Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Perfect Vacation Spot

Five Island Retreat is located in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy. I found their website while surfing around one day and I've been dreaming about it ever since.

The Island is rented in it's entirety. The quote I received is that is $400 a night or $2500 a week. Initially this struck me as steep until you realize that this would be the cost for 6 couples (or 12 people that do not mind sharing a bed). It works out to $30 a night per person for the week rental. To have full run of the island, the main house and the three sleeping cabins... it's a damn fine deal.

The island is only accessible by boat during high tide (there is emergency services available by helicopter if needed). There are no cooks or housekeeping services. You have to bring your own groceries. There is on-site caretaker who is rarely seen, unless you need him.

Five Islands is an hour and half drive from the Halifax airport, which is an hour's flight from Boston or an hour and quarter from New York.

The main house is a newly built two story home with fully equipped kitchen (gas stove, electric oven, refrigerator/freezer, microwave), large open living/dining area, three bedrooms, two baths (one with bathtub, one with shower only) and sitting/reading areas on decks up and downstairs and on a mezzanine which includes a glass floored walkway over the living room.

The lovers’ cabin is one room with bed looking down 200 feet to the sea, a wood burning stove for heat, an efficient and pleasant compost toilet, sitting chairs and front porch looking over sea and nearby islands.

The lighthouse cabin is a small scale lighthouse with a living room downstairs, a bedroom up a ladder onto the second floor and up another ladder is the outside widow’s walk which wraps around the lighthouse. A compost toilet is in a separate structure.

The boat cabin is built as a boat with a bedroom inside and the open front deck looking over the sea. A compost toilet is next to it. The control house can be used for reading or viewing.
The caretakers’ cabin is near the main house but not visible from it. It comfortably houses a couple with a kitchen, sleeping and living areas and toilet.

Here is the website... http://www.fiveislandsretreat.com/view.htm

Now the only snag is to find 5 suitable couples to spend a week with.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Does it really work?

I came across the Magikball at Zellers (Big Department Store) a few weeks back. I've been wondering about it ever since.

This plastic ball, about the size of a softball, is filled with little beads. It promises to clean your clothing without detergent for a year. It retails for $59.99 as a general rule. All you need to do is once a month it needs to sit on your window sill and recharge the beads.

My inital concern was "Does it take the stinky out?" Without testing myself, the internet tells me that it does. The testimonials, both on the Magik Ball website and off the site, says that it leaves clothing with a non-scent. If you wish to add scent, you can add an essential oil to the rinse water or you could add a fabric softener (this option seemed counter-productive to the goals of reducing our environmental footprint).

It works just as well in cold water. Doesn't pollute the water tables. Reduces allergies. Reduced wasted packaging.

I can't wait to get mine!


Monday, 19 November 2007

This now concludes the vacation season for 2007...

Vacation is officially done for 2007. I have 2.5 hours before I have to be at work. 2 weeks of vacation in 2 months was a nice treat although it really sucked not to have much time off during the summer months.

Tomorrow is my 7th anniversary with Convergys and this treats me to another week of vacation for 2008 for a total of 4 weeks. I was pretty effective making 4 weeks out of my 3 weeks for the past few years, I can just imagine what I can do with a whole extra week! I've never taken more than 1 week at a time before... perhaps this could go into the planning.

As I am still looking for employment up north, I should only allow myself to take vacation every 13 weeks when I have earned it so I am not in a position to pay it back later. That being said, there are 7 weeks left to the year, 13 weeks into the year is the last week of March, first week of April... that's a really really really long way off. Thankfully, I should have some time off around Christmas or the New Year.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

My Alarm Clock...

In an effort to re-align my sleep schedule from my vacation schedule to my work schedule, I had to do a long sleep, long awake and a really long sleep. The end goal is to be sleepy during the evening hours of Sunday so I can get enough sleep to be quasi-useful Monday at work. My plan was working beautifully until...

At 2 AM my alarm clock, Bobby, decided that he had had enough.

Bobby is my cat. In our herd of 6 kitties, he has single claim on me. Cory will do as an option for him if I am unavailable but his heart is reserved for me. Bobby's single goal in life is to convince me to go to bed so he can snuggle my belly. He spends hours a day trying to figure out a way to get me to go to bed. You would think that my sleep re-alignment would have been right up his alley.

At 12 years old, Bobby has some pretty effective methods for manipulating me into doing his biding. His efforts to get me to bed include a spectacular display of meowing and leading me to the bedroom. If I fail to follow or follow-up, the process is repeated until he declares defeat and he re-tries in approximately 30 minutes.

Once in bed, I am treated with a belly snuggle that lasts until either I am forced up due to some nasty obligation such as work or he decides that it is time to get up. The latter occurred this morning. He begins the process by expressing his love through purring. This stirs me a little but I've built a resistance to this initial technique. He then moves to the pawing of my hair. With his paws, he prods the back of my neck as if he is looking for entrance to the world under the blankets. When I surface long enough to lift the blankets to offer entrance, he sticks his head under the blanket and pauses to contemplate world events while I hang in limbo with the blankets held high. This process lasts about 30 seconds but it is his first taste of success. He then moves into his final step... excessively loud purring. For excessively loud purring, he puts forth an effort that causes his head to bob (thus the name Bobby). His purr is so loud and explosive that it activated the final catalyst... he wakes Cory. I alone could ignore the purring, plus how can you be mad at a cat that is this happy? Cory is a lighter sleeper than me and he finally says "Bobby, Please Stop!" This completes the cycle. I know that it will only stop if I get up...

So this is how I ended up updating my blog at 3 in the morning. Once I made my coffee, Bobby yelled at me some more until I let him up on my lap at the computer where he immediately fell back asleep. I guess he was just looking for a change of venue.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Where does it all go...

PAY DAY!! Yay, I can finally pick up the things I'm running out of (this paycheque to paycheque life sucks) ... before I get too excited, I have to just pay a few bills...

Let's see what have to pay.... 13.75% of my paycheque is saved for insurance. Insurance is good... my auto insurance is still a little high from a car accident 6 years ago, but that is scheduled to come off my history on the next renewal. My apartment insurance allows me to sleep knowing that if one of my neighbours decides to play with matches and catches the place on fire, I can have replacement underwear. It's all about covering your butt. And life insurance... it's something I don't want to use but when the moment happens I'll have some peace of mind.


Internet and Cable... my two largest entertainment sources. This one saves me from spending money elsewhere to entertain myself and Cory... 10.2% of my paycheque....

So far about 24% of my paycheque is TOASTED....

Next one is cell phones, this was a whim purchase to save money... cancelled the home phone which we NEVER answered and replaced with 2 cells phones. Seemed like a great deal... $35 for 2 phones with shared minutes... what do you mean, no voicemail or caller ID? That was $10 more per line just to add those... add a few more fees, plus a downloaded game, long distance, and that is.... 9% of my paycheque. Didn't save any money and locked myself into a 3 year contract...

33% gone...

Power... Another 10% of my paycheque... I even bought those nasty fluorescent light bulbs to try to save here. They don't work in dimmer switches and the lighting washes out all the color in the world. Plus they create shadows. I don't like them but I use them in about half of our lamps. Thankfully the fish finally expired, that fish tank was costing about a dollar a day in power...

43% gone.. and I haven't bought groceries yet...

Credit cards... well, these have gotten me out of trouble in the past and now I'm paying for it... deal with the devil blah blah blah... another 10%.

53% gone....

Munchkin needs to be neutered... can't wait on this issue any longer... 17% of my paycheque.

70% gone...

I try to put away a little savings each pay... and when I say "a little", I mean 2.5% of my paycheque... clearly, once again I can't afford this...

So that leaves me with 30% of my paycheque to buy groceries, cat supplies, prescriptions, laundry change and pocket change...

I really hope we don't have an emergency. At least I didn't have to pay any rent on this one...

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Michael Moore's SiCKO

Last night we watched SiCKO, a documentary by Michael Moore. Michael Moore is known for his documentaries such as Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 911. I am a huge fan of Michael Moore. I have to keep in mind when I watch his documentaries that they are designed to disturb but at least the message is clear.

The United States Health care system is an embarrassment to the civilized world. I live in Canada and I couldn't imagine being told I could not have the medical treatment I required. The people featured in SiCKO made my eyes burn and my heart ache. I can't encourage everyone enough to take the time and watch this movie.

My favorite quote from the movie is... "If you can afford to kill people, you can afford to heal people"


Friday, 9 November 2007

The North West Company

Well today I spoke to the Northwest company about my application. For those that are not aware of the Northwest company, they run most of the grocery stores (among other things) in Northern Canada.

This company is an excellent way to get out of debt and on your feet quickly. The provide fully furnished housing, utilities and a grocery allowance. Basically everything you make is yours! They do ask for a 2 year commitment and you have to be willing to move to some of the more remote places in the world.

They are planning an information session in December in Dartmouth where they will conduct interviews. It is by invitation and to apply most of their jobs are posted on http://www.workopolis.com/

Check it out... you may be able to lift some weight off your shoulders

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Things are looking up...

I'm finally receiving contact as a result of my applications. I have to say I was starting to get discouraged but apparently patience is a virtue. I guess I'm just more used to the fast pace lifestyle here. I look forward to being in a place where everything isn't rush rush rush all the time. It's just a bit frustrating waiting when you are excited about an adventure.

I really do need the time to organize. I wandered into our storage room, which is really the master bedroom in our apartment. I immediately become completely and totally overwhelmed by the volume of crap we have collected over the years. We have been in our current apartment for over 6 years and I KNOW we have boxes that haven't been unpacked since the last move. It's actually one of the reasons we haven't moved out of this place... too overwhelming.

I'm on vacation next week, I guess it's time to tackle the storage!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Good Bye Noel

Well the storm came and went... in my world (which consists of my apartment and very limited view off the deck), Noel was a disappointment. He had so much promise to be a big blast of a storm... we had some rain, it was pretty windy but we kept the balcony door open for the entire storm. We had a little power flicker that made the computer reboot but did not cause the clocks to blink.

Cory watched a styrofoam container sit in the middle of the parking lot... it just sat there, didn't even move in the wind.

Meanwhile in Eastern Passage where my mother lives (10 minutes away), boulders are being moved out of the ocean and plopped into the middle of the road. Power poles are "torn out of the ground".

All and all, Noel was a fine example of perspective.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Welcome Noel

I'm just sitting here waiting for post-tropical storm Noel to hit... It's been raining and blowing all afternoon but the dude on the weather network says that the show really doesn't start until 7 PM this evening (5:50 PM right now).

They are calling for power failures so we had to do one more supply run this afternoon to grab a few more can goods and more candles. The wind was so strong that the rain felt like like stones hitting me in the face.

Here's the most recent weather warning...

Halifax Metro and Halifax County West
3:49 PM ADT Saturday 3 November 2007
Rainfall and Wind warning for
Halifax Metro and Halifax County West continued

Rainfall amounts of 50 to 70 millimetres tonight.

Dangerous post-tropical storm Noel will approach Nova Scotia and track across the Bay of Fundy tonight reaching the Gulf of St Lawrence Sunday morning. The main threat with this storm will be potentially damaging winds.

Heavy rain and pounding ocean waves.Gusty easterly winds up to 100 km/h are expected tonight over the mainland. Les Suetes winds gusting to 160 km/h are also forecast. Winds will become southwest with gusts from 100 to 120 km/h with 140 km/h possible over some coastal areas behind the low. These winds could lead to downed trees and power lines leading to power interuptions and cause damage to roofing and cladding material on some homes.

Rainfall amounts of 50 to 70 millimetres are expected over the western half of the province..While 30 to 40 millimetres are expected over eastern portions. Showers will end Sunday morning. Rainfall may cause localized flooding in prone areas..Especially where leaf litter clogs storm drains.

11-metre waves are expected along the Atlantic coast tonight and Sunday morning leading to very heavy pounding surf. Erosion of some beaches is likely and some coastal infrastructure damage is possible.

Well... the next update later or when the power comes back on...

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Job Search

So before we can even start our adventure, we need to find a job...

I've found some useful resource sites for looking for work in the area.

http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/ <- Lists both government of Canada jobs and jobbank http://canada.indeed.com/ <- Very useful site as it searches all other job sites and compiles an up-to-date list.
http://www.gov.nu.ca/hr/ <- Government of Nunavut job site
http://www.northwest.ca/BackOffice/ <- Major Employer for Northern Canada

My job search has been a series of hurry-up and waits...