Tuesday, April 25, 2006


de·lay (dĭ-lā') pronunciation


1.To put off until a later time: adjourn, defer, hold off, hold up, postpone, remit, shelve, stay, suspend, table, waive. Informal wait. Idioms: put on ice. See do/not do.

2.To cause to be later or slower than expected or desired: detain, hang up, hold up, lag, retard, set back, slow (down or up), stall. See help/harm/harmless, time.

3.To go or move slowly so that progress is hindered: dally, dawdle, dilly-dally, drag, lag, linger, loiter, poke, procrastinate, tarry, trail. Idioms: drag one's feet or heels, mark time, take one's time. See fast/slow/velocity.


1.The act of putting off or the condition of being put off: adjournment, deferment, deferral, postponement, stay, suspension, waiver. See time.

2.The condition or fact of being made late or slow: detainment, holdup, lag, retardation. See help/harm/harmless, time.

This summer, my children will learn a new and exciting word: "delay." We will utter that word so frequently, that even Gabriel will have it imprinted in his little infant mind. And of the above applications of the word, I assure you that we will be working outside of the "dawdle," "dilly-dally," and "procrastinate" frame of meaning. That would indicate a lack of desire to be moved into our beautiful new home and life before winter. No. Instead, any delay that takes place will be of the "hold-up,""detainment," or "stall" kind. And it will be because the reigns of
forward momentum will be in the hands of someone other than us. This month, the reigns have been in the hands of one engineer. And he seems to be a Sunday driver.

The good news is that this particular engineer sees nothing wrong with our plans, and is willing to simply draft and sign a letter saying as much. The letter in question, however, has been a long time coming. We are still waiting.

So while we wait, let's learn how to say "delay" in as many languages as we can:

Nederlands (Dutch)
uitstellen, vertragen, ophouden, talmen, op zich laten wachten, tijd rekken/winnen, uitstel, vertraging

Français (French)
différer, retarder, ralentir, remettre, tarder, remise, délai, retard, blocage

Deutsch (German)
v. - verschieben, verzögern, aufhalten, auf sich warten lassen
n. - Verzögerung, Verspätung

Ελληνική (Greek)
v. καθυστερώ, αργοπορώ, βραδύνω, παρελκύω, αναστέλλω, παρακωλύω n. καθυστέρηση, αργοπορία, παρέλκυση, χρονοτριβή

Italiano (Italian)
rimandare, ritardare, trattenere, tardare, rinvio, ostacolo

Português (Portuguese)
v. - atrasar, adiar, demorar
n. - atraso (m), adiamento (m)

Русский (Russian)
откладывать, задерживать, отсрочка, задержка

Español (Spanish)
v. tr. - aplazar, demorar, retrasar, retardar, estorbar, entretener, tardar, posponer, impedir
v. intr. - estorbar, entretener, tardar, atrasarse
n. - demora, dilación, retraso

Svenska (Swedish)
v. - försena, skjuta upp, uppehålla, hindra
n. - dröjsmål, försening

中国话 (Simplified Chinese)
v. tr. - 延缓, 耽搁, 使延期, 延误
v. intr. - 拖延, 耽搁
n. - 耽搁, 迟滞

中國話 (Traditional Chinese)
v. tr. - 延緩, 耽擱, 使延期, 延誤
v. intr. - 拖延, 耽擱
n. - 耽擱, 遲滯

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - 遅れ, 延期
v. - 遅らせる, 延期する, ぐずぐずする

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(فعل) يتأخر, يؤخر, يؤجل (الاسم) تأخير, تأخر, تأجيل‏

עברית (Hebrew)‬
v. tr. - ‮עיכב, דחה‬
v. intr. - ‮השתהה‬
n. - ‮השהיה, שהייה, עיכוב, דחייה‬

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Grace @ a Garage Sale

The thing about Grace is that just when I feel like there could not possibly be enough to cover over my constant bumblings and blunders, it proves to be so overwhelmingly sufficent that I am left in awe.

This morning, I found myself in the most humble of circumstances: Queing up outside the Cattle Castle at Lansdown Park along with hundreds of other people, eagerly waiting to be let in to a multi-boothed garage sale. I don't know about you, but I find garage sales to be the epitomy of excitement. I get to exercise my bartering skills. I strive to walk away as the stronger player. Setting a ridiculously low-priced goal, and only giving in if the seller bends enough. I win some. I lose some. But it's great fun either way. And while it is the junk-discarder who stands to gain the most from the transaction, (an empty basement and a bit of cash), when all is said and done I am left feeling like I got the better end of it. It is a fun game. A game no one is supposed to take too seriously, right? Well...

At 9:05, carrying my sleeping baby in my arms, the crowd was let in out of the rain, and I was swept along by the current of eager garage-salers. I peeled away at Booth #1 and immediately saw something to my liking. Jewellery. Nothing fancy. Just a string of beads, the likes of which I have seen my grandmother wear from time to time. I turned to the man with the yellow label on his shirt that said Booth # 1, (he bore a striking ressemblance to Ozzy Osbourne), and I held up the string of beads. My big opening offer? Two bucks. Yeah, maybe it was a bit low, but that's how I play the game.

Well, Ozzy did not like it one bit. "Excuse me?" He asked me this with his voice pitched high in disgust. I repeated my offer. There was a silence. I am assuming that he paused so that the depth of his distain for my offer would be made clear to me. He extricated the beads from my fingers and hung them back reverently on their plastic thumb tac. "Try $35," he finished. Stunned by his rudeness, I turned to leave when he grabbed for my arm. With a smile on his face that can only be describe as mean, he said; "If you want something for two bucks, there you go."And he pointed at a rack of gaudy plastic necklaces, some of which had the plastic paint peeling away from the beads.

Now, this is how the unpleasant interaction really came to an end: I said nothing. And I left. But I can assure you that on the 25-minute walk home, I pieced together several alternate endings to the episode. And I did so with pleasure. One such ending:

Ozzy points at the wares he feels are twoonie-worthy and smiles his mean smile. And I begin to laugh. And laugh, and laugh, and laugh. And then I look Ozzy in the face and tell him that if he wants to make any sales today, he may want to take a moment to reflect upon his surroundings. He is in a "Cow Castle," at Booth # 1 trying to make a little pocket money by selling junk at a GARAGE SALE! And then I would advise him to consider taking the acidly pretentious tone out of his voice when dealing with the few humble souls that have showed up here today just hoping to score a deal on some junk they actually find attractive in some small way. I even cup my hands around my mouth and shout out to the crowd; "If you find $2o too much to pay for used socks, Booth #1 is not for you. Keep walking."

I am sitting here now, two hours later, and I feel very small and very weak. Not one rude word escaped my mouth this morning. And Ozzy watched me walk away. He might even have been thinking he taught me a lesson. And he would have been right. But it was not the lesson he might have suspected. I learned a lesson about grace. Grace received. And grace given. You see, at that same sale, Booth # 35, I pulled a classic Jo-move. While holding Gabriel in on arm, I attempted to hold two glass vases in the other, and pull money out of my wallet. I failed, and one of the vases crashed to the floor and shattered everywhere. I heard one collective "Ohhhh"as 80 heads spun around to see what poor shmoe had caused the ruccus. And the yellow-tagged woman, who's vase I had just broken, looked at me; saw my red-faced embarassment; ignored the fact that I had lost her four dollars; and peered at the sleeping baby in my arms. "I see you've already found the best treasure here," she said looking at Gabriel.

Now, hours later, my simmering anger has been cooled down to room temperature. And I understand that I was a recipient of grace today. And not a giver. With every churningly vengeful thought, I, a Grace-endowed child of God, acted without grace towards a man who probably needed it desperately. While, I myself, despite having deserved atleast an annoyed head-shake, was treated most graciously by a woman who very likely does not know what grace truly means.

I am Grace-hungry. Hungry to receive. Hungry to give. I feel warm, knowing that I am surrounded by it in Christ. And I am eager to get back out into the world where there are angry people and difficult interactions at every turn. Because that is where I am supposed to be. I am meant to stand up in the face of all that anger and rudeness, and not just walk away. I am meant to show grace. Somehow. I trust that the details of how will be revealed to me in the moment.

There will always be more Ozzy's. And I know just what to offer the next one I meet . . . and it won't be two bucks.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Baby Benediction

I hope you were all as blessed this Easter as I was. I was reminded to rest in the forgiveness I have received. And felt a renewal of joy at the beauty of this life of mine. . . This life of blessings and baby benedictions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dog Shopping

I must admit that this will not be the first Van Dyk puppy aquisition. In a fit of youthful impatience, and complete ignorance, I begged Aidan to buy a Lab puppy half a year before we were married. Because Aidan lived right next door, (you know the story), I thought we could share the duties . . . Nope. Poor pup didn't stand a chance. Keena was a ball of energy that we just couldn't keep up with. Aidan worked. I was still in school. And the result was a very hyper, untrained, undisciplined dog. We ended up relinquishing her to our Aunt and Uncle who took her to live in the country. I don't think she missed us at all.

After what I've just told you, you may be questioning our abilities to be fit dog owners. I promise that three kidslater, I know a bit more about responsibilty and discipline. And I seem to have a bottomless reserve of love to pour out upon anything that comes my way. So we are going to give it another go. In a few months we will have space and time. Now, we just have to decide on a dog.

My adore Newfoundlands, (above). They are ENORMOUS. And yet they are big babies who crave attention and affection. I have memories of going to visit a friend who owned one of these big beasts. I would ring the door bell and a paw the size of my head would appear against the glass. Her name was Whinny, and she was bought to be a companion to my friend's little brother. He had mental disabilities, and treated Whinny like a wrestling buddy. And despite the rough display of affections she recieved, Whinny seemed to adore her little companion all the more for it. Here's the thing. Can I take care of another BIG baby when I already have three children to take care of? Apparently these dogs are so needy that you have to commit to carting them around everywhere you go. Oh, and they SHED. Anyone who has been in my home knows how fastidious I am. Particularily about my floors. During shedding season, which happens twice a year, a Newfie owner can expect to fill a garbage bag a day with hair! It would be an extreme act of selflessness on my part to bring one of these dogs into my home. I don't think I have progressed enough along the path of Grace yet to be that selfless. Will I ever?

Saint Bernards are an equally daunting prospect. Just as loving, but just as messy. One website warned; "These dogs are big droolers. If clean walls and windows are important to an owner, don't get one. With one good head-shake, a Saint Bernard can fling their drool up to 20 feet away." And these are Aidan's first choice. I really need to start praying NOW for my housekeeping obsessions to completely evaporate. I do have suspicions, however, about the motives behind my husbands affections for these dogs. I think he has visions of hard work days being relieved by the arrival of the family pet with a flask of Brandy around it's neck.

Akbash. I had never heard of these dogs until I started this research. They are a type of sheepdog, which means they are very protective of the family. And have the instinctive, but amusing tendency to herd the family children. But it also means they are independent and need serious training. If you don't teach them to submit, they will try and dominate. It turns out my Aunt has a friend with an Akbash named Katie. She's a farm dog with an amazing temperment. She is actually expecting puppies any day. So, we'll chat with these people and see what owning one involves.

The Burmese and Great Pyrenese are both Mountain dogs. They are both big and beautiful. But they like to roam, and they like to bark at night. Our neighbours might not appreciate this. We would need to train they really well to be obedient and submissive. These dogs are so big and so independently minded that they have to be taught that even the baby of the family is boss, or they'll be aggressively dominant. Frankly, I just don't know if we're equal to the task. They are so big, and not naturally great with children. There's a lot on the line if we don't get it right.

And finally, Golden Retrievers. In the end, I am willing to bet we will end up settling on one of these for our first pup. They are a perfect fit for a family with young kids. Part of me wanted to avoid Lab and Golden Retrievers simply because everyone has one. But everyone has one for a reason . . .

Anyways, I want feedback. If any of you know anything about any of these breeds, please enlighten us. Our knowledge is very limited. We rushed into this once, but won't do it again. By late Fall, we will hopefully be a dog family. And hopefully, come spring, I will still be sane.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Our New 'Hood

Is it just me or does the field we will soon be residing adjacent to seem to be making a rude hand gesture? Some greeting. For those who don't know, we own the plot of land just to the right of the gestulating hand. Our neighbours across the way own a red dog named "Pal" who barks animatedly every time we drive up. And I am not sure what message he is trying to send us. Is he happy to see us? Or telling us he would rather not have to deal with a new population of little people who will likely use his tail as a bell-pull? Well if he's not happy now, he certainly won't be when we introduce him to our Saint-Bernard. (Yet to be aquired, but greatly desired.)

Kinburn. Our new 'hood. This is what I know: there are lots of geese. LOTS. In the spring and fall they fly overheard in countless V-formations, honking and pooping left, right and center. Thankfully, they prefer field to forests or we would have a yard full of noisy, messy bi-annual buddies who would use us briefly only to depart shortly thereafter, leaving naught but poop and feathers behind. . .

Another thing I know is that I plan on making good use of the Carp river that runs behind our property. Once my little offspring have mastered the art of toy boat sailing, having become adept at charting windspeed and navigating through the Carp water currents, we will hold a race. And I will be the obnoxious over-aggressive parent with the bad attitude chanting; "my kids are better than your kids."

I know that we have neighbours I am dying to meet. My motives are pure. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that they live in a beautiful ranch-style house with horses galloping across their land. Nor does it have to do with the fact that I have long harboured a childhood dream of learning how to horseback ride. . .

Um . . . I don't know a whole lot more. I have noticed that Kinburnians seem to find wrought iron cut-outs of cowboys attractive, and prop them up in their gardens and against their houses. They also enjoy plastic, life-sized deer strewn about their yards. If ever one of the above appear in our garden, would you please remove it and give me a good talking-to.

Jokes aside, I hear that they like moms around here, and have wonderful kids programs at the community center. There is a berry farm two minutes away and a local brewery that Aidan will greatly enjoy. These people love hockey, and the outdoor community rink is always hopping in winter. You can see the lights of Mount Packenham ski hill twinkling in the distance, so our kids will be downhill experts by the age of 7. And the land is beautiful. It is open field and old barns; golden corn and lush green barley. I love the way our car kicks up dusty gravel when it makes its way down the road, and the sound of the choir of songbirds who gather when the sun has risen to sing amidst our treetops. . .

I am a city girl who loves the city. I love the noise and pace. And the access to things I love, like friends and coffee shops. But I have a hunger for things the city can't provide. I want my children to play freely. I want to grow a big garden, and eat my own vegetables. I want my husband to have a home out in the country; a way of living he knew as a boy, and has always longed to return to. I want us both to work with our hands, using wood and earth. And I want to grow in the silence. Maybe we will hear things that the city once drowned out. Maybe my busy city soul will slow down and come to know God in ways it never had time to before. I am ready to make the move. And ready to change in the process.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Meet our House

This is our home as I envisioned it two years ago. Without the tilt, of course. (Bad scan job) . . .

This is how it turned out in our official plans. Pretty close. Add a window, move a door, take out a balcony, but gain more porch. It stayed close enough for comfort. Now we just have to "dress" it, so to speak. I haven't yet decided whether our house should sit demurely in its clearing, hidden amidst the trees, or show itself boldy through the greenery so everyone knows its there. But that is a discussion for another day. For now, I only wanted you to make its aquaintance.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Felling Mighty Oaks

Last October the boys, armed to the teeth with chainsaws, went and cleared out a driveway and house-shaped space on our land. While it now gives me a thrill to walk down the "driveway" and imagine our house in all its glory standing in the spot that now lies cleared and ready, I was not, initially, eager to have those trees removed. I do not consider myself to be the tree-hugging type. However, as I stared at the metal teeth of my husbands chainsaw, I found within myself a desire to go and say goodbye to each and every unsuspecting tree that was about to meet its fate. Well . . . I'm over it. When I look at the pile of oak logs now lying on our property, I do not sense a stirring of emotion over their deaths. Instead, I feel something akin to glee at the possibilities their deaths have offered me. I see hardwood flooring, a dining room table, perhaps an armoire, or maybe some wooden chairs . . . Dead trees have their uses.

About the pictures.
The clearing process took place over two months-worth of Saturdays, and was mostly non-eventful. However, there was one incident that involved a stubborn tree that simply refused to fall. When it was cut, it chose to fall in the opposite direction than was intended, (this does not reflect well on the skills of those involved, does it?). As it fell, the branches of the tree became entangled in the branches of other trees, and would fall no further. It took two Saturdays for the guys to puzzle their way, not to mention hack their way, out of this quandry. And from my vantage point, it all looked uncomfortably dangerous. I was told by the boys that they knew exactly which path the tree would take as it finally fell. But, having seen a previous tree-felling prediction go awry, the children were kept securely within grabbing distance. I think at one point, when I saw the tree begin to sway and heard it groan, I actually scooped up my three-year old in one arm; my one and a half-year old in another, and bolted with surprising speed down the driveway. We didn't come back the next Saturday.

The above-mentioned tree is the one Aidan is wrestling with in the first photo. It is also the one at the end of the long yellow rope in the second photo. Even with five men straining with all their might . . . it would not fall. I think I just might have the difficult thing made into floor planks. To remind it that resistance was futile, and it was always meant to lie horizontally.

Our First Big Bump in the Road

We just want permits! It has taken months and months to gather all of the necessary plans to hand in to the City for approval. I have literally travelled far and wide, (The wilds of Manotick and Kemptville), just to piece together bits and pieces of the needed paperwork. Just last week, three months later than we had hoped, we finally held a lovely package in our hands. It was complete, and a beautiful thing to behold. While I must admit that some of it looked to me like nothing more than garbled code and squiggly lines, it represented our future. It was with mixed emotion than I watched Aidan walk out the door to hand it in to the City. This precious stack of papers was about to be ripped apart, figuratively-speaking of course, by a man paid to do just that. I think that a writer must feel the same when they hand over a manuscript, into which they have poured so much of themselves, to an editor who is paid to cut it to shreds.

Well . . . two days ago we got an unwelcomed phone call from the City office. "I've never heard of this truss system you've incorporated into your plans. I don't like 'em." Part of me was relieved that he had not taken issue with the inner design of the house, (my handy work.) But perhaps it would have been best if he had. Because to take issue with the very skeleton of the house is to take issue with something that would be devastatingly difficult, and expensive, to change.

After that phone call, an air of sullenness settled upon our house. I would go out with the kids, and it would hit me once more when I walked in the door. Poor Aidan. Just one day earlier we had driven out as a family to romp around our sodden forest lot. Aidan was giddy with excitement on the drive home, (and those of you who know us would know that "giddy" is not a word one wouldnormally associate with Aidan.) He was ready to grab a hammer and get going. This phone call shattered the momentum.

So, this is how it stands:
Best case scenario; we find a cheap way of providing documentation that legitimizes our truss system.
Not quite the worst-case scenario; we spend hundreds, possibly thousands, more on engineering documents validating this system.
Absolutely worst-case scenario: we have to scrap the truss system and re-design our home.
I'll keep you posted.

NOTE: Mini-tutorial on "truss systems" to follow . . .