The Winter Canadian Chronicles: My Winter Vacation, Wish You Were Here!


  • 8:45 am: the wind is howling across the lake. Roof timbers are shaking–it’s like the wind is moving through the house. Yet the sun shines bright on the snow.
  • 9:00 am: Birk decides that waffles sound like a good idea. I pull out homemade breakfast sausage from the butcher. We mix and pour.
  • 9:10:  the lights flicker and fail.
  • 9:11:  We move the sausages in their fry pan and put them on top of the wood stove.  One waffle is complete in the ELECTRIC waffle maker due to the pre-heating.
  • 9:30:  George and John are chopping through the ice of the lake with a pick axe and hatchet.  Buckets of icy cold lake water arrive in the bathroom.


  • 10:00:  The candle and battery hunt begins.  We amass all of the candles and flashlights on the kitchen table. Matches and lighters are ready to go.
  • 10:01:  John is putting a kettle on the wood stove and stoking the fire. 
  • 10:15:  As it looks like power is out for a while, we begin clearing out the fridge and putting all of the perishables in coolers.  We wrap the soft-sided coolers in garbage bags and bury everything in a snowbank outside on the patio.
  • 11:00:  I make all of the kids clean their rooms and tidy up while we still have daylight and put necessary items in easy to reach places.
  • 11:30:  We decide to head to town for dinner and make sandwiches for lunch.
  • 12:00:  The water on the stove is hot enough to wash dishes…so we do it.
  • 1:00:  Latest news from town is that power will be down for a while.  If we are going to the local restaurant for dinner, we need to be there by 5:00.  
  • 2:00:  We make sure that the outhouse is stocked and ready for a long night.  We have buckets of water for emergency flushing.  The sky is greying and darkness is closing in.
  • 2:30:  Extra fire wood is stacked outside the door and inside.  Weather for the night is expected to be well below freezing.
  • 3:30:  Kids are excited.  It’s just like camping!
  • 4:30:  We load up the car and head to town.  We pass the local Hydro crew on the road.  They say it could be days before things are fixed.
  • 5:00:  Sit down in crowded restaurant.  Get our menus, hear about the specials and order drinks.  BAM!  Darkness.   
  • 5:02:  Power does not return.  Candles are lit.  The chef comes out in her apron with a coal miner’s light on her head and explains that there’s no food.  Maybe a few bowls of soup.
  • 5:15:  We are all treated to bowls of soup and as many saltines as we can eat.
  • 6:00:  We head home and light our candles.  George crawls under the cottage and begins to drain the water by flashlight so that our pipes don’t freeze…again!
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  • 7:00 pm:  George hikes down the road to find the hydro crew…Hydro One assures us that they are on our main road and that our power should be on by now.  He convinces the crew that we actually DON’T have power and that it would be really nice if they came down our lane and checked it out.
  • 9:00 pm:  The truck arrives in our driveway.  The crew works hard and HOORAY! we have power.  We douse the candles and electric heat and light warms us.  The water is switched on and sputters…but we have running water!
  • 10:00 pm:  The hot water tank is kaputt.  That is another story for another day.  Showers are for sissies, right???


  1. midwin
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    OMG — backpacking isn’t nearly this bad. Tell me you’re back in the land of sun!

    • Mermaid
      Posted January 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and today it is truly glorious!

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