Living In The Moment

It’s coming up to the end of the school year. Less than a month to go! It also means pressure on my children in many aspects. There are final exams, school projects and of course- performances.

Our children are finishing up their third year at the Langley Fine Arts School. All three children are majoring in music. The two youngest are also in the drama program. The school likes to have kids take a second Arts program until they start Grade 9. Earlier this week, our daughters had their year end performance for music and choir.

Our oldest was also performing with the Concert Band before the choir took the stage. She was in the percussion section playing the chimes and marimba. She took to these instruments partly because she enjoys being more in the background, but also because of her years of piano playing. After the concert band finished their part- the choirs came out. The venue chosen by the school was a Cathedral in Vancouver with excellent sound refraction. It was a pleasure to hear them perform in this location.

Today my son has two performances to do. One was already this morning. The other is this evening inside the theater at the school. For being in Grade 6, I’m impressed with everything he has taken on. From learning trumpet and violin this year to rehearsing his lines for drama. He has pushed himself to do his best.

When our kids were younger, we filmed every performance. But now that they are older, I prefer to just watch them. Living in the moment and not viewing life through a screen is very fulfilling. I have a chance to appreciate their talents. Watching them as they mature and grow into their artistic abilities is inspiring.

The Fine Arts School has been one of the greatest decisions my wife and I made for our children. Who knows what the future will bring for them. Only a few more years remain to enjoy these magical moments. I plan on seeing every single one.

I’m An Electrician Too Now

Being a homeowner is a never ending job. Besides daily and weekly cleaning, there is landscaping, maintenance and home improvements. I don’t mind most of the time I spend on our home. In fact, I’m generally pretty happy with the results. It’s just getting to the right results that are tough.

I’ve mentioned before that I hate the Plumbing in our home. I’ve mentioned it on more than just that one occasion: Am I a Writer or a Plumber, Home Repairs. I’ve also mentioned home renovations numerous times such as in Making A Home and it’s a love/hate relationship some days. Today may be one of those days.

I’m going to embark on an electrical project today. We have an addition that was added onto our home back in the 90’s. A sunroom was enclosed from what used to be a deck. It looks wonderful and lets in a lot of light. However the problem is that *some* of the electrical is connected to our living room on one breaker. This means we have blown a fuse from time to time.

There is a plug outside the sunroom that is not working any more, so I need to fix that. We also have a light switch that is connected to an outside floodlight that we never use. So I’m going to re-wire it to be used for another socket instead.

All of this means I may have to turn off numerous circuit breakers to figure out which one is which and what is connected to what. I need to do this before I go in the attic and start to regret my decision to re-wire a switch.

We also have a workshop (aka mini barn) that has had the lights stop working. No idea how or why. It’s another project to get fixed so that I can clean the barn and fix the back wall that is rotting away.

Anyways, time to put on my electrician hat and see what can be done. Hopefully it’s all easy. But with a home built in the early 70’s- not likely.

The Pinterest Plans

A few years back, I was addicted to Pinterest. So much so that I’d kill the battery on my iPhone regularly. Then one day it stopped. I think it was because I had saved all these wonderful ideas, but never did any.

It has been ages since I’ve logged into my Pinterest account. However, I do remember certain things I kept looking for. Mostly to do with our garden and doing it on the cheap.

We have an acre to work with. Lots of old growth as well as large trees. I have taken the time to move things around in the yard and have cut back some of the overgrown parts. It’s a labour of love.

Even animals love to hang out on our property. Our dog Lex is super lazy and never chases the squirrels away. We have numerous bird nests hidden in places like the wood shed and throughout trees. So we have a bird feeder that is always filled to keep them happy. And the squirrels love to run along our fence and up the trees.

Like a regular Disney Princess film- we just need more singing in the yard.

Pinterest was always something that kept me creating visions for our property. “Up Cycling” is still a hot trend. We have a collection of junk that is turning into Instagram hashtags. All with stuff we had already in our possession. This year’s spring cleaning and yard setup hasn’t cost me a penny. Thanks to some old ideas from Pinterest. I did toss a couple of our old toilets. I wasn’t really wanting the white trash planters in my yard. I’m glad I don’t go on Pinterest anymore.

But I still think about making stuff from old pallets I have…

Retreat to Leavenworth

My wife and I are looking at a couple of nights away this summer to celebrate our anniversary. Obviously without kids. She has found a place just south of us called Leavenworth. It is a cute Bavarian style village.

It looks like a quiet romantic village set in the mountains. There’s a Cheese Shop and a Nutcracker Museum as well- how exciting! Besides checking those two places out, we plan on floating down the river, hitting the local breweries and possibly a wine tour. Mostly we want to have a couple of casual “nothing days”. Maybe even a SPA Day…

Looking at places to stay- we are most likely going to do a Bed & Breakfast. A little bit of privacy and pampering to rejuvenate our relationship. We did the Heritage House Bed & Breakfast in Harrison Hot Springs for our honeymoon 17 years ago. We returned to that same place for our one year anniversary since we liked it so much. It seems we like going to little European themed villages.

I’m looking forward to just walking the streets holding my wife’s hand. We are a couple of goofy romantics at heart. Pretty sure by the end of the trip, a nutcracker will come home with us.

If you’ve been to Leavenworth, or have any tips, please let me know!

Fortnite Paintball Party

I like our PS4. I mostly use it to watch movies. Same with my family. We have a few games for it that I have played from time to time. My wife is killer at “Dig Dug” classic. But I don’t game like I once did. That is now for a younger generation. Mostly my son. So I guess the PS4 is more his than anyone else’s. Just don’t let him know.

My 12 year old son plays the game “Fortnite” on the PS4. I’m okay with this. It’s a poplar game and he wants to keep up with his friends at school. Nothing worse than being the “NOOB” at any game. He is pretty good at it… I think. I have also allowed him to play “Call of Duty” and a few others of the same style. He knows that I’ll sit and watch him play. We finally bought him a headset so that I don’t hear him anymore when I’m not in the room.

Last night I dropped him off at a birthday party sleepover. The boys there were already playing Fortnite. My son marched in and smack talk was in full swing. The plan was for some gaming overnight and then in the morning off to try some paintball!

I’m excited for my son to try paintball for the first time. Nothing like the thrill of trying not to get shot by a marble sized pellet that explodes. I think he’s in for a world of hurt by the end of it. I was about his age when I first tried paintball. Come to think of it- that was the only time I tried paintball. Because I sucked.

We shall see how my son fares. Maybe he will be better at it than I was. My strategy was to use all my paintballs quickly and just keep firing. In first person shooter video games- I tend to “run’n’gun”. Not a good plan. I also do that in all of my nerf wars and water gun fights. I’m the target practice by the end it seems.

I can’t wait to hear about my son’s adventures. Hopefully he has a blast and doesn’t just get blasted away like his old man did.

Refreshment Memory

Friday night I picked up four bottles of “Clearly Canadian” from a 7-11 store. I used to drink these back in grade 10/11 in the early 90’s. I think most teens at the time drank them as well. I wanted to taste them again and have my children to try these drinks.

The bottling is the same as it once was. I really liked this fact. Cracking open each bottle, the smells were familiar. The tastes were exactly the same. Which meant- they weren’t that good…

Nope. I now remember not liking these very much. The flavors are extremely artificial tasting and far too sweet for a bottle sparkling water. Even my children commented about how they tasted like different candies as they sampled each one.

In the end, my memory of these drinks was muddled to say the least. I remember heading to the local convenience store by my high school and buying them on occasion. Usually because a girl I was with wanted one. As a teen boy, I tried to impress a girl by trying to like what she liked. But my memory of the taste eluded me until I sampled them again. I can honestly say, never again. (To both the drinks and trying to impress someone.)

I should’ve learned my lesson two years ago when I bought a Crystal Pepsi. That was my 90’s drink which had vanished and reappeared briefly. It too was not amazing in any way. Just a gimmicky idea praying on my nostalgia. I do love my Sodas though.

I need to stop buying into this. All I can say is that Orbitz better not hit the shelves again… they weren’t very good. Although we all know I’d have to buy it.

A Star Wars Story

Last night I took my family to see the latest Star Wars film: Solo:A Star Wars Story. It was very enjoyable. Here’s an opinion about this new part of the franchise without spoilers.

I was worried that when Disney started announcing that they were branching off from the original storyline that the films wouldn’t be good. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was an excellent film that filled the gap of what happened in the Star Wars Universe between Episode 3 and 4. Solo: A Star Wars Story is also great in its execution. It introduces beloved characters from the original trilogies with quite a compelling backstory.

After watching Solo last night it made me think of Star Wars: Phantom Menace and how that film should really fit into the franchise.

Ok, truth be told- I have a small soft spot for Episode 1. It was the first film released at Colossus back in 1999. At a job where my life changed drastically. It was also one of the last films I took my father to. He enjoyed it the way a young child would. Perhaps it was the morphine pills he was on, but he loved Jar-Jar Binks… So SW:EP1 has some special memories in my life.

Looking back at Episode 1 I realize that perhaps it should be considered part of this new “A Star Wars Story” idea. It was never accepted as a good film in the Skywalker universe. But as a side story, it actually does work.

If Phantom Menace was released today into this new category: “A Star Wars Story” would it be a better film? You betcha. Fans would accept it easier than trying to accept it as a start of the prequel trilogy. And it wouldn’t get poo-pooed as bad with the critics as it was in 1999 because of this.

So that’s my spoiler free opinion.

Ps. I love Star Wars films. Just sayin’.

Go For A Soda?

I love drinking soda pop. I always have. Pop is the best. Kim Mitchell agrees:

Sugary sweet carbonated beverages. Mmmm so bad for my teeth and my stomach. But I don’t care. Delicious flavors flow over my palette. I don’t have a favorite. They’re all my favorite.

Throw in some ice cream and you have a beautiful treat. Drink it in a soda shoppe just to enjoy the experience.

When I was younger, I could go to the corner store and buy a 750ml glass bottle of Pepsi or Coke. My parents went to a local place called “Pick-A-Pop” where the flavors were basic but super sweet. The lime and the orange flavor were far too candy tasting. I fell in love with cream soda and root beer as a youngster. I miss “The Pop Shoppe“.

We now carbonate our own water and add flavor to it. I love the cream soda, but my kids hate it. They like the pink grapefruit, lemon/lime, and watermelon flavors. It’s not the same as buying a glass bottle. But making soda at home has brought joy to my kids.

Nobody cries.

Husband and Wife Team

My wife and I have been a great team for what seems like forever. Or at least since the year 2000.

We don’t have set chores or defined responsibilities, we just do our best to run the household. Together we are making it work. When one of us is overwhelmed, the other picks up the slack. No fights, no begging, no remorse- just a helping hand whenever needed.

A phrase used by some of my coworkers is “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work“. This is especially true in our household. We are a team. A team of crazy people trying to make it through the universe.

Our dream is to have a happy household. It doesn’t come easy either. There is so much on the table that is happening: school, chores, jobs, driving, shopping, cleaning… the list goes on and on. We have to work together to keep it cohesive.

Laughing, joking, talking, listening, caring, comforting… Our home is happy. Our children are happy. My wife and I are happy. Somehow it’s all working out. Our dreams are being fulfilled every day. We are doing our best as husband and wife/ mother and father.

Seasonal Allergies

I suffer from allergies.

SUFFER I SAY!

Now is the time of year that allergies kick in full force. Kick me in the face full force!

I blame cottonwood! That shit is everywhere. It’s causing watery eyes, runny nose and respiratory issues. Every year I swear gets worse. Ah-Choo was a brief glimpse into my hatred of this season. Did I mention the white Cottonwood sea of misery that spreads across the roads and flies through the air?

The best way for me to survive (besides solitary confinement) is using Costco sized meds on these horrible days. Ugh.

Bring me more meds!