Meet Shimmer!

Now that I am back on The Rock I can take a step back, ponder and tell you the story behind Shimmer.

Back in January…I asked Daddy Cool if he wanted to do anything special to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday, which is in August of this year.  He kept on saying no, that his 50th year on earth was no big deal. But I kept on pressing (or nagging, depending on how you look at it). So he came up with, ”Maybe we can look into getting me a car built in 1968. I really like the Ford Mustangs from that year”.

So we had a plan and we started looking, meaning, Daddy Cool looked on-line while I called Customs Canada and the SAAQ( La Société d’Assurances Automobile du Québec, a.k.a. the DMV), to see if we could put plates on a 1968 car and what was the procedure. The SAAQ explained that the car needed to be in pristine condition, no rust and that I would have to get it inspected by a SAAQ garage, and if the vehicle was imported from the States, I needed the title, signed by previous owner, the customs form which is called a Formulaire 1, or F1 and Daddy Cool’s passport and driver’s license. Customs Canada instructed me to ensure there was NO RUST on the car and that I needed to get inspected by an American inspector to make sure the car was okay and that I would need to use a Customs broker. Equipped with all that info, we started to look at the end of March.

We looked in Canada but could not find one that we liked and that was in ”Pristine” condition so we went South of the border and zoned in on the Southern states of Texas, Arizona and California in order to ensure the car had NO RUST, since that seems to be a big issue with both provincial and federal level of governments in Canada.

At the end of April, we found this one in Dallas, Texas at http://www.streetsideclassics.com and started negotiating the purchase.

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After some back and forth on the price we agreed on a number we could live with and started the process of sending it North.

Street Side Classics was very helpful. They recommended a local independent car inspector and a transport company. Due to some storms and a sick wife (so many stories there that I will not bore you with), it took a couple weeks for the car to get inspected and for us to get a report for insurance purposes. When we finally obtained the report, I sent it to our insurer in Montreal who then informed me that he also needed the car to be evaluated by a GAA (Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles) approved evaluator in Quebec, but I will get back to them later.

The shipment company put me in touch with the customs broker and after a lot of emails, phone calls, paper exchange via more emails AND payment, car was being shipped from Dallas. I requested many times to have the car arrive on Monday May 28th, so I could deal with it AFTER Thing 1’s marathon but of course, Thing 1 received a phone call on May 23rd saying the car was in a truck in Ottawa and en route for Montreal and could she be there for reception. They even brought it into the garage at their condo and Thing 1 covered it with one of the special covers I had made to order and had shipped to her.

I arrived in Montreal Thursday May 24th, looked at the car but did no deal with it until Monday, the day of the CAA inspection and this is when this car put my patience to the test.

The guy who brought the car into the garage the previous Wednesday night had told Thing 1 that the battery was not holding the charge and that I would have to get a boost and drive for an hour to charge up the battery. With that info in mind and my inspection appointment at 1:15 pm, Monday morning I had the car boosted by CAA and off  I went for a joy ride through the streets of Montreal. Let me tell you, you get a lot of looks, thumbs up and whistles when you are driving this car with the window down. After an hour I stopped to fill up because I was running low on gas. After I filled up the car wouldn’t start again. Some guys who were admiring it helped me push it into a parking bay and I met another car enthusiast who helped me start it so I could take it to the inspection center. When I got there and I could not start the car on my own, Bob the inspector said, ”I won’t waste your time inspecting this. First you need to go get a new battery. I know a guy in ville LaSalle, Roger, he can do this for you.” So we called, Roger had a battery for a 1968 Ford Mustang and off I went with the car on a CAA flatbed to get a new battery. When I arrived at Roger’s shop more car enthusiast came out of the woodwork to look at the car. The bodyshop guys couldn’t believe the condition of it. They were under the hood, took video and pictures and asked me if I was going to show it at some car shows. I’m like, ”First I need it to pass inspection and then get license plates for it!”

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Everybody was taking pictures.

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and video.

 

I got a new battery and was able to drive back to our condo and get a parking tag for our new “old” car to sit in our underground garage.

The next morning I had the GAA guy show up and look at the car. Remember, I need his report in order to get insurance in Quebec. He took pictures, went gaga over the car and 15 minutes later I paid him $225 (cash only), and he told me he would send me a report overnight. So now we are Tuesday lunch time and Thing 2 and I drive to CAA inspection garage in order to get this car inspected. Bob who sent me the day before to see Roger about a battery said  I could go back for an inspection at 1 pm. Thing 2 and I we’re leaving for the cottage after this inspection.

About 20 minutes in the inspection, Bob comes out and says, “we have to stop because there is a problem.” My thoughts in my head, What NOW?”

vin

Someone in Texas was dyslexic and had inverted the 01 on the VIN # to read 8F10C139239. Bob said, for all we know, this car is hot and we can’t proceed. You need to get a new title from Texas and a new F1 because you have the same VIN # on your customs form so you will have to go to Canadian customs in Old Montreal and ask for a new  F1 form before you can come back and we proceed. Oh and by the way, there is a new Disc break kit and I will have to send pictures to a CAA engineer and he will have to look at this and give me his okay to move forward.”

I went back home, called Dallas, explained my situation. They were very apologetic and said they would send a new title with the correct VIN # overnight by FEDEX. I had to leave for the cottage, I was meeting all bunch of people to do things so I just put a cover on the car in or parking bay and left it there to deal with it on Friday.

We received the new title on Wednesday night and Friday morning I went back to customs and after telling my sad story to the customs agent, she went into an office and made me a new F1 form. In the meantime, the car got insured and we could drive it legally in Quebec even though it had Texas plates until June 26th. Bob at CAA could not inspect the car until Monday morning at 8:30 am. Peter arrived Friday night and Saturday morning, he and Thing 2 drove the car to the cottage and had a blast. This is when the name Shimmer came about. With its gold color, these two readers of some fantasy series came up with ”Shimmer”. The car is named after some woman who is a hero in one of the many book series Daddy Cool and Thing 2 discuss all the time.

Monday morning we left Shimmer at CAA and they kept her overnight. Tuesday, I had to take Shimmer back to my new favorite mechanic, Roger, for some minor adjustments. While Daddy Cool and Thing 2 were watching Deadpool 2, I got the minor adjustments done  and the car was finally approved. WOOHOO!!!! ( I got excited too quickly)

Wednesday morning we were at the SAAQ bright and early and the mission was getting Shimmer plated! After they found Daddy Cool’s file in their system, the SAAQ reactivated his file. They looked at all the paperwork, we had everything, well, we thought we did.

The license plate was sitting there, the SAAQ attendant is typing away and then she looks up and asks us, “How much does the car weigh?” Thoughts in my head, “WTF!!!” Polite response, ”Don’t know, it’s not on the inspection papers?” Nope. While she phoned her supervisor, Daddy Cool looked for the weight on Google. The head office of the SAAQ will not accept something from the internet. We have to go get the car weighed. Thoughts in my head ”ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” Polite response (with fake smile), ”Where do we go for this?” She did not know. Nobody knew. So I phoned Roger who was not there since it was his birthday. So now I know that Roger my favorite mechanic celebrates his birthday on June 6th (DDay). I then phoned Bob at CAA and he said,”Really they need that info? We don’t have a scale here but you can go to DJL construction on St. Patrick street”.

I am going to finish this post by saying we went and got it weighed, paid another $20 and went back to the SAAQ with the weight certificate and finally got Shimmer some plates. Thank goodness she is in Pristine condition.

That night we were at U2 concert and I kid you not, who walks in to sit right in front of us with is wife, ROGER THE MECHANIC! He was there for his birthday. I introduced him to Daddy Cool, we discussed Shimmer and now on top of having a fun car to drive around the country and get thumbs up and whistled at, we have a GREAT MECHANIC.

And now that I have gone through this process, Daddy Cool and I are even for the Marathon Du Médoc!

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Daddy Cool driving Shimmer inn Bromont.

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Thing 1 looking great when going out for dinner in Westmount.

Loving the New GDRP Law

What is the GDRP Law?

 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

Why is this important at the moment?

On May 25th it will be updated and if you ever lived in the EU (Including the UK, they are after all still part of the EU at the moment) and have bought anything by credit card, you are now getting multiple emails by every institution asking you to stay with them by sending an email and saying yes you would like to stay on their mailing list.

 

I’m loving this because it is allowing me to say NO and to forever unsubscribe from groups or places that I never really wanted to hear from in the first place. My old NHS clinic in London, GONE! City Council of Chelsea that keeps sending me emails on crap, GONE! Emma Bridgewater, No I don’t want to buy more pottery. GONE!  Just Eat, how many times do I have to tell you we have moved and I want to unsubscribe? GONE! Same with Ocado, Hello Fresh and a multitude of others. When you receive all those emails from all these organizations, apps and stores asking you to stay with them by clicking yes and agreeing to stay with them and don’t worry, They Will not Share Your Personal Data, is when you realize your email is really out there in Cyberspace and it’s hard to leave them. Well, now there’s a law and hopefully my mailbox will get less crowded with junk!

 

 

So This Happened!

Last Tuesday afternoon, Daddy Cool and I received an email from Owl’s Head saying that they were selling the chairs from the iconic Lake Chair, a.k.a. The Green chair. Daddy Cool called me at home and said, ”I want you to buy one.”

You see, for both of us these chairs are part of our history, of growing up near Owl’s Head and skiing there. My ski club used to go to Owl’s Head 4 times every season. Owl’s Head was my dad’s favorite mountain. Peter’s parents’ cottage is 10 minutes from Owl’s Head. He also skied there as a teenager and we hike this mountain at least once a season.

”Okey dokey Daddy”, and I got on the phone. Not even 5 minutes later I was on hold and I received a message from Daddy Cool, ”If you can, buy two!”

green chair

When I got through the office on Tuesday late afternoon they told me to phone again in the morning and speak to Diane. She would be there at 8 am. They also told me that the chairs were to be picked up Saturday only. So I hung up and messaged the best brother-in-law a girl can have, Oncle Ben. I asked him if he could go pick up the chairs for us and leave them in the garage at Weirwood. He said ”Ben Oui! Pas de problèmes!”

Wednesday morning I made sure to phone Diane at 8 am Montreal time. I gave her my credit card number and bought two chairs. They are now sitting in the garage, waiting for us to get there and deal with them. So yes, now I spend part of my free time looking on Pinterest and getting ideas as to what to do with them. What should I do with this part of our history? Hang them inside? Outside? from one of the beams? or should we build a structure for them? So many things to do at Weirwood and so little time!

When we come up with something, I’ll let you know.

 

The Island is Ready for Triathlon

This weekend, Bermuda is hosting the second stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series.  The island has been repaving roads and buzzing about this event since Daddy Cool and I arrived on the Rock.

Have this event in Bermuda is quite fitting since the current champion and eight times World champion, Flora Duffy, is Bermudian.

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Posters of Flora are found all around Hamilton.

In the past ten days, I have noticed an over abundance of swimmers at National pool and more runners at 7 am (when I meet my Sole Sistah, Summer) are hitting the pavement around town. We are not alone anymore…

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Some of the age groups participants are slowly bringing their bikes in the City Hall car park where they will transition from the swim to the bike and then the run. This morning, you could see them practice this transition.

 

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With coverage on both BBC and NBCSN, I think this will be a great opportunity for our little rock to shine on the world stage. I of course will be watching from the race course itself since I volunteered to Marshall…My duties will start tomorrow at 6 am! Time when I have to be on the bike course. I am Marshaling for the age group race. This means I will be able to watch the elite groups in the afternoon. The men start at 1:08 pm and the women start at 4:08 pm.

 

 

 

Now let’s hope the rain stays away and the island can cheer, Go Flora Go!

Trying to Help Mother Nature on My Rock

Living on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic is not easy on the environment. Think about it, you have 60,000 + people living, going to work by cars and scooters, eating out or in, etc… all these daily actions can take a toll on the island and the ocean around us.

When we first moved to the Rock back in 2006, I was appalled to find out there was no recycling of any kind. I remember emailing the government and receiving a reply explaining that the money and oil for tanker to bring our recycled goods to the US, was not cost effective and therefore, they chose to simply burn the trash and converted into energy for Bermuda and use the ashes to make cinder blocks. I don’t know if that last point is true but I thought it was cool and decided to drop it.

Our second time around things have changed a bit. When I moved, I received a recycling schedule in the mail. This prompted me to look on-line on http://www.gov.bm where I found this:

Where does my garbage and recycling go?

All household waste placed out for collection is taken to the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility where it is incinerated to make energy for Bermuda.

Blue recycling bags are taken to the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where items are sorted and then shipped to the US to be converted into new consumer items.

Special waste items such as paints, pesticides and other potentially harmful substances are  shipped to the United States for processing or disposal in USEPA regulated landfill facilities.

Our second time around I am trying to be better for mother earth (and the island). I am recycling all my tin, aluminum and glass. Before leaving London I bought a compost bin and I am trying to compost for our vegetable garden.  Yes, I have a vegetable garden.

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My garden is growing very nicely. 

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My compost bin imported from UK. On amazon.co.uk, for 50 quid. I saw one at Gorhams for $189.00! Ouch. But I did find out on-line that if you want to compost in Bermuda, the government will sell you a bin for $80.  Backyard composters are available for purchase from Waste Management for $80.00. Call (441) 278-0563 or email recycle@gov.bm to purchase an Earth Machine brand compost bin.

Another thing I noticed this second time around, there seem to be more farmer’s market on weekends which I think is excellent. Fruits and Vegs are extremely expensive on the island and when you take the time to go to any of the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, it is worth it.

But coming back to what we are trying to do better in our house. Of course, I have 10 bags in my car at all times to go shopping with. I say no to plastic bags at the stores. If I forgot my bags I go back to the car or if I only have one of two items, I carry them out to the car on their own.

No more disposable straws. Only these silicone and plastic straws that I bought on Amazon. They come with brushes so they are easy to clean. If I serve you a smoothie or a cocktail that requires a straw, you will find one of these in your drink.

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If I feel like having a cup of coffee and I am out and about, I use this cup. No cup, no coffee. Same thing with water bottles. I bring my bottle from home. I really try to avoid using unnecessary plastic, cardboard or paper if I can. I think if we all did this, it would really help the Rock we live on.

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The Twelve Tasks of Asterix

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Last week I was walking around Hamilton with my brother, Louis and his wife, Manon,when Peter called and asked me to pick up his squash rackets at the post office. Peter had ordered himself some new rackets and since it was free delivery anywhere in the world, he just had them shipped to his office address. He knew we would have some duty to pay but only once the rackets were on the Rock.

Daddy cool had received a phone call from someone at the post office informing him of the arrival of his package and that someone could come and get it after paying the duty. So of course, he calls Mama to see if I could go to the main post office on Church Street and see if I could pick them up for him. ”Worth a try!” he said.

Off I went to the main post office on Church street with Louis and Manon in tow. As soon as I entered the building, one of the ladies behind the counter asked, ”What is the purpose your visit here?”

”My husband received a call and was told to come here and get his package. I am wondering if I could pick it up on his behalf.”

”Do you have the orange slip?” she asked. I replied that I didn’t and that Peter never mentioned an orange slip.

She informed me that I needed a slip to pick up any package. Then she asked, ”How on earth does he know he has a package if he doesn’t have an orange slip?”

I wanted to reply, I told you someone called him at work and told him his package was here but I decided to use a polite tone and repeat myself, ”My husband received a call and was told to come here and get his package. I am just wondering if I could pick it up on his behalf?”

Now, I must mention that I was trying to focus really hard on the business at hand, which was picking up Peter’s rackets, but I was being distracted with the woman’s beard. No kidding, she had enough of a beard and a mustache to make me wonder if she was going through a sex change to become a He. Or if she simply had always been like this and then my brain was asking itself, ”why doesn’t she go see someone about this?” I mean, it was bad. But I kept my cool, decided to be patient and focus.

”Well, since you don’t have the orange slip, I suggest you go downstairs and ask them. That’s where the packages are anyways.” Geez, I literally just wasted a good 7 minutes talking to this lady and now she tells me I have to go downstairs anyways!

Before I went downstairs I looked outside and could still see Louis waiting for me so I just went down to the basement of the post office. Of course when I got to the International Package line, there was a line. So I waited, another 15 minutes until it was my turn.

I explained myself once again and the young lady behind the counter looked very annoyed with me. She informed me that since I did not have the infamous orange slip, I was not getting the package. I told her that Daddy Cool got a call at work. She did not care. No slip, No package! Already then. At this point I am thinking, screw it, Peter can come when he gets this orange slip.

I go back upstairs and as I am trying to exit the building, mustache lady yells out, ”Well honey! did you get your package?” I wanted to reply, ”Does it look like I have anything in my hands?” but instead I said, ”No, it’s okay, I don’t have the orange slip so I will have to come back.”

”Hold on a minute. Let me speak to the supervisor and see.” Off she went into an office. I looked outside and no sign of Louis anywhere.

She came back out with the supervisor. ”Tell my supervisor what you told me.”

”My husband received a call at work saying his package was here ….” I hadn’t finished when she said, ”Peter Cooper?”

”Yes”

”Yes, yes, I called him. Go back downstairs and tell them Mrs. Trott sent you. Get your package.”

I replied, ”But I don’t have the orange slip.”

”Don’t worry, I will call someone down there and instruct them to give you the package.”

Before I went back down in the bowels of the Post Office building I went to look outside for Louis and Manon, Mustache lady called back and told me the stairs were the other way, to which I replied, ”I know but my brother has been waiting for me all this time.”

I saw Louis walking on Church Street, back to where we came from. He thought I had already exited the building and did not see me. He was far enough that he didn’t hear me yell out his name but he heard my whistle. As soon as he saw me , he waved and I went back into the building to get the bloody rackets.

In The Basement

When it was finally my turn again, I spoke to the same attendant as before. She had not received the phone call from Mrs. Trott. She looked around and a gentleman was coming out of his office and said, ”Mrs Cooper?” ”Yes.”

”Tahitia (could have been laticia or any of those names that ends in ”itia”) give Mrs. Cooper her husband’s package.”

She told him I had no orange slip and if she had known Mrs. Trott had phoned my husband, she would not have turned me away. She apologized and I said it was okay.

Then came the task of finding it. Another long 5 minutes of looking out back but then she finally came back with a box in the shape of rackets. She opened the package in order to get an invoice to calculate the duty I was to pay. No invoice. I told her I had it in email form on my phone. I got an annoyed look while she pointed at a bulletin in front of her counter. The bulletin clearly stated that all invoices had to be printed on paper for their records. My brain said, ”FUCKKKKKKKK!” my smile said, ”I am truly sorry, I only have it on my email.”

”Forward that email to blah, blah, blah postoffice.bm and I will go print it. Another 5 minutes went by until she resurfaced with the invoice and a calculator. She had not done the calculations, just had gotten the paperwork.

Anyways, 15 minutes and three signatures later, (I actually joked and asked if we were getting married since I had not signed so much paperwork since my wedding. I got a laugh.) she handed me the bloody rackets and I just grabbed them and climbed up the stairs to get back into the sunlight. When I met Louis and Manon outside and explained what had just happened in the last 40 minutes my brother said, ”Sounds like you just did ”Les douzes travaux d’Astérix!” Indeed, they were not Herculean tasks but at times annoying ones….but I got the rackets and that’s all that counts.

It’s as if we never left!

We’ve been back in Bermuda for just over two weeks now and it’s as if we never left.

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The move went fairly well. A couple of small hurdles with regards to cable, but I have a guy in the attic looking into it as I am writing this, and I will not let him leave until I get my HBO and Showtime channels that I am paying for!

Aside from that, we have really nice landlords. They took us out to dinner the first week we were here, in order to hand over the keys and answer any questions we may have about the property. In meeting them,we found out that our landlady is a Hollis, and that the house we are renting from her is the house she grew up in and the original homestead to the Hollis farm. Our house is named, Harrissii, after the Easter Lily that our land lady’s grandfather farmed.

Mr. Hollis specialized in a type of Bermuda Easter Lily called “The Harrissii”. The late Mr. Hollis’ theory on the origin of the Harrissii lily in Bermuda is that a convict at the Naval Dockyard wrote to a woman by the name of Mrs. Harris, who was related to the convict, to visit Bermuda from Scotland in the late 1700s.”

Here is an interesting article about Malcolm Hollis with some old photos of where our property is located. http://bernews.com/2011/04/historical-photos-hollis-easter-lily-farm/

On top of this historical connection to the island, we have amazing views of Harrington Sound, the South Shore and the use of a dock on Harrington Sound. In the process of figuring out how to lock up my paddle boards and kayak over there. Will keep you posted.

Every time I go somewhere to inquire about a service, whether it’s cable, our cell phones, TCD, our HSBC accounts, our US Mailboxes account, etc… anything that has to do with taking care of a home or a car, we are already in the system and people just reactivate our accounts. It’s been easier than anticipated and it’s as if we never left.

 

p.s. Please note I have changed my site address from canadianmamainlondon to canadianmamaontherock.

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