Surprising New Things in My Life


Everything Changes:  not just the ending of the tv series Six Feet Under, but also a recurring observation amongst the wise sages of the world, across many religions.  All things change.  Perhaps the sages who knew this have also experienced a move from Nelson to Yellowknife.

Husband and I are existing in a twilight zone of altered reality, where nothing is simple, known or easy.  Everything is new, different, and complicated.  Yet still we are speaking English, and remain in Canada.  I cannot begin to comprehend the experience of immigration to another country.   These changes are enough for now!

Some surprising changes in my life:

My husband.  During the day he is the same energetic, feisty, handy husband, but when I wake up at night, someone new is sleeping beside me.  He has a black mask and bears a startling resemblance to Zoro.  However this Zoro is blind and deaf!   Oh, I get it, husband is wearing a mask and earplugs to keep out the long daylight hours.

Circadian rythms.  No longer do we get tired at 10 pm.  Now we are up until 12 or 1 each night.  It used to be that when I woke at night I could figure out the time, just by the light and the sounds around me.  But no longer.  Now it is light most of the time –just in this last week, as the days shorten, are we required to turn on a reading light at night – at about midnight.   When we arrived at the beginning of July it was only twilight-ish at the darkest part of night, now its a little darker than that, and for a little longer.  We are all mixed up!

My family.  It’s good thing husband and I never had children together, because it seems we’ve just acquired six.  That is, our six new bouncing baby lead acid batteries, powered by our solar panel.  It turns out they aren’t here to serve us – at best we can hope for is some give and take on both sides of the relationship.  They have a strict schedule of feeding and watering, and require constant monitoring.  They cannot be worked to more than 50% of their capacity.  It could be dangerous or even fatal to overtire them.  And, as my dad told me today, they even breath and emit gas from time to time!

Neighbours.  We are starting to meet the locals.  The first we met are the seagull pair raising two young just about 30 or 40 feet away, on Gull Island.  The first day we arrived they were quite perturbed and dived at us in great distress.  Gradually they’ve become accustomed to us, and now only dive at us, or the dogs, if we are quite close to the two young chicks.  Initially the babies were small fluffy balls of grey, but they’ve grown so fast they are now adult sized, and starting to stretch their wings.  They are trying to fly, but still get put out into the lake whenever danger threatens from shore. They are still grey, and well camouflaged in the rocks.  And on the rock right next to Gull Island is another pair with three chicks.  Every rock has a new gull family. They are almost like watchdogs, with their distinctive clucking whenever anyone is near.  Right beside the nearest gull neighbours, literally, is a merganser mom on a nest of 9 eggs.   And there is another pair that we meet in the boat, when crossing Yellowknife  Bay, with 4 young, (sometimes being carried on the back of mom).  It seems that all the birds here, of which there are many, are in a great rush to reproduce and raise their young in the short season.  The land is just bursting with birds and babies.

We’ve met many of our human neighbours as well, all very welcoming and friendly.  (And I’ve had it on good authority from a local that 99.7% of people here are very friendly – the other 0.3% being famously cranky!)  We were invited over to a nearby houseboat for dinner last week, (its also a B and B as well – check it out online at Yellowknife Bay Floating B and B) and met lots of neat people who have the same interests as us – boating, sailing, paddling, and cross country skiing.  Yeah!  People to play with!  The day following the dinner party they came by and took husband out for a  midnight water ski – his first ever.  People are often dropping by for a visit, and we’ve been getting lots of advice on houseboat matters.

My vocabulary.  Yes, this too has changed.  I now talk about things like volts, amps, watts, inverters, equalizing and my newest favorite word, separett.  (More on this later.)  We haven’t completely mastered the solar powered system yet, but we haven’t blown ourselves up yet either.

My bodily functions.  Who knew that moving could cause oh so many changes??  I mean really, bodily functions?  Yes, life with a composting toilet has many unexpected outcomes.  The one we have initially seemed quite friendly, and I thought it was amazing.  No water supply, no flushing, and yet it worked well, and no smell.  Oh, how simple life was then, back when I was fresh and naive.  A few days later the thing overflowed, about 30 minutes before our first ever houseboat potluck dinner party.  And while I don’t want to get into the horrific details, let me just say that liquid ooze figured prominently in my dreams that night.   So, we cleaned it up, and drained the thing and figured out where we had gone wrong.  Well, guess what happened a mere 4 days later?  That’s right, another ‘crapaster’, as the Nelson ER nurses would call it – (that term coined when there was a Norwalk virus outbreak up on the third floor of the hospital).  This time immense quantities of output were cleaned and cleared out.  Lets just say that an outhouse seems much preferable at this point.  What good is a toilet that you can’t pee in?  Hence the change in bodily function, and the need to know the location of all public toilets.  And how can we have company, if they would also be so unreasonable as to want to pee?

Enter my new favorite word, the separett.  At the floating B and B both owners and guests can answer the call of nature WHENEVER THEY FEEL LIKE IT.  Imagine the novelty!!  Turns out they have a new and improved composting toilet that does not involve 1. Constant odor,  2. manhandling of solid waste, and 3. voluntary dehydration.  It just works, whenever you need it to.  We saw it, we wanted it, we considered it for 2 seconds, came home and ordered it, and are now haunting the post office until it arrives. Good thing too, as we need it installed before the first houseguests arrive at the beginning of August.  Thank you neighbours!  Thank you, inventor of separett!  (for those of you interested in the details, come on, admit it, you are interested! – you can read all about it at

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in Collected Wisdoms, The Song I Live By. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Surprising New Things in My Life

  1. So glad to have learned about a separett…..and jealous of the moonlit water ski 🙂 great blog, keep it up! xoxox

  2. Garry says:

    So many new things to see, and do, and learn, and experience…hope your new separett arrived before Mom & Dad…all the best, and continue to keep us posted on your northern adventures !

    • Skye says:

      Yes, the separett arrived and was installed before the folks came. (it turms out that was a condition of the visit!) At the same time, because it was a beautiful summer weekend, and what else would you do then? we went further and put down new floor and a real bathroom cabinet. It was a lot of work but we now have a nice and clean functional bathroom, horrray! Having a great visit with the folks.

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