The driveway

I’m still having a few issues in trying to get the driveway fixed. You can’t find an excavation contractor to come in and change the slope of the driveway before September or October.

This leaves me the choice of not taking the motorhome out of the driveway before then, or doing something else. I opted for the latter.

I figured that, if I removed the pavement from the bottom of the driveway, at least when I scrape, I’ll hit something softer rather than several inches of asphalt. This meant that I would have to rent a jackhammer and use one for the first time since I was about 17 years old.

Image.

The name is Hammer. Jack Hammer.

It took a little longer than I had hoped, about 3 hours of work, but I did get the pavement out. This took longer because it was 8″ thick in some places. I suspect there has been multiple patch jobs done by simply over-paving a previous bad job. Note that in part of the area I did, the asphalt was just laid down on sand, with no gravel. It isn’t hard to guess why there may have been a multitude of patch jobs done in the years previous to us buying the lot.

That being said, the job was semi-successful. I still scrape, even with extra weight on the front by putting the storage rack in the front bumper hitch and putting my 4000 watt generator on it. However, it’s a lot nicer to just scrape in gravel than the alternative…

Ouch!

I’ve mentioned before, when we bought the motorhome, I had to have part of the hump in my driveway removed. This fixed the scraping issue when we pulled out or into the driveway most of the time. But, it still occasionally scrapes.

The other day, I backed into the driveway and it scraped. When I walked around it, about 18″ of bumper was hanging on the ground. Actually, it was the fibreglass bumper cover, but it was still heartbreaking.

I started to fix it the other day, I bought a bit of aluminum bar and used it to put straps across the bumper pieces to reattach the cover. Then, with a big acetone cleanup to follow, I reinforced the bars with several layers of fibreglass cloth and resin.

Reattached bumper piece

The bumper end reattached.

Now, it was time to put on my body work hat and make it look pretty. A few days ago, I took the actual part to Canadian Tire and went through their auto touchup paint rack. I found two possible colours, one from Honda and one from Toyota, to paint over the repair. I also picked up some paintable caulking to seal the bumper when it was attached.

I filed the crack, knocking down the high points and covering where I had countersunk the screws from the repair. Sanding, cleaning and painting followed, and then replace the rubber strip that runs across the bumper.

fixed bumber

Finished job.

All in all, it turned out well. The colour isn’t exact, but in a few weeks, a little rubbing compound to feather the edges will make a big difference. Hopefully, I can get the driveway done properly and this issue becomes a thing of the past…

Play lab begins

What is Playlab, you ask. Playlab is a one-week intensive session with a dramaturge working on an existing play to bring a draft to a final production version. Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse hosts this yearly, picking five playwrights’ works that will be the most likely produced by nakai in the near future. My play, And, on the Second Day was picked this year.

When I was asked if I’d submit it, I was quite happy. I did some changes from my list of edit notes, and sent the newest along with what I was hoping to do to the dramaturge who was coming up for this. Then, I decided to check out a bit on the guy coming up in the Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre  online. Yowsers. This guy’s CV is… long and distinguished to say the least. Now, to say I’m a little intimidated is an understatement. Look for yourself here.

Scary issues aside, I’m looking forward to our first meeting tomorrow morning. I’m not sure how scheduling, etc., will go; however, I have the camper partly ready and may go to a lake nearby and spend a day or two of writing somewhere else for a change. I did my final edits at the campground a few weeks ago, and was far more productive than I would have been sitting around the house. Of course, productivity will be greatly aided since I’m not taking the boat or the fishing gear…

 

Fox Lake trip, May 2014

Our first camping trip of the year.

Monday, May 19th

We started off intending to go to Fox Lake on the May long weekend, but things weren’t quite ready. Clara was tired. I was even more so. I tried to find the ambition to get the camper ready and repacked for the new season but just couldn’t get up for it. We did have company coming on Wednesday, the 14th, which would have been the best day to get out and get a spot at the lake. We did have to do a bit of work for that, including getting the guest room ready.

So, we decided to wait until the Monday to let the campground clear and give me a few days to get it ready. There are still some forgotten things, but we will probably survive it.

We hit the road about 3 PM, after getting gas and propane. With all of the trips we did last year, and having the tank refilled after the May long weekend last year, I was expecting the propane tank to take quite a bit to fill. Turns out, we burned $35 of propane last year. I was quite surprised and was expecting a larger amount. I guess things are more efficient with a new camper and newer appliances.

The campground was rather quiet. It did rain on the way out, although not hard. I did manage to get the camper levelled and lay under it to put up the stabilizer jacks without getting soaked. It did sprinkle much of the evening. However, by bedtime, we got quite a soaking rain.

I don’t have too many details on the temperature. I bought a wireless thermometer for the camper. I put batteries in it and put the sensor outdoors on the back deck. However, I couldn’t find the receiver to bring it camping. Hint: it was a bit chilly.

Tuesday, May 20th

By the time we got up, the rain had ended. It was cloudy most of the morning and early afternoon, but the sun came out by 2 o’clock. It was a lovely day in that regard, although temperatures were still quite cold and the furnace was on throughout the day.

I really didn’t have much in store for plans for the day. I did get around to running the little generator twice to bring up the batteries a bit. The furnace does take its toll and the sun didn’t come out quick enough to bring them up a bit. I also needed to recharge the laptop a bit.

The repairs to the old generator seem to have worked. I do notice that I can’t run the microwave on it without blowing the breaker on the generator. This is not a huge issue, although it is nice to be able to reheat a cup of tea that has gone cold. The big generator has no problems with this, but the lighter weight (58 lbs. vs 120 lbs.) are a nice bonus and the little one is far quieter than the new one. Both, however, make too much noise for my liking. I do enjoy the convenience but don’t like the noise.

Generator image

The little generator in its little house.

One thing does become obvious though. With the furnace running and the cloudiness, neither the small generator or the solar panel can keep up with the battery draw. We had to turn the furnace off overnight and still had very little battery left.

The high point of the morning involves my benchmark for a nice camping trip. About 11 AM, there was much squawking and flying around of a flock of about a dozen birds. They were circling the campground and were too high up to see what they actually were. An hour later, I went for a walk around the campground and saw two floating on one of the few open areas of the lake. The loons are back, and I got a few nice pictures. I still haven’t heard them singing yet, though.

 

Loon image

The loons have arrived.

Wednesday, May 21st

We woke up and it was cold. It was probably below freezing overnight. There was 0.1% of the battery power left. At 7:30, even though it was still a bit early, I started the truck and ran it for an hour to get a bit of juice into the RV carriage batteries.

 

Mountain image

New fallen snow on the mountains.

I eventually discovered a light had been left on in the cargo compartments under the truck. Also, I looked in the battery compartment and the connections could use cleaning. This is a project for after we get home.

It clouded over today, and didn’t get very warm. However, the clouds should keep the heat in and mean that it won’t be as cold tonight as last night.

I made an interesting discovery. I found a campsite here that I had never noticed before. Once the lake opens and we come back, I’m going to try to get that one. We went for a walk around the campground and Clara likes the “new” spot, too.

Thursday, May 22nd

It was a bit warmer overnight. It obviously didn’t go below freezing, which was an improvement. We spent the morning getting the site packed up after breakfast and stowing some of the things in the camper. The first trip isn’t known for its packing efficiency. A short drive home and thus, endeth, the first camping trip of the year.

I think it was a success

Another Homegrown Festival comes to an end and the reading of my new play seemed to go over well. We had reasonably sized audiences, about 20 the first night and then about 50 the next two evenings. The cast and I have heard feedback and no ones seems to have had anything negative.

Cast picture

The cast. Front row, L-R: Tracy Erman, Mary Sloan, Sophia Marnik, Tim Green, Doug Rutherford. Back row, L-R: Winluck Wong, Dave Paquet, Loughran Thorson-Looysen, Daniel Dunphy, Santana Berryman, Kieran Poile, Colin Milne.

 

There were a few interesting issues that showed up. I did learn early that, due to a rescheduling of a course he needed for certification, one cast member wouldn’t be available for opening night. That was simple to deal with, since I would read his part that night. However, with the show starting at 7 PM, I had a cast member pull out because he was booked to dance in another performance. Since the performance schedule was set in lots of time, I wasn’t happy.

I was still wondering what to do, other than read the two parts (it is amazing what you can get aways with in a stage reading), when I went to the theatre and saw a friend sitting in the lobby. I dragooned him into doing on the spot, and he did it perfectly, and almost cold since he had less than an hour with the script.

The final night took a bit of juggling when one of the cast was lowered by the flu. This involved a slight shift, with another cast member reading the part of the main protagonist and I read his part. For some reason, no one thought I would be a good teenager…

Thanks to the cast, and the Homegrown Festival people who all contributed to make this a lot of fun and let me get this in front of an audience…

 

Dress down, opening night left to come

Rehearsal is over. Tonight, we teched the play and had dress rehearsal. Now, we are set for opening night on Wednesday.

We are doing it as a staged reading. There are a number of reasons for doing this. The cast is large. There are 10 speaking parts and one person to read stage instructions. If we actually produced the play, we would need to cast an additional five non-speaking roles. Further, a fight director is needed for four scenes. The festival calls for three performances, which would call for a substantial amount of time, effort, and it would be difficult to do, given that the play is still in development. Also, several of the cast members are high school students, close to the end of their studies.

So, now I get to wait. There’s something nerve-wracking about debuting a play. I presume I will survive it…

Editing, editing, editing

I’ve received some comments from friends on the play I am currently writing. This is more than helpful.

When you work in a bubble of self, there are things you will invariably miss, particularly true when, like me, you mentally image what you write. While something may be rather obvious to me in that mental picture, it may not make itself to the script. Sadly, I’m the only one that can see those mental images (or, hopefully, I’m the only one who can see those mental images). It is nice to have someone point out things that don’t add up, errors in continuity, or omissions.

By the way, this is not an easy job. You have to look at someone else’s work dispassionately, often working word to word, to find the problems that have not occurred to the author. It takes a lot of time as well… time people have often donated of their free will.

So, let me take this chance to say, “Thank you” to all who have given their time and effort to make someone else’s work better. Your suggestions may not all be used; however, your work is deeply appreciated, nonetheless…

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