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Showing posts from August, 2007

Un oldtimey-ing our old-timey house

The marathon house reno session has begun. Sarah and I have argued about whether or not this is a large-scale reno, and I guess she's right--we're not tearing down drywall or putting in new plumbing, so I guess it's not a massive undertaking. But what's made it harder than your usual paint and de-wallpapering is the fact that very little of the wallpaper (and there is a shitload of it) is dry-strippable. The front hall was gloriously dry-strippable, then came the second bedroom (which Sarah's dad called "the low-hanging fruit room" for its relative ease to finish,) then came the back hall and powder room which was close quarters and pretty damn hard, but the worst is the master bedroom. The paper in there was like vinyl, in no way porous and even pretty resistant to scoring. And when you're lucky enough to tear an inch of paper away from the wall, underneath is backing paper which must have been applied with Elmer's Glue. On top of all this,

Newfoundland Finale

Sunday was a miserable looking day, so we dedicated it to visiting. We started by driving out to Harbour Grace, home to my great aunt Rita and her son Ed. Ed used to live in Georgetown for a while back in the eighties, and I hadn't seen him since then. He's been fighting the big C for about a year now, and he doesn't talk about it very much. But whatever true state he might be in, he looks great--just grayer than he was fifteen years ago. While there, we spent a lot of time with his partner Hazel, who has an accent so think it's silly. It's like a put-on. She's a riot, though. My Dad may or may not have a small crush on her. And vice versa. Later on in the visit, Hazel's daughter and son-in-law stopped by. The two are in their mid-twenties, and chatting with them brought about probably the most revelatory statements of our trip. We got to talking about work. She currently stays at home with her son, and her husband is a mechanic. When asked ab

Algonquin 2007

Here’s an Algonquin trip review interlude. Like this last two reviews: in bullet points. Whereas last year was light on the portage and heavy on the paddling, this year was dead opposite. There was a 2K portage (the idea behind which nobody wants to claim responsibility for). On the way in, I hated it. Also hated: people, animals, insects, rocks, trees—I would basically have clear-cut the whole park if I had the chance. But then the second I took off my pack at the end, life was beautiful and I was ready to make sweet love to nature. I discovered a leak in one of my nalgene bottles at the end of the portage and this resulted in the first time that heavy drinking began before reaching the campsite. It was a container of Jagermeister that, thanks to the sun, was about 92 degrees Celsius. Props go to Dennis, Joe, and Brad for helping me take care of that hot, horrid beverage (although, to be honest, Brad rubbed the bulk of his share over his nipples). The site we ended up on was just b

Isle of Poop (and the occasional bird)

I learned an interesting lesson this trip: that some of my shortcoming are not just my own—they’re cultural shortcomings, maybe even genetic. For example, take my sense of direction, which is for shit. I know that. Everyone who knows me knows that. But what I found surprising and reassuring was that this trait extends not just to my entire family, but to the entire province of Newfoundland. We Newfies and Newfie spawn learn how to get from point A to point B through shear repetition. (When we first moved to Ottawa, I only figured out how to get to Costco after the fourteenth time Sarah directed me there). Well, the province of Newfoundland has embraced this to the point they don’t really bother with road signs anymore. Outside of major highways, only about one in five roads have signage of any kind. Making this worse is that these roads change names every forty years or so, and then no one ever bothers to learn the new name. This makes Newfie directions ever so reliable . Thi