Cabin has lost ‘rough’ status

My parents built our cabin on Rainy Lake more than 40 years ago.
It was a bare bones cottage. Four walls, and a wood stove for cooking, were all the amenities. If we needed water, we walked down to the dock and filled buckets with water.
The dishes were washed in a big wash pan. Meals were cooked in the wood stove, which in summer meant the cabin often was warm.
Over time, the cabin has gone through several modernizations. A screened-in porch was added. The cabin was divided into three bedrooms and a wide-open kitchen/living area.
An oil space heater was added, then removed when electricity arrived at the island.
The cabin was insulated, and inexpensive panelling was put up. Water was pumped up to the cabin.
Last year, the cabin again changed. Knotty pine panelling was put on the walls. The screened-in porch, which already had become a sunroom, was insulated and the panelling was added to the walls and ceiling.
This summer, we will install a wood ash floor from Manitou Lumber.
The cabin has lost its rough status. We have some hot and cold running water for dishes. Some of the memorabilia has disappeared to the dump. The furniture has been upgraded and is much more comfortable to sit in.
All the insulation keeps the cabin warm, which Saturday morning made all the difference in the world as those snow squalls and wind drove into the island. The big wood stove kept the cabin warm.
For the long weekend in May, snow on the ground was a startling development. The howling winds and waves made fishing the opener a non-event. And plans for staining the flooring were put on hold.
Eventually in the afternoon, it warmed enough that we could work outside when out of the wind.
By the end of Saturday, having grubbed and worked vigorously outside, I felt the need for a swim. But the temperature of the air and water made that a non-starter. I chose instead to live with my smelly self and everyone put up with me.
Again on Sunday, I was outside working and by mid-afternoon, with company expected, I realized that I really had to clean up. Normally on this long weekend, the lake water temperature makes it almost tolerable to jump in for a quick clean-up.
I took the plunge even though the temperature of the water hadn’t even made 10 degrees C. It was bracing, and my limbs stung with the punishment of the water.
When I was in my teens, and even 30s, the cold water didn’t seem to bother me. I felt impervious to cold. As I reach the end of my 50s, the invigorating cold of the water has given way to my mind saying “Why are you abusing yourself” and I have no reasonable argument to rebut the question.
Or maybe I’m just becoming a wimp.
Over the last several years, we have talked about the possibility of building a hot water shower bathroom and toilet facility in a separate building at the cottage. Snow, freezing temperatures, and the cold lake are starting to make it more of a necessity than a possibility.
And another tradition of who would be the first to be in the lake will disappear.
Maybe it is time to add another comfort to the cottage.

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