Utilizing The Weather

It’s another beautiful day on the West Coast. I decided to make the most of it and get some “winterizing” done. I headed to the gas station and filled a large jerrycan for future use in our backup Generator in case of a power failure. Our one daughter filled six yard waste cans with leaves and our other daughter cleared off the roof and driveway.

Then I did the unthinkable.

I put up our Christmas Lights.

I figured I might as well do this chore while the weather is warm instead of waiting until December. The lights won’t be going on until then. But why not put them up ahead of time? I’m also not the type of person who leaves the lights up year round.

Either myself or my daughter are up on our roof every couple of weeks blowing leaves and pine needles off as it is. So taking a few moments today made sense to check the downspouts and put up those lights. I was able to enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation time on the roof. There’s something calming about autumn when you get to enjoy a few hours of beautiful sun and crisp air.

Now to head back inside and pour a nice cup of tea while we listen to music.

Beauty-Fall

The weather over the next few days, and leading into November, is supposed to be beautiful. Maybe not with the warmth of a summer day; but rather a mid-day sunshine while wearing your favorite sweater and sunglasses kind of day. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colours of nature to be had if one so chooses.

I plan on taking it easy during my free time. I’ll probably chill out a bit more on my deck and stare out into the yard, admiring the tranquility that we are surrounded by. The brisk air keeps many people quieter as they begin to warm themselves more frequently indoors. The woodland animals are slowly preparing to migrate and hibernate. Slowly the sounds outside quieten to a faint whisper.

Autumn is a beautiful and peaceful season.

All The Leaves Are Brown

There was a burst of a wind storm the other day. Which caused a lot of debris to fall in our yard. On Friday I spent two hours clearing our roof and driveway of pine needles. I do not like that aspect of having old growth trees in our yard.

Leaves make the yard look messy, but are generally easier to clean up than pine needles. The sunshine and gentle breeze made for a perfect autumn day.

On Saturday, I had two of my children help with cleaning up the fallen leaves on the rest of our acre. We had a ton of fun making a huge pile. And we all know what kids want to do with a pile of leaves…

Zoom Fest 2019

Last year our oldest daughter participated in Zoom Fest– a student film competition that lasts only 48 hours. This year her group is doing the filming and editing at our home. Originally it was just our oldest daughter and her classmate. But since arriving at our home, our other daughter has begun to help them.

The film needs to be between 30 seconds and 7 minutes in length. The are given a theme and told to incorporate a prop in some form. This year the prop is “Gloves” and the theme is “Haste makes Waste”.

The Langley Fine Arts school has loaned out cameras, equipment and Apple Computers to each team. The competition began at 5pm yesterday and ends tomorrow at 5pm. Last night, our daughter’s group gathered up their props, figured out their shots and story line. They opted to get a good night’s sleep and woke up at 5am to begin filming. We are already two pots of coffee in…

As they were outside filming during a windstorm- a large branch fell. They shakily caught it on camera and their excitement levels have increased. With all of their caffeine and adrenaline levels spiked- these girls are talking a mile a minute trying to get their film together.

These two/three girls are working well together so far. With a little under twenty hours behind them and twenty eight hours left to go- they think they have plenty of time to finish. I wish them the best of luck and I cannot wait to see the finished film.

Successful Staycation

It’s back to work for the night shift this week. I’d have to say though, my staycation with a to-do list was more than successful. Here’s what I had planned:

  1. Finish my costume.
  2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
  3. Fix the sauna heater.
  4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
  5. Decorate for Halloween.
  6. Do some baking on Saturday.
  7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday
  • Numbers 1,4,5,6 & 7 were completed. Number 2 is almost done- I just need to buy a small amount of grout and seal it and my shower will be useable once more. Number 3 I am still avoiding. Don’t judge me…
  • However I did end up doing a few other projects that weren’t on my initial list.

    1. I installed a new stovetop.
    2. I painted the trim between the sunroom and the living room.
    3. I helped my son build his costume.
    4. I was involved in speed skating more.
  • Overall I think I was fairly productive with my time off. Now to get back into the work routine and utilize my days off as rest days once more. I just hope I remember how to do my job…
  • Another New Stovetop

    Yesterday I replaced our island cooktop, again. This time we spent a bit more money on it than the previous cooking surface. And I’m okay with that.

    When we first bought our home, we had a really old, but reliable cast iron stovetop. We lived with it for seven years before replacing it. Honestly, if it worked and cooked- why replace it? We only replaced it because my wife found a great deal on a “new to us” stovetop.

    On November 25th, 2014- my wife found a $1000 stovetop on Facebook for the price of $50. SCORE! So out with the old and in with the new. Once I installed the new cooktop, the first thing I made was grilled cheese sandwiches. What better way to test how well it works than with a traditional melted sandwich?

    The stove worked well for a few years until the large burner stopped working. Parts for the stovetop were not readily available for this model. However, I was able to do a quick fix that worked for quite some time. I had to do this fix twice more over the past year until the burner finally gave up. It was time to bite the bullet and get a new stovetop.

    After some online research, I found one that had good reviews and was of average price… average price being just under $1000! The Home Depot had one on display, so I went to talk to an associate about it.

    Did you know that Home Depot will beat any advertised price on the same item by 10%? I saved nearly $100 because I found it advertised for 1¢ cheaper elsewhere. One cent saved my one hundred dollars. (Do your research people- it pays off!)

    I installed the new stove quickly and you know the first thing I cooked?

    A grilled cheese sandwich. Which my son promptly wanted. So I made a second sandwich. Which my daughter then wanted. Finally I got to enjoy the third grilled cheese sandwich I made.

    It’s a pretty good stovetop and I look forward to using it. That must be a grown up thing. Looking forward to using new appliances. Oh yeah, it also plays a little tune when it gets turned on and off. Cute but unnecessary. Just like our washing machine.

    The songs do bring me joy…

    …for now.

    Staycation With a To Do List

    I just began a week and a bit of vacation away from work. No travel plans unfortunately. In the past we usually get to Disneyland this time of year, but with the kids in high school and other commitments, no such luck. But I still had a week of time off from work to take, so here I am. Alone.

    I have made myself a To Do List of activities that I want to get accomplished while the kids are in school and my wife works. I’m pretty sure I’ll get most of them done.

    1. Finish my costume.
    2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
    3. Fix the sauna heater.
    4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
    5. Decorate for Halloween.
    6. Do some baking on Saturday.
    7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday.

    Most of my list won’t cost much. Which is really a good thing since we have a few expenses coming up. Our children and their activities are nickel and diming us this year. Although it’s more in the hundreds of dollars just spread out over the next few months.

    Since I am at home and have some availability, I’m hoping to meet up with friends periodically to get a break from being in my house the entire time. So feel free to hit me up during the daytime hours over the next week if I haven’t reached out.

    Vacuums

    I take for granted that we have a built-in vacuum. With a dog that sheds excessively we need to clean up about two to three times every week. That being said, in the dozen or so years we’ve been living here- we give that centralized vacuum a workout. But it only does suction- there is no motorized head spinning to dig up the deep down dirt. Which is fine for the hardwood floors and tile.

    The other biggest problem we have is the location of the canister and motor. It’s in the room where our hot water tank and furnace are. So it’s very warm. Which causes the vacuum to overheat. We can usually vacuum most of the downstairs before it shuts off. In the end, the upstairs gets neglected. And that’s where we have the most carpet.

    I have an old vacuum that was left behind by my mother years ago. It’s been through a lot, including a duct taped hose in order for it to work. Recently the band on the motorized head snapped, so it was pretty useless for getting the ground in dirt and threads from my wife’s studio. Of course it was when I wanted to do the carpets in the rest of our house that it crapped out.

    So today I went to a store that’s been in Langley since, forever (or 1965 according to their website). The ladies in Big Gary’s Vacuums were extremely helpful and fun to talk with. They helped me get a new band and we talked about how people have no idea that Sears closed down ages ago. (That’s where the Kenmore brand vacuums were from). Anyways, $12 later and some shared memories about the Sears Wish Book, I have a working motorized head on an old vacuum.

    All I need to do now is find a hose for my old shop vac. This was another Sears purchase two decades ago. I’m pretty sure I’ll find what I need on Amazon! They sell everything. They’re the ones who helped kill the brick and mortar big box stores, the least they could do is sell some parts for me.

    Autumn Skies

    I’ve been enjoying the colours of the sky over the past couple of days. Autumn astounds me at how majestic it can be.

    The morning sunrise has pink hues as the sky starts to light up. I pause for a moment at the end of my night shift to enjoy my country living.

    The night sky offers a faded orange backdrop to an industrialized world that I am a part of. The black shadows of straight edges are a harsh contrast to the randomness of nature.

    Yet there is still beauty to be found in both.

    First Time Generator Usage

    Yesterday afternoon the power went out for about five hours. It was most likely due to the wind storm. Besides the wind, it was a nice enough day that allowed me to try out our back up generator for the first time.

    In all honesty the generator we picked up is pretty heavy duty considering what we ended up running on it: A couple lamps and the Internet. Yup, we needed online access. Not the most practical use. I suppose I should look into connecting our well’s pump so we could have running water next time. Or maybe the stove top for cooking…

    Anyhow, the generator works. Which is a good sign. It gave us a sense of normalcy for the few hours that our power was out.