Saturday, March 31, 2012


On a scale of 1 to 10 (in which 10 is amazingly enjoyable, and 1 is deplorably wearisome) shopping ranks about .05 in my books. The exception would be if I were shopping for a new tool that I both wanted and could afford, or a horse under the same conditions. Since those types of shopping experiences come less often than Haley's Comet, the overall rating of .05 still holds.

If you narrow the criteria down to rental house shopping, the rating drops even further. This is  unfortunate, since we need a place to live when we move to Thunder Bay, and landlords don't generally shop for tenants . . . which makes it incumbent upon us to shop for them. While I am not an authority on looking for landlords, I've drawn the conclusion that 99.9% of Thunder Bay rental houses fit nicely into one of the following categories:
  1. Too small
  2. Too rough
  3. Too expensive
  4. Too late (someone else found it first)
My eternal optimism is being severely tried, but I still cling to the shred of hope that the .1% house will show up before we go crazy looking, or at least before June 1, which is when I gave notice that we would terminate our rental in Upsala. When a friend asked how things were going I said,  "Other than the fact that my job is temporary and I don't have a place to live, everything is great." He said he liked how I looked on the bright side.  
There are other bright spots as well. I met some very nice people who were offering a very nice home (that was too small), for an attainable price. Three out of four is good, but we're still holding out for that .1% house. When I told the owners that I had been the fire chief in Upsala for a lot of years, the husband said, "I floated a truck for Upsala Fire Department about five years ago." I remembered the occasion, confirming the widely accepted belief that the world is getting smaller. If you don't believe this unscientifically proven theory, check out my small world post from November of last year.

Incidentally, Stephen Harper has gained fans since my discovery that an onion ring out ranked him in Facebook popularity. His fan base now exceeds 70,000, while the onion ring seems to have stagnated at just over 160,000.

On a different theme, I had a brief brush with superstition the other day. When I made arrangements for the Pre Service Fire students to do extrication training, I found out that the scrap yard was a sea of mud. I scrambled to find another location, but it's hard to beat a yard full of old cars as a vehicle ex training ground, muck or no muck.

We went ahead with the original plan, and when I went to check on the crew later in the afternoon I mentioned to the instructor that, looking on the bright side, at least it wasn't raining. He didn't say anything, but I had a "knock on wood" feeling that I shouldn't have said that. Since I'm not superstitious I didn't knock on wood, and the next morning we woke up to 10 cm of wet, sloppy snow. The only thing worse than a muck hole as a training ground is a muck hole covered in sloppy white snow-soon-to-be-water.

In my own defense, I have squared off with the fire gremlins and beaten them at their superstition game. You can read about it in the latter half of my January 2010 post.

Speaking of superstitions, my brother Paul spent some nights a while back taking shots of the Northern Lights (which some folks say portend various things). He made a slide show out of five hours of footage, taken at thirty second intervals.

You can see more of his stuff here.

To finish off this hodgepodge post, here is one of my favourite Youtube videos which, if you are a loyal reader, you may have seen in one of my archived posts. If you like guitar it's worth the two minutes and thirty-six seconds to watch it. Nothing to do with firefighter training, house hunting or superstitions, but I plead Blogger Sovereignity.

Hey, if I can't be King of the World, at least I can call the shots around this piece of cyberspace.

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