Watching Winter Fade Away

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.

Hump Day Happiness

It’s always a good feeling when the weather is nice. The world just seems more alive and vibrant.

Sometimes a midweek break of poor weather has you looking forward to the weekend. A day at work or school just seems to be a bit more pleasant as you look out the windows. It lifts your spirits with the knowledge that the weekend is fast approaching.

Cresting Hump Day means the week is almost over. A sense of relief, a warm fuzzy, a breath of fresh air.

I like sunny hump days.

Castle Havelka

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.

Weather or Not

The past week’s weather has been bonkers here in the Lower Mainland. We experienced a Polar Vortex just days ago. We even had to dig out the winter parkas just to get from the front door to the car.

This afternoon I was out in my yard with a hoodie and jeans playing with the dog.

The sun and mild weather is a welcomed change. The sunshine brought my spirits up. Even our yard was looking a bit more vibrant than usual. I watched the neighbors wandering around the streets- all of whom seemed to have a pep in their step.

I like that we received a brief taste of spring already. Some of our plants are starting to bud. Now if only the little bits of snow would vanish, I’d be really happy.

I Forgot To Take Pictures- But It Happened

Today my wife and I had a lunch date at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. It was a double date with some coworkers of mine. We went to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the brewery. There was live music and good food. Pics or it didn’t happen.

I took one photo. It was as I waited outside the eatery before anyone met up with me. My wife was waiting in the car to keep warm prior to the opening. Our friends were only a couple minutes behind us. I was first in line. Just like my other years of attending their anniversaries.

We had a great time talking and eating. So much so that I didn’t take any photos. We just all lived in the moment. No sharing of life on social media. Lots of good laughs and intimate personal conversations. It was good to share in person.

So no photos. But it did happen. I’m glad it did- my wife and I needed a break from this week. A mental health break of sorts. It felt good.

Laughing After Work

Every couple of weeks I work opposite a fella who I enjoy talking with. We have gotten into a routine of conversations while we drive to and from work. I really appreciate those phone calls.

We talk about pretty much everything. Work, family, the weather… you name it. But my favorite phone call is the one we have after work. That is when we share all the stuff that has occurred throughout the day. And we laugh. A lot.

It’s a great feeling to unwind after a long shift with a mutual kindred spirit. In all honesty, sometimes all we can do is laugh. Some of the most ridiculous things can occur in a twelve hour period. And it must be laughed about.

Lava

The word “LAVA” is so much fun. When you say it, your brain naturally goes to the idea of Volcanoes and oozing hot magma. Even the word “magma” is fun to say. I’m also enjoying “Lavazza” coffee these days. How fun is that? It’s like I’m pretending to have lava coffee!

When I was in grade 1 (…damn this story is starting waaaaaaayy back when…) I would take out a book about volcanoes from the library every week. Most kids were obsessed with dinosaurs or the Old Testament, that whole Catholic school thing; but I liked volcanoes. Plus every tv trope involving kids and science fairs naturally had a model volcano that made a mess. I remember trying to paper mache my own volcano and made a mess in the basement before completing it.

As well, when I was growing up, I also always wanted a Lava Lamp. In the late 80’s it wasn’t an easy item to find for a decent price. Many lamps cost around 100 bucks in 1987 dollars- so around $230 in today’s money. Not something reasonable for an 11 year old to afford back then.

Fast forward to around 2004… I was in the middle of my five year career at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Where I was in charge of the prize wall- and was permitted to take a prize or twenty home for myself. I took full advantage of this for my kids. They got a lot of toys. But the one that I loved most for me was a Lava Lamp telephone.

We have not had a “landline” in years in this house. In fact, my lava lamp phone was put in storage and forgotten about long before we removed our home phone. This “editing/ purging” kick meant my kids discovered the phone once more. Our son had never seen it, or at least doesn’t remember it. I don’t think I’m quite ready to part with it. So it gets another shot at being plugged in for fun.

Do you like lava lamps? Or do you have memories about volcanoes you wish to share?

Let me know in the comments so I can share them from my secret volcanic lair!

Clean Sleep

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it really bears repeating. There’s something wonderful about sleeping on clean bed sheets.

Washing bed sheets is something that kind of gets overlooked on a weekly basis at our home. Every week, my wife does laundry. In fact it’s almost daily it seems. But the beds? Each bed is practically a load on its own. So they get forgotten or ignored for a bit longer. But it’s awesome when those sheets are fresh and it’s time for bed.

I think that’s why I love hotels. They will change the sheets DAILY if you want them to. When traveling, if we are extremely active for the day, I’ll get the sheets changed. Honestly, that’s the beauty of vacations and traveling. Nightly sleeping in clean bed sheets.

Aw man, now I miss traveling. Maybe I should ask my wife to wash the bedding every day… That would go over well.

Junk It.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been actively donating and Giving away items that we no longer use. However it feels as though we’ve hardly made any headway in decluttering. Now that most of the “gently used” and “well loved” items are gone, it’s time for the big play.

Time to get ready and Junk It all.

That means gathering all the big items that are just too damn large to toss out or get recycled and have someone haul them off for us. It’s going to be a pretty arduous task to collect everything in order to get the best bang for my buck when collected.

We have an old pool table, a fridge, scrap wood, scrap metal, old electronics, broken power tools, and just stuff that we need to ditch. Some items are still in our possession because of the mindset “Maybe this will be useful one day.” Only that day never arrives.

Catchy radio jingle. That means I should call them.

So as I take advantage of the weather over the next day or two, the trash heap will grow. Until I finally have had enough and call a junk removal company to haul it all away.

Why do we keep so much crap? Is it laziness in throwing it all away? Or perhaps the frustration that you once owned something that is now rendered useless? Whatever it may be, I have a collection of junk to get rid off now.

It Does Not Make Sense

I have no idea why today was so difficult. Work was challenging, but nothing crazy. Driving home had a bad pocket of volume, but no reason behind it once we passed the area. And then at home, everyone was on edge and short with each other.

Why?

No idea. Just a bad day of feeling poopy.

Now I’m laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, when something completely obscure occurred to me…

You poo poo.

As in “poo” the action.

And “poo” the product.

Or am I calling you a name?

“Poo poo.” It doesn’t make any sense. Kind of like today’s blog. But it brought me a giggle to irritate my wife by annunciating the word “poo” with different inflections.

Finally, she said “You poo poo” to me. Pretty sure it was meant an insult. However she did giggle after.

I can now go to sleep happy after a conversation with my oldest where she asked, “Does Pooh poo poo-poo?” That sentence alone makes sense. Because you can also ask, “ Does poo-poo poo Pooh?”

Aw man am I tired. Sorry about the poo.

Da Ba Dee

Last year I wrote about Blue Monday. Well, here we are again- it’s that time of year once more. Blue Monday.

This year I don’t feel so negatively as I have in the past. So I figured why not be a bit more upbeat? Eiffel 65 was the artist behind the video I’m Blue from the 90’s. Most everyone I know will hate me for getting that song stuck in their head.

Besides getting my family and friends to hate me for that song, there’s going to be a tasty treat for later. My family picked up a can of soda from an Asian market today. It’s in a blue can and it’s called “Candy Flavor”. How fun! And I’m guessing sugar coma inducing.

What better way to beat the blues than with music and sugar! Like a party created for six year olds! Let’s beat those blues away.

Blanket Coverage

Ever since moving into this house, we have always had blankets in our living room. We find it makes life a little bit more cozy while enjoying movies. Having a blanket brings forth a sense of comfort.

A few years ago, my wife made some “Theater Blankets” for each of our kids. The material is made of a fun fleece print with images of popcorn and such. She gave each blanket a separate trim colour so the kids could tell them apart.

The blanket I use, and often fight with my family because they want it as well, is my ALF blanket. I was given this blanket about 20 years ago at a company baseball game. A coworker had brought it to lay in the field with and I asked if I could have it at the end of the day. He didn’t mind, so now I have a comforter that I wrap myself into to stay snug.

We have a box that we are now keeping these blankets in when not in use. Even though we use these blankets almost daily! But it will help to keep the room clean and tidy. For now at least…

Or do you sit on your couch in a blanket while watching movies or tv?Do you have a favorite blanket? Let me know in the comments.

Market Value

A year ago I wrote about our Property Value. The newest property assessment has come out once more. We have seen an increase of 11%. Basically back to what our property was two years ago.

The housing market is booming once more. Especially in our area. COVID has made people realize they want more space outside of the city. Having land and a large home is a blessing some days. Unless there is a major storm. Then we have days of cleaning up the debris and have also gone up to four days without power.

But we also have a natural beauty in our yard that people would drool over. Our summer evenings have been spent sitting In The Trees (quite literally) or just enjoying breakfast on our deck. We take the good with the bad.

I have actively watched the market for about twenty years now. Always searching to see what is out there when we do finally move. Moving is inevitable really. Majority of us have lives that change requiring a change in homesteads. Be it downsizing, upsizing, transferring jobs, or even financially- staying rooted doesn’t happen for many of us. My wife has lived in this home almost the entire time since 1972- minus about ten years here or there. That is a legacy if you ask me.

A love of this home and location are in our hearts. But what else is out there? Is the grass greener? (We have mostly moss- so it’s always green.) Tell me where you live. Would you recommend it to someone thinking of buying nearby? Or do you wish to sell and move someplace else?

Let me know in the comments.

What Am I Thinking?

There comes a time in every person’s life when they pose the question, “Just what the heck am I thinking?”

I’ve had those moments all too often in my life. Looking back, I can see how I’ve learned from them. But in the heart of the juncture, I can’t always see the results. Or whether they will turn out good or bad.

So I’m here. About to make a big decision in life and I don’t know what the future holds. I desperately desire a perfect result. Or I can just go on being and living my life the way it is. Only time will tell if it was the right choice or not.

One thing is certain- I will be asking, “What am I thinking?”

Give It Away Now

It’s January! Just like everyone else- the start of the new year means time to get organized. Buying new totes for storage, drawer organizers, and packing up the stuff we hardly use. It also means donating and give aways.

Over the past two decades, my wife and I have collected items that we once thought we would use. Some we have even refinished and brought a new lease on life to. Other items fell by the wayside only to be a project that never happened. It’s those big items that we are about to list for someone else to give love towards.

None of these items belong in the trash. They’re just not suitable for our lives at this time. Hopefully this clears up some space in our house and make it feel more spacious.

Hours of house cleaning is behind us and hours more to come. Pretty sure our teenagers are getting frustrated, but they have stuff they’ve collected over the years that need to go as well.

Do you purge your home every January as well?

Sleep Tracking

Alrighty then. Since starting the other day with a Fitbit once more- (check out Avoiding 2021) I have been watching how active I am. My daily steps are still a couple thousand shy of the 10,000 that the app recommends. I even get a buzz on my wrist every hour telling me to walk.

That makes me feel a tad bit guilty.

Is that what Fitbit is meant to do? Bring out guilty feelings?

But the app also shows my sleeping habits. Which is Totally Something I Can Get Behind! Honestly- just search up the keywords “Sleep” or “Nap” in my blog and you will find tons of musings about the subject. Now that I have a reason to look at the app, it makes me happy.

I don’t like have a piece of tech telling me I’m not doing something. It pushes my emotions into a downward trend, which I don’t appreciate. It doesn’t motivate me to do more. Quite the opposite. It reminds me why I stopped wearing a Fitbit the first time around.

How do you feel wearing a Fitbit or smart watch that tracks your movement? Perhaps your experience is a positive one. Please share how that works for you.

Let me know in the comments.

Avoiding 2021…

My year is starting off great. I have been avoiding the first day of the year and almost completely missed it.

A late night of watching movies meant that I was going to sleep in. And did we ever. We were out of bed at 1:30pm. And had no ideas for what to do on our first day of the New Year. But losing half of it to sleeping was a great way to avoid it.

I figure if I sleep more, less bad stuff could possibly happen. That’s sound logic right? Perhaps tomorrow I can really get motivated. My wife has given me her old FitBit (again). She tried this almost five years ago and I shared in How exercise is going to kill me. But five years later, I’m really feeling old.

In all honesty I am proud of my hardest accomplishment- no drinking. I made it through one of the toughest seasons by remaining sober. That is not like the old me- previously I would’ve shared a bazillion photos of booze and fake smiles. Maybe this new me will get better use from his FitBit. Considering I put it on at 3pm, I did get 6665 steps in. A bit shy of the daily 10k but it’s a start.

Salt / Weight

I’m always trying to live a good life. With lots of positivity- even when life doesn’t go according to plan. As much as it’s a mental state that I need to create- my physical well being is a part of it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not exercise. I do some kayaking in the summer which I enjoy. Any physical labor I do around the house is also the extent of my active lifestyle. I will be changing that soon. Maybe a New Year’s resolution?

But in the meantime, my wife has gotten a few other items to make our life better. One of which is a Himalayan Pink Salt lamp. I put it on my nightstand a couple days ago and have left it on since then. The orange/pink hue is very soothing, even though we usually have a dark room. I’m sure we will get used to it.

The other item that my wife wanted was a Luna Weighted Blanket. Besides requiring two of us to lift it onto the bed- yes it is heavy- this thing is great. After using it for only a couple of nights, our sleeps have been so restful and fulfilling. It’s like our bed is giving us a hug to fall asleep in.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not always on board with alternative ideas for health. But once in a while, even the placebo effect can change one’s mood. In the end I enjoy the warm glow of the salt lamp and the weight of the blanket. Combined together make for a comfortable rest period.

Have you used either item? How do you like it? Let me know in the comments.

Christmas Day 2020

Our kids are much older now. In fact, we have late stage Teeanageritis. With a two year gap between all of them- 14,16,18. Someday soon they shall be adults. Spending Christmas with them is still important to my wife and I.

As with some traditions we have- first is always a picture in front of the living room door prior to entering and seeing what Santa left behind.

The first thing they get to open is their stockings. The stockings are mostly filled with toiletries and chocolates. A few little gifts hang out inside them next to a piece or two of fruit.

Second picture is in front of the tree. The anticipation of what comes next brings a certain childlike joy.

After a flurry of gift unwrapping and blurry photos, we are left with a large pile of paper trash.

For me, exhaustion kicks in by the end of the day. And a nap by the tree brings me joy. Even with a picture taken by my daughter with a staged toy on me.

All is well and done for the year.

Quiet Country Christmas Eve

After everything that happens at the start of the week, yesterday and today is relaxing.

We had a full afternoon yesterday of preparation of upcoming meals. This was followed by our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. The meal was had by candlelight and consisted of liver ball soup (yes, it is actually very tasty!) followed by schnitzel and potato salad.

After dinner was my yearly viewing of “A Christmas Story”. This has been my Christmas Eve movie of choice for decades now. Probably my favorite way to end Christmas Eve with the family before laying out the gifts for Christmas Morning.

Once the kids were off to bed, it was time to spread out the Christmas loot. After weeks (more like months) of Amazon orders, supporting small businesses, and creating handmade gifts- under our tree looked full once more. My wife and I worked hard at wrapping for weeks leading up to tonight. It was more challenging than usual because of the days of “off-site learning” the kids had.

But after all that has happened, here we are, about to begin Christmas Day. Merry Christmas one and all. May you celebrate quietly and happily as we do.

Christmas Eve 2020

Everyone I know has some sort of tradition they do around the holidays. This year, being what it is, may have adjusted or outright changed those traditions. We have a few that begin this afternoon. But first things first- we had a couple of other events that aren’t as exciting.

A big house cleaning is one of them. Dusting, floors, windows, even the skylight needs to get a good ol’ sparkle before we do anything else. The family loves to do that. *eyeroll*

Next is the sad realization that I need to do a quick shopping run for last minute items. A Baguette is on my list because the loaf I tried to bake this morning was a pretty good failure. I guess we have some bread lightsabers to swing around…

As well, because of the snowstorm on Monday our daughter’s driving lesson got moved to midday today. Which was totally fine since I was able to make my errands completed during her lesson.

So even though we have traditions that we will adhere to this afternoon/evening, our day was kind of like any other day. My wish is for all of you readers out there who do celebrate, to enjoy your Christmas Eve! No matter what it may bring.

Winter Solstice 2020: The Great Conjunction

Today, my family celebrates the Winter Solstice. In the past we have had a gathering of friends, food and fun. This year is a more relaxed vibe of just the family and food. But there is a special event happening in our sky today.

The Dark Crystal

To quite my Google Doodle search: “December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, but in 2020 the longest night of the year is also going to be a witness to an incredible astronomic event known as the “great conjunction”. … This rare double planet sighting–or “Great Conjunction”–can be viewed from anywhere around the globe.”

That’s pretty cool- seeing Jupiter and Saturn line up. This is type of moment that I hope to witness since it only occurs about every 400 years. Those with a clear sky should be able to witness this with a pair of binoculars or telescope. I look forward to seeing the photos online in the next day or two.

Let me know in the comments if you see the event or have plans to bear witness to this rare occasion.

And Have a Happy Winter Solstice!

Christmas at Williams Park

Every year, Williams Park in Langley puts on a Christmas light display. This is the 30th year. Driving through the park is our yearly tradition. We try and view it the weekend before Christmas.

For an event that is done by volunteers, it is laid out almost the same every year. Which is great because I like that I can count on it being the same. It brings a familiarity to the holidays.

Because Covid restrictions have cancelled large gatherings- the park had more vehicles arrive last week than it could handle. So for us to see it this week, we signed up online for a time slot. I’m glad we did because the spaces are all taken for this final weekend of lights.

This isn’t one of those shows where you pay an exorbitant amount of money for an Instagramable experience; this is all done by volunteers and donated lights. At the end of the drive through the park, we donated some money- as we do every year.

Afterwards, we drive around the town and look for beautiful displays that people put up. It’s always a great family bonding time as we listen to Christmas songs and share stories of the past.

Ice Mittens

Our home has been feeling colder than usual this year. No matter what I do to warm up, it never seems to be enough. I’m not alone either. I know my wife is cold at times as well. That’s because she shares her frigidness with me.

I swear that when I go to bed at the same time as her, she decides that her cold extremities need to touch the warm parts of my body. Her feet find my lower back or rub my calves the wrong way.

And then there are what I have dubbed over these past few years- her “Ice mittens”. Those hands of verglas that caress me into convulsions of terror. My squirms and shrieks only cause her to enjoy the torture she inflicts upon me. To say she is “cold hearted” is a lie. She is cold bodied.

It’s been going on for years. Somehow I manage to warm her up. It must be from the vibration of my shivering that causes friction to bring warmth to our bed.

Twelve Days Until Christmas

The home stretch is within sight everyone! Only a dozen days remaining until Christmas. Normally I’m out spending money frivolously about this time. Snatching up items that I think would help to fill out the gift piles of my wife and family. Most of those gifts just end up tossed in a drawer or the back of a closet before becoming landfill waste. Not this year however.

This year I am doing my part and staying home as much as possible. I feel as though I’ve already done my part in supporting local businesses and picked up some items a few weeks back. So staying home (when not at work) is also doing my part to keep myself and others healthy. No need to aimlessly wander the mall or stores trying to spend money that I don’t overly have to spend.

I don’t mind being at home during these final days of the year either. I get to enjoy some quality time with the family playing games and watching movies. Or just contemplating life as I stare at the decorations on our trees: Remembering when or where we picked up an ornament or two. And sometimes letting the lights catch my gaze until my vision becomes fuzzy and I feel warm inside.

It’s nice to just calm down and chill out. I forgot how wonderful it can be.