Just like nearly everyone else, I’m astonished that the gas prices continue to rise. Living in the Vancouver area, we are experiencing the highest in the country.
With rising gas costs, that means rising food costs. As well as travel expenditures. For whatever reason, the governments around the world aren’t doing anything to combat these rising costs. All the news from them is, “we acknowledge that gas prices are high.” No resolutions. This cannot be sustainable for the future of the world.
With electric vehicle makers not being able to keep up with the demand, many of us are stuck paying these prices at the pump. All I can do is vent that this situation sucks. I’d love to buy an electric car. Maybe in a few years. But for now I just have to minimize how much driving I do and plan out my shopping trips to hit stores in the same vicinity at around the same time.
I also drive the speed limit more often than I once did. My car also has an ECO Mode which I have turned on. I haven’t seen much in the way of savings or good fuel economy with this option engaged. Only time will tell.
Today is our youngest’s birthday. He turned 16. It’s a big deal because now he can go and start to learn how to drive. That’s truly exciting!
He also wanted to do something else more grown up- he wanted to make dinner. He asked if I could help him make schnitzel the way I make it. Which is a variation on the recipe my father used to do. Theory’s comfort level with cooking is getting better. Dinner was delicious!
In true teenage fashion, getting a nice photo of him wasn’t happening. So I ended up with a bunch of blurry, hands in the face, head turning photos tonight. But in the end, he wanted to spend time with me. Both watching tv and making dinner. That was more a gift for me I think.
The one gift I’m really happy about that we gave him was a license plate. It was hand painted by a street artist who tags rail cars. His name is also Theory. I reached out to him a while back and paid for a piece in order to gift it to our son. I’m really happy with how perfect the gift was for Theory since he will soon be driving.
So a big shout out to our son on his birthday!
Happy birthday Theory! Who also goes by these names:
We love you buddy. We are so proud of who you are becoming.
Yesterday we said farewell to a strong memory from 2003. That was the year my wife and I went into debt and bought our very first brand new car together.
I had seen the Honda Element in a magazine (probably Maxim magazine because that’s what I was reading all the time) and I wanted to see it in person. My wife was reluctant at first, but then she saw it and immediately wanted to own one. It would make getting kids in and out of the car so much easier!
Biggest selling feature at the time? It came in 5 speed manual transmission. The next best part was that the interior was all rubber. Very easy to clean with small children and pets! Within a week of purchase, we found out our second child was on the way.
We adorned our box on wheels with the best sticker ever- LEGO. Playful, yet fitting for the unique suv.
The vehicle was perfect for a family of four and a dog. But then the inevitable happened. My wife got pregnant again. The Element was only a four passenger vehicle. So we went out and bought a minivan. Not our greatest moment. A new sticker was eventually added to the back window.
After years and years of usage, we sadly had to say farewell to our Honda Element. None of us were driving it anymore and she just sat in the corner of our driveway. The same thing was happening in our last home, however our oldest was enjoying some of the freedom of a vehicle for a bit, but the stipulations were that she had to drive their younger siblings around.
We will miss Elly. She was a great vehicle, but didn’t owe us anything. 360,000+ kilometers of road trips, drop offs, camping, donuts, and numerous dents and scratches showed how driven she was over the years. A fantastic vehicle built only the way a Honda could be built.
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.
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.
About a decade ago I was driving our Honda Element to work when the tire essentially ruptured. I was on the highway doing about 100km/h in morning traffic when it happened. I was safely able to pull over to a shoulder and changed out the tire. Something caused it to blow out the side walls rendering the tire absolutely useless. I changed the tire in a matter of minutes and still made it to work on time.
I tell this story because my wife had a similar incident on Tuesday. Only she struck a pothole that had formed after the rain storm. This was on a side street doing about half the speed I was doing. However, the tire still exploded. Because the tires she has on her car are designed as high performance tires and are very thin, the rubber sits closer to the rim.
My wife drove the last few kilometers back home and parked the car thinking it wasn’t that bad. I’m now waiting at the local Kal Tire getting a new tire put on. I’m hoping there isn’t much damage to the rim and that everything will work out. The folks here at Kal Tire have great customer service and appear to be very efficient.
Because my wife hardly drives the car, the wear and tear on the vehicle is minimal. Financially we are lucky to only need to replace one tire. Where as normally they recommend two in order to keep the wear even. The car will get the tires rotated and balanced before I get it back.
Now that I’m done today’s blog, I’m going to finish the rest of my hour waiting here to surf the Internet. That way I can tackle the yard work when I get home and keep myself active as the sun comes out.
Everyone I know has some sort of tradition they do around the holidays. This year, being what it is, may have adjusted or outright changed those traditions. We have a few that begin this afternoon. But first things first- we had a couple of other events that aren’t as exciting.
A big house cleaning is one of them. Dusting, floors, windows, even the skylight needs to get a good ol’ sparkle before we do anything else. The family loves to do that. *eyeroll*
Next is the sad realization that I need to do a quick shopping run for last minute items. A Baguette is on my list because the loaf I tried to bake this morning was a pretty good failure. I guess we have some bread lightsabers to swing around…
As well, because of the snowstorm on Monday our daughter’s driving lesson got moved to midday today. Which was totally fine since I was able to make my errands completed during her lesson.
So even though we have traditions that we will adhere to this afternoon/evening, our day was kind of like any other day. My wish is for all of you readers out there who do celebrate, to enjoy your Christmas Eve! No matter what it may bring.
Our daughter has been driving our 2003 Honda Element on her own since August 2019 when she got her N. She may not have always sounded happy that she got to drive the car because it wasn’t newer like mine or her mother’s. But she still calls it “her car”.
Recently she mentioned that the Check Engine Light came on. Naturally we asked when she needed her next oil change. She was unsure because she didn’t ever watch her mileage. Turns out she was within a few hundred kilometers of needing it done. So she planned on going in sometime soon. No big deal.
The other day however, her Battery Light came on. That was interesting since we had bought a brand new battery days before she got her N. Turns out that today the car just would not start. My wife drive out to where she was and gave her a “jump”. As our daughter arrived at home, the car died and she coasted into the driveway. Seems like the alternator is shot.
After looking online, it appears to be a nuisance to get this replaced, although rather simple. So now I have to decide if I want to attempt it on my own, or pay someone else to do it for me. I’m leaning towards getting somebody else to do it. Mostly because it’s cold and wet outside and we do not have a heated garage. If it was summer- I’d sure give it the ol’ college try.
So all things considered, it’s only may that this added expense would happen right before Christmas, and right after we have spent a butt-ton of money on gifts. Le Sigh. It needs to get done. Oh well. Time to call a mechanic.
Living in the countryside has its advantages. My commute to and from work can be long and tiresome. I try and use that time to decompress and leave the workload behind me. Driving home from a night shift lately has been rather pleasant.
I enjoy the sunrise in the autumn much more than any other time of year. The sun is at a slightly different angle as well as a bit later to rise. A misty morning makes the light of day shimmer with a hazy aura. As if the trees are glowing and preparing to change colors.
Having trees all around my neighborhood makes for a peaceful autumn morning. A freshness is in the air. One that you cannot experience in the suburbs or city. It clears my head and relaxes me on a daily basis. My own little zen experience.
An autumn morning drive fills me with contentment. This world is a pretty place.
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.
Our middle child turned sixteen on April 15th. Right in the middle of quarantine/ social distancing life. (Note: I’m not saying the world has overcome the pandemic, just that the peak of solitude seems to be behind us.) We were hoping that on her birthday she would have been able to go and do her knowledge test to begin driving. But it seemed that life was on pause until the start of June when ICBC began allowing people to book these tests.
Our daughter booked her test immediately- but there was a two week queue already. This gave her more time to study and finally had a deadline. I went with her yesterday morning because I had to sign off on her getting her license as she is still a minor. Once I signed off, I was asked to wait outside. I watched from the parking lot as our daughter took her exam. She had forty five minutes to complete it.
She was done in eleven.
She successfully aced the test with only one wrong answer out of fifty questions! 98% is dang impressive, clearly she gets her intelligence from her father. A very proud teenager showed off her “L” to her friends on Instagram and through texting. We stopped about a block away from our home, and I let her get a taste of driving.
All I can say is that this one will need lessons from someone who is not mom or dad. She may be book smart, but she needs to become road smart because those are two very different skill sets. I’m really happy for her and think that driving is a great skill to possess.
I find the biggest downside to winter is warming up my car. I can deal with snow and even ice. I just hate waiting for my car to get warm and de-fog.
This morning I decided to sit in my car and write this blog as I waited for my windows to clear up. I did my best to wait for complete visibility, but I’m cutting the blog short so I can start driving as the rest of my car warms up. My seat warmer works really well and I just feel like getting going.
I’ve owned my 2016 Nissan Rogue for exactly three years. I bought it the day I took a promotion and became a supervisor at my work: Changing It Up. The car received its regular oil change today. I also had the brake fluid flushed. My vehicle hasn’t required anything major considering I have put on 108,000 Kilometers on it since new. The service department was surprised by two things.
First, that I haven’t had to change my brakes. They told me that most people get new brakes between 50-60,000 Kilometers. Mine are on the verge of needing replacement, but can wait until the new year. The service department said I must be really gentle on my brakes. Um… not really, but I guess the vehicle tells a different story.
Secondly is my tires. They still have quite a bit of life to them. The tires came with the vehicle and are stock as well. Nowhere near high performance or high mileage quality. I’ll probably get some all-season tires in the Springtime. No need to fork over money for winter tires at this time either.
All in all I will say that my Nissan Rogue has been a great vehicle. “Five out of five stars- Would Buy Again.”
I did however forget to put insurance on it again this year. I noticed as I left the dealership that it expired yesterday. Oops. Time to get that rectified immediately. Wouldn’t want to have my car not taken care of since it’s been taking care of me for three years without complaint.
Over the past month or so my windshield has been getting abused. I don’t much care for it.
It’s very frustrating to be driving down the highway and hear that loud PING as a projectile leaves its mark on your car’s glass. I had three separate small ones all appear at various spots within a few days of each other. Every time I get in my car I think, “I should get that looked at and repaired”. But I never do.
Then this morning as I drove home from work- a massive attack occurred. I was even able to witness the projectile as it flew at my car. It was a dull grey image barreling directly at my line of sight. It wasn’t until it hit my window and scared me that I mentally zoned back in. Now there is a large crescent moon chip in the center of my windshield. The diameter of the damaged area is larger than a quarter- this is definitely a fifty cent piece sized chunk.
So I guess I’m glad I didn’t get the other three chips repaired. It would feel like a waste of time. On my next day off- I’ll be looking to get something done about it. Until then, I’ll just have to do my best to not focus on it… Good Luck Joe– it’s right at eye level. I better not buy a new vehicle like I did years ago when I got our minivan windshield replaced. Even though our Pathfinder was a great SUV and much better than a minivan. I still love my 2016 Nissan Rogue, so just a new windshield shall do.
Everyday I cross two sets of train tracks near our home. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. Recently they changed one of the crossings.
They removed the stop sign and installed some lights. Needless to say that many of the local residents are having a difficult time adjusting. Since many have lived here for a long time. Even though I know it has signals and no more stop sign, I still slow down as I approach. Perhaps it’s the railroader in me exercising caution.
At the other crossing I sometimes stop and take a photo. There can be something beautiful about the skyline and the tracks that needs to be immortalized in a picture.
Yesterday was the first day of school. Only it was just one hour of school. Not really a “day” to speak of really. But the kids enjoyed seeing their friends and smelling the hallways once more.
My wife even took the obligatory “Seeing the kids off on the first day of school photo“. This year was of the car as it drove off. That’s because our oldest has her driver’s license and the other two are both in high school now. This meant we didn’t have to spend the “day” waiting for them. It’s bittersweet in a way. But for this year, my wife and I won’t have to spend 40 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon driving.
Huge sigh of relief.
Today is a real day of school. Now starts the hard work and education.
As I mentioned yesterday in my blog- Off To Fort St. John– we had a road trip taking us fairly far North in British Columbia. We left our home at 6am and made it into Fort St. John by 8pm. we made it in one word:
That’s the key that I want to mention about this road trip that I always overlook when talking about driving. I love taking the roads through the mountains, deserts, countrysides and cities. Road trips are a good way to bond with my family on these vacations. But the journey needs to always be taken safely.
We left before the sun came out. But we stopped twice before even hitting the freeway. That’s because I was uncertain about one of the front straps on the kayaks I had mounted to the roof. Because of my anal retentiveness- this prevented any possible issues during our drive. Every time we stopped for gas- I rechecked the tie downs. All was good.
After about eight hours of my hand at driving, I realized I was becoming extremely tired and had my wife take over. I hopped into the back seat with our son, while our daughter sat up front and played “DJ”.
After a couple of hours driving on the single lane roadways- my wife was behind a slow moving vehicle. When an opportunity arose for her to pass the RV, she signaled and began to pull around. At which point the truck behind her also decided he wanted to pass both our car and the RV. He had no signal and a lead foot. My wife had to jerk back into our lane narrowly avoiding hitting the front side of the truck and the rear bumper of the car in front. There was no reason for the guy behind us to try and run us off the road. But he felt he was more important.
My wife remained calm and then passed the RV. The other truck was now barreling down the road ahead of us at close to twice the posted speed limit. Oh well.
About an hour before we were to get to our destination- there was the remnants of a bad accident. It looked as though a train had collided with a semi trailer at the only train crossing around. The flag people were in position alternating the flow of traffic. We weren’t held up for very long.
Needless to say, we encountered a few indiscretions during our fourteen hour drive. Road trips are long and can be tedious. But keeping your occupants and fellow drivers around you safe should always be number one. We preach safety at my work, and I take that home every day as well. I’d much rather get to our destination safely than in a hurry.
Today we are driving North. This will be the furthest North I have ever driven. Prior to this was back in Grade Eight in 1988 when I went on a band trip to Prince George. That was memorable because we stayed at the host homes of one of the schools up there.
But today we are driving for about another four hours past Prince George. Driving North. I can’t get over how far this is from our home.
But it’s not the furthest we’ve driven from our home. We drove South one time almost all the way to the Mexican border. Driving South usually means warmer weather and a more fun destination.
Earlier this year we headed East. Not quite out of Alberta. But getting pretty close. The distance is almost as far as our travels today. But the time to get there is quicker. Most likely due to the route and my tendency to get a speeding ticket in Alberta…
As for driving West- Gold River On Vancouver Island was the furthest so far. Can’t overly drive through the Pacific Ocean. The ferry only gets to the islands nearby.
Do you enjoy roadtrips as much as we do?
What’s the furthest you’ve driven?
Any sights you’d recommend on the drive North through British Columbia?
On Friday our oldest got her N which means she can drive without supervision. Today she left for her work on her own. To my wife and I- this is a big deal. It’s the start of a bit more freedom. Freedom from chaperoning the kids everywhere.
But it was also tough to see our oldest leave without us. Even though we could’ve slept in- we had to make sure she left the nest and got to work safely. So we made her text us once she arrived at her job. Being a parent means we still worry.
A little bit over a year ago, our oldest daughter got her Learner’s License. She has practiced driving a few times every week since then. Mostly driving my car because it is an automatic. She has also driven our 2003 Honda Element which is a manual transmission. We kept that vehicle because it has been extremely reliable and had we traded it in- we wouldn’t get much money for it. It’s also a safe vehicle for her to drive around in.
Today she went in to get her “N” to begin being a Novice Driver. She successfully passed the road exam. Now she will have more freedom to drive without mom and dad overseeing her every move. Just look at that teenage smile!
We insured the Honda Element today for a full year with her as the primary driver. The first thing she did for the car? Set her radio stations.
Having an L for the past year meant she wasn’t permitted to have music or the radio playing while she learned to drive.Earning an N gives her the opportunity to enjoy driving. She will be more independent now. I also gave her some training this evening on how to change the tire in case she ever gets a flat.
So there it is- another milestone in a young person’s life. It feels as if we just took off her training wheels yesterday. Exceptthat was a fight. She had no desire to learn how to ride a two wheel bike… but that’s a different story.
I commute 56.9 km from my home to work and the same for the return. It takes about 45 minutes on average each way. I’m lucky in the sense that I usually miss the bumper to bumper driving because of my start and end times at work. Usually.
I don’t mind this commute. I listen to the daily news report on the radio as I drive. It also clears my head after a day of working. This allows me to devote my time to my family when I arrive at home.
Mornings like today are spectacular to drive home in after a night shift. I get to enjoy the sun peering over the trees and casting a light onto my destination- my home. My neighborhood lights up with activity as well. Birds, rabbits and squirrels darting around the streets. As if my drive home has turned me into a Disney Princess and the small woodland critters are greeting me on my journey home.
Or else I’m just really tired and need to get some sleep and stop tripping out. At least I made it home alive…
Having a day off before the weekend is fantastic. Shopping is easier when the stores aren’t crowded. This morning I thought I’d get a good jump on my day off. Out the door at 8am to drop the kids off at school, then down to the good ol’ U.S. of A for some reasonably priced gas and dairy. I’d even beat the other parents since most school drop off is at 9am.
What a great plan. Or so I thought.
Today was the only day I wasn’t listening to the news radio. Turns out there was an accident at a major intersection that I needed to go through. I was wondering why the traffic was so busy going the opposite direction from me. Got to the detour and instead of heading south I was on my way north.
My brain went into re-routing overdrive. What roads connect where? Which ones won’t be busy? GIDDYUP U-Turn! Followed by a quick right and I was headed down a quiet street. I got this. Smooth sailing so far. Hang a left… traffic looked a bit busy up ahead- just a school zone to get through. Crossing over the other busy street when complete stop. Still about five blocks away from my planned route.
A couple minutes went by and we’ve moved two car lengths. There’s a driveway to my left…U-turn number two! Heading north again in order to go west down another back road. But I need to head east and south! Now I have a Pet Shop Boys song stuck in my head. “Go West- life is peaceful there…”
Finally a road that isn’t busy. The road that takes me home. I can’t go that way- I still need gas! I’m finally heading south. Back roads are fairly empty. Phew. I can begin to head east again. Alright- smooth sailing… construction zone!??!? How in the world is a person supposed to get anywhere? Am I living the traffic jam scene from “The Truman Show”? I gave up and just sat in the lineup. It was a bit of a wait, but not too bad.
I finally made it to the border. Which was not busy at all. My guess is people gave up trying to get through the blocked intersection I was frustrated with that begin my ordeal. Zipped to get fuel and zipped back across to come home. No waiting either way. Going home was easy as well. No traffic this time.
Two hours gone from my day however. But it was my day off without much in the way of plans- so that’s okay. Next time I’ll listen to the radio for traffic reports.
Last night I had to pick up my wife from the airport. Since I was working out in North Vancouver during the day, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive home first. I’d have driven eastward for 45 minutes just to have headed south west and drive for another 50 minutes to the airport. So I decided to kill some time in North Vancouver and had a quiet dinner by myself followed by a drive through Vancouver.
It was a route I don’t normally take. As I’ve mentioned in the past- I rarely travel to Vancouver. So I took my time and drove over the Lions Gate bridge from the North Shore past Stanley Park and into Vancouver. To my surprise, I really enjoyed seeing this part of the city at night. I can see why my wife would like to spend some time living in this area.
There’s something about city lights and a clean part of the city that becomes enticing. My wife may be able to sway me into buying our next place out that way once our kids are adults. I never thought of myself leaving the ‘burbs. But a nice view of city lights seems plausible. Only time will tell.
The other day, I pulled out her “Immaculate Collection” CD from my music assortment. I popped it into my car’s CD player and put it on shuffle.
You know, commuting in and out of Vancouver is much more pleasant when you sing along to music. Boy, do I love to sing along!
Sitting in my car is a crocheted BB-8 that hangs out by my cup holder. I’ll pick him up by the head and flip him around as I drive. His ass makes a great impromptu microphone. Occasionally I’ll stick it in my family’s face to try and get them to sing along as well. A lead singer needs his back up vocals!
Rocking down the highway to some classic Madonna makes me happy. I know most of the lyrics to Madonna’s songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Some of the lyrics I mumble or sing incorrectly for fun. Even though I belt them out, I still have to have her music cranked up. It drowns out my inability to sing. But I sure look like I’m having fun.
Today as I was driving to work, I almost got in a car accident. There was practically no one on the roads at the time. I was in a roundabout when another driver nearly hit me. She was clearly not paying attention. Probably distracted thinking about Christmas because she was in a real hurry.
There are certain rules of the road that people need to follow. Yielding to those in a roundabout is one of them. I wasn’t angry at the other driver, just a bit frustrated. But I’ve been on the other end as well where I’ve made a mistake driving nearly causing an accident.
Christmas Eve 1993, when I nearly got in a car accident. I was 17 at the time and my mother had asked me to go get gas and a car wash up the road from our place. My younger sister came along for the fifteen minute car ride. It was probably to get us out of the house in order for my mother to do last minute gift wrapping. It was evening time and the roads were getting frosty with patches of ice.
I was approaching a stop light and wanting to take a righthand turn. That’s when my wheels locked and I slide towards the car that was perpendicular to us. I must’ve stopped inches away from t-boning the driver’s side door. When I stopped, I quickly reversed and then proceeded to make my turn- waving apologetically to the other car.
Once I had turned into the gas station, a police car pulled up behind me with lights flashing. The officer had seen my close call but was kind enough to let me off with a warning and some friendly advice to be careful during the holidays.
I’ve always remembered that moment and taken it to heart. Even with your mind elsewhere, you need to pay attention to your immediate surroundings.