Archive for March, 2013

25 Mar 2013

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Back on the Tools

It was a busy weekend. After celebrating my brother Scott’s birthday on Friday, he asked if I’d give him a hand sorting out his new laptop and getting a desk/work area in his new apartment. So on Saturday afternoon I headed over and we worked our way through the “to do” list. On the IT side, we configured his laptop, installed some software and set up some network attached storage for all his photos and media.

That was the easy part. His apartment is fairly small and there is an awkward little passage way into the kitchen that is currently set up as an open closet. There is no door and it just seems impractical for any real storage. At the same time, there is nowhere, other than the dining table, that is handy for a place to work. So we decided that it would be an ideal place to put a little desk to make a small office space. Only problem was that there was no power into the area.

That was fairly easily solved. A counter plug in the kitchen is located on the other side of the wall – it didn’t take too much effort to pop a hole in the drywall on the closet side and wire in a couple of outlets by extending the kitchen circuit. By the time we were done, it looked like it had always been that way.


Next was the desk surface – we used a quarter-sheet of 7/8ths white melamine faced MDF and cut it to fit. Some 1×2 “ledger boards” support the work surface on three sides. The desk size is a reasonable 23″ by 44″ – enough room for a laptop, keyboard, mouse and a small printer. I edge-banded the front with some melamine that I had at home (from the coffee maker install) and drilled some cord access holes along the back. We will do the final install one evening this week and add some LED lighting to complete the job. Later we intend to punch a hole through the wall between the work area and the living room to run an HDMI cable from the laptop to a TV on the other side.

That was Saturday. Sunday was a nice relaxing day – until the kitchen faucet keeled over and died. A little $2 plastic piece between the handle and the cartridge controls volume and temperature of the water. After 15 short years it got brittle and broke leaving the tap running (of course). I pulled the offending bit out of the tap and we headed to Home Despot – that little piece is, of course, not available except from the maunfacturer. How long would it take to figure out what we need, order it and get it in hand? How long can we go with out running water in the kitchen?

So we buy a new faucet. But wait – current styles no longer have spray hoses off to the side of the faucet (in the 4th hole on the sink deck), so what do we do with that 4th hole? Spend more money, that’s what. So we got a soap pump as well then headed home to do some plumbing. Turns out that there are no turn-off valves under the sink (stupid builder!) so I had to turn off the main shutoff valve – after everyone had a “go now, or hold on for the foreseeable future” trip to the washroom.

The old faucet came out fairly easily, once I figured out how to disassemble the spray handle. The new faucet was all pre-assembled with flexible supply lines so I figured the install would go quickly. But no, because the pre-assembled supply lines and spray hose all go through the center fitting on the tap, it is sized to just fit the hole in the sink deck. Sadly the holes through the counter top were under-sized (stupid builder!), so it took a while to cut and file the hole to the correct size. Once the faucet was in place, it turned out that the bracing on the underside of the counter was not recessed enough to allow the mounting backet to sit flush (stupid builder!). Out came the chisel to hack the required space out of the bracing – for both the faucet and soap dispenser.

Finally, everything was in place and the connections tightened. We turned the water back on and … no leaks! Success!

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17 Mar 2013

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts

The Much-Anticipated St Paddy’s Day Update

st-patricks-day-thumb Once again, St Paddy’s Day!   We had our friends the Harrison’s over for brunch – a delightful repast of  ham (with the choice of green-tinted applesauce or green-tinted mustard) and green poffertjes with green whipping cream – yum! Oh, and Shamrock shakes from McD’s!  Thanks for bringing those over, Stu and Jaquie!

Ok, enough of that – I know that what you (Brian) are really waiting for is the annual update on my progress in the license plate game. Well, wait no longer! Today is the 10th anniversary of the glorious day that I saw 000 – way back on 17 March 2003.  So what is the total?

769.  Again a slow year, only 48 plates this year.  It was, at least, a little better than last year.  More commuting has probably helped, but I definitely think that the 4-digit plates make it harder to pick out numbers at the same distances as before.  It’s certainly worse in poor light and when the plates are dirty (i.e. all winter in Calgary!).  So, that means the rate has continued to drop from an overall average of 85 plates/year two years ago to 80 last year and now 77 plates/year at the end of 10 years, or about 6.4 plates/month.  It looks like I’m still a good 3 years away from wrapping this up.  Ah well, at least I’m still ahead of Scott!


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15 Mar 2013

Posted by under Brenda's Thoughts,Family


No this isn’t a post about a family excursion to the badlands of Drumheller, but it is about family members doing bad things.

Dave and I were on our way out to go for dinner and I had made supper for the kids. I put all my culinary skills, finely honed in university, into action.  I opened a couple of cans of Alphaghetti – a delightful two food-group meal for the mewing maws of the hordes.

They obviously were impressed with the meal as a raucous game of sponge ball ensued with one of the orbs of torment bouncing off of Alyssa’s head and into her steaming bowl of delicious noodles and rouge sauce.

You can imagine the mess! Before I could scold the miscreants for their misdeed, the food had a mind of its own and boldly in red and white showed them the error of their ways.

I guess you really are what you eat no matter what land you are in.


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15 Mar 2013

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Family

Why so much stress?


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