That Was Stupid… Balls.

We all do dumb things.  Sometimes more often than we wish to admit.  This evening I did something stupid to myself.

I punched myself in the left testicle.

It hurt.  

It was dumb.  

It was unintentional.

I had just stood up from the kitchen and was walking over to our computer when it happened.  I was walking and about to adjust my manhood when I slipped and full force punched myself in the junk.  The pain entered my lower abdomen like lightning.  I froze.  My brain recoiled and I internally slapped myself for being such a dumbass.  At this point my brain decided that my left hand was no longer permitted near my manhood.  I needed to use my right hand by itself and attempt to slide it into my pants towards my left testicle in order to console it and adjust its position.  My left arm was left dangling off to the side and flapped around like a rag doll as I squirmed cautiously to soothe my bruised ego.

So tonight I punched my own testicle.  I almost don’t mind it because it’s better than the time I kicked that same testicle after a shower.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I kicked myself in the left testicle once.  It happened a couple of years ago.  I had just finished drying off from a shower and was in a hurry to get dressed.  I got my right leg into my underpants and was lifting my left leg up in order to put it in the underwear leg hole.  I pulled my foot up so quickly that I kicked the underside of my scrotum with my heel.  Almost instantly I was on the floor writhing in pain.  I suffered for what seemed like an eternity before I could get up again.

My wife still brings up the time that I smashed a broken branch against a tree.  It boomeranged back at me crashing into both testicles.  I danced around with both hands cupping my junk as I howled in pain.

I’ve done many stupid things to my family jewels over the years.  I was really hoping for it to be over.

Have I told you about the other time I was getting dressed and bent down to pick up my clothes and the doorknob smashed me in the taint?  No?  Well it hurt.

Quiet Monday

Tonight is just a quick post.  I’m a tad bit tired from a 12 hour day at work.  But I also want to spend some time with my son watching cartoons before bed.  Sometimes putting time for family comes first.

On Saturday, I spent some quality time with our daughters.  I took them into town to take a guitar lesson followed by a brief lunch date.  Tonight, my wife is taking our daughters out shopping.  Having some one on one time is important.  I’m going to get back to cuddles on the beanbag chair while watching cartoons.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone.

Three kids

While sitting in the doctor’s office the other day, an older lady struck up a conversation about having children.  Her opinion was that families need to have three kids.  I was in agreement until she began to explain her reasoning.  She felt that having three kids was great because if you lose one, you’d still have two remaining.  But if you only have two children and lose one, you only have one child left.

Obviously this is the opinion of someone who has had many years on this planet.  She was clearly in her eighties.  Years of loss.  Memories of families that have been through pain.  She continued to speak of losing her sister at a young age.  But still had a brother remaining.  

She spoke of having three kids as a normal way of life for those around her when she was young.  As if most families did that.  “Better have a third kid, you know, just in case.”  Because, eighty years ago, there was a high occurrence of child death?

I’m half this lady’s age.  When I was a child most of my friends had one sibling.  Or came from a large family.  Blended families also began to appear more frequently.  But rarely did something tragic occur that caused the loss of life.  Even into my adulthood I only know of a couple of instances where someone lost a child.  Tragic and sad, but no need to prepare for the worst and have a back up.

Although it got me thinking- what if you lose your favorite child?  Each one of our children is unique and wonderful.  We love each of them immensely.  But… there are favorites.  I have one- but I won’t tell you which one.  And I know my wife has one- but she will swear that she loves each of our kids equally.  I would never wish death on anyone, let alone my own kids.  

It’s still strange to me to think that there are people having kids as “back-ups.”  You know, in case Plan A and Plan B fall through.

The Part We Play

“One artist does not make an Orchestra.”

I read that online somewhere and it definitely rings true.  Our middle daughter took on the role of performing the bassoon in her junior high band class.  Previously she was playing clarinet, but at the end of school last year she wanted to challenge herself.  So she asked to take on a new instrument.  I wrote about it here: School Concert Band.

When I was in high school, I played the clarinet. The very same clarinet that my daughter started on when she was in grade 5. I remember practicing and playing alone in my room. I also remember that even though we had a large classroom of thirty or so musicians- there was never anything extravagant in the sections. There were flutes, clarinets, alto sax, tenor sax, trumpets, trombones and a couple people performing percussion. We were a basic high school band. Not an orchestra.  The school my children attend is willing to push for strings, brass and woodwinds that aren’t of the norm in order to achieve this.

After last summer, months of practicing commenced.  Sometimes she was eager to unpack and play.  Other times it was a bit of coaxing to get her to practice.  As any parent with a child taking a music/band class knows- practice is imperative.  But it doesn’t always sound quite right.  An instrument playing it’s part could involve merely a repetition of notes or long rests.

Over the past few months, we have heard the one part.  The bassoon has a unique sound.  Sometimes we could hear the mistakes.  Other times we were wondering why such a song piece would be chosen.  There’s nothing magical about hearing an orchestral instrument playing by itself when it’s meant to be in the ensemble.

Today we attended the performance put on by the middle school students.  Every child performing their instrument.  Every one of them proving that hard work pays off.  Together they sounded like a real orchestra.  

I’m proud of our daughter for trying a new instrument.  Half a year later and the results are amazing.  After the performance, I saw her teacher in the hall and he was saying how excellent she is at the bassoon.  That was a proud parent moment.  A moment when you realize that your child is able to take responsibility for their life and prove that they can achieve their goals.  And it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Ooh Wee

Around our home we often quote tv shows and movies.  Since I have been on a Rick and Morty kick for a little over a year now my references are often… inappropriate to say the least.

My favorite insult to call my children is Mr. Poopybutthole”  It just rolls off the tongue with ease.  It’s sort of a misnomer because the character on the show is kind and positive.  

Problem is I am saying it far too frequently.  Mainly when I’m exhausted is when the name comes out.  I’ll forget my children’s real names and out comes “Mr. Poopybutthole” instead.  Which honestly doesn’t bother my kids.  My wife on the other hand is worried that I am teaching our ten year old bad habits.

I believe my children are kind and caring. So calling them a pet name like “Mr. Poopybutthole.” is perfect.  

Anyways.  Short and to the point tonight. I’m kind of tired and need to go say goodnight to the kids.  I hope my Mr. Poopybuttholes have a good sleep.

Peanut Butter Bacon Burger

I’m not the type of person who needs to demand respect.  I give respect and I often get respect in return. It has proven valuable and essential to my growth as a person. The road to respect is give and take.

But I noticed that respect seems to be diminishing from society as a whole. Over the past year there has been a lot of hate being shared. 
But why? People are allowed to have differing views. It’s what life is about. My concern isn’t about having an opposing view with someone else. What I find truly saddening is how people react to an opposing view:  Cruel internet memes. Racist or sexist slurs. Even violence. None of it is needed.  

I may not agree politically with a friend.  However, I will share the information I have with them to help explain my viewpoint and hope that they would do the same.  It’s about respect.

Now, the other day I was treated to a fantastic lunch.  I enjoyed a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger.  Delicious in a strange way.

The planet is full of Peanut Butter as well as Bacon Burgers.  Both of which are delicious on their own.  Some people like bacon and others like peanut butter.  Put them together and you have a blend that works.  A taste that stays in your mouth long after you’ve eaten it.  Somehow together they taste wonderful.

Like opposing views.  They may clash most of the time, but when you can work through your opinions it can create a better place.  

Society needs to be more like a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger.

Where Did My Naps Go?

Lately I’ve been putting in twelve hour days at work and sleeping a full eight hours at night.  Mind you I only work 3-4 days/week which is nice.  That gives me a three day weekend pretty much every week.  

Eleven months ago I wrote about the joy of Naps.  I still try and grab a nap on my days off.  “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Let me correct that- I do nap on my days off.  However, I am suddenly enjoying a full eight hour block of sleep on the days I work.  It’s very different than I’m used to.  I almost like it.

Even my commute to and from work isn’t as bad as I once thought it would be.  Working in Downtown Vancouver was never on my agenda.  I never wanted a job that I would need to commute for.  In fact most of my jobs up until working at the railroad were within ten minutes of my home.  I only mention this because my commute driving cuts into my nap time.  

But the commute in the morning is generally before the traffic starts up.  So I am on the road for about forty minutes.  In the evening it only takes me about an hour or so to get home.  I utilize this time to listen to NEWS1130 on the am dial and get my daily intake of events.  It’s my favorite radio station by far.  In under an hour I am well informed and don’t need to waste valuable time filtering out social media “shares” to find news sources.

Because my commute is achievable and straightforward, I have been known to get to work a bit early and find a quiet spot to nap for about 20 minutes before work.  Why do I get to work early you ask?  Because I hate being late for anything.  I allot myself a buffer just in case of traffic.  And traffic can be gridlocked if I leave even fifteen minutes later than I usually do.  So getting to work early is better than me cursing in my car.

Getting one chunk of sleep is an excellent reset to start every day.  I never used to do it.  But I will always love my naps- when I get them.  

Vacation Planning Pt.3

Here is the planning stages thus far for our trip that we are planning for 2018.

1st Stage: Decide To Go On a Vacation.

This was easy.  Everyone loves vacations.

2nd Stage: Decide Where To Go.

This was a bit more challenging.  The family wanted to go somewhere warm or exotic.  We did Hawaii the one time and I realized that swimming in the ocean can be relaxing.  As I mentioned previously in Vacation Planning– we haven’t done much more than a few road trips up and down the West Coast.  I also pointed out our love of Disneyland and how it’s our “go-to” location.

3rd Stage:  Laying Out a Plan

I love the idea of visiting Disneyland.  It’s always the first place that comes to mind when my family talks about vacations or traveling.  I offhandedly mentioned to my wife the idea of Walt Disney World next year with a possible Disney Cruise as well.  We had some friends who have done similar trips and it seemed like a great idea.  So I began searching up Disney Cruises.

But then it dawned on me:  Why not visit a Disneyland in another country?  So I began researching every Disneyland on the planet.  Each one is fairly similar in the basic rides and visual look.  There is also rides and attractions unique to every location.  Plus they are located in beautiful cities that I have wanted to travel to.  Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong… all of them with much more to see than just Disneyland.  There are entire cultural differences to experience.  It has made it very difficult to decide which Disneyland to go to…

Next, I did what any father would do.  I sat my kids down and asked their opinions.  They were no help.  They couldn’t decide which one they would want to go to if given a choice.  So I made the decision for them.

We are going to travel to see every single Disneyland on the planet.  I can’t find anyone online who has done a single trip traveling from city to city visiting each and every Disneyland.  There are people who have been to all of the parks over the years.  I found one person who planned on visiting all of the parks in one year: Disney Around the World 2016: My Quest to Visit Every Disney Park in 1 Year.  

I figure it’s about time someone does it in one non-stop circular journey in under a month.  We are that family.

4th Stage:  Getting There

I mentioned in Vacation Planning Pt.2 that my wife figured out we can buy an “Around the World” airfare for about half the cost instead of individually buying tickets for city to city.  So now she is on board with the idea.

Because of my height, I haven’t ever really enjoyed plane rides.  I figure why not get as many flights over and done with in a short amount of time.  By flying westward first, it will keep the jet lag down to a minimum.  That way we can also end in California at the original Disneyland.

5th Stage:  The Details

We need to figure this part out still…

6th Stage: Enjoy Our Trip

Even Princesses need a break.

This will be a once in a lifetime trip.  A trip that most people would think is crazy.  But we aren’t like most people.  We are excited to see “The Happiest Place On Earth” in all of the many locations.

Now to come up with a title for our trip…

Disneyland World Hopper

Around the World in Disney Days

A Month of Disneylands

Planet Disneyland 

I need to find something that expresses the joy and the absurdity as well as the Disney-ness of it.

We’re going to Disneyland! 

All of ’em!

Vacation Planning

When my wife and I got married, our honeymoon cost us about $400 and lasted three days.  This was our first vacation together.  We made the most of it.  We stayed at a B&B.  We had a couple of dinners out, bought some cheap kites to fly around the lagoon, rented a couples bike for an hour and went canoeing up a small creek.  I learned never to let my wife paddle a canoe, she learned that I can’t fly a kite.  It was simple and relaxing.  We went back for our one year anniversary for a night.  My wife was due with our first child within a few days of this.

But we didn’t vacation much after this.  We began to save for a home.  We also bought our first new car.  Then our second daughter was born.  We became busy with raising kids.  Our family was growing.  We had a third child a few years after.  We were now married for five years and no vacations were in sight for the near future.  Such was life.

First day at Disneyland in 2009. Early enough to stand at the gates waiting with anticipation.

Then it happened.  Early 2009 I got laid off.  I was given two days notice.  We had three small kids.  Six, four and two.  Being forced to take time off, I went on to the Disney website and booked a hotel and park tickets for us.  We left on the Friday driving straight down (24 hours with one four hour nap in a rest area).  We spent a week in Disneyland and forgot about all of our worries.  For under $2000 we had the experience of a lifetime.

When we returned home, we vowed to go to Disneyland every couple of years.  Turns out 18 months is the maximum time away that we can endure.  We have returned for Trick or Treating a few times and once for Spring Break.  Every time we go we make a new experience and set of memories.  I’m no expert on Disneyland, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to make the most of a trip.

Sunset in Hawaii. 2014.

Besides Disneyland, we haven’t done much in the way of vacations.  We made it to Hawaii once for a Cheerleading competition.  We bought plane tickets and booked our hotel so far in advance that we ended up paying less than some of the other families that went along.  We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and had all of the amenities we could need.  We loved that trip, but I’m not sure we will ever return to Hawaii.  There are plenty of other warm locations that we would love to travel to.

Side trip back from California through the desert.

Over the years we even incorporated a few extra days into my wife’s convention circuit.  Attending a variety of Comic Cons, we have had opportunities to see more of the world as we drive to and from the venues.  This is another huge money saver for us.  Adding a small detour doesn’t really add anything to our trip.  Plus my wife’s business makes enough that we pay cash for the hotels and use some of it as spending cash as we travel.

All of this is wonderful.  And generally inexpensive.  We budget like crazy to afford the trips.  We also plan months/years in advance.  We also enjoy that aspect of the vacation.  (At least I do.)

Planning their next stop back in 2009.

This year we have a couple conventions that were already booked and we also plan to go for a few days camping.  All of it either paid for already or not going to cost us much.  I have decided that we need to really expand for our next big vacation.  Worldwide expansion…

Vacation Planning Pt.2

Yesterday, I mentioned trying to expand our travels to be more World Wide.  Here is the link in case you missed it: Vacation Planning.  Over the past few days, I have been looking into traveling to Asia and Europe within the next two years. I started by looking on Expedia and pricing tickets from one location to another. Then my wife asked if I had looked into”Around the World” air tickets. Flying this way cuts our cost in half. Bonus

However, we are still going to need to figure out some other costs such as hotels and food. We aren’t going to be road tripping with a cooler this time. My initial estimate for the five of us hovers around $30,000 to travel for about a month.

This is a huge jump from the first trip my wife and I ever took. It is something that the two of us have talked about doing with the kids since before our first child was born. When we originally began talking about this idea, we wanted to take the kids out of school for a year of traveling the world- similar to this family: Quit Your Job and Travel the World for a Year.   However since our children now attend a Choice School, they’d  lose their spots and the advantage we have struggled so hard for them to have. So we will have to resort to a summer trip and hit the destinations filled with crowds (unfortunately).  Not really a big deal.

I am really lucky with the new position I have at my work. Because of the years of service I have already put in, I am now given five weeks vacation every year. As well when I was working on the union side, I had to work the year prior to put into the following year for vacation. This means my work owes me four weeks vacation time that I need to take over the next couple of years. For those doing the math- that’s fourteen weeks off over two years. I must take five this year. I will still have nine weeks remaining. A little over two months. That’s a lot of time off.

When I married my wife- I was at $12/hr working about 30hrs/week when we first traveled on our honeymoon. Our first vacation reflected the tight income.  It’s time that our biggest vacation reflects the salary change and growth of our family.  Our children are older and more competent than when we first traveled to Disneyland back in 2009.  Those memories are what we as a family have enjoyed the most.  

So why not incorporate a trip to Disney World along the way?  The kids would love that.  I would as well.  Pretty sure my wife wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. This is now in the works for our future big trip.