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Never Just An Oil Change

13 Jun

An oil change never ends up being just an oil change, have you noticed that? Sometimes the add on expense is a new filter, you grumble a bit, but get over it quickly. Other times the unexpected expense brings your total cost to $1698.42 and you want to cry a little. Or eat cake. I really wanted to eat cake, sigh.

Turns out my front brakes were at 5% and my rear brakes were at 20%. Not good! The mechanic was surprised because the test run he did with my suv had no squealy brake noises, no indicators anything was wrong with them. Poor little suv was chugging along like everything was fine when in reality she was hurting…I’m sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere but I’m too focused on the new balance of my Visa statement to figure it out.

In the end the front brake pads and rotors were replaced, as were the rear brake pads and rotors, the front brake hoses were replaced because they had holes in them, they performed a brake fluid flush, and oh yeah, the actual oil change.

Here I had been so cocky that I had $126 saved up, enough to get the oil change and pay for whatever little thing they would say also needed replacing, all paid for without having to pull out the credit card. As it turns out, that $126 won’t even make a dent in the bill and Friday, which is sit down and budget day, is going to be a day of math magic while I figure out how to deal with this unexpected expense.

I’m trying to focus on the bright side of things, and the list I have is as follows:

I was told that if I had kept driving my front brakes would have been grinding metal on metal within two weeks, so yay that I avoided that!

This was all an unexpected find, I went it there thinking nothing was wrong with my suv, so thank goodness I went in and this was found before something worse happened.

The shop I go to is run by an amazing guy who knows I work Sundays through Thursdays,  he stayed late to get everything fixed so I could pick it up and have it for when I work on Sunday, saving me the expense of a rental vehicle.

I’m lucky enough to be able to take on the debt of this bill and still be able to pay rent and buy groceries.

So yeah, in the end does it suck all of a sudden having this huge bill to pay? Yeah, of course it does. But it would be a hell of a lot worse to have had the brakes fail and be in an accident, or do that metal on metal grinding thing, or have a less competent mechanic who didn’t notice something didn’t look quite right and dig a little deeper to discover how bad of shape my brakes were in.

Every time I get pouty about my new Visa balance I’m going to do my best to remind myself of all those positives, and maybe, just maybe, get myself a slice of chocolate cake because hey, I’m human, and sometimes cake helps make things a little bit better. 😉

choc cake

Mimicking the Cat

20 May

On a recent day off I decided to do to Striker (the cat) what he does to me. Seemed only fair to show him what it’s like being on the receiving end of certain behaviours, right?

Here is what I learned…

What I did: got super close to his sleeping face and stared until he woke up.

What I learned: Striker doesn’t like that. Don’t do that. A startled awake cat is an unhappy cat.

What I did: I couldn’t stand on his chest while he was laying down and try to limit his breathing ability so instead I laid my head on his tummy area when he was laying on his side.

What I learned: Striker doesn’t like that. Don’t do that. A squished cat is an unhappy cat…who may or may not decide to bring out the claws.

What I did: talked to Striker incessantly because I could almost see the bottom of my bowl and I was obviously being starved.

What I learned: Striker doesn’t like that. Don’t do that. A cat being irritated by a talking human is a cat thinking of how best to get his human to shut up…permanently.

What I did: I got in bed first and spread eagled to take up as much space as possible, leaving Striker to get comfy in what little space was left.

What I learned: Striker doesn’t like that. Don’t do that. Striker will one hundred percent meow at me loudly until I move so he can have the prime spot on the bed.

And lastly…

What I did: commented on every yawn and stretch I did all day instead of comment on Striker’s adorable yawns and stretches.

What I learned: Striker couldn’t care less about that and is adept at ignoring me.

My life lesson from this is don’t pretend to be a cat, I can’t be as good of a cat as Striker can and mimicking Striker put me in danger of claws and teeth and revenge, not exactly ideal.

A Perspective Thing

2 May

If you were to ask me how the day went, and then ask the cat how the day went, you’d get drastically different descriptions despite our having spent the bulk of the day together.

My relating of today goes something like this…

Got to sleep in, which was nice, eventually got up, made breakfast, fed the cat, chilled with a couple episodes of Criminal Minds, realized I can’t be super lazy all day so went for a walk and was gone about an hour and a half. Once home did a quick vacuum of the living room, kitchen, and bedroom, started the laundry, made dinner, sat down to eat and watch more Criminal Minds. Between changing the loads of laundry I cuddled with the cat. All in all a pretty chill day.

The cat’s version of today is a tad different…

Was forced to wake up before I was ready, that human just can’t figure out the proper time to get up. Walked the human to the kitchen and was not at all surprised she put her needs before mine when it came to getting breakfast ready. Why she thinks it is ok to make her tea and toast her bagel before getting me fresh water and food is beyond me. Switched napping locations to the ottoman in the living room, I refuse to let her have the use of the entire ottoman for fear she will get spoiled and think it is hers. For a while I lay on her legs, I like stealing her body heat and it’s funny when she starts to get uncomfortable but doesn’t move because I’m on her. She had the nerve to get up and go outside! I definitely did not give her permission to do that. She was gone so long I thought I had been abandoned and was going to have to ration my food and water until rescued. Eventually she returned, I refused to acknowledge her, someone who would leave me like that doesn’t deserve my affection. I was then harassed by the evil loud machine that wants to eat me. Using all my stealth and speed I outwitted it once again. Instead of eating me it ate all my shed fur, the pieces of cardboard I had scratched and spread on the carpet, and the kitty litter I expertly kick out of the box and on to the floor. All that hard work destroyed! I immediately started replacing what it had eaten from the floor. The cardboard pieces are not as many as they once were but I will fix that over the next couple of days. I have already kicked more litter out of the box and despite my human trying to catch my fur that sheds when she pets me so she can put it in the garbage I have successfully left some fur on the carpet, the ottoman, and the living room throw blanket. I have been extremely productive today and deserve treats, obviously. After dinner I got the human to make a blanket fort for me to sleep in but she kept messing it up by leaving to go “switch laundry”, whatever that means. I employed my cutest positions and got her to stop getting up when the faint buzzer sound came from the other room thereby ensuring I got some much needed uninterrupted sleep. Now the human is up late waiting for the “last load to finish” and I am forced to sleep resting against her outstretched leg. I make sure to deep sigh and look at her with my sad eyes every ten minutes or so, making sure she realizes she is letting me down. I want to go to bed but have to wait for her so I can take the best spot right before she tries to get in the bed. It has been a traumatizing and exhaustive day, I can’t wait to get some sleep so I can be ready for my early morning tapping of the human’s face.

No Spend Challenge

23 Apr

My landlady, in a joking way, texted me saying she thinks I may have an online shopping problem.

I got all excited because I thought that meant an item I bought online last week and have been anxiously waiting for had arrived, but realized it can’t be that item because I am signed up for text notifications and hadn’t received one saying it was delivered. So I started to text her back to let her know the list of things I am waiting for only to realize the list is uh, let’s say, substantial, and having to type it all wasn’t going to make me look good.

I fully understood her joke when I got home and found not one but three packages waiting for me.

Three! It’s like a random personal Christmas out of nowhere. And it really is out of nowhere since all three of these packages took way longer than expected to get to me. Something online shopping teaches you, if you aren’t shopping with Amazon Prime that is, is patience.

The first package I opened is a t-shirt from one of those annoying ads you see on Facebook. It was cheap, and cute, and I decided to buy one t-shirt to see what their quality is like. The shirt fits, and smells horrible, so it is now in the hamper and we’ll see how good it looks once it’s been through the wash. I hope it stays cute!

The second item is stamps. Yeah yeah, I know, the post offices are still open, why was I so incredibly lazy and unwilling to go in to one to buy stamps? I actually have a valid reason for this! The post offices by me are tiny, and in the backs of small stores, and I am supposed to be avoiding places like that to decrease my chance of exposure and by extension risk to the seniors I work with. I thought buying stamps online from Canada Post would be the easiest purchase, and fastest delivery, since ya know, they are the ones delivering them.

No. That thinking is incredibly wrong. After you buy them you get an email saying they will process your order in three days. Not have them to you in three days, or in the mail in three days, but that they will take three whole days just to process the order. Oh, and they come from Ottawa, case you were wondering, so three days to start processing the order, then delivery time from Ottawa, they took almost two weeks to get to me.

But that’s ok, because patience. It is a virtue, it is a thing best practiced over and over…and over…

And over yet again by the book I ordered that finally arrived. That one took about a month.

But really, what does delivery time matter, right? They all arrived eventually, if somewhat embarrassingly on the same day, and I now feel like maybe I am buying too much stuff.

I don’t think of myself as someone who tends to randomly purchase things online, I will look, then talk myself out of it, but looks like two times I didn’t talk myself out of it…I’m leaving the stamps off this list because I do actually need them, so what’s with all the shopping?

Before you say two items isn’t that big a deal, I have more things on their way to me…oops?

Looks like this is the perfect time to start a No Spend Challenge.

April 22 2020 a

What is a No Spend Challenge you ask? It is exactly what it sounds like. For the next two weeks the only things I will spend money on are food, gas for the suv, bills, and $8 I owe a friend who is doing a fundraiser. It doesn’t have to be for two weeks, you can set any time frame you want, I’m choosing to ease myself in to this and picked a short time frame to start with.

I’m leaving myself a teeny tiny loophole, due to the pandemic, that if yet another emergency situation pops up, I mean c’mon, we haven’t been swarmed by locust yet so there are still some ways things could get worse, I may expand the list to random emergency items I can’t think of at this moment in time.

This means no more online shopping when I’m bored, or feeling a bit sad, or anxious, or because something cute caught my eye at random (*cough* t-shirt *cough*). To make it more likely I will succeed at this challenge I need things to do when I feel like shopping, distractions to stop me from hitting that checkout button.

So far I have come up with reading one of the many books that are in this apartment, writing cards or letters to people, exercising, trying to read the cat’s mind, cleaning (let’s be honest, this one probably won’t happen but I feel like it is expected to be on the list), and practice my knitting (I am learning and need all the practice I can get). Did you notice what all these things have in common? Well, except for trying to read the cat’s mind that is.

Hands. They are all things that will keep my hands busy. Busy so they can’t be tapping the screen of my iPad or typing on my laptop, busy so I am physically engaged in an activity that will not only keep my brain somewhat occupied but also my body. I find if I can keep one of those two busy I am less likely to engage in a behaviour I am trying to avoid, if I can keep both busy I do an even better job of it.

If you have any suggestions for things I can do instead of shop feel free to share them!

April 22 2020

Striker thinks spending more time petting him is an excellent way to stay busy, so looks like I’m adding that to my list…the top of my list if Striker has anything to say about it!

Simple Things

20 Apr

I don’t know about you but I’m noticing simpler things more than I used to, and finding pleasure in them. Maybe it’s not pleasure but enjoyment? Whatever it is, little things I took for granted I appreciate more.

So I guess I’ve settled on it being appreciation? Lol So many word options!

Here are some silly, not actually important things, that I appreciated this week.

My complete inability to flip an egg on Thursday. I failed spectacularly but who cares? It still tasted good!

British junk food, the best kind! Completely over priced and worth every penny, or I guess nickel since we don’t have pennies anymore. 😜

A delicious bowl of fresh raspberries, my after work snack this evening. Yum!

This little guy still has his hat, too cute!

Striker being a goofball and hiding in the closet. 💜

Nothing riveting or unique, (except Striker, he’s one of a kind!), and mostly food related. Just some little things that had me smiling, or even outright laughing, this week.

Uhhh, to clarify, the laughing was at my egg flipping “skills” and Striker being silly. I haven’t crossed over into crazy enough that I’m laughing at fruit or junk food for no reason lol

I know everyone is going through a tough time, I hope, even when so much around us is hard and scary you’re able to find something that gets you smiling, or maybe even laughing!

We Don’t Eat The Human

15 Apr

Picture this, Striker and I having a lovely cuddle. He’s purring, resting his head on my hand while I pet him with my other hand. All is calm and happy in our little section of the world.

Then, for no apparent reason, Striker lifts his head and in a slow and deliberate manner he bites down on the hand he had been using as a pillow. Then like some kind of adorable maniac he stays like that. Doesn’t apply more pressure, doesn’t release my hand, but does continue to purr.

So I, in a calm and rational manner, say:

“We don’t eat the human.”

Nothing. Not even a twitch of an ear to show he heard me.

I wait a beat, he turns his gaze, not his head, just his gaze, and makes eye contact with me. There was definitely a glimmer of the perfect little killing machine that is a cat in that gaze.

While making eye contact I repeated:

“We do not eat the human.”

I swear to god he rolled his eyes before releasing my hand. Then he flounced down to my outstretched legs, lay down with this back to me, and flicked his tail to show his displeasure with me.

He remained like that, pouting, for a solid twenty minutes before realizing it’s a better life strategy to keep the two-legged one who opens the food container moderately appeased, and turned around on my lap so I could see his adorable face.

And possibly so he could see if another opening appeared where he could get to my hand. 😜

How I Navigate

5 Apr

I was explaining to a friend at work this evening my route from work to my place and she couldn’t stop laughing. She says she wished she had recorded it because it was funny and should be shared.

Since we are all needing a bit of humour right now I thought I’d share it here, though I don’t see why it’s so funny. 🤷‍♀️

I exit the underground parkade and turn left, then I turn right and end up on whatever road that is. I drive straight for a while, pass the first chance to get on a highway, the road will eventually go down to one lane each direction, then there will be an intersection where if I turn left I go onto a smaller highway I can’t remember the number of or I turn right onto a street with a different name.

I turn left onto the highway. I quickly get up to 70km because there is a steep hill right away. Once I get to the top and start on my way down I have to be careful to not go too far over the speed limit because the cops like to hide along that road and give tickets.

I’ll pass a gas station on my left that has a Tim Horton’s in it. The speed will go up to 80km and just as you’re settling in you have to go down to 60km because you are nearing shops again. By the time you get to the busy intersection with the pharmacy on the left and the Husky with the cheapest gas on the right you’re down to 50km, which sucks.

Keep following the road, oh so slowly. On my right I’ll pass a bee sanctuary / honey shop, a curling rink, a community centre attached to the curling rink, and an outside skateboard park, then I’ll be back to large empty fields on either side of the road.

Once I’m back to empty fields the speed goes back up to 80km. I’ll want to get and maintain at least that because there is a large hill to get up. Top of the hill I need to immediately slow down because there is a busy intersection.

Go through the intersection and take the entrance on my right to get onto a large highway, it might be the 1? Maybe the 10? I’m not really sure.

Follow that for ages. It will branch off to the right multiple times, always keep to the left. Eventually I’ll be at exit 26, or maybe it’s 25? Either way, I know the street name, so get off at my exit, drive straight for a bit and turn left at the street past the little mini shopping centre that has the Subway.

Go through one roundabout, past the elementary school on my left, straight through another round about, take the third exit of the third roundabout, go up the hill, place is on the right, third building from corner.

And that is how I navigate.

Isn’t that how everyone does it? 🤔

A New Way To Shop

3 Apr

Even before the pandemic my preferred way to shop was online, though there were always some items that had to be bought in person. I found it irritating that not every single item I wanted to buy couldn’t easily be purchased online, and now here we are, buying most things online and it is some sort of treat to be able to go to a shop. Weird huh?

Cat food is one of those items I have to buy in a shop because Striker, my Cat Overlord, is incredibly food picky and will only eat one flavour, of one brand, that can only be bought at one specific store. Well, chain of stores technically.

At work yesterday I used part of my break to run across the street to Bosley’s so I could buy Striker his food since stores close early now and I can’t always get to them before closing if I go after work.

bosleys

Pre-pandemic pic. Before the front doors were covered with warning signs.

When I got there I read the sign on the door saying customers are not allowed in the aisles and that staff will assist them. Then I got inside and learned all the new rules of shopping in this era of social distancing.

I had to wait just inside the door while a staff member hollered out hello to me from the counter, as he put on gloves he asked me what I wanted. I described the cat food I needed and he went and hunted it down. While I waited I glanced around, all the aisles had caution tape strung in front of them as a visual reminder that customers are not allowed in the aisles. In fact, they were only allowing one customer at the till, and one by the door, anybody else would have to wait outside. They had two staff working so that big ‘ol store is allowing a max of 4 people in it at a time. Impressive.

When he found the cat food he said I could come near the till so I followed the tape markings on the floor and moved farther in to the shop. I told him the two other items I needed, I was picking up items for two people at work cause I’m a friendly sort, he went and grabbed those, I paid by tapping my payment card since they don’t accept cash, and was done.

The only things in there that I touched were the items I bought, talk about a stress free way to shop!  I think it saved me money because I like to wander the pet store and usually come away with a treat of some type for Striker but for my friend, who I bought litter for, it cost her a bit more than normal. See, she needed cat litter, she said to buy a small bag of whatever the cheapest brand was. That is exactly what I told the gentleman working. The bag he picked was rather large and when I asked him about it he said it was only fifty cents more than the size down and was such a better deal. I can’t exactly argue with his choice since I can’t see the options so I went with it.

I don’t mind this new way of shopping, I knew what I wanted, it was easy and relatively fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such dedicated service in a shop, but it feels odd to not be able to see all the options and choose for myself. We are so often inundated with too many options, now that I can’t see any of them I wonder what is hiding over on those shelves, in that aisle, that I am forbidden to enter…the curiosity is real!

apr 3 2020

 

Self Isolation Day 14: Almost The End

28 Mar

Today was my final day of self-isolation, I made it!

day 14

For the most part I didn’t mind having to self-isolate, I lean towards introverted and often wish I could stay in my apartment for days on end with zero contact with the outside world.

The constraints of self-isolation came from (1) watching news footage showing the world becoming sicker by the day, (2) not having the choice to go out or not, I’m fine with staying in all day everyday if it is my choice, take that choice away and I get cranky, (3) stress about wages, and friend’s wages, the economy in general, and (4) worry about my parents and my Uncle, who are in the age range that makes Covid19 especially dangerous.

I started my self-isolation about a week or so before most of my friend’s were told to self-isolate, so that first week was especially odd because my texts with friends had them out living their life and me inside feeling like I’m contributing nothing to the world. The second week most of them were self-isolating also, which oddly made me feel a bit better, like we are all in this weird chaotic situation together.

Tomorrow I go back to work, in the outside world, and I’m not looking forward to it all that much. Not only has 2 weeks of staying in my pajamas until noon, cat cuddles throughout the day, afternoon naps, and making my own schedule spoiled me, it has also ruined my sleep schedule which means tomorrow is pretty much going to suck.

9:45am I work via Zoom at my part-time job, that part is fine. Heck, I did that last Sunday, from the waist up I was business casual, from the waist down I was pajamas and slippers, and I had a lovely mug of tea with me. That experience right there makes me want to work from home full-time, if anyone knows of a way I can do that hit me up! However, after that is done I have to make all of me business casual and head on over to White Rock for my full-time job, I work a 1pm-9pm shift.

This means I will be working from 9:45am to 9pm, granted with a break to drive an hour to get to work, with zero cat cuddles, or naps, or YouTube breaks. It’s practically inhumane! Why did humans ever let themselves get roped in to working outside of the home for such long hours, away from their pets, and their pajamas? It is a flawed system my friends, flawed.

It is the system we are in though, and tomorrow I slide back in to it.

Some things I noticed while in self-isolation, the days that mirrored a somewhat normal day from the Before Time, are the days I felt most normal. For instance, yesterday was a fairly normal Friday for me since it is my usual day off, I did the things I normally do on Fridays (laundry etc.). Same with today, I cleaned the apartment, did my budgeting (every two weeks like clockwork!), did some work stuff for my part-time job to be prepped for tomorrow. Also, that first week, when I was still allowed outside for walks, I had a routine that I settled in to nicely, and that routine helped me feel like things were somewhat normal, just a new normal, dare I say, a somewhat better normal? Seriously, how can I work from home for real?

The days I let any type of routine or schedule lapse are the days I got nothing done, felt cut off from the world, and also felt the most bleak about the situation in general. A good way to counter that is to do something that lets you feel in control, at least that helped me. It can be something that actually does need to be done, like working on your budgeting, or something that you now have the time to do, that deep clean of the kitchen cupboards. Whatever it is, a task helps keep your brain occupied while you are performing it and helps you feel like your little corner of the world isn’t going completely nuts because you’ve got a handle on some little part of it.

To all of you who are still self-isolating, rock on! You are performing an essential service to your community, by staying inside you are making sure those people that have to go outside are safer. To all of you still working outside your homes, be safe, maintain distance between others the best you are able, and wash your hands every chance you get. For me, I’m going back to my seniors, to help them through the rest of this pandemic, I’ll be with my work team doing our best to keep Covid19 out of our building…and really missing my mid-day cat cuddles.

day14 a

Self Isolation Day 13: Almost Done

27 Mar

Today is my last Friday in self-isolation, who knew 14 days could go by so slowly! Fridays are one of my regular days off so I spent today doing things I would normally do on a Friday.

Laundry, general tidying up, cuddling the cat, chillin, running a quick errand…

Yup, you read that right, I went out in to the world! Freeeeeeedom!…sorta…

I had an errand that had to be done before the weekend that I classified as essential, which means I got to go outside! I chose to walk to the shop and even though it was rainy, and a tad chilly, it was lovely. There was hardly anyone around, which I guess proves in my neighbourhood social distancing and self-isolation is being done, or everyone had left the neighbourhood so it just appeared that way lol I think that a lot of people were around, tucked safely inside their houses, as on my walk there and back I saw a decent number of people popping out on to their front steps for a quick breath of fresh air, and who can blame them?

day 13

I hadn’t realized until I got outside that the cherry blossoms are in bloom, so pretty.

It was eerie walking to the shop and passing all those closed businesses. I understand and support them being closed, and even judged this one shop that was open that I don’t think could classify itself as essential, but the more closed signs I saw the more I wondered where all those workers are and what they are doing and how they are coping with their work being closed. I hope their employers are treating them well during all this.

The shop I went to had tape on the floor in each aisle, showing you how far apart you need to stand to be at a safe distance, like there is really a safe distance?

day 13a

They even had these barriers put up so you and the person working at the counter can’t breathe on each other, or really see each other. There is a little cut out for items to be passed through, and bags on your side so you can bag your own items. I wish I’d gotten a picture of that but in the moment it seemed rude to take one.

After I got home normal Friday things commenced. I started laundry, put the items I bought away, called my mother for cooking advice. What strayed from the norm is instead of deciding the cooking was too hard and ordering in I actually followed through and cooked. Again. This is almost becoming a habit!

I made Tuna Broccoli Pie, almost. That is what it was supposed to be, and I did follow the spirit of the recipe but (1) I cut it in half because it makes two pies and there is only one of me and (2) I didn’t have enough broccoli so I used different veggies.

Oh, and (3) I only had white cheese so instead of a lovely orange cheese layer on top mine looks sickly and gross because I used too much white cheese, but hey, use what ya got!

I got the recipe from my mom, I asked her for a recipe that uses a frozen pie crust as I have a bunch of them in my freezer and I don’t have the ingredients needed to make a dessert pie. Growing up we used to eat this, I want to say frequently but I really don’t know how often she made it. It is one of those dishes that you can eat hot but it is just as good cold so it is great for left overs. I mostly remember eating it cold in the summer  with a side salad. I intended to replicate that, only eat it hot, but then I realized I don’t have the fixings for a salad and can’t pop out to buy them so in the end all I ate was two slices of the pie.

The ingredients are: egg, milk, miracle whip, mustard, flaked tuna, vegetables (I used broccoli, snap peas, and beans, all chopped up), the pie crust, and of course the cheese for the top. You can skip the cheese if you don’t want it.

Ok, now I want you to brace yourself because it does not look good at all, but it really does end up being tasty, I promise!

day 13b

All you can really see is that I put too much cheese on top and the vegetables are sticking out. The crust browned beautifully!

I was so sure it was going to taste gross because (1) tuna, and (2) my mom cooks way better than I, recipes she makes that taste great I try and they flop, so my hopes were not high.

Which means I was even more pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite and liked it enough to not need any condiments for it, and even went back for a second slice! It’s always nice when dinner turns out to be edible, especially when you use a hot commodity ingredient like an egg!

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