Shelved

Our kitchen is larger than our last one. There is great use of space in most of it, and a beautiful flow making it easy to navigate. There are a couple of down sides however.

The first one is that the pantry is far smaller than we are used to. It’s basically a broom closet with shelves. This will take us some getting used to, but is completely manageable. The second was an empty space with just a countertop. It looks like the space was originally created a decade ago for a phone or computer. So it was time to do something with the empty space and make it functional.

My wife and I were trying to find cabinets that we would like. But with the world being what it is, most products were on back order or not what we wanted to match our home. Since we have a certain style, it was time to get creative. I love a good diy.

Since we love dark woods and the industrial look, we came up with a plan over brunch while out in Fort Langley. Why not reclaim some wood we have and build our own shelves? I made a farm table once before. This should be easier.

A quick stop at Home Depot for some iron pipes and connectors- and voilá- shelf brackets. I went with ten inch wide pipe and twelve inch for height, with a small bar at the top to finish it off.

I needed some help to measure the anchor holes prior to hanging it up. My wife also suggested that we measure from where the coffee maker opens to so we don’t have issues trying to make our favorite beverage. What a smart lady. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes on a project.

Oh and those wood slats? They came from an old IKEA bed frame. Soon I will stain the pine wood a darker colour to match the other stuff we have. With the cost of lumber these days, I’m glad we didn’t throw them away.

So that was my quick project for our coffee bar and cookbook shelves. I like the openness of the shelves and the industrial look that matches our tastes. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Lego Bonsai

Today we went shopping for some summer clothes. We also went to a couple of stores just because we were at the mall. One of those stores happened to be The Lego Store. I totally did a spontaneous purchase of a Lego set.

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

We got it home and decided to put it together as a family. This is the first set we have built in the new house. It’s also been years since we last tried to build a set together. The Lego Spaceship from The Lego Movie was an ordeal and a half one Christmas! We were lucky to not repeat that fiasco.

But we were able to work together and got it completed rather quickly. We even had a spot all picked out at the bottom of our stairs for it to hang out. I think it looks really neat.

As well, when spring comes around, we can change the bonsai tree into a Sakura tree.

Back To Work Blues

Vacation doesn’t last forever. It was time to return to work last night. After getting through a couple thousand emails, I was up to date with the operation. But in the back of my mind all night was thoughts of our new home.

When I finished my night shift, I headed home and got into some swim trunks. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed down to the pool. As exhausted as I was from doing my first night shift in ages, I still enjoyed the refreshing water. I’m even contemplating doing yoga this summer.

Standing on my deck I realized- this is my lifestyle now. You know what else? In two weeks I have some more vacation time to chill out in our yard. I plan on owning the summer and making the most of what we have.

Raised Spirits

After a week in our new home, it was time to enjoy quality time together. Boy was it fun!

This evening before dinner, we all hung out at the pool. Loads of laughter and splashing. It was an excellent way to cool off after a smoldering hot day.

To finalize our family time together we did something we always do. We watched a movie as a family. The movie of choice? Spirited Away. A favorite amongst us all. We love Studio Ghibli movies and enjoyed visiting Studio Ghibli when we travelled to Tokyo a few years back.

We also chose this film because it starts with a family on their way to their new home, yet adventure takes hold. It’s the perfect film to boost our spirits amongst the chaos of unpacking. I’m so happy to feel like a family once more. Stress is behind us.

Time to live our best lives.

Morning Break

Moving into a new home is tough. I’m still tackling the organization of whatever storage we have available. I’m also planning more ideas in order to help with future storage.

But this morning I had to take a break in our pool. Taking a breather in order to relish in what we bought was needed. Chances are I’ll do the same tomorrow morning and the next. I need to remember that all this hard work needs to be appreciated.

Making Space In The Garage

It’s been over 14 years since we had a garage. And the last time we did, only one car could fit. Prior to our move on Saturday- we labeled a bunch of boxes as “Garage” thinking we’d have loads of space. Boy were we wrong.

Today, we dug out about half of the garage. Christmas boxes went in the attic, boxes of tools were moved to the proper location, other boxes were emptied and put away. I was also able to set up a shelving unit to store our Rubbermaid bins.

After a full morning of rearranging and storing, we successfully were able to park my wife’s car in half of the garage! That’s quite the accomplishment if I do say so myself.

Too bad we still have to unbury the rest of the garage. And kitchen. And dining room. And living room. And bedrooms. And… you get the idea. But one goal at a time.

Goodbye

So long, goodbye
I'll see you when I see you
You can pick the street
I'll meet you on the other side
So long, goodbye
Do I really have to finish?
Do returns always diminish?
Did I say that right?

Time to bid farewell to a home that my wife’s father built 49 years ago. It’s been our family home for the last 14 years. During which time I renovated, repaired, revived, and even at times resented. These past four months have been a difficult time as we prepared ourselves to leave. There was no chance that we were going to leave on a negative note, so we continued to enjoy the house and yard right to the last possible moment.

2008.

But today is the last day. A chaotic good change is occurring. Our home is filled with boxes and people moving those boxes for us. I really don’t have much more to say on the subject that I haven’t previously. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.

So long brick house. Goodbye parenting memories. Farewell country living. Our castle gave us a roof over head and natural beauty on the doorstep. Everything this home could offer us, it successfully accomplished.

Thank you Castle Havelka.

We love you.

1

So this is it. One day until we move. This countdown has been keeping me distracted from talking about the real feelings I have about this move. Joy, sadness, stress, fear… but wait there’s more! Today I will focus on what number 1 means to me.

I have a best friend since Grade 1. That’s over forty years of friendship. We have been through quite a bit of life’s journeys together- including sharing advice with one another. He is coming out tonight with his son to help us with our move in the morning. It’s wonderful that his son is friends with my son since birth. That’s been going strong for fifteen years now.

“One love, one heart
Let’s join together and a-feel all right.”

My wife is my one true love. She has been a wonderful partner in all of these years that I have been on this planet. Without her, I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to living this lifestyle. I talk about her regularly. She is my number 1.

With one life to live, I’m excited to continue my journey on this planet. Creating a new homestead with fresh memories.

Hello

Our first full day in the new house has begun. The foray of chaos yesterday ended, yet the unpacking will remain for days, nay– weeks on end.

It was a bittersweet move. Emotions ran high yesterday. Everyone was happy to experience our new home and we took our first family photo in the backyard. I even broke my dry spell of almost 300 days and sipped on sparkling wine and then had a beer poolside.

Before that- I started the evening off for everyone by taking the first jump into our pool. The weather was perfect and the water was fine.

Once everyone was gone, we enjoyed seeing a sunset for the first time in years from our backyard. As much as I loved the tress in our last place, I have really been enjoying the million dollar view we have now.

As we greet our new neighbors we are also looking for some names for our home. The last place we titled, “Castle Havelka”. Our Internet still says Castle, but I’m thinking since we moved up we should call it “Kingdom Havelka”.

Let me know in the comments some suggestions for a new name should be. For now, it’s time to tackle more boxes.

1001 Days Straight

WordPress recently congratulated me on 1001 days straight of blog posts. That’s a lot of stories about me and my life experiences. However, I’ve actually written more than that. 1001 days puts me only to the end of August 2018.

I’ve written in this blog every day since January 27,2016. That’s 1950 days. I hit a few technical issues in the years of blogging which explains why it didn’t count every single day posted. Computers, am I right? Wait, I use my iPhone 98% of the time to write.

I have enjoyed journaling here in hopes that my experiences are uplifting and relatable to those who do read my blog. I enjoy writing about parenting, traveling, music, movies, memories, growing old, and kindness. Sometimes I stray from that and share a bittersweet or sad story. But it’s generally about me and my thoughts for the day.

As always, thank you to my devoted followers for reading my tales. They may never become a bestseller novel, but the stories are mine to share.

21

May 29,2000. Twenty one years ago my wife and I met. We have been together almost every day since then. Any time we have been apart, we have spoken on the phone. The time we have had apart is so minimal that I’d hazard a guess it’s been less than one month all added up.

We are moving into our dream home in twenty one days. I am nervous and excited at the same time. Change is good. Like all of the changes that have entered my life, the biggest ones have occurred with Lee-Anne by my side.

In all this time, my wife has- and will be- the constant that makes my life matter most. She has pushed me beyond my comfort levels and helped in creating who I am today. From parenting to career to travel to just living life- after meeting Lee-Anne my journey has been a whirlwind of excitement.

In July we will celebrate twenty years of marriage. In our new home, with an adult child and two teenagers to celebrate with us. I’m always amazed to look back at life and see the journey we have been on. Sometimes you miss the process as you are in the midst of it.

Twenty One. What a great number.

On Track Photos

I love taking pictures of the artwork on rail cars. I enjoy how an image can tell a quick story.

I also like taking my pictures with a bit of an artistic flare. It’s amazing how lighting and backgrounds can change the feel of the image so easily. Not to mention the filters that smartphones and apps have available. An original image can change completely given the appropriate filter.

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is easy enough. Especially if the art is worthy of a photograph. Catching the right light and angle is also important. Rule of thirds, leading lines, framing- any of the photographer’s special gambit of artistic flair is made easy using railroads and rail cars. I have been doing it for years in order to perfect those skills I learned in high school photography almost thirty years ago.

I appreciate Instagram for being able to showcase and see some fantastic images. There are a lot of talented photographers out there who make a subject jump out at you and make you feel emotion.

I’m feeling contented and courageous by sharing my pictures regularly. I hope you all enjoy seeing the art from my point of view that others have painted. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and see more pictures of rail cars and my life.

Drone On

Our oldest child is about to finish her first year of post secondary education. Because she is attending British Columbia Institute of Technology, there has been a good variety of in-class and remote learning happening. Her area of study is in film.

She has been enjoying all the different aspects of being behind the camera. She has had an introduction to filming, editing, sound, directing, and everything else involved. I love hearing about it all and how excited she is when she successfully accomplishes one of the tasks or projects. She has been putting in long hours and determination.

Yesterday she was learning how to use drones to create professional images and movies. Using drones may not be exciting to some, but these aren’t the little ones you buy at Walmart. Her class had a good day to test them out and these are a few photos she took.

Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, our daughter will be unable to take on any apprenticeships this summer. She is hoping that after next year things open up and she can utilize her skills in a more hands-on approach. BCIT has been good to her and her skill sets. I’m proud of what she has been doing so far and love to see her sense of accomplishment as her projects get completed.

Six Times Nine Equals Forty Two

Okay. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is…

42

That’s 42 days from now!

In six weeks we are moving to our new house. Our entire life, universe and everything will be changing. This is hitting a 9 out of 10 on the stress scale now.

I’m terrified and excited at the same time. The fact that we had such a long closing date for leaving here and the possession of our new home has been both a blessing and a curse. The countdown seems so far away still. Yet we have the majority of our home packed up. Which is great, except that we are living in only a portion of our house at the moment.

Our living room is packed with boxes all labeled to where they need to go in our new home. No more theater room and watching shows on our big screen. My wife’s studio is also filled. All of the bedrooms have a stack of boxes and this new chaos feels like it is running rampant in our home. The most empty space we have at this time is our yard. We cleared out so much debris outside that our land looks enormous once more.

For the next month and a half, we will be enjoying the outdoors a bit more than normal. Every year we have enjoyed dining outdoors. This year will be no different. Even when we move- we will enjoy the outdoors.

Enough blogging. Back to packing. Hmmm… I wonder which Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote I should focus on:

  • “Don’t Panic.” …
  • “Time is an illusion. …
  • “Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”

Count Us In

Look what came in the mail today! So excited, I can hardly contain myself.

2021 Canadian Census!

This is the most dry and boring questionnaire around. But filling it out is “The Law” so it’s done.

Completing the census doesn’t really excite me. It’s up there in the range of taxes or jury duty. It’s something you just have to do, so you do it. Or at least someone in the household has to do it. I did it this year.

Can’t wait to see the results. I hope we passed.

Pink Super Moon

It seems the clouds stayed away last night in order for those of us awake to enjoy the Pink Super Moon. It was moments like that which made me want a better camera than just my iPhone.

So for today’s blog, I went online and found some pictures in order to share. Now to be honest, it was definitely a large looking full moon. But the pink was not nearly as prominent as I originally thought it would be. It was still really neat looking with more of a Himalayan Pink Salt hue to it.

From where I worked, the moon appeared vibrant and shiny. I am looking forward to setting up my telescope once more to check out the night sky. Currently having trees tends to obscure those types of views.

Perhaps I will become a more avid sky gazer in our next house.

Did you see the pink super moon last night? Or perhaps you even took some spectacular photos. Please share them with me, I’d love to see them

Pink Super Moon

It seems the clouds stayed away last night in order for those of us awake to enjoy the Pink Super Moon. It was moments like that which made me want a better camera than just my iPhone.

So for today’s blog, I went online and found some pictures in order to share. Now to be honest, it was definitely a large looking full moon. But the pink was not nearly as prominent as I originally thought it would be. It was still really neat looking with more of a Himalayan Pink Salt hue to it.

From where I worked, the moon appeared vibrant and shiny. I am looking forward to setting up my telescope once more to check out the night sky. Currently having trees tends to obscure those types of views.

Perhaps I will become a more avid sky gazer in our next house.

Did you see the pink super moon last night? Or perhaps you even took some spectacular photos. Please share them with me, I’d love to see them

Covid Vaccine: 1st Dose

I was so sure that I wouldn’t be able to get my first vaccine shot until July. Today was my day to go and get jabbed. I’m hopeful this first round of the vaccine for me does some good.

Family flu shot

Every year I get my Flu Shot. Almost every year I do not get the flu. I really hope that will be the same case with the Covid vaccine. Missing part of my lung has me on the paranoid side of cautious. Last year it took me months to get out of the house to go grocery shopping. I still prefer if my wife goes.

I have gotten better about just going out. But I choose to go out during days and times when I know the potential of crowds are minimal. Or even non-existent. I still sanitize too much and wash my hands every chance I get. I also keep my distance from everyone. (That may be normal anyways.)

I want my paranoia to go away. I see the vaccine shot as my chance to behave normal-ish. Feel free to judge me, but I’m getting my shot, and I’ll likely still wear my mask until well after getting part two of the shot. Covid won’t vanish overnight. But it should diminish.

Waiting to get my shot- there was no one there. Just me. Sitting quietly as I wrote today’s blog. I also did some more online research into the version of the Covid Vaccine I was about to receive. Yeah, there are potential side effects. But that’s the same with all medications. Being a young (encroaching on middle age), virile, somewhat healthy, male- I’m not too worried.

For those wondering which first dose vaccine I received- AstraZeneca. My second dose will be in about four months (or possibly earlier) according to my pharmacist.

Compressor Painting

I enjoy painting. Both artistically and otherwise. One of my favorite mediums is using spray paint. I have used it on Cosplay, wicker furniture, canvases, even my lawn. I find the use of spray paint very versatile.

Yesterday I finally bought myself a gravity fed paint gun. I’ve been wanting one for years and this little dude was only $65. Well worth a test drive into the world of paint spray guns.

I’m going to attempt to paint a couple of Muskoka chairs and see if I like the results. I figure it will take a bit longer than just painting them with a roller or brush, since I’ll need to thin out the paint in order for it to flow through the nozzle.

A bit of trial and error will be required to figure out the right consistency and pressure to use from the air compressor. But I look forward to tinkering with my new toy. I should be careful about the overspray and ventilation used.

Wish me luck!

Telestrations

This afternoon my wife and I picked up our two youngest kids from school and headed out for an early dinner. As I have mentioned previously, I like to support local and small businesses. Tonight we took the kids to The Raving Gamer.

My wife and I have been to The Raving Gamer a few times ourselves. We enjoy the atmosphere of eating and playing board games. It always gave us a chance to try some games before purchasing them.

Tonight, we were the only people at the Raving Gamer. That is mostly because of the COVID restrictions in British Columbia. No indoor dining permitted. Outside in the parking lot of The Raving Gamer is only one table for four and a few tables for two. Not exactly a “Patio” compared to mainstream restaurants. But it serves its purpose allowing patrons to still enjoy a meal. As you can see, the food was appetizing and tasty.

Just before our early dinner, we played a game called Telestrations. Where you get given a word and have a minute to draw it out, then the next person guess the word, the next person draws the word and the person afterwards has to write what they think the word is and so on until it gets back to the original player. Like a game hybrid of telephone and Pictionary.

The game was fun for the four of us. I would like to see how much more creative it would turn out to be for up to twelve people playing. During the few rounds we did play, we laughed pretty hard. We all wanted to play more of the game, but know that it would be a fun party game with more players.

It was definitely a game we would recommend for larger groups. Obviously once Covid restrictions are lifted.

Are you supporting small businesses these days? Or perhaps playing games during the pandemic? Send me some recommendations for either of those. I want to still enjoy life and share experiences with others.

Jar Lids: For Every Event

I forget that my wife is five years older than I am. Many of our interests growing up were different. Our upbringings were also different, but it also shared many similarities. Sometimes I find stuff of hers that I just didn’t know existed. Such as an old hobby of hers.

I do know all about cross stitching. My wife has made some beautiful Christmas stockings for our family years ago; as well as a couple of pieces she made for our kids. I knew she was talented in that aspect. She has immense patience when doing a task like that.

However, I did not know that it was a thing in the late 80’s to make cross stitch for jar lids. “For Every Event” no less! I suppose if you’re crafting, why not make jar lids for your canning as well?

The designs are rather simplistic. They remind me of Perler Beads or old computer video game animation. Very squared off and somewhere along the lines of being 16bit.

This makes sense to me. I miss seeing creative people at conventions making cross stitch fan art. I wonder if they started with “Jar Lids For Every Event” first? Perhaps these crafters started with something similar to understand the basics.

I have a feeling my wife will be getting back into this hobby once we move. What other reason would she have for leaving this on our table for me to discover? In fact, I may just have to take up the hobby as well.

I’m pretty sure we have a stash of jars that need decorative lids for our new home.

Express 999

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the 999 followers of my blog on WordPress. I know that there are others out there on Facebook, Twitter and via email who receive my daily musings as well.

But the 999 on WordPress? I can count on one hand the people who I have met in person who follow me on this site (and yes, I follow myself as well). The rest are strangers who happened to find me and decided that what I say is important enough to follow me. That’s pretty cool.

I have also interacted with those that seek to write a comment to me. Some of whom I would consider to be an “Online Friend” now. Having only met through WordPress and a few lines back and forth. Yet a kinship is formed, even for the briefest of moments.

I appreciate all the followers. Heck, even the Bots. Someone out there took the time to write an algorithm to search out keywords, and they stumbled upon me.

Seriously though- a hearty “Thank you” to everyone who follows my blog. I appreciate you.

Five Six.. Seventy Eight Days To Go!

Seventy eight days until we move. Seems so far away. But it’s only 11 weeks from now. In ten weeks, we will need to be 95% ready to move out. The last week will be paperwork and chaos. In five weeks I will need to start getting into contact with our billing companies to start the address change information.

Yesterday I finished booking two moving companies at a cost of almost $5000. Yup. TWO moving companies. One is bringing in two trucks and somewhere between six to eight people to dismantle furniture and move all of our possessions. The other company is specifically called in order to move our grand piano.

Today we ran out of boxes. We have a good portion of the unnecessary and hardly used stuff packed away. Besides the obvious Christmas decorations- we packed up book shelves, extra nicknacks from the kid’s rooms and a bunch of stuff from cupboards that we can live without for a couple of months. A huge assortment of stuff.

About a month ago my wife told me I was bringing home too many boxes. Now we are realizing that we will need twice the amount originally planned. How did we possess so much stuff? When my wife and I first moved together all we had was a bed, a couple bookcases, a couch, a tv, and a freezer. All of which fit into two pick up trucks and our two door car.

It feels as though we are upsizing once more instead of downsizing. Sure, we are getting rid of some possessions as we pack up. But we also have plans to buy some new furnishings in our next home once we settle in. At which point, we will probably purge some more stuff.

Moving is a pain in the butt. And costly. No wonder we haven’t moved in 14 years. I don’t want to do it ever again.

Green Food

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so my wife decided to have some fun with our foods. We added a bit of food coloring to a couple of our meals.

Our pancake breakfast was a colorful way to start the day. This breakfast is always a family favorite no matter what colour we make them. The skillet cooked flapjacks were delicious.

Dinner however…

Dinner was unsettling.

My wife made fried chickpea patties, which are always good. We had a basic romaine lettuce salad on the side. Our other side was rice with a mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce was dyed green and was most unappetizing looking. That made it a bit more difficult to enjoy, even though it is something we have had in the past (only in its normal state).

One of our kids described the sauce as ogre snot. The other said it looked like Nickelodeon slime. Unfortunately the colour changed how the meal tasted in my mind. I’ve had issues with foods in the past based on texture or smell. Never colour. This was a first for me.

Note to self: do not dye cream of mushroom soup ever again.

Our Future Home

In just over two and a half weeks we had listed our home, sold our home and bought a new home. It was fast, stressful, and filled with joy! We were able to get the price we wanted for our current place (and more). We are soon moving into what feels like our dream home.

There are so many things about this new house that appeal to us. First and foremost is the address. Yup. I’m a numbers guy. I like patterns. We had to get married on 10/07/2001 because I liked how the members were. The address for this place is 16261 61A Ave. In Chinese lucky numbers, the meanings are as follows:

ONE: UNITY

SIX: SMOOTH

TWO: HARMONY

I think this house will have that all for us: UNITY/SMOOTH/HARMONY.

This new home is nearly 5000 square feet over three levels. The listing was described like this: “Welcome to the POOL PARTY in this GORGEOUS FOXRIDGE home located in prestigious WEST CLOVERDALE! This extraordinary home has it all,quality construction,breathtaking views, 4982sqft w/ 5 bds,6 bths & daylight WALKOUT BASEMENT for INLAWS w/ finishings that mirror the main!Luxury living awaits,w/ immaculate master w/ fireplace,extravagant ensuite & 2 closets.Your open concept main floor overlooks your PRIVATE RESORT like pool & deck to enjoy coffee,cocktails,family & friends all while looking at your mountain & valley views(w/ Jimmy Buffet playing in the background). The list doesn’t end,S/S appliances,quartz counters,hardwood flooring, custom window coverings,coffered & vaulted ceilings & OVERSIZED driveway. All this in a family-friendly cul-de-sac close to schools, parks & walking trails!”

Yup, there is a built in pool in the backyard. This was the only thing that was giving us second thoughts about buying the place. It’s an extra expense that we never had on our “wish list” for a house. But the views, the space and the massive basement suite (that can generate a good income) more than makes up for it.

The interior of the house is exemplary in its style. The owners were meticulous with the upkeep and for a ten year old house- it shows as if it was brand new. The yard space and the views are what really drew our attention to this house. Even though we are moving from a treed backyard on almost an acre, the green belt and farmland behind this new property makes it feel spacious.

By summer our family will be in our new home. This will be a big change for us all- but a very welcomed one. I’m really happy and proud of how hard we worked at being homeowners for twenty years to get to this point. The long game has paid off, so they say.