Lough Leane as seen from Killarney National Park, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Lots of work to do this week

We had stopped and picked up a few things on our way to the house on Friday night, but we needed to do a decent grocery shop. We were both awake really early because it'll take us a few days to get used to the seven hour time change. So we were able to head out right at 8:00am when the stores open to do some grocery shopping.

When we stay here, we usually drive into the town of Arnprior (pop 26,000) to do grocery shopping. It was pretty quiet at that hour on a Saturday morning.

I'm sure most people have heard of the inflation that is in the process of hitting Canada and the U.S., and sure enough we noticed it on a couple of items in the grocery stores. The jug of maple syrup that we had been paying a fairly steady $12 for the last few years here is now over $13. And apples are over $2.00 a pound. We did get some decent deals on chicken, shrimp, and pork chops, so it's not everything. But you have to shop around.

Pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast.

There's not much that I miss about Canada when we're traveling, but maple syrup is definitely one thing that I do miss. Yum!

Ruth, with our fancy fully loaded Honda Civic rental for the next ten days.

It felt a bit odd to be able to order from the deli counter in English for the first time in ten months!

Over $120 later, we arrived back at the house with the goods. Daughter Lindsey and the grandkids were coming up for a visit, but they hadn't arrived yet so I took off on a 5 km power walk. Ruth didn't join me because she had a bit of a fall in the airport on Friday (slipped on somebody's spilled coffee!) and her hip wasn't feeling quite right. Hopefully it gets better quickly.

I did the 5 km (3 mile) walk in exactly 40 minutes, so it was a pretty fast pace without getting into a jog. Felt great to get back into it, and I'm definitely going to be concentrating on staying in shape while we're here. We are back with our bicycles too, so there will be a lot of cycling going on as well.

Lindsey and the kids showed up. Cameron has changed the most in the last ten months. He's not a little kid anymore.

The hydro electric dam across the road.

Lindsey and Sadie.

Sadie is such a character.

And Cameron is not a little kid anymore.

Sadie will be 8 at the end of the month, and Cameron is 10 1/2.
And our own little girl Lindsey will be 35 this weekend. 
Holy crap! Time is flying... don't waste any of it!

The kids love searching for frogs and snakes and other critters.


Dragon fly.

After they left, it was time to get to work.

The estate auction is this coming Saturday and there is still a lot to do. Ruth's dad lived in this house for 55 years, and it's amazing how much useless stuff accumulates. We had done a fair bit of work the last two times we were here, but it seems like it's never ending. Ruth's brother Colin was also here. He was cleaning up the workshop and packing things up there.

While he was doing the workshop, Ruth was doing the kitchen and I was doing the basement. It's honestly unbelievable. I know that I moved boxes that hadn't been moved since he built the addition in 1984. There are 14 boxes of mildewed books... along with all the spider webs and mouse droppings that of course accumulate in that time period. A real mess.

I must have made 25 trips up and down the stairs.

Ruth, boxing up the kitchen goods.

The living room is full of stuff too.

And of course the basement.

More basement stuff.

This stuff was in the basement and I have now moved it under the carport outside.
Notice the 1960's Coca-Cola and 7-Up crates.

Lots of work. It will be ongoing every day this week.

Fortunately, the weather is pleasant. We just caught the end of a heat wave when we arrived on Friday and it's cooled off to a forecast high of 25C (75F) today. 

We are heading into the city later this morning to have lunch with my mother today.


And in Canada...


  1. Those wooden crates would bring big bucks here in the US. Also the older kitchen range with the warming oven. Those are very hard to find here and when you do find them you pay a premium.

    1. Yes, there are quite a few old collectibles going in the auction. It will be interesting to see what things sell for.

      The wood stove in the kitchen will be sold with the house. In fact, I believe that is what will sell the house!

    2. Twenty five years ago we bought an old farmhouse in Cape Breton. The seller wanted to remove a lovely old wood stove from the kitchen. To make the deal we negotiated to not take the installed dishwasher in place of keeping that stove. We had many wonderful years of cooking and heat until we ended up selling it because of insurance problems. I still miss that wonderful stove !

    3. We have always loved that kitchen stove as well, my mum would cook meals in it and on it in the winter months. We would often stand around it warming ourselves up after coming in from a walk and chat as we are doing it. Lots of great memories and it just really made the house homey and comfy. :-)

  2. I did the same two years ago, my parents sold their house, and moved to a 55 plus building. Then my husband and i last year, 28 years on an acreage. The crap and useless stuff people accumulate in a lifetime together. In my case, my husband. It is so much work

    1. So you definitely know how much work is involved. I remember a number of times trying to convince my dad to go through some of this stuff when he was alive and get rid of the junk that he didn't need then but he refused to listen to me, now I wish I was a little more insistent about it.

      We have made sure that our kids will never have to deal with our junk when we are gone, it will make their lives so much easier.

  3. We're in the middle of cleaning up my youngest sister's house. She died November 27, 2020. We've barely put a dent into cleaning and donating stuff. Some we have given away. I don't envy the basement clean up. Wear a mask around mouse dropping due to hanta virus.

    1. We are sorry for the loss of your sister. It sure is a lot of work when there is a big houseful of stuff, hopefully you won't be at it too much longer.

  4. Ironically, I am reading Secondhand by Adam Minter and its about what happens to things when we don't want them anymore. One of the big needs is exactly what y'all are doing now - someone to go through the house of our parents, usually, to clear everything out but not just send everything to a landfill. We did it two years ago after dh's mother passed. We filled up a 40'dumpster, had a yard sale, filled up a 24' Goodwill truck, made 10+ trips in the car to Goodwill and then sold 3 bedroom sets and the dining room suit to neighbors. It took 5 adults 9 days and made me realize I will never do that to our kids. We end up moving every few years, so I try to declutter every time. I remember those wooden crates growing up.

    1. We are doing our best not to send stuff to the landfill. Much of the stuff will be sold at the auction, what doesn't sell will get donated and stuff that is real junk will get recycled as much as possible. I don't see us needing a dumpster but I guess that will all be determined once the auction is over.

      We are the same, I don't want our kids to have to deal with something like we are having to do. They should be able to go through our stuff in half a day, mind you they may have to travel to a different country in order to do it!

  5. I have downsized a lot, mostly clothes and personal possessions left.
    (All the furniture, kitchen /household goods, etc, belong to my partner)
    I have determined my kids won’t have the job of sorting through junk!
    (But his kids will! Although he is going through the store room in the condo and eliminating too)

    1. Good for you Shirley, Kevin's mother has been very good about that as well. People just don't realize how much stuff they actually have until they have to deal with something like we are dealing with now.

      I am so glad that we aren't pack rats!

  6. Yep. Cleaning my parent's home. 60 years of married life and they went to aged care. Loaded the trailer to take so much to the tip. Most donated to the salvos op shop. Rest given away. A good lesson for Adam and I - working on our place next so no-one has to pack up our accumulation of "stuff". Thinking of you - it's like parallel moments in time.

    1. Yes, it is definitely a lot of work and good for you both to start working on your own place. There is a lot to be said for a minimalist"s life. It is funny as we are getting everything packed up for the auction, I am looking at stuff that my parents bought or that people gave them as presents that have never been touched and I think of all the money spent for no reason, basically just wasted! It really is sad to see.

  7. Ruth's dad's house looks eerily similar to my husband's parents house, which we helped clean out a few years back before moving them into assisted living. Their basement shelving was identical! And they also had decades of accumulated possessions. It was a huge undertaking but so liberating too. We decided against a sale but donated, gave away, and recycled as much of it as we could. Also filled up a driveway dumpster twice. Then had professional cleaners come in and work their magic, a real estate agent, and it sold quickly. I wish you similar success!

    1. We really think the auction is the best way to get rid of the stuff, so much easier than lugging it off to all kinds of places and hopefully less stuff going to the landfill. I guess we will see how that all goes once the auction is over and done with. I honestly can't see us needing a dumpster, having said that the last few years we have manage to get rid of quite a bit of junk slowly over our visits.

      The end is in sight!

  8. Brings back lots of memories looking at your photos getting ready for sale. A few years ago we went thru that with Barry’s parents after they passsed away. They had a country grocery store connected to their 18 room home filled with tons of antiques and lots of “stuff!” We have the huge glass candy case in our business office from the store.

    Love seeing how much Cameron and Sadie have grown!! Grandkids are the best!! Hi to Lindsey!! Take care Ruth, hope your hip gets better soon!!🥰

    1. Wow, that sounds like it was a huge job for you guys that is a lot of space that I am sure was full of stuff. Makes me feel better that my parents house wasn't that big.

      It is incredible how much Cameron has grown since our last visit. Sadie hasn't changed quite so much and neither has our daughter.

      My hip is just fine, it doesn't bother me at all except to trying to keep up with Kevin on our regular 5 km power walk. I went part way with him yesterday and I will probably do the whole thing today but again, I won't do it at his pace.

  9. Larry & I went through your ordeal too… I guess most children go through it to caring if extents. We had Larry’s mom’s place to deal with, but Larry’s brothers & sister did a lot of work too. Then my father passed a few years ago … different senereo given I am an only child so the burden of it was placed on Larry & I & our 3 children who were a great help. The “game of life & transition from generation to generation! I agree trying to minimize/ downsize helps reduce the burden for the family! We did the same when we retired & sold the house in WA moving to AZ. Downsizing is key to helping yourself & family. We had a huge garage sale prior to moving… amazing the amount of “junk” a person accumulated over the years. Take care & good luck on a successful auction!! Larry & Nancy

    1. You are right, just about everyone has to go through this at some point in their lives when they have elderly parents. It certainly helps a lot when the siblings are able to help out, I can't begin to imagine trying to do this all on our own. It has also helped that over the last four years or so, we have slowly been able to go through some of the stuff and have been able to great rid of the paperwork, the clothing and all the food stuff that was there, we also got rid of some of the real garbage stuff but there is still so much work to do.

      And again as you have mentioned, the key to all of this is to start going through your stuff now and weeding out the junk and the things you don't need or use before you get too old to do it. People need to go through all their things at least once a year, that way you know what you have.

      It is going to be interesting to see how the auction goes!


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