Thursday, January 25, 2007

coldest night of the year

3 years ago in the dead of winter, our furnace expired. We froze for 5 days, despite the loan of 3 space heaters from our gas company, while we waited for a new furnace. Each day brought new adventures. . showering in a heatless house in Canada in the winter, sitting on ice-cold toilet seats, sleeping in a room that felt like a meat locker -- ah, good times.

My Saturday thoughts post highlighted our recent brokenness. . . . and now there's more.

Today is the coldest day of the year (so far). Rob dropped me off home after work so I could let Maggie out -- with my fingers crossed that she didn't leave a pee puddle anywhere, or get into a waste basket and shred the used kleenexes. She didn't. Good girl!!! Rob went to pick up Mom for supper and i started to tidy up. I touched the dining room table - it felt cold. Oh no. . . . . I looked at the thermostat -- 62 degrees F -- we never bothered to change it to Celsius (like good Canadians should!) Nothing seemed amiss. But, of course it was.

I tried everything. Rob and Mom got here with supper - he tried everything. We shivered through our meal, Rob with fork in one hand and phone in the other, phone book opened on the table to the "F" pages. I could say something here. . . lol! frig. . that's all - honestly. We had initially thought we'd deal with either the gas company or the gas supplier company. Sheisters!! Each quoted astronomically ridiculous fees - forget that. Back to the yellow pages. Called a big-name place, they wanted to know the make. Rob took the phone down with him to find out. They couldn't promise they could fix it tonight, as they deal mostly with one particular brand. Rob came back up. I asked him, as i flipped through the yellow pages, : "Rob, what make is it?" He replied: "Its a Payne." heh heh. . . yeah.

Of course we had just rejected an 'extended service agreement' with the company that had instaled the sucker -- and I mean JUST. . d'oh! We had reasoned that because it was so new and shiny why should we pay monthly for something we might not need for 10 years? HA! It seems that without an agreement things go like this: "$99 for the call, $99 for the diagnosis and ??? for the parts, plus labour and taxes.

Finally, after some unsuccessful attempts at finding someone to give us some heat, we called a local company and as Rob talked to the humourless receptionist, with Mom and I eating our dessert at the table, the dialogue goes like this: Rob: "Ah, yes, I'd like a service rep to come to my house." (and some other boring particulars) Receptionist: "All right, sir and what is the make of your furnace." Rob: "Uh, its a Payne." **Mom and I are laughing our heads off!!!*** Rob starts to chuckle but kept it together. . he tries to joke with the lady about it being a pain -- she wasn't even faintly amused. We thought it was funny. We won't forget that meal for a while. Icicles practically forming on our toes, blankets around our shoulders. . only thing warm was the food, i don't think i've ever had the desire to put my feet in my food before, so that was a first.

Well, i'm gonna go to dance class now -- at least i'll work up some warmth bouncing around for an hour. . and maybe when i get back we'll have some heat? Please?!!!!!! gahhhh!!!! ssssso cccccold. . .

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday thoughts

I slept shamefully late today. It was so nice. I worked out (lower body jam and the standing segment of 'ab jam' -- these are TurboJam workouts and they're top notch! no foolin'). Rob shopped for the food and came back from the grocery store with a lot of residual stress still clinging to him. Narrow aisles, people holding up the flow as they picked through cans, mulled over purchases. Glad i wasn't there. I felt bad because some of the things he picked up we didn't need. . and some he paid more than i would have. . so then of course i can't just bite my tongue for which I had to apologize after. Poor guy. . battling his way through all those obliviously obstructive shoppers, then having me slinging jibes about unnecessary toilet paper and frozen vegetables. When will i learn to chill out?! ha ha!!! I try though, honestly.

The last couple of days were the 'breakdown days'. . . things be breakin' down. . why is it like that? You go along using things and then they all seem to conspire to quit, one after the other! First there was the 4 new tires for the van just before Christmas. . and more recently, two days ago in fact, I went downstairs with an armful of dirty laundry. It was up near my neck and i couldn't see. . (*i have the number of stairs memorized!*) I walked in sock feet into the laundry room and splosh i stepped onto a newly-saturated carpet. ugh. .i hate it when my feet are soaking wet and cold. At first i thought that perhaps someone had done a load of wash and a rag or sock had become stuck in the tub drain. Not the case. I then looked around and saw our hot water heater dripping from two areas in its nether regions. . . great. . . of course i called Rob at work and he advised me to call the number on the tank (we rent). The company said they'd sent someone out asap. . meantime Rob came home early from work, drained the unit -- the buddy came along and within 1/2 an hour we had a shiny new tank. Phew. . no big cash outlay and speedy service! all right!!! However, in the aftermath of the hot water tank episode, as Rob got the shop vac out to suck up all the water, he plugged it in and it popped, sparked and wheezed like a deflating bagpipe. . yeah, great. . . perfect timing. . a dead shop vac too. What gives?!

Next day. . i'm working away, pounding the keyboard with my customary force, when the adjustable tray and board fell onto my legs with an ominous clunk. I was right in the middle of a 'biggie', which needed to be finished. . I tried fiddling with the tray adjustment knob. . it was stripped. The tray was weirdly heavy. . i didn't realize how weighty it really was. All of this was followed by a teeny bit of panic. . . oh my gosh, how am i gonna work?!!!! I had to clear off everything to have a look at the thing. . not good. . irreparably fractured at the base of the mounting bracket. gah!!!!!!

ahhhh. The whole unit hung there sadly, swinging slightly - still affixed to the desk, bumping my kneecaps as I sat, thinking. What followed was me running around my house, scrounging for things to jury rig, so I could finish up. Nothing was the right height or weight. The keyboard on its own was flimsy and felt toy like. . I hunched over with the board on my legs and the weight on the balls of my feet with my calves tense. . nope. .that was just ridiculous! I put the board on my desk - wrong height, made everything in my upper body hurt. I finally propped things with 2 wrist rolls on top of the desk and managed to peck away in a really-slowed down fashion, which annoyed me greatly cuz i'm used to flying. . If i don't produce, i'm of no use. *i thought to myself, "So, is this how it feels to type like Rob?"* heh heh. . I finally had to concede and tell the girls in the office that i couldn't continue until i had a new board. Luckily i had some meetings to attend 'in house'. . so those comprised the rest of my shift. . beautifully nice change actually!

I'm not saying anything more about breakdowns. . hopefully this spate of brokenness is done. Today we went out to buy a new shop vac!!! Got one 40% off, but have to wait for the new shipment to come in. . think we'll be okay. Robbie had thoughtfully given me a coupon in my Christmas stocking for one Cinnabon, so seeing that we were thisclose to the little store, I decide to run in, get my pastry and come out to share it with Rob. Well, I went in. . . but all that remained of the former Cinnabon store was bare marble counters, stacked up with broken off backsplash tiles. hmpf!!! it figures. I haven't had a cinnamon bun in probably over a decade. . . and i'm standing in the mall, with the fattening certificate in my hot, little hands and the store was broken too!!! WAH!!! I thought of asking the guy in the nearby kiosk for details. But i decided to just say goodbye . Every time i'd been in that corner of the mall the cinnamon air was so enticing and fragrant. . but i never gave in! Now I wish that i had!!! boourns!

All busted things aside, its been a good day. I love finding happiness in the littlest things. When we went to the 'expensive' grocery store to get a few items that we can't get at the 'discount place'!! I came across their Valentine's display. Now let me tell you what its like for me seeing all that beautiful pink, white, red hearty gorgeousness. . . Pavlov, dogs, bells - that pretty much describes it. Rob had gone to the back of the store to get maple syrup or something. . i was transfixed at the front. My eyes fell on this heart-shaped, pink rosebud-layered 'wreath' with a pink ribbon loop for hanging. I caught up with Rob, showed him my 'must have' item and he just grinned and put it in the cart. I love that he didn't even care that it unnecessary. Every time i see it now, hanging on my back door, i smile. I love beautiful things.

Bought some Smucker's cherry jam. This is like happiness in a jar. I love it. .the ruby red colour, the tartness of the fruit. Its the most fabulous stuff. I'm also very excited to try my new decaf black tea -- Canadian maple&vanilla. . doesn't that sound amazing?! Maple, well what's not to love? I might even use maple syrup to sweeten it!! In fact, I think i will. What could be better? That's another little extravagance I always allow for. I can't bring myself to buy artificial syrup. . who wants glucose and caramel colour on their pancakes? I just can't, even though its so cheap, its real or nothing for me and no one here complains. Wouldn't dream of using pancake mix either!!! blech. . We had buttermilk wholewheat pancakes and lean bacon for supper, fruit for dessert. . mmmm.

Rob's downstairs watching hockey. KK's reading a magazine. The dishwasher's humming away. (Please don't break down!!!) We've rented "Snakes on a Plane" for later. . . lol! oh boy. Went out last night, saw Children of Men. . . now that was quite the film. . hopeless, polluted, violent, ruined world without children. I felt like I needed a Prozac! I won't give things away, in case you want to see it.

Saturdays, I love them. Sometimes they feel like everything you want to do during the week but don't have the time. . and well, they are that. But I love the way they're often so open. They're aren't always 'have to' things on Saturdays, and often unless you work weekends, they're all about 'want to'. . .

Hope you had a great Saturday yourself!!! Gonna go put the kettle on. Talk soon. P.s. Guess what? After the dishwasher finished its cycle. . KK went in to the kitchen and said "Mom! The dishwasher leaked." Sure enough, a nice, big puddle of water on the floor. perfect. p.s.s.: don't ever rent Snakes on a Plane. That was 2 hours of my life i'll never get back! When we weren't completely grossed out, we were laughing at the sheer dumbness of it all. Samuel L. Jackson WHAT were you thinking when you signed on the dotted line for this stinker?!!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Warplane Heritage Museum

One of our favourite places to take the grandkids is the Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum.

Have you ever wanted to climb into the cockpit of a fighter jet? You can sit a CF 100 and work the ailerons, pull back on the stick. . lower the canopy. . its a thrill! Sitting in a Bombardier's chair in the belly of a Lancaster bomber -- well that's equally thrilling. Talking to a veteran pilot, a bomber, fascinating! Climbing to the observation decks to look down on a gleaming sea of aircraft -- its just so large -- i feel an air of majesty here. There's really something about preserved history on display. Its interesting to feel so small, standing under some of these behemoths -- I'm 5'9" - the landing gear tires of the Lancaster bomber are about my height - and there's a whole lotta aircraft towering above that! I stoodd under the bomb bay doors. . looked inside the tailgunner's turret. . its not quite eerie, but something like it. . but in a cool way.

We started taking James here several years ago, because of his fascination with anything that moves.. and planes were probably his first vehicle phase. . and a deep phase it was and to some degree still is -- which thrilled us. Alas now, trains have him in a spell. . the train phase may even be deeper? Erica. . .she made her first visit here as a baby. . and again today. However, I don't think she's all that impresssed. She just likes to run around. If there aren't pictures of My Little Pony of the sides of these planes, she ain't interested! Though we did get her into cockpit of one of the old trainers. All this fun was preceded by a sleepover culminating in bedtime stories and songs with guitar and 3-part harmony, which Jimmy claimed was "So beautiful i feel like crying." Erica bit her brother at some point after the serenade, the initial tuck in and the 'i need water-i gotta pee-i can't sleep-one more story' routine. This was followed by intense crying, an unconvincing apology and finally golden silence. . . and a restless sleep for Opa on the downstairs couch and an equally restless one for me, upstairs - worrying about them getting out of bed, tripping, etc. gah! Morning was kind of a relief!!! The kids tried to get each of us up. . and we each told them wake up the other one. . . we finally had some breakfast and set off on the big trip to the 'surprise place', which James had already guessed, therefore was no surprise.. which didn't matter a bit because look at the shiny prop and the engine. . and Nana and Opa are suckers and will always come through with an aero-themed trinket at the gift shop!!! True, we are suckers and I'm sure that won't change. What a great day we had! Hope you enjoyed this little tour? I'd like to encourage those of you who are within distance of this place to go! Take your time. Watch the restoration crew working on the aircraft. Look at the old flight gear, the uniforms, the old G-suits. . . and more. Bring your Canadian Tire money -- they collect it to fundraise. Bring some coins to amuse your children - they can drop the coins in the donation boxes -- each of the aircraft has one. Hey, I'm already looking forward to going back !!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A dog, a plant, a cake and a potato

Strange selection of photographs, i know. Maggie is waiting for Santa in this first shot. Her patience was rewarded with a package of Snausages in her stocking. awwww. . . how cute.

This is my dining room. I love this natural light. It's so glowy and perfect. Planty loves it too! I move Planty into this light every day. Sometimes i even exhale onto this little green sprout. . i feel stupid, but i hear this is good for them? Carbon dioxide is it?

This cake is our Christmas Eve dessert (chocolate black forest cake) made by KK almost completely. The only thing that wasn't was the chocolate drizzle. . which was done by me, cuz she was too scared to mess it up. . which i did anyway. . (not so even). It was delicious!!

And in last place, we have the heart-shaped potato, discovered during last Sunday's family lunch preparations. Isn't that cool? I should have saved it for Valentine's Day!!! *maybe painted it red?* I'm such a sucker for celebrating it, even if most people think its a Hallmark holiday. I love LOVE!!!! (sigh!)Posted by Picasa