February 26, 2023 · 8:07 am
A while back, while running my socially-distanced, masked, sanitized errands, I stopped by a nearby bank branch with a simple mission: to obtain a transaction register.
For those who might not be familiar with what that is, a transaction register is that little booklet you slide into your chequebook holder, to keep track of your deposits and your withdrawals.
I realize that I am probably dating myself with that statement since cheques, chequebooks and chequebook holders might not be household names in many households anymore.
The fact is that cheques are losing popularity (in Canada, anyway), in favour of credit cards, debit cards, eTransfers and automatic withdrawals. I think it would be safe to say that during the pandemic when physical forms of payment were discouraged, the adjustment to contactless forms of payment may have accelerated the inevitable.
Just the same, there are occasions when a cheque is still the more convenient or practical payment option. This 2018 article from the Ottawa Citizen explains more on the topic:
Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, pop culture, stories
Tagged as accounting, check, check book, cheque, chequebook, cheques, credits, debits, finances, financial, money, personal, records, register, system, transaction
August 28, 2022 · 7:28 am
How I miss the days when I had a stomach of steel (metaphorically speaking of course) and could eat pretty much anything, at any time, and in any quantities that I wished.
Those were the days… the joys of being a growing boy, with a healthy appetite and a metabolism to burn calories like an industrial grade furnace.
In looking back, I am grateful that I did take advantage of that period to enjoy a few all-you-can-eat buffets, which I cannot really do much anymore. Now, just a little too much food can have me immobilized on the couch like a tortoise flipped upside down on its shell, and then skipping the next meal or two.
Also, I am glad that when my stomach was pretty infallible, I was able to get a bit adventurous in going outside of the “meat and potatas” my Dad preferred as our nightly dishes, and to try out different cuisines when the opportunity presented itself.
But for some reason, as I got older, my stomach had its ups, downs and intolerances that have complicated things a bit. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, food, Humour
Tagged as aging, allergies, belly, digestion, digestive, eating, food, gas, getting older, gut, IBS, indigestible, intolerances, issues, stomach, system, tummy
May 1, 2022 · 7:43 am
Is it just me or have some eCommerce systems suddenly gone glitchy?
Just as I started settling into retirement, enjoying more free time to relax and to enjoy life, I regret that some of that reclaimed time is getting gobbled up, cleaning up after glitchy systems.
It seems that at least every week or two, I am on the phone (or communicating via chat-boxes) with different companies about system issues.
For example, I had an order cancelled without notification to me (and I was still waiting for it, weeks later). I had an order shipped to a nearby store location, but no notification that it had arrived (and was soon to be shipped back). I had several orders marked “undeliverable” when a given company had delivered parcels to our house countless times before.
Of course, none of these situations were catastrophic by any stretch of the imagination. There are far more serious problems in the world, and I do try to maintain a level-headed perspective in light of these situations.
I completely understand that mishaps happen and I am always willing to offer the benefit of the doubt. But when there seems to be surprising regularity to these mishaps, not isolated to a single company, it does make one wonder what is going on in the world of system development.
Have systems been ramped up too quickly to handle the onslaught on online shopping during the pandemic?
Are systems properly designed for every eventuality? Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as artificial, client, computers, development, eCommerce, intelligence, online, problems, retail, shopping, system, tech, technology, testing
August 15, 2021 · 8:04 am
When we first moved into our home in the country, we were quite enamoured by the two apple trees on our property.
For me, apple trees bring back childhood memories of a Macintosh apple tree that sat on the property line between our place and our neighbours’. The girl next door and I climbed that tree, we played in that tree and we daydreamed in that tree.
It was the neighbours’ tree however, and the neighbour took care of it, so none of that maintenance work shows up on my CV of my life experience.
Was I prepared for fruit tree ownership in adulthood?
That first season after the move, neither of the trees on our property bore any significant amount of fruit. We ran through a few scenarios to explain the reasons why: Could it be the trees’ age? Could it be the drought that put the trees in survival mode? Perhaps the trees were biennuals.
Either way, I count my blessings retroactively that the trees didn’t create any additional work for us given how busy we were with other urgent home maintenance projects while unpacking and juggling busy careers.
This spring, the apple trees graced us with beautiful blossoms and the greatest hope that we might see some fruit in the coming months.
In early June, the tree with the yellow transparent apples started dropping the first of its teeny tiny fruit. To me, this was a sign that the tree was well on its way. At that point, the apples were too small for any functional purposes so I just picked them up and put them in the yard waste bags.
But every time I looked up and saw just exactly how many apples were in the tree waiting to reach fruition, I wasn’t sure whether I should be happy or afraid. It was a massive apple tree.
Either way, I had TV-inspired visions of leisurely mornings, pulling out the stepladder, picking a few choice pieces of fruit for that day and then spending time in the kitchen making glorious baked goods.
The Pollyanna in me had a very pretty sweet view of what life with an apple tree could be.
That is… until a couple of weeks later when the apples started to mature, and seemingly all at the same time. Some days, they dropped at a rapid pace like a violent hailstorm of apples. It was in that moment that I knew how Henny Penny felt. Continue reading →
Filed under food, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as apple, apples, challenge, collection, falling, harvest, life, maintenance, picking, ripe, Rube Goldberg, system, time, tree, yard work, yellow transparent
July 5, 2020 · 8:06 am
When moving into a new house, it is amazing what we discover in those first few days. It only took one rainfall to notice that something was off with the universe.
At the back of the house, as a gentle rain fell onto the roof, the eavestrough system seemingly couldn’t keep up as a torrent of water overflowed over the side of the eavestrough, falling like a sheet.
The odd part was that there seemed to be more rain falling off the eaves system than was actually falling from the sky. The math didn’t quite add up, but then again there were a few things about this house that elicited moments of squint-inducing confusion.
When my partner mentioned it in passing to his parents, his father diagnosed the problem as a blocked gutter system. What we didn’t know was that something of this nature would actually keep his father up at night with worry, as in the days that followed, he kept asking if we took care of it yet.
I took a moment to count my blessings. Given that my own father and grandfathers have not been with us for some time, I forgot what it was like to have a family member take such a keen interest in my home maintenance issues… and to such an extreme. It was heartwarming to have someone who cared like that.
I understood that misdirected water could impact several other things in and around the house if not taken care of soon. And for the water to be falling in strong cascades off the side of the eavestrough, we realized that we probably should move it up our lengthy to-do list. But between unpacking and still putting in full days at work, energy and time was in limited supply. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, home, stories
Tagged as experience, cleaning, house, maintenance, water, property, system, home maintenance, gutter, eaves, eavestrough, rain, clearing
March 29, 2020 · 8:42 am
When my partner first suggested moving to the country some time ago, it really didn’t stir up any apprehensions on my part.
I grew up in a suburb of Ottawa in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, at a time when it had a small town feel to it. In its infancy, our tiny subdivision offered the best of both worlds: the amenities of city living as well as the space for young families to grow and thrive. At the time, it was small enough to have its own sense of community and identity, separate from the city a short drive away.
Even though my memories of “village” life are from the perspective of a young boy, I have often entertained the idea of returning to that calmer, quieter, gentler pace as I got older and as life got more rushed and complicated.
Today, my forehead is chronically bruised from the number of times I smack my palm to my forehead for the idiotic things city dwellers do, whether on the commute to or from work, to deal with the daily reality that common sense is not so common anymore, or for the need to repeatedly set boundaries with certain neighbours (i.e., “No, your dog poop in my yard is not acceptable!”)
This is not to say that moving to the country will completely eradicate these problems, but with less density in population, I’d like to think that my forehead bruises will get a decent chance to heal.
When we went to look at the house in the country that seemed to check most of the boxes of what my partner and I were looking for, I admit that my heart started to flutter. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as anxiety, buying, city, country, Erma Bombeck, Green Acres, home, home ownership, house, households, information, merging, preparation, real estate, research, rural, selling, septic, stress, system, well