Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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9 Weeks And Counting

So somehow we are 9 weeks into this whole stay-at-home/isolation/quarantine/shelter-in-place/lockdown thing. I struggle with what to call it, as here in BC we’ve actually not been ordered to stay-at-home or shelter-in-place or quarantine (unless you are coming across the border or have a specific reason, like you’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive or have tested positive yourself). We were just asked nicely to stay-at-home unless we were in an essential job and then we (mostly) all just did. Or, as Justin McElroy put it:

As other provinces started to announcing their plans to re-open, BC was getting criticized for not announcing plans to re-open stuff as soon as other provinces. But the province pointed out that other provinces were opening things that we never closed. In fact, that only things that were ordered closed in BC were dine-in restaurants and personal care services (like hair stylists, massage therapists, physiotherapists, nail salons – stuff where the practitioner has to get close to you to provide their service). Three of the health authorities in BC ordered gyms to close, though that was actually quite recent (and I learned at one of Dr. Henry’s pressers that that was because there were cases of COVID-19 that were spread at gyms) and the vast majority of gyms closed voluntarily.


It helped a lot that many businesses, organizations, and post-secondary institutions quickly moved to set up working-from-home where possible. Not every type of business can easily be moved to remote work, so there were many companies and employees who made huge sacrifices by shutting down voluntarily. And we’ve seen that some businesses haven’t been able to weather the storm and won’t be reopening ever again, which is really sad. Some companies found have ways to creatively continue to operate in new ways that are safe in the middle of the pandemic. I guess it’s kind of like evolution of organisms – “survival of the fittest” is context dependent. When the context changes, sometimes it’s just luck of the draw as to whether you fit well – or can quickly adapt – to the next context.


Many people are talking about being excited to get a haircut once we move into the next phase of re-opening society. I only usually get my hair done like every 6 months in normal times and I had it done in January, so I wouldn’t even be thinking about a haircut for another month or two anyway. (I love my hairstylist and will be delighted when I get to see her again, when she feels that it’s safe to re-open her shop, but at least as much because I want to catch up with her as friend as because she makes my hair beautiful). I’m most excited to see my massage therapist! When he feels it’s safe to start seeing patients again, of course.


Every month Google sends me an email to tell me where I’ve been the previous month. Because, as my mother puts it, my phone is spying on me. I found the email from April hilarious. Here are some of the images from it:

Clearly, Google can verify that I’ve been staying close to home and not doing anything frivolous.


Due to the lack of going anywhere, my car battery died (We’ve been taking Scott’s car for grocery trips). I used to only drive my car once or twice a week (to hockey mostly), but I probably hadn’t driven it in about a month when I tried to start it up to go to the store and it was dead. Figuring that I didn’t really need it since I don’t really go anywhere, I didn’t bother to call BCAA to get a a boost for a few weeks. But then I needed something from my car and since the battery was dead, I had to use the actual key to unlock the door instead of the fob. But then the key wouldn’t let me lock the door! I mean, it’s in my parkade and I don’t have anything valuable in there and it’s not like anyone could steal the car because the battery is dead. But then I got a reminder in the mail that I need to renew my car insurance. And I remembered that there is a discount if you driver fewer than a certain number of kilometers in a year, so you have to take a picture of your odometer and the insurance broker compares that to your odometer reading from last year to see how many kilometers you have driven. But my odometer is electronic, so without being able to turn on my car, I can’t see my odomter reading! So I called BCAA and got my battery boosted (Fun fact – the battery in a Smart car is underneath the passenger’s feet and is a huge pain in the butt to get to when you need to boost your battery). The guy who fixed it said to run it for 30 mins, which I did, and then to take it for a spin at least once a week. When I tried to start it again the next week for it’s weekly drive, the battery was dead again. So I guess I need to buy a new battery. The car is 11 years old and Google tells me that car batteries last about 3-5 years. I don’t recall ever having bought a new battery, thought it’s possible I bought one at some point during a routine maintenance appointment and I just don’t remember it.


Speaking of things that stopped working: the seal on my dishwasher decided that it didn’t want to seal things anymore. We were super lucky that it only caused a small leak and not a full on flood! After some Googling, we learned that it’s relatively easy to replace, so parts were ordered. They were supposed to be here in 3-5 business days. That was on May 1. I know the postal service is super busy with everyone buying everything online these days, but it’s been 10 business days, and the Canada Post tracking service says they are still “in transit”.

Canada Post time travel
I’m really excited about Canada Post’s new time travel technology. I can’t wait to have received my packaged on May 12!

So we’ve had to wash the dishes by hand like in the Olden Days. (The Olden Days were long before the Before Times, which is what I have taken to calling the time before the pandemic. Given that we were already running the dishwasher way more than usual due to always being at home and my stress reduction baking habit, this is really getting untenable. Hopefully the parts will arrive on Tuesday (curse you, holiday Monday!) and we can get the dishwasher back into action. I think in the not-to-distant future, I should probably just buy a new dishwasher. While looking at the manual to find out the make and model to be able to order parts, I found a receipt from when the former owner of my condo had the computer board in the dishwasher replaced… in 2009. So the thing must be over 10 years old (given that they paid for the replacement, it must have been past its warranty period). And the last thing I want is my dishwasher to have a full on meltdown!


Random thought: people’s Christmas letters are going to be hella boring this year.

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Lightning Strike

Lightning 8

This is not the lightning bolt that struck my building. But I’m sure it looked something like this.

I was at a conference on Friday in Vancouver and apparently while I was there, the apocalypse happened in New West. There was torrential rain, hail, rivers of blood, plagues of locusts, and lightning struck my building. Ok, maybe the rivers were just made of rain and there weren’t any actual locusts, but lightning did, in fact, strike my building. And apparently that killed our building’s transformer1, so they had to bring in a generator, which will power the building until they can bring in a portable transformer, which will get us through until they can fix the building’s transformer, which is expected to take 10 weeks. Ten weeks! Fingers crossed that the strata’s insurance will cover all of this!

The power ended up being out for about 12 hours on Friday, so when I got home from the post-conference dinner, I met up with Scott at Waves, as he had an assignment due at midnight and Waves has free wifi, lots of access to electrical outlets, and lets you sit there pretty much forever. When they closed at 10 pm, we went over to the pub2. By about 11 pm I was too tired to stay up anymore3 and it occurred to me that I didn’t actually need electricity to go to sleep. As I was brushing my teeth by the light of a flashlight, the power came on!

Just a few weeks ago, I had bought a stand up freezer, because I was sick of both having to be selective of what frozen foods I could have at any given time since the freezer at the top of my fridge isn’t very big and of having stuff fall out of my freezer at the top of my fridge every time I opened it. So I bought this lovely appliance, and filled it up with a whole bunch of frozen meats and vegetables, homemade veggie stock, homemade waffles, fish that Scott’s dad caught on his most recent fishing excursion, etc.

Freezer Freezer

So of course I was worried that 12 hours of no power was going to have ruined all that food. But lo and behold, this thing must be super well insulated, as after the power came on I opened it up to survey the damage and everything was still frozen solid!

Yesterday afternoon, the power went off again! I had just gotten home from having been out most of the day and was going to try to fix the wifi, which wasn’t working since the first power outage, and the power to the whole building went out again! We got a letter from the strata later telling everyone that the generator they have running cannot provide enough power for everyone to do all the same things they are able to do under normal circumstances, so we need to minimize our electricity use. So don’t, for example, do laundry while cooking dinner and, if possible, cook dinner outside of the peak hours of 4-7 pm. And maybe turn off the lights when you aren’t in a room. Most of this (other than the not eating dinner between 4-7 pm) is stuff we really should be doing anyway, when you think about it, so I’m going to use this as a way of getting myself into the habit of being more energy conscious!

Image Credit: I did a search for a Creative Commons-licensed photo of a lightning bolt on Flickr and one of the first ones to pop up was the above photo, which was taken by Derek Miller. You may recall Derek from his final blog posting. It’s really an incredibly cool photo!

  1. Fun fact: I did not know that my building had a transformer! When you think about it, it makes sense, but I guess I thought the transforming happened somewhere outside, rather than in the building. []
  2. Fun fact: Kelly O’Bryan’s pub has free wifi! You just have to ask for the password! []
  3. In my defence, I’d been at a full day conference at which I gave two presentations, than ran an AGM, and then went to dinner, all after having stayed up late the night before putting the finishing touches on my presentations and making sure I had everything prepared for the AGM! []

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The Most First World of First World Problems

So I realized that this is the most first world of first world problems, so if you don’t enjoy people whining about how they are being given money, but not in the way that they want to be given money, you should probably stop reading right now. I’ve been meaning to blog it for a while, but was recently reminded about it when I took my giant pile of papers to my accountant to file my taxes. Why did I have a giant pile of papers, you ask? Well, a big chunk of these papers were from my scholarship, and they were completely unnecessary. As you may recall, I have a scholarship that pays for the lion’s share of my tuition fees. The scholarship is sent from the funding agency to my university. I would like for the university to just keep the money for my tuition and then I can just pay the part of my tuition fee isn’t covered by said scholarship. Basically, what I want to happen is this:

What I Want To Happen

What I want to happen

But apparently the department that receives the cheque from the funding agency cannot, does not, or will not talk to the department that takes money for tuition, so instead they think the best idea is to send me a cheque every month, along with a tax form for that instalment (as opposed to, you know, a single tax form at the end of the year). They will do this every month for two years, and then I have to take each of those monthly cheques to the bank to cash, and then I used that pay my tuition fees, which have been split into 7 installments over the two years. So what happens is this:

What Actually Happens

What is actually happening. You don’t need to be an MBA student to see that this is much less efficient.

That’s 24 cheques, 24 tax forms, 24 envelopes, 24 postage stamps, and 24 trips to the bank – all completely unnecessary, because I’m just giving all the money (and then some) back to the university anyway. Now, I realize that Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable are separate departments and I’m very well acquainted with different departments having computer systems that don’t talk to each other, but really? Surely the people there could do transfers between the departments. And at the very least, I could get one tax form per year instead of 12.

This reminds me of the time in grad school that I had a departmental scholarship and then, partway through the year, I was informed that I had won a university-level scholarship worth $0.00. Upon further investigation, it turned out that they had more university-level scholarship money than originally anticipated, and I was next in line to get some, but they saw that I had a department scholarship, so they weren’t going to give me the university-level money, but wanted me to be aware that I had earned a higher level scholarship. Of course, my department wanted me to get the university money so that the money they had given me could go to someone else from our department, and the university’s reply was that I should give back the department scholarship and then they would give me the university-level scholarship. Midway through the year. Like as if I hadn’t already spent my scholarship money on tuition fees and rent! I’m not sure exactly what the university thinks people do with scholarship money, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us spend it on going to school and living expenses! In the end, my department secretary was able to convince the university to just transfer money to the department, since obviously I didn’t have that money any more, and it made no sense for me to give them money so that they could then send me a cheque for the amount I would have just given them. I haven’t had as much luck in getting the different departments to talk to each other with my current scholarship, so it looks like the monthly trips to the bank will continue through 2013 for me!

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Shopping Spree

Warning: this blog post contains excessive amounts of materialism and first world problems (FWP).

When we went to Portland, I was very excited about the shopping potential. Oregon has no sales tax, which is pretty sweet because when something costs $19.99, you actually pay $19.99 – although this does result in an inordinate amount of pennies in one’s wallet (FWP#1). We decided to go to an outlet mall that had a number of stores that we were interested in going to: Nike, UnderArmour, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, BCBG, Guess, and so much more! Nancy and Jeff found a lot more deals than I did; in fact, after an afternoon of shopping all I came away with was one tank top from Ann Taylor1. There were a few things that I quite liked, but they were either (a) a good price, but not available in my size (FWP#2) or (b) available in my size, but not on sale (FWP#3). Inexplicably, there were a few items that were too big for me even though they were a size 0 – which is crazy, because I have some meat on my bones and I’m not a size 0, let alone *smaller* than a size 02, but then I found a suit I liked that was a size 0 and it was a bit too tight (FWP#4).

Also, I was highly disappointed in the Dress Barn – my friend Lianna had gotten a couple of really nice dresses at Dress Barn on her recent shopping expedition, but when I went there they only had ugly clothes, most of which weren’t even dresses!  At any rate, when I came home from Portland, I brought home a grand total of $80 worth of stuff, most of which was booze and cheese.

However, is appears that shopping is much like death in the Final Destination franchise – even if you escape it initially, it will come for you. Because all the shopping that I didn’t end up doing in Portland found me once I got home.

Specifically, I went to Guildford Mall in Surrey (Surrey!) this past weekend as I wanted to buy some new PJs for the 10-day long hockey game. Since I’m going to be sleeping at the arena3 for the 10 days, I decided that I wanted to sleep in style! Well, not only did I find adorable PJs on sale for next to nothing, I also found SO. MANY. DEALS. Between the mall and a trip to the Le Chateau liquidation store near my work, I bought:

  • PJs (a cami & shorts set)
  • a nighty
  • a dress
  • 2 skirts
  • a blazer with belt
  • a pair of capri pants
  • a cardigan
  • 2 shirts
  • a belt
  • 2 necklaces
  • a pair of earrings
  • a bracelet
  • 4 scarves4
All for $236.15! Not a single item I bought cost more than $19.99! And I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe! (Not a FWP).
  1. And no, Rick, you still can’t have it. []
  2. Seriously, how is 0 even a size? Hello, I’m noncorporeal! []
  3. In an RV. []
  4. I decided that since my office is always freezing, I should invest in scarves that can serve the dual purpose of keeping me from freezing to death AND making me look fabulous! []

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Still Internet-less

So this will be yet another micro blog posting as I am still without Internet connectivity and I’m pecking this blog posting out on my iPhone. The Telus guy was supposed to hook me up today but he said that the people at the office hooked me up to the wrong doohickey and he asked them to fix it but they didn’t fix it right so he asked them to fix it again and now it’s fixed but oh, look at the time my shift is over, I’ll have to come tomorrow evening to install the jack. So even though tomorrow is the big Canada v. Russia hockey game that I would really like to be watching, thank you very much, instead I’ll be yet again listening to the hockey game on the radio as I wait for Telus to give me my Internets. I hate being being held hostage by Telus!

And now I go outside to try to get some cell reception so I can post this.