Monday, June 27, 2011

Gone Loco

Well we finished cleaning out our trailer and shed this weekend bringing the total carloads of stuff brought home to four.  Our living room and dining room and basement look like a rummage sale waiting to happen. We will take what we can to PEI but the rest we'll have to store until our next yard sale hopefully at the end of August. 
Tomorrow is my last day with my students and Thursday is my last day of work! Friday is CANADA DAY and Saturday is ROAD TRIP!!!  And of course I got struck down by a virus this past Saturday and am spending the week sneezing, coughing, sore throat etc. Sheesh!
Posts will be pretty sporadic the next week or two til we get settled in, but I'll update whenever I get the chance...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Hour has 22 Minutes

Rick Mercer is one of my heroes. He epitomizes what is best about Canadians, ie. our sense of humour and especially how much we love to make fun of OURSELVES!! Oh yeah!  We Canadians have THE BEST comedians in the entire world. People who EXCEL in finding the funny side to everyday occurrences, otherwise known as "crap!"

Almost every Canadian is a funnyman or funnywoman. (I like to be politically correct, unlike some people I know who are reading this blog and thinking "funnyman" applies to EVERYone - NOT!) We are also known as an extremely self-deprecating people, and when we goof up or "make a funny" as my daughter likes to call it - we don't mind drawing everyone else's attention to it - in fact, we insist upon it. We replay the incident (mistake, funny, goof-up, faux pas or whatever else you want to call it) over and over again throughout the day/evening/week/month to anyone who will pause long enough to listen. It gives us something else to talk about instead of the weather. We love to say..."how stupid was I to do ..... etc etc".  What makes us this way?? I don't know. But it's better than being miserable, mean, petty, small-minded, boring, depressing....oops, I seem to be heading off down another alley...sorry!

That's another thing about Canadians, we always seem to be saying "sorry", even if someone else is at fault!! Someone could bump into me and knock me down and as I was heading face first onto the floor I'd be calling out "sorry!" We're very funny, very apologetic, politically correct  weathermen/women.

Is there a point to this post? YES! I wanted to say THANKYOU because my page view count broke through 50,000 sometime last night and I find that extremely gratifying and exciting.  Sorry I didn't mention this earlier in the post, I kinda got off track.

I wonder if that is another Canadian trait, or just one of my very own.

I leave you with a clip of Rick Mercer visiting the Canadian Mint - I hope you laugh as much as I did:)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Remixed and Revisited

Cover for Madonna's Remixed and Revisited CD
I've just finished having a long conversation with my educational my head.  Actually not so much a conversation as a diatribe...well, maybe not so much a diatribe as a tirade. Yeah, I think that pretty much describes it.  See... I can't really have this conversation with them as there are some grievances lodged with their union against the school board and every word I say gets analyzed, dissected and ridiculed. Yup, ridiculed.  And yes, these are grownups in the physical sense of the word. For the record, I just want to say that I am really really tired of all the excuses I "overhear" of why they can't do this part and that part of their jobs. Things that they said they could do when they were hired and HAVE to do as part of their job description.

Man, I'm really off track, I was going to talk about my financial goals in this post...and I will...I've just got to get this off my chest.  One of my students was sitting on the floor and didn't want to stand up and go out to the van that was waiting to take him home.  So a lift was required. can't lift because they have arthritis, one can't lift because 8 years ago she hurt her back lifting someone and was off school for 3 weeks and she doesn't want that to happen again and wreck her summer.  (Aside: has she bothered to get training so she can lift properly and thus not injure herself??? NO!)  And on and on it goes. Meanwhile poor Todd is sitting on the floor and the van driver is in a tizzy because she has to stay on schedule. Perhaps Todd could just spend the night at school so no one would have to be inconvenienced!

Out of 6 EAs I have TWO who do all the lifting and restraining----TWO!!! And one other one who will sometimes lift and rarely restrain.  Of the two who WILL both do lifting and restraining (and without whining mind you) one injured himself playing soccer and the other one (my right hand woman) is posting out to another position because she is sick and tired of working with LAZY USELESS "colleagues", and I used that term loosely.  Huge sigh....

There...I feel better now.  Hopefully you're still with me and haven't moved on to the next blog to get away from this crazy shrieking maniac! (That's me by the way)

Ok, let's see if I can switch gears and talk about my Remixed and Revisited GOALS:

These goal bars are also available for your viewing pleasure a WAY down on my sidebar. So far down that I've forgotten to update them for a couple of months. A few things have changed over the past six months so one bar has been renamed and a couple of goals altered. I'm flexible that way:)

Saving is going well and I will reach several goals before the end of the year.  I lowered the goal on my RRSP because the only addition to that will be interest over the next few years until I begin to withdraw the money and put it in my TFSA instead (to avoid such high tax penalties).

I will reach my $2,000 EF goal by August and once I do I will set a new goal as I don't feel $2,000 is enough of a buffer.  I also lowered the goal on Christmas/Gifts as I have already used some of the money for Michael's birthday, a wedding gift and Kazi's birthday in Sept. I will have $1,000 by Christmas and that will be more than enough.

Having sold the trailer I did away with the Trailer Fee savings account and renamed it the PEI Home Maintenance Fund as I plan (at some point) to start saving so I have the recommended 3% annually of my home's value available for repairs and updates.

The PEI Insurance/Taxes is low right now as I just paid $522 in taxes on my PEI property but the saving continues. Between what I have to pay in taxes at the end of Aug. and Dec. and the home insurance renewal $1000 will cover it.

Big OOPS. I see I didn't type in LINE OF CREDIT for the last bar (red one at the bottom). My LOC sits at a nice even $41,000 right now and by the end of December should be at $30,000. The wheels are turning in my brain right now wondering if I could possibly pay off that $30,000 by Dec. 31, 2012 - if so, that would be one hell of a New Year's Eve partay!!

So, that's it for now. I think those adjustments should carry me through until Dec. 31st when once again I will Remix and Revisit!

Have you had to alter any goals so far this year??

Leaving you with a little Madonna. I'm not a fan but there are a few of her "older" songs that I find pretty catchy...

(Don'tcha just feel better after a bit of a rant?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sarah McLachlan in Concert!! Well worth the Wait!!

Great concert last night. Here's a video clip that I uploaded to Youtube then embedded here on  blogger because blogger wouldn't just let me upload it straight from my file, so I had to get wily, like wily coyote:)  The song is called "World on Fire" and is one of Michael's favourites.  I don't think his feet are back down on the ground yet - he so loves Sarah:) (He actually had a couple of teary moments but don't tell him I told ya!)  I'm sure the sound quality sucks but just play along with me and tell me what a great videographer I am:)

Blogger seems to be pissing off a LOT of people I know lately...what gives? I haven't been able to change my header picture for awhile because blogger kept saying I had used up all my photo storage...huh?  However, for a mere $5 a year I could purchase another 20G of storage, so like the impatient silly wench that I am, I went for it. Tada!  New header photo! This is a picture of the sunrise we watched as we wearily traversed around the track to raise money for cancer research.  This would have been around 6am after 11 hours of walking (and running like some silly people did! who shall remain nameless!)

So I also changed my profile picture after getting my new gigs of photo space. I couldn't just leave my photo as a pair of amazingly spiffy wellies now could I? You'd all forget what I look like! Hmmmm, note to self...this might actually be a good plan...10 years from now I'll still look the same in my readers' memories.....hmmmmm.....must rethink strategy...

Money news: nothing too earth-shattering going on in Jane's World of High Finance. I sent forms away to have my payroll deposit switched to my new FEE FREE ING Thrive chequing account as they are paying me $100 to do so.  I can't sneeze at 100 free bucks! Then I will gradually switch all of my automatic payments over and then I can close my TD account and be SERVICE CHARGE FREE too! That'll save me another $192 per year.  I'm a little peeved right now as I reconciled my account today because I seem to be short $60 and I CAN'T find it!! Me...a former head teller who used to be able to balance hundreds of thousands of dollars on a daily basis with her eyes closed and using her left hand on the adding machine!!  I hate it when I can't figure out my discrepancies. I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, it usually does, but until then PRAY for me....I need divine guidance.

Stupid money...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Quickie!!

Sorry but these days I always seem to be coming or going. Tonight we are going to see Sarah McLachlin in concert at the John Labatt Centre.  Remember way back in February I think it was Michael and I were actually AT THE CONCERT when it was suddenly cancelled due to illness.  Well, tonight is the makeup concert for which I feel very grateful as a lot of time you just get your money refunded and that's that!

Since it was a gift for Michael's birthday I am so happy we get to go tonight, especially since in less than two weeks we are heading out to PEI.  Imagine if it had gotten rescheduled for the summer!!

So we are heading out in a few minutes so I need to eat my supper. I'll catch up with y'all tomorrow!
Hope your Monday was outstanding!

The Fun is Over

Well, not ALL the fun is over - just the weekend fun. Today I am back at school, still taking ibuprofin for aching muscles, but otherwise in one piece. We have 3 days of classes left, then exam week. My students come into my classroom during exam week so really I have 7 days left with my students.

This is just a short post for now, as staff and students will be arriving shortly. The sun is shining, and a breeze is blowing from the east today bringing with it a whiff of Prince Edward Island. Preparations are under way and I hope we can get everything finished before we head out. It will be a challenge for sure.

I hope Monday goes well for all of you, and I'll catch up with you after school (ooh, after my dentist app't!) Yuck!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Too Tired for Words

 Hmmm, I guess I'm never TOO tired for words hahahah!  Here's Michael (oolala!) and our fearless leader Debra.  She is a cancer survivor and we walked for her and many many others. We managed to stay on the track all night (7pm to 7am) with short breaks for food, coffee (lots of coffee) and of course after the coffee - bathroom breaks:) 
 Michael is holding our mascot - Audrey the care bear. She is named Audrey because Michael didn't wear his glasses when reading her tag - it actually read "Air dry"! Bwahahahahahahaha!  We go a lot of attention thanks to Audrey...
 or perhaps it was Michael's legs!!!!
 Or it could have been because I was voted "most boob-a-licious!  
 Oh, how I love irony!
 Waiting for the event to begin!
 Getting warmed up - shake that booty!
 And off we go!! Having a walking buddy really helped!  I switched to comfy pj's for the looooooong walk! If you would like to hear more about the "pj incident" read to the bottom of this post.

I have posted a TON of photos on Facebook.
If you would like to see them send me a friend request -
Jane Harrison
London, ON
I am way too tired to repost them all here.
We went to bed at 8am this morning after completing about 200+ laps. We stopped for a few minutes here and there for food, COFFEE and pee breaks but otherwise walked continuously. Every part of my body aches and my eyes are trying to close. BUT, we had an absolute BLAST and I would do it 
again in a New York minute.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This photo of the front step to my trailer porch has absolutely nothing to do with my post. Don't ask.
I'm about to head off to bed as I've been waking up at 4am every morning (work-related stress) and I'm dog-tired. Tomorrow I'm off to a day long PD session so a break from the stress! YES!
Then, around 5pm, Michael and I are heading up to the university to join our team who is running the Relay for Life to raise $$ for cancer research. It should be a blast (if I can stay awake) as our team of 11 people take turns running, jogging, walking, crawling around the track amidst a field of 100+ teams. It runs from 7pm to 7am...yes, we'll be up all night long.  There are tons of activities planned and prizes for best outfit, craziest hat etc (wait til you see what Michael is!!!) 

Me - I chose a very soft and cozy pair of pink pjs so if I need to crash for awhile in our tent I'll be all prepared. 

After I wake up on Saturday afternoon...night?? I'll post some photos. 

So...see ya later gaters!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yowzers! June is Half Gone! (kinda like me!)

The end is near, it is in sight, there is a light at the end of the school hallway! Oh, that's the fire alarm flashing....(those graduating students get up to the craziest antics, I tell you!)...and it is beckoning me, closer and closer to FREEDOM, one long day at a time. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful to have a stable job in these days of high unemployment, but the last couple of months I have been more stressed out than a one-armed wallpaper hanger with a bad rash! 

Really though, the days are flying by, almost too quickly! It's getting difficult to enjoy each day as so much time is spent thinking about and making preparations for PEI travel day only 2 1/2 weeks away! Not to mention report cards, classroom cleanup, prep for next year...

How are the finances doing? So glad you asked!  Let's have a look see at the first two weeks of June, shall we?  Today is payday, and I've made lots of payments...easy come, easy go! Now you see it, now you don't!

Already I realize I forgot to post a bill to my  We just got the car checked over from stem to stern and shelled out $167 and change for an oil change and a link assembly kit (?)...darn potholes!! I was quietly relieved....             

....because I thought for sure we'd need brake work and perhaps some new tires. But we've been given the green light to drive Cora Cobalt out east adding at least another 5,000km to her odometer. 

What else...oh I paid an extra $100 on my line of credit bringing it to an even $41,000. When I get the rest of the $$ owed on the trailer I'll knock off a few more grand. For now that's $15,000 paid off since last September!! I'm hoping to reach $20,000 paid off by September. Interest rates will soon be going up so it's becoming increasingly important to get debt PAID DOWN!!

Food is on track for the month though I'll be buying a No Frills grocery card for Kazi so she can buy what she needs while we're away (and hopefully remember to feed the cat too!)  Housing is much higher than usual as I paid over $500 on my PEI property taxes (with another payment due the end of August and November (though not for that much).  

Misc is higher than usual as I splurged at a thrift store for some summer duds to take east - I now have EVERYTHING I need clothing-wise except for a hat to keep my nose from looking like a boiled lobster!  Oops, too late....

Savings are up-to-date and I've transferred what remained in my trailer fee account to the PEI property tax account as I won't have to pay that HUGE fee anymore!!  I am going to rename the Trailer Fee account the Maintenance account and start saving the recommended 3% annually for PEI house repairs. I was just about to say I have "everything covered" but that would just be tempting Murphy and Lord knows I don't want to do THAT!!

I'm happy to report that since NAGGING my family about electricity useage our bill dropped by almost $20 from last month; HOWEVER, our minimal but necessary use of central air isn't reflected on THIS bill, that will show up on July's bill, with no doubt lots more added to it! 

We've also tried to be more "thoughtful" when using Cora for driving to work and to do errands by combining several trips into one to reduce the cost of gas and we're doing really well on that, so thanks Michael and Kazi!! I think we're doing awesomely well sharing one car between three adults with their 5, yes FIVE, jobs!! Oh, and Cora thanks you too!

Well, that about wraps it up for today. Oh yeah, I printed off the forms I need to have my payroll deposit switched to ING where I opened up a fee-free chequing account. They are going to give me $100 for the switch.  Then I'll have to gradually switch all of my automatic bill payments over, some other day though, not today...I've done enough for one ....see ya...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Biking to Prince Edward Island ...well, not quite

See that person pulling the car while riding their bike?  That's me. I haven't quite reached my goal of "riding my bike to PEI" that I set for myself waaaaaaay back in January so looks like I'll have to complete my journey the hard way!!

I just hope the giant can is full of icy cold beer!  Perhaps I could get one of those funnel hats so I can slurp and pedal at the same time!

Oh well, don't feel too sorry for me.  I did manage to pedal my way through 1347 kilometers and I'll be doing lots of bike riding when in PEI. Only 17 days to go!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yeah, so the big news was the sale of my trailer yesterday. You all know I really didn't want to part with it but I have to face the facts: in less than three weeks Michael and I are heading to our new home in PEI. I knew in my heart (and wallet) that I had to cut back my expenses, I mean, really - who needs three hydro bills?

I already have two property tax bills, double the house insurance and so on - carrying three places was just sheer lunacy...but was a hard thing to do.  So having friends buy it from us, friends who appreciate the same things about the place as we do, is the perfect solution. We still have it for the rest of the season (end of October) so we'll be able to visit a few more times on our own and we'll be able to visit our friends anytime.  No Mark, we can't visit whenever we want and for however long we want BUT we can still visit.

And instead of the trailer sucking money out of my account like a coke float I'm getting an extra few thousand dollars to help me with Crofters Lane - YAY!! All of a sudden I have a bit of breathing room money-wise and that feels really good.

I was also going to tell you about a little challenge I've given myself for the month of June. I want to build up a little cushion of $$ to helps us with the high costs of gas and travelling so I challenged myself to increase the amount of misc. spending money I have for the month instead of spending it. Sounds a little kookoo doesn't it? Not only do I NOT spend my spending money, but I find ways to add to it. 

So here's what I've accomplished so far:
Started with $255 in misc spending on June 1st
-added my $100 entertainment money for the month
-added what I had saved in my Crofters Lane jar - $392
-overestimated LOC interest by $6 and Union Gas by $18
-the gov't gave me a $100 Harmonized Sales Tax Refund cheque
-made $180 on a yard sale
-$7 leftover in the food budget for the first half of the month

I've had a few expenses but I've only spent money on things we're taking to PEI. Today I added in a cash downpayment for the trailer and right now my misc spending now sits at $1,947.00!!! Woo hoo! 

I have a few other places I hope to squeeze money from - the hydro bill, and more from the food and gas budget lines. I'm also going to switch my payroll deposit from the TD Bank to ING for a tidy little bonus of $100.00! I sure wish I could make my money magically increase EVERY month.

What are your challenges for the month of June?

Sunday, June 12, 2011


 The best of all possible news!!
 We sold our trailer today!
 And the couple who bought it...
 are good friends of ours!!
So this means we don't have to say goodbye after all!!  
More details to come!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

See you Soon

This was one crazy week! There are still ongoing issues with staffing and not looking for resolution there anytime soon unfortunately. I've been in meeting after meeting dealing with the biting incident of one week ago and those issues ARE getting resolved thankfully.

Today was an amazing day as we celebrated the graduation of two of our students with a big party, pizza, cake and icecream, gifts, music. Parents came, lots of staff and students visited and everyone behaved themselves, myself included :)  (Oh, except for one minor incident when my one female student pulled a wine cooler out of her lunch bag!!!!!) Too funny!

So thought I'd post a little note to let you know I'm heading to the trailer after work to UNWIND!!! (maybe I'll take that wine cooler with me!) and I won't have internet access unless we go to the Coffee Culture in Goderich but that'll only happen if the weather completely sucks!

I wish you all a wonderfully relaxing weekend spent with people who love and adore you, with great food, meaningful conversation and lots of FUN FUN FUN!! Preferably FUN IN THE SUN, but we take what we can get:)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Has Anyone Seen Jane?

One source of amusement around our house is the number of cards I get from Bell Canada who never stop trying to regain my business. Ever since I switched our home phone to Rogers, Bell has inundated me with an array of creative and downright funny little cards and letters. (Yes, we are easily amused!) (Dear Bell: just keep the $$ you spend on all of those cards and we'll be even!) (They also call me about 10,000 times a day - thank goodness for call display!)
(Do you love brackets as much as I do?) 

I open the envelopes from Bell to reveal a card with the following questions all revolving around the same theme: "Jane, where have you gone?" "Has anyone seen Jane?" "Since you've been gone things just haven't been the same..."

Well, I'm still here although to tell the truth I've had a few days when I wished I could just totally disappear.  If only I could just close my eyes, twitch my nose like Samantha in "Bewitched" and find myself all alone on a deserted island with a hot bartender! THAT will just have to wait until July, tee hee!

But as a quickie update I'm posting a few pictures for your viewing pleasure to show just a few place where I've recently "been "seen"!

Rumour has it that I was seen in Wortley Village last Saturday holding a yard sale. We covered and uncovered all of our stuff about 5 times due to rain, then the sun came out and stayed out. Can you find me??

Here I am!!
We sold a lot of stuff!
I gave away some stuff too, it just felt right.

Like that guy I'm helping. He could barely speak English and
he had a LOT of kids so I gave him some extra stuff, why not?

Here I am with a lovely ceramic beer stein that I  have absolutely no memory of acquiring - how do we accumulate SO MUCH USELESS CRAP???
I still have said beer stein so if you want it I'll mail it to you!
Interesting story: I had 2 other sterling silver beer steins (belonged to my ex - I only know that for certain because they were engraved!!) and someone bought them to be used as props in a play - how cool is that!
I want THAT job!

And here is the ever charming Michael holding a collectable AVON cologne thingy in the shape of an old car. He has a LOT of those useless items.

While I was holding a yard sale in front of my brother's house he (my brother, he of the peace sign) was at the annual Gathering on the Green being held a block away hawking his handcrafted bird houses.
Don't ya love his Birdy B & B??
I can take orders!!

We had a lot of traffic because of the Gathering on the Green.
Jane - where have you gone?

Here's one place I wish I hadn't gone!!
On Sunday Michael and I headed out of town to go for a hike out at Longwoods Conservation Area. First we laid out a blanket and had a picnic lunch. That part was OK.
Then we headed to one of the many trails.  It was very wet and marshy. Within seconds I was attacked by mosquitoes the size of Boeing 747's and twice as loud. They were ferocious!
I became a bug buffet!!
I tried to tough it out by swinging my arms wildly but I just about knocked myself out and I didn't want to risk falling and being carried off Lilliputian style because then you really would be asking "Where's Jane?"
So I beat a hasty retreat!!

Iroquois village at Longwoods
"Where's Jane?  She's being scalped!!"

Oh phew...there I am.  Monday was a rough day at work so I hung out for the night at the restaurant where Michael works. He brought me glasses of cold white wine, spicy split pea soup with warm cornbread and sweet potato fries. I read some articles that I had sent to my Kindle and took some photos and basked in the glow of comfort food, wine and good company:)
Thanks my WMH!
(You'll have to figure out what WMH stands for!)

A reflection of a building seen out the restaurant window.

Love the "warped" effect.
This is the sky Tuesday morning at 6:30am when I left for work.
Fascinating, no?
An incredible thunderstorm had just ended with quite a bit of damage done around the city, trees down, hydro out in some areas.

Finally, I want to show you my latest acquisition!
A fellow London blogger, Carla, has recently ventured into the world of sewing - she buys the most gorgeous fabrics (I fell in love with the lily of the valley fabric!) and I had seen a lot of her creations on her blog so I knew she did great work! I asked her if she could make a "sleeve" for my Kindle and sent her the measurements. Within hours she emailed me a photo of the finished creation!  Very impressive!
Please check out her website and link to items for sale.
Carla - it was so great to meet you and your kids! I think it's so cool that we connected online, then in person:)

My Kindle sleeve has a button and elastic closure to hold it in place!
No worries now about scratching the screen.

It fits perfectly!!
My friends - I will catch up on all of your posts very soon. You can't (probably you can) imagine how much I miss reading your posts, I feel disconnected and out of touch! Please know that I am still thinking of you!  I'm not GONE, just out of sight!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Lately I've been finding it hard to make time to write, and then when I do have some time I don't feel in the right mood. We had an incident at school last Friday and two of my staff were injured (severe bites)! Both had to leave school to seek medical attention. Their union is involved and morale is low so getting through yesterday was a real struggle.

I'm also trying to plan a grad party for my two graduating students for this Friday and with all the meetings I've been having it's been darn near impossible to get anything done. Not to mention that it's year end, lots of paperwork and preparing for next year. To top that all of there is still the issue of a redundancy hanging over our heads - the educational assistant is grieving it but the wheels are moving incredibly slow. That doesn't help morale either.

So, right now I'm just hanging in there. I have a lot of things I want to write about but I'm dragging my butt around these days. Hopefully things will get resolved and we can all move on.

Til then...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yard Sale

No pics to share yet, well I have lots and some from today but I haven't uploaded yet from my camera because in this chaos I call home the camera cord is hiding somewhere underneath the remainders of today's yard sale. We did ok, I always hope to make an even $100 and we made over $180. That gets added to the Crofters Lane fund, in particular to the "gas" fund so we can make it out to PEI and back this summer, well, in exactly 27 days!! 

In our giddy moments of success today we said to each other, "let's do this again tomorrow!" Yeah, more money, more money.... But now, it's almost 10pm, my feet hurt, I've been up since 5:30am and the back is saying "sleep in, sleep in!"  I think I'll give in to my feet and back and the need for some major shut-eye.  

We're sitting in the back yard, it's dark but we've got many candles on the go, the Beatles are playing on my computer, we're sipping little snifters of scotch and have our feet up. Oh, now it's "Lady Jane" by the Stones...even better! I always pretended Mick was singing to me! 

I think I'll play some mindless Spider Solitaire and unwind from a VERY busy day. I'm working on a personal $$ challenge for June and so far it's going really well; I'll try and post about that tomorrow. Oh yeah, about 2 hours into the sale this morning we had a lovely thunderstorm, complete with HAIL! We quickly threw tarps over everything and ran to the porch. Within 15 min. or so the rain ended, and we went back to work. Eventually the sun came out and I have the red nose to prove it. 

See y'all tomorrow! Hope your weekend is full of fun and laughter and NO WORRIES!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Number of Things

I love this picture of my mum and me as it has a lot of memories in it. There's a picture of  my handsome sailer dad sitting on top of a desk I remember very well.  Don't ya love my saggy diaper? I didn't care, I was always on the go. The chair my mom is sitting on is one I've written about before - I used to lay on my back  on the seat with my legs up over the back of the chair and my head hanging down near the floor - that was my favourite reading position - don't ask me why!! To our left you can see part of our fireplace mantle, except we didn't have a real fireplace, just an electric one and the mantle was made out of plaster - very "in".  
My mother used to write a weekly column for our village newspaper, The Norwich Gazette, called "A Number of Things" so I thought I'd steal the title for my post as I've been thinking about my mother a lot today.

Before I get going on my stream of consciousness though I want to thank everyone for their very thoughtful and humorous comments on my electricity rant. If you haven't read all the comments you should, many of them are more entertaining than my post!!

Sharon - I would love to accept that challenge but I'm leaving the end of this month for PEI and I'll have no control over my hydro bill here at home. I'm really worried that my daughter will turn on the central air, turn it nice and low, then forget about it for the rest of the summer. You can bet I'll be reminding her everyday in a text to turn it OFF (and to feed the cat!!) But I'd love to take that challenge on when I get back in late August. So let's not forget!

Back to my mother. As I was going through stuff on a bookshelf looking for things for a yard sale on Saturday I came across a letter from my mother. She was a great letter writer as was my father who also, coincidentally, wrote a weekly column called "Down Memory Lane". Is it any wonder that I have a brother and sister who both have blogs plus another brother who keeps a daily journal and writes incredible poetry?  But I digress...(as usual - it's ADD I keep telling you!)

This letter made me both laugh and cry and I'm starting to tear up again as I write.  This is the letter in which she told me, in a backhanded kind of way that she had Parkinsons.  The letter isn't dated but I know she wrote it around l994 when my daughter was four. My mum starts off the letter talking about how much Kazi reminds her of herself at that age - always reading and writing. 

Then she mention how bad her handwriting is getting, very small and slanting up the page and thanks me for taking over the job of balancing her chequebook for her every month as she just can't seem to figure it out any more. Next she says, in her own inimitable style:

"It never rains but it pours - now I have come down with something called Parkinson's disease, but fortunately I will have medication to help me and slow it down. Dad thinks I shouldn't be driving but I think when I get on the medication I'll be able to. I don't want to go through the summer without my little car."

She then goes on to write in a humorous way about the local goings on, her plans for her garden and what is already blooming and how her handwriting looks like she's had "too many drinks!"  

So it would seem as if the little mention of her "coming down" with Parkinsons was just another little tidbit of news, like getting a cold. She never wanted us to worry and kept a lot to herself - she had such incredible strength of spirit and was always there for us to lean on when we needed a strong shoulder. I was really thankful that at last I could do some small services for her, like balance her chequebook.

Unfortunately, the disease progressed quickly and with it came dementia, in only four years time we had to put her into a nursing home and two years after that she died, only nine days after we brought her to a nursing home in London.

I've struggled a lot with the loss of my mother. I felt (still feel) it was so unfair that she got such a disease that addled her wits, destroyed her fine mind and stopped her from writing after having had many many difficult years with my father plus a troubled childhood with her own father killing himself. I guess we just never really get over such a loss, do we? I'm amazed at the overwhelming emotions that came over me as I recognized her handwriting and read her letter.

I think I'm having one of those moments when I wish I could turn back the clock and change some little thing that could alter the course of history so that my parents could still be alive today, or at least give them both happy endings. My dad was a good man, but suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. He did not "go quietly into the night!"

Sorry for a morose little post, but this was what was on my mind. I think a blog should be a place where you can just let it all out, whatever it is. At least it's that way for me. I don't hide behind a persona or pretend I'm something I'm not. 

And right now, I miss my mum.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Becoming a Nagging Type Person


Definition of a nag:

 Why do I think I'm a nag? Well, look at the woman above.  She's mad at her partner because he's pretending to be listening to music so she won't nag him. I, on the other hand, nag my partner (and my daughter) because things like headphones, computers & their charging devices, cell phones and their chargers, power bars, iron, table top fountain, LIGHTS, TVs, fans, air conditioning, etc etc etc, are plugged in, turned on and forgotten about. 

So why do I bother to nag?  Because electricity is not FREE!! 

It seems free.  You plug something into a socket and VOILA!! It works, it's like MAGIC!!

I found this handy dandy little chart and added it to my post because I thought you might be as interested in this as I am being as most of you are frugal-type people, and yes, you may be a nag too!  Now you can understand what you're nagging about!


You might  be breathing a sigh of relief when you see that HEAT takes most of the electrical pie chart's money (you've turned your heat off, right?); however, if you are like me you heat with natural gas, mucho cheapo.  So my hydro costs must be from other stuff.

So that takes us to the next slice of the pie - cooling!  Yesterday, here in London (the smog capital of Southwestern Ontario) temperatures rose to 32c, add in the humidex we were at 40c all day (that's about 100F for my American readers)!! Even I, thrifty as I am, had to put the central air on for awhile when I got home from work.  I set it high (27c) and then raised it higher when I went to bed (it didn't run during the night) and then switched it right off and opened up the doors and windows at 6am this morning. (that was me trying to rationalize my use of central air in case you didn't notice :)

The next biggest chunk of $$ goes to the hot water heater though since mine is also natural gas it can't be costing me too much.  Next up - appliances: stove, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher etc. I don't think we're doing too badly in that area since we don't have a dishwasher and our dryer is natural gas.  That leaves our fridge (can't turn that off) and our stove. We use the top of the stove regularly, the oven infrequently. 

After that comes lighting at 12% which really surprises me, I didn't think lighting was that expensive. I don't know if that refers to the older style light bulbs of which I still have a few for my 3 chandeliers or the new compact florescent bulbs of which I have between 25 and 30. Don't know.

Electronics come in at 4%. Again I don't know what the average amount of electronics would be - we might be above average with 3 cell phones, 3 laptops and an old PC (doesn't get used often), 2 TV's, 2 DVD players, 2 VHS players (still watch the odd, and I mean odd, VHS movie), 3 iPods, a Kindle, 2 tuners and probably more but I'm brain dead...  Still 4% isn't as bad as I thought.  

I like having the above info - it will help me figure out where our biggest power  costs are so I (WE) can try to reduce them. Fortunately, Michael is getting on board (I won't tell them about the table top fountain dear) and had the great idea of using our laptops' batteries more rather than having them always plugged in, as well he had all of his chargers and the iron unplugged when I got home today. Love you!

Hurrah for nagging (kidding, really I'm kidding...)

Why the all-consuming urgency?? Well, take a look at.....


The rates weren't put into effect last May as originally planned; our government isn't that good (hardy har har) but rumour has it that they will be taking effect by the end of spring, 2011 which would be June 20th.  The only way my bill won't end up costing more is if we use electricity mostly between 7pm and 7am as well as weekends. So, gotta get creative!!

For some activities this is manageable: laundry can be done on the weekends.... or while we shower! And... we could change up our eating habits by just eating baked beans straight from the can! That would eliminate the need for the washing machine, fridge and the stove! By God I'm smart! I'm a smart-meter-beater!! Woot woot! 

Let's see...what else?

Air conditioning? Let's hope the hottest days occur on the weekends (yeah right!) I know, I know!! We'll make those laundry-washing showers cold ones! We can stay cool, clean and laundered all at the same time. Criminy! I should be the friggin' Prime Minister!  The lights? I guess we could go to bed when it gets dark around 9pm...or use candles...I also have a couple of those flashlights that you charge up by shaking them - kind of an empowering aerobic workout...get it?

Ya gotta hate the government...right now the rate I pay per kwh is 6.4 cents. The LOWEST rate on the new Time-of-use plan is (currently) 5.9 cents. As we HAVE to use power during the mid-peak(8.9 cents) and high-peak(10.7cents) parts of the day (think fridge, freezer, and all the other electrical gadgets that are plugged in and always using power such as my trust alarm clock, TVs, DVD players etc etc) and we're going to have a VERY hard time keeping our hydro bill close to what we're paying now.

An average month at 6.4 cents per kwh is between $60 and $70 for us. During the summer months when we use the central air (only when absolutely necessary) our bills go up another $10 to $20 per month. I REALLY don't want to see our bills going up over $100, especially when I'll have another hydro bill out in PEI to pay.

Does anyone else think I'm getting overly obsessed about this??