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.



You know the drill.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Slightly off my rocker.

Things are moving along (slowly) in the bathroom department,  and that is going to be the theme of the day.
Nothing to do with the inauguration,  by the way.   Which I will not watch.  Didn't watch the last one,  but that was likely as I was at work at the time.   Pardon the language.

Anyway,  my shower pan is in,  the drain is hooked up and working as it should,  and now I'm shimming out the wonky studs to try and get some semblance of straightness to the backer board.
It's a whole bunch of fun.  Let me tell ya.

Of course,  as I'm muddling along,  from time to time the phone rings.
Now,  normally I can tell who it might be due to that wonderful thing that we now take for granted called "call display".
Love it!
Had a nice chat with Daughter Number Two yesterday for example.  Her number comes up as "Kat". That's because,  that's what I put in there.   I mean,  not that I'd do this,  but I guess one could put in any name with a number.  Like,  "goofy brother"  or some such thing.
Probably not the best idea.

So there was one call this morning that we chose to ignore.  No message,  so they were of no significance.   Then T.C. went out shopping as she does most every Friday morning,  and at some point after she was gone (and could answer or ignore the phone)  it rang again.

A '208' number.

For anyone around these parts who has acquired a cell phone in the last few years,  all the regular extension combinations have been depleted,  so now instead of '905',  we're on to '208'.   And there was no name.  Just a number.  I almost didn't answer,  but then thought,  "what if it's someone whom I know, but just not in my list of folks who normally call?"
In hindsight,  pretty far fetched, so I should have ignored it.

Of course,  the first hint is,  there's a bit of a delay,  and that's your first clue.  Right there is an opportunity to hang up.  But no,  I was curious.   I was just in the kitchen at the time waiting for my toast to pop,  and figured,  "What the hell."

Here's the gist of the conversation:  "Hello,  my name is Larry,  and we're doing a survey in the area of shopping preferences."   First of all,  the good news was,  "Larry" could actually speak English.   So I was *slightly* intrigued,  but only slightly.
So this was my response.  "Oh jeez Larry,  I'm sorry,  but I'm right in the middle of going to the bathroom,  so I can't really stay on the phone."   To which "Larry", undaunted,  says,  "Well,  is there a better time when I could call back?"  And I'm thinking, "when hell freezes over?"   But instead,  I proceeded to make the appropriate  (well,  inappropriate really,  depending on the circumstances)  grunting and peckin' and snortin' noises and hung up the phone.  Like,  try to imagine crapping a Buick.

Like that.


Was that bad?

I don't know if "Larry" will ever call back,  bless his heart,  but I've been chuckling about this ever since.

Ah, the plight of the simple minded.

Thought I share.

Oh and,  I actually do know a Larry,  and he's retired from the food business.   Oh wait a minute! Could it be?  I'll check with his wife,  whom I see from time to time during out Wednesday morning breakfasts with the "Breakfast Babes".

I don't think it was the real Larry though,  as the real Larry is comfortably retired, and not about to be calling around the neighbourhood,  but this'll make for gales of laughter next Wednesday I would image.

Enjoy that inauguration all you fine folks south of the 49th.   It's going to be "interesting".  That's the only prognostication that I have.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Enjoy the weekend.  "Every day is Saturday",  as I like to say.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Not. One. Drop.

And that was a bit of a relief I must say.

It's been a while I know,  since I've uttered a peep.   I'd like to say "time constraints" or some such nonsense,  but I have to admit that it has more to do with laziness and figuring that it's not that Earth shattering to warrant a blog post.  You believe that,  right?

I should,  I suppose,  be a little more in touch with what's happening in the "Blogoshere",  but that too falls by the wayside when life starts to crowd out blogging.  Let's not forget laziness.
Then, I would have been more aware of the passing of a blogger I had followed since way back in our Vienna days.
The first shocker was when he came home to find his wife Loyce slumped over in a chair,  where she had passed away possibly a few hours earlier.   That sad day was a few years ago, September of 2013 to be exact.
And since then, he had been getting along,  A little lost,  as he put it, but had still managed to keep up with his blog,    Retired Rod

I just discovered yesterday,  or maybe it was a couple days ago,  that he too has passed away,  and that he had been afflicted with brain cancer and underwent surgery in March of last year.  Whoa!  What?

And you know, at one point when T.C. and I were doing our Christmas cards (yes, we still do that) we came to the realisation that the list wasn't getting smaller as a result of being shunned or snubbed or anything,  but rather,  that some of the recipients were starting to die off.    

Not that that has anything to do with Rod or his wife or anything,  but it's just one of those moments when you stop and think.

Let's just stop right there,  before I get all maudlin.


So.   The dripping?  Or lack thereof?

Well,  I think I left off before Christmas with some drivel about the bathroom Reno?   Probably.
Oh and,  Christmas?

Right.  Merry Christmas.   Happy New Year.

The three wise guys showed up on the sixth of January,  like they do every year.

The tree is already down and out.

Or course there was a moratorium on the Reno over the Christmas time,  which was fine with me,  it's not like I'm in that much of a hurry,  but now I'm back to plugging away.
And I should mention, that I had alluded to a slight "mishap"  when I was whackin' the crap out of that cast iron tub?   See,  the plan was to KEEP the sink,  so we'd not only have use of the Water Closet ("toilet" for the rest of you.)  but be able to brush teeth and wash hands and such.

You know,  just over Christmas.

Um, er, well,  see,  a five pound sledge hammer and a porcelain sink?   They don't get along.
As I was whacking away at the tub,  and it was moving ever so surreptitiously from its original spot,  one slip of the sledge, (say that ten times fast!)  and the likelihood of the sink holding water with those two big pieces missing was slim, to say the least.  Didn't take any pictures.  Sorry.

So the sink has been gone for a time.  In an "emergency"  one can still use the crapper,  but then you need to find another washroom to wash ones front feet.   Not the best arrangement.

Of course,  since I'm an idiot, (see sink 'removal' above)  I realised that,  I should have fit my shower pan in BEFORE putting up the cement board,  but that was easily remedied.  Plus, I'd rather do all the messy business before putting in that rather large and easily scratched shower pan.

The next wee job was to hook up the water supply for the new fixtures.

Always fun.

Not only that but,  due to the somewhat challenging location of where the new lines need to go,  I decided to go with Pex  pipe and fittings.  It was either that,  or rip open even more of the garage ceiling,  which really didn't thrill me.
You still have to join the pex to the existing copper,  so there was still some open flame involved,  which most always results in,  "I can smell something!"   from T.C.

Which is exactly why I tend to do those sorts of activities when she's not home.

And that is also why I waited until this morning to open the valves to the new lines.

Now,  normally,  you let the water run into the pan,  (I guess)  and that's usually after all the walls are up and tiled.  But, I really wanted to make sure that NOTHING was leaking,  so no pan with a convenient drain,  which presented a slight problem.  How to keep the water from blasting out of the open fittings?

As it so happens,  I have a couple old hose bibs kicking around,  and they're the type that screw into a threaded fitting.
Easy peasy.

Well,  the one in the picture above just happened to be soldered onto an existing pipe,  and I forget where exactly I cut that one off,  but all I had to do was solder the female fitting onto the end,  and then connect it to the nipple sticking out of the imaginary wall.   That outlet,  by the way,  is for the hand held shower head.  Just so you know.

And of course,  there's the opening for the "rain shower" up top.

Since I wanted to actually run the water,  I needed a couple buckets.    Doesn't look very elegant,  and I suspect we won't be leaving it that way for the final product.   "There we go Honey,  just hook a hose!  It'll be fine!"


And well.  Nothing leaks.

I do have those rare moments of clarity.

And,  now I guess I have to get back at it.

Keep those sticks on the ice,   and thanks for stopping by.