I was curious, so I counted the number of steps that I climbed between my car and my desk this morning. And just to be clear: not ledges, curbs or bumps… actual staircase-steps. Y’know, like climbing up into the train platform, ascending back out of the LRT tunnels, changing floors between buildings as I walked to my office… that sort of thing. The final tally: 170 steps. 170 repetitions of lifting my foot the standard seven and a bit inches and planting it on the next tread. And that’s approximately what I’m climbing every morning… only mornings. Not counting the rest of the day. Now, if we can agree that your average flight of stairs is approximately 10 to 12 steps then some simple math tells me that I’m climbing something like 14 to 17 flights of stairs every morning before work. I only mention it because I’m kinda wondering something: I mean, y’know all that running? Is that’s what’s kept me in shape or is it the daily stair climbing?
Funny. I was sitting on the train, holding my phone, and an email alert appeared on the screen. Some website I had signed up to years back, a social network for dogs (and their owners, presumably) had sent me a birthday greeting for Sparkle.
I had completely forgot.
Not that she cares of course, but still, it seems so odd… being worried about a dog’s birthday. Worried about missing it.
I wouldn’t say our dog has suffered in the seven years of her life. Well, I cannot vouch for the first year or so, but in the six that she has been with us she has certainly had some adventures. Adventures for a dog, at least.
What does one ‘do’ for a dog’s birthday? A meat cake? An extra-long walk? Do I let her pick the channel when we’re watching tv tonight? In dog years she’s like, what? Forty-nine? She’s long since the eldest in our little family then.
I fed her this morning and she scarfed it down immediately. Then she sat at the top of the stairs giving me this look she has, as if she was asking for more. Maybe she was say, dude, you forgot my birthday. Or not. Probably not.
In yet another installment of the proud papa series of posts, I wanted to note the insignificant milestones of the thirteen-month old little girl who, walking now for five months, is continually obtaining new and surprising skills in her quest for world domination.
The Stair Master
Not content to merely climb the stairs, this little girl now takes pride in the reverse hand-and-knee shuffle down any case she encounters. Of course this has numerous implications, not the least of which is the small rise a the end of the bedroom hallway is no longer a barrier impeding a naked dash and bath-time escape.
Far too young to remember the eighties, I can only deduce that the art of shuffling backwards across the kitchen floor to dodge her father’s gaze is something she learned from some other sinister source. However, I imagine the discovery of walking backwards is as liberating about as discovering the reverse button on Mario Kart, particularly when you otherwise suck at Mario Kart.
What could be a greater challenge for a tiny, young girl than sitting like a grown up? Having conquered the floor and stairs, why not aim a little higher and work on climbing onto chairs and couches. While she has yet to fully master the art of climbing up, she has been caught once or twice by her father scaling the plush bounty of the chesterfield, a lucky toe catching on the under-cushion frame and propping her to new heights. And her ability to descend is already well documented.
I was pretending to be a construction dude this weekend. The joys of home ownership are that: when the mood strikes, there is always something to be done.
The mood struck, and I got out the tools and did some work on my stairwell. Good work? That’s debatable. No judgements until the project is complete, please.
Thing is this: I was at Home Depot and I discovered the joys of culled lumber. Not that culled lumber is generally a good place to start one’s search for building materials, but I knew that two concepts existed in this project: (1) The lengths of boards I required were generally only 3 to 4 feet in length to start with (think narrow stairwell ceiling), and (2) my car only holds so much lumber, and very little 8 foot lumber at that. Culled lumber becomes the ideal solution, being simply the 4 foot “good” ends of otherwise “bad” 8 foot lumber sold for the value price of 51 cents a piece. Generally that means then that I get two 4 foot 2x4s (which I would have cut to that length anyhow) for just a couple pennies more than a dollar, where I’d need to pay nearly 3 bucks for a full length, uncut piece. In other words, average quality, pre-cut lumber = 66% off = woohoo! I bought 8 dollars worth of culled lumber — that would have been regular 24 bucks, ha ha! — and framed the ceiling above the basement stairs, both dropping the level down to about roughly 7 feet (over the previous 7.5 feet) thusly creating a more esthetically pleasing shape to the stairwell in the process — and also making one heck of a lot easier to drywall (which I did subsequently.
If you want a more detailed explanation of all that, you need only ask (preferably while your standing in my stairwell for the whole visualization aspect of it.)
For those who’ve been wondering, Sparkle is well. She’s adapting, I think. Despite the fact that she’s been in heat for two weeks at this point, a condition I’m sure can’t be too comfortable, she has perked up considerably since her initial timid days at the house, and even developed something of an attitude.
She does odd things.
For example, yesterday we were preparing dinner in the kitchen on the main floor. We had provided her with a place to sit in the form of her blanket and bed, and completed the ensemble with a rawhide bone and a toy. She hesitated at first, but then sat where we had positioned her. But suddenly, and for no apparent reason, picked up her toy and scooted up the stairs. She returned a minute later to get her rawhide bone, then again, right back up the stairs. I went to check on her, only to find her sitting contentedly on the floor a toy on one side and a bone on the other.
This morning I took her out for our ritual walk. Out the front door, down the street to the park, and once around the field. She has been timid for the last few weeks, hesitant to explore too much or stray too far. But there was something different this morning. She was darting back and forth, so much so that I could barely keep the leash from tangling around me. And then, pow, she leapt into the air, hooked her legs on the leash, and flipped onto the ground on her back, a dusty skid mark against her hip. I think it shocked her. She calmed down a bit after that.
And then there are the dreams. Occasionally she’ll drop into a deep, REM sleep. You can tell, because her eyes will open a crack and her pupils will be darting around. And she breathes different, too. Odie used to do this too, but she’ll start to dream, shuddering in weird sort-of spastic spurts. It’s a quirk, I suppose. But it is a weird, weird sight to watch on one’s living-room floor.
Very strange. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I’m sure no one wants this to become a pet-doting blog, right?
My life revolves around my house at the moment. Please bear with me.
I did paces around the neighborhood last night. My first lap was with camera in hand, though quickly, and disappointingly I realized that the only things of more than a fleeting interest were the flowers growing from the clay of the dishevelled locale. My second lap was with with iPod in hand. I traced through the path system a little, cut across the park, climbed the little hill at it’s centre, and bobbed back through a street I had yet to visit. My third lap was merely a few steps down the walk with a Handspring plus Keyboard in tow where I perched temporarily to tappity out some brief scripts which are now in various states of upload.
Nights seem a little longer when it doesn’t take me five mintues of elevators and stairs to reach the outdoors.
So, betwixt the furstrations of having a ill-tempered website, a mess of chaos at the office, and innumerable little terrors mixing through the folds of my everyday existence, there has been the house. It seems that the bitterly cold weather of weeks past caught us up, and we spent a number of frustrating post-work and weekend trips to the site to look at a slowly progressing concrete hole.
When it rains, it pours: when it shines, the sky opens and heavenly light streams through the atmosphere. Work stabilized for a bit, the web-stuff is sorting out, and when Karin and I visited the house-site on Wednesday evening there were the makings of a floor. The framing has begun; And I imagine by the time we spin around this evening there may even be something resembling walls and stairs and other house-like structures built of the wooden bits now scattered around my future front yard.
Photos? Well, it was dark and we were being sneaky. The showhome was “barely open” so we went by without saying much. And far be it from me to terrorize my neighbors with bright flashing lights from my camera late into the evening. I’ll save that for when I live there and have a house to duck into for protection.
The week of disruptions continues: we all just clambered back up the stairs after a falsely pulled fire alarm. The guys cleaning up from the flood downstairs somehow managed to trip the ringer and we all got the extreme pleasure of standing in the street – in the rain – for ten minutes. The fire truck even pulled up out front, sirens blaring, the axe-toting firemen piling out of the big red pumper to investigate. It made for a some random socializing with the other folks in the building, but enough is enough already, no? Someone asks as we are walking back into the office: What’s next? We’ve had a flood and a fire – so what was the next biblical catastophe we should look forward to this week?
Well the countdown is on and this will be my last entry until I’m back from Florida. We are off to DisneyWorld for nearly a week, only to return to a world where I am once again employed. Suddenly things get busy again. I’m still deciding if this is a good thing.
The raw fish epics:
Craving some sushi for over a week seems sort of silly since there are more restaurants selling the stuff than there are people here, but I waited and waited until I could wait no more. I broke down and found myself in this trendy sushi shop on Braodway this noonhour. I had just bought myself a respectable haircut, and was unable to resist the window display surrounded by a hungry hoard of lunching hospital workers (the Van General is two blocks away) picking through the racks overflowing with rice, rolls and wasabi. One pair of chopsticks later I was stuffed full of raw fish and meandering my way home.
The inevitable occured and it was time to do laundry. Call me paranoid, or crazy or whatever, but I don’t trust laundry related things. I mean, I don’t like leaving my laundry alone in the basement of the apartment. In my old place in Edmonton, there were only a few people in the building and a handful of stairs to worry about. Here there are three floors, thirty nine suites and I just felt better about the whole deal (and I was bored anyways) by loading up the whole sha-bang and taking it two blocks down the street to this nifty little laundromat.
Well, it was a little more work (save running up and down the stairs of my apartment to check every ten minutes like I would have done) but, wow, it that ever faster. Two loads in less than an hour. Ok, I was impressed.
Here’s something interesting. Did you ever wonder how accurate those cash registers at the grocery store are? Well, I went to get a few things (admittedly including some produce which needed to be weighed) at an infamous grocery store down the street. When I got to the cash regsister the dopey looking guy at the til rang my stuff in and told me the bill, before (silly me) I realized it was a “cash only” line. Oops. And I was a few pennies short. Alas, to make a long story a bit shorter, when I took it to another til and the girl there rang me through, there was a price discrepancy of more than a dollar (in my favor!). And no, she hadn’t missed anything. I checked. Makes you wonder: on a total purchase of less that ten bucks, there was over ten percent error between the two tils. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run their multimillion dollar company, but that’s wacky!
But here it is, the last few words before I wrap up and ponder why I ever decided to catch an 8AM international flight (please check in two hours prior to boarding) when I don’t even own a car that can get me to the airport. Oh well, the cab is booked and if everything goes according to plan, this time tomorrow I will be somewhere south.