Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 6

The Finale...

I return home the following day. The furnace will be repaired today - finally we'll be able to turn on the air conditioning and get a little reprieve from the heat. Our house was over 30 degrees, making it very uncomfortable for pregnant women... and hunters.

As I pull into the driveway, I wonder about our wasp situation. I'll have to to decide whether or not to hire someone to fix this mess soon, before things get really out of hand.

I quickly get out of the car - it has no air conditioning either, and it's 10:30am and hot. The street is busy and I take a minute to look up the street. Work crews have been fixing water mains all summer. Or so they say. I can't say that I've ever seen a water main being installed; just a lot of trucks, heavy machinery churning up pavement and sweaty tanned men in reflective clothing. And no, ladies, not the kind of sweaty, tanned men you'd like to find on the beach.

Anyway, I watch these guys pretend to earn a paycheck for a minute before turning my attention to the vinyl window. No activity. No wasps circling. My heart starts to beat faster. Could they be gone?

I unlock the door and immediately head downstairs. There are a few wasps, but not many. I had cleaned up most of the bees before I left the day before, but there are 30 more on the window sill. The poison must have kept working after I left, killing whatever wasps went towards the window. Excellent... I think to myself.

I listen carefully to the wall. The buzzing has gone. No wasps! I practically jump for joy.

I call Kristin at work, eager to share my victory. No need for professionals, I say, I am the only professional wasp killer you need! She's proud, her hubby has won the war.

I caulk every hole I can see outside, attempting to prevent any more nests. I smile to myself, excited to have this adventure drawn to it's end.

I decide to take a few minutes to educate myself about wasps and bees, information I should have acquired long ago, but I reason that it's never too late for information... most of the time...

Wasp nests tend to disintegrate after inactivity, I read, so I became less concerned about the clean up and removal of the nests. I'm still intrigued about the size of it though...

I estimate, conservatively, that Kristin and I killed several hundred wasps. I estimate that many more died inside the walls when I sprayed the nest. It must have been big. But how big?

Maybe it's just a "guy thing", but I have to know.

I head back downstairs, weaponlight in hand. I need to find something to pull out the nest. I decide to try some pliers.

With my light carefully trained on the nest, I gently attempt to pull out the nest. It's extremely fragile and it tears into pieces easily. This isn't going to work. I decide to use a piece of a cedar shim, for lack of a better tool.

I begin to bring out pieces of the nest. The hole isn't big, and the nest is, so it's hard to bring out big pieces intact. The nest is squishy, like trying to pull out a foam sponge.

I carefully watch for any more wasps that might have been hiding deep in the nest, unaffected by the spray. Pieces of the hive fall out as I toy with it using the wood. After 10 minutes, I've pulled out enough nest to form a softball. And there's more.

I decide to stop for the time being; I see a lone wasp crawling around inside the wall, so I spray again, hoping to get the rest of the nest. I can still see honeycomb inside, but they're in tough spots to reach.

I sweep up the nest and take it outside. I'm intrigued by the white plasma that fill the honeycomb. Kristin tells me that it's "baby bees", worker-bees waiting to be born. Yikes, there's a lot!

Glad to have poisoned the nest before they "hatch", I go back downstairs, too curious to leave the remaining nest alone. I manage to pull out a little more honeycomb before giving up. The block wall is somewhat hollow - I can't get any further without taking apart my wall. I decide that it's as far as I'll get.

All said and done, I pulled out enough honeycomb to make a nest about the size of a cantaloupe, but I'm sure there's more in there.


And so we reach the conclusion of the adventure. What do we learn from such an experience? I thought of a few things:

1. Escaping two wasp nests without a single sting is a challenge, but possible!
2. I can hunt bees with the best of 'em, just give me a plastic zapper, some duct tape and a weaponlight.
3. Raid is expensive, but much cheaper than a "professional".
4. Homeowners should check the outside of their homes for holes each spring, unless you'd like your own adventure.
5. Wasps were especially bad this year, according to the Hamilton Spectator, and multiply quickly!
6. My wife is every bit a wasp hunter that I am, I just wouldn't let her in on the action.


Thanks for joining me (us) on this adventure. I hope you've enjoyed reading along! I know I rant, and these get long, but you've persevered, and I'm grateful. This has been a roller coaster ride - with laughter, adventure, frustration, aggression and romance. Well, I didn't write much about romance...

Two causalities of war, killed by my brave wife!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fetal Echo Cardiograms....

...take a really long time, but we're grateful for the doctor (cardiologist) who patiently surveyed our babies' hearts.

Everything looks good! Kristin and I praise God for the answer to prayer! We want to say thank-you, again, for all your prayers and support - keep praying/supporting!

The fetal echo took a few hours to complete; they use an ultrasound machine to focus in on the little hearts, and they examine all the "structures" and monitor blood flow patterns. So far, the doctor says everything looks fine, and we have nothing to be concerned about. So that was a relief!

It was also really cool to see each of our babies again today. They had their little pictures taken about 150 times in total (about 50 each). They were very active in there - gave the cardiologist a a hard time as he fiddled with the machine to get accurate readings/pictures. Way to go babies!

They were just excited to be on camera, that's all. *wink

Thanks again for your prayers! Our next appointment is in a week and a half, and they'll do another really long ultrasound - they will be looking at each bone/organ in each baby, checking their anatomy. Talk about a marathon ultrasound. They usually take about an hour for a singleton pregnancy.

I guess I'm going to need a bigger cup of coffee.

Please pray for the technician that will be doing the ultrasound - some tech's get nauseous watching the ultrasound that long - it will test their endurance! Also pray for Kristin's energy level, patience and endurance, after all, she has to put up with the poking and pressure of the ultrasound-picture-taker (I have no idea what that hand-held device is called - I'll ask next time...). Of course, keep praying for our three babies, too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 5

The story nears it's conclusion... if you're new here, read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4...


The hot summer sun shines down, like a heat lamp on an aquarium, and I sweat. Oh, I sweat.

I'm standing on the driveway, deflated, defeated. Staring at the bees crawling through the small holes in the window.

Another nest, I sigh. I slowly walk back inside, downstairs to the den like a dog with his tail between his legs, shoulders sagging. I near the window and put my ear to the wall. I can hear them. I can hear them in there! Oh man...

I consider ripping the trim and window ledge out to find them. As I stand and stare at the window, I take a minute to remember putting this room together. It was just a few short months ago that we finished this room. My father-in-law and I carefully crafted it, from the bare walls out. We put in a new sub-floor, picked out carpet, re-routed a drain pipe, installed custom home theater wire hidden in the walls, hung ceiling tiles and painted it all up.

It's so empty now. No carpet or sub-floor, missing pieces of drywall, and now, I might have to pull apart the window. It's time for a break; this is just too frustrating, all these bees.

We drive to Burlington to take a swim. My mother-in-law suggests using her wasp catcher - a jar with a special lid. The idea is to put some pop in it, let the bees fly in, and ... they're trapped. End of story. My mother-in-law drops by the next day while I'm at work and leaves the trap. Now we wait.

I return home 8 hours later, eager to check on the trap. I'm disappointed; no wasps in the jar. 30 on the window.

Mother-in-Law = 0
Bees = Too Smart

Now I'm just plain ticked off. The bee hunter will not be defeated! I take up my bug zapper and swat at the bees as they circle my head. In a moment of pure adrenaline and wasp-killing aggression, the bug zapper caresses the wall. By caress, I mean... smashes. The plastic bug zapper breaks. Nooooo!

Kristin wonders what's going on, and comes to the top of the basement stairs. I caution her to stay up there - there are still 60 or so wasps actively flying around. I swat at the wasps, trying desperately to avoid being stung. I show Kristin the zapper, expecting much disappointment - after all, she looooves zapping bugs. I'm surprised, she's hopeful; "Does it still work?" I hold it up to my ear and press the small square button. I hear the faint noise. "Yep!" I exclaim, suddenly possessed with optimism. My wife... she inspires me.

With a bounce in my step, I hurry to the workshop, carefully holding my broken racket. My eyes dart to one of the hooks on the wall. I know exactly what I'm looking for, and I know just where it is. Every guy knows where his duct tape is. It's a guy thing.

(As an aside, for most of her life, Kristin thought it was called Duck Tape. Sooooo cute. So cute.)

I quickly mend my broken zapper, and I'm back in the saddle, full of grit and determination. I go on the attack and quickly hunt and kill every wasp in sight.

I take up a new can of Raid wasp spray and spray the first nest again, just to be sure. I watch as the wasps die in the wall, several making it out of the hole, but no further. By the time I return to the den, the window is full of wasps. I'm not kidding, there were hundreds of wasps in the basement.

In frustration, I spray the wasps on the window in the den. They die instantly, dotting the cold, concrete floor. Take that, I say. I go back outside, the can almost empty. I use what's left to spray at the holes. The holes are too small to get a good spray inside, so I have to settle.

The light dims. I survey the wreckage in the basement; there are dead wasps everywhere. I'm proud of my killing-spree.

I'm certain that I've taken care of nest #1, but I'm less sure of #2. There's no activity at the holes, but that's not surprising, it's coated in Raid. Time will tell.

As I lay in bed, I consider hiring an exterminator. I dread the bill - I dread having to call for help. I was doing so well, I think to myself, but a man needs to know his limits. Have I reached mine?

Wednesday - the end of the road - the adventure reaches it's end.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

17 Weeks Today! Please read: prayer requests inside!

Mmmm, Muskoka maple.

I'd like to take a moment to thank my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, R&A, for making this blog possible. It's a quiet Sunday night, and I'm sipping a beautifully aromatic cup of coffee. If you're ever in Huntsville, Ontario - go to the Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co. and get some Muskoka Maple. Deeeeelicious.

I almost feel bad that I didn't pay for it. Almost.

But seriously, thanks guys - this is one tasty brew.

I'll take a break from our battle with the bees tonight, because there's more pressing news! Kristin is 17 weeks today! We praise God every day for these little bundles that push Kristin's belly out.

This is the most beautiful pregnant woman I've seen - that's for sure! If you haven't already - this would the time to take a few minutes to sign up to be a "follower" of this blog, and post your first comment, letting Kristin know how beautiful she is!

If you've already signed up - thanks! You can leave comments too - it'll be fun!

Ooooh, she's getting a little bigger! If you'd like to compare with the 12 week picture - click here! I know I notice a difference! (I get considerably less bed-space these days).

Don't bother writing comments telling me I'm only going to get less space... I'm well aware.

Just one more thought tonight. Kristin and I pray for our babies each day, and we thank those of you who join us in doing so. We pray for their health and growth, among other things, but we also pray for the salvation of our little ones. Nothing is more important to us; we pray that our children will know Jesus from an early age and will see His involvement in their lives at each turn.

Kristin and I have also learned that it's important to pray for each appointment we have with our doctors. Our appointment with the cardiologist was a shock, and we learned to expect the unexpected. On Tuesday morning we'll see the good doctors at Mac for a fetal echo cardiogram. This means they will be checking our babies' heart's for any defects or abnormalities. In past ultrasounds they have seen all three hearts working just fine, and have assessed normal beats per minute, so we're feeling good about this appointment, but ask for prayer nonetheless.

I will post an update at some point on Tuesday to let you all know the outcome; until then, we appreciate your prayers!

Don't forget to leave a comment for my beautiful-baby-carrying-wife!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 4


Ahem, where was I...

Picture one of those '80's cop shows, the perp is in the dark, hiding behind some boxes, just waiting to pounce on the mustached cop as he turns the corner. Except, in this case the perp is a nest of wasps, and I'm the mustached cop. Oh yeah, I look wicked scary with a mustache. Kristin loooves it.

Okay, but for real, the situation is full of tension and anticipation. This insulation is coming down! I'm determined, but nervous. I spend a few minutes killing more wasps with my battery powered bug zapper - it takes no time to kill 30 wasps. I'm increasingly worried - more wasps just keep coming. How long can this last - and how big is this nest?! I wonder.

I look for some supplies. The area is dark, so I take up my flashlight. This isn't an ordinary flashlight - this is the type of flashlight you want if someone breaks into your house - it's part flashlight, part weapon. I'm not kidding; this thing weighs like 10lbs.

Weaponlight in hand, I pick up a roofing hammer. Don't ask.

I creep towards the insulation where the nest is concealed. Flashlight carefully trained on the yellow mass, I use the hooked end of the hammer to pull on the insulation. My eyes flit about the room, as wasps circle my head. They aren't going to like this, I think to myself.

The insulation is down in a second, small peices of concrete land on old paint cans and startle me - I'm frantic, looking all around, expecting wasps to attack at any moment. Four or five wasps quickly fly towards me, and I duck into another room. I figure they're going to be pretty ticked, so I'd better give them some room to calm down.

While I'm letting Team Yellow Jacket strategize, I pick up a new can of wasp spray. Oh yeah. I take it back downstairs, with my weaponlight. A small, focused beam of light pierces the dark room. I'm down on one knee, trying to get a good look at the nest. There it is, there's the command centre, I say outloud to no one.

I'm still nervous. The air conditioning isn't working and it's hot in the house. Beads of sweat land on my brow, but I'm eager to spray this nest and finish my mission without a single wasp sting. I press the trigger... nothing. Nuts.

I hurry outside, not wanting to be stung by wasps while fiddling with the spray that will finish this battle.

Outside I inspect the can; turns out I haven't opened the sprayer properly. This time I test it outside to ensure it works. A solid flow of pesticide, or other such chemical, lands on my lawn. Good, now I'm ready.

I take up the 80's cop scenario again; crouching down, I put my weaponlight on the nest - there are wasps crawling all around it. Yikes - there's still a whole lot left! Not for long...

I let loose a long shower of chemical, drenching every part of the nest I can see, which isn't much.
I wonder to myself how far the nest goes - there was a lot of bees - so the nest must be considerable. I watch the nest carefully - waiting for signs of life. I give the nest a few concentrated bursts of Raid, for good measure.

Time will tell. After 10 minutes, I see no wasps. A smile crosses my face, and I make my way up the stairs to proudly tell my bride of my courageous feat. She's impressed, proud. Oh yeah, hubby can keep his family safe from wasps. "No reason to fear", I tell my babies, "Daddy's got it under control."

I'm not sure if they can hear me yet, but they'll be impressed soon enough.

I take a break outside - Team Simons has prevailed! I walk around the back of the house, hastily pushing past the rose of sharon. I decide I should check the hole before calling it a day - just to make sure they didn't eat their way through the foam insulation. I grin - ha! - still plugged up!

I make my way back to the driveway and look down the street. I watch my neighbors for a moment, pulling in and out of the driveway. A woman walking her dog. I swat at something. A wasp. Huh, I guess you're homeless now, I think to myself.

My eyes follow him down toward the window to my den. He crawls through a hole. Ooooh No!

I look closer. Four small hole in the vinyl casing that holds the window in place. Each hole precisely the size needed to let wasps climb in and out - no bigger than the head of a Q-Tip.

A second nest. This time on the other side of our house.

Tomorrow - Part 5 - Nest #2...

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 3

Make sure you read Part 1 & Part 2!


Tender, saucy pork just falling off the bone. Corn on the cob, smothered in warm butter, with a side of cold potato salad. A perfect summer lunch. The four of us sit inside; there's not much shade in the yard today, the bright sun beating down on the picnic table out back.

We talk, laugh and re-tell old stories as we make a mess - rib sauce coating our finger tips. After lunch, Kat and her boyfriend head out, and Kristin and I start the clean up.

I start washing the dishes, starting with the plates which are messy with sauce, butter and bones.

"Hey - there's a bee in here," she says.

"Hunh, that's odd. Wonder how he got in here," I wonder aloud. I dry my hands and make my way to the dining room where she stares at the bee. He's bouncing around the screen, trying to find a way out. There won't be a way out today, I muse as I grab him - er, crush him - with a paper towel.

I walk back to the sink. It's mid-afternoon now, about 3pm and the sun is still shining. I look onto the street as I wipe dishes and place them in the drying rack. Kids are playing in the park across the street and the sound of their game carries through the open window. I hear an older boy curse as they run through the playground. I cringe. Soon enough our own kids will be playing in that park, having to listen to that garbage. Mine will be different, I hope.

My thoughts are interrupted. "Hey, there's two more!" she says, eying the 2 small yellow jackets flitting about the room. I quickly crush them as well. I'm a hunter like that.

Back to the dishes. I'm almost through the lunch clean-up when I'm interrupted again.

Where are all these bees coming from?! I demand an answer.

We don't often have bees - yellow jackets, to be more specific - in the house, and in the past 20 minutes I've killed 5! My heart slows, concern washing over my mind.

Kristin suggests we get out the bug zapper. It's small, red, and shaped like a tennis racket. Two AA batteries fit in the handle to provide the juice for zapping. I'm reluctant; it's packed away in a Rubbermaid bin and I don't feel like searching for it.

Two more bees arrive, seemingly out of thin air. Time for the zapper.

Kristin loves the bug zapper. I mean, she really loves it. For some reason she's very entertained - she quickly goes to work zapping bees and saying "Ha! Gotcha!". I finish the dishes as she zaps bugs. I love this bee-killing-bride-o-mine. I watch her with pride.

I've never seen more than 2 bees in our house during the 4+ years we've been here, but I quickly realize that in my zeal to seal up the hole from the outside, I must have blocked their only way out. Hmpf.

I figure I'd better check the basement. It's empty since the sewer back-up in late July. The restoration company had removed all of our possessions, cut the drywall 2 feet from the floor, moved doors and furniture. It's never felt so empty. I scan the rooms. No bees flying around ...

I look into my study, or what used to be my study. My eyes are drawn towards the afternoon sunlight pouring through the window. That's when I see it. The bees.

"Oh No!" I exclaim. Kristin stirs upstairs, I hear her at the top of the stairs, stepping down the first few steps. "What?? What's going on?" She says, curious and concerned.

"Don't come down!" I holler back, "Bees are everywhere!"

Kristin is too curious. She comes down a few more steps. I'm sure she just wanted to see her knight in shining armor in action. Action is my middle name. I make sure she stays upstairs, not wanting her to be stung.

My panic is carefully concealed in bravery, and I take up the tool of the trade. My red, plastic tennis racket. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's all I've got. I go to work - quickly killing 20 angry yellow jackets. I duck and dodge them as they circle me, watching their comrades perish, and possibly waiting to attack me.

They send for reinforcements; more yellow jackets arrive quickly, and I take a break. Remnants of a yellow jacket army litter the concrete floor.

I check in with Kristin - I can see the pride on her face as I tell her what's going on - about my certain victory. Maybe it was concern... no, no, it was definitely pride. Her hubby is winning.

I descend back into the basement, back into the battle. This time I enter the back room. We usually refer to this room as the "freezer room". It's not hard to figure out why; basically the only thing that was in that room was a freezer and some building supplies from past projects.

It's empty now, and I search for the bees. I turn on the light; bees are instantly drawn to it, and I zap 4 or 5. More congregate, and I ignore them. I need to find their entrance point.

It doesn't take long to locate. The room isn't finished, so there's no drywall or ceiling. I edge closer, gaining courage. After all, I have a pregnant wife upstairs, nervously waiting for the outcome. Praying, I'm sure, that her husband doesn't run madly from the house chased by a swarm of bees.

Now is not the time to wimp out, I tell myself. Not that I'm scared of bees, I'm just scared of being stung. These yellow jackets can get aggressive - just ask any picnic-er who got to close to the nest. They can also sting repeatedly.

I 'man-up' and get closer. I can't see exactly where they're coming from, but it's not hard to find them - there's a lot of them! They've amassed a small, er, good sized army somewhere in my walls. There's some insulation that sits atop the concrete wall in the basement, a piece between each floor joist. From under one of those sections of yellow insulation, pours a steady stream of yellow jackets. Yikes...

She tells me it's time to go. She's right. We have plans today - things to do - and these bees aren't going anywhere. I consider staying home to continue the battle, but I decide that more tools will be needed. I continue to assault the bees with my battery powered friend, until I'm convinced that this will not end quickly.

That piece of insulation is going to have to be removed for me to win this battle, and I'm going to need some more supplies (and more courage) for that task. It'll have to wait.

I survey the damage. Yellow Jackets dot the floor and window ledge in 2 rooms. Kristin killed a few more in the kitchen with a sandal (what a brave woman!).

Team Simons plugged the hole, no doubt causing major problems for the opposing team. +1 for Paul. Team Yellow Jacket launched a surprise indoor counterattack on a novice homeowner who knows nothing of bee-culture. +1

So we're tied - both teams very annoyed with one another. I ponder what other supplies I need and consider a little online research.

Tomorrow - the second wave of attacks, plus more pictures! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 2

As an aside, Kristin and I haven't had any appointments this week, so there's not much to update you on ... I'll post a 16/17 week picture of Kristin so you can see how big her belly is getting
(I think that's the only time I'll be able to get away with that sentence.... ever).

So, back to the bees...
I watch the sun start to dip behind the Hamilton escarpment as I make my way to the local Home Depot. It's still warm and my car has no air conditioning. Kind of like my house, I think to myself. I consider my options as I listen to music pumping through my iPod to the car stereo. There is a fair amount of traffic in the late afternoon, so I have plenty of time to plan my attack.

After making a few short stops at various stores, I arrive at the depot. It's surprisingly not busy during this time of day, and I make my way through the store. It doesn't take long to find what I'm looking for. Expanding foam, of some sort.

My plan is to spray the foam into the hole, effectively blocking the bees highway home. Their nest must be inside the hollow of the brick (more like brick/blocks), so the foam should plug the hole and keep them from coming in.

I grin as I make my way to the next aisle. This type of foam isn't really waterproof, so I decide I should use some type of caulking to seal it.

I happen upon a Home Depot employee wearing a dirty orange apron. Not his first day on the job, looks to be in his 40's, I think to myself, assessing his possible work and life experience. I guess that this guy is knowledgeable enough to point me in the right direction here.

We chat for a few minutes. He doesn't seem overly concerned about my nemesis, and not really entertained either. Oh well.

I ask him what he'd do in my situation. He comes up with the same idea. I feel encouraged; a novice homeowner like myself coming up with such an ingenious plan. He recommends a caulk that should do the trick. I can tell this is his "go-to" recommendation - he really likes this one.

I make my purchase and head back out into the setting sun. By the time I'm home and ready to go, I decide it's too dark to see what I'm doing. I consider my options.

I could quickly get my newly purchased supplies ready to go, and hastily fill the hole. They say evening is a good time to catch wasps because they're in the nest. I could trap them all, I say with a grin. No, too impulsive.

My other option is to wait until daylight. I'm excited - eager to attack my new house guests, but I decide that proceeding at night could be perilous. I reason that the bees will be quite upset - what with me cutting off their only access to the sweet sweet food they gather each day.

Wasps are aggressive, aren't they? I make a silent promise to do a little online research another time. For now, I decide that it'd be far better to be able to see my opponent. I'm not really a fan of being stung numerous times by wasps.

As I stand in the backyard, weighing my options, I envision myself tripping over something, as I run from the angry-ninja-wasps like a maniac. Looks like it'll be a morning mission.

I wake up in the morning, eager to start my mission. It's only 10am, but it already feels like 30 degrees outside. I sip a cup of coffee, pondering the outcome of the mission. I could be stung a million times, my anxiety tells me. No, I reason back, I can run pretty fast if I need to.

I pick up my weapon of choice. I carefully twist the plastic tube onto the can, and it's ready to go. I toy with the trigger - testing to make sure it's going to work when I get to the battleground. The foam rises to the top of the tube immediately. I'm ready to go.

I plan to spray the foam into the hole; in a matter of minutes the foam will expand more than twice it's size, totally filling the entrance the wasps have created in my brick. It'll harden quickly, and their fate will be sealed.

I'm jittery from the coffee; maybe it's the anticipation and adrenaline, or both. I carefully eye my escape route. I need to be prepared for a counter-attack.

I ease my way past the rose of sharon, sweat already pouring down my face. I see them. At least 5 or 6 wasps hovering close to the hole. I see one climb out and fly away. My eye twinkles as I anticipate the execution of my plan. So long bees.

I edge closer to the hole, carefully maneuvering past the floating bees. Time slows. I nervously slide the plastic tube into the hole and quickly press the trigger.

*snap!* I've broken the trigger. Looks like I overdid it. I feel a rush of panic and consider making my exit. No, I tell myself, I need to finish this. I notice a smaller trigger on the other side - I quickly test it. Bees are flying around. There's more now, are they angry? I wonder.

The trigger works. I go back to filling the hole, and in seconds I see the yellow foam expanding and pushing out of the brick. It's done.

I stand back from my work and inspect the foam. It's starting to set - maybe the heat of the day is speeding up the process. The bees frantically scour the brick, looking for their entrance, to no avail.

I smile at my handiwork. Victory is mine! I walk through a small cloud of bees, my sense of accomplishment numbing my fear of multiple darts from wasps.

I start the barbeque. Time to start slow cooking some ribs for lunch. My stomach growls just thinking about it. My sister Kat and her boyfriend are coming.

This is a good start to the day, I muse. Food is on the grill, sun's shining, and I just annihilated a whole lotta bees.

If only I had known...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 1

"Honey, the door..." she says, her voice breaking my concentration as I type furiously on my keyboard. It isn't the first time I've missed someone knocking at the door.

"I'm coming! I'm coming" I holler as I race past Gus on my way down the stairs. It's the furnace tech, Ron. We've never met before, but he's come by to take a look at the furnace that will be replaced by our insurance company, after we had some sewer backup a few weeks ago. Ron's a genuine guy, a little shorter than me, rounder, with a smile on his face. He knows what he's talking about. He's been doing this for years.

We chat about the furnace and how hot it's getting in our house, making my pregnant wife a little uncomfortable. He says he'll get us fixed up real quick - just as soon as the insurance company gives him the nod. He's like a baseball player on deck, waiting for his turn at the plate.

"This guy really likes furnaces," I think to myself, "really likes 'em - that's weird."

After several minutes of chatter about furnaces, options to upgrade, and so on, Ron says he'd like to check out the air conditioning unit. "Was it damaged as well?" he asks.

"I have no idea - I was told not to turn anything on - don't want to blow bacteria and spores all over the house."

We walk around the back of the house. It's a sunny day - hot today, probably pushing 30 degrees. It's mid afternoon and the sun beats down on us. We're soon glistening with sweat.

We squeeze past the rose of sharon - it's in full bloom. It's huge, and I find myself wondering if I'm supposed to call this a tree, or a bush, or...? Whatever it is, it's beautiful - big flowers blooming bright pink and purple. Trying to squeeze past this ... thing ... I'm annoyed. Branches hitting me in the face, I look to Ron, trying gauge his reaction as we flail our arms to block flowers and branches.

Finally we're through, relieved, but still sweating from the afternoon heat. I look up to the sun as Ron inspects our aging air conditioning unit. "It's only going to get hotter," I think to myself, "hope this gets fixed up soon..."

As Ron begins to tell me about my air conditioner, my eyes are drawn to a bee. Not one of the bumblers that I'm used to seeing around the rose of sharon, but a little yellow jacket. I turn my attention back to Ron, but I find myself drawn back to the bee. Now there's two, no... three. Hmpf.

Ron and I finish our conversation - he promises to call soon - he'll put the paperwork through first thing Monday morning, and we'll get this moving, he says. Great, the weekend. Nothing's going to happen quickly. We can only hope for a few cooler days.... not likely.

Ron leaves with a friendly handshake and a smile. I give a short wave as his truck rolls down the street, my attention returning to the bees I had seen by the air conditioner.

I make my way back through the tree, (er, bush...?) batting away branches. I crouch down, sweat beading my face. I can feel the hot sun on the back of my neck. Down on one knee, beside the air conditioner I see it. A small hole. I wait only a second before a bee emerges. It flies around, not sure exactly where to go. It quickly disappears into the backyard, my eyes following it as far as possible. When it's out of sight, I look back to the hole and see another bee climbing it's way in.

"This can't be good," I say to no one in particular, "I've gotta do something about this."

I decide that a trip to Home Depot will have the solution. I have to go there anyway, I'll think of a plan on my way there.

Tomorrow - Part 2 - Team Simons vs. Team Yellow Jackets

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We all knew she had a big heart!

One of the many reasons that I married Kristin is that she has such a big heart. Kristin just has such a beautiful warm heart that draws people in. She's always been so caring, helpful and kind - that heart is going to make her a wonderful Mom to 3 little hearts!

Her heart is just too big though, literally. It's actually her aortic tube, which is part of the heart; Kristin has always had a bicuspid valve - which is common (1-2% of the population), and associated with what's known as a heart murmur. When we first met with the specialists at Mac, they suggested Kristin see the cardiologist - just as a precaution - to make sure we have all the information possible. It was in this screening that they discovered an enlarged aortic tube.

What this means is Kristin's tube is much bigger than most people. The danger is dissection/rupture, which could - in a worst-case scenario - be fatal. The doctor's would normally prescribe a surgical procedure to remove the enlarged tube, and replace it, however this isn't possible during the pregnancy.

Kristin is taking some medication to take some stress off the heart, and getting lots of rest. They'll be monitoring her heart closely as the babies get bigger and bigger.

We praise God that this was discovered - we realize that had we only been expecting 1 baby, this condition may not have been discovered, and there could have been serious situations during delivery - including a dissection/aneurysm. We also praise God that Kristin's employer has been so understanding and gracious. Kristin will be working reduced hours until the end of September, at which point she will be off work entirely. This is truly a blessing, and we're grateful that they have made sacrifices so that Kristin can relax and be as stress-free as possible.

We are so grateful for all of you who have been praying for us this week and throughout this pregnancy. We are thankful for so many people who are willing to continually bring our needs before the Living God, and we're confident that He will walk with us through the good times and the hard times. We take great comfort knowing that there is a God, a God with whom we can have a personal relationship with - a God who knows us, and who we can know.

We are praying for healing, safety and health for Kristin and the babies. We also pray that we will use every opportunity to bring glory to God during these times, and that we will be able to share our faith and God's love with the doctor's, nurses and other people we encounter at the hospital.

Thank you again for your notes, emails, phone calls and prayers. We are extremely grateful. If you have questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them!

Monday, August 17, 2009

16 Week Ultrasounds!

As promised, here are this past Friday's ultrasounds. We also learned the genders of our babies.

I'm often asked, "Do you want to know the sexes?"

I always reply, "I don't need any more surprises!" So, we discovered the genders of our babies this week, much to our delight. Some people like surprises though, and to keep those people from being oh-so-disappointed, what I'll do is try to write it the same color as the background. If this works... you'll have to use your cursor to highlight the text. Don't want to know? Don't highlight the text below...

2 boys and a girl! WooHoo!

11 Week Ultrasounds!

A day late due to scanner issues, but nevertheless, here are the 11 week ultrasounds. Later today I'll post the latest ultrasounds (almost 16 weeks). It's getting very exciting, babies are growing soooo much!

All the ultrasounds are labeled with TRIPLET __ so you know which baby you're looking at, some of them you have to look a little closer, due to the size of the pictures ... sorry about that...

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Each year, Kristin and I join a number of friends for a trip up to Grundy Lake Provincial Park.
We were held up for 5 days this year, cutting our trip in half (due to the basement sewer backup issue....), but we still made it, and enjoyed the trip very much.

Thanks to Tim's "mustache", we had no problems with the local wildlife....


Thanks for checking out our new family blog! Kristin and I want to be able to keep everyone up to date about the pregnancy, share information and pictures and keep people "in the loop". We decided that a blog would be easiest, seeing that many of our friends and family live long distances away. If you're a first-time blog reader, keep in mind that the most recent posts will be at the top of the page, scroll down to see older posts.

Please feel free to leave comments and sign up as a "follower", if you'd like!


There have been several things that have held up our blog. We had hoped to get this underway several weeks ago, but we were held up by basement sewer backup (more on that another time), camping and lots of doctors appointments. Nevertheless, here it is!

We hope to have some ultrasound pictures to share soon (3 sets!), but for now, here's a picture of Kristin at 12 weeks. Tomorrow I'll try to post ultrasound pictures, and Kristin's 16 week picture! (Wow, 16 weeks already!)

Kristin at 12 weeks - getting big already!

By now, many of you have heard about the news we received this week regarding Kristin's heart. We thank you for your prayers, notes and phone calls. We'll be sure to post more information about that soon!