Random thoughts, ideas, rants and posts from my mind
Author: Chris Budd
Hello. I'm Chris. I'm a good ol' Canadian boy from New Brunswick. I love Disney, the WWE, movies, books and music. I love to cook. I am a happy-go-lucky kind of guy who enjoys life with his darling wife, Isabelle, and his kitty, Roxie.
As most of you who read my blog posts semi-regularly, my wife and I were celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. Ten years! We had decided on our anniversary plan about nine years ago – an epic two-week trip, along with my brother and his wife, to Disney World. The reasoning being that our anniversary coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. Eight years of putting money away week by week so that we would have a nice little nest egg to use for our trip. It was going to be amazeballs.
You can likely guess by the tone that the trip did not occur. Thanks to COVID-19, our plans were quashed. But we would not let this disappointment ruin our big anniversary. Given the travel constraints we faced, we instead opted to do a smaller-scale trip, but a fun one, nonetheless. Rather than head south to Florida, we headed north-west towards Quebec.
Welcome to November! The temperature is shifting to cooler weather; the days are getting shorter; pumpkin spice is beginning to shift to more holiday-inspired fare. Most importantly, we are nearing the end of this cycle around the sun. Another year come and gone.
For this November, I’ve decided to do a bit of a mental, physical and spiritual reboot. Let’s discuss!
Over the past few weeks, my wife and I have taken off on a couple of our DINK days. For those who haven’t read any of my previous DINK Diaries posts, it stands for Dual Income, No Kids. Translation? We are carefree, and can just take off to do things on a whim.
DINK Day number one was a random road trip to Fredericton. One of the main reasons for this trip was that we had wanted to go eat at a restaurant that my wife had the pleasure of discovering a few weeks earlier while in town for business. So off we went. We wandered around downtown a bit, hitting up a few of our regular spots. Then came the moment we’d been waiting for – lunch at The Lighthouse by 540.
Located along the Fredericton riverfront, The Lighthouse by 540 is a restaurant/bar located in, you guessed it, a converted lighthouse. You eat on the patio, overlooking the riverfront and enjoy the delicious food and drinks. The menu is small, but varied. I opted to try the Bibimbap and was not disappointed in the least! Such a delicious meal to end our day in Fredericton, before the two hour drive back home.
A few days later, I took a random Wednesday off of work so that we could partake in another DINK Day adventure. On the agenda this time was checking out the Fundy Trail Parkway. To quote their website, here is a description of the Fundy Trail Parkway:
The Fundy Trail is a 2,559 hectare/6,323 acre park featuring a 30 km/19 mile parkway hugging the southern coast of New Brunswick. With stunning views of the world-renowned Bay of Fundy, the park has been carved out of the Fundy escarpment, one of the last remaining coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador.
Visitors can drive the paved parkway that hugs the 250 m (820 ft) coastal cliffs, explore trails that connect to paths or stairways leading to pristine beaches and river estuaries, cross an 84 m (275 ft) suspension footbridge, see tumbling waterfalls and Precambrian rocks or stop by the interpretive centre and discover the rich history of a once thriving lumber industry. Fundy Trail is part of two UNESCO designated sites: the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark and home to the beginning of the Fundy Footpath hiking path, one of the top 50 hiking trails in the world!
As you can imagine, it was a beautiful drive. We stopped at a number of outlook points to take in the breathtaking views of the Bay of Fundy. While we didn’t do any of the hikes on this visit, we have agreed that we want to return, specifically to go hiking. I have a feeling there may be an autumn DINK Day on the horizon.
Our most recent DINK Day adventure was this past weekend. Over the course of the past 18 months, Isabelle and I have taken many, many, many, many drives within our province. Mostly, sticking to our corner of the province due to the various lockdowns that we experienced, but driven we have! We took to highlighting the main roads we had driven along on a map, which is now hung on my office wall. It serves as both a call to action of trips we want to take and a reminder of those we’ve done.
We decided to check off another couple of roads on our map. While our ultimate destination was one we’ve been to many times (see DINK Day trip number one above), the road we took was much longer than usual. Instead of the direct two hour drive along the highway, we headed North to Miramichi, then took some of the older roads towards Fredericton. It was a really nice drive, with little traffic, good music and interesting conversation.
Once we arrived in Fredericton, we again opted to dine at The Lighthouse by 540. On the menu for me this time – fish tacos. Though small, these were the most delicious fish tacos I have had the pleasure of eating. I would eat them again anytime.
So there you have it. Another few DINK Days added to the diary. I can’t wait to see what adventures await us in the future, as soon as this COVID-19 situation is better controlled!
One of the side effects of moving is that it allows you to go through belongings to sort out what is good enough to make the cut to your new destination and what becomes fodder for the trash heap. Compound that with a COVID-19 world where you’re staying at home more than you normally would, and you have ample time to revisit your glory days of yore.
One of the tasks I assigned myself after we moved last summer was to go through all of the photo albums and stacks of printed photos that I had and organize them. (You see, kids, back in the good ol’ days, we used to have to take pictures with a camera, not a phone, and then bring the film inside said camera to a specialized shop to have the pictures developed. It was a whole process. And until the advent of digital cameras, you didn’t even know if you got the shot you wanted until after the photos were developed!)
Among the pictures, I found a couple that triggered some dear memories – that of the greatest job I have ever had (and possibly ever will).
Social media is ever-present in most of our lives. No matter where you go, you’ve always got that handy little device in your pocket or close at hand. How many times a day do you hear that familiar notification sound and reflexively glance at your screen to see what’s going on? Pavlovian responses. It’s something that we do so unconsciously now that we usually don’t even notice how frequently we’re doing it. I’ve been absent over the past few days from my social media platforms. I decided that I needed a bit of a break, and boy did it do some good!
I’ve come to realize that I’ve been much too serious in my last few blog posts. What happened to the light-hearted, fun-loving Chris of old? Yes, we’re now a full year into this global pandemic, but that’s no reason to not spend time laughing. In all honesty, laughter is the one constant in my life over the past year.
Friday nights have been sitcom viewing nights for my wife and I for a couple of years now. We record a handful of episodes over the week and then just watch them all on Friday night. On top of this, we always have a sitcom on the go that we watch on a near-daily basis.
For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to talk about some of my favourite sitcoms.