Olympic Dreams

We spent thIs past week in Fort St. John in order for our kids to get some Long Track Speed Skating training. It wasn’t until Thursday that I realized this is an Olympic Goal for many. Even those not just in British Columbia, or let alone Canada, but around the world.

When we were in Calgary we saw the Chinese Olympic Speed Skating Team doing their training. Now they are training in Fort St. John alongside my kids. This seems crazy to me because of course I want our son to succeed in his goal. I thought our 12 and 14 hour road trips were extreme. But flying in from China- that’s dedication.

This week our kids had an opportunity to learn and skate with Denny Morrison. A Long Track Olympic Speed Skater for Canada who got his start here in Fort St. John. Our daughter was even excited to have her Speed Skating helmet signed by Denny Morrison. I think our kids forget that they get coached by Eden Donatelli and her husband Julian Green. Both of these coaches have competed in the Olympics (having met at the 1988 Olympics).

After asking our son if he remembers a time before Julian, and he does not. The drive and ambition to achieve an Olympic Dream is strong in our son. He’s been coached for many years and has a strong backing supporting him. If he wants to get to the world stage, then we shall help him any way we can. Including these trips to Fort St. John or Calgary and any other provinces or counties this may take us to.

Peace River; Taylor, BC

British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.

The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.

We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.

This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.

It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.

But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.

Why We’re In Fort St. John

I guess I should write about why we’re up in Fort St. John for the week. This is another week of Speed Skating training camp at a Long Track ice rink. Our son is getting more and more competitive at Short Track Speed Skating and wants to set his sights higher. So last month while we were in Calgary: The Fastest Ice we picked up some Long Track boots and blades for him. This week he is doing more training and he’s learning lots. Our daughter also wanted to come to the camp. We rented her some Long Track skates for the week and she is wanting to learn the officiating aspect as well.

We’ve spent the last few days at the Pomeroy Sports Centre… okay I’m a liar- we drop the kids off and they spend the day training. The building boasts two hockey rinks on the main level, a large oval on the second level and a walking track on the third level. Every day my wife and I show up early for pick up and walk the track for a few laps.

Both of our kids have made a ton of friends this trip. Wednesday night was a BBQ hosted by the local Speed Skating Club. Our kids abandoned us so they could hang with these friends. One day they will also be the competition, but they are all getting along famously right now.

I like the Speed Skating culture. Everyone is encouraging and wanting the each other to be successful.

Safe Travel Day

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:

Safely.

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.

So we made it to Fort St. John safely.

What Does $1000 Look Like?

Recently I finished a set off doors for our home. I’m really happy with the results. But it got me thinking about how $1000 can look differently every time. With each and every purchase or experience being worthwhile.

I treated my wife to a night out on the town at a spa and hotel. We needed that time off. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

We bought tickets to Queen for the five of us. Such an amazing show. Queen

We now have a back up generator for when the power goes out. Like it does every year… sometimes for days on end.

My son got a pair of Long Track Speed Skates. Chasing that Olympic Dream! Fastest Ice

We bought a couple of kayaks and accessories. Gotta stay in shape as we grow older. Kayak Adventure

That’s all from this year. In the past- a thousand dollars bought three iPad Minis, or a video game system and accessories, or tickets to Disneyland, even a new mattress…

Like they say, a thousand here and thousand there- pretty soon it adds up to real money.

I’m starting to feel broke. Maybe it’s time to slow down on the spending. The kids need a post secondary education. A thousand bucks might buy a couple of textbooks.

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

Go Away Summer Cold

Over the past 36 hours I gradually fell more and more under the weather. It started with a tickle in the throat then progressed to an all out raw feeling. Followed up with a very runny nose. Icky.

It seems that this cold has made it’s rounds through my work as well as my family. It finally found my immune system and tackled it. It’s amazing how quickly my body felt run down. So I attacked back the only way I know how- sleep.

I took a three hour nap yesterday followed by a nine hour deep sleep overnight. This morning I feel like the cold has 50% less hold on me. Hopefully it regresses more and my body gets back to feeling awesome by the end of the weekend. Nothing like being sick on your days off, amirite?

Summer Clean Up

Our kids have already been enjoying over a month away from school. We’ve kept them busy and active for the most part. Or at least tried to. Somehow they always resort back to playing on screens both big and small. Ask them to get off the computer, straight to the iPad. Ask them to put down the iPad, off to the iPhone. Then the PlayStation or the Nintendo Switch. The kids need to be occupied with something.

Today my wife and I are going to keep them occupied with a massive cleaning of our home. Inside and out. Our kids’ responses: GROAN. That was to be expected. But our lovely home has fallen into some disarray. It’s time to get things back on track and try to keep it that way.

Hahahahaha… I know the house will get messy again. Of course no one wants to do chores. But we all love living here. So…

GET TO WORK!

Hopefully the weather stays calm and we can enjoy our first night at the Drive In. You know- reward the kids with the biggest screen of all!

Water Ways

It was a hot one on Friday. So it meant cooling off the only way I know how. In the water.

First was taking a couple of my kids on a trip to our local watering hole at Williams Park. This is our regular venture every year around this time: Dad Days Of Summer. My daughter had been wanting to go for days, so I figured it made sense to go sooner rather than later. The water was cold and the fun was had.

Later in the afternoon, my wife and I took our kayaks out for another adventure. Just like last month’s Kayak Adventure, we had a great time. This time we went up and down the Fraser River. My arms and body are thoroughly sore. But the quality time with my wife was worth it.

These small workouts yesterday made me feel energized and youthful. I look forward to many more days in the water this summer.

18 Years

Today I celebrate 18 years of marriage to my wife. It has been an amazing journey. With far more ups than downs.

I have loved every moment. Even that time when she stabbed me in the face with her finger nails and tried to apologize acting all sweet and cute.

Or the time she thought I was taking a selfie and wanted to show that she brushes her teeth- so I took a selfie with her.

I love that ten years ago, we went on our first family trip to Disneyland. I never knew that an inner child was a real thing until I saw my wife gushing with pleasure and excitement as we wandered the parks. This also started a continuous desire to return as often as possible to Disneyland. Whenever we are having rough emotional patches- we talk about previous trips and future plans of traveling to those Magical Lands.

Through 18 years of marriage, we have created and cultivated a beautiful family. Our three kids have been a source of pride for us both. We love to joke and laugh with them. Our kids have become extensions of our personalities- sharing love into this world the same way my wife and I do.

Our love for one another has grown tremendously strong over the years. I’m lucky to have such a great partner. She is as crazy as I am. She even lets the crazy loose more when I’m around.

May our journey together not be restricted to just these first 18 years of marriage. We have a bond that I feel will last a lifetime.

Happy 18th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you with all my heart.

Sincerely,

Josef