Monday, June 28, 2010

I Take 2 Traffic Circles To Work - And Other Weird Stuff About Canada - Part II

I've been in Canada for about a year and a half now. There are still some things that I am not used to. Granted - I am still not used to this list of Canada's Issues: I Take 2 Traffic Circles To Work - And Other Weird Stuff About Canada - Part I. Well... I've learned how to navigate the traffic circles, milk in a bag still mystifies me, I love our electric fire on days I don't want to turn on the heater, "Zed" is still wrong, soda is still soda, I appreciate leaving the butter out... it's easier to spread that way, the money is still Monopoly money, and the spelling of different words is still wrong. But since that post, Canada has found new ways to stand out.

No Curbside Mailboxes - Unless you live in the country... most mail is delivered either to a box near your door (older homes) or to group mailboxes. I don't know why... but I'm really going to miss having my own mailbox. They also don't pick up from those mailboxes. I told Ian that I would love to have my own and be able to flip up the little flag to show that there is mail to go out. Ian just kind of looked at me weird and shook his head. You have to go to the post office to mail a letter. It makes me nostalgic for my old house. One could make the argument that the US Postal Service is going bankrupt and the Canadian Postal Service is not... so maybe they are doing something right. Whatever, still want my own curbside mailbox.

High School Sports - I realize that I live in a whole different country... but it's Canada... Come on! It's basically the same place. Apparently not when it comes to high school sports or should I say "Secondary School" sports - *eyeroll*. Since the NFL does not recruit here, not a lot of stock is put into high school football teams. It's not to say that they don't have them... but there is no local Friday night football game... no division rivals... NO COLORGUARD =[. It's a little sad for me that my kids won't have that. Being the ignorant American that I am... I just assumed it would be the same up here. It does vary school to school... I've looked up the school our kids will be going to and they have such oddball sports as Rugby, Badminton, and Field Hockey. Yay....... ?

Earthquakes are "fun" here - I just found this little gem out last week. While they happen once every blue moon, everyone seems to think they are just a whole lotta fun! A co-worker of mine actually pressed up against the window looking out while the building was swaying. Meanwhile, I'm standing there paralyzed in fear looking for the nearest doorway to stand in and another co-worker is wondering what we should do since we don't have a bathtub to get into. No, that's tornadoes, but thanks for playing the Survive a Disaster Game. Most people outside of California, Japan, Turkey, *insert other places that have semi-regular earthquakes* probably don't understand the terror that is an earthquake. Let me break this down for you - Crap that shouldn't move is moving. Not cool. If I push on our building it's not going to budge. But all of a sudden I'm standing on the 4th floor and the building is pretending like it's at a prom doing the slow dance... Not cool. Thankfully, if the scientists are right, I won't be experiencing another North of the Border earthquake any time soon. I'm just glad I wasn't at home when it happened. Hello sleepless nights!

The Canadian Mortgage Industry - Applying for a mortgage here in Canada has been a big eye opening experience. It wasn't hard for us exactly... It's proving more challenging only because of my current status in Canada (whole other post entirely). What's been really eye opening is how conservative it is. It is heavily regulated and they don't have 30-year pre-payable fixed loans. This last part was the most shocking thing that I have had to adjust to. In the States, that is what you go after. You want a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. Here, 5 year fixed is more common. There are some 30-year fixed loans but they are not pre-payable or at least not without a bunch of restrictions. From what everyone has told me (everyone being co-workers, family, banks and mortgage brokers) they are rare and not the best possible option you would want for your home mortgage. If you're bored and want something to read... I found this article pretty interesting - Why Canada Avoided a Mortgage Meltdown - Wall Street Journal.

Overall, it's not THAT much different from the US. We're just America's Hat. Love the weather though!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Coop Scoop - The Beach Bum

Hanging out at the beach is a lot of fun...

...and a lot of work!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Found Photo

I was using Picasa to sort through some pictures. I stumbled upon this little gem. Can't wait to get all of the wedding pictures... I can't believe how much I like them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Being Stupid

I chirp occasionally about being stupid. I thought I might post about what being stupid actually means. It stems from an event in the summer of 2008. I woke up at 2am gasping in pain. I was doubled over hanging onto the edge of my bed. I managed to pick up my cell phone and call my mom. I could barely speak except to say pain... stomach... and gasp for air (of course freaking out my mom). She wanted to know if I needed to go to the emergency room... I didn't know... I thought something was seriously wrong though. After a few minutes, the pain mercifully past and my abdomen became super tender. The relief was so great that I thought it was maybe just a one time deal. I relaxed enough to go back to sleep and made it through the rest if the night without another attack. The next morning I went to a doctor and even without an ultrasound check they guessed I had gallstones.

What does this have to do with "being stupid"? Everything. I developed such an anxiety with sleep. I was scared that I would have another attack (like being asleep would make a difference! They are extremely painful, conscious or not!). Following the surgery, I had a bit of a traumatic experience coming out of anesthesia. I woke and felt like I had an elephant on my chest. I started to gasp and nurses rushed over to calm me down. After that I was convinced my lungs still had issues. Even with doctors and my mom telling me different, I was sure that my lungs were not working right.

Over the last year or so, my "being stupid" incidents have come in waves. Some days every little pain triggers my anxiety and I think that something is horribly wrong with me. I don't usually take this anywhere though. I don't go to the doctor unless something is really wrong or it lasts more than a few days - yay free health care. Going to the gym has helped. But it can be so silly... Last month I wasn't able to go to the gym during my lunch hour. So I decided instead of taking the elevator back to my desk I would take the stairs. Four flights of stairs later, I'm winded and my heart is racing. And what do I think? I think something is wrong with me. I'm going to have a heart attack or *insert some crazy medical issue here*. I JUST RAN UP FOUR FLIGHTS OF STAIRS. I knew that I was being irrational. It took me a few hours to recover from that. Completely ridiculous. It was so ridiculous in fact that this time I went to my doctor about it. I told her everything that has been going on... I didn't want to be treated with any medicine... I really just wanted the okay from her that I could regularly go to the gym and get the reassurance that it's all in my head. She totally understood but she did check my blood pressure and listen to my heart. My blood pressure was so good that she actually checked it twice because she wanted to make sure.

Anxiety will probably always be something I have to deal with at some level... Don't ask Ian how many times in 2008 and 2009 I woke up screaming that there was an earthquake - in reality he had just turned over and shook the bed. Thankfully that has stopped.... Yes, I know I live in Canada and the chances of an earthquake are slim to none but shut up... earthquakes are scary. =P

Anyway, I know it will get better and there will be less "being stupid" times... but it still sucks when it happens. The days that I do go to the gym during the day, I can get to sleep fairly quickly. Maybe I can sucker Ian into doing some more DDR with me soon. That helps with getting him to bed at a decent hour!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Surf's Up - Thanks BP!

Coop Scoop - Hangin' With The BFF

Mr. Cooperton has a BFF. Her name is Stella. They had a date down on the farm. As my mom said... typical boy - climbing on the fence... typical girl - chilling at the bottom. Please note that Stella is wearing a John Deere tractor dress to the farm. Very fashion forward.

"Psst... how do I look? Do I have anything on my face?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our House... the middle of the dirt. Our house. Yesterday we stopped by our dirt lot (twice - don't ask). The only noticeable change from the last visit was that some of the obstacles in the middle of the road have been removed. Honestly, the slower they move the better though... we would benefit from our closing date being pushed out. We stopped and took pictures of the storm water management pond. Hopefully the geese stick around!

This shot is from the opposite side of the street, facing the front of the house.

Our lot marker. Fancy.

My car wants to test out the driveway...

Ian apparently wants to test out the curb...

This is the view down the street.

Towards what would be the entrance to the development is a storm water management pond. It's fairly pretty... and awesome because it's a geese hang out spot.

If you look closely, you can see a few geese on the far bank.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Friday

It's Friday. The last few weeks have felt so long. It's been like a little rollercoaster ride. But my fingerprints should arrive in West Virginia this morning. It's really out of my hands at this point. I need to realize that. Anyway, this weekend should be relaxed... a Doon Creek visit... Costco... etc. Just have to make through the rest of this work day!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Max Quacks - What Up GMa?

Speaking of GMa, she is at a rocket launch celebrating Erik's life. I really wish I could be there to support her. They created a wonderful t-shirt for the annual event that features Erik. Peace - Love - Rockets = Erik.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coop Scoop & Max Power

Just hanging out...

One thing I must mention though... Seems Cooper is spending a little too much time down on the farm. I give you... Exhibit A:

Monday, June 7, 2010

We Bought A House!

Well... a pile of dirt that a house is going to go on! I don't think it's really sunk in... but a year from today... if all goes as planned we will be in our newly built house! Crazy!

Here are a few shots of what the site looks like now. They have started to put in the roads and have finished taking out any trees. The good news is that the area was farm land so most of the trees were already gone. Most of the woodlots surrounding the area are protected. So it will be pretty for awhile~

We drove a little bit up the hill and we think that our house will be roughly in this general area. It's really hard to tell... I wasn't brave enough to start driving on the construction roads just yet.

We picked a corner lot... and the good news is that our neighbor to the left is a bungalow. So our second story will look out onto their roof and not into their windows.

Overall, very exciting. Ian and I are really happy that our hard work to get to this point appears to be paying off. So many life events tucked into a few months. The only part is that it kills me that Erik isn't here to give his opinion... Those that know him would know he would be allllllllll over this. The crappy part being.. his opinions would probably be all correct. (I wouldn't tell him that of course.... but it's true!). I can only hope that he is watching over us and helping us make the right choices. I expect him to be "on site" when they put in the wiring to make sure they do it right! (Don't worry, we are upgrading to the 200amp panel!)

This is tiny... but this is the elevation we picked. I don't mind it... I just need to get into the brick and siding choices before I really like it.

Stay tuned for more construction pictures as we get closer and closer to being settled! Oh and look for more polls on here... I envision some extra help deciding styles and upgrades to get. Yay!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Max Quacks - I'm Back!

After a little endoscopy action... Maximus Prime is back! Complete with new rollover feature.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Max Quacks - I Has A Sick

Max was admitted to the hospital today and will be held overnight. He is having some GI issues... It just breaks my heart. He seems pretty relaxed though for not being able to eat!