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I’ve been a bad boy all summer; I haven’t posted on this blog since April. A huge part of that has been dealing with getting settled into the new house and my job search, some of it has been the constant renovation of the new house, some of it has been health-related, and a great deal of it has been dealing with depression issues. But, for whatever reason, I’m feeling a good deal more positive recently, and I’ve decided to get more active.

Being active this summer has been difficult; July and August have been shockingly, brutally hot. But with the summer running out and the drought coming to an end I’m kicking it up a notch because of the aforementioned health issues.

Back in the first week of June, I ended up in hospital with kidney stones. Three days of painkillers and lots of water later and I passed a grand total of seven of the little bastards. The thing is, I’m thirty-eight. Thirty-eight-year-olds should not be getting kidney stones so the rest of my summer has involved a lot of medical testing. Last week, I got the final test results from my urologist and the good news: is there’s nothing medically wrong with me that would cause kidney stones. That means the bad news is that my habits regarding hydration and salt intake are entirely to blame. So now I’m on a low-salt, high-hydration regime. I’ve cut down the alcohol intake, and I’m trying to get more exercise.

A couple of days ago The Wife™ bought me a good pair of backpacking boots, an item which has been missing from my closet for several years. I’ve spent part of my weekend putting together a day pack (I firmly believe in carrying a minimum amount of gear — multitool, compass, first aid kit, flashlight, firestarter, rain poncho, duct tape, dry socks, etc. on even the shortest day hike) and looking at the trail guide for our local wilderness area, Short Hills Provincial Park. If the weather is as cool and dry as predicted, I’ll be taking a solo hike there tomorrow, and hopefully several day hikes with The Wife™ and The Dogs™ before the snow falls.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot to report. The Wife™’s job is going really well although my job situation is still nonexistent (I’m now registered with an employment counseling service here in town and they’ve been an amazing amount of help) and I’ve been getting a lot of family time with my twin sister and her daughter. The Wife™ and I have been systematically exploring the Niagara region this summer: we’ve found a beautiful, almost-always deserted beach from which to grok Lake Erie; a number of excellent restaurants; various crunchy grocery stores and farmer’s markets, not to mention a nice indie hiking store in St. Catharines and an absolutely epic hunting/outdoors store just off the highway; a great pick-your-own fruit farm down the road; and a doggie daycare for the puppies… all within an easy drive.

That’s been the most interesting thing about this whole experience: the fact that everything is withing an easy drive down here. Back in Peterborough if you couldn’t find something in town, you were committed to a two or three hour round trip to run down to the GTA to get it… or a week-long wait after ordering from Amazon. Here? You just hop on the 406 or the QEW and you’re there in twenty or thirty minutes. A two or three hour round trip means Burlington or Ancaster with it’s huge number of stores, including a well-stocked MEC and a Lee Valley storefront. We haven’t even tried the cross-border shopping thing yet (we’ll wait for the dollar to recover a bit more, thanks.)

And the fruit; we’re living in Canada’s version of the Napa Valley, and it’s fruit season. The Wife™ has been making jam like a woman possessed. Today or tomorrow will be the peach jam, and we’ve got twelvequarts of peaches ripening in the kitchen as I write. Blueberry, raspberry, it’s amazing. Much of our jam will be given away, especially to family, but we won’t lack for jam over the winter, that’s certain.

All in all, the more time we spend here, the better we feel about the move.

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