Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Small Claims Court Here We Come

Evil Landlady strikes again, our walkthrough did not go well and we'll now be fighting for our damage deposit back as well as the rent abatement. I guess adding a little more money is no big deal.

Sigh... here's hoping this gets cleared up quickly.

Santa's Bag

I was really lucky this Christmas and received so many awesome gifts. Over the next couple days I'll probably post about them and I thought I'd start with this one.

I am now the proud owner of this genius invention and I'm super excited about it! The Cupcake Courier. It's holds 36 cupcakes so I no longer need to worry about them sliding around and smooshing together, I think a large batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate are in order.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Brad - "My stomach is full of little blonde girls"

We celebrated the warm, unpacked apartment with a round of Shirley Temples.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Genius Toolbar

My favourite new function of iTunes, The Genius Toolbar

This article gave a great explanation, “Once you opt in to the service, which sends your music library and usage data to Apple anonymously according to the company, iTunes can generate a list of music in your library that sounds similar to any song in it, from which you can make a playlist. The Genius sidebar … performs essentially the same function, except that it draws recommendations from the iTunes music store. Those recommendations include similar songs, top albums by the artist, songs by the artist missing from your collection and iTunes Essentials collections that include the song.”

So I click on a song that I want to listen to, then generate a Genius playlist and I have an awesome mix of music that is just what I’m in the mood for. If nothing else it’s a slightly less random use of the randomizer.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let Me Tell You...

This new place is so great, here are the highlights.
  1. The bedrooom is big enough that we can finally bring over the pretty bench that we got as a wedding present
  2. The living room is big enough that we have the option of using my old coffee table again
  3. There are two bedrooms
  4. The bathroom fan doesn't make a sound that makes you want to pull your ears off
  5. There is a real front entrance, a non carpeted front entrance
  6. The carpet is a nice, normal grey colour, not green shag.
  7. A Full size fridge and stove
  8. Two SINKS!!
  9. Two bedrooms
  10. More cupboard space that I had at first though
  11. We've already met 2 of our 3 neighbors
  12. It's rigtht across the street from a Dollar Store, Little Ceaser's, Subway, M&M Meat Shops and a Drug store so when I'm at home without a car I can still go somewhere
  13. Moving in is a breeze, there aren't 3 flights of stairs to climb
  14. We only have to share the laundry room with 3 other people
  15. We have heat, real heat!
  16. There are big windows to let in lots of light

I'll take pictures eventually but we are so blessed to have gotten this suite, someone is looking out for us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Warm Place

Yay! We're not homeless, we've got a great new place to live and we can even more in today!

More details to follow but cheer for us, we needed some good news :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Leg I Stand On

There have been some comments about our landlady and people wondering what our rights are and so I thought I'd clarify by posting the letter that we've submitted to her. It clearly outlines what our rights are and that we're well within them and that she doesn't have a leg to stand on. It's in her best interest to just let us go with our damage deposit.

Subject: Breach of Contract

Dear Susan*:

For some time now we've been without a proper source of heat in our apartment and our frequent requests for a solution have been ignored. We discovered that this year we have zero heat and with the extreme cold of the past week our apartment has become unlivable. Concerned about your pipes freezing we've been running an electric heater and using our oven to provide some sort of warmth. Both are additional costs to us and we've decided it's in our best interest to find a new place to live.

As you have not complied with the Landlord Obligations as outlined in the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act we are submitting 14 days notice and will vacate the apartment by 12:00 noon on January 1st. We have listed the obligations below as well as the actions we are legally allowed to take.

Landlord's obligations

  • Make the premises available for the tenant on the agreed move-in date.
  • Not to disturb the tenant's possession or peaceful enjoyment of the premises. This means that the landlord is not to bother the tenant beyond what is necessary to do the landlord's business.
  • Make sure the premises meet the minimum requirements set out in the Housing Regulation and the Minimum Housing and Health Standards under Alberta's Public Health Act at the beginning and during the tenancy. The Minimum Housing and Health Standards can be found on the Service Alberta website.
  • Complete move in-and move-out inspection reports and provide copies to the tenant.
Below is an excerpt from the Public Health Act http://www.servicealberta.ca/pdf/consumers/housing99.pdf

8. Heating Facilities
(a) All heating facilities within a housing premises are to be properly installed and maintained in good working condition, and be capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms within the building to a temperature of ;
(i) at least 22°C(710F), or
(ii) maintained at a temperature of at least 22°C(710F) when the control of the supplied heat in a dwelling is the responsibility of a person other than the occupant.

(b) When the outside temperature is colder than the winter design temperature as referenced in the Alberta Building Code(97) Section and Appendix C, then the Executive Officer may permit an indoor temperature of less than 22°C(710F) but greater than 16°C (600F). (Without the use of extra heaters our temperature sits below 10°C)
(c) Cooking appliances and portable space heaters shall not be used as the primary source for the required heat to a habitable room.
(d) Every owner of a housing premises shall ensure a continuous supply of electricity, water and heat unless the rental agreement stipulates that such utility services are the sole responsibility of the occupant.

Voluntary Code of Practice - Alberta's Residential Tenancies Act

Termination for substantial breach by landlord
28 (1) A tenant may apply to a court to terminate the tenancy or may terminate the tenancy by serving the landlord with a notice at least 14 days before the day that the tenancy is to terminate where
(a) the landlord commits a substantial breach of the residential tenancy agreement, and
(b) an executive officer has issued an order under section 62 of the Public Health Act in respect of the circumstances that constitute the substantial breach, and the tenant believes on reasonable grounds that the landlord has failed to comply with the order.
(2) The notice must
(a) be in writing,
(b) be signed by the tenant,
(c) set out the reasons for the termination, and
(d) set out the termination date.

We expect our full damage deposit back and we are prepared to follow the necessary steps to ensure it is received in a timely manner. We have put a stop-payment on all remaining cheques and would like them returned. We're happy to give access to our apartment for viewing with potential renters as long as 24 hour notice is given.

We respectfully request that all further communication be conducted in writing, either as a letter or an email and we've included all necessary contact information. Thank you very much.

Brad & Laura Wiebe

*Names have been changes to protect the identity of our really crappy landlady.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold Hands, Cold Heart

So the hoped for basement suite had some serious flaws. We're about to be homeless and we're depressed.

The cold has made us unproductive... laundry hasn't been done (I'm wearing Brad's socks today because I'm out of clean ones), house cleaning is being ignored, breakfast has been skipped every day this week. If it can't be done while I'm under the warmth of a blanket it's probably not going to get done. I dread that moment where it's time to take off the pajamas and put on real clothes; it must be done as quickly as possible.

Although she's clearly in the wrong I'm sure there's going to be a fight with our landlady and I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what's going to happen to us.

It seems like this past 6 months have been nothing but a string of bad luck. Hoping for a change and happier, warmer days.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Way Out

I have this knot in my stomach that never loosens. My hands are a little shaky… I'm really nervous.

I was trying to be tough and managed to not complain at all on my blog about the temperature in our apartment. Last year we had really horrible heat so we expected it to be cold but we weren't prepared for the entire lack of heat that we've been experiencing. We get not a single bit of heat from our pipes and our landlady has done nothing to fix it. It's no way to live when it's minus 45 degrees outside.

So we've decided to move. We don't know where we're going but we're giving notice tomorrow and we're not giving 30 days and we're going to try our darndest to get our entire damage deposit back. I'm sure it's going to be an unpleasant fight where reason is thrown out the window on her end and we do our best to stay calm but the law is on our side.

So think about us and send support our way, we need it to deal with the worst woman you've ever met and wish us luck tonight as we go look at a place that seems like it'll be much better than where we are now. To end on a happy note I'm including pictures of the hoped for basement suite. The windows are small I know but it's bigger and a little cheaper than what we have now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tooting My Own Horn

This year Brad and I got together with his sister Rosie,her husband Byron and we sang and recorded some Christmas songs. We then took those songs and burned them to a cd and sent them out in some Christmas cards. The songs turned out really well so I thought I'd add them to the blog.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Out of My Control

  1. If I'm standing in a lineup and people need to cut through it they will always cut in front of me. Even if I stand especially close to the person in front, they still cut in front of me.
  2. I always accidentally sit by the table leg, so every time I move I kick the stupid thing and everyone's drinks wobble.
  3. If there's some sort of defect in a cosmetic problem I'm bound to buy that one.
    I had this lipgloss once that when you twisted the base the stick of lipgloss would turn instead of the base. So the angled part would move every time (I'm aware that this probably doesn't make any sense)
    I have this blush/bronzer stuff that I love and not two weeks after I got it the lid broke off.

These kinds of things happen all the time!

Funny how our luck works sometimes isn't it? We all have these little quirks, with Michelle her favorite products get discontinued. With Mom she has electronics problems. Maybe it's these silly things that make us each a little more individual.

Zoo Lights

Brad and I took a trip to Zoo Lights last night and we were reminded that it's really just a stroll through the closed Zoo with some lights. There were some highlights though, the free hotdog, chips and hot chocolate from his work, the fact that is was a really nice night and the roaring fire pits all made it enjoyable (especially since it was free).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Walk Home with Me

My walk home from work yesterday took about double the normal time (I really will stop mentioning the toe any day now). I found that frequent stops were necessary but rather than just stop and stand I took out the camera and took a couple pictures on the way.

So take a walk with me and see what I see.

This was the first time I decided to take a rest so I looked over to my right and I loved the way the trees were all snowy with the bright buildings lights behind it. I’m sure this could have been a really great picture if I sort of knew what I was doing :)

This is one of the lamps on the Centre Street Bridge and I loved the orange glow against the darkening blue sky.

I tend to forget that after the snow has fallen this path is icy and treacherous and that I need to take the stairs. Yesterday was no exception so this section took and especially long time. The snow was all mounded up on the fence posts and I love the view of downtown.

It’s hard to see but somebody took the time to step off the path and make a snow angel, what a perfect celebration of the weather.

This is the home stretch, I’m almost there and I always think this street is so pretty. In the summer I get little cool patches of shade where the trees hang over.

There are lots of bushes like the one to the right and I think they look like they’re covered with mounds of dish soap bubles.

So there's a typical wintery walk home with me.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I know I said pictures wouldn't do it justice but it's such a pretty colour and really scary looking and frankly I'd like a little sympathy. I don't want you to think that this was just a little stub of the toe, so take a look and be forewarned... it's been a while since I had a pedicure :)

This is an album so if you click on it you'll be taken to a few more photos.
Bruised Toe

It'll be really interesting to see what it looks like in a day or too.


As previously mentioned, today had no where to go but up.

I found my Starbuck card!

As a thank you from a co-worker I was given a gift card and I still had a balance of about $15 when I misplaced it. I looked in the wallet twice and the purse twice. I checked at Starbucks and at the lost and found. Today I decided to check my wallet one more time as that’s the most logical place. I don’t know where I was looking the previous times but it was there! Glad I can once again feel guilt free about my yummy purchases.

The Broken Toe

Some Mondays start in such a way they can’t possibly go anywhere but up.

As a wedding gift, among other things we received the gift of a cutting board. It was small and wood with a handle and I took one look at it and thought, “Well this is small, useless and ridiculous and I’ll never use it.”

But I was wrong. Turns out a small wood cutting board comes in handy fairly often and we’ve now used it so much that wood has begun to warp. Cutting on a bendy board is not an easy task so when I spied some fancy (cheap) bamboo ones at Safeway I quickly added it to the cart.

The new board is about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide in smooth, pretty bamboo. I pulled it out this morning to chop some tomatoes to add to my scrambled eggs. I’ll admit our kitchen isn’t entirely clean right now so the counter had some dishes and things on it. I slid the board as far as it would go so I could clear off the counter and place is securely for chopping, only as far as it would go just wasn’t far enough. My morning reflexes did not meet the necessary requirements and this lovely (heavy) cutting board hit me squarely on the toe.

I really do think it’s broken. I cried, I hopped, I iced and 6 ½ hour later I’m still smarting and limping. I attempted to photograph the ugliness of it for you but the photos just couldn't even begin to show the pain, the blue and the puffiness of it (consider yourself spared).

The only upside I can think of is that the board entirely missed the toenail so I don’t believe I’ll be losing that.

Good luck on your Monday, look out for wayward cutting boards.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow, Snow Snow

As much as I hate the snow it really is pretty out right now.

I'm a lousy photographer so these pictures don't do it justice. We had this beautiful snow fall today and surprisingly there really wasn't any wind so the snow piled up on even the skinniest of branches. It also wasn't terribly cold, a perfect night for ice skating; if only there was some ice.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An Old Fashioned Christmas

I went down to Magrath last weekend and the town was putting on an Old Fashioned Christmas, it's a new tradition they've started and it was a lot of fun.

All the shops on main street stayed open late and there was something fun to see in most of them. There was a big bonfire with free cookies and hot chocolate right on the sidewalk. Across the street at city hall you could get a treat bag after you'd visited Santa. The Co-op had a chocolate fondue and the Trading Company had hot chocolate, mini oranges and a train in the window. It looks like they're looking in an old fashioned toy store.

The trees were lit with mini lights and the high school band played some songs. There were carolers on the street corners and friends all around.

It's a great new tradition that was fun for the kids and I'd like to attend again.

What a great way to start the season, hope you're feeling as much of the season as I am.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Facebook – One More Reason to Dislike You

Facebook gave me a virus.

I think I'm pretty computer smart, I don't fall for the average viruses and I'm careful about what I download but this one is smart, it duped me.

One of my friends sent me a Facebook message linking to a video. So I click on it and I'm taken to a window that looks kind of like youtube. The video starts to load and I think it said my java needed to update, something normal like that. So I click okay to update it and then it tells me there was a problem updating so I close the window, not concerned since I didn't want to see the stupid video anyway.

Then I start getting these messages. My McAfee deleted some Trojans and some stupid messages keep coming up, you know the kind, the spammy ones saying I should go to this link and download some spyware to fix the problem they created. So I finally decided it was time to alert my IT Guy, he knew immediately it was from Facebook and I'm not the only one. Hopefully it's not a big deal to fix but it wouldn't surprise me if this resulted in a Facebook ban at work.

So in conclusion... Sometimes friends are not so friendly, don't trust links to videos.

Thank goodness this didn't happen at home where I have no IT guy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

8 is a Big Number

I have a real post in the works I just keep forgetting to download the cute pictures that go with it. Until then this will have to do.

8 favorite TV shows
  1. Food Network Challenge – I could watch that show all day!
  2. Ace of Cakes – Again, this is an all day one
  3. Gossip Girl – I know it's made for 14 year old girls but I love it, such a guilty pleasure
  4. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – not as lame as it sounds and way better than the movies ever were :)
  5. How I Met Your Mother
  6. Grey's Anatomy
  7. Malcolm in the Middle & 2 1/2 Men – Brad didn't watch very much tv growing up and what he did watch was very wholesome so I've had to introduce him to the hilarity that comes from shows about really dysfunctional families
  8. The really strange documentaries on TLC every Sunday evening. Like the girl who didn't grow, the Woman who had this disease that made her legs grow to be HUGE or the people who are morbidly overweight. I get hooked and can't change the channel. My favorite was the one where people flew to Switzerland (?? I could be making that up, I saw it a while ago) to plan their own death because assisted suicide is legal.

8 Books you recommend

  1. The Life of Pi
  2. The Observations (odd but enjoyable)
  3. Wicked / Son of a Witch
  4. Chronicles of Narnia Series

The fact that I can't list 8 books doesn't mean I don't read, because I do, constantly. I'm just really critical about the books I read, they seldom make a huge impact.

8 things that happened yesterday

  1. Made the best Mac & Cheese, the cheese came all the way from New Zealand. It was brought back by Brad's co-worker (it really didn't taste any different than usual)
  2. Worked, and was super bored
  3. Created the greatest ice cream concoction. Melted some chocolate chips, peanut butter and a little cream together. Then stirred into ice cream. It got all chunky and super yummy.
  4. Attempted to make some room on my iPod before I really run out of space
  5. Played (and lost) Ticket to Ride
  6. Washed some dishes
  7. Had a long political discussion with Brad. He's so smart and is great at making sure I understand what's going on. I'm concerned about this coalition thing and upset that there's nothing I can do. All those out there who didn't vote in this past election? I blame you for this mess, I'm confidant that a majority Conservative Government was possible if more people had turned out.
  8. Went to sleep far too late, must kick that habit

8 things to look forward to
  1. Christmas Vacation - 2 weeks off is going to be a dream
  2. Zoo Lights
  3. Christmas Parties – 2 this week start off the season
  4. My kids moving from Sunbeams to CTR's. I'm excited to move with them.
  5. The end of the school semester for Brad
  6. Getting picked up 3 days a week next semester
  7. Living in a place with actual, working heat; and proper laundry facilities.
  8. Spending time with my nephews (don't know when that one will happen)
8 things on my wishlist
  1. A House
  2. Dining room set – it's the plan with this year's tax return
  3. New Couches – Mom's fulfilling this wish by giving me hers in September
  4. A budget that's not quite as tight but still lets us save as much
  5. A Cupcake Courier – such a brilliant invention
  6. A car of my very own, or perhaps a new car for Brad so I can have mine back.
  7. A Cell Phone – this one I get when Brad get's his new one from James
  8. A vacation to Hawaii in the middle of our winter. Hawaii is paradise.

8 things I love about fall
  1. It brings us closer to outdoor skating
  2. Sweater weather
  3. Soup season – I have a thing for soup
  4. There always seems to be a rush of new music released about this time
  5. It gets a little busier at work
  6. We get to use our heated mattress pad
  7. Time to listen to Christmas music
  8. An excuse to use our car starter

I hope your December isn't too busy yet, enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Are Stupid

Brad and I know we love Snow Patrol, have gone to their concert and loved it. They released a new album in October yet we didn't get it. I would remember occasionally and think, "Oh I'll get it later".

I've listened to the first song and half of the second and I'm sad that I've been missing this for so long.

Crack the shutters open wide
I want to bathe you in the light of day

And just watch you as the rays
Tangle up around your face and body

I could sit for hours
Finding new ways to be awed each minute

Cause the daylight seems to want you
Just as much as I want you

It's been minutes it's been days
It's been all I will remember

Even if the rest of the album is no good (unlikely) it's already a great new find. Good enough to beat out the Christmas music for a little while.