Should We Stay or Should We Go?

It was always inevitable. One day we will move from our current home. But the question that is looming over us- when should we move?

Originally we were going to wait until all three kids graduated high school. Which is June 2024- about five and a half years away. But at the time that happens, two of our three kids *should* be in post secondary. And likely need some help paying for it. Of course there will be scholarships and RESPs contributions, but there is so many more expenses that will come up.

Selling our home may happen sooner than 2024. Not because of financial reasons (although being close to mortgage free or even the possibility of being mortgage free is likely when we sell) but we may sell because of time. A lack of time to do yard work or maintain the house. A smaller yard and a newer home would help us all as our lives get busier and adulthood kicks in for our kids.

Giving up an acre of trees and peacefulness is tough. The home is full of character as well. Not very cookie-cutter in any way. It was built over 45 years ago by my wife’s father. The home has been great for our kids when they were younger. They were out in the yard and took full advantage of the space. Our dogs were the same. Last summer, no one helped or was around to help with the yard work. Personally, I began to feel overwhelmed by it all. So has my wife.

But giving up our present location has advantages. We are currently just far enough away from the suburbs that it feels close by. If driving. We currently have no access to local transit- meaning we are chauffeurs to our children to get places. We are heavily car dependent. As well there isn’t stores within walking distance. Running out to grab an item takes longer, so we try and maximize our ventures for shopping.

It comes down to what we need moving forward. What’s best for our kids? What’s best for my wife and I as we move closer to retirement? What comes next after we move? Will we move again?

Help. Please. This is a stressful decision to make.

Weed Wednesday

Marijuana is legal in Canada as of today. I don’t think anything drastically good or bad will come of this. People who smoke it won’t change. And those who don’t smoke- probably won’t.

So what’s the big deal?

Nothing. Because weed was already ignored for the most part in Canada. Some say it’s a gateway drug, but I don’t believe it. I know quite a few people who smoke pot and they don’t seem like addicts. They are more like calm individuals who just happen to partake in a toke or two.

That being said, I also don’t think people should drive or go to work high. It’s the same as alcohol. You’re not quite yourself and your actions could affect those around you.

So be smart about using those marijuana cigarettes. And for those enjoying a “Wake’n’Bake” today-

Far-out man.

Don’t Forget to Smile

Sanity and happiness are a near impossible combination some days. Life enjoys throwing curveballs in your direction when you least want it to.

I can be a real people pleaser. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep everyone else happy without sacrificing my own sanity. Whether it’s at home with the kids, out with friends or at work- I can’t please everyone. That can be tough.

What about my happiness? That’s what I need to work on more. I don’t want to be miserable or grumpy. So all I can do is smile. Laugh it off. Just go with the flow. Hope for the best.

Smile. It’s free.

Late Night/Early Morning

Having a late Friday night isn’t what it once was for me. Especially when I am required to have an early Saturday morning. Drinking and partying isn’t in play that’s for sure. This sacrifice is for our kids.

Friday evenings we spend a couple hours at an ice rink in our town while the kids practice Speed Skating. We get home by 9pm and have dinner. We hope to go to bed by 11pm. Saturday mornings we are up early to head out to a different ice rink that’s at least 45 minutes away from our home just so the kids can get one more hour of “ice time”.

Next weekend is the first competition. A good chance for the kids to see who they are up against this season. We kept our kids active all summer with dry land training, so hopefully their muscles can be better prepared.

If our kids didn’t like doing skating, we would’ve given this up years ago. But they love it. They have a drive and determination I don’t think I ever possessed. Plus, all of their friendships and competitions aren’t “ugly”. In fact at every meet, there is great sportsmanship shown.

They’re pretty good at this Skating thing. Volunteering my time is the least I can do for them. Calling out words of encouragement from the sidelines is my way of showing I care as well.

Lex Stays at Home

When we used to go to conventions or go on vacation out of the country, we can’t take our beloved dog with us. In the past we’ve had friends and family look after him. But we’ve also come to rely on a local kennel.

Birch Bark Kennels is the place we have been taking Lex (and our previous dog, Chuppy) for many years. The price is great, and our dog runs in excitedly. The staff are pretty darned good at their jobs as well. We get him back healthy and clean every time.

The kennel has been recognized in our community as well over the years. That makes me really happy to know that they care for animals in such a great manner. I’m always happy to leave our furry family member in their hands.

That being said, he is also really happy to see us again after our vacations. He could barely keep still in the car ride home and wanted to lick me constantly. The first thing he did when he entered our home was run to his bed. He landed in it so fast that it slid further under our piano.

I wish we could take him on some of these trips, but it would also take away from our travels. Spending sixteen hours in Disneyland each day was already tough on us. I couldn’t imagine how it would be for him in an unfamiliar room for that length of time.

I’m really happy to see him again that’s for sure. Absence does make the heart grow stronger.

Contacts

I have never needed prescription glasses. The last time I had my eyes checked- I had better than 20/20 vision. Hooray!

A few years ago I bought a pair of red contacts for some steampunk cosplay I was doing. The first few times of putting them in were absolute hell. My eyes were so irritated and my allergies flared up. Eventually, I became accustomed to it. So a few years later I bought some spiderweb ones for Halloween. I really enjoyed wearing both, but could only do a short time before they felt like someone was using a scouring pad on my corneas. I’d want to gouge my eyes out with a frozen ice cream scoop just to ease the burning.

Last year I threw out the lenses since I hadn’t worn them in ages. I had forgotten them in the back of a drawer and they had dried out. I kind of like having eyesight, so tossing out cheap contacts seemed like a logical thing to do.

Not having to stick my fingers into my eyes on a regular basis made me appreciate my eyesight. My wife had Laser eye surgery over a year ago to correct her vision. She’s still not perfect, but does not require contacts anymore. She’s happier now.

Maybe I’ll buy some new cosmetic contacts again one day, but only when my memory of the pain is diminished.

One Month Sober

I successfully went the entire month of September not being abducted by aliens not drinking. I’m not gonna lie, I feel goram good about it. (That’s my Firefly reference for the year btw). it was a personal goal that I successfully met. Like when I quit smoking cold turkey 13 years ago.

Being that the limitations I set out a month ago were personal ones, there was nothing stopping me from giving up and having just one drink last month. No one else would’ve cared. But it mattered to me. A couple times I really wanted a beer to just “feel normal” after a tough day. I contemplated whether drinking makes me normal or if my indulgences make me more like Rick Sanchez. Thus making drinking a part of who I am.

Will I have a drink on “Day One” after my month of sobriety?

Not likely.

Will I refrain from ever drinking again? Doubtful. I’m just not planning on partaking in alcohol any time soon.

Previously I would look forward to my days off or vacation time by planning my drinking schedule. WOW that sounds bad. But when I’ve been drinking for 25 years, that’s kinda how I plan my life- it just became normal. What’s strange about that observation is that many people live like this. Planning to the end of the work week or the next social drink. This is totally acceptable.

I never let alcohol interfere with work or the obligations to my family. But when you train your kids how to serve a drink or fetch a beer- is that the role model I really want to be? Haha, maybe… it’s cute in a bizarre way to have a two year old hand you a beer, right?

I’ve always become more socially fun after a few drinks. It doesn’t mean I don’t have fun when not drinking. It’s just a different “let loose” fun.

When I examine my lifestyle- Staying alcohol free may be the best plan for at least a little while longer. My bank account is feeling relief. My body is doing great- I’m napping less and my allergies are calmer. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen that I never touch a drop again. I am in no rush to grab a beer over the next while that’s for sure.

But I am starting vacation soon… and there’s this margarita stand that I like…

Mark Twain Volume 3

These past few years have done a great deal in changing our society’s mindset. But it’s not the first time. Looking back over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain dictated in his autobiography a similar occurrence that happened fifty years prior:

Isabella Beecher Hooker threw herself into the woman’s rights movement among the earliest, some sixty years ago, and she labored with all her splendid energies in that great cause all the rest of her life; as an able and efficient worker she ranks immediately after those great chiefs, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mrs. Livermore.

When these powerful sisters entered the field in 1848 woman was what she had always been in all countries and under all religions, all savageries, all civilizations — a slave, and under contempt. The laws affecting women were a disgrace to our statute book.

Those brave women besieged the legislatures of the land, year after year, suffering and enduring all manner of reproach, rebuke, scorn and obloquy, yet never surrendering, never sounding a retreat; their wonderful campaign lasted a great many years, and is the most wonderful in history, for it achieved a revolution — the only one achieved in human history for the emancipation of half a nation that cost not a drop of blood.

They broke the chains of their sex and set it free.

– Autobiographical dictation, 1 March 1907. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3

I, for one, want everyone to be offered the freedom to have equal rights and respect. If it means fighting for it- then so be it. But there is no need to shed blood or promote violence. We can use our voices to stand tall and form the world to be a better place. This is not the time to sit idly by.

We need to break the chains once more.

Trust and Kindness

Trust is something that you can’t come by easily. But to have a complete stranger trust you is even more scarce. Especially when it comes to money. My story here is a simple one, but made my heart smile nonetheless.

Yesterday as I was driving home from the school with my kids, I stopped at a person selling flowers on the side of the road. She has set up in the same location for a couple of years now selling flowers out the back of her van. We often drive past without thinking twice. Yesterday I finally decided to stop and surprise my wife with a bouquet of flowers.

As I was talking to the lady, I realized I had no cash on me. So I asked if she takes debit or credit cards. Since I’ve worked conventions- many people set up a Square account to be able to make such transactions, which seems to be the trend nowadays. Unfortunately, this lady did not have a card reader. I was ready to thank her for her time…

Immediately she asked me which bouquet I wanted and told me to pay her back another time. Even with my repeated objections, she insisted. I chose a lovely full arrangement of flowers. The flowers looked great when put them on our table at home.

But it gets better.

My daughter this morning texted me that she put $20 in my wallet to cover the cost of the flowers. I was not expecting that from her. It seems that kindness can rub off on people. Seems like our parenting skills are paying off.

But wait there’s more!

I returned today to pay the flower lady the $20 for the bouquet (which is a good deal for the amount of flowers btw). She was smiling and thanked me for the payment. Before we walked away, she handed my son a large yellow daisy.

Just because.

Kindness is contagious. This stranger trusted me. I could have chosen to not pay her back. But the guilt would have eaten at me every time I drove past her. Because I’m not that type of person- I could never have done that.

Instead, I will have a smile in my heart when I see the back of her van propped open and buckets of flowers placed around her feet.

Write That Down!

In my mind, I had a blog post already to go. I had it all thought out yesterday. Just moseying around the house- I planned what to write. Then I went to bed planning on writing everything when I woke up.

This morning I went through my regular routine. Wake up, play some Pokémon Puzzle League and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Afterwards, I pulled up WordPress on my iPhone- and promptly forgot what I wanted to write.

What the H-E-double hockey stick??

Dammit Josef. Maybe it’ll come back to me just as my head hits the pillow tonight. Maybe not. So here is my post about being a dumbass and forgetting to write it down.

This isn’t the first time nor is it the last. I also do things like this when grocery shopping. I may only need to pick up five or six things- but I’ll forget at least one item. Same with chores around the home.

If I don’t write it down- *poof* it disappears. My short-term memory is not what it once was. Note taking is my friend.

Anyhow, this wasn’t my planned post for today. But I still wrote something of value to myself- A friendly reminder that I need to be more diligent at writing my thoughts down as they come.