THE RUMOURS OF MY DEMISE ARE GREATLY EXAGERATTED

Where have I been? Here. What have I been doing? Working.
This time of year is filled with budget development at work
a task that I hate almost as much as root canals. Of course,
this hasn’t stopped me from playing lots of golf but by the
end of the work day, I’m pretty beat and doing anymore typing
doesn’t exactly fit into my nights.

I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel
and Jan and I have a couple of trips planned to blow off some
steam.

In August, we’re headed off to St. Jacobs for three days. The
20th is our 21st anniversary so we’ll have dinner somewhere out
there (possibly Benjamin’s) and the next day I have a golf tournament
in Conestogo while Jan does some shopping in town.

In October, we make the now yearly trip to Montreal. September
25th marks my 25th year with Kuehne and Nagel and in honor of this
they give you a month’s salary as a bonus so why not blow it in
our favorite city? Once again, we’re flying on Air Canada (are
they still flying?) for free thanks to the Aeroplan miles. We’ll
probably have dinner at Queue de Cheval and Gibby’s and do some
shopping on Ste. Catherine’s. Look for an update on the flight
page and some entries here. Who knows, I might even do a daily
entry from Montreal.

To end things off, here’s some links:

St. Jacobs Country
Benjamin’s
Queue De Cheval
Montreal Tourism Guide
Kuehne and Nagel

LAZY DAYS

Finally, Spring has decided to make an appearance. Half way through already
and this is the nicest weekend we’ve had all year. The fact that it’s a long
weekend to boot sure makes for a nice change.

Maxine came down on Saturday and Jan and I took her out for her birthday. 74
years young and she’s still a looker
enjoying the new screen room. In the evening, we went out to the Ariston and
had a lovely meal. Ceaser salad, big steaks and Cherries Jubilee. Yum Yum.

Jan decided that Sarah needed a little bed on the deck since she seems to have
moved in.
it’s called Victoria Day and supposedly celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday on
the 24th of May. Actually, it’s just an excuse for a long weekend. Most folks
call it the May Two-Four which is a clever way to say we sit around outside and
drink all weekend. Beer comes in cases of 24 and most people call them Two-Fours.
Anyway, this is the traditional weekend to start planting gardens and open up the
cottage. Who cares what it’s called, it’s nice to be able to sit in the sun
without needing a down coat and a hat.

THE ADD-A-ROOM PROJECT

I know you’ve all been waiting so here it is.

Since summers have been so hot for the last few years and now that we’re moving from SARS season
(or is it silly season?) to West Nile Season, we decided that a screen enclosure was a good idea
for the back deck. Building this was a challenge because the instructions were not very clear but
somehow I muddled through.

Picture time!

OK, the first picture.

This shows the header up that holds the roof and gives strength to the whole thing. Because
the deck is two feet off the ground, I had to extend the header higher to give me something to
attach to. Thanks to Mark and Jim for brainstorming with me to come up with the strongest
solution.

Now for the frame.

The frame is up the roof trusses are in. This filled the deck from side to side and I was a
little concerned that this wouldn’t work out right. No worries.

Here’s a shot of the construction forecat.

Sarah (now known as Braveheart) was first out into the construction zone and made sure
that everything was going according to the plan. This is the cat that we thought would
be afraid of her own shadow. Not so.

The roof is on, we’re cooking now!

Everything tightened up nicely, nothing broke and very few swear words were necessary.

Furniture’s going in, almost time to relax!

Jan cut the carpet to fit (and also cleaned up one of my boo boos) and we now have a place
to enjoy dinner during those hot summer evenings.

The forecat gives her blessing and brings a friend

Sarah moves in and even convinces Maggie to come along. 4 paws up!

And the chair makes it complete!

Some of you will remember (or you can scroll down) the chair Maxine made for us at Christmas.
I’ve been taking some grief for this being in the living room all winter. Not any more!!

There you go, the room is in – come on over and I’ll buy you a beer!

WHERE THE HECK HAVE I BEEN?

Well, I’ve done it again. Let this little site languish and driven everyone away. “If you write it, they will come”.
You start a Blog – you’d better keep it updated or all the eyeballs drift off to more interesting places.

April has been a month of travel so I should have had lots of interesting commentaries and pictures and such
but I’ve been too damm lazy. OK, time for catch up.

April 12th, I flew off to Las Vegas for a user’s conference. At least that was the excuse I gave the boss.
After this winter of discontent, I needed to get the hell out of town. What can you say about Lost Wages
that hasn’t been said a million times before? Been there, saw the sights, left some of my money. Gambling
has never really been much of an attraction to me so I set a fairly low ceiling on how much I was prepared to drop
at the tables and I guess I’m proud to say that it took me quite a while to lose it. Blackjack’s the game and,
big roller that I am, $10 a hand is my limit. Started out on the Sunday night at a casino called “Terribles” near
our hotel and actually made about a $100. Fine, great, hey this game is easy. Wrong! Next night we hit
the Hard Rock hotel and casino and things started off great and then the downhill slide started and continued
all the way to Wednesday evening when I reached my limit and put on the brakes. In all, I lost $300 but
when you consider that they love to feed you free drinks while you’re playing, I guess I probably broke even.

So, you say, you spent all your time gambling? No, got a couple of rounds of golf in and, oh yeah, attended
the conference.

Flew back to Toronto on the 17th. With the crazy schedules that airlines dream up in some opium den somewhere,
this turns into an all day affair. Finally arrived in the land of SARS (I’d been out of touch and didn’t realize how
absolutely ape shit this city had gone over this), met up with Jan for a quick drink and finally got to sleep in
my own bed again.

Next morning, up at 5 at the airport by 7 and off to Montreal. Four of us jetted off to help our Dorval operation
move into a new building. Long days while the rest of the world enjoyed a long weekend. Flew back home
on the 22nd. More SARS paranoia.

That’s it for now. Watch this space for information on the add-a-room project coming soon.

WAR DAY 4

It’s Sunday. It’s Spring. It’s late afternoon in Iraq. The networks are falling all over themselves
to report the fact that they have no facts. Rumors, allegations, speculations, those we’ve got
but not much in the way of hard facts. A pilot was shot down – no he wasn’t. About the only
thing everyone is sure about is that there was another case of “Friendly Fire”. What a strange
term that is. Sort of comforting like sitting around the campfire after a long day at the cottage.
I guess it sounds better than “We F***ed Up”.

Here’s a link to a Blog written by someone who lives in Baghdad.
The last entry (so far) is from Friday and I certainly hope he’s all right. Interesting reading.

For some background on this whole nasty mess, the PBS show Frontline has a chronology here.

Finally, the counter at the top of this page comes from “The Irag Body Count Project” a group
that is attempting to gather information on the civilian cost of this conflict.

WAR DAY 3

I’m sitting here watching a live CNN feed from a stationary camera in Baghdad. I can’t give you
the URL because you need to be subscribed to Real Networks Premium Service to get it.

It’s 7:30 pm in Iraq and the last call to prayer is being broadcast over loudspeakers. A time of contemplation
and celebration for Muslims but tonight you have to think their minds are on something else other
than the greatness of Allah. “Shock and Awe” is what the American military is calling it, “Death and
Destruction” is a more apt description.

Try and imagine sitting in your comfortable living room knowing that sometime in the next few
hours missles and bombs built by the lowest bidder are going to pay your city a visit. It’s
little comfort to know that the margin of error is slight when they’re coming from hundreds of
miles away.

This thing gets more surreal every day. What I’m watching and listening to is as real-time as
the Internet can provide and, when the ordinance starts dropping, there won’t be any glitzy
graphic and stirring music announcing “Breaking News”. I’ll know it’s started again about 20
seconds after the citizens of Baghdad. I’m safe – they are not. May Allah be with them.

IT’S STARTED

I understand the weather forecast in Iraq is cloudy with scattered periods of cruise missles.
A bad joke but there you go. Baby Bush finally has his war on and now we get to watch the
body count go up. I’ve made it abundantly clear that I think this is a bad idea but all we can
do now is hope that they get it over quickly and the human cost isn’t too high

Spent the last two days in Montreal on business. Hectic days, quick meals and no chance
to see the sites. Too bad because I think Montreal is one of the great spots to visit. The downtown
is so vibrant and alive, no matter how bad the weather. Sunny but cool for both days. I’m going
back in April over the Easter weekend (work again) and hopefully I can take the gang that’s going
with me out to visit a few spots.

Look for an update on the flight page.