Eighteen Moons

When I started my blog a few years ago, I had no idea what to write about, hence the name “Making It Up As I Go.” I just knew that I enjoyed writing and storytelling. Within the first few hundred followers, I met a unique community of people in the virtual world. One of whom was Andi Webb.

He discovered my blog and began to write comments, to which I would respond. He was friendly, kind, and encouraging as I started on my hobby of sharing stories. I’d like to think that he was my first “online friend” after decades of me being on the internet. Since I was always skeptical of interacting with complete strangers- I finally found a place in blogging that was filled with support and love. Andi’s encouragement made me want to write more about parenting and being a father.

I also mention Andi because I began to follow his blog- Diary Of A Gay Dad and saw that being a father comes with all sorts of challenges. But the results are fully rewarding. Having entered in to view his life of raising five small children with his partner- I knew there had to be a backstory. There most certainly was.

Last Christmas, my wife gifted me his novel. Unfortunately, it got shelved because of our move. I finally unpacked it and could not put it down. Andi wrote a fantastic book titled Eighteen Moons. This was the first book of many that I have waiting on my bedside, wanting to read.

I don’t want to get too much into his tale, as it could spoil what you would see as a difficult journey. A journey of surrogacy that would take him out of his comfort zone, into many foreign countries; filled with heartache, strength, and a bureaucracy that would try anyone’s patience and sanity.

As a parent, you feel for their hardships. As a father, you understand how far someone would go to have get their family together hoping for a happily ever after.

Obviously I highly recommend the book. Here is a link to it on Amazon: Eighteen Moons Be sure and take the opportunity to read it.

The Vault

Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with a couple of friends. All of our kids were off doing their own thing, so my wife and I had a night to ourselves. First was hanging out at our place for a drink and appetizers.

Costco is great for finding quick and easy foods to share. I made some mini wontons and potato skins for us to share. Hanging out in the kitchen is always a great way to converse. Having a large kitchen island made it even better.

Afterwards we headed to a local establishment called “The Vault Restaurant”. It’s been around for ages and was built in an old bank. Kind of a steampunk/industrial feel inside. The food was great and the company was entertaining. It was ridiculously fun.

It’s been a while since my wife and I headed out for a night with friends. I’m glad we did as it turned into a fantastic evening. Date nights are becoming somewhat more frequent now that our kids are teenagers. It means my wife and I can get to know one another again. For that, I am grateful.

Garage Success

About a month ago I mentioned about Making Space In The Garage. We have been able to park my wife’s car on her side since then. We also rearranged some of the storage last week to make it more accessible and easier to manage. This afternoon- we tackled my side. And won!

With a few things still needing better placement, I’m happy with the progress. We have some donations to send out and some recycling to toss that will help with the space. But all in all, I now have a spot to park my car.

We now have two cars parked in a two car garage! This makes me tremendously happy. Much to their chagrin- I had to have to kids out there to enjoy my moment of triumph! This was a total “Dad Flex” to unbury the garage and park our cars.

Go Joe! Next is to organize the shed…

Office Supply Boredom

Work is a bit slow these days. It reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was working nights and it was equally slow. My boss and I decided to make some toys from office supplies.

Office Wars

The pencil crossbow was my favorite. I ended up making two of these and my boss and I did target practice at empty boxes. These things were quite powerful and a ton of fun.

Found on Reddit

We also made various animals from the large binder clips. The Scorpion one was the coolest by far. In fact my wife calls the clips “Scorpion Clips” now because of this.

Pretty sure these activities stem from a childhood of school boredom. At least the art has gotten better than just a few pencil holes stabbed in an eraser. Or using the protractor set to create a catapult.

Do you create using office or school supplies when bored? Let me know in the comments.

Emergency Alert Test

Today every cellular phone in BC that was on had an Emergency Alert sent to it. It scared me, even though I had heard earlier on the radio that it was going to occur. A simultaneous broadcast on all of the cellular providers.

It’s astonishing how long ago this type of alert was only on TV or radio. The tests on tv only ever happened during commercials. I also remember it happening at random intervals during the day, But not all at the same time on every channel. It was just broadcast whenever the station chose to. I’ll always remember the lines spoken:

“This has been a test. Had it been a real emergency…“

My Mistake s

I write a blog post every day. I do this mostly for me to just get out some thoughts and share my experiences. Because I have been writing for so long, I sometimes just post without proofreading my work.

I’ve posted grammatical errors, spelling errors, wrong photos, and even posts without titles. Sometimes I’ll catch my error as soon as I hit “Publish”. Then I scramble to correct it before anyone else sees it. Other times my wife will point out my mistake and I’ll get on it after the initial embarrassment passes.

On the rare occasion I’ll find a mistake months later- when I want to link back to it. Discovering a mistake that far along is the worst feeling. I appreciate that my readers don’t point out my flaws. Engaging with people over the content of what I write is far superior than someone pointing out my shortcomings.

Thinking back on it- over the past five years I don’t think anyone has made an observation on my errors. At least not publicly. Thank you for that.

And thank you for reading my blog for all of these years. Mistakes and all. I appreciate it.

The Internet Reacts Quickly

A few hours ago, a container ship (roughly as long as the height of the Empire State Building) got stuck in the Suez Canal.

The implications of how it is affecting the world economy hit almost immediately. Prices of gas has already shot up. Following soon will be the price of merchandise and goods. This vessel is preventing another 100 ships from going through the canal. It’s absolutely insane how quick the market is reacting to the news.

In true Internet fashion, the public’s reactions are humorous and just as quick. My favorite is the Austin Powers reference seen here. At the end of the day, no one is hurt and the ship will get moved. But the humor is far more appealing to most of us compared to the frustration of how much products and gas will cost in the coming days.

All you can do is laugh at the situation. I cannot wait to see what else comes from the talk show hosts and comedians today.

Junk It.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been actively donating and Giving away items that we no longer use. However it feels as though we’ve hardly made any headway in decluttering. Now that most of the “gently used” and “well loved” items are gone, it’s time for the big play.

Time to get ready and Junk It all.

That means gathering all the big items that are just too damn large to toss out or get recycled and have someone haul them off for us. It’s going to be a pretty arduous task to collect everything in order to get the best bang for my buck when collected.

We have an old pool table, a fridge, scrap wood, scrap metal, old electronics, broken power tools, and just stuff that we need to ditch. Some items are still in our possession because of the mindset “Maybe this will be useful one day.” Only that day never arrives.

Catchy radio jingle. That means I should call them.

So as I take advantage of the weather over the next day or two, the trash heap will grow. Until I finally have had enough and call a junk removal company to haul it all away.

Why do we keep so much crap? Is it laziness in throwing it all away? Or perhaps the frustration that you once owned something that is now rendered useless? Whatever it may be, I have a collection of junk to get rid off now.

It Does Not Make Sense

I have no idea why today was so difficult. Work was challenging, but nothing crazy. Driving home had a bad pocket of volume, but no reason behind it once we passed the area. And then at home, everyone was on edge and short with each other.

Why?

No idea. Just a bad day of feeling poopy.

Now I’m laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, when something completely obscure occurred to me…

You poo poo.

As in “poo” the action.

And “poo” the product.

Or am I calling you a name?

“Poo poo.” It doesn’t make any sense. Kind of like today’s blog. But it brought me a giggle to irritate my wife by annunciating the word “poo” with different inflections.

Finally, she said “You poo poo” to me. Pretty sure it was meant an insult. However she did giggle after.

I can now go to sleep happy after a conversation with my oldest where she asked, “Does Pooh poo poo-poo?” That sentence alone makes sense. Because you can also ask, “ Does poo-poo poo Pooh?”

Aw man am I tired. Sorry about the poo.

Not Talking Politics, but…

Generally in my blog I don’t talk about politics or religion. For the most part I think the general population is entitled to their opinions and mindsets and are free to share those ideologies as they see fit. As long as it doesn’t encroach or get forced on other’s beliefs or opinions.

I want people to let others just live their lives in peace and happiness. Sure, anger is a part of living. Not everyone will be happy with decisions made by the government. Peaceful protests are a great way to get others talking. But those protests can quickly turn to riots and violence.

What happened the other day- in fact what has been happening over the past four years- is hatred. Plain and simple. Like many people throughout the world, I was appalled at the actions of these extremists.

I’m not an American. But viewing an attempted coup d’etat because of a change in government was a disgraceful act helmed by a political leader. This was all happening in what I would perceive normally as a civilized democracy. A country where every vote is counted and the results are accepted.

Whoever the president of the United States is doesn’t affect me. So my option on that matter doesn’t need to be shared. Seeing the growing numbers of racists come out of the woodwork does affect me.

I love living where I do. The Greater Vancouver area has a diverse cultural system allowing for everyone to live their lives how they want. I worry that closeted bigots and racists will see what is happening in the US and instead of being understanding of different cultures- will bring that hatred here. I know Canada isn’t perfect, but it’s on the way.

We need to speak up against racism, sexism, bigotry, and all other hatred. I’m known as a privileged white male and I want to do my part in creating a world that treats everyone with respect.

I don’t talk politics. And I have no photos to share today. Just a rant. An opinion- that we, as a society, can do better.

Provincial Vote 2020

Today is the official day to vote for the Provincial Election of British Columbia. There was the option to mail in a vote or hit the advance voting stations. We chose to head out first thing this morning and cast our ballots.

It was also our 18 year old daughter’s first chance to vote and have her voice heard as an adult. As much as I wanted to commemorate the day with a picture of her- you’re not supposed to take any photos inside. But even before and after, she was adamant that she didn’t want me taking her picture. So I didn’t.

My first time voting was also at the age of 18. Since then, I have voted in every election that comes around, including referendums. Who I vote for doesn’t always win. In fact it feels like they rarely win. But it gives me a chance to share my choice in hopes to better the rest of the population.

It seems a tad bit crazy to be out voting during a pandemic. But here we are. So if you go out to vote today (or those in the USA who need to vote) remember to stay safe and follow guidelines. Wear the mask, use the sanitizer and keep your distance from others. But get out there and have your voice heard!

Mothra!

Over the past few days at my work in North Vancouver, we have seen an influx in moths. And they are everywhere.

At night, they take over the lamps and lights. During the day, the moths just hang out on everything white. My car often has a dozen of the little critters on it.

The smoke and the moths makes it feel like an invasion taking over Vancouver. It’ll be nice once the moths begin to disappear. This year has been the worst so far for the moths.

Even Arthur, our moth mascot, found love after an entire year hanging out and ran off.

Saturday Games

This morning our laundry line snapped after a dozen years of use. So I went to Home Depot and grabbed a new line and put it up. I also picked up a few 2×4 boards and some odds and ends for some other projects. Until shortly after lunch, we were all busy.

This afternoon was a warm one with lots of sunshine. We chose to hang out in the backyard on our tree deck. We needed a break after a full morning of working around the house. Did I say it was warm? I lied. It was hot.

We played a couple of different versions of the card game Timeline. A great trivia style game that involves figuring out when events took place. I recommend this game to everyone. We always have fun playing it. Bonus- it’s educational!

We followed it with a few aggressive games of Uno. That is sure to tear families apart the way Monopoly does. Lots of yelling and accusations of cheating.

All in all a great afternoon with the family.

DIY Dads

My friend Greg is a lot like me. He is always on the go with new projects and building stuff. Recently he began a project that was a far bigger undertaking than I think I could handle. But I’m impressed with his skills and the work done so far.

On Saturday I stopped by to offer some help. I was also curious to see how the project was going. He and his wife were given a travel trailer that needed a bit of work. There was a few bad spots where some leaking had occurred.

Instead of just throwing some duct tape and caulking on it, Greg peeled back the layers and began the challenge of fixing the trailer- from the frame out. What he has done so far is throughly impressive. He is hoping to have the outside of the trailer back together by fall. At the pace he is going, I imagine it to be completed.

Our buddy Matt has also been helping Greg along the way. Something about Dads and power tools… Building and creating makes us feel like providers you our families. Plus it’s fun to see sparks fly.

I now know that if I have a big project to do, I will summon the DAD PROJECT POWERS of Greg to assist me. I can already think of a project that will need his help.

The Highlight of My Work Day

Today was a slow work day. Sunday’s at work are usually like this lately. I had a bit of free time in the afternoon as I waited for a conference call, so it was monthly arts and crafts time.

I received a tin from Lootcrate a few years ago and I had no use for it at home. So off to work it went. Inside it is filled with the perfect stationary.

I filled it with highlighters! The Joker sits beside my keyboard ready for my monthly arts and crafts. I opened him up and colour coded an excel spreadsheet. The one I highlight every month- our work schedule. Then I post it on the wall.

I think my coworkers appreciate the effort. Blue is for night shift, yellow for days. Green is for vacation. Orange is for safety and pink is for the Stat holiday. This has been my regular colour scheme for the past few years now. I do this because we do not have a colour printer at work. And I get to enjoy the calming nature of colouring.

Sweat

I hate to sweat. It’s probably why I don’t overexert myself. I also dislike sweating due to the summer heat.

This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about the summer heat. In fact it was almost exactly two years ago that I wrote, Gonna Make You Sweat.

But I really dislike getting sweat stains on my shirts. Especially in the arm pits. That’s probably why I don’t wear light coloured clothes. Or certain fabrics. I find I even get sweaty when I’m driving as well. Seems my body doesn’t like being nervous.

Yes. I hate driving. And I often sweat while doing it. Even short commutes will get me wet (in a bad way). Something about controlling a box made of glass and metal that travels 100x faster than I could run makes me nervous. But only when I think about it while I drive. Which is why I play the radio or talk on the phone while I drive. I need the distraction from my mind.

But I digress. Sweating is yucky. I don’t like it. Not one bit. And getting doubly sweaty because of summer driving makes me upset.

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.