Big Milestone Memory: House Construction

Big Milestone Memory: House Construction

This morning I had a fun memory show up in my Facebook reminders. Time goes by so quickly it doesn’t seem like it was six years ago that this was taking place.

This was a pretty huge milestone in our lives. When I was young and into my teenage years I’m not sure I would have believed you if you told me some day I’d be able to have our own house built.

More office art changes

Over the past few years, I’ve been enjoying and adding new art to my office walls. If you’ve been around my blog for a while you’ve likely seen a few posts about it. There is the Automattic Creed, a frame of Automattic logos, Happiness patches, my Son of Krypton print, and most recently my big old map of New Orleans.

When I added the big map it meant I had to take down my WordPress wall as that was really the only wall in my office which would fit it. This caused me to rethink the other walls. The map sits on the wall directly behind me when I’m sitting at my desk, on the wall right behind my desk I’ve had a print of a photo I’d taken of the look off area of the Annapolis Valley where I live for the longest time. I’ve not been happy with it for a while though as the color in the print never really turned out right. It’s also a spliced together panorama from three individual pictures and I didn’t notice until after three copies were printed, framed, and two given out as gifts, that in the splicing there was a little bush in the foreground that was duplicated.

With that picture in the middle, there were a couple of small plaques with pictures of Apple Blossoms I had received years ago from being a Sponsor of our local Apple Blossom Festival on one side, and my diploma from University on the other. During the reorganization, I tossed the plaques, but I’m certainly keeping the diploma up on a different wall though, it’s the most expensive piece of paper I own.

Here’s what the wall above my desk looks like now.

It has my three previous frames from my WordPress wall up in the middle with two smaller items on either side. The far one is a print I picked up at the French Market in New Orleans. The artist is Tesfaye Nequsse and I really liked his work. It sat on my desk for a while but with the adjustment, I bought a frame for it and put it up.

The print closest I’ve had for a while. It was a gift from my mother to Noah, but it has ended up in my office for a while now. It is a print of a painting by Liz Lemon Swindle. It was in a different frame but it didn’t really match the other black frames on the wall so I bought a matching frame to the print above. I should have measured first though as it didn’t fit the new frame. Luckily my sister came to my rescue and made me a new mat for the frame and now it looks great.

I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out in the end even though it meant a bit of work moving it all around. I’m running out of wall space now though so I might have to start choosing what stays and what goes as I add more in the future.

Here’s a gallery showing most of the items on my wall now including some better images of the prints themselves.

New Office Art

New Office Art

This is something I came across a few years ago and have thought about it off and on ever since. After coming back from our big trip I began thinking about it again and finally decided to get to it. It’s a big old map printed in a rough home made frame.

As it had been a while since I thought about it I couldn’t find the old bookmark I had made, but found the tutorial online again pretty easily to follow along with. There were a couple adjustments, but followed this pretty close. It really was pretty straight forward to do and I’m so happy with the results. The map came from the site the tutorial suggested, Big Map Blog, and I found a birds eye view of New Orleans from 1885. We spent a week in New Orleans during the trip and it holds a special place in my heart, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

One of the adjustments I made from the tutorial is where I had the image printed. It cost a bit more than what they described but Acadia University has a print shop who has printed some large format images for me in the past and done a good job so I had them print this too. It came out really nice and was only $40 for a 3′ x 2′ colored print.

The other adjustment I made was the wood and finish I added to it. From Home Depot I picked up a couple knotty pine 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards and cut them to size. The tutorial called for pickets and the only ones I could find when I looked close were pressure treated and seemed heavier than the pine boards. I wanted it to be as light as it could be. For the finish I used a technique my sister let me know about called the baby wipe method. It’s really easy. You put any color toll paint you want to use on a baby wipe and essentially use it to paint the wood. It’s really quick to do, and it dries quick as well. I tested on a piece of the left over wood with a couple of colors but settled on black as it better matched the picture and the other frames in my office.

It’s hardly a complex project, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

A trip almost 15 years in the making

A trip almost 15 years in the making

Coming up on 15 years ago Jen and I for completely random reasons ended up choosing New Orleans for our wedding destination. Neither of us had a burning desire to get married in New Orleans or even visit but I’m ever so glad we did.

We were planning our wedding and we knew we wanted to keep it simple. Neither of us had any desire for a big wedding. One of Jen’s longtime friends had been working on cruise ships and she offered us a free cruise as a wedding present for when we did get married, we just had to pay for the travel to and from the port city. We briefly thought about getting married on one of the stops the cruise made, or even on the boat itself. After pricing these options out they still seemed pretty expensive. Luckily one of the port options for the cruise we were taking was New Orleans.

Jen did a bunch of research and she found the perfect idea for our wedding. Simple, small, and cheap. We were married on a river paddlewheel boat called the Creole Queen on the Mississippi River. The Captain of the boat married us, the wedding planner and the photographer were our witnesses, and that was it. After the ceremony, we took a cruise down the river on their historical tour. Even if nothing else this would have made New Orleans have a very special spot in my heart and our families start.

The day after we hopped on the cruise ship which docks just down the river a short ways from the Creole Queen and headed out on a week-long Caribbean cruise. The cruise was lovely, but this story is about New Orleans. After the cruise was over we stayed a week in the city. We had a hotel right in the French Quarter and we explored all over. Walking up and down the streets of the Quarter, into the Garden District, and riding the St. Charles Ave. street car.

We were pushing our finances pretty hard just to make it to the city, get married and stay afterward so there were a lot of things that I would have liked to do that we didn’t get a chance to. We had something like a budget of $30 per day for food, so we kept things pretty simple. But some of the local food I did get to have was amazing. The people in the city were all so friendly and helpful. Just the laid-back nature is really fun. No wonder they call it the Big Easy. Even though we didn’t pay to hear any live music, you could still hear it all over as we walked. The balconies and the buildings are so unique, unlike anything I had seen to that point.

Over the years we’ve talked about going back to New Orleans. Bring the kids and explore, show them where we got married and all the touristy things. There was always something that got in the way, usually the cost of taking a family of six on an adventure like that. This year though was finally the year. Everything aligned in our lives and we were able to plan the trip and have a week-long stay in New Orleans.

As I write this it’s our last day in the city, but we’ve had a wonderful visit. We’ve walked the French Quarter, rode the streetcar, gone to the Aquarium, taken a swamp tour, eaten pastries, I could eat the beignets every day, and one of the best things we were able to take the kids on the boat we were married on and the same historical cruise. It’s still a fun city to visit, and the kids enjoyed our stay as well. We again didn’t get to catch a music performance but there was music in the French Market while we were there.

We haven’t even left yet and we’re already talking about when we might be able to come back again. Maybe just Jen and I for our 20 year anniversary?

Eye have had a tough week

For over a week now I’ve been suffering with an eye infection. Just before last weekend my right eye started itching and I could tell something wasn’t right. From there over the weekend it continued to get worse swollen and red. I’ve had eye infections a few times over the years and usually over the counter antibiotic drops have always cleared things up. This time it didn’t seem to help at all as things kept getting worse.

By midweek I decided it was time to see a doctor as I couldn’t deal it anymore. The past number of years my body hasn’t handled infections well so I take things more seriously now than I would have when I was younger. Back in 2011 we were on vacation in Ottawa and I ended up in the hospital having emergency surgery and I think that’s where it started. My bowels had torn and infection was all through my body, it took lots of antibiotics and healing. When I made it home I ended up back in the hospital with an infection. In April 2015 I ended up having an infection which turned into Cellulitis in my throat that landed me back in the hospital as well. Right on the heels that with all the antibiotics I had in my system I was struck with Clostridium difficile or C. Diff. which was a terrible experience.

With those rough experiences I wasn’t messing around so I went to the hospital to get my eye looked at. After a couple hours of waiting the doctor looked my eye over and with the poking and prodding I wanted to cry, but he told me it wasn’t infected and that it was likely the drops I was using which were causing irritation. He gave me some just lubricant drops to use and said things would clear up in a couple days. A couple days later things were getting worse not better. My eye was pretty much swollen shut, sore, red, and so painful. I went to a couple eye doctor offices trying to get in and see someone. Neither were able to help me as they didn’t have doctors in but one felt so bad they started calling around to their other offices in other towns and got me an appointment for the next day. Back in she was much more gentle than the previous doctor and she was confident that it was infected and prescribed a stronger wider antibiotic drop and an ointment for night.

For the first couple days I need to have the drops every hour I’m awake. Jen was supposed to fly out today to meet up with her team for the week. With my history she was worried about leaving and cancelled her trip. I feel terrible that she is missing out on this experience but after waking up again today with my eye swollen almost shut and a terrible night sleep, I’m glad I’m not responsible for the kids and house by myself. The love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues at work, never cease to amaze me.

I won’t gross anyone out with pictures but I’m very hopeful that the combination of medication I have now will clear things up and I can get back to myself.

Proud Dad / Coach

Proud Dad / Coach

This weekend has caused me to fill with pride, not because anything I’ve done, but because the effort and growth Noah and his whole basketball team has made this year.

Last year I had told the coach of the Little Dunkers group Noah was in that I’d be happy to help out with anything I could. At the beginning of this year in the Under 10 group he asked me if I was still interested and that led me to be sort of an assistant coach to the team. Basketball is the sport I know the most about, because I played a lot of in my younger years, but I was never coached and have no experience being a sports coach. Thankfully the other coaches are fantastic so I get to learn from them and basically repeat everything they say while helping the kids in practise. Honestly I’ve probably learned as much as the kids have over the year.

We technically finished our season a while back but didn’t want to quite yet. We asked some of the kids from our team and another local team if they wanted to keep going and so made up a new team. We’ve been practising hard usually a couple times a week and they are keen to learn and push themselves. It’s inspiring to see the kids put in the work, get noticeably better, build trust with each other, and really become a team.

At the beginning of the year Noah was timid, would pull up early when dribbling down the court, and just hold back in general. Throughout the year he’s become a good defensive player, he’d stick to players and fight for rebounds. This weekend he took it further, he was diving for loose balls and driving to the net. Watching Noah’s confidence grow makes me so happy.

This weekend we played in a small tournament we were invited to. We played two games on Saturday where we won the first game and then lost the second by one point in a very hard fought battle against a strong team. This morning we won again which took us to the final game against the team we lost to yesterday. Once again it was a hard fought game that came down to us winning by just a couple points. You can see from the players on the bench in the background while Noah was taking this foul shot in some of the last seconds of the game how invested they all were. Everyone on their feet as each point here made a difference. I don’t have many fingernails left today.

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We still have a couple tournaments we’re going to play in and I can’t wait to this group get even better. Here’s a little video that we put together as part of a contest to see more of this team.

That’s not your email

That’s not your email

Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of email that is meant for someone else. The majority of the time it seems it’s people who don’t seem to know their own address.

I signed up for Gmail near when it first came out, it was still invite only. Though I wasn’t lucky enough to know anyone with invites, so I bought one off eBay for something like $10. Money well spent. As I signed up early I was able to get a fairly short address and it seems to be a common one people think is theirs.

I can’t seem to remember all different things I’ve ended up having access to by people using my email but here are a few: Someones dating site profile, a Barnes & Noble account, peoples vacation pictures, someones home owners association, job reference requests, someones cell phone account, an invitation to join a soccer team, and numerous personal notes meant for family members or friends. That’s not all of them but some of the ones that come to mind. Recently I went through a stretch where someone used my email as their own to sign up for a bunch of author’s newsletters that I’ve had to unsubscribe from.

This just doesn’t happen to me, email is broken. It’s especially bad when you can sign up for services without verifying your email. My colleague Davide thought of a humorous way to highlight what’s wrong, A diary of broken emails. A little while ago I shared a few of emails I’ve recently unwillingly received and they’re now published on the site.

Does this happen you you? Share your examples as well.