Thursday, August 13, 2015

Now THAT is a sale

Hockey is expensive.

It's off the wall.  $1,000 for the boys to register, then extra amounts for ice time, travel costs for tournaments and then equipment.

This past year Zach has grown by leaps and bounds, surpassing me in height.  his feet are a size 7.5 MENS.  Logan has grown quite a bit as well, but thankfully is still in youth sizes.

The price difference in jumping from youth sizes to adult is shocking.  Skates go from $150 for youth to $500.

I'm not even kidding.  Check this out... These are middle of the road skates from Sport Chek:

So with that kind of pricing, the frugal girl in me kicks into high gear.  Every now and again you can get some wicked sales.

Both the boys needed new skates this year.  I keep an eye on various stores, Sport Chek, Royal Sports, Play it Again etc to get an idea of when things are going on sale.  I got word of a Door Crasher day at Play it Again.  I set a reminder in my phone and made sure Brad (who is on holidays0 was there at 9:30 am.

It's like Boxing Day, only better.  They open at 10 am and by 9:30 am the line is 30 deep.  This is what we were going for...


Brad hates shopping.  He hates it even more when there are crowds.  He's more likely to pay full price than have to deal with the craziness.

However, this was too big of a savings for even him to pass up.   Took some finagling, but he managed to score two pairs!  One for Zach and one for Logan.

That is $1,060 in skates (because this sale also meant no taxes) for $139.

Coming up later this weekend is a sale on Hockey Pants and you can bet your bottom dollar we will be there with bells on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This is 40

People around me are starting to turn 40. It's unbelievable; starting with my friend Debbie, it's now progressed into friends Jen, Josh, Sean, Erin.... And the list goes on.

What's so weird about that is that in my head I'm truly 17. It's still floors me that I'm expected to "adult ". I genuinely can't get over the fact that we are all officially grown ups. 

This past weekend was another one of those milestone birthdays. My cousin (who I refer to as my brother) turned 40.  It's been a jampacked couple years for him, met the love of his life Whitney, had a beautiful baby boy Wade and moved into a really gorgeous house and Wellington Crescent.

Owen and Whitney had a barbecue on Sunday with the whole Preston clan to celebrate the big 4-0. We all got together and chatted away like we always do. I am really lucky to be related to this amazing group of people. It could be months since we have seen each other and we just pick right back up where we left off. 

Added bonus this get together was that Wade was around. Wade is the cutest little thing, 6 months, piercing blue eyes and a giggle that will give you all the feels. Logan was really happy because when Wade was born, Logan was no longer the baby of the family.

Wade wasn't having Brad though. When he looked at Brad he went from smiling to stare down. I think it might have been his beard... At least I hope so!

After some Jeannies cake (another family tradition), it was time to open gifts. 

My family has a great sense of humor and that was evident on Sunday.   First off, no one in the Preston Family ever just opens a present.... We make you work for it.

Generally speaking, gifts are only exchanged after some sort of scavenger hunt/puzzle/riddle has been solved. Sunday was no exception, Owen had to answer a riddle about "teeth but no mouth", "hand-les but not feet-les".....

It was a stumper.  Eventually (and not too long actually...given the cryptic nature of the clues), Owen guessed a chainsaw.

Apparently the one Owen wanted wasn't available in the city and they had to special order it in. Not to go empty-handed, my aunt and uncle decided to get him the next best thing-a Home Depot chainsaw.... For kids.

My family rules. 


I love Downtown, I do. In the summer, it's vibrant with outdoor music, food trucks, farmers markets. Awesome.

What is less than awesome is the rampant panhandling that happens in the summer.  

Standing at the bus today I was asked for money by no less than 6 people. Some were pleasant, some had elaborate stories of woe (which if you take the bus downtown enough, you start to get to know the people and their stories), some looked completely "normal" (striking up a casual conversation only to ask you for $5), some were unstable (which is so sad, as everyone should have access to good mental health resources), some were high and some were mean. 

Really mean.

This one woman in particular had set up a nest. She has blankets, weed and a good set of vocal chords. She sits on her blanket by the window, smoking a joint all the while SCREAMING "SPARE CHANGE!!!!" at anyone who walks by. 

If you ignore her, she gets up and follows you, in her barefoot, unkempt splendour. If instead of ignoring her you politely say you don't have change, she screams and spits. 

Neither one of which is especially pleasant. 

I had an elderly lady duck out of her wrath and come stand beside me because she was frightened.  Lovely.

It's not the panhandling I dislike, it's that it makes you feel unsafe.  In the past, I've offered some of my lunch, or an apple, but they never take that.

I think I'll continue to give to the United Way who help with Outreach programs... At least I feel better knowing that it's going for something good. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Magic Tee

Everyone has a favorite article of clothing.  Maybe it's a favorite because it makes you feel beautiful, it's super comfy or perhaps it reminds you someone or something.

My favorite is a navy blue, threadbare t-shirt I got on a trip to England to visit family in 1992.  I was 14 at the time.  I didn't bring home any souvenirs from that trip except that shirt and some English rock candy (which if you have not tried, OMG, you should.  It looks like stones and is just pure deliciousness).

Since then, I have done a lot of things; graduated both high school and university (twice), got married, had kids....and I have worn that shirt through it all

I have been skinny (well skinny adjacent... I was a size 6 at my wedding if you can believe it). Although what I remember about that time was that I loved shopping for clothes and I was starving.

The shirt fit.

I have been... ** ahem** not skinny.  What I remember about that is that I hated shopping for clothes and there was a lot of wine.

The shirt fit.

Honestly, it's full on bizarre.  How can one piece of clothing fit me during all of my spectrum of sizes?  It's a very Sisterhood of the travelling pants type situation.  Ha Ha... yes... make fun, but I LOVED that book.

The shirt has been washed so many times it's almost translucent.  But there are few things as soft and comforting as a vintage tee.

Recently I've noticed that the threadbare areas are turning into holes and I am coming to grips with the fact that my time with this amazing shirt is rapidly dwindling.

It surprises me how bummed this makes me.... after all, it's just a shirt; but it's been with me longer than anything I own.

How crazy is that?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Out of Gas

My weekend started Thursday night with the Bomber game.

Bomber games have turned into epically awesome evenings.  Our friends, Dave and Debbie along with Sean and Erin all have season tickets along with their kids.  That is 4 tickets per family.

So far this season all of us have gone to every game and I don't think we have sat in the same seats more than once.  It's always a shuffle.  Sometimes the kids sit together and me and the girls sit together, sometimes Mums and boys,... we are forever mixing it up.
Debbie, Me and Erin

Logan's tough guy face just makes him look annoyed.

I did have to work Friday, but I got off early and we headed to the cabin.  It was nice to get into some greenspace.  My mum and dad were at the cabin as well, so we had a full house.

Once there we did the usual rituals, staying up way too late having a drink with our friends Courtney and Dale,  sleeping in the next morning, go cart rides, watching Waking Ned Devine.

Ok, I should probably fill  you in on that last one.  Waking Ned Devine is one of my all time favorite movies.  I discovered it in some old dusty pile of DVDs at the cabin a few years ago.  Since then, every time I am at the cabin, before I go to bed one night, I have to watch this movie.

On Sunday afternoon, Logan wanted to take me for a go cart ride.  It's Logan's thing - he loves to drive.  So off we went riding down the dusty country roads that I have come to know and love.  It's so peaceful, which you wouldn't think given it being a go cart ride and all.  But there is no one around and you're staring at these gorgeous fields of sunflowers with the fresh summer air.... there is nothing quite like it.

Logan and I were about 3 km into our ride going up a bit of a hill when the engine cut out.  I immediately though Logan might have taken his foot off the gas and the engine died, but no.  Logan calmly said, "Nuts... we are out of gas".


Cell reception at the cabin is pitiful, so calling for help was out of the question.  My initial thoughts were to take the keys from the go cart and walk back.  But Logan LOVES the go carts and was super anxious that someone would steal it.  So what did we decide to do?  Push it back.

As in push it back the 3 km to the cabin.  Awesome.

At this point we were up a bit of a hill, so we gave it a good "luge" type run and rode down the hill - 2.9 km left to go.

Go carts are similar to cars in that they are naturally designed to go to the right if the steering wheel is left unattended.  This meant that we couldn't have both Logan and I pushing from the back because the cart would veer to the right.

Our game plan became that Logan would steer and I would push.

Holy Mother....2.9 km has never felt so long.  Just as we were pulling on to the turn to head to the cabin (about 3 minutes away from the cabin itself) we see Brad and Zach pulling up in the truck.  They had wondered what was taking us so long and came to check on us.  Sigh... that would have been nice 45 minutes earlier.

Once we got back, we gassed up and went back out to finish our ride.  It was a really warm day so when we returned we decided to have a water fight.  While we don’t have running water at the cabin, we do have really big rain barrels which we turned into our filling stations.  It was everyone for themselves.  I lost.  I was SOAKED by the end of it.  It was super fun though, running around hiding behind trees and in bushes waiting to ambush each other.

Since the boys and I had been outside all day, we dried off and came in for some supper.  After supper we made an impromptu decision to have an Indiana Jones marathon.  It is times like these that I am quite happy I have boys – I am not sure this would have happened if we had girls.  Back to back to back we watched all three movies on VHS no less.  We would have watched the fourth but we didn’t have it at the cabin.

Mum and I headed home on Monday afternoon.  The boys left for Pelican Lake.  They will be camping all week provided the weather is good and will maybe come home this weekend to stock up on supplies.

I am really looking forward to my holidays.  It’s been a long couple months and I really could use the break. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lost and Found

It was a really quiet week.

With Zach at the cabin and Logan at Camp Arnes, it was crickets in the house.  Brad and I had a good time. Tuesday night we hung out with our friends Dave and Beth for a drink.  Wednesday night we hit Earls for dinner.

I am not sure what is wrong with me, but I can't get on the Earl's bandwagon.  I just don't really like their food that much.  Plus, they put chocolate syrup in a chocolate martini.  GAH!  The horror.

Zach came home Friday night from the cabin Friday night and he was so happy.  He'd had a great time at the cabin hanging out with his grandparents. Add to that my parents had some friends come visit, Ryan and Rhonda Galloway.  Ryan was one of my Dad's students and they have kept in touch over the years.  Ryan is really involved in hockey as  NHL linesman, so Zach was in pure awe.  He came home raving about meeting Ryan and Rhonda and how awesome their little dog Riley was.

Without his little brother around, Zach had a much easier time controlling his emotions from his ADHD.  That is not to say he doesn't have his moments, he does.  But my mum said that while we were taking a meds break over the summer, Zach did ask to go back on because he always feels so bad when he has an outburst.    I was proud of him for that, it shows a lot of maturity to be in tune with yourself and ask for help when you need it.

Friday night was the "Parents Party" at Deb's house.  A lot of us had sent our kids to Camp Arnes, so we weren't the only ones who were offspring free and we wanted to take advantage of it.  Zach came with us and took refuge in their basement to play xbox and avoid the well mannered frivolity upstairs.

Holy Mother, do my friends know how to tie one on.  The extremely funny thing was that we all had to get up early and drive out to Camp Arnes to pick up the ankle biters the next morning.

If you have never seen 10 parents completely hungover picking up their kids from a Bible camp (while trying to appear hungover and sweating vodka out their pores), I would highly advise it, it's awesome.  

We aren't religious and so it's odd to me that we send our kids to this camp.  It all started a few years ago when one of Zach's friends conviced him to go.  He had such a good time that we keep going back.

We picked up Logan and started the long drive home.  He was full of stories and just nattered away until his carcolepsy kicked in.  Carcolepsy is a completely made up word we have for the fact that Logan spontaneously falls asleep if he is in a car for more than 20 minutes.  

We got back to the city and Logan piped up from the back "Mum did you pick up my bag of laundry from camp?"

Yup.  In true Hargreaves  fashion, Logan had left behind and entire big bag of laundry.  When Brad had gone to his cabin to pick up his clothes, he asked Logan if that was all his stuff.   Logan probably wasn't even listening and just said yes.

A good portion of his summer wardrobe was in there including his runners because he had worn his rubber boots home.  I called the office, but of course they were closed.  Logan went into full blown sobs.

I had a feeling we would be able to get them back. First off, it wasn't just a random sock left on the beach.  It was an entire bag of clothes left in a cabin in which every single item was labeled (A big TOLD YOU SO to all that made fun of me for my excessive labeling).  I left a message and just hoped for the best.

Sunday Zach got picked up by my parents to head out to the cabin for another week.  I'm really happy he's getting this country time.  It's good for him.

I got a call this morning saying that they had found all of Logan's things and that they would send them on the next bus to the city.

Crisis Averted; The world can now revolve.

This week Logan is attending Mini U at the University of Manitoba with his friend Alex.  I think it's a sport camp.  I honestly registered so long ago that I can't even remember at this point.

I can't believe July is almost over. I remember as a kid the summer's went on forever, but as an adult they fly by.  

I miss being a kid.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Another week.... time is flying

I can't believe it has been another week.

Brian (Brad's brother) and his mum were staying with us last week so that they could go visit George every day at the Grace hospital.  Some days were good, but thursday was not a great day.

For someone who is having stomach issues, the fact that the food is so inedible does not help.  The Grace uses this food service, whereby food is made in Ontario somewhere and then shipped in.  that means the toast they serve at breakfast was made in Ontario, frozen and then shipped here and thawed.  Mmmmmm.  It's so bad that the nurses even suggested to my mother in law that if she wanted to bring in her own food for George that was ok.  Never heard that before.  You know the food is bad when...

We had to shuffle a few sleeping arrangements, but it all worked out in the end.  Friday night Brian went back home to North Battleford and Heather went back to Morden to take care of a few things.  Initially we thought that George was going to be transferred back to Boundary Trails (hospital outside Morden), but it doesn't look like that will happen... today at least.  I am optimistic he will at some point.  I truly hope so because I know he is much happier there.

We went out to the cabin this weekend.  I was excited to see Zach because he had been there since Sunday night.  My mum and dad headed back to the city to stock up on supplies and relax a bit.    There was a big 125th reunion at Stockton this weekend, but given all the stuff Brad was dealing with, he just wanted a low key weekend.

We hung out, did some fishing, go carting, bike rides (which are infinitely more challenging when not on pavement!)  Weather was perfect, not too hot, but still sunny and warm.

Mum and Dad came back out Sunday night.  Zach is staying there for another week.  We then took Logan to the bus this morning as he is headed off to camp with his friend Seth until Saturday morning.  Despite everything that is going on, I'm happy that the boys are still having a great summer.

We got a nice surprise this morning.  A big lump sum federal cheque.  HELLO!  I had totally forgotten about the new expanded UCCB program.  As of July, the government was doing retroactive payments back to January.  Nice! That would be money we would put towards all the camps/child care this summer, but since we have already paid for that stuff, we will keep it for hockey.

I am hopeful that this weekend we will start building our deck. I love a redneck pallet deck as much as the next person, but it's time to ditch it.  I would like to sit out on the deck and have a drink without having to lean to the right to keep from toppling over; it's the small things.

So this week we are kid free.  I hope we can take advantage of it at least a little and maybe go for a dinner date or something.  But that will all depend on how much I am working and how George is doing.  Crossing my fingers for good things for both.
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