Friday, January 22, 2016

Odds & ends

  • Whereas I couldn't seem to stop spewing out blog posts all through December  ;) I'm finding it difficult to think of things to write about right now. Oh well. I've been blogging long enough to know that this isn't unusual and eventually, the muse will return. And when I look, I see I've already published 10 posts so far this month, i.e., an average of one every two days or so. So perhaps I'm making mountains out of molehills. ;)
  • I was busy this week tackling some paperwork & making some phone calls related to my pension and retiree benefits. One more week, and I am officially retired (and on a pension). It's a day that I've waited for and looked forward to for a long, long time -- and now that it's here, it doesn't quite seem real or possible. (Maybe because it didn't happen in exactly the way I thought it would?)  
  • I mentioned all this on one of my regular message boards, and one of my friends there commented that I seem too young to be called a pensioner. :)  I sure feel that way...! In my mind, I'm a not a day over 30. Maybe even 20, sometimes. ;)
  • But then!  I was looking through the advertising flyers that came with the local newspaper, and saw that the drugstore near us is having "seniors days" next week. And then I looked at the fine print, and it hit me: I just turned 55. I QUALIFY FOR THE SENIORS DAY DISCOUNT NOW.  Kind of gave me pause...! :p
  • Of course, 20% off (regular price items) is 20% off. Not many places offer seniors discounts to 55-year-olds anymore. And, like I said, starting next week, I'm on a pension. So I guess I'll take it. ;)  Gives "carding" a whole new meaning...!  
  • Mel was posting about the mega-blizzard they are predicting for the eastern seaboard of the U.S. this weekend.  As I told her in my comment, I have to admit -- dh & I kind of snickered when we saw the footage on TV of a massive traffic jam caused by ONE INCH of snow in the Washington, D.C., area.  It seems like these days, every time it's forecasted to snow more than a couple of inches, the media blows it into this huge catastrophic thing (Snowpocalypse!! Snowmaggedon!!) -- which often doesn't amount to anything. But 40 inches (which is what I understand some areas might get) is a massive amount, no matter where you live. It's just that,  because we get more snow more frequently here, we’re a whole lot better prepared to deal with it.  
  • I can only remember two times in 28+ years that I wasn't able to get to work because of the winter weather. The first time was in mid-December 1992, before Christmas. It started snowing one afternoon, and when we got up the next morning, there had been a huge amount of snow overnight. We knew we weren't going to be able to get the car out of the driveway, but we figured we could walk over to the bus stop on the main road, and the bus would take us to the commuter train station. We set out, & our next door neighbour (out shovelling his driveway) saw us. "Where do you think you're going??" he said. We explained, and in a "you idiots" tone of voice, he told us the main roads hadn't been ploughed yet either, and the buses weren't running (the trains probably weren't either). (This was pre-Internet days -- but if we'd thought to turn on the radio or TV, they probably would have told us as much.)  We meekly went back into the house, where we stayed all day (except for poor dh, who had to shovel us out). 
  • The second time was in January 1999, when the mayor of Toronto called in the army to help dig the city out (much to the amusement of the rest of Canada) after more than 118 cm of snow (i.e., 46+ inches) fell in a little over a week. I don't remember if the trains were even running the day we stayed home, but they were the next. Dh knew he'd be expected at work, so I went in too, much to the amazement of my colleagues who managed to make it in from much less further away. 
  • Our house is on a corner lot in a "square" and there's a fair expanse of pavement in front of our house. The snowplows left a huge pile of snow right in the middle of the street in front of our house, and for the next several weeks, the neighbourhood kids had a blast climbing all over it and even tobogganing down it.
  • Some photos & videos for you:  
December 1992 snowstorm:  Our deck & backyard shed.

Dh shovels us out after the snowstorm of December 1992.
The next-door neighbours (to the right of this photo) were away
and had snow drifted halfway up their garage door.

    Most of the photos I took after the blizzards of January 1999 aren't any clearer than this, unfortunately. 
    This is the big mini-mountain of snow the ploughs left in front of our house. 

    A 2007 satirical sketch from Rick Mercer (a beloved Canadian comedian):
    "Snow! In Toronto!!"
    (Still trying to live down the blizzard of 1999...!)

    And, more recently: Syrian refugee children experience the joys of tobogganing for the first time. :)


  1. Ah, yes, snowmageddon ... that's more or less what I think it will look like here ... we're supposed to get about two feet. We'll see. I'm not looking forward to it! (And too funny about being "carded" ... I guess it could have its advantages?) :)

    1. I'd rather be carded when buying alcohol, lol -- but it's been a while since THAT happened...! ;)

  2. I remember walking to work after the 1999 snowstorm! I was one of very few that made it in that day, and I got paid for doing almost nothing, because the hospital was so quiet. It was a lovely but challenging walk- nothing was shoveled or plowed, so I was trudging through some pretty deep snow. Happy memories!

    1. I've had to walk home from the bus stop after or during some heavy snowfall a few times, before the sidewalks were cleared... it's not very far, but I was sweating & exhausted by the time I got home! Kudos to you!!

  3. Pensioner. We don't have those in the U.S. Pensions went buh-bye in the Reagan era. Now it's good luck and don't let the door hit you on the way out. With the latest crop of Republicans they seem to want to make it impossible for anyone to ever retire. Period. Canada is looking better and better every day. You even know how to manage snow :-)

    1. It's getting harder here too, Pamela. :p Very few companies still offer defined benefit pensions these days (those that do are slowly getting rid of them -- my own company included). Only government employees have indexed pensions, and they're trying to get rid of those too. Our public/government-funded pension plans are in better shape than yours in the States, thanks to some tough action by previous governments, but they don't pay out as well. You definitely need your own retirement savings, and that's getting harder & harder for many people to do.

      As for the snow... practice!! ;) lol

  4. Ten posts this month! That's hardly losing your mojo.
    I have to chuckle that you're a pensioner. You're too young! (I am also a wee bit jealous.)
    And of course, I always love hearing about (and seeing photos of) snow. Such a novelty!

    1. The snow photos were at least partly for your enjoyment, Mali. ;)

  5. These are amazing photos. Outstanding pics. Thank you so much for sharing.