Halfway Cleaned Up

This past weekend there was some amazing weather. Like most folks, we took advantage of it. It was a great start to preparing the yard for the upcoming summer season. Our patio furniture is already clean and ready for use!

As daunting as the work is, I’d say we are about halfway through all of our chores and tasks. The pressure washer was out and I took on a good portion of the back deck and around the pool. I sunburned the back of my neck in the process not thinking about using sunscreen. Aloe was my best friend last night.

We also took the winter cover off the pool and let it dry in the sun before packing it away. The pool had a lot of algae growth as well as a ton of debris along the bottom. Out came the pool vacuum and I removed the majority of it over the course of about an hour. This did create the water to become a bit more murky and cloudy, but the liner is far better than it was.

It will now be time to balance the chemicals in the pool. In a couple of weeks, the colour of the pool should become clear once more. Hopefully of the weather gets better, we will be in the pool before June hits.

For the rest of today our oldest has been given the task of completing the pressure washing in the backyard. There’s the balance on the wood deck, the lower patio and the breezeway leading down to the backyard. Hopefully it will all be completed by the end of the day, if not, I know they will return next Sunday to finish it and do the driveway out front.

Once this is all done, my wife and I are planning to stain the wood deck in a grey colour. I also have some repairs to make on the fence, followed by a paint/stain to match it up.

I like to push hard early in the season so as to enjoy the yard with minimal effort in maintenance. Patio season felt like it was upon us this weekend. I cannot wait for more days and evenings like that.


Every year in West Cloverdale, there is a day filled with garage sales smattered throughout. Today was that day. When my wife returned from skating, we walked our neighborhood visiting a few garage sales. Our plan was to just walk around and not buy anything. We didn’t even take cash with us.

The first house we stopped at had an item that made me excited. It was a 1926 Victrola. We talked to the owners and he jokingly said- “The first place always has the best stuff- you’ll be back”. I told him we had more house to see and if it was still there when we walked back home, we would buy it.

We are now the proud owners of a 1926 Victrola gramophone with a stack of shellac records all at a cost of $35. This was the first year that they went electric. I plan to clean up the cabinet and buy some new needles for it. Apparently you need to replace the needle after each use.

I’m excited to learn more about the item and how to use it. I am hoping for a fun sound albeit almost a hundred years old. If any of you have one similar and want to offer tips on how to use it, or maintain the gramophone- please let me know.

SFU Concert Orchestra Night

Last night my oldest child and I attended the 15th Anniversary of the SFU Concert Orchestra Night. We went to support my middle child- Darwin- who continues to play the bassoon in post secondary.

The event was held at The Michael J Fox Theater in Burnaby. The ensemble was smaller than I expected, but they still were able to fill the theater with sound. I recognized the first four pieces they played. The final piece had a guest pianist join them for the final half an hour.

These young adults did a great job last night. I am happy the Darwin is still pursuing music as they navigate post secondary. A sense of familiarity has helped them through this past semester of schooling.

I look forward to seeing more shows over the next few years, and will continue to support the arts!

Keep It Clean

Today I did some basic cleaning maintenance around the house. I woke up early and after my morning coffee I got started.

First was opening up the back panel of our dryer. I was amazed at how much lint hadn’t spit out the pipe but instead collected inside the machine. This was a fire hazard waiting to happen. After over ten years of use, it had a lot of build up inside.

Next I went outside into our backyard and took full advantage of the warm weather. Pressure washing the vinyl siding, windows and two of our decks took me about four hours. I also cleaned the awning that leads out from our dining room to the back deck. I honestly didn’t think it was that bad until I started. Then I saw a huge improvement right away.

Tomorrow I am doing the cement around our pool. I’ll probably also clean the windows since I bought some of that Windex you attach to your hose. It’s supposed to dry streak free. I hope so. Because the sun is now starting to come through our back windows and those bad boys are dusty.

Will you be taking advantage of the weather over the next while and do some outdoor spring cleaning?


Making it through a workweek is always a good feeling. Having a series of good days at work is also great. Enjoying the people you work with makes every day worthwhile.

Job satisfaction, money, benefits- all the reasons to go to work. I like going to work and hearing stories from my coworkers of how their lives outside are going. It’s like having two different versions of ourselves- one that version that shows up at work; and one who lives a life created from that work.

Everything else is gravy.

All the jokes, laughs, and sharing tastes in music, shows and movies- that is a part of who we are. I love every bit of it. All of this makes going to work pleasurable.

Taking A Nature Moment At Work

My work is often very busy and I hardly have a moment to even enjoy my lunch. Today as I was out in the field doing a safety inspection, the weather was wonderful. So I took a breather at the end of the rail yard.

I took a few minutes to breathe in some fresh salty ocean air. I looked out over the water towards Vancouver’s Stanley Park and just enjoyed the moment. Taking a quick break like this was exactly what I needed. Sometimes I get so wound up in the grind that I forget what a beautiful area we work in. We have amazing views and locations that many folks don’t get to enjoy.

Clearing my thoughts also helps to make the rest of the work day easier. With the summer weather peaking around the corner, I’m looking forward to enjoying my days outside while moving trains. Sometimes these moments help get me through the week.

Getting Views

I don’t normally get excited about social media. Yet somehow I managed to get a higher than normal amount of views on my Instagram Reel that I made the other day. The most I usually get is in the high 20’s. Not this time.

1382 plays currently! This morning I was at just over 500. That’s pretty cool. It’s also increased the traffic into my Instagram account, garnering more likes on previous posts. I can see why people get excited over these little achievements. I feel pretty good about myself.

I don’t really have any more videos to post. Maybe on my next rug I’ll do a start to finish series of videos. Although I think I may need my teenagers to help me with editing and content creation. I’m just not as quick as they are when it comes to adapting to this sort of thing.

Anyhow- onto completing my rugs that I started last weekend. I can’t wait to share my Half Way to Halloween creations!

Making Rugs For Halloween/Christmas. Already??

That’s right. This week I started on making some festive rugs for Halloween and Christmas. My wife suggested I make some for a craft fair that she thinks I should sign up for. That craft fair is called Nightmare Before Christmas Market and it is held in October. But they need submissions before May for anyone who wants to be a seller.

So I created some rugs with that theme in mind. Later this week I will trim a couple of them up so that I can submit some pictures of these. I will also submit pictures of my other rugs for variety.

For me- making rugs isn’t done to be a another source of income for us. Any rugs that I have sold have been to coworkers and friends at just above cost- that’s because I’m enjoying this new hobby. Having a bit of extra spending cash in the holiday season will be alright as well. But mostly I am making rugs because I am enjoying it. I worry that if I start to turn it into work as a “side gig” I may not enjoy it as much.

After these rugs, I have an ambitious rug planned for May before the weather really gets too nice. Stay tuned to see what I have in store. Feel free to reach out if you want a rug made as well. So far everyone has been really happy with what I’ve created. That makes me feel great. And if I get into this Christmas Market, I’m sure I’ll be happy when I sell some rugs.


This weekend, my wife and I finished filing our taxes. This is the first time as well that all three of our kids had to submit taxes. Lucky for my wife and I- we were able to use some of the money we spent on our children’s post secondary towards our own taxes. Thank goodness for spending money on their futures…

Last year, after me having to pay taxes, I went to my payroll and had them take more taxes off each paycheck. In the end, I got quite a good tax return. However, my wife was not as lucky. Of the five of us, she is the only one having to pay taxes. At least it wasn’t like Monopoly and she doesn’t owe 10% or even $200. But I still get to rub it in that she has to pay taxes.

What will I spend my refund on you may ask? Property taxes! Yay! The government giveth and the government taketh away. Oh well, it was nice to feel lucky for once, even if it was for a fleeting moment.

Pool Install

Yesterday our neighbor had their pool installed. They have had their yard ripped up for almost two years waiting for this day. The pool still needs to be set up, connected and filled, but the hard part is finally done.

A large crane showed up to lift the shipping container pool over their house and into their backyard. It was interesting to see how it was done. The way they set up the crane, added counterweights from a flatbed, and then hooked the pool.

Now the pool is in their backyard. I am excited for our neighbors. This has been a long time coming, and I know they’ve been patiently waiting. I have never seen a shipping container pool, so this will be neat to see when it’s unwrapped.

Soon their yard will be full of life once more instead of a hole in the ground surrounded by dirt. I’ll be happy because the construction will be done. No more working noise, next will be laughter and music coming from next door. I hope they will enjoy their new pool as much as we enjoy ours.


Today is 420. A day that people assigned (for whatever reason) to celebrate marijuana. Originally this date was used as a way to protest pit being illegal. But since so many places have legalized marijuana, it’s just another day to celebrate. Kind of like a version of St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco De Mayo only not alcohol based.

I don’t partake in smoking pot. But I respect the idea for others to enjoy it. I honestly think it’s one of those activities that is a good way to unwind and is less harmful to the body and mind. Obviously marijuana can impede your judgment and skill sets. I never recommend operating a car or machinery when high, that’s for sure.

The idea of psychedelics is inspiring me to be more creative in my rug making. I have found the colours and designs have been fun to mix and make. Much like pot, making rugs is zen-like for me.

So if you smoke or enjoy marijuana in other ways- I hope you have a great 420.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Clean Coffee

Our coffee maker is my favorite appliance I think. I always ensure that it is ready to go the night before so that when we wake up, the coffee is brewed hot and fresh.

I bought this coffee maker on Black Friday last year for an incredible deal. We began using it right away. I learned how to set the timer and make a perfect pot of coffee every time. This morning I learned that my coffee maker also tells me when it needs to be cleaned!

Now, we clean the carafe regularly and give the maker a wipe down pretty much daily. Call me old fashioned- but I don’t like dust and grim building up on or near where I drink and eat. I will read up on why the CLEAN light came on and what the requirements would be based on the light.

For our previous coffee makers, we have run vinegar through to sanitize and clean. Followed up with some water cycles to flush it once more. On the rare occasion, we have used CLR on our older machines to really make them shine.

I’m kind of impressed that my coffee maker is telling me to clean it. It’s a good reminder, especially when it’s used daily. I’d like this machine to have an extended life expectancy, so I will obey its commands.

Praise be the coffee lords!

Device Updatea

I appreciate that manufacturers of my smart devices want to update software regularly. My tv, video game systems, even my car does updates. Most of them automatically installed. Sometimes they happen as soon as you turn on the device, so you sit there waiting for ages and when it’s done, nothing seems to have changed.

The worst updates are the ones that happen on my phone. I swear that I’ll be in the process of doing something on my phone and then it freezes in order to update. No matter what time of day- even though I set to do it overnight. And there’s no way to override the update or pause it. So you just have to let it do it’s thing.

It also feels like after a couple of years of updates- my phone gets slower and has less space available. As if the old information was never removed and the new updates are just added on top. Perhaps this is the tech companies trying to push the most recent devices into our hands.

Whatever the case may be, these updates are both good and bad. I get frustrated and relieved when they are complete. Now to search out memes and twenty second useless video clips.

Enjoying The Outside Inside

The weather as of late has been rather unpleasant. With heavy downpours and chilly winds filling up my world. Even on Saturday, when we were wandering the VanDusen Gardens, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. But I still managed to enjoy the blooming plants.

So the other day I bought a potted flower for inside our home. The white lilies have opened up and brought a beautiful bouquet to the air. They fit nicely in our home- radiating an aura of elegance. Having me wish for more flowers in my life.

Hopefully these April Showers bring May Flowers as they say. I’m hoping that on my days off this week I can walk around and see more pops of colour in the world. If not, I may have to buy some more plants for inside our home. Especially ones as beautiful as these lilies.

Bring Me

My wife and I have been going for walks whenever we can. Actually she goes for walks and I tag along. There’s kind of this ritual we do beforehand though.

Every time she wants to go for a walk, she will ask me if I would like to join her. Admittedly there are many days I will say no. But she will ask again before she heads out. If I said no earlier- this is when I reconsider and end up joining her.

Hanging out with my wife brings me joy. If a walk is the only time we can have together, then I will take advantage of those moments whenever possible. We both have busy schedules, but making the time for each other has always been important for our relationship.

It’s also allowed us to have in-depth conversations that we would otherwise avoid. Topics like kids, finances, travel, etc get talked about more freely and without hesitation. Walking means we aren’t sitting on the couch or at a table hoping to be distracted by a screen. Instead we can see the beauty in the world and breathe in the fresh air, thus keeping our minds at ease. Far better for our mental health.

Every time my wife goes for a walk, I hope she brings me. I secretly like them even if I say no at first.

Darwin Turned 19 Today

Darwin turned 19 today, so we asked what they wanted to do to celebrate. Darwin chose to have a family outing at the Sakura Days Japanese Fair. So we made our way into Vancouver to The VanDusen Botanical Garden for the afternoon.

Unfortunately there was rain and it was rather chilly. But we kept warm by eating hot food from the food trucks and walking through the gardens. We also snuck back to the main entrance and hung out in the building periodically to rest and warm up.

Darwin had a lot of fun striking various poses throughout our walk. This day was all for them! Even in the rain, darwin was producing a smile and filling the day with joy.

Our day was spent catering to their amusement and I really appreciated the slow pace of looking at nature all day. It was very zen like and calming. Until the end. That’s when the real fun came out!

The main reason we came to the event was to see a live performance by a J-Pop group called “Non Sweet”. Darwin met them at a convention recently and wanted us as a family to share in the joy that Darwin has found from them.

First Darwin and I went to a meet and greet where Darwin got their picture with one of the members. Once the show began, Darwin and I sat front and center enjoying the performance! Our drive home also consisted of listening to the music of Non Sweet.

It was a good day and the rain could not dissuade us from enjoying the event. Happy 19th Birthday Darwin! I hope it was one of the most memorable ones you have had!

I Keep Making Rugs

Four months into my hobby and I’m still at it. Not only that, but I’m really enjoying it still! I have set aside my free time to work on each rug. My wife says I’m getting better, which I agree for the most part. She also says I’m getting faster at completing them. That’s good too.

This week I made a few Studio Ghibli rugs. One was for my wife, but then she decided she wanted two of them! I also made a Winnipeg Jets rug for a coworker. As well, I made a couple more wrist rugs for your desk. Perfect under a keyboard.

I have one more tug to finish this week, but I am out of free time. So it will carry over to next week to complete. I’m also gathering images and ideas for next week’s tufting. Let’s just say it will be seasonal themed. And not this season!

If you want a rug, feel free to DM me and we can talk prices. Shipping is something I haven’t yet looked into, so if it’s anywhere out of the way- I’ll have to get a price quote as well. Locally, we can arrange something.

Nighttime Frogs

Spring is one of the noisiest times outside our home- especially at night. Sometimes it’s the neighborhood dogs, sometimes it’s the coyotes. But lately, it’s the frogs.

I swear these critters are having parties every night once the sun goes down. I had no idea frogs were nocturnal. Our last couple of homes didn’t have frogs living nearby. Although at our last house- you could hear pigs squealing at night which is unnerving. (Kermit and Piggy reference in there somewhere.)

I swear these frogs know exactly when I need to fall asleep. It’s like they start screaming louder or use a megaphone to enhance their mating calls. A part of me is hoping the coyotes in the back are using these sounds to hunt them. Or even the owls. Maybe then the noises will diminish.

I’m not really complaining. Nature is beautiful and I love the views from our home. Even those croaks are turning into my own white noise. Perfect for falling asleep to.

At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself until it’s real.

Dairy A No-Go For Joe

Tonight I went for dinner with my wife. We went to Red Robin for a couple of burgers and bottomless fries. Always a nice treat, and a pleasantly fun date. We felt young and silly. I also ordered a bottomless root beer float to enjoy.

It was delicious! The best part- the ice cream and root beer was bottomless. So I had three of them! The worst part- I had three of them. Gurgle….

My gut was none too happy a few minutes after our meal. I began to feel bad for anyone who entered the bathroom after me. But then I realized, I’d probably be the one going back in first for my next round of explosions. Oh boy. My stomach emptied all available products through my back door. It felt like I was threading a needle with how tight my anus was holding on for dear life.

My self-induced enema made me realize that I have certain muscles that I don’t think about very often. Oh boy did I flex them. We cut our date short as we returned home early so I could cleanse from internally once more.

Note to self: no more ice cream as an adult. No matter what.

Sakura Skies

This morning started with a monsoon of a downpour. Roads were treacherous, my wipers were going full force, and I was white knuckle driving the entire way home.

Later in the day, the sun and wind swept away the rain clouds. I woke up from my slumber and went for a half hour walk with my wife. The sun was warm on my face, but the wind reminded me that it’s still not summer yet. The chill was a tad bit too cool, but the walk was pleasant. Seeing the cherry blossoms in our neighborhood come to life always makes me happy.

I can see why people paint images of Sakura trees with a blue sky background. It’s a beautiful contrast. I have a feeling tomorrow will be another beautiful day, hopefully filled with more blues skies and less clouds. If that’s the case, I’ll be walking the neighborhood once more and taking a bunch of pictures. Heck, maybe it will inspire me to do a painting again!

Expanding Social Media Presence

The other day my wife suggested that I add a Facebook Page for my rug making. I haven’t created a Facebook Page since the last time I created one for this blog. I hadn’t really thought of making one, so I’m glad I did. My new page was created in order to share more of my hobby in one place, which really is a good idea.

I’d appreciate it if my friends and followers would head over to Facebook to “Like and Follow” Tuftleupagus. The link is Here: Tuftleupagus . Currently on the page I have some pictures of rugs that have been made. I will post more of my “work in progress” as time goes on.

Perhaps if I end up at a craft fair or show, I will share that as well. Mostly my Facebook Page will be a sharing of my Instagram photos and stories for those who prefer that social media platform.

Thanks again to my friends for their continued support! I appreciate everyone for their kind words and likes.

Candy Hunt

Today our adult children (and soon to be adult son) did an Easter egg hunt in our home. My wife convinced me to help hide the candy and chocolates for them. Initially I helped in order to get it done faster.

I did have some fun laying out the eggs. My favorite spot was in our Lego Sakura tree. The pink eggs blended so well that the kids missed them repeatedly. I also hid some chocolates as high as I could so that they would have to get a chair to retrieve them.

Once finding all the candy, the kids did their usual routine of dividing everything up equally. They have done this every year. It seems they never grow out of the idea of being young at heart.

Especially if free candy is involved.

Easter Preparation

It’s Easter weekend. A time for chocolate and bunnies (and chocolate bunnies). I’ve never been a fan of Easter. That probably stems from Catholic school when I was a wee lad. The imagery and stories of a man with a crown of thorns, torture, blood, even coming back from the dead are a bit traumatic for young Josef.

On the other side, we also never did Easter egg hunts as children. So Easter weekend wasn’t as fun as it could have been. My mother did leave out some chocolate on the kitchen table, so we did eat that junk food.

As a parent, my wife made me participate in hiding eggs for our children over the years. If I wasn’t working, I’d hang out and watch them as they gathered up their treats. Our kids would then combine the chocolates and divide them equally.

My wife is still filling plastic eggs for our children. Even though they are turning 17, 19, and 21 this year. What’s humorous is that our kids were asking if the Easter Bunny was visiting this year. Good thing they asked my wife, because my answer would have been “no”.

Hoppy Easter

I’m okay with the fact that my kids want to hang onto a part of their youth. Lucky for me is that if there is extra candy (that can’t be evenly distributed) I get to enjoy it. I also think my wife is enjoying babying our kids periodically like this. Me- I just enjoy being immature- that’s how I hold onto my youthful follies.

Anyways, I hope that everyone has a fun filled Easter weekend! And remember to find all of those eggs!

Strolling Along

Today my wife and I went out for a couple of strolls. We got lucky and missed the rain. Our first walk was immediately after the water fell so there was some puddles and mud to avoid.

The air was brisk in the afternoon as we crossed over Highway One and wandered around Tynehead Regional Park. Prior to our nature walk, we did a quick loop around the Pacific Academy and got some stunning photos. Our afternoon jaunt consisted of about six kilometers in total.

After dinner, we walked around our neighborhood. Tonight was more peaceful than usual; probably because of the long weekend. We did spot an owl near the park and paused for a moment to watch it. The owl had a very impressive wingspan as it took off from its perch.

At the end of the day, we walked about ten kilometers. With so much to see in our new neighborhood, I’m glad to be getting out more often. Something about going for a walk clears your soul.

Can You Wiggle Your Ears?

I have some useless talents. Ones that I’m okay at, but nothing that I would say I could be a professional doing. I can roll my tongue, do basic yo-yo tricks, hackysack, solve a Rubik’s Cube, do origami, and now make rugs. The one thing I always wanted to learn?

How to wiggle my ears.

I know it sounds silly. But it was the one talent that my father had which he would do when he was in a good mood. His smile was genuine and he would make his ears dance. As a child, it enthralled me. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to do it.

My dad once told me he would spend hours in front of a mirror trying to home this skill. As a child, I did not have the patience to do that. As an adult, the question comes up as “why do you need to learn this?” Well, it’s something I still want to learn, so it’s time to search the interwebs.

Do any of you know how to wiggle your ears? Care to teach me?