Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Patio Stone Layer that Could

I read over my "Year in Review" post from February and was amused. I managed to get a lot done last year. So far, this year has been pretty low key and laid back.

I did end up taking ukulele lessons. I have been for about 3 months and have been working on a few songs. it's tough when you really have no singing talent - or at least haven't figured out how to play and sing at the same time.

Here is a list of the songs that I hope I will be proficient enough to play and sing some day.

  • Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version
  • Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
  • Sittin on the Dock of the Bay - Ottis Redding
  • Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
  • Shame and Scandal (in the Family) - Peter Tosh version
 I found I am practicing a lot. Way more than I used to, during those dark days of accordion lessons. It is actually very fun and relaxing. What is giving me a some difficulty is understanding or being able to pull off the different rythyms. My teacher, Andrew Hill has been working on helping me with my inner black.

I have also been spending a lot of time in my yard. I put a vegetable garden in again this year. Last years lapsed due to the chaos that happened. This brings me to the reason for the title of this article. Last weekend I laid 60 patio stones in my yard. I put 32 up the side of the house between my house and my parents house. Due to the crazy amount of snow that fell last winter I found that a lot of snow was piled up there. Which may have contributed to my son's room having a bit of a flood when it melted. This allows me to snow blow out the enter area which should limit the flooding potential.

The remainder were used in the backyard. The Toast has been causing havoc on the yard by digging holes in the only areas where the grass is half decent. These holes are in an area of the yard that my parents may traverse when coming over. So in order to avoid them falling into a hole and breaking a hip, I decided to extend the patio (which will also facilitate the acommodation of persons at the 2nd Annual BBQ for the Sake of Having a BBQ BBQ). Unfortunately, I under estimated the number of stones required so another skid of 60 is arriving this Friday.

The laying of patio stones is tough. I don't think I am totally recovered and I get to do it all over again this weekend. It will be glorious when it is done. It will also provide the eventual base for the installation of a hot tub in the future. Yup - mid-life crisis part II, maybe next year.

Did you know?

Apparently in the "old" country, one would dig a hole, deposit a seed then pour in a bucket of shit and that's how they planted a garden. My dad cracks me up with his garden planting wisdom.

I also have my mom convinced that I need a pair of tear away pants for fathers day. You never know when you might need a pair.

That's it - Can't think of anything else to say.


Monday, February 3, 2014

2013 Year in Review

It just turned February 2014 and I have been meaning to blog for the last 6 weeks. It's amazing how time flies apparently when you are having fun. So here we have it, a new year. I looked back over my blogs and realized I have never done a, "Year in Review" article. Maybe it's because all of my previous years haven't been as tumultuous as this past one.

I am assuming January 1, 2013 started pretty much the same as all the others. Waking up at noon after watching a Mr. Bean marathon on the television to ring in the New Year. After that, 2013 became a cacophony of crazy. Cacophony by the way means, "a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.", but I am going to use it for the series of events that had been apart of my life for the remainder of the year. I am sure there were plenty of sounds associated with these various events.

Oddly enough, I can't remember anything previous to March 21, 2013. That was the day my wife and partner of almost 20 years decided to call it quits, apparently after planning her exit for the better part of the past 10 years. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, that one must be happy, if not one should make changes, and there is really no ill will towards her. Though communication may have been nice because it seems, I was the last to find out. However; I am not going to dwell on this. This event set the ground work for the remaining 9 months of the year and the crazy that ensued.

The break up was hard, I would have to admit. I descended into about 3 weeks of seriously thinking of suicide and as pathetic as it seems, I couldn't find a way to do it where my estranged wife and kids would still benefit from my life insurance (It seems that the life insurance companies frown on selling you insurance and then offing yourself to cash it in.).

So I went to counselling, had a candid conversation and came away with a new outlook and a homework assignment. He wanted to see me again in a month. He wanted me to go out and do some things for myself, as well as, with all break ups, you end up loosing a group of friends, he wanted me to go out and meet some new people. Above all, he didn't want me to enter into any relationship that would result in another marriage.

So here I am, pseudo single - what do I do? I buy a Lazyboy recliner and totally convert two thirds of my attic into a gym. Let's just say I have not used my Lazyboy nearly as much as I thought I would. I hardly ever watch television. The gym however; I have been using regularly (oh, OK not so much in the last couple of months). I am down about 15 - 20 pounds. I need to get back on my schedule because Speedo season is approaching and I want to get down to 220lbs (currently at about 240lbs).

I reconnected with some old friends, established more contact with current acquaintances and met new friends. I have come to the realization that I suck at anything music trivia related. I am thinking of taking ukulele lessons just so I can help out at the 2nd Annual BBQ for the Sake of Having a BBQ, BBQ. Andrew - I will be talking to you about this. I also met some new friends due to an unfortunate car accident. My Jeep nor myself were injured. I want to thank my new friends for helping me feel what being loved again is like. Did some camping at a period re-enactment and drank a lot of grog - totally looking forward to going again this year.

I have discovered that you can do more in the middle of a road than just play hockey. My chiropractor is in a Blues Band (the name of which escapes me - I am sure he will give me shit about that), I enjoy Celtic music because every so often you can scream, "Up yer Kilt!!", and I love quiet walks on the beach (just threw that in).

The aforementioned, "BBQ for the Sake of Having a BBQ, BBQ" was an awesome event and I am looking forward to an even better event this year. We had live music played for almost 5 hours plus a ton of food and drink for all those that attended. Plan to attend this years event which will tentatively be held on June 29th, 2014. The date may change once I know how that weekend works out. I want to make sure the guests have time to recuperate.

I turned 50 this year, a milestone and I wanted to have a birthday party. I never have birthday parties. The last one was a surprise party for my 30th I think (Thanks Fran). So this year I wanted one for my 50th. The party started on the 19th of October and ended on the 28th. This could be where the cacophony comes into play. The first event was held at The Irish Harp Pub in NOTL on the 19th, a series of interesting activities involving cupcakes during the week, and a birthday weekend of drinking and machine guns in Las Vegas with Bob and Jake. While in Vegas we ate at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas where I had a large number of shots and accepted the resultant spankings. I think this may be why am currently having treatment for a nerve issue in my ass. Totally worth it though.

I had to declare pseudo bankruptcy since I conveniently ended up with all the credit card debt. Should have done it sooner, I actually have a savings account now with a few bucks in it. My Jeep is totally mine due to a bank mistake and I am on a pretty tight budget which has been going pretty well. It put a bit of a damper on Christmas but it helped me realize what the season is all about.

Christmas as I mentioned was on a tight budget. I would have to say it was tough (mentally and financially), considering I really didn't have the "usual family" to celebrate it with. We ended up having turkey in a box with all the fixings. It was sort of like Tim Allen in the Santa Clause, except there wasn't an elf name Bernard helping me navigate through it. Not sure how I will celebrate it in 2014. Maybe I will just go away for the week.

Near the end of 2013, I started to have an appreciation for baking, "Spoon!", "Bowl!", "Slice!". That's all I will say about that.

Well, here's to 2014, the drinking, the sites and sounds, the chaffing. Can hardly wait.

A special thank you to the following for getting me through this past year - Kaycie, Dustin, Fran, Barb, Bryan, Bob, Jake and the ladies from work. If I have forgotten anyone, sorry.