Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just this, and then it might be nap time.


My garage is starting to look a little better.  There was not only the stuff in there that had come over from Vienna that was being forwarded on to the new digs of Daughter Number Two and Hubby,  but I managed to unload a couple items that I’ve been shoving back and forth any time I’ve come home for a visit.  You know,  that stuff that is just under foot, but doesn’t happen to belong to me?  So therefore I can’t really give it the heave,  since I didn’t really “live” here. 

Well, now I’m home to roost,  so to speak. 

and it’s already on the truck…’cause it’s “got to go”.


A lot of the stuff was still in boxes,  or got boxed here,  ready for the move.  I’ve seen way too many times where folks want you to help them move,  and they really and truly haven’t a clue.  Like, I don’t want to carry out your toothbrush.  Or one sock.  Use boxes!

Just about everything got boxed, and carefully labelled as to the contents.   I’m kind of anal that way.


Which is probably why I had to start cutting down the cardboard in fairly short order.

I realise there seems to be a bit of a pile of bubble wrap there,  along with a mess of cardboard,  but that pile actually represents a smaller version of what there was before I started cutting it down to the “pick-up acceptable” sized pieces.  It has to fit into a blue box,  or at least into another box that the driver can manage.   This is one aspect that I miss about no longer working as a Caretaker.  I had access to all sorts of means of getting rid of stuff.  We had a “cardboard bin”,  and as long as the lid could be closed,  there was no worries about the size of the pieces.  We also had nice big dumpsters, for all the rest of the stuff that doesn’t seem to have a proper place.  I have a bunch of busted up bricks that were once flower bed edging. What the hell am I going to do with them? 

Speaking of proper receptacles.  We were a little mystified when the very clever driver decided that the bag of shredded paper couldn’t go with the rest of the recycling. 

There are these “recycling bags” available for just such an eventuality,  and rather than put the shredded paper in loose,  it makes sense (to me at least) to put it in the blue box in one of these “made to purpose” bags.

Here’s what the bags look like.  Pardon the French.



The other side is English, but that’s where the hole is.



They’re “see through”.  See?  So you know what’s in there.  Happens to be shredded paper.

But no.  “Unacceptable”.



So I guess next week I’ll just put it in my blue box loose,  and let’s just hope there’s not too much wind that day. 

I’m thinking of buying a leaf blower anyway.  I could always just blow it down the street.  No worse than the rest of the shit that’s blowing around on “recycle day”. 


I think I need to get me one of them jobs.  Apparently there’s not much “thinking” involved. 


We’re keeping the truck for the night,  which had more to do with the availability of able bodies helpers than the amount of stuff.  We’ll make one more trip tomorrow and then that should just about wrap things up. 


I think I’ll go scarf down a couple acetaminophen,  and maybe stretch out for a few minutes.


Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for stopping in.




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The next phase.

There are some things for which I am eternally grateful.  Well,  actually there are many things,  but I’ll try not to get side tracked.

As I was motoring home just now,  I realised just one more thing for which I am eternally grateful and that is,  that I don’t have to drive this POS any where except roughly the 12 kilometres or so to Daughter Number Two’s new digs in Oakville.


And no,  I don’t mean the one on the right.

Jaysus,  what a hunk of junk.  And I’m pretty sure they’re all that way, because the last one I had to drive was even worse. 

That last one,  was a used U-Haul that one of my former brothers-in-law decided to buy,  and then drove all the way from here to Prince George, B.C.   I only drove the thing home from where he bought it,  and I was already tired,  so I have no idea how he managed it.  It was worse than this one sitting in our driveway.

Anyhoodle,  I may have more to say about the whole experience when and if I get around to it. 

It’s gonna be fun!



Oh,  and by the way,  the lawn mower is self propelled.

There was a comment the other day from Mr. Doyle out there on the left coast about “pushing a mower” or something.   

Well let me tell ya!   There’s no “pushing” to speak of.  How shall I put this?   It’s well….awesome!

Cutting the grass was,  dare I say, almost an enjoyable experience!   I never thought I would have such a notion enter my head,  let alone put it in print.   I should have ponied up the extra dough for a self propelled mower years ago.  It’s some sort of system that will go as fast or as slow as you like,  all depending on how hard you ease into the bar at the front.  The only annoyance was having to turn to go back and forth.   Well,  that and the lawn has gotten a lot bumpier than I remember from the last time I cut it.  Gonna have to sort that out at some point.  It’s nasty.

The previous mower that we had was indeed a Lawn Boy,  which was a fine mower and all,  except for the mixing of gas *fumes* and the fact that it had to be pushed.  There’s a whole story there as to how we ended up with that thing,  but it matters not at the moment.

And of course,  since it stunk and had to be pushed,  nobody else in the family was overly motivated to help out in the grass cutting department.  Even though we shared it three ways.  That was more of a chore than the actual cutting.  By that I mean,  the part where I had to motivate a daughter to actually get out there and do her share.  Not mentioning any names.  


OK so,  Daughter Number two and Hubby just walked in the door with some dinner.   Gotta feed the driver of the POS after all.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.




Monday, April 22, 2013

A trip to the airport, and meet my new “friend”.

And no,  I’m not seeing new people when Travelling Companion is away.  She flew off to Edmonton this morning.  I’ve been to Edmonton.  It was when the weather was warmer.  Just sayin’.

She’s hopeful that this will be the very last time she has to travel for The Company that Cannot be Named.  She’ll be in Edmonton for the week.   Something to do with what I would refer to as “hand holding”.  I’m not going to go there.  I might hurt someone’s feelings.

Anyhoodle,  after much deliberation, ciphering and general consternation,  it was decided that we would no longer have our grass cut by anyone but little ole me.   It’s not like I’m a stranger to this activity.  I’ve cut my share of grass over the years.  Did it ever since we moved in here in ‘92.   But then T.C. and I spent about a year in Puerto Rico back around 01/02,   and the grass didn’t stop growing, so we got a service.  We moved back in 03,  but Bob was a big baby and kept the service,  which meant that,  when we once again moved away,  this time to Europe,  we already had someone.  That was lucky,  eh?

Well, as the service got worse right along with the price, we swapped out one provider for another, and then another. So rather than end up paying a lot of money for lack lustre results, I’m just going to go back to cutting my own damned grass, and be done with it.


So I bought me a “Toro”. 


Guaranteed to start!  

Damn, there’s go that excuse.

Mind you,  there are conditions to that whole guarantee.  You’re supposed to bring it in for *service*. 


But here’s the thing.  Run it dry in the fall, and don’t keep the fuel hanging around all winter. Instead, if you have any left over gas, pour it into a vehicle and use it up,  AND only use 91 octane fuel with no Ethanol.   With no Ethanol.

The young chap at the place where I bought it, tells me that Shell has 91 octane gas without Ethanol. I don’t normally buy my fuel at Shell, but I guess I’ll be buying my fuel for the mower there.  Whatever. 

Ethanol is the bane of small engines,  by the way.  If you want your small engine to run right year after year,  stay away from it.  There, you’re welcome.

Here’s some further reading on the problems with Ethanol.



Just heard from T.C.  She’s in Edmonton and was on her way out to the plant.  She gained two hours,  which makes for an even longer day.  We left for the airport at 6:30, so you can do the math.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some bunny to love.

Don’t take that literally.  But when they’re really young and helpless, it’s hard to just ignore bunnies on the loose.

Hence the chase:









Daughter Number Two had the knack for catching the little buggers.



“How’s he making out over there?”






So the thing is,  we have a nest in the garden (one that we know of)  and these little guys thought they’d make like Flopsy Mopsy and Cottontail*,  and go on a little adventure.   Too easily squished under a car tire, so there were no thought of “letting Nature take its course”.

They’ll probably end up as coyote fodder anyway,  but I don’t want to know about that,  and squished road-kill bunny would be bad.



Not sure why they had to reach *through* the fence?


I had this bright idea I do some more digging today,  if it ever warms up.  It’s sunny,  but only about 5°C.


He’s in there,  believe me.


And yes, the “garden” needs work.  “Garden” is the best word I can come up with.  “Mess” is a good word to describe it too I suppose.

That was the “excitement” for yesterday afternoon.  It’s come to this.


Have a fine Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.





*Yes yes, I know.  They were the three bunnies who stayed home.  It was Peter who disobeyed.  We didn’t see him.

Friday, April 19, 2013

No more window units.

It’s only taken us twenty years to get around to this,  but as the weather warms up in these parts,  I’m going to take great delight in not having to heft three different window air conditioners into their respective windows. 

All I have to do now,  is push a button.  

Eeeeeee.  It’s a little exciting.   Not only that,  but the units that were installed are also heat pumps,  which means that they could be used in addition to the boiler.

Right, see that’s the thing,  we have hydronic heating,  so therefore,  we ain’t got no ductwork.  Much to the dismay of those who would call from the duct cleaning companies,  looking to clean our duct work.   Once upon a time Daughter Number Two did have a bunny or two,  so my usual rejoinder was,  “Well,  we don’t have any ducks,  but we do have a couple bunny cages you can come and clean out.  Which is better for you,  afternoons or evenings?”  

That was usually met with stunned silence on the other end.  We would then continue the conversation just long enough for me to point out that in fact no,  we do not have any “duct work”.   Just bunnies.

Funnily enough,  there hasn’t been anyone calling to clean our duct work for a long,  long time.  Think the word got out?    “Don’t call that idiot,  he’ll just tie you up on the phone.”


So after at least three quotes (would have been a fourth,  but I never heard back from one guy.) and a certain amount of back and forth,  we decided to bite that bullet. 

One of the locations decided upon was going to be in the dining room.  We don’t normally keep a tarp on the buffet there,  that was what I had put there just to be on the safe side. 


I wasn’t going to move the buffet, since it’s loaded with dishes.

When the installers came in,  they added some more padding,  as well runners for up the stairs.  The second unit was going at the top of the landing,  with the pipes running out through the attic. 



The inside installation is easy peasy.  Hang the bracket,  drill a three inch hole,  sloping towards the outside for drainage,



hang the unit on the tabs,


and Bob’s yer Uncle.  


I did remove the tarp and bubble wrap later,  although I suppose it would do a good job of protecting the buffet.  Probably just as well I don’t live alone.

These units are made by Mitsubishi,  and the name of the line was possibly conceived by someone whose first language is NOT English.   Mr. Slim?

I’ll admit,  they don’t take up a lot of space. 

OK, whatever.  Let’s move on.


They set up camp in the driveway until it came time to install the compressor and lines in the back.







There was almost as much time spent trimming things out and making it look ‘pretty’ as anything else it seems.  Trying to get everything from looking like a dog’s breakfast was a challenge.  The compressor has to be at least 40” from the regulator on the gas meter,  so that was our chosen location.  I really like the idea that it’s up off the ground.  The bracket that mounts to the wall even had a built in spirit level.  I thought that was a nice touch.

So I don’t think the first bit of hot weather will be looked upon with the same sense of dread that I used to have.  I just have to wash out a couple filters maybe twice a year,  and replace the batteries in the remotes. 


The only slight annoyance?  It was a sunny but cool day,  and I ended up spending just a little too much time in the blazing sun.  Roasted my noggin’ just a tad.  Doesn’t hurt any more,  but I was feeling a bit hollowed out yesterday.  It might have been a touch of sun stroke.  Should have worn a hat,  but it was so nice to have some warm sunshine.  What a dough head.

I’m usually pretty careful,  but the weather has been the sh*ts for so long,  I guess I lost my mind.


Now that I don’t have to worry about fitting in air conditioners in the front window,  that’s going to be the next thing on the list. 


It was installed in 1958 when the house was built,  and although the structure itself is sound,  the concept isn’t.  The sliders there at the bottom are “sashless”,  and the only “R” value that they have,  is that there’s a second set on the inside.  I think oil was 6 cents a gallon in ‘58?  Not only that,  but the thermopanes above have had the biscuit.   I’m shopping for a supplier of cedar windows to match the other cedar casement windows I’ve put in so far.  I know that cedar has to be treated like any other woodworking project,  but I like it.  No vinyl for me,  thanks.

There’s a builder up in Sundridge,  and it would seem that they supply a lot of cedar windows for cottages in “Cottage Country”.   So we’ll see how I make out. 


I think that’s it for today’s missive.   I’m waiting to hear back from a fellow who wants to buy a trailer hitch that I’ve had kicking around here for a while,  so hopefully that pans out.

Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for lookin’.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A busy few days.

What is it, Thursday?  Man, fun sure flies when yer doing time. 

The ‘standing around waiting for people to finish running’ thing on Saturday morning was enjoyable I suppose.  I’ve done this sort of thing with other forms of racing,  on days when it’s not very pleasant out,  so I more or less knew what to expect.  Wore my toque.  Didn’t wear gloves but should have. 

It was about five degrees,  raining and blowing.  It was a bit of a challenge to hold an umbrella and take photos.  Especially after I started to lose feeling in my umbrella holding hand. 

I’ll choose not to include pictures of the intrepid souls who ran,  as those types of pictures aren’t necessarily all that flattering.  But you can get the idea.  I put some here,  but I took ‘em off.  Sorry.


It was a “five K” which,  for those of you unfamiliar with running terms,  is five kilometres.    There were others who had started the ‘ten K’,  and the winner of that race finished in the middle of the pack of the five K runners.  I thought that was quick.

Anyhoodle,  it was nice to go to brunch afterwards and not only get something to eat, but get warmed up.

Sunday was a bit of a blur.  I guess nothing much happened Sunday. 

Monday was a painting day at the new digs for Daughter Number Two and hubby.   My hand was a wee bit sore the next day.  I no longer do the copious amounts of masking off.  Instead,  I spent the day “cutting in”.   I can do that.  AND,  judging by the work of whoever painted before us,  better than that guy. 

Daughter Number Two wanted some of her own colours in their apartment,  rather than sticking with the off white/light grey that had just been done.  It was a colour,  but not much of a one.   It’s always easier to get painting done before moving in the furniture.


Later in the day we had some help from hubby’s sister,  which meant I didn’t have to do the crawling around as much.  





Oh,  I just remembered something that I did on Sunday.  Fun with the central vac.  Not the fault of the system by the way,  but simple operator error.  I was using a Swiffer that is getting on in years,  and part of the pad came loose and flew into the ‘floor sweep’ gizmo.   So I had to take that apart. 

Note the knee pads.


I put the whole system together,  so disassembly isn’t much of a trick.   This is when you find out if you buggered it up by gluing together the wrong bits.  There are a few parts in a central vac system that you do not glue together,  for just such an eventuality.  It’s not a question of “if” you need to take it apart,  but more a matter of “when”.


Lemme see.  Tuesday?  Right.  That was ‘toilet seat day’.   Well,  not the whole day.   But it was one of those ‘little jobs’ that I’ve been avoiding,  because I knew damned well what I had in store.  

Stupid toilet seat was loose,  and the stupid toilet seat bolts had rusted.  They’re not supposed to rust,  but the crap you buy these days is just that.  Crap.  

So that meant having to lob off the tops of the bolts with the reciprocating saw,  all the while not damaging the bowl.   Copious amounts of masking tape will usually stand up long enough to get it done.  Have to be patient though,  and let the tool do the work.  As soon as you start pushing too hard,  there will be trouble.

What would we ever have done before reciprocating saws?  I mean,  I do have one of those hack saw blade arrangements without the handle,  but it’s a bit of an abomination.




Hopefully these little tips are helpful.  You know, for whenever you have to remove toilet seat bolts without ruining the toilet seat.  

I mean,  who the heck takes pictures of their toilet bowl? 



There’s a slight hint of a scuff mark here and there,  but nothing major.  It was then off to Home Despot for some stainless hardware that was the proper length.  It might oxidize a tad,  but at least I can get a socket on each side for the next time.  Hopefully that next time is a long ways off.

Oh,  and THEN, yesterday, (Wednesday) we had our air conditioners installed,  but that’s a whole other set of pictures.  

Today is ‘put yer cr*p out to the curb’ day,  and we need to get busy. 

Um, I don’t think our municipality actually calls it that, but I have to use terms that I can remember.




Thanks for lookin’.



Friday, April 12, 2013

And it’s Friday again!

And apparently I’ll live.  At least for a little bit longer.  Healthy as a horse. 

Well OK,  there were a couple minor things.  I have to do a little research on LDL cholesterol, since the word is that mine is a little higher than it should be.  Quite likely has to do with whatever it is I shove into my pie hole.  We’ll see if we can resolve that.  I hear that,  if you start taking meds for high cholesterol,  then that’s it.  There’s no going back.  You’ll be taking it for the rest of your days.  I’ll pass,  thanks.  Or at least,  try and put that one off for as long as possible.  The slightly higher systolic blood pressure reading had more to do with being in the doctor’s office when the reading was taken.  There’s actually a name for that.   “We tend to stress people out a bit” according to the doc.   No kidding.

Then there was something about arthritis in my back?  What?  How do you see that on an x-ray?  I don’t seem to notice, although there is the odd time when something or other kinda hurts,  but I’ve always figured that was from doing something slightly dumb,  or simply getting older.  Take your pick.

My ‘check engine’ light hasn’t come on yet, so I’ll just keep on motorin’.


I don’t know if you can make him out,  but outside our bedroom window there,  is a robin.


Poor little sopping wet bugger. 

I’m sure he or she would sooner be inside,  because it’s been raining so hard and so long,  that the critters in these parts are running out of places to hide.

I realise there’s that whole, “April showers bring May flowers”  crap,  but the last few days have been just nuts.  There’s no stepping onto the lawn anywhere,  unless you want to sink in up to your ankles.

Well,  maybe not quite that bad, but you know what I mean.

Hasn’t stopped me from using the BBQ just about every night.  Daughter Number Two works at this awesome deli in Oakville,  so there would be no point being a vegan in this house.  You’d be sitting there watching us eat.


That steak on the right had to be a good two inches thick.  It had been marinated and then vacuum sealed to get them juices right in there.  We polished that sucker off.  The stuff off to the left there is lamb.  I have to say, not overly keen.  I’ve tried it,  and I keep on trying it cooked different ways,  and it doesn’t really rock my world.

By the way,  if you happen to be on the Book of Face,  you can do a little search for “Boffo’s” in Oakville.  Lots of pictures of meat.  Vegans stay away.  *sorry*


Hm, I wonder if it has anything to do with slightly elevated cholesterol?  Might hafta look into that.



Tomorrow we’re off to Guelph to watch some people run.  Sure hope it warms up.  Well, for the runners too I suppose.  I was just thinking of all that standing around,  which is all that happens whenever I attend a running event.

I wonder where we stashed those camp chairs?


Have a fine weekend, and let’s hope it warms up.   Well, except for you people where it’s “85”.   Braggarts.

Not that I hope you get sun stroke or anything, but just don’t be kicking us when we’re down.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wait. Is this April?

They *say* it’s going to be a hot summer.  I’m having difficulty getting that thought into my head.  

We’re in the midst of a “winter storm watch”,  with the possibility of freezing rain,  ice pellets,  cats and dogs,  the four horsemen…

OK,  maybe not that bad.  It’s mostly north of Toronto it seems.  We’re just getting copious amounts of rain,  which was why I had some repointing done on the chimney earlier in the week.



It’s one of those tedious jobs that I’ve been putting off for just about the last decade,  so I just figured I’d get it sorted when the opportunity arose.  

That chimney has been a tad beat up,  since there was a chimney fire once upon a time,  and the fire department then threw cold water onto a hot chimney.  Swell.

I have been known to go up on the roof,  but truthfully,  it’s not my favourite place.  Well,  I don’t mind actually being up there,  it’s the getting on and off the ladder that tends to give me the willies.   There,  now you know. 

I figure I’ve been up there enough times in the last twenty years,  maybe it was time to let someone else struggle with buckets of mortar and tools.  Um ya,  there’s that part where you have to get the materials onto the roof as well?   That’s fun too.

So the question is,  did this cure my leaking issue(s)?  I have to say, *almost*.   Depending on which way the wind blows,  I can detect some moisture on the east side of the brickwork.  Not happy.  The thinking is I’ll be calling the crew back again to take a closer look.  I did a close inspection of the whole thing and couldn’t see any place where a drop of water could get in.  Just aggravating.

Meanwhile,  I’m waiting for a note from an air conditioning company,  letting me know what day next week they’ll be installing our ductless air conditioning.  Did I say it was going to be a hot summer?   You watch,  we’ll drop all this money, and it’ll be the coldest summer on record.  This is usually the way these things go. 

That’s it kids.  A couple pictures,  a few words.   I’m off to see the doc for some results from blood work and such.  At this stage of the game,  doing the diagnostics is kind of important.  We all have a few aches and pains,  the trick is (because I know “tricks”,  right?) to know if any of them actually mean anything.


Keep those umbrellas handy.


Thanks for stopping in.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fun in the forenoon.

This is just an example of the depths to which my life has now sunk.  It’s all about plumbing,  heating and air conditioning. 

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been entertaining various representatives from air conditioning firms, with the objective being to get a “mini-split” system installed in the not too distant future.  The prices are scary,  but I’m getting too old and tired to be installing window units in this place.  And besides,  we want to replace the front window this summer anyway,  and chances are exceedingly slim that a window unit will ever be put in there again.  So we have to do it.

And you’re probably thinking, “What, air conditioning in Canada?  But isn’t it cold?”.   Um ya,  I used to think Florida was always warm,  or that they never got snow in Texas.  That’s not the reality.  It gets stinkin’ hot here. And that wouldn’t even be so bad if it weren’t for the humidity.  Some days you can just chew it,  it’s so heavy.

But enough of that.

This morning as I was sitting peacefully up there in the bathroom,  I made a decision!  And no,  I’m not referring to my diet either,  I’m talking about the hot water tap that has been dripping pretty much constantly for a few years now.  I just haven’t had the temerity during some of our shorter visits to get it sorted out.   Ultimately,  that bathroom will be the last one on the list of renovations, but the constant dripping in meantime has been getting to be too much to bear.

The thing is,  I seem to recall working on that very tap many, many years ago when the house belonged to my late father-in-law.  I guess I must have known my way around a Monkey Wrench  back then,  or at least he thought I did.  I somehow naively thought we would have torn out that bathroom before I’d ever have to go there again. 

Silly fool.



You can well see that these poor things are looking pretty sad.  In my previous encounter,  I had to chew away a bit at part of the flange in order to get a wrench on the valve.  I do have a set of deep sockets,  but the valve was never designed such that one would fit.  Swell.

(Also note the lovely 50s peach coloured tiles) 

If you’ve ever done this,  only to discover that the darned thing still leaks,  that’s probably because you didn’t remove the “seat”.   It’s the round copper thingy that the rubber bits come in contact with.  If it’s scored (happens when you get crud in the line) it’ll leak.


Note seat removal tool.  Very important.



Off to the arsenal.


This is a very,  very tiny portion of all the plumbing bits I have on hand.   Once upon a time I had to sort out a few apartments,  so I always had a bunch of stuff hanging around.


I was ever so briefly tempted to clean up the old one and reinstall it.  Just for the briefest of moments.  And then I came to my senses.  I think a new seat is worth what?  A buck?  I have no idea.  But putting it back together and having it leak again would truly suck. Note previous comment.


Which is not to say I’ve never had issues in the past.  But after fiddling around with plumbing bits for close to 30 years,  I’m a pretty good beginner.

Shutting off the water,  running up and down stairs,  going out to fetch the odd forgotten tool (although I didn’t do too badly) is probably the underlying reason for putting this one off for as long as I did.

All to replace these two tiny little bits.

Seems hardly worth, except for that part where it doesn’t drip any more.



You can see the washer on the left there is pooched.


I really wanted to put fresh packing on the diverter (that’s the valve in the middle that “diverts” the water to the shower head),  but it was not cooperating when I went to remove it. Snapping it off would have been really, really bad.   I ain’t that dumb,  so I left it alone.  If not all the water is getting up to the shower head,  I can almost stand it.  Almost.  But at least now there isn’t water escaping even when nobody is around. 

If it ever warms up around here,  I might get outside and sort out some of the issues we have with the automatic sprinkler system that I installed long,  long ago.  It’ll need a little TLC. 

But that’s for another day.


Thanks for lookin’ in.


Keep it between the ditches.