30 September 2008

Oh, Quitcherwhinin.

OK. So. BC Ferries is in a tailspin because they jacked up fares high enough that people have rethought their travel. Now, without tourists to make up the difference, the corp. is looking at cutting some runs -- more than the usual off-season thinning. This annoys me, but we can plan around it for the few trips we are likely to take.

Politicians are grasping at straws, saying that the ferries are an extension of our highway system (true, they are) and that service needs to be maintained. Keith Martin talked about the Trans-Canada highway in particular and how the ferries deliver so many people from coast to coast. Um, Keith, check your maps. The Trans Canada highway crosses the straight at Nanaimo. So, yeah, we could say that route has to be protected at full service, but I don't think the argument holds for the Southern route.

Real estate roller coaster....

All but one of the conditions have been removed on the purchase of the new house (we signed the mortgage papers today); there was a major issue found during inspection and we are hoping that the sellers will meet us half way to solve it.

In the meantime, we are extending the date for conditions to be removed for the buyer of our place to accommodate the time it takes for the bank to process the assessment (done today) but it's basically a done deal.

Soon I might just be able to sleep at night again.

27 September 2008

Funny kid...

Hubby was making breakfast this morning -- eggy grilled cheese sandwiches -- and was showing off flipping the sandwiches without the spatula (i.e. a flip of the frying pan). Unfortunately, one flip didn't quite work and Kiddo announced "Ha! You made a spilled cheese sandwich!"

:D

26 September 2008

A big part of why we are moving....


back_yard
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
... is to get a yard. For Kiddo (primarily) but also for gardening and just hanging out.

While the inspection went about as well as one could expect for a 95 year old house -- there are a couple of things to fix before we move in and a couple of tests (just to ensure no surprises later -- like an old buried oil tank on the property) -- I am still trying to not completely fall in love with the place until all the paperwork is signed.

That said, it is difficult. I originally thought there were two apple trees and a plum tree -- turns out there are actually FIVE apple trees; two dwarf varieties and three full-size trees, all covered in fruit plus a European plum tree (likely an Italian Prune Plum).

One thing we will have to address right away is the raised beds in the front; they are right up against the house which is wood frame and as such are an open invitation for insects to munch on the house. I'm OK with that -- it will give me an opportunity to re-design the front garden. I also plan to save the beams and build raised beds for veggies in the back yard, away from the house. Yay!

Hey! I learned something!

And if you watch this little animated short from the BBC about Charles Dickens, you might learn something too!


If you want to learn more about Dickens, check out the Dickens Project at the University of California or David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page -- which includes a nice article about the illustrators with whom Dickens worked.

25 September 2008

Fall morning.


morning_light
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Fall is, by far, my favourite time of the year. This morning, there was a light rain but it was still warm and the sun was still determined to show up for daybreak between the clouds.

The new house is to be inspected on Friday so I will either be elated or dejected following the news. Assuming the former, and things falling into place, it looks like it was meant to be. There is room in the grade two class of the nearby traditional school (still public but the students wear uniforms and the emphasis is academic), and our short turnaround date means we qualify for a reduced mortgage rate (about 1/4 percent below the going rate otherwise).

Of course, we also feel guilty moving Kiddo this year because her teacher at her current school is fantastic. But driving back into our current neighbourhood every morning would be inconvenient to say the least. Sigh.

At least, all going well, we should be in a residential area for Halloween and ready to host the family for Christmas this year. Hooray!

23 September 2008

Holy Whirlwind!!

We accepted the counter to the counter-offer on our place this morning with the "subject-to" conditions to be lifted by Sept 29th.

In the meantime, we looked at three front-runners this evening and found one in the Quadra/Finlayson area (a.k.a. "Mayfair") that felt like a good fit -- it's also currently vacant so we put in an offer; we'll know tomorrow if they counter but our conditions -- including a full inspection -- should be lifted by October 1st.

If all goes well, we'll be moved in by (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend!!

22 September 2008

Houston, we have an offer.

... and a counter. Now the waiting begins.

Busy, crazy weekend.

I had taken Friday off work and ended up taking the van in for repairs (most of the cost was for diagnostic work, grr) then taking oodles of grid photos.

Saturday, we tidied up and prepared to get out of the house -- apparently not soon enough as Realtors started showing up for showings at 10:30. We got everyone into the van, including the cat, and headed for Nanaimo. The goal was a return to Cyber City with a promise that we could do a round of mini-golf this time. We did, but Kiddo decided she "hates mini-golf!" so after we finished, Hubby took her for laser tag. Three minutes after going in, she decided she hated that too ("it wasn't dark enough!") so she got to climb in the kid-size habitrail until we were ready to go.

On our way back, we stopped at a Serious Coffee and checked our e-mail in case of any report about the Open House, then headed back down to Duncan. We stopped in the new super-size Wal-Mart and I am embarrassed to say I was impressed. It's one of the ones with the food floor, and we found (of all things) a giant jar of ghee -- made in Canada even -- which we've never found in Victoria. We will be getting our own giant Wal-Mart in Victoria once the construction is completed at the Douglas street location.

We returned home to find that our entrance hall closet door had been opened and closed so many times that the top hinge was broken and would no longer shut. I have patched it back together for now and we are leaving cash aside in case a buyer would prefer it be replaced.

The Realtor said the open house went very well, though, and expects our place to sell this week; we are expecting offers today. In the meantime, we are looking for somewhere to move!

We looked at one place on our shortlist that had an open house yesterday. We both instantly felt comfortable in the space, despite how much work it would take to un-fugly the place. Unfortunately, our Realtor thinks it is not worth the asking price... but we shall see.

18 September 2008

Want to buy a townhouse?

We want to move into a home with a yard, ideally nearer to where I work, so the townhouse is now for sale. Great opportunity to get into the Victoria market with three bedrooms for under $300K.

Here's the MLS Listing and our Realtor's listing page.

staged_livingroom

16 September 2008

This threatdown is getting serious....


This summer, there were many bear sightings and several bear attacks in Greater Vancouver -- heck, my brother was annoyed by a "gift" of bear sh*t on his front lawn in Port Coquitlam.

Then there was the bear with the bucket list -- Bystanders rescue man from bear (Times-Colonist 11 Sept 08) -- and the armchair sportsbear who ambled up to get a waterside seat at the dragon boat races in Kelowna (sorry, can't find an online story).

The threat is actually real enough that RCMP are now being trained to deal with bears.

But at least we haven't seen this problem here yet: a Montana cyclist collided with a bear. Ouch.

15 September 2008

linkety-links

The staging is done-diddley-un, our Realtor seemed impressed with the transformation, and I merrily took many photos this morning-- missing several buses in the process -- but still got to my desk by 8:00! Lucky for you, I have collected them into a set on Flickr called SeaTerrace:


On the awesome side of the links scale are two designs whose times have come: the modular-compartment fridge (for shared accommodation situations) and the flat sink (most useful in public washrooms).

On the opposite side of the links scale is this horrible story (warning: likely disturbing to most readers) that makes me want to track down the idiot responsible and send him to a prison that the UN has condemned. >:(

Finally, this album cover at LPCoverLover had me looking for tell-tale photoshopping signs, but it appears to be legit; sorry grrrls.

13 September 2008

And so it begins....


staged_bedroom
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
What do you think? Does this look like one of those HGTV/TLC home makeover "after" shots? Is it generic enough without looking unlived in? (Well, the cat on the bed helps, I guess...)

So the breakdown:

We already had the sidetables, the bed, the duvet, white pillow cases, and blanket. We bought: two lamps ($99.96), sheets ($14.99), accent pillow ($10), curtains ($35.76) and art - which I wanted to do anyway - ($92). So, $252.71, plus taxes. Phew! Of course that doesn't include the cost of paint or carpet.

We should be done the rest of the staging tomorrow... hopefully. We spent most of our day today getting the deck cleared and prepared (Cthulhu is in his new temporary home -- Hubby rented a truck and toured him through town on the way; I planted $150 worth of plants...) as well as tidying things up and cleaning. The carpet, btw, was successfully installed yesterday. Hooray!

10 September 2008

Into the Home(finishing) Stretch....

As the fifteenth approaches and our time-line narrows, our activity is a flurry of ticking things off our To-Do list.

Yesterday we got the replacement for the broken window (only $78!! Thanks, Pino-Lite!) and I signed off on the proof of the print for the bedroom -- being re-done at Island Blue since it looks like pickets will be up around the SUB for some time yet.

The fences are painted (yay!) and we got a cheque yesterday reimbursing us for earlier damages. We will be using that cash to pimp our deck in the next few days. Unfortunately, one of our containers collapsed when we tried to lift it (the wood frame was very bug-eaten) but we will re-organize and rearrange to compensate.

Cthulhu will also be getting an un-subtle ride across town to a temporary location until he is sold or we move into a place where we could store him again.

Aside from the patio pimping, the last major thing to be completed before "staging" is the carpet installation, set for this Friday.

Once the place is staged, you'll get to see some before and after shots -- I promise! -- and of course, you can have a look at the listing once it's up.

08 September 2008

Chronocide Trio

Looking for a way to kill time and wake up those Monday braincells? Try these sites:

Play With Spider is an amazingly detailed little flash application: the spider will crawl along following your mouse or you can hit the space bar to drop a trail of bugs for it to eat.

De-Animator is a speedy little shoot-the-zombies game with nice simple silhouette graphics and a suitably grizzly ending. Most amusing.

And of course, my favourite little flash app of all time may well be Perpetual Bubblewrap.

06 September 2008

Mysterious visitor

We went out looking at open houses today -- saw three: one I liked, one Kiddo liked and one we all agree would take a lot of work but it is priced accordingly as a "fixer-upper."

Later, while eating dinner, we noticed a little grasshopper-type insect on some plastic cutlery. I took some photos then took it outside, letting it crawl on to my rosemary plant.

After dinner I started trying to figure out what kind of insect it was and eventually found a post on What's That Bug that convinced me it was a Drumming Katydid (Meconema thalassinum). It seems that these bugs were introduced to the Pacific Northwest very recently -- in the past 5 years. Up to then, they were commonly found on the Eastern seaboard and in Europe.

After identifying it, I went to check on him (it is the male of the species) and he was still hiding in the rosemary. One mystery does remain: how did he come to be in our dining room? My guess is that he hitchhiked on us from one of the yards we were poking around earlier.

05 September 2008

Opinions, shared because I can.

Just because no one asked doesn't mean I can't share my opinions on various newsworthy things. It's my blog and you can always skip this self-indulgent post.

Sarah Palin. The woman seriously scares me. The thought that she could potentially become president really worries me because she believes in many things -- book banning, reversing Roe v. Wade, drilling for oil in nature preserves, and so on -- that make me shiver. That said, I totally think Tina Fey should be signed up for the opener of SNL to play Palin.

Canadian Federal Election. Overall, I think it's a big waste of time and money -- at this point Stephen Harper is still going to get in, maybe even with a majority thanks to the useless [giant air-quote] leadership and opposition [close giant air-quote] shown by St├ęphane Dion. That man makes me grit my teeth every time he opens his mouth -- heck, even his little smile annoys me.

The timing of the election will plop it right in the midst of municipal elections and get little airplay thanks to the American elections (see above). The only good thing that might come out of it is that Dion will be fed to the lions after decimating his party's standing in the House of Commons and the NDP may gain some serious ground in their stead. All I ask is for the networks to stop airing that damned "Harper's a stand-up guy" ad -- it is so very, very staged. [If you want to subject yourself to the ad, see "Main Street Canadians".]

Municipal Elections. Since we will likely still be in the City of Victoria when the election rolls around, that's the race we've been following. Unfortunately it's not so much a race as a milling about at the edges right now. So far, it looks like I will likely be throwing my vote at Simon Natrass in the mayoral race. It's unlikely that he will win against Dean "sound-bite king" Fortin but, as you can guess, there's NO way I'm giving Fortin my vote.

Things that quietly slip away. Two major changes lately went by barely noticed: A&B Sound quietly closed their last Island store this week -- the one in Langford. I used to love shopping there and it makes me a little melancholy. The other change really pissess me off: CityTV in Vancouver somehow thought it made sense to fire possibly the best morning team ever -- Dave Gerry and Simi Sara -- then buried any news about it. Here's hoping A's new morning show sucks less than the current mess at BT.

04 September 2008

Pickets on Campus

This morning, pickets sprouted up around the Student Union Building.

usw_strike

Unlike staff across most of campus, the SUB workers are represented by the United Steelworkers. Most of my morning was taken up by fielding questions from our CUPE members about what was happening because few people outside the SUB were even aware the Steelworkers local was in negotiations -- and that both negotiations and also mediation had broken down last month.

In addition to the food outlets now behind pickets, the strike shuts down Cinecenta, CFUV, various resource centres and the Student Food Bank. It also shuts down Zap copy centre where I had left a photo to be printed on canvas. Had I known about any pending action, I'd have made a greater effort to get to campus on my days off.

I dashed off an article for NowPublic this evening, "Striking Students Shut Down Student Services," but if you want to know even more, check out the USW Local 2952 blog.

01 September 2008

and so... the time has come...


priming
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
... to bid farewell to our lovely, warm, orange wall.


sigh.


Hello neutral (no photo yet)


sigh.

If I never see a paintbrush again....

... well, you know.

We painted the townhouse this weekend -- top to bottom with the exception of some of the kitchen and the bathroom. It was a lot of work and I ache. all. over.

But, the place looks good and now we just have to keep puttering away at the thinning (we still need to reduce the crap in the kitchen by half) and start getting used to staying at our 3-bedroom hotel.

Our next hurdles are: waiting for the fences to be painted (largely out of our control though they are supposed to start the complex tomorrow); buy the remaining items to finish the staging (new sheets, new lamps -- don't worry, it's all stuff we want to get anyway); get the carpets installed (on the 12th) then stage, list, and stay out of the way.

Sigh.