Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice.

I didn’t quite realise it,  until someone mentioned it on the Book of Face,  but from now on the days will start getting longer.  Hazzah!

Well, there will be more hours of daylight.  You know what I mean.  Some days are still too freakin’ short,  but then there’s always maƱana.

We’ve been getting way too much cloud cover these last few days,  so when the sun does come out I do notice that it puts a positive spin on my outlook.

Of course,  it also means I can see just how dirty the front windows are,  but I’ll tolerate that minor aggravation.  I might even break down and try out a window cleaning company,  because I’ve done my darndest to try and get them squeaky clean,  with mixed results.  Or maybe I’ll try a mixture of vinegar and water, even though I’m not overly thrilled with the smell of vinegar.

Then again, I could just lower the blinds.



This is in keeping with the “bright and cheery” theme.  Received this earlier in the week for Travelling Companion from one of our good friends.  Note, anyone who is willing to put up with me,  should be considered a ‘good’ friend.  Just saying.

Anyway,  the timing was really good,  as this cute arrangement arrived just in time to replace one of the ones that had started to show its age.  That’s the down side to flowers.  They only last so long.

We seem to be getting packages delivered to the door on a daily basis.  We’ll see how we make out for the final couple things we ordered.  I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with dealing with the Hudson’s Bay.  

thebay 1

thebay 2

They seem to like you to go in circles.  THEN we discovered that they are now owned by Saks Fifth Avenue?   Wtf?  At least that’s the name that showed up on the call display when they called to confirm an address, but that’s another story. 

After placing my order and realising I hadn’t clicked on “free express shipping”,  I figured I’d suck it up and call their 1-800 number.   Holy cr*p.   That was painful.  Got cut off a couple times,  and then was on hold for about a half hour.  More or less.  I lost track.  Nearly lost consciousness. 

Just yesterday I noticed an email from the person who helped me (yes, there was eventually a human there to help) asking me to complete a survey.   We’ll wait until the order actually arrives at the pre-determined “promised” time before we do that I’m afraid. 

There have been a couple hit and misses in the online ordering department.  Some folks have a good grasp of the concept. Others, not.

With Lee Valley for example, we placed a couple orders on Friday for pick-up,  and I was able to go first thing Saturday morning and fetch them over at the side.  Away from the hoards of people who flock to that place before Christmas.   So many of them don’t understand how easy it is to order an item on line and simply go and fetch it.  And that’s OK with me,  because there was nary a soul over at the side picking up their purchase.

Then there was Home Depot. 

Wow, what a clusterf**k.   I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work,  but my best guess is,  if your website says you have “x” number of an item at your location,  then that should be the case, yes? 

Nope.  Wasted trip.   So then I continued my search on line,  only to determine that yes,  they had 11 such items at another location.  And look,  they’ll deliver it before Christmas!  Awesome! So let’s do that then!

But then,  some poor sap called from that location to say that no,  they don’t have them.    So that was that. 

I’m a bit like a dog with a bone when it comes to this sort of thing, and I wasn’t going to settle for another brand of product,  so I tried Lowes.  

Well I’ll be darned!   I think I might be ordering from Lowes from now on,  since they not only know how to operate a computerised inventory system,  but the price was the same,  and delivery was free.    I like “free”.

I’ve only actually gone into Lowes once,  and that was to look at dishwashers.  I may have to go back more often,  or at least browse their website.   So thanks Home Depot!  By being such dorks, I now know where (else) to shop.


Other than getting ready for the big Christmas feast and such,  nothing much else has been going on.

I did notice the Union Gas Dude had pulled up the other day to take a look at the new installation.




I didn’t think I needed to go out and talk to him.  He took a look,  went back to his truck and sat there for a time,  probably filling out some sort of report.  I guess it “passed”.  I figure I paid the money to have it installed by a licensed gas fitter,  so it’s not my deal.


You’ll note the lack of snow on the ground.  There hasn’t been any for days.  It’s probably going to be a rainy Christmas to boot.  A white Christmas seems to be a rarity these days.  I can suffer the lack of snow.

Oh,  and T.C. is progressing nicely after her knee surgery.  The walker needs to go back to the Red Cross,  since she now only needs the cane.  I don’t worry about her going up and down stairs anymore (as much) either.   I mean,  she could still take a tumble,  but part of the process has to do with developing the muscle memory for getting around.  Which foot goes first and such.


I’ll try and get back here before Christmas,  but if I don’t,  here’s hoping you all have a good one.



Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, December 15, 2014

It’s Monday, right?

Sometimes I sort of forget.  That’s either really awesome, such as when my eldest brother, who has been retired for something like 30 years once said, “Every day is Saturday”.

Or maybe kinda sad?

I’m thinking mostly sad. And that’s because there are moments when I draw a complete blank on what day it is.  Eventually I snap out of it,  and figure it out,  but I suppose that, with the exception of trying to stay out of the stores on the weekends,  most every day is the same. 

And speaking of which, what’s with the Seniors hanging around the stores on a Saturday?  I swear to Gawd!  Lookin’ for the good stuff?  I just don’t get it.  You’ve got all week people!   There are working folk who only have the weekends.  Stay the hell home!

The best time to shop ever in my life was after midnight,  when I was on afternoons and there was a grocery store here in town that was open 24 hours.  With the exception of the boys stocking the shelves,  and possibly playing their music a little too loud,  the place was gloriously empty.  I would actually take a buggy,  and leisurely float from isle to isle.

The joint down the street here is right across from various “old age” establishments,  and if you’re there any later than 11:00 in the morning,  they’re out in full force.  Even on a Monday. 

And forget Saturdays, jaysus.

I take a basket,  and make a bee-line for what I need,  and get the hell out.


I’m still Christmas shopping.  Mostly done.  I think.  A lot of it has happened on line. Definitely my kinda shopping.  Or I order something and pick it up off to the side.  One of my favourite stores has multiple ways of ordering stuff,  and there’s never a line-up at their pick-up area.

I think eventually most all Christmas shopping will be done on line.  Well, that would be my ideal means of doing it.  I’m sure there are those who still wander the mall looking for just the right “thing”.  To me that’s the worst kind of torture.



You may have to click on that to see the price.  This was one of those moments when I actually took a second look.  I think my jaw dropped ever so slightly as well.

We haven’t seen gas prices like that for a long while.  Certainly well before we did the European visit.  And we left here in ‘08.   I think it was already over a buck at that point already.

Too hard to figure out what that is in gallons and then do the conversion to US dollars.  Figure it out and let me know.  It’s always cheaper in the States anyway,  so what difference does it make? 


I guess I really didn’t have a point in being here,  except to beak off about people being in stores when they hadn’t ought to be,  and the price of gas.

Oh well,  if you’re a stock pickin’ kinda person at all,  let’s just say there are some dealskis out there?  Everyone is dumping oil stocks like crazy.  Time to buy!  Psst, go for the ones paying dividends!


That’s all I got.


Keep it between the ditches….and…


Thanks for stopping by.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

What the sun does to my brain.

I started blathering on about something or other on Friday,  and I’ve just now turfed it out.  Something to do with it being sunny out. 

Well, not anymore.

I was about to head out to the mall that morning (I know!)  to pick up some Christmas cards,  when around the corner comes Gas Man number two.  This is the fellow I’ve hired to hook up the generator once we had our new bigger meter installed.


He used this rather cool flexible plastic coated corrugated stuff,  that worked out quite nicely.  I couldn’t quite visualise just how it would work with black pipe,  because it’s getting a little crowded back there.

I took the opportunity to sort out a little issue I had with the “skirt” that goes around the base of the generator.


Taking away the platform and the steps makes it a whole heap easier to work back there.

The thing is,  when I went to install this “skirt”,  the darned grounding lug was right in the way.


Somebody missed something on the drawings I guess.  So I drilled a couple holes in the plastic, which gives just enough room to get a length of copper in there.  Mind you,  the fellow who came out a couple weeks ago (from whom I’ve heard nary a peep)  said they like to use aluminum,  since it’s not as tempting to steel.  We’ll see.


Anyway, the gas is hooked up.  Of course I took that with the ladder sitting there.  Dough head.


He had some gray Tremclad with him,  and offered to touch up the existing line.  Something I’ve been meaning to do.  I happily let him.

It’s not even a requirement in a residential situation,  but it never hurts to keep the line painted.  Plus, it just looks better.



Then I put everything back together in time to get T.C. to her hair appointment Friday afternoon.  Yes,  it seems that one cannot properly convalesce from knee surgery if one’s hair is starting to show its true colour.  *ahem*



Hey, whatever.  She’s now quite proficient at managing stairs,  getting in and out of the car,  and generally getting about. 

Within reason.

The very bright people at the hair salon hadn’t quite grasped the concept of “due diligence”,   since there was a good inch of slush outside their door.   I offered to shovel it away when I went to pick her up later,  and that was enough to shame the one fellow into getting out there and sorting it out.  I guess they haven’t had a lawsuit yet.  Their turn will come.

I was relating to T.C. on the way home in the car how,  in my former life as a Caretaker,  we had to document each and every time we shovelled and/or spread ice melter.   Helped cut the lawsuits WAY down.  Judges like “due diligence” it seems.  But that’s all I’ll say about that.  Some folks be dumb,  and don’t wear the proper footwear,  just sayin’.


Oh,  forgot to mention.  We did get a visit from the cable company.


Naturally,  it was during the snow storm.   He tested the line back roughly 25 meters and couldn’t detect a problem.  I strongly suggested simply replacing their modem,  since they tend to crap out on the order of roughly every two years or so.  That’s what he did,  and we’ve not had any outages since. 

More than a happy coincidence,  methinks.

There was also a phone conversation I had with someone on their billing end of things,  and I believe we’ll be getting a bit of a reduction.  I think my exact words were,  “We can’t have this”.  And this was because T.C. was on a conference call,  and the internet crapped out.   Not good.  Not acceptable.

So we’ll see. 

She was using her cell phone, by the way.  Never a good idea to rely solely on one mode of communication if it’s absolutely essential that you not get cut off.



I guess that’s it for this missive.  Not much excitement here at The Ponderosa.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.