Monday, May 23, 2016

Firing on all cylinders

Or not.

Up until recently, we have never had much trouble with the truck.  Key word is recently.

Lately, it has just been a big bouquet of awesome that I am ready to send off a cliff.

First it was some valve.  Don't ask me what exactly it was, because I really have no idea, nor could I describe it adequately. All I know is that it was a $200 valve.

Then, some random switch went.  Again... don't ask me because all I do is write the cheques.  And this particular one was $450.

Ok.  Alright.  $650 in the space of a year.  I'm not exactly thrilled, but whatever, we haven't had to pay much in the past, so it was expected I guess.

Then somewhere in March, the carnival lights on the the dashboard started up again.  Fan-fricken-tastic.    This time, $650 wasn't going to cut it.  Nor did $1,000, nor did $1,500.  When it was all said and done, that b*tch of a #6 cylinder cost us about $2500.

Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me?

Breathe. It's no ones fault, but we needed to get it repaired, so we cut the cheque and agreed that was the last big repair we would put into the thing.

In April, I was driving to my grandmothers for a visit.  As I went to drive away, the truck stalled and the check engine light came on.  There is no way this is happening again.  I shut off the engine and tried again. RRR RRR RRR RRR RRR.  Nothing.  Nada. I am not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination and I was very close to losing my proverbial sh*t.

While I was stranded in the middle of a road, thankfully it was a little side street without much traffic, so I let it sit for a second and tried again.  Perhaps it sensed my angst towards it, but it started, albeit with the check engine light on just to let me know that it wasn't happy about it.

Since the light was just on and not flashing and since we have paid a lot of money on this thing as of late, we decided to ride it out and see what would happen.  The next time Brad filled up, the light went off.  Apparently the gas cap wasn't on properly which was causing some sort of pressure differential... who knows, I'm boring myself just talking about it.  Bottom line is that the light went off.  Hurrah.

THEN.... this May long we were at the cabin. Solid weekend..  Drinks with friends, boys getting dirty fishing, chasing squirrels, reading on the deck with wine glass in hand.  Perfection.

On the drive home.... BEEP BEEP BEEP.  This is not happening.  It was a flash back to the carnival lights experienced in March.  Trouble was we were about an hour out of the city. Of course we were, I mean really, what fun is there in having your vehicle break down in your driveway.

Thankfully we were able to limp home, but at any given traffic light the engine was idling really rough.  I'm no expert, but that sounded bad.

That's it.  I'm tapping out. I'm done.

I refuse to put another dime into this piece of sh*t just so another cylinder can decide to retire 2 weeks from now.

As we limped into the city, I was on my phone googling truck sales.

You know what are expensive?  TRUCKS!  A 2016 Toyota Tundra can EASILY run you about $60K.

Jump right into my nightmare, the water in warm.

I should preface this by saying that we own our truck free and clear.  This means that I will somehow have to finagle things so that we can purchase a $60k truck. Sure.  No problem.  On my lunch break I'll find life on Mars and end global warning by the dinner.

Just like any vehicle, as soon as you drive it off the lot, it loses value.  Trucks are especially affected by this.  So I think realistically we are likely going to buy a 2014/2015 model.  I'd like to buy a Toyota, because they are the sh*t when it comes to Trucks.  You would think that Chevy or Ford would corner the market, but not even close.

We'll see though.  I called a few friends.   One of whom is good friends/neighbours with the GM at Murray Chev, so we will be going there this week to see what we can get in terms of a trade in and new truck (or new to us anyways).

I was hoping to get a new SUV in the fall, so that we would again be a two vehicle family, but it looks like that will be on hold for awhile.  D*mn.

So that was the end to my May Long.  Awesome.  When we got home we decided that all of this sh*t could wait until tomorrow and we went over to our neighbours place for a BBQ.  Logan looked after their 2 year old Blaise in the backyard (we were all there as well).  Logan is really good with little kids.  He's got a big brother vibe going on and is super protective.  Blaise loves him and was all giggles are Logan took him for a spin in his wagon.

That's where I am tonight.  I'm going back to my old reliable; Everything will be alright in the end.  If it's not alright... it's not the end.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ship to lou, my darling

It's no secret I love online shopping.

One of my favorite sites it Etsy.  It's amazing.  Unique items that you just can't get anywhere else.  Case in point, Pill Boxes.

When I got diagnosed with the big E last year, I knew that I was going to have to take meds twice a day for the rest of my life.  Awesome.  But whatever right?  It is what it is (Gotta love a bit of useless tautology on a Friday morning).

The pillboxes were horrid, but bulky lumbering things that just looked so depressing.  If I was going to have to look at this thing twice a day, you can be sure it was going to look cool.

I had bought one on Etsy last year and I loved it.  It was made by Stellar Custom Images But after a year a opening and closing and dropping (I cannot seem to avoid being clumsy, I think it's in my genetic make up.  Preston women, men and offspring manage to get themselves into things), I noticed that my beautiful little pillbox no longer snapped shut.  Which meant I got to buy a new one!  Hurrah!

I still wanted to get a whimsical one, but I wanted to try a different style.  This time I went with Ruby's Needful Gifts from Ireland. As awesome as it was and as much as I wanted it, it's always subjective until I see the shipping costs.  So as I clicked the glorious "Add to Cart" from Ruby's, I had no idea what I was in for.

If I order something from the States, depending on what I buy shipping can be up to 30% of the cost of what I am buying.  I have gone to buy something online, get to the submit section only to see the insane shipping costs, roll myeyes and hit cancel.

For whatever reason though, when I buy things from overseas, shipping is ridiculously cheap!    Case in point, this past Christmas I ordered some shirts, posters and other geeked out figurines for Zach from this UK gaming website.  I ordered a lot and expected shipping to be off the wall.  $5.95 Canadian for express shipping.  It arrived in a week.

However, I paid $19 to buy an Xbox one online from the States and it took 3 weeks to arrive.   I realise that weight plays into it and all that but really.  The wee little pillbox I bought from Minnesota last year was $10 in shipping.  So you never really know what you are going to be hit with until you get to the last step before buying.

Suspense got you yet?  $4.95. For priority shipping, from Ireland...and click!

This is what I ordered.

Love it.

Neuron Pendant
What I should have done then was smile, be internally pleased with myself for such a clever little purchase and shut off my computer.

What I did do, was continue to browse, which is never a good thing.

Moon Phase Necklace

Now if you read my blog you know I love Science. I could watch science documentaries or read up on the latest innovations all day long.  On that note have you ever seen the documentary Particle Fever?  Holy, it's worth a watch.   This documentary dive into Algorithms is pretty interesting too.  Gees Louise!  Sometimes I really need to focus... back to shopping...
Edison Bulb earrrings

So as I was cruising through Etsy, I found science based jewelry.  HELLO! I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder because as cool as the Neuron pendant, Edison Bulb Earrings and Moon Phase necklace were to me, I think I draw the line at Uterus earrings.

Would would wear these? 
Etsy also has an amazing selection of artists.  Alot of the art prints that I have in my house come from Etsy.  Last year I found artist Laura Ali at a popup shop in Winnipeg.  At the time she had an Etsy shop and I bought this Watercolor and Ink print called Miss Deary.  It is one of my favorites.

Miss Deary

So it was with great restraint that I didn't buy anything else on Etsy.  But it did give me an amazing idea.  There are lots of occasions coming up in the next little while for which I need to get some gifts.  I have been thinking about it for the longest time and I finally figured out what I want to do.

Anyone can go to the store and buy a gravy boat.  But there isn't any real thought or effort that goes into it, unless of course, the recipient is a gravy boat aficionado in which case, perhaps it would be.

I am going to keep the idea on the down lo for now, but I placed my custom order and it should be arriving from the UK in the next few weeks.  In case you haven't noticed, I have a bit of a thing for items from the UK. Must be my British roots coming out.

I had yesterday off (well technically even though I ended up working from home all day) and today as well.

Can't wait for the long weekend and then having next week off as well.  No particular reason for the week off, it's just I have some holidays to use up and I'm taking a break after quarter end.  Since I'll have the days to myself next week (boys are in school), I'll have to avoid my laptop or the amount of packages I'll be getting in the mail we be nothing short of obscene.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gobble Gobble

As I was leaving work on Friday, my friend Debbie texted, "What time should I pick you up?"


I quadruple booked Friday night without realizing it.  I had made plans to go for a walk with Beth, plans to go over to the neighbours for a drink to celebrate Sylvie's birthday, Theatre plans with Debbie and plans to go to a movie with Logan.

What the h*ll?  Why did I do that, or better yet, how did I not remember I made plans.

In these types of situations, you could make up some convoluted excuse to get out of things, but I decided to go with honesty.

I couldn't bump theatre because we had already changed tickets once, so I had to shuffle everything else.

Explained to Beth the situation and we agreed to bump the walk to next week as she was working all weekend.  Texted Sylvie about the party thinking I would go over for a drink after theatre, but evidently Dave (Sylvie's husband) had already texted Brad to say that the party was off because Sylvie came down with something and wasn't feeling well.

Brad and Zach left for the cabin on Friday night.  Logan was originally supposed to go, but he decided at the last minute to stay home.  This is the reason that I made movie plans with Logan, but it also threw a wrench into my theatre plans because Logan isn't old enough to stay home alone.

Debbie's son Seth is friends with Logan, so I asked if Logan could stay at their place while we went to theatre.  No problem.

Whew. Crisis averted - off to theatre.  The play was called Boom and was a one man show about Baby Boomers.  I was prepared to hate it.

But instead, it was nothing short of amazing and honestly, one of the best performances I have ever seen.

The set was a plain stage with what looked with a cylindrical tube in the center made out of a translucent mesh, big enough for a man to stand inside.

The story was told via three conversations between the main actor and his mother, his father and an old flame of his mother, each having a different perspective of the baby boomer generation.

What made the play amazing, was he took the audience through the years from 1950 to 1969 - touching on history, music and the family stories that occurred during that time.  As he was speaking, images would be projected onto the fabric surrounding him  and on the stage floor that highlighted the story and facts about the year would scroll across the top.  He would intermingle the top hits of the day in between all the history and family conversations.  That description doesn't do it any justice, it was nothing short of incredible.

Got home late Friday evening after going over to Debbie's place for awhile after theatre, but was wide awake.  Whenever that happens, I usually clean, so clean I did.

I decided to tackle my pantry.  Like anything else, over time it had gotten disheveled and needed a complete overhaul.

I took everything out and I do mean EVERYTHING.  Awhile back, I had a bought a bunch of IKEA storage tubs with the intention of tidying the pantry at some point, so I dug those suckers out.  Organizing for me is cathartic, so while it wasn't a wild and crazy Friday night, it was awesome.

I moved all the baking to top shelf, and organized things into sections; Breakfast, Dinners and the Boys lunches(granola bars, juice boxes etc).

See the picture?  While it might not qualify for a pinterest post, I was quite pleased with it.

Saturday morning Logan and I were up bright and early, which is strange, because I usually go inter hibernation mode on weekends.

Logan has recently got into a skater socks kick.  They are these brightly patterned socks that go up to just below your knee.

They are pretty cool and Logan loves them.  Essentially his entire allowance goes to the purchasing of these socks as of late.

Saturday morning he asked if we could head to the mall to go to Zumiez to but some more.  I needed to pick up some new runners for myself anyways, so off we went.

With Brad gone with the truck, we had to take the bus.  It's a 20 minute bus ride, so no big deal.

Logan found the socks he wanted, but as he was trying them on, I noticed his shoes had completely fallen apart.  The soles were coming off, his toes were poking through etc.  Evidently, we were going to be buying him new shoes as well, so off we went to Sportchek.  Logan is in that really goofy size.  He's a size 7 which is the top of the kids sizes and bottom of the mens.  Before leaving Sportchek, I found a pair of nice purple Adidas (my favorite brad) 50% off, so that was a good score

Kids shoes have really no selection in that size, and if they do, they are big versions of childish shoes and Logan wasn't having any of it.  We went over to the mens section, which had some nice skate shoes, but as expected the mens sizes didn't really start until size 8.  Fantastic.

We hit up payless, but their selection of size 7 was even worse.  It centered around black pull on loafers.  I'm not even kidding.

As we were walking back with plans to go to shoe warehouse across the street we saw Footlocker.  I haven't been in Foot Locker in years and even then it was a Lady Foot Locker with my Mum who was getting decked out in pastel colored lounge wear.

But as luck would have it, they had some cool styles and in Logan's size!  The only trouble was that the color  he wanted, a pair of grey Van's, weren't in stock.  Harrumph.

But the manager of the store was great and said he could order a pair in and have it shipped to us for free.  Well that certainly works!

Added bonus is that they were only $50!  Mental note to hit up Foot Locker more often.

Saturday night Logan and I just hung out, watched movies and snuggled on the couch.  It was really nice.

Sunday Brad and Zach were scheduled to come home.  I was anxious to hear how their hunting trip went.  Now, before any anti-hunters people go off on their rants, they were hunting Turkey's, not elephants or any endangered species and if you eat Turkey at Thanksgiving, where exactly do you think it comes from?

Plus, it is was healthier because they are truly "Free-Range" and have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics or anything.

Brad really wanted Zach to get one, and they lucked out.  They had hunted all day Saturday and came up with nothing.  They went back to the cabin and were sitting on the deck relaxing when they heard some turkey's fighting, an unmistakable sound.

Seeing as our cabin is the sole one on 80 acres, you are perfectly entitled to shoot a turkey from the comfort of your deck chair.  But in this case, they opted to go into the back yard.  Zach said it was almost like a cartoon.  As they were sneaking up on the turkey's, Brad stepped on a rake and it swung up and hit him smack in the face.

Since they didn't want to make any noise, Brad had to swallow a grunt and they continued their pursuit.  They both were able to get shots in and bagged two turkey's.

It was a pretty great Father/Son moment and they walked into the house on Sunday night completely triumphant.  The turkey's were 15 lbs each.  Zach was just busting he was so happy.

All in all, a pretty great weekend, well... apart from Brad's bruised face...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hair of the Dog..or Salmon as it turns out

May 11 is my Wedding Anniversary.

As of 2016, it makes 14 years.

It always amazes me how fast it goes. When's you're a kid, time moves so slow.  The time between 8 and 9 years old seems like a decade.

Hit your thirties and it blows past in a blink of an eye.

As per most holidays/celebrations, we keep things low key except for the odd one (**ahem** Brad's birthday) that we light it up.

Brad wanted to go out for dinner this year.  We didn't really have any set plans on where we wanted to go.  I was leaning towards Fusion Grill, but Brad really likes the Keg,  Since I was kind of indifferent, the Keg it was.

Drinks, Appetizers and Main courses were all ordered and we actually had a chance to just be with eachother without running everywhere for the kids stuff, me working overtime or any other day to day task that keeps us so damn busy.

Everything was awesome.  I got my salmon and the first bites were amazing.  Bite three did not go so well. A big giant fat hair was stuck in my Salmon.

Gah!!  Ok. I'm done.

The server could not have been more nice.  She whisked it away and offered me anything else on the menu.  Yeah no.  I worked in restaurants.  You know what happens when you send food back or get the cooks in trouble because of a hair?  Bad things.  Bad bad things.

So that was a big nope.  I was done.  They obviously took care of that from the bill, bought us deserts, took care of our drinks and gave us a $25 gift card.  Which was great.  Honestly, it's just so "US".  Try to have a nice romantic meal and there is a hair in it.  Or last weekend, when we tried to have a nice Mothers Day bike/rollerblade and the wheels fell off Zach's skates.

You have to laugh.  Really you do.

There are all kinds of relationships and they are all awesome.  Whatever makes you happy is the way to go... I love my goofball.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Wheels fell off (literally)

We had Owen's wedding social this past weekend.  It's hard to believe how fast the wedding is coming up! Their social was at the Reset club on Pembina.  It was a nice change.  All of the past socials I've been to have been at community centers.  This one was a more intimate gathering and it was really nice to catch up with the fam.  Whitney looked beautiful, I'm looking forward to the wedding.

My Mum came with us to the social so it was just easier if she spent the night at our place.  Sunday morning we woke up and Brad and the boys had made us a nice brunch.  I'm not big into the whole pomp and circumstance of the day.  It's nice and all, but as long as I'm hanging with my boys, all is good.

After brunch we went and visited GG.  She was still in the dining room when we got there, which was perfect.  I've noticed that in seniors blocks, the residents are extremely proud when people come visit and love showing them off to their friends. Needless to say GG was thrilled that my Mum, Brad the boys and I all came.

We gave her a box of her favorite Laura Secord jellies and had a nice visit.  Later, we went to the Pet Store.  Logan loves animals.  LOVES them.  He was in his glory, holding all the bunnies, gerbils and guinea pigs.  They didn't have much in the way of cats and dogs, but he did get to spend some time with a lovely little black cat.

Once home we decided to go for a bike/inline skate.  I hopped on my cruiser bike and the boys laced up.  All was going really well until about 45 minutes into our ride when Zach started lagging behind.  He asked to stop every 15 minutes or so for a rest, which is unlike him.

Initially we thought he was just not in the mood for a skate, but them we discovered at that the rubber on his wheels had disintegrated and was coming apart from the center portion.  Two wheels on his left skate and one on his right we not spinning.  So essentially he was attempting to skate with the brakes on.  Whoops.

I wasn't about to make him skate home like that, so I gave him my bike and I walked home.

It was such a beautiful day that we decided to stay outside.  Lots of fun.  The boys then decided to luge down the driveway with their skateboards.  Logan took my phone and did a go-pro esque video.  Too funny.

Since our backyard is still a field of mud (plan is to fix that this summer), we got our redneck on again and grilled some steaks in the driveway.  We had the lawn chairs, music, boys playing basketball.  Our neighbors Dave and Sylvie came by with their 1 yr old son Blaise.  Good times.

Later that evening, we had to pack Zach up for camp.  He is going to Camp Cedarwood for 3 days with school.  I remember the junior high trip, ours was the Grade 8 Winter Camp.  Still remember that...sigh.....

So that was my low key Mother's Day and it was awesome.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the amazing women in my life; mums of babies, mums with fur babies and ladies who look after those in their life which in my opinion is what Mothers do.

Love to you all.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Marathon weekend

Holy.  Can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted!

Things have been going swimmingly.  Work is nuts, weekend are nuts, I'm going nuts.  There.  You're all caught up.

After a really long week at work, I would have loved to have made a nest and done nothing for my weekend.  But, that wasn't in the cards.

Friday night was Erin's birthday.  So irregardless of my exhaustion, if it's your friends birthday, attention must be paid.

Erin decided to have a wine tasting party.  She registered at Banville, we all ordered wines from the registry and then met up on Friday to try them all.  Banville was great in providing guidance as to which wines to try first, food pairings etc.

I have never really smelt my wine.  I probably should, I mean that's part of the whole wine deal.  But this time I did.  I shoved my nose into the glass and took a deep breath.  After mulling about what I thought I smelt I checked the descriptions to see if I was close.  I nailed one that described a blackberry aroma and I got another one that had a cherry smell (although my description of cherry was ghetto compared to the winery label... something about cherry skins or something).

There was one wine that smelled like cat pee.  100%.  Now, the wine tasted fine, but the smell?  Seriously off putting.  The majority of the wines I liked with one exception, this Vaglio Chango.  It was not great.  Some of my friends said it had a chalky taste and thus, the following label was born.

Such a good time.  We made it home at a decent hour, because we had to be up early for race set up.  Logan and I headed out to Assiniboine park for 9am for the WPS Half Marathon race set up.

There is always a myriad of things to set up; fencing, tents, tables, merchandise, finishing line, advertising banners.  We have it down to a fine science, but it still takes our crew all Saturday to do.  Logan and I got home somewhere around dinnertime.

Race morning is an early one.  Committee members have to get to the park by 5 - 5:30 am.  Rise and Shine.  Speaking as a non morning person, this is especially painful.  As in past years, we have the boys come volunteer with us, so they were super excited to get early as well (sarcasm sign).

Having the boys together is just a recipe for fighting, so Zach went with Brad to help with relay stuff and Logan hung out with me at the Finish.

Nick, Rob, Jason, Logan & me
Now despite the early hour, this day always gets me in the feels.  Over the course of the day, we had runners who were still doing cancer treatment, kids running in their first 5K ever, runners taking part in remembrance of someone they have lost, so it can be very emotional.  I was really touched by one particular runner; a young boy, running with a framed picture of his Dad.  How can you not be affected by that?

Race went really smoothly.  We had a few hiccups, but that's to be expected. You can't possibly plan for everything.  If the weather is cold, you run out of hot chocolate and coffee, if it's hot, you run out of water.  It's hard to plan for that when you don't know what the weather is going to be like until a few days prior.

We got home from the race around 4pm Sunday afternoon and I was done.  My feet were screaming.  My job doesn't exactly require me to be on my feet all day long and I was on my feet the entire weekend.  That being said it was a good exhaustion, knowing you'd contributed to something worthwhile.

So that was my weekend.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

40 is the new 20

Brad turned 40 on April 15.  40!

What the h*ll?  When did that happen?

Not to get overly nostalgic or anything, but it was yesterday we were just friends sitting in the Armes Building Wind Tunnel studying for Bio.

Fast forward (literally) 17 years and we have been married for 14 years, have two kids and one of us has turned the big 4-0.

Brad would never say he wanted a big birthday party.  He would have been quite content to have a quiet dinner at home.  But this is no ordinary birthday and attention must be paid.

A month or so before his birthday I contacted one of my friends who has a bakery side business she runs out of her home.  She was the one who saved me at Christmas and did all my baking!  I told her what I wanted and knew she would knock it out of the park and she totally did.

Debbie and Jen
Since his birthday fell on a Friday, we decided to have the party on the actual day.  I tried to do as much prep work as I could in advance because April is a busy month work wise.

Ordinarily I would have done all the prep work myself (veggie trays, appetizers...etc).  This time, nope.  I bought everything and you know what?  It was worth every penny.

Erin and Dave
The party was great.  Almost everyone we invited was able to come making it a pretty full house.  Our core posse :) (Sean, Erin, David, Debbie, Jarrod{I've never actually spelt his name before!  Hope I got it right!!} and Kat) came of course, along with Nick, Leslie, Jill, Jason, Owen, Whitney, Beth, Jen, David and Sylvie.

Jen and Beth 
I found myself constantly going around the room introducing everyone.  At one point I was standing with Debbie (blond in the above picture) and was going around the room rattling off names.  When I reached the last group, I introduced her to "my good friends Sean and Erin".  Please see above paragraph where I mention that Sean, Erin, Debbie, David, Jerrod, Kat, Brad and I hang out all the time, it was a pretty embarrassing moment, one that Sean is not going to let me forget anytime soon.
Jill and Owen
There was tons of laughs, drinks flowing, including a very special shot.  Every year Brad goes deer hunting at our cabin.  Whenever someone bags a deer, they celebrate with a "Buck Fart".  It is a shot of layered Kahlua, Baileys and Rye.  It's really good.   It took a little convincing to get some of the ladies involved, but we got full buy in,.  We lined them all up and everyone (apart from Whitney who is expecting) had one.

David and Brad

As a side note, I should mention that my friend David is wearing an ACDC t-shirt because he thought our party was a redneck theme party that required guests dressing up.  It wasn't of course, but it was pretty funny when both he and Sean came decked out in both jorts and camo.
Jason, Jill, Leslie and not the best pic of Nick!
I tired to remember to take pictures, but in all the well mannered frivolity, I was falling behind.  It's a good thing Erin stepped up.  She found my phone and started snapping away.  She took a lot of gems including the above one.  I am still waffling on whether that gorgeous face on Nick is intentional.

As per usual with our group, beer pong manifested.  We managed to get newbies into the mix.  I am terrible at the game, which is odd considering how much we play it.  This go round we also added a portable corn hole game which sounds lame, but it's actually pretty fun.
Sean and Sylvie

Jerrod and Kat
The party started to wind down around 1 am, but the core stayed for a long time.  I think we wrapped somewhere north of 4 am and I eventually headed to bed around 5 am.  Extra bonus was I had to be up for 9 am to get something done for work, so Saturday was brought to you by the makers of Advil and Caffeine.

It was probably one of our best celebrations ever and I'm so thankful that everyone came out to celebrate Brad.  He's the most standup, reliable good friend that anyone could ever have and add to that being the most supportive, kind and loving husband?  I'm a lucky girl.

Happy Birthday B.

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