Sunday, May 23, 2010

Filling the pool

Well, after a false start (pool with a leak) and a few week waits for a replacement liner, we were ready to roll. Of course, we decided to change the orientation of the pool - short side to the house instead of the long side - so it wouldn't be such a squeeze, which meant more digging, tilling, leveling, rolling, cursing, stone picking, yelling etc., we finally got the thing laid out & ready to go.

One other thing I had to set up was the solar water heating array, on the roof, which meant having to pipe water up the side of the house and on to the roof. It was quite a chore even laying the panels on the roof. I had Dan go up with me to handle these things which are about 2 feet wide and 20 feet long. We laid the first one down and strapped it down. Then the wind decided to blow. I do not mean a breeze, I mean a BLOW. The sheet was whipping around like crazy and Dan and I both were dancing all over trying to settle it down - me in the middle and him on the other non-fastened down end. Okay. Where is everyone else, so's we can get this thing fastened! Nowhere to be found. After a period of loud screaming, we finally got Elena's attention (I think she was being nosy and had a peak at us because of nosiness, not for the purpose of helping.) We kinda made it plain that we needed her, Tiana & Critter up real pronto like, to act as ballast so we could continue fastening. Needless to say, it did get done, but not before many frequent wild rides as the wind continued to be boisterous - at least until we were finished when it died down to more manageable levels.

Any way, I decided that to check everything I would feed the hose into the "in" pipe of the solar array and thus fill the pool that way instead of putting the hose directly into the pool. Naturally the kids had a better idea. Since I wanted "warm water" to go in, the solution was to feed the big boys lots of liquids and just wait for a bit. My good wife had the camera, and took pictures for posterity.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The collie and the sausage

Well, today I managed to get outside for a bit and do some more work - put up another handrail - even dug the post hole myself (a job I normally delegate to the younger more supple among us) because I knew that if I dug, my back, knees, and arms would hurt, which they are doing. Nevertheless, I did it (at least this once) because an operating mantra for most of my life has been don't ask someone to do something if you yourself have neither done it nor would do it.

(Note: I don't do horses, and I fail miserably at cleaning up someone Else's barf. Note2: When I was training to be a McDonald's Manager, I did work at a store doing ALL the different types of jobs. My favourite was working the grill - flip those patties, man! My second favourite was working the Shake machine - hows 'bout a little extra squirt (or three) of the chocolate syrup, man! My least favourite was janitor. Yes, I actually did clean the bathrooms, with all kinds of unspeakable filth left behind - and that was just the ladies bathroom. Yes, the men's did have barf [why is it that drunks ALWAYS go for a big juicy Big Mac - with its "special sauce" - swallow it almost whole, then decide that it and the gallon of beer they drank previously really don't mix, and regurgitate the whole stinking mess via dollops of chunkiness into the "public" washroom of the dining establishment - leaving said deposit NOT in the toilet to be flushed down by said drunk, but rather deposited on the floor by the door for the benefit of the next person to enter, who then comes screaming complaints that the washroom is in DESPERATE need of attention & clean-up], and naturally of the 5, I say again 5 (five) Manager Trainees on duty that night it was I, sadly I, who was acting as janitor and whose duty it was to boldly go where no one in their right mind would go - especially those of queasy stomach - and confront said mess with all the aplomb available to one who retches at the thought of - well never mind what. Needless to say I involuntarily added a small deposit of my own to the pile - which meant that I was tasting and smelling my own barf (which somehow made the task easier - I guess the idea ties into that one's own farts don't stink.)

The other thought that occupied me while mopping was a memory of my Sister's dog, a Scots Collie (named Montgomery Beaumont - Monty for short) - a good dog, but stupid, with very poor table manners. (sample picture - NOT Monty)

As the baby in my family (which is why I pity Critter), even though it was my Sister's dog, it was on occasion my job to feed the stupid thing. One day I dutifully mixed a large can of Dr. Ballard's Beef Stew with several cups of dry kibble, mixed it up real good (as my Sister had shown me), put it before the dog who unceremoniously bit and swallowed - no chewing - downing the bowl in maybe, just maybe, 5 or ten seconds. Fast enough that I was impressed and surprised. Even more so when, within the hour, the dog started to act real strange and I swear his stomach was rumbling and growling and the dog's eyes grew real wide and he started to huff and puff and wheeze and all of a sudden he arched his back, opened his mouth wide and with a mighty heave barfed out a perfect sausage mixture of Dr. Ballard's Beef Stew 'n Kibble! A perfect loaf maybe a foot long and 3 or four inches in diameter, smooth sided and in one long unbroken piece - there, right on the floor, just inches from my feet. On that sight I managed NOT to barf myself, but broke out laughing at the sight of that poor dumb dog. Now what DID GROSS ME OUT is that the dog, seeing this delightful monstrosity, sniffed at it several times, circling it - making it literally the centre of his attention - and with multiple approving shakes of his tail RE-ATE the thing in several, smaller, bites and floor-lickings with much careful chewing this time around. There was not a trace of it left behind. Having finished this "second" meal, the dog of course wanted to express his gratitude to me, and did, indeed, try to lick my feet/hands/face in boisterous obeisance until I, laughing, managed to fend him off until he gave up and trotted off blissfully unaware of the memory he had left, perhaps permanently, for me to draw on when needed. That was how I managed to clean up Mac n' beer chunks in a McDonald's washroom in London in 1973.

Unfortunately, now when I see barf the FIRST memory is the Mac n' beer, which explains my propensity to barf, too.

All because of the collie and the sausage...)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where's my rubber duck...

or how I train ny daughters to use hammers and power drills.

Okay, okay, I admit I am more of a thinker than a do-er. I like to sit, and boss the kids around. The latest project, build a little walkway, level some ground, and get ready for an above-ground pool. I even took some pictures (actually, so did the kids - of me!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ahhh, the smell of...

Okay, okay, I know - boys and their toys. But ya' gotta' admit, there's something FUN about operating a tractor with a bucket on it so's you can move shit (literally!) around. Of course, there's also nothing like the smells associated with freshly disturbed horse poop, or the aromas emanating from good ole' plain dirt as it's scooped up, or tilled, or otherwise moved from one spot to another.

I had a reasonably fun day in the sun yesterday, moving this and scooping that. Except when the time came to do some real work - like stringing chicken wire. Especially single-handedly. I gave up after about fourty feet - got too difficult to keep tension on while nylon tying the wire to the posts. Where's a three-armed mutant when you need one? There was only Daniel and my good wife around, everyone else having deserted the home roost for other points far afield. Daniel was busy doing needed maintenance on the truck. Janet decided it was a good time to detail the inside of the van - it hasn't looked that good since we bought it.

So I sat, in the sun, sprawled over the (still) rain-soaked couch on the deck. I had forgotten what a soggy wet butt feels like, but since I was feeling like crap anyway it was hardly noticeable. I was able to be a man-of-leisure for anly a short time, though. Oh well, tomorrow is another day...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sleepless in Seaforth...

... all through the house
not a creature was stirring
(if you ignore the damn mouse...)

I do not know if it is because of age, or the deluge of water I've been made to drink (my dear wife appears out of nowhere bringing gifts of gallons of water for me to drink because of my "bladder condition"), but it seems that in a regular manner I have been lately getting up in the night to empty said bladder.

Back in the good ole' days this was a rare occurrence, generally occasioned due to having imbibed in too many non-water drinks of a happy-kind. Nevertheless, tonight I went to bed early - a little after 10:30 pm - so here it is a little after 4:00 am and I was forced out of my warm bed, on short notice, to run to the batroom.

Now, our downstairs bathroom is beside the family room in which the cats are imprisoned at night. There are 2 frosted windows in the bathroom, there to let light in from the family room. The problem is at night, the bathroom lets light into the family room, letting the cats know that SOMEONE is UP AND ABOUT AND SHOULD BRING US FOOD. So, being cats not of the genteel persuasion, they start running around, bumping into things, and being vociferous in the usual cat methodology. Which, of course, makes any semi-awake person-who-gets-up-in-the-night-to-go-pee morph into a WIDE-AWAKE person-with-no-hope-of-getting-back-to-sleep-soon.

By the way, the dogs - who have lately taken to sleeping in "dad's office", that is to say the library, are sprawled on the floor looking at me with eyes that say, "ARE YOU NUTS!!?? GET BACK TO BED!!" I think that is why dogs ARE "man's best friend" and cats are, well, to put it mildly, not.

Now, part two of my dilemma is this: Now that I have ignored both the cats and dogs, and "awoke" my computer to share these last few moments with you it is now 4:45 am. Because this is a truck day, in a few short minutes Daniel (and sometimes Jay) will come stumbling down the stairs, trudge though the living room into the kitchen, will throw on every light possible in the kitchen, and will generally be cat-like in the thumping and banging of things and be similarly vociferous - saying such things as: "WHAT!! WHO ATE THE (generally some vague thingy) I WAS SAVING FOR LUNCH?? NOW WHAT AM I GONNA' MAKE??!! THERE'S NO FOOD IN THIS HOUSE!!"

At this point, most times, their genteel mother, ever mindful of sucky babies crying for food, will herself get up, trudge into the kitchen, will show mounds of edibles in the fridge, in the freezer, in the cupboards, etc., will pour herself a coffee (the first of 3) and will commiserate with the children until they are off and running. She then will stay up, so as she will have ammunition with which to complain about later in the day when everyone else finally awakes and starts to trudge around as well.


Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What'yer bladdering about now...

CAUTION: This post is not meant for younger viewers. If you are under 40, please leave now. It is the internet - the post will still be here when you are old enough.

Once upon a time, the parts of the body decided to pick a boss. The Legs said they should be the boss, as they carried everyone around. The Eyes said they should be the boss, as they made sure that everyone did not bump into things. The Ears said they should be the boss, as they make sure that important things were heard. The Arms said they should be the boss, as they were able to get food to the mouth, change clothes on all the other parts, etc. The Stomach said it should be the boss, as it digested all the food that kept all the other parts moving. The Brain said it should be boss, as it did all the thinking and kept all the other parts synchronized in what they did. The rest of the body parts spoke up with THEIR reasons for being boss. Finally, when everyone thought that the matter was ready for vote, the Asshole spoke up and said HE should be boss. All the other parts of the body started to laugh. They laughed and they laughed and laughed some more. This angered the asshole, so he clamed up and refused to work. The legs went weak, the eyes went blurry, the arms barely moved, the stomach was upset, and the brain became fuzzy and disoriented. Finally, everyone agreed that the asshole should be boss. To this day, you don't need to be a brain to be boss - just an asshole.

Now, I always thought that that was a cute story, although I cannot remember the last time I suffered through a bout of constipation! I would present, though, an alternative horror of horrors - a malfunctioning bladder. This I can relate to, currently experiencing the fear, pain & frustration of what is referred to as "bladder cancer". Now, at the moment, I am still able to pee outside when the mood strikes - so I can still drive the dogs and-other-pee-smelling-animals nuts - albeit with a slightly diminished flow and subsequent range loss, although flow and hence, range is getting better with healing. I am, tomorrow, looking with heavy anticipation to what is the first of six weekly "BCG Bladder Instillations" - a process by which live (anti-Tuberculosis) bacteria is "instilled" (don't ya' just love that word, opposite of distilled [out from]) DIRECTLY INTO the bladder.

Yay. After the treament, I have to pretend I am on a rotisserie - 15 minutes per side, repeat. Get up and GO. Don't flush, treat effluent with household bleach, leave for 15 minutes, then flush. Hope the bleach kills all the bacteria before the entire human race is infected. Sounds like a safe and harmless procedure. Right.

Drink 12 glasses of water after treatment, the instructions continue. I wonder to myself, if the intended result is to pee more often, thus flushing the BCG out, would not a more suitable pee-inducing liquid be preferred? Such as, Guinness? Gin & tonic? That nice chocolate wine that Matt (really Joanna) brought to the wine-tasting? What's with plain water anyway? I mean, good grief, I ain't dead yet, although ya' gotta' wonder if the cure isn't worse than the disease...

Friday, January 22, 2010

In other news...

Janet, Jay and I went "shopping" today for a replacement vehicle for the wrecked van. We ended up buying another Ford E350 van - a real dirt shower (burgundy) for Janet AND a pick-up truck for Jay.

Where's MY boat????

Come into my parlor...

said the doctor to the patient...

Well, had my "interview" with the Doc today. Now here's the problem as to why health care in Canada is expensive. I had a procedure (see last post) which was supposed to give answers as to what is going on with me. I also had an ultrasound done, again to help reveal what is "wrong" so that appropriate treatment could begin - with the intent (hopefully) of ensuring I have a long and stress-free (wishful thinking) life. Today I find out that they don't know, and have scheduled an additional procedure, involving a nasty bit of business (I say nasty because it involves at least an over-night hospital stay and maybe much bleeding) in the hopes of a further discovery of what is wrong. Hmmmmm, three kicks at the can, each involving a (presumably) more expensive step than the previous. Thank you taxpayers of Ontario for your keen interest in my bladder. Now, where is the free ice-cream...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Free at last - not so fast...

*Sigh* Repeat, *Sighhhhh*.

All right, so what's a guy to do. Here I am, just getting used to celebrating the absence of Nurses and Doctors and nagging wife (just kidding, Hun!) and lo and behold, another medical condition crops up. I have tumours in the bladder. Now, I don't want to go into excruciating detail about how these were discovered, but the "instrument" used to "scope" the location out HAD to have been invented in either the dark ages or in some extreme nazi experimental laboratory. I was sore for three days, and could hardly do jumping-jacks (not that I would DO jumping-jacks, but for sure this was the excuse not to.)

The only good news is that the Doc said these tumours did not look cancerous, and what the normal procedure is that they use the same hideous - no, no, "wonderful" - scope to basically lassoe the offensive little buggers and strangle them right off the interior surface of the bladder. They do condescend to keeping you overnight at the hospital, I suppose because the possibility of peeing right away will be next to impossible unless one is either drugged or drunk...

Anyway, I am scheduled for an ultrasound AND have an appointment with the butcher, no, no, "Doctor" who I suppose wants me to sign a pile of release forms - you know the kind - sign here, just in case the lassoe slips and we cut-off-more-than-we-intended-and-now-you-can-REALLY-wear-ladies-underwear...

Yippie. Anyway, I am taking this news in my usual calm manner, which is driving my poor wife bananas. She has put me on a sugar restricted diet, makes me drink lemon water, digest aeorbic oxygen (20 drops, in *sigh* water) and looks like she expects me to keel over any second.

My children have no sympathy, and are still brats.

All I really wanna' know is, can I still have chocolate ice cream?