Early Skate Practice

Normally my wife attends the speed skating practices on Saturday and Sunday morning. I offered to show up today and let her sleep in. Partly because she had a long work week. But also because the parent who does first aid is off sick this week, so I volunteered to be rink side just in case.

It was a beautiful morning as the sun rose up. The kids arrived thirty minutes early to do a warm up outside prior to entering the arena for skating. Even before the coach got there, they all knew that they should do a few laps around the facility to get their muscles activated.

Standing rink side, I enjoyed how smooth the kids were on the ice. Each of them had good form and listened to the coach’s advice as they lapped around. Today’s practice wasn’t about speed, but rather technique. It works the kids towards muscle memory for when competitions come around.

Being supportive of our kids for these last twelve years has made a difference in the commitment level that they are putting in. Theory is getting stronger and we are hoping he starts to get into bigger competitions as he gets older. Our other two have taken away the ability to coach future skaters and our middle child continues doing it every Sunday.

So a big high five to all the parents out there that make the sacrifices to be up early and pushing their kids at various sports! I see you. Keep it up.

Soda Jerking

Our son has decided that he wants to create mixed drinks. He has been looking up a variety of recipes online. Not the alcoholic type of beverage mind you. Instead, he wants to make sodas.

So I ended up buying a couple of bottles of flavored syrup for him. As well as some pumps. Then I bought some more that I thought sounded tasty. There’s a couple of flavors in there that may taste good in coffee or hot chocolate this autumn/ winter.

My wife thinks it’s funny that the lime and coconut flavors showed up together. Our son is going to attempt to make some Italian Sodas over the next while. As well as some DisneyLand inspired drinks. I’m looking forward to tasting the concoctions. Perhaps he can be a better jerk than he is most days.

I Turn My Camera On

Today would have marked my father’s 80th Birthday. One of the few things I have kept of my father’s is his camera. It’s nothing special to anyone but me. Valued at $40 used on eBay. The Praktica is nothing more than a 35mm chunky camera.

The reason it’s special to me is that my father realized that when I was born- he did not own a camera. He went out and bought it within a couple of days of my birth. Partly because there was some uncertainty in my living beyond a short while. I had respiratory issues from birth. But that’s another story. This camera was purchased in 1976- the original receipts and warranty card are still in the carrying case.

I ended up using this camera in high school back in the mid-nineties for my photojournalism class. I took numerous black and white photos with it as well as colour pictures. Some of those ended up in the year book. Including my favorite which was a collage overlay of four photos together making up the front of the school. Not too easy to do when there was no preview screen and had to wait to get the images developed.

Now as our son enters grade 11- he has taken up photography as his art major. With it came a curiosity of my father’s old camera. In the first week of photo classes, he went through four rolls of film just taking black and white photos with it. Soon he will develop the pictures and see what he has created.

The one picture that my son wants to take with the camera is one I am impressed he thought of. It’s nothing outrageous, but rather one that brings the camera’s journey full circle. He plans to take some photos of my father’s tombstone- using the same camera that my father had bought to take pictures of me at birth. It’s quite convenient that the graveyard is merely steps away from the school grounds.

I’m not going to lie, at first I had a tough time allowing my son to use the camera. But he has been respectful and understanding of the sentimentality to me. He keeps it in the case and is very careful when handling it. As I said, there’s no monetary value to this item. But it means a lot to me as I wish my father could have seen the lovely grandkids that were produced. I would hope he would’ve been proud of me. But I didn’t become a good father to impress him. I became a good father to spite him.

Happy 80th Grampa. You missed an entire world, yet somehow you are still a big part of mine.

Down Time Before Bed

My day was filled with being busy at work, some basic chores and then time with family. I nearly forgot to write today’s blog. So I checked out of my life for a bit before writing this.

For the first time in ages I threw on some YouTube in bed. I watched Season Six Episode One of Rick and Morty. I was going to write my blog as the show was playing, but ended up getting too enthralled in the episode.

Nobody exists on purpose.

I love this show. My son and I even did a cosplay together over six years ago: Father Son Time. We share a bond of shows like this along with a vulgar humor.

Ironically, my son now fits those pants I wore for the costume and loves to wear them. I also found my flask from the cosplay the other day (still had booze in it…) In a couple of days my son and I will watch the few episodes that have been released. I plan to share a few good laughs and speculation on what’s to come or inter-dimensional paradoxes (or some other type nerdy sci-go shit).

To quote the great Rick Sanchez, and send you off for the night:

Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!

(which means I am in great pain)

More Ice Time

Theory’s newest speed skating club is very active. They push the skaters harder than I have seen. So far it seems the skaters are up for the challenge and not complaining. The group still has ice time at an older rink, so they are utilizing it.

Every Tuesday that I am working night shift means I will be dropping our son off at Planet Ice. This was the club’s original home ice. If I’m working day shift- I’ll likely be picking him up on the way home. It is probably one of the coldest rinks I have stepped foot into. This is good for the skaters. But chilly for the parents and spectators.

At least the group is getting some intense workouts. It is much needed for every skater. I can’t wait to see the results over this next season.

One Week Down

Technically it’s still summer- albeit back to school has occurred. Although… the first week of school didn’t really have much in the way of instruction. So it was a bit more relaxed than the majority of the school year.

Back to school, and starting at a new school, make for a bit of enjoyment and stress in a young person’s life. I have been enjoying the stories from out two youngest every day this week. There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm in their tone while they talk.

I’m pretty sure the sharing of daily events will diminish as the year goes on. But nonetheless- I’m listening now and cherish the moments with our kids. Because in the not so distant future, they may not want to share stories. At this point I’ll take what I can get from our 16 year old and our 18 year old.

Greetings At Home

This evening, I was at the front balcony waiting to see our kid come home. I know it’s only the second day of university, but it was nice to see them walk up the driveway with their backpack in tow. The was a sense of ambition as Darwin hustled up the path to the house.

I called out a greeting as they walked in. I received a half answer as Darwin rushed in the door. Darwin was eager to get home. Over dinner, we discussed the classes and I could sense the excitement of the semester to come in their voice.

I’ll always be the parent that greets our kids after a long day- no matter how old they get. I’ll gladly stay up late and offer support no matter how difficult life can get. Home is where the heart is- and home is where you make it.

First Day(s) Of School/Work September 2022

Today was the first day of school for our youngest at age 16. He was returning to his high school for grade 11. He stayed at a friends house last night because today was only an hour or so long and more just a chance for everyone to meet up again.

Our middle attended their first day of post-secondary at the Simon Fraser University. Upon arrival, it to was a meet and greet type of day, but lasted about six hours or so. They had a chance to make some new friends, create group chats, and even went to the mall with these new friends after the first day ended.

My wife also began a new job today for a company called Jane. She is working remotely (from home) in a similar manner as she once did for Shopify. Her day went rather quickly.

But all three of them had great experiences on the first day of their new adventures. I was genuinely excited to hear about their first day encounters over dinner. I’m glad our middle made some new friends already and is really enthusiastic about the school. I was a bit worried prior to this moment. But I think my fears and anxiety trumped theirs. I’m also really proud of my wife for jumping into a new role after such an unexpected leave from her previous job. I know it wasn’t easy for her to go an apply for work when she didn’t foresee that moment coming. But she is back in the saddle again and moving forward with her career! Our son was just happy to be back with his high school buddies and his change in fine arts major is a chance for him to showcase other skills he has.

All in all a good first day was had in our household. How was your first day?

Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation- ‘Til school comes along just to end it”

Summer is over, at least for our kids… There’s still a few days left before the official 1st day of Autumn. This evening was a chance for my wife and I to relax by floating on the pool. We enjoyed our last evening and our smiles couldn’t be bigger.

As our youngest heads into his second to last year of high school, we are slowly relieved of the extra duties we once had. Our middle is about to attend their first year of university as well. The journey into adulthood is well underway for our kids. Our eldest is already two years out of public school and summer vacation.

As I lounged around watching the sunset- it dawned on me that life is really what you make it. We have worked hard to get to this stage in life and hope that our children appreciate the effort we have put in for them. They each have a future ahead of them that I look forward to seeing. And each day is better than the last.

“This could possibly be the best day ever…
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be- A million and six times better.
So make every minute count-
Jump up, jump in and seize the day!
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way-
Today is gonna be a great day.”

End Of My Summer Vacation

Saturday was the last day I had off for my vacation. I had the house to myself for the last few days of vacation. So I enjoyed my solitude.

My wife had taken Theory to a speed skating competition in Calgary for the weekend. Darwin tagged along as well. I was lucky enough to have watched his races via a live stream from The Olympic Oval.

Being that I was home meant I had to take of the garden. We have had a good amount of vegetables coming in. Mostly peppers and tomatoes. Our mixed apple tree is bearing a ton of fruit as well. I can’t wait to make an apple pie from the green ones!

The end of my day (and vacation) I watched the sun as it set. The sun beams shone over the land as the clouds lay up in the sky. A flock of geese flew past at one point making a flight path southward. Summer is almost over- unfortunately my summer vacation has come to an end.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Final Push Home

Yesterday was the last leg of our journey to return home from Disneyland. We woke up and had breakfast by 7am as we were all eager to get under way. Home was only a short 5 hour journey if traffic was good. Otherwise it could take about 6 1/2 hours. We needed to get through Tacoma and Seattle.

Of course, the teenagers were out cold AGAIN almost instantly. Yup, I kept taking pictures of this. My wife and I talked and listened to music up front and enjoyed the peace and quiet coming from the back.

I mentioned about having road nuggies the previous day. This time my son wanted to bring “racon” aka “road bacon”. He grabbed a to-go coffee cup and filled it packed tight with bacon from the hotel breakfast. A couple hours after leaving and our car smelled like the heavenly aroma of bacon.

The journey only took us a little over 5 hours to complete. Once we got home, our oldest was in the process of tidying up. They had opted to staycation at our home and look after the pets and house while we were out of town. They even made my wife and I a painting and left it in our bedroom for us.

Being home is a great feeling. I was surprised that it was far hotter than Disneyland. But I got to work quickly and had the pool cleaned and open for us to relax in after our two day drive home. I love the memories that we have made over the years doing these road trips. Maybe more will happen, but I have a feeling this may have been our last one for quite some time.

Next summer I do not plan on going anywhere as our home is pretty gosh darn awesome. For now, I’ll enjoy the next few days alone as my wife is taking our two youngest on yet another road trip to Calgary for a few day. Practically feels as though she is living in her car. But this sacrifice she is doing is for our son’s speed skating. He has a competition this weekend and it was imperative that he attends.

A bit of “me time” is on the agenda the next couple of days as my vacation time winds down. I’m sure I’ll be able to keep busy. Or at least catch up on some naps like the teens did.

Disneyland 2022: Day 3- Another Disney Day

We just finished our third day in a row at the Disneyland Park. We were there bright and early again. In fact, we were able to get to rope drop and be first in line.

Once the rope dropped, we hustled to Galaxy’s Edge and got onto Rise of the Resistance without stopping. That walk took us six minutes and was worth the rush.

Most of our day was casually hitting a few rides, meeting some characters and eating. Theory got a set of ears and had them embroidered. We got lucky and we arrived in Tomorrowland just after Space Mountain had broken down. As our son walked up to ask if they knew how long it would be down for- the ride reopened. Again, we walked right on to the ride. Once it was over, three of us walked right back on before the line grew once more.

The rest of the afternoon was shopping, followed by hours at Galaxy’s Edge. Our two kids decided that they wanted to build their own Lighsabers. Which was a pretty cool experience.

For day three, we had a pretty good time. Now onto our fourth and final day!

Disneyland 2022: Day 2 In The Park

We just had day 2 in Disneyland (Technically we finished California Adventure 2022: Day 1 In The Park). It was again started with getting there early. This allowed for us to be first in line and first at the rope drop. Big hustle to get to our first ride.

We hit up Radiator Racers first, then onto the Incredicoaster twice, followed by Toy Story Mania twice. We walked on each ride without lines. That was all done within the first hour of arriving. After that, the crowds caught up.

That wasn’t an issue as we still hit every ride in the park. Including waiting twice for Guardians of the Galaxy and an hour wait for a second ride on Radiator Racers. We also got plenty of shopping done and ended the day in the “Splash Zone” of World of Color.

We have one more day at Disneyland and the following day at California Adventure. Now that we hit every ride that was important to us- we are going to hit a couple of the big ones, but not try and rush as much.

Oh, and our feet are sore. Just sayin’

Last Leg Of The Journey

Our road trip today was a little over six hours. We stopped at In-N-Out again. I was told by the cashier that I was number 1. So I totally did a dad moment and said, “You know it.” Afterwards we were stuck in traffic heading through Los Angeles and spotted a couple billboards for Disneyland.

We made it to the hotel without issue. My wife and I went out to get a few snacks for the parks and the kids were too excited to remain at the hotel. So they took off to Downtown Disney and wandered the stores. We met up with them at the first store and the played around getting some photos and grabbed a cheap dinner. My wife wanted a re-created photo of the kids at the gate waiting to enter. (Albeit we do have a substitute teenager in place of our oldest.)

Our evening ended back at the hotel. We stood on the balcony and watched the fireworks that exploded from the park. Our energy levels and dopamine was kicking in and getting to sleep was tough. But we did it.

The excitement of our first day is about to commence. Now onto a post- Covid lockdown adventure in Disneyland. Did I mention that I’m super excited about Galaxy’s Edge? Yeah. I kinda love Star Wars…. Squeee!!! I’m the biggest kid of them all right now.

More adventures to follow over the next few days.

Road Trip Time

Today is starting with an early morning wake up for all of us. Of course, we are all energized and ready… seriously.

So Early

This is the kind of road trip that can get a person excited. Even the teenagers are awake without grumbling. Albeit quiet and subdued. But ready to go nonetheless. No photos of them quite yet as that kind of energy isn’t powered up.

I know I have been talking about this trip to numerous friends and coworkers, so many people already know where we are going. The picture of my watch is a dead giveaway. If you haven’t figured it out- here’s another angle of the picture.

Hidden Mickey

Disneyland! We are so excited! This early start to our twenty two hour drive is going to get us revved up for our four whirlwind days in the parks. At least we are breaking up the journey down into two days. Only once have we pushed through in one stretch- never again.

I’m excited to share our adventures over the next few days. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Disneyland- HERE WE COME!

Vacation About To Begin!

Work is over for the next week and a half. Time to enjoy some well deserved sunshine! Now, as the sun sets, I am happy to be off work.

My son and I had a good evening in the pool after dinner. After tonight’s relaxation- fun is the goal for the next seven days! I’m looking forward to time with the family as we hit the open road! We are packed and ready to roll.

Hooray for time off!

Another Beautiful Evening

Last night my teenager and I had dinner together. We watched the clouds in the sky as the sun vanished behind them. I’m still mesmerized by the views we have from the back of our home. I was happy to share the moment with someone.

There’s just something magical about nature and how the universe works. I don’t know the answers to Life- but I will say, watching a sunset hanging out with someone you care about really fills my heart with joy.

Cheering On Theory From Afar

This past week, my wife and son were in Calgary for a speed skating camp. Today was a competition for the skaters.

My wife shared with me a live feed of the event on YouTube posted by the Calgary Oval. I watched our son competing from the comfort of our living room. seeing his name on the television brings me a sense of pride and joy.

But watching him skate brings me more joy. He is passionate about his skating and is always pushing to improve his skills.

In his two races- he got new personal bests. He even shaved ten seconds off one of the heats. I’m really impressed and I hope he continues on the path to success in speed skating. The trips out of province are a good chance for him to get better and meet with other skaters.

But I can’t wait for them to come home. I miss the family when they are away.

Cat-Astrophic

Our kids have asked for a cat on numerous occasions throughout the years. My wife and I are quite allergic to felines, so we always said no. We always said that when they are adults, they can do what they want. Our kids accepted this answer.

As I mentioned the other day, we are in the Final Month Of Tenants in our basement. We agreed to allow them to have their dog and cat during their stay. Over the past year the cat has become friends with us. Specifically our 18 year old. The tenants asked if they could leave the cat behind.

So now we have a cat. After years of denying one in our home- “Buddy” has joined our family as of Saturday. Naturally, our 18 year old would like to give him a new name. That will probably happen over the next few days. Naming an animal makes having it as a part of our family more real.

The cat isn’t that bad. In fact he is very cuddly and friendly. Doggone it- I’m not supposed to be a cat person.

Fun Lies To Children

Having small kids is filled with telling them lies. Many of the lies are done in order to calm or control the kids in some way. I know many parents who have told the same lies I have told.

The Three Big Lies

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are the three main lies we have told to our children. These fibs led to some good behavior and some magical moments as they grew up. It is always fun to be the character behind the curtain and make their dreams come true. A few gifts, some candy, a dollar or two. But I have a couple of other lies I have told over the years that I found amusing.

ID4

Telling our children at a young age that the move Independence Day was based on true events brought me joy. I wrote about it here: ID 4. Watching the film every year is one of my guilty pleasures. The kids also enjoy the film, so no harm no foul in telling them that lie.

However, my favorite lie was telling my kids that when the ice cream truck was playing music- it meant they were out of ice cream. That worked for a very long time. Each of them just grew to accept that we weren’t going to buy a frozen treat. Our youngest was the last to discover the truth. One day our son was over at a neighbor’s house and those parents went and bought ice cream from The Ice Cream Man.

I saw him getting a treat as I was leaving for work that day. Not sure if it was guilt in his face for being caught, or the look was the fact that he realized that I was always lying about the music. At least now if the truck comes to the neighborhood, our teenagers have their own money to spend if they choose to.

Is there any lies you have told kids in order to humor yourself, save money or perhaps your sanity? Let me know in the comments.

Final Month Of Tenants

Our tenants have given their notice to move out at the end of this month. As much as the income was nice and beneficial from having them there, it will be amazing to have the space back for our usage.

The tenants of our basement suite happen to be the original owners of this house. When we first bought the home they were only supposed to live here for six weeks. That would have put them out at the end of August last year. As we were about to move in, they had asked if we could extend it to February as they waited for their new home to be built. We agreed. Of course, as February approached they asked to extend it to May… then July… as the house they were getting built was getting delays.

Even though they are moving out at the end of this month, their new home isn’t quite done yet. In fact it sounds like mid October may be the completion date. But during these final stages, they wanted to be closer to the new house (which is on Vancouver Island). That’s completely understandable. Maybe now they can apply some pressure to their contractor to get their place done. I am glad that we have become friends with the former owners. As leery as we were at first, those fears subsided over the year.


For us this means nearly 1900 sqf of living space will become available to us. A full kitchen, living room, den, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and plenty of extra storage. It also means we can begin to furnish our current space as we move some of our older furniture downstairs. This has become an exciting journey for my wife and I. We have been window shopping (and a bit of real shopping) as we plan new styles for our home.

This has made us feel youthful and fun. When we first started dating we went on many dates doing this sort of thing. Planning bedrooms, living rooms, etc as our family grew. The plan when we purchased this house was to allow for our children to have their own space as adults to live. We are helping them by furnishing the area and hope that one or two of them take the opportunity to use such a magnificent space to grow into adulthood before the possibility of moving out on their own.

Until that time, we will use the extra kitchen to prepare meals while we sit out at the pool instead of always running up and down the stairs. We will also have the space for friends and family to stay and visit for longer periods than just a few hours. Especially those from out of town. There will now be a few beds available for guests.

Everything feels exciting and new again about this home. Only one month to go!

Weekend At Home With My Wife

This weekend our two teenagers went off to Vancouver to attend Anirevo (an anime convention). So my wife and I had the place to ourselves.

And we goofed off.

We played in the pool for hours- splashing and laughing with a few drinks inside of us. We lounged in the gazebo (which we have now dubbed “The Cabana”) and had some fantastic dinners together. It was like having our own private oasis on vacation together. These past couple of days has us realizing that becoming “Empty Nesters” won’t be so bad.

I’m really happy that my wife and I can do these things together. It feels as though we didn’t really have much time to date before we jumped into parenthood 20 years ago. So we are making up for it now.

Life is pretty good these days.

Golfing… As Predicted

Our son began his first job three weeks ago. He is currently a groundskeeper at Surrey Golf Club. Check out my write up about his first week here: 1st Work Week. As I anticipated, he wants to take up golfing now.

He has found about 75-100 golf balls so far at his work. He came home yesterday and wanted to practice his swing. So I did my best to teach him. He hit about 30 or so golf balls and nailed maybe 5 of them comfortably.

My father attempted to teach me how to golf a couple of times throughout my childhood. Unfortunately, he wasn’t patient with me. I think around age 13 he gave up. To be fair, so did I. But I did listen and remember his teachings. I was able to pass the wisdom onto Theory. As much as I wish I could continue to teach my son how to swing a club, if he wants to learn it would be more beneficial for him to take lessons.

Taking from my own past experiences- both in teaching and being taught- learning from a parent isn’t always the best. Expectations can be too high, anxiety kicks in and then finally disobedience to the lesson being taught. Which causes a bit of animosity between parent and child.

I do have a feeling our son will enjoy golf. He is very keen on learning more and loves his job tremendously. The job has been great for him so far. He likes it so much, some days he goes in up to an hour earlier than scheduled. That means being at work at 4am!

Best of luck Theory in becoming a better golfer. Grandpa would’ve been proud.

Dom Turns Twenty

Our oldest child turns twenty today. Chances are they won’t see anyone in the family today. Which is a first. But that’s okay. We knew one day they would grow up and move on.

Our little girl was born in 2002 and named Random. But over the years they have discovered who they are and have chosen to go by the name Dom instead. Don has become their own person and can make adult decisions. With those decisions, I may not like them- but I will respect them. Since they are an adult, they also need to live with their choices and learn to grow, change and embrace their ever changing world.

Over the years it was rare to get any photos of them. But even with cosplay, and smiles- they often made it difficult to get a good picture. And as much as I have always been proud of their accomplishments- they never wanted me to express my joy in public. I was apparently an embarrassment to them.

A few months ago, they choose not to speak to me anymore. Which is hurtful, yet I must respect their wishes. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong- as I always thought I was supportive and gave them everything they needed. Even now, as they requested space away from me- I am giving it. Perhaps one day they will talk with me like an adult and I can see more of their vantage point as to how they grew up. Until then, I’ll continue to cheer them on in the background- because I love them with all my heart.

Have a Happy Birthday Dom. May your world be filled with joy everyday.

Love always,

Dad

Love And Thunder

This morning we took our two youngest to a morning matinee at the theater. It was a last minute purchase, but the kids convinced me that this was important.

I will say it was a nice experience hanging with the family in a half filled theater. We made ourselves comfortable as the film rolled. Of course we snuck in some snacks- as most do when watching movies.

I’m glad to have had some quality time with the family. We enjoyed the movie together and I know there aren’t too many more of these events left. I’ll take it!