This is your house.
I suffered a little burn-out after Little Man’s party, on the tail end of pushing ourselves for months with a busy schedule of family events. After the party — pretty much the last major event ’til Christmas — went off without a hitch, we could rest in what felt like the first time in ages, and my digital self slowed down the rest of me no longer keeping up with the frenetic pace of the #BloggerLife.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything at all in The Week That Was #6!
The week started out with a project bigger than I’d imagined — building a toy kitchen for Little Man’s birthday gift! Online reviews claimed it only took an hour to assemble, but 4 hours and hundreds of parts later, I had a shiny new retro kitchen complete, ready for the kiddo’s first look!
Mission: Happy Birthday Boy a success, I had a little time to take an experience in before calling the day a wrap!
Surviving the WinterLab!
There’s not a lot you can get Canadians to agree on, but if you polled them all on their feelings about the wonderful season called “winter”, I’m pretty sure the sane ones would reply with a lengthy, exasperated SIGH.
But it could be worse — you could be one of the more than 21,000 people in Ontario alone who visit emergency rooms each winter due to slips and falls on ice. Or maybe you’re elderly — 60% of people who’ve had a stroke are likely to fall and cause serious injury to themselves! People use wheelchairs and walkers, having to traverse surfaces that’re normally safe but become downright perilous under icy conditions, like ramps, roads and bus stops!
Fortunately, someone’s trying to make things better!
Located several storeys below street level, the WinterLab — found in the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s iDAPT* Centre for Rehabilitation Research — is a 6m x 6m cube of Canadian winter that can reproduce the harsh weather we know and love in a controlled and repeatable manner for researchers and their measurement tools to glean better insights into what it takes to survive winter without nasty spills.
In short, it’s a tilting cube with a really icy floor that can throw just about anything winter can offer all in one, impossible little space!
I’d later discover that the iDAPT research staff went really easy on me — they easily could’ve
- Made the cube move and shake to simulate slips, trips and falls
- Added falling snow and gusts of heavy wind to trip me up, or even
- Make the ground a whole lot wetter, making it a lot harder to scale the inclines as well as I could in the winter gear Mark’s lent me!
Ultimately, I managed to ascend 11° inclines with minimal problems (which evidently made me an “anomaly”, as most people are a degree apart in their tolerance for ascent and descent, and I struggled with 8° downhill…), and with the research staff strapped inside the cube and a robotic harness snug around me, I was confident that the WinterLab wouldn’t claim me as its first untimely victim!
So was it a fun experience? Definitely — you’d never expect a lab like that right under University Avenue with all sorts of experiments going on inside! But it’s all backed by a very hard-working team, led by Dr. Geoff Fernie, PhD, PEng, CEng, FCAHS, who’s the Institute Director for Research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, in partnership with Mark’s! I got to sit and chat with him on the importance of the WinterLab and how it can help make winter a tad more bearable!
And the best part? Mark’s wants to help one of you out there prepare for the harsh weather ahead with a $100 gift card to buy something nice! A valid email address and a mouse click are all you’ll need for an entry, but there’re plenty of additional options if you want to increase your odds! Feel free to enter below! (Open to Canadians outside of Quebec, ends 12/8.)
A Day Off From Parenting
My job’s one of the few with Remembrance Day as a statutory holiday, so Sarah and I took the rare opportunity to spend some time focused less on parenting and more on ourselves by doing some of the things couples without kids often take for granted!
First on the list was shopping like the fancy do, strolling through Yorkville without its usual things that usually make shopping unbearable — no impatient crowds; no rushing to get home; no pushy salespeople trying to hit their quotas in the year’s busiest shopping season. If I could shop like this all the time, I most definitely would.
But then I’d have no job, so I’d have no money to shop… perhaps I’d better curb my expectations.
Steve Jobs was the film du jour starring Michael Fassbender, and though I was later miffed to discover that it’s a director’s dramatic interpretation of events in Jobs’ life, it made for interesting watching. Its opening sequence gave me the same feeling I had from The Social Network, wanting the same unwavering drive I’d seen in Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg. I’d probably give Steve Jobs a 3-3.5/5, but I’m no film critic.
Returning to the Danforth for a late lunch before picking Little Man up from daycare, we hit Il Fornello, whose pizza specials made a meal for two highly affordable — probably helped that my date was in no state to drink, though 😉
All in all, it was good to remember what life was like with a little less responsibility, if even only for a few hours.
We ended the week much as we’d started it, hanging in our ‘hood as we kept it local and connected with our neighbours. We stopped in some houses at the 7th Annual Open Rhodes Art Show & Sale, catching up with people we hadn’t seen in a while (or in some cases, a decade), and looking for some new things to decorate our walls. We tackled the ever-present to-do list, re-caulking the bathroom (way easier with a caulking gun, just saying); packing the freezer, prepping for more sleepless nights and temper-testing days; and doing everything we could to keep our heads attached to our shoulders!
The week that was the second week of November was no blockbuster by any means, but it’s the moments between the major events that define who we are — not just the ones we choose to share on Facebook.
May all your weeks turn out to be great ones, and we’ll see you at the next post,
*Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology
Disclaimer: Mark’s was kind enough to give me a gift card and some thermal socks for my time in the iDAPT WinterLab, which I will likely use to buy the fanciest underwear I can find. (Not even kidding.)