Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for March, 2011

Can you Swing a Hammer?

NCAA March Madness is in full swing, and while my bracket took a few knocks yesterday, it’s still holding fairly solid and with the help of a few upsets in the coming days, I could win it all yet.  Sadly, I won’t be able to catch many games as my in-laws have to head back to Montreal on Monday and there’s still lots of work to do on the basement.

After work, I had to race home to help move 25 sheets of drywall into the basement before our pre-natal class, and much of that will probably be mounted on the walls when I get home today.  I’m really impressed with how far the project is coming along, and I can’t believe how much work my in-laws are doing while I’m in the office.  It’s safe to say that if I’d had to work at it alone, it would have taken FAR longer and been a much less high-quality job.  MUCH less.

With more framing, insulating, vapour-barrier installing and drywall work left to do, I’m putting a call out to see if anyone wants to get their hands dirty this weekend.  We could use a couple of spare hammering arms.  If you’ve always wanted to learn a bit about renovating, now’s your chance.  You can learn from our mistakes and become a pro for your own renos.  If you’ve got some time to spare, drop me a line and let me know when you’re free.  If you’re worried about missing some of the basketball games, we can get regular updates shouted down from the living room.

If you aren’t free, enjoy the first spring-like weekend of 2011.  If you plan on sitting back and relaxing, take a couple of extra stretches or nap just a little bit longer for me.  It’s safe to say that I’ll be working hard all weekend.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I hope you’re wearing green today, because if you’re not, everyone who is has the legal right to pinch you, in accordance with the age-old tradition.  Or so I assume.

Things have been crazy around our house, what with the ongoing renos (Home Depot delivered our drywall early this morning) and fiscal year-end here at work, so posting has been a bit light.  Sorry about that.

My birthday was awesome.  Aside from getting a lot of work done on the house, I also managed to squeeze in a breakfast at McDonald’s and we all headed to Burger’s Priest on Queen St. E. for dinner.  It was easily the best burger I’ve ever had, and due to the limited seating space, it’s going to be popular spot for us once it’s nice enough to eat outside near Ashbridge’s Bay.

Danielle came through with a fantastic gift that even had an unintentional pun.  I’ve been hinting for a few years about wanting a specific type of guitar Wah Pedal, you know, the thing that makes your guitar go wah-wah-wah (think “Voodoo Chile” by Jimmy Hendrix).  Well, she finally got the hint… just a few months before our baby arrives, she got me a CryBaby.  Nice, eh?  I managed to dig out my amp and one of guitars last night to give it a whirl and it’s a ton of fun.

We have pre-natal classes tonight, and then it’s practically the weekend, which will be spent doing as much finishing work in the basement as possible.  In the meantime, have a great St. Paddy’s and be sure to raise a pint (especially Lisa and Sean who are celebrating in Dublin this year) to your health on my behalf.


The Ides of March

I’m off work today because I firmly believe no one should have to work on their birthday.  Instead, I’ll be doing REAL work down in the basement, but somehow that seems more fun.

However, my first stop will be at McDonald’s for a fine breakfast of sausage and egg McMuffin with hashbrown and coffee, because I’m going to spoil myself today.

I also need to make my NCAA March Madness picks, but that’s not real work either.

Have a good day, I know I will.

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Reno-Related Aches and Pains

My Saturday morning started early after a night out on the town with some c0-workers, so I was feeling just the tiniest bit sluggish.  First I loaded over 150 kilograms of demolition trash from our basement into the back of our car and dropped it all off at the Bermondsey Transfer Station.  That was tiring and physically tough.

Then, I bought 100 or so pieces of lumber (8 foot long 2x4s) for our frame walls, and had to take two trips to get it all home from Home Depot in your little Hyundai Elantra.  That meant dumping it all on the driveway under a tarp.  Once it was all home, Danielle’s step-dad helped me run it all in a basement window into a neat little pile in the middle of the floor.  That was tiring and physically brutal.

After that, I took a break from work until Sunday morning when Tom and I started framing up some of the easier sections of the new basement walls, which included toe-nailing into ceiling joists (which I’m feeling in my shoulder muscles this morning) and demolishing a wall by our basement stairs that I thought might be able to stay there.  That means more garbage for the Transfer Station!

All in all, I’m really happy with the progress over the last few days, and once we got started and figured out the best way to get the walls up with our particularly un-level basement floor, we had a great rhythm that should make the rest of the walls go up surprisingly quickly.  I’d say ‘knock on wood’, but I don’t even want to think about touching a piece of lumber today.

I’ll be off work tomorrow and hopefully we can get a full day’s work in to finish the framing and get started on the insulation, electrical and vapour barrier.  Then we’re ready for our final home energy audit in a week and a half.  Once that audit is done, we can throw up some internal walls to create rooms, slap on some paint and put in some flooring and my darling wife will finally have her beloved dining room back (that’s where the contents of our basement are crammed right now).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go buy a case of Rub A5-35.  Have a great Monday, and enjoy the first day of a week known for easy commutes.

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A Grand Test Awaits

My father-in-law and stepmother-in-law are rabid Montreal Canadiens fans, which means that I get a lot of flak for being a hometown (read “casual”) Leafs fan, and it’s well-deserved.  One of the tough decisions facing every parent is whether to force your own sports allegiances on your child, or to let them decide on their own.  My “beaux parents” (french for ‘In Laws’.  It’s just easier to call them that) have a grand plan.

Once the kid is old enough to move around, he’ll be presented with two identical items of team swag; one for the Leafs and one for the Habs.  Whichever he crawls to or grabs at will be his team.  My belle mere has assured me that infants tend to prefer red, which would be just fine with me.  It’s kind of comforting to think that my little boy can look forward to a future of cheering for a team that might very well win a Stanley Cup in his lifetime.

So help me if my parents decide to screw with things and convince the little guy to cheer for the Ottawa Senators (their new hometown team, who also wear red).  He’ll be mocked mercilessly when he hits school age.  Mind you, allegiances can easily be swayed if the grandfathers want to procure tickets for my little boy (and of course, his father) to attend live games.  Let the bidding begin!  Ha ha ha.

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It’s All About the Chromosomes

So we still have a few people to call, but I’m confident none of them check in here very often, so I can safely share with you that in late July we’ll be expecting a baby BOY!  In all honesty, I couldn’t have cared less what we were having so long as it is healthy, but being a dude myself, and having been a camp counselor in charge of boys, I have a much better idea of what to expect when it comes to raising one.

That being said, I’ll admit that I’m a little bit disappointed that I’m not having a little girl, but there’s plenty of time to order a little sister for our son.  I think I’ll feel better knowing that my little princess will have a big brother looking out for her.

In talking with the people we’re meeting who are also pregnant right now, I’m surprised at how many decided to skip the surprise of finding out the gender in the delivery room, and for the same reasons as us.  Granted, nearly all of them are also first-time parents, so the general attitude is that we can save the surprise for future kids.  Since so much of this experience is brand new, we’d like to know as much as we possibly can, so we can prepare for the prepare-able and face the rest as it comes.

I guess that means I have four months to learn how to play “Big League” by Tom Cochrane on the guitar, not that I’m going to pressure the little guy.  On second thought, maybe I should learn “Cats in the Cradle” to remind him how lucky he is that I’m always around.  Guilt is always more powerful than pressure anyways.  See?  I AM ready to be a parent.  😉

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The Results are in, but You’ll Have to Wait

This morning’s ultrasound went beautifully, and although our little baby was somewhat uncooperative, the technician was able to tell us not only that everything looked perfectly normal, but also whether we were having a little boy or girl.  However, since we haven’t been able to tell our families yet, you’ll have to wait one more day to hear the news.

It was awesome watching the baby move around in Danielle’s belly, and at one point, it showed off how flexible it was by reaching down and touching its toes with its hand.  It also showed a penchant for boxing by throwing a few light rabbit punches into Danielle’s stomach.

So now the race to put a name on this soon-to-be bundle of joy begins in earnest.  Just to be on the safe side, we’re going to come up with names for both a boy and girl (science isn’t infallible at this point, although the ultrasound technician seemed pretty confident).  We’re also open to suggestions.

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The Renos Continue…

After struggling for a week with a sinus infection, I’m finally on the mend, which meant getting back to work on the basement and life in general.  On Saturday, I ventured out in the pouring rain to buy 8 large bags of wall insulation, which took some ingenuity to pack into our little Hyundai for the trip home.  I’ve now stripped my walls to bare concrete (ready for framing) and fully insulated all the headers and tiny holes here and there that were allowing drafts.

The temperature change in our basement with the improved header and draft insulation has been noticeable, so I’m stoked to see how much better it is with properly insulated walls, and I’m even more excited to have more than three electrical outlets in the entire basement.  It’s really coming together.  I have to make another trip to the transfer station (read: “Dump”) this weekend to get rid of the rest of my demo materials and to make room for the lumber and to start putting together the frames for the walls.

In the vein of excitement, we have our next ultrasound tomorrow morning, which means that in a little less than 24 hours, we should know the sex of our little baby-in-the-making.  Although the ultrasound is far from 100% accurate, and we’ll have to plan for any contingency, I’m pretty revved up about being able to use a proper pronoun like “he” or “she” instead of “it” or “the baby”.  So stay tuned for the exciting announcement.

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