Saturday, February 28, 2015

Post 2891 - Saturday

It is Saturday evening, around 10:30. Listening to "Saturday Night Blues" on CBC radio. Why do I not listen to that show a whole lot more?

Anyway, I spent far too many hours configuring these desktop computers. I have a newer linux distro on the HP desktop, which is the one I dragged to the other part of my home office last evening. I need to download and install a bunch of things in the morning, but not tonight.

The compaq desktop, however, the one I got for free from a neighbour a few years ago, has been quite the adventure. I got the printer set up properly, but spent many, many hours today configuring the Plex Media Server on that computer.

The problem, over and over, is linux file permissions. Turns out that this newer version of the flavour of ubuntu I am running uses a different method of associating external hard drives with a desired mount point than what I am used to. After hours of trial and error I finally discovered that a utility that does disc analysis will also modify the fstab file for you. Sure. Right. I guess I should have just known that.

I feel a sense of accomplishment this evening, but I have to wonder how many people who don't have my background would have thrown up their hands and biffed the computer out the window before this? While I got it working, I can't help but feel that, like the wiseacre who watches you eat lobster and tells you that you're missing the best part, that someone at my work will read this blog post and tell me that I could have done it a different way that would have avoided all the hassle I have experienced today.

So, now, PMS is re-generating the indexes for many tv shows and movies and songs. It will likely run all evening and in to the morning. Yippee.

Tomorrow, definitely have to start my next Frank column. Deadline is Wednesday.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Post 2890 - Friday

It's late, and I don't want to write too much this evening.

I have spent the last few hours fiddling and farting around with the two desktop computers I keep in my home office. One of them, which I have had for years and bought new, started acting up this morning. Some files I was hoping to copy to an external hard drive didn't, and the computer was all but crashing. It would not boot. This evening I feared the worst, and figured I had lost some crucial contents, that perhaps the hard drive was toast. So I swapped desktops, dragging the one I got for free from a neighbour a few years ago and moving it to where the crappy one had been. Hooked up all the hard drives and so on, and it is mostly working except for the speakers.

In the morning I will install plex media server on this computer and then have it go out there and generate all the bloody indexes and so on. Good times. Good times.

Meanwhile, the computer that failed? Turned out it didn't like one of those hard drives I mentioned. I removed it from the path and it now boots, although the display is all off. In the morning I will likely just install a fresh os on it and use it as the computer  use for my Frank Magazine columns going forward. I have to write a draft of my next column by Sunday evening.

Computers are weird things. For reasons only they know, they just stop working sometimes. A few months ago, I thought this computer was no more good. It wouldn't boot. I went out and spent 12 bucks on a used power supply, but was told first to unplug the existing power supply from the mother board, and then hook it back up and plug it in. Voila! Worked again, and it is the computer I am now going to make my media and print server in the house. Very strange indeed.

Been a long week. I need a rest. So I think I will call it a night.

It's a ... oh, you've heard that joke before.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Post 2889 - Thursday

What a crappy day! Let me tell you about it.

Got up at my usual time, more or less. I went out to start up the car to warm it before heading out. Much to my disappointment, the fan didn't turn on, which meant that the car had no heat. It has been crazy cold here lately, so not having any heat meant not being able to clean off the car windows and not have a way to keep the windows from icing over on the way to work. Double plus ungood.

Patricia ended up taking the bus, while I went back inside the house to stew. I called my dealership, and was happy to learn that they could take me in today. I called CAA and asked them to tow my car to the dealership, and this they agreed to do, but not until 9 or so. I went downstairs and closed my eyes for a few minutes to calm down.

Buddy showed up, and I drove my car up on the back of the tow truck, and he winched it in place. But as I drove it up, the fan kicked in. He drove me to the dealership, I explained the intermittent issue with the fan, and got a shuttle to work. I got there at 10.

They called me around 11:30. Turns out that the thermostat was toast. Because it wasn't working, it could not send the signal to the fan to come on, and therefore no heat could be generated. The part was about $25. But by the time you paid for the labour, and flush the coolant and the tax, it would be the better part of $300. It had to be done, so I told them to do the work.

I got the car mid-afternoon and returned to work. Now the car produces so much eat it dries my eye balls.

After work, Patricia and I drove to Costco to get "a few things". We filled our cart with many items. While at the check out, we noticed a woman who had bags of salt in her cart. I approached her and asked her where she had procured said road salt. She told me that a shipment had just come in and pointed to the section of the store where the diapers were. I don't have to tell you, or maybe I do, that our Winter has been insane, and salt is nearly impossible to find. I ran to that part of the store, only to discover that the salt had been moved to the part of the store where it should have been, so I hied myself there just in time to get two bags. A staff person carried a bag for me while I lugged the other.

Patricia was so happy to see the bags of salt she decided she wanted more, so off she went. The supply of salt I just mentioned was exhausted, so she went to the area where the diapers were and arrived just in time to get three more bags.

We returned to the car and spent the next 10 minutes stuffing it with the things we had just purchased. Paper towel. Enough toilet paper to sustain the aftermath of a chilli cook off. Five bags of salt. Four things of windshield washer fluid. Many victuals. Two dress shirts Patricia got me for my birthday. More things. Many more things.

We got home. Unloaded the car. I showered. We watched Big Bang Theory. I came down here to my home office and have been puttering for the last 90 minutes or so. Listening to Q as hosted by Kevin Smith. Yes. Kevin Smith.

Today was a very expensive day. I am glad that I got the car working again, and hope that this is the last time I have to spend significant cash on the thing for a long time. I doubt it, but a fella can hope, right?

Tomorrow is Friday. Looking forward to staying in and taking it easy.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Post 2888 - Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday, boys and girls.

Sorry I didn't write last evening. Patricia and I had a thing in Dartmouth after work. Afterward, we grabbed some dinner at a really funky place on Robie Street called Mary's Place and went home. We were both pooped. She conked out around 8:30. I hung around until 9:30 and went off to a large siesta.

(You know, I have always wondered what the Mexican word would be for "Sleep party". "Siesta fiesta"? Does that even make sense?)

Nova Scotia has been a bugger all month. You drive in to work and the roads are deplorable. Ice everywhere. Today, we drove home and the rain had turned everything to slush. Tonight, it is -2, so everything will re-freeze, thank you very much. I do not look forward to driving to work in the morning.

It is 8:41pm. Pretty much exactly 6 weeks ago tonight, at this moment, I was trying to reach my mother, and began to fear the worst. Those fears were reinforced at 9pm when the assisted living facility called to say they couldn't find a pulse in her, and I got the bad news about 9:20. Six weeks. Seems like six years in one way, and six minutes in another. Putting one foot in front of another ever since has been difficult.

My interview with Don Connolly is in Frank Magazine this week. The whole situation regarding the Drake University "bird course" that some Nova Scotia teachers took to bolster their salaries reminds me of a piece in that interview. I don't want to spoil it for you, but will tell you that Don mentions a time he ran afoul of someone at the teachers' union. It speaks to the public relations nightmare that the teachers have faced for many years now. I hope you read the interview, so go purchase a copy of the latest Frank at your fave local newsstand or grocery store. Remember: buy your own copy and do not share it with others, because it makes the baby Jesus cry.

I don't have much against teachers. Most of them are hard-working, dedicated professionals doing a job I would never have the patience for. But more than a few of them, still representing a small percentage, regard their classrooms as little fiefdoms, and their pupils are subjects to be dominated and exposed to whatever religious and/or political claptrap the teachers wish, and to hell heck with civil rights and the right not to be exposed to that material. In no other line of work could a person attempt to proselytize his faith to others, or discuss political ideologies in an effort to sway others to their belief system. But teachers get away with it under the guise of teaching. I hate that.

As I mentioned here a few years ago, I had a teacher in senior high who was very religious. Pious. Sanctimonious. And a jerk. He was our history teacher, and he would think nothing of teaching us about Christianity and Jesus Christ and assign us research tasks about the same. He would cover himself by saying, "I know I can't ask you to do this, but...". And if you didn't do the task because you objected, or your parents objected, he would make note of it, not verbally, but you could see that he regarded you as a special challenge to wear down during the school year. How I hated that man and his approach to his job.

Not sure where I am going with this, other than to say that teachers don't do themselves any favours when they take a long distance bird course from a mostly-well-regarded university in an effort to justify being put in to a higher pay grade (upwards of $8000 per year). They don't do themselves any favours by jamming their beliefs down students' throats. And they don't do themselves any favours by taking offence every time they are criticized by the media. They're smart people and should know these things.

Jumping off my soapbox now. Air is a little thin.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Post 2887 - Happy Birthday To Me!

Hi, everyone. How are you this evening?

Today was my birthday. I am mumblety-mumble years old. Let me put it this way. I am getting ever closer to being able to take advantage of the discount afforded to people of a certain vintage.

We were going to celebrate my birthday over the weekend, but that didn't happen as we were involved in some other things that required our attention. And tonight we were cleaning off the driveway in anticipation of a coldsnap over night. Well, a lot of the work was done by the young man down the street from us.

This is my first birthday without either of my parents to wish me glad tidings of the day. It is not even a month since we buried our mother, and I still want to call her every day and see how she is doing. I even picked up another pile of magazines from the same woman in Halifax who's been supplying me with them for the last couple of years. I am not sure what I will do with them going forward. I used to give them all to Mom, and she would read what she wanted and then pass the other stuff to clients at the nursing home, or even to staff.  She took great delight and putting the magazines on her walker and delivering them. I still find it incredibly hard to believe that she is gone. I miss her like crazy.

Anyway, this birthday is bitter sweet to say the very least. I am a year older. I am essentially an orphan. I know that I have to put one foot in front of the other and try to persevere, but I just don't feel like it these days.

I know I will get out of this funk, but I am not sure when or how.

I look forward to the coming year. I figure it can't be any worse than the one that just finished.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Post 2886 - Sunday

Well, hello again, my friends. How are you this evening?

The new issue of Frank hits the web on Monday. It contains another one of my columns, plus some extra material you may find interesting. I hope you check it out.

I slept in late this morning. After the ordeal of Friday evening plus all the driving and running around I did on Saturday I was pretty bushed last evening. I know that Newbie missed me as well. He was all over me last night, and has barely left me alone today. I was watching Netflix with Patricia a couple of hours ago. Newbie insinuated himself on the chair between me and the arm, pushing me over in the process. He stayed there and let me pet him for a few minutes before he hopped off, as if telling me that he had had enough.

But before that I nuked dinner. Left-over meatballs and rice. I have been calling them flesh spheres for such a long time, that "meatballs" just doesn't sound right. Do they still make the frozen dessert called "Snack and a Half"? I started calling them"One Point Five Snacks" back in the 1980's, so the actual name doesn't sound right to me, either.

(Does that sound weird? Do you think any less of me? Please don't do that. You know how sensitive I am. Sniff!)

But before that, we spent some time preparing for spring cleaning. I broke down a bunch of cardboard boxes to go out with the recycling this week, while Patricia found a bunch of stuff that needs to be shredded toot sweet.

But before that, I cooked us an omelette and stuffed it with cheese, mushrooms, shallots and bacon, and prepared some McCafe coffee, which is some of the best coffee you can get in my opinion.

But before that, I was asleep, which takes us all the way back to paragraph three.

Later on this evening I want to watch a few minutes of The Oscars to see how well Neil Patrick Harris makes out as the host. Then it will be The Walking Dead before I decide whether to watch The Talking Dead afterward. TWD, as I have mentioned before, is starting to coast along, and I have to wonder how much of a master plan the producers have for the show, and whether I can just start to binge watch them on Netflix instead of waiting for a whole week between episodes as I do now. Some episodes are a snooze fest while others have an odd pacing that puts me off. It is as if they plot as far as every 8th episode and find material to cover the airtime leading up to these milestones. Maybe the bloom is off the rose for me as far as the show is concerned. I just wonder if  the spin off series will make things any better, or will we have another show like CSI:Miami?

Yeah. David Caruso as a zombie. I like that.

May as well go back upstairs and see how Patricia is making out.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Post 2885 - Saturday

Hi. I am back in the city after a quick trip to the Valley.

I got up around 7:30, which was about 2 hours after I finally warmed up after Friday night's adventures. I got something to eat, and made some coffee, and hit the road around 9:15 for the Toastmasters Leadership Institute being held at CFB Greenwood. I knew I would need something to write with but had neglected to take a pen with me from the city. There were not many at the house, but eventually found a stash of them in Mom's old bedroom. I grabbed them all and stuffed them in my pocket.

When I got to the army base, and found where the session would be, I sat down and pulled out those pens from my pocket and started scribbling with them on an old envelope. All but 2 of the dozen or so pens were useless, the ink dried up nearly to powder. I threw out the non-working pens.

The TLI was very interesting, actually. I am delighted I went. There was plenty of good information there. And, at noon, as you can see, there was plenty of food. I helped myself to some sandwiches and fruit and veggies and a few sweets.

The afternoon sessions were also useful. I took plenty of notes.

It let out around 2:45. After another errand in New Minas, I returned to the house and grabbed the pies I had purchased Friday night in Canning plus a few other things I had brought with me Friday night. Loaded up the car with those scant items and returned to the city. I got back here around 7pm. After a quick chat with Patricia, and petting Newbie for a bit, we settled down to watch another episode of "Foyle's War". Shame on us for not discovering that show sooner.

I said something to Patricia earlier that I will share with you now. I haven't watched the final season of "Dexter" yet. It was broadcast 18 months or so ago. Haven't seen the final season of "Spartacus" yet, and it was on 2 years ago. Haven't watched the final season of "Sons of Anarchy" yet. Loved those shows, but for some reason I can't bring myself to watch them nowadays. I still like R-rated comedies and action films and the like, but I find myself mostly reaching for dramas that are lighter on the heavy violence. I don't know if it is a function of growing older, or if it is a momentary flirtation that will disappear as soon as it came.

I am quite taken with the British version of "Shameless", about an alcoholic father and his children, and how they cope with their father as they subsist in near poverty. It has a rawness that I find intriguing. I will probably watch an episode before I turn in this evening. The only drawback is that the accents of some of the characters are nearly impenetrable. I have to turn on the close captioning in Netflix to have a fighting chance of knowing what they hell they're saying.

Not sure where I am going with this, except to say good evening and to wish you a pleasant tomorrow.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Post 2884 - Friday

Hi. In in the Valley tonight. Decided to drive up this evening because have a lot of driving to do tomorrow as it is. 

The drive up was fine until I reached Avonport. White outs. Driving off exit 10 on the 101 through Wolfville and to Port Williams was fun as well. 

Of course that wasn't as much fun as the frozen lock at the house. After 2 hours and help from the neighbor's blow torch I finally got in. I heated some beefaroni and consumed a rum and coke to warm up and calm down. 

I think I will turn in. Hours and hours of driving on Saturday. 

See you tomorrow.  


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Post 2883 - Thursday

Hi. This will be a fairly short post. Lots of good tv this evening. I will have to choose between Two And A Half Men (series finale) or the latest Blacklist. Likely will see the former.

A long day today. Patricia remains home sick with pneumonia but is slowly on the mend. I am coping with the vestiges of my most recent cold. And the weekend will be here in less than 24 hours.

If at all possible, weather depending, I need to go to the Valley this weekend. I have some stuff to do with Mom's pension to take care of sooner rather than later. I also really should attend a Toastmasters event that's going to be at CFB Greenwood Saturday morning at 10:30. A long drive from here, but I can crash at the house in the afternoon if need be. Besides, I want to see just how tall the snowbanks are there this week.

What else is going on? I installed a fresh instance of Linux on this here desktop computer. The method of automatically mounting hard drives is a bit different than it was using an older version of Ubuntu, so I struggled to get that working. But in the last few minutes it does. Yay for me. This machine has 5 hard drives in it. I am thinking of moving my installation of Plex Media Server from the computer on the other side of the room, along with its attendant hard drives and so on, over to this computer, where I can take advantage of the nearly 5TB of internal storage at my disposal.  This computer would then become a full-time media server.

Or, maybe I will take this computer and physically move it to the other side of the room, and install PMS on it there, and move the desktop computer that's there to this computer desk. I am trying to figure out which would be the least amount of work, but am not having much luck.

Patricia thinks I'm crazy to think about things like this, but there is a certain order in my universe when my computer equipment is working the way I want it to. I may not be able to control situation X at my work, but I can control how my home computers work, dad-gummit. It's like that episode of "The Big Bang Theory" where Sheldon decides to stay home and update his laptop's operating system, and the laugh track came on. I was a little offended by that, as I update OS's quite often and then spend time tinkering with them until I get them working the way I want them to. Lots of otherwise-normal people do that, all the time. So pee off.

I have had my shower and shave for the evening. I should go anoint myself with oils before "How To Get Away With Murder" starts.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Post 2882 - Wednesday

Hello again, my friends.

I did not write on Tuesday because I was still sick from the weekend. I think I have it licked now, so I returned to work this morning.

I also returned to Toastmasters this evening after some 6 weeks. It was nice to get back into a routine. We had a fun table topics session courtesy of a new member who brought an actual Table Topics game from his work.  We liked it so much that the club may invest in a copy of the game.

And, too, I submitted my most recent column to my editor at Frank earlier this evening. I missed the current issue for the reasons I discussed here 10 days ago, so you can go back and read it.

Patricia remains sick with pneumonia.  She went back to a doctor today. This doc recommended x-rays, and this was done. The doctor also signed her off work for the balance of the week. This bout of pneumonia has been very stubborn to say the least. I am not trying to get into pissing contest or anything, but I still remember when I had, at the same time, pneumonia and the measles. I was 5. This was back in the day when doctors would do house calls. Dr. Snow came to the house and gave me a few needles in the rear end while I lay on the couch. Oh, yes. And the entire family stood over me and watched this happen, as if they were in a teaching hospital or something.  I lived, despite the embarrassment.

There is not much else to report, and this has been an uncommonly long day, so I will close up shop this evening.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Post 2881 - Monday

Hello again, my friends.

I am feeling better today, but that is after feeling like drivel for the last 5 days. I went to work this past Thursday not because I was in the pink of health. I wasn't. But I knew it wouldn't look good to take a sick day the same week I returned to work plus the day before an already 4 day weekend was going to start.

I paid for this allegiance by practically collapsing Thursday night and sleeping nearly the entire day away on Friday. I had to gather my strength for the chore that awaited me Saturday morning. Even though Patricia begged me not to go, what with the impending storm and how I was feeling, I decided to go anyway?

Go where, you ask?

To the Valley. To the family dwelling.

I did that because I wanted to install a home security system down there. Long overdue. Now that Mom is gone, there is no need for anyone to be in that house when I am not around. So I got up much earlier on a Saturday than I am used to, cooked some breakfast for both of us, and headed off around 8am. The ADT guy showed up around 10am.

It took him a few hours to do his work, which I figured it would. I am not getting into the kind of security that's in place down there other than to state that it makes me happy to have it there. It would deter any normal person, and quite a few abnormal ones.

After he was finished, my body sorely needed rest, but I ignored it and instead bought a few things in Canning before doubling back and heading back to Halifax. I got back here around 3pm, and got undressed and slept for several hours. I got up in the evening to watch the first episode of "Foyle's War" on Netflix, and now I am wondering why I would wait all these years to catch this excellent program. Liked it so much we watched another episode/film on Sunday.

I turned in relatively early Saturday evening and slept for many more hours. Sunday I ate a little and girded my loins for last evening's The Walking Dead, which seems to have found a way to slow down its pace to a crawl in too many episodes in the last couple of seasons. Of course, the online fans are gushing over each little scene, so I am in the minority.

Another 10 hours or so of sleep over night brings us to Monday morning, where I got up and ate something else and showered and shaved and washed some dishes and came down here to work on my next Frank column and this here blog post.

I hate to state it, but I am looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. When a 4 day weekend becomes an exercise in getting over a massive head cold it isn't much fun, and returning to work means a return to a routine that doesn't involve sitting around waiting to get better.

I guess it's time to start preparing dinner, so I will let you go for now.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Post 2880 - Sunday

‎Another day asleep trying to get over this cold. Will write more tomorrow. 

Meanwhile here is Newbie trying to get my attention. 

See you tomorrow. 


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Post 2879 - Saturday

‎Long day. 11pm. Watching the late news with Newbie. 

See you tomorrow. 


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Post 2878 - A Troubling Story

I've been flat-on-my-back sick for the last 24 hours, so if the police came to my door and asked me to hide in the basement while they were tracking down the potential murder plot conspirators, then I didn't hear it.


Let me back up.

I live on the outskirts of the city. Not much happens here, with the notable exception of the murder of teacher Paula Gallant in 2005. But last night, late, the police parked a short distance away from my front door, and set up a perimeter around other streets. People who wanted to get home who weren't were either turned away or escorted to their homes by the police. I would look out the window from time to time until sleep claimed me, but the cars were still there.

Woke up this morning to learn that a 19 year old man was found dead in a house just around the corner from me. And tonight, the police conducted a press conference and reported that there were 3 others involved in a  plot to go to a public event in Halifax on the 14th and open fire on as many people as possible, before they would kill themselves.

There was a 17 year old, a 23 year old American woman, and a 3rd young man. The police arrested the youngster this morning, and the woman and the 3rd young man were arrested at the airport at 2 o'clock this morning.

As a friend of mine pointed out to me earlier this evening, you can't make this stuff up. Nobody would have believed, this time last night, that there might be a terrorist plot here in Halifax, and that untold injuries and deaths were being planned by obviously-sick people.

I am happier than ever to have a really good quality security system in my house, and that the doors to the house are kept locked at all times when we are here. There is nothing wrong with a healthy sense of wanting to be safe.

I am proud of the RCMP for having made these arrests and foiled this plot. My hat's off to them.

Now, what else is behind this story?

Oh, here is the link to the story.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Post 2877 - Wednesday and Thursday


Sorry I didn't write on Wednesday. I have been fighting something for the last couple of days, and it has won a conditional victory. I took a Tylenol Night pill and it knocked me out hard around 7:45 last night. I slept through "Arrow", for goodness' sake.

Today I am back at work, but am going through many kleenex and my throat is so itchy I might as well be wearing a fisherman's knit sweater inside out.

Patricia continues to recover from her pneumonia. She is slowly on the mend, but she still has several days to get better ere she must return to work on the 17th.

There is not much to report otherwise. When you're sick and working, there is not much else going on other than being sick and shuffling through the work day before going home and collapsing. I am just grateful that there is a 4 day weekend coming up for me. Oshtur and Mitra know that I need the rest.

I did wake up last night long enough to wonder how my mother was doing and to remind myself to give her a call. Sigh. That will take a long time for me to get over.

Ugh. Feel like crap. I must be sick if I don't feel like eating anything for lunch.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Post 2876 - Tuesday

Just past 8pm.

I read in the last few minutes about how Jon Stewart is going to leave The Early Show later on in 2015. This may be heresy. People may rain down holy frigging hell on me for stating this, but I never found him or the show all that entertaining. I seldom laughed at it or him. I will always wonder how many folks hearing his caustic comments about politicians decided not to try to seek public office, because they didn't need the hassle or aggravation associated with pursuing and then attaining such an office? For what it is worth, I feel the same way about Rick Mercer and his smarmy commentaries about elected officials. Politicians are not beyond criticism, of course; it is just that there is a fine line between honest criticism and being mean and cruel to people who put themselves out there, who have their hearts in the right place. And most of us have our hearts in the right place, most of the time, regardless of what we do for a living.

But that is not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to tell you about my day.

First of all, Patricia has been sick for several days. She saw her doctor on Monday afternoon, and was told that she has pneumonia. She has been booked off work for the balance of this week. Since Viola Desmond Day is on the 16th, she is effectively off work until the 17th, next Tuesday. She will need most of those days to get better. I am not sure how communicable pneumonia is, so I am not getting too close to her.

Before I went to work this morning I went to the bank and paid off the full balance of my mother's line of credit account. That account no longer exists as of 8:20 or so this morning.

A couple of people have written to ask me why I did this. It was her debt, and the bank may not have been able to get its money. That is debatable. What is not debatable is that we were brought up to pay our debts. Paying off this line of credit was important to Mom, and therefore was important to me. My sisters did not offer to help me pay off this debt, nor did I expect them to. It fell to me in the same way that paying 47% of the funeral costs last week fell to me: because if I hadn't done it, it wouldn't have been done. Period. Full stop. Just like all those years I drove my parents to the city for doctor's appointments: if I hadn't done it, it wouldn't have been done. Put that in your bong and drink it. Or smoke it. Or inhale it. Or whatever it is you do with bongs.

I am unaware of any significant bill still out there. Her taxes for 2014 will have to be done, but that will not cost much. There may be some money coming back from the place that provided her medications, so that bill may be near or at zero. And my sister will be returning those hearing aid batteries and get a few bucks for them.

I have started work on my next Frank column.  Deadline in just over a week. Feel nervous writing it after taking the last month off from it.

That is it for this evening, my lovelies. See you tomorrow.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Post 2875 - Monday Night

‎Late at night. Back to work today. Watching "Better Call Saul" with Newbie. 

Tomorrow will retire a debt my mother left behind. 

I still want to call her every night. 

See you tomorrow. 


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Post 2874 - Hello Again

Hi, guys.

Did you miss me?

I missed you. I really did. In a moment I will give a broad-strokes overview of why I was on hiatus for the last few weeks. It is nothing new, but perhaps you have forgotten why this had to happen.

As you know, my mother died on January 14th. It was a very sudden thing. I was speaking to her at 8:30pm on Wednesday night. I called my sister, who called Mom. Then, my sister called me, and I decided to call my mother a second time, around 8:45. There was no pick up. I called back a couple more times, to no avail. Shortly after 9pm, the retirement facility where she was living called to inform me that they were unable to find a pulse. I authorized them to do whatever they had to do, but by 9:20 they informed me that she was gone. In all truth, she probably died moments after she got off the phone with my sister, before I called her back the second time.

On the 15th, we drove to the Valley and had the meeting with the funeral home. Even though the funeral was hardly ornate, it still cost $10 000. I ended up paying nearly half of that cost, while my 2 sisters paid the other half. Yeah. I know. Don't get me started.

Also, kindly do not get me started on the fact that my mother's funeral was postponed until January 25th, 11 days after her passing. The same sister who insisted on only paying 25% of the cost of the funeral decided not to postpone her family's Florida vacation, which had been booked months before. And the second sister agreed with the first one. I was outvoted. Wrassum frassum.

Thirdly, do not get me started on how I am stuck paying off my mother's line of credit, her one debt. She purchased two new hearing aids about a year ago, maybe less; and those hearing aids cannot be re-deployed to someone else. They are custom made. They cannot be cashed in for any amount coming within a country kilometre of the cost of the damn things. They can be broken down to their constituent parts by the company that produced them. The boxes of batteries that Mom bought last year can be redeemed for more money than the actual hearing aids can. Sigh. So, Monday I will have to go downtown during my lunch hour and get a bank draft for the exact payout amount of the line of credit. Tuesday morning I will be half an hour or so late for work so that I can pay off the line of credit at another financial institution. This must be paid in person, in an office, behind closed doors.

On the Monday following her death, the 19th I guess it was, I saw my doctor, who agreed to sign me off work for a couple of extra weeks. Due to the circumstances of her death, and the surrounding maelstrom of controversy and b.s., I figured I would be in no condition to return to work following my "entitled" bereavement leave. My doctor, who is about as compassionate as the child of a forensic accountant and a bank manager, went along with it, which surprised us both.

The first week following the funeral consisted of me sitting around the house, enduring one storm after another, unable to go out very much or very far, or even wanting to. I spent the first Thursday, the 29th, in downtown Halifax running between financial institutions dealing with my mother's estate issues and lining up the cash to cover the bills I listed in previous paragraphs.

The second week, I was mostly in the Valley. On February 2nd, I paid off my engorged share of the funeral expenses. It was Groundhog Day, so I am grateful that I only had to pay it once. I paid off the snowplow guy who has been cleaning out the driveway down there, and picked up one last piece of mail addressed to my mother (the current issue of Frank magazine was mailed to her, and the receptionist at the Shannex offered it to me).

On the 3rd, there was another snowstorm there, so I had to pay more money to Craig.

Wednesday the 4th I ended up using a scanner to produce a bunch of pictures for my other sister. They were emailed to someone in BC, and to someone in Newfoundland.

On the 5th, I returned to the city, a day or so earlier than I had planned to. There were too many memories in the house. The walls were closing in on me. And I wanted to see Patricia again. And she was sick, and needed a bit of help anyway.

I didn't miss the city that much during the days I was away.The weather was horrendous here last week. Tuesday evening it took Patricia 5 hours to get home. The bus schedules in Halifax were, to be charitable, not exactly accurate. At least one bus simply wasn't running, and it was a bus she needed to get home. Finally, around 9:30, and hours after I had begun to worry, she got home, and she has been sick ever since. Whenever I hear people wonder why more folks don't use the bus, I look at the unreliability of Metro Transit Halifax Transit, and how many folks hate sharing a ride with 70 other people, how those folks hate being on a mobile Petri dish, and I wonder why people would want to take the bus at all.

So, anyway, I promised to tell you why the blog was on hiatus for 3 weeks and change. It is my policy not to produce a blog post on days when I am sick, or medical leave, or family illness day. Weekends and vacations are fine. I will still write then. I think it is fine to publish on the Sunday before I return to work, for instance. But I was on medical and bereavement leave for 3 weeks. How would it look for me to be writing on those days?

A few years ago, when my mother had life-threatening surgery at the age of 79, I was off work for about 2 weeks to be with her.  I continued to write every day, to tweet, to update my Facebook. When I got back, I had a very special meeting with my boss, who cautioned me against doing what I had done. I was told that it would be a very good idea, for my own protection, to maintain a low profile. For the sake of perception if nothing else.

I learned my... lesson, I guess you can call it. Ever since then, when I am off work for any of the reasons I listed two paragraphs ago, I keep as low a profile as I can. I may ache to write something, but I won't. I shouldn't. I... can't, for all intents and purposes.

(In case you were wondering, yes, that goes as far as my writing for Frank Magazine. You will not see anything from me in the current issue, the one hitting the streets this week. That is not a coincidence. I pretty much had to sit out this issue, or at least I felt I had to. I hope you understand.)

The bottom line is, now that I am back to work, I am back to Blogging. And I hope that I do not have to miss any days of writing for a very long time. I have missed sitting down every night and producing some content. It is therapeutic for me. It is something I feel that I must do, and to have been unable to do it for the last few weeks during one of the most vulnerable periods of my life is something that caused me more harm than good.

I missed you guys.

I will see you tomorrow.

(And it feels great to be able to state that!)