Sunday, April 25, 2010
We had a lovely long vacation in Canada over Easter... which has turned into a lovely longer vacation in Canada.
In case you've been on the moon, some unpronouncably-named volcano in Iceland erupted, cancelling flights for 5 days. Our return flight to England was set for day three during the cancellation. So we were stuck.
Our (currently unnamed for reasons of misguided leverage) airline was unreachable, so rescheduling our flights was impossible for 5 days after our cancellation. Finally, when we got through, we learned that they would only fly Riccardo home priority because my flight was booked as a rewards miles flight - which is apparently deserving of punishment. So Riccardo flew home on day 6, and I'm stuck here for two more weeks (after our original departure date). So annoyed.
Luckily, I have free accommodation (because unmentioned airline is refusing to compensate for extended expenses) and a supportive employer - otherwise we'd really be screwed. I've really been enjoying having some extra time with family and friends, even if I'm transportationally-challenged and on a strict budget. Though I am planning to send a very strongly worded letter to the airline (not because of the disaster itself, but because of the shit way they've handled things afterward), I'm not really complaining.
In other news: Riccardo was accepted on the GKN International Leadership Scheme! He's been waiting for confirmation for months, but with the economic problems it's been on hold. The scheme runs for a year and primes five or six current employees (from branches all over the world) for executive roles. He will do three modules, one in England, one in the States and the last in Germany. Very exciting!
Friday, April 02, 2010
I'm at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam right now. A nice lady sitting next to us had to run to catch her flight, but still had 40 minutes on her internet, so we inherit the freebie. Yay! What's more, Riccardo is aleady using my laptop to play Civilisation, so I don't even have to share. Double - Yay!
We're on our way to Vancouver, then on to Victoria. Can't wait to see my family, and my little niece, Kyra, who is almost a year old! Also can't wait for mountains, nature, my sister's and mother's home-cooking, great Japanese food for less than your first born, cheap shopping, long visits with long-time friends...
But before all that, we must wait. And so in my waiting, I am also up-dating.
Work is still going fine. I'm quite tired out from it right now - but mostly because I've been working 55-60 hour weeks for the past few weeks to make sure I don't have too much catching-up to do when I return (because I do not intend on working over our 2-week Easter holidays). What I'm really looking forward to is mid-May, when all the year 11s and 12s go on study leave. That will mean about 2 months worth of reduced timetable for me (from 19 to 10 lessons per week), which means I will be able to accomplish most of my work during the school day, for once.
Renovation project #3 is now underway at the Weber household. I don't know if you all knew, but we bought the place with an outdoor toilet. Literally. It's a lonely old toilet plumbed in our semi-attached (not sealed, heated or electrified) shed. We're trying to bring it up to a usable standard, and have commissioned a carpeter/handyman to help. So far he seems really good. He's changed our rotted-out back door, fitted our garden shed doors with proper internal doors (which we will have to paint with external paint to make them damp-proof) and when we return from Canada, will be plumbing in a new toilet, a small cold-water handsink and an external garden tap (which we lack at present). He will also re-wire our fireplace, so we don't have to plug it in to one of our few living room sockets. All this for LESS than we budgeted. If everything goes to plan.
We've already been doing loads of work ourselves: we demolished all the mouldering cabinets in Riccardo's workshop, stripped and painted the walls and tacked external plywood to the ceiling. Just a few small touches and that room is finished. Riccardo has the plywood sheeting up on more than half of the walls and the ceiling in the loo now; it's waiting to be sealed and tiled (we're going to try our hand at tiling for the first time). Meanwhile, I've been painting the masonry around our patio, so that it's not all chipped. Projects, projects!
When it's all done, which will hopefully be by the end of April, though no promises, we will probably have an appraisal done. If we can avoid ending up in the red afterwards, we may attempt to sell right away.
As for Riccardo's work: he's been slightly disheartened lately. With the economic downturn, among other things, Riccardo has been lacking any real challenges. Things are slow, to say the least. Plus, he's been there nearly 3 years, so it's natural that he's beginning to get ancy and so we're looking for his Next Step. Not the best timing, but fingers crossed!
My in-laws are still in Australia. Been there 8 weeks, have 2 more weeks to go - including their tour of New Zealand. From what we can guess (through 2-minute phone calls every couple weeks) they're having an amazing time. So jealous. But we miss them.
My family is in the midst of a huge change: my dad retired this week! After 30 years with CNR, he's finally free. In his words, he's been 'walking around with a dopey grin on face for days'. I'm so happy for both him, and my mom, who now has unlimited help with her perpetual Honey-Do List (and a husband with free time and optimism a-plenty to carry it all out)!
My sister, Rebecca, has also returned to work this week from maternity leave. She is at a new office, but has worked there before, so she's settling in well. With Kyra at daycare, she's opted to demote herself from Manager, to regular travel agent status. Less responsibility will mean more family time. She and her husband, Mike, seem to be finishig up most of the jobs they wanted to complete on the home they bought in Victoria last year.
Finally, Kelsey, the youngest sister, is back in Vancouver this weekend looking for permanent accommodation. Kelsey deserves huge congratulations for having gain a permanent, full-time position as a qualified Respiratory Therapist at Vancouver General Hospital. In fact, this was quite a feat, as not only was it her first choice, but RT jobs (like all jobs these days) are hard to come by these days. So she's really happy, and relieved I'm sure, to be completing her practicum in May, and beginning her adult life. We're very proud. And who knows, we could end up neighbours some day...
Well, I suppose that's all from Schiphol today. Defo want to come here another time, when we can do more than stop-over in the Computer Cafe. Hmmm... that gives me an idea! haha!
Best to you all.