Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adventures in Landlording

I think I've mentioned before that I've been renting my house out to a lovely couple for about a year now. Or, they were a lovely couple until the lady of the house decided to live elsewhere.... leaving the now-bachelor gentlemen to live by himself for 2 months. I'm guessing that was the last time the house was cleaned...

Yesterday I got the keys back! Very exciting. Hubby and I were hoping to paint and do some minor maintenance before the big move. Here are some of the interesting things we found:

-Full fridge, complete with leftover pizza and something I think used to be a sandwich. Oh. and the fridge was UNPLUGGED. Yummy.

-Colourful hockey stickers all over my trim in the living room. They are very sticky and will most likely need to be scraped off. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge hockey fan, but I don't need a sticker from a cracker-jack box to remind me how much I love Wayne Gretzky.

-Said couple had a beautiful 4 year old son who apparently is quite an artist! What a shame they wouldn't get him some paper so he could take his creative scribbling with him instead of leaving it behind all over the carpet, the walls, and the baseboards in his bedroom. There is also a lovely display in the upstairs hallway so we can all be inspired every time we make a trip to the loo.

-They also left a complete science experiment in the bathroom, complete with colourful displays of mold and mildew on the shower curtain. I wasn't aware that it came in pink. How cool is THAT?

-They left their beautiful brass bargain-shop coat hangers screwed to my dining room wall. Now, I can conveniently hang my coats on the wall for decoration! How inventive. I'm sure it will add great ambiance during dinner parties.

-These people REALLY loved to watch cable. There is cable stapled to the walls running all over the house. Unfortunately, I may have to remove it as it doesn't match the beautiful, original oak baseboard that it's stapled to.

-I think the entire family was afraid of the dark as they removed all of the doors to the bedrooms... we did happen to find them in the upstairs closet. I suppose night lites weren't available where they were shopping, but now I have a complete open-concept bedroom style. I should send a photo to House & Home magazine... maybe I can start a trend!

-Mystery substance on the wall of the master bedroom. Ok. I can't even make a joke about this one. EW.

So, instead of painting, hubby and I will clean the house from top to bottom and steam clean the carpets, and repair damages (particularly a large hole that seems to have appeared upstairs). How exciting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Am Awesome

What do you need to be motivated? A raise? A promotion? A challenge? Not me. I simply need a little recognition. I took on a project at work, went above and beyond the call of duty, presented it to the team yesterday, and shone like a superstar! When I came in today, my boss made sure to tell everyone what a good job I did. How wonderful is THAT? I was so flattered I could barely breath. Important people were noticing little ole ME! I feel like I made a difference. I feel like I can move mountains. All from a nice little chat this morning with the team to showcase my efforts.

In a week, probably no one will remember anything about this... but I will. Just goes to show you a little goes a long way. What a happy day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What it means to be Canadians.

For a country as large as we are, you would think we'd be in the news all the time. Not so much. Most people around the world know us as "that country that's above America and is really, really cold". Well, we are above America, and it is cold here in the winter, but what else is there? What makes Canada unique?

I have heard people say that we are an extension of the United States with a different flag. This is not so. A comparison would be to say New Zealand is an extension of Australia, or Scotland a copy of Britain, with a stronger accent. I'm sure all parties would disagree, and some would be down right upset.

So what makes a Canadian?

Well, the first and most obvious would be our deep, ingrained love of the good old hockey game. We stand outdoors in the frigid -40 C temperatures to cheer on our favourite neighbourhood teams. We learn to skate as small children, with the assumption that someday we will play, or at the very least be a voice in the bleachers. When the NHL playoffs are on, the streets in rural Canada are empty and you can hear the cheers and the disappointments ringing across the night sky.

We are outdoors people. We fish, we hunt, and we drive anything with wheels across the forested landscape and consider it time well spent. I learned to drive off-road all-terrain vehicles before I had a licence. A day spent splashing through the mud and sliding around corners would be heaven.

A typical Saturday night involves tailgate parties, a fire, and someones beat-up acoustic guitar. We don't make trouble. It's a good time.

In a typical Canadian city, culture is a mixing pot of language, arts, international food, and business. We invite anyone who wants to be here, and they bring their culture and way of life with them. We do not believe this makes us less, but more. We have some of the best musicians in the world: The tragically Hip, Great Big Sea, Barenaked Ladies, I Mother Earth, Shania Twain, and the list goes on. We have some of the most recognized actors as well. Names like Jim Carrey, Howie Mandell, and Donald Sutherland come to mind. We make fabulous, award winning movies that get little recognition in main stream cinema, which is a shame.

People sometimes make jokes about the size of our armed forces... which I don't understand. Why would living in a peaceful nation with little need for aggression be something to be ashamed of? I'm not. Instead of maintaining an expensive military, we invest in our future, and our resources. Our soldiers are called Peacekeepers, because that is what we do.

We have one of the most diverse climates in the world. We have rainforests, prairies, arctic tundra, and some of the most fertile farming land on earth.

We do not live in igloos, our Northern Peoples are not called Eskimo, they are Inuit.

We do not ride horses to work, nor do we take our dog sleds.

Our Parliament buildings are not made out of ice. They are masterpieces of stone and mortar.

We have four seasons here, and it gets VERY hot in the summer. There is even summer in the Arctic, although it is shorter.

We do not live in the shadow of the United States, we cast a big enough shadow for ourselves.

We do not hate Americans, we actually enjoy a close economic relationship with them and are happy being neighbours. Plus, they have great restaurants like the Olive Garden, and Cracker Barrel... what's not to love?

We take our coffee VERY seriously!

We are Canadians and we are proud!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Caution... In Training.

Hubby and I were doing our usual mad-dash errand running after work last night, when I decided that I just HAD to have my Tim Hortons coffee fix. The line up was only 2 cars long so I figured we should be able to make it through drive through, and still be on track to run out to the local WalMart and still make our movie on time. We pull up to the speaker. I order 1 large coffee with 2milk and 2 sugar (god I miss those french vanilla cappuccinos..).

I began to get suspicious when the car in front of us shut off his engine. Why would someone need to shut off their engine to be in line for 30 seconds to get a coffee? Maybe he was trying to prevent global warming by decreasing his vehicle emissions? Weird. We put the car in park and waited.

About 3 minutes went by and still nothing had come out of the window... what was this guy ordering? A full course meal? What a jerk to make a huge order in drive-thru. I mean, there are no rules limiting your order, but it's just plain rude to hold everyone up when you could go inside and with your larger orders. Someone else has now pulled in behind us effectively trapping us in the line-up until we can exit after receiving our order.

Finally she hands him one medium coffee and hubby and I sigh in relief. Awesome. He's got what he needed, and now it should be our turn. 10 seconds later he hands the coffee back through the window.... what? What's going on? After all that time they didn't even give him what he ordered? Wow. Coffee is what this place does. How could they screw that up? 2 minutes later she hands him a large coffee, and he spins out of the parking lot in a hurry. Well, there goes one dissatisfied customer.

YAY, it's our turn! My mouth starts to water in anticipation of the bitter-sweet richness that is my obsession. Just thinking about the dark, smooth aroma instantly lifts my spirits. We pull up the window and the girl stares at us blankly like she has no idea why we would possibly looking at her expectantly. I read her name tag... it says "In Training". Ohh. Well, that explains the speed problem. No worries, people have to learn sometime right? My irritation evaporates and I smile at her through the window. She is still staring blankly. Finally hubby knocks on the window and she opens it...

Hubby: Um... do you want our money now?
Trainee: Sure. Thanks.

Said trainee takes the money and turns back to the counter. We can see that she is not putting the money in the register, but instead carrying it around in her hand. She is standing there staring at nothing, and after a few minutes turns back to look at us as if wondering why we are still there... I speak up:

Me: Um, my coffee?
Trainee: Oh. Sure.

She pops out of sight for a moment and comes back with a large cup.

Me: 2Milk 2Sugar?
Trainee: No. 2Milk 2Sweetener.

She moves to hand hubby the cup.

Me: May I have one with sugar please? I don't like sweetener.

By now we have been in the drive-thru for a total of 10 minutes and hubby is VERY impatient with me, the poor girl, and the entire world in general. We are running behind schedule and hubby hates being late... (Aside... I am late for EVERYTHING.... so this really doesn't shock me at all).

The trainee hands me a new coffee and we drive away. She never did give us our change... good thing I didn't give her a twenty. Hubby is muttering under his breath and driving like the world will end if we don't get out of the parking lot ASAP.

I open my cup, mouth watering. It was worth the wait, I think. I take my first sip and almost spit it all over the windshield. By now I am laughing hysterically, as if this is the most hilarious event ever.

Hubby: What now?
Me: Um. Well.... she got the 2milk 2sugar thing perfect.
Hubby: Good. So you got what you wanted then...
Me: Not exactly... I'm afraid that she's given me tea.

Hubby threatens to turn the car around.

Me: No, No, No. Tea is just fine. Lets go!

I can see the irritation is making Hubby's eye twitch. I try to sooth him by telling him about the lovely flavour of my steeped tea, (Incidentally.. I hate tea). It works and soon he is laughing too. We are both wondering where all the other employees were. Tim Hortons is usually run by a small army of workers to ensure super fast service and accuracy. They are considered to have one of the most efficient management systems in Canada. Who leaves a trainee alone to deal with drive-thru? Maybe no one else showed up?

We go and do our shopping, and drive by the same Tim Hortons on our way to the movie... which we are now late for. Cars are lined up around the parking lot and nothing is moving. It occurs to me at this point that Tim Hortons should probably consider putting up a sign at the entrance to the drive through that says: "Caution.... drive-thru attendant in training"... but then I changed my mind. It would completely take the mystery out of life.

Edit: We were mentioned on post of the day! Please go and check out David's work on autorblog if you have a moment! Thanks again David!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Mother, Where art thou?

I'm not exactly sure what my cats THINK is happening to me when the bathroom door is closed, but I'm assuming they believe that a giant monster will swallow me whole unless they get in there.... immediately.

No sooner do I close the door when I see little kitty feet appear under the door. One chocolate coloured one, and one white and grey. Then come the frantic sounds of them digging at the carpet, as if they could burrow their way in to save me from the terrible monster. Last come the loud and insistent, "WOW?" from Felix and they sweeter, more lady-like cries of Samantha, as they look for reassurance from me that yes, I am still alive. I haven't disappeared, and the monster has not eaten me. Finally I open the door so they don't wake hubby and they rush in to investigate. Felix immediately jumps in the tub to vanquish any evil terrors that may be lingering amidst the shampoo and the bodywash, while Samantha hops into the sink to ensure that she has all of my attention to herself and that I will protect her from the monster should it re-appear. After they have assessed that all is as it should be they hop to the floor to play their favourite game... attack of the mystery paws! With one cat on each side of the open door, they take turns sticking their feet under the door to entice the other to attack. This can go on for hours. If I close the door and one cat is outside, the other immediately wants out and the entire process begins again. I have no idea where they think the monster is hiding when the door is open.

Interestingly enough, they don't seem to care if hubby gets eaten when he is in the bathroom with the door closed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Look Out! Golf Season is here!

I am a walking contradiction. I am probably the klutziest person known to man, yet I love the game of golf. I should take a minute to mention how horribly bad I am at all sports... including this one. I hit the ground more often than I hit the ball, and I'm quite sure I look like an idiot when I swing my girlie clubs. I believe that I hit geese more often than the green, but this is unimportant. What is important is that rush of adrenaline that shoots through my veins when I actually hit the ball in the correct spot, the correct way, and it goes roughly where I hoped it would. Then I can finally say, "I did it! Did you see that shot? I'm amazing!" Of course, this could all go down hill rapidly with a badly played chip that was supposed to land on the green but somehow managed to bounce of the cart of the team playing the hole next to the one I'm on... but for that brief moment, I am the best golfer who ever lived.

I have to admit, I found golf scary and very intimidating at first. It seemed an "upper-classmen" sport where I didn't really fit in. This is not the case. Look around the clubroom and what you will see is a lot of people trying to look posh and sophisticated, but who are really just everyday people with a set of used clubs and some fancy duds. Just like me. There are plenty of people, who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, who are just there because they love the game, the challenge, and the culture of golf.

It's raining now, but as soon as it clears up I off! Happy golfing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stationary Pack-Rat

I could spend hours in a stationary store. What a shame the world has stopped writing letters and the average ninth-grader need not worry about his or her penmanship. The delicate script, the bold ink, the feeling that can be expressed by double underlining and ripping the page slightly... all pieces of a by-gone era. Do you remember the excitement felt when you received a letter? Not a bill, nor a flyer, nor a new credit card with fake promises of low interest rates... but an actual letter?

Once, a very long time ago, I had a pen-pal in Luton, England. His name was Mike Waters. I've tried many times to find him again, unsuccessfully, just to say thanks. He wrote wonderful letters full of the charming culture that is England. He sent me photo's and wrote of the scenery, and parts of his everyday life.

I also used to write letters to my friend Corinne... even though we saw each other every single day. We never seem to run out of things to say, which is unsurprising as when we are together no one else can get in a word edgewise.

When I would get a letter, I would patiently wait until I got inside to open it. Then, carefully peeling back the lip of the envelope, I would gently slide the folded parchment out as though it were made of glass. So cherished were these letters... something I could keep and preserve for a lifetime. I can remember the rush of excitement as I hungrily devoured each beautifully scripted word. Brief disappointment followed the signature, for I had finished and the tale was never long enough. Disappointment quickly faded, only to give way to the excitement of creating my own letter.

Of course I thought I was a literary genius, with my pink pen and purple paper. I still smile when I see those pink bic pens that are floating around in my old pencil case. They are probably dried up but I can't bring myself to part with them.

Now that I'm a scrapbooker (see my other blog if you're curious), I have all kinds of pens and paper, glue and tape, stickers and buttons. It would probably shock you if I tell you how much I spend on this creative craft. Of course, my favourite part of scrapping is journalling... telling the story. The love of which has blossomed over the years, beginning with my very first stationary set.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good News for Cereal Junkies Everywhere

Cherrios has come out with honest-to-God good for you junk food! I bought a box yesterday. They taste like Fruity Pebbles, except with the goodness of whole wheat! Life is good. I would have never beleived it possible if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Mmmm.... fruity.

Do you drink as much water as you should be?

So. By now I am completely obsessed with reaching my healthy goals, but as a requirement of losing the equivalent of an entire extra person that seems to have grown onto my ass, I have to drink more water. MORE water. I thought... you know, the whole 8 glasses of day thing was enough. They don't tell you how BIG those glasses should be. My trainer tells me I should be drinking 2000ML or 2L per day. Which doesn't sound that bad until you realize that 2L per day computers to 4 bottles of water. Even then.. 4 bottles of water... how can it be that bad? Well I'm here to tell you that it's really, really challenging. I was probably drinking about 2 bottles before... and that was forced down at meal times. I'm not a big water drinker... yes, yes, I know the benefits... healthy skin, weight loss, less water retention... but I just don't think about it until I'm so thirsty, I chug an entire bottle in one breath. So my challenge this week is to drink my entire daily portion of water everyday. By the way... coffee doesn't count! So I have this water bottle on my desk... It's staring at me ominously... I pick it up... drink... and immediately the urge to pee hits me AGAIN for the 6th time today. I can't stop really. I think I've spent more time in the loo today than anywhere else. People are going to start thinking I'm having a problem. But really, how often does the average person go to the bathroom anyway? I have no idea, however, I believe that 6 times in eight hours is WAY too many!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So I was over at So I Stabbed Him In The Head With A Fork and found this interesting link. Find out how bad you are!

Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on

Returning to the world of normalcy... is that a word?

Where have I been all this time you ask? Easy answer. I've joined a gym! I've joined a gym and it is consuming nearly every waking minute I have that I am not working. They say you only have to work out 20min a day to lose weight. HA! Really what they should be saying is that if you want to MAINTAIN your current weight, you should work out for 20 minutes a day. If you want to LOSE weight, you should be doing 3 grueling hours of cardio, plus at least two 30 minute sessions of weights... perferrably three. And when you're not doing that you should be planning your meals so that you're eating less than 1300 calories in a day. 1300! Ghandi ate more than that! But I digress.

So I'm actually having fun and feeling very proud of myself. I haven't lost very many actual pounds, but my clothes are too big and I have loads of energy. Hubby is doing great as well. I feel motivated for the first time in AGES. Unfortunately, almost everything else in life is kind of at a stand-still. Until we actually move, the gym is a half hour drive... plus 15 min to change... and hour to work out.. half an hour to change and shower... half an hour to drive home.. that's almost 3 hours gone and I haven't even made supper yet! Whoa. Once we move, the gym will be around the corner though. Much faster.

Coming around to catch up on my reading now!

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