C’mon Sun☀️, Melt That Snow!

It seems I brought the warmth back with me from Palm Springs. It’s gotten up to about 7 or 8 degrees yesterday and today, and the snow and ice is retreating. Yesterday, it was warm enough that it melted all the snow from my roof. That let me take down my Christmas lights (finally). Today, I took a look at that ice buildup on the downspout that Tammy posted about, and removed almost all of it. It has almost completely melted when we spread the chunks on the walkway.

Help me, I’m Melting…

Ian and I shovelled the driveway… in reverse. We were spreading snow back onto the driveway and letting it melt. We managed to do quite a bit.

Using solar energy

It felt good to be out. As you can see, it was warm enough to be in T-shirts when we were working. The forecast calls for more snow later in the week, but this will help get the front lawn uncovered faster.

Hello from Palm Springs, 2018

This marks the third year in a row that I’ve attended the Esri Developer Summit conference in Palm Springs. It’s a great conference, and I always learn lots. It also happens to be in Palm Springs where the temperatures are like a Canadian summer while my poor family shivers in the snow.

The flight here was uneventful. I flew from Calgary to Vancouver and then to Palm Springs, and I will do the opposite on the way home Friday. I am rooming with Chris Macleod this year. He’s a pretty good roommate. Snores a bit, but not so much that it disturbed me. I had my earplugs ready to go on the bedside table, but I didn’t feel the need. Tonight he, Steven, Mohamed and James from the City of Burnaby and I went to Rio Azul, a Mexican place. It was good food and not too busy. I managed to find food that did not have avocado in it, so I’m feeling fine.

Pay no attention to the large margarita… 🙂

Not a lot to report. I ran into Chris Spicer and Colin Newall at breakfast today. Was good to reconnect with them. Chris showed me a picture of his daughter Savannah trying on a dress for her junior prom. I remember changing that girl’s diaper at our place.

Snowboarding today, palm trees tomorrow

It’s the last day before I jet off to Palm Springs for the 2018 Esri Developer Summit. What better way to celebrate the difference than to play in the snow today?

We’ve had a ton of snow this winter, but instead of that being a blessing, it’s actually been a hindrance. The combination of the dangerous roads and frigid temperatures has actually confounded at least four ski days. Today it was cold (-13), and it snowed Friday and part of Saturday, but we went to Nakiska anyways.

The conditions were interesting. There was an amount of powdery snow everywhere, but the cold temperature really made the snow sticky. I found myself hopping my board to try to get to the bronze chairlift because I didn’t have any momentum. I ended up having to unfasten one boot and push myself along. So then Ian and I went up the Silver chairlift, and then met up with Miranda and Tammy and went up the Silver again.

I had time to stop and enjoy the scenery on the way down, so took a few pictures.

Miranda and Ian, ready to go

Tammy and I. Sorry about the fat finger!

It was a gorgeous day. Every way you looked, it was a real-life postcard.

Ian waiting

And to top it off, on the way back we had a laugh: at a highway pullout about halfway home, there was a person next to their car, pants at half-mast, squatting. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Didn’t get a picture of that.

Happy Birthday, Tammy!

Today Tammy hit forty-six years old. It probably wasn’t her ideal birthday day, given that it was a Wednesday, and I worked the day and she worked the evening. But we did what we could to be together.

First, we all got up before I left for work so that Tammy could unwrap prezzies. She liked the gift from Ian.

Minecraft chicken farm Lego

But she loved the new coffee grinder!

Mine! All mine!

Miranda made her some eucalyptus fizzing bath salts, which smell awesome.

Then I was off to work and the kids were off to school. I came back home at lunch hour and we walked down to The Last Straw pub for a nice lunch. She had the bacon and blue cheese burger. We both worked at the dining room table for the afternoon before it was time for dinner and then she was off to work.

I went to Bow Cycle to take part in what might be the last shop Zwift ride of the season. In about two weeks, Bow Cycle will shift to summer hours, so the shop will be open in the evening. No sign of the roads being clear enough to ride on though. A huge buildup of compact snow on our street still.

Paul, me, Adam and Mark. Tara took the photo.

Soon Tammy will be home, and we’ll have a drink to toast her birthday.



I forgot my watch

I know, it doesn’t sound like much but boy was it distracting yesterday. It was the first time in two and a half years that I’d forgotten to wear my Apple Watch. I looked at my bare wrist countless times over the course of the day. It was a nice reminder of how much I use it.

Since Tammy and I bought our original watches (Series 0, now on the kids’ wrists), neither of us have gone a day without them. We’ve gotten nicer bands for dressing them up for special occasions, but any other fancy watches we owned have been relegated to the drawer. I was trying to explain to Davor at work just how discombobulated I was and summed it up this way: I look at my wrist for four major reasons:

  1. Time and Date. Duh. I’ve always worn a watch. A lot of people I know stopped wearing watches when they started carrying phones with the time on them, but I never did.
  2. Weather, in particular the temperature. In a place like Calgary where the weather is so variable, having the temperature at a glance really is useful. It was -29 when I went to work yesterday, and +6 today.
  3. Notifications. I get electronic messages all day, every day. Yesterday reminded me of how much better it is to get notified of them by a tap on the wrist (and seen at a glance) than an annoying buzz in my pants pocket.
  4. Activity tracking. Over the years, I’ve changed a lot of fitness habits, but there always is the trap of my office chair and a lot of sit-down hobbies. The multicolored activity rings on my watch face are a reminder to get up and move around and if I forget, there’s a tap on my wrist every hour.

There are many other things as well, but these are the killer apps for the Apple Watch for me, in that order.

And I remembered my watch today. ⌚


Considering how nice it was in late November and the first half of December, it seems as though winter has been trying to make up for it. First it was the snowy, frigid week over Christmas, and now a winter storm. It snowed about eight inches last night and it’s supposed to keep snowing all day today.

Of course, this is the day that Tammy is subbing at work from 9:30 to 2, and then teaching from 6:30 to 9:00. She has made it to work. We’ll see what happens the rest of the day. I’ve decided to work from home.

Bike Fitting Night

Tonight, Liz ran a bike fitting seminar at Bow Cycle. It started at about 6:30, and ran until near to 8:00. She went over a lot of the basics on how to make a bike fit better. Basically, you’re always compromising among comfort, efficiency and power. She went over seat height and reach to the bars, amount of “drop” to the bars, etc., etc.

Liz, with her test dummy, Mark

I got a couple of measurements done:

  • My shoulders are 42 cm across, which determines the optimum handlebar width (should be the same, plus or minus 1 cm).
  • My sit bones are 117 mm apart, so the optimal saddle width is 143 mm. Interestingly, my Norco’s saddle is 143 mm, but my Roubaix’s is somewhere around 136.

It was fun to be there, and to see some of the new 2018 bikes. Curiously, Bow has some Cube road bikes in this year. As I discussed in my 2016 bike purchasing decision, I was interested in a few different Cube models, but Bow hadn’t ordered in any of their road bikes. They only had mountain bikes and cyclocross. This year, apparently they ordered some “Attain” models.

The Day the Furnace Went Out

Dun dun dun! 🎵

I always feared that it would be during a cold snap that our furnace would stop working. And today, at -19, it did. However, we were home at the time, figured it out pretty quickly, and got a guy to come take a look at it within hours, so all’s well. In fact, we even got away with a relatively minor expense: $301.

It started with me working from home. Tammy was off, and I had a chiropractor appointment at 11:45. Both of us had complained to each other in the morning that it felt chilly, but I knew that the thermostat was at 21 degrees, so I thought it was either mental or insufficient air circulation. I went to the chiropractor, and when I came back I found Tammy fiddling with the thermostat.

“The reason we thought it was chilly in here is because it’s only 17 degrees.”

I know nothing about fixing furnaces, so other than checking the pilot light, replacing the filter (dirty) and turning the furnace off for a bit and then on again, there was nothing to do. Tammy called the place whose sticker was on the furnace, and they suggested the things we’d already done. So I headed off for a meeting downtown, while Tammy waited for Rico the furnace guy to arrive.

I got a stream of texts from her in the afternoon.

The furnace seems fine now and the house is toasty. Rico indicated that the furnace we have is a good one that will essentially last forever with maintenance and periodic replacement of worn parts. That’s good news.

It could have been so much worse, like when we were away in Edmonton. 🙀

Service School with Miranda

Today was the first day of two days of bicycle service school at Bow Cycle. Yes, the same complete overhaul course that I did in 2016 and in 2017. But this time, I took Miranda!

Hamid, Mark, Mike, Phil and Miranda. My bike in the foreground.

With her joining the club, I thought it would be a good idea for her to know how her bike works. It’s also a really reasonable cost for a complete top-to-bottom rebuild of her bike, which is six years old this year. I took my Giant Seek commuter bike, for the same reason. I tore down my Valence in 2016 and my Roubaix in 2017.

Miranda did very well, keeping up with everyone else. The funniest part was about mid-day, Colette (one of the ladies taking the course) was amazed when she came over and looked at Miranda’s workstation. She was being her usual orderly self, which is to say completely amazing.

Miranda’s ridiculously organized workstation

Both of our bikes have been torn down to nothing. We’ve started putting our stuff back together. She will have new bar tape and new brake callipers, as well as new cables and tiers. My bike is getting new cables, but also a new 1×11 shifter system (no front derailleur, and a wide-ratio 11 speed cassette at the rear. Look at this thing. It’s amazing. The lowest gear is bigger than my disc brake rotor!

New 11-speed cassette

We finish up tomorrow!


The course is now over, and not without any last-minute drama. Both Miranda and I were finished early. I was waiting for one of the instructors to have the time to take a look at my rear hydraulic brakes, which had gotten squishy late in the year. I replaced the original mechanical brakes in 2015. I didn’t think much of it, and at about four, Mike quickly bled the brake line. That was when he noted a leak, and persistent air getting into the master cylinder. It took until almost five to definitively say that the brake needed to be replaced, which meant that I actually finished late. Oh well. New brake on the rear.

It made me think about how much of this bike I have replaced. When I bought it in 2012, cost was a major factor. It was $600. But as with most bikes that you buy to a price point, the long-term costs add up. If you compare the bike in the photos in 2012 to this one, there’s a short list of what is still the same.

Is it still a 2013 Giant Seek 3?

The things still the same:

  • Frame
  • Seat post
  • Handlebar
  • Disc rotors
  • Fenders
  • Front reflector.

That’s not a long list.