6 Dec 2016

Christmas is coming...

Well, the unmistakable signs of Christmas are happening around our house -  even if the weather is more like October.

Somehow we all ended up in the same room at the same time to put up the tree.



While the tree was going up, Wendy was "cooking"! Her annual Nuts &  Bolts batch was heating in the oven during the tree trimming.

Somehow the tree no longer looks as big as it used to be...

All we need now are the presents.



24 Nov 2016

Parker's surprise

OK, we now have 4 drivers in the house and only 2 cars in the driveway (Eric's Scion xB and Adam's Ford Focus). When Wendy wants/needs to drive a car, she either has to borrow Adam's or get taken to her mom's house to pick up her Toyota Echo (Marion likes driving the Echo - we keep it at her place). She hates driving the Scion because the mirrors are in the way of seeing safely.

Over the last few months, we have been looking to get another car. Parker wanted a Mini Cooper, while Wendy wanted a Toyota Yaris. Unfortunately, no good deals were found to suit our family. Parker and Wendy also decided that they would share ownership of a car, with Parker paying out Wendy's portion over time. The hunt was on but was taking a lot of time.

A few weeks ago, Wendy found a great 2007 Mini Cooper S (supercharged) in Oakville, ON. With help from our friend Murray, she checked it out and we decided it was the right one. It has less than 80,000 km on it and is in fantastic shape.

Today we picked it up and drove it home to surprise Parker - he had no clue this was happening. We parked it in the garage while Parker was out with his driving instructor. I picked up pizza then put the keys to the new car (which Parker would easily recognize) inside our pizza box.

Below is a quick video showing what happened when Parker S came upon his Cooper S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTljPif1Kwo



This is what it looks like in the daylight (and the rain).





Wendy and I bought this personalized key chain for Parker when he was 4 years old. We finally had a good reason to give it to him!

13 Nov 2016

The last four months

OK, OK!!! I know I haven't posted since July! I have been a little busy being unemployed then being re-employed again. After 18 years, I lost my position at McMaster (due to funding cuts). With all the disruption, the blog just didn't make it to the top of my list.

So, what has been happening recently? Well, here is a quick list of things that have been going on:

  • We went on vacation to Atlanta (it was already paid for, so no way to cancel)
    • went on a coal-fired steam train trip
    • went to the World of Coca Cola (for Wendy)
    • went to the Georgia Aquarium
    • went Underground zip lining
    • went on a Bourbon tour at Buffalo Trace distilleries (and a Ghost Tour)
  • I got a part time teaching contract for the McMaster Bachelor of Health Science program
  • I got a part time/occasional research technician contract in the Department of Surgery
  • Parker learned to drive!
  • School started again - grade 11 for Parker, university classes for Eric
  • Did some hiking of the Bruce Trail
  • Had my car damaged in the grocery store parking lot
  • Hockey season started for Parker
  • Wendy had the girls from work over for a class in string art

Atlanta trip! 
We took a driving trip down to Atlanta, Georgia for a holiday getaway with our friends Mel and Murray. We rented a rather large vehicle (Ford Expedition) so we would all fit in. Parker got his own row of seats at the back.
Off we go!
Our first overnight stop was in Cass, West Virginia at the Cass Scenic Raiload. The next morning we took a 4 hr trip up and down a mountain on the train to Bald Knob. Beautiful scenery and a great way to travel.









After another overnight stop, we arrived at Atlanta and stayed in a house SW of downtown (a VRBO). It was very hot there, but most of our Atlanta events were indoors. The first day we took in the World of Coca Cola - a museum dedicated to Wendy's favourite drink (on her birthday, no less)! All the Coke products you could drink!










The next day we hit the Georgia Aquarium. This was a fantastic place (I think Murray's favourite), with more to see and do than any other aquarium around.

Back stage tour

Whale shark


Whale shark



We headed to Kentucky for some bourbon... I mean sight-seeing. Of course, we had bourbon with every meal... or maybe it was more than one bourbon with every meal. Hard to remember.

A flight of bourbon, before dinner



Another stop was Underground zip lining! This limestone cavern has been converted to an entertainment area. Fantastic experience and a nice break from the 30C-40C weather. Almost the entire tour was in the dark, sometimes 100's of feet above the soft limestone floors.







Our trip to Buffalo Trace distillery was both informative and tasty. Our second tour of the day (and second bourbon tasting!) was a ghost tour.





Root beer

Those not drinking gave me their samples

The rest of the trip home was mostly driving, although we did do some shopping - and sleeping in. This is Parker in one of the hotel rooms in the morning.


Parker was desperate to go to Krispy Kreme, so we did so just before heading back to Canada.



Near the end of the summer, we replaced the flooring in our back room (bad carpet replaced by somewhat less bad laminate).
Before

After

Parker learned to drive at the end of August!



I don't look stressed... do I?

Parker started grade 11 after labour day.

A few images from our Bruce Trail hike.


My car, scraped on both doors.  About $2100 damage.


Parker's school photo

Parker on the Dundas Sharks

Wendy's string art evening


OK, I promise to post more frequently than once every 4 or 5 months.  Maybe in December...