Archive for May, 2007

LEARNING TO SPELL “KAZAKHSTAN”

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 by Terry

Brady’s been accepted by the Peace Corps for a stint in Kazakhstan (Kaz to the PC people). He’s gonna be working in some kind of business or community development thing….so instead of the classic PC person in scrubby shorts and t shirt, he’s gonna hafta wear a suit! ha!
He flies to Almaty on August 21(the old capital, new one is Astana)…training for 3 months in-country(intensive Russian and Kazakh language stuff, stuff on whatever he’s gonna be doing) then off to his isolated post wherever. Its the sixth largest country (I think) in area, but mostly steppe(Saskatchewan, methinks). There are mountains in the east (on the China border) and southeast (Kyrgyz border).
More as it evolves…..

D.C. Again

Friday, May 25th, 2007 by Terry

The three of use flew to DC for Brady’s graduation. Honours convocation was held outside…quite pleasant…gadzillions of high achievers…some of these kids can’t ever sleep….Brady sleeps, but at odd hours…then the next day the Graduation itself…gymnasium full of millions of relieved parents, and seemingly endless numbers of graduates (aside, they didn’t do it in alphabetical order…always a relief to us Williamsons….every time I graduated anything (yes, Scott, I did graduate something), most of the crowd had wandered off by the time they got to the W’s….I think they’re looking for the free food…anyhow, pictures of this odd event are on Viv’s Flickr site….then we ate at Chipotle’s (a chain of cheap Mexican fast food outlets) which Brady loves…(not your traditional post graduation extravaganza, but cheap)….

Trip was good …great flights on Midwest Airlines which features 2 across, leather seating and warm chocolate chip cookies….only problem, we got to Reagan airport, and Viv suddenly realized that she had ‘changed her purse” and left her keys to her brother’s apartment behind!!!…he wasn’t in DC at the time…crisis, since hotel rooms were scarce because of multiple graduations etc…thanks to the miracle of cell phones, she got in touch with him, and he had a spare set of keys in his office desk…several sweaty minutes later, he had managed to get someone to take the keys to security….remember in DC on Friday at 3 PM, finding someone at work in any government office is a miracle…then all we had to do was schlepp all our luggage through the Metro at rush hour , then walk several blocks to his office, then schlepp back to the Metro, then……..well, it worked out ok (thanks Albert!)

I used to “like” painting…

Monday, May 14th, 2007 by Ian

…or at least tolerate it once I got going, that is. It takes a fair amount of momentum to get the prep-work done, then push on into several coats of paint — I’m sure we’ve all done it.

That’s why I’m totally unhappy.

I had PROMISED Shel that I would get the ensuite bathroom done this last week. All it really just needed was to be paineted and have new towel rods and such put up. No big deal…I went about removing old fixtures, filling all the resulting holes, finishing up the trim around the shower, that kind of thing. Then Saturday I got to painting…

The first coat went on fine, nothing untoward. But when I applied the SECOND coat it got ugly. The first coat literally rolled off onto the roller! Damn! It was a hideous mess. So, I let it dry some more; thinking it was just not dry yet. Wrong. I got the second coat on, but all the while, the first coat was glopping and bunching…hideous. I let the second coat dry.

After it was all dry, there were a few places where the surface was a still a little bumpy, so I decided I’d sand it a bit then touch up. Wrong! The whole wall peeled off like bubble gum stuck to a table. It was GROSS. Of course if it had peeled ALL the way off, I could have just repainted the wall; BUT NO! As it was, it peeled in some places, took three layers off in other places, and wouldn’t budge in more places. Now I have one wall that’s all peeled and lumpy and the other two could be very “delicate” — any scratch could send it all peeling off.

The perfectionist in me is not happy.

This is my current plan. Two of the walls are “okay” though they may not last — only time will tell, but I’m NOT going to go poking at them to find out — I’ll leave them as they are. If they peel off, then I guess I’ll just have to strip and paint them. The third wall is a complete mess, so I’m peeling off what comes easily, filling the paint holes and ridges with spackle so the surface is even, then I’ll sand, prime and paint again.

I’ve painted for a living, and done MANY rooms and I’ve NEVER had this happen. All I can surmise is that the previous owners used some kind of strange, alien, oil paint when they did the room previously and I should have primed the walls before painting, but most latex paint these days is supposed to go over oil paint with no problems.

Now, I’m in for another week of coming home from work, sanding, filling, painting anda fretting about the wlls.

Sigh.

BRADY IS 21!!! BRADY GRADUATES!!!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 by Terry

May 8th is Brady’s 21st birthday. Finally, he can buy some vodka for himself. Not that he drinks much (he doesn’t), but its the principle of the thing.

More significantly, he has finished his undergraduate days. His last day was yesterday…2 exams and a paper due…the usual last minute crash! He’s probably sleeping today. He officially graduates on Saturday. Viv, Tim and I are flying out to D.C. to share in the ceremonies. We’ll all go out to some ridiculously expensive DC restaurant and enjoy the moment. He has to go through an Honours Convocation and Sat and the full graduation on Sunday. He’s done extremely well.

Now he waits to hear from the Peace Corps. He has passed several hurdles, but has 2 more…the medical clearance (which is understandably rigorous)…they said 4-6 weeks and then pointed out later it would be longer…and then although he has been nominated for a project in Central Asia, he has to be INVITED by the project manager. So conceivably, he can pass all the hurdles and not be invited anywhere. Painful process.

He will get a job for a year, if Peace Corps doesn’t come through….then go to grad school next year.

BB King!

Saturday, May 5th, 2007 by Ian

An interesting thing happened last night. A friend of mine, George, was given tickets to the BB King show at the Jubilee Auditorium — and his wife couldn’t go, so he took me! Thanks George! It was a great show — He’s an old guy (81 years old) and spent a lot of time talking, but it was fun and he played some fantastic music. We were most impressed with the bass player and drummer, who played – literally – non-stop for 2 hours. Even while BB was talking, they were vamping behind him — continuously!

Now the cool part. Nicki, another friend of mine, had met BB King’s bus driver at a bar a couple nights before. He gave her some tickets to the show, and offered to take them backstage afterwards. Well, she let George and I tag along, so we went and met BB King!

It was very cool! There were about 20 of us that went backstage, and it was like BB was holding court. He was sitting in a comfy chair, and you went to him, he didn’t come to you. But he seemed like a really nice old guy. Asked us how we were, what we thought of the show, you know, small talk stuff. But still, it was VERY COOL.

Anyway, the gallery has a BB King gallery now with cell phone pictures for proof, and I scanned the photo that he autographed for us. Yes, right there for us.

Thanks again George and Nicki!