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?

Weekend Woes

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.

How is the end of your summer coming along?

When The Weather Report Is Wrong

Earlier this week the local weather was showing rain for days. Days. My weekend was looking unfavorable to say the least. I was going to need to spend my time packing some more. Instead, I had dry weather so I got a few chores outside done. Even though it was slightly overcast, I was enjoying the fresh air.

Luckily this afternoon, the clouds dispersed and the sun showed up. Driving out to skating for our son had me feeling the heat inside my wife’s car. An illusion of summer was once again upon us. It was looking like a perfect night to eat dinner outside.

Alas, the temperatures said otherwise. Our backyard is shaded by trees, so it was even cooler than expected. Our dinner was quick with minimal talking and we headed back in for the night. We can still hear the birds and view the skies as night falls.

I’m glad it didn’t rain much on my days off. We were able to get more downsizing of some possessions completed as a family. Boxes packed, stacked and ready to go. Only seven weeks remaining… but who’s counting?

Sun Of A…

I enjoy seeing the sun. It just kind of sucks seeing it when you are at work.

These early mornings are also rather chilly to start, but midday is toasty and warm out. You can tell that summer is peeking it’s head around the corner. We are getting just a little taste of things to come.

As spring keeps bringing nicer and nicer weather, I really want to get outside more often. A dose of vitamin D helps bring up that energy needed to feel good.

Even if I am stuck at work, I get opportunities to walk around the rail yard and enjoy the sun on my face. Sure, I’m not at the beach, but I’ll take what I can get. My days off look like they should be warm and sunny as well. Perhaps a trail hike or kayak trip will happen this weekend.

Hot Nap

It seems like our part of the world has decided that summer isn’t quite over. The last few days have hit record high temperatures hovering around 30°C. The night shifts were extremely comfortable to work in.

This past week I have been sleeping during the day. Avoiding the heat outside that hits you like a wall when you open the door. Hot naps are the best. They create some amazingly vivid dreams. But trying to sleep in the heat like a normal person? I don’t know why it is so difficult.

Do you like hot sleep? Or do you try and stay cool at night?

Buster Poindexter Kind of Hot

The past few days have been the hottest I ever remember experiencing. As if the world decided all at once that it was time to crank the thermostat and break the switch at the same time.

It’s perpetually hot now. Yes, summer is nice, I’m not trying to complain. But give us those perfect summer days with a cool summer night. Not habanero heat hovering heavily all around. It’s just unpleasant.

I ventured out of my air conditioned office a couple of times the past couple of days at work. The wall of heat hit hard. So hard that I used “H” alliteration twice in this blog.

Sleeping in this heat is difficult as well. You lay down with no covers enjoying the fan. Inching closer and closer to the cool air blowing at your body. On the verge of falling off the bed in hopes to cool your feet down at the very least. Or so I imagine it to be.

Our home doesn’t get warmer than 24°C on a hot day. The abundance of trees shade our home. The brick work keeps it trapped inside.

It’s just stepping outside that sucks. It’s too damn HOT HOT HOT.

Summer Cooking

It’s so hot these days that it is difficult to want to cook dinner. Making the kitchen extra hot using the stove or oven is unbearable. Even getting out at the grill is tough. The heat and humidity makes for a challenging cookout.

The other day, my son was grilling over the open flames. Even I didn’t want to hang out by the fire as it was a sweaty evening already. But he did pretty well at his first attempt at open flame cooking. I stayed in the kitchen to make some guacamole stuffed potato skins as a side dish. Those were equally as tasty!

But we needed to eat quickly while it was still hot out. It has become apparent that once it begins to cool off outside- the ‘Skeeters come out. Nothing like getting eaten alive while eating.

Sitting outside is generally pretty nice. We eat on the back deck at least 9 months out of the year. Getting through these excessive hot spells and mosquitoes is the only complaint I have about summer. That, and I hate Sweating.

Bugs Be Gone

This summer is one of the worst for mosquitoes. Every year I complain about them.

I use bug repellent and sprays every night. Because we like to sit outside for dinner, we also use area spray to try and prevent the bugs from bothering us. I don’t overly like the sprays as it affects my asthma. I really don’t have a choice though or I’ll be super itchy.

We have a bug zapper outside the door as well. The occasional ZOT or BZZT sound makes me giggle each time. Does hearing the little bit of death make me a psycho?

We also have a bug catcher in our kitchen. Trying to keep those annoying fruit flies at bay. As well as any other mosquitos that may arrive inside our home.

How do you deal with the bugs this time of year?

Sweat

I hate to sweat. It’s probably why I don’t overexert myself. I also dislike sweating due to the summer heat.

This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about the summer heat. In fact it was almost exactly two years ago that I wrote, Gonna Make You Sweat.

But I really dislike getting sweat stains on my shirts. Especially in the arm pits. That’s probably why I don’t wear light coloured clothes. Or certain fabrics. I find I even get sweaty when I’m driving as well. Seems my body doesn’t like being nervous.

Yes. I hate driving. And I often sweat while doing it. Even short commutes will get me wet (in a bad way). Something about controlling a box made of glass and metal that travels 100x faster than I could run makes me nervous. But only when I think about it while I drive. Which is why I play the radio or talk on the phone while I drive. I need the distraction from my mind.

But I digress. Sweating is yucky. I don’t like it. Not one bit. And getting doubly sweaty because of summer driving makes me upset.

Summer Clean Up

Our kids have already been enjoying over a month away from school. We’ve kept them busy and active for the most part. Or at least tried to. Somehow they always resort back to playing on screens both big and small. Ask them to get off the computer, straight to the iPad. Ask them to put down the iPad, off to the iPhone. Then the PlayStation or the Nintendo Switch. The kids need to be occupied with something.

Today my wife and I are going to keep them occupied with a massive cleaning of our home. Inside and out. Our kids’ responses: GROAN. That was to be expected. But our lovely home has fallen into some disarray. It’s time to get things back on track and try to keep it that way.

Hahahahaha… I know the house will get messy again. Of course no one wants to do chores. But we all love living here. So…

GET TO WORK!

Hopefully the weather stays calm and we can enjoy our first night at the Drive In. You know- reward the kids with the biggest screen of all!

Easter Was Sooooo Last Week…

Our home gets decorated for the seasons and special holidays- Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Today we had our daughter pack up the Easter decorations. The same ones she set out about a month ago…

Since we are family of Atheists, the religious aspect of Easter isn’t represented. Just a bunch of cutesy bunnies and pastel colours. Which to me is more mainstream Easter (just like Santa equates Christmas).

With Easter behind us, it’s time for spring cleaning. Time to rid ourselves of unused and unwanted items. A rebirth of our household. A chance to also bring back to life our garden and yard. Filling bird feeders and getting our pond set up once more. A time to put behind the pastel colours and bring forth the vibrant greenery and rainbow flowers.

Time to get ready for summer weather and sunny days.

Back to Getting Ready for Back to School

Last week we received an email about our daughters’ courses for the upcoming school year. As with every year, there are mistakes that need to be corrected before starting in September. No big deal really. In fact, the school is pretty good about fixing these things. Especially the academic courses.

This morning, my wife is heading out to the school office to make the appropriate changes. Being that our oldest is entering her last two years of high school, we deemed it important to get on the corrections immediately. Crazy to think that even as a teenager, our kids have to start planning for university well in advance.

I’m impressed at the goals our kids are setting for themselves. My wife and I will support them as much as possible throughout these crucial years. Hard to believe that another summer is drawing to an end though.

I’m starting to miss my children being kids already.

Cabin Adventures: Day 4

The smoke from the forest fires has unfortunately settled down over the lake we are at.

Before:

After:

This has made it more difficult to enjoy the outdoors. Even with the warmth of the day, the haze is killer on the eyes and breathing.

We were lucky that our first days on the lake were clear. The kids did a great job playing every where around the site. We noticed the smoke on Wednesday filling the air while out horseback riding.

We figured we’d spend most of the day indoors on Thursday playing games and watching movies. To break it up a bit, we headed out to Bridge Lake Ice Caves for a quick hike.

The caves were more like crevices. Fairly untouched in their beauty. Last year some bridges were built over top of the crevices. We still ventured down to see these caves more in depth. Afterwards we wandered towards a pathway that was still being built.

Then trails were only marked with some tags on the trees labeled “SKID TRAIL“. The kids enjoyed roughing through the woods alongside the lake. It was a bit strenuous going back up the hill to return to our cars. But well worth the adventure.

We headed back to the cabin and watched a couple of old cartoons from mine and my friend’s youth. Both were old cartoons. First was GI Joe The Movie second was Transformers.

Lots of cheesy fun.

We played a few more more rounds of FLUXX afterwards. There were lots of laughs and a ton of fun had by all of us.

And lots of farts.

Ya. Dads and farts go hand in hand. It’s not the best combo when stuck in a cabin. But still humorous all the same.

Not sure which is worse for my breathing- the smoke in the air or the farts. Either way, my inhaler has been used in full force. Hope you enjoy your time off!

Dad Days Of Summer

It was another warm one today. So I took the kids out to our yearly adventure at a watering hole up the road. Check out last year’s post: Life Is On Repeat or the year before: Cooling Off. Without knowing it, every year- almost to the day– I take the kids to Williams Park.

The water was a bit more murky this year than before. It’s because of the clay deposits nearby and underneath. You can see where other kids have played in the clay and made it messier. Not a big deal, as we are planning on washing off after anyways. I think it adds to keeping us cooled off.

This year, my son braved the rope swing and had a blast. We also brought my daughter’s friend and my other daughter made some videos of them jumping in. It was a ton of fun to be had. I also pointed out to the kids that next season of Riverdale was filmed here as well.

We spent about an hour at this side of the park. The water was cool and the area was shaded by the trees. We had the place to ourselves during this time until more people began to show up. Then not as much time on the rope swing was being had, so we dried off and headed for a short hike before returning to the car.

I love this side of the park. It’s usually not busy and each year, the graffiti changes. This year the art made me think of today’s title: “The Dad Days Of Summer“. I have been actively participating with my children this summer a bit more than usual. Mostly because I have a ton of time off in between when I work. If I can make the most of the precious few years I have with them before they grow up that’s my goal.

We leave every activity or location with a smile and a story. I want my children to remember the “Dad Days” and to be able to share these activities with their friends. I had very few growing up with my father, so making memories that last a lifetime mean the world to me (and my children).

My goal this summer is to stay cool and be cool. Joe Cool

Blame It On The Bossa Nova

Today has been a lazy Sunday. I rolled out of bed at noon to eat some pancakes. Afterwards, I put up a hammock in my backyard and proceeded to relax some more.

As I lay there enjoying the breeze and the sound of the birds chirping, I decided that I needed some background music. So I hit up the CBC Music App on my iPhone. I found that instead of my usual classical music, I chose to listen to Bossa Brazil. What a freaking awesome choice.

I closed my eyes and just drifted away for about 45 minutes. My yard had turned into a peaceful getaway where all my worries melted away. The day had gone full tilt lazy.

As I swayed back and forth with my eyes closed- I was reminded of the song, “Blame It On The Bossa Nova“. Except the version from the film “Amazon Women On The Moon” sung by Don No Soul Simmons. I’ve never listened to Brazilian music before, but today made me realize there’s an entire other relaxing world out there that I need to explore. Maybe one day my wife and I can travel further south to enjoy the culture in person.

Today is just peace. My own personal paradise. Absolute perfection. I’m blaming the Bossa Nova for life being grand.

Gonna Make You Sweat

Holy smokes it is hot out these days.

Ya. I’m being that person as well today. Everyone is mentioning the heat. But people forget about the fact that it makes you sweat.

All I can think about is C & C Music Factory on a hot day like today. I just want to yell out- “EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!” But that would mean more sweating.

I look forward to the little breaks in between the sweating. Like the AC in my car or a cold beer in the shade at home. Too bad I can’t have a cold beer in the car while I drive home from a hot day at work. (C’mon Josef- That’s just dumb.)

Ya, better to just chill out on the way home with some air conditioning and some music. Save the beer to have with the nachos!

Cooling Off For Cheap!

Today was the last day of high school for my daughters. So when I picked them up we all went out to grab a cold slushie!

Today was a hot sunny day. Cooling off with a cold syrupy drink seemed like a great idea. Super sweet and a sugar crash to follow. I found a place that has 12 different flavors available, in any size for a buck! And the deal is all summer. I know what we will be doing a couple of times each week:

Summertime is fun time. It seems that my kids are happiest when relaxing with a treat. Freezies and slushies are always a tasty way to cool off.

I remember always walking to the corner store and buying penny candies and slushies all the time when I was a child. Memories of my childhood friends came flooding back today as I sipped on my ice cold syrup rainbow mix of flavors. Every one of them has grown up. Many have kids of their own. I wonder if they have memories of their childhoods that involve me? Maybe.

Stay cool my friends! And yes, I also buy “adult slushies” now.

Driver’s Tan

The sun is out and the heat is now in full force. Driving in my car, I prefer to roll the windows down and drive with the wind blowing in. I think every car I have ever owned has had AC, but I don’t like to use it. Plus, how can everyone else enjoy my loud music if the windows are shut?

I enjoy resting my arm on the edge of the door while the window is down. It’s a casual feel and keeps me calm while I drive. The only problem is that I get a funky one sided tan that is worse than a “Farmer’s Tan“.

The dreaded “Driver’s Tan“.

At the end of my evening commute to work yesterday, I felt like Richard Dreyfuss from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My arm was warm and the side of my face was beginning to feel it as well. The only way to balance this out is to become a passenger in the car and hope that the sun beats down on the opposite side.

But the sun is great and makes everyone a bit happier. I love that the weather is spectacular these days. For the past 25 years or so, I have survived every summer’s “Driver’s Tan“. I think I’ll survive this years as well.

Your Backyard Friend

I love that the weather is turning nice again. Everyone is outside doing yard work and wanting to share the beauty with their friends. My friends and family all have something different to offer from their homes. I love visiting as well as entertaining people.

Yesterday afternoon we were having a lovely time at a friend’s townhouse. There was a park nearby where we went off to play frisbee and bocce. Lots of sun, great food and good times were had. These friends really enjoy entertaining folks and it shows.

Every Friday night we take our children to “Dry Land Training” with their speed skating coaches. The coaches’ home is on a private lake where we get to watch the sunsets as the kids exercise. It’s a calming sensation to end an otherwise hectic work week.

My sister has a home on the edge of the Georgia Strait looking out towards Texeda Island. It’s a beautiful view in a peaceful part of BC along the Sunshine Coast. If she didn’t live so far away, I’d probably visit more often in the summer months. But those ferry costs are a bit outrageous.

These are just a few examples of the lovely homes I am happy to visit. I also have other friends who enjoy bonfires and barbecues on an almost weekly basis. Spending time with them is always great and brings out some good laughs.

Then there’s our home. We offer shade and privacy on an acre. This time of year and throughout the summer- my family enjoys eating our meals outdoors. We have a covered deck and another deck with a retractable awning. During the summer, we like to have friends over to enjoy the peace and quiet our home has to offer. With classical or calming music playing through our home, it adds to the tranquility we have come to know and love.

Enjoy the weather, and be sure to invite me over for a dinner sometime! I love hanging out with friends.

Cinco

Today is a day of sunshine and drinks. Tomorrow is back to work.

Cheers to friends and fun times for the day! Starting the summer off in a good direction. Anyway, back to being social!

Last Enjoyment Of Summer

This was the last weekend before summer ended. A friend of mine from work texted me late Thursday evening and invited me out to his family’s cabin the next day.  It sounded like a great little escape.


First we drove for a little over three hours.  Then we had to get to the cabin by boat. The lake was calm and the sky was clear. As soon as we arrived, we powered up the solar panel charged batteries.  “More than a Feeling” plays over Mountain Radio


The cabin has been in my coworker’s family since 1969. It has since been through numerous renovations and is decorated in eclectic cabin features. From handmade wooden cabinets to a variety of old couches and chairs. Mismatched blinds and vinyl flooring. Numerous dishes that look like they’ve been scavenged from thrift stores.

All of it beautiful.


We spent the afternoon and evening casually floating around the lake trying to catch fish. I caught a fish. Woohoo! My friend taught me to skin and gut the fish. 


As the evening progressed, we drank beers and a Barrel of Sunshine. With no cellular service to distract us we had great conversations about life and family. One night away was the perfect way to enjoy the last weekend of summer.

Hooray For Rain

Finally, it’s beginning to rain in the Vancouver area.  This is much needed since it’s been so dry over the past couple of months.  Too many fires surrounding us that we have had smoke advisories numerous times. I for one am really happy that the rain is here.


I’m happy because I will soon hopefully not need to use my inhaler 4-5 times a day.  I’m also happy because my yard has needed a good healthy watering.  The trees, bushes and even my lawn (ok, it’s moss) have suffered far too long.  Over the course of only a few hours everything is rejuvenating and becoming vibrant again. I can see our plants bouncing back already from the brink of dehydration.

The rain has been welcomed by almost everyone I know.  The Fraser Valley has needed this. We need this. But as the days go on, I’m sure the rain will start to make us each a bit more dreary- just like the autumn weather. 


So find a loved one, grab a sweater or blanket, enjoy a warm cup of tea and let the summer come to an end.

Don’t Rush The End of Summer

I know that it’s that time of year for parents and children.  Back to school! It’s a great time and all, but I don’t want to be in such a hurry to get through this year.  Summer is still in effect- even if only for a few days officially. 


Autumn will kick in, with it comes Thanksgiving and Halloween.  Then it’s winter with Christmas vacation and New Year’s. Spring hits us pretty quick as the kids get more time off before finishing out the school year. Only to start Summer all over again.

Each day will pass us by quickly as we plan for the next one.  My wife was surprised that I didn’t want to do much but chill out during my last vacation at the end of August.  The biggest thing for me was to experience a change of environment in order to relax. I couldn’t have done it had we been at home the entire time.  Some new projects or workload would’ve been added as the days went on. I wouldn’t have been able to just chill out.


I have come to realize that not every moment needs a purpose.  Not every minute needs to be filled up with activities. Even as the kids begin another year at school, I hope they find a few moments of nothingness to enjoy in amongst the hectic schedule that we have all become accustomed to.

I don’t really want summer to end- but it has to. At least more memories to be made over the year are still to come. Let’s just try and savor them a bit more.

Life is on Repeat…

Funny how life hits you in the strangest of ways. So far this summer I have cancelled plans at the last minute for no better reason than, "Just Because". It kind of bothers me. A couple days ago it was going for a hike to Inch Creek. Last night was the Drive-In movie. A few weeks ago it was cancelling going to the swimming hole up the road.


So today I chose to make a splash… I mean- make it up to the family. We went to the swimming hole for an hour or so to cool down. We got back home and I was about to sit down and write about it, when I remembered that I had done that before. Cooling Off was written one year ago.

So it's odd that life is on repeat. Because two years prior we did the same thing. Every year we went once. As much as it was a nice treat, chances are we won't be going there again this summer.


Now it's time for another evening on the lake as the kids do dryland training for speed skating.

So far the summer is on repeat: Work, nap, lake, beers… not that I'm complaining. I need to get the kids to the Drive-In movies this summer before it's too late. I also need to get some camping and get a few hikes in.

Life could be a lot tougher. But life is pretty freaking swell, even if it is on repeat.

Bad Min Ton

My wife is very competitive at everything she plays. From video games to table top games- she has a mean streak. I hate playing Dr. Luigi against her. Badminton is no different.

When we first moved into this home we set up a badminton court in our backyard during the summer. It has moved locations a couple times, and we even set up temporary flood lights to play into the evening hours. Whenever we had friends over, my wife would try and make it sound like they were going to have a friendly match. Little did they know that she was ruthless. That's probably part of the reason we don't entertain as much as we once did.

A few years ago, we tore out our old deck. I moved it directly onto where our court should have been. We did not play badminton for about three years. Life was wonderful. Until this year. My wife convinced me and some of my friends to move the deck and use it as a Parkour wall to get onto the tree deck. She took advantage of my newfound enjoyment of Parkour and soon after the deck was moved, the badminton net was erected.

My joyful summers have come to an end. My wife has begun playing two to three times a day against our children. I only play her to spare their lives. I am afraid that if we invite anyone over for a BBQ, they will be subjected to a clear and utter badminton dominance from my wife. Ridicule 100% guaranteed as well.


You have been forewarned. Be careful of my wife. She is as vindictive as The Eradicator from "Kids in the Hall". Let the carnage begin!