Friday, July 31, 2009

CP never runs out of energy

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon picking up lumber supplies at Rona and then thought that we would make a *quick* trip to the Gatineau tourist information center to get cycling information. The quick trip wasn't so quick and we ended up driving north, south, east and west as well as many compass directions in between.

After successfully finding the tourist center aka the "?" center, we went away empty handed, except for one useful suggestion. The service person suggested that CP should purchase a specific book and she sent us to the local "gallerie" (mall) to find the book in the "librarie" (book store). After swinging by the Laura Secord store for milkshakes only to find out that they were out of milk, we went to the librarie to find out that they didn't have the book.

In desolation, we drove home over a bridge that has more patches on it that Grandmother's quilt. After parking the car in the garage and eating dinner, we set out on foot for ice cream. We made it to the Byward Market and successfully found "Le Book" in the market's french language book store. Then we had some terrific ice cream and headed for home.

On the way home, the sun was setting and the view was gorgeous so we stopped by Parliament to get a view over the Ottawa River to Gatineau. Then instead of heading home like sensible people, we sat down on bleachers and waited for the National Capital Commission's Light Show on Parliament. The people watching was much better than the light show, but we can tick off that one activity from our to do list. The light show is now on our never do again list, sad to say.

Following the show, an attack of the munchies hit us and we made our way to the bottom of Elgin street and ate Mexican food. Delicious! The sangria and cervecas were pretty good to. Home late, but satisfied with our evening.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Edith Piaf

Today BB and CP attended a free noon hour concert near the Rideau Canal featuring a group from Sudbury who play and sing the songs of EP. It was wonderful, well presented, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

These two characters are also getting into some significant reno's in BB's kitchen so we found a RONA home centre and bought lumber. Tomorrow BB will lead the charge under the supervision of CP.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comedy - Amateur Night

Tonight CP and I went to a live comedy show at Yuk Yuk's. The show was amateur night and there were a variety of acts ranging from very good (funny) to first time on stage (not funny). Big shout out to the comedians who were brave enough to get up on stage and give it their best shot.

Getting into the club was a bit of an adventure. We walked from my house to the venue and stood in line. The line wasn't very long but it didn't move and as we stood there a lot of people walked past us and went inside. It was a little discouraging to find out that they had reservations. CP and I waited it out, however, and were given the last two seats in the house.

As the night went on we also discovered that a lot of the scruffy looking people who had entered the club were the talent. The audience dressed up but the comedians (mostly) didn't. It was good fun, though.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cycling Potato

Cycling Potato has arrived and we have spent a lot of time catching up and eating. I need to pace myself. Time for a nap, followed by a snack. lol

We have been having an ongoing discussion about the time and date. Specifically, today's time and date. I have been trying to convince him that today is really today but he insists that it is tomorrow and that we are in a different hour than we really are. I think we've come to an agreement about the situation and we are blaming the entire mess on his watch. Bad watch.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Distance Learning Courses

The two courses that I registered in are due to start in a week. I have been diligently preparing for one of them by reading ahead and writing the first assignment.

The second course was a mystery to me since I received three text books and a reading file, but did not receive a study guide. I naively assumed that the professor was going to contact me prior to the course start date with information about the weekly schedule.

However, this evening I discovered that the university has a web page for the course and it lists a study guide, reading file and four text books as requirements for the course. Since I am missing two items I emailed the materials management department to try to obtain the resources. I am sure that they will be sent to me promptly but I am a little dismayed that I could have completed some of the course work ahead of time if I had known about the webpage.

This experience has been a good lesson for the future. Never assume anything and always search the web for answers instead of waiting for humans to supply them. (This education thing is working - I feel smarter already. lol)

National Arts Centre

In the interests of trying out all that the city has to offer, I tagged along with a co-worker to see the play Grease at the National Arts Centre or "NAC" for short. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the music and the performance. The NAC sounds very "high brow" but I really enjoyed myself and it is only a few blocks from my home so I am tempted to go again to see future performances. There are some shows in the winter that look interesting. I'll keep you posted.

On a more "low brow" note, I saw the new Harry Potter movie with an old friend. The multiplex is quite a ways from my house but is easy to get to by car. I would hate to have to take the bus, however. As for the movie, not my favorite although not completely horrible either. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have read the book.

Sunday bike day - view of Quebec

As I mentioned last week, Sunday mornings are when the cyclists take to the streets of Ottawa. This morning I tried a different route and followed Sussex drive to Rockcliffe Parkway. There are a lot of interesting places along Sussex and many of them have policemen guarding the gates. Along the route I took a picture from the top of one overpass looking down on the bridge to Quebec. Later in the trip I stopped along the Rockcliffe Parkway and snapped a quick photo of the Quebec side of the river. It was raining quite hard so I didn't spend too much time out. Maybe an hour at most. The route was beautiful, though, so I'll definitely be back on a sunny day.

Weekly update

I failed in my plan to post daily updates about the moving in process. It was horrendous.

I rented a carpet cleaning machine on Tuesday and went through the process of moving all my furniture to one side of each room. Then I cleaned that half of the carpet and slept soundly all night. (Very tired) The next day I moved the furniture back to the "wet" side of each room and cleaned the other half. Again very tired.

Then I waited for the rooms to dry. What a nightmare! It has rained every day in Ottawa and the humidity outside is horrendous. I couldn't get the carpets to dry and the place was hot, humid and smelly. The first week here I purchased a little dehumidifier for the basement and have been running it in every room in the house since Wednesday. Every few hours I have to check it to empty the water bucket.

Then catastrophe .... the rain was so heavy that I had water leaking into the basement. Nothing was ruined but the drain is slightly higher than the level of the floor so I was mopping for hours. The dehumidifier is now back in the basement drying everything out.

The remainder of this week is vacation time and then I will resume the purge process and try to get rid of the rest of my unneeded belongings. That will ensure that the next carpet cleaning session will be easier. (In two or three years time - possibly longer.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Relocation week

This week is my relocation week. My employer has provided five days to complete my relocation process and "put my house in order". The list of tasks is very long and I have a lot of work to do but I am grateful to have the time to get everything accomplished.

Today's list includes:
1. Phone Bell customer service and complain about being overbilled - done. Spoke with a representative who gave me some crap excuses and then told me that he was working in the Phillipines

2. Make appointment to have furnace and water heater serviced - done. The tech will be here tomorrow

3. Insurance - send photos of the exterior of my condo to the insurance agent - done. BTW the exterior is clad in brick, stucko and siding. I wish them luck working out the percentages for the replacement cost estimate.

4. Change address with alumni association - done.

5. Register for cooking classes at le Cordon Bleu cooking school. I sent an application but am waiting to hear if there is space available in class. The two classes that I am interested in are 3 hour demo sessions. Keeping my fingers crossed that I get in.

6. Organize paperwork accumulated from the move. The moving company killed a few trees with all their checklists, etc. Most are going in the shred pile.

7. Submit a claim to the moving company for two items that were broken during the unpack process - done.

8. Change address at Dept of Motor Vehicles - done.

9. 17 fling boogie - fill a bag with things that can be tossed during garbage collection day tomorrow - pending.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rideau Canal and the Rideau River

These two photos show the difference between the canal and the river, both of which run through Ottawa. The canal is a man made waterway which is flat and has controlled water flow. The river is a natural waterway which makes its way through the city parallel to the canal. These two photos were taken on the Sunday morning bike ride when Col By Drive was closed to traffic. The photo of the canal shows a stadium in the background. This pic is included for architectural interest.

Bike Day in Ottawa

On Sunday mornings Ottawa closes some of the streets in order to let people bike and roller blade on the roads. It is a very well organized event. There are blockades to stop vehicles, and there are volunteers at the major crossings. They also have public service tents set up to adjust your helmet or your bike if you need help

The day was very busy and there were tons of people out. Lots of families were out as well as small groups of friends. The road was mostly flat along the canal and there was very little wind so it was easy going. I went from one end to the other and back in about an hour with a few stops for pics and water. Quite a nice way to start the day and a good reason to get up early on Sunday.

These are just a few pics showing people biking & skating on the road along the canal. The road that I went on was Col By Drive which is named after the engineer who was in charge of the project to build the canal. There are over 65 km of "trails" so I have a few more places to explore in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kijiji comes through again

The purge continues...
The kayak was sold tonight thanks to an ad on Kijiji. I didn't get quite as much as I would have liked but it was nice to find a buyer and I'm sure she will really enjoy it. Now my garage has enough space to get the vehicle in and out safely so I can go explore the city a bit beyond my little neighbourhood.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Still selling stuff

I sold a fridge to a buyer from Kijiji today. It was the one that came with the condo and was all moldy inside. I cleaned it up (as best as I could), advertised and made the sale. I have the cheque, now hopefully they come to pick it up soon before the mold comes back.

My own fridge is much nicer, and also much bigger. It's cleaner too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

First day of work

Well, I survived the first day of work in the new job. The people are really nice and they were very welcoming.

The only stumbling block to success in this position is that I don't have the skill set needed to be really useful. They recognize that anyone put in this position will need training but it will be difficult since they don't have an internal training package or any outside courses lined up.

I think that I will have to spend a lot of personal time learning from free courses on the internet. It is not my preferred way to do things, since I am inherently lazy and do not like spending my personal time reading tech websites. Still, it has to be done, so I might as well do it in internet cafes around the city. I'll try out as many cafes as I can find and will give you a tourist summary of the best.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

The new garden

Here are some photos taken from the second floor looking down into my new back yard. There is just enough room for the hammock, a two seat bench for the barbecuers to sit down on while grilling and then some stairs up to the deck which has two lounge chairs and some potted plants. The final picture is looking up into the tree which is in the back.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quick update... photos coming

I'm going to spend my first night in my new home.

The previous two nights I was at a hotel but barely spent enough time there to shower and sleep a few hours.

The unload was dramatic. I was lucky because I had the best team of movers in all of Canada. Some of my stuff didn't fit into the new place and I was in despair but they offered useful suggestions and I got the tools out to make the house fit the furniture. (Basically, a railing had to be removed.)

Also, some of my furniture couldn't go up the second set of stairs so the movers had to go out the main floor patio door, up some patio stairs, in the deck patio door, through the living room and up the next set of stairs. It was torture on them but they did it with a smile. What a nice bunch of guys.

The total time was 10 hours of moving and fitting stuff into this small place. While the movers were wrestling my stuff in the door and up the stairs, I started unpacking the things that were not breakable. This was a necessity since the boxes were so bulky that there was no floor space left. All of the master bedroom things were unpacked and shoved any which way into a closet. The bed was made. All the books were unpacked and shoved onto bookshelves. Most of the sports gear was unpacked and shoved into a different closet. The tools and camping gear was unpacked and shoved into a basement crawl space. The patio and garage items were dumped out back on the patio. What a long day.

After the movers left I continued working until almost midnight to put furniture together and try to get ready for the unpack team this morning. The unpackers came and opened up the rest of the boxes. They put everything on the floor in each room and made sure that nothing important was damaged. Then they took away all the packing material. They left by lunch time today.

Then I made a quick trip to the closest grocery store and picked up a few things to tide me over. I had some food, a little sit down, quickly followed by a nap. (Did I mention that I was tired? lol) Then I sat outside for a bit and had a chance to meet some of the neighbours. They seem very nice and have some good suggestions for maintenance. My home inspector identified a problem with a local tree causing damage to my roof and suggested that I trim the branches and then repair the roof. Before I even had a chance to raise the issue, the neighbours told me that they want to get rid of three trees in the back and trim the offending one as well. That problem was easy to solve! I told them that I was ok with that and would talk with them about it again soon.

(For the record - there are some VERY mature trees here that we are not touching, just some baby ones that are growing at an angle to try to get around the leaf canopy of the big one so that they can get some sunlight. The little trees that are growing at an angle are damaging the house and they need to go. The big tree will still be there and it will still be big.)

Anyway, the worst is behind now and I am ready to put on a pot of coffee and move some more stuff around. By tomorrow morning this place should be ready for photos. Now if only I could find that camera.......

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busy week

This coming week will be busy and I will be off-line for most of it. I'll get back in touch with you all by the weekend.
Hope you enjoy some summer weather.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Prep for pack

I reviewed the guidelines that the moving company gave me to make sure that I would be ready when they show up on Monday. Apparently my preparations are deficient in one area. The movers will not pack open bottles of alcohol ...... It's a shame to waste all those "ingredients" that I use to cook with. Might as well drink them then. lol

Day Lily

Last week in Kingston

Friday, July 3, 2009


Ottawa has a strange system for setting up utility accounts. I used the internet to set up services at the hydro and gas companies but couldn't find an application for the water/sewer/garbage services.

The City of Ottawa web page has contact information for the revenue department but no account setup service. When I phoned the revenue department, they informed me that my account had already been set up and my name was on the bill, effective on the purchase date.

I'm not sure who set this up for me (the lawyer, the sellers, ???) and now I'm wondering what else they signed me up for. Hopefully they set me up for a free cruise, kitchen makeover, choice of car or cash giveaway. Being signed up for free stuff would be much better than being signed up for utility bills.

Each area in Canada has a different set of criteria for setting up accounts. When I lived in the regional district in Comox I had to hire a private company to collect the garbage because the district didn't provide service. I didn't know this, however, until I saw the truck drive by and pick up all the neighbour's garbage while leaving mine at the end of the driveway.

When I moved to Kingston I set up an account with Utilities Kingston, not realizing that hydro and gas companies were separate entities. I found out my mistake when the gas was shut off and there was no hot water for two days. Luckily it was September so I didn't need a functioning furnace at the time.

Have any of you had difficulty setting up utility services during any of your moves?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Dear Canada,
Happy Birthday to you. I am going to tie a little Canada flag to the tree in front of my house in celebration.

Wishing you peace and freedom this year.