Friday, July 27, 2007

Clean Sweep

Like model tenants, Shelley and I returned to the manse today for some heavy-duty cleaning and packing up of leftovers. We swept, vacuumed and handwashed floors; dusted, vacuumed and wiped down radiators; cleaned, vacuumed and wiped out drawers; cleared out and cleaned the fridge and freezer; and conducted other cleaning duties which I don't remember...

Shelley commented that apart from when we first moved in, this is the cleanest that the entire manse has been in the duration of our occupancy. They're are a few minor things left to do on Tuesday, my last day with Arkona-Ravenswood like sort and put out the garbage and recycling, and retrieve a stroller from the attic space that we call "The Sauna".

This evening was setting up and connecting the components of the entertainment unit. One unexpected aspect of big city living is receiving CBC Radio 2 in stereo. Although I haven't tuned in at all since the new programming changes were made, I miss night-time jazz; and I've pretty much gone all interwebby with my radio listening: Radio 3 is the 1 4 me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smooth Move

We are now the proud residents and mortgage holders of a home in Strathroy. The big move happened today with very little incident.

It's a good thing first impressions are often wrong because our movers were a half hour late (somewhat understandable, given the fog this morning), but came inadequately equipped to pack our kitchen. We scrounged up some extra boxes and newspapers for wrapping. Despite our initial reservations, the crew proved to be hardworking, professional, courteous and efficient.

Thanks to Shelley's remarkable organizational ability, the loading aspect of the move was well-ahead of schedule. We hit the road for "Strath Vegas" and undid all that was done this morning. Furniture and boxes gathered in their appointed rooms, ready for their re-assembly and unveiling.

The major blip was the bulkiness of the entertainment unit which proved too cumbersome to negotiate the stairs to the basement of the new home. So it sits in the living room, awaiting its component parts to be installed and plugged in. It's not quite the home plan that I had in mind, but the kids will have free reign in the basement for their toys.

I know it's been a while since you've seen a new post and perhaps I'll share what I can remember of the past week-and-a-half. But not now, it's been a long day and I need to be fresh for tomorrow's cleaning of the manse and more unpacking.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Balanced Day

Amid all our home redecorating, I'm still trying to fulfill my church obligations. This morning I tended to some office work and Bible study before bringing lunch to the Painter Sisters. Turns out Rei's room is proving to be a little difficult (well, the paint more than the room itself) and we will earn our painting stripes there.

Although we did manage to get one coat of "Clear Sailing" in Kai's room.
Clear Sailing
We've also been prepping the bathroom and the kitchen/living room/hallway so we should be good to go tomorrow. Here's hoping for more clear sailing.

After picking up the kids from daycare and having supper, I then ventured into London for a hospital visit and a couple errands. Once that was done, it was home again, home again, jiggedy jig.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Paint Party

Shelley has the next two weeks booked for holidays. And if you consider "holidays" to mean "painting, packing, moving and unpacking", you'd be eerily in sync with our lexicon.

We've recruited the skills and experience of her sister, who has worked for a couple painting companies, and are absorbing all her knowledge like a fresh roller sponge fitted onto "the cage" amid the central supply depot known as "the kit" – we're even picking up the lingo as we go! Now that Shelley and I've been introduced to the basics of patching, caulking, spot priming, cutting and rolling, we've been unleashed in the house.

First up: Rei's room. She wanted yellow.
Yellow Highlighter
The colour is called "Yellow Highlighter", replacing the orangey-pinkish-terracotta hue that was there. Good thing she's used to having a bright room already; I don't think we'll need to use her light switch at all.

We also got to the master bedroom. Meet Philipsburg Blue:
Philipsburg Blue
It's a touch more elegant than the semi-gloss grape purple that was previously on the walls.

There is something quite satisfying about seeing a room undergo such a dramatic transformation, this must be how Holmes on Homes feels all the time ...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Littlest Hobo

The churches had my "going away" party today. Even though there's a couple weeks left, today fit the schedules for the most people the best.

I cited The Littlest Hobo and his neverending journey down the road. Such is the call that ministry folk undertake, and it's really hitting hard that I'll be relocating and beginning all over again in a few weeks' time.
After the service, I was presented with an envelope from Arkona United and a print of Rock Glen Falls; Ravenswood United's gift will be ready for my last official Sunday (I'm guessing a quilt), but in the meantime, they gave me a basketball signed by all the people of the church.

Even though there are a couple more Sundays to go, I guess I can give myself permission to start imagining and getting excited about what lies ahead. The formal closure continues here with Arkona and Ravenswood, but I'm planning on taking some boxes of books over to my new office this week. And I'll see the inside of Trinity United in Glencoe for the first time!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday the 14th

I'm not traditionally superstitious. Friday the 13th isn't something that scares me; although this Saturday the 14th has made its mark on me.

This morning as Shelley was taking Rei to help purchase paint for the house, I was getting Kai ready to play outside. As I was helping him into his sandals while holding open the screen door, the window came crashing down on my fingers. Shelley heard my yelps and agony from the car and rushed to my aid.

After a couple hours, sensation (read: pain) and mobility returned to my fingertips and I headed out to mow the lawn to make the grounds look tidy for the afternoon's wedding. One of the wheels broke off. Not having the time, tools or handimanliness to fix it, I walked amidst the weeds with garden shears clipping down the most obvious eyesores. The irony is that I have a brand spanking new lawn mower at our other house.

As for the wedding itself, it rained through the afternoon, but the service was fine. Plus the array of bandages on my right hand made quite the fashion statement.

Here's hoping Sunday the 15th treats me better.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Super Girls to the Rescue

Rei and her friends were being chased by boys when I picked her up from daycare. (Her legs were tired from running so much). She talked about how the boys were Superman, Batman and Spiderman, but she and her friends were Super Girls to the Rescue. The three of them rotated through the various personae.

One of Super Girls was "Jingle Bell" who is very similar to Peter Pan's Tinkerbell, having magic powers and flight capability. Another one was Fashion Girl who apparently doesn't do too much. The third of them was "Sessy Girl". Puzzled, and fearing the worst, I inquired about this heroine's superpower. Rei shrugged and said, "I think she wears shorts".

4-years old ought to be too young to know about socialization's norms and gender stereotypes. *sigh*. Although she affirmed that they were all strong and smart and fast. Girl power!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


After some days of fever and irritability, and a trip to Emergency, we've confirmed that Kai has another ear infection. Thankfully(?), he likes the taste of medicine, we load up the syringe and he
drinks it down himself. We'll be more thankful when/if his inner ear tubing sorts itself out.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Reel Deal

I bought two lawn mowers today. For a while I've been intrigued by the prospect of a more environmental alternative and given the smaller lawn area of our new home, looked into a reel push mower.

After purchasing it and assembling it, I gave it a whirl and was rather embarrassed by the shoddy job. Maybe I didn't have the proper technique, or our property is too sloped, or the model that was available was too low-end to be any good; regardless, it didn't cut the mustard.

So I returned it for the smallest engine gas mower I could find and consoled my conscience with the knowledge that at least I tried. Al Gore would be rolling in his grave, if he wasn't still alive.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Jackpot Day

If you're a slot machine you live for the day of 7-7-7. Apparently it's a big wedding weekend, all the couples trying to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime confluence of the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year falling on a Saturday, the seventh day.

No weddings around here though. We spent the morning doing some more shopping (groceries, garden hose attachments and a ladder). My parents came for a visit and we took them to see the new house where we watered some plants and unloaded some painting supplies.

Pretty glamorous, I know.

Friday, July 06, 2007


As we begin to mentally fill the cavernous expanse of the new homestead, we'll be undertaking a series of spending sprees. This morning's haul netted us the major appliances: fridge, stove, washer and dryer. Add in a twin mattress and box spring for Kai and a queen-size set for Shelley and me, and that should be it for big invoices (not counting a lawn mower).

On the way home, Shelley wondered if I might go golfing and I readily agreed to her suggestion, not knowing when the next opportunity might present itself. My round was unspectacular for the most part, but on the troublesome hole #4, I hit the best drive of my life, a 232-yard shot down the middle of the fairway. The rest of the game was rather forgettable with the exception of my nemesis, hole #9 which I finished with a 39-foot putt that made me wish there were others around to see it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

'Tis the Season

It is cherry season in Arkona. Monday morning, we took the kids to one of the local orchards.Reiko knew what to do:
Cherry Rei

Not surprisingly, Kai managed to eat more than he picked:
Cherry Kai

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sound Business Practice

Dear Sales Rep of a Major Moving Company:

Thank you for your time and your vigorous defence of full-service movers vis-à-vis smaller, cheaper companies. May I suggest in future that you not criticize or accuse your competitors of poor moral character and underhanded dealing? It makes you sound desperate and I wonder why you are taking this business decision to go with another company as a personal rejection.

Also, when asked for an estimate, an actual ballpark number might help our decision-making, rather than rattling off your rates and the philosophical superiority of your services. You might inquire as to the quantity and nature of the items we wish to move.

If, as you assert, your company is the biggest moving company in North America, it certainly won't be bankrupted by not having my business. I sincerely hope that you have a better day tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Keys to the Kingdom

Today was the closing date for our home purchase. I picked up the keys from our lawyer in Strathroy prior to checking at the hospital for pastoral care needs (church members, not mine).

Once everyone else got back from work/daycare, we headed over to scope out our new digs. I must commend the previous owners: the home was spotless and empty. Kai was keen to play in our neighbour's backyard; there were lots of toys for little boys there.

We introduced ourselves to our neighbours and headed out to McDonald's to celebrate. On the way to there, Kai was chanting in the backseat, "Chocolate [milk]. French fries. Chicken." It's safe to say that he's someone who knows what he wants.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Cruise Day 7: Tunisia

The ship arrived in Tunisia early in the morning and our "Historical and Cultural Tour" was underway by 8:30 a.m. Despite the scheduling hardship, we were glad of the somewhat moderate temperature at that time of day; it was 40˚C by 10 a.m.

Much of the history and culture revolves around the Roman conquest of the Carthaginians before they themselves were supplanted by Arabic powers. I was particularly impressed by the expansive ruins of a Roman bath.
Roman Bath

Thankfully, I paid attention to the warnings and avoided any international incidents.
sign 2

We visited the village of Sidi Bou Saïd characterized by its blue-on-white palette and the bustling and aggressive merchants. This spectacular view of the street was afforded to us by the second floor of a shop owner who gave us an enlightening presentation about the carpets and rugs that they sell.
Sidi Bou Said
If I hadn't suspected our tour guide was getting a kickback from the vendors then, it was confirmed by the circuitous route he prescribed for us to return the bus that sent us past even more shops and booths.

Shelley and I found a patch of grass by the bus pick-up site and contemplated charging people 5 Euros for the opportunity to stand there and not be hassled by merchants. I think we could have had a good business: "No, only 5 Euros, it's a good deal. C'mon my friend, you don't want some peace and quiet? No? How much do you want to spend? For you, I can make a deal. You are from Canada? I like Canada very much." We could have paid for our trip, preying on the introverts.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cruise Day 6: Malta

I've been back to work for a week, it still doesn't seem I'm truly back until the worship service occurs. (So much for ministers saying they work more than just Sundays...). Although I was back in the pulpit this morning, it was nothing like the pulpit that we saw in Malta:
Malta pulpit

The day was hot, 36˚C, as we travelled to the historical cities of Rabat, Mdina, and Mosta. The island of Malta is biblically significant as the shipwreck site of the apostle Paul; hence all the churches we saw. It's also a scenic Mediterranean island, hence all the souvenir shops that we patronized.