I'm from the government, and I'm here to…


expropriate your farm, board up your house, and let much of your land lie fallow while we spend 40 years trying to justify building a huge and unnecessary airport on prime agricultural and ecologically sensitive land. Um, I mean, I’m from the government and I’m here to preserve your green space.

(Doublespeak at its finest, as seen on the site of the still-on-the-books Pickering airport.)

Kitchen reno part 2





The old floor and tiles have been ripped out, and the relocated electrical and plumbing roughed in. In the last few days, the contractor installed the new subfloor and finished and painted all the walls and ceiling. The bulkhead that ran along the length of the wall above the old cabinets has been virtually eliminated, with only a small plumbing vent that ran through it remaining in place. It’ll be hidden inside the new cabinets.

The new cork floor is to follow this week, with the cabinet installation scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Sometime after that, we get our appliances, counter, and sink. With any luck, we’ll be fully kitchened again on schedule by mid-September. With even more luck, the worst of the dust is behind us.

You say you want a revolution

The Boxed Meat Revolution

Furthermore, the sign on the front of the store in Guelph proclaims that this is the Original Boxed Meat Revolution. To which I must admit, unboxed traditionalist that I am, that I was unaware of the existence of a revolution, never mind competing revolutions. However, given that national boxed meat chain M&M Meat Shops emerged from nearby Kitchener, the whole area would seem to be a real hotbed of boxed meat.

The perfect way to spend a Saturday night

Robert Cray brings it at the Kitchener Blues Festival

Robert Cray headlined a rainy Kitchener Blues Festival on Saturday night, belting out a 90-minute set to the soggy faithful. After a day of off and on torrential downpours and thunderstorms (which apparently scuttled some acts earlier in the day), the skies cleared for good about half an hour before Cray was scheduled to begin his set. After more than 20 years of listening to his incredible guitar playing in my headphones, usually late at night while working on the computer, it was a pleasure to finally see him perform in person.

Pedestrian infrastructure, suburban style

 Boldly going where no pedestrian has gone before

I’ve long thought that there must be some provincial regulation requiring municipalities to install pedestrian signals whenever they reconstruct a signalized intersection. I’m all for the idea, but implementations sometimes trend toward the bizarre.

Take, for example, the intersection of Highway 7 and Westney Road in rural Pickering. It’s near the hamlet of Greenwood, with Valley View Public School just down the street and the Pickering Museum a country block away, but I highly doubt that more than a couple of pedestrians grace the intersection on the busiest of days. There are no sidewalks anywhere around here. Yet pedestrian signals and their activation buttons stand guard over each corner of the intersection, just waiting to be pressed by the hapless soul who finds himself lost here. So far so good. But when you look closer, you realize that with no sidewalks and corrugated beam barriers sheltering the buttons at three corners, the only way to activate them is to stand on the road. On the fourth corner, pedestrians have to climb a small weedy hill to press the button:

An inconvenient button

But even better than the activation buttons are the curb cuts, dutifully guiding people in wheelchairs and with baby strollers into the guardrails and onto non-existent sidewalks:

Curb cut to nowhere

Curb cut to nowhere

The whole thing smacks of some bureaucrat following the letter, but not the spirit, of the law.

Kitchen reno part 1

Step One: Out with the old.

The calm before the storm

Lined up, waiting to go to a new home

Where’d the kitchen go?

The contractor carefully removed the old cabinets, appliances, and fixtures, which we donated to Habitat for Humanity. The load filled up about half of a cube van. In contrast, with the exception of a couple of studs and a length of 4″ duct, the rest of the first day’s demolition detritus fit into three bags. Who needs a big ugly disposal bin?

And thus begins a scheduled six weeks of life without a kitchen. Tomorrow, the floor.

(No, we’re not doing any of the work ourselves. Knowing when to call in the professionals is a key to a happy marriage.)