Archive for February, 2006

HBC – another one bites the dust.

HBC, aka The Bay, aka The Hudson’s Bay Company, is no longer Canadian-owned. At least, if the ink on the paperwork isn’t dry now, it will be very soon.
That makes me sad. Not “pass me a tissue, Tito” sad, but a little melancholy.

The company has been purchased by Jerry Zucker, from the US.
Another fine Canadian department store bites the dust.
I was bummed out when the Eaton family blew their company to bits.

Now with The Bay being sold, do we truly have any large Canadian stores left? Not including grocery stores, please. George Weston will always have his hands in the grocery business, of that I’m quite confident.

According to this article, a number of Zellers stores will be closing. I have to admit, until we had kids and moved to the ‘burbs, I rarely, if ever shopped at Zellers. Now, I look to them to buy some staple items for our life. Where else can you find kids underwear with Spiderman and Batman on them? Well, Wal-Mart for one. And Wal-Mart is actually closer to us. But I purposely drive farther and spend a few pennies more at Zellers for their underwear (exactly the same brand, even) because Zellers is Canadian owned.

Our local mall, where the Zellers is located, also contains 2 HBC stores. I have to admit, the layout is goofy. One HBC store is “fashion” and the other is “home and kids”. It would appear as though they didn’t have enough retail space in one spot to hold everything so they leased 2 significantly sized spaces. Couple those 2 stores with Zellers and you have the 3 anchor stores for the entire mall. If Zucker/Maple Leaf Heresy Investments (Maple Leaf my ass!!!!!) closes Zellers, or worse, in my opinion, changes the inventory so that it is higher end and therefore, more expensive, I do wonder what will happen to our mall. I’ve seen other malls struggle when they lose their anchors. I don’t want to see that happen to our mall but frankly, I don’t have a large enough family income to rescue the mall one purchase at a time.

The mall is located in an area that is surrounded by apts/condos that are filled with retirees. I’m actually not sure which came first. It’s like the chicken/egg thing, only with the mall/retirees. Either way, they’re living in harmony right now. On a fixed income, you look for the best deals out there. It’s evident that for a lot of retirees, Zellers provides that. Just head over to our Zellers around 9 am on a Saturday morning. It’s insanely busy with shoppers snapping up sale items. If they change the product mix and the price points, they will most likely lose most if not all of those retirees. And I may be strong-armed into going to Wal-Mart to buy Spidey boxer briefs, size 8 boys.

It’s a sad, sad day in Canada.

But we did win 24 freakin’ medals in the Olympics! Hoooorrrraaaahhhh!
Oh, and Golden Palace – they SUCK! If you saw it, you know what I mean.


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Olympic Hockey

Ok, so we didn’t even make the medal round.

Yes, I was one of those Canadians who, when the Olympics started, thought to myself, well, there’s curling, so that’s 2 medals right there (1 for girls, 1 for boys). And there’s hockey so there’s another 2 for a total of at least 4 medals we will win. And yes, I thought those medals would be the shiny gold colour, not silver or bronze. I was that cocky.

So I was a little surprised to see that the men didn’t make it into a medal round. I’m not here to spout blame like a lot of other people. I don’t believe in that – let’s fix the problem instead.

I recently read an article that I wish I could find, so I could link to it here. The article addressed the presence of NHL players, playing Olympic hockey. Before I go any further, I would like to state that I’ve always had a problem with NHL and NBA players playing on Olympic teams. If you’re a professional athlete, you don’t belong in the Olympics.
That’s it.
No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. Professional = No Olympics for you!

Now, back to this article. The author pointed out that the teams with the NHL players had very little time to practice together as a team. They players were split up and playing for their paying teams right up until 2-3 days prior to the start of the games. That meant the Olympic teams had 1 or 2 practice sessions and then boom – they were expected to play together as a smooth, cohesive group of players. Yeah. Right. That’s just totally unrealistic. So, let’s say buh-bye! to the NHL players (no offense – you do what you do quite well, and you get paid handsomely for it so go back to your city and keep playing professional hockey), and bring back the minor league stars so they can really shine at the next Olympics. Olympic Hockey will still be hot enough to draw the crowds. A hot (read: winning) team comprised of minor league players will draw far more crowds/advertising revenue/tv coverage than a losing professional team. It’s my opinion that hockey fans like good hockey, regardless of who is on the ice.

Go Canada Go!
Gold: 5
Silver: 8
Bronze: 5

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Ice Skating

This has been a fabulous year for skating, for our family. It’s really turned into an event that we can all do. Okay, our 2 yo can’t really skate but she’s progressed from bob skates (useless! don’t waste your money on them) to real skates. She can walk on the ice with a huge grin on her face! The big guy is taking skating lessons and I’m confident that by the time he’s finished his lessons, he’ll be skating circles around his dad. I have been venturing out 2-3 times/week to go skating on my own. Hence my doubt that my son will be able to skate circles around me. I’m not trying to be cocky, I’m just confident. Or at least I was, until I tried to see how many times I could turn frontwards and backwards repeatedly and wiped out. But that’s another story. Actually, it isn’t. It was fairly straightforward. When I go skating, I usually wind up at a local outdoor rink. I love it.

I have a vague memory of skating at a local outdoor rink when I was a teenager. I only have this one memory and I have to admit, I don’t recall going there often. I don’t really know where this late-in-life love of skating has come from but it is definitely there. I didn’t spend much (any?) time on skates during my university years. After my son was born, I did get out to a nearby rink (again, outdoor) and enjoyed circling around with a friend after the kiddies had been put to bed. Hockey skates were one of the first gifts I gave to my husband.

I prefer outdoor rinks. They seem a little more interesting to me than an indoor arena. Although, the quality of ice indoors is far superior to what I’ve been spending my time on. We’ve had a truly rotten winter for outdoor ice skating. I’m amazed (and grateful) that what we do have is still there. The other thing that adds to my preference for outdoor skating is the smell of an arena. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have this wacky super-sensitive sense of smell. Think of me as the Clark Kent of Olfactory. Arena smell isn’t bad per se, but it is a smell that I can do without. It’s pervasive enough that I’ve smelled it on a family member and after inquiring if he just came from a rink (I had no idea where he’d been), he looked at me quizzically and admitted he had. Then he wanted to know how I knew. I’m telling you, this sense of smell isn’t a gift – it’s a curse. Alas, I digress…suffice to say, I prefer our very convenient outdoor figure 8 to the just-as-convenient arena next door to it.

Go Canada Go!
Gold: 1
Silver: 3
Bronze: 3

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The gods of Smart-Ass have smote me!

Right on the heels of yesterday’s “VD” post, I was attacked by the gods of Smart-Ass. The attack came in the form of tripping over the dishwasher door and breaking the dishwasher.
“How the hell did you do that?”, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

I was putting dishes in the dishwasher. It was completely open, with the door parallel to the floor and the bottom tray of the dishwasher pulled out. I loaded some dishes then realized I had one that needed to be washed by hand, turned to the sink (there’s about 2 feet between the sink and the dishwasher), washed said dish, got distracted and turned around to immediately walk out of the kitchen. Except that dishwasher door was open. With the bottom tray pulled out. I walked right into it and fell on it in a crazy “Oh CRAP! what the hell is going on I can’t believe I didn’t close the dishwasher door how do I stop from really hurting myself” kind of fall. By the time I had landed, I was pretty sore (the bruises made their appearances today) and thankfully, not cut by any sharp cutlery. The dishwasher didn’t fare so well. It was actually pulled forward on such an angle that the top under-counter mounting brackets are all bent. The door won’t close properly either. It closes fine on one side but it’s on a wonky angle on the other side and actually sticks out. And makes a really bad rusty-spring kind of sound.

The service guy is coming tomorrow. We’re hoping that it will cost significantly less to repair this dishwasher than it will to replace it ($1K). In the meantime, as an act of repentance to the gods of Smart-Ass, I have unloaded the 90% full dishwasher and washed all the dishes by hand.

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Happy V.D.!

It’s Valentines Day and so I wish all of you, a Happy V.D.!
As in Valentines Day. Or Venereal Disease.
You choose which one applies to you.
Yes, I’m snickering. Yes, I’m 12.

We now resume our regular (mature) broadcast….

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Did you see those Olympic crashes yesterday?

In honour of the lugers and skiers who crashed yesterday, I took our children tobogganing. Okay, well, really, we didn’t go tobogganing in honour of those athletes. But we crashed too. Okay, really, it was me that crashed.

We were pretending to have our own mini Olympic luge event and I laid down on the smallest toboggan we have. I zipped down the hill with the kids cheering me on. And then it happened. I hit a bump. It was a classic crash. The toboggan stopped. I didn’t. I kept going forward and yes, my tush crashed into the front of the toboggan and kept right on going. By the time all was said and done, my head was the only part of me in contact with the toboggan. Today, my tush hurts. I can only imagine what kind of pain all of the Olympic athletes are in. My crash was nothing compared to theirs. But it still hurts. Hopefully that will be the end of the crashes for all of us!

Go Canada Go!
1 Gold
1 Silver
1 Bronze
1 Canadian Skier with a torn ACL
1 Canadian luger who crashed
1 Canadian woman with a bruised butt

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O Canada!

That’s right folks – it’s Olympic time!

I meant to post earlier about this but, well, got distracted by the Olympic coverage.

I love the Olympics. It’s the only time in our house when the TV pretty much stays on for 2 weeks. CBC is fabulous! They cover all of the events live, thereby screwing up all the other programming (yay!) and they cover all of the events — not just the ones that Canada has athletes participating in. Why, yes! That is a direct jibe at NBC.

This is a great opportunity for us to expose our children to sporting events that they wouldn’t otherwise see. I mean, it’s not everyday you run into a luger going down a local track, you know? Snowboarding is on today and I’m looking forward to that.

So far, Canada has earned one gold medal (Jennifer Heil!) and hopefully we’ll see many more medals around the necks of Canadians. Did anyone else who saw the mogul competition think Kari Traa looked like the actress who plays Meredith Gray on Gray’s Anatomy? It was odd.

Enjoy the games!

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