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Grass Cutting Challenge 2019

So last night as I was sitting in my office contemplating how I could rearrange it, and wondering if I even wanted to tackle the task, because it means emptying out filing cabinets and an overfull closet, I heard a familiar noise outside…and my first thought was….Oh no, you don’t!!! Neighbour Carl. And then I remembered, I don’t live next to Neighbour Carl anymore and it made me sad.

Now here’s the thing, year one we put in a fence and I picked weeds, year two we got grass in but for most of the summer I wasn’t allowed to even walk on it, so it wasn’t until late summer that I even got to cut it. I’ve had 2 years to observe the neighbourhood to decide if there is a worthy grass cutting competition opponent, or if I even want to compete anymore. It’s just not going to be the same without Neighbour Carl….here is what I observed: Mr. Parr takes lawn maintenance very serious and he also has 2 pint sized helpers that come with their own pint sized lawn mowers and wheel barrows. The house on the other side has no back lawn so they’re out. Mr & Mrs Smith, if that is their real name, are off on some grand adventure so not contending this year. I really thought Mr Blue might be the one, but it turns out that it isn’t him that is the carer of the yard, it’s Mrs. Blue. Apparently, he gets the sneezes around grass. Now you might think a women competition would be cool, and I agree but the thing is Mrs. Blue’s job is in the home, and that is way more of an advantage than I want to give. And lastly the house on the corner, Mr. Ground Control and Mrs Carpenter, I had hopes for them, we’re similar ages and stuff, but them I found out they’re hired the oldest Blues Brother for the summer….

After watching Mr. Parr for a while I nonchalantly went outside. I walked to the shed and dug around until I found a couple of rakes, and I surmised that it’s going to take more than just me to get to the back of the shed where my lawnmower is. There are 8 winter tires, a large tote full of tools, as well as 2 milk crates and a couple of tool pouches (all The Boy’s), 2 sets of golfing clubs, misc gardening ornaments and a pair of size 13 rubber boots all stacked in my way. I guess even if I want to start the competition tonight, it is not going to happen. I hung around the side of the house until Mr. Parr appeared and we had a chit-chat. I call it doing recognizance. He told me he wasn’t cutting his lawn he was dethatching. He had borrowed one from a buddy. Ha! I have my very own, somewhere in the shed. I think. I hope. Good to know. And then he sees my rakes in hand and says, “You’re welcome to borrow it if you want.” Ahhh Jeepers, he’s being so nice. Now I worry if I can be a ruthless competitor. I politely decline.

I don’t know what to do. It seems quite obvious that if I want to compete it will have to be against Mr. Parr. But is it fair for me, a mere mortal to compete against a super hero? What if he loses? Will he be humiliated? Or worse yet, lose his super hero status? I don’t know if I want that burden on my shoulders….I don’t need to make a decision right away, since it snowed off and on all morning, so I will take my time on making my decision….stay tuned…. 

Warning: Keep Away From Water

So way back on September 14, my blow dryer quit. Just like that in a puff of smoke it was done. This is what happened:

 

So there is an old electrician saying, “Let the smoke out” as in ‘You let the smoke out of that drill.’ Or ‘I let the smoke out of my hair dryer.’ This morning there was no power tools involved unless you classify a hair dryer as a power tool. Just about done drying my hair when out of the corner of my left eye I saw something. Something wispy, something smoky. The procedure for when you let the smoke out of something, is to hit the kill switch and unplug. Which is what I did. I shut of the dryer and unplugged. To be honest my blow dryer is still fine, because the smoke actually came out of the power cord, right near the plug end, not the dryer itself. And when I say that the blow dryer is fine, it was actually taken from my hand by He Who Isn’t An Electrician, but pretends he is, and disposed of in a safe manner. Thank goodness it’s the weekend, because my mission is to find myself a new blow dryer….It’s Friday! It’s going to be a great weekend. Always remember and never forget: A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

Well, it has been a while, and a few days ago I after some of my hair got sucked in the intake of my small travel blow dryer, I figured it was time to get a new one. I looked at a few recommendations from friends on FB and as marvelous as the blow dryer from the Vacuum People sounds, I don’t think it’s really necessary for me. So down to the Not-A-Loser store and found an even better blow dryer than the one from the Vacuum People. I know, you didn’t think it was possible, but it was. The one I got is made by a car company….wait for it……Mazda!! True story! I couldn’t actually find anywhere that it actually said ‘Mazda’ but it is a Rx7 and when I put that into the Google Machine, it came up with a picture of a shiny, red Mazda and the blow dryer I picked out is shiny, red, too!!! Is this not the most exciting thing ever. And it didn’t cost nearly as much as a car or as a vacuum for that matter. Win-Win.

Another reason I know this must be from a car manufacturer is because it came with a “Safety & Instructions Information” pamphlet. There is a whole page in IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS such as – Keep this appliance out of the reach of children….but a few points down it changes to – Close supervision is necessary when this appliance is used by, on or near children….Hmmmm

Next big warning KEEP AWAY FROM WATER and if you are unclear as to what exactly that means, they say it again in 4 out of the next 5 points…#2. Do not use while bathing. Is an example…

Then we move onto the warning part. WARNING: To risk of burns, electrocution, fire, or injury to persons:

And then there is 30 points….yes, 30 points of what not to do with this blow dryer so as to reduce the risk of getting hurt. I, for one, have never been hurt by a blow dryer, but apparently the Mazda people felt it was necessary to warn the public about the dangers of this blow dryer…Some of the more perplexing warnings: #2. This dryer is hot when in use. Do not let eyes and bare skin touch heated surfaces….Exactly how does one go about touching an eye to a hot blow dryer? And who would even think to do this???….#4. An appliance should never be lift (it’s what it says) unattended when plugged in….If you are unattending it, obviously you can’t lift it. Duh….# 9 is like #8 but they thought it wise to mention the water hazard, one more time….a favorite of mine is #15. Never use while sleeping…..and a close second fav is #20. Do not direct hot air toward eyes or other heat sensitive areas…So many redundancies of the oh, so many points.

Anyways, I have been using my new shiny, red Mazda Rx7 blow dryer for a few weeks now, and I happy to report there has been not even one major or minor incident. So maybe the 30 + warnings are working….

Why Can’t Every Day Be Like This….

Have you ever had a day where you just can’t help but thinking, ‘Why can’t everyday be like this’….I went into work, counted a few things, filed a few papers, and when that was done, I ran some errands, made a couple check marks on the never ending To-Do List and then I went home….I get all the glamorous jobs at home, like for instance, cleaning the Oscar’s bathroom, truth be told, I clean all the bathrooms, there are some jobs that I just don’t trust to He Who Thinks Bathrooms Are Self Cleaning….anyways, I digress, while I was bending over cleaning Oscar’s bathroom, I got the creepy feeling that someone was watching me, since I was home alone I ignored it, until…..I looked up and, ‘Jeepers! Holy Moley! You’re quiet! Hi!’ (cause I tend to talk fast when I’m surprised)… standing in the doorway was Dash, “Hi! My Mom says we can go on a bike ride! Violet is upstairs looking for you.” ….and before Mrs. Parr has a chat about boundaries, I left the garage door open so Dash could park his bike next to mine, and I’m 99.9% sure they did knock, because the always do. When I didn’t answer, I will bet the farm that they went into super hero mode and were coming in to rescue me from whatever Evil Being had me tied to a chair, threatening to destroy me with an “Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator” (Love Bugs Bunny) unless I told him everything I know about the Parr’s….but since that didn’t happen, I finished my chore, left Oscar with a clean bathroom, and Dash, Violet and I, helmets and flip-flops on, headed out for a bike ride….aka I think they were actually on a Neighbourhood and Area Reconnaissance Mission, because we looked at everything. Dash checked out all the big puddles in the ditch, to make sure no one was hiding using a reed for a breathing tube, there wasn’t. We went past the bear poop full of berries, had a big discussion on that, Violet read every sign so she kept us informed as to where we were on the Solar System, and when we got to the sun, we took a hard left on the new pavement and went straight into, what could have been a very scary situation…. A big truck parked on the road, hoses coming out of it, at least 6 guys manning the hoses, and spraying green stuff all over. Chemical warfare? Dash and Violet were curious but not scared, so I knew it was ok. They were just hydroseeders, seeding the sides of the walking path. The kids went by really slow, never taking their eyes off them, just in case, and then a lot of questions all the way to the water station, where we stopped and shared a drink. Onward past the new school, when asked if they thought they would be going to the new school, one said yes, and the cautious one said, no. I’m sure Helen knows.  All the way to the Tire Shop and a quick visit with Mr. Blue who was just back from saving a client from a tire emergency, checked out ‘All the tires’ and we were on our way back home, after I assured them, ‘It’s all downhill from here’….Past the new school, checked out the seeder guys who were almost done, it may have been mentioned that we could have had lawn way quicker if we would have got them guys. Ya, ya…. Dash decided that we needed to clean up the path so armed with a dog-poop bag, we picked up the bear poop, berries and all, deposited in a garbage can, and then Violet led us on a new way home, despite Dash’s comments that, ‘You don’t know where you’re going!’. She did! We arrived home safe and sound. I’m pretty confident that neighbourhood and area is free of evil and bear poop….but it may have been suggested that we keep an eye out for more bear poop today…Ya, all in a days work, just supervising the super-heroes as they keep our little piece of the world safe…

Mr. Incredible: No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!

Who Are the People In My Neighbourhood?

We moved to a brand new house in a brand new neighbourhood Dec 2015. It was scary, leaving our other neighbourhood and all the great people that lived there. We had been side by side with most of them for 18 years! A few new ones moved in but they were there for a long time, too. Back in April 2016 I told you about the new neighbours that we knew well, The Incredibles, but that was about it. I can’t write about what I don’t know and I hadn’t had the pleasure of getting to know the rest of the cul-de-sac people….but 2 ½ years later, I know them now….

♪♫•…Say, who are the people in your neighbourhood? The people that you meet each day…•♫♪

The Incredibles are still incredible. They never cease to amaze me. The kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack are continually growing and learning new skills that will serve them in their super hero stuff. Violet is quite the fashionista, and as much as she tries to lead the boys, they have their own ideas. Dash is always looking for ways to go faster, hence his name. He has graduated from pedal bike to dirt bike. Jack-Jack is quickly following in the others footsteps, running, jumping and riding his bike. Mom and Dad, Bob and Helen, go through their days as normal unassuming people, but those of us in the know, know that they are….ummm…well, they are incredible neighbours….

On the other side of us, at the far end is the coloured family. Now don’t anyone freak out and call me racist, by ‘coloured’ family I mean their last name is a colour, you know like Sirius Black from Harry Potter, yes, just like that, meet The Blues. He’s a native of our fair city but she is an import. You know how much I love an accent. In the old hood I had my MI6 Agent with his British accent, so it is only fitting that I move to a place with another import. She’s from a sweet place in Idaho, seriously, she has the cutest accent, I always envision a Prom Queen when I talk to her. Mr. Blue is my winter time hero. He has access to a bobcat and brings it home every time it snows, and he’s so kind that after doing his own driveway, he does the rest of ours and then he does the street.  More than once this past winter I was beyond thankful for Mr. Blue and his amazing bobcat skills. All the snow ends up in an empty lot, which all the neighbourhood kids love. The Incredible kids work on their snow skills, you ni case there is a snow emergency that they need to tend to, and the Blue Brothers (there are 3) get to race the GT’s and practice their snowboarding moves – yes, the snow pile was tall enough for snowboards.  Son #1 – he’s a talker with a great sense of humour, but most of all, he loves all things Harry Potter. So. Do. I.  Son #2 – he’s the shy, quiet type. I think I scare him. Last year when he started kindergarten he made eye contact with me. Now he’s going into grade 1, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a ‘Hi’ Son #3 – The littlest of the 3 but not for long. He’s going to be a strapping lad just like his Dad. Reminds me so much of The Boy when he was younger. He’s pretty quiet until he warms up to you, which he did this spring, and then wow, a mile-a-minute.  Last year on the very same day that He Who Has Birthday, had a birthday, Mrs. Blue had a baby. The Blue Brother’s baby sister, who we will call Azura, which means one who is of sky blue colour, was born.  She’s prom-queen material, just like her Mama.

Just a couple doors from us, and next door to the Blue’s are the Smith’s (if that is indeed there real name). I’m having my doubts. Mr. Smith claims he can make metal stick together without duct tape or glue just using electricity. I’ve never seen it, but this is what he claims. Mrs. Smith is a healer by profession, but she is so much more. I’m just guessing here, from what I’ve seen, interior decorator, chef, baker, and Mama to 2 beautiful babies, Gracie and Grady – don’t you just love when people start their kid’s names with the same letter. They are both imports, and the reason I don’t believe that their name is Smith is because I think they are in the Canadian version of WITSEC. I think they’re hiding from someone or something or ….maybe, just maybe, they’re spies! They disappear for months at a time, winter and spring, no rhyme or reason. They just seem to be too perfect, impeccably dressed kids, fancy house, and vehicles, I think 2 for each of them, and he says that he gets the best deals ever, who does that, hahaha….anyways Mr. and Mrs. Smith, if that is their real name, just got word last week that they are able to go “home”, and they have to be packed up and gone by the end of the week. Whaaatttt? Tell me again, who does things like that unless you’re in WITSEC. Are they going spying somewhere else? Or are the bad people that were after them, not after them anymore? Oh, so many questions and I know without a doubt that if I ask them, ‘Hey, what’s the deal, the real story?’ They are just going to tell me how much they love us all and how hard it’s going to be to leave but they really, really just want to get home where their family is and where Mr. Smith can join metal together with electricity (likely story, that one) on a normal shift so he can be home for Mrs. Smith and Gracie and Grady….All I can say to The Smith’s is good luck in your new adventure and your new home. We wish you all the best, but not going to lie to you, the cul-de-sac, our little semi-circle of family, has a huge big hole in it, that is going to be really hard to fill. Hugs and best wishes.

There’s No Time Like The Present And There’s No Present Like Time

I realize I haven’t been on here is a while….so long in fact that I had to go back and see exactly where I left off….apparently, I disappeared halfway through our Panama Cruise while looking for pirates. All indications are that I was abducted by pirates somewhere on our cruise, but the truth of the matter is, I wasn’t, I just stopped writing, and I really don’t have an explanation as to why. But I am back now. Way back when I started this writing gig, I had every intention of writing something every day, like I do on Facebook, but that got overwhelming. I decided that I get pretty busy just living life that I don’t always have time to sit down and write about it. Another reason is that my blog is called ‘When Then Mind Wanders’ and some days my mind really doesn’t wander very far. I was going to start at the beginning of this year, kind of a resolution if you will, and write something at least once a week. There is a blog I follow called Musings of the Amusing Muse – I found her when I was researching names for my own blog. She posts on Friday’s under the heading of Fancy Coffee Friday, which I love and wish I had thought of it. Well, here we are 6 ½ months into the year and I’m just finally getting a round to writing, there is the old adage that you think you have time and then one day it hits you like a ton of bricks – BAM – and you realize there is no time like the present….

Day 6 and There’s Something In The Mist…..

Morning Day 6 and I got up way too early, it’s good though because it’s an At Sea day so a nap may be in order…yesterday was the most amazing day ever, so blessed that we were able to experience it and share it with good friends, freaking awesome!!….our balcony is on the shady side of the ship this morning since we’ve changed direction, which is great for this pale skinned blonde, but will likely be smoking hot this afternoon….as I sit here looking out to sea through the mist, I feel like we are not moving as fast as we have been, and I feel the ship going from side to side a little bit more than on the other ocean…we have seen many ships in the past six day, we’ve met lots and we’ve been passed by many, but this morning there is a ship a ways away from us, going the same direction and at the same speed, because I have been watching it for a while and…..do you think it could be pirates? I don’t actually see a pirate flag on it but it is quite misty, it doesn’t seem to be getting any closer but you know me, I’m a horrible judge of distance….I should go and get the binoculars out and have a closer look with getting any closer, but He Who Enjoys His Sleep, is snoozing and I’m not sure where they are….there was a second ship behind but it appears to be gone now, just hoping they aren’t working together and it hasn’t gone around to the other side….the wifi is a bit sketchy this morning, could be because the pirates are blocking the signal somehow, now I don’t know for sure that they can, I’m just saying that they could….I’m going to get another cup of coffee, because I think I want to be well caffinated if pirates attack, and have a peak for the binoculars without turning on any lights or opening the curtains…..It’s Friday, it’s sunny, stay tuned for the pirate ship saga…..

After spending a few hours after breakfast in the lounge at the bow of the ship, playing movie trivia and partaking in a a few beverages, we have split up, Mrs. Meister is taking a painting class, Mr. Meister and He Who Likes A Red, are doing a wine tasting and I am sitting in the central Atrium at the Java Cafe, enjoying a vanilla latte: it’s not Starbucks but it will do, people watching: there are many to watch and writing…and thinking about pirates… I share the immportal words of Peter Par, “Come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.”

The Reason For This Cruise….

Big day here, aboard this floating hotel! Day 5 otherwise known as Canal Day!!! I was going to say we have been up since the crack of dawn, but dawn is still a long ways away. It is now 6 am and we have been up since 5:30, we have the tv on channel 23 which is the view from the front of the ship, showing the crews deck, which they have opened up to the guests today…..for the time being we are not going to join the masses but sit on our balcony, enjoy room service, watch the sunrise as begin our journey through the Panama Canal….we have been planning and dreaming of this trip for years, I’m not sure when my intrigue with the canal first started, I’m thinking I may have read about it in a book at some point, perhaps in an Agatha Christie novel, because I’m sure Nancy Drew never went there, and then there was the movie Arsenic and Old Lace, with brother Teddy burying the “yellow fever victims” in the basment….He Who Loves History has always marveled at the inginuity and the sheer enormity of the Canal….this is an all day voyage, we meet the pilot boat this morning and the captain fills out the necessary paperwork, apparently they don’t let ships go through just willy-nilly, then we begin,  ascending 2 locks on this side of the lake and descending 3 on the other…I don’t know if you can appreciate my excitement, but this is freaking awesome….Sunrise is beautiful, breakfast should be here soon,…It’s Thursday, Canal Day, so always remember and never forget: “There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.”~ Albert Einstei

Life is meant for spectacular adventures, let your feet wander, your eyes marvel and your soul ignite!

In Lock #2, we should start rising any minute now …and we are …then we go across Gaton Lake and by mid afternoon we will start going through the 3 descending locks….if anyone noticed my spelling error, thanks for not commenting…I thought the locks were ‘lochs’ like the Loch Ness Monster, I was wrong, too many days with an accent, it is a lock as in lock and key…I apologize if I confused anyone but myself….

 

Ok, so we popped on down to Deck 7 on the starboard side, and for those keeping track, that’s down 2 floors and on the other side of the ship, while we went through Lock 2…in the next lock was a big freighter, I was in awe, that is until I looked ahead and saw an even bigger one!! I can only imagine a 103 years ago when the built these locks, they likely thought they were huge, I doubt they ever imagined a ship  large enough to fill the canal…quiet and lovely going across the lake

 

We are here!! Going through the second set of locks, I think there are 3, He Who Begs to Differ says 2….we shall see..

2 locks down – 1 to go…and for those keeping score, that is also 1 for me and 0 for He Who Can’t Count As Good As Me….

Wow!! All I say is so happy to ccheck this off the bucket list!! It was evertything that I thought it would be….we took some more pics of the Panama City skyline, hit the buffet for an easy supper, got all showered up and then headed for the back of the ship to the outdoor deck for a Girls-Against-Boys-Best-Out-Of-Three crib tournamnet – and the girls are victorious, then off to bed…

 

Stopping and Cruising Day 4

Good Morning, from Cartagena, Columbia. Just pulling into the dock. Our first visit to South American! Uncle Matt was up early and is pretty pumped!!….always remember and never forget: The world is yours to explore.

 

And we’re back on board and sailing away, only a few hours in Cartagena but it was enough to take a tour of the old city on a horse drawn carriage, listen to our tour guide, Leon, tell us stories and the history of the city and area, including a stop at one of the most famous streets in town….the street he was born on in 1954…..everyone’s a comedian….and do a bit of shopping, and I decided in the blistering sun and 29′ heat, it was just enough time to check it out but not get fried…..last night we did a lovely dress up supper at the Tsars Palace, yes, that’s right a Palace, just for me…and a few hundred other people, but mostly for me, crowns and coat of arms everywhere….then we had some pics taken and off to a magician comedy show, a talented you guy from Montreal, and yes, we may have clapped just a little bit louder because of that, but he was awesome, an evening nightcap and then back to our cabins…..I seriously could get used to this….

Getting Closer to The Canal….

So this morning we get up, not too early and after enjoying my coffee on the balcony, we head off to the aft, which means back, of the boat to a lovely outdoor patio which has become our preference for breakfast, then into the Stardust Theater for a lovely presentation on the building of the Panama Canal….and this lovely movie starts off talking about what they had to overcome building the canal way back when, such things as yellow fever! malaria! And how 25,000 people died building it and all I could think of is, Call me a Drama Queen now, will ya!!!! And ok, so they go on to say that they mostly erradicated both of those, but the point is, that I don’t really want to get either, so quite thankful for painful shots and muscle cramping pills…then we decided to join the masses and sit poolside to catch some rays, yup that’s right, the red-head, a couple of blondes, and He Who Seldom Burns, read our books for an hour in the hot Carribean sun, before conceding that It’s damn hot out, and going back to our cabins….loving the afternoon naps, this is getting to be quite a habit, and a sunny-morning balcony means an shady-afternoon one, the couple on the next balcony is outside as well, and much to my pleasure, they have accents, I freaking kid you not, UK or perhaps Wales, but it is lovely, simply lovely…..I will sit quietly and listen and read and listen and….I will grow through the people I meet and the places I see.

Cruising Along Day 3

Today is Day Three and another full day on the ship, our cabin is on the left side, the port side for those in the know, also the sunny side in the morning, which is perfect because I am a sunny-side-morning-coffee-drinking person! We checked out the ships list of things to do today, which is very extensive, and we haven’t decided on anything just yet, except our promise to join Mr Sushi Chef at 10:30 this morning…painting class, Panama Canal documentary, and of course there’s always poolside or deckside lounging, the possibilites are endless….It’s Tuesday! Always remember and never forget: You miss out on 100% of the opportunities that you don’t take!!