Emergency Preparedness – “Living Off the Grid”

Being Prepared – The Scouters Way

 

preparedness 8

Hi friends,

We were out at our country place this past weekend and Paul was showing me the Biolite camp stove he had purchased.  He was so proud that he could be be prepared for any off-the-grid cooking in any emergency situation because his stove does not run on fuel or electricity.  It is powered by wood. Huh! you might say, any fool can light a campfire to cook on BUT it also has the ability to convert the energy the stove produces to charge his cell phone, by means of a USB port built into the unit.   Brilliant!  He cooked me a hotdog.  It came out a little blackened from all of the smoke, but it was quite tasty!

preparedness 5
preparedness 10
preparedness 7

He also has an led lantern that emits a surprising amount of light, powered by a single tealight candle!tealight powered lanterntealight candle

So what’s with all the emergency preparedness gear, you might ask.  Paul is with the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association, NLSARA and also serves on the National Volunteer Search and Rescue Board, SARVAC.  He also serves on our community’s Emergency Preparedness team, so when the big one happens, if you live in St. John’s, he’s going to be one of the folks who is out there rescuing your ass!

Being a former boy scout leader and present day Rover crew advisor, Paul takes preparedness to an all-time high.  He always says that one day, we are all going to be taken by surprise when an emergency happens, whether it comes by natural or man-made disaster.  The best thing we can do is to be prepared.  Now, you don’t have to get on the Googler and start looking up places to buy ration packs or emergency food supplies, but he feels it’s wise to keep a supply of unperishable food, water, and emergency supplies  on hand.  One thing we forget about in emergency situations is that the services we rely on, like banks, pharmacies, hardware stores, etc.  won’t be open, so it is essential to have cash, medications, and other essential supplies on hand to get you through at least a three to seven day period.  By that time, communities generally have services set up.  Don’t forget your cell phone, a portable radio, and batteries or a means of charging them without electricity.  Communication is essential during an emergency!

You can go to sites like Emergency Preparedness Canada or The Red Cross, or even FEMA to get more information about what you need to do to be prepared. Don’t forget your family’s special needs if you have pets, babies, seniors or anybody who requires special services, like oxygen for instance.  Even something as simple as a power outage can cause a huge disruption in our lives, dependant as we are on the modern conveniences.  I’d rather be able to be somewhat self-reliant than have to be one of the poor unfortunate souls who will be caught unawares and unprepared!

Emergency preparedness websites:

www.redcross.ca/prepare

www.getprepared.gc.ca

emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/

love, norma

 

 

 

Centering yourself to write

Centering, focusing and getting rid of distractions

focusHi friends,⁄

Recently I had a question from a reader who was having trouble getting down to the business of writing.  Here is what he (she?) asked:

I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Thanks!

The creative mind is a funny thing.  Sometimes there are a hundred ideas buzzing around inside your head and you just want to get them down on paper, so that you can organize them into some sensible, logical thread. Sometimes they are like a dream, disjointed, nonsensical, but vibrant and interesting on their own.  Sometimes, try as you might, you can’t think of a single two words to put together on paper!  It’s as if the rat running around on that wheel inside your head just conked out.   Sometimes a scene is just burning inside your brain and the words flow like wine from a bottle.  The trick is, certainly, to grab hold of the inspiration when it comes!  It is virtually impossible to force it, although the best advice I have read about the slow times, is to write one page a day.  It is amazing how quickly a chapter takes shape!

Some people map out a novel, creating a framework from which they flesh out a story.  Some people start with a circle on a page, which represents the two main characters and the main conflict to be resolved.  They build the story by creating satellite circles, adding in other characters and problems to be resolved.  Their ideas will build on the main theme and add dimension to the story, and will arc back to the main characters and their conflict. You can map out your novel like this, adding elements like setting, backgrounds, and other pertinent details.  This gives you an overall “plan”.  You might change the order of events and add in or eliminate characters and scenes as you refine your work, but it is helpful to keep an eye on how your story is moving along your planned pathway.  You may think of other things you want to throw in there to support the plot but keeping your eye on the road keeps you from getting off on a tangent, or indeed, getting derailed altogether.

Now, before you even sit down at the computer, or at your desk to write, it is helpful, if not crucial to optimize your workspace to eliminate as much distraction as possible.  I almost always wait until the family is gone to bed at night, the TV is shut off, and the phone is quiet, before I start to write.  There is nothing worse than to have a chapter in your head that you have been mulling over for the past week, and you’re finally ready to commit it to paper (or screen) and somebody comes out and starts yammering to you about what they were doing all day.  All of a sudden you lose your focus and your concentration is in the toilet.  There are some certain electronic gremlins that will intrude on you like a sonofabitch, and are better turned off, shut down, and kept in the kitchen drawer for a later time.  Three of the worst culprits are your cell phone, Facebook, and e-mail.  Other addictive programs like Buzzfeed, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, and any variety of other programs that suck you in and grab your attention are to be avoided during your work time.  There are actually programs that you can use to limit your access to certain websites for periods you set, which can help if you have poor impulse control.  Anyone who thinks that they are phenomenal multitaskers will be disappointed to learn that your brain can only handle two tasks at a time.  See the awesome post below that I found on Pinterest!

So my friends, even with the best of intentions, there will  be days that will conspire to steal your attention away from your writing, and you will feel like everybody in the world wants a piece of you.  That’s probably a good time to take a break and regroup.  A cup of tea and some buttered toast is my panacea for all things stressful!  Some people believe in dietary supplements, meditation, a glass of wine and any number of other things to help them concentrate.  I know one thing for sure!  Sugar is definitely not the answer, as you will find out by reading my previous blog post on that subject!

Good luck with your writing!  Have faith, your muse will come!

Norma

multitasking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ear candling – What’s lurking in your body’s orifices?

Trolling for gold, ear candling!

ear candling 5My sister came to visit unexpectedly one evening.  As I ushered her into the family room, she was met with the sight of my husband lying down on his side on the couch with  a long lit candle sticking out of his ear.  Our daughter, Heather, was presiding over what looked to be some sort of ancient witchcraft.  She had her father’s head swathed in tinfoil and a bowl of water at the ready.

“What the hell?” my sister exclaimed disbelievingly, “Did I miss his birthday, or something, and don’t you usually put the candle on a cake?”

“Very funny,” was the comment that emanated from under the tin foil.

“We’re learning about alternative traditional methods in my Esthetics course,” Heather explained, “We’ve done sugaring and threading for hair removal, and now we’re learning candling to remove ear wax.”

“Aren’t you afraid that you’re going to get burnt?” my sister asked Paul.

“No, I trust her,” he bravely said, although we could both see the fear in his eyes as the charred end of the  tube burned down within inches of his ear.

“How is it supposed to work?” My sister asked, horrified,  yet intrigued by the spectacle.

“Well, the heat from the candle is supposed to create a vacuum inside your ear canal, and it draws out all of the old impacted wax and gunk.  It collects inside the tube, just watch!”

She expertly plucked the burning bit of candle that was left sticking out of Paul’s ear  with a pair of forceps, and threw it in the bowl of water.  She then unrolled what was left of it to reveal a cylinder of hard yellow waxy material about an inch long.

ear candling 3“See? That’s probably been growing in there for years.  I’ve seen you poking  your ears with Q tips, which you shouldn’t do because it just pushes the wax in farther and packs it in harder.”  Heather said, passing around the charred bit of unrolled muslin, with the offending evidence, for all to see.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” We all agreed.

“How did it feel?” my sister asked my husband.

“Well, it’s a little weird.  You can feel the heat of the candle burning, and it crackles as it gets closer to your head,” he replied, rolling to his other side on the couch,”Hey, I think I can hear better now. I’m ready to do the other side.”

“Yeah, and there’s no danger of catching your hair on fire, because I cover it with the tin foil,”  Heather said, unrolling and tearing off a length of the aluminum foil and carefully covering what was left of her father’s balding head before poking another waxed tube in his other ear.

“People who suffer from chronic ear infections can have this done every couple of months.  It drys out the ears, too and discourages bacteria from growing in there.”

“Okay, I’m sold, sign me up,” my sister said, “Even though it is kind of embarrassing.”

“Hey, it’s no more embarrassing than the time when dad dropped me off to Dr. Smith’s to have my ears syringed when I was ten,” Paul said,”The doctor told me to hold the basin under my other ear, while he worked on the one that was plugged up.  When he was all finished, he grinned at me and took the basin, and said I was all set to go.  When I went out to the car and dad asked me how I made out, I told him about holding the basin under my other ear. I couldn’t figure out why he thought it was so funny.”

Heh,heh,heh…..

ear candles 6

ear candling

 

pink valentine norma

 

Just a note:There is some controversy among medical professionals on whether or not ear candling is actually  effective in removing ear wax, even though some people who have had chronic ear infections, and have found some relief through ear candling would disagree.  We all ended up getting our ears candled and suffered no ill effects.  Whether or not it was ear wax or just melted wax off the ear candle that was left in the end of the tube, who knows, but I swear to God I could hear better after!  Give it a try, but go to a professional.

You have nothing to lose (but your hair!)

Sugar, sugar…..You got a hold on me!

Whatever’s wrong with you?  It’s probably caused by sugar!

sugarHi friends!

Well it’s definitely true what they say.  There’s nothing worse than a reformed addict!  Although I am still in the recovery stages, I figure it’s probably about time I admitted it,  “Hi, I’m Norma and I am a sugar addict.”

Although it has been glaringly obvious to my husband, daughter, and sister, I  have been in denial for some time, now.  Despite having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six years ago, I have continued to consume sugary treats even though my feet kill me from neuropathy (nerve damage caused by chronic high blood sugar); I go completely “loopy”, whereby the words coming out of my mouth don’t make a bit of sense and I can’t remember my last name; and I am moody as fuck!  Even when my own body turned on me by sending me into a tailspin with a major arthritis attack, whereby my hands swelled to the size of bowling balls (unbelievably painful!), I would not admit to  sugar being the cause.

Wow! You might think – Is she ever stupid! In my own defense, I say that everybody has their vice; something that makes them happy, makes them feel good, and fills an emotional void.  For some, it’s booze, for others it’s drugs, some even say that sex can be an addiction!  Some people blame their mothers for bribing them with cookies or candies to “be good” when they were youngsters.  If my mom did that, then I continued  in her footsteps by rewarding myself with candy bars for getting tasks done at work, or with a whole big bowl of ice cream for getting through a day with the mother-in-law! (I still think that might be warranted!)

hershey kissesHaving this addiction causes the same kind of sneaky behaviour as alcoholics exhibit, in trying to hide their booze and their drinking.  I would buy a big bag of Hershey kisses to fill up my candy bowl in the living room.  Every day I would be in there several times, sneaking them, but making sure I filled up the bowl again to make it look like I wasn’t eating them!  I would do the same with chocolates, buying two boxes at a time, replacing the ones I ate with chocolates from the “reserve” box.  My daughter caught on to my keeping a stash of chocolate bars and candy in my  home office for ‘medicinal purposes’ when I was suffering a late afternoon sugar crash, or just needed a reward or pick me up during the day.  If I was doing something stressful, like those damnable bank reconciliations, I could go through a whole bag of sour ju-jubes!  Oh yes! The addiction runs deep!

So, what, you may be wondering, has opened my eyes about the sugar addiction?  Well, I just came across an article on my Facebook newsfeed about the latest medical studies on the effects of refined sugar on our diet.  Yeah, sure, we’re all sick and tired of hearing about the links to obesity, diabetes, and other immunodeficiency diseases, as well as heart disease, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis (all of which I have developed, incidentally), plus the effects on memory and mental clarity.  Now, the latest studies are indicating that refined sugar is a major contributor to depression and schizophrenia!!  Is it any wonder that it seems the world has gone crazy lately?

So, what has the latest scientific studies found?  I’m glad you asked!

sugar 10It is a given that every cell in your body runs on sugar, including your brain cells.  Regardless what you eat, your body must convert it to glucose (sugar) otherwise, you would have no energy and wouldn’t be able to function.  Fruit is naturally full of fructose and glucose which your body can easily convert to usable energy. Your brain operates in the presence of many hormones, one of which has been identified as BDNF –  brain derived neurotrophic factor – which is extremely important for the health of neurons in the brain.  BDNF triggers new connections in the neurons which are critical for memory function.  It has been found that refined sugar consumption suppresses the production of BDNF.  Patients with depression and schizophrenia  show low levels of BDNF, therefore, it has been concluded that the consumption of refined sugar has the potential to exacerbate depression and schizophrenia by contributing to low BDNF levels.

sugar 5As I mentioned earlier, refined sugar is notorious for causing increased inflammation (remember my arthritis attack?) which can lead to auto-immune disfunction. Inflammation has been linked to depression and is also the most common cause of poor digestion and overall gut health. Have you ever had a yeast infection?  Sugar probably contributed to an overgrowth of the Candida bacteria in your stomach, causing a whole host of annoying and uncomfortable symptoms.  With the average person consuming over 100 grams of sugar each day in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, it’s no wonder that yeast infections are so common, but did you know that metabolic by-products of yeast can damage neurons and further contribute to poor mental health and brain function?

Also, 50% of high fructose corn syrup has also been found to contain toxic mercury, which will wreak havoc on your body. Heavy metal toxicity has been linked to neurological disorders. From mercury and lead to arsenic, one thing heavy metals seem to have in common is their association with cognitive decline. Although aluminum is not a heavy metal, it too, is linked to cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

sugar 4If you have ever experienced someone who gets “hangry” (the combination of anger and hunger that arises when one hasn’t eaten) or experienced yourself not thinking straight when your blood sugar levels dropped and you needed food an hour ago, you have experienced what can happen to the state of mental clarity when blood sugar levels are not balanced.  I’m sure you’ve seen the Snickers Bar commercial on TV with the theme “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” which, ironically suggests a candy bar as a “fix” for “hangry” behaviour!  Not only does sugar make us feel “high” and “spacy” when we eat it, but repeated consumption of high sugar foods and refined carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, can create a condition in which the body becomes “insulin resistant.” Insulin resistance prevents brain cells from accessing glucose so we can’t think straight. Even worse, in some cases, the brain will use cortisol as energy, which actually damages neurons.

So, are you convinced yet that refined sugar is not good for you?  I sure am.  Even as I regretfully throw away all of my sugary snacks and stoically avoid the cookie aisle at the supermarket, like a true addict, I can still hear their tiny voices calling out to me, and I have to make a conscious effort to squash the sugar cravings. I am, however, encouraged by the assurances of the doctors and researchers who claim, “If you do nothing else but decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, the many cells in your brain will thank you and your brain will function in ways you never imagined.”  I live in hope!

To our good health!

norma nametag 2

sugar 2sugar 7

Learn how to Merge on the Highways!

Highway Driving and the Art of the Merge

mergingHello all!

Having spent another two and a half hours on the Trans Canada Highway on the edge of my seat, waiting for a crash to happen in front of me, I feel the need to comment on the sad lack of merging skills on the part of drivers using the highways in this province.  We have travelled to many parts of Canada, many of which have much more complicated multi-lane highway systems, and have never seen the like of what happens here when drivers are required to come  off of an access ramp and merge into traffic.

The idea of merging is to facilitate the smooth transitioning of traffic from feeder roads into the mainstream of highway traffic.  The process sounds simple.  The merging driver proceeds up the access ramp towards the highway, accelerates up to the posted highway speed, then when the ramp transitions into the merge lane adjacent to the right highway lane, the driver either accelerates or decelerates  to “fit” his vehicle in between the oncoming traffic.  Not rocket science, right?  The department of highways has even made it simpler for drivers by painting the left curb white on the access ramps at the point where one should start to accelerate up to speed, approaching the merge.

What most intelligent drivers do is assess the oncoming traffic flow as he starts to enter the access ramp.  Usually he can see pretty far back by glancing over his  shoulder or viewing the road behind him in the left side view mirror.  He can then estimate where he will need to fit his car in and can decide whether he needs to either speed up or slow down to merge.  What happens here in Newfoundland is that people get anxious and usually slow down, so that when they actually get into the right highway lane, they are moving at 20 to thirty kilometers/hr slower than the traffic behind them, and these drivers end up having to either slow down, brake, or pass.  I have actually seen countless times, the driver in the merge lane come to a dead stop because he has not correctly assessed the situation, and panics or is unable to make the decision to proceed, and so chooses to stop dead in the middle of the road, causing the traffic behind him in the merge lane to have to do likewise, or if the merge lane is long enough, complete the merge themselves, to avoid a rear-end collision.

Quite often, in Newfoundland, you see drivers travelling in the right side lane of the highway move over into the left lane when approaching a merge, so as to give the merging driver room to move safely into traffic. This is a courtesy, not the law as some drivers think.  The onus is on the merging driver to take steps to enter the oncoming traffic.  Quite often there are vehicles travelling in the outside (left or passing lane), making it impossible for the right lane driver to move over.  I have seen many merging driver flipping off right lane drivers for not moving out into the left lane when in fact, they themselves are at fault for not merging properly.

Thank God that most drivers on our highways are aware of what is going on around them, and only for their taking preventative measures, there would be many more accidents and fatalities.  Our daughter only recently learned to drive, and went to Young Driver’s of Canada for her formal training.  I made sure that she got lots of experience driving on the highway and merging in the year I drove with her while she was learning.  She has no problems with the process or anxiety on having to merge because she has been taught properly.  Unfortunately, it is quite often the older drivers here, who, living in rural areas, are not familiar with high speed highways or complicated roadway systems, and get into trouble with highway driving.  You see gramps and grandma mucking along at 70 km/hr when the speed limit is 100, and cars are passing them at such speeds that it just about blows the paint off their cars.  The “youngsters” are almost as bad, tearing along at 150, sounding like a swarm of killer bees…………and don’t even get me started on the big-ass pickups!!!!

Highway driving would be so much more relaxing if people would just chill out and follow the rules of the road.  We might even get to use our cruise control, rather than to have to be braking or speeding up all the time to avoid the assholes.  With all of the accident investigations we do through our business for the constabulary and the RCMP, every time someone blows by us on the highway  doing 150 plus, our first thoughts are “Yup, see ya later buddy, on your roof in a ditch!”

Cheers!  Drive safely, arrive alive!norma in yellow circlemerging 4merging 2merging 5

P.S. Leave me a comment!  Please tell me which post you are commenting on as they all default to the last post, thanks!

Shout out to all who have left comments!

I will reply to your comments!

 

Hi friends,

frazzled at computer I must confess, I was feeling a little abandoned there for the longest time, as I would log into my website and there would be no comments showing on my dashboard.  I thought that nobody was reading my blog, or at least nobody had an opinion to pass on whether what they were reading was of any interest.  I didn’t notice for the longest time that there were over 800 emails in my spam queue, and over 9,ooo in my spam folder!  Not being very WordPress-wise, I decided to investigate who-all was  being sent to my spam folder, and lo and behold, I had fan mail!  To say that I was delighted and humbled is an understatement.  Many of you have asked for contact information to send me e-mails, and I have created a brand new account, authornormacook@gmail.com to make it easy for you to contact me.  Any comments made on blogposts appear to hit the spam folder on the original email account I had set up for comments , and I will have my IT advisor check into this to be sure that I won’t miss anything in future.

I am developing an email list as well, so if you would like to receive notifications of newly released books or would like to receive my monthly newsletter, please let me know, so that I can add your email address.

For those of you who have complimented me on the design and function of the website, thank-you very much.  My web host is Go Daddy, and the website was created with WordPress.  The theme is Scribble Child, version 1.0.2, by StudioPress, created for the Genesis Framework, and I find it extremely easy to work with.  As I am not very tech-minded, someone else set it up for me, but I was involved in the choosing of the color scheme, and general layout.  The nice thing about WordPress is that you can build on your original design and add widgets according to your needs.  They do regular updates as well so that the site stays up-to-date and even more user friendly.  Adding pictures and video to your pages and posts is easy, and gives your posts a professional look.  SEO features are available to make sure your content is easily found on the web.  WordPress charges about $100 to purchase the Scribble Child Theme.  Widgets are extra.

I also pay for my web hosting as I prefer to own my content, and I pay an annual subscription fee for that.  I hope this answers your questions. If you need any further information, shoot me an email!

The questions that you have raised regarding RSS feeds and subscriptions, I will have to refer to my techno guru, and I will advise in future when this is available. With regards to people having viewing problem, either with pictures loading or text running off the page, I believe this might be either an issue with your computer or with your web browser.  It appears that many more people are having no trouble with the site loading or pictures and video coming up, than are not.  There is a lot of this content on the site, so for an older or slower computer this might cause problems.  Sorry about that!  Don’t forget to dump your cache and browsing history!

I will get around to responding to your emails and comments. For future contacts, please indicate which post you are commenting on, as they are all coming up under the Christmas Shopping one, and I know from your comments  that that is not necessarily the one you were commenting on.  I will also consult with my WordPress gurus to see if there is a fix for this.

Thank-you so much for taking the time to comment, or try to get in touch with me.  Hopefully you will keep coming back so that I can keep you up to date on what is going on in my crazy life and my life as an author, which is no less crazy!  I would be happy to respond if you have any subject that is of particular interest to you, that I may have a gem of knowledge about.  Please email me with any suggestions!

Don’t forget to look up my book, The Lion’s Den  at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you buy your ebooks.  Anybody with an interest in the politics of the Middle East, action and adventure or romance literature will find it up their alley!  You can read a synopsis under The Lion’s Den on the homepage.  More books are coming soon.  I am contributing to a boxed set of christmas stories from a group of local romance writers from Newfoundland.  I will provide further details as they become available.  My novella is entitled Christmas Wishes.  The next book in the Jamieson Brother series, Behind the Firewall will likely be ready for publication sometime after Christmas.  This is the sequel to The Lion’s Den, dealing with Brad’s younger brother, Ryan and his confrontation with a dangerous aristocrat who would use his own daughter to cover up his illicit dealings.  The story deals with money laundering, terrorist networking and internet security. The setting is beautiful Majorca, an island off the coast of Spain well known as the rich man’s playground.

Lots more blog to come!  I have to start writing my husband’s stories about a former co-worker, son of his former boss.  The telling and re-telling of these stories over the years has caused many knots in stomachs, aching cheeks and loss of bladder control from uncontrollable laughter.  As our future son-in-law claims, “You just can’t write this shit.”  It’s true what they say, Truth is stranger than fiction!

Cheers!

sparkly norma

 

 

out of orderkeys

 

Appliance trouble, or Waterworks in Nanny Land

About those appliances, part 2

I figured you would be here, waiting with bated breath to hear what happened  in the in-law apartment when the appliance scourge struck!

 

 

grannyYou see, when we built the house, whatever we put in the main house, the mother-in-law wanted one of equal opulence and  value put into her granny flat.  Whether it was granite floor tile, a flat screen TV, a jacuzzi tub with a shower surround, (even though she never took a shower in her life), we catered to her every whim, right down to the  double door fridge with water and ice dispensers in the door.  The apartment turned out beautiful.  Fit for a queen!  Right down to the beautiful oak hardwood flooring in the kitchen/living room area.  Is the foreshadowing working for you yet?

Nanny actually did much better with her appliances than we did.  No midnight raids on the self-cleaning oven by the fire department (probably because she hasn’t cooked a meal since 2004).  I’m sure I saw her secretly smirking every time I had trouble with our appliances, thinking I was careless, or didn’t know how to use the new-fangled gear properly.  Whereas our appliances took the usual beating of a busy family, hers suffered from under-use!  And that was precisely the reason the nanny fridge finally took its revenge early in July.

It had been an unusually cool summer.  Last July had been hotter than hell, but this year, the mercury hadn’t ventured past ten degrees celsius in weeks.  This monday morning was an exception!  Hot humid weather had us digging  our shorts and tank tops out of storage, and by ten o’clock am., we were gasping for  ice water.  The poor old fridge out in Nanny-land just couldn’t keep up with the demand.  The climate out in her flat, made worse by her oxygen generator throwing off heat like a sonofabitch, caused the icemaker to thaw the ice it had in storage just enough to stick it all together into one gigantic mass.  It bravely tried to send water to the ice maker, but the backlog was too great, and the water line froze solid, causing the valve to freeze up at the bottom of the unit, and the waterline expanded and popped out of its mount.  Uh oh!

The trouble made itself known at first by a slight leak under the fridge, something I had seen often out in our kitchen, usually caused by the cooling unit frosting up in back of the fridge, resulting in my having to call the appliance repairman.  I dutifully took out the phone book and thumbed over to the dog-eared page where the appropriate repair service was circled in red ink.  Disappointingly, the repairman couldn’t get in until Thursday, so we shoved some old towels under the fridge and hoped for the best.  We should have hoped harder!

Although we had been dutifully changing the towels, by Wednesday, the bloodhound-like nose of the mother-in-law’s homecare worker detected an unusual odor coming from the downstairs sector of the granny flat.  She went to investigate, and minutes later an exclamation of “Holy Shit!!!” resounded through the apartment and out to where I was sitting in my office, going through my morning email.  I ran to the scene of the disaster to find the water dripping down through the bedroom ceiling, pieces of soggy gyproc and seam tape all over the soaked mattress, and the carpet, squishy-soaking wet.  My first instinct was to call Paul, who told me to call the insurance company, and it wasn’t long before a claims adjuster showed up at the door.

I have to say, the insurance company was great.  in no time we had a contracting company on site, ripping up the ruined mess in the downstairs bedroom, and new flooring and carpet was ordered.  They even moved out all of the mother-in-law’s furniture and stored it in their warehouse until the remediation was completed.  For what we thought was just a simple leak, the damage so far has surpassed twenty-six thousand dollars.  Thank God for insurance!  The adjuster told me that they handle at least a half dozen calls a day for water damage, what with the new fangled appliances and main-floor laundry rooms, and bathtub overflows, etc.  Methinks that with many people looking for an opportunity to cheat the system, it’s a prime way for some folks to get their home a facelift for cheap!  No wonder home owners insurance rates have gone through the roof!

So the nanny flat is almost back to normal now, and I no longer have  her occupying space in my family room watching The Price is Right and the soaps on TV while I am trying to work.  Although the fridge has been repaired, I doubt that Paul will turn the water back on to the ice and water dispenser.  The appliance repairman told us that the modern appliances are only built to last five to ten years! At the prices charged for a new fridge, it’s cheaper to go buy ice, and a styrofoam cooler and get your groceries fresh every day. You’d still have money left over to sponsor a child in Ethiopia!

love, norma

fridge leak.jpg-2

About those Appliances

Beware those new fangled appliances!

fridgeYeah, so…….. As I was saying about those appliances……They sure don’t make ’em like they used to!  I remember when I was a kid, we had the same refrigerator when we moved to our new house when I was eight, that mom and dad had bought second-hand when they were married.  It looked like it came off the ark, but it worked like a charm.  Mom didn’t like that she had to defrost the freezer every so often, but there was never any problem with keeping stuff cold.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it wouldn’t fit under the upper cupboards  in the new kitchen, mom would probably still have that old fridge!

When Paul and I moved into our new house, about fifteen years ago, we bought two sets of brand spanking, top-of-the-line, with all the new gizmos and gadgets included appliances.  Everything was state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, non-polluting, space-age technology, self cleaning, self defrosting, labour saving, expensive as fuck devices  that were going to revolutionize our modern home. Excellent! I thought, as I marvelled at the double door wonder with the cantilevered shelves, adjustable moisture control food bins and water and ice dispensers in the door, that was our new refrigerator.

Everything swung along fine for the first five years, even though at Christmas, the thing was stuffed so full that you couldn’t get another pickle in it!  The double door design meant that the shelves were a lot smaller in the fridge compartment than in a regular two door design, and the freezer compartment was so narrow, you couldn’t even get a frozen pizza in it. The thing was supposed to be zero clearance, which meant that it could be installed in a cupboard surround that only gave it about an inch of airspace all around and to the back, where the  cooling system was.  I had always heard that fridges required good air circulation for optimal performance, but who was I to question the modern appliance engineers?

To make a long story short, we had the appliance repair guy in at least a half dozen times, the last in which he replaced the whole wiring harness in the back of the unit.  Luckily, we had made the smart choice of putting down ceramic floor in the kitchen, and every time the fridge had given trouble, spewing water out onto the kitchen floor, it had caused minimal damage.  What happened in the inlaw apartment was another story…….

Stay tuned for Water works in Nanny Land, part two of About those Appliances.

old fridge

 

cleaning suppliesleaking fridge 

Making it easy to Write a Review!

Did you write me a review yet? …………..No *sigh*

Lions Den CoverOkay people,

I know how hard it is to sit down and think up something to say about a book, even if you really enjoyed it!  The hard part about it is, as authors,  we depend upon our audience to recommend our books in order to move up in the rankings on Amazon and Goodreads, etc. where other readers are browsing millions of titles to choose which book they are going to read next.  Unfortunately, if your book isn’t being talked about, even though it might be the next great thing, it will probably moulder on the shelves, waiting to be read.

That being said, to make it easier for you to participate in this very worthwhile activity, I will put forward the following suggestions about what you might like to use as a review for The Lion’s Den.   Please don’t think I’m full of myself!  These are comments that have been made to me by readers, and I am so grateful and humbled to receive such great feedback.  I appreciate each one of you who have picked up or downloaded the book to read.  I really look forward to seeing lots of four or five star ratings on Amazon.  Please be honest.  If you didn’t like the book or feel that the writing is below par, that’s okay too.  All comments are welcome, the good, the bad, and the ugly, as long as you are being honest and giving your true opinion.

Thank-you in advance for your support!

Go to Amazon:

https://www.amazon.ca/review/create-review?ie=UTF8&asin=B00YPWVVT8&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=&ref_=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_wr_link&#

or Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25856744-the-lion-s-den?from_search=true&search_version=service

or anywhere else you like to review books!

Suggested posts:

The Lion’s Den is politically driven, centered on the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  Fast paced and engaging, it follows one woman’s journey from the desert of Pakistan, to the wilderness of eastern Canada, to the playground of Majorca Spain, as she tries to free herself from haunted memories of the past. It’s a great read, packed with action, adventure and a generous helping of romance!  Both men and women will enjoy the story.”

“Great read!  Couldn’t put it down.  Waiting with great anticipation for the next book in the series to come out.”

“Carving out a new niche in contemporary romance and political drama, the author draws you into the world of Middle East conflict and covert operations that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Not for the weak of heart with descriptions of torture and violence, but tempered with romantic scenes between the main characters.  Loved it, as did my husband!”

The Lion’s Den is not your everyday romance novel. Packed with action and adventure, it gives you believable characters dealing with true-to-life situations.  I learned a lot about foreign politics, as well as wildlife conservation by reading this book.  I highly recommend giving it a read.”

The Lion’s Den gave me great insight in the struggle going on in the Middle East.  The author provides even more background information in the form of prequel postings on her website Authornormacook.com.  If you’re looking for an exciting read, with lots of action and a spicy mix of romance and political intrigue, this is definitely a book for you.”

“Loved The Lion’s Den.  The author writes a great love scene!  Definitely would date Brad if things don’t work out between him and Della! Great read!”

“Loved the descriptions of people and places.  the author draws you in and gets you totally immersed in their world.  Couldn’t put it down!”

“I had to put the book away after reading the first two chapters because I had to study for exams and I was finding it really hard to put down!  Dying to get back to it!  Bravo, Norma Cook!”

“Well thought out plot, dealing with a political arena we are familiar with, but giving a deeper understanding of the history and background of the antagonistic forces.  I enjoyed following the developing relationship between the protagonists and found the story came to a satisfying conclusion.  Altogether a good read, packed with information.”

“Great effort from first-time author Norma Cook.  Hope to see more from this gifted author.  Enjoyed The Lion’s Den from cover to cover, also the bonus prequels and other great material on the author’s website www.Authornormacook.com.”  

pink valentine norma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Stalker

OMG! I’m an internet stalker!

Hi Folks,

stalking 2Have you ever gone on the internet to look someone up from your deep dark past?  How about someone your daughter started dating?  That cute guy/girl from exercise class?  If you have, you may not be full blown, but you do have internet stalker tendencies!

Now, I must confess that when our daughter was young, I did monitor her msn messages. (yes! we did use that messaging service back in the day – I can’t believe that something my daughter (who’s only 26) used to use on the internet is now passe.) I wanted to make sure that no internet creepers were trying to engage her in conversation.  I was actually shocked by how many horny young boys, who did not even know her blatantly asked to see her boobs!!!  I suppose they were young,  they might have been forty year old pedophiles, for all I know!

I will also confess, though I am not proud of it, that I did pretend to be a mysterious teenage girl to my daughter’s 16 year old ex, who was being an asshole to her, just to see how he would react to another girl paying attention to him when he was supposed to be dating my daughter.  Not surprisingly, he failed!  I still see adult people online playing these childish games on Facebook and dating sites to try and “catch” their love interest trying to cheat!

While I no longer feel a need to monitor my daughter’s online activities, I find it weird how you know so much about people in your friend’s circle of friends on sites like Facebook.  There is one girl I am ‘friends’ with who has been through a lot in her young life, and I have read many posts where she is interacting with her friends. It is amazing how when you see people’s photos doing their everyday activities, playing with their kids, celebrating birthdays, going out on girl’s nights, pictures from the teenage days, at school,  at sleepovers, etc. that you get such an intimate picture of who these people are that you think you know them.

The other night Paul and I were having dinner out when I saw a young woman, a friend of my friend, out to dinner with her husband, her children and some other friends.  I recognized these people, but they didn’t know me from Adam.  It was a surreal feeling, having been witness to something as intimate as their Christmas morning gift opening through pictures on the internet, when they didn’t know me as anything other than a stranger!  As I pointed out to the young woman that her son had left his hat under the table when they went to leave, I was reminded of Robin Williams in the movie “One Hour Photo” where he began to live vicariously through photos he viewed through his job at a One Hour Photo Service.  Creepy? It sure feels like it!

hello my name is norma

stalking 5stalking 3

 

Animated Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Wordpress Development Company
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Pinterest