Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

Hello everyone, from Mexico!

It may be comforting for you up north, to know that down here, we are also having to cope with similar conditions as you are suffering this holiday season.

Seriously now, this is our Christmas letter to you all.

2008 brought some significant changes for Sandy and I. One major change was my favourite (only, but favourite) son Lyle, graduating from High School. The other was that the many months of planning for a transition of ownership of Olds Electric & Lighting Ltd., to Jeremy and Cindy Tookey became a reality in early September. With Lyle gone to Germany for the better part of a year on his own little adventure, the stage was set for Sandy and I to move in to our motorhome, and set off to explore the open highway. We plan to work more diligently on our website business,, but so far we have been very busy with travelling, visiting, and doing a whole lot of nothing. Since we left the Olds area on September 22, time has really flown by for us. We believe that we are in a transition period, and with that I think comes a bit of a "state of shock". Although we miss our friends and family tremendously, we are having a great time on our new adventure.

To sum up our travels thus far, we went from Olds, to Fernie, to Whitefish Montana, back to Vernon BC, then off to Burnaby, then down the west coast, then to Palm Springs (Indio), over to Mesa AZ, then up to Las Vegas, down to Lake Havasu AZ, then over to Casa Grande AZ, then down to Puerto Penasco Mexico, where we are now at Christmas, and plan to move on further south for a couple of months.

To our family and friends, in lieu of Christmas gifts that we would have purchased for you all had we been with you this holiday season, Sandy and I plan to give gifts to some of the less fortunate people here in Mexico. We haven't found just where the best place to use the donations will be here yet, but when we do, we will be giving either a monetary contribution, or other worthwhile gifts that we see the most urgent need for. We will give the gifts in your names, and will take some pictures of who's lives you made a bit brighter if possible.

We really miss our family and friends, especially at this special time of year. It makes you realize what Christmas is really all about. To all of you, please have a very Merry Christmas, and all the best to you in the New Year! See you all in the spring!

All the best!
Terry, Sandy, Molly, Callie, and Champ!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Crisis in Columbia (oops, meant to say Canada)

I apologize for getting political again in my blog, but I believe it is essential that everyone that has any influence at all, needs to speak up about the situation in Canada, and what it means for any Country that claims to be a Democracy.

If you aren’t aware of what is happening, let me give you a quick update. We have several political parties in Canada, but the real choices boil down to two. The Conservative Party, and the Liberal Party, and you could draw a reasonably analogy here to the Republicans and the Democrats in the U.S.A. Conservatives are right of center, and the Liberals are left of center. Neither strays too far from the middle or they would be crushed in a country that has political views as broad and as wide as the country itself. Then we have some fringe parties on the sidelines that can make some noise, especially when they get a leader that rolls up his sleeves and boldly proclaims that he wants to be the Prime Minister, but in most Federal elections his party gets only about 15% of the popular vote. They are called the New Democratic Party, or N.D.P. for short. (Democracy in their name is a bit ironic). Another small percentage is split up among the other parties, one of which is only based in one province and the entire platform of that party is to take all the good things that Canada has to offer, but to split away from Confederation to be a country within a country. (I know, it sounds bizarre, but it’s true). In our last election, these fringe parties split up the votes for the main choices that we have, and like the last couple of elections, neither the Conservatives, nor the Liberals were able to get enough Members of Parliament to form a Majority Government. We elect M.P.’s to represent our interests in Federal issues, and each member that runs for office is normally affiliated with a political party (some are independent for various reasons). The party with the most members elected, earn the right to form a government, and the Leader of that party becomes our Prime Minister. If they don’t have enough elected members to form a majority, they get to govern with a minority. This is not really the worst case scenario as it keeps the government from doing anything goofy and forcing another premature election, but it gives them the mandate of the people to govern as they have a huge portion of the popular vote in comparison to the other parties. In the last election, the people chose the Conservatives to lead us, and with an even stronger mandate than the last election (from 36% to 38%). The Conservatives would likely have garnered a majority, but a lack of funding for Arts and Culture cost them some critical support in Quebec. The Liberal party got historically one of their worst results in Canadian History! Here’s where this all gets almost un-believably, incredibly stupid. The leader of Liberal Party may soon be installed as our Prime Minister! With only 26% of the popular vote (down from 30% in 2006), this man that was rejected by the people, has lost the confidence of his own Liberal Party (has agreed to step down as leader), could be our Prime Minister. Here’s how.

The New Democrats (cough, cough) under their egotistical party leader, have gone to the leader of the Bloc Quebecois (Separatists) and made a deal to support the Liberal Party (official Opposition) to form a coalition government, and install the leader of the Liberal Party as our country’s Prime Minister. With 26% of the vote, our Prime Minister. Really. I’m not kidding. Really.

News Flash! I just learned that our Governor General has just finished a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and has granted his request to Peroge (suspend) Parliament until January 27, 2009. This will give us some time to sort this all out, and will give the people time to let their elected officials know that this is not what we voted for!

Now I’ll admit that I’m a little biased, and this blog entry will provoke some lively discussion, even within my own family, but someone needs to counter-balance our so obviously left wing slanted national media. I watched an interview with our Global National news desk anchor, Kevin Newman, arguing with one of our government ministers about the validity of this proposed hostile takeover. (I thought the media is supposed to be un-biased when covering any news stories).

So let’s put all bias aside here, and we’ll put this situation in to terms that most Canadians should identify with, and my American friends can apply this to any professional sports league that they can identify with. Please, nobody take offense to this as it is only intended as an analogy!

The Toronto Maple Leafs have sometimes been referred to as Canada’s hockey team. Although they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since the 1960’s, these lovable losers have a firm fellowship of supporters, and equally as many who hate them. However, I suspect that if they were one the last teams standing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, many Canadians would jump on the bandwagon. So here’s my analogy:

Let’s say the Leafs have finally put together a team that has been improving over the last several years, and has been getting closer and closer to being a cup contender. Every year they make improvements, and now, after several years of growth, they have made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadians.
They even have some support in Quebec, as they have shown that they are a good, solid hockey team, and are worthy of support. They get in an epic battle with the Montreal Canadiens, and would likely have been the sentimental favorites throughout the entire country, including a few in Quebec. However, just before game 7, a reporter asks the Leafs team captain what he thinks of Arts and Culture in general. He states that he would prefer to put that aside right now, as he is focused on game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. This costs the Leafs any support that they had in Quebec, but still most people are on side with them to win the Cup.
On the morning of the big game, the regular members of the Montreal Canadiens have been replaced by all the top players from the other teams in the N.H.L. It turns out that the owner of the Canadiens had been in secret meetings with the owners of the rest of the teams in the league, and had decided that if it comes to game 7, they would all ban together to defeat the Leafs. It’s a hollow victory that sparks outrage across most of the country, and the rest of the world, and destroys any confidence in a league that could allow such a thing to happen. The N.H.L. spins out of control, Ratings are way down, season tickets are cancelled throughout the league, and the league goes bankrupt before the next season gets underway.

I hope this puts this outrageous situation in to a perspective that everyone can understand. Stay tuned, as this isn’t over. We’ll see what happens when Parliament re-convenes in January.

If this concerns you, I urge my fellow Canadians to get involved between now and January. Don’t let it get pushed aside as this crisis is not over by any stretch. Attend the rally’s, write letters to the editor, call or write your Member of Parliament, call the talk shows, and join a Facebook group. STAND UP FOR CANADA!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Late Late Show, with Craig Ferguson, and Asbestos Concerns.

This past Wednesday, November 19, 2008, Sandy and I made the trek west to Hollywood to participate as audience members on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. We are both fans of Craig, and the taping of the show was very entertaining. We sat right near the stage, in the second row from the front. We rushed back to Indio to watch the show, and to see if we made it off the cutting room floor when the camera's panned the audience. Sure enough, as the camera panned across the crowd, there was my right arm just before the camera cut back to the real action. Now I have an appearance on CBS to add to my television portfolio that includes several guest appearances as the electrical expert, on Help TV, on Canadian Learning Television, and Access Network. That's the same arm that can be seen holding various tools on our website! I may now need to get an agent! Any offers out there?

On a more serious note, I recently received an e-mail request from Richard Moyle, National Awareness Coordinator for the Mesothelioma Cancer Center in Orlando Florida.

Richard writes:

"Right now we are in the midst of a public outreach, attempting to educate people on asbestos and the dangers of exposure. As you probably know, asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer. The most common form of this type of cancer affects the lining of the lungs, and is extremely difficult to treat.

Because electricians often work in buildings that were constructed during the years in which the construction industry made heavy use of asbestos-containing products, including wire and electrical insulation, there is often a high risk of exposure to asbestos.

Our website is considered one of the Web's leading educational resources for individuals affected by asbestos exposure. We are very proud of our information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for those who have been affected. We recently received HON certification, an Internet standard created by the Health On The Net Foundation. This is a Swiss based, leading nonprofit organization promoting and guiding the deployment of useful and reliable online medical and health information. Additionally, our site has employed a full staff of writers dedicated to research and content creation on asbestos exposure and accompanying diseases, including Dr. Mauricio Salazar, our medical advisor".

Sandy and I have some first-hand experience with Asbestosis as her Father passed away from the disease back in 1995. He worked in an Asbestos insulation factory for several years in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. After his passing Sandy and her siblings were advised to get checked out for any signs of damage from second-hand exposure to asbestos, and after testing it was noted that some evidence of exposure exists, and will need to be monitored to see if the condition deteriorates over the years.

Over my career as an electrician, this was not something that I gave much consideration to until Richard's e-mail. I am going to post the article that he provided me on our website page dedicated to electrical safety.
Thank-you Richard, and the Mesothelioma Cancer Center for helping to raise awareness of this risk.

Please follow this link to the article.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hail to the Chiefs!

A lot has happened since my last post, most significantly the U.S. Presidential election. I'm a big supporter of the United States of America, and have the utmost respect for all that the nation stands for. The majority of the population wanted a change, and with the liberal media, and the throngs of celebrities throwing all the support and available resources behind Barrack Obama, you have a clear winner. The pure joy and jubilation on the faces of the people in the crowd in Chicago for the victory speech was very inspiring, and the President Elect didn't disappoint them with a historic and inspiring address. I hope that this new found optimism translates in to economic recovery in the long run, but so far the markets haven't responded very well in the wake of the election.

Maybe George W. Bush isn't the cause of all the economic strife as voters were led to believe? The sub-prime mortgage idea came from the Clinton Administration. Democrat, not Republican I believe. Yes, politically I stand right of center. However, the people have spoken, and I wish the next President all the best and I hope that he is even a fraction as good as the hype that sent him to the top.

However, one thing that I would like to comment on is the terrible treatment that President Bush has had to endure over the last couple of years. As I said before, I have nothing but respect for the U.S., and on that 11th day of September, I felt as though someone attacked my own family and friends, and I was angry. I commented many times that if I heard that they were handing out machine guns, and transportation across the pond to hunt down those responsible, I would have signed up in a heartbeat. President Bush was the Commander in Chief, and I believe that he handled himself with all the composure and leadership that all of us in the free world expected. To react with force is exactly what was required under the circumstance, and to do nothing would have been the wrong decision, in my humble opinion.

Now this isn't to say that I think George or his policies are without flaws. Nobody is perfect, and President Bush doesn't always come across publicly as the most educated and articulate man, but the public abuse and criticism that he has had to endure has to hurt, and hurt deeply. Sandy and I were in a Casino lounge in Florence Oregon on election night, watching the election results. Two ladies sat behind us watching Obama's acceptance speech, and after he was finished, I overheard one of them comment to the other: "So Bush is still in charge until January? That really scares me"! ......Scares you? Come on now! Do you really think that President Bush is out to do harm to the country and the very people that put him in charge of the country that he loves as much as you do? Think about that! George (and his close advisers) have had, and still have the best interest of the country in mind whenever they make decisions, even if they aren't the most popular ones.

I can only hope that after a cooling off period, the sentiments towards President Bush will be more favourable as he takes his place in American history. Bill Clinton wasn't all that popular when he embarrassed the country with his White House antics, and was nearly impeached for his actions, yet now he is treated as a hero, with people hanging on to his every word. George, there is hope for you yet. Time is the greatest healer! Hang in there President Bush! Thank you Mr. President, for 8 years of service to your country! God Bless the U.S.A.!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Terry the Electrician (Internet Electrician)

You've heard a lot about Joe the Plumber (if you are following the U.S. Presidential election and debates), so now it's time for Terry the Electrician to sound off on the economic slowdown (nice word for recession), and all the gloom and doom predictions that surround it.

I've been monitoring the TSX today, just to see how it closes, and it looks like it will be up about 300 points (3%) on the day, and the Dow Jones closed about even. This ends yet another week of wild swings in the markets, but maybe some stability is working its way in to the minds of investors? Wait a minute. That's being a bit too optimistic. That's not at all what we are used to. In the media, good news doesn't make very good news. They like to play on the negative in every way and this economic crisis has been a boon for them. Bad news makes GREAT news! I've seen more pictures in print and on the television of the masses in the soup lines of the great depression in the last few weeks than I've seen in my lifetime. Are we really heading for that?

I must admit that I have been caught up in this as well, and have had thoughts about how I wish I could have pulled out all my investments and stuffed them in my mattress for safe keeping. But when I look at the big picture, I hope I don't need to be pulling this money out as income for about 20 years or more. What will the market look like then? Who knows for sure. I certainly don't, and I'm even more sure that the 'experts' don't know either. I feel for the people that are now ready to start using investments as income now, but here again, are you pulling out all of your RRSP's today? This week? This year? We have to keep things in perspective before we panic and say no to a new car, or a vacation, and for sure no Christmas presents this year!

Look at your own situation. Yes there are people who have lost their job in this down-turn of the economy. Did you? Is your job relatively safe? Even if there is talk of down-sizing, is your name one of the small percentage that may be on the chopping block? If it is, you might start looking at your performance against your peers and see if you can't move up to the top half of the corporate ladder? If you own a business, is it slowing down? The business that we just sold is well on it's way to another record year, and 2009 looks even better for them. My point is this. With all the negativity, has your own personal situation changed as a result of all this? Most likely not. You probably have the same amount of disposable income that you had earlier this year when the TSX was over 15,000. Maybe even more if you look at expenses. They tend to fall in a slower economy.

Back to the stock market, and the extreme negativity. The TSX was below 6,000 back in late 2002. It was over 15,000 earlier this year. Today it closed at about 9,600. Are we down 35%, or are we up 37% from 2002? Is your glass half full, or half empty?

If you think the media and the experts can't possibly be wrong about the impending depression, and the complete loss of your personal wealth, let's look at what happened with the price of oil earlier this year. It climbed it's way to almost $150 / barrel. While on this wild ride up, what was the media saying about that? They were reporting all the most informed data from the experts with all the knowledge of this rise in price, and they all seemed to agree that we could be seeing oil at over $200/barrel by the end of 2008 and the price at the pump would be $1.50 / liter. ($5.85 US gal.). It's mid October now so with oil falling below $70 this week, we have a long way to go in the next 2 months to see this 285% gain in price come to fruition, don't we? And speaking of the price of gasoline.........

As I mentioned earlier, you may have more money to spend now as the price of getting to work, or operating your business SHOULD be getting cheaper as the price of gas must be destined to go down with the price of oil? No? Hasn't really kept pace with oil on the downward slide, has it. They say that the price of gas is very slow to react to the price of crude oil. But wait a minute. Every small increase in the price of oil on its way up reflected very quickly at the pumps. I remember clearly when the hurricanes were barely forming out at sea, the very prospect of them causing damage to refineries in the Gulf Coast region had the price of gas jumping in speculation. What a shameful double-standard! how dumb do they think we are?

So in closing, I think if you just keep all this in perspective, look at your own individual situation to see if it has changed much, and use that to guide as to how you would like to live your life. We're only here for a short time, so don't let the negativity of the media cause you to quit spending money or doing the things you enjoy. If you wanted that new car earlier this year, buy it! It's probably at a lower price now. If you were looking at a vacation, go for it. The price of that is probably down as well! To stop spending compounds the situation in the markets. They look at consumer spending as an economic indicator, and if spending is down, more downward pressure is put on the markets!

This is only my opinion, so take it for what it's worth! After all, I'm only "Terry the electrician".

Today we will pack up and tomorrow morning we will move on to Vancouver for a few days. I'll post another blog in a few days to up-date our situation. Follow our travels on Sandy's blog at

PS. To Joe the Plumber. Buy that business! With the new fame and publicity you have I'll be very disappointed in you if you don't take full advantage of it as ride it as far as you can! Call me and I'll set you up as The Internet Plumber!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Good Question

In my entry today, I am going to answer a great question that came in from one of our clients.

I have come across a question that I can't seem to get an answer to. I am AMAZED that I can't. Can you address with me the issues surrounding deliberately shorting a circuit in order to rapidly locate a circuit breaker?

This is an excellent question, and no, I haven't been asked this before so it is a good issue to address. I have never in my entire career as a professional electrician, purposely shorted out a circuit to trace the breaker location. However, I have seen others do it and use this practise on a somewhat regular basis. I do not support this practise.

A circuit breaker is designed to trip upon short circuit or fault conditions, and will open the circuit before damage can occur from the condition. Breakers are sized to protect the smallest wire size in the circuit, and the rated full load current of that wire. A properly functioning breaker will also trip under continuous over-load conditions at or near the rating of the breaker. Take for example, a circuit wired with #14 AWG wire, protected by a 15 amp breaker. I will give you 2 examples of why this is not a good idea. Some manufacturers of distribution equipment have lost their approvals for making breakers for household distribution because after tripping under a short circuit condition, once reset, they will resist tripping again under the same condition. No manufacturer names mentioned here, but one of them continues to maintain a large market share in the industry. I can't comment as to whether the problems have been corrected, but I will trust they have.

Example #1: I was using a reciprocating saw to cut off a wood ceiling truss in a porch, and failed to see a #14/2 wire stapled to the back of the truss that was covered in dust and dirt, and thus very hard to see. After completing the cut, with dust flying and debris falling, I looked at the blade of the saw and it looked as if someone had taken a human sized bite out of the blade. The live wire had arced and sparked it's way through the blade, blowing the metal away like a welding torch, all out of my view as I was on the other side cutting over my head. I couldn't believe that a 15 amp breaker would not have tripped under this condition. Just curious, I pulled out my meter and checked to see if the wire was still live, and to my amazement, it was! The breaker feeding that circuit was just a standard, 15 amp, single pole breaker (manufacturer name withheld).

Example #2: In older homes, where renovations to the system have been performed by well meaning homeowners, or helpful handy-friends, I have seen situations where an extra outlet or entire circuit has been added by splicing in to another circuit, like the 40A range circuit, using #14/2 wire spliced in a junction box tucked up in the floor joists. Imagine the extra pop that shorting out the 40A breaker will make! To sum it up, not a good practice. Imagine molten copper jumping from your intentional short circuit, leaping behind your safety glasses and melting through your eyelid in to the squishy part your eye!

On a personal note, we are still in Vernon B.C., and plan on moving on to Vancouver on Thursday of next week. Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow Canadians, and have a good weekend to the rest of the word!

Thank-you to my cousin Karen, and her husband Lloyd Knox for allowing us to stay on their R.V. lot here in Swan Lake Rec. Resort for the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Time to get to work!

Just returned from a golf trip to Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops B.C., and so far all our time since leaving home has been spent having fun. See Sandy's blog at
Now it's time to get to work on the website. One of the first things we need to figure out is how to change our telephone help service. This aspect of the website hasn't been working that well as it seems every time the phone rings with a client needing help, I'm not in a good position to take the call, like driving, or visiting with someone, or I'm sleeping when the call comes in from an earlier time zone.
How it has worked before is when a call comes in, I answer it, or let it go to voicemail so that I can call the client back from a land line. Then I call back, get all the information from them, including credit card information, and then we begin timing the call when we get in to the client's question. After the call is finished, we would process payment through our other company's card terminal and transfer the funds to Now that we don't have a land line, or the other business, or a terminal now, this obviously won't work.
I'm not so sure the phone help is valuable, as many times I end up needing to create a diagram or drawing to get the question answered. I'm thinking that a timed session using chat software may be more useful and use a type of: "the electrician is in" button on the site to show when I'm online and available for a help chat. Any ideas out there? Feel free to drop me a line at if you have a suggestion.
Until next time.
Terry Peterman
The Internet Electrician

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jumping from a functioning airplane, why you ask?

What would you do after selling your business and were getting ready to begin the next phase of your life? I chose to tempt fate and find a way to possibly end mine. One of the apprentices in our company is an accomplished sky-diver and has done this silly stunt hundreds of times, so she thought that it would be a great team-building exercise for the Olds Electric team. Many signed up (or did Cindy sign them up initially?), but few carried it through to the end, or what could have been the end. The D-day was set for September 14, 2008, and Jody needed the commitment. I struggled with this in a large way, but my sister Judy, always game for new experiences, which has also included Bungee Jumping, said she would go if I did, but if I didn't, she wouldn't go. Great. Now some peer / sibling pressure to add to the decision process. I said OK, and the die was cast.

The day started with gathering at the small airport outside of Innisfail Alberta. We milled around for a while until the short lesson in the classroom, followed by flopping around on the floor of the preparation room pretending to be flying towards earth at upwards of 220 km/hr. (130+ miles/hr.) We chose the tandem jump for our first dive. This is where you jump from 10,000 feet, strapped to the guy behind you called the: "Tandem Master". This kind of bothered me as I don't usually do any recreational activities in tight jumpsuits with another person of the same sex buckled tightly to my back! (insert the famous Seinfeld homosexual disclaimer tag line, "not that there's anything wrong with that") It's just not for me. The other choice is a solo jump from only (only?) 4000 feet, with little or no free fall experience. We felt that if this was to be our first, and if it turned out to be the last time for this stunt, then why not get the full meal deal and go from the higher height. I reasoned that I would make the same hole in the earth reaching maximum speed from either height, so with a quick check for a trap door in the rear of the suit and finding none, it was all systems go. K.K, my Tandem Master likely prefers females for these jumps as well, so this particular fear was no longer a factor.
There are some procedures that you are taught to perform after hurling out of the airplane, and I thought that I would be OK with remembering them and how to properly perform them. They involve checking your altimeter, and then reaching for the rip cord to ensure that it's there, and when you get to about 6500 feet, you should again reach for the rip cord and pull it out for a chute opening of around 6000 feet. If you forget any of these steps, that's what the Tandem Master is there for. He doesn't want to die either, so he will pull the cord if you don't. This is good, because in the words of K.K., I was fairly unresponsive for about 3000 feet of free fall, so he slapped my hand away from grappling for the cord after I saw the 6500 foot mark come and go, so he pulled the cord for us. Poof, jerk, then silence. Wow,.... that's what I signed up for! Now it was quiet, the view incredible, and we drifted safely and silently towards the airport.

Once the chute is open the fear is gone and I enjoyed the ride down. When we were close to the landing area, we did a couple of spins left, then right, which left me quite nauseated and looking forward to getting back on the ground. I was instructed to lift my legs for the landing, but if we were coming in slow enough to land on our feet he would let me know at the last minute to stand up. I lifted my legs, but when he said stand up, I didn't, and we skidded to a stop on our buts.

All in all, it was a great experience, and thank-you Jody for talking me in to it.

Will I do it again? I don't think so. For me it was one of those "been there, done that" things, and I won't make a sport of it. It was scary, but fun. I'm also glad that I shared the experience with my sister Judy. She probably will do it again, only likely with her son Greg.
Until next time.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Let's Make a Deal!

After a fairly long, drawn-out, and difficult struggle, the sale of our electrical contracting business is complete! As of this past Friday, Sandy and I are now full-time R.V.’ers, and are working full-time on the website, Our plans are in motion, and we are looking forward to enhancing our on-line services, and to improving the content on our site.

The sale of the business has been in the discussion and planning stages for well over a year now, and with us and the purchasers in full agreement over almost all of the details, including the purchase prices of the 2-part sale (the buildings and the business), it was surprising how difficult the process was, not within the affected parties, but with the legal wrangling, and then the financing from the bank. The first stumbling block was the lawyer for the purchasers. I’m not sure if he was just too busy, or if he was out of his comfort zone with a “share sale” all tied in with a real-estate purchase that was to close at the same time, but the delays that he caused were extremely frustrating for all parties involved. Our lawyer was fantastic throughout the process for us, and held the deal together, coming up with a 23rd hour solution that saved the entire process from collapse.

The deal was supposed to close on June 30, 2008, so all planning was pointed at that closing date, including a 2 day shut-down of operations to take a detailed inventory of the shop, vehicles, and jobsites. Then with the delays inflicted by the purchasers’ lawyer, it became apparent that we needed a new target date. We were hopeful that it would only be a week or two, but soon we set a realistic new closing date of July 31, 2008. With the “offers to purchase” now signed and in place, and closing in on the new deadline, the documents were ready to take to the bank. Verbal approval of the financing had been given by the bank, but needed: “one or two days” to run it through the official approval process.

After waiting to hear back from the bank for over a week, and us amending the target dates on the offers to purchase, we still had no word from the bank. Then came the answer that no one expected. The bank reneged on the down-payment requirements and now were asking for over twice as much cash up front, only financing a small portion of the amount required. The deal was in serious trouble, to say the least. The purchasers found a solution however, and off to the “people upstairs” for the rubber stamp of approval, and a promise that we would have a letter to take to our lawyer, ensuring that the financing was in place and the deal was saved. After yet another week, we still had no letter, and then another road block was erected by the bank. In the meantime, since July 31 (which we had named “the effective sale date”), the purchasers assumed the role of new owners, and had moved in to the living quarters of the business (with our blessing, but against our legal advise).

To make a long story even longer, time marched on and with the ever changing closing date now moved to August 31, 2008, we still weren’t sure what was going to happen. Sandy and I had sold or given away all of our surplus possessions, stored things we couldn’t divest of, and had moved everything else in to our motor home at our lake property. The new owners were all settled in with no place to return to, having sold their home back in June. To go back now seemed unthinkable, unbearable, yet inevitable. Then our lawyer, with less that 24 hours to disaster, came up with another option that involved Sandy and I providing the financing for the deal and leaving the bank to wonder what happened. Our lawyer drew up the revised offers to purchase, and the papers were signed before the deadline, and a new closing date of September 4, 2008 was established. Of course, the other lawyer missed the deadline by about 27 hours, but by 3:00 P.M. on September 5, the deal was done. What a ride!

Sorry to bore you with the details, but I needed to capture the process for future reference, so what better way than to use my blog? Now, as I have promised before, but failed miserably, I will be making more frequent entries. Way more. Really!

Sandy and I are looking so forward to the next phase of our lives, and the time is now! We will be heading out west to British Columbia for a month or so, starting around the 22nd of September. Then late October, or early November we will head south down the Pacific coast with a meandering path that will eventually get us to southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Sandy is going to start a blog that will document our travels, complete with pictures or video where necessary. I will up-date you with the location and a link to it when we get that in place.

We plan to be very focussed on the website, improving the content, and answering the client questions on a regular basis.

Let’s get it started!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring in Alberta!

IMG_1295, originally uploaded by sandypeterman.

Winter returns (for now)

Here we are, 20 days into the month of April, and I’m happy that my blog entries are slowly becoming a little more frequent. The sale of our contracting business is moving towards completion, and we might be able to set a date for the change of ownership by the end of this week.

If we were having any second thoughts about spending more time closer to the sun, they were erased on Friday, with the invasion of a cold front, complete with high winds, cold temperatures, lots of snow, and no sign of relief for about a week! I just got back in the office from clearing our sidewalks of heavy, wet, drifted snow (see the uploaded picture).

As a contrast, one week ago Saturday, the temperature was about 21 degrees Celsius, or 70 Fahrenheit for our American friends.

A few weeks ago, we were approached by the nice folks at Warmly Yours to see if we would consider putting an article on our website introducing our clients to their line of home comfort heating products, including tile and stone, carpet and laminate, snow melting (I could use some of that right now), towel warmers, mirror de-foggers, and area rug heaters.

After reviewing their comprehensive and informative website, at , we were very impressed with the products and the company, and we have posted a short but informative article on our site that you need to check out, whether you are in the market for some floor heating now, or will be in the near future. Follow this link at:

Recently a client sent me this question, which I will answer for you here on this blog as a timely compliment to the subject of installing some in-floor heating products.


I have tiles floor heat in my bathroom. As per the electrical inspector, I need to install a GCFI breaker for the circuit. Currently there is a 240v double pole 15a breaker installed with two screw terminals. There are two wires connected to these, and a ground that attaches to the bond terminals in the panel. The two wires go to the line voltage thermostat for the floor heat.

When I got the new 240v GFCI double pole 15a breaker I see it has three screw terminals and a white curly wire attached. I connected the white curly wire to the neutral bar in the panel per the instructions. Then I connected the two wires that are going to my thermostat to the two screw terminals that are black and labeled Load -. There is a screw terminal in between those labeled ‘Load N’, and nothing is currently connected to that. I have power to the thermostat but when I press the test button it doesn't trip the GFCI breaker. Any thoughts?


If you have connected the new GFCI breaker to your circuit as you have described, you connected it correctly. The load neutral is only required if the appliance or the equipment that you are feeding with the GFCI breaker requires a neutral conductor. With a 240V electric heat circuit, there is no neutral, so leaving the ‘Load N’ terminal unused is correct.
As for the breaker not tripping when you push the ‘test’ button, this can only meant that the breaker is faulty, and should be returned for replacement. GFCI devices should be checked in this manner on a monthly basis, and need to be replaced if they do not function as designed.

Until next time, work safely, and check back often!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring time and closer to the goal.

We are getting very close to the goal of working on the website on a full time basis. Given my dismal performance thus far in up-dating my blog, I would guess my next entry will be to inform our readers of a completed sale of our contracting business, paving the way for the next phase of our life, where will be our primary focus.
I must apologize to the thousands of people who have taken the time to sign up for our monthly e-zine (that comes out every year or so). The questions that you submit are now answered sporadically, but I keep them all for information to design future content for the site. I do respond to all of the e-mail, custom wiring diagram, project consultation, and telephone calls that come in to me via the website within a few hours. If you are calling the 1-888-622-3322 help line, please leave a message with a return number as these calls come to my cell phone, and I end up calling you back from a land line anyway. I will return calls in a timely fashion.
Our Alfa Motorhome has been a bit of a disappointment to us as I sent it in for some minor warranty repair work back in the beginning of January, and now I am told I might have it back at the end of next week. This will be a full 12 weeks, or 3 months, or 25% of a YEAR. Not impressed! The dealership blames Alfa, and Alfa denies any problems, so the blame game continues and I'm without the use of the coach. (Thanks for allowing me to vent).
Anyway, I look so forward to being able to focus on the site, adding content, responding to questions, and updating this blog. It's sooo close!