Garage Success

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

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

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

Go Joe! Next is to organize the shed…

Andrew Porter

An old friend of mine from the late 90’s passed away recently. Today was his funeral service. His name was Andrew Porter.

“Porter” by definition comes from the Latin portatorem: one who carries. Andrew Porter carried many of us through a strange and unusual time in our lives.

After the service, a dozen of us went for lunch and shared stories of our youth. There were catch phrases- little inside jokes only we understood. Here were the craziest ones:

Cheeseburger

She bit my dick!

Break out the saki! Andy got laid!

Andy’s smoking “American” cigarettes.

I’m a lover, not a fighter!

Scabbies (there are a ton of songs on this subject)

Our lives back then made me realize how lucky I am to have endured those days. We were stupid teenagers doing stupid shit thinking we would live forever. Andy was my next door neighbor for a few years at the end of high school- that’s how we became friends.

We were the delinquent houses where groups of us would get drunk and high. From those insane catchphrases and memories, I’m glad I lived the life I did with Andy close by sharing in the journey.

As the years went on, eventually I lost touch with him. Seeing him fourteen years ago was the last time. I could view his life on Facebook, but in March of 2019 I chose to erase my Facebook friends. Today I realized that I still need Facebook friends. I need to follow them so that I know that they are okay.

Because one day they will be gone. Just like Andy.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Andy. You will be missed, but the memories lasted a lifetime.

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!

Vintage Love

I am a huge fan of all things retro and vintage. Sure, I still like my modern amenities and won’t give those up any time soon. But there are some things that just bring me joy and are unique in many aspects.

I do like when old mixes with new. I picked up a couple of Panasonic noise canceling headphones with Bluetooth capabilities. I love the look of these headphones and how they remind me of elementary school libraries. That “station” where you could listen to an audio book or watch those short little filmstrip projectors. Those headphones were indestructible. I’m hoping these new ones are equally as awesome.

But the greatest thing we got as a housewarming gift came from my in-laws. They gave us six new towels for our use in our pool. The towels are fluffy and the color scheme screams 1970’s. What’s even better? The towels are from SEARS. So either my in-laws had these in storage, or somewhere out there is a Sears that is still in business. No matter what the case, I love these towels.

Do you like vintage and retro style? What makes you think it is vintage? Let me know in the comments.

Twenty Year Celebration

Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.

We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.

Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.

That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.

A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.

Hanging Out With A View

After almost three weeks in our new house, we have been extremely active in setting it up. Unpacking, organizing, getting a cleaning routine going, that sort of thing. On an almost daily basis we have also been hanging out in the pool. All of it is great and keeping us busy.

This evening I took a page from my wife’s book. We stopped to enjoy the view from our living room. Sure, there’s more work to do and a dinner to make. But taking a breather to remember why we bought this house is important.

The skyline. Something we gave up in our last home. But the exchange in our last place was the beauty of living in a park like setting. Old growth trees offering natural shade and cooling of the home. To me, this exchange is equivalent, even though different in many ways.

Appreciating what we got and what we work towards is necessary. We love our new home and are working hard to create Kingdom Havelka as a magical place to live.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Count Us In

Look what came in the mail today! So excited, I can hardly contain myself.

2021 Canadian Census!

This is the most dry and boring questionnaire around. But filling it out is “The Law” so it’s done.

Completing the census doesn’t really excite me. It’s up there in the range of taxes or jury duty. It’s something you just have to do, so you do it. Or at least someone in the household has to do it. I did it this year.

Can’t wait to see the results. I hope we passed.

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.

Summer Graffiti

As the sun continues to shine, my work days have gotten a bit brighter. Even the rail cars are getting into the spirit.

I spotted a “Lilo and Stitch” graffiti painted car outside the window today. It made me smile at the abilities of some vandals. The recognition of a cartoon character on either side of a tag is becoming commonplace.

Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” reminded me of our trip to Hawaii seven years ago. As well as our trip to Tokyo three years ago. Which got me thinking about all of our vacations to Disneyland. I really do enjoy my time with my family as we make memories.

So if a graffiti vandal can make me happy, then I really don’t mind seeing their crimes. Especially on rolling art canvases that travel the continent.

The Final Easter In Our Castle

This morning my wife surprised our teens by having an Easter Egg Hunt in our living room. We have done the hunt every year since we moved into our house.

Always in the living room. That’s because we can hide the eggs the night before and close off the room until we are ready. This is the same room we would celebrate Christmas Day in.

Today was the last time that our kids would hunt for candy in the living room. None of them wanted a picture taken, but I took a stealth one anyways. An Easter Egg Hunt was always something my wife enjoyed doing for our kids. As they became teenagers, I was thinking that it’s becoming a bit much.

But after today’s hunt I could see why my wife enjoyed doing this for our kids every year.

They all sat around the dining room table, dumped out their haul and divided it equally. It’s something they’ve always done (same with Halloween). Seeing them do this once more made me smile.

Our teenagers are getting along! These days it’s hit and miss with how nice they are to each other. Or even towards my wife and I. Days like today are a reminder as to why we love our family. Moments like this will be missed when we move away.

But the memories will be cherished forever.

Farewell Spring Break

Today is the last day of MY Spring Break– even though it’s the First Day Of Spring! My wife still has Sunday off and our kids have another week off from school. Lucky ducks.

I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. I was up early almost every day and stayed up late as well. We achieved a lot around the house through packing and donating. I think that was where all my free time went towards.

We did get some driving lessons in for our middle child, which was good. As well as a ton of emails and paperwork completed for the purchase of our new home. My wife and I spent a lot of time together on a few walks, and we went out for my Birthday supporting the local businesses.

I guess in the end, it was a fulfilled “Staycation” keeping me busy. It just seemed like something was missing. Perhaps the whole “can’t travel” outside of Canada has me down. I’m sure once more folks receive the vaccine, those borders will open up soon enough. For now, I should just appreciate the time I had at home with my family.

It would also be nice not to have to return to work… but bills gotta be paid somehow. Now to look forward to my next set of vacation days- set for when we move!

Our Future Home

In just over two and a half weeks we had listed our home, sold our home and bought a new home. It was fast, stressful, and filled with joy! We were able to get the price we wanted for our current place (and more). We are soon moving into what feels like our dream home.

There are so many things about this new house that appeal to us. First and foremost is the address. Yup. I’m a numbers guy. I like patterns. We had to get married on 10/07/2001 because I liked how the members were. The address for this place is 16261 61A Ave. In Chinese lucky numbers, the meanings are as follows:

ONE: UNITY

SIX: SMOOTH

TWO: HARMONY

I think this house will have that all for us: UNITY/SMOOTH/HARMONY.

This new home is nearly 5000 square feet over three levels. The listing was described like this: “Welcome to the POOL PARTY in this GORGEOUS FOXRIDGE home located in prestigious WEST CLOVERDALE! This extraordinary home has it all,quality construction,breathtaking views, 4982sqft w/ 5 bds,6 bths & daylight WALKOUT BASEMENT for INLAWS w/ finishings that mirror the main!Luxury living awaits,w/ immaculate master w/ fireplace,extravagant ensuite & 2 closets.Your open concept main floor overlooks your PRIVATE RESORT like pool & deck to enjoy coffee,cocktails,family & friends all while looking at your mountain & valley views(w/ Jimmy Buffet playing in the background). The list doesn’t end,S/S appliances,quartz counters,hardwood flooring, custom window coverings,coffered & vaulted ceilings & OVERSIZED driveway. All this in a family-friendly cul-de-sac close to schools, parks & walking trails!”

Yup, there is a built in pool in the backyard. This was the only thing that was giving us second thoughts about buying the place. It’s an extra expense that we never had on our “wish list” for a house. But the views, the space and the massive basement suite (that can generate a good income) more than makes up for it.

The interior of the house is exemplary in its style. The owners were meticulous with the upkeep and for a ten year old house- it shows as if it was brand new. The yard space and the views are what really drew our attention to this house. Even though we are moving from a treed backyard on almost an acre, the green belt and farmland behind this new property makes it feel spacious.

By summer our family will be in our new home. This will be a big change for us all- but a very welcomed one. I’m really happy and proud of how hard we worked at being homeowners for twenty years to get to this point. The long game has paid off, so they say.

Magic Kingdom For Sale- SOLD!

We have officially sold Castle Havelka. The subjects were removed last night and the final contract was signed. Perhaps it was this write up about our house from our agent that helped us get an offer within a week and a sold sign in twelve days:

“Quiet, Peaceful and Park Like! 38,000 sq ft southern exposed lot situated on a small cul-de-sac street in one of the best locations in desirable Salmon River. In an area of brand new luxury small acreage homes. This sprawling 3,134 sq ft two storey home has a terrific layout, exquisite detail and tons of character throughout. Beautiful large rooms including inviting kitchen/eating area plus large media and dining room on main floor. Upstairs has 5 large bedrooms. Fall in love with your backyard including large deck space with “Nano Style” doors opening up to your manicured grounds . Walking distance to North Otter Elementary. Wrap around driveway with tons of parking. Room for Shop! RV Parking. First time on market! This one is a must see!”

Now it’s time to hunker down on the house search. We’ve only scratched the surface and barely dipped our toes into the pool of what homes are out there. It’s time to really push our imaginations and find the right place for us. Essentially we are planning to buy a home that our teens can become adults in if they so choose to still live with us. We are looking for more space inside of the house and closer to big city amenities.

We are giving up the “Country Living” hashtag and going for more “Suburban Living”. It also means that CASTLE HAVELKA will need a new moniker for our next place. I want to use Kingdom, Empire or Realm to describe our next place. Perhaps Chalet or Shanty will be the term. Only time will tell with how it turns out.

I’m glad that this step is behind us. One sigh of relief has occurred, now to take a deep breath and dive into our house hunting!