joie de vivre

My wife and I are filled with exuberant enjoyment of life. Yesterday afternoon we had some friends over and had a great time just living life. Loads of laughs, drinks and food. Being able to share our yard and home always brings me joy.

Megan catching me chilling in the pool.

When having fun like we had, I forget to take pictures. My iPhone was being used for music all evening, so I rarely got up to look at it. In fact, by the end of the afternoon- we were all interacting so much that our phones were essentially forgotten about.

Today is another afternoon of lounging. This time just my wife and I are going to float around and recover. Next weekend will be much of the same- as we will be celebrating our anniversary with friends once more.

I always love to open our home up for entertaining. Many an invite goes out to various friend groups. Not everyone can make it out, but when the do- we are filled with a joie de vivre.

Our Youngest’s 1st Work Week

As I mentioned previously, our two youngest finally got summer jobs. Today, I’m going to talk about our youngest. That’s because I have been receiving updates from our neighbor about it.

Our youngest has finished his first week of work. There have been early mornings all week. He has come home after an eight hour day at 1pm and taken a nap on more than one occasion. But it hasn’t deterred home from getting to work each and every day this week.

On his first day, he was actively working the grounds by hand. He raked the sand traps and was given the general lay of the land. It’s funny, but after three days at work, he’s already talking about golf and the course he works at.

Three days later and he was using the machines to smooth out the sand traps. He came home today and enthusiastically described the work involved in operating these machines. My hunch is telling me that he will keep this job for a few years and enjoy the summer benefits he gets from working there.

He also wants to start golfing now. He has been told a bunch of advice and feels the need to get involved more. He gets free golf, so I’m sure he will take advantage of it by the end of summer and into fall. All I can say- my father (his grandfather) would be proud.

Looking Towards The Long Weekend

I have one more night to go until my weekend. The weekend is just my regular three day weekend, but it’s a long weekend for many of our friends. With that being said, it looks like there will be some more beautiful weather in store for Friday to start us off!

My wife has arranged for a couple of our friends to join us in floating around the pool. That is pretty much the extent of the plan. Float in the pool and relax with a drink in hand. It’s hard to want to leave this house and do stuff elsewhere since it’s our little slice of paradise. I’m always game for lounging at home doing nothing but relaxing.

If you have plans for the up coming Long Weekend, make sure you stay safe. Hydration, sun screen, and be smart about drinking alcohol. Have an eye on the roads for groups of children as they tend to get together and let loose as well- sometimes not paying attention to traffic.

Working Summer Nights

The first heatwave has passed us by. As much as I enjoyed lounging by the pool (bit did I ever enjoy that!) I was able to combat the heat in other ways. We had our heat pump serviced last week and the technician gave us some advice on running the AC in order to keep the unit lasting longer.

We also keep the blinds down when the sun is hitting the windows. As well, we keep doors cans windows closed. The ceiling fans are on low in order to circulate the cool air. The comfort level in our home is perfect. So comfortable in fact that it makes it easy for me to sleep during the day.

That’s because my favorite way to battle the summer heat is to work at night. Yeah, night shifts aren’t fun, but the cool evening air and light breeze makes work so much better. When I was a switchman, I worked nights quite regularly in the summer in order to avoid bugs and the heat. I know not everyone has that option in working and outside job- but if you can- I recommend summer nights for working.

Since most folks work normal hours, remember to stay cool and hydrated! Even stuffy offices should be a comfortable place to work at.

Keeping Positive Vibes

I hear the phrase, “It is what it is.” Whenever there is something bad happening in life that you can’t control. It’s not a favorite phrase of mine, so I try not to use it- but I know I have from time to time. The other phrase that gets me is “At the end of the day…” The end of the day comes, well, daily. But I want to counter it with a new one.

“Oh well. Whatever happens, happens.” No matter what each day brings us, we are just should just chill out and breathe deep. Let the world continue on its merry way, and not get bothered by it. Here’s how I let that happen: I know what I’m working towards and enjoy why I do what I do.

Last night I was at work and my wife sent me a beautiful view of the sky from our home. The thought that our home is a mere thirty five minutes away from work keeps me going. Having views like this are some of the reasons why I go to work. Not bringing the stress home is also important. “Let it be.” As the Beatles sang.

What do you work towards? Do you try your best to let “whatever happens, happen?” Or do you try and gain control over things that are out of your control? Lastly, what are you working towards? Does it make you happy?

Summer Nights By The Pool

The last couple of days have been scorchers. The heat hitting 30°C yesterday and later today. All afternoon on Saturday, we took advantage of the pool and shade from the gazebo. A few friends stopped by to join us- which is always nice.

By 10:30pm it was just the family remaining. As the night started to settle on us, we stayed warm with the fire pit and a couple of blankets. By midnight, my wife put out the fire and I had fallen asleep. I woke up around 3am and headed inside. It was so comfortable outside that if it wasn’t for my allergies, I’d have slept through the night out there.

I’m looking forward to more days and nights like that one. Where friends and family can come by and relax with us. Hooray for summer making its appearance!

Our Son Is Getting Grounded

It isn’t as bad as it sounds. Our 16 year old son just got his first summer job. Our tenants introduced us to a fellow who lives up the road. That person told our son to go and apply for a job at the Surrey Golf Course.

Yesterday morning I dropped our son off to apply for groundskeeper/ landscaper. Forty five minutes later and he was smiling from ear to ear. He starts the job next week working full time Monday to Friday. The job starts early- 5am. But he will be done to enjoy his afternoons and evenings every day.

In getting his first job, he needed to get a few things. Most importantly was his first pair of work boots. I offered to buy his first pair of steel toe boots. But told him he will need to take care of them and after this, he will be on his own to buy his own work gear. We also went out to pick up a couple of polo shirts and some work pants.

He is excited for his new independence and cash freedom. We also went and opened his first bank account. I reminded him to set aside a minimum of 10% of his income. He is unsure what he will be saving towards., so I suggested he put the majority of his money into his savings account as the interest rate is better. I hope he understands why I suggest this.

I’m happy for him and look forward to seeing how he fares (get it? Like fairway on a golf course?) One of the perks of his job is getting free golf and discounts at the country club. I have a feeling he will be following in my father’s footsteps and grow into a love of golf.

First Day Of Summer

It sure hasn’t been feeling like summer has wanted to start this year. All the rain and grey skies have made it feel as though we were in a second January. A “June-uary” as I have heard it called.

But today is the first day of summer! The Summer solstice is upon us. The longest amount of daylight to be had for the year. With it brings the hopeful warm weather.

The second half of this week it will finally feel as though we are hitting the temperatures we are meant to enjoy. I look forward to hanging out with friends in the backyard and cooling off in the pool with an ice cold beverage. Afternoon siestas are also a favorite of mine. Especially done outdoors with the warmth of the day blowing in as I fall asleep in the shade.

Are you looking forward to summer finally arriving? Remember to Wear Sunscreen.

One Year…

What a difference a year can make. For us, we have lived in our current home for one year now.

Castle Havelka

It was difficult to leave our other home. We had created some many memories while living there. We also did numerous changes on a regular basis to the house and yard. Yet somehow, it never felt as if it would end. Moving was the only way we could start with a clean slate and figure out what we really want in a home.

Kingdom Havelka

I never thought owning a pool would be high up on the list of what we wanted in a home. Yet now I can’t think to live somewhere without a pool. Trading the trees for open views has greatly helped with feeling better and happy thoughts. We are taking in more sunshine than ever before. My wife even commented on my glow the other day. I feel rejuvenated on a regular basis.

As summer approaches tomorrow, I continue to look forward to spending time outside. Relaxing by the pool. Watching sunsets. Sharing quality time with friends. Food and drink beside the pool…

I loved our previous home for the memories we created, but I love the one we are in because of the memories to come. In one year a lot has happened already. If we do another 15-20 years here, who knows what else this home will have in store.

Reflecting On Being A Father

Today is Father’s Day- a time to celebrate dad. My kids are in their late teens, so it feels different these days than in the past. The two youngest wished me a Happy Father’s Day and my son made me a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. I am aware that as they grow older, gift giving is not the same as it once was. Just being acknowledged these days is the best feeling. I still do my best to help guide them through life, even when it becomes difficult to handle their strong opinions and personalities.

Some previous gifts from my kids.

I have saved every hand made and store bought gifts that my kids have given me over the years. From cards to ceramics; paintings to pens- they had put forth effort in thinking about me as a father and shared them with me. Chances are my kids won’t read my blog, but if they do- they’ll know how important those trinkets and words still mean to me.

Facebook also shares memories with me on a regular basis. We had many good times as a family doing everything from the mundane to traveling to other countries. I love looking back on our time together and seeing how much they have all changed over the years. I’m always proud of what they have done and who they are becoming as adults.

My Father and I.

Sometimes I wish my father were around to see how amazing these kids are. I often wonder if he was proud of me before he passed away. I’ll never know. What I do know is that we had a tough time sharing feelings and I didn’t always have fond memories of him. Towards the end of his life, he and I were civil to one another. But I was already past trying to make amends. Maybe it could have happened over these last 20 years since he died, but all I can do is try and remember the good times.

As my kids grow older and move on with their lives, I hope to be able to have a healthy adult relationship with each of them. I really enjoyed their company as babies, toddlers, kids, and yes- even as teens. Being a father isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. But I hope that all of good memories will stay front and center as my kids continue to grow up.

I love them all immensely. I couldn’t be happier for the way they love me back- each in their own way. Even if we don’t always see eye to eye or have a perfect relationship- I’ll always be here for them. That’s what a Father does.

The Queens

Today was a day of moving beds around. Two were dismantled and another was built. Not too shabby of a day. I even had some help without much prodding.

First I took apart the queen sized bed that our oldest was using. It had been all but forgotten about in my wife’s front office. We are going to put the bed and frame into storage until our oldest needs it. All the pieces from the frame are together and I labeled each part just in case they need to reassemble it on their own.

After I dismantled that bed, I moved onto our middle child’s bed. They had been using a twin frame that was originally from a bunk bed. It was a solid pine wood bed and will last forever. So that bed is going into storage as well for the time being. Basically until one of our kids has kids…

Once that bed was out of the bedroom, it was time to build a new bed frame. We had bought a queen sized frame, mattress and blanket set as a graduation gift for our middle. At first they were worried that the bed would take up too much space. But in the end, it was a perfect balance of space needed so they could still have all of their friends (aka stuffed toys) sleeping over. Especially the Hello Kitty stuffies and accessories.

I’m glad that our kids are growing up, yet staying youthful at heart. A new bed and frame will push them into adulthood, but with a good nights sleep to get them there.

4-7-8

People often wonder how I can fall asleep so quickly. Especially being able to do it any time of day. It has come in handy working shift work. I must have learned this technique decades ago. I have become a master of it.

It’s the 4-7-8 breathing technique, or also known as relaxing breath. It’s extremely easy.

Breathing in for 4 seconds.

Holding your breath for 7 seconds.

Exhaling for 8 seconds.

I do this a few times and focus on the counting and breaths- letting all other distractions fall by the wayside. I can be out cold in under a minute. I have done it on airplanes, trains, and road trips without fail. I use this technique every time I go to bed.

The ability to quickly fall asleep has benefited me numerous times. I can dart away for a quick nap and be awake again before anyone notices I’m gone. This has helped me at social events after a night shift on more than one occasion.

Try the technique for yourself a few times. It’s also really good for when anxiety tries to strike while your laying in bed at night.

Have a good sleep.

Sunshine And Lifestyle

I’m not sure I can trust the weather app or the meteorologists anymore. This weekend was supposed to rain everyday with almost 50-90% each hour. I was ready to get upset. But they were wrong.

The last two days I have absolutely taken advantage of the sunshine. The pool is sparkling clean and the fields are lush behind us. I have floated around for hours on end listening to music and just appreciating the world. As they say- Living my best life.

But because of the uncertainty of the weather, we haven’t invited anyone over to share our slice of paradise with. I really want my friends to come and hang out. Having the space and wanting to share our happiness is one of the best things we could do. When you have more than you need- build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Blue Once More

After a week and a half of frustration- our pool is back to normal. Loads of chemicals, scrubbing and vacuuming made our pool usable once more.

The algae is finally gone! At one point our pool was vibrantly green and it felt as though it would never change. Today I did a quick scrub and a vacuum to get the remaining algae off the sides and corners. A little bit of careful elbow grease and patience went a long way. I really don’t want to deal with algae again.

With the weather showing us some sun this evening- it was a great opportunity to jump in the pool and relax. I could do that aspect anytime!

Now I’m ready for summer to commence!

Week End to the Weekend

I’m not sure where my days off disappeared to. But they are gone. Now it’s Saturday night and I’m ready for bed. The work week begins early the next day.

I honestly didn’t do much with my time off. And as much as I wanted to do even less- I had a few chores that needed attention: Cleaning the pool, making meals, dying my kid’s hair, fixing a leaky roof… all I wanted was a day in my pajamas to do nothing.

Sometimes when I’m having desires of nothing- I’ll take a bath and read a book. Alas, I did not do that either. Yet somehow, my weekend is over. I did nothing. Just not the nothing I wanted to do.

On the bright side- there’s always next weekend. More time to do nothing. Let’s see if I can accomplish that.

Slow Love

I first met my wife a little over 22 years ago. On our first date, we set our wedding day based on numbers with both like. Within a couple of weeks, I told her I was falling in love. within months we were engaged. Thirteen months after meeting, we were married.

Life and love was a whirlwind adventure. We made moves together that benefited us long term. Kids were quickly in our lives. We tried to budget, but bought a house and a new car. My wife was a stay at home mother. She did a few part time jobs. I was still gaining ground on where my career would take me. Money was tight for years… Until last year. Somehow we took out a million dollar mortgage and our money woes are behind us (hopefully permanently). Don’t ask me how, but our mortgage payments are easier to handle compared to the credit card debts we once held.

Taking love slow. Snailed it!

Nowadays my wife and I are re-kindling our love. It’s a slow go, but we are finally able to focus on ourselves. Our kids are starting to grow up and explore independence. The two of us are going on much needed vacations together without the teens also.

What I like most about the changes- we are still in love, and slowing falling more in love each day. As each day, week, month and year passes- I am glad to have found a partner who makes me happy every time I see her. Somehow the slow down of our life together has been a glorious change. The rest of our lives are busy still, but there is an end in sight for that aspect.

Soon it’ll just be the two of us taking it easy and falling in love all over again

World In My Hand

Back in the 90’s I bought a t-shirt. I wore it regularly. I even had a medallion that fit perfectly against it. Last night, I put that shirt back on for the first time in years.

As faded as the image is, I still love the shirt. Having flashbacks to my late teenage years and the fun times we had. I believe that all of those crazy times helped me to navigate through shift work as well. All nighters playing video games and wandering the streets definitely messed up my sleep patterns.

More than just memories of a t-shirt. Smoking cigarettes and other things that I thought would not harm me- I’d live forever. But the image on my shirt also reminds me of music.

Music that I enjoyed in my youth that resonated in my soul. I wore this shirt to many a nightclub and watching late night jam sessions. Lyrics that hit differently now than they once did.

“Man was born to love
Though often he has sought
Like Icarus, to fly too high.
And far too lonely than he ought
To kiss the sum of east and west
And hold the world at his behest
To hold the terrible power
To whom only gods are blessed
But me, I am just a man”

I love my t-shirt. And after thirty years, it’s still all about what I see in me. The world is in my hand. A showcase of what is yet to come. Get ready for it.

Back In The Dark

Recently my iPhone had an update. For some reason this update changed the settings on my Facebook app. I went from “Dark Mode” back to regular blinding white.

Naturally I changed it back. But I don’t know why I chose to do this. I also don’t know why I chose Dark Mode for my phone a few years ago. It was probably the novelty of it at first. But now I prefer not having bright white screen to view.

As I switched back my Facebook app to Dark Mode, I was curious if maybe I should try normal mode for a while and see if I like it. Perhaps it would feel like having a piece of new technology in my hands. Although that may only last a short time. Or eventually I wouldn’t notice and it would be fine.

I may change off Dark Mode later this evening. But for now, I’ll be sleeping during the daylight wishing for darkness.

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Normally I talk about myself in my blog. Sometimes at the end I ask if anyone wants to share in the comments, and I’ll get a few responses. But today I wanted to try something a bit different.

Today, I want to know more about all of you. I want to know one of the following two things. You can answer both if you wish.

  • Have you completed something important on your bucket list- and how did you do it?
  • What is on your bucket list and how do you plan on accomplishing it?

That’s it. Pretty simple questions. What I would like to find out is where people are getting their ambition to achieve their goals.

I am hoping that the answers will help other people in getting to their goals. Because we are all in this together and we need to cheer one another on! Please, do not be afraid to share your responses. I’d love to hear the answers.

One Week Makes A Difference

Last week we were having a great time hanging out by the pool. A bit of swimming and hanging out in the sun. This week, not so much. The weather has been rainy and icky.

On Thursday morning I was going to vacuum the pool, but a torrential downpour trapped me for a bit inside the pool shed. I decided to make a dash back towards the house and figured I’d wait for a day or two before trying to clean the pool again.

In those two days, the pool got a crazy growth of algae inside it. Our pool that was crystal clear last weekend was now emerald green like a lake. Oh dear. Last night I shocked the pool. Today I vacuumed what I could of the algae. Then I added some algaecide and some granulated chlorine to bring the levels back to normal.

Now it’s a waiting game. It would’ve been nice to take a dip in the pool before work, but not now. The algae reminded me that I need to remember to shock the pool once a week in order to keep the green stuff at bay. By the end of my work week, it should be better. If not- time for the professionals to get called in.

Much Needed Nap

Today I took a nap. It was really needed. Working nights and swapping into doing stuff during the day- takes its toll on me.

Our couch was the perfect spot to squeeze out an hour of zzz’s, or so I hoped. Albeit not as peaceful as I hoped. The robot vacuum was on, people were putting away dishes and working in the kitchen, and lots of walking around talking at normal volume.

It was as though my nap was offensive in some way to the rest of my family. It seems they still don’t get it when I work night shift that can’t just switch it off and go back to being a normal human on my days off. I have another week of nights to go, so inverting my sleep schedule doesn’t make sense.

But I tried to nap. Good thing my wife and I are going out tonight, I have a feeling I’d be a bit grumpier if it was just the two of us. I’ll do my best to be aware of my emotions tonight. Being exhausted can be just as bad as being hungry.

I like napping, and haven’t done as much as I once did. That’s okay, but I think it’s time to change that.

Glass Glowing

I love glasswork. Finding special pieces that we can display is always fun. But now that we have the sun setting in our backyard everyday- those glass pieces just light up.

We have a couple of items that hang outdoors. My favorite being an orange glass ball that is made to mimic a hot air balloon. Fun fact: my wife and I flew in a hot air balloon nearly 15 years ago and went straight past the house we are in now. The ball is technically candle holder, but the natural sunlight looks fantastic passing through.

We also have a few glass pieces that are on a couple of upper window ledges in our living room. They add a nice colour to the room as the sun sets. We do have a few more pieces in our kitchen above the cabinets. But those are mostly glasses and a couple bottles- they don’t get much sunlight.

A part of me would love to have a stained glass window, but I know that is we did- we’d be missing out on the beautiful sunsets. And we can’t have that. The views are the biggest reason we bought this home. So in the end, a few small knickknacks placed strategically are just as pretty.

Needed To Kayak

Last year, my wife and I neglected going kayaking. We had to move, get into a new home, learn about the neighborhood, and most of all- enjoy the swimming pool. We didn’t make time to go out and enjoy nature. No kayaking or camping.

This afternoon, I said screw it. My wife has been missing kayaking. As I was getting the gear on the top of my suv, it began to rain. Too bad. I was set on going out and if I put it on the back burner again, we may not go anytime soon.

The rain wasn’t so bad in the end. It kept the air cool. However, the path down to the water was muddy and slick. But even that didn’t stop us from getting on the water.

It was a good couple of hours of paddling and talking. We saw ducks and a crane. The sounds of the birds and the rain on the water was soothing and calm. It makes me want to go out more often this summer.

Waking Up To Woofs

Sleeping during the day because I work night shifts is already difficult. I’m not sure why, but today our dog went nutso a few times. She barked and whimpered loudly both inside and then later outside.

My wife works from home, so naturally this type of behavior also affects her ability to work as well. My wife did her best to calm Maki and get her to stop barking.

As much as I love our dog, it’s behavior like this that makes me frustrated. Maki generally goes ballistic when she sees other dogs. If we are out for a walk, she tugs at her leash to try and get at the dogs. She also barks so loudly that she almost sounds hoarse when she does.

I have been wanting to do something about it, but I am unsure of where to go to correct this behavior. Naturally I turn to the internet of things to find solutions. Probably our biggest hurdle in correcting the behavior is that the entire family needs to be on the same page when training. This will help with consistency.

Alas, I am almost certain that we will not do anything to curb the woofer and her barks. We all have busy lives and adding yet another chore isn’t going to be easy. So chances are this will be the last time I complain about the behavior. I will either accept that what I can’t control, I cannot change. Or that things have gotten better and what we do works.

Only time will tell. Until then-

woof.

Fall Down, Go Boom

On Saturday evening, I fell over and hit my head pretty hard on the cement of our garage floor. Besides a bruised ego, it feels as though I have strained some muscles in my neck and shoulder. All day yesterday my left thumb was also tingling with pins and needles.

My coworker reminded me “Pictures or it didn’t happen” and asked if anyone videotaped it. In my brilliant forethought- I had a camera in the garage. Not specifically to see this mind you, but there it was, at around 5pm.

Anyways, a tall guy like me falling over is not a normal thing to occur. Lucky for me in this day and age, there is camera footage. Oh boy do I look stupid. Watching it play back, I am embarrassed for past me and the fall that occurred.

My son was in the kitchen and heard the ruckus. He was nice enough to come and check on me. Again, the situation was embarrassing and completely preventable. My equilibrium was off due to a mix of swimming and drinking in the hot sun. Not a very grownup thing to do.

I am not ready to share the footage, give me a week or two when the Emotional Damage dissipates. Then I can share with friends.