Saturday, April 4

Shelter at Home!

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. We've taken advantage of the nice weather and dried streets and sidewalks to get out regularly for walks. On this chart, you can call up various countries to see how we're doing at flattening the curve; you can also see that the USA is doing worst of all. Our government has issued stark predictions of the death toll we may expect here as the virus runs its course. We are hoping that by the time we catch this, there will be effective treatments available, and a low enough infection rate that we will be treated successfully. It is an anxious time we live in, as we just heard today that friends of ours are infected. We shudder to think of the devastation this may wreak on countries in the developing world who do not have the personal and medical options that we experience. We have continued to pitter away at various projects. We try to make Saturday Brunch a bit special each week.
Yummy Eggs Benny
Otherwise, we remain sheltered at home against the pandemic, and we thank Travis and Joanna for bringing us groceries again this week.
Easier from Scratch!
Wendy spent a lot of time this week working to repair a quilt for Shawn. I now have an approved design for the oak trim on the sliding kitchen door. The markets have continued to be extremely volatile in the economic turbulence caused by CV-19. I managed a green week, but not up to quota, while I remain with very little invested.
Can you tell we're smiling?!
We are both recovering nicely from our head-colds, and want nothing to do with the nastier disease running rampant around the world these days. We now see over 1 million confirmed cases with over 300 thousand plaguing our southern neighbours. Due to their lack of leadership, they have failed to take up the fight seriously, and have accumulated more than twice as many cases as any other country. Even now, some states remain without shelter-in-place orders.

Erica writes, "Another week in the post-apocalyptic world of COVID-19. Eric and I continue to work from home. We have tried to get into a routine but my inner child fights routine so it is difficult. I have to bribe myself to make myself do what I need to do—it’s so frustrating. Liam has decided that he will give notice at his apartment and move home in April. We are looking forward to having him home where we can watch over every cough and sniffle. But that also means our current work areas will no longer work. Eric has set up an office space in the basement and I am working on my desk to go into the middle room. The desk I picked up on Kijiji for $60 needs a little TLC. One of the drawers had pulled apart and in trying to put it back together, we found that one piece was slightly warped. So we are dampening the wood in hopes of making it flat. We also found several missing and loose screws and a lack of wood glue used throughout. We are hoping once we put it back together it will be more stable. Then, some cleaning and beeswax and it should hopefully be good to go." Haaken continues to work at Costco in Victoria, but has switched assignments, so he is helping with cleaning and disinfecting. 

Erin and Kristian continue with shelter at home in Regina. Schools have returned to action this week but with online activities only. Many homes are decorating their windows, so they added hearts to their windows. Now, if Lucy will just leave the decorations alone!
Sweet view!
Erin has also been doing some baking since she's finding lots of time on her hands. Today she made an apple crisp—I wish I had been there for that! She also made up a baked pancake with blueberries, but that was a disaster since Kristian ate the whole thing!! Must have been great! 

Trav, Joanna and crew are coping with the isolation. They continue to do some shopping for us, and we appreciate that. Andrew's pharmacy ran short of N95 face filters, so he refused to work one day. We hope they'll get that taken care of even though Trump has taken some of our N95 supplies away. 

Anyway, that's the kind of week it's been. 

Saturday, March 28

Maintain your Distance!

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has improved further; some nights are remaining above zero and the snow is disappearing quickly. We remained isolated at home during the pandemic. We take the precautions of gloves and breathing filters when we go out. It is still too early to tell whether Canada is being successful with the social-distancing strategy, as at present, we're over 5000 cases and the growth curve (see updated chart) is not encouraging. China has been relaxing the constraints and returning to work. We are watching their results and hoping for the best. I had my appointment with my Clot Doctor on Friday to discuss the DVTs in my left leg. My bloodwork was all positive; she was encouraged to see some small amount of flow through the veins, and agreed with my conclusion that I am now getting adequate drainage from my thigh. I continue to exercise my hand at home, since my physiotherapy sessions are all cancelled. The fingers are sore right now, as I had a set back this week when I over-exerted it while assembling Wendy's new chair that she ordered from Costco.
Ordered Sun; arrived Wed!
The chair looks good and feels firm and comfortable. Wendy continues to recover from her head cold, but it appears she has passed it along to me! I have done more work on the sliding door and have received approval on my two change order applications! Now, I need to apply for an extension on the completion date, and request an advance—that pretty much tears it for a contractor! The markets continued the wild ride this week. I remain mostly on the sidelines, but I managed to make a gain this week, and I'm in the green for this turbulent month as well. Sports continues to be postponed, but I'm am enjoying watching some of the reruns. We've been watching the Netflix series on Pandemics—quite instructive! Meanwhile the real movie plays on outside our doors. USA did not take it seriously, and now they have over 120,000 cases, more than any other country. We are having great concern as the virus moves into India, and into sub-Saharan Africa. It's hard to relate to the toll in death and human suffering that is being experienced all over the world.

Erica writes: "Eric and I haven’t killed each other yet, though I have figured out how I would do it if necessary! We have continued with our night training videos (the Walking Dead) and Eric feels he needs to take up archery. We are settling into the routine of working from home, but Eric misses his usual coffee break and lunch break colleagues. I’ve suggested he should set up a zoom coffee break. Today, we are going on a supply run. Liam is now completely at home in Moose Jaw. He applied for EI and is working on his web comic and other creative ventures. He is deciding whether he needs to give notice and move back to PA. Haaken is still able to work, helping with the enhanced cleaning measures. We’ve talked to him a few times and he seems to be okay. Greg Livingston reports that he still working very long hours delivering food and supplies. He is another type of front line worker at this time and we hope and pray he remains healthy."

Erin continues to work at Taylor Motors, although about half their workforce has been given layoff notices. Kristian is operating from home with mixed success in meeting expectations! It is likely his teachers will begin supplying learning activities online beginning next week. That should help with his preparations for high school, which, we hope, begins in the Fall. Today, we had a nice FaceTime chat with them while Kristian was making chocolates.
One day, Travis and Joanna did grocery shopping for us, so we did not have to go out. They dropped off the groceries on the front step. We enjoyed chatting with them from the front step to the driveway. Thanks guys! Andrew got good news in that his boss has tested negative for CV-19. He continues to work at the Walmart Pharmacy. Gemma is doing more coursework, but online these days. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, March 21

Stay at home!

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has remained stuck in the same rut—ascending to melting temperatures during the day, but dropping back to freezing every night. We even had some snow one day, and I got to scrape it off the driveway one more time! We remained isolated at home during the pandemic. It is still too early to tell whether Canada is being successful with the social-distancing strategy, as at present, we're over 1000 cases and the growth curve (this chart will upgrade at the end of each day) is not encouraging. China has broken the curve, and reports no domestic cases for the last couple of days. They are now taking down barriers and checkpoints; let's hope they are not being premature on this! I had one more medical appointment this week, getting blood work done for my Clot Doctor. I am scheduled to see her next week, but her staff have called to reset it as a phone appointment to avoid the unnecessary physical contact. I have had a fresh ultrasound done on my leg, and now with the blood work, I hope she has some good news for my on changes in my DVTs. I believe the clots in my thigh have dissolved, but I don't know what to think about the clotting in my calf area. My physiotherapy appointments have all been cancelled in light of Covid-19, as have the dental cleaning appointments for both of us. I exercise my hand at home, and I do feel it is gradually improving. Wendy has been ill most of the week; she came down with a head cold (causing us some trepidation!), but seems much improved yesterday and today. She did complete a nightgown using material she got from her mom, many years ago.
The memories are even more precious!
The markets have remained moribund—we had three red days and two green days this week. This resulted in further losses in the indices overall, and I am satisfied to remain on the sidelines. It seems all the sports I like to watch are suspended due to the virus, but I've been enjoying watching some reruns of last year's play! And, plenty of Netflix; we've been watching. I have caught up on Occupied, and we're now watching a new series: Virgin River

Eric/A are in self isolation in PA. Both were able to work from home this week. This was punctuated by Erica's birthday on Wednesday which featured both food and cake treats!
Birthday Supper a la maison! 
La G√Ęteau!
 Eric has been figuring out how to provide counselling from home over the internet.
Therapy couch not necessary!
Liam’s work has shut down and RU practices are cancelled. So he’s working on his art projects full time. Haaken’s work is still open. He is busy providing enhanced cleaning. We are starting to wonder if he might have had the virus back in January, when he was sick with a cough for six weeks. Nobody else around him has gotten sick, but he does tend to excel at social distancing. I suppose we will never know for certain. Greg has been extra busy lately with food deliveries. Truckers have been really busy, working longer than usual hours.

School did get cancelled in Saskatchewan as well, so Kristian is picking up his domestic side. It is reported that he really enjoys the new vacuum cleaner—a boy after his grandma's heart! Erin has continued to go in to work, although Regina has now declared a state of emergency, so that may be changing as well, although the service department is considered an essential service. Kristian has built up a group of friends from school and they are able to chat and play games on line, so he's not totally cut off. 

Andrew has returned to health and to work. His boss recently returned from international travel, and is now being tested for Covid-19! That's a concern! Gemma was diagnosed with strep throat, and is gradually recovering her health under medication with antibiotics. Travis and Joanna continue to self-isolate; we miss them! 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, March 14

Wash Your Hands!

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather seems to be stuck in a rut; we get some melting each day, but we fall back to freezing temperatures every night, so the snow is disappearing very slowly. It has been a crazy week with the COVID-19 developments. We remain well, and are hunkered down at home while we watch with concern over those with vulnerable health conditions. To some extent, that includes us, as we're in the age group of vulnerability, and I have a long-standing proclivity for pneumonia. We continue to be busy with medical care; Wendy has been driving me around to various appointments, and sometimes accompanying me to ensure I'm being well-cared for! I've had two more physiotherapy sessions, and am well-pleased with the interventions being executed. I also had followup bloodwork for my GP, and an ultra-sound on my leg with the DVTs to see how that is going. There will be more appointments with the doctors concerned to find out the results. We started the week celebrating Wendy's birthday with the rest of our family here. The children bought her a set of Finnish luncheon plates, while grandkids pitched in for a gift card to her favourite beauty salon—nice!
Happy 70th Birthday!
Lovely Gifts
It has not been busy for me in the markets as I remain on the sidelines while all North American indices have descended into bear market levels. Russia and Saudi Arabia have launched an oil price war, and the Canadian economy is collateral damage in that battle. Investors seem most cautious about the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, so, we hope all countries are taking it seriously and will engage it properly. China seems to have come through it, and is now launching aid campaigns to other areas that are hard hit, most notably, Italy, at this point. In any case, we did get a bit of recovery on Friday, so we hope that will carry through into next week. Sporting news this week was all about cancellation due to the virus. March Madness will really be missed, especially in that my Jayhawks were ranked #1, unanimously. We had a lot of hope for a good run! Hockey is also cancelled for now, and I was just starting to get ready for baseball season, but that's also in hiatus. I like watching golf, but that's cancelled. Women's World Curling championships were supposed to begin today—also cancelled, sigh! Netflix—here I come!

Erica writes: "My crazy full weekend has been completely wiped out by COVID-19. Everything has been cancelled and Eric and I have been at home since Thursday. With his asthma, he is being particularly careful as this is a respiratory disease. Liam has continued to do his drawing and working at The Tunnels and dancing. He is scheduled for a tour, but we wait to see if it will be cancelled. Haaken has sorted out his student loans. He continues with work at Costco, which, apparently, is the place to be!"

School is still on in Regina for the time being, although some extra-curricular programs are being hit by sanctions during the government/teachers dispute. School here is off for the next three weeks. Erin has made a few purchases and her girls enjoyed being the demo models to show them off!
Lucy demos the Stick Vacuum

Sadie with the Smoothie Maker

Travis and Joanna have been nursing a sick household over there, so we've avoided the place! They were by a couple of times, but they're able to do more stuff from home now that they have their new printer over there. They began the week with a lovely birthday supper out at Appleby's for Wendy, but Andrew was already sick at that point; he remains ill. Gemma took sick during the week.

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, March 7

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has been quite nice although we got a bit of snow on Wednesday. Really, it was just a small amount of snow, but it was driven by heavy winds, so we got an accumulation in our driveway. We cleared it up, and blew it onto the lawn on Thursday. A sunny Friday cleaned and dried the driveway, and we're enjoying +6 today. We've been busy catching up on medical appointments this week. I had bloodwork and X-rays on Monday. I had a follow-up with my oncologist early Tuesday morning. My PSA remains elevated (13.8), so he continues to monitor the situation. From there, I visited my plastic surgeon to consider the X-ray results and the situation with my snow-blower bitten fingers. He was well satisfied with the progress and did not share my concern over my index finger. He did predict that I would lower my handicap to single digits this season with my rebuilt fingers! On Thursday, I was back to the physiotherapist. He did share my concern, and has fashioned a protective cast to support my finger tip, and allow the bone to knit properly—I am very relieved.
Looking pretty good!

Other fingers bend normally

Index—not so much!
My new plastic cast
I will be continuing with physio treatments for the next while and will revisit the doctor in June. And I've had to arrange everything to fit between Brier draws on TV! The markets have remained terrible, no good and very bad, with two days of green just to keep our attention. Fears surrounding the economic impact of COVID-19 have rattled all countries. Both USA and Canada have confirmed the seriousness of it by unprecedented emergency rate cuts of 0.5% to the prime rates. Unsurprisingly, investors responded with a big sell-off—"We didn't know it was so serious until they cut the rates!" Yikes! I've been out of the market except for my one buy-n-hold dividend payer. Fortunately, it managed to pay me my weekly quota this week. I continue to consider alternatives, and prepare to buy in when things settle. NHL teams continue the playoff drive; all my teams continue their shaky play! KU held their #1 ranking and secured a record 62nd Conference Championship with their wins this week. It's almost time for March Madness—the pinnacle of the basketball season for me. The Brier was the main feature this week. My 8 picks all made the Championship Pool, and since only 1 team was eliminated in the pool, I'm also claiming that my 4 teams advanced to the playoffs. Unfortunately, my guy, Kevin Koe, was eliminated today. My pick, Brad Jacobs, won two games today, but lost to Brad Gushue tonight. So, I will be cheering for Matt Dunstone to relieve Saskatchewan's long drought with a national championship. Brendan Bottcher of Alberta is already waiting in the final tomorrow. 

Erica writes, "Well, I’m afraid my parents will die and then roll over in their graves. I attended a Sask Party dinner this week. In my defence, it was a work function. But, as Scott Moe was going around shaking hands I told him that March 18, budget day, is my birthday, and that I’d like a present—something in the budget for Lipedema! Liam is at an RU event in Saskatoon this week, after which he will head to PA. He has another iron infusion on Monday. Haaken continues with work at Costco. He’s is also navigating the student loan repayment process."

I worked with Kristian to edit an essay he wrote defending Batman as the best super-hero. Hey, I was convinced! He's had a good week in school. They're enjoying the arrival of Spring weather in Regina. Today, Erin is preparing some delicious smelling ribs using my Rib Rub recipe. And, their pets are cute! (As opposed to the next pet news below!)

Joanna returned from southern Ontario. We're glad to have her back. Travis and Joanna continue to work both from home and the office downstairs here. The family has selected new pets—rats! Three rats have been added to the family—we're not so glad of that development!
See what I mean?!
Trav has produced an item for Grandpa K's 95th birthday!
Yes, it's a Pope Chest!

And that's about it for this week! 

Saturday, February 29

Leap Year Day!

Another week has passed and we have returned to the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The warming trend has arrived here as well, and we're enjoying watching the beginning of the melt. Bernard and Alicia returned early Tuesday morning.
We enjoyed our weeks with Dad!
We had a lovely visit with Eloise, Don, Sandra, Linda and Chris on Sunday afternoon; Dave was also there for that gathering. On Tuesday, we grabbed coffee time with cousin Grace. Then, we stopped in to catch up with Aunt Ina, Donna, and Enid. Aunt Ina, who is in her 100th year, is currently in the Wascana Centre, but was looking forward to release to her home on Thursday. We packed up and headed east on Wednesday. After overnighting in Winnipeg, we completed the trip on Thursday. It is good to be home. It was interesting to notice Wendy cleaning the house, and to recall that she had also done so just before we left three weeks ago! We have arranged our medical, physiotherapy and dental appointments for the month of March, so we'll begin that process next week as I get a check up on the progress of my broken fingers. Today, she had a barbershop music workshop all day with the Sweet Adelines. The markets continued their slide this week, falling to "correction" levels, and enduring losses not seen in over ten years. Sadly, I also participated in some of those losses as I did not sell out as soon as I should have. Now, I'm down to just one small dividend stock, and will be looking for signals and opportunities to buy back in once the crisis of confidence is over. I was busy last week with the Scotties. My pick, Kerri Einarson, along with her third, Maryfield favourite, Val Sweeting, won the championship. They'll now don Team Canada colours for the World Championship on Prince George. We got back just in time as the Brier began last night with the Wild Card game. There are many high quality teams in the field. I will be cheering for my longtime favourite, Kevin Koe. However, although he's defending champion, he's only ranked #6 in this field. The Brads, McEwen, Epping and even his fellow Alberta team are ranked ahead of him. I'm picking all of those teams to make the championship round, and hopefully SK and MB as well. Then, I'm picking the Brads, Epping and Koe to make the medal round, and I'm picking Brad Jacobs to win it all. (Of course, I'll be delighted if Kevin surprises me!) NHL teams continue their push toward the playoffs; my teams remain in the hunt. As expected the Jayhawks were elevated to #1 ranking. They won their games this week, and now seem in line to capture their conference championship once again.

Erica writes: "I've left Eric—for the weekend. I’m at ladies' retreat with some friends from PA. Eric is celebrating his freedom by playing a bunch of card hockey games. My new medication seems to be working. I’m feeling more positive and Eric says I’m better to be around.
She's travelling incognito!
Liam had another iron infusion and is scheduled for a third for his Gramma’s Birthday. We hope this brings his iron and hemoglobin up. Haaken is submitting an entry to a screen play contest. We are praying that goes well, or that he, at least, gets some helpful feedback which is part of the process."

We enjoyed spending time with Erin and Kristian while we were in Regina. Kristian has grown so much in the last year that we're wondering whether his golf clubs will last him for a second season. He's now taller than Erin and taller than his grandma.

Joanna is currently helping with family in southern Ontario. Travis checked in today with Minnie. All seem to be doing well. Andrew has begun work as a pharmacist's assistant at one of the Walmart Pharmacies here. Trav informed me that their latest team photo bookings brings this season's total to a new record—121! He''s a bit concerned with the faltering play of his Penguins of late, although they are still holding on to a playoff position.

And that's enough for this week! 

Saturday, February 22

News Update

Another week has passed and we remain on the shore of Lake Wascana, in the middle of the prairies. The weather has switched to very mild, with temperatures above freezing, and even pushing +7 today! We have had another good week here with dad in Regina. Wendy has joined me in the drywalling; she has repainted the ceiling in the entry and begun priming of the other drywall repairs. Unfortunately, last night she found a crack we had been overlooking, so I was back to the repairs this morning. I still have some small electrical jobs to clean up as well. On the long weekend, the Baileys were here, so I was able to pass along the three-legged sawhorses I had built for them. The markets have veered wildly to the downside toward the end of this week as the fears of the coronavirus and the realities of the economic downturn in the USA caused a sell-off! It was another losing week for me as I looked for ways to buy back in, but failed to find any. All my teams are currently in playoff position in the NHL, but all are also precarious. It's the trade deadline time, and all contenders and pretenders are looking to make deals. A big week for my Jayhawks as they won both games and today went into Waco and took down the #1 team! Rock Chalk boys! But the main attention of my week has been the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. All of my teams made the Championship Pool, and two advanced to the medal round. However, McCarville lost to Homan this afternoon, so, it's just my betting favourite Einarson left in the championship game tomorrow. 

The Bailey's including Liam were here over the long weekend, so we enjoyed catching up with them. Now, Eric/A are back in PA, and Liam is in Moose Jaw. Eric enjoyed watching his Canucks take down the #1 Bruins this evening! We enjoyed it here in Regina as well. 

We're enjoying getting to spend a bit of time with Kristian this week as he's having Spring Break from school. Erin has also been over for a few meals, and Shaw and Liam joined us for our standard Uncle Dave Pizza night yesterday. Western Pizza is incomparable, and we really enjoyed that. Kristian has taken lessons and received the equipment for making chocolates. He enjoys making them, and eating them! Tonight, Kristian served as the quiz master and we enjoyed a game of trivia.

Travis and Joanna are keeping busy and managing things back in TBay. I have managed to chat him through a few hockey games as we're enjoying his connections to get the Leaf games that are blacked out here. The Leafs and Pens played twice this week, so that was a bit extra special. 

And that's about enough for this week.