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2010-05-04 - 3:11 p.m. god, away so long that even the CRICKETS have gone to sleep...

I know. I KNOW! HOW MANY months has it been??

It's been an unbelievable Spring. 40 students in my seminar class. Six grad students and an undergrad. Proposals. Research conferences. publications. defenses. and back pain.

In March, for the first time in my life, I battled regular insomnia. April was the majorly cranky month. May has seen some improvement already - undoubted linked to the conclusion of teaching and grading, and a return to doing my own thing.

Good news about my colleague - the one diagnosed with cancer. The short story is that he has made a miraculous recovery! His six-week induced coma allowed him to recover from his post-op infections. He's getting better! He will have to live on dialysis, and I am certain that this will be a huge adjustment for him and his family. But he is alive. He is ALIVE. I will visit his family this June and I cannot wait to see his face.

Good news like this puts all of my griping into perspective - so let me share my minor life annoyances with you. Not all of them (a lot has accumulated since, oh, February), but just the recent highlights.

The latest news is with The House. Yes, we still love it, especially as we've watched BC real estate prices continue to skyrocket and realize that if we were to spend the same amount of money today, we might be able to afford living in a peanut.

But we have started experiencing troubles with The Lawn. Or maybe we should call it The Swamp. Five days after a rain, water still seeps out between your toes when you step down on the barely-surviving grass. It's a like stepping onto a wet sponge. poor, drowning grass.

So finally we brought in the Christian Landscaper to help us out. He's an interesting guy. He works through a local church and employs people who need help getting back on their feet following homelessness, illness, addiction, etc.

He talked an awful lot about the spirituality of gardening and it took us quite a long time to get down to what it is that we actually wanted done. (Consistent with our experiences of getting anything done in this town. No matter what you are quoted, the actual price always includes the time it takes to hear everyone's life story). So even though the New Yorker in me was aching to cut the small talk and get on with things, I kind of liked the guy. I liked some (but not all) of his gardening suggestions. More importantly, I believe that this guy is doing something really good for people. I'm quite happy to send business his way.

Anyway, the Christian Gardener's five-minute diagnosis: we have about 4-5 cm of compacted crappy soil overlaying a massive clay layer put in by Developer Dude (from whom we bought the house). We tried to reach Developer Guy for comment but were once again unsuccessful. (Boys and Girls, if you ever believed that you would be able to follow through on the 2-5-10 warranty on your new home? just forget it.). The Christian Landscaper suggested that we contact a drainage company.

Enter: Drainage Dude. "Dave" came by and after five minutes independently confirmed Christian Landscaper's diagnosis.

End results: On Wednesday, Christian Landscaper will come in to re-slope the side lawn and put in grass and Other Vegetation where the ugly-ass cedars used to be.

And THEN: On Friday, my child will be waving her arms ecstatically with her nose glued to the window, as Drainage Dude uses large construction equipment to dig up the front yard to fix the drainage issues.

Oogabs of dollars later...we hope to have healthy grass onto which the little one will be able to run without fear of drowning...and we will still be faced with what to do about the large gaping holes where the big-ass cedars used to be. (for some reason I cannot seem to use the word cedar without prefacing it with the word "ass." Why is that?)

And as further proof that House equals money sink: we splurged on a luxury item this Spring. Developer Guy is pretty good on his choice of wall materials. Not so good on his choice of major appliances. Until recently, our kitchen housed a dishwasher that was actually a twin-cessna engine with a stainless steel door. Some advertising guy with a sense of humor decided to call it the "Quiet Partner I." Our particular 'Quiet Partner' ranked up there around 70-75 dB. For those of you not familiar with the decibel system, that's about as loud as standing on the edge of a major freeway during rush hour. Not exactly the best choice of appliance for open plan living.

So two weeks ago we replaced that baby with a super quiet machine that purrs with a bit of a German accent...oh wow, is it ever nice...

So anyway, time to say toodles. I hope to see you all again sooner than before...

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