Contracting My Broken Day Sleep

After working my first night shift of the week, I will usually get a good sleep throughout the day. Not today. Today my neighborhood was loud.

Our next door neighbors have been getting a patio and pool installed for over a year now. With very little progress being made. Their backyard has been useless for two full summers now. Their yard has been mounds of dirt and no fence between them and their other neighbor. And no stairs from their back deck. Speaking with them, they have shared a lot of frustration about their contractor.

Today, two cement trucks arrived in our neighborhood to pour the foundation. Granted, it was a nice day to do the work. They probably only inconvenienced me anyways. But it was loud and there was far too many people making noise in their backyard.

Perhaps by next summer they will have a pool. I’m not holding my breathe that the work will be done this fall since I have seen the progress going at a snail’s pace. All I need now is to get the name of their contractor so I know who not to use.

Sitting Serenity

Last night I moved our muskoka chairs from our upper deck to the downstairs covered patio. I also gave them a fresh coat of white paint in order to better protect them from the elements. Their new home allows for better views of the fields and skyline. On our upper deck, the handrail was at eye level and prevented us from fully utilizing these chairs.

This morning my wife and I sat out on our lower patio and enjoyed a cup of coffee together. We talked about plans for the back garden and the changes we want to make prior to winter. After our coffee, we began some gardening in the backyard- with an occasional break on the chairs admiring the view.

As we stared off in the distance, the birds were chirping from the large cedar tree in the green space behind our property. The trolley gave its toot-toot off in the distance. All-in-all it was a serene and quiet morning- the perfect way to relax on a warm autumn day.

Honestly, this weather can stay for a bit longer. I have no complaints.

Early Skate Practice

Normally my wife attends the speed skating practices on Saturday and Sunday morning. I offered to show up today and let her sleep in. Partly because she had a long work week. But also because the parent who does first aid is off sick this week, so I volunteered to be rink side just in case.

It was a beautiful morning as the sun rose up. The kids arrived thirty minutes early to do a warm up outside prior to entering the arena for skating. Even before the coach got there, they all knew that they should do a few laps around the facility to get their muscles activated.

Standing rink side, I enjoyed how smooth the kids were on the ice. Each of them had good form and listened to the coach’s advice as they lapped around. Today’s practice wasn’t about speed, but rather technique. It works the kids towards muscle memory for when competitions come around.

Being supportive of our kids for these last twelve years has made a difference in the commitment level that they are putting in. Theory is getting stronger and we are hoping he starts to get into bigger competitions as he gets older. Our other two have taken away the ability to coach future skaters and our middle child continues doing it every Sunday.

So a big high five to all the parents out there that make the sacrifices to be up early and pushing their kids at various sports! I see you. Keep it up.

Soda Jerking

Our son has decided that he wants to create mixed drinks. He has been looking up a variety of recipes online. Not the alcoholic type of beverage mind you. Instead, he wants to make sodas.

So I ended up buying a couple of bottles of flavored syrup for him. As well as some pumps. Then I bought some more that I thought sounded tasty. There’s a couple of flavors in there that may taste good in coffee or hot chocolate this autumn/ winter.

My wife thinks it’s funny that the lime and coconut flavors showed up together. Our son is going to attempt to make some Italian Sodas over the next while. As well as some DisneyLand inspired drinks. I’m looking forward to tasting the concoctions. Perhaps he can be a better jerk than he is most days.

Autumn Equinox 2022

In the next few minutes summer shall be over and autumn will be upon us. Luckily for us living in the Vancouver area- the daytime weather will be nice and warm for at least another week keeping us in the mid to low 20°C areas. Summer is just not ready to hand over the season lightly.

I for one am glad about this. It means more time with our pool open as the sun beams down. Earlier today, my wife and I went for a swim to try and make the most of this weather.

It also means we will have a chance to prepare our gardens for winter. I’m genuinely excited about that. We will be setting up a temporary greenhouse to protect our remaining tomatoes and peppers before the last harvest. We also have some trimming and planting to get done so that next spring the gardens will bloom.

Of course I do like all the seasons. Autumn brings with it Halloween and warm food and drinks. As well as apple pie and turkey!

So happy Autumn Equinox everyone. Go enjoy the pumpkin spice!

Do You Remember?

Do you remember? The 21st night of September?

My wife loves that song. Her friends often look forward to singing it to her every year. I find it humorous and have written about it in the past: 21st Night of September . Today got me thinking about my wife and how she remembers the way I like things done. Specifically preparing food.

Now, I’m not saying that the way I like my food prepared is right, but it is how I like my food. It used to cause many discussions years ago, but now my wife just goes with it. Usually.

I’m a big texture and taste person when it comes to food. I don’t overly care if different food touches on a plate, so that’s not it. It’s more how the flavors mix. For example- when making a sandwich- the mustard side needs to be the side the meat is on, not the cheese. Cheese on mustard has a very different taste and texture compared to meat and mustard. Trust me.

Mr Noodles… the instructions on the packet are wrong. The noodles need to be placed in the water immediately and then brought to a boil. Once the noodles are soft, drain all the water. Then put the noodles in a bowl and add the flavor packet. This isn’t a soup we are making! It’s called Mr. Noodles not Mr. Soup.

Because of these preferences, I will admit that I am the one who usually ends up making the lunches. My wife will adhere to my choices when making something for me, which is nice, and has on occasion agreed with how I make foods. Like a dash of salt after goulash is served. It brings out the flavor immensely as you are about to eat.

However it’s not just food preferences I need to work on with her. I still need to get her to understand that the toilet paper flap goes over the roll, not behind it.

And with that, I am off to escape to work to avoid confrontation once she reads my blog.

Love you honey!

Neat IOS 16 Features

I enjoy my iPhone. There was a recent update that I also liked. It has the option to change wallpaper and has a big clock.

I chose the moon as a backdrop from the preset ones available. I’ve always been fascinated by the moon. That’s cool. But something else I noticed after doing a screenshot happened.

If you touch and hold a part of the image- it does this little “swoosh” and cuts out the background. Then you can choose “share” and send just the main subject matter via messages/texts. That’s cool.

I think this aspect of photo sharing/manipulation is kind of fun. It’s a simple photoshop style of edit. It may not be perfect, but it works.

As I explore the new iOS 16 and the features- I’ll most likely also see online some other fascinating features. It’s like having a new phone all over again.

If you know of any other neat features from the latest update- let me know in the comments.

I Turn My Camera On

Today would have marked my father’s 80th Birthday. One of the few things I have kept of my father’s is his camera. It’s nothing special to anyone but me. Valued at $40 used on eBay. The Praktica is nothing more than a 35mm chunky camera.

The reason it’s special to me is that my father realized that when I was born- he did not own a camera. He went out and bought it within a couple of days of my birth. Partly because there was some uncertainty in my living beyond a short while. I had respiratory issues from birth. But that’s another story. This camera was purchased in 1976- the original receipts and warranty card are still in the carrying case.

I ended up using this camera in high school back in the mid-nineties for my photojournalism class. I took numerous black and white photos with it as well as colour pictures. Some of those ended up in the year book. Including my favorite which was a collage overlay of four photos together making up the front of the school. Not too easy to do when there was no preview screen and had to wait to get the images developed.

Now as our son enters grade 11- he has taken up photography as his art major. With it came a curiosity of my father’s old camera. In the first week of photo classes, he went through four rolls of film just taking black and white photos with it. Soon he will develop the pictures and see what he has created.

The one picture that my son wants to take with the camera is one I am impressed he thought of. It’s nothing outrageous, but rather one that brings the camera’s journey full circle. He plans to take some photos of my father’s tombstone- using the same camera that my father had bought to take pictures of me at birth. It’s quite convenient that the graveyard is merely steps away from the school grounds.

I’m not going to lie, at first I had a tough time allowing my son to use the camera. But he has been respectful and understanding of the sentimentality to me. He keeps it in the case and is very careful when handling it. As I said, there’s no monetary value to this item. But it means a lot to me as I wish my father could have seen the lovely grandkids that were produced. I would hope he would’ve been proud of me. But I didn’t become a good father to impress him. I became a good father to spite him.

Happy 80th Grampa. You missed an entire world, yet somehow you are still a big part of mine.

Wedding: Finally Jansen

Yesterday I attended the wedding of a coworker of mine. Their wedding was postponed due to Covid. In fact, his original wedding date was going to be on July 10, 2021 That date was actually my 20th Anniversary with my wife. We would not have been able to attend my friends wedding had it happened on that day. Fast forward to 2022…

Back in April, I went to Dillon’s bachelor party in Vegas. That was where I had a chance to meet some of his other friends. I realized that we all genuinely have a similar sense of humor and comradery. It was great to see them again last night and share a few laughs.

At the wedding, I didn’t take many photos with my cellphone. The couple had a sign out front stating it was an “Unplugged” celebration. Some old school disposable cameras were handed out, so I filled one with photos (which I hope turned out!) The couple will get a chance to see the final products once they develop the films. I think this was a neat idea and will be more genuine for the feel of the party as there is no way to manipulate or see the pictures ahead of time.

They did have a photo booth set up, so my wife and I did a couple pictures together. We were also given some lovely coasters as a wedding favor that we took home.

For the reception- our table was filled with a few of my coworkers. We became known as “Table 12” throughout the night. We were also the reason the open bar wasn’t starting until 8pm. Our group was a bit raucous, full of laughter, and entertaining the crowd. I did tell a joke that was not very family friendly. But entertaining nonetheless.

It was a good time and I’m glad that we attended the festivities. Big congratulations to Dillon and Taryn for finally getting their day in the spotlight! I wish them all the best for their future together!

Oktoberfest 2022

Last night some coworkers and I went out to Oktoberfest at my favorite brewery- Trading Post. We went four years ago at the Fort Langley location (read about it here: Oktoberfest 2018) and had a blast. Last night was at their brewery location- which was really fun.

I reserved a large table last week because I knew there would be at least six of us. At the last minute, I had my boss’s boss join us as well. I was honestly surprised at how little we talked about work and just had a riot.

With the table came three large platters of food. We also ordered one more because with eight of us- we were drinking a lot and eating a lot.

Throughout the night, we enjoyed some Bavarian Oompah music from a trio of musicians. As well, we entered a couple contests- like chugging a 2 liter boot of beer in the fastest time- our group came in second. But at the end of the night, I won a draw and got to bring home a smaller boot of my very own.

If you are wanting to let loose in Langley on a Friday night- there are two more weeks of this going on. Check out the Trading Post Website for more details and to book a table. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you have a safe ride home like we arranged.

Cheers!

Our First Guests

This weekend we will be having our first guests over to enjoy our furnished basement suite. It’ll be kind of nice to have our friends stay for a couple of days. We have plans for the night and a wedding tomorrow. It just made sense for them to stay close by.

Our spare bedroom is all set up with a brand new mattress and sheets. We set out some towels for their use as well. The bathroom got some new soap and a fresh seal of caulk around the tub. Nice and clean.

In the kitchen- we have dishes and utensils all set for use. I also put some spice in the drawer just because. Our basement is almost like an Airbnb now.

I think we did a pretty good job getting it all set up. I even got a few new video apps set up on our new Amazon Fire TV for people to watch. As well, loads of video games are at our disposal for entertainment.

Now to enjoy the weekend!

Our First Guests

This weekend we will be having our first guests over to enjoy our furnished basement suite. It’ll be kind of nice to have our friends stay for a couple of days. We have plans for the night and a wedding tomorrow. It just made sense for them to stay close by.

Our spare bedroom is all set up with a brand new mattress and sheets. We set out some towels for their use as well. The bathroom got some new soap and a fresh seal of caulk around the tub. Nice and clean.

In the kitchen- we have dishes and utensils all set for use. I also put some spice in the drawer just because. Our basement is almost like an Airbnb now.

I think we did a pretty good job getting it all set up. I even got a few new video apps set up on our new Amazon Fire TV for people to watch. As well, loads of video games are at our disposal for entertainment.

Now to enjoy the weekend!

Toilet Upgrade…?

Let’s talk toilets and bums today, shall we?

I was so excited this afternoon. My Amazon package arrived and I had only ordered it yesterday! It was a bidet attachment for a standard toilet. It fits nicely under the seat with minimal effort to install.

I’m not going to lie, this has been on my wish list since our trip to Tokyo. As much as I wanted a heated one that plays music, this was an inexpensive option that works as a quick splash test. It took about 20 minutes to complete the installation. It was super easy, barely an inconvenience.

My bum was so excited that I sat down and tried it out once I confirmed there were no leaks. The water was cool as it hosed off my little chocolate starfish; but not frigid like I expected which was nice. It got the job done and cleaned my bum.

I’m probably the only one in the house who will use it. That’s ok. It does have a second spray for the female region as well as a self cleaning. Not to mention there is an adjustable spray force as well. Let’s just keep that at a low setting for now- I didn’t buy it to be an at home enema.

Do you have a bidet addition on your toilet? Perhaps the ever popular “Tushy” or a different brand like I picked up (Samodra if you are wondering). If there are any flaws, I’ll share that at a future date or in the comments- butt for now, I’m happy and so is my clean bum bum.

Down Time Before Bed

My day was filled with being busy at work, some basic chores and then time with family. I nearly forgot to write today’s blog. So I checked out of my life for a bit before writing this.

For the first time in ages I threw on some YouTube in bed. I watched Season Six Episode One of Rick and Morty. I was going to write my blog as the show was playing, but ended up getting too enthralled in the episode.

Nobody exists on purpose.

I love this show. My son and I even did a cosplay together over six years ago: Father Son Time. We share a bond of shows like this along with a vulgar humor.

Ironically, my son now fits those pants I wore for the costume and loves to wear them. I also found my flask from the cosplay the other day (still had booze in it…) In a couple of days my son and I will watch the few episodes that have been released. I plan to share a few good laughs and speculation on what’s to come or inter-dimensional paradoxes (or some other type nerdy sci-go shit).

To quote the great Rick Sanchez, and send you off for the night:

Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!

(which means I am in great pain)

More Ice Time

Theory’s newest speed skating club is very active. They push the skaters harder than I have seen. So far it seems the skaters are up for the challenge and not complaining. The group still has ice time at an older rink, so they are utilizing it.

Every Tuesday that I am working night shift means I will be dropping our son off at Planet Ice. This was the club’s original home ice. If I’m working day shift- I’ll likely be picking him up on the way home. It is probably one of the coldest rinks I have stepped foot into. This is good for the skaters. But chilly for the parents and spectators.

At least the group is getting some intense workouts. It is much needed for every skater. I can’t wait to see the results over this next season.

Rules Are Meant To Be Learned

This week I am renewing my conductor qualifications. Unlike the time three years ago when I Went to Winnipeg for my training- I am at home learning remotely this time around.

Because we recently had our tenants move out, I have the basement as my classroom. My wife has the office upstairs because she works online daily- and has for about four years now. Working remotely comes easy for her now and she is able to time manage quite well.

My first day is behind us and I’m starting to feel better about learning remotely. However- I can see how our kids had a difficult time adjusting and staying focused. But I made it through the first day and passed my first series of tests.

I’m glad that we have our basement back for the time being. The space has been calming and quiet. Perfect for studying and taking tests. Plus it’s got some of the necessities I need to make it through the day- coffee and snacks!

Only four more days remain ahead of me. After such, I will be a qualified conductor/switchman. By October I will need to get a physical from my family doctor and a recertification in first aid. At which point I can assist the company at different locations- including my home turf- in the running trades.

Wish me luck!

Harvest Followed by Relaxing

Today was a bit hazy and hot out. My wife decided that it was a perfect day to harvest some of her tomatoes and peppers. That way she could work in the kitchen preparing ways to preserve them.

She began by cutting up her banana peppers into rings. She kept the colours of the peppers separated once sliced up. While she was doing this, she had a vinegar brine solution simmering on the stovetop. I stirred it up occasionally. (I’m helpful!)

We currently have three jars of pickled peppers on our counter. Even though I’m not a big fan of pickled food, they sure did smell good. I have a feeling we will be enjoying these over the next couple of months in a variety of ways.

My wife took a break from doing anything with the tomatoes today. As the sky began to clear up, and the smoke rolled away- we hit the swimming pool for a little Sunday relaxation.

We spent hours in the pool. At one point before dinner, our 16 year old and 18 year old also hit the pool. It was a nice afternoon of using the water to cool off. Summer sure doesn’t feel like it’s over. But nature is sometimes pushing to get autumn onto our doorstep.

We can tell by the fruits and vegetables from our garden being ripe and ready to consume.

Getting Old

I’m rocking this life past my mid forties now. With it comes, well, anguish. Almost daily I discover a new pain. From my back to my shoulders to my elbows. It’s as if my joints are just unhappy and screaming for attention.

But I am also hitting second puberty. You know- where hair grows in new places and disappears from the top of my head. However, I need to keep those hairs at bay. So it was time to get a new trimmer. Yes, this is my second nose and ear hair trimmer in the past decade. Don’t judge me. But I need to learn how to use this trimmer.

Seriously, who decides that the instructions need to be in the smallest writing possible? As if growing ear and nose hair would somehow give me superhuman eyesight. Or perhaps the company is trying to tell me I need glasses. It’s a conspiracy! The nose hair trimmers are in it with the optimists!

Or I can “Be a man” and just use the trimmer without the instructions. Ugh. I hope that I don’t rip the hairs out and it actually cuts. I’ll let you know if I start to look like Edward Scissorhands with scars on my face.

Getting old is a pain. But I’ll try and do it gracefully and not share any more of how I get there.

One Week Down

Technically it’s still summer- albeit back to school has occurred. Although… the first week of school didn’t really have much in the way of instruction. So it was a bit more relaxed than the majority of the school year.

Back to school, and starting at a new school, make for a bit of enjoyment and stress in a young person’s life. I have been enjoying the stories from out two youngest every day this week. There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm in their tone while they talk.

I’m pretty sure the sharing of daily events will diminish as the year goes on. But nonetheless- I’m listening now and cherish the moments with our kids. Because in the not so distant future, they may not want to share stories. At this point I’ll take what I can get from our 16 year old and our 18 year old.

Queen Elizabeth II

It is with great sadness that the world bids farewell to The Queen. She has been an icon for many generations. The world now mourns the loss of such a wonderful person.

Personally, I never followed along with the royal family. I do know my mother is more in tune with the Royal Family- being Scottish and all. I called my mother this evening and she gave me the rundown of what will be coming next for the Royal Family.

Chances are I will watch some of the service for the Queen. I did admire her wit and subtleties when it came to politics. Of course, almost each and every photo of her is a favorable one. With numerous smiles and iconic moments. My heart goes out to her family and the communities in which she watched over.

Long live the Queen.

Greetings At Home

This evening, I was at the front balcony waiting to see our kid come home. I know it’s only the second day of university, but it was nice to see them walk up the driveway with their backpack in tow. The was a sense of ambition as Darwin hustled up the path to the house.

I called out a greeting as they walked in. I received a half answer as Darwin rushed in the door. Darwin was eager to get home. Over dinner, we discussed the classes and I could sense the excitement of the semester to come in their voice.

I’ll always be the parent that greets our kids after a long day- no matter how old they get. I’ll gladly stay up late and offer support no matter how difficult life can get. Home is where the heart is- and home is where you make it.

First Day(s) Of School/Work September 2022

Today was the first day of school for our youngest at age 16. He was returning to his high school for grade 11. He stayed at a friends house last night because today was only an hour or so long and more just a chance for everyone to meet up again.

Our middle attended their first day of post-secondary at the Simon Fraser University. Upon arrival, it to was a meet and greet type of day, but lasted about six hours or so. They had a chance to make some new friends, create group chats, and even went to the mall with these new friends after the first day ended.

My wife also began a new job today for a company called Jane. She is working remotely (from home) in a similar manner as she once did for Shopify. Her day went rather quickly.

But all three of them had great experiences on the first day of their new adventures. I was genuinely excited to hear about their first day encounters over dinner. I’m glad our middle made some new friends already and is really enthusiastic about the school. I was a bit worried prior to this moment. But I think my fears and anxiety trumped theirs. I’m also really proud of my wife for jumping into a new role after such an unexpected leave from her previous job. I know it wasn’t easy for her to go an apply for work when she didn’t foresee that moment coming. But she is back in the saddle again and moving forward with her career! Our son was just happy to be back with his high school buddies and his change in fine arts major is a chance for him to showcase other skills he has.

All in all a good first day was had in our household. How was your first day?

Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation- ‘Til school comes along just to end it”

Summer is over, at least for our kids… There’s still a few days left before the official 1st day of Autumn. This evening was a chance for my wife and I to relax by floating on the pool. We enjoyed our last evening and our smiles couldn’t be bigger.

As our youngest heads into his second to last year of high school, we are slowly relieved of the extra duties we once had. Our middle is about to attend their first year of university as well. The journey into adulthood is well underway for our kids. Our eldest is already two years out of public school and summer vacation.

As I lounged around watching the sunset- it dawned on me that life is really what you make it. We have worked hard to get to this stage in life and hope that our children appreciate the effort we have put in for them. They each have a future ahead of them that I look forward to seeing. And each day is better than the last.

“This could possibly be the best day ever…
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be- A million and six times better.
So make every minute count-
Jump up, jump in and seize the day!
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way-
Today is gonna be a great day.”

Old Man Shower

Now that our tenants have moved out, it was time to check that all of our facilities are working. As I mentioned before- the laundry machines got swapped and we have set up a nice living room in the basement. We also ran the dishwasher and tested the fridge water/ice maker. In the bathroom- besides using the toilet and sink- I needed to try out the downstairs showers.

Is that a tub or a walk-in shower? It’s both.

The basement portion of our home was tailor built to accommodate an older generation. You know- people well past their sixties. In the basement is a bathroom with a unique tub. It is a walk-in bathtub called “The Imperial”.

It’s the sort of tub that you need to step into first and latch the door before filling it up. Naturally I needed to try it out. So I stepped inside and began to fill the tub.

In under 8 minutes, the water had filled up past the jets and covered my knees as I sat there. At this point, I turned on the jets. BUBBLES!

I’m not going to lie- I was fairly comfortable as the bubbles and water washed over my lower body. This is one of the few times my knees have been submerged in a bathtub as an adult. TMI: I really enjoyed the bubbles that came up past my junk. It wasn’t arousing in any way, just sort of nice. Looking at the pamphlet- it’s called “The Bidet Notch”. Noice.

Draining it is far faster than any other tub I have ever been in. I pulled the stopper and the water flowed out in an almost vacuum like state. Anyways, I may hit this tub when I have a long day. It’s calm, relaxing and at the far end of our home- away from the hustle and bustle of our lives.

Man, I’m ready to be old.

More Space At Home

We have only been three days without tenants in our basement suite. Yet we have taken over and began decluttering the rest of our home. This has been nonstop with help from the entire family over last little bit.

We managed to unpack a bunch of boxes from our garage to fill our secondary kitchen. Our camping supplies came out of the garage and went into the storage under the stairs. We also moved two of our shelving units from the garage and placed our crafting supplies into a walk-in closet.

In one of the bedrooms downstairs, I assembled a new queen sized bed and fresh mattress for visitors to use. The other bedroom will be used as my wife’s studio for the time being. So a lot of fabric has moved from the garage into that room. Our garage doesn’t feel as cramped now that everything is out- especially the shelves. Basically, passengers in the car can get out in the garage instead of the driveway like they once did.

The biggest hurdle was today. The other day, my wife decided to try out the washer and dryer that was in the basement suite. We had never used them in the 14 months of living here. Of course my wife fell in love with them… so we had to swap them with the ones upstairs. A couple of things about this make me happy- now all the appliances in the basement match and are LG brand. The other thing I like is that the washer we moved upstairs is a top loader- meaning the door won’t get hit by the garage door as you enter the home. Plus it lightens up the laundry room. The worst part was moving four heavy appliances up and down the stairs. Good thing our son is sixteen and strong.

My favorite change is our couches. We moved the brown leather sectional into the basement suite along with a new Amazon Fire TV. This feels like our old theater room. Upstairs we bought a love seat and a chair from IKEA along with a new rug. The room is now bright and vibrant feeling, not so clunky. Best part- our settee matches in fabric colour and fits in nicely to the sitting room feel.

We still have a few little things left to do. Like clean up the empty boxes and finish arranging the kitchen. However, these last couple of days have felt like we are gaining back our home as well as our space. No more clutter or holding onto furniture and furnishings for future use. The future is now- and it feels wonderful.