My Good Books


I just got onto the highway following the usual annoying bumper to bumper sadness of Toronto before noticing the two Spring Green keys Tim gave me were not dangling on my key chain like they previous did last week. My heart sunk, they must have fallen off, what a loser. I called Magali and she found them on our kitchen table so I was back in my own good books without ever having to share my disgrace, just how I like it. Five hours later after I confessed my keylessness to the other members of Spring Green they showed me where a spare key lived in secret.

old-lock-2  I removed the lock mechanism Tim requested and took a chance to bring a second one back (the one from the hallway by the staircase which they said never worked). Two weeks ago the locksmith told me he no longer works on skeleton keys. Then craned his neck and looked up in the air like he was going to catch an easy ball and said waitasec…he returned from the back room  “these are the last two keys I’m ever going to have like that, so I’ll put them over here and you bring me the lock and we’ll have it done but there won’t be a next time, okay”.



Since I was staying after the work weekend and since everyone was leaving Sunday afternoon after the varathane was applied it made more sense for me to be the one to put things back in the kitchen after the place aired out. But I had no idea what the kitchen arrangement was so I took pictures and you can all see it here in advance, hope it is no big deal if some things were changed.

screened dave-in-kitchen

shannon jesse-sanding

For instance there were four white plastic containers that housed cutlery and spices. After cleaning it out I put the spices on the shelves (the ones that were in glass or hard plastic). A few in baggies I put in the blue mouse proof box that already had some other spices.


There are only two white plastic containers now for the cutlery. The other two are in the room where the fireplace is (in case it’s necessary to put it back). Someone had 4 little baggies of sea salt in the cutlery drawer, it was transferred into a glass shaker behind the salt shaker. Someone had a bag of oregano marked Feb 2014. I replaced the older oregano which looked discoloured with the newer stuff in glass – do not worry mystery person who placed bag of oregano it is still there but in glass.


(if this story seems boring just wait there’s a cop story coming)

I have no idea where all the knives go. There was a ceramic jar overflowing with wooden spoons, spatulas etc. No room for knives though it seemed logical to perhaps have a second ceramic jar but nothing looked like it would play the part. I had a small wicker tray in my car so I made a switch and now the utensils are horizontal in the wicker basket and the knives are upright in the ceramic bowl. Though when I think about it now, maybe leaving stuff horizontal (like the utensils) means better surfaces for mice to shit. Shit!


There sure is a lot of mouse shit under the stove top too which makes me think it might be worth bringing a charged up dust buster for future trips. One of the buckets handles came off. I went to pick it up and poof the handle was weak and plopped off. I brought it back with other older garbage that Lisa pointed out that has been accumulating. I can take it to the dump here in Toronto unless there is a Spring Green member who also welds.



Sunday, about 40 minutes after I was alone, after the last three people drove off, I decided to get more gas in my car, also an excuse to charge my cellphone. I got the key from the tool shed and carefully locked everything the way I had been shown by Lisa and Dave. Just as I closed the final door and was about to lock it, I dropped the long skeleton key and it bounced gracefully off the concrete into a thin gap between the concrete and the house. A gap so narrow only tweezers held by an infant might be able to explore it.  A prize winning Jerry Lewis moment, I was very proud.

The door of course was not yet locked but now I had lost my only key. I wouldn’t be able to close up Spring Green. I thought of texting Jesse who by now might be near Kingston. Could I really ask him to consider returning to leave me a key with which to lock up in a couple days? What an embarrassment.

Then I remembered the key which I assumed was Jesse’s near where he slept. Obviously he took it with him but it was worth checking and there it was, still on the table amidst the chaos of things temporarily dumped when people moved everything out of the kitchen to prepare for the floor sanding. This key looked plastic would it even work in the lock?

It did! Once again I was back in my own good books without having to reveal I had totally fucked up. The plastic key didn’t work great, it was good from one side but not the other and you had to play with it. This was disconcerting, would it mean I might return and not be able to get back inside? ugh. Later that night I asked Jesse in a text if he had forgotten his key and he replied he didn’t. So whoever’s that is, it is now hanging by the telephone for future reference.


Before going to sleep I had a thought – perhaps among the many tools in the mud room there might be a magnet and maybe I could fish out the good key which plopped into the abyss? I looked through a lot of jars but couldn’t find any magnets. I decided to go to the Hardware store in Pembroke and buy a telescopic magnet.  I returned with my purchase and successfully fished the key out. This could only mean one thing, I deserved a sauna and the watermelon waiting in my car.


Went to Megan and Steven’s place off Trailblazer’s rd to learn firsthand about their composting toilet which Shannon likes to point out is just a bucket. (a bucket with people waste, sawdust and/ or vegetable or fruit scraps) Exactly like the drawings in the Humanure book they said there is no foul odor to it, it’s contained by adding sawdust.  They offered to pick up sawdust from the mill for us if we do in fact build this loo.


If we did make this in the mudroom it would make it easier in the middle of the night especially freezing nights to take care of your business (how my grandmother put it politely). Steven explained that carbon consumes nitrogen, that’s why pens with animals with straw mixed with feces also are not as stinky as they would be if there wasn’t straw.

Their two compost heaps are rotated.


I left early to have time to stop in Millbrook and return Dave and Shannon’s vacuum cleaner. Nice to drive on the country roads instead of the 401, not much traffic and there were some decent surreal moments. Who knew Pentacostals had the social media market cornered?


Abruptly the Police car turned on it’s flashing lights their car faced me perpendicularly so it could only mean one of two situations. Either they were about to race off to an emergency or they were about to give me a ticket. Experience sadly taught me that it probably is me and I turned off the road. I was right.

So disappointing to get a speeding ticket.  I wasn’t being Mario Andretti but the roads were straight and it was sunny and I was day dreaming.

The cop got out of his car walked up to me. I know the rules, I know it’s his game, I know there’s no point being defensive.

“Do you know what the speed limit is?” he asked.

“No officer I don’t”

“I clocked you at 116 and this is an 80 zone but when I clicked the signal it registered 115”

I understood the subtext. This was his way of saying he is doing me a favour and the ticket will be about $250 instead of $350 and I will have 2 or 3 demerit points instead of 3 or 4. I shrugged and nodded my head like someone no longer in their good books.

“Sorry” I offered

“Were you in a hurry to get somewhere?”

“No” I said honestly because what’s the fucking point. At least let me die with my dignity. “No I just didn’t pay attention and it’s a straight road, nobody else on it.”

As it turns out this was the best answer possible. The cop smiled

“Ya I know what you mean, I do the same thing sometimes. Can I see your registration?” I started to look for it in the glove compartment “You can tell from body language when someone is lying or telling the truth.”

“Really?” I said knowing in my heart of hearts I was totally lying. Aren’t we all acting when we interact with cops?

“Yep. You’re telling the truth. Most people the first thing they say is – I wasn’t speeding. ” He made a big smile and so did I. “Then they say they had to get to their son’s baseball game or something.” I nodded as good as Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

He took the registration and went back to his car. When he returned something truly remarkable happened. He smiled and said he was only issuing a 90 in an 80. I had to pay $40 and that’s all. I was so back in my good books.


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