Tuesday, July 29, 2008


One of the guys from work told me the new paint color on my house looked like primer. Not familiar with ‘primer’? It’s the flat base coat that is typically applied to metal before the top coat is added. Here in Atlantic Canada there are many vehicles painted with primer. It’s due to the salty winter roads and the ill effect on exposed metal.

While on the topic of vehicles I must confess my great surprise upon moving to Nova Scotia 12 years ago. There are half ton trucks galore sporting hand-crafted wooden boxes or decks. Rusted out truck boxes give way to pressure-treated lumber. Wears like iron...without the rust.

Meantime, back on the extension ladder, I’m doing okay. I’ve been hard at the house for a couple of months now – mainly evenings , early mornings before work and weekends. I’m happy with the progress but am tiring of the process. It’s painful.

Our house is at least 125 years old. There’s a bit of clapboard on the front but it’s mainly old cedar shingles. There’s been a lot of scraping, priming, painting and re-painting. I’ve had to do some repair work too…tear old some old rotten wood and add new. I’m handier than I guessed possible.

It’s a workout you know. Up and down the ladder, moving the darn thing, balancing on it, reaching, poking and the like. A lot of me aches when I finish at night. And, I’ve never taken so many showers to clean off.

Victoria is a great help. She really is. This is clearly not my project. She’s got her share of paint stains – all over – including her hair. She’s a bit young for blue hair but it strangely suits her.

The last time I painted the house it took me 3 years to get all round the house. We had babies all over the place and I didn’t seem to have the time I do now. I’m certainly no more efficient.

One of the cool things about painting is that there is time to think on the ladder. I consider all sorts of stuff. One thing I realized tonight is that the main house color looks like primer without the trim color to set it off. “Blue Boy” without “Mango Mask” looks just like old grey primer. Would you believe the third color is called “Self Help”? I didn’t pick the colors based on name alone. Just so you know.

Pictures will be posted at the end of the project. Sometime this summer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Place!

This is first and foremost a ‘running blog’. I haven’t blogged much about running lately because I haven’t been running lately. I vow to get back at it. What’s funny is I still consider myself a runner. That’s sort of a lie I suppose, at least for now.

Running has been pushed aside for other important summer things like playing in a couple of bands, following my kids around with their music, meetings, work, painting the house and sailing.

This is my second year crewing on the Bad Blue J out of the Lunenburg Yacht Club on Herman’s Island, NS. John S. is the skipper - known for being more than direct and prone to whacking me when I screw up. Last night we won the race and the series!

Here’s some of the email chatter:

“What a finish. First for the night and first for the series. We rumbled by the fish (boat name), stuck it to the Pooh (another boat name), and left the Scotch (yet, another boat name) in the mist. As for Topaz (one more boat name), they were no match for the blue blo..... oops the Bad Blue J with the fearless skipper and very talented crew. We could be compared with Ahab and his crew, wait a minute they went mad, the boat sunk and they all died. This is a whale of a tale.”

Rob W


"Good job…those swats and swear words were worth it…but not the swamping ride back to the dock. I’m holding a grudge on that front. I say we douse the skipper with 50 gallons of Gatorade."

Robb C (me)


"Good team guys.

I push you all so we win. I promise to give credit when it is due and last night we won due to the teams' credit.

Keep your head into what's happening on the boat, learn from your mistakes, think 5 moves ahead, don't piss off the skipper and don't sit in the front of the tender if you don't like getting wet (4 in the front and 1 in the back makes for a wet ride; another lesson learned I hope).

Words to live (sail) by.

Thanks again guys for the good effort. Let's try and wrap up the series win next Thurs.

Men will do anything for a shinny cup (trophy). Most likely dates back to the search for the Holy Grail."

John S

What a bunch. You know we have fun. Good work Colin, Graham, Rob, John!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Maritime Fiddle Festival

I don’t take much vacation or get away with V and the boys very often. My line of work keeps me tied up all summer long. So, my heart rate bumped up there a bit in booking the Ramada Park Plaza Hotel with the fancy pool and 105’ waterslide. I knew the boys would love that!

We spent most of the weekend in Halifax at the 59th Maritime Fiddle Festival, Canada’s longest running fiddle contest. My little Jonny competed in the 10 – 12 age group category and both he and Chris were entered in the Novelty Class. I have some video but it’s terribly out of focus and the sound is pathetic so I won’t trouble to upload it.

Nope, the boys didn’t win any trophies or cash. Let me just tell you, there were some good fiddlers there. You know me well enough by now that I am not prone to serving up too much negative mush. My only complaint, being new to the event, is that there was little or no orientation for newbs.

Plenty of volunteers – clearly visible wearing crisp matching t-shirts…but were busy among themselves being…busy. I’m not a shy person and so I asked for help. My issue is that somebody should have initiated contact with us (or at least handed us a package with a FAQ Sheet) - taken a minute to smile, say hello, welcome and ask us if there was anything we needed. I was shocked, quite honestly, at how stuffy and self-serving it all appeared to be - quite opposite from what I expected from a ‘fiddle contest’. There’s a touch of irony there my friend.

I emailed the organizers this morning and suggested that I would prefer to be part of the solution. I got a nice note back, so there is some good dialogue. I don’t think we’ll go back though. Meantime, Jon and Chris’ music teachers emailed to say they were pleased to hear that the boys didn’t fit in! I’m pleased too. And, therein lies the lesson and value for me.

Other than the waterslide at the hotel, the highlight was the $250. the kids made in less than 2 hours…busking on the Halifax waterfront. Here are some sunny pics for you!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Birthdays & Stuff

Chris turned 13 on June 29th. We hosted a bunch of young yahoos for an over-nighter – which was fun and challenging. Everyone survived. All the boys at my house are good.

I’ve been trying to paint our old yellow house blue. Scraping and priming old worn cedar shingles is no picnic in the park. There are several other battle fronts – the weather, time, selecting the right shade of blue, re-selecting and re-selecting the right shade of blue. Ugh. I’ve got one side almost done. I'll add a few photos sometime.

The boys were just little the last time we painted. Now, Victoria is available to help. She’s a great painter. We hope to be finished by the end of August.

The kids are in Halifax today. Chris and Jonathan are involved in the 59th Annual Maritime Fiddle Festival. There are workshops, competitions and concerts through Sunday. We don’t know what to expect from this – never been to one of these functions. The boys will have fun.

Tuesday, July 1st was Canada Day. Here are a few photos for you. Hope you're having a great summer!

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