Archive Page 2

Common Household Problems That Need to Be Taken Seriously

[this post originally appeared as an article in the Lethbridge Journal in September 2010]

Many people in Lethbridge own homes, and have peace of mind in the fact that their homes provide comfort after a long day of work. However, many homeowners only focus on their homes cosmetic problems, and unless you have an eye for such things, you may not notice things that could develop into real problems.

“People tend to worry about the little things, like a loose shingle, or hairline cracks in their stucco, which are all minor things,” said Jean Greer, from Greer Home Builders in Lethbridge. “We tend to forget that houses are made of wood and things that shrink and move. Our houses are built on soil, and our houses need to move and crack a little bit.”

A lot of systems built into our household walls and underneath the floors allow for many of the luxuries we take for granted, and it’s important to have them looked at once in a while.

“We have to do the basics, like vacuum out your furnace filter, make sure your eaves troughs are clean,” said Greer. “Really think about the mechanical system that runs your house. “Think about the plumbing, and the stuff that’s hidden in those walls is what really makes our homes comfortable.”

Pillar to Post, a home inspection company in Lethbridge, was kind enough to share a list of common concerns to watch out for, which includes improper electrical wiring, and old plumbing.

There are many other structural concerns that need to be looked after, such as foundation cracks and split floor joists. Floor joists are the pieces of wood that support the floor and hold up its weight.

An outdoor concern is unkept yards, such as trees that are up against the house, which can cause grading, but is more common with 40 or older year old homes, not with newer homes due to less trees on properties.

According to Pillar and Post, grading and drainage on the outside of homes are the most frequent root problem of household aggravations.

“Grading is basically the dirt up against the house, or landscaping up against the house,” said Mike Hemmerling, a Home Inspector with Pillar to Post. “You want to make sure you have a good slope away from the home so water can’t pool. If water can pool at the home, water will eventually get into the home.”

Other outdoor concerns include doors or windows that are not properly sealed or caulked from the elements, allowing water or air in.

Roof damage caused by old or worn out shingles can cause leaks, and improper flashing. Flashing is metal or rubber pieces that create a seal between the shingles and things on the roof such as vents or chimneys.

We often think to repair or fix household problems that we are aware of, but it’s important to research other possible problems, and even have a home inspector analyze our homes, so smaller issues don’t turn into big problems.


Upcoming Events at the Galt Museum – repost of article

[this post was originally an article in the Lethbridge Journal in October 2010]

Halloween is quickly approaching, and the Galt museum has three nights of fun for the whole family to enjoy, including two movie nights, an interactive movie event, and tours of the old hospital building. They also have an artifact fundraiser event happening.

“I’d like to focus on our Halloween events,” said Anine Vonkeman, Marketingnd Communications Officer at the Galt Museum in Lethbridge. “We have our Movie Madness [event]. We have two nights of movie marathons, and the third night is the Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The first two nights are $10 for each person per night, and $18 for the third night. Tickets can be purchased at the Galt Store. Admission for all three nights can be purchased for $30 per person, but only until October 27th.

The first night, called Bite Night, will feature 5 Dracula movies from 4:30pm until approximately 1am.

“On Thursday the 28th,” said Vonkeman. “It features the movies of Dracula. The doors open at 4pm. The screening time starts at 4:30pm. We have all of the movies online with specific screening times.”

The second night is called Zombies Galore and will feature 4 movies from 5:30pm until about 1am. The 30th will have an interactive showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“On Saturday, October 30th, we have the Rocky Horror Picture Show,” said Vonkeman. “It’s the third year that we are offering this. Doors open at 9pm, movie starts at 10pm. We usually have constume contests before the movie starts, which is for both Halloween characters and Rocky Horror Picture characters.”

“The tickets for that include all of the props, when it rains, we spray water, and when there’s a toast to the bride, we throat toasts.”

“For either night, you can come and go as you please,” said Lori Harasem, Events Coordinator at the Galt Museum. So, if there’s one movie you don’t want to see, you’re more than welcome to leave (and come back). We will be running a concession and bar on both nights.”

On Halloween itself, the museum is partnering with Trap Door Artists Run Centre, and for an event called Macabre Museum.

“We will have tour guides who will be providing tours of the hospital building part of the museum, the part that is 100 years old, said Harasem. “Instead of doing the hospital tour just as we normally provide, the focus will actually be on the paranormal experiences of people who have been in the building have told us.”

“We have a psychic coming in that will be reading the artifacts and telling what energy [she gets] from the artifacts and tell us a bit of story about who owned them. That event is $10 and the evening starts at 7pm.”

From November 1st to the 30th, the Galt is holding a fundraiser auction on a website they’ve had specially created,

“Adopt an artifact is an online fundraiser that you can bid online and watch other people bid,” said Vonkeman. ”This year we have 23 items up for bid. These are all selected from our collection.”

“The only thing is that you don’t actually get to take the artifact home. We take care of the artifact at the museum. We do give you the adoption certificate, photo, and description of the item. You get a chance to get a behind-the-scenes tour of our collection in 2011.”

In addition to the Galt’s special events, they also have regular organized programs.

“For seniors, Wednesdays at the Galt,” said Vonkeman. “For families, Saturdays at 1pm. We have a special event coming up where we have Galt nurses reminiscing about their time at the Galt hospital.”

Dog Sitting, Among Other Things

I’m sitting on my porch right now. Actually, it’s my landlords, but since I rent here, he’s allowed me use it. It’s a beautiful 24 degrees outside.

The birds are chirping, I can hear some dogs barking, and it seems like someone is always mowing their backyard or lawn.

I wish there was more of a breeze, but things should cool down somewhat this evening with the predicted thunderstorm that will supposedly bring 10-15mm of rain by tomorrow. We’ll see, they never get these things right.

I wish I could be doing remote tech support calls right now, but I only ended up leaving 4 or 5 voice mails. I’ll try again this evening and tomorrow. Might as well if it’s going to be raining.

I’m dog sitting for my landlord for the next week or so as he is on vacation in B.C.. Her name is Keyara. She’s a black lab, and is the quietest and kindest dog I have ever met. Also, she listens! You tell her to lay down, and she will. I’ll take her on a few walks this week, for the sake of her health and mine. Otherwise, I’ll feed her and occasionally play with her of course. That’s about it, no trouble at all.

My landlord is a good guy and offered to discount my rent a bit as a thank you. Truth be told, neither of us wants Keyara in a kennel for a week.

As far as work goes, I’m doing everything I can to build more of a routine in my life, for the sake of my health, sanity, and bank account. For the better part of the past year, I’ve been effectively on-call, and it’s done a number on me. I’ve since reduced how much I visit clients on-site. In fact, I’m doing remote calls now for the most part, which isn’t exactly set hours, but it’s a lot less rushing around. That said, I’m self-employed, and have the right to set hours for myself. Sometimes, though, clients call with an urgent matter, so that’s the exception.

I’m also pursuing another part-time opportunity which I can’t talk about yet, but should be able to reveal in the next week, and it’s something I’m quite excited about.

I’m also pursuing some freelance journalism work. I’m in the process of putting together two stories on local groups in the Lethbridge community. Hopefully they’ll be published in a local paper, if not, I’ll post them on my blog and get exposure that way.

The eventual goal of all of this is to have more time to spend with friends and to be less stressed and have more fun!

James Frey for Mayor

I tend to stay away from the topic of politics because it’s very controversial. That said, for the first time in my life, I feel engaged by some of those running for office.

Overall, I’m impressed by some candidates’ use of Social Media like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and websites! Rather than just expecting potential voters to show up at campaign events, they’re having real conversations using internet tools that people are using every day, and using them as conversation platforms to discuss numerous issues. I found a blog post that discusses this in much more detail, and frankly does a better job than I ever could.

I’m even helping out with a campaign for a Lethbridge man by the name of James Frey. He’s running for mayor, and I think he’s a heck of a guy! I have talked to him on Twitter and Facebook for months, even before the campaign. He even made the effort to come and have an hour long chat at my house! He has done marketing work with the Alberta government for 8 years, and is very well informed on the state of politics in the province and in Lethbridge, and talks about it in plain English.

More importantly, I think, is his commitment to the community, and truly listening and actively communicating with the people of Lethbridge through the use of social networks and in-person. He has a fresh, but educated perspective on different issues affecting Lethbridge, as noted on his website, and on Twitter and Facebook.

His website is I’ve never seen a more transparent, easy to understand campaign website. I’ll be voting for him on October 18th, and I hope you do as well!

Elderly Couple Plays the Piano (video)

Quite a Busy Friday Night

I wish I could say I spent my Friday night out on the town with friends. Instead, I was working late, and as soon as I finished work, I went straight to bed. Strangely, I couldn’t sleep, so I left my police scanner on.

I haven’t heard so much activity on it in months! Lots of speeders and a couple of drunk drivers. However, around midnight (I think, wasn’t really paying attention to the time), a car hit a deer on Hwy 23. The deer died, and it sounded like the car was a write-off, though I think the driver was ok (didn’t hear any different).

Right around the same time, there was a collision near Coalhurst. A semi hit a car. The car was driveable, though damaged. Sounded like there were injuries and a couple of people taken to hospital. Not sure beyond that. I only know as much as was said on the air.

Later, I noticed on Twitter that tweeps going to the Calgary Stampede were having quite a bit of fun! They even linked to photos of fireworks! In Lethbridge, people were having fun downtown with friends after enjoying the annual Street Wheelers event. Over 700 classic cars involved! Impressive!

Out of Sorts and Thinking Out Loud

I’ve been depressed lately for a variety of reasons, the biggest is that a job I have dedicated the last year of my life to is falling apart. I should have honestly left it earlier this year, but kept seeing glimmers of hope that things would get better, despite not feeling promise for it in my gut. The truth is, I had nothing else going for me career wise, so I didn’t want to let go.

I decided to start a major marketing push, mainly to boost my business, but also of colleagues. I put posters up around town, and started using social media like Facebook and Twitter on an almost daily basis. I spent time at coffee shops and around town in my company uniform, as well as cold calling in person and over the phone. Nothing changed, which infuriated me.

When I joined the company last year, I focused almost exclusively on remote work and residential work, but that diminished to almost nothing as time went on.

My business communication skills are lacking, but my computer skills and love for the work have taught me that I needed to start with small businesses around town and residential work, gain confidence and skills, and move up to larger businesses. So I cold called over the phone and in person, but didn’t get much of a response. The work was only trickling in.

So, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, especially the past 6 months, and it’s had a serious affect on my health.

So, I recently decided to change things. I talked to a senior member of my team, and decided to give up my company car (to save money), and to give all of my clients to other member of the team. The marketing division of the company has shown interest in hiring me to help with their social media efforts. I should know more this week.

In addition, some freelance journalism opportunities may be on the horizon after talking to a couple of publications.

So right now nothing is for certain, and this week will dictate what I’ll be doing going forward, because to be honest, I need a steady, healthy income, but I also want to do what I enjoy, and I’ll do what I have to do to make sure that happens.

Since my life has been so out-of-whack lately, my friendships are also suffering. I need routine again, and to be happy, then life will be more predictable, and I’ll be able to hang out more.

Speaking of friends and family, I want to thank each and every one of you for your patience, understanding, and support as I sort things out. I couldn’t make it through without you. 🙂

It’s a very challenging time for me right now, and the depression isn’t helping at all, nor are my health problems. All I can do is push ahead, though, and do my best.

Kevin’s Calendar

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