Clearly they do just fine without me, or anyone else, but I’m really thankful I’ve been allowed to join this team. Even though I’m an outsider, I feel like part of the family. And even though I usually suck at being a member of any family I’m part of, they’ve so far been willing to bear with me, and look past my many irritating flaws.
I love each of you, and owe you all a ton of thanks.
Is fluffy as all hell, and makes all kinds of stupid noises that don’t mean anything. Although Gage dubbed her Mister Squirrel, I’ve taken to referring to her as Peanut Eater, Peanut Squirrel, Peanut, Squirrelly-P, and Tickle-Whiskers. She’s the type of cat who suddenly NEEDS attention, and doesn’t care if she’s got to flop her whole body down on your face to get it. She’s got this habbit recently where she licks my arm and armpit while I’m in the middle of important zombie games. It’s resulted in my demise a few times, but I love that face and all it’s stupid little noises.
Everyone who can, please go adopt a cat from your local shelter. They all need kind people to help them enjoy their short little lives.
Holly knows someone through business dealings, who also runs a fishing charter out of the Great Lakes. Recently he offered to take her and the boys fishing for salmon in Lake Ontario, and said I was welcome to come along. As anyone who would be reading this is already aware, I have a black belt in animal loving. I don’t hunt, eat meat, or even kill insects for the most part (massive home invading hoards of ants excluded). The last time I caught a fish, I was probably just a little older than Gage. I wasn’t really looking forward to catching fish, but going out on a boat for a few hours is usually pretty fun.
Most of you probably already know that one of my best friends is a huge fishing enthusiast, and runs one of, if not, the most popular fishing blogs in existence. He’s constantly trying to get me to join him because he knows that even without fishing I’d have a good time, but I’ve only gone a couple times when he’s been down here and we’ve wandered over to the gorge. I do have fun, but I need more to keep me from getting bored. Just before we left to head to the dock, I decided I could maybe get away with reverse fishing. Rather than try and fool the fish into biting a deadly cheek mangler, I thought I could have fun by warning them of the delicious deceptions that were hoping to ruin their day.
I crafted this custom cobra lure out of a piece of cardboard and the chain from a Steam Whistle bottle opener. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate, and I never got to see how effective my idea for reverse fishing actually was. On the bright side, rescheduling means I get a chance to refine my design. I’m thinking less words, more pictures… possibly a worm with dynamite strapped to his chest, or just an x-ray view of a worm with a hook through it. Either way, I think I’ve got something here.
Roan is mildly infatuated with my height. He’s constantly asking me “Eric, who’s taller, you… or <insert name>?”. He often says he wishes he was tall, a complaint I hear from plenty of people, whether I’ve got a foot or a few inches on them. I’m no giant, I still see plenty of people taller than I am, yet somehow it still always comes up. I recently told Holly, after my umpteenth time of being asked to get something off the top shelf for someone at a store, that from now on, I’m asking a short person to get every item I need that is on a shelf below knee height.
I remember being Roan’s age and being in much the same boat. My older brother was much taller than I was, and I felt like I was never growing. I wanted so bad to be as tall as my brother, and then one day I was. I even gained an inch or two on him (which I think drove him nuts because he loved basketball, where height alone is enough to get you on a team most times). For a while it seemed great. I got a kick out of being taller than both my parents by the time I was in grade 9. A short time later I realized how unfair the world can be to the vertically privileged. The fact that everything is designed for the average person, tends to infringe on my comfort and convenience hourly. I have hit my head 17,000 times in Holly’s house since moving here 2 years ago.
I would give anything to go back to being Roan’s size for a little while. I can’t even get in the back seat of most cars, let alone have a slumber party in there. I’m guessing one day he’ll agree. Gage is already taller than Holly, and will likely catch up to me in no time. If things go as they did in my family, the second child will be more perfect in every way, thus making Roan much taller than both Gage and myself. The first time I see him hit his head, I’m going to remind him of how obsessed he was with being tall, and point out that you reap what you sow.
Another wind storm ’11 casualty has been repaired. Holly’s railing, which was poorly anchored and poorly constructed, was destroyed a few weeks ago. It, along with the shed were on a mental ‘to do’ list, to be addressed at some point this year when time and budget allowed for it, but nature decided to move things along. The new railing is a cedar kit we got from Home Depot. It would have been super quick and easy to install, but Holly’s stairs aren’t uniform at all. The kits are designed for a 45Â° slope, and we had nothing near that. It took some time to figure out, but I managed to make it all work. It’s now twice as sturdy, and a hundred times more attractive.
Unfortunately the kits came with the wrong brackets, and Home Depot didn’t have any of the right ones. Now, to finish the top rail properly, I need to make a mortise in each top rail which will fit over the brackets and allow the top rail to sit flush on the pre-drilled rails. And once Holly gets some post caps, I’ll fire up the chainsaw and Clark W. Griswald the newel posts. Then all I have to do is fix the fence, and possibly build a few sheds for some extra cash. So far two of Holly’s neighbours have asked me to build them similar sheds.
Gage is graduating next week. That means next year he starts high school, and will probably be exposed to all sorts of new and terrible things. When I was his age I had already tried a variety of different illegal drugs, and by the time I hit high school I had a daily habit of smoking pot at break. I highly doubt Gage is getting into the things I did at his age, but lately his sense of humor seems to focus around the subject of smokin’ da herb. Take, for example, the photo above. We were sitting at Williams, waiting for our order when Gage decides to roll up a sticker from the napkins into a fake joint and start pretend toking it. Seems harmless, probably is, but still I can’t help but think he’s either tried it, or talked about trying it with his buddies. At least, I know that’s what I would have been doing if I was sneaking out of a friends house at 3am and claiming I was “Just going to the store… we were hungry…”
That being said, I’m comparing Gage to myself. In my own opinion, I was a bad kid. Gage, on the other hand, is a good kid. He seems to get in a lot less trouble than I did, and although he occasionally makes a poor decision, he tends to understand reasoning, and feel genuine remorse if warranted. He seems to learn from his mistakes, which will help get him far in life, and keep him atop of the ‘most likable kid’ list for a long time. I only hope that if he does choose to start smoking pot, he’s comfortable talking about it with us. I’m not going to encourage it in any way, but I don’t want the kid dealing with the types of people I had to in order to obtain what I wasn’t supposed to have. I’d rather, if he ABSOLUTELY NEEDED to try it, he do it here, where we can make sure he doesn’t put himself in a bad situation. Hopefully, that is still a few years away though, or even better… never happens.
Every time I go anywhere near an exterior exit, I am bombarded with death-rays of cuteness, fired out of this stupid little face. They aren’t death-rays that kill, but rather they hope to evoke sympathy. Sympathy that results in someone sporting his Adventure Dude Suit, and patrolling the hedge for avian assassins. Nine times out of ten he wins. But just look at that face, and tell me you could deny him something that makes him so happy he rolls around belting out a thunderous purr and drooling all over himself.
Who would have thought a black cat could be the best cat ever? Certainly not this cobra.
If you’re not already aware, my Mighty nephew’s mum is a mighty wool spinner. My brother built her a spinning wheel out of PVC tubing, and she’s been creating all kinds of neat stuff you can check out here. A few weeks ago she asked me to help design her a rack to display her wool and other goodies on. I decided to go steal some wood from Holly’s mom’s neighbour, and attempt to construct the racks from unprocessed lumber.
When we had that highly destructive wind storm that killed our shed and fence, there was a large pine tree that fell through Holly’s mom’s fence and landed on top of her house. When the neighbour finished bucking off the limbs, he left them stacked in a pile in his back yard. Since there’s no longer a fence dividing the yards, I simply strolled over and walked off with four branches ideal for posts.
I had no real plan, just an idea of what could work, and a strong urge to strip some logs (although you can’t really call them logs) and try the draw knives my friend Mary (I think we’re still friends… not sure…) found for me last year. As soon as I got the branches home I started stripping the bark. It took me about half an hour to do the bulk of the work, and about an hour to wash all the sap off my hands. I cut some mortises into some 2 x 4′s, lapped them over top each other to make a base for each post, then fastened the branches on. I then took the saw and chopped a branch off the pine in Holly’s front yard, which would be appropriate for a cross member. I bought some lag hooks and screwed them into each pole to support the cross member. The end result is the top image.
I made the sign out of a piece of left over 1 x 6 from the shed fascia, with a bit of one of Roan’s pastels. I don’t think Lisa will actually use the sign, I was just having fun. The whole thing looks like something Winnie the Pooh would make to me, and I thought the sign seemed appropriate. Lisa loved the racks, and has asked me to make a third one now. I’m still in the process of staining the first two (the post in the second image has five coats so far), and I need to have them all finished before Friday. Tomorrow I plan to finish the shed, and with any luck, if Holly’s mom’s neighbour hasn’t disposed of the last of the branches, I’ll construct the last rack, and start staining it in the afternoon.