Sunday, July 26, 2009


I just loved having Dexter, the polydactyl boy kitty in the pic. He has seven toes on his front paws (they look like oven mitts!) He was just a baby when Jamie's friend abandoned him, and if we could have handled two cats, we would have kept him.

Thank goodness, my mom took him in for us. She's had him for a few years now and he's huge! They call him Toes now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

bad managers

painting by Susanne Little

I've been picking up some extra shifts at the clothing store because one of the assistant managers walked off the job on Sunday.

One day after returning from vacation.

You know you hate your job when you last five minutes from coming back! But I can't say that I truly blame her - her manager was relentless (she couldn't do a lot of things right) and the fact that the two of them had a personality conflict didn't help.

This is the same manager that has been dangling that position in front of me since May of 2008, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be an assistant manager if that title means lots of unpaid overtime and a job that can never be done right. On the other hand, full time work would really help...

Speaking of work, Bill & I have our first eavestough job tonight, for $120. It's a good thing we decided to do this because it looks like Bill hasn't found the position he was hoping for. The first few days were good because he was working with a friendly, helpful guy but yesterday was spent with someone that didn't speak and wouldn't show him how to do anything. Then the dispatch guy had a freak out because one of the experienced guys couldn't fix a Coke machine at McDonald's and they couldn't sell soda. By the end of the day he'd already decided to keep looking for something else.

Anyway, have a nice Thursday! I'm off to see what you all are up to.

Monday, July 20, 2009

love Monday

photographer unknown

Thank goodness that Bill went back to work today!

Since last Monday, he's been off work with a bad back and today he started at his new company. I love that man more than any man I've ever known, but I still wanted to kill him by the time I woke up on Sunday.

In the past week, I have not driven anywhere, because he likes to drive. And he likes to take the most circuitous routes available. A three kilometer trip will eventually add up to about eight, and not only will you hit both the north and east sides of the city, but you'll end up downtown at least twice.

He throws his cigar butts on the ground. He forgets to lock the truck when he comes home. He makes plans to vacuum the bedroom but gets distracted by something else and I trip over the Hoover and the handheld.

The other night he ruined my $40 Party Lite three wick candle by setting another small jar on top of it. While it was still burning.

"Why would you do that?" I asked.

"Well, the little one was almost burned out so I thought that it would burn the table if I didn't set it on something."

"You need to go back to work before I strangle you. And don't even think about retiring."

The rest of the last week was actually pretty nice. I do love spending a lot of time with him, but that "too much of a good thing" is absolutely true.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

vacation plans go awry

Kate, Bill & Emily; Vancouver 2007

This is the first year in several years that we haven't been able to plan a family vacation, and it's depressing me a little. In 2007 we went to Vancouver BC, last year we went to Victoria BC and to be honest, I'd be happy with a weekend trip to Kelowna! (Kelowna is peach country, and only a five hour trip from where we live)

You never know - it could happen, even in light of our work situations.

Bill left his oilfield job on Monday, even though he meant to work his proper notice, because his back went out. Unfortunately when we went to our medical clinic the wait was almost three hours long, (he was in a lot of pain) so he didn't get the medical note into his office until Tuesday, and his payday was yesterday.

They wouldn't give him his paycheque.

Apparently it's legal - they have ten days from his last payday to get his last cheque ready and they're going to use every minute of it, even knowing that Bill has a family to feed. *sigh*

I hate it when things get ugly.

On the other hand, I'm kind of looking forward to things after this rough patch is over. We haven't booked any gutter cleaning jobs yet but we do expect to make up what he lost in pay through this venture.

Also, Bill is planning on going ahead with the lawsuit against his former company, citing Constructive Dismissal. In laymen's terms, they made his job so difficult that they forced him to find a new, lower paying position.

It was just terrible - if you knew Bill personally, you'd know how crazy the whole situation was. They accused him of so many things, and he is just this hardworking guy that is friendly to everyone. He never complained when he had to work on my birthday, on Valentine's Day, and on Mother's Day, he didn't insist on overtime pay when they wouldn't give him time off in lieu. He even went above and beyond his own job duties and no one ever said "thanks" or "good job". It was so disappointing.

With any kind of luck, we'll win the suit and be able to catch a breath.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday already?

We've got two computers that are complete and utter crap! They're both eMachines and both freeze up all the time, so we're not getting them anymore.

Currently we're hooked up to the old one (that's where I found the 2006 pic of Bill at the lake) so I've been perusing all the files.

Here's another old pic from 2005 or 2006:

And here's one from 2005, when Bill first returned from Qatar:

I really want to do something fun this weekend. What's everyone up to?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the long days of July

I believe that this has been been the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I started in 2003. Wow! I missed everyone!

At any rate, we've been busy with summer projects. Bill accepted a job with a major soft drink company, Emily's currently at her first summer camp, Jamie's still looking for a full time job and I am still looking for a second part-time job or a good full time job. In the mean time, we started a buy & sell group on Facebook for all the clothes we've collected over the years and today we're starting up another gutter clean company to supplement our income.

I'm going to drink my coffee and catch up. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

young, single females need not apply

Jamie and I had a frustrating day recently and I'd like to tell you about it, but first I want to say that I am usually a very friendly, helpful person to most people I meet. I hate that I sound racist from time to time, but like Bill always says, it is what it is.

At any rate, today is my last day of employment with the insurance company, which means my benefits end tonight at midnight. My 20 year old has recently had some medical and dental issues arise, and while it was easy to include her on my coverage before (she was still in HS) it won't be that easy getting her on again unless she enrolls in college. For that reason, I took her down to the social services office. Mostly I wanted her to apply for medical coverage, but there was also a chance that they'd help her with rent & food, since she hasn't been able to find work since Last December.

I have no moral issues with providing Jamie with food, clothing, shelter, medicine, personal grooming products, bus passes and insurance, BUT I just don't have enough money, at least not right now. I had some savings that ran out two weeks ago and so far I've been able to keep food in the house, but my other payments are starting to fall behind.

While in the office, we happened to notice that most of the recipients were workers that were brought into our city three years ago to work at the Olymel plant - Sudanese, and Mexicans, as well as a few women who were disabled, and a couple men who looked like they were about sixty. There was a girl in her early twenties who had large, intricate tattoos on both arms, and a trashy looking couple who reeked of weed.

The M.O. for applications is to call a number from the bank of phones along the wall and submit an application to Social Workers who tell you up front whether you qualify or not.

The woman Jamie got was pretty flippant. "Do you have children?" she asked.


"Well then. You'd better get out there and start looking for a job then." Click.

Yikes. So if Jamie was a drug dealer wearing diamond earrings, or a girl with $4,000 in ink, she might qualify? Because those people were getting cheques every month based on conversations overheard. Jamie might have made a mistake giving up her position last fall, but she has to survive even if she is a 20 year old having a difficult time finding work. I think that the woman on the phone didn't believe that she was actually looking, but I'm the one that drives her around to look.

Bill and I can't even find a job, and we're both excellent employees with tons of experience and excellent work records. She's going to appeal.

On the way home, she was saying, "You know, I'm starting to get it. I always thought you guys were a bit discriminatory, but after dealing with the system a few times you get to see what everyone else complains about. Apparently I need to be a single mom or an immigrant to get any help."

It's sad, but it's true.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

old friends

Bill and I have been taking the opportunity to see a few movies, now that they're showing up in the cheap theatre. Tickets are between $2.50 and $4.00, compared to $11.00! I suppose I shouldn't be shocked at the jump in prices, but like all people in my age bracket, it freaks me out. We saw Monsters vs. Aliens (we like kid's movies) and Night at the Museum. Not bad, and glad we didn't pay full price.

On Friday I took the girls to run some errands. We'd decided that we'd recycle the pop bottles and milk jugs and go for lunch, so with the $17.00 we got, we went to McDonald's for some burgers.

A few minutes after sitting down, one of Dale's black belts came in! It was someone I hadn't seen since the funeral almost seven years ago. He sat down and spoke to us for almost half an hour and I gave him all the latest karate gossip and invited hm to come with me the next time his and Dale's sensei comes back to Alberta.

I hope he comes.

Afterward, driving to the mall and going from store to store, I couldn't help but think of all the growth my city has seen since Dale died in 2002. Sometimes I picture him coming back and being amazed at everything - there have been two renos to the shopping centre I worked at, and the store that I managed at the time of his death doesn't even exist anymore. There have been more than five thousand homes built since his death, and I even got to buy one. I think that he'd be amazed to see the wrinkles I have at the corners of my eyes, and the way my face has changed.

Anyway, these thoughts come and go and in the end, I always picture myself being straight up with him. It plays out like a movie but with a happy ending.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


For the last few days, Bill and I have been focusing on the front and back yards.

It seems that every Spring, we just don't wait long enough for the perrenials to start coming up, so we cover them with annuals. Then a few weeks later we see the previous ones coming up and have to do some transplanting. Thank goodness none of them have died, but that just goes to show what rookies we are.

Another thing I've noticed is that I am so much like my Mom when it comes to home improvements - meaning I will cut corners and reuse common household items to get something done. For example, the bottom right hand corner shows how we used old 4"X 4"'s to elevate the gazebo roof above the deck doors. They haven't been painted yet, but they are covered with another decorative piece on the outside, so no one driving past would notice.

I found the chandelier at Wal-Mart, but it was the last one and it was on display. Since the last two trips there have been like that, and since I wasn't able to get either thing I wanted because they were displays and there were no sales associates willing to help, I decided that this time I'd take matters into my own hands. First, I asked for help.

Ten minutes later when no one showed up to help me, I walked over to the hardware department and got a step ladder. Then I went back to the gazebo displays, moved a coffee table, pulled the long cord through the frame of the gazebo, got up on the step ladder and took it down myself. I love it! And it was very cheap. I have to admit, I felt a little cocky picturing a store employee finding that step ladder - but I figured it would take a day or two before anyone noticed.

The black filmy curtain is a basic $10 panel from Wal-Mart, which has been hung alongside a wide, taupe-coloured panel that I made from waterproof outdoor fabric and another black filmy curtain to balance it out.

They're all hung on a nine foot Bo Staff that belonged to my late husband, which is attached to the frame with black boot laces.

The cushion was $2 at Value Village.

Eventually it'll have a proper, $400 canopy, but for now this works so great. The gazebo keeps the sun from beating in the back door in the afternoon, keeping the kitchen cool and shaded. The BBQ is very convenient and we've used it several times in the last few days to grill veggies, pork chops and chicken.

Aren't our houses close together? That's the neighbour's deck only a few meters away. I like the privacy of these panels too.

It feels like Saturday every day.