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My Canadian Experience
November/December/January 2008/2009

This is the period where we moved our site servers from Kentucky to Michigan.  It was all well organized in advance but our new ISP, Verizon, made a right hash of the move and so instead of being down for around 12 hours while we did the physical move of our server we were down for 3 full days and then only one of our two T1 lines came up and it took another day for the second line to come up.  Over the first month we had several DNS issues with them meaning some people couldn't connect to the service.

However, after all was sorted out we got lots of emails saying how much faster the service was and we noted a strong growth in visitor numbers. Of course we're not sure what the future has in store for us as we see this global melt down and entering a depression around the world.

As it happens for much of 2008 the US dollar was around parity with the Canadian dollar and as all my income is in US dollars it meant I wasn't making as much money as I had been.  That said due to the financial melt down the US dollar was all of a sudden trading in the 1.15 to 1.25 range meaning my US dollars were now making me much better returns here in Canada.  And so now was the time to re-roof my house while the exchange rate was in my favour :-)

I'd been told when I purchased the house that I'd need to re-roof it within 4 years and as 2009 is my fourth year it made sense to get it done now.

You can see that the roof was needing replaced

I used J & L Services, RR% Blenheim, Ontario Tel: 519 401 0498 and they seem to have done a good quality job although with all the snow we've been getting I haven't yet seen the roof without snow!

As you can see from these pictures from my house and of my porch

The cost of the re-roofing was CAN$5,600 + tax and that was for 50 year shingles and I finally got a chance to get photos of the new roof :-)

And this is my completed new roof

and note that I now have new neighbours

I did manage to get to a Scottish Studies Foundation meeting in December at the RCMI in Toronto and I spent the Christmas period with Nola and Harold in Toronto. Got back for New Year in Chatham and then just after that came down with a heavy cold which I very rarely get so a wee bit miserable for a week or two in January.

I applied for Canadian Citizenship on 1st October and according to the web site I should get an acknowledgement letter around 2 months from them receiving my application.  As at end of February I still haven't heard anything and so that's over 3 months now.

The above is my receipt for the processing fee dated 1st October 2008

It's interesting to note that the citizen process is likely to take some 28 months despite the fact that they don't require nearly the information they required for Permanent Landed Status which in my case took just 13 months. 

On 20th January a new USA President got sworn in...

I attended a couple of meetings at the RCMI (Royal Canadian Military Institute) and got talking to one of the Directors.  He told me that since Toronto put in a non smoking ban they have lost 30% of their members.  Apparently a lot of their old soldiers used to pop in for coffee and a cigarette and to talk with friends and then had a bar lunch and headed home.  As a high number were smokers they used to enjoy the club facilities but now they have to go out into the street to have a cigarette.  I can't help thinking that this non smoking ban is going a little too far.  I mean a lot of these soldiers fought so we could have freedom to do as we wish and that's how people treat them in their latter years.  I just don't think that is right and there should be some allowance made for special cases.  Also as a lot of these soldiers are older folk it can't be good for their health to have to go out into the street.

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