Back to the regular routine…

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I returned from my trip to Ontario, definitely back into the normal routine. It’s been a non-descript two weeks pretty well.

The dogs and I have gone for hikes, the weather has been pretty good, other than a few days of steady rain, the same rain that’s caused the awful flooding in BC. No flooding here, the river is high and wild though.

The four of us are heading to Calgary today to go for a hike with a friend and his dog. I’m also stopping at Costco on the return trip for dog food and groceries and gas as well. That’ll be the most excitement we’ve had in a bit.

I have dinner in the Crock-Pot for tonight. A 3lb roast with carrots and potatoes in with the roast. I have not made one of these in ages. Should be excellent.

Tomorrow will be a relaxing football day, nothing else planned. Sounds like a good weekend to me.

I’m going to ramp up my search for a job next week. I’m actually getting bored. It’s been a month now since baseball ended (umpiring) and I don’t have a lot to keep me entertained. My 7 months off have been great though, but it’s time to do something.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Back into the routine

I got home Sunday night to winter like conditions. Of course, it is November in the mountains and really, we had an excellent fall.

I was happy to have my dogs back and they were happy to be home. I think they do a lot more relaxing at home then when they are in boarding.

We’ve gone for a hike every day, they love it, so do I. We went out to the lakes yesterday, it was a bit windy, big surprise, it’s almost always windy at the lakes.

Hiking at the lakes

The dog car is back to its former glory. My neighbour helped with it just before I left for Ontario. I figured the rad was low on antifreeze and it was, so we topped it up and used some stop leak as well. The temperature is holding well now.

Today is market day, need to buy some produce from The Veggie Guy, some of the best produce you can get.

Today is also November 11, Remembrance Day in Canada. Everyone takes a few minutes at 11am to remember the sacrifices that those who’ve served made so that we have the freedoms that we do. We will remember.

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Home, sweet home

We left for Toronto early yesterday, I had a pass for the Air Canada Lounge and I wanted to catch the Bills game. The food and drink in the lounge were great, the Bills game, not so much.

The flight boarded on time, it was a full flight. It was also delayed leaving by almost 30 minutes. I didn’t figure that I’d be able to get my dogs last night at it was going to be late when I got back to The Pass.

The flight was uneventful, but the entertainment system in front of me didn’t work, so it was a boring flight. The food was good though. When I boarded, I asked them to save me pizza. Believe it or not, pizza on the Air Canada flights is pretty good.

We landed in Calgary at about 710pm. The walk to the main terminal is a long walk. My baggage was the within a few minutes. I texted the company where I left my truck and they picked me up about 15 minutes later. My truck was running when I got to it, I headed south. I didn’t get the dogs until close to 11pm, they were happy to see me and I was happy to see them.

We went to bed as soon as I got home, just before 1130. I slept well, it was a long day. I had forgotten to turn off the Alexa routines that turned on my lights while I was gone, so they came on at 5, far too early to get up, but I did.

Today was a nothing day. We got some snow, only a few inches and most of it was melted by the Sun. Typical Alberta in November.

The dogs and I will settle into our normal routine. That’ll be good.

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Heading home…

I decided to rent a car for Friday and Saturday at my brother in law’s SUV was in the shop and Niagara can be a challenge to get around without one, to say the least. It was not really in my budget, but I didn’t eat out as often as I thought I might, so what the heck.

I did some running around on Friday, went to the Pen Center which is a large shopping mall in St. Catharines. Back when I worked at the Niagara Region, we used to go to the food court once a week, or so, and I’d often get Charlie’s Steakery. I got it as a late breakfast on Friday, the same woman worked there (the owner, I believe) and the chicken Philly was as good as I remember.

I went out for wings with a friend in the afternoon and had dinner at my brother in law’s place. I met another friend for coffee on Friday evening.

I went for breakfast to the Greasy Spoon on Saturday then to what used to be Duff’s for lunch, the food was great and the renovations totally changed the place. It was nice catching up with friends from back in the St. Catharines Minor Baseball days. I made my World Famous Indian Thai fusion chicken for dinner, it was good, perhaps a bit spicy and we had a cannoli pie for dessert. The piece I had was, well, enormous.

I went back to the Greasy Spoon this morning for a light breakfast, we took the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood and then headed for the airport. Some delays on the trip but made decent time.

I watched a horrible Buffalo Bills game in the Air Canada Lounge but had some good good and drinks. The flight was nearly 30 minutes late leaving, but, we are in the air now. It might be too late to get my dogs this evening, it’s going up depend on how quickly I can get my bags and then how quickly the parking shuttle can bring me to my truck. We’ll see, and I’ll do my best to get them this evening.

All in all, it was a great trip, saw a bunch of people and had a good and relaxing time. I am looking forward to touching down and heading home though. Thanks for the hospitality, Ontario.

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Ontario Update No. 2

I went out for breakfast on Monday morning to what we’ve come to call “The Greasy Spoon”, it’s actually the Golden Grill, in St. Catharines. It’s at the corner of Welland and Geneva, if you’re in the area. It doesn’t look like much outside, or inside really, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the food is amazing and you get lots of it and it’s inexpensive. It was even less expensive on Monday since my buddy bought breakfast.

I headed for Toronto after taking my nephew dogs for a walk. The drive to the airport to return the rental car was great. No traffic and no delays. I got on the TTC bus at the airport, it goes to the furthest West subway station where I made my way downtown.

My cousin met me just outside the subway station as I might have had trouble navigating my way through The Path to my aunt’s apartment building. Monday evening the three of us went to Red Lobster for dinner, it was Endless Shrimp for me. The waitress that we had was talkative, VERY talkative. I’m sure she added an hour onto our meal. We walked to and from, well, I pushed my aunt in her wheelchair, she couldn’t walk that far for sure. The food was excellent.

Tuesday was a relaxing day. I made dinner Tuesday evening, a recipe I found on Facebook. It was a chicken bacon penne pasta dish and it turned out great. I went downtown in the evening, had a good time. On Wednesday, the 3 of us went to the Royal Ontario Museum, they had a whale exhibit on. They have a membership and I got in for free as my aunt’s escort (pusher of the wheelchair). I met a friend and former co-worker for dinner at Rodeo Brazilian Steakhouse, we had meat coma. It was great food, a little pricy though, with tax and a tip, mine came to just over $100…

I headed back to St. Catharines Thursday morning. As I was leaving the apartment, a building alarm went off which shut down the elevators. Great, just what I needed. Seeing as I was catching a 930 bus back, I had to leave, so I started down the stairwell, 39 floors down to ground level. Although going down the stairs is a lot easier than going up, it was still surprisingly tiring and took a long time. I had to hail a cab and good thing I did, I’m sure I would have missed the bus. The ride back to St. Catharines was quick. I went out with a friend for wings late Thursday afternoon. Good wings is something I miss in Alberta, it’s hard to find good ones.

That brings me to today. No plans set in stone, something will come up I’m sure. I’m heading back to Alberta Sunday and presuming that the weather is good, will be getting home late Sunday evening after picking up what will be 3 very happy and tired dogs.

It’s been a good trip, far more relaxing than the last time I was in Ontario, for sure. I’m looking forward to getting home though.

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Ontario trip update :-)

It’s been a busy few days in Ontario. I went for breakfast on Friday morning to what I call The Greasy Spoon, locals know it as Golden Grill, it’s at the corner of Welland and Geneva in St. Catharines, best breakfast in Niagara. Met with 2 friends, great time.

I had a friend over for lunch on Friday, we figure that we’ve been friends for almost 30 years now, wow. I made chicken and fries peppers with jalapeno havarti cheese on sourdough rye bread, it was great. It was also great catching up.

On Friday evening, I headed to Welland to a friend’s place that I’ve known for 20 years. We had pizza and wings, watched the Astros in a losing effort and had a fire in the propane firepit under the covered deck since it had been raining all day.

I drove to Toronto on Saturday to pick up my aunt and cousin for Halloween Thanksgiving, made 2 round trips, dropped them off and came back to Niagara in the late evening. I would have stayed in Toronto, but I had local plans here yesterday. I went back to Welland to MT Bellies and we caught the Bills game. It was a slow game, until the 4th quarter anyway. The Bills came out on top against the Dolphins. It was a good afternoon of catching up with a friend that I met in grade 4 and a guy I worked with when I was 17. If Facebook isn’t good for much, it’s good for putting you back in touch with old friends, that’s for sure.

Last night I went to a Halloween get-together, it was fun albeit a bit cold. The chili, wings and cake were great. The kids costumes were quite good, the party was on the sidewalk so we were handing out candy.

I’m heading for breakfast today and at some point, returning my rental car to the airport and then heading downtown to my aunt’s place. I believe we are heading to Red Lobster for dinner tonight, so I’ll be eating endless shrimp. Unsure of plans for tomorrow, but Wednesday I’m heading to a Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner, I’ll have meat coma that night. Back to Niagara on Thursday for the weekend and I fly out on Sunday afternoon.

My dogs are doing well, they are being well looked after. They dressed up for Halloween:

I’m looking forward to seeing them Sunday evening.

Enjoy your week and welcome, November.

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A busy few days in Ontario…

My flight in Wednesday landed a bit earlier than I expected. As I’ve written, I think the plane was flying faster.

It was an uneventful flight from Calgary, sort of the way that one would want a flight to be. I didn’t have to wait long to pick up my bag, it was there within about 10 minutes, which is far better than the nearly hour long wait the last time I visited Ontario.

I made my way to the car rental place and this time, I knew exactly where I was going. I enquired about keeping the car longer, until Monday. I didn’t expect it to be feasible, but the price was very good, worked out to about $60 per day, so I have it until Monday evening. I’ll return it to the airport and will then take TTC to my aunt’s place downtown.

I rented a Kia SUV/crossover of some variety. It’s a decent vehicle, awfully low to the ground when you’re used to driving in a truck. It has that lane assist feature which I am finding annoying, but I can’t figure out how to turn the damn thing off. Oh well. It is good on gas at any rate.

So I headed to St. Catharines shortly after 6pm, maybe closer to 630. There was some traffic but not too bad, although, for no reason, traffic did come to several stops along the way. Once I hit Burlington, traffic was much lighter and moved well.

Another feature the car has is when you stop, the engine shuts off and then starts up again when you take your foot off of the brake. That’s another annoying feature that I don’t care for in vehicles. I try to remember to disable it when I start a trip.

Yesterday was a fairly relaxed day. I woke up stupid early, even earlier than I normally would, but I went back to bed and napped, getting up around 930. I didn’t get out of the house until almost noon and did some galavanting. I toured around St. Catharines a bit to see what’s changed and there’s quite a bit since I last drove about the city. I stopped in the meat shop I used to frequent when I lived here, it’s now owned by my brother in law’s brother. I was making dinner last night, London broils, stuffed peppers and roasted potatoes.

I took my two nephew dogs for a walk along the lake in the afternoon and them got back and made dinner. The meal was excellent, if I do say so for myself. It was topped off with pumpkin pie.

I’m heading out for breakfast in a few hours, gotta accommodate for these non morning people. I have a friend coming over for lunch then I head to Welland for dinner and evening with friends. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Toronto to pick up my aunt and cousin and we’re heading back here for Halloween Thanksgiving.

All in all, it’ll be a good and busy couple of days. Halloween is Sunday and I’m watching some football with friends in the afternoon. Hopefully the weather will be good for kids who are trick or treating.

Enjoy your weekend, it’s almost here.

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Are we flying faster?

As had been sort of a tradition, I typically do a blog entry while I’m flying.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m flying to Toronto today and spending 11 days in my home province. Internet access on flights has become affordable, compared to a few years ago when it definitely wasn’t. It helps to kill the time.

I’m watching Godzilla vs Kong, it’s not a particularly good movie, thus far. I’m not overly surprised though, I think I had low expectations coming in.

I got to the airport early today and spent a couple of hours in the Air Canada Lounge. I had some breakfast (brisket eggs Benedict), a latte and a coffee. It was nice, comfortable lounge and good food. I got my black cowboy boots shined, he did a great job and the boots look like new.

Today’s flight is only 3 hours long for some reason. Typically, the flights are at least 3:40, so I’m a bit confused. Is the plane flying faster? High tail winds? What? I’m not complaining, just curious more than anything.

Anyway, we are landing at 5pm Eastern Time now, so I should be able to get my rental vehicle by 530 or so and head to St. Catharines. I’m sure I’ll have to fight some traffic, but that’s ok.

Nothing on tap for tonight that I’m aware of, other than watching the World Series and hoping that Houston can get it going and win game 2.

I’m looking forward to my visit, should be a good time.

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3 hours on hold? Don’t think so…

I got confirmation that extending my trip to Ontario by 4 days wasn’t an issue with my host. The friends that look after my dogs were good to go as well, so the next step was changing my return flight with Air Canada.

I logged onto the website and logged in. I went to the area to change my flight, selected the flight, made the changes, entered my payment information and clicked to proceed. I was surprised that between Sunday and Monday, the change increased in price from $78 to $95. Not a huge change, but I wonder if it goes up by $20 per day? I was given an error message and told to try it again, so I did.

Same error message and they suggested that I call Air Canada. Sure, I can do that. I called in and navigated their phone system and then I got a message that the expected wait time was greater than three hours.

What? THREE hours on hold to speak with someone? Does Air Canada have one customer service rep working for them? Air travel is slow right now, I can’t imagine that you have all that many people calling in, so, I am guessing this means that you have very few customer service people working. At any rate, I was not going to wait for more than 3 hours on hold. Not to confirm a change in a flight, not for pretty much anything.

I went back to the website and see that my flight is showing as what I wanted, not the old flight and when I checked my online credit card, it showed that the purchase went through. OK, odd. Anyway, I am now scheduled to return to Alberta on Sunday, November 7 in the late afternoon. I will get back just after dinner and then will be able to get my dogs on the way home. I hope that we don’t have 3 feet of snow on the ground, if we do, I may book into a hotel for the evening and drive home during the day on Monday.

This will give me a few more days to see some friends and whatnot. I arrive Wednesday evening, head to Niagara and then back to Toronto on Monday until Thursday, back to Niagara until my return flight. It should be a good time, I am looking forward to it.

I will miss the dogs, but I will be hanging out with my nephew dogs in St. Catharines and I know that mine will have a good time and will be well taken care of.

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Staying a little longer?

I am considering extending my trip to Ontario for an additional 4 days. I was surprised when I looked at the Air Canada web site and changing the return flight was only $79. Not bad at all, I figured it was going to be nearly as much as the original flight. That was step one.

Step two was ensuring that my dogs could stay with my friends for a few extra days. No issues there, so that’s good. Now I just need to confirm that it will work with my brother in law. I will still go to Toronto and then back to St. Catharines, so I need to ensure I can get a lift to the airport on November 7 when I am planning on taking my return flight. I will pay gas money and it will be about the same as what I would have paid for a taxi from my aunts place to the airport since it was really too early for TTC.

So, I leave Wednesday and instead of returning on Thursday, November 4, I will come back on the 7th and arrive in Calgary late in the evening.

I had a number of people that I haven’t seen that would like to get together and I was not able to fit them into my schedule. I am unsure when the next time I will get to Ontario. I am unsure how long these super cheap flights will last as well.

I will know if it all works out this evening. At any rate, I am looking forward to my trip.

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