Successful Staycation

It’s back to work for the night shift this week. I’d have to say though, my staycation with a to-do list was more than successful. Here’s what I had planned:

  1. Finish my costume.
  2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
  3. Fix the sauna heater.
  4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
  5. Decorate for Halloween.
  6. Do some baking on Saturday.
  7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday
  • Numbers 1,4,5,6 & 7 were completed. Number 2 is almost done- I just need to buy a small amount of grout and seal it and my shower will be useable once more. Number 3 I am still avoiding. Don’t judge me…
  • However I did end up doing a few other projects that weren’t on my initial list.

    1. I installed a new stovetop.
    2. I painted the trim between the sunroom and the living room.
    3. I helped my son build his costume.
    4. I was involved in speed skating more.
  • Overall I think I was fairly productive with my time off. Now to get back into the work routine and utilize my days off as rest days once more. I just hope I remember how to do my job…
  • The First Set of Races

    So it begins. The first inter-club race of the Speed Skating season. Our club in Langley is hosting today- which means a lot of the parents from the club are volunteering in some aspect. Our two daughters are also helping for the entire day as “Place Judges”.

    This is the look of a tired parent who was here a couple of hours before races start to set up mats along the boards. Those mats help protect the skaters should they fall.

    We also have paramedics on stand-by should anything happen. This year I asked my buddy Greg if he would be available to help us out. He eagerly responded and was able to bring another 1st Aid Attendant with him.

    Only a few races in, and they’ve had to come and check on a couple of the kids who fell. No serious injuries, more just precautions. And of course my wife needed a bandaid. Sharpening the skates can be dangerous when you’re not careful!

    In the end, it’s amazing how a small community comes together in order to support these kids and teenagers in a sport that they love. I am proud that our son wants to achieve his goal of making it further in the sport.

    There are numerous kids and parents from the variety of clubs who also want the best for all of the children. Even though these are competitions, there is a comradery between us all. Positive encouragement is given to every skater. That brings me joy.

    What My Teenagers Do On A Friday Night

    Having teenagers can be difficult at times. Knowing what they’re up to in their free time can be even harder. My wife and I are lucky that we know exactly what ours are up to. They spend their Friday evenings at Speed Skating.

    Our two oldest don’t just skate, they volunteer their time to be assistant coaches to the new and younger skaters. The new skaters are first on the ice every Wednesday and Friday. Seeing our daughters out there enjoying themselves and helping others has inspired our son to start joining them early as well.

    After an hour and a half there is an ice cleaning. (The Zamboni Driver loves to give our high fives!) After which our kids hit the ice for their training. Which is far more rigorous. By the time we are home at 8:30 at night, our kids are tired and just want to veg watching some tv as a family.

    Getting kids into sports is a great way to keep kids and teens out of trouble. As much as it pains my pocketbook and cuts into my free time, I’m happy and proud of who they are becoming. I’ll gladly give up my Friday night to watch them bring joy to some of the younger kids.

    More Speed Skating Ice Time!

    The Langley Blades Speed Skating Club has been able to secure a couple of hours every Sunday at a sports complex that just opened. The complex is so new that they don’t even have the concession area rented out. I’m glad that our little club jumped at an opportunity to get more ice time- this will be beneficial to all of our skaters as well as future skaters.

    The new location is just a twenty minute drive from the Langley Sportsplex where we skate twice a week and have our competition meets. It may seem odd that our club has some new time at North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex, but we have skaters who live in Surrey. This is a great opportunity for them to be closer to home and maybe garner more speed skaters to join.

    This new ice looks pristine and will be a great opportunity for the skaters to get more practices in. Speed Skating always seems like an afterthought at these places. Hockey and Figure Skating always comes first. We are lucky to get the time slots we do and when new times come available, the skating clubs push to try and secure a couple of hours.

    Personally, our family does a lot of traveling around to make the most of the opportunities to speed skate. Every week our son skates 4-5 days for a couple of hours each time. It’s not just in Langley mind you. We also travel to Maple Ridge and Abbotsford in order to get some training. Some of the skaters at those clubs come out to Langley as well. It’s quite the little community of skaters all sharing in the knowledge and expertise of the sport.

    Now that we have a Surrey location- maybe there will be a new club created. But in the meantime, they shall carry the Blades name for the foreseeable future.

    For more information about our club, visit Langley Blades or find them on Facebook. We’d love to see more up and comers join in the sport.

    Marking Ice

    Speed Skating Ice requires marking at the start of the season. We share the rink with hockey and figure skating. Thursday morning, a few of the parents (and a coach) came out to do it. It’s more time consuming than I once thought. This is the third time I’ve helped out and the sixth time my wife has.

    Marking the ice requires strict measurements so the the skaters can have accurate results for their times.

    We each had a job to do. A few of us were measuring marking where we needed to place dots. One person was drilling holes for the dots, while two people painted the bottom of each one a different colour.

    My job was to go around with a spray bottle and fill the holes back up with water once the paint began to freeze. I had to walk laps around the rink slowly filling each hole with water. A bit over a hundred holes and an hour and a half of walking. I began singing to myself “Watering the dots. I’m watering the dots..” to the tune of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland’s “Painting the Roses Red”.

    It was a good feeling knowing that what we were doing will benefit the skaters all year. I like to think that our volunteering and support goes a long way. Now we are ready to start cheering and coaching the skaters for another season.

    The Parents Who Volunteer

    Fort St. John is a small community with a large Speed Skating Oval. While here, our kids got to experience a true sense of a tight knit community supporting their dreams.

    The parents of almost every skater has volunteered their time in many aspects. From photography to lap counting to place judging and every background position possible. Setting up these meets and camps just to promote the kids and their goals.

    The statue out front of the Pomeroy Sports Centre shows a father tying up his kid’s skates. This is the perfect representation of how sports bring forth a sense of family and camaraderie. I’ve tied my fair share of ice skates for many kids already. It’s a sense of encouragement that can mean so much out there.

    I also love to hear the cheering going on for every child out there on the ice. The parents, coaches and other skaters cheer one another on. I’ve mentioned this before, but I still delight from the enthusiastic energy produced.

    It makes all the difference in the world to many of these kids.

    Olympic Dreams

    We spent thIs past week in Fort St. John in order for our kids to get some Long Track Speed Skating training. It wasn’t until Thursday that I realized this is an Olympic Goal for many. Even those not just in British Columbia, or let alone Canada, but around the world.

    When we were in Calgary we saw the Chinese Olympic Speed Skating Team doing their training. Now they are training in Fort St. John alongside my kids. This seems crazy to me because of course I want our son to succeed in his goal. I thought our 12 and 14 hour road trips were extreme. But flying in from China- that’s dedication.

    This week our kids had an opportunity to learn and skate with Denny Morrison. A Long Track Olympic Speed Skater for Canada who got his start here in Fort St. John. Our daughter was even excited to have her Speed Skating helmet signed by Denny Morrison. I think our kids forget that they get coached by Eden Donatelli and her husband Julian Green. Both of these coaches have competed in the Olympics (having met at the 1988 Olympics).

    After asking our son if he remembers a time before Julian, and he does not. The drive and ambition to achieve an Olympic Dream is strong in our son. He’s been coached for many years and has a strong backing supporting him. If he wants to get to the world stage, then we shall help him any way we can. Including these trips to Fort St. John or Calgary and any other provinces or counties this may take us to.

    Why We’re In Fort St. John

    I guess I should write about why we’re up in Fort St. John for the week. This is another week of Speed Skating training camp at a Long Track ice rink. Our son is getting more and more competitive at Short Track Speed Skating and wants to set his sights higher. So last month while we were in Calgary: The Fastest Ice we picked up some Long Track boots and blades for him. This week he is doing more training and he’s learning lots. Our daughter also wanted to come to the camp. We rented her some Long Track skates for the week and she is wanting to learn the officiating aspect as well.

    We’ve spent the last few days at the Pomeroy Sports Centre… okay I’m a liar- we drop the kids off and they spend the day training. The building boasts two hockey rinks on the main level, a large oval on the second level and a walking track on the third level. Every day my wife and I show up early for pick up and walk the track for a few laps.

    Both of our kids have made a ton of friends this trip. Wednesday night was a BBQ hosted by the local Speed Skating Club. Our kids abandoned us so they could hang with these friends. One day they will also be the competition, but they are all getting along famously right now.

    I like the Speed Skating culture. Everyone is encouraging and wanting the each other to be successful.

    Fort St. John

    We are in Fort St. John for a Speed Skating camp that our two youngest are attending. My wife and I are free for the whole day while the kids workout and train. Which now begs the question- “What does one do while in Fort St. John, BC?”

    For starters I took a nap while my wife played video games. Not too shabby a start.

    Seriously though. The city’s slogan is “The Energetic City” so there best be something behind this. Only… I think the slogan isn’t about the nightlife. We decided to do the “Number 3 Tourist Attraction” which I found in Google.

    We ended up at the Site C Dam visiting a lovely chainlink fence. Actually the telescopes opened up the ability to see more of the construction going on. There were plenty of information kiosks in the parking lot explaining the history of the land and the plans to keep the project environmentally friendly.

    Afterwards we stopped at Beards Brewing for some of the best beer I’ve tried in quite some time. This stop is a must if you end up in Fort St. John.

    We are hoping that today the weather clears up after raining all night. We brought our kayaks and are looking forward to exploring some local waters.

    What Does $1000 Look Like?

    Recently I finished a set off doors for our home. I’m really happy with the results. But it got me thinking about how $1000 can look differently every time. With each and every purchase or experience being worthwhile.

    I treated my wife to a night out on the town at a spa and hotel. We needed that time off. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

    We bought tickets to Queen for the five of us. Such an amazing show. Queen

    We now have a back up generator for when the power goes out. Like it does every year… sometimes for days on end.

    My son got a pair of Long Track Speed Skates. Chasing that Olympic Dream! Fastest Ice

    We bought a couple of kayaks and accessories. Gotta stay in shape as we grow older. Kayak Adventure

    That’s all from this year. In the past- a thousand dollars bought three iPad Minis, or a video game system and accessories, or tickets to Disneyland, even a new mattress…

    Like they say, a thousand here and thousand there- pretty soon it adds up to real money.

    I’m starting to feel broke. Maybe it’s time to slow down on the spending. The kids need a post secondary education. A thousand bucks might buy a couple of textbooks.