Upcycled Growler Caddy

My wife and I have enjoyed traveling around British Columbia and collecting beer growlers along the way. I like the majority of the artwork that accompanies the Craft Breweries- along with the beers. We have gathered quite the collection of growlers over the years.

Today I finally made a growler carrier. I wanted to get one ages ago, but most only carry two growlers at a time. I wanted a larger one that can carry three of these 1.89ml (64oz) bottles. That makes it easier to transport them around.

There was a couple of old cupboard doors in our storage made of tongue and groove cedar wood. Easy to cut and put back together in a new shape. I also had an old closet dowel rod for the handle.

It took me a couple of hours to pull apart the doors and put everything back together. Here’s a secret- I only cut the two sides a bit shorter as the rest fit nicely together. The two doors had boards holding them together that I cut in half and made spacers for the growlers. A bit of sanding, some wood glue and a nail gun finished off my project. Because the dowel was so long, I decided to trim it down on one end to hold 4 small beer glasses. I figure that if I don’t like that part, I can always cut it off.

Now I’m ready to take this out for BBQs and camping! Plus it’ll be easier to get the growlers filled each time, as they won’t roll around my car anymore.

I love making stuff and repurposing items that would normally be disposed of. My holder may not be perfect, but it does the job it needs to do- carry my beers.

Somber Day

Today was not a feel good kind of day. I could sense the heaviness in everyone I spoke with. The change in their voice, the look in their eyes, their posture dropping. All of it a reminder of what a tragedy can do to all of those around.

Dealing with the loss of a coworker who is close to you or a person you’ve met periodically can feel brutal. It’s still a loss. It’s still able to affect you. Talking about it changes the atmosphere of a room almost instantly. Seeking emotional help is all that I can suggest to people.

I may not be in the union any more, but I know where my roots stem from in the railroad and respect the difficulty of each and every situation. There’s no happy ending today. No joking or laughing. Rather a sobering reminder that where we work can be devastating and take a good person’s life without warning.

Fortnite: Father/Son Gaming

My son and I were busy building a front porch the past couple of days. It gave me a great opportunity to share some knowledge about building and power tools. By the end of the build, our son had a blister from using the drill too much. That’s the sign of a hard worker!

While we were building, we talked. Me explaining the build, him telling me all about Fortnite and how to play. I promised him that I’d play some video games once this deck was completed. Originally I was hoping for some MarioKart or something simple that I can press a couple of buttons for. Not a PS4 controller with over a dozen possibilities.

We played Fortnite for a little over an hour. Time really flies when you play video games. I can see why he gets sucked in for hours on end. But he taught me to play and was very patient with my Noob skills. He has been playing this game for A Couple of Years Now. He walked me through the basics and “Protected” my lack of skills from the enemies. We did alright in one match, coming in second place.

If I want to continue with our bonding, I’ll definitely need to get more practice in for games like this. It just sucks that in a house of five, we all play video games and the PS4/Nintendo Switch are on the big screen. We have the old PS3/Wii hooked up in my bedroom. Unfortunately neither of those are capable of playing Fortnite.

I like that he can teach me stuff and I can teach him. In the end I have created a fantastic father/son bond that I shall hold onto for the rest of my life.

Baroness of Barrenness

Today I witnessed some of the usual oddness that humanity has to offer. I’m not sure what was going on, but I couldn’t get enough of it.

We spotted some folks on our security cameras nearby our rail yard. There was a person with a fancy video camera, an actress with a blue face, and a third person with what I can only describe as a “spritz bottle” to add a glistening shine.

I watched them do eight or nine takes of what I can only assume was a music video. She appeared to be Rage Dancing very enthusiastically. Watching her perform over the security cameras with no sound added an eeriness to it. My thoughts began to try and create a story for her.

“The Baroness of Barrenness expressed her rage. She is fed up with simply kicking the rocks of the wasteland she overlooks. Seeing no beauty and no ugly in the world has become commonplace. It was time for action. Perhaps it was time to revisit the Mushroom Death that began this new world…”

That’s the sort of oddness that filled my mind. And of course between their takes, she smiled. Obviously happy with whatever they were filming. You could see how energized the camera operator and this lady were. Spritz boy was doing his job quite effortlessly to add glistening to her face. Three artists alone making art. Not knowing we were watching.

Allow people to express themselves and all will be right in the world. I hope for these artists to experience their piece of fame. Maybe a tiktok or YouTube celebrity in the making.

Pre-Grad Photos

Today our oldest daughter sort of did her graduation ceremony. I say sort of because it happened without fanfare, just some video cameras and a few classmates.

The school had the art majors come in to be filmed as they crossed the stage. The larger groups of students were lined down the halls standing at markers. From there, only four went into the auditorium at a time. Then one would walk across the stage and pause in various spots as they were filmed and such. No audience. And only a handful of teachers. The rest of the world (family and friends) will see an edited version of the ceremonies June 17th- the original date of the Grad.

For the rest of the week, our daughter gets to hold onto her grad gown. My wife and I are planning on making the most of it and take a metric ton of photos. We already began tonight. We got lucky that our daughter has had the biggest smile all evening. Many of the photos were far more fun than I expected.

Today was a bittersweet day that’s for sure. It was already going to be bittersweet knowing that she has put in a lifetime of schooling that culminated to this final moment. We also drove up to her elementary school where she first entered the school system, just to get that photo.

Her smile was obviously genuine. And I did capture numerous other candid photos. But I cannot share them, she would be more embarrassed than she will be seeing this post. Even though I am totally a proud parent!

Wanna see pictures of my kid??

Quiet Yard

Today is peaceful in my backyard. There’s no sounds of cars racing down the road. Nor is there lawnmowers or pressure washers. All I can hear is the faint sound of crows off in the distance as the wind gently whistles through the trees.

So I invited some friends and coworkers over. It was surprisingly fun as we spaced ourselves away from one another. It was a Social Distancing Socializing at our place.

No wives. No kids. Just lawn chairs and axe throwing. Of which my guests brought everything. It was a ton of fun. And it ended early. Hence why I’m posting about it.

I hope y’all are having a great time together these days!

WordPress Issues

Recently WordPress wasn’t posting to my Facebook. I contacted them for help and they offered a solution. Removing and re-adding the Facebook page. Seems pretty simple.

So this is my test blog to repair the fix. Considering it took me a week to discover the flaw on Facebook shows how often I go on it.

Hopefully the solution WordPress offered up works. Facebook followers, let me know if you read this. Or don’t let me know and let me worry about the linkage not working some more.

Panic Purchasing? Butt Why?

Oh man. There is a lot of panic in the world right now. Especially regarding COVID-19. Unfortunately paranoia is causing folks to be a tad bit irrational.

On Saturday morning in my hometown of Langley, a video was taken of people rushing into a Costco to buy toilet paper of all things. The media has been reporting of the scarcity of the butt tissues for some time now. As if a lack of shit tickets is the cause of the virus outbreak. But people love to spread misinformation on social media causing panic thus creating a real shortage now. It’s a strange catch-22 that we entered over the past couple weeks.

Yes the virus is real and over 100,000 people in the world have been diagnosed with it. There are 5 million people living in British Columbia- 32 of which have the virus; and 4 of those have overcome it already. Less than 0.0000064 of BC’s population has the virus.

I’m not going to compare these numbers to cancer or the flu. I’m just trying to figure out why toilet paper and racism is taking hold of our society. And I’m at a true loss to explain it.

But if the world runs out of toilet paper, maybe it’s time for purchasing that bidet I’ve been wanting for a couple of years now. Washing my bum was a pleasant experience while traveling in Tokyo.

How is your toilet paper supply?

Are you stocked up?

Estranged Stranger

I am an adult. I do adult things. I work hard to be the best husband and father that I can be. I also have friends and coworkers who rely on me and whom I rely on equally. I think I’m doing a pretty good job out there.

Over the years, I have chosen to lose contact with certain friends. Sometimes we just drift apart. Other times it was a misunderstanding or disagreement. That’s totally fine. Recently I was contacted by an old friend out of the blue. We shared stories and thoughts as if we hadn’t skipped a beat in our friendship. When I’m usually the one reaching out, it was heartwarming to know that he reached out to me instead.

As an adult with a life I in which I am trying to have filled with joy and happiness, I’ve chosen to lose contact with my mother and sister. My mother and sister have their own lives. I was often putting forth the effort to stay in contact and don’t have the energy to do it any further. It’s been a few months now, and I’m okay with that. After a few decades, it’s time to move on. I have other people who mean more to me in my life.

On the other hand, it’s also hard to want to miss somebody who could’ve been a bigger part of my life. How do I miss someone I’ve never met, like my Unknown Half Sister? It’s weird to think that there could’ve been someone I could look up to and ask advice. But that never came to fruition. That was more my parents’ choice to hide her existence for most of my childhood. As an adult, I just don’t care to discover an estranged stranger on the other side of the planet.

I sometimes dwell on the past. But I also move forward from these thoughts rather quickly. As I write this I know that it is helping me move forward with my life. I’m excited about the possibilities that my future has in store with friends and immediate family. Perhaps one day I’ll miss someone I haven’t met yet.

Yo-yo Yo

Last night my son asked me if I knew how to yo-yo. A couple years back I donated some Puzzles and wooden yo-yos to him. He never really cared for the yo-yos before but loved the puzzles.

His fascination with the yo-yo kind of started a few days ago when we were watching a collection of Vine videos on YouTube and one of them involved Tom Smothers aka “The Yo-yo Man”. This clip is from back in the 80’s- which was around the time I used to watch “The Smothers Brothers” when the show was revived in 1988-1989. That was when I became interested in the yo-yo but it never blossomed into much.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that I really fell in love with yo-yo. Put it up there with hackysack as useless but fun pastimes which I excelled at in the mid 90’s. So I naturally jumped at the opportunity to show off some of my lame dad skills to my son last night.

I started with showing him the basics of the yo-yo. String, wax and the wooden classic yo-yo. My son took my “well loved” green yo-yo and I used my more pristine red one. I showed him some basic tricks like “sleeping”, “forward pass”, “walking the dog” and “around the world”. It’ll take me some more practice to dust of my other skills to get back to things like “rock the baby”.

Hopefully my son enjoys this useless pastime like I did. Looking online, there are plenty of YouTube videos teaching people how to yo-yo. I even found a video available on Amazon of Tom Smothers on VHS!

Did you ever enjoy this simple toy? Or did you get into some professional style ones? Let me know in the comments.

Crossing Tracks

Everyday I cross two sets of train tracks near our home. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. Recently they changed one of the crossings.

They removed the stop sign and installed some lights. Needless to say that many of the local residents are having a difficult time adjusting. Since many have lived here for a long time. Even though I know it has signals and no more stop sign, I still slow down as I approach. Perhaps it’s the railroader in me exercising caution.

At the other crossing I sometimes stop and take a photo. There can be something beautiful about the skyline and the tracks that needs to be immortalized in a picture.

My Son is A Ghostbuster In The Making

I finished making my Halloween costume last week: Building My 2019 Costume. I’m really happy with how that one turned out. I guess it inspired my son to do his own build (With my help). After numerous costume ideas thrown around, he decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Retro at it’s finest. Time to get going on it!

Of course we hit up Spirit Halloween to see what was out there. I love my son and I love Halloween… but forking over the kind of money this store is asking just for one night is kind of crazy. I did buy one piece to add to his costume. But the rest we decided to make together.

The Wand

This isn’t screen accurate at all. But it looks pretty awesome. It’s also the design my son wanted. A few years ago I had picked up two garden lights that had blue lightning effects. But because they used 8 “AA” batteries, I never used them in the yard. One of them I made into a “Steampunk Lightning Catcher that my daughter has used as part of her steampunk outfit for conventions. The other is now for my son to use as his Proton Pack Wand. I modified this one with a new rocker switch to turn it on, a metal grate and some “exposed” wires.

Proton Pack

The Proton Pack has been the most fun to assemble. Much like my Skesis head, I used pink foam insulation as the base. I cut the bottom of an ice cream tub for the “Cyclotron”. The top is from an old pressure washer handle and the rest is odds and ends from an old VCR and arcade parts I had laying around. A coat of black paint and some fairy lights hide most of the obviousness of what the items once were.

Ghost Trap

This is the piece we bought. As awesome as the Ghost Trap from Spirit Halloween is- I ended up using paints in order to weathering it. The result makes it seem more believable. So I used some techniques I’ve learned over the years. I think it looks good. But now I have to “age” the Proton Pack and the Wand in order to keep the aesthetics similar.

All that remains is the flightsuit and adding straps to the Proton Pack so our son can walk around. Not too bad for using stuff we already owned that was just gathering dust. Plus I enjoyed working with my son to build his props. I hope to do more like this with him in the future.

How are your costumes coming along? Do you love Halloween as much as I do?

Let me know in the comments!

Get Out There & Vote!

What are you doing reading my blog right now? Don’t you know there’s this election thing happening in Canada today? Go and vote! Then come and read my blog- I’ll wait.

Done voting? Excellent. I had thought about doing the advanced voting last weekend, but since I had a turkey to make- no go. This morning however- I was first in line at my local polling station waiting for the doors to open. That’s mostly because I finished a night shift and the polling station was a couple blocks away from our home. The timing was impeccable.

It’s going to be a rainy and miserable day in the Vancouver area. Not only will it be miserable because of the weather… but also because we are the last province to be counted. Many of the other provinces will have their numbers in and whatever the west does isn’t likely to skew the vote in either direction. But I have the opportunity to place an ❌ inside of a circle next to a name of some candidate I think will be best for my needs. So I chose someone.

And making the choice this year was difficult. I finally narrowed it down to two candidates and made my choice as I stared at the paper of names behind the cardboard cutout. Maybe you were better informed than I was. Maybe you just vote the same way every time. But a vote is still a vote.

Tell your family to vote.

Tell your friends to vote.

Tell your coworkers to vote.

Tell your neighbor to vote.

Tell the barista to vote.

Tell the traffic safety person to vote.

Tell a complete stranger to vote.

You get the idea. Make everyone have their voice heard today.

If you read all the way to the end before hitting the polling station- all I want to say is “Go Vote!

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…
  • Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

    During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

    I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

    I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

    It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

    Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

    It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

    Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

    Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

    To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

    Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

    After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

    I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

    Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

    Too Busy Being Busy

    I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day that I can, that I have been neglecting my blog. I keep putting off writing until I can find a solid half an hour to an hour to write. I’ve been falling behind on writing some genuinely good blog content.

    Having quality content draws in more readership, right? Or do I need keywords and tags? At night when I’m in bed, I’m browsing my phone and reading some of my older blog posts to see what was successful in regards to traffic. Reading my blogs by going through the Facebook link, or having my wife read them, I think I’ve skewed some of the numbers. Especially for my older content. I feel I’ve read some of my more popular ones numerous times. Or did I make them popular by rereading them?

    I should put more thought into my daily musings. But lately I haven’t had the time to proofread and do rewrites. A quick “once over” and then I hit publish. Just like today’s post. I’m going to work on taking the time to write something tangible.

    Tomorrow.

    Take The Compliment!

    The toughest critic on you is yourself.

    I love creating art. I think I make decent art things. But I’m also hard on myself and find all the flaws where I could have done better. What’s worse is I enjoy showing it off to people, but I don’t take compliments very well.

    My art of choice varies on my moods and the seasons. I’ve always been crafty and creative. This time of year I enjoy carving pumpkins. I can’t wait to get my hands on some and let the creative juices flow! I’m also excited about showcasing my costume. I’m a bit worried that the more I talk about it, the less it will be amazing when I show it off.

    I don’t want to show it off quite yet, but I also want some advice on a few parts of it. Argh. Silly brain isn’t being helpful. I’m sure people will tell me it looks good, but I want better than that!

    Ack. Argh. Ugh. Just take the compliment Joe. It’ll be fine.

    My Friend in Hong Kong Shares Her View.

    The world is always changing and oftentimes faces new struggles. We hear tidbits in the media about the rest of the nation or even other countries and think to ourselves, “I’m glad I live where I do.”

    But when people you know are in those places, you get concerned. Be it a natural disaster or civil unrest- you get feelings of anxiousness and worry about their wellbeing. That’s when you need to hear it from the source about how things are going.

    I have an old friend who is currently living in Hong Kong. Yesterday she shared what is going on with the protesters, how it started and some history behind everything. It opened my eyes as to what is really happening from a first hand view.

    Read about it here: The New Normal in Hong Kong.

    I don’t usually share stories like this, but it’s affecting a part of my world and not just this friend, but those friends who care about her as well. I hope that getting the facts out will help in an understanding of what goes on elsewhere in this world. If even for the few minutes it takes to read the story.

    So please, take the time to get a behind the scenes understanding. And if you wish to read more for her life in Hong Kong, check out Kayo Chang Black

    Success is Sure

    I’m a fan of Mark Twain. He is the sort of person I wish to be one day. Or at least what I imagined him being: An old guy sitting in a rocking chair on a porch spewing out wisdoms. With big hair and killer fashion sense. The sort of man that most ignored while alive, but seek out the wisdom once departed.

    Recently I misquoted Mark Twain. I wrote, “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.” Which is a close variance on his original quote as seen in the image above.

    In many ways I am on a road to success with my writing. I am confident in my ability to write. And completely ignorant to the fact that not everything I write is worth reading. But I still manage to write. It’s just a matter of figuring out how I wish to measure my success. Is it monetary? More followers? Comments?

    I’ll probably never know if I’m successful because the game keeps changing.

    Trying To Be A Better Man

    Today would’ve been my father’s birthday. Over the years I’ve been trying different ways to remember the good in him. Which has been difficult when the bad memories were more impactful. From September 19 (My father’s birthday) to November 25th (the date he passed away) I’m not a pleasant person to be around at home. I’ve been consciously making different choices in my life to try and be a better person each and every day.

    For two years in a row I grew a beard. It made me look like him. I was thinking of making it a tradition, but last year my family pushed hard and made me feel bad that I grew facial hair. I’m not sure why, but I’d rather not have bitterness thrown at me from those whom I care about. So no beard planned this year.

    Last year I did “Sober September” and this year I’m trying as well. I had a couple of beers once this month and felt instant shame in myself for being weak. The reason is my father drank heavily and I worry that the trait runs deep in my genes. Especially when I look back at most of my Instagram posts and see a lot of beer in my hands.

    Obviously I’d love to say that I am in control of my drinking, but am I? I come home from work and would like a beer with dinner. I have days off and want to see friends which generally brings up drinking. Maybe this year I’ll try not drinking from September 19 to November 25th. Do the complete opposite of what my father would do. Maybe only then can I push the negative out of my mind and bring out the positive memories.

    I sure don’t want to end up like him- sour, angry and dead by age 58. That doesn’t appeal to me. I want to be a better person.

    I know I’m a better person. I just need to remind myself from time to time.

    Is It Autumn Yet?

    The daylight is getting shorter. The leaves on the trees are starting to change colour. It’s foggy in the mornings. We must be on the cusp of autumn.

    So I decorated our front stoop accordingly!

    We had an old wooden chair in our barn that I set up out front. I had bought a couple of metal buckets from the dollar store last year and filled them with firewood. I gathered some leaves that had fallen and placed them around. Finally, our crone gargoyle sits patiently waiting for Halloween.

    On the other side of the door I put an unfinished “living edge” table (also from our barn). I set up our collection of British Columbia Beer Growlers from our road trips over the past few years. I surrounded everything with some leaves, dried seeds and bark.

    I’m happy with the results and have a few other decorative ideas to add to our home before Halloween takes over. I finally found my glue gun at 11pm last night, but won’t be starting a project until later in the day.

    What do you do to decorate for the seasons?

    Do you like fall as much as I do?

    Let me know in the comments section!

    Kayak Adventure

    Last week I mentioned how we bought a couple of kayaks. (Read about it here: Ack Ack Kayak.) On Saturday this week, my wife and I finally took them out for the inaugural testing.

    After a bunch of online searching to find a good first spot to kayak, we ended up at Blackie Spit down at Crescent Beach in White Rock. I woke up early and secured the kayaks to the roof of my Rogue. But it wouldn’t be for another couple of hours before we would depart. We made it to White Rock by 12:15pm and hit the water pretty soon after. I was shocked at how few people were at the beach today.

    My wife and I paddled around the harbor and pier. Our two youngest came to the beach with us and found themselves a spot to hang out. After an hour or so on the water, my wife and I met up with our kids and they took a turn on the water. Once they were done, my wife and I paddled back to a spot closer to my car and the kids walked over.

    Once at the car, everyone pitched in to get the kayaks on the roof and secured up. The parking lot was getting busy and people were filling up every available spot. I figured we should get going home so that someone else could take my spot.

    All-in-all it was a fantastic day. I hope to explore more places while out on the kayaks. For now though, I’m kinda stiff and sore using muscles I had no idea I had.

    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!

    Camp Jubilee: Day Two of Activities

    My tutu and I enjoying the sunrise.

    We finished our Monday night with some board games in our Yurt. It was a great way to calm everyone down after our first day. Tuesday had us up early at 8:30am getting breakfast. The parents had a few moments to enjoy the morning before the kids activated.

    After we had breakfast, we were off immediately to do some Beach Exploration. The kids looked for marine life on the shore- discovering a multitude of tiny crabs. They worked together to gather them up and then release them. Jellyfish and sea stars were spotted in the water near our dock as well.

    After that, we were off to rock climbing. Where each of the kids took an opportunity to scale a slope. Many of these kids overcame their fears. It was fantastic. I was encouraged to try it as well. It was tremendously fun as the kids encouraged one another to go up and back down. We did both these activities in the three hours before lunch.

    After lunch, we were off again to do slingshots followed by shelter building. Luckily enough, everything was in the shade. It was hot! We are expecting an increase in temperature today.

    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.