A nice start to the day at Lower Mazinaw Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Errand day

Spent the day running around. I had five things to accomplish, and none of them went as planned!

First on the agenda was a new licence plate sticker. When I picked the car up in Kingston, I knew the plate sticker had expired. So the first thing I did was to drive over to the licence bureau to hand them another $74. But the little car was now five years old so it required an e-test. It had been sitting for five months, so I figured it had better be driven for a while to ensure the systems were back to normal and that might ensure that it passed. Anyhow, yesterday my first stop along the way was for an e-test. There were four cars in front of me, and they said the wait would be at least an hour. I hate waiting. So I drove off to my next destination.

Downtown Ottawa has among the highest parking rates in North America. $2.00 for 40 minutes at a city "pay and display". They removed all of the parking meters recently and now you can even pay with a credit card. Pretty bad when you need a credit card to pay for parking. Anyhow, I stood there for about five minutes trying to figure out the damn machine. What was wrong with the old system?! Finally, I got frustrated and drove to a nearby branch of my bank and parked for free.

I needed to reapply for my U.S. entry visa. Due to a minor indiscretion while hanging around with the wrong crowd 30 years ago, I am technically inadmissable and have to apply for a waiver every few years. It's always approved, but they soak me for $70 for the application, and another $575 to send it in. That's my lot in life, and there's nothing I can do about it, so I just do it. Anyhow, I went to pay the $70, and my Visa card was declined. I've had this account for years, but it was a brand new card and I only activated it last week. So, tried again, and declined again. Paid with my debit card and went back to the car, got on the cell phone and asked what the problem was. Turns out my account was put on hold due to possible "fraudulent activity". Sure enough, there were three recent charges from Las Vegas! I guess what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, because I sure knew nothing about them. If it WAS me, I hope I won!

Then it was off to the UPS store to get a mailing address. For some reason, we still receive some mail even though we access everything important online. Got the mailing address, but they need photocopies of two pieces of Ruth's ID, and of course I didn't have those with me. Turns out we can email them later. And, it was more expensive than they told me three months ago, but I probably didn't take into account the 13% tax we have here in Ontario. And maybe they had a little price hike recently. It cost $212 for the mailbox for a year, and they will package up our mail and send it to us wherever we happen to be by request.

Then I did manage to get the e-test done at a different location along the way. Another $40 gone for nothing. The car passed, but the way the day had been going I was honestly worried that it wouldn't. By this time I was getting hungry, and the only place within walking distance was a McDonalds, so I figured I'd grab something while they did the test. I haven't been in a McDonalds for about 10 years, if not more. There's a reason for that, and it will be at least another 10 years! Then it was off to the licence bureau.

They call these licence bureaus "Service Ontario". They don't mention good service, just service. Should be "Poor Service Ontario". Well sure enough, the lineup was out the door. Did I mention I hate waiting? Well I'm not going to play their silly game, and I turned around. Went to a different location along the way to my mother's place, but it was the same problem. I'll try again tomorrow, but I'm not going to make a special trip. Obviously I have to get it before crossing into the U.S. tomorrow, but if I have to I'll get one in Cornwall before the border.

Then I went to my mothers. She had a VCR which wouldn't work properly ever since she moved. Took her to Future Shop to get another one (yes, you can still buy a VCR) and back to her place to hook it up. Got it all wired up, and the same problem was there! Took me an hour of fiddling with it, but it turned out that there was a bad cable involved. We'll return the new VCR tomorrow.

And how was YOUR day??!!


  1. Our day was great thanks. Warm, sunny but we are not back in Canada yet. Where I think we need to do some of those same chores good luck for today!

  2. Getting license renewals anywhere is always a hassle, except this year for my truck where I walked in no one in front of me and 10 minutes later walked out sticker in hand, couldn't believe my luck, an hour later I drove by the same office and the line was out the door, , some days you just live right.Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  3. Oh man....I feel for you. Some days are like that but what are you going to do? Keep at it and Don't Let The Buggers Get You Done! I always say...

    We've had some challenges the last few days too...refrigerator quit, air bags wouldn't inflate, we took a rock that chipped the windshield yesterday....

    just life I guess....

  4. After reading about your day mine was perfect.

  5. You can't renew your license on line or by mail? I do all of mine, here in the states, that way. Sounds like you are staying busy while there. Safe travels tomorrow.

  6. pidge...Yes, under normal circumstances you can renew your licence plate sticker online or at a kiosk in some shopping malls. But only if your current sticker hasn't expired yet. Because we were in Mexico and my birthday was in February, ours is expired.

  7. Oh my! What a horrid day! On the positive side you've used up all the yuck things in one day so you should be good to go for another year! Hang in there. The VCR thing at your Mom's was really the last straw.

  8. Gah! I had something to say, but stupid Blogger couldn't "handle my request". Geez. Ok, I'll settle down now.
    You touched on a few "issues" and I have to pipe up.
    First, McDonalds. At first I used to think they were a blight on civilization (well, and still do) but then I realised that I can easily stop there for a "McCrap". So if I'm getting desperate, I just look for those golden arches. Other than that, I sure don't eat the food. Good God! I'd just be looking for the next bathroom. (OK, Restroom for the Americans)
    Had our Visa card declined too. Apparently it too had been compromised, but they just sent a new card to the house in Canada, and when they called to speak to either my wife or I, they wouldn't give out any info to my daughter. *Hello*, we don't live there right now! She has power of attorney, but that only works for writing cheques it seems. To make it more interesting, it was right before we were about to book our annual home leave, and the 800 numbers don't exactly work from over here. Such fun.
    Next of course, is the "indiscretion". Yup. Had one of those. It was really a "misunderstanding", but there was some fingerprinting involved. Got that sorted out and got a "pardon", which was something that I was always doubtful about, but over the more than 30 years in the interim, I've been to the States (hey, had an L2 Visa when we lived in Puerto Rico) and obviously they keep letting me get on airplanes. *phew* That would sure mess things up!
    So I guess I dodged that bullet. I know the very first time I left for Europe though, back in 1978, I was just a tad nervous...

    Don't even get me started about e-testing. It's not one of the things I'm really looking forward to when we move back home. (well, that and the dismal lack of bike infrastructure) That's all I'll venture to say about that. I just don't really see how it's helping. I know it might sound naive, but I'm sure the money spent on setting it up could have been put to better use elsewhere. That's all.

    Tomorrow try for just getting one thing done. You'll have a better sense of accomplishment.

    Oh, and do you think doing the gas purchases with the card way down south had something to do with it? Just wondering. We never did find out what the deal was with ours.

    Keep it between the ditches.


  9. I had a much better day than you did! I hope things improve. Sounds like you needed a little "happy hour" at the end of the day!

  10. Oh gosh.. with a day like that, it must make you want to go back to bed, pull up the covers over your head and HIDE~!
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  11. That does not sound like my favorite kind of day.

  12. My day was crap. Sounds like you had a crap day too. Found out (while washing my truck) that someone had hit my truck and drove off. Yep, big huge scrape hidden under all that dirt. Not nice. I hope they have it done to them too. karma.

    I was wondering what an entry visa was to the US. Glad you clarified. I was actually worried!

    4 days till we move. So nervous. Hope things go well. Will try to blog soon. Just not enough time!


  13. George and Suzie...Hope you have better luck when your day comes to do these chores.

    Sam and Donna...I find the smaller towns give better service for those kinds of things than the bigger cities. But as you say, sometimes you are just lucky and hit the right time.

    Randy and Pam...Sounds like Kevin's day was a piece of cake compared to yours. Hope you're having better luck now.

    Kenny and Angela...Hopefully everyone will have a better day.

    Contessa...Some days just go like that. Luckily they aren't all bad days.

    Bob...Anytime the government gets their nose in things, things get messed up. As for the credit card, I don't think it happened in Mexico if that is what you mean. Kevin was always with the card there. In the States, that is another story. Some gas stations hold your card while you pump. From now on if that happens Kevin will either drive away to another one or call me into the store to hold the card until the gas is pumped. Not sure if that was what happened but the card used in Vegas was a duplicate card so somewhere it got passed through a bogus reader.

    Karen and Al...Glad you had a good day.

    Karen and Steve...He might have wanted to do that, but the chores still had to be done.

    Chuck and Anneke...Not Kevin's either

    WBY...Ouch! Those hurt. Cover it back up with dirt and then your can forget about it. Good luck with the move. Hope it is a good day for you then.

    Kevin, Ruth and Whiskey


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