ll also go through a better mechanic than I am to verify the rest.

      I don’t currently have a place to work from, since it’s still all so cold, wet and muddy outside. But we’ll see. I’m not giving my baby up quite yet.

      The $5k figure is what I could potentially lose in the worst case scenario of them deciding to total the car for safety purposes and me not being able to gain access to it any longer, therefore losing the new tires, the new off-road bumper, the winch and all the money/time I put into fixing it all back to life in the last 9 months or so.

      There is one other thing to consider: that part is indeed $174. But that’s in the US. I (or the mechanic) would have ti import it, which is sure to cost me another $100 at least (often more than doubles the price of a part). Then I have to pay customs fee on that, which is a fee of around $58. So now, that $174 part is over $320. That’s the big challenge with anything Land Rover on our side of the pond, and most particularly so in Canada.

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    • On another note, I wish you had been there when it happened. A true testament to the noble steads that are Land Rovers.

      After that 12-16″ drop, my front right wheel was in that hole/ditch, and my axle resting on the rock. I had not yet noticed that my drag link was snapped. I simply accelerated gently and the car got itself out of the ditch with zero effort.

      Then I noticed I could not longer turn my wheels… Being only able to go straight forward or backward, I now I had my car either in the middle of the road (by way of having to backup through that same ditch), or in my 25 degrees upward-angled driveway, blocking the two cars that could bring me back to civilization (my friend’s).

      I was starting to be at a loss when my friend asked me about the winch I got installed a few months ago. Lightbulb! I hadn’t even thought of it…

      So armed with a tree strap to not slaughter my beautiful spruce trees, we proceeded to use the winch not as much to properly pull the car, but more to get it to angle its wheels in such ways that we could ultimately maneuver it out of the way. It only took two winching points to do so, and I was able to park my car at an crazy angle right on the part of the yard you saw me jumping (and landing) in this post. It was… winch art. It was beautiful. :D

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