Blister In The Sun

After a hard day of manual labor, I had to take note of my hands. They were rough, dirty and beat up. I was assaulted by blackberry bushes that caught my skin and tore me up. But the worst was the blisters I received from the tools I used.

It may not have been an excruciatingly sunny day, but I broke into a sweat. After my first blister began, I caught myself singing “Blister in The Sun” by Violent Femmes over and over in my head. Let me go why??? I also tried to baby that spot, but the skin quickly tore away, so I gave in to the pain.

My days off are usually filled with chores and work that I do for my family and home. Seeing my rough hands makes me think of my father and how hard he would go to finish his chores. I have a similar trait and when I start something- it needs to be seen to completion.

I still get prideful doing work. Blisters and all.

The Pathway To Curb Appeal

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working hard at creating “curb appeal” for our home. Most of the summer was too hot to do manual labor in the front yard. During that time, we enjoyed our backyard immensely, and who wouldn’t?

But it finally came time to start with landscaping the front. I would be lying if I didn’t say I had “Yard Envy” of our neighbors. They all had a decade to creat beautiful landscapes. The home we bought- the previous owners put the time and money into the backyard. The gave my wife and I pretty much a blank canvas to do what we want in the front.

All summer we talked and planned. We drew ideas, hit some nurseries, and finally started in the purchasing of plants and such. A few bushes, trees, dirt, cement slabs, and stones have arrived. It has been back breaking work, quite literally. I pushed myself too hard last week and felt it.

After that, my wife put our two youngest to work helping out. I utilized our middle for quite a bit of the work. So naturally I paid her afterwards- much to her surprise. Today, my wife also took a few minutes to assist me. (Do I need to pay her also?)

Here are some of the before pictures of what we have done thus far. We decided to add a stone path along the driveway that leads past the front garden and towards our back gate. I did this all the right way, so I won’t have to try and fix it later on. We dug up the grass, leveled it off, lay down landscape fabric, put in a border, spread some sand, put down the slabs and shoveled the tiny stones all around.

Last week we planted a few of the bushes where we want them to be the centerpieces once we finish pulling up the lawn and adding some garden islands. In fact, we are hoping to remove the entire lawn to create a beautiful, low maintenance garden. That will likely happen next spring.

Today was a delivery of the stones and it only took about two hours to spread it out. The final look of the pathway is amazing. I’m really satisfied with how it turned out. I always love a sense of accomplishment when finishing a project. Now on to the next one!

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.

Give Me Fuel, Give Me Fire…

Today was the perfect autumn day to work outside.  A bit of a breeze, a lite sprinkle of rain, and some little helpers needing to burn off energy. My wife had our two youngest cleaning branches and pine needles from the driveway and around the house. My eldest child and I cleaned off the roof and gutters. Her and I then worked together to tackle a project I put off all summer.


We tidied our disasterous woodshed. From boards and beams that were haphazardly tossed in, to the logs that had fallen over into the walkway, we needed to clean it all up.  We re-stacked the wood to the drier side and swept up the dust. Old wooden beams and plywood made their way to the back of the woodshed for possible future use. I even took the time to show my daughter how to safely chop kindling. 

During our afternoon, we shared some good bonding moments that didn’t feel forced. Even laughing maniacally as we killed armies of spiders that crawled their way out from the wood.  Afterwards, we went back into our home for a late lunch where my daughter also lit a fire. 


Our oldest daughter enjoys hanging out beside the fireplace in our large black wingback chair. This is her favorite spot for contemplation and peace during the fall and winter. The woodshed and fireplace are in essence, her way of becoming an adult. Bringing us comfort by warming our home is her contribution to the household.

Little did she know that she also warmed my heart by sharing her time with me today. Talking with her I realized she isn’t my little girl anymore, but a young lady with passion in her soul. These interactions become the “A-Ha!” moments that catch me off guard. 

With a bit of sadness and a lot of love, I’m glad that together we cleaned the woodshed today.

Six

It happened suddenly and without warning. It wasn't until I looked at my salary that it actually hit me. After all is said and done, I somehow make six figures a year. No, it's not a brag in this day and age either. It's just an observation really. A fact I never tried to accomplish.

I am far from educated so that never got me very far. Life has always been a push or even a struggle to get up that hill into adulthood. Pinching pennies, spending long hours working, having a plan, sticking to a budget. All of it with goals in mind. Not all of the goals involved money.

I never sought money as a reason to work. Of course money is noice and affords me the lifestyle I want to live. But working for money? Not my thing. I have been enjoying work because of the challenges it presents me. Jobs lose their luster and thrill after a while but my current job has so many avenues available to me, I really don't know where I may end up.

So, I set my goals. Next year? Travel as much as possible. The year after? Put money into upgrading the home. The year after that? Help our oldest with post secondary education. The year after that? More travel. The work I get paid to do helps promote my plans. Sixth year? Seems like it will hit me fast.

Work goals? Learn as much as possible whenever possible. Share my knowledge with others. Help others achieve their goals. Make a difference in how the work environment feels. None of that sounds too lofty. Nor does it feel like a corporate ladder to climb. I figure if something interests me, I'll work towards it.

Why am I so Lazy This Week?


I haven’t been the most helpful husband this week.  Most mornings after a nightshift, I’ll drive the kids to school.  But not this week.  I came home every morning and went to bed.  I also woke up to eat dinner and then went for another nap before going to my nightshift.  I didn’t even make the dinners this week.


Everything fell on my wife.  I appreciate what she has done this week (and every week for that matter).  I’m not sure why I became so lazy.  But my wife stepped up and did everything for the family.  She did so without any real complaining or animosity towards me.  


She’s a pretty darn good lady who deserves daily praise.  To say that I will make it up to her is an understatement.  This weekend we are probably just going to lounge around the home.  She enjoys beating me at videogames, which is why I don’t like playing them with her.  I think a weekend away is in order soon.  

But tonight I will make dinner to thank her.  Sushi Take Out…

Running a Home Business 

My wife has a small home based business.  She creates fleece hats and hair clips in a small studio off the side of our home.  Shameless promotion here: Ningen Headwear

Her business started about eleven years ago as a way of making some extra money while our children were toddlers.  My wife attended craft fairs and sold on eBay from 2005-2010.  Etsy showed up in 2009 and she began selling there.  From that point on, she made numerous contacts and began focusing her products towards a specific genre.  We attended our first Anime Convention, and thus began a new way of life.

My wife’s business pays for our trips.  We incorporate vacation time with the Comic Cons.  As a family we love the Convention Circuit.  The kids are often dressing up in Cosplay, having photos taken, meeting celebrities, meeting fantastic artists and just having a good time.  It doesn’t feel like work when we are there.  But building stock and merchandise, that feels like work.

 

Inspirational view and sewing machines.

 

Last year I finally completed my wife’s studio.  Up until this point, our dining room and spare bedroom was where she worked 11.5 months of the year.  We only ever packed up for the two weeks at Christmas to make it feel like a home again.  Now she walks out the door and enters her own world.  She puts in full time hours but it feels like part time pay.  That’s the cost of running a home business.  No one tells you it will take twice as much time for half the results.

In my spare time, if I’m not doing housework or general home repairs, I try and help her.  I don’t know how to sew.  I don’t know how to measure and cut fabric.  I do know how to update her website.  I know how to sit at her embroidery machine and thread it (thank you movie theater experience for that!)

 

Busy making fan favorites!

 

My wife’s home business isn’t going to make millions.  But it does make her happy.  My wife makes her customers happy as well and their feedback is phenomenal.  That’s a job satisfaction that comes with taking pride in your work.  Her business also keeps us traveling.  Which allows for us to spend quality time together.  That is worth more to us than any amount of money.

Running a home based business isn’t easy- but it sure can be rewarding.