Work, of course. The bills keep coming in every month, necessitating a delay in my career plan to be a Stand-up Philosopher.
Homelife. Mostly fun, though our house-selling plans are on indefinite hold now. To say housing prices have cratered in our neck of the woods understates it. If we tried to sell, we'd get slaughtered, as the going rate for homes like ours is now about 20% less than we currently owe on the mortgage, never mind the original 2001 purchase price. But that doesn't mean that we aren't in the process of decluttering and improvements.
Two Saturdays ago, some good neighbors and I dug 7" of topsoil out of what we call "the Corral." The Corral is 150 square feet of space enclosed by our partial privacy fence. I put in a small plastic shed and stored various implements out there, including the kids' outdoor toys at wintertime. But, being merely packed earth, it was weed infested and a home to at least one rat, despite my best efforts at poisoning. However, last year Heather came up with the brilliant idea of having it paved with concrete. One of our good neighbors put the forms in and used his truck to bring in two yards of sand after we'd removed the soil. All he charged us was reimbursement for the sand, and the concrete was an easy (and cheap, for concrete) buy thanks to a local contractor working on a nearby project.
Needless to say, our good neighbor is getting a steak dinner out of it from me. Oh, and more of our good neighbors put the bulk of the topsoil to good use, filling in holes dug by enthusiastic dogs. Using what I didn't save for the flowerbox, that is.
The concrete was poured and it looks great. Actually, it would make a fine enclosed patio, if we didn't need the space for storage.
However, the digging out of the plants and stale soil triggered an asthmatic reaction in me, which was followed by a stubborn bout of bronchitis which I'm still not quite out of.
However, I am delighted to report that the next day we Prices were able to confirm the existence of two other bloggers, Alan the Sheepcat and Woodrow the Wannabe Intellectual. Alan e-mailed me and told me that he was going to be debating about homosexuality and scripture in a Presbyterian church outside of Windsor on Sunday July 27, and wondered if we could meet.
We jumped at the chance and sprinted over for the second debate which started at 11 am. Thanks to Price Family timing, we saw the last fifteen minutes of it. But the kids had fun at the church (which, despite the Presbyterian name, is an evangelical church affiliated with the Willow Creek Association).
From what we saw, Alan did great, and the exchanges were cordial and irenic, which is not always the case in such discussions. Alan also says he will have the MP3 version of the debates online at his blog eventually.
We met Woodrow after the debate and we all went to a local Mongolian restaurant, which wowed the kids. "You get to fill your own bowl *and* watch it cook?!" Not surprisingly, they did a fine job of clearing their plates while Alan, Heather, Woodrow and I engaged in conversation about important topics and yes-I'll-take-you-to-the-potty Dale/Rachel/Madeleine. Both are capital gentlemen and I hope to meet with them again.
Oh, and if you're travelling to Canada, make sure you have your passport when you come back. The Canadians wave you across so long as your explosives are properly secured, but our guys will run you through the officious gauntlet on the way back if the polaroids of your birth in an American hospital are grainy. My brother (also in CBP) tells me that we caught the guy on a bad day, but I'm not so sure. You have been warned.