Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sun, Surf, and Sleep - Day 2-3 in Puerto Rico

I am having trouble with slow internet and slow computers, so I am going to post some entries with no pictures for now, and then add pics later. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I was pondering the whole vacation thing and how much work and stress it requires, and inevitably it brings up the question, why do it? Wouldn’t life be so much easier to stay home, save some money, get some things done, and not worry about it? Well, to that I would answer with the question, wouldn’t life be much easier if you never left your house?

The reality is, life takes a little effort, and taking the easy way out is not a good MO, at least from my perspective. I see this all the time with parenting, and having tried my best to take the easy way out for most of my life, I’ve learned that when you do this, it makes it that much harder to deal with life’s challenges because you avoid them. Choosing the easy and comfortable path makes you afraid of deviating from the path of least resistance, and let’s face it, you have to deviate now and then, sometimes more than others. I’ve found that you can’t realize this until you actually do it, and until you do it, it’s so easy to avoid it altogether. There is huge resistance to taking a vacation, but we always had a great time, and the trips are always memorable.

I’m saying this because this time around was no different. When R mentioned wanting to take a trip, my first impulse was, “Now?” There is so much to take care of, so many things to deal with, not to mention the cost. Why do it? Well, the answer is, because it’s there. In all honesty, I find that three things happen when we travel, and that’s that I lose weight, I get lots of sleep, and we spend lots of time together. Time that will not be available forever when you’re interacting with pre-teen and teenage children.

This time around is no different. We are day 3 of our trip, and things are going well. The trip over was amazingly smooth, we made our flight with time to spare, the flight was spacious and comfortable, and we flight over was uneventful. We landed in San Juan around 9:30PM and took a cab over to the Hampton Inn, which is much like a Hampton Inn that you would encounter in the states, except that it had a little PR flair. I sort of liked that.

We got a good night’s sleep, had a killer breakfast (scrambled eggs instead of pre-fab round ones), and then hit the pool. The weather was rainy and hot, but the sun came out after breakfast and we had a blast in the pool. Just an observation, not too many people seem to swim and have fun in the pool, we had it pretty much to ourselves. By 10:00AM, they opened the bar, and I have to say, it’s beyond me having drinks that early.

We swam for several hours, then walked over to get our rental car. San Juan is an interesting city, redolent of NYC but near the beach, a little edgy, but fun for the young and the restless. We got our car and hit the road. PR is much greener than I remember, very lush and fertile. The roads are nice, and people don’t drive like crazy Europeans. It was very manageable.

By the afternoon, we had arrived in Rincon, and you could tell we were in surf city. Surf shops everywhere in a very “beachy” atmosphere. It was like being at home. The plan was to get our room, check out the beach, and get some surfing in. Not too much to ask, is it?

To be continued, but suffice it to say that Rincon is very cool, we love it here. I even managed to rent a board, hit the surf, and catch some waves. Best of all, I actually surfed the waves and the kids got to see it. How can you beat that. For the record, the surfing beaches are not for the faint of heart, very rocky, no sand, and a killer reef to stress me out. The waves were too rough for kids, as well, so it wasn’t ideal from a family perspective. However, they were good waves, and it felt good to be out there.

Just one last hilarious note, there is an ice skating rink in town. You just can’t get away from this stuff. Lots of cool stuff in downtown Rincon, as well, including a killer indoor skate park, and a BMX race track, both of which spoke to N’s heart.

Today is Tuesday, and we’ll head out for the rainforest. More on Rincon later, until then, thanks for reading.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Puerto Rico Day 1 - Smooth Sailing

I’m finding that with each trip, I am more and more relaxed, maybe even too much so. Usually I approach vacations with anxiety and stress, which is really ridiculous when you think about it. Why wouldn’t you look forward to fun in the sun, but I often think that’s the world we live in, where you’re made to feel guilty to go away to enjoy your life. Anyway, I find it silly, even though it’s ingrained in me.

This time around, I felt pretty relaxed, maybe because many of our obligations (hockey) are over. It really helped that the trip went very smoothly from the get-go. We caught the early bus to the airport, which got us there with a couple of hours to spare. The alternative would have been to catch the later bus and have half an hour before our flight, but we opted to get there earlier, which I’m all for. I packed sandwiches and snacks, and we were on our way.

Getting through security was a breeze since we had time and didn’t need to rush. We also got to watch hockey and lacrosse highlights on TV while we were waiting because there are TVs everywhere, wherever we go. Our initial flight was to N. Carolina, then a connection to San Juan. We experienced something that is extremely rare when traveling, and that’s a flight that wasn’t packed like a cattle car. I can’t remember a time when they didn’t squeeze as many people onto the plane as possible.

The first leg of our trip was full but not packed, which was pleasant except for the guy next to me kept picking his nose and wiping it on his cocktail napkin. The second leg to PR was really empty. There were entire rows of empty seats, so we all got our own row. When was the last time that happened? The kids sat together because they wanted to watch a movie, but R and I both got our own rows. The idea was to lay down to take a nap, but I found that to be extremely uncomfortable. It’s just nice to have all that space. Such a rarity.

I’ve also noticed that airlines have really pared down the amenities. We got drinks, but no peanuts, not even pretzels. Luckily, we had snacks. Planning goes a long way when you’re on the road. We landed in San Juan around 9:30PM, so we caught a quick cab to the hotel and then went to bed. It was really smooth sailing up to that point, and I’m grateful for that because traveling is a challenge even under the best of circumstances.

Our hotel in San Juan was nice, a Hampton’s Inn, but in my opinion, nicer than other ones we’ve stayed in. Even the generic breakfast seemed a little more pleasant, though I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe because we were island mode and everything seemed more cheerful. The weather is warm, with a bit of rain, but that’s a tropical climate for you.

Until the next time, thanks for reading and thanks to Evo55 for the pic.

Up and Away

First day of our vacation, and as usual, we’re going down to the wire. We scrambled to pack last night, though warm weather trips require much less in terms of stuff. I can’t imagine how much stuff you’d need to go somewhere cold. In fact, how do people manage ski vacations, not to mention the cost?

Either way, we’re off, and as usual, there are all the pre-travel anxieties. Traveling really is a good lesson in how to lighten up, because there are so many reasons not to do it, and yet whenever we travel, it is an awesome experience. Even still, it takes an enormous amount of energy and wherewithal to motivate and be inspired. You really have to love traveling to overcome the inertia and pre-travel jitters. We are fortunate to have mom for that, because left to my own devices, I would take the easier, more timid/afraid route and just stay home. There are a million things that need to be done around the house.

Also lucky for us is the fact that the kids enjoy traveling, but who doesn’t love going to the beach? I am hoping that we can get some surfing in this trip, but I’ve learned that unless you really go for it, it can’t be the central focus of the trip. To do that, you really have to plan on going somewhere like California or Florida and just stay near the beach. Then you can get some surfing in, because it takes a bit of effort to get a board and make it to the waves, i.e., you have to make it as easy as possible, especially when you’re traveling with kids. It also becomes an issue of priorities, because I would go to great lengths to transport my board and get to the waves, but I may be alone in that level of willingness and dedication, at least for now.

I think Hawaii would work out nicely, or maybe a trip to California to see... gulp, my mom.

Either way, we have to catch an early bus and then we’re off to Logan. It’s always nice just getting started, then the trip is moving and I don’t have to fret anymore about preparation. It’s done, time to move on.

We’re supposed to reach PR in the evening, so I probably won’t be able to post for a bit. Stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Heaven`s Gate (John) for the pic.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More Hockey Drama

Just when I thought the picture couldn’t get more muddled, it went and got more muddled, and it took me completely by surprise. A month or two back when we weren’t sure what the future of N’s hockey team was, we were toying with the idea of finding another program, mainly because we were a bit incensed at the atmosphere on his team. Now I have no illusions about loyalty when it comes to playing with one program or another, though it sounds nice in theory.

The problem arises when people are completely self-serving. It’s not unlike economic theory. The whole free market approach sounds appealing, but in reality, it not only does not exist, but it is not the best approach, and leads to problems. Some cooperation has to occur because life does not occur in a vacuum.

The same is true for anything, when you are so fixated on your own interests at the expense of everything around you, everyone suffers. Plus, it makes the world a selfish, cold, and callous place. Why not think of others now and then?

Case in point, hockey. Now everyone thinks the world of their own kid, but some people feel their child is the best thing to happen to hockey since the invention of the Zamboni. Best of all, we get to hear all about how their kid’s needs are not being met by the painful inadequacies of the team. With this in mind, I had some sense that some people would be looking for greener pastures, I just didn’t expect that it would be on this level.

Several people have been caught up in the same seductive lure of promise that the big city program offers, and the other night when we got together to talk hockey, it came to light that these guys are thinking of defecting over. I was a little floored because I figured their needs would be met the next season in our own program, whereby their kids will be graduating to the next level. The team will be strong. In addition to the senior members of N’s team moving up, they have a strong core of returning players, so they will be really good.

However, there was much discussion of moving their kids over. I was surprised in both instances, which is not completely warranted given that we were thinking the same thing. Our motivations, however, are based on the existence of a team, or lack thereof. Since so many people are pursuing their own interests, the team itself is in jeopardy of not coming to fruition. This is a bummer, but the writing is on the wall. At some point, we are going to have to re-think the organization of hockey in this area.

In retrospect, the fact that one of the players is thinking of moving makes sense. He’s very talented, compounded by the fact that all season, his parents indicated that the he was “suffering” from playing on a team that was completely beneath him (at times they went as far as to say he cried because he was so frustrated). I.e., what a waste of his time and talent. These are things I heard firsthand on a continual basis, and granted, the kid is a really good player, but that’s not a very team-friendly way to view things, not to mention unsportsmanlike. I really like his parents, too, but it just added more drama to an already dramatic situation, though I wonder if they felt the same way when the team went undefeated and were viable candidates for the state championship.

As much as I’d miss them, it might be the best thing for him to just transfer over to the big city program. Better team, better resources, better coaching, more of what they may be looking for in a hockey program. Plus, the big city is sound in terms of money and numbers. Our program suffers greatly on all counts.

The other friend, however, really surprised me. He is thinking of putting his son in the big city program, and for what, I’m not sure. His son will be moving up, and the team is going to be good. He will fit in perfectly, and then have a second year on the same team. These guys just don’t strike me as the proto-typical big-city hockey team family, but again, they probably view it as the best thing for the kid in terms of hockey. Who can say?

It is interesting that the people who are toying with the idea of moving over have all been exposed to the same influence, mainly big-city coaches. They are top notch hockey instructors, no doubt, but sometimes I think they nudge talented kids over to the big city, as if they need the people. I think they just want talent, and the reality is, hockey in this area is moving in that direction, with one big association.

Anyway, I’m interested on a number of levels where this will lead. Unfortunately, we have to make some decisions in the coming week, and they hinge a bit on what other people are thinking. I hate when that happens.

Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Xarquar for the pic.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bumps and Bruises

Much to chagrin to mom, N has been incurring a few bumps and bruises as a result of his new interest, the skate park. He’s been riding his bike and scooter and there are times when he goes off jumps or ramps that spills do occur. The scrapes are minor, though they look a little painful. He’s unfazed by it all and it never slows him down... just wait until he gets a skateboard.

There was a time when he would get a skinned knee or elbow every time we were there, but that’s stopped, and now we can spend an hour or two there without even the smallest cut. He’s attempting cooler things, too, at least in my opinion. It’s pretty fun to watch.

All in all, I’m glad he’s enjoying it, and it’s a nice break from hockey to be outside in the warmer weather. I know he’s loving it, and there’s a cool factor to the whole scene, which is important when you’re a kid.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ufita.net for the pic.

Yard Goals and Suffering

Talk about a total bummer. I still have a load of raking to do that was leftover from last year, and believe me, it’s a lot. I hate to be a whiner (that doesn’t seem to stop me), but out of all the duties I have, raking is without question my least favorite. Even moving 8 cords of wood by wheelbarrow beats raking, and it’s a lot more work. If I put my mind to it, I could get all the raking done in one day, whereas moving all that wood takes weeks.

The one bright spot about raking is the kids can help, and are usually more than happy to assist, so that’s really nice. But for the most part, I’m on my own, and it’s a drag. I don’t know why I have such a mental block about it, it’s not that big a deal, and it’s a hell of my own creation.

Which brings me to my next revelation, and that’s the mental aspect of obligations that I don’t like. I figured that the leaves have to be cleaned up, and it’s something that I’m going to have to deal with every year, so as much as I like to whine about it, moaning isn’t going to get the job done. This begs the question: is there a way to accomplish this and maintain mental stability, or at least not be such a big baby about it?

I have similar pangs of misery when I look at the cut blocks of wood that need to moved before splitting. 8 cords of wood makes a pretty substantial pile, and it requires about 100 trips with a wheelbarrow. Needless to say, it doesn’t leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy, but I manage to get it done by chipping away at the stone. I know in my mind I can’t get it done in one day, so I approach it as such. The raking is more attainable, so maybe that’s why I get so flustered.

With this in mind, I need to just do a little bit at a time, and then quit while I’m ahead. I figure 30 minutes a day for about a week should get a brunt of the work done, then I can just let the wind blow the rest into the woods.

Just kidding... sort of. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to lamppost for the pic.

Hockeyed Out

The final week of hockey was quite the marathon, and even though I could go to the rink all year ‘round, I realized it was time for a break, especially with the warm weather and all. There is something about hockey that makes you lose all perspective, and believe me, I’m not alone in this way of thinking.

One very telling sign was that given the choice, N chose not to go to his final practice, and opted out of the last game of the season, which A went to with her buddy, SP. For the record, they had a blast, and I got actually sit and watch rather than coach on the bench. It’s nice to be a spectator for a change.

The turnout has been small with the season closing out, though many of the hardcore will skate until June, and then I’m sure there are opportunities after that, but we’re done. I think A lost interest a few weeks back, and even N is ready for shorts and a t-shirt. It is pretty amazing how much some kids play hockey, and while there’s no question that many of them are good players, it does bring up the issue of fanaticism and burning out, which USA Hockey is always warning parents about. As a parent, you can’t imagine it ever happening, but it’s a reality and makes perfect sense.

Oh well, you make your choices and live with them, right? I am acutely aware of pushing our kids too hard for something that is supposed to be fun. The problem is, hockey is unlike any sport I’ve ever encountered in terms of dedication and fanaticism that are required. It often brings out the worst in people, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve fallen prey to it, as well.

It’s a good thing spring is here. I know R is happy about that. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Dan4th for the pic.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I see a skateboard in N’s future. That, and a BMX bike, which may come sooner. Since the weather has warmed up, I’ve been taking N out to ride his bike, and he’s been having a blast. He has a small 16” bike that he used to learn riding, and for whatever reason we’ve held onto it. It’s a good thing, too, because even though it’s really too small for him, he loves riding it to go off jumps and do wheelies and “bunny-hops.” At least we called them bunny hops when I was a kid, now they’re called “ollies,” or something like that. I’m not sure.

Either way, we go to various skate parks in the area and he has a blast. He loves going off jumps and up and down ramps. His confidence and courage are gaining strength, and it’s really cool to watch. He takes his scooter with him, as well, and he’s really just one step away from a skateboard. The various skate parks are usually populated by a variety of people, including many small kids, but they are predominantly filled with teenage skateboarders. For the most part they’re good kids, maybe a little squirrelly, but decent enough. They don’t bother the younger kids, and are even a little supportive, if you can believe that.

All this X-Games fun brings up the issue of N’s ride. His bike is too small for him, and I think eventually I’ll look into getting him a BMX bike. The problem is, he has several bikes, and R has indicated that if he wants another, one has to go. He loves all his bikes, he has one for every occasion, but it stands to reason that once he gets a BMX bike, he can live without his little one, at least that’s how it goes in theory. He mentioned loving his little bike because that’s the one he does tricks on. He has a medium bike that is just his size for riding, and then a bigger one that he prefers because he can go faster on it. So many choices, so little time.

I spoke with R and she is agreeable to a bigger BMX bike for him, so I’ll start my exhaustive investigation into the matter. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to highactionbikes4130 for the pic.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Taken by Surprise

I can’t believe it, but we got one more snowfall, and did it ever take us by surprise (though it made things pretty). I realize it’s April and we should expect the unexpected, but I sure didn’t expect this, and it was a fair amount of snow. To compound the matter, it was the icy wet stuff, and the roads were a little nasty. Finally, to further complicate things, I had the kid’s friends with me that day, so I had to really be careful.

It started out simple enough. There was no school that day, so HH asked if we could watch her kids. We went over to pick them up and hung out for a couple of hours, then headed over to see mom at the hospital for lunch. They were doing an i-KODI benefit, with homemade African food. I figured it was a good opportunity to support the cause and get the kids out of the house. Also, it was a good chance to raise some awareness in the kids, but most importantly, get them away from home and Facebook. HH’s oldest is a teenager and addicted to social media, like all teenagers. We don’t do Facebook here, so I didn’t want to do battle with her because she doesn’t take no for an answer.

Either way, we headed over to the hospital and the snow started. Lunch was nice, we got to see mom and hang, but by the time we headed home, there was a fair amount of accumulation on the ground. It was a little precarious, so we took the slow, easy way home. The plan was to go to the library, and then their parents would come get them. A&N had hockey that evening, so by the time we left, HH had arrived to get her kids, and we were off and running.

At the rink, not that many kids showed up, so I put on my skates and played with them. It was fun, we got a good workout, and mom came to meet us. We went to Boloco for supper, and then home for the night. My kind of evening,

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to jorgedecorte for the pic.

Soup For Supper

A week or two back we attended the empty bowls fundraiser that our good friend JG organizes (she does an amazing job), and it was a lot of fun. Not only did we get to eat all the killer soups, but we got to see friends that we hadn’t seen in months, or at least since hockey season ended. This is especially nice for A&N. In the past, they make dozens of bowls then sell them at the supper. You can fill the bowls as much as you’d like with soup, and then take the bowls home. We have a bunch of bowls and didn’t want more, but they said we could bring our own, which we did.

We arrived a bit late because we had hockey all day, and the festivities were in full swing. We got to socialize and eat, and in the past we hung out well into the evening at a friend’s house, but this time around, the plan was to eat and then go home. The nice thing about the event is that the money all goes to specific charitable causes, and one of them is i-KODI.

There is music, fresh bread, and an assortment of incredible desserts. It’s technically all free, but they ask for donations for your charity of choice. We contributed to i-KODI and the food shelf. We chatted with friends while the kids went outside and got crazy. By the time 7:00 rolled around, it was time to go home and rest up for the week ahead. Like all things in life, we were more inclined to stay at home and just chill out, but sometimes you have to overcome that inertia to get up off your butt and get out. We had a wonderful time, and were glad we did it, but the hardest part is just making that first step. The rest is easy.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to GryNoKa for the pic.

Power Tooling Around (and failing)

In the quest to get that darn insulation done, I decided the time had come to take action and start installing the spacers while SH was away. He only comes on weekends, so there is all week to work on the barn. Easier said than done, I know, but if I could just get a few things done, it would move things along.

I tried to install the spacers with hammer and nail, but it was grossly inefficient, and I suffered significantly. It’s hard to nail in tight corners, and it took me an hour just to get two of them in. I realized how much easier it would be with a nail gun, so I contacted HH and she let me borrow her nail gun. She has a really nice one, and a compressor, as well. SH left his compressor in the barn, so I figured I could use that since the nozzles are compatible.

Well, things in theory don’t always work out in practice. I hooked up the gun and turned on the compressor, but somehow the nail gun wasn’t pressurizing properly. I’m guessing I didn’t attach the hose properly, but the nails just weren’t coming out. Coupled with the fact that nail guns are a little daunting, I finally called it quits and decided to ask SH for guidance.

In other words, I spent an hour getting nothing accomplished. The story of my life.

Oh well, I can always glue insulation into the rafter gaps. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to portercablenailgun for the pic.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Cleaning Helpers

Once the snow melts you’re reminded of all the work that lies ahead during the spring and summer months. The first order of business is cleaning the yard, which entails picking up countless twigs and sticks that litter the yard, and then raking up leftover leaves and debris that accumulated during the winter, not to mention stuff that got left behind last year.

Raking is definitely my least favorite job, and every fall I dread it, but it needs to be done. At times I can get into the Zen mindset and simply plug along, but for the most part, it’s just not that enjoyable. Spring raking is not as bad, maybe the break from yard work re-energizes me, or I’m just happy to be outside in the warm weather.

This time around, the kids helped out, as well. I was raking the front yard and A and N both asked if they could help. Of course, my first impulse was to say I was fine, but then I realized how silly that was. The kids wanted to help, and I could always use a little assistance. They grabbed rakes and together we finished the front lawn... and had fun, to boot.

We also built a bonfire to burn off scraps of wood, and then we roasted hot dogs for lunch. What a great day. It helped that the weather was so nice, but it’s nice to spend time with the kids outside. It’s what life is all about, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Damian Cugley for the pic.

Overnight Camp

After much back and forth, it has been decided that A will attend a sleepover camp, her first. It’s kind of hardcore, being away for an entire week. I realize it’s a rite of passage for many kids, and I think she’ll really enjoy it. It’s more about myself wrapping my mind around the idea.

Several of her friends have done it, and will do it this time around, so she’ll be with familiar faces and I know she’ll have a blast. When I was a kid I loved the idea of going to sleepover camp, anything to get away from my parents, but it never happened. They had an iron-clad grip on us, and never left us alone.

I don’t want to be that way with our kids, though I do feel more comfortable when they’re in my sights. Oh well, that’s a part of growing up, for both parents and kids, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to GreenTea for the pic.

Pain it the Neck

I’m finding, once again, that my brilliant idea was not as brilliant as I thought. I have to install spacers that will provide the gap for air flow between the ceiling joists. The spacers have been ripped, all it requires is nailing them into the joists, and then the rigid foam boards can be nailed into them.

I figured it would be a piece of cake to simply nail them in, but it’s a pain. Not only is it hard because you have hold the darn things up, but nailing into a tight space like that over your head is hard and inefficient. It took me an hour just put two in, at which point I decided this was not going to work. SH does it with a nail gun, so I decided that’s what I needed to do.

I contacted our good friend HH and she said I could borrow hers. SH has a compressor, so I think we’re good to go. Then again, I don’t have a lot of experience with nail guns, and they scare me a little, but such is the life of a real man... in training.

Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Atos Healthcare for the pic.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hammer in Hand

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, but that hasn’t stopped me from at least trying. With this in mind, I broke out my tool bag (not quite as extensive as JH’s) and started setting up in the barn, once again. The way I see it, I can’t do it for more than an hour or two a day, but at least having stuff out there cuts down on the setup time, which can kill you.

I’m looking at what needs to be done, and we’re getting there. The insulation will be put in some time within the next month or two, at least that’s what I think. Then it’s drywall, flooring, exterior, and we’re in business.

I have small things that need to be done before the insulation can go in, so I can take care of that if I can find the time. Famous last words.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Digger Digger Dogstar for the pic.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The End?

Wow, could it be so? Is mud season actually over? I hate to set myself up for the big disappointment, but it seems as if mud season came in a quick burst and then the ground seems to have recovered. We had maybe a few days, a week tops, where there was mud, but then it freeze-thawed for several days and now it’s solid.

My understanding is that mud season ends when the trees start to bud and form leaves. That’s when the ground thaws and the trees and plants can soak up the moisture, and that seems to be what is happening.

Whatever be the case, it’s been the most manageable mud season I can remember, and I’m all for it. It can get pretty bad out here, and almost makes me lament the departure of winter. Almost.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Truck Night for the pic.

Careful What You Wish For

I was all excited about looking for a job when the reality of it all set in: I started getting call backs and interviews. In the past, whenever I’ve looked for employment, the process seemed to take months. This time around, I got responses immediately, and it sort of complicated things. The reality is, I wasn’t really prepared to start working right away. I more or less wanted to test the waters and see what was out there, maybe get some nibbles and see what my options were, but as I’ve learned, be careful what you wish for.

I called one hotel for a housecleaning job and a bigger inn/resort for a receiving position and they both called me back for interviews. Boy was I surprised. My first impulse was to say no thank you, but how could I flake out like that? Also, it would be closing the door on those opportunities, and like my friend JZ once said, never turn down a job you haven’t been offered.

I have mixed feelings on the whole process, because I’m a big believer that if you need income, you do what you have to do, and you shouldn’t turn your nose up at a job when it means employment. On the other hand, is it worth drastically altering your lifestyle for what is really not that much money? Maybe not yet, so I had to address the situation. The situation was complicated by the fact that I didn’t want to completely close the door, so I couldn’t just ignore them and walk away. This is also a bad way to live your life. Believe me, I’d done my fair share of it as a teenager.

Anyway, things have quieted down, I am not going to pursue a new job just yet. One might say that I initiated things a bit prematurely, and I regret taking up their time, but that’s the process of looking for employees, right? I also tried to end things on a responsible note by informing them of my decision, when in fact I could have just let things fizzle out, thereby closing any doors I may have open.

Hopefully, I won’t have to re-open them, but only time will tell. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to bianks for the pic.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why is this so Difficult?

This question was posed to me by one of the hockey parents, and I couldn’t agree more. What is it about hockey that makes the parents so neurotic and anxious? It’s just a game, right? Maybe not, anyone involved knows this not to be the case.

In addition to the horrendous number of hours that parents have to dedicate to their kid’s game, there is the question of what exactly we (not just they) are trying to get out of this. The answer, unfortunately, is not so simple.

Sure, it’s all about fun, but in the era of modern parenting, even fun has to have some functional purpose. This, of course, is coupled with a healthy dose of parental blinders regarding what’s best for their child. Despite what the kids want (to have fun), parents know (or do they?) that there needs to be some hard work to learn and progress. Plus, the willingness to work hard in one area will translate into hard work in another. N is more than able to work hard at something, and can do well, but tends to opt for the path of least resistance. Along this line, he might be more inclined to play on a mediocre team if it’s easier than a top team if it’s harder. Bear in mind he’s just a kid, but again, hockey is a different world. It is important to maintain his interest and ensure that he is enjoying the process.

Anyway, there’s plenty of drama in the hockey world, and we are in the midst of it right now. N is doing a skills session with the big city program. I think it’s perfect for him, but it’s a long practice (2 hours-N has complained), and they work hard. They indicated as much in the flier. The coaches are the real deal, and they have repeated what I’ve said in the past: N is a good listener/learner and is very coach-able. He sees the ice well and is a good skater. All good things, but only when paired with a good teacher/coach.

I am not such a person, and if next season I or TG ended up being the head coach, I really don’t think he would get a lot out of it other than having fun and playing hockey. That would be fine, but to progress as a player, he would do better to have someone like GG or Mr. Hockey as a coach, who know more about the game, and are passionate. I can already see that he has benefited from this past season with Mr. Hockey.

This brings up the complication with the coming season. All indications were that Mr. Hockey was taking his kids to the big city, where he lives. It makes perfect sense, and nobody can fault him. That left us to fend for ourselves, and I thought N would be better off in the big city program, despite my huge reservations (cost, intensity, more cost). I figured in the big city, he’d get the best coaching (no question), be on a competitive team, and be surrounded by top notch players. N said he’d be open to the idea.

Now comes complication #2: the big city has up to three or four teams, with a hierarchy in talent. After talking to numerous people and investigating the possibilities, I concluded that the optimal benefits are derived from playing on the top team. They have tryouts, which is normal for most programs, by an outside board. If you’re a good player and have a bad day at tryouts, then you’re out of luck, because things won’t change. I know someone whose son falls into this category, he is on a team way below his abilities, but there’s no going back. Plus, when you play on the top team, they don’t mess around and work like dogs. When you watch them play, it shows, they are amazingly good, but function like a machine. I’m not sure if N is ready for that.

Boy, life would be easier if there weren’t so many darn choices. The lure of the big city program became even more seductive when I spoke with one of the coaches, who also runs the skills camp, and he said, straight out without my prompting, that he thought N had a shot at making the top team. The term he used was “real legitimate shot.” Naturally my insecurities swept me away in a wave possibilities.

In the end, I’m not sure what to make of it all. I’m happy the coach thinks highly of N, I think he works hard and deserves it, but I’ve also noticed plenty of kids from other programs seduced by the allure of the big city program. Might he be just feeding us a all a line to get us to come over? The reality is, he didn’t have to say a thing. The big city program is never for want of players, they have so many kids they don’t know what to do with them. Furthermore, the coach in question was not gushing, he was measured and concise in his assessment, and I agree with his points.

So the end result is we don’t know what to do. Plus, the clock is ticking. They put the pressure on you and you have to decide.

As my friend said, why does this have to be so hard? I feel some loyalty to our current program: A and N love it, the kids are nice, the parents are nice, and it’s manageable. They are not as powerful as the big city program, but is that really needed at this age? One of the problems I see is that with all these choices, the whole system crumbles because everyone must look out for their own interest and can pick and choose. Parents can’t be expected to compromise their own kid’s interest. I think N would grow as a player in the highly competitive atmosphere of the big city, but he would be a senior player and potential leader in our current program.

What to do? This will continue until the season starts, no doubt. I wish it were simpler, but then again, if it were, life might not be as interesting.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Geoff the cameraman for the pic.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Making Firewood Contact

It’s time to reserve our allotment of wood this year for our wood pile, and I had some options this time. As I’ve mentioned, A’s coach is a logger, and he can get truck loads of log length, though I think his prices are a tad bit higher. He is close by, however, and he can get half loads.

I also hadn’t spoken to our regular guy, TB, in about a year, and didn’t know if he would still be able to meet our needs. Finally, there is the issue of money. I usually save up money throughout the year to pay for the wood. He likes to get cash, and that’s fine, except that with finances a little tight, I had to spend my wood money to make ends meet. Actually, I think I used it for hockey and camps. Whatever be the case, I left a message with him figuring he’d get back to me in a week or so, but he called me back that night.

Normally this is a good thing, but I didn’t have cash on hand, and if he wanted to deliver the wood soon, I couldn’t pay him. It helped that the roads are posted, so he can’t do it for a month or so. When I finally did speak with him, he said he could deliver in June, which was good. That gives me a few months to scrimp and save and sell off various organs to come up with the dough.

In the meantime, I still have about a cord or two of un-split blocks that need attending to, I just have to wait until the snow completely melts so I can move them. I can’t wait....

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to SMercury98 for the pic.

Back Into the Fire

If you can believe this little piece of insanity, we are toying with the idea of going back to the market. It reminds me of the Sheryl Crow song, You Don’t Bring Me Anything But Down: You are a raging sea, I pull myself out every day, I plead insanity, because I can’t leave and I can’t stay...”

Our reasoning behind this exercise in masochism is that given our future financial standing, or lack thereof, doing the market could very well be the way to fund not only our vacation plans, but perhaps hockey, as well (not to mention our fabulously luxurious lifestyles). At the very least it will help us in that regard, because as we all know, every penny counts, especially when you’re dropping loads of cash on a game.

Also, we are not going to do dumplings. We are looking at something that has an easier prep, which would just about include everything under the sun when you compare it to dumplings. We have contacted the market and they have reserved us a space, so the process is in motion. This should be good.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lo8i for the pic.

Going Against the Tide

Killer wave, BTW.

The other day N’s coach CH came by to look at the barn and take some measurements. He installs heat pump systems for a living, so it was a good chance to see what sort of system would work best for us and what the related costs might be.

He came by right after their game, so his son C came with him. He and N rode in his car and he followed me home. While I was with CH, N and C hung out and entertained themselves, but I noticed that C got bored fairly quickly. They rode bikes and scooters, but not for long, and then headed inside. N gave him a tour of the house, they probably played with his assorted mechanical toys, but at some point, C wanted to do one of two things: either watch TV, or play video games, neither of which we have.

This, of course, brought up the parental anxiety that we have concerning having friends over. We don’t have TV or video games, and they are so ingrained in our culture that we seem to constantly be going against the tide on this one. I’m a firm believer against both of them, much to the chagrin of our kids. They can watch all the TV they want when they get older, but I don’t want to encourage it, and for that matter, succumb to it.

The problem is that almost all of our friends watch TV, and lots of it. That and play video games. I had read that the average American watches 6 hours of TV a day, which boggles my mind. That is a lot of time when you factor in being at work or school. It’s as if the TV were on constantly whenever people are at home, and I think that’s the case.

Don’t even get me started on video games, though that’s part of the reason they like going to their friend’s houses, they get to play them.

So N’s friend was bored, and couldn’t even fathom the fact that we don’t have a TV. N seemed to roll with it, he’s good that way, but I felt self-conscious. It’s what makes having friends over difficult, I’m never sure how they’re going to respond to our lifestyle. We are lucky in that many of their friends have similar values, and a fair number of A&N’s friends don’t watch TV, either. They are all connected in some way to the digital age, but most of them (maybe just the ones we choose to hang with) don’t watch a lot of TV. I feel fortunate for that.

Oh well, nobody said being a parent was easy. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to tim phillips photos for the pic.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Still on the Ice

If you can believe this, we have one more week to go on the ice, and then it’s so long to hockey. So far, N has not lost any enthusiasm, though I sense that A might not be as eager. Understandably, it’s a long season, but I have to confess, being away from the stress of the season and coaching (and scheduling) makes it all fun again. Like it should be, right?

Either way, this is the last week, and then it’s on to playing in the grass and the great outdoors, though in my case, playing means splitting wood and mowing the lawn. I.e., a return to life as a real man in training.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to anonymouscoward for the pic.

Thrown a Curve

Sometimes I wonder why I bother investing so much time into hockey, then I remember, it’s for the kids, stupid. Either way, this whole girl’s hockey thing has been a pain in the neck, and now the situation has gotten even more convoluted. I was trying to talk to the other programs of somehow working things out, and I was even talking to the president of the Hartford team when it became clear that he was giving me the run around. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but he was saying a lot without saying a thing. I ended walking away thinking he was just toying with me, not in a malicious way, but clearly evading my inquiries.

Then, a couple of days later, I learned why. I talked with DS, the main man in the big city program, and he just came right out and said that things were in motion, and we were out of the picture. Basically the other two programs decided to merge with the big guys to make a mega-super-power team. The rich get richer, as the saying goes.

This also explained why the other guy was yanking my chain. He knew all our talk was a waste of time because a plan had already been hatched. The question is, why didn’t he just come right out and say it, rather than waste my time while confusing the heck out of me?

Either way, what’s going on makes some sense, even if it leaves us a little on the periphary. I think we’re on the outside by choice. The other three programs had been in talks about forming a mega-team in this area, which would have basically fallen under the auspices of the big city team. This makes sense, they are already the most powerful team in the state, so why not have them lead the way. I think what happened is that it was presented in a way that suggested that we would get their players that didn’t make the cut, while taking our best. I think this offended our representatives, so they declined to take part.

I think this was a mistake, because what is happening would have happened anyway. The best want to go to the big city program, and they have a surplus of talent. The girls that don’t make the cut are left without a team, and they have the option of coming to our program. This is just how things play out.

So that’s where we stand. We still don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t really see a resolution in sight, but time will tell.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Luvvida for the pic.

Monday, April 8, 2013

TV Party

Last week there was a party at CATV, and A was given an award. Talk about surprises, I don’t think anybody was more surprised that she. Like many events, we didn’t learn about this until a day or two before, though also like many events, it was probably mentioned to us well in advance and we either we weren’t paying attention (highly probable) or we simply forgot (more highly probable).

When we learned about the soiree, we had to scramble a bit to figure out the logistics, because N had hockey practice around the same time. What else is new? Fortunately, we are able to squeeze in overlapping activities with a small margins of difference in terms of time. N’s practice was at 5:30, and A’s party was at 6:00. We took A to his practice around 5:00, then I took A over to the party, but it was way too early. There was a board meeting going on with a bunch of heavy hitters. A said she wanted to go and watch N’s practice, so we went back to the rink, which was thankfully only 5 minutes away.

We watched N’s practice for about half an hour, then A and I piled back into the car and went to the party. Now I had intended on dropping her off so she could hang with her friends, whom I assumed would be there, but she was in fact the only kid at the event. I decided to stay with her so she would be all by herself, which was a good thing because the party was not what we expected. It was more of a formal celebration of the studio’s 20th anniversary. There were speeches and presentations, and the director, BF, handed out awards to recognize the efforts of people involved in studio. What really floored us was that he gave an award to A, for outstanding achievement in children’s TV production. She definitely deserved it, but it was quite the surprise for both A and I. I was glad I was there to witness the event.

A was cute as heck, she gave a great speech, and then we grabbed some finger foods and cookies and then headed out to get N. We made it just in time to watch the last half hour of his practice, and then we headed home. Talk about crazy, we also had supper waiting for us at home, which I had prepared earlier in the day.

Boy, life sure ain’t easy in our neck of the woods. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ebbandflowphotography for the pic.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jumping Through Hoops For a Fun Sleepover Weekend, part 2

Was it jumping through hoops or juggling chainsaws? I can’t recall.

Either way, looking back on the weekend sleepover, I have to confess, it was fun, or rather, the kids had fun. If anything, they had a blast, and I’m of the mind that if they have fun, then I’m having fun. Plus, their friends are really nice kids, well mannered and polite, not to mention hip.

The biggest concern we have when having friends over is that they won’t have fun over here because we don’t have TV and or any sort of video game, i.e., Wii or Playstation. We are just so against those things, but clearly we’re alone in this way of thinking because virtually every family we know has them. That’s part of the reason why our kids love going to their friend’s houses, they get to play Wii. I don’t completely get it. Another problem I run into is for friends to come over and want to do Facebook all the time. I’m not so keen on that.

Now I’d heard that the kid’s friends had lots of fun and modern toys, but didn’t know for sure. The kids are pretty hip, they’re both avid snowboarders, and their dad and his girlfriend (ICKG) are a young, cool, hip, and happening couple. Plus, the parents are divorced so it’s not unthinkable for a little guilt gift-giving to occur.

It turns out that our concerns were unfounded, which is really unusual. ICKG apparently moderate their screen time, and it’s entirely possible that they don’t have TV, which is so rare in this day and age that even I’m shocked, and we don’t have TV. I don’t get a sense they play a lot of video games, at least not with ICKG, maybe with mom, and I don’t think they do a lot of social media. I have to confess, I think ICKG are really responsible parents, and they really stress good manners and behavior, and don’t want them to grow up in a household dictated by TV and other forms of media. That’s just my sense, but KG has got it together, she’s sharp as nails, and she understands young people, especially girls.

Either way, as usual, I worried for nothing. The kids had fun just hanging out, and OC really just wanted to play knee hockey most of the time, which is nirvana for N because he’s always in search of a game. Part of the success of the weekend was the timing of various activities, but also the efforts of mom and dad, who made sure there was a backup plan for the backup plan.

As I mentioned, we met at the rink, where N had a game earlier in the AM. This was followed by a skating clinic, for which A, H&OC attended. N sat it out. I don’t know if they had ever been to a skating clinic, it’s unlike anything they do at practice, but a very good experience and one that I think our program should do more often. You could tell that it was a new experience for them, plus they got to skate with the cream of the crop, the Hanover hockey players, who are world class. I was told it was good for them to see what sort of players are out there.

After the clinic was the game, and once again, they were short on players. The coach, MR, said everyone could play. At first N said he wasn’t going to play because of when he hurt his foot, but he changed his mind suited up. The opposing team’s coach once again didn’t show up, so I manned one bench, and then A’s coach had to leave, so IC agreed to coach the other bench. Thanks to him for his willingness.

The game was a blast, I think everyone involved had fun, especially our kids. R showed up during the game and then we all chatted for a bit before ICKG departed and R took everyone’s equipment. I then took all the kids to supper at 5 Guys for killer cheeseburgers. After chowing down, we headed over to the multiplex to see the movie, the Croods. We were thankfully too stuffed for popcorn, though I was tempted.

We all enjoyed the movie, and best of all, it helped bring us to the evening hour. Only a few more hours to go. We stopped to get ice cream after the movie, and by the time we got home, we were well into the evening hour. OC was really itching to play some knee hockey, and at some point even N had had enough. They managed to squeeze in one more movie in their room, then it was bedtime. Yes, we survived.

One thing that was pretty funny was we hung all the kid’s hockey gear up to dry, and R said it smelled like a hockey locker room. Lovely. I know families (usually it’s the moms) that won’t let their kids even bring their gear into the house. It goes in the basement or the garage.

It was nice to finally get to be, but for whatever reason, OC woke up around 6:00AM, which meant that N was up, too. OC said he gets up every day at this time for school. This is much earlier than N usually wakes up, so I knew he was going to be tired all day. Oh well, that’s what happens at sleepover, right?

We had a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and pineapple, then I took N to his hockey game, transporting everyone’s bag, as well. R was going to bring over the rest of the gang later, and then they would all play in A’s game. After that, a quick lunch, then meeting ICKG at UA. We were about 30 minutes late, but it was fine, then we got home and chilled for the rest of the day. We were all tired, but had a really fun weekend. Sure, it was a lot of work, but everyone involved came away with a healthy glow from having a good time.

I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to canopic for the pic.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jumping Through Hoops For a Fun Sleepover Weekend, part 1

A couple of weeks back was A’s birthday and she wanted to have her friends over for a sleepover party and all that good stuff, but being the non-party type of people that we are, it was a bit of a dilemma. I have to confess, I’m not too keen on having a party at our house, and that’s just my own shortcoming. In the end, we’d do it if she really wanted, and have done it in the past, but if possible, we would look for alternatives.

She must sense this, or she’s of a similar mindset, but she said she just wanted to have her two best friends over and do something fun. One of her buddies couldn’t make it, for a various reasons, but sometimes I get a sense her parents are not unlike us on the social front. I could be justifying my own social neurosis, it’s just a hunch.

Her other buddy, HC, could make it, and what made it cool was that she has a brother, OC, who is N’s buddy. The girls play on the same team, and the boys play on the same team. When the invitations were extended, it wasn’t clear at first if OC could come, but it worked out perfectly. Once it was clear that the weekend was going to happen, though, it meant that we had to come up with a plan, or should I say, I had to come up with a plan.

Fortunately, there were things going on that weekend, and it really helped. Both A and N are doing spring hockey, and since H and O were essentially done, they were eager to get on the ice one last time before summer. I broached this subject with their parents, and with her dad being the uber-hockey player that he is (he played college hockey, so he’s the real deal), they were all for it. The dad, IC, even wanted to come and watch his kids play. The second hurdle was to see if it was okay with the guys running the show.

I contacted the arena and talked to the man in charge, DD, who for the record is a way cool dude, and inquired if our kid’s friends could play one game even though they weren’t enrolled. He said fine, go for it. Plus, they were potential future participants. I then had to ask A’s coach, because they would both need to play at the PW level. Now as I’ve mentioned, A’s team has issues with attendance. There are days when three kids show up, and they can’t really play a game. I figured since this is an ongoing issue, more kids would make it a game.

He said they’d have to wait and see, being the discrete person that he was, because he didn’t want to deny the kids who actually paid. Fair enough, but as it turns out, once again their team didn’t show up, so both HC and OC could come.

Another complication is that they don’t live that close. Not interminably far, but a bit of a jaunt. This made transfer of children complicated. I was prepared to go and pick them up and then drop them off, no problem, but then their parents wanted to come and watch them play. This made our lives immeasurably easier, because they were bringing the kids to where we were going to be.

This brought up the final hurdle that we needed to deal with, and that was transporting four kids and one adult, as well as four hockey bags. I can barely transport two kids and their hockey bags, let alone four. I could have tied some of the bags to the roof rack, but then R and I came up with a plan. I would take A&R to the rink, and R would do some stuff at work. She would meet us after all the skating was done, and then take all the hockey bags home with her. For the record, because KG and IC are so thoughtful, they had already considered this possibility and were prepared to take the hockey bags home with them after their game, but then realized the kids would need them the next day if they were going to play again.

After the game, I would then take all the kids, sans hockey bags, with me to dinner and a movie. We would then come home, the later the better, and do the sleepover. The next day, there would be more hockey games where the kids could play (we managed to squeak in one more game), and then we would take H&O back home. Again, I was prepared to make the long drive up the hill, but KG insisted on meeting at UA, so that made my life a little easier.

As you can see, life can sure get complicated over here in our neck of the woods. Then again, we have no second thoughts because it worked out beautifully and the kids had so much fun. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Boy, all this talk about preparation, and I haven’t even talked about how the weekend went. That’s a story for another day.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Palma Co Test for the pic.

Sick Again

I can’t believe this is actually happening, but I’m actually sick once again. This time around it’s a mild head cold, but it really floored me when I started getting that scratchy feeling in my the back of my throat. I was literally sick for two months, no exaggeration, and I finally kicked it, only to get a head cold. I shouldn’t complain, N has been sick for just as long, and he never whines (not like his dad!).

Not that I’m whining, of course. It’s just another reminder of what a brutal winter it’s been, and as much as I love the cold weather, being sick and cold is a drag, only doubly so. With this in mind, I am looking forward to some warmer weather and sunshine. I don’t think I’m alone on this one.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Another Hockey Connection

The world of hockey, you gotta love it. It turns out that N’s hockey coach also happens to install heat pumps, the very kind that we are interested in. We were talking about building and I mentioned insulation and heat systems, and he said that’s what he did. He gave me his card and said he’d be happy to take a look at the barn and give us an estimate. He can also determine the square footage and calculate the heat requirements for the space.

That’s the beauty of a heat pump system, it is specifically designed for the space it is heating. When you install a boiler, it delivers way more BTUs than necessary, so a lot of heat is wasted or lost into the great outdoors. A heat pump system is specific to the space being heated, so cubic feet needs to be calculated, which in turn determines the size of the system that will be needed. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Anyway, he lives down south, but getting to us would be a simple jaunt up the highway, so I think it should be fine. Stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to one light for the pic.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Music and Hockey

Last week was quite the week in terms of how busy we were. A was in the school musical, and N had two hockey gigs going, so we were all over the place. This year A didn’t have as much time to be at rehearsals because she had hockey and world music, so she took a smaller role. She is good on stage and could have had a bigger role, and I think her teacher believes this as well, but again, time constraints forced her to scale back. The only problem was that she had to go to all day rehearsals for a small part, but I think it’s all about fun and socializing for her.

N had hockey almost every other night, with games, skating clinics, and skills camps. He loves it, and I think once it ends, he’ll be a bit deflated, but then we have lacrosse. Either way, it entailed a lot of running around. The timing worked out well because A’s rehearsals were all day affairs, from 3:00 until 7:00PM. That gave me time to get N to hockey, and afterward pick up A. If I couldn’t make it, then R could get her after work, and then we could all be home for supper together. Very important.

Either way, we survived, and it’s been a lot of fun. A had a great time in the play, though again, I think she could have easily pulled off a bigger role, but who am I to say?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to kawwsu29 for the pic.

More Barn Decisions

Boy, the fun just never stops with this barn. I mean that in a good way, of course. In light of the insulation requirements that we’ve learned about, I contacted the local spray foam guy to come have a look, and it went fine, meaning that he actually returned our call and actually showed up when he said he would. I’m finding it difficult to achieve reliability with these contractors.

The insulation guy came over and looked at the barn, said that with the fiberglass insulation on the walls, we were meeting minimum R-value standards, though I’m guessing he doesn’t approve of going the bare minimum since he’s an efficiency sort of guy, but such is life. He did, however, compliment SH on the job he’d done with the foam board vents, and then took some measurements. He was a really cool guy and I found the meeting very informative. He said he’d send us some numbers as well our options, so that’s a good thing.

We also have to make some decisions about heating, and this is where things get really interesting. In the beginning, the first suggestion was a propane boiler with baseboard heating, which is a standard, run of the mill idea. We thought sure, why not? The price tag was outrageous, over $10,000, and that’s not even including the propane hookup. We learned later that a propane boiler is not the best choice, either, but our initial hesitation was based solely on the high price tag. With boilers and baseboard heating you also run into problems with lines that freeze and burst, not to mention decay over time, and boilers need eventually need costly maintenance. Our house has a boiler, so these are things we may face in the future. Also, since the lines were running in the walls, he would have needed to have added more antifreeze, which increases corrosion.

Anyway, we got away from the boiler and thought of Rennai heaters. We even had the Irving guy (nice guy) come and give an estimate, which wasn’t cheap, either. For three room heaters and a hot water heater, we were looking at about the same price as a boiler, except without the hassles of pipes throughout the walls, thus removing the worry of them freezing.

Then we talked to our local energy guru, CF, who has a energy efficiency consulting company. He came over, assessed our insulation shortcomings, and then said the way to go is a heat pump, also known as a mini-split system. It works on the same principal as a ground source heat exchange system, except that it’s above ground. It works like an air conditioner in reverse, and they are supposed to be very efficient and a great way to reduce oil or propane consumption. Plus, there are no water lines to burst, so the only pipes are focused on one end of the house.

After talking it over, we thought it was the way to go, and talking to other folks, they seem to agree. The wave of the future, perhaps? We just learned that Dartmouth College just installed a big heat pump system, so they are endorsing it.

So as it stands, we are going heat pump, but that could change by next week. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to yum9me for the pic.