It’s the final day of 2017. Many exciting events happened over the course of the year.
Including today at 11:19am- our home rejoiced loudly. For exactly 45 hours we had no power. It went off at 2:19pm December 29th. This morning was starting off very cold in our home with one room reading a temperature of 5°. I was even emailed about it:
Totally cool! Our smart thermostat realized it needed to kick in and warm us up. This is great as well because if the power wasn’t on by noon we were getting ready to cancel New Year’s Eve plans. Not my plans mind you- I work overnight, but our children’s plans. Hence the extra rejoicing when we discovered light again!
Cancelling plans on children never makes me feel good. I’m happy that we don’t have to tonight. Every New Year’s Eve my children marathon through the Harry Potter films. The past couple of years we have allowed them to invite friends over to watch as well. This year, my son has asked to marathon some of the Star Wars films in a different room with a couple of his friends while his sister does HP.
Tonight my home will be filled with children. This also allows their parents the opportunity to celebrate this evening. Not only was it important to us to get power back on, but it would’ve affected others as well if we canceled.
In the end it seems 2017 was full of cheer even on the final day.
We have been without power now for 27 hours and counting… Yesterday wasn’t so bad, read about it here: No Power No Problem. But after a while it is getting a bit taxing.
We haven’t seen an end in sight for when the power will be restored during this ice storm. Warm fires and board games don’t exactly feed the family. We did a sandwich spread last night which was tasty. I used a cast iron pan in the fireplace to toast up the breads (almost like a grilled cheese). This morning was scrambled eggs and bacon with boiled water making French pressed coffee. My family wasn’t going to starve by any means.
After a bit of “Social Media Complaining” a friend of ours invited us over for dinner. We wholeheartedly accepted! We gladly drove for about a half hour to have use of flushing toilets, electricity and being fed. Our friend makes fantastic meals and we often share plans with one another. They’ve come to our place on occasion as well.
A bottle of wine and a case of beer were brought over to share. Accepting the kindness from friends reassures me that people are wonderful. Good conversation and good food made our evening extremely pleasant. I’ll never not take up someone’s offer to be kind. It’s not a handout- it’s friendship. It’s looking out for those who matter most to you.
Thank you to my friends for opening their doors and hearts to my family tonight. Your love and kindness is appreciated!
There is a severe ice storm at the moment in the Lower Mainland. We’ve lost power a few times in the past 24 hrs. As you can tell, I still have cellular service- so I can remain connected to the world. Life isn’t that bad!
Today, we arrived home from shopping this afternoon to discover that there was no power in our home again. My wife and children rustled up all of our candles and placed them on our dining room table and throughout the family room. We made sure our camping lanterns had spare batteries for later use.
Our oldest started a fire to keep our house warm. I love living in the country and still having a wood burning fireplace. Besides creating a warm ambience, it comes in very handy at times like this. We have an abundance of dry wood ready to keep us warm.
The Christmas season also means that we have decorative candles and candle holders. Moments like this are a perfect reason to light them again. Why not enjoy their beauty a little longer?
So stay cozy this winter season. And let the power failures bring family/friends closer to you.
Today was going to be a “ME DAY“. It started late because I slept in. After I got out of bed, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich. My wife made a comment- so I made her a sandwich as well.
After my breakfast, I ended up giving some advice to our oldest daughter about “cold calling” for a job. We worked on possible questions and answers. A bit of rehearsal and I left it to her. She did quite well on the phone for a 15 year old.
Then my son and I went to play some video games. I had promised him some of my time on my first day off. So we played “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” for a couple of hours. That was going fine until work called me asking for me to come in. Which I agreed to do without fuss.
My day to myself was filled with doing things for others. I feel really good about it. I think I should do more of these.
There’s a famous Canadian that has said some things and done some things. Then there’s me.
I’ve also said some things and done some things. What surprises me is the impact of my words and actions vs someone famous. I don’t have the same size audience. Mine is much smaller, a bit closer to me, perhaps even a bit more intimate.
My audience is my children and my wife. My audience is my friends and coworkers. My audience is complete strangers.
Somehow I have made an impact on each life I touch. I have received handshakes and thank you cards for just being me. I have been acknowledged for my actions or my patience- through emails and phone calls. It surprises me each and every time it happens.
All I ever want to do is make the world a better place. I want to watch others succeed. I want people to realize that happiness comes from within.
That’s just who I am. A regular Joe. An everyday hero to no one in particular.
A few years ago, bacon was everything. I was eating it like nobody’s business. Always having a pack of meat at the ready. Mmmm bacon… everyone knew it as well. They expected it from me when they would show up for a meal.
Bacon has always made me happy. I have wrapped numerous foods in bacon. Hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, even bacon wrapped turkey a couple of times. But oven baked is my personal favorite. Add a touch of steak spice or brown sugar to pull more flavor forward. The bacon weave is prefect size for inside a sandwich.
I was given bacon floss as a gift one year. I’ve been afraid to open it, so it sits in my drawer. I was also given bacon scented soap and used that up pretty fast. It was my favorite thing to smell like!
My sister-in-law is the only expanded family that gives me a gift at Christmas every year. Bacon fudge. It is as decadent as you could imagine. And I’m not a big sweets fan- but holy hog is it tasty! I should’ve taken a photo, but it disappears too fast.
That’s it for today. My love of bacon. Mmmmm bacon…
Today my family filled their free time with video games and making a turkey for dinner. Lots of time available since we opened our gifts a couple of days ago: Early Christmas 2017
We bought a PS4 for Christmas and my wife is obsessed with Dig Dug. She has made it her goal to beat everyone- at a game from the 1980’s on a brand new Playstation. We have also been playing “Knowledge Is Power” as a family. It’s been surprisingly fun! And knowledgeable. Gaming has always been a big part of our family fun. But the video game system wasn’t our big gift for the family.
After all of the gifts were opened, we gave our kids Christmas cards from “Mom & Dad”. Inside each card was 10,000¥ and some custom made “Boarding Passes” for them to head to Tokyo this spring.
We are taking the family to Tokyo in 2018. After much discussion between my wife and I, we bought round trip tickets for the family back in September. We have even paid for a hotel in downtown Tokyo for our stay. Now that we finally told the kids, we can really start to plan what to do on our journey.
Tokyo has been on my “Travel Bucket List” for decades. So this trip is a bit more for me than I will admit to my family. However, they are equally as excited now that they have found out that we are going. A gazillion ideas have come forward for what we should do while in Japan. Later this week, we will sit down and do some more research for some family/teen activities or sights.
With our children growing up, travel seems like a better choice to fulfill life experiences. Video Games are fun, but memories of travel lasts a lifetime. I’m happy that they are excited about the trip. Now they all want to learn Japanese in the next two months!
Today I spent the day at work. We had a lot to do in order to keep with demand. As much as it would have been nice to have the time off, I also understand that trains need to keep moving. There are many other people at jobs that work on these holidays. Many of whom need far more recognition than we give them.
- Fire Services
Those are rather important careers. But there are other jobs as well.
- Gas station attendants
- Restaurant workers
- Retail employees
- Movie theater staff
We often forget that people make sacrifices away from their family and friends. So let’s be nice to those who work this holiday season. You never know what they are missing out on so that you can enjoy time with your family.
Today is December 23rd. My wife and I surprised our children with an early Christmas.
Because the kids didn’t know we were doing this, our morning started later than a regular Christmas Morning. My wife and I chose to do this because I will be working 12 hour days until the 28th. We figured this way we could all enjoy the unwrapping of gifts together and not feel rushed. Bonus surprise- being done early!
We are still going to do our regular dinners for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While I’m at work, the family will prepare the meals and we can still have a nice celebration together over the next few days… Christmas isn’t over yet. The gift giving was still special and a lot of fun was had.
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Ugh. Bad Christmas films are everywhere. With a few classics scattered throughout. I have opinions on many of people’s favorites as well. Unfortunately I also pick films apart ever since working at the movie theater. Christmas movies are particularly prone to my criticisms. So here’s a brief list of my least favorite films:
This film has no merits. Just an overgrown man child screaming his way through an adventure. The creepy ass scene in the woman’s change room singing My least favorite holiday song is particularly bothersome.
This film has some creepy animation. I can’t watch it. Same with Jim Carrey’s Christmas Carol. I can’t enjoy this style of animation.
Home Alone 2,3,4,…
I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch these films again. The first one was original but has been sullied by bad sequels that it is falling into the bad category.
There are plenty of other bad Christmas films out there as well. But those are my top disliked ones. I have some favorites that need to be viewed every year as well, that may not be everyone’s favorites:
This is just cheesy. And bad. Bad in a good way. The sequel was bad. In a bad film way. Don’t watch the sequel.
Die Hard 1&2
I wrote about this one last year: Die Hard IS A Christmas Movie. No need to go into further details.
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
“The shitter was full.” But my favorite part about this film is the subtle jokes- like the scene shopping in Walmart with dog food and light bulbs. Brilliant and quick.
A Christmas Story
This film is my absolute favorite of the holiday season. It is a must watch on Christmas Eve each year. I’m still waiting for a lamp to be given to me one year…
There are so many films for the season. But as each of these are relatively popular, I figured I’d touch on them. With only a few days left before Christmas, we need to watch these to get ourselves into the Christmas Spirit.
Today we are having a feast with friends and family. Food, fun, music, booze and a celebration before Christmas break hits.
I love entertaining people. Having guests over makes me feel like I’ve done some good in the world. Having everyone leave with full bellies and a bit of cheer makes me happy.
Happy Winter Solstice everyone!
After my daughters’ Large Ensemble performance yesterday, we drove home listening to Christmas music. We had Sirius XM Holiday Traditions playing when a song came on that got us all hyper. It was one that I don’t remember ever hearing before. I know it was a classic because it had that sound of old Christmas songs…
The Andrews Sisters were belting out a quick paced “Jing-a-ling Jing-a-ling” in our car. The golden age of the swing era had us smiling and laughing the entire way home. We kept reciting the lines over and over with a rigorous “HAHA! HOHO!” thrown in. When we got home, both girls were excitedly asking to buy the song on iTunes.
I forked over the 99¢ to purchase the song. Within moments, it was on three of our cellphones ready to play. Instant gratification. No waiting for the radio to play it again in their rotation. No having to wait until the next day to see if the record store would have it in stock.
Today consisted of my daughters playing the song for their friends in school. A classic Christmas tune from 1951 brought to life by a couple of teen girls in 2017. When I picked them up from school, we listened to it again in the car. Never in my life did I expect such joy to be found in a Christmas song.
There are many holiday songs that we love to sing along with, but this New to Us song will be remembered for years to come.
Tonight is the final concert of 2017 at our children’s school. We have arrived early (as usual) to drop off our kids and get good parking. The show starts at 7pm, but the teachers want the students here 30-60 minutes early for warm up.
My wife and I are pretty much the first in line to go into the auditorium. The doors are open slightly and the senior jazz band is doing one last rehearsal to test the acoustics and microphones. As we wait outside the doors, we are getting treated to some well performed jazz.
The kids at this school put a lot of effort into their performances. I enjoy coming to these shows to hear them. Being a Fine Arts School, there’s always a higher caliber of skill sets. As we hear the warm up, I’m happy that we got our children into this school. I’m proud that they have taken on the challenges as well.
As we wait for the show, I get to speak with other parents of these talented children. This is the kind of show that packs an auditorium. Line ups are forming for the door and the ticket booth with still forty minutes before the performance begins. I’m glad to be here early enough to be able to get a great seat with my wife. The show will be sensational. I’m looking forward to it.
When I was younger I listened to “A Chipmunk Christmas” album over and over and over… and over… I memorized every song- word for word. I even followed along in the storybook and memorized that as well. Not bad for a five year old boy back in 1981.
I would sit in my bedroom on my bunk bed and daydream about being a part of the story. I listened to the record so much that the needle wore out on my record player. Not to mention a couple scratches were made as I attempted to play songs on repeat.
I also tried to draw the Chipmunks (with me in their world). Living in Edmonton as a child made it easy to imagine a winter wonderland. As the years went on, I watched cartoons and fantasized even more about living in magical worlds. A part of me never wanted to grow up.
And I kept my album.
Last year, we gave our daughter a portable record player. She listened to my album as her first ever record on the player. It made me happy to know that I was able to pass on a bit of magic. Even if she is a teenager, she still loves sharing in my nostalgia.
When she played the album, I sat with her. The little boy inside of me smiled with joy. A feeling of butterflies inside my stomach overcame me. The Chipmunks have brought me joy for over 35 years.
This week I plan on listening to the album again. Probably when I’m alone in our peaceful and serene home before Christmas break.
The golden harmonica will fill my heart with joy once more.
It’s the Christmas season. It means Christmas songs are everywhere. Many songs performed by artists who have long since passed. A bit of sadness overcomes me every time I hear one of these artists:
- Bing Crosby
- David Bowie
- Elvis Presley
- John Lennon
- George Michael
- Tom Petty
Numerous more artists have died who also performers carols and Christmas songs. All of these are beautiful songs shared every year. There is a certain joy heard in each of their voices. A joy that continues to be shared with audiences even though they are no longer with us. As sad as I may be hearing their melodies, I know they performed to bring happiness to all.
Let their legacy live on in a time of cheer when we need it most.
The title of today’s blog could be considered a lie. I’m usually a great husband (tooting my own horn). But I decided to do something all wives hate right before Christmas- Home renovations.
Yes. I have become that man. The one who is using his time off to redo our 1/2 bath. One week before Christmas.
It’s not all my fault. Really.
I was supposed to have some vacation time back in November, when I had this project planned out. But things changed. And my time off moved. Which I was totally okay with. I don’t think I’ve ever had December vacation before.
So now I’m tiling a cramped 3 foot by 6 foot room. They always tell you to add 10% for waste. But I can’t figure out the formula for how long a project takes. I’m already 12 hours into it and don’t see an end in sight. I’m regretting starting this project ten years ago……. but it has to get done. There was never going to be a good time to do it. I’m sure I could’ve hired someone, but I like doing this sort of thing on my own.
The hardest part is knowing how much there is still left to do. New toilets and vanity to install after the tiles are all done. And the tiles are at least two more days of work. Mostly because I am a perfectionist, every row needs to be level and precise. No cutting corners!
I’m content to be doing stuff like this during my time off from work. Sure, travel would be nice as well. But knowing that I will have a nice looking bathroom once it’s all said and done, is a great sense of accomplishment.
So, even though I may be a bad husband for doing a home renovation project right before Christmas- it’ll be a nice gift once it’s all completed. I’ll be back in the good books then.
Old and broken is how I feel. I am sore. All over sore. Headache. Back pain. Muscles aching. Even emotionally drained. You name it, I am feeling it.
It seems that the teddy bear sitting beside me shares my pain. Not much we can do about it but throw a bandaid on our wounds and push onward. Work through the pain and put on a brave face. A face that will make others smile when they see us, even though we hurt.
Old and broken. That’s how I feel. But it’s not what others see.
When you have children, there are tons of exciting milestones at a young age:
- First step
- First tooth
- First word
- First Christmas
Then they get a couple years with a few moments here and there until first day of school. After that there’s not a whole lot more that you can get excited about. About ten years pass by until the next set of milestones.
- First job
- First love
- First car
I won’t celebrate their first kiss. That’s a personal moment- but it’s kind of a big deal for pre-teen/teenagers. Let them enjoy it. Driving their first car or getting a job- that’s a step into adulthood. A scary realization that this is the next stage of life.
Today, our fifteen year old daughter went for a job interview. Sort of. It was more a meet and greet for an opportunity of employment. A former coworker of mine messaged me that her work was looking for some extra part time help. It was nice of her to think of me and my children. It also made this a bit easier for a first job opportunity to our oldest daughter.
So I took our eldest daughter to meet the owner. For the past couple of days I tried to prepare her for what may happen at an interview. The questions asked, the answers she should give, I also told her to study up on the business as well. Driving there, we went over everything again. She was nervous. She was ready to give up before even entering. But she knew she had an opportunity here to get out of the house and make some money.
We walked in and were greeted with some smiles. I saw my former co-worker and introduced my daughter. I then let them be, because as much as I want to tout all the great things about my daughter to an old friend and a prospective boss- this was about my daughter using her courage and showing off who she is. From what I could tell, his afternoon went really well.
We shall see how it goes now. Will she get a call back? Will she be able to do the job? Will she enjoy it? In the end, it’s been a good learning opportunity for my daughter. Whether anything comes of it or not. It has started something deep inside of her- a drive to enter the adult world.
I’m currently on a “stay-cation” before Christmas. My first day was with my wife as we wrapped all the Christmas gifts for our children. I also had to run a quick errand to put insurance on my car (I completely forgot about it and the insurance ran out yesterday). The rest of my afternoon was taken up with driving our children home from school and to speed skating. None of this is what I had planned for today.
I wanted to start my day at Home Depot. I have been trying to finish our ensuite bathroom for almost ten years. I was going to buy tiles, toilet, faucet and all the other parts/supplies to finish the project.
That was my goal. Unfortunately, my wife had made other plans for my time off.
I realize that I may not get this project completed, let alone started, this week. My time off is going to be spent doing things to help out around the household instead. I didn’t realize how much my wife has to do on a regular basis as well as run her own business. This is also the last crunch for her Christmas sales and she wants to complete those orders.
What has happened is a common occurrence for couples. I had plans for my time off- my wife had other plans. Neither of us communicated our plans. I had every day laid out for my time off. My biggest drawback was not sharing or discussing with my partner. She too has every day planned out until Christmas. Without either of us getting upset, we had to make a game plan. A plan that meets both our needs.
I still get to go shopping at Home Depot. My wife still gets time to focus on her business. Somewhere in the mix we will focus on the kids…
I was driving home tonight listening to Sirius XM Holiday Traditions. Usually some classic Christmas melodies and songs are played that everyone has heard at some point. These are calm and soothing as I drive home from work.
I was pleasantly surprised when an instrumental rendition of “My Favorite Things” was played. The biggest difference from the original song (and most music on this station) was that it was up beat and cantina sounding. It got me grooving and wanting to race home. The song must’ve been really good because the main part of the instrumental is still in my head. And I’m bobbing around humming it.
I enjoy when artists take an original piece and add their own colour to it. It shows off their talents out loud. These are a few of my favorite things
I have been a Trainmaster now for nearly one year. December 12,2016 I decided to “Change It Up“. Today is the last day that I can decide to return to the union and keep my seniority.
I took on the management role to challenge myself. For the most part, I’ve successfully navigated through the hurdles that I have set for myself. I’ve even taken on challenges put forth to me from my supervisors. But, over the past few days, work has been really stressful and busy; making me re-think my decision.
Going from union to manager was not without it’s difficulties. Most of my former coworkers accepted my decision without much animosity. There was a few moments of me having to exert my position as their supervisor, but that was fairly rare. The workload increased in some ways and decreased in others. I work 12 hour days now instead of 8, but I generally get a three day weekend every week.
Even though these past few days have been a rough ride, I won’t be returning to the union. I still respect those who I have worked with for nearly ten years and it was reciprocated as I took on my new role. I think the job I’m in now suits me better. I face mental challenges with a feeling of accomplishment nearly every shift. I have even made new friends with fellow managers and have had more of a social life than I did for the first while in my career.
I want to thank everyone again for the help and support as I took on this role. You’ve all been fantastic. Only one day left: Tomorrow is day 365.
The first day of the rest of my career.
I’m coming off five weeks of night shifts. My body and brain haven’t adjusted yet. It’s only been two days so far, but it feels like I never sleep. I barley saw my own kids while on nights, now I’m going to bed early.
I’ve found it difficult this time for the change over. It also doesn’t help I’m working in a location I haven’t spent much time in over the past year. Lots of changes and my brain is back in full gear trying to keep me going. It’s mentally exhausting.
Unfortunately my children haven’t seen me much lately. So my time at home is very precious as well. Tonight, my son decided that he needed to showcase his talents on violin and trumpet. He came into my bedroom with his trumpet as I crawled into bed. I think it must be revenge for something.
But I love that he wanted to share what he’s learned so far in school. It was also easier to let him play his piece than argue for ten minutes.
Now it’s time for me to go to sleep. Fresh trumpet sounds echoed on my mind.
Christmas decorations have taken over our home and I love it. As the years have gone by, more decorations have been acquired. Nicer decorations to be precise. Many which I have made in order to create a flow throughout our home.
This year my wife has been heavily involved in decorating for the holiday season. Usually she is too overwhelmed with her business to help me out. So she just shows up in the home and accepts how I decorated. Which has been great since we both have similar tastes and ideas. Over the past couple of days, she has added her own personal touch. Which has also brought on the idea of rearranging our main floor layout.
Our piano has moved into our old dining room now. This is where it once was when we first purchased it. But when we redid the floors and took out the old breakfast nook- it moved to that location.
What happened to our dining room table you ask? Funny story- it’s now in the family room near the fireplace. Which is going to be super cozy for our dinners this month. Hold on Josef! The couch isn’t there anymore. That’s right. The couch is now where the piano once was.
Basically we recycled our home into a new formation. Since we won’t be selling any time soon, and we really don’t want to spend a fortune on new furniture or renovations for the main floor, this was our best option. I really like the idea of our sun room (ex-dining room) becoming a music room. As well as the family room becoming the dining room. I’m just not sold on where the couch is. I figure I’ll give it a month and see how it goes.
Maybe for Christmas we can get more bean bag chairs instead so that I can continue to Be too comfortable.
Since our children began at Langley Fine Arts, they have expanded their interest in many arts. While their majors are in the music program, they have enjoyed drama, art, photography and film. Tonight is the yearly Christmas showcase of the choir talents of the school.
I was never very talented at singing. My wife is decent, but won’t perform for people. So it surprised me when all three of our children willingly joined choir at school. All of them have enjoyed it so much so, that they keep returning to it.
My wife and I are extremely proud of our children. We are looking forward to watching the annual “Night of Choir”. This is a great way to get us all in the Christmas spirit a few weeks ahead of schedule.
It’s that time of year again. Parents dragging little kids on errands against their wishes. Kids being taken to Christmas choir nights, or sports events for older siblings, even shopping lately means more families in the stores. These children, when unsatisfied, tend to express their displeasure with nothing more than a scream. A perpetual going-to-run-out-of-breath-at-some-point scream.
And it sucks.
It sucks for the parents. It sucks for the people around, it also sucks for the child. The child who really didn’t want to be there in the first place. Shushing starts, then bribes, usually a phone is handed off, and on the rare occasion- the parent takes the child away. Perhaps to punish the child, but more often than not to give in to the demands of a screaming toddler.
I feel for parents during these moments. I spent five years working at Chuck E. Cheese’s and saw it all. There’s no easy way to deal with it. The tantrums are like a storm that you just need to ride out.
I’m happy that my children are past the age of just screaming. (Although, it was rare that they would even do it.) I now just need them to stop raising their voices in anger at one another. Ugh. So much drama now.
Any advice besides locking them away? They seem to enjoy that “punishment”.