Earlier in the year we sat and slept for eight hours next to the sump pit to see when our secondary pump would go on. Turns out that it never did, but the third pump (a battery backup) did.
Fast forward a month and on a Sunday in April we had a storm which basically was too much for our primary pump to handle and so the battery backup had to kick in to handle the rest. Luckily Vero had woken up at 2am to go to the bathroom (thanks to the Sequel!) and heard the alarms going off downstairs.
We watched until 5am as the water just kept coming in and and in and in at a fast clip. The second pump would never turn on unless we manually lifted the float. I could never get the float into a good position to turn on because it was positioned higher than the primary.
Well. I suppose we needed to fix this situation. I ended up ordering a neat sensor from Ebay called a Levelguard.
Instead of depending on a float type sensor, it just triggers on when the water hit a certain point. We luckily received this on a Tuesday before we were destined to leave town to visit some family on Easter weekend.
Now my system is quite great. The primary pump kicks on. If the primary pump doesn’t kick on, the water will hit a Wi-fi sensor which will trigger an alarm and send me an email. Not the greatest in the middle of the night though since a) the alarm doesn’t wake me up and b) even my phone next to me didn’t wake me up when I received an email. Next up in our line of defence is the secondary pump that now works great with the Levelguard sensor. So if the primary is broken, or if overcome by too much water coming in, it will pick up the slack.
After that point, we have another pump which is attached to a battery which is good for power outages. Case in point, I was stuck working this Easter weekend so I had to stay home while Vero, her parents and Sierra went to Saint-Jacques-des-Leeds. But in the back of my head I was scared to the leave the home as they were calling for flood conditions all over the Ottawa region and all I could think about was “What if there is a power outage?”
Sure enough, 3:30pm rolls around while I’m laying down some tracks to a new song and the lights flicker, then everything shuts off. Time to test out the system!
I hauled my generator out of the garage over to the window nearest the pumps and made sure that was up and running. I plugged the primary in around 4PM and emptied the entire sump pit. After that I decided it was best to see how long my backup battery could last in full springtime conditions as I had not tested that scenario yet.
6:15PM rolled around and the water level was very close to triggering the battery backup, but it hadn’t yet. I was quite surprised. I suppose emptying the pit out around 4PM helped things out. But it’s incredible to think that two hours went by and the water hadn’t even reached the battery backup yet. Sometimes I wonder if I should adjust the primary pump sensor a little higher since it’s going off every 4 minutes. There are two schools of thought. 1) If it’s going to take two hours to hit the battery backup, then what’s the harm in adjusting it so it gets high enough to empty every 30 minutes? 2) The other school of thought is if you end up with a flash flood of rain, those 30 minutes are precious if something else goes wrong.
I also now have a battery power sensor that will trigger around the time as the battery backup with a ear shattering 120db sound! That’s a little ridiculous but that’s all they were selling on Amazon. This will be good if the power goes out in the middle of the night and we are not hearing the battery backup come on.
No plan is foolproof, but I would like to think that we are getting close.
Vero and I headed to Montfort Hospital for our second ultrasound which confirmed that we are not expecting twins which in my opinion, is great news! Everything is looking pretty good.
The Sequel went to a KISS concert!
We were teaching Sierra how to talk to The Sequel by making noises. The Sequel did not move during this time but has been moving once in awhile.
Nothing much else to report. Vero is doing well, the family is doing well. We are just trying to figure out if I’m going to take some time off when the baby comes and we are also on the hunt for an armoire for all the clothes we have to move out of the closet!
Let’s be honest here…we didn’t know their music other than Shut Up and Dance
Thoughts of the show:
Dropped Sierra off with Marie-Claude and hit the road with Eric, Vero, Jean-Francois and THE SEQUEL!
It was a rainy, miserable day to travel. They were calling for freezing rain which did not happen thankfully.
How is that Ye Olde Orchard pub doesn’t have a smoked meat sandwich on the menu but has every other sandwich known to man? Still good times there though.
Walk The Moon isn’t our cup of tea but damn they have a catchy song with Shut Up and Dance
Let’s call it right now: Muse is amongst the top three live acts currently touring these days. This show also won the award for greatest Muse show I have ever seen. I thought the 2nd Law Tour was insane but this was just over the top excess in all its forms and you know what? I love that about an arena tour. You want to see that kind of insanity.
You want choreographed dancers/horn players that look like they are from Tron? You got it.
You want Matt Bellamy with awesome LED shades surrounded by guys spraying smoke? You got it. (I took this photo from Reddit)
You want to see two giant robots showing up and you think that the show can’t get any better but they come back out and deliver 15 minutes of metal music all the while having Murphy the inflatable robot in behind them?!
Unfortunately for Vero, there was a LOT of robot imagery in the concert. This is not good for people with a fear of robots. For me though…it was the greatest sight these eyes have ever seen!
I managed to snag a poster and a shirt and managed to remember to pick up my ticket stub on the way out of the Bell Centre. They have the nice habit of handing them back out to folks instead of ripping them up and throwing them in the trash.
Best show of 2019? Time will tell but I best it is.
Walk The Moon Setlist
Next in Line
Up 2 U
Shut Up and Dance
Headphones @Info[Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” outro]
Algorithm @Info[Alternate Reality version; shortened]
[Drill Sergeant] @Tape
Break It to Me
Uprising @Info[Extended outro]
Plug In Baby
The Dark Side
Supermassive Black Hole @Info[‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ intro; The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ outro]
Hysteria @Info[AC/DC’s ‘Black in Black’ outro]
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Dig Down @Info[Acoustic Gospel Version]
STT Interstitial 1 @Tape
Time Is Running Out
Houston Jam @Info[w/ Futurism, Unnatural Selection, Micro Cuts]
Take a Bow
STT Interstitial 2 @Tape
Stockholm Syndrome / Assassin / Reapers / The Handler / New Born @Info[The Deftones’ ‘Headup’ outro]
Knights of Cydonia @Info[Ennio Morricone’s ‘Man with a Harmonica’ intro]
“Dora et Booo, Dora et Boo!” – Sierra…every single night.
I didn’t think I would watch a show as much as I have watched Dora the Explorer in the past month. That’s Sierra’s go to show after her bath these days. Months ago it was Angela’s Christmas, now it’s the adventures of Dora and her trusty sidekick Boots.
Life is good! Spring is in the air, Sierra is discovering the joy of puddles. Daycare called Vero yesterday to inform us that Sierra proceeded to jump into a giant puddle and essentially every piece of clothing of hers was soaked. Not the worst call to get from a daycare!
Sierra typically gets up in the morning and we make her some oatmeal. I was trying to pawn some of the regular oatmeal onto her that I accidentally bought a few years ago but she’s wise and won’t eat that stuff. Luckily, I have some brown sugar on the side that I scoop in.
She is really enjoying daycare and we are hoping they enjoy her. When she gets home we ask her questions like “Who are your friends at daycare?” or “Did you play outside today?”. She hasn’t quite mastered answering “What did you do today?” as there’s clearly a lot to talk about!
Learning to count is interesting so far. We are using an abacus as well as her fingers. But I don’t think she’s getting the concept that one finger doesn’t always have to be the number one. It can be any of your one fingers. That’s a hard concept to grasp I suppose!
Sierra is really fond of coming home and playing outside for a bit. Right now she is always looking for her bubbles. Some days its frozen solid so Vero has to fill it with hot water and she sits on the front porch and blows bubbles until supper is ready. It’s neat that we let her do her own thing and peek out the window every minute to ensure she hasn’t run off somewhere. Freedom is close at hand with this child! We will soon feel the shackles of THE SEQUEL soon enough!
Bath time and going to the potty are still a hassle with Sierra. Even though she loves the bath when she gets in, it’s World War III getting her in there. We’re also not entirely sure how to tackle the potty issue. She doesn’t really seem to be bothered if she goes in her pants all the time. On the plus side, we don’t have a fussy kid?
Sierra likes to sing a lot and she has recently picked up the ukelele and strums along. It will be good to have a singing partner with me!
Sierra loves helping bring in the recycling bins.
Clearly Sierra is more interested in Yoda instead of Dad’s killer dance moves.
Sierrasaurus playing cards with Dad. The goal of our game is to get rid of your cards the fastest. Our game involves having five cards and one player puts down a card and the other person has to match the colour of the card. If they cannot, they have to pick up cards from the deck until they can find a colour match.
I’ve been using Google Photoscan to go through Vero’s old pictures. First off, I have to say that the app is quite fantastic after a year of upgrades. Secondly, I am enjoying finding gems like this one! I have been putting these photos into Google Photos which basically is a chronicle of our lives. I was wondering if it’s better to open a ‘family’ email that all family members (Aunts, cousins, etc.) could have access to and put their photos up. Might be an interesting move.
The loneliest spot at the rink is at the sidelines. It was soon after this that we brought Sierra skating.
It was a beautiful, mild day when we brought Sierra for her first skate. There were a few people out on the ice rink playing hockey so we appreciated at there was a side rink for us to have for ourselves.
She was definitely taking after her father.
I think she was getting the hang of it. Hey, what do I know? I have no idea how to skate.
I don’t know what they were watching on television but clearly it was too scary for Fredo.
Vero and I finally got our last will and testaments done up. What’s more important about this story is that there was a chocolate shop across the street so we picked up this treat.
Etienne and I recruited a few new bodies for our daily walk along the river. It’s getting quite nice down there, but a little tricky to navigate as there is a couple of feet of snow and some soft spots.
Sierra and Jon having fun at Victor’s second birthday party.
We snuck in a roll of bubble wrap into his gift! Everyone (other than the birthday boy) had a great time!
A few weeks later I’m typing this up and thinking I already miss that long goatee and hair. SOMEONE insisted I get a trim!
The man of the hour, enjoying a gift in the form of a ring.
I honestly have no idea what Sierra is trying to show us in this photo of her and Tante Vero.
These are the two gentlemen responsible for my hangover the following morning after a night out watching Royal Canoe and Dana out at the Highlander Pub.
It’s super exciting times when we get to see the train!
After nine years of living here, we decided to see how life was under the trees in our front yard. It definitely sheltered us from the wind that day!
One of the last gasps of winter. It’s been a long but fun one.
The days are getting warmer as evident by no mittens on Sierra’s hands.
Mom and Dad came back from their trip down south to find this in their front yard in the middle of March! I remember as a kid having snow hills like this. I could have a faulty memory though.
Sierra insisted we find her a pair of sunglasses.
We’re pretty proud that she puts a pair of earmuffs on before the drums!
I can only imagine we were watching another enthralling episode of Dora and Boo.
Sierra helping me chop up ice in front of the garage.
One week at daycare they had a focus on lemons. I had a good laugh when I saw what Sierra did when they had smell the lemon.
Here’s the thing. If you know me, you know I am a procrastinator. To the point of dire consequences some times. Case in point…I lost my spare set of keys for the Pontiac last year. Then in the past few months my key fob wasn’t locking the door so I have been manually locking the door. Tie that together with me not paying attention one more and you have the scenario where I lock my keys in my car! Doh!
Luckily I had a few things going for me. 1) The keys were still in the ignition so I’m assuming that’s why the alarm didn’t go off when we were trying to break in. 2) I had some colleagues (aka Chanelle) who had experience in breaking into cars (no questions asked!) 3) I had Etienne who had not left for work yet so I managed to contact him and bring some assorted tools. A trusty chisel and a coat hanger were our friends that day.
I tell everyone that this photo was taken DURING the operation. Nothing like a good foreman on the job!
The happiest man in the world! Etienne managed to finally get the coat hanger to push the unlock button down.
The running joke currently is that every time we meet at my parking spot, someone’s car needs some assistance.
I went to John’s retirement party at the local watering hole. There were a lot of people and a lot of great stories. You can’t ask for more at your retirement.
The Vars gang went out to Ferme Drouin for some sugar shack action!
OF COURSE the fun part of the day is hanging out under the coffee table.
Checking out the farm.
Look at how large this horse is! It needs all the food it can get!
We probably could have stayed here all day.
There was a hill with some tubes that Sierra preferred to roll down.
Great turnout from the neighbourhood!
This might be the last time we head out in the Larose Forest this year. It was another beautiful day. We ended up seeing the gentleman that we helped out when his truck got stuck a month ago! Turns out that the tow truck took an hour to get the truck out of that snowbank. Sidenote: This might be the photo of Vero and Sierra ever!
Taking a granola bar break.
I’m pretty sure Sierra wanted us to include the sled in our photo. It’s definitely part of our family.
Whoa whoa! Looks who’s learning a few tricks!
Baby showers are always a good time.
Doug at work introduced me to the New Yorker caption contest. I try and submit something each week. Here was one of my submissions which I thought was quite clever.
Wow, Stuart looks totally different than his promotional shot for this tour! He has a beard that must have been growing for a year now!
Opening Band: The Proud Sons (who did a great cover of Don’t Let Me Down)
Thoughts about the show:
Met up with Amanda and her friend Bryan
I always enjoy the floor area of the Algonquin Commons Theatre. Always a great spot to take the band in.
I have officially saturated my intake of The Tea Party ever since they reformed a few years back. Considering they were touring on the strength of their new hot single Black River I was hoping for less of a greatest hits show and more of a ‘let’s spice things up and throw some rarities in there’ kind of show. I didn’t get my wish. Is it wrong for me to start complaining about the setlists at these shows? On one hand, they give the people what they want…a great live show with some great tunes. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve consistently seen the same songs and banter for the past few years.
A reminder to not order a beer between the opening act and the main act. There’s not enough time to drink it and that’s the second time I fell into that trap!
There were no tour posters to pick up nor the Jeff Martin EP that I’ve been eyeing up (but has ridiculous shipping costs from Australia). It’s interesting to see a band 29 years in who are making their bread and butter from touring. They don’t have the money to print off 10 different t-shirts, backpacks, lighters, etc etc etc. They are strategically choosing to bring out a few t-shirts for a tour along with some signed merchandise for the uber-fans.
The Tea Party still has my love even though I am growing tired of their setlists. Next year is their 30th anniversary so you know I’ll be going along for the ride once again.
Old Man Palmer can’t handle Monday night concerts!
The River / Sober / The River
Way Way Down (new song)
Zahira/Favorite Son/Halcyon Days (I always find it interesting that he brings out the 18 string beast and only plays the 12 string portion)
Save Me (w/ bow solo) / Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
Heaven Coming Down / With or Without You
The Ocean at the End
Bring It On Home / Black River
The Messenger [Daniel Lanois]
Sister Awake / Paint It Black / Heroes / Sister Awake
Print-out tickets from home are a lot lamer as a collectible compared to an actual ticket stub!
Wintersleep never disappoints!
Opening Band: Caveboy who did a great cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody”
Thoughts of the show:
– It’s pretty cool when you go to a show and they have CDs and vinyl available from their new album a week before the release date to everyone else.
– I managed to grab a poster at the end of the night. I think Spectrasonic prints off a few posters that they use to hang up around town for the fans?
– Caveboy was a fun opening band.
– Wintersleep played a lot of new songs during this concert which I hadn’t heard before. It definitely seems like their new album will be a lot more low-key than other albums. A lot of acoustic guitar being played by Paul Murphy.
– Loel Campbell is a beast on drums. In fact, I would put him in the Top 3 current drummers out there. I sometimes wonder if the band sets an encore of Laser Beams, Orca and Nerves Normal, Breath Normal to see if they can punish him!
– Met up with Kelly who was excited to see Wintersleep play live for the first time. She was impressed.
– I’ve seen Wintersleep six times now over the past nine years and they still are one of my favourites to check out live.
Into the Shape of Your Heart
Never Let You Go
Dead Letter & The Infinite Yes
Waves / Lighthouse
Miasmal Smoke & The Yellow Bellied Freaks
Last year we had a flood in the basement so now that the spring has arrived and the sump pit is filling up quickly, we decided it was time to test out our pumps.
We have an extreme setup installed after the flood. We have a primary pump, a secondary pump that triggers if the water level is higher than the primary float (that would essentially mean that the primary has failed) and we also have a battery backup pump which is set higher than the secondary.
Our first test was to see what happens when the primary is unplugged. We started this test Saturday night at 8PM. I chuckled as I realized no good ever comes from us doing tests on the sump pump during the night.
Sure enough, by midnight the water level was near the top of the drain inlet and the secondary pump had not triggered yet. It does work, we checked it. But I wanted to make sure the system works as it should without us being there.
I put a mattress down near the sump pit and slept until 3:30am when an alarm from the battery backup started blaring. So somehow the secondary never triggered at all which eventually had the battery backup turn on! Hmm…what to do there. For hi
storical reference, this means that it took a full 7.5 hours to get to six inches from the top of the sump pit. This is in the spring where the temperature outside was -5.
At 3:30am in the morning, there’s not much to do. It was like waking up to a crying baby all over again. I plugged the primary pump back in, watched all the water get out, and tried to figure out how to turn off this dang alarm that was blaring in my ear on a Sunday morning. Maybe I should have consulted the manual BEFORE this experiment?
The weird thing is…after a few minutes, I heard this gushing of water coming back INTO the discharge pipe! What the heck is going on there? I decided that the pumps were working fine so it was time to go outside to see if there was something wrong with the other end of teh discharge pipe. Visions of ice forming and blocking the front of pipe haunted me as I walked out in the crisp winter night.
No ice was found but there was a LOT of water in the ditch. I think there was so much that a lot of it just crept back up the pipe. After I spent ten minutes outside analyzing the situation, everything fixed itself by the time I got back inside.
As I write this, I have performed a few more tests on the secondary pump on Sunday but no matter where I position the float, it does not trigger on within a reasonable amount of time. I don’t really like the idea of having water accumulate around my house for four hours. At this point, I have stumbled upon the thought of taking the float switch off of the actual pump and clamping it to a pipe at a lower level and perhaps that will trigger it. It’s not a bad idea. I need to find a clamp with a clip on it.
Let this be a lesson to those out there with sump pumps…test your emergency system. I had a secondary that didn’t even trigger on and that was installed by a plumber a year ago. Imagine if the primary went on me? I suppose the battery backup would have come in handy then.
It’s not often I win the weekly challenge amongst friends but when I do, I let everyone know.
Vero mentioned how Holly and Amanda were wondering how I get so many steps in during a week. Now generally in the weekly Fitbit challenges we are up against Alan and he is kind of awesome getting his steps in. I’m going to assume this week he broke two ankles and that’s why I ended up taking the trophy.
But getting back to the original question…how DO I get my steps in?
First off, this is a companion piece to one of my original entries where I talk about fitness in my life in general and how I managed to get fit. I send this link to people who are excited to get into the Fitbit world.
Now, onto my daily regimen to get steps in. I suppose I started rewiring my brain to avoid efficiency in terms of getting to Point A and B and I have swayed towards how to get more steps between Point A and B.
When I’m at a parking lot, I generally park far away from the store if possible. Not only are there generally less cars there, but I get more steps in.
The same goes for walking down for a bite to eat at lunch. Why take the most direct route possible when I can tack on an extra 15 minutes?
On a normal day, Vero drops me off at work and I avoid the escalators. When I get into the elevator, I don’t bother hitting a button to choose a floor. I just get off wherever the first stop is (which is generally the 2nd floor) and I take the stairs up to the fifth floor. Granted, if the elevator is empty, I’m not a dumbass, I just pick the fifth floor. All throughout the day, if I’m not with someone, this is my modus operandi to get some exercise in.
During my breaks, I get out of the office and walk around the complex where I work. Oddly enough, Fitbit shows me that this is where the majority of my cardio workout comes from. I find this quite odd considering I also take a walk outside at lunch and rarely enter the cardio zone.
While I miss hanging out with friends and playing cards/games at lunch, I feel that getting a walk in at lunch gets me in a good state to handle the rest of the work day. It could be -40 outside and Etienne and I hike around the area. We have a few different routes that we like to take. We generally aim for 30-40 minutes so we can grab a bite to eat when we return. I’ve always told myself that I can treat myself to a lunch if I put the effort into deserving it.
If Vero had dropped me off in the morning, I always walk across the bridge to Ottawa to meet her when she picks me up. It’s generally around this time that my Fitbit tells me I’ve hit 10,000 steps which is around 4PM.
Depending on the day, the majority of my steps stop there but I have been making an effort to hop on the elliptical at least three times a week while I watch a show so I may get some more steps in there. When I am always referring to steps, my main goal is to work my heart each day for 30 minutes. Sometimes the elliptical is the only way I can get my heart working that hard.
The weekends are entirely a different story. If I’m up with Sierra in the morning, I will hop on the elliptical while we watch some TV together. We also try and get Sierra outside to tire her (and ourselves!) out in the mornings so it’s not impossible to rack up 10,000 steps a day on a weekend. But it’s definitely harder than while at work.
Speaking about work, I work from home some days. It was quickly apparent that I could go a day and accumulate 2,000 steps while working from home. I never realized how bad it is for our health to work from home! I immediately changed a few things…I always drop Sierra off at daycare by foot. I walk to the post office at lunch. If I have a teleconference I hop on the elliptical and stop whenever I need to speak. Generally I achieve at least 10,000 steps in a day this way which is pretty good considering I’m working from home.
That’s that! Hopefully this has inspired others to get out there and walk a little bit more. Remember, the goal is to have a strong heart. Losing weight is just a bonus.
Here I am re-reading the blog from a few years ago wondering what I have written about Sierra before she was born. Turns out that I didn’t jump back into blogging all that much during Vero’s first pregnancy. Perhaps I’ll have a better track record this time around!
Here are some things that have been on my mind regarding The Sequel:
I’m wondering if Vero is secretly annoyed that I’m referring to our second child as The Sequel
The thought of The Sequel came from my thoughts of how could I possibly love another human being as much as I love Sierra? I adore this kid running around and talking to me and helping me out. Is it even possible that I could love The Sequel as much? Then I realized that if I looked at it in terms of Star Wars, then the future is bright. When we all saw Star Wars we thought “THIS IS IT. HOW AMAZING IS THIS MOMENT?! CAN IT GET ANY BETTER (OR AT LEAST EQUAL)? Turns out that Empire Strikes Back was just as good as Star Wars and that’s when I realize how I can love another child as much as my first one.
The first ultrasound was a few months ago and it’s a nerve wracking experience. Why? Because of twins. Or fear of twins is more like it. In fact, we are heading to the second ultrasound tomorrow and I’m thinking that maybe the first one was incorrect and they will tell us that we are having twins. Let me tell you that the thought of having twins in a city where we have no family support is a very scary thought. Luckily, the first ultrasound showed just one sequel and not a trilogy.
It’s interesting to think about our future with two children. The logistics are quite scary as well. I definitely was more comfortable leaving Vero alone overnight with Sierra at…the six month mark. Now, with two children? I’m not even sure when I would be comfortable. Just the sheer thought of having to oversee two kids on your own overnight is daunting.
On logistics, Dad was even pointing out that we may need a larger vehicle. Part of me thinks he was joking, the other part thinks that he was serious. I suppose we will see how it works out with our existing vehicles and see what happens after that. Something tells me I’m not getting my electric car as my next set of wheels. Maybe a hybrid?
I remember Vero and I preparing for the first child quite a bit. Reading books, exercising heavily, preparing rooms, etc. This time around I think I cracked open the pregnancy book once, perused it to remind myself of a few things and haven’t picked it up since. I think it will take a few days after the birth to readjust to the new life, but then it will be old hat.
I have decided to take between 2-6 months off and take care of The Sequel. Part of me is excited and the other part is scared. Not scared of whether I can take care of the kid, but more scared of staying at home with the kid! I have definitely seen the mental exhaustion a few times on Vero’s face before. It definitely will be the hardest job anyone has ever undertaken but hey, I’m made of stern stuff.