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My Canadian Experience
Summary of activities to March 1st

I've mostly been working on the site during January and February. I normally have a good 4 week buffer for content on the site as this means I can spend time doing special projects. Due to my five weeks away in the US and in Canada I had used up this buffer so needed to build it back which is a lot of work.

That said I did get an invite to Toronto for the christening of Graeme the son of Craig & Torry.

While there I also got an invite to the American consulate's home in Toronto which was a media event to introduce the new Press Officer. Four of the staff told me they had Scots descendants in their family history :-)

It was interested to note that there were a number of local Canadian journalists of ethnic backgrounds from Iran, Pakistan and India there. I hope to do a wee article on some of the stuff I learned from my visit.

I did go through a furnace failure at home and as luck would have it the furnace broke down at around 6pm on Friday which meant going to one of those 24 hour call out people.  Well the chap came out within an hour but couldn't fix the furnace.  He said he'd be back on Saturday morning with a colleague to see if they could fix it.  By this time I was down to 51 degrees and as it was -18 below it was really cold.  I waited until they came back on Saturday and when they appeared they found they couldn't do anything until Monday due to needing a part. 

This meant I was of to Canadian Tire to pick up a couple of heaters.  Didn't do a lot of good but I did get up to 58 degrees and I also turned on my cooker oven to try and get some more heat into the house.

It was nearly 5pm on the  Monday before they got  back and it was wonderful to get the heat back which I raised from my normal 68 degrees to 70 degrees just to give myself a treat.  Well around midnight as I was finishing up for the night I felt it wasn't quite as warm as it had been.  I check the thermostat and found I was down to 62 degree!  So it was off to bed quickly and in the morning it was back down to 58 degrees.  I phoned the company and they were out within an hour and found a part had failed. They did have that on the wagon so it was replaced and since then all has been working fine thank goodness!

In late February I had a toilet blockage and so got out a plumbing company to unblock it.  They spend a fair time doing this and said it was one of the worst blockages they'd come across.

Anyway... while they were there I mentioned the problems I was having with an issue in my basement and also in my upstairs bathroom.  So... it was down to the basement where they told me none of the plumbing in the basement was to code.  As I plan to refurbish the basement in the next three to four years they said it would likely last ok until then.  They did spot my leak and suggested I just plug the wee hole in the pipe and it should last ok until I did the refurbishment.

In the bathroom I was having an issue with the toilet not flushing properly and mostly having to flush twice most time it was used.  Apparently there is a code for toilets and they said as their company works to codes they wouldn't have been able to install that toilet which they figured was purchased from Home Depot or someone similar.  I hummed and hawed a bit but ended up agreeing to them replacing the toilet.  The old one used 3.5 gallons to flush and the new one just takes 1.5 gallons. I will say this new one is flushing perfectly :-)

I did take the opportunity to photograph their guides as it contained some interesting information...

The chap on the left is a Campbell and he was going to tell his Mum about my web site :-)

So hope you find this interesting :-)

I also found a company Furniture Medic in Chatham who can fix domestic and office furniture. I have a really old chair from Scotland that has a damaged seat so they will be coming out to give me a quote to fix it and I'll report on the service in my next entry.

This is also a period where I have to do my business and personal tax and have just got in my completed 2006 completed accounts from the USA for Electric Scotland.  My next step is to file the return and pay the taxes and then it will be off to my local Canadian accountant to file for my personal tax in Canada. I am also waiting for my bill for the audit work in the USA.  I think I mentioned before that the first years accounts fee was $600.00 but the second year was $3,000!!!  I have protested and the account said he'd do the bill for this year which he expected would not be more than $800 and then he'd talk to the accounts people in his firm to get that $3,000 bill reduced considerably and so we'll see what happens.

Also signed a new 3 year contact with Bell South in the USA for my T1 leased line.  The cost has come down from US$745.00 a month to US$625 a month.  As it happens this was fortuitous as they had recently merged with ATT. I was told just last week that ATT have now imposed a new pricing schedule which means if I hadn't signed the contract my bill would have gone up to US$1400.00 a month!!! <gulp>

I might add that when this contract is up I am looking at moving this operation to Canada. It will likely involve bringing the site down for the day while Steve unplugs the servers and drives them up here to Canada so not a decision to be taken lightly.  While Steve can still do the maintenance by remote it will likely also need someone on call locally in case of major problems.  Mind you plenty of time to look at this.  I find though that I can likely get double the bandwidth for just over the price of my current bandwidth so makes sense to consider everything.

On 1st March it became the 10th anniversary of my domain and I celebrated by posting up a new header for the site. We have lots of plans to bring new features to the site this year so looking forward to it.

While we have had some snow in Chatham it's not been too bad.  Due to the cold the snow has hung around for a month or so and is still on the ground right now although with warmer weather and rain appearing in the last few days it is starting to melt away with the usual puddles around the place.

Being a lazy kind of person when it comes to domestic matters I seem to have lost my cleaning lady as I haven't heard from her for some 5 weeks now so have concluded she won't be back.  I am now going to hunt for someone else to come in.  Back in Scotland I used to use a firm called "Merry Maids" who came in once a month and they really did a great job and so I'll see if there is a similar firm here in Chatham.

I'm also considering joining the local Chamber of Commerce so that I get to know more about the local businesses in the area.

So.. I think that's about brought things up to date.

Return to my Canadian Experience Index Page

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