Monday, April 17, 2017 – Housework-hair selfie, composters, lego security systems, council motions, donations, contests and more!
Today was a “getting things done” kind of day. Matt had to work, and the boys were home from school. I felt a little lost not working this morning. Every weekday I work for 4 hours for my job before doing the other stuff, and today I kept feeling like I should be working, and wasn’t.
Getting housework done with the boys is difficult, but we work at it a bit each day, and at several points through the day. The hardest is Andrew’s room – he get’s his lego’s spread out – it’s like a security system!
Short of a few unmatched socks, we conquered the laundry mountain again – I’m always amazed at how much laundry we generate.
Luckily, the boys are good at helping out. If I get it in the washer, Andrew will typically switch the load to the dryer, and Ben will take it out to the guest room for me to fold. Andrew is great at putting everyone’s stuff away. Our laundry is on the second floor – where the bedrooms are, and where all the laundry is generated – so there is no hauling up and down flights of steps, which is amazing. I typically put in a load before bed, and flip it in the mornings, then fold on weekends, and perhaps once in between.
I was able to purge a few outgrown items for passing on – both boys are growing. In our house, Andrew’s clothes are at least half hand me downs from others, and almost all passed on to Ben when he is through. Unfortunately, by the time Ben is done, they’ve been through at least 3 kids and don’t have much life left in them. The ones that are in good condition but outgrown get separated for donating or passing on to one of the cousins.
During my yard clean up on the weekend, I noticed our composter was split. It is one of the earth machine style – where the body separates into two rings. Somehow they separated, and will not go back together. The City of London has a great program, where they subsidize the costs of composters and recycling bins for Londoners- available at any of the four Enivro-Depots. We purchased a new Green Cone Composter for $35.00 (normally $140 retail).
The Green Cone Digester is made in Ontario and is more of a digester than a composter. It is buried in the ground and allows waste diversion of many things that normal composters do not. I’m very excited to get this installed, and to start diverting more of the organics, rather than sending them to the trash. Matt will get this installed for me this week. Did I mention it came with a kitchen collector? If you are wanting to up your composting game you may want to check out one of the many options available!
Feeling industrious, I also tackled some of Matt’s workshop – it has been a bit of a disaster as we work through renovations, and I know it’s frustrating to get things done when we can’t find the right tools (evidenced by my using a wrench as a hammer the other night). We have great storage built into the workshop, but it was full of many things that we would not be using and needed to be passed on to someone who could. I took three keyboards, two sets of speakers, a heavy tube style monitor and other assorted items to the goodwill donation and electronics recycling depot today. While I didn’t make enough headway to really start getting organized, I made some!
I also picked up a donated prize for the contest I am running this month from London Ice Cream Company. Contest? What contest you may be asking yourself? Well, check out the details here! There’s still time to enter, and volunteers are needed for the Clean and Green I am hosting with a community resident on Sunday, April 23rd at SouthWest Optimist Park from 11- 12:30. All supplies are included, all you need to do is come out and be prepared to pitch in!
Early evening had me heading back to my parent’s place to drop off Ben. He had made arrangements to go over for a visit and go to the park with his grandpa tonight. There was talking of him getting a ride home on the back of grandpa’s motorcycyle, but with the cooler weather, that did not materialize (thankfully, as I wasn’t too sure about that idea!) Andrew and I stayed home, and I was able to get some computer work done. Matt and I are trying to figure out which project from our long list of reno’s we can fit into our household budget this year, so I have been researching options etc. I think that my best bet may be to book a few days to get different contractors in for quotes. Once we have the quotes and a better idea of total costs, we can see which if any we can afford this year, and which ones we will need to keep saving for.
We love our house! It was built in 1969, and many updates were done, but much more has not been done or were done many years ago. We need to replace a few of the windows, and some other assorted renovations – but will need to assess the priority and timeline that fits our budget. We are getting there, piece by piece, room by room, and project by project.
Ben was dropped off – by car, not motorcycle, and once he was settled, I made my way back to City Hall to finish preparing for meetings this week. I have a council meeting tomorrow night – there are two items I will be pulling to speak to. One of them Councillor Morgan is making and I agreed to support. He spoke about it quite well in a facebook post:
Last week I voted against giving $1.6 million dollars to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC). First off, I am a strong supporter of housing and my voting record and comments at Council show it. In this case, and in my opinion, we were circumventing the Surplus Policy to put money into the HDC without enough detail on how this money would be spent. To me, this was not a responsible way to allocate money and it is my opinion that an expenditure of this size would have faced a more robust investigation and greater scrutiny if it were part of the regular budget process.
I do believe that my colleagues are right in identifying housing as an area that not only needs our attention, but investment as well. I would add homelessness, poverty, and food security concerns as areas that also require investments. What I am not convinced of is allocating the entire sum of $1.6 million to the HDC is the best, strategic use of valuable (and limited) resources.
With that in mind, tomorrow I will be asking my colleagues to defeat the committee recommendation and pass the following new direction in its place:
• the Civic Administration BE DIRECTED to place a one-time funding amount of $1.6 million in the Operating Budget Contingency Reserve to be allocated to housing and homelessness initiatives;
• the Civic Administration BE DIRECTED to report back with recommendations as to how the one-time funding noted above, is to be allocated to advance the strategic initiatives set out in the City of London’s Strategic Plan and the recommendations of the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty.
Councillor Virginia Ridley has kindly agreed to second my proposed direction and I thank her for her support on this.
I remain committed to advancing the goal of housing for all who need it in our City, but I will do so responsibly and strategically so we achieve our goals faster and with greater efficiency.
The other item is one where I made a significant error. At CWC last week, there were some proposed signage changes for parking and other items. One of the proposed changes we had a resident request to speak to. After the resident spoke, our staff spoke to it as well. Unfortunately, partway through the staff explaining the change, there was a side conversation happening near me and I did not hear all that the staff had to say. Based only on what I heard, I voted to remove the change from the new bylaw. After listening to the meeting tapes, I realized my error. A professional recommendation from our staff on a safety issue being overturned by staff is not a good situation for me, or the city, and could create some liability and risk. I will be pulling this and speaking to it at council, hopefully, enough of my colleagues will be willing to reinstate the recommendation from our staff on this issue.
My inbox is down to 3 items – the rest are filed. The three that are there are items I will be dealing with tomorrow – so I left them there for convenience. Two were from a resident with a complaint about noise. I will popping by the home the noise originated from to see if I can offer a gentle reminder that other residents are being impacted prior to sending this to bylaw. The other is a briefing note for a meeting this week that I need to review in more detail.
I also only have about 20 items that are tagged @waiting – most of which I sent reminders or follow ups about last night – so correspondence is looking to be in good shape.
I spoke briefly with the mayor tonight about an item on the agenda – funnily enough he didn’t mention the bunny ears post. I also spoke with our City Clerk by email a few times today about the motions and items being pulled that are mentioned above.
One interesting email I received this weekend was from Grammarly. I downloaded Grammarly after my performance survey, as one of the pieces of feedback I received was that there are typos and grammar issues in things I send out. For someone who edited a provincial magazine for several years, that’s not good feedback. Some platforms I type in do not have a live spellcheck, and in my haste, I have not been diligent about going back and reviewing my work often enough. I am acting on the feedback received and am being more diligent – and have also employed this tool to assist. Grammarly live-checks grammar and spelling across platforms. The only issue is that in the free version I can’t switch from American to Canadian spelling.
So why was this interesting? Because I learned:
That’s right. I typed almost 50,000 words last week. Accuracy is not great – but I wonder if that’s because I am ignoring the American corrections? I also learned that my vocabulary is more extensive than 99% of users. Who knew?
Before I left the office, I thought I would take a video to incorporate into tonight’s blog. It is a quick (2 minutes) tour of my City Hall office. Now you can see how unorganized and messy I really am! I will have to get the office cleaned before the end of the month and post pictures so that you also see that it get’s cleaned up!
So – you’re now 17 days into what I do, and likely getting a good picture of the average day in the life. I work almost all day, either for my job, for council, or around the house. For leisure, I like to spend time with family, d do genealogy research. Before bed, I often listen to podcasts (which drives my husband crazy when he’s still awake) and sometimes play some mindless iPhone games. I am in a Clan with Benjamin, two other councillors and a few others for Clash of Clans – and am doing pretty good for a beginner – at least I think I am 🙂