So, I bought a new (to me) car this week. I know, I’m surprised too. Seriously. I have so much doubt about doing things right that I expected the bank to turn me down for financing when I started this process. Then the fine folks at Stampede Toyota gave me a call and asked when I’d like to pick up my 2010 Prius. So, a new car for me it is.
Those who know me will recall how much I talk about camping and wonder “Why a hybrid sedan? Wouldn’t an SUV or any non-hybrid car be better?” Well, yes, but there is this: the company I work for is very forward thinking about providing a better world for everybody. To that end, they provide incentives for people driving hybrids or carpooling or taking transit or even bicycling in to work. This lets me save up a bit towards the big toys.
The other main factor is that we also have a 2009 Freestyle and there are companies that make trailers light enough even for that wagon to tow. Now that I drive an automatic (I traded my manual-shift Focus for the Prius), I can leave my car behind for Corie to drive if I want to take the wagon out to the campground. Previously, we’d need to make sure she had somebody around to drive her if we did that.
Now the hard part is going to be not running right out and getting a hitch put on the wagon and finding a dealer who sells the LivinLite QuickSilver. Oh look, I’m going to be up near Red Deer in the middle of August for a week. I’m sure I have at least one free day. Oh, I will put a hitch on right away regardless. Our good friends and neighbours, Josh and Jenny, have offered the use of their little trailer several times. We will gladly take them up on their generous offer.
There are a few stories that need to be told in order for this one to make sense. They haven’t been told properly because I like to tie my stories together with photos uploaded to my Flickr account and I fell behind on posting those. So things got delayed further and further. I still intend to upload those photos and tell those stories properly.
In the mean time, have I told you about Jesse? At 21, she is our oddest adoption; especially as she has adopted us first rather than usual other way around. She’s a great kid, studying Psychology up in Edmonton, though she is home for the summer. This weekend, we spent a lot of quality time together.
Saturday morning, the two of us went into the city to take a Cut like a Chef class being put on by the staff at Knifewear in Inglewood. It was definitely worth the time to go down, even if I did selfishly buy a new knife for myself and not both of us. We also had a chance to wander into The Silk Road Spice store. The aromas there make me want to linger.
Saturday evening, the two of us got together to make some perogies. This evening was filling prep making potato and cheddar cheese.
Sunday, the entire family got into the car and started to head out to Kananaskis for the free Park Day being put on at Willowrock campground. We quickly had to turn around because it became clear that three adults, three kids and three dogs were just not going to fit into the wagon. So I took James in my car and we put the gate into the back of the wagon for the dogs. We got there later than I’d hoped for and we didn’t see everything, but Dale got a chance to fire an air rifle so it was a big day.
After we got back, we had dinner and put Corie to bed. Jaden and Everest had kept her up late the night before. Then Jesse and I sat down to run some dough through the pasta maker and make some perogies. Dale asked to help and we quickly said yes. A couple hours and 150 perogies later, Dale showed signs of an 11-year-old up past his bed time by being very goofy.
There were some hiccups over the weekend, but I love my family and it was a great weekend as a result.
Well, I certainly hadn’t planned on one big update at the end of summer, but things being what they are, here we go. I’m just getting so far behind on my photos that I just have no interest in doing the related posts because I want to have the photos processed first. I see by my Flickr stream that Dale and Jaden’s birthday party was the last thing I updated. Which means I’m two months out.
So what have we done all summer? Well, I spent the last day of June and the first day of July earning my homeowner repair badge after the fittings from the water main in the basement cracked and sprayed all over the corner of the basement. I ended up having to purchase some tools that I may never use again, but that’s what happens when things break right on a holiday.
In July I took the kids out to the Strathmore Show and Shine. Got lots of pictures of cars to show off. Eventually. Dale and I also headed over to Rockyford with the Strathmore Photography Club to take photos of the parade and rodeo. Being right up at the fence gave Dale some close up views of the animals. He really wanted to join in with the other kids in the Catch it and Keep it scramble, but I wasn’t prepared to handle the case where he actually caught one of the piglets or chickens. James and Dale also got dye jobs this month; James with a bright red top and blonde bottom, Dale all over bright purple. Dale’s hair colouring got him a lot of comments when we participated in the Heritage Days Parade on the Scouts Canada float.
August was a bit quieter. Still, we got everybody together and made a trip to the Calgary Zoo and got to see the Dinos Alive exhibit. Dale and James enjoyed that quite a bit; Jaden is still a bit too young to not be afraid of dinosaurs. I also took Dale and James up to Drumheller for a camping trip. We went up inside the giant dinosaur they have in town and wandered through the Royal Tyrrell Museum. They had a few new exhibits since the last time we went there so I was happy to go; too bad Dale and James rushed me through again. The big thing we worried about was rain. This was the first trip we’d taking since our tent got destroyed last year at Carseland and the forecast was for some severe thunderstorms that very weekend. Fortunately, it was mostly wind and the rain we did get was from the edge of the storms rolling through. So we’ll be better set for further trips now that the boys won’t be quite so afraid of the weather.
Jesse and I went back to Drumheller at the end of August for my yearly ball tournament and golf game. We ended up with a bigger crowd than originally planned, but the course people let us up into the back nine once we promised to play a scramble. I had also intended to revisit the museum and take my time since I wouldn’t have kids rushing me through, but we ended up just hanging out around the camp site and relaxing.
All in all, it was a pretty good summer. Looking forward to seeing what the fall has to offer. School has started again, as has Scouts. Dale and James have been riding bikes this summer and it looks like they’ll keep at it until they can’t.
So I got home from work the other night to hear Corie say “There’s water all over the basement corner by the freezer.” I went down to look and discovered that the fitting out of the water meter had cracked open. Odd for a house only five years old, but whatever. I turned the water off and took some photos so I could go find the parts I needed from the store.
At the store, we figured out that I’d need a section of pipe, a new fitting, tape, joiner fitting, crimp rings and some tools. Given that I didn’t expect to have to repair this more than once — Computers are my strength, not water pipes, but I can still figure things out — I wanted to rent the tools I needed: a PVC pipe cutter and a crimper. Unfortunately for me, the store’s rentals for the crimper were both out. Since they were going to be open on Canada Day and I had the day off, I opted to wait until the next day to see if one would be returned. Sadly this wasn’t the case so now I am all set to add new water pipes to the house if I choose to. Actually, I do need to finish the basement so these will actually come in handy.
Because I didn’t start work on the repairs until Wednesday, we got to experience life without running water. Well, except that showers were needed. I used my vice grips to clamp a towel on the pipe to minimize the spray while the water was on.
Replacing the broken fitting involved cutting the PVC pipe, putting a short length on the new fitting and crimping the two pieces together. I cut it to the right length, but when I got to putting the two pieces together, it seemed that I was short. This was going to be a problem as I didn’t have a whole lot of space available to work with and having to cut again was going to, umm, crimp my style. It turned out that weight of the water meter had just caused it to settle while I was working and I got the whole thing fitted and crimped.
On June 17, James’ school held an end of year concert in celebration of all the kids graduating from Kindergarten. It was an interesting event with videos of each child telling a story about some artwork they’d made, videos of each class singing some songs and more songs from the entire grade together. James looked like he had a lot of fun and enjoyed showing off the binder he received as a memento of the year.
I had taken more than a few pictures, but only just realized that I didn’t have permission to post most of them online.
Last night was the final day for our cubs until the fall. We had our race track missing the previous week when we were trying to do races so we got the cubs together to do one last set of races for a trophy.
Dale was rather happy to be racing, because his car came in first during almost all the practice runs. I suggested he slow down on practicing in case the car got worn in. The kids were stocking up on graphite powder on their axles and I didn’t want his to wear off before the race. Well, he got handed the biggest upset of his week. The car that had been the fastest during all the practices lost out on every race after the first. He did get into the A Side finalists, but that was as far as he got. He had his hopes set on taking home the trophy and took home a ribbon for competing.
Dale spent the next half hour in the corner fighting back tears. I had to bring him over several times and tried to explain the importance of learning how to lose as much as enjoying the win. He wasn’t ready to listen then. He even tried to tell me that he wasn’t going to the year end camp this weekend and I didn’t even bother asking him if I should sign him up for next year. I know he’ll get over it.
Next year you get to try again, Dale.
I recently joined the Strathmore Photography Club as a means of forcing myself to take more photos. I figured that there is no point in owning a camera if I’m not going to use it.
This last weekend, we took a trip through the town of Rosebud to Horseshoe Canyon, near Drumheller. We’ll definitely have to go that way again. Especially when it’s dry out and we can get into some of the valleys without needing a four wheel drive truck to go there. Corie said she was interested in coming along and we were originally going to drop the kids off at her sister’s place so we could have an outing for ourselves. With her pneumonia, though, kids have already been spending a lot of time over there so we brought Dale, James and Brenden with us. We even took the puppies, but they didn’t get nearly as much exercise as we were thinking of owing to Corie’s low energy right now.
One of the things I did notice, is that my kids are showing an interest in photography as well. I got a good deal on a pair of HP cameras three years ago and they’re certainly getting a workout these days. When all was said and done for our trip, Dale and I took most of the photos mostly because James gave his camera up after sliding down into the canyon. I will have to make sure I get them both cleaned. I think Dale’s camera was having trouble focusing due to fingerprints on the lens. Brenden was just as enthusiastic and got a bit frustrated when he could no longer take pictures; he’d filled his camera up on the first stop. Mind you, there were older photos in the camera before he started. Even then, his camera can take about 250 before needing to be emptied and he came away with over 300. James and Dale don’t have that issue as I bought them 8GB cards for their cameras. As it is, the camera can only count to 2000 photos no matter what size I make the photos, so I think 8GB is way too much for those cameras. The cards were cheap, so I can just let the boys shoot as much as they want without worrying about space.
As a result of this weekend, I now have three new profile photos I can use in various places. Dale got a couple of good ones of me and, though it’s a bit blurry, I like the view of me from James’ camera as well. The key element I noticed with James’ photos was that they’re quite often at an angle. He still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of press the button once and wait for the click. Dale definitely has an eye for the interesting.
Of the photo set I put up on Flickr, the boys are the creative eyes behind a full third of the photos.
We’re going to do an Urban Calgary trip next time around and Dale has said he definitely wants to come along for that. I think I may bring him to our monthly meetings as well since he got as much or more of our scavenger hunt photos as I did. He should show off his own photos, I think.
So that bit of feverishness that Corie, Dale and I experienced right after Easter? Well, Dale doesn’t seem to be harbouring anything from it, but I still have swollen glands from that.
Corie, on the other hand, wasn’t able to get rid of the cough at all and on Friday morning was discovered to have a fever of 105.6F. So I got rid of kids and took her to the local hospital. By late afternoon, the doctor came back to say that she has pneumonia. They gave her antibiotics and fluids through the day, but sent her home for the night. Her fever did go down a lot and she got a lot of colour back. This morning the doctor said that the infection had gotten into her bloodstream so they’re keeping her on the IV, though she only has to come in the mornings to get the medicine injected. She’s pretty tired of having that in her arm already. Here’s hoping they finish killing the infection sooner than later.
Three days spent in the hospital mostly waiting sure reminds me why I’m glad I’m healthy.
Earlier this spring I was talking to my Grandma on the phone and she happened to mention that she’s getting pretty old and didn’t know how much longer she’d be around to see her great grandkids. Well, since guilt is such a great motivator, we planned to head up during the kids’ spring break and get some visiting in. After we started planning, we realised that there were a couple of appointments previously made that would be difficult to reschedule and compressed our visit plans into a single weekend.
I really wish we’d had a trailer that we could have parked in Edmonton and Bonnyville and taken our time. That will have to remain as a wish list item for the time being. It turns out that it was a good thing we got all our travel done during Easter weekend as Corie, Dale and myself all started running fevers as soon as we got back. Jaden took a bit longer as he just started getting sick last night. Still, this particular spring break hasn’t been as enjoyable as we had originally planned.
We stopped in to see Uncle Gordon for a bit our first evening up and introduced James and Jaden to what are now traditions at the Penno house: walk horsie and hugging Gus. Gus is a statue of a cowboy, just the right size for little boys to look in the eye.
We had dinner with Ginny and Dave and their gang. Holy cow has Ryan grown over the years. Ginny’s granddaughter, Lydia, is very photogenic. James was pretty funny as he’s acting afraid of our Basset Hounds lately, but he didn’t even flinch when Milo, who is nearly as tall as James is, came up to sniff him.
The challenging part of our trip was out to Bonnyville to see my Grandma. Mostly because we had dropped plans to stay out there so it became a drive out, visit, drive back. For some reason, my attempts to drive have met with limited success. I can go for about a half an hour before I have to pull over and nap. Then I’m usually good to go for a while yet. Though I did notice that if I had some coffee shortly before starting my drive, I lasted much longer. I guess we need to be taking more trips so I can verify this.
We also made what is going to be another traditional stop whenever we’re in Edmonton: the Kinsmen park in the river valley. It was too early in the season for the water park to be open, but the kids did have a lot of fun playing. They even enjoyed lunch despite the complaints made about taking KFC to have a picnic.