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  • Rae

Part 11: Before the Storm/After The Storm...

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

On Friday August 30, we had a terrific meeting with an engineer working as a consultant and basically, all of his clients are potential clients for us – industrial companies and manufacturers. In true maritime fashion, he was super friendly; had checked out our website, knew what our expertise was and we chatted about business and potential leads for an hour and a half. We really appreciated the introduction from Bernice Williams, who had interviewed me a few weeks ago. Slowly, we are increasing our business network with a great collection of people.

That night, we enjoyed another fantastic concert at Petite Riviere Winery. Unfortunately, it was the start of the long weekend and the attendance was low, but From Away were pros and gave us a full-on concert. Loved it! It was another beautiful night, overlooking the vineyard with super dark skies... really lovely. Afterwards we talked to them about coming to play in our studio once it's finished. They are from Ottawa, so the next time they are in Nova Scotia, we'll definitely book them in. This is the level of talent we are on the hunt for:

On Saturday, we started our day with a beautiful morning paddle of our cove – it was perfectly calm and so pretty.

On Sunday, we took a little drive at low tide to find a sand spit near Oxner's Beach – very lovely and a bit of a secret.

On the holiday Monday, our friend Deirdre from Dartmouth came for a visit – it was so nice to enjoy some time together, and Alan made a delicious steak dinner on the Green Egg. Many moons ago, we all went to the same high school in Williamstown, On (shout-out to all our Char-Lan friends!) so it's been really nice to reconnect and see each other more. Deirdre is the ONLY person we knew in NS when we moved here. LOL

A short week was upon us and it was a crazy 'Mondayish kind of Tuesday', so after work we went to Crescent Beach for a lovely walk. There were so many shore birds and I wished I had my Nikon – if you walk slowly, you can get quite close to them. Nothing like a walk on the beach to let the stress of the day just slip away. We enjoyed a nice beach dinner picnic as the sun was setting and as we drove home, the sunset kept getting more and more intense. Almost every evening, there is a pretty yellow light that bathes the landscape and when you drive along the river, it hits the old fishing shacks and boats – really lovely –there is often incredible orange, pinks and reds in the sky. And of course, reflected on the water, it's even more intense.

And then the drywall arrived and was loaded in through the upstairs window. Now I understand why that window has not been put in yet. It's almost like it was all planned :)

And then an exciting stage of the process happened... early morning and another large truck has arrived - this time it's a pumper truck and the cement floor is being poured!

I could not believe how quickly it was done and within hours a couple guys were in there on pads, tamping it down, levelling it off... and then polishing it! Amazing. I thought it would take days to set. And a good thing it didn't take too long because Hurricane Dorian was on it's way.

It's rather disconcerting when you see on a satellite map that the eye of a hurricane is headed straight for you! Alan and I had no idea what to expect but we assumed we would at least lose our power. So, on September 4th, we made a trip to Canadian Tire to prepare ourselves the best we could. We loaded up on water containers, batteries, candles and a Coleman stove.

Friday the 6th, the crew managed to get the last big window in for the studio. We all knew what was coming, and they wanted to seal up that big open space before it hit. Finally, all our big beautiful windows were in. They dedicated the rest of the day to securing our site – moving all the lumber and supplies inside, securing the scaffolding and adding strapping to the roof since we didn't have the metal on yet. We added all our kayaks, fire pit and other outdoor items for safe keeping. We were a bit worried about our big trees in front of our house but... we just hoped for the best.

All the openings were boarded up with plywood. The guys left for the day and we all wished each other well, 'we'll see you after the storm'. That night we filled the car with gas, got some cash, filled both bathtubs with water, filled the containers with water, set-up the camp stove and kept our eye on the weather report.

Saturday morning it was overcast and started to rain. Barrett came by to check the site and make sure everything was secure. We appreciated that. It was our first hurricane and we have this half-finished building that we've invested our money in... kind of nerve-wracking. Around 12:30 I was practicing my flute when we lost our power. It was raining pretty hard at this point, but not much wind, so I just kept playing. Why not? The entire afternoon it poured rain, and the wind started to pick up. We noticed that our neighbour Russ was staying out on his boat, Tillicum – the beautiful 2-masted schooner that sits in our cove – well, we couldn't blame him, he was looking after his investment. Through the evening we would notice that he kept changing the position to best handle the wind. It must have been a very long night for him. The wind really whipped up overnight, but our old house was solid as a rock – we hardly felt the wind.

We woke the next morning to a windy but sunny day. We got our boots on and went out to check out our land and the build... fingers crossed that everything would be fine. One little corner of the roofing paper had lifted. A bunch of small branches were down. And nothing else. Wow.

Alan made a terrific pancake breakfast on our camp stove and we settled in for a day without power. I love this video... it doesn't matter what Alan has to cook on, he always makes a fantastic meal. Lucky girl I am.

So we settled in for a quiet, powerless day. Kind of freeing actually. We could still use our phones but had to charge them in the car. I wanted to see the waves at the beach, so in the afternoon we headed to Hirtles, but as we neared the ocean, we saw more and more damage – trees completely uprooted and some flooding... we suddenly felt like we were imposing on their privacy, so we turned around and headed home, feeling so lucky to have no damage. We have this big rise of land behind us where our woods are and the wind actually came from that direction, so it protected us from the full force. We're also in a cove – we're not exposed to a big body of water, and that helped as well. It seems that we chose a great property.

We cooked up stuff from the freezer on our great little camp stove, read, played instruments, had a nice long nap – it was quite nice.

On Monday morning, at the regular 7:30 start, the guys were here. None of them had power at their own homes either, but here they were, on time and back at work. Impressive. The build was opened up, all the stuff taken out and work continued on. They were working on the shingles which didn't require power, so that was good... later, a generator was brought in, and work continued. With no power, we packed up our computers and headed to a hotel in the late afternoon – it was nice to have a shower and we spent the next 2 days there with quite a good office set-up.

We popped down to the house on Tuesday night and the power was back on! So, the next morning we came home, cleaned out the fridge and got ourselves organized again to resume normal life.

Things really stepped up since September 11 once we had power again... more and more trades started to arrive: plumbing, electrical, HVAC...

On the evening of the 12th, we decided to pop over to Mahone Bay and try Rebecca's Restaurant. Well first of all, what an amazing location! The restaurant is situated right on the Bay with a perfect view of the 3 churches. We got there just as the light was pink and reflecting on the calm water. I thought it would be fantastic to come back here and sit on their patio for lunch. The food was fantastic! We are new fans!

On Friday, September 13, we attended the Chamber of Commerce meeting and Glenn Carey, the Director of Business Development for the South Shore Lumberjacks Junior A hockey team was there, and we ended up with a pair of free tickets to the game that night! And what great hockey! Well, we are really starting to feel like locals now... we came out of the arena to a full, bright moon. Gorgeous.

The start of another week and it has been crazy on the building site! Adam from Honneyman Electical has been here all week, putting in all the wiring, and sockets; we've been making decisions about where outlets, lights and fans will go...

That's Adam in the middle of the room... and Alan is talking to Craig from Rhyno's deciding on where the thermostat should go. These details are all important to us.

Allison, Craig and Arthur from Rhyno's have also been here all week – they've been installing our heat pumps and all the ducting. Allison has the distinction of being the first woman on site! Yay Allison! We need more women in the trades – if I wasn't doing what I do, I think I'd love to be on a building site. It must be really satisfying work.

Ryan with the Risser's crew has been building our stairs. What a big change to suddenly have stairs! We've been climbing the ladder for weeks. Alan designed them 4' wide and they feel so grand –a great entrance up to the studio.

We've been out choosing bathroom fixtures, deciding on tiles and flooring and choosing lights and fans - there is so much to do. We also had a chance to meet with Glenn from the Lumberjacks for coffee at King St. Beer Company (The Barn has a set-up there in the morning) – we wanted to brainstorm about marketing ideas for the hockey team and see where we could fit in. It's important for us to continue to expand our network. so, we'll see what we get up to with him over time...

Thursday, September 19th was another big day. They started putting the metal on the roof. And the colour is perfect! Wow, it looks good.

The next day, they continued with the metal and almost the whole roof is done already! We're going to do the house in the same metal, but not sure if that's going to happen soon or if it will have to wait. The focus is on getting the new addition closed in.

A month or so ago, Barrett had to tell us that the colour we wanted was not available, but when I suggested that he try another supplier, he immediately did and that afternoon, he had found the charcoal grey that I had my heart set on. That's a good contractor don't you think? I mean, the roof is a big part of the look and I really didn't want to settle for a lighter grey. We are so thankful for the Rissers - they have just been amazing to work with.

The Rhyno's crew stayed late on Friday to finish up the install for the heat pumps. We have one dedicated to the new addition and one for the house.

It's nearing the end of summer and we decided to go to Lunenburg for possibly a patio dinner... and then I said something that made us truly feel like locals: "oh look, the Bluenose II is home!" That gave me shivers... there it was, 15 minutes from our home... looking so beautiful in the warm yellow setting sun.

It's the start of another weekend and the last day of summer... we're off on another road trip to explore more of this beautiful province!

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