Archive for April, 2011

17 Apr 2011

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

That’s a good cuppa joe!

For a guy that didn’t really care for coffee about a year ago, I seem to have come a long way! Not sure if “progress” is exactly the right word, but we now have a 5 appliance kitchen. Yep, the frou-frou coffee/espresso machine that served as payment for my final invoice from my previous client is now a built-in appliance in our kitchen. On Wednesday, a friend with a table saw gave me a hand cutting down a white melamine vanity cabinet to fit in the space between the counter top and the microwave shelf.

The idea was to maintain the basic structure of the vanity cabinet in order to keep things square and to avoid the need to do any edge banding. It almost worked. We worked slowly and steadily double checking all the cuts along the way – until the very end when we lost focus. The problem was that I needed to raise the microwave shelf about 1-58 inches, but when we cut the top off the cabinet we forgot that meant notching each side. The front 7 inches of each side panel of the cabinet needed to be 1-58 inches taller than the back. Oops! It took a bit of effort, but I ended up patching in a small rectangular piece into each side below the shelf. So I ended up having to dowel and edge band the new box before I was done. There is a kerf line that will need to be touched up with a little paint as well.

The under cabinet lighting was also an interesting twist to work around. The light is a fluorescent, so not too hot. Since the installation instructions for the coffee machine suggested a ventilation gap at the back of the cabinet, I decided to cut the microwave shelf about an inch short to allow air circulation. The microwave is now back-lit, it looks a little odd so we might have to figure out something else, but for now it all works.

It really does make a nice cup of coffee – come on over and I’ll make you one!

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07 Apr 2011

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Family

In Like a Lion

… and out like an angry lion! Isn’t that what they say about the month of March? Well, it should be! March was cold, snowy and miserable at the beginning and at the end, too. The middle wasn’t so nice either. Of course, starting on the 25th, we had our long anticipated visit from our Australian friends, Pete and Carol who, with their two kids Patrick and Kaitlyn, arrived from warm, semi-tropical Brisbane to freezing rain and snow. Patrick and Kaitlyn were quite enthralled by the snow, spending the first full day here playing outside, tobogganing and even shoveling the driveway. It was really interesting to see, especially at this time of the year when we are soooo done with winter!

We’ve known Pete and Carol since our days in Cold Lake, where Pete had a RAAF posting to work with the Canadian Forces on Hornet software. We were in Sydney when they returned to Australia and we had lots great times together there as well. Kaitlyn is the same age as Steven and Patrick is a couple of years older so our families have much in common. Over the years we’ve always kept in touch, both Brenda and Carol always remember to send a little something across for the kids birthdays and Christmas. Our kids were on school holidays for Spring break, so we had plenty of fun (& late) evenings to catch up and play Dutch Blitz. While they were here they managed a 3 day trip through the Rockies, a Flames hockey game and two days with both families in Edmonton to shop the West Edmonton Mall. This weekend we had another big dump of snow on Saturday and then Sunday was clear and bright and we went up the Calgary Tower. Monday morning we saw the 4 of them off at the airport – they are off to California for a week or so before they head down under and home.

As if things weren’t busy enough, the company that I had been working with on contract went into receivership – so I’m looking for work even more seriously. The writing had been on the wall for a while and my last invoice doesn’t have a hope of being paid. The company was in the kitchen renovation business and that segment of the market has been extremely slow over the winter. Lack of new jobs and the resulting cash flow crunch was the final straw. I did manage to get a lovely parting gift in lieu of some payment – we now have a spanky Ariston coffee/espresso machine. It is a crazy expensive coffee center that needs to be installed in a kitchen cabinet. For the moment it is sitting on the kitchen island and I’m working on some plans for where to install it. At least I’ve got a bit of time to work on this…

By the way, we did get the house repainting project finished and are very happy with the results. Many thanks go to my brother Scott who gave up his whole weekend to help me. We totally did away with the insipid “builder’s gray” and pale green that we’ve had for years. The gray colour (actually “dove gray”, does that help?) was unchanged since we bought the house in 1998 – long overdue for a change. The new palette is a lot more vibrant and we are really pleased with how much better the house looks.

At least it is April and there are some actual signs of spring; seagulls squawking their dismay at the absence of open water on the lake, robins in the yard expressing disappointment over the lack of worms and, of course, the one undeniable indication that spring is near – dead gophers on the highway!