Vacation Anticipation

Relatable post time. Here come the memes.

I have only one more shift to go before vacation. Yes, there is a countdown within the family of how many hours remain as well!

There’s always the moments when your brain is already focused on the future and not the day at hand. Nothing is going to get me down. I’m preparing myself to be checked out.

Getting thru that last couple of days of work are always difficult before a vacation. It’s even harder to return to work after some time off.

But a break is always healthy. Leaving work behind and just focusing on some mental relaxation is paramount to good health. We all go through this. I hope you all have good vacations as well when you go on them!

Another Beautiful Evening

Last night my teenager and I had dinner together. We watched the clouds in the sky as the sun vanished behind them. I’m still mesmerized by the views we have from the back of our home. I was happy to share the moment with someone.

There’s just something magical about nature and how the universe works. I don’t know the answers to Life- but I will say, watching a sunset hanging out with someone you care about really fills my heart with joy.

Cheering On Theory From Afar

This past week, my wife and son were in Calgary for a speed skating camp. Today was a competition for the skaters.

My wife shared with me a live feed of the event on YouTube posted by the Calgary Oval. I watched our son competing from the comfort of our living room. seeing his name on the television brings me a sense of pride and joy.

But watching him skate brings me more joy. He is passionate about his skating and is always pushing to improve his skills.

In his two races- he got new personal bests. He even shaved ten seconds off one of the heats. I’m really impressed and I hope he continues on the path to success in speed skating. The trips out of province are a good chance for him to get better and meet with other skaters.

But I can’t wait for them to come home. I miss the family when they are away.

Bro Time

This afternoon I got some time to hang out with some of my friends. We didn’t do anything exciting- just hanging out. Well worth my afternoon!

We farted around in the pool for most of the time. Lots of jokes, and throwing a ball between one another. A perfect afternoon of nothingness.

Later in the afternoon- my friend brought out his drone. He played around filming my home and created a video that he will be sending to me later on. I love the idea of seeing our home from a new perspective.

I had a few other buddies show up throughout the evening. Loads of good conversations were had. I’m glad they all showed up, I needed their company. It was a good evening. I’m glad we did a bunch of nothing together.

Nothingness was a ton of fun. I’m glad to have some bro time.

Alone On The Pool

My wife is out of town with our youngest in Calgary. Our other child is at work and won’t be home for a few more hours. After doing my weekly Thursday shopping- I opened the pool to give it a clean.

Now I’m floating around by myself- listening to music and enjoying life as the sun beats down. I am enjoying my solitude. Getting here was hard work and headaches for many years. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Even if it is by myself.

Being alone isn’t so bad, but I like to share experiences with others. Come on by for a dip. I’ll gladly share this life with friends!

Weather Seems Nice

Normally we don’t do a big vacation in the summertime to a nice warm place. Living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia- we have really nice summers. So there is never a need to travel to a sunny destination.

As you can see, this upcoming week has some high temperatures and mostly sun. A good way to enjoy August. Why should we go anywhere?

You see, our goal is to be in Disneyland for the first time during summer. Similar highs, but the lows are far warmer. We won’t get much of a chance to cool off each day. But that will be just fine with me!

We have been waiting for this trip to Disneyland for over two years. We bought tickets hoping to travel in July of 2020 to see what the summer season (and July 4th) would be like in the parks. But, you know, Covid had other plans for everyone.

Soon we will be south of our home and enjoying the Warm California Sun. I’m excited about our family vacation and look forward to the weather being on our side!

Last Minute Darwin Dinner Date

I left work at 6pm to go home. On my way, I went to pick up our middle child from their work. What should have been a 20 minute drive to meet them was well over twice that. So we decided to grab some dinner and wait out the traffic.

We stopped at Red Robin near where we met up. The burgers were pretty good and of course an Oreo milkshake was needed. We had a good conversation that was more adult-like than we normally have.

I’m glad we took the time to just hang out. It was far better than me rage driving in bad traffic. After our dinner, the commute home was quick.

Our doggo needed our attention since they had been home alone while we were both at work. It’s rare that someone isn’t at home to love her. She was super excited to see us when we did arrive home.

It was a pleasant evening together. A chance to hang out as friends instead of parent/child. I look forward to many more dinners like this as they grow up and want to share about their day and life with me.

My Little Sister

It’s my little sister’s birthday today. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity to visit with her for about a year. Life gets a bit hectic and making plans have also been thwarted by scheduling conflicts. Here in BC, those ferries are unreliable as well these days.

I did give her a call today on the phone. We had a pretty good conversation about growing up, becoming parents, and hoping that things get better. Not that anything is truly bad, but things can always be better.

She will always be known as “Joe’s Sister” in our circle of friends. Her personality is much larger than being known as that. I look back fondly on our memories growing up. We always had each other, through good times and bad.

So thank you for being my sister Nikki! Love you always- as only an older brother can (including insults!) Happy Birthday.

Cat-Astrophic

Our kids have asked for a cat on numerous occasions throughout the years. My wife and I are quite allergic to felines, so we always said no. We always said that when they are adults, they can do what they want. Our kids accepted this answer.

As I mentioned the other day, we are in the Final Month Of Tenants in our basement. We agreed to allow them to have their dog and cat during their stay. Over the past year the cat has become friends with us. Specifically our 18 year old. The tenants asked if they could leave the cat behind.

So now we have a cat. After years of denying one in our home- “Buddy” has joined our family as of Saturday. Naturally, our 18 year old would like to give him a new name. That will probably happen over the next few days. Naming an animal makes having it as a part of our family more real.

The cat isn’t that bad. In fact he is very cuddly and friendly. Doggone it- I’m not supposed to be a cat person.

Behind the Scenes

I often share images of hanging out in our backyard. But I don’t always talk about the work that goes into cleaning and maintaining the pool everyday. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes by myself every time.

The first thing I do is get some music playing. It just makes manual labor so much more enjoyable. Then I take off the floating pool rings that protect and keep the heat in the pool.

Then it’s time to vacuum and skim the pool. (Periodically I’ll also scrub the sides with a gentle brush.) Of course, when vacuuming- there are numerous valves to twist in a certain order before and after.

Then I test the pool and add chemicals as required. Lastly, I rinse and inflate the pool toys if they need it. Fun takes work! Now to jump in the water to cool off!

Free Coffee Table

I did something the other day that I said I wouldn’t do anymore. I picked up a piece of furniture from the side of the road.

We had been recently shopping around for a new coffee table. We wanted something small and oval shaped. This one fit the bill perfectly. I did a quick inspection before tossing it in my car. Glass was clear- no chips or scratches. The legs were chrome, but very pitted and rusted; and the wood was pealing. Nothing a little TLC couldn’t take care of.

I took the whole table apart, sanded the legs and wood. Then I stained the wood a light colour followed by a clear coat. I was unable to save the chrome legs, so I used a Rustoleum spray pant and made them a sand colour. The entire process to update the table took about 2 hours.

Finished table is lighter in colour and suits our decor now. I am happy with how quick it was to refurbish the table. Plus it saved us money- about $100. Not too shabby.

A Day Of Rain

The rain came in yesterday and was gone by this afternoon. Working in the rain sucks, so I have sympathy to those who endured the downpour. But it was a nice refreshing cool down that we needed. Plants seem to be a bit happier in our garden as they also needed the refreshment.

I enjoy sitting out on our deck and watching the clouds afterwards. I snapped a quick picture, then put my phone away and just enjoyed the fresh air. The world can be filled with dark clouds periodically, but when those pass- it’s just calm with a gentle breeze that makes you breathe easier.

Do you like when the rain passes by quickly?

B E – A G G – R E S S – I V E

My wife pointed out that behind the wheel, I am an aggressive driver. She’s not wrong. I hate driving. Especially if other cars are on the road.

Commuting to and from work is irritating to say the least. Far too often there are drivers in the passing lane- not passing. They just casually drive right next to the other car- many times trying to “police” the people behind them. Stop that. You are pissing off drivers like myself.

If you get in the passing lane, you better be passing, not crawling. If I have a driver coming up behind me in the passing lane, I do my best to move over when possible, or I keep passing the line up of other cars so that our lane keeps moving. It’s the right thing to do.

Driving sucks. I hate it. Perhaps I should just give up and stay in the slow lane and just get where I’m going and accept whatever time I get there.

Life is too short to get angry.

But it’s also too short to go under the speed limit! Move already!

Fun Lies To Children

Having small kids is filled with telling them lies. Many of the lies are done in order to calm or control the kids in some way. I know many parents who have told the same lies I have told.

The Three Big Lies

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are the three main lies we have told to our children. These fibs led to some good behavior and some magical moments as they grew up. It is always fun to be the character behind the curtain and make their dreams come true. A few gifts, some candy, a dollar or two. But I have a couple of other lies I have told over the years that I found amusing.

ID4

Telling our children at a young age that the move Independence Day was based on true events brought me joy. I wrote about it here: ID 4. Watching the film every year is one of my guilty pleasures. The kids also enjoy the film, so no harm no foul in telling them that lie.

However, my favorite lie was telling my kids that when the ice cream truck was playing music- it meant they were out of ice cream. That worked for a very long time. Each of them just grew to accept that we weren’t going to buy a frozen treat. Our youngest was the last to discover the truth. One day our son was over at a neighbor’s house and those parents went and bought ice cream from The Ice Cream Man.

I saw him getting a treat as I was leaving for work that day. Not sure if it was guilt in his face for being caught, or the look was the fact that he realized that I was always lying about the music. At least now if the truck comes to the neighborhood, our teenagers have their own money to spend if they choose to.

Is there any lies you have told kids in order to humor yourself, save money or perhaps your sanity? Let me know in the comments.

Final Month Of Tenants

Our tenants have given their notice to move out at the end of this month. As much as the income was nice and beneficial from having them there, it will be amazing to have the space back for our usage.

The tenants of our basement suite happen to be the original owners of this house. When we first bought the home they were only supposed to live here for six weeks. That would have put them out at the end of August last year. As we were about to move in, they had asked if we could extend it to February as they waited for their new home to be built. We agreed. Of course, as February approached they asked to extend it to May… then July… as the house they were getting built was getting delays.

Even though they are moving out at the end of this month, their new home isn’t quite done yet. In fact it sounds like mid October may be the completion date. But during these final stages, they wanted to be closer to the new house (which is on Vancouver Island). That’s completely understandable. Maybe now they can apply some pressure to their contractor to get their place done. I am glad that we have become friends with the former owners. As leery as we were at first, those fears subsided over the year.


For us this means nearly 1900 sqf of living space will become available to us. A full kitchen, living room, den, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and plenty of extra storage. It also means we can begin to furnish our current space as we move some of our older furniture downstairs. This has become an exciting journey for my wife and I. We have been window shopping (and a bit of real shopping) as we plan new styles for our home.

This has made us feel youthful and fun. When we first started dating we went on many dates doing this sort of thing. Planning bedrooms, living rooms, etc as our family grew. The plan when we purchased this house was to allow for our children to have their own space as adults to live. We are helping them by furnishing the area and hope that one or two of them take the opportunity to use such a magnificent space to grow into adulthood before the possibility of moving out on their own.

Until that time, we will use the extra kitchen to prepare meals while we sit out at the pool instead of always running up and down the stairs. We will also have the space for friends and family to stay and visit for longer periods than just a few hours. Especially those from out of town. There will now be a few beds available for guests.

Everything feels exciting and new again about this home. Only one month to go!

Finally A Cheap Breakfast

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.

Weekend At Home With My Wife

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.

Life is pretty good these days.

Aqua Thursday

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.

My Habits Are Becoming My Wife’s

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?

Moving on…

I had permission to share this.

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.

Meme from the internet.

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?

Going Blonde

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.

I’m a Fan of Fans

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.

Hiding the 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!

Signs

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.

Which way to the pool?

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 Deck

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.

Garage Door

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.

Last Day Of Staycation

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.

Life is good. Share your joy with friends!

Buy All The Floaties!

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!