Saturday, 1 September 2018

End of Summer

Well, it’s that time of year again when the kids have one last weekend before returning to class. Parents get to spend lots of cash on school supplies and fees that are not covered by the school taxes they pay. On the plus side, parents don’t have to try and figure out what they are going to do to keep the kids entertained for the summer while they are at work. All in all, it is a good thing the kids are getting back to class. I want those kids educated up so that they can get out and have good jobs when they grow up so that the pension fund continues to be filled. GO KIDS!

It is also the time of year when I start to think that the grass is growing slower which means that it needs cutting less often. It isn’t growing slower; I just like to convince myself that it is. My friends on Vancouver Island never get to think the grass has stopped growing...suckers! Mind you they have forgotten what a snow shovel is.

Of course the end of the summer is also the time when I can literally reap what I have sown. In the spring I planted carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peas and for some inexplicable reason we planted kale. We have had new potatoes from the garden a couple of meals now and I think I am in seventh heaven. I am not sure if they actually do taste better than the store bought variety or if I am simply justifying all of the water I sprayed on them this summer. The peas have been long ago harvested and every time I open the freezer I se the half baggie of peas I can’t help but think the $3.50 I paid for the peas in the spring was far too much. I am sure that I did something wrong, but for the life of me I don’t know what it was.

The tomatoes are plentiful but sadly I have yet to see even a pinkish tinge on the green skins. There are a few more weeks of potential growing and ripening, but I suspect I will end up covering them in newsprint down in the basement while they take their own sweet time to turn red. The carrots are safely in the ground and it is with great expectations that I will have a good harvest. I will settle for “goodish”. Louise’s pepper plants seem to be doing well and a couple of the plants have edible green peppers. Yes, she bought red pepper plants but that is far too much to hope for.

Thankfully I don’t rely on the garden to get me through the winter. I put my trust in the many grocery stores that dot Calgary’s landscape.

I have been thinking for most of the spring and summer what it must have been like a couple of hundred years ago. I have always thought that even though fresh food would be in short supply toward the end of a particularly harsh winter, the spring would bring fresh food. If my garden is anything to go by, those poor bastards from two hundred years ago will just be getting full bellies mid to late August. That is just in time to prepare for the lean winter to come.

Once again I am thankful to have been born when society can organize food processing and distribution to allow me to effortlessly over eat. Just as long as I continue to have cash in my pocket I will be able to put food in my mouth.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Feels Like Work

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, minding my own business having my teeth cleaned after Dr. Julie had poked and prodded all of the tiny crevasses in my mouth. She had finished drawing all of the blood possible and reluctantly told me that although I will need to replace a crown in the not too distant future, I was good for another few months. The dental hygienist was doing her thing scraping and polishing when Dr Julie popped back into my field of vision.

Of course I thought she had had second thoughts about future necessary work or remembered that she needed a down payment on that summer home on the Riviera. To my surprise she told me that Louise had told her I did some wood working. I said that although it is true I like to work with wood, I am not that good. Like most women, she ignored what I said and asked if I could make a treasure chest for the dental office. I mentioned that a bank would be a safer place to keep her money. It turns out that when kids are good (or bad) they receive a toy to go home with. When Dr Julie moved offices the other office kept custody of the chest and the new office needed somewhere cool to keep toys.

I agreed and regretted it almost immediately when the receptionist gave me measurements by holding her hands apart like she was describing the fish that got away. I asked about colour and got a shrug as an answer. Nice… Well, at least I didn’t have any cavities.

I had some ideas and went online to see images of treasure chests and possibly find a design that would work. Most of the ones online were beyond my skills, too large or just wrong for the application. I decided that a curved top was the way to go and recessed panels for the sides. The top worked surprisingly well and in no time at all it all came together. Good on me!

Well, that was a couple of months ago and I had let apathy creep into the build, doing a little here and there, but effectively doing nothing. Sure it was cold in the garage where I mostly worked and I had gotten sick for a week or two, but I was just lazy, finding it easier to watch TV when I had spare time. I wasn’t writing blogs or really doing anything. Well, until I got the email “Just wondering how the treasure chest was coming along.”

I fired off an email with a comprehensive list of excuses that sounded lame to me, but they replied that they had infinite patience. I just hate people that are that nice and understanding.

Long story short, I kicked my ass into gear and assembled the pieces I had; made the ones I didn’t and went to the hardware store to pick up the hardware needed to finish the project. I had a few set backs, but managed to get it built pretty quickly, stained and put the hardware on. It looked pretty good if I do say so myself. Sure, I would do the next one differently, but that’s because like most humans I learned a few things by my mistakes.

I dropped it off yesterday and they seemed pleased with it. They are far too nice to tell me the truth if they didn’t like it. When Dr. Julie asked how much, I told her a root canal, two fillings, an x-ray, two tooth brushes and a package of floss. She smiled and said that I also needed a crown.

I am always happy when I finish something I make for myself. I am very understanding when it comes to excuses about how lazy I am. To do a commission just feels like work and I am retired.