The Growing Homeless Problem

Each day, as I drive to work, I see them, the homeless. In the field, along 64th Avenue, as I drive over the overpass above the railway tracks off from Glover Road in Langley, Township, huddled among the low bushes are tarps and sheets of plastic used as tents. Strewn along the bushes and tents are shopping buggies and bicycles, some with baby trailers attached, and most are adorned with boxes and makeshift saddle bags designed for hauling heavy items and personal belongings. Sometimes I see them, but mostly I just see the small tent community in groups on the vacant field.

During the work week I see the RCMP, their cars parked along the road, officers with gloves on, walking or huddled in the middle of this field. Near their cars, sits a pile of plastic and a circle of shopping carts, just thrown into a large heap waiting for pick-up to the landfill. But more often that not, the tent community returns. Each morning, its members pack up and start their day, leaving only a small group of tents behind. Those are the tents that get taken down, and their occupants taken away.

It is hard to count their numbers. If I go by the rule that there is one occupant to one tent, then I would say there are at least twenty people living there. Then the question I ask, is twenty too many? Are there more? Are they the same people returning each day.

The vacant land is up for sale. It is prime real estate for commercial use. Like all land development around here in Langley, the market is hot, and options for cheap housing are almost non-existent. Affordably and housing are heard most often now by special interest groups, and some say we have reached a crises point. Government is hard to pin down as to how much help they are willing to offer the homeless. Perhaps if there are homeless people sleeping on this vacant land, then Government has failed?

Regardless, the homeless are there, and they are not going to go away. If the RCMP do keep them out, then it seems to me that the homeless will simply find another vacant field to stay the night in.

Anyway, that is what I see every day I drive to my work.

72 Hours of…. nothingness. :)

I call it, “time off for good behaviour,” but it is all the same, a long weekend form work that I have been salivating about for weeks now. I really need this! I mean, in March we have no statutory holidays, so it was long four weeks on top of dealing with an already crummy winter. I got paid a day early, with did not matter, as I would wait five days for my credit card to register my payment, and for some goods I bought on-line from China to pop up on my delivery tracker. Anyway, which way you slice it, I do not care, I just want the time off becuase I am staying home.

Already I have my first day planed. I will go into town, buy a coffee and sandwich, then catch up on all the updates for my O.S. This, after I sleep in for an extra hour or two first. Once I got my PC up and running in good order, then I will focus on cleaning. Other than that, I am staying inside, unless it is nice outside, then I will read on my deck, but I doubt that it will be nice out. Our weather has been crappy of late.

OK, now to clean the grime off my body with a good ten minuet shower, then off to sleep. Oh I cannot wait! Weekend, here I come. Good night.

I Saw the Sun!

Wow, but typical. Monday, and the sun is shining–go figure. One of the benefits of working afternoons is, I get the mornings to myself before head in. Right now I am outside on my patio, with a glass of orange juice and my laptop, typing this power out. Sadly, in a couple of hours I will have to start my work day. Right now, the sky is clear, and breeze is warm and the Sun feels so nice on my skin.

As much as I am looking forward to the short week–yes I get Friday off as a Stat. Holiday. I know it will be chaos at work as I know my employer is going to cram five days into one. It is the way of the beast, as my co-workers always say. Actually, two of them will most likely say, “it is what it is…” I find that one a little ambiguous, and often used like a phrase of defeat. But, who cares; I am happy! If my employer wants to load us up to fill the weekly quotas, then “go ahead,” as I only work so hard for my few bits of money per hour. I have been looking forward to this short week for a while. I have plans, and so much to do. Bring it.

My taxes were done over a month now, but I have received two letters from Revenue Canada since. The first one was to let me know that they will be holding off on my assessment until they have had more time to look over my maths and deductions. The second one was asking me to send them more information on two separate incomes I claimed. So last night, I spent five hours franticly organizing and documenting the requested data they wanted. I felt foolish for the amount of work I put into this, been that I balanced my year end taxes. I believe that they are more interested in the people I worked for than little old me. Oh Big Brother. LOL

Well, off to work I go. Let us see what kind of week it will be.

Gloomy Spring, But Spring Nonetheless

I guess we will right-off this spring too, as it is pouring outside, as I type. We had hail a few hours ago, and a big purple colour storm could is hovering over top waiting to dump its load of rain on everyone, so the weather is quite “moody” today. But it is warmer, and I think we are going back to our normal weather. Hummm, “normal,” is that really a word that can be used with the word “weather” any more?

Well, regardless, work is chugging along. It is getting busy now, as people are starting to do their spring type stuff. Though, items like lawn care products and outside garden tools are way down from this time last year, we are slower as far as sales go due to the weather (so I am told). But, it will warm up, and with it, the buying frenzy as people want their crisp green lawns this year to bolt up the value of their homes. The turf farm down the rad from me is still sitting idle; the rain is doing them no justice either.

I saw this before, last October, when I had to go in for my arm. Yesterday, I saw a little baby girl in the clinic at Langley City who had her ear lobe infected from unclean earrings. I see the new fad is implanting ear rings into babies so they do not have to endure the pain when they are older to have their ear’s pierced, is all the rage now. I was in the clinic to deal with some bladder infection issues, when I saw this little girl, maybe a year old, with her mother. The kid’s left ear lobe was all red and oozing white puss, but the right ear ring was still in the ear. I felt sorry for the kid, pain and mutilation for fashion–really? …and twice in six months now that I have seen this–gross.

I heard on the news that this year has been the gloomiest of all time. So far, for April, we are way low on sunshine, and February was bad too. We are chalking up more rainy days then ever before, according to Environment Canada. It shows too, outside my window, as the rain beads down it. but I am happy not to shovel it.

Some have probably noticed that I have been spending much less time on-line, especially on my Blog. Blame this on work. I am spending more overtime as a result of under staffing, and hitting the busy season. Yes, we are having problems finding workers to fill the vacant positions. I think I know why, but this is only my opinion: we do not pay enough to actually afford to live in Vancouver, with the way housing prices are going up. I can testify that you need at least a job that pays $25.00 per hours to scrape by. Good luck getting a job here that pays that much.

Well, time to enjoy my weekend. Maybe I will swim to the Post Office and check my mail.

It’s Official: Spring Is Here!

It is official, as of 3:29am PDT this morning here in Vancouver, spring started. And, it appears that it is a bit springy outside, as we climb up to 12C, with a bit of sunshine from the sky. This has been a crazy winter for us. So much snow, and so many days of below freezing, this is not the Southern British Columbia that I am used to.

We will see what kind of summer Mother nature has in store us this year. I am hoping that it does not get to hot, yet at the same time, I do not want six months of rain either. Something in between would be nice.

A few things that I have noticed: most of my flowers in the flower bed are late, and a lot of flowers never bloomed in them for this time of year. Normally the Easter Lilies are sprouting up nicely. Right now, they are just small buds. Heck, I did not see any Snow Drops, probably they were under the snow, and left, when we had our snow storms three weeks in a row. The grass has taken advantage of the latest sunshine and the lawn seems to have rapid growth, but for my transplanted flowers, no luck as of yet. If we get solid sunshine, with high temperatures for a week solid, then everything might recover back to normal growth.

But we are not out of woods yet. I hears rumours that we could one more round of freezing nights and possibly one more blast of snow. I hope they are wrong.

Well, I am happy. At least the days are getting longer and night shorter. This means that it cannot help but get warmer. Right?

Caught One, Rats! (Warning-Gross Image)

Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps along with shock value, this image (below) speaks volumes to my plight. If you have been following my weblog, I have been battling with these vermin for the last four or five months now. They have cost me, in the pocketbook, a sum of around $1800.00 now, by replacing the damage they have caused. Chewed wires, holes in plastic containers and isolation, these rats have been nothing but trouble to both my home and vehicle. So I took action, and I am getting results!

Let us look at the above photo for a moment. This is the first rat caught while on the motor. I check my engine almost every day now. You can see the socks places under the wires. Those socks are filled with Mothballs, and since I have been placing them in the engine compartment, I have not had one wire chewed since.

Besides the Mothballs, I have been laying poison near my vehicle too. I bought some Rat-A-Way pellets, which did wonders on the first couple of days I set the traps. The first twenty-four hours three rat bodies were found underneath my Pathfinder, and the following day, four mice and one rat. Since then, the bait had been nibbled at, but no more bodies near my vehicle. Though, near my front door steps, I caught three more rats along with six mice in the last month.

But my main concern has been my vehicle. I now have proof that the Mothball method works!

To all those deniers and self-proclaimed rat experts (you know who you are) look-at-the-image. And “no,” I did not place the rat there and staged the whole photo–that is just gross!

Yes, Another Rant About the Time Change

Pure and simple, I hate it. This putting the clocks ahead, then back again, as we shift from season to season, is, in my mind–stupid. I believe we should just do with out it. We should either just leave time on “normal” or “Daylight Savings, and be good with it. I hear that the NDP Government in Alberta is proposing in doing away with all this clock changing; to them, I tip my hat. “Leave time alone,” I say, “and let me sleep!”

So, according to the Calgary Sun, the NDP Government there wants to leave time alone, and on top of that, switch it to Saskatchewan’s time instead of what Alberta’s normal time is, Mountain Time. And Alberta has some good evidence that switching the clocks around costs more money, and energy. According to the CBC, March 12, 2017, there is evidence that when Alberta switched to Daylight Savings Time, electricity usage increased, just over one precent. So much for the savings, eh?

When you think about it, the farther North you go, the more extreme the length of day and night becomes. The questions is, when it is British Columbia’s turn to have a Government that is willing to opt out of Daylight Savings Time, what side should we choose, Pacific or the Mountain time zone? So, in other words, would you like your day longer at night, or would you rather have your mornings flooded with sunlight if we keep to one time zone all year round.

Yay-It’s March!

Finally, and about time too I must add, it is March. It is here, at last! And this means that it is about Twenty days until spring, or the Vernal Equinox! Officially the Vernal Equinox, or first day of spring, will start on March 20th, at about 3:29am PDT on the West Coast. Yes, do not forget about that stupid time change too. But any way, we are slowly creeping up to spring, whether it means we will really have a spring, judging by how screwed up our weather is, or not. Last weekend we had snow, and Environment Canada is forecasting snow for next weekend, when will this madness stop.

Regardless if we have snow up until the first day of spring, I am just happy that the days are getting longer, and soon it will be spring. Either way it will warm up.

The other side of this screwed up weather is, could this also effect our summer too? I mean, will we have a super scorcher summer, or will the cool weather follow us into the summer months?

In my flower bed, at the end of my driveway, the sprouts are popping up. With so much snow, and frosty nights, the normal February flowers have not made an appearance around my place yet, but the regular summer ones are trying to grow–trying. I see the lasting winter weather is making its mark in my area–it is still really cold at night. Though I did see some Snow Drops, but they were flatten to the ground by all the snow we had three days ago, but still exciting to finally see them. So a disappointing season for the early flowers.

Do You Have Cotton Balls?

An update about my little rat and mouse problem from last month. As you are aware, from reading my January posts on how the little buggers chewed up the wiring on my vehicle, I have initiated steps to combat the problem, and I am happy to report that I seem to have things under control. Yes, I have some new chew marks on a couple of the wires, mainly the spark-plug wires, but overall no new chew marks in the last three weeks. I am happy, but I must keep a vigilante eye out to make sure this does not happen again. So here is my progress thus far.

Cotton Balls, although they look nothing like balls, seem to really do the trick. The idea is to load them up into old socks and tie them off, so that there are about ten to fifteen cotton-ball packets in each one. Then I placed the sock-loaded-cotton-balls on top of the engine where the spark-plug wires are, over top of the intake manifold. This area of the engine does not get too hot, and I can keep the cotton-ball loaded socks between the wires and intake manifold without worry of losing them and catching on fire while driving. So far, after three weeks, no issues.

The downside, you smell like a hospital when you park; a small price to pay after a $1600.00 repair bill. I have read that the cotton-ball packets need to be changed once a month, so I bought a large bag of them from Walmart, in Langley City, that should keep me going for the next six months. The cotton-balls only cost me about five bucks for a bag of them! 

I now do a visual inspection at least once a week now. I pop the hood, and do a look around to see if I can spot any fresh chew marks on the wires, plus looking for mouse droppings and any other indicators of rodent trespassers. This also makes it less hospitable if any rat or mouse who thinks about moving in becuase of my activities. At least once a day now, I operate my vehicle, making sure it does not sit for to long, or no longer than a day.

So, I can say that cotton-balls do work for this type of problem. The extra benefit is, I will have no moths around me either when I park the vehicle for the night.

February Snow–More of it…

When I woke on Friday morning, I really did not think I would react so strongly to what I was on the ground, and what was coming from the sky. The snow was falling so hard that visibility was less than 1km, and the ground already had 6cm of snow by 9:00am. This was not your cold powdery snow, but the thick huge wet fluffy type that packs up hard and turns to ice once you have driven over it. Again I say, “I bought good tires for this season!” (place smile here) The good tires on my Pathfinder made the difference commuting to work on the roads.

Yes, the roads between Langley Township and Langley City, a tail of two towns. Overall, the roads were almost void of any volume of traffic; this made me very happy. But, the downside, the main roads in Langley Township were, well, for the most part, untouched by snow removal crews. My Nissan Pathfinder drove over the untouched roads without any real concern, though there was one spot that traction became an issue on River Road (88th Avenue), but as long as I kept my speed low all was good. As soon as I got into Langley City, where I work, the roads were bare, in really great condition. Like the Township, in the city, tragic volume was low–scary low. I felt I was driving through a ghost town. PARKING WAS AWESOME!!!!!! I never thought that I would see the day were I would have to choose between where to park my SUV in Langley City–like actually having a choice of parking stalls to pick from.

I give up on shoving. No more! I will wait until it melts. I protest the snow! No more.