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My Canadian Experience
May/June/July 2009


My Furnace starting making a racket again so bit the bullet and got in the Furnace folks. They found that my fan unit had broken a bracket and thus the unit needed replaced.  As it was somewhat twisted the motor had to work extra hard to turn it and that wasn't doing it any good either.

And so a few days later I got my new fan unit which cost $340.00.  I'm told it was rather expensive mostly due to them not being made any more.

I also decided to take the annual service option ($156) where in the May period they come and check your cold air is working ok for the start of the warm season and they come back around September to check the warm air for the start of the cold season. They also replace your filter on each visit.  So all in all am now some $640.00 lighter but now have a nice quiet furnace.

In actual fact I think I've just about replaced every part of this furnace so hope it will now last a few more years without any break downs.

I got in a "Notice to Appear" to verify my identity for my Canadian Citizenship application so the next step is now being taken.

I would make an observation of the process.  This invite asks you to bring "all your original documents that support your citizenship application (e.g. birth certificate, etc.)".  Problem with that is that all those original documents were sent when applying for Permanent Landed Status and so most of them were one off documents and I don't have duplicates. You would have thought that they could have used those that are already in their possession. Of course you shouldn't complain about things like this as it's by no means a right to obtain citizenship but I mention it for what it is worth.

The other problem is when trying to phone them to seek clarification on those original documents you get in their words... If you wish to use our automated service please choose from the following four options.  Like if you don't want to use their automated options you don't get that as one of the options.  But when I phone I thought I'd just not select any of the options.  I then got the message repeated... you didn't select one of the options and they then repeat them 2 more times and so after the third round they say they are putting you through to an agent.  When that goes through you get a message saying all agents are busy and they can't take a message and please phone back at which point they hang up. 

Each time I phone I have to go through those 3 repeats and to date still get all agents are busy.  I'm not sure this service is the best it could be.  They do say Thursday and Friday are the best days to try but having tried several times on both days I still haven't managed to get through to an agent.

I have in fact ordered another birth certificate so hopefully it will arrive in time.  I'll likely give you an update on what happened at the meeting later in this page.

I also got a Life Membership of the Scottish Tartan Authority...

and along with the membership card came the book "Tartans" by Brian Wilton which all Life Members get sent a copy...

The book is actually pretty awesome and for anyone interested in Tartans it would be well worth getting a copy.  It is beautifully illustrated and many great pictures not only of tartans but also scenes of Scotland.

Got a visit from my Insurance company about the porch damage and was pleased with the outcome. As well as fixing everything they have agreed to paint the entire porch and will also replace the fencing with that plastic privacy fencing which means they won't need to put up the wood and prime it and then paint it. So all in all a good result and they hope to get started on the work at the end of this month.

On July 15th I went to the Immigration folk in Windsor which actually took about 3 minutes.  All they actually looked at was my IMM5292 immigration form as apparently if you are a British citizen that's all they needed to look at.  I was told that I might make the September 2009 citizenship ceremony. So for all my comments above about needing all those documents they weren't needed after all.

As at July 27th they started fixing my porch...

Fixing porch fixing porch

fixing porch

They are meant to be back at the end of this week to fix the lattice work and some other wood work. The painting has to wait until there is a dry period otherwise the paint will just come off in a year. This means it may be well into August before they get that done.

The only other thing of note this quarter work wise was the launch of our Aois Community. It's a kind of social networking site where you can message with other members of the community.  Some of our old time members from other attempts at message forums have joined us and are busy in the two regular forums we had in other guises like the Thistle & Whistle which is a kind of pub where they chat about anything they want.  The other is Frying Pan Hill where the friendly battle of the sexes plays out.

The Aois Community is designed as a long term service and we've purchased new hardware to ensure it is well backed up.  We'll also be moving to a new server with 64bit operating system to help speed up the service. We're still in the early days with it and there will be changes and enhancements as we get familiar with it and also get user feedback.

I'm going to try and get to the Fergus Highland Games in August... just hope the weather will be somewhat better than last year when it got rained off.

Other than that I've had my first meeting as President of the Scottish Studies Society and I attended a Garden Party of the Knights Templar in Toronto which was most enjoyable.

I've also been scanning in lots of books for the web site and the final book this month is a book about the history of Scotland for boys and girls.  I figured it was time I did something for the young ones :-)

Nola and Harold came down to Port Crewe for a wee break and spent a couple of days with me which was a nice break for me as I really don't take time off myself.

And... my local Dutch Food Market finally found me some Ox Tongue... first time ever seen in Canada!  Mind though... they're not sure if they are going to get it in again :-(  I'm trying to find their source so I'll have a way of getting it if they don't.

I got lots of invites to visit Scotland this quarter to attend a variety of events for Homecoming Scotland and all the invites were appreciated.  The only problem is that it's expensive to go to Scotland and having attended a lot of meetings I really don't see the discussions going anywhere or achieving anything.  Of course that shouldn't stop us all from trying but there is a limit on how much I can spend to attend those.

And that's pretty much it for this quarter.


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