Wednesday, 22 May 2013

MacGyver,* Eat Your Heart Out

Humming a jaunty tune, I opened up my Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter that I bought for the low, low price of only $2 at Dollarama.  Easy peasy.  Gently place tomato plant in bottom, fill with dirt, hang, water.

I already had the perfect place picked out:  a double-hanging hook in my garden.  I am a genius.  The squirrels would be foiled, I'd use extra vertical space, and... well, it would be awesome.

First step:  The first issue came with "gently" placing the root cluster in the hole in the bottom.  I should have compared the size of the hole with the size of the tomato pot before buying a tomato plant.  But I didn't.  So, I ended up smooshing and mangling the root ball into the hole, further mauling it as I inserted a sponge around it to hold it in place. 


Second step:  fill with dirt, slowly.  Ok.  With the tomato plant now dangling out of the bottom, I couldn't just put it down to fill it, so I held the planter up with one hand, and scooped in some good dirt...and more...and more...and I-am-not-strong-enough-to-hold-this-with-one-hand.  So I hung it on the hook. 

Well, I tried to, but the hangy bit was too small for the width of the hook.  I laid it on its side, on the dirt, and got a very long plastic-coated twist tie (they're always wrapped around kids' toys), tripled it, and used that to make a bigger loop for hanging.  So I hung it on the hook.

Which started to bend under the weight.  I decided to go out and buy a second planter, to even it out, and plant cucumbers!  (Go me!)  I'm sure it would be fine until I could. 

Third step:  water.  Squelch.  To the trained ear, that is the sound of a really, really heavy Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter bending a hook all the way over, squelching the delicate planty bit into the garden.  Dammit.

I unhooked it, lay it back on its side, and went out to buy a second one.  And a cucumber plant.  (Inspired!)

I started again, from Step One.  Oddly enough, my non-mangling skills hadn't improved with practice (at least the cucumbers won't have an advantage over the tomatoes, anyway).  Step Two went pretty much the same again.  But aha!  I had bought the second one to even out the weight on the hooks, so it would -- Squelch.  Dammit. 

Plan B (I'm not sure if you need to be capable of linear thought to have a plan B, but whatever) was to hang the planters off of the hooks which -- and don't judge me, here -- came with the planters. 

Step One of Plan B:  Drill holes in overhead beam of deck. 

Step Two:  Screw hooks in.

Well, that's what was supposed to happen.  Nothing is ever easy.  The drill, of course, wasn't charged, so the planters spent an extra day lying around.  The chuck on my drill wouldn't tighten enough to allow the drillbit to actually drill into what I am now convinced is industrial-strength steel, not wood.  I had to start by drilling a wee little hole, then a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger after that, and repeat, each time stopping to yank the drillbit out of the beam when it stopped turning.

Finally, the hole was big enough to start the screws.  Unfortunately, the mutant wood made it impossible for me to turn the screws with my sore little fingers, so I put on gloves.  Still nothing.  So, aha!  -- and this is where I fully earned my MacGyver stripes -- I jumped down off the railing (what?  I didn't mention that I was balancing precariously, and climbing up and down to change bits every time?), went into my stool box in the garage, and got The Only Tool That Anyone Really Needs,** a vise-grip.  Clamping that onto the hook, I was able to turn it with ease, and voila!  I could hop down again, climb back up with a very heavy planter...twice... and tadah!  Easy peasy.

Of course, when I climbed back up with my hose, the water went everywhere, is still dripping on the railing and will probably rot out the whole deck, but I don't care.  I am awesome.

* I'm exactly like MacGyver.  If he had power tools.  And no skills.

**  It's such a great tool that, if MacGyver had one, it wouldn't even be a show.  He'd just pull out the vise-grip 5 minutes in, and then they'd roll credits.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Evolution of Ailsa Dance

Same club, new moves.

Dec 2011

Mar 2013

Being upstaged by her backup dancer.  But oh, such poise!

What a week!

Nothing but good stuff this week!

It kicked off with a beautiful Saturday evening out to celebrate our friend Fred's birthday.  Chris and I got dolled up, left the kids with the ridiculously-relaxed (and awesome) Ramona, and even had a drink on Sparks Street* before we met up at Hy's.  Delicious food, good wine, and great conversation - it's so nice to hang out with adults!

Chris jumped out of the cake in a sparkly white number to sing Happy Birthday to the president... oh wait, no, that was someone else.... anyhoo, he was the star performer, but I seem to have recorded the bit just after he sang (could have been that I let the screwdriver, mojito, and beaujolais hold my phone) so that moment will have to live on in our (hazy) memories.

The kids woke up the next morning to find a slalom course of balloons - I wish I could wake up with that kind of enthusiasm!  (But I'll let you imagine the cab ride home... the driver was very kind to let our giant bouquet into the backseat!)

Thank you, Fred, for including us in your special day (and for the leftover cake and balloons too, of course!).  Many happy returns to the youngest 50-year-old I've ever met!

Later in the week, I was approached by the amazing Betty Lee, and she asked permission to whisk me and the Hufflings away for a Mother's Day photoshoot.  Um, let me check my -- YES!!!

What a beautiful night!  We worried a bit about rain throughout the day, but it ended up being absolutely perfect weather, with gorgeous tulips and just the right lighting. 

Betty is an artist, a professional, and she was so patient with my two active, excited Hufflings! Oh, and me, too.

The girls borrowed beautiful dresses and accessories from Betty's stash, Vaughn was devastatingly handsome in his complementary outfit, and I was lucky enough to find the perfect dress at Marshall's... for $15.  I rock. 

Yes, I'm a ham.  And no, I didn't style my hair.  I figured I should look somewhat like me.  To help with the "looking like me" bit, I also got quite sweaty, carrying a stroller with a Giant Baby down 4 flights of stairs in the humid parking garage. 

Here's hoping that next week goes as swimmingly!

*  The bartenders,  however, were not as really, really ridiculously good-looking as I was expecting.