Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for April, 2011

Back from the Hinterlands

We’re back from a weekend of woodstoves and rainstorms up at the cottage, which was surprisingly warm considering the recent weather in Toronto.  We had a great visit with the family, but we learned that a rustic cottage is not the most comfortable place for a pregnant woman, nor is the five hour drive up and back.

Now, we’re back in TO where it’s set to be cool and rainy for the next few days.  For those of you who complained about the snow, you’d better not complain about all this rain too as it’s the precursor to the summer you love so much.  In the meantime, just enjoy how quickly all this rain is turning our outside world from yellowy brown to lush green.  We might even have to mow our lawn before the week is out!

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The Toronto Baby Show. So. Many. Strollers.

Looking for any excuse to forego yet ANOTHER Saturday spent working on the basement, we headed to Mississauga for the Toronto Baby Show, which was exactly what you’d expect; a giant warehouse full of baby stuff.

For anyone like me who dislikes crowds, this is a nightmare come true.  Every second person was pushing a stroller, so browsing through the stands took forever, but it a little patience paid off in spades.  We had some great chats with parents about their gear and got great deals on both our new stroller (the Baby Jogger “City Select”) and our car seat.  We also loaded up on a free samples of everything from diapers, to wipes, to baby shampoo.  It was well worth the $13 each to get in.  However, that will more than likely be my last baby show.  Not because we don’t plan on having more kids, but because it was such a harrowing experience.

One of the highlights came with a trip to the bathroom where every single dad or dad-to-be had the same reaction when they went to wash their hands.  They would look in the mirror and let out a deep sigh, as if preparing themselves to head back out into the melee.

A special nod to the Mississauga fire department for their awesome booth about car seat safety.  They had the back half of a car set up to show people how to properly install a car seat, provided a free DVD on car seat installation and had tons of literature about infant safety, fire safety and resources and contact information to ensure we’re ready to safely welcome our new little bundle of joy.  It was super helpful.

Now if only the Mississauga fire department could send some firefighters over to my house to finish my basement…

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Thoughts on Last Night’s Debate

Last night’s debate was surprisingly entertaining, with each candidate throwing his share of punches and taking his fair share too.  I’ll admit that I’m disappointed that it didn’t degenerate into a “street rules” knife fight, but it was fun to watch nonetheless.

A particular high point for me was when all the candidates were bickering and Stephen Harper was trying to interrupt Jack Layton and he said “Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker… Mr. Layton”.  I’m not sure if he was trying to get the attention of moderator Steve Paikin or if all the nattering reminded him so much of the House of Commons that it just slipped out.  Still, it was the closest thing to a gaffe all night.  Well, aside from Gilles Duceppe’s terrible “bloke not bloc” joke that floated delightfully through the room like a lead balloon.

As has often been said, elections are lost not won and last night’s debate didn’t really see any distinct loser.  By inference, that means there was no real winner anyway.  I guess all we can hope for as Canadians is that collectively we can elect a party based on platform and that we can avoid the first major motion in the house bringing it down and forcing yet ANOTHER election.

One of the ways to make sure of that is to get out and vote.  Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to do the same, even if they don’t have the same political leanings you do.  The more people who vote, the stronger the mandate the government has to do the will of the people.  Here endeth the rant.

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Yours Truly, Quoted in the Venerated “Globe and Mail”

You may recall my recent post where I shared my indecision about putting an election sign in our lawn.  Well, you aren’t the only one.  Carly Weeks from The Globe and Mail found it while researching a story about election signs and how people feel about them and got in touch with me late last week for a brief phone interview.  It was my first real media interview and it was pretty exciting.  Finally, on the same day as the leadership debate, you can see my name in the black and white of The Globe and Mail in the article entitled “Will your election sign provoke a backlash?

It’s exciting to see my name in ‘print’ (I’m still not sure if I’m in the print version of the paper, but I plan on finding out), but that pales in comparison for the excitement that will be tonight’s televised leader’s debate.  There’s just so much ammo floating around in the air for this not to turn into a huge melee.  I’m secretly hoping that Harper and Ignatieff get into a slapping match and Duceppe dives off his podium to body slam them both.  In a Canadian election this heated, anything can happen.  Anything.  Heck, I might even end up with a sign on my lawn after all.


The Therapeutic Monday Morning Rant

I’m getting pretty sick of drywall at this point, but the end is near as I just have to finish up some trim on my soffits (the boxes I’ve built around my duct work) and apply the second coat to all my walls seams and I’ll be ready to move on to painting.  I kind of wish we’d hired someone to do the drywall, but it’s too late now.  Maybe next time.

All that work meant that I didn’t get to spend much time in the great outdoors in what looked like a fabulous weekend.  I can hardly wait for patio season to kick in to full gear, and I’ll be glad to trade basement reno work for yard work if only because it means I can get some fresh air.

Speaking of yard work, if anyone has two measly patio stones (the 2×2 foot kind) that they want to get rid of, let me know.  I need to lift my BBQ out of the mud and mire of the lawn.

On a totally unrelated note, who are the people who sit in the forward/backward facing seats on the subway in rush hour, but turn so their legs and torso are out in the middle aisle, taking up double the space?  I get it if someone is 7 feet tall and their legs don’t fit in the gap between the seats, but anyone else is just taking up too much room.  There was a guy on my commute this morning who was doing it while playing brick breaker on his BlackBerry.  Every time the car lurched, he headbutted me in the stomach.  When I asked him to turn, he told me it wasn’t comfortable, so I ended up moving over and standing where his legs were supposed to go.  Awkward.

There we go.  I’ve exercised all my Monday morning crustiness, so my day should improve greatly.  Phew.  Thanks for listening.


Voter Apathy, Drywall Tape and Classic Rock. This is my Life

While the federal election heats up, I’m kind of sad to learn that most Canadians seem apathetic about it, and believe that any vote is a nod for the status quo.  It’s disheartening that, in a time when people all over the world are fighting for their democratic rights, Canadians seem perfectly okay with not exercising theirs.  Inform yourselves, inform others and please encourage people to vote.  We don’t want another election where a minority party forms the government after WAY less than half of the country voted.

I’m probably just grumpy because I spent all of last night mudding and taping drywall seams.  It turns out that I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m afraid it’s going to be painfully obvious in the finished product.  However, after a month of hard work, and with plenty still to do, I’m more focused on getting the job done.  I hope that I don’t regret my shortcuts every time I head down there to watch TV in the future.

On the plus side, all this time spent working has renewed my love for classic rock.  We have an old stereo (one I don’t mind getting covered in drywall dust and paint, unlike my iPod) and I have it set to Q107, Toronto’s classic rock station.  While I’m hearing more than my share of Zeppelin (whom I like, but they play A LOT), I’m also getting back in touch with songs I haven’t heard in years, and I’m surprised to see how many lyrics I still know.  There’s nothing like smearing drywall compound on a wall while belting “More Than a Feeling” at the top of your lungs.  Trust me.

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The Basement Reno and a Fist-Bump from the Future

Once again, actual work was more important than taking and posting photos, but since most of the stuff I did was electrical and there’s still some drywall to be put up, the photos wouldn’t have looked that impressive anyway, so you can wait a few more days, right?

A big shout of thanks to Marty and Ben for popping by yesterday and helping me sort out that an old wire I was pulling through the wall was stuck because it was held in by two staples (in a 3 foot run, no less) and saved me hours of headaches.  I managed to run a three-way switch for our hall light and get our laundry room light set up, so I can finally close off the hallways with drywall.  It’s all coming together.

That’s not the most exciting part of the weekend, nor was witnessing first-hand the Blue Jays home opener.  I felt my baby move for the first time yesterday morning, and it was awesome.  I’m not really sure what he was doing, but I’d like to think he was giving me a fist-bump for all my awesome work in what will be his hang out in the basement.  What was real before is now VERY real.

This week I should be able to finish up the drywall so we can move on to painting this weekend.  Huzzah!

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Happy April Fool’s Day

On the first of every month, we release a corporate newsletter in our office and today’s had a special April Fool’s cover page with a smattering of tongue-in-cheek stories for our employees.  Since I’m the one who wrote them, it’s been pretty satisfying to hear that people are not only being fooled at first, but really enjoying the content.

Sadly, I had some plans for a prank on here, but ran out of time to see it through, so I’ll save it for next year, but hopefully you get a kick out of all the pranks that are being shared around the web.

Have a great April Fool’s Day, and drop me a line if you’re going to the Jays home opener tonight.  I’ll be there too.

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