NaNoWriMo 2018 Ends

It’s been a struggle for the last week, making my word count while I was in Regina, but Tammy, Miranda, Ian and I have made it to the end of November.

I got a little over 61,000 words closer to finishing my novel, Tammy managed to make 50,000, and Miranda has written almost 15,000 words of a mix of poetry and fiction. Ian made his goal of 4,500 words and then some. He ran out of steam about mid-month but I am tremendously proud of him for doing as much as he did. Yes, choosing a particular month to write like crazy is a silly thing, but written words can be beautiful, powerful things. There are stories inside of everybody.

I want to outline the rest of my novel tomorrow, and I guess I have a date with Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2019. In the meantime, I’m thinking about contributing to a writing anthology: Cold Hard Type. Not quite sure yet, but it might be fun to do over the winter months before starting the editing process.

Now, off to the Esri Canada Christmas party!


Hello From Regina

It’s been over a month, but I’m back on the road again. This time, I am spending three days with the fine folks at SaskEnergy in Regina. This is the third time I have worked with them and my colleague, Claire, has worked with them before, too. So I guess for the night before a workshop, last night was pretty calm. Three days is a lot of time, so we won’t have to rush as much as usual.

I flew in at 6:30. It’s minus seven this morning and there’s a chance of snow. It’s wintry here without being frigid. According to the cabbie, last week it was -25. That’s lucky we’re here this week instead!

Not much else to report as yet. The kids FaceTimed me last night which was awesome. It’s the last few days of NaNoWriMo and Tammy was only starting her writing when I spoke to her when she got home from work. I passed the 50,000 mark on Sunday, but The End is still in the medium distance. I will write some each night until I get home. Then I might spend the last night of November outlining the end of the novel so that when I pick it up again, I will remember how it’s supposed to end.

Off to get breakfast.

Updated Thursday Evening at 4:48 Central

I’m in the airport sitting across from Claire. She’s flying home to Edmonton at 6:00 and my flight isn’t until 7:25. It’s been a very busy and long set of days here, but good. Last night, we walked out to supper at Victoria’s Tavern. The dinner was good, and downtown Regina looked good with lights in the cold.

McCallum Hill Centre

Today has been very low cloud. Not fog: but it might as well have been. We’re at the airport now, but there’s a decent chance one or both of our flights will be cancelled. While we were sitting here, an Air Canada flight tried to land and was unable to, so it was diverted to Calgary. They might be back later, but not until about 8:30 if the weather improves. There’s no guarantee that either of our flights will be able to land, either.

Updated 5:07

My flight is now delayed 10 minutes. No big deal, right? But that can’t be the start of a positive trend.

Updated 5:47

My flight has not been delayed further. Claire’s plane landed, which is an excellent sign for her. Also promising for me.

Updated 6:21

Claire’s flight has left. That’s the good news. The bad news is that my delay just jumped up. My original flight time was 7:25, and is now 7:50. Don’t know why, but it probably has to do with the inbound flight being delayed to arriving at 7:15. Given that the flight is about an hour from Calgary to Regina, that probably means that the inbound flight is in the air. Hopefully the inbound flight can land, eh?

Updated 6:49

There is a different flight to Calgary: an Air Canada flight leaving at 7:05. It landed successfully and I just heard last call for boarding, so it will be leaving soon. Perhaps there is a good chance that I will depart successfully.

Updated 8:02

I am on the plane and ready to take off. Yay!

Happy 20th Birthday Squeak!

You made it to 20 years old. Yay! Such a moofins you are. It’s hard to believe that many years have gone by since I heard you crying late at night at our apartment door on 15th Avenue in Prince George. From then you’ve had such a happy, comfortable life with people who love you. Happy Birthday Squeak! ❤️ Here’s to more happy days to come.


Casper Mattress

Yes, I bought a mattress from the Internet: Casper Mattress.

We’d been talking about replacing our futon mattress for a while. We both really like the fact that with a futon, when the other person rolls over, it doesn’t shake you awake. I had been aware of Casper mattresses for years, because they sponsor ads on some of the podcasts I listen to. I’d told Tammy about them, and they come with a 100-day money back guarantee, so there’s not a lot of risk, and they are really well reviewed.

With her back troubles in the last few days, it seemed like the right time.

What? She didn’t post anything about the fact that she was in the hospital Sunday night? How inconsiderate! Yes, she had seizing muscles in her lower back that are getting better with painkillers, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories.

The mattress arrived today (Wednesday) after ordering in on Saturday.

It doesn’t look like a mattress

Rolled up and vacuum packed

Spread out and ready to unseal


First sleep on it will be tonight. We’ll see if it is worth the money.

New Wash-N-Go Miranda

Yes, folks, it’s the latest in Miranda’s constant quest for a hairstyle she’s happy with. This time, she roped me in as an accomplice.

Miranda with Super Short Hair

Tammy and I have different reactions to it. I think it looks good on her, while Tammy is not so enthusiastic. 😁

The discussion about this had been going on for a few days. Tammy acquiesced and so I got a text yesterday (Friday) afternoon from Miranda asking if I would cut her hair that evening. After dinner when the dishes were washed up I set Miranda up where I usually cut Ian’s hair and started to do the work. I took my time, going bit by bit, trying different looks along the way. I started with shaving up under the back and sides, then slowly shortened the top and shaved the sides up further. I think that some of the intermediate cuts actually were pretty good, but Miranda was adamant that she wanted to have a buzz cut.

First step. You can’t even see the razoring

What is underneath

Shortened right up

Looking pretty good

For my reference in the future, we ended up with:

  • 5 on top
  • 2 around the sides and back
  • 3 transitioning between them


Finger in the Dyke

This morning, we finally fixed the humidifier on our furnace. It had been inoperative for the better part of a year since I broke it.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and on that day long ago, I was intending to remove the tray in the humidifier in order to clean it. It had a substantial amount of hard water buildup in it. Unfortunately, when I was putting it back together, I overtightened the float valve and cracked it. I tried for days to come up with a solution that would fix it, but was unsuccessful. I could not figure out if I could buy a replacement part, and the entire humidifier unit cost over $100. So I did what any self-respecting homeowner would do: I turned off the water valve and left it alone.

That is, until I was in there the other morning. I went down to get a loaf of bread from the freezer, and of course, the humidifier was there, mocking me. I popped it open, noted that it was bone dry, and for giggles turned on the valve. A little bit of water flowed into the tray, but then I turned the valve back off.

Then I went down to the freezer again the next day and found water all over the floor. I guess I hadn’t closed the valve tightly enough. I did a better job on closing the valve, and resolved to fix the humidifier this weekend.

I went to Home Depot and forked out the money for the whole replacement, but intended to only replace the floater valve. I managed to do that pretty quickly. I was careful not to over tighten it this time, and I turned the water back on. We also replaced the drum and sponge inside while we were waiting and checking that the repair was good.

Then Tammy noticed water coming down the furnace duct from behind the humidifier. I wrote it off as a splash of water out the back when I replaced the drum, but Tammy insisted that it was coming from where the water line was tucked through the aluminum of the duct. When I looked a bit closer and tried to shift the line to look for cracks, it broke.

So, the replacement unit had a replacement hose and all the fittings, which was good. I removed the brass nut at the end where the hose connects to the water line, and then when I tried to pull the hose out of the valve, it broke there, too! I think this hose was past its best-by date. I would not be surprised to know it was originally installed when the house was built, and that was 21 years ago. That then led to removing the valve from the water line. Which resulted in a stream of water from the hole in the water line. Thus leading to Tammy having her finger on the hole like the little Dutch boy for the next ten minutes or more as I prepared to replace that valve as well.

Eventually, the valve was replace (no leaks). Then I fitted the hose and attached it properly to the valve (no leaks). Then I fitted the other end of the hose to the floater valve, after running the line without any pinches or kinks. Then we turned the water back on, and all seems to be fine without any leaks anywhere.

Tammy with our refitted humidifier

The one thing that has me scratching my head, though, is when we were done, I noticed some schmutz on the corner of my Apple Watch screen. I wiped it with a finger, then used a cloth, and then realized it wasn’t coming off.

Cosmetic damage

I have no idea what I did. It’s not cracked, and I don’t recall this rubbing or anything. Considering what this watch and its predecessor had been through, I can’t imagine what I did. As someone who takes care of his toys, I am pretty bummed right now.

NaNoWriMo Excitement

It’s nine days into the month, and would you believe that we are all going strong? You can track Tammy’s, Miranda’s and my word counts on our NaNoWriMo page, but Ian is doing the Young Writers’ Program, and we can’t make a word widget for him.

But he’s been the most exciting one of us! He was reluctant to do it, but I got him set up with the older iPad and the keyboard cover and his Google docs and he started typing away. He started running out of gas after day 2: his original idea of writing about his predictions for an upcoming iPhone SE2 ran its course. He talked to me about it and I suggested to him that he needed to have something happen. Have himself in the story, and have our cat Squeaker be a character like Snowy in the Tintin comics who sarcastically commented on things. The next thing you know, Ian’s excitedly writing each night and tonight he really went all out. His target word count each day is 150 words.

Well, tonight he wrote 386.

Ian’s word count by day so far. Grey bars are 150 words.

I’m very proud of him. It’s great to see him having fun with this. That’s what it’s supposed to be about.

Dental Work Update

Miranda had her retainers fitted today. If you remember last week she had a digital scan done of her teeth which would produce a pair of molds from a 3D printer. Well the wonders of technology keep coming. I was expecting her to get the old fashioned kind of retainer with the metal strip across the teeth, but no. Now they use these for the final stages of teeth shaping:

And here are her”teeth” 😁:

She goes back in February to make sure everything is continuing to develop according to plan.

Busy Day

What a busy Saturday it was today. It started right after breakfast, vacuuming the lint from behind the dryer and in the dryer vent. I know, woo. But it got more exciting after that. Miranda read that today the Calgary Transit was free from 7 am to 7 pm so that Calgarians could come down to the new Calgary Public Library Main Branch, which is having its grand opening. So she asked if we could do that, and it was a great idea. We hopped on the C-Train and visited the library.

There was a big crowd

We split up, with Miranda and Tammy circulating and Ian and I exploring on our own. There are four floors and lots of stairs.

Looking down into the main atrium

I don’t think we’ll get there that often, but it was really nice. My favorite spot was the reading room on the fourth floor. They also had a bunch of typewriters set up where people were encouraged to write poetry.

Ian and I finished our tour first, and he and I left to go and see the Telus Sky and Brookfield Place buildings. Ian’s a real sucker for those tall buildings. He loves looking up at them, but claims it makes him dizzy.

Holding on for dear life looking up at Brookfield

We took the train out to Dalhousie, where we had lunch at DQ, and Ian and I got haircuts at the barber there.

Ian getting shorn

Then we finished our train tour heading home, and we all did our writing, and then I got on my bike and rode 30 kilometers on the rollers. We had a light dinner, because then it was time to put our costumes on and go to Mark and Darlene’s house for Halloween at Hogwarts. Mark is the President of the Bow Cyclists Club, and he extended an invitation to this party to the BCC Ambassadors. I ended up being the only one who showed up. Tammy, Miranda and Ian and I mingled with a mix of Darlene’s relatives and co-workers. I met lots of people and we all had fun, even if some of us mingled better than others.

The party was very amazingly themed with Harry Potter. There were decorations everywhere, and all of the food was themed as well. More than half of the people who came to the party were dressed as Harry Potter characters or Hogwarts students. Mark was a pretty convincing Hagrid, and I spent much of the evening in the company of Severus Snape.

Check out the floating candles

Now it’s ten o’clock and we’re home and everybody’s full of sugar. (And alcohol, in Tammy’s case 🥴)

What a day!