Cube Land, a Story of a Friend Boxed In

Without naming names and keeping the innocent anonymous, I will just say a friend who lives in a condo taught me a thing or two about why you should always do your homework before buying a home. At just 23, my friend bought his condo in Langley City, which at the time was a really awesome deal. His mortgage was just a mere $250.00 per month, and his work was just a 5 minuet commute away. On top of his monthly payments were some maintenance charges, and of course his yearly taxes and insurance payments too, but all well within his means. All was good for my friend, and his life was one to envy.

It was a dark and stormy day back in the fall of 2014 when my friend’s life changed. Cube Land (the condominium), as I called it, hit a sudden snag for him. The building had a large crack along the under ground parking floor, and it grew day by day, suddenly spewing water and causing flooding, forcing some of the owners to park outside along the street. A broken water main that ran underground beside the building was the blame, and the repairs had to done at once. The inhabitance of Cube Land rejoiced as the repairs were completed, and all was normal again. But not until a yellow envelope was found pushed underneath my friend’s door that dark and stormy day, did his happiness ended, and his world imploded on him.

First his girlfriend wanted to move away from there, then he decided it was time to leave too after months of resistance, but the cost of those repairs was half of what his mortgage was worth now, and together his young family found there was no way out unless giving up all that they had worked for. His debt now nearly doubled, and his upgraded monthly payments dug into his living expenses, so he took on a part time job on top of his regular work to help pay for life in Cube Land. His girlfriend, now his wife, also took on extra work to help. They now found themselves struggling to keep a float, and each day brought new horrors of higher costs and extra fees that they had to pay.

Cube Land, once utopia, now became known as The Blight. It instilled all that my friend hated in the world. Selling was not an option, as there were rules and obligations in place that made it next to impossible for him to do so. It was a tragedy.

In this strange world of Cube Land, unexpected events happen that catch you off guard. It took an act so devastating that it changed my friend’s fortune, unexpectedly, to the good. A fire broke out in the unit below his, and caused enough damage that my friend had to move out. One would think this to be the ultimate of tragedies, but not so fast. With the help of Lawyer, and his insurance company, he managed to take his losses and turned them into a gain. He was one of the lucky ones.

Today, he now lives on land, a solid foundation, a house with a back yard, in the little city of Chilliwack, BC, now a 30 to 40 minute commute to his job. Thanks to the buy-out, his family has a new lease on life, pardon the pun. Cube Land still sits unrepaired and empty, “cursed,” as my friend says. Never again will he set foot there, never again.

Record Snow – 2017: Update

Since I last posted here, so much has gone on weather wise that I thought I would dedicate this post to just the weather. The top story is the amount of snow we got here in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver area, but like with typical weather in British Columbia, you only have to wait fine minutes for it to change into something else. The rough outline of events: it is said that we got over 62cm of total snow dumped on us since the beginning of last week when the storms hit us. We also had below normals temperatures in that period of time too, along with a sharp warm-up that started on Wednesday (February 8th). On February 8th, we had a mini ice storm, which I drove home in, which was the most hazardous time of diving I experienced all this winter season from the black ice on the road and freezing rain sticking to everything including my wind-shield. Now, we are dealing with snow melt and rain, along with plus 5C weather, but the good news, it is melting.

The above image was taken on February 7th, 2017 showing the day after of the snow storm. This shot shows the highest amount of the snow that fell this last week. I took this shot before I left for work. That same night we had the ice storm. It was a struggle to get back into my driveway. Ice was everywhere, as the rain hit every frozen surface. Branches from near by trees were snapping like toothpicks.

In the above image taken today, one of the many trees that had its branches snapped off during the ice storm back on Wednesday. Some of the branches were nearly 10cm in diameter! This is why we have some many power outages here.

According to the weather prognosticators at Environment Canada, we should see a steady increase in daily temperatures, well above freezing, along with night time lows as well. So, it could be conceivable that all of this snow will be gone by next week. For now, we are dealing with pooling water, and the odd road that has not been cleared. For me, it is my driveway, the snow bank left by the grader is my biggest obstacle, but my 4X4 SUV can handle that.

I have to hand it to these guys, they are tough as nails. While it was minus 11C out, with the blowing wind and ice pellets on the snow, these guys kept on going, as if nothing was wrong. They have the advantage with their wool coats. LOL Though, they do look a little pissed in this shot, but as long as they have straw, hay and water, I think they keep to themselves. They snuggle up to each other in the covered area when it really rains out, so they do use the shelter from time to time.

Snowpocalypse: The Dump Continues

I think this is the best word to describe it: “Snowpocalypse.” It seems to sum up it best for me. I measured it on my patio table, and I got 42cm of powdery snow. I also noticed that underneath, a layer of ice, about 2cm think, is everywhere too. I did a little drive in my SUV, just down the road a little, about 4km and back, and I seem to have had no troubles with getting around, but I was driving slow. But the weather prognosticators are saying that we will see snow weather systems for the next five days here in  the valley! Umph.

We must be breaking records around here with all of this snow and cold weather? I do not think I have ever seen it this bad in my time living here. Oh well, we have to live with it, no matter what. I hope the melt will be as fast as it got dumped.

I spent part of my afternoon shovelling out my driveway, for my morning commute tomorrow. I figure at least I should have a clean driveway so that I will not get stuck there. I just hope the Township has its snow removal gear out by tomorrow, or we will be in a Snowpocalypse for sure, as chaos erupts everywhere with crazy motorists on the roads going to work.

Another Dump of Snow

Say it ain’t so…, yes, it is another round of snow, brought to us by the freaky weather anomalies of climate change. Since yesterday, the snow has fallen here almost uninterrupted, with an accumulation of nearly 20cm of it. Driving on the roads here is almost a joke, though it is possible, it would be rough going. My little stretch of road just got ploughed an hour ago, and is was only a single lane that got cleared; so if you have to pass another car in the on coming direction, one of use would have to drive in the snow bank. 

I decided not to go out today. Even though I have lots to do, I elected to stay put. I am not going to stress myself out attempting to drive in all this snow, knowing that road chaos is out there. I will survive as long it takes until the roads are good again.

Fortunately the power has been pretty good. I only notice a couple of small interruptions, mainly just flickers of the lights, so hopefully our lick will hold. Though I am prepared for an all-night power outage, candles, water and a propane heater. But I would by grumpy.

The weather people say this could last up until Monday when the snow may start to melt away, as the rain eventually starts. So, I guess, this means my whole weekend is shot to hell. Luckily, the freezing rain did not start. I am sure the power would be out for sure if we got what Eastern Canada with their ice storm. But we are warmer then the last time we had a this type of snow storm. Maybe it will melt faster.

So, it is a good weekend to stay indoors, and off the streets. This is what I intend to do. I think some badly needed computer maintenance time is on my agenda at home.

Out from Beneath the Rock

I am coming out from beneath the rock as the weather is starting to warm up, after what seems like an eternity staying inside from the freezing cold. So the rumour has it that Vancouver is getting this blast of tropical like air directly from the Philippines, across the Pacific, and landing on our doorstep. With it, a little rain (which we can deal with), and warmer temperatures for the foreseeable future.  Already, I am showing signs of happiness. See, I am smiling right now–> 🙂

I think the first thing I am going to do once the snow disappears, is clean the debris that is on my patio that had got blown around from the last wind storm a couple of weeks ago. I have a fair size mess there. Most of it is branches and twigs from the trees, but there also some garbage from the neighbouring fields too that is bugging me. Then I must start focusing on the leak in my skylight. That started about two months ago, but between not having enough time to deal with it, and being too cold to work on it, the upcoming week will be my time to deal with it once and for all. Also on my list, I will need to do a tune-up on my Pathfinder. It needs an oil change, and some other fluids to be top up as well. Oh, and wind shield wipers too; the snow and ice kind of wrecked the pair I have now from last week.

I am so looking forward to warmer weather.

Now I wait for the heating bill, hoping that it is not going to break the Bank. There goes the smile… 🙁

I Know, It’s Friday The Thirteenth

Yes indeed, it is Friday the Thirteenth, but in all, the day was not that bad. Though, it could have always been better, but never look at gift horse in the mouth, right! No, seriously, it has been a great day: here is why. Making no waves here!

Unexpectedly, I was notified that my annual review from my work was due today. Just to back track, I never had it last year, and the one from before was eighteen months late, so obviously no one at my work seems to be keeping track of these things. Like that last one, this one was no different. Overall, is was a very positive review, with the emphasis on good team work and good work attitude. I guess they notice that I show up every day, and take very little time off–that is how I interpret it. Unlike the one from before, this one was really quick–which I appreciated. Sure, if there was a problem, or issue, then we should sit down and talk for an hour or two. In this case I glad becuase I wanted to go home. They never do these at the beginning of the shift. LOL

Signs of the Flu. My body is almost rid of that pesky flu bug that has plagued me for the two-and-a-weeks. Sleep is that now, I can get a good night sleep now–so wonderful. There is the odd snot ball, but for the most part, no more rivers of snot from my nose, and my lungs seem to be healed now–but there is the odd lung button coughed up every now and then. In all, I feel pretty good. I still believe that this is all tied to the weather. Just to much of a coincidence here, eh?

OK, yes, I did make some small waves. Only small ones. A friend, who I still can call a friend, finally paid me the money he owed me from years back. I actually gave up on the debt after five years of nothingness. I just let it go. But then last week he popped in for a visit, and the topic of that money came up. When I lent the cash, a small loan of $300.00, which I wrote up a small contract, he agreed to pay it back in a five month term, in one lump sum. I kept the paper, as a memento, just in case such an opportunity would pop up again, like it did last week. He asked me for another loan. Well, you can guess what I said after that, happily reminding him of the outstanding loan. I must of really rattled his cage because he came back today, and paid me–in full. Will I loan to him again? Hum.

The weather still sucks here. Sure, it is not raining, or blowing, or too hot; quite the opposite. We are still in the grip of the deep freeze, the Arctic Vortex something unheard of over the last few years when we were getting warm ocean currents in our favour. Hopefully, the weather prognosticators are correct, this nightmare should be ending after this weekend. Rumour has it, we might see temperature as high as plus 10C! I cannot wait! Bring it on–faster. LOL

New Year. Do I Need My Emergency Kit?

Looking back, most of the day was spent without Internet, Cable, Phone and access to my street as five cars that could not make it up the hill, huddled in front of my driveway. It was not the snow, but drivers that made my day a stay-at-home one. The power lines were lined with trees that were leaning up against them from the weight of the snow. Last night’s snow fall was nearly 14cm according to my measurements on my patio. Up until 10:00pm, I was so grateful that the power held, although at multiple times my lights dimmed and flickered wildly for several minutes, until it finally switched off for four hours. However, my Internet was connecting for a few hours at a time, I did have partial contact with the world.

The highlight of the day was listening to the trees bend and break through the early morning. When I walking outside, I was awestruck at the sight I saw: winter. The night before, I took some night shots of the forest, and saw huge green flashes of light, as trees were touching the power lines. But even during the daylight hours, I saw one flash that almost made me jump out of my clothes. Then it struck me: we are not done yet with this weather.

It seems that most weather forecasters get it wrong for my area. When they say I should see 5C, I often get ether something higher, or a lot lower. So when the Snow Warnings were issued, and temps were forecasted, my area was deemed minimal, more inline with the City of Vancouver. Even Abbotsford, the city to my East, was given higher values than what I received, so I had a misguided sense of security with my environment. So I got more snow, and it was far colder then what I thought we would get. Sure, I dealt with it, but under protest.

Tomorrow, the forecast says were are going to have clear skies, but with wind. WIND! Oh, great, there goes the power for sure. Trees bent over from snow, and temperatures well before freezing, now being mixed with wind; all for a recipe for power outages, bad roads, and a long night sleep. I am thinking I should have my Emergency Kit handy–better safe than sorry.

Happy New Year 2017!

In just a few hours from now the new year will kick in, and with it, a three day long weekend! Now that is something to celebrate! The very end of 2016 has been (or still is), well, shitty for me, to say the least. I am ending the year off with the worse flu I have had in years. I even took time off from work becuase of it–that is how bad. I am not going to let that dampen my mood tonight as the old year draws to a close, and we switch over to 2017, I will stay up and celebrate it!

The only worry I have tonight is that we are being told to watch out for some bad weather. It is snowing at the moment, and it should start to clear up tomorrow, but then stay well below freezing for the next ten days or so. All should be good if the roads are free of snow before the freeze starts. If not, then we will have ice everywhere after that. And so much for the heating bill too.

I am planning on staying home, like the last five years, to celebrate the New Year moment. I will watch my clock as it moves from 2016 to 2017, and then wait for the neighbourhood to erupt with fire works (gun shots) and horns to mark the calendar change. Then slip quietly back into bed. Actually, last year, if I remember correctly, I think I just stayed in bed: woke to the noise, then fell right back to sleep.

ADDED:

It is about 9:30pm now, and the snow has not let off. There is one thing worse than having to deal with 15cm of snow, and that is power outages. Already, since 7:00pm, I have had 5 short outages, caused by trees touching the power lines. Luckily none have lasted longer than 10 seconds. The forest sounds like a war zone from the branches breaking from the weight of the snow. No doubt it will get worse as the night goes on. I think I am OK as far as a tree breaking on my home though, but I do have large ones not to far away from me. Tomorrow we are expecting to be well below freezing, so if the power does go out, it will be a chilly one.

I just looked outside to check on the falling snow, and it is still falling at a fast rate. No matter what, I am staying inside tonight; staying far, far, far away from driving on the roads today. OK, signing off. See you next year…

Taking Time Off

Loving the idea of having the next tree days from everything, is nice, but I am starting to develop what seems to be a full blown flu bug. Is there some cosmic joke playing at me, taunting me with 72 hours of bliss, and I get the flu right at the start of it? Right now I have the stuffed nose, congested lungs and a headache that comes and goes when it feel likes. Right now, talking is difficult becuase of the coughing. Some are enjoying my silence, but once it passes, I will talk up a storm to appease them. (Grin)

The Sun came out, but that only meant that it was bitterly cold out. I think it was -4C when I took these shots. The weather prognosticators are suggesting that we will be getting more snow for tomorrow, and possibly the day after. Great, more snow. I guess no bargain hunting shopping this week–staying home if it snows too much.

Yeah, I just rechecked my patio thermometer again, and it is showing -4C out.

Funny, the above shot seems like it is nice and warm day out, but it is not. There are icicles in this shot. Time to stay inside where it is warm, and drain my nose.