Summer Nights By The Pool

The last couple of days have been scorchers. The heat hitting 30°C yesterday and later today. All afternoon on Saturday, we took advantage of the pool and shade from the gazebo. A few friends stopped by to join us- which is always nice.

By 10:30pm it was just the family remaining. As the night started to settle on us, we stayed warm with the fire pit and a couple of blankets. By midnight, my wife put out the fire and I had fallen asleep. I woke up around 3am and headed inside. It was so comfortable outside that if it wasn’t for my allergies, I’d have slept through the night out there.

I’m looking forward to more days and nights like that one. Where friends and family can come by and relax with us. Hooray for summer making its appearance!

First Day Of Summer

It sure hasn’t been feeling like summer has wanted to start this year. All the rain and grey skies have made it feel as though we were in a second January. A “June-uary” as I have heard it called.

But today is the first day of summer! The Summer solstice is upon us. The longest amount of daylight to be had for the year. With it brings the hopeful warm weather.

The second half of this week it will finally feel as though we are hitting the temperatures we are meant to enjoy. I look forward to hanging out with friends in the backyard and cooling off in the pool with an ice cold beverage. Afternoon siestas are also a favorite of mine. Especially done outdoors with the warmth of the day blowing in as I fall asleep in the shade.

Are you looking forward to summer finally arriving? Remember to Wear Sunscreen.

One Year…

What a difference a year can make. For us, we have lived in our current home for one year now.

Castle Havelka

It was difficult to leave our other home. We had created some many memories while living there. We also did numerous changes on a regular basis to the house and yard. Yet somehow, it never felt as if it would end. Moving was the only way we could start with a clean slate and figure out what we really want in a home.

Kingdom Havelka

I never thought owning a pool would be high up on the list of what we wanted in a home. Yet now I can’t think to live somewhere without a pool. Trading the trees for open views has greatly helped with feeling better and happy thoughts. We are taking in more sunshine than ever before. My wife even commented on my glow the other day. I feel rejuvenated on a regular basis.

As summer approaches tomorrow, I continue to look forward to spending time outside. Relaxing by the pool. Watching sunsets. Sharing quality time with friends. Food and drink beside the pool…

I loved our previous home for the memories we created, but I love the one we are in because of the memories to come. In one year a lot has happened already. If we do another 15-20 years here, who knows what else this home will have in store.

Sunshine And Lifestyle

I’m not sure I can trust the weather app or the meteorologists anymore. This weekend was supposed to rain everyday with almost 50-90% each hour. I was ready to get upset. But they were wrong.

The last two days I have absolutely taken advantage of the sunshine. The pool is sparkling clean and the fields are lush behind us. I have floated around for hours on end listening to music and just appreciating the world. As they say- Living my best life.

But because of the uncertainty of the weather, we haven’t invited anyone over to share our slice of paradise with. I really want my friends to come and hang out. Having the space and wanting to share our happiness is one of the best things we could do. When you have more than you need- build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Blue Once More

After a week and a half of frustration- our pool is back to normal. Loads of chemicals, scrubbing and vacuuming made our pool usable once more.

The algae is finally gone! At one point our pool was vibrantly green and it felt as though it would never change. Today I did a quick scrub and a vacuum to get the remaining algae off the sides and corners. A little bit of careful elbow grease and patience went a long way. I really don’t want to deal with algae again.

With the weather showing us some sun this evening- it was a great opportunity to jump in the pool and relax. I could do that aspect anytime!

Now I’m ready for summer to commence!

One Week Makes A Difference

Last week we were having a great time hanging out by the pool. A bit of swimming and hanging out in the sun. This week, not so much. The weather has been rainy and icky.

On Thursday morning I was going to vacuum the pool, but a torrential downpour trapped me for a bit inside the pool shed. I decided to make a dash back towards the house and figured I’d wait for a day or two before trying to clean the pool again.

In those two days, the pool got a crazy growth of algae inside it. Our pool that was crystal clear last weekend was now emerald green like a lake. Oh dear. Last night I shocked the pool. Today I vacuumed what I could of the algae. Then I added some algaecide and some granulated chlorine to bring the levels back to normal.

Now it’s a waiting game. It would’ve been nice to take a dip in the pool before work, but not now. The algae reminded me that I need to remember to shock the pool once a week in order to keep the green stuff at bay. By the end of my work week, it should be better. If not- time for the professionals to get called in.

Enjoy It

This weekend has been the one we have been waiting for. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the pool is ready.

Over the past couple of days, we have enjoyed the swimming pool. Today is going to be no exception. We are planning on hanging out with our downstairs tenants and sipping on some beverages. Taking advantage of the weather whenever we can is the goal.

Being neighborly is important as well. We enjoy having company over and plan on visitors coming by throughout the summer. Getting along with those around us is paramount. We are past the stage of loud parties, but I still enjoy my music playing.

Reach out and we will have you over this summer on a Friday or Saturday. Just remember to bring the sunscreen and a snack to share!

First Dip In The Pool

The sun peaked out this afternoon long enough for us to enjoy it. It was sent hot, but in the sun it was warm! A couple of weeks ago we had taken the cover Off OurPool in hopes to jumpstart the summer. No such luck.

Yesterday, the weather report was not looking promising for the near future. But I was hopeful. So today, when my wife finished work, we jumped into the pool. We both agreed that we were going in- rain or shine.

Lee-Anne went in first. The sun was out and the atmosphere was pleasantly warm. I had turned on the heater for the pool yesterday- and it was a comfortable 24°C already.

We had kind of forgotten to let the kids know that we were going into the pool. So when our middle came home from school- they ended up hanging out in the yard while my wife and I swam. I felt like Darwin was the adult in the situation- making sure that two doofuses didn’t drink too much and get hurt.

I’m definitely looking forward to enjoyment of the pool throughout the summer. I’m already feeling the energy burn from splashing around. Swimming has always been a good workout that leads to a great sleep. Hopefully we can have friends over soon to enjoy the fun and relaxation poolside. It would be nice if the entire weather forecast could change for the better!

Floating Table

Today I decided to do some arts and crafts. I had a project that I wanted to try and make for the summer time use. Basically a small floating table for the pool. That way we can play a card game that my wife and friends have nicknamed UNO MOIST. It’s really called UNO Splash- some plastic cards meant to be poolside.

The table was easy to build. A couple of pool noodles and a 2’ square foam mat. I cut the noodles so that the corners would meet at 45° angles. Then ran a slit on the inside of the noodles in order to slide the foam mat inside. Originally I was going to glue the mat and the noodles, but because of the porosity, there wasn’t much for the glue to hold onto. For now, I’ll leave the noodles to naturally grip the mat.

I do hope this works out, as it seemed to float without issue. If I need to adhere the edges, I will likely add zip ties to do this. Now to just wait for the weather to get better so we can enjoy it!

Is It Pool Time Yet?

The sun has been teasing us lately. But when you go outside, under the shade is frigid. The wind is still whistling past the clouds and pushing them onward. Looking towards the next few days and it seems like rain is in the forecast.

Today I took advantage of the nice weather. Our winter pool cover came off. I vacuumed up the debris and added a bunch of chemicals to the pool to balance it out. The pool is sitting at 15°C (59°F). Still far too cold to attempt to swim. I’m also waiting a couple of more weeks before heating it to ensure the chemicals create a safe swimming environment. Getting the pool ready is important to me.

But since it’s going to rain for the next ten days, there was no point in setting up the patio and deck furniture just to take it and store away again. I did sit outside first thing in the morning to eat breakfast. I can’t wait to be eating more meals outdoors. That has always been a favorite of mine.

Some day soon and life will be blissful. I will be able to swim and float around in the sun. For now, I get to enjoy the sunsets and views.

Wet Weather Pool Draining

I got home from work this morning and made my way towards the pool shed. The torrential downpour of rain over last day or two had caused our pool to be rather full. So it was time to drain some water out.

The process is simple really. Just turn off the breaker. Then rotate the handle on the pump to “WASTE”. Turn breaker back on. Wait about ten minutes inside the pool shed (keeping dry) until the water is back to normal levels.

I’ve had to drain the overflow of our pool a few times already. This morning was probably the worst yet. Our pool cover should be about six to eight inches above the water. Not touching like it can been seen here. (That bubble looking thing in the middle is the cover resting on the water.)

Needless to say, I will be keeping up with the runoff more frequently as the rain hits. I’m not in the mood to have to deal with any type of flooding in our backyard. Especially if it can be avoided by spending ten minutes every so often to drain a bit.

I’d much rather be enjoying swimming on a hot summer day than standing in the rain making sure the pool doesn’t overflow.

Covered

Today was the final opportunity for us to see the blue of our pool. The final objective we needed to deal with in our backyard to prepare for the winter, was to throw a cover on the pool. All of our furniture is stored away, and the other day we Wrapped The Palm Trees for winter.

It was a sad moment having to say goodbye to the pool for the season. But we haven’t gone swimming in it for about a month now. What’s great about the cover is that it attaches right to the concrete all around. There are sunken pegs that come up and hold the straps in place keeping the cover taught.

Each spring will be filled with a glorious moment as we view the pool once more. The joy will extend through the summer. For now, we will protect the pool from the winter elements with the cover. Until next spring…

Starting Autumn Right

Autumn has officially started. All I can say is that we are doing alright as it takes hold and kicks summer to the curb. I have enjoyed the past few days already. The weather has been rather cooperative. Fooling us into thinking summer hasn’t ended.

Even though we have packed up our pool toys and patio furniture- we are getting every last possible day of use in. The last two days, and tomorrow as well, have kept the temperature in the low 20’s. So we’ve kept the pool heated and clean. I’ve spent more time doing laps than I did all summer. The pool is invigorating and relaxing.

Last night, my wife and I sat on our back deck with the fire pit warming us up. We talked and watched the traffic off in the distance as the darkness took hold of the evening. I love seeing the stars above and the city lights off in the distance. A cup of hot chocolate was a nice treat as well.

How are you enjoying the start of fall?

Lack of Kayak

This summer we have been having a great experience in the water. In fact, I’d say 90% of our summer days were spent in the water. However, that water has been just our swimming pool.

I’m not complaining. I love our backyard. All the relaxation, the floating, the serenity- it’s exactly what I needed in my life. However, my wife wished we hit the water elsewhere at least once this summer. Our kayaks have been neglected since moving into our new home.

I have three weeks left of summer to try and get out with our little boats just to say we did kayak this summer. My hope is that the weather holds up for the days off that my wife and I have together. Or perhaps a later afternoon/ early evening paddle will occur after work.

If all else fails, I’ll toss the kayak in the pool and make the best of both worlds and just go back and forth. That’s the same, right?

Poolside Siesta

Today is the first time that I have decided to take an outside nap before working the night shift. So far this summer I’ve enjoyed my bed for a few hours prior to working. Today I already slept for around four hours, but woke up because I was hungry. Lunch was made and eaten on the deck. That was when I decided to relax.

Instead of crawling back into bed post snack, I chose to lounge in the hammock beside the pool. I put on my swim trunks and grabbed an oversized towel to use as a blanket. Chilling like this is a far better plan. That way I could enjoy the tranquility of our yard and be ready to wake up for a quick dip in the pool before work.

Our dog, Maki, has also decided that taking a nap outside with me by the pool was a good idea. Now we are off to slumber ville for a midday siesta. May you also be enjoying the end of summer. Remember to siesta at some point- you deserve a break as well.

2021 Camping Trip Canceled

Last Summer’s “Feet in the Lake” picture.

For the past five years we have made it to 20 Mile Bay to end our summer vacation. This year we did not. There were three main factors in why we didn’t go camping this summer.

First, Theory was supposed to attend a Long Track Speed Skating Camp in Fort St. John. However it got canceled at the last minute due to an issue with their ice. As disappointing as that was, it was kind of a blessing because of the difficulty my wife would’ve had driving there. Which brings me to the number two reason for not camping.

Too many forest fires. The campsite we attend has not been closed down, but many routes and other locations have been. Which means it would be busier than we normally like. There is also a full campfire ban in effect. Which makes camping feel different. The air is still very smokey in many parts of our province, having a compromised respiratory system makes for difficult breathing as it is.

Finally, the main reason we aren’t going camping is our new house. I had to change a week of vacation in order to move. We had talked about taking a shorter three day camping trip; but decided that our home is new and exciting to us that it was time better spent enjoying this newness. I still get to put my feet in the water, almost daily this summer. That’s been a lot of fun, so I really cannot complain. Like living in an Airbnb every day.

Perhaps next summer we can get out to camping once more. Or perhaps it is behind us now. Only time will tell.

Floaties

Having a pool means having friends over. It also means having FLOATIES to enjoy.

We bought some lounging inflatables before we moved in. You know, just because… I love the fact that everyone enjoys them all. Some are tubes with an animal head attached (the duck and flamingo). Others are just silly fun, like the llama and narwhal. I love the crazy fun we have with each one.

The narwhal is ridiculously difficult to ride. So it has become a game amongst everyone to see how long they last. Kind of like a mechanical bull. I’m the winner so far, but I’ve also had a lot of practice.

I think next summer we will try and get a bunch more floaties in order to fill the pool. It’s been so much fun this year, why not double it next year?

Swimming

I love to swim. Almost every time we would travel, we tried to stay in a hotel (or motel) with a pool. After a long day of conventions/skating/Disneyland- it was a good way to relax before bed.

Oftentimes we would be the only people in the pool. It was as if no one else enjoys swimming. Or perhaps they just don’t like us. We are a bit of a strange family- pretending to be dolphins or zombies. That may have had something to do with having the hotel pool to ourselves.

We also enjoy swimming in the ocean, lakes and other natural spots. My wife used to call our kids “Water Babies”. We would hunt down places to swim whenever possible. Hawaii and California have beautiful beaches, and British Columbia has some fantastic lakes. What’s not to enjoy?

I always enjoyed swimming. For about half a decade during my preteen years- my family had a house with a pool. I swam regularly in it, even though I think my parents felt otherwise. I mean I also played a lot of video games and locked myself in my room watching television… But my exercise was to go swim. And I was good at it. I hope to be swimming regularly once more in our new home.

I do find it odd that last June I mentioned about buying a home with a pool: Pool of Thought even before we listed our house for sale. One year later we will be living out this desire. Our own private oasis in this world. Inadvertently I guess I had created a Vision Board and achieved the goal. Imagine what I could do if I set my mind to a goal?

Do you enjoy swimming? Do you hunt out hotels with pools when you travel? Let me know in the comments.

Pool of Thought

At the start of my preteen years, we moved from the arctic tundra of Edmonton to the rain forest neighborhoods of Vancouver. We gave up ice and snow for an older home with a swimming pool. This was the greatest single thing that I appreciate my father ever doing for the family. Of course I was angry to leave my three closest friends behind, but I eventually made new friends. I did manage to keep in touch with my best friend since kindergarten 1981.

Back to talking about my first Langley house. I loved that home. I had plenty of privacy upstairs. My little sister didn’t like having the bedroom across the hall from me, so she moved downstairs and the upstairs became mine. We also had a large unfinished basement with plenty of space to become a second home. But the house had the greatest thing ever- a swimming pool.

Not one of those circular above ground pools that are only good for playing “Marco Polo”. This was a pool with a ten foot deep end, a slide and diving board. The prefect size for swimming laps and filling with 20 friends. Our backyard at the time was basically a large deck and the pool. Perfect for lounging on a hot summer day. I remember swimming in rainstorms and at night. My family sold that home due to many factors. One of them being the cost associated with upkeep and heating of the pool was far more than was worth the headache. My parents figured we weren’t getting much use out of the pool anymore, so it was time to move.

Since my memories of that home, whenever our family travels, we always have to book a hotel with a pool. I love swimming, my kids don’t overly care one way or the other. That being said, we’ve never bothered to pursue the idea of a pool in our current home. I do love the trees we have and don’t want to get rid of them to add a pool at this time.

Assuming our kids move out or we get grandkids, or my wife and I ever do sell this house- I’d like to find a home with a pool. It would be a treat for me to have a little oasis to enjoy. Or maybe one day we will redo the landscaping in our current yard and add a pool. I’m sure that a windstorm or two will knock down a few more trees over the years.

Perhaps that will be my midlife crisis. Who needs a luxury car? Give me a pool any day.

Birthday Weekend Flashbacks

Usually for my birthday I just celebrate on the day of my birthday. But since I went out to Throw Axes on Friday, my kids wanted to spend time with me on Saturday. So I did- it was fun and also bizarro with lots of familiarity surrounding it.

First thing in the morning- I shared a box of specialty KitKats that I had saved from last year’s trip to Tokyo. Keeping it hidden from the family for almost a year was challenging. I also ate the special March birthstone one I kept. Needless to say- these were just as unique as any other KitKats we sampled in Tokyo. The Butter flavor was amazing!

Later, we went out for Poké Bowls at a place in Langley called Dal’s Poké. This is probably one of the freshest meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant! If you’ve never tried a Poké Bowl, do it. It’s sort of like deconstructed sushi. Lunch inspired us to go pick up some Asian foods at the H Mart Korean grocery store.

Immediately after lunch we wandered a bit around Downtown Langley. As we hit some thrift shops, it was suggested that when we go to H Mart that we stop at an old video store called Willow Video. Walking into that place was like walking into the past. The store hasn’t changed in almost 30 years. I swear that the used games in the cabinets were the same ones that were there when I was a kid. Used Sega Master Systems, old Game Boys, and assorted Games with price tags from thirty years ago. The place still offers Video rentals and sales. Not to mention that the store was busy as well! Good for them.

After our shopping at the Korean store, and the kick in the nostalgia memory banks of Willow Video, we went to see if an old Billiard hall was open. Three weeks ago I had mentioned wanting to play Billiards again. But since so many of the places from my youth were gone, I could only find one of them- The Ballroom.

Walking upstairs into the hall hit me again in the memory banks of years gone by. Much like Willow Video- this place had also remained unchanged. It had been almost twenty years since I had been there and it looked like I could have been there just yesterday. The hall of a dozen or so tables was empty except for the cashier.

With an uncanny familiarity, I took the family to a corner table that I remember always favoring. My wife and I taught the basics of pool to the kids. They started to pick it up and enjoyed themselves. After an hour or so, we decided it was time to go. By this time a few more people entered the hall. A couple on a date and two older gentlemen with their personal cues.

March 16th, 2019 was like traveling back in time. Starting with some chocolates and ending at a pool hall that my wife and I last went to when dating twenty years ago. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday weekend with my family.

Billiards

When I was the age of 17, shooting pool was the start of adulthood. I played fairly regularly for about five years. My skill level was average at best. I enjoyed playing regularly, and would drag friends out with me all the time. Because I wanted to play, I oftentimes paid as well. That was where most of my spending cash went.

Teaching people how to play was always fun. When I first began, I did my best to learn from those who were better than me. I tried to pass on my knowledge to others as well. Playing against people who want to play made it more fun. Especially when the playing field was fairly level.

Being cool and looking cool meant playing pool. I never joined a league, I was never that good. Back in my day smoking was allowed inside the halls and bars. Drinking alcohol also boosted the confidence level with liquid courage. Cocky attitudes led to wagers and losses. But it also led to some witty banter and insults.

Back in 2012, I picked up a free pool table. At the time, we had an old wood working studio on the side of the house that I was using as a “Man Cave/Bar”. I found that I only played once every month or two and that the bar wasn’t being utilized. I wanted a hang out for me and friends, but socializing was difficult when I worked on-call or straight nights. My skill level at pool began to really suck.

Jump ahead to February 2015- I finished changing this bar into my wife’s studio. The pool table was a perfect height for her to use as a fabric cutting table. We joked that when she wanted a break, we would play a game of billiards. Four years later, we have yet to play.

I miss playing pool. I still have my first pool cue. I own a “19” in immaculate condition. I’d like to take my kids out and play with them. Maybe this could be a way to connect with them as they get older. Since our oldest is getting closer to the age I was when I first started. But if dad says “it’s cool” to play the game, they may not want to.

Synchronized Solo Swimming 

We are in a hotel overnight for a speed skating meet in the morning. We always like to stay at a Holiday Inn Express whenever we travel. Free breakfast and usually a pool.  We went down to the lobby pool for a little bit of fun to have the night before my kids’ competition.


Previous times that we’ve been in hotel swimming pools we love to play around. Hours of “Marco Polo” have been played. We even pretended to be a variety of sea life. I can do a wicked dolphin! Eeee-eee-eee! I get pretty noisy as well as we splash around. My kids have even pretended to be Godzilla and Ariel as we goof off.


Tonight was about Synchronized Swimming! It started with me doing it solo.  I was having so much fun, that my kids finally joined in. We did some poorly choreographed water ballet. Another family was at the pool and decided to escape. Not sure why. Sometimes people are afraid to be silly in public.


Burning off some energy after a half day of driving is always fun. I love that my kids can let loose and not care what others think. Maybe in the future we can get more synchronized at our swimming.