Look what came in the mail today! So excited, I can hardly contain myself.
2021 Canadian Census!
This is the most dry and boring questionnaire around. But filling it out is “The Law” so it’s done.
Completing the census doesn’t really excite me. It’s up there in the range of taxes or jury duty. It’s something you just have to do, so you do it. Or at least someone in the household has to do it. I did it this year.
Earlier this week the local weather was showing rain for days. Days. My weekend was looking unfavorable to say the least. I was going to need to spend my time packing some more. Instead, I had dry weather so I got a few chores outside done. Even though it was slightly overcast, I was enjoying the fresh air.
Luckily this afternoon, the clouds dispersed and the sun showed up. Driving out to skating for our son had me feeling the heat inside my wife’s car. An illusion of summer was once again upon us. It was looking like a perfect night to eat dinner outside.
Alas, the temperatures said otherwise. Our backyard is shaded by trees, so it was even cooler than expected. Our dinner was quick with minimal talking and we headed back in for the night. We can still hear the birds and view the skies as night falls.
I’m glad it didn’t rain much on my days off. We were able to get more downsizing of some possessions completed as a family. Boxes packed, stacked and ready to go. Only seven weeks remaining… but who’s counting?
People have asked my why we sold our property. The main reason is we have too much yard.
I’m getting older and want simplicity. A small lawn to mow, perhaps a few plants and bushes. Taking care of the old growth trees is too much these days.
Even though we move out in 50 days, I have pride for our home. We are still looking after it, but the yardwork is intense. This weekend will be busy trying to clear out dead branches and utilize a burning permit.
Today was a write off for me as well. I’m still feeling the after effects of getting my vaccine the other day. My energy levels are extremely low. Likely, my wife and I will do the majority of the work and our teens will run and hide every chance they get.
That’s the other hard part. Getting assistance. I was a teenager once. I know what it’s like to want to have a life not devoted to chores. I remember my father tricking me into allowing a friend stay over for a couple of nights one summer- in order for us to lay down sod.
I’m getting older. I can’t push as hard as I once did. It’s almost time for my midlife crisis. Maybe that’s why we bought a new house with a pool…
I enjoy painting. Both artistically and otherwise. One of my favorite mediums is using spray paint. I have used it on Cosplay, wicker furniture, canvases, even my lawn. I find the use of spray paint very versatile.
Yesterday I finally bought myself a gravity fed paint gun. I’ve been wanting one for years and this little dude was only $65. Well worth a test drive into the world of paint spray guns.
I’m going to attempt to paint a couple of Muskoka chairs and see if I like the results. I figure it will take a bit longer than just painting them with a roller or brush, since I’ll need to thin out the paint in order for it to flow through the nozzle.
A bit of trial and error will be required to figure out the right consistency and pressure to use from the air compressor. But I look forward to tinkering with my new toy. I should be careful about the overspray and ventilation used.
Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending.
Seven thousand four hundred and eighty days. Or twenty years, five months and twenty four days. That was when I proposed to my wife.
We had gone out for dinner, then an evening stroll in Fort Langley. We stopped at a coffee shop and sat on the patio, at which point I popped the question. On the sidewalk right next to us they were filming a movie.
We married on July 10,2001 in Fort Langley at a small church on a Tuesday. Across the street, they were filming “Air Bud 4”. The production company stopped filming and stood at the door and watched us get married.
This past weekend, my wife and I walked through Fort Langley once more. This time the little town had changed into the setting of “Sonic The Hedgehog 2”. Fort Langley became a town called Green Hills. My wife and I went “full tourist” and took a bunch of photos.
My favorite part about walking around, was seeing the details added to the set. Things that no one would ever see. The background story of a fictional town hidden all around. As if Green Hills was a real place.
Movies have always been a big part of my life and I enjoy them tremendously. Movies can whisk you away for a couple of hours into an imaginary storyline. My life with Lee-Anne has been magical since we first met.
The eye of the mind makes a movie. And my movie has been nothing short of awesome.
I love to swim. Almost every time we would travel, we tried to stay in a hotel (or motel) with a pool. After a long day of conventions/skating/Disneyland- it was a good way to relax before bed.
Oftentimes we would be the only people in the pool. It was as if no one else enjoys swimming. Or perhaps they just don’t like us. We are a bit of a strange family- pretending to be dolphins or zombies. That may have had something to do with having the hotel pool to ourselves.
We also enjoy swimming in the ocean, lakes and other natural spots. My wife used to call our kids “Water Babies”. We would hunt down places to swim whenever possible. Hawaii and California have beautiful beaches, and British Columbia has some fantastic lakes. What’s not to enjoy?
I always enjoyed swimming. For about half a decade during my preteen years- my family had a house with a pool. I swam regularly in it, even though I think my parents felt otherwise. I mean I also played a lot of video games and locked myself in my room watching television… But my exercise was to go swim. And I was good at it. I hope to be swimming regularly once more in our new home.
I do find it odd that last June I mentioned about buying a home with a pool: Pool of Thought even before we listed our house for sale. One year later we will be living out this desire. Our own private oasis in this world. Inadvertently I guess I had created a Vision Board and achieved the goal. Imagine what I could do if I set my mind to a goal?
Do you enjoy swimming? Do you hunt out hotels with pools when you travel? Let me know in the comments.
This morning my wife surprised our teens by having an Easter Egg Hunt in our living room. We have done the hunt every year since we moved into our house.
Always in the living room. That’s because we can hide the eggs the night before and close off the room until we are ready. This is the same room we would celebrate Christmas Day in.
Today was the last time that our kids would hunt for candy in the living room. None of them wanted a picture taken, but I took a stealth one anyways. An Easter Egg Hunt was always something my wife enjoyed doing for our kids. As they became teenagers, I was thinking that it’s becoming a bit much.
But after today’s hunt I could see why my wife enjoyed doing this for our kids every year.
They all sat around the dining room table, dumped out their haul and divided it equally. It’s something they’ve always done (same with Halloween). Seeing them do this once more made me smile.
Our teenagers are getting along! These days it’s hit and miss with how nice they are to each other. Or even towards my wife and I. Days like today are a reminder as to why we love our family. Moments like this will be missed when we move away.
Seventy eight days until we move. Seems so far away. But it’s only 11 weeks from now. In ten weeks, we will need to be 95% ready to move out. The last week will be paperwork and chaos. In five weeks I will need to start getting into contact with our billing companies to start the address change information.
Yesterday I finished booking two moving companies at a cost of almost $5000. Yup. TWO moving companies. One is bringing in two trucks and somewhere between six to eight people to dismantle furniture and move all of our possessions. The other company is specifically called in order to move our grand piano.
Today we ran out of boxes. We have a good portion of the unnecessary and hardly used stuff packed away. Besides the obvious Christmas decorations- we packed up book shelves, extra nicknacks from the kid’s rooms and a bunch of stuff from cupboards that we can live without for a couple of months. A huge assortment of stuff.
About a month ago my wife told me I was bringing home too many boxes. Now we are realizing that we will need twice the amount originally planned. How did we possess so much stuff? When my wife and I first moved together all we had was a bed, a couple bookcases, a couch, a tv, and a freezer. All of which fit into two pick up trucks and our two door car.
It feels as though we are upsizing once more instead of downsizing. Sure, we are getting rid of some possessions as we pack up. But we also have plans to buy some new furnishings in our next home once we settle in. At which point, we will probably purge some more stuff.
Moving is a pain in the butt. And costly. No wonder we haven’t moved in 14 years. I don’t want to do it ever again.
As we declutter and prepare to move, we are finding lots of items that we have collected over the years. Some are really unique and deserve a second look. Other things feel like we are holding on to them for nostalgia sake.
Today my wife showed me a unique bottle from Germany that she got prior to us meeting. I think it is pretty cool and want it on display in our next kitchen.
At the same time, we have this hideous plastic cat clock from the 50’s or 60’s that has been on display in a bedroom for decades. I have no love for this item, but since it is in great shape and retro- I’m sure someone else finds it amazing.
In the end, it’s all a matter of taste. What is retro cool and what is just junk is a matter of opinion.
Today is the last day of MY Spring Break– even though it’s the First Day Of Spring! My wife still has Sunday off and our kids have another week off from school. Lucky ducks.
I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. I was up early almost every day and stayed up late as well. We achieved a lot around the house through packing and donating. I think that was where all my free time went towards.
We did get some driving lessons in for our middle child, which was good. As well as a ton of emails and paperwork completed for the purchase of our new home. My wife and I spent a lot of time together on a few walks, and we went out for my Birthday supporting the local businesses.
I guess in the end, it was a fulfilled “Staycation” keeping me busy. It just seemed like something was missing. Perhaps the whole “can’t travel” outside of Canada has me down. I’m sure once more folks receive the vaccine, those borders will open up soon enough. For now, I should just appreciate the time I had at home with my family.
It would also be nice not to have to return to work… but bills gotta be paid somehow. Now to look forward to my next set of vacation days- set for when we move!
My father-in-law enjoyed woodworking for many years. Once they moved out of this house, we had a lot of the pieces remaining for future use. But as most hobbies go, you end up with more than you require. And the hobbies take a spot on the back burner.
Since we are coming up on the last few months before we move, it was time to tackle the wood collection. There was large and small “cookies” cut from trees all stored in the upper part of the woodshed. I didn’t want it to get thrown in the fire, so it was time to start giving it away.
My wife’s brothers came by over the last couple of days to collect a few pieces that they wanted. One of their friends also came by and he took a few big pieces. (We are getting a fresh Turkey for Easter out of the deal!) Later this afternoon, a few people locally are coming by to collect some pieces. Next week, I will be contacting a few other local craft/woodworkers and see if they could use some pieces.
Considering the wood has been here for decades, it’s all dry and in great shape. I used a few pieces a couple years ago and Painted them for decoration in our home. I’m not a wood worker, so the rest isn’t for me. I want it to all go to good use, and I’m sure my father-in-law will be happy to know it’s getting used the way it was intended.
If you are local and want to grab my wood, give me a shout.
Yesterday my wife and I took our teenagers to go and see the neighborhood we will be moving to. We parked up the street from our future home and explored the pathways. The area is called Bose Forest Park. It’s a well maintained set of trails in the suburbs. One of the paths lead past our new home, so we walked the neighborhood a bit as well.
Upon returning to the car, our teenagers excitedly went to the playground and goofed off. It brought me great pleasure to see the joy in their hearts as they played. They got along wonderfully and it made me realize that we did the right thing in choosing to move to that neighborhood.
My wife is happy that there are numerous pathways around with plenty of routes to choose from. After living in our neighborhood for so long, there is only so much you can see when you walk in a rectangle around the block.
I’m looking forward to the change and joining the suburban life. Don’t get me wrong- Country Living has been great and the neighbors have known each other for decades! But it will be neat to be a part of an ever changing community once more.
We are officially one hundred days from moving. I feel as if we are finally getting some relief for all that we have been through. I don’t mean just selling and buying a home. I’m talking about the past twenty years of stress and hard work- not just the struggle of surviving 2020.
This may sound odd, but our Future Home is actually our “First Home”. Let me explain that statement.
A little over twenty years ago, my father passed away. About nineteen years ago, my mother decided to uproot herself and move to literally the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island. She moved to Gold River and asked my wife and I if we would want to buy the house she owned in Langley.
So I pushed hard and worked three jobs to afford a down payment and the first bit of paying for the house. We bought it at market value for $210,000. After four years, the market boomed and we had a third child. It was time to sell and move. We sold that house for $410,000.
At that point, my wife’s parents were wanting to downsize. After a lot of discussion and stretching ourselves thin once more, we used all of our equity from the first home and bought my wife’s parents’ place for $570,000. We also needed an extra $60,000 borrowed from them in order to get qualified.
All of the help from both my mother and my wife’s parents have put us in a very comfortable position to buy our “First Home”. In doing so, my wife and I will be able to assist our children if/when the time comes for them. This is our way to Pay it Forward.
Nineteen years of paying down mortgages and struggling from time to time with finances has afforded us the luxury to be successful. All of our friends have watched us as we have hit hardships and windfalls. I appreciate their cheers from the sidelines and the hugs when we needed them. We continue to cheer them on through their endeavors and wins as well.
As we count down to our new home, many of our friends have volunteered to help us in a number of ways, I will be calling in these favors in exchange for pizza and beer!
In just over two and a half weeks we had listed our home, sold our home and bought a new home. It was fast, stressful, and filled with joy! We were able to get the price we wanted for our current place (and more). We are soon moving into what feels like our dream home.
There are so many things about this new house that appeal to us. First and foremost is the address. Yup. I’m a numbers guy. I like patterns. We had to get married on 10/07/2001 because I liked how the members were. The address for this place is 16261 61A Ave. In Chinese lucky numbers, the meanings are as follows:
I think this house will have that all for us: UNITY/SMOOTH/HARMONY.
This new home is nearly 5000 square feet over three levels. The listing was described like this: “Welcome to the POOL PARTY in this GORGEOUS FOXRIDGE home located in prestigious WEST CLOVERDALE! This extraordinary home has it all,quality construction,breathtaking views, 4982sqft w/ 5 bds,6 bths & daylight WALKOUT BASEMENT for INLAWS w/ finishings that mirror the main!Luxury living awaits,w/ immaculate master w/ fireplace,extravagant ensuite & 2 closets.Your open concept main floor overlooks your PRIVATE RESORT like pool & deck to enjoy coffee,cocktails,family & friends all while looking at your mountain & valley views(w/ Jimmy Buffet playing in the background). The list doesn’t end,S/S appliances,quartz counters,hardwood flooring, custom window coverings,coffered & vaulted ceilings & OVERSIZED driveway. All this in a family-friendly cul-de-sac close to schools, parks & walking trails!”
Yup, there is a built in pool in the backyard. This was the only thing that was giving us second thoughts about buying the place. It’s an extra expense that we never had on our “wish list” for a house. But the views, the space and the massive basement suite (that can generate a good income) more than makes up for it.
The interior of the house is exemplary in its style. The owners were meticulous with the upkeep and for a ten year old house- it shows as if it was brand new. The yard space and the views are what really drew our attention to this house. Even though we are moving from a treed backyard on almost an acre, the green belt and farmland behind this new property makes it feel spacious.
By summer our family will be in our new home. This will be a big change for us all- but a very welcomed one. I’m really happy and proud of how hard we worked at being homeowners for twenty years to get to this point. The long game has paid off, so they say.
As the sun makes a more regular appearance these days, it feels as if winter is long since behind us. But Spring is still two weeks away.
My wife and I went out for a walk in Fort Langley today in order to take advantage of the weather. The coffee shops and restaurants had people lined up- social distancing of course. It wasn’t as busy as we expected on the trails, which was nice. We walked for about 5km just talking and enjoying a day off from house hunting. However, a couple of trains went by, reminding me of work.
At home, the vegetation is starting to become green and budding. We will get to enjoy one last Spring Bloom in this house, which is what we wanted. We talked about the plants that we will take to our next home instead of talking about what we will miss about this one.
In a sense, we are already moved out as we separate our feelings from this home. Sure, there’s still yard work and cleaning to do over the next couple of months. We don’t want to leave the place in shambles for the new owners. Plus we get the joy of spring and the feeling of starting anew.
Since we are moving, I need to get into the attic and start pulling stuff out. I sort of know what’s up there. But I still wanted to check it out.
We actually have three attics for storage in this house. I have emptied two of them so far. One had a box of wires. The other had old movie banners and fans for the summer. The third- which is above our linen closet- should contain a few Rubbermaid containers of baby/toddler clothes. Not a ton of stuff, but stuff nonetheless.
We have been paring down on stuff for a few months now. We started by trying to get the kids on board in decluttering their rooms. It wasn’t until we staged the house that this was finally accomplished. We have a little over three months to go through our stuff and decide what to keep and what to donate/sell. The final process will happen once we know where we are moving to and what stuff will make our trek to the new place.
Of course, we will probably still bring junk in boxes that shall stay packed up for many more years. Just because we cannot part with it. Relocating boxes from home to home without ever throwing it away? Seems like it would be commonplace in everyone’s house- just like a junk drawer. That’s normal, right?
I think moving is a good opportunity to evaluate what we have.
We have officially sold Castle Havelka. The subjects were removed last night and the final contract was signed. Perhaps it was this write up about our house from our agent that helped us get an offer within a week and a sold sign in twelve days:
“Quiet, Peaceful and Park Like! 38,000 sq ft southern exposed lot situated on a small cul-de-sac street in one of the best locations in desirable Salmon River. In an area of brand new luxury small acreage homes. This sprawling 3,134 sq ft two storey home has a terrific layout, exquisite detail and tons of character throughout. Beautiful large rooms including inviting kitchen/eating area plus large media and dining room on main floor. Upstairs has 5 large bedrooms. Fall in love with your backyard including large deck space with “Nano Style” doors opening up to your manicured grounds . Walking distance to North Otter Elementary. Wrap around driveway with tons of parking. Room for Shop! RV Parking. First time on market! This one is a must see!”
Now it’s time to hunker down on the house search. We’ve only scratched the surface and barely dipped our toes into the pool of what homes are out there. It’s time to really push our imaginations and find the right place for us. Essentially we are planning to buy a home that our teens can become adults in if they so choose to still live with us. We are looking for more space inside of the house and closer to big city amenities.
We are giving up the “Country Living” hashtag and going for more “Suburban Living”. It also means that CASTLE HAVELKA will need a new moniker for our next place. I want to use Kingdom, Empire or Realm to describe our next place. Perhaps Chalet or Shanty will be the term. Only time will tell with how it turns out.
I’m glad that this step is behind us. One sigh of relief has occurred, now to take a deep breath and dive into our house hunting!
Looking for a new house has me realizing that technology has come a long way. Especially when walking through brand new builds.
Many of us just accept the fact that TV’s have moved from a large cabinet piece on the floor to a picture frame on the wall. And that the image has grown exponentially in size and the sound is immersive. This is in every house.
But now we can buy a fridge with a touchscreen and camera built in. That way one can connect to see what groceries they may need while out shopping. Or there’s a stove you can turn on remotely as well. Plus a number of other small appliances with similar features.
We are one step closer to living like The Jetson’s. Essentially we are on the cusp- minus the flying cars and buildings in the sky. Everything else is becoming commonplace in a similar fashion.
Is it making life easier or making us lazier? I think it’s a bit of both. But it allows for us to find the free time to explore more about the world. We can enjoy the arts more, create more, and just live in the moment more often.
Technology has come a long way for how we live. At least we aren’t on the Oregon Trail dying from dysentery.
On Monday, our prospective buyers are paying for a bunch of inspections on the property. This is completely normal and will lend to a peace of mind for what they can expect once they take possession of the house.
In doing so, we needed to help make everything more accessible. We don’t exactly have a “regular” house for sale. We are in a neighborhood of acreages and farm land. First thing we did was dig out the septic tank access points. It was a ton of fun getting my two youngest to dig. Hashtag sarcasm.
I then headed into the attic to take a quick gander. The roof and insulation look great- nothing out of the ordinary there. I did enjoy the escape from any other burdens while I was up there. If it wasn’t for the dust and insulation, I would have contemplated taking a nap.
Lastly, I went under the house and into the crawl space with the help of my son. I wanted to do a quick survey of the foundation and if there were any possible leaks or damage. Nope. It all looks well aged and sturdy.
The bones of this home are strong. Which makes it really hard to say farewell to it. However, it also means that the future owners (maybe this couple, if not perhaps someone else) will have some great building blocks to work with should they do choose to change things up.
Since they are putting up so much money for these inspections, I would hope that the seriousness of the purchase remains in tact for when the subjects get removed. Now to let the stress build up for a few more days and eat away at me from the inside out. But hey, at least our attic is full of cotton candy!
After only one week on the market, we accepted an offer on our house. There’s subjects to be removed within the next week, but if all goes well- that’s one hurdle down, about 1.9 million more to go.
This is a big step for us all. And now that the reality of moving and leaving this house has really stepped up its game- we need to find us a place to live. Lucky for us we put in a date of mid-June in order to allow the two youngest to finish school without much in the way of interruptions.
That’s almost four months of trying to find the perfect home to relocate to. I think it’s doable. What I’m really liking is that friends and coworkers from all over the area are trying to convince us to move to their neighborhoods. Everyone is proud of where they live, and it shows.
So if you know of a great location in the Lower Mainland of BC with five bedrooms and a suite to rent- let me know! We could be neighbors!
Over the weekend we had nine viewings of our home. I have no idea if that is high or low or about average. But it does mean that people wanted to see our house. So that’s a good sign.
Now it’s a waiting game. We wait and see if there is a purchaser for this house. I’m positive that there is someone out there that would take great care of this home the same way we have over the years. Hopefully a family with little kids to enjoy the yard.
But waiting to hear anything sucks. A bazillion thoughts go through your mind. The kind of thoughts that keep you up at night causing you to feel unrested and agitated the next day.
Soon it will all be over. The waiting will end and the stress will dissolve. I just wish for that day to come quickly.
I completely forgot about the details involved in showing a house. Especially when you need to continue living in it. There’s the last minute cleaning, making sure the place is staged to show nothing of your personal life, plus we have dogs that need to be taken away.
The real estate agents make it sound so easy. Which in the long run, I suppose it is. The minor inconveniences we face this weekend could mean the difference between selling the house in a timely manner or waiting far longer for an offer. The thought of doing showings for months on end is not one I want to face.
Since we stayed away from our home for almost seven hours yesterday, the staging today went really easy. Yesterday we went for a walk through a park to kill some time followed by a picnic. Today will be more of the same. The doggos seemed to like it. However there is a sprinkling of rain that may occur. I’m not thrilled at the thought of the smell of wet dog in my car.
But wanting top dollar for our home means a few hours of doing our part. Fingers crossed that the showings go well. I just want to put a sign on the front door: “Buy this house!”
Our house was put on the market late this week. Within the first 24 hours we booked half a dozen showings for today. We also noticed a lot of cars not from our neighborhood doing a slow drive-by of the home. Hopefully this is all a good sign and we will sell our home.
The thing is, my wife and I have not found a house to buy yet. We ourselves have been looking for the past two months and have gone to several viewings of potential places. Many of which are perfect- for someone else. Or we would need to change our lifestyle drastically to enjoy the home.
At some point our criteria for the perfect home will need to be trimmed. Especially since the market is so hot right now and places are generally selling within a week of listing. Good and bad for us. So we will need to act quickly on a place it seems.
Our biggest wish is for a place with a rental suite. This will allow us to help our adult children to live near Vancouver and save money towards their own place one day. The other “must have” is the the house should be fairly new, or at least be upgraded. A big kitchen is desired and a garage. Beyond that, most everything else is superficial extras.
We know that we are giving up yard space. But that also means that maintaining a smaller yard should be easier. We also know that we will finally have neighbors that we will see more often. And that’s cool,
I kind of miss the suburban lifestyle. Let’s see how long that lasts when we join it once more.
It has officially happened folks. After a couple of years of hemming and hawing we put our house on the market to sell. This has been an emotional and tough decision that didn’t happen easily.
First, some history on the house:
It was built by my wife’s father in the early 70’s. He was a bricklayer by trade and enjoyed woodworking as a hobby- and it shows throughout the home. We took possession of the house in May of 2007 when our son was only one year old. It has been a great home to grow in with our kids, with innumerable memories made and loads of personal touches added over the years. Putting the house on the market has a greater emotional connection with more members of this family than just my wife and I.
Here is a collection of pictures from the house after staging. It sure feels like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life.
If you wish to check the listing while it is still active, head over to REW. This house has never been on the market, so the value we put on it is worth more in memories than it is in dollars.
We are excited to pass it on as we say goodbye to the beautiful nature that surrounded us. This is a truly unique home that we hope will be enjoyed by future families.