Sunday, May 28, 2006
When we first moved to the house in Dana we were told there was no landline so we immediately invested in a cell phone. We had to sign up with Sasktel because it had the best coverage in rural areas. We had to get a long distance plan because almost all of our calls would be to Saskatoon or to family members living in other provinces. Sasktel's long distance plan kinda sucks so when we recently discovered wires sticking out of the wall in the kitchen we got excited. Our neighbor informed us that there had definitely once been a phone in the house (before Tyler’s cousins owned it). Great, we thought, we can get a landline instead of our over-priced mobile! We had 30 days to return the cell phone so we went back to the Sasktel store and told them we wanted to hook up a landline. We gave them our address...nothing. It's wasn’t there. What did this mean? It meant a Sasktel rep. would have to visit the house and blah blah blah it would cost us at least $475. Say what? So, we're sticking with the cell and our shitty plan.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Monday, May 22, 2006
Our very helpful neighbor and his 16 year old son came over yesterday and helped us with the septic pump. They got it working!!! I tried washing my hair in a large plastic bowl today. Not fun. The Canadian Tire in Saskatoon is currently sold out of solar showers.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Tyler got the septic pump working. That's him staring into the tank. It doesn't drain when it's supposed to...something to do with the pump not maintaining it's "prime". We dunno - septic speak is new to us. Anyways, Tyler got it working somehow. We can use the toilet! However, we have no hot water, something that's not going to change in the near future (we can't afford to hook up the natural gas). We both took baths by boiling water on the stove. I boiled 5 pots of water (which took about an hour) and added it to a very shallow base of cold water only to get a still shallow luke-warm bath. Luke-warm is being generous. It wasn't pleasant, but at least I don't have to wear a hat anymore. We're going to invest in a solar shower.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
We spent the day going to garage sales, including a city wide sale at the Humboldt Arena, where we filled our tummies with egg salad sandwiches ($1.50), rice krispie squares (50 cents) and coffee (50 cents).
Still no working plumbing at the homefront, however, our friendly neighbor seems confident that we will get it working soon enough.
Friday, May 12, 2006
There are lots of mosquitoes.
I really need a shower.
The population of Dana is approx. 28 (so I was told by a life-long resident). There is no restaurant, no stores, no discerable businesses of any kind (besides an auto wrecking yard, I guess that counts). There are two non-functioning churches. Tyler's cousin and her husband, who own the house in which we are living, bought one of the churches 8 or so years ago. They got married in it and haven't really done anything with it since. They visit the house once in a while, but are currently living in Gibsons, BC. We have our eye on the other empty church. It would make a great home with plenty of studio space. It is a newer church with bathrooms and a kitchen. Apparently there are politics involved in selling it and so it remains empty. One can only hope. The landscape around Dana is stunning.
Bruno has one restaurant. It’s imaginatively called The Bruno Café and we often go there for breakfast. The owners have started serving us coffee without asking, regardless of the time of day. Refills are always plentiful. It’s a Chinese Canadian restaurant. We’ve been to 19 villages and towns so far and those that have a restaurant consistently have a Chinese Canadian one. These single restaurant villages usually also have a hotel and every single one is unfailingly marked by a white and red 7-Up sign.
We couldn’t afford to stay at the hotel any longer so we went to a hardware store and bought a cheap Shop Vac, a large bucket and the biggest bag of clumping cat litter we could find. Essentially we made ourselves a litter box in lieu of a working toilet. The neighbor came by on the weekend to help us get the water going but unfortunately the septic tank was in need of repair so his efforts weren’t entirely successful. He made another attempt on Thursday but it didn't take. We have gotten used to the litter pail...sorta.
The Shop Vac allowed us to do a lot of cleaning without using water. Dead moths and flies and spider-webs were everywhere. We eventually had access to the neighbor’s garden hose enabling us to mop the floors. The house looks pretty nice now. Too bad it's so cold.
When we arrived in Dana the house had no heat, no water, and seemed to have no electricity (we found out the next day that the electricity was actually working, the breaker just needed to be flipped). It was incredibly dirty from being left empty for years. We spent that first night in the nearest town, Bruno, at the local hotel. We were the only guests and paid a whopping $20 for a room. A warm room with access to a working toilet has never meant so much. We ended up staying there the following night as well.
Tyler did all the driving since I don’t have a license. Tyler’s cat Booboo made the whole trip with us. He got quite used to sitting in the cab of the truck, either on my lap or on the carpeted space between us where he was able to sharpen his claws. He was sedated in order to make the trip easier on him (and us).
April 2006: The Move
Our plan had been to leave Vancouver on the evening of Saturday April 29th and arrive in Dana, Saskatchewan, by Tuesday evening (with a day off in Edmonton to visit family).
This plan did not work.
Attaching a U-Haul trailer to our truck ended up requiring some repair to our truck’s wiring. This ate up hours of time. Packing the small trailer was sufficiently nightmarish. We hit panic when the back of our truck became jammed shut after a test closing it. We weren’t done packing it yet. It took an hour but Tyler managed to finally open it with a screwdriver and hammer. We then began giving furniture away to anyone who passed. We left a day later than expected. It took us two days to get to Edmonton, where we arrived Tuesday evening rather than Sunday. We left early the next day and made it to Dana that evening just in time to unpack while there was still daylight and return the U-Haul on time.
It was snowing in Saskatchewan when we arrived.