At some point in your life, you may have felt a well-defined solidity, a sure-footed certainty in its overall direction. But most of the time you may feel like you have no idea where life will ultimately take you, where things change every time you turn around. Some say change is the only constant in this world, and I'd have to agree, though this makes it sound like kind of a bad thing; an irritation as we try to build around what we know. But change can also lead you to wonderful things and experiences you'd later on never give up for anything...
At this point last year, things were quite different in my life from what they are today. My wife was about five or six months inflated, with our little growing embryo greedily taking up more and more space in mum's tum.
While living in a rented single-wide in an even-God-has-no-clue-where-this-place-is kinda town, we were finalizing negotiations with the purchase of our new home on the other side of the community.
Me: "So, we just want the house and the yard, they can keep the moose."
Realtor: "Sorry, moose is not negotiable, comes with the house. Everybody gets a moose. The sellers will include a garage as an added incentive, though."
We were, at the time, also on the verge of evicting our tenants renting our modest condo wa-a-a-ay to the south. It seemed we were decidedly off to a bad start with the whole "landlord" thing, harboring tenants who repeatedly scared the little old lady across the hall with complete indifference to wearing pants and whom, we're pretty sure, had very tight liaisons with the Yakuza.
We were also busily preparing/arming ourselves with baby-knowledge so we could fight the good fight when D-Day would ultimately arrive in early August and idealistic but naive young parents would go head to head with eight pounds of pink, pudgy baby flesh.
And above all else we were learning to take care of a 900 lb moose. Turns out they don't like being milked. Who knew, right?
Anyway, for a while there were too many things up in the air and nothing we could really do about it. We were just biding our time, standing on the surface of the earth staring up at all this "stuff" floating above us, waiting for it all to come down. But thankfully, we were able to resolve at least one of our dilemmas rather easily; we just fired up the ol' barbecue on the back porch and voilà! Problem solved.
Don't be gross. We didn't eat the moose.
We grilled up our tenants and fed them to the birds instead. The moose is now staying in our condo. He pays the rent somehow, and always on time. I don't ask questions.
That was spring 2013, and now it's a year later, making it...uh...carry the one...divide by the square root of Pi...well, according to my math, it's just that: a year later. And boy, have things changed.
The neighborhood birds are suspiciously well-fed. We are steadily making our new home in Canada's northern nether-region "ours" with personal touches, loving the space and quality of life this place affords us. Random moose have stopped visiting our back yard, and we haven't heard any complaints from the condo board in a good long while.
But the biggest thing to come our way was just after a thankfully not-too-hot July. The wife gave birth to our first little mutant in early August, a fun-loving little imp who we mostly address as our li'l tax deduction. New to parenting, we experienced similar hardships that countless other people have no doubt endured throughout the process, but all it takes is one of his bashful little smiles to make it all worth it and more.
Having a kid changed our entire lives, and that's no exaggeration. Everything we do, everywhere we go, his needs dictate how we do anything now. Going golfing? Now we have to make sure the cart comes with a booster seat so he can see over the steering wheel when he drives (safety first, ya know). And, we've resorted to using catheters on long trips so we don't inadvertently wake up our little munchkin for fear of having to put up with a whiny little fusspot for hours on end, fighting the urge to leave him on the side of the road with twenty bucks stapled to the front of his shirt and a little sign that says Free to a Good Home.
This scenario plays out pretty much every time we go anywhere now:
"Honey, pull over at the rest stop, I really gotta pee."
"But he finally fell asleep!... Gharr...Fine, but you're gonna have to tuck n' roll. I'll loop around and pick you back up on the run. Okay, ready? Bend those knees!"
And fancy dinners out? You can forget that now with the messes this little guy makes. We're sticking to low-grade stuff like Denny's or something lower quality. So just Denny's.
But don't let that stuff turn you off parenthood! There's been so many fantastic, wonderful changes for the better! Like watching your offspring discover the magic in everything for the first time! Like lint! Do you remember ever being as excited about lint as an infant can be? As busy workaday adults, we've forgotten the simple pleasures of life like lint! I love watching that little goober just happily crawling around and, all of a sudden, his attention is focused like a James Bond wristwatch laser beam on, what else? A tiny ball of lint! Little mouth open in wonder, he pinches this magical lint nugget with his thumb and index and hoists it up to the heavens, as high above his head as those stubby little arms will reach, and just stares at it in wonder. If his chubby cheeks would allow him to form words, I'm sure he would say: "Behold! This lint is God's greatest miracle!" And after a short moment of reverent reflection, he then puts that little miracle in his mouth, quickly realizing, by the look on his face, that it likely bathed in the sweaty juices of dad's work socks. Heh heh.
But the perks of being a parent don't just stop at excitement over lint! No siree Bob! The tax deductions alone get us an extra... well, it covers most of...we might break even if we just...dang.
"Honey, what's the black market paying for adorable babies these days?"
"Hmm..." *plugging numbers into the calculator* "Shoot. Umm...'Kay, once it hits eight bucks we'll sell. Ok? Honey? Honeeee?"
Or how about the social advantages? Just the other day I finally had enough with this jackass across the street who treats our residential side road like a quarter-mile drag strip, proudly advertising to his fellow residents that he's too dumb to buy a muffler. So I took action! I hoisted my little bundle of joy into my arms and marched on over to Mr. Shitmanners' house, intent on using the whole "concerned parent" angle to drive some sense into this guy. He couldn't even defend his side, he just took it all in, not arguing with me one bit. I had baby-power, dammit! He hasn't sped down our street once since I talked to him, pointing my kid at him like a drooling magic wand. You gotta try it! Use your children to make people conform to your desires, it's great!
And how about this? I'm sure this resonates with every dad out there: Ever get to the public pool and someone claims that your kid peed in the water? Fantastic! I haven't had to get out of a pool to urinate in months!
Life is now very different from what it used to be. I love watching our little guy everyday, discovering, learning and growing, absorbing the world around him like a very thirsty little sponge. For him, in this very early stage of his life, things are always changing and, because of him, our lives too change constantly.
And it's definitely change in the right direction.
Every man cringes at the following comment from his beloved significant other.
And by significant other, no, I don't mean the cat. Or the dog. Or, God forbid, pet tarantula. They don't know how to form words. Good thing, otherwise they would soon be jettisoned out in the streets out of fear that our pets would ask us to do things. We menfolk like our critter companions mute, don't ya know.
The twitch-inducing sentence I speak of goes something along the lines of "You know, honey, I was thinking..." The rest of the phrase doesn't matter. If you hear the first part, RUN AWAY! Run like there's a legion of burning squirrels intent on harvesting your acorns! Sprint furiously in the direction opposite from the spoken words' source, all the while yelling back over your shoulder "What?! I can't hear you!" as you fade away to an infinitesimal speck on the horizon. Even then, don't risk looking back. You will, from that point on, lead the life of a nomad. It was going to happen at some point anyway; it was unavoidable from the start.
However, if, upon hearing that blood curdling phrase there are no immediate exits available to you (i.e. your loving spouse is blocking it with arms spread out to both sides of the door frame in anticipation of your surprise egress), then feign a medical emergency.
Strokes are believable enough, but upon bouncing back from the initial shock your better half will craftily hook up a hammer to the side of your wheelchair and promptly direct you to wherever picture frames will need to be hung throughout the house. It's best to just go for the gusto and fake up a nice convincing heart attack. Of course there is the slight problem of then having to keep up appearances for the rest of your life by being very much dead and moving as little as possible (shoot, that's actually a pretty good Saturday for me). Oh yeah, and your "corpse" would probably get thrown out about a week or two after not bringing in any income.
Well, then, uh... ah, forget it. Looks like you're boned, destined for a weekend of unpaid manual labour, a mindless tool with the single directive of carrying out your wife's relentless bidding. But we're not talking about you, are we? This is about me, dammit.
I wish it were about you, though.
So, before I know it, we are on the road with a truck and trailer to the Big City (enter your local Big City name here to make this article more relatable to you) to get various supplies to make our home better! And is there any better way to improve the value of a home than by cosmetically altering it to make it more visually appealing and not by actually making any functional changes? Nope! Which is why we are throwing ourselves into changing all our upstairs doors and closets to something more modern looking and less grimace-inducing. Our place is a forty year old house that has already been nicely updated throughout, save for the original fake-wood room and closet doors, material which could best be described as "copious layers of thin cardboard and tree shavings sandwiched together at ten thousand pounds then covered in clear varnish". It was the most distracting thing to me when we originally viewed the house as a possible residence, so really, I am looking forward to having the upstairs done to match the more modern basement. I'm just not completely enamored with the idea of spending all my time off doing the actual work.
But I do enjoy a good trip to Home Depot, yessiree Bob! Makes a man feel good about himself, being able to hold up a hefty bag of nails in one hand, a hammer in the other and say proudly "With my hands I will build a spice rack worthy of God's own kitchen!" Striding confidently, I ignore the cashiers' weird stares and make my way down the aisles knowing that I am about to embark on a daring quest they can only dream of.
First stop: tools. Oh what fun it is to have a new play toy. With careful deliberation I say to my darling wife "Tanis, I need a new cordless drill, my old one won't hold a charge anymore", which is actually entirely true. "Sure, no prob" she says. Hmm... It's a trick. My defences go to DEFCON Level 4. No woman ever agrees to the purchase of a power tool so easily.
Wait a sec...
This wouldn't really be for me at all! If I get a tool to get a particular job done, afterwards my delicate flower will put me to work every chance she gets! Soon I'll be hearing things like "Get the drill and build those bookshelves today please", or "Now you can put up some drywall in the bathroom", or even "You can use the 'high torque' setting to stir this cookie batter."
Well, I'm onto her little game.
"Uh, nevermind, babe," I say. "I'll just keep using my old drill. Charging it for several hours every time I want to put in a single screw is kind of a nice feature, don't you think? Helps me pace myself."
Her reply: "Nice try, mister. Pick up that drill. No, not that one, the pink one. That's a good boy."
Anyway, seasons changed when we were at Home Depot shopping around. The Hale-Bopp comet came around twice in that time, and my old drill battery made it up to half-charge. But we got what we needed. Closets and doors and lumber, oh my! Followed by a nice three hour journey back to Moosetown, where, at 10:00 pm, our little guy was finally let loose in the basement to expend all his pent up energy from not being able to crawl around all day long. You remember that introductory scene in Roger Rabbit where he flies around the kitchen in a circle with smoke trailing out behind him, defying gravity? It was just like that with my kid, only without the long bunny ears. The tail was the same.
But it was the next day I was looking forward to. As much as home improvement projects intrude on my personal time, I do love the excuse to whip out the power tools and make grunting noises in my oh-so-roomy garage. But first thing was first (goes without saying, really). I needed to build some work horses so that I may provide professional-grade finesse to my handy-work, or at the very least allow me to slice away at my new doors without churning up chunks of concrete floor in the process. The missus and I have had various projects with our old homes in other parts of the country which warranted the usefulness of work horses, but until now had no place to store them. Now we have a nice garage which can easily be converted into a stable to keep our lumber ponies out of the rain.
Built four of 'em. And of course, we had to name them. Helps build that special workman/workhorse bond you read so much about in Equestrian Quarterly. I named the first two, Trigger and Sea Biscuit. The wife named the other two Buttercup and Clyde (she thinks it's probably short for the Clydesdale horses on a subliminal level - she just likes the name).
They are all fine steeds, really. Bred for hard work and long days standing up. So far they haven't eaten very much, and that works with my budget. I am a little worried about Buttercup, though. Her hind leg is a touch shorter than the others.
I may have to put her down.
Blogs aren't new. They've been around for, oh I dunno, probably a couple hundred years or so. It's only been because of the emergence of the "computer" that it's really taken off, allowing people of all ilks to babble, uninterrupted, to their hearts' and arthritic joints' content. Case in point: the following and totally verifiable - don't look into it though - blog excerpt was pulled from Benjamin Franklin's personal blog, The Daily Benji:
"After several failed attempts to make a key illuminate in the dark by harnessing the power of lightning, a rousing success came forth this day! Though my hands are suffering from second degree burns as a direct result, this has been the first step towards preserving long-term 'glowing' characteristics in metallurgy for rapid key recognition in these dark climates (future investigation: why is it always so drab around here?), particularly useful when bringing home a lady friend and trying not to give her enough time to change her mind about going upstairs.
In future experiments I will ensure the use of heat-absorbing gloves. However, I will try to deceive my new intern into trying it bare-handed first for a lark."
Ol' Benji would then fix his daily written accounts against the inside of his office window in the hopes that someone would read these postings regularly, and thus feel like a companion and co-conspirator to the scientific progress at hand. But seeing how it was always cold and bleak over there, few people felt like going out, let alone gaze into shop windows, so blogging never caught on until people could do it in the comfort of their own homes, via laptop or desktop, leaning back in their über-plush Lay-Z-Boy™ recliners sipping away at 900 calorie mocha-latte-coconut-parfait-foam-caramel-macchiato "coffees".
Oh that sounds good. I'll be right back.
*sluuuurp* Hmmm, oh yeah that's the stuff. Sorry, should have offered to get ya one. I'm certainly not sharing this one.
Many bloggers (that's what people who post blogs are referred to as, try to keep up now) are reasonably good at it and keep it up more or less as a kind of public service for devout fans of their main line of work, be it writing, acting, or taxidermy. Others are quite ingenious in the craft, creating entertaining missives for anybody to read - and hopefully enjoy - about regular lives encountering daily challenges that many people can relate to, or at the very least appreciate in a sympathetic I'm-sure-glad-that's-not-me sort of way.
Me? Well, last week, the Canadian Internet Association (CIA) was in a tight pickle, right on the verge of losing its cushy data-byte budget allotted to it by the World Internet Fund (WIF), basically for lack of producing enough useless internet material to justify its high byte budget. So, like any growing corporation or professional entity, the CIA needs to fill its budget quota annually so it can justify to WIF its desire to increase its over-bloated budget even more next year ( and so on for the next hundred foreseeable decades), ultimately taking over all available future webspace like a computer virus run amuck. It's a Canadian thing. Small population, but we want to hoard all the real-estate space we can, because we can.
In short: This blog is internet filler. You have been warned.
This all started because wonderful people in my life have suggested to me on numerous occasions that I should start my own blog, that they find my writing to be "good" (people tend to cough for some reason every time they say this, though; must be a bug going around). They would like something thoughtful, enlightening and entertaining to read. Something that really makes them think, while at the same time leaving them with a sense of personal satisfaction at having grown through the literary experience. So I stepped up. I worked hard to provide my would-be fans with entertaining anecdotal and insightful essays of things that affect us all. Topics that would make us laugh, love and cry. Current issues that would re-light our passion in all things fair and ensnare our hearts with tales of unheard heroism. And so my people shall have it! After laborious digging in the internet trenches for inspiration I have found...
... a wonderful link to iliketowastemytime.com/articles! Lotsa neat stuff there, boy. At least from what I could tell off the Google search summary page.
But for the rest of the masses who have entertainment standards almost as low as my own and find the printing on the back of cereal boxes to be a literary coup-de-grâce, have I got a treat for you! Approximately whenever the inspiration strikes me, or whenever my dear wife has a seemingly endless to-do list of things for me to accomplish around the house, I will log into this here blog account and wrecklessly attempt to get my grubby little mitts on some of your already limited personal time.
So prepare yourselves! Entertainment will be headed your way (keep in mind, this is free and you get what you pay for)! New liner for your hamster cage will soon be at hand! Your mouse button will stop working from overuse at having to click "back" every time you accidentally click on my page!
All kidding aside though, I've really enjoyed writing this start to my blog. And if even a couple people can get some enjoyment out of reading this and not send me anonymous hate-mail asking for the five minutes of their lives back, well shucks, that would just be dandy.
Thanks for reading,