Saturday 20 July 2024

Weather, an anniversary, and time to relax

The storms that blew through and around us on Sunday and cooled the temperatures down in the early part of the week. We were able to open windows at night, allowing the house to cool off. In fact, on Tuesday morning my daughter was considering whether to turn on the furnace. NO!!!

Swim lessons continued for the week, at 8:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eli also had day camp on Tuesday, though Thursday's session was cancelled. I went with them on Tuesday, and D and I visited Value Village, Walmart and a used book store before returning to the school. We sat outside in the car, windows open as no a/c was required, and read. At V.V. I picked up a small bookcase and found it fits perfectly behind my bedroom door. I've been gathering books at garage sales and picked up a couple more at the used bookstore. There is room enough on the shelves for a couple dozen books, though I'll like swap them out before it is full.

The heat returned on Wednesday and has stayed with us. I ought to have been outdoors in the morning working in the yard, but the mosquitos are wicked bad. Normally, they don't bother me much, preferring other, younger subjects but there are so many of them, they're not fussy. Instead, I stayed in the house, read blogs, played Mahjonng on-line, did some knitting, and binge-watched NCIS. Oh, I read too, finising James Patterson's NYPD Red2, one of the two books I picked up at the used book store on Tuesday.

Thursday was the 10th anniversary of the death my aunt, my mother's youngest sister. I shared this photo on FB, taken when my mom was about 14-15 years old.

From left to right, my Aunt Ann, Aunt Enid, Mom (Betty) and Uncle Bob. He passed away at the young age of 45 of lung cancer. Mom also passed away of cancer, just over 20 years ago, just 9 days prior to her 75th birthday. Aunt Ann died about 3 months later - I'm not certain what caused her death; she had just turned 73. Aunt Enid had several strokes and was living in the nursing home when she passed away at the age of 80.

We woke to the haze of forest fires on Friday morning. The sun was red and there was a hint of smoke in the air. It didn't help keep the heat at bay but did cool it slightly by a degree. I did get outdoors for 20 minutes or so to bag weeds I'd picked up earlier, and pulling more of the darned things. By the time I game indoors I was soaking wet. Normally we have dry heat, that day the humidity was nearly 50%. Again, I realize this is lower than what many of you experience, but we're not accustomed to it. 

It was Eli's final day of swimming lessons, so I went along for the evening lesson. To celebrate we went to the local ice cream shop for a treat too. Then there was football to watch. Good news all around as the coach of the Edmonton Elks was fired (not my team but I disliked the guy from the time he was here), and our Saskatchewan Roughriders won. It was an ugly game with more defence than offence and some questionable calls by the refs - one of which likely won the game for us. It ended with an ugly take down by one of the opposing team on our running back. Needless as there was no time on the clock at that point. The television coverage ended and I haven't heard if there will be consequences.

We ran out of water in the rain barrel on Thursday, but the garden needed watering, so early this morning I put out the hose to give it a good soaking. D mowed most of the back yard about 8 a.m. We're back in the house now, the a/c has been cutting in regularly and I suspect we may head to the pool this afternoon. Otherwise it will be a quiet day, with baseball and football to watch, and I'll keep working on the mittens.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 13 July 2024

Heating up!

 Summer has arrived! We've had temps ranging from 25C(77F) to 31C(88F) over the week. That may not seem overly warm/hot for most of you, but as we've been experiencing much cooler temps, the difference is truly noticeable.

I've spent time outdoors, early mornings with my tea, and later, tackling the weeds. We've had a lot of dew in the morning so it is often too wet, at least for me, to get down in the dirt. The garden is starting to look quite tidy or at least half of it. The asparagus is quite overgrown and the strawberries make a thick carpet, hiding some of the weeds. The photo on Wednesday was half of the pickings from earlier in the week. It's a small patch and I expect there will never be enough to do any canning/freezing, but they sure are delicious fresh out of the garden.

The large flower bed, on the other hand, is a jungle of weeds and plants. A number of the weeds are tangled among the rock surrounding the bed and impossible to remove. I've decided to cut back the alyssum (already started), and will dig it and the lilies (we have plenty) this fall. I'll harvest the poppy seeds and allow the lamium and the oxalis to do it's thing. We'll have to move as many rocks as possible - I'm thinking we'll roll them away temporarily - to get at the weeds. 

The peonies are still blooming, though I'm having to remove spent blooms every day. The containers are doing well, with the exception of one of the tall ones. For some reason it wasn't draining and the petunias I had planted in it were drowned by the excess rain. Poor things! The cherry tomato plant is doing very well, and seems to dry out quickly; apparently they are very thirsty.

Eli had twice a day swimming lessons, and day camp on Tuesday and Thursday as well. I drove them in on Tuesday, and while Eli had fun at camp, D and I went shopping. We went to Value Village first, where I found bath sheets, several brand new tea towels and dish clothes and a blanket for less than $15. D found several pieces of clothing for Eli and three bags of "real" Lego. In total we spent around $50 with my senior discount. Our next stop was Sport Chek as D needed a new pair of walking shoes, and found these and two pairs of shoes for Eli for school this fall (indoor and outdoor). She still has an employee discount as she is off on sick leave. I won't tell you what she spent, certainly more than I would have but with her discount, the cost was nearly half of what she would have paid at regular pricing. 

A trip to Dollarama and then to Walmart finished off the shopping for a few items she wanted and a few groceries we needed. It was time to pick up Eli at his day camp. They had taken the children to a nearby beach where the kids played on the playground equipment. With no lifejackets they weren't able to go in the water. That was okay, as Eli was in the pool before day camp and again in the evening.

We also had the contractor out on Monday and a half day on Tuesday. He replaced the screen door on the front porch with a proper door with a venting window. He also replaced and installed door knob kits and dead bolts on the door between the porch and living room, and the side door as well. He and his helper also did some caulking where the gate latch had damaged the exterior stucco, repaired the latch itself, installed a hook in the basement ceiling (after beefing up the joists) for a sensory swing, and repaired the door sill at the back door. He'll be back later this summer to retrofit the garage door opening to put in a header for a roll-up door. I don't think we were ever told that the current garage door is so bent it won't open. D will want to park the car in the garage in the winter, so the work is needed.

We made it to the pool once this week on Wednesday and she and I also got the basement set up again for Eli's play zone. Stanley, the cat also got his very own Catio as he likes to be outdoors. Now, when we try to catch him to bring him back indoors, it's much easier. He still argues, but I've been taking him out in the morning when I have my cup of tea and letting him hang out with me. Eli, decided to try it out too. :)

D took Eli to his day camp on Thursday while I stayed home (out of the heat, as I'd been out weeding and cutting back the peonies for most of the morning). Eli was a tired boy when they arrived home, so he missed out on his evening swim lesson and was asleep in no time. 

Friday, we awoke to a thunderstorm and rain. It didn't last long but remained cloudy until about 9. D and Eli headed to his swim lesson, while I went to pick up a few groceries. The heat and humity was high, the mosquitos and dragonflies were out in force (go dragonflies), so Eli and I spent the remainder of the morning indoors, while his mom went to get her hair cut and coloured. She wasn't happy with the cut at all, as she'd asked to have it cut to shoulder blade length, but the hairdresser took about two inches more.  She won't be able to put her hair in a pony tail for a few weeks but will try pig tails to keep the hair off her neck. It's a true shame as she paid a crazy amount of money for the cut and colour, and while the latter is lovely, the former is not.

I finished two books this week. The first was James Clavell's "King Rat", a story of POW's in Manila during World War II. It was definitely something different, and somewhat disturbing. The second book was "NYPD RED3" by James Patterson. It took me awhile to get into the book and I can't say it was my favorite book of his. I do like mysteries and this had some of that, but I felt there was some unnecessary incidents and the explanation at the end wasn't entirely satisfying.
Today we're expecting more stormy weather, but I think we'll head over to the park later this morning where he can play with friends. We live just under two blocks away. I'll get some more weeding done, and there is baseball and football to watch. I've also started a third book and there are mittens to be knitted. I'm certainly never bored, as I have lots to do.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 6 July 2024

No sun, still fun

My daughter has spent much of this week cleaning up after the 5 inches of rain that fell over a period of about 48 hours. The sump pumps, newly installed in April, couldn't keep up to the deluge. There was water coming in too, through cracks in the basement floor. The shop vac got a good work out on the weekend, and the dehumidifier is still running. 

We had a local guy come by and clean out the gutters. My bad, because it was noted in the inspection report that they needed cleaning and I had thought we could manage it this summer. Well, we/I waited too late and the gutters were jampacked with leaves and debris. While some water was getting through, the sheer amount of rain was overflowing the gutters and clearly finding its way into the basement. He also cut back several branches on a spruce tree just outside my bedroom window as they were brushing across the roof.

D lifted all of the foam tiles that she'd laid down just a few weeks ago. I'm so glad we went with those rather than carpet tiles. The latter would have been ruined, while the foam tiles needed to dry and then were sprayed with a bleach/water mixture and allowed to dry again. She's still in the midst of putting these in place. We did have to throw two rugs out that I'd brought from the sunroom at the house I'd sold last November. They were soaked and by the time they were mostly dry, had a funky odour. We're looking for a less absorbent rug for the area that includes Eli's modular couch and television. The couch comes in several pieces and can be transformed into a fort, or a lounge chair, or whatever a child might imagine. The covers are removable too, making clean-up easy.

While she was working in the basement, I spent cleaning house and hanging with Eli. Although he hasn't had a seizure since February and is on anti-seizure meds, we're cautious about leaving him on his own for too long. I did manage to get outdoors early one morning to do a bit of weeding in the small garden. The lettuce is ready for eating, and I pulled a few radishes too. My peas are coming up nicely and reaching out for the trellis, while Eli's carrots need thinning. My carrots are up too, but I didn't make it that far into the garden to weed. That's because it continues to rain, just enough to keep the garden wet and mucky. We are looking for the sun to finally appear on Sunday. 

We did have a nice evening last Sunday and enjoyed the parade. It wasn't a lengthy event, and we live a mere block and a half away from the route. The highlight for Eli was the candy that the participants threw from their vehicle and/or float. He was recognized a few times by friends. 

Later in the evening there were fireworks. We were able to watch them from Eli's bedroom window on the top floor! So much better than sitting in the park being eaten by mosquitos.

Because of the rain, the Canada Day activities had to be moved indoors on Monday. There was a giant blow up slide, a bouncy castle, and a fort like structure too. On the other side, there were games of chance, set up by one of his teachers and her husband. The proceeds from the games go to a charity here in town. Even so, each "winner" (and I didn't see many who didn't win) receives a small prize and Eli won a new fidget toy. There was a long line-up for face painting. We also got to see a kung-fu demonstration by a local club. Eli had enough by this point, and since it was actually quite nice outdoors despite being cloudy, we went to the pool for about 45 minutes.

On Thursday, Eli had day camp in a nearby community. It's a small group, meant for children with special needs. There were just three that afternoon, and the group leader decided he would fit better in the morning group as he is quite social in small groups and the other two children are not. D had booked swimming lessons next week in the morning, so he'll continue for the two days next week in the afternoon group and then switch. There were nine in the morning group and I know he'll have a lot of fun.

D and I went shopping while he was at his day camp. Rather, she went shopping and I tagged along for the most part. I did pick up groceries when we got to Walmart. I wasn't able to get some of the items on my list so planned to get those in town on Friday.

I slept in Friday morning - it was after 8 a.m., but in my defense I was sleeping with a cuddly kid. He took his time falling asleep and there were several stories told. Not only was there a scary story about a snake, but a bank robbery too (we were the robbers, but at least we gave the proceeds to the poor). The child has an incredible imagination. I'm supposed to tell him a story, but he always takes over with his suggestions.

It rained, again, overnight, and since I was late waking, I didn't get out to the garden before it was getting too warm to be comfortable out there. I picked up the last of the groceries, and after dropping those off, D, Eli and I went to a couple of stores for items D was wanting.  

Meanwhile there were storms building all around us. Our a/c cut in for the first time since I arrived. We keep it fairly warm in the house to cut back on the electrical useage, about 24C/75F. The upstairs tends to be warmer still as there is only a single vent up there. My brother had a/c installed in the house in the city (his son and a roommate live there), so he gave us a portable unit. D was able to get a conversion kit for her bedroom window and we got it hooked up and running as well. The temperatures are expected to increase steadily through the next week, and the a/c on both levels will be much appreciated!

Back at home, D put together a Lego table for Eli. He had been using the dining room table, but with three of us, there wasn't a whole lot of room left for dining with all the pieces scattered. The Lego table has a shelf below for larger pieces/projects, while the pieces he is working on fit inside. It has a lid, which will hide some of his Lego too. I should say, he also has a six or seven tier plastic container that holds the rest of his Lego. Some of the pieces were from my son, as I'd kept his Lego for "some day" when I have grandchildren. Eli often gets Lego kits for Christmas and birthday, and his grandma's look for it at the thrift store too. His paternal grandmother works in such a store in B.C. and sent a whole bag full of pieces just a week or so ago. Can you say spoiled? Just a little bit! :)

Not only will it be fun for Eli, but with the lid, Stanley the cat can reach the window sill. Two birds, one table. 

I did get out in the afternoon and did some weeding in the small garden. There was too little space between the rows, so I pulled the radishes that were getting close to flowering anyway to make more room for me to maneuver. The peas are beginning to flower, and once I cleared the weeds, I could see that the sweet peas are starting their climb up the trellis. I do hope I'll see some flowers this year. The strawberries are doing well and we're picking a few berries every day. The asparagus has started going to seed; because of wind and rain are covering some of the strawberry patch. I'm guessing that's why the birds aren't getting to them. 

Today, I'm planning to be out in the yard again. I'll finish off the garden first, and then head for the flower beds. Some of the weeds are massive and I don't need them going to seed. I'll spray too and lay down more cardboard on the rocks. We'll probably go to the park or the pool at some point. There is a baseball tournament happening this weekend, so the pool might be quite busy. They do have a capacity limit that they actually adhere to! 

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!

Saturday 29 June 2024

On my way

As you'll have seen in Wednesday's pictures the peonies are open! I'll expect to be at the house by later today and I'm hopeful I'll get to see the blooms in person. The area has had a significant amount of rain over the past few days and I'm sure many of the flowers have been damaged. D did cut a couple and brought them indoors. She googled how to take care of them, and made certain to wash them well to avoid bringing in some pests. 

I did not get everything done I'd hoped to this week, though a fair amount of weeding in the back was accomplished. Something I discovered was a bit worrisome; there is a utility box in the back yard and while I was digging out weeds, I came across what appeared to be a utility line or possibly an irrigation line - I couldn't tell which. I spent some time on the phone trying to reach someone at the utility company but was unsuccessful. That meant going back to the chat feature. The initial AI chatbot clearly didn't understand what I was asking, but at least it transferred me to a live person almost immediately. He was located in another city and unable to answer my question, so I was transferred to tech support. After some consultation with his supervisor, I learned that their line would be at least 4-6 feet underground. As a result I did a bit more digging and discovered a very long tree root. 

Tuesday was a very good day. To make a long story short (as much as I ever can), I bought a new-to-me vehicle! I've been driving my 2007 Toyota Corolla for over 14 years and though it is a good vehicle, it is starting to show signs of wearing out. I had set aside enough funds from the sale of my house in the city to pay off the mortgage on the old house in town, not thinking it would sell as quickly as it did. Since it did, I decided to use some of those funds for a newer vehicle. 

It is a 2023 Chevy Equinox, with low mileage and more bells and whistles than I'll ever know what to do with. We took it out on the highway and for a short city drive after the salesman had gone through several of the features. While I appreciate a few of the extras, I do worry it just means more things can go wrong. (Though the back-up camera will be a treat.) With regular maintenance, I hope it will last for nearly 15 years too. After a couple of hours of paperwork, I left the vehicle at the lot for an oil change and detailing. Pick-up was scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday. 

My brother R and his friend P came on Wednesday morning to install the new garage door opener that C had purchased. P needed R's help to hold up the one end of the rail and opener while he drilled the other end into the wall above the garage door. Since that didn't take a lot of time, R took apart a large shelving unit, built by the former renter, from along the one side of the garage. It had blocked the side by C's car and made it more difficult for us to park both vehicles in the garage. Once the shelves were apart, he used the lumber and the base, to build a work bench. He and I moved it against the far wall, opening up the parking area and providing a space to put tools.

I did some errands on Thursday morning, including getting the license plate for the new vehicle. Since the dealership would have given me an amount well below the market value, I decided I'd have to sell the Toyota privately. Back at the house, I finished the weeding out behind the garage, piled up the yard waste and sprayed the area. It won't likely keep the weeds from growing while I'm away, so I'll have my son spray in a couple of weeks to keep them at bay.

Friday was set aside for completing the packing. However, the morning started out with a panicked call from my daughter. They have had heavy rains in the area, the sump pumps weren't kicking in (these were just installed in April), and the basement had standing water in it. She went over to the old house, possession was happening at noon, and found water in that basement too. After a trip to Canadian Tire, where she picked up a shop vac and a dehumidifier, she went back to the old house and cleaned up as much as she could with the vac. Meanwhile I called our realtor to give him the head's up. He spoke with the buyer's agent, and they were not surprised, and not upset about it. The buyer said, "Shoot, we should have taken possession a few days earlier and I could have done the grading." The agent was actually in the house by this point, and assured Rob, there wouldn't be any issue regarding the sale. Phew! By noon, the new owners were in the house and our involvement is done.

Back here in the city, I had a call from my brother's friend. R had told him about my Corolla being available for sale. After a conversation, G said he would take it, sight unseen for a price close to my original asking. He and his wife drove the 3 1/2 hours from Prince Albert on Friday to pick up the car. 

They arrived shortly after 4:15, they took it for a short test drive and came back to say they wanted it. I drove us down to the insurance agents where the vehicle was transferred to them, and they got their license plate. Back at the house, we tried to wrestle the old plate off the car, but G figures he'll have to grind the bolts. I sent them on their way with my plate - if they get stopped by the RCMP, they can explain the situation and do have the new plate with them. They will mail the plate back to me (and I'll mail the second key to them), so I can cancel the plate.

My son and I hopped in his car, and he dropped me off at the dealership. The salesman and I sat in the car, while he went through the various buttons. Oh my goodness, the buttons - some were familiar, some were not. On the way home, I stopped twice, once to fill the car with gasoline and then at Subway to grab sandwiches for dinner for C and I. I am thrilled to say I was able to park the larger vehicle between two others with no issues. 

Later, my brother R came by the house and loaded a small stand alone a/c unit to take out to D. The a/c we had installed doesn't do much for the second floor because there is only a single vent. She'll only use the stand alone as needed...if summer ever actually arrives.

D had the plumber in twice on Friday, once in the morning, once later in the day. His recommendation is a third sump pump. I think I'll call in the local plumbers for their advice before we go ahead with any more work. The sump pumps were working (I assume) but just unable to keep up with the amount of water coming into the house. Meanwhile the foam tiles she put down are wet, so need to be lifted so the floor can dry, and the tiles cleaned before they are put down again. I'm so glad we didn't decide on carpet tiles!

In between calls from D, the realtor, the car buyer, and my brother, I managed to get laundry done, vacuumed the main floor, and organized most of the items I'll take with me. I'd had several items in the trunk of my car, and had moved those to the garage earlier in the week, but there was still clothing, my camera, another bag of assorted items,  and a bag of jigsaw puzzles. I won't need them until late fall but as I'll have room in the SUV, I'll take them with me now. This morning, I finished with the few grocery items, things that C doesn't normally eat and will spoil before I return. Oh, and my laptop too! Can't forget that. :)

I'm off to load the car and get on the road. I expect we'll be spending much of the weekend cleaning up the water in the basement. The town is having a parade on Saturday evening; we'll attend as it will pass by just a half block from the house. There are activities in the park on Sunday too for Canada Day. The weather is supposed to be mostly sunny. I sure hope so, we'll all tired of the rain. Then I get to start weeding!

To my Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day weekend. To all, have a wonderful week ahead. 

Saturday 22 June 2024

Who will stop the rain?

Time is getting away from me and the end of June is closing in. Of course, the weather isn't cooperating (still) and I'm not getting into the yard to do the work I want to complete before I head out of the city at the end of the month. We've had more rain and cool temperatures. The weather forecasts keep called for warmer weather a few days ahead and then...the forecast changes and we're getting more rain. I ought not to complain because I know there are areas in both Canada and the United States that are suffering from the heat. 

In any event, I've been spending more time indoors, knitting, doing housework, and watching sports. I've completed two kitchen towels, seven dishcloths and have nearly completed a baby sweater. This is from the yarn I purchased at V.V. a couple of weeks ago. I still have more to work through. The crochet project I started was frogged as I did not like it, so I went back to knitting.

On Monday, I had an appointment to meet with the lawyer in the morning to sign off on the paperwork for the old house. Check one more item off the to-do list. I picked up groceries on my way home, almost all sale items so the old pocketbook took a smaller hit than it might have. I spent the afternoon on the phone - first calling the utility companies to advise of the change in ownership effective June 28. For one I left a message, the second I was able to speak to someone on the phone and it was dealt with efficiently. However, the third was a bit annoying. I wasn't able to get through on the phone so used the "chat" feature. It's a feature alright. I provided my information and what I was trying to do. Well, the person on the other end of the chat couldn't seem to understand that we had already moved (and set up service at the new house). I simply wanted to know who should do the final meter read and when at the old house. After some back and forth, we finally got on the same page and I got the necessary instructions. But not before she requested the new owner's name and telephone number. I finally referred her to the buyer's agent.

I also made a few calls for my son. The fence in the backyard has been leaning for some time. With the high winds we've experienced, the back fence was leaning even further into the alley. He went back to see if he could prop it up; he could not, so he gave it a push towards the back yard and it went right over, it was so rotten. Again, I met with mixed success - I sent one e-mail and left two messages. Only one got back to me that day and we arranged to meet on Tuesday to go over the scope of the work.

My brother was in the city on Tuesday morning and dropped by for tea and to drop off a big bag of fresh rhubarb from their garden. Not long after he left, the fence guy called to say he was on his way. We walked around the yard as I showed the work that needed to be done. The old fence runs across the back of the garage and needs to be removed. Eventually, C would like to add a garage door to the back of the building to allow for alley access. We'll also add a fence on the west side of the house - currently, there is a short chicken wire fence. Those neighbours (renters) have dogs and we'd like to put something a little sturdier to ensure they stay in their own yard. There is a metal gate to be removed mid-way up the driveway, and a gate to be repaired between the patio and the back yard. 

The quote was received on Wednesday morning, and C and I decided it was a bit high so I made a couple more attempts to find a contractor. I did let the fellow know that we were expecting another quote or two and received a text back saying "I could possibly work down the price a little for you on my end..." Hmmm, does that mean he overpriced the quote hoping I'd not look any further? 

It was raining heavily all morning so I ought to have stayed home and done housework. But, instead I dropped off a donation at V.V. My friend S had given me a box of yarn from her mother's stash last week. I'd sorted it on the weekend and had a large bag of yarn I know I would never use. S's mom passed away in 2021 and S has been holding onto this yarn since then so she was glad to be rid of it. I asked how I could say thank you and she suggested I make mittens for her 5 grandchildren. I made sure to keep the yarn I can use for that project. 

Anyway back to V.V., I found four lovely plates made in Portugal for just over $5. D has limited dishware and most of it plastic. These are a pretty teal colour, one of her favorites, so I know she'll appreciate the addition. I will too, because I dislike eating off plastic! 

We finally had a nice day on Thursday, though we'd had another soaking rain overnight. It was a quiet day spent knitting. I had thought I might be able to get outside on Friday morning, but awoke again to more puddles. Another fencing contractor stopped by to quote on the work. He seemed confused by the scope of the work, and based on his comments, I don't think he really wants the job. I've still not heard back from three other contractors - I understand they are very busy but a courtesy call would have been nice.

The morning had warmed up before the contractor arrived, so I had spent some time cleaning my car of debris, vacuuming and wiping down the dash and console, as well as the doors. The mats needed cleaning too, so I pulled them out and planned to use the little green machine on them once they were vacuumed. That didn't get done so it's a task for today. Assuming it doesn't rain, that is.

The contractor showed up, and once he left, I went to the front yard to do some weeding in the round bed. The weeds are certainly loving all this rain. The ground is saturated, making it a muddy mess to dig in, but the weeds are definitely easier to remove. I went around back and cleaned up the pile of yard waste in the back yard and filled up the green bin. 

We've had more rain overnight, so yard work will be out of the question, at least for the morning. The sun is shining at the moment, and the radar seems to suggest the rain and thunderstorms will miss us. I've got a few errands to run, then it will be home to watch baseball and football, knit, and maybe, just maybe, spend some time in the back yard. I leave for town next weekend and plan to be there for two months. I'll leave instructions with C to at least spray back there on occasion.

I'll leave you with a photo D sent me of the peonies out front. I'm hoping I'll see some blooming when I return.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 15 June 2024

Rain, rain, go away - the weeds won't quit growing!

First things first - the house is SOLD!

Second, Cheryl was correct.  That weird contraption in the photo from Wednesday is a homemade gumball/jellybean machine. I did a Google lens image search to learn this fact, as when I took the photo (at Value Village - good catch, Kim), I had no clue. How they arrived at a price of $7.99 for the item, is beyond me. For the record, I did not buy it. 

Our weird weather has continued. On Sunday morning, we woke to near freezing weather. The airport just on the outskirts of the city registered -1.1C (30F) sometime overnight, though it was slightly warmer in the city proper. The day warmed up nicely, and I spent a couple of hours in the back yard. I got the debris and weeds I'll pulled raked up, sprayed the weeds that were left behind, and started the clean up of the area between the house and garage. (No photos yet, it's still a mess). Argghh...I found more garbage back there, pieces of metal, wood, broken bricks and pavers, hiding under the a/c unit and behind the gate, most of it covered by leaves. I also managed to move the remaining stones out to the front yard. By noon, I was done and ready to enjoy an afternoon of baseball, football and later in the evening, hockey. 

Monday, started off sunny, but clouded over by 9:30 a.m. and then the rain started. In just over an hour we'd had a 11 millimeters of rain (about 4/10ths of an inch). It continued to rain and by day's end we had received 27.4 mm - just over an inch of rain. My attempt at creating a river to run the rain off the front flower bed wasn't quite right, so I had to go out and move a couple of rocks. Note: most of these rocks were moved from the back yard. Just a couple minutes outside and I was soaked! I was so glad I'd gone out early in the morning, and made my grocery run. I spent the afternoon knitting dish cloths and starting another kitchen towel.

On the other hand, Tuesday started out cool'ish and warmed up steadily through the day. I couldn't get out in the back yard, as it was again, a mudpit. I bet you can guess what I did instead. Yep, I went shopping. Now, in my defence I needed to find a bathing suit for later in the week. When I had gone to D's ahead of the listing, I'd taken my bathing suit with me. Since I'm planning to spend July and August with her and Eli, I knew I'd need it for pool and beach time. Well, I was talking to my friend S on the weekend; she was travelling to Saskatchewan on Monday to visit family. We made tentative plans to meet at the hot springs at Manitou Beach later in the week. And then, I realized I had no bathing suit, or at least not a complete suit. I wear two pieces and do have a spare skort. 

I'm finding that trying to live in two places may require duplicates of some things. I'd thought I'd managed to divide my clothing between the two, but it seems some duplicates are going to be needed. That includes some toiletries as well, since I forgot to bring my toothbrush and deoderant when I returned to the city. The former I had extras of and I've raided my travel sized items for the latter. But I did pick up deoderant since the travel versions won't last very long. Question: has deoderant skyrocketed in price where you are? The least expensive version at Walmart(!) was $5.97 on sale - it is the larger size but really?

I chatted with S on Tuesday evening, and we made arrangements to meet at the hot springs Wednesday afternoon. That night I went to bed with a long list of items that I needed to do before I left the city. I'm not certain why, but I feel the need to ensure that everything is tidied and put away before I leave, even for one night. 

Realtor Rob sent me a text asking if we could chat on Wednesday morning. "Oh, oh", I thought - something has come up. In actuality, Rob had received the form to lift the conditions, however the seller's realtor had delivered the deposit cheque one day late and as a result there was another form that needed to be reviewed and signed as well. They have asked, and I agreed, to have the sewer line clean before possession date. D has contacted the local plumber and it will be completed next week. Can I just say how much relief I feel at knowing that in two weeks, I'll be finished with the property? 

Around lunchtime, I drove out to Manitou Beach Resort and Mineral Spa. It was a windy day, and the radio kept announcing the possibility of severe thunderstorms with conditions that might result in tornados - though nothing of the sort came to be in the area. I arrived ahead of check-in time, but they had a room ready so I was able to watch the end of the Blue Jays game and read some of my book before S arrived. She dropped her gear, we got into our bathing suits and headed for the pool. 

I've stolen this photo from the internet as I didn't take my phone. There are three areas to the pool. The one in the foreground is the hot pool, with a temperature of 103F, in the background on the right is the warm pool, temperature 100F, and on the left is the cool pool, temperature of 93F. I'm not sure how they manage the temperatures but there was certainly a noticeable difference between the three areas.

The water is pumped in from Little Manitou Lake, known as the "Dead Sea of Canada". According to an article I found, the waters are high in sodium, magnesium, and potassium salts. I can confirm that one floats very easily in the water, and a shower post soak is necessary to wash off the salt! We spent about and hour and a half in the pool, before heading upstairs to clean up for dinner.  We climbed back into our bathing suits and went for another soak later in the evening. 

According to locals and other visitors, the waters are beneficial for joint paint, arthritus, and skin conditions. I did feel very relaxed after our visits, and if nothing else, we both slept very well that night. After a leisurely breakfast, we headed back to the pool for another good soak. Then it was time to pack and head in opposite directions. We had a wonderful visit, catching up on family matters, travels - past and future, and recalling memories. We realized the last time we'd seen one another in person was our trip to Las Vegas in October, 2019. We won't let that much time pass before our next visit.

I drove home under cloudy skies, and ran into rain off and on, occasionally quite heavy. It was raining as I reached the city, but it had quit by the time I arrived at the house. Saku was happy to see me, and I simply dropped my bag and settled in on the couch. The sun came out by evening.

There was no yardwork completed on Friday. Again, with the rain, the back yard is far too wet. Instead, I caught up on some housework, knitted while watching old episodes of NCIS. So far, I've completed three kitchen towels and four dishcloths - decided to take a break from knitting and picked up a crocheting project. Not sure I like it, so I won't bore you with details at this point. There was baseball and football in the evening to watch as well.

Today, I'm planning to weed the front round flowerbed. Two of the bugleweed perennial ground cover plants are doing well and flowering, while the two darker ones seem to be stuck. The weeds are coming back though nowhere as many as were there before I weeded last. I'll try to keep ahead of them while I'm here. Speaking of weeds, this is a photo of one of my pots of pansies that D sent me. I asked he
r if she had noticed the weed in front, she had not. :) 

The peonies haven't yet bloomed, but the poppies are about to, and my garden spot is full of small weeds. My work will be cut out for me when I return at the beginning of July. 

I've no other plans for the weekend, though expect I'll entertain myself with baseball and football, and maybe even the final of the Stanley Cup series. I'm not expecting the Edmonton Oilers to win the next game, and they are currently down 3-0 in series, a best of 7 games.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 8 June 2024

Selling, shopping, and a conditional offer!

Yahoo, the old house was finally listed! The realtor arrived about lunch time on Sunday, and we did a walk through, ran through the numbers, settled on a price, and I signed the paperwork. By mid-afternoon Monday, the house was on the Zillow and Realtor websites. I'm not keen on the write-up the realtor provided, but I decided to withhold judgement for now. 

After lunch at home, D and Eli headed over to the local park while I watched the Blue Jays game. I followed them when the game ended. Eli had a great time running around the park with friends, and then climbing the tree near his mom and me.

I got away about 8:30 Monday morning, heading back to the city. I had decided that there would be no yard work done - I was ready for a relaxing (and quiet) afternoon.  I did run out to pick up a few groceries, and prepped rice and marinated chicken for fried rice for dinner. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, watching television, and catching up on blog reading.

We had a decent rain overnight here in the city, but nowhere near what my daughter had in town. We had less than a half inch of rain, she had close to 2 inches! She'll be happy as she won't need to water for a few days. The backyard here was a bit of a quagmire, so I immediately gave up my plans to work outside and did what I do best. I went shopping! It was senior's day at Value Village, and I do like a bargain. My best buy was finding four large balls of Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn; these are currently sold for $12.77 each at Walmart (before taxes). I paid $8.75 for the four balls. 

The sky was threatening rain by lunchtime. I decided a good way to spend the afternoon was hanging on the couch with Saku, the cat, and knitting. I'd done laundry first thing in the morning, and though the floors could use a good scrub, I decided they could wait another day. The rain fell off and on throughout the afternoon, and we had a short thunderstorm in the evening. My son and I both remarked that watching the storm from the front windows is not nearly as good as watching from the sunroom at the old house.

Wednesday I woke to a sunny sky, but that didn't last long. By 8:30 a.m., it was overcast and the wind was a'blowin. A wind warning alert came through from the Weather Network. Wind gusts of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) were expected throughout the day. It was definitely not a day for working in the yard. I couldn't put off housework any longer. I washed and dried my bedding, vacuumed and washed floors, and cleared the kitchen table and my end table. Both tend to become dumping grounds (or doom piles as my daughter would say).

We lost a few branches in the wind, these are hanging on but will need to be removed. The neighbour, two doors down, wasn't so lucky. He lost a Lombardy poplar. It certainly made me happy that I had the four in the backyard removed in April.

The morning got very exciting when the realtor called to say we'd received an offer. To add to the excitement, he explained that he had also been communicating with a potential buyer from British Columbia who was prepared to make a cash offer, however would not be able to view the property until this weekend. The local offer was slightly lower, so using the potential buyer as a guide, we countered at the higher price. By 3 p.m. the counter had been accepted. The sale is conditional on a house and sewer inspection and conditions must be lifted by June 15. Possession date is June 28. I had said to D that morning, that I wanted to have the house sold by the end of June, so I could enjoy the summer. It seems I may have gotten my wish. 

The wind was up again on Thursday, again putting the kibosh on spraying. My mind turned to indoor projects, so I ran out to pick up some dry-wall spackle and a putty knife so I can fill holes and cracks. I've had a conversation with my son and decided on a potential color but won't make a final decision before I bring home some paint swatch cards for him to choose from. He's on the same page as I am, something lighter than the current colors, and no beiges, yellows or pinks. I'll like start the patching this weekend, and hopefully the wind dies down and I can get outdoors too.

Friday, I decided to visit a few garage sales that I'd found on our local FB site. Despite having posted they would be open by 10 a.m., I only found one open for business. They had jigsaw puzzles - I got five for $20. That should keep me busy during the cold months this winter. (I don't do puzzles as quickly as Patsy does!) The neighbourhood sign indicated it was community garage sale weekend, so I drove around until I found one more, where I found a hoop for stitching, just a $1. At this point, it was nearly noon, so I headed home for lunch.

I did some knitting and then went out to tackle the back yard. Everytime I work out there I'm reminded how big the project will be. To start with, I moved rocks, I think about 8 wheelbarrows of them, to the front yard. Note: I do not fill the wheelbarrow - it would be far too heavy for me. Some will go into the circular bed with rocks, and the rest will go in the bed under the front window. There are still a few loads to be brought out but I'd had enough so turned to the driveway where weeds have grown up through the contraction joints. I dug these out as best I could and used Weedex to hopefully knock down the rest. Then I turned to the area between the driveway and neighbour's yard. Sigh....this is going to take some time as no one has bothered with this area for some time. There are leaves and debris that has blown in and grass, thistle and dandelines have made their home there. I filled the garbage can three times and added these to the compost bin and only finished about 3 feet. We only have pick-up every two weeks, so I'll have to bag and store the yard waste and have my son get rid of it over the summer.

Today, I'll head back out again to move rocks and work on the weeds. I may try finding a few more garage sales too, and perhaps take a walk in the park. It's not supposed to be very warm here, just 16C (60F) but it is sunny and isn't as windy as it has been. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 1 June 2024

A walk, a drive, and digging in the dirt

I finally got out to walk around the neighbourhood on Sunday morning. The photo from Wednesday was taken in a park nearby. There were actually four of the hares; one ran off when I came near. The others didn't seem to be fazed by my presence. I had my Merlin app on the phone turned on and it picked up the sounds of several birds. I heard many house sparrows, a chipping sparrow, yellow warblers, robins, crows, and even a Northern Flicker. I spotted the latter, but couldn't get my cellphone up fast enough to capture a photo. The robins and crows were more visible, however I didn't capture any photos of those. I did stop to take a photo of the lilacs and to enjoy the scent.

On Monday, I met my friends K and L for coffee which was especially wonderful, as it has been sometime since I've seen either both in person. I picked K up at her home as she's managed to fall a couple of times in the past six weeks or so. The first time she shattered her wrist, resulting in a surgery and insertion of a plate and 8 screws. A few weeks later, she fell on a set of stairs and broke her clavicle. Poor girl! She's started physio for the wrist, but the shoulder is giving her grief so she's unable to do as much as she'd like. L is our friend and travel agent. She's busy planning a trip for her family to Italy, Greece, and Austria this August. We were laughing because, she said she was doing exactly what she warns her clients not to do, travelling to the various countries and trying to see as much as possible in a short period of time. 

After I dropped K off, I ran a few errands before heading back to the house. It was a lazy afternoon, binge watching some old NCIS episodes. The clouds had come in earnest and it looked like we would get some rain - we did not and I ought to have been doing some weeding, but wasn't in the mood. Since I was heading out to my daughter's on Wednesday, that meant Tuesday was much busier.

A Walmart run for a few groceries, the pet store for cat litter, and later a visit to Value Village. It was senior's day, with 30% off, and I was able to find a summer dress and a pair of jean capris. I had been looking for place mats but had no luck. There is a community wide garage sale being held in the small town this weekend, and D and I plan to attend. Perhaps I'll find some there.

I spent part of the afternoon in the front yard digging in the dirt and moving rocks. Using rocks I'd dug up in the bed outside the front window, I've created a sort of creek. I put down weed barrier under the rocks, in the hopes of keeping the weeds at bay. My goal is to ensure that any water is diverted away from the foundation of the house and towards the street. In the large bed out front, I've shifted some rocks into a pile closer to the edge of the bed. Before I started they were all piled up in the middle of the bed, catching leaves and other debris. After a bit of research I've got some ideas how I want it to look. 

I've decided the back yard will wait until next week when I return from my daughter's. My son took care of the front yard on the weekend, mowing, trimming the edges and raking the lawn. There are more rocks in the back yard too, that will get moved around to the front at some point. 

Wednesday saw me on the highway about 7:00 a.m. - so I was able to see Eli before he left for school. We dropped him off and then went over to the old house for a walk through. I was disappointed to see that while she had done some cleaning, D had left a number of items at the house. Since the realtor was expected on Friday, I made the suggestion we spend Thursday morning at the old house and get the rest of the stuff done.

Back at the new house, we unloaded my car before taking it over to the autobody shop to have the mirror replaced. At home, we planted the annuals I'd bought before I left for the city. It has been too chilly overnight but the forecast looks good from now on. Some of the plants were looking a little sad - D needs to learn to water all of them well but I planted while she did some weeding. There were a few holes to fill so we went the garden centre to pick up just a few more plants including some herbs. 

Then it was my turn to weed. I started with the garden bed. The radish, lettuce and a few peas are up. Only a couple of sweet.peas had germinated, so I took the seeds indoors and set some more to soak. I'm determined to see sweet peas in July! The flower bed with the Alyssum, Oriental poppy, and false lamium was filling up with thistle, dandelions and more bellflower. I spent a good hour or so moving rocks, when I could, and digging out the roots, as much as I could. It looks much better now, but I know it will require frequent weeding.

After lunch, I continued my weeding and when I had as much done as I could manage, I grabbed a book and went out to read. Our temperature reached 26C (79F) and it felt very warm but with the breeze, it felt very nice in the shade. D went to pick up Eli, and around that time the autobody shop called to say that my car was ready to go. Hooray, it was done that day, for less than the price the company in Regina had quoted.

We spent a few hours at the old house on Thursday morning. It was clear D hadn't done all of the cleaning either, so while she cleaned carpets, I scrubbed down appliances, re-installed the cold air vent covers, cleaned the main floor bathroom, and swept out the garage. She was able to put the door to the stove together too. From there, we went to the appliance store, as she hadn't heard from the owner about the burner she had requested. They were able to order the piece that day, and we'll pick it up on Saturday.

No yardwork was done that day, it was cloudy for much of the morning, and a thunderstorm rolled through mid-afternoon. We had some good claps of thunder and the rain poured down. We'd had about a 1/2 inch overnight, and another 1/4 inch during the day. Everything is lush and green.

Our realtor wasn't able to make it on Friday, so I took the day off (at least mostly). I planted a few more peas and some sweet peas, along with six pepper plants we had picked up at Canadian Tire on Thursday. Guess what? Eli's carrots have sprouted, but the ones I planted a couple of weeks ago have not. :p  Only one of the sweet peas, now two, had popped up and I counted 11 pea plants so I added another half dozen or so of each. 

The community wide garage sale is starting on Saturday but many of the sales were set up on Friday, so D and I went for a drive and stopped at a few. She found a small side table, two 30X60 stretched canvases, a tool chest, and a couple of bread pans and a bowl. I found a book and a jug to make juice or in this case, iced tea. We plan on hitting a few more sales this morning too. You just never know what treasures one might find.

The realtor called to say he wouldn't be able to make it out until Sunday. We've decided to head into the larger town about 20 minutes away after the garage sales. We'll stop at Walmart for a few things we can't get here, and Eli will get to play at his favorite park.

Finally, I'll leave you with a photo of several peony bushes out front. There are lilies in front of these, and don't mind the weeds. I haven't got there yet. The number of buds on the peonys is amazing, and though I likely won't see them bloom, D has promised to send photos.

P.S. For those who weren't certain of the Friday funny - small children have a habit of blowing bubbles when given a straw to drink through. :)

Saturday 25 May 2024

Wacky weather, yard work, and seeing results

The weather has not been cooperating, so there has been little outdoor work accomplished here in the city. Call me a wimp, but when the overnight temperatures are just above freezing, my desire to start digging in the dirt is limited - at least until later in the day, if and when the sun returns.

I had a lovely, quiet weekend and I'll admit to spending much of it curled up on the couch, with our cat Saku, watching television and taking the occasional nap. The photos from Wednesday were taken out the front window with my cellphone of the crows' nest across the street. (I left my Canon behind so it wasn't very clear to those who read the post what you were seeing). The pair clearly have young ones in the nest, as they continuously seemed to be bringing food. Their efforts were entertaining to watch.

Too, there was baseball and hockey to watch. The Blue Jays team is having an up and down season with some great games and some not really poor showings as well. I've definitely learned that pitching has an incredible impact on winning or losing. The Edmonton Oilers are on to the next series after winning game 7 in Vancouver against the Canucks earlier this week. I hadn't watched hockey much this year, and the last two games of this series were quite enjoyable. I'm not sure if I'll continue to watch should our sole Canadian team bow out at some point though. It helps to know a little about some of the players for me to keep my interest.

I took my car into Midas Muffler on Tuesday and left it at the shop overnight. I really hated driving it any distance when it was so very nosy. Since the shop was downtown, I decided to deal with some banking while I was there. My first stop was the Royal Bank where I have a small RRSP (I believe that would be an 401(K) or an IRA in the US). The funds represented my vested pension contributions from a former employer and were locked in until I turned 65. Assuming, that the lock would be lifted automatically, I had asked my financial advisor to request a transfer to my RRSP at the investment company. RBC refused on the basis that the funds were locked in.

So, I went to the bank to find out what was going on. Well, it turns out that the lock isn't lifted until I complete some paper work. Of course, I couldn't do that during my visit that day. Instead, I had to book an appointment for Thursday to meet with the bank employee to open a PRIF so that the RRSP funds can be transferred to that, and then I will be able to withdraw the funds and transfer them to an account of my choice. Just for fun, the last step will require a second visit, though I did confirm that I can do that by telephone rather than in person. Confused yet? I know I am. It all seems like a bureaucratic boondoggle. 

Then it was off to CIBC, my primary institution to do some every day banking, and finally, I stopped at the Bank of Montreal to deposit some funds into an account I have there. (All of the banks are within a block of each other). There is no CIBC in town where I live with my daughter and grandson. To obtain cash, I would e-transfer funds to my daughter and she would withdraw the money at her bank. Now, I'll be able to access my funds at the local branch.

In some ways it would make sense to transfer everything to the Bank of Montreal, but I have several direct deposits and withdrawals set up for my primary account, and changing that situation would be more of a hassle than it is worth. Transferring a bit of money each month to the BMO, may just help keep my cash spending in check. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday was a quiet day, waiting to hear back from Midas. Mid-afternoon I had the call the car was ready, so I took the bus downtown to pick it up. It sounds so much better. I stopped at Safeway on the way home to pick up a few groceries. I'd bought a few things last Friday, but only as much as I could carry walking the 1/2 hour home from the store. We've been eating out of the fridge and freezer and the options were getting quite limited. The freezer is now full and the veg crisper has great options for salads.

My bank appointment was scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. Before hand, I went to Walmart to pick up a few things and did a wander through their garden centre. I was looking for a ground cover to plant in the rock bed out front. There are a few lilies in the bed (about 3 from what we could tell last fall), and the rest is weeds. There wasn't anything there, so I continued my travels, checking garden centres at various other stores. Eventually I found a couple of bugleweed at an okay price at ? They should do well, and though it will take a few years, should help to fill in the bed.

After I finished weeding on Friday

The RBC appointment took nearly 45 minutes - just to fill out two forms and one letter of direction. It can take up to 3 weeks for the funds to be transferred from the RRSP to the RIF, and once that is complete, I'll be able to complete the paperwork to have it transferred to my CIBC account.  

After my banking was complete, I ran out to Costco for a few bulk items, and on the way home I stopped at Value Village. All of their summer clothing was 50% off and other clothing items were 30% off. I found another hooded jacket and two pairs of capris for a mere $12! Back at home I started digging in the dirt. It took me an hour to weed a small part of the bed.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the yard. I did run to Canadian Tire to get a leaf rake and a present for my son; a whipper snipper/line trimmer. I mowed for him last weekend but the edges need to be trimmed. Now that he is a homeowner, he has to learn how to care for this stuff too. I tried to convince him to buy a condo last fall but he was set on a house. He may be regretting that decision soon. At the house, I cleared out the front bed of weeds and added four bugleweed plants. They should, in a number of years, fill up the bed. There is another bed in front of the living room window that needs weeding, but I left that for today (maybe). 

I also spent a few hours out in the back yard, pulling up landscape fabric and landscaping timbers, digging out rebar, and carrying rocks and bricks. It's a mess back there. I plan on cleaning up the leaves and other debris, digging up weeds (as best I can), and then I'll find someone to rototill the yard. I foresee doing lots of raking and moving the dirt around to level it. I've got some plans to discuss with my son before I start seeding the microclover. 

The bricks are in a separate pile opposite to this pile of junk. I'm planning to move the rocks around to the front bed, where I'll try to create an actual rock garden. 

Speaking of gardens, D sent me a photo yesterday of the alyssum. It is huge! 
She says the peonies have gotten tall enough to hide the solar lights I'd put in the front flower bed. 

I'll get to see it all for myself later this upcoming week. Our realtor and his photographer will be out to initiate the listing on the old house. The painting is complete, D has finished the cleaning, and the remaining few items have been removed to the new house. Hooray! 

Today, I plan to spend some time out in the yard again. More weeding, and my son will use his new toy to clean up the edges of the lawn and along the fence line. We'll also pull out the last of landscape timbers that was covered in several inches of soil. If it hadn't been for the rebar I saw sticking out of the ground, I might not have realized it was there. 

We're forecast to reach a high of 17C (63F) with sunny skies, so it will be a lovely day for it. It's only 2C (36F) as I'm finishing this post but this is supposed to be the last of the cooler weather. More reasonable night time lows of 8-10C (46-50F) are expected for the foreseeable future. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!