My Pastor has explained the importance of creating motion. Once you are moving, it’s easier to be redirected. And right now, I feel like we are in motion. My last blog post I was talking about our new tent camper, and how we’ve had to figure a few different things out. One of them, last night (and this morning), was how to work the furnace. We just keep figuring it out.

Sometimes, in the thick of it, it can be a frustrating thing. I don’t like ‘giving up’, but as Pastor Craig Groeschel says, sometimes the way forward is to take a step back. Notice, however, there’s still motion involved. You don’t come to a stop. You can’t redirect something that’s not moving. The key is to just keep chugging along, and pick up different things as you go.

Right now we are thinking about buying the house we’ve been renting. So I approached my landlord, and he suggested we get an appraisal done. And that happened earlier today, and I should get a number early next week. We have a ballpark number we are willing to pay for the house, and I’m really curious to see where it comes in. Problem is, the landlord wants his costs covered – legal, mortgage payout, etc.

But right next door to ours is another house, similar format to ours. Backing into a park, on a cul-de-sac, garage, etc. But much better renovated. And the people in there used to rent the place we are currently in, and the owner is also a pilot with the airline I work for (and I actually flew with him, back in the day). They are planning to move end of summer, and the owner is open to selling that place as well. Which would save us a bunch of reno’s, and having to pay out the mortgage above (I think?).

So all I know is we get that number, and we should have a pretty good sense on if that’s close. Then we need to re-approach our current landlord, and then possibly the neighbor. One step at a time, but it’s clear what direction to go and now I just execute and go through the motions. It’ll be fun to see where we end up for Christmas!

You see, there’s always some sort of crisis that needs solved. Whether it’s dandelions in the backyard, restoring a 1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, fixing up an old tent camper, figuring out what stocks / ETFs / etc. to buy, sorting out a schedule, sticking to a budget, what to eat today, the list goes on and on and on. The key thing is to create a formula, and to not get too overwhelmed, and take it one step at a time (whether that’s forward, or sometimes sideways, and even backwards).

Stay in motion!

Photo courtesy of

1994 Bonair 1050

1994 Bonair 1050

Well, just over a month ago (April 10th to be exact) we bought a tent camper. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is something you pull behind your vehicle that ‘pops up’ into a tent trailer. I had to switch ‘car’ to ‘vehicle’ in the last sentence, because after our friends pulled it to our house and parked it, we had to figure out how to pull it behind our 2011 Dodge Caravan.

That was Step 1.

So I installed a hitch receiver and used my neighbors torque bar to get it sinched on. Is that even a word, sinch? Anyways, once that was done, we demo’d the tent trailer for my sister-in-law and noticed one of the cables was fraying – then snapped. There’s one in each corner of the tent trailer and you use it to crank it up. So missing one isn’t ideal, as it sags significantly in that corner. So we had to figure out how to splice the cable and run a new one using a crimper, cable cutters, sleeves and some 1/8 gauge aircraft cable.

That was Step 2.

Then the lights went on the trailer, and we couldn’t figure out why. We tried my friends’ truck, I took my newly-outfitted van to my friend’s trailer and the lights on his worked with my van, we towed the trailer up to a shop in Olds where my parents live and he gave us a couple tips. That was my first time pulling it (other than around the cul-de-sac), and my wife pulled it back which was her first time. After some experiment, we figured out swapping out the ground (specifically, installing a new head on the ground, and a new screw, and perhaps more importantly, brushing the metal of the trailer it was grounding to) was the key.

That was Step 3.

Now, we have a tent trailer that appears to work. Tonight we are doing a trail run, camping in our driveway, just to see how the boy does. And honestly, how we do figuring out the lights and the battery (which we have to buy a new one today) and the sink and the stove and all the things. But hey, we’ve made it this far, so I’m sure we can figure out the final bit.

We have six camping trips already planned this summer, with the first being this weekend. It’ll be a real test with a small risk of rain (there always is, with May Long in Alberta) but also I’m working so the wife is pulling it up with the baby without me and I’m joining her after. It’s a familiar setting, one we’ve gone to for a few years now with some friends.

Without the tent camper, I’m not sure we would join this weekend let alone any of the other weekends. So it’s an investment in fellowship and spending time outdoors, making memories with our baby, and getting some time with eachother and some friends / family. We’ll see if we really take to it, but so far we have enjoyed the process.

We better, because we might be inheriting a 1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, and I’m sure the list of things to figure out on that will far exceed the list we’ve accumulated so far on this unit. But I’ll save that for another blog.

Here we are on the pickup day, and of course it would start snowing randomly. One of my favorite pictures of the year!


My goal with this blog was to write 5x a week…

This is my first blog in May, and looking in my HabitShare app, I only blogged three times in April. Just double that in March. This week, I’m hoping I can get a “green wall”, or hit that 5x a week goal.

Starting this morning.

My other habits have been going well. I’ve been clean. My running club is at 74%, and I only missed two days in all of March. Last week I managed to get out 4x, one more than the 3x, including a run with my wife! Devotions, or riding my Bible, is the big winner at 100% and a streak of 155 days. 3 things a day has also been great, at 94%, and a streak of 41 days.

My push-up set sits at 83%, and I have a personal best of 55 pushups! That one and weighing myself – 81% – are closely linked, as I do the latter right after.  Love Bree sits at 97% and I added one more, Walk with Bree, which sits at 100%. The goal is to do a quick 20 minute walk through Nose Creek Park after we put the baby to sleep.

So overall pretty happy with it, but I need to pull the 5AC and this blog numbers up a bit. It’s fair to say I’ve got out of the habit, and it’s time to bring it back in. So here we go!

It will be a good lineup this week. We recently purchased a 1994 Bonair 1050 Tent Camper, which we’ve had to do a couple upgrades to. Well, repairs. The first biggee was one of the corner cables needed replaced – no easy feat. Then, we needed a hitch receiver on the van and learn how to hook-up and pull a trainer. That’s still a work in progress. But then we needed to figure out why the lighting didn’t work, which we traced to a faulty ground. Inflate the tires. It’s a work in progress. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow and in the lead-up to our May Long camping trip this weekend.

On Wednesday, we get the house we are renting appraised and consider a purchase decision. We like the place, and if we can get it for the right price, I think we might. Like my TFSA / RRSP blog, there’s plenty of options, and we want to try to pick the one that makes the most sense. But they’re all good options, and there’s a multiplication starting to happen.

Speaking of – my work savings plan is back, so instead of my humble $500 a month saving plan, I’m starting to put that away per paycheque, and my employer will math it 100% (less tax) in a year’s time. So the savings should start to really ramp up, which is a blessing as we limp ourselves out of this COVID year.

So plenty to talk about this week. I just needed to get a couple down on paper to motivate myself as I get into the week. Stay tuned!

Photo courtesy of I had to Google whether to use “check-in” or “check in”. Check-in is an adjective or noun, and check in is a verb.


About a month after we moved into this place, we started hanging pictures around the house. As I sit at my desk in the basement, over my right-hand shoulder is my Aviation Diploma, Business Degree and my recently-awarded Master’s degree. These three are neatly arranged from top to bottom, with the MBA at the top. Underneath this academic credentials are two smaller plaques -> one presented to me by the #185 Olds RCAC squadron for being the Reviewing Officer in June 2018, the other presented from Mount Royal College (now a University).

This is the place where I got the Aviation Diploma and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). The plaque, however, has little to do with my academic performance but more to do with my performance as a Resident Advisor (RA). I was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for East Residence, in the Year 2008-2009. As I hung that plaque it brought back a few memories, and ironically just a week later I was asked to do a ‘teaching moment’ on Loyalty.

When I first go the RA job, we did a round-circle during the training where our leadership team (one of whom was a gentlemen named Brandon) asked us to list one quality of a leader. You see, as an RA we would be responsible for leading a group of students (in my case, fellow pilots in the aviation living learning community). We went around the circle and all your normal buzz words came up – honesty, decisiveness, etc. There were no ‘new age’ terms like vulnerability, followership, etc. But there was one RA-in-training – Dave, who I liked because he was the bouncer at the student pub (the Lib) and also was a returning RA – who said loyalty.

For me, that wasn’t even in the top 3. I agree it’s important, but I didn’t understand how important.

Fast forward a year and I get this MVP plaque, and with it a book called “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, and also a bamboo plant. I held onto all three, with the plaque now hanging behind, the book beside me in my desk (mostly because I used it as part of my show-and-tell teaching moment), and the bamboo plant in my betta tank. In a strange, maybe ironic, twist the bamboo has started dying ever since I did the teaching moment a week ago.

The death cycle.

It stood the test of the time -> I moved it into a wine bottle at some point, and then into a much ‘cuter’ rectangular glass with two other bamboo plants, until it finally resided in the betta tank last year for my birthday.

I was planning to return as an RA in the fall, but during the summer I attended a party. And at this party someone somewhere was drinking alcohol outside, which was against the rules, which I chose not to enforce. A picture was taken, my offer to return was rescinded, and I was left looking for a place to live while I finished my BBA (and also started my aviation career).

I lived with my great-great aunt for a couple months, and learned some valuable lessons from her.

The lesson I learned from this RA experience was the important of loyalty. You see, I chose to be loyal to my friends at the party instead of my work friends. The one who came to break-up the party was Robin, who actually voted for me to have the award.

The funny part, I can’t remember anyone at the party. But I remember Brandon, Dave and Robin.

The Bamboo mentioned above is the middle one (starting to die by the looks of things).


As I write this my six-month old is just a mere couple feet away crying his face off, lying in his crib.

It’s the morning after Night 5 of sleep training and overall it’s going well. It’s actually a pretty straight-forward science. You go through a consistent routine and lay your baby in a crib, and then he proceeds to cry until he falls asleep. There’s certain rules around picking him up, touching him, talking to him. But ultimately he has to learn to put himself to sleep, and mom and dad have to learn let him cry.

The nice part – the silver lining – is when he wakes up he’s more likely to get himself back to sleep without interference. For this one you wait at least 3 minutes, or upwards of 10 minutes, to give him that opportunity, before going in. At least at the stage we’re at.

And no I’m not some sort of heartless parent. I don’t think? We are using the book “The Sleep Sense Program” (Proven Strategies for Teaching your Child to Sleep Through the Night [Second Edition]” by Dana Obleman (B.A. in Psych and B. Ed. (Elem.).

He got quiet there for a second but is back at it again.

Where am I going with this? As a millennial we get a bad rap for needing “instant gratification”. So we go to our employer for a raise just a month after getting the job, we lack tenacity, we can barely keep a plant alive, and if we do have a plant we hardly ever plant it from seed.

I feel like my baby has that too. He’s crying out for us to pick him up, but what he really needs is sleep. And by denying him the instant gratification of feeling our warmth and a vertical position, he gets that opportunity. Then he can sleep the night through (which he did Saturday), and mom and dad can do.

Often, in our lives, denying ourselves that instant gratification leads to long-term reward. I should only really speak for myself, but I’ll say some of the worse things I’ve done I’ve done on impulse, and some of the best have happened through discipline and patience.

Quiet again….

That said, this year I’m learning how to relax a bit. We just got a camp trailer. After 7 seasons of riding my motorbike, I got an intercom system (Fodsport M1S). Got some new kicks (Under Armour Street Encounter IV Slides). And 80 Vinyls (for $100). Hosted a poker night on Friday (virtually). Getting some firewood dropped off tomorrow. Going to Golden for a getaway in a couple weekends.

I hit my audacious goal for the year – saving up $80k for a 20% down payment on a house. So now everything is gravy. It’s funny though, in a couple weeks I’ll be onto the next thing.

In the meantime, he’s “Gonzo”. The term my wife and I use to say our baby is sleeping (more accurately, passed out).

“Gonzo”, our term for our sleeping baby. Photo courtesty of



I find I often try to re-invent the wheel.

But I’m slowly learning it’s easier just to develop a template once, a formula, and then reuse it when a similar situation popped up.

About a year-and-a-half ago my wife and I came to a crossroads. We needed some change. We had been living in a three bedroom townhouse for almost five years, and we were debating whether to 1) sell it and move out or 2) rent it out and move out or 3) continue living there,

We kicked around various options, asked people (mentors) in our life.

Then one day we decided, let’s start with Option 1. If we get a good offer, sell it. If we don’t, move to Option 2. And then after that, Option 3. Rather than debating the merits of the choices – all of which are valid, btw – just start working your way through them.

We ended up selling, moving to Calgary, and getting pregnant just over a month later. There is some irony there as one of the driving reasons for moving out of the townhouse was our difficulty getting (and staying) pregnant, and the emotion that comes from not filling up the rooms in the house. The two bedroom condo we moved into we quickly outgrew when the baby arrived.

Now we find ourselves in the opposite position -> we are back in Airdrie, renting a house now. And we are trying to decide do we 1) continue renting, 2) buy the house we are renting or 3) buy a different house. I suppose there’s a 4th option -> rent somewhere else.

I’ve learned that any decision in life is a game of pros and cons, of trade-offs. We have a blessed life and all that will really change are some numbers on a page somewhere -> less investments (in the form of a down payment), gaining more equity, lower costs, etc. But ultimately nothing will change too much…we’ll still go biking, drive the same vehicles, we might even be in the same place. Same friends, same church, same work.

So I’m setting up a time to get a number from our landlord. Then we can weigh that out against comparators. Work through the options.

Formula, template.

Copy, paste.

Image courtesy of Surfnet Kids. In case you’re wondering, I picked this because I googled “formula”, and this came up (even though Newton’s formulas are laws…).

Risk, Part 2

I realize I’ve already done a blog post on Risk.

This time though, I’m talking about the board game.

More specifically, the Hasbro version, an app you can install on your tablet, phone or computer. And I have it on all three.

It’s my guilty pleasure.

I’ve never been a big video game player with the occasional exception. I enjoy Age of Empires (and the various expansion packs) and Battlefield (and the various versions). I always thought of games on your phone – such as Candy Crush, Killer Birds, etc. – as time wasters, unproductive, etc. But I got into Risk about a year ago and it’s really got me hooked.

Initially, a Captain I was flying with introduced me to it. I knew the concept from when I played the board game growing up. Many of you might know this game as a relatively boring, slow pursuit with increasing aggravation on the dice rolls that proved luck often outmatched any strategy or skill. Many of us would agree most great games involve a little bit of both.

Quick side note. I’m also a curling fan, and yesterday morning I watched the 2021 Championship Final of the Tim Hortons Brier. I was watching Elijah while my wife went and procured sewing supplies. It was an epic final, with 4-time champion Kevin Koe (Wild Card) taking on Brendan Bottcher (Alberta). It was a battle of Alberta, and a game of cat-and-mouse.

That is, until Kevin Koe’s first rock picked in the 7th end. That left Bottcher with a wide-open hit to lay 3, Kevin missed the double and Bottcher cracked the scoring open with a three-ender. Changed the entire complexity of the game, based on a hair or some piece of debris on the ice.

Skill, and luck.

Back to Risk.

The game play is quite a bit quicker thanks to the ability to “fast forward” through the computer’s turns, and also a feature called “blitz” where you don’t have to continually roll the dice. Where my indulgence picked up was during the start of the COVID days a year ago, when we were all socially isolating. Every morning I’d wake up with a coffee, throw an invitation into a group chat (including some friends and my dad), and we’d play a game together.

Like my weekly online poker nights, it slowly trickled out as we went into summer time, and into the fall when I had a baby. But I still play a couple games of Risk a day, each taking about 15-20 minutes.

About the time it takes to write this blog post.

I just looked at the profile on my iPad, where I play the bulk of my games. I’m considered an “Intermediate”, with a rank of 83,649. I’ve played 413 games (!!!) and the scarier part – played 135 hours (which is almost a week). My online ratio (against strangers) is 21 wins to 44 losses, friends 29-15, Pass & Play (mostly with my wife) is 50%, and the bulk of games (against computers) is 265-35. I’ve defeated 55k troops to my 43k.

Going back to my post on streaks, my longest win streak is 22. My longest lose streak, 6.

I’m glad I don’t spent more time doing it. I know one Captain – different than the one I mentioned above – who has spent over $20k on a Transformer App. He’s one of the best in the world at the game. I haven’t spent a dime on Risk, which helps me meter how much I play. There’s two “bonus maps” that come out on Sunday nights, and on Monday I play the map against 5 computers, and then on Tuesday 4 computers, etc. Until the grand finale when it’s a 1-on-1 fight on Friday.

It’s nice to have those little timeouts.

Technically, it’s called “Risk: Global Domination” on Steam

Long walks

I just finished up a 4km walk to round out three days of walks. Yesterday was my longest-ever on Strava, almost 14km and the day before I’ve already talked about out at 13.5km. Whether these can be considered ‘hikes’ or walks really doesn’t matter, what matters is the time spent outside doing something physical.

While it might not be going to the gym, or biking, or even running, it’s something. And as I’ve talked about before, something is certainly better than nothing. Much like this blog post. I have all of about ten minutes before I need to close down the laptop and head to work. I could spend that time scrolling on Instagram or Facebook, but instead I decided to crack this open. Normally I do it in Word and then spit it into here, but this time I went right for it.

It’s something.

I listened to an interview on Atomic Habits author James Clear and he talked about the 2% rule. If you want to do Yoga everyday for thirty minutes, don’t start by doing Yoga everyday for thirty minutes. Instead, pull your Yoga mat out and then fold it back up and put it away. He talks about some guy who would drive to to the gym, walk in, walk back out and drive home. He lost almost a hundred pounds.

So with that, I’ve started doing a pushup set everyday. Right before bed. I put it in my HabitShare app, and I’ve successfully done it two days in a row. 30 pushups each time. Fast forward a year and I wonder what it will look like. A year from now I wish I would have started a year ago.

Look at my Running Club, or my Bible Thumpers (Biking Club). We aren’t out there running or biking everyday, we run 3x a week and we bike 3x a week (sometimes 4). It’s enough that it’s something, without being so much that it becomes nothing (overwhelmed exhausted).

It’s sustainable.

And now I actually get excited to go running without it feeling like a chore. And I CANNOT WAIT until my little boy is six months old – just two weeks away – so I can start pulling him behind me in the chariot. That said, he is growing up quick, so I need to slow it down.

Funny, I just looked at the time and it only took me 3 minutes to type this. Per my 5AM Club I always give myself 20 minutes to ‘journal’. It’s almost like time slows down when you decide to slow down a bit.

I definitely want to do that with my loved ones.

Time for a nice stroll with the family later, me thinks.

Nice cherry blossom in Sydney, BC

Running Club

I have about twenty minutes to write this post before I go for a run.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running Monday and Thursday nights at 9PM, and again Saturday morning at 9AM. According to my HabitShare app that I talked about in a previous post, I’m currently on a streak of 3 and overall I’m at 86%. In fairness, that would be 100% except I did a run Tuesday morning instead of Monday night due to having to fix a plumbing issue in the new house.

Why do I do it?

At least part of it is I’m preparing for the Banff Marathon coming up in September (originally June, but they moved it a week again). I did the half marathon virtually last year with a time of 2:30:20, by running from Banff into Canmore. I did the same run, but the opposite direction, four years earlier with a time of (I’ll get back to you). Both times were with my good friend Eric, and he’ll be with me this year too.

Speaking of friends, that’s another reason.

The 5KM loop I do – when I’m in my home city – goes right by two of my friends’ houses. One – Jesse – I’ve mentioned on here before, the other – Anthony – I’ve also mentioned as my accountability partner. Both are now avid readers (I know they’re going to read this and laugh). They come out and follow me around the loop, drop me off, and carry on back to their places.

Proximity is another reason.

Recently, I moved back to Airdrie, and one of the key reasons is to be closer to our community. My brother and his family are here, our church is here, some of oldest friends are here, and it’s closer to my parents and extended family that live a half-hour north. Our last spot had good friends nearby, but we were still driving up quite a bit. To be within running distance is great, so I’m happy to take advantage of it.

Growing up, I did a paper-route with my family. My mom would drive us kids around and we’d run by my Youth Pastor (Andy) who would be running with some of the church guys. I always thought that was cool.

Also, routine.

There’s something satisfying about it. The guys I’m in the running club with are part of the “400 pound club”, a group who were regularly attending the gym, for a myriad of reasons (some may be listed here). Among those goals was the aspiration of leg pressing 400 pounds. Anyways, they’d meet 3x a week at the same times as I listed above. So I figured the next-best thing would be a bit of cardio.

Finally, discipline.

I don’t particularly enjoy running. I prefer the gym or even riding the bike. Or hiking. Or sitting, sometimes. But again – going back to my post on external vs. internal motivation) – I feel compelled to go out and run when I know the guys will be there or at least my accountability partner Anthony will check my progress on the HabitShare app.

Gotta keep that streak alive. I want my golden star.

Tonight I’m running in Kelowna on a layover. I’ve done a 5km (5.07 actually) loop virtually here before, a route recommended by Patrick. I just screenshot it on Strava and send it to the group to participate in the club virtually. That was followed by a walk (3.55km) and a hike (8km), and today all I did was the hike (mind you it was 13.57km total).

I’m going to retrace the same loop and try to beat my own time – which was 27:38 last time.

I’ll report back when I return.

28:13. Thirty-five seconds slower!

More importantly though: Anthony and Jesse did the loop back in Airdrie at the same time!

Running Club is off to a good start.

View from the hike today (Knox Mountain, facing south)

Jack & Blake

Ugh, back to money. This one is fun though.

I follow Dave Ramsay. I’ve taken Financial peace University with my local church (Venue Church) and I listen to his podcast and have him and a couple of his co-workers at Ramsay Solutions. Namely his daughter, Rachel Cruze, and Chris Hogan. I listened to Chris Hogan’s book “Everyday Millionaires”. You might remember from a post a couple weeks ago that I’m a fan of Pastor Craig Groeschel as well, who re recently interviewed Dave Ramsay.

One illustration Ramsay uses is “Jack and Blake”, illustrated below.

Compliments of Ramsay Solutions

The idea here is pretty straight-forward, the sooner you start saving the better you end up doing. This illustration, I’ve discovered, is a bit exaggerated. I used Excel (not Google Sheets) to reverse engineer the graph, and they use an annual interest rate of approximately 11.5%. I realize that’s doable but I’ve dialed that down to 4%. I’m hoping for 8% in the market, and then taking 2% off for management fees and 2% off for inflation (to keep the final # in today’s $$$).

I’m hoping that’s conservative -> our mutual fund manager (which handles about half of our investments, equally split between RRSP and TFSA) only charges 0.5%. At the company I work for, they have a generous Savings Plan, where they 100% match our contributions up to 10-20% of our salary (depending on how long you’ve been at the company, and what division you’re in). My contribution and my employer match is managed by Manulife, which gives us a discounted group plan fee of approximately 0.75%. Inflation is generally at or below 2%, although I’ve heard with this COVID situation the Bank of Canada is willing to let that go above to keep things chugging along.

Anyways, as of last year, my wife and I have a humble $75,000 at the age of 30. That’s more than double what Jack had at this point (approximately $31,000) and far more than Blake (who had just started investing, so just over $2500). We plan to invest at least $12,000 a year, significantly more than either of the gentlemen (who are doing $200 a month). Needless to say, with the head-start and the added contribution we end up further ahead than both.

Even with a meager 4% return, we end up north of a million dollars before retirement. More than 4x Blake, and 10x Jack. That should be enough to retire on, and I’m hoping we can outpace that with added contributions or a higher net market return (better market performance or lower fees). The sensitivity is an extra $500,000 for every 1%. For example, getting 5% gives us an extra half a million in retirement. If we went to the original 11.5% Ramsay uses in his illustration, I’d have over $10 million.

Contribution wise, I’m ahead of the market. Even with part-time hours, and the above-mentioned company savings plan being suspended (until April, thanks to COVID), I’ve managed to contribute over $13,000 already this year – and we are just two months in. And my wife is on maternity leave.

I’ve plotted our position, as well as a few friends, and our niece who we helped open a TFSA account and got her started when she turned 18 a year ago. She’s 19 now, so it’ll be curious to see how she does. We are trying to get a couple young adults at church getting into it. It’s better to be Jack than Blake, and you can do even better with a bit of discipline.

Modified version of the above by Ramsay Solutions

Sometimes it seems like it’s taking forever – that’s one thing I got out of Hogan’s Everyday Millionaires – you’re running a marathon not sprinting a race. Slow-and-steady and avoid the get-rich quick scheme. But looking at this it’s a great visual to be able to see the progress and relax a bit, just keep working the process and we’ll be just fine.