Connecticut Recap and NYC's Phase Three

I'm finally back in my East Village apartment in Manhattan, writing another blog post. It feels weird after spending 18 days away in Connecticut among two different sets of friends, to now be alone in a very small apartment, needing to think about grocery shopping, laundromats, and cooking for one! While I was still working from Connecticut, I'm excited to get back into a routine and get a bit more focused on finishing this project strong over the next few weeks. I also want to resume my exploration of these five boroughs, particularly since we have now entered phase three of Covid restrictions being lifted.

Since I left for my Connecticut hangs, NYC restaurants have opened patios for dining and drinks, and now hairdressers, nail salons, etc. are open as well, so a decent amount has changed. A funny observation is that many restaurants in New York actually don't have patios, or only have a table or two right outside on the sidewalk, so with the new rules, they're beginning to construct patios on the streets and basically take up the parking lane!

No patio? Build one on the street! Right outside my apartment!

Thought I would give a quick recap of the back half of my trip that consisted of Canada Day, more golf, a lakehouse for Independence Day, and more food and drink than I care to think about.

Canada Day

Work gave us Thursday, July 2nd and Friday, July 3rd off for the American long weekend, so Wednesday, July 1st was a nice day working from Dom and Jen's before logging off for a much-needed four-day weekend. I realized I haven't taken any vacation since our golf trip ended on February 9th, and couple that with quarantine, I think I was getting a bit edgy and unproductive.

Anyway, Dom and Jen let me be their annoying Canadian child and they fully embraced the celebrations as the great hosts they are. I made vegan poutine which turned out pretty well (no, it's not healthy), and we had plenty of drinks, watched an episode of Schitt's Creek, and played a few matches of snooker to close out the night and a very fun day.

Canada Day Celebrations!

Dad Projects

Because of the ducks and chickens that Dom and Jen are raising, they need to provide the birds with a protected coop where the birds can roam around (the coop is about the size of my apartment), swim in the pond, and lay eggs. However, the house backs onto a beautiful Connecticut forest which also houses beautiful Connecticut coyotes, and even the odd bear, so Dom took me under his wing and put me to work to help him construct an electric fence.

I used to tape my own hockey stick before games so I felt pretty qualified, but nonetheless he insisted on showing me the way. While I give him a hard time for all of his dad chores (he has zero kids), I learned alot and it was fun strategizing to find the most efficient way to run the wires around the coop and over the doors, or how best to connect the wires to the power source.

Over a couple days, I achieved several firsts at the age of 34:

  • Used a hammer drill to drill pilot holes

  • Used an impact driver drill (and learned what it was) to "toe in" some screws to some 2x4's (fun side note: a 2 by 4 you get at Home Depot is actually only 1.5" by 3.5" as the size diminishes through milling)

  • Used a mitre saw (which the cool kids call a chop saw)

  • Used a sledge hammer to nail a six-foot grounding rod into the soil

  • Created 4x4's using 2x4's to build a table

  • Used a chalk line

  • Built an electric fence around a chicken coop and got it up to 10,000 volts - good luck, bears!

Celebrating 10,000 volts of dad achievement

Golf

After Dom showed me what a power tool was, I showed him what a shotgun birdie was as we played another round of golf, this time in New Britain, CT. Their neighbor joined us for golf, and we met up with Jen and the rest of the neighbor's lovely family for a casual dinner to close out my time in Central, CT. All in all, we played 3 rounds in my 16 days, and the golf itch has never been stronger, particularly since I have a brand new set of Taylormade irons waiting for me in Winnipeg. Thanks, Covid.

Dave's Lake House

To continue my friend-mooching streak, Dom and Jen were kind enough to drive me, essentially across the state, to my buddy Dave's newly purchased lake house in Danbury, CT. Dave and his girlfriend, Leonie, had literally just moved in a week prior, but were still willing to have five of us (limiting large gatherings) to celebrate the Fourth of July. Funnily enough, of the seven people in attendance, only two were American! We had two Canadians, a Frenchman, a Russian woman and a Dutch woman!

One of many epic brunch spreads at the lake house; mimosas included

The lake house was fantastic - in a beautiful little gated community right on a picturesque lake that wasn't too deep, making it the ideal swimming temperature. There's a little beach that's just two minutes from their door step, and I had some great conversations with all of the folks in attendance.

I felt very lucky during the entire Connecticut run to have such awesome friends who have all been successful enough to own incredible houses, yet be more inviting and generous than ever in having me constantly crash!

The rest of the lake stay was exactly what you picture - good food, constant snacking, swimming, running, drinking, and laughing. And, like any good lake weekend, I have very few pictures!

Kan Jam at the lake!

Food and Drink

I don't need to go into detail, but I truly ate like a king for the last few weeks and I'm glad that both hosts have the same passion for food as I do. Some epic meals both home-cooked and out at restaurants made for a drool-worthy camera roll at the end of this trip.

Vegan poutine and "red" rose for Canada Day
Epic night with Dom and Jen in West Hartford crushing Mediterranean food on a newly-built patio
A healthy grocery shop to get back on track in NYC

Looking forward to getting back into New York City living, but I also know I'll be back in CT again soon to hang out with some of my favourite people!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading,

Mike