Stripping paper, and other fun times

Canada Day, July 1, 8 a.m. and the thermometer was already promising a rare blast of early summer heat. Greg and I were committed to the cause at the old place, him framing up new walls, me stripping away decades of floral wallpaper.

Our youngest Faye, 14, was on-board for the day’s activities, eager to earn a few bucks from her folks. An energetic, athletic kid, she could be a great help with this house venture were she more inclined for work than fun.

With the close of the school year, Faye’s social calendar is packed with hang-outs, sleepovers, swimming and movies. Our time with her is now at a premium, so it seemed logical to offer her a minimum hourly rate for her efforts at the fixer upper.

Greg went on ahead as I roused Faye and our dog Kipper and we hopped in the car for the hour’s drive to the old place. We turned off Highway 103 and drove the few kilometres up and down hills, through green fields and shingled farmhouses to the now-familiar crossroads  – a right to the house, straight into the town of Lunenburg, left to the fishing community of Blue Rocks.

It was a spectacular day, the blue of the sky and the green of the rolling landscape ending sharply at ocean’s edge. “Let’s check out Blue Rocks,” I said, as we turned left.

We made our way  to the tiny community, past its wharves and stages to the rocky cove at its end. Our first stop was The Point General for chocolate mousse ice cream which we ate while we watched a kayaking tour group prepare for an outing. We strolled through the village, every small inlet a postcard for Nova Scotia, and I told Faye to remember this place wherever life takes her.

After Blue Rocks we cut back through Lunenburg, its waterfront and brightly-coloured shops already bustling with tourists and daytrippers, and headed along the Mason’s Beach Road, winding along the coastline to Route 332 and our place.

As we reached the turnoff though, it was clear that a girl and a dog would be happier on a beach. We kept going, on to Rose Bay and out to Hirtle’s Beach, a stretch of sand that seems impossible in the depths of a Nova Scotian winter. Faye and I walked the beach, watching Kip chase the waves and other dogs, then reluctantly turned back to take on our tasks that awaited us in the last hours of the day.

We got a couple of hours in, spraying the paper down with water, peeling and scraping to bare plaster. It was, at least, a start.

But, wallpaper can wait. Summer and my girl at 14, not so much.

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