Working Summer Nights

The first heatwave has passed us by. As much as I enjoyed lounging by the pool (bit did I ever enjoy that!) I was able to combat the heat in other ways. We had our heat pump serviced last week and the technician gave us some advice on running the AC in order to keep the unit lasting longer.

We also keep the blinds down when the sun is hitting the windows. As well, we keep doors cans windows closed. The ceiling fans are on low in order to circulate the cool air. The comfort level in our home is perfect. So comfortable in fact that it makes it easy for me to sleep during the day.

That’s because my favorite way to battle the summer heat is to work at night. Yeah, night shifts aren’t fun, but the cool evening air and light breeze makes work so much better. When I was a switchman, I worked nights quite regularly in the summer in order to avoid bugs and the heat. I know not everyone has that option in working and outside job- but if you can- I recommend summer nights for working.

Since most folks work normal hours, remember to stay cool and hydrated! Even stuffy offices should be a comfortable place to work at.

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.

Finding Shade

Since we bought a home that has limited trees compared to our last home, I have been enjoying the sunshine. I have taken a few hundred photos of the landscape, sky and the sun. I have enjoyed it immensely.

But we have little to no shade in the yard. So we bought a patio umbrella last summer. We also assembled a Gazebo back in March and placed a patio set underneath for socializing.

But our dog has found solace under a bush we have near the pool. It’s funny because I trimmed it just yesterday. She loves the shade and spent hours laying there this afternoon. Even with my music playing next to her- she hardly stirred.

Sure, I write about finding shade, yet local weather has been far from normal these days. But as summer slowly approaches- I know that the family (pets included) will need these spaces to cool off from the summer sun.

Do your pets try and find shade in unique places, perhaps your kids do. Let me know in the comments how you keep cool in the summer. (When it arrives…)

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.

When Is Summer Arriving?

The sun appears briefly and I want the warm weather to be here. Sure, there was a Wind Storm the other day, but come on- spring is here… yet I want summer weather!

Our patio is slowly getting set up for visitors and entertaining. We removed the dining sets and loungers from winter storage. Now we are in the process of deciding the best layout, while keeping it looking spacious.

The Gazebo went up three weeks ago and has proven to be sturdy as well as keeping the furniture dry. That is a great feeling. I have been out on the patio set now at least two to three times a week. Even on an overcast day like today. I am imagining what it will be like in a month once we open the pool!

Gardening has also commenced. The front is looking spectacular (patting myself on the back). That curb appeal is really something now. Periodic mowing, watering and weeding is all that’s needed now.

Soon I’ll share about the vegetable and herb gardening. That’s more my wife’s project. But I am totally going to benefit from the fruits of her labor!

Are you as impatient about summer arriving as I am?

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.

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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.