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June 29th

Well, what a day!  Finally, a break from the recent hot and steamy weather.  I stumbled up to the bus-stop and thumbed my nose at the 18 bus as I was sure the 12 would come along any minute.  Hah – I totally forgot the other Amigo was hitting town today.

That being said, I was speaking with a couple of ladies who were a few decades older – like in their late 80’s.  The dynamics were quite interesting.  One woman said she only had to walk a few blocks to get to Wurtemburg Street and then the other started asking if it was an old peoples’ home.  They got into a polite squabble and the oldest lady, fired up from the free cookies she’d sampled, wiped off the crumbs on her face.  She grabbed her cane and stumped off.  Just as I stood up to hoof it, Moe came along so we nipped along to the Legion.

God, I love retirement!  There is so much happening outside of our doorsteps that you got to get out to smell those proverbial roses.  Or eat the dandelions – whatever is your preference.

Obama is in town and the security helicopters are flapping around like crows over a dead carcass.  Moses almighty!  They are over at 125 Sussex or Fort Pearson as we know it.  After all, there’s no way that the PM could host them at his 8-bedroom cottage as the O.R. is being re-done.

Everyone is driving like mad fools and in particular, on “tourist” bus with blacked out windows.  As for the rest of us peasants, we just kept our heads down and scurried home like hungry hares.

Oh yes, the numbers.  We eventually hit 9 of us today!  We were missing 3 of our faithful regulars.  Tsk, tsk, these summer vacations.

Car problems were discussed, property sales, home projects and car trips.  Trinity Properties were going to start up massive buildings around Chapel Street and Rideau which would back onto Beausoleil.  Well, according to my hairdresser, this is no longer going to happen.  The property is now up for sale so everyone is abuzz in Lowertown.  As we jokingly said, if you hear it from your hairdresser or barber, it’s from the horse’s mouth!

My hairdresser, by the way, was born in the house beside mine, literally.  So, when I go to see him, I hear something about my street every time.  I saw some young people taking pictures of the old houses across from me just yesterday and being a nosy parker, “Can I help you?”  They are students working on a city project about Lowertown so I shared the history and they just drank it in.

 I also told them some of the darker sides, too.  For instance,  I now know a puppy-mill owner that operates in the area.  How disgusting is that.  And, he wants $600 for a pup.

So, another person has joined the home projects!  Claude, who is Art’s golfing buddy, is going at his place like a mad hornet.  He is ripping out all of his carpet and replacing it with lino.  All the steps will be upgraded to hardwood.

And now here is what Kevin J. has been waiting for!  My project has suddenly swept me off my feet.  I was told that my cupboards would be done and instead – kapow.  The flooring guys showed up.  I woke up and went down to the kitchen only to find one of those plastic barriers with a zipper.  Smoley!  My fridge is now in my dining room, the furniture is all over the place and my toolbox is in the living room in front of the tv.  You know, at least when you go on posting, this stuff is put in a truck and not stuffed into 600 sq feet!  All I can say is that I stay on my side of the plastic door with as much water as the fridge can chill.  The first day of them ripping up the hardwood (yay!) and the sub-floor was a messy dirty one.  I crept out and explored the floor that was left.  It was brutally ugly and had nails sticking up.  Now, I know why they say you should go to a hotel but I’m too stubborn for that.  The next day, the two young lads come back and then the howling noise of power drilling starts.  The sub-floor is down and then they have to figure out how to gauge the height of the dishwasher base.

After that, they will lay down that orange stuff – you know, they call it Dittra.  Then comes, the porcelain tiling!  So, perhaps by Monday latest, I might have a stove, fridge and dishwasher back in the right place!  Then comes the re-nosing of the existing porcelain tiling on the kitchen counters.  New sink, too.  Counter-top re-grouting and then my cupboards should be coming back in.  Yep – this project has been huge.  And that’s just inside.

The young cabinet chap, 32, told me this am that the construction market in Ottawa is white, white hot!  We are all doing the same – staying where we are and expanding, renovating, and up-grading.  Which makes a lot of sense.  After all, how are you going to find your way home after a few glasses of your favorite beverage?  Heck, I would probably wander into some crack-house, grin at everyone and flop on their couch – especially after the last posting party at the pub.

Colin Chesterman has finally come of age!  I never knew he was such a young pup but there are all the government hoops to jump over.  We attended his retirement party and another young pup showed up as a retiree – Derek Hankel, aka the Weasel.

Oh heck, there goes the jet – it brings back memories of when we had the shooting and attack on Parliament by that lone wolf.  Ah, the beauty of living in Lowertown, Sandy Hill or the Glebe.  What do we put up with.  The three Amigos and their security, Beaver Tails, bakeries, crack-houses, coffee-shops, groceries stores, grow-ops, libraries, churches, and, Fort Pearson.  Street persons.  I saw one by the Rideau Metro just on Saturday.  He was very well kitted out – he had his own Loblaw’s stolen grocery cart loaded with his gear, and then other things.  It was around 11 am and he was still having a good kip on some-ones pink fluffy.

Back to Ottawa, There is also heat, humidity, and politicians.  Now who could move away and live anywhere else?  You’d be an idiot not to be here.

Gotta jump!


June 15th

Another baker’s dozen!  The golfing boys were sporting new clothes, even.  Hmmm - shopping time for the rest of us?

I have included an old friends name – Yvon Pelletier.  Yes, Yvon, I am calling you out to join us!

Lunch was huge, as normal.  Even Stan was nodding off after Roly finished  licking his plate – sorry Roly.  But you did finish first ;))))

What a gorgeous day!  One of those rare ones that we have been treated to in the NCR in a very long time.  Windy enough to swat away the mossies and keep the temps low.

The “officer” from CRA is still bugging various of our members.  For shame, for sooth!  Chuckie was trying to give one of them stick but once they heard about his age, they tried to disengage.  Now, we know our Chuck, and he will continue with the stick until they are sorry they called him.  And he will certainly give them interest on that!

Dr. Rant – you are losing your place!  Our Red-dress Billie shared his very frustrating American banking experience.  In short, he dug in and dug in until the manager showed up.  And he got his money!  Personally, I like it when the press show up.  Man, things move fast then.  But, I generally save that for my Union stuff for when I want my way.

Projects, projects!  They never stop leading into another one.  And that’s not a gripe – we keep getting ourselves more and more into them.  As Lou put it yesterday, it is now on the agenda; just not at the top of it.

Our good pal, Larry Lackie, is laid up at the Bruyere after a very bad fall off his ladder.  He fell with tools in his pocket and that is what resulted in the serious injury to his hip.  His wife passes on her thanks to those who’ve visited him as he likes company and is in need of it now.

Many of us fondly remember Larry when he would come around with his vacuum and we would all fondly cuss him soundly.  He would fondly cuss us back with interest, I might add.  Larry put together this interesting magnetized large-headed wand that would pick up all the paperclips on the floor.  We girls would give him an even harder time saying that he really had a mirror on the top of it.  Then, he always gave us that big grin and nod with a few smart-alec remarks of his.  So, everyone, please pop in to see him – he loves company.  He is in room 606b, I believe.

The posting party is on Friday at the Heart and Crown at noon.  Who’s going on posting – I couldn’t tell you or even if I know them.  Everyone is free to join in the celebration and listen to the speeches.  If I’m lucky, I might not/not have to make one this year.  That being said, I enjoy the parties and last year got to meet Mike Mowatt’s son.  Some of you might remember Mike as a young pup EL.  Yep, those pups get to be older and mellower, just like us.

And Friday after next, comes another celebration – this time it is for Colin Chesterman.  Retirement – the best paid holiday on this planet!  Again, the Heart and Crown will be the venue.  I hope Colin will become a frequent face but something tells me that Madame Wife has her list ready and waiting.  And waiting, tap, tap, goes the toe.  But, that being said, please come and join me in singing “for he’s a jolly good fellow”.  See you there!

My house project is sinking New York.  But, it is stunning which makes the rest of the house look really bad.  And that’s an easy thing as it is filled to the brink even after having gotten rid of one-third of my things already.  I have only one kitchen cupboard left to pack up.  Phew – what a job.  Then, they take out all the uppers, sand them and paint them.  Thank God.  No more red oak.  Then, comes the re-nosing for the countertops.  Three of the cupboards will swing inwards to open up the entrance to the extension.  The appliances will be moved into the extension so no cooking and no dishwashing for some time.  Then, under-cupboard lighting, a new sink on top of a new kitchen porcelain floor.  And this porcelain is really tough stuff!  Also, the current porcelain counter-tops will be re-grouted with Bostix which is more resistant to staining and is more “elastic” so it makes it cleaner to clean.

My more recent purchase was a 24” vanity with a sink at an incredulous price.  After a a few weeks, I noticed there was a difference between the colours of the sink and the toilet.  Ahaaa! The sink is a heavy-duty plastic.  So – who cares – not me.  But, my loyal contractor told me if it scratches, use car wax.

And for those beautiful glass shower doors, polish them up to a high dry gloss and then Rainex them to death.  You’ll never regret it.



June 8th

Brrrr – the wind blew and the temps were cold.  And I mean cold.  When I left the house, it was 9 degrees C.  It gradually climbed to 10 or 11.  Brrrr.  It drops to 2 tonight.  Cover up those seedlings!

Drum-roll please!  We made it up to a baker’s dozen today with the surprise visit of Bruce Sondergaard in from the grand country of Mexico.  We keep spreading ourselves outwards and to where-ever we want to go.  I’d contemplated moving to another part of Ontario that will promise warmer weather but then got taken over by the allure of Home Depot and Lowe’s for home projects.  And, just like everyone else, got taken over by – “Why would you move?”  You have to pack up, pay a moving company who will lose half your stuff because they sense your inventory isn’t up-to-date” , and then you have to unpack in some unknown place with what kind of inherent problems. NOPE.  I’m staying in the NCR as all my friends are here.  I’m going out boots first and that’s final.

All kinds of excitement going on at the corner of Rideau and Sussex.  A very large sink-hole has opened up and the canal just loves it as the water is now rippling in/out, of it.  The sinkhole apparently measures down to 135 feet.  Ouch.  Once we heard of it, we all blamed it on the LRT but a gent who works on this project told us, it had nothing to do with the LRT project.  He also mentioned that the LRT project would be going on for another 20 or 30 years from now.  Talk about job security.

Show-n-tell.  Roly brought in his biking schedule.  Some of the shortest days were 40’odd K to 91 K.  Smoley.

The phones hit the table today.  Blackberry was brought up briefly due to their decision to no longer produce phones.  That being said, if I remember correctly, they will be moving more on the software/encryption side of things on their hosting servers for other phones, such as other famous brands.  Samsung, Motorola and more.  Hey, do what you are good at – encryption at the server level.

Once again, we griped big-time about our cable bills.  Some of us are pushing for going home-phone free – I did that for a while and found I didn’t have peace of mind.  I love it when caller id comes up on my TV  screen.  Go away, whom-ever!

Projects!  Roly is starting to finalize his patio door replacement.  I’m getting the back-step built this week.  I shall miss all the activity in the house but am now focussing on moving what furniture where.  There was a bit of consternation yesterday as my new/old vision finally got a bit tense over the new laundry area on the new first-floor extension.  They re-measured.  Guess what – we have an inch (only) of spare space once the units move into there.  Size really is everything.

Stan played and shared his recording with us when he got a phone call from India telling him he has a problem with his Windows system.  He played along beautifully and you really should contact him directly so that he can throw this recording up on my Facebook page of “ofarts”.  It is a scream.

Young Billie Neelin will still be running.  We are all on the edge of our fashionista seats to see which dress he will be wearing this time.  Well done, Bill – what would this world do without us colourful people?

Little Ottawa is changing so much!  I swear we're finally becoming a capital of the world to deal with.  Jim Watson is determined that our 150th anniversary of our city’s birth will be outstanding. And is spending money over fist to prove it.

Man, it was cold in the Legion!  Our shivers even had goosebumps as we tried to warm up.  Chuckie complained of cold feet and I’ve never heard him complain – ever.  His wife ordered him to put on a plaid long-sleeved shirt and a flannel vest – good for her!  Normally, this time of the year, we would all be planning picnics, hiking, beach outings but not today, Josephine.

Politics were brought up.  Something about the Trudeaus and then Win’s doing the cya over natural-gas for Ontario consumers.  I’m not even going there.  Who needs the stress of needing to know who is taking your tax dollar for their ride?  All I worry about now is the cost of heating, cooling, property taxes, food costs, clothing, ISP costs, insurance, health, dental, groceries, car insurance, mortgage, car up-keep, house-hold repairs, special retina surgery, taxis, water bills, house insurance, summer storage for the mink coat, new sneakers, new glasses, legal costs, and house-hold up-grades.  Did I forget anything?  I’m sure I did.

Did anyone have anything happen to their home last week – around Saturday evening/early Sunday morning?  I went downstairs to do the laundry and found my new fire/carbon monoxide alarm taking up space on my basement floor although it had been installed to the ceiling.  I’m still coming off those steroid drops and everything is wonky. Balance-wise, that is, so I’m not 100% sure, but my sight is now back to 85% until the next surgery and then, watch out!

Gotta hop!

May 25th

Another Wednesday lunch has just passed.  Man, was it cold in there today!  I was lucky to be wearing long sleeves but the boys were all togged out in summer shirts – Brrrr!

My program manager was over last week and we were both lamenting having to put the heat on in the am, the a/c by afternoon and then back to heating in the early pm.  Yesterday, it was hot and today it’s all over the map.  But, if it keeps the mosquitos confused about when to wake up and then chomp on us, then keep the weather all over the map – PLEASE.

We numbered 14 today – not too shabby.  We all got stuffed to the gills by the cooks again.  This time it was hot roast beef sandwiches with their wonderful cold-slaw.  I can hardly wait for the mail to arrive so that I can get into my stretchy-waist p.j.’s.

There are 5 Wednesdays coming up this June!  Rob handed me the menu for June and here it is:

01st  – Lou’s Chilli

08th – Cabbage Casserole

15th – Pork Schnitzel

22nd – Beef Stroganoff

29th – Hot Chicken

As usual, everyone has a lot of projects planned, holidays to attend, stories to tell, gripes to share, and the Biggie – comparison of our ISP bills.

Cataract operations, surgeries, appointments came up.  Everyone has different experiences and blame it on your family for when you have to get this done.  I had my first one done about 3 years ago and all went fine but it went south after about 7 months.  Then the ophthalmologist ordered back to see my eye surgeon who gave me laser surgery for eye “clean-up”.  Now, I have to go to see the retina specialist next week.  Whoa Nellie, I’m glad I’m not paying for this out of my personal wallet but, of course, this is an Ontario Health Insurance Plan so it gets spread out of your wallet, too.

Show-n-tell.  Roly brought in a flyer advertising a British car meet-up this weekend.  I didn’t hear much about the details as Barrie was on his CRTC rant.

Chuckie just had his 85th birthday celebration with the whole family.  Wow – 85 is pretty good.  And, it shows!  He was giving Stan a bit of stick today about you called who and at what time.

Phones and their capabilities hit the table.  Most of us were checking to see if we could get the CBC on our cells.  I did send out an email earlier this week that some old geezer had come into FIDO and complained that he wasn’t getting the CBC on his phone anymore.  So, the young lad and I rebooted his phone and back it came up.  So, Stan (an Apple user) has rooted around and found that with the IOS, you cannot receive FM signals on the I-phones.  I have yet to check on the article that the CBC is actually addressing this issue as I write.

I was checking out the ‘hood – my private house is in the middle of OCH land down in Lowertown.  Smoley – all of the units are undergoing electrical up-grades!  As Hydro tried billing me $10,000 for this just this Spring, I wonder how much OCH is paying per unit for this.  I’m sure that Hydro is laughing all the way to the bank given they are the only game in town!

So – what are your thoughts on being a member of the Legion?  It is no longer a requirement, I read on the large menu in front of the kitchen.  Personally, I will continue.  It’s a great cause and I feel it’s a way of saying thank-you to the vets.

Mercedes utensil vehicles.  I was mentioning how many there are around these days.  We all rabbited on for a bit until Roly said – you mean utility vehicles.  Oops!  Good catch Roly. 

The golfers ate at the same time as we lazy slobs.  Just a word to the wise, if you don’t want the Wednesday special, ensure that you make your choice known to the kitchen before 11:30.

RCMP.  Words came up about them today.  Perhaps I tread into waters I shouldn’t but I’d like to share one true story.  I was the junior CM in Delhi a million years ago and when the senior went on vacation, the office phone rang.  They wanted to see me so out I popped once the immediates had been cleared.  These guys were demanding entrance into the Comcentre and I refused, naturally.  They insisted again, and I refused again.  So, just as they were having an “aside”, I shot the bolts on the Dutch door, and quickly got in front of it.  I asked them to come with me and I left them at the office door of the charge d’affaires as the Ambo was on vacation, too. Timing is all, I hear.

In thinking back, we really did believe in the word “no”, we didn’t use personal entrance codes or even eyeball checks.

Chuckie still hasn’t been arrested – thank Heavens.  And if you haven’t done your long-form consensus, it’s too late.  You, too, can be arrested for up to 8 years.  What a strange law – probably left over from some under-fed prison guard.

But, I sure hope that I could have used that last Saturday!  I heard the back-door go “click” open around 2:30 pm.  Well, I was in the new bathroom with the door wide-open.  Talk about being caught with your pants down!

Gotta hop.  (Into my utensil truck.)

May 18th

We had a stellar morning and early afternoon!  Smiles were on all of our faces – almost as bright as all those lovely yellow flowers blooming all over the Capital.

Drum roll, please.  We were a lovely baker’s dozen today. 

My house was a hive of activity this am.  I was just having a tiny snack before heading out the door at 10 am.  There was a strange man knocking on my door so I just whipped it open.  Yep, guaranteed result – he has a few more gray hairs now.  May-be I shouldn’t have done that because he turns out to be the kitchen cupboard man.  He will be removing my cabinet doors, taking them off-site for sanding and staining.  Staining??!!  We are painting them dark-ish gray, in a semi-gloss finish!!  Yep, always be available to the trades whenever possible.  Things can get lost in translation or reading of emails.  Given the size of this project, I’m surprised this has only happened once before.  Unfortunately, now I have to figure out where to put the contents of my kitchen cupboards while this goes on.  For those of you that have kept your inventories, the kitchen has many gizmos which are vital to your sanity and reputation as a cook.  Remember when buying a pizza wheel cutter was considered as a necessary luxury to be able to give your one and only kitchen knife a rest once in a while?

How I now envy those good bad old days.

The electrician’s assistant might be looking for a new job soon.  The faceplates on the switches are crooked.  At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes when everything had settled down and those four guys left.  So, I took out my 4-foot Stanley level – yep, way off.  Which is actually good news as I am starting to trust my eye-sight again.  And blessings to my father who always insisted on getting good quality tools.  Lewis recently wanted to borrow a screwdriver with multi-bits.  It didn’t happen but I did buy him a Dewalt set of his own.  Yes, Mummy is still a walking wallet.

Subjects at the head table?  Once again, that subject of “what the heck was his name – I can see his face”, followed by “why was I there in Rome, anyway?”  “When were you in (insert name of post here)?”  Bob Belter joined us today and reminded us of a few of the CM’s and EL’s that were around in his days.  Memory Lane – how sweet it is.

Bob also mentioned that Foreign Affairs (GAC) is the only department to hold retirement gigs and weekly meetings.  We were surprised at this.  When I was posted to London, we used to go to the Aussie’s for their regular Friday pint night.  It was always a scream to watch the Aussies and Canucks try to out-drink the others.  Generally, our side won.

As for the retirement gigs, my belief is that given we are such an independent group, we depend on each other to ensure we are slightly sane, on project, and currently living on Earth.

I was “commissioned without pay” to check out a certain flag-waving circumstance happening just up the way from our Legion.  Never a stranger to a rally, off I went.  It turned out to be a PSAC protest by locked-out employees of OLG.  (I wasn’t aware that PSAC also took on provincial employees.)  This nice lady told me that they were locked out by their employer just before Xmas but they have been without a contract for over two years.  We exchanged more than a few mutual views on current employers and there was also a newspaper rep there.  Nice sunglasses, lady.

As you know, I rarely mention names but we were joined by an out-of-towner.  Mr Frank Arsenault.  All the way up from New Brunswick!  Great of him to join us.  My heavens – last week, Henry Newton and now Frank!  Watch out – the CM’s are coming out of the woodwork!  Just like the garden perennials.

Time. Time.  How quickly it passes but aren’t we glad to be able to speak with our friends on a weekly basis!  No one is getting younger and never will but it is fascinating to hear what everyone is up to.  There’s golf, of course, bowling, baseball, and a new sport.  The new sport is called “OC Transpo Survival”.  Believe you me, you don’t want to put this on your bucket list.  The only good news about it is that we all try to be as civil to each other as possible.  We women of a certain age get offered seats  - sometimes. There for a while, I couldn’t get my balance but I thought I was going great guns.  Every time I got on the bus, someone would kindly insist I take their seat.  The good news?  My eyesight is settling down – for now.

Dr. Dee, our Rant God, got a surge in his Video/audio system and this burnt out his LMB.  He did tell me what this stood for but with all the strong wind blowing through the capital these days, the meaning was gone in less than four seconds.  Anyway, I’m sure that you will all feel better that Dave got his system fixed much to his liking.

Rainex.  Go for it for your brand-new shower doors.  The trades still recommend it and remember to keep those squee-gees handy.  I did purchase  a new multi-headed squee-gee  (Home Hardware, circa $8.00) and it was use-less – the scrubbing part was warped and on the rubber-scraping side, it was also in the same state.  I just am sticking with my old squee-gee which works like a charm.  I just have to remember to grow in height!

Victoria Day weekend arrives and guess what that will mean.  We should finally be getting over these frost warnings.  I think we are good for tomorrow but after losing so many perennials to Hydro Ottawa, I am not rushing forward until Monday.  Hey, remember Monday – it used to be the beginning of the work week.  Now we can collectively thumb our noses at it.  Yes!

As for insanity – I retired a year or two ago.  Guess what, it was actually just a tad over six years ago.  Smoley.  But, gotta hop – laser surgery tomorrow.  It is what it is.

Jammers time,

May 11th

See eleven, and then we were eleven to chow down our smoked meat sandwiches and fries.  I’m surprised that we got those many people considering it was such a beautiful warm day.  The trees and dandelions are bursting with colour.  As CBC has been putting it, Spring today, Summer tomorrow, but I’d wouldn’t be too sure until after May 23rd.

EnerCare (they replaced Direct Energy) was very impressive on Monday when I found that my furnace had had a serious hissy-fit .   The technician saw a code coming up on the display that he had to look up.  Yikes, that’s never a good sign!  Then he went out to his service vehicle and sat there for a long time.  Again, not a good sign.  After about 15 minutes, he came in and hunkered down in front of the coffee table.  By this time, it’s a guarantee there will be very bad news. Some part or another had seized up and the heat exchanger needed replacing and both  would cost $1600 before taxes to replace.  Meanwhile, it was still cold in the house.  His advice was to replace the 14-year old furnace with either a new one or a rental.  So, I threw my towel in and went with what everyone else is doing.  The rental.  No monthly home protection plan to pay out and no worries.  I particularly like the “no worries” part.  Although it a rental, I still qualify for a rebate from the province.  I decided to go the same route with the 14-year old a/c unit which is the same age.  Teenagers!  Nothing but trouble!!

Showers and those clear glass doors!  We were trying to figure out the laziest way to keep them clean and sparkling and so far, using the squeegee was agreed upon by the two tables.  I told the guys that my painters recommended Rainex.  That way, the water just sheets away.  Apparently, this is a well-known product to the car owners  so that you don’t have to use your windshield wipers as much.  So, I got a spray-bottle of it (the last one at the HH on George) and was polishing this and that with my micro-cloth to get rid of the dull finish on the tiling.  Then, I attacked the tower shower itself.  Lastly, I started in on the top-roller mounts and as I got to the bottom, I found two minute scratches.  So, I’ll have to let OGC know and then see what they will do about it.  Mostly, Andrew just says, we will replace it.  I like his easy-going manner.

Dr. Dee is delaying his main bathroom project although they have chosen and bought what they want.  Our winter may have been mild but this waiting for Spring has been very frustrating.  Now that Spring is here, there are other quick projects to do around the house and then it’s out onto the back lawn and start planning what will go on the bar-b-que for dinner.  Good luck, Dave, because Loki is always lurking around the corner.  After he paint colour, he hit me over the chandelier CFL’s for my fans in the extensions.  By default, I got soft white which clashed wonderfully with full-bright white of the LED track lighting.  Just as an aside, I found some chandelier LEDs at Costco which came with A19 adapters.  I haven’t seen these adaptors anywhere else but they do exist.

None of our golfers were in today.  I wonder what time they teed off this morning.  What an amazingly beautiful day!

Next Lime Lunch – Barrie says he will be sending out an email shortly to let us know where it will happen. 

The LRT is really causing traffic snarls all over as the construction is smashing ahead.  Like we don’t have enough construction already!  Many homeowners have concluded the same as Dave and I – improve what you have for your needs today.  For me, forget moving and then moving into something in a neighbourhood which presents a different brand of problems.  Sure, you can get the house inspector in, s/he’ll make their report but they aren’t legally bound by these reports if the insurance inspectors find something.  And, as we know, when it comes to insurance,  goons are trying not to pay out.  The report cost a lot and you wait a lot to get the permits, but it is more than wise to have them.  Incidentally, I have been told that the permits ‘ lives are for the property and not for you once you sell/rescind/pass on the property.

King Edward changes – there have been many just in the past two weeks.  Demolishing has been going on.  The slovenly landlord of the old heritage school on St. Patrick has had to start the demmol but naturally, parts of the building have fallen down.  This also happened to a building on Rideau and the City was all over them like a lawnmower set to the lowest setting.  Va-room.

More buildings have been demolished around St. Patrick and King Edward.  One of them was a Shepherds’ of Good Hope on St. Patrick beside the Paramedic Centre.  This building became famous when it started sporting a toilet outside of the front entrance with flowers growing out of the operational part.  Then, not to be out-done, there was this one very aggressive pan-handler in her 70’s who would use the front lawn as her personal toilet.  Drivers, passengers, walkers-by – all of us – were treated to the sight of her naked behind.  So, coming to a neighbourhood, close to you, soon, will be ……  It has already started over in New Edinburgh.  It will be interesting in hearing what Rockcliffe will use as an argument.  There are many Heritage buildings in Lowertown and of course, five, if not six, very large Embassies.

We saw our favorite cook, Noel.  We always feel good when we see him – we all loved the good old days no matter how they really were.  Slowly, we are adjusting to being able to remember that we can order what we want on Wednesdays.  You all have to admit, the default menu is pretty hard to resist!  The default next week is Chicken Alfredo so I know I’m going to try to poutine as I was taught to eat classically Italian.  (A main and a pasta is never served together – it upsets your digestion timing, apparently.  Well, there goes our classic English breakfast!)

Coding and pvc piping also came up.  I’ve gone from black to white – I guess I was pretty much behind the times but my new high-efficiency furnace is now got two white extensions instead of two black extensions.  But,  I am getting a good feeling about this new furnace and a/c unit.  The warmth and the cool is a lot more even and I am keeping the d/c fan going 24/7, as before.

Lou had a few people stop by to see their property.  George also had a lot of nibbles on their property.  Good luck, gentlemen.  Property changes are upsetting but also good for your piece of mind!

Toes-up time.

May 4th

We snuck in, we shrugged in, we sneaked in, we did everything we had to do and got it done.  The sneakers won the battle with laces flying high.  Yep, that was a groaner,

We missed Jim at his usual spot.  And his usual and wise advice.  I was told he is now camping with all that entails – hearth and home comforts. Good one, Jim.

Our 17-ish crowd was varied and lively! What a bunch of teenagers we are.  We collectively giggled and gaggled and for the life of me, couldn’t tell you if we had a show and tell.  I handed the Rant God a piece of Bell promo for cottages only and he’ll follow up on it but I think he has it all wrapped up.

Today, we had a surprise visitor – Mr. Henry Newton, no less!  Gosh almighty – it’s been years since I last saw sight of this little sapling. We did much of our training together and as ex-CM’s, we often teamed up during these sessions.  Henry will tell you who was the boss when we teamed up, too.  But, now I must share a story….are you ready?

We are in some office building downtown sitting in a classroom.  By this time, we are sick on to death of another class – and even worse, it turns out to be Word Perfect.  Moses All Mighty. So Henry grabs the seat at the back of the class.  He’s looking pretty chuffed as he had scored a perfect sleeping corner.  Alas, he hadn’t  figured Carol into the equation, like the rest of us.  She had his number and rang it very often.  Henry – you are still a champion!

Monsignor Belanger  arrived today and blessed us with his presence.  We spoke of the wonders of train travel and how he influenced my great trip to Vicar and back via the Canada One and Two.

I will keep this very short and sweet.

Tar laa


April 27th

Sweet stuff – we numbered 16 today!

Noel did himself proud with the roast loin of pork.  Once again, we ate very well!  You certainly can’t beat the quality of Noel’s meals.

Here is the list for the merry month of May:

·         4th - Meat lasagna with garlic bread

·         11th - Smoked meat sandwiches and fries

·         8th -  Chicken penne Alfredo with garlic bread

·         25th - Hot roast beef sandwich

We were joined by two working stiffs today.  It always makes us feel great about our retirement choice when they show up.  It is as we suspected, we had the best of times when we were working.  Now that Shared Services has been thrown into the mix, chaos reigns.

Bathrooms and  bathtubs were discussed, all possible problems discussed and resolved with great fortitude.  The general up-shot is that bathtubs are hardly ever used – six times a year seemed to be the average time.  As for me, I haven’t had a bath at home in nearly 10 years.  I did avail myself  of a great soak at this luxurious bathroom over at the Hotel Hilton Lac Lamee.  I was rather terrifying trying to get out without doing the splits or smashing a limb when it came time to land.

Floor coverings – marble is lethal when wet and I’ve refused any of it to come into this house for the flooring.  Hey, I love it when it comes to pastry making, though.  Keeps the shortening nice and cool so your pastry is wonderful and melt in your mouth.

Phone calls from “CRA” hit the table and we’ve all had them.  Some of the “speeches/warnings” differ slightly but they are all a scam.  We young ‘uns are aware of the scams but the elders aren’t and there go their life savings.

Stan got “Microsoft” really well when they called to say that he had some pretty serious error codes.  He had fun with them while I just basically told them to get stuffed.  Stan was asked to turn on his computer and describe what he saw.  He told the caller that he saw the letters c:\.  They asked him to confirm and he said he had hit enter and now could see everything much clearer.  After he had way too much fun explaining that he was running DOS 3.0, the would-be hacker hung up on him.

Put an asterisk beside October 21 – this is the date that has been chosen for the DFAIT  Yearly Retirement luncheon to be held at the RA Centre in the Clark Room.  The menu will be the same as last year and they will be working hard to keep the price down to that single $20 per person.  Everyone enjoyed the food and especially the gluten-free desserts.  We had a big delay last year – we keep bottle-necking at the bar so this year we will do things a little different but with only 1 bartender and nearly 150+ attendees, not much gives.  This year, the cttee will relieve you of your $20 per person, given you a numbered ticket – which you must keep beside your plate so that the servers can see you paid.

Once again, the caveat is that the servers are unionized and that the tip isn’t included on the cost of the meal.  It is discretionary, of course, but that’s a lot of plates to be cleared, coffee/tea to be served and water glasses to be refilled.

Our out-of-town visitors have been and gone.  For those of you that didn’t attend last week, Angel Sarzynski and Gary Black showed up the same Wednesday so there was lots of news to be caught up on.  Lots of the “remember-what’s-his/her name” game was played – which is so normal.  I still think we should invent an app for that using Dave’s photos and Stan’s Dos 3.0!

The electrical inspector came today – unbeknown to be.  I was coming back from Loblaws with visions of more hot coffee to wash down my cheese bun.  I entered the front and this great big head floated around the kitchen door.  Phew – I guess my heart is still strong, thank God.  So, he turned out to be a gentle giant but still – even axe murderers can be innocent looking – they don’t all look like Charles Manson!

We also spoke about what is happening down South.  Yikes.  For all intents and purposes, they are now down to two qualifying candidates.  The States has never had either a self-funded president nor a woman president.

So, Duffy was acquitted of all 31 charges!  Goon Ghomeshi wasn’t charged after the choking allegations – totally cleared, as well.  What’s with the judges today?  Best-selling memoires?  But, Goon’s pistachio’s haven’t been totally toasted so far.  He has another court case coming up in June.  Personally, if I had been one of his chokes, and once my name had been made public, I would have gone all out with an appeal.  After all, the public shame (if one feels that way) is already done.  I am sympathetic over these womens’ cases and it is not up to me to judge them for their, ahh, adventuresome, ways.

Teams, teams, everywhere teams.  Tomorrow, the dry-wallers will be in, nice and early.  The electrician will have to be here, too, as he figures that the dry-wallers drove a nail into their electrical runs.  The program manager will be over to cool the clashes that can happen.  The framer guy was here this am and found his ladder had been stolen.  It seems to have come back but if I were him, I’d go with really big chains and a strong padlock.  Lots of time, when you live beside a high-school, things are done on a dare or just because they want a quick $20 to add to their cash for the latest in sneakers.

I shall be having lots of fun tomorrow with two guys (again) in the shower to ensure the Moen designer grab is in the proper position.  I am so looking forward to Friday when I can run away to my Union gathering!

I have been trying to empty my fridge but of course, that’s when fresh food starts pouring in.  However, not all is bad.  I am determined not to have to go into a hotel when the kitchen is being done but if I have to, I shall go to Angel’s hotel as it is so close by and it is cheaper than the motels on Rideau.  But, that won’t happen until the second or third week of May given when my son goes in for his surgery and then, I’m in on the 19th for a clean-up for the old cataract replacement.

Meanwhile, I’m calling kick-back time, attack the Camembert and crackers, sprinkle on some celery seeds (vegetables) and chunk it down.

Gotta jump!

April 20th

Today, we all arrived early.  It must have been our wonderful  Spring air.  I was stuck in the house ordering around the contractors – I want my two-floor extension done asap now.  The end is so close!

The Dirty Dozen rode in and found themselves sitting down with another Dirty Dozen so we wound up with a Double Dozen.  Some of the faces in the crowd were people we hadn’t seen in years so many cheeks were pecked, hugs and handshakes were aplenty.  We were three women there for lunch today so that accounts for the cheeks being pecked.

Conversations were many and loud.  Lightbulbs came up, again.  What is with this fascination about lights!  I may have contributed somewhat to this as I had to buy LEDs with the spindle connectors – nine of them to populate my new second-floor light-kits for the new fans.  The guy at Lowe’s said these are called chandelier connectors – whatever.  The price tag on these were very dear so, at the risk of making a grown man cry, (sorry Dave) I bought the much cheaper CFLs that came with provincial-issued coupons.  This same Lowe’s dark-haired guy said that you should treat the CFLs the same as you would a fluorescent – never turn them off.  Rebuttals, anyone?

We moved on to the discussion of lumens of a 9-watt LED.  Is it equivalent to a 60w or a 90w incandescent?  We bandied this topic around the table for a bit and then Stan threw in a spanner of Kelvin.  Naturally, I gave him the fish eye as Kelvin is heat-related or in this case, pertaining to thermo-dynamics.  (Also, check out Faraday and Maxwell in their works.)  Kelvin was a brilliant scientist. He was the brains behind the laying of the first Atlantic cable.  He invented electrometers, galvanometers, deep-sea sounding gear, a mariners’ compass and an electric clock. Wow – busy boy,  I wonder if he ever found time to sleep.

But hey, just to get back at Stan – I did my temp conversations for the public and more.  When Canada went with the metric system, we at the weather office were sent to insane levels of maintaining our patience with the public.  I had to stick-handle the public calls and they drove me insane – “what’s the real temperature – I want to do the laundry.”  G-r-r-r-r-r.  Then the airlines would call and I really took time out to share my conversion tables with them as they needed to know so much.  There is a minus zero C, a zero C and a plus zero that they needed info on to store the food for the flights.  (Yes, I just really dated myself!) in the reverse, one woman that used to call every day with the same question: what is the real temperature?  I just lost it during my last week and said “stick your hand out the window!”.  She never called back after that.  Thank God, a few days later, I was in Ottawa about to start the beginning of my new life with External.

As for the other Calvin that Stan mentioned re temps – that earns him another fish eye.  

Today’s lunch was so good everyone tucked in like a seasoned food contest eater.  Rob, the young lad was peeling potatoes from scratch about 15 minutes before lunch and then they were in front of us in all their wonderful glistening glory.  Rob has mastered that cantankerous old stove in the kitchen.  Yaaaa!  We’ll take it.  And next week, we will be served roast pork loin that will be marinated in garlic, avec mashed spuds and mixed vegetables.  After that meal, we will be fighting off the super-bugs with vigor!

Stan got me good today – he insisted that before we could have a group photo, Lou’s permission had to be sought.  What??  So, he convinced me this to be so and like a goji berry, away I went.  Lou had a good laugh and so did Stan.  Well, the photo session went well and all of us managed to suck in what needed to be sucked in and we fitted!

As for this Goji Berry, beware Stan.  There will be a prank back at you and it will be with interest.  And you will never know when it will happen.

So – here we are at the beginning of Spring!  We have another exciting year in front of us and we get to kick the tires or whatever, act like kids, drink lots of lemonade and see our friends.  One of these days, I might master the hoola-hoop but right now,  but my house project is huge.  And, it will get bigger as we will be taking on the kitchen next.  OGC continues to be so accommodating and that means so much when you go through these big projects.  I have also been buying ahead – my kitchen needs are pretty much taken care of except for the need of un-softened water as I only have 1 faucet.  So, the tiler guys will just have to shut up over that when I tip-toe over the newly-laid porcelain kitchen floor.

I have no awakened dead people in my house.  I found this out today when the contractor was installing the floor tract for the laundry bi-fold doors.  Smoley – what an unholy noise.  Plus, he was cussing up a blue streak in French.  Btw, I have informed all contractors that they are allowed to swear but it must only be in French.  For those of you who were posted to London, remember that you had to put money in the jar if you swore in English.  Naturally, this jar money rapidly disappeared into the Barley Mow money coffers that very same evening by the self-appointed collector.  Needless to say, the rule maker’s jar ran dry within a few hours.  We Anglais learn quickly!  If I might stay with the London posting experience, I’d like to share one with you.  It was an evening shift and just after our lunch, we were all knuckling down to those horrible hum-drum jobs.  I was sitting beside Gerry Tremblay on a punch-up position in the box.  It all happened in a split second!  The air-lock door opened, I saw a 6’5” guy put on a gorilla fright mask and then jump in front of Gerry.  I saw Gerry’s hair literally stand on end. M Y God, the word funny doesn’t even cut it in this case!

This same prankster also ran a bike race on the 3rd floor of Mac House back in “75/76”.  It occurred on a mid-night shift and that’s all I’m going to say as I was just an observer.  I understand there were some repercussions over that and Paul Martin Senior insisted no communicators were to be allowed in his “personal” elevator.  Just for that, I took that elevator every day.

Gotta jump!

April 13th

The day was bright and beautiful – the wind was brisk and the passengers on the 14 heading over to little Italy were a bit on the brash side.

I got on at the Rideau Centre.  It had two wheelchairs and a “runner’s” stroller.  The owner of the stroller and a wheel-chair occupant started having “issues” with the stroller person demanding the wheelchairs move.  According to the wheel-chair person, once they were in position and locked in, they aren’t allowed to move.  The spat was quick but the stroller person felt self-entitled.  Some of these strollers are so large they evict 3 priority riders and demand a seat in the front row.  Of course, Ottawa people try to accommodate and be nice at the same time so my hat was off to the wheel-chair person that was gracious enough not to take the argument to the next level after she was told “f-you, lady.”  That was just plain disgusting behaviour – I wonder how her child is going to turn out with her as a scion of parenthood.

Yay – we hit Preston Street and I was getting off the back.  A woman and her 8-year old son were getting off.  She enthused a very loud thank you sweetie and then something I didn’t catch as it was so very loud that it hurt.  The driver didn’t acknowledge her. So, she and her son ran ahead to bang on the bus entry door and then I caught what she was saying.  “It’s going to the f-ing hot today!”.  The bus driver obviously knew her and wouldn’t open up the door.

I nipped into Preston Hardware, did my exchange in a few minutes and headed back out as I was meeting Mr. Contract (Ron Pearce) for 10:30 at the Legion.  (He is one of the original organizers of the DFAIT Retirees Yearly Luncheon at the RA Centre.)  Back to the experience of the 14, here the same very loud woman got on the bus with her son and wanted free transport to “The Shelter” as they were hungry and hadn’t eaten.  The driver ordered them off the bus but a fellow passenger offered to pay for their passage.  Once that technicality was over, we started moving.  The loud one kept yelling how she always bought candy for the drivers and they should understand that she doesn’t have a job.  She did keep saying to the lady “thank you” for the free ride.  So, I don’t know where this shelter is, but I can tell you that those two crossed Gladstone with a red light against them and then went into a Pay Loan place.  What they are on, I don’t know, but it was sad to see the kid acting like his mother and stumbling around.

So – see what you drivers are missing – all of that for $2.83 over a period of 1.5 hours!  And I have a caveat in my day – if I’m a target, I just get off the bus and head in the opposite direction.  Ignoring also works.  Feet work very well to get you to where you are going and most of the bus drivers know the troubled ones and will help out.

And now, what you are waiting to hear – the Dirty Dozen came riding in on this bright but chilly day.  Noel made sure that we were stuffed to the gills, as usual.  He was wearing a new chef’s hat that looked a bit like an Islamic prayer cap so one of the tables was really giving him a ribbing.

Names like Joe Clark, Kim Campbell, etc., hit the table today as possible new ambassadors.  Gee, I wonder if Kimmie will take her dog again.  Apparently, when she was in New York, the dog had full run of the O.R. and to hell with your allergies.  Strange that these political appointees should be chosen as both these ex-PM’s led such a short life in that position.  I didn’t catch the other names as the conversation was interspersed with “cars”, the future of Volkswagen possible fix or pay-out, Lou’s new baby and the up-coming visit to Princess Auto.

Marriage briefly hit the table.  We were doing the trip down Memory Lane and Ron posed the question about was it true that we had to ask permission to get married.  Our rant god said that he had to ask permission to marry Janice and she was a rotational member of DFAIT.  I also asked permission and had to fill out this long song-n-a-dance form with all of my former husband’s parental information.  Once sub-mitted, it went into the black hole and we just went ahead and married anyway.

Ron also brought up his work history and that of the temporary buildings that were on Sussex and Wellington.  This was well before my time so I’d never seen these buildings but do recall where the old American embassy was located.  I was “blessed” with a personal invite to the old building and could see why they were eager to move.  The old Embassy was in a wonderful position across from Parliament with the PMO/PCO office just down the street.  I was invited over there one day by a secretary and found that it was tiny, stuffed full of people and hot.  As for the new Embassy, every time I walk by it, that so-called piece of art that soars into the air, always make me think that it looks like we, as Canada, are being given the finger.  I’m sure I’m wrong but that’s my impression.

Just used the new sandbox – wow.  Get the comfort height, for sure.  Many thanks to Stan for suggesting that.  I do like the double-flush option as you don’t have to listen to all that water that you pay for, just rush out of your house.

And rushing out of your house will be a thing this weekend as the weather is promising to be sunny and warm!  So, break-out the sunscreen, the sneakers, etc., and head out the door.  This is what retirement is all about – drop the project or go sit in the sun and dream up a new project!

LED lightbulbs have been a favorite subject of ours now for a few months.  Dave had the time of his life brow-beating the cashiers at the Orleans Lowe’s.  I only bought five as I just wanted them to use as grow-lights.  I already have a big stash in my treasure box upstairs but I still dashed over to Canadian Tire when I heard about them selling them for $1 with the coupon.  What I liked so much is to have heard that they were much more civilized and allowed you to buy them in groups of 5 so you could have bought 50, if you wished and had the spare time for each transaction to go through.  When I spoke with the older gents at Cdn Tire, they told me this was a seasonal event so I’m sure we will see more of these sales.

Lowes has bought out Rona, Swiss Chalet gobbled up St. Hubert and Loblaw’s is expanding after acquiring Shoppers Drug Mart.  What will happen to Metro?  Formerly Loeb’s.  Who was owned by the big garbage company, according to one source of info.  So – the big fish chunk down the little fish.  Sound familiar?  We peons get let go in our measly little jobs and the big fish get the bonuses for “saving” the public all that money.

Gotta jump!

April 06th

Yesterday, in Ottawa, it was a classic Feb. day – beautiful blue and freeze-your-who’s-it off temps.  At 7am, it was also out of this world with color and now everything is turning white in a hurry.  Two weather systems are hitting us – this normally happens to Montreal or Toronto so we can take a few hits like this.  At least this will hide all the spring debris that we are now seeing during the recent melt.

Numbers, numbers!  Again, we had a baker’s dozen – you guys seem to conspire to keep it in that zone.  That being said, the food is taking a turn for the better again, thank Heavens. 

Conversations, conversations!  Again, there were nine going on at the same time between six people.  Some faces showed up after a few months of absence so they had many stories to tell to those of us that had been duty-bound to remain in Ottawa during the winter months to keep our Ofarts reputation intact.

Some good news for our Legion.   The new head cook, Mike, has started a new initiative called the Breakfast Club.  The lady that served us said that it is turning into a good success story as neighbour tells neighbour.  The Legion is a fine tradition and upheld greatly by our vets but many of the Legions are faltering so we are very happy that ours is improving.  Breakfast is only $5, by the way!

IKEA is certainly alive and doing well.  Lots of Mums with strollers – even double-wides! My fellow shopper and I were very carefully checking out prices of various things.  Then, always being faithful to the arrows, we found ourselves in the toy department.  One mom just reached into the plush toy basket as she was strolling by and gave her child a new bunny.  She didn’t even check the price – where is all this money coming from?

I’m sure some of you have seen these “Love it or List it” or the Property Brothers.  I am still trying to wrap my head around young couples with a budget of two or three million, if not more.  And here I am stocking up on Cashmere Ultra 8-roll TP packages for $8.  Loblaws, btw.

Barrie was wearing a new red t-shirt that he got in the States for all of $4.  I can see why – it was in support of Trump.  I think he should wear it every day – soon people will be paying him $20 not to wear it.

I had some stuff delivered from Lowe’s for free.  Now – that is dangerous.  That is like waving a red cape at a bull or a mad shopper without a car.  Their web-site is great but some of their items are quite expensive.  Even Preston Hardware under-cuts them.  But – whoever they hire to do the delivering is very familiar with my area – which is really saying something.  They deliver to your front door and I was getting worried about the delivery of my hard-wired combo alerts (new building code in Ottawa and there-abouts).  I was looking out my back window around 5-ish to check out the state of the mud and then saw my Lowe’s carton hiding between the tip and the door!  The tilers told me that it had been there since they showed up on Monday am.  Wow – that is a fast delivery!

Dave is in love!  With ip tv, that is.  And his cleaner turned him onto to it.  Talk about multi-tasking that these new business owners are doing.  We will be collectively watching the outcome of this given the great price ($15 per month) and the availability of those many channels.  You still have to buy the box ($160 or 170 at but Sanjeev had promised sahib Dave the very bestest of monthly costs that he could get him.  Coming to your neighbourhood soon – “Sanjeev’s IP World of Entertainment, oh yes Sahib!”.

Chuckie’s wife just had an incredible birthday!  She turned 18 yesterday – oops, I just made her too young.  I think the more appropriate number is 28.  The phone kept ringing off the wall with best wishes  - how nice that people remember.

Facebook – there are people hacking into our accounts now.  I don’t really store anything in it and have deliberately put my date of birth in as 1905.  Protect your info – real friends know where you live and your birthdate.  And they’ll never ask you for more than that because they don’t need to as they usually don’t have your power of attorney.  What drives me insane is when someone says – I’ll be in such-n-such place on vacation but don’t tell anyone.  First, I am having enough trouble remembering my own schedule let alone anyone else’s.  This person lives in a secure apartment building and none of us live in that town so I can’t follow the line of thought.

Bill Neelin brought in a very special calendar – nude men and women but not one in a hashers’ red dress!  We were very disappointed and already we have put a few requests for the pictures that will come out of Bali when 8,000 dress-clad hashers will descend upon that island next year!

My house project is progressing.  The ceilings have been painted now that the mud guy’s mess was carted away.  The dust is still literally settling.  My Oreck air cleaner is snap, snapping as the particles start to float past it.  Thank God for the shop vac that the guys brought in last week – even they were shocked by the amount.

The tiles in the first floor extension are really coming along.  The tilers just had to leave to get more supplies – right in the middle of this storm.  Apparently, the 417 is a skating rink with the way this snow is coming down.  The tilers will be working late tonight as the tiles have to cure for 24 hours so they are under strict orders not to hold up any other teams from getting that all-important bathroom on the main floor.

Spring really is on its way – I am hearing robins, et al – time to haul out the binoculars and head to the park.  With my luck, they will be in somebody’s backyard and it will be perched at a child’s window.  WhhhAHHHHHH.  SMBM – send me bail money!

Gotta bounce,


March 30th, 2016

Well, the March Hare huffed and puffed and nearly blew a lot of us away yesterday.  Smoley, the wind tunnels on Rideau are becoming more frequent and they will increase.  Some condos are plying the City of Ottawa with the promise of a lot of property taxes – and then they get to drive their buildings into the stratosphere.  Last year, the city decided that zoning would depend on the street and not the area.  So, don’t be surprised if there’s a Mom-n-Pop store coming to you.  Pray your neighbour isn’t planning on selling sometime soon!

We were the Bakers’ dozen today.  A few old pals of ours showed up and another one is a rare attendee.  I arrived early and Mr. Kruithof looked happy to see a familiar face.  By 10:55 am, we’d moved John into three different seats at the head table.  Hey, he was impressed.  Then promptly at 11:05, we launched into our weekly routine with great gusto.  Again, he expressed his enthusiasm as we all told each other what projects we had going on, or about to go on, or getting much appreciated advice from those who had done that project.  Stan brought in his show and tell and eventually he identified what it was for.  Personally, I thought it would be a good earring hanger but what would I know, just being a female that wants to invent things.

Dr. Dee is determined I will be married off and in haste!  The cute mud guy might be preggers. Hmmm.  And I haven’t even made the mudder a coffee!  And besides, he has a girlfriend.  Dave just brushed all of this under the proverbial carpet and is still insisting I will be marrying the cute mud guy post-haste to save his reputation.  I ask you, O gentle reader, where does he get this stuff!

We had tons of fun interrupting each other and giggling over shared memories of those people we worked with and how we had such a great time with them.  Once again, there was the memory game of names.  We really got to work on that app that pulls together the face and the name.  Sadly, so far, no one has stepped forward – you bunch of so-n-so’s, you!

We were so boisterous today that I only heard my cell ringing for the second time from OGC.  Another owner-decision had to be made!  It turned out to be for all the better as I got to go back to my original choices as the supplier had run out of stock on the opted new tile.  And it was a good thing!  Everything is starting to pull together and the program manager is really going for the home push on the extension.  He’ll he pulling up a piece of the kitchen flooring so as to match it for the hardwood extension upstairs so that it will “glide” and not look like a demarcation zone.

So, has anyone figured it out yet?  Time just screams by – dear God, don’t blink.  But, the dare factor moves in!  I just booked out two 7-day express lenders from the library – now that’s living on the edge of the scalpel!

Bloody Tax Time.  I’m not even going there.

The boyos were having a great gossip about Chiarelli, Win and some other third wheel.  That’s when Ron B. and I started back into our Via Rail experiences.

Barrie is calling for the Telecommunications Reunion on Sep. 17th.  Or thereabouts.  Check your calendars, send in the cheque and get spruced up.  Maybe Barrie will out-do his bum trick of last year when he managed to knock over the podium with it.  I ask you – where would we be without him?  He has a big heart, a big mouth (did I just say that?) and obviously, derriere.  Obviously, what I am saying isn’t to be intended as nasty.  I first met Barrie in London in April 1977.  That’s pretty close to 41 years ago!

And speaking of history – we’ve most certainly been there, done that and refused the tee-shirt.  Except when it comes from a fellow trencher.  And as OFARTS, we still refuse the tee-shirt.  After all, someone cheaped out and bought about 300 of size kindergarten 4”s.  Oh well, may-be we can use them on our roses or calla lilies.  Somebody forgot to put in that vital digit before the 4!

Lou was 4 minutes late today.  Again with the Princess Auto!  It is making us all wonder which car piece he is now in love with!

Gotta jump – literally.  This is a construction zone so I grab my book, water and CANDY to the second floor.  It is moving along and the program manager is pushing the staff to the max to hit the deadline of the end of April for everything, including the kitchen reno, to be done.  Kitchens and bathrooms are THE most expensive, of course but they are the most used.  Since my arthritis has gotten nasty, I’ve decided to fight back but with a back-up plan.  Hence the extensions to the house.  The message is: use what you got, use up what you already own and appreciate your family.  Oh, and I forgot to say – don’t go down into the basement – you will never come B-a-c-k!


March 23rd

March Hare Month!

So, who fell down the rabbit hole today?  Any mad hatter tea parties?  Well, we all fell into the Legion to partake of “diplomatic tea” of personal choice. 

The Dirty Dozen all rode in at different times.  Some were early, some on their own scheds but as usual, Lou sailed his cap onto the rack right on time!

We celebrated Jim’s up-coming birthday with great delight – he looked as pleased as Punch as we sang Happy Birthday  and so did we.  New rule:  Nobody is allowed to kick off before they reap their tax refund from CRA.  And then, not even so -  that’s the order of the year!

I did the dreaded yearly deed and went to my accountant.  With knees knocking and teeth chattering, he said “okay, I have all the papers – where are your medical receipts?”  Whaaat?  That’s a new one on me.  I guess the tax drawer will just have to get deeper as this year it will be a new “eyeball”  - cataract surgery kind of eyeball.  But, previous to that, there are all the tests you have to go through and the measuring.  So, if you’re lucky, you get off the hook for about a K.  What a rip off – we are paying them good solid money so they can wake up and start paying for their retirement!

And speaking of retirement, the word on the street is that some baby has been attending for nigh on 4 years now.  So, we all started doing an age assessment.  Eric Carter is the least baby-ish of all, now followed by our Chuckie.  Most of the guys pointed the finger at me but I think as a retiree, Bruce S. is still younger.  I turned 62 in Feb. so I think I still qualify as a Spring Chicken, slightly past the best before date.

The extension is coming along – the mud guy is now in and is putting this stuff all over the place.  He likes to start early and I told him – I’m up at 5am – come in when you want.  But, he still has to drill and those first-time buyer self-obsessed kids will call the noise cops in a snap if there is noise before 7am.  And they have called before 10 and the noise cops came over, laughed at them when they saw my construction site and left.

Bad neighbours – and don’t we all have a story to tell about that, unfortunately.

Then there’s rich and richer!  We got talking about the cost of housing.  Most of us are comfortable with a house that sells for around $400,000 or so, if not more.  So, I was watching this program “love it or sell it”.  These young Toronto families are listing their budgets in the $2,000,000 range.  What?  God only knows about Vancouver!  But, I was reading an article where you can buy this house-in-a box for $6,000 only but you construct it yourself.  It is all of 96 square feet – just don’t sneeze while you are on the second floor.  That being said, you can take this house apart, stack it in a trailer and off you go to your next destination.  Hey – better than a leaky tent!  I’d be interested, though, in the housing taxes, insurance and the number of bruised thumbs, as a start.  Then would come the curiosity and the number of robberies you would undergo.  As a camper, everyone knows you are dirt poor but a different type – like, hey, buddy, I got a steel pipe- type: dirt poor style.  Even the grizzlies are stopping the thought that you are a meal in a zip-lock bag.  Which, basically, you are, even if you have a steel pipe.  Did I mention I never camp?

Not much at show-n-tell today.  I brought in my portable charger that I earned through much gnashing of brains and teeth at the Presidents’ meeting of the Presidents, union-wise.  The work is getting harder and the gratitude is tremendous so I’m going to run again for another two more years.  I had a great weekend seeing my union pals that come in from all across Canada.  It’s like an annual meeting of the ofarts gang.  We share a lot of history – some of it over 10 years so we know about each others’ families, their dreams, etc.  But, I was quite surprised when the chief Negotiator (aka God) tapped me on the shoulder and said, “join us for a drink”.  I said I left my purse upstairs and he said my money wasn’t any good so off we went.  What a time we had!  I reached for my wine and accidentally on purpose shut off his phone charging.  Then it turned into prank night but a few other scragglers came in and then we had to stop being such idiots.  The next morning, I was behind the Treasurer and asked her what time did we leave the bar – can you believe 12:30! No wonder there wasn’t a wrinkle in my bed-sheets!  Who amongst us can say that when we have done “time” like that, contiguously awake.  Smoley.

The boyos were going on about their military tags.  Never having been in the military, it gave me a chance to scan the newspaper.  Those killings and maimings in Brussels were brutal to see.  What Isil might see as a victory, we as Westerners see as madness, brutality and God will avenge.  But, he might be on a tea-break, so we’ll just have to do something about this as mere humans.  I’ve always said that there will be a huge WWWIII that will start out of the Middle East.  That war, my friends, has already been declared.  Most unfortunately, these cowards hide behind the vulnerable.  So – who’s up for navy seal training?

Gotta hop and bop!

March 16, 2016

What a day!  You scurry to meet someone only to see the their tail-end going around the corner – and much too far for you to shout.

Then, even as a pedestrian, you hit every red light as you continue to scurry to catch up.  And just as you’re about to quit, the person slows down, you get to hit the green, and then all is well.

Today, we were the Terrible Thirteen.  Show-n-tell went well and the boys were just starting to talk about their medals and “outing”.  Outing from the military, that is.

My Rogers bill was carefully examined and it turns out that Stan and I have the same costing.  It will be time to call up in April to find out new offers are coming up for that time.  Rogers has started to act like the US Military – but with a slight twist.  If you don’t ask, they won’t tell.

Also, included were the LEDs I got at Lowes which the sales clerk gave me a $10 coupon so I bought two Feit (indoor/outdoor) Omni packs of three 9.5 watts of warm light with the Lumens at 800 (dimmable).  The unit price then became $6.48 which doesn’t include HST.  I love Lowes!  She also printed me off a coupon for my track lighting so I was on top of the world.  PST-free weekends – wow.  Lowes will also be opening up in the old Zellers/Target location on St. Laurent so my plastic is going to get very bendy as I have to dress 5 new windows plus the new back door.

The dry-wall guys just invited me onto my house/their construction site to discuss the new shower – with what I call the shower tower.  There will be a rain head fixture, three jets and most importantly, a hand-held shower head.  That will make it easier to clean.  So, the shower base will be 42” by 60”.  Not too shabby.

Codes, codes – amazing how things change.  And so quickly.  Grab bars, bathroom fans and special dry wall for bathrooms just to mention some things.

Tomorrow, I will have to set up an appointment with the chief procurer at OGC to start picking out wall colours and designs for the ceramic flooring.  Strangely, that will be the hard part – paint can change but once that tiling goes down, you will live with that for a very long time!

We will have a quick return to minus 12 and then minus 10 on the weekend.  What a weird winter.  I did like what Ian Black, climatologist at CBC, said “You won’t have to worry about the sun getting in your eyes on the drive home this week”.

I had to leave the meeting early today as there was a Union meeting starting at 12:30.  And then, I saw a member of that team come in at 11:40 looking panicked.  As I am a family friend, I went over to say hi and assure him that he was very early.  So, we wound up chatting and then I found out that he is doing a home changes, too.  But, he is interviewing the contractors himself and that would explain the extreme stress.  I also did that when I did my basement.  I swore to never do that again.

And on top of all of that, his wife had a bad fall and broke her arm.  Talk about the year for falls!  Everyone is tumbling with ice mostly being the culprit.

Chuck is loving the new menu.  He can now order chicken with mash for a take-away dinner.  We are very pleased to still see Noel  in the kitchen doing his thing.  Today, there was a huge platter of roast beef resting on the counter.  Dr Dee and I availed them for just BLT’s.  Yum! 

I brought a friend to the Legion on Saturday for breakfast.  She thoroughly enjoyed it, I am happy to say.  That being said, we thought that there were only two choices, bacon-n-eggs or pancakes and bacon.  They have now added a third choice – now you can get eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage and ham for a higher price of being such a carnivore. Oh, and before I forget, the weekly menu choices have changed again.  The cabbage rolls are now moved to the end of the month.  The kitchen staff is keeping Stan’s eye-phone blinking pretty chop-chop to keep the OFARTs site up-to-date.

Tomorrow is St. Paddy’s Day – start the grandkids off right and serve ‘em green eggs and ham.


March 2nd

Gosh, for such a warm day, it sure is cold.  Thank God for big hoods – the wind is nasty.  There’s still lots of snow and ice on the sidewalks.  Montreal Road looked dry but I’m sure the side streets aren’t.  What a mess.  But, it will get messier on Sunday as the long-range forecast is calling for double digit temperatures.

Mike (L) and Rob (R)

Eight of us rolled in today.  And we had a wonderful surprise.  A menu with everything on it available! Three of us delved into the menu but the other five took the default.  We were all very pleased with the quality of the food – and there was lots of it!  They (Mike and Rob) have designed a weekly special, as well.  Smoked meat next week and then cabbage rolls after that.  We were offered dessert in case we were still hungry.  The price for most of the main courses is a max of $10.  We also marvelled over the breakfasts available.  Gilles, our bar steward highly recommends the bacon and eggs.  Lou is very happy that there isn’t any liver on the menu.  I’m very tempted by the pancakes with bacon or sausage c/w coffee or tea for $5!  Smoley.

Everybody is going through renos – including the Legion as in order to bring out the old fridge, they have to remove a wall.  I guess our regular weekly contributions aren’t going unappreciated!

The duct tape war ended within the first 3 minutes of us meeting.  The one that Dave had on the top of his list was the same one that I bought on Saturday at Lowes.  I was there to pick up LED tract lighting under strict instructions from the electrician and program manager.  What shocked me was how much of cost of the new ceiling fans are.  All the prices have gone up by at least $100 so I’m so glad to have purchased my two 44” Harbour Breeze ceiling fans for a total of  $124 w/tax.

Next shopping trip will be for pot lights for the under-the-counter lighting.  The kitchen reno won’t start until the main floor of the addition is done with the bathroom installed, the washer/dryer comes up and I wrangle with Rogers to enable a few network drops.  The new door hardware will be installed and all the bathroom items are done.

The dry wallers showed up at 8am on the dot.  Impressive.  The other teams have been showing up between 8:30 and 9:00.  It makes no difference as I’m up around 4am so I’m already at the second movie by then.

Yesterday, the new CRTC  regs came into force.  I’m not calling up yet but one of the comments at the table was that the basic package is pretty skinny!  My current Rogers bill is down by $100 since last year as I call them regularly to find out what the special of the month is.  The nice young lady/man pours over the history and makes recommendations that are to my advantage.

September 17th – don’t forget about the Telecoms reunion.  Barry Thomas is your lead man on that one.

As usual, we played the “remember what’s his face” game.  We spoke of some of our old postings, as usual, but this time we spoke of sights and the food.  We didn’t get into the quirks of the locals such as the shaking of the head in Western culture to be no while the speaker is saying “Yes, memsahib”.  I remember talking to the local PTO in India as my line was down and the fellow said “you sound quite homely – can we meet?”

To get back to home, we threw Premier Win under the bus, briefly touched on American politics (it is turning vicious, non?), 4-g telephone networks, duct taping, Gorilla tape, energy bills, accused terrorists allowed to stay here, the time served in the Navy, and the new MENU!  Most of us at the table today has either served in London or know it.  Old names came up – and then the food arrived.  Forks flew, condiments and lashings of REAL butter were shared.  Then came the offer of apple pie and ice cream!  None of us had any as we were stuffed.

Gotta nap!

Feb 24th

The 5U4 Presentation

Jan.27th, 2016

The light levels are coming up, we are now out of -25C for this month, so in my book, we are on the up and up!

The Dirty Dozen rode in, again, today!  Why, Miz Kitty, what’s happenin? 

We had tablecloths and a big reserved sign on our middle table today.  And we populated it, too. We had a lot of marvellous show and tell items.  I remembered to bring in my 44-year old stapler (ACCO) and after it passed through several hands, it is now truly done for.  For which I am very grateful – one less thing taking up space in my house.

There was much-speak going on today!  Many topics were covered , soldering, cutting brass piping, Dragon’s Den reneging on start-up money for the great new ideas, Dr. Dee’s “Haven” super-duper fire douser, Gary’s head-set that the boys will be working on to get the right connector for him.  I heard (too late) about the home renovation show which means I and MANY others saved tons of money as not many people showed up, apparently.

Yesterday, it rained and melted.  Today, it is freezing so we have a river of untreated icy sidewalks.  In case some of you aren’t aware, if you do fall and hurt yourself, you CAN sue the City.  Just carry your smartphone to capture the area and its condition at the time.  Naturally, a witness is worth more than a thousand photos.  A very nice young man stopped me on the street and warned me how slippery it is – and they say the new generation doesn’t care.  Yesterday, a nice young man shouted at the bus driver to open the side door for me.  A few minutes later, another nice young man handed me my ear-muffs that I’d dropped.  Hey, there’s a lot of hope for those that govern this country while we go ga-ga.

The battle has started for who will be the driving force for LeBreton Flats.  Where, I ask you, does all this money come from.  Sure – there are hectares and hectares of property that should be developed with the LRT going through it. I’ll bet those people that bought their condos there 5 years ago are glad of their investment.  They can walk over to Little Italy, or go just a bit further to find themselves in the Market.  What an ideal area to live in.

Some of you are aware of how hopping mad I am at my new neighbours.  They sent me an email stating that they didn’t want any work done before 10am and to finish at 3pm.  I had no idea that they’d also sent this (separately) to my exhausted program manager.  I pert near went through my existing roof.  All of this to say, once my program manager saw what one of the sub-contractors was doing to thaw all that snow we got just after Xmas, he fired him pronto.  The new contractors, minimum age of 40, threw out everything that was in the extension, and brought in their own stuff.  Yesterday, they were drilling holes in the sub-floor while stripping off the flooring itself to dry things up.  They brought in their own propane gas tank and huge fan.  Last evening, I opened up my kitchen door and screen to let in all the heat!

Today, they ripped up the sub-floor and is now replaced it with new.  So – that answers our questions and wondering about how they would solve the drilled holes in the sub-floor. Not an easy feat as they have to crawl over all of the pre-made framing.  I got home today and to see three heads, crowbars and sections of wood flying.  I stuck my head out of the door and the guys were not happy as the previous crew hadn’t done anything to code.  Finally, I think my luck has turned!  The foamer guy showed up at 3pm but he will have to come back on Friday as these guys are hard at work but they did say they would be finished the inside framing by Friday.  (I’m learning lots of French cuss phrases, as a plus!) Once the foaming is done, then the insulation starts, the windows go back in and then we get serious.

Food-wise, we will have a choice of either smoked meat or snitzel next week.  Already, we will be moving into February.  Dear heavens, how come time didn’t go this fast when we were working?

Work is moving fast – they are now going with drills, hammers and the huge fan.  If you’ve ever had a basement flood, you will be aware of the size of that fan.  Plus, everything is tarped up but it is still shocking to see how much snow is still there.

I forgot to ask to OFARTs about the best place to buy LEDs.  I did do a swoop on Loblaws before Xmas but I need to get pot-lights for the kitchen and bulbs  for upstairs.

Someone mentioned that I should have a lunch/dinner party to see how things are going on.  Given that I am hosting all of my porch and backyard contents in my kitchen, etc., we would have difficulty standing in the same room.  My house is only 900 sq. feet at best – including the basement so to hear the sound of hammering, cussing, swearing, drilling is music to my ears!

Also, I got hammered yesterday!  Hammered in, that is.  Once they have finished for the day, they hammer up the doorway to conserve the heat to melt all of that damned snow.  I’m very happy about that as it ensures no one can “drop” in to rob me.  Yesterday, there was a warning about 35 robberies so far in Sandy Hill, the Market, the Burg and Centretown.  Mostly the crooks are focussing on apartments and condos where they get in through the balconies.

I heard something about Rogers increasing their prices – yet again.  One member said he calls every year – don’t.  Call every 3 or 4 months.  There is always a promotion going on.  Trust me.

I just chatted with my carpenter and said that he was quite welcome to start at 7am.  “No thank you” he empathically said.  I have two jobs a day and the money is good!”  Aren’t we glad to say that we paid into our pension fund from DAY ONE and never had to do that.  And now, the Ont. govt. is talking about providing pensions for those that haven’t  contributed!?  Merde – I’ll be on peanut butter, beans and barley forever – waw!

And who of us hasn’t travelled with a jar of peanut butter in our luggage on all those t.d.s we had to go on.  Along with crackers and a few paperbacks.  Which I certainly packed for Baghdad back during one of their wars with Iran.  The food was horrid In the restaurant so for I ordered breakfast in my room the next morning.  Thank God they had Indian food on the menu!  It turned out to best thing I ever did.  My room bell rang and there were five Indian guys with huge smiles.  Carrying books.  They were overcome with curiosity as to which foreign woman was ordering an Indian breakfast! They saved my life as we exchanged books every day – needless to say, I raided but refilled our tiny little library in the Embassy many times.  There wasn’t any radio even though I had my Sony shortwave – which I didn’t know I could have been imprisoned for bringing into Iraq at that time.  Ah – the times that we lived in. 

Ok – I am now hammered in again!  The boys will be back tomorrow and the snow is disappearing but so slowly.  We did get walloped but nothing like down South after Xmas .  But, many of us will take snow rather than ice, any day.  But- please everyone, join me in a prayer for zero precip of the wet and  white stuff until my insulation goes up.  My new sub-flooring just went in an hour ago (really) and the door is now hammered back in.  NO ROBBERS are getting in.

Gotta jump!

Now, where the hell are the Cheesies!

Jan.13th Old Farts

Wow – what a day today!  We’ve gone from a wonderful green Christmas to the normal bitter cold of an Ottawa winter.  Remember when we used to change our wardrobes around every season?  I just keep everything upstairs now – except Minnie the Mink, of course.  She goes into a vault every April after she gets the special treatment from HBC and is lovingly put away.

Today, we gathered and many of us showed up – hey, what’s minus 25C to a Canadian!  Our numbers rose to 32 at the last count and more bodies may have snuck in but we were quickly running out of chairs.  Cookie was having palpitations as more and more of us tried ordering anything but the liver special.  I think it is now off the menu forever.  Next week, lasagna and after that shepherd’s pie, he told me.

Sorry that I haven’t posted our joyful tidings for a while but there are many colds and flues attacking us.  Thank God it is freezing out there again – nothing like a good old Canadian winter to rally up against the bugs!  

Our dear friend Terry Webb has decided to go West – just like a lot of other young men.  He and Moe the Finger took tons of photos and then Stan ordered us up for a group shot.  Unfortunately, we missed Chuckie but this icy weather has a way of stealing your breath so he was wise to stay at home.  But, we know how to photo-shop!  

Moe Rainbow caught some great photos:!AjJeN8FuSjO9jsg&v=photos&id=AFEBA8C3A038A88A!610&cid=AFEBA8C3A038A88A  refers

There was much talking, hand-shaking and deserved back-slapping.  Everyone had a great time and some of the newly-retired pups were surprised how much of a good time they had.  Do come back – we welcome you!

And so does the Legion – with open arms!  Some of us briefly did the math yesterday – they must have pulled in $700 given the cost of lunch plus the $2 tip per person.  Donny would be quite chuffed by that.  He managed a great choice in finding us a central downtown place with all that parking.  He scheduled it so that senior citizens travel for free on the bus on that day.  (ok – maybe I just stretched it a little but….) The meals are home-made and an excellent value.  And, we get to join and support a great Canadian tradition – the Legion!

We also have traditions, ourselves.  We work diligently on them and with great results.  Look at the brilliant work of Ron Cooke and the box he made for the … what it is again, the D2, Ar4-D2?  – I can’t even remember the name of it now.  We haven’t presented that award in a very long time but the workmanship of the housing is amazing.  We’re not too shabby, boys.

My home extension project started off to a roaring start this week only to be slowed down today because the materials haven’t arrived.  I will say this, though, it is terrifying to see him kneeling of those roofing edges without a climbing suit -  thank God it is only two floors and there are two guys on the ground watching the chief contractor every second.  All he is doing is hammering the wood together as it has already been made off-site, made precisely to order, and the only sawing is for the supporting struts. The sounds are nothing versus a cuss-ed vacuum cleaner and it is wonderful to hear their good-natured bantering.

Vegetables!  I moaned about the fact that just one carrot cost me 62 cents the other day.  Now tomatoes and cauliflower is just going over the top!  Smoley.  Good thing I never eat that stuff.  Too new-fangled for me.

Elevators in the home.  I did entertain that idea for a bit before going for the two floor extension there isn’t a main floor bathroom.  So, it was quite interesting to hear from a person that does have one in their home.  Their child has CP and is in a wheel-chair so they don’t have a choice apart from having him live in a special area of the home with ramps.  The yearly cost is 20K for maintenance of the elevator and his son is now 9.  Unfortunately, they cannot put in ramps so they had to go the elevator route.  I bring this up because the upstairs’ plan just changed – do I want a stair or a ramp?  I went with a ramp – much easier to clean.

Ok, Cats and Kittens – a new and old idea surfaced today.  One that we should be paying attention to.  Our memories – while we still have them.  What was the weirdest thing that ever happened to you and that you did?  Let’s get our stories together – after all – we speak about them every week so let’s get this stuff on paper, email, Twitter, what-ever.  We’re famous, whether you like it nor not.

Gotta hop!





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