Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kijiji....Helpful and Entertaining

We've been using the Kijiji website to gather up some furniture for our new house with quite a lot of success so far. Kitchen table, bunk bed, crib, shelving, microwave stand, patio set, armoire. It's saved us on moving costs as all these items were already in Fort Mac and all the pieces are in really good condition at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it all brand new. I'm sure Lisa would outfit the entire house if she could. The only things we picked up brand new were a new fridge, stove and dishwasher as the ones already in the house were a little on the worn side....or a lot on the old side in the case of the dishwasher. The new appliances were delivered Tuesday so we turned to Kijiji to sell the old ones. Time to start making a little money rather than spending it we figured.

Shortly after placing an ad, we got a response back from someone by the name of John Carlos. The first email was pretty innocuous.....

Do you still have the item available for sale?

Fair enough. We responded back to let him know the items were indeed still available. It was then that things started to get a little bizarre...

Thanks for getting back to me , I'm really interested in
buying the item ,and i will be paying via Bank Certified check.
I will also need you to provide me with the following
information to facilitate the mailing of the Bank certified check .
1.Your full name
2.Your mailing address be it residential address
3.Your phone number.
**I will like you to know that you will not be
responsible for shipping i will have my mover come
over as soon as you have
the check payment for the item
Awaiting to hear from you
N.B UPS or FedEx does not deliver to a P.O box addresses.

So Lisa answered his questions though we both started wondering why this seemed to be growing into a big complicated production. Shortly after, Mr. Carlos responded.....

Thanks for the mail,i have forwarded the information to my secretary
to issue the check payment in your name and your favor , i would have
handle it myself but i wasn't around ,i travel to Asian Country China
for conference meeting , as soon as it clear to your account then my
mover will come to your location for the pick up of the item and i
want you to consider the item as sold to me and withdraw it from
advert ,i will be looking forward to hear from you
stay in bless

At this point, we figured that he was some sort of landlord. The appliances weren't anything special but wondered why this had to be so complicated. When we were buying something, we phoned the person, agreed on a pick up date, let the two guys we had hired to transport the item to our new address and then went to where the item was, paid for it and carted it away.

It was after this email that my patience started to wear thin. This little flurry of emails had been dragging on all day now and really, we just wanted the old appliances gone so we could get the new ones situated when The Brick delivered them.

I will update you about the tracking number of the check so that you
can know its shipping arrival... I will implore you to have it cleaned
and kept safe to avoid any damages on it before the arrival of the
mover for the pickup and i will like to know the time you want the
crew to come over to your location for the pickup of the set.

At this point I'm both annoyed and amused. I don't like to be "implored" to do anything....unless Lisa implores me, of course. I was amused that the guy was so adamant about us avoiding any damages to the appliances. The dishwasher was in rough shape and we originally debated giving it away just to get it out of our hair. We clearly stated in the original ad the items would be sold "as is". I wasn't about to head up to the new house and clean appliances when I had more pressing matters to deal with. Anyhow, we didn't hear anything back from the guy for the next couple days so we put this whole string of emails out of mind. In the interim, we sold the appliances to a nice fellow from Newfoundland who stopped by an hour after Lisa called him, with cash in hand.

Tonight, we carted up another van load of stuff to the house and we arrived back to find this email from Mr. Carlos......

How was your day ? I want you to understand that the deal is on and my
secretary as posted the payment already. This arrives shortly but there
was a slight error i guess we can handle with care, instead of the
actually amount $400 for the Dishwasher, stove, and fridge,it was
misinterpreted that the check was made out for $2400 ,My secretary claimed
that i requested that a check of $2400 be sent to you but i know quite
well i made a request for just $400 for the Dishwasher, stove, and fridge.
Its was a terrible mistake and it was already out for delivery to your
address before i was alerted about this, so once you receive the check
please cash it at once and deduct the money for your goods plus $50
which is a gift for you. The excess fund should please be sent to my mover via western union
once you get the check, this fund will be use in off setting the cost
of the shipment he as undertaken for me recently. He will be needing
a part of that to come over to your place for the pick up.Please let
me know at once if i can trust you to have the excess funds sent to
my mover.I will be expecting your email with a confirmation on this
issue at once thank you. Best Regards and Stay Blessed

Now personally, I think Mr. Carlos should fire his secretary but that's just me. We'll be moved in completely this weekend so by the looks of things, I should be checking my mailbox for a sizable cheque. Really, I don't know what to think at this point. We've decided to ignore any further emails since at this point, we are simply too preoccupied with other things to play email tag. If I disappear though you'll know that I had a moment of weakness, cashed the cheque and was taken out by the Chinese mafia or something.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making Good Progress

While our blog has been rather quiet the past couple days, we've been quite busy getting things in order with the new house. It's getting late here so I apologize in advance if this post seems a little disjointed. Yesterday wasn't a work day for me so between yesterday and today we've put in a couple 12-hour days moving in some furniture we've bought and doing some cleaning. Lisa has been at it even longer, heading up a few times earlier this week to do some cleaning.

We've discovered that we are only the third owners of the house which is pretty impressive considering this is Fort McMurray we're talking about where it can often seem people only stop by for a short time before moving on.

A couple pictures of our living room.

The kitchen, of course, along with the huge table we picked up. Mind the counter top mess. We're moving after all.

Tamara's room so far. I don't have a picture from before it was painted but we love the change. I was outside shoveling a bit of snow off the front walk way so I didn't get a chance to see Tamara's face when she saw her newly-painted room. Judging by the scream I heard from all the way outside though I knew she was just as pleased as Lisa and I. The bunk bed was a real steal (and a real treat to put together as we had to take the thing completely apart and take it piece by piece into the room before re-assembling it) and we're very happy with it. Someone (I won't say who) screwed up and didn't tell the moving guys to take all the parts upstairs before they departed.

The closet in the boys' room. Lisa picked up a fantastic dark brown crib for Elijah that I had hoped to include here but it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle as I was putting all these pictures up.

The rec room down in the basement. The photo turned out a little dark but you get the idea.

This is the fourth bedroom in the basement. We had a fresh coat of paint put down and it will serve as part of the daycare area.

The one unique feature of the house is these interesting shelves cut into the wall of the landing heading down to the basement. It sets the downstairs apart from the other areas of the house and gives off an exotic Mediterranean feel.

So there you have it so far. We plan to take a break of sorts tomorrow. We'll stick around the house and try not to let the forecasted warm temperature distract us from doing some packing. It's hard to believe that we officially move one week from today. So much to do, so much to do. But so far so good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We headed off right after I got home from work yesterday to Fort Mac. We did our final walk through and then we off to the lawyer's office. After signing about a million pieces of paper (thank goodness for having a name with lots of loops in it!) it was a done deal. Lisa will be able to pick up our keys in town later today. We have a long weekend coming up here so we will no doubt be spending a good chunk of it getting things ready to move in. We have a few pieces of furniture we picked up in town delivered there and are having 3 rooms painted. The next couple weeks will understandably be a tad hectic I'm sure and I'll be posting less often. I'm likely going to re-name the blog and re-launch things after we get settled in.

The picture is from a couple weeks ago when there was a lot less snow than there than now. I'm looking forward to it melting, just like everyone else at this point I'm sure. For the moment, at least I have a good excuse not to rake all the leaves that lie underneath it all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gregoire Lake

Here are a couple sunset shots from this past weekend as we drove past Gregoire Lake just north of Anzac. A provincial park, which we paid a visit to last fall, lies along the north shore of the lake. We pass by the lake every time we make the drive to Fort McMurray and it's our favorite spot along the highway.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Chateau

We cleared two more hurdles today with the bank paperwork getting finished up and faxed to us and dealing with insurance. Having never really owned anything in my life that required insurance I found the process a little trying. The insurance office was busy and crowded. I don't do busy and crowded very well. Lisa mentioned to me she had never been in an insurance office quite as chaotic as this one. So, we ended up taking about 90 minutes to get everything we needed done out of the way.

It was getting late in the day and we had arranged with our realtor to meet at the new house for 4:30pm. Back in the van and running a little behind, I made a semi-frantic call to the girl to apologize for the delay and tell her we were on our way there. Both Lisa and I had a bit of a headache as we raced to make our appointment. (At this point, we were running 30 minutes late.) True to her word though, the realtor was there waiting for us. Any headache I had soon disappeared, especially after seeing the fruits of our labours.....

....and the snazzy little sign with the words S-O-L-D on it! I was only able to get Lisa and the baby in the picture. Tamara and Nicholas, true to form, were already off to meet some neighbourhood kids.

Our house through the trees. This is my favorite picture of all the ones I took this afternoon....and it makes a great screen-saver too I might add.

The backyard is a little tight but I love the deck and look forward to spending some cool summer evenings out on it. There is also a small fire pit out back. I can smell the wieners and marshmellows as I type.

So into the house we go. It's all empty now and not very homey but we look forward to changing that very soon. This is the kitchen at the back of the house.

When you turn to the right by the refrigerator you end up in the livingroom at the front of the house. The picture is a bit dark since I forgot to turn the light on but the nice big window does add a lot of light into the room even though it's hard to tell from my picture.

Looking back toward the kitchen is the dining area although we've decided to incorporate this into the livingroom. The kitchen is big enough for a kitchen table so we'll settle for some more livingroom space. Yes, I know that light fixture is hideous. (At least I think so). We plan to change it.

And here's a quick shot of the master bedroom which spans the whole front half of the second floor. Not the best of pictures but I was in a rush to catch up with the rest of the family downstairs.

The house boasts a finished basement with a rec. room and a future 4th bedroom which for the time being will be used for toy storage for the daycare. I didn't get any pictures from that part of the house since the realtor and I spent several minutes trying to find the light switch to turn off the light in the laundry room. It's exact location is still a mystery to me but we have a lifetime to figure that out after we take possession in a couple more weeks.

So there you have it, our little Fort Mac chateau. I have a few more pictures I might put up a little later. For now though, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of having a house in Fort McMurray. I never really thought I'd have a house for a few more years, let alone a house in Fort McMurray. The whole family is totally in love with the community and I've been giddy all evening. Thanks for allowing me this little bit of self-indulgence. I'm sure I'll come back down to Earth in a few days. We still have to deal with the lawyer and pack up the house here and do the whole moving thing again. But for now, life is soooo good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jumping Through The Hoops

So far so good with our house. We passed a big hurtle yesterday at the bank. I phoned an 800-number, thinking I could do some financial fun over the phone, only to discover that we had to go into town to be able to do it. So we set up an appointment and headed out. When we arrived late in the afternoon we discovered with shock and trepidation that the bank had no idea we were coming and I'm not sure there was even an appointment set up. Fortunately, they agreed to fit us in and we got things taken care of. Now, there's just the legal stuff to get a jump on.....that should be fun.

Tomorrow we will head up to Fort Mac late in the afternoon with the kids and Lisa's mom to show them the house. I'm looking forward to it very much. With the mild weather I'm sure the new deck in the back is all cleared off. In my mind's eye I've pictured myself many times getting up on a cool spring or summer morning with my morning coffee and newspaper to read out on the deck. Lisa also has a number of clients set up for daycare. The most recent ad that she put a mere 48 hours ago has already garnered 75 views. With luck I'll be able to pull my head out of the clouds tomorrow long enough to remember to bring my camera with me for some pictures.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The House

Since Lisa has already put a photo of the house up on our respective Facebook pages, I figure I'd go ahead and, at the risk of jinxing myself, put this little teaser up on the blog. I have to admit to being a little paranoid that things would fall flat but I am a first time home-buyer so I'm sure I can be forgiven my paranoid-ness. The first major hurtle I had to overcome was getting a letter confirming my salary. Since I had left Nunavut for Alberta, this simple letter ended up being required documentation. I had already been patiently waiting for this from my union for the past three months but now with house-related deadlines fast approaching, it took on an increasing urgency. To make a loooooong story short, the union finally overcame its cranial-rectal inversion and sent me what I needed.

Now, after time seemed to have stood still for awhile, things will get crazy busy....starting tomorrow. Lisa is subbing at the school tomorrow and then late in the afternoon we have to head into town for a banking appointment. Things should run smoothly enough and I don't expect any problems. (Did I mention we are also smack dab in the middle of report card season here? I managed to get a solid jump on them today and I still have until the end of the week to get them finished up.) We have until the 14th to get things all finalized and signed and all that fun stuff and pending that, we will take possession March 24. Two things which I take as good signs are the great interest rate my bank is giving me and the fact that the house is on a street named after my old alma mater back in Ontario.

The fun doesn't end there of course as we have a number of issues to tackle. Lisa already has clients lined up for home daycare and would like to have that all up and running at the new house for May. We're still debating whether or not to have Tamara and Nicholas remain at the school here or start attending the new school in Thickwood. It would be nice for them to have a chance to meet some new friends before the summer rolls around. I have to decide whether I will stay here in Janvier or leave my position early. Without going into too much detail, I'll say that my work here has been very challenging at times and though I'm a little leery of making myself temporarily unemployed, we are moving to Fort Mac so I'm not too worried....especially when I hear about a huge brand spanking new middle school that is due to open up in Timberlea in the fall. Then, of course, there are all the other logistics involved with packing a house and moving......again. So, as Lisa has instructed me to type....bring on the suggestions. This concludes the audience participation portion of this blog post.

Hopefully I'll have some more photos to share shortly. We've been up to see the place a couple times now but its been pretty late in the day once we got there and so not too much light for decent picture-taking. So what do we like about the place? Lisa loves its proximity to the school and parks, its quaintness and the fact that it doesn't fit the cookie-cutter mold of many of the other houses in the neighborhood. As for myself, I love the flooring (my parents are in the flooring business so what can you expect), the kitchen (because I love bright shiny objects), the his and her closets (or as I call them, the her and her closets) and the nice big deck out back. I cringe at the thought of having to build my own deck, not being very coordinated when it comes to the use of power tools.) And the kids....well, they're excited about the new school, a nearby dog park and being closer to the library, pool and skating rink at the rec centre.

So if the blog goes a little quiet toward the end of the month, its because we're packing, packing, packing. We hope to have some more pictures up shortly next time we get a chance to go through the place.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Christina River

Yesterday afternoon I took a wander down to the Christina River just to the north of the hamlet to see the progress of the early Spring melt we are getting.