Tuesday, 8 October 2013


I had a long post composed in my head ... but it's late, I'm sweaty and need time for a Lush-full shower before bed.

"You can't park there!"
Today was my first day back at work, post-surgery. I drove to a little side street, where I can legally park all day and is relatively close to the train station. As I parked and got my bag out of my car, I saw a man in a nearby driveway looking at me with a hard face. He was helping his kids into his SUV but he kept looking over at me like I'd done something to piss him off.

Eventually he started calling over to me. In essence, he feels the space in front of his house is part of his area and I can't park there.

Well, yes I can - I've carefully looked for signs saying I can't and they don't exist. There are restricted zones and no parking zones around - but not where I was parked. And I'm not the only person who parks there and walks to the station. And there is still plenty of space to park on that street.

However, I chose not to engage in a discussion - he'd clearly worked himself up to be quite angry and irate over what he considered to be a trespass, and me, I wanted to get to work on time.

So I said I was sorry, I hadn't thought I was blocking anyone, but I would move my car. He continued to yell about all the "train parking" and how it had to stop as I put my bag back into my car and I moved. I parked across the street from him and placed a very firm mental image of his house in my mind, complete with the lovely blue spruce in his yard. So that I won't park there again.

I mulled it over on my way to work. He made the choice to be quite angry and I made the choice that I wasn't going to join the fight.

I did get to work on time and many, many people welcomed me back.

"You can do it!"
Last spring, I decided I should buy a programmable thermostat to save on heating expenses (natural gas). But the thought of installing one was very intimidating. A coworker offered to install one for me when I bought one.

I bought one recently but said coworker is getting ready for a fantastic well-earned vacation so I didn't ask him. When I inquired about assistance on Facebook, I was told that it would be so easy to install. I thought it would be so easy to electrocute myself.

Bit by bit, my friends and family talked me through it (and my brother offered to do it in two weeks time when he'll be in Calgary). First I had to figure out which breaker the thermostat was on. Only one of the switches was labelled. I spent one evening turning off breakers, then going upstairs to see which lights went out. I labelled them as I went, for future reference. And eventually I figured it out.

Last night was the first night I attempted to install the thermostat. I took off the cover and unscrewed the bolts going into the wall. The baseplate of the existing thermostat was seemingly glued to the wall. Everyone told me it was just paint. Today, some of my coworkers said to score along the baseplate with a knife and pry it off. So on my way home, I bought a bad ass box cutter and a flat scraper.

By this point, I'd lost my intimidation and was determined to get that thermostat installed damn it!

It turns out that I didn't need the cutter or the scraper. The baseplate just popped off. Huh.

So I kept going. One of my brother's tips was to photograph the wiring before I disturbed anything. So I did, and put the pictures on Facebook. I'm handy enough that I was able to mount the new baseplate and level it without asking for help.

It got a little trickier with the wires - from the Googling I did last night, I was expecting a white wire and a red wire with my ancient analog thermostat. I found a white wire and a black wire. I sensed that the black should be treated as the red wire, but needed some confirmation.

My cool aunt called and put her husband on the phone. He confirmed that black=red and asked about the terminals. I wasn't able to describe them over the phone, so I took another picture and uploaded it to Facebook. He also had some tips for me about trimming the wires.

I almost had to go to Wal-Mart for a teeny tiny screwdriver for the teeny tiny screws on the terminal. When I went upstairs to change, I spotted a nail file. That was teeny and tiny enough for the job.

improvised screwdriver

And eventually, it was all put together. I turned the breaker back on, cranked up the heat ... and it worked.


After I posted about it on Facebook, I read the manuals and figured out how to switch it to Celsius. :-)

So I went from "I can't install that" to "heck yeah, I installed that!" Felt good.


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