Archive for June, 2009

So Toronto’s garbage strike has been going on for over a week now and no one has died yet as a result.  The panic and rage that everyone felt early on has faded into sad resignation that there’s very little we little citizens can do at this point.

Walking the dog in our neighbourhood, about half of the public garbage cans are overflowing (with what appears to be bags of household waste) and the other half are either being emptied or ignored.  At home, our garbage can is about one-third full while our recycling and green waste bins are nearing critical points of fullness.  Since the city isn’t taking recycling right now, I’m starting to collect it in a spare garbage can we have lying around and before we go on vacation, I’m going to see about dropping off our green waste so we don’t come home to old vegetables and dog poop roasting beside our house.

Kudos to the city for holding out for the first week to let us all know this isn’t the end of the world.  Sure, it sucks that our Canada Day will be a little more boring and little less explosive than normal, but it’s a small price to pay.

We’re not buried under in garbage yet, so let’s all just enjoy our nation’s birthday and see what the next few weeks has in store.

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On Friday, Danielle and I hit up a local Vietnamese restaurant for some delicious vittles before we caught “UP” in 3D at the Beaches Cinema, where we’re now members.  If you like awesome movies, you’ll love UP.  I’m actually surprised it’s being billed as a children’s movie, so be sure to check it out.  I highly recommend the 3D experience.

On Saturday, we did some household chores, played with the dog and ate some Turkish pizza from another neighbourhood hangout.  I spent the latter part of the afternoon and most of the night casting my shadow on various drinking holes around downtown with Kenneth.  Good times were had by all.

Yesterday started out as a laid-back day around the house and once the first bout of rain stopped, Danielle and I headed downtown to meet up with friends for Pride.  We started at a patio, then checked out the village and finally ended up at a ‘party’ that was set up in an alley.  It was awesome, and the mood was boisterous and infectious.  Everyone was having a great time dancing and singing, eating and drinking.

Thanks again to Landon for the invite, to Ghazale for the life-saving shwarma and to our awesome cab-driver who kept us laughing the whole way home.  Thank goodness I’m finally back at work when I can rest, relax and recover.  Phew.

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There aren’t a whole lot of celebrity deaths that I remember with exactness, but I can easily think of two off the top of my head.  When news broke of Michael Jackson’s death last night, I was sitting at the bar at The Richmond Rogue polishing off a pint of Grolsch and talking soccer with an old work colleague.

In late summer of 1997, I was packed up and driving from the summer camp where I’d worked to Ottawa to start studying at the University of Ottawa when news broke of Princess Diana’s death in Paris.  The whole drive, then the whole weekend, then my whole frosh week and first term where filled with news updates and conjecture.  Now, whenever I think of Frosh week or starting school, that’s a part of the memory.  Alternatively, when someone mentions Princess Di’s death, I immediately remember all the good times I had as a frosh.

So does all that mean that whenever I drink a Grolsch, I’ll remember Jacko?  I wonder…

On a weird note, when the news broke on the BBC and we first heard he was actually dead, the music station in the bar started playing “ABC, 123” by the Jackson Five randomly.  Creeeeeepy.

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So I have to admit that I was kind of dreading going to the TFC game last night, what with it being a million degrees outside in a strong sun, but I decided to man up and do it anyway.  Well, by either a fluke of timing or divine providence, I was spared as the evening sun was behind the jumbotron.  That left me with a beautiful and shady evening to enjoy a fantastic soccer game.

The game started with TFC being awarded the Voyageurs Cup, the first cup the team has earned in its brief existence, and then went on to play a fantastic game.  They won 2-0 either in spite of, or directly as a result of a minor equipment change that meant we had to change some of our cheers.

In support of breast cancer (and not pride, although maybe it was both), the team donned pink jerseys.  That meant we had to shout “Come on you pinks” instead of reds.  Sadly, that sounds a lot like “Come on you pigs” when you’re yelling and we got some dirty looks from the police watching the crowd until they caught on.

One minor drawback to the pink kits was how hard it was to distinguish the TFC players from the NY Red Bulls players in white, especially in the evening sun.  Still, it was a fantastic game and it was fun watching the team play a great game and for a great cause.

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Yesterday’s post was a resounding success with at least three people who offered up their treasure trove of plastic bags to us, which we will gladly accept with open arms… and clean hands.  Those bags, however, will be backups.

A casual reader tipped me off to a dollar store in the concourse between Yonge and Bay subway stations that sells biodegradable bags strong enough for the job at hand (ahem) in a box of 45 for $1.13!  That’s just less than 3 cents per poop to ensure that good ol’ Mother Earth is taken care of.  That’s a pretty sound environmental investment.  Thanks casual reader (whom I have neglected to ask if I can name openly here, so they will remain anonymous).

I just picked up two boxes and the bags seem plenty strong for our uses, so hooray for deals!

Now that our dog’s bio cycle is taken care of, we’re into full planning mode for our trip to Germany.  We leave on July 4, and will be gone until July 13, which means that I’ll be looking for guest bloggers to handle six days.  Interested?

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So as you’ve already heard, we have had a dog for about three weeks now and he’s freaking awesome.  He doesn’t chew anything but his own toys, he doesn’t rush doors to try and get out, he’s never gone to the bathroom in the house and he rarely barks (except at the dog park).  His temperment is perfect for us, and we couldn’t be happier.

However, dogs go poop.  Well, everyone poops, but dogs go poop outside and then someone has to pick it up and invariably that someone is me.  For a while, we had a pretty good stock of plastic bags under our kitchen counter, but two poops a day will pretty quickly run through a supply like that and we’re getting pretty desperate at this point.

Rather than going out and buying plastic bags that would just be reintroduced to the garbage cycle (if the strike ever ends), I’m hoping that some of my regular readers out there have a stash of grocery and shopping bags that they’ve been squirreling away under their kitchen counters that they could never possibly go through and would be willing to donate to an awesome dog.   You would be doing our household a huge service and helping the environment at the same time.

In return for your good deed, I’m sure we can set up some playtime with Mojo to say thanks, or if you don’t like dogs, at the very least, I’ll buy you a coffee.  I’ll even come to your house and pick up the bags, so there’s almost no effort on your part.  So, whaddaya say?

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With a big thanks to Tom and my dad, our cottage shed is now much less saggy than it was before and it’s on its way to being even less saggy.  It was a lot of hard work, but the old building got its first facelift in at least 60 years and she’s looking great.  (Photos to come)

Thanks to my new 8 tonne hydraulic bottle jack (which is no bigger than a 2L pop bottle) was able to lift entire front of the building with little effort by just using one hand.  Technology is awesome.

We’ve dug out the front foundation where it was collapsing and jacked up the interior rafters which are now being held by a huge crossbeam and a jackpost.  We poured concrete footings in holes dug to the bedrock and my next job will be to build up from the footings to the foundation and install permanent jackposts to take the load of the shed.  That’s the easy part after all the hoising and jacking we did on Saturday.

While the men folk were getting muddy and sweaty, the ladies weren’t just lazing around.  Danielle and her mom cleaned and painted our dining a room a beautiful new shade of (aptly-named) Cottage Yellow.  When my mom saw it, her jaw nearly dropped.  It’s almost the exact same colour my great-grandmother had painted that room when they first moved in back in the ’50s.  As the good book says, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Thanks again to the in-laws for all their hard work, great food and awesome company.  I think my next trip up there deserves to be a restful and contemplative one after the the last three weekends.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses this weekend as we came home to find out that our garbage pickup is on indefinite hold after the announcement of a city worker strike here in Toronto.  I fonly remember the last one, where garbage piles in Chinatown lead to a huge rat infestation and a terrible smell in the entire downtown core.  At least we’re in the throes of our first heatwave of 2009.

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In roughly eight hours (and after giving no less than two presentations on our corporate writing standards), we’ll be loading up the car with food, clothes and our wildlife and heading up on the long dark highway that leads to the cottage.  This is my third weekend in a row for me (second for Danielle and Mojo) and I’m starting to feel like this is a normal weekly pilgrimage.

Each weekend has been productive in its own way, but this trip will actually be hard work that will yield immediate and long-lasting results.  After one weekend spent cleaning and another doing yardwork, it’s finally time for a construction weekend.

Our cottage’s shed is basically like a small barn with a big doorway on the front.  When it was first built, the whole building was built on top of a concrete rectangle foundation that was laid on the bedrock.  When my great-grandfather bought it, he cut through the foundation in the doorway so he could drive his car into the shed to keep it out of the elements.  Now, after some 60 years, the building is paying the price for the decision.  On other side of the doors, moisture and snow have twisted the concrete foundation and it’s collapsing, which means the walls are dropping and the roof is sagging.

Starting bright and early tomorrow morning, we’re going to jack up the walls, tear out the old foundation and make a new one out of concrete and cinder blocks.  I’m sure the labour will be backbreaking, but it’ll all be worth it when the shed is firmly square when all is said and done.

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