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Border Guards and Listening

My British cousin and his wife were visiting us in September. We were on the way to Fort Erie and were approaching the town. I turned on the Garmin. The disembodied voice told me to turn in 300 yards onto Central Ave. (my cousin was surprised that the same voice emanates from his device in England). My partner Emily shouted from behind me, “TURN NOW!” I complied and found to my dismay that I was entering the one way duty free entrance and the only exit was to the USA. On the bridge I made a U turn and headed back to the Canadian side and waited in line to return to Canada.

My cousins did not have their passports with them. I finally eased up to the kiosk; the Guard walked over. I was in a state of panic when he asked where we were coming from. I looked him in the eye and meekly said, “I’ll try and keep this short, Sir. We were heading to Fort Erie for a picnic and tour when I found myself on a one way and heading to the States so here we are.”

He listened, looked inside the vehicle and with a calm demeanor said, “You listened to your wife didn’t you.” We’re a pretty good team navigating the business, not so much the truck.


War Museum, T34 and John Belushi

Emily and I in early January drove to Kingston and then up to Ottawa.  I wanted to tour the War Museum and revisit the armoured vehicle basement room. The room holds 50 vehicles or more, including a German Panther tank and a Russian T34 tank. I was in my element and dare I say that Emily was enjoying the road trip and tour. At least she told me she was.

A young woman approached  and introduced herself as a guide. She had a Master’s degree in Military History. While chatting with her I was humbled by how little I knew about the fighting qualities of the German Panther and the Russian T34 tanks. She was a wealth of information.  It was Nirvana.  Any question I posed and she had the answer. I found out her favourite subject was early Roman warfare. It was overload.  I’m sure I saw Emily role her eyes with real delight.

It was a game changer when she led us closer to a Lee tank, opened up the side entrance door and pointed out a signature on the door. It was signed by John Belushi.  Our tour guide and Emily laughed.  Now that was something I wasn’t expecting to find at our National War Museum. Roman warfare will have to wait ‘til the next visit. Here’s to you John Belushi and a Lee tank.

Martin Harlick

Kingston, War Museum and Longwoods

Emily and I took a few days off and spent some time in Kingston and Ottawa, neither of us had visited Kingston. It has a beautiful downtown and harbour. We toured Fort Henry and we were both surprised and impressed by the size of the fort and the postcard scenic view from the top rampart of the St. Lawrence and Kingston.

The War Museum in Ottawa was well worth the visit; you need at least 3 hours for the tour and it is a compendium of information with every step.You walk out with a renewed pride for Canada and what our country has accomplished. The displays in the War Museum give you pause to reflect on the contribution Canada made in servicemen, servicewomen and material in both World Wars.We found time the same day to visit the Aviation Museum in Ottawa and again we were impressed with the collection. I dare say Emily was a touch fatigued by all the walking, for at the end of the day she was ready for a long swim at the hotel.

An applicant alerted me to a War of 1812 battle re-enactment May 3rd and 4th at Longwoods Conservation Area (it is located between London and Sarnia); off we went on Sunday and what a beautiful day it was. We strolled through the camp of tents and said hello to a number of the men and women dressed in period costumes. The smell of slow burning fires filled the air. Emily took note of the number of children who were playing and having a great time. We watched the soldiers march and jumped when the cannon were fired. It is worth the visit just to hear the cannon being fired. The best part of the day though was finding in a sheltered meadow, an Indian village from the 1600s and currently under restoration.

I am guilty sometimes of forgetting what a rich and colourful history we possess. During these past few weeks I have drank in my fair share and enjoyed every moment.

Mailing Lists, Hard Drives and Maximizer

A number of years ago my friend John recommended I purchase a stock called Maximizer. Here in lies the lesson, don’t buy stock your friend recommends and don’t listen to him while at an Oldtimer Hockey Tournament in Niagara Falls. I bought…it died…it went private…I lost!!

We continued to use Maximizer software at Applicants Inc. as a tracking program and for our mailing list. Every day the software continued to mock me reminding me of my poor decision.

A few weeks ago we smelled metal burning in the office. Why pay attention? This went on for a few days until the computer with the mailing list coughed, sputtered and died. We (I mean Emily) had not saved our mailing list on our external drive. We could not retrieve it from the fried hard drive, curses to Maximizer.

We did have an Excel older copy of the mailing list. We purchased new software called My Mailing List that claimed to import Excel files. Oh yeah! Goodbye to Maximizer hello new program. We (I mean Emily) loaded the program and with bated breath imported the Excel file……access denied….what!!!!! This should be easy, we struggled for days until eureka we printed and read the user manual and voila you received our Applidex.

I’m golfing with John in May and we’ll both laugh and cry about Maximizer. The stock that never was!!

New Camper, Barking Dogs and Too Long

Last month we purchased a small camper called an R POD and decided on a return visit to the Barrie KOA, where we enjoyed camping years ago with our children. On Friday night we were up at the game center sitting on a picnic table under the stars, watching the Argo game on an outdoor 50 inch TV. Groups of young children all sun tanned and energetic would run past us screaming in delight. You couldn’t ask for a better evening.

Saturday morning I walked over to the dog park. Why dogs need a park, I don`t know. One camper was kneeling outside the dog park with her pet. I asked, Why you don’t you join in? She replied, Boris has issues.

Later a camper arrived and set up behind us and to my dismay the owners brought along their children, a pair of barking, emotionally unstable miniature Daschund/Jack Russell crosses (why I asked would you want to cross those breeds). The dog owner called them his girls. The quiet afternoon was punctuated with the two dogs incessant barking. A dog walked by… bark, a person spoke … bark …. a door opened … bark. The oblivious owner sat in his chair smiling at his perfect, little creatures. It started raining and the girls went inside their camper, bliss, not a bark for the rest of the day.

I know I am barking up the wrong tree here, so I will get to the point. You are reading this because you are looking for a new opportunity or you want that right employee. You can not teach an old dog new tricks, this old dog however, is open for business and still learning. So please connect with Emily and Martin at harlick@applicants.ca.Emily wants a new a dog!!