Saturday, December 28, 2013

If at first you don't succeed...

Assuming that the basement will eventually be finished one day, I'm going to want a TV down there.    At first, I was going to get one through Telus, when I switched over to them from Shaw for Internet/TV/Phone.  I quickly determined a free TV wasn't worth having to deal with Telus, though, so I bought one on Black Friday.

That TV came from  It was sold as a smart TV, but when it arrived I realized that it wasn't web enabled... was in fact only called smart because it had two USB ports. (!)  It took no less than - honest to God - four and a half hours on the phone to convince them to take the TV back and give me a full refund.

After that, I waited until Boxing Day to take advantage of the sales.  Since my experience with the last TV convinced me that Best Buy is not a store I want to support anymore, and options are limited if I don't want to drive to the big city, a friend told me about her nephew that works in an electronic store that could probably get me a deal.  So, I woke up early on Boxing Day and went out to meet the nephew.  He didn't get me any huge savings, but the price was slightly lower than anything else I'd seen until then.   I bought the TV, hauled it home and set it up.

Yesterday, I was at Costco and saw that they had the same TVs, only bigger and $60 cheaper.  I went home and called a friend who helped me load the Boxing Day TV back into the car and return it, then drive out to Costco, pick up the new one and take it home.  The Costco TV is in my spare room and still in its box.  I probably should set it up today so that I can test it out and make sure it works before the return period is up.  After having set up and disassembled so many TVs, it shouldn't take me too long but I am having trouble finding the energy.  One thing's for sure - this is the last TV that I'll be buying anytime soon.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


On Christmas Eve, I had to run home briefly to let the dogs outside.  My nieces asked to come along, and Lewis was incredibly excited to see them.  We all went out to the back yard to give him a chance to run, but since he was so excited to see the girls and they weren't dressed for the snow, we ended up coming back in right away.  A few minutes later, we gave the dogs treats to tie them over and went back to the party.

When I came home a little while later, the dogs greeted me at the front door and I think I saw Winter.  I took off my coat and boots, and walked towards the back of the house to let the dogs out.  That's when I realized the back door was wide open.  And, by open, I don't mean unlocked.  It was blowing in the breeze and letting anybody that chose to either come or go.

It took a little while for this to register, so I was already out back with the dogs before I clued in to how bad that open door could be.  I left the dogs in their pen and came back in.  I'd thought I'd seen Winter when I came in -he almost always greets me when I come home- but I needed to confirm that he was still around.   Winter has been an indoor cat his entire life, and while he can be trusted not to dash out the doors when they are open briefly, this was pushing my luck.  He was still inside...  or possibly inside again.

Every year I hear stories of people's homes being broken into over the holidays while they are out celebrating.  Honestly, I was so relieved that all three of the pets were safely inside that I didn't even bother checking the house or looking for items that may have been stolen.

Monday, December 23, 2013


A representative came around today to check out the tile with the wrong coloured grout on the newly tiled basement floors.  It's white, and is supposed to be dark brown.  She confirmed that the problem is caused by crystals that are produced when too much water is used to wash the grout off of the tiles after it is applied.  She did a spot check and luckily a diluted acid removed the crystals, leaving the grout in the colour I wanted, so they won't have to rip anything out and replace it.  No word on when they'll be around to do the cleaning, though.

In other news, I was told today that my couch will be arriving ahead of schedule.  It should be here by the end of January... whether the basement will be ready for it remains to be seen.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Lewis P Wellington and I had our first session with the trainer.  She was nice, and I liked the way her focus was on looking for behaviour I'd find acceptable vs perfection.  (eg - All I need is for him to walk on a loose leash beside me, rather than demanding a perfect heel to my left.)

As expected, Lewis was a little over eager when it came to the possibility of getting Treats.  We only had to ask for and reward a behaviour two or three times before he started offering it... you'd think I never fed the dang puppy.  It's kind of hard to practice recall when he won't move more than 2 feet from me when I have food, so we worked together.  We ran around the basement and called him back and forth between us, celebrating and rewarding each time.  For practice this week I'm to get a 30' line and take him out to a park so that he (hopefully) gets distracted from the food in my pockets and wanders far enough from me that I can call him back.

When I first contacted her, I said a priority was teaching Lewis to LeaveTheCatAlone!   He's been getting a lot better, but as the trainer left she declared that we had work to do on that and would be focusing on it next week.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another Delay

The tile went down on the floor last week.  It looked absolutely lovely, until it dried.  The tilers did something wrong with the grout and it somehow changed from a dark chocolate colour to a creamy grey.  I don't want to revisit the 80s and go with the contrasting grout look, so they will have to come back and replace it.

Contractor has been asked to come over for a chat today.  So far, his drywallers, his electrician and his tilers have messed up royally.  His charm and his humour are losing their shine and I have had about enough.  A contractor is only as good as his (her) trades, and so far his are shit.    I'm seriously considering letting him go and hiring somebody else to finish the job.

It used to be a joke that he better finish before Christmas.  Now there is no chance that it will be done by then.

In the meantime, I've arranged for Lewis to have a couple of private training classes.  I chose not to do the group classes thing with him because I don't think he should have to worry about being pounced on or eaten by a six month old lab/husky/whatever.  However, I've found a trainer that comes to you to work with your animals on a one on one basis, so we're going to address a few small behaviours that I'm struggling to train properly.

Dangit, I figure if I'm going to be stuck with a big echoing hole downstairs, I might as well use it to train the puppy.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Winter the cat had his annual vet visit this week.  He was declared to have the teeth of a cat ten years his junior.  Then he bit the vet, climbed under the counter and refused to participate any further in the examination.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Second Job?

I was complaining to a coworker via instant message this morning, and my fingers may have been travelling a little slower than my head.  I had a bit of a typo, and I told him I'd "wored until after 9:00 last night, was up early and back at it again before 7:00, and that my eyes were starting to glaze over"

He was too polite to ask if I'd missed the h or the k until after I made the appropriate corrections.

Friday, December 6, 2013

House Bound

I got up early this morning.  Fridays are garbage day around here, and I had to shovel a path to the back fence so that I could use the garbage chute.  I was out there without my toque, mitts or scarf.  No doubt it was chilly, but it didn't seem too bad... I wondered if maybe it was starting to warm up.    Then I came in and checked, only to learn that it was -43C outside.  (That's -45F to the Americans.)

Yep, it's so cold outside that it doesn't feel cold anymore.  Kinda dangerous.

The tiler came today to work on the basement floor.  He had to use the wet saw outside because of the dust, so I moved my car to the driveway and let him use the garage. Mostly, he worked inside but ran out every once in a while when he had tiles to cut.  Even so, it wasn't long before he came in to say he'd have to finish later because the wet saw was frozen.

I'm housebound.  After the incredible dump of snow we had earlier in the week, the roads are still bad.  Most have been ploughed to some extent, but they are still slippery and full of ruts.  City crews have been too busy ploughing to sand the roads.   I'm not going to take chances while it's this cold outside.

I thought I'd do something useful, but can't figure out what that is.  I can't paint the baseboards, because they are in the back half of the basement beyond the newly laid tiles.  I can't do Christmas baking because I'm out of flour.  I can't even hang my new art (below), because my hammer is also in the basement.

Come to think of it, maybe tonight is a perfect night to curl up with a book in front of the fireplace.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mending Fences

Winter has not been Lewis' biggest fan since about day 2 of being chased and having his tail nipped.   For the last 6 months, Winter has sprinted from high point to high point to say out of Lewis' reach.  "Leave the Kitty" is probably the most common thing you'd hear me say around here.

Thankfully, Lewis P Wellington is growing up, and is contemplating the idea of settling down.  He's been running up to the kitty instead of running over the kitty.  And finally, a hiss or a growl is being recognized as a warning to stay away instead of an invitation to rumble.

Today, I looked over while at work and saw for the first time in a very long time, they were playing.    I didn't want to disturb them, but managed to record some of it with my phone.

BTW - you may notice the chair that they are playing on.  It's my comfortable office chair... the one I'm supposed to be able to work in 10 hours without a sore bum.  I don't get to use it.  Instead, Himself sleeps on it while I sit on a much less comfortable kitchen chair.  It's the only way I've found to keep the dang cat off my desk while I work.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


We've got a little bit of snow around here.  After a record snow fall in November (60cm), a snow storm blew in on the weekend and dumped on us until this morning.

The city has declared a "snow emergency" where they are doing a blitz snow removal.  Ploughs are running 24/7 and going street by street.  No signs are going up; residents are expected to listen to the radio and watch the website to know when their area will be cleared.  If cars are in the way they will be ploughed around, and their owners then have to dig themselves out.  Ditto for driveways - windrows are being left on either side of the road, with home owners being responsible to clear a path in and out of their driveways.

This may sound extreme, but since I've seen at least five vehicles stuck on the corner in front of the house, I think it's required.

Yep, the drift is higher than my waist.  It was a hoot and a half to shovel out.

I *always* park in the garage.  
This week, I'm parked on the driveway so that tilers have room to cut tiles in the garage.  That drift around it doesn't look too high, but it was 18" tall yesterday.  After a night of high winds and even more snow, it's over 2'.  With a windrow at the end.

Have I mentioned that I gave away my snow blower last year?