Let’s face it, most cottages have a quirk, or two. Many quirks are simply a part of living in the country; most are things you’d never see – except at a cottage.
Rural living quirks are things like random power outages and Bell Canada not being able to locate you even though you know the cottage has had service from them in the past. (That really happened!)
What You Might Find in an Older Cottage
When I think of a cottage quirk I think of:
- Hand carried water jugs under the sink counting as indoor plumbing.
- Having a water heater in the kitchen … or a bedroom.
- Not being able to use the screened porch until the squirrels move out every spring. Oh and when you’re in there, remember not to put your coffee on the table in the corner … it’s “got a wobble to it.”
- Only being able to open the door to the shed if you wedge your toe under the left corner, wiggle the latch “just so”, and make a face like you’ve just sunk your teeth into a lemon when you were expecting an orange.
You really only have to watch a few cottage renovation shows or read “Cottage Life Magazine” to witness these quirks.
For us, it’s the teeny tiny water heater and “Hall 4.” Those are the only two things that stick out in my mind, there may be more, but they don’t interrupt my day like these two have.
Our cottage has a small crawl space so there’s only room for a small electric water heater (without taking up space in our living area that is). We quickly got used to the reality that if someone wants to take a shower, you may not want to wash the pile of dishes first, unless they like chilly endings to their showers. And if you have to be somewhere and all members of your party desire showers before that … get started early because it’s a good 30 – 45 minutes between showers for the tank to heat up again. Either that or make sure everyone promises to be quick in there so the last guy (usually the host) doesn’t have an icy one.
And then there’s “HALL 4!” Plug in a blow dryer in the washroom and a heater in the living room – POOF – trip a breaker! Turn a heater on in a bedroom and a heater in the far corner of the dining room – POOF – another trip to the electrical panel! Vacuum in the living room & fan in the washroom … well, you get the picture. We’d just get used to the combinations that wouldn’t work and POOF we’d find another!
Living with the Quirks of an Old Cottage
Cottage quirks! You can either live with them or tear the cottage apart trying to figure out how to fix them. Frankly, that just seems like too much work, so we (like most cottagers) chose to live with them.
By the way, bracing the toilet against the wall with a 2×4 and having to sit down gently so you don’t go through the floor is not one of these cute little oddities that make cottage living unique. Although, having the shower so close to the toilet that you could wash your feet while you go … that’s a quirk. See the pic, I’m not joking! Things like dangerous toilets and bat infested bunkies are more on the neglect spectrum of cottage ownership.
Back to Hall 4 … We rearranged our hydro usage to work with it until one cold winter’s night, when a tree fell across the hydro line between the main line and the cottage. We are lucky to have a hydro crew member in the neighbourhood, so the line was made safe again quickly. The fallen tree caused enough tension on the line to bend the hydro stack and make replacement necessary. Well, that seemed as good a time as any to upgrade the hydro panel as well and maybe fix Hall 4. Lucky for us again as there’s a highly recommended Electrician living just down around the corner. Arrangements were made and the new stack and panel (labelled!) were in by the time we came back up two weeks later.
No more blowing fuses … not even a tripped breaker … when running the vacuum and a heater. In fact, I think it actually took more time to remember that we could run more than one appliance at a time. One less cottage quirk. Ahhhh the soft life! Well, there will always be the occasional cold shower…brrrrr!
P.S. The pictures used in this post are BEFORE renovation pictures.
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