Archive for the 'Dave’s Thoughts' Category

05 Sep 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts

Stepping Up

A couple of years ago, before our trip to Europe, Brenda thought that getting a Fitbit would be fun and a way of motivating ourselves to be more active. Not wanting to be left behind in the acquisition of new technology, I got one too. This despite the knowledge that where there is data, Excel cannot be far behind. I’m not so sure that “fun” and “motivating” were very good descriptors – especially when the popular target is 10000 steps a day and the technology simply mocks you for falling short.

So, a few months ago a the start of May, the Global Corporate Challenge rears it’s ugly head at work – keen, fit younger people at work are looking for victims participants to join up in teams of 7 for a 100 day long fitness challenge that is predominantly based on walking steps per day (although biking, swimming and other sports can be included by conversion to steps). So I sign up.

First thing the program asks a bunch of health and lifestyle questions, including how many steps walked per day on average prior to the start of the challenge. So I dig into the Fitbit data and it turns out that in the first 4 months of 2018 I’ve averaged about 7500 steps/day. This isn’t too promising – I need to do 1/3 more walking to get to 10000! Too late to back out though, I determine to give it a solid try and manage to average about 11000 steps/day over the first month. I’m pretty pleased with myself!

Until I start to realize that my team (remember those keen, fit younger people?) are killing it and I’m kind of dragging the team down. One guy (a serious rec league soccer player… say no more) is basically averaging double my 11000. Bah. I needed to try harder. Well the graph tells the tale:

By the end of the summer, I’d managed to not embarrass myself too much and ended up with an average of almost 12500 steps/day over the full 100 days – more than 60% increase in walking compared to before the challenge.  That made me feel pretty good!

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09 Jun 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Family

Mark – High School Grad

It’s hard to believe but Mark is done Grade 12 this year.  The three year’s that he has spent at Rundle Academy have been really good for him.  He has increased in confidence, skill and ability in every way. Mark has been on the honour roll each year, worked lights for the school plays and had a couple of small parts in them, joined the golf team for a while and generally “expanded his horizons” in all sorts of ways.

He has become more self-reliant, discovered a love of spicy Asian food and cooking, as well as developing a desire to pursue higher education in the biological sciences.  He has put in extra effort that has been noticed by his peers and his teachers – and recognized – he was awarded the Buckley Scholarship by his school at the year-end awards ceremony.

We could not be more proud of Mark and are looking forward to what the future holds.  In September, he will be starting towards his B.Sc in Biology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS.

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23 May 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Hey, Hey it’s the Monkeys!

Well, a more than three weeks have gone by since the basement flooded – both a lot and a little has happened. The carpet has dried out, the fans and dehumidifier are gone, large areas of the ceiling have been opened up, the furniture has all been removed for damage assessment – that’s a lot.

The little is the actual repair – I replaced the outdoor faucet for $30.00. It’s amazing how such a small thing can cause such a large problem. The root cause of the problem goes back to the quality of the plumbing in the house and the obvious fact that the plumber was careless, ignorant or incompetent – maybe all three. Maybe you recall some of the previous examples of shoddy work done by our home builders.

When frost-free faucets are installed, there is a wedge-shaped shim supplied that is used to ensure that the tail of the tap (where the valve seat is located) is above the level of the handle – the slope from handle to tail is about 5° upwards. This allows any water in the body of the faucet to flow downhill to the spout, leaving only air in the faucet body. Air doesn’t freeze (well, not in southern Alberta winters, anyway) and thus frozen water lines are avoided.

When the builder’s plumber installed the tap (including the shim!), the task was completed so poorly that the slope of the faucet body was more than 15° downwards from handle to tail. Last winter came late and it got cold and stayed that way from late October to April. When I put the hoses away for the winter, it was only a few days before winter hit hard – not enough time for the standing water in the faucet to evaporate before it froze and split the body of the tap.

At least the plumbing holds water again and while the ceiling has been open I’ve managed to fix a bunch of other issues that came to light once when I took a look at things that had been hidden.  The sump drain was unsupported, as was the main gas line to the furnace. Wires needed to be properly secured and so did several plumbing runs.

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30 Apr 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Disaster… and Recovery

Well, not a full recovery – not yet.

Remember, in the previous post, how I was looking forward to spring?  Well, last Thursday (April 26), we finally had an evening warm enough to barbecue some burgers and sit outside on the back deck to enjoy a nice warm spring evening.  All that was needed was to hose the winter’s grime off of the patio table and chairs…

So that’s what I did.  I attached the hose to the rear faucet, hooked up the pressure washer and, with much satisfaction, started cleaning chairs. After a couple of minutes, though, one of kids comes flying out the back door hollering that, “the basement is full of water!” As quick as I can, I shut off the outdoor faucet and head for the basement.

Water is cascading out of the ceiling through the recessed light fixtures and ceiling speakers. The carpet is drenched. The furniture is soaked.  It’s dark since turning the lights on seems like a bad idea.  I shut off the water for the entire house and we gather every garbage can or bucket we can to catch the flood.  It’s been less than 10 minutes since I started cleaning outside and the entire family room is soaked.  

This is  a problem that won’t be solved easily – Brenda calls our insurance company immediately while the kids and I empty buckets and move what hasn’t been drenched out of the way.  I start sucking water out of the carpet with our steam cleaner.

The insurance company responds with amazing speed – within 2 hours (and before the dripping had stopped), there is a restoration crew in the basement pulling up the carpet, removing the underlay and setting up a dehumidifier and blowers.  By midnight, the situation was essentially under control.

All things being equal, it could have been worse.  It seems that the faucet had frozen and split in the winter – but had done so in a way that the leak ran well into the house before coming through the ceiling.  The built-in entertainment cabinetry was splashed, but not soaked and appears undamaged.  The restoration crew mentioned that most people wait hours or days even before the call the insurance company and end up with far more damage. 

… we never did get our burgers.

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