The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Yes, But Can You Give Me That In Inches?

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For the past couple of summers, we’ve been having a major problem with bully-birds at our bird feeder. The Grackles, Blue Jays and Red Winged Blackbirds have been notoriously hogging the food, chasing away the little guys and making a right nuisance of themselves. Plus they were just bloody noisy. Nat and I were convinced that a specialized bird feeder was needed to keep these guys away and allow the little Finches, Cardinals and the like to return. We had already checked at the various stores in our area as to what was available but we knew Lee Valley had what we were looking for.

We’ve also been having a major problem with an orange tabby wandering through our backyard while on his daily prowl. One day this past week I noticed him in the yard again but he had something in his mouth. When he spotted me, he turned and just stared. Proud as punch, he was grasping one of our little chipmunks in-between his jaws and I was disgusted. His days were now going to be numbered and I knew of something that would deter him from coming within so many feet of our yard. Lee Valley sold a gizmo that emitted sounds within a certain range and was annoying to cats’ ears. I convinced Nat we should get one but we wanted to make sure that this gizmo wouldn’t deter the birds.

So, as Monday was going to be a hot, steamy day, Nat and I decided to head out to Burlington to the Lee Valley store. As we’d be in the area, I wanted to then go over to Ikea, have a walk around to see what was new and at least re-stock my napkin supply. It would also be an excuse to while away a couple of hours and make use of the big box store air-conditioning! Bonnie had stated that she’d be interested in tagging along, so we picked her up at 8:30 and we were off and running.

We arrived at Lee Valley just after opening time and with an empty store at our feet we had a great look around. As this was Bonnie’s first time in one of their outlets, she now had a better understanding of their set-up. Like the old Consumer Distributing stores, the principle was the same. A sample of most items in their catalogue were on display and when you were ready you completed your order form getting details from the catalogues neatly laid out, handed it to one of their clerks and your goodies were retrieved from their vast inventory warehouse at the back. Bonnie didn’t manage to find her item on the floor, but it was listed in one of their catalogues and being a Canadian company, each item in the Lee Valley catalogue was measured under the Metric system. Bonnie had diligently sketched a design of the sofa legs she wanted to cover with measurements in inches and having found the covers she wanted, they were naturally measured in millimetres. I pulled out my trusty measuring tape that hangs out at the bottom of my purse and tried to determine how many millimetres were in an inch. Yes, I should know this by now, but mathematics was never my forte in school and I’m getting older by the minute and resist any and all change that’s government dictated! Despite our best efforts the two of us could not do the conversion and my little tape wasn’t helping. It was all in inches and feet unlike the newer tapes displaying both systems.

Seeing our little dilemma from behind the counter, one of the Lee Valley clerks wandered over our way and offered some assistance. With one of their handy-dandy callipers he was ready, willing and able to do the conversion and promptly assisted Bonnie in her purchase, including completing the order form for her. She was grinning from ear to ear and was more than pleased with the assistance. She then wandered up to the counter to check-out and, being a first-time customer, was soon inundated with a stock-pile of Lee Valley catalogues and supplements. She was overjoyed and now had some good material to browse through while hovered around her air-conditioning during these long hot days and nights. She could now ear-mark the pages containing the items to add to her “Wish List”, and she’ll now have something to look forward to in the mail besides those ugly white business envelopes containing unwanted utility and other bills. Have fun Bonnie and hope the leg covers fit.

Nat and I finally decided on the bird feeder we wanted and managed to grab another clerk to inquire regarding the cat deterrent gizmo. “No problem”, he said, “the birds won’t hear a thing”. Just the answer we wanted and added that little sound machine to our order form, along with a couple of moth traps to hang around the bird seed. After swatting a couple of moths in the house and after a little research we learned that moths can, in fact, be found in bird seed – thus the traps to kill the moths that eat the seeds that feed the birds. Our shopping trip was semi-complete.

We then meandered back down to Fairview Street and the Ikea store. Not always Nat’s favourite style of furniture but over the years he realized some of their items have been useful, are reasonably priced and some stand within our little home. Me and Bonnie, being the shoppers we are, love to look in every nook and cranny of this vast warehouse of goodies. Ideas pop and leap from our little brains like popcorn in a frying pan, and we have fun looking whether we need any particular item or not. So we had a nice walk-about on the display floor and soon meandered downstairs to the warehouse where you could buy as many items as your little cart would hold. I stocked up on their multitude of different coloured napkins – one for each place setting – grabbed a couple of tea towels and I was good to go. Bonnie walked away with a new little whisk for her kitchen and loads of ideas to save her Loonies for.

Walking through the now stifling heat to the Van, we decided to head for home and grab a bite to eat on our way. As is our usual routine whenever Nat and I are in the area we stopped at the “Gateway” in Grimsby with its varied selection of eateries and had a nice lunch and chin wag. We were all content with our morning getaway and each of us had something to do once settled back into our respective homes. After dropping Bonnie off, Nat and I then picked up our weekly grocery items in Niagara Falls, topped up the gas tank where lower prices abounded and drove home with the Van’s air-conditioner going full tilt. At this point the heat was now unbearable and I, for one, would have dove into any pool of water available. We hear from the weather man that there’s more heat coming the rest of this week so I guess I’ll be stuck indoors, keeping cool and praying that the rains come to wash away this heat wave. Pray with me people, Pray!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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