A Sore Back, Nanowrimo Continues, A Skiff of Snow

I know it’s been quiet here. A part of the reason is that on Saturday after my Zwift virtual ride with the club, I twisted my back and it seized up. It had been bugging me up in the low-neck, upper-back area for a bit and it finally gave up. Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday were spent lying down. I made an appointment to see the chiropractor on Monday morning and that helped a lot. I go back to see them on Thursday morning. It’s the same practice that I have been to previously, but the chiropractor I saw has retired and the practice has been picked up by some new faces.

Regardless of pain, National Novel Writing Month rolls on. Actually, I got a lot written on Sunday, not being able to do much else. I’m only 3,000 words shy of “winning”, but will continue to the end of the month in hopes of writing “The End”. Tammy’s trucking along, ahead of pace.

The fall here has been surprisingly snow-free. There has been some cold weather and bits of snow, but the temperature has also gone up for days at a time, melting everything. We got less than an inch yesterday and it’s sticking around today, but tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to get up to 8 and climbing up to 11 on Sunday. This snow will be gone again.

Accepted to University

I mentioned on Halloween that Miranda had applied to the University of Calgary. She actually applied to two different programs, and today she learned that one has accepted her already. She has been accepted to the Bachelor of Arts program (with the intention of studying History). She has also applied to the Bachelor of Education program (with a concurrent degree in History) but she hasn’t heard back on that one yet.

Congratulations, Miranda!

Completely unrelated, although I learned the news from her while we were eating it: Tammy made a cake today (and muffins, and cookies)

New Christmas Lights

This is a once-every-other-decade event: new Christmas lights. Way back when, Evan bought a big order of LED Christmas lights (white, green and red). They lasted well, but the move to Calgary was well-timed: we reduced from needing five strands to only three to decorate our smaller house. So remaining lights were concentrated.

I was in Home Depot to get the fan timers, and noticed they had their Christmas decorations for sale. Long story short: I thought I was buying more screw-in LED bulbs, but I wasn’t. Turned out they were different. And in for a penny, in for a pound, I got Tammy to pick up some more boxes yesterday after dropping Miranda at work.

Today, Ian and I put them up. Totally new clips for attaching to the gutter. Multicoloured. I think they look nice.

Bathroom Fan Timers

It’s the usual story: I have an idea for a home improvement, I get the necessary things, it ends up being more work than expected and finally I prevail.

In this case, I was thinking about how our bathroom fans kept getting left on. Particularly in the cat bathroom (on the main floor) where it’s always warm because of the straight shot from the furnace in the basement. Initially I was going to just install one, but Tammy suggested that I do all three bathroom fans at the same time.

So off I went to Home Depot this morning, and picked up a two-pack of 30 minute timers and one 60 minute timer. Then I came home and got to work. Tammy was helping me with the circuit breakers, keeping me safe. โค๏ธ

I started in the cat bathroom (closest to the tools in the garage when I needed to get one). It wasn’t too hard, but when I got Tammy to turn the power back on, there was no life from the timer. The bathroom light still worked, but the little LED on the timer didn’t light up and pressing the buttons did nothing. I fought with it for a while, trying to figure out how I could have messed up hot, neutral, ground and the line to the fan. Tammy suggested that I try in another bathroom, so I moved up to the ensuite and wired that up. No dice. I was really starting to get depressed.

Then I tried a different timer: I’d bought three, after all. I wired it up and lo and behold! It worked. I did some more experimenting, and eventually figured out that the one timer was dead, kaput. It was an ex-timer. And Murphy’s Law said that it would be the first one I was trying.

I wired up the kids’ bathroom just fine, and then went to Home Depot and returned the two-pack (of course the non-functioning one was part of a two-pack) and got a replacement. We had lunch and then I got to work. No more problems. All the timers worked on the first try. Amazing what skills I have when the parts actually work.

NaNoWriMo is Well Underway

I made passing mention of it earlier, but we’re now six days into the month and that means that Tammy and I are writing for all we’re worth. I just finished my words for the day now, and Tammy’s more than half done. She’s downstairs playing some ping pong with Ian. Miranda’s at work at Abbey’s until 10:30.

For only the third time ever (and we’ve been doing this every November since 2008), I am not using a typewriter. I got my first typewriters in 2009, and in 2014 I had an RSI that meant I needed to dictate my novel. But this year, I had another new toy that I wanted to use: my M1 MacBook Air. Yes, I use it for work 40 hours per week, and other times besides, but this thing is just amazing. Great keyboard, great screen, screaming fast, never gets hot and battery (literally) for days. I’ve got a system that I put together to ensure that things are still continuous from previous typewritten NaNoWriMos, but I’m loving the quiet and the freedom to type wherever. I still love the typewriters, but I’m enjoying this, too.

And then, what did I do today? I emailed my text file to myself, picked it up on my PowerBook G4, and pounded out my words on that.

Ready to rock. You don’t need modern computer power to type plain text

That was fun, too. I’d put the PowerBook away for a while. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a battery for it. But it’s too nice to stay in a drawer for ever.

Continue reading

Northern Lights

I’m kicking myself for not getting out for my walk earlier this morning. When I was leaving, Tammy mentioned that I should look for auroras: there were a few reports from Eastern Canada and Europe over night. So I headed straight to the soccer fields, which are relatively dark and open.

Immediately, I could see a curtain of dim light on the horizon. The dawn was approaching, and starting to wash it out.

I called Tammy and she and Ian came to see. The sky was lightening, so it wasn’t very impressive. I continued on my walk down to the park where Ian was slack lining, and the auroras really kicked it up a notch.

It was a nice start to my day, that’s for sure.

Halloween 2021

The second Halloween of the pandemic is over. No trick-or-treating by either kid this year, so it was all about answering the door and giving out candy.

Ian helped me put up our “decorations” this year. That was a trial in itself: Tammy, Miranda and I all tried to find where I’d put the spider and web from last year. We’d put it away somewhere, and couldn’t find it. Eventually Tammy found it by accident, after I’d already started making a new spider. Two spiders this year!

Based on my own thoughts from last year, I added some lights to the candy slide. There still is some room for improvement, but the ratio of misses to hits got better this year. However, one step backwards was the hole to the right in the picture above. To me, that’s impassable, but to the first kid of the night, it was practically inviting him to crawl through. And then trip over it on the way out, partly wrecking the web. Some quick additional yarn later, the hole was closed.

Our total was 23, which is above the 14 last year but still the second-lowest ever. It was cold tonight: -6. Probably kept the kids from staying out too long.

And what were the kids up to? Ian finished some homework and helped keep watch out the front window, while Miranda applied to university.

The pumpkin carvers this year were:

  • Scooping the guts: Simon
  • Design and cutting the face: Tammy and Miranda

Ian was at Joey’s birthday party yesterday.

Almost Halloween

Where did October go? It seems like Ian and I were in Victoria just yesterday. But no, time marches on. I’ve been super-busy with a project for Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as managing the club’s transition from outdoor riding to indoor.

Yesterday (Wednesday) night, I ran a Zwift orientation night at Bow Cycle. That was the first time in two years, because we didn’t run it in the first year of the pandemic. This year everyone was masked and likely vaccinated so we made it happen.

Ian’s continuing to grow. He’s pretty moody right now. A weird combination of bored and yet not wanting to do any of the things we suggest. Came to a head last night when I asked him to play ping pong with me and he just went straight into the bathroom and shut the door. He’s still being a good kid and doing well at school and doing his chores. Just a phase I guess. I’ll be super curious to see how tall he is on Miranda’s birthday (that’s when we traditionally measure them: on their birthdays).

Miranda’s got tons of homework these days. She just came down here and showed me her necklace that she made, though. It’s made to look like her head has been sewn back on. It’s really good. I’ll get a pic of it tomorrow. She’s been working 2-3 shifts per week at Abbey’s. She was scheduled for tomorrow night, but it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so Abbey got in touch and gave Miranda the night off.

Yes, it’s supposed to snow. Probably won’t stick around, but Halloween might be cold and either snowy or wet. We’ve got our candy to hand out and a big pumpkin to carve. I’ll set up the candy slide again this year. Need to find where we packed the spider away at last year. I liked the spiderweb.

And then Nanowrimo is around the corner. What literary mayhem will ensue?


Here’s Miranda’s necklace.

Hope her head doesn’t fall off

Flu Shots

Tammy was super-efficient and got us all an appointment for flu shots at Rexall this evening. It was for 6:30 so we walked down after dinner. It was quite busy there, but we were all “shot” by 6:35 or so. So far, a few complaints about soreness. Miranda thinks the lady hit a nerve for her, because her arm twitched and it hurt more than usual. ๐Ÿ˜ข

They applied these neat inject-safe barrier things before the shot. The needle went right through the middle.

Ian’s arm afterwards

In other news, Ian’s voice is well into the “broken” territory these days. Lots of inadvertent squeaks and things when he talks. ๐Ÿ˜†

My First ATESL Presentation

Today from 10.00-11.35, Tamara and I gave a presentation at the annual (and this year virtual) ATESL Conference. Our topic was how to make communication easier with staff and students using SharePoint and Google sites. I know what you’re thinking: ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ด On the contrary, it seemed to be well received by all 87 attendees. There were a lot of questions and they enjoyed the brief demos we did.
This was my first time ever doing something like this and I have to admit it went really well. We didn’t have any technical issues (which was our biggest fear). Hooray! I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures to share, but you can look at the presentation PDF. At some point there will be a video available to watch (should you have nothing better to do or can’t fall asleep ๐Ÿ˜„) and I’ll post the link here.