Under Cover

We have a large home and three vehicles. But we are without a garage to park our vehicles. We have a good sized U shaped driveway. I will often park right in front of our home at the apex of the driveway.

Our daughter generally parks on the side of our home. Sometimes she will park in the driveway behind my car. But it’s my wife who gets the carport. Yet the back end of her car is always hanging out. Our carport isn’t the right size for a vehicle.

Since my wife doesn’t drive as much as myself or even our daughter, she tends to keep her car parked. In fact, she drove only about 4000km last year. This is good for keeping the mileage down. And since she loves her car and wants to keep it for many more years, I decided to get her a car cover and really protect it.

In my next home, I want a two car garage. I love my car, but I also use it as a daily commuter. No point in throwing a cover on it. It would be nice to store it away every night just to have it clean and warm to start my day.

A boy can dream can’t he?

Ice Mittens

Our home has been feeling colder than usual this year. No matter what I do to warm up, it never seems to be enough. I’m not alone either. I know my wife is cold at times as well. That’s because she shares her frigidness with me.

I swear that when I go to bed at the same time as her, she decides that her cold extremities need to touch the warm parts of my body. Her feet find my lower back or rub my calves the wrong way.

And then there are what I have dubbed over these past few years- her “Ice mittens”. Those hands of verglas that caress me into convulsions of terror. My squirms and shrieks only cause her to enjoy the torture she inflicts upon me. To say she is “cold hearted” is a lie. She is cold bodied.

It’s been going on for years. Somehow I manage to warm her up. It must be from the vibration of my shivering that causes friction to bring warmth to our bed.

Half A Century

Today marks 50 years. A celebration of my wife’s journey on this planet around the sun.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing this amazing woman for a little over twenty years. I could regale my readers with all of the accomplishments she has achieved. Or the wondrous adventures she has been on. Instead, I am going to keep the fanfare to a minimum as she is not one who likes putting herself before others. Which has made her an astounding mother and wife.

Her happiness is my happiness. So today will be about her. From enjoying her favorite meals to listening to the music of her youth- today is Lee-Anne’s day.

Happy 50th Birthday Lee-Anne!

Autumn Evening Paddle

I thought that at the end of August, we wouldn’t be out on our kayaks for the rest of the year. Turns out that the weather is cooperating these days and proving me wrong.

Late yesterday afternoon, my wife and I drove for about an hour to Aloutte Lake to set in the water. We arrived shortly before sunset and the lake was still alive with boats and people enjoying picnic dinners.

Even though the haze from smoke was still in the air- we were able to enjoy the autumn colours. The trees shared with us the oranges and browns that they were changing into. The sky even reflected the glass like quality that the lake had to offer up.

My wife and I headed back to shore shortly after dusk settled in. It was a short excursion, but the time I had with my wife both on the lake and driving, was some enjoyable quality time.

Sometimes my wife is right. Taking time away from the hustle and bustle- as short as those moments may be- is worth putting the effort into.

Shopify Summit

My wife has been with Shopify going on 3 years now. Every summer they have a “Support Summit” for their region. Last year was held in Whistler. The year prior was in Vancouver. This was supposed to be in Victoria, but COVID had other plans.

Since my wife works for an online e-commerce platform, most of her job is done remotely. Meaning she has already been working from home for ages. And because of restrictions, numerous businesses are setting up shop with Shopify. Work for her has been busy.

This year, their Summit was done remotely. Lots of video conferences and online tutorials to help improve their customer service. Instead of going out and getting a Swag Bag, it was shipped to our home instead. Where she was told to open it on day one of the Summit.

My wife and her coworkers take great pride in their job and the company. So any time my wife gets swag with a Shopify logo on it- she displays it proudly. From hats to shirts to mugs. My wife loves the company she works for and her “Shopifam” as well.

I’m really happy for her that she fell into this job as well. It has been a great opportunity for her to connect with people and assist them in creating a better business for themselves. My wife always has a “feel good” story to share with me after each shift. Sometimes the stories are humorous in nature as well. Even with some negativity that happens on occasion- my wife goes back each shift and is laughing with her coworkers online as they start their day video chatting.

From an outsider looking in- it appears that Shopify has a great business culture in how it is run. So for any small businesses out there looking for an online platform with good customer services- try Shopify. You may even speak with my wife. You can tell it’s her because you can hear her infectious smile through the phone.

And no, Shopify is not paying me to write this. Although it is paying for a bit of our livelihood, but not without some hard work on my wife’s part.

Hayward Lake Kayaking

Today my wife and I set out early to go kayaking at Hayward Lake. About a 45 minute drive from our home just north of Mission, BC. It was a good thing we left when we did. The park gates get closed for parking once the lot and overflow is full. Which happened today within an hour after they opened this morning. The beach and park was busy, but not crowded. COVID precautions seemed to be adhered to.

The paddle on the lake was really calm. We first headed up towards the BC Hydro dam before venturing out into the lake. It was really neat to check out that aspect of the lake. Not many people ventured that way, so it was extra quiet.

After our kayak, but before we departed, my wife and I went on a short walk along the trails. We ended up at the Powerhouse and read up on hydro electricity. Nothing like getting educated while exercising.

Exploring parts of BC has been a ton of fun over the past few years. This year especially with the lack of opportunities to leave the province and country. I’m also enjoying the quality time I get to spend with my wife. It feels as if we are dating once more on the cheap- like when we first met and had no money.

We still have no money, but our belts aren’t as tight as they once were. So exploring the Lower Mainland is a great way to see parts of our community and spend money locally.

19 Years Later…

Today is my 19th Wedding Anniversary! That’s a long ass time to be married in this day and age. Especially since I married her when I was only 25 years old. And had no idea what my life would have in store for me.

What’s crazy is I still feel young and alive when hanging out with my wife. She has been the greatest person to participate in life’s experiences with. From raising children, traveling the world, buying a home, or changing numerous careers… this has been a delightful challenge of life that I have enjoyed sharing with her.

I cannot wait until we get to celebrate 20 years, 24 years, 31 years, 42 years, possibly 65 years together. I love my wife tremendously and have been lucky to create milestones with her. I hope for her to feel the same and for us to have a Happy Anniversary! To quote the movie that inspired our wedding, and our life together:

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn- is just to love and be loved in return.

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love

White Rock Kayaking: Nicomekl River

Day three in a row of my wife and I hitting the water in our kayaks. Today we drove further southwest and put in the water at Ward’s Marina in White Rock. The smell of the fresh sea air was pleasant as we paddled throughout the afternoon.

This spot opens daily at noon. So it is generally not very crowded, even for a Saturday. The weather was cooler than it had been the past couple of days. And with no trees to shade us, today was a perfect day to enjoy this adventure.

Of course, as we paddled from Elgin Park towards Blackie Spit. The route had some tough spots where we had to work more. But the neatest part was going under the BNSF train bridge as the train crossed overhead. The vibration made the water push us away from the location. Making it difficult to stay still in order to get a good photo.

On our way back home, we stopped by the Fraser Valley Cider Company and sampled some of their ciders. There was live music as we sat in the farmer’s field and enjoyed some local beverages and cheeses from other local farms. Stopping at a place like this was a nice way to end the afternoon. Plus it supports local businesses which I wholeheartedly encourage.

Three days off flew by quickly. I enjoyed our kayaking adventures over the last few days. I really enjoy the time I’m spending with my wife as well. We needed the companionship as we relax with time away from our hectic lives. Plus we are getting some good exercise as we go.

My Wife- A Fantastic Mother

Today is Mother’s Day. My wife loves being a mother. I can’t imagine a world where we didn’t meet and have children. Since 2002, my wife has been a mom.

Now the kids are getting older. The teenage years are aplenty. And they are of the capacity to decide what to do for Mother’s Day. So far our two youngest have made her breakfast in bed. Now my wife is playing video games with our middle child. Our oldest will return from work shortly, at which point they are going to head out to visit their Oma. Physically distancing of course. But to see the smiles on her grandchildren’s faces is something that hasn’t happened since Christmas.

Besides breakfast in bed, the only gift my wife has received is a Lego Minifig that our son made. It really looks like my wife! I can share any other images at this time, as the other two kids haven’t given their gifts yet. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing those pictures and stories.

Until then, Happy Mother’s Day Lee-Anne! May it be relaxing and peaceful.

Aldergrove Regional Park

Today my wife asked if we could go for a walk together. She has been going around the neighborhood daily for a few years now. Yes, years. And since the weather was fairly decent today, she wanted to go elsewhere. We ended up going to the Aldergrove Regional Park.

We took a lovely stroll along a horse trail. We saw four horses (no, not the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse) stride past us with a quick hello to the riders. But that was about it. The park was quiet. I think people forget that we have such beautiful locations that we can still enjoy during these crazy times. Even I forget.

The walk was serene and peaceful. The fresh air and lack of worries really cleared the mind. I think I need to do this type of activity more often, even though it feels forced by my wife. That’s only because when she’s ready for the walk, it means we are both to be ready. That brings up some conflict which usually has me lounging at home and her enjoying a walk.

What I’m saying is that she was right. Enjoying nature has it’s mental healing properties. And I’m glad I went.

Women’s Day 2020

Previously I’ve mentioned how amazing some of the women in my life are. Including last year’s International Women’s Day. Every year, I become more and more proud of my wife and daughters.

My wife is a shining example of a great woman. She is loving and caring towards all of us. Many times she is sacrificing her time in order to benefit the family. Without her, I could not imagine a life as wonderful as I have now.

Our oldest daughter is working hard towards finishing high school. Twice a week she is a junior coach for our speed skating club. She also works for 1 Fish 2 Fish– a fish market in Langley. She works with a bunch of other women, all of whom are fantastic customer service representatives and extremely knowledgeable about seafood. They are led by another great lady who has run the business for two decades now.

Our middle child also does junior coaching at Langley Blades Speed Skating. Last month she went to Fort St. John BC Winter Games as a Young Official. She was an amazing asset to the team and loved volunteering her time there. She also pushes her abilities at school with great success.

These are the three women who matter most to me. I’m proud of their individual success stories. It’s also good to see that they are strong, assertive leaders. Our daughters will continue to grow and prosper over the years.

What women are you proud of in your life?

You’re The Cream In My Coffee

I heard a song today and it made me smile.

I’m not a poet,
How well I know it,
I’ve never been a raver,
But when I speak of you,
I rave a bit, its true.
I’m wild about you,
I’m lost without you,

You give my life its flavor,
What sugar does for tea,
That’s what you do for me.
You’re the cream in my coffee,
You’re the salt in my stew
You will always be my necessity,
I’d be lost without you
.

I listened to this song a couple more times as I drove home from work. There was something about the crack and hiss of the old recording that made it magical. It was as if the old song was speaking directly to me. Like the voice inside my head was reminding me of how much I love my wife.

Sure, it sounds cheesy. And it is. But it’s also true. I came home and at the dinner table I said the line to my wife, “You’re the cream in my coffee.” I thought I was being sweet.

My wife promptly reminded me that I don’t take cream in my coffee.

Brambles Bistro

We are two days into January and my wife and I had our first date of the year. We went for breakfast in Abbotsford at a place called Brambles Bistro at Tanglebank. It was a quiet location with only two other patrons inside.

Besides having great company (my wife!) we enjoyed some local farm fresh meals.

I ordered the Short Rib Skillet: Braised short ribs, au jus, roasted potatoes, smoked cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, apples and two poached eggs. It looked like it wasn’t going to be a very large meal, but by the end I was definitely satisfied and full.

My wife ordered Huevos Rancheros. It contained smoked yams, charred corn and beans, smoked cheddar and two sunny side up eggs. It was served with avocado, pico, lime, and cilantro. A fantastic mix of sweet and spicy.

We savored our breakfasts then wandered around the shop. I could see how this place would be busier in the summer as the bistro is a part of the nursery and garden. I’m surprised that this was our first visit here since the Bistro has been open since 2012 and the Nursery since the mid-nineties.

As I love supporting small businesses, this is another one that I’d recommend to everyone.

One Week Remains

It’s getting down to crunch time! Only one shopping week remains to get that special gift for your special someone. Unless you are in a perfect relationship like I am- where my wife said to me, “You don’t have to get me anything for Christmas.”

That is not what I wanted to hear. I’m fairly certain that she’s lying. I’m no good at guessing games. So if she dropped hints all year long- its likely that I missed them.

My wife did however buy herself a few items and give them to me to wrap. I guess not knowing which gift is inside which wrap is good enough? At this stage in life, one may as well buy what they want and gift it to themselves. That way you’re not disappointed and display “Present Face” for those not-so-amazing gifts.

In the past I’ve bought her jewelry she doesn’t wear and craft supplies she doesn’t use. I’ve even picked up kitchen knives and dishes in the past. These are more for everyone, but I throw her name on them so she has something to unwrap.

Yup, Christmas gift giving to my wife has me turning into a husband cliché. I’m not sure how to break the cycle. Maybe one Christmas I’ll nail it. Until then, I wonder how late Walmart is open?

Baking Cake

I enjoy baking cookies. I think I’ve mastered the art of deliciousness in each and every batch. My family and coworkers enjoy sampling my treats. And I really enjoy sharing them.

Today I made ginger snaps. And just like every other cookie I bake- they turned out perfect. I also baked a cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow. Cakes for me are easy. I only ever do the boxed cakes. Quick and easy. I usually have a variety of mixes on hand because we use them as a Waffle batter substitute. Best idea ever!

However, I am not talented at icing cakes. I understand the concept behind butter cream icing, crumb coats and piping tubes. I can just never express in physical form what my mind is trying to achieve.

Our son’s birthday cake earlier this year looked tasty. But it wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. It did the trick though. A a sweet dessert treat for a quick celebration. The same goes for my wife’s cake for tomorrow. My heart is in it, but my skills just aren’t there.

So I’ll just bake more cookies later this month. Those are always a hit.

Making My Wife Crazy

Today is another Speed Skating meet. Originally I was planning on going, however I owed a coworker a shift because he helped me out a couple of weeks ago when we went to the BC Cup in Prince George. That means I have to work overnight later today.

The issue today is that up until twenty minutes before leaving the house, I was still planning on going to this Speed Skating meet. My wife had planned on staying home as it was her day off. Now she is the one going and I’ll be at home to get some rest. My wife is none too happy with me.

On Thursday when she found out that I would be working she offered to take our son. I refused the offer because I had committed to taking him a few weeks ago. As I was putting on my shoes to leave I realized that I’d be awake for almost 24 hours. I’d be lucky to get in a nap prior to my shift. I grumbled under my breath, and that’s when my wife decided for me that she was going instead.

I should’ve accepted her initial offer a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I left it too late- now I was going to lose no matter what. Obviously it’s better that she goes today. I made a mistake by not thinking the situation through ahead of time. My wife will stew over this for a brief amount while.

I know I can make her crazy- it’s just not always intentional.

Mug Shots

Like most folks, we have an assortment of coffee mugs in our cupboard. They often appear as gifts based on whatever the recipients fancy. From Owls to Lego, to mugs that come free with a bottle of booze- these become personalized favorites of us all. But my wife and I are cheesy. We have a collection of matching mugs.

It started years ago with a couple of horoscope ones from the dollar store. But it soon branched off into ones that defined who we really were.

My wife dominated over me by absconding the “Player 1” mug leaving me to be the Luigi to her Mario. Always second to none, but she’s my number one.

I am particularly fond of our first set of Disneyland mugs. Simple art of the classic characters that defined cartoons My wife is the Minnie to my Mickey.

Soon after we picked up another set of mugs. She is the elegant Eve to my clunky love struck Wall-E. But wait, there’s more…

A couple of years later she became my Belle. That’s right, we really are that cheesy. Even our kids began to get in on the fun.

Of course Disneyland plays on the memories and heartstrings of everyone who enters their gates. The store shelves are lined with trinkets and mugs that need to be brought home. Every one of our morning coffees is in matching mugs. And no one else is permitted to use them.

Do you have a favorite coffee cup?

Are you as cheesy as we are?

Let me know in the comments.

I Missed My Wife

My wife was out of town for a work function over the past few days. I missed her tremendously. So I’m throwing her a BBQ party tonight!

Ok, I’m lying.

The BBQ is for my friends and coworkers. Many of my friends are my wife’s friends as well.

But I still missed my wife while she was gone. So I plan on having a great time laughing and clowning around with her at the BBQ. Time to go get ready to entertain!

Happy Friday Everyone!

My Wife’s Coworkers

I attended my first ever Baseball Game last night courtesy of my wife’s work. Meaning that this event was with my wife’s coworkers instead of mine like we usually do. This time I got to be my wife’s “Plus One” and meeting her coworkers IRL was a neat experience. I’ve heard so much about them and I’ve occasionally “seen” them while they do video conferencing. But to talk and mingle with them in person was neat. Kind of like an extended family that I’d never met but could relate to easily.

The energy within the large group was astounding. Laughs and photos were going on while food and beverages were being consumed. Lots of SHOP talk was happening. They all had a great time.

My wife’s coworkers really make her happy. She has developed some fantastic relationships with many of them. I’d say I’m jealous, but in reality I’m happy inside. I’m happy because my wife is happy- and she deserves this happiness the most..

18 Years

Today I celebrate 18 years of marriage to my wife. It has been an amazing journey. With far more ups than downs.

I have loved every moment. Even that time when she stabbed me in the face with her finger nails and tried to apologize acting all sweet and cute.

Or the time she thought I was taking a selfie and wanted to show that she brushes her teeth- so I took a selfie with her.

I love that ten years ago, we went on our first family trip to Disneyland. I never knew that an inner child was a real thing until I saw my wife gushing with pleasure and excitement as we wandered the parks. This also started a continuous desire to return as often as possible to Disneyland. Whenever we are having rough emotional patches- we talk about previous trips and future plans of traveling to those Magical Lands.

Through 18 years of marriage, we have created and cultivated a beautiful family. Our three kids have been a source of pride for us both. We love to joke and laugh with them. Our kids have become extensions of our personalities- sharing love into this world the same way my wife and I do.

Our love for one another has grown tremendously strong over the years. I’m lucky to have such a great partner. She is as crazy as I am. She even lets the crazy loose more when I’m around.

May our journey together not be restricted to just these first 18 years of marriage. We have a bond that I feel will last a lifetime.

Happy 18th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you with all my heart.

Sincerely,

Josef

Rice Krispies

Once in a while people hear something different than what is being said. This is most common in songs. There are plenty of “misheard” song lyrics out there. Some are a lot of fun and I try and use those instead of the original version.

Sometimes people just aren’t paying attention when they are spoken to causing a miscommunication between both parties. This happened between my wife and I recently. In a rather amusing sort of way.

The other night I was sitting on the couch with her as we were watching tv. We often share statements of love and adoration with each other- more so when one of us needs a little emotional pick up. That night was no different. I looked towards her and spoke some kind words. I said, “You’re sexy.” What she heard however was, “Rice Krispies.”

I became thoroughly amused by this and have now gone on to say “Rice Krispies” as a response when she says something kind to me. This new phrase may run its course in due time, or it could end up a staple in our banter towards one another. Who knows.

But for now I still think she’s “Rice Krispies” and will continue to tell her this.

Ack Ack Kayak!

So… I was at the Grade Seven camp a little over a week ago when I tried Kayaking for the first time. I enjoyed it tremendously. My wife hates me because of this.

She hates me because for years now she’s been trying to get me to go kayaking with her. When I finally did go on a whim without her, I wanted to go again. I really should listen to her the first time around…

As I mentioned yesterday- I put on a new Roof Rack on my Nissan Rogue. It was to prepare for the possibility of getting a kayak. My wife finished work at six last night and wanted to go price some kayaks out. I’d been looking online at places and prices earlier in the week, but it was my wife who wanted to go and search for herself. Unfortunately we only went to one place- Canadian Tire. Not my usual place to go shopping- however we do find some great deals on occasion- like our bbq grill about four years ago.

Anyways, window shopping for a kayak turned into buying a kayak. Make that buying two kayaks at a wickedly good price (they had them marked incorrectly but honored the price). These kayaks also came with oars and straps to take them away on the roof of my car. (As reference I found similar ones at Costco by the same manufacturer for $160 more each.)

I’m happy with the purchase to make our lives healthier. We just need to find the time to hit the water together.

And maybe my wife will forgive my ignorance all these years. Or she’ll drown me. Either way- we own a couple of kayaks now!

Silverdale Creek Wetlands

On Friday night my wife and I often take our children to a thing called “Dry Land Training” at our speed skating coach’s home. This involves a 30 minute drive followed by a two hour training session. Sometimes my wife and I stay to chat with other parents. Other times we go grocery shopping up the road. Last night we went for a walk at one of the local parks.

This is a typical park setting. With signage and info about the land. It was a beautiful stroll through extremely well kept trails. But there was one thing that made this park stand out amongst other trails in BC.

Birds. Lots of birds. And birdhouses!

On top of several pillars in the marsh were numerous birdhouses. Every single one of them occupied with a feathered friend. The houses that were close to the pathways had birds that weren’t scared of people wandering by. This made me happy. They watched and sang as my wife and I meandered along the pathways.

We chatted and strolled holding hands and just enjoying nature. We greeted only a couple of other folks along the way. It was like we had our own little private forest filled with song. It was a nice way to relax on a Friday evening with my wife.

I have a feeling we will visit the Silverdale Creek Wetlands again in the future. I hope that this will get others to visit there as well.

Angry Heroes

My wife’s favorite Powerpuff Girl is Buttercup. It always has been and always will be.

I think my wife relates to the do-good nature with a bit of attitude that Buttercup expresses. Just a hint of frustration in her tone as she saves the world before bedtime.

One of my wife’s other favorite children’s characters is Oscar the Grouch. My wife has never been a huge fan of The Muppets so it surprised me that she found joy in one of the most iconic characters. I’m not surprised at which character though.

I love my wife very much. She has a personality that can be tough to get to know in the beginning. But many of her coworkers and true friends love her wit and no-nonsense charm. She definitely portrays some of the characteristics of her angry heroes.

Hopefully she won’t be mad at me for sharing this. I guess I’ll find out once she reads it.

Mother’s Day 2019

I took my wife out of town on Friday because we needed a break. But also because I wanted to try and take her mind off of today. Today is Mother’s Day as many of you know. My wife is a spectacular mother to three amazing children. All of whom aren’t home today.

Photo sent to us from a parent chaperone.

This weekend our two youngest are out of town for a music trip. Which really isn’t a big deal, except for the fact that our youngest youngest is two years younger than the rest of the group.

Our son has pushed himself to learn trumpet and violin since September 2017 when he began grade six. This past September he joined Junior Concert Band which is for grade eight and nine students. Our son and his friend are the only two grade seven kids in Concert Band. This weekend is kind of a big deal for them because the majority of the kids in the band are from Grade Nine.

So those two are away- due home in the late afternoon/ early evening. Our oldest is working her regular job until 5:30pm so she isn’t around all day either. That meant no breakfast made for my wife like she’s had In The Past. Our children will all be home by dinner in order to celebrate Mother’s Day- but I have to work the night shift.

Mother’s Day is a nice way to show that there is more thanks to be given to these special ladies. Especially as you get older. My wife decided to go and visit her mom for a brunch. I think that’s a nice way to show that she still cares about her. I’ll be giving my mother a call as soon as I hit the “Publish” button.

Above all, make sure you wish those moms out there a…

Happy Mother’s Day!