Tag Archives: Otterburne


Well, here we are.  In Otterburne.  In our new home (trailer footage to be posted later).  Internet access.  Phone to be activated on Thursday.  Etc.  We are settling in.


1.  The first offer on our house arrived late in the afternoon on Thursday.  Our original plan was to leave Wednesday afternoon, then we bumped it to Thursday morning, then possibly Thursday evening and finally, due to circumstances I won’t detail here, we decided to leave Friday morning.  Late afternoon Thursday our realtor arrived with an offer on our house–the first offer made since we put it up for sale.  Our realtor warned that in the Prince Albert market, offers would be aggressive and this offer was indeed aggressive: $30,000 below our current asking price, which was already $25,000 below the professionally appraised value.  We made a counter-offer.  During supper our realtor called and said, “Sold!”  An 11th hour deal if ever there was one.  The offer is subject to standard conditions, which we will hear about by the end of this week, so there is still a chance that this deal will fall through, but it’s still a huge load off of our minds.  Had we not delayed our departure, things may well not have gone as they did.  Coincidence?

2.  We ended up leaving Prince Albert at noon on Friday.  The plan was to shoot to drive the entire 9 hours to Otterburne, but to stop somewhere if we couldn’t go any further (I was driving the 17′ moving truck and trailer, Dixie followed in the van).  We made it to Portage La Prairie at about 11p.m. Manitoba time.  Just before we arrived, Dixie called me from the van and wondered if we had any mattresses handy in the truck.  We had one.  Which gave us a total of one mattress and one pillow for the five of us to sleep in the trailer that night.  So we decided to stay in Portage and get a good night’s rest before all the unloading (which wouldn’t have been fun at midnight).  Unfortunately (bizarrely?), it was too late for the hotel staff to get a toddler bed, so the five of us had to share two queen beds.  Long story short, I got less than 2 hours of sleep (on the floor) that night.

3.  Some church friends came out to Otterburne to help us unpack.  Some of our new neighbours helped as well and one couple invited us over for supper Saturday night.  We already feel welcome (and are making new friends).

4.  It will take time to get used to some of the ways things are done here.  When I lived in Caronport (essentially a Christian town and home of Briercrest Schools), I used to roll my eyes at people who didn’t like the rules.  “If you don’t like the rules, you don’t have to attend this school,” I would say.  But now that I’m coming into a somewhat similar situation from a decade of living without externally imposed rules, I can see that this would be a struggle.  Not that I have run into anything particularly problematic, but Dixie has already said to me, “Those are just the rules, Marc.  It’s the way they do it and we have to live with it.”  She’s right, but I can now understand a bit of the frustration students at Briercrest sometimes must have felt.

5.  Steinbach, the nearest inhabited place of commercial and grocery note, is a nice town.  Main street looks great, but I fear it will die out, as the north end of Steinbach is all big-box stores.  Not that I should really grumble about that, as I’ve already shopped at 4 or 5 of said stores.

Steinbach shuts down almost completely on Sundays, which is unusual these days.  Except for fast-food places, gas stations and convenience stores, everything is closed on Sundays.  You can get emergency milk at a convenience store, but if you desperately need a pomegranite on a Sunday afternoon, you are out of luck.  I mention this only because we drove the 15 minutes into Steinbach on Sunday to get groceries, of which we had virtually none (other than those thoughtfully purchased for us by Gavin and Shauna).

6.  Monday we drove into Winnipeg to get groceries and some other things.  We are now Executive Members at Costco.  Whoopee!

7.  Trip to Steinbach today for some other needed (and unneeded) items.  Got internet access (still working on that one, though) and set up an account with MTS and will have an active phone number by Thursday evening.

8.  Still more unpacking to do, but we’re getting settled in.  There is a very strong wet dog smell in the house when the windows have been closed for a while (the previous owners had two dogs and a cat).  Dixie’s mom suggested spreading baking soda over the rug, which we’ve been slowly doing throughout the trailer (one reason we didn’t sleep in our bedroom until last night).  Hopefully that works.

9.  There is a wasp nest under our trailer which I need to clear out.  Will do so tonight.

10.  School starts on September 9.  I hope to finish most of the assignments for the distance learning course I’m taking from Briercrest before then.

11.  Trying to decide if I should take 4 or 5 courses this semester.

12.  And so on.

13.  Writing in tags for this post and accidentally typed “cemetery” instead of “seminary”.  Coincidence?

Mission accomplished

Our long weekend marathon road trip to Manitoba and back was a smashing success.

I always feel a bit like a hero after such ‘quick’ round trips of 1,800kms over a weekend.   “Europeans wouldn’t dream of doing this sort of thing,” I think to myself.  But what do I know of Europeans?  I may be one, but I haven’t lived among them (that is, actually in Europe) in 25 years.

The objective of our trip was to check out housing in the area.  On Friday we had some mobile home viewings and a lunch appointment with one of the Providence admissions guys and a campus tour.

The Providence campus is really quite nice and not at all what I expected it to be.  I had imagined it was like Briercrest back in the early-t0-mid-80s, only much smaller.  It’s certainly small in comparison, but it’s stately.  I got quite excited about the whole studying-being-a-student thing as we drive through the campus.  I need to remind myself that I’m probably more excited about the image than anything and once I get into the thick of studying and exams and memorizing Greek and Hebrew and research papers I may not feel the same excitement.

The mobile home scouting went well–we put a deposit on one of them the same day.  We looked at three of them.  One of them had a nice addition with office space in it, which would be very useful, but the place needed a LOT of work (it was the most run-down of the bunch) and I don’t want to spend my seminary days worrying about leaky roofs and heaving porches.  I felt bad, though, because the people who own it were very nice, friendly people.  And I’m pretty sure they saw us go for a second viewing at the mobile home we ended up buying.  

As we left that it’s-bigger-but-it-needs-more-work mobile home, I said, “We’ll be in touch.”  Those words have been ringing in my ears since then.  I said them more as a knee-jerk, ‘that’s just what you say’ sort of thing or maybe as a formality–I’m not quite sure what I meant by them and, more importantly, I’m not sure how they were interpreted.  Would it be assumed that “We’ll be in touch” means “We’ll be in touch *if* we want to make an offer on your trailer”?  Or would it be assumed that it means “We’ll be in touch *to* make an offer on your trailer”?

I’m wondering if I should be calling them to say, “Sorry if I miscommunicated anything, but we bought the other one.”  I hate to leave a bad impression, especially on those friendly folks.  And I’d hate to have bad blood with potential neighbours.  On the other hand, that’s the reality of the real estate biz.  I just wish I hadn’t said, “We’ll be in touch,” whatever that might have meant.

The third mobile home we looked at was also liveable and acceptable, but its location (behind the first two) wasn’t as good.  The first two mobile homes have a view of the bus stop and a large field across the road where the kids can run around.  The third one was nice otherwise, similar to the first one we looked at, except that it has a wood burning stove occupying a chunk of the living room.  I can’t imagine what fire insurance premiums would be for a mobile home with a wood burning stove in it.  However, I can imagine one of our kids smashing their heads on one of its sharp corners or, more likely, burning their precious little hands.  I could also imagine trying to arrange the furniture around it.

We opted for the first mobile home: it was the most expensive, but needs the least work.  In fact, cosmetically it needs no work at this point. We can just move in and live.  Plus, if mobile home living is simply too cramped for our family, that mobile home would probably be the easiest to sell.  PLUS, the owners threw in the dishwasher and a bottle of wine.

So we put a deposit on a mobile home in Otterburne, Manitoba.

This is Otterburne:

View Larger Map

The school and campus make up most of the corner north-east of the river.  Not much there.  But I’m good with that.

Now to prepare and sell our house.  Finish a seminary course.  Finish bivocational life.  And then maybe a vacation.  And then move. I can’t wait.