With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to find a deal locally. Food prices are high, gas prices are fluctuating, but sometimes a place just goes against the norm and delivers.
Our downstairs tenants mentioned they went for breakfast yesterday at a local restaurant called “The Henry”. They told us that there is a $4.99 breakfast. Two eggs, hash browns, toast and a choice of bacon or sausage. For five bucks, it was worth a shot.
Honestly, the breakfast was pretty darn good. The service was also good. However, the coffee was not something I would buy again next time. Yes, there will be a next time.
So if you live in Langley or Surrey- definitely make your way to The Henry in Cloverdale for some cheap eats. It’s located on the street just south from the old Clova cinema. Some of my old friends may remember the location as an old strip club (just sayin’). My how times have changed.
I digress. It was a good Sunday brunch. Now to relax.
This weekend our two teenagers went off to Vancouver to attend Anirevo (an anime convention). So my wife and I had the place to ourselves.
And we goofed off.
We played in the pool for hours- splashing and laughing with a few drinks inside of us. We lounged in the gazebo (which we have now dubbed “The Cabana”) and had some fantastic dinners together. It was like having our own private oasis on vacation together. These past couple of days has us realizing that becoming “Empty Nesters” won’t be so bad.
I’m really happy that my wife and I can do these things together. It feels as though we didn’t really have much time to date before we jumped into parenthood 20 years ago. So we are making up for it now.
We had another fun filled afternoon and evening yesterday with our friends. We listened to music, had a few drinks, lounged in the pool, and ate a wonderful meal out on the deck. Our friend even did synchronized pool floatie dancing to Celine Dion for us.
It was a ton of fun, as always. I really enjoy their company and love spending time with friends.
I only captured a couple of photos as my phone is often the one that is playing music. This gives me more opportunity to be attentive to the conversations. A lull in talks didn’t have me reaching for my phone. In fact it was quite the opposite. It meant it was time for a new conversation topic.
Joking and playing around in the pool is loads of fun. Being an adult doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If anything, I realize that who cares what other people think- just enjoy life! And enjoy it with friends.
I have often talked about how much I love to nap. It’s one of the joys of adulthood that a person eventually discovers.
My wife accepted that I love to nap long ago. Sure, I tend to use the excuse that I work shift work. But in reality I just love resting.
Last week we had some friends over to hang out in the pool. At one point, all four of us took a little shut eye while floating in the pool. I thought it was amazing. It was calm and zen like as we floated around- they had entered my world of peace and tranquillity. Guess what? They wanted to come back again. Guess what this afternoon will entail?
My wife has had the occasional nap now. Not nearly as often as I do, but it has happened periodically. The biggest thing I have noticed is when I come home from a night shift, she has burrito’d herself in the blankets. Yeah, I can still crawl into my side of the bed- she leaves me room which is nice. But to get some blanket? Aw man. Unwrapping my little sleeping burrito is a challenge.
She is so comfortable looking that I try and disturb her as little as possible. Sometimes I’ll go sleep elsewhere. Other times I’ll sneak in on her side and take the smallest amount is space possible on the king size bed- just in order to get a bit of blanket. She is often in a deep sleep when I arrive home lately that I don’t think she notices me.
How much do you like to rest and/or nap? Do you find it refreshing like I do?
With the beautiful summer weather, it makes one want to feel young and carefree. And what better way but to go blonde.
I’m talking about the lawn going blonde.
Honestly, I have always felt that lawns are drain on resources. People waste so much time and effort trying to keep them green. Not only that, but people water them unnecessarily as well. With droughts and water shortages throughout North America there is no need to waste it frivolously on watering a lawn. Grass stays healthy and is designed to look dry and discolored during the summer.
I know what you’re thinking. But Joe, don’t you have a pool? Yes we do. But we don’t drain it or have to add gallons of water due to evaporation because we take care of it. We are very conscientious about our water consumption and usage.
We do however have a garden. Many bushes and flowers grow bringing beauty to our landscape. We use water in the early morning and late evening to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables. Yesterday I enjoyed a cherry tomato right off the vine. No pesticides or chemicals on it. Just as natural and as fresh as you could imagine.
I honestly think we as a society need to do away with lawns. Or at least the obsession with having them green all the time. People also need to respect watering restrictions as well. I see too many of my neighbors ignoring the laws, wasting water and having green lawns during a heat wave. Water should be used to keep hydrated and refreshed. Not to make grass grow.
Since today is a scorcher of a day, I just want to say how much I love fans. We have a fan in every bedroom (I installed the kid’s ones last summer) and one in our stairway leading from the main floor to the upstairs. These fans help to circulate the cool air created by our heat pump.
We do have central air conditioning that is pushed into our home from the heat pump outside. Last summer we had our home at a chilling 19°. But after getting it serviced a few weeks back- the technician recommended keeping the temperature at 23°-25° when the summer heat is in full force. That’s because even just a couple of degrees lower from outside will make all the difference for the comfort level inside. It will also help to keep the heat pump lasting longer and giving it a better lifespan. I still like using our fans though.
My favorite fan is the one in our bedroom. If I had my way, it would be on every time I went to bed- every day of the year. I like the gentle breeze and soft whir as it spins. It reminds me of my teenage years when I had a cheap ceiling fan in my bedroom. I would lay on the bed talking to girls on the phone, just mesmerized by the blades as they spun… as well as being mesmerized by the girls I was talking with. Let’s just say both made me cool.
Do you use air conditioning in your home? Or perhaps it’s windows open and a fan in the window drawing the hot air out of the house. I remember having to do that in our first home that my wife and I bought. How we longed for comfort and AC back then.
Stay cool and hydrated my friends. I’m also a fan of you staying healthy!
Right before my vacation ended, a couple of decorative signs we ordered for our home arrived. Since we aren’t the type to have a sign that says “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” we needed something more, us and our home.
The first sign was a generic POOL➡️. We put it up on the fence so that you can see it as soon as you walk out the back door. Yeah, most of our backyard is the pool, but it’s a little bit of fun considering how much we treat our home like a resort. I also find it humorous that you would need to see sign considering it’s the only way to go to find our pool.
The other sign was closer to “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” and was installed in the upper part of our gazebo. It reads: “The Deck: Sit. Sip. Relax. Enjoy” A perfect motto for hanging out in our backyard. The feeling of calmness and chillaxin’ comes over everyone who sits back there. Our own private oasis, ready for friends and family to relax and enjoy.
Of course we did look at some silly pool themed signs, but potty humor or borderline stupidity isn’t our style. We wanted more zen and resort-like. I think we succeeded.
In true fashion- I couldn’t spend my last bit of time before heading back to work without accomplishing something. It was time to do a project for the garage.
Last summer’s heatwave made our garage heat up like a sauna. The winter had it freezing cold. My solution to all of this? I spent about $100 on some foam insulation for the backs of the garage doors.
As I was putting the two inch thick foam boards onto the back of the metal garage door, I could feel the sun beating down. It was heating up the metal doors like a frying pan. I was unable to place my hand on the back of the panels as the heat was impressive.
It took my about an hour for each door to insulate them. The foam was a nice, snug fit- so no glue or adhesive is required at this time. After only a few minutes of closing the doors- I noticed the temperature inside the garage was already getting better. This should help with cooling and heating of our home. And save us money long term!
One day I may insulate the attic space above the garage. But for now- that’s where the Holiday Decorations get stored. Hopefully our Christmas decorations don’t melt up there! They survived last year’s heatwave, so they should be fine this year. At least I’m out going up there any time soon.
But I am happy with the final results of the garage doors. Amazing how something so simple can make such a big difference.
Today is the last day of my staycation. As much as I’d like to think I relaxed, I still did get a few other things accomplished around the house. I’m happy about it.
My last day is going to be poolside once more. This time we are planning on a couple of friends coming out for the afternoon. We hit the water and had some good times poolside. Lounging, swimming, drinking, snacking, and laughing.
All this is before we have our dinner. Gourmet hotdogs and a salad. Why not? It’s summer and the weather is perfect for it all.
Since we bought our home, we have enjoyed the pool. Of course we needed to buy toys to go in. No matter how old you are- a floatie is the best part of being in a pool.
Today, Rainbow Unicorn joined the family. We still have Flamey- the pink flamingo. We also have a yellow duck, a dragon, three tubes, and a double tube all inflated. As backup we have two more tubes, a lounge chair and another yellow duck. I need to stop buying these things.
Last year we lost three inflatables. One was a narwhal. I was unable to find a replacement for him. But a friend of ours brought the Dragon which I absolutely love! There’s something about lounging that just makes me want to lay inside of a silly looking inflatable animal.
Next year I’ll probably still buy some more. I can’t help myself. They’re so much fun!
I have been throughly enjoying this past week of staycationing at home. For a couple of the days I built a Deck for my wife’s garden. The two of us have also gone for a couple of walks together. We did a bit of shopping, we have made some amazing dinners and I have been doing breakfast meals better than ever. All with the company of the one I love.
But the majority of this staycation has had us poolside. We have done nothing but relax, swim, read, listen to music, enjoy the breeze, and appreciate what we have. If it weren’t for having to make our own meals and clean up after- you’d think we were staying at a private oasis resort. But this is exactly what where we wanted to get to in life- appreciating our home and each other’s company.
As much as I am looking forward to our next “get away” I can’t help but be upset about leaving our home to do it. Especially in the summer. My days off from work will have me poolside whenever the weather permits. But until then- time to get back to enjoying this staycation!
Cheers everybody! Catch me by the water for the next few days if you want to hang out!
Our son began his first job three weeks ago. He is currently a groundskeeper at Surrey Golf Club. Check out my write up about his first week here: 1st Work Week. As I anticipated, he wants to take up golfing now.
He has found about 75-100 golf balls so far at his work. He came home yesterday and wanted to practice his swing. So I did my best to teach him. He hit about 30 or so golf balls and nailed maybe 5 of them comfortably.
My father attempted to teach me how to golf a couple of times throughout my childhood. Unfortunately, he wasn’t patient with me. I think around age 13 he gave up. To be fair, so did I. But I did listen and remember his teachings. I was able to pass the wisdom onto Theory. As much as I wish I could continue to teach my son how to swing a club, if he wants to learn it would be more beneficial for him to take lessons.
Taking from my own past experiences- both in teaching and being taught- learning from a parent isn’t always the best. Expectations can be too high, anxiety kicks in and then finally disobedience to the lesson being taught. Which causes a bit of animosity between parent and child.
I do have a feeling our son will enjoy golf. He is very keen on learning more and loves his job tremendously. The job has been great for him so far. He likes it so much, some days he goes in up to an hour earlier than scheduled. That means being at work at 4am!
Best of luck Theory in becoming a better golfer. Grandpa would’ve been proud.
Yesterday morning my wife and I went for a walk. We headed just up the road from us to a park called Tynehead Park.
Last time I was here with her was In October. I’m glad we did the walk yesterday when the sun was hiding away. It made the walk through the trails nice and comfortable. Mostly…
We could have walked more of the park. However, any time we paused to enjoy the moment- mosquitos! The last bit of our walk pushed us to get done and make it to the car. We still got our heart rate up a tad as we hustled at a bit more than a jaunt.
It was a nice time with my wife, even if I was still kicking slugs off the path. Such gross bugs.
Yesterday we made homemade pizzas. My wife made the dough and then I rolled it out once it was proofed. After the dough was in the pan, I let the pizzas proof a bit longer before we added toppings. That was one of the tricks I learned working at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
We had enough dough that we could have made four large pizzas. However, I only had two pizza pans. So I used a thin cast iron pan, two smaller individual cast iron pans and a baking sheet for the other pizzas. Surprisingly they all cooked perfectly!
The two small ones we put on bbq sauce instead of pizza sauce. Then we added pork, peppers and onions. The baking sheet one was just two types of cheese and super gooey! One of the pizzas we used ranch dressing (with a bit of flour to thicken it) and put only spinach and mozzarella on top.
Every single pizza had its unique flavour. As an added trick I learned from Chuck E. Cheese’s- I spread garlic butter on the crust once each was out of the oven. Best crust ever!
I really enjoy making things with dough. Time to start experimenting with other breads and treats. I think we should make some cheesy breadsticks next.
Over the course of two afternoons, I built a deck for my wife. Originally I was going to build it next year. But the “janky” deck I had put down a couple months ago was more of a hazard than a help for my wife. Plywood just wouldn’t cut it.
As I mentioned, this is the fourth wooden deck I have built on my own in my lifetime. The first one I made about 17 years ago for my mother. She had all the supplies delivered to her home and I built it over the course of about three days. First day was cementing the posts and leveling the frame. After that it was pretty straightforward. I started a tradition of building decks and listening to classical music really loud. Specifically the Fantasia 2000 soundtrack. I listen to it every time I build a deck. Something about classical music helps me to problem solve and get creative when building.
The next deck I built was in the trees at our last home. That deck was made 14 years ago. It was a 20’ x 14’ and sat on two 12” boards between four trees. I used branches from around the yard as railing spindles. It was built very solid and is still standing.
The next deck I did was built 2 years ago. Again, I built it in our last home in the front yard. This time around I was teaching our son how to use power tools. Read about it here: Part 1 and the conclusion: Part 2. We always wanted a front porch and used it all the time. I was a bit sad that I took so long to get that one built. But it added curb appeal when we sold.
This last deck was built on a small outcrop of boulders. What was essentially useless space with a couple plants in pots has now become a full gardener’s paradise. This deck is 22’ by 5’ so I decided to run the boards lengthwise to give it a larger look. My wife is happy and we put the plants back immediately so they could start to get the best sun.
Next year I will be building another deck. This time it will be in the lower part of the garden. I left a space open at the end of our newest deck in order to build some stairs to get there. We will be able to grow more vegetables down there than we currently have. Plus it will be safer to get down to the lower garden.
Need a deck built? Give me a shout. I’m pretty darn good at it if I do say so myself.
Our oldest child turns twenty today. Chances are they won’t see anyone in the family today. Which is a first. But that’s okay. We knew one day they would grow up and move on.
Our little girl was born in 2002 and named Random. But over the years they have discovered who they are and have chosen to go by the name Dom instead. Don has become their own person and can make adult decisions. With those decisions, I may not like them- but I will respect them. Since they are an adult, they also need to live with their choices and learn to grow, change and embrace their ever changing world.
Over the years it was rare to get any photos of them. But even with cosplay, and smiles- they often made it difficult to get a good picture. And as much as I have always been proud of their accomplishments- they never wanted me to express my joy in public. I was apparently an embarrassment to them.
A few months ago, they choose not to speak to me anymore. Which is hurtful, yet I must respect their wishes. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong- as I always thought I was supportive and gave them everything they needed. Even now, as they requested space away from me- I am giving it. Perhaps one day they will talk with me like an adult and I can see more of their vantage point as to how they grew up. Until then, I’ll continue to cheer them on in the background- because I love them with all my heart.
Have a Happy Birthday Dom. May your world be filled with joy everyday.
The weather has been nothing but fantastic so far on my staycation. I spent most of today in the backyard working on a project that I will have done by tomorrow. Once done- it means more relaxing for the rest of my time off.
I can’t complain about my second day at home. I got done what I wanted to get done. I also took a couple of breaks in the pool this afternoon. I enjoyed my music as well.
To end my evening, our downstairs tenants made me dinner because the rest of my family had other plans for their dinners. I really appreciate the sentiment and am about to enjoy the dinner.
Life really can’t get much better than it is. Love how my life is going.
Today was my first day of vacation. It involved waking up to our middle child bringing us coffee in bed followed by my wife and I playing some video games in bed. After that it was Dutch apple pie for my breakfast with a coffee as I sat on our back deck.
Once noon hit, my wife and I ended up going out to do some shopping as well as window shopping together. It was a lot of fun to gather ideas and thoughts for future us to enjoy. Mostly ideas for the house.
When we got home, I wandered around our gardens just enjoying the flowers that were blooming. Some were planted before we moved in, others were ones we had brought to add a pop of color. There’s something nice about having flowers in your yard. It’s kind of like putting jewelry on your home. A little bit of yard dazzle!
Of course the family enjoyed the pool this afternoon as a way to cool off from the summer heat! I stepped away to make dinner- steak and potatoes of course. But as they continued to swim, we enjoyed music from the roaring 1920’s playing from the speaker.
Now I’m sitting on my back deck with our dog as we stare out into the fields and watch the sun set. My wife has given me a few minutes of space as she cleans the kitchen after I made dinner. Soon the two of us will just hang out. Perhaps we will catch the sunset and listen to the birds until the mosquitoes chase us inside. Or maybe we will lounge on the couch and watch tv as we fall asleep like an old couple.
Whatever we may do- it’s going to be calm and serene. Exactly what a vacation should be like.
I finished my last day of work before my first summer vacation. I am onto 11 days of freedom. Freedom to just enjoy time with my wife doing nothing but enjoying life.
Of course it’s not really going to be a vacation of nothingness. We will be in the backyard floating in the pool most of the time. Other days will be early morning kayaking. I have a feeling we will be out exploring more of Cloverdale and Surrey than we did last year- perhaps to find some farmers markets and such.
But nothing is planned per se. No weekend getaway. No booked travels. Just whatever we decide to do will be planned the day before. I’m not used to having no plans. This may be a first for me.
Two years ago I built a swing for the front porch of our previous home. (Read about it: Front Deck). I couldn’t leave it behind, so I brought it to our new home. At first, we were going to put it up near the basement entry. But I wanted to utilize more space that was otherwise non-functional.
Many people know we have a pool with a large deck on the back. But underneath the wooden deck was just a bunch of space. There were a few boards left behind under the deck, so I made a small platform and chained up the swing. It’s a great place to just go and hide for a bit and stare out into the fields.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have had groups of friends over to hang out poolside and enjoy life. As the evenings progressed we became tipsy and talkative. I have found myself hanging out with a friend on more than one occasion sitting on this swing and just airing out concerns.
It’s a wonderful surprise that this swing has become a place to soul search and share. Staring out into the tall grass as the night sky looms on forever, is a good way to open one’s heart and thoughts. I have heard of my friends’ dreams, passions and even problems as we sat side by side swaying gently.
I hope that the effect of this swing continues for years to come. I also really hope that it helped my friends become emotionally stronger as well as them being able to take charge of their dreams. So if you find yourself at my place again, know that there is always going to be a spot beside me on the swing. My ear will always be ready to listen.
My wife and I are celebrating our 21st Anniversary today. And in true fashion- it is a hot day just like it was on our wedding day. So we are spending it poolside in our own little oasis.
We have come a long way together. The lifestyle we have created is the sort of thing that dreams are made of. I’m lucky and glad that we met all those years ago and how quickly things moved. I couldn’t imagine a life with anyone else and I’m really happy that we hit the road running.
I’m looking forward to our next set of adventures as we continue to grow and love one another.
Happy Anniversary Honey! I love you with all my heart.
This morning we took our two youngest to a morning matinee at the theater. It was a last minute purchase, but the kids convinced me that this was important.
I will say it was a nice experience hanging with the family in a half filled theater. We made ourselves comfortable as the film rolled. Of course we snuck in some snacks- as most do when watching movies.
I’m glad to have had some quality time with the family. We enjoyed the movie together and I know there aren’t too many more of these events left. I’ll take it!
This Sunday my wife and I celebrate our 21st Anniversary. Leading up to it, we are doing a bit of extra cleaning and preparation. But, my wife and I are also taking some time to relax before. This evening we hit the pool.
My wife and I have been going strong for a little over 22 years. This anniversary party will be subdued compared to previous years. As we get older, recovering after a “Raging Party” can be challenging. But we will still plan to have a lot of fun.
The sun has come out today and should be gathering around us for the weekend as well. I filled up a couple of floaties for us and our friends to enjoy this weekend. We have asked for some people to bring a sharing plate of food. As well, we don’t have anything fancy for dinner tomorrow- just hotdogs and chips for a quick snack in the evening.
I love to open up our doors for people to come and let loose or just relax. No stress this weekend. Just fun and laughs. We love each other and want to share our love with our friends.
I don’t normally work on a Thursday. But I did a “mutual” exchange of work days with a coworker. It benefited us both. She received an extra day for her vacation and I will get Sunday off for my Anniversary. We are having friends over on Saturday to party, so Sunday will be just for us.
Anyhow, I’m not used to working on a Thursday. People were surprised to see me and very confused. It totally effed with my “chi”. To make matters worse, nothing was going right at work. It felt as though I was behind the 8 ball trying to dig my way out. Frustrating to say the least for nearly 12 hours. And then it was over.
So I came home.
Originally I was hoping to head into Vancouver to see a performance by an old friend of mine. But I was so drained, that my social skills were completely voided. I had to just get home and recharge. I hardly remember the drive home as I was on autopilot. I wish I could have supported my friend at his performance. Perhaps next time.
But now I’m home and about to have a true 3 Day Weekend. I’m off work Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then only two days of work and an eleven day vacation. I need this. I deserve this. I am tired. But I am happy.