2

Woo-hoo!

With about 48 hours remaining until we are in our new home, I am hitting on the number 2 in my countdown.

In elementary school our classrooms were separated into Divisions. When I was in Grade 7- there were two classes. I was in Division 2. Our teacher had a sign that read “Second to none.” It was one of the things that always made me feel good about myself. That phrase of not being second best, but exuding confidence when you need it. Mr. Fallman was one of my favorite teachers ever.

As I have mentioned before, sometimes at work we use odd phrases. When counting out loud and giving directions over the radio, we are required to say it twice in order to confirm the instructions. I have a tendency to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger when it come to the number two. Coupla. Tumor.

These past few days of last minute packing have been a Blur.

Woo-hoo!

“Song 2” by Blur was part of my soundtrack to the summer of 1997. Add in “Wannabe” by Spice Girls and “Mo’ money mo’ problems” by B.I.G. & Puff Daddy and you have the eclectic understanding of the start of my 20’s. A throwback to the loud music coming out of a couple of subwoofers in the back of my car. Loud music as I drove to and from my home. It’s something I still do to this day when driving alone.

All of the time, but I’m never sure why I need you.

With only two days to go, I’m working on the soundtrack to say goodbye to our home and hello to our next place. My playlist is growing with a hope to bring forth memories and energize our lives a bit more.

3

Triple trouble- time to talk about number 3.

Rule of thirds. When I’m feeling especially artsy, I’ll take photos and do my best to follow the rule of thirds. If I’m being sassy or humorous- I also follow the comedic troupe of doing a joke three times. Surprisingly, it works well.

As you may be aware, we have 3 kids. They are teenagers now- almost into adulthood. Each has grown into their individual personalities. My wife and I love them to pieces and have become so proud of them. If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I tout their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Finally, this move will be the third house my wife and I will be purchasing together. Eighteen years ago we bought our first place for $210,000. That was one of the most difficult expenses we ever faced. I worked three jobs at almost 80 hours per week to make ends meet. Within two weeks of buying that house we found out we were expecting our second child.

We sold that home in just under four years of owning it at $410,000. Our mortgage that remained was $167,000. That was when we bought the house we are in now for $570,000 in the year 2007. After fourteen years, we were able to get $1,900,000 for the home. Earning us $95k a year.

We are now moving into another beautiful house that meets our changing needs. As excited as I am about the change, it is difficult to fathom that we have come this far in under two decades. Even though this is the third house for us to buy, it kind of feels like this is our first house. It was the one that we absolutely fell in love with and it won’t need any upgrades for a long time.

4

Passing the number 5 on a countdown is like hitting the home stretch on a marathon. With four days remaining, today I shall hit on the number 4 and some of its significance in my life.

Here’s a tidbit of information that some people may not know about me. Not that it’s a big deal, but I am the Fourth Josef Havelka in a row. My mother named me at the last minute in the hospital. Originally I was going to be named Michael, but I’m glad I wasn’t. I’m a Joe. Or Josef, Joey, Joe-Joe; you get the picture. As well, we continued the tradition and our son has Josef Havelka V on his birth certificate. Some places look at the “V” as his last name which I find humorous.

Since my name starts with a “J” and when I write it out, it looks like a sideways number “4”. That’s because I have a tendency to print in capital letters. It’s a habit I developed at a young age and it has continued into adulthood. Printing in all caps has become useful at work, since a clear understanding of the work to be accomplished is required. Typing out information isn’t always feasible.

FORE!

I know, it’s not really the number four, but it sure sounds like it. As a homophone, it’s close enough to hit on my memories to be shared today. Golfing is not really my thing. However, I’m not bad at hitting golf balls. My father was an avid golfer and pushed me to take my swing seriously. At work, if I’m giving out car counts and the number 4 is needed- I call it out as if I was golfing. Sometimes you need a bit of lightheartedness to get through a work day.

With only four days left to go, I have given plenty of forethought as to how to enjoy our new house. We will have a formidable foreseeable fortunateness forging forward forever foreboding unforgettable efforts.

5

FIVE… 5 days to go people! Here comes number five for my numerical blog posts as you countdown with me to our new home. Let’s go retro fun to start on today’s blog.

When I first moved to British Columbia, my mother bought me some books. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series was some of my favorite childhood novels. I spent hours in my room reading about the adventures of these kids. Especially as a child who had no friends moving province to province. This was my version of the Harry Potter series, only without magic. I never did pass these novels onto my kids, but they did read a lot of their own books growing up.

Number 5 is alive! Short Circuit was a fun movie from the 80’s. Not a great plot, more relying on slapstick and humor to get the film through. Yet, anyone around my age can quote this film in some way. “No disassemble!” In fact, I’m hoping that one day I can a Johnny 5 with my 3D printer.

I can’t talk about the number 5 without mentioning I have a family of five. We have all been working so hard to get ready for this move. It is an emotional time for all five of us. Leaving one home to get into another. This countdown is getting us closer to that day. A chance to create a new home.

To quote Johnny 5- “Home… Number 5, home.”

6

Six days to go. This countdown thing is getting tough. Not just because I’m tying to think of topics related to the number of the day, but also because there is an end date approaching. With the end drawing nearer, let’s dive into 6.

Six Feet Under. A tv series from a few years back that followed the stories of a family working at a funeral parlor. It is probably one of my favorite dramas of all time. However, I only watched the series through once. Some shows are so good they don’t need a second viewing.

I’m mentioning this show for two reasons. One- I have always wanted to own a Hearse. That would be a fun car to drive. And two, this house we are moving into will be the last house that I think we will ever buy. Maybe one day we will buy a condo or townhouse; but I’d be okay with the idea that I die in this house.

Let’s go a bit more joyous to end today’s blog. The number 6 is in the address of our Future Home twice on the house and once on the street we are moving to. 666 The sign of the beast! Or whatever.

Our future house is a beast in size compared to what we have lived in so far. I’m looking forward to taming it and calming into my zen.

7

Seven days to go. That’s a whole week! As I continue with my countdown, we are at lucky number 7. A lot of folks find it to be a lucky number. I don’t gamble, so slot machines and casinos don’t matter much to me.

However, when the Internet first began, I did use 777 at the end of my first ever email address. I thought I was super clever being an atheist and all. My email address was god iv followed by 777. The joke being, “What’s god for?” I have since abandoned that email and tend to use something more professional these days.

Of course I’m going to talk about movies that involve the number 7. Specifically the movie SEVEN. Ever since seeing the film, my family always says, “What’s in the box?” And I’m pretty sure that during the unpacking of our home- this phrase will get beaten to death. But quotes like that are great.

I love romantic fantasy film. One of my favorite movies is Stardust. There is a character named Septimus, who is one of the lead villains of the film. His jacket, in fact most of his wardrobe, involves the number seven somewhere. This is one of those cosplay characters that I would love to do one day. But the vest and jacket with custom buttons is fantastic.

As we near the end of our packing for the move, I am getting excited about the new house. I cannot say at this time that I love this new house. To quote Stardust: “The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.” But my feelings for our future home are definitely strong.

8

Eight days remaining. My countdown is now at my favorite single digit number. Let me tell you why.

My sister. She was born on the luckiest day ever. August 8th, 1980. 8/8/80. When she turned 8 it was in 1988. Growing up, we were pretty good friends. Playing silly games as youngsters to partying as teenagers. She was always know as “Joe’s Sister” which she hated. One year she made a t-shirt for me that said “Nikki’s Brother” and I wore that shirt all the time.

The Magic 8 Ball. This thing is fantastic. Back in my teenage years I enjoyed Billiards on a regular basis. I got obsessed with everything 8-Ball. My Magic 8 Ball was used all the time for decision making. This was extremely useful since teenagers are pretty useless when it came to deciding what to do when bored.

Finally, the number 8 reminds me of the lemniscate- otherwise known as the Infinity Symbol ♾. The idea that there time, life, ideas, power, numbers, or anything imaginable really could go on forever astounds me. Philosophically- infinity is just a thought. But it is real in so many ways.

Now with 8 days remaining, we have infinite dreams and hopes for our new home.

9

This countdown is harder than I thought it would be. Besides having a final goal, trying to figure out what to write for each number is also a challenge. I am enjoying the distraction of doing this since this move is stressful at the best of times. Today’s “9” topic is movie based because I love movies.

Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1957 is THE B MOVIE to watch if you love that genre. It is a difficult film to describe (and watch) as it is bad. So bad in fact that it circles back around to being good. Tim Burton did a sort of documentary on that original film maker back in 1994 titled “Ed Wood”. Which is probably a bit easier to watch especially if you enjoy Johnny Depp.

Of course this leads me into more Tim Burton-esque films. “9” was created by Tim Burton’s production company and was originally going to be a stop motion film- very similar to “Nightmare Before Christmas” but ended up being CGI. It’s a good movie, but does lack a bit of heart because of the choice to change film styles. I love Stop Motion movies because of the hours, days, weeks, and months of dedication to create simple movements that come to life. If people are willing to put that kind of effort into a film on a daily basis, I must watch it.

Which brings me to my final film. “9 To 5” from 1980.

Working 9 to 5 has never been my lifestyle of choice. Ever since I was young I have had an unusual work life of shift work. I do not live by a Circadian rhythm. Never have. Hitting my mid forties, this is natural for me now. As for the movie, it is highly enjoyable as it is far catches and silly. Seeing Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda remain friends for decades is great to see. The show “Grace and Frankie” is this generations “Golden Girls”. Dolly Parton’s theme song from the film is one of my favorite Country Songs. That song list is so short that I don’t even think I have a top 5. (Not a country music fan, sorry).

I have missed our media room over the past three months as we pack up for this move. With 9 days remaining until we move, I can’t wait to set up our home theater system and start to watch movies once more.

10

As my daily countdown continues, today is 10 days remaining until we move. Here’s what the number ten means to me.

I enjoy top ten lists. I probably began enjoying Top Ten Lists from my late night tv viewings. David Letterman was always clever with his humorous take on these lists. SNL had a few good skits from Wayne’s World as well. I continue to be sucked in to Click Bait top ten lists.

Doctor Who was a family favorite show a few years back. Each of us enjoy our Doctors, but my favorite is the Tenth Doctor. His personality is fun and smart. His heart (or is it hearts?) was always big and generous. David Tennant is a fantastic actor and made the show great to watch. Cheesy sci-fi at its finest.

Of course you can’t count down until you learn to count up. Everyone I know has learnt how to count to ten. Meeting a child and sharing in their joy as they excitedly count that high is a wonderful feeling. We all use ten as the base for counting- it just makes sense. Our world is at our fingertips and we use those fingers to count at such a young age. Many of us still use our fingers as a visual tool to count.

I’m giving our new home a 10/10 for how amazing it will be once we are settled in.

11

Continuing with my daily countdown, I am at the number 11.

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I enjoy listening to music. I often “turn it up to 11” to quote Spinal Tap. Which is a great mockumentory movie if you haven’t seen it. It’s also a fantastic quote when you are talking about going above and beyond with your skill sets.

Seeing a digital clock when it shows 11:11 is also a thing that I notice more often than any other time of day. I’m not sure why it feels magical, but it does. Maybe it’s the simple straight lines of the number one strung parallel to one another. I love numerical sequences like that as well.

Of course there is also my enjoyment of science fiction and nostalgia. Stranger Things series was the perfect combo of this and filled me with joy. This image brings me to my other favorite 11…

I also loved visiting 7-11 stores in Japan. That entire trip to Tokyo was by far my most memorable. Those convenience stores were the reliable and well stocked for all of our basic needs for the day. It was great.

11 days remaining until we are in our new house. With that move we are definitely Turning it up to 11!

12

Twelve. One dozen.

The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.

With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.

It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.

I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.

Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.

Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.

My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.

No Prob-llama

On Friday night my wife and I stopped by a friend’s place for a BBQ dinner. On their property is some sheep. And a llama named “Bobby.”

My friend’s young son took me out to meet Bobby. As we walked towards the fence, the llama came running up. She took one look at me, then walked away. Just to stare at me side-eyed while I hung out there.

Llamaste

Bobby was just chilling out amongst the sheep, no real cares in the world. The perfect attitude required these days. Better times are coming.

I do feel my life is like Bobby in a way. Running up to see the excitement, then hanging back to watch it unfold. I snagged a selfie with her in hopes to have some more of her zen rub off on me. I tend to forget that not everything needs to be a burden. Sometimes you can just let things be.

14 Days or 2 Weeks

In fourteen days we are moving. That may sound like we still have a lot of time remaining. But in reality if I say two weeks- it sounds so much closer.

TWO WEEKS!

We are on the cusp of moving that I can taste the chorine in the pool already. Our current home is filled with boxes littered everywhere. Not to mention that we still pack a half dozen every day. It feels like it will never end and we will not be ready for the last day.

In the midst of all of this, my wife and I still have to work and the kids still have school. Plus we have all the other appointments added in to contend with- such as lawyers and doctors, etc.

TWO WEEKS

It’s not a lot of time. But I think we got this.

Daddy/Darwin Day June 4th, 2021

Once in a while my middle wants to have a day with me. We have dubbed it “Daddy/Darwin Day”. Usually it’s me taking her out for a lunch or coffee and we talk. Today was a spontaneous “Daddy/Darwin Day” that we both needed.

We started with returning the recycling to get a bit of money back and clean out prior to our move. $12.10 is all we received, but no big deal- we didn’t have much to return. Then we went for gas and into town to hit up Indigo Books. It’s a favorite of our two daughters to go to a bookstore when they need an emotional “pick-me-up“.

Our little world at home has been having a couple road bumps, so it was nice that she asked me to go out with her. In fact, she paid for our Frappuccinos later in the afternoon. That was a lovely treat.

We had good heart to heart bantering. As well, she asked cryptic questions that I answered, but knew she was trying to get somewhere… without getting there directly.

She even tried to drive the Honda Element down the block to our house. This was a good milestone achievement as the vehicle is manual transmission and this was her first time driving a car with a clutch. Not too shabby.

I enjoyed our time together and wish to have more days like this.

Doctor Follow Up

Yesterday afternoon I went to my doctor to get a diagnosis on what I assumed to be My Kidneys. Turns out it wasn’t my kidneys but rather it was flank pain. A muscle that I have never experienced pain in before.

I’ve suffered from lower back pain most of my adult life. It just happens because I’m tall. But that flank pain- wowsers that one sucks. My doctor actually prescribed me muscle relaxers- which I’m not thrilled about and have only been given ten pills. I’m to take them before bed as the can make me drowsy and nauseous. Not a good idea for taking before work.

That’s good news about my kidneys. At least I have that going for me. Back pain and muscle pain is just par for the course these days I guess. However… my doctor is wanting to look into something a bit more important…

I casually mentioned a concern about my heart skipping a beat on a daily basis for a year now. I told him how I quit drinking last August because I thought that was contributing to it. He did not seem thrilled with me. Yeah, I guess heart issues should raise an alarm instead of just ignoring it.

In two weeks time I will be back at the doctor’s office to get connected to a holter heart monitor for 24 hour surveillance. After which the information will go to a cardiologist. And if my heart doesn’t skip a beat during that 24 hours, we will do it again until it does.

I trust our family doctor and he has been really good to us for many years now. He is very organized and has all of our medical history brought up on his computer prior to the start of our appointments. As well, if an appointment is for a specific time, he generally sees us within ten minutes of the appointment. None of that waiting room anxiety or delays.

Perhaps I should’ve seen him sooner about my heart. But the fears that it really could be something has outweighed my desire to find out. Time to move forward on my health since I’m only in my mid-forties and should take it a bit more seriously.

Are You Kidneying Me?

All night last night I was uncomfortable. My body is being mean to me. Right before work I had sharp jabbing pains in what I assume to be my kidneys. Dr. Google is not my friend when I look up what could be causing my pain.

I did however take the remedy plan of drinking Cranberry Juice. I drank about a liter of that and a liter of water. Hydration is not an issue, nor was the expulsion of said liquids. That’s good.

But the pain subsides and flares up randomly. I don’t like that. There are times when it hits me and I’m like, “that’s kind of uncomfortable” and other times when I’m thinking, “oh god make it stop, put me out of my misery!” Those ones are almost debilitating, where I just stand still waiting for the moment to pass.

Before you give me grief, yes I am going to try and see my doctor or at least get a consult. I’m also really tired and just want to go to bed- so I will be doing that first. Hopefully sleep will relax me.

Peanut Butter Firsties

It’s been a few years but I finally got to have one of my favorite “Firsties” this morning. It may not seem like much, but it is one of my most anticipated experiences. I rarely get to enjoy it because other members of my family get to it before I do. They probably don’t realize how much I enjoy these moments.

I’m talking about a fresh jar of peanut butter.

To me, there’s something beautiful and magical about being the first to open a jar of peanut butter. We buy Kraft smooth peanut butter and always have. What I enjoy is unscrewing the lid and seeing that the foil seal is still pristine. A quick tug of the tab and the smooth brown spread is exposed to the air and a waft of peanuty goodness comes out.

The untouched butter taunts me awaiting the first scoop. A knife or spoon- doesn’t matter; all that matters is taking that first swipe. The cut that drives into a perfectly flat crown. The utensil slides down deep followed by a twist and out comes the first taste.

That first taste is the greatest. It’s as if the peanut butter has a chemical reaction with the air as it is exposed for the first time since the factory. I get a little greedy and spread extra on my toast. But hey, these moments are few and far between. Why not spoil myself just this once?

Do you have the same experience with a fresh jar of peanut butter? Or do you find a similar joy with another food?

Let me know in the comments.