Ha! 19 Now…

Our oldest child turned 19 today. That means she is legal drinking age and can have alcohol without trying to sneak it. On my 19th birthday I went to the club and got completely loaded with a coworker who was five years older than me. I was a disaster. Our daughter on the other hand? Well she chose something different.

She doesn’t want alcohol. It’s never interested her. Instead she wanted to have a day at work followed by an at home family dinner and some ice cream cake. Totally doable and within our means!

I’m really impressed by how much more mature she is than I ever was when it comes to partying. But we still had a lot of fun at dinner. We were listening to a playlist that her sister cream Spotify, took some silly photos and cut the ice cream cake in the worst possible ways. Laughter filled the atmosphere.

It was exactly what she wanted. Why not give a person what they ask for on their birthday? No unwanted surprises. Just a casual night at home with family. In the end it was more a gift for the rest of us than for her. She even arrived home in great spirits!

Happy 19th Birthday Random! May you always be the responsible adult you have proven to be on your first day of adulthood!

Summer Tradition- Fish and Chips in White Rock

Tonight was the perfect night to go out for dinner with the family. It was also the perfect evening to eat outside and stare at the water.

Every summer we go to Crescent Beach and get ourselves deep fried cod and chips. Then off to find a log or some rocks to sit at to enjoy our dinner. This year we tried a new fish and chips location. We were not disappointed!

While we waited for the fish to cool down a bit, the family posed for a picture at the beach. After several retakes and arguing, I got a sort of okay photo of us. You’d think that after all of these years my kids would just cooperate willingly. I mean, honestly- how hard is it to give a smile to your poor old dad?

After dinner, we strolled along the beach looking at houses and the fun seaside artwork that the town has. I’m happy that we are only about a twenty minute drive to Crescent Beach. I’m hoping to go kayaking some more like we did last year- read about it White Rock Kayaking.

This summer could go on forever. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Even the arguing about posing for a picture. That’s quality family time!

25 Years of ID4

Every year on the Fourth of July we watch the movie “Independence Day”. It’s a tradition that I have kept up since I can remember. I first shared our story five years ago: ID4. My wife and kids all look forward to it each year. I can’t believe the film is a quarter century old now.

This is a great sci-fi film which borders on impossible at times. The characters and interactions more than make up for the fluff that this movie has to offer. Heck, after 25 years a lot has changed. Even the US Military has sort of, partially, kind of told the world that there is such things as ufos.

As American as A.L.F.

I have always wanted to believe that there is life out there. Hopefully it isn’t as mean as the aliens are in this film. Perhaps as a race we can come together and accept diversity as a way of life. Only then do I think we will meet alien life forms. Hopefully they are also not like A.L.F.

Happy July 4th to our American Cousins!

Lego Bonsai

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

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Daddy/Darwin Day June 4th, 2021

Once in a while my middle wants to have a day with me. We have dubbed it “Daddy/Darwin Day”. Usually it’s me taking her out for a lunch or coffee and we talk. Today was a spontaneous “Daddy/Darwin Day” that we both needed.

We started with returning the recycling to get a bit of money back and clean out prior to our move. $12.10 is all we received, but no big deal- we didn’t have much to return. Then we went for gas and into town to hit up Indigo Books. It’s a favorite of our two daughters to go to a bookstore when they need an emotional “pick-me-up“.

Our little world at home has been having a couple road bumps, so it was nice that she asked me to go out with her. In fact, she paid for our Frappuccinos later in the afternoon. That was a lovely treat.

We had good heart to heart bantering. As well, she asked cryptic questions that I answered, but knew she was trying to get somewhere… without getting there directly.

She even tried to drive the Honda Element down the block to our house. This was a good milestone achievement as the vehicle is manual transmission and this was her first time driving a car with a clutch. Not too shabby.

I enjoyed our time together and wish to have more days like this.

Practicum: One Year Done

Our oldest finished her practicum and received her feed back today. That means a year of post secondary school is now behind her. She is finally relaxed.

Ice Cream Cake

Tonight we picked up an ice cream cake to celebrate her first year behind her. Random deserves a treat after such a stressful few weeks getting her project completed.

Unfortunately there are no options for her to get in the workforce this summer. Covid has made it difficult for her to get some hands on experience. Hopefully after her second year she will get experience in her chosen field. In the meantime, she is excited to work for her boss at 1 Fish 2 Fish this summer.

What’s really neat is that for her practicum film project- she interviewed a coworker about working there. After getting feedback from her teacher, Random is going to edit the project and present it to her boss. I think that’s wonderful. Our daughter can combine her passion for film and fish into one.

I hope she continues to enjoy the career she is choosing to pursue. There will be plenty of opportunities coming up and she could be a very busy person.

Theory Is Fifteen

Our son is turning fifteen today. I can’t believe how the time is flying by over these past years. He is the youngest of our children, so these birthdays hit a bit differently. Each one of his birthdays and achievements is a reminder that there won’t be any more to come.

Alright, I’m not going to get all teary eyed. Instead I want to say that Theory is a great kid. He has always been a fantastic son who loves to share his passions with me. We talk a lot about every subject imaginable. I have a relationship with him that is far superior than the one I had with my father. It shows in the fact that our son wants me to be a part of his world all the time. Two years ago was completely Devoted to him.

Usually he is a mama’s boy. My wife still thinks of him as the baby of the family. He definitely gets the majority of hugs from mom compared to the rest of us.

He also has a great relationship with his sisters. Yesterday he hung out with his eldest sister as she iced his birthday cake. They laughed and goofed off for about four hours in the kitchen. He also has a ton of fun with his other sister as they hang out and share jokes.

Today we had a sugar induced brunch as requested by Theory. Waffles, hashbrowns, maple bacon, whipped cream, syrup, and a three layer cake. Part way through the meal our kids decided to play frisbee in the backyard to burn off some of the sugar rush. I just sat there vibrating from the sugar.

As much as I want to write so much more about him, I have already shared stories of Theory in the past. I’d like to summarize by saying that Theory is always the type of kid who puts everyone else first. His kindness is the greatest gift ever. I wish for him to continue on that pathway throughout his life.

Happy Birthday once more Theory! You are the best son a dad could hope for.

Maki School Pick Up

Once in a while I’ll bring our dog to get the kids from school. I used to bring Lex, but he is elderly and frail that I worry about him traveling. Even if it is for a short distance.

Maki did a pretty good job hanging out in the very back on the way to the school. She popped her head up a few times, but mostly laid down. She did bark as we approached the school which shocked me. She tends to bark at other dogs.

Darwin was pleasantly surprised to see Maki in the car and quickly took her out to wander the field. Maki loved the new scents and grass, giving a good tug for Darwin to keep up.

The drive home was a little more chaotic. The kids put their stuff in the back on half the trunk space and folded one of the chairs down. Theory sat in the back and tried to keep her still, but I was getting dog breath in my face as I drove.

Maki only barked once randomly as we neared our home. It was a good little surprise for the two youngest seeing their dog greet them. I’m hoping to do it more often as the weather gets nicer.

Pretty sure Maki likes car rides.

2021 Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day, our kids did their best to make my wife happy. Breakfast in bed, a day of Netflix binging, dinner, doing what was asked (without eye rolls and back talk) and a few gifts. Everyone was happy. It was great.

On social media I witnessed numerous wishes to moms everywhere. A few moms I know shared what their families had done for them as well. There was a lot of love going around yesterday.

I also saw a few images of my favorite tv moms. These are the ones who taught me about life. Many of them were humorous and worthy of being a tv mom.

I enjoyed the positive vibes I witnessed yesterday. There is plenty of love for and from mothers out there. Love like that should be shared more often.

I Married A Great Mother

I have been lucky enough to have married my best friend. She has been nothing short of supportive and loving. Our kids have been even more lucky with having such a great mom to look after them all these years.

Mother’s Day 2012

In the past our kids have brought their mom breakfast in bed, made special artwork, and generally given as much love as possible for little kids to muster up. Now as they are all teenagers, I have tried to allow them to make their own decisions on what to do for their mother. Obviously a few reminders over the past couple weeks of today’s special person were dropped. Since I’ll be at work all day, I’ll have to wait and see how they did when I get home.

I’m hoping that they give her the love and attention she deserves today. I’m pretty sure the kids won’t muck this up, they love their mom a lot. I know that there are moments that my wife would like some time to herself. She will get some of that alone time starting next month when she can enjoy a quiet bath or a book by the fire. After almost nineteen years of being an on-the-go parent, she will deserve the relaxation.

Happy Mother’s Day Lee-Anne!

May The Fourth Be With You

Today is Star Wars Day. One of my favorite non-holiday dates. I generally like to celebrate with a viewing of a few of the Star Wars Universe films. Plus Star Wars related food stuff.

Later today I will be watching the first episode of the animated series, “The Bad Batch” that is released on Disney+. My son is excited about the show, so I want to share in his enthusiasm. I have not watched much in the way of any Star Wars animated shows, so this will be a good father/son bonding moment.

Like Darth and Luke joining forces to rule the universe as Father and Son…

What are your plans for Star Wars Day? What is your favorite Star Wars film/show? Let me know in the comments.

Disneyland Is Back- And We Can’t Wait To Visit

Back in 2009, we went on our first trip to Disneyland. We have retuned to the The Happiest Place on Earth numerous times. That first trip was by far the most memorable. And probably our most joyous.

The photos from our first trip are filled with fun. Those smiles from our children are still contagious. Each trip since has been equally as magical in different ways. We have loved every visit.

Last February we bought tickets for Disneyland. Our plan was to visit in the July of 2020. Alas, the world shutdown. Now there is a glimmer of hope as the Disneyland park opens once more. Only to California residents and in a limited capacity- but from what I’ve seen today, my heart yearns for a trip back there.

The tickets we bought will be honored at a later date. So we will hold onto the thought of traveling once more. Only the next time, there will be at least four adult Havelkas entering the park. They may not be children, but we will be young at heart once more.

Is a visit to Disneyland on your wish list once travel restrictions are lifted?

Too Much Yard

People have asked me why we sold our property. The main reason is we have too much yard.

I’m getting older and want simplicity. A small lawn to mow, perhaps a few plants and bushes. Taking care of the old growth trees is too much these days.

Even though we move out in 50 days, I have pride for our home. We are still looking after it, but the yardwork is intense. This weekend will be busy trying to clear out dead branches and utilize a burning permit.

Today was a write off for me as well. I’m still feeling the after effects of getting my vaccine the other day. My energy levels are extremely low. Likely, my wife and I will do the majority of the work and our teens will run and hide every chance they get.

That’s the other hard part. Getting assistance. I was a teenager once. I know what it’s like to want to have a life not devoted to chores. I remember my father tricking me into allowing a friend stay over for a couple of nights one summer- in order for us to lay down sod.

I’m getting older. I can’t push as hard as I once did. It’s almost time for my midlife crisis. Maybe that’s why we bought a new house with a pool…

Finding Fanny Pack Money

Discovering forgotten money is a great feeling. Any denomination over a dollar feels like you won just the lottery. You can often find money in an old jacket, purse or a pair of pants. Once I found a twenty dollar bill in a jacket after buying it from a thrift store. That was a good sensation- essentially the jacket was free.

Last night I discovered three $5 bills and some loose change in an old fanny pack… A late 1980’s Fanny pack, with 1980’s money inside. A crazy blast from the past moment for me. I was excited like a kid again- reliving moments of when I sported a fanny pack. Hanging with friends, going to the corner store, wandering around Playland, carrying cassettes for my Walkman- all those memories hit me at once when I saw the contents of this satchel.

After this brief moment down memory lane, I put the money back into the bag and showed it to my family. I asked my three kids if any of them wanted the fanny pack- for some reason they each said no. I zipped it open and showed them the money.

They still didn’t want the bag. But the money on the other hand…

My son asked if it was fake money since he had never seen this version of a Canadian five dollar bill before. I told them they could each take one of the bills. I also said that if one of them had taken the bag, all of the money would have been theirs as well.

They didn’t seem to care- each of them was still getting some money for nothing and didn’t have to take a fanny pack. I thought for sure that one of them would have wanted it. But I guess The Rock can’t impress my kids enough to become fashion icons.

Telestrations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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