Quiet Streets

Working nights can be a beautiful thing. As much as I sometimes complain, there is still some good that can be found in the night shift.

My favorite thing about working at night is how quiet the streets are. I can travel down the city streets with no other cars in sight and make every green light. Even the commute is easier. I’m busy traveling in the opposite direction from rush hour traffic.

I also really like the peace and quiet that nighttime brings with it. There’s a certain time at around 3am that just seems to shut down the world. As if the universe is resetting itself to begin anew.

I’m also enjoying the last couple of nights because the temperature drops to a comfortable level. Normally I’d feel as if I was missing out on the daily grind. But our record breaking heatwave was getting to be unbearable.

Do you work shift work? How do you like it? Drop your opinion in the comments section and let me know.

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.

Morning Home Paradise

I woke up early this morning to enjoy my regular cup of coffee. The AC was on and the house was comfortable. But outside, that’s where the beauty was waiting.

With our backyard having a western exposure, the shade from our house cast over the pool. With protected green-space and farm land behind us, the views go on for ages.

When we moved I thought we would lose the sounds of the birds. Instead, there is two to three more times the amount out. This morning is like a symphony being conducted by an owl. Peaceful and serene.

We have found a slice of paradise in our own backyard. With this heatwave, it’s a welcome bit of joy.

Night Sky Happy Feelings

After a hot day poolside, it was just as nice to just hang out as dusk fell.

We could see the skyline off in the distance. As the horizon faded from the orange to darkness above, I relish in the pleasure of knowing we will have this view for years to come.

My wife and I took a brief stroll around our cul-de-sac and discussed some future plans for our front yard. Having continuous dreams keeps us going. And in the end, it makes us happy.

That’s the goal life- happiness. And I do my best to achieve it everyday.

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.

Longer Sunshine

With these summer days upon us, the sun is staying out longer and hotter. It’s a blessing and a curse as they say. I’m getting up early and starting my day of a billion chores. Only to end the day with a late dinner watching the sunset.

I’m still trying to get some relaxation in each day. That’s tough. But today I made it into the pool twice! I was also able to sit and talk with my wife as she finally hit our soaker tub.

Our son had a couple friends over to hang out in celebration of the last day of school. They hopped out of the pool for dinner and we’re back in it until 11pm. After the got out, I managed to stand on our top floor balcony and see something I never saw in our last home.

The Big Dipper.

Not a big deal to most, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen the sky from my balcony. I’ve really enjoyed the sunsets. I can’t believe this is our home now.

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.

Loss Of Our Family Dog

Today we had to say goodbye to our family dog, Lex. We adopted him January 2013 and he has been a great family member ever since we met him.

Lex was a great dog. He always stayed nearby us whenever we hung out as a family. He would join us in our media room to watch family movies. He would go on walks and camping with us- never required a leash.

The first day we met him, he never left our side. He chose us to be his family- we didn’t choose him. We brought him home that same day between snowstorms.

We did our best to make his final year comfortable as we could see his health deteriorating. I’d like to think we helped for the last few months, and I know the kids are glad that he got to see our new home. My wife and I knew something was up when Lex decided to go for one last walk in the old met last week. He pushed himself harder than he had in recent times. He hardly moved after that.

Lex was a good boy and made our lives fulfilled. We will miss you buddy. May you Rest In Peace.

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.

2

Woo-hoo!

With about 48 hours remaining until we are in our new home, I am hitting on the number 2 in my countdown.

In elementary school our classrooms were separated into Divisions. When I was in Grade 7- there were two classes. I was in Division 2. Our teacher had a sign that read “Second to none.” It was one of the things that always made me feel good about myself. That phrase of not being second best, but exuding confidence when you need it. Mr. Fallman was one of my favorite teachers ever.

As I have mentioned before, sometimes at work we use odd phrases. When counting out loud and giving directions over the radio, we are required to say it twice in order to confirm the instructions. I have a tendency to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger when it come to the number two. Coupla. Tumor.

These past few days of last minute packing have been a Blur.

Woo-hoo!

“Song 2” by Blur was part of my soundtrack to the summer of 1997. Add in “Wannabe” by Spice Girls and “Mo’ money mo’ problems” by B.I.G. & Puff Daddy and you have the eclectic understanding of the start of my 20’s. A throwback to the loud music coming out of a couple of subwoofers in the back of my car. Loud music as I drove to and from my home. It’s something I still do to this day when driving alone.

All of the time, but I’m never sure why I need you.

With only two days to go, I’m working on the soundtrack to say goodbye to our home and hello to our next place. My playlist is growing with a hope to bring forth memories and energize our lives a bit more.

3

Triple trouble- time to talk about number 3.

Rule of thirds. When I’m feeling especially artsy, I’ll take photos and do my best to follow the rule of thirds. If I’m being sassy or humorous- I also follow the comedic troupe of doing a joke three times. Surprisingly, it works well.

As you may be aware, we have 3 kids. They are teenagers now- almost into adulthood. Each has grown into their individual personalities. My wife and I love them to pieces and have become so proud of them. If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I tout their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Finally, this move will be the third house my wife and I will be purchasing together. Eighteen years ago we bought our first place for $210,000. That was one of the most difficult expenses we ever faced. I worked three jobs at almost 80 hours per week to make ends meet. Within two weeks of buying that house we found out we were expecting our second child.

We sold that home in just under four years of owning it at $410,000. Our mortgage that remained was $167,000. That was when we bought the house we are in now for $570,000 in the year 2007. After fourteen years, we were able to get $1,900,000 for the home. Earning us $95k a year.

We are now moving into another beautiful house that meets our changing needs. As excited as I am about the change, it is difficult to fathom that we have come this far in under two decades. Even though this is the third house for us to buy, it kind of feels like this is our first house. It was the one that we absolutely fell in love with and it won’t need any upgrades for a long time.

4

Passing the number 5 on a countdown is like hitting the home stretch on a marathon. With four days remaining, today I shall hit on the number 4 and some of its significance in my life.

Here’s a tidbit of information that some people may not know about me. Not that it’s a big deal, but I am the Fourth Josef Havelka in a row. My mother named me at the last minute in the hospital. Originally I was going to be named Michael, but I’m glad I wasn’t. I’m a Joe. Or Josef, Joey, Joe-Joe; you get the picture. As well, we continued the tradition and our son has Josef Havelka V on his birth certificate. Some places look at the “V” as his last name which I find humorous.

Since my name starts with a “J” and when I write it out, it looks like a sideways number “4”. That’s because I have a tendency to print in capital letters. It’s a habit I developed at a young age and it has continued into adulthood. Printing in all caps has become useful at work, since a clear understanding of the work to be accomplished is required. Typing out information isn’t always feasible.

FORE!

I know, it’s not really the number four, but it sure sounds like it. As a homophone, it’s close enough to hit on my memories to be shared today. Golfing is not really my thing. However, I’m not bad at hitting golf balls. My father was an avid golfer and pushed me to take my swing seriously. At work, if I’m giving out car counts and the number 4 is needed- I call it out as if I was golfing. Sometimes you need a bit of lightheartedness to get through a work day.

With only four days left to go, I have given plenty of forethought as to how to enjoy our new house. We will have a formidable foreseeable fortunateness forging forward forever foreboding unforgettable efforts.

5

FIVE… 5 days to go people! Here comes number five for my numerical blog posts as you countdown with me to our new home. Let’s go retro fun to start on today’s blog.

When I first moved to British Columbia, my mother bought me some books. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series was some of my favorite childhood novels. I spent hours in my room reading about the adventures of these kids. Especially as a child who had no friends moving province to province. This was my version of the Harry Potter series, only without magic. I never did pass these novels onto my kids, but they did read a lot of their own books growing up.

Number 5 is alive! Short Circuit was a fun movie from the 80’s. Not a great plot, more relying on slapstick and humor to get the film through. Yet, anyone around my age can quote this film in some way. “No disassemble!” In fact, I’m hoping that one day I can a Johnny 5 with my 3D printer.

I can’t talk about the number 5 without mentioning I have a family of five. We have all been working so hard to get ready for this move. It is an emotional time for all five of us. Leaving one home to get into another. This countdown is getting us closer to that day. A chance to create a new home.

To quote Johnny 5- “Home… Number 5, home.”

6

Six days to go. This countdown thing is getting tough. Not just because I’m tying to think of topics related to the number of the day, but also because there is an end date approaching. With the end drawing nearer, let’s dive into 6.

Six Feet Under. A tv series from a few years back that followed the stories of a family working at a funeral parlor. It is probably one of my favorite dramas of all time. However, I only watched the series through once. Some shows are so good they don’t need a second viewing.

I’m mentioning this show for two reasons. One- I have always wanted to own a Hearse. That would be a fun car to drive. And two, this house we are moving into will be the last house that I think we will ever buy. Maybe one day we will buy a condo or townhouse; but I’d be okay with the idea that I die in this house.

Let’s go a bit more joyous to end today’s blog. The number 6 is in the address of our Future Home twice on the house and once on the street we are moving to. 666 The sign of the beast! Or whatever.

Our future house is a beast in size compared to what we have lived in so far. I’m looking forward to taming it and calming into my zen.

7

Seven days to go. That’s a whole week! As I continue with my countdown, we are at lucky number 7. A lot of folks find it to be a lucky number. I don’t gamble, so slot machines and casinos don’t matter much to me.

However, when the Internet first began, I did use 777 at the end of my first ever email address. I thought I was super clever being an atheist and all. My email address was god iv followed by 777. The joke being, “What’s god for?” I have since abandoned that email and tend to use something more professional these days.

Of course I’m going to talk about movies that involve the number 7. Specifically the movie SEVEN. Ever since seeing the film, my family always says, “What’s in the box?” And I’m pretty sure that during the unpacking of our home- this phrase will get beaten to death. But quotes like that are great.

I love romantic fantasy film. One of my favorite movies is Stardust. There is a character named Septimus, who is one of the lead villains of the film. His jacket, in fact most of his wardrobe, involves the number seven somewhere. This is one of those cosplay characters that I would love to do one day. But the vest and jacket with custom buttons is fantastic.

As we near the end of our packing for the move, I am getting excited about the new house. I cannot say at this time that I love this new house. To quote Stardust: “The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.” But my feelings for our future home are definitely strong.

8

Eight days remaining. My countdown is now at my favorite single digit number. Let me tell you why.

My sister. She was born on the luckiest day ever. August 8th, 1980. 8/8/80. When she turned 8 it was in 1988. Growing up, we were pretty good friends. Playing silly games as youngsters to partying as teenagers. She was always know as “Joe’s Sister” which she hated. One year she made a t-shirt for me that said “Nikki’s Brother” and I wore that shirt all the time.

The Magic 8 Ball. This thing is fantastic. Back in my teenage years I enjoyed Billiards on a regular basis. I got obsessed with everything 8-Ball. My Magic 8 Ball was used all the time for decision making. This was extremely useful since teenagers are pretty useless when it came to deciding what to do when bored.

Finally, the number 8 reminds me of the lemniscate- otherwise known as the Infinity Symbol ♾. The idea that there time, life, ideas, power, numbers, or anything imaginable really could go on forever astounds me. Philosophically- infinity is just a thought. But it is real in so many ways.

Now with 8 days remaining, we have infinite dreams and hopes for our new home.

9

This countdown is harder than I thought it would be. Besides having a final goal, trying to figure out what to write for each number is also a challenge. I am enjoying the distraction of doing this since this move is stressful at the best of times. Today’s “9” topic is movie based because I love movies.

Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1957 is THE B MOVIE to watch if you love that genre. It is a difficult film to describe (and watch) as it is bad. So bad in fact that it circles back around to being good. Tim Burton did a sort of documentary on that original film maker back in 1994 titled “Ed Wood”. Which is probably a bit easier to watch especially if you enjoy Johnny Depp.

Of course this leads me into more Tim Burton-esque films. “9” was created by Tim Burton’s production company and was originally going to be a stop motion film- very similar to “Nightmare Before Christmas” but ended up being CGI. It’s a good movie, but does lack a bit of heart because of the choice to change film styles. I love Stop Motion movies because of the hours, days, weeks, and months of dedication to create simple movements that come to life. If people are willing to put that kind of effort into a film on a daily basis, I must watch it.

Which brings me to my final film. “9 To 5” from 1980.

Working 9 to 5 has never been my lifestyle of choice. Ever since I was young I have had an unusual work life of shift work. I do not live by a Circadian rhythm. Never have. Hitting my mid forties, this is natural for me now. As for the movie, it is highly enjoyable as it is far catches and silly. Seeing Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda remain friends for decades is great to see. The show “Grace and Frankie” is this generations “Golden Girls”. Dolly Parton’s theme song from the film is one of my favorite Country Songs. That song list is so short that I don’t even think I have a top 5. (Not a country music fan, sorry).

I have missed our media room over the past three months as we pack up for this move. With 9 days remaining until we move, I can’t wait to set up our home theater system and start to watch movies once more.

10

As my daily countdown continues, today is 10 days remaining until we move. Here’s what the number ten means to me.

I enjoy top ten lists. I probably began enjoying Top Ten Lists from my late night tv viewings. David Letterman was always clever with his humorous take on these lists. SNL had a few good skits from Wayne’s World as well. I continue to be sucked in to Click Bait top ten lists.

Doctor Who was a family favorite show a few years back. Each of us enjoy our Doctors, but my favorite is the Tenth Doctor. His personality is fun and smart. His heart (or is it hearts?) was always big and generous. David Tennant is a fantastic actor and made the show great to watch. Cheesy sci-fi at its finest.

Of course you can’t count down until you learn to count up. Everyone I know has learnt how to count to ten. Meeting a child and sharing in their joy as they excitedly count that high is a wonderful feeling. We all use ten as the base for counting- it just makes sense. Our world is at our fingertips and we use those fingers to count at such a young age. Many of us still use our fingers as a visual tool to count.

I’m giving our new home a 10/10 for how amazing it will be once we are settled in.

11

Continuing with my daily countdown, I am at the number 11.

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I enjoy listening to music. I often “turn it up to 11” to quote Spinal Tap. Which is a great mockumentory movie if you haven’t seen it. It’s also a fantastic quote when you are talking about going above and beyond with your skill sets.

Seeing a digital clock when it shows 11:11 is also a thing that I notice more often than any other time of day. I’m not sure why it feels magical, but it does. Maybe it’s the simple straight lines of the number one strung parallel to one another. I love numerical sequences like that as well.

Of course there is also my enjoyment of science fiction and nostalgia. Stranger Things series was the perfect combo of this and filled me with joy. This image brings me to my other favorite 11…

I also loved visiting 7-11 stores in Japan. That entire trip to Tokyo was by far my most memorable. Those convenience stores were the reliable and well stocked for all of our basic needs for the day. It was great.

11 days remaining until we are in our new house. With that move we are definitely Turning it up to 11!

12

Twelve. One dozen.

The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.

With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.

It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.

I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.

Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.

Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.

My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.

No Prob-llama

On Friday night my wife and I stopped by a friend’s place for a BBQ dinner. On their property is some sheep. And a llama named “Bobby.”

My friend’s young son took me out to meet Bobby. As we walked towards the fence, the llama came running up. She took one look at me, then walked away. Just to stare at me side-eyed while I hung out there.

Llamaste

Bobby was just chilling out amongst the sheep, no real cares in the world. The perfect attitude required these days. Better times are coming.

I do feel my life is like Bobby in a way. Running up to see the excitement, then hanging back to watch it unfold. I snagged a selfie with her in hopes to have some more of her zen rub off on me. I tend to forget that not everything needs to be a burden. Sometimes you can just let things be.

14 Days or 2 Weeks

In fourteen days we are moving. That may sound like we still have a lot of time remaining. But in reality if I say two weeks- it sounds so much closer.

TWO WEEKS!

We are on the cusp of moving that I can taste the chorine in the pool already. Our current home is filled with boxes littered everywhere. Not to mention that we still pack a half dozen every day. It feels like it will never end and we will not be ready for the last day.

In the midst of all of this, my wife and I still have to work and the kids still have school. Plus we have all the other appointments added in to contend with- such as lawyers and doctors, etc.

TWO WEEKS

It’s not a lot of time. But I think we got this.