Monday, January 10, 2011
Home coming fun!
I have so very much to blog about Vancouver... but I'm going to start at the end, with our home coming, as it's most immediate and pertinent in my day-to-day life.
To start off with, Nikolai's journey home was much like his journey out... sleepless. As well, he persists in waking up during the night for "dinner" and then refuses to go back to sleep. I would not recommend overseas travel with a toddler... it's much, much, much better idea to travel with a baby! At 18 months, Nikolai found the airplane peaceful, and adjusted to the time change almost before we did! At age two he's up for hours in the night, and it's a fight to stop him from turning on the lights, playing his harmonica, etc. Needless to say... we are all very tired.
However, greater than a need to whine about our general lack of sleep is my need to whine about the -15 C weather that occurred over the holidays. While we weren't even in the country when the bad weather hit... our house was... and despite heating twice a day, our uninsulated bathroom could not cope. Luckily it was only the faucet on the bathtub that separated, causing water to gush, unabated into the bathtub.
Our fabulous house sitter heard the water, found the leak, called the landlord, and did exactly as he was told. Now... I've been meaning to blog about our landlords ever since we've moved in... but just never got around to it. I guess there's no time like the present! To start off with, they have a rather unfortunate last name (especially given that dealing with tenants seems to be the entire family's primary occupation). To use a PC description, in Canada their last name is a modifier for a particular kind of frost... the kind that produces three-dimensional ice crystals on everything. Anyways, whenever we've had any dealings with our landlords, we generally have to deal with the whole family (mother, father, son and daughter). In the beginning it was confusing because we signed our lease with Jim, but were told to contact James for any of our day-to-day needs. It took us a good week before we realized that Jim and James were actually father and son.
Anyways, on to our intrepid house sitter, so Irish in his irishness that he was aptly named Pat (it seems that Pat and James are both very, very common names around here. At last Brad can revel in a "unique" name) did as he was told and turned off the water. While this certainly did stop the tap in the bathroom from running... it also caused all the water in the house, including the hot water tank to run out into our bath tub. It also resulted in us learning a wee bit more about the radiator system in our house.
See we knew that our radiators were "gas-fired", and required special balancing between the intake and out going pipes. But we would have imagined that they were filled with oil. Apparently not... apparently they are filled with water... and apparently they require the water in the house to be turned on in order to continue functioning. And apparently if the water is not entering the system, then air might build up in the system. Furthermore, we learned that radiators aren't made with a rust proof coating on the inside... so air in a system that is normally full of water... and no rust proof coating... well, at least only 3 of our 9 radiators sprung rusty leaks!
It has been a time... and we're hardly able to complain. The landlords have sent a team of plumbers in, and we now have 2 of the 3 radiators working (so they are decent despite the rather iffy name). Besides the stories of cold pipes freezing abound. Pat (and family) are continuously loosing water, whenever the weather gets below freezing. It seems the main line outside their house is not insulated. We've heard stories of hot water boilers freezing up in the night while people are asleep in their beds. And when I was explaining the situation to our live-in student he regaled us with stories of his own. Some pipes in his home burst causing the ceiling in his mother's bedroom to cave in with the water.
Above is a picture of of Nikolai's first haircut (for the reception) he was brave... but I couldn't get him to smile, and our rusted out radiator... for posterity.