Sunday, April 27, 2008

5 Months Later - Back in Nipawin

Almost exactly 5 months after we pulled out of the yard we rolled back into it. I think we left for Saskatoon on Nov 27 and it was about noon on April 24 when I got back. We stayed in Saskatoon waiting for the weather forecast to improve and actually would have left on Wednesday but I think I food poisoned myself Monday night so I was in no mood to think about travel on Tuesday. Our timing was pretty good - we got a clear day for travel and then it clouded up and we had some snow on the ground Saturday morning. It didn't stick around but it still hasn't warmed up.

My new computer was waiting for me when we got back to town. I always hate switching computers but at the same time its kind of fun getting a new toy. The switch over went better than it could have but not without its moments of frustration. I bought some software called LapLink which purports to move all your software complete with activations and all your data. It also recreates your desktop and presumably all your program settings. And I have to say it did a pretty good job. In a weak moment when I was ordering the new computer I pressed "buy" for the current version of MessySoft's Office suite. I had the best of intentions of switching to Open Office but at the last minute wimped out. I think I actually backtracked in the order process to add the Office option. Of course it is full of change for the sake of change. I had been using Office 2003 so I wasn't expecting great big changes - silly me. They have hidden a lot of the functional menus and dumbed everything down. Fortunately the keyboard shortcuts that worked under 2003 appear to continue to work under 2007, despite the fact that the menus they refer to no longer exist. I didn't even realize I was using them until I happened to look up at the screen at one point and saw a long string of characters and recognized it as the keyboard shortcut sequence I was typing at that particular moment.

I had some "issues" with the screen resolution on the new laptop. I like running really high resolutions and apparently this one won't support the kind of resolution I am used to (1800 x 1600). The workaround I have discovered is that it will easily support multiple monitors. That may actually turn out to be a superior alternative - better for old eyes too.

The yard looks like it always does in the spring - a mess. Peifer's shit pile is just as ripe as it always is in the spring. There's still no green in the grass but it is supposed to warm up Monday so maybe that will change. One thing I noticed driving home is that there are still no seed drills sitting in the yards along the road. That's a sure sign that farmers are ready to go - when they get the drill up in front of the shop, hooked up and start checking to see if everything is working then seeding isn't more than a week away. I didn't see any of that last week although I understand that there are colonies in southern Alberta that are done seeding already.

Today I filed my income tax, finally. I should have had it done sooner but there was some stuff here that we needed to finish it off so, rather than have it almost done, I was able to procrastinate it completely until yesterday. Its really pretty amazing how easy it is to do now with tax software and e-filing. I use Quicktax - I suppose there's probably other ones out there but that's the one I'm used to now - and the one whose mailing list I'm on. About the end of November they mail me a free CD with the next year's software on it. Then its up to me whether I register it (and pay for it) or not. This year for a change I owed the bastards money so, after I filed the returns, I went onto the Royal Bank website and sent them the money. I don't think I write 12 cheques a year anymore.

I think I'm going to buy a Kubota - that will take a cheque I guess. My tax bill was less than I expected and I hate mowing grass. I've been looking at used stuff - like 3010s and 830s but there's a lot of junk out there and I've done my time getting greasy and frustrated with old tractors. I looked at some Chinese tractors at Osler last week - they looked really shiny and the salesdroid had a good spiel but he let slip that they were 1983 tractors that had been "refurbished" by "Chinese tractor technicians". I asked him if that meant they had been repainted and his answer wasn't completely believable or reassuring. The price was tempting but that's sometimes even more of a danger signal. I watched Hodgins sale online with every intention of bidding on some older stuff - there was a 3020 and a 930 as I recall - but by the time the bidding slowed down they were 120-180% of what I thought a good maximum was. If I have to spend over 50% of the price of a new Kubota for a 30-40 year old tractor then I'd just as soon have the new Kubota. I'd be prepared to put up with the oil leaks and flaky starting if I could spend $2 or 3,000 but not if I have to spend $6-8000. And if I buy something new then Marilyn will be able to use it too - if its a tempermental starter then it will be a one MAN tractor.

George seemed to remember the house although he had to have his bird watching post pointed out to him. He's been ripping around jumping out from behind doorways at whoever happens to be passing by.

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