Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Never a dull moment!

 July 12 2022


July has been a stressful month for me. Nothing compared to the folks living in a war zone in Ukraine or those still struggling with the effects of Covid 19, or without work. And there are many looking for the next meal. 

My stress is none of the above. As a woman of a certain age and being profoundly deaf it can cause all sorts of issues. 


I live in a condo and the condo board decided to search for a water leak that was happening in the underground garage. Yes, my unit is directly over the garage and in their wisdom, management had jackhammers break up my patio and dig out the lovely garden that is in front of my bedroom windows. I moved all my patio furniture and they barricaded me in!

That was three weeks ago.


So, I decided they didn’t have enough water issues to contend with and I managed to flood my kitchen. Not only did I have my kitchen under an inch of water I flooded the garage! I’ve never been known to do things by half. 


How did this happen? I ran the tap water over a few dishes in the sink with the plug inserted, as you do. I picked up my coffee cup and sat down to watch the morning news. So, maybe 20-25 minutes later I took my cup to the sink… This is one of the hazards of being hard of hearing or deaf. I never hear water running and was probably still half asleep. That's my story and I’m sticking to it.


This means, I now have workmen outside pouring tar and drilling. Industrial-size blowers went for 48 hours to dry everything around the sink area after the contractors lifted the sodden floors.  This is a work in progress but the one highlight of all this commotion and upheaval is, that I can take the hearing aids out and I don’t hear a thing. I hope it all gets done before the summer is gone.



Then we had the Friday debacle with Rogers. I was cut off my phone the same as the rest of the country. I have Fido for my cell phone and don’t use my landline anymore. Personally, I don’t need to be connected 24 hours to folks but as it caused untold hardship to some who use Interact for business it must have been a worry.


On Sunday I took myself off to a book fair that I saw advertised. I needed to get out of the house and it was a beautiful day for a drive. I’ll tell you about the Bookfair in our August Blog-Letter.


When I returned later that afternoon tired and hot, I sat at my computer to check if Liz had been nagging me to get the lead out as she was waiting on an update.  No computer and no lights would come on in either my office or the bedroom!! NO INTERNET! Tragedy. The air was blue! If you know me you’ll understand that I’m not tech-savvy and anything electrical is beyond me. 


I texted Liz who walked me through lots of scenarios. I kept talking about fuses and was corrected. They are now called breakers. I fiddled around with the electric panel and did as she directed. No, go. I said I’d call an electrician in the morning. I went off to bed in the dark.


This morning I gave it one last try and moved the “breakers” and low and behold everything came back on. Must have been my magic fingers. So I’m back in business.


So what are these workmen doing now? They’ve sprayed all the outside with, what looks like snow and ice, and are testing to see if it melts into the garage I guess.



I smiled nicely at them and offered coffee and asked when I’d get my patio back. Maybe next week I was told. Hmm, we shall see.


Yes, 1st world problems. Still stressful but with Liz’s expertise not just with the writing but as an electrician I should be fine. Now back to the writing.



Saturday, July 9, 2022

Rogers is Back!

 Saturday July 9 2022

I know I’m not alone in this thinking, but just how dependent have we become on being ‘connected’? The massive Canada-wide Rogers outage of July 8 2022 has driven the point home.

Double that with our lack of available cash – and having ATM machines down as well -what do you have?

For 24 hours I was without internet, but also cell phone usage including text messaging.

If I’d been working from home I wouldn’t have been able to work, and not even been able to call into work to explain. Total loss of internet, phone and text capabilities.

Unable to access bank accounts, cash only at most retail establishments. Thinking of a friend scheduled to fly – how can you check flight status if your cell phone depends on Rogers. Oh, you have a landline? Great – but what does the other end of that call depend upon?

Thank goodness for the small transistor radio in the house, so at least we had access to the limited updates which were available.

And before you think, well, I have Bell, or another internet provider and am not affected. Are you sure about that? What if the business or service you need to connect with runs on the Rogers network, or that email you sent and are anxiously awaiting a reply to, was sent to a user on the Rogers network. The ripple effects reach far and wide.

Would love to hear how your life was impacted - please leave a comment.

Personally, as one half of Jamie Tremain, and with various writing projects on the go, I depend on the internet to keep in touch with my writing partner, but also for research and for writing. We’ve always used Google Drive in order to work collaboratively, but that’s not happening when the network crashes.

But for me, I think it’s being without phone access that is most worrisome. If I were disabled, living alone, and dependent on a cell phone for outside contact... It’s not my reality, yet, but I’m sure it has been today for far too many.

It’s made my husband and I reconsider the idea of not having a landline. Our biggest complaint today? Waiting on deliveries. Being in a highrise, means the drivers either try to call or use the lobby access code – which connects to our cell phone!  Fortunately, we have a view of the parking lot and half an hour ago, saw CanPar pull up in front of the building.  My husband took the elevator down and was in time to be handed the package we’d been waiting for. Perhaps if ‘porch pirating’ wasn’t so epidemic this wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But we’ve lost packages within minutes of them being delivered. First thing I wanted to do Friday morning was check on the status of supplies shipped via Purolator – not sure if its Friday or Saturday for delivery day! Once this is posted, I have to sift through the tsunami of email I now have to find tracking information!

I’m not a news junkie – in fact I tend to avoid it because of its relentless oppressive diet of doom and gloom, but I really felt out of the loop during this unprepared for cut-off.

Finally at 6:30 a.m. July 9, I was back in contact. First thing was to check how the disruption affected life and business. Truly a wake up call as the disruption impacted online payment systems across the country. If Rogers didn’t have a backup plan for such an event they darn well better get their eyes on one now. Even using 911 for emergency calls was not a sure thing!

As in the days when Bell Telephone had the monopoly on telephone usage, so too, Rogers, Bell and a handful of other internet providers have too much control. Another beef of mine over the years. We need more competition and hey, perhaps costs of these services would be more reasonable as well.

So much more I could say, but I have email to check!



Friday, July 1, 2022

Blog-Letter July 2022



It's Canada's Birthday today.  A fitting time and place for our thoughts on what Canada means to us.

One never forgets where you're born and grew up. My formative years were in Scotland and the memories I shared with my family will always be with me, but as a new immigrant to Canada in the 60s, I loved everything Canada had to offer. Yes, my husband and I were homesick from time to time and we tried to return a few years after we arrived. Nope, not happening. As the saying goes... You can never go home again. 
We became Canadian citizens and settled into all things Canadian. Don't get me wrong, the beauty that is Scotland and my hometown of Edinburgh takes a lot to beat. I've been to a few countries in Europe and some states in the US. Texas and Alaska stick in my mind as well as a trip to the Caribbean.
But you can't beat the east coast of Canada and I was not out west long enough to give an opinion, but I'll go back. It's coming home to Ontario and especially to the Greater Golden Horseshoe area where I live where I am most comfortable living. My children and grandchildren were all born here and are proud to call Canada home.
Happy Birthday Canada

The older I become the more I appreciate this beautiful country I am blessed to call home. Is it perfect? No, and nowhere is. The tragedies finally revealed with our history of residential schools sickened and grieved me. Would I rather live anywhere else? Absolutely not. Don't get me wrong - there are places I have travelled to that I love, Virginia in America is one, and the appeal of a small English seaside town has never gone away, but this amazing country is home.

With ten provinces and three territories, our land extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic Ocean - that's about 9.98 million square kilometres. Our diverse population of just over 38 million people speaks to our strengths. Without immigrants, Canada would not be the country she is. My mother was an immigrant, and although my father was born here, he wasn't far removed from his immigrant ancestors either.

From hockey to Tim Horton's, to maple syrup. Celine Dion to Sandra Oh, to Donald Sutherland. And that's just scratching the surface. Accomplishments? The Canadarm, IMAX, insulin, Joe Shuster's contribution to the creation of Superman, Instant Replays (first used during a Maple Leaf Hockey game in 1955), Plexiglass, and Java computer language. 

So much to be proud of!  No list of Canadian accomplishments would be complete in Jamie Tremain's world of books without noting: Louise Penny, Thomas King, Robert Munsch, Farley Mowat.  L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables,  and Margaret Atwood's  The Handmaid's Tale continue to be "must-read books".  Read more on 100 Must-Read Books by Canadian Authors.

So Happy Birthday, Canada - I am proud to be Canadian!
Although I love this country, I sadly haven't seen a lot of it, but as for my home province of Ontario, I get around. I believe Pam has seen more of Canada than I have. On my bucket list is the East Coast - Cape Breton specifically.  And on the West - why a cruise up the coast of British Columbia to Alaska don't you know.
Niagara Falls in the Winter

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

A local Zehr's Canada Day Spirit in Guelph

Toronto Night Lights

Lake Huron

Cottage Life, Sparrow Lake

Before we go, an educational moment brought to you by Jamie Tremain
Confusing Canadian Words you may have heard and what they mean:
Ogopogo - Canada's Loch Ness Monster
Poutine - Addictive concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds
Chinook -A unseasonably warm wind that descends from the Rockies
Kerfuffle - A scuffle or commotion
Trawno - A large city in Ontario  :-)
We hope, wherever you are, you enjoy a Happy, and safe, Canada Day!  The summer stretches ahead and we will be back next month with book reviews, Jamie Tremain news and more!
Pam & Liz

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