Friday, July 27, 2007

E- Summer Blogging Break

We are taking a little summer blogging break to get out and enjoy the best of BC.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

E- Hysterical laughter

I have re-entered the waiting game (see June 4th). I have to say that I am getting better at the game too. I had a firefighting interview earlier in the week. While I am hopeful and very excited about the possibility of a job, I also know that this might not work out. My experience has taught me not to get too worked up about the possibility, but just try to enjoy the suspense. Okay- I still struggle to "enjoy" this feeling but I can envisage the day when I look back on my current undefined, open path in life with a certain nostalgia.

As seems to be typical in the summer, there have been lots of things to keep my mind off the waiting game. At Point Roberts we had Bill and Carol, our Canadian neighbours, over for some BBQ'd chicken. The night before my Dad came down for some burgers, a bonfire and some time with his Grandson. We celebrated Judy's birthday at their beach house. Bryan and I managed to get the little tin boat in the water and the motor set up in time to give Judy a birthday cruise. Remarkably, the motor, which probably hadn't been run in 2 years, started on the very first pull!

Today Les took the kids out to a study at the child psychology centre at UBC in the morning and participated herself in an IPSOS Reid discussion group in the evening. In between we took the kids to for a swim at the Arbutus Club and had picnic pizza dinner with the Bowman family from our Co-op. Whether it was from the silliness of having their Mom squirt whip-cream right into their mouths or if it was from the copious amount of Nitrous Oxide they inhaled as the bottle ran out, the kids seemed to laugh themselves into hysterics. Oh well, kids inebriated with laughter makes the waiting more fun.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

E- Me member dat Dad.

Memories are a funny thing. It's often harder to remember what we did last week than what we did a decade ago. I find it particularly weird that, with rare exception, most adults can't seem to access any memories from the period before the age of 4-5 years old. I say "can't access" because from raising kids of my own, it is obvious that our memories work quite well before this age. However at a certain point in our life we are no longer able to recall this information.

Molly seems to have forgotten most of her time in Europe, but does have certain things that stick in her head. Although I don't believe she has seen this photo, she sometimes talks about coming to the gym with me one day after my season ended in Fuerstenfeld. I set her up with some music (she called it "do-do"), crayons and dolls and she was happy for a couple of hours.

Finny continues to surprise us with some of the things she recalls. Last week we pulled out a hat that had been put away in storage since last summer. Immediately she said "Daddy, me hat. Alli gave me the hat and a bathing suit for me birthday." I of course had no idea, but it turns out she was right. Alli had given it to her for her second birthday 13 months earlier. Given that 50% more of her life had past since then, and this gift wasn't a topic we had discussed, I was pretty surprised that she would remember these kind of details. It's the kind of thing that can make a parent happy to know their child has a sharp brain and at the same time a little scared that every detail of our lives is being indefinitely recorded on an impressionable young mind.

Here are a few more pictures from the end of our stay in Europe that Molly may just still remember. One is of Molly swimming at the city pool in Fuerstenfeld (which is massive- it used to host up to 12,000 people a day before Austrians discovered cheap airfares to the coast). The others are from our trip to Croatia. We drove 12 hours from Dubrovnic to Fuerstenfeld all in one day. The kids were fantastic but looked pretty fried by the end of the trip.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ahhh, synonyms

This morning, Molly and I were watching the Travel Channel. Don't ask why, we just were.

There was a woman traveling around Jerusalem, explaining all the sacred sites around the city. She kept going on and on about all the places and how central to the Bible they were. After quite a lot of this, Molly, in total exasperation, said:

"Mumma, this is a silly show. She keeps on talking about how holey everything is, but I haven't seen a single hole. Not even one!"

It took me a couple seconds to realize that she had heard holey instead of HOLY. Right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

E- Tunnelling for bucks

We had the media come by my work site again yesterday. While this time there were no big name stars to insult (ie: calling Schwarzenegger an "old man"), the media shoot did provide a few pictures for me to post as reminders of my time on the Canada Line. When I found out that the media was coming, I duct taped together the rip in the seat of my pants. I was quite happy that I did as a couple of these shots were shown by the big local media organizations.

jumpcut movie:Working on the Canada Line Clip

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

E- This isn't the way to the beach!

As a parent, there are days that the kids seem to get under my skin a little more than others. It's difficult, however, to know whether this is because they are just whining and complaining more than usual or if I am just less tolerant. Les spent last weekend with some friends (and Lucas) in Point Roberts and I was with the girls. They are fantastic children and are a lot of fun to have around. I have so few complaints overall that I feel badly picking on this one issue. However, as many parents know, the whining can get to you after a while. Whether it was missing their mom or what, I don't know, but the level of whining definitely got to me the last couple of days.

Actually, it was probably the combination of whining and not listening that is the most frustrating. My favourite exchange, among many, went like this:

Molly "But Dad I want to go to the beach"

Me "We are going to the beach Molly"

Molly "I want to go. Why aren't we going to the beach"

Me (with a little frustration in my voice) "I just told you Molly, we are going. We are driving there right now"

Molly "No we're not. This isn't the right way to go to the beach. But you promised we are going to the beach."

Me "Arrrrrrrrrrgggggh"

To those people without kids, this may seem like a cute exchange. The 4 year old (who incidentally is getting to know some Vancouver landmarks quite well) giving driving directions/instructions to her father. However, those with small kids will appreciate how annoying it can be to constantly have to repeat things 5 times and then resort to threatening to take away a privilege before actually being heard. Having said this however, it's pretty nice to have children at the stage in life where the thought of losing a bed-time story is enough to coerce compliance just about every time. Too bad they don't listen the first 4 times I say it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Who can beat a title like Debocceri?

Eric, who has been a blogging machine, has done a fantastic job of updating the blog with details of our stay down in Point Roberts. As I sit in front of the computer here in town, with heat rising off our deck in waves, our time in Point Roberts seems like a pastoral dream.

As an aside, the girls, bizarrely, are on the couch watching a movie...with BLANKETS wrapped around them! Maybe Eric's observations about their temperature inconsistencies are just the tip of the iceberg...? Speaking of icebergs, maybe our blanket-wrapping-in-the-heat-of-summer kids are the perfect modern offspring...immune to the heat of global warming? Anyway...

Our last day in Point Roberts was just our family. It seemed quiet after so many guests and so much excitement. So, in an effort to keep the energy level high, Eric and Molly hatched an evil plan:

Picture me: sheltered in the cool shade of the front porch, cradling a hot and cuddly baby in my arms, reading a book. Along comes the picture of innocence. Molly, with love and tenderness in her eyes, approaches and tells me to close my eyes. Oh, my heart swells. She is bringing me some thirst quenching treat! A popsicle, a drink... Instead, when I open my eyes Moll is gone and so is Lukey's car seat, which had been at my feet. Weird.

Or diabolical.

Seconds later, two high powered water...rockets, there is no other word, shoot around the corner and absolutely drench me. Undeterred by the wee babe in my arms, I chase the smaller culprit (Molly) and tackle her. One rocket is now mine. I deposit baby in a safe spot, then go on the attack. In the ensuing battle, I uncharacteristically WIN. Both Eric and Molly were wetter than me. Hah! Until we all ended up in the kids' pool. Then we were all wet.

Finny was inside and missed the whole fight. The look on her face when she came out and saw everyone (Eric included) in the pool, with their clothes on, was hilarious. A true double take.

I piled everyone inside a ran a warm bath to wash off the grass. I bundled Lukey up in towels (what is nicer than a chubby, clean, cellulite covered baby thigh?) and wandered outside to find a still soaking Eric on the hammock. He looked so peaceful (in utter defeat).

Eric looked up at me from the hammock and said, "It just doesn't get any better than-" SNAP!

Well, karma will get you every time. I don't remember the last time I laughed that hard. That's what you get for an unprovoked sniper attack on a defenseless mother. That, and an embarrassing defeat. In front of your daughter. Beautiful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


As parents of young children, our lives are filled with a lot of responsiblity. At this particular stage in life, there just aren't as many hours left in the day for frivilous moments of fun as there were in our early 20's. Sunday, however, was a chance for us to let loose a little when 3 former team-mates from my UBC basketball team, and their families joined us, for a party down in Point Roberts.

John, Trixie, Jack, Hunter,Cole and Gerald joined the 9 of us already down at the Point early in the afternoon. We feasted on onion cheeseburgers with these new flat buns (which I would definitely recommend), chips with gaucomole, fresh cherries from Brady and Lisa's garden, melon, blueberries and beer.

It was great to have the big sunny backyard to host all of these people and to keep the kids entertained. It was really interesting to compare how the girls played on the trampoline (think "Little House on the Prairie") versus how the boys played (think "WWE Smackdown").

At a particular moment in the party I happened to notice one kid playing hockey, another basketball, two girls wading through the pond, one person on the trampoline and a couple of more on the slippery slide. With all these distractions around for the kids, the guys were able to get in a pretty serious game of Bocci while the girls talked on the porch. Just the nature of our friendships, being former team-mates who competed every day in practice, make any activity we participate in pretty competitive. We upped the stakes by assigning shots of rum to the player with the worst ball each round. Things got silly quickly. Having said that, it was a pretty special day to be able to spend some time having frivilous fun with friends, reminiscing about some good old times and creating new memories as well. All the while the kids were safe, entertained and creating some new friendships of their own.

As the afternoon wore on we got the fire going and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows. The kids, who seemed like they would never fade, eventually went inside to watch DVDs. (Although it perhaps doesn't seem like such a feat now, in the moment I took a lot of pride in being able to crack the parental code on "Ice Age" and "Strawberry Shortcake".) With the kids thus entertained, we were free to continue the party outside listening to music around the campfire. At this stage in our lives, it was about as perfect an afternoon as possible.

The next morning wasn't so perfect however, as I had to get up early for a test in Richmond. There were about 700 questions from 5 different tests measuring everything from my ability to quickly work with fractions to my tendency to psychopathy. Although I might not have had the perfect preparation for the test, I figured anyone who had been able to crack a Sony Playstation code in my condition should probably be able to get a passing grade on the test. We will see next week.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

E- Wonky thermostats

Summer has finally arrived and none to soon. The last four days were hot and sunny, perfect for spending down in Point Roberts, out in the yard and at the beach. Brady, Lisa, Jaeli and Rylan came down from Kelowna to stay with us from Saturday until Monday. Soon after arriving, we set up the killer whale slide which kept the kids entertained for hours. It's amazing how a 3 foot long slippery surface can provide enough fun and adrenaline to make kids oblivious to the freezing cold tap water for hours on end! We headed to Judy and Bryan's place later in the day to be able to barbecue while the kids played on the beach. Brady and I took the kids for a walk along the beach after dinner. They scrambled along logs, dug in the sand and found all sorts of shells and rocks to bring home. After about 20 minutes of walking we figured we had better turn back before everybody got too tired. Within seconds of this thought, tears came separately to Molly, Fin and Rylan. Jaeli had enough of all the noise and decided to run home.

On Sunday morning Les was on the Point Roberts garden tour, so I was in charge of entertaining the rest of the troops. Maple beach can be incredibly beautiful and enjoyable as the tide-waters pour in and warm up over the couple of kilometers of sand flats that make up Boundary Bay. However, our timing was a little off. Some morning wind and clouds combined with a fairly high tide to make our trip to the beach a little chilly. I gave the kids a ride in our dingy but apparently they are only oblivious to cold in very specific water sport environments.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Wet and Wild

This was Lukey this morning during his bath al fresco on our balcony. He was pretty thrilled at being able to water all the (damaged and abused) plants with his energetic thrashing and splashing. Naked. In the sunlight. Wet. Can't we all just wish we were seven months old for a moment? If I fit in that tiny tub...and wouldn't know, arrested...for doing the same thing...,... Let's just leave that pleasure to a vicarious one, right?

Not to be outdone, the girls insisted on some splashing of their own. We rigged up the co-op wading pool (and for those of you rolling your eyes, yes it is co-op of us). Eric and I played medieval servants to the two surly princesses and hauled multiple bowls, kettles and watering cans full of warm water to supplement the chilly hose. Those soft-shelled little crabbies were demanding. Once we got to a suitable temperature, they were slipping and sliding around joyfully.

And as an homage to five years of married life (July 6th, 2002), we did what everyone does for their anniversary--we ordered lunch special Chinese food and ate at our picnic table. Marital bliss? You bet. I'll take take-out and true happiness any time.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

E- A good commute?

This week I have experimented with commuting between Point Roberts and Vancouver. With all 4 of my shifts at night, I have been able to spend my days at the Point with Les and the kids, who have been there full time for the last week. The weather has been fantastic and I deem the experiment a success. Even though I only have off 12 hours between shifts, the day somehow seems a lot longer when it is spent outdoors away from televisions, phones and computers.

Yesterday we attended the 4th of July parade and celebrations before teaching the girls how to conduct a water fight. I can already imagine this coming back to haunt Les or me when one of the kids decides to soak us with the hose as we peacefully and obliviously read our books.

Today I played out in the yard for a couple of hours with the kids while Les took her first parenting break in way too long. The girls loved playing with the sprinkler and on a wet trampoline after the initial shock of the cold water wore off. In the late afternoon we took a soft taco picnic to the beach hoping to see the Orcas who feed just off the shore at this time of year. We didn't time things right to see any whales but the kids displayed no let down when they found a dead crab instead.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

E-The most Canadian of Canada Days in the U.S.A.

I often hear people from outside of BC say that Vancouver isn't the "real" Canada. Without getting into too much debate about what or where can really claim to represent the "real" Canada, I tend to agree with those people. We don't have the cold winters or wide open spaces and cheap land. Other than the NHL's marketing machine we don't follow a lot of hockey. We even have more places selling sushi then donuts!

Having said this, I am proud to be a Canadian and look forward each year to celebrating July 1st. This year we were down in Point Roberts, which, because of some geographic anomaly, is actually not in Canada. Somehow, without really planning it, we ending up having the most Canadian of Canada Days while in the U.S.A.

It started when I rented a log splitter on Saturday afternoon. For the price of one days rental, I didn't have to have it back until the store next opened on Tuesday. A log splitter is a fantastic machine, making light work of logs that just wouldn't crack with the hand splitter. It is even pretty safe because it works at a very low speed but high hydraulic pressure. The speed factor presented a challenge for me however as I had many tons of wood that I had collected last winter to get through.

What I really needed was a team of people- and somehow, without my asking, in a very helpful Canadian way, the team showed up and worked all day. Les started the splitting, operating the lever with her left hand while holding Lucas in her right. Bryan and PJ came by early in the day, followed a short while layer by Joey who had just returned into town. Our neighbour Bill (also Canadian) came over to see what all the racket was about and joined us for about 8 hours worth of work. All day long the team worked diligently until there was no wood left to split. And then, tired but not hungry (Les made great fried onion cheese burgers for us and there was lots of beer to be had) we did the most Canadian of things- we went over to our American neighbour's house (he was out of town) and split his wood for a couple of hours.

I am appreciative of the help we got with wood that day. However, I am even more appreciative of the fact that I know some good Canadian guys who are happy to spend day this way.