Archive for May, 2011

With just slightly over two weeks before we host a baby shower at our house (which is a pretty unmovable deadline to have it all put back together again), I’m pleased to report that the drywalling is very nearly complete, with only a bit of sanding and some touch ups required before I prime and paint. Once that’s done, we’ll have carpet installed (we’re arranging that tonight) and then I just have to move everything back downstairs.

I can hardly wait to have my basement back and to not have to spend every spare moment down there working.  I plan on taking some time at the end of June to relax before fatherhood comes rushing at me in July.  I also plan on spending some quality time with Danielle after months of her not being allowed in the basement while I’m working.

I’m also really looking forward to getting our nursery ready, which will require some furniture assembly and some rearranging to figure out where everything best fits.

In the short-term, I’ll be really happy if my trip home on the TTC doesn’t get interrupted by the phrases “signal problems”, “shuttle buses” or “the delay we are currently experiencing”.  While I’m happy that the TTC is far more communicative with passengers than it has been in the past, it seems that the system is plagued by more problems than it was.  Maybe we just hear about them more, but I’m convinced that I’ve never been stuck on crowded subway cars or platforms as much as I have been this year.  Anyone else feel that way?

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Many of you have already packed your cars in eager anticipation of the unofficial kick-off of summer, the May long weekend.  You’ve suffered through a long, hard winter and now a long, wet spring, so you deserve the break, but be sure to take a moment to reflect on what this holiday means to all of us.

The May long weekend is a celebration in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday (on May 24), a regent who was well-loved in Canada during her reign, as demonstrated in the cities, streets and lingerie stores that bear her name.  No doubt, this was due largely to her ‘granting’ us our Domionhood at Confederation in 1867.  Without her guidance as a ruler and her personal sense of style, the frown might never have been brought back into vogue and we Canadians might never have gained an international reputation for our prudishness (with the exception of nos amis in Quebec).

While she is no longer with us, we will always remember her legacy as we get our first sunburn, mosquito bites and ice cream of the summer season.  I, for one, like to substitute her name for a curse word when I take my first swim in the Ottawa River only to discover that it’s about 3 degrees celsius, and was probably snow just a few hours before.

Monarchial tradition, which is a term I don’t get to use nearly enough, now dedicates this weekend as a the official birthday celebration for the reigning monarch, so really it’s a two-for… on the Two-Four, so you should get out and celebrate with a two-four… and buy some 2 by 4s?  Yeah, that kind of fell apart at the end.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the fireworks, BBQ and the day off, but be sure to take a moment at least once in the next 72 hours to say “we are not amused“.

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Today’s a big day for Canadians who love the great outdoors.  While that may be hard to believe given the bleak forecasts in just about every corner of the nation, it’s certainly true.  Today marks the 100th anniversary of Canada’s National Parks system.

While most of us are probably more familiar with our provincial parks, Parks Canada maintains, protects and provides education opportunities at great parks clear across Canada.  If you haven’t been to one yet, you probably should.  No, you most DEFINITELY should.

Due mostly to its close proximity to the cottage, I’m a huge fan of Gatineau Park, which due to a technicality is not actually a National Park, but a ‘federal’ one as it falls under the jurisdiction of the National Capital Commission and not Parks Canada.  Still, I don’t hold that against Gatineau.

Check out this full listing of all the Parks Canada sites and be sure to plan all your summer vacations around it.  After all, Parks Canada will only get to celebrate its hundredth anniversary once, and the odds are quite good that none of us will be around for the 200th.

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So despite being a little behind schedule on our basement reno, and given that Danielle is off to Montreal this weekend, I’m not going to spend an entire weekend devoted to celebrating our monarchy by hiding underground with drywall compound and paint.  Instead, I’m going to head up to the cottage with the dog for a short-long weekend from Saturday to Sunday.

Unlike many people, that means I’m not too broken up about the rain and storms forecast for the entire weekend as I badly need to relax and, let me tell you, there is NOTHING in this world more relaxing than the sound of rain falling on a tin roof.  I plan on bringing a boring book and taking plenty of naps to the lullabye tones of that roof and Mother Nature’s tears.

I also have some detailed plans that include eating poutine (also a great nap aid) and taking strolls with the dog in the great outdoors; rain or shine.  It’s going to be (as Kenneth would say) epic.

Now all I have to do is spend the next few nights doing as much as I can on the basement so I don’t feel guilty about knocking off for a few days.  If I’m REALLY industrious, I could probably finish up all the drywall before I leave early on Saturday morning and I can put up the primer coat of paint on the walls on Monday.  That’s my plan and I’m going to work my hardest to see that it comes to fruition.

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If all goes well, you shouldn’t be hearing much about our reno very soon.  I should be finishing up the drywall this week (knock on wood) and painting next weekend and the following week.  Then we have someone come in to put down our carpet and we’re done with the reno for this phase (with more work to follow this coming winter).

It’s taken a lot of blood (mine), sweat (mine) and tears (mostly mine) to get to this point, and while it’s not the most professional-looking job in the world, I think I’ve done a pretty great job for someone who had no idea what he was doing.

The pressure to finish was amped up a bit this weekend when we bought our crib and nursery furniture, which means the baby is coming very, very soon.  The little guy is kicking up a storm in Danielle’s belly and I can only imagine he’s eager to get out of there and party with us.  I keep telling him it’s best to wait until the weather gets sunny and warm, which won’t be until his due date in late July by the look of the forecast.

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It’s probably the most beautiful day so far in 2011 and, like most of you, I’m stuck in an office under fake lighting typing furiously on a keyboard.  Such is life.  However, the weather is more than appropriate for May 9th as Danielle is off work today to enjoy the weather on her birthday.

Sadly, she will not spend the day toiling in our basement like I did, but I’m glad that she’ll get a day off from work and some gorgeous weather to bask in.  She deserves it.  Hopefully our little baby boy gives her some well-deserved time off and cuts back on his kicking so she can even enjoy a mid-afternoon nap.

Happy birthday, babe.  I hope you have a great day and I can’t wait to see you tonight.  X

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Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  I’ve been busy with home renos (since we’re having trouble finding a contractor to finish it off, I’m back on duty) and reeling from the election earlier this week.

For those who say that Canadian politics are boring, you were proved wrong on Monday, which is just about all I want to say about the election.  It was exciting and we’ll have to wait and see what the next four years have in store for us.

In non-election news, I mowed my lawn for the first time yesterday.  Parts of it were getting nearly ankle-high and it now looks like a finely manicured golf course.  It feels pretty good to trade in my snow shovel for a lawnmower, and with the weather improving, I’m looking forward to TFC games more and more.  Instead of getting windburn, I’ll get sunburn.

Back to renos for a second, does anyone out there have any experience installing a drop ceiling?  Got any pointers for a novice?  Once my drywalling is (finally) done, I’ll paint it all and then comes our fancy new ceiling, but I have no idea what I’m doing, which is pretty much par for the course in this reno.  Any tips would be appreciated.

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I’ve got my Team Canada jersey out and I’m ready to head to my polling station after work to exercise my civil rights by marking an X on a piece of paper.  It’s pretty exciting to take part in the democratic process, no matter how you feel about the quality of candidates or their arguments.  While Canada’s road to democracy was relatively bloodless compared with other countries around the world, it’s still something that should not be taken lightly.

If you’re on the fence about voting today, I urge you to consider the countries worldwide that, in the last few months, have seen huge uprisings for the freedom to elect their own governments.  This is something we enjoy with ease, but that doesn’t mean we have to take it lightly.

While I have strong political convictions, I’m not going to tell you how to vote.  I just urge you to head to your polling station and make your mark.  Have a say in how this great nation is governed, and flex a little muscle by exercising your civil rights.

It’s also a lot more fun to watch the election results if you’ve actually voted as you have a stake.  It’s like watching a playoff hockey game when your team is still in the running, and given the recent polls, it seems like every team still has a shot.  It should be exciting right up until the end, and it might even go into overtime.

What an exciting day!

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