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.

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Leafers

I couldn’t believe what they were stealing from my property today.  I was at my kitchen window in plain view of them. These two older, retired women entered my yard and began snipping leaves off of our vine maple.


Mind you, it didn’t bother me.  But curiosity came over me, so I went outside to speak with them.  They were super friendly and told me what they were up to.  Of course, my thought was that they wanted the fall coloured leaves for some Pinterest inspired art project or flower pressing.  But I was wrong. Turns out they wanted the green leaves only because the red and orange ones wouldn’t work.


They were collecting the leaves in order to create a dye for silk scarves.  Scarves that they were going to give away to friends and family at Christmas. It was a lovely idea. I told the ladies they were welcome to come back any time to collect leaves because it saves my children from raking them up when they dry up.

In the end, it looks like I have made some new friends in my neighborhood. Even though they were leaf thieves.

Good Dog

Today is the three year mark from when we had to say goodbye to one of our best friends.  Not only was he a friend, he was a family member. This is the first time I am writing about Degarip Capkin.


Most everyone knew him as Chuppy.  Or Chuppy the Puppy. His name loosely translated from Turkish meant “Silly Flirt”. He was true to his name. Everyone loved him.  He was a sweet & adorable dog.  He embodied what I always imagined a dog should be.  Medium-large animal with brown fur, long snout, big paws, always happy.

When I first met my wife, he was already a part of her life.  I accepted him and he accepted me in each other’s lives. My wife had just returned home from Turkey, where she had adopted him from.  From what my wife had told me, he was a very young street dog that was tormented by children when she first found him.  She immediately took to him and spent a small fortune getting his health up and being able to transport him back to Canada.


He was a mix breed but mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He lived with us for many years.  All of our children grew up with him around. He was always tolerant of them as they would hug and love him. He lived a very long life of nearly 17 years. Towards the end, he had a tough time just getting out of bed.


On his last day, we took him for a final walk. I lifted him into our SUV and the family went to the vet. Before the vet put him to sleep one last time, we each made our peace with him. Tears were shed as his last breath was taken and he went peacefully into the void.

To this very day, many of our friends fondly speak of Chuppy.  He was a cherished dog that was the mascot of our home.  It was nearly impossible to meet him without wanting to give him rubs and hugs.  Not only was Chuppy a good boy, he was a great friend. We still miss him tremendously, but my wife misses him most of all.

Shift In Focus

My wife and I have come to a conclusion: we need less stuff cluttering our home. We are just inundated with belongings. Our home has become a catch all for things. Paraphernalia that her family or my family have decided necessary for us to possess or keep. 


Sometimes it’s even the newest toys and games that we all desire that takes over our home. (I’m looking at you Skylanders, Amiibos and Lego Dimmensions). The hardest part is saying no.  No to the freebies, no to the newest trend, no to spending money on junk. Sure, we now have stuff to show for it. And my family is pretty damn good at keeping things in near mint condition. 


Time to do away with wanting all of those possessions. We are going to attempt to become minimalistic. Both in our home and what we desire.  The big focus will be maintenance on our home and travel.  Lots more travel.  My recent vacation really made me appreciate how much beauty there is in the world.  We were really only a few hundred kilometers away from our home but still experienced wonderment. There is so much more to experience if we just venture a bit further. 

Time to start pinching pennies and those travel points. Life isn’t long enough to just be rooted down. I’m getting excited about the ideas.  So is my family.  

Look out world! 

The Havelka’s want to take you all in!

Vegetables and Herbs

Every year we grow our own food.  Something about the taste of a freshly picked vegetable really makes a meal.


Every evening my wife goes out to water and cover the plants. Every morning she goes to check on the progress.  It’s always a slow start at the beginning of the season as the seeds begin to take root.  Patience in gardening is required.


In the past, we have purchased some plants that were already begun at a nursery.  This year was mostly seeds.  We also tried something new by putting everything up higher on tables.  This was to keep the wild rabbits out.  It seemed to work.


We have moved everything closer to our house now so that they don’t wither up in the sun.  This should also slow the growing process a bit as well to spread out the vegetables over the next couple of weeks as they finish ripening. 

I can’t wait to dive into some of the peppers my omelettes will be devine.

Dog Days Are Done

With less than a month remaining with summer, it feels like we haven't done much. But I'd be wrong. It also feels like we are cramming the last of summer vacation into two weeks, but again, I'd be wrong… Kind of.


The past week or so has been dry, warm and smoke filled. We have reached the end of the Dog Days of Summer. It has made for a more lackadaisical few days. Not much has been going on in my household which is nice in a sense. We are working on plans to finish up the summer as well as a bit of back to school preparation.

Our middle child is changing bedrooms. Which is a good reason to de-clutter and purge unwanted items. This has us busy off and on during whatever moments we have available.

My family is getting a bit stir crazy and I feel we need to get away. So that's the plan. Get out of the house and chill out someplace else before the hectic school activities begin.

We are planning a visit to my mother's home and then my sister's home. We also have some camping plans and a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge thrown in for some waterpark fun.

Summer is far from over. Let's do this!

Six

It happened suddenly and without warning. It wasn't until I looked at my salary that it actually hit me. After all is said and done, I somehow make six figures a year. No, it's not a brag in this day and age either. It's just an observation really. A fact I never tried to accomplish.

I am far from educated so that never got me very far. Life has always been a push or even a struggle to get up that hill into adulthood. Pinching pennies, spending long hours working, having a plan, sticking to a budget. All of it with goals in mind. Not all of the goals involved money.

I never sought money as a reason to work. Of course money is noice and affords me the lifestyle I want to live. But working for money? Not my thing. I have been enjoying work because of the challenges it presents me. Jobs lose their luster and thrill after a while but my current job has so many avenues available to me, I really don't know where I may end up.

So, I set my goals. Next year? Travel as much as possible. The year after? Put money into upgrading the home. The year after that? Help our oldest with post secondary education. The year after that? More travel. The work I get paid to do helps promote my plans. Sixth year? Seems like it will hit me fast.

Work goals? Learn as much as possible whenever possible. Share my knowledge with others. Help others achieve their goals. Make a difference in how the work environment feels. None of that sounds too lofty. Nor does it feel like a corporate ladder to climb. I figure if something interests me, I'll work towards it.

Busy Busy

Today's post is short. I've been rather busy picking up some of the chores my wife usually does. I don't usually do laundry, but today was an exception.

We both have certain things that we do to keep the household running smooth. We have a good understanding of the shared responsibilities. Tonight I also prepared a dinner for some friends coming over. We went to meet our friends up the road at the Krause Berry Farm for a glass of wine before coming to our home for some brisket and mashed potatoes.

The kids helped to take down and fold most of the laundry. They also helped make dinner and set the table for our guests. It is nice that our kids are helpful without any fights.

We ate dinner outside with our friends and… I forgot to take my underwear off the laundry line. So now our friends know my brand of underwear…

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!

Is The Grass Greener?

We love to travel.  We love to visit friends. We love relaxing. We love our home.?.


It’s always difficult to return home after experiencing a bit of luxury. For example, earlier this week we spent some time Lakeside at our children’s coaches’ home.  It was a home that her grandparents had bought, now they live there with her parents and children.  It’s a lovely piece of land that I understand completely why they would keep it in the family.  If I could move our house onto that land, it’d be complete luxury.


Then there’s my sister’s home which I briefly mentioned this spring in my quick adventure about Traveling Vancouver Island. She lives right on the water’s edge in Powell River.  My family and I are planning a visit to see her and her family this August. It is a lovely place with spectacular views. She is very lucky to have all of that.


As jealous as I am of anyone with waterfront property, I have to remind myself that people are sometimes envious of our property as well. We are just far enough away from the suburbs and city that we can still do our shopping and I can go to work.  The land we have is surrounded by trees giving us nothing but privacy.  I love living in the countryside. Even though I am constantly doing Home repairs, I don’t know when or if there would be a right time to sell this place and move.


We aren’t rich and we aren’t poor.  We are what they say as House Rich/cash poor. We live in a home that has some fantastic features.  But it also has some tremendous flaws.  The key word is “home“. This is our home.  At the end of the day, I love where we live.  I don’t think I could ever give it up.