A Tale of Two Flights

Yesterday we flew with Westjet out of Vancouver to Los Angeles. The check in was easy and my wife got the extra screening bonus going through customs. (Which has nothing to do with the flight…) The staff were really friendly and helpful.

But then our flight was delayed two and a half hours because… an employee had damaged the plane… or that’s what we were told by another employee. We had to wait for another flight to come in from Winnipeg in order to get a new plane to ride. So I took a nap before we boarded. Shit happens. I’d rather get on an undamaged plane.

I guess because the flight was late, we got to enjoy taxiing around the runway in Vancouver before departing another 30 minutes later. The flight itself was smooth. Included in the price- we were given a sip of soda and a tiny snack pack of pretzels. To watch any movies- we had to download the Westjet App. Rather frustrating.

When we touched down, the plane drove around every part of LAX terminal for 45 minutes before stopping and having everyone disembark and then board a bus for a ten minute drive back to the terminal. After all was said and done, we were over 4 hours later than we originally planned. Even the employees were getting edgy by the end. But they kept their cool.

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Too Much Time On My Hands

This year I have had too much vacation time.

Shut the front door! How can someone have too much time off?

Well it seems I may have. I never thought it was possible. I was lucky enough to have some of my vacation carried over from previous years. As if my regular five weeks off wasn’t enough. But I have also had three extra weeks that I have enjoyed as well this year.

What are you complaining about!?

I’ve enjoyed the freedom of relaxing and traveling this year. With a whirlwind of trips including Tokyo, Calgary, Leavenworth, Bridge Lake and 20 Mile Bay. I feel as if I was destined to travel.

Today we are off to Disneyland. The hardest part isn’t my time off. The problem is returning to work. All this time off is getting me to plan for retirement. Which is in 15 years. Which is going to come damn fast if I keep working.

While at work I look forward to my next vacation. While on vacation- I do not think about work. It’s pretty awesome. But I don’t ever want to return to work. That’s the new dilemma. All my extra time has spoiled me.

It’s just too much time off.

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…

Hundred Percent

Sometimes I hear a phrase and it keeps popping up in my life. I hear it everywhere. People continually say it and it gets passed around. Once I notice the phrase- it’s like having a steering wheel in my pants- it drives me nuts.

I don’t mean sounds or stammers such as “uh” or “um”. I’m taking phrases used far too frequently.

I recall back in high school the phrase “Right on” being used too often. Of course I began to say “Right Arm” to try and get people to stop saying it. That didn’t work.

Then came “Alright, alright, alright.” Made famous by Matthew McConaughey a quarter century ago. People still quote it the same way. I even do it on occasion.

The current catch phrase that is irking me is “Hundred Percent“. It seems to be used as an agreement of someone’s stance or opinion. Or that they will execute the request to the fullest of their abilities. I have no clue where this one came from.

I consciously stop myself from using catch phrases in the hope that I can make more of an impact on those around me. There are numerous more phrases people use that I cannot tolerate.

Do you have any words or phrases that drive you crazy? Share them with me so I can be on the lookout for them.

Motivational Writing

Over the summer I took my daughters to the Chapters Book Store. We didn’t end up buying anything, but we did do a lot of cover reading. It seems that a trend has arisen in the form of Motivational Writing.

The titles are reflective of our society today. With a curse word thrown in the title to add some humor. Like an internet meme complaining about work or people. A couple of decades ago, the titles of such ideas were kinder and gentler.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” came out in 1993. Since the first book, the company now has offshoots that cater to nearly everyone. They produce a dozen new ones every year. They seem to be the leaders in the market. Even the original title makes you feel warm inside.

My daughters told me I should take a few of my stories I’ve written in this blog and piece together my own book. I think that’s really sweet, and it got me thinking that maybe I should. First things first- I need a catchy title and book cover.

I love the title of my blog. But would it translate into a read worthy motivational book?

I love this piece of art from downtown Vancouver. However, it holds a bit of negativity and doesn’t sound motivating enough.

This is another favorite photo of mine. A bit presumptuous in a way, but goals are important. Even if it means floating on a lake in an inflatable boat.

Naw. This one isn’t great. Even though I find it amusing.

How about something completely obscure that mentions robots? As if my book would somehow change your life from being robotic and systematic.

Or way off and use something my son thinks is humorous? Not sure this title is along the lines of “You are a Badass” or “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”.

In the end, I’ll keep on writing every day and hope that I can piece together a series of stories that matter most to me.

Let me know which stories I’ve written that you think I should share in book form. I’d love to hear these. Getting feedback from my blog readers and friends helps a lot in figuring out what stories I should share.

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.

Designated Driver

Today we went out to an Oktoberfest party at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. I volunteered to be the designated driver to my wife and our friend since I am partaking in a personal Sober September. It made me realize that I have never really been a DD before. I did it once earlier in August for our Dinner Train. But usually, I am the one getting a safe ride home.

Today as everyone around was getting tipsy and drinking, I realized that when I was younger- I made many mistakes getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks. I’m embarrassed by my actions from my past. I got lucky in my life that I never injured or killed anyone. But those lapses in judgment could have come with terrible consequences. Even though nothing had ever happened in my past- I know that time would only catch up if I kept it up. Having a safe ride home has become part of the plans as I head out.

Being sober at a drinking function isn’t all that bad. In fact it’s sometimes more entertaining to see (and remember) the shenanigans that occur around you. At the end of the day/night getting your friends back home safely is probably the best feeling. Oftentimes you get thanked in a drunken love kinda way. Slurred speech and kindness comes out.

Obviously my advice is simple: Make sure you have a designated driver or a safe ride home planned out in advance. It’s much better to get home safely than not at all.

Mid-Day Post Night-Shift

Sleeping after a night shift is one of my favorite things to do. I find I get a really good sleep as I waste away in preparation for my next night shift. Sometimes I get woken up in the middle of my daytime snooze. Usually because I have things to do. Or I get woken up early and decide it’s too much work to go back to bed.

Take today for example. I had to wake up in the middle of my sleep in order to pick up my kids from school. (Darn half day at school.) I’ll probably get back to sleep and snag another 4 1/2 hours. But still- two short sleeps don’t always make up one good sleep.

I am completely understanding of the fact that I have a commitment to our children. I can’t let them down. It’s not like the school they attend is close by either. We have to drive at least twenty minutes to get to the school. At home, our kids are very respectful of my sleep and never bother me or make a ruckus.

Only one more night to go this week. Then a few normal days. Followed by another stint of nights.

I got this.

Really I do.

💤

Sept 19, 1942

Today would’ve marked my father’s birthday. But he left this world in the year 2000. Funny thing is I know very little about him even though he was in my life for 24 years.

I know his birthday is today and that he was born in Prague. My knowledge of his history is limited. He kept his past a guarded secret. These are the tidbits I do know:

  • His middle initial is K. I believe it was for Karl- but I cannot be certain.
  • He has a sister (whom I’ve never met or spoken to)
  • In the summers of his youth, he was forced to leave home and work on a farm.
  • He was a helicopter mechanic in Prague when he was 17.
  • He defected to Canada in the early 1970’s.
  • He left behind a wife and child (Also whom I’ve never met or spoken to) before marrying my mother.
  • Then there are the things I can recall about him growing up:
    • He enjoyed golf.
      He owned a deli once.
      He loved to build things for his home.
      He always wanted a Mercedes Benz, so he finally bought one.
      He worked long hours.
      He never wanted to go on vacation.
      Only once did he ever return to Prague.
      He yelled a lot.
  • He rarely ever expressed an emotion besides anger towards me. I always felt like I wasn’t the son he wanted or something. I’m sure in his own way he cared and loved me, but it didn’t always show. I just hid in my room mostly.
  • Prior to his death, he only had an opportunity to meet my wife. He never met any of his grandchildren. My kids used to ask me about grandpa, but have since stopped. Partly because they are older now. But also because I don’t have anything new to tell them about him.
  • After his departure nearly 18 years ago, he is slowly becoming a faded memory- and I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t have much more to say about it all. As I said last year, I’m trying to focus on the good memories- even though they were few. Oh well.
  • Happy Birthday Josef K. Havelka