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Karen

This week in Hogtown

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Karen

Issue of the week - my landline.

It keeps cutting me off mid conversation. I can often hear the other party, whilst they cannot hear me at all. Then, we often have dialling tone that comes and goes randomly.

So, last night, I finally get through to that darn "Emily", the 'can- give - you - diabetes ' voice on the Rogers recording, and guess what, she cannot understand my accent!!! Over fifteen years here, no problem with anyone else understanding me, and this dumb recording cannot!!! Anyhoo, eventually, I reach the right person in technical service, and guess what? Yep, you got it, I am cut off again!! So, I have to go through the whole thing again! Anyhoo, I get a technician and his appy over this morning ( have to stay at home to be here for them). They test and re- test and finally replace the modem and tell me all should now be fine and off they go. First incoming call, same old deal, first call to complain again to Rogers, and I am cut off mid- sentence! So, eventually, I get through,and another set of technicians is coming this evnening. If they cannot sort this out, then a senior tech will be sent. By that time, I may have gone back to Bell....!

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Merv

Switch to Vonage. Works great for us

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Karen

The only reason my landline is now with Rogers, is that they offered me an incredible bundle about two years' back and so we changed over, got one bill and decided to give them a try. I am not so sure it was such a good idea now, but we got a very decent package, price- wise. How are the prices with Vonage?

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Karen

Ok, Rogers have just paid us a second visit on one day. The new technician has done something temporary with the outside line, but cannot guarantee it will work. I have had to put a whole day on hold to be home for them, so am hoping like crazy that this does not happen anytime soon again. However, I have a feeling that this is not the end of the story...

One more call- out, and I am switching telephone companies.

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Karen

Rogers have given me one free month for the problems we are experiencing.

We now have an above- ground thick black cable running between our house and the next - a temporary measure until the it can be fixed. Given the weather today and the fact that it has not stopped snowing in this neck of the woods, I think it may take a while longer to be properly rectified. So, still being cut off for now,and may continue to be until the wire can be buried in the Spring.

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Merv
The only reason my landline is now with Rogers, is that they offered me an incredible bundle about two years' back and so we changed over, got one bill and decided to give them a try. I am not so sure it was such a good idea now, but we got a very decent package, price- wise. How are the prices with Vonage?

We pay $40 month with Vonage, that includes unlimited long distance within North America and Puerto Rico and most of Europe. My wife talks to her family in the UK for as long as she likes and it costs not a single penny extra (as long as you dont call a UK cell phone, that is extra)

Rates to SA arent bad, around 12 or 13c / minute look here for the rate table

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Karen

That really is a good deal, Merv. We are paying about $54 per month at Rogers without the free calling to the States and Europe. We went with Rogers at the time, as they offered us such a great bundle on all our services - cable, high speed internet , cells etc and they gave us some really valid discounts the first year after joining. This is the first time we have had problems with them, and I must say that their customer service in this case, has been stellar.

I use 10- 10- 100 to call overseas. The rates are really good ( even better than the Vonage ones in most instances) and the charges show on my Rogers bill. I pay about 5 cents a minute or even less to Australia, and about 19c a minute to SA, for example.

So far, the phone seems to be behaving better. Only had one cut- off last night and for the remainder, things were fine. No problem yet today, so will see what transpires....

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jen1

I am with rogers too on their international package, which means long distance to Canada and the States is your usual 5c a minute and South Africa is 9c a minute. A lot of my family and friends over here are with rogers too, so long distance to them is free.

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Liz

My long distance is with Primus. I used to pay 33c/minute to SA, now I pay 6c/minute.....so 21 minutes to SA only costs me $1.26. I do pay 6c/minute for long distance within Canada too, though.

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Karen

Last night, we went to see "Slumdog Millionaire".

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!! Don't miss it for anything. One of the best movies I have seen in ages and the little kids, all unknowns are amazing.

Miss a lot of other movies on circuit right now, but not this gem.

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Vanessa

I heard alot about Slumdog Millionaire, hopefully we go watch it soon!!!!

The weather was beautiful today in Mississauga, enjoyed watching the snow melt away yet on Saturday it snowed heavily and it was my first time outdoors whilst the snow fell!!!!! It was cold, brrrrrrrrrrr. Thank GOD for the wonderful inside info on this forum that I knew very well to layer my clothing!!! Karen this post u have going here is wonderful. Thank you for the wealth of information you post, much appreciated!!!!!

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Tracey3511
That really is a good deal, Merv. We are paying about $54 per month at Rogers without the free calling to the States and Europe. We went with Rogers at the time, as they offered us such a great bundle on all our services - cable, high speed internet , cells etc and they gave us some really valid discounts the first year after joining. This is the first time we have had problems with them, and I must say that their customer service in this case, has been stellar.

I use 10- 10- 100 to call overseas. The rates are really good ( even better than the Vonage ones in most instances) and the charges show on my Rogers bill. I pay about 5 cents a minute or even less to Australia, and about 19c a minute to SA, for example.

So far, the phone seems to be behaving better. Only had one cut- off last night and for the remainder, things were fine. No problem yet today, so will see what transpires....

We just had a Bell bundle installed. What a disaster! They were late coming, forgot they posted the modem which arrived a day after the technician was there. The 'high-speed ' internet is 54 Mbps while Rogers highspeed is 400 Mbps! The program guide on the TV only shows that day's programs and you can't watch and record on the PVR like you can in SA.. I heard Bell sucks but Rogers wouldn't give us a contract without a Canadian ID of some sort... We got home phone lite, PVR rental, wireless internet and Satellite for $130 a month from Bell...

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Karen

Thank you, Vanessa, and glad that I could be of some help to you here. I just wish more folk would post here - I don't want this to become my little thread only. So, please all Hogtowners, let us know snippets about your lives in our great city. It will help those newly here,and others who are still coming, to get a brief glimpse into happenings here.

Today, the sun is shining in York Region, and the rays bouncing off the mounds of snow in my street, looks quite magical.

The second high school semester started today and will run until the end of June, with a week off in March - the famous "March Break" ( called the Spring Break in the US, but seldom is it Spring here, yet. We generally won't get to spring- like weather until the end of April.

Don't forget Family Day - our newest public holiday and the only one of the winter after the Christmas Break - is on Monday, februrary 16. Enjoy a great long weekend then, everyone!!!

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Karen

We think Spring is here one day, only to be plunged back into winter the next!! The weather is such a teaser here at this time of the year!

We had a record high of 17C last week, and then it was back to snow and a windchill of minus 20C the next! Anyway, looks like we are going to reach above zero single digits for the weekend, and hopefully they will remain there and go higher. I think we have all had more than enough of the below freezing temps after a bitter winter here in Southern Ontario. It is high time we had real taste of Spring.

The birds in my barren trees seem fat and healthy. We have been giving them seed the entire winter and they have clearly benefitted from a regular food source. It will be good to see the blue jays and robins back from the south soon.

The mounds of snow in my street have all but melted and things are definitely looking much better than the war zone winter through our way. We can now have two lanes of cars safely again.

School ended today for the much - needed March Break - a week when many Canucks head off to warmer climes. I can only imagine the crowds at Pearson Airport tomorrow. I will be at home, chilling out and cleaning up for the week.Teachers need time to really clean their houses, too!

Our 19 year old furnace needs to be replaced, it seems. It barely passed its annual check. Now, to get a few quotes and see if renting or buying outright is the better optio. I guess we will get one of the new high efficiency ones, which is supposed to save us a few hundred dollars a year. Always an expense in these cardboard homes! So much more upkeep than we had in Jhb.

Ate at a very pricey restaurant in the Yonge and Lawrence area last weekend. The food was excellent at the Monkey Grill, but I think over- priced. I don't think we will be returning there in a hurry.

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Mad about Canada

Loved the movie myself too Karen! As i have lived in Mumbai for the first 25 years of my life its particularly close to heart.

Btw, love your posts and your insight into day to day life in TO. Appreciate the trouble taken :lol:

Sometimes we all get so caught up in the stress of immigration, that your Hogtown updates lighten things up and yet provide info. Thanks a mill :)

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Smallbee

We too, immensely appreciate all the helpful information this forum provides. This thread of Karin's is of particular interest at the moment, as we prepare for Paul's first visit to Canada and the GTA in 2 weeks time. Thank you Karin for your regular, insightful and chatty postings on Toronto!

Many thanks,

Debbie and Paul

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Karen

I am really plleased this thread is helpful to so many, but I do wish more folk would contribute. I never intended it to become just my input, so come on fellow GTAers, do add your snippets of life here!

I wish Paul a safe and good trip and if you need to chat, please PM me for my phone number.

York Region

This past weekend proved that Spring is indeed en route!

The weather, for winter - weary folk here, was just lovely!! It never ceases to amaze me, how after the sub zero temps, plus 9C can feel so deliciously warm!! It was wonderful to go out with a light jacket and regular shoes again and not boots etc!!! I have also noticed that everyone seems to have that Spring step and happier faces!!!

Now, let's hope that winter does not decided to try and push in a bit more!!

The trees are still bare, and there are still remnants of old snow ( more like packed ice) on bits of ground, but they should soon be gone too. For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I just love the fact that everything is starting all over again, all fresh and new, and I can't wait to see those first buds on the trees appear.

We had our usual busy weekend. Saturday night, we went out for dinner with our neighbours. Had some yummy carrot cake with coffee afterwards at Baton Rouge in Richmond Hill. Far too rich for the old digestion and such a large piece!! Sunday, we cleaned, shopped and had SA friends over for tea and later, we ordered in pizza for everyone, which I served with a salad. After our guests had departed, everything was cleaned up, packed back and by 11.00pm, we were lights out.

We find we are so busy always, that the weeks simply, like the snow at present, just melt away, but it is a good and productive busy!

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jen1

Spring felt like it was here yesterday, we had my cousins around to celebrate my kids 4th birthday (which is today), and we bbq'd a lovely leg of lamb, while all sitting outside in short sleeve shirts, soaking up the sun. My husband even complained of being to hot in his jeans and put on shorts for the 1st time this year. (only for an hour or two then the sun started dipping and he went and found his jeans gain ) :angry:

We still have a small pile of snow outside the front door, I am expecting that to be gone by tomorrow if the predictions for temperature are right. I cant wait for the leaves to start budding on the trees...then I will be truely happy that winter is on the way out!

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Karen

York Region

April showers bring May flowers - that's for sure today! Boy, did it come down this morning!!

Tomorrow, above zero and very windy, but yesterday was a glorious 13 C in this neck of the woods. You just cannot believe how wonderfully warm this feels after the long and bitter months!

All the snow has melted and even although there are a few more flurries predicted, I doubt anything will stay on the ground for very long. Almost time to change tires and store the snow ones again, but I usually wait until early May just to ensure some massive snowstorm is not going to creep up and surprise us! I do recall snow one year on May 2. We usually wait to 'open' our pool until mid May.

The birds are returning and we saw a lovely red robin this week. Not long now, and the trees will magically get new greenery overnight. I just love this special time of rebirth and new growth!

We have been very busy at school with the Grade 10 province - wide literacy tests. The test is written at the same time and in the same manner in every school across Ontario. I do not consider it to be a fair assessment of a school, as schools with high immigrant populations and second language speakers can never score as highly as those in more homogenous areas. Oh well, it's over and done with for another year, but students have to pass this to graduate high school.

Everyone is scrambling to get their tax returns ready. It has to be in by April 30. I have got everything together for the accountant and given it all to him, so he has a few weeks to work on things.

I saw the movie "The Reader" two weeks' back. I can highly recommend this excellent movie. It was good going to a late show ( 9.50pm), as we get excellent seats and have few people crunching popcorn or chatting away!! Nice to grab a bite beforehand, too.

Had to replace our 19 year old furnace. It was a painless procedure which took less than two hours, and now we are all energy efficient and waiting for our $1,000 government rebate, which will come in two installments over the next few months. When furnaces start corroding, you cannot take a chance with carbon monoxide poisoning. The inspection pre and post the new installation was almost $500, but it has to be done to get the rebate! The nicest inspector came out and what a thorough test he did, advising us how to make our home more energy efficient by spending just a few dollars at Home Depot. We will certainly take his advice.

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Tracey3511
York Region

April showers bring May flowers - that's for sure today! Boy, did it come down this morning!!

Tomorrow, above zero and very windy, but yesterday was a glorious 13 C in this neck of the woods. You just cannot believe how wonderfully warm this feels after the long and bitter months!

All the snow has melted and even although there are a few more flurries predicted, I doubt anything will stay on the ground for very long. Almost time to change tires and store the snow ones again, but I usually wait until early May just to ensure some massive snowstorm is not going to creep up and surprise us! I do recall snow one year on May 2. We usually wait to 'open' our pool until mid May.

The birds are returning and we saw a lovely red robin this week. Not long now, and the trees will magically get new greenery overnight. I just love this special time of rebirth and new growth!

We have been very busy at school with the Grade 10 province - wide literacy tests. The test is written at the same time and in the same manner in every school across Ontario. I do not consider it to be a fair assessment of a school, as schools with high immigrant populations and second language speakers can never score as highly as those in more homogenous areas. Oh well, it's over and done with for another year, but students have to pass this to graduate high school.

Everyone is scrambling to get their tax returns ready. It has to be in by April 30. I have got everything together for the accountant and given it all to him, so he has a few weeks to work on things.

I saw the movie "The Reader" two weeks' back. I can highly recommend this excellent movie. It was good going to a late show ( 9.50pm), as we get excellent seats and have few people crunching popcorn or chatting away!! Nice to grab a bite beforehand, too.

Had to replace our 19 year old furnace. It was a painless procedure which took less than two hours, and now we are all energy efficient and waiting for our $1,000 government rebate, which will come in two installments over the next few months. When furnaces start corroding, you cannot take a chance with carbon monoxide poisoning. The inspection pre and post the new installation was almost $500, but it has to be done to get the rebate! The nicest inspector came out and what a thorough test he did, advising us how to make our home more energy efficient by spending just a few dollars at Home Depot. We will certainly take his advice.

I still find it amazing how friendly and helpful everyone is compared to SA. A knock on the door the other night turned out to be the gas man who had to come inside to read the gas meter. He stopped to play with the dogs, had a chat with us, showed me where to find the meter and how to read it and left. In SA we wouldn't even have let him in the house, would have been concerned he was there for a bad purpose. And if we had, he would have been surly and unhelpful as most govt officials there are nowadays.

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Karen

Here is a rule for you in the GTA:

Do not remove your snow tires until May!!

Yes, we woke up to roofs iced with the white stuff once again this morning, and all trace of Spring trying to break through, was well hidden beneath slushy, messy and icy streets and a good dusting of snow on the ground. It was back to boots, coats and gloves once again, making us feel we had been transported back a good few months. The birds appeared totally confused, not to imagine what my blooming daffodils, which the squirrels once again missed this winter, must be feeling, if they survive the cold snap.

Apparently, this winter weather will persist until Thursday, when it hopefully will look more Spring- like again. But enough is enough! We have seen snow since October in the GTA, and this has just been a tad too much and too long.

Now, ket's hope that summer also forgets to leave us, come September! I can't see anyone complaining about that!!

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rockwooder

Also a white blanket here in Kingston this morning. I'm so jealous when friends send pictures of spring flowers in the UK, but hopefully soon we'll be celebrating spring over here. Flowers are not as beautiful as in the UK but then again I think our autumns are more spectacular than the UK's. Have a wonderful day today whether it is a white one, a green one, a brown one or just a sunny one.

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Karen

York region

I think Spring has definitely sprung at last!!

Yesterday, we actually reached a high of 17C and it was hard to keep the kids in class. I had two ask to go to the washroom, but then glimpsed them outdoors playing frisbee!! Can't say I blamed them - I would not have minded being there, too.

The grass in my neighbourhood has turned from brown to green. It won't be long before the trees are in full blossom. Must remember to book the pool 'opening' for next month. It will be a pleasure to see blue rippling water again and not a black plastic liner!

I need to get quotes on new guttering for the house. It is long overdue. Always something to fix up when you have a house. The new furnace is silent and working wonderfully. Soon, it will be aircon time again.

So, finally, we are are moving into my best time in T.O. Must get those winter tires off soon now...!

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Karen

York Region

May has to be the nicest month here. The trees are now fully leaved, the grass is Canada Green and the smell of freshly mowed lawns and new flowers permeates the air. There is this wonderful feel of rebirth and renewal everywhere. After all the cold, white and grey months, everthing in nature seems even brighter than in countries which do not have such defined seasons.

There are only about four weeks of school left before the final exams. The kids are already dreaming ol long, hot summer days doing whatever they please for a glorious nine weeks.

Our pool was 'opened' two weeks ago. What a pleasure to see the bright, sparkling blue water from my kitchen window, rather than the ugly, black snow - filled liner I have been staring at for so many months. We are busy putting new top soil down and getting everything ready for new plantlings, which will add bright colour to our little yard.

We ate in a real Russian restaurant last night and were the only non- Russians there. Decor was austere, but the server was really friendly and the food surprisingly good. It gave us a taste of what to expect on our end of summer cruise to the Baltic countries.

The austere place Toronto can be in the bitter months, has been replaced by a sense of vibrancy and lightness. I can't help thinking that right now, this is one of the best places in which to live.....

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Karen

York Region

I am beginning to wonder if Spring is ever going to evolve into summer this year!

It has been much cooler than usual for this time of the year, with lots of rain. Not that I am complaining - I happen to love this weather and will take it any day over the humidity and the cook - an - egg - on - sidewalk heat, but that's just me. Many are eagerly anticipating the dog days of summer- if and when they ever arrive.

Everything is so lush and green, though, and that in itself is a treat for the soul.

Exams start at school next week and by June 26th, 9 weeks of freedom from academia begins for Ontario school kids. It's been a long and busy year, and we feel the need to rest and recharge. It will give me a chance to do some real spring cleaning around the house and also some repair work etc, which is neglected over the winter and the busy work months.

The Pride Parade is next weekend. It is sure to be a hugely successful weekend for Toronto, being as large an event as it is and bringing so many people into our city. Kudos to the organisers for doing a sterling job here! Let's just hope the rain holds off.

Now, as I sit and invigilate exams next week, a chance to dream of my much anticipated Baltic cruise at the end of August.

Who would have thought I would ever be able to go to Russia in my lifetime?.....

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