Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tucked in.

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit of a bad blogger lately.  Mea culpa.  

The days seem to drift by and there’s always something to do,  but nothing that I’d want to bore you with.  At least it seems that way.  This has been the irony of “ze blogue”,  as reporting on doing nothing has never been much of a draw for me, and I’m sure not for you either. 


We picked up the Merc last night and brought it home.  In spite of being a used car, it’s in surprisingly good shape.  Well, I suppose it should be,  as it was pointed out a few days ago that the parts are made of “unobtainium”.  

The Mercedes-Benz dealership is nicer than a lot of shopping malls.  You can sit and have your cappuccino (complimentary of course)  and here,  Travelling Companion is looking over how she can have a manicure, pedicure or facial (or maybe all three?)  whenever she brings in the car for service. 




This too is complimentary.  I didn’t ask just how much “service” would set us back.  I’d hazard a guess that my butt will pucker just ever so slightly if/when we take it in.

There was also some mention that “the boys” would be happy to wash the car any time and T.C. could go and relax at the aforementioned “Spa”.   No seriously.  I’m not kidding.  I did though point out that I have a driveway and a hose.   AND a bucket!   And I know how to use them.  Washing ones own car!  What a concept!


Here’s our happy recipient leaving the dealership.


Not too shabby.

That’s one down. 

Haven’t a clue what I’ll do for wheels.

I half heartedly suggested I could get one of these and put a hitch on the back.  All I really need is a small utility trailer. 


Not so sure about the electric part of the equation though.  Once upon a time you could get a “Smart” with a diesel engine here in Canada.  No longer available.  The other “problem” I have with the Smart is,  to sort of paraphrase Ron James  (a Canadian comic) “How is it that, although it’s called a “Smart Car”, any time you get behind the wheel you just look so dumb"?”   If they’d only redesign that front end.  I’m sorry, it just looks goofy.  I keep waiting.


Meanwhile, I suppose I can look forward to the bikes  arriving in the shipment, although that’s not exactly going to solve my transportation issues. It’s not that easy to cart around say,  a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  The rear seats flip down in the Merc, and just out of curiosity,  I measured the space this morning.  Only about three by six.  And besides,  I’m not going to be carting around tools and general cr*p in that thing.  Not bloody likely.  I feel like I have to check for pet hair and boogers before I get in as it is.


The sales Dude threw in a set of “winter mats” which I spent a few minutes installing just now.  The summer mats are the fuzzy type,  and don’t really put up much of a fight when it comes to crap that gets tracked in.  Probably should have had winter mats in the Beemer but hey, it wasn’t our car.  What the heck are we going to do with a set of winter mats for a car we left behind in Austria?

It just so happens that our place was built back in the fifties,  so putting a car in the garage has always been a bit of a challenge here.  The curious thing too is,  the cars back then were even bigger,  so I guess a garage was just a place for your junk.  

That doesn’t work for me.  To me, the garage/shop is almost “holy ground”,  (or as “holy” as any ground I’d be walking on)  so it’s preferable to keep the junk elsewhere.  That’s why I built the shed. 


I installed that tennis ball contraption years ago as a “parking assist” for T.C., since with a bit of practise she has put cars in that spot going back almost a couple decades. 

The last entrant was a Volvo S60,  and it turns out that the rear window on the Merc is in just about the identical spot.  You can get a hint as to what’s going on in the rest of the garage by the equipment off there to the left.


Well,  I’m starting to bore myself here,  so I’m sure your attention span is getting a work out.


Thanks for your patience,  and for stopping by.



Friday, February 22, 2013

When CRS is fun.

You should probably know by now (at this point in your life, I mean) that by “CRS”,  I really and truly mean,  “Can’t Remember Sh*t”.  

Just thought I’d bring you up to speed.


As an aside,  I’d also like to mention that I saw a sign on a pick-up truck last week with “CRS Contracting” on the door,  and I thought,  “Well hey,  at least he’s honest about it.”    But it turns out the CRS was something else entirely.  How was I to know otherwise?

See,  today was the day that our “Air Shipment”  was due to arrive.  The word was, that the crew was scheduled for between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. which, considering they were coming from Mississauga, was a fairly narrow window.  I think it was around 10 when they showed up.

There wasn’t much.  We didn’t ship much by air.  When we found out how freakin’ long it would take,  we just shoved more of T.C.’s clothes into suitcases,  and made like we were some immigrant family coming to Canada with all their worldly possessions in three suitcases.  We managed.  I don’t do the whole porter thing.  I’m really and truly only going to travel with whatever number of suitcases I can manage,  so I don’t need some Dude with a two wheeler hanging around with me at the carousel. 

Plus,  I’m not that lazy and besides, I didn’t have any small Canadian bills on me.

So there it is.


Um ya.   Not really a whole lot.   We were allowed up to 350kg.,  and I have no clue just how much that would have been.   The important one was the guitar there off to the right.  I unpacked it,  retuned it (you need to either take the strings completely off or loosen them for air travel) and it’s fine.  I did have to retune it again after it warmed up some.   I’m sure you care.

Of course,  in my infinite wisdom,  I didn’t air ship the stand,  although I did seem to think that I had put it over there off to the side to go with the other stuff.  It got missed. Meh, whatever.   Just means it has to go back in its hard case.   I think my “music room”  will quite likely be downstairs.



The dog is sulking just a bit, since he’s an excitable lad,  and needed to be sequestered in the kitchen.  Well,  and he also had to be “spoken to”,  and since his “Dad” and I are the Alpha males in these parts, being “spoken to” usually means he’s going to be in trouble if he doesn’t smarten up in a hurry. 

Having three strange men wander into the house with strange boxes,  all of which have strange, new and exciting smells was just about too much for him to handle.  He’s really and truly a good dog.  He just loses his mind once in a while.


Now,  speaking of losing your mind, other than the guitar,  I did seem to recollect that T.C. had placed a few more pairs of shoes in with this shipment,  along with a hand bag (not just any handbag either,  but let’s not get side tracked) and a small box of highly prized fabric.  Meh,  silk or something.  I didn’t really look.

But the thing is,  I FORGOT that we had shipped our pillows!   I don’t think I get that worked up at Christmas any more!  See,  sometimes it’s not so bad to completely forget.  It’s fun to be surprised.



This may very well be the first time you ever see a grown man get a little giddy over a pillow.  But these are the enormous feather pillows that are quite common all over Europe.   See, there may be some things we’ll miss about living in Vienna,  but having a honkin’ big feather pillow isn’t going to be one of them.  

Oh,  and don’t you love the fifties colours there in the background?   This is our main bathroom.  One of these days,  it’s going to all come out.  Oh,  I’m just so looking forward to that.


I was going to mutter on about the license situation,  but I’m already starting to get a bit long winded,  so I’ll quit while you’re still awake.


Have a mighty fine weekend,  in case I don’t check back.  You know how that works.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brave new world.

This sight may be somewhat familiar to some of you. 

the way od the future

For my non-Canadian readers,  it’s the log-out page to something called “Service Canada”.   This is different from “Service Ontario” by the way,  and it seems I may very well be dealing with them both off and on for the rest of my days.  *sigh*

I’m beginning to see the merits of being a hermit.  Life is all about the bureaucracy. Gah!

See,  Travelling Companion (and you know,  I really need to come up with a new pseudonym for her,  as she has more or less sworn off travelling) has been nagging me to get my “Record of Employment”.  I was snatched from the jaws of employment as a result of leaving the country,  so there’s this idea that maybe now I should be out there looking for a job? 

Again, *sigh*.  Or maybe more accurately, *Gah*

I do realise that I have dutifully paid into what I still call “Unemployment Insurance”  for some 40 odd years,  and maybe just maybe I might like to get a couple bucks of it back, but I’m not so sure it’s really worth all the hassle.

Just in order to *see* my Record of Employment,   I have to sign in to Service Canada and create a profile.  Well,  I supposed I’d have to do that eventually to get things like CPP or such (Canada Pension Plan,  another one of those schemes where, “I wants my money”) .  I’m just a wee bit young for that one though. 

No really.  Just a young’un in the pension scheme of things.

Back in the dark ages,  when I had employees that I had to hire and (sometimes) fire,  the whole affair was a paper trail.  You filled out a “record of employment” and either handed it to the person when they came in for their last pay,  or mailed it to their last known address.   You know, you’d put in a code for just how they left your employ?  I remember nobody liked to see a “K” on their form.  Somehow I seem to recall that one meant they were fired.

There was none of this “on the line” business.   Maybe I’ll need a bar code on my forehead eventually?


On a slightly different employment front,  I could very well just take on a few jobs now and again to butter my bread.

Case in point:


So you’re looking at that and thinking, “What the hell is he talking about?”   Well no, I’m not talking about getting a job as a “Mouse Guard”,  and I don’t even know what that is.  All I know is,  I was approached by a collector to build a frame for this little gem.  Again, I have no clue what it’s worth.   What I do have though,  is some woodworking equipment and a half decent idea when it came to how he wanted it displayed.   I think I prefer that kind of a “job”,  truth be told.  No bureaucracy, no filling in blanks on line.  Just cash.  Thanks.


Still waiting to hear back from the dealership on the Merc.  We’re not in that big of a rush,  and since we’re doing the whole financing thing, I suppose they need to sniff us out.  Maybe there will be a note from them tonight?   That’s another thing.  After the initial visit and test drive,  there’s been no need to go back there.  It’s all done by email.  Print out this form, fill it out, scan it.  Scan this, scan that.  Of course,  our scanner is in a box somewhere on its way here (or to a warehouse first to then clear Customs I suppose) so it’s a bloody good thing son-in-law has a scanner,  and that there’s one available for T.C. in her office, or that whole program would come to a grinding halt.  Do people still fax things?   I *had* a fax machine once.  Not sure I ever used it.


Since I’m usually looking for something to go on about,  tomorrow I’ll fill in the blanks on the driver’s license end of things.  We’re “taking our time” on that too, it seems.


Until then,  or until I have something to say, keep those oars in the water.


Thanks for lookin’.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We did see some “family”.

It was a coincidence really,  that yesterday was “Family Day”,  as there were a couple outings that we had been invited to over the weekend. 
One of our long time friends was doing a little thing in remembrance of a baby she had lost a year ago,  and other relations were celebrating the addition to their family of a young lady they had adopted a couple years ago*.  Sort of a whole “ebb and flow” kind of thing.


The first gathering on Saturday was a “balloon release”.  There’s something about watching balloons float up into the sky that can be helpful in lifting ones spirits I suppose.  There was laughter involved,  even though the whole event was rather poignant.  Everyone deals with losing a little guy in their own way.  This was her way.



See.  Laughter.  Unless someone told a really awesome joke, but I didn’t hear anything.


The second one was  “Gotcha Party”. 


And no,  that “Bobby” isn’t me.  It’s the name that was given to the young lady who was adopted.  (and she still can’t get over the idea that there’s another “Bob”!)

We had never heard of a “Gotcha Party”,  but it was the day her family picked her up from the orphanage.  So,  ‘we gotcha’.   Like that.

It’s truly an amazing thing how the life of this young person has been changed from being found at the side of the road somewhere in India, (yes. really!) to living with a great family in Oakville,  Ontario.    More than she’ll ever know I’m sure, although it’s only been a couple years now that she’s lived here,  so I’m sure she has clear memories of her life from before.

Um,  I don’t usually put kids pictures on the line,  so you’ll just have to conjure up your imagination.  Cute little Indian girl,  pre-teen.  That’s all.

Her first language is Hindi,  and the school where she goes has an ESL (English as a second language) program,  but her English by this point is pretty darned good.  Kids are like little sponges that way,  and it’s quite baffling how well she can speak.



Turns out Monday, the actual “Family Day”,  was a day mostly of sloth.  Watched a movie.  Lounged about.  Trying to think of what else.   Nothing much.  It was kinda cold out,  so there were no walks along the shore or any such thing.   It’ll be above the freezing mark again today for a little while,  but the temperatures around here are up and down like a toilet seat.  It’s Canada. 


One of the first calls I made this morning was to our insurance provider,  just to check on the rate for the Merc.   See,  the dealership is offering .9% financing,  and our original plan of just cutting them a cheque has taken a back seat to simply making payments.  I don’t really like making “car payments”,  but if you consider the total cost to finance the thing over a couple years is something like three hundred and fifty bucks?   Hell,  we can shove 30 plus thousand in some sort of other “vehicle” and make more than $350.   So we’ll take the deal.

Somehow we had this nagging idea that having a lean on a vehicle would affect the rate,  but that was all just silliness on our part.  The insurance company simply lists the dealership first when it comes to whomever gets paid if we decide to lose our minds and total the thing.  After something like 90 years of driving between the two of us,  it hasn’t happened so far.  Fingers crossed.


So I just got off the phone with the car Dude,  and told him to take his crayon out to the lot and write “SOLD” across the front.  Actually,  he was quick to point out it was more of a “digital” thing,  so he didn’t need the big crayon.  There will be some emails back and forth, and within a day or two, barring any more meteorites falling to earth,  we’ll have some new wheels.



Stay tuned.


Keep it between those ditches.


Thanks for stopping in.


*Note: It was actually three years ago.  Where did that time go??



Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Ministry of Silly Walks.

I wanted to say, “tying up loose ends”,  but it turns out I was wrong.

Lemme ‘splain.

First of all, in our fine province of Ontario,  there’s not just one way to get your driver’s license.  Well,  maybe that’s wrong too.  *IF* you already have a license and only want to renew it,  you go to Service Ontario.  It’s a very loose definition of “service” of course,  and is the place where you line up to get your “tags” as the Yanks call them (we call them plates)  or renew your driver’s license.  Apparently you can get your “Health Card” there too.  I may have to do that one fine day.  Mine is the old kind from the sixties.  Still works,  it’s just that it doesn’t have my mug pasted on the front.  The horror.

Anyhoodle,  Travelling Companion and I went there first on Monday (*thinks*  I think it was Monday).   Well no,  the very clever boy at the wicket (no seriously,  I had more facial hair when I was 14) told us that they didn’t do that there,  and that we’d need to go to the “Testing Centre”.   Well now,  that sounds ominous,  now doesn’t it?

So we made plans to get that sorted first thing Friday (yesterday) morning.   Naturally we went and lined up at the wrong place first,  as it turns out the office on Brant street was just another “Service Ontario” location.   Pays to read all the crap they paste on the glass outside the store front.  There were directions there to the actual place that was a bit farther up the street.  No biggie.  It wasn’t like we were walking or anything.

It turns out that,  since Travelling Companion has (well, *had*) a driver’s license from the Netherlands,  that in fact we could have simply renewed her Ontario Driver’s License at “Service Ontario”.    Wonderful. 

Since I have (and yes,  still *have*) an Austrian Driver’s License,   we had to do some sort of switcheroo.   That’s a technical term by the way.

There was a form to be filled out,  a couple signatures to add,  and then I had to shove my head up against some sort of viewing box not dissimilar from the kind of “stereoscopes”  that were prevalent right around the time of the Chicago World’s Fair.    Apparently I can see blinking lights and read really tiny numbers,  so I passed that one.   Paid my seventy-five bucks,  got a couple more pieces of paper,  had to leave my Austrian permit behind (sniff)  and we were almost done.  We went back to Service Ontario and did the renewal for T.C’s and figured all would be right with the world.

The next little thing on the agenda for the day was to get ourselves to the airport and clear our air shipment at the CBSA.

With the exception of having to drive all the way to Mississauga,  that task was considerably easier than the whole Ministry of Silly Walks episode.  We could have shoved our air shipment in the back of the Escape,  but just figured we’d let the shippers do their deal.  There was some “warehouse” we would have had to go to,  and neither of us by that point had any desire to do any more traipsing around.  It was getting close to lunch time.


*Well*… when we came in the door to grab a bit of lunch,  there was a message from the chick at the “Testing Centre”  (Ministry of Silly Walks)  telling me that I had to COME BACK!   They needed a translation of the licence.  Even though my Ontario License number is written on the back,  and apparently I’m still in the system,  they had to verify that the license was valid for the past 24 months.   Huh?   I mean,  I’ve heard some bureaucratic horse shit over the years,  but that one really ranks right up there with the best of them.   I kept asking,  “But,  am I not still in the system?”   “Yes but..”  Well, the poor simple bureaucrat didn’t really have an answer.

Didn’t matter.  Them rules is them rules.   Besides,  there are folks out there who have taken a “two year course”  so they can qualify to translate my license,  and they need to get paid apparently.  Seems that my eight years of language training at both the secondary and post secondary levels doesn’t count.  Never mind the fact that I fucking lived in a German speaking country for nearly four years.  

So I got back my money and my Austrian permit,  and next Tuesday I’ll have to phone somebody to get my license translated.  Oy.   (Um ya,  Monday is a holiday here abouts)



Oh but hey!  There is some slightly more exciting news.  Only slightly.

If I show you this picture,  can you start to make a guess or two?


Not talking about the snow either. 

We had been snooping around on line and at lots,  looking at BMWs,  the odd Audi (they’re a bit rare it seems)  and Mercs.   T.C. though maybe we’d tool on over to an actual Mercedes dealership and see if they had any old relics hanging around. 

Well,  they did have an old relic hanging around, and I did drool over it briefly,  but it didn’t have a price tag. 



Besides,  I love to LOOK at old cars,  but that’s the extent of it. 


I very briefly drooled over the McLaren as well.  Well,  it might have been more like looking on in amazement.





There was no price tag showing on that one either,  but I came up with a pretty good guess of a quarter million.


I must have been a bit overwhelmed,  since I only took that one photo,  and it’s not very good.  Here’s one I stole off the net.



Not sure I like the front though. 


Anything worth that much money though needs to come with a huge bathroom,  king sized bed,  and maybe a chauffeur and quite possibly a domestic of some kind.


We’re still going to look around,  but T.C. was quite smitten with one of the more run of the mill 200 series mercs.  We’ve had enough silver cars over the years,  so the basic black was also a nice feature.



Not the best photo again,  as it had been sitting outside.  I drove it.  Nice car.  Meh, we’ll see.

We do have this thing where we like to check with insurance Dude first,  just to get a handle on all the costs of ownership.  I know it’s that whole, “Well,  if you have to ask,  then you shouldn’t be looking”,  but we still want to know.

Again,  Monday is a holiday, so that will have to wait for a couple days.  That car isn’t going anywhere.  And if it does?  Well,  that’s just the way it goes some times.  I’ve never had problems “walking away”.   Too pragmatic?  Too unemotional?  There are lots more used cars out there. 


Stay tuned.


Enjoy your weekend.


Thanks for stopping by.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Waging those tiny battles.

The vehicle hunt has more or less ground to a halt.  Friday’s snow storm didn’t help.  Well, Friday’s snow storm put the whole program on hold.  There’s not a lot of point looking at vehicles on a lot if they’re buried in a foot of snow. 

Actually,  it was more than a foot,  but you get the *drift*. 

That was bad,  I know.

One of the tiny pleasures of having a shed, (note complete change of topic for no apparent reason) is also having tiny visitors.  I might not even mind the tiny visitors if it wasn’t for their tiny droppings.   And yes,  I know about the dreaded Hantavirus.   I go straight to the respirator when it comes time to clean up. 

But man!  There is mouse cr*p freakin’ everywhere!  Could they not just cr*p in one spot? 

So I started waging a tiny battle last week some time.  We have the technology.  By that I mean,  we had some traps lying around.

But here’s the thing, if you’ve ever noticed how the bait has been mysteriously cleaned off the bail of a mouse trap,  then I have a little snippet of info for ya.   Thread.   Better yet wool.  And I don’t mean knitting them little poison filled sweaters either.  No see,  you have to wrap the thread around the bail,  put on your bait (peanut butter is irresistible to meeces)  and then they get their tiny teeth caught on the tiny thread and *wham-o*  

Do you need a photo tutorial?


Note thread:


The other “trick”,  if you want to call it that is,  mice like to stick close to walls,  so try to put your traps as close to a wall as possible.  If it’s out in the middle of a counter or cabinet,  they might not even want to venture that far out in the open.


This is usually the result.  

Note mouse:


Quick and painless.  Really.   I won’t get into the specifics of parts of a mouse brain,  so just go with me on this one.  He/she (didn’t check, really) is number four in as many days.


On other battlefronts, Travelling Companion tells me that our “air shipment” needs to be cleared of customs,  so we’re off to the airport on Friday to sort that out.  I truly have no idea where we need to go,  but she says she’s been given some detailed directions from the moving company.  OK then. 

No word on the other stuff.  Presumably it’s in a shipping container somewhere out in the Atlantic.   We’re not in a hurry for it.  The bulk of it will end up sitting in the garage until we get the transition sorted out.  Daughter number two and her hubby have found some digs in Oakville close to where they both work, so that end of things is coming together.  For the entire time that I was a Caretaker, I tried to make sure I was no more than 15 minutes from any work location.  It makes a HUGE difference when it comes to fuel outlay,  as well as the overall stress (if you want to call it that) of getting to work.  They can both walk if they choose.


First thing yesterday morning I registered the letter that I sent off to the LCBO.  It has to do with importing wine.  You can hardly tell there’s wine on the list,  but we do have a whopping 13 bottles that got sucked up in the moving vortex,  so the proper authorities had to be notified.  Feel free to roll your eyes.


The other little snippet was a letter this morning from the Austrian postal service forwarding our mail.  I went and paid for a “Nachsendungsauftrag”,  at the local post office before we left,  and for a mere €12,  they’ll forward our mail until some time in March.


So the parking garage did in fact cancel our account as of the 31st,  but I gather that they hadn’t received their cards back at that point,  so I suspect we’ll get another letter.


You can brush up on your German. 

Our Relocation Lady said she’d drop them off on the Thursday evening, which would have been the 31st.   We’ll see.  There’s a €15 deposit that they’re supposed to return to us.   There’ll be another envelope next week I assume. 

Um,  that’s about it for today’s (this week’s?)  missive. 

I’m still going through the filing cabinet and putting our new shredder to work.  Once in a while though,  I do find something that should have been pitched a while back.  Not sure why I keep some things. 


1996?  Really? 

I’m pretty sure our four drawer filing cabinet will be half empty by the time I’m done.  It’s easier to be ruthless when you haven’t looked at something for a number of years.  That’s the theory anyway.


So thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.  I’ll check in in a few days.  Promise.





Saturday, February 9, 2013

The ebb and flow of Blogger.

I suppose if I let it bother me too much,  I’d be just about ready to spit on the floor.  Not going to do it.  Although,  after the dog has raced in and out a couple times,  I just might have to break out the mop and bucket.  Blinding sunshine doesn’t help either.  Doggie tracks.  Big time.

Seems that every few months for no particular reason,  I can’t help but notice that something is not quite right with ze blogue.  (that’s the translated version, btw.)  

Gadgets don’t work. 

Can’t see followers. 

I just figure someone at the Mother Ship will sort it out.  Eventually.   Yes?  Please?



A snowstorm can have a certain amount of charm,  and it all depends on where your priorities lie.  Daughter number two and her hubby took off for work yesterday morning,  but in fairly short order they very prudently decided to come back.  Most of the day was spent lounging about,  interspersed with driveway cleaning.  If you don’t have to go anywhere,  there’s certainly no mad rush,  and I don’t think I broke a sweat. 

Of course,  that was interspersed with the entertainment that we always get at the corner of our street out in front of the house.   There are usually at least two things at play:  People need to buy snow tires,  annnnnd  they can’t drive in snow to start with.  I won’t mention any issues with the possible ethnicity of certain individuals.  That wouldn’t be prudent.   It’s grade 10 physics,  that’s all.   You know,  having to do with kinetic/potential energy,  and Newton's laws of motion?

Well,  it doesn’t help to have fancy schmancy low profile tires either.  You may as well put on racing slicks.  Seriously.  Good clean fun for us though!

“Hey,  lookit that idiot!  Har!”   You know.  Like that.


Oh, and not that you should get the wrong idea about me or anything but,  I don’t push.  Sorry.  Getting stuck on a perfectly flat surface only because you’re about as bright as an ashtray?  Not helpin’ ya.   I’ll get behind the wheel and drive it out for you,  but I won’t push.  I need my spinal column for other things.  Remaining upright comes to mind.

And I have offered to help.  You know,  over the years.  Some folks don’t want you driving their vehicle which,  considering they don’t have the common sense to put snow tires on their vehicle to protect it in the first place, is a bit of a quandary.  To them I bid a “Good Day”,  and go on my merry way. 

Hey,  I offered.  Don’t want my help?  Chuck you Farley.


Anyhoodle, interspersed with the vehicular entertainment outside,  along with a bit of shovelling now and again,  I got it into my pea brain that I once again want to have an operable telephone out in my garage shop. 

Our phone service here is through our cable,  so we have something called VOIP.  Works fine, really.  Plus it means that any call in North America is a local call.  Some of us have been known to be a bit chatty.  Having all calls as local calls works,  trust me.

Well,  a while back there was some sort of an issue (this was when we were still back in the Old World)  and a service tech came in and got things “sorted out”.   I think there might have been an open ground somewhere?  Not really sure.   All of our phones are cordless little gizmos these days anyway,  so it’s not like I need the whole place wired for a two line phone system like it used to be.   However,  his grandiose solution to this situation was to simply disconnect from the rest of the house and only wire up the one phone in the kitchen. 


I mean,  I could take a cordless unit out to the garage shop, but I like my old fashioned hard wired phone,  that LIGHTS UP when it rings.   See,  if I’m wearing ear defenders and operating a router at about 80db,  I ain’t gonna hear no phone.   But,  I can see it if it lights up. 

Well, eventually. 

Maybe I’ll thrill you with a demo of that one day.  OK, maybe not.






Somehow the “after” shot looks just about as messy as the “before”,  and I sure wish I could find the cover to that terminus.   Not that we’ll ever use those lines again,  but I don’t like it uncovered.   Best not to look up, then I won’t see it.


Unfortunately,  the ‘lightem up’ phone doesn’t have call display,  so once in a while I do get suckered into answering to a phone solicitor.  But that’s OK,  I just put the phone down and switch on whatever ear shattering power tool that they interrupted me from using.  Funny how they’re no longer on the line when I get around to chatting with them?  It’s just a mystery.

Hey, it’s my phone.  If I don’t want to talk right away, they can’t make me.  So there.


Today was a bright,  sunny and slightly cold day,  so that was a nice change from the snow day on Friday.  Got a call in the fore noon from one of my brothers in Nova Scotia.  They’re getting it.  Big time. The snow in Nova Scotia tends to come down sideways as it is,  and he did say he could see his barn once in a while.  He was camped out next to the fireplace.  Sounded like a good plan.


Hope your weekend is a warm one,  wherever you are.


Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.  

Did you see that coming?





Friday, February 8, 2013

Um, no car shopping today.

Unless you’re reading this from a galaxy far,  far away, you no doubt have figured out that we’re getting a wee bit of a snow storm today.  

Even if I were working (perish the thought!)  I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing at this very moment.  The only slight annoyance however was,  I’d be getting ready to head off for a 6:30 a.m. start,  and we would sometimes not know whether the schools had indeed been closed at that point or not.  Or maybe I had missed the memo.

The vehicle I had at the time was a 4 x 4, so getting there was no problem,  but it was considerably less hassle if the whole effort could be avoided in the first place.

Oh,  speaking of vehicles,  I thought I’d include a shot of the “pool car” that Travelling Companion has been driving this week.

Ain’t it lovely?


Oh, right.  I guess it’s a little hard to tell what the heck it is.  It’s a Ford “Escape”.  A name that makes just about as much sense as some of the crazy names I saw on vehicles in Europe.  Like…. “Jumpy”.    Ya,  that’s an actual name I saw on the back of a mini-van.    “Jumpy”?  Like,  “Jack Russell Jumpy”?  or,  “I’m a little concerned you might scratch my brand new mini-van…Jumpy”?   

I had to take it to the gas station the other day to fuel it up.  It’s not bad. Something I would refer to as “a good effort”.  That’s going some, considering I’m not a huge Ford fan.  Take that for what it’s worth.


I see our goofy neighbour is out there with his annoying little two-stroke snow blower.  It’s not like he has to go anywhere.  He’s been retired for almost a decade now,  but he’s the type who will be out there on a hot day watering his driveway.  I’m not kidding.

Um, it could be that he just needs to get the hell outta the house?  See,  his wife really IS goofy.  Like, howling at the moon kind of goofy.

Don’t let on that I said anything…


Makes for good entertainment once in a while though.  We can see the goings on from our dining room.


I’ll admit that I did go out and shovel a path out to the shed,  but that was mostly to check on the ‘trap line’.   We’ve had some mouse activity,  with the accompanying proliferation of mouse turds,  and I decided on a course of remediation.  Traps with peanut butter as bait.  Had one dead mouse this morning.  I’m sure there will be more.  It’s not that I’m all that dead set (wait, was that a pun?) against the mice,  but cleaning up all the crap, along with the smell, tends to get me a little vexed.  And that’s putting it mildly.   And yes,  I do wear a mask when it comes to the cleaning up part,  so ease up.


Sure glad I got my urge to BBQ out of the way yesterday.  Sucks to BBQ in a blinding snowstorm.




This was why I made the trip to Denninger’s…?  Garlic sausages.   *drool*


It ain’t no Weber,  but our trusty old BBQ still seems to work well enough.  There’s a little bit of a “hot spot” that tends to burn the hell outta whatever is over it.  You can see the little blackened area. 

Mmmm,  tasty blackened area. 

“Carcinogens”?  wut dat?


That’s about it for the weather report,  or at least my version of one. 

Snow…with the overwhelming possibility of more snow,  followed by darkness.  

There you go.




Cobwebs do take on a certain charm though,  yes?



Keep those sticks on the ice.  

This time I really mean it.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Home Alone*


I thought maybe I’d rear my ugly head,  even though there’s sweet bugger all going on.  

Decided to drive the “kids” to work yesterday in order to have some wheels.  There were a couple errands to run.  Needed a cheque certified for the LCBO.   Needed a paper shredder.  You know,  just normal stuff.  I’ll fill you in on the LCBO silliness one fine day.  It’s silly,  trust me.

Noticed an Austrian product when I was at Denninger's.

Couldn’t help myself.



Lebkuchen is similar to ginger bread I suppose,  and I’m a sucker for this stuff.  This particular variety is was orange flavoured.  

Um, they’re gone. 

In case you haven’t figured it out,  “Denninger’s” is a chain of delicatessens in the area,   specialising in “Foods of the World”.   Mostly German and Austrian though I find.  I’m OK with that.

I guess that was the big excitement for the week.   Seriously,  we’re just trying to put the pieces back together here.   One of the first things on the agenda is to get my Ontario Driver’s licence back.   As much as I’d prefer not to,  it’s kind of necessary.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Depending on the weather,  Travelling Companion and I might be checking out some wheels tomorrow.  We’re supposed to get a storm.  It’s mid afternoon here and not too danged much has happened so far.  Maybe it’ll pass us by?  I stocked up on salt for the driveway,  and the shovel is standing by. 


Other than that,  I thought I’d do a little yard clean-up.   This is my idea of cleaning up the yard.



Them dry twigs sure burn nice.


Keep your powder dry.


Thanks for lookin’.


*the dog and the cat don’t count.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday morning bliss.





Yes I know.  It’s Monday.  Blogging has been somewhat hit and miss over the last few days.  It’s going to be a struggle.  The more time I have on my hands,  the more likely it seems that I have something to mutter on about. 

The Super Bowl game was certainly interesting.  Surprised there were no odds on whether or not there would be a power outage,  but who would have thought of that?  There’s always next year.

It was fun to see the gang.  The game was basically an excuse to get together.  There’s the possibility of a Flamboro Downs outing later in the month.  Bet on football?  Bet on horses?  The odds of me winning something in either event are about the same.  I think I had better odds when it came to the game however,  as Travelling Companion and I ended up doubling our money.   That was still in the fifty dollar range,  so don’t get too excited.  You pick some squares.  You give up some money.  You might win something.  Totally random.


So I was going to mention a couple things about my Enterprise Rental Car experience.  It was all good,  really. 

Saturday morning I figured I had better see about having a set of wheels handy,  since there was the Super Bowl party and such,  and I had very little desire to drive Daughter Number Two to work and pick her up again.  Gets old after about…once.

The car that belongs to Daughter Number One that we used at Christmas time is in need of a starter,  so it was out of the equation as well.   So that left renting something for at least a day or two.  Not that you care,  and not that I should have to explain.

But then I had this thought.  I have an Austria driver’s licence.  Is that going to be a problem?

Well silly me.  I called Enterprise here in Burlington just a few minutes before they opened,  and after waiting on line for the appropriate annoying length of time,  was connected with a person of questionable abilities somewhere off in another country.  This person was speaking English,  albeit with a slight southern accent,  and when she said,  “Up there,  you have the CAA”,  I began to suspect that she was in the States, which turned out to be the case. I suppose that was better than being in Mumbai or wherever. 

In between the dog barking in the background,  I was able to make out that, unless the licence was written in English,  they wouldn’t be able to rent me a car.   Really?  The suggestion was to go to CAA and get a translation,  or even the Ministry of Transport.   Um ya,  not a member of the first one, and the other one is closed Saturdays.  Not really viable options.

Now see,  here’s the thing.   First of all,  there’s both English and French in our little ole country,  and that minor oversight led me to think that just maybe this person didn’t know if her ass was bored or punched. Plus, there was that whole thing with the dog barking in the background.  I mean, if you do work from home,  wouldn’t ya think it might be an idea to sequester the yappy dog in another room?  Just a thought,  really.

I finished our conversation by saying, “Well thank-you SO much.”  in the way that southern folk speak to you in that condescending way.   Idiot.

After taking Travelling Companion to her hair appointment,  I thought maybe I’d just stop by Enterprise on the way home and get it from the horse’s mouth,  so to speak.  The answer?  “Oh ya,  no problem.  We just need to see your passport to know that you’ve been in the country less than thirty days.”    Ya.  See,  people visit North America all the time and rent cars.  Unfortunately nobody bothered to mention that to yappy dog lady. 

I think Enterprise needs to set the standards a little higher when it comes to their ‘after hours service’.  It’s not really yappy dog lady’s fault,  really.  She’s probably just making up shit.  Good for her.  Not that good for business though.  I might have gone elsewhere.

The thing that quite often draws me back to Enterprise though is,  they are willing to pick you up.   It’s kind of a big help.  Really.  Just one less thing to coordinate.

Come to find out,  they also have some “Week-end deals”,  and for a mere $14.99 a day,  we ended up with this:




I could have gone cheaper at $9.99 a day,  but that car (and they only had the one) had a Quebec license plate,  and I have a slight problem with that.  I’m funny that way. 

And you know,  it wasn’t bad.  I won’t go so far as to say it was wonderful.  It sure as heck wasn’t a three series BMW,  or an Audi A4,  but definitely a good effort on the part of Chrysler.  I mean, one can’t really expect much. Kind of like when your five year old brings you a finger painting of a kitty that looks more like an iguana.

They used to make half way decent trucks.  I’ve had a couple of their vans,  they served me well.  Their cars?   Meh, not impressed. Never have been.  We rented a Chrysler 300 once upon a time on a trip to Vegas.  Oy, what an abortion that thing was.  It was actually almost functional in a straight line,  but cornering was out of the question. 


I took the car back this morning,  right after dropping Travelling Companion at her office.  Rumour has it that she’ll use one of the “pool cars” for as long as she’d like.  We *think* she’ll be driving a car home after work.  I’m sure it’ll all work out.

Other than that,  today has consisted of mostly expropriating some much needed closet space,  and then I should probably devote some time to hunting down a set of wheels to purchase.  Not really a job that thrills me too much.  It could take a while.   Thankfully I can start with the internet before having to go out and actually kick tires.


I’ll leave you with this parting shot.



And no,  I have no idea what they’re up to.  We do think the cat thinks he’s a dog, but really?


Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday, February 2, 2013

Home again, home again. Jiggity jig.

I think that’s the expression. Not totally sure.

We. be. here. 

It’s all good.

I suppose I could stop right there,  but that wouldn’t be quite fair,  would it?

The flight was OK,  really.  

A little bumpy somewhere this side of Greenland.  But the pilot had warned us.  Seems to me there was some nasty shit (that’s a meteorological term,  by the way)  that had passed through these parts earlier on,  and the remnants had to be flown through at some point.  By somebody.  It had to be us,  I suppose. 

Truth be told (and when have I ever not?) we’ve flown through way worse.  So bad in fact,  that you dared not raise your glass of red wine to your lips,  for fear of wearing it.   It never got that bad this time around.

We didn’t do the upgrade ‘cause it was just a wee bit too much money.  The configuration of the plane was a 2-3-2 arrangement,  and we nabbed two of the seats on the outside in row 19.  Like I said,  it was OK.

And I have to say this,  the food on Air Austria is actually pretty good.  Surprising,  I know.   I’m not sure how they manage it,  but it does surpass that of KLM,  even though the seating and such on KLM is better.   And really?  At this point I don’t give a rat’s tiny behind.   It’ll be a little while before we see the inside of another aircraft. 

I’m pretty sure of that.



There was something about this that simply made me want to take a picture.  Don’t judge me.  I have these thoughts once in a while.



Without looking at the sign above that says “Toronto”,  I somehow knew by the customers that Toronto was our destination.  You can draw your own conclusions.

Getting through customs was night and day compared to the last time.  There was actually little to no standing.  There were enough agents working,  and I’d estimate it took us no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to get up to a wicket.  At that point,  since we had ticked off the little box indicating that we had goods to follow,  we went off to the area where you would pay your customs duty if there is one.  Once again,  easy peasy.   Took a photocopy of our list of goods,  and said “Welcome Home”.  It was actually….pleasant.  

I did a double check just to make sure we were in Toronto.  Seriously.  There was no grumpiness,  or dumb-assed questions. 



Our view from the HOV lane. 


On certain highways here,  if you have more than two heads in your vehicle,  you can scoot along in the “High Occupancy Lane”.   It does make a huge difference,  especially when the other three lanes of traffic are parked.


The rest is self explanatory.




Travelling Companion has had her hair appointment today, we’ve figured out what we’re taking to the SuperBowl party tomorrow,  and life is good.


I’ll bore you a little bit tomorrow with my brief Enterprise adventure.  It turned out just fine,  so it’s not like I’ll be ranting about it or anything.  Although I could probably work it up to a bit of a lather if I really thought about it.

I’ll try not to disappoint.



Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for stopping by.