Monday, July 3, 2017

A vacation in NOTL... and Canada150

The boys experienced their first trip out of the country last week when Grandma and Grandpa took us all to southern Ontario. I won't bore everyone with an exhaustive vacation post, but here are a few highlights.

Day 1, Saturday: We arrived in Sarnia for our first night in Canada.

The boys in front of the Ontario travel information centre.
Welcome to Canada!
Day 2, Sunday: We arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where we stayed in the penthouse at the Moffat Inn, a delightful inn right on the main street. Our furthest walk while in town was 4 blocks to the grocery store and post office. 

Moffat Inn
Moffat Inn

Day 3, Monday: The theaters are dark on Monday, so we spent the day at Niagara Falls, Ontario. We saw the floral clock, toured behind the falls and sailed on the Hornblower, a boat that goes near the falls. Wil wanted to cross the bridge to New York to add another state to his tally, but that wasn't in the plans.

The four of us with the horseshoe falls behind us.
At Niagara Falls
Day 4, Tuesday: The boys decided they really wanted to try the WildPlay Whirlpool Adventure Course they had seen at Niagara Falls. In the afternoon, Chris and I saw our first play of the week, Me and My Girl, a delightful musical comedy. And a raccoon visited the penthouse that evening.

Wil and Sam on a platform of the ropes course
20' can be awfully high
Day 5, Wednesday: Plays, plays, plays! All 6 of us saw Wilde Tales, fairy tales from Oscar Wilde, then Chris and I saw Dancing at Lughnasa in the afternoon, and Grandma and Grandpa had an evening out for dinner and a play while the boys showed us the way to Lake Ontario, about 4 blocks from the Moffat Inn.

Chris standing in a gazebo looking at Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario just before sunset
Day 6, Thursday: We took a short trip to St. Catherine's to Chapters Bookstore, then watched a ship go downstream through Lock 3 of the Welland Canal, and Chris got to see Dunbar Bagpipe Maker's workshop, where he made their day with his enthusiasm for their work. That afternoon, Debi (Grandma) and I had afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel.

Whitefish Bay cargo ship entering the lock
Whitefish Bay entering Lock 3
Day 7, Friday: We drove to Stratford, with a stop at the outlet mall in St. Jacob. Grandma, the boys and I walked along the Avon River in the evening, where the boys were enthralled by all the ducks, ducklings, and swans.

The boys looking at ducks on the bank of the Avon River.
Duck alert!
Day 8, Saturday: We spent the morning at the Embro Highland Games, the oldest Highland games in Ontario. The boys loved watching the sheep dog demonstration, Chris watched the pipers, we saw some Scottish dancers. Then we drove to Sarnia for our last night in Canada, where we joined some of the Canada Day festivities along the harbour front, including fireworks. Happy Canada 150!

6 sheep in a group
Sheep waiting for the sheep dog
Day 9, Sunday: And home again. A long day of driving brought us back home with wonderful memories and a few souvenirs. The boys had missed the cats and the cats had missed their people, so it was a happy homecoming all around.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Home project: recovering chairs

Our dining room chairs have been in sad shape for a while. They're 21 years old, the padding was not so padded anymore, and the fabric was wearing thin.

Dining room chair.
Sadly in need of a refresh.
We found a nice YouTube video showing how to properly recover a chair.

We found some upholstery fabric, 2" foam for padding, and batting. Then we got started.

  • We cut the foam to the size of the seats.
  • We cut the batting to just slightly bigger than the size of the foam.
  • I cut the new fabric using the a piece of the old fabric as a pattern.

Removing staples from the chair seat to remove the old cover.
Removing the old cushion cover and padding.
 There were a lot of staples.
Chair seat with new fabric being stapled on.
The new cover.
The results are well worth the couple of hours of work. When we sat down to dinner tonight, Chris commented that we should have done this years ago. It's amazing what a difference fresh padding makes. And the chairs look so much better!

Dining room chair with new padding and cover.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The fulfillment of a dream

"It happened in my lifetime."  --My dad
Last night (actually, very early this morning) the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years.

Yep, that's what this is about.

Chris and I aren't big sports fans. We don't really follow teams, keep stats, even know who the players are.

But I will always root for the Cubs. Even though it's just a passing 'hey, they won yesterday'. Because being a Cubs fan runs in the family. It's in my blood.

My great-grandfather was at the famous World Series game in 1932 when Babe Ruth called his shot.

My grandpa was a die-hard Cubs fan his entire life. He was born 2 years after the Cubs won their previous World Series in 1908. He died having never seen them win a World Series.

My dad was born after the Cubs made their last World Series appearance in 1945.

There was a time back in the 90s when we spent a weekend every January at the Cubs convention. We got to meet some of the new players (Kerry Wood and Pat Cline before their major league debuts). We listened to panels with favorite players past and present (1984 Cubs were always our favorites). We walked down the hall next to Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.

Photo of my dad holding my then one year old son who is wearing Grandpa's Cubs hat
Passing the tradition to the next generation
A few weeks ago my dad wore his Cubs gear and flew his W flag to celebrate the Cubs winning the National League title. He hasn't worn his Cubs shirt or hat, or watched a game, all season.

Sports fans, especially Cubs fans, will recognize his superstition, since the Cubs have played great all season... when he hasn't watched the games. He would have loved to watch his beloved Cubs play, especially this season. But it was more important for him that they win.

Today I talked to my dad on the phone. He turned on the game last night just for a few minutes in the 9th inning.... and things went badly. So he turned the tv off again, grateful for the text updates from my niece and nephew, who stayed up to watch the game and kept their grandpa informed. (They're good kids.)

He didn't get to see the Cubs win. He gets to find highlights of the game online today (yay for living in the future where he can see the final out, even though he didn't watch the game!) and fly his W flag with pride. And pick up a world championship t-shirt.

And next year, well, next year he says he might watch a game or two since they've won a World Series once in his lifetime. They've broken the curse and if his watching means they lose an occasional game, well, there's always next year.