Thursday, 31 January 2008

Jeremy's Surgery

Tina was up early to get Jeremy ready for the surgery to remove his tonsils and adnoids and place tubes in his years. They were out of the house after 6:00 am. Corbin, fortunately, slept in until 9:30.

The surgery went well - took about 45 minutes. Jeremy spent about an hour in surgical recovery before being sent up stairs to Paediatrics Outpatient to complete the recovery.

Corbin and I stopped by early in the afternoon to see how Jeremy was doing - he was hurting and wasn't drinking much. He wouldn't even suck on a popsicle.

Jeremy was discharge a few hours later, but he wasn't looking to good. Off to bed to rest and recover.

Posted by Adam

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Return To Windsor

The weekend went well. No major problems for the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday, Corbin, Jeremy, Babcia and myself played outside in the snow for almost two hours. the boys had way too much fun - all bundled up in snow pants, gloves and toques.

Later the boys played with Babcia while I worked on the laptop, un-installing and installing software and cleaning up the hard drive.

Sunday was a relaxing day. I packed our stuff and brought it up to the front of the house. The kids played with Babcia while I read the newspaper.

The trip back to Windsor was uneventful. Weather was good for the most part. We stopped in London to grab a bite to eat.

We came back to a garage full of garbage and recycling and a crawl space that was cleared out for the boys to play in. A job well done Tina.

Posted by Adam

Friday, 25 January 2008

Brantford or Bust

I decided to take the boys to Brantford to give Tina a break and so that she could clean up the crawlspace without interruption.

The drive to Brantford was uneventful and we arrived early enough so that I could be some chips at the chip wagon. Yum. Babcia was excited to see the boys. They played and played and played.

Things were going okay until I told Corbin to change into his pyjamas and to change them in my room, not Babcia's. Things went badly very quick. Corbin became totally non-compliant and went into a loud and long tirade. I had to call Tina to see if she could calm him down - and he did.

Later Corbin and I talked about what happened and had a really good discussion.

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Corbin's Speech

As part of the Grade 4 curriculum, students are expected to give a speech about a topic they are familiar with - the whole 'public speaking' thing that I remember I had to do to.

It took Tina and Corbin several weeks to nail down the topic: his guinea pig. After that, Tina was concerned that Corbin would have problems with the speech. It got to the point where Tina was more worried about the speech then Corbin was. I told Tina to take a step back and let Corbin work out the speech. If he fails at school, so be it. Tina saw the logic in that statement and let Corbin take the lead (with some prompting, of course).

Tina decided to use cue cards with short phrases and images related to guinea. Corbin's teacher said the key thing was not to read the cards, but to speak to the class.

Well, according to Corbin's EA, he did an awesome job with his speech. There were no problems. Corbin's take on his speech was, as usual, entirely different and low key. I saw the cue cards on the table and asked Corbin some questions. He had essentially memorized the entire speech - his memorization skills are top notch.

Congrats Corbin on a job well done (and thank you to Tina for taking the time to assist Corbin).

Posted by Adam

Sunday, 20 January 2008

The End of an Era...Almost

Today, Tina removed the VCR from the office and a bunch of kids video tapes for Bev & Gerry to take home with them.

Bev mentioned before how their old VCR died. We didn't use the VCR in the office all that much - the boys mostly watched DVDs - so we decided to give them the VCR. Tina also packed in a bunch of toys for the boys so that when we go up to Goderich, the boys can play with something other than dolls and 'girl' toys.

We still have one VCR downstairs, but I think that VCR will be on it's way out before the end of the summer. I haven't used for god knows how long. I see that space being replaced by a HD digital cable tuner with a PVR or maybe a PS3. Who knows?

Posted by Adam

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Jeremy's Birthday Party

With Jeremy's birthday falling during the Christmas holidays, we decided to have Jeremy's birthday party - the one with his friends - in January.

Tina sent out the invitations to Jeremy's classmates and we got 6 or 7 "so and so will be attending" responses. Corbin invited a classmate. The Karb boys also attended. Even Bev & Gerry came down from Goderich to spend some time with their grand children.The birthday was held at the Forest Glade Community Centre. They provide the food save for the cake, keep the kids busy with games and do all the cleaning up. Who could beat that deal?

The party began at 1:30. Jeremy wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But he - and his friends - had lots of fun. They did lots of running around in the gym before having hot dogs, chips, juice and birthday cake. Then it was present opening time - which Paul, one of the workers, handled very well. Tina enjoyed the concept of watching the party. It was all over by 3:30.

Jeremy enjoyed the party - as did all his guests.

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Hooked on Video Games

Tonight Jeremy asked me if he could play the 'Zelda video game like I said at Best Buy'. I couldn't ignore that request and said he could after he had his bath.

He got his pull-ups and pjs and said he was ready to play. I told him to get his bean bag and sit down. I gave him the game and he began playing it. Corbin naturally wanted to watch and to 'help' out, but I knew that would lead to a battle between brothers, so I told Corbin to stay-out. He was not happy.

Jeremy played away, getting his character killed a few times. He got a pillow from his room to prop up his head on the bean bag. He started to get the hang off the game. But it was time for bed. He gave me the game but started balling his eyes out. Next time I said.

It was cute. I'll post a picture when I get a chance.

Posted by Adam

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Family Trip To ... Best Buy

The family stopped at Best Buy on Sunday after learning the Columbia store was closed for inventory.

Tina stopped in at the Real Canadian Superstore to get some groceries before going to Best Buy.

Corbin and Jeremy both like to play the various video game demos they have set up. Jeremy especially likes to play with the Nintendo DS Lite. He was playing the Zelda game and Tina was impressed at how well he used the stylus to move the character around.

We looked at some other things, like big screen TVs and Apple iMac desktop - a sweet computer. Jeremy didn't wan to leave so I told him that he could play Zelda on my Nintendo DS.

Posted by Adam

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Crepes and Veggietales

Today we met the Karb Family at a local crepe restaurant for some, well, crepes. Yes four adults AND four kids, enjoying various crepes.

I love crepes and my mom made them all the time. I usually just put sugar on them and ate lots of them. One day, I have to get the recipe and start making them at home.

I got the chicken alfredo with mushroom crepe. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't rave about it. I found the prices to be on the high side for food that mostly comes from packages or cans.

After eating, Tina dropped me off at home before heading to the movie theatre to see the latest Veggietales movie with the Karbs.

Posted by Adam

Monday, 7 January 2008

41 Year Old Toilet and More

After about three or four changes to our appointment time, the plumber (actually a plumber and a co-op student from St. Clair College) from Plumbing Now came and went. In about 2 or so hours, they replaced the toilet (and flange and shut-off valve), the shower tap and cartridge, shut-off valves and hoses to the washer, removed and capped a cold water tap and repaired a very slow leak in the copper pipe.

Our 41 year old toilet was replaced with a Kohler Cimmaron (elongated bowl with a soft close seat). The bowl looks wonderful and operates efficiently - and no longer wobbles when you sit on it. It only uses 1.6 gallons per flush, so our water bill should be reduced.

The shower tap no longer leaks when you have a shower which should improve water pressure at the shower head and should also reduce our water bill.

The old hot and cold water shut-off valves for the washer were replaced with quarter-turn valves. The old valves wouldn't close. The rubber hoses - no idea how old they were - were replaced with braided hoses.

The leak in the copper tubing was fixed - the plumber removed some plumbing and replaced it with new copper. And the water tap that Jeremy recently discovered is gone - so no more water streams on the floor.

According to Tina, the plumbers were courteous and efficient. All the work is guaranteed. Given that most of the plumbing in the house is original, we signed up for a premium service that gives priority when calling a plumber for a monthly fee. During the first 30 months the monthly fee is applies against any work we have done. With our varying work schedules, it's a small price to pay for some piece of mind - especially for Tina.

Posted by Adam

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Call The Plumber

Okay, I finally did it. I called a plumber. We have had a 'situation' with our one and only toilet for some months now and I was going to eventually call a plumber to rectify it (can you tell I've been procrastinating?).

Anyways, a small leak had developed that necessitated turning the shut-off valve. This had to be corrected as soon as possible. So I finally arranged for a plumber to come and replace the toilet - powder blue is not in anymore, right?

It was a tough call for me to make. My dad was a fixer - though I do recall that he did call people once in a while to repair things - so I felt some burden to fix the situation. Now, I'm no plumber and given some training, I'm sure I could fix basic plumbing issues. But the situation with the toilet is little more complicated.

The bolts holding the toilet have partially corroded. Now the solution could be as simple as replacing the bolts or could be as complex as replacing the flange. I could easily get in over my head. What an ugly place that could be?

A further complication is that we only have one bathroom (a situation I hope to rectify this year by adding a second bathroom with a shower in the basement). If the one and only bathroom is out of order for an extended period of time, it could be a problem, especially when your 9-year old is yelling "poo emergency".

So I did it. I called a plumber. I added a few other things that need to be repaired and replaced. Yes, it may have been cheaper for me to do some of the work, but it's not worth the therapy I would need if things didn't go right. It's time to stop worrying or getting angry and time to start calling the professionals (someone has to help the local economy).

I look at this as my first step at finally getting this house up to 2008 standards. The new windows and new fence a few years back were a good step, but then I stopped. It's as if that was a good enough. Well, it's not.

The interior doors, trim and floors are worn and need to be replaced. The laundry room needs a complete upgrade. The electrical systems needs an upgrade (the receptacles in our basement are on one circuit - so forget about ironing, watching TV and running the washer at the same time). That second bathroom would be a god send in a house with four people (three of them males). A new floor would be nice to get read of the squeaking. The list goes on - and if you have renovated your home you know what I am talking about.

By the end of 2009 or 2010, the entire house will hopefully have been redone top to bottom, inside to outside. Let the fun times begin.

Posted by Adam

Night In With The Karb Family

At some point over the Christmas holidays, we get together with Karb Family to trade stories and play games and to give the boys some play time together. With plans changing because of Jeremy's broken arm, my mom's sudden trip to Poland and us thinking about going away for a few days, it was a hard to commit to date. When we dropped the plans to go away, our calendar cleared up.

I had suggested to Tina that the Karb boys could sleep over, removing one less worry.

So last night we had the Karbs over for the annual Christmas gathering. We munched away on snacks and listened as the kids played - who knew four boys could be so busy. We played a short round of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit (which Joe won) followed by a round of crokinole (Joe and Jen soundly beat us, though we did manage to score 15 points).

The boys, save for Corbin, eventually fell asleep. Corbin decided to watch a Harry Potter movie in the office. We didn't mind as he was being quiet.

This morning, Tina made pancakes for everyone - thanks hon. The Karb boys got dressed and played some more before Joe and Jen picked them up.

It was a fun night and it was good for the boys to spend some quality play time with each other.

Posted by Adam

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Christmas Returns

Unlike previous years, we had a few misses with Christmas presents this year.

Tina's dance mat for Dance Dance Revolution didn't work right. Corbin's Headbangers Soccer toy was missing a few items and had some incorrect parts and his guitar stand broke during assembly. The two portable DVD player carry bags we bought did not work so well in the van.

I also discovered that the sweeper I bought for my Mom was on sale at Canadian Tire. 20 bucks is 20 bucks.

We carried the dance mat and DVD carry bags around with us on our recent tour of Goderich and Brantford, hoping to avoid the crazy returns lines in Windsor (Tina reported that the line at Toys R' Us wrapped around the first section of the store).

In Goderich, we returned the DVD player carry bags to the Canadian Tire store with not wait and no fuss.

In Brantford, I got the price difference plus tax less Canadian Tire money. I had to wait about 15 minutes, but it wasn't too bad - Tina got a chance to wonder around the store. We walked in and right out of the Future Shop when we saw how long the line was. The dance mat was returning with us to Windsor.

Today, I decided to return the Headbangers Soccer toy and Guitar Stand to Toys R' Us and the Dance Mat to Future Shop. I took Jeremy with me - he wanted to go to Best Buy and look for a movie. The line at Toys R' Us wasn't too bad - they had two people processing returns. No questions or problems and Jeremy got a chance to look at some toys.

Over at Future Shop the line was a little longer and did take longer. They had two people working the Customer Service counter, but one customer was taking a long time. Jeremy got a chance to play with video cameras and cell phones. Then he helped me move the dance mat as we progressed up the line. The return was promptly processed and off to Best Buy it was (which had a line that was three times longer than Future Shop).

Overall, good experience returning items this past Christmas. Now I just have to find a good guitar stand for Corbin's acoustic guitar. As to replacing the toy, will give Corbin a choice as to what he wants.

Anyone have any suggestions for good portable dvd players carry bags?

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Medical Musings

Before we left to go to Goderich and Brantford, Tina took Jeremy to see our family doctor per the direction of hospital staff.

Not much to our surprise, our family doctor told Tina that he does not deal with fractures and that Jeremy should be seen by staff at the fracture clinic.

Tina called the hospital and spoke with the Charge Nurse for ER. The nurse did some investigation and said that, yes, Jeremy should go to the fracture clinic as soon as possible. She arranged a date and time for Jeremy to be seen one of the doctors - 8:45 am on Wednesday, January 2.

Upon arriving at the fracture clinic, Tina was told that her appointment was 6:00 am. Uh, no, that was not what she was told. Some back and forth and Tina was asked to wait for the doctor.

Jeremy's name was called and the old cast/splint removed. With no visible swelling, the doctor said everything looked fine and gave Tina a script for removable plastic cast (courtesy of Green Shield) for Jeremy and set up an appointment for Jeremy to return at the end of January to take a follow-up x-ray.

We weren't too happy that Jeremy should have gone the fracture clinic some time after receiving his cast. Seems the ER doctor was a little too pre-occupied with other things. Should be standard practise to send patients to the fracture clinic for follow-up. I understand the urgent nature of hospitals, but I always get the feeling that they are not that efficiently run.

Posted by Adam

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Christmas Travel Time - Brantford

We departed Goderich around 4:00 pm Sunday afternoon. The weather was overcast and no snow was called for.

I decided to avoid Highway 8 - too many towns, too much traffic and possibly too many police - and take the back roads. The back road was clear and mostly traffic free. We made good time, arriving in Woodstock in little under two hours. The rest of the drive was on the 401 and 403 and we arrived in Brantford shortly after 6:30 pm.

One thing we did notice that about 15 minutes southeast of Goderich was the amount of snow still on the ground. As we got closer to Woodstock and Brantford, the amount increased. In a reversal, Brantford had much more snow than Goderich. Very strange.

We settled in. Corbin and Jeremy gave Babcia and Grandpa their presents. Next, it was all about playing with Babcia until bedtime.

Monday was Jeremy's birthday - more in the post below - so the day was mostly focused around Jeremy. Tina and I did manage to get out to do some browsing at the local stores. The Canadian Tire was confusing as it is being expanded. I stopped by Staples to pick up another USB thumb drive. Next was the new Lowes. It's not as big as the ones found in larger cities, but it has an excellent appliance section and a good selection of kitchen and bath items. A nice store overall.

Jeremy and Corbin continued to play with Babcia, with Corbin taking breaks to play his NintendoDS. Jeremy was a non-stop ball of energy.

We woke up to new snow Tuesday morning. Not as much as two weeks ago. This was perfect snowman snow - very wet. The van was loaded up and we said our good byes. My mom and Alex were naturally worried about the driving conditions. Once we got on the main road, the roads were clear.

The only rough spot on the entire trip was a snow squall around Chatham. Not usually a problem but with the temperature hovering around zero, the squall consisted mostly of sleet, which collected on the highway. By the time we got to Tilbury, all was clear and we arrived safe and sound in Windsor - which had received about an inch or so of wet snow.

Posted by Adam