Where have we been?

May 15, 2010

I realize that we’re now half-way through May, but I was thinking that if you were wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately, a photo of our calendar in April would be worth the more than thousand words it would take to explain what we’ve been up to:

(And this is after curling & basketball have already finished up!)  Not to mention that we had guests 21 out of 30 nights, and my time spent answering Reunion Registration emails (at least we have lots of interest!) and updating the NSBBA website for all the other B&B operators as they get ready for the season doesn’t show up on here.

We are gearing up for tourist season as well, trying to get some extra projects accomplished around the house while tying up all the loose ends of this school year and various activities.

I do intend to get some of April’s (and early May’s!) stories caught up here, because it’s fun for us to look back and see where we’ve been!  Just this morning, Evan & I were having fun looking at last year’s Bluenose Marathon Weekend and are looking forward to participating next week even more!

Stay tuned!

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Getting Organized

February 10, 2010

I have spent the past few days at the computer and boy are my back & shoulders feeling it!  My Inbox was up over 2500 old messages, so I’ve deleted & organized enough that I only have 725 left to go through.  An awful, tedious task – how long did I feel I needed to keep confirmations of those old reservations anyway?

In the meantime, I’m trying to develop a website for my high school reunion.  We’ve finally set up the bank account, a pay-pal account and most of the major pieces are in place.  I’m just trying to figure out how to set up an online registration form and hopefully we’ll be good to start taking registrations later this week.  It sounds like it’s really going to be  a fun event with a wine & cheese, a run, picnic in the park, family swim, reduced golf fees, topped of with a big party!  We’ll be closing out that weekend to regular guests, and we’ve already had friends put in requests for rooms.  I’m starting to get really excited to see everyone again!!

Being involved with the Marketing of the  Bed & Breakfast Association, I’ve been trying to figure out “Twitter”.  I understand and “get it” that it’s a conversation, but am still trying to figure out all the symbols of how it works…  I seem to be finally catching on because it is now taking up much less of my time, and I’ve seen traffic come to both the association’s website & our own website as a result!  This is a new world we’re living in!!

We have our big Valentine’s Dinner coming up this weekend so I’ve got to get the house organized for that.  Each year, Dan (a chef we used to work with), comes in and puts on a 5-course meal.  We’re offering it on two nights this year to spread it out.  Most of the other “date” restaurants in town are closed on Valentine’s Day this year – not really sure what they’re thinking,  but it works out well for us – we booked two more tables yesterday!   The kids are excited to go spend the weekend with their grandparents!

In organizing one of our bookcases, I found the two missing library books!!  Phew!  The “Maisie” valentine’s haven’t turned up yet, despite the fact we have bought and filled out “Dora” replacements.  I was sure that once we bought new ones, they would show up!

Bit by bit, everything is getting caught up.  I wonder if there will ever come a time when everything is caught up  and doesn’t get undone again right away?

Probably not until the kids move out…

Various Matters

February 4, 2010

*I have discovered how to ensure that none of my children will ask for a bite of my sandwich: add pickles.  In fact, by adding enough, they will hold their noses and run away.  (Perhaps if I just carried an open jar of pickles around, I could buy myself some alone-time; wish I’d discovered this one years ago…)

*Still haven’t found the missing Valentines.  Going out and buying another box will guarantee that they are found, but negates the great buy of purchasing them for a dollar weeks ago.

*I fed my family salmon burgers on home-made whole-wheat buns for supper last night.  Olivia took one look and put herself to bed, sleeping until 7:30 this morning.  Must remember that recipe for future cranky days…

*I had a wonderful, fun visit getting caught up with my childhood friend, Carla yesterday.  She was visiting from Ontario with her husband Mark & son Jack.  Neither Carla nor I could remember the last time we’d seen each other (she moved away in Grade nine) but we were as comfortable as if we’d seen each other last week.  It was fun to have an eight-month-old in the house too!  Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos, but she’s hoping to be here this summer for the Reunion.

*My daughters do a great imitation of Jack Sprat and his wife.  When eating leftover supper for lunch, Olivia had a plate-full of only spare ribs & rice while Sarah would eat only squash & broccoli.

*Still looking for the missing library books…  Sarah asked this morning, “Is there anywhere we haven’t looked yet?”  I don’t think so, but there must be since they have to be in the house somewhere.   I guess we’ll have to renew them to buy ourselves some more time.  When my brother was about this age, one of his library books went missing.  My mother searched and searched all over their house.  (Sound familiar?)  Eventually, it turned up under the crisper in the fridge where he had hidden it; he loved the book so much he didn’t want to return it! (Yes, I’ve checked there too!)

*I’m currently selling cheese (band), blueberries (school) and hanging baskets (choir).  The cheese really sells well, hanging baskets in Nova Scotia in February – not so much!  (They won’t actually be delivered until May.)  Of course there are 588 kids around town selling blueberries, so who’s left to sell them to?!  If you are interested in any of the above, just leave me a comment!

*I kept track of all our grocery receipts last month since we’re trying to be more frugal.  There are some things we’d like to do to the house this year on top of the maintenance we have to do and the money has to come from somewhere!  We spent $1277.63 on groceries, 11.63 eating out (I treated Olivia & Alex to a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru after their appointments at the IWK) and zero on alcohol.  D’Arcy freaked out a bit when I told him that number, but if you work it out, it equates to $6.87 per person per day.  We’ll see how we do this month…

*When we registered Sarah for school last week, we expressed an interest in French Immersion.  Yesterday, we had a call that enrollment for that program was lower than expected, so they have extended the deadline until March 10th.  Back when the boys first went to school, there was a lottery to get your child into a French Immersion class!  How things can change in only a few years!

*The other night, our seats at the supper table all got switched around.  Sarah was sitting in her father’s seat and he was sitting in Alex’s seat.  As a result, he was pretending to be one of the kids and started playing with his carrots, becoming a walrus, unicorn, etc.  The rest of the children joined in, brining much laughter while their mother told them not to play with their food.  Now they ‘re asking to have carrots every night…

*From the sounds of things, D’Arcy’s Thesis will not be defended in time to walk across the stage in May. Bummer. He’s still going to try to have it finished ASAP so that it is no longer hanging over his head. December graduation, here we come…

*We went curling at a fun-spiel on the weekends with our friends. We drew tiles to be assigned teams and I happened to be put on a team with a man who didn’t seem to realize that it was “fun night”. He got after me in the first game because I had my broom in the wrong place when he was delivering the shot. One of the other men on my team told me that no one ever wants to curl with this man because he’s an a**. Later, I was spoken to again, for talking to our friend Janice, who was on the opposing team in that game, as he was delivering his shot. We ended up winning both of our games and at the end of the evening, as he was leaving, this cranky man said to me, “You were pretty good – for someone who doesn’t curl!” Gee thanks! Can we curl together again sometime?? All in all the evening was really fun and it was great to get out on a “date”. I’m hoping that Evan, Alex, D’Arcy & I will be able to make up a team in the family curling event this year!

Back to regularly scheduled life…

It’s no secret that D’Arcy & I are exhausted; we’ve been going flat-out in many directions for years months.

Last night, I cooked a turkey dinner so I could make turkey stock to have on hand to make gravy with for Christmas Dinner.  I set the stock on to simmer at around seven as I was getting the girls ready for bed.  It simmered away all evening giving the house a cozy, comforting smell.

D’Arcy was baking bread after Cubs for the boys to take to their teachers today and was trying to get his marking caught up at the same time.

Just before eleven, as I was working on Christmas cards, Sarah called out from a bad dream.  I went upstairs to comfort her and ended up falling asleep with her.

I woke up at 2:24 a.m. to the smell of smoke.

My first thought was that D’Arcy had fallen asleep with the bread in the oven and it had burned.  I ran downstairs and the kitchen was thick with smoke which was pouring out from the stock pot.  It had boiled dry and the smoke filled the house.  Thank heavens it didn’t catch on fire!  D’Arcy had fallen asleep marking but woke up quickly when I came running downstairs.  We put the pot outside and opened the windows.  (Did I mention how cold it was last night?)

Now the thing that concerns me the most about this is that of the eleven smoke detectors and one carbon monoxide detector we have in the house, not one of them went off! I don’t know if this means it had just started to smoke, but it concerns me that there was enough that it woke me up in my bedroom upstairs!  Mother’s instinct?

Scary.

I didn’t get much sleep the rest of the night, thinking about how things could have turned out.

I am resolving not to do anymore baking or cooking at night while we are so tired.  And tonight – the first night of Christmas Break – I’m implementing a “no work” and “early to bed” rule for all of us!

Does anyone know how to get rid of the charred smell which is permeating the house?

Lost photos

October 23, 2009

I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find the CD’s that contain our family photos from Summer 2006 – December 2007. This, of course, includes the time period including Alex’s first day of school and Olivia’s birth. I feel sick. They must be around here somewhere, but I normally keep all of them together in one place. The only thing I can hope is that I lent them to my mother to get prints made up and she didn’t bring them back. Hopefully they are safe & sound at their house, but they’re away so I can’t find out. Will tear the house apart here today, just in case… (And perhaps organize the office at the same time!)

One of those days…

October 8, 2009

Today was one of those days that everything had to go smoothly so it could all fall into place.

6:30 a.m.  Drag myself out of bed (D’Arcy was already up making muffins) and make lunches for the boys and get fruit salad, etc. ready for the guests.

7:00   Kiss boys good-bye and head upstairs for a shower.

7:30  Feed first guest breakfast.  Ginna & Beanah arrive to help out.

7:45  Leave for the hospital for mammogram and ultrasound appointments.  (This was my first mammogram and it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I had anticipated.  After having four children, I really don’t have much modesty left anyway, so I chatted with the technician as she got me situated in the machine.  The up & down slides I would liken to getting your blood pressure taken – not fun, but not painful.  When those were over, I casually commented, “Well that wasn’t as bad as people would make you believe.”  She informed me that some people really mind it and find it very painful.  Then we moved to the side-to-side view and I got payback for my comment.  Let’s just say that I was able to utilize the breathing I had learned in pre-natal classes for the first time.  Whoa!  Luckily, it doesn’t last that long!  I was then ushered across the hall for my ultrasound, told that the radiologist would be in touch with my doctor and sent on my way.)

8:30  Arrive home in time to serve the last breakfast, chat with guests and check out.

9:45 Take Olivia to the dentist for a cleaning.

10:30  Drop Olivia off at the Library with my mother & Sarah.

10:40 Arrive at the school to volunteer in Evan’s Class.

12:00 Find Alex in the cafeteria and tell him not to take the bus home; I’ll come get him and go to the book fair.

12:10 Go to the bank & the grocery store.

12:30 Arrive home so that my mother can leave.  Start to chop, cook and assemble the stuffing to take to Riverbreeze for the Thanksgiving Turporken.

1:45 Load girls & stuffing into the van, head to the school to meet Alex; chat in the foyer with other parents while the buses dismiss.

2:05 Drop Evan’s drum sticks & music for band to him at intramurals.

2:10 Run to Alex’s classroom to pick him up.  Discuss volunteering in Alex’s class with his teacher.

2:20 Book Fair in small room with three kids in tow.  Tell them I only pay for books, not erasers, posters, headphones, novelties, etc.

2:30  Find Mira in front foyer and offer to drive her home after calling her parents first.

2:40 Drop Alex off at his grandparents’ for “alone time”.

2:45 Drop Mira off at home.

2:55 Drop stuffing off at Riverbreeze.

3:10 Stop at home to pick up a form to take to the dentist.

3:15 Take Sarah to the dentist.

4:00 Arrive home.  De-brief with my father who has been house-sitting.

4:30 D’Arcy & Evan arrive home.

Phew.

That’s when my outside responsibilities officially ended; D’Arcy & Alex still had to go to Cubs.  Tomorrow is an in-service for the boys, so they are up late reading.  I’ve already warned them that I’m going to ask them to help me out tomorrow to get ready for Thanksgiving.  I have some fun things up my sleeve for them…

I look forward to the fact that I only have to go out tomorrow to take Sarah to preschool.  Anything else is optional!

I was on the phone with a friend of mine this afternoon, talking about her recent adventures Tidal Bore Rafting, when I had to interrupt her and say that we were getting some rumblings of thunder, so I thought I should get off the phone.  The rain had started to fall really hard, so I called to Alex & Sarah to come see – there is a nice feeling about being safe & dry inside while it pours outside!

Soon, we realized that there was hail mixed in with the rain and it got really dark, so I started giving orders to go and unplug the tvs & computers, while I tried to figure out how to disconnect the cable from the wall.  By that time, it was coming down really hard, so I grabbed the camera.

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Our neighbour was outside, taking photos too…

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Sarah & Alex went out to check the hail on the deck – Sarah was still afraid it would thunder more, so had a hard time forcing a smile!

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D’Arcy & Olivia had been in the grocery store when all this was going on and they said it was very loud!   Olivia wasn’t too impressed by it all either…

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Now that it’s over, Sarah is feeling much braver and wants to go outside to find out where all the “inhale” went!!