Mr. Fantastic 

I like to think of myself as a pretty sensational guy. Ya, I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but I don’t see anyone disagreeing with it.  In fact, I received an email today stating the obvious about me:

I even received a Thank You and a big gold star!

Being awesome has its perks. 

Which is true. I get some outstanding perks for being awesome that really make me feel wonderful. Many of which really don’t have a monetary value. I receive smiles, laughs, hugs, and kindness to name a few.


Much of my life is filled with great people. All of whom boost me up and make me feel like royalty. Sometimes it’s a simple as a birthday wish on Facebook or them sharing something with me related to Disneyland or Star Wars. It proves to me that even if I don’t associate with them on a regular basis in person- somewhere or somehow along the way in life, I touched their hearts enough that they still think of me.

In the end what makes me feel like Mr. Fantastic is you people. Everyone who has entered my life either briefly or long term- you have impacted me and brought me up to a higher standard of life.

I think I am awesome, therefore I am.

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Driving in the Rain

I am an aggressive driver most days. No need to sugarcoat it. But when it rains, I slow down and give myself extra time to get to my destinations.  Not because I can’t drive in the rain, but because others can’t.


Almost daily on my commute to and from work there is an accident or volume on the roads. Anyone who lives in the Fraser Valley experiences this. It’s truly annoying. Add that we are entering rainy season and people are stupid- means more accidents waiting to happen.

So on days like today, I slow down. I take the slow lane (travel lane) and allow others to be stupid and weave in and out. I give a bit more room in front of me just in case. I’m glad I do, because I’ve had close calls of people not checking blind spots or trying to maneuver around some slow driver taking up the fast lane. 

I’ll get where I’m going in due time. No need to rush. And hey, when it rains- it’s like a free car wash!

Friends Forever

I have an abundance of friends. I’d even go as far as say I have about twenty amazingly close friends as well. I even have a couple people in my life that have been my friend for almost three decades. But I have one friend I’ve known almost all my life since kindergarten. (If you’d like to read about it, check out Grilled.)


Somehow along the way, we have remained friends. We met and I lived across the street from him.  My family moved, and his came to visit us. His family moved and we went to visit them. I really need to thank my mother and his mothe for this. If it wasn’t for these two ladies, I’m pretty sure life would’ve gone on without our friendship continuing. But every time I meet up with my friend, it’s like we’ve never been apart.

So it got me to thinking, has he gone from being a friend and become family now? We are closer than many people are with their cousins. In fact, his mother and my mother still visit each other regularly. They see each other more than my friend and I do. But I know that I could call or show up at his place and would be welcomed in. I’m never judging him and he never judges me. We share ideals and thoughts with open minds.

I like having a close friend like that. My wife has even told me that she is a bit jealous because she doesn’t have someone like that (yours truly excluded). Not everyone can have long term friends and still feel a bond whenever they meet up. 

I’m a lucky man for having all of these types of friends.

Rats.

Today I ripped apart my kitchen. I’m lucky it has floating ceiling panels and I could take them off.  I was in search of a rat.  I hate rats in my home. I discussed in great detail, the battle I have had over the years: Screw Ratatouille. The war on rodents continues…

Opening up the ceiling- I found rat shit everywhere so I had my vacuum on the entire time to clean up as I went. I had placed a couple small mouse traps up there a few days ago. Both had gone off, one baby rat was in the trash, but one trap was missing. In its place was a pool of blood.

You do not want to see the mess. Trust me.


I’m not going to share an image of it. But as I took off each panel, the smell of dead rodent became stronger. I traced it to my fridge. So I pulled out the fridge and discovered…

Nothing.

Much cuter than rats.

A couple small turds and lots of dust bunnies. But the smell was staggering. Then a thought hit me.- “Shit.  I bet I just ran over the dead rat with the fridge.” I got on my hands and knees to have a closer look. With flashlight in hand, peered under the fridge that I had just rolled across the kitchen floor.  Much to my relief, it wasn’t there.
As I crouched there, the smell of death was immense. I removed the back panel of the fridge and there it was.  Hunched over the drain pan of the fridge not moving- a dead baby rat. With gloves on, I grabbed the baby rat and instantly its fur became dislodged from its body.

Harf 

I nearly lost my breakfast. So I readjusted my hold and carefully lifted the creature up and placed it gingerly into a plastic bag.  I disinfected the motor and shoved the fridge back into the fridge spot.


I hope that this war will be over soon- with me as the victor.  I’m tired of freeloading rodents running amok in my kitchen. 

Tonight- we dine out.

10 Years of Railroading

I can’t believe I’ve been at the same job for ten years now. Somehow it morphed into a career. I kind of always knew it would, but it still hits me hard.

Ten years of service and my work gave me a nice watch with a ten year pin to commemorate my hard work. I’ll be here for at least another 15 years most likely.  The company has been really good to me and my family.  Offering stability and steady work over the years.


Before I started at CN, I made a railroad in our garden.  Unfortunately it has gone into disarray over the years. At the start of every summer, my son cleans the models and sets them up. I have a feeling one or more of my children will end up working here at some point in their lives. 

Nearly every year we attend CN Family Days. My children have enjoyed all the train rides and prize draws. They also enjoy seeing where I work. CN has been great in helping with my children’s Speed Skating as well.  Offering a grant for the volunteer time that my wife, daughter and I have put in.  This greatly helps out our Skating club.

It always strikes me as odd that I work at a railroad.  When I was a child, I was terrified of trains.  It continued on into my teen years. Getting a job working on trains took a lot of courage for me.  Within a year I had moved into the office to get away from working in the yard (much to my wife’s happiness). I hope to continue my growth and enjoy the challenges that each day brings me. 


Thank you CN for the decade of friendships and job satisfaction.

Pain in the Brain

I finished my night shift at work with a massive headache.  Not from the work itself- that rarely bothers me. My head was pounding.  Throbbing behind my eye. My jaw was sore. All because I didn’t have any coffee for the past two days.


I can’t believe it’s all because of a lack of drinking coffee.  But it is.  They say drinking coffee stunts your growth.  Maybe not physically in my case, but perhaps mentally.  The lack of coffee had left me unfocused because of the pain.

But I made it through the shift. Groggy and sore.  Now it’s time to grab a coffee and off to bed.  At least I have the ability to sleep after drinking coffee.  

What is the Balance of My Time?

Time is precious.  My time is extremely valuable to me and especially to those I care about. My children, my wife, and my friends all get a piece of my time. Work also gets some of that time. But have I achieved a balance?


I have 168 hours a week to offer up.

Work gets 48 hours a week of my time. Two full days out of the seven.

8 hours is devoted to driving to and from work as well for the week.

56 hours is spent sleeping. Maybe more. Maybe.

That leaves 56 hours for my friends and family. That is exactly 1/3 of my time. That time is extremely valuable to me. In fact, I cannot think of a price to put on it. I would gladly give up my job or sleep before I give up the time I have for those I care about.

At the end of every week, my family comes first.  At the end of every workday, I walk away proud of what I did that day. At the end of every sleep, I am ready to do it all again each and every day. 

I feel I have created a healthy work/life balance.

Wine and Painting

My wife is heading out this evening for her first “Paint and Sip” at the Glass House Estate Winery with a friend of ours. It seems to be a popular style of event. Drink wine while you paint a picture. It’s a way for adults, mostly women, to express themselves through art while getting a bit tipsy.

I love the idea.  I think painting is an expression of oneself. Having a glass or two of wine also loosens up the fear and doubt one may have of their artistic abilities. 


The painting tonight that they will mimic is called “Autumn Bounty”.  It looks challenging for a first piece. I’ve never painted still life or flowers before. The colors portrayed in the imagery connect the winery nicely with the country community they are located in. It also feels like a piece that would be hung in our home if we didn’t love our Comicon fan art.


Unfortunately, all I can see when I look at the photo of “Autumn Bounty” is the alien from “Mars Attacks”.  What’s funny about it is that my wife first pointed out the resemblance.  Of course, being the supportive husband I am, I have dared her to paint this tonight.


I can’t unsee the image. I am waiting to see if my wife decides to embrace her silly side or go with the flow. Pretty sure if she painted the alien, it will get hung up in our foyer of fan art. If she paints the original, it will probably end up in the back of a closet because it doesn’t really fit our home decor.

For the rest of they day I am just going to respond to all questions from my wife with “Ack! Ack! Ack!” to try and influence her decision.

Numbers

All day long at work I crunch numbers.

  1. Train length
  2. Train weight
  3. Car counts
  4. Track footages
  5. Engine numbers
  6. Fuel levels
  7. Statistics galore 

And so many more numbers run through my mind and onto spreadsheets, emails, and notepads.

I use two to three calculators at any given time to get my figures. I use numerous notepads and scrap papers filled with additions and subtractions of said numbers. Sometimes my head is swirling at the end of the day.

Math has always been my strong suit. So, I utilize it now more than ever before. I enjoy it. Numbers are neat. Unless you are six. Then you are afraid of seven.

Fall Feasting

Summer is over. Time to move from delicious fresh fruit and garden vegetables towards the rich and totally-going-to-kill-you foods.  Maybe not that extreme, but pretty close.


My wife and kids have been craving deep-fat-fried goodies lately. So tonight I shall make a healthy supply of foods. By healthy, I mean “satisfactory size or amount” not “indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health.” Tonight’s meal will be artery clogging goodness. I can already feel the sluggishness setting in. Thank goodness we won’t need to wear shorts or swimsuits as winter approaches.


Besides engaging in more deep fried foods, I look forward to heavier and heartier meals in the fall and winter as well.  Warm stews and soups. With a couple of big turkey dinners before the end of the year thrown in the mix. This means leftovers that are great for stews and soups also. Mmmm… 

Enough talk, time to settle in at home and live the good life.  Let’s deep fry something!