Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cross Border Shopping trip

So I had the day off on Friday and we decided to take a day-trip to Seattle to do some cross border shopping. I'll be blunt: Despite the cost of renting a car, the consumed gas, the ENTIRE DAY spent running around, it is still worth it. Yes, we can save that much. Something is horribly wrong with the relationship between Canadian consumers and the local retailers.

Don't believe me? My first example is a little furniture store called IKEA. You may have heard of it. We use a fair amount of their stuff at home so on this trip we planned to get some doors for our book shelf as well as slip covers for our two love seat sofas. As luck would have it, the doors didn't work out (they didn't have the ones we were looking for) but we did get a pair of slip covers for our sofas. Price for the slip covers: $39.99 each - Price in Canada: $119.99 each. Those two items alone paid for the rental of the minivan and all the gas we consumed.

Then add on that all the items we were able to get that just aren't available in Canada, and the restaurants we tried, etc. Even when we don't get everything we planned, we still seem to come out ahead - way ahead.

Plus, it's just a day trip into another city, which is just nice to do once in a while. This last photo is of a fantastic mural inside a Chinese restaurant we had lunch at. Our lunch selections were nothing spectacular but the place definitely had the ambiance. Oh by the way, the minivan in the first photo is the one we rented, thinking we had extra long doors to bring back. Had we known they weren't going to work out we could have gotten away with renting a Smart Car. Thanks to Enterprise Car Rental though, for giving us a free upgrade and giving us consistently great service. There is a reason we go all the way to Richmond to rent our cars now. Kinda like our reason for going cross-border to do some shopping once in a while.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Paralympic Patch Job

Hi. Remember me? I'm the one who hasn't been able to blog in almost two weeks. Like the rest of the city, up until yesterday we were all suffering from a bit of post-Olympic depression. Luckily for us though, the Paralympics kicked off yesterday so that should help most of us ease back into normality.

Over the past couple weeks I have managed to photograph a couple interesting bikes that I have noticed on my lunch breaks. They aren't the sort of bike I want to own or anything like that - I just think they are interesting for one reason or another. Sometimes it's the rusty-yet-functional aspect of an antique ride, or in the case of the second example, something unusual. Either way, I thought they were interesting enough to take pictures. The fellow riding on the tall bike happened to have a camera crew following him too. Some guys are popular I guess.

As mentioned, the Paralympics are underway and on my way into the office on Friday I stumbled across the torch relay. The biggest difference between this time and the first time was the lack of a crowd. Look at the picture, I think I captured just about everybody who was interested in following it. Also keep in mind that most of these people are related in some way to the guy carrying the torch. Here you can see that his grandson ran with him and his son is the man in the foreground. I get the impression that the Paralympics are going to be a much more intimate event, which could be nice although it is still a shame that it isn't promoted like the main Olympic event.

So - the real reason I am blogging this morning is because I am drying out a little bit. My bike had a flat tire and I wanted to ride it this morning. I inflated it enough to ride into the office, using a hand pump and rode in the rain to get here. Once here I made use of the office bike pump, which is much easier to use. I also figured I would dry out a little bit before heading back out. Pictured is the fixed tire and tube. I noted that there is a definite hole in the tire now, so I will probably have to replace it soon. That's ok though, my tires are pretty cheap - less than twenty bucks. I won't do it today though because I have wasted enough time as it is and would like to get some actual riding in. Later!

Monday, March 01, 2010

It's over already? So soon?

The Olympic main event ended with an overtime goal by Sidney Crosby. What a game! It easily could have gone to the Americans who put up a fantastic effort and provided us with the biggest obstacle on the way to Olympic Gold in Men's Hockey.

We decided to watch the game in the comforts of our own home, which was a great plan. I was literally on the edge of the sofa in front of the TV for the third period and could barely stay seated for overtime. The game was so tense! Twice we missed a goal and instead hit the goal posts. In a bid to stay alive, the US team tied the game with less than 30 seconds on the clock. Sophie, our cat who was sleeping on the back of the sofa behind me, decided she could take no more of me jumping up and screaming every time Canada came close to getting a goal - she relocated a safe distance away, to the other end of the room.

The game ended and I convinced Holly that we were going for a walk down Robson street. This is where the real celebration was! Luckily for us, Louise was pretty sleepy so we were able to leave her at home for this trip. Risk of accidental trampling was just too high.

The crowd was massive, hyper and elated. Everybody was happy and the cheering just didn't stop. Complete strangers were giving high fives to each other. Red and White were the colours to wear. A little while later the flame in the cauldron was extinguished but the party continued on. I cannot overstate how big this celebration became.

It hasn't sunk in yet that the party is over. Everyone had such a good time.