What a Tool.

This weekend was a scorcher in Vancouver/Lower Mainland.  The heat kicked in full force. After a fun Friday night with an old friend- did you read Grilled the other day? My Saturday consisted of pressure washing and chainsawing (that’s a word right?). The good thing was most of my work was in the shadows of the trees.  But I still overheated and broke out into a manly, musky sweat.  Oooo that smell..


I was on a roll and just didn’t want to stop. I could’ve cut down another five or six trees if my wife hadn’t stopped me.  She only stopped me because I looked like I was ready to pass out.  I was dirty, oily and covered in sawdust.  Shortly thereafter my allergies went full force trying to kill me.


My macho manliness came to a crashing halt as quickly as it started.  I showered to try and cool off and clean my body.  Then, I endured the pleasure of using a neti pot to cleanse my nasal passages.  Imagine a skinny 6’8″ man hunched over the bathroom sink in a pair of boxers with a small plastic teapot pouring salt water into his nose.  I’m all that and more, remember when I talked about My Man Card?  In fact, this evening I was bombing down the road with my wife in the car with “The Village People: Macho Man” cranked.  Possess the strength of confidence, that’s the skill…

I am too cool- even during this heatwave.

Summertime!

June is almost over and if you are like me and have kids- they are super excited right about now.  This has caused a lack of thinking and functionality from our three beasts. The weather is nicer and the act of being stuck in a classroom is overwhelming. Getting home and the idea of chores or homework is forgotten.  Soon my children.  Soon it will all be over.  Summer is officially here.

And with summer comes the great scare. What do we do with kids at home for ten weeks??? 


Every one of my days off is slowly getting accounted for.  All my freedom is becoming locked down into day trips, nature walks and BBQ dinners with friends.  Long evenings sipping cold drinks are upon us.  Letting the kids run around the yard until the sun goes down for the day. I have realized that my summer can be broken down into four basic hang outs.

1. My family: beaches, rivers, road trips, long walks, drive in movies.

2. My wife: relaxing in the yard, watching tv, just being besties.

3. My friends: laughs, drinks, more laughs, discovering new beers, laughing some more.

4. My work: having the ability to work both indoors or outdoors on a regular basis is a great benefit when the weather is beautiful.


I am excited about the many adventures that we shall go on this summer.  I hope to share them all here in my blog.  I wish we could do more. If only work would stop getting in the way.

Bed Neglect.

The age old question, “Why make your bed if you’re just going to sleep in it again?”


Our bed is rarely made up. But it’s not my fault. Usually for a day or two after clean sheets are put on, I tend to straighten out the bed and try to keep it looking fresh.  But then it happens.  Not even slowly.  Seriously, on the third day after clean linens are on- the caring just stops. By the third night’s sleep, the softness of the blanket and the fresh laundry smell is gone.  So is the desire to care about the one thing that brings me great joy after the end of the day. 

Neglected bed.

It lays there in wait.  It doesn’t know what it did wrong or why you just stopped caring.  But it welcomes you anyways.  The disheveled blankets quickly wrap you with the comfort and warmth you need. But it’s not the same as that first day of clean linens. It never is.

“But Josef, why don’t you just make the bed?”

Two reasons. 

1. I’m not the last one out of it and I’ve gone to work already.

2. I’m too lazy to care.

“But Josef, why doesn’t your wife make the bed?”

Two reasons.

1. She claims that the bed needs to “air out” to prevent germs or bugs.

2. Or she claims that I was the last one up, so why didn’t I bother to make it?

The bed remains neglected. After every sleep, you just get out of bed, leave your room and start your day. And you don’t turn back for 12-16 hours. 

But neglected bed remembers your curves. 

Neglected bed will bring you comfort.

Neglected bed won’t neglect you.

The Day Drags On

Today is one of those days that just seems to be going on forever. This is the kind of day that just passes by until bedtime.  No ambitious projects.  No plans to go out.  Not a lot of anything. It’s as if I’m just waiting for something to occur. But nothing will.

I started dinner a few hours ago. We are going to be enjoying a smoked brisket and potato salad in a few hours.  Perhaps that’s the reason it feels like the day is just sauntering along.  I am checking the meat about once an hour as it slowly cooks. The red potatoes for our potato salad have been boiled & peeled and are cooling off. Now we wait.  And wait. Then wait some more.

My wife is planning on doing some gardening over the next couple of hours.  I don’t feel like getting dirt under my nails today, so I will be avoiding this.  Most likely I will either nap or play some video games. I may even do both.  Those are my plans.


It’s just another lazy Saturday for me.  I enjoy these.  It’s been a while since I had a Lazy Day.  I’m going to relax and just float through the rest of the afternoon and evening. Then suffer a meat coma and pass out.

It’s good to be an adult sometimes. You can make these choices and not feel guilty.

Am I a Writer or a Plumber?

I procrastinated for about two days before finally starting on a home repair project.  More Plumbing issues.  Old house- new problems.  It seems to always be plumbing issues in this home.  It’s the one thing that drives me to want to throw in the towel and sell.  Today, I didn’t want to even start this project, just in case.


Today was a repair needed for the pipe connection that goes directly into the hot water tank.  It seems the water from our well is rather rough on the pipes.  The hot water tank was new in March 2012, so I can time the corrosion to about 5 years.  Which seems about right for each repair I’ve had to do.  

So this morning, I took a shower, then washed dishes, filled the kettle, and filled a couple of jugs & pots with water.  (You know, just in case I really eff this one up.) Then began the water shut off followed by a draining of pipes and hot water tank.  After some internal debate with myself “You can do this Josef! Nope.  Better call a plumber!” I finally pulled out the hacksaw and cut the pipe. 

Some elbow grease and the part was removed.  It was off to the Home Depot and search out the replacement part(s). I found what I needed to make the repair work.  There are these fantastic parts called Shark Bite that are amazingly easy to use and haven’t caused me any grief in the past.  Within a few minutes of getting home, the repair was completed. Then the moment of truth. Turn the water back on to the house.


Success.  No more leak. I was so happy that I decided to write about it.  I’m not a plumber, but can make do.  I’m not quite a writer yet either.  I enjoy writing way more than plumbing that’s for sure. Having a basic knowledge of both skills has gotten me this far in life.  Heck, I even understand electrical work and other home improvements.  I have also studied books on writing and taken courses on the subject.  Yet somehow, I can’t get myself to write the novel I want people to read. It’ll come to me eventually.  When it does, the creative waters will flow!

Train Garden


Back in the summer of 2008, a year after we had moved into our home, we decided (mostly with my influence) to build a trainset in our garden instead of a pond. We cut down some trees and built up the ground to lay the tracks. It was a lot of time and a lot of fun.  The kids were happy to help out in building it and watching it run.  Plus at ages 2,4 & 6 playing in dirt is always the best.


Over the years, many changes have occurred to the train garden.  Some of it was just trial and error as I figured out how to make it look good and continue to run. Some were just for fun.  I’ve reconfigured the loops twice, built new bridges, placed bricks under the tracks to keep it level and even added in a small tunnel.  We have had issues with moles, birds and even a snake trying to make a home out of the garden. 


But the biggest hurdle is that I haven’t figured out how to keep the engines running smoothly. The tracks are outside all year and the electrical connection drops in various parts.  This has caused excessive wear on the motors on both of my engines.  I’ve had to replace the motors a few times now.  My next option is to buy a battery pack- like the type used for RC cars. And of course a remote control to help run them. A remote that can eventually be used to control every aspect of the railroad.  From lights to sounds to even lining switches. That way I can use the power source that I currently have to add some lighting to buildings or other structures. I love scale models of scenery shots. They’re so much fun to set up.

Our next biggest hurdle is money for my project.  It would seem that whenever a bit of extra fun is wanted, something more serious rears its ugly head.  Unfortunately this time it appears that our washing machine has decided to leak from who-knows-where.  I’ve tried to take it apart to find the source of the leak, but to no avail.  Looks like a new washer is about to be purchased in a couple of days.  


Or we can just enjoy stinky, dirty clothes and have a cool trainset for the summer.  I’ll let my wife decide.  I know my choice. 

Woo-woo!

Just Add A Coat Of Paint

I want to do so much to our home.  Most of it is expensive and costly.  Like new tiles for the three bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, counters and appliances, new windows, plus all the trims… that’s just what I can think of while sitting in our family room. None of which I have money or time to accomplish this summer.

So instead I went out and bought paint.


Paint to clean up the look of the ceiling in the family room.  Paint for the ceiling in the kitchen to try and brighten it up.  Paint for the walls in the dining room to clean up the smears and fingerprints from the last 15 years of children and pets.  All of it in white.


Rant time:

I hate the act of painting.  Not the painting itself- that’s easy.  I hate the pre-cleaning, prepping walls/ceilings, taping off the edges, laying down sheets, all before you begin.  Then I hate the post painting clean up.  Washing rollers/brushes, removing the tape, putting socket covers back on, folding up the sheets, and making sure you didn’t miss any spots.  

End rant.


Usually I’m pretty proud of the final results.  The way the rooms look with a fresh coat of paint.  It’ll keep me from wanting to spend more money to replace the fixtures in the rooms for at least a couple of more years.  I’ll probably just end up painting some other rooms in a couple of years…

There’s A Storm A Brewin’

We just had the most beautiful weather this past weekend. Even though the sun is still out, there’s something in the air tonight.  A wind storm.  Full-on fast scary winds. 

I love it.


It’s some of the most fun being out in the wind.  The smell of fresh flowers and trees in my neighborhood flow through the air.  As we ate dinner on our deck, you could hear the tree deck creaking as it swayed back and forth.

We’ve only ever lost a few large branches and an occasional birch tree in these storms.  Maybe a power failure or two, but never enough that I need to own a generator.  One day we may own one- I like my gadgets and toys working!

Tonight’s high winds are another reminder of how amazing nature is.  The fact that it can still be stunningly beautiful but fiercely dangerous.  At my work we had to warn the switchmen of the possibility of empty rail cars being blown down the tracks.  They can roll silently and you wouldn’t hear them behind you.  A rare occurrence, but entirely possible.

Side note: Storm is my favorite character from X-Men.  That’s how I’m ending today’s blog. I think teenage me would agree. She’s pretty sexy in black with stark white hair. Not to mention the lightning and ability to control the weather and fly!  She could save me any day.

But I digress.  Old man Joe isn’t in need of saving.  The only thing I save is my blog posts.  

Shit.  I ended with a “Dad Joke“.

May Long Weekend 2017

This long weekend we are working on the yard.  By we, I mean the entire family. With no arguments or “disappearing” children. You know the ones, they sense that work is needed to be done and suddenly they need to rush to their bedrooms or the bathroom… but not today in our home. They all got nabbed without a fight. 

I fear something may be wrong with the universe.

Our oldest announced that she enjoys doing yard work. She proudly got out the push lawnmower and tackled about half an acre. The very back half of our yard has an influx of dandelions, so we need to remove those first. The best way to do that without spreading the seeds? FIRE!

The yard is coming together nicely for the summer months.  We have a beautiful and peaceful location that we enjoy sharing with friends and entertaining.  There’s only a few more things to finish up, like our vegetable garden & my train garden, that will complete our home.


After a hard day’s work we are all really proud of the results.  It’s time to enjoy the birds chirping and the scents of fresh cut grass as we end our day with a BBQ meal.


The sun has finally come out. Time to relax before the heat turns on for the summer. Feel free to drop by this season. Only stipulation is BYOB+1(for me!)

I Work Hard For The Money


Today I agreed to come in to work to help out.  It didn’t bother me in the least.  Even though it should have been my day off, I know that I get other days or time off in return.  But I get to quote one of my favorite films all day. “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”


Besides going to work for a few hours, my Saturday is generally relaxing.  Tonight is no different. I was able to plan with my wife a quiet dinner for the family.  Some BBQ and hanging out in our yard by our new gas fire pit. It may not be the warmest Spring evening, but it is peaceful. No lawnmowers or neighborhood children screaming.  Our dog is by my side as the kids finish clearing our table.


Now to enjoy a glass of wine from a bottle we picked up a few months ago while on a tour with some friends.  The smells of fresh vegetation and a few chirping newborn birds add to the ambience.  


Side note: Before I left for work, a baby bird had fallen from its nest and landed on my car. The mother was dive bombing me as I tried my best to gently coerce the little dude off my car.  I had my daughter help me back out of the carport so I wouldn’t injure either animal.

So my day was eventful and uneventful at the same time.  Just another day.