Thursday, June 18, 2009

stuck like chuck

Well, I still don't have grass. Everyone that knows me knows I'm a magnet for having things go wrong.

When I hired Alan's Lawn Care, he quoted me a great price. However, when he was ready to start, the dump truck he wanted wasn't available. He was then going to use his own pick-up truck to grab all the soil, but his pick-up truck died the night before and he had to buy another one. He found a cheap car for $3500 from Ottawa, but he had to drive there to pick it up. Fortunately it helped that he's from Ottawa and his folks still have a home there. What didn't help however was that he was so tired from the drive that he didn't wake up until I called him at 9:30am, and he got to my place at 11:15am, with the first load of top soil.

I say "the first load" because without a dump truck, he needed to haul 4 loads of soil back and forth to my house, and that was before having to move all of it (4 cubic yard worth, if anyone cares) to my backyard.

When he finally came here to start work, the tiller broke on him. He wanted to find the nut that popped off so he went and rented a metal detector, which didn't find it. He then drove off to Home Steep-o to find a replacement nut. When he came back, he realized the washer that went with the nut was misplaced, so again he had to spend time looking for it.

We dumped two pick-up-truck-ful of soil to the backyard, one wheelbarrow load at a time. Luckily, we had two wheelbarrows going so it wasn't terribly slow. I did probably as much work as him. Remember, I hired him so I wouldn't have to do it myself. Oh well, there goes that idea.

Finally we started tilling, and of course after 2 months of barren ground, my dirt was now clay. I didn't realize just how difficult that was to till. Even the heavy-duty tiller he had would skip over the ground and not, well, till. So I had to use a hoe to pre-break-up the ground. 1200 square feet of hoeing isn't fun. It really isn't. And quite honestly, if I was going to hoe all my ground, I don't know if I really needed to till anymore.

Anyway, by the time we finish spreading the 2 cubic yards of dirt, I had to go for dinner, and he had to leave once more for Ottawa. (He's based in Toronto, but just our luck that he had to go back to Ottawa on that evening.)

To make a long story short, here's my backyard right now:
backyard sodding landscape topsoil

Having typed all that, I still heartily recommend Alan. He's a great guy, studying at Tindale for Religious Studies, has a passion for youth ministries. Anytime I can help out a university student who has a passion in doing something as noble as being a youth pastor will get my hard-saved dollar all day, every day.

It's been raining for 2 days now, and will continue to rain until Saturday. I told him not to work on Sundays (I don't, so why should I make him?) but to start on the coming Monday morning. Hopefully I'll have pictures Monday night of my grass.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


After about 10 jumps, we finally get one where our eyes are opened, we're not too high, too low, left, right. And oh yeah, her hand/arm isn't blocking my face.

Rosetta McClain engagement picture

I hope you like it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

soothing, cooling, refreshing

Simply put, Burt's Bees lip balm is the best thing in the world. At $5, they better be.

Monday, June 15, 2009

weird dreams applenty

Just wanted to write these 3 dreams down before I forget. VERY WEIRD.

First one was me hiding at my old workplace. I have my motorcycle stored behind a stairwell in the building, clothes (?), and a chrome electric wok that folds up like a suitcase.

I'm making some meat dish and at the same time, trying to stuff a bunch of paper money into the bike trunk. I would guess it was about $180 dollars, which was my life savings in the dream.

I was totally worried that someone would find me, I have no idea why I was there or why I was concerned. If I was, cooking wasn't the best thing to do at that point.

Anyway, I was thinking in my dream what was more important, the bike, the cash or my S2000 parked outside. I decided I wanted to use the bike as a getaway vehicle because it was the fastest, abandoning my car. However I was also using that bike as a way to communicate with my friend Fido because I would slip messages in the bike for him to read afterwards. Some lady in heels (I think she was either the school principal or the secretary - I don't know why it became a school in mid dream) found me and started chasing me down the hall. I run down a bunch of stairs, her heels clicking furiously behind me. I'm actually quite ahead of her, so I'm always out of eyesight when she makes a turn.

I see elevators, and gently press the up button, waiting for my ride. I debate whether I should ride up or not because the "ding" of the elevator arriving would give me away. So maybe I should continue to run down the hall? I'm quite confused. I finally decide to wait, hiding in a nook so she wouldn't see me. I run in just as the doors are about to close, and I can see her old nylon stockinged legs and 1/2 inch dirty vinyl white heels clicking towards me. Navy blue below-the-knee skirt, old red sweater. Doors close. I'm safe.

The next dream I remember is me in my S2000, at a red light. 2 other cars are revving their engine egging on a race. I decide to play too (although they don't take notice of me.)

Light turns green and we drop the clutch. I'm last out of the 3, and all of a sudden, I'm in the middle of a fast-and-furious style street race. All around, riced out Japanese cars (and American cars, if memory serves) flurry around me, engines buzzing. If ego was nitrous oxide, we'd all be blowing up engines from NOS overuse.

A left turn comes up and I wisely slow down, knowing my tires are too bald to make the corner. No one else brakes.

The carnage that ensues is like a classic multi-car pile up in movies. Cars hitting each other, some flipping in the air. Vehicles erupt in flames, Hollywood style.

I come to a full stop, lucky to not have hit or been hit (I was dead last in that little race). I jump out and I start rescuing people as many as I could. Unconscious people laid all around me, some slumped over their steering wheel, other bodies resting on the window sill, and still more on the grass, having been ejected from their vehicles for I guess what is lack of seat belt usage.

I scream for others to help, and in a moment I turn into something akin to the incredible hulk. I start flipping cars onto their roof top, trying to un-bury cars to save the passengers. I flip one car like I'm digging through lego blocks to find that last lego person, and the car slams onto the ground, crushing some poor sap. In my mind I instantly again change that, and the car that I flipped lands on to the hood of another vehicle, thereby saving that guy I just squished.

Anyway, in all that time, no one else is doing a thing. They're all just standing around. Someone shouts, "They're coming!"

I look out of the house (I went from rescuing people in a field to doing it still but now in some sort of a wooden house. The Mexican army was attacking, swarming our position.

Everyone runs in the opposite direction of the advancing army, jumping out of windows, and running through the doors, etc. We are high up on wooden houses built on stilts. We're at least 4 stories high, with other wooden buildings (little houses) dotted around the landscape. I stand there and is captured, along with a handful of other people not fast enough to get away.

Next thing I know, I'm an old army colonel. I'm a white guy (hey, I am Chinese in real life), grey hair, fairly frail.

We are held captive in the backroom of one of the houses. The enemy is watching a movie of some sort. In one part, there was going to be a gunfight in the movie.

Right before that scene happens, several of the younger people are saying, "Get ready." But I have no idea what I was to get ready for.

*blam blam blam* went the guns in the movie, but at the same instant, bullet holes riddle the windows and walls. A guerrilla militia sympathetic to our imprisonment started attacking the camp, and it was our cue to try and escape. The young people get out no problem, once again fleeing out of windows and doors.

I am too slow, but I'm smart enough to tackle other people who also didn't know of this escape plan onto the ground, saving them from friendly fire.

Everyone else runs, but I for some reason don't. I peek out from the door that exits into our guards' quarters. I await for rescue that didn't come. Not all of them are dead. They regroup and head towards me. I climb through a window with broken glass and I look down, other wooden houses laid below me. Boardwalk walkways are latticed through the air - something like the Ewok treetop villages in Star Wars - Return of the Jedi.

I sneak around, and I see one of the important generals below. I knew I had to kill him.

And that's when my phone rang and I woke up.

always smiling

When I took first took this on my N95 8GB, I thought it was funny, now it's slightly morbid and I don't know, disturbing.

McCain smiley smilies

some things are better left untouched

I'm at the final push of finishing my backyard.

Everything else is done except for the grass. But after calculating all the costs, here's what I found out (All prices in Canadian may/not include tax):

4 cubic yard of soil = $225 dumped on my driveway
sod to cover ~1200 sq ft = $376
tiller rental for 1 day = $80
truck rental to move tiller = $40
feed friends for lunch and dinner = $100 (pizza, take-out, beer)
roller to flatten grass once laid = $10

A grand total of $831+ taxes. This does not take into account that I can till my ground all in one day. Tilling also requires that I rake out the rocks/weed that may be contained within soil.

I found a guy who'll do it for $950, tax-in.

I think I'll let the pros handle it for once.