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Trepid Archives

Exciteable descriptions of a new life living in "The Best Place on Earth". The new template is more basic, more classy, tidier... so totally not me! 

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Monday, February 28, 2005

5:07 p.m. - Cards

At the weekend we picked up our stove and Hubby sealed the basement floor so that we can start to move our stuff (until now in storage for 3 months of the last 2 years) into the basement this week...

However, if this job has its wicked way with me the following will happen:
- Mum will not get a mother's day card, letter, or present - though I'm trying my best
-Becky will never get her birthday card (three weeks late now)
-Lucy will never get happy baby wishes.

So there you are - you all got a mention.

I taught a nice lady to ski on the weekend. I perceived her as prim and proper but then I found out her hubby is an Ironman Triathlete and after short bouts of being nervous over throwing herself down a blue run ("I can't see the bottom of the hill from here!"), she got to the bottom with a very enthusiastic, "That was fun" and off we went to do it again. I think she will be back again, despite her claims that this was only a warm-up lesson for their week in (snow deprived) Whistler. Say hello to the woman who's just discovered her kids are old enough to enjoy group ski lesson and she can have a laff with another crazy female on the weekend whilst her husband goes running. "Rock on - housework sucks", as they say here.

Can I manage to stop by the storage unit tonight to fill the boot of my VW bug with C**p to put in the basement? Unsure - I will base it on whether I remember to hang a right at Industrial Avenue.

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Friday, February 25, 2005

4:39 p.m. - Foof

When I started this job they told me 4 trucks was a busy day. Today we loaded five and three trucks of wood and a truck full of glue arrived, needing unloading. My exhaustion goes to the limits of knowing that all I can manage for dinner is a walk down to the Inn... or should I take the car?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

4:06 p.m. - Surreality

I have always worked in "nice" environments. Halcrow and Mott MacDonald were winners for that and even the offices at SIHI Pumps were quite nice. They were reminiscent of the pictures in a magazine article I read about caring for your employees and offering them a pleasant environment to keep them happy, motivated and productive.

So as I sit here in my new shipping office watching the (already) torn 2005 wall chart quiver and wondering if it's my eyes, I try to understand how I came to be here and why I am so happy and suddenly feel cared for despite the lack of soft furnishings, trendy ochre paintwork and motivational statements. My office is a wooden box with scribbles on the wall, a broken window and a shipping assistant who has a tendency to be nearly naked in the summer (apparently). This is OK because it means I'll be able to get away with wearing my biking shorts all day sans complaint. My only comfort in this dirty hole is a purple fluffy dinosaur that came from the Alberta dinosaur museum in Calgary and my Millets coffee mug.

In amongst all this rough it comes down to the fact that the job is infinitely superior to any that I have ever held. People and companies depend on me to have my guys stay in a little late to load trucks, have enough plastic to wrap up the product and ensure it doesn't warp and make sure the saw dust bin is emptied before it shuts down the factory... Or maybe it's the fact that I'm valued enough to have everything I need at my fingertips - a printer, fax, phone, a new wheely mouse, my own filing cabinet. I no longer have to share, to walk across the office, to wait in the print queue, to borrow someone's phone, sort through someone else's filing system to find the file I need (only to realize it's part-complete). I have all the tools to do my job and if I still can't manage it, it's no-one else's fault.

I had my first encounter with one of our main suppliers today. He felt I needed a company "toque" (pronounced "tooke" or beanie / bobble hat to you English people). He tried to win the contract for steel and failed, at least I promised to "do the math" after he'd gone and he was still too expensive.

I interviewed today with a man who failed to graduate from high school (A'level equivalent). It would be a shame to reject him because who needs A'levels to stack wood? I checked that he can read so that he can understand safety notices and safety training courses so that we're not liable if he injures himself because he didn't "read the sign". He can read (in fact better than some A'level students I have met) so I think I'll hire him.

The house (on a separate note) is completely drywalled and mudding started today (filling in the joins). It will be a long wait before for the temporary floor that covers the living room vaulted ceiling comes down, giving us the full effect of what our house will look like.

Well, my life is really no more interesting than this and what I have to dream up about the weekend of ski fun...but all that requires more brain power than I have now so I'm off home to fill up the tummy-tank which is suddenly running on Empty. Eating lunch at 11am has really confused my digestive system.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

4:46 p.m. - Recession of the creativity gene

The creativity gene came from an interesting lady called Ethel Eileen who was a teacher. That gene is receding right now because I have to be at work by 7am but I'm still working till 4:30 and this time it's really busy. The gene has receded into the depths of fatigue and knowing that all I really have to write about is petty salesman trying to get me to buy expensive stuff just in case we get through 14 rolls of steel wrapping tape by Friday.

I suppose I can lighten the site with tales of the plumber who, being innocently Canadian, was not at all ashamed to display his full name, "Randy Bender" on the side of his van, or the resumé I received today from "Shorty Dyck". I wonder if they're friends?

I am going home now to admire the vast expanses of drywall (downstairs nearly done) and study the milkyway from my hot tub again. I need all the strength I can get for tomorrow's interviewing.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

4:49 p.m. - Yes, I am still alive

but I'm just very busy and firing on 5 of 4 cylinders.

Had a fab time with Niall. Lots and lots and lots of skiing. Too much alcohol and hot tubbing.

24-8 and 2 burps to Niall. We were all very polite this weekend.

There is dry wall on all the downstairs walls - and likely the upstairs ones too now.

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Friday, February 18, 2005

8:36 a.m. - Angel's-bum

An angel came to our house on Wednesday in the form of a big burly 40-something year old builder looking for work. After some heated negotiations, our builder agreed to offer him $12 an hour to help build our home and finally work is progressing faster than if Hubby were doing it himself - single handed. We now have drywall (like plaster) on all of our ceilings and likely on most of our walls by the end of today.

It's going up impressively quickly. Last year Hubby built a small kitchen wall in the last house in a weekend. I thought that was fast! That was built with 4 x 8 sheets of drywall but our builder is on to the 4 x 14 sheets. They take three men to lift them but, my god(!) they fill up the wall space quickly. They're screwed to the wall (that's the quick part) but then the seams, screw holes and nooks and crannies (corners etc.) have to be mudded and sanded repeatedly to get a nice finish. That's the bit that takes a month to do. BUT in the meantime, the house is sealed, insulated and the heater is running so it's a comfortable 15 degrees inside during the day. We still can't really move in to it as it will be dusty for a while, then it will smell of paint and there's also no complete bathroom but we do have our shower up and running. Yesssss. What a difference this is going to make to our lives.

Yesterday I did my first lumber inventory in the yard. I counted 2209 loads of wood in a temperature of -1 (-6 with windchill). I was wearing the wrong trousers (gromit!) and had to come inside twice to warm up as I could no longer count the loads stacked in fours... 4,8,12,15,18,23,doh!, 4,8,14, doh! Still, I got about the right numbers so new boss is happy.

So now the happy job of hiring two new employees to work Monday and the unhappy job of informing the unsuccessful candidate. Suddenly I'm the evil employer that thinks everyone should stick with their current job for more than 3 months before throwing in the towel.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

1:36 p.m. -

Arty front door shot (knobs to you)

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

11:48 a.m. - Promo

Things are movin' anna shakin' at work for me and I have been assigned new duties in the shipping department making sure we produce what's needed and get it out the door to customers on time. Yikes!

It means early mornings (boo) but early finishes (yay!). It means moving to a more sociable (yay!) but more smelly (pooh) office - so what, I'll be able to wear my cycling shorts all day through the summer. Given time, it will mean me asking for more money. Most importantly it gives me the opportunity to interact more and do something positive and constructive on a daily basis.

I start the new job gradually and move offices on Monday morning. This week is interesting with everyone shuffling around trying to find their feet after the changes that were made.

Gah, there's a union meeting in the office so I can't scan in my photos. Still, I did my monthly safety tour and my new staff ( I'm gonna have staff again!) welcomed me with a, "So you're gonna be our new boss then". Them and the lovely ladies in swimsuits that adorn their wallspace.

Maybe tomorrow when I recover from a 20 minute sesh on the exercise bike, a 10 minute sesh on the rower, some weights, some core-strengthening-dangly-exercises and a LONNNNNGGGG hot shower at the gym. Who knows, tomorrow I might be able to shower at home.

The hot tub fart tally is 19-7 and we've seen 4 shooting stars and 3 satellites so far!

Happy Birthday gorgeous cousin Laurs.

For what seems like it might be hours of entertainment.

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Monday, February 14, 2005

10:11 a.m. -

Don't worry mum, this isn't our hot tub

Taking a dip

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9:02 a.m. - Coming soon.......

On Saturday morning I finished my film! So photos of the house on their way - sometime in the next 48 hours!

On Saturday evening we celebrated the insulation with a meal at the Inn which is our favourite local eatery that's been closed through January until now. How NICE to be back eating prawn pizza and veal canneloni and someone else does the dishes.

Ski work was good this weekend. Lots of lessons. Why do kids lie? At the end of my morning lesson, a dad asked his boy, "Did you say thank you to your teacher?" "Yeeeaaaaas" he replies, as I walk behind him knowing full well he didn't. Still, in his own little way he did thank me when we got to the top of the last lift-ride to shouts of, "Can we go down again!??" and "Awwwwwwwww" when I had to say, "Nope, time's up". In the afternoon I taught a mum and her 15 year old ginger teenage boy who hid himself behind a green balaclava all through the 2 hour lesson. I found it really hard to strike up a conversation with someone who was all green-knit and freckles but he had a thirst for speed, even if he wasn't going to let the wind run through his hair.

To top it all off we sat in the tub till the sun went down drinking beer and sherry and admiring the new disco lights which Hubby fitted. We decided we prefer the white light but can't go back to it since Hubby stood on the bulb. Oops.

Happy valentines day everyone. We all got a box of chocolates from the boss today. I've eaten half already. They're Canadian chocolates so you need the box to tell you what flavour it's supposed to be - they all taste like sugar to me (which is the top ingredient instead of milk or cocoa).

My only other valentines day trauma was breaking my car again this morning. When I went to turn the hot air on to my chilly fingers I smashed the dial on the heater. Honestly, I don't know my own strength or maybe Brazilian VW plastic just isn't up to indestructible German standards.............Sigh.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

12:47 p.m. -

Me on the Jesus beach in November

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

8:00 a.m. - Pink fluffy house

Insulation in Canada is bizarrely "sponsored" by the pink panther. Insulation is in fact pink and comes in big pink bags with the pink panther on. There is a pile of it at the bottom of the stairs in our house making me want to jump from the top of the stairs onto the big pink pillows like something out of the "Princess Diaries" or other cheesy movie (no I haven't seen it!) Apparently it's compactly wrapped and I might hurt myself so I didn't. A lot of the insulation is unwrapped and is now adorning the walls of the house interior in all its pink fluffiness. It looks like a scene from the inside of a padded cell except there are no bars on the windows. As the fiber makes you itchy, the builder and his lad are walking around in white jay-suits and dust masks reminding me of a Beastie Boys vid. Until, in his booming (slightly muffled) Quebecois accent the builder shouted "life is fpink".

Last night we tubbed underneath an extraordinarily clear sky - the kind that British people only see in Scotland and noted the groovy effect of passing cars headlights on the steam rising from the tub. We also noted how painfully cold it is getting in to the tub and how long it takes the water to warm the skin, the skin to warm the blood and the blood to warm the exposed parts protruding from the tub (the head). Much shouting, "arcghhh, snyyyyacccgh, rpdsssttttttt" until finally the 40 degree temperature starts to soalk through.

Getting out, we noticed it was warmer inside, even though only half the room is insulated so far. Once dressed and warm again we took a walk round and the change in acoustics is astonishing. No longer do footsteps and the sound of the doors boom. It's all so much more normal. This insulation has been the biggest noticeable difference in the house yet. The doors seem like a distant memory by comparison.

What more can I say? Everyone should be able to use the comments now without being a registered user.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

8:00 a.m. - Enforced Long weekend

I've handwritten this blog from my sick-bed and struggled down to the village library to use the painfully slow internet connection. How many times do you see a bald eagle on the way to the library? I still can't get over this place.

I have flu, which started on Sunday and has kept me out of the hot tub for two whole days! We had a close call last night when Hubby slipped and fell on ice on his way into the house from the tub. Fortunately it only resulted in a bruised foot. If he'd knocked himself out it could've been a while before I'd gone out to check on him. I guess the lesson there is don't play on the ice in your undies alone!

The builder has finally finished all doors and completed the two panels of roofing outstanding. The house has a real look to it now. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I'm back in work to have Hubby email his digital photo to me. District building inspector OK'd us today. Only one more inspection before insulation goes in. Our weekend was gloriously uneventful. I had the weekend off ski work and cleaned the caravan and did the laundry. We wasted $6 on the local home-show, which did nothing more than help us to kill 20 minutes.

The good news is, it snowed here, meaning the hill has had a much-needed top-up and business always improves when there's snow in the city. I think everyone decides that if they have to shovel it, they might as well drive up the mountain and enjoy it. Temperatures are only hovering around zero degrees so none of the extremes we experienced after Christmas. It's enough to keep the mud-pit solid at least.

I suppose spring can't be far off because this morning I got text'd by mum to remind me it's pancake day. They don't really "do" Shrove Tuesday here (secular society!) but then they don't do pancakes too well either. They're more like what we call tea cakes (or pieklets if you're a Yorkshireman). Awful things. So it's crèpe Tuesday tonight for us. Where's my expensive Kenwood blender when I need it - buried in a storage unit under a ton of other stuff in town, that's where. Oh well, back to a fork and the biggest camping pot I can find. Tanya - do you remember how we used to come back to my folks' house from a night out in Manchester and make pancakes on a Saturday night? What kind of teenagers were we? Not proper ones I'm sure! Happy pancake day everyone. To Tom and Zoë - get those gnashers growing and develop a taste for lemon guys - you don't know what you're missing.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

8:00 a.m. - Doors

Doors doors doors doors doors doors doors doors doors doors.


Just downstairs. The upstairs ones are in there, ready to be fitted today. They're amazing doors. BEAUTIFUL close grain clear fir. I counted one knot. They're so good they look plastic! But they're not. They're heavy. They go shhhhhhhhh clunk when you close them.

We have a HOUSE KEY.

As usual, the builder done slow but the builder done good. Now, just the roof.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

8:00 a.m. - Dull day

Last night - more tubbing, a walk to the post office, laundry and that's it. No builder. He obviously feels that getting his mate to turn on our water for free last week gives him a get-out-of-work-for-a-week card. What's the betting he'll have Hubby working full-time on the weekend?

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

8:00 a.m. - Floaters!

We have a floater in our hot tub. It's not a little poo, it's a device for slow-release of the bromine dose tablets into the water. It should have a label on it that says "TOY" since Hubby can't stop playing with it in the bath. I think we need to buy a rubber duckie, though we thought of getting a plastic poo with a flag saying "NO SWIMMING" just to make sure the builder doesn't get distracted during his working day.

Today my back no longer aches. Amazing considering the mad swimsuit-dash through a cold wind and cold puddles of rain to get to the tub last night. I was so happy to be in the tub I quickly curled into the foetal position and stubbed my toe on the wall of the tub. OW!

The fart tally for the tub is now 8 - 4. Hubby is winning.

The only other excitement in our lives last night was free stuff from the electricity company. I never seemed to qualify for freebies in the UK but last night we learned that we get $1.50 rebate for every square foot of energy-efficient glass which we put in our house and $250 for the heat pump. We haven't worked it out accurately but we're looking at getting about $700 back. We also qualified for a free "package" which Hubby picked up last night. A box full of energy efficient light bulbs including an expensive dual element light and a bug light that we wanted to get (for keeping the wasps off your dinner in the summer). There's about $150 worth of light bulbs - probably enough to serve all the fittings in our "small" Canadian house.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

5:00 p.m. - Health and Engineering

I swam a mile in 45 minutes at lunchtime then nearly died in the afternoon.

Last night I blogged so long my head hurt. It was OK since Mark had made dinner by the time I got home. How nice to just sit down and eat. We walked down to Wharf Park to use the facilities provided by the regional district and to buy a stamp. There was a very cute raccoon down at the park that came for a look at us before we freaked it out and it went to hide amongst the 3ft ice blocks still attached to the side of the lake after the deep freeze around Christmas.

No tub last night, though we should have because the TV was appalling. Builder did JACK all day from what we can tell but I'm not going "there" on "that" topic.

In companionship with my fellow blogger, I also have a bad back after hauling huge rocks out of the soil in the garden at the weekend, in an attempt to develop enough rock-free land to lay down a lawn. A pick might have been a better tool than a fork - or a few tonnes of dynamite would've done the trick. There was one rock that was too big to move (the boys were on the roof at this point so I left them to it). The best thing I could do was up-end the rock and back-fill so we now have a small monolith in the middle of the lawn. At least it's the right shape to sit on (kind of flat) but probably a perfect height for kiddies to trip over. Kids and watchful parents beware! Though, I took a running-face-plant over a 2 ft high rock in Scotland when I was 9(?) then was subsequently dropped off a bunkbed head-first by Louise Basnett (from Barnsley) hours later. It didn't do me any harm (though I did start drinking coffee soon after)!

Anyway, my achievement for the day is fixing the infeed to the shrinkwrap machine at work and finding a sensor that no-one knew existed and was screwing up the entire feed. We now no longer need an 8ft pole to push the pieces of wood onto the rollers. Just how have they been coping without me for so long? With bungee cords, G-clamps and 8-ft poles, that's how.

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