What do you do? April 9th edition

Sunday, April 9th – juggling schedules, City Hall office space, career changes, and cat pictures (ok – just one cat picture)

So it’s Sunday – which for most people is a day off.  I don’t seem to take a full day off each week – instead, I spread my work across the whole week, and it allows me flexibility in each day to take care of family and personal needs.

Today, I woke up to my phone ringing – my sister called asking for some advice.  Clearly – I should never answer the phone from an asleep state.  Some people seem to be able to do it, and appear both alert and awake to the caller – I am always caught! Once we established, that yes, it was 9 am and I was still sleeping but was awake now, I helped her out.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.


I missed out on the Vimy Ridge services today. Having Ben home, and Matt out of town, it did not work out.  Crowds and noise don’t mix with Ben very well.  Instead, we watched some of the services from Vimy and talked about war, and peace, and sacrifice.

Ben and I hung out at home this morning – still tackling Laundry Mountain, and tidying the house before Matt and Andrew got home from the cottage.  in the midst of doing laundry this morning, I had left the dryer open – and when I went to add the next load, our cat Oreo was curled up inside!  Cats!


Have I told you I feel like my house is a zoo somedays? Besides the 4 humans – we also have a 5-year-old Collie-Shepherd, named Cali; Oreo, who we got as a kitten 2 summers ago from London Animal Care and Control; and 2 fish tanks, all of our fish are named Bob – one tank we got for the boys for Christmas with about a dozen fish, then a second tank we purchased in February to prevent new little fish from being dinner for one of our big Cichlid.  The small tank houses 8 fish right now.  At least one other City Councillor has a fish aquarium, do you know which one?




I enjoyed a few hours of conversation with a good friend who came over for coffee and a chat this morning, then Matt and Andrew arrived home in the early afternoon.

So – how do we do it? We’re both busy people, and like most parents, we have to juggle.  Sometimes it feels like we tag in and out – “Tag – you’re it” as one of us comes or goes. Having two children with high needs – one confirmed on the autism spectrum, the other with a case of the 9-going-on-nineteens also possibly on the spectrum – structure is important! If you’ve followed along this week – you will notice that there is a severe lack of consistency – some nights I’m home, some nights I’m not etc.  Here’s how we do it, every Sunday we update the board:


The board hangs on our kitchen wall and tells the kids who is going to be home when, who picks them up from school, chores, discipline, dinner, special events etc.  Having kids who need routine and consistency this is as close as we can get.  So far this works out well – if there is a change through the week – we make the change on the board and make sure they know about it.

I usually go into the office after the kids go to bed on Sundays, but having had connecting issues all weekend, I knew I had a number of emails to reply to. I went in earlier than normal, to get as much done as possible.

My office at City hall:


Somehow I ended up with a corner office – with two windows – one facing Central Secondary School, and one facing Centennial Hall.  In the Councillors Office – each ward Councillor has a private office.  Except for those Councillors who were already settled into their offices from the last term, all the 2014-2018 Councillors were assigned offices by ward number. Mine landed in the corner. It’s a great space and easier for me to focus than at home – especially on Sunday nights when no one is there.

While I usually do my emails and prep for the week, I was trying to make my way back home for dinner. For the first time all week – all four of us were home for dinner tonight! A rare treat! Tonight I just did my emails (about 70 emails requiring lengthier responses than my iPhone typing wanted to tackle this week) and left the weeks reading for tomorrow:


Councillor Helmer could tell me exactly how many pages of reading we have – but I would guess about 250 – 300 pages this week.

So, the other big news of the day.  I resigned my position with the Children’s Aid Society tonight. Let me back up a little here.  I have been with CAS for almost 15 years.  I started as a Child and Youth Worker and later moved to an administrative position. Once I was elected, I tried to work part time and do council as well.  That provided to be difficult as the hours and responsibilities of council did not suit a standard schedule that would work well for CAS.  I ended up taking a leave of absence. Fast-forward to the present:

I have since been given the opportunity to work for another organization – part time on a schedule that works really well with council. I work 20 hours a week, mostly from home (some travel from time to time), and can work hours around my council responsibilities.  This position is a really good fit for me, allowing me to do all of the same work for council, and still continue to grow professionally.  I will miss CAS – I worked with some really great people and learned a lot. This new role will allow me to continue to grow professionally while serving the community as an elected official at the same time. It’s a really great fit for me. Letting go of CAS was a hard decision, but it was time.

Matt and I spent some time together tonight watching a movie.  I’m not sure what it was- something about Hockey… I have a real hard time watching tv/ movies, as I can’t seem to sit still that long – or to just focus on the tv.  I never really had tv or cable growing up – so it’s something that is not a part of my regular routine.  We have Netflix, so sometimes I will watch something in bed right before I fall asleep – but without cable, I still don’t catch on to a lot of pop culture references.  If there is something on the News – I have to wait until the CTV website posts it to their website to see what was reported – something Daryl Newcombe from CTV laughs about.  I think he’s promised/threatened to buy me bunny ears a few times so that I can catch the news live- I replied he can just text me what I need to know.  I don’t think either of us is going to budge – him in his resolve I catch the news live, and me in my resolve to catch up later.

So there you have it – Sunday as a City Councillor – work, family, laundry, and planning for the week, and I might make it to bed before midnight today!

A sneak peek at the week ahead – I will be working int he mornings – a few appointments for the kids, and council and committee work in the afternoons and evenings.  Matt is headed out of town for another Beal 5024 First Robotics Tournament this week, so I will be doing all the juggling with the help of my amazing support network.  The following week it will be his turn as I head to Toronto for Ontario Good Roads Association board meetings.

*Today’s selfie was a little too blurry to feature but here it is:


Our Next Community Meeting:

January 25, 2018
Civic Gardens
625 Springbank Dr

Tell Me About It:

Please enter this code:    captcha

Commonly Needed Phone Numbers

Police (Non-Emergency):

Report Flooding:
  Daytime: 519-661-4570
  Afterhours: 519-661-4965

Bylaw: 519-661-4660

Animal Care and Control:

Report a water main break:
  Daytime: 519-661-4739
  After hours: 519-661-5800 ext. 5585

Report a gas leak: 1-877-969-0999

Reach Councillor Ridley by phone:
519-661-2500 ext. 4010
or 226-927-0539