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The perils of long-term parking

23 Nov

On Monday, Michael had to fly to Ontario. He had to be at the airport very, very early, so even though we live close to the airport, he took the car down and saved his sleep-deprived self a few minutes and a very cold, very windy walk.

That morning, the winter temps in Whitehorse had dropped down to below -30°C (that’s -22°F for you dark ages, uh, old-fashioned folk!) and I didn’t relish the idea of walking down to the airport and bringing the car back, especially after spending the entire morning running from bank appointment to hardware store to big box store and then back to the bank because the advisor had made an error.

Next day, the temperatures weren’t any better, plus the dog injured his knee, plus it was my birthday, plus the piano tuner came to work on my new piano (SQUEEEE!!!! DID I MENTION I HAVE A NEW PIANO?!?!), plus I had a rehearsal, and anyway, to make a long story short, I didn’t get the car.

Parking rates at the Whitehorse airport are very cheap, as you might deduce from my laissez-faire attitude.

But also, our car generally doesn’t LIKE to start at 30 below. And it’s not really a good idea to try to start a car with such a cold battery. One ought to have it plugged in for a couple of hours. Which you can’t do at the airport.

Michael flew home today. And it warmed up to +1°C. (That’s just above melting.) So I finally walked down to the airport to get the darned car. Actually, I walked down twice because I was almost there the first time when I realized I hadn’t brought along my credit card with which to pay the parking fee.

As I approached the area where Michael had told me he’d parked the car it hit me that not only had we had a week of 30-below weather, we’d also had a huge dump of snow. And yesterday was an incredibly windy day, with snow drifting across the highways and building up on inanimate objects.

Do you see where this is going?


Well, the photo is not that dramatic, I suppose, but there is a snow drift a good 20 inches deep there. (Oh, there I go using Imperial measurements. Canadians are nothing if not inconsistent with measuring conventions.)

Thank goodness we always keep a small shovel in the back of the car. I spent a good 10 minutes tunnelling my way through that drift so I could get the car out. My anticipated 25-minute errand to get the car turned into an hour-long saga.

But at least parking there all week only added up to a whopping $9.00.

Singing garbage

17 Mar

My dad recently had a birthday and happened to be in China for it. Check out this story he told me when I asked him about his birthday.

Some friends brought a birthday cake with a typical Chinese gizmo — a flower-shaped candle holder, where you light one candle in the middle, which then results in the entire gizmo opening up like a lotus flower, auto-lighting more candles and squeaking an electronic Happy Birthday tune in a continuous loop sequence. Trouble is, it does not come with instructions on how to turn that tune off. We could not figure it out and ended up throwing it in the public garbage pail on the floor, where it merrily continued squeaking loud enough that I could hear it around one corner in the aisle and the thick metal door of the apartment. So, I am sure, could the neighbours. This device was obviously inexhaustible, as it was still squeaking happily away this morning, but by now from a garbage bag all tied up and waiting to be collected.

Most likely, the garbage truck driver or the staff at the dump are still enjoying the merry tune this very moment. If this were not happy, noisy China but Germany, the police would likely have come in the middle of the night on a noise complaint.

Jade, singing in the back seat of the van

15 Apr



No spiders in the sky…”

The universe is a tease

16 May

I got some sad news on Friday.  Yes, Friday.  The 13th.  I should have known it was coming.

Remember my beloved spoon spatulas?  The ones that work so perfectly for Jade, but which were discontinued?  The ones I found on an online store in Alberta?

You can see it coming can’t you?

Yes, the store realized, with my order, that those spatulas have been discontinued and that they can’t supply them.

Excuse me for a moment while I turn my head and sob just a little.  (Or perhaps I should press the back of my hand to my forehead.  That’s more dramatic, maybe?)

Earlier in the week, I got a surprise package in the mail, from a spatula fairly who turned out to be my dad.  It’s the new style of Danesco spoon spatula.  And while it is certainly a very superior spatula, it won’t work well for Jade because the leading edge is far too wide to fit into her mouth.

Of the treasure trove my mother-in-law sent, my runner-up favourite is the blue one from Home Sense.  Its only drawback is that it’s not as deeply scooped, so some things (like Jade’s Almond Breeze drink) tend to run off.  The black Lee Valley ones have wonderfully thin edges, but aren’t scooped at all.

My next desperate plan might be to buy food-grade silicone and a belly casting kit and attempt to recreate the Danesco ones, myself.  (Just imagine how much trial and error that would entail.)

So, bloggy peeps, do me a favour, please?  On your travels through stores that sell kitchen paraphernalia, be on the lookout for a spatula with the following properties:

  1. Softish head material, like silicone or rubber (though the handle can be made of any material)
  2. Very fine edges
  3. Scooped shape for retaining ingredients without dribbling off the opposite side
  4. Narrow scraping end to fit into Jade’s little 5-year-old mouth.  Jade’s Danesco spatulas are 1 inch wide at the bottom and widen to 1-3/4″ in the middle.
You wouldn’t think that would be such a tall order would you?
But anyway, if you can’t locate my favourite spatulas, would you please help me in sending the universe a message that it shouldn’t be such a tease?

The saga of the spoon spatulas

21 Apr

A gripping tale of love and loss

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know that my eldest daughter Jade has epilepsy, and that anti-seizure medications failed her, and that her seizure disorder is now wonderfully controlled with a very strict ketogenic diet.

And in case you’re new around here, I mean strict.

Keto is so strict, every ingredient of every meal has to be measured down the tenth of a gram, and every calorie Jade ingests is calculated.  In case you don’t have a perspective on one tenth of a gram (and why would you?) that’s about two drops of olive oil.  (Which contains a whole calorie, by the way.)

Jade gives new meaning to the phrase “clean your plate”.  At the end of each of Jade’s meals, we use a spatula to carefully scrape every last drop of precious oil from her various bowls and utensils.  It’s the fat that really controls her seizures, so we don’t want to miss any.

We tried out various spatulas to varying degrees of success, but it was my sister-in-law Lindsay who introduced me to my all-time favourite: a Danesco spoon spatula.  Made of silicone, with paper thin edges, this spatula outdid every other for scooping up every little drop.

I loved it so much, Lindsay let me keep hers.  When I came back to Whitehorse, I joyfully discovered that one local shop (Coffee, Tea & Spice) sold the same spatulas, and I scooped up two more.  Now I had one for each meal!   If I could only get one for each of her two snacks, I could go through a whole day without having to wash a spatula.

But then… disaster.  The clerk at Coffee, Tea & Spice told me that Danesco had stopped making those spoon spatulas, so they couldn’t order any more.  I scoured the Internet for them, to no avail.  No store carried these spatulas, and they weren’t even listed on the Danesco website.  I found similar ones and ordered them, only to be devastatingly disappointed.

Knowing I had come in several times looking for the spatulas, and knowing why I wanted then, the clerk at Coffee, Tea & Spice gave me the one she’d taken home for herself.  And she wouldn’t even let me pay for it.  Seriously, how completely generous is that?

Now we were up to four.  And my new friend Dorothy was visiting one day with her baby boy and she mentioned that the previous tenants of an apartment they’d moved into had left that very same kind of spatula behind.  And her son was using it as a teething toy.  (Horrors!)  About a week later, though, she dropped the spatula off to me, saying there were other teething toys her son could use.

Hurrah, we were finally up to five!  I revelled in my spoontula wealth.

Then, as seems to be the case whenever one’s star flies too high, disaster fell again!

The edges of the silicone spatulas are pretty soft.  First a little divot appeared on the side of the green one.  Then a tear on the leading edge of a red one.  Oh no!  I used a knife to cut off the end of the spatula at an angle.  It wasn’t as flexible as before, but it worked better than the torn edge.  Then the other red one got a tear, too.

We have at least 18 months, maybe longer, left on the keto diet.  I wondered if we had enough spatulas to make it through.

Knowing my spatula woes, my wonderful mother-in-law Marian had been collecting promising-looking spatulas whenever she came across one.  Yesterday I opened a surprise package that had arrived in the mail, and in it was a whole array of new spatulas to try out!

Coincidentally, I opened the Easter box my mother had sent, and it also contained a spatula.  So much possibility and promise.  A spatula blog post was definitely in order.

After I’d transferred this photo, I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of my favourite Danesco spatulas.  So I Googled them.

Guess what?  I found a website for a store in ALBERTA (meaning in Canadian dollars, yo!) selling my precious spoon spatulas.

I bought 6.

(I’m warning anyone who washes my dishes to keep the knives and forks far, far away from my precious, fragile spoontulas.)

(And thanks mom and Marian!)

Spammy goodness

12 Mar

Shortly before Valentine’s Day, Jen of Jentography wrote a post called Spam Love, in which she transformed some of her spam comments into beautiful Valentine’s greetings.

I happened to look through my spam folder today, and inspired by her post, I wanted to share a couple with you.  I won’t share them as artfully as she did, but let the words speak for themselves.

“When I firstly saw your web, I’ve been around in many pages that I’ll use to get my final assignment. I googling with my short idea in my brain, and then I met with useful article. I hope you can give several advices to me, because your knowledge is great, it can help many students to get great score in every task or project.”

Would you believe this person went on for at least 15 more sentences?  I believe, sir, it’s not just a short idea in your brain that you have.

However, this, by far, was the pearl of the day:

“I could not rely upon my eyes that I gave up so in all likelihood deceived. When we arrived at the direct it turned manifest that nothing in the flier was no dash to reality. All of the rooms, and ordered them together seven, were in disarray. Unbiased the bed linen not changed flourishing our arrival. We got at most a niggardly dinner and we were told to split up the rooms. I slow favourite do not hold how pissed away the authentication he was my husband. He alongside does not like to aside harmonize to pieces anywhere, and in no notwithstanding at all I managed to cull him dated on sabbatical this happened to us such a setback. It’s so frustrating that as done as we wanted to dawdle with friends, a abstain equal on all and virtuous tone down, we had to work on these scammers. I common-sense of apologetic after most of this, that our children intent invite nothing to do. They array be bored, and in compliance it is known that something armor. It annoys me that it literatim could not crack the promised things, because cipher of us like de factoring did not remember what he says. It turned out that a issue could serve to higgledy-piggledy and do not work this piece of the homeland what is needed. Nervously checked the dispatch, but systematize nothing. All evening we had to banquet out on the bed, where without rest era mattresses and bedding smelled like dog. The kids covered the sleeping model, what stroke of luck that I had hurl them in the inimitable two secs to the car.”

I suspect this was an actual post or review somewhere, but originally written in another language.  My favourite part is the “niggardly dinner”.  I definitely won’t be going… wherever it was these people were.

Although since I have no idea where that was, I can only hope that I never get tricked into booking this place for which the flier was no dash to reality.


11 Jan

Today Christmas is truly over.  No, it’s not because the Christmas tree is sitting by the curb — we did that almost two weeks ago.  It’s not because the ornaments and decorations have been packed away — that happened last week.  No, Christmas is over now because — suddenly — the magic is over.

It’s been close to a month that my dishes have been getting washed and put away without my ever having to lift a finger.  My laundry hamper has stayed surprisingly empty and my dresser drawers surprisingly full.  Food has been cooked and served and packed away again.  Potties have been kept sparkling clean.  Oooh, and my coffee has been appearing every morning, already perfectly doctored.

I tried to do some of the things I usually do, but was always rebuffed.  Instead I spent the time playing with my kids, or playing the piano, or even napping a little.

Today, though, the magic is suddenly gone.  I guess I don’t really mind having my kitchen back, since I do enjoy cooking every so often.  But there seem to be twice as many bums to wipe and the laundry is already piling back up again.

Good thing I’m so well-rested.

(Thanks, mom!  I hope you’re not too exhausted from your visit!)