Monday, March 31, 2008



I took a class at NA for transfer credit to my program of professional studies. I jumped through all the hoops that were required. These guys have lots of red tape, but I fought my way through it and made sure things were done properly. I took the class last fall. Did well, too, despite being on bed rest and unable to actually attend the class.

Now, I just need to get a transcript sent to the accounting association so that the transfer credit can be processed. I've delayed requesting the transcript, because I've been laid up. But it has to be done, so that I can continue on with my program. So on March 17, we faxed the transcript request form to NA. We asked NA to forward my transcript straight to my professional association, as is required. I called NA, and was told that transcript requests get processed in about 4 business days.

On receiving and reviewing the transcript, my association is supposed to send me an email to tell me that the credit is approved. And then I go into their website and pay for my transfer credit. Because you have to pay for everything, no matter how small or stupid.

I still haven't gotten an email. Not terribly surprising, though. The association tends to be a little bit slow. But I want to register for summer, and would like to get a head start, since the baby will be here and time will be very precious. Perhaps someone could hurry it up a bit?

I'd better start by confirming that the holdup is with the association. So I'll start by phoning NA to confirm that they have sent the transcript. That way, when the association claims that they don't have it yet, I'll be able to tell them exactly when it was sent so that they can track it down.

I call NA. I spend half an hour on hold. And it turns out that NA hasn't sent the transcript. And NA doesn't have my transcript request form. Odd that we have confirmation of receipt from our fax, though. Odder still, NA has processed the payment to the credit card that we provided on the form that was faxed. Oh. Um. Oops. Let's just check on that.

More time on hold. Confirmation with the cashier. Yes, the payment has been processed. But they still don't know what happened to the form I faxed. And they can't take transcript requests over the phone. So we have to re-send.

The form is faxed again. To the attention of the person I was speaking with. And I phone her after the form is faxed, just to make sure she has received it. Another half hour on hold. She answers. She has received the form. But she can't get to it today. She'll send the transcript off tomorrow. I'm okay with that. Just please do it; it's tying up my registration. Okay.

So now, I wait. Hopefully it won't take too long for the association to process the transfer credit. Hopefully, I'll be able to register in time.

I'm still contemplating course options for the summer term and the 2008-09 school year. I can't really plan until I meet my new offspring. Different babies have different needs, and we will have to know just how high maintenance our new child is before I can finalize academic plans. While I'm off work on mat leave, do I take an inactive year? A light year, since I have a newborn? Or a regular or heavy year, to take advantage of the time off of work?

Contemplation is being undertaken. However, contemplation is irrelevant at this juncture. I simply cannot make an informed decision until I have spent some time with my new child. J was really high-maintenance as a baby. If I have another like him, I don't think courses will be a good fit next year. But if baby is more laid-back, there will be more possibilities.

Patience is not my strong suit. But I have no choice. Trying to make a decision without knowing all of the facts would be stupid. So we'll wait and see.

Of course, none of this will be relevant if my transcript doesn't get sent or processed. I wonder if it will actually be done this time around. Sure would be nice.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The end result

Lie down. If you sit up, you get pelvic pressure and may deliver early.
Sit up. If you lie down, you get reflux.
Lie down. If you sit up, you get morning sickness.
Drink milk. It fights the reflux.
Don't drink milk. It makes the morning sickness worse.
Drink ginger ale. It fights the morning sickness.
Don't drink ginger ale. It's too acidic and aggravates the reflux.
Drink peppermint tea. It soothes the stomach.
Don't drink tea. It doesn't mix well with stomach acid.
Eat breads. It absorbs some of the stomach acid.
Eat nothing, or you'll throw up from the morning sickness.
Eat anything you can so you don't lose more weight in the pregnancy.

I have discovered that it doesn't matter whether I sit up, lie down, eat, drink milk, drink tea, drink ginger ale, or do anything else ... the end result is that I will throw up regardless. And that's just a lovely thing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Along came a spider

Spring is in the air.

Today, J saw a spider on the sidewalk at daycare. He came home filled with details.

"Spiders spin webs. And they bite. But the spider didn't bite me. You gotta watch out for spiders. And bees."

H says that J was quite affected by the spider and the notion that spiders bite. When H picked him up from daycare and they went outside, J got nervous and thought that the spider was chasing him.

Mommy is deathly afraid of spiders. So it's looking like H will be the spider-killer in our household.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wall Options

Many of you will know that we built a house some years ago. We selected a nice flat oversized pie lot on which to build. And then the area's developer dug down the front of the lot prior to building the house. The result of this is that we ended up with a six foot tall hill in our backyard. It eats up almost the entire yard. It slopes downward towards our house. And the garage sits atop it, with no footings. Over time, we have been advised that the slope can erode, and the garage can then slide down the hill into our house. Obviously, we would like to avoid this.

The way to avoid this is to build a retaining wall. Many of our neighbours have already had these walls installed. We have postponed it, contemplating different ways to do things. But the wall really has to be completed before the backyard can be completely fenced in. Otherwise, we lose the option of fitting a bobcat into our yard to do the digging. And excavating six feet of height by twenty feet of length of clay soil with shovels sounds rather unappealing, to say the least. Even if we were so inclined, once you've dug the hill out, try to get the excess dirt out of the yard. So ... no.

We need to fence the yard in soon, so that J will have a safe outdoor area in which to play. So this summer, we figure we need to get the wall in and finish the fence.

We checked with our neighbours. The walls that they have installed are made of pre-fabricated concrete blocks. Most of our neighbours have had engineered walls professionally installed, and have maximized the yard space by installing one single six foot tall wall. The effect is not entirely unattractive, but not at all natural looking. When you look at their yards, you can't help but notice that the wall was not a desired landscape feature. Rather, the wall appears to be a necessary evil. There is no fence at the top of the wall, so the neighbours' toddlers balance precariously atop a six foot tall concrete cliff, which they like to use as a balance beam. And the walls cost around $13,000 to install.

We are not doing that.

So I've been calling around to landscapers lately, trying to get ideas. How can we remove the hill and maximize our yard space? How can we stabilize the ground in a cost-effective manner? How can we blend a wall into our existing landscape and make it look attractive? Is there any way to do this without the engineers? Without the drainage requirements? Without a foundation base? Can we use more natural materials and less concrete? Can we "plant" the wall, so that it looks like an attractive greenspace, rather than a necessary evil?

We have friends who own a landscaping company. But they only do commercial work. They did refer us to other landscaping companies who do residential projects. We called these landscapers. And in so doing, we have learned that these particular landscapers do not return phone calls. Important information, I suppose, but not helpful to us at this time.

Today, I called a trusted garden centre looking for a recommendation. I explained what we were looking for, and received a phone number to a delightful and highly recommended landscaper. We had a most pleasant chat.

I was told to contact a particular contractor for the bobcat work. He has two bobcats of different sizes, and apparently can get into all the little nooks and crannies. We should have him dig out the hill as two three foot tall steps, rather than one six foot tall step. This way, we avoid having to have the wall engineered at additional cost, and we also avoid the peril of a toddler balancing on top of the wall. Each step should be set slightly back from where we want each eventual wall, so that there will be room to backfill behind the walls. We should then cover the exposed dirt with tarps to protect it while we construct our wall. She recommended that we get wood wraps from Totem (which are free) for this purpose, and just weigh them down well so that they don't blow away.

For the wall construction, her recommendation was that we purchase "reclamation baskets" (also called "gaming baskets", which are just large wire bins) from another specified company, and fill them with pretty and reasonably large stones, purchased from a third source. And then we would sprinkle garden soil into the baskets between the stones, wet it down, and continue to sprinkle and soak until the baskets are well packed with dirt and rock. This is a cost-effective way of essentially making our own landscape blocks.

Then we would stagger the now heavy baskets on top of one another, setting back each row slightly so that each of the two walls leans back a touch into the hill as a support. The weight of the baskets combined with the slight lean back will hold the hill up. And then we would backfill behind each wall with some of the clay soil that was dug out earlier, tamp it down, and make it really sturdy. It will look like a stone wall. It will not need to be perfectly even. Therefore, no foundation base will be necessary.

As a final step, the two walls would be planted. We suggested pink panda strawberries, which the landscaper felt would be beautiful. She also suggested planting some ornamental grasses throughout, just to give the walls some visual interest. Both the strawberries and grasses are evergreen plants, so the wall would remain attractive year-round. And the pretty pink-flowering strawberries are very fragrant, flower from early spring to late fall, produce small fruits, and spread into low-lying mats that provide nice coverage. They're quite thick, too, so weeds have a tough time getting through.

And then we can plant shrubs and perennials on the ledges at the top of the two walls, to make nice garden beds.

This sounds beautiful. And cost-effective. And totally unique to our area. But it also sounds really labour-intensive. And if you know us, you will know that we tend to procrastinate. A lot. Labour-intensive options may not be practical to our personalities. So we shall discuss it and see how we feel about this option all around.

In any event, I think this particular landscaper has awesome ideas! And I sure was impressed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


J really does love having his own room and sleeping in his racecar. He pretty well slept through the night his first night. We heard him talking in his sleep around midnight. And he also woke up around 3:00 a.m. and had a pleasant conversation with his panda. But he didn't call for us, and we didn't go in. He went back to sleep pretty quick and slept peacefully.

In the morning, he raced in to tell me "I had a good sleep! Over there! In my racecar!!" Such a big boy!

As a reward for being such a good boy and sleeping through the night without a fuss in his new bed, he was given a new Play-Doh set. It's a Backyardigans Pirate Ship. J adores Play-Doh. He had a nice time playing with it last night.

And then he went to sleep in his racecar bed, again without a lot of fuss. He slept through the night. But he did toss and turn a lot this time, and he woke up in a completely different position. I think he's doing well with the adjustment. It's nice that J adapts so well to change. Hopefully he will adjust nicely to the addition of his expected sibling. We shall see!

On another note, H really appears to enjoy J's new Play-Doh set also. He usually enjoys playing with Play-Doh with J. But last night, H regressed back a few steps and actually spent some time playing with Play-Doh by himself, after J had gone to sleep. H appears to quite enjoy shooting Play-Doh with the ship's cannon.

H is really tired and will need some time to unwind after this baby is born. I don't know how that will work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Things you never thought you'd hear yourself say

Yes, kitty has a hole in his bum.
Yes, that's where he poops from.

Well, he asked!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Big Boy Bed

Tonight, J was moved from his crib to his big boy bed. It is a racecar! Complete with Nascar bedding!!

J was quite excited about having his own room and getting to sleep in his racecar. It took him a little while to calm down, but he stopped bouncing off the walls eventually and agreed to get ready for bed.

He made the change from crib to bed without a great deal of fuss. He wanted cuddles, a sippy cup of milk, stories, and lullabies. But this is no different from the things he wanted before. As always, we were happy to comply. He knows that we will hear him and come in if he needs us. He seemed to be okay with this arrangement. No tears. We are happy.

He is now up in his racecar, sleeping peacefully. Such a sweet little boy!

I hope he continues to sleep well through the night. J has always been a good sleeper, so I think he'll be alright.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Basement

Well, the basement appears to be coming along nicely. The fireplace went in today. The installers needed me to go down and see it before they left, so I took an extra trip on the stairs today. One extra trip up and down every so often is alright, I guess. But I can't do it every day. So since I was down there anyway, I got to explore the space and see what's going on. Didn't take long; it's not a big house. I do wish people wouldn't comment on it, though. When my contractors point out that it's not a big room, or it's a pretty small house, it kind of makes me feel bad.

Anyway ...

The shower is in place, and the shower doors were installed today. It looks really nice. The bathroom and hall leading to it are drywalled. It seems the vent fan location needs to be changed slightly, so H will be attending to that. He's said he just needs to attach a bit of ducting. Seems he has a handle on it.

The framing is done, though there is now a bit more framing that needs to go around the fireplace before the mantel can be installed. I don't know how much of the framing we do and how much the installers do, so we will need to check on it and get the requirements for the next stage.

A gasline for the barbecue has been put in. This was done today, together with the fireplace install.

I think D has about completed the electrical, and we'll need to arrange for inspection before Klaus can continue with the drywalling.

Not much left now. Inspections. Installation of sink, toilet, mirror, and vent fan. Fireplace mantel and related framing. Drywall. Built-in bookshelf. Suspended ceiling. Light fixtures and outlet covers. Paint. Flooring installation. Doors, baseboards, and other finishing touches (like trim and the electrical panel cover). So really, aside from the ceiling, most of the bigger work is done.

The fireplace install did not go off without a hitch. A couple of parts were not in stock, and have to be ordered in. And someone failed to tell the installers that the mantel has a hearth. So when they learned of this (from me), they had to go and pick up a base for the fireplace to sit on. Also, the installers needed to core through the concrete to vent the fireplace out. They were supposed to do this with a special coring machine; however, because of the way our house is done, this proved to be impossible. They had to bore through the wall with a drill, which took longer. Really loud, too. And we didn't know that there was going to be additional framing required once the fireplace was in, since no one told us and we are not construction savvy folk. So we need to figure out what is needed and make necessary arrangements. And finally, we have now learned that we have a clearance problem in relation to the venting. So in the spring, we will need to dig down beside the house with shovels, add some gravel, and then put in a bigger window well to connect to the existing weeping tile system.

All in all, a total hassle. But it really does look sharp. And it comes with a convenient remote control for easy operation. And what's more: that blower fan sure does wonders for heating up a room in a big hurry.

I just wish it were easier. Oh, and cheaper too.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Feelin' Confident

I wrote my Finance 1 exam tonight. Once grades are released and my transfer credit for Stats is processed, I will only have to complete my Level 3 business case, and then I will be done to the end of Level 3.

There are 5 levels, plus some extra university courses.

I have felt really insecure about tonight's exam in the past couple of weeks. My brain has not been functioning well of late, and I haven't absorbed a lot of what I have read. There was a great deal in this course that I didn't know. And my only hope was that a majority of the questions would be on the very few things that I actually knew.

Much praying has been done about this exam. Not just by me, but by a whole lot of people. I feel very grateful that I have such good people in my life.

I went to write the exam. I have a really hard time walking, and I had to take the elevator to the second floor, being unable to do many stairs. I was in a fair bit of pain by the time I made it to the room. The room wasn't open, and I joined the other students waiting on the floor. Getting back up was rather problematic, but I managed.

I opened the exam paper. I read through the entire exam. And I found that only 8 marks were being awarded to questions about things I swear I have never heard of before. The rest of the exam was focused on the materials that I actually knew. Miracles do happen!!

Now, even with that, there were some questions that I struggled with. I'm sure I made some careless errors. And at some points, I did have to guess at the answer since I couldn't remember my own name at that moment. I took my time. I completed the entire exam. I even attempted to answer the questions about which I had no clue.

There were a couple of tense moments. I had to sit up for a full three hours in order to write. And I was in some degree of pain for most of it. I got a bit nervous when I started having contractions partway through. I think my exam moderators noticed and got a big freaked out. But the pains eased up as the exam wore on. At the end of the day, I made it home in one piece. No blood, no preemie baby, no foul. Right?

Two months of waiting for marks release. But the exam is over and done now, and I don't have to think about it anymore. And when all is said and done, I am pretty sure I passed.

Yes, I am pretty sure I passed. Despite the fact that I still can't tell you what they mean when they say "yield", since no one could actually clarify that point for me. We students have been struggling with that one for months, but no one would answer. So we all had to guess. What fun. Believe me, that point was brought up in the course evaluation. Maybe someone will even read it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Max and Ruby

Yesterday, J and I went to the Mom, Pop, and Tots Fair at the Agricom. We went with K&K and their little girl D. Obviously, T could not attend. L&P also could not go, since L was studying and P broke his ankle earlier in the week and can't weight-bear yet. So K&K made arrangements to take their little girls, I&G, along with all of us. We three parents loaded the four kids into two wagons, and off we went.

A good time was had by all.

J had his very first pony ride. He picked the biggest pony on the lot. It was a big, black pony. J quite enjoyed riding him. He also liked the petting zoo. He petted two bunnies and a little black goat, but really spent most of his time chasing the animals about in their pens.

There was a live "Max and Ruby" show as well. If you've ever watched Treehouse on TV, you will no doubt be quite familiar with "Max and Ruby". The kids didn't seem to really get into the "Max and Ruby" show, and they were more interested in playing.

Or so we thought ...

Today, J and I went over to K&K's for D's 3rd birthday party. G took J out on the back porch. I was not permitted to see what they were doing, and had to hide behind the garage to hear this little exchange:

G: Ok, J. This is the stage. And we're gonna do a Max and Ruby show for my Mommy. You be Max, and I'll be Ruby.


G: Max, what are you doing?
J: I'm not Max!
G: Yes you are. Max, what are you doing?
J: I'm not Max! I'm J!
G: Well, you can be J-Max.
J: Oh. ... I'm J-Max?

I think that was about the time when G gave up. J hasn't quite got a good handle on imaginative play as of yet.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Peanut Song

J sits down to eat his peanut butter sandwich. In a singsong voice, he says:

"Peanut sat on the railroad track.
His heart was all a-flutter.
Around the bend came the number ten
Toot! Toot!
And now he's peanut butter."

J apparently learned this little tune at daycare. He sings it often. Cute!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stomach flu

I have the stomach flu.

How, you may ask, can I tell that it's the stomach flu? How, you may logically wonder, can I tell the difference between the stomach flu and the typical pregnancy type nausea and vomiting that I have experienced throughout the entire pregnancy?

The answer is this. J has it too.

I got sick with it yesterday. J developed the same symptoms this morning. Now, we wait for H to get it too. Our family believes in sharing. Since H is the only fully functioning member of our household, he really can't afford to be sick. Therefore, he is required to catch this bug as well. It's important.

I should be preparing for my exam. It's next Monday, and I'm not at all ready for it. But I'm exhausted and nauseous, and my head hurts. I sure can't concentrate on exam prep.

I think I'll have a nap instead. I'll worry about the exam another day. Hopefully, I'll be ready to write next Monday. So far, I'm not doing so well in my practice exams.

Just get that 53% and move on.


On another note, I am still trying to figure out what key I keep hitting on my new laptop that seems to change certain keys to French characters. It only happens when I'm online. And then I have to close Explorer and go back in. As soon as I do that, the keyboard appears to reset itself. I have no idea how it keeps happening.

I feel less than stellar today. Can't figure out course or computer, and am losing focus.