Trust a Local Under Pressure

Ottawa may be a big metropolitan capital city, but it is also a small regional town in certain respects. Business can be multi-national or family-owned. We all want to patronize the latter to reward that good old Canadian entrepreneurial spirit. There is anything from a restaurant to a locksmith shop in this category. There are boutiques and one-of-a-kind gift shops with handmade local items. You will also find bakeries, ice cream vendors, and shoe repair stores amid the multitude of ubiquitous mall chains. It is no wonder that when I spot a home-grown venture, I go with open arms.

Take the carwash around the corner. It has been family-run for a few generations and I can see gramps in the backroom looking over the books. The kids learned the ropes right there under the stream of water before entering management after college. It is open early and closes late because of so many fans with dirty cars. They wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. Pop is often credited with innovations. He keeps the machinery up to date and the cars sparkling. Only the best wax for his customers. He bought a couple of power washers a few years ago and what a difference a day makes.

Have you seen these dynamos in action? They can make mincemeat out of the worst caked-on dirt. If your van has been in the wilds during the rain, no problem. Bring it over. They might have to do some extra scrubbing with the brush attachments on the wheels and rims, but in the end, it will be clean and like new. Nothing is a challenge—not the chrome detailing, the spotty windows, or the filthy engine. It all comes at a very reasonable price! The family has been known to donate their services for charitable fundraising events. Actions speak louder than words.

If you enter the car wash and walk down the aisle as you witness the miraculous vehicle transformations, you will notice some framed plaques mounted on the wall side by side. There are also family photos from different decades scattered here and there. The gang is very proud of the business and what it took to get it started many years ago, and keep it successful. A lot of hard labor went in at first before automation took over. The power washer is a nice finishing touch, however, that still demonstrates the benefit of a little extra manual effort. Kids love to watch the spewing spray from the adjustable nozzle. Mine want one at home and are dropping intense hints. A new electric or gas power washer will do doubt appear in due time.

Meanwhile, we want to visit this illustrious award-winning venue and applaud the resistance to incorporation into an impersonal entity. I hear that they have had offers, but have not relented as yet. The residents are pretty happy about this, and if we have anything to say about it, a fight to keep things local will go on.

Hardware Home Improvement Store Sale

We all buy everything on the Internet at a discount from clothing and cosmetics to builders’ supplies and gifts. We get our music, food, and other life essentials on line. We look for those name brand coupons and website specials. Who pays full price! But there are times when you even go into a brick and mortar store to make a purchase, especially when you find a sale.

I am always doing DIY projects at home or for friends and family. It is a great hobby and relaxer. I help them, they help me. So, home improvement items are on my mind. I need some basic hand tools such as an electric saw, nail gun, and screwdriver. I must have paint, sandpaper, wood slats for repairs, and rollers. A ladder, a bucket, some drop cloths, and some plastic tarp are all handy essentials.

A trip to the home improvement store is fun and inviting. Recently the hardware department had an anniversary sale. I rushed over and joined the crowds. Handymen, painters, fellow DIYs, and assorted others filled the aisles grabbing the marked down merchandise. It was an old-fashioned experience. Someone’s kid knocked over a bin of nails that went cascading across the floor, stopping wary people in their tracks. That was a new experience.

I went to the mezzanine floor where they stocked handles and knobs. These can be very expensive—a couple of dollars apiece—and they add a lot to renovations of bathrooms and kitchens. Small things have a big impact. There were walls of stacked see-through boxes filled with pulls in every finish from satin, polished chrome, oiled bronze, to brass and matte silver. I counted out a dozen of three different types that I knew I could use in some upcoming projects. It was a great savings in the end. The important point here, however, is that I got to hold them in my hands, touch their surfaces, eyeball their size and shape, and assess their functionality in their new space. You can’t do that online! And you don’t have to wrap them and go to the post office to make a return.

I then went back down to the fan section and selected three ceiling models with different light fixtures. I would keep these on hand. They are some of the best ceiling fans on the market. Everyone likes them and they work in every room of the house. They can even go on patios. Again, I could look closely at the color, surfaces, and metal details. The woods were truer to life than photos on the Internet. Sometimes cherry looks too red and maple more like walnut. I bought a little portable number for the garage on a whim.

The hardware home improvement outing yielded a bonanza of things I needed, wanted, and coveted. The budget covered a lot. More than I expected. I added some extras on my list including wood glue, rub on patina, cabinet trim, and more. It was a welcome relief from the impersonality of a website, more tactile, and more fulfilling. I will visit them more often in the near future.

Local Gym Profile

My gym in the lovely urban paradise of Ottawa is small and family-oriented. It has everything the big ones do, just less equipment and facility space. What it does have is a giant Olympic-size outdoor pool with lifeguard, a snack bar with “healthy” treats, tennis courts, and a basketball court. This is unusual, but it is more of an all-purpose recreation place than a traditional workout venue.

So there is a lot to do with people are scattered about doing what they like best from morning to night. The locker rooms are pristine and spacious with adjustable showers, easy touch sinks, and bathroom scales. The scales remind us why we are here: to keep fit, stay at the optimum weight, and live a long life Canadian style.

Getting on the digital scales the first time was somewhat daunting. Yup, there were a few extra pounds. How to get the numbers in my favor? The gym, albeit small, had helpful “motivators” or workout coaches to help set routines and goals. Try a little circular training or just use the elliptical. Do you like swimming, exercise classes, Pilates, or dance? I had some options and decided to try a few in full view of all in attendance.

The classes were on the ground floor next to the pool so after getting heated up, you can take two steps and cool off. The snack bar was calling my name. This was to be my dieting downfall. Even though it advertised healthy snacks, those protein bars have 300 calories! The fruit smoothies have more.

Back to the workouts. My favorite class was boxing—adults only. I decided to go regularly. On other days, I combined swimming and the treadmill. From time to time a little weight lifting felt good. I was on my way. The club trainers enjoyed watching my progress as did some of the regulars. At the small club, you knew everyone and helped cheer them on to new heights of fitness. The tennis people were another breed and seldom crept indoors. Same with basketball.

Okay. The time was now for truth telling. The best body fat scale I’ve ever seen was beckoning me to step on. It was time for My Weigh In. With a bit of trepidation, I did. Yay! I was within my target weight range and pleased as the complementary punch in a vat on the entry counter to the gym. I treated myself to a smoothie that day, but I was so stoked that I avoided them thereafter. When you lose weight, you feel euphoric. I do credit the gym staff for my results. Personal attention is the hallmark of the club and goes way beyond what you get at the big chains.

I want to compliment everyone for getting me on track and staying there. I have made new friends and look forward to every visit. It really is a way of life when you think about it. Whether you like the early morning, a lunch break session, or early evening, the gym is your go-to place for mental and physical refreshment. The scales are there to tell the tale.

Medical Treatments in Ottawa

Foot fungus infection is a common occurrence, and it appears on fingernails and toenails. Your nails can turn yellow, or in some cases brownish. It is not always painful, but it can be though. Your nails if infected could become brittle, and there were cases when they even fell off. This kind of infection can be embarrassing.

You can get infected by sharing facilities, or by walking barefoot. You can easily get it at the gym or a locker room. You should be careful around public places. There are some precautions that you can take, like keeping your nails short and, changing your socks often, using powder to absorb extra sweat from your feet and things like that.

However, if you do get infected with toenail fungus, you can easily find medical treatment in Ottawa (among other available treatments). There are various treatments available for this kind of infection. You can choose between laser treatment and other alternative conventional treatments.

Do you avoid wearing flip flops and other open shoes because you have yellow or brownish nails? Do you go to the beach or do you stay away from it and miss out on fun due to your nail problems? Do you ever go barefoot or are you too ashamed? Do you ever hide your nails? Have you ever consulted with a specialist about this problem?

If you answered yes to these questions, than you should seriously think about treating your feet once and forever. Ottawa offers great laser treatment, but if you are not up to it, there are other methods as well. People who have this infection are usually embarrassed and avoid places like the beach or a swimming pool. Some even go to greater lengths and have their nails removed. There is no need for that. There are specialist who know how to help you and treat your nails. The reason why it is so difficult to get rid of them is because it is very difficult to treat the area underneath the nail itself.

Medicine evolves from day to day nad now there are other treatments for this particular problem. Your doctor may prescribe you drugs:

  • Oral antifungal drugs
  • Medicated nail polish
  • Medicated nail cream
  • Laser and light-based therapies
  • and as a last option nail removal

So you see, there are many options. It would be best to see a doctor and listen to whatever he has to say, and than try some of these methods. Of course, start with drugs, do not have your nails removed immediately, this is the last option in case if nothing else works. Remember, take care of yourselves, do not use shared facilities unless you can not avoid them, do everything in your power to avoid getting infected. If you are a student living in a dorm, it will be difficult for you to avoid this because you have to share the same bathroom with others. Just follow the precaution measures, and you will be fine, if you still get infected, do not think that this will go away on its own, it won’t, see a doctor.

Jerry’s Generators

I was in charge of a local raffle not too long ago. It was grand opening time at Jerry’s Generators of Ottawa, a new store that specialized in all sizes of units for every conceivable use. I have a small portable camping model myself, and everyone I know has one or more at home. It may be relegated to the garage or basement, but it is there and psychologically comforting!

Nevertheless, I was familiar enough with the product and proceeded to plan the event. Jerry wanted to call attention to the new facility while supporting a favorite local charity for educating kids (a free after- school tutoring service). We could easily kill the two birds with one stone. PR is fun. We got out the ads, flyers, mailers, and press releases. We set up tables and chairs. We had selected a nice mid-range generator as the coveted prize. It was for personal or residential use in case of a power outage. We do get them now and then, and often when least expected. Sometimes even a small device saves the day.

Jerry agreed to donate one of the best generators he sells, the Honda Super Quiet Converter that runs about $1,000 retail. Tickets were purchased a week in advance and on opening day for $15 each. If you bought ten, you got a discount. The 2000 watt is a marvel of modern industrial science. It is a good choice for its additional RV application and camping use. It can power a hair dryer, refrigerator, a microwave, and small AC units. Since most people have a home version, this was a great choice. It comes with a spark arrestor/muffler, advanced inverter technology, and works well for computers and sensitive equipment.

It proved to be a winner. People bought the tickets and flocked to the opening to see who prevailed. They looked around the warehouse, and many generators from his small generator range were sold that day. I got accolades for my service. These things might seem run-of-the-mill, but you are never sure of attendance and the final outcome. Jerry was thrilled and the new store was launched in style. Refreshments were available and people spent a nice afternoon enjoying a local band and munching on delicious fare.

The store is modern, clean, and efficient. The samples are well-spaced with plaques noting features and usage. Prices are fair and there will be specials in the near future. The walls are colorful in a low-key way. Jerry had a previous business and is no novice. There is a small play area for kids while mom and dad shop. A soda machine and free coffee stand complement the family-friendly atmosphere.

The day’s winner was a young couple who had just gotten married. They did not get a generator, however, as a gift. They said they were really dying for one and thought they would have to wait. Jerry was pleased for them and hoped the new homeowners would come back later for a larger home model. It was a win-win for everyone and good feeling abounded. The charity was represented and thanked the owner for his thoughtful donation.

Wood Stove Story

A good salesperson should be able to sell anything. There is an old saying about selling ice to an eskimo. In Ottawa, maybe it would be the same thing considering the frigid temperatures at least a few months of the year. One thing you do want to sell, however, is a good wood stove in a winter climate. As a teenager, I was looking for a job that a young person could do with little to no experience. People my age were getting odd jobs, so I figured I would find the right one to supplement my allowance and save for a fabulous summer vacation to remember.

It was winter and I didn’t expect to be out and about much, or on the road. Ha! My perfect first instance of employment was selling wood stoves to people who owned recreational cabins. I had to traipse around on snowy roads in the local ski areas, which weren’t exactly populated. Visitors rented for the most part and came and went with the season. I soon learned that with just a few prospects, you better have a good story to tell.

I would hang out in cafes and bookstores with my brochures and talk to anyone who would listen. I would extol the virtues of the old-fashioned concept and how quaint for one’s second abode. Wood stoves can be modern, of course, but there is no emotional appeal to a mountain dweller for state-of-the-art anything. I learned to get better at it and began to see a few people more than one or two times in the same places. I became a local fixture and even got invited over for a few hot toddies in front of the fire.

Finally, I met a girl about my age. She liked to frequent one particular eatery with her friends. We started to talk, realized we had a lot in common, and looked for one another during the evenings. One day, I spilled the beans and revealed my “secret” job with some humility and a bit of embarrassment. It was okay with adults, but with a peer, it was, well, uncool to sell wood stoves.

Salty, her nickname, was my savior that winter. Who knew? She not only had lots of friends with cabins, but her uncle was a builder. She introduced us and my career, such as it was, took off. He let me give my spiel and was impressed enough to buy 20 units for a new condo project. My boss was floored, my parents were awed, and I was speechless. I had my vacation money in a flash.

My working life thus began with a modest wooden stove in a mid-price range that came in four colors and three styles. I learned to ski, love the winding roads, and Salty. We saw each other for two years before she left me for college in New York. I was heartbroken, but will always be eternally grateful for her help, caring, and support. She was mature beyond her years, and I was the willing recipient of her generosity.