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Our new address

Good old Revenue Canada. If anyone can make life difficult it’s these guys!

As we are moving we have to make an address change. We rented a postal box as we can’t get mail delivered to the trailer. Rosalie contacted all the relevant people: banks, drivers licenses, insurance co. etc. Then we came to the CRA.

Rosalie went online to do this simple task and quickly became frustrated. She entered all the relevant information: social insurance number, birthdate, line 114 of her last tax return, username and password. Only to be frustrated. They instructed her to go to “change my address.” The problem was that there was no such link. I stepped in at this point as listening to her bang her head on the table was starting to annoy me.

“This will be easy to fix” I naively proclaimed as I  logged into my own account. I entered my SIN, date of birth, line 114 of my previous return, youngest daughters middle name (I’m serious!) and pressed enter. A message popped up asking for my security number sent to me in 2016 ????? “Okay,” said I to myself, “stay calm, this is Canada and things will work out just fine.”

Rosalie got her number but neither of us remembers getting mine. The website said to call CRA to get a new one. 10 minutes of searching later I managed to find a number that may or may not work. I dialed and prayed!

A whole bunch of time was taken up advising me to go back and make changes online. I waited it out and eventually, the system gave in and presented me with a phone menu. None of the menu options mentioned security numbers but one mentioned address changes so I eagerly selected that one only to be advised as to how to change it online. 

I hung up with tears of frustration in my eyes and pushed Rosalie to one side as it was my turn to bang my head on the table. 

It’s not as though they send us anything exciting like a nice big cheque or a little form to fill out for a change of address. No! All we get are demands and threats. Perhaps we shouldn’t bother after all and just reply to those internet CRA threats. At least they seem to know where we live.

The saddest part about all this is, that it took us three years to get our address changed last time, when we moved here.

Antenna

We are fast approaching the time when we will move to the trailer. Among the many chores, we have to face is the serious issue of getting hockey games. My team “The Leafs” are in the playoffs and we don’t have cable or enough WiFi at the campground. We do though, have signals coming through the air!!!

After consultations with my antenna expert, Peter, I ordered an antenna from Amazon. It arrived a few days later and I managed to put it together with one hand. It was duly inspected by both Peter and Gordie, who was visiting at the time, and they told me that it might do the job.

We had planned to go clam hunting near the trailer on Saturday so this was a good opportunity to try the antenna. Peter had brought a length of the aluminum pole to mount it on so we were ready to go. 

We hooked up the TV and all the other bits and bobs we needed and turned it on. It must be remembered that the pole was sitting on the ground with Peter holding it. It was also facing a bunch of trees. I wasn’t expecting much. I did an auto scan and we picked up 9 channels! By this time Peter had gotten tired and leaned the antenna against a tree. We did another scan and still got three channels. CBC, which I was looking for, was the best.

The signal was crystal clear HD. I can’t wait to put it up on the roof 30 feet from the ground. I’m expecting to pick up BBC and Radio Moscow.

We had some lunch and drove to the beach to carry out our main task. Clams! Rosalie and I were experts at this as we had been once before. I, of course, put myself in charge as I love bossing people around. I had to remember though that they were all carrying spades and I only had one hand. The rain on this outing wasn’t very heavy but every little bit helps.

Peter had his famous clam whistle and I carried a net and a clam spear for any trying to get away. We found a likely site and started to dig. Soon we had enough for a meal. I managed to dig a little bit but my hand got sore so I went in search of the elusive oyster. Only three were silly enough to give themselves up, so no big meal there.

We noticed that Suzie was having a great time. She loved digging for free clams but when we got home she told us that she didn’t like eating them. Next time we will send her out by herself while we sit and watch with a glass of wine.

We went back to the condo where Rosalie cooked up a really tasty clam fettuccini. I was a bit concerned that we may end up with numb lips but all was fine. 

 

 

Lefty

I’m now a lefty…for a while. Now the first week of my hand recovery is over it was time to go to the hand clinic. This was something I was both dreading and looking forward to. Dreading because I knew it would be uncomfortable but also wanting to be done with the bandaging.

I had to take Rosalie as there were forms to fill out and I couldn’t do it. We sat in the waiting room and in a short time my name was called. We looked up to see two cute young therapists waiting for me. Rosalie must have seen them too because she followed us into the treatment room.

The younger of the two, Miranda, told me she was a student doing her practicum. Great! I was about to be tortured by a student. How wrong I was. 

Under the supervision of Sue, the senior of the two, she very gently removed all the old dressings. This process took about 30 minutes as the dressing was stuck to the wound. She was very patient and gentle and eventually my hand and the dressing parted company. Miranda hurt me only once during the whole process and that was minor.

I had to wash my hand to get the old blood off and then went back to the torture chamber treatment room.

These young women are not just therapists but engineers as well. There’s a workshop that includes an anvil and a whole bunch of other tools. 

They redressed my hand and laid it on a sheet of paper, drew an outline and toddled off to make a splint from 1/8th-inch perforated plastic. They cut it to size and then heated it in a water bath. When it was nice and soft they carefully molded it to my hand. They added velcro straps and I was good to go.

Rosalie wanted to know why they had to hold my hand so much. I have to be nice to her from here on as she has to redress my hand every couple of days. I also have to exercise it 5 times a day and I’m sure she will be watching.LeftyLefty

Now that the worst of the surgery and recovery are over, I’m trying to adapt to temporarily being a lefty. The most difficult part is that I can’t use my thumb to help.

Mundane things like putting toothpaste on a brush need a bit of practice and ingenuity. That’s after I figure out how to get the cap off the tube at night without waking Rosalie. Try washing your left armpit with your left hand, not easy is it? Rosalie offered to jump in the shower to help but I can’t quite trust her anymore.

Fortunately, wine glasses can be used in either hand.

The new, new TV

A year and a half ago our old TV, which we had had for ten years, was starting to give up the ghost so we needed a new one. We got one from Best Buy and did a deal for a floor model that included a two-year service warranty. As it turned out, it was a good thing we did.

About six months ago, I turned it on but there were no channels. I rebooted it (unplugged and replugged it) and it worked fine again. It was great for a while then after rebooting several more times, I called the Geek Squad.

They promised to be out in a few days and sure enough, a young man showed up with his trusty drill and a bag of bits. He whipped off the back of the TV, yanked out a module, shoved a new one in and put the whole thing back together again. He explained that they had some problems with this particular module and it should be fine now.

It was fine for quite a while, but when we got back from Mexico the problem started again. I called the Geek Squad once more and they promised to get back to me in a few days. They called and said they would call again the following week to set up an appointment.

While we were waiting we had to be in Prince George for Rosalie’s brother’s remembrance service. After the service was over and the noise in the hall was at its height we got a recorded call from the Geek Squad but couldn’t hear it very well. Rosalie heard them say something about bringing the TV to the store. I, of course, got mad. If they came to the house last time then they could do it again.

When we got home I called them back to see what it was all about. I had my story all ready. I’m a little old senior who can’t be expected to lift that great big heavy TV into our little car and they should come to the house to service it. It didn’t quite work out that way though.

What they had said in the original message was that we were to return it in exchange for a new TV. This little old senior had the old TV in the back of the car and off to the store in minutes.

When we got there they told us that we could have a new one: equal to, or better than, our old one. We picked a better one out and returned to the service counter. There, we learned that the newer and better one was $340 cheaper, so we also got a nice rebate. And best of all I can save my little old senior excuse for another day.

Great service from Best Buy.

We celebrated by binge-watching: ‘The Windsors’ and ‘Norsemen’ on Netflix.

Recovery.

My recovery began with “Mr. Wells, are you awake” It occurred to me that these people whom I had never seen before, knew my name but the last bunch, who had all the paperwork, didn’t. While I was waiting for surgery I thought about changing things up and saying my name was Colin. I didn’t though, it would just be my luck that Colin would be in for testicular removal. 

I blearily opened first one eye and then the other and I was back! Once again I begged for a coffee but was once again denied. I had to stay in the recovery room for a while (I think they wanted to keep me) before being wheeled to the discharge area.

I checked my right hand to see that they hadn’t amputated it by mistake and found a huge bundle of bandages. It looked way worse than last time and I thought this one might be worth a bit more sympathy.

Finally, I was wheeled into the discharge area and had my coffee as I waited for my ride. Everybody called me Mr. Wells so I guess word had gotten around finally. I hoped I hadn’t ticked Rosalie off lately or else I would be staggering home alone.

While I was waiting I was given a bunch of paperwork and a lot of verbal information which went in one ear and out the other. I was on drugs dude! 

My angel of mercy eventually showed up and started to help me get dressed. She had this sort of gleam in her eye and I got a little worried. I do remember that she tucked me into my jeans with a giggle. It occurred to me that she was taking advantage of my drugged state but I couldn’t be sure.

We got home fine and Rosalie tucked me in. It was 1 pm by this time and I hadn’t eaten since before midnight. Rosalie cooked me up a hearty lunch of one boiled egg, a slice of toast and a coffee and I was ready to face the world again.

I couldn’t take any meds before 3 pm so I sat in agony for two hours (not true. He was still high from the hospital meds: Rosalie). 

When I left the hospital I was told that I might feel a little nauseous for a while but I felt great. 3 pm came around and I took the first of my pills. T3s for pain and antibiotics for nasty little germses. I still felt good until dinner time. Rosalie cooked me a delicious meal and I was really enjoying her cooking for a change when the nausea hit.

We checked labels on the meds and both appeared to have nausea side effects. Great! Thinking it would wear off I waited but it seemed to get worse. Rosalie, having had enough of my whining and crying, called the pharmacy. They said I could take it with Gravol. Of course, we had none in the house so Rosalie hustled off to get some.

My next pill was due at 11 pm so I waited until 10:30 to take the Gravol. In about 30 minutes I was feeling fine. 

I decided to sleep downstairs in my grandad chair for the night so Rosalie went to get my PJs. She returned with that gleam in her eye again and I knew what was coming. I think she pulled my jeans off with unseemly haste. Her hands were warm though.

I took my pill at 11 pm and another with Gravol at 3 am. It’s now 12 hours later and I haven’t had any pain meds since.

While Rosalie was out having fun with her gang today I thought I would try a shower by myself. I found out that I can undress myself so Rosalie will be disappointed. Me too to tell the truth. Although I found that I still can’t shower myself properly. It’s impossible to wipe your left arm with your left hand. I don’t want to know about wiping other stuff.

Getting dressed is a bit of a challenge. For a start, the bandage is bulky and won’t fit in all my sleaves. Buttoning up my pants is a two person job, mostly my fault as I need to lose a bit of weight.

I have to go to the hand clinic on Monday. I have to wear the bandages until then as they are holding a splint to keep my fingers straight.

The scariest part of the whole thing is no alcohol until the antibiotics are finished, also, Rosalie has to do all the driving.

I make fun of my lovely lady in these blogs, but she knows it’s in fun and that I love her to bits. Oho! here she comes with my jeans.

 

The other hand

Having had surgery on my left hand a few years ago it was decided that I now needed to get the other hand done. My finger had become ‘L’ shaped and kept getting in the way. Also, the Doctor needed another holiday in the south of France.  

I was waiting for an appointment and sure enough, they called while we were in Prince George last Tuesday. “We’re sorry this is such short notice, but could you have the surgery on Monday next”. Flustered and a little panicked because I didn’t have my calendar handy, I agreed to get it over with.

When we got home the next day, I got the ECG and blood work done and settled in to wait for the surgery time. On Friday they called to let me know that it would be 9:14 am. Not bad, I don’t have to get up too early. then they sprung it on me to be there at 7:45. I protested that I was retired and didn’t do that early, but to no avail.

The process of getting prepared involves buying a couple of antiseptic sponges and scrubbing from head to toe the evening before and the morning of. Every inch of your body has to be done, so as I couldn’t reach all the places Rosalie had to become involved. She only had to do my back but her hands kept wandering and I could see I was in for a trying couple of weeks.

Rosalie dropped me off at the hospital and made her get away. I got checked in and received some bling in the form of a paper bracelet. Next, I had to take the elevator to the second floor and follow the yellow dots. The coloured dots area is a great idea but Rosalie still seems to get lost somehow.

I arrived at the desk, presented my paperwork and was told to wait. A few minutes later my name was called and my ordeal began. 

I was taken into a small changing room and told to put on some PJ bottoms, a classic backless hospital gown and a dressing gown. I was also issued with some cute little paper booties and a paper hat. They told me not to put the hat on right away which was a bit of a disappointment as I wanted to make a fashion statement.

Next, the interrogations began. I was asked all the questions that I’d previously answered at reception. They asked name, age and what was I in for? I was tempted to say armed robbery, but the moment passed. Then, I was told to go back to the public waiting room until called. So, there I was in all my hospital garb for the whole world to giggle at. I know it would have felt better if I could have put the hat on.

Soon my name was called and I went and got into a bed. I had to give up my booties, dressing gown and pant bottoms but was rewarded by being allowed to wear my hat at last. They covered me with a heated blanket (ooh! snuggy) and whisked me of to the surgical area. 

I waited there for a while studying the ceiling looking for dead flies when a young nurse introduced herself and asked me all the same questions that had been asked before. She also piled on more warm blankets. Next, a cute 16-year-old woman stopped by to tell me she was Dr. Wong the anesthetist. She asked me all the questions again. By this time I just wanted to answer with name, rank and serial number.

Finaly the doctor showed up. He asked how I was doing. I said I wanted a coffee. he said “‘no!” He then drew a map of the London Underground on my hand. He told me there was lots of work to be done on the hand and toddled off to the doctor’s lounge for his coffee.

eventually a nurse came for me, put a fresh pair of booties on my feet and made me walk into the operating room. I walked in clutching the back of my gown with as much dignity as I could muster. Of course, the room was full of young females waiting for the doctor to finish his coffee and I’m sure I heard a few giggles.

I hopped onto the bed and they made me comfortable by snapping cold tapes to my body and sticking IV feeds in me.

The doctor made his entrance and asked again my name, age, and why I was there. I thought “If he’s forgotten already I’m in big trouble”.

They clamped a mask to my face told me to take four big breaths (I only managed three. I hope they didn’t get too mad at me) and away I went.

 

 

Bits and Bob’s

We’ve been back from Mexico a month or more now and I haven’t written a blog. So here are some bits and bob’s to try to catch up.

We arrived back to fairly nice weather and didn’t feel the cold too much. Sorting out our things for either storage or the campground is bit of an onerous job but has to be done so we got heavily into that. We had a couple of nice trips to the trailer and reacquainted ourselves with Alan. 

I put a lot of stuff for sale on Kijiji so have been battling with people over prices. If they buy it without haggling you start to think you should have asked for more. Or if they make a really low offer you think it’s over priced. Then there is the stuff that you don’t get any sort of response too. The Sally Anne has also taken a lot of stuff from us. Some of it we bought from them.

This last week hasn’t been so good. Rosalie’s younger brother Norris who has been battling cancer for six years finally left us last week. We spent some time in Prince George for the celebration of life and got back on Wednesday. Also we found out that my son-in-law is seriously ill. Then we heard that a good friend of ours in Ontario has to have bypass surgery next week. So, as I said, not a good week. 

When we got back from Mexico we decided it was too late in the year to put the snow tires on. I had  left the car at long term parking at Nanaimo airport when we went to Prince George so was a bit concerned when it dropped 8″ of snow while we were gone. All was well though as the roads were clear when we got back.

I go in for surgery on Monday to get my right hand fixed. I’m happy about that. The sooner the better. It’s getting to be a nuisance. Anyway it will all be over before the move and I won’t have to sit back with a smile on my face watching Rosalie doing all the heavy lifting. It is my right hand so it will be a bit of a chore doing some things. Rosalie will have to cut up my food for me for instance. I hope she plays airplanes with me like I did for her when she had neck problems. It’s my little finger that’s most affected and I will be happy to have it straightened out again so I no longer poke myself in the eye every time I try to scratch my ear.

bits and bob's

Me, waiting for the boys to get home.

It’s been lonely at the pub on Thursday afternoons as half of our gang are still in Arizona. John and I just sit there looking at each and sigh. Two more weeks and Peter is back. He may not want to come back though, what with the weather and the fact that he and Bill have been spending their pub days at Twin Peaks. Bill’s due back at the end of March. “Come home guys, we miss you”.

Bits and bob's

Now we see why Bill won’t come home.

 

Puerto Vallarta

On our way home, we had to fly from Puerto Vallarta so we spent a few days with Al and Cathy. Last time we were there we weren’t too impressed as it’s a big city and we prefer a smaller place. After this visit, we changed our minds as we enjoyed it a lot more this time around. 

We left Melaque on Friday morning after dropping off the keys to the house. Again a Mexican experience. I was supposed to drop them at the landlord’s house or, failing that, give them to the guy in the ice cream store next door. There was no one home at the house and the ice cream store was closed. So, I took off back to the place we had stayed in, unlocked the door and left the keys inside. Luckily it wasn’t too hot as I had to hustle. I needn’t have bothered hurrying as the bus left a half hour late anyway.

The trip to Puerto Vallarta was uneventful and we arrived in one piece. Rosalie’s cousin Jeannine was also in PV so we visited her the next day. We walked along the Malecon until we found a nice little restaurant on the beach. After lunch and a few beers and margaritas, we walked slowly back. 

About halfway back we encountered The Zoo, a pub with an animal theme. So we stopped for another beer and was entertained by our young waiter on the dancing pole. Also, Rosalie and Jeannine both got a kiss from a gorilla. Lucky them!Puerto Vallarta

The following day, Al and Cathy took us back downtown to see more of the Malacon as well as the old city. We walked through a market and up to Gringo Gulch. This is where the Gringos built their houses back in the day. We also saw where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton used to live. Unfortunately, the house is no longer there as they tore it down and built a restaurant in its place. Again we had lunch on the beach and then caught a bus home.Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Rosalie and Cathy having way too much fun.

As it was our last evening, we walked to the local marina and found a nice restaurant for dinner. Rosalie and I shared a Mexican plate that had a bit of everything on it. 

We reluctantly left for the airport the following day and arrived home at 11:45 PM where Lyn was waiting to drive us home.

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we have to go home. (Sob!) We’ve had such a great time down here we don’t want to leave. 

It will be different next year when we come for six months. We’ll be residents, not tourists. The obvious thing to think is that we are having a good time now because we are on holiday, but when we live here day to day living will ho-hum..?! I don’t think so, there is nothing ho-hum about this place. 

There is so much that we don’t know about this wonderful place and we want to know it all. Both of us are determined to improve our Spanish skills which we think is important if we want to live here. Also, there are a lot of places we want to visit, like Colima and Guadalajara. Since watching “The Shawshank Redemption” Rosalie has wanted to go to Zihuatanejo so we may visit there too.

We eat out a lot right now but next year we will mostly be cooking our own food as that’s more practical. I’ll cook a lot more if we get a small BBQ, Rosalie can do the dishes.

We may need some form of transportation (or not). We thought about a motor scooter but I think a dune buggy may be more fun. Anyway, the transportation here is so cheap we don’t really need our own. Also, the exercise is good for us.

We finally managed to set up a bank account. It took nearly two weeks but we finally succeeded. They needed an electricity bill to prove that our address was ligit. This took more than a few days as we had to get it from the realtor, because, well, this Mexico. I now have a new debit card in my new wallet and we get 2.85% interest on our money.

They also offered us their investment program. If we invest $100,000 pesos, about $6500 they will give us 6.5% for one year or 7% for 1 1/2 years. Not bad, especially as we found out that they pay that up front after local taxes. Of course the money would be locked in.

When we get home we have all the practical things to think about. Like, moving out of the condo so that we can rent it out. Do we sell stuff or store it? What will our mailing address be? You know, stuff like that. I also have a lot to do out at the trailer. Finishing the sunroom will be the biggest job. But that’s mostly stuff I can do in the summer when I get bored.

We’re considering driving down next year so that we can take more stuff that we probably won’t use. It will cost a bit more than flying.  There is also the safety aspect, although we have spoken to lots of people and they haven’t had any problems. 

Anyway, whatever we decide will be okay. We just plan to enjoy our last few days here.

Tito’s Bar

Tito’s bar is in the west end of town. We were invited out again by Bill and Connie. I’m beginning to like these people, they get us into all sort of fun places. We had been to Tito’s bar before but not in the evening. 

We arrived at about 2:30 in anticipation of the band starting at 4:00. But of course, this is Mexico and the band arrived at 4:00 and started to set up. We found out that they had been playing a benefit gig for a Mexican family who had lost their home in a fire last week so all was forgiven. Tito's Bar

The leader of the band was Rod Snow, some sort of relative of Hank Snow although we don’t know the exact connection. The music was great and we had a nice evening.

However, this was happy hour, so when you ordered one drink you ended up with two. Also, happy hour lasted for about four hours so we took full advantage.Tito's Bar

There is a strict protocol when you are holding a table. If there is one spare chair anyone can claim it and bring all their friends along to enjoy your company. This is how you meet so many new people. Tonight we met a Leafs fan from Nanaimo, a couple from Sechelt and another couple from Parksville. I also recognised a realtor I used to know in Nanaimo whom I didn’t want to get reacquainted with, so I ignored him.

When we were here three years ago we met a woman from England who was on her first visit here to meet her son’s in-laws who were Mexican. Tonight we met the son in Tito’s Bar along with his cute little daughter. Melaque is a small place.Tito's Bar

The other aspect of partying in a place like this is that you also get the touristy stuff. While listening to the band play old-time country music, we watched the sun go down. On the beach was a guy casting his rod trying to catch some fish. Then a fishing boat gracefully pulled off into the sunset to look for our luch for tomorrow. The change of light as the sun goes down is Rosalie’s favourite part.Tito's Bar

All in all, it was a profitable evening (No, we didn’t leave without paying the bill) we made a bunch of new friends that we will surely meet next year and had a great meal with entertainment.

Just to cap off a great evening we came across some horsemen out for the evening.Tito's Bar

When we got home, Rosalie, remembering the polo match, said that she wanted to get involved. I told her the only Polo she would get is the mint with the hole. The stitches come out next week.

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