Friday, July 28, 2006

Guy in black truck

A guy in a black pickup with a cap on the back stopped at the end of my court this morning and took a picture of my house. Possibly the house next door that is for sale as well, but I'm not sure.

I have no idea if the picture was because he likes my design and wants to build a similar house, or if he's casing the joint for a robbery. He didn't bother to stop and ask permission for the picture, so how would I know?

In all likelihood it's an innocent picture... but now I have to keep an eye on things just in case. I'm really glad I had an alarm system put in, but I hope it never has to come into play.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More booked

I stopped by the travel agency today to see about getting my ticket changed for September's conference. It was much easier walking in knowing exactly what flights I wanted my ticket changed to. They basically exchanged my old ticket for a whole new ticket. In the end, my portion is only going to cost about $170, woot! Much better than the crazy change fees I had to pay from Seattle.

So I am now all booked to leave here on Friday Sept 15 to go to the conference in Kentucky. On Thursday the 21st I leave Kentucky and head for SoCal. I'll have 4 full days in SoCal (including my birthday), then return home on Tuesday the 26th.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Tonight I booked my ticket to SoCal to go down for US Thanksgiving. Since I booked early and am flying only Air Canada, I was able to use the minimum amount of points. $115 in taxes, but that's a pretty darn cheap flight to California. I do have to fly to LAX again, but since I arrive on a Saturday, John will be able to pick me up. Going home on a Monday will mean a shuttle to LAX since John has to work, but at least I only have to shuttle one way. Bring on the turkey and football!

Still need to visit the travel agent to change my September ticket to add SoCal on the end of it. Last time I had to deal with a travel agent to change my ticket to SoCal, she didn't seem to have a clue what I was asking, despite being what I thought was very clear, and even using airport codes. The agent who booked my ticket is on vacation, so I think I will go up there in person and try to get it changed. That may alleviate some confusion... though I don't know what's so hard about it. I have planned out the exact schedule I want. Hopefully it will not cost too much to make the changes.

I also bought a lounge chair tonight. Superstore West had a bunch on sale and I decided to nab one since it's an end-of-season sale. I doubt they will get much cheaper than their already marked-down level. It's not identical to my existing patio set but is very close. Now if we can just get some nice weather, I can relax outside on the deck and read.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back again

I haven't been blogging much mainly because I haven't had much to talk about. I've been pretty lonely since John left, basically doing not much else other than working.

Let's see... some of the exciting things I've been up to...

I had my driveway paved, which I mentioned in a previous entry, but here are a couple of pics.

Looks pretty nice, I must say. There's a good 3" of asphalt down so it's a very quality job. Also it was angled properly to flow water away from the house. No more crater wash-outs in the back! I opted to pave the front walkway. I could have done paving stones, or something a bit prettier, but frankly, I'll never get around to doing that. This will make things sooooo much easier in winter to plow and shovel.

I called no fewer than 6 people/companies about mowing my lawn. I only heard from 2. One was a company who came the same day I called and gave me a price of $30/mow. It would take a lot of mows to equal the price of a new mower, so I knew that this would be the way to go. The second person who answered my request seemed nice enough, but there was just something about him that didn't sit well with me. I found the 10 minute explanation of how my lawn was "weak" was unnecessary and I felt like I was being criticized. He also cut his wheels on my brand new pavement and left marks. GRRR. He was going to charge $40/mow and it would increase as my lawn got healthier. I just had a feeling this guy wasn't the right way to go, so I called the first company back and said let's go ahead. They are supposed to start this week. At $30/mow, it will be worth every penny.

Despite having a lot of time on my hands, I still haven't managed to paint the post caps and touch up the ends of the porch. Need to get that done.

I bought a new Paderno pot. 50% off because of some very small dents in the handle. The 4L saucepan now comes with a handle on the other end as well. This will come in very handy when lifting a potfull of potatoes.

I went on a quest for a comfortable, sweatpant-like pair of shorts that I could wear while walking. I looked everywhere, even into SportChek and Cleve's. I ended up with exactly what I wanted from Wal-Mart, for only $10. The sport stores were charging $30-40 for what might be good quality stuff, but really, I just wanted shorts, not a logo. What really got me were the 2 pairs of brand-name shorts I tried on in size 3 and 5, both of which were way too small. I was wearing a size 2 pair of shorts that day while I was shopping. Something is way off there.

I was invited to a wedding shower for my cousin, who is getting married this Saturday. The shower was yesterday. Knowing my cousin, I knew he'd want to register at Canadian Tire, so off I went and picked up some things off the list. With the help of Mare, I also got them an IKEA napkin holder like the one I have myself. Very, very handy. I hope they like it once they start using it.
As I was leaving the shower, my cousin thanked me for the gifts. He then asked me "So I guess you're not coming next weekend?" I answered, "uh, I didn't get an invitation..." I had assumed since our family was so big that they couldn't invite everyone to the wedding. Apparently he had intended to invite me and thought he had included my invitation with my mother's... except when my mother received her invitation, she wasn't speaking to me. He apologized 3 or 4 times and said maybe he messed up the invitations. So, I have no idea whether or not my mother got my invitation and didn't tell me, and I am not going to ask because I don't want to disrupt the current good situation. I do wish my cousin had sent an invitation specifically to me and for me if he had wanted me to be there, but not everyone has a mother who sometimes disowns her children.

Things have been going well with my mom so far since we've been speaking again. We see each other at church every week, and talk on the phone a couple of times during the week. John and I took her to lunch while he was here and they seemed to get along ok. Mum and I have plans to go to a church dinner next month together. I hope things keep going well.

It was nice to have an afternoon with family yesterday, but it was yet another scenario of people asking if I've set a wedding date. Um, no, my fiancé isn't here yet, and we won't be making any plans until he is here. I'm not sure if people think I'm going to change my mind on that or what.

Yesterday was also Banana Bread Day. I made 3 loaves yesterday morning, one for Anthony (whose love for banana bread is unrivaled), one for the shower and one for T-L, who had invited me over for supper. Tonight I made a 4th loaf because I kept getting an odd number of bananas and had to buy more to have enough, and then ended up with too many. The 4th loaf will be the last for now, though. I'll take that to work tomorrow.

I came home tonight and sat down to read TV Guide when my Dad showed up for a surprise visit. He came by to look at the lawn, and we talked for a while about a whole bunch of different stuff. Finally he suggested going for an ice cream at Dairy Queen, so I hopped in the truck and we took a drive over for some chocolate dipped cones, just like the good old days. Except they were very stingy with the chocolate coating tonight, it was barely covered and very thin. Anyway, it was nice to hang out with my Dad for a couple of hours. We discussed putting gyproc in the garage, my wood should be coming soon to be put in the basement, and the next project will be getting my deck sealed. He's going to bring his new airless sprayer and it should make quick work of an otherwise tedious project.

I am working on booking a couple of trips to SoCal. One right after my conference in September, and the other in November for US Thanksgiving. I've always wanted to be down there for the Black Friday shopping, and with stores right across the street from John... it will be interesting :) I actually expect to hate it, the crowds, etc. but it's the kind of thing I'd like to see once.

I had to make a hard decision this week. Judging by how slowly things are going with John's move, and the fact that he has no more vacation time, I am going to have to save every vacation day I can in order to visit him. This means there will be no Florida trip this year. I had hoped to be able to work it out, but it just isn't going to be doable. My Dad was disappointed when I told him tonight I wouldn't be able to do the trip, as he's been wanting me to be able to use the house. Keep saving your pennies though, and hopefully we can make the trip a reality in the near future.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fog along the Fundy coast

High 18°C (64°F) except 25°C (77°F) inland.
Tuesday: High 19°C (66°F) except 28°C (82°F) inland.

There's quite a difference between those temperatures.

I went through winter and the usual shitty, rainy spring. I paid my weather dues. I'd like summer now, please, before it's too late.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Being unmotivated to continue reading the book I had started, I picked up The Devil Wears Prada on Friday night and finished it this morning.

I'd like to go see the movie some night this week (other than Monday, have to work late.) Anyone up for going to see it?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hydroseed redux

I have had 2 successful attempts at mowing my lawn, but as my Dad told me the other day, "there's a reason I gave that lawn mower away." I decided I either need to buy a decent lawn mower so I can mow the lawn without absolute exhaustion, or I need to price out what it would cost to have a company come by and mow my property.

On Monday morning, while John and I were getting up, we watched as a lawn mowing company came by and mowed 2 of my neighbors' lawns in about 15 minutes flat. Figuring a third house in the neighborhood would be an easy add-on for them, I called and left a message to request an estimate and mentioned that they already were doing two houses on my street. Their answering machine message time was too short for me to leave my phone number after I had given my name, address, and mentioned that they were already doing houses on my street. I called right back and left my name (again) and phone numbers, that their answering machine had cut me off, and said I looked forward to hearing from them. 2 days later and I still haven't heard a word from them. I'm not quite sure why I have a problem with companies wanting my business.

Learning from last year's hydroseed experience, I'm not waiting around for these lawn companies to call me back. There are too many in competition around here, there must be someone who wants my business. I have already called the company who did my hydroseeding and who currently does my fertilizer to get an estimate on mowing. I would make sense to have all of that done by the same company, but not if it costs significantly more. I am also looking through the online yellow pages to get a few more companies to call and get estimates.

If I'm going to part with my money and have someone else mow my lawn, I'm not giving it to a company who can't be bothered to call me back. You snooze, you lose.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I am getting better at not crying until after I get to the aiport. I guess you could call that an accomplishment, but I wouldn't call it "getting easier." I don't know when we'll get to see each other again because I don't know whether he'll be starting a new job or moving to NH. I've also just hired someone to work with me and can't leave him alone in a new job while I take off to SoCal. We can't make any more plans until we get a few more answers. Please please please send us some answers.

It just hit me late last night and this morning that it's difficult to wedding dress shop when you don't even know when you'll get to see each other again, let alone when you're getting married. It doesn't deserve a half-hearted attempt, so I backed out of the trip to Portland this weekend. Again my apologies if I messed up the others' plans for this weekend. I think I just need some time alone to collect my thoughts.

My Dad dropped by yesterday and we discussed a few things about my house/yard. There are some things I need his help with, such as filling in the front yard wash-out with topsoil and sticking some sod down on it. The deck was too big of a project for John to attempt last week so it still needs to be sealed -- Dad says that can be done fairly quickly with the new paint sprayer he bought. Dad left me with a weed whacker, which John used to get some of the mess cleaned up in the yard yesterday. My 3 cord of winter wood will be arriving in the next few weeks, which means I have to make sure the basement is in order so it can be loaded in.

Last but not least, we discussed the driveway and its need to be paved. Paving is pretty much the only solution to the wash-out problems I've been having, in both the front and back yards. If you've been by my house lately, you'll notice the giant crater in the driveway around back from the rain. If I don't get it fixed, it will just keep washing the crushed rock away and carving streams in my driveway, in addition to lawn wash-out in front. When I walked back in my office this afternoon, Dad called and said it was being paved as we spoke. Apparently the guy he hired to do paving at his office had some free time this afternoon, so they're paving it right now. I won't be able to drive on it for at least 24h, but it will be soooo nice to have that done, especially this winter -- no more gravel all over the lawn come spring. Not sure how much this is going to cost me yet, but it's one of those things that has to be done before things get worse.

Having John here to share some homeowner burdens has been a tremendous help. A lot of people laughed at the fact that I had a list ready for him when he got here, but what they don't understand is that before he came we had discussed various things he could help me with while here. It wasn't a "surprise, you have work to do!" kind of list. He did get to a lot of things on the list and I am very grateful. I have one small thing left to do on the porch -- the post caps I bought 2 years ago still need to be painted and attached. I'll attack that this week, before I lose my ambition. I'm looking forward to the day when he'll be here full-time, and having someone else working for me at work again will definitely take some of the pressure off.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

"Are you ever in your office anymore?"

Well yes, actually, I am. I happen to spend a great deal of time in my office. However, I frequently need to leave and go to the bathroom, help someone at their desk, take another phone call, drive around the Maritimes, and drop everything at a moment's notice. I am one person supporting the needs of 150 people, and sometimes I too need a vacation.

I have a landline, a cell phone, and a Blackberry. If you can't reach me, that's your problem, not mine. Don't call one phone number and complain that I never answer it without even bothering to try me elsewhere. Apparently you haven't learned that pissing someone off BEFORE you ask for help really isn't a nice thing to do.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

If you're coming over today, anytime after 3pm is fine. It's a bit too windy for badminton, but there is lots of deck & relaxing to do. The back lawn is still pretty soggy, so as of right now I am not putting the net up just yet -- want to see if it dries out. I have a total of 8 chairs, so it might not be a bad idea to pack a camp chair in your trunk just in case. Not sure how many people will be able to make it, that may be enough chairs or it may not.

I have lots of paper plates & plastic glasses, real cutlery, and lots of pop as well. Bring your meat and booze and I'll see you later today.