Data Hogs

A few days ago, my cellular provider informed me that we were about to reach our data limit. Actually, I was notified on July 20th and our data cycle resets August 3rd… I could not figure out how this was possible, since for months we barely hit our allotment. Between four iPhones, we share 12GB.

I checked our usage and found the culprits. Our youngest daughter had gone through over 5GB on her own in under three weeks. While our oldest had only used about 800MB. My wife had used 1GB. I had used over 4.5GB.

A story of two sisters who are very different data users:

Our oldest keeps her phone on airplane mode most of the time. She also has it set up to connect to WiFi all the time. She has conditioned herself to only go on social media when on WiFi as well which keeps her data usage low. She’s been doing this for a few years now- since her first phone.

Our youngest daughter has no concept of how much she uses her phone. She also doesn’t pay attention to whether she is on WiFi or not. This summer, she hasn’t been anywhere that requires her to be online. Turns out, while she was in our backyard sharing Instagram pictures and watching YouTube, she was never connected to our WiFi. She had been using data the entire time. And watching videos in full HD. I had to have a little talk with her about this and hopefully she will correct her behavior.

My wife works from home and hardly uses data. She likes to do comparison shopping in real-time when we are out. She does still play Pokémon Go and only checks social media when bored. I tend to use data far more frequently. I’ve always hovered around the 4GB range. But I use my phone for work quite often. Checking email, looking at maps, connecting with coworkers, that sort of thing. I also use social media a lot. That’s my crutch.

So for the past few days, I have shut off all data access to everyone. The biggest results I have found is that iMessage only works on WiFi now and Siri can’t figure out how to make a handsfree call when I drive. These are things I can live without for a couple more days. As we discuss as a family how to move forward with our shared data plan.

This could be interesting…

Please feel free to share any tips or advice on limiting our data consumption. I’m sure there are ways to still enjoy the cyber world…

Dad Days Of Summer

It was another warm one today. So I took the kids out to our yearly adventure at a watering hole up the road. Check out last year’s post: Life Is On Repeat or the year before: Cooling Off. Without knowing it, every year- almost to the day– I take the kids to Williams Park.

The water was a bit more murky this year than before. It’s because of the clay deposits nearby and underneath. You can see where other kids have played in the clay and made it messier. Not a big deal, as we are planning on washing off after anyways. I think it adds to keeping us cooled off.

This year, my son braved the rope swing and had a blast. We also brought my daughter’s friend and my other daughter made some videos of them jumping in. It was a ton of fun to be had. I also pointed out to the kids that next season of Riverdale was filmed here as well.

We spent about an hour at this side of the park. The water was cool and the area was shaded by the trees. We had the place to ourselves during this time until more people began to show up. Then not as much time on the rope swing was being had, so we dried off and headed for a short hike before returning to the car.

I love this side of the park. It’s usually not busy and each year, the graffiti changes. This year the art made me think of today’s title: “The Dad Days Of Summer“. I have been actively participating with my children this summer a bit more than usual. Mostly because I have a ton of time off in between when I work. If I can make the most of the precious few years I have with them before they grow up that’s my goal.

We leave every activity or location with a smile and a story. I want my children to remember the “Dad Days” and to be able to share these activities with their friends. I had very few growing up with my father, so making memories that last a lifetime mean the world to me (and my children).

My goal this summer is to stay cool and be cool. Joe Cool

Blame It On The Bossa Nova

Today has been a lazy Sunday. I rolled out of bed at noon to eat some pancakes. Afterwards, I put up a hammock in my backyard and proceeded to relax some more.

As I lay there enjoying the breeze and the sound of the birds chirping, I decided that I needed some background music. So I hit up the CBC Music App on my iPhone. I found that instead of my usual classical music, I chose to listen to Bossa Brazil. What a freaking awesome choice.

I closed my eyes and just drifted away for about 45 minutes. My yard had turned into a peaceful getaway where all my worries melted away. The day had gone full tilt lazy.

As I swayed back and forth with my eyes closed- I was reminded of the song, “Blame It On The Bossa Nova“. Except the version from the film “Amazon Women On The Moon” sung by Don No Soul Simmons. I’ve never listened to Brazilian music before, but today made me realize there’s an entire other relaxing world out there that I need to explore. Maybe one day my wife and I can travel further south to enjoy the culture in person.

Today is just peace. My own personal paradise. Absolute perfection. I’m blaming the Bossa Nova for life being grand.

Get Out of Town!

I finished work today in North Vancouver. Being that it was a Saturday, my drive home was pretty good. (Better than it was earlier in the week during Rush Hour.) Seems like my desire to get out of the Vancouver area was different than most other people. Tons of people were heading into Vancouver at 6pm.

The Honda Celebration of Light is happening at 10pm tonight. It’s the 28th year of the fireworks display. In my life I have been 5 times. None of which have been in the past 17 years. Meaning I haven’t taken my kids…

From 1990-2000 it was called the “Benson and Hedges: Symphony Of Fire”. I liked it back then. You could smoke in the bay and wait for the show. A tobacco company sponsoring a fireworks show makes sense to me. In 2000 the Canadian government passed a law forbidding tobacco and liquor companies from sponsoring events. (Vancouver lost the Molson Indy shortly after as well because they couldn’t find sponsorship.)

But these fireworks survived. They were sponsored by a bank for a brief period, now by Honda. With an expected crowd of over 400,000 on a hot summer night, you bet your ass I won’t be there. Crowds and heat don’t make me happy. Driving or skytrain with stinky crowds make me more angry. Especially with the fact that so many ruin it by getting belligerently drunk.

But if it’s your thing- enjoy! I’m going to hang out close to home and cool off with a cold beverage and be belligerent online like a good samaritan.

Buy It, Use It…

All our lives we spend seeing commercials. In magazines, on tv, on the Internet, in movies, on billboards, just about everywhere. Sometimes advertising is subtle like a small logo on a short sleeve shirt. But it’s there. We’ve all seen it, even if we don’t acknowledge it.

I love it. I love the way advertising gets into your everyday life. Something about how it manipulates your choices through simple imagery. Old logos are some of my favorite things to search up online. I love seeing how they change and develop over the years. Or even vanish.

Sometimes companies like going back to a former look to grab the nostalgia feelings inside of us. Not gonna lie- it works. If only for a brief moment. A couple months ago I had to buy Clearly Canadian because of the retro feels.Sometimes I come across a logo and I have a tough time pinpointing the company. A logo I may have seen numerous times or one that is in the depths of my memory. Then it can be a bit more difficult to find online when using words to describe the logo. Take this for example:

Running man logo—- stick figure logo— upside down speared poop emoji with arms and a leg logo…

Turns out I remembered it being “Ocean Pacific”.

In the end, all that happens is we find “favorite” products. Coke vs Pepsi. McDonald’s vs Burger King. Honda vs Ford. iPhone vs Samsung. Whatever your “tastes” they’ve all been manipulated one way or another. I think it’s brilliant.

And even though I know I’m being targeted- I’ll still buy stuff. I am a consumer whore. And how!

Stick Village Maker

Our daughter has been spending time in our backyard being creative. She reads, writes, and draws while enjoying the fresh air. I’m proud of her for keeping her creative juices flowing. I also think she is quite talented. She loves to share her stories and art with everyone.

Sometimes when she is sitting on the lawn and at a loss for inspiration- she builds what she calls “Stick Villages.”

At least four of these “villages” have cropped up in our yard in the past week. She finds small branches and stabs them into the lawn. It’s cute and fun. I don’t mind if more of these show up in the yard.

The best part of all of these “Stick Villages” is she has to clean them up because she is the one who mows the lawn. So in the end, she gets to destroy them like a giant.

Dad and Darwin Bike Barntson

My wife and I got our Honda Element serviced and back on the road today. Since it was my day off, I decided that I was going to take the car for a bit of a longer drive to work the engine back in. I asked our middle child if she wanted to come with me. So we packed our bikes into the Element and headed to Barnston Island.

We parked by the “ferry” and unloaded our bikes. We packed a couple of water bottles, donned the sunscreen and made our way to the 9.8km bike ride. (Took us 1hr and 4min to complete btw.)

The ferry ride is essentially a tugboat and barge that brought about 5 or 6 cars across with us. Once we got across the water, we took a right and planned our trip. This little island has one road that loops around. Okay- the plan was easy. So we waited for the four cars to go past us and we began our ride.

We went about a quarter of the way before our first pause. We stopped in some shade on the side of the road. We dismounted and chugged back some water. While we were there, the first car in about twenty minutes was driving up to us and slowed down. A kind elderly man rolled down his window and asked how we were doing. I told him we were just stopping for some water. He smiled and drove off. Our only interaction with the residents was very kind and super friendly.

At around the halfway point, we were in direct sun with hardly any shade available. We stopped to get the obligatory photo of the Golden Ears Bridge. The same bridge we went over yesterday on our way to Golden Ears Park for our hike.

Once we returned to the end of the route, we were out of drinking water and feeling the heat. On the ferry, it was just us and another family of cyclists. Back on the mainland- we packed up our bikes into the Honda Element and cranked the AC to cool off.

We had a great ride and I would recommend this bike loop- it’s easy to get around.

If you know of any other family friendly rides, let me know! We are always on the look out for adventures.

Golden Ears Park

Today we went for a hike at Golden Ears Park. I haven’t been to this park in almost 25 years. It’s still just as beautiful as ever.

We followed the East Canyon Trail to the water falls. It was straight uphill for about 2.5km. Then we followed some BC Park signs down to the falls. The water was nice and cool, so we took a quick stroll through it to a shady spot and had a picnic lunch.

After our lunch, we waded around in the water a bit more admiring the views. It was peaceful and calm with hardly anyone around.

We returned to our car down the Lower Falls Trail. This was a straight and easy walk instead of an uphill hike- like we did on the way towards the falls. We stopped occasionally to take some pictures of the trees as the sun began to set.

Exploring the Lower Mainland on the outskirts of Vancouver is something that we try and do. Today’s 5km hike/nature walk was exactly what we needed as a family. Even our pooch was worn out by the end.

If you know of any other easy to moderate hike in the outskirts of Vancouver, feel free to share with me!

Grilled

I love to cook. It’s a passion of mine. I love to experiment with foods. Both healthy and otherwise. We also have an abundance of cooking equipment. From a vegetable steamer to a deep fryer. Slow cooker to a BBQ. We have numerous cast iron pans, a wok, a pasta maker, mixers, and even a couple of fondue pots.

Today we are using a Dazey Nutri Broil Smokeless Indoor Grill. I found it at the local Value Village a few weeks ago for $10. It was brand new and never used. We are going to use it outside- because safety! I’ve never used an indoor grill before. And who knows if this will even work. Best to try cooking outside.

These first pictures are from a couple of months ago on Easter Sunday while we were on vacation. Our trip to Tokyo has inspired tonight’s dinner.

I have prepared an abundance of beef and pork for our meal tonight. Since we are grilling some meat up, I thought why not try cooking as a family. We took turns flipping the meat and serving it up.

Dinner was a success. The grill worked wonderfully. Time to prepare for a meat coma! Beer obviously went best with tonight’s dinner, so I bought a large can of Asahi to share with my wife.

We sat around the outside table and grilled the meat. It was 90 minutes of talking and laughing as a family. I think we may have to do this more often. I love that we all reminisced and planned future vacations over a lovely meal.

Artsy Joey

I’m not artsy, but I try. I have some talent I guess. I really enjoy writing. Mostly memoirs and opinion pieces. Hence this ongoing blog about the most important thing in my life– me. — I mean— family and friends.

I like to construct things, mostly if there are some guidelines or instructions. I really enjoy making things that remind me of something wonderful. Like Disneyland or our trip to Tokyo. I also enjoyed making prop replicas for the cosplay for our kids.

A few years ago, I made an art piece for my wife’s birthday. It was a pencil sketch on a canvas of our favorite spot in Disneyland California Adventure. I drew it from pictures we had taken from our vantage point. It’s one of the few pieces I’m really proud of. It’s almost perfect.

Creating perfection is my biggest flaw. If it’s not perfect, I don’t want it shared. Today was one of those days. I worked hard on a chalkboard piece for fun.

Now as our guests arrive, they can log into our WiFi network. I used a chalk board and did my best to write on it. Those days of fawning over Pinterest paid off. Side note: I used the same font as I did on Ningen Headwear.

It may not be perfect, but it is fun. Time to paint some pallets and short 2×4 pieces to build up that “Country Sheik” look.

Driving On 9

Today I chose to drive everywhere by doing the speed limit. I know-crazy.

I’ve always been a Mr. heavy foot when it comes to driving. Over my 25 years of driving- I have had about 20 speeding tickets (3 of which were in my first two years of driving) and numerous warnings. It’s about time that I stopped handing over thousands of dollars in fines and started behaving.

This morning I decided to drive at exactly the speed limit on my way to work. It was early morning, meaning no traffic on the roads. Surprisingly, any other driver I met on the road was speeding. I just stayed in cruise control in the right lane and let them whiz passed me. It was the same on the drive home.

I also chose to follow the rules of the road a bit more closely in order to be able to showcase to our daughter that following these rules are important.

If I’m going to help teach her how to drive- I want her to have a good role model. Time to be that person.

Jacked

We insured our Honda Element today in order for our daughter to learn how to drive a 5 speed manual transmission. I thought it was a good idea at the time of deciding it. Only cost us $708 for four months insurance. OUCH. But at least it won’t cost us much more… except…

Whattheeverlovinghell?!?

Ok, not gonna lie. I knew we would need a tune up service for the car. It had been sitting for about 18 months. So no big deal. Really. I have started it up and moved the car a few times. My daughter and wife had driven it a bit today. They filled the tires and got some gas. I decided to take it out for a drive when I came home from work.

It probably wasn’t the best idea. Lots of driving for a car that has been stationary for far too long. That “Check Engine” light did not disappear. On my drive back to the house from the store, my little Element began to “Jack Rabbit” when I was in 2nd and 3rd gear. I pulled over and shut off the car for a bit before driving again. The car ran smooth for a bit, then began Jack Rabbiting once more. I made it home and have decided that I won’t drive it this weekend until after I get it looked at.

Hopefully it won’t cost a small fortune and that all it takes is simply a couple of twists and turns to tune it up right.

Hmmm now I want to watch “Pulp Fiction” again.

New Role, First Attempt

Today was a chance for me to sit solo as the “Operations Coordinator” at work. I have two more of these days to go. It was a good challenge for me. I have been in charge of other areas at work without much issue. However, this is how I felt at the end of my day:

My confidence level was taken down a couple of notches. As much as I know the job, I still hesitated before making decisions. I am also doing my best to focus on everything that is going on around me. But it was overwhelming. I mustn’t sit idly by and let things “just happen” I need to get my head in the game.

Next week, I am back to my other job for a few weeks. Come September, I will be back in the “hot seat” though. I hope to be ready to really take on the challenge with more self assurance. I’ll be able to be more myself and calmly react to situations.

Besides, I got this. I know I can do it. Moving trains- that’s what I do.

10 Day Music

Recently on Facebook, one of those “copy and paste” challenges has been going around:

“Ten albums in no particular order that made an impact on you that are still in your rotation today. No explanation is required, just post the cover and nominate someone new each day to do the same.”

I had been watching this unfold on many friends’ feeds for few months. Each time I saw an album posted, I understood more about that person. Even though it says “no explanation is required…” most people explained a bit about the album. Some of the music shared was really good. Some was stuff I’d never heard of.

Ten days ago, I was nominated by a friend. So I decided to play along. I enjoyed posting a new album every day. It was neat to get response from people about my choices. My music selection over the ten days were:

  1. Monty Python: Sings
  2. James: Laid
  3. Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
  4. Space: Female Of The Species
  5. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
  6. Beastie Boys: License To Ill
  7. Martin Solveig: Smash
  8. Faith No More: King For A Day…
  9. Green Day: Dookie
  10. Queen: Greatest Hits

All of these albums are still being played constantly. I hope I inspired others to listen to my music. Who knows, maybe I’ll figure out more music that I’ve missed out on or forgotten about as my friends continue to share their albums.

Gonna Make You Sweat

Holy smokes it is hot out these days.

Ya. I’m being that person as well today. Everyone is mentioning the heat. But people forget about the fact that it makes you sweat.

All I can think about is C & C Music Factory on a hot day like today. I just want to yell out- “EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!” But that would mean more sweating.

I look forward to the little breaks in between the sweating. Like the AC in my car or a cold beer in the shade at home. Too bad I can’t have a cold beer in the car while I drive home from a hot day at work. (C’mon Josef- That’s just dumb.)

Ya, better to just chill out on the way home with some air conditioning and some music. Save the beer to have with the nachos!

“In The Shape of An L On Her…”

Car!

Random did it. She turned 16 yesterday and went and got her learners permit today! She passed the test without issue.

So my oldest is now learning to drive. I raced home from work so that I could take her out for a spin. She slapped the “L” on the back of my car and we got ready to head out. Being her first “official” driving experience (she may have moved the cars a few times over the past year in our driveway, but I won’t tell) she did everything by the book!

She walked around the car- twice. She sat in the driver’s seat and adjusted her mirrors, steering wheel and seat. Her seat belt went on, she started the car and the radio got turned off. As we drove, she used signals, drove just below the speed limit, shoulder checked, and focused. Our trip up the road to the gas station was one of the most perfect by-the-book rides I have had since probably my road test 35 years ago.

Starting with the good habits is difficult. I know how I drive. I know what my car is capable of. I also know how to *ahem* bend the rules a bit. I had to put all of that behind me and talk with her about how to drive properly. She did great- and her smile afterwards was worth it all. Like back when I taught her how to ride a two wheel bike. She was so proud of herself. That was eleven years ago…

But she’s still my little girl. And I am proud of her accomplishments as well.

Our Oldest Turns Sweet 16

Today our oldest daughter hit that milestone of turning 16. As per her wishes, we did not make a big fanfare of it. She doesn’t like many pictures to be taken, but when we do she has a beautiful smile that makes others happy as well. Random also woke up early today to bake her own cake.

Besides being a good cook and baker, she is growing up in many other aspects. She can now try for a driver’s license! She’s been studying hard and I think she will get the learner’s license without fail when she goes in this week.

She makes me proud in so many ways. She will continue to be an amazing woman as she grows up. We love her immensely!

Happy Birthday Random!

You are our answer to Life, the Universe and Everything!

Growlers- July 2018

Last weekend I drove up to Visit my sister with my two youngest. On route from the ferry and just up the road from my sister, I was able to stop at a couple of breweries and get some new growlers filled with beers.

I saved them for today. I plan on sharing them with friends over a bbq at our place. I was hoping to pick up a couple more growlers while in Leavenworth but never did. Partly because wine was more prevalent down there. Another reason was the cost was more than double what I’d pay up here in BC.

One brewery wanted $45 for a bottle and $10 to fill. Another place only offered the major beer companies that was on tap for a growler fill. It seemed that the town was just starting to get into growler fills but wasn’t quite getting the concept.

Growlers are a way for friends to enjoy a variety of crafted beers. Friends who go for tastings and bring home memories in a bottle. Friends who like to share the tastes and experiences with one another. It’s not about filling a bottle just to get beer. Growlers are a way to bond.

Time to bond with friends!

WASPS!

Today we were cleaning around the yard getting ready for a bbq party tomorrow. As my son was cleaning up toys, he got stung five times by a group of wasps. They even chased him into the house to get him the last two times! I went to check where the nest was and got stung as well for just being in the area. FFS!

Every year I usually destroy two wasp nests. Seems like I found the first one of the year. Last year one was in my roof and the other next to our awning. So my son and I went to the store and got our spray attack ready. We are prepared to kill!

These jerks won’t be stinging my guests this weekend after tonight. Once the sun goes down, death shall be brought upon the beasts! Why must wasps be so evil?

Go make honey like the bees you jerks.

Leavenworth Day 2.

Wednesday was our full day of exploring Leavenworth. Maybe not all of Leavenworth, but at least some. Here is our little adventure:

We started with a lovely breakfast delivered right to our suite. Fresh fruit, sausages and waffles gave us full bellies because we needed to be ready for our first adventure of the day. We didn’t know that it was going to be almost dinner by the time we ate again. So we headed out bright and early (10:00am) to enjoy some…. tubing!

We went tubing along Icicle River. (It lives up to its name.) As exciting as it may sound, it was just a casual float down the river. The mountains and scenery were beautiful and calming. Some geese and ducks swam up to us along the way. We also saw a deer and her fawn hopping through the river towards the end. It took us 3 hours to float 4 miles. The hardest part was the arm strength needed to paddle from time to time. But the cold water balanced out the hot sun as we enjoyed the scenery. By the end, I was glad it was over- the sun was directly overhead at that point.

When we returned to land- we grabbed a couple of cold beers. Tubing made us feel youthful, so we decided to have a bit of silly fun. It was late afternoon by this point. Many shops would close by 6pm. We had at least two more places we wanted to see. What better way to have fun than….

Visiting a Nutcracker Museum!..??? 😦

Ya. Very not my thing. But with over 6000 nutcrackers inside- I learned a lot about the manufacturing and discovered that this is a huge collectible hobby. It made me realize that I don’t have an obsession with any one thing and need to fill my life with it.

After the Museum, we went for a quick wine tasting at Eagle Creek Winery. This is where we ended up buying a bottle to bring home. There are so many wine tasting locations in Leavenworth that it was difficult to decide which ones to hit.

After the winery we went for dinner at Gustav’s. A lovely pub located at the start of the Leavenworth shopping district with a patio balcony on the second floor. They boast having 30 beers on tap! During dinner we chatted with another couple who we had met while tubing.

Our last stop for the day was at Bushel And Bee Taproom. My wife taught me how to play Cribbage over a couple of drinks. I won two of the three games. My wife says “beginner’s luck”. I say “natural skill”.

All-in-all Leavenworth is a cute little town with lots of places to drink. I enjoyed our visit but I don’t think it’s the kind of place we need to return to.

Leavenworth Day 1.

My wife and I arrived at Leavenworth yesterday in the late afternoon. We drove down Front Street and found a parking spot rather quickly. The obvious aspect of this town is that it is styled with a Bavarian theme. Immediately I noticed two things about the town.

1. There are a lot of overpriced souvenir shops.

2. There are a lot of places to drink. A lot.

So we wandered into the Goose Ridge Vineyard Tasting Room and sampled some white wines and a dessert wine. The hostess was very friendly and knew about the wines she was serving. But when we asked questions about Leavenworth, she didn’t have any real answers. Which I found to be rather odd for a tourist destination.

We left the town so we could check into our Bed & Breakfast. We booked a suite in the Pine River Ranch which is about a 20 minute drive out of town. The room we are staying in is the Natapoc Suite: a super cute half cabin. There’s a fireplace, log furniture, and a soaker tub next to the kitchenette in the middle of the room. With it is included 3 bottles of wine (and a wine tour as well) and a cheese plate that was waiting for us when we arrived.

After a glass of wine in our b&b, we went back into town for dinner. We stopped for a couple of beers first at Icicle Brewing before heading into a restaurant called “Mozart’s“. We were seated at a table near the window and a lovely little Happy Anniversary card was waiting for us.

We had ordered the escargot to start and a share platter for the main. The meal was amazing. Well worth the prices in all honesty. The taste sensation of every bite had me wanting more. If you got to Leavenworth and want a celebratory or romantic meal- this is the place.

We made our way back to our accommodations and finished off a bottle of wine and a bath. I won’t tell you the rest- but it did involve the bed. Alright- we were asleep by 11pm. Relaxed and done for the day.

So day one was a success. Onto a full day now back in town.

17 Years of Marriage

Today is our 17th Anniversary. It so happens to fall on a Tuesday, just like the day we were married. If you want to read about our wedding, check out my post from a couple of years ago: This Is What 15 Years Does.

Getting married on a Tuesday meant that all of our major milestones will land on a weekend. Which has/will be very convenient for big celebrations.

2011 Sunday 10 years

2016 Sunday 15 years

2021 Saturday 20 years

2026 Friday 25 years

After that, it gets a little dodgy for the major fifths. But you have to admit that 25 years is a pretty hefty goal in this day and age. 2026 only puts me at age 50. I know we will remain together until one of us croaks. We’re just a great match with crazy quirks intertwined together.

Talking on the phone with my wife, we never want to hang up. Sometimes one of us calls back to try and annoy the other. We are also on our way to becoming one of those old married couples in matching outfits on a regular basis. We already have matching shirts. I’ve also convinced my wife that Sketchers are great shoes. Should I mention our matching inhalers?

I don’t know of anyone else out there that would’ve stayed with me this long in spite of my idiosyncrasies. My wife is a lucky lady to have me. I’m even luckier to have her.

Happy 17 Years of Marriage Lee-Anne! Thanks for memories!

Empty Threat?

My wife has threatened to remove my train garden if I don’t fix it up. So today I went to my local garden center that supplies G Scale trains. I brought with me some parts to get fixed and wanted to buy some stuff.

Sadly, the fellow that runs it is retiring within the year. That means no new stock or parts any more. And the stuff he has- is just getting cleared out. I had to make a decision. Do I buy some boxcars for a train set that doesn’t run, or do I walk away empty handed.

I left without buying anything. I texted my wife as well about the hard decision I needed to make. When I spoke to her however- it turns out she doesn’t want to lose the train. She was just making it as an empty threat to get me motivated again. Little did she know that the place nearby would stop supplying my hobby.

On the plus side- it looks like I can spend a “little extra” to get the trains running again. As well as throw a pond in alongside the tracks. Maybe I’ll go with a steam engine this time… I like Trains.

Nowhere To Go, Can’t Wake Up Late

Today we left my sister’s place at 8:15am. We weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere. Our ferry was to depart at 9:20 and it was just up the road.

We were one of the first few on board. But it seemed that they over loaded the passenger count. Turns out that there were four charter buses filled with choirs from around the world on the ferry. The ferry ended up departing 20 minutes late. Meaning we weren’t going to get the connection to our next ferry. I had no problem with this since the choirs were rehearsing on board the ferry. These were very talented kids and teens and a real pleasure to hear. They were also filled with smiles and wonderment as they enjoyed the ride along the water. Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have British Columbia as a home.

Because I knew that I wasn’t going to make the earlier ferry at the next spot, I chose to leisurely drive and stopped at a couple breweries for a growler fill. Unfortunately the first one I stopped at was closed, so I proceeded to the Persephone Brewing Company. While they filled my growler, a young kid sitting a a table with his father offered to do a magic trick for me. Again, I was impressed. He might’ve been about 12 years old and his card force skills were impeccable.

A rule of thumb that I follow for street performers is that if they can stop me and hold my attention for a few minutes- it’s worth giving up some money. This boy was talented and a really good showman. I hope he continues on his journey to entertain and perform. Donating a small token of gratitude can go a long way at any age.

That’s how today went. Easy breezy but unexpectedly entertained by talented youngsters.

Day 2 of More Nothingness

This vacation is filled with no plans, but we are still doing stuff. This morning I slept in and was served bacon and pancakes. It seems that when I was drinking the night before- I had agreed to take my son and nephew to the driving range. So I had to live up to my drunken promise.

We took some old clubs and my brother-in-law and I tried to explain how to golf to the kids. A few good hits, but mostly terrible form. We had lost of laughs and busted up a few dozen tees in the process.

While we were gone, my daughter used her free time to write. She is taking it upon herself to write a novel this summer. In a couple of years she wants to major in writing at school. This trip has been a great excuse for her to express her ideas.

Afterwards, I took each of my kids for a rip on the quad. They even took turns driving. We made a few videos and took a bunch of photos. It ended up being a fun day of nothingness again.

That’s the best way to spend a vacation.