Monday, February 18, 2008

The Winter of my Discontent

So far 2008 has proceeded on a rocky path. After ringing the New Year in in Mexico, we have come home for

Bitter cold in January - I hate being cold! We had three or more weeks where the temp was below -20C greater than 80% of the hours. The first really cold day, I got the van stuck in the parking lot at work. I ran in to the building for help as I was pretty much blocking passage for other vehicles. As I was running to the building I smacked my hand on the post for the vehicle plug ins. Ended up with a huge haematoma, but I had full range of movement, so ignored it. A month later and it seems obvious that I broke the knuckle. I've been stuck twice more. I never get stuck, never have car problems. Til this winter.

It has finally warmed up - gorgeous day Friday - about plus 9C. Snow melting furiously. Reveals that my new, $20K roof, leaks! Absolutely flooded the front porch, small leak in the house, all at the peak. Now, this is the third set of 'leaks' we've had since the roof was replaced, the contractor had been here once to repair it too.

The fellow that was to become VP Business Development at work chose to take a different job, leaving us leaderless for even longer. An internal candidate has been appointed, and I am very uneasy with this. When I started this position the Sales department had 8 members. We are down to 3. When I decided to stay in this position last fall, it was because I really believed I could learn and grow under the current VPs direction. Imagine what a bombshell feeling I got when he shortly thereafter told me he was leaving. This is not the position I stayed for, not the great group of coworkers, and not the same leadership or mentorship.

And finally, the son has emphatically decided NOT to pursue opportunities at universities other than the U of A. He has absolutely no idea what he is giving up, and what he will never be able to have because of this decision, and my trying to persuade is having really negative results.

Today is day 4 of a 4 day weekend for me. I spent Friday running errands, buying exciting things like new laundry hampers, Saturday working on decluttering and laundry, yesterday more of the same, with a special 'flooded laundry room' to shake things up. Today it is finishing touches of housework, hopefully a trip out for some new work pants, and then a houseful of folks for a team meeting this p.m. How I wish I could write that I'd spent the 4 days putzing in the garden and taking photos! Or hiking in the mountains or at the ocean. But, I've got a sparkling clean laundry room.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Spring" Cleaning & the new buffet

We have started doing projects around the house again. Slowly, very slowly, but things are getting done. A couple of weekends ago, we put more shelves into the huge armoire in our room. This gave us both reason to empty our clothes out and sort through them - eliminated some, really need to go through again and eliminate more. Also need to do the same with my hanging closet.

That same weekend, we replaced one set of kitchen cupboards with drawers - IKEA kitchens are really wonderful for this - you can walk in to IKEA and out with replacement cabinets. Anyway, that led us to empty out the cupboard under the phone - three years worth of clutter and junk- and throw a bunch of it away. It also allowed me to put the massive amount of pens and pencils into a drawer and clean off one end of the kitchen counter.

I also did a total reorg on the linen cupboard in the main bath.

This weekend, we bought the new buffet and hutch for the kitchen. When we did the reno, we built a spot at the end of the kitchen to hold a specific piece of furniture - 18 inches deep, up to 6 feet long and as tall as 8 feet. I had that furniture piece in my mind from day one. This year, before Christmas, we found a Canadian furniture manufacturer that could custom build one to our size requirement. They have beautiful furniture, and the price seemed reasonable at $5K. So we thought about it, and set out to order it my last EDO. We ended up out in Sherwood Park and stopped at Costco because we couldn't get in to a restaurant for lunch! There, at Costco, was a buffet & hutch that matched our dimensions and was really similar to the design we had in mind. It did not have upper cabinet doors though. It also had a matching, counter height table of the right dimensions for our kitchen! And, amazingly, the buffet was $710. Not much of a decision, but still one worth thinking about. So, this weekend we set off to the Costco near us for the buffet. The price at the local Costco was $390! So for less than a tenth of the price of the custom made one, we have a hutch that fits perfectly into our spot, matches our kitchen well, hides the clutter that was being stored on a set of bookshelves in the 'interim' (if 3 1/2 yrs is interim). Beautiful. We now have a well organized kitchen, a nice peice of furniture and $4500 left for other projects! The bookcase has found a new life too, functioning as a bookcase in the office, replacing the credenza that had a wider footprint and less storage space.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface of cleaning, decluttering and projects that need doing. We could be on one of those H&G channel shows - either the reno disaster ones or the clean up your home ones!!!! But it is a great way to fill a bitterly cold winter weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winter, Still

Oh dear, it has been a long time since I said anything! We've had some interesting, busy days since Christmas. With Colin home the driving has increased exponentially. So have the food bills :-)

We spent the week of New Years at a resort on the Riviera Maya. Not our best vacation - had some cold weather, staff shortages at the resort that resulted in less than stellar service, and 6 of us with different points of view on what made a good day. However, I definitely want to return to that part of the world, and I definitely need another tropical vacation ASAP!!!!

The weather here has been outrageous and apparently will continue with severe cold snaps for the next two months! I am getting old and grumpy because I really hate the winter here and really wish I lived elsewhere during December - February, or more!

I have been in a major photographic slump, with no team photo work and no scenes that are photographable when I am not at work i.e in the dark!

I have been trying to eat according to the Eat to Live model of Dr. Fuhrman - mostly fruits and veg, very little meat, little oil...I have experienced a major decrease in joint pain in my hips and hands. I have a new complaint of pain in my shoulders but I think that has more to do with the ergonomics of my chair at work than anything else. When I pay attention to how I sit, its not so bad. I am not experiencing huge weight loss. I lost close to 10lb last summer, then plateaued for quite a while, then have lost a few more. Still have not lost 20, but then I am not rigorous to the plan. Daryl is such a wonderful cook and I cannot impose my choice too greatly onto him.

Have been spending lots of time dreaming about owning property in the Caribbean or Yucatan... lots of time dreaming about this. I love being Canadian but I don't love living in Canada right now.