August 25, 2006

No rest for the wicked

Worked a 14 hour shift yesterday.
4 hours of which was overtime.
Busy day, major fire of a junk yard that required a 5 km evacuation due to possible chemical hazards. A single engined Cessa went down in Lake Ontario (all souls on-board saved by my marine unit guys - you guys rock!) A pursuit, an assist PC, plus the ususal gun/knife/blunt weapons calls and assorted drunks, mentally ill persons and such that make up my life.
Got home just after 3am.
Cup of tea, email, wind down, in bed by 4:30am
Up again 2 hours later - whoops - shouldn't have had that cup of tea.
Up again an hour later to toss the cat out of the bedroom and shut the door - firmly.
Finally awake at 11am.
Feeling a tad zombie-ish.
Showered, tea drunk, email checked.
Time to pack a lunch and head back into work.
Hopefully I will be able to form full sentences by the time I get there.
Somewhere in a momentary lapse of judgement I have volunteered to do this all again.

Tomorrow night.
and Wednesday.

If I were you I'd check back here this time next week. I doubt there will be anything of substance or even remotely coherrant in the interim.

Apologies for any typos...but at the moment I really don't care.

Post Script 06/08/31: Phew! OK in the last week I worked an additional 45 hours in overtime on top of my regular shifts. So at time and a half...carry the one... (pulls socks off to count on toes)....(licks end of pencil)....that's another 67.5 hours of pay. Sweet! I have to be honest, I am knackered though. My hat's off to people who work 2 and 3 jobs regularly and have 80 plus hour weeks. I just don't know how you do it. I've got another 2 x 8-hour shifts this weekend, which will bring me to ...(wanders off counting on fingers).

August 24, 2006

Keeping up with the Joneses

Well yesterday was my first official day (non-overtime) back to work after my August holidays - first day back with my platoon - and my first day running into Jones* since I bought the house (omg I love how that sounds). *Not his real name, but the title of this entry should explain why I picked it.

Jones has also just bought a house. In the same development that I have purchased into. In fact it was my referral that sent Mr. and Mrs. Jones over to check out the development. They were so impressed they bought on the spot!

Now the builder has a referral program - $1000 "reward" if you refer someone who purchases. In this case I am the referrer...and Jones is the referr-ee. Jones however moved a little faster than I did, he had his deposit paid and purchase agreement signed first. Theoretically, I no longer qualify for the referral reward - Jones on the other hand now qualifies. Jones however indicated to the builder (who in-turn indicated to me) that he and his wife felt that I deserved the reward, and were happy to sign over the money to yours truly. I was touched by such a sweet gesture and was looking forward to seeing Jones yesterday to thank him personally and to share our exciting news. I had visions of us sharing experiences over the next few months, tips, advice, the excitement of picking out our upgrades etc.

Jones put me on the spot immediately about the referral reward however - before I had even had a chance to thank him. In a room full of people (I tend to be a little more private about things like money - I find it crass to talk about such things openly) Jones informed me (by yelling across the room - I hadn't even put my bags down yet!) that because he purchased first, the builder in fact would be paying the reward directly to him - and he in turn wanted to turn it over to me. (Sweet gesture I thought). Jones then went on to say ... Did I want the full $1000 or should we split it 50/50? What did I think was fair? Conscious of the fact that I was in a room full of people, what could I say? The money is technically his - he is under no obligation to give me any of it, so $500 is certainly better than none at all - although $1000 would have been much nicer. I grit my teeth and agreed that 50/50 certainly seemed fair. It's not the money that bothers me, it's the way he went about it.

As the shift progressed I was suddenly very aware of how competitive Jones was. My mental image of us sharing notes, tips and the excitement of this huge event in our lives (he's a first time buyer too) is now suddenly a competition. He was literally floored when he realized I had purchased a bigger model than his - but then went on to boast that he had put down a larger down payment than I had. He's now concentrating on the upgrades - and he wants it all. The hardwood flooring, the central air - the whole 9 yards. I tried telling him a few of the tips that I had picked up - rookie though I am - which items would be cheaper (and better quality) done by another contractor after the sale, and which were worth having the builder do....and I was basically rebuffed.

I am a little saddened - I don't want to (and wont) let this turn into a "my house is better than yours" scenario - but I can see the man is going to drive me insane if I let him.

To cap it all? He's closing on his house earlier than me too. They move (not counting delays) a whole 2 months earlier than yours truly. Yes, he took great joy in pointing that out to me - I didn't have the heart to tell him I had requested a late closing date to allow me more time to save. I like Jones, don't get me wrong, professionally we have worked on the same platoon for several years and I have never had an issue with him - but this whole house business has opened up a side of him that I had never seen before. Suddenly I am dreading any suggestion that we carpool together once the move is final.

One bright note...we are not neighbours in the "next door" sense. In fact he's purchased a unit close to the main road of the development, whereas my unit is on another street, tucked further back in the subdivision (away from the noise of the heavy traffic - better for sleeping during the day when I am working nights was my thinking at the time). Seems I may have made a good decision there.

August 21, 2006

Overtime in Hollywood North

I've been pulling all the overtime I can grab over the past few weeks - for obvious reasons. This morning we received a frantic 911 call from a citizen reporting four men, all dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and chained together running down the street. Thankfully it was just a film crew for the latest episode of Prison Break. Wonder if the officers who caught up with these famous convicts got any autographs?

I had a giggle myself whilst taking some information from a young man calling in on behalf of his brother after an assault.

Me: What's your brother's name?
Caller: Steven
Me: Is that Stephen with a "v" or a "ph"?
Caller: No, Steven with an "S".
Me: ... [banging head slowly on the keyboard]

Colleague sitting next to me for our 8 hour stint shared the following exchange he heard on an ambulance call.
Caller: My mother has fallen and injured her hip.
Ambulance Dispatcher: Is that your mother I can hear screaming in the background?
Caller: Yes.
Ambulance Dispatcher: Is she conscious and breathing?
(Yes, you have blonde jokes, I have ambulance dispatcher jokes.)

On the back of my current favourite T-shirt:
"God created police officers, so that firemen could have heroes.
Then he created dispatchers, to show them who God really is."

Mum can't make this one better with a kiss

Nothing is more painful than the end of a relationship ... especially when that relationship is your first love of 4 years. I so wish I could soothe his heart, like I could all those years ago, with just a hug and a kiss better.

August 17, 2006

What would you say to your younger self?

I happened to be watching Oprah yesterday, whilst preparing dinner...and this item stuck in my mind long after the credits had rolled.

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?

Well that thought in itself was sobering. I certainly don't think of myself as a grown-up with advice to pass along to anyone. Heck, I am still dealing with my own issues! Regardless, cup of tea to my right, oldies playing in the background, and a gentle summer breeze coming through the window, I gather my sage advice to share with that flame haired youngster of yesteryear.

Don't be in such a rush to do everything all at once.
Take time to listen, take time to love, take time to live.
If it was meant for you, it wont go by you.
Cherish loved ones and family members - they won't always be here.

Listen to gut instincts, more often than not they are 100% correct.

Be open to opportunities and new experiences.

Despite outward appearances, physical beauty is only skin deep - and what is perceived as beauty changes with the fashion and trends of the time.
What's inside you, is beautiful beyond words.
Preserve your inner self: nurture your spirit, nourish your mind and learn to love yourself.
You are worth it.
No man is worth degrading yourself for.
Stand up for yourself.
Have conviction in your beliefs.
Live each day with passion.
...and finally invest all your pocket money and allowance in a little known company called "Microsoft"....

Ahem, what do you mean that wasn't the idea of this exercise?

Now I just wish my 60 year old self would write to my 40 year old self with some words of wisdom - because lord knows she still needs help.

August 16, 2006

ATM / Debit Fraud

Josh over at Liquidz Blog was just lamenting a couple of days ago about not owning a credit card, and how it is practically impossible to build a credit rating without actually going into debt.

Ironically the boy got a phone call from his bank yesterday. It seems someone has ripped off his debit/ATM card by scanning his card. Thankfully the money he lost was only around $500 - and the bank's anti-fraud department were immediately alerted to the unusual activity on his card and were able to alert him before any further damage was done. The bank immediately cancelled his card, started an investigation and have said that his lost cash will be reimbursed to him.

We get calls like this all the time at work. Credit card and debit card fraud are huge. There are teams that hook up their scanning equipment directly on the bank ATM's , they sit nearby collecting all the data via computer, they collect their equipment and move on to hit another bank. Alternatively we have unscrupulous store keepers double swipe cards and sell the data, or allow the crooks to install their equipment for a "fee". We aren't sure which scenario occurred in our case...but it certainly makes one feel very uncomfortable when swiping your debit card to make a purchase.

I know personally I carry very little cash. I would say 90% if not more of my purchases are made by direct debit. I felt it was safer. It's becoming very common now though to hear of bandits literally "kidnapping" people on their driveways, driving them to banks and forcing them to withdraw funds from their bank machines. These two recent news reports occurred less than 30 minutes from my home. Not in some big metropolis city...but out in the suburbs!

So much for the old fashioned "Stick 'em up and give me your wallet" routine. Today's wallet carries very little in the way of cold hard cash.

The experts are always telling us of new technology out there, finger print technology, retina scans etc. I wonder how long before the financial institutions are going to have to use something a little more high tech than a bank card and a PIN number to safeguard our funds.

August 15, 2006

Calling all Armchair Siskel and Roeper's

Over there on the right >>>>>

You may notice my Flixster Ratings. Only slightly more addictive than crack, I have spent unmentionable time (hours) browsing, rating and writing mini reviews of my favourite - and some not so favourite - movies. I even got the Boy hooked. For trivia buffs they even have something called the Never Ending Quiz - my ratings are pretty darned pathetic, but it's good for a giggle.

Check out the MCT - it's a short movie compatibility test, and we'll see if we are truly "friends" or if our views on "what's hot and what's not" at the movies has us heading to divorce court! lol

August 14, 2006

Reading the fine print

The past few days have gone by in a flurry. Nothing earth-shattering to report perse, but enough to keep me busy. For saying I am supposedly on holls right now, I certainly don't feel like I have been laying around and taking it easy.

Wednesday evening I got a call from the sales agent at the building site to advise me that the builder had signed his acceptance of my offer. I picked up the documents Thursday morning, and headed straight over to the lawyer's office for him to go over the agreement. I am glad I did, as Saturday morning the lawyer called to point out a couple of items that had been missed. Nothing major, but items that still needed to be addressed, added or re-worded.

The lawyer was actually very helpful and he asked if I had already gone through all the documents myself. I confessed I hadn't. There is a pile of 2 inch thick legal documents sitting on my dining room table and as we talked I mentally promised myself that at some point I would sit down with a highlighter and go through them all. That "some point" is going to be today. I foresee endless pots of tea in my immediate future as I try to wade through the legaleese.

Saturday night J. and I headed out to the local dance to celebrate. The music was terrible (new DJ), cute guys were in very short supply or already taken, she was exhausted (she's renovating at home and had spent the day painting her bathroom) and I really didn't want to waste money (for obvious reasons) - so it was no surprise when just before midnight we decided to call it a day. I was home, face freshly scrubbed clean of makeup and in bed by 12:30! Wild party animal eh?

Sunday was spent cleaning. As most will know, I truly see housework as a chore. There are actually people out there who enjoy god you need help. On the flip side, there is nothing I love more than a fresh, clean house however, so I knuckle down and suck it up. I did try to mentally calculate however, how many more times I will be scrubbing this bathroom before I move. (75 - based on an average of once a week - sigh)

Sunday afternoon I ventured out on a second date with the "prospect" from a few weeks ago. I had decided to give this one a second go, simply because we'd had such a good time the first time we went out, and perhaps I was being "too picky" when I had decided previously that there was no zing and cancelled our date. We went to see the new 9-11 movie, "World Trade Centre". I had a marvelous time. We can chat up a storm, I am very comfortable and relaxed with him - but still no zing. I can see him as a fantastic friend, but definitely not a love interest.

OK I have procrastinated for long enough...time to hit the legal papers....

August 11, 2006

Back to normal...

Well, after two solid weeks of house, house,'s time to get back to other news.

There is none.

Well, other than the fact I was chatting with N. on the phone this morning - I was looking to see if he was interested in us "doing lunch". But he's busy at work and wants to leave early for the weekend - blah, blah, blah. Out of the blue I asked him if he was seeing anyone yet...and apparently he is. A girl he met whilst camping. They have been dating for "oh about a month and a half or two..." I mentally calculated how long it was since we broke up at the end of May and realized he sure got back onto the dating wagon fast.

I appreciate the fact that he wasn't "the one" for me and we didn't have that elusive "zing" but still...


First Maybe - who less than a year later is now engaged. Now N. It seems fellas, if you are looking to settle down with someone in the very near future the prerequisite would be to date and then dump me first. Ms. Wonderful will surely follow very shortly thereafter.

The queue forms to the right.

August 8, 2006

Signing on the dotted line.

Well the offer has been made, the papers are signed - in duplicate x 10. And the deposit cheques signed and handed over. I am surprised I don't have writer's cramp!

The emotion of it all got to me - this truly is the realization of a life long dream. [Yes, I cried...I'm a sap.] Afterwards we drove around the corner to view the site, it's totally impossible to imagine what it look like a year and a half from now.


To celebrate...dinner at Pizza Hut.


August 7, 2006

Take Two: "Home Sweet...lot # 94!!"

After much humming and ha-ing, calculating square footage of each individual room, measuring and re-measuring rooms, we have decided to forgo lot 96, in favour of lot 94.

It's approximately an extra 250 square feet, between the two designs, for a total of just over 1500 sq. ft. The second set of plans at least means we can comfortably have room for the aforementioned "Oasis of luxury". An example of which is shown below, (these are photos we took at the showhouse, so it may not be exactly as shown in our house - but you get the general idea).

With the new plans the boy gets a slightly bigger room, and my kitchen/breakfast area will increase significantly to the point where I could possibly forego a formal "dining room" altogether and make the "living room/dining room" area strictly "living room/family room" space only.

Truth be told, I never entertain formally, heck if you're eating at my house, you are considered one of the family, in which case you can eat in the kitchen with the rest of us.

August 4, 2006

Now or later?

As Moonie hinted in the comments on the previous posts, the next decisions will be what to add onto the basic plans. What should I add now, what should (or could) wait until later?

Somethings obviously will be better to incorporate at the time of construction. Other items perhaps would be easy to add on later, saving money right now is a BIG item on my agenda, we need to avoid unnecessary expenses where at all possible.

OK - having said that....I am looking for feedback on the following:

Central Air. Yes, I know I am in Canada - but believe it or not we don't live year-round in igloos at minus 40. This week alone Southern Ontario (and yes, I know parts of Quebec too!) has sweltered under an oppressive 47 degree heat that has left us all wilted to say the least (117F for those still who still need the Fahrenheit scale). Where the boy and I live now, we don't have central air, and we have managed not too badly. We have window AC units, although this year we actually have decided to try and manage without it all. ("Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun," as Noel Coward would say). The house is constructed with ducting sized for future air conditioning. Seeing as AC is not a MUST HAVE for the boy and it better to "do now...or do later?"

Flooring. As wonderful as hardwood floors are, this is something I definitely can wait for until later. The builders install a 35 oz broadloom with a 7/16" underpad as standard. So far everyone seems to be in agreement that this is one item I definitely need to upgrade. A thicker underpad will extend the life of the broadloom carpeting by years. Anyone have a suggestion as to what level to upgrade it to?

Ensuite bathroom. Now this one is a toughie. I have the option of upgrading the master bedroom ensuite from a standard 3 piece bathroom to a 4 piece "oasis of luxury" with a step up soaker tub, glass corner shower etc. Obviously all this doesn't come cheap, another $4,000...and it will eat into my actual bedroom space. Ahhhh decisions, decisions.

Rough-in bathroom in basement. The basement comes unfinished, but I do have the option of having a 3 piece bathroom roughed in for future possible renovations. Cheaper to do at time of construction, so they wont have to rip up all the concrete later to lay the pipes. Definitely increases the re-sale value. Thoughts?

Optional Cold Cellar. I also have the option of having an optional cold cellar excavated as an add on to the basement. More storage is wonderful. I am not much of a jams/ preserves kinda gal, but a wine cellar sounds wonderful...and a lot of the women at work have said they use their cold cellars for storage (canned goods, non-perishables etc). Again, adds to the resale value.

Gas Fireplace. In the living room this time. Now even the builder suggested not bothering with this upgrade, simply because it restricts furniture arrangement, takes up a wall, blah blah blah. I've always wanted a fireplace, although in my fantasies it had been an open fire and a bear skin rug, not a gas fireplace with glass enclosure. So perhaps the builder dude has a point. He suggests if I absolutely HAVE to have a fireplace then I should try one of those new electric plug in mantles that are available. Realistic looking, ornamental and totally PORTABLE. He may have a point.

Door from garage to house. This option is totally dependent on the grade of the property. But still an option.

Central Vac. Not something I have ever really thought about to be honest, and I haven't a clue how much they are charging for it yet. I have never had central vac. The idea of not lugging my vacuum cleaner upstairs however is very tempting. Any Central Vac users out there able to share the pros and cons? Anyone? Please?

Phone/TV Wiring. This one is a no brainer for me...and I am assuming I can get it upgraded, but I noticed in the "standard fixtures" list from the builder, that they rough-in telephone in the kitchen and master bedroom only, and in the living room and master bedroom only for cable TV. Both of these items I would like available in other rooms. In addition they only offer 1 exterior weather-proof electrical outlet. So I either don't have an outlet at the front or the back of the property. I'd like both.

OK, hopefully I haven't left anything out, I will update this later if I suddenly remember anything. I do however think I have to make some major decisions this coming Tuesday when I sign the agreement and hand over my deposit.

Feedback people...lemme know what you think!

OK you think I am bad now? Wait until we get onto choosing cabinets, countertops, tiles and carpetting. OMG - this is going to be the home version of "Bridezilla".

August 2, 2006

Home Sweet...Lot #96?

I got some news today that essentially will dictate the direction my life (and by extention thereof, this blog )will go over the next year or so.

I am buying a house!

There is a townhouse development being built in a nearby town, that I went out to visit with the boy last week. My mortgage application went in on Friday and the approval came through today. Needless to say I am terrified, excited, nervous, thrilled and nauseated all at the same time.

Any advice you of can offer about purchasing a house, especially a new house. Extra items worth paying for ...or items worth leaving til later ...things to ask for ...or to watch out for etc would be greatly appreciated. Don't forget this is my FIRST ever home, so this is all new to me. I am calling it my 40th birthday present to myself.

My closing date wont be until November 2007 into early 2008. So needless to say I will be working ALL kinds of overtime etc to help with costs, expenses, appliances etc.

It's a small house, but a little bigger than what we have right now. Not my "dream home" but perfect for starting out.

If you are interested in seeing the plans check out this link.

I meet with the builders next week to complete the offer and pay my deposit. I will be taking a list of questions, requests etc. with me. So take the time to leave a comment with advice, suggestions etc.

The next few months will be full of the dilemma of carpet colour decisions, countertop and kitchen cabinet choices and tile to pick out. And hopefully lots of photos.

Consider yourselves forwarned!