Six Times Nine Equals Forty Two

Okay. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is…

42

That’s 42 days from now!

In six weeks we are moving to our new house. Our entire life, universe and everything will be changing. This is hitting a 9 out of 10 on the stress scale now.

I’m terrified and excited at the same time. The fact that we had such a long closing date for leaving here and the possession of our new home has been both a blessing and a curse. The countdown seems so far away still. Yet we have the majority of our home packed up. Which is great, except that we are living in only a portion of our house at the moment.

Our living room is packed with boxes all labeled to where they need to go in our new home. No more theater room and watching shows on our big screen. My wife’s studio is also filled. All of the bedrooms have a stack of boxes and this new chaos feels like it is running rampant in our home. The most empty space we have at this time is our yard. We cleared out so much debris outside that our land looks enormous once more.

For the next month and a half, we will be enjoying the outdoors a bit more than normal. Every year we have enjoyed dining outdoors. This year will be no different. Even when we move- we will enjoy the outdoors.

Enough blogging. Back to packing. Hmmm… I wonder which Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote I should focus on:

  • “Don’t Panic.” …
  • “Time is an illusion. …
  • “Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”

Five Six.. Seventy Eight Days To Go!

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.

Our Future Home

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:

ONE: UNITY

SIX: SMOOTH

TWO: HARMONY

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.

Spring Break Vacation 2021

It’s that time again. My first vacation of the year is starting. It feels great to know I don’t have to go into work for 11 days.

It was definitely a stressful day at work as I tried to keep focused. My mind was clearly elsewhere as buying and selling of our future homes is forefront in my life.

The next few days will be some decompressing time. I’ll get some time to myself and then next week my wife and the kids will be on vacation as well. That’s when we will be busy packing more stuff for the move.

So “Spring Break” won’t be much of a break. Just time away from work in order to do more work.

Le sigh

Magic Kingdom For Sale- SOLD!

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!

Offer Accepted

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!

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.

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

It was always inevitable. One day we will move from our current home. But the question that is looming over us- when should we move?

Originally we were going to wait until all three kids graduated high school. Which is June 2024- about five and a half years away. But at the time that happens, two of our three kids *should* be in post secondary. And likely need some help paying for it. Of course there will be scholarships and RESPs contributions, but there is so many more expenses that will come up.

Selling our home may happen sooner than 2024. Not because of financial reasons (although being close to mortgage free or even the possibility of being mortgage free is likely when we sell) but we may sell because of time. A lack of time to do yard work or maintain the house. A smaller yard and a newer home would help us all as our lives get busier and adulthood kicks in for our kids.

Giving up an acre of trees and peacefulness is tough. The home is full of character as well. Not very cookie-cutter in any way. It was built over 45 years ago by my wife’s father. The home has been great for our kids when they were younger. They were out in the yard and took full advantage of the space. Our dogs were the same. Last summer, no one helped or was around to help with the yard work. Personally, I began to feel overwhelmed by it all. So has my wife.

But giving up our present location has advantages. We are currently just far enough away from the suburbs that it feels close by. If driving. We currently have no access to local transit- meaning we are chauffeurs to our children to get places. We are heavily car dependent. As well there isn’t stores within walking distance. Running out to grab an item takes longer, so we try and maximize our ventures for shopping.

It comes down to what we need moving forward. What’s best for our kids? What’s best for my wife and I as we move closer to retirement? What comes next after we move? Will we move again?

Help. Please. This is a stressful decision to make.

Hoarding 

I’m currently helping my mother pack up her home.  She has saved almost everything over the years.  Most of which doesn’t make sense.


I found some pig salt and pepper shakers from 1981.  Never been used.  These have moved to at least ten different houses.  Crazy.


I discovered another classic from the 80’s.  A book on tying silk scarves.  A fantastic read.  Looking at the cover, it doesn’t look like it was ever opened.


My mother even saved the patches I received as a child in whatever sports/activity I was in.  The last great achievement in physical activity I did was receiving “Gold” in the Canada Fitness Award Program back in grade 7.  Pretty sure that program ended a year or two later.  The poor Canadian children nowadays don’t understand the agony of having to do this.

Those were a couple of the oddities I found.  But the thing that surprised me more was that my mother wouldn’t throw out old electronics.  Many of which she never uses any more.  She has a cheap portable CD player that she won’t get rid off because she may go for a walk on the beach one day and would like to listen to music.  I discovered a cheap navigation system that she never figured out how to use, so it’s practically brand new even though it’s about ten years old now.  She has numerous printers for her computer, “because it’s easier to buy a new printer than figure out what is wrong with the other one”.  I also discovered a bin of cables, cords, and wires that she is keeping because she’s not sure what they all belong to.  Most of these things she is afraid to give up.

But my daughter scored pretty well this trip.  Gramma saved an old clarinet in really good shape from when my sister took band class for about three years.  My daughter is also walking away with a never been used 2010 Canon VIXIA HD camcorder.  I have no idea why my mother owned it, however my daughter is super excited about being its new owner.

Sure, there are some memories packed away now in these boxes.  And the sensation of feeling or seeing these items makes you ponder life.  I was a bit upset that my mother saved the strangest things from my childhood instead of the things that mattered most to me.  Perhaps one day my kids will be thinking the same thing about me.  What I save won’t make sense to anyone but me.  

I guess that’s what hoarding is.  Keeping what you want- because one day it will mean something.  At least now I know numerous different ways to tie a silk scarf.

Scooby Doo reference required.

Lending a helping hand.

Friends help friends- it’s the right thing to do.  Paying it forward is something I strongly believe in.  I’ve had friends there to help me when I’ve needed it.  Today was my turn to help out.

Looking good and ready to take on the move.


It was moving day for a couple of friends of ours.  Moving sucks.  No matter how prepared, or how packed up your stuff is; no matter how many friends are there, moving takes forever.  Some of us showed up to help out because it’s the right thing to do.  Others made excuses.


Getting help is hard.  No one wants to lift the hide-a-bed.  No one wants to load an appliance into a truck, knowing it has to come off at the next spot.  After moving, you are often lucky to still have friends.  Sure beer, pizza and BBQ are a payment of thanks.  But if you are the kind of person who moves every six months?  Good luck keeping friends.  


After a long day of moving boxes and furniture, everyone needs a break.  The remnants of your life are scattered throughout your soon-to-be-vacated house.  The next step is unpacking and starting your life in a new location.  Unpacking takes time.  (I swear that we still have boxes from when we moved over nine years ago.)  

Marriage, divorce, death, pregnancy and moving are the top five stresses in life.  None of those five stresses may are the most pleasant situations to be in.  Having friends who will help you through any of these situations is wonderful.  Finding humor in moving is a great way to make it through the day.  That, plus the promise of ice cold beers goes a long way.


I’m just glad I don’t own a truck.  I’m sure I’d have a ton more friends… Who would need help moving…  I’m content to lend what little muscles I have to help out.  Plus feed me beer.  Did I mention that already?  Yeah.  Beers are good.

This is my hometown.

I was born in Nova Scotia and within a few months we moved to Ontario. A couple years later we moved to British Columbia.  We lived in White Rock and Richmond in the late 70’s.  By 1980, we moved to Edmonton Alberta and four years later we moved back to British Columbia and settled in Langley.

From age 8 I have called Langley my home.  For a little over thirty years I have watched it grow.  Throughout the years in Langley, we have moved to a few different homes in a few different neighborhoods.  I am currently in my sixth house and have been here for nine years now.  It also happens to be the house that my wife’s father built in 1972. This house has always been my wife’s home.  Sure she lived elsewhere over the ages (including a short time in Turkey), but this is where she calls home.


This was my first home in Langley.  It was built in the late 70’s, so it has some character to it.  It is by far my favorite house I have ever lived in.  It’s the only home I’ve lived in that that had a swimming pool.  It may not look it, but this home is bigger on the inside.  If I could, I’d walk through this house just to relive my childhood memories.


Just before the 90’s started we moved to a brand new subdivision.  We watched the house get built from the ground up.  It was the summer of my transition from grade 9 to 10.  My father allowed me to have a friend stay over for a few nights only to make us work laying out a new lawn in the hot sun.  It was a much smaller home than the previous one, but everything was new.   My mother was happy but my father was miserable.  This house was sold two years later and we downsized again.  This was also partly due to some financial struggles that my parents ran into.  My father was about to lose his job and they were going through a legal battle because of an accident my sister was in at age 12. 

Unimpressed Josef


This was our third home in Langley.  It was in what was eventually referred to as “The Complex Complex”.  It was about half the size of our second home, so most of our stuff ended up in a storage unit or donated.  I was entering my last year of high school and the school was now a two minute walk away.  Let the rebel teen years commence!  Lots of emotional struggles in this home and a lot of soul searching for me.  This home was a hub of activity and I made lots of friends and had lots of adventures.

After this home I did a lot of couch surfing, then lived in a cramped basement suite with three other people, moved to a crappy bottom floor apartment with a friend, then met my wife and lived with her in a large home with four others.

Awww


Our first home together where my wife and I began our family.  I’m sure I have better pictures of the house somewhere, but I really like the photo of us on our third Halloween.  This home was a chance for me to learn the basics of home renovations.  My “Martha Stewart” skills became apparent as well.

Our home.


This is our current home, albeit a picture from a few years ago.  Not much has changed on first glance, but lots has changed when you look throughout.  I love this house with all of its quirks.  Any time I think we should sell, I think about my personal journey to get here.  It is apparent that my wife has been a big influence on my life and has really pushed me to set higher goals but also be content with what we have.  There’s a healthy balance that I believe we have found.   I’m also pretty sure my wife would like to stay here for many more years to come.  


Langley is my home and I have enjoyed most of the journey to get where we are.  Our door is always open to friends to come visit.  No invitation is needed.  

Our home is your home.  Anytime.

New neighbors 

We returned from this last road trip to find that our old neighbors have moved out and new ones moved in.  We knew this was going to happen, but because of our busy schedules and traveling, it slipped our minds.  It was a nice surprise, trust me.

The home we live in was built by my wife’s father in 1972.  He was a bricklayer by trade, so the home is a solid design and has fantastic character in its bones.  We bought the home from my wife’s parents nine years ago and have slowly been adding our own touches to it.  Most of the neighborhood is people who have been here for twenty years or longer.  Except the house on the corner next to us.

When we first moved in, there was a lovely old couple next door who spent a small fortune on amazing landscaping for their yard.  They sold the place shortly after we moved in (due to their ages and the upkeep on an acre was getting a bit much for them) to another couple and their daughter & grandson.

This next family built a huge addition on the home- a large carriage house connected to their home.  This was for their daughter and grandson to live in.  They moved out a few years later because they wanted their grandson to  attend a different high school and wanted to downsize since the grandparents were now looking after him full time and their daughter had moved away.  I’m not sure of the reasons for her leaving, because it’s never my business to be nosy.

I wish this happened to our previous neighbor.

They sold the house to a couple in their mid fifties.  These new owners were downsizing from twenty acres to the one acre.  Immediately they tore out a portion of the fantastic landscaping and built a workshop/garage in its place.  Within a few months, the lady started complaining about our children playing outside.  She told us they were disrupting her peace & quiet and had she known kids lived here, they never would’ve bought the house.  This was during the noisy construction of their workshop…  I don’t know how she could have missed the fact the there are kids in the neighborhood since you could see into our yard.  We have a tree house, a bright two story pink and purple playhouse, a zip line & a trampoline set up.  Not to mention the elementary school one block away.  Throughout that first summer, it was rather uncomfortable being in our backyard and we dubbed the neighbor “The Wicked Witch of the East”.

One time, she stood along the property line waiting for one of my kids to run by.  She yelled at my daughter making her cry.  My daughter came into the house and told us what happened.  I went over to the Witch and told her she made my daughter cry and  her response was that our children make her cry everyday and that they are horrible people and should not play outside.  I was ready to lose it, so I told her that if she had problems with the kids to talk to my wife or I.  Later that summer, I had to phone the police on her because she had set up her stereo speakers on the side of her house, aiming directly into my backyard, cranked her music and went into her home.  The police showed up fairly quickly and she was fined.  The police spoke with me and were on my side since it’s just children playing and they couldn’t hear them being overly loud as they went over to our neighbor.  After that moment she never spoke to us again, or try and do stupid things.  Her husband was nice, and I spoke with him from time to time.  The kids were never mentioned.

They sold their home to a new family.  Today I went over and introduced myself. This family has two boys and a home business.  The husband is really nice, and I told him that we were glad a family was back in the house.  I explained a bit about the run-in with the lady who owned the house previously.  He then shared that when they had walked through the home with his family before purchasing it, she flipped out on his son when he sat on the bed.  It would seem that she didn’t like kids at all.  He also told us about how she hid some defects of the house when she showed it to them.  Based on hearing this, I’m glad she’s gone.

I’m happy to have new neighbors.  They seem nice.  I hope they stay longer.