Tag Archives: residence

Cuba in January was not the best idea for a vacation

Cuba in January was not the best idea we’ve had for a vacation, simply because the weather is not that great. As it is winter in Canada, it is also winter in Cuba, thus there was only one day that we were actually able to sit on the beach, go swimming in the ocean, and sailing. Most other days were spent around the pool out of the wind. Of course no one was swimming in the pool either, since it was freezing but we were out of the wind and occasionally the sun did appear. There was one day where it was warmer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada then it was in Varadero, Cuba because of the chinook winds! We found out that little tidbit of information when we were again spending time in the lobby bar due to the unsettled weather.

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My husband and I went to Cayo Coco, Cuba years ago and had a wonderful time at the resort we had chosen for that holiday. When I booked this trip, hubby wanted to stay in a 5 star resort, so I made sure I read review after review, as I searched for a nice place to stay. Well, the resort we stayed at, which was listed as a 5, maybe was a three (I found many other Canadians with the same opinion well we were chatting on departure day – our plane was delayed for hours). Sadly the food was horrid, either undercooked or overcooked. Now since hubby has been sick on other trips, I had him take some Dukoral (Travellers’ diarrhea) before we left. Now I didn’t take any Dukoral myself because I am usually fine, well as it so happened this time I got sick, thankfully it only lasted about 24 hours. Then hubby was sick for two days, so much for the Dukoral. Due to illness we had to cancel two of our dinner reservations. (If you have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort, there are usually 4 or 5 restaurants where you must have reservations for dinner).

I didn’t find the hotel to be all that clean, the floor in our bathroom was never properly washed under the sink or around the toilet. When you did see housekeeping cleaning, their rags were usually filthy. Washrooms never had paper towels to dry your hands, instead a roll of 1-ply toilet paper was stuffed in the dispenser. Try drying your hands with toilet paper – you end up with little bits and pieces stuck to them. From the outside all looks good, but as with many things on closer examination you see the truth.

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Now there were fabulous parts to our vacation, especially the day trip we took into Havana. I love history, so touring through old Havana was wonderful, except when it cost me $10 Cuban Convertible Pesos for hubby to receive two kisses from official tourism Cubans (our tour guide warned us of this, but apparently hubby wasn’t listening at that time).

Two official tourism people kissing hubby.

At one point we had the bejeebers scared out of us when all of a sudden we heard cannons going off. The cannons were being fired from Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña  in celebration of Jose Marti, father of Cuban independence. Here is a short video of the cannons going off:

More pictures of old Havana:

At the end of the day we had a half hour of free time which most of us spent having a drink in Hotel Ambos Mundos, one of the 1st residence’s of Ernest Hemingway.

one of the 1st residence's of Ernest Hemingway

With that, it was the end of our vacation, of course there was the 4 hour plane delay at the airport, eventually though we made it home after being awake for 24 hours! 🙂

1600 kilometres and karma

As I was drinking my morning coffee and looking out our kitchen window Friday morning, I mentioned to my husband that there were a couple of hooligans that had been standing on the other side of our street for too long. Now they weren’t really hooligans but it makes the morning more interesting if you throw in a descriptive word or two. Anyways, hubby eventually went outside and starting chatting up the hooligans and as it turned out the hooligans were actually good Samaritans. They had found a dog wandering the street and had been waiting approximately 45 minutes for Animal Control to show up. Now who is the ass? So the good Samaritans didn’t have to wait any longer, hubby said we would watch the dog since we have a fenced in backyard, but oh dear what he hadn’t realized was the dog had met up with a skunk! Oh what a stink! Now this dog was exceptionally well-behaved, very docile, whereas our little beagle was barking away. Thankfully Cocoa did not end up smelling like skunk, though our hands did when we were petting the dog. Eventually Animal Control showed up and took the dog away.

Earlier in the week we had been debating our plans to drive to Lennoxville, Quebec (to move the teenage boy home from University, and visit with middle child who would be staying longer) because of the severe flooding in the town. The flood had caused the University to close for two days, deferring exams until Saturday (we finally did decide we would drive up on Saturday because the teenage boy would be finished writing before we would even arrive). This turned out to be a good idea, because it gave the river time to recede. Basically if middle child’s apartment had not been built on a hill, it would have been flooded, as it was the water came up the road at least a good five feet or more, and into the parking lot. She was cut off from the University, since it was surrounded by water, leaving the teenage boy, who lives in residence cut off from going to his sister’s place or even into town.

Below are some of the images my children took of the flooding, (note: middle child had sent me an image the first morning of the flood, which I immediately tweeted to @JayScotland at @CBCWeather (our national television station the CBC). Well doesn’t he go and air it on tv, giving me credit, middle child just gasped! lol.)

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Our drive to Lennoxville on Saturday was uneventful this time, and we were able to make the drive in about nine and a half hours. Now this is with stopping at every other rest station so I can stretch and Cocoa can have a pee (traveling with a dog is just so much fun). Here he is laying on his new dog bed between the seats and then with Bear (middle child’s dog):

Cocoa in the van

Bear and Cocoa at Constance's house

Just before arriving at middle child’s apartment, we stopped at the local Provigo to pick up beer, after a nine and a half hour drive beer is a cool refreshing drink necessary, and then we were met with hugs from middle child, the teenage boy, and Bear, middle child’s dog. Before having his beer though, hubby and the teenage boy went over to his residence to load up the van for the drive home in the morning. (This is where I really contemplate whether or not hubby and I are sane? We have made this drive far too many times in two days, moving our kids back and forth). Hubby eventually returns to have a few beers and watch Wallace and Gromit with middle child.

The next morning, after phoning the teenage boy numerous times to wake him up, we are eventually off, with plans to return in two weeks time with a trailer in tow. Middle child will be giving her brother furniture for his new apartment, so it will be moved there, plus we will be bringing her bed, and various other things home, and her dog while she remains for another six weeks, moving into her friend’s apartment while attending spring school. At the end of spring school, I will not be surprised if she asks us to come and pick her up.

It was a couple of hours before I went to bed Sunday night, only to find, nothing had really changed with the teenage boy, he was still up to his old antics. Earlier he had made snarky comments about my latest twitter party win, so when I went to go to bed I found this in my bedroom:

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After our exhausting weekend, hubby and I were not able to sleep in the next morning because we were taking the van in for repairs, but not before I had a few coffees and checked my lottery tickets from Saturday night’s draw. As hubby and I both checked our tickets, I said to him, oh I have 4 numbers, how much do you think I won? He replied, “oh I don’t know, maybe $80.00 or so” and as he said that, I added, “oh no, I have 5 numbers!”. I don’t quite remember how he responded but I do recall him saying he won $5.00. After checking the lottery site online, it turned out that I had won $976.50. Hubby explained that I won as a result of good karma ~ looking after the dog ~ was the reason I had won. Works for me. Then karma came back to bite me in the ass.

Hubby never tucks our quilt in at the bottom of the bed, whereas I do, so last night, after he had left for work, I went to tuck the quilt in only to find water! Our waterbed was leaking. Thank goodness two of my three kids were home. After draining the outside hose, it was hoisted up to the second floor through the window, and attached to the waterbed for draining. You would think that gravity would pull the water out, but no, the teenage boy tried to suck it out, but it is a very long hose. Eventually with some ingenuity they hooked the hose up to the shop-vac to get the water flowing. This was after we had tried to get a hold of hubby at work, because we couldn’t find the waterbed attachment for the hose to be hooked up, but then I remembered it may be in the shed with the pool supplies, and it was. Hubby phoned about ten minutes later (he loves these calls at work, where we ask him to fix something that clearly he can’t because he is at work) and we explained all was sort of well, the bed was draining out the window.

The eldest standing on waterbed

Note: Please ignore the white walls in our bedroom. Even though our second floor addition was added a eight years few years ago, painting it, is on the list of things to do.

It’s that time of year again – OSAP

It is that time of year again when middle & low income students complete the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) application, so they can hopefully have some sort of money to go to college/university in the fall. It is a good program, in that it does allow for students who otherwise would not be able to attend higher education because of their financial situation. Now, I would venture to say there are quite a few middle-income parents who cannot afford to send their kids to college/university because of the cost. My youngest will be attending university in the fall (yep, that makes three of my kids in higher education), so I thought I would do the cost estimator on the university’s web site. Naturally there are the tuition fees – $6622.40 (nice how they put the cents in there), books & supplies – $1215.00, personal expenses – $1000.00 (I have no idea what that covers), residence – $4820.00 (for those attending school away from their hometown, not him), a meal plan – $3135.00 (again for those living in residence, Dad will make the teenage boy’s lunch), transportation costs – $639.00 (he will have to take two buses), and entertainment – $1000.00 (well, he can watch television at home). I am not going to add them all up, because it is far too depressing.