Sugar Beets Boredom

Several months ago, I posted about having been dragged to a hearing test and receiving new, electronic hearing assisters.  About a month later, I blogged about our dissatisfaction with the assembly-line medicine, the cash-register attitude and the lack of ethics, if not down-right illegal actions, of our first supplier.  We took a bit of a financial hit, but turned in our first hearing-aids and went with the Arnold Hearing Center.

The whole feeling with Arnold’s was family-friendly and helpful.  The new hearing aids we were given do more, and cost less. We can direct them with little remote controls.  We got a Wii media broadcaster which plugs into the A/V output of our TV, and makes it seem as if we are right in the middle of the program dialog.

When we went back for some fine-tuning, I mentioned to the tech that I had blogged about the experience.  He requested my website info, and read the post.  He passed on the information to the company exec responsible for electronic communication.  He, in turn, liked the compliment, and reposted it on the company Facebook page.  When we went back for further adjustment, he thanked me, and wondered if the wife and I would be willing to attend a luncheon meeting to promote his supplier’s new Wii (why) system and give a little, man-who-uses-it appreciation speech.

We said we would be thrilled to repay all their kind service, especially for a free lunch.  Then he said that he would like to get one more person.  Since it was the daughter who precipitated the whole situation, we volunteered her.

The meeting was to be held at a place called Hacienda Sarria.  In 1902, a large factory was built out on the edge of, what was then, Berlin, Ontario.  It extracted sugar from locally grown sugar-beets, and helped the town grow into a city.  Because of anti-Germany sentiments toward a pugnacious Kaiser, and a country about to drag the western world into war, Berlin changed its name to the more English, Kitchener, in 1912.  Lord Kitchener, who the town took their name from, was a pompous British military prat, guilty of a couple of massacres, but, at least he wasn’t German.

Times, and sugar, changed.  In 1920 the plant closed down.  Over the years it was used for a variety of commercial endeavors, and large chunks off both ends were torn down.  It sat vacant for several years until a Toronto entrepreneur bought it in 2004.  He wanted to fix it up and make it his residence, but the bureaucrats were immovable.  The land was zoned commercial, so commercial it must be.

Genius ensued.  Plans were modified.  All the fix-up proceeded, only now, one end of the bottom floor is rented to a tile company.  Beside it, a coffee-roastery/coffee shop was installed.  You can buy special coffees and/or enjoy them on the premises.  The other end was made into a reception area with a couple of small meeting/dining rooms.  The floor of the middle of the second story was cut out leaving a three-storey-high glass-roofed atrium.  The floors are all done in ceramic tile.  Gee, I wonder where they came from.

Behind the coffee-house is a fair-sized dining room and kitchens to serve it.  The owner solicits wedding reception business.  That room can have the tables removed for a dance, with patterned, softwood floor.  The very Canadian owner wanted something Latin-themed.  While it would never fool anyone from the southwest USA, the architecture vaguely resembles the Alamo mission, and the internal decoration leans south of the border.

Yellow brick and square wooden beams are everywhere, giving a rustic look.  Ars est celare artem – the art is to conceal the art.  Someone did a lot of work.  New fancy lights, light switches, thermostats, motion detectors all exist, but they are understated, and look as if they just “grew there”.  No cables or conduits are visible.  Even the pipes for the fire sprinklers seem as if they are part of the original installation.

We weren’t allowed to go upstairs.  The second and third levels are the owner’s living quarters.  With the usual bureaucratic stupidity, the city insists that he can’t have the building as a residence, but the owner of a commercial establishment is allowed to reside in the building for security reasons.  It’s not complete yet.  He continues to add finishing touches.

There is an organic garden past the end of the parking area, where the chef grows fresh vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen.  The owner had a local fabricator/artist fashion a double-size copper statue of Don Quixote.  His horse was finished and installed, and then, a couple of months later Don and his lance were hoisted aboard.  Plans include replicas of Sancho Panza and his mule, and a water-storage tower at the back of the garden will become a windmill.

The meal included a Caesar salad, tomato basil chicken with linguine, berries with fresh whipped cream and a Hacienda blend coffee from the roaster out front, or tea.  The food was good considering the bulk, industrial, cook and hold requirement.  I’m spoiled.  While the presentation isn’t as elegant, I eat that well at home.  The Hacienda’s presentation was top-notch.  The tables were properly set and maintained.  The service was crisp and friendly.

Sadly, the daughter and I had another appointment, and we had to leave before dessert and coffee, the subject of another rant, another day.  She and the wife got a cup of the coffee while we were waiting for the circus to arrive.  The wife thinks it’s great stuff.

We were treated graciously and efficiently by Hacienda, Arnold, and Starkey staff.  Because of our afternoon appointment, we had to leave before dessert and coffee.  While they probably would have been delicious, I had already exceeded my calorie allowance.  Even though we were more than willing to put in a good word just for previous good service, the Arnold rep. made sure we had some nice parting gifts.  The wife is already planning how to use our gift cards at Kitchener’s largest mall.  All in all, a most enjoyable social outing we could not have afforded on my retirement pension.

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Excitement Unexpected

 

versatile-blogger2

I may have to borrow BrainRants’ Thai hot-sauce.  My life is beginning to acquire some taste and flair.  T’was not always thus.  My life has been uninterestingly, go to work, come home, eat, watch some TV, repeat, repeat, repeat, for years.  That’s the way my medical providers and I have wanted it.  I have raised lowered bland to new depths.  If boring were an Olympic sport, I’d be at the top of the podium, wrapping the gold medal around my neck, while the guy with the drying paint watched the other guy’s grass grow.  There’s a Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times.  Between my hopefully now defunct eyesight drama, and the ever-growing blogosphere adventure, this has been an Interesting six months.

Wow!  Lightning struck three times on the same day.  Well, actually, it was more like the static sparks you get when you scuff your feet on the carpet and touch a doorknob, but they impressed the Hell out of me.  I have a very low tolerance.  First, LadyRyl read one of my pieces out loud to two of her gal friends.  One of them was sufficiently impressed that she wished to follow me, so LadyRyl posted a link to my site on her Facebook page.  Exposure like that might get me two, maybe three more potential readers.

Next, I got my Jerry Seinfeld piece reblogged.  Abauerporsche is a blog from a small Porsche dealer/repair shop in Oakland, California.  I would have thought that a lot full of Porsches would be enough to generate interest, but somebody there sieves the internet and reposts four or five blogs a day.  They’re always about cars.  They’re almost always about Porsches and many of them contain photos of body lines and chromed turbochargers and races.  I didn’t see any search terms.  I don’t know how my site was reached, or why that particular packing case of verbiage was shoehorned in, but, I’ll take the exposure.  Now I have upscale readers to consider.  I can write for Intelligent, but I’m not sure I can write for Expensive.

And finally….KayJai couldn’t pass on that case of strep throat, so she inflicted me with my second case of Versatile Blogger.  I guess every blogger must have some degree of ego, or we wouldn’t be here.  I have a very small one.  That’s why KayJai could massage it and still be done in time to get home for lunch.  Ego!  Pay attention!  I feel like Sally Field, accepting the Oscar.  You love me!  You really love me!  Either that or, I’m being given something to do, to get me out of your hair for a couple of days.

You all know the rules.  If you don’t, look ‘em up.  It doesn’t matter.  I didn’t follow them the first time, and I’m not going to follow them even worse, this time.  I am going to proudly thank KayJai.  She is a strong, kind, intelligent blogger, whose writing I appreciate, and whose opinions I respect.  It is humbling to receive such recognition from a person like her.

Hmmm, seven things about me…?  Go back and read my first acceptance speech.  I feel that I, personally, am about as exciting as tapioca pudding, but, I keep my eyes and ears open, and interesting people and things have passed though my orbit.  I have been within ten feet of Queen Elizabeth.  The Second!  I’m old, but I’m not that old.  Twelve feet from Prince What’s-his-name.  I got a kiss on the cheek from the Secretary of State for External Affairs.  She was a woman, or at least, that’s what she told me.  And, I had a very brief conversation with (and some photos of) the singer, Roger Whittaker, dressed up as Don Quixote.

Blogs I wish to acknowledge….include the group I wrote about a month or so ago.  SavortheFolly is partly back, and much welcomed.  H E Ellis was also M.I.A., and sadly missed, but is now back, to den-mother us.  I continue to take baby steps and expand my circle of blogs-read.  Some I have liked, others, not so much.  Two I wish to add are; from a link on Rants’ site, TheByronicMan.  Intelligent and well written.  He has something to say, and says it well.  From a recommendation from the missing Hellis, TheHaremsMaster.  He drops the occasional clot of keystrokes.  Sometimes talks about himself, sometimes about politics or life in general.  Sometimes prints excerpts from, not one, but two books he’s simultaneously working on.  Damn!  Am I the only one not working on a book?  Well, there is that ever-growing pile of research notes that the Hermudgeon keeps urging me to deal with.  If you think I live on the tundra, visit Harem Master’s place.  He’s so far north; the only thing keeping him from falling off the top edge is the North Pole itself.  He gets his internet delivered by dogsled, and it takes him an hour to defrost it.

Another management seminar impressed how a group decision is almost always better than any single person’s.  In the short time I have been observing “my” group; I have seen the individuals teach each other, new, better, more creative ways of doing things and challenge the others to new styles and new heights.  Figuratively, I have graduated from Velcro runners, to tying my own laces and taking those baby steps.  But it’s time to stop all this shoulder patting.  Let’s get out there and impress someone.