Chez Entropez


Well, the weekend came and went.

Saturday morning we shopped for groceries. We did this because I was working Saturday night and we (well, Chris mostly) wasn’t sure that I’d be up to grocery shopping on Sunday morning.

We also bought a ticket on the 649 draw because it’s 55 million! And we paid my lawyer the last of what we owe him.

Then we went home, had lunch, I had a nap, then off I went to work. I didn’t get done until 1:00 AM and boy howdy is it nice to drive home at that time of the morning. I was home in 35 minutes.

Still, Sunday morning I was tired. And I was on call. I got up and took HouseApe 1.0 to her cadet thing, and then returned to the house and made latte for Christine after she woke up at 9:00.

Then a bit later I got a call from work – issues. So I couldn’t go to HouseApe 1.0′s cadet thing. Instead I logged on and started working. I had to run a couple of restores, so I kicked them off and then went outside and started powerwashing the driveway, stopping every 15-30 minutes to check my progress.

I finished the driveway at 5:00 and then I started the charcoal grille. I split a couple of chicken breasts into two parts each and pounded them flat. They grilled in about 10 minutes, after which they served beautifully as chicken burgers while we watched an old episode of Top Gear.

Then I got another call about more problems – fortunately they waited until after Game of Thrones was over, but I ended up having to set an alarm so that I could check the database restore I was running at 12:30 AM. All was good when I did… but by then it was Monday morning and thus, technically, the weekend was over.

Spring In The Lower Mainland

Last week, Chris and I were kicking around the idea of driving the Labrador Highway one day when we have a trailer. This would involve a major time commitment as we would first have to get across the continent.

When I was but a shaver, I lived in Goose Bay for a while. I remembered it fondly for many years, although I can’t really say why. It was cold, grey, and insect-ridden. The brief summer got only warmish, and the last of the snow didn’t melt till school was out. However, we did manage to get into trouble for tobogganing off a roof onto a snowbank. It wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds: the roof was that of a 1 storey rancher at the end of the row, and the snowbank came to within a couple of feet of the eaves.

At the time I lived there, you couldn’t get there by road – you flew. In the summer supplies came in by ship.

Now you can drive there, and I’d like to do the loop in what is still one of the most remote places on the planet. People will probably say it’s unspoiled, but I’ve been there, and you can’t really spoil it. There’s a reason that almost nobody lives there.

Meanwhile, spring has broken full-force here in the Lower Mainland.

I have a colour version of this, but like this one better. It needs more work yet and even when that is done this won’t be a stick-it-on-the-wall image – I have long tried to make a good cherry blossom B+W, but it’s much harder than it looks.

This past weekend was a busy one – HouseApe 1.0 went off to a cadet thing, 2.0 got back from a school thing, and 3.0 went to spend the night at a friend’s, where they ate crap and played many hours of video games.

We, meanwhile, hauled ourselves off to Home Depot, where we bought a power washer. The advantages of the local clime are many, but there are disadvantages too. Left to themselves, things get a coating of mold, mildew, and moss here. In the Okanagan, where I grew up, if you put down a concrete slab, you could expect it to look pretty much the same forever providing you swept it once in a while. Here, concrete gets dark and slippery.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I washed part of the back patio, the basement stairs, and the walkway down the side. Then Chris and I took the New Miata off to Richmond to get a knockbox. On the way back we stopped by a big new spice store and got vanilla beans and strawberry syrup and raw cane sugar (the powdery real brown sugar kind, not the refined-and-then-molasses-added-back kind).

We were motoring back top-down (the rest of Canada is cursing me) when we saw a rainstorm off in the distance. We got home, got in the house, and had just got our shoes off when the downpour arrived. Timing!

It only lasted a few minutes, and then I went out to annoy the neighbors some more. I washed more of the back patio, half the deck, the back stairs, and the front steps before dinner, where we watched The Bourne Identity, which neither of us had seen before.

Sunday we went grocery shopping. The rain had settled in solid, and I cleaned and cooked – I made marinara with meatballs and chicken cacciatore for later in the week, then pork burgers for dinner, and grilled chicken also for later in the week.

We also went to the liquor store to get wine for the cacciatore and while we were there we were looking at vodka when this odd little woman came up and barged between us. She started talking to Chris about vodkas, something about Polish ones and she was Polish, although she had no accent. If you’ve seen elderly Polish women, well, she certainly looked the part, but she was poking at the bottles and talking to us about them. It wasn’t until later that I wondered if her problem was that she couldn’t read and she was looking to us for clues.

Last night was Game of Thrones, then sleep. The sleep of the righteous, the sleep of one who has powerwashed and made meals for the week.

Day 4

I am on Day 4 of a visit to the big city by my brother and his brood.

On Day One, we visited the beach at White Rock. Being flatlanders, some of them had never seen the ocean. The one in the picture here got up close and personal with the ocean, right after all the Old People murmured agreement that Somebody Was Going To Get Wet.


On Day Two, we visited Vancouver itself, ate sushi, and walked on the seawall around Stanley Park.

On Day Three, I smoked a ham and the Old People hung out in the back yard and drank beer while the 8! young people played frisbee and bought water pistols and did all the things that one does on a March day that feels like late June.

Today is Day Four, and I am tired. Christine has gone off to work for a rest, and I will miss her. I think today we are going to go in to Granville Island.

It has been a glorious weekend. Here in the Lower Mainland, we usually get a spring weekend that smashes the grip of the long grey winter, and we were fortunate that this weekend was it. And may I say that winter has been well and truly banished.

Yet Another Sunset

This is perhaps appropriate?

One of the big stressors in recent times has been my employment situation. I haven’t written much about my current place of employment other than to name it The Red Light District. I came here after leaving The Wild West, which was a poker company that announced that it was moving countries, and anyone who didn’t want to move should find another job.  I found another job.

The Red Light District had massively downsized in the recent past, shredding 75% of the headcount. At the time I was hired, they were saying that they had turned the corner and all was good.

All was not as good as they implied, and attention slipped away from the core product to new social media ventures.

I considered, and considered. I’ve worked many different places the last 20 years (I should count them) and most of the time when I leave them, something has forced me out, whether it is blatant downsizing, or a move, or a buyout… thinking quickly, I’ve only left one job where the move was truly voluntary, and this was a company whose product was so blatantly bad that I was ashamed to have my name associated with it.

In this current case, the product isn’t bad. The people are good. But it is one company owned by wealthy people who, if it fails, can just sell off the dregs and move their attention to other ventures. And if it fails in, say, 5 years, and I’m out on the street, I’ll be pushing 60 and looking for work in an industry that displays blatant age discrimination.

This move is carefully considered. I didn’t get everything I want: it’s still a drive to get to it, but realistically I’m not going to find a company that offers what I want close to home – doing what I do, I have to work for a company with some heft. And that means big urban centres.

But I do get a job that will be long term, at a very stable company that is consistently one of the best companies in Canada to work at. It is my sincere hope that I will close out my working life there.

It feels odd to be recognizing this – at some point in the last couple of years I have shifted from thinking of my future career as an open-ended thing to seeing it as finite. Which, of course, it is.

Welcome to middle age, Dean.


I Haven’t Posted In A While

Since last Wednesday night, I have been battling a dental abscess. Some years ago, someone other than my regular dentist did a root canal and crown on the tooth that is right in front of my lower-left wisdom tooth. He did a poor job of it and on Wednesday night I woke up at 1:00 [...]

We Join The Ranks of the Energy Efficient

This house is oldish. Not old by East Coast standards, where ‘old’ means 100, 200 years old. But old by West Coast standards. It is 35 years old. You’ve seen the pictures: it is needed a lot of work when we moved in – cleanup and paint, repair and renovation. We have done a number [...]

On a TEAR, People

Do you hear?

July, 2012. Our kitchen. Chris had just gotten home from work and I tormented her for a few minutes with the camera.

No Pictures Yet

We have a new addition to the family. On Monday Chris and I were in the pet store for supplies for the degus and we went in to the adoption section. There were a number of felines there, but one caught our eye, a beautiful little tabby with striking whiskey-coloured eyes. So last night after [...]

One Tiny Battle In The War Between The Sexes

Well, there’s really no war between the sexes here at Chez Entropez. We all get along pretty harmoniously. HOWEVER. However. A while back I was cleaning the bathroom and I noted that the corner rack dealie, which is quite large, and the sides of the tub were lined with bottles. Lined, people, as in edge [...]