Sitting Serenity

Last night I moved our muskoka chairs from our upper deck to the downstairs covered patio. I also gave them a fresh coat of white paint in order to better protect them from the elements. Their new home allows for better views of the fields and skyline. On our upper deck, the handrail was at eye level and prevented us from fully utilizing these chairs.

This morning my wife and I sat out on our lower patio and enjoyed a cup of coffee together. We talked about plans for the back garden and the changes we want to make prior to winter. After our coffee, we began some gardening in the backyard- with an occasional break on the chairs admiring the view.

As we stared off in the distance, the birds were chirping from the large cedar tree in the green space behind our property. The trolley gave its toot-toot off in the distance. All-in-all it was a serene and quiet morning- the perfect way to relax on a warm autumn day.

Honestly, this weather can stay for a bit longer. I have no complaints.

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.

Autumn Equinox 2022

In the next few minutes summer shall be over and autumn will be upon us. Luckily for us living in the Vancouver area- the daytime weather will be nice and warm for at least another week keeping us in the mid to low 20°C areas. Summer is just not ready to hand over the season lightly.

I for one am glad about this. It means more time with our pool open as the sun beams down. Earlier today, my wife and I went for a swim to try and make the most of this weather.

It also means we will have a chance to prepare our gardens for winter. I’m genuinely excited about that. We will be setting up a temporary greenhouse to protect our remaining tomatoes and peppers before the last harvest. We also have some trimming and planting to get done so that next spring the gardens will bloom.

Of course I do like all the seasons. Autumn brings with it Halloween and warm food and drinks. As well as apple pie and turkey!

So happy Autumn Equinox everyone. Go enjoy the pumpkin spice!

Do You Remember?

Do you remember? The 21st night of September?

My wife loves that song. Her friends often look forward to singing it to her every year. I find it humorous and have written about it in the past: 21st Night of September . Today got me thinking about my wife and how she remembers the way I like things done. Specifically preparing food.

Now, I’m not saying that the way I like my food prepared is right, but it is how I like my food. It used to cause many discussions years ago, but now my wife just goes with it. Usually.

I’m a big texture and taste person when it comes to food. I don’t overly care if different food touches on a plate, so that’s not it. It’s more how the flavors mix. For example- when making a sandwich- the mustard side needs to be the side the meat is on, not the cheese. Cheese on mustard has a very different taste and texture compared to meat and mustard. Trust me.

Mr Noodles… the instructions on the packet are wrong. The noodles need to be placed in the water immediately and then brought to a boil. Once the noodles are soft, drain all the water. Then put the noodles in a bowl and add the flavor packet. This isn’t a soup we are making! It’s called Mr. Noodles not Mr. Soup.

Because of these preferences, I will admit that I am the one who usually ends up making the lunches. My wife will adhere to my choices when making something for me, which is nice, and has on occasion agreed with how I make foods. Like a dash of salt after goulash is served. It brings out the flavor immensely as you are about to eat.

However it’s not just food preferences I need to work on with her. I still need to get her to understand that the toilet paper flap goes over the roll, not behind it.

And with that, I am off to escape to work to avoid confrontation once she reads my blog.

Love you honey!

Neat IOS 16 Features

I enjoy my iPhone. There was a recent update that I also liked. It has the option to change wallpaper and has a big clock.

I chose the moon as a backdrop from the preset ones available. I’ve always been fascinated by the moon. That’s cool. But something else I noticed after doing a screenshot happened.

If you touch and hold a part of the image- it does this little “swoosh” and cuts out the background. Then you can choose “share” and send just the main subject matter via messages/texts. That’s cool.

I think this aspect of photo sharing/manipulation is kind of fun. It’s a simple photoshop style of edit. It may not be perfect, but it works.

As I explore the new iOS 16 and the features- I’ll most likely also see online some other fascinating features. It’s like having a new phone all over again.

If you know of any other neat features from the latest update- let me know in the comments.

Toilet Upgrade…?

Let’s talk toilets and bums today, shall we?

I was so excited this afternoon. My Amazon package arrived and I had only ordered it yesterday! It was a bidet attachment for a standard toilet. It fits nicely under the seat with minimal effort to install.

I’m not going to lie, this has been on my wish list since our trip to Tokyo. As much as I wanted a heated one that plays music, this was an inexpensive option that works as a quick splash test. It took about 20 minutes to complete the installation. It was super easy, barely an inconvenience.

My bum was so excited that I sat down and tried it out once I confirmed there were no leaks. The water was cool as it hosed off my little chocolate starfish; but not frigid like I expected which was nice. It got the job done and cleaned my bum.

I’m probably the only one in the house who will use it. That’s ok. It does have a second spray for the female region as well as a self cleaning. Not to mention there is an adjustable spray force as well. Let’s just keep that at a low setting for now- I didn’t buy it to be an at home enema.

Do you have a bidet addition on your toilet? Perhaps the ever popular “Tushy” or a different brand like I picked up (Samodra if you are wondering). If there are any flaws, I’ll share that at a future date or in the comments- butt for now, I’m happy and so is my clean bum bum.

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.

Getting Old

I’m rocking this life past my mid forties now. With it comes, well, anguish. Almost daily I discover a new pain. From my back to my shoulders to my elbows. It’s as if my joints are just unhappy and screaming for attention.

But I am also hitting second puberty. You know- where hair grows in new places and disappears from the top of my head. However, I need to keep those hairs at bay. So it was time to get a new trimmer. Yes, this is my second nose and ear hair trimmer in the past decade. Don’t judge me. But I need to learn how to use this trimmer.

Seriously, who decides that the instructions need to be in the smallest writing possible? As if growing ear and nose hair would somehow give me superhuman eyesight. Or perhaps the company is trying to tell me I need glasses. It’s a conspiracy! The nose hair trimmers are in it with the optimists!

Or I can “Be a man” and just use the trimmer without the instructions. Ugh. I hope that I don’t rip the hairs out and it actually cuts. I’ll let you know if I start to look like Edward Scissorhands with scars on my face.

Getting old is a pain. But I’ll try and do it gracefully and not share any more of how I get there.

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.

Old Man Shower

Now that our tenants have moved out, it was time to check that all of our facilities are working. As I mentioned before- the laundry machines got swapped and we have set up a nice living room in the basement. We also ran the dishwasher and tested the fridge water/ice maker. In the bathroom- besides using the toilet and sink- I needed to try out the downstairs showers.

Is that a tub or a walk-in shower? It’s both.

The basement portion of our home was tailor built to accommodate an older generation. You know- people well past their sixties. In the basement is a bathroom with a unique tub. It is a walk-in bathtub called “The Imperial”.

It’s the sort of tub that you need to step into first and latch the door before filling it up. Naturally I needed to try it out. So I stepped inside and began to fill the tub.

In under 8 minutes, the water had filled up past the jets and covered my knees as I sat there. At this point, I turned on the jets. BUBBLES!

I’m not going to lie- I was fairly comfortable as the bubbles and water washed over my lower body. This is one of the few times my knees have been submerged in a bathtub as an adult. TMI: I really enjoyed the bubbles that came up past my junk. It wasn’t arousing in any way, just sort of nice. Looking at the pamphlet- it’s called “The Bidet Notch”. Noice.

Draining it is far faster than any other tub I have ever been in. I pulled the stopper and the water flowed out in an almost vacuum like state. Anyways, I may hit this tub when I have a long day. It’s calm, relaxing and at the far end of our home- away from the hustle and bustle of our lives.

Man, I’m ready to be old.

Seeing It From A Different Perspective

I’m always sharing pictures of sunsets and views from our vantage point. I love the colours that nature produces and the way the sky is always vibrant and ever changing.

Today, we had a late dinner and sat inside instead of on our deck; like we usually do in the summer. When eating at the dining room table- normally I face the glass door that looks outside. Tonight I sat opposite of my normal chair. I was missing out on the sunset, but the world was shining into our home and brought with it similar hues.

As beautiful as the sun shining into our home was, my wife and I had a difference of opinion on what the colour actually was. I said it was orange, my wife said the colour shining in was purple. Our son said it was light brown. Now I’m leaving it up to my friends and readers- what colour do you see shining against our grey walls?

Honestly, I’m at a loss. I am adamant that it’s orange. But I could very well be wrong.

My Time Is Precious

The one thing in this world that people will try and take from you is your time. That’s one of the few things I have a difficulty giving away. I’m particularly fond of my time off from work or time to myself. That is time I will not give up too easily. However, my immediate family takes priority when time is required of me.

Oh look- we have a cat now.

I had a few days to myself last week after our road trip to Disneyland. I took the time to be creative, carefree and calm during this time. No commitments beyond a couple of hours with friends on one evening. That was some time I gave willingly to them. I was able to benefit from the recharge of hanging out.

Cold drink on a hot evening.

When I’m by myself, I like to keep busy. I have difficulty just lazing about. I don’t watch a lot of tv to pass the time anymore. I used to do that in my youth and have since decided that television is not really my thing. Of course there are a few shows that I do enjoy. I prefer to sit around with a drink to watch the clouds roll by and the sun set.

How do you allot your time? Are you willing to give it up easily, or do you keep track of your time like I do?

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.

Vacation Anticipation

Relatable post time. Here come the memes.

I have only one more shift to go before vacation. Yes, there is a countdown within the family of how many hours remain as well!

There’s always the moments when your brain is already focused on the future and not the day at hand. Nothing is going to get me down. I’m preparing myself to be checked out.

Getting thru that last couple of days of work are always difficult before a vacation. It’s even harder to return to work after some time off.

But a break is always healthy. Leaving work behind and just focusing on some mental relaxation is paramount to good health. We all go through this. I hope you all have good vacations as well when you go on them!

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.

Alone On The Pool

My wife is out of town with our youngest in Calgary. Our other child is at work and won’t be home for a few more hours. After doing my weekly Thursday shopping- I opened the pool to give it a clean.

Now I’m floating around by myself- listening to music and enjoying life as the sun beats down. I am enjoying my solitude. Getting here was hard work and headaches for many years. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Even if it is by myself.

Being alone isn’t so bad, but I like to share experiences with others. Come on by for a dip. I’ll gladly share this life with friends!

Behind the Scenes

I often share images of hanging out in our backyard. But I don’t always talk about the work that goes into cleaning and maintaining the pool everyday. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes by myself every time.

The first thing I do is get some music playing. It just makes manual labor so much more enjoyable. Then I take off the floating pool rings that protect and keep the heat in the pool.

Then it’s time to vacuum and skim the pool. (Periodically I’ll also scrub the sides with a gentle brush.) Of course, when vacuuming- there are numerous valves to twist in a certain order before and after.

Then I test the pool and add chemicals as required. Lastly, I rinse and inflate the pool toys if they need it. Fun takes work! Now to jump in the water to cool off!

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.

An Almost 5k Walk

Yesterday morning my wife and I went for a walk. We headed just up the road from us to a park called Tynehead Park.

Last time I was here with her was In October. I’m glad we did the walk yesterday when the sun was hiding away. It made the walk through the trails nice and comfortable. Mostly…

We could have walked more of the park. However, any time we paused to enjoy the moment- mosquitos! The last bit of our walk pushed us to get done and make it to the car. We still got our heart rate up a tad as we hustled at a bit more than a jaunt.

It was a nice time with my wife, even if I was still kicking slugs off the path. Such gross bugs.

Enjoying Life (And A a an Side Of Flowers)

Today was my first day of vacation. It involved waking up to our middle child bringing us coffee in bed followed by my wife and I playing some video games in bed. After that it was Dutch apple pie for my breakfast with a coffee as I sat on our back deck.

Once noon hit, my wife and I ended up going out to do some shopping as well as window shopping together. It was a lot of fun to gather ideas and thoughts for future us to enjoy. Mostly ideas for the house.

When we got home, I wandered around our gardens just enjoying the flowers that were blooming. Some were planted before we moved in, others were ones we had brought to add a pop of color. There’s something nice about having flowers in your yard. It’s kind of like putting jewelry on your home. A little bit of yard dazzle!

Of course the family enjoyed the pool this afternoon as a way to cool off from the summer heat! I stepped away to make dinner- steak and potatoes of course. But as they continued to swim, we enjoyed music from the roaring 1920’s playing from the speaker.

Now I’m sitting on my back deck with our dog as we stare out into the fields and watch the sun set. My wife has given me a few minutes of space as she cleans the kitchen after I made dinner. Soon the two of us will just hang out. Perhaps we will catch the sunset and listen to the birds until the mosquitoes chase us inside. Or maybe we will lounge on the couch and watch tv as we fall asleep like an old couple.

Whatever we may do- it’s going to be calm and serene. Exactly what a vacation should be like.

Staycationing Time 2022

I finished my last day of work before my first summer vacation. I am onto 11 days of freedom. Freedom to just enjoy time with my wife doing nothing but enjoying life.

Of course it’s not really going to be a vacation of nothingness. We will be in the backyard floating in the pool most of the time. Other days will be early morning kayaking. I have a feeling we will be out exploring more of Cloverdale and Surrey than we did last year- perhaps to find some farmers markets and such.

But nothing is planned per se. No weekend getaway. No booked travels. Just whatever we decide to do will be planned the day before. I’m not used to having no plans. This may be a first for me.

I hope I can keep up.

Swing And Soul Searching

Two years ago I built a swing for the front porch of our previous home. (Read about it: Front Deck). I couldn’t leave it behind, so I brought it to our new home. At first, we were going to put it up near the basement entry. But I wanted to utilize more space that was otherwise non-functional.

Many people know we have a pool with a large deck on the back. But underneath the wooden deck was just a bunch of space. There were a few boards left behind under the deck, so I made a small platform and chained up the swing. It’s a great place to just go and hide for a bit and stare out into the fields.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have had groups of friends over to hang out poolside and enjoy life. As the evenings progressed we became tipsy and talkative. I have found myself hanging out with a friend on more than one occasion sitting on this swing and just airing out concerns.

It’s a wonderful surprise that this swing has become a place to soul search and share. Staring out into the tall grass as the night sky looms on forever, is a good way to open one’s heart and thoughts. I have heard of my friends’ dreams, passions and even problems as we sat side by side swaying gently.

I hope that the effect of this swing continues for years to come. I also really hope that it helped my friends become emotionally stronger as well as them being able to take charge of their dreams. So if you find yourself at my place again, know that there is always going to be a spot beside me on the swing. My ear will always be ready to listen.

Loving Weekend

This Sunday my wife and I celebrate our 21st Anniversary. Leading up to it, we are doing a bit of extra cleaning and preparation. But, my wife and I are also taking some time to relax before. This evening we hit the pool.

My wife and I have been going strong for a little over 22 years. This anniversary party will be subdued compared to previous years. As we get older, recovering after a “Raging Party” can be challenging. But we will still plan to have a lot of fun.

The sun has come out today and should be gathering around us for the weekend as well. I filled up a couple of floaties for us and our friends to enjoy this weekend. We have asked for some people to bring a sharing plate of food. As well, we don’t have anything fancy for dinner tomorrow- just hotdogs and chips for a quick snack in the evening.

I love to open up our doors for people to come and let loose or just relax. No stress this weekend. Just fun and laughs. We love each other and want to share our love with our friends.