I’m a Bad Husband

The title of today’s blog could be considered a lie. I’m usually a great husband (tooting my own horn). But I decided to do something all wives hate right before Christmas- Home renovations.

Yes. I have become that man. The one who is using his time off to redo our 1/2 bath. One week before Christmas.

It’s not all my fault. Really.

I was supposed to have some vacation time back in November, when I had this project planned out. But things changed. And my time off moved. Which I was totally okay with. I don’t think I’ve ever had December vacation before.

So now I’m tiling a cramped 3 foot by 6 foot room. They always tell you to add 10% for waste. But I can’t figure out the formula for how long a project takes. I’m already 12 hours into it and don’t see an end in sight. I’m regretting starting this project ten years ago……. but it has to get done. There was never going to be a good time to do it. I’m sure I could’ve hired someone, but I like doing this sort of thing on my own.

The hardest part is knowing how much there is still left to do. New toilets and vanity to install after the tiles are all done. And the tiles are at least two more days of work. Mostly because I am a perfectionist, every row needs to be level and precise. No cutting corners!

I’m content to be doing stuff like this during my time off from work. Sure, travel would be nice as well. But knowing that I will have a nice looking bathroom once it’s all said and done, is a great sense of accomplishment.

So, even though I may be a bad husband for doing a home renovation project right before Christmas- it’ll be a nice gift once it’s all completed. I’ll be back in the good books then.

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Sharing Plans

I’m currently on a “stay-cation” before Christmas. My first day was with my wife as we wrapped all the Christmas gifts for our children. I also had to run a quick errand to put insurance on my car (I completely forgot about it and the insurance ran out yesterday). The rest of my afternoon was taken up with driving our children home from school and to speed skating. None of this is what I had planned for today.

I wanted to start my day at Home Depot. I have been trying to finish our ensuite bathroom for almost ten years. I was going to buy tiles, toilet, faucet and all the other parts/supplies to finish the project.

That was my goal. Unfortunately, my wife had made other plans for my time off.

I realize that I may not get this project completed, let alone started, this week. My time off is going to be spent doing things to help out around the household instead. I didn’t realize how much my wife has to do on a regular basis as well as run her own business. This is also the last crunch for her Christmas sales and she wants to complete those orders.

What has happened is a common occurrence for couples. I had plans for my time off- my wife had other plans. Neither of us communicated our plans. I had every day laid out for my time off. My biggest drawback was not sharing or discussing with my partner. She too has every day planned out until Christmas. Without either of us getting upset, we had to make a game plan. A plan that meets both our needs.

I still get to go shopping at Home Depot. My wife still gets time to focus on her business. Somewhere in the mix we will focus on the kids…

Living: Rearranged

Christmas decorations have taken over our home and I love it. As the years have gone by, more decorations have been acquired. Nicer decorations to be precise. Many which I have made in order to create a flow throughout our home.

This year my wife has been heavily involved in decorating for the holiday season. Usually she is too overwhelmed with her business to help me out. So she just shows up in the home and accepts how I decorated. Which has been great since we both have similar tastes and ideas. Over the past couple of days, she has added her own personal touch. Which has also brought on the idea of rearranging our main floor layout.

Our piano has moved into our old dining room now. This is where it once was when we first purchased it. But when we redid the floors and took out the old breakfast nook- it moved to that location.

2016 Christmas What happened to our dining room table you ask? Funny story- it’s now in the family room near the fireplace. Which is going to be super cozy for our dinners this month. Hold on Josef! The couch isn’t there anymore. That’s right. The couch is now where the piano once was.

Basically we recycled our home into a new formation. Since we won’t be selling any time soon, and we really don’t want to spend a fortune on new furniture or renovations for the main floor, this was our best option. I really like the idea of our sun room (ex-dining room) becoming a music room. As well as the family room becoming the dining room. I’m just not sold on where the couch is. I figure I’ll give it a month and see how it goes.

Maybe for Christmas we can get more bean bag chairs instead so that I can continue to Be too comfortable.

Holidaze are Coming.

I love the Christmas season. Every year I go all out and decorate our home. I also spend a small fortune on gifts for my family throughout the year to make it a special time. But there is one thing I look forward to every year. The Christmas Booze Tree.

We have had it for a few years now. I like to stock it up by the start of December. It’s a great way to enjoy the end of a night shift by spiking a coffee before retiring for the day. It’s also great for a day off of lounging around.

It originally started out being set up off to the side of our kitchen counter. We’d also add in different liquors to adapt to our fancies. We love fireball and eggnog while decorating the trees! Best concoction ever.

But over the years, the “tree” has made it’s way to being more easily accessible as we walk past with a glass in hand. But by the end of December, I’m quite done with the sweet liqueurs. Much like a live Christmas tree, this tree slowly dries up as each bottle empties.

Then the New Year begins with a small haze of how the last year ended.

Wrap It Up.

Pretty sure that my wife and I are ready for Christmas now. At least in the gift department area. We always do our shopping throughout the year and we try and make “Black Friday” the last day possible. Most years we don’t even do shopping this weekend. That’s how prepared we are for Christmas! Now to move onto wrapping the gifts.

I’m hoping to get most of the presents wrapped up over the next week or so before the kids get out of school. We won’t need tags either because of my Geniusness plan from years ago. Wrapping before hand also gives us a chance to decide if we are giving too much or too little to our kids. If it’s too much, a gift or two will stored away for a future birthday.

The kids in school makes it easier to wrap during the week. We can take over the dining room table and whip through the gifts in an afternoon or two. I want to try and get them wrapped up soon. I’m not sure if our kids hunt around the house for gifts or not.

I used to search for gifts.

I spoiled a few Christmases for myself as a child. I would search closets, attics, under beds, even in the trunk of my parent’s cars. All in the crazy search for gifts for me or my sister. I just wanted to know how to react on Christmas morning. After finding the stash of presents, I planned out each reaction I would give. Super excited or awestruck? Which is the best face to use? Should I jump up and hug my parents? Being a child is tough as it is. But the obligations to show enthusiasm is equally tough. Even for the things that weren’t exactly desired. (I didn’t want the cassette player boom box, but it definitely got lots of use later on as I grew up.)

Hopefully my kids didn’t follow in my footsteps over the past few years. Maybe I should pay attention to their reactions this year. Will dad get a hug for no reason? I guess I’ll find out.

Thermostat

A couple of days ago, the heat in our home began to act up. It would either be extremely hot upstairs or freezing cold downstairs. No idea why.

As the temperatures outside drop, so is the main living space of our home. We hit 15° the other day… not the best while winter is approaching. So I have taken it upon myself to figure out how to fix our heating issue.

The last time we had an issue was back in 2013. I had to change out the part that spins to allow water to flow through our radiant hot water baseboards. It was obviously a success at the time. I tried shutting off the breaker and it just resets this and I hear it work. So it must be something else entirely. I figure it’s the thermostat.

This morning I installed a “smart thermostat” called ecobee3. Hopefully I did it correctly. There were so many wire terminals, but I only had 3 wires. It at least turned on… soon we shall see if my family will live comfortably or have to wear numerous sweaters and blankets.

If anyone has used this system or knows about heating and thermostats, I’d love some tips. I love learning new things and becoming more self sufficient in the DIY area.

Halloween Straight Into Christmas


Halloween ended only a few days ago. We were rather busy so we didn’t have time to fully take down decorations until this weekend. When we did, we had to vacuum up the real cobwebs that were on the walls to remove most of Halloween.


Perhaps it was driving through the mountains over the past couple days that inspired my wife. But she asked that when we take down the Halloween decorations, we put up *some* Christmas decorations. Basically she gave me free reign (see what I did there?) to put up anything except our Christmas trees! Yes!


Lucky for me we have a lot of “Nightmare Before Christmas” decor that stays up for both seasons (as well as all year round in some cases). This makes the transition smooth from one season to the next. Here is some of the art we have:


There’s much more art that will adorn our walls and doors as the season approaches. Of course we have only begun to put up our decorations for Christmas, but some would feel it’s too soon. When you see what we have for our home, you would understand why we start over a month before the holiday. 

We also keep the Winter/Christmas spirit alive until Jan.7th or so. It ends up being a two month “good feelings” display in our home. Over the next while, I do expect my allergies to take a hit as we dust off the decorations. That part sucks. 

But hooray for Christmas to come soon!

Home Ownership in Vancouver

Vancouver and the nearby neighborhoods have two major issues plaguing them:

  1. The price of buying a home is astronomical.
  2. Homeless people are rampant.

It’s not looking to get any better either. I’ve been working in downtown Vancouver for almost a year now and I have only seen it get worse. Until today. Someone decided to build a new home on the corner of a lovely green parkland setting.


A clever idealist took the time to gather up scrap wood and a tarp from the nearby Rona lumber yard and built a home in a tree.  It’s an airy custom “Tiny Home”.


It’s located in a prime location at the corner of Slocan and N. Grandview with plenty of nearby amenities and lots of room for activities! 


I’m rather impressed that it’s still there. Especially since it was most likely built without permits. 

It sure beats the look of “tent city” at least.

Parenting Out The Bad Behavior

Having children is wonderful.

I need to remind myself of this fact from time to time. Because as of late, our children are trying our patience.


They love to play a little game of “Mom vs Dad” and it drives us crazy. It’s not always the asking of something either. Like asking if they can go watch tv or eat some potato chips. Sometimes it’s just their behavior and the difference in how they treat us.


Lately our kids have been relatively rude to their mother but nice to me. As much as I kind of like the kindness generated towards me, I’m a teammate with my wife and she deserves the same respect. My wife and I don’t usually do good cop/bad cop. We are normally on the same page with respect to what we expect from our children.

My wife has thrown in the towel for the day, so I am going to play both roles for the next little bit. She will help from the sidelines still, but the kids need to come to me first.  It also means that they will get pretty tired of dad “being in charge” and will soon want happy mom back.

My style of parenting can be pretty demanding without much opportunity for them to talk back. I will keep them on the go so that they don’t have much time to think about excuses or a chance to hide.

I love my children very much. Usually they’re well behaved- particularly when outside of the home. We would like their good behavior to come home with them more frequently. It’s hard to live in the same household for years. Tempers flare and feelings get hurt. Trying to prevent this is what being a parent is all about.

Having children is wonderful.

Give Me Fuel, Give Me Fire…

Today was the perfect autumn day to work outside.  A bit of a breeze, a lite sprinkle of rain, and some little helpers needing to burn off energy. My wife had our two youngest cleaning branches and pine needles from the driveway and around the house. My eldest child and I cleaned off the roof and gutters. Her and I then worked together to tackle a project I put off all summer.


We tidied our disasterous woodshed. From boards and beams that were haphazardly tossed in, to the logs that had fallen over into the walkway, we needed to clean it all up.  We re-stacked the wood to the drier side and swept up the dust. Old wooden beams and plywood made their way to the back of the woodshed for possible future use. I even took the time to show my daughter how to safely chop kindling. 

During our afternoon, we shared some good bonding moments that didn’t feel forced. Even laughing maniacally as we killed armies of spiders that crawled their way out from the wood.  Afterwards, we went back into our home for a late lunch where my daughter also lit a fire. 


Our oldest daughter enjoys hanging out beside the fireplace in our large black wingback chair. This is her favorite spot for contemplation and peace during the fall and winter. The woodshed and fireplace are in essence, her way of becoming an adult. Bringing us comfort by warming our home is her contribution to the household.

Little did she know that she also warmed my heart by sharing her time with me today. Talking with her I realized she isn’t my little girl anymore, but a young lady with passion in her soul. These interactions become the “A-Ha!” moments that catch me off guard. 

With a bit of sadness and a lot of love, I’m glad that together we cleaned the woodshed today.