Category Archives: Kemptville

Information on Kemptville Ontario

Goodbye Zip! Hello Zip!

Yesterday I cancelled our Zip.ca account. Why? Because Zip.ca now has competition in town – itself!

We’ve been with Zip.ca for well over a year now on the 1 DVD unlimited plan and it worked out quite nicely. We’d (typically) get a new DVD from our ZipList to watch every weekend. All for the low price of ~$13/month. That’s much better than the ~$6 the local rental place charged for a night. Things went smashingly for a year and then Zip.ca changed their plans…

Due to rising costs (understandable), they increased the monthly charge for the 1 DVD plan so now it was just over $14/month. That’s a reasonable amount considering we were getting 4-5 DVDs a month. Again, much less than the ~$6 the local rental place was charging. BUT, the biggest change that screws up the whole thing for us is that they no longer allow DVDs to “cross in the mail” on the 1 DVD plan. Bummer.

When DVDs can “cross in the mail”, you’d mark the DVD as returned the day you toss it in the mailbox. Usually at the end of that same day (sometimes the next day), Zip.ca would send you a new DVD. This way if I tossed a DVD in the mailbox on Monday morning, a new one would be sent out Monday or Tuesday. That means we’d actually get it on Thursday or Friday (for some reason, mail takes a long time to get into our PO Box at the Post Office in our town, but that’s a rant for another time).

The Zip.ca red envelopes that DVDs are mailed out in

The Zip.ca red mailer envelopes that are used to send DVDs to customers.

Without the ability for DVDs to “cross in the mail”, Zip now won’t send a new DVD until they receive our old one. That means if I drop it in the mail on Monday, they get it Tuesday or Wednesday, send us a new one Wednesday or Thursday and we might get it the next Monday, most likely Tuesday. Well, that just doesn’t work very well for us as we typically want the DVD for the weekend. Bam, now we’re basically down to only getting a DVD every two weeks. That ~$14/month is no longer a good deal if that’s how we use the Zip.ca account.

Well, we had a slight problem (was actually a mistake on my part – Ooops!) in December and I contacted Zip.ca. They were kind enough to help me see what I had done wrong but they also pointed out something we didn’t know – there was now a Zip rental kiosk in one of the local grocery stores. I’m sure you’re saying “so what?” right about now so I’m, going to tell you.

The Zip Kiosk rents DVDs for $1/day, or Blu Ray and new release DVDs for $2/day. DAMN! Not only is that a better deal than the local rental place, it’s a better deal than Zip.ca itself!

On our Zip.ca plan, we can only get DVDs and new release DVDs are nearly impossible to get. With the Zip Kiosk, we can drop in Friday or Saturday and grab a DVD <angelic choir>or even a Blu Ray!</angelic choir> for $2! Then we just take it back the next day. Some would consider this inconvenient but given that we don’t have home mail delivery, we always had to go out to get our Zip DVD anyways and after you watched it, you have to find a mailbox ASAP to toss it in so you could get the next DVD sent out.

Yeah, so Goodbye Zip! Hello Zip!

Yes, we might not be able to get the exact movie we want but that’s no different than Zip.ca right now. If there’s nothing we want to watch, we save ourselves $2. And this way we always get something that The Boss (or the Princesses)  is in the “mood” to watch.

At the moment you can also go to the Zip website and request a free rental code via email. Yeah, it’s only worth up to $2 but it’s a free rental!

Click to go to the Zip Kiosk locator tool

Blundstone Boots

I finally got around to getting a new pair of shoes last week – a pair of Blundstone boots. My old crappy shoes with the cracked sole and holes gave me wet feet one last time and that was then end of my misery. ;)

I wasn’t initially sure if I really wanted the Blundstone boots for two reasons:

  1. They are boots.
  2. They aren’t cheap.

The first problem was quickly addressed when I pulled a pair on. I used to wear boots all the time back when I was a slightly rebelling teenager. I had a couple pairs of Doc Martens that lasted me many years. It’s sort of strange how much more comfortable boots can be. I like them because I don’t have any rubbing in my heel/ankle from the top of a shoe.

Blundstone 510 boots "The Original in black"

Anyways, back to the Blundstones – they aren’t cheap. My last pair of shoes cost me at least $50 and the Blundstones were almost 4 times that. Now, what I’m banking on is that the Blundstone boots will last at least 4 times longer than the shoes did. The shoes only really lasted a year but I squeezed 6 months more out of them (such a bad idea!).

Buying the Blundstone boots was an interesting adventure. First, I wanted to buy them locally in Kemptville but the one shop that has them doesn’t have very good hours. Tough luck for them.

I ended up searching on the Blundstone website for Ottawa and found a store at Bayshore than had them. After trying some on and getting what I thought was the right size, I bought them and drove home. At home I wore them around the house for the evening and it became painfully obvious that they were too small.  What had happened is that particular store did something funny with their inventory. The Blundstone boots are in UK sizes which are about 1 size smaller than US sizes. No problem normally. What was a problem is the store had the UK size 10 listed as a size 10 but the UK size 8.5 they listed as a size 9.5.  They didn’t actually have any UK 9.5 or UK 9 at all, even in the computer. Anyhoo, I had to return the UK 8.5 boots I bought.  Just too small.

Going back to the Blundstone website, I discovered that they still have Ottawa broken down into Ottawa, Kanata, Nepean and Orleans – with different stores listed for each search option! Turns out there was a second store in Bayshore that also carried  Blundstone. Back I went a second time and success! I got my UK 9.5 Blundstone boots. Interestingly enough, they were actually cheaper at that store. ;)

Polaris High Efficiency Gas Hot Water Tank – Part 6

Our Polaris High Efficiency gas hot water tank is once again not working. It’s spewing out good old error code 1 – Pressure Switch Closed. Woo-hoo! I love when the pressure switch is closed because it means I get to call my buddies at Direct Energy and have them come out and order some new parts to try and fix the Polaris hot water tank for another few months. No, not really – this sucks.

Polaris gas hot water tank

Polaris gas hot water tank

I now have a stack of yellow receipts that I just leave on top of the hot water tank so each of the Direct Energy techs can see what they have done in the past. It’s sort of funny when one of the guys (Joel is his name) comes as he’s been here a few times. I almost feel like I should offer him a beer as he’s been to my house more often than some of my work buddies!

Anyways, Pressure Switch Closed is supposed to be a self clearing fault on the Polaris HWT but in my experience, it never clears itself. I’ve had numerous parts replaced – some have been done multiple times. I think the total value of replaced parts on the Polaris HWT is now over $4000. Yeah, I know, good thing I’m renting it and I don’t have to pay for those parts!

My “buddy” Joel tried a bunch of things the last time he was here (which was only last fall) and he had a couple new parts ordered and installed. I was hopeful at the time because both he and the second tech both seem to understand the Polaris HWT and it’s quirks. Unfortunately, they also both said that most people in the area with the Polaris hot water tanks are now pulling them out because they suck so badly. That really is unfortunate because the tank really does work well. It’s just too bad that they are not more reliable. Well, maybe they are reliable for some people but just not in this neck of the woods.

Updated: Yippee! I have hot water again. Interestingly, this time the tech didn’t actually replace anything. He spent some time going through the diagnosis and as soon as he hooked up his ammeter, the unit started to work. Bad ground! It turns out that who ever installed the unit (uh, Direct Energy guys installed it) had taken a short cut when hooking up the ground wires in the main power shut off switch. They just hand twisted the copper wires together with no marrettes! He cleaned that all up and the Polaris hot water heater is working fine now. Hopefully this will be the end of the 4 years of problems!

Hydronic Heating Coil One Year Later

Almost a year ago I did a hydronic heating coil replacement on our heating system as the original heating coil had developed leaks. I’m happy to say that the heating coil is still working fine and there are no leaks! I’m rather amazed at my simple plumbing skills as I had never done any copper soldering work before.

My parents were nice enough to give me a fantastic new self igniting MAPP gas torch at Christmas.  Now I’m all set to tackle the next plumbing job – proper heat traps on the hot water tank. That project should help keep the cold water in our cold taps from being hot!

Since installing the new coil, we’ve done some tweaking of our forced air system to try and address issues we had with heating.  We now have it balanced reasonably well with all rooms getting a decent amount of heat.  The only thing I’m considering is upgrading the blower to a more powerful unit to try and move the air a little better to the farthest reaches of the house.  Our long runs to upstairs are still not quite getting enough air flow. It’s not a huge difference but if the doors are left closed for too long it becomes noticeable.

Oh, and I guess I missed my chance to off load the old hydronic heating coil.  Copper and aluminum prices have dropped back down due to the “economic crisis” we are currently going through. That’s what I get for being lazy. :)

Noma LED Christmas Lights Sold Out!

This past weekend I went into the Canadian Tire here in Kemptville looking for two more sets of Noma LED Christmas lights. I was looking specifically for the 100 LED C6 sized multi-colour light sets. Unfortunately I was greeted by empty shelves where the lights would normally be.  Turns out they were completely sold out and had been for a few days.  I looked a little more and all that was left were the “white” LED strings, the silly large bulb (C9 size?) light sets and a handful of single colour sets.

I came home and did a inventory check through their website and discovered that even some of the bigger stores in Ottawa were also sold out of the multi-colour light sets.

We were in town on Monday so I took the opportunity to swing by one of the bigger stores that was supposed to have stock.  Yes, they did have about 5 boxes but they must have all been returns as the boxes were all beat to shit.  No way am I going to buy a set of LED lights that someone else has returned.  I’ve been lucky so far with my Noma LED lights and I’m not going to take a chance on ones that someone else got pissed off with.

Anyways, I was looking for more lights to “complete” my plans for this year on the house.  Looks like that will have to wait for next year now.

Amazing though, LED Christmas lights sold out by the first weekend in December.