Thursday, December 31, 2015

Blowing Away 2015

This will be it for 2015, and I can say for sure things will continue in 2016 here.

My buddy Drew said come on out in the afternoon before New Years and shoot away all of your/the troubles of 2015.  To be quite honest I didn't really have too many, but the invitation was all I needed.  I grabbed a couple of guns I thought would be needed, and headed out for a few hours.

I have got lots of running in the last month, and that has been good.  I have no running plans for 2016, but given the chance I would like to get into shape so that I could run 34 minutes or so for 10k.  That shouldn't be much of a problem.

I have it on my mind to get on a motorcycle trip as well during 2016.  It won't be until may or June, but that is another goal of mine to accomplish.

I have hit the piano again over the past 2 weeks.  I have quickly resumed to playing C, G and F chords, and am capable enough up to Happy Birthday/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Easy Christmas carols, and the like....  So I hope to continue with the keys for 2016 and should post a video of my progress.

Finishing off 2015 the kids are super terrific.  I never thought I would write this but Wally has really made a turn for the better.  He is sleeping twice a day, eating a lot, and is mostly agreeable and quite fun to interact with.  What a huge change from the first 8 months of his life.  He loves the bath, but fights and squirms quite a lot while changing him still.  But really excited to see how 2016 goes.

Despite missing a lot of school so far, Molly has really enjoyed it and has improved in all those reading and thinking areas .  I would also say her knowledge of numbers is fine.  She can't really print letters all that well; forming them, their neatness, everything really, but I have a feeling that will change.  She really likes books, being read to, and can rhyme off a good list of 50 or so three and four letter words that are appropriate for her age.

Shelly is really looking forward to going to work next week.  She didn't teach a day in 2015, but will return just as capable as she left the profession back in December of 2014.  I can't speak for her goals for 2016, or her progress as a person in 2015 (though it was more then adequate), she said in passing that she might to a mini or sprint triathlon for fun....  It wouldn't be too much of a problem for her I am sure.

So as for the video, a few Ashfield Township thugs took a baseball bat to Drew's mailbox a few months ago and it was all beat to hell.  So he loaded it up with a mixture of this and that - store bought zombie boom or something, and a .223 round.  Looks like we got the last laugh out of the mailbox fiasco.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


On Christmas Eve we all went over to Don and Janet's, met up with the Coup's, and we had a big dinner.  The kids were at there assigned placings, adults in their spot, and I was wrestling with Wally.  It was just getting on six o'clock and he was absolutely losing his mind, patience, wits, whatever; he was so gone.  Shelly got a decent fill of food and gracefully exited, and Molly and I stayed for another 90 mins to finish dinner, have desert, have another drink, and so on....  We were home by 8:30, and Molly settled into bed after a bit of Santa prep such as writing a note, leaving some cookies, and getting some reindeer food in place.

Shelly and I poked around the house....  We were both quite tired, but thought we'd try a movie....  Asleep before the first antagonist in Die Hard made an appearance.

Molly had asked for skates, some Paw Patrol merchandise, as well as something from Peppa Pig.  She wasn't too specific other then that explanation.  As it happened, there was a sweet pair of Bauer hockey skates under the tree, some Paw Patrol books and toy box, as well as a stuffed Peppa Pig doll.  Molly had either been really good or lucky, we are not quite which.  Very happy with her presents, that was basically it.  There was the token underwear and socks, the toothbrush, and the accompanying paste which makes the gift complete, but it didn't take too long to get things opened.

Wally got a soccer ball, as well as some toys that have wheels and make noise.  He didn't really get too excited, but was a good sport considering it was his first Christmas.

We had a few visitors throughout the morning, I went for a bit of a run, and we had quite a feed.  The weather has been really nice, and there is no snow whatsoever.  I don't think the temperature has really been below freezing either.  There was also a full moon which hasn't happened this time of year for decades I guess.

In the afternoon we made our way up to Lucknow and had a meal with Shelly's brothers and their families, and of course the parents.  That was it.  8 adults and six kids - in a house with a wood furnace just a blasting away.  Some things never change.
My memories of Virgin Gorda continue because Santa delivered some hot sauce from the island, as well as a tea towel!
The one funny thing that happened was Shelly got into her one gift with scissors.  As it would be, the scissors did more then open the package, they halved her item!  She can explain it further if she wants.  It wasn't like it was super expensive or really unique or unusual, it was more the bummer of it....  Oh well, easy come easy go.  I do have the receipt, and the tags are on it still, so I will try to return it and get a new one.

Dam Christmas

Quite literally, and not too figuratively, we all went out for a nature walk on Christmas Day back within the 300 acres at Pierson's bush and spotted the actual Christmas dam.  Bank beavers are making this blockage, Shelly's dad figures there are about 5 or 7 of them, and they have been quite busy, as everyone is this time of year.  They mostly go at the poplar tree, but do not hesitate to chew on other species as well.  It is the municipalities responsibility to clean this up as the stream is part of its infrastructure to maintain.

We didn't see any beavers, but two animals were spotted running Christmas morning with nothing more then shorts and light jackets on.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Not the kids, but my Quebec Street house sold.  Well, all the conditions were lifted and the closing is on January 6th I think.  I have meant to get over there and take a picture of the "for sale" sign that now indicates SOLD in those big red blocked letters.

These 3 aren't so great at hockey - but give us the Cabot Trail Relay, and can all hold our own.  With me are Josh Kraemer and Rich Tremain.

The real estate agents teamed up on the sale - so between Rick Lobb, whom I worked with 20 years ago at Benmiller Inn, and Jeff Bauer, who lives directly beside the house, they were quarterbacking the deal and got it inked up.  The person who bought the house is getting a real nice place, and I can tell you that there is a tonne of positive energy and good fortune left over in it.

I hit up Guelph the other day to go hang out with a buddy and play some hockey.  Rich had the ice rented for a family fun skate so I dusted off the skates and had a go.  I hadn't been on the ice much in the past year. Anyway it was a fun time, and our other buddy Kites even made it to Guelph to later on in the evening for a bit of holiday cheer.

Holiday Sing

There are a few more pictures to come, and a write-up, but hosted the Lighthouse Street block party last night and it was well attended.  We squeaked a few Quebec Street residents in the house too - it wasn't a big deal...

I thought of Shelley Worsell last night.  It was noted that Dorthy would have been very happy and pleased that the house was so alive with kids, music, and cheer for a few hours last night.  Shelley said something similar to me a year ago in regards to her being happy if she knew the type of people we are who bought the house....  so anyway.  I know Shelley is reading this and I hope you have a great holiday.

Not everyone could make it, but really glad to have had everyone over who could make it.  Looks like it may just be a yearly tradition.

Shelly sounded terrific on the ivory, and Al Mullin was really on his game with the brass.  I accompanied, briefly, on Jingle Bells, and strummed away fine.

One kind of funny over-lay of events that happened last night was how much postage was exchanged.  So as hosts we got lots of cards and thank yous from the neighbours.  But in that weird, small town way 3, of the couples at the party, myself included, have all lived in each others houses for different amounts of time in the last 6 months.  The Glouscher's lived in my Quebec Street house for 6 months and I still get the odd posting there, and they get the odd posting too.  So there was that exchange.  Kate and Kevin now live in the Glouscher's old house, and the Glouscher's still get the odd posting there.  So, maybe it wasn't too complicated, but it was kind of funny.  And it was one guy's birthday at the party and people were giving him the odd birthday card.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Note

With my bad luck streak long over, things are falling back into a bit of a routine around here.  There was 20 square feet of flooring that needed to be completed; flooring that wasn't done initially because I didn't think I had enough flooring to finish, but I did, eavestroughs needed to be cleaned, finally got my satellite dish hooked up, and a house to sell.  So not much of a problem or hard things to do.  Shelly had some decorating to do as well....

So my first love, the Quebec Street house, is currently being inspected as I type.  Our relationship started back in September of 2003, and she has been with me through the past 12 years of adventures and life.  But to be perfectly honest I am not all that sad to be parting ways.  It was good while it lasted, but I really don't need it any longer.  My friends who had lived in it moved out around the first of December.  Being empty, and clean, it wasn't going to look or show any more appealing then now.  I listed it on a Wednesday, and I had pretty much accepted an offer on Thursday before noon.  So it is all a win-win situation.  Thanks for the memories 117 Quebec.
Molly and I hit up a fundraising breakfast with Santa the other morning.  I didn't think she would go and sit on his knee, but she did.  She wasn't too chatty, and he had a hard time keeping her hands out of her mouth and what-not, but she did it.  There were all sorts of people there, and I saw so many people who I hadn't seen it quite sometime.
The flooring wasn't a big deal at all to finish.  it took longer to move the dresser and get all the tools and equipment in place....

Eavestrough cleaning wasn't a big deal either.  The weather has been so warm; well over 10 degrees centigrade.  I was in a t-short actually, and just scooping out handfuls of large leafs and pine needs, yet I don't have a pine tree anywhere near my house....  They were needle like something anyway.

We are all ready for snow, I suppose, and got the house churched up a bit too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Unlucky Stretch

It happens to me.  It happens to everyone.  

An incredibly unlucky stretch of events was my plight over the weekend.  Fortunately most of the things worked out, regrettably not everything.  However I am still alive and not much worse for wear.

In no particular order:

Upon returning to our house our furnace wasn't kicking in and engaging properly.  It tried to turn over, but it wouldn't.  Despite it being unseasonably warm, the house was still cool at 58 or so degrees fahrenheit.  Being only 1 year old, I wasn't too pleased with its sudden break down.  However the place I bought it immediately came over, the owner of the business, and wrenched and tweaked and basically sorted it out.  He thought water wasn't draining out of it too well and trip up a switch and so on and so forth....  Not a big deal.  It got going.  And I will tell you reading this; buy local!  Buy from someone who will be over and stand by their product.  By from a small town shop.  It may cost a bit more, but dam is it worth it.  

My second stretch of bad luck, but was fixed was my truck wasn't working too great.  The thing sat for well over 35, or close to 40 days because I can't even remember driving it too much before I left on the holiday.  I had a weird rhythmic tapping noise, sort of like a knock, seemingly from the valves on top of the engine....  Lots of oil, lots of power in the truck, but a concerning noise....  Well dam if I hadn't been driving it for a day or to, then all of the sudden a spark plug exploded like a bullet and flew out of the socket it sits!  It smashed on the ground and ricoceted back up to and in the bottom of the truck.  That was a surprise.  But the truck still ran, not well, but limped on its 5 remaining cylinders.  The spark plug was found - hotter then you-know-what, and I got it to my trusty local mechanic.  Viola!  Put a new spark plug in it, reattached the wires, and it runs fine - who'd know?  

I had a stumble with my gun deer hunting on the weekend, but it isn't what you'd think.....

Driving around with my buddy Larry, we had disposed of our cases and locks in the back of my truck.  This is before the blown out spark plug obviously....  Anyway at the end of the hunt we packed up and left the field. Unlocked, yet legal, the guns were in the back of my truck and we drove home.  Larry took his items, I said good bye, and returned home.  While at home, I unloaded my things and locked and cased my gun until the following morning's hunt.  I get to the hunt, early the next morning, and went to the rear of my truck to get my things.  I tried my rolling numerical combination, it didn't work.  Perhaps it was upside down, or some other strange reason why the combination I had used for 8 years all of the sudden doesn't work....  There was a perfectly good explanation - I had the wrong lock on the gun.  It was Larry's.  And despite only having a 3 number sequence of 10 digits each, I didn't think I had the time to go through 000, 001, 002, 003, and so on to 999 and try them all in an appropriate amount of time before those waiting to go hunting would get fed up.  It was 7:10 in the morning - too early to call Larry.  Dam.  What to do?  A locked gun is certainly no good for hunting anything.  This may not ease any safety experts reading this, but the one guy I was hunting with flashed out his multi-tool knife and simply picked the locked = in like 2 seconds!  Third problem solved...

It was deer hunting that my final stretch of bad luck occurred.  On the Friday night I shot a nice sized doe about 10 minutes before the legal hunt ended.  I could not believe my luck as I am not a great shot, nor do deer usually walk out on me, and I was quite far away - 70 or 80 yards.  I took my time aiming, and after a squeeze of the trigger the doe immediately dropped and flutter quite convincingly on the ground.  I was shocked.  After a bit of time it managed to get up and unenthusiastically, head towards the bush from where it came.  Still in shock, but not worried, I thought it was simply taking it last few steps and then succumbing to the shot.  I get up from my spot and go to the the spot it hit the ground.  There was lots of hair, no blood, but an obvious path into the bush and sure enough there was blood within 10 feet from its initial drop.

To make a long story short we cased and locked the guns, got my truck (again before the spark plug blasted out of it), got some flashlights, and would proceed after it.  We clearly followed its path for about 60 or 70 minutes with flashlights and in the complete darkness.  But my buddy is an expert at stuff like this and he just took over.....  Anyway the path of blood just vanished.  Maybe it was the darkness?  But after 45 minutes to one hour we thought we'd give up for the night and retrieve in the morning = After a bit of hunting in the morning, we returned to our last trail tape/flagging, and still nothing could be found.  Footprints, rather hoof prints went everywhere, but there was no blood, hair or drag to indicate the direction the doe went.  She was gone.... Not retrieved.  The one guy I was with said it unfortunately happens regularly.  But I certainly wouldn't know that because in 7 years, and countless hours of deer hunting I have only every really seen a two dozen deer, shot at 4, and tagged 1 before this weekend.  So I was disappointed.  I can only now guess what became of the deer with the large coyote population and lots of cars on the road.  Every attempt was made to find it.  So what else can one do?

All in all I am a very lucky guy and bounces usually roll my way.  It seemed like a lot of unfortunate occurrences where more prevalent over the last week/weekend however.  Hey - that's fine.  If they have to happen, at least it is things that aren't really life or death or involve the kids.  Furnaces and trucks can be fixed, and locks get opened.  I hope that is it for a while though...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Recap and Summary

Tuesday December 1st came and Shelly and I were apprehensively excited.  It was time to reverse the events of November 1st, and return back to whence we came.  This day however proved to be a bit longer and much more testing.

An old friend of Shelly's picked us up and took us to the airport.  We had condensed a great deal of luggage into the bags we had as we did not return with 200 diapers, and we disposed a number of items of clothing because kids or adults:
1.  outgrew
2.  soiled/ruined beyond cleaning
3.  just didn't need anymore

A day before we left a former colleague whom I worked with at Victoria Public School, Diane Budnark, said to me, "When I travel I take half as much clothes and twice as much money."  Great advice Diane, I should have listened more carefully!

So eight of us piled into the 9 seat airplane to take us the 100 miles or so to Puerto Rico.  Weight is very important to these little planes.  So much so Molly had to sit solo in the back, and the pilot had to reaffirm our weights, and our levels of honesty, so that we didn't over burden our aircraft.  Satisfied, the pilot commanded the machine down the gravel runway, turned 180 degrees, and gunned the engine to create lift.  We caught one last glimpse of the shack they call an airport, and Virgin Gorda.  So long.

The challenge was the waiting.  We had a five hour lay-over first.  There was a bit of a buzz in the airport however because Miss Puerto Rico was there, along with an entourage band of Caribbean steel drums, trumps, and various other percussion instruments.  There was a bunch of media too, filming a holiday cheerio, as she was off on some ambassadorship duties - no pictures from this guy.

But time did pass and finally we were aboard another, much larger, airship and off to NYC.  The kids did not sleep, and both became increasingly, yet predictably, bothersome as we traveled north.  However, it could have been worse.  I think Shelly was ready to strangle Molly at one point had there been some more privacy.  I would have been a willing accomplice.

We got to NY, and just leisurely made our way around.  It would be another wait, this time 3.5 hours, until our final flight of the day would leave.  We slowly poked around the terminal, and had a decent meal and got a few bottles at duty free.  It was in New York that I would recognize someone from Goderich who I knew quite well.

An unshaven, pirate type looking guy, was ambling around on his phone.  He was also seated in the general area of the other passengers waiting to fly to Toronto, and he was with another feller that had a "Tortolla" souvenir t-shirt on.  I just kept looking at him, and staring, but he was more involved with the conversation.  Anyway I said to Shelly that looks like Pete, and sure enough it was Pete Wick, and his buddies, returning from the Caribbean as well on their annual sailing extravaganza.  Pete had said he just saw my dad two weeks ago.  He had a great time, and like many others find it to be a wonderful place to sail, relax, and have a few beers.

We got all of our stuff, cleared the different points of inspections, and got our vehicle and it was 11:30 pm. We left Virgin Gorda at 8:30....  We still had to drive home, which wasn't so much of a big deal.  The kids were both asleep by the seat belt clicks.  There was no traffic, and we were home just before 2:00 am.  Yes, it was a long day, but it all went mostly smooth.

Molly hit up school the next day.  My furnace had gone on the blitz so I got that looked at, clothes were put away, winter tires on Shelly's Jeep - me truck is sounding a bit wonky, I went out deer hunting and saw nothing, we were home.  I talked briefly to my cousin, and my one observation was the importance of not wishing away time; I was all set and keen to come home, yet it is so nice and beautiful there...  I think that is natural though and quite common.  It was exactly how I felt about leaving Rossland 5 years ago.  And I remember it clearly....  I was just soooo ready to leave and wanting to be out-of-there, yet, when I got home I was thinking I was hasty on my decision wanting to leave.

Nothing is planned next, yet.  I will keep posting on the blog, but with a bit less regularity throughout December.  Excitement seems to find me, or maybe I find it, so there ought to be a few more tales and events to post about.