It was a dark and stormy night. The ferries weren’t running. We were intending on getting home after a rather harrowing* four day visit to family in Victoria. Intentions mean nothing in bad weather if you live OTG. We stayed, instead, at MoneyPenny’s B&B (fantastic) in Campbell River and weathered the storm like city-folk. Wine and take-out as modest compensation.
Today (the next day) was still blustery but more to our liking and off we went. The car was heavily laden with luggage, supplies and, of course, a few building materials. Loaded the boat to the gunwales and slogged our way home over the still rumbling seas. But the storm was a Sou-easter and our landing is in the lee of the land so we were fine. The funicular went down, the supplies went on and, after docking the boat, we moved everything uphill and started to unload. We got home around 11:00. Sal is still putting stuff away now at 3:00pm.
Part of the reason for so long a process is that we often will stop and have a cuppa tea and light the woodstove. I was stacking some scotch (natch) in the closet when Sal said rather calmly, “Could I get a hand over here?”
I stopped what I was doing and attended to her. “S’up?”
“There’s a woodpecker in the stove!”
Our woodstove has a long stove-pipe. Over 16 feet long. It has a dog’s leg bend near the top. The top section is eight feet or so with the majority of it outside – of course. The top is covered by a chimney-top. Woody must have forced himself in a rather small-ish opening at the top, fluttered and fell down the stove-pipe and, amazingly, landed safely on top of the baffle at the top of the burn-box. There is not much room between the baffle and beginning of the stovepipe….I am guessing maybe 1.5 inches.
Not content with that particular location, Woody somehow scrambled along the baffle and fell into the larger stove area where he remained until Sal discovered him.
We opened the door, Woody flew around the room a bit and then smacked his fine self into a window. He was a bit stunned (but he is a woodpecker, after all. He has a hard head). I covered him with a towel, we slowly opened the window and Woody fell out of it and flew away.
Woody is our second such guest. A couple years ago we had a squirrel. Same process. Same window.
Life OTG, eh?
*I said ‘rather harrowing’ not because ‘going urban’ was any worse than usual this time but mostly because we are even less accustomed to the madness that passes for modern life these days. You know the drill……it took twenty minutes to drive four blocks due to heavy traffic, had to go to the drugstore three times to pick up a bottle of Rx eyedrops (first delay: was ‘our systems are down’, second delay: one untrained young clerk with twenty people in line = one hour wait. Third time we were lucky: only took twenty minutes!). And so it went. Traffic. Line-ups, malls, parking, insane prices…..surrounding you everywhere you look is junque and poor-quality crap complete with really bad service. I am literally incapable of dealing with it all anymore. Sal often makes me wait in the car. I sit there looking at other angry old guys waiting in their car.
Here’s an interesting note: everywhere there are HELP WANTED signs. Everywhere! My son explained part of the problem is the housing crisis. Where he works, they have hired several workers from out-of-town who start their first month living in a hotel or motel. By the third month, they decide that finding an affordable decent place to rent is too impossible and they resign and go home. These are folks making $60+ to $100K a year! They are young, but have no down payment and rents are too high to pay even IF they can find a place! That’s crazy!
The good news? We are home. It is fantastic. I used to swear I would never leave here again. Sal would subsequently make me go somewhere horrible but has recently spaced out my traveling obligations to once every four months. This time, when we got home, she said, “I never want to leave here again.” Personal growth is a wonderful thing to witness.