Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thought I'd lost my house keys.

So,  yesterday was a fairly normal Friday for around these parts. Piddled around for most of the day,  had a brief nap in the afternoon,  checked with Daughter Number One to see if she wanted to go with me to the Pub ( and the answer was no,  she was still "poolside" at a Friends house and wasn't about to disturb that particular moment of zen) so then off I went.

Oh,  by the way,  T.C. is away for a few days,  as she and one of her sisters who lives in Guelph had gone off to London to catch up with some old school chums,  one of whom is a jazz singer,  and was going to be performing Thursday night.
I'll be darned if I can remember her name,  but whatever.


And that's London, Ontario.   Not that other one.

By the way,  these are chums who have known each other since grade seven I think?   A bit of a long time.

Anyhoodle,  had a nice visit at the Pub.  It's a fairly regular bunch of what I refer to as "Pub Buddies"  even though we all know each other mostly from previous work experience.  There was a bit of a follow up to the Terry Fox run that took place last Sunday,  where I and a host of others volunteered our Sunday (early..) morning to sit at the registration tables and make sure everything was tickety-boo.
Which by the way,  we must have done a pretty good job of doing,  as the key person who looks after us was all done and had joined us for a libation by about 1:30 that afternoon.  I think that was a bit of a record.  Things have to "balance",  and if that doesn't happen,  it's 'no bueno'.
And then of course,  the bulk of the rest of the discussion mostly has to do with the NFL and the pool that several of us participate in.

Alas,  this year I'm sort of sucking a big ole weanie,  with a dismal start of only a couple points.

Just...pitiful.

We usually wind things up after a couple hours,  and part ways.

I came back home,  as I still had some left overs to consume.

For the last quite some time now,  I've been really really careful when it comes to any sort of alcomohol consumption and then getting behind the wheel,  and it just so happens that this particular Pub has a couple examples of alcohol free beer.  All of which are actually pretty good.  I had had alcohol free beer once upon a time maybe 15 (?) years ago,  and it was,  how shall I put this?  Pretty bad.  
So much so that we very nearly sent it off to the Veterinary College  up in Guelph,  and I'm sure they would have conceded that our horse was in perfect health....
(Old joke,  never mind)

I'm not about to name names,  except for the one that I like,  and will typically consume if either I'm the DD,  or if I'm by myself.  It's "Clausethaler".  And it took me a few weeks before I could remember that name,  and eventually I had to somehow associate it with the notion that I'm somewhat claustrophobic.  Nothing to do with beer,  just word association.

Hey,  ya gotta do,  whatcha gotta do....


Of course,  by the time I get home,  alcohol free beer or no,  I most definitely need to get myself to the bathroom.  (Sorry,  "restroom" for you yanks)
Only thing?  I could NOT find my house keys.  Oh boy...

Doesn't help when Mr. Bladder is starting to complain.  Like...big time.

There are a couple ways to get into this house without necessarily having key in hand. I think everyone either has,  or should have some way of getting into their domicile without having to go to extremes.
Can't really say what the method is here in a public forum,  and it's not exactly like "Jack Benny's Vault",  but close.  
Also something that can make it a bit of a challenge with a bladder that's really, really not willing to wait much longer.

I do feel obliged to say,  I made it.

Barely.

And then began to wonder,  just what the heck had I done with those keys?    I was sure I had taken them,  and began to rethink/retrace etc.,  the previous couple hours.
I had definitely not taken them into the Pub with me.  That would make no sense.  So they had to either be in the truck,  or where else I wasn't sure.
After having gone through the nooks and crannies of the truck (hey,  found some random coinage!)  and come in and out of the house a couple time in full search mode,  I just happened to notice them lying on the grass about mid point between the door to the shed and the driveway.

I guess,  after I had toddled over to the shed to close the door,  I must have dropped them.

Bonehead.


So much for the confessional.  I hope to not repeat that little episode for a long while.   And sadly,  I had been doing very well in the "keeping tabs on my shit" department,   going back to some nearly twenty years ago when I thought I had lost a set of school keys  (the HORROR!)  only to discover that they had fallen into one of my boots in the hall closet.  Wasn't wearing those boots in the hot summer weather,  so they had been "lost"  for a couple months.  I stopped taking school keys home with me after that.   Just had one to get into the building,  and that was on the same ring as vehicle keys.  So,  unless I walked to work (not likely) I could always get into the building.

It's all a matter of building in that whole "how to make it idiot proof" thing.  At least in my case.  Your mileage may differ.


Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.




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Friday, September 22, 2017

Not giving up just yet.

Because,  we'd like to have some of the grapes,  and not let the raccoons eat all of them,  dammit!

This "phenomenon"  has been going on for a few days now,  with the first visit back in the earlier part of the week.
From where I'm sitting,  and if the windows are open, I can hear commotion coming from outside.  And sure enough,  when I went out to investigate,  there was one of our little "friends",  helping himself (herself?) to our grapes.

I initially started poking away with a mop handle,  at which point I was growled at,  and declared, "This means war".


You all remember Bugs Bunny of course.

But let's not get side tracked.

So on that visit,  the little bandit got a good soaking,  as the hose is handy,  and our water pressure is good.
I knew though,  that he'd be back.
Hence,  over the ensuing days,  my raccoon visit mitigation devices got more and more elaborate.  I think finally last night I might have found the ultimate solution.

Well really,  the "ultimate" solution is frowned on here abouts in the burbs,  and I think you know what I mean.  Not even remotely possible,  as I have no "ordinance"  here at The Ponderosa.




So this:


....utter silliness,  was my attempt to ward off the visitor.

There was evidence of fur ("We have DNA evidence",  according to T.C.)  but this elaborate contraption wasn't completely effective.

Deterred,  little buddy went along and shinnied up the centre divider between the garage doors.   All I had to do was look,  and I could see the little claw marks on the wood.  Bugger!

*grumble*

As they say in Jamaica,  "respect, Mon".   But really?

So that resulted in this:



I stapled old metal lath around the edges,   along with a bunch of nails.

And....AND!  this morning there were NO grapes scattered about on the ground!  So,  until there's some sort of new devious plan,  the grapes *might* be safe for a few more days.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the little bastards setting up a scaffold tonight.   Fingers crossed.

See,  we had a pretty good crop this year,  and there were enough grapes for maybe four or five tiny jars of really, really good grape jelly.

Emphasis on "were".  Not so sure anymore.


Um,  let's see.  What else?

We're having some crazy warm (actually,  hot) weather.   Totally awesome I must say.  Better than most of August,  or half the summer for that matter.  I hear some folks actually closed their pools.  Too early for that for sure.
Anyway,  this weather should continue for a few more days.

This is when I'm really thankful that I don't have to work in a hot school.  It's bad enough in the summer with shorts and a light shirt on,  but when school starts,  the Custodial Staff have to once again don the usual long trousers (blue jeans at least)  and blue shirts.

OK for the late fall,  winter and early spring,  but I run a little hot,  so I'd be sweating like a steer.


I had thoughts of renting a honkin' big log splitter to deal with some of the bigger stuff that's too big for my own splitter,  but then realised it's just a bit too hot...

I'm not sure what I'll do today,  which is why I'm sitting here more or less frittering away my time.

So whatever the heck it is,  I suppose I'd best go and get at it.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

Keep your stick on the ice.




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Watching the show.

Because there seems to always be a "show".   And I'm not talking about the Eclipse,  which was kinda neat.  And yes,  I did watch some of that,  but only on line.

I wasn't about to fool with pin holes in cereal boxes and such,  when there were several entities such as NASA who very conveniently had live feeds that one could watch on YouTube.   I mean,  if you have "unlimited" internet download capability (which is not really "unlimited",  but whatever)  why not watch on line?

Anyway no,   the show I'm referring to,  and one of the reasons we open the curtains in the front is, the neighbours across the way.





Not the best picture,  but this is the third boat they've had in a couple years.

They just keep getting bigger and bigger!  Hey,  whatever floats yer boat.

Sorry for that one.

It's presently away, and just the trailer is there for the last few days,  so I'm guessing they're on holidays.   Which means the kids are at home.  Which means,  there's usually some other type of "show".

I was in bed by then,  but reportedly the cops showed up the other morning at around two. Went in.  Had a chat.  *rolling my eyes*


Beats TV some nights.


Anyway,  we seem to be muddling along.  Had visitors off and on this summer.   Sister-in-law and Hubby have moved from B.C. back to Ontario and have bought a place in Kingston.  If you look at real estate prices,  you'll get it.

Kingston is nice.  They're a couple blocks from the water,  and are hoping for a mild winter.  Fingers crossed.
I think I'd sooner have cold and clear rather than the type of weather they get in Vancouver.

I'd be totally depressed.





Meanwhile,  my bathroom is pretty much done.  Well,  except I think I'm going to paint the inside trim,  as I'm not happy with the way it looks.   Went back to the paint store and had them tint what was left over from the painting I had already done,  and voila!  I now have "trim" paint.   Really just paint.  But a darker version of what I put on the walls,  and they tinted it for free!   

No brainer.  Already had the paint,  and I like "free".


Annoyingly,  the sink drain was NOT cooperating,  so I had to get serious about cleaning it out.   Turns out there was a lump of gunk in the line that had hardened up over the time it took me to do the work,  and no amount of coaxing either with a plunger or liquid plumber was getting it to work.
It was hair,  but let's not go there.

So I had to cut the drain pipe (after first removing the plaster ceiling in the garage.  Such fun!)  and shoved a air hose up in there and gave it a blast.   Worked like a charm.

Then I installed a clean out for the inevitable time when it decides to back up again.





Because it will.

That bit of white stuff there is just teflon tape.

Due to the location of the laundry chute,  the original plumber had to make a couple 90 degree bends up in the wall behind the cabinet,  and I simply know it'll be prone to a stoppage at some point in time.  No worries.  I'll just blast it out again.

Um,  I suppose that's about it.  We're still sailing on Tuesdays until the long weekend.  Then after "Bronte Rocks",  we switch over to Sundays.   Something to do with sunset and days getting shorter.

Oh,  and we did do a couple cottage visits.   Nothing extraordinary.


Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Why it's good that some regattas are only two days.

Since that's the maximum number of days I can stay out in the sun.

It's one thing to be "outstanding in your field",  like haying or such,  but being on the water seems to fly me up real good.  No matter how much I slather on sunblock,  and reapply after sweating it off,  I still manage to get ever so slightly toasted.

Anyway,  this past weekend was the "Can-Am Challenge' in Youngstown, N.Y. which,  for us is just across the boarder.   Kind of odd really,  as we go to the States,  and then ended up sailing in Canadian waters both days.

Whatever.   It was a great two days.  A little lumpy on the Saturday morning,  but that was the only glitch.  Well,  and the Race Committee was a bit of a "shit show",  or at least I seem to recall that that was the term we used.  I mean, I've never seen anyone change the course over seven races so much due to the slightest wind shift.   Totally bizarre.   And well,  our skipper signed up (and ponied up a fair amount of cash)  as he was led to believe it was going to be a "pursuit" race,  but instead it ended up being an "around the cans" type of deal.
We were not in the top three,  let's just say.




These two delivered the boat on Friday,  and as it happened,  I decided to go down to the slip before their departure just to see them off.  
Well,   that was well played,  as there was some help needed putting a reef in the main sail and generally helping getting them away.  The wind was a wee bit strong for the rest of Friday,  and I think the skipper said something like "gusting to 29 knots"?  
Neither of them were able to dare leave the cockpit for the entire journey,  which turned out to be almost seven hours!   That's a long time to hold yer bladder.




One of the rare times Brian wore his life vest.

I however,  decided to drive down that afternoon.  Of course,  that means crossing the border in a vehicle which,  once I actually made it to the booth,  went quite quickly,  so I'm not sure what was taking so long for the vehicles in front of me.  The usual questions,  "Citizenship?"  "Where you going?"  "How long?"  and this one I thought interesting,  "Will you be leaving anything behind?",  to which my answer was,  "Oh,  I'm pretty sure we'll be drinking all of the beer."    

Off I went.






I could bore you with boat pictures and such,  but you get the idea.  




Um,  this:


...was my sleeping accommodation.  I set it up (last) Monday afternoon (shown here)  just to make sure I could,  and that it was in good shape. We've had this tent for,  oh I don't know,  15 years?  But it's only been used a couple times.
 I also went out and bought myself one of those "self inflating" mats.  Went with three inches.

The first night (Friday night) it did take me a bit to get to sleep,  as it seems that the house here must be really,  really quiet,  since every little sound was waking me up.  And I was wearing ear plugs!

Saturday night was better.   It's been a long,  long time since I've slept in a tent.  T.C. was mocking me ever so slightly for my foolishness,  but it was actually not bad.   Plus of course,  they have showers at the yacht club,  so being able to get cleaned up at the end of the day (all that sweat and sunblock)  was the best thing ever.   I swear,  the "shower"  has got to be one of mankind's better inventions.

The thing is,  with these types of sailing regattas,  there are those who sleep on the boat (not me,  too claustrophobic)  and then everyone else who pitches a tent where ever there is some free space.   There just happened to be a park  (that's a google map link)  where others had pitched tents,  along with a couple motor homes.  I was kinda missing ours,  to be honest.

But,  I had the truck parked nearby,  which allowed me to bring all the "stuff" I needed to make the stay more comfortable.  The most important of which was of course,  a small camp stove,  water,  a kettle,  and coffee.   Gotta have that coffee in the morning,  or forget it!

We then had breakfast on the boat.   The skipper cooked up awesome breakfasts both mornings.



Meanwhile,  I've fixed up both the table and the dresser that I mentioned last week.

Originally I wasn't going to bother with the table,  until we had to get it out of the way.   When I flipped it over,  I was then able to see why it was starting to split.  So,  couldn't let that alone.

This is my alteration:





See,  wood moves,  and the way it was,  the table top couldn't move at all.  So I made some retainers to allow for wood movement.

OK,  gotta go.

Thanks for stopping by.














Monday, July 24, 2017

There are moments, and the rest of the time, I'm a Bonehead.

Bit of running around today.   Got wind of a table and dresser up for grabs from a buddy of mine.  Initially I didn't really give much thought to the email he sent around,  until Travelling Companion mentioned that perhaps one of her sisters could use a couple things.

So fine,  picked them up.
It's that whole "pick-up truck"  thing.  Sure comes in handy.


Note,  I've let it be known in no uncertain terms that Muggins here (that would be me)  is not,   and will never be,  willing to "help move".

Sorry.

Those days are long in the past.
The last five moves we did ( that Puerto Rico thing,  and then years later from here to the Netherlands,  then on to Vienna,  and then ultimately back home again)  involved moving companies. They were "company moves" after all.
I only supervised.  My kind of moving.  Even then, something to contend with.

If you're moving,  get your young friends to help.  And if you're my age and moving?  Hire movers.


The next "move" I do will likely be when they take me out of here feet first.  But whatever.

Where was I?

Right.

We did a little detour first,  as there was a request for a return favour,  in that we went off to Exotic Woods to pick up some Mahogany Plywood.  He bought six sheets.  Glad I wasn't paying,  as the bill came to something in the neighbourhood of eight hundred bucks.
Not my kind of neighbourhood.

That's the same place where I bought the Cherry Plywood for the cabinets I built for the bathroom.  Good resource to have,  but you need deep pockets.   The Cherry Ply came out to roughly $140 a sheet.
Not a good idea to make any mistakes.

So I was a little surprised to discover that these two pieces of random furniture that these folks were willing to part with for the sake of a bit more room in their condo,  are genuine antiques.



No idea as to the age of the table,  although the size of the pine boards that make up the top haven't been available for at least a half century,   and the dresser,  although "factory made",  uses Pin and Cove joinery for the drawers.   There are three drawers by the way,  I hadn't put the top two back in,
 as the dresser needs a bit of TLC.

Stole a couple pics off the net....






Goes by various names,  however it rightly should be referred to as a "Knapp Joint",  as it was patented by Charles Knapp of Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1867.

Because you really need to know this!

It was no longer in production as of 1900,  so I suspect that the dresser is like...old.


Anyway,   they're sitting in the garage.  And like I said,  the dresser needs some lovin',  so I'll sort that out later today or tomorrow.  It's mostly the runners that hold in the drawers.  Wonky.
That's a technical term.


Meanwhile,   I've been getting my camping ducks in a row,  as I'm headed to Youngstown, N.Y. for the weekend for a sailing thingy.

Oh wait,  it's the Can-Am Challenge.  There we go.

As I'm not overly thrilled with sleeping on the boat (remember that whole claustrophobic episode on the train?)   I'll be taking along a tent.

Of course,  I'm also not overly thrilled with sleeping in a tent,  but with enough libations,  and the fact that it's not moving,  I'm sure I'll be fine.

I mean,  my last "camping" experience was in a class A Motorhome.   Queen bed etc.  This will be a bit of a retro step,  to say the least.

In the back room of our shed,  I have a sort of "sanctum sanctorum" (OK,  it's not really "holy",  I just like that phrase)  in which I also have some mouse proof cabinets,  containing many of the items that I took out of the aforementioned Motorhome to hang onto.  I'm a bit odd that way,  I know.
I had sort of forgotten about it,  but there was,  in fact,  a tent.   Thought I'd better set it up,  just to make sure it was serviceable.




Good to go.

But,  here's the "Bonehead"  part.   In one of the totes (gotta love Totes!)  there was this black fabric type of thingy,  and I really had no clue what it was.

So, what did I discover that I didn't know we had,  nor have any recollection of ever buying?




Yup.   It's a BBQ cover!

I may or may not keep it on in the summer.  I have mixed feelings about covering a BBQ,   as I find that a grill such as the Weber really doesn't require a cover.   But I might just use it in the winter time to keep the snow off.  I mean,  we have it.  It's there.  Why not use it?


I have yet to go up into the attic and do some further rummaging.  I do suspect that I'll need some tent pegs.  I'm sure I saw some somewhere.  *sigh*
And they do have those things available for purchase,  if it comes right down to it.

Stay tuned.



And thanks for stopping by.





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Friday, July 21, 2017

Somebody had a good day.

While I realise that for the most part,  this blog thing is all about me me me.   However,  it's worth mentioning that T.C. had a birthday last week (a week ago, to be exact)  and it was sort of a "milestone"  type of thing.

Anyhoo,  we had planned to go golfing that afternoon,  with the thought of then "going out to a restaurant"  later in the evening.  Long story short,  it was a total ruse.
Not the golfing part.
We did do eight holes at Victoria Park Valley Golf Club.  Had a great time.  I only lost two balls.  Um,  the loss of golf balls is pretty much my benchmark for whether I've made out OK or not.  Scoring is another matter.

(I took down the photo)

I have to be a little careful here,  as T.C. does NOT like her image posted to the net.

So,  when we later got to her sister's place up in Guelph,  she did make a comment about a car in the driveway with Massachusetts plates,  which I pretty much ignored,  as I suspected that there just might be a host of people waiting for her in the house.

And there was.

She had no idea.

The car from the States was being driven by a couple of folks we had visited in Slovenia,  who are now in the process of doing a little tour of Canada and the States.   A friend of theirs in Mass.  lent them a car.  Pretty awesome that they were able to work their plans in such a way as to be there that day.
Needless to say,  T.C. was "gobsmacked"  (to use the U.K. term)  when she saw everyone waiting for her.

I'll only be so bold as to put up one of the pics that they had assembled for the occasion.



The last time I saw photos assembled in this way was at a funeral, so this was a nice change.

So it's been cards and letters,  and dinners out.


Meanwhile,  I just keep plugging away here at The Ponderosa.

I've finished my set of "cubby holes"  for the bathroom.   When the tub was in there,  the space at the end was pretty much wasted,  and when I put in the wall for the controls and such,  I knew I wanted to take advantage of that space.

So here we go:



Right next to the "tooth brush charging station".

Now I just have to replace that door.   It's only back up there because the new one will be getting its finish over the next few days.   Then I just have to do the rest of the painting.

I think that's it.

It's been a bit of a long haul,  but here's the thing:  A similar endeavour taken on by one of my sisters-in-law was in the neighbourhood of thirty thousand dollars.   T.C. added up all the costs so far,  including about a thousand bucks for a wet saw,  and we still came in at around eight grand.

No accounting for my time of course.

I suspect that if I had the patience/tolerance/whatever to let trades people come into the house,  this job may very well have exceeded that amount. (30k,  that is)
But then,  nobody is going to make truly custom mill work.

And I know this,  'cause one of my brothers-in-law,  who happens to be an architect and would therefor have all kinds of contacts when it came to having custom work done,  had to hire me to do some cabinets for their rather tiny galley kitchen in their Toronto home once upon a time.
I  must have done an OK job,  as they are still there and in good shape.
The bonus was,  not only did he pay me almost twice what I was asking,  but also supplied me we some awesome plans to follow.
I so love it when someone else makes all the decisions like that.

I think that's about it for this go around.

I'll pipe up sometime when I think I have something worth saying.

Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, July 10, 2017

It's been a great summer so far.

I always think I'm going to somehow "jinx" things when I make those kinds of statements,  like when you're on the racecourse,  and you think you're doing alright,  and you screw up a gybe.  But let's not go there.

Of course,  we did that trip over to Europe.   Took a whack of pics.  I've saved them.  That's about it.

Once you've seen one old building you've sort of seen them all.

Quick recap:   Flew in to Vienna.   Cabbed it to our hotel on Mariahilfer Stra├če (that funny looking thing is a double "s" by the way.)




Which is now a pedestrian zone.  Which made it remarkably quiet I found.  Turns out motorised traffic is louder than I realised.






Went to the State Opera to see Swan Lake  "Schwannsee"  if you prefer.





Then cabbed it back to the airport to fetch a rental car and drove down to Slovenia.




A Nissan Qashqai,  which we both quite liked.

Drove back from Slovenia after a few days to meet up with some of  T.C.'s former work associates,  took the car back on the Friday and flew off to Dubrovnik.   Stayed there for the weekend to visit yet another former work associate,  who flew in from Serbia.

Dubrovnik is cool.  A "once in a lifetime",  as there were many,  many tourists.  Of a certain ethnic origin.  And forever underfoot.  That's all I'm sayin'.


Looking back to the harbour/gate.




Flew back to Austria.   Picked up yet another car.  Drove to Slovenia.

Tired yet?

I could go on.   T.C. made a couple fabric shopping stops.  One in Vienna at Komolka,  and another in Slovenia at a rather difficult to find place called Gramatex.  And I can't seem to find their website.  Wouldn't matter anyway,  it would be in Slovenian.   You'll notice (if you're brave) that the Komolka site is in German.


Anyway,  good trip all in all,  and we'll just cut to the chase.
 It was especially nice for Travelling Companion,   as she didn't have that Sunday night dread of having to get back in order to go to work Monday morning.   After all,  "Every day is Saturday"  around these parts.

Oh, and I have to say,  I've never been to the ballet,  but Swan Lake was pretty freakin' awesome.  I mean,  it's the Vienna State Orchestra,  the Vienna State Ballet Company.  It's kind of a "go big or go home situation" right?

No sour notes,  and nobody did any face plants or some such thing.


I think I'm just going to skip on up to today, as we just received a replacement Grill delivered to the door.
I had been getting a little frustrated with our 17 year old  (yes,  seventeen!)  Weber Q,  as part of the cast iron grill has gotten a bit rusty,  and I've had to mess around with the little gas opening/port/thingys.    We had been looking at something more elaborate,  couldn't quite pull the trigger on something in the thousand dollar range, and just figured we'd do a "do over" with the Weber.  So,  got a replacement.



I really like having things delivered to the door!  So much less hassle.

Anyway,  you have to put on the lid and add the igniter a such,  but I think I had it back on the old stand (I did spend a few minutes giving the stand a wash at least)  in maybe 20 minutes or so.

Good to go.







I was really trying to think of why I would possibly need anything more complicated (you know,  "infrared" whatever?)  and decided that,  even though I Grill all year around,  I never really get past burgers,  chicken  and a few veggies here and there.  
We'll see if this one lasts as long.   One thing,  they've now changed the cooking surface to some sort of porcelain coated cast iron.  That should make a difference I suppose.


That's it for now.  I'm out.

Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why I'd sooner make it, than buy it.

Back when the bathroom was more an idea than reality,  we did have a vanity on order.  I was simply willing to take the easy way out.

Of course,  when the supplier started talking about a March delivery or some such fresh air,  we cancelled the order and got our money back.

I would have had to seriously modify the thing anyway,  as there was the issue of the laundry chute to deal with.  I didn't want it to continue to be some sort of unused relic collecting dust,  as it had been for the previous fifty or so years.

And,  modifying something you just paid through the nose for?   Not really the best solution.  So I made my own.

It was something that sort of evolved,  as I'm not really big on drawing up elaborate plans and such,  mostly as I didn't really know what the heck I wanted in the first place.

There are however "moments of clarity"  from time to time .





So,   picture this.

Well,  maybe "picturing"  is not the right term.

*ahem*

You're on the throne:








 The previous user has left you very little toilet paper.  (not necessarily depicted in this photo,  of course)

What happens when you suddenly realise you've run out of shit tickets??

"The Horror!"  you say.  Well....




Ta da!





And this,  Ladies and Gentleman,  is what you can do when you "make it your own damned self".


Oh,  and I also put up the second wall sconce we brought back from Austria when we moved home.




It had been languishing in a box for the last three four years.





Just a couple more things.  Choosing a paint colour (not really my deal)  and some more cupboards to fill the space between the shower wall and the outside wall of the bathroom.

I'll get there.

That'll do for today.   Heading out to Guelph later tonight for a wee visit with T.C.'s sister and one of their old school chums.

No Slovenia pictures.   Wouldn't want to over stay the welcome,  so to speak.   Maybe tomorrow?

Thanks for stopping by,  and keep that stick on the ice.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time for that elusive update.

I didn't really broadcast it all that much,  but Travelling Companion and I just got back from a trip over to Europe.  Had a wonderfl time.  Saw some new countryside.  Also saw some familiar places and faces.
It's hard to know where to begin with the photos.  I took a shit load of them.  Like,  four or five hundred?   Wait,  actually,  I just looked.  634.   I think I have to do some sorting.
And no,  I'm not about to put them all up on The Book of Face.  Some folks do that,  and it's kind of like "Battle Fatigue",  only more like "Photo Fatigue".   No bueno.


The first stop was in Vienna,  where T.C. got wind of a ballet being performed at the State Opera.  Naturally,  we had to go.   It was "Schwannsee" or, for y'all what speaks English,  "Swan Lake".

I have to admit two things:  First of all,  I had never been to a ballet,  and secondly,  I quite enjoyed it.



No photos during the performance of course,  so I did snap a couple during the curtain calls.
If you're going to see a ballet,  and you've never seen one before,  I recommend going to see possibly one of the best ballet companies and orchestras on the planet.  I mean,  why see something that's half-assed?  Plus,  we were in like,  row six?   Go big or don't go I always say.


I'm not about to do a day by day kind of thing here,  so suffice to say that,  we headed back to the airport after a couple days in Vienna,  picked up a car and headed off to Slovenia.

This,  for any of you who have hanging around long enough know,  is a somewhat recurring theme.  When we lived in Vienna,  we figure we were in Slovenia about three times a year.  Summer,  winter,  fall.  Not just tourists,   ya know?




The car was a Nissan "Quasqai",  which looked suspiciously like a Murano,  or maybe a bigger better version of the "Rogue"?   Had a rogue last fall in Nova Scotia.  Didn't like it as much as the Quasqai.
Six speed manual.  Even Travelling Companion was somewhat smitten by it.   Maybe we'll trade the Merc?

Anyway,  I'll be adding some snippets over the next while.   Meanwhile,  I'm back to working on the bathroom.  Took me a couple days or more to get my head sorted out after some serious jet lag.
Needless to say,  I wasn't very peppy.   Managed to cut the grass this morning.  Been rooting around in the garden,  that kind of thing.

Tonight will be my first time on the water again since last fall.   I haven't had a chance to look,  but I suspect that the water level hasn't really gone down that much.  There was a whole bunch of more rain when we were away.




I took this a week before we left for Austria.   That's Lake Ontario.  Think about it.  Lake Ontario is bigger than Puerto Rico.   Dat's a lotta water.   Normally you step down about 10 inches to that floating slip.

At one point I read on the net (when we were overseas)  that the Town of Oakville had closed off some of the access to the walkways and such,  as there was a very real possibility of someone ending up in the drink.  Easily done if you misjudge the edge underwater there.


That's it for today.  (Hey,  I'm really dragging it here,  OK?)

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Feeling a bit guilty.

OK so, I'm not at home, but I'm also not uttering a peep.   And considering that I was just paying a visit to Kevin and Ruth's travel blog AND they still have a link to this site?  Um, ya.   Feeling sheepish.

My only excuse is well, I'm just a lazy sod.

My laptop crapped out not long after we moved home in 2013,  so I requested a tablet for Christmas,  which I used when we went to Maui,  and it not too long ago also crapped out.
"It's the drive" , accoqrding to one local computer Dude.   So here I am on T.C's Ipad,  and I wanna tell ya,  typing on this thing totally sucks.

So....when I get back home...I promise to throw a few photos. up here and offer some sort of missive.
Meanwhile, T.C and her Slovenian cousin are watching the local version of "Dancing with the stars"  Or something like that.  My Slovenian is pretty weak.

See you on the flip side.   Or as they say around here,  "Adio"


And yes, keep your stick on the ice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sometimes I'm just dumbfounded.

"Sometimes?" you say?   Well,  maybe more than just sometimes.
Be nice.
Anyway,  nothing much new to report here at the Ponderosa.   We did have our what has now become an annual dinner party wherein Travelling Companion recreates an Austrian dish called Tafelspitz.




I remember the first time she came home from a gathering with some of her Austrian work companions and told me they had had "boiled meat".
I was pretty sceptical.

"Gah!  Boiled meat?  What the hell?"


But we did venture out on more than one occasion to a particular restaurant in Vienna called Plachutta, and it's their recipe that she tries to replicate.

Pretty damned well I might add.

Anyway,  it was good.  Plus there was some deserts to die for.





But I digress.

I still find myself somewhat dumbfounded when a delivery arrives at our front door,  or in this case the mail box, and it's so soon after I've ordered it,  that I don't immediately realise what it is.


See,  when a feller gets to a certain vintage,  and if said feller wishes to be seen in public, it behooves said feller to be somewhat fastidious when it comes to the removal/trimming/what have you of ones random/extra/annoying nose/ear hairs.

Got that?

Like,  I got 'em growing in places where no hair should be allowed.  If only more would grow on my head.


And just last week,  I broke my trusty trimmer,  and there was no chance of putting it back together this time,  as one of the small pieces went into the sink drain.  And yes,  I do have the skill set to take the trap apart,  but that's a slippery slope.  Emphasis on slippery.

I ordered a new one on the 24th.  That was Friday.   I even think it was Friday night,  but my memory is dim.   Today is Monday.  Apparently things get shipped out on the weekend.





But hey,  just the other night we were talking about all of us "old fogeys"  (my term)  still having land lines and such.  The "kids" (they're mostly all middle aged by now)  no longer have things like cable TV or such a thing as a land line.  Everything is done on their cell phones.

Half the time I don't even know where my cell phone is,  but I am getting a little better in that department after I lost the last one.

Don't feel bad,  I didn't like it anyway.  Good riddance.

Anyhoodle,  a quick update on the bathroom situation.

It's coming along.



Travelling Companion snapped a pic of me putting in the last tile in the shower area,  and I've since been muddling along with the rest of it.




I think it's starting to look pretty good,  if I must say so myself.

I've been putting off doing the floor,  as it involves installing a mat from Warmly Yours.
I mean,  I just have to suck it up and get it done.  Of course, it also involves being on my hands and knees so, ya..

I'll get there.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Thanks for taking a look.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

We had a bit of a blow.

No damage here at the Ponderosa,  and I'll be a little smug here and attribute that to what I'd like to think of as due diligence.

I mean, we've spent quite a few bucks over the years making sure that trees that were too close to the house or looking poorly were summarily dispatched.   We had one that was right on the property line between the two houses at the back.  I think that was the very first one to go,  way back in 1992 not long after we moved here.


It so happened that I had to take a little road trip this morning,  and couldn't help but notice that one of our neighbours was indeed pretty damned lucky that this tree didn't fall the other way.




This was a perfectly healthy tree,  but I have a theory.

See,  I'm really reluctant to water our lawn.  I figure, it's grass,  and if it gets a little brown along sometime in August say,  it'll come back in due time.   So my theory is,  if you water your grass to the point that it'll stay green,  the grass isn't the only thing getting the water,  as any tree in the vicinity is going to siphon off as much water as it can get.   The unfortunate result is,  the roots of the tree don't need to go down any deeper than where it's going to find water.  Then the wind comes up, and your tree takes a tumble.  

Hopefully not on your house.

Trees are wonderful,  but if you have them in a suburban setting,  you'd best be keeping an eye on them,  and make sure they're well rooted.

But hey,  that's just a theory.

Just today T.C. and I were eyeing the two remaining ash trees in the side yard.   We had one taken down last summer,  and I know in my heart of hearts that the remaining two have "the bug" and will need to get removed at some point in the next several months.
Sad but true.

That'll just leave the one oak tree,  which is seems to be fine.


Oh,  and the other little thing that came to our attention as a result of the wind yesterday?   Well,  a transport driver was driving his unloaded tractor trailer across the Burlington Skyway (a bridge around these parts for anyone not familiar)  and in spite of the signs saying,  "High winds on Skyway",  he figured he'd be fine,  right up until the moment when the wind knocked over his trailer.  
He came out of it unscathed,  read about it here if you'd care to.

I'm not about to offer any opinions as to the "state of mind" of this individual.  You can come to your own conclusions.

When another transport driver was briefly interviewed,  he was of the opinion that getting blown over was pretty much what you could expect if travelling light over the bridge when there are high winds.

Anyhoodle.


That's today's missive.   Trying to be more consistent in that department.

Thanks for stopping by.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Good thing it's a bit warmer out.

Otherwise I wouldn't be able to open the bathroom window.

I guess I must have missed the memo concerning the smell of the waterproofing agent I'm using for the shower.  It's something akin to the overwhelming smell you get just as you trowel out one of those monster nuggets from the bottom of the kitty litter pan.  You know, reeking of ammonia?

Travelling Companion is out for the day,  but I'm not so sure the smell will be gone by the time she gets back.

Erp.

And we don't have a cat.

Of course,  I do vividly recall going into the other bathroom,  where the kitty litter was kept (back in the cat days)  and thinking,  "Oh my gawd,  somebody needs to clean that out!".

Of course,  nine times out of ten  "Somebody"  was me.

Not one of my favourite things.





The stuff is called "Redguard",  and there's a very good chance that I don't really need it,  but there will not be any "do-overs" when it comes to this bathroom.  Plus,  I could see where there had been water issues in the past,  and that was with a mortar bed and tiles.  The chances of anything moving at this point are slim to none,  but just the same.

Now,  speaking of "things that move",  this house has settled over the last fifty years or so,  and one of the very last doors that needed sorting out has been the door to the very bathroom I'm working on.

In hindsight (it's a wonderful thing,  isn't it?)  I really should have sorted out this door a long,  long time ago,  but that would have meant doing exactly what I did,  and that was taking off the trim,  cutting the nails holding the hinge side jamb in place,  and squaring up the frame.


Thus:


What would renovation be like without a reciprocating saw?  Boggles the mind.

It doesn't *look* like a lot of work,  but getting the frame and the top there to form some sort of right angle did seem to take me an awfully long time.    You'll notice at the top there how there's considerably less on the left side as opposed to the right?
That's how much the house has moved.

Hopefully it's done.  

I think so anyway.

That's not the door that will be there when I'm all finished.  We have that door.  It's sequestered in another room at the moment.  You'll see it in due time.

I think the first coat of my smelly goop has dried,  so I'll go back in,  try not to gag,  and put on the final coat.



Keep your stick on the ice.

Thanks for stopping by.







Monday, February 27, 2017

Dead squirrel on the lawn.

And no,  that's not click bait.  There actually was a dead squirrel on the lawn the other morning.
I didn't race out and take a picture because,  well,  why would I?

I did want to see what might have caused its demise,  but it was just out of range of the one camera on that side of the house.

Turns out,  I did get a screen capture a bit later on.



The poor little bugger was missing his head and the meat off his (her?) forearms.

Dead stock isn't really my cup of tea,  so you'll notice that really didn't sling the corpse over my shoulder or anything.

This has happened once before,  a few months back.   Some time last fall I think it was.  That time there was only a skeleton.  Freshly stripped,  mind you.  I'm guessing Coyote.  We do have them around here.  Not unhappy about that either,  as they keep the rabbits in check.  And apparently,  the squirrels,  although we still have an abundance of squirrels.

I don't have quite the hate on for them these days,  as they can no longer get up on the house and chew on the cedar beams.   Those are now covered with copper caps,  so even if they could get up there, nothing to chew on.

I'm still plugging away in the bathroom.  Bedroom is done. New set of picture hung up and such.

I had to tear away a wee bit more old plaster before continuing to button things up,  as I could definitely feel "cold" on one section of the old wall.

Turns out,  I could see daylight out past the beam.








 Best way I can show it is if you go back and forth between these two images.  You can see daylight.
 
This is a beam that runs out from this outside wall to the end of the "Veranda" as we call it.
Actually,  in the "screen capture",  it's the one that runs over and sits on the pillar outside the front door.

Not well insulated.

No worries.


With the addition of foil backed Styrofoam and some goop around the end of the beam,  it's all good.



And then it's back to the taping and such.  Which is ongoing.

Stay tuned.

Or not.

Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy! What is it again? Family Day?

Right.  

It's a relatively new thing,  this "Family Day",  and good on ya if you don't have to go to work today.
Gotta love long weekends.

"Every day is Saturday" around here,  so...

But let's not rub it in.

It's a beautiful day out,  although a bit cooler this morning than the last two days.  We've gone from snow on the ground to virtually shirt sleeve weather.

Well,  "shirt sleeve weather" for Canadians.

I recall being in Vegas over New Years one year with one of our friends who is a "Florida Girl",  and she refused to go outside,  as it was "too cold" for her.   It was maybe in the fifties,  but we had jackets.  Friends don't mock friends for having different comfort levels,  so we stayed in.


Coincidentally,  we have had a bit of a "family weekend",  as both Daughter Number One and Daughter Number Two came by yesterday to get a lesson from T.C. on making Perogies.
  (Hm.  Spell Check doesn't know about Perogies.  Idiots)





Some were immediately consumed,  while others were taken away to be frozen individually on trays. The "three stages of Perogy making"  according to Daughter Number Two.

I only stick around for "Stage Three"  to be honest.   Although I do tend to end up pitching in for the clean up at the end.
You know,  just to "take one for the team",  so to speak.


Meanwhile,  I've finished painting the bedroom.
I do realise that,  up until now,  it's all been talk about the bathroom,  but since apparently that's not quite enough to keep me busy,  the bedroom needed freshening up as well.

Along with just painting,  I wanted to smooth out some parts of one outside wall where the wood strapping had shrunk and pulled in the plaster just enough to be noticeable.




Hey,   *I* could see it.  And it was bugging me.


This involves adding thin layers of compound such that the wall has some semblance of flatness.  I'm slightly OCD that way.




Along with that little time consuming endeavour,  I had always wanted to add a receptacle over closer to the side of the bed,  where there always should have been one.

You can see it down there in the far corner on the left.

I've never understood why electrical contractors think it prudent to stick one plug in the middle of the room and call it a day.  There's going to be a bed in the bedroom.  What are ya thinking?

Anyway,  these are the final colours:






I took apart some of the built ins to make it easier.

I got that all put back together yesterday.







There are a couple more fiddly things to sort out,  but I'm basically done in there.

Er,  I guess that's about it.

Hope you're enjoying your "Family Day",  and for those of you south of the 49th,  Happy President's Day!
  
I think I prefer the family angle over the other one to be honest.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 30, 2017

So, I went to buy a snow blower.

And I ended up with this:



Well,   here it is "unwrapped".




Cute,  huh?


And I did buy the snowblower.  But it's out in the shed,  and it's cold out,  and I didn't feel like moving it around to get a decent pic.

See,  acquaintances of mine are moving and doing the big purge.  I can't say I envy them,  but they've decided to sell their house (which,  by the way,  was built by the same contractor who built the house we're in,  and that was my late father-in-law,  how crazy is that?)  and move to a townhouse about 30 minutes from here.

Out Grimsby way.

What that means is, the lady,  a retired teacher, will still be able to come to "Breakfast Babes" on Wednesday mornings for our weekly breakfast and jaw flapping sessions.

OK,  I *think* it was a townhouse.  I'm such a terrible listener.  I do know that a condo was out of the question,  as some of the local condo fees are between five and eight hundred a month!
Now,  in a high rise condo,  you do get a bunch of amenities with that,  such as a pool,  exercise rooms and that kind of stuff,  but if that doesn't really float your boat,  then you're not really getting what you're paying for.

And like,  what's wrong with going to the "Y" or "Aqua-fit" at the local pool for say, a buck fifty a session?

Anyway.   They had this damned near new snow blower for sale,  and I've been kind of missing one for a couple years now.   I used to have an Ariens,  and I think I put a pic of that one up on the blog a few years back.  Whatever.
I had bought that one used,  and it ran and ran for about a decade (or maybe longer?)  that I had it, then my son-in-law used it a few times when we were in Austria,  but then it sat out back under the back step and was looking kind of sad when I went to see just what kind of state it was in when we came back home in the early part of 2013.


At one point maybe six/seven years ago, I had taken it to a repair place for a bit of a tune up,  and was warned not to bring it back,  as any more work done to it would be beyond what it was possibly worth.   So,  seeing how wretched it looked out there,  and with the suspicion that there were likely a host of issues with it,  I decided it had to go.

It's a crazy thing around here,  but anything of a metal nature (snow blower,  oven etc.) that you want to get rid of,  just set it out at the curb,  and some "metal guy" will come by and fetch it.

Just that simple.

There was some shall we say,  scepticism? on the part of Travelling Companion that anyone would actually come and take away a derelict snow blower,  but sure enough,  about seven that evening,  as I was sitting here at the computer doing just this, I heard some commotion out front, and lo and behold, it was being hoisted (although not very elegantly) into the back of a pick-up truck.

I very quietly enjoyed a moment of smugness.  Very quietly.



So far this winter we haven't had that much snow.  And that suits me just fine.  I think however,  that Old Man Winter is just toying with us,  and having a snow blower is something I suspect that I'll be quite happy to have at some point.   We did get snow back before Christmas,  and I can't say it was a whole heap of fun doing that shovelling thing.  I'm hopeful that this new machine isn't too much of a puppy, but we'll see.

And besides,  if buying a snowblower is like some sort of insurance policy against getting any more snow?  Well hell,  I'll happily pay that premium.


The thing is,  I'll be darned if I'll pay a lot of money for a new machine.  Because we're close to the lake, sometimes we get very little snow,  but now and again,  we get dumped on.   And that's when the fun begins.  Typically though,  a snowblower around here only gets used maybe five to ten hours a season.  So, paying big bucks for a new one?  Not overly prudent.

Naturally then, when a good used one came up,  it was hard to pass it up.   And  it was offered at a very good deal.  I won't say how much (or,  how little, actually)  but just too good to pass up.
You know,  when you're in the store,  and there's something awesome for some ridiculous price there in the bin, like an led flashlight for five bucks or something,  and you think, "How can I not buy that,  at that price??"

Kind of like that.


Oh wait,  here we go.  I stole this image off the net.  And no,  we don't have that much snow.  Matter of fact,  I can still see our grass out front.


But this is pretty much it:


It's smaller than the last one I had,  but is considerably newer.   It's an "MTD Yardworks".  Um no,  I see it says "Yard Machines".
What.  Ever.  Not that that means anything.  Twenty-two inch.  I think my old one was 24.  I can't see how I'll miss those two inches.

I did notice that the wheels do not have chains on them,  whereas the Ariens did.  That might possibly make a difference.  But I can always spring for a set of chains I suppose.
Hopefully it won't suck.
I also want to check and make sure they used proper shear pins for the auger.  Of course they would have,  right?
I have been known to pick up the odd rock now and again.

It's....a bit of a story.

The upper part of our driveway is unique,  shall we say?   Has to do with beach stones set in concrete  that was a project by the original owner,  the aforementioned late father-in-law.
There's a lot of things that I've forgotten over the years,  but I DO remember thinking,  one day when I had come here for a visit, (this would have been back in the Eighties)  and he was out there painstakingly pouring individual squares of concrete and setting in all the rounded beach stones that he had schlepped up from the lake that firstly,  it would be a bitch to shovel in the winter (and it is) and secondly that,  there was a good chance that he'd never get it done!

And sadly, he didn't.

Later on,  after we had lived here for a time,  and I wanted to have some semblance of completion in the driveway end of things,  I ended up moving a bunch of them to sort of square things off,  and had the rest paved.
It was right around the time that I was doing the pillars,  and I had a little digger here,  which was just the thing for moving otherwise unwieldy slabs of beach stone encrusted concrete.


So,  getting back to the shear pin situation, every so often,  one of these lovely beach stones comes loose.  Not a good thing for a snowblower.  Seriously not.


Now,  as much as the blower was an awesome deal,  the same goes for the chainsaw.
There was a question about whether or not I was the kind of guy who might use or want a chainsaw? *pfft*!  Well Ya!
I just don't happen to own one. The next question was whether or not I'd want to buy the one sitting there in the garage?   Still in the box!
Wait.  What??

There was some story about a gift or something.  Seriously,  I suck at listening.
Plus,  I was getting cold,  and was kind of torn between wanting to get back in my nice warm truck and wanting to check out this saw.  Especially when the gentleman quoted a really,  really good price.
I also cannot say how little I paid. Wouldn't be prudent.
This thing has never once been fired up!  It even came with a little container of oil to mix in with the gas!   Now,  I'm not so sure I'm going to race off and buy some gas so I can see how it works,  as I'm not overly keen on having mixed gas hanging around,  but I'm sure it's a fine little saw.

Mind you,  it's going to be tough to resist.  We'll see.
First I'll need to take that horse shoe out of my hind end.


I've been *looking* at saws,  for like, ever.   Just couldn't pull the trigger.

Kind of like the way I browse the net looking at Jointers.   I used to have an el-cheapo one, and sold it in a garage sale many,  many years ago.  I'd like to have another one, but one that is quality wise, perhaps a step or two up from "crappy"?


None of those things help me get the bathroom finished of course,  so it's all just talk.  Something else to fritter away my time with on the internet.

I'll post some more reno pics at some point.  Don't want to bore you too badly.


Thanks for stopping by.

Sticks.

Ice.

You know the drill.