I'm also looking
forward to the days getting longer. This time of year really
messes with me, the cold, the darkness. This year wasn't as
bad as last year, maybe because I've had a lot on my mind.
ago I went to the hospital to have a
cardioversion done. That's where they 'zap' your heart,
similar to what you see in movies and TV shows. They tried
twice at successively higher voltages but it didn't work. I
remained out of rhythm. For my troubles I had the outlines
of the pads - one on my chest, one on my back - burned into
my skin. And it itched like nothing I've ever experienced
before. The first night I didn't get any sleep but
thankfully it was tolerable by the second night. My first
reaction was to say screw it and just not bother trying
anymore. I'd stay out of rhythm and just be on blood
thinners the rest of my life and just deal with always
feeling fatigued and crappy.
But I decided
I'd give it one more go. So I upped the dosage of my
Amiodarone which I had been taking for months with no effect
until I was swimming in the stuff. I think I took 50 pills
in the span of a few days. Years ago that's what I did the
first time I got back into rhythm. I met with my heart
doctor and he agree that with the boosted levels that I
should give it a second try. So yesterday, Chris and I left
at 5:30am to go to the hospital for round two. And although
it took two tries this time it worked.
Before - Atrial Fibrillation
After - Sinus Rhythm
EKG's I had before and after. Although they look similar
the second one has a consistent pattern and before each
beat (the spike) it rises slightly - a so called P-wave.
The first one has no consistent pattern and the P-wave
is missing before each beat. So now the trick is to stay
this way. Because I went roughly two years being in Atrial Fibrillation the stats aren't great. Basically
50% of patients revert back within a year. But I'm being
positive and will try and beat those odds. At least now
I know it is possible to go back to the way I was
before, I really had my doubts.
is the best Christmas present one could ask for...
day in paradise...
One of the benefits of getting older and therefore getting
up early is managing to get to the pool before everyone else
and grab the only free Cabana with a working fan. Not sure
if it was the same last year or not, but unlike the other
Cabanas on the resort, the four by one of the ocean side
pools don't have to be reserved and are first come first
served. The newbies don't realize that of course. Thankfully
we found out on one of our first days so we've spent
the week in pretty comfy digs.
It's funny (or sad depending on ones perspective) how it's
obvious we're getting older. In addition to being up at the
crack of dawn, there was a definite lack of drunkenness this
time. We had a nice buzz going on most days, but things
never went beyond that. One night the four of
us were walking back to our rooms and Chris & Kim were
having a good 'ol time laughing and stumbling along - Hailey
& I looked at each other and noted that it was bizarre that
we were the responsible ones...Besides that we found
ourselves chatting with older people more often than not and
found the younger crowd to be somewhat annoying (although
nice eye candy).
We had a great time but after Eight days I'm looking forward
to being home. I'm starting to hit my people annoyance
limit. Case in point, the guy set up next to me is
apparently working as people keep calling him to book tours
or something. So instead of just listening to the soothing
sound of the ocean waves I get to listen to him yammer on
constantly. Thankfully the pool bar will be open soon :)
We'd run into people over the years that would say something
along the lines of 'Oh, it's our fifth time here' and we
always wondered why someone would want to keep going back to
the same place over and over again. After having been here
twice now I kind of get it. While you miss the fun of that
initial discovery phase there's something nice about the
familiarity of everything. It's comforting and allows for
more time to just enjoy being here.
This was our fourth all inclusive experience, and while both
Chris & I like cruising the most, we may look at going to a
resort every year in addition to sailing the seas. The only
real downside other than the cost, is that most of the
places I'd want to go to are a pain to get to. We'd like to
go to the Sandals in Grenada for example but first we'd have
to fly to Toronto and then to either Dallas or Miami before
finally flying to Grenada. It was somewhat depressing
talking to people here that were from the UK and finding
that it took them less time to get here than us.
George Loves Bob Marley's
We didn't actually do a lot other than hang out at the pool,
but we did squeeze in a snorkeling trip. This one took us
quite a ways into the ocean with the biggest waves I've ever
snorkeled in, but we were over a shipwreck which was really
neat to check out. There was also the usual coral to see but
that didn't impress us as much as some of the other reefs
we've seen. We also has a couples massage with the
difference this time being that it was outside on the dock.
So you got to listen to the waves while relaxing and after
drink champagne while you slowly came out of your massage
Sadly the main pool was closed for renovations. After the
initial annoyance wore off we just shrugged and went with
the flow. In a way it was good as it just meant we spent
more time on the ocean side of the resort. Something that we
didn't do a lot of last time. The food was always good and
sometimes great - however the breakfast buffet was starting
to get old. Chris made sure to get her daily dose of Jerk
Chicken and I got my Lobster so we were in heaven. Our
Butlers were both good but we really liked Anton, he was fun
to hang with and get to know. We went to the Butlers party
and competed in a fun event and got third place - but only
because Anton was
the host. The weather was awesome, it only rained on the first day we were all together but we had a
blast hanging in the pool during the downpour. Other than
that it was always hot and humid.
All in all it was a great break from the worries of the
world and it was even more fun that we got to spend it with
Kim & Hailey.
year, another Halloween party.
I didn't want
one this year as although the last one was an absolute blast
it was also a lot of work setting everything up and I've
been feeling pretty crappy lately. But as usual Chris
fluttered her eyes at me and I gave in.
And of course
I'm glad I did as we had another great time. We both dressed
up as clowns although she went and had her make up
professionally done while I just half assed it. I was going
to get a picture of us together, but for whatever reason it
never happened and we're both kicking ourselves because of
it. We had another great turnout and even though some of our
friends couldn't make it we had a number of new people show
up which was cool.
We toned down
the decorations outside as Chris was worried we'd scare away
the little kids and she really wanted them to come. So we
hung in the garage with the one door open and gave out candy
as the kids came up. I think we had just over 60 which was a
huge difference from last year when we maybe had 5. It's
crazy how much the neighborhood has grown since we moved in.
A big thanks to everyone that helped us celebrate!
approaching here now I've been fretting
that we decided to hold off on getting the basement done
until next year. I haven't been looking forward to
hibernating in an unfinished space once again and I'm
starting to sound like a broken records for the number of
times I've talked about finishing the man cave only to have
it delayed. Still, I wanted to get something done so I
decided to finish the media room. This is the corner of the
basement where I have the equipment rack and until recently
all my various movies and music discs piled up on the floor.
searching, I came across some cabinets from Ikea that I
liked and that would work with all the various form factors
- key factor being something that would fit all my
Laserdiscs which are rather large. So Chris & I ran down
there one weekend and jammed the SUV full of Swedish
furniture. Now that I had the hardware the next step was to
finish the drywall mudding in the room and then paint. I
called around to a bunch of drywall contractors but they
were all booked well into next year. Part of me wanted to
give up, but part of me was determined to get it done even
if I had to do it all myself. Which is what I did.
drywall looked pretty easy on YouTube even though all my
friends told me not to do it. In the end it wasn't as bad as
I thought, but it took a long time, was very tiring and very
messy - and I won't be doing it again. Having finished the
drywall I found a bold paint colour I liked and bought a pan
and some rollers. I've never really painted before, at least
nothing of that size so it was a bit intimidating. But no
guts no glory right? Three coats later and I was satisfied
with the end result.
done it was time to put up all the shelves and cabinets.
Thankfully I'm rather good at assembling furniture so that
wasn't a big deal. Once I figured out how one of the
cabinets was put together it was easy to bang out the rest
of them. Hanging them on the wall and making sure everything
was level took awhile but there were no major issues.
Here then is
my newly finished media room:
took a lot of time and effort I'm extremely proud of what I
accomplished. Every once in awhile I surprise myself with
what I can do when I'm sufficiently motivated. I'll
eventually add a couple more of the smaller stacking
cabinets on the right hand side but for now I'm just going
to enjoy not tripping over all my movies on the floor.
Next up is
our trip to Jamaica for some fun in the sun. It can't come
fast enough for both of us. We're really looking forward to
getting away for awhile. It's been a stressful time and we
need a break. When I get back I'll be undergoing a procedure
to get my heart back in rhythm and while the doctors assure
me it's routine I'm still nervous as hell. Hopefully this
isn't my last news update :)
a crazy week.
early and for the first four days of the week it was like we
had somehow time warped past Fall. We've had dumps of snow
out of season before, but usually it would melt the next day.
This time was different. Off went the air conditioning and
on went the fireplace. I even got stuck at home the one day
as I still have my summer tires on and the ground was snow
covered making it impossible to go to work. But now as I
type this, it's a gorgeous Summer day.
hibernation instincts had kicked in however and Chris and I spent
Friday doing all kinds of running around in the south part
of the city. There's been a number of things we've been
putting off just because we don't like travelling to that
end of the city if we can help it. But we decided to bite
the bullet and get it all done. So we returned the stone
samples we've had for the past 16 months, picked up some
hardware for the main bathroom, took in some of the art we
bought on our last cruise to get re-framed, and exchanged
some of the slat wall hooks we had from our old house for
ones that are compatible with the new slat wall we had
installed in our garage.
garage is finally done!
there were a few missteps along the way, in the end we're
extremely happy with how it turned out. We went from having
a gross, dirty, unfinished area crammed full of crap to a
sharp looking space with lots of storage and everything
neatly organized. Chris is happy now that she doesn't have
to step around piles of boxes and bins on the floor and I'm
happy that I have a work area once again where I can tinker
with my old computers and arcade games. And because it's now
heated, I can do that throughout the year.
pictures our latest reno:
Of course we
had to have a party to celebrate and last night friends and
family came over and we tied one on until early in the
morning. My cousin Dori and her family showed up which was a
pleasant surprise. Janice and Blaine also came by and
brought their newest addition. The neighbors across the
street also brought their little boy. And of course Jamie and Kim
brought Olivia. So we all got a kick out of watching the
kids be kids. Chris dubbed it the 'garage of cuteness'. A
big thanks to everyone who came!
That's it for
now, I'm going outside to enjoy the return of the sun.
usual I've had lots going on which is why I haven't updated
the news in awhile. Damn my fast paced busy lifestyle!
That said, I'm
trying to remember anything cool that happened last month to
talk about but I'm coming up blank. I think it was just a
matter of Chris and I having lots on the go but nothing
however is a different matter.
While work on
the garage is ongoing and we're hoping it'll be done in the
next couple weeks, our landscaping is finally done (at least
in the front). We had planned on getting this done earlier
in the year but wasn't sure who to call. I did some research
on local landscapers but none really stood out to me. Then a
few months ago there was a company in the neighborhood -
Super Sod - who was doing a job and the whole block
pretty much pounced on them to get their yards done as well.
So we went with them and hoped for the best. We talked to
our neighbors on both sides to discuss our 'vision' and
together we came up with something we all liked.
previously, on the one side of the house we put in
rundlestone and limestone rocks and some shrubs. On the
other side we had concrete steps going down the middle of
the houses poured with more rock on the sides of the steps.
We then had them build a fence in the back yard to match the
existing city fence. Finally we had them put grass in the
front and put decorative blocks around the trees with some
more shrubs. We're really happy with the work they did.
they were installed by the company who's doing our garage, I
still consider it as part of the landscaping work - we
finally, finally got house numbers! That was a bit of a gong
show as naturally I found them online, and it took
approximately two months to make and be shipped. And in the
end Canada Post lost them. So after much annoyance and
gnashing of teeth I got that straightened out and they
finally showed up. We think they look super sharp and even
better they automatically light up when it gets dark.
pictures of all the improvements:
I'll be busy again especially with work and I'll be
travelling to Regina, Saskatoon, and Burnaby. While in
Saskatchewan I'll also be going to my cousin's wedding. So
that will nice seeing everyone again. Then at the end of the
month we're once again going to X-Fest. We're really looking
forward to that as we had a blast last time and even more of
our friends are going this time.
And then sadly,
summer will be over :(
Last day of
This is also
my last day of freedom as Chris gets back tomorrow. Actually
I'm kidding, I missed her by about the second day. That
said, the past couple days have been nice just hanging by
myself. You need to mix it up occasionally. I had today off
and managed to get all kinds of stuff done, as I said on
Facebook, it's amazing how productive you are when you don't
have to work.
So where is
Chris you ask? Her and the Grover girls went on a week's
vacation. I couldn't go as my holidays are maxed out between
our Japan trip and our upcoming Jamaica trip (yes we're
going back in the fall). So hopefully they took a bunch of
pictures for me to look at. They went on a short 4 day
cruise out of LA with stops at Catalina Island and some
place in Mexico. Then they went back and are spending a few
days in LA. Today they're actually going to a taping of the
game show Let's Make A Deal. Everyone has their fingers
crossed she gets picked to compete and wins a cool prize or
bunch of money.
In terms of
the house, there's been good news and bad news. The bad news
is we now have a gaping hole in our living room wall. The
builder came and ripped it out to check for mold from all
the leaks we've had over the past year. The good news is
everything was good. Thankfully by not having the basement
done the water was able to go all the way into the basement
instead of building up within the walls and ceiling. We also
survived this past week's annual monsoon with no issues so
I'm hoping this annoyance is finally over. We also ended up
getting an air conditioner.
I didn't want
a repeat of what happened at our old house when I came home
one day to a monster unit just outside my office window. We
knew the neighbors were getting one, so we went and talked
to them about it. Thankfully we were both on the same page
that we'd just get one unit to cool the upstairs. It would
have been pretty sad if there ended up being a farm of four
units yammering away day and night. I also was able to
convince them to spend the money to get the most advanced
and quietest unit available with the promise that when we
got ours we'd do the same.
wanted to go with the company that installed our furnace,
but they were booking out into September. So I went with
Pete the Plumber which is who the neighbor was going
through. Because they found out that Chris has MS, they
bumped us up to the top of the priority list and we ended up
getting it installed only about a week or so after we gave
them the go ahead. So for the first time ever, we'll now be
able to be comfortable sleeping even during the hottest
I also forgot
to mention in my previous update that we went and got a new
BBQ and patio set. I've been wanting one of those wicker
sectionals for awhile now as I knew it would work perfectly
with the space we have. We also wanted to get some kind of
outdoor fire pit and ended up getting one that was also a
table. And although there was nothing wrong with our old
BBQ, I wanted to get one that ran on gas so I didn't have to
worry about running out of propane at the worst possible
moment. Last year we didn't spend a whole lot of time on the
deck, but now we're out there almost every day.
Next up we're
getting the front yard done. We'll have stone along the
right side, grass in the front of the house, a little
planter area around our tree, and a concrete path going down
the left side to the back. This all came about as a
landscaping company just happened to be in the neighborhood
and everyone pretty much hired them all at the same time -
just to get it done and over with. Hopefully these guys do a
We're also days
away from getting an official quote to get the garage done.
We had a trades day a couple weeks ago and explained our
'vision' to them. Hopefully they can get on it right away
and it can be done before Fall. If not, that's ok because
it'll also be heated for in the Winter :)
Now bring on
We had a great
time, but it sucks that's it's back to reality. I can't
believe how fast time flew by. This is probably the first
vacation in awhile where I wasn't ready to come home. A big
thank you to both Michael and Jamie for watching after the
cats and the house while we were gone!
In regards to
the problems we had before we left, apparently they've
identified that the issue was that the building paper wasn't
carried all the way up the wall and that's what was causing
the leak. So that's hopefully been fixed. Although the jury
is still out on whether we're ok with the stucco patch job
that was done. They are also going to rip out some of the
interior walls and check for mold. I'm hoping this gets done
right away as now that I'm home I once again seem to be
having allergy like symptoms. Next up is we're having a
trades day in a couple weeks to hammer out the details of
getting the garage finished.
But enough of
that. Details of our vacation can be found
has gone by and not much is new. Get up, go to work, come
home, have dinner, go to bed. Eat, sleep, work, repeat. Eat,
sleep, work, repeat (my take on the Fatboy Slim song).
ago, in an effort to relieve the monotonous doldrums we
found ourselves in, Chris & I decided to do a 'staycation'
downtown. We booked a room at the
Hotel Le Germain and spent a Friday night there. We've
stayed there once before and really liked it and the
location is excellent. We hung out on Stephen Ave and had
some drinks and appetizers and then went to a fancy dinner
in the Calgary Tower. From there we went and caught a play
at the Vertigo Theatre. The play was a horror story set in
the pioneer days of early Canada. We enjoyed it but were a
bit let down that it wasn't as scary as what our waiter who
had seen it previously said it was. It was a nice getaway. I
can see us doing more of the same in the future.
Last night we
went to Wurst, a funky German themed restaurant to celebrate
Kim's beating cancer. She thought it was just a few of us
going so she was surprised when she showed up and almost 30
of her friends and family were there. I had fun, but as I
was the designated driver by the end of the night I was
ready to leave. I feel bad I didn't visit with everyone as
much as I wanted, but it was so loud in there that it was
hard having a conversation without having to yell to be
basement, we've got the final drawings done. However, after
sending everything to their estimators, the renovation
company came back to us with a quote that was 50% higher
than what they originally told us we'd be looking at. After
pressing them on the ridiculousness of the amount they came
back with a lower amount, but still higher than what we
wanted to spend. We then got some rough quotes from a couple
other places and in the one case it was quite a bit lower,
in the other it was basically the same. So now that it's
decision time, I'm reluctant to pull the trigger.
This is the
time when we plan out what we'll be doing throughout the
rest of the year. As much as I'd like to just get this done
and over with, there's so many other things vying for our
hard earned dollars. We want to get the front yard done,
we'd like to get the garage done, want to get air
conditioning, planning for our next vacation etc. etc. I'm
also worried about interest rates inevitably rising in the
near future and the voices inside my head are screaming at
me to pay down debt. So I've contacted a local company that
specializes in home theatre construction to get a quote on
just getting the media room done. If it falls within the
range I'm hoping for then I think we'll just go ahead and
get that part of the basement done, and defer the rest until
everything will be done and we can just relax and enjoy it
Another lazy Sunday. Not much going on right now, but
earlier Chris & I did a bunch of running around. In
preparation for our upcoming trip we need to renew our
passports, so we got our photos done at London Drugs. Sadly
you can now get your passports for 10 years. Meaning my ugly
photo will be on them for a decade now.
course is the return of The Walking Dead, so we're looking
forward to that. As is typical this time of year, we tend to
hibernate and watch a bunch of shows. We've seen some really
great series in the past few weeks. We watched Season 2 of
Game of Thrones, Season 1 of American Horror Story, Season 3
of The Killing, and most recently Season 1 of Orphan Black.
the time in front of the TV, we have had some human
interaction though. Chris went to a dinner party on Friday
(sadly I had to work) and a baby shower yesterday. The
weekend before that we went and had breakfast with my cousin
and her family and visited for a bit.
In regards to
the house, we're coming up on our one year possession date.
So we need to go through and make a final list of any issue
that's still outstanding. The big one of course, being the
continuous leak in the basement. In the year we've been
here, it's leaked maybe half a dozen times. We know what the
problem is - the builder has admitted it's a design flaw in
the model of home and almost everyone has had the same
issue. Still that's not overly comforting when you're
scrambling to put buckets in place to catch the water. To
address this, a few weeks ago they came and ripped up the
shingles and tore off a chunk of the stucco to put a fancy
water proof membrane down which they also ran up the wall in
question. So time will tell if the leak is finally fixed or
that's weighed on us as we've been in the process of getting
the drawings done up to get the basement finished. We met
with the renovation company not long ago for a second round
of discussions. Hopefully we'll have what will be the final
drawings soon. In addition to planning for the basement, we
also got our dream sectional couch for the bonus room. So
it's finally done. Here's some pix of all the house stuff:
there's really a whole hell of a lot that you can do
about it, but for peace of mind I had a company come in
and install some equipment to test for
Radon in the basement. Radon being an odorless gas
that in high enough levels can end up causing cancer. I
was horrified after doing some research to find out that
Alberta is ground zero for concentrations of this gas in
Canada. So for $200 and change I now have a fancy
detector that after a few weeks will spit out a level
reading. Fingers crossed we have nothing to worry about.
Of course, now that I own it if anyone else wants to
have their basement tested just let me know.
2013 was an up and down year. It started off horribly with
disaster after disaster at work, me going out of rhythm
again, my thyroid going off the deep end, and Kim's cancer
diagnosis. But there were also great trips to Bermuda and
Jamaica and fun times with friends and family.
good this year, other than I ended up getting a stupid cold.
Still it was good seeing Jay and family and hanging with my
Mom plus the weather wasn't an issue - about the only
negative was Chris really missed her family. For New Years
we just took it easy and went to the neighbors house. That
way we didn't have to worry about trying to get a cab which
apparently was even more of a shit show than usual.
So now you
look ahead and try and figure out what the year will look
like. What goals you want to achieve, what vacations you
want to go on, things you want to improve upon personally
and so on. I guess the biggest thing that'll be happening is
we plan on getting the basement done. I know at this point I
sound like a broken record, but barring some unforeseen
calamity it's going to happen. We've already picked a
renovation company and have met with them to determine the
blueprints and come up with a 3D representation. I've spent
countless days hanging in the basement analyzing every
option to death - even going so far as to mark out walls and
areas with tape on the floor. Hopefully we'll get the plans
finalized in the next few weeks and I can put up pictures on
we have our trip to Japan in the spring. We just finished
booking our hotel and now it's just a matter of figuring out
what we want to do when we're there and waiting for the
months to go by until we leave. I'm a bit nervous to be
honest. We've been to almost all the great cities of the
world - New York, London, Paris, Rome, St. Petersburg etc.
and had no difficulties. But in those places the
language was English, or at least used recognizable
characters. I even got the hang of the Cyrillic language in
Russia pretty quick and it kinda made sense. But in Tokyo it's just going to be a
bunch of meaningless scribbles.
personal improvement front, I've made a bet with a friend to
go until May without drinking. Partly for health reasons,
partly as a test of will. Although I haven't drank like I
used to in years past as I've gotten older my threshold has
gotten lower. Plus recently I've found if I have
more than a couple drinks I end up with pain on my left
side just below my ribs. And it will last for days after. I
went to the doctor about it and they were clueless. I even
had that area scanned as part of an ultrasound and was told
it was fine. And yet it's reproducible like clockwork. Sigh.
Modern medicine at it's finest. Things also got a bit out of
control last month. It kind of came to a head when I made an
ass out of myself at a family function. Without excusing
myself, that time of year is really hard for me. Not only am
I reminded of my Dad's death, but I'm pissed off at the
winter traffic, and the lack of sunlight really messes with
my head - all combining to me wanting to numb myself on a
regular basis. So we'll see how I do.
On the health
front I think my thyroid is back to normal again as I've
gained back 20lbs. Although I still have to go back to the doctor to
get some test results to confirm. And probably next month
I'm going to make an attempt to get back into rhythm. If it
doesn't take though I think I'm done with trying. It doesn't
help that the medicine to keep me in rhythm makes me feel
like shit. So really it's a question of if I want to live
feeling like crap, or be out of rhythm and feel relatively
good at the risk of stroking out later in life.
news constantly going on about all the cold weather in
the East, I thought I'd post a picture I took of a
lovely Chinook Arch we had. Not only to rub it in the
faces of those shivering in the cold, but to also show
off what lovely views we get on a regular basis...