Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Proposal

Family and friends have read this before. I had a problem with my internet yesterday, so there will be no new blog this week. This is one that the WordPress community haven’t seen yet though, and it’s the story of how I proposed to my wife. One of the better stories of my life…..Enjoy!

She is impossible to surprise! With her inquisitive scientific mind and her ability to take follow up questioning to a level that would make most lawyers blush, it is impossible to surprise her.

Part 1 – The Ring

So it’s been 8+ years. It’s never been a matter of ‘if’, it was always just a matter of ‘when’. When ‘when’ became ‘now’ I endeavored to get a ring that I thought was kickass enough that I’d enjoy looking at it for the rest of my life. This process involved home delivery which was a risky proposition. I am home these days starting up a small business while she is working for ‘the man’ during business hours. I figured this would work out OK. As soon as my purchase went through however, Visa flagged the purchase as suspicious (sadly my spending habits don’t often include jewelry), and phoned both my cell phone (which I picked up and OK’d the purchase), and my home phone (where they left a voice message for her to come home to.) FOILED! ALREADY!

Part 2 – The Taxidermy Head

So I was confronted with rapidfire questioning as soon as I got home regarding this credit card purchase. In her defence, she’s way more concerned with the integrity of my credit card not being compromised, than she is with finding out what I bought. Once she knew the credit card was safe, she (like any 8 year girlfriend) figured out what I had bought and asked me. I told her ‘Don’t worry about it’, which never works, and was buying myself some time to bullshit. You need to understand that I’m a bad liar. Lying is like anything. The more you practice, the better you become. I don’t practice it, so when the time comes I’m usually terrible. I don’t know if there is a difference between bullshit and lying. I feel I can bullshit with the best of em, but I’m no liar. “Babe, I got you a Taxidermy Head!” This is the process of stuffing a dead animal to make it look life-like according to the dictionary. She seemed disappointed and disbelieving, but all good bullshit lies in the details. “Babe, you’ll love it, it’s in perpetual ‘wink-mode’ and when you press the eyeball, a gum ball shoots out of his mouth!!!”

Part 3 – Ring Arrival

The one day she was home (long weekend trip with the girls starting that day), and the one day I was working outside of the home (furnace installation) was the day the Ring decided to arrive. I knew this so I asked the concierge to not call our suite when the deliver arrived. He signed for it and I picked it up when I got home. Sweet! But he filled out a slip that indicated there was a delivery, and dropped it into our mailbox. I forgot to pick up the mail on Friday. Guess who checked the mailbox when she got home on Sunday?? FOILED!!! AGAIN!!!! DAMMMIT!!!! “Uhhhh, the taxidermy head had a glitch. I had to send it back”

Part 4 – The Ductwork

You have to pretend this part is in black and white like a flashback in a Tarantino movie. For years, any time the topic of engagement came up, I would say that I already bought the ring, and whenever she was ready to get married, just say the word. ‘Where did you hide it?’ ‘It’s in the ductwork!’ I’ve maintained this for YEARS! Even her mother joked around about seeing flashes of light coming out of the vent from time to time.

Part 5 – The Proposal

I’ve been foiled!! She knows I have a ring! She knows she’s not getting a taxidermy head! I’ve never admitted any of this, but she’s no fool. She’s actually quite a bit smarter than I am which makes this whole mission a bit of an underdog task. If I take her out to a nice restaurant, she’ll know. If we go somewhere even remotely romantic, she’ll know. Sunday’s a good day. We’re not even hanging out together that day!! So while she’s out, I log on to the computer and buy us a short trip to Vegas. She may be expecting a ring, but she’s not expecting this. If Royal Bank Visa wants to try to block this, I’m here beside the home and cell phone. They can’t hurt me now!! So now I wait……….. I didn’t know what time she was coming home. She ended up at the movies. I tried not to call her too much, because it would be too suspicious. I never bug her when she’s out with friends.

I took the vent cover off in the kitchen and put the ring and the itenerary into the ductwork. I closed it back up. I couldn’t get one of the screws back in properly. I thought ‘who cares, I’ll be taking it off again in an hour.’

She comes home…. I play it cool….. ‘How was the movie?’ I say. ‘ The ending was really ….. blah… blah…..’ (C’mon man… Do you really expect me to remember what she said about this movie????) She starts looking up stuff online….. The A/C kicks on and the itenerary flaps up against the vent making a huge noise. “Did you hear that???” I say (Cool as a cucumber) “Yeah, it sounds like something fell” she said……….. I go and investigate…. I’m in the kitchen with a chair and a flashlight. She’s still in the office. “Hey, can you grab me a screwdriver??”…… I totally know she’s gonna get all bent out of shape about the builder, and problems with the condo and stuff. Perfect diversion……. She comes in and sees the screw that was sticking out of the vent from before. She freaks out about us not noticing that at our 2 year walk through. I say a little under my breath “Fuckin Tridel!!!” (I’m soooo cool at this point)……. I get the vent off. “What’s this??” I say passing her a piece of paper, pretending I’m disgusted……. She starts reading it…….. “Oh My God, it has your name on it” she says bewildered…..It had small typing and it was a full page, so it took her a while to figure out what it was….I know she’s trying to scientifically put together how it got there….. In the meantime, I grab the ring, get off the chair, I’m on one knee, I’ve got the ring box open. She’s still reading this friggin paper. I said “HEY!” She looks down, sees the ring, understands what’s happening. I asked her to marry me. She said yes. Embrace for maybe 2 seconds…… ‘So what is this??????’ Still worried about unfinished business with this ductwork paper even though she has a shiny engagement ring to look at…. ‘It’s a Vegas Trip!’ I say….

‘Ohhhhhhh’…. Now she can enjoy…… My favourite moment, she says quietly while admiring the ring on her finger “It WAS in the ductwork!!!!”

“Told ya”

The New Solution For Everything

It’s time I shared some wisdom with all of you. I’m certain that you will all be astounded by the way I think outside of the box, and bring unique suggestions to the table. I aim to make the world a better place, and when this new thought dawned on me, I could have been selfish and kept this remarkable innovation to myself, but I’m not a selfish person. I want you to share with me. Let’s all get to the promised land together!

Before I blow your mind with intrigue and fascination, I wanted to give you a little bit of history on how I had this revelation. This past week my son celebrated his first birthday. This is my only child. So what that means for me is that I have celebrated one year of being a father. You can’t possibly go a whole year of fatherhood and learn nothing. I have learned plenty.

There are two major speaking points here. My son has taught me both of these things. The first will seem rather logical, and you’ll have no problem seeing the applications. The second is a little more of a scientific discovery, and I’ll have to help you with the applications so you can truly go on to live a better life.

1. If you smile at someone, they will usually smile back. If you are a really cute baby and you do it, you will see a higher percentage of returned smiles, but nevertheless, it’s a good tactic for anyone. I totally recommend it. I’ve caught myself doing it accidentally from time to time. I might be thinking of something funny, and I’m in a public place, and maybe I inadvertently smile at someone. I’ve been surprised at how often I got a returned smile. My son is just relentless. When we get into an elevator, and there’s a few people in there, he’ll make eye contact with each and every person until they all melt into a puddle on the floor (he’s that charming), and I can see the disappointment in his eyes when someone doesn’t look up at him. I know what you’re thinking….. Yes, he’s a devastatingly handsome baby, and we’re not all devastatingly handsome babies, BUT I don’t think that should stop you from smiling at people in the elevator. I’d even go as far as wagering that anybody who could start doing this for an entire year would report back to me with a much more fulfilling life. Just sayin’

2. The other thing I learned which is CRAZY, is the following. Baby snot is the most effective adhesive in the entire world. There is nothing baby snot won’t stick to, and there is almost nothing that can separate a good baby snot adhesion. So why aren’t we using baby snot more in industry? Are there not a bunch of babies with runny noses that we can use to build things with? Is there no way to harness the power of baby snot?

What if you ran out of sticky notes?? No problem…. I’ll just use a regular paper and baby snot. What if you can’t find a stud in the wall to hang that wedding picture up over the couch?? Baby snot to the rescue! What if you need to make a citizen’s arrest, and you don’t have any handcuffs, but you need to subdue a perp?? Not an issue, just baby snot his hands together, and it’s just as secure as cuffs.

Listen, we all want to do what’s right for the environment. Aren’t you tired of all these glue and tape factories ruining our children’s future by making all that….. glue… and ……tape?? Don’t you think it’s time we found an ALL-NATURAL product like baby snot? Just think of the percentage of babies that don’t have jobs in the current market. I don’t see baby unemployment coming down anytime soon unless we do something about it. I think we need a politician that’s going to fight for baby jobs. There is so much snot being manufactured every day by little day-care attendees who spread germs and lick every surface in sight. Why can’t we take this natural resource and use it for good? Instead of squandering it like we do with everything else.

Looking for more applications? Got a leaky boat? Baby snot the leak. Don’t want to watch something on TV? Baby snot your eyelids shut. See what I mean?? This is going to change the way you stick to things. I’m just glad I was able to share this with you. This is the beginning of the Baby Snot Revolution. Remember this moment always!

The Night My Father Died

I’m rolling up on a year now since my father passed away. If you’ve read this blog in the past, you’re probably used to humor and lightheartedness (at least I hope that’s how I come across… maybe a little angry and ranty sometimes??). I’m not necessarily trying to switch gears here. I do have a story though, and the timing to tell it seems appropriate. It’s not a blow for blow recount of what took place, but more of a story within a story that lead to a moment that was crazy enough to write about.

The evening started for me while I was still at work. I was working a retail job, and we’d had a ‘Friends & Family’ type of event that involved ordering a bunch of product and having it shipped to our location, and then a whole bunch of my friends would stagger in over the next couple of days to pick up their stuff. I was trying to get out of there, but as I did, a familiar face would walk in, we would talk, and I’d help load up their vehicles. This was to be my last day before some vacation time that I had booked. My wife was to be induced into labour the following morning, and I was expecting to be a father for the first time. Ironic. My wife’s friends (a family of four) were picking up some things, and offered to drop off at home, which was on the way for them. I had taken the train to work, so I accepted. As I was helping load up their car, I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket, but I couldn’t grab it in time. Then it went off again. My sister had texted me, and left a phone message saying that my mom wanted me to go over there right away. This obviously wasn’t a social visit. I messaged back, and asked if there was anything wrong. ‘Just come right away’ was the response. We were just getting into the car, and getting on the road. I asked my friend if he wouldn’t mind dropping me off at my parent’s house instead. It was actually easier for them location-wise anyways. He agreed and asked if everything was OK. I said I wasn’t really sure, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t. I called my sister to ask her what this was all about. She wouldn’t tell me, she just kept repeating that mom wanted me to come over there right away. “Where’s dad?” I asked. ‘Just come over.’

This was the most awkward car ride of my life. I didn’t see these people too often, and there would have been plenty to catch up on, but I couldn’t focus. I had to figure out why my mom wanted me to come over right away. She obviously had something that she needed to tell me face to face, that couldn’t wait. It was her specifically that asked for me to come over (not her AND my dad), and she put the gag order on my sister. The question surrounding my father’s whereabouts wasn’t being dealt with which told me my answer would come during that face to face conversation. It couldn’t happen soon enough. I was trying not to completely unravel during this car ride. Their kids were in the back. They were being cute. I just couldn’t focus. I’d kind of explained that there was a family emergency, but I didn’t tell the driver that I thought my father was dead.

There was no reason to think that he would have died this night. He was 76 years old going on 66. In great shape, with a modest amount of health concerns, none of which looked like they would spell the end. Still, I couldn’t ignore the fact that nobody would say where he was, or why he wasn’t involved with this chat we were having. If something had happened to him, like an accident, I would have been headed for the hospital I figured. This just didn’t feel right. I had to text my wife to let her know I wasn’t coming home right away, and why. I don’t know if she was just so pregnant that she couldn’t focus, or because she knew I was in a car with her friends, but this was one time that she didn’t ask me a bunch of questions. I was grateful, because I had no answers.

We approached the house, and there were two cop cars outside. My fears had almost been completely confirmed by this point. I thanked my friends for the ride. I walked into the house, and saw 2 cops, my mom, and my sister. “Where’s dad?” I remember saying, even though I knew. Maybe there was still a chance that this wasn’t really happening. They asked me to sit, so I sat. The police officers explained what happened, which is another story for another time. To summarize, he had a heart attack on the train. There were people there that knew First Aid, and they assisted him right away. They were kind to him. An emergency crew was waiting at the next train station. They worked on him for a while, but couldn’t revive him. He was gone.

It sounds crazy, but I found all of that strangely reassuring. When I saw the cop cars outside, I thought maybe he had been in some horrible accident, or been robbed and killed or something awful. Him leaving us quickly and relatively painlessly seemed kind of nice. Like if you HAD to go, and we all do…… that might not be so bad. Not so nice for the rest of us, mind you. After a few emotional moments with my family, we started working the phones. My mom and my sister make lists and start executing tasks when in crisis mode. I, cut from a different cloth, try my best to sink as far into the furniture as humanly possible, and hopefully disappear altogether.

I called my wife, and told her the sad news. In her condition, she could have gone into labour right then and there, but she did a good job staying calm. I decided to call everyone else the following day. We had a couple of visitors that night including a close friend of my mom’s, and the Priest from our church. They were both wonderful at calming everyone down, and just being there. We all had tea. We talked about how nice it was that he didn’t have to suffer. We talked about how awful it was that he died potentially the day before the birth of his first grandchild (The grandchild took an extra couple of days to get out, but as far as we knew, it was going to happen the next day). When that would come up, they would look at me like ‘Oh my god, this must be EXTRA CRAZY for you’. It probably was, but I wouldn’t know. My brain was on auto-pilot, and I was having an out-of-body experience, but the real me was floating around the universe somewhere trying to cope with all of this new madness.

The night was drawing to a close, and there was something on the list that my sister and I needed to tick off that night, as unpleasant as this task seemed. My father had driven to a train station earlier that day. His car was still there. We needed to get it before it got towed. The Priest stepped up, and told my sister that he’d be happy to give me a lift out there on his way home so she could stay home with my mom. So off we went.

My father went to church just about every Sunday. He was active in the Church, and well liked by all. There was a time when we all went with him. We still would on certain holidays, but for the most part he was on a solo mission. I didn’t have a problem with this church, I just am not that religious in general. I do love this particular Priest. I think so highly of him as a person, and as a professional, that I would totally recommend this Church to ANYBODY who happened to live in the area, and feel inclined to go. They are very inclusive, and everyone is welcome. This is also where my wife and I got married.

So we’re driving to the train station, and it’s about 11 pm, so most of the cars have left the parking lot. It should be easy enough to find my dad’s car, and I’ll just use the spare keys to drive it home. To my home actually, because remember earlier in the story that I didn’t have a car at work today, and got a lift to my parents. We’re talking about the events of the day, both still blown away by what just happened. We arrive at the parking lot of the train station. Here’s where the fact that I’m completely ambivalent about cars doesn’t come in handy. I know what kind of car my dad drove, but I couldn’t pick it out of a crowd. Luckily I did have one of those door locking remotes that makes the lights flick on. We drove around the parking lot to take a closer look at some vehicles that may have fit the description. It wasn’t there. This station had 2 smaller lots as well, so we drove over to them and had a look. It wasn’t there.

This was going to be a bit awkward, but I knew that in the coming days especially, I was going to be spending a lot of time reminiscing about my dad, and telling, and hearing stories of his life. I didn’t think it would start so soon, but this situation left me in a position where I had to explain one of the quirky details of my father’s personality……. to a priest. My father never liked to pay for parking. He had a well documented history of leaving his car in some of the most creative places imaginable to avoid paying for parking. For years we walked and walked and walked and walked from parking spots to whatever event we were attending. Only recently when my parents had started to get older and didn’t get around as well, did he bite the bullet, and start parking closer to things. My dad would walk for 25 minutes from a parking spot to save $5. It drove me crazy when I was younger. I was telling the Priest this as we were going up and down the streets nearby. The truth is, this car could be ANYWHERE. It could be in one of these apartment buildings, it could be at a store, it could be in front of somebody’s house.

SIDE STORY: In 1992 The Toronto Blue Jays were in the World Series for the first time. Torontonians know only too well how starved this city is for the success of one of our major sports teams. My father who was a season ticket holder at the time, sprung for one game in the World Series. It was Game 5, and he took my mother (he had 2 kids, so you can’t just take one of them……so he took the wife….. I can’t get mad at him for that, although I am a RABID baseball fan). These seats of course were purchased before the series began, and I’m not even sure how much they set him back. I know he chose game 5 because there was a chance they could win the World Series that game. If he took game 7, the series might have been over already, and he wouldn’t get to go. As luck would have it, the Jays were up 3 games to 1, and game 5 was in fact a potential clinching game where they could become World Series champions for the first time ever. My parents would have been there. In those days he would park a good 15 to 20 minute walk from the stadium. There were a few businesses on a street nearby, and figuring that business hours would be until 5 pm or maybe even 6 pm, he would swoop in afterwards, and park in one of the employee’s reserved spots. Cheeky bugger! He did this for years. In 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays were World Series Champions, but unfortunately for my dad (and fortunately for me, who for the price of a donation to the food bank, was allowed to watch game 6 at the stadium on the Jumbotron with 50,000 other fans, even though the game was being played in Atlanta), the Jays didn’t win the Series in that 5th game. There was a sad trot back to the car, and I would imagine a much sadder trot to the pound to get his car after it had finally been towed from the parking lot of whatever business he decided to leave it at, complete with my mother ripping into him for the entire journey.

So there I was, not a regular church goer, with a Priest driving me around looking EVERYWHERE for my dead father’s car, and trying to get home so I can get a good night’s sleep (yeah right), so I can become a father for the first time the next day, when I had one of those moments of self discovery. This COULD be the worst moment of my life. Only if I chose it to be. I remember thinking at the time that I would HAVE to write about this someday. I don’t know if I will ever feel the full magnitude of the human experience quite the same way I did that week. Is it a bad thing? No, it can’t be. I loved my father. That’s the only reason I feel as crushed as I do right now. He was an amazing man. If he wasn’t so amazing, I wouldn’t be so crushed. If you were to ask me if I would take less amazing in exchange for less crushed, I say no way! So this surreal (the most overused word in self-expression….. sorry, but nothing else describes it better) experience of driving around aimlessly, a drive which included going to a completely different station as well, turned out to be a fun way to end the night. The priest and I had some laughs at what had to be the most bizarre moment either of us could recall having. I would have been super mad at my father for his parking shenanigans, but he had passed away that day, so all I could do was have a laugh, and shake my head. Good ol’ dad saved the ultimate parking fiasco for his last day on earth, and I was fortunate enough to be part of it. Exhaustion prevailed, and the Priest drove me home. I felt really bad for him. He must have to do this kind of stuff all the time. It was past midnight. I slept (surprisingly), took my wife to be induced the following day, and while we waited to go into labour, we went for another quick look at the train station. As I pulled out of the last parking lot, I was about to give up again, when suddenly at a traffic light, I spotted a car with a familiar licence plate. It was my dad’s car. Parked in front of a Tim Horton’s that had no drive-thru, which is as ballsy as it gets. I jumped in his car and drove it back to my mom’s place, while my wife (due to give birth that very day) drove our car behind me.

It was the beginning of the most intense week of my life. We mourned, we planned a funeral, we received an outpouring of support that I can only describe as exponentially phenomenal, and in the middle of all that, we managed to (after 2 agonizing days, but that’s another story as well) add a new member to the family that had just lost one. I consider myself fortunate to experience so much of what life has to offer, both good and bad, and survive to tell the story.

What Else Can Drake Fix?

Toronto cracks me up sometimes. It’s arguably one of the greatest cities in the world. When I say ‘arguably’ I also mean that if that was your argument, you would totally win. Torontonians on the other hand are sometimes just a little too sensitive for my liking. Maybe its just the media, but I don’t think so. When I watch television, and have the opportunity to see famous people being interviewed by the Toronto media, I’m always kind of embarrassed by it. These are usually actors or musicians that are in town on the business of promoting some sort of project that they’re working on. Sometimes it’s athletes playing a game in town. Most media members of course will offer the obligatory questions surrounding whatever they’re plugging, plus any juicy, gossipy relationship questions depending on how interesting they think the answer will be. Finally they HAVE to ask “What do you think of Toronto?” Seems harmless enough, right?

Here’s what I hate about this. Why do we as Torontonians care what anyone thinks of us or our city? Our city is awesome! I know this, and I personally don’t need to hear it from anyone else to know that it’s true. Our media however, has this goofy tendency to constantly ask famous foreigners for affirmation regarding this. An American actor who probably just got into town 2 hours earlier, and has only seen the inside of a Starbucks shouldn’t have to make a whole city feel warm and fuzzy. That’s not his/her job. It’s like we’re unsure of ourselves and our place in the world and we need to know what the rest of the world thinks, when we should really be confident and just KNOW we’re awesome, and not worry about it. The people in this city suffer such insecurity. It’s sad. I once heard an interview with Gene Simmons from KISS who was in town for something, and somebody asked him if he liked (either Toronto or Canada), and you could tell from his reaction that he’d already been asked that about 10 times. This is not a direct quote, but he basically said ‘okay okay, we like you, relax’. I was a bit embarrassed for us when I saw that, but I remember thinking that finally somebody came out and said it. If you are from here and you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch for it next time you see a celebrity being interviewed on TV. They ask every time, it’s uncanny.

So in keeping with that theme, we had an announcement last week that Toronto Rapper ‘Drake’ is joining the Toronto Raptors (NBA Basketball) as a ‘Global Ambassador’………………….(cue tumbleweed)………I’m going to say that again………………Drake is joining the Toronto Raptors as a ‘Global Ambassador’. That’s a job. They gave it to a rapper. In Toronto.

Let me give you some context. The Toronto Raptors are an NBA basketball team. In terms of winning basketball games they are a poor team. In terms of fan interest, and ticket sales, they do quite well. They’re the only team in Canada which helps because they draw their fan base from the whole country. As abysmal as their performance on the basketball court is on a pretty consistent basis, they don’t have any problem selling tickets. Recently, they were awarded the 2016 All-Star Game which means there will be a great party, and it’s great for the city. They have a President who has been doing the job for 6 months, and even though the only real flaw with this franchise is their on-court performance, they have chosen to bring in Drake to fix all of their (non) problems.

Now I like Drake. You could say that at various points in my life, I have been a rabid Hip-Hop fan, and while now wouldn’t be one of those points, Drake is one of my favourites (spelled the Canadian way this time). He’s a good Rapper, and believe it or not, I’m a guy that would know the difference. As far as his credentials to “help reinvigorate the fortunes of a stagnant franchise” (quote courtesy of the Globe and Mail)…… I just don’t see it. Unless of course you want to go with the precedent of Jay-Z joining the New Jersey Nets (as an owner, not a Global Ambassador….. meaning he had to pay). The Nets were awful, and have since moved to Brooklyn, and become mediocre.

Here’s what I think is happening. Toronto has once again sold itself short. Here we are, hosting the NBA All-Star Game in a couple of years, selling all kinds of tickets to games even though we aren’t that good (and that isn’t easy), and just being awesome in general terms….. but we think that somebody famous is going to come in and ‘turn it all around’. Turn what around??? Do you think that people won’t come to the All-Star Game if Drake isn’t an employee of the Raptors? Everyone goes to the NBA All Star Game, including Drake, no matter where it is! What’s he gonna do?? Mention the Raptors in his Rap lyrics?? Is he going to wear a Raptors Jersey at his shows?? Are you suggesting that the Raptors marketing staff that are (hopefully) loaded with sports marketing professionals, know less about marketing a sports team than a Rapper?

Or is Drake just good at fixing things??? If so, can we get him to end the American Government shutdown?? Maybe he can go to the Middle East and resolve all the conflicts. Maybe he can negotiate the release of all the hostages being held around the world. Maybe he could visit the Anne Frank house, and piss in a mop bucket to take some of the heat off Justin Beiber. Here’s the best part…. Who can we blame if it doesn’t all go down like it should?? Can we actually blame Drake if he does a bad job as our Global Ambassador??

I have 3 messages regarding this
1. Toronto…. you are awesome, you don’t suck….. why do you care what famous people think about you?? Stop seeking approval. You’re like a teenager. Grow up.
2. Toronto Raptors…… you do suck…… have you ever asked yourself why the Boston Celtics have the same uniform that they’ve been wearing for the last 50 years?? For 50 years, they’ve played basketball…. and played it well…. they have a tradition of winning basketball games. All the publicity stunts, jersey/colour changes, Rappers and Global Ambassadors can’t make up for winning basketball games. Stop embarrassing yourselves.
3. Drake….. This actually isn’t your mess, I would totally take that job too. I hope you can Rap us all the way to an NBA championship!