Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bedroom Project

I haven't had a dresser in my bedroom since I moved into this house.  The room's too small, and a dresser would block access to the poorly located  the closets and doors.  Some day, I plan to build a master suite in the basement, but until then (likely ten years), I set out to find a solution.

I wanted to buy second hand or antique pieces to be painted, but this city isn't big enough to have a very good selection.  When that idea failed, I decided that there was no reason why I couldn't paint something new, if it wasn't too expensive to start off.

The first piece came from a scratch, dent and butt ugly sale.  I posted about it in January, when you helped me to decide not to do any special paint effects.  (Thank you for that.  It was a good call.)  Then, after looking for a piece to match it for a few months, I finally settled on an Ikea piece.  The colour was wrong, and I hated the knobs; but I liked its lines.  I bought it in March and worked on it slowly as I found time.  Over the  spring, I primed it, painted it with six coats and changed the knobs .  Finally, it's done.

This is what it started as:

This is what it looks like now:

... and the two together.

I knew the dresser would be taller than the average bedside table, but I thought it'd be OK since it would be doing double duty as storage for my clothes.  Turns out, I think it might be too big.  It feels quite a bit taller than I expected.  I can barely reach the knob to turn the bedside light off, and it blocks part of the closet door.  I'm going to live with it for a while, and see how it works.  If it doesn't work there, I've got other places in the house where it can go.  I'll just have to go back to the drawing board and find another solution for the bedroom.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Northern Adventure

Today I took off for a short business trip.  I found myself planted in Grande Prairie for a few days, and this place has quite a ways to go before it's a metropolis.  It's small..  Although it's technically in central Alberta when it comes to the whole North, South, Central distinction, it's very much considered a northern remote town.
I'm on my netbook with no mouse... please pretend like that picture is nicely cropped.

I flew in on a Dash 8, which is a twin propeller, not quite a 50 seater.  Again, small.

In the last ten years, I've flown to Toronto, Quebec City, Les Iles de la Madeleine, Denver, San Francisco and San Diego (a few times).  Prior to those previous flights, I've removed my shoes, I've had everything xrayed, I've confined my liquids to 100ml bottles and safely tucked them into ziplock bags.  A few times, I've been asked to power on my laptop to prove that it's real.  Today, before being allowed to board my flight to GRANDE PRAIRIE, I was the recipient of a complete pat down from a lady wearing a banana comb.  I walked through the metal detector, it beeped, so the wand came out.  Before I knew it, Banana Comb determined that I was storing contraband inside of my shirt, and I was getting more action than I'd seen in a long time.  She even tried to do the whole lift and separate thing right there in front of God and everybody (at which point, I said a silent thank you to the powers that be for helping me to choose a supportive bra this morning, and preventing too much movement).

Somehow, I managed not to comment that it's all me under my shirt, and that I don't need to stuff my bra.  For some reason, I doubt that would have gone over very well.

Anyway, the trip was relatively event-less after that.  I found an interesting book about office dynamics and politics at the airport bookstore (and am almost finished).  The flight was fine.  The hotel room is as hot as blazes.  Over the next couple of days, I finally get to meet a bunch of people with whom I've been yapping on the phone for 5 years, and tomorrow I'm going to a BBQ and then on a hike with a friend.  Somewhere in there, I'll try to get some work done.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Methinks it's time to invest in narrow necked glasses.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New roof - Before and Afters

The new roof is *almost* finished... close enough that the most of the tools have been packed up and removed, and the yard (including the dog pen) is my own again.    In celebration of this big event, I thought I'd show off with some before and afters.

The front, before:

The Messy Stage:

And done very nearly almost done.

The wee little section of roofing on top of the fireplace chimney in the back will be finished in a few weeks.  (Long story that I won't get into).   Overall, though, I love it.  I think it adds tonnes of character to the house, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how well the colour blends with the siding.  I'm really happy.

Unfortunately, apparently many of my neighbours are not.  The roofer told me today that the city has received (and forwarded on) multiple complaints about it.  So many, in fact, that two city inspectors have come out to check it out, and reviewed the material specs.   The complaints were mostly about suspected breaches of building codes, but I suspect that the real source was that people don't like change.  It bothered them that my house wouldn't fit into the cookie cutter mold, so they came up with whatever complaints that they could think of to try to stop me.    Thankfully, the roof is well within building codes and done right, so they didn't succeed.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it looks good.  It's different, but I don't think it's an eyesore.  Obviously, there's nothing to do about it - I'm certainly not going to have it torn off and replaced with asphalt roofing - but I'm bothered that so many of my neighbours are upset.  I'm also kind of ticked that they went behind my back and tried to cause me trouble.  For now, though, my hands are tied.  All I can do is enjoy the new roof, wonder who made the complaints, and try not to look too gleeful the next time there's a major hail storm and all the asphalt roofs need to be repaired.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

Cotton is quite a yappy dog, which is unfortunate.  I love him, but I hate the sound of yapping dogs, especially high pitched ones like him.  We have always had something of a battle going on, because I've got very little tolerance for it.  When we're at home, it's easier.  When the weather's colder and the windows are closed, he's oblivious to everything going on outside and generally pretty quiet.  If he wants to go outside, he has to stay quiet.  Simple as that: if he barks he comes back in.

The problem is when we're on walks.  Cotton tends to see dogs from a distance, fire off on a yapping spree, and then it's next to impossible to get him to stop.  This has been such a problem that I've often considered not bringing him on walks at all.

This spring, he was terrible.  I was *this* close to leaving him at home while I walked Tula, but I decided to try something new.  Anytime he barked, he and Tula had to sit for 20 seconds before we'd carry on.  If either of them barked or got up, the clock started again.  The first night, it took us four and a half minutes to get off the driveway.  But eventually it got better.

The trick to this method is quite simple:  the Dude can't  multi task.  He can't bark and sit at the same time, so he always stands back up before he barks again.  If he stands back up before his 20 seconds are up, I catch him before he fires and put him back into a sit.  Most of the time, this lets me wait him out long enough that he calms down (or whatever he's been barking at has moved on).

This method has been amazingly successful to date, and for the last few weeks, walking has so much less of a chore.    I don't have to have my eyes peeled for dogs that he might see, cross the street or change routes all the time; and when we do encounter somebody, the battle has shortened from 2-3 minutes of me trying to settle him down to a quiet reminder to be quiet and praise when he is.

Having him sit on command to get his attention has become my go-to command.  Barking?  Sit.  Pulling on the leash? Sit.  Growl at the cat? Sit.  Bugging me to pick him up when I'm busy?  Sit.

The dude's been spending a lot of time with his butt on the ground.  He's getting really good at the sit.  Except, maybe he's getting too good.    Tonight, when I was walking him around the block, he saw another dog and started to bark.  I told him to sit, which he did and then he started to bark while remaining seated.

The dude has gotten so good that he's learned to multi task.  I'm going to have to come up with another plan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bits and Pieces

A friend and I went to a local park today for lunch.  There was a family nearby that set up and dished out everything on their picnic table, then abandoned everything while they went to play on the swing set for a while.  Shortly after they left, a raven flew in and helped itself to their lunch.  It opened up their sandwiches and took whatever was between the bread, and it tossed food in all directions before leaving.  We wondered if we should call them back, but they were way on the other side of the park.  Then, they came back after the raven had left, sat down and started to eat.  I don't think that they realized their lunch had been tampered with (I guess having food strewn in all directions isn't that unusual when you're a family with three very young kids).   We debated about telling them that their food was contaminated with raven snot, but opted to stay quiet.

The roofers have finally started the final stage of the roof work.  Although they started earlier than I expected, it's taking much longer than I expected.    I'm sure I'll be happy with the finished project when they're done, and it's not just because I don't like living in a construction zone.  It's living with dogs in a construction zone.  As I mentioned earlier, the dogs' pen has had to be tarped while they're working on the roof.  I don't want them to learn to potty in my main yard, so I've been taking them on leashed walks multiple times a day.  Also, Cotton tends to have panic attacks if his world is changed too much.  He's been spending his days at my parents house, which means that I'm driving across town four times a day to drop him off and pick him up.  On top of that, he's getting spoiled with all these leashed walks (there's no fenced yard at my parents' place either, and he's novel enough that they're taking him for multiple walks every day).   Now, the few times that I've tried uncovering a portion of the pen for him to use, he has refused.  He's now convinced that he can't pee unless he gets to go for a walk first, and there's been multiple times this week that he's held out for 12+ hours.  The Dude's gonna be in for a rude awakening when the roof is done.

There's been a rogue beaver who has set up camp in the local dog park.  It must have babies in the nest, because it has attacked about 7 dogs while they were in the pond there.  One husky died.  There's been a big debate about whether the city should trap/kill the beaver or relocate it.  Neither are ideal because there's no way to know which beaver in the colony is the aggressive one, and beavers are so territorial amongst themselves that relocating it  - into what will almost certainly be another beaver's territory - will almost certainly result in it having to fight to the death.    After much thought, the powers that be came to the correct conclusion and decided that people should either stay out of the park with their dogs, or keep them on leash.  Once the kits grow up, chances are really good that the colony will conclude that they hadn't picked a very good location to call home and move on.

This decision seemed to have received acceptance and kudos from most of the locals, but then some jackass took it upon himself and shot one of the beavers.    You wouldn't believe the outrage.  Forget that it's illegal on so many levels; people (including me) are pissed off that somebody would be that stupid.  Sure, they may have gotten their rocks off, doing away with an animal that *may* have hurt a number of dogs while defending it's home and (likely) babies.  Except.   There's an estimated 12 beavers in that colony.  How could they possibly know if they got the right one?

There's a demonstration planned in front of the city hall on the weekend to show solidarity against this senseless act.  I'm not normally one for demonstrations, but I'm thinking about going.  At some point, people have to learn not to be so selfish.  Access to a dog park is not an entitlement, and there's no reason why people couldn't limit their dogs to leashed walks or other parks for a few months.   There's no need for killing an innocent animal like that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nude Sunbathing...

... is no longer an option.  Not that I sunbath in the nude all that often (ever).  In fact, I burn like a lobster when I'm fully clothed and slathered in SPF 60.  But.  I had the option, if I so chose.

That option has been taken from me, and I've got to admit that I'm a little bitter.

This arrived on the weekend, because apparently the parents at that house figured that their neighbours would be OK with having our every move observed.

Guess I'll have to add a gigantic privacy screen to the to do list for the yard... right before 'get hot tub'.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I've been thinking about Millie a lot lately.  He was my cockatiel, who lived with me for about 7 years.

Millie was a boy.  Guessing the sex of a neutral coloured bird can be something of a guessing game, and Millie was a grey cockatiel.  He underwent something of a colour change in his third year and developed some yellow tail feathers, after which it occurred to me that he was rather colourful for a female that had never laid an egg.  Thus, an emergency trip to the vet (this is not the sort of thing one takes in a laid back manner) and the confirmation was in.  Millie was a boy.

I thought of changing his name, but he could already say it.  As far as I'm concerned, if a pet goes to the trouble to learn to say their own name, that'll be their name for life.  So, Millie the boy lived on.

I should backtrack a bit and say that Millie was not a planned pet.  I found him in a pet store, stuffed into a canary cage, where he'd fallen off the too-narrow perch and been clotheslined between two other perches so many time that his tail feathers had fallen off.  I took him home that night, and have boycotted that chain of stores ever since.  I had finches at the time, but had never had - or been exposed to - larger birds at that point.

I didn't know that most cockatiels live their whole lives in cages and never learn to talk.  In this case, what I didn't know was to Millie's benefit.  I let his wing and tail feathers grow back, and gave him supervised time out of his cage.  When I was home, Millie was usually on my shoulder.  If not there, he was on a birdie-game table that my dad made for him, or hanging out in his open cage.    I was as attached to him as I am to my current pets, and had him with me all the time when I was at home.

 ... Except when I was cooking.  There were too many flyby thefts, as he flew into the kitchen and grabbed pieces of his favorite veggies off the cutting board or frying pan.  For his safety sake, I had to confine him when I was cooking.

It wasn't long before Millie started imitating sounds.  Then he started repeating a few words, and before I knew it, he had a vocabulary of about 20 words (which, as I'm writing this, I'm disappointed to realize that I don't remember what most of them are.)  His greeting was the most common.  Any time that anybody entered the room, they were greeted with an enthusiastic "HI MILLIE!"; which they were, of course, expected to repeat.    Birds tend to pick up emphasized words, so it's probably a good thing that he picked up my happy tone, and not something I let slip in the midst of a snit.

That's not to say that he never learned anything bad.  When Millie was about a year old, we moved from the house I was sharing with a friend into an apartment.  I was so happy about finally having some privacy (her  5 year old girl didn't respect closed doors) that as soon as everything was dropped off at the apartment and everybody left, I hopped into the shower.  I didn't close the door - because I didn't have to -  and I quickly learned that I'd also forgotten to unpack the towels.  The steam from my shower set off the smoke alarm, and I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find a towel and turn off the alarm.  Millie figured out that an alarm was a noise that would get quick attention, and went to work mastering it.  There after, if he felt that he was ignored for too long, alarms would go off.  So much so that my sister was once fooled enough to go looking for the fire.

Another noise that he mastered was the sound of running water.  More specifically, he could do a eerily realistic imitation of the sound of peeing.  Millie learned that after my alarm went off in the morning, I'd stop in the washroom and then I'd come out to open up his cage.  So, every morning when he woke up with the sun, he "peed" until my alarm went off.  The peeing sound (described to most guests as running water) very quickly became a favorite party trick.

His best trick, though - without a doubt - was his imitation of my laugh.  Millie could do a spot on imitation of my laugh.  I don't know about you, but I can't sit beside anybody who is laughing and not laugh myself.  We'd feed off of each other, and laugh our butts off on a regular basis.  He'd start to bounce on my shoulder and begin to chuckle.  That'd crack me up, and I'd get going.  The harder I laughed, the louder he'd get.  Before long, he'd switch over from a chuckle to a belly laugh and before I knew it I'd be in danger of peeing myself.  Every single day, that happened.  It's a wonder that I didn't break down and start wearing depends.

Sadly, Millie died of stomach cancer when he was seven.  He didn't get to live very long, but he made a huge impression.  He was a great little bird, and I miss him.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Questions

As I sat at my window and watched two women walk up my driveway and swipe a roof tile from the pile, I was held inert by a number of questions:  What were they thinking?  Why would they think that's OK?  Why would they possibly want a roof tile? Would they beat me up if I told them to put it back?  Would I beat them up if I pushed past my shock and approached them?  How many more tiles have been taken this way?  Should I charge $20/tile for any leftovers once the roof is finally done?

As if that's not enough questions for the day, I have more:

What am I going to do for Christmas if I don't go to San Diego?

Would it really have been so bad if I'd passed on the dinner of chicken, asparagus and cauliflower tonight, and had a bowl of icing instead?

When you're in the washroom and the woman a few cubes down passes gas rather loudly, is it unreasonable to expect a mumbled 'excuse me'?  Should I stay in my cubical until I hear her leave the room so that I don't know who she is, and don't have to look her in the eye from across the boardroom table?  Or, does what happen in the cubes stay in the cubes?

The stitches at the top of the pleats on this shirt - are they basted, or should they stay there?

If they're basted, does that make me a complete and total boob for having worn this shirt to work multiple times with the stitches intact?

By the way, is that pattern retro chic or crazy-ass bad?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This will have to do

I was all set up to take a portrait of Himself.  The lighting was good, the background had been cleared and the camera was in position.  Then, the warning flash went off to prevent red eye, and he decided that checking  out the source of the light would be more fun than staying still.

This picture will have to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Willpower and weaknesses

A friend and I recently went out for lunch together (before the whole toilet juice on the bench seat trauma) and she used about eight packets of ketchup with an order of small fries.  I must have given her a look, because she explained that she doesn't have ketchup at home.  She lets herself go to town when she's at restaurants, but she can't have any at home.  Apparently, she can't stop eating it once she starts.

Ketchup.  That's her weakness.  Huh.

Another friend saw that I have a case of pop in a cupboard at my desk.  I buy them in larger quantities because it's so much cheaper that way, but I usually limit myself to one a day. She said she can't do that.  If she's got a case of pop with her at work, she'll drink it all in a day or two.  Instead, she spends $1.25 to get a can a day at the pop machine.

Me?  My weakness is baking and chocolate.  I have had to ban chocolate chips and chocolate milk mix from my home.  Nor do I buy cookies.  I try not to bake unless I'm expecting company to assist with the eating, or else most of it has to go into the freezer.  Otherwise, I'll wolf it down in a day.  It doesn't matter how good my intentions are, I'm going to eat it.

It's curious, what different people are drawn to.  Chocolate, cakes and cookies?  Those seem obvious to me... I kind of figured that everybody had the same problem.  Ketchup, I think, I'll chalk up to being a weird craving; but it never once occurred to me that drinking pop would be hard to stop doing.  It makes me wonder what else people can't seem to deny themselves.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A couple of days ago I kept hearing these loud shrieks.  I thought it was one of the neighbourhood kids playing with a new toy; but it wasn't long before this little creature showed up outside my window.

It may not be as impressive a bird photo as some of you have posted (Ahem Rural Rambler... whose photos I've seriously considered asking for copies to frame.) but this is my first birdie visitor.

He/she's a barely out of the nest, teen aged robin.  He/she must have been separated from the clutch because he/she was shouting for them pretty loudly.  No worries, though.  A few minutes later, he/she moved over to the side of the house and quieted right down.  I think they were reconnected.

Another visitor arrived today.  Can you guess who is was?

The sky looks deceptively dry in that picture.  It's actually been monsooning outside since this afternoon, and the rain caught another of the roofer's crew unawares.  As a result he'll be spending the next couple of days doing damage control (sure am glad that's not my house), but tells me he hopes to get back to work where the fur flies by the end of the week.

It won't be long now!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Germophobes Unite

I've got a favorite lunch spot.  It's a fairly big chain, and one of the few that offers fresh produce and non-deep fried alternatives.  I eat there a lot.  A lot.  The truth is, I'd eat there every day, if my coworkers didn't tease me about it so much.  As it is, the staff know me by sight, and they usually know what I'm going to order and how I want it before I open my mouth.

I went there again today, and was somewhat surprised to see that I didn't recognize most of the staff.  There was one guy, who normally works in the back without interacting with the clients (probably for good reason) and I'd never seen any of the others.  There must have been some sort of staff crunch, because it wasn't very long at all before it became very apparent that they were all trainees.

Service was really slow.  As I stood around waiting for my turn to order, a young child in a table behind me spilled his juice all over the table, the bench seat and the floor.  His mom went to ask for staff to help clean up.  A young trainee stopped to grab a mop from the washroom and promptly started to mop the floor. Then, she lifted up the mop and used it to wash the bench seat.  She used the mop that is used to wash the bathroom floors to wash a seat.    The seats where people wearing shorts sit with their bare legs.

I should have left then.  I was so grossed out that I just about forgot my Canadian upbringing and caused a scene.

How, in God's name, can anybody think that would be OK?  As it was, I was concentrating so hard on mentally repeating a mantra of  "I'm getting my lunch to go.  I'm getting my lunch to go.  I'm getting my lunch to go" that the trainee behind the counter had to ask me three times if I wanted cheese.

And seriously, if she does that while we're all watching, what's she going to do in the back food prep area?

I think I'm going to have to find a new place to get lunch.
Come to think of it, maybe I should accept that I'm a germophobic control freak and start packing my lunch every day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Since the guys are coming back to work on the roof again tomorrow, I decided to bake them some cupcakes.  I've never made cupcakes before.  I usually just make a cake, because cupcakes seem like more work.  However, I won't be around tomorrow while they're working on the roof, and it would feel a bit odd to leave them a whole cake with the knife, plates and forks, etc.

Cupcakes seemed the easier route to go.

 I didn't have a cupcake recipe, so I ended up using Pioneer Woman's sheet cake recipe.  I've made it before with no problems, and she says that the same recipe can easily be made into cupcakes.  The problem is, she doesn't say how long to bake the cupcakes.

The sheet cake bakes for 20 minutes, and since I only have one muffin tin, I only used half of the batter.  I figured that since there would be more surface exposure to the heat, 15 minutes would probably be enough time.  Then I got busy making lemon chicken for dinner and forgot about them.  I baked them for 22 minutes.

Out they came.  At first they looked fine, but I turned away for a few moments to chop veggies and this is what I turned back to.

Now I can't decide if I should throw them out or try to fix them.  I could make a mixture of peanut butter, cream cheese and whipped cream to fill the indents and pretend like I planned for them to be this way.  Alternatively, I can declare that I'm paying the roofers enough that they don't need home cooked treats as well, and call it a day.

I'm leaning towards calling it a day.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I don't gamble.  I could be all uppity about it, and talk about the chances of winning vs how much money one could save if they invested their lottery money; but the truth is that I just don't win random draws and contests.

I'm also a very deep-down optimistic.  Any time that I have bought or been given a lottery ticket, I've imagined winning with such conviction that I am completely devastated when I don't win.

As a result, the only draws or lotteries that I enter are ones that are to benefit a charity that I would otherwise support.  That way, I can forget about the possibility of winning and consider it a donation.

All that's to say that there's a draw at work.  We can choose to have $5 deducted from each pay cheque, and  put into a 50/50 contest.  50% goes to the winner, 50% goes to the hospital foundation.  The foundation includes quite a large number of facilities and staff, so the winnings are significant.  Specifically, today's winner (somebody in my department) won over $10 000.

I'm happy for him, I really am.  I'm also green with envy.  And I've got to admit that I've spent a fair chunk of time today weighing the $130 that I'd be throwing away spending over the year vs the potential that I might actually win.

I could really do with an extra $10 000 right about now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good plan, bad execution

I present to you, the prop.

The cat found it while I was setting up the shoot:

Note the immediate loss of the left wing.
This had to be done so as not to threaten his manhood with the girlie cat toy.

The following pictures are obviously straight out of the camera shots.  
I put the camera on Action, then held the button down.  I didn't even have time to focus the camera.  
The whole process probably took 30 seconds, and you're seeing one out of about every 6-7 shots.

For the record, that butt's floofy, not fat.

And yes, you did hear an audible pop.

The cat toy was a bare nub at this point, and has since been laid to rest in the recycle bin.
It was perhaps not the best $4.99 that I've ever spent, but it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The mind... it's gone.

I got a postcard from the post office today, requesting that I please go there at my earliest convenience.  I went, and apparently last week I picked up a package that I don't remember ordering, and then left it behind on the counter and walked away.  I have no recollection of even going there, but that's not to say that it didn't happen. Either way, the result is that I now have four new books from Amazon that I don't remember ordering.  And the people at the post office think I'm a blithering idiot.

On the TMI front, I was looking up my last time I got my legs waxed so that I'd know when to book the next appointment, and it occurred to me that my dogs need to get groomed fairly soon too.  I then started riffling through my stuff, looking for their next appointment and discovered a card that says they had an appointment on June 26th.  Holy Shit, I thought; that means that I forgot to take the dogs in AGAIN for another appointment and now the groomer's definitely going to fire us as a client.  I was just about to have a panic attack about where I'd possibly take the dogs to get groomed because good groomers around here are such a rare commodity.   Then I remembered that I took the dogs in last week.  She practically skinned Cotton.  She cut his hair so short that his freckles are showing, and he has to wear a shirt when he goes outside so that he doesn't get a sun burn.   And yet, I forgot about that.  You know, because that's not memorable at all.

The brain just isn't working lately.  Apparently it went on summer holidays without me.

As an aside and possible explanation, in "Back to the Future", Doc set the clock in the DeLorean to a day 25 years in the future.  Today is that day, and I think that makes me officially old.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The lesser of the evil neighbours

I have these neighbours, who have lived in the house a few doors down for about four years.  There's so many people who come and go from the house that I still can't figure out who lives there and who is visiting.  The only one who I know lives there full time is the dog; and I actually think he should be rehomed.  (He's the dog that gets out of the yard all the time because they're too lazy to close the gate; but then he gets punished for wandering.)

On top of being a revolving door of people, there's also a lot of jacked up trucks that have those mufflers that really don't muffle any noises  They tend to leave them running outside with the radio blaring at top volume while they do yard work or whatever it is that they do in the garage that they never park in.  There's also a hot tub.  The hot tub is used a lot, and apparently it only works when accompanied by very loud rap and a fair quantity of alcohol.

If you guessed that the common thread for all the many people that come and go from this house is that they're selfish and loud, you guessed right.  You might also have guessed that these aren't my favourite neighbours, and you'd be on the mark on that one too.

Last night, they had another party.  Just as I was drifting off at 12:30, the music was cranked so loud that I could hear it clearly as though it was being blared in my house. Closing the windows did nothing to muffle it.  I considered going over and talking to them, but really don't feel safe approaching a fairly large group of drunk rig pigs so I hoped that somebody else would do it for me.  There are 4 houses that are closer to them than I am, and I can't imagine that they weren't bothered by the noises too.

I considered calling the cops, but that hasn't helped in the past.  The cops take an hour or more to arrive, and they're the sort of people who turn the music right back up after the cops leave.  Also, I don't know that I want to be known as the neighbour who called the cops on them.  I don't know these people, but what I've seen and heard from them tells me that I don't want to be on their bad sides.

So, at 3:00am, I finally got up and rummaged around until I found a pair of ear plugs and put them in.  I find ear plugs to be uncomfortable and they really only muffle the noise instead of blocking it; but I did eventually drift off around 4:00.

The problem is that my dogs went to bed at a reasonable time, and they apparently had no trouble sleeping.  They  - and their bladders - woke up with the sun, and they bugged me to get up and take them out until I finally did at 7:00.  So, there I was in my back yard in my mismatched pj's, puffy eyes and bed head, doing a mental check of all the things I'm supposed to get done today and wondering how I could possibly find the energy after only getting three hours of sleep.

I looked down the road at the party house, and it occurred to me that they were all probably in bed right then, and that they'd probably all be sleeping like babies until at least noon.   It took everything I've got not to fill a paper bag with dog poop, light it on fire and leave it on their front door step.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Work Attire

I was in a meeting the other day, and after we finished talking about all of our worky stuff, we somehow veered off onto the wardrobe tangent.  We started off by talking about the inequity between work attire for men and women around here.  Women here can get away with a lot more than men .  We can wear skirts, shorts, capris or pants.  We can have sleeveless shirts (although spaghetti straps are frowned upon) , short sleeves or long sleeves.  We can have collars or not, and we can wear nicer knit shirts.  When it comes to shoes, you see women here wearing everything from flip flops to platform shoes and stilettos.

The men around here?  Long pants, button up shirts and dress shoes.  Whether or not they wear a tie is about the only wardrobe choice they've got.

In the room with me were three men and another woman.   The men said that they did notice the discrepancy, and I was ready to comment that when they shaved their legs and polished their toes, they could start showing some leg (of feet, as the case may be.)  However, I was surprised to hear that rather than being able to dress more casually themselves, they felt that the women should sharpen up their looks.  No more shorts, and no shoes with bare toes (which is a bit of a health issue, since we work in a hospital.)

This led to us discussing a recent capitulation in the dress code that allows us to start wearing jeans on Fridays.    It's only been in place for a few months, and apparently, too many people have taken jean days too far by dressing too casually.  The powers that be are giving serious thoughts to banning jeans again.  The loss of jean days got mixed reviews at the table, but what really surprised me is the bitterness about not being allowed to wear scrubs.

We are part of a large IT department in the health care field.  Our offices are in a building that is attached to a hospital, and many of us travel frequently to and around other health care facilities in the province.   In health care, IT staff are the only ones who can't/don't wear scrubs.  Dr's and nurses obviously wear scrubs, as do most clinicians.  Unit clerks, kitchen staff, mail staff and house keeping all wear scrubs too.  IT geeks?  We wear professional attire, and apparently we're pretty bitter about it.

Honestly, I thought I was the only one who secretly coveted the scrubs.  Apparently, I'm not alone.  It was unanimous around the table that, given the option, we'd all wear scrubs to work every day.  They'd be cheaper and lower maintenance for us all, and they'd be more equitable for both men and women.    More importantly, though, they'd be more comfortable.   They'd be like wearing our pajamas to work every day; and really,  how could having a daily pajama party at the office not be a good thing?