John's blog

Getting classy

I've got connections. Weird connections to the strangest places, and some of them are in my family. Now I'm not complaining, it's just that when you watch TV or go to one of those networking meetings, they don't talk about having connections to a thrift store. I am lucky enough to have amazing connections to the MCC thrift store where I grew up. My brother-in-law manages the Kildonan MCC thrift store and gave us a tour last time I was in Winnipeg.

While we were there looking at all the cool things in the back and hearing about the plans to upgrade the store front we spotted a classic French provincial style chesterfield and chair. Well, as we drove back home, we discussed the possibility of buying them and how they would look in our house. Linda wasn't sure that the colour would look right with our chosen wall colour. I thought that the colour was fine and that the fact that it was more comfortable and we wouldn't slouch as much was a very important point.

By the time we got home we had decided to buy it and made a phone call to seal the deal. Plans were made to pick it up on Saturday, but my parents called and said they were going to bring it to us on Friday. After cleaning up and and moving out the old sofa, the new furniture looked right at home. Needless to say Linda needed to test it to see if it worked properly.

new chair

She said it worked, I thought that our house finally got chairs that came close to the class Linda shows.

Now we just have to finish the trim & curtains and the living room will be complete.

A harrowing day

Well today was my birthday. Not really that big of a deal anymore. After I turned 16 I could go for my driver's licence and after 18 I could purchase and consume alcohol and vote, but now not much changes. In fact with all the responsibilities and family get togethers and celebrations, I won't even get cake for a few more days. I'm not complaining though. Today was a good day, and after all these years I think today was ther first time I felt like an adult on my birthday.

Now don't get me wrong, I've felt like an adult before. Well once or twice...but I think this was the first time it happened on my birthday.

I was out in the yard doing some fall cleanup and giving the yard a last mow, when I saw my neighbour out in his yard. I was on our lawn tractor and he gave a little nod of recognition and I returned it and in that moment, I felt adult. Like you see in the old TV shows, the men out doing yard work and acknowledging each other, sees kind of odd in retrospect.

Now to explain about the harrowing day, while I was mowing with the lawn tractor, I was also pulling a harrow. Friends of ours have a farm which happens to have some older machinery. I mentioned that I needed a harrow section to Dave and he said, " I just took one apart, come down and pick up a piece." Well I explained that I only wanted it for a while this fall and again in spring, but that I'm returning it after use since we don't need another thing clutering up the yard. I have enough toys out there already.

So there I was dragging a harrow with a log dumped on top of it for a bit more bite mowing away merrily. I did make a mess of the yard, but a bit more level of a mess since the nightcrawlers in our backyard have made it quite bumpy. I think a few more times in spring along with a bit of soil or compost to fill in the low spots and we should have a much nicer lawn in a few years.

To round out the day we wound up in Carman at the Beavers liverfest fundraiser. It was held at the Carman Legion Hall and the cooks did and excellent job making the liver and the coffee there was good enough for seconds. Maybe next year I'll get steak and cake.

Where have I been?

Well I haven't written anything recently. It's not that there isn't anything happening, rather it is that there is too much happening.

When we first started this little venture on the net, I had just taken a lay-off from a job that was 70 miles away from home, and I went from almost no time at home to always being at home. This gave me a lot more time to work on this web site and house renovations and many other things. Now I have just started a job with one of the local potato processing plants. I'm doing QA (quality assurance) and working on upgrading the computer network and processes that are currently in place.

This is a big job with a lot to learn. Not only do I have the potato quality to learn, but also the procedures and people as well. In addition to the new job, 95% of my co-workers speak plaudietch as their primary language. I know, I host Carl's plautdietch content, but I'm not that good with understanding and speaking yet. So in addition to everything else, I'm starting a low-german course with Red River Community College at the Winkler campus. <em>Etch mot Ein bate meia plautdietch readen.</em> (spelling in plautdietch is not my strong point)

The house renovations got stalled when I started the new job, but we did manage to tear apart a bit of wall tonight, by the end of the week, our bedroom will be larger, and we'll be able to close off one of the doors. Maybe even put in a bookshelf where the door was. The house is small enough that every bit counts. We also picked up the ceiling panels today. I don't know when we're going to put them up, but we spent the money on them so it will have to happen eventually. I'm hoping that the living room is actually finished before Christmas. And by finished I mean every last bit done. I'm not sure if that will happen, but it's a goal.

Well one of these days I'll get it finished and then post some before and after pictures. I'm sure you'll agree that it was worth the effort.

Water, water, everywhere!

Well it's been a while since anything was posted at this site. No, we haven't forgotten about it, it's just that with all the rain, we've been busy with our new pool. Busy trying to get rid of it that is.

Our basement was only a coal chute and cistern, with a dirt floor when it was built, but later someone put in a nice concrete floor. They never did bother to make it very level, and drainage was never a priority. A few years ago, a hole was cut into the floor and a sump pump was put in, but it only gets the water that seeps into the hole.

With the floor being very VERY wavy, we wound up with 3 inches of water in one area and a dry spot six feet away. The wet/dry vacuum was turned on and 20+ gallons were sucked up and drained into the sump pit, but we could see it seeping in at the edge of the wall. after a few mornings like that we decided to make a second sump hole.

Cutting through the concrete was made easier by the puddle that cooled the blade and kept the dust down, but after cutting around the hole, a sledge was needed. It took another day to find a sledge to borrow while the water now came into the basement at a much faster rate. Two hits broke it up and several buckets of mud were dug out with a new sump pump installed.

This seemed to solve most of the problems, however the basement is still quite damp, and a few things got wet through this whole process. Some of my wife's favourite books were in a box on the floor that got soaked. Two weeks or more later we're still trying to salvage them. It turns out that they can be saved. Even a bit of mold isn't the end of the world.

So, we're getting closer to a usable basement again. This fall I'll have to improve both sump pits to go a little deeper and maybe try to drive some pipes into the soil to help the water drain.