Saturday, 1 June 2019
Sunday, 26 May 2019
Today I was talking to Mr. G after church about transit engineers. Now, to me, "Transit Engineer" could have 2 meanings... The first would be, "a person who plans & designs for transit", the second, "a person who drives transit, like a train driver". So I asked which type of engineer he was referring to, & he informed me that Transit Engineers are only the former, in Canada, & the latter is a "driver". If a person who drives were to publish a paper, for instance, & call themselves an "engineer", they'd get a cease & desist letter. It was an enlightening conversation!
Another friend, Miss K, walked up & handed me some cash for some vases I picked up at a thrift store for her, & we were discussing how many more they still needed for an upcoming event. I told her, "I'll keep looking for them until you tell me to decease." A moment later I realized I had messed up the 'cease & desist' phrase!
Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Sunday, 12 May 2019
I messaged my cousin, "I heard you had an excellent start to your weekend"
Her reply, "Super, Super great"
I decided it would be best to just Skype her, to get to the bottom of just how serious this was.
"So, a mouse nest?"
"Yep, I only found it because I accidently opened the wrong drawer. I haven't opened this drawer since October, so I have no idea how long it's been there."
"You need to change your underwear more often than that."
"Haha, it's not my underwear drawer!"
"I guess it must have heard that you wanted all the mice out of Grandma's attic, so it decided to move in with you."
"That's not funny."
I can tell she is distraught. "Do you need help?"
"That would be awesome!"
I had an open morning, so I decided to head on down to the States to help her out. When I cross the border I am always entertained by the ritual of being questioned by the border guards, & this was no exception.
Guard: "What brings you down to the States today?"
"My cousin found a mouse nest in her dresser drawer."
"Doesn't she have a man in her life?"
"Her dad thinks she's over reacting."
"I see... Good luck!"
I arrived & we donned gloves, ready for the task at hand. The offending mouse had made her nest in the middle drawer of the 3 drawer chest. The drawer was already pulled halfway open, displaying it's soft nest made of fluff painstakingly pulled from the bed's boxspring, & carried to the other corner of the room, lovingly placed upon my cousin's seldom used halloween costumes. I pulled the drawer the rest of the way out & put it on the deck, & went back for the top drawer. As I removed the top drawer, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, & perhaps a tail, but it was hard to know. Was I imagining things?
I handed the drawer to my cousin, & said, "I think the mouse might still be in the dresser."
"Are you serious?"
"Now I'm hearing noises from under the drawer, so I'm 99% sure it's in here."
"I'm getting the cat!"
She brought the cat into the room & quickly shut the door... but she remained outside of the room! In the meantime I had commandeered a plastic shopping bag in which to trap the mouse since it was still inside the dresser frame. It was woman & beast versus smaller but quicker beast. The event was on! I brought the cat over to the closet where the dresser was, & took out the final drawer. "Ok, cat, do your thing!"
Apparently the cat's thing had nothing to do with catching mice, but had more to do with removing herself from the room. She promptly went to sit by the door. I picked her back up & plopped her back down by the now skeletal frame of the dresser. "Just jump in there & get the mouse!"
I'm pretty sure I heard the cat mutter "Go right ahead..."
At this point I called my cousin back in the room. I needed reinforcements stronger than a disinterested cat. We brainstormed a bit...
"Should we try to catch it?"
"Do you have a butterfly net?"
"Do we try to hit it with something?"
"A spatula? Or step on it?"
"I'll get you some boots."
"That might be helpful."
At this point I was only wearing socks. She returned with boots, a piece of cardboard & a yardstick. In all the lack of excitement on the cat's part I had lost track of our dear pet mouse, so we carefully checked & removed each & every shoe from the other half of the closet. Our mouse was not in the bottom of the closet... Had she climbed up onto the top shelf? Was she in the folds of the clothes hanging in the closet?
We stayed still for awhile & heard some mouse-like noises from under the desk beside the closet. We shone the flashlight under the desk & slowly removed items from below the desk until we had gotten everything out & the mouse decided to head back into the dresser she knew & loved. Our plan at this point was not a good one, but it was our plan. My cousin would shine the light at the mouse, I would reach into the frame of the dresser with the plastic shopping bag over my hand & grab the mouse!
"Try not to get bitten!"
I reached in. The mouse didn't move. I got my hand closer. The mouse didn't move. I shot my hand out & grabbed... NOTHING! At the last second she had moved to the front corner! We repositioned, sized each other up once again. Time for the second attempt. Maybe I should just go for it right away... GRAB!
I felt something furry touch my elbow. I may or may not have yelped.
Now the mouse was on the other half of the closet floor. We were very glad we had already taken all the shoes out. All that was left were a few small plastic boxes, which we surrounded her with.
"Maybe we should try to trap her in something like a spider."
"Instead of bashing her on the head with the garbage can, we could trap her in it! We really should have a camera crew follow us around. Can you imagine how fun that would be?"
My cousin helpfully handed me the metal, vintage, Peanuts garbage can. I acted fast & successfully trapped the mouse! I could hear her scrabbling from inside the can!
"I got it! Hand me the cardboard!"
"It has a hole in it, make sure it doesn't get out the hole!"
I slid the cardboard under the garbage can, & picked up the can with the mouse & held the cardboard tightly underneath. Then I quickly flipped the whole contraption over hearing a satisfying 'thump' when I did so.
"Ok, what do you want to do with it?"
"If we let it go in the field, it'll probably just come back."
"How do you want to kill it?"
"I don't know."
"Do you have a hose?"
"I'm not really comfortable with drowning it."
"We won't be able to thump it with something. It's too fast!"
"Ok, I'll get the hose."
"And bring your phone. We really need to get this on video."
"You want to make a video of us drowning a mouse?"
"Maybe not. But we can take a picture after we do it to prove to your dad that you weren't overreacting!"
"Ok, I'll meet you by the hose."
We slid the cardboard just enough so we could fit the end of the hose through the hole & filled the garbage can about halfway. I know if we filled it too much the cardboard would get wet, & I didn't want the mouse to be able to get out that way. We heard some scratching on the side of the can, then it got quiet. I sloshed the can a bit back & forth, then tapped on the cardboard incase the mouse had found a way to cling to the roof like spider-man. The last thing I wanted to was to take the lid off & have a drenched, angry mouse after me! There was a little more scrabbling, then it was quiet again, so I repeated my slosh & tap technique, but heard nothing else. I slid the cardboard to peer down the hole, still a little afraid of the mouse suddenly jumping out at me, but our task was complete.
When I removed the piece of cardboard we discovered that in the bottom of the garbage can was a piece of cardboard that had been cut to perfectly line the bottom. As we had filled the can with water, that piece of cardboard had floated up creating a scene like that of Rose in the movie "Titanic" where she is floating on the door. The cardboard was not quite buoyant enough to hold the mouse up, but just enough to give her false hope.
We took a picture to send to my Uncle, showing that the job was done. I was tasked with depositing 'Rose' on the compost pile at the back of the yard, then it was time to head back home. More than we bargained for, but not more than we could handle!
Just as I passed through the small town near my cousin's house, a bird fell onto the road right in front of my car & I ran over it... Watch out critters, I'm on a roll!
Does everyone have this kind of madcap adventure when they go to the States? Maybe it's just my family... Who knows, maybe it's ME!
Saturday, 23 February 2019
500 gr Italian Sausages
Thursday, 24 January 2019
We arrived tired & hungry in Toronto around midnight. Wandered around & found Subway & had a snack. We had been told to go to a special area to sleep, & after going there we discovered there was a TV show filming there, so the area was closed, & the extra seating was also full. Eventually found a quiet spot with some heat vents to sleep on, & had a nap.
At 5 o'clock we parted ways with Luke & Tara so we could get through security & go to our gate for our 7 am departure. Boarded on time, & slept as best I could for most of the flight. Retrieved our luggage, & caught the shuttle to get our car.
Went home, dozed on the couch, got the lowdown from Mom & Dad about the week with the kids, made an easy supper, put the kids to bed, had a bath & early bedtime for us since we had essentially been up for 40 hours.
Overall it was a great trip, the people we met in Cuba were all wonderful. They were super friendly & the staff at the resort bent over backwards to help with whatever crazy request we had. It was great to spend time with Luke & Tara again, & for me to have a partner in crime as we went on our crazy adventures. I definitely want to go back to Cuba again at some point & experience more of the Cuban culture!
Wednesday, 23 January 2019
Woke up & started packing things up. Met Luke & Tara on their way back from breakfast, they were going to pack, & we were going to eat! After breakfast we decided to check out of our rooms so we could get a jump on the rest of the crowd. Dropped off our bags by the front desk, & waited for Pablo the bellhop to put them in the locked room. Then Tara & I went to talk to Jorge at the towel stand to see if he had been able to find some Peso coins for me. In Cuba there are 2 currencies, the Tourist Pesos, & the Cuban Pesos. I had some of the Tourist Pesos, but I was trying to acquire a few of the Cuban Peso coins.
Jorge let me down! He totally forgot to look. Oh well, we stood & chatted to him for quite a while, & he managed to find a 1 Peso coin for me. He also showed us a ₱100 bill, & told us a lot of the history of Cuba revolutions, & who was pictured on the bills. He went to ask some other employees if they had any coins. Jorge gave me a ₱5 & ₱1 bill he had managed to find, & told me maybe I could get someone to trade with me.
We chatted a bit more & told him of my mistake telling Rollie about our candle, which Jorge thought was quite funny. I gave him a pack of Skittles for his troubles, & went in search of more cappuccinos.
At one point Ivan ran up to me with 2 more Peso coins for me, & a hug. I thanked him for finding them for me. We all 4 rotated between reading in the lobby, & wandering around the resort. The weather wasn't great again, so at least we weren't missing out on a good beach day, but it was not the most exciting day we have had here.
Tara & I asked at the front desk about some of the seeds we had founds on the trees. She had found an odd shaped green seed & had even bit into it a bit, but we couldn't figure out what it was. We were told it was an almond that wasn't ripe yet. So I asked about the red seeds on the palm trees if they were the kind of seeds that were fed to pigs. Immediately the desk clerk told us, "Don't eat them!" I assured him, "I didn't eat them. I only tasted one a little bit, but it didn't taste very good, & I don't recommend it.". He said, "Either you are ok, or you are a zombie!"
I ran into Pablo at one point & asked him about Peso coins, but all he had was a ₱20 bill. I offered to trade him for the ₱5 bill I had since I had 2, & he said that wasn't really a fair trade. He let me keep the ₱20 & the ₱5, & I gave him 2 decks of playing cards. He was pretty happy about that.
As it got later in the day closer to our departure time I decided it was time to get changed, so I asked Pablo if I could get my bag from the locked room. He let me in & I asked him about the 'hospitality room' to get changed in. He said, "Ask at the front desk... wait, do you need a shower, or just to change?" I said I was just going to change, so he offered to leave me locked in the room while he went to check on another room. So I quickly changed, & waited in the locked room. Chad thought that was a little strange, but it sure was convenient!
I had one last drink from my favourite bartender, & tipped him the few coins I had left telling him, "Lo siento, no tengo mas." He started singing, "No Tengo mas, no tengo mas!"
We got on the bus around 4:30, rode the hour to the airport, & waited to check in. At security I put my bag & phone onto the tray, & the man told me to take my watch off, so I did, then he said, "Look at me." I looked, & he said, "You have beautiful eyes!" I think that was a misuse of his authority, but I appreciated it!
We sat for 2 hours at the airport, but we did finally manage to find some nice shirts for the kids! Talked to a few of the vendor ladies, & traded the ₱5 bill for a ₱3 peso coin, two ₱1 coins, & a 20 cent. Another lady gave me a 20 cent, & a 5 cent. In the end I had ₱45.45 in Cuban Peso (which is only worth about $2US)!
We decided that on the plane the girls would sit together & the boys could sit together. I went to my seat to discover it was wet, so the stewardess told us to shift into the 2 seats next to us, since the flight wasn't full. Two older couples came to sit, & apparently we were in one of their seats, so we explained that the seat was wet & we had been told to move over. "That's not our problem!" one of them declared. We replied that we were happy to go wherever the stewardess wanted us.
One of the couples decided to move into the exit row, but the stewardess told them they had to sit in their assigned seats, & gave the exit row to Tara & I instead! The 2 of us chatted for awhile, then Tara went off to another row to sleep. The boys each had a whole row to themselves as well so we had lots of room to relax on the flight.
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
It was perfect weather, not too hot, & not cold, just windy, but we didn't really notice on the horses.
Our horses were not best friends, & kept trying to beat each other so they could be in front, so that was fun. Rode along some paths by another resort, to the beach, & through the wetland area. It was fun, & only ₱10 for the hour! Tipped with a Wunder bar which they were very excited about.
After riding changed into swimsuit to sit by the pool some more & read. Got hot enough to swim through the water, & when I tried to get out on the side I successfully stood up, lost my balance, & fell right back in, and of course made a weird yelping noise as I fell! Chad thought it was quite hilarious, & Tara was sad to have missed it!
Went for a later lunch since dinner reservations at the Cuban restaurant were for 9pm. Then went back to the pool until around 4 when the sun wasn't out anymore. Changed to clothes & sat by the building in a less windy spot. Played scum for a few hours, then finally it was time for supper!
Went to the Cuba restaurant to discover it was closed. Not sure what happened with our reservation! We could have got to Italian, but it was at the pool in an open area, & we chose to go to the dining hall.
After dinner, checked onto our flight online, then off to bed.
Monday, 21 January 2019
Came back & changed, & found a sunny spot at the pool, so I read in the sun for awhile, then lunch! Asked Luke where Tara was at one point, & he said, "at the beach, el beacho!" I told him not to call her that. 😂
After lunch I went to the beach since all the pool chairs were taken, but it was too windy & cold, so didn't last long there. Came back to the room & changed, then went to the lobby to read again. Got tired despite 2 cappuccinos, so I went for a kip in the room.
Back to the lobby for more reading & cappuccino!
We had made late dinner reservations at the Mexico restaurant, so we went for a light supper at the dining hall first which was a mistake, because we were all quite full, but the food was good! Luke & I were debating whether I could eat all my food, & I thought he said, something bad, but what he actually said was, "betcha can't." 😂 We noticed the candle on our table was out, so I helpfully told my good friend Rollie, our waiter that our Candle was 'dead', in Spanish, & he had quite a shocked reaction to that, & asked, "why?" & I told him because it wasn't lit... I realized the next morning that instead of telling him our candle was 'dead', I told him our candle is 'poop'! Oops!
Then we went to a lip sync show which we enjoyed more than the Cuba dance we saw the other night.
Back to the lobby for drinks & chatting, & then bed!
Sunday, 20 January 2019
The day looked like a good beach day, so we dressed in swim suits & went to breakfast. There are always cats hanging out in front of the dining room.
After breakfast we went to the beach & I sat in the sun while everyone else chose shade. Kept getting in the water since it was nice & hot. We all read our books,& it was very enjoyable. I found a big spider crab in the water, but couldn't get it since we had no mask. Stayed out there about 3 hours,& I got a little burned.
After lunch Tara & I got our massage & facial. It was a good deal since it was only ₱35 for the hour. Then it started getting really stormy, so we got changed into clothes & Chad & I went to the lobby while Luke & Tara stayed in their room for awhile. An Oma came & sat with us, then her family joined her. It ended up it was a family from Ontario who know some people who Chad worked with in PEI. Talked with them for a bit, then we were off to dinner. Chad made us sit on the wrong side of the dining hall. I didn't like it.
After dinner we went back to the lobby & played scum, then the boys went to bed & Tara & I played Dutch blitz & avoided the cockroaches that were coming out of the drain by us. I managed to trap one in a wine glass, then told the nice bartender when he walked by & he squished it for us, but it kept twitching! Yet another fun day.
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Went to the old doctor's house which is a museum now & climbed the tower to get a nice view of the city.
Once we got back Luke went to bed, & we quickly went for supper since it was almost closed. Then Chad went to bed while Tara & I went to the lobby for drinks & a chat. It was a good day, but I'm ready to relax!
Friday, 18 January 2019
Chad found some money on his go around the pool and had a little tussle with Roy for it! Diving seemed to go well, so we decided we'd all go for the dive at 1 o'clock.
The dive was really fun. Saw some weird fish, some benches, &a turtle! That was really cool.
Once we got back to the hotel we all went our separate ways. I got a drink, then went to sit in the sun with my book by the pool since it was a cool day. Eventually Luke joined me & we hung out for a bit, catching up on the last few years. We all went to dinner, then went to the lobby to hang out until the evening show. It was a Cuban dance show. Tara & I enjoyed chatting about the costumes & the dancers like 2 old ladies. So far we are really enjoying our trip!