29 November, 2006

More Maine Goodies

It snowed again last night so now we have about an inch of snow on the ground that looks like it will probably stay. The local weather lady (perhaps one of the most inept we've ever seen) keeps saying we're supposed to expect "showers." However, she uses the term 'showers' interchangeably to mean either rain or snow, and since both come from grey clouds, how are we really to know which to prepare for?

I say snow.

Today's post has TWO subjects (oh boy, aren't you all lucky...). The first is long overdue because elections took place a few weeks ago already. I thought I should share the website of my favourite candidate for Governor with you though. Check out his website - and make sure you scroll down or you won't get to see his picture. It's priceless! http://www.phillipmorrisnapier.com/platform.htm

Second, we thought we should fill you in on all the great skiing we'll get to do this winter. There is in actual fact, a world class training facility not ten minutes from here - The Nordic Heritage Center. Last year, they hosted the US World Junior Team Biathlon Trials there, and this year, the IBU 2006 Biathlon Youth/Junior World Championships. The facility also trains a large number of America's Nordic Olympians AND they give free lessons every winter, AND they let you try out biathlon!! Luke is beyond excited!

But, we wouldn't want to let the Nordic Heritage Center get all the glory. Northern Maine is also home to some of the best resorts in the country! Well. Okay. No. It's not. I don't know what we were expecting, but here's some pictures of our favourite - Quoggy Joe Ski Center (they even have a T-Bar!). Oi. I think Manitoba has bigger hills. Nope. I know Manitoba has bigger hills.

25 November, 2006

It's not stolen, but it's not our's either....

So yesterday was The Day After Thanksgiving. Not really for us since we're not celebrating until tomorrow, but for the rest of America. Since we're having company on Sunday and since we'll eventually need one anyway, I thought I'd drive Luke in to work and brave the madness that is 'Black Friday' shopping to get my hands on a $4 coffee maker at Walmart. Well I got there at around 7am. I had zero luck finding the coffee maker, but did discover that the best time for grocery shopping at Super Walmart is at 7:30 in the morning on a Friday. The grocery section was almost completely empty. I actually could go slowly and didn't have to fight my way around seven other carts in the canned vegetable aisle (all those people and their GREEN BEANS!!)

After the Walmart run, I headed over to the opposing Mart of K to check for leftover Thanksgiving themed goods. No luck, but some cranky shoppers piling their carts full of every battery-operated children's toy under the sun. Away with battery operated toys! Away with them all! Then, as extreme fatigue was setting in, I headed home.

After a relaxing afternoon reading, doing laundry, and doing a bit of prep for Thanksgiving Dinner, I drove back to pick up Luke and our 46 cent bottle of hospital issue Tylenol (ah, the perks). Back to Walmart to finish the shopping and pick out a turkey (and the now $10 elusive coffee maker from the morning visit). Then over to the mall to check out a few sales for Luke.

So far this all sounds rather uneventful, doesn't it? Well you just wait!

The 'check engine' light has been on in Luke's car for about a week already (you can see where this is going to go, can't you?). This has happened before and we've had it checked out multiple times and nobody can figure out what's wrong. Well, to our dismay, this time it actually meant something. Not quite halfway home, the brake light and battery light both came on. Then the gauges were gone. Then the ABS brakes were gone. Then the headlights started to dim. We were just at Quaggy Joe (stay tuned for an upcoming post on that one) so we pulled in. Luke called his Dad for a diagnosis: the battery or the alternator. We had just gotten off the phone and the car started again. So we headed back to town. Luckily we were at the part of the drive where you're going 55 and then there's this big downhill stretch. Good thing cause the car died near the bottom of the hill, but we had just enough 'steam' to park in the Rob's Convenience parking lot.

So after a very long and confusing phone call with a VERY inept AAA representative, we decided to leave the car where it was and call the hospital. Well thank God that Luke works with such great (and LOCAL!) people. Nikki was there in less than 10 minutes to pick us up. I had never met Nikki. Funny, funny girl. She's the evening receptionist in x-ray. The Lowly Secretary. (So we discussed the underappreciated status of secretaries nation-wide. Ahhhh secretarial bonding.) To the hospital we go. (All this in what are now subzero temps at night - but hey! At least the turkey was starting to thaw!!)

Back at the hospital, Nikki set about using her exceptionally handy secretary skills to try to find us a rental car. Felicia, whose Dad just happens to be a mechanic, set about finding out which Cowlett we should leave our car in the care of. [This is a funny story in its own. Felicia's family knows all the Cowletts. There are 35 of them listed in the phone book. Our car was parked at Rob's which is a convenience store AND a garage. Across the highway and down not even 200 yards, is Rob's brother Alan's garage. I can just imagine Rob thinking we used him for his parking lot and then this morning his brother comes over to tow the car across the highway...] Anyway, we are assured that the car is now in good hands. It might even be fixed today. (It did turn out to be the alternator.) Holly efficiently filled the roll of moral support and jokester.

Now you may in fact be wondering, 'How did you get home afterall?' Well, it just happens that ALL Nikki's calling was in vain. No place in town will rent you a car after 5pm, so Felicia to the rescue again! She just happened to have dropped another coworker - Jill - off at the airport a week and a half ago. She also just happened to have Jill's truck key. So Nikki drove us up to Jill's and we got her Jeep. (Keep the heater going full-blast at all times - otherwise it'll overheat; and hope it doesn't rain because it might not start if it's damp...)

So we drove home. In a not-quite-stolen Jeep. And did I mention Luke was driving all the while without a license? (He forgot it at home.) But the point is, we made it home, Luke had a vehicle to get to work in this morning, the girls at work are VERY resourceful, we're making new friends (although perhaps not with the WHOLE Cowletts family), and hopefully by Monday, our car will be fixed.

I'm not sure why it is that we seem to be constantly plagued with car troubles (at least with Luke's cars. My little Linda the Honda was, of course, perfect). If it's not one car it's another, and buying a new one hasn't helped to date. On the other hand, if constant car troubles are the worst thing to befall us in this lifetime, I guess we're doing okay.

What's the moral? When the check engine light comes on. Don't wait till you break down halfway home to figure out what the problem is. :)

21 November, 2006

Missing Canada

So surfing the internet tonight, I came across this great new blog by a lady in Ontario (she's funny, so we'll forgive her for being from ON). Anyway, she referenced this article from the National Post about Canada's favourite treats. So I thought I'd share the link so you all can feel sorry for us missing our favourite Canadian goodies.

For Luke's birthday in 12 days, I'll be making the big drive (okay, two miles) to NB for McCain Deep 'n' Delicious chocolate cake. We can hardly wait. Maybe I'll get two.

Anyway, check out the article and see if you agree!


17 November, 2006

The Rain in Spain....

Well, no, actually, NOT the rain in Spain. This is the thing. I'm not convinced there's any rain left in Spain. It's all falling HERE!!! It has rained EVERY day for at least the last two weeks. Oh wait. No, there was one day when we had about 30 minutes (total) of various degrees of sunniness - and I don't remember any rain that day. It is actually rather 'warm' outside today though. There's a possibility of thunderstorms this afternoon, but so far, nothing - it's just pouring rain.

In addition to - or possibly as a result of - all this rain, Luke made an 'amazing' discovery in the basement the other day. Yes, Friends, a discovery only a man could get excited about. I was already pretty convinced that I needn't ever set foot in the basement. Suspicion confirmed. Luke found FROGS in the basement. Yes, FROGS. Not huge ones, mind you, but FROGS all the same! GROSS!! He said he found two the other night, but when he went down last night, there was only one (this downsize could possibly have something to do with the basement door having been left open and two cats investigating in there...). *Shudder*

I should account for our eight day absence here. When we finally got moved into our new place here, Luke tried setting up our new DSL account. It didn't work. Only for us to discover that we had no dial tone. It was already the 13th and our phone service was supposed to have been set up on the 2nd. So just this past Wednesday, the Verizon man came and fixed the problem (their's, so we don't have to pay - hooray!) and not even 15 minutes after he left, my Mom called! Unfortunately, her phone call was followed by a record FIVE telemarketers in one night. No good.

Regardless, we're back online and happy to be so. Now we can resume mostly regular posts.
For now, I'm going to eat macaroni salad. Cheers!

08 November, 2006

Look! Look!

Okay! Check it out! As 'luck' would have it, all the snow has already melted and the leaf sucker was back! And now I know that the other guy that rides in the truck isn't there in case the vacuum guy gets sucked up, he's there to rake the leaves. So there's a Driver, a Raker, and the Vacuum Man. Oh the wonders of Maine...

07 November, 2006

Late Breaking News: The Tuesday Edition

Just wanted to remind everybody that if you didn't do your civic duty in America today (provided you were able), then you should feel terrible. Just awful! Grrrr.....

And get this: Luke signed a Special Voter Initiative where if you go to college in Maine and you stay and work for 10 years (yes, that's a 10), they'll give you a big tax break. Yes folks, that's right. 10 whole years. One decade. Good grief! Even the Yukon only makes you stay for two!!

Anyway, happy election day! (We hope.)

06 November, 2006


So when we first moved here, we were completely baffled by the giant piles of leaves raked to the edges of yards all over town. We couldn't figure out why people didn't just put the leaves in garbage bags like many another North American.

Then one day, I was innocently sitting in the living room reading a book when I heard this horrible noise! It got louder and louder as I raced from window to window trying to figure out what freight train was rumbling down the street. Then I saw it. The LEAF SUCKER MACHINE!! It's true! It's a service provided by the city where you just rake your leaves to the curb and the Leaf Sucker comes along a few times a week and whisks them away. You can't see very well from this picture, but the machine has a giant tube on the side of it - the Vacuum tube. One man hangs on for dear life to the outside (he's there to operate the vacuum, but I'm guessing he's really just clinging to the truck hoping HE doesn't get sucked up in the Machine),and two men ride inside the truck (I guess to keep each other company or in case the outside guy really does get sucked up).

So now we know. Mystery solved. Leaves don't just go to the curb to die. They go to be sucked up for a giant leaf party with all their leaf cousins and leaf friends, presumably made into mulch to nourish next year's leaves.

And just FYI, I had fully intended to take a better picture of said machine since Dr. Lawrence finally raked all the leaves on the yard yesterday (raking them neatly into the requisite Giant Curb Piles), but it started snowing between 2 and 3 this morning, so now no more leaf sucking for the season. *Sigh* Maybe next year.

02 November, 2006

The News

Sorry it's been so long between posts. Either there hasn't been much to tell or we're slacking. Probably we're slacking.
So in this week's news, we bought a house. The sale closed on Tuesday and our real estate agent even left us a present - windchimes. (Do you think they still bring 'health and happiness' if they're used stictly for decorative purposes?) It's not in PI and we'll have a new address - again. I'll pass it along to KB and my Mom. Feel free to get it from either of them.

Also, we got this great surprise in the mail from WA! Check it out! A whole giant box of Spitzenburgs. Luke is in apple heaven! Thank you Rest Awhile Fruit Stand - we miss you AND your fruit!!

As for the Church-Hunt. No new post on that this week. We went to Bethany again and it looks like we might stay there for a while and give it a go. We were finally able to hear the Pastor preach on Sunday (he's been away) and it was pretty good. Topical, but still okay. He's also started this box in the back of the foyer where you can ask any question and he'll try to answer it - either in the bulletin or in a sermon. "No question is too controversial." Hm. I'll have to think of one. Also, one of Luke's coworkers (whose house we were at for a little get-together last Friday) was at church on Sunday night. Of course, we missed her, but I guess she really liked it and is planning on going back.

Anyway, at the risk of this getting both long AND boring, I'm stopping here. When we have something really exciting to show you (we're still trying to get a couple of pictures of a few things) we'll post again. For now, we're moving, so don't expect too many posts in the next week. And again, if any of you have questions or are curious about anything regarding the great state of Maine, post a question in the comments section and we'll see what we can do. And yes, that is just really a ploy for more comments!