Early this morning we had a windstorm roll through the neighborhood. It was a little gusty still as I headed out this morning. However, I didn’t even notice until I opened the door.
We had a few things blow over, but the 60km/h winds didn’t shake us up like they had in the past. In our previous home we would have been awake all night listening to the trees sway and crack. Not to mention the fear of the damage that would be inflicted on our house and yard.
Trees falling and power out for days on end are a thing of the past. Windy days in our old house are now someone else’s concerns. My wife and I slept peacefully and our home didn’t make a peep. Such a nice change of pace compared to the last 15 years.
We have had a couple of wooden pillars in our possession since my days of working at the Home Depot. I bought them for $5 for the pair- which was a great deal considering they were a custom order at $200/each but got cancelled and just sat in the store. The pillars just stayed unpainted and in the way in our last two homes. I never knew what I wanted to do with them.
My wife came up with an idea to finally put them to good use. So I painted them with a couple coats of flat black yesterday. I was glad to see that even after two moves and nearly 20 years- there was no damage done to them.
Now that the columns are painted, I put a piece of tile on the top of each of them and set them up at our front door. We bought a couple of small trees to put on the top. Next week we are planning to buy bigger (and nicer) pots for them.
In the end, I’m happy that the pillars got put to use. I like the idea of using them as a plant stand. They look great outside our front door.
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. As the evening entered- the clouds also rolled in. This created a wonderful scene in the sky. Yesterday I did mention that it was The Last Day Of Good Weather.
As I was as getting out of the hammock to head inside and make dinner, I noticed our house. The glass on the railing and the windows were creating a mirror like quality of the skyline. The back of our house was facing the darker sky while above our home was fluffy clouds and blue sky peering through.
Looking at the windows, it just didn’t look real. Yet there it was, a mirror like quality showing the world what the house could see. Both skies were happening at the same time. Truly a spectacle to behold.
I have enjoyed seeing the sky on a regular basis these past few months. I don’t think I will ever lose the wonderment it brings.
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!
As summer comes to a close, enjoying a weekend in the sun is a luxury. After a few days of rain, it was nice that our Saturday was filled sunshine.
As the summer comes to a close, my wife and I started to plan our gardens. Sales at the garden centers are starting to come up. Today we planted some late summer/ autumn plants by the pool. They will add a splash of red and yellow the the back yard.
We also moved our tomato plants into a small green house in order to protect them from blight. They are so close to being edible that it would be a shame to lose them this far into the season.
Finally, we are gathering up junipers and cedars for our front garden. These will be planted over the next few weeks as we try and figure out a layout that won’t involve lawn.
Hopefully the sun peaks it’s head out on my days off. That’ll make it so much easier to plant.
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.
I still can’t get over the fact that we have a view to enjoy from our new home. Usually I’m sharing photos of the backyard and stories of sunshine. Yesterday was the last day of my staycation. This morning I had to head into work in order to pay for this lifestyle.
Before leaving my oasis, I enjoyed a cup of coffee as I looked at the fog leading off into the horizon. The sun wasn’t out yet, so the colours of the world were subdued and cool. If there wasn’t the occasional tree and a hill in the far distance, I would’ve thought we were in the clouds.
Everyday I become more appreciative of what we have. It has been a long road leading to this. This home is now my sanctuary. Or if you wish- My Happy Place.
Even though we “Purged” before we moved, we still have a bunch of stuff that needed to find a place in and around our home. As fun as it is to fill the ,Garage, I like being able to park at least one of our cars inside. The other side will have to wait until the summer is ending in order for me to want to hit the attics again.
I took advantage of the nice weather today to hang up our kayaks and ladder on our back fence. At least it keeps them off the ground and away from moisture and dirt.
Last week I worked diligently on organizing the garage and utilizing all the available space. I went old school with a pegboard for my tools- which my son organized and put up. I also built a makeshift 4×8 suspended shelf for my wife’s fabric. I throw a couple hooks up for bikes and the car topper. It made for a ton of more floor space and easier to navigate around the garage.
While we still have a few boxes in our home to unpack, this is a great start to our new life. Unfortunately with things the way they are, we are waiting for bookcases and a hutch to become available in order for us to complete the house. For the time being, those items are off to the side and out of our main living area.
How organized is your home? Do you feel like you have too much stuff like we do?
It’s been over 14 years since we had a garage. And the last time we did, only one car could fit. Prior to our move on Saturday- we labeled a bunch of boxes as “Garage” thinking we’d have loads of space. Boy were we wrong.
Today, we dug out about half of the garage. Christmas boxes went in the attic, boxes of tools were moved to the proper location, other boxes were emptied and put away. I was also able to set up a shelving unit to store our Rubbermaid bins.
After a full morning of rearranging and storing, we successfully were able to park my wife’s car in half of the garage! That’s quite the accomplishment if I do say so myself.
Too bad we still have to unbury the rest of the garage. And kitchen. And dining room. And living room. And bedrooms. And… you get the idea. But one goal at a time.
So long, goodbye I'll see you when I see you You can pick the street I'll meet you on the other side So long, goodbye Do I really have to finish? Do returns always diminish? Did I say that right?
Time to bid farewell to a home that my wife’s father built 49 years ago. It’s been our family home for the last 14 years. During which time I renovated, repaired, revived, and even at times resented. These past four months have been a difficult time as we prepared ourselves to leave. There was no chance that we were going to leave on a negative note, so we continued to enjoy the house and yard right to the last possible moment.
But today is the last day. A chaotic good change is occurring. Our home is filled with boxes and people moving those boxes for us. I really don’t have much more to say on the subject that I haven’t previously. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.
So long brick house. Goodbye parenting memories. Farewell country living. Our castle gave us a roof over head and natural beauty on the doorstep. Everything this home could offer us, it successfully accomplished.
Six days to go. This countdown thing is getting tough. Not just because I’m tying to think of topics related to the number of the day, but also because there is an end date approaching. With the end drawing nearer, let’s dive into 6.
Six Feet Under. A tv series from a few years back that followed the stories of a family working at a funeral parlor. It is probably one of my favorite dramas of all time. However, I only watched the series through once. Some shows are so good they don’t need a second viewing.
I’m mentioning this show for two reasons. One- I have always wanted to own a Hearse. That would be a fun car to drive. And two, this house we are moving into will be the last house that I think we will ever buy. Maybe one day we will buy a condo or townhouse; but I’d be okay with the idea that I die in this house.
Let’s go a bit more joyous to end today’s blog. The number 6 is in the address of our Future Home twice on the house and once on the street we are moving to. 666 The sign of the beast! Or whatever.
Our future house is a beast in size compared to what we have lived in so far. I’m looking forward to taming it and calming into my zen.
This countdown is harder than I thought it would be. Besides having a final goal, trying to figure out what to write for each number is also a challenge. I am enjoying the distraction of doing this since this move is stressful at the best of times. Today’s “9” topic is movie based because I love movies.
“Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1957 is THE B MOVIE to watch if you love that genre. It is a difficult film to describe (and watch) as it is bad. So bad in fact that it circles back around to being good. Tim Burton did a sort of documentary on that original film maker back in 1994 titled “Ed Wood”. Which is probably a bit easier to watch especially if you enjoy Johnny Depp.
Of course this leads me into more Tim Burton-esque films. “9” was created by Tim Burton’s production company and was originally going to be a stop motion film- very similar to “Nightmare Before Christmas” but ended up being CGI. It’s a good movie, but does lack a bit of heart because of the choice to change film styles. I love Stop Motion movies because of the hours, days, weeks, and months of dedication to create simple movements that come to life. If people are willing to put that kind of effort into a film on a daily basis, I must watch it.
Which brings me to my final film. “9 To 5” from 1980.
Working 9 to 5 has never been my lifestyle of choice. Ever since I was young I have had an unusual work life of shift work. I do not live by a Circadian rhythm. Never have. Hitting my mid forties, this is natural for me now. As for the movie, it is highly enjoyable as it is far catches and silly. Seeing Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda remain friends for decades is great to see. The show “Grace and Frankie” is this generations “Golden Girls”. Dolly Parton’s theme song from the film is one of my favorite Country Songs. That song list is so short that I don’t even think I have a top 5. (Not a country music fan, sorry).
I have missed our media room over the past three months as we pack up for this move. With 9 days remaining until we move, I can’t wait to set up our home theater system and start to watch movies once more.
I will miss this house once we leave. I have enjoyed the peace and tranquillity that our country living has garnered us over the years. But there are some things that I am ready to say farewell to. First and foremost are the trees.
Not because I don’t like trees. It’s more the dead branches and the dead trees that I won’t miss.
This tree has been dead since long before our time owning this house. It has been home to a variety of birds over the years, so that’s been nice. But at some point this tree really needs to be taken down. It is far too close to the house. It is only one of many that are too close now.
This tree is above the cable and power line that runs to our home. I circled a dead branch that has been precariously hanging for a couple of years now. It’s larger than most people’s Christmas trees. One day it will come down. I have been waiting and watching for it every wind storm.
Besides the trees, I’m looking forward to different plumbing. We have constantly replaced and repaired pipes and joints throughout the home on a regular basis. By regular- it’s about every three months that something has gone wrong. I’m really hoping we get a couple of years or more with no leaks in our next house. To the point that I may forget how to do plumbing repairs.
I know I don’t usually write about the negative. I’m trying to mental check with myself that we have made the right decision to sell. Financially I think it will be good in the long run. Emotionally will be challenging at first, but we will make the next place as loving a home as this place was.
Seventy eight days until we move. Seems so far away. But it’s only 11 weeks from now. In ten weeks, we will need to be 95% ready to move out. The last week will be paperwork and chaos. In five weeks I will need to start getting into contact with our billing companies to start the address change information.
Yesterday I finished booking two moving companies at a cost of almost $5000. Yup. TWO moving companies. One is bringing in two trucks and somewhere between six to eight people to dismantle furniture and move all of our possessions. The other company is specifically called in order to move our grand piano.
Today we ran out of boxes. We have a good portion of the unnecessary and hardly used stuff packed away. Besides the obvious Christmas decorations- we packed up book shelves, extra nicknacks from the kid’s rooms and a bunch of stuff from cupboards that we can live without for a couple of months. A huge assortment of stuff.
About a month ago my wife told me I was bringing home too many boxes. Now we are realizing that we will need twice the amount originally planned. How did we possess so much stuff? When my wife and I first moved together all we had was a bed, a couple bookcases, a couch, a tv, and a freezer. All of which fit into two pick up trucks and our two door car.
It feels as though we are upsizing once more instead of downsizing. Sure, we are getting rid of some possessions as we pack up. But we also have plans to buy some new furnishings in our next home once we settle in. At which point, we will probably purge some more stuff.
Moving is a pain in the butt. And costly. No wonder we haven’t moved in 14 years. I don’t want to do it ever again.
Yesterday my wife and I took our teenagers to go and see the neighborhood we will be moving to. We parked up the street from our future home and explored the pathways. The area is called Bose Forest Park. It’s a well maintained set of trails in the suburbs. One of the paths lead past our new home, so we walked the neighborhood a bit as well.
Upon returning to the car, our teenagers excitedly went to the playground and goofed off. It brought me great pleasure to see the joy in their hearts as they played. They got along wonderfully and it made me realize that we did the right thing in choosing to move to that neighborhood.
My wife is happy that there are numerous pathways around with plenty of routes to choose from. After living in our neighborhood for so long, there is only so much you can see when you walk in a rectangle around the block.
I’m looking forward to the change and joining the suburban life. Don’t get me wrong- Country Living has been great and the neighbors have known each other for decades! But it will be neat to be a part of an ever changing community once more.
We are officially one hundred days from moving. I feel as if we are finally getting some relief for all that we have been through. I don’t mean just selling and buying a home. I’m talking about the past twenty years of stress and hard work- not just the struggle of surviving 2020.
This may sound odd, but our Future Home is actually our “First Home”. Let me explain that statement.
A little over twenty years ago, my father passed away. About nineteen years ago, my mother decided to uproot herself and move to literally the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island. She moved to Gold River and asked my wife and I if we would want to buy the house she owned in Langley.
So I pushed hard and worked three jobs to afford a down payment and the first bit of paying for the house. We bought it at market value for $210,000. After four years, the market boomed and we had a third child. It was time to sell and move. We sold that house for $410,000.
At that point, my wife’s parents were wanting to downsize. After a lot of discussion and stretching ourselves thin once more, we used all of our equity from the first home and bought my wife’s parents’ place for $570,000. We also needed an extra $60,000 borrowed from them in order to get qualified.
All of the help from both my mother and my wife’s parents have put us in a very comfortable position to buy our “First Home”. In doing so, my wife and I will be able to assist our children if/when the time comes for them. This is our way to Pay it Forward.
Nineteen years of paying down mortgages and struggling from time to time with finances has afforded us the luxury to be successful. All of our friends have watched us as we have hit hardships and windfalls. I appreciate their cheers from the sidelines and the hugs when we needed them. We continue to cheer them on through their endeavors and wins as well.
As we count down to our new home, many of our friends have volunteered to help us in a number of ways, I will be calling in these favors in exchange for pizza and beer!
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:
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.
As the sun makes a more regular appearance these days, it feels as if winter is long since behind us. But Spring is still two weeks away.
My wife and I went out for a walk in Fort Langley today in order to take advantage of the weather. The coffee shops and restaurants had people lined up- social distancing of course. It wasn’t as busy as we expected on the trails, which was nice. We walked for about 5km just talking and enjoying a day off from house hunting. However, a couple of trains went by, reminding me of work.
At home, the vegetation is starting to become green and budding. We will get to enjoy one last Spring Bloom in this house, which is what we wanted. We talked about the plants that we will take to our next home instead of talking about what we will miss about this one.
In a sense, we are already moved out as we separate our feelings from this home. Sure, there’s still yard work and cleaning to do over the next couple of months. We don’t want to leave the place in shambles for the new owners. Plus we get the joy of spring and the feeling of starting anew.
Since we are moving, I need to get into the attic and start pulling stuff out. I sort of know what’s up there. But I still wanted to check it out.
We actually have three attics for storage in this house. I have emptied two of them so far. One had a box of wires. The other had old movie banners and fans for the summer. The third- which is above our linen closet- should contain a few Rubbermaid containers of baby/toddler clothes. Not a ton of stuff, but stuff nonetheless.
We have been paring down on stuff for a few months now. We started by trying to get the kids on board in decluttering their rooms. It wasn’t until we staged the house that this was finally accomplished. We have a little over three months to go through our stuff and decide what to keep and what to donate/sell. The final process will happen once we know where we are moving to and what stuff will make our trek to the new place.
Of course, we will probably still bring junk in boxes that shall stay packed up for many more years. Just because we cannot part with it. Relocating boxes from home to home without ever throwing it away? Seems like it would be commonplace in everyone’s house- just like a junk drawer. That’s normal, right?
I think moving is a good opportunity to evaluate what we have.
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!
On Monday, our prospective buyers are paying for a bunch of inspections on the property. This is completely normal and will lend to a peace of mind for what they can expect once they take possession of the house.
In doing so, we needed to help make everything more accessible. We don’t exactly have a “regular” house for sale. We are in a neighborhood of acreages and farm land. First thing we did was dig out the septic tank access points. It was a ton of fun getting my two youngest to dig. Hashtag sarcasm.
I then headed into the attic to take a quick gander. The roof and insulation look great- nothing out of the ordinary there. I did enjoy the escape from any other burdens while I was up there. If it wasn’t for the dust and insulation, I would have contemplated taking a nap.
Lastly, I went under the house and into the crawl space with the help of my son. I wanted to do a quick survey of the foundation and if there were any possible leaks or damage. Nope. It all looks well aged and sturdy.
The bones of this home are strong. Which makes it really hard to say farewell to it. However, it also means that the future owners (maybe this couple, if not perhaps someone else) will have some great building blocks to work with should they do choose to change things up.
Since they are putting up so much money for these inspections, I would hope that the seriousness of the purchase remains in tact for when the subjects get removed. Now to let the stress build up for a few more days and eat away at me from the inside out. But hey, at least our attic is full of cotton candy!
After only one week on the market, we accepted an offer on our house. There’s subjects to be removed within the next week, but if all goes well- that’s one hurdle down, about 1.9 million more to go.
This is a big step for us all. And now that the reality of moving and leaving this house has really stepped up its game- we need to find us a place to live. Lucky for us we put in a date of mid-June in order to allow the two youngest to finish school without much in the way of interruptions.
That’s almost four months of trying to find the perfect home to relocate to. I think it’s doable. What I’m really liking is that friends and coworkers from all over the area are trying to convince us to move to their neighborhoods. Everyone is proud of where they live, and it shows.
So if you know of a great location in the Lower Mainland of BC with five bedrooms and a suite to rent- let me know! We could be neighbors!
Over the weekend we had nine viewings of our home. I have no idea if that is high or low or about average. But it does mean that people wanted to see our house. So that’s a good sign.
Now it’s a waiting game. We wait and see if there is a purchaser for this house. I’m positive that there is someone out there that would take great care of this home the same way we have over the years. Hopefully a family with little kids to enjoy the yard.
But waiting to hear anything sucks. A bazillion thoughts go through your mind. The kind of thoughts that keep you up at night causing you to feel unrested and agitated the next day.
Soon it will all be over. The waiting will end and the stress will dissolve. I just wish for that day to come quickly.
I completely forgot about the details involved in showing a house. Especially when you need to continue living in it. There’s the last minute cleaning, making sure the place is staged to show nothing of your personal life, plus we have dogs that need to be taken away.
The real estate agents make it sound so easy. Which in the long run, I suppose it is. The minor inconveniences we face this weekend could mean the difference between selling the house in a timely manner or waiting far longer for an offer. The thought of doing showings for months on end is not one I want to face.
Since we stayed away from our home for almost seven hours yesterday, the staging today went really easy. Yesterday we went for a walk through a park to kill some time followed by a picnic. Today will be more of the same. The doggos seemed to like it. However there is a sprinkling of rain that may occur. I’m not thrilled at the thought of the smell of wet dog in my car.
But wanting top dollar for our home means a few hours of doing our part. Fingers crossed that the showings go well. I just want to put a sign on the front door: “Buy this house!”