Freezer Food

I really don’t like having a freezer in our kitchen fridge. It becomes this frozen wasteland of food left to die a miserable death. The worst food that ends up in there?

Freezer Bananas.

Our plantation of uneaten brown bananas are being “saved” in order to make banana bread at a “later date”. When is that day you may ask? Later. Time to pack them back up, this time not just shoved into the freezer.

I pulled all of the food product items out and gave our freezer a wipe down. We had about a dozen unlabeled containers of soups, sauces, fruit(I think it’s fruit…), and freezer burnt meats. Time to figure out what to keep.

Ice Cubes- Zero

Ice crystals surrounding meat- at least a pound.

I found some chicken patties and an orange sliced in half squished at the back of the freezer. I don’t remember the last time we bought either of those items. Off to the food waste bin they go.

I re-organized the freezer with foods that we will use before Christmas. This should help over the next month or so. I still need to make ice cubes though. Or not. I don’t have any room for the trays at the moment.

But at least the bananas won’t fall and hit my toes like a brick any more.

Life Lesson

My son is only twelve years old and in grade 7. But he learned a tough lesson this week at school. He got suspended because of a fight that broke out the other day.

He wasn’t physically fighting, but he became one of the students in the small crowd of thirteen kids who watched and did nothing. Four of the students pulled out phones and filmed the situation. The rest cheered. Including my son who was caught on camera by one of the four kids. I support the school district’s decision about the punishment for all fifteen kids.

Yesterday at the end of school, my son was told that he was suspended. He was so distraught that his tears became heavy sobs.

I’m glad he learned this lesson now before adulthood kicks in. We’ve had a good discussion about what he could’ve done differently and what he plans to do next time. I also explained that as he gets older, there can be real world consequences for similar offenses.

His suspension has him home from school today. So I will be putting him to work doing some manual labor around the home. He knows that he better not argue with me about it.

Normally he is a great and loving child. This time he got caught up in the moment and made a poor decision which he has since regretted. I hope he learns from this and makes better choices to help people out instead of sitting idly by.

Fuzzy Mind

I’ve worked night shift the past few days. It has made me very fuzzy in the head. Today has been especially bad.

I feel like I cannot come up with coherent sandwiches sentences. I’m also confused as to what date it is. I keep thinking it’s two days ago. No idea why. As well, my stomach isn’t overly happy either. No gut. That’s a bad gut. Bad.

I know the solution!

Nap time. I love a good nap. Naps make me feel sort of human again.

Working in the Rain

Last night was a good night that turned ugly. As much as I could complain about working in the rain, it really wouldn’t be worth it. I kind of enjoyed it actually.

I worked as a train conductor last night, so I got to be out there in the elements with those hard working team members who do it on a regular basis. Note: I started as a switchman over eleven years ago, and I do enjoy going back to it from time to time. Even out in the rain, it’s sometimes nice to get away from being at a desk all the time.

I worked with a great engineer who was easy to get along with. We had an excellent start and delivered traffic quickly to our first destination. After lunch, we were sent off to rescue another train that had stalled. This turned out to be more challenging than expected. The extreme rain warning was in full effect and made it difficult to move our train.

Needless to say, to took longer than expected, but we succeeded by the end of the night. We had some extra help along the way and fantastic communication going on to make it work. My level of respect to those conductors and engineers who deal with troubleshooting on a daily basis keeps on growing. Especially as the winter is coming.

Working in the harsh elements always poses a challenge. I need to remember this when I get frustrated at my desk when trains aren’t moving. There’s more to it than just thinking it’s the human factors.

Cyber Bully Monday

Maybe I just have a weak point in my brain and ego. But I got sucked into purchasing on Cyber Monday again this year. I feel as if society has bullied me into being a consumer whore. Buying up stuff on sale whether I need it or not.

Of course I couldn’t help but check out the deals on Amazon. Honestly, there’s always something I could buy. I think the Internet gods are watching over me a bit too closely and catering to my desires. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, YouTube, etc… all show me things I want. I think they are watching me closely. One day I think Cyberdyne will be real. Wait, what? Moving right along…

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who took a shot at how wonderfully awful warehouse shipping centers can be. Even in the future where robots deliver packages the same day, there’s something both alarming and intriguing about this. For now I have to suffer with free two day shipping. No instant gratification quite yet like going to a store and braving a sea of people.

So ya.

I bought something online first thing this morning. A part of me is excited about it. And a part of me loathes myself for it. Too late now. I clicked on the check out and my item is being processed!

KERBLAM!

Is It Okay To Be Unemotional?

The day my father died, I felt no emotion at all. He was gone. That was it. I went out with my fiancé. We told people that my dad was dead. No emotions, just facts.

Did that make me a bad person?

Does it make me a bad person that I still can’t feel proper sorrow for the loss of a human life?

I did get pretty drunk that night though. A few good tears came out. Looking back, it was more tears of relief.

More Skating

It was an early start with two of my kids today. We were out the door at 6:15am in order to attend a Speed Skating meet that began at 07:00am. At least there was no traffic on the roads as I tried to find the arena. It didn’t help that it was under construction with no signs and limited parking.

We arrived at a time where cars were behind me as we all tried to find a parking spot. I got lucky and parked close to the entry under a sign that said “3 Hour Parking” and in smaller print “Mon-Fri”. I think people tend to not read very well. Their loss, my gain.

I got the kids into their change room and procured a sweet spot in the stands. Where I promptly unpacked some blankets and took over my little nook that would remain home for the next 8 hours. Painful wooden bleachers which has caused me some lower back pain. Oh the suffering!

The races went great. Theory destroyed the time on his 1500m. Which was great! Then the coach had him skate an extra 1500m which tired him out right before lunch. I supported the coach in that decision. Muwahahaha.

Between races, my daughter and I played on our Nintendo 3DS’s. It was a great bonding time for us. My son constantly went to stretch and exercise (also known as goof off) with his friends. But when it came time to race, they took it seriously.

It was a great race day with no falling or injuries. Some average times for the balance of the races for our kids. But a good learning experience to figure out what they need to focus on next time.

Kitchen Aid Quality

Back in January, I mentioned that My Place Is In The Kitchen. I even spoke of my favorite appliance- The Kitchen Aid Mixer. Here’s the thing about my mixer:

It was a Christmas gift to my father back in 1985. It cost $299. After he passed away in the year 2000, I inherited the mixer.

It is the Kitchen Aid Ultra model. We still use it on a regular weekly basis and it has never failed us. It is by far the best appliance that I have ever seen. It is sturdy and durable. For a 33 year old appliance- it has earned its keep in our home many times over. It is still going strong.

Today my wife and I got sort of sucked into Black Friday deals. One in particular was for a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I know we don’t need one. But this new model has a larger capacity for our baking needs. It was regular $725 on sale for $399 with a $100 Mail in rebate. Essentially it ends up being $299. The same price as my father’s Kitchen Aid mixer was back in 1985.

What I find awesome is that our old attachments can connect to this one as well. However, there is quite the size difference between the two mixers. Unfortunately the new one is just a bit too tall to slide nicely under our cabinets at the moment. So we will have it on display on our island for the Christmas season. Which won’t be an issue, since we will put it to good use this holiday season!

Come by and enjoy seeing our mixer this holiday season! I mean, come by and enjoy some of our baking! We’d love to have ya.

Classical

Yesterday we were listening to the Classical XM Radio station in the car. Our kids enjoy classical music. It may be from the fact that I would often play classical music throughout the home. Or perhaps it was from… Baby Einstein.

We owned every DVD and CD from when our first child was born- over sixteen years ago. The videos were played pretty regularly in our home and the cds were on all the time in the car. I even left them to play when our kids weren’t in the car.

I remember developing an appreciation of classical music because of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes. Yesterday we heard “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. My kids had never seen the Bugs Bunny version. It dawned on me that their love of classical differs from mine. Our middle child pointed out every instrument as they came up. She now wants to mention to her teacher that they should play it in Orchestra.

This astounds me. Back in my high school days, there was no love of Classical music by any of my classmates. My children have an excellent variety and almost eccentric taste in music. I do believe this comes from me. I’m glad for this.

Time to show them some Bugs Bunny. How did I miss this as they were growing up?

This Dad is There When Needed

Today my daughter needed me. So I was there for her in the best capacity I can be. She needed to be taken out, so I made sure to be there for her. Afterwards, we had some one on one time.

We went to a coffee shop near her school in Fort Langley called “The Blacksmith Bakery” for a mid morning breakfast. We each had a Chai Latte. I had a very tasty Butterfly Blue Matcha one. For breakfast I had a simple avocado toast with poached eggs. My daughter opted for a sticky bun. We had a good talk that I think we both needed.

Afterwards I took her home instead of school. She needed more dad time, so we continued it by decorating our home. She took a ton of photos as we played around and figured out where to put stuff. We listened to some comedy Christmas music as well. By the end of the day, she was smiling and joking.

She needed me today, so I was there for her. I really wish there was more I could do, but for now- I’m here when she needs me. Even if it’s just coffee and Christmas decorating.

Invisible Box

Work can be a real struggle sometimes. It’s even worse when something doesn’t go right.

Recovering from an abnormal situation can require some unique thinking. Being creative in dealing with circumstances beyond your regular control can be tough when others don’t like to stray from the normal routine. Thinking outside the box is hard for some.

In the end, we’re all trying to just get along in our little sandbox. No need to kick each other while we’re down. It’d be nicer to get a helping hand to lift you up. I also think that people need to be willing to accept help when offered.

Working together towards a common goal benefits everyone in the end.

One Day Monday

Another Monday has come and gone. It’s just One Day.

One Day Monday.

A single use day which never comes back. One Day that starts the week. The week that we all look forward to the ending of. Only to start the cycle again. Monday starts with a push to get through the week.

But why? It’s only Monday. I think we need to stop fearing Monday. Stop racing through the day. Enjoy the day a bit more. Take a few extra seconds to sip a coffee or read a new article. We need to take Monday back.

It’s just ONE DAY. One day we cannot get back.

Laugh it Off

Man I’ve been complaining far too much in my blog lately. I don’t want that to be a regular occurrence. So I did something about it.

Today I chose to go into the world and smile more.

That’s it. Work on smiling and being nicer. There’s not much more to it.

A friend needed a ride today, so I happily obliged. Like Mr. Meeseeks would say- “CAN DO!” But thinking about Mr. Meeseeks made me think of something else I saw recently.

Have any of you seen the Toy Story 4 Teaser?

There’s a talking Spork in the Toy Story universe. How? What? Huh? A pipe cleaner on a plastic fork with googly eyes is alive? It does not make sense.

Help me understand this.

Help.

Tanks A Lot

Yesterday I mentioned how on Facebook it reminds me of my Yearly Bad Day in the memories section. It seems that the universe likes to throw curve balls at me every year around this time. Only this year was off by a day. Must’ve been a leap year of evil or something.

Last week I blogged about my Budget Friendly Kitchen Reno. Today I planned on finishing it up in order to clean the downstairs. In between coats of paint I decided to check on a slow leak we had coming from our pressure tank that helps pump the water into our home from the well. We had a plumber come out to fix it about two weeks ago. Only there was more than one leak- as I had discovered after he left. So I went behind the tank and checked the leak.

I figured out that I could fix it on my own. So I sent my wife to Home Depot for a part. While she was out, I turned off the pump and drained the water from the house. I proceeded to cut the pipe. Only I didn’t quite have all of the pressure out of the system. 40PSI Of water “BOOFED” at me as the knife cut through the pipe.

Soaked with ice cold water I scrambled to get some towels. My wife came home and I replaced the part easy as pie. Turned the water back on and a few minutes later I crouched down to check on my handiwork. Of course, I noticed a small leak still coming out. As I twisted the pipe to try and wedge it in a bit tighter, “BOOF” a different part exploded- this time with the pump on- our laundry room flooded. 20 times more ice cold water covered me.

I lost my shit!

I ran to shut off the pump. And returned to the tank to see what happened. And then a second piece snapped off. Soaked and angry, I had to go to the Home Depot and spend $20 to fix it. I came back home and my kids and wife had cleared out the laundry room giving me some space to repair the pipe again for the third time.

Five minutes later, everything is fixed and working. Now there are no leaks.

Just an angry Joe trying to catch up on his day.

The Yearly Bad Day

Facebook shared with me some of my past memories of this day. None were good.

Nine years ago, we were without running water. Our pump had died because the pipe from the well had collapsed. We were about one week without water.

Eight years ago, our computer died and I backed up photos. Unfortunately, what I backed it onto died two years ago. Now my wife “kindly” reminds me that I destroyed her memories of the kids.

Seven years ago, I ripped out a breakfast nook and worked to stucco our wall followed by installing a new floor. Seems I punish myself by doing renovations before Christmas on a regular basis.

Five years ago I talked about how I was being cranky and mean to my children. This one hurts emotionally.

Three years ago we received and Xbox. I played poorly and ate Halloween candy for dinner because I felt like crap. A realization that I am not a gamer kicked in.

Last year I spent the day in the hospital and got a CT Scan. It was followed by a trip to a pub with terrible service thus ending a frustratingly long day. But my results were positive.

Looking back, I realize that I have overcome a decade of frustrating events. Hopefully tomorrow my memories on Facebook are more pleasant. I can’t wait to see them. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right?

What To Give?

This is the first year that my wife and I are having a tough time figuring out Christmas gifts for our kids. It’s rather unusual for us.

We usually buy gifts throughout the year and stockpile a pretty good haul for the family. But this year we did more spending on experiences for the family. So our usual Christmas stockpile is lacking.

The kids are too old for toys. So we’ve cut that out. Of course LEGO is still popular, so there may be a box or two under the tree. We also used to buy movies- DVDs then Blu-Ray films. But with streaming on Netflix or any other device doesn’t require a physical disc. It’s the same with video games. Just download onto a device and play. Nothing to unwrap.

Maybe we need to focus on more experiences. The ones that create memories that last a lifetime. Our kids love our vacations. But travel can be expensive for a family of five.

But how do you wrap an experience for under the tree? They also love creating art and sharing art. Just over a month for my wife to figure this out.

It’ll Get Better

Sorry for not writing much today. I almost put off writing my daily blog at all. I don’t know where to begin or what to write. Work has been a real rollercoaster of thoughts and challenges lately. After my day today- I just needed to come home and nap for a couple of hours.

Crazy part about it all- today was a great day for me. I got to enjoy being on the ground training people how to be switchmen. It’s one of my favorite things to do. There was just some other things going on elsewhere that made a tiring day.

It’ll get better soon. Once everything settles down.

I’m Fine. I’m Just Not Happy

I’m fine. I’m just not happy.

And it sucks. Because my mood affects my family. From September to December I become easily irritated and miserable. Every year like clockwork. It’s also the reason I take a vacation in October every year. Which helps.

But I need to try and find new ways of improving my feels that last longer than a couple weeks. I want to do more stuff on my own. I’ve thought about playing more video games. The problem is my family likes video games as well. I also kinda suck at first person shooters, so I’d get more angry.

Maybe a new hobby is in order. Maybe read more books? Maybe drink more booze. Or less booze? Maybe I should just ride it out like I do every year.

I dunno. Any advice?

I’m fine. I’m just not happy.

Tickles

I have a difficult time as it is being touched. Yesterday my daughter discovered that I am actually ticklish. I have always been adamant that I am not. Just in hopes that people wouldn’t try to tickle me.

I’m not ticklish under foot or in the armpit. Or any other joint. There’s that certain spot on the side of my ribs that just gets me squirming awkwardly. It’s odd that my youngest daughter found my ticklish spot considering I was never one to try and tickle others.

When our oldest had her first Christmas, my wife and I bought her a “Tickle Me Cookie Monster“. It was adorable. She would cuddle it as it wiggled and giggled. She was only slightly larger than it at the time. We then passed it on to each other child as they were born. I’m pretty sure we have this toy stored away somewhere as a keepsake.

It makes me smile as I think about the noises Cookie made as you squeezed him. The looks on my baby children as it shook in their arms is priceless.

Canker Sore

I woke up today with a canker sore behind my bottom lip. It’s been a few years since I’ve had one. I forgot how annoying these things are.

The hardest part is to try and ignore it in hopes that it’ll disappear. Just like everyone else, I have to keep checking it with my tongue to see if it’s still there. A part of me wants to bite it off, but that’ll just cause more pain. So I best ignore it.

Okay, maybe one more check with my tongue- yup, still there. Dammit.

Update the Kitchen- Budget Friendly

About a month ago I mentioned that we are thinking of Moving. But the home we are in is still a perfect size for our family at the moment. We’d only be moving for a short time, then have to downsize again later as it is once the kids move out. They do move out, right?

So my wife and I made a list of all the things we want done to finalize our home. That way we can spend the next while enjoying the house before selling. The number one thing was our kitchen. But our budget is really low. Like really, really, really low.

We couldn’t afford a total gut job of $25,000, so I called Home Depot about getting just the cabinet doors replaced. $6500 to start. Ouch. Next option? Paint. That’s more in our budget. And I found a product that does it for a fraction of the cost.

We bought Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit from Home Depot instead (as well as some new hardware for the drawer pulls). A little bit of hard work and preparation is required in order to change our cupboards into some much nicer. Out with the orange oak and into an elegant whitewashed antique style.

The process is time consuming to be honest. We have 20+ doors to redo. First is a deep scrub followed by two coats of white chalk like paint. Then a brown stain is applied and wiped off. Once dry a finishing coat is added. Simple, easy, and I have been truly enjoying it.

Over the course of three days, I have completed about 1/3 of the kitchen. My wife and I are loving the final results. It’s updated the kitchen on a budget spending less than $400 on paint, supplies and hardware. The only downside is the time it is taking me to complete the project. Our kitchen is in some disarray but I’ll get it done in a few more days.

If you’re a DIYer like myself, this product is fantastic. I’ll gladly recommend this to anyone who wants an updated kitchen at a low cost. I can’t wait to show off the final result to our friends at our next dinner party!

Geoff Has Talent

Our friend Geoff Robertson is a talented musician. We have gone to see him perform about three or four times now. He does sing country music, which isn’t my taste, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Supporting friends as they pursue a passion is something I love to do.

Last night we decided to take the kids out for dinner as Geoff performed. We went to Bob’s Bar and Grill in Aldergrove to watch the show. This is the only venue we go to because it’s local and the food is reasonably priced and quite tasty.

The kids enjoyed hearing Geoff as well. He does some great covers of folk style songs the everyone recognizes. After a couple beers, I’ll sing along from my table to the chorus. “West Virginia Mountain llama!” Last night during one of Geoff’s songs he asked me to do harmonica. I didn’t have a harmonica, so I mumbled some noises that may or may not have sounded like a harmonica.

Here’s one of his original songs. It’s a humorous jingle. The kids liked it as well. Sorry about the background crowd noise, but we were at a bar and grill.

Please enjoy. And always support your local musicians and artists!

Cavity Search

After ten years, my dentist discovered that I have a cavity forming. But he wanted to watch it to see if it was going to get worse. Two years went by and not much change. But my dentist has decided to work on it anyways.

I booked this spot during my vacation. So I get to enjoy the morning in the Dentist’s office. Early start so that the rest of my day won’t be shot. Speaking of which- this was the second needle getting stabbed into me this week.

As my face became numb, I listened to the dentist and all of his dentistry gossip. While he worked on my tooth I almost dozed off. No, he never put me under- I just get that relaxed and bored. The drill sound and vibration in my skull is mesmerizing to me.

After my tooth was fixed, I was back to my home renovations. Not the best vacation but definitely a productive one.

Flu Shot Slimer

I was bed ridden for a couple weeks with the H1N1 flu strain a few years ago. It was the worst experience of being ill that I can remember. Never again. Ever since then we have gotten the flu shot.

Yesterday we went out as a family and got the flu shot. What a great family outing Josef! I know. Best part was going for a Costco Hot Dog afterwards for dinner. Almost defeats the purpose of keeping healthy.

But in a way, it was kind of like a tribute to what I imagine goes on inside a person with the flu. Something about imagining what the virus is reminds me of Slimer from Ghostbusters. A green slimy thing replicating inside a person’s body eating away at the good blood cells.

That’s about the extent of my biological scientific knowledge.

Anyways, the flu shot 2018 is behind me now. Get yours or don’t get yours. I won’t judge. But I’ll be getting one every year.

Shave And A Haircut

I grew some facial hair. Last year I grew it from September 19-November 25th in memory of my father. This year I began on the same date because I thought it was a good tradition and I wanted it for my Halloween costume. I was going to keep the facial hair until closer to the end of the month, like I did last year. But, my kids have been bugging me about having a beard. Like really mean about it.

Not only teasing and being downright nasty to me, but the other day, my son asked me a poignant question regarding my beard- “If you don’t have a lot of good memories of your father, why do you want to look like him?

Ouch.

He was right. And I don’t want to be like my father. So off came the beard today.

I also went for my quarterly haircut this afternoon. I look very different now than I did waking up. Back to the “Old Joe” I guess. So instead of my beard- the kids can make fun of my receding hairline instead.

Win-win?