Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Annual Vehicle Statistics

Gold Wing stats:
Mileage travelled: 5,980 Kms (3,716 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 99.4
Miles/ US Gallon: 37.4
Mileage at end of season: 246,919 Kms (153,435 Miles)

Avalanche stats (total):
Mileage travelled: 35,338 Kms (21,985 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 1,759.3
Miles/ US Gallon: 12.5
Mileage at end of season: 115,018 Kms (71,472 Miles)

     Avalanche stats (towing large trailer):
     Mileage travelled: 14,258 Kms (8,860 Miles)
     Fuel Burned (USG): 806.55
     Miles/ US Gallon: 10.8

     Avalanche stats (towing small trailer):
     Mileage travelled: 6,366 Kms (3,956 Miles)
     Fuel Burned (USG): 306.37
     Miles/ US Gallon: 12.9

     Avalanche stats (other):
     Mileage travelled: 14,714 Kms (9,169 Miles)
     Fuel Burned (USG): 646.38
     Miles/ US Gallon: 14.2

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day Snowplow Story

I was out snow blowing the driveway for the fifth time of the season when the snow plow, a Belanger contract unit which had been widening the street, made a turn to come back up Meadowside and widened the corner a tad too much.

Ditched snow plow

He was in pretty good with a full load of sand on the back. Eventually, a Rotator from Johnny's Towing arrived. Instead of pulling him out, this unit just lifted the back of the truck up so it could drive ahead.

That was a lot of excitement for our normally quiet neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone has had an amazing holiday season and is celebrating a very Merry Christmas.

This has been a busy season. As mentioned before, I joined other volunteers and police officers for the official Festive RIDE Kickoff on the 2nd. Then we had the Christmas celebrations:

December 5th - OPP Veterans Association Bowling and Dinner
December 6th - Action Sudbury Dinner
December 8th - MS Society Christmas Social and Dinner

On the 12th, I rang the bell for the Salvation Army at Costco for a couple of hours on behalf of the OPPVA and then attended an awards ceremony at Civic Square where the Freedom Riders got 3rd Place Non-profit for our entry in the Santa Claus Parade.

On the 13th, 14th and 21st I drove for Operation Red Nose, driving people and their vehicles home after they had been drinking. This was a combined effort of Action Sudbury, OSAID (Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving) and the Freedom Riders.

On the 18th, some of us attended the Charity Bingo, and annual event at Boardwalk Gaming. Won nothing. Then on the 19th, I attended the open house at the constituency office of MPP France Gelinas were we jointly handed out Red Ribbons and Action Sudbury promotional materials while wishing everyone Merry Christmas.

On the 23rd, I worked with MCTV to develop a Public Service Announcement for Action Sudbury that would air on New Years Eve.

And here it is, Christmas Day. The month has flown by. I've now run the snowblower four times, more than I have all season for the last three years. I can only hope that the rest of the winter flies by as quickly.

So again, Merry Christmas to all of you.

Sandy and other OPPVA ladies

Sandy and Andre at MS Christmas Social

MS Chapter Chair Laurel

A rare picture of us together

Carl relieving me at the Costco kettle

Freedom Riders receiving Santa Claus Parade award

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cardiac Rehab

I went for my first visit to the Health Sciences North Cardiac Rehab Program facilities located in the Sudbury YMCA building. All angioplasty and bypass patients are referred after their procedures to learn what lifestyle changes will slow the progression of their coronary artery disease.

After filling out some forms and watching an orientation video, I had a one on one with my new caseworker, Trevor. He is new as a caseworker but, when I started at the YMCA back in 2001, he was my fitness coach. A few years later, he switched jobs and I had specifically requested him since he already knows me and my background.

This initial interview involved getting the medical history and asking a bunch of lifestyle questions. The Rehab program is normally a six month process, with eight weeks of introductory sessions and four months of supervised work in the gym. This assumes that the patient does not have any gym experience. Since I have been in the gym for twelve years and was taught the correct use of heart rate monitors and the equipment (by Trevor) long ago, we settled on a two weeks of the introduction (four sessions) tailored to my situation. In the meantime, I will work out as usual now that I can do so without angina attacks.

Trevor does plan to send me to the hospital for another stress test to determine what my optimum workout heart rate is. Theoretically, my maximum rate is 220 minus my age and the cardio workout rate is 80% of that or 127 BPM. He will skip the theoretical part and give me a real number. I will also have a personal session with the dietitian as well as several classes on lifestyle improvements.

So I am on the road to recovery. Quit smoking, eat right, get regular exercise. What could be easier than that?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Grandkids Birthday Party

Granddaughter Robyn's birthday is October 21st while Jolene's is December 23rd. The Koolen family tradition  is to have one common party to allow the families to get together and celebrate both. This year, they picked December 1st as the official party date and the bowling alley in Aylmer as the location. Of course we had to attend.

Saturday, November 30th

The skies were grey and we had early snow as we set out at 8:25 AM for Tom and Heather's in Woodstock.

More snow than usual for the end of November

The trip down was uneventful. We stopped at the new Canadian Tire gas bar in Parry Sound where I picked up a couple of jugs of the purple de-icing windshield washer fluid. This time of year, you go through a lot of this stuff to keep the windshield clear on the highway.

The ski hills at Mount St. Louis were already open, a bonus for the operators after a few lean years. Having worked on snowmobile trails in the past, I am aware of just how vulnerable winter seasonal activities are to the whims of Mother Nature.

South of Barrie, the northbound side of Highway 400 was down to one lane (from three). Good thing it was Saturday and not a weekday rush hour, but the traffic was still backed up for quite a ways.

It's good to be heading south

I opted to go through Toronto because it was Saturday. Traffic on the 401 wasn't bad and it was up to +1 in Halton with no snow. We passed a couple of people yacking on their cell phones as they were driving, contrary to the Highway Traffic Act. I wonder how many of these would pay attention if the law allowed the police to confiscate their phone the same way that they seize radar detectors?

As we approached Waterloo heading for Cambridge, we got a call from Heather and decided to stop in and see Kim, Mike and the kids. Robyn was wide awake but Jolene wasn't feeling so well.

Robyn, smiling as usual

Jolene flaked out with Mom

Don't bother me.......

We left Cambridge and arrived at Heather and Tom's in Woodstock about 3:10 PM. We had supper of pasta, sauce, broccoli and cauliflower and then Sandy, Heather and I went to WalMart to get wrapping paper and cards for tomorrow's party. For the evening, we settled in and watched Red 2, a sequel to the Bruce Willis action flick Red. Soon after, everyone turned in for the night.

Sunday, December 1st

I was up at 8:15. Tom was having trouble with the new washer, the same problem he had with the old washer. The cold water line wasn't feeding the machine, a problem we had suspected was a bad water mixing valve. But this was a new machine and I found that, while we had water at the pipe, no one had checked the hose. Sure enough, turn the water on and the hose would pulse and stop. He went and got a new hose whereupon I learned about Watts Flood-Safe auto shutoff fittings. If the hose exceeds the established flow rate when, for example, the hose breaks, the fitting will shut off the flow. Aha, great idea once you know about it. When filling the line on a new connection, don't open the valve all the way or the valve will shut off. I need to get these at home.

We got a call that Jolene wouldn't be at the party today because she had gotten sicker overnight. Mike would be there with Robyn, however. Heather and Tom went to church while I went over to get Sandy some calamine lotion at Walmart  for her itchy legs. The store was a zoo with the pre-Christmas rush. Then, after Tom's brother Wojtek, sister-in-law Agnes and their two kids arrived, we headed out in a convoy of two vehicles to Aylmer.

The GPS told us to turn left in downtown Aylmer and that the bowling alley would be 0.9 kms on the left. In fact, it was 1.1 kms on the right. The device is wonderful but sometimes it is a little fuzzy in close quarters.

Party central

Pretty much everyone was already there when we arrived including Robyn who, without her sister there, had all the attention to herself. The kids played, we ate an excellent selection of pizzas, wings, chicken strips and all kinds of mean nasty things I am sure the dietitian is going to warn me about. But it was good. Then Robyn and all her cousins hit the bowling alley before gift opening time.

Birthday girl

Grandma Sandy

Grandma Gail

Lots of food

Robyn and cousins

Co-grandpa Peter

Three years old


Aunt Nicole helps with the gifts

Then everyone else pitches in


The cousins admiring a gift

After the party, we headed back to Woodstock where we found the snow was melting. We watched movies on Netflix and I resolved once again to connect my PS3 and subscribe. Of course, I have made this resolution several times before and not followed through. Then Sandy went to bed while the rest of us watched Russell Peters Notorious recorded in Australia. Russell is one funny Canadian, probably as irreverent as anyone out there today. Don't watch him if you are a fan of Political Correctness. When the show was over, the rest of us went to bed as well.

Monday, December 3rd

We were up before 7:00 and Tom left for work in Cambridge early. Heather didn't have to go until 7:45, so we were on the road at about that time. There was very little traffic on the 401 until we reached Highway 8 in Cambridge, but we got off soon after and took Highway 24 through Guelph.

There was one stop at the new (and hard to get into) Tim Horton's in Erin for a bathroom break and coffee. In Schomberg, on Highway 9 near the 400, there were four police cruisers stopped going the other way. Either this was a very early RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) check or something was up. I never did find out.

It was -1 and wet coming out of Barrie so I backed the speed down because I prefer to be old rather than bold these days. The idea of finding black ice isn't high on my list of priorities. The temperature dropped to -3 in parry Sound and -4 by the time we got to Sudbury. They were still working on the Highway 69 four lane project north of Parry Sound despite the new snow.

Mount St. Louis ski area

Salting near the freezing point is good

Winter Wonderland

Some day this will be four lanes

Working on new lanes despite the snow

Lots of rock to be moved

We arrived in Sudbury about 1:30 PM and found a lot more snow than when we left on Saturday. After we got unpacked, I fired up the snowblower and cleared our driveway and the neighbor's as well.

I spent the evening with Action Sudbury, other anti impaired driving groups and three police services engaging in the official kickoff the to Festive RIDE program in the city. We stopped a lot of vehicles, with the police checking for drinking drivers and the volunteers handing out various goodies to the safe and sober ones. It was a cool, damp night and (I must be getting older) I was glad to get back inside when it was all over.