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As we stand for two minutes of silence, we remember those who are not able to communicate with us directly because they did not return from their term of service.
But, even though we are no longer able to hear their voices, the dead do speak. They speak when you cast a ballot in an election. Their words resound when you wear a crucifix, or a yarmulke, or a kirpan, or a hijab. They are heard in every letter to the editor, or when 3,000 march to protest the hypocritical closing of the Veteran’s Affairs office in Sydney. They echo when you join a union, a political party, a club or group of any type.
Do the dead speak? They speak every day. Our job is to listen.
Last night, we had quite the storm come up. It was promised in the forecast, although after little threats all day with nothing to show for it, it was a bit of a surprise.
For about an hour, there was thunder, lots of lightning, high winds and heavy rain. In fact, 1.8 mm fell during the storm. Considering it lasted less than an hour, that was a pretty huge amount of rain. Neither Clara nor I can remember it raining that heavily here.
We did figure out something was coming shortly before it started. I was working in the yard and saw how quickly the sky had changed.
I must admit, this was probably all my fault. When it started, I had the sprinkler going, since I had held off all day due to the forecasted rain that had never arrived. And, of course, I finished staining the deck about 30 minutes before…
It’s a beautiful day, warm but not too hot, a light wind, and sunny. It’s a perfect day to do some more yard work. I did fill some of the knots in the top railing of the back deck and went down to the hardware store to pick up some sandpaper to sand and then, prime them.
I also have a few other things to do. One of those is painting the shelving unit that was on the deck so it can go somewhere else, as well as painting some of the deck chairs I have been thinking of completing and staining for a while.
With the perfect conditions, there’s only one thing to do. If you’re looking for me, I’ve gone fishing…
The deck was built in two stages. First, I built the veranda when we built the house. This was in 2005. And, because the veranda is more than two feet above grade, there were railings required by code.
I built the deck the following year, with a step down where the back steps were. The deck was built 15 inches below the veranda. This created a bit of an issue, in that the railings on the veranda closed that section of the deck off. So, this weekend, I pulled the railings off the veranda, built a new step along the full width of the deck.
I was going to stain the full deck, using the gallon I bought a few weeks ago. However, Home Hardware is completely sold out of the base used to make the colour and won’t have any back in until later this week. This screwed up my staining plans. I was going to stain at least the veranda and the new step, but the rain and other things joined up to keep me from doing it until Thursday (yes, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.)
I also put in a new hidden screen on the back door. Now, I need a project.
I’ll willingly admit that this is one of my favourite holidays. I know, nothing holds a candle to Hallowe’en but, this is close. Because, much as we are governed by idiots and often, our leaders aren’t sure of where we are going or what the handcart has to do with it, we still live in the greatest country in the world and the last 40 years of imbecilic governments at the Federal, Provincial/Territorial and Municipal levels have failed to destroy it, regardless of how hard they’ve tried.
Interesting. There were two jobs from yesterday that I finished. The lawn mower is off to the shop. The mechanic also thinks the carb is full of crap. However, cleaning it is part of a standard tuneup.
I did offer the comment that, if the carb in my pickup (a totally beautiful Holley 4810C) needed complete rebuilding, I would do it in and instant. Dealing with the tiny little parts in a lawn mower carb, however, was a completely different kettle of fish. He laughed and mentioned that he was quite glad I, like many, have the same opinion. I get my mower back before the weekend.
My second leftover task was the mosquito vac. I cleaned the lines, but it still wouldn’t fire up. Today, I took the Dremel tool to the ignitor, in hopes that cleaning the built up deposits would make it fire. Guess what. It actually worked. Presently, it’s running outside and there are mosquitos trapped within it.
I also got several other tasks complete. The boat is one step from being ready to put in the water. I cleaned it out, fully inflated it, and dealt with the unsavoury habit it had of having the seat bounce out of the support straps. This leaves you bouncing on the floor of the boat, which is a problem if you’re in the front and more so, if you’re trying to steer from the rear. I ran a compression strap from each side of the seat supports that prevents the seat from coming out. This should make the boat a wee bit more enjoyable for those that don’t like to be thrown off their seat, or worse yet, over side.
I also got the old motorhome almost cleaned and ready to sell. I have advertised it, but I was a few jobs of cleaning and removing the things that don’t go with it, such as the dishes, removed. This is almost done, and one of the local RV places is willing to sell it on consignment. This will successfully remove it from my driveway, as having two 24-foot motorhomes can take up a bit of driveway space. I take it for an oil and filter change tomorrow and it goes to the dealer immediately afterwards.
I then moved on to the next task, namely, getting the inflatable boat ready to take out and kill fish. OK, that’s not the most politically correct way to put it but, there you go. The seats are in and it’s cleaned out. All I have to do is put the motor on it and stock the tools (safety equipment, boat hook, etc.) That should take almost 15 minutes, and is the final tasks to getting the boat ready. I did the other little job I had to relating to the boat. Since it’s small, and boat and trailer weigh less than 800 lbs., it only has a 4-pole trailer connector for the lights. The new motor home has a trailer hitch, but the wiring hookup is a 7-pole system. I took two plugs and a bit of wire and built an adapter. No, it’s not rocket science, and the local Canadian Tire didn’t have a 7-pole to 4-pole adaptor anyway.
Productivity is good. How long can I keep this insanity up…
The weather has finally turned. It was sunny and just plain hot, and I used the nice weather as an excuse to actually do some work around the yard. I had a number of projects planned. I wanted to repair the lawn mower and the mosquito vac, replace the antenna on the motorhome, rake the grass, water and fertilize.
Well, some of the jobs got finished. The antenna has been replaced, although that took two tries. I really should have measured the clearance between the cab over and the fender before buying a replacement antenna. I thought a 30″ one would work, but it was about 4″ too long. I went back and got a shorter, rubber-coated one for about $10.
I also got the grass done. This is the first time I’ve raked since surgery two years ago and it went well. In fact, I don’t think it’s going to hurt tomorrow, but that remains to be seen.
The lawn mower was not as much of a success. I replaced the gas, the spark plug, and blew carb cleaner threw it with no luck. It starts using the primer, but once that gas is used, it stops. I suspect the carb is loaded with crap so I’ll get someone else to deal with that. Taking apart carburetors that are smaller than an apple is not my idea of a good time. The huge Holley in my truck is one thing. A dinky little lawn mower carb is something else. It goes to the shop tomorrow.
I half fixed the skeetervac. It wasn’t letting gas into the combustion chamber and one of the lines was blocked. I cleaned out the lines and got propane flowing, but it still wouldn’t light. It seems the igniter is toast as well. That being said, you can’t order a new igniter from the company, either. Tomorrow, I’ll give it a good cleaning and see it will work. Hopefully, this will get it going soon.
All in all, I did decide early in the day that working outside without a hat wasn’t going to be a good plan. How nice was the weather, you ask?
This is a picture from late afternoon , before the sun comes around and shines directly on the thermometer. According to the news, we were the hottest place in Canada today. I did get to do my yard work in my shorts, although I’d rather not discuss my glow-in-the-dark legs. As George Carlin wisely put it, I have “phosphorescent Irish skin…”
I have this silly habit of ending each blog post with an ellipses (…). When I looked at changing a number of things with it, such as the layout, I did canvass some friends about a suggestion for a new name.
Hint: do not ask my friends for such type of suggestion. Many suggestions were quite funny, although their ability to be discussed in polite society were limited.
I opted for changing it from Doug’s Blog, uninteresting as it is, to Before the Ellipses. After much thought, and criticism from Clara, I have decided to be boring again and go back to the old name.
Oh, well. Lots of people don’t know what an ellipsis is anyway…
While I have not been as good about it the last few days, since I’ve been laid low with the flu, I’ve been experimenting with electronic cigarettes lately. These are someone misnamed, as they aren’t cigarettes and you don’t really smoke them.
An e-cigarette is actually an atomizer, which atomizes a liquid into tiny particles that behave like cigarette smoke. The liquid can contain a variety of different items, although the main constituents are glycerine and distilled water. They emulate the habit of smoking, including coming with a taste. For example, I’ve developed a preference for the ones that supposedly taste like Canadian cigarettes. Since this is a food grade product, the full ingredients have to be listed. The magic ingredient that emulated Canadian cigarettes, by the way, is vanilla extract.
There are two parts: the taste cartridge and the battery. The battery came with two chargers. One plugs into the wall and one runs off a USB port. This leads to a rather interesting situation:
One of the support staff said he was sending my picture to Dell and raising a trouble ticket… seems one of the computers at work is smoking. I said that, if he got a response, I want to see it.
Needless to say, there are certain health implications that are absent in using one of these vs. smoking. First of all, there is no nicotine or tar. While you can get ones containing nicotine in the US, Health Canada does not permit this and US companies will not ship them to Canada. Also, since there’s no smoke, there’s no second hand smoke so many areas allow their use indoors. Only two US airlines, for example, have banned their use in flight. Air Canada permits them to be brought aboard but not their use.
Now, given this this represents a pretty decent tool in the arsenal of quitting smoking, you would think Health Canada would be happy about this. Unfortunately, they seem to have adopted the holier than thou attitude that anything that emulates smoking is just as bad. I sometimes wonder what it takes to work in a department that thinks quitting smoking aids are bad but gives drug approvals based on the manufacturers’ word of how the testing went.
There is one health hazard I do have to worry about, though. I’m trying to keep on a one-for-one schedule with a real cigarette only every second one. Now, my fear is that I’ll go out, fire up a real one, take three or four drags, and then throw it into my shirt pocket without thinking. Oh well, that’s a mistake I’d only make once…
Clara is out of town, which leaves me in the house without adult supervision. This immediately prompts me to conduct myself in such a fashion as I cannot when she is around.
Now, before you start planning the wild parties, I should mention that much of this centres on Clara being allergic to “fumy” substances and fish. Of particular note is polyurethane, since it can level people who aren’t that sensitive, too.
Our countertops in the kitchen were a stop gap measure to allow for the plumbers to finish. I ordered the cabinets from Ikea, and were quite content with them. However, when I went to order the counter top, they were backlogged and it would require about 2 to 3 weeks before they could be finished. At the same time, Gary, my plumber, wanted me to get this finished so he could install the kitchen sink and finish up the plumbing for the new house.
Two of the things that came with the cabinets were several large cover plates. These are the finish pieces that cover the white cabinet carcasses and match the doors. However, the cabinets, like the doors, were also pine finished and I didn’t need them. Sending them back would have cost more than it was worth and I was wondering what to do with them. Now, I had a plan.
I ran them through the table saw to cut them to size, and cut off backers. Then, I used them as counter tops that actually matched the cabinets. This would hold me until the real counter tops could be delivered and installed and I would just have to reinstall the sink afterwards. However, when we put them in, they looked so nice that we held off on ordering the proper counter tops. That was in the spring of 2005, and they have been in place since then.
The one downfall of this is, despite looking nice, they are made out of laminated particle board and dent and mark easily. However, a couple of coats of polyurethane every two years keeps them reasonably well protected.
They are showing their age, and I don’t think I’ll refinish them again. Instead, I’m kind of thinking a nice oak plywood counter top in a few years, with a slightly darker stain for contrast. But, that should be about two more years down the line, given the length of time refinishing them lasts.
Of course, with Clara gone, the first meal prepared on them involved scallops…