Happy Birthday Princess

 
On October 21, 2005, Eric turned 23 and something magical happened, he became a Princess (according to Scott). We had a great time around a Saturday brunch celebrating Eric’s birthday with Dez, Scott, Mandi & Shirley. However, apparently I need to work on my waffel making skills. First there was the over filling, then the sticking and then they were too crisp. Everyone ate them anyway and survived.

Happy Birthday son, we love you very much and are so very proud of you. You are a blessing in our life and the lives of many. Posted by Picasa

Back in the Sadle -Day 14

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Today, I was back on the bike for the usual spin out to Assiniboine Park and back for a distance of 35km. This would be fairly normal, if it we’re not for the crash on the Maah Daah Hey Trail on October 2, a mere 14 days ago, which resulted in a 3rd degree AC shoulder separation.

This first ride after the crash was far less that stellar and no where near as fast as my normal ride. I was favoring and protecting the left arm and watching out for every bump and crack in the road and of course there was no curb jumping or anything exciting at all. Just a nice first safe ride. The crash on the MDH was on Sunday about 40 minutes into the days ride. I was crusing down an nice straight downhill section that seemed quite ordinary until there was a large dropout in the track and I had too much weight forward which caused a crazy shock bottoming jar, tossing me out of the track. This would not normally be too bad as I could have typically re-gained control, slowed up a bit and dropped back into the track. But, before this could happen there was this large rock in the way, that I just couldn’t seem to steer around. Well as best as I can figure, the bike hit the rock and I flew over the bars one way an the bike departed in a separate direction. There was no bouncing, no rolling, just a sudden stop from about 25/kmh on my left shoulder.

For the first few minutes, I just layed there and did some pretty serious praying. After a while, I was able to sit up and the arm hurt quite a bit. I was sure that the forks on the bike would be trashed or the front wheel would be taco’d, but to my surprise the bike seemed fine, certainly alot better that I was. The rest of the guys were up ahead so I got back on the bike and rode down the rest of the hill and over to Scott & Eric. By this time I was feeling a little dizzy and decided to start back to the hotel. I’m about 8km from the hotel and as I start moving I realize this will be a very long walk. After walking up the hill past the scene of the crash, I decide to ride the rest of the way as it’s almost all down hill from here. Slowly and carefully I pick my way down the trail, onto the road and back to the the hotel. After a shower it’s into the car for the 9hr drive home. The next day is at the doctor’s to get the verdict. Oh well, stuff happens and this now marks my most serious bodily injury to date. It was worth it for a couple of days riding with the guys. I’m looking forward to MDH VI. Posted by Picasa

Thanksgiving Thoughts

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This is the chair where worries melt away as you look out over the bay in front of our cottage. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and we’re closing up the cottage at the end of another great summer season. I’m so very thankful for a wonderful family, Shirley, my loving wife, two great sons Eric & Scott, and Dez & Mandi. It’s been a fun weekend having everyone together. Posted by Picasa

Note to Self

I was out walking at lunch today and found myself at Photo Central. And as you can imagine when you find yourself in a store that specializes one of your favorite hobbies, photography, you can’t help but look around and getting interested in some new gear. The first was a camera bag by Lowepro that was also a backpack, very nice. Then there was the tripod bag, which would be great for trucking around the Manfroto. Or how about a new monopod? Light, portable and flexible a great accessory. Then there was the Canon hand strap, a whopping $50, which also required that you use the battery pack. And of course I been looking at the flashes, 430EX & 580EX , which are both quite nice. There was also an announcement for some photography courses and it would be good to improve the technique. Any way, just in case anyone is interested, Christmas is coming.

On the Road – Day 2

We left Billings Montana at 8am this morning and decided on the scenic route as opposed to the Interstate. The scenic route takes us right through Yellowstone National Park, a first for Shirley and I. It was a sunny morning and the mountains and country side were quite beautiful. The road tracks along the Yellowstone River and then the Snake river and there are many guys out in the rivers fly fishing, something I’d like to try in a big way. several years ago I bought a very nice fly fishing rod in Banff and have never really used it yet and never caught a fish either. Anyway, the drive is very nice and views are spectacular. Around lunch time, we’re at Old Faithful and according to the predictions we’ll have 40 minutes to catch lunch in the cafeteria before the eruption. The cafeteria is quite busy but service and the food is good and we’re back outside with 10 minutes to spare. The forecast is pretty accurate and Old Faithful does it’s stuff for the crowd. Surprisingly nobody cheers and it’s very nice but somehow not as spectacular as I thought it might be, but then perhaps I’m just jaded. After all it’s been erupting for longer that I’ve been alive with great regularity, and that is something of a wonder all by itself.

The scenic route has added several hours on to the trip and now were really booking it to make up time but the 2-way highway, curves and mountain, and little towns ever couple of miles are making some of us wish we were on the Interstate. But, I’m having a good time and the whole day is dedicated to the trip and getting into Salt Lake will just put us inside a hotel anyway and I’m glad we’ve spent the time enjoying God’s creation.

We just drove through Paris, perhaps we made a wrong turn at Alburque, Doc! Shortly, we’ll hook back up to I-15 for the run into Salt Lake City and then we’ll play with the GPS to take us to the hotels. The next few days will be the USANA convention and we’ll start with the Head Office production tour where they make the bust nutritional supplements in the world.

A Big One

I seem to have slacked off on posing anything over the last little while which is surprising since one of the big sign posts for time flying just flew by, Eric got married. That’s right, August 21, 2005 Eric & Desirae were married. The day was fabulous, and more exciting that I ever imagined. We’re thrilled to have Dez as part of our family and so happy and proud to see them both start out in their new life together.

All of us parents have heard the line that typically goes like “they will be grown up and gone before you know it”, and of course we try to ignore it or think it won’t happen to us or something equally lame, but guess what? Time Flies. So here we are, adjusting to having one less in the house and wondering when we’ll see him next, trying not to call too often and thinking of almost any reason to make the call anyway. A new stage of life for them and a new stage of life for us. The best is yet to come.

On the road

Here we are on the road trip to Salt Lake City. Thanks to my Lotus Notes client I’m writing this from the back seat of the van at 3pm and it will get posted later tonight when we arrive a the hotel. We left town at about 7:30am with Keith & Barb and we’re on our way to the USANA International Convention. This will be our first and we’re looking forward to what we’ll learn and experience. We’re on I-94 heading west on the same route I’ll take in two weeks to go “Biking with the Boys” on our fifth annual bike trip to the Maah Daah Hey trail near Medora, ND. The big difference this time is that the sun is up. On the biking trip we’ll be driving through the night to arrive for a pre-dawn start on the day for a hard day of biking.

We should arrive in Billings at about 8pm and get a good sleep for the second day’s drive which will be a little shorter, only 9 hours as opposed to todays 12 1/2 hour haul. There has been quite a bit of construction on the road, but he delays have been minimal. On several stretches there have
been state troupers enforcing the construction zone speed limit, so we’re being careful now for sure.

iPod and Microsoft

I’m thinking of caving in and buying an MP3 player and of course an iPod would be high on the list. This as got to hurt Apple, not just in the wallet, but I’d think their pride would be damages a little too.

Music

I stopped in at our local Christian Book store, Hulls to do a little browsing on my lunch hour. While cruising the CD section I noticed a new touch screen system that allows you to browse their selections and hear about 1 minute of every track on a CD. This is a very nice system that was developed by a local Winnipeger and friend in BC. I had a couple of CDs in hand that I was doing to buy on spec, so I looked them up and played a few tracks. I liked what I heard, so that confirmed my selection. But the system was so nice to use I browsed several other selections and DVD videos as well. Good stuff guys.

[Listening to: Lovely Day – Various Artists – Lounge Worship: A Time To Chill Out (4:12)]

Cottage Maintenance & Service Excellence


Aquarobic Air Pump
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

The Aquarobic System is what powers our septic system at the lake. Somehow, when it was installed over 22 years ago, I became the custodian of the system. This involves some shutting down and opening up maintenance that some might find objectionable, but it doesn’t seem to bother me especially after learning to deal with diapers. For many years the system ran with very little attention. Then there was a period where the belt between the electric motor and the compressor seemed to fail on a regular basis, followed by failures of the electric motor itself. A more careful alignment of the motor and compressor pulleys seems to have solved the rapid belt deterioration and the return to putting the whole unit inside for the winter seems to make the electric motor last longer.

Breakdown is inevitable as the unit runs 7X24 May long weekend to Thanksgiving every year. But, over the last couple of years a new problem has arisen. The system is comprised of the air compressor, a holding tank, a settling tank and the actual septic field. Cottage waste water arrives in the holding tank where it is aerorated to speed the breakdown process. An air lift send a small amount of effluent over into the settling tanks where of course it “settles” and the more or less clear liquid rises up through a filter and out into the field. On a twice daily schedule the air flow from the compressor is diverted from the holding tank into the settling tank which causes a pump back action, forcing the contents of the settling tank back into the holding tank for a “re-mix”.

Here is where the problems begin. The diverter valve started to malfunction and was not closing either of it’s paths completely. This resulted in high water levels in both tanks as each tank was umping into the other at the same time. Not a good situation. After testing some stuff and poking around with he diverter mechanism, I determined it needed to be replaced. However, the company that sold the Aquarobic System is long gone and a source of parts is not available. After some searching on the web determined that I need a Honeywell 4044 diverter valve. I stop by the local Honeywell distributor only to find their doors locked and nobody to assist me during business hours on a week day. Bad on you! But, there is a nearby valve place so I explain my problem to them but they can’t help me, but I do get referred to Central Controls.

This really the highlight of the story and the reason for the post. The guys at Central Controls were really great. Vince and Jim went out of there way to help me solve my valve problem. Vince called a valve manufacturer and came up with two great solutions and emailed me a quote in short order. The solutions were good, but a bit of overkill for my application. Since Vince went on vacation, Jim picked up my case and located a Winnipeg dealer who could supply an exact replacement for the Honeywell 4044 and even ensured that they had it in stock and sent me over to pick it up directly without any markup. This is what all customer service should be like. Well done guys, and thanks.