Friday, August 31, 2012




Actually had myself a nice little paying job this morning for a couple hours. The job was right up my alley.   DEER PARK LODGE recently switched from a large linen/laundry facility in London Ontario to another laundry company in St. Marys. Normally, the company picks up & delivers on certain days but with the Labor Day holiday weekend upon us, Deer Park needed an extra load of dirty laundry delivered to ST. MARYS ONTARIO this morning in order to have it back Monday. And, that's where I came in.  Picked up & stuffed 15 bags of laundry into our Santa Fe about 10:30 & headed east with ‘The Laundry Company Inc’ as my destination. St. Marys is a small picturesque town & it is a quiet country drive all the way there & all the back. When we lived in the old farm house near Fullarton Ontario years ago, St Marys was our 'go to' town so I am well familiar with it.  Kelly & I both drove school buses out of there & I also drove the St. Mary’s mobility bus part time for a few years.   If I had to pick a small southern inland Ontario town to live in, it would be St. Marys. If I were to pick a town on Lake Huron, it would be Goderich.  And, if I had to live in a large city…….I would just simply throw my hands up in despair:((



Over the years I have had many varied jobs & one of these days I'm going to take the time to write a few posts about all the shenanigans & experiences those working years entailed.  It was the driving jobs I enjoyed most over the years. Before leaving the stress of working in a small retail business back in the mid 80's for a few years I used to dream of just getting myself a simple driving job delivering parcels to rural communities. A month after leaving my managerial job at a one hour photofinishing store in Stratford Ontario, I was in a cube van all by myself, happy as a Clam, delivering parcels for Purolator. I was one of the 'on call' drivers who came in after all the main driver's had left on their morning routes. I loaded my van up with the left over stuff the regular guys couldn't fit in their trucks. Most of my deliveries were to outlying farms & small rural business's off the beaten path. It was this period of time I got to know so many of the back country roads in our area & it was also the time I began to grow my love for the countryside. Ten years later, after meeting Kelly, we both moved from large cities to an old farm house in rural southern Ontario & that marked a major turning point in both our lives:))



DSC_0051-1 DSC_0068-1


Took me exactly one hour to reach St. Marys & another hour & a half’s journey back to Bayfield.  That extra half hour was spent put putting along a few gravel roads along the way.  Humidity was heavy again today so I was thankful for the A/C in the Santa Fe. 


Commenter, Casita Wren asks, 'Al, can you tell me how you deal with Ontario house-watching for 6 months’?  Leaving one's house empty for half a year is a always a major concern for Snow Birders. We are fortunate in several ways here. First, we happen to live in a very secure & mature community so our fears of break-ins & vandalism are extremely low. We are not in a town or city & yet not isolated on a back country road either. We do have watchful neighbors. We have a friend in the Park who checks out our place on a regular basis. We leave a large thermometer in a window beside the driveway as well & a quick glance at that gauge from outside quickly tells him if there is any problem with a dropping temperature inside. We leave our furnace on low which is an old habit from when we had a lot of indoor plants. Well, we had a lot of plants until they all froze two years ago when something happened we had not anticipated. The batteries in our thermostat failed!! So, from experience, a warning here!! Replace the batteries in your thermostat each year before heading south. When the batteries failed, our house temperature began dropping. Luckily, the fellow (Bruce) we had looking after our place caught the drop before it did any serious damage to our water pipes, but not before all our plants died. We have two separate thermostats, one for our electric furnace & one for our gas fireplace stove. We will definitely replace those year old batteries with new ones before we leave. Many people completely drain their water systems & completely shut their house down. Seems to work fine but I've never been comfortable with the idea of our whole house turning into one big huge frozen ice box.


We have never had our mail forwarded while traveling. Bruce picks up our mail every few days & if he feels there is anything important we should know about, he emails us. Bruce also starts up our Santa Fe periodically. The first few years of traveling we always took the battery out of the vehicle at home & for some reason we went through a couple batteries. The last few years we just leave the battery in the vehicle & with it being started & left running for a bit everything has been fine. Our cable TV, internet & telephone stuff is all put into 'vacation mode' & the insurance on our Santa Fe is dropped into a basic coverage mode. All that saves us a few dollars here & there. We unplug all electrical cords from outlets. We leave cupboard doors under sinks open, etc. If, in an emergency we had to come home in the winter, we have a neighbouring farmer who can slip over with his tractor & blow any snow out of our driveway. If a tree or branch fell on our roof, we have Park staff here who could immediately help with that.  Anyway, in my usual rambling sort of way, I hope that kinda answers Casita Wrens question.


And, I did find my Picasa Web Albums where commenter Rick said they would be.  I have to now spend some time getting myself familiar with the new & revised workings of Google.  Practice makes perfect they say.  Whoever they are that say them kinda things that is:))



GROANER’S CORNER:((   New Investment Definitions::
CEO - Chief Embezzlement Officer.
CFO - Corporate Fraud Officer.
BULL MARKET - A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
BEAR MARKET - A six to eighteen month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewellery, and the husband gets no sex!
VALUE INVESTING - The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E RATIO - The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
BROKER - What my broker has made me.
(S&P) STANDARD & POOR - Your life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST - Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
MARKET CORRECTION - The day after you buy stocks.
CASH FLOW - The movement your money makes as it disappears down the Toilet.
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - Past year investor who's now locked up in a Nuthouse.
MOMENTUM INVESTING - The fine art of buying high and selling low.
'BUY, BUY' - A flight attendant making market recommendations as you step off the plane.
FINANCIAL PLANNER - A guy who actually remembers his wallet when he runs to the 7-Eleven for toilet paper and cigarettes.
CALL OPTION - Something people used to do with a telephone in ancient times before e-mail.
YA HOO - What you yell after selling all you owned to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
WINDOWS - What you jump out of when you're the sucker that bought Yahoo for $240 per share.
PROFIT - Religious guy who talks to God.

- Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))

- "If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals
are better off than a lot of humans."
(James Herriot)

- The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward   

- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right  now...AL.

- It is not so much having nothing to do as it is not having the interest to do something....AL.



  1. At least they didn't ask you to do the laundry!

  2. Your a jack of all trades Al......your pictures are outstanding as usual....

  3. That St Marys is a very quaint little town. Love all that stone work.

    I once considered becoming a long-haul truck driver.

  4. I'm sure that everyone will tell you this, but do not delete any picasa web albums that might contain pictures in your past blogs... Because that is the only copy of your pictures that go along with your past blogs....

  5. Well Al, I do about the same when we leave Alaska. I have a guy 'fix it all' friend on call and a woman comes each week to water plants. A man keeps my driveway blown clear and porch shoveled. My neighbors are happy to use my driveway for their cars and that puts more people around my house. I like your thermometer idea. I now use a battery powered phone device that calls me and my fix it friend if the temp drops, water on floor or loud noise from smoke detector or window break.
    As for thermostat, I replace battery and have a old manual mercury standby to override if temp falls below 55 degrees F. We have a lot of house plants and have not lost any yet.
    I do not think or worry about my home, just as I do not think or worry about Florida, except I watch storms more.
    I still envy your pic's.

  6. Nice to have a paying job for a few minutes, and driving the countryside into St. Marys, such a beautiful town.

  7. nothing like a paying day and getting to see all that scenery at the same time :)....being our first year out last winter...we allowed a good friend to stay at our place..he paid all the utilities plus kept the driveway plowed out...saved us having to leave heat on or winterize...but its not always easy to find someone as trustworthy...we will do the same thing again this winter..

  8. nothing like a paying day and getting to see all that scenery at the same time :)....being our first year out last winter...we allowed a good friend to stay at our place..he paid all the utilities plus kept the driveway plowed out...saved us having to leave heat on or winterize...but its not always easy to find someone as trustworthy...we will do the same thing again this winter..

  9. The stonework in St. Mary's is beautiful. Lasting craftsmanship.

    Interesting to read about your house in the winter. We are leaving for only a couple of months in the fall and I'm still worried about stuff. First time to be gone so long and no one staying in the house,just a cat sitter coming in twice a day. Still lots to think about and prepare for though.

  10. We don't unplug everything, and we do turn our furnace back to 50 degrees and shut off the water upstairs, leaving doors under upstair and downstairs open...Also, our brother-in-law and our son know where our key is and they check the house...

  11. Thanks for the tips for winter caretaking, Al. We have an all-electric house so we leave the baseboard heaters set at 10C. We have a solar hot air heater/furnace on the roof and leave it set at 25C which really boosts the temp during sunny winter days. Passive solar does it's job too.

    We leave a light on a timer on in the front upstairs window so our neighbours/caretaker can tell at a glance if the electricity is on and heaters working. We also leave a big thermometer in the window...great idea.

    We drain all the water pipes so no worries about frozen pipes. Blinds are closed downstairs but half open upstairs to let in the sunshine.

    My 2 houseplants are taken to my daughters'.

    The freezer in the garage will be left on but this year I'll empty the fridge and turn it off.

    Here in the country with our 250 laneway, we feel that it's best to leave it unplowed! That way no one wants to come down the lane so our house is left alone. LOL

    Our only problem this year is that our good neighbours are moving to town, so we're looking for a recommendation for a trustworthy caretaker.

    I find it hard to leave our wonderful cottage in a field but once I'm on the road, I'm OK and don't worry about it. Everything can be fixed. ;-)

    ~ Hazel