Clean Sleep

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it really bears repeating. There’s something wonderful about sleeping on clean bed sheets.

Washing bed sheets is something that kind of gets overlooked on a weekly basis at our home. Every week, my wife does laundry. In fact it’s almost daily it seems. But the beds? Each bed is practically a load on its own. So they get forgotten or ignored for a bit longer. But it’s awesome when those sheets are fresh and it’s time for bed.

I think that’s why I love hotels. They will change the sheets DAILY if you want them to. When traveling, if we are extremely active for the day, I’ll get the sheets changed. Honestly, that’s the beauty of vacations and traveling. Nightly sleeping in clean bed sheets.

Aw man, now I miss traveling. Maybe I should ask my wife to wash the bedding every day… That would go over well.

Junk It.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been actively donating and Giving away items that we no longer use. However it feels as though we’ve hardly made any headway in decluttering. Now that most of the “gently used” and “well loved” items are gone, it’s time for the big play.

Time to get ready and Junk It all.

That means gathering all the big items that are just too damn large to toss out or get recycled and have someone haul them off for us. It’s going to be a pretty arduous task to collect everything in order to get the best bang for my buck when collected.

We have an old pool table, a fridge, scrap wood, scrap metal, old electronics, broken power tools, and just stuff that we need to ditch. Some items are still in our possession because of the mindset “Maybe this will be useful one day.” Only that day never arrives.

Catchy radio jingle. That means I should call them.

So as I take advantage of the weather over the next day or two, the trash heap will grow. Until I finally have had enough and call a junk removal company to haul it all away.

Why do we keep so much crap? Is it laziness in throwing it all away? Or perhaps the frustration that you once owned something that is now rendered useless? Whatever it may be, I have a collection of junk to get rid off now.

Blanket Coverage

Ever since moving into this house, we have always had blankets in our living room. We find it makes life a little bit more cozy while enjoying movies. Having a blanket brings forth a sense of comfort.

A few years ago, my wife made some “Theater Blankets” for each of our kids. The material is made of a fun fleece print with images of popcorn and such. She gave each blanket a separate trim colour so the kids could tell them apart.

The blanket I use, and often fight with my family because they want it as well, is my ALF blanket. I was given this blanket about 20 years ago at a company baseball game. A coworker had brought it to lay in the field with and I asked if I could have it at the end of the day. He didn’t mind, so now I have a comforter that I wrap myself into to stay snug.

We have a box that we are now keeping these blankets in when not in use. Even though we use these blankets almost daily! But it will help to keep the room clean and tidy. For now at least…

Or do you sit on your couch in a blanket while watching movies or tv?Do you have a favorite blanket? Let me know in the comments.

Will Purging Ever End?

It feels like we’ve been tackling the clutter in our home for ages. With so much space comes so much stuff to fill it. It’s crazy to think we’ve been collecting items for years now. A combined 95 years if you add our ages together- not including kids. The collection of junk happened so slowly.

Yet after a couple of weeks it still feels like we haven’t made a dent in this “editing” thing. In fact it feels as if we’ve gone in the opposite direction. Our home seems messier than ever. We are stumbling over boxes and trinkets trying to rearrange our lives.

Our theater room for example has become a hoarding nightmare. For the longest time I would collect CDs followed by DVDs. I cannot tell you the last time I listened to a CD. Yet my wife and I have a collection of around 500 of them. If you were to do the math from back in the day at $15 average/cd we spent at least $7500 on music alone in that format. Seriously though, if we bought a cd every week for about ten years- that’s how we came to possessing such a large collection.

As well we have trinkets and things that we acquired over the years. All to just fill shelves and floor space. Some of it still “Sparks Joy” so those items need to be left out. Other things will be stored until a later date when we can decide what to do with them. And some things are just being given away.

This is just one room. We still have five bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, dining room, and closets to get through. Maybe by 2022 we will be done the cycle of clearing out the house only to start in the first room once more.

Market Value

A year ago I wrote about our Property Value. The newest property assessment has come out once more. We have seen an increase of 11%. Basically back to what our property was two years ago.

The housing market is booming once more. Especially in our area. COVID has made people realize they want more space outside of the city. Having land and a large home is a blessing some days. Unless there is a major storm. Then we have days of cleaning up the debris and have also gone up to four days without power.

But we also have a natural beauty in our yard that people would drool over. Our summer evenings have been spent sitting In The Trees (quite literally) or just enjoying breakfast on our deck. We take the good with the bad.

I have actively watched the market for about twenty years now. Always searching to see what is out there when we do finally move. Moving is inevitable really. Majority of us have lives that change requiring a change in homesteads. Be it downsizing, upsizing, transferring jobs, or even financially- staying rooted doesn’t happen for many of us. My wife has lived in this home almost the entire time since 1972- minus about ten years here or there. That is a legacy if you ask me.

A love of this home and location are in our hearts. But what else is out there? Is the grass greener? (We have mostly moss- so it’s always green.) Tell me where you live. Would you recommend it to someone thinking of buying nearby? Or do you wish to sell and move someplace else?

Let me know in the comments.

Give It Away Now

It’s January! Just like everyone else- the start of the new year means time to get organized. Buying new totes for storage, drawer organizers, and packing up the stuff we hardly use. It also means donating and give aways.

Over the past two decades, my wife and I have collected items that we once thought we would use. Some we have even refinished and brought a new lease on life to. Other items fell by the wayside only to be a project that never happened. It’s those big items that we are about to list for someone else to give love towards.

None of these items belong in the trash. They’re just not suitable for our lives at this time. Hopefully this clears up some space in our house and make it feel more spacious.

Hours of house cleaning is behind us and hours more to come. Pretty sure our teenagers are getting frustrated, but they have stuff they’ve collected over the years that need to go as well.

Do you purge your home every January as well?

2021: Day 2

Yesterday was a washout to begin the year. So today my wife and I woke up early and began our journey into the New Year. There are plans in motion to fix all the little issues in our home. We started the day at my favorite place- The Home Depot.

Walking into the store for the stuff I need was exhilarating. Maybe it was not that enthusiastic. But we went in with a list and a plan to maximize our shopping and minimize the wandering. This trip was just for some basics to repair a few things around the house- not full renos. Since I had worked at this particular Home Depot many lifetimes ago, I knew exactly where to find everything I needed.

My wife was happy that we powered through the shopping. All that’s left now is to complete the repairs and get into the new year with fewer worries than before. I actually got everything done inside the home before dinner.

I feel more accomplished day 2 of 2021. I need more days like this. Hopefully it happens.

Christmas Eve 2020

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.

2020 Solstice Snow Chaos

After the chaotic snow storm on Monday, we did get power back on early than anticipated. That was a good sign. Until we began checking the yard for branches.

The snow and ice decimated our yard. After almost four hours of cleaning up the carnage, I’m out property was beginning to look better. It was a group effort, and I really thank the kids for all they did over the past few days.

I climbed up on the roof after to assess what the trees had done. There were two large branches above our living room, but luckily no damage to the roof. On the other side, above my wife’s studio was a different story. A three foot branch speared into the roof.

Quite the sizable hole remained. It seemed much larger than the one from a couple years ago- check out Roof repair if you want to see that damage. My son offered to help with this repair, so I took the opportunity to show him what to do and explained why it needed to be done that way.

Now we wait and see how the repair holds up. The last time was great- no leaks. We also need to wait for some of this snow and ice to melt so we can really clean up the yard. But we are all cold and tired. Time to relax and get ready for Christmas Eve Eve. Or Festivus if you wish.

Solstice Chaos

Yesterday was a heavy dumping of snow that came out of nowhere. As beautiful as it is, it caused havoc and carnage at our home.

The power line is hanging off the roof onto our driveway.

As our kids were out front playing (and sort of shoveling the driveway) a large branch fell from one of our trees. It came down and took out the power line to our house from the street. At this point, my wife told our teenagers to come inside. Which was a good idea as more large branches throughout our yard, and neighbourhood, continued to snap off and fall.

Not covering much anymore.

The carnage in my yard is pretty extensive. Besides the thuds onto the roof (which I will need to inspect for damage just in case) a massive branch went through our storage shelter. Now there is a large hole which I will need to repair, or at least cover, once I remove the branches. It also looks like we may lose our rhododendron bush and some boxwoods in our front yard. I haven’t even ventured out to the backyard yet.

As beautiful as our home and property is, moments like this making it frustrating to live where we do. And with Hydro telling us we may not get power until Christmas Eve- going days without power is difficult to say the least. It means we have no way to cook or use water (our well has an electric pump). The generator we own will give us enough power to light some lamps and a couple of space heaters. So at least our dining room and family room will be cozy.

With Covid precautions in place, we also don’t feel comfortable going to visit friends or family. I guess that means that we are “off grid” for the time being in hopes to become civilized once more for Christmas.

Under Cover

We have a large home and three vehicles. But we are without a garage to park our vehicles. We have a good sized U shaped driveway. I will often park right in front of our home at the apex of the driveway.

Our daughter generally parks on the side of our home. Sometimes she will park in the driveway behind my car. But it’s my wife who gets the carport. Yet the back end of her car is always hanging out. Our carport isn’t the right size for a vehicle.

Since my wife doesn’t drive as much as myself or even our daughter, she tends to keep her car parked. In fact, she drove only about 4000km last year. This is good for keeping the mileage down. And since she loves her car and wants to keep it for many more years, I decided to get her a car cover and really protect it.

In my next home, I want a two car garage. I love my car, but I also use it as a daily commuter. No point in throwing a cover on it. It would be nice to store it away every night just to have it clean and warm to start my day.

A boy can dream can’t he?

Bruno Fenger

Today I was going through old papers- such as bills, taxes, etc… and disposing of the unnecessary ones. I found old paystubs from Chuck E. Cheese, a copy my father’s probate (with an address for My Unknown Half Sister) and information about our current home. The last one is what today’s blog is about.

You see, my father-in-law designed and built this house back in the 1970’s. Bruno Fenger was a brick layer by trade and the workmanship in this house is amazing. He also enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, often selling at various craft shows back in the 80’s/90’s. He is a very talented man who immigrated from Germany many, many decades ago. He decided to build a house and stay in British Columbia to raise his family.

I found rolls of papers from when he designed this house and had purchased the property. The blueprints were all hand drawn. To me these pages showed a commitment to excellence that you probably won’t find in today’s market. It was also great to see how his designs translated into a finished product (such as the fireplace) and some of the changes which occurred during the building process.

As a tribute to his work, I framed the blueprint for the upstairs and hung it on the wall. Bruno’s work lives on in this home through more than just ideas on paper. With his 88th birthday coming up at the end of November, I thought it to be fitting that I show some gratitude to the man who made a home for my family.

Thank you Bruno for creating such an amazing house for your grandchildren to grow up in. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Ahead of the Game

Yesterday I mentioned that I was looking for Christmas light clips in: Make it. That is because I’m trying to get ahead of the winter season. I like to put up my lights in early November, but I don’t turn them on until December. That’s because I don’t want to be freezing my fingertips or standing on the roof in the rain trying to put up lights.

I also sneak a couple of decorations out a bit early. Just because of the hassle of getting a ladder in the cold. We have four large baubles that hang from our ceiling in our main foyer. I hate putting them up every year, so I just git’r’done immediately after Halloween.

Since I am crafty, I also do something unique every year. This year is a couple of cheap wooden crates painted in red that will hold Christmas stuffed animals. We will put them underneath the stairs in our front foyer. I figured I better paint them now and let them dry 100% before putting anything inside. It also gives me a chance to decide if I want to add anything more to the boxes. Like a hand painted sign or fake holly. We shall see.

Are you getting ready for those winter holidays yet? Let me know in the comments. Plus I love to see what other people craft. It always brings me joy seeing stuff made from scratch. It always inspires me to do better.

If You Can’t Find It- Make It

For a couple of years I have been searching out a specific type of clip to hold my outdoor Christmas lights. I always remember to look for them when the season starts at the various stores. But I haven’t seen them in almost three decades. It was when we first moved in that I had used the few we had left over as well as a clip that was close in shape. That clip was far more flimsy, almost intentional so I would need to replace them more often.

The Christmas light clip a simple design. The wires go through the zigzag and hold in place. I like how sturdy these clips are. Unlike the other ones I picked up that have snapped over the years, leaving my lights dangling down. This design was one my father had picked up back in the 90’s.

Because I was unable to find the clips in the store or online, my wife suggested I 3D print them. Brilliant! I went on Thingiverse and someone had uploaded exactly what I needed! I was so happy! So many exclamation marks!!! But in order to make them sturdy, I couldn’t speed up the print. 33 minutes it takes to print one. I need close to twenty replacement pieces. Good thing Christmas is a few weeks away.

As I searched online for the clips, I was in the middle of printing off another great item that will make life easier. I also didn’t know I needed it until I saw it…

I printed a battery dispenser for all my loose “AA” batteries. It holds 12 batteries in the lower part, and has a separate extension to hold more. Now instead of searching the junk drawer the batteries will have a happy little home and I can see when we get low..

Having a 3D printer is fun and has become very versatile in my day to day use. I wonder what else I should print?

I Want It Painted Black

As the song goes- “I see a red door and I want it painted black.” I too painted our front door black. That was five years ago.

Looking at the evolution of our “curb appeal”- I love how the door creates the look in which every thing else follows suit. From our shutters to the trim to the curtains. We made black the accent colour of our home. Even the large chandelier above the front door was given an oiled black finish.

There’s something comforting coming home and seeing the front door with the light on. It’s all about knowing I did these changes on my own. Prideful moment.

Organized Mess

It’s the last day of my vacation. The family is home as well with me. So we are going to do some quality family time activities- cleaning the house.

It’s amazing how quickly a home can feel like a disaster. Odds and ends being left around instead of put away immediately. Items just dumped willy-nilly in hopes that someone else will pick it up. Not today. Today we are all going to tidy this place. Time to even close the cupboards and drawers that get left partially open as well. Let’s get things put away completely please.

We are even going to dust and remove the cobwebs. I know- counterproductive with Halloween just around the corner. But it needs to be done. My allergies are taking a hit these days and it’s almost time to turn on the heat. Nothing worse than the smell of burning dust as you try and warm the homestead.

If you need me- I’ll be the one barking orders and checking the work being done by our teenagers. They love it when I make them do a task more than once in order to get it right. Ah, quality learning moments.

Staycation- All I Ever Wanted…

Today I am starting my 11 day vacation. I booked this time off in January as a “back-up” trip to Disneyland when I realized that July’s trip may get affected. And July’s trip did get affected. But so did my back-up dates. So now I am having a Staycation.

Today will be an ever increasing lazy day of sleeping and napping. Over the next few days the rest of my family still has school, online courses and work. I will have the freedom to do whatever I want. You know what that means…

That means time to get really invested in my 3D printing! Download files, prepare the files, print the files, curse that there is a failure, reprint the files, sand the print, paint the print, sand the print, paint, assemble the print, print another file, fail at that and reprint it… the list goes on. But I will have all the time in the world (or at least daylight hours) to work on my prints.

Since I am a Star Wars fan- I actually intend to print a life size droid. This week will give me a good jumpstart on my first one. I suspect it will take me the better half of the year to really get an R2 unit put together. So I may start with something smaller or easier. Yes- I plan on having a few droids built. Don’t tell my wife.

Having time for me is going to be nice. It’s been a very long time since I’ve really focused on what I want. Usually I put the family first and enjoy the ride. We will still hang out this weekend together, but during the week- that will be my time. Or rather, my 3D printer’s time.

Early Autumn Morning Drive

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.

Spotty Wifi

Today it seemed that our wifi suddenly went spotty. No reason at all. It just decided to crap out and reconnect. I love being connected to the world, so those three minutes were really tough. There were also tough because they happened a few times.

Since getting Google Nest wifi we have rarely had issues. We also upgraded our internet plan a couple of weeks back in order to get us faster speeds and connect more devices. So it was strange that our wifi was choosing not to connect.

Restarts all around! All devices and routers. Seems like our problem was just as simple as Turning it off and on again.

Yay! Time to stream more shows!

Country Living for Convenience?

I cannot get enough of living in the country. Being on the outskirts of the suburbs, we own an acre of land. Filled with trees and plenty of space to relax. We are only a few minutes away from accessing major routes to get into cities and local shopping. Our privacy and peace make all the difference to my mental well being.

Visiting a friend over the weekend, I also appreciate that we don’t have a farm to maintain. Not that they do, they just rent a house on that land. But their privacy and views are also amazing.

My wife and I discuss on a regular basis the idea of moving in the future once the kids are all done high school. But we both want something different it seems. I still want some privacy and space. She wants connivence to walk to shopping and have less land to maintain. Both of us want bigger and better bathrooms and a kitchen. Newer would also be nicer.

Until our son reaches his final year of school in three years, it’s tough to discuss plans. I honestly think we will remain where we are for at least another decade, if not longer. So I feel we should do some work around the house to update it so that we can enjoy it before someone else does.

Having inner peace is important to me. I’m not sure I’m ready to trade it for convenience.

That Old Guy Didn’t Tell Me To Get Off His Lawn

Last night I stepped over a fence into my neighbor’s yard. Only on occasion have I gone over to talk with him. We wave at one another and have brief conversations. But yesterday I saw him sitting alone and decided to go over for a talk.

Last weekend he lay some concrete, put up a gazebo to the side of his yard and set up a standing swing inside. Turns out my building of the Front Porch a few weeks back inspired his wife to want a swing and a place to relax as well. Sorry Bob.

So I sat down and we shared stories. He told me about his career as a pilot. How he flew in a plane that broke the sound barrier, not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions. He’d worked on movies and even landed on icebergs to do measurements. But he was more interested in my job working with trains.

As the night went on, he told me of buying the land and building his home in 1972. The same time my father-in-law was building his house- the one we now live in. And he told me about my wife growing up. My wife was two years old when the house was first built.

I’ve mentioned Bob and how extremely neighbourly he is: Donating Wood and how he can be regimented in his routines: Determination. What I like about Bob is that he is genuine. For an 87 year old, he is also very active and busy.

That’s what I want to be like when I grow up.

Bathtub Blues

After my time away with my wife on our anniversary, I think I need more bathtub time. We have a tub in our main bathroom, but haven’t used it since we had to wash toddlers. We now have teenagers who use all the hot water in the walk in shower downstairs.

This is our tub. Not very appealing. Can you believe this tub was cleaned two weeks ago? Turns out the cold water has a leaky washer. The hard water we have from our well is making the pipes and tap corroded. Hence why no one uses the tub (except occasionally to rinse hair dye out).

We have an exceptionally large main bathroom. Upgrading the tub and fixtures has been a plan since we bought our home Thirteen Years Ago! I think that after all these years, and the ugliness dripping out of the walls, it is time to get a tub that we can enjoy once more.

Question is- do we install a “Soaker Tub” or a “Jacuzzi” style? Perhaps a two person tub for my wife and I to enjoy once the kids move out? Or do I just buy a new washer and fixtures and call it done?

Of course I want to DIY the heck out of this project! I love the feeling of getting a project like this done. I’m sure that the cost would put weigh the time exponentially. But…

But… spelled backwards is Tub. Let’s do this before more “buts” come forth. Get some butts in a tub again!

Camping at Home

Our middle child has the right idea. Since we came home from camping last week she decided to set up the tent in our backyard.

Having a yard with a park like setting is my favorite part about not living in the suburbs or city. I sit out on one of our four decks on a regular basis to just enjoy the country life. Almost every one of our meals is had on our covered deck. Since installing the Porch Swing in our front yard, I have spent more time out there after a day at work.

Our tree deck is still my favorite of all the decks we have. The family is utilizing it more frequently as well since I added the deck chairs and lights. It also happens to be where the tent got set up for the past week. Our daughter has been the only one sleeping out there. Except yesterday when I disappeared into the tent for a nap.

The peace and quiet was thoroughly enjoyable. As it always is in our park like setting.

Fresh And Fruity

We have so much fresh fruit in our yard! I love it.

In the very back of our yard, there is salmonberries. Which just so happen to be ready for consumption! We also have a bunch of huckleberry bushes throughout the yard. Once they are ready, the kids load up on them.

This year, I discovered our cherry trees are producing fruit. It’s been a couple of years since they did. I’m looking forward to enjoying them. Our pear tree is also producing an abundance of fruit which should be ready in a few weeks.

We had a plum tree- but it ended up being diseased and had to get cut down. Those plums were juicy! As well, we used to have an apple tree, but alas it fell over one year in a storm. I have since planted a new apple tree a couple years ago- this time with four different types of apples infused into the branches. Currently I only get an apple on each branch, but one day- variety!

Do you have fruit trees or bushes that you grow? Summer is the best for walking the garden and eating right if the limb.