Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#145. or, Star Wars and Orphaned Elephants

  So, I've decided to sell off everything I own, and move to Nairobi to peruse my life long dream of working at a baby elephant orphanage.

  Well.......to be honest, it isn't really a life long dream. It's only been about a week and a half, long dream.

  Ever since I took a bus load of grade 5's on a field trip to the World of Science in the city, and we saw an IMAX movie about it, narrated by Morgan Freeman. Actually, only part of the movie was about the orphaned Kenyan elephants. The other part was about orphaned orangutans in some other part of the world. But I think I'd rather choose the orphaned elephants. Because while orangutans are undeniably quite adorable, they sort of freak me out a little bit. Sorry, that's just me. So, probably the elephants.  And Morgan Freeman is pretty darned convincing.

  But that's not the only thing I saw at the World of Science. When I was asked if I'd be interested in driving this trip I jumped at the chance. There was something else going on at the World of Science while we were going to be there. This thing:

  I don't really talk about it much, but I have a bit of a thing for Star Wars. I don't think I'm fanatical about it or anything, but I may or may not have a tiny Millenium Falcon sitting on the corner of my night stand.  So, as all of the grade 5 classes from our town trotted off to learn about useless things like electricity and gravity and shit, I headed in the opposite direction to get my ticket, and was the very first visitor of the day into the Star Wars Identities exhibit.

  It was pretty cool. You get to wear an earpiece and a electronic bracelet and as you wander from station to station, you use the bracelet to save the choices that you make to define the character you would become in the Star Wars universe. Along the way, you get to look at props and story board drawings from the movies. Things like these guys:

Are these the droids you were looking for?
YES Damnit! They were the droids you were looking for!

 There were costumes of most of the main characters and the Yoda puppet from before the CGI version.

Cooler than Morgan Freeman, I am?

 And while I've spent a good number of years thinking that this was my favorite Millenium Falcon,

  Turns out the model that they used to make the movies is pretty darned cool too!

So, I've got a ton of pictures that are probably equally as boring to you as the one's I've already shown you. I was supposed to get an email with the character that they created for me based on the choices that I made, but it never showed up, which was a little bit disappointing. Luckily I snapped a picture of who I'd be if I was a Star Wars character.

Some sort of Jedi pilot. Pretty cool!
  Oh, there was also this dude hanging around, and despite his best efforts to convince me, turns out he wasn't my father.


 I was able to get through the exhibit just in time to slip into the IMAX theater with the grade 5's to catch Morgan Freeman tell us all about orphaned jungle critters. That's why I've got baby elephants on my mind lately along with thoughts of moving across the globe to look after them. Of course, I've yet to clear any of this with my family, so I may have to rethink my week and a half long dream before I spring tickets to Kenya on them. Either way, I'm lucky that I have a new little buddy riding around with me to help me make tough decisions and keep me company.

  .....................I wonder if I could get Morgan Freeman to talk to my family?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#144. or, The Dog, The Door, and The Dummy

  If you're a burgler or criminal, you should probably disregard this next statement.

  We live in the country, and we rarely  lock our doors.

 I mean, when we go to bed, or into town, we will usually lock the door. But most likely, if you were to find the front door locked and were determined enough to walk all of the 50 steps or so it is around to the back of the house, you could probably get in through the back door. It's just the way we do things.

   Part of the reason we're able to do this is because we have dogs. Particularly  a big old  male yellow Lab named Tuke, whose bark is so deep and booming that it rattles your bones when he lets loose. He's not our only dog though, but we're a family with a strict 2 dog policy.

  That's why we have 4 dogs.

   3 Labs, and an "English as a second language" Corgi cross misfit. Who came to us, understanding only Russian, when she was a pup, from our German Mennonite neighbours, as a gift to our youngest son. What are you gonna do?

  We're actually pretty lucky to have just four dogs. Our male and female Labs recently had a litter of 10 pups and our 4th dog is the last of those pups. He's supposed to be our Middle Son's dog.

  Now, I'm not the Dog Whisperer or anything, but you would think, that in the world our dogs live in, the pup should be the lowest on the totem pole in order of hierarchy. The 2 big Labs are at the top, and our Russian/German Corgi comes in 3rd, when she isn't goose-stepping around the perimeter of our property in a leather trench coat, with perfect military precision. Which I'm convinced is what she does after we go to sleep at night. Although, she's pretty full of herself so I'm certain, in her mind, she believes she's number 1. The pup is at the bottom. Or, WAS at the bottom. It seems that he has found a way to leapfrog himself into a position of authority. Well, at least a solid 3rd, anyways.  He's discovered how to open the front door.

  Our front door has a keypad lock and a  handle with a thumb latch to open it, and our pup has discovered that he can reach up and pop the latch with his paw to open the front door. Which was sort of cute the first time he did it, but when it was -25 degrees Celsius and I thought it was odd that all 4 dogs were gone, only to find them in the house, lounging in the living room, with the front door wide open while I fed the cows, it wasn't quite so cute anymore. So now we have to lock our door, and more than once, I've looked out the window to find that pup trying to work his freaky door opening magic, while the big dogs wait patiently to get back inside.

  Because it's something that we never used to do, we sometimes forget to lock the door. That means, once in a while he gets lucky, so the pup keeps trying the handle whenever he's stricken to come inside. It can be a little unnerving to be in the middle of some suspenseful, stalker on the loose TV show, when all of the sudden, the front door handle starts to rattle. Or to be awakened in the middle of the night, by the clickety, click, clicking of the front door latch.

  But probably the worst thing about having the door always locked, is that at least 9 times out of 10, when I come to the door, I forget it's locked. Usually it's when I have an arm full of grocery bags, or I'll be absent mindedly flipping through the mail that I've just picked up, I'll reach for the door handle, and in  the split second that I remember the door's locked, it's too late for my body to stop moving forward and I end up a piled heap against the door with my face in the glass. Because I'm old. And my cat-like reflexes aren't what they used to be. And it would seem, I'm a slow learner.

  So our pup is about 4 months old, and if  1 human year is 7 dog years, that makes him just less than 2 human years old and he's already mastered the front door. On the other hand, I'm right on the doorstep of 45, and have yet to, in the last 2 weeks that we've had to start locking the door, been able to learn to stop walking into the side of our house. It seems, I've been out-adapted by a puppy.

  I figure at this rate, by June, he'll have gone through enough combinations on the keypad to have cracked the 4 digit door lock code and will be able to get in whenever he wants. Then I'm screwed, because I've lost the directions and don't know how to change the code anymore.

  ...........my only hope is that the dog's smart enough to learn how to close the door behind himself.

4 months old, mastered getting into the house, AND drinking from the toilet!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

#143. or, Nothing

  A couple weeks back, I asked my wife what she wanted for Valentines Day. Her answer was, "nothing."

  Now, I know that if I actually got up on the morning of the 14th of February, and making the coffee was the only thing that my wife got from me before she left for work, she'd be alright with that. She probably wouldn't say anything at all. She's sort of cool that way. But I would feel like a heel all day, and we wouldn't want that now, would we?

  So over the last few days, I've ramped up my questioning of what she would like for Valentines Day. Carefully slipping it into conversations, being all stealthy and shit, secretly trying to see if there was any hint of something she might accidentally  give up so the item I eventually got for her, was something that she might really want.

  Her answer was always, "nothing."

  I love my wife. Truthfully, getting married to her, having sex for the very first time, which also happened to be with her, and raising our 3 children together, are all milestones that are easily the top 5 of things that have happened to me so far in life. Although, those things may not have necessarily happened all in that order. I like her to be happy, maybe walk out the door smiling as she goes to work. But I'm not really as good at Valentines day as I used to be.

  I used to be a lot better at holidays like this. I was the guy with the rose petals and the feeble attempt at a hot stone massage. Which I think she tolerated, more than enjoyed. But still, it's the though, right? I did bubble baths with candles, wine, and relaxing nature sounds. I made signs proclaiming my love and pasted them to the outside of every window of the house, so no matter which one she looked out of, there it was. But eventually, you sort of run out of new ideas.

  Eventually, you discover that you don't need a particular day to expound the virtues of having your partner there to "be yours." Or some tiny token to show how much they mean to you, that will get tossed aside the next time you clean the house. The older you grow together, sometimes, if you're lucky, just having that person to share your good and bad with is enough.

  I come here and tell you what's going on in my life, maybe not quite as often as I would like. Those of you who are kind enough to follow along, know my wife and I took no holiday this winter. That she took some extra days off at Christmas to relax and have company over to entertain, and then we all got sick and Christmas just sort of happened instead of being enjoyed. That we spent the better part of 3 months sleeping in the basement on an air mattress while we renovated our bedroom. And through all of that, she cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and went to work every weekday at an accounting office. Now, she's on the verge on beginning tax season and the hours get longer and an extra day a week will be added to her work schedule. As much as I complain about being stressed, she beats me by a long shot. I'd like to give her something to say, "thanks, I love you, babe!"

  Yet when I ask what she'd like, she tells me, "nothing."

  So this weekend, we're going to do nothing. We're going into the city, to stay overnight.......and do nothing. Not fit the long list of errands we have to do with each city trip, around things we want to do. There won't be  a load of groceries hauled home. No trips to the renovation store for that one extra thing. Nothing. Whatever happens, happens. There's no plans, other than our room reservations. The Saturday and Sunday are ours to do with what we will, and if it turns out to be nothing, that's fine too.

  For Valentines Day this year, I'm getting my wife nothing, I hope she likes it.

 ...........it's exactly what she asked for.

This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

Sunday, February 10, 2013

#142. or, The Bed Post

 We've been sleeping in our new bed for about a week now and while it seems luxuriously blissful, I'm not quite certain if it's actually that, or if it's just fooling me into thinking it's a queen sized piece of heaven.

  When we were in the final stages of renovating our bedroom, one of the things that we wanted to do was change our closet doors. We have two closets. One has a mirrored slider, and the other one has a double bi-fold. We kept the mirrors but replaced the bi-folds with new ones, but it fit the new room better to swap the closet doors for each other. Because we had all new bedroom furniture, it needed to be assembled  before we moved the bi-folds to see if there would be room to open the doors. Anyways, when put the bed together, and wrestled the mattress onto the frame, the obvious thing to do was for each of us to flop onto the bed to see how it felt.

  Even with the mattress covered in that heavy, crinkly plastic bag , (which would be perfect for transporting a dead body, because if I've learned anything from endless reruns of CSI, it's that leaking body fluids are your enemy.) we laid side by side and giggled like we were little kids, the bed was going to be THAT damned good.

  So now, it's been a week or so and the obvious thing about this bed is that it's freaking silent. My wife and I have shared the same bed for over 20 years. And even through a couple different mattress changes, we've always had a squeaky bed. The last 2 months on an air mattress were even worse. Sometimes at night now, I find myself bouncing my ass up and down just to see if I can generate any sound. But there's nothing. The sound of the silence is a little unnerving, and I'm having some trouble getting used to it.

  My beautiful wife and I conceived 3 children in a squeaky bed. Not to mention, doing a fair bit of practicing the art of making babies. I've discovered, having sex in a squeaky bed has been ingrained into my ability to determine, on some level, besides the obvious one, how successful I've been. Rare, has been the occasion, over the span of our life together that there isn't children in our house. That squeaky bed acted like a barometer to let us know when things were getting a little too loud and rambunctious. Conversely, when for one reason or another, we found ourselves alone and stricken by the mood, I could easily gauge the,.........um........ferocity of the onslaught, by the amount of complaining that that bed did. Now there's nothing but silence. Bed silence that is. Because rest assured, we did our best to try to get some sort of noise out of that bed, and while there WAS some noises coming from our bedroom, the bed gave nothing away.

  When I sleep, I'm a completely covered to the neck sleeper. Even in the summer. I've found that I can control my temperature by sliding part of my leg over the edge of the mattress to let in a bit of cool air. So I try to keep a leg close to the edge of the bed. The other thing that I like to do, is have some part of my other leg touching my wife's leg. Like a kid with his teddy bear, it comforts me. And while I don't think that my wife always appreciates this gesture of affection, she indulges me, because she's cool like that.

  Anyways, in our old bed, being a double, getting into the position of one ankle over hers, and one at the side of the bed to regulate my temperature was a pretty darned comfortable sleeping position. Now, with our step up to the queen sized bed, this position tends to splay me out as if I'm strapped to some sort of medieval torture rack. A position that I don't mind being in on occasion, but it hardly offers any protection to "my boys" should an errant leg or knee come flying at me from across the mattress as my wife rolls over in her sleep. I believe that concern of this happening may be keeping me from getting a good nights sleep.

  And lastly, on the weekends when we get to take a little extra soaking time before we have to get out of bed to get on with our day, sometimes I like to slide over and cuddle up to my wife and let her know just how sexy I still find her. Because this bed is bigger, I have to do this shimmy thing with my feet and ass until the lower half of my body gets all snuggled up to her. Then, because we now have this gap between our pillows, I have to roll my bum shoulder, that is underneath me at this point, forward ahead of my torso, and go all Evil Kenevil and jump my head over the pillow, gap, chasm, onto her pillow to get my cuddle on. Really, this is playing me out!

  But overall, aside from those few things, it's a pretty good bed. Certainly the best bed that we've owned in the time my wife and I have been together. It may be the best bed we've ever shared. At the very least it's tied with an awesome bed we had at a resort we stayed in, in Mexico once. But that bed also had location going for it, so I think this new bed wins.

  So, we were laying in our awesome new bed the other morning, and I was telling my wife about these issues I was having. She thought I was silly and that she had already, completely taken to this new bed without any issues. She also pointed out, that this bed wasn't that much bigger than our old bed and that really, a couple extra inches didn't make any difference at all.

  .........................I said "EXACTLY!"  And thanked her for pointing that out.

This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

I'm also linking up with the I Don't like Mondays Blog Hop. Click THIS LINK to read some awesome posts

Sunday, February 03, 2013

#141. or, Damn you Jon Bon Jovi, and the KK5K update

  So, there are things in life that I have a fondness for, things like:

  Potato chips.
  A glass of scotch with a cigar.
  Popcorn with a ton of butter.
  Spicy Caesars.
  Nachos with cheese.
  Peanut butter cookies.
  ....and beer.

 (there's plenty of other things too, but for the sake of this post, just roll with me on these.)

There's also things that I dislike, things like:

  Having to take a knee to tie my shoe laces.
  Grey hair.
  Living in a family with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
  That some days I look older than I feel, yet other days, I feel older than I look.
  That on the verge of 45, I don't come anywhere close to resembling that picture of Jon Bon Jovi, at 50, wrapped in a sheet, that's making rounds on the internet and has all the women drooling.

DAMN YOU! Jon Bon Jovi

  And also that all of the things on the top list, contribute to all of the things on the bottom list. Yet, I'm not really prepared to give up all of those top list things to be healthy. I try find a happy balance somewhere between the two. Because as much as I want to reverse the things on the bottom list, I want to enjoy myself and life as much as I can. And the top list things, tend to make me happy.

    But there's still Jon Bon Jovi.........

  ........so I try to stretch and run a bit, and be somewhat healthy. That's what led me to form a bloggy partnership with Kianwi, to do our virtual 5K.


 In the beginning of December, Kianwi an I announced our KK5K marathon. The virtual marathon that everyone could participate in, no matter what corner of the globe that you call home, in whatever way you can manage to complete the distance. All together, sometime on March 2nd. That gave us 3 full months to train and mold our bodies into phenomenal machines and rock this bitch!

  And then, over the last two months, I've only managed to go to the track about 6 times. Tops. At this point, I'm still leaning more toward marshmallow, than I am machine. But I still have February to prepare,  and my plan is still to run the entire 5K. I think I'm improving, even with my meager efforts. When I run now, thoughts of trying to find a guy's version of a sports bra to keep my man-boobs from bouncing about, only cross my mind occasionally. I've also noticed that my back fat doesn't jar up and down with near the ferocity it did, when I do the stairs at the arena, as it did when I started.  And as hard as I try to not have my feet make that embarrassing flapping sound on the concrete track, with every footfall, I've discovered that when I turn up my music, I can make that go away. So there is that.

  So whether you can barely move, or are highly motivated, the KK5K is the place for you. It's for everyone really. You can run, walk, bike, push a stroller, or do whatever it takes to cover the 5K. We'd love to have you along.

  If you haven't heard of this before, or need to get a bit of a refresher, to get up to speed, there's tabs on the top of  Kianwi's and my pages that will take you to everything that you need to know about our marathon. Also, if you follow THIS LINK, you'll get to her companion post updating her journey to the 5K. (plus she talks a bit about boobs, so that's kind of cool too!)

If you would like to join in, let either of us know in a comment, and well add you to our pages.