Roof's on, holes dug, deadlines creep

Didn't take long for Bernie and his Coughlin crew to put the new roof on the place. A lot of noise and flying nails, and one instance of me catching one worker peeing on the side of the house, but otherwise, an incident-free installation. And, the sun came out later in the day.

The front and back yards continue to be a wonderland of life forms. The front lawn is a diverse blend of clover, creeping charlie, dandelions, little purple flowers, chinchbug-eaten lawn, and some grass in there too. Amanda's on a gardening tear, so we spent Saturday digging two circles in the front lawn to make homes for more plants. Within the dirt was a few hundred ants, several white grubs, possible chinchbugs, spiders, beetles, and stuff I'm probably blocking from memory because they were so creepy.

Birds love our place almost as much as we do. They've been coming by less in the rain -- which has lasted for what seems like weeks now -- but we've seen robins, blue jays, little black squawky birds, big black birds, at least one kind of woodpecker, and a hummingbird or two. Really cool stuff.

We're starting to crack down on getting-stuff-done on the wedding front. Small victories here and there, but I acknowledge that we may be behind in such areas as letting people know what they can do to help, and what their roles encompass. Ack! I'll be in touch soon, I hope!

Joys of home ownership, up and down

Well, *this* has been an interesting few hours.

Last night while we were waiting for dinner, we heard some kind of bang. I went to the basement hall and saw the cats near the litterbox looking perplexed. I thought they were fighting or something. Then I heard a hissing noise.

I scurried under the stairwell and saw a spray coming from the main water line. Uh-oh! A leak!

I had Amanda grab a bucket and some towels while I shut off the line ahead of the meter.

A call to the city's emergency number summoned a repairman about an hour later. He arrived ... leaving a trail of blood down the stairs. Yeah, apparently he'd cut himself on an earlier call and the dirty bandage just wasn't keeping the crimson nectar inside his body.

Anyway, he muttered something about the packing in the valve being bad or something. And something about washers being made of leather. In the end, he fixed it.

So, crisis solved.

Then ... about 15 minutes ago ... that'd be about 7:30 ... we were awaked by the doorbell.

It was Bernie! Bernie! Bernie from Coughlan's Roofing! Yeah, Bernie from Coughlan's Roofing here to do the roof! Bernie who was supposed to call on Monday! Or Tuesday! Or even yesterday to say he'd be coming by today to replace our roof.

No problem that it's raining today. "It's not going to rain!" says the young man on our roof, tearing off shingles with roofing nails flying around. "We haven't worked all week, so it's not going to rain on us today!"

At present, the house is shaking like God is cleaning his shoes on our eaves. The cats are either intrigued, alarmed or bored.

I must learn how to ambush people in their sleep as a tactic to profit and succeed in life.

I am so dearly looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning.

Naughty backyard raccoon


Naughty backyard raccoon, originally uploaded by BigAssSuperBlog.

One of a series of pictures snapped past midnight last night as I looked off the back deck and saw a raccoon causing mischief in our backyard.

First, it reached up and started tugging at the yellow extension cord that runs from the deck to the shed. Then it walked over to the clothesline and pulled down a big blue fleece blanket ... and either planned to heist it, or make it a meal.

I hustled down the stairs to ask its name, but it scurried off into the neighbour's yard.

My kitty seemed intrigued by the smell of the blanket when I brought it inside. I hope it didn't smell like rabies.

A two-legged return to normalcy: general update

Looks like Amanda's leg malfunction wasn't as serious as first diagnosed. The orthopedic hottie doctor at the Cobequid Health Centre squeezed and flexed her on Friday and told her to scram and resume living. She's not at full speed yet, but she's clear to return to baseball and other fun-ness as much as the pain allows.

I was freakin' out thinking that this past weekend contained Father's Day, and that I'd missed yet another card-sending deadline. But on Saturday we figured out, courtesy of the interwebs, that Father's Day is this coming Sunday. So, if all goes well, I will have sent a card on time...for a change.

Yard work is a blessing and a curse. I can't say that I enjoy mowing the lawn, but I like how it looks afterward. I've taken a few passes at the evil evil goutweed with the weed whacker, and I've enjoyed decimating the greenspace. It was a bloodbath. Imagine throwing a grocer's supply of celery into an open blender, and you get the idea. Goutweed guts were spraying all around, into my glasses, onto my face, onto my clothes. Damned crap keeps growing back. But I have a plan. Mwahaha.

Last week's election coverage went surprisingly smoothly. In years gone by, I've been assigned to report from the headquarters of assorted fringe/weirdo/longshot candidates for comic relief, or from legit but underdog candidates for boo-hoo updates. It was nice to be at the winner's party for a change. And the results (a sweeping majority win for the first NDP government east of Ontario) came in so quickly that I was outta there at a reasonable hour. I did not sample the open bar.

My net worth chart over at networthiq has been updated. Up 5% in the past month. Good showing.

I cashed out some stock and maxed out my RRSP. And I rebalanced, or more accurately, began balancing and diversifying my RRSP. Perhaps I'll write a post about this another time, but instead of having all my loot in two equity mutual funds -- one of which wasn't moving at all -- I spread it out across money market, bond index, and a variety of equity funds. Oughta be interesting.

Another shout-out to my sister's growing family. Two kids now, and they're buying a new house. Excitement!

Wedding planning continues to crawl along. We now have the venue, the cake-maker, an officiant, a photographer, a florist, and probably more. October 10 is the day -- don't forget. I must get on top of the what-people-are-assigned-to-do list.

My recent at-home project has been building bass traps and broadband sound absorbers for my home studio. I hope to get the last of them up on the wall soon, then do a showcase post about 'em. I think they're cool, and the room seems to sound better.

The folks at work surprised me last week. It was the 15th anniversary of my first paid shift with the company. Fifteen years! In my business, that's a long time to be at one company. There was cake ... I got a free shirt ... folks signed a card ... a certificate from the new CEO ... and a generous gift card for the Blue Jays, cable/wireless/internet or the Shopping Channel. Sweet.

That's the roundup for now. Keep at 'er.

Hobbling toward the end of a busy stretch

Friends and family on Facebook (the place what I ain't at) are, I'm sure, already up to speed on this, but for the rest, the big news this week is that my fiancee Amanda is at home with no mobility while I'm here at work.

We had a busy weekend of gardening and lawn care. Monday I was up early for an appointment, then had a frustrating day at work. Around 10 o'clock, Amanda went up to get a snack and I considered briefing myself on my work assignment for Tuesday and test-driving some new technology for work.

Then, a crash, a smack, and a scream, and Amanda was in a pile at the bottom of the basement stairs.

Looks like she missed a step coming down when she was a few steps up from the bottom. She came straight down her right leg, and says she felt something give. Her leg buckled and she flopped to the floor in pain.

She refused to go to hospital by ambulance, citing cost. So, wincing in pain, we gathered up a few essentials and crawled to the car. It took, what, 20 minutes to drive into town to the ER, with every bump and pothole causing more pain.

Triage at the ER sent us to a waiting room around 11pm. Then she was moved to the plaster-spattered room where they make casts -- improvised as a waiting room. I stayed until around 1:30am, having not seen a doctor, then drove home to get some rest.

Around 4:20am, the doorbell woke me up. Amanda had arrived home in a taxi, but didn't have enough money on hand to pay the fare. I dug up some money out of the spare cash jar and sent the nice cabbie on his way.

Turns out the doctor's preliminary diagnosis is that she suffered a partial tear to her quadriceps and MCL. She's been put in some kind of flexible cast/bandage and needs crutches. This will temporarily derail her new hobbies of gardening and baseball, and effectively keeps her housebound, since she can't drive.

That was a long day for both of us ... and another one today. Amanda has a friend coming over to visit, and hopefully help ... and I can't be there because it's election day in Nova Scotia, and I'm pulling a double shift. I'll be in Dartmouth tonight to cover the NDP campaign, and this'll be a big one, since pollsters and pundits are forecasting a possible NDP win -- the first NDP government ever formed east of Ontario. So, it's going to be a late night, and my poor dear is home by herself with a bum leg.

The weekend can't some soon enough, gang!

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...