April: It’s a Wrap!

Postcard of her majesty Elizabeth I

Postcard of her majesty Elizabeth I

In April I kept my appointment to get the snow tires on my car switched out for the summer/all season tires. Naturally this guaranteed another couple of snows. The weather has been mostly sunny with a bitterly cold wind. I came back from the UK expecting the season would have started to turn, but I’m still waiting! Anyway, it still doesn’t compare to last year’s awful extended winter.

I had an anticipatory Spring shopping freakout. I am undecided if I should have regrets about it! I bought Spring travel clothes of the type that I only ever wear when I’m on vacation. I even purchased an extra layer for each outfit, knowing I would need some warmth. I haven’t been able to wear any of it since travelling, because of our weather. I will need to add the new stuff to my workday wardrobe when it is nicer out. I’ll do a roundup in an upcoming wardrobe post!

July destination (photo from a previous trip)

July destination (photo from a previous trip)

I wrote about my April trip to the UK here. Upon returning, I booked my next trip, to a family reunion in the Canadian Rockies in July. I haven’t been there or seen this set of relatives in five long years! I can hardly wait to see everyone.  It will be Rom’s first view of the Rockies, and Link will be joining us there. We are splurging on a night in Banff during the tourist high season. The environment in the Rockies is spectacular – so majestic compared to our quaint little tableaux on the East coast!

Back at work, I am doing several extra Saturday and Sunday shifts in April and May. I normally only do one a month. I have enjoyed working with some staff I rarely see on weekdays, but the chopped-up schedule makes me feel like I need another vacation! Naw, just a “proper” weekend.

I have domestic matters to attend to. The gas-powered lawnmower bit the dust last fall so a new one is required immediately. I tried a manual, rotary mower in my yard and it just did not work on the variety of broad-leaf weeds I have (at least my yard is a diverse ecosystem!) An electric mower is also out of the question because the yard is over 6000 square feet; too much for me to manoeuver with a cord.

At the time I bought my last mower, cordless rechargeables were new to the market. I had bad luck with a cordless, rechargeable weed whacker (string trimmer), so I bought a gas mower to avoid the risk of early battery failure. I could do the lawn with the self-propelled gas mower in 75 minutes; not a small job. The new cordless mowers have a battery life of 45 minutes at best and most say 30 minutes realistically.


I do feel compelled to give one a try. Even though I used less than 20 litres of gas a year in the old mower (half a car fill-up), I just hate buying gas for it, bringing the gas container home in my car, filling the mower, and storing gas in my shed. The air pollution and noise are nasty. I will be buying a cordless soon (with 2 batteries) and I will let you know how it goes. If anyone out there has one (or can advise for/against brands), let me know!

My other domestic project is one I’ve been dreaming about for many years – painting the whole interior of the house including ceilings, closets and trim. I know – my dreams are rather workmanlike! When I moved into this house 12 years ago, it still had the original builder’s coat on the walls, and it has never been painted, except for Link’s room and the two bathrooms. The whole house has had a lot of wear and tear. I am desperately awaiting the freshen-up. We both hate painting and will not be doing a lick of it ourselves. We hired a local guy whose crew can do the entire little house (900 sq ft x 2 levels) in four days! We will be run ragged moving all of our books and furniture. We have the equivalent of ten 6-foot tall, 3-foot wide book cases (8 of which, I will note, are Rom’s – and you thought I was the librarian!)

The project should start within 2 weeks. I am looking forward not only to the results, but the opportunity to declutter and clean the entire house. (Um, I guess that is a little weird, but being forced into it works for me!)

I did a ton of reading in April, including 3 books during my vacation flights and all the time on public transportation. I’ll save that for another post, but all the titles are on my Goodreads page, as always.

I’ll leave you with some snaps of the “stuff” I bought in the UK. With the exchange rate and airline luggage allowances, we don’t buy a huge amount, but I always find a few things:

I would love to hear how April went for you.


  1. Jen

    I have to agree, nothing beats a professional painting job! We had our kitchen and basement staircase painted in fall…made a world of difference. Both involved plaster repair… Way more that we would consider doing. I’d rather save up for a painter than save for a purse!

  2. Freckles

    Will you be going to the Stampede?

    • The relatives always have their family reunion during Stampede so we briefly see the crowds when flying in and out of the Calgary airport, but miss the rest. I did check the music concerts to see if it would be worthwhile arranging our schedule around one, but the rock shows are not announced yet. I wouldn’t go to a rodeo, but I know they have an arts festival as well. Maybe someday!

  3. Love the PacMan hoodie. 🙂 I always had a thing for Ms PacMan, myself. It was my favorite arcade game when I was a kid.

  4. gk

    Keen to hear how the electric mower works out, I would like to make the switch as well. An entire house paint job sounds ambitious and disruptive, but will surely be worth the trouble!

    • Yes, there is nothing like a blank canvas to calm the mind! Especially after all the chaos in getting to that point. The lawn has not actually started to grow yet, so I have a couple of weeks to buy the mower!

  5. Fiona

    Also love the PacMan hoodie! I hope Rom loves his first experience of the Rockies and fantastic that Link can join you as well. I have no advice on the mower options – ours is a relatively new, petrol mower. I am secretly thrilling to the thought of the paint project. Our house is a similar era to yours and we have the original, 15 year old builder’s paint job. Have done piecemeal re-paints over the years but it needs an entire new interior. I was toying with the idea of doing it ourselves (who am I kidding!) but you might be the inspiration I need to get the professionals in. Our weather is beginning to turn – we had our heating on for the first day of the season today.

    • It would be more accurate to say we are joining Link there, since we are going to see Link’s dad’s extended family! Our house is 20 years old this year, and I believe we are only the 2nd owners. We occasionally chatted about painting all of the enclosed rooms, maybe one each weekend over a season, while hiring someone to do the loftier open areas. But looking at paint samples was as far as we got after a whole year, so it is time to call in the pros! It is normal for us to have the heat on until the end of May.

  6. love that hoody!

  7. I love Bill Bryson. I wanted his latest when I exchanged a Christmas present but it was sold out.

    I look forward to your trip to the Rockies. Looks beautiful.

    • I loved his book At Home, and his Shakespeare book. I was disappointed in this one, though. It was written in 1995 and has a lot of dated attitudes. The newest one is a 20-years-later update of it, and I am tempted to read it to see if his views have changed.

      • I did read Notes from a Small Island ages and ages ago. So it obviously wasn’t dated then. Read his one on Australia at the same time and the account of his trek on the Appalachian Trial. Loved them all. Not enough to re-read them and see if I would find them dated now. I will get hold of his recent one on the UK.

      • I would like to read more of his books eventually, but would like to start with Brief History of Nearly Everything.

  8. Best wishes on no more snow for the season. We once traveled to Montreal at the end of April and the heavy snow changed our travel plans to drive to Quebec City. I envy your trip to the Canadian Rockies. Have a great time. Keith

    PS – I have had success with a rechargeable Black and Decker mower. I love not smelling gas fumes as I mow.

  9. Less said the better, I’m glad it is May, even if we have the heat on and it is raining out!
    We were painted last year (2 weeks but a lot of scraping and plaster work – the apartment has cement walls, not sheetrock). It made a huge difference, especially to feel like the kitchen was really clean. However, we have still not hung up all the art…we wanted it to be less crowded but haven’t been able to figure out what to put back up….and what to let go of.

    • I know I will have the same problem. I would like to be more minimal (!) after the painting is done, but it would mean so many permanent decisions about Stuff.

  10. Freckles

    I heard that Def Leppard & Tesla were doing a one-time only reunion show at the Stampede this year.

    Just kidding.

    BTW I’m from Calgary …. and I think Banff will be packed with tourists during Stampede week but I’m sure it won’t take away from your enjoyment. Given the strength of the American dollar against ours I think this will be a very good summer for the local tourism industry!

    • Haha! I did see one of Def Leppard’s later-day nostalgia tours…

      I do know Banff will be packed (it was hard to find a hotel room) but I am OK with that. Quite right about no US travel this year! I bought something online last week and the exchange rate worked out to 29%.

  11. Everything you bought suits what I know of you!!

    I think I’m much like you, to want some level of ‘have to’ to tidy and declutter the home. I still recall the painting at the loft! This place is all ‘hogs bristle’ which is the real estates agents colours for walls. It’s blah imo. But as a renter, there’s no changing it in Australia. If I had my way, though, I’m not really sure how I’d want to paint it!

    • The paint colour here will be somewhere between cream and butter with a farmhouse yellow tint. Not popular but it cheers me up. I expect to live here 20-25 years yet!

  12. You for sure had a good month, both living in the present and planning for the future.

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