Was 1998 Really That Long Ago?

Back in May of this year, I mentioned how I like to communicate with old friends: Friends For A Lifetime. Last night I met up with someone I consider to be one of the nicest and wisest men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

It was twenty years ago when we lost touch. No idea how or why. Most likely, our lives suddenly changed. Back then he dubbed the year: 98 Revival. We had only met once after that in 2001 for my bachelor party. Without knowing it, it turned out to be our last big hoorah.

Even after 20 years, we laughed and shared stories. It felt youthful and revitalizing to have some one-on-one time to talk. Kids, jobs, hardships, accomplishments- all happened as we went our separate ways 20 years ago. Big events happened to each of us in 2007 that carved out who we have become to this day.

What we talked about mostly was music. Music that inspired us. Music we would listen to back in the day, and what we continue to listen to. Music that he created with numerous friends of ours. He continues to create music. A love of creating and performing is in his blood. Give him a follow on Facebook at Sick Logic. It’s never been a one man show, but a difficult road for him to journey with constantly changing band members.

In 2016, I met up with a mutual friend of ours while I was in Los Angeles: Seeing Old Friends. Perhaps one day we can all regroup and live like we did back in “The Complex.” Crazy, stupid times that killed brain cells all while making memories.

G.L.O.W.

G.L.O.W. Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a wrestling show from the late 80’s (1986-1989). I used to watch it every Saturday night in my bedroom. Hey, I was about to hit puberty- what better way to get myself aquatinted with the female form than to watch them fight? Plus a tv in my room meant my parents had no idea what I was watching.

Women wrestling each other with big 80’s hair and spandex. These were active, hair pulling, smack talking, strong women. I think I developed a type that I began to like in those formative years. Most women I dated (and even married) have been very confident and strong females with a sexy side. And hair! But the show itself was laughable for the most part.

Fast forward my life to earlier this week. I completely forgot about G.L.O.W. until surfing on Netflix brought up the show. Season One was released a year ago and I never heard much about it. I saw it advertised on Netflix but pre-teen me didn’t think the show would be that good. Now this wasn’t reruns or a remake- it was a storyline style show.

I figured what the heck- for a quick show to fill the void of some other sitcoms, I’d give it a try. I was not disappointed. Even my wife got into the show. We watched 2-3 episodes each night this week- loving it. Then last night something odd happened.

We were watching the last two episodes of Season 1. We finished just after midnight. Season 2 began streaming at exactly midnight. What luck! We had managed to enjoy the first season and it rolled over into the next season all ready for our binge-watching enjoyment. In a way I’m glad I missed out on the show last year when it released. Now I am able to enjoy a second dose immediately! Check out G.L.O.W. this weekend, it is a lot of fun.

It makes me wonder though, will Netflix create a series based on “American Gladiators” or “Rollergames” in the future? My inner teen sure hopes so.

Paid For By Yours Truly

I finally did it.  After nearly 3 years of writing I ran out of space on my free WordPress blog. Mostly because of the images I upload.

So I upgraded! Woo hoo!

WP

WordPress even allowed for me to have my own domain name as part of the monthly fee. Put this in your bookmarks bar! www.josefhavelka.com

Yup. I went with my name instead of “Making It Up As I Go“. A bit egotistical, but if you read my blog posts regularly, you know I write about me.

So now I have double the space, no ads, and my own domain name. I figured since I have been devoted to writing daily, this hobby is worth the $4.50/ month. Or 15¢/day. Maybe in another three years I will have to upgrade again. But until then- it’s all paid for for two years with no worries about running out of room.

Thanks again to all of you who read and comment. It makes me feel good inside. Please continue to follow along and share my stories. And I will continue to write.

En Suite Bathroom

I began tiling our ensuite bathroom at the beginning of December. But I didn’t actually start on the bathroom in December. I started 11 years ago. It was bit of a production to get started. Removing the toilet and vanity, pulling out the shag carpet, repairing drywall, getting all the supplies together. Yes, there was shag carpet in the bathroom.

All of that took a couple of hours.

Then I wasted 10 years of not doing anything. Sort of. We were doing a master bedroom renovation that took the majority of my time. Plus other home renovations came first, always putting the bathroom on the back burner.

Besides tearing out carpet, there was no door to the bathroom. It was a sliding closet door with wood panel. I had to build an entire wall. Which was good because I also built a small closet and a place to put our tv. I finished the wall four years ago as part of our master bedroom renovation.

During my vacation break in December, I decided to buy the tiles and start to put them in. I measured where I wanted the tiles on the wall and floor. Then I measured again. I measured a third time and got it right. I put up the tiles on the walls and floor.Then I gave up.

Until yesterday.

When I lay in bed feeling blah staring into the unfinished bathroom. My wife never gave me heck for not completing the job. It was a constant frustration to me though. So I got the motivation to grout the bathroom. Once that was done, I’d be in the home stretch.

The progress of tiling was slow for me- because I wanted it perfect. I think it turned out pretty good in the end. Long subway times with a glass trim along the wall. As well as black and white floor times made for a classic and sophisticated finish.

Today I installed the vanity, new toilet and mirror. The bathroom is ready to be used! All that is left is sealing the grout, putting up the door trim and a toilet paper holder. Today went really smoothly. I’m wishing I had gotten my butt in gear sooner. But it’s done now (almost).

I feel better about myself and the final project.

Not So. So-so Day.

I had no desire to do anything today. I ended up driving my my son to school then came home and went back to bed. I slept until it was time to pick him up again.

As I lay in bed before leaving to get my son after school- I stared into the unfinished bathroom. The bathroom that I began to refinish 11 years ago. Ugh. I just wanted to go back to sleep after getting my kid from school.

Instead, I fixed the pipes for the sink, then grouted the bathroom. I probably should’ve started earlier in the day. It’s now 11pm and I just finished. Quick blog, an ice pack and some tv. Maybe I can finish one of my projects before vacation is over.

Pathfinder LE

Today my wife is trading in her 2008 V8 Nissan Pathfinder LE. We bought it on her birthday December 6th, 2010. Here is her legacy…

The First Day. December 6/2010

The day we bought it was quite by accident. I was getting the windshield fixed on our minivan at the time and decided to browse used cars online. After booking an impromptu test drive, we spent the entire day at the dealership getting the paperwork in order. By nightfall, my wife had in her possession one of the most expensive birthday gifts ever. We needed a new vehicle at the time since our 2000 Chevy minivan was dying (and hated). Timing worked out that the Pathfinder was available on my wife’s birthday.

We brought it home and managed to get a Nightmare Before Christmas sticker for it to match our Honda Element. Both vehicles are silver and well loved. Seems we like owning matching colours of vehicles. The Pathfinder has taken us on many journeys up and down the West Coast.

In six and a half years, we managed to put on almost 200,000kms. Through deserts, mountains and beaches; windstorms, snowstorms and heatwaves: this SUV has been as big a part of our road trips as the destinations.

From ferry rides to doughnut shops; dinners at In-N-Out Burger to watching documentary films in the backseat: the comfort of the Pathfinder is unrivaled. For all of our trips, this Pathfinder has been the shit!

It will be sad to see it go. But as the kids grow older, our journeys have become more about the destinations and it’s time to see more of the world that the Pathfinder can’t reach. It is time to say goodbye to her.

One final night in our Pathfinder was spent at the Drive-In yesterday. A fond farewell to our summer routines in a vehicle that we have slowly outgrown for film watching. (We really could not fit all of us inside anymore.) The family talked about every movie we could remember seeing at the drive-in. We even spoke of the memories of killing the battery after watching a Saturday triple feature (on more than one occasion.)

Today we say goodbye to a family member. A piece of our past shall remain in photos and memories as we move forward into a new car. A car that can still fit our family as a local driver. A car my wife is excited to be driving. It’s new and a bit more sporty with a six speed manual transmission. Something she has been missing for a few years now.

It seems as well that my wife will be driving a white vehicle. Something I never would’ve expected. As I said, she likes owning matching colours.

Goodbye 2008 V8 Nissan Pathfinder LE. Your luxury and reliability did not go unnoticed. To whomever gets you next- may they have as many great memories and adventures as we did.

Farewell old friend. You truly were a Path Finder to us.

Dinner: Disassembled

One of our favorite meals involves using wraps. It’s a fun and easy way to serve dinner. Plus it means the kids have to do some of the work.

Fresh vegetables this time of year are a must. Crisp green lettuce and firm juicy tomatoes add to the enjoyment. Sometimes we slice up an avocado or peppers as well.

Seasoned ground beer is our most commonly used main part of the dish. Using a Cast Iron pan keeps the meat warm and is great to go from stovetop to oven as well. (Sometimes we substitute grilled chicken with taco seasoning.)

Add a bit of sour cream and shredded cheese, wrap it up and enjoy. Wraps are very versatile. We also make a wicked garlicky grilled chicken caesar wrap. On quick meal making days, a can of refried beans, salsa and leftover rice makes a tasty burrito.

Since it’s dinner at home, a cold beer or some tequila is a great way to wash it all down. Lots of smiles and full bellies afterwards “wraps” up a family dinner.

Clue: The Movie

The other night I gave my family a choice of films. I also shared this picture on social media to see what others thought as well:

It was fairly unanimous to watch “Clue” with “Austin Powers” getting a close second vote. It actually surprised me that so many of f my friends like the film “Clue“. After some research online I discovered that the film garnered a cult following after being in the theater.

Clue” was one of the first films I remember renting on video from the local store. I loved it. Tim Curry became a humor icon for me. I also fell in love with Rocky Horror Picture Show. But the way that he portrayed the Butler was great.

“Clue” has three endings that were out in the theater. It was a gimmicky way to get more people into the theater back in 1985. All three seemed plausible when you watch the film. I have the DVD and you can select to have the DVD choose one at random or watch all three.

I love the film. My family really enjoyed it as well. The kids talked about it afterwards. The scenes and the music helped to tell the film. 33 years later and the film holds up. Some of the best burns and one liners are delivered so perfectly in the film. If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, it should be a must watch retro film. There are some great subtleties that are also fun facts. Like the characters and their cars are the same colours as the board game.

What surprised me about the film was that the kids loved it. It made me realize that there are films out there that aren’t always BLOCKBUSTERS but still worthwhile watching.

Bite Me

The other day I complained about mosquitoes and how we try to keep them away in my post Bug Off. But of course, we are bound to get bitten.

Two nights ago, those blood suckers got me all over my back. They either sucked through my shirt or somehow flew up it. Either way, my back was tremendously itchy. I went inside to get ready for bed and wanted some relief. We don’t have any calamine lotion or anti-itch creams, so I pulled out an old “Home Remedy” hack. And it worked almost instantly.

Listerine!

Original Listerine to be precise. I found the small spray bottle we had used a few years ago for lice. Ya, lice. Those horrible bugs that infest children’s hair. Anyway, we had the Listerine in a spray bottle (btw: that hack worked-no more lice) so I spritzed my bug bites. As I said, instant relief. This was a “Life hack” I had Read about years ago and tried it finally.

I recommend the original Listerine. There is no sugar or sweet smells added. I also love having original around, compared to the others, for soothing a sore throat. I also used it to keep my tongue clean after getting it pierced two decades ago.

That’s really it. Just apply the Listerine to the affected bug bite areas and everything will be better. Some people also claim it to be a good bug repellent, but I have yet to try that. All I can say is hooray for life hacks!

Humph

Today was meant to be the first day of summer and the first day of our daughter’s summer vacation. Instead, we got a call from our oldest daughter’s Social Studies teacher this morning. Turns out our daughter wasn’t handing in her work this semester.

Her teacher gave her numerous warnings and opportunities to hand in her work. So instead of sleeping in and enjoying the start of summer vacation- I had to take my daughter to school to finish her incomplete assignments. Lucky for her that the teacher is allowing this. Back in my day: If I didn’t hand in my work- I failed.

My wife and I warned our daughter midway through the semester when we saw her report card that if she failed the class, she would be attending summer school. Which meant she wouldn’t be working at the job she loves and saving money for the laptop she wants to buy. I’m not sure why this threat didn’t motivate her. Back in grade 8- she did the same thing for science.

In grade 8, she barely passed science- we made her do summer school in order to prove a point. She hated summer school. Not because of the work. She got an A (even though she did great in summer school- the school district wouldn’t increase her grade from passing). What she didn’t like was the quality of students attending. Many still didn’t care to be there and they put minimal effort in.

I’m not saying that I was a perfect student. After grade 12 ended, I was short One Credit to graduate. I ended up doing night school and paid for it out of my own pocket in order to be done. All because I dropped the ball on too many classes between grade 11 and 12. The hardest part now is trying to explain to my children to not screw up like I did.

I’m not angry at our daughter. Just frustrated. Probably the same way my parents were frustrated with my sister and I way back when…