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.

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!

Furry Critters

Leaving our acre last year, I thought we would be seeing less wildlife as we hit the Suburbs. I was wrong. But at least we haven’t encountered any rats or raccoons.

The furry creatures are really tiny and almost seem lost. We had a baby hare hanging out under our deck. It wasn’t scared of me at all as I approached it to get a picture. In fact, it seemed as intrigued by me as I was of it.

The other little fellow that appeared the next day was a field mouse. It decided to cool off in our pool. I caught it swimming and then jumping onto our solar pool rings. Getting him out of the pool wasn’t too tough. I used our net and then released it back into the field behind our property. Maybe in the heatwave, it will return for a quick dip.

Of course our dog is often watching for wildlife as well. Generally she keeps the little creatures away, including cats. If she sees a coyote in the back field, she lets them know to stay away with incessant barking. Sometimes she does it from inside our home; other times she is in the backyard doing a proud stance on one of our rocks as she howls.

The wildlife is different in the ‘Burbs. Aside from the couple cute furry critters, it’s usually birds out and about. Most of the time I see hawks, owls, hummingbirds and a large assortment of other birds.

I have a feeling I will become a bird watcher pretty quick and start to get books and binoculars to view them.

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.

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.

Finding Shade

Since we bought a home that has limited trees compared to our last home, I have been enjoying the sunshine. I have taken a few hundred photos of the landscape, sky and the sun. I have enjoyed it immensely.

But we have little to no shade in the yard. So we bought a patio umbrella last summer. We also assembled a Gazebo back in March and placed a patio set underneath for socializing.

But our dog has found solace under a bush we have near the pool. It’s funny because I trimmed it just yesterday. She loves the shade and spent hours laying there this afternoon. Even with my music playing next to her- she hardly stirred.

Sure, I write about finding shade, yet local weather has been far from normal these days. But as summer slowly approaches- I know that the family (pets included) will need these spaces to cool off from the summer sun.

Do your pets try and find shade in unique places, perhaps your kids do. Let me know in the comments how you keep cool in the summer. (When it arrives…)

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.

Luck And Hard Work

Last night I was shredding old documents from the years 2000-2010. I saw my old paystubs, taxes, and mortgages. Looking back, a part of me wishes we had paid off our first mortgage- or at least gotten close by now. Since we have been homeowners for nearly twenty years- it could have been accomplished.

Our current mortgage is six times higher than our first one was. When we needed that first mortgage- we struggled to qualify. We jumped through so many hoops and spent a small fortune to get approved through a house evaluation. My mother was also the guarantor for us. I worked nearly 80 hours every week to keep on top of the finances. All of those things helped tremendously.

The horseshoe we have brought with us.

Once we had that first home secured, we knew life was going to get better. Even with all of our hard work, I was a bit superstitious. A fear that it could all come crashing down was in the back of my mind. So I put up a horseshoe in the basement of our first home for good luck. When we moved to our next house, I brought it with us and had it in our carport. Now it hangs in the garage of our current home, bringing us more good luck.

Luck and hard work have gotten us to where we are today. In a few years, my wife and I may decide to go mortgage free and sell this home to downsize. For now, it is our dream home and we are happy to be where we are.

Peony

I’ve always been appreciative of flowers. I have favorites- like roses and birds if paradise. Some other ones we have owned and planted that are among my favorites are lilies, daffodils and rhododendrons. Whenever they bloom, I know the spring and summer seasons are at hand.

Our new home has a couple of peony plants that were already in the garden. I had never heard of them. Seeing them grow was interesting. Little balls on the end of stalks. Tons of ants crawling around on them. And suddenly- BLOOM!

These things just POP. I am absolutely enthralled with the colour and the size of the blooms. My wife trimmed a couple of them and brought those inside for a vase to set on our countertop.

They look beautiful. I never knew that I’d like these. But then again, I never knew about them before this house.

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!

Lazy Day Interrupted

My day was going to be filled with wearing pajamas and staring at my phone. I was doing pretty good and was about to write my blog about it.

I even took my photo and everything. I went downstairs to make a sandwich so that I could sit and write about how lazy my day off was going to be. I went to the garage to get a log of bread from the freezer when I noticed a spot of water on the ground near where my wife parks her car. Then I looked up.

Effing hell. The ceiling is leaking. Quickly I went into the attic still in my pjs. I found the spot where it was dripping from. Back to my bedroom and get dressed. It was time to go on the roof and find the location.

It was right at the downspout from the gutter as it hits the next roof. In the wisdom of the house being built- the flashing on the wall lines up perfectly underneath where the water spills out. Right onto the nail head, rusting it out. Aesthetically, it was a good idea. But it caused an irritant to me 11 years later. Time for some tar patch as a temporary fix. Which will hopefully last the duration of the roof’s life- until we need to replace it in another 15 years.

Like Red Green used to say- “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

I guess I’m that.

Lazy Day Interrupted

My day was going to be filled with wearing pajamas and staring at my phone. I was doing pretty good and was about to write my blog about it.

I even took my photo and everything. I went downstairs to make a sandwich so that I could sit and write about how lazy my day off was going to be. I went to the garage to get a log of bread from the freezer when I noticed a spot of water on the ground near where my wife parks her car. Then I looked up.

Effing hell. The ceiling is leaking. Quickly I went into the attic still in my pjs. I found the spot where it was dripping from. Back to my bedroom and get dressed. It was time to go on the roof and find the location.

It was right at the downspout from the gutter as it hits the next roof. In the wisdom of the house being built- the flashing on the wall lines up perfectly underneath where the water spills out. Right onto the nail head, rusting it out. Aesthetically, it was a good idea. But it caused an irritant to me 11 years later. Time for some tar patch as a temporary fix. Which will hopefully last the duration of the roof’s life- until we need to replace it in another 15 years.

Like Red Green used to say- “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

I guess I’m 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

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.

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.

Enjoy It

This weekend has been the one we have been waiting for. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the pool is ready.

Over the past couple of days, we have enjoyed the swimming pool. Today is going to be no exception. We are planning on hanging out with our downstairs tenants and sipping on some beverages. Taking advantage of the weather whenever we can is the goal.

Being neighborly is important as well. We enjoy having company over and plan on visitors coming by throughout the summer. Getting along with those around us is paramount. We are past the stage of loud parties, but I still enjoy my music playing.

Reach out and we will have you over this summer on a Friday or Saturday. Just remember to bring the sunscreen and a snack to share!

Floating Table

Today I decided to do some arts and crafts. I had a project that I wanted to try and make for the summer time use. Basically a small floating table for the pool. That way we can play a card game that my wife and friends have nicknamed UNO MOIST. It’s really called UNO Splash- some plastic cards meant to be poolside.

The table was easy to build. A couple of pool noodles and a 2’ square foam mat. I cut the noodles so that the corners would meet at 45° angles. Then ran a slit on the inside of the noodles in order to slide the foam mat inside. Originally I was going to glue the mat and the noodles, but because of the porosity, there wasn’t much for the glue to hold onto. For now, I’ll leave the noodles to naturally grip the mat.

I do hope this works out, as it seemed to float without issue. If I need to adhere the edges, I will likely add zip ties to do this. Now to just wait for the weather to get better so we can enjoy it!

Safety And Security

Back in July, I installed four security Cameras around the front of our home. Our system allows for up to eight cameras. Today I installed two more. This time to watch over the backyard and rear entrances.

My son reluctantly helped me with adjusting the viewing area of the new cameras. But with his help, I was able to get a large section of our yard under surveillance.

I also took some time to play around with the system and create a constant changing sequence on our monitor. Every few seconds it changes the views, this will help prevent “burn-in” on the screen. (Although honestly I don’t think it’s as obvious or quick as it once was with crt monitors).

If I choose to, I have spots for two more cameras to get connected. I may need to do that in the future, but at this time- having six cameras is more than plenty. Although I did like the ease of installation that the Lorex system has.

Is It Pool Time Yet?

The sun has been teasing us lately. But when you go outside, under the shade is frigid. The wind is still whistling past the clouds and pushing them onward. Looking towards the next few days and it seems like rain is in the forecast.

Today I took advantage of the nice weather. Our winter pool cover came off. I vacuumed up the debris and added a bunch of chemicals to the pool to balance it out. The pool is sitting at 15°C (59°F). Still far too cold to attempt to swim. I’m also waiting a couple of more weeks before heating it to ensure the chemicals create a safe swimming environment. Getting the pool ready is important to me.

But since it’s going to rain for the next ten days, there was no point in setting up the patio and deck furniture just to take it and store away again. I did sit outside first thing in the morning to eat breakfast. I can’t wait to be eating more meals outdoors. That has always been a favorite of mine.

Some day soon and life will be blissful. I will be able to swim and float around in the sun. For now, I get to enjoy the sunsets and views.

Another Beautiful Night

I cannot express enough how much beauty there is to view in this world. I look out off my back porch, and it feels like we are living in a land of fantasy.

Watching the sunset off in the distance has become a favorite pastime of mine. I stand up on our deck and just absorb its light. Our lower patio deck has stairs that look as though they are about to show you the way to an adventure. A journey that could take you off into the lush green fields and out into the horizon.

I am extremely appreciative of what we have. I know we won’t have it forever, but that we have it now is great. It’s important to reflect on what one has and appreciate the work and time it has take to get to this place. Especially when it feels as though live is trying to throw curveballs in your direction. Staying positive is the best way to battle those hardships and challenges.

Enjoy the what the world has to offer and don’t dwell on the negative.

Outdoor Night Lights

As the summer approaches, the sun is tentatively out for longer. So what we have done in our yard is added some solar lights for a night ambiance.

On the sides of the stairs leading down from our deck add a nice touch to the path. I like the brightness of these lights. At the very top I put one more bright light on the fence post next to the gate. That way our guests will see where they are going should they leave later in the evening.

Along our fence is some string lights that add a lot of light to that part of the yard. In the gazebo is two sets of solar string lights. They brighten up the patio set for some great evening conversations.

To the left of our home, there are a few lights that lead up to the pool shed. For when you have to put away items at the end of a good time. And finally is some more string lights on our upper deck. Should we choose to sit there and hang out, there is also a heater and bbq for making meals.

Some of our lights are remotely controlled. I’m working on adding them to my Google Home app. Automation of our home is some of the most fun I am having living here. Adding lighting and ambiance is also high up.

Do you like having lights as a side feature besides just functionality? Are you getting as impatient as I am for warm summer nights?

Let me know in the comments.

Sunsets In Bed

Life is what you make of it. You can dwell on the negativity and it can bring you down. Or you can learn and grow and change those aspects of your life.

I’ve had my share of downs. I’ve tackled challenges. I’ve endured difficult times. After it all, I am able to see the beauty that the world still has in store. I appreciate that I can feel the sun on my face and watch the clouds roll off as I lay in bed.

I appreciate these moments. This world has so much more to offer. Getting past those negative emotions and thoughts; the light shines through. Another day to love and live.

Happy Easter Friends.