Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for June, 2011

Let the Excuses Begin

Some of you have mentioned to me that content in my blog has been lacking lately, and there are a few good reasons for that.

  1. You were no doubt sick of hearing stage-by-stage descriptions of how my basement reno was going.  I’m guessing that because I was sick of talking about how slow the progress was going on it.  Alas, it is now done.
  2. Much of my life lately has been spent getting ready for baby, and I don’t want this to turn so much into a baby blog.  It’s always what’s been on my mind in my waking (and sleeping) hours, as I begin to prepare mentally for the huge life change that is coming.  I’ve decided that if I don’t share about all that stuff, I wont’ be writing in here at all, so get ready for it.
  3. I got a new job.

That last one is the biggest thing right now.  I didn’t want to talk about it while everything was being finalized because I’m a touch superstitious (and this blog’s address is on my resume), but all the papers have been signed, I’ve given my notice and I’ll be starting my new gig after the Canada Day weekend.

I won’t go into a ton of detail, but I’m returning to the exciting world of financial services once more, which is probably where I belong in a corporate sense.  I like being around money, after all.

If you think I’m crazy for changing jobs just weeks before our anticipated due date, one which we think our little guy will ignore by showing up early, you’re probably right, but everyone at the old and new jobs are being very supportive of this move, so I’m sure it’s all going to work out in the end.

I’m just glad that getting a new job gives Danielle and I an excuse to go out on a date for a fancy dinner, since it may be our last for some time, or so I hear from all the parents who have been warning us of the perils that lie ahead.  So, since my near future will be filled with crying, diapers and watching an infant do nothing but sleep for hours on end (and being perfectly happy to do so), I’m going to chill out this weekend and do some serious relaxing.  I suggest you do the same.


Happy Solstice Day, Everybody

Well, the sun reached its most northern point and we’re officially into summer.  That means hot, hazy days ahead and the sun will continue to blaze into the evening, but a little less each day.

Today is also exactly one month before our baby’s due date, and like the Druids of Stonehenge (or whoever those dudes were who built it and worshipped there) that means that this solstice has me thinking about change, and how our lives take turns like the seasons.

As my season as a non-father draws to a close, there are less meaningful seasons that are changing as well.  My time as a basement renovator is likely over, if not on hold for a long time, and most certainly I will never, ever drywall again.

I plan to enjoy this summer.  First, I will enjoy the calm before the storm of our child’s arrival, then I will revel in the joys of fatherhood.  Either way, I will be glad that our air conditioning got fixed, and hope to never repeat that particular season ever again.

Stay tuned for tales of other changes this season has in store, but in the meantime, get out there and enjoy the longest day of the year!

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Eighty to One

So our house was put back together in the nick of time for a very successful shower (conducted almost entirely outdoors, but I’m glad we didn’t bet the farm on it).  Thanks to everyone who helped us out over the past few months, weeks and especially days to see this through.

Instead of hanging around to watch the shower unfold, I headed to Woodbine Racetrack with my dad, father-in-law, stepfather-in-law, uncle and Karim to watch the ponies race.  In one race, a particular horse’s name caught my eye.  “American Castle” sounded too cool to NOT bet on, despite the 20-1 odds.  I put $10 down to say he’d come in either first or second (to place).  It turns out Karim had the same thought and put a slightly less risky bet saying he’d come in first, second or third (to win, place or show).

While we waited for the race to start, our horse’s odds began to slip until he hit 80 to one and we were wondering if he’d had a leg amputated or something.  Well, he came out of the gate strong and won the race.  We screamed our heads off, and were congratulated with the bewildered stares of my family and the awkward glances of our less lucky fellow track attendees.

For years to come, I will enjoy telling the story of how I won the long bet at the track.  What a weekend!

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When it Rains, it Pours

I’m not talking about last night’s storm, which was certainly something to behold.  No, I’m talking about when all the stars line up in a way that can seriously damage your best-laid plans.

Marty, Felicity and my brother Graham headed to our place last night to move our furniture (or at least the big stuff that I can’t move on my own) down into our basement.  When they showed up, the house was mighty warm, but we figured that was because it was blisteringly hot outside and the A/C needed time to catch up.

I’d hoped to have nearly everything downstairs before I went to bed so tonight would see me just moving a few things down and getting stuff organized.  I was really looking forward to watching the end of the hockey game in my new basement.

We got our spare bed down pretty easily, as I had already cut my box spring to get it upstairs in our original move over a year ago, but it was hot and sweaty work.  We got some bookshelves down and our coffee and end tables, but then came the couch.  It was a tight squeeze getting it upstairs in the spring (thanks for your help with that, Jared), but thanks to my new 4 inch stud wall, it got good and jammed.  Nothing short of a chainsaw will get that bad boy into our basement.  So, we need a new couch.

Around this time, it was approaching Hades level heat in the house and a quick investigation showed that NO cold air was coming from our vents.  I don’t know much about HVAC, but I snooped around my furnace unit.  Our compressor was banging away outside (the big fan thingy), so that wasn’t it.  I put a call in to my step-father-in-law and we think we’ve diagnosed the problem.

The pressurized freon line that brings ice cold freon into the furnace from the compressor was dripping like crazy and luke warm to the touch.  It should have been bone dry and freezing cold.  At the points where it was clipped into the ceiling joints and met the furnace, there was a nice layer of frost like in an old freezer.  It seems that our freon has lost its pressure and needs a ‘top up’, so I’m going to put in some emergency service calls this morning.

I’m not sure what’s the worst part about this situation.  Is it that our house is in a shambles and our baby shower is in 72 hours?  Is it that it was the hottest day of 2011 so far?  I think it’s that Danielle is 8 months pregnant and needs A/C to retain even the smallest level of comfort in her sleep.

I’ll keep you posted, but at least there’s some cool weather headed our way over the next few days, just in case.  Sigh.

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All That Remains is to Put it All Back Together

In case you haven’t heard, phase one of the basement reno is complete.  Our new carpet was installed on Monday and it looks FANTASTIC, if I do say so myself.  Tonight, a crew of family and friends will be helping me move all the stuff back downstairs and then I can finally relax for a few weeks before the baby comes.

Photos will be coming shortly, when I have time to post them.  Time has been a bit of an enemy lately, as I scrambled to finish up the job before Danielle’s baby shower at our house this Sunday and I really hope this kid appreciates all my hard work.

If you’re in our ‘hood tonight, stop by to move a few things and we’ll repay you in burgers, potato salad and beer.

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Call for Painters. Saturday Evening and Possibly Sunday

Now that the drywall is done, things are moving A LOT faster in our basement.  I got the first full coat of primer on last night (which went a lot faster than I’d anticipated) and I’ll be doing a touch-up second coat tonight, just to make the actual painting easier.  I’ll also be putting Jared to work helping me get all my drywall garbage out of the basement and into the car for a trip to the Bermondsey Transfer Station (read ‘dump’) early tomorrow morning.

Once the primer is done and dried, which doesn’t take long, I’ll be doing the first coat of paint on Saturday evening and a touch-up coat on Sunday, if it’s required.  If you enjoy painting, I’d love your help.  I hate it and I’m not that great at it.  It’s super easy in this job though, because you don’t have to worry about the floor, ceiling or trim.  All the outlets are taped, and the rest is a “go ahead and spill” zone.  Did I mention there will be beer?

Once the painting is done, I can put in my new wall sconces and switches on Sunday afternoon/evening so the carpet installers will have some light on Monday morning.  Then, as of sometime around midday on Monday, the basement reno (Phase One) will be complete and we can start putting our house back together.

Basement Reno Phase Two will begin this winter.  It will include finishing our stairwell and hallway, installing the drop ceiling in the whole basement and then adding baseboard trim around the whole thing.  I’m not thinking about that though.  I’ve got my eyes firmly set on the nearer goal, and it’s so close, I can taste it.

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Thumbs Up for Five Guys

Sorry for the brief hiatus in here, but my life has consisted of a routine lately (work, basement reno, sleep, repeat) and that would have made for some pretty humdrum blog posts.

I’m glad to report that my drywall is as done as it’s going to get, and I’ve moved on to painting.  We’ve arranged our carpet install and hope to have our date booked for this coming week, or at the very least before the baby shower at our house on June 12.  It could be a close call getting our house put back together for it, but I’m game.

A non-reno highlight of my week was meeting up with Kenneth to try out Five Guys burgers.  After reading a few reviews on Toronto blogs and a few US friends recommending it, we checked it out.  Don’t let the no-frills decor throw you, they make a killer burger.  Easily an 8 out of 10.  The meat was well-cooked and loosely packed, and all the toppings were fresh, fresh, fresh.  My only beefs (ahem) were that the meat could have used a touch of seasoning and you get WAAAAY too many fries.  My advice is to go with a friend and, since there are no combos, each order a burger and drink and share a small fries.  It’ll still be more than enough.

After my trip to Burgers Priest back in March, that burger is the one by which all others are compared, and Five Guys fared well.  Better yet, it’s closer to my house and has seating.  However, at $14 for a burger, fries and drink, I think it’ll be less of a “once a week” place, and more of a special hunger-occasion.