Dispatches from the Swamp the ‘Maple Ridge Extra Foods Union Tribute’ edition

  • Here at The Swamp, we were spoiled by an Extra Foods really close to our house. Prices there are about 20% cheaper than other grocery stores. Plus we could use our President Choice MasterCards and get serious points on every thing we bought. Factor in ‘meat markdown Mondays’ and it was a raw-feeders paradise. Then the company refused to negotiate with its workers and they went on strike in December of 2008. Those workers, mostly women, have been picketing for 3 ½ years. Through summer, winter’s cold and driving rain and snow they stayed there, in the parking lot. Finally, they banded together with some other stores and they were able to win a small increase that was retroactive to 2004, a far better deal than the almost 50% wage cut being demanded by the employer. While we are hugely happy the store has re-opened, it is the seniors who live all around it who are the most relieved. They can go back to walking to get their groceries and still stay within their budgets. It was really nice to go in their yesterday and congratulate them on their victory.
  • We had a little scare this week with Zoe. We took her to the vet because she has a slight cough. Upon exam, the vet said she needed a dental, which was fine. She listened to her heart and lungs and said everything sounded fine. We decided to do x-rays and a blood test before her dental because she is 12. On the x-rays they saw shadows and decided to put her on some Lasix to see if it was just water or something more sinister. After a couple of very long hours we found out it is just water and she needs to take Lasix for the rest of her life. We know Lasix burns out the kidneys after a while but it is not cancer, which is what is important! She is antibiotics right now and will have her dental next week.
  • Ruby has the same thing going on as Zoe. The previous vet clinic cannot find her x-rays so we will have to repeat at our vet next week. I have never seen a dog so calm at the vet! She just didn’t care as the vet poked and prodded. Zoe, on the other hand, was not amused.[1]
  • The growing of the hair experiment is over. I had decided to do something different with it because my sleep apnea head gear had caused a line of flat hair on the top of my head for the past 10 years and I was tired of it. I recently got a new machine and headgear and I realized after a couple of weeks that it does not rest in the same spot and does not need to be tight. So I got my hair cut yesterday!!! My hair, when left to its own devices, is think and coarse. It is so thick that my hats did not fit anymore!
  • I love my new office. I have so much space. The walls are purple and there are dog beds all over the place. Deb ordered some musical note border paper to go around the middle of the walls where the colour changes. It is black and white and should look fabulous!


[1] Zoe is a princess. In fact, that will be the subject of an upcoming blog post!

Dispatches from the Swamp –the ‘don’t eat the Chinese food’ edition

  • We have lived in Maple Ridge for almost 6 years. We tried most of the Chinese food restaurants in town and gave up as they were all uniformly bad. Yesterday, when we checked the mail, we got a menu for one we had tried before and saw it had been voted the best Asian food restaurant in MR for 8 years in a row. I am not sure where they find these people or who voted for them because the food was terrible. Our honey garlic ribs seemed to just have some V-H sauce poured over them. The green beans with beef in black bean sauce had been frozen. The beef was seriously mystery meat. The chow mein noodles looked like Mr. Noodles. You get the idea. A word of caution, don’t ever order Chinese food in Maple Ridge and especially don’t order from King’s Kitchen. It was so bad.
  • We seriously have the world’s worst neighbours. They blasted music all Friday and Saturday night. Then, this morning, they are up at the crack of dawn yelling at the dogs outside. They seem to spend a lot of time in their front yard where they yell at the dogs when they bark.[1] Their reaction to a barking dog is about the same as ours to potential aggression. I am not sure why they think this is ok. We hear them all the time. They are loud and obnoxious. At least once it gets hot we will have an air conditioner in that window and we will hear them less.
  • Tru is the strangest dog I have ever met. Her food choices are bizarre. She also does this other really strange thing – she chatters her teeth. The other day she was doing it and it seemed like she wanted to play – so Deb played with her. We also think she has been sent her by Madison to finish off the job of killing us. Tru is always in the way. And as you approach her and try to go around her she just gets more in your way.
  • Edith seems to be doing ok without Archie. She is louder and more demanding. She goes through a helluva a lot of greens for one guinea pig!


[1] This would be different from when they let their dogs bark non-stop in the backyard.

HOV Lanes

As many of you know I live in Maple Ridge and I commute to downtown Vancouver on a daily basis. I privately refer to my commute as my time in hell. The only thing that makes it bearable is the CBC (preferably a host I like but I will settle for being able to stand her/him) and my iPod.

Three days a week I have someone who rides in with me so we get to use the coveted HOV lane. These are good days! Generally the HOV lane moves quickly and is less stressful. You do have to constantly be alert as some jerk from the other lane will pull in front of you doing 20 while you are doing 80…but I digress. My real issue with the HOV lanes are the HOV cheaters. You know those people who are the lone occupant in their vehicle and feel they somehow can use the HOV lane. I am not sure why they think this is ok but it makes me mental.

What I would really like to know is why there are so many people who don’t think the rules apply to them. This is a relatively system designed to discourage the single-occupant vehicle. I wish the police would patrol this more often.