Saturday 28 October 2023

Time ticks on by

Yes, we got snow this week. I was so hoping that it would wait until mid-November, but the winter weather has arrived in earnest. After the snow fell, the cold followed, and we reached a low temp of -12C (10F) on Tuesday overnight. Thankfully, it has warmed up some, but both day and night time temperatures haven't been above freezing. More snow fell on Thursday but just enough to dust the sidewalks and driveway. No shovelling was required.

More packing was done over the week, and Wednesday was especially exciting as both C and I met with the lawyer to complete the final paperwork for the purchase (his) and sale (mine) of the properties. I can tell you, there is a whole lot less paperwork involved with the sale of a property, than there is for a purchase. I'm sure C felt as if he was signing his life away...and I suppose in some ways he was, at least for the next 25 years. :)

With this upcoming move, I've cut the ties with cable television - my son doesn't want it, and since I won't be here all the time, it made sense. I had called in to SaskTel to disconnect and decided to end the cable on the last day of the this billing, which was Tuesday Oct 24. In my conversation with the rep, I got the impression that it would be cut sometime in the morning...and I assumed that meant after 8 a.m. I was quite surprised when I turned on the television to watch the news, that it had actually ended at 4:30 in the morning (the screen of the channel I'd been watching when I turned off the television that night showed the time). I just received my bill from the company that provided the cable, as well as my internet and cutting the cable has saved me nearly $50 a month, but will be partially offset by a couple of streaming services. 

When I was out at my daughter's on the weekend, she had given me her fire-stick and had pre-loaded several apps on it for me. In anticipation of the change on the 24th, my son set the fire-stick up to recognize our WiFi, so it was easy enough to switch that first morning. However, finding the news was a little more difficult. When I talked to D, I got her to give me a list of programming for each of the apps. I'm not sure when or even if I'll be ever be able to remember what is found where. But, since most of what I watch is available for streaming, it won't matter as I can watch it when I want.

We're sharing the cost of the current apps, and I've signed up for Sportsnet (Now/plus?) for $20 per month. I'm sure most of you knew I couldn't possibly live without sports. I went with a monthly subscription, because I can foresee cancelling it for a period of each year, when the sports I enjoy most are in hiatus. I enjoy baseball and curling, and football occasionally though our local team has played so poorly over the last few years, I haven't watched very many games. 

On Thursday, I did some laundry and housecleaning before heading out to run some errands. I picked up cat litter at Pet Valu (senior's day), cat food and few groceries at Walmart, dropped off the equipment for return to the cable company at the drug store post office, and picked up my new glasses. The streets were still a bit icy, and I took care as I drove. 

Friday, was a packing and cleaning day. I'm cleaning the interior of cabinets and drawers as I pack, and keeping the bare minimum of items needed in the cupboards. There are a few boxes that remain open for those last minute items.  I'm pretty certain I have sufficient boxes to finish the packing process, and groceries from the fridge will go into shopping bags, while I brought back the cooler from D's for moving the frozen food.

I did get some sad news this week as my godmother passed away on Monday. She was a month shy of her 99th birthday.  While there is sadness, there is also gratitude that she lived such a long and, for the most part, a healthy life. Sadly, she had serious fall four or five years ago and her physical and mental health were impacted. Her daughter told me she hasn't recognized family members for a few years now, and she rarely spoke. Throughout her life, Gladys was a force to be reckoned with: for over 33 years she operated a florist shop in my home town, was very active in the Anglican church, and was constantly on the go. A number of years before she retired, she purchased a house in Victoria, B.C. and spent time there when she could. Her husband, Vern refused to go often, so she moved out there by herself for several months of the year when she sold the business. There too, she was active in her church and charitable activities, spent hours working in her gardens, and went walking in the neighbourhood. I visited her there in the fall of 2009 (I was there four days): we had dinner with a group of her friends one evening, spent a good portion of one day at Butchart gardens, drove to Chemainus to see a play, walked the sea wall, and ran errands. I often said I wished I had had half the energy she exhibited. More recently, we kept in touch via phone calls, but that ended when she moved to the nursing home. I am left with many happy memories and some funny stories. One, I'll share: As I've mentioned, Gladys was always on the go - she was an early to rise person as there were things to do and people to see each day. When she and Vern would come to the farm for dinner, they would stay for a visit after the meal was finished and dishes were done. As Dad and Vern talked farming, Gladys would settle into a chair and we kids would start watching to see how long she could stay awake. She would chat with Mom or voice an opinion about Vern's ideas, but soon her head would start nodding and her eyes would close. We'd start giggling and her head would come back up and she'd carry on as if nothing had happened at least for a few more minutes. She always insisted she wasn't sleeping and eventually Vern would get the hint and they'd head home. As my Dad would have said, she was a real character!

Today, I'm continue with cleaning and some packing. My goal is to have everything packed except what we'll need for the next 9 days before tomorrow evening. Next week, I'll focus on moving the boxes and tubs to the garage space where my car normally sits.  That way, the movers will only to enter the house to pick up the furniture, and can easily transfer the boxes to the truck. We'll have the movers put all the boxes in the garage there, and just move in the furniture into the house. I'll be organizing the boxes so that the first in will be the boxes most needed, since they will be the last out of the truck. It should save the movers time, and save me money. At least that's the idea.

Have wonderful weekend everyone, and stay warm and dry!

Saturday 21 October 2023

More dollars than sense

No packing was done this week, but it was relatively busy (and spendy) just the same. As I mentioned, on Saturday, my son and I went mattress/bed frame shopping. We went to The Brick, because I'd done some comparison shopping a couple of weeks earlier and the mattresses I was most interested in were on sale (then). 

We were met at the door by a salesman - obviously the store wasn't very busy. I headed to the section with mattresses and surprise, surprise, the mattresses were no longer on sale. In fact the price was nearly $200 each higher than they had been. After a bit of discussion, the salesman headed off to verify with his manager that they could sell them to me for the earlier sale price. Score 1 for our side. Has anyone else noticed that what we used to pay for a mattress and box spring is now the cost of a mattress only?  

Thus, we decided we'd look at bed frames. We looked at the ones that the previous salesman and I had looked at two weeks earlier. But something I hadn't done was get down on the floor and check the construction. C did look and noted that the legs were bare wood, and merely stapled to the base. Uh, no thanks! We then looked a frame made of metal and wood and C was satisfied with the way it was constructed - though he'll have to put the pieces together. Even better, they were on sale. Score 2 for our side.

The store was having a scratch and save as well. We went to the main desk where a washing machine was set-up. The salesman started the machine, sans water, and after a turn of the drum stopped it. I reached in and scratched off a savings of 5%. Again, not a surprise - I would doubt more than one or two of the cards had a higher scratch value. No worries, I'll take the 5% discount.

Here's where the hiccup happened. The order was placed, I received a copy of the paperwork, and then the salesman turned to me and said, "I need to be transparent with you. The bed frames you ordered will need to be picked up or delivered right away as we have only four in stock in Calgary." Uh no, that wasn't what we agreed to - the mattresses and bedframes are to be delivered on Nov. 6th to C's house. Now, my son worked in various retail warehouses for close to 10 years, so the discussion that ensued was interesting to listen to from my perspective. The salesman kept saying that nothing could be done, suggesting if the product wasn't picked up/delivered the retailer could sell them to someone else. At this point, I did say to the salesman, perhaps we should just cancel this sale and go elsewhere. Suddenly, something could be done, funny that! The clerk behind the counter split the sale and we were assured the frames would be available at the same time as the mattresses. Can I score this as a win for our side too? I guess I won't know for certain for another ten days or so.

Monday was a lazy day, while Tuesday was busy. I had an early appointment at the optometrist's office. It's been just about 2 1/2 years since my last appointment and I was due.  My cataracts (now three) are still considered mild, but my vision had changed in my right eye enough that new lens were needed. I ended up ordering a new pair of frames as well, as the pair I'm now wearing will work as a back-up if needed. I wear tri-focals and have a prism in one lens as well - it always costs a fortune and this time was no different, though I did go with a pair of the least expensive frames. I went home and immediately sent off the paperwork to my insurance company. Sadly, the coverage is miniscule - just $200 for frames and lens, with a deductible of $40. I have no idea how long ago that would have covered the cost of certainly comes nowhere near close now.

That evening was book club. We met at East Side Mario's, just a short drive from my house. I had selected the book to read, "Three Sisters" by Heather Morris. Ms. Morris is also the author of the "Tattoist of Auschwitz". I've not read that book, nor seen the movie but will try to find a copy at some point. It was a wonderful evening, with lots of discussion about the book, past travels and current travel plans, and the food was great too.

Wednesday was supposed to be a house work day. But it was gray and overcast, and my son was home ill from work. So I just relaxed for the morning, and went out to stitch and chat in the afternoon. We were a group of four, C, B, Io, and I. S wasn't feeling well, but did drop in (masked) about 20 minutes before the end of the program, as she had a quilt to send south with B. It was both C and B's last meeting until next spring as they both leave for Arizona next week. S has decided to wait until January, so most weeks it will be two or three of us.  

I did get some housework done on Thursday, some by choice and some by necessity.  Sometime during the night, Saku had been sick on my bed (mostly water). Normally I would have heard him, but I didn't. That meant washing sheets and blankets - might as well do the rest of my laundry too. I'd settled into my chair to read blogs and eat breakfast, when that darned cat came to check out what I was eating. I pushed him away, and as I did so, the full cup of tea was knocked over.  Out came the mop and bucket, and I washed the floor - might as well do the rest of the main floor as well. I had already planned to sweep and vacuum, and needed to pick up a few groceries.  The morning was far busier than originally planned!

Thursday also meant another evening out. I met my friends K and J at Ginger Garlic Nepalese for dinner, then we headed to the Center of the Arts for a comedy show. The tickets were courteous of the financial services company we use. 

On Friday, I made a trip to visit with my daughter and grandson. D woke up feeling ill on Monday, so I postponed my trip to later in the week. I'm not entirely self less - I didn't want to catch whatever she might be experiencing. I loaded up the car with plant containers (empty), bags of garden and potting soil, as well as some items I'd purchased for her and Eli. They were away from the house when I arrived, and by the time they returned I had everything unloaded.

We puttered around the house for much of the day, but did take a walk over to the nearby park. Eli was home from school with the tail end of a cold (he was still snotty) and we spent about an hour there while he climbed and played. As you can see he was a pirate, and boy can he climb!

I left early this morning for the drive back home. There is a football game in Regina today (a must win, but unlikely to happen) and I wanted to avoid the traffic. It was an uneventful drive, and I was back at the house ten minutes before today's curling games started. :) You know what I'll be doing for the remainder of the weekend.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Wordy Wednesday

We're less than three weeks from moving day, and a full three weeks to possession date for this house. While I'm thrilled to be moving on, as this has been in the works for nearly five years now, I can't help but think of all the memories we've made here and the things I will miss.

We moved in on July 15, 2010. This photo was taken shortly after we'd moved. I laughed when I saw it, as the furniture wasn't yet in place, the room is full of boxes, and yet the cable television is up and running. Sami, one of the four cats who moved here with us was helping hold down the boxes.

This was the spare room then, it obviously had been used as a nursery. The windows in the two bedrooms had been ordered by the previous owners but not yet replaced. (They paid for the windows, and I paid for the installation.) It took me a few months before the wallpaper was removed and the room painted a more neutral gray.

The kitchen had wonderful oak cabinets, as did the bathrooms. I liked them, but knowing that someday I'd want to sell, I decided to renovate. Here's how part of the kitchen looked before:

If I remember correctly, by this point (2013) the dishwasher no longer worked. I'm amazed at how much stuff I had loaded on the counters. After two attempts to sell, I've grown accustomed to keeping the counters more clutter free.

After the renovation, which included re-facing the cabinets, adding new drawer fronts and doors, replacing backsplash tile and countertops, and adding a new dishwasher and over the stove microwave, the kitchen looked like this:

I note the over the stove microwave hadn't been installed just yet (not the one on the counter). Sadly the first one lasted just beyond it's warranty date and I had to have a second one installed. (It really isn't that dark - just a bad photo).

I will miss this kitchen; compared to one in C's house it is huge with lots of storage. I suspect some less used items will end up in the basement storeage area. However, I'm hoping a smaller kitchen will be easier to keep clean and tidy.

Another one of the rooms I'll miss most is the sunroom. It was a big reason I purchased this house, and there were several years we were able to use the space well into winter.

When we moved in, it was a blank space, with only the window treatments. I added a set of wicker furniture, a couple of rugs, towels on the furniture to keep down the cat hair, and a small space heater. My small stereo was also kept out here.  The best part of the sunroom was watching the summer thunder storms, the second best part was grabbing a book and reading in my recliner even in January. One needed socks and sweater but with on a sunny day it was quite lovely out there. On the other hand, using the room on July and August afternoons was often out of the question. A metal room with large windows heats up quickly, despite the new room darkening curtains I purchased. Oddly, I cannot locate any photos of the sunroom in it more recent iteration, but if you saw the listing photos you'll have seen it. I sold the furniture shortly after the listing was up.

More changes were made in the front yard over the years. As you can see there was originally grass between the evergreen and the house. It was in bad shape (and even worse in front of the evergreen). I hated the scrub bush that took up a corner, and the front bed had little more than lily of the valley.

I had hired a local garden center to give me an idea of what I could do with the space. She suggested a circular patio, but after meeting with the landscaper, I chose this fan shape instead. The patio was another wonderful space to spend time outdoors. It got the sun in the morning, but was mostly in shade in the late afternoon. When it was too hot to be out in the sunroom or on the deck, it was my go-to place. 

The ferns really took over this year, and there are several hostas, bergenia, Jacob's Ladder, bleeding heart, lamium and many more perennials in the bed. I'm glad I was able to see the results, at least for one year.

There is a front patio at C's house, and a large raised bed made of stone. He's informed me I'm not allowed to grow anything, but I may just need to add a few perennials when he's not noticing. At the moment there are two or three lilies. I'm hoping he'll be amenable to adding more. 

I won't bore you with the more recent changes as those have been posted in this blog over the past five years or so. That included replacing the shingles, several windows, renovating the basement to finish what became my craft room, new flooring and basebords. This year, it was the main floor that received new flooring, a new railing to the kitchen, and new baseboards. 

I do love this house, and it has been a great home for us over the past 13 years. But I'm more than ready to let it go, and move onto a different stage of my life. Not having the responsibility of a house and the associated bills feels a little odd, but definitely exciting. Like C did here, I'll provide a certain amount of "rent" each month to him to help cover a share of the costs. That's a simple e-transfer each month. For practical reasons, my name will appear on the utility bills (in case I need to call in a reading or advise of a disruption in service). But otherwise, beyond the expenses for my car and cell-phone, I'll be bill and debt free. That, in itself, is incredibly exciting!

I'm sure there will be a few tears shed, the day I walk out of this house for the last time. It's where my grandson took his first steps, where my three angel kitties (Sasha, Sami, and Silas) spent their last years, and where I was able to play in the dirt to my heart's content each year. But I'll take those memories and so much more with me when I leave.

What I won't miss is this:

At least I hope the city snow clearing will be better at the new house!

Saturday 14 October 2023

Winding down

We had lovely weather over the Thanksgiving weekend, so I finally got the yard work completed. The annuals were pulled from the containers, I cut back a few of the perennials, and the lawn was mowed. We're heading into some cooler weather, so I'm assuming I won't have to mow again this fall, so the mower was moved around to the garage. 

The long range for the week we are moving looks less than favourable, so I decided I'd best get the shed and decks cleared as well. The photo from Wednesday included tubs and boxes of items stored in the shed, along with a box containing the small stereo, a heater, and a small shop vac that I kept in the sun room. The deck chairs and tables were brought in too. There are a pile of items destined for the dump on the front patio - tucked behind the evergreen so the neighbours won't be annoyed. I'll have the items removed the day after the cleaners are done. The larger items including shepherd's hooks and garden tools have been stored in the garage for now. 

All I have left are several containers that will be going to my daughter's, and some that will need to find new homes. I've listed five of them on FB Marketplace as well as local buy/sell groups. I did offer some to a neighbour but she thought about it and declined the offer. The movers will not take the containers with dirt in them (not sure why), so I'll have to load them in my car, if I can't get rid of them before we move. 

On Tuesday, I did a little shopping: cat litter, AAA batteries, and a drop off at Value Village. Yes, I keep finding more stuff to donate. But the big task of the day was going to the pharmacy for my Covid and flu shots. I arrived ahead of time, knowing there would be paper work. Good thing as apparently, since I'd booked on-line, no one in the pharmacy seemed to aware anyone had an appointment. Once in their system, they then had trouble printing of the needed documents. Eventually though, everything was straigtened out and I had both vaccines. They did ask me to stay for 15 minutes, but after wandering the store for about 5 minutes, I decided to head to the car. The only after affects were sore arms, one shot in each, and by Wednesday afternoon the pain was gone except if I pressed on the spot. No redness or swelling, thankfully.

I did get out to stitch and chat on Wednesday afternoon, with just C and I there. She was finishing off the last of the washclothes she's been crocheting, and I finished another mitten. C and her husband will be heading south to Arizona in 2 weeks time. We had a good chat, about their travels, my planned travels, and our various projects. We had visitors too, as a young woman walked in, grabbed a chair and dragged it to a table across the room. Then a young man followed her and did the same. C and I looked at one another, as it isn't usual for the room to be used by others when our group is meeting, but we weren't bothered by it. Not long after, a staff member came by and asked the young couple if they were studying; they said yes, and she explained the room was booked for a library program. She offered them the use of another room, and asked if they had stopped at the desk on the way in. (Of course, they answered no to the question).  I found it interesting as the library provides study carrels in another area of the building, but I can understand wanting more space. Still, I think I would have asked before settling into a space where it was clear other people were using it.

The rest of the week has been cool and quiet. The high temp on Thursday was only 9C (48F) so it was a day spent indoors. In fact, it was a lazy day entirely. The only thing I accomplished all day was making homemade pepperoni/bacon/red onion pizza for dinner and the dishes. Instead I watched PVR'ed television and later baseball. 

Of course, that just meant I had to bust my butt on Friday and get caught up on the housework. Laundry, vaccuming, washing floors, and a bit more packing were accomplished. All of the items hanging on the walls (mostly photographs) were wrapped and packed away. It is starting to echo in here! I also went through my clothing and packed away my summer clothing, bathing suits, sleeveless tees, capris, and shorts. I sorted out some items for donation to the thrift store, as well as tossing some pieces that have seen better days. (I'll admit I have far too many tees, capris, and jeans). 

Late in the afternoon, I ran out to pick up a few groceries as Safeway had ground beef on sale. I've enough meat tucked in the freezer now, I won't need to buy any more meat until after our move. After my busy day, I spent the evening watching football. Our Saskatchewan Roughriders had a good lead on their opponent after the first half, and while the Calgary Stampeders tried hard to lose the game, our team managed to snatch defeat in the last five minutes. Sigh, the last few years have been so hard for fans. I won't be surprised to see many changes in the coaches and players at the end of this season. 

Today, my son and I are heading out to find new mattresses and bed frames for delivery to C's house on moving day. I see no point, in having them delivered here and then have the moving crew move them. The old mattresses are worn out and the metal frames, are those cheap ones that the store threw in when we bought our mattress and box spring sets. (I don't think they do that anymore). We're both looking at platform beds so we don't need box springs. 

And tomorrow, I've heading out for an overnight visit with my daughter and grandson. I'll deliver some of the containers and some other items to store in her shed. There are a few things I've picked up for her over the past few weeks too. The weather is supposed to be nice for the next few days, so it's a good time to make the trip.

To end, I'll leave you with a photo of a Adirondack chair my brother built. I've been drooling over it since he built it a few months ago, and we settled on a price yesterday. I've told him to keep it for now, as he'll be doing a couple of trade shows later this fall, and I suspect I won't be the only one who thinks it's very special. (He'll have to build them a different one! But he can use it as a prototype.)

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Monday 9 October 2023

Saturday 7 October 2023

Making a list (or two)

We've had a busy week! Monday was inspection day at my son's new house. There were a few minor issues that we hadn't already noticed, and one potentially major problem that we could not have seen. Some of the simple things were a extension on a downspout that needs to be re-attached, smoke detectors that need to be replaced, and a dry sump hole. The latter is actually a good thing in my mind, but the inspector seems to think it means the weeping tile outside has failed. As long as we keep the water away from the house, we should be fine. I would note that the sump hole in my current property has been dry for the last 13 years (that I know of).

The more potentially dangerous issue is due to the use of aluminum and copper wire through the electrical system. The inspector advised that there was a 40/60 split of the use to the breaker box. When these metals are mixed, there can be arching resulting in a fire. The fix is to have an audit performed, testing each plug/switch in the house, and adding some sort of goop (his word) to the ends of the wires. Not fixing it could result in insurance companies refusing to insure the property. Our realtor contacted theirs when we left the house, and discovered the sellers had the necessary work done in 2019. Interesting that it was only recently identified as an issue - the house was built in 1971, and they purchased it in 2005. 

So Tuesday was the big day, as the conditions were lifted and the house is officially C's as of November 6. He seems a little less excited than I am. But I think he's feeling a little overwhelmed. He was reading the inspection report - things like anode rods (water heater), a/c coil and furnace/duct cleaning made his eyes glaze over. I think he's recognizing too that yard work is going to be part of his routine as well. I'll help of course, but I don't always plan to be there. 

In fact, I've booked a bus trip to Minot in late November. The price for three nights of hotel, breakfast, and transportation was very good. I haven't really started my Christmas shopping - I've got Eli's gift - so I'll try to get some done there. A stay over 48 hours allows me to bring back up to $800 duty free and I can't imagine I'll come anywhere close to the amount. The fact they have shuttles to Joanne's and Hobby Lobby were definitely tempting. Do you suppose I'll come back with more yarn? I have to remember this is meant for Christmas gifts. It's also an opportunity to meet others on the trip and I'm sure I won't be the only solo on the bus.

I also made calls to several moving companies, as my first choice has no availablility for the date we're planning to move. I spoke to two representatives of companies that operate across various provinces, including here in Regina. Wow, have prices increased since my last move. I'd hoped that one of the local companies will provide a better rate. In addition, I'd sent requests to a couple of cleaning companies, as I'd like to have a move-out cleaning done that I don't have to do myself. We'll move on the Monday, but the new owner won't have possession until the Wednesday, so I will have time to clean myself, if need be.

Wednesday was also Stitch and Chat, four of us in attendance, as S is away visiting family in Victoria. We had another woman pop in, wondering if any one of us knew anything about hooker rugs. I said, rug hooking? and she said, no it's another form of making rugs that uses material rather than strips of yarn. None of us have ever heard of it, but we asked her to come by with her project to share it with us. It would be nice if she does, as our group will soon be even smaller as two of the members will be heading south in about 3 weeks time.

I did get some more packing completed this week, including the rest of the basement craft room. All that is left downstairs is to pack up the laundry room, and for my son to pack his clothing and personal items. There is lots of time to get the main floor packed, though I have gone through drawers and other storage items to sort and pack some items. I've found more things for donation. I'd packed up a box of books and that silly cat of mine got hold of an edge of tape and pulled it off. We've always said he's the "eat the paste" cat and it is true.

Friday, I was feeling frustrated by the lack of response from the movers and cleaning companies, so I made the decision to stay on the phone until I reached a real person. The first moving company didn't answer, but the second one did. It is a local company, with availability on the date I want to move. Their price seemed a bit high but there are no hidden fees - it's an all-in price. To save the movers time (and thus me money as they charge by the hour), we'll move all of the boxes to the garage. They'll only need to enter the house to move the furniture pieces, none of which are particularly heavy. On the other end, we'll do the same with boxes to the garage and furniture into the house.

After that, I phoned a cleaning company and they answered almost immediately. They, too, had the availability I needed and the price is about what I had anticipated. So that is booked too! 

Now I get to move on to the more mundane tasks, cancelling my cable and house insurance, setting up a mail forwarding, and changing my address with a myriad of businesses and governmental departments/agencies. That's where the lists come in. I'm sure I'll forget something - but hopefully not something that is very important!

This weekend I'm going to be cleaning up the yard. We had frost overnight into Friday, and the first of the annuals, the impatience gave up the ghost. Poor sad thing, it did so well this year. While there may not be frost for the rest of the week, the window of decent is closing quickly so I can't procrastinate any longer. Of course, I'll have to fit it in between baseball (sad that my Blue Jays are done for the year), football, and curling. :)

I'll leave you with a photo my daughter sent of Eli. She remembered to get his hair cut before school pictures this year, and this was a photo she took before he went to school that day. I do hope he behaved during his school photo!

Have a great week ahead everyone!