July 04, 2009

Sealing the Driveway

So my neighbor bought a bucket of sealant and wanted to seal the driveway. Personally, I'd have preferred to pay someone to do it. So I thought, whatever, if it goes totally south, I can just pay and get it resealed professionally.

What a friggin disaster.

There were some oil stains on his side that needed treating, but he didn't think it was necessary. So we washed down the driveway with a hard hose down and waited a couple of hours for it to dry. I expressed concern that one bucket wouldn't be enough, but he assured me that the salesperson said it would be.

The sealant was a thick gel. We started applying it with a roller, but it wasn't doing a great job. We switched to a squeegee which worked much better. By pulling around a glob of sealant, it filled all the holes that the roller didn't.

But of course, halfway through, we were out of sealer. It wasn't even close! So he walked back to Canadian Tire (because our cars were both in the garage - stupid of us...) and brought back... a DIFFERENT KIND OF SEALER. I mean... seriously WTF?! I knew I shouldn't have trusted him to go alone. This one was a higher rated, '10 year' version. The problem was that it wasn't REMOTELY similar to the previous gel - it was more like a sticky wet CONCRETE.

Roller and brush were absolutely useless with this stuff. It felt like I was troweling on concrete with the squeegee. So now, there are 2 different kinds of sealant on the driveway. It took about 8 hours total of backbreaking labour to apply. It looks ok, but I have my doubts about how durable it'll be with the oil stains. Sigh.

Anyway, they refused to take any money for the sealant, so whatever, next time (and I'm betting it'll be soon) I'll just pay to do the entire thing!

Posted by JAY at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2009

Dyson: Thoughtful design

A good vacuum has always been on my list of things that I wanted. In fact, it's been a bit like my iPod, where I've bought cheap versions that didn't work or broke before springing for the real thing. As they broke, I'd go back to the reliable metal Viking canister than Dom gave me - it was one of his wedding presents in the seventies! (or was it earlier, Dom?) It's been with me since the apartment and it's built like a tank!

But a Dyson costs over $600 and spending that on a vacuum cleaner just didn't seem like a fun way to spend money. However, their website sells refurbs for about half price - THAT is a lot more reasonable. I haven't tried any premium vacuums that cost over a thousand bucks.

Anyway, my preliminary vacuuming with the Dyson has been very encouraging. It's pulled up a fair amount of dust and left the carpet looking a lot newer. There are a lot of little thoughtful design quirks about the vacuum, besides the usual 'no-loss-of-suction' hype.

For instance, the crevice attachment has a hole in the side, so that you can actually get under small spaces more effectively. The upholstery attachment has 2 strips of... how to explain this... you know the red lint removers that pick up lint when rubbed one way and release it when rubbed the other? The upholstery has strips of that fabric on either side of the suction slot - facing opposite directions! So one strip picks stuff up and the other releases as you go back and forth with the attachment.

Anyway, we'll see how long it lasts (refurbs come with a 2 year warranty) but so far I'm very impressed.

Posted by JAY at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2009

Pie Disaster/Pie Notes

This looks like a perfectly good blueberry pie, doesn't it? Well.. it's not. The filling didn't thicken and the bottom crust was soggy. Somehow I need to make sure that I read these notes before making pie. Otherwise the first pie of the season ends up being yucky.

  • Thickeners: 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour, 3 TBS corn starch or 6 TBS tapioca
  • Use the middle bottom rack
  • Do NOT put a tray under the pie to catch drips, at least until after the bottom pastry has browned
  • The filling has to be REALLY bubbling to thicken properly, especially with corn starch

Nothing could salvage the bottom crust - it's inedible. However, I managed to salvage the filling by taking a slice, then pouring the filling out of the crust and cooking it separately, then pouring it back into the crust! Of course, I'd used too much cornstarch, so now it's ultra thick. But at least it's not thin and pasty.

Posted by JAY at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2009

Warm Scallop Salad

I've been having a lot of salads lately. Of course, that's not going to make up for the crap I've been eating...

Bay scallops are nice and cheap, and I had a zucchini that needed eating - so I seared them off in a hot pan with olive oil and tossed it with lettuce lightly dressed with a maple-mustard vinaigrette. It was yummy and a nice light meal.

Posted by JAY at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2009

Dinner at Mel's

Melanie invited me over for a fat-filled dinner to end all fat filled dinners!

Mel wanted to try Pioneer Woman's Alfredo recipe. It was really yummy - how could it not be, with butter, cream and cheese? It was also my first time eating fresh pasta (as opposed to dried). It was very yummy, but I'm not sure I actually preferred it to my favorite dried brand (DiCecco). It was a nice change, though! I may have to try making fresh pasta myself with the food processor.

For dessert, I brought ice cream, blueberries and homemade chocolate sauce (ingredients: chocolate, heavy cream, butter...). We were SO full after!

Posted by JAY at 09:11 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2009

Emilia's Birthday

Today was Emilia's birthday. So the neighbors had a birthday party outside with a bunch of friends and relatives. Emilia is a really 'girly girl', so I got her a princess 'paperdoll' made out of wood and magnetic outfits from Melissa and Doug.

She seemed to really like it - except that she seemed to want to savor opening the plastic shrink wrap, rather than tear into it and start playing with it. So when her well-meaning older brother tried to assist her by ripping into the clear plastic, she got really upset. Her mom ended up patching up the cellophane with some scotch tape.

I met Marek's wife Barbara and their son Christopher, who is my age. Christopher and Marek are electricians, and Christopher recently bought a Suzuki sport motorcycle. Tatiana and her MS sales-husband Savash were there with their daughter Allison. Allison wasn't used to cousin Aaron's brattiness (he's quite adorable, but SUCH a brat) so there were a lot of tears. Elena, his sister, was pretty awesome at climbing the slide, even though she's only two.

I spent a lot of time playing with the kids - rescuing them from the jumping gym and assisting in climbs on the play set. Very tired now, though!

Posted by JAY at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)