Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Plumbing Edition

One of my goals for 2017 was to learn 12 new things – an average of one per month. I didn’t decide on what those things needed to be – I figured I’d be inspired throughout the year with things to learn. And my first source of inspiration was the discovery of some water on my bathroom floor, which turned out to be coming from a leaky toilet supply line. The toilet supply line, for the uninitiated, is the tube that runs from your wall into the bottom of your toilet tank and it’s how the water gets into your toilet tank so you can flush your toilet.

It looks like this:

toilet supply lineIMG_5016

So anyway, mine was dripping water, which is not a thing you want your toilet supply line to do. I did some googling and figured out that (a) that tube is called a toilet supply line and (b) it’s relatively easy to replace. You just need to turn the water off with that handy dandy handle on the bottom, flush the tank so there’s no water left in it (and it won’t get refilled because you turned the water off), then unscrew the metal nut at the bottom and unscrew the white nut at the top, and then replace it with a new tube, which you can buy for $7. So I thought “Excellent! I can fix this myself for $7 (as opposed to having to pay for a plumber’s visit) and I’ll learn something new in the process!”

New toilet supply line ready to be installed

A shiny new toilet supply line, ready to be installed!

I followed the instructions and while the metal nut at the bottom was hard to unscrew, I managed to get it undone after some hard work.

Step 1, unscrew the bottom part of the toilet supply line

Step 1: Unscrew metal nut at the bottom

The white nut at the top, however, was a much tougher job. I tried and I tried and I tried… and then instead of the white nut becoming unscrewed from the toilet’s fill valve, the fill valve just cracked right off! I guess my toilet supply line was just so old that it had pretty much fused to the fill valve!

Step 2, try to unscrew the toilet supply line, but break the toilet fill valve instead

Step 2: Break things

At this point I may have freaked out a bit, because I had only googled how to replace the toilet supply line – I had no idea what that piece I just broke was and, since I like having a toilet that can flush and I only have one bathroom in my apartment, I needed to figure out how to get this fixed quick! I did some googling and managed to find a company called GVA Plumbing1 that had a good rating on Homestars.com and the main guy happened to be heading into Burnaby (from Langley) for a job and was able to drop in to fix my issue for me that same day!  Mehmet was super friendly and even, upon my request, explained what he was doing as he replaced the toilet fill valve. It was actually not that complicated and I probably could have done it myself, had I not been too freaked out by breaking something and thus afraid I would break something more. At any rate, after $200, I had a newly installed toilet supply line AND a newly installed toilet fill valve, and now nothing is leaking. Hooray!

Also, I would like to point out that the exact wording of my goal was to “learn 12 new things (1 per month). They can be small things, but just something I didn’t used to know!” It does not say anywhere in the goal that I have to successfully execute the thing that I learned. So I have learned something about toilet repair: how to replace a toilet supply line and a toilet fill valve! And now I only need to learn 11 more things this year to achieve my goal!

  1. As per usual, I have no affiliation with this company other than that I paid for their service and I thought they did a really good job. []

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Happy adoptiversary to my kitties!

Three years ago today I adopted my little fuzzballs, Watson & Crick. When I first got them, they were very much people cats, but they’ve gotten even more cuddly and affectionate. Crick started out as a kitty who would like to be curled up next to me on the couch or in the bed, but now she’s a full on lap cat, who will sit on my lap when I watch TV and who more often than not curls up on my chest to go to sleep at night. Watson still likes to sit just out of arm’s reach and meow at you because you are not petting him when you sit on the couch, but now he’s willing to curl up next to me on the couch or the bed and on the weekend he even sat in my lap while I watched two full episode of The High Man in the Crooked Tower! I was in heaven!

In honour of their third adoptiversary, I bought the kitties a cat house that looks like a shark because that’s hilarious. Here’s a video of them checking it out when I first gave it to them:

I like that they politely took turns getting into it. Much unlike their cat tree situation, where Watson inevitably attacks Crick if she sits on any level of the tree, even though he only ever wants to sit on the very top.

So far, Crick seems to like the shark more than Watson, as she spent a fair bit of time hanging out in there:

Cat in a shark

Watson went back in again after that, but quickly got out once I started taking pictures:

Cat in a shark

Happy adoptiversary, my sweeties! You make my life better every day!

Watson on the small cat tree

Crick

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Scientists Like Lasers

Two words for you: laser tag. Anyone who didn’t celebrate their milestone-birthday-whose-number-shall-not-be-named by playing laser tag really missed out.

Laser tag for my birthday!You will not find a finer group of laser taggers than this crew.

I knew I wanted to do something different for my birthday this year and after much deliberation, I settled on laser tag. I hadn’t played laser tag since high school, but I remembered it being really fun and also, it seemed like something epically ridiculous to do for my birthday. And hence, I scheduled two private games of laser tag (or should I say “lazer” tag) at the laser tag place in New West and gathered a group of peeps who were up for the challenge of spending an hour shooting at each other in a dark labyrinth. The first game was a free for all, where it was every man, woman, and child for themselves. In this game, I learned that I have terrible aim and was very glad that there is no cost for ammo when it comes to laser tag. In the second game, we were put into two teams and your objective was to only shoot people on the other team while not shooting people on your own team. As it turns out, Team Red’s strategy of strategizing bested Team Blue’s approach of not strategizing. Who knew? Despite my poor performance, I had so. much. fun! It was even more fun than I remembered it being! Everyone else was also raving about what a blast they had too (even a few who had been skeptical before the game), which made me very happy!

After the games were over and we all had a chance to examine our score cards in detail1, we headed over to my place for the after party, where we (along with some other peeps who weren’t up for (or available for) laser tag but who were up for partying) ate, drank, and were merry into the wee hours. As usual when it comes to parties, I didn’t get nearly enough time to chat with anyone as much as I wanted to, but I did really have a great time and was reminded that I have the best friends ever.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. And if anyone wants to go play laser tag again, I’m game!

  1. For the record, in game two I only shot one of my own team members, though I did shoot her twice. []

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Happy Bething Day!

As we all know, Bething Day is the Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day, so I naturally had to go out and buy myself something. Or I happened to go out to do a bunch of errands and happened to buy myself something while I was out doing said errands and then I happened to retroactively called it a Bething Day purchase. For the record, I got a new purse at Winner’s. Actually, I also got myself a couple of speed pourers when I was at Canadian Tire1, so they count too.

The less exciting part of Bething Day was the errands part. I had to go out to a mail depot to pick up my mail which has been piling up at said mail depot since Canada Post smashed up my mailbox in mid-December. So I finally got all the Christmas cards that everyone sent me! I also had to go pick up a package from Amazon that was at the Puralator depot – a package that I didn’t even know was waiting for me (because they never bothered to leave a notice or call me) until I got an email from Amazon that was all “how do you like that new thing you bought?” and I was all “weird, I never got it” and then checked Amazon tracking and found out they’d supposedly tried to deliver it four days earlier. When I walked into the Puralator depot, the woman at the counter was telling a customer “Well, they should have called to tell you it was here”, so I guess Puralator just has really crappy customer service. After that I had to pick up my duvet from the dry cleaners because one night Watson decided to attack Crick in the middle of the night while we were sleeping and literally scared the piss out of her. Poor Crick! And poor me, because it’s been eighty billion degrees below zero and that is not a time to be without a duvet! I also had to go to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up for my Bethmas party this weekend2. Anyway, after all of that, I felt like I deserved a purse3 for Bething Day!

I hope y’all bought yourself something nice today too! 🙂

  1. Where I also got some light bulbs, which hardly counts as a present for myself. []
  2. And tomorrow I will have to go to Costco to do more stocking up. []
  3. I also was in need of a new purse to replace on that I have that is falling apart. []

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My 21st birthday is old enough to go out drinking

40 anos UniritterSo today I turned 401. It seems pretty hard to believe because I don’t feel a day over 26 and I’m pretty sure I don’t look a day over 35! But the calendar tells me that it was, in fact, 40 years ago that I came into this world. I’m so lucky that it’s 2017 and we have the technology to keep people of my advanced age alive!

Birthday festivities started on Monday when some co-workers surprised me with a birthday cake and diet Pepsi (clearly, my co-workers know me well!). I was lured to this surprise by a meeting invitation, so I showed up ready to talk about the health care IT adoption and instead was greeted with singing and cake! Yesterday, my team took me for a delicious sushi lunch! Last night, birthday wishes started coming in from friends who live in the future (i.e., Australia and Japan), where it was my birthday already.

Today I treated myself by not having to set my alarm, since I have today off. I woke to find a bunch of birthday wishes from my Ontario peeps, who also live in the future (just not as far in the future as Australia or Japan) – including the first ever text that I have received from my mom! I spent a leisurely morning enjoying coffee and some French toast and then did some planning for the birthday party I’m having on the weekend. As per my usual party MO, there will be enough food for at least three times as many people as will actually be at the party.

Right now I have some tradespeople installing some new shower doors on my tub, since the ones I had previously got broken2, so I guess my birthday present to me is that I will no longer have to take showers with a cheap shower curtain duct taped to the frame of the old shower doors. #Adulting The cats are trying to decide if they are more curious or scared by all the noise – Watson has just come out from under the bed, where he’s been since they got here, so I guess curiosity is winning. Crick ran under the bed at first but soon came out to see what was going on, though she’s tending to stay close to me. Ooh, and just as I was typing that last sentence, one of the tradesmen ripped a piece of paper packaging and Watson bolted back to the bedroom!

Tonight I have not one, but *two* hockey games to play, which makes me a happy camper. And my new boy is coming to watch my hockey games, also making me a very happy camper indeed!

All in all, although I am a less than 14 hours into this whole being 40 thing, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as I was thinking it would be – but probably because I still kind of don’t believe it’s true!

Image Credit: Posted by Thainá Gaieski on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. For my American friends, the legal drinking age here in BC is 19, so my math in the title is actually correct. In two years, my 21st birthday could go down to Seattle to go drinking. []
  2. For the record, it was not me who broke them! []

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Goodbye Grandpa

My grandpa died today. He was 94 years old – would have been 95 in March. He had family with him when he went and my mom tells me that the care providers at the facility he lived in, despite having only been there a few weeks, knew him and were very kind to him and to my family. It’s always hard when someone dies, but at least when they are 94 years old you can say that they had a good long life. And he wasn’t doing well of late – hence having moved into a care facility that could take care of his increasing health needs – so I am grateful that he didn’t have to experience prolonged suffering.

When I think about my grandpa, I usually think of him as being about 65 years old (despite that actually being 30 years ago!). I remember going out tobogganing for his 65th birthday. The whole family, laughing and careening down the hill on our various types of toboggans. All wearing orange and white toques with the Howard Johnson logo on them1, as that was where my grandpa worked at the time. I also remember eating venison that he’d hunted. And the jokes he would tell. And drinking tea at my grandparents house. I have a duck that he carved – a male buffelhead to be specific – in my home office, next to my Dad’s french fry cutter and one of my Granny’s china tea cups.

I didn’t get to see my grandpa when I was in Ontario for the holidays. A combination of a short trip, bad weather, and being sick (and not wanting to bring germs into a facility full of frail elderly people) kept me away. The last time I saw my grandpa was the previous year, on Boxing Day, at my Aunt Wendy’s house, watching World Juniors hockey. He loved hockey, as do many in my family, including me, so it’s a nice memory to have to add to a lifetime of other memories.

You will be missed, Grandpa.

A duck my grandpa carved

A male buffelhead carved by Des Snow.

  1. I also remember these Howard Johnson disposable toothbrushes my grandparents used to have at their place – they had some sort of powdered toothpaste in the brush so you just had to add water and brush. I thought they were pretty cool. []

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Goals for 2017

I’ve been hemming and hawing about what to do about my goals for 2017. I typically do a lot of the same things – earn a certain number of race medals, knock a certain number of items off my 101 list, and perennial favourite goal that I never manage to achieve (run a sub 2-hr half marathon), but given my abysmal performance on my 2016 goals, I’m wondering if I should shake things up? I do have my three things that I’m not prepared to blog about just yet (two of which lend themselves to goals) brewing, but since, as you may remember from earlier in this sentence, I’m not prepared to blog about them, I can’t really set them as publicly stated goals on my blog, now can I? #VagueBlogging. Wait. Unless I write #VagueBlog goals (and then I’ll have to write myself a private note somewhere else as to what those actually mean!). Of course, this plan means that I’ll officially be the most annoying person ever for the 7 people who actually read my blog1. So perhaps I’ll write some specific ones and some vague ones and I can either fill those vague ones in once I’m prepared to blog about such things, should I become prepared to blog about such things at some later point in time.

OK, here goes:

New goals:

  1. Learn 12 new things (1 per month). They can be small things, but just something I didn’t used to know!
  2. KonMari my condo. Just started reading Marie Kondo’s book on organizing and I think it’s worth giving it a try.
  3. Do yoga at least 2x per week (either at home or in a class). I think I’ve done enough stretches to rehab my injured hip and it’s time to work on building up my strength and flexibility.
  4. Establish a weight training program and actually do regular weight training, where “regular” = at least 2x per week for at least 3 out of 4 weeks per month. Building up my strength should also be helpful to prevent re-injury (not to mention improving my running (when I get back into it) and hockey!)
  5. Get back to journalling regularly (where “regularly” = once a week).
  6. Travel somewhere awesome. Haven’t made any vacation plans yet this year. Need to get on that!
  7. Get gum graft surgery done. I’ve been putting it off – I should just bite the bullet it and do it already!
  8. Get a Nexus card. Been meaning to do that for a while.
  9. Send an actual physical birthday card on time to all my family members and close friends. Step 1 will be to make a list of when everyone’s birthday is!

Classic goals:

  1. Bring my lunch to work 80% of the time.
  2. Complete the 100 push up challenge. See above re: getting stronger!
  3. Submit 5 papers for publication. I have one that is almost ready to go and another one that I’ve done a lot of the research for (plus I have someone who said they are willing to read it and provide suggestions for me), so then I just need to come up with 3 more!
  4. Read 17 books.
  5. Make 17 new foods and/or drinks that I’ve never made before.
  6. Write 117 blog postings!

Vague goals:

  1. Finish the plan for mystery thing #1.
  2. Finish the letter of intent for mystery thing #2.
  1. If you are one of those people and actually want to know what the hell I’m talking bout, feel free to email me 🙂 []

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Happy New Year!

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Nerd Stats 2016

Another year goes by, another row gets added to my table of nerd stats. The stats for 2016 are up until the time of publishing this (i.e., on the afternoon of Dec 31), because I’m going out for NYE tonight so won’t be sitting around counting up the remaining nerd stats. Except for the # of blog postings – I have included this one plus one more that I’ll post after this for a total of 116 – the exact number of my goal for this year.

Blog postings Tweets1 Visits to my blog Average number of blog visits per day Busiest day on my blog
2008 423 2,227 32,410 93 Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)
2009 357 1,815 45,153 126 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)
2010 344 2,302 44,689 122 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)
2011 380 3,625 60,560 166 Oct 10, 2011 (374 views)
2012 201 875 63,844 175 Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)
2013 213 945 46,665 128 Sept 4, 2013 (721 views)
2014 91 910 33,948 93 Mar 7, 2014 (208 views)
2015 118 800 34,930 96 Nov 23, 2015 (512 views)
2016 116  812  51,549  141 Jan 29, 2016 (13,968 views)
% change from 2015 -1.7% +1.5% +47.6% +46.9% +2,628%

My amount of blogging and tweeting were pretty much the same as last year, but blog views were substantially above 2015, predominantly due to a record breaking nearly 14,000 blog views on Jan 29. Almost all of those were views of a small posting I did back in 2010 about the fine print on a can of Red Bull. I haven’t the vaguest idea why.

  1. Note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2017″ posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []

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How did I do on my 2016 goals?

Abysmally.

I blame the illnesses and injuries that plagued me this year for hampering me on many of my goals, since I set a lot of physically activity related ones. I also didn’t achieve my goal of paying off 16% of my original mortgage principal, but that one was actually a deliberate choice as I’ve diverted money that I would otherwise have put towards mortgage lump sums payments towards a different opportunity #VagueBlogging

Failures include:

  • Run a sub-1:50 half marathon. My immune system going on holidays for three months prevented me from training and then my sprained ankle and hip bursitis made sure this didn’t happen!
  • Run/bike/swim 1000 km. See above. I’m cringing just thinking about checking my Runkeeper account to see how few kms I actually covered this year… OK, I looked…418.3 km. I didn’t get out on my bike even one time this year and I haven’t run since August1!
  • Run a triathlon. See above again.
  • Add 6 new medals to my collection. See above yet again. I achieved 50% of this goal, as I got a medal for each of the Hot Chocolate Run, the BMO Marathon Relay, and the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon.
  • Complete the 100 push up challenge. See above yet one more time!
  • Bring lunch to work 75% of the time. I actually don’t know if I achieved this or not because I forgot I was to track it after I returned from my trip to Australia. At that time I was at 73.86% of days where I brought my lunch to work. It’s possible that I actually did achieve this goal, as I did bring my lunch a fair bit of time in the remainder of the year, but since I didn’t track it, I can’t be sure so I’ll have to chalk this one up as a failure.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. Given my inability to be physically active for most of this year, I had to really pay attention to what I was eating to just not gain weight. So I’m taking the fact that I weigh the same today as I did on this day last year as a success (though not as an accomplishment of the goal, of course).
  • Pay off 16% of my mortgage principal. As mentioned above, I made a deliberate decision to divert money I was going to use to do this to a different opportunity, so I’m OK with not having achieved this goal. I did manage to pay off 11% of my original principal, or 14% of the principal I had remaining at the start of last year – and I have less than 15 years to go on the mortgage – so that’s pretty reasonable.
  • Complete 16 items from my 101 list. Fail.
  • Paint a room. Also failed. I still want to do this though. Maybe next year.

The goals I did actually manage to accomplish were:

  • Submit at least one article for publication. My sister and I submitted a paper together. Now that I think about it, I should probably check in on that as it’s been quite some time and I haven’t heard anything about it. I also have another paper that is 97% done – just needs a few revisions before I can submit it – I must check in with my co-authors on that one in the new year too!
  • Get screeched in. Success! In related news, screech is terrible, terrible rum.
  • Make 16 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before. Also a success!
  • Write 116 blog postings. (Or, I will have once I post this, plus the other two postings that I have half written and intend to finish before I go out for the evening.)

And I’ve just noticed as I”m writing this that I didn’t actually set 16 goals for 2016 like I thought I did. I apparently skipped #9 and #10 in my list, so I only set 14 goals! Gah! If I include my goal of reading at least 16 books in 2016 (which I set on my Goodreads page), I can say I accomplished 5/15. Sad!

  1. I did actually run for the bus last night and it was the first time in forever that I could even run for the bus without it hurting. Hooray for progress! []