Being A Presence At Work

My job usually has me sitting in front of a computer for 80% of the day. Meaning I get short bursts during my regular 12 hour shifts to get away for a moment or two. During these breaks from the office I go out into the yard and talk to the on duty crews.

Over the past few weeks while at work (minus my vacation in there) I have been training a new supervisor. This week I have been letting him do the office work while I go out into the yard. I have enjoyed this tremendously. I have spent far longer with the crews than I usually do. Many of the crews have known me for years, so they seem to appreciate when I make a valiant effort to see how things are going. This has created a better morale instead of me being a dictator of sorts.

I take great pleasure and pride in my work. I think it also shows in my work ethic as well. Getting my hands dirty like the crews do helps demonstrate that I know how the jobs should be accomplished. Sometimes I even learn new ways of doing things. It keeps me on my toes.

Ack Ack Kayak!

So… I was at the Grade Seven camp a little over a week ago when I tried Kayaking for the first time. I enjoyed it tremendously. My wife hates me because of this.

She hates me because for years now she’s been trying to get me to go kayaking with her. When I finally did go on a whim without her, I wanted to go again. I really should listen to her the first time around…

As I mentioned yesterday- I put on a new Roof Rack on my Nissan Rogue. It was to prepare for the possibility of getting a kayak. My wife finished work at six last night and wanted to go price some kayaks out. I’d been looking online at places and prices earlier in the week, but it was my wife who wanted to go and search for herself. Unfortunately we only went to one place- Canadian Tire. Not my usual place to go shopping- however we do find some great deals on occasion- like our bbq grill about four years ago.

Anyways, window shopping for a kayak turned into buying a kayak. Make that buying two kayaks at a wickedly good price (they had them marked incorrectly but honored the price). These kayaks also came with oars and straps to take them away on the roof of my car. (As reference I found similar ones at Costco by the same manufacturer for $160 more each.)

I’m happy with the purchase to make our lives healthier. We just need to find the time to hit the water together.

And maybe my wife will forgive my ignorance all these years. Or she’ll drown me. Either way- we own a couple of kayaks now!

Berry Good

Living in the countryside means fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available. There’s a place I stop at throughout the summer that has cheap hothouse peppers in red, orange and yellow that are extremely tasty. I love to sauté them on the bbq with a bit of garlic or red onions.

We are also close by to not just one, but two berry farms. I love eating Fresh Berries in the summer. It means that I’ll be making more waffles, smoothies, putting berries in my sparkling wine, toppings for yogurt and ice cream or just eating them straight out of the bowl. Juicy, healthy treats.

Today I stopped by both berry farms. Mainly I wanted to see the difference in quality and price. Krause is all flash with a winery and food available. While Driediger is mainly just berries. Both have U-Pick available which is nice for a morning out with the family. Honestly, even though most people love Krause for its high end look, Driediger has better quality berries that are sweeter and lower in price as well. I do enjoy Krause for a bike ride to sample wine with fruit.

Whichever you choose to hit up, just remember that you’re supporting a local business. Which always adds sweet karma to your meals.

Modifying Our Honda Element

Last year I made a quick bed and storage space for our Honda Element. Read about it here: Camperizing Our Honda Element. I did this design to maximize our storage inside the Element for our camping trips.

Last month I installed a Keyless entry: Keyless Entry Install. At that time I also replaced the tail light super quick since it was cracked.

I want to do more to the car now. I was hoping to add a roof rack. But our local Honda Parts dealer doesn’t carry the crossbars since the vehicle has been discontinued. My next step was to watch videos of people who made their own roof racks and bars. It doesn’t look too difficult, just time consuming to find the parts and put it together. Once done- I’ll be able to put a carrier basket on top or use our car topper again.

To get to the top of the car, I am wanting to add a ladder from Gobi Racks. It is a bit pricey, but fits perfectly on the back of the Element. It will add to the ruggedness look of the car. And add ease to climb up.

Our oldest daughter who will be driving the vehicle the most doesn’t seem impressed with my plans. She thinks it’ll turn into a “Hippy Van”. I’m wanting to keep the car for many years after she is done driving it. Plus, technically it is my wife and I who own it- we will modify it to our choosing. Perhaps some daisy decals and peace signs stickers?

I’m looking forward to camping this summer. I am picking up crossbars for my Nissan Rogue with a hope to purchase a kayak or two in the future. There’s something about living in BC that makes me want to be more outdoorsy. Having roof racks on vehicles makes it easier to transport stuff as well.

Cards From Kids

I didn’t mention much about my Father’s Day this year. Mostly I was feeling kinda down. I also had to work the night shift that day, so my family left me alone to sleep. However, they didn’t forget about me.

Our two youngest (ages 13 & 15) each made a card for me. They wrote what they felt and it made me happy. My son gave me a gift card and my daughter made a painting for me.

My oldest daughter didn’t do anything like that for me. She brought me a cup of coffee in bed and briskly wished me a “Happy Father’s Day” before rushing off to her job. I still appreciated the sentiment because I am doing my best to treat her as an adult. So her and I talk respectfully to one another.

I know my kids love me. They know I love them as well. I put them before anyone or anything else.

Short Walks

Lately I’ve been enjoying walking. Years ago, I used to walk everywhere. Most of my jobs in the past had me on my feet where I walked a lot.

When I was a projectionist looking after 19 auditoriums- I was spending eight hours a day going back and forth between them.

Working at Home Depot was a bit rougher on my feet since it was a concrete floor. But when it was slow, I wandered around to learn as much DIY as I could.

Chuck E Cheese also had me on my feet keeping track of customers and running food. Plus the occasional dance routine…

Then came CN. Where I would walk miles and miles outdoors every shift. This was by far the best exercise I ever received. Until I started working in the office. Then I became stagnant. That has been the past few years now.

I’ve been missing walking. So my wife is encouraging me daily to get back at it. It has started with walks around the block or parking at the far end of a mall parking lot. Now we are trying to wander through trails and enjoy nature instead of asphalt. I’m starting to enjoy meeting birds on my walks as well.

Work vs Vacation

I make the most of my vacations. My days off are full of fun times and experiences. I came back to work after ten days off this past vacation to find an abundance of emails.

That was probably the hardest part of coming back to work. I enjoy the job itself, but there is often excessive emails that I need to sift through to find what I need to do my job.

Coming back to work and I’m already thinking towards my next vacation. Planning ahead is tough when you’re not sure how much you could spend.

I’d like to try and not go into debt to enjoy some time away from home. Pinching pennies and returning empty bottles for refunds may be how I pay for our next bit of fun. Back to working in order to afford my vacations I guess. Like a vicious circle.

Nazdar Klamo

My father had a tendency to speak Czech with his buddies when his family was around. My father did this because we, his immediate family, couldn’t speak Czech. He never wanted us to know it. My father kept secrets. Read about my unknown half sister Here.

My father taught us only one Czech phrase. A phrase to say at the start of a meal. Dobra Chut’ meaning Good Appetite. I have never taught my children this phrase. Maybe I’m bitter towards my father. Perhaps I can share this phrase and create good memories of their grandfather whom they’ve never met. My children want to see the good in the world, and I want that as well.

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But I did pick up on some Czech. As a child you get curious as to what is going on in your world. I discovered a few things from my father’s friends older kids. They were surprised that I didn’t know Czech. But I knew some. Mainly because I stole my father’s old English to Czech dictionary.

He used a few phrases quite often which made it easy to find words. I began to become quite proficient in trying new phonic spellings to decipher what he was saying. Most was gibberish. But on occasion I heard about his feelings for his family. His disgust. His disdain. His regret. Being a child and receiving pity from people you barely knew was difficult. A part of me wanted to return to being naive. I wasn’t exactly the son he wanted. But I overcame his words, overcame his feelings of contempt- I survived and thrived.

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My father used a phrase often when greeting his friend. At one point my father told me it meant “Hello Smiley.” But the literal phrase would have defined my father more than his friend.

Nazdar Klamo.

Simply meaning,

“Hello Deceit.”

To the feelings my father left me with when he died in 2000, I say “Na shledanou.

Bye-bye. Cheerio. So long.

Camp Jubilee Day Four: EVEN MORE ACTIVITIES!

This place never stops. So much so, that I don’t have any pictures today. I ended up making videos of the kids’ activities instead.

On Thursday we started our day with three hours of “High Ropes”. The kids tested their fears of heights through a series of obstacle courses set up in the trees. After the first try, many of the kids become confident and began to speed up. It also turned into a bit of a competition to see who could complete it fastest.

After lunch we were kayaking for about an hour. It ended up being cut short due to the conditions of the water, so our camp leader opted for an hour and a half hike. This was a good endurance challenge since it was a tough climb to get to the summit.

After dinner was Skit Night where each of the cabin groups had to perform. The parents and teachers also did one where we made fun of the behaviors of the kids. The boys in my cabin volunteered to go first. In the end, they also won the competition! Which they were surprised by but took the win nonetheless.

It was a great way to end our week at Camp Jubilee.

Camp Jubilee Day Three: More Activities

Day 3 of Camp Jubilee was our cabin’s turn to set the table for breakfast. All the kids in my cabin didn’t want to be late so they were up 45 minutes early just to make sure.

They set up quickly and enjoyed being first to get breakfast. I was lucky enough to be in their group, so I received first breakfast as well. Not much time after our meal to get ready because we were off to do our first activity of the day.

We went canoeing for about thirty minutes to get to a place called “Twin Islands”. The ride there had us singing songs and racing the other group. Once we got to our destination we had an opportunity to swim in a small lagoon and hike around the hills. Our ride back was just as energetic. We were racing for lunch!

After lunch was “Orienteering” and “Team Building”. Because of our extraneous exercising at the first half of the day and the heat- the kids were too exhausted to put any effort in. That was okay. They tried- halfheartedly at least. Our next and final day will be a busy and active day as well.

All I can say is that theses kids sleep well every night.