Tag Archives: lifestyle

Check Your Sump Pump!

It’s fall, check your sump pump!

Flooded basements make the news in the spring and fall each and every year. Neglect, power failures, poor drainage, changing seasons, and rapidly changing weather are almost always one or more of the causes of a flooded basement.

You can’t control the weather or the seasons. Sudden heavy rains, warm snaps in the dead of winter, the spring thaw and the onset of rainy fall weather can all cause wet basements.

sump pumpBut battling mother nature isn’t always hard. Checking your sump pump and making sure you’ve got good drainage for your eaves troughs is often all the work you need to do to keep your basement dry.

Living in a 130 year old home and working as a Realtor has taught me quite a bit about drainage and sump pumps. My 1889 property has a sump pump just like almost every new home built over the last 20 years.

sump pumpThese are installed in new homes as a preventative against water penetration and as remediation in old homes such as mine. The system consists of perforated piping (called weeping tile) on the outside of the foundation that directs ground water to a sump, which is a shallow pit in the basement that collects the water. The sump pump sits in the sump and periodically empties this water to the outside of the home.

Your sump pump has to work extra hard if you live in an area with a high water table, or have soil with poor drainage such as the clay that is quite common in Waterloo region. Ground water simply wants to go wherever it can, running as water does, from high places to low. Draining water away from the foundation is the weeping tile’s job since it sits lower than your basement walls, but it’s also a good idea to get the water away from your foundation so your sump pump doesn’t have to deal with it.

sump pumpYou can do this by adding extension pipes to the ends of your downspouts. 10 feet is a good distance, or you can get really ambitious like I did. A couple of years back I dug drainage piping for my eaves-troughs a good 20 or 30 feet from my house.

Prior to my hard work, the spring thaw and heavy thunder storms would often mean a wet laundry room but now the room is bone dry. As an added bonus my sump pump hardly comes on at all except for a couple of weeks in the spring.

Needless to say, having a working pump is even more important than good drainage. Pump failures definitely cause the vast majority of flooded basements. Check your sump pump now and keep your basement dry! Watch the video if you want to learn even more.


Everything You Need To Know About Sump Pumps

Rodding For Reading 2018

The sweet smell of unburned hydrocarbons hit my nose and I knew I’d arrived. Rodding For Reading is a classic car show in support of The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region. These old cars brought me right back to my youth when gas was very cheap indeed. The Lead Kings Car Club provided the beautiful machinery. We lucked out with perfect weather and a great turnout.

The Literacy Group provides a number of great programs helping adults improve their skills, such as reading, writing, mathematics or using modern electronics. I volunteer with TLG helping people update their IT skills and really enjoy seeing the progress made by our students. Our volunteer work is free, but the cost of running our programs is not. Rodding For Reading is crucial for raising funds and awareness for the important work done by The Literacy Group.

Here’s a pile of shots from today’s event!

Rodding For Reading

1973 Mustang Convertible

Rodding For Reading

327 in Nova

Rodding For Reading

327 Nova

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Buying A New Phone

I’m cranky! Perhaps it’s my age and perhaps my mindset is a holdover from days when product lifetimes were measured in years and decades instead of months.

I had to get a new phone the other day because my old one bricked itself.

I should be happy! Buying a new phone is great, right? Maybe so, and maybe not…

Despite my love for technology I’m not one of those questionable sorts who camp out all night for the latest gadget.

I’m grumbly because dealing with technology is often a pain and the lifespan of today’s products is woefully short.

I come from a generation that fixes stuff. Trying to do anything less is wasteful in my opinion.

So I learned how to reflash my dead Nexus 5, but to no avail.

I’d managed to get the phone and PC connected but the phone refused every attempt at re-flashing the operating system. Since I’m not a coder the learning curve was steep and painful. In the end I wasted a lot of time confirming my phone was dead.

My new Samsung S8 is great but I liked my old phone just fine. Buying a new phone and setting it up was almost as annoying as trying to fix my old phone.

It’d be great if my new phone lasted longer than the three and a half years my Nexus 5 did, but I’m not counting on it. Why can’t we build stuff to last?

Buying A New Phone

Does A Messy Desk Equal Genius?

The universe loves entropy. It’s the final state of everything if given enough time. This seems eerily familiar to those of us with messy desks and cars.

Can I justify the mess because ‘creatives’ are just born this way? I’m intelligent, and that too is an indicator that I may be prone to slovenliness. Does a messy desk equal genius? According to Cosmo, yes, so it must be true :O

I think being messy is a choice first and foremost. I am prone to this because cleaning and organizing do not excite me whatsoever. I’ve always got things to plan out, reading to catch up on and a million and one other things to do. But cleaning up is necessary simply because of the entropy I mentioned.

My desk’s level of entropy is quite high from time to time, but not so bad that papers wander off. They have their places and no one touches them except me. The entropy in-between my ears causes me to sometimes forget where exactly I put things that’s all.

But the real estate business is not hard in an administrative way. The forms we use are standard and the processing of agreements is typically routine. It’s primarily electronic these days although I do keep paper back-ups as well. These are kept in separate folders far away from the chaos.

Does a messy desk equal geniusSo most of the mess on my desk comes from somewhere else. It is the end result of marketing, doing Open Houses and searches for properties. These things generate a lot of paper. The recycling bin beside me was empty 3 months ago. My Epson Eco-tank printer has gone through 3700 sheets of paper and it isn’t a year old yet.

Being busy and entropy go hand in hand. I come home many nights after dinner and drop the day’s work on my desk. Next day I’m out again with the same clients or new ones and the process repeats. Other times it’s a scramble to get out the door. I’m busy shaving or brushing my teeth while the printer is doing its thing, and fingers crossed nothing goes wrong!

The same can be said for receipts. I buy a lot of stuff for my business at stores, in person. What’s the easiest quickest place to put stuff; the centre console glovebox of my car of course! Come tax time it’s full and I fill a grocery bag bringing it in the house.

Does a messy desk equal geniusAnyway, my taxes are done and my desk is reasonably clean again. I’ve battled chaos inside the house in my office and downstairs in the the man cave as well. The car is another matter entirely. The warm sunny days of late with the sunroof open bathe my dashboard in blinding light and all I see is dust and dirty windows. There’s motes of entropy everywhere! I’d better get cleaning….


Things I Think About Just Riding Along

Am I going to smash my face on the bars or the pavement? This isn’t normally something I’d think just riding along. My friend had sheared the front off his bike once doing huge 8 foot drops to flat. But he is naturally athletic and somehow avoided mangling his good looks. I’d hit the manhole cover at 50 km/h and the impact sounded like a musical note in its purity. A sharp ringing hit my ears as my tire deflected off one of the squares cast into the surface.

It was over before I had time to react and I’m stunned I didn’t crash. I didn’t even get a flat tire. When I got home I carefully inspected my front rim for cracks and dents. I checked over the rest of the bike for damage. Nothing amiss, no cracks, the carbon fiber fork and my own handiwork were fine.Just Riding Along

All bikes break at some point, especially higher end stuff, but this one is mine. Questions of engineering matter but my skill counts too. I’d stopped worrying about the first one I built long ago. But this one is new and untested. If it breaks I’d prefer it happen years from now from metal fatigue instead of poor workmanship on my part.

Those first few pedal strokes on a new frame cause the heart to flutter a bit. My ears are super human and attuned to pick up the slightest creaking or cracking. All those joints under tension or compression. How good are they? Continue reading