Ack Ack Kayak!

So… I was at the Grade Seven camp a little over a week ago when I tried Kayaking for the first time. I enjoyed it tremendously. My wife hates me because of this.

She hates me because for years now she’s been trying to get me to go kayaking with her. When I finally did go on a whim without her, I wanted to go again. I really should listen to her the first time around…

As I mentioned yesterday- I put on a new Roof Rack on my Nissan Rogue. It was to prepare for the possibility of getting a kayak. My wife finished work at six last night and wanted to go price some kayaks out. I’d been looking online at places and prices earlier in the week, but it was my wife who wanted to go and search for herself. Unfortunately we only went to one place- Canadian Tire. Not my usual place to go shopping- however we do find some great deals on occasion- like our bbq grill about four years ago.

Anyways, window shopping for a kayak turned into buying a kayak. Make that buying two kayaks at a wickedly good price (they had them marked incorrectly but honored the price). These kayaks also came with oars and straps to take them away on the roof of my car. (As reference I found similar ones at Costco by the same manufacturer for $160 more each.)

I’m happy with the purchase to make our lives healthier. We just need to find the time to hit the water together.

And maybe my wife will forgive my ignorance all these years. Or she’ll drown me. Either way- we own a couple of kayaks now!

Roof Racks

Today was a day of roof racks. How exciting! One was for my Nissan Rogue. The other was for our Honda Element.

The Rogue was super easy, but super expensive. I shopped around to find crossbars, however it seems that Nissan Dealers all charge the same. $350 after taxes and five minutes of my labor and the Rogue is ready to start transporting stuff. It does look pretty slick mind you.

The Element was more challenging. Since the vehicle was discontinued a few years ago, accessories aren’t readily available from dealerships or online. So it was time to improvise and see what other people have done. After a couple of YouTube videos and a sense of, “That looks easy.” I took on the challenge.

We had an old display shelf that was the perfect length and the bars are durable. The Element is already boxy, so the square metal tube from the shelf fits in nicely. I hit the hardware section of a few stores to find a metal corner edge, bolts and some pins. I measured out the bracket sizes and cut four pieces with my hacksaw. After filing the edges, I bolted them into the roof. (The Element had bolt holes hidden in the top side panels making it easy to attach these brackets.) I used an angle grinder to slice out the perfect slit in the rails. Then I drilled holes that lined up with the brackets and tested my pins. Everything fit perfectly. Lastly was to remove everything once more and give it the first coat of black paint.

All that’s left is to figure out how to add crossbars in order to retain the durability. So far the roof rack for our Element has cost about $20, some recycled materials, a few fantastic YouTube lessons and a couple of hours of labor. Not too shabby I guess. Plus I really enjoyed working with my hands creating something useful for our car. I can’t wait to see the finished product and go camping!

Carving Up An Education

Our middle child entered grade nine back in September. The one thing about her is that she strives for excellence in all of her classes. A few years ago, her grade four teacher advised us that she could easily skip a grade because of her intellect. My wife and I discussed this at great lengths but came to the conclusion that as proud as we would be in pushing this, we wanted our daughter to remain amongst her peers. This proved to be the right decision socially.

Back to the start of this school year…

Our daughter had made her selections for classes the year prior and was looking forward to some of the possibilities that awaited her. When she found out at the start of the school year that she’d be taking a class she had zero interest in- let’s just say disappointment was prevalent. That class you may ask?

Carving.

Once she began the year, she took it quite well. Her ambition to maintain straight “A’s” took over the disappointment factor. So she aced the class. It didn’t surprise me. The reason being- her Opa is fantastic at working with wood.

My wife’s father was a brick layer by trade, but enjoyed wood working and cabinetry as well. Much of our home was created and envisioned by him. Our children have been surrounded by his talents so naturally it opened up a door to their hidden abilities.

I love seeing something made from nothing so to speak. Creating art from a piece of wood or a blank canvas makes me happy.

Honda Element Keyless Entry Install

We’ve had our Honda Element since 2003 when the first model came out. We picked up a mid price range Element EX in five speed manual transmission. A fantastic crossover suv with hardly any issues. The only thing that became bothersome over the years was the door locks.

Having the key stop working to unlock the doors began within the first couple years. Twice the dealership repaired the locks at no charge. I guess it’s a known issue for Hondas. Eventually we just became accustomed to not locking the car or restoring to crawling in through the trunk. I’m too old for that. Time to see about a keyless entry for the vehicle.

Last week I went to one of those car audio places to see about getting a keyless entry installed. Cheapest unit and time was going to cost me $500. Ugh. Time to search the interwebs. I found a couple of videos on YouTube of people who had figured out how to install the keyless entry. I picked up a genuine Honda part on Amazon and had it arrive at my home two days later.

I came home from work yesterday and picked up the mail to discover the package. Alright, Amazon is pretty awesome. After watching videos of other people installing this part, I figured I could hammer it out before dinner.

Reading online and watching videos saying that it can be installed in five minutes meant the challenge was on. I hit my stopwatch from the moment I opened the car door to the time it took to install the part and put everything back.

2 Minutes 23 Seconds.

We can now lock and unlock our door. Best $140 I have spent in a long time. The part had a spot all ready for it. Now I see why people love owning Hondas. Our Element is essentially the same as a CRV with many of the same parts interchangeable. Keeping costs way down on repairs.

I’m happy again with the car. Now to possibly upgrade the stereo!

Check out last year’s Camperizing a Honda Element or a couple of years ago where we couldn’t decide if we should Repair it or Replace it.

Healthy Lifestyle both Physically and Mentally

As I get older I feel that my life needs a bit more of a health upgrade. My wife is constantly pushing me to be more active. And she’s right. Look at yesterday for example:

I become stagnant and inert sometimes without realizing it. Yesterday she accomplished nearly 12,000 steps. I barely did 1700. As you can see- her goal is significantly higher than mine. Now that I’m in my early 40’s- it’s time to really start looking at my future.

I’m planning to retire by my mid 50’s. Which means besides being financially secure by then, I also want to be able to enjoy life. I don’t see myself hitting the gym, but walking more and getting off my phone to see the world are becoming more prevalent choices in order to feel healthy. So I also took a drastic approach to my cellphone addiction on Sunday.

On Sunday, as I was waiting for my son to compete in his Speed Skating competition, I noticed how everyone in the stands was on their phones- hardly interacting with one another. Naturally, I took out my phone and opened Facebook. This is when I realized I have a problem. It became clear that even though in the past I have taken a month hiatus periodically from the Social Media- I needed to do more. So I began by looking at my “Friends” list. I removed people to try and “clean house”.

By the end, I had removed nearly everyone on my list. There is now only my wife and daughters, my three friends who have passed away and two fellows whom I respect in many ways. One is a hard working artist, the other is my son’s coach. It took four days before anyone noticed that they weren’t my “Friend” anymore. The one who did notice is a close friend of mine and messaged me last night. Others may not have noticed, because if they follow my Blog- they are still seeing me posts on a daily basis because WordPress shares directly there for me.

After nearly 12 years on Facebook, it is tough to just give it up. I have kept my Facebook “alive” in order to read stories and news articles from groups that I follow. As well as to interact with those who comment on my blog posts. A couple of years ago I stopped using Twitter. The one social media I do enjoy is Instagram. I follow many of my Former Facebook Friends on their and enjoy seeing quick snapshots of their adventures.

Maybe one day I’ll regret dropping all of those Facebook contacts. I didn’t announce it to the world at the time because it really shouldn’t be a big deal. So I guess this is that announcement just to let people know. Time for me to move on. And by move, I mean walk more. Healthy living should be both physical and mental.

A new journey lies ahead. If I put my phone down- I’ll see where I’m going.

Axe-Holes Of Bad Axe

Yesterday for my 43rd birthday, I gathered up eight fellas and we went out for a “Guys Night”. Or is it called a “Bro Date”? Anyways, it was a night out without significant others or children. Time needed to blow off some steam.

I arranged a couple of hours for us all at a place called Bad Axe– where we got to throw axes at a target. It was something that none of us had tried before and it seemed like a great way to celebrate my birthday.

We had an instructor who taught us how to throw the axes as well as the safety precautions we needed to take. There was a variety of throwing styles and axes available to throw. There was a bit of a learning curve to it. I favored a heavier axe with the two hand approach. After a few failed attempts by each of us- we began to get better.

We split into teams and had a few competitive challenges. I’d say that 75% of the time the target was hit. Not the bullseye- just the target. I’ll also say that 100% of the time there was smack talk going on. Anything to throw off the other guy’s concentration. Needless to say- we were all Axe-Holes by the end strutting our stuff when we hit the target.

The staff were amazing and fun. The two hours of axe throwing went by quickly. It was a great experience that I would gladly go back for. I’d recommend it for anyone to give it a go. Watch how easily I hit the target, anyone can do it:

Three Years of Blogging

I have now done three years of daily blogging.

Woot-woot!

This is a great achievement for me since I write each and every blog post myself. I actually missed my anniversary date by a day which to me means that I’ve made writing a daily routine that I cannot miss. Those times I’m out of WiFi or cellular range- I’ll “schedule” a post.

Every day I write about something that piques my interest. Note: I just had to look up which word to use- peak,peek or pique. I enjoy writing about my adventures, my family and my thoughts.

After three years of writing I have also become a more positive person in my interactions and stories. If you look back at my works you may notice that I avoid using negative words or connotations. This positivity has made me like who I am a great deal more than I expected.

Of course I am human after all, and my world does have moments that can be more unicorn farts and pixie poops than I want to share. But throwing a learning moment, revelation or change of action helps to turn my mood around.

I have more stories to share and a life to live. I hope that all of my readers and followers have enjoyed checking out my life and adventures. Thank you for a wonderful three years!

2018 In Review

I went back and took a look at my year of blogging.  I found some interesting stats about my daily musings.

I wrote 88,008 words all year.  An average of 241 words per post.  Not too shabby. Until I looked at 2017.

In 2017, I wrote 103,847 words for an average of 285 per post. uh-oh

Going back to when I first began blogging in 2016 (which I started Jan 18th) I wrote 127,373 words that first year. For an average of 374 words per post.

Clearly, my writing needs more work going into 2019.


Back to my year in review.

My top 5 viewed posts were:

Data Hogs I got a lot of comments on social media about this one. Seems like there are others like me who want better data coverage in Canada.

What To Give… This one was a tough day of parenting. I shared more feelings than facts here. It’s funny though, I used the same title later in the year for my thoughts on Christmas.

Penzer Parkour Park Which was published in June 2017. Chances are it was people looking up the park itself and stumbled on my blog.

Life Lesson Apparently I wasn’t alone in having to let kids make decisions that they need to learn from. Again, parenting can be tough.

Tied for 5th were these two blog posts:

Trip Planning at Age 11 Even though later in the year our son had to learn a tough lesson, back in January he helped plan our trip to Tokyo.

Dinner Train This was one of the most fun dates I have had with my wife. We look forward to doing it again!


I had numerous blog posts that I was happy with. However, they kind of fell into the middle of the pack. I enjoyed writing about Tokyo and traveling. As well as trying to write more positive and uplifting style blogs. Of course not everything was well received.


My worst 3 performing ones (because I don’t want to share 5) were:

Where Was My Father Figure in those 1980’s Movies? The title was kind of long. I wonder if that helped with my word count for the year?

A Day To Myself I guess people didn’t want to hear what I do when I have time to myself.

Just Music This one is so short that you could’ve been able to read it in the preview without even opening up the blog.


In looking at all of my blog posts, I am unsure of what it was about them that made them stand out or not stand out.

  • Was it the keywords?
  • The day/time I posted?
  • How I shared them?
  • The content?

I’m not sure if there is an answer as to why or why not a post is successful. Having a chance to look back at my year, I have a few goals to set up for 2019.

WRITE MORE- Obviously I was getting lazy or rushed when it came to my writing. The more I write, the more I felt the need to just get it out there. Time to fix that curse and get back to perfecting my posts before publishing.

DO RESEARCH- I need to see what I can do to get my writing out there more frequently. What I have read in  the past seems easy, but I feel that I am taking that knowledge for granted.  As I mentioned earlier, What is it that can make me stand out more?

READ MORE- I need to start reading more blogs. I have a few that I follow and truly get some great inspiration from. I want to find more authors out there that I can share ideas with and read about their experiences.

I shall continue to write every day.  I find it relaxing and a good exercise in clearing thoughts out of my mind. I hope that my reads continue to read about the thoughts on my life.

I also hope to expand my readership level. that being said, if you like any of my posts, please share them amongst friends or on social media. I’d appreciate it. And a big thank you for following along and commenting! All the best for 2019 to everyone out there!

(715 Words!)

Re-String

I learned something new this week from a coworker of mine. How to re-string a guitar. At first I was intimidated by the notion- since I’ve never really had any experience with it. But I knew I could do it with a bit of guidance.

First, we removed the old strings and gave the guitar a wipe down. I learned about using an oil as well on the fretboard to protect the wood. I also learned about how to adjust the neck if required to straighten it out.

I had taken the advice of getting a set of thinner gauge wire for my daughter to use. They will be easier for her hands to help create the sound she will be happier with. I’m looking forward to hearing her play once again.

After learning what needed to be done and the care we should put into the maintenance of the guitar, I’m feeling much more comfortable about doing it myself. It’s not rocket appliances. In fact, next time I will teach my daughter what needs to be done so that she can take it on herself.

Any further advice on care of guitars would be appreciated in your comments!

Update the Kitchen- Budget Friendly

About a month ago I mentioned that we are thinking of Moving. But the home we are in is still a perfect size for our family at the moment. We’d only be moving for a short time, then have to downsize again later as it is once the kids move out. They do move out, right?

So my wife and I made a list of all the things we want done to finalize our home. That way we can spend the next while enjoying the house before selling. The number one thing was our kitchen. But our budget is really low. Like really, really, really low.

We couldn’t afford a total gut job of $25,000, so I called Home Depot about getting just the cabinet doors replaced. $6500 to start. Ouch. Next option? Paint. That’s more in our budget. And I found a product that does it for a fraction of the cost.

We bought Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit from Home Depot instead (as well as some new hardware for the drawer pulls). A little bit of hard work and preparation is required in order to change our cupboards into some much nicer. Out with the orange oak and into an elegant whitewashed antique style.

The process is time consuming to be honest. We have 20+ doors to redo. First is a deep scrub followed by two coats of white chalk like paint. Then a brown stain is applied and wiped off. Once dry a finishing coat is added. Simple, easy, and I have been truly enjoying it.

Over the course of three days, I have completed about 1/3 of the kitchen. My wife and I are loving the final results. It’s updated the kitchen on a budget spending less than $400 on paint, supplies and hardware. The only downside is the time it is taking me to complete the project. Our kitchen is in some disarray but I’ll get it done in a few more days.

If you’re a DIYer like myself, this product is fantastic. I’ll gladly recommend this to anyone who wants an updated kitchen at a low cost. I can’t wait to show off the final result to our friends at our next dinner party!