Tag Archives: weather

Gardening helps heal this troubled soul

Tulip poking through euonymus shrub in Only Child’s garden spring 2017

One of the few things keeping me going this spring is my garden (the others are my writing, my son and friends who help me, reading, and even some TV shows). The latter two are much needed diversions and distractions from bad health with pain of some sort at some time during each day), and the Noah’s Ark-like weather – the latter worry mostly to do with that Nigel Applewaite the construction worker who messed up his contract and work to fix the basement leaks. And didn’t fix his mistakes. But that’s another post.

With all the rain we’ve been getting in southern Ontario (and elsewhere too), everything is coming up green outside – including the weeds. The latter are very prolific this year. So are the flowers and onions coming up from some planted last year, and the herbs and rhubarb. Already eating those latter three.

I remember my late mother’s garden – vegetable and flowers and the big shrubs. She and Dad would be out there digging up the garden and planting in April. That was in the 1950s. The world is a much wetter and colder place now. The latter doesn’t just refer to weather, although that was cold in April and for the most part (except for two or three days) this May, too.

So, I plan my gardening around the weather and all the other stuff I do. Doing a bit of gardening at a time is the way to weed a somewhat large garden and get things planted. And weeding gives me a safe outlet to deal with the oppressors and oppressions in my life. I have lost count how many weeds I’ve pulled with the name Nigel Applewaite.

Gardening also seems to revive my energy and provides some purpose. So does enjoying what is in the garden. Unless pouring with rain, daily, I take a walk around and in my garden. And sit out on the veranda and/or patio to eat, read and just enjoy the view.

The patio also brought forth another hurdle to get over. I needed a new umbrella to provide shade at the patio table – the one I had for seven years – second hand and a gift from a friend – finally stopped working late last summer so it went out to the curb for pickup.

You would think that getting a new umbrella would not be a major operation. Well I did check them out at Home Depot – too pricey and way too heavy to carry home – even thought it was only four blocks. So I checked Canadian Tire on line for selections and sale, then I asked one of my friends if she could drive me  – we had talked about his possibility before and she has helped me before (and her husband helped me get my bags of topsoil at Home Depot). She said she could do it on last Monday but when I phoned Monday morning to see about a time suitable to her, I got her husband and he told me in no uncertain terms that she couldn’t do it because they were going away for a couple of weeks and they would be busy for a week after they got back. And she had too many things to do before they went away.

Excuse me? Can’t she speak for herself and if she said she couldn’t do it because of time problems I could understand that – although a refusal when I first asked would have been best.

So, I asked my son if he could pick one up at Canadian Tire on his way here Saturday and I would pay him back. He said “no” because of having to lease a car to do it but offered to pay for a cab so I could come home with it. I said okay and I’d have to find out how to go about doing that from a store with no pay phone (remember I’m too poor to have a cell phone).

But I got lucky. Most of the patio umbrellas at Canadian Tire were light enough and packed in one of those carry bags (like you get fold up cloth patio chairs in) and I could carry it. Also the clerk I spoke there gave me info about getting a cab – if you need one when you pay tell the cashier and she or he will call a cab. So, I ended paying about half the price of those at Home Depot and got the umbrella home for free. I slung the umbrella pack over my shoulder and walked  block and a half to the bus stop and took the one bus home. When my son was here this Saturday, he set up the umbrella and showed me that it also can slant  (which I didn’t know). So the umbrella is there on the patio and if it is warm enough for lunch I just might sit out there with it open. The weekend was not good for that – too windy Saturday and yesterday and raining on Sunday.

So, I guess despite all the crap happening in my life, I still am a persistent stubborn so-and-so.

When I stop being that, then it is time to worry.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Garden, Gardening, Gardening health benefits, Mom and Dad, Spring

Devastating Floods sign of what’s to come?

Toronto Island Flooding

 

The floods came this past weekend – from southern Ontario to southern Quebec to New Brunswick to…

Hey, wait a second (not a minute – you could drown in a minute) – this isn’t just happening in Canada – it is occurring all over the world on an ongoing basis.. And I don’t think it is one big coincidence.

First, a disclaimer. As many of you know, I am not religious. But religious or not, I can’t help feeling that those who believed that the end of the world would come in October 2012 are not far off the mark. They got the date wrong, but not the end result. The floods and fires and tornadoes and hurricanes that are now a regular weather occurrence, provide a lot of meat to this theory. And I don’t think doing a Noah, i.e., building a big ark is going to work.

The photos make the water getting in my basement Friday into Saturday seem almost paltry as I was able to contain it using many towels and many towel changes – including setting the alarm clock for 4.30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Of course, all this work, the wet, the damp and the worry just made my health worse. Multiply that many thousands of times to those flooded out of their homes and the situation is almost incomprehensible.

And there is the danger to trees, the soil and other parts of nature. It isn’t only we humans who are hurt.

Being a former journalist I, of course, need to know why.

If you take the “end of the world” theory, you can take it from there to see where perhaps a lot of the blame lies. And not necessarily only with people. Remember not all global warming is caused by what people do and have done. For example, volcanoes cause 20 to 21 per cent of global warming.

Methinks we all need to do two things. Help those who are hit by disaster – where and how we can. Don’t forget nature – plant more trees once the waters recede.Tell your loved ones that you love them. And try to live one day at a time.

I’ll end with another photo and a link to more at

The Weather Network

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes


François Lussier rows along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud, Que., west of Montreal, on May 8, 2017.
GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under End of World Predictions, Extreme Weather, Floods, Life demands, Only child, Weather

Ice Storms Tornadoes Rain bring havoc to US and Canada

Tree destruction from ice storm

Tree destruction from ice storm

Wicked weather over the January 13 weekend and continuing this week if nothing else proves that we can no longer feel safe in our world – as if most of us didn’t already know that .It is heartbreaking and the icy conditions and tornadoes in the USA and now the ice storms, rainfalls and winds in Ontario from the same storm hit it home harder. So do the  torrential rains coming up to lower British Columbia. These and more (watch The Weather Network, especially the Force of Nature videos clips and that last word in the title is a misnomer and also Accuweather) should serve as a warning that we have to do something about this. Before we can even get -to climate change, first there are the current situations’ damage  that have to be taken care of.

Those last three words are important here. We need to go beyond hope and beyond prayer and get in there and help each other. If the power is out in your neighbourhood, make sure your neighbours are okay and help them  – if you have a generator and gas fireplace and/or gas stove, open your home to those that don’t. I keep thinking of the big southern Ontario ice storm of December 2013 and how my neighbours helped me and how my son, especially helped my then boarder and me by booking (and paying for) a hotel room for a few days in downtown Toronto where the power stayed on. My son, Martin, also took us out to dinner near the hotel, picked us up and drove us home for Christmas (we had the power back on then) and even brought Christmas dinner and helped cook it. Fortunately, I hadn’t opened the big freezer during the power outage, the freezer was full and except for the odd item in the fridge-top freezer and fridge that didn’t make it into my makeshift freezer – an old-fashioned milk shut-turned mailbox on an outside wall, food was okay.

Put salt on your driveway, sidewalks and verandah to melt the ice. As long as the temperature doesn’t go much below freezing it will soften the ice somewhat. Then get out there and move the ice with a sharp shovel. A garden digging shovel works fine. I know some of you with be tut-tutting the choice of salt, but in a situation like this people’s safety is the main thing. If you really want to get all environmentally proactive clearing the ice, use sand, but good luck finding any in winter.

I also have another problem to watch and with me it can happen without the torrential rainfalls in BC. I’m talking about basement flooding. Many properties in the area I live in have this problem due to the area being low level, with old sewers. The City of Toronto is working to remedy this situation but it will take years. See basement flooding program for more info on this.

My problem can happen no matter what the sewer infrastructure is because a contractor named  Nigel Applewaite who I hired to dig the side of the house with the wall cracks and to seal it, didn’t dig down far enough. He won ‘t do anything about it and has blamed it on the sewer drains. I had city workers check that out – twice. Drain was clear.

There was one other thing that developed that has something to do with it – the-eavestrough middle on the east side of the house got mis-shaped into a bow, no doubt from something in “nature” – i.e. extreme weather and/or raccoons.  My handyman noticed it when he put up heating cables there and on the roof. I hired a professional eavestrough company (I checked with three of them) last year to fix it. The eavesgtrough needed re-aligning. So far it seems to be helping, but I keep an eye on my basement floors and heavy towels on the floors under two windows are a permanent part of the decor. Today, with heavy rains and winds from the east I am doing regular checks of my basement and there better not be any water get in.

One thing all this weather damage does to you. If you’ve lived through it, you become wary and worried, sometimes to the point of paranoia.

Another reason to help your family, friends and neighbours when extreme weather hits. They say misery loves company. But so does picking up after all the misery. It is being pro-active together, much better than burying your face in whatever. Much better than doing something to relax. You need to take action and sometimes the adrenalin from the worry and the bad surprise can act as a catalyst for strength to try to fix the situation.

Just think if a group of neighbours, friends, etc. all work together towards this.

Fix the current disaster, then move on to climate change action. Do it in steps from the beginning.

And yes, I haven’t forgotten that governments and corporations have to do their part too. Some are.

But that’s a topic for another blog post.

As for Nigel Applewaite, he has had flooding in the basement and garage of his home. Sometimes what goes around does actually come around if we just let it.

Be safe.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Climate Change, Extreme Weather, Faulty Contractors, Floods, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Ice Storms, Life demands, Only child, Rain and wind storm

Only Child gets those life irritations out of the way

Only child in her home

Only child in her home

Sometimes just listing the 10 or 12 things that irritate you the most can help you get going into what to focus on (or not) in 2017. As I often do, I took this process backwards – did my focus and goals first. But I do have a category box for What I don’t like doing/What I don’t need to do.

So, loosely based on that,  (or some of the flip side of my goals) and just what I’ve observed in the world the past year, here in no particular order is my dirty dozen:

  1. Friends who phone and don’t leave a message. How am I supposed to know they called when I was out or otherwise not available?
  2. Telemarketers and the like who leave a voice mail message.
  3. Rain in the winter – heavy or otherwise and heavy rain, heavy winds any other time as well.
  4. Winter
  5. Unforeseeable house and property problems such as water getting in the basement from no. 3 above or for any reason.
  6. Consumer service and utility screw-ups.
  7. Family, friends and yes, me too, getting sick, especially with something serious.
  8. Public transit problems.
  9. Leaders of countries who are dictators (that’s the leaders, not the country here).
  10. Rude pushy people.
  11. Not getting enough sleep.
  12. Going crazy trying to manage my time.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. But I do love many things like gardening, writing and reading. Another blog post will go into some of that.

What are your pet peeves – what irritates you a lot?

May your 2017 be happier, brighter and more focused than 2016.

Good riddance to 2016.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Civility, Extreme Weather, Leaky Basements, Life demands, Lists, Only child, Public Transit, Rain and wind storm, Sleep deprivation, Time management, Weather

Only Child has mixed Thanksgiving thoughts

Only child in her home

Only child in her home

Yesterday Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. But I have mixed feelings about the meaning of the annual holiday and the role of gratitude in our lives today on planet earth.

Today, I’m playing devil’s advocate with questions and I would like your comments about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to express our gratitude. What about the thousands of people in Haiti killed from Hurricane Matthew? What about those that survived – so far? Cholera is a big shadow hanging over Haiti. What about those on the east coast of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and even up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia that are victims of Hurricane Matthew?

Are the survivors grateful for losing family members, their homes, their cities and towns, their livelihood?

I am always flabbergasted and yes, troubled, when survivors of floods, winds, fires say “we’ve lost everything but we still have our family.” Are they suffering from shock and that’s their initial reaction? As they try to put their lives together, how many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t go through all that and come out feeling good, feeling gratitude. In the long run, doesn’t it take it’s toll?

I can only speak from part observer – what I see on the news and weather network. My own personal experience (so far) with floods is a flooded basement (about four to six inches) from the main water drain backing up (the official diagnosis) in November 2005. That was devastating enough. If not for the help of my friend and next door neighbour, Alex, it could have been much worse. Right away when I banged on his and his now late wife, Tanya’s door, Alex came over with a super-charged Shopping Vac and  cleaned out the flood. There was still aftermath to deal with – insurance people, drain company, restoration. I was so upset I refused to have anything done beyond the initial cleanup the restoration company did until the spring. My reason was with my allergies to many chemicals I didn’t want work done when windows couldn’t be opened in the winter. But now I wonder how much was shock.

My rec room looked like a war zone and the tiles in other rooms were broken.  I moved all dry food stored downstairs up to the spare bedroom because I couldn’t bear to go down there. My trips downstairs were limited to getting food from the freezer and doing laundry. And I had to be careful going down the stairs to the basement because the steps were no longer cushioned by carpeting – that was all ripped up the day after – and that includes carpets in the foyer and hallway.

It is only a tiny experience of what those devastated by floods (or fires or winds) go through, but it gave me a taste of the reality in our world today.

No place is safe to live in.

So, I ask my question again, reworded somewhat.

Do you have anything to be thankful for? And if so, what?

And yes, I do have a few things to be thankful for, including my son and his girlfriend, my friends, my garden, my writing, and dare I say it my home? Fortunately or unfortunately I am stubborn and tenacious and I don’t take it lying down. I think that’s why I became a journalist too many years ago and while I no longer am a journalist, my writing – personal essays/memoir, this blog and my fiction  – all  deal with the bad in life. And I also yell a lot and try to make sense of what has no sense.

As Shakespeare wrote “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

Notice his choice of seasons.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Gratitude, Life demands, Only child, Overwhelm

Only Child looks at fall

Soon to go inside for winter

Soon to go inside for winter

Continuing along the line of last week’s post on back to business in September, September also means a return to fall and then we know what happens after that.

The Weather Network presented their fall forecast last evening. I’m not going into that right now. You can view it here. It is what the word “fall” conjures up that is running around in my mind.

Back in the grey ages (1950s and early 1960), fall meant my dad had to change the screen windows for storm windows. Yes, that meant climbing up on a ladder and physically removing all the screens and putting up the storms – about a dozen windows. At least we don’t have to do that these days, but fall brings up more chores.

Clearing out the garden isn’t a chore, but everything else is. Cleaning the eavestroughs or getting someone to do so – in my case I hire someone but he has to come back several times to do more cleaning thanks to the black walnut trees which shed somewhat gradually (although you wouldn’t believe when you look at the ground) over six or more weeks. A few leaves have fallen down so far but most of the leaves on the trees (there are two walnut trees in my next-door neighbour’s yard that hang over – not complaining about that as they give me patio shade in the summer) are still green. Not holding my breath here.

Patio and verandah furniture will have to be brought in and the air-conditioner covered. There will still be a few more lawn mowing sessions. I finally got my eavestrough problem fixed – I hope, but that saga is for another blog post

For me, fall brings mixed blessings and curses. The latter is tied in a lot to what comes next – winter. And this one won’t be as mild in southern Ontario as the last winter according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

But the significant sign of fall for me is that my old patio umbrella finally stopped working. I had closed it for the past Saturday’s rain and wind storm. Part of the top blew off (thank you God, she said sarcastically). Still trying to decide if I should go through the time-consuming rigamarole of getting a new one now or leave it to next spring. There might be end of season sales on patio umbrellas but I could still run into the same problem as last spring when I was looking for a new one – there weren’t many suitable available and I did check out online and in person, sometimes with a friend. That’s another thing – besides the check online and in flyers for sales and availability of umbrellas, I have to get someone to either drive me to get it or pick it up and repay them. Not their fault, of course, but when you don’t have a car partly because you can’t afford a car and all its expenses….

Methinks I’ll just dump it at the end of the driveway later in the fall. If someone who can fix it wants it, good luck, they can have it. Otherwise the City of Toronto truck that picks up large items such as furniture can do so.

Now on to something more pleasant – fresh produce from the garden.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Dad, Fall, Garden, God, Home and Garden, Only child, Weather

Flash flood rainfalls cause havoc in Toronto

Front of Only Child's House

Front of Only Child’s House

Toronto finally got rain last week and depending where in Toronto you live, that’s when you got it. My son and his girlfriend got the big rainfall on Sunday July 24 overnight. When they woke up Monday  morning they found rain pelting down from their ceiling – on the second floor of the house they live in. There is one floor above them. Their landlord fixed it – it was a pipe going through the ceiling.

My situation is a bit more complicated. While I do believe that God controls the weather and also that climate change has a lot to do with the extreme weather we are getting worldwide, I have an added factor – NIGEL APPLEWAITE – and I don’t mean the Hamilton  football player  who has an “h” in his last name, although it is sometimes misspelled without the “h” . I don’t know this fellow, don’t have a beef with him, so I do not mean him here. I wish this Nigel Applewhaite well.

I am referring  to Nigel Applewaite who supposedly fixed the water getting in my  basement through cracks by waterproofing it on the outside in the spring of 2011. It worked until late spring 2013 when water started coming in again in the laundry room and the rec room. Of course I called Nigel right away. He came over twice but would not take responsibility. He kept saying it could be the drains and to get them checked which I did. The City of Toronto supervisors checked it twice and the drains were fine – no water back up here and no blockages here. Nigel came back and made a half-ass attempt to find the cracks he had missed (He didn’t dig down as far as the weeping tiles like he should have and this “should have” I only found out from other people after the fact). Nigel put the hose on full throttle against one area of the wall and said to leave it for a few hours and he would have to check it like this over all areas. Then he left and never came back.

I wasn’t going to get anything from him that way and because the area is so small, other bigger contractors who do this work can’t get their heavy equipment in – not that I want that to happen with my perennial garden in front. They also don’t dig by hand. And I don’t have the money to pay for this either. Because Nigel is not a BBB member and I don’t have the time or money to sue him, I have made it my business to make sure everybody knows that he does shoddy work and to never hire him to water proof their basements. In particular, if I find out someone is needing their basement waterproofed I tell them “Don’t hire Nigel Applewaite because…” And I tell them my story.

Nigel Applewaite has no online presence – yet. I’m going to make sure he gets one though. People need to be aware of those so-called professionals who mess up any kind of home repairs. It is our homes we are dealing with.

Now, just wait until I go after the very incompetent handyman I had (the one who took three visits to get the sink drain working right) a few years ago;

I also like to praise the repair people who do a good job. So, although I’ve mentioned him by first name only, here is the name of the current fellow (since early 2014) I have hired for electrical, plumbing, painting and other repair jobs)  – Mike Ouillette  – don’t k now if he has an online presence, but he is located in the Toronto, Ontario area. He does good work and his fees are not cheap but not expensive either.

As for the flooding this time round on July 27 evening  – just a bit in the laundry room. But I still had to get two neighbours to help me move the washer, dryer and freezer so I could wipe up what was actually just damp – no puddles, probably partly because I have towels, mats and long foam sticks along the walls in the laundry room and the rec room. Yes, folks, that’s how I “decorate” the floor of my rec room, thanks to NIGEL APPLEWAITE.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

As a P.S. here, I have received some of the money that was owed me as mentioned in last week’s post. Still waiting for more government money and the rest of the client’s fee payment.

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Filed under Consumer action, Extreme rainfall weather, Floods, Leaky Basements, Only child, Rain