Thursday, November 27, 2003

We're starting Day 6 of having a broken dishwasher at the house.

Its not like I haven't tried to get it fixed. Saturday, when I determined that the water that refused to drain from the basin of the machine was not caused by the food chunk catcher being plugged (I regularly keep it clean). There was a more sinister problem in the bowels of this beast.

Owing to the fact that we have a spiffy Swedish appliance, there are only certain appliance repair guys that will touch it - two in Calgary, to be exact. Being suspicious of the reliability of service companies, I booked both of them to come out. On Monday, the first one called to say that one of their technicians had a heart attack Sunday night and that I wouldn't get my visit until Friday. The second one showed up the next day but neglected to call beforehand. He found it quite rude that I hadn't stayed home all day to wait for him. I'm sure he left in a huff, even though I had provided him with my cell phone number when I made the appointment. Company Number One should be back tomorrow, barring any more myocardial infarctions.

Anyhow, I am getting tired of doing dishes by hand, all without the help of a drying rack. Its hard to believe that I lived in a house that had no dishwasher for three years.
If you send me an e-mail, please please please give it a descriptive subject line. The spam is filling my poor, little Inbox quite regularly. I find myself indiscriminately deleting e-mail with vague subject lines.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I took a break from work this afternoon and was out driving. I went by a school yard where I saw a young (12 years old, I'm guessing) boy standing with his foot on the chest of a younger boy who was laying on the ground in front of him. The two were talking for the whole time I traveled by them, frozen in a pose of physical dominance/submission. I wasn't sure if it was a game or bullying. Had I been on foot or been able to pull over safely I would have broken up this confrontation, even if it were just a game.

What would you have done if you had been me?

Sunday, November 23, 2003

"Peace shall steal unaware into our room,
and putting her hands across our eyes from behind,
shall whisper "Guess who?"
and before we know it,
when we least expect it,
she is there,
to remain by our fireside and bless us and our children with her presence."

- Lin Yutang
Selfish shellfish.

7 times, fast.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

You know, if the computer world would call a halt to progress for a year or so, I'd buy a new G5.

But next month's machine is nicer.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I'm back. I'm rested. I'm going to try not to jump back into the run-in-circles, heightened level of activity I was in before I left on that little trip. I'm going to try to put processes in place that limit the amount of craziness I'm exposed to and expected to take part in.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

London is being kind to us today. The sun is shining and we've been exploring Camden Market. Clothing deals abound - not much for music - everything seems pretty much the same as at home. The software developers I work with keep me up on the dance/trance/euro/techno scene.

I'm loving being back in England - the accents I hear, the clever advertisements, riding the Tube, the traffic, the life on the streets after dark, the tall old buildings, ... Just everything about being here (except the prices). I'm taken back to my youth, days when I took a break from University and traveled Europe with friends (and by myself for a while). After backpacking around the mainland, I returned to London and found I could not get enough of the history, sights and general feel of London. I found a job at a building merchants stocking shelves and working as a yard ape. I was able to find a roommate and a family that needed housesitters (they were off to Spain on a sabbatical) and I was all set up. Happy memories.

This visit, we're staying on the top floor of a posh bed and breakfast in Chelsea - nice old house built in 1708. We've bought Travelcards for the transit system, we're off to the theatre this afternoon and we've stopped at a little Chinese cafe with Internet service in the back of the shop.

Tomorrow is a London Bus Tour day, where we go 'round to all the big sights of London proper - the Tower of London, House of Parliament, Westminister Abbey, Marble Arch, Speaker's Corner, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and the like.

Totally, totally great time. I hope my family is having fun, too.
Thanks, Morton, for reminding me why I love 'blogging so much. It's about the little things, isn't it?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Believe me, I'm not in Crete because of the excellent internet access or the ultra-reliable power grid (7 power outages in three days and counting - always at the aexact instant that I have a moment to sit down at a computer).

Guess I should be vacationing instead of looking for a decent connection.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Crete is turning out to be a much nicer place. The accomodation is very, very nice. Warm, comfortable, nice facilties, even a weightroom (or sorts) and a pool! 30 metres or so long! Only problem is that it's not heated - 21c. I've been in for a 1000 m swim, but it's very cold! I wish I brought my wetsuit. I got out for another run this morning. It was along the beach. It's low tourist season here and the beaches are littered with all sorts of unsavory things - the locals must do a lot of cleaning of the beaches during high tourist season.

This afternoon we are going to Matala, a town in the central-south part of Crete that has some ancient caves - old Roman burial caves that became dwelling places for local fishermen. The caves are over 6000 years old! I went there when I was a young buck (20 or so) and slept there overnight - illegally (it's a national park). Should be fun. We rented a tiny little rental car and will use it for the trip. The kids and I have dug in our heels about tomorrow - we are going to stay put in the timeshare and enjoy it. Jenn can wander if she wants! I'm starting to relax. Just in time, too - just eleven days left of the vacation!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

We're at the end of our time here on the island of Paros. The weather has cooperated on and off. We had sun and some clouds for the first day, cloudy with some rain the second day and just pouring today. I got out for a run yesterday - an hour of my music (which I don't realize how much I miss until I'm without it) and some good ol' biofeedback from the legs has done wonders for my mood. We've seen some nice sights and had lots of fun,but it's time to go. Paros is very quiet as almost ALL of the shops close in October. The few local places that are open (grocery stores, restaurants) all seem happy to see us. I'm not exaggerating when I say that there are *maybe* 200 tourists on the island when there are over 100,000 in the summer.

I'm getting well rested and will be ready for work when I get back home. I can't wait to get into a pool. All the pools here are unheated, and even a brave, Canadian boy like me shudders at the thought of getting into that water. Brrrrrr!

Language is a challenge - I wish I had worked on my Greek before I left. Counting, greetings and directions would have been nice.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Athens, Greece

Jenn's race is finished. She ended up running with one of her buddies from the Running Room and two guys from the States that we met in our hotel. She did exactly as she predicted - 4:15.XX, not a big surprise as she had lots of instrumentation (HR monitor, pedometer, stop watch, etc.) to rely on.

Jenn broke a molar on the airplane - bit into an olive pit. We haven't seen a dentist (although we did try) and she is OK now. The tooth is better - she had the broken part come out yesterday, so she says it's not an issue until she gets home (where she'll have her own dentist look at it).

Banana, McMonk and I have been exploring Athens. We found what our guidebook promised as Europe's biggest outdoor market. It turned out to be the biggest garage sale we've ever seen - old shoes, tea towels, used electrical parts, we saw it all. We traversed the subway system (which has been nicely cleaned up in preparation for the 2004 Olympics) and saw all the construction that is happening. The city has a great deal of work to do before all the athletes arrive in 2004. Athens has tons of people, shops, cars, buildings, noise, pigeons and history packed into a very small, smoggy place. The girls have severe culture shock and are spending more than 12 hours a day sleeping. Banana seems to be coming down with a cold - I hope it's short-lived.

Tomorrow's a traveling day, as we make our way to Paros (island) and our timeshare there. The weather is great here - almost too hot for a run today, but very pleasant for touristing. The girls got pretty tired of being dragged around, even though it was them that wanted to go to the market initially. I'm ready for a sit-still-by-the-pool day, or even a get-in-and-swim day. Perhaps Tuesday will be that day.