Work vs Vacation

I make the most of my vacations. My days off are full of fun times and experiences. I came back to work after ten days off this past vacation to find an abundance of emails.

That was probably the hardest part of coming back to work. I enjoy the job itself, but there is often excessive emails that I need to sift through to find what I need to do my job.

Coming back to work and I’m already thinking towards my next vacation. Planning ahead is tough when you’re not sure how much you could spend.

I’d like to try and not go into debt to enjoy some time away from home. Pinching pennies and returning empty bottles for refunds may be how I pay for our next bit of fun. Back to working in order to afford my vacations I guess. Like a vicious circle.

Camp Jubilee Day Four: EVEN MORE ACTIVITIES!

This place never stops. So much so, that I don’t have any pictures today. I ended up making videos of the kids’ activities instead.

On Thursday we started our day with three hours of “High Ropes”. The kids tested their fears of heights through a series of obstacle courses set up in the trees. After the first try, many of the kids become confident and began to speed up. It also turned into a bit of a competition to see who could complete it fastest.

After lunch we were kayaking for about an hour. It ended up being cut short due to the conditions of the water, so our camp leader opted for an hour and a half hike. This was a good endurance challenge since it was a tough climb to get to the summit.

After dinner was Skit Night where each of the cabin groups had to perform. The parents and teachers also did one where we made fun of the behaviors of the kids. The boys in my cabin volunteered to go first. In the end, they also won the competition! Which they were surprised by but took the win nonetheless.

It was a great way to end our week at Camp Jubilee.

Camp Jubilee Day Three: More Activities

Day 3 of Camp Jubilee was our cabin’s turn to set the table for breakfast. All the kids in my cabin didn’t want to be late so they were up 45 minutes early just to make sure.

They set up quickly and enjoyed being first to get breakfast. I was lucky enough to be in their group, so I received first breakfast as well. Not much time after our meal to get ready because we were off to do our first activity of the day.

We went canoeing for about thirty minutes to get to a place called “Twin Islands”. The ride there had us singing songs and racing the other group. Once we got to our destination we had an opportunity to swim in a small lagoon and hike around the hills. Our ride back was just as energetic. We were racing for lunch!

After lunch was “Orienteering” and “Team Building”. Because of our extraneous exercising at the first half of the day and the heat- the kids were too exhausted to put any effort in. That was okay. They tried- halfheartedly at least. Our next and final day will be a busy and active day as well.

All I can say is that theses kids sleep well every night.

Camp Jubilee: Day One of Fun

The trip up to camp was calm and uneventful. We took a 35 minute bus ride to the dock where we were greeted by the captain of our vessel. A short 45 minute ride took us up to Camp Jubilee.

Once we got to camp, we unloaded our stuff to go in a heat room. Later, we set up in our Yurt. The boys I’m with are stoked about having the Yurt.

Our first day at camp was great. We did archery and low ropes. As well as some great free time to explore the beach and play around. So far the kids have been having a ton of fun just laughing and running around. I’m even joining in with the activities.

Back to the fun, I’m only taking a few minutes each day to explore my technology.

Grade 7 Camp

Today we are departing for Camp Jubilee with my son, Theory, and his class. I’m lucky to have been chosen as one of the parent chaperones. My son and six of his friends are all in a cabin with me. They got to choose a cabin name and design a t-shirt. The fact that these kids go to a Fine Arts school shows in the logo they designed.

Our cabin is called “The Infinity Stones“. I even get a T-shirt! As the cabin leader, my wife suggested we get the kids some items that promotes their design. Each of the boys is a different “stone” so my son and I picked up some precious rocks to give each kid. I also got them some slap bands in their respective colours that light up. Along with a notebook and gel pen- I think these kids are going to enjoy their gifts.

I’m looking forward to hanging out doing the activities with the kids. Every afternoon we have some down time, which means I’ll quickly write a blog post and share our adventures. I forgot to mention- the kids aren’t allowed technology, so I’ll have to sneak away and use my phone. Parents are allowed phones- mostly for picture taking though. I plan on keeping mine in Airplane Mode most of the time.

Wish me luck! Hopefully I come home in one piece with my sanity still in tact. I hope you enjoy the adventures I’ll be sharing.

Galaxy’s Edge Excitement

I am such a nerd when it comes to all things Disneyland or Star Wars related. I read blogs, follow Instagrams, I even open my Twitter feed just to find the hints and rumors. I share what I find with others who are of like mindsets. The term “Fandom” doesn’t quite express my feelings or emotions dedicated to Disneyland or Star Wars.

Last night was no exception to my love of both of these. Disneyland did a live stream of their Dedication Ceremony for the new land “Galaxy’s Edge“. No- it’s not called “Star Wars Land“. I’ll always call it by it’s true name- “Galaxy’s Edge” because- die hard fan here. That being said, my excitement level seeing the footage of this new park expansion grew last night.

But…

With our commitments to our son’s Speed Skating future and our children’s education- visiting Disneyland during the first openings of Galaxy’s Edge isn’t feasible. I’m looking on the bright side, give it a few months to a year and the crowds should slim out and the kinks worked out. So when is a good time to visit Disneyland?

We usually go in October to experience Halloween time. But over the years- it has gotten tremendously busy. Again, mentioning our children’s education being important, I don’t want to take them out of school for extended periods. Our oldest is entering grade 12 in September and our youngest is entering grade 8 and starting his high school journey. The long weekend at Canadian Thanksgiving would alleviate much of a loss. But- crowds will be higher. Dilemma!

I like to plan and book vacations well in advance. 5 months ahead of time doesn’t feel like I’ve planned properly. Planning 9-12 months ahead feels more comfortable- financially as well. As much as I’m looking at hotels and deals in autumn, I’m going to postpone a Family Disney Vacation for about a year.

I think it’s about time we hit up Disney World. It’ll have Galaxy’s Edge opened and ready when we get there next August. First stop- Discover The Magic to get some personalized service from a travel agent that specializes in these sorts of things. I’m starting to get excited!

Soaring Gas Prices

Like many of my friends living in the Vancouver and surrounding areas- we are feeling the pinch of astronomically high gas prices. Current prices are anywhere from $1.55/L to $1.70L. Of course the Long Weekend is here which always sees an increase in pump prices as well. Ugh.

My work week has me driving 110km each day- just to and from work. I also don’t live anywhere that has decent transit. I have now resorted to making a weekly trek across the border to the USA to fill up my car. After exchange rate, today I paid approximately $1.25/L. For me is about $15-$20 of savings every fill. That is a significant amount of money in the long term. After filling up this morning, my car has informed me that I can get almost 600km from this tank of gas. That gets me through the weekend and work week until I have to fill it again. I’m lucky that I only put on 40km round trip from my home to earn those savings.

Looking at going electric in the future is definitely something to consider. Yes, I’d love to own an electric car. But I have two major issues: Nowhere to charge it at work and my home power fails in the winter regularly. That would kind of leave me stranded. So until I can figure out a more permanent resolution- punching pennies at the pump is the way to go.

Or stop driving.

Feel free to complain in the comments section.

Wedgewood Vancouver

A couple of days ago I told my wife we needed a night out. Originally she declined the idea. But advice from my friend saying “You should of told her- too f#%king bad. WE need a night away and will enjoy it“. That sealed the deal and I booked a hotel room. But not just any hotel room.

I booked for my wife and I to stay in the heart of Vancouver at a Five Star Hotel called Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. Very fancy compared to our usual stays in places like the Holiday Inn Express. It’s also a bit more extravagant than our stays in Seattle at The Roosevelt. Once in a while you just have to “Treat yo’ self“.

The navigation in my car had us stopping just outside the hotel. As soon as I stopped, the doorman came out and greeted us within seconds. He grabbed our bags and had us at the front desk introducing us to the concierge by name. He then took my car keys and off he went to park the car.

I booked one of their more spacious rooms with a large tub and king sized bed. Our balcony overlooks Robson Street and Robson Square. Of course because this is a hotel and spa I naturally booked us in for a spa treatment. The hotel had a letter welcoming us as well as a letter confirming our spa appointment. We were encouraged to utilize the robes and slippers provided to attend our appointment. When in Rome…

We arrived early in order to enjoy the complimentary Eucalyptus & Lemongrass Steam Room. When we arrived, they served us tea and we relaxed before our couples massage. My wife and I both requested a deep tissue rub down. Our service lasted an hour. To say we left the spa relaxed is an understatement.

We retreated back to our hotel room and sat on our patio in our hotel robes. A glass of wine before dinner and a realization that we can’t afford to do this all the time has made it special and enjoyable. The staff here are extremely friendly and courteous. My wife and I don’t really want to leave the hotel, so chances are we will remain here and enjoy the restaurant service in the lobby.

This is a well deserved night away.

U-Turn!

Having a day off before the weekend is fantastic. Shopping is easier when the stores aren’t crowded. This morning I thought I’d get a good jump on my day off. Out the door at 8am to drop the kids off at school, then down to the good ol’ U.S. of A for some reasonably priced gas and dairy. I’d even beat the other parents since most school drop off is at 9am.

What a great plan. Or so I thought.

Today was the only day I wasn’t listening to the news radio. Turns out there was an accident at a major intersection that I needed to go through. I was wondering why the traffic was so busy going the opposite direction from me. Got to the detour and instead of heading south I was on my way north.

My brain went into re-routing overdrive. What roads connect where? Which ones won’t be busy? GIDDYUP U-Turn! Followed by a quick right and I was headed down a quiet street. I got this. Smooth sailing so far. Hang a left… traffic looked a bit busy up ahead- just a school zone to get through. Crossing over the other busy street when complete stop. Still about five blocks away from my planned route.

A couple minutes went by and we’ve moved two car lengths. There’s a driveway to my left…U-turn number two! Heading north again in order to go west down another back road. But I need to head east and south! Now I have a Pet Shop Boys song stuck in my head. “Go West- life is peaceful there…”

Finally a road that isn’t busy. The road that takes me home. I can’t go that way- I still need gas! I’m finally heading south. Back roads are fairly empty. Phew. I can begin to head east again. Alright- smooth sailing… construction zone!??!? How in the world is a person supposed to get anywhere? Am I living the traffic jam scene from “The Truman Show”? I gave up and just sat in the lineup. It was a bit of a wait, but not too bad.

I finally made it to the border. Which was not busy at all. My guess is people gave up trying to get through the blocked intersection I was frustrated with that begin my ordeal. Zipped to get fuel and zipped back across to come home. No waiting either way. Going home was easy as well. No traffic this time.

Two hours gone from my day however. But it was my day off without much in the way of plans- so that’s okay. Next time I’ll listen to the radio for traffic reports.

River Day

Today my boss took myself and a coworker out in his boat. We were going to attempt to do some white sturgeon fishing. We left at 9am to hit the Mighty Fraser River. Once on the River, we weighed anchor about a half dozen times in hopes to catch something.

The first spot we stopped at had plenty of harbor seals swimming around. We were sure it would be the best spot. No such luck. So we set off to find another location.

Even with a sonar and some fresh bait- the fish weren’t biting. About three hours into our day- we decided to have some lunch and a couple of beers. Why not enjoy the afternoon on the water?

We couldn’t really avoid work. The Fraser River is lined with train tracks as well as a rail bridge that crosses it. Naturally our conversations would resort back to talking trains. We had some good laughs and shared stories of our careers thus far.

We ended our day with no fish caught. We did enjoy our day of rest and relaxation though. At our last spot of the day, the seals were back to greet us. Which was nice. It was a good Sunday to be had.