Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Thought I was Going To Jail

Or, "For Gawds Sake, It's Only Forty Cents"!

Back in the 80's Norma and I were very involved in politics and there was a Federal Election going on in Canada. Norma worked for Jim Fulton, the Member of Parliament for Skeena Riding in Northern BC and served as his very capable Campaign Manager during elections (ie: he never lost). My union had sprung me from the job and was paying my wages to work full time on the campaign as Jim and the entire New Democratic Party was and is very worker friendly.

I either volunteered or was seconded into acting as the candidates Official Agent, the person who is the legal representative of the candidate and is responsible for the proper recording of the finances of the campaign, a position that carries a great deal of responsibility.

As the campaign wore on, our days grew longer and by the end Norma and I were working twelve to fifteen hours a day (I was only being paid for 7 1/2 so the balance was my contribution to the Good Fight).

Back then we were doing the books the old fashioned way, double entry bookkeeping on balance sheets. All was going well until after the first month I balanced the books and discovered I was out forty cents! OMG! How could this have happened? I went back and compared all my entries with the invoices and receipts and the error would not go away. I don't know how many times it had been stressed that the books HAD to balance when I turned them in and I could not find the error! This amount was over a total cash flow of probably  $25,000 so not that big a percentage of the total. Still, my books did not balance and I was sick about it. To me, being out a penny was the same as being out a thousand dollars. I HAD to find that damn $.40!

Then one day we had a visitor to the campaign office, a local accountant who came in to drop off a donation for Jim. As I was writing out his receipt he asked how I was doing with the books (knowing I was an electronics guy, not an accountant). I spilled the beans to him, telling him I could not balance the books and that Jim would probably lose his seat and I would probably go to jail. To say I had put 100 hours into looking for the error is probably an exaggeration but I am pretty sure I put twenty hours into it, time I could well have spent on something more productive for the campaign.

He pulled a chair around to my side and had a quick look while I tried to explain. He waved me into silence, took a pencil, erased a random entry of $xxx.44, wrote down $xxx.84 and changed the total at the bottom of the column. "There, all fixed. This is why accountants use pencils" he said. Twenty seconds. Done.

"How is that going to work?", I asked. "These books have to pass two audits, the Party and Elections Canada! Someone will find an invoice that does not match the entry! I will be caught!" By now I was in a panic. Losing forty cents is one thing, hiding the fact is another!

He said, "Relax, they are looking for international money laundering, illegal contributions and thefts and misappropriations in the order of thousands of dollars, they could care less about a forty cent entry error, you are not going to jail!"

And he was right. I sat on the edge of my chair until the results of the audits were posted and campaign expenses were published and I did not get a late night knock on the door by the RCMP. Jim won the election and once again took his seat in Parliament. The world was once again as it should be.

Jim and his overworked Campaign Manager in or around 1983

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What's Up?

What have we been up to lately? Not much! The weather has been, to put it scientifically, "shitty". We have been hanging around the house getting a few jobs done between rain storms. The new wall on the workshop cannot be painted until after it had been subjected to at least three days of sunshine and that has not happened. Like so many other things, this job is on hold.

Our friend Garth is retiring and he and Nancy are having a retirement party here on Saturday as we have so much outdoor entertaining area. The weatherman says there will be no rain on Saturday but if he is wrong, we have the covered porch that we intend to surround with a large tarp to keep the wind and rain out. If it doesn't rain we have the outside fireplace to help keep folks warm. It will be fun regardless and Garth and Nancy are heading for Mexico the day after the party. He is very happy to be retiring from Canada Fisheries.

So, there is not much to report but that is it! End of story. We are not having as much fun as we would be having if we had gone to Mexico. Lesson learned.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wall Done!

We had the first nice day that was actually forecast in a long time. My handyman helper, Ross, showed up right on schedule at 9 AM and we started tearing off the old wall. We discovered three of the studs and eight feet of sill plate were rotting. Luckily I had some spare material so we replaced all the water damaged wood.

We then stapled some left over roofing paper on the outside of the studs and nailed on the new 3/8 plywood sheeting and added the trim boards, ripped from boards left over from Brooks trip up to do the deck and roof.

It looks really nice but I have to wait for a few dry days to let the caulk dry before I paint it. The whole job took just over four hours including replacing the rotten 2X4's. Total cost was around $260 plus the left over material that I paid for with the porch.

I was really happy with Handyman Ross, he is a hard worker and has a lot of talent and experience. I can highly recommend him and I have his number if anyone is looking for someone. I was able to help quite a bit and my back did not start hurting until after we were done. But it is making up for it now. Along with my ankle. 😏

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Still Kicking

We are surviving the winter! We are not doing much, Norma is glued to her curling and figure skating on TV and I am reading on my KOBO. Aside from that and keeping the drains on the back slope clear, not much is happening.

It is raining as usual and when I checked my workshop I noticed the floor was wet! I quickly determined the back wall was leaking at a few places where the old plywood sheeting joins together. I built that 12 X 12 foot workshop when we bought the house back in 1989 and the wall that faces the prevailing wind and rain is giving up.

I checked Craigslist and found a handyman who claims to be capable of such repairs and sent him a message and a photo. He charges $25 per hour and estimates the job will take three to six hours. I called Brooks and he confirmed that was a bargain. He would do it but it would cost him $100 in gas just to get here.

I messaged the guy back and booked him for next Thursday. I will meet him outside Home Depot with four sheets of 3/8 inch plywood and some 1 X 4 trim boards on a dolly. In the meantime I will move everything away from that back wall. Total cost should be no more than $300, all in. About as much as it cost me to build the entire shop back in 1989.

The wall:

Sunday, December 31, 2017



Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

- John Lennon

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Day

We had a very quiet Christmas Day with a visit from our former neighbor Dave and his dad, Jerry, a pleasant surprise! We had not made any plans for dinner so we kept it simple with a nice batch of fish & chips in our Fry Daddy. I used some frozen New Zealand Blue Cod I had bought to experiment with and it was delicious, a sustainable species that was mild tasting and the perfect texture for deep frying.
It stayed cold all day so the snow we got on Christmas Eve stayed and we even got a nice ice display on our Rain Chain!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

We are having a White Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all our Friends and Family, far and wide! We are thinking of all of you and wishing you the very best for the coming year! - Croft & Norma

Friday, December 22, 2017

Disappointing Change Of Plans

We had intended to drive down to Shawnigan Lake to visit Brooks and LindaLee for a few days over Christmas but we have both been fighting bad colds. Yesterday I was hit really hard and was up all night sneezing, coughing and running to the bathroom. Not good conditions for visiting anyone and I certainly do not feel like driving, specially through probable snow conditions.

We are really disappointed as we had bought a couple of salmon to take with us and had been looking forward to the visit which would have been our first Christmas together in many years as we have always been down south this time of year.

We will see them soon, just not at Christmas. Like I say, disappointing.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meanwhile In Mexico...

Our friends Brian and Sue crossed at Laredo, Texas this morning heading into Mexico and after seven hours of crawling along in in a traffic jam they are spending the night in their motorhome, pulled off on the side of the road north of Monterrey in a snowstorm. No concerns, they have lots of food, propane, blankets, Internet, rum...

They are trying to get to San Miguel de Allende but the highway south of Monterrey is closed due to snow as well. It is going to be a frustrating couple of days for them.

There is snow in Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas as well as along the Big Bend Highway in Texas. I have to say I thought this winter might get off to a cold start this year.

"Mike" The Viagra Salesman!

Somehow "Mike" knows both our first names and is relentless in his calls to our house phone trying to sell me Viagra from "USA Pharmacy". The calls start about 8:00 AM and continue three or four times every single day until about 9:00 at night. He will not take no for an answer and being rude has no effect either.

Norma's standard answer is, "He is 72 years old and doesn't need it". I have no idea what she means by that.