Thursday 5 January 2017

Notes from a small town

The woman keeps looking at us, and Richard looks back, scowling. "Stop staring at her," I hiss at him. "It's rude."
"She keeps staring at me," he counters. "She did that the other day too. What's her deal?"
I peek into her direction, a decision I immediately regret - we just made eye contact. Oops!
Sure enough, she gets up and makes her way over to us.

"I saw you the other day!" she says brightly, beaming at us.
"Yes, that's right," I answer resignedly. There's no escaping now.
"Lynda, didn't I tell you?" the woman addresses the proprietor of the little cafe. "They were here the other day! When was it again? Not yesterday, no - I got it. You came in on the 2nd!"
"Yes, that's right," I say again.
Now she is leaning in closer, only inches away from our faces. She wears bright-pink lipstick, and her smile is actually scary - it's slightly manic. Her tight curls bob excitedly up and down as her head swivels from me to Rich, and back again.
"So, where are you folks from?"
I explain that we just moved from Langley, and her excitement reaches another level (I didn't think it was possible): "You just moved, and you already found us?! That's so great! Some folks have lived here for years and don't know we exist! You will really like it here, you will. It's a great place."

I agree with her, and then, thankfully, she retreats. I suspect that Lynda telepathically sent her the message to leave the newbies alone, or she might scare us away.

We are back at the homey little diner we discovered the other day. It feels more like grandma's kitchen than a restaurant, and we love the intimate and casual vibe of the place. It's one small room, only six tables on a scrubbed pine floor, and while the furniture and floor have become a bit shabby, it's spotlessly clean. The food is down-home, stick-to-your-ribs cooking, and Lynda is lovely. She greets everyone who comes in by name, and I'm wondering when she will learn ours. I'm guessing two more visits, tops.

With the hoopla and business of December over, we are just now settling into a routine.
We seem to alternate between staying home on the farm one day, and going into town on the next. "Going into town" is a bigger deal than it ever was before. Maybe it's because we tend to go together now, as opposed to before when I usually went by myself? Or it's because we're trying out different little restaurants? Whatever the reason, it's a small special occasion. I can't help but feel like our ancestors must have when they first settled in the "new world", and when every trip into town was a huge deal. While it doesn't take us very long to get there (10 minutes), it does require putting on real clothes, and I don't do that on a daily basis these days.

It's still freakishly cold (much colder than normal, the locals tell us), and all we care about is staying warm. Layering is the magic word, and long johns. Since my bulky long underwear doesn't fit under most of my jeans, it's sweat pants all day, baby. That and my amazing, life-saving new boots. I wear them every single day, and they are seriously the best investment I ever made.

The cold is something that dominates our lives here. Since we spend so much time outside, we are in intimate contact with it. Not only do we have to carry water to the birds and rabbits several times a day (and remove the ice each time before filling it up with water), we also have a few other issues.
One interesting (i.e. annoying) side effect is that our phone line develops a loud static noise when the temps drop to -20͒ C (-4͒ F). During the last cold snap in December we had the same problem, and a technician from Telus came to fix it. Wouldn't you know it, on the very day he came the temperatures had significantly warmed up, and the static was gone. 
He did check the lines, and found a wasp nest in our phone box (is that what it's called? It's a box thingy), but he warned us that he didn't know if the problem was fixed or not. 
"You'll have to wait for the next cold period to know for sure", he told us.

Sure enough, it's not fixed. The static is back, worse than ever. We can barely understand the other person on the phone, and vice versa. Telus is coming back today, and hopefully they'll fix it for good.

Another issue is the cars. We don't have a garage yet, so our vehicles have to stay outside. Richard's Diesel truck has a block heater that keeps the engine warm, but ours was broken.
The other day, when we needed to drive to the airport to drop off some rabbits, our truck wouldn't start for three hours. It took the combined efforts of a neighbour, BCAA, and my little SUV to get the beast finally started. The block heater is fixed now, because that's the world we live in now: A world where you have to plug in your vehicles in order for them to work.

But it's also a world of helpful neighbours, friendly locals and sunny days. I'll take it!

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? You really should, you know. You'll get a free puppy when you do!*

*Actually, that's a lie. Sorry. Note to self: "I must not tell lies"



  1. Jealous of the homey cafe you found! Mark and I have yet to find our fav "go-to" spot locally!

    1. Just go out on your days off (or afternoon shifts) and try out different restaurants! The great thing about hole-in-the-wall breakfast places is that they're usually inexpensive. Breakfast dates are fun!

  2. It sounds really wonderful where you are now!

    1. It is, we love it. When are you guys moving?

  3. Goodness, the cold sounds awful...but your new life sounds really nice, even if it is a big adjustment and very different being at home now. I love the sound of the little diner! I'm from a really small town where my entire childhood was like this day I can walk into the one restaurant in town and have to stop and hug and talk to several people on my way to a table. I love that!

    1. Ooh, that is awesome! I'm really excited about becoming part of the community here. The funny part is that I grew up in a small town, and couldn't wait to get away. 18 years later, here I am, coming full circle.

  4. Lynda's is like Luke's. <3 Except Lynda sounds less surly than Luke.

    Brr - the cold sounds horrible. But I'm so glad you're getting sunshine each day. That probably helps. Stay warm!

    1. Omg, you're right, it IS like Luke's! But unlike Luke, Lynda is friendly and grandmotherly, and I can't imagine her ever kicking someone out because she has a bad day.
      The sun is a gorgeous, wonderful thing, for the first time in my life I'm getting enough vitamin D in the winter! I completely get your love for the desert, desert girl, it's fabulous!

  5. The lady staring would have made me so uncomfortable. If she hadn't come over, I would probably plan on never going back!
    The cold must be a huge adjustment. Take each obstacle with a grain of salt and an Amazon search. Soon you will be well equipped and maybe eventually be the one teaching new neighbors how it's done out there :0)

    1. My first purchase here was a decent pair of winter boots. That made all the difference! Proper shoes are definitely a necessity.
      The Telus guy managed to fix our phone, so that problem is solved as well!
      I have to say that we haven't been back to Lynda's cafe, and that lady is mostly responsible. But I intend to go back there, because we like that place so much! We just have to figure out how to appear very unapproachable haha ;-)

  6. I have very clear memories of having to plug our car in every morning during the winter in Quebec so that we could go somewhere. We learned that the hard way following a particularly cold night when our car wouldn't start the next morning. Eventually we ran down the battery and had to be jump-started and everything.

    Quebec is freaking cold, so what you're describing is very clear in my mind. Stay warm!

    1. Thanks! It's supposed to FINALLY warm up towards the weekend. Yay!


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