Littles

Today was a good day. I had the opportunity to have a few coworkers over with their families. Each of them have young children to take care of.

It’s been a long while since my wife and I have had to deal with small kids. It was nice change to hang out with everyone. And see how they handle their kids.

I’ve always been good with children. They seem to gravitate towards me. Today made for another one of those moments. My favorite part was being able to hand back the kids at the end of the days. The kids were well behaved. I’m most impressed with my friends’ parenting skills.

Overheated

For the first time ever, I overheated my iPhone. It kind of surprised me that I did it. But hey, first time for everything. At least it’s back up and working so that I can write today’s blog.

Which has now turned into writing about overheating. Originally I was going to write about waiting around. That’s because our daughter is in surgery having her wisdom teeth removed. I was asked to wait in my car and be on standby just in case.

The reason my phone overheated is because I decided to eat my lunch and left the phone on the car seat next to me connected to my charger. Maybe ten minutes in the sun. When I picked it up, that was the warning that came through. A couple of minutes in the shade and everything was fine. My phone was lucky enough to find the one patch of sun- since I parked in the shade.

I remember stories from yore where people forgot videotapes in hot cars and melted them. Back in the day, a friend who worked at a video store showed me some creatively damaged tapes. I suppose I should be more careful with my electronics. Note to self- don’t be a dumbass.

Have you ever left something in a hot car, only to realize too late?

Andrew Porter

An old friend of mine from the late 90’s passed away recently. Today was his funeral service. His name was Andrew Porter.

“Porter” by definition comes from the Latin portatorem: one who carries. Andrew Porter carried many of us through a strange and unusual time in our lives.

After the service, a dozen of us went for lunch and shared stories of our youth. There were catch phrases- little inside jokes only we understood. Here were the craziest ones:

Cheeseburger

She bit my dick!

Break out the saki! Andy got laid!

Andy’s smoking “American” cigarettes.

I’m a lover, not a fighter!

Scabbies (there are a ton of songs on this subject)

Our lives back then made me realize how lucky I am to have endured those days. We were stupid teenagers doing stupid shit thinking we would live forever. Andy was my next door neighbor for a few years at the end of high school- that’s how we became friends.

We were the delinquent houses where groups of us would get drunk and high. From those insane catchphrases and memories, I’m glad I lived the life I did with Andy close by sharing in the journey.

As the years went on, eventually I lost touch with him. Seeing him fourteen years ago was the last time. I could view his life on Facebook, but in March of 2019 I chose to erase my Facebook friends. Today I realized that I still need Facebook friends. I need to follow them so that I know that they are okay.

Because one day they will be gone. Just like Andy.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Andy. You will be missed, but the memories lasted a lifetime.

Ha! 19 Now…

Our oldest child turned 19 today. That means she is legal drinking age and can have alcohol without trying to sneak it. On my 19th birthday I went to the club and got completely loaded with a coworker who was five years older than me. I was a disaster. Our daughter on the other hand? Well she chose something different.

She doesn’t want alcohol. It’s never interested her. Instead she wanted to have a day at work followed by an at home family dinner and some ice cream cake. Totally doable and within our means!

I’m really impressed by how much more mature she is than I ever was when it comes to partying. But we still had a lot of fun at dinner. We were listening to a playlist that her sister cream Spotify, took some silly photos and cut the ice cream cake in the worst possible ways. Laughter filled the atmosphere.

It was exactly what she wanted. Why not give a person what they ask for on their birthday? No unwanted surprises. Just a casual night at home with family. In the end it was more a gift for the rest of us than for her. She even arrived home in great spirits!

Happy 19th Birthday Random! May you always be the responsible adult you have proven to be on your first day of adulthood!

Summer Tradition- Fish and Chips in White Rock

Tonight was the perfect night to go out for dinner with the family. It was also the perfect evening to eat outside and stare at the water.

Every summer we go to Crescent Beach and get ourselves deep fried cod and chips. Then off to find a log or some rocks to sit at to enjoy our dinner. This year we tried a new fish and chips location. We were not disappointed!

While we waited for the fish to cool down a bit, the family posed for a picture at the beach. After several retakes and arguing, I got a sort of okay photo of us. You’d think that after all of these years my kids would just cooperate willingly. I mean, honestly- how hard is it to give a smile to your poor old dad?

After dinner, we strolled along the beach looking at houses and the fun seaside artwork that the town has. I’m happy that we are only about a twenty minute drive to Crescent Beach. I’m hoping to go kayaking some more like we did last year- read about it White Rock Kayaking.

This summer could go on forever. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Even the arguing about posing for a picture. That’s quality family time!

Vintage Love

I am a huge fan of all things retro and vintage. Sure, I still like my modern amenities and won’t give those up any time soon. But there are some things that just bring me joy and are unique in many aspects.

I do like when old mixes with new. I picked up a couple of Panasonic noise canceling headphones with Bluetooth capabilities. I love the look of these headphones and how they remind me of elementary school libraries. That “station” where you could listen to an audio book or watch those short little filmstrip projectors. Those headphones were indestructible. I’m hoping these new ones are equally as awesome.

But the greatest thing we got as a housewarming gift came from my in-laws. They gave us six new towels for our use in our pool. The towels are fluffy and the color scheme screams 1970’s. What’s even better? The towels are from SEARS. So either my in-laws had these in storage, or somewhere out there is a Sears that is still in business. No matter what the case, I love these towels.

Do you like vintage and retro style? What makes you think it is vintage? Let me know in the comments.

Twenty Year Celebration

Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.

We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.

Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.

That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.

A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.

Hanging Out With A View

After almost three weeks in our new house, we have been extremely active in setting it up. Unpacking, organizing, getting a cleaning routine going, that sort of thing. On an almost daily basis we have also been hanging out in the pool. All of it is great and keeping us busy.

This evening I took a page from my wife’s book. We stopped to enjoy the view from our living room. Sure, there’s more work to do and a dinner to make. But taking a breather to remember why we bought this house is important.

The skyline. Something we gave up in our last home. But the exchange in our last place was the beauty of living in a park like setting. Old growth trees offering natural shade and cooling of the home. To me, this exchange is equivalent, even though different in many ways.

Appreciating what we got and what we work towards is necessary. We love our new home and are working hard to create Kingdom Havelka as a magical place to live.

Office Supply Boredom

Work is a bit slow these days. It reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was working nights and it was equally slow. My boss and I decided to make some toys from office supplies.

Office Wars

The pencil crossbow was my favorite. I ended up making two of these and my boss and I did target practice at empty boxes. These things were quite powerful and a ton of fun.

Found on Reddit

We also made various animals from the large binder clips. The Scorpion one was the coolest by far. In fact my wife calls the clips “Scorpion Clips” now because of this.

Pretty sure these activities stem from a childhood of school boredom. At least the art has gotten better than just a few pencil holes stabbed in an eraser. Or using the protractor set to create a catapult.

Do you create using office or school supplies when bored? Let me know in the comments.

Lego Bonsai

Today we went shopping for some summer clothes. We also went to a couple of stores just because we were at the mall. One of those stores happened to be The Lego Store. I totally did a spontaneous purchase of a Lego set.

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

We got it home and decided to put it together as a family. This is the first set we have built in the new house. It’s also been years since we last tried to build a set together. The Lego Spaceship from The Lego Movie was an ordeal and a half one Christmas! We were lucky to not repeat that fiasco.

But we were able to work together and got it completed rather quickly. We even had a spot all picked out at the bottom of our stairs for it to hang out. I think it looks really neat.

As well, when spring comes around, we can change the bonsai tree into a Sakura tree.

My Name Is Joe. And I Am Canadian

Hey,
I’m not a lumberjack or a fur trader,
And I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled,
And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally, or Suzie from Canada,
Although I’m certain they’re really really nice,

I have a Prime Minister, not a President,
I speak English and French, not American,
And I pronounce it “About”, not “Aboot”,
I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack,
I believe in peacekeeping, not policing,
Diversity, not assimilation,
And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal,

A toque is a hat.
A chesterfield is a couch,
And it is pronounced Zed, not “Zee”, Zed.
Canada is the second largest land mass,
The first nation of hockey,
And the best part of North America.

My name is Joe,

And

I

AM

CANADIAN.

Thank-you.

Raised Spirits

After a week in our new home, it was time to enjoy quality time together. Boy was it fun!

This evening before dinner, we all hung out at the pool. Loads of laughter and splashing. It was an excellent way to cool off after a smoldering hot day.

To finalize our family time together we did something we always do. We watched a movie as a family. The movie of choice? Spirited Away. A favorite amongst us all. We love Studio Ghibli movies and enjoyed visiting Studio Ghibli when we travelled to Tokyo a few years back.

We also chose this film because it starts with a family on their way to their new home, yet adventure takes hold. It’s the perfect film to boost our spirits amongst the chaos of unpacking. I’m so happy to feel like a family once more. Stress is behind us.

Time to live our best lives.

Loss Of Our Family Dog

Today we had to say goodbye to our family dog, Lex. We adopted him January 2013 and he has been a great family member ever since we met him.

Lex was a great dog. He always stayed nearby us whenever we hung out as a family. He would join us in our media room to watch family movies. He would go on walks and camping with us- never required a leash.

The first day we met him, he never left our side. He chose us to be his family- we didn’t choose him. We brought him home that same day between snowstorms.

We did our best to make his final year comfortable as we could see his health deteriorating. I’d like to think we helped for the last few months, and I know the kids are glad that he got to see our new home. My wife and I knew something was up when Lex decided to go for one last walk in the old met last week. He pushed himself harder than he had in recent times. He hardly moved after that.

Lex was a good boy and made our lives fulfilled. We will miss you buddy. May you Rest In Peace.

Goodbye

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.

2008.

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.

Thank you Castle Havelka.

We love you.

Hello

Our first full day in the new house has begun. The foray of chaos yesterday ended, yet the unpacking will remain for days, nay– weeks on end.

It was a bittersweet move. Emotions ran high yesterday. Everyone was happy to experience our new home and we took our first family photo in the backyard. I even broke my dry spell of almost 300 days and sipped on sparkling wine and then had a beer poolside.

Before that- I started the evening off for everyone by taking the first jump into our pool. The weather was perfect and the water was fine.

Once everyone was gone, we enjoyed seeing a sunset for the first time in years from our backyard. As much as I loved the tress in our last place, I have really been enjoying the million dollar view we have now.

As we greet our new neighbors we are also looking for some names for our home. The last place we titled, “Castle Havelka”. Our Internet still says Castle, but I’m thinking since we moved up we should call it “Kingdom Havelka”.

Let me know in the comments some suggestions for a new name should be. For now, it’s time to tackle more boxes.

2

Woo-hoo!

With about 48 hours remaining until we are in our new home, I am hitting on the number 2 in my countdown.

In elementary school our classrooms were separated into Divisions. When I was in Grade 7- there were two classes. I was in Division 2. Our teacher had a sign that read “Second to none.” It was one of the things that always made me feel good about myself. That phrase of not being second best, but exuding confidence when you need it. Mr. Fallman was one of my favorite teachers ever.

As I have mentioned before, sometimes at work we use odd phrases. When counting out loud and giving directions over the radio, we are required to say it twice in order to confirm the instructions. I have a tendency to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger when it come to the number two. Coupla. Tumor.

These past few days of last minute packing have been a Blur.

Woo-hoo!

“Song 2” by Blur was part of my soundtrack to the summer of 1997. Add in “Wannabe” by Spice Girls and “Mo’ money mo’ problems” by B.I.G. & Puff Daddy and you have the eclectic understanding of the start of my 20’s. A throwback to the loud music coming out of a couple of subwoofers in the back of my car. Loud music as I drove to and from my home. It’s something I still do to this day when driving alone.

All of the time, but I’m never sure why I need you.

With only two days to go, I’m working on the soundtrack to say goodbye to our home and hello to our next place. My playlist is growing with a hope to bring forth memories and energize our lives a bit more.

3

Triple trouble- time to talk about number 3.

Rule of thirds. When I’m feeling especially artsy, I’ll take photos and do my best to follow the rule of thirds. If I’m being sassy or humorous- I also follow the comedic troupe of doing a joke three times. Surprisingly, it works well.

As you may be aware, we have 3 kids. They are teenagers now- almost into adulthood. Each has grown into their individual personalities. My wife and I love them to pieces and have become so proud of them. If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I tout their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Finally, this move will be the third house my wife and I will be purchasing together. Eighteen years ago we bought our first place for $210,000. That was one of the most difficult expenses we ever faced. I worked three jobs at almost 80 hours per week to make ends meet. Within two weeks of buying that house we found out we were expecting our second child.

We sold that home in just under four years of owning it at $410,000. Our mortgage that remained was $167,000. That was when we bought the house we are in now for $570,000 in the year 2007. After fourteen years, we were able to get $1,900,000 for the home. Earning us $95k a year.

We are now moving into another beautiful house that meets our changing needs. As excited as I am about the change, it is difficult to fathom that we have come this far in under two decades. Even though this is the third house for us to buy, it kind of feels like this is our first house. It was the one that we absolutely fell in love with and it won’t need any upgrades for a long time.

4

Passing the number 5 on a countdown is like hitting the home stretch on a marathon. With four days remaining, today I shall hit on the number 4 and some of its significance in my life.

Here’s a tidbit of information that some people may not know about me. Not that it’s a big deal, but I am the Fourth Josef Havelka in a row. My mother named me at the last minute in the hospital. Originally I was going to be named Michael, but I’m glad I wasn’t. I’m a Joe. Or Josef, Joey, Joe-Joe; you get the picture. As well, we continued the tradition and our son has Josef Havelka V on his birth certificate. Some places look at the “V” as his last name which I find humorous.

Since my name starts with a “J” and when I write it out, it looks like a sideways number “4”. That’s because I have a tendency to print in capital letters. It’s a habit I developed at a young age and it has continued into adulthood. Printing in all caps has become useful at work, since a clear understanding of the work to be accomplished is required. Typing out information isn’t always feasible.

FORE!

I know, it’s not really the number four, but it sure sounds like it. As a homophone, it’s close enough to hit on my memories to be shared today. Golfing is not really my thing. However, I’m not bad at hitting golf balls. My father was an avid golfer and pushed me to take my swing seriously. At work, if I’m giving out car counts and the number 4 is needed- I call it out as if I was golfing. Sometimes you need a bit of lightheartedness to get through a work day.

With only four days left to go, I have given plenty of forethought as to how to enjoy our new house. We will have a formidable foreseeable fortunateness forging forward forever foreboding unforgettable efforts.

5

FIVE… 5 days to go people! Here comes number five for my numerical blog posts as you countdown with me to our new home. Let’s go retro fun to start on today’s blog.

When I first moved to British Columbia, my mother bought me some books. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series was some of my favorite childhood novels. I spent hours in my room reading about the adventures of these kids. Especially as a child who had no friends moving province to province. This was my version of the Harry Potter series, only without magic. I never did pass these novels onto my kids, but they did read a lot of their own books growing up.

Number 5 is alive! Short Circuit was a fun movie from the 80’s. Not a great plot, more relying on slapstick and humor to get the film through. Yet, anyone around my age can quote this film in some way. “No disassemble!” In fact, I’m hoping that one day I can a Johnny 5 with my 3D printer.

I can’t talk about the number 5 without mentioning I have a family of five. We have all been working so hard to get ready for this move. It is an emotional time for all five of us. Leaving one home to get into another. This countdown is getting us closer to that day. A chance to create a new home.

To quote Johnny 5- “Home… Number 5, home.”

6

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.

7

Seven days to go. That’s a whole week! As I continue with my countdown, we are at lucky number 7. A lot of folks find it to be a lucky number. I don’t gamble, so slot machines and casinos don’t matter much to me.

However, when the Internet first began, I did use 777 at the end of my first ever email address. I thought I was super clever being an atheist and all. My email address was god iv followed by 777. The joke being, “What’s god for?” I have since abandoned that email and tend to use something more professional these days.

Of course I’m going to talk about movies that involve the number 7. Specifically the movie SEVEN. Ever since seeing the film, my family always says, “What’s in the box?” And I’m pretty sure that during the unpacking of our home- this phrase will get beaten to death. But quotes like that are great.

I love romantic fantasy film. One of my favorite movies is Stardust. There is a character named Septimus, who is one of the lead villains of the film. His jacket, in fact most of his wardrobe, involves the number seven somewhere. This is one of those cosplay characters that I would love to do one day. But the vest and jacket with custom buttons is fantastic.

As we near the end of our packing for the move, I am getting excited about the new house. I cannot say at this time that I love this new house. To quote Stardust: “The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.” But my feelings for our future home are definitely strong.

8

Eight days remaining. My countdown is now at my favorite single digit number. Let me tell you why.

My sister. She was born on the luckiest day ever. August 8th, 1980. 8/8/80. When she turned 8 it was in 1988. Growing up, we were pretty good friends. Playing silly games as youngsters to partying as teenagers. She was always know as “Joe’s Sister” which she hated. One year she made a t-shirt for me that said “Nikki’s Brother” and I wore that shirt all the time.

The Magic 8 Ball. This thing is fantastic. Back in my teenage years I enjoyed Billiards on a regular basis. I got obsessed with everything 8-Ball. My Magic 8 Ball was used all the time for decision making. This was extremely useful since teenagers are pretty useless when it came to deciding what to do when bored.

Finally, the number 8 reminds me of the lemniscate- otherwise known as the Infinity Symbol ♾. The idea that there time, life, ideas, power, numbers, or anything imaginable really could go on forever astounds me. Philosophically- infinity is just a thought. But it is real in so many ways.

Now with 8 days remaining, we have infinite dreams and hopes for our new home.

9

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.

10

As my daily countdown continues, today is 10 days remaining until we move. Here’s what the number ten means to me.

I enjoy top ten lists. I probably began enjoying Top Ten Lists from my late night tv viewings. David Letterman was always clever with his humorous take on these lists. SNL had a few good skits from Wayne’s World as well. I continue to be sucked in to Click Bait top ten lists.

Doctor Who was a family favorite show a few years back. Each of us enjoy our Doctors, but my favorite is the Tenth Doctor. His personality is fun and smart. His heart (or is it hearts?) was always big and generous. David Tennant is a fantastic actor and made the show great to watch. Cheesy sci-fi at its finest.

Of course you can’t count down until you learn to count up. Everyone I know has learnt how to count to ten. Meeting a child and sharing in their joy as they excitedly count that high is a wonderful feeling. We all use ten as the base for counting- it just makes sense. Our world is at our fingertips and we use those fingers to count at such a young age. Many of us still use our fingers as a visual tool to count.

I’m giving our new home a 10/10 for how amazing it will be once we are settled in.

11

Continuing with my daily countdown, I am at the number 11.

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I enjoy listening to music. I often “turn it up to 11” to quote Spinal Tap. Which is a great mockumentory movie if you haven’t seen it. It’s also a fantastic quote when you are talking about going above and beyond with your skill sets.

Seeing a digital clock when it shows 11:11 is also a thing that I notice more often than any other time of day. I’m not sure why it feels magical, but it does. Maybe it’s the simple straight lines of the number one strung parallel to one another. I love numerical sequences like that as well.

Of course there is also my enjoyment of science fiction and nostalgia. Stranger Things series was the perfect combo of this and filled me with joy. This image brings me to my other favorite 11…

I also loved visiting 7-11 stores in Japan. That entire trip to Tokyo was by far my most memorable. Those convenience stores were the reliable and well stocked for all of our basic needs for the day. It was great.

11 days remaining until we are in our new house. With that move we are definitely Turning it up to 11!