Jun 24, 2014 -

Bell Mobility Mifi Impasse

It’s been three months since Bell Mobility sent me yet another Mifi device and that one has also bit the dust, right on schedule. I spent almost an hour on the phone with Bell this afternoon, most of it wasted after I got disconnected by them (I was in town, so it wasn’t my connection) and the people I had spoken with hadn’t taken notes. *sighs*

Bell’s position is that my warranty is expired, so if I want replacement devices until the end of my contract, I have to pay for them. I asked about canceling my contract (11 months left on it) and they said sure, with a steep penalty. I forget the exact amount, but it’s more than the total $110 in minimum monthly payments that I will pay if I ride out the contract.

My position is that if they’re going to lock me into a contract, they should provide me with a device that works. It’s not like I keep losing or dropping them! If they can’t do that, then they should allow me to cancel without penalty and go to Novatel for the cancellation cost. Needless to say, they weren’t hearing me very well.

They acknowledge that the device is crap and that they have nothing else to offer me for my current plan and told me that I should take my fight to the manufacturer, Novatel. Oh, you mean the company that is impossible to reach?

Not only has my Mifi died, but the SIM card has taken a lot of abuse from being pulled in and out of all the Mifis I’ve had and is no longer work. Bell said I could have a replacement at no charge and are sending one out tomorrow. I told them that I will be using it in a friend’s device.

But…

What Bell doesn’t have in its notes is that they have one really good supervisor on their team who sent me an extra Mifi several months ago. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

So I have a backup unit that I can use with the new SIM card. That should get me through till I leave in October, with about eight months left on the contract. Since I’m going to Mexico, I was already resigned to paying the minimum service fee over the winter, working device or not. When I get back next spring, the contract will have come due and I’ll be able to cancel without penalty.

Score one for the little guy.

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Jun 22, 2014 -

Making Excellent Progress

Mr. Zucca: That’s no rock. That’s a ledge.
Bill Cole: What Mr. Blandings means is, what precisely is a ledge?
Mr. Zucca: A ledge is like a big stone. Only it’s bigger.
Jim Blandings: Like a boulder!
Mr. Zucca: No, like a ledge.

I put in way more than an hour at the gravel pile today and I have three blisters on my palms, one of which is huge, to show for it! I wanted to take advantage of the weather, which started off ominous, but greatly improved. It also helped that I didn’t have to borrow a wheelbarrow and that my body is reacclimatising to being worked hard. I’ll be stiff tomorrow, no doubt about it, but I’m not fatigued by the hard work today.

Moreover, my work queue is currently worrisomely empty, which means that I’m not getting work this week for whatever reason, or that it’s all going to land at once and I won’t see daylight for a bit. I’m hoping on the latter and making good use of my time off.

I alternated between raking, shoveling, hauling, spreading, and picking out giant rocks, trying to work the pile evenly. I didn’t make a firm decision as to what size rocks could be leveled out and which went into my piles when it came to smaller stones, but the very large rocks that needed two hands were obviously set aside for future landscaping projects.

While I would be very grateful for a neighbour with a tractor or bobcat to come help me finish leveling and packing the pile,  I think this is one project I’ll be able to finish on my own if I have to.

The reason I struggled so much with the RV pad, besides simply being out of shape, is that I had to shift so much material eastward to get the pad the width I wanted. With this pile, I’m just trying to get it as flat as possible and don’t care as much about the width.

I’m really surprised and pleased by my progress today. I can tell that the big thing I need to work on is reducing the entrance slope to make it easier to back in with a trailer.

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Jun 21, 2014 -

Gravel Déjà Vu

I joked earlier today on Facebook that if I had known I’d have so many status-worthy events today, I would have saved them up for a blog post. Well, here’s the post anyway! 🙂

Today was a pretty dang perfect Saturday, especially since we got our first sunny and hot day in almost a month! I was up earlyish and got my day’s work done by noon. I could then get tomorrow’s work done to have a full day off or do two half-days off. I chose the latter and it wound up being the best choice.

I started the afternoon by going to Willow Bunch to get some produce and to check out offerings at the thrift store. I got a good haul today!

Remember, I’m building a wardrobe entirely from scratch, from underwear to coats, so I’m not going nearly as crazy with the clothes buying as it might seem, plus the bulk of what I bought last year and was hoping to fit in this year is a size or two too big. And, frankly, when you’ve been a size XL or 1X most of your life and you find a super cute dress size S that looks fabulous on you and it’s just $1, it’s not hard to justify finding room for it in your wardrobe. 🙂

I also lucked out and found a good set of pruning sheers for 25 cents! I was going to borrow a pair from Caroline today, so this was good timing!

I got home and put laundry on, then I got on the roof and cut the branches that have been rubbing at the overhang and keeping me up at night. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t catch the significance of it. I went off and did something else while my laundry cleaned itself while not at an RV park or friend’s house where I’m using borrowed laundry facilities, but instead on my own turf! 😀

Once the overhang was branch free, I started at the south end of the eastern perimeter and worked my way north, trimming all the branches I could reach and which were small enough for my sheers to handle (which was a lot bigger than I expected; almost thumb-size!). I also laid down some pallets and piled logs on them in the hope that they will eventually dry. I was grateful that Charles’ trailer was still parked out front so I could get rid of the branches immediately.

While all this was happening, the gravel guy stopped by to make arrangements with me for delivery. On a Saturday! He needed Charles’ trailer out of the way to do that so he told me to give him a call when the coast was clear.

He also reminded me that the gravel this year is even worse than the stuff last year that I was unhappy about. I said that for this year’s application, it would be fine, I just didn’t want to pay the big bucks for it. He said that it would be more expensive than the crap I got last year and I wouldn’t get a discount on it!

He said, “I can bring you pit run,” and I perked up because that’s what I’d initially requested, but kept getting dismissed on the few times I discussed gravel with the RM. ‘Pit run’ is really dirty gravel with big rocks, even boulders in it. I want the rocks for landscaping projects, so this stuff being so much cheaper makes it feel like a real deal to me.

He left and I went in to call C&C to put in a request for Charles to move the trailer. Caroline said he’d check his schedule and get back to me.

Shortly thereafter, I heard the gravel guy again and went out. He said that he’d just spoken to Charles, who was going to move the trailer shortly. Was I really sure I wanted pit run? He pulled out a map and said that he’d just dumped some two miles out and he wouldn’t deliver me a load of it unless I went out to look at what I was ordering.

I knew exactly what I was ordering, but I humoured him and drove out. I’m pleased to say that, “Go about two miles east to the road just before the big turn, not the bad road, the good one, and look at what I dumped right after the Texas gate,” was perfectly sufficient instructions for me to find the place!

The pit run was exactly what I thought it would be, so I came home and called the gravel guy. He asked me again if I was sure. Yup… He said that I was second next in line and he’d be by in a couple of hours.

I hung up with him and thought I heard noise outside, so I went to see if it was Charles. Indeed. I put on proper shoes and jumped in his truck to take the branches to the branch dump, which is just around the corner, by the cemetery.

As usual, his dog, Brutus, was in the front seat, and had no desire to give me more space than necessary, so intent was he at getting some cuddling out of this whole affair. I still can’t believe what a dog person I’m becoming!

I came in and debated whether or not to make dinner or wait for gravel and decided to go for it since I was starting to feel a little faint. I’d been saving a package of Japanese dumplings for a night like this, so I had a nice treat. I even whipped up a frozen banana with some all natural peanut butter for a decadent (yet healthy!) dessert.

Shortly thereafter, I heard the gravel guy again.

He floundered in the mud getting in the yard and almost got stuck, perfectly exemplifying why I was so eager to get the front part of the yard covered!

As it was explained to me, after the old garage that was on this lot got torn down, the lot was back filled with manure. The ground is therefore very, very soft. After a wet period like we just had, with lots of hard rain, I can’t even park on the lot. So I really wanted to add a layer of material to give me a proper driveway and, as a bonus, provide another RV pad.

Once the load was empty, the guy got out of his truck to make sure I was happy and to get the cheque for the material, which has to be paid for on delivery. I’ll get a bill later for the delivery. The gravel was $66 and the delivery will be $189.

I was thrilled with the product, smiling as I noticed one big rock after another. I knew it would be hard work to get it all smoothed out, but I wouldn’t have gotten much better stuff from the RM and it would have been three times the cost!

Instead of crashing with a movie, I went out and starting hauling and raking gravel. Having property is good for my health! I doubt I’ll get lucky again with the neighbour who has the tractor since he’s farming and working very long hours.

So my goal at this point is to rake it out just enough that L can back in his trailer when he arrives in a few weeks. If I do an hour of work a day, that will be easily achievable, and I need exercise anyway!

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