Review: Wintersleep at Bronson Centre

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
Soft Focus
More Than
Never Let You Go
Forest Fire
Santa Fe
Dead Letter & The Infinite Yes
Weighty Ghost
Waves / Lighthouse
Miasmal Smoke & The Yellow Bellied Freaks

Laser Beams
Nerves Normal, Breath Normal

Check out your sump pump

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

Image result for sump pump

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.


How to get to the top

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.

Thoughts about The Sequel

Image result for empire strikes backs

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.


I’ve hacked daylights saving time

I didn’t think it was possible but I feel quite normal on this Monday, post daylight savings time.

I think I figured out how to do it.

Step 1 – Go out with friends on Saturday night.

Step 2 – Proceed to drink.

Step 3 – Continue to drink until 4am.

Step 4 – Sleep for five hours, wake up, feel quite tired.  Perhaps even hungover.

Step 5 – Have a nap when your kid goes for a nap in the afternoon.

Step 6 – Go to bed at normal time that night.

Step 7 – Wake up on Monday morning and think “Wow, I feel surprisingly awake.  What happened?”

Maybe Tuesday it will hit me hard?

Review: Royal Canoe at the 27 Club


Didn’t these guys have two drummers a year ago?

Thoughts of the show:

Etienne, Mina, Chanelle and I went out to this show as part of our Magical Musical Mystery Event; an auction item we offer up from time to time at work.  Its premise is this: Etienne, Mina and myself are going to a concert somewhere in the world.  The highest bidder gets to come for the ride.  Unfortunately Eliane had to bail at the last minute but we still had a great night.

– Chez Lucien may be home to a tasty burger but Saturday night was not the night to try one.  We waited (knowingly) for a few hours to get something to eat.  We missed the first few songs from Royal Canoe because of that!

– Royal Canoe were on fire from the minute we stepped in until the moment we left.  The crowd loves these guys.

We ended up at the Highlander Pub to watch our friend Dana kill it on the fiddle.

Setlist (partial)

Peep This
What’s Left in the River
Exodus of the Year
Living a Lie

Golden Years [David Bowie]

Review: Lynyrd Skynyrd at Canadian Tire Centre


Can my nose actually start bleeding from this far up?

Opening band: Randy Bachman

Thoughts of the show:

  • Trish and I went to this show with the thought of grabbing the 300 level since a) tickets were pricey and b) we aren’t the hugest fans of Skynyrd.
  • I don’t know if this was due to Skynyrd or not, but security was having a field day with busting people for smoking up.  My favourite moment was a guy being escorted out of the washroom and him saying “Someone told me it was legal as long as I smoked in the bathroom man!”
  • While I don’t follow much Randy Bachman, I was blown away by their set as he played his greatest hits and I then realized that I know quite a few of his tunes from BTO and the Guess Who.  They even had his son Tal Bachman play his 90s hit ‘She’s So High’!
  • We had a killer spot in the 300 level since there were so many empty seats.  We just found a couple of seats that weren’t squished between other people.
  • Skynyrd did not disappoint.  Let’s be honest, we all are there for Free Bird and they delivered.  My face melted a little



Workin’ for MCA
Skynyrd Nation
What’s Your Name
That Smell
You Got That Right
I Know a Little
The Needle and the Spoon
Saturday Night Special
The Ballad of Curtis Loew
Tuesday’s Gone
Don’t Ask Me No Questions
Simple Man
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me the Breeze [J.J. Cale]
Sweet Home Alabama

Free Bird

Sierra’s 33rd Month

Sierra seems to be talking in sentences these days.  She is becoming a fully functioning human being!  So exciting considering I didn’t know if we could do it.  Maybe the daycare is responsible for it?

Sierra was very excited to get an invitation to a superhero themed birthday party!

When I first thought about bringing Sierra to school on a sled during snow days, I just imagined that it would happen a few times this winter.  We somehow managed to have a very harsh winter which led to many days where I worked from home.  No matter, it allowed us to take the sled to school!  Sierra was very excited to tow it a few steps along the way and she especially liked waving to her friends at the daycare when she was leaving on the sled.

Mina’s car was stuck for an entire week in his parking spot.  After many days of hearing this tale of woe we figured a bunch of human beings pushing his car out may work.  It was out in eight seconds.  Mina was quite content.  He then proceeded to get stuck the next week while trying to enter the parking area after the plow had driven by.

I had a good laugh at this one.

Hawaiian day at daycare!  This skirt was about three times too long so I had to trim it back.  She wasn’t happy with it at first but then didn’t want to take it off.

It’s February and there are still a few gifts that Sierra hasn’t opened for Christmas.  Here’s a great gift from les grandparents.

It’s not often these two gentlemen get together but when they do, the heads are hurting the next day.

Heading out to the Vars winter carnival.

I need someone to tell me the story about this thing.  Is this the Vars winter carnival mascot?  This is amazing.

This year the activities for the carnival were moved inside in case the weather was too cold.  They had a great setup there including this craft table!

Zoom zoom

Another dump of snow results in fun scoop rides!

Aunt Maureen bought a really need penguin mold that we could use when the snow was the proper conditions.  One morning before getting in the car to daycare we quickly made one.  Unfortunately this was the one and only penguin that was made.  The penguin mold met his demise when there was two feet of snow in the driveway and the snowblower didn’t see him until it was too late.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking up little blue bits of plastic from the lawn for a few years.

Twas an exciting day at the office when I pulled out this apple from my bag and it looked like a butt!

Sierra enjoying her Babar sticker book that comes every couple of months thanks to Nat.

I hope Sierra doesn’t make this a habit.  Quite hard to carry someone on top of your head!

I can’t remember what was going on here but I’m pretty sure we were practicing 1950s nuclear safety drills.



I stole this photo of Danny from Facebook but it needs to be preserved here forever.  Look at the 12 pounder he caught!

We played out in the neighour’s driveway for a bit during a snow day.  There was this massive hill that we climbed up and slid down.

The bottom of the hill was just a pile of snow.

This photo will be a good reference point of how high the snow was this year!

This prank never gets old.

Big race!

Hanging out in the lawn looking at the moon in the daytime.

Grandpapa was nice enough to share his dessert.

While we have gone to Winterlude every year, we have never ventured over to the kid’s park on the Hull side of the river.  It was quite a great time there but I have to say that I am not looking forward to the day where Sierra wants me to wait an hour in line to go down a giant sliding hill!

Gaetan made this the night before.

I feel we have a hundred of these types of photos.  We need to switch up Sierra’s jacket!

We got to see a dragon!

We decided to trek out and find other dragons in the area.


There’s nothing more fun than popping bubbles with Grandpapa.

Spider-Man and her trusty drill!

It was Super Mario’s fifth birthday party

It’s official.  It’s impossible to get the perfect picture of kids.  But isn’t that what makes these photos perfect?

Much like the province of Ontario in the year 2019, this slide is open for business!

I have to remember to start giving bubble wrap out as a gift for kids.

We went out to Abigail’s birthday at Alegria restaurant.  It was decent and I would definitely return again.

Clearly someone was excited to win the card game.

Spider-Man joined us for supper one night.

Uncle Brent managed to get Nanny’s birthday announced on the news out in Victoria!  I love how I recorded 5 minutes of this video and then I ran out of space but Vero managed to find her phone just in time to get this video!

Sierra was introducing Poppa to Angela’s Christmas, a special on Netflix about a girl who steals the baby Jesus statue to keep him warm on a cold Christmas Eve night.

Sierra got some one on one time with a baby in the house.  I’m already scared for August when a new one arrives.  

While the trek through Larose Forest started out with a snag as Dad and I were helping a guy whose truck got stuck in a snowbank, we did manage to have a fantastic walk through the woods on a beautiful day.  I’m claiming that this was my favourite adventure in the winter of 2019.

Taking a granola bar break.

Sierra showing Grandma how to do a puzzle.  Sierra is a whiz kid at puzzles.

If you start seeing garlic stuff olives at Costco, you can thank Mom for filling out this form on Dad’s behalf!

Sierra checking out Grandma making her some new curtains.  Mom and Dad were an amazing help for the week they were up.  They painted Sierra’s new room, hung up a bunch of blinds and finished off the basement bathroom!  That was a long project but it’s finally done.

It’s always sad to see family leave but clearly Sierra is quite happy.  Or oblivious that they are about to leave.




Review: Damien Robitaille at Shenkman Arts Centre

We brought Vero’s parents to see Damien Robitaille at the Shenkman Arts Centre.  He always puts on a great show and is a very funny person.  My favourite part of the night “So, I have a few slow tunes that I’m going to play for you and I’ll follow it up with a bunch of other faster tunes.”  Then after he played a slow tune he says “So, I have a few faster tunes that I’m going to play for you and I’ll follow it up with a bunch of other slower tunes.”  I always loved how much Vero was laughing at all his jokes.


Signe de vie
On est né nu
Mot de passe
Plein d’amour
Ta biographie
Univers Parallèles
Le fleuve
Ennemi imaginaire
Ta maman m’amadoue
Tout feu tout flamme
Quelles sont les chances ?
Le touriste du temps
Mètres de mon être
Homme autonome
Jésus nous a dit

The sequel is coming soon

This blog somehow got larger and will probably take double my efforts to update!  In August we will have a new child to take care of.  As I type this I’m trying to figure out how to keep a pregnant woman happy in a house without a lot of air conditioning!  Vero and Sierra are doing quite well.

Vero: “Sierra, there is a baby in Mommy’s tummy.”

Sierra points at her belly.  “Baby?”

Vero: “Yes!”

Sierra points at her own belly.  “Baby?”

Vero: “Uhm no.”

Sierra points at Dad’s belly.  “Baby?”

Me: “Beer.”

I don’t think the kid will understand until the baby arrives.