Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back in the saddle again

I've returned form a week in Ontario.
I've over eaten more than once, visited friends and family, and even stayed up past 11 p.m.

I now have to face the reality of working again, getting up and starting my cold car, and eventually listening to my parents gawk about their trip to the Caribbean, and how hot it was.

My dad will come back tanned as black as tar, my mom will have her hair weaved in that stupid little dread lock thingy that all white tourist get done (I think it's just a joke that locals play on tourists to make them look like assholes) and my sister will be on her latest rant, which currently involves how farm animals are mistreated, and how skim milk powder is 2 chemicals away from napalm.....

I'm over the fact that 90% of my immediate family is going South. I had my awesome man weekend earlier in the month, and I'm hoping Ali will be able to do something with her girlfriends in the future. It just irks me how people always tell stories of their vacation and say things like "Remember how our bartender Jose said your name?" or when they have an inside joke that just won't die.
With my parents, it's the lame pictures. Sure, they mean something to them, but to me it's just a group of strangers smiling, and holding up giant drinks.
And then there's my dad's famous line "Did you notice _____ while you were in Cuba?" Or "Is that what you did when you were there?"

Petty, I know, but I'm ready for it this year more than ever. I have Ali and Ellery to keep me sane through the cold months ahead.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ode to my belly button lint


Oh, belly button lint, so stealthily you appear

I have a shower, put on a clean shirt, and yet you persevere

I find you in the evening, after carrying you around all day

I take my shirt off and get ready for bed, and you poke your head out to see if I'm OK

I wonder what you're made of, and if you'll ever cease

I imagine how big you'd be if my shirts were made of fleece

I always know you have my back, or rather my mid section

I just wish you were one of those things I simply couldn't mention

As I live my life these days I'll take the good with the bad

After all you're not the toughest combatant that I've ever had

You're evil twin toe jam has introduced themselves on occasion too

But I'll have the last laugh when I shower away the both of you

Until next time, bellybutton lint. Until next time....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's almost the "C" word..

Christmas.

Remember a few years back when a few people were freaking out, saying that Christmas wasn't just for Christians, and that everyone celebrated this holiday?
We couldn't say Christmas tree. It was known as a "holiday" tree.
We couldn't say Merry Christmas, it was "Happy holidays".

Way to ruin Christmas. Merry Holi-mas.
Better?

This last few days before the big day is where I'm truly impressed with Ali's ability to speed shop.
This is like watching a man on crack going through his shopping list. My question is this ;

Why can't women shop like this all of the time?

They buy what they need, glancing at their lists, get into a store, get mad at the crowd, buy what they need, and bee line it for the till. Sounds like man shopping to me!

Good luck finishing your shopping.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's not to like?


I've returned home to frigid cold winds, a foot of snow, and bitter cold.

For the past few days, I was living a sports fan's dream, watching a live NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, and enjoying an awesome round of golf at a beautiful golf course called Old Sycamore golf Plantation.

I have to sincerely thank my hosts Reggie and Gigi for showing me true Southern charm and hospitality. They made a great trip even better, and I can't wait for the two of you to finally meet the rest of my family.

I think I must have been a Southerner in a former life. I sampled all of the local dishes and loved them all. It started with a good seafood dinner, complimented with succotash. The next morning, I had my first taste of grits and country ham (a salty version of our Canadian back bacon).
The next day at the best tailgate ever, I had Chesapeake oysters as big as a baby's fist, including one with a pearl, and fresh North Carolina shrimp and steamed mussels.

My host's house was very cozy. I've visited many States across the U.S., but this is the first one that I could actually see myself living there. I think a lot has to do with the whole Southern charm there, and we as Canadians are very polite too, so we're very similar.
I was getting used to being called "honey" by the older ladies, and chuckled every time I heard a man address another woman as "darlin'" or "sweetheart".

I loved meeting the extended family - all 5 of the Border collies, the 2 horses and cats, and Bosco the parrot.
I enjoyed the dialogue with Larry, and chatting with Tree and Bash.

I enjoyed Penny's place - this little dive of a restaurant with no windows that served food on Styrofoam plates.

I liked the coffee there. Probably the best American coffee around.

I appreciated the hospitality of all of the strangers that I introduced myself to.
I'm looking forward to our next trip to Charlotte to visit Reggie, Gigi and family.

As a transplanted Chicagoean says about North Carolina, "What's not to like?".

Thanks, one million times over. I've been ruint.......

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Superstitions

As a man, I have some superstitions when it comes to sports.

I always wear my Bomber jersey to games. I think the world will end if I don't.

I have to watch an away game, or else my team will lose. This one doesn't make much sense, because they still lose anyway.

When I go away to watch my first NFL game, I will have to wear something with Denver Broncos on it. Not in plain sight, I don't have a death wish, but something nonetheless.

Other superstitions include not stepping on the first base line when playing baseball, or putting on my wedding ring a certain way, so the engraving faces upward.

When I go fishing, the first fish is always let go - this produces more fish in the end.

What are some of your superstitions in life?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why do sit ups hurt?


The other day, I had Miss E on the floor beside me.
She was entertaining herself with various toys, and I'm trying to get back on track with the whole exercise thing, so I grabbed my weights and got to work.
After my set amount of reps with the weights, I decided to do a few push ups and sit ups.
When I was a young buck, sit ups were an everyday occurrence while serving my Country, so why not start slow again?

After about thirty sit ups, I began to feel a slight twitch in my abdomen. I kept going, focusing on my technique, as to not mess up my back further, managing to do a few more.
All was well, until I tried to sit up. I swear to everything holy, I actually felt like I had a hernia.
I stood up as straight as I could, allowing my abdominal muscles to stretch, but I had these two burning, nagging spots in my belly. What made things worse, was the fact that I had already picked up Ellery, and was frozen in severe pain. She knew something was wrong. She looked at me, trying to figure out why daddy looked like he was getting shanked in a prison shower, but no words would come out. I just stood there, bend slightly to the left, making my peace with God.
Then, as fast as the pain hit me, it disappeared into thin air.

Lesson learned. Abs are over-rated.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Manventure V 2.0


Soon, I will be packing my bags and venturing down to some warmer weather to see my first NFL game.
I think I have been driving Ali crazy, with my relentless planning, my lists, and talking about the most recent weather forecasts.
I basically plan on getting as little sleep as possible to fully maximize my time in North Carolina.
My gracious host is filling the day planner with different ideas and suggestions for sampling the local cuisine.

Here's my only dilemma - the host team is playing my favorite team. The other thing is that I actually own a Carolina Panthers jersey, so I'll think I'll be safe and wear the proper "gang" colors.
I don't want to cause a scene. I'll still cheer for my team, just a little quieter than usual.

So, as we reach our high temperature of -29 Celsius with the wind, I'll be day dreaming of my first tailgate party, my first NFL game, and the tropical 50 degree weather that awaits me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another top 10


I've decided to make a list of things that I'm not good at, but aspire to learn, or improve my skills.

1. Photography - Ali loves taking pictures, and when I see her work (especially of Ellery) it makes me wish that I had a better knack at finding "the perfect shot".

2. Water skiing - Never tried it, but it looks fun. If those wipe outs are half as bad as they are on an inner tube, I'm dead...

3. Football - If I could turn back the clock, I wish that I played football in high school. Now that my bad back/feet don't allow it, I wish that I had some cool football stories to tell.

4. Guts - I hate the thought of sky diving, or bungee jumping. I wish I had that "no fear" attitude, but also working on an Orthopedics ward helps change my mind on those things.

5. The travel bug - Self explanatory, unless I win the lotto, I don't have that ability to just pack up my stuff and fly around the world. Someday, when our finances are a little more set up, this will happen.

6. Neil Peart II - One day, I'm going to own a drum kit, and rock the f*$# out. You'll see.

7. Speaking Spanish - This is probably the one language that I would like to learn the most. I think it would serve me well during all of my trips to the Caribbean.

8. Staying in touch with family - Over the years, I have lost touch with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents for no reason whatsoever. Time to make some calls.

9. Card tricks - Always popular with the kids, and a great ice breaker anywhere. Plus, maybe it'll net me some quick cash.

10. Work on blogging more - I think I've picked it up quite nicely again. I just have to find a way to get my readers back....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Soap vs. the "poof"


As I showered today and used up the last of my body wash, I decided to go back to soap for a while.
I just feel cleaner using a bar of soap, instead of that little clump of material that most women love.

Besides that, most body washes stink. They're either "passion raspberry" scent, or "Jungle Musk". Both not appropriate for a 30 year old man.

I once heard a comedian talking about how his wife wanted him to do the laundry. She asked him to wash the "poofs". He responded with "How do you wash something that only touches soap? It's not even dirty!".

So, for now, I've retired the poof. Maybe I'll gain a little more of my manhood back with each subsequent shower.

Which do you prefer?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Best Christmas memories...

Tomorrow marks the first day of December, one of my favorite months.
Stores begin to play Christmas music, lights are being put up everywhere, trees are being sold at most corner gas stations, and the streets are jam-packed with people.

I remember one particular Christmas when I was 7 years old. I heard a sound on the roof (looking back, it was probably snow falling off) and swore it was Santa. My mom played right into it, and told me that he wouldn't come down the chimney if I stayed awake, so I quickly pulled the blankets over my head and forced my eyes shut.

The next morning, I jumped out of bed, woke up my sister, and ran downstairs. There on the table in the living room, were 2 envelopes. I opened my letter, and It read "Dear Christopher, thank you for the milk and cookies. The Reindeer loved the carrots, too."
I was blown away. Santa is on such a strict schedule, but he took the time to write a personal note to me and my sister?
The rest of the morning was spent opening our gifts, eating breakfast, then heading outside to show our friends what we got.
On the way out the door, my mom stopped me to show me the living room carpet. In a direct path from the chimney to the tree, were heavy boot prints - Santa's bootprints!

It turns out our elderly next door neighbor wrote the letters so we wouldn't recognize the writing, and the boot prints were my dad's....unless my dad IS Santa.

My parents are the best. These are the kind of things Ali and I are going to do with Ellery.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy belated Thanksgiving

In the midst of my dreaded stretch of night shift, I forgot to say happy turkey day to our Southern friends.
Usually, I remember this day as a day when football starts at 11:00 in the morning, and goes all day.
I also think of Sarah Palin pardoning that one little turkey, while some get slaughtered in the background. A classic on Youtube.

So, happy (belated) Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. I hope you ate turkey and sweet potatoes until your belts exploded.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wintertime fun!


A friend of mine who's Australian, wants to go ice fishing. He's really excited to go this winter, and he keeps on asking me little things like "Do you drill your own holes?", or "Do you use live bait?", and my personal favorite "Does the water freeze after you drop the line down the hole?".
It's how I imagine fishing with a 4 year old will be.
I'm going to make a real strong effort to go out at least once here in Manitoba. Sadly, I've lived here for going on 7 years, and I've only bought a Manitoba fishing license once. Most of my fishing is done in Ontario.

We're in the process of buying Ellery a sleigh. We want to continue to go for walks in the winter, and a sled is the only practical way to lug around a baby. I never thought that two pieces of wood and a rope would be so expensive. When I was a kid, we used to slide down hills with a plastic garbage bag, or the ever-so-popular "Crazy carpet" which was essentially a stiff chunk of plastic about three feet long, and two feet wide.

When I was living at home in Ontario, my friends and I used to tie 4 or 5 different toboggans/GT snow racers/sleds behind a snowmobile. We had a little course set up around the yard that weaved it's way through the trees, around the shed, and over the hill in the field across from the house.
When it became boring, we used to have competitions like who could stay on the longest. My personal favorite move consisted of running along side the moving sleds, and kicking my friends in the head to knock them off. 60% of the time, it worked every time.
Once in a while we would venture off the beaten path, and go full throttle down the street.
I remember one night, a few of us did this for about 2 hours straight, up and down Ali's street. This was one of my "wooing" tactics to get the girl. It worked.
I wonder if there's any way a 30 year old man can pull that kind of stuff off now...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hockey night in Canada

So, now that my beloved Blue Bombers are finished for the year, the time for our "unofficial" Canadian pastime begins. Actually, hockey started over a month ago, but I just got into it.

I've always enjoyed skating, and playing hockey. I was never on a team, but would rather play in a pick-up game, or play road hockey in front of my house.

One of my fondest memories of road hockey is the following;

It was a game of two on two. Me and my best friend Mike were battling my neighbors, who, happened to be cousins.
We had been playing for over a hour, when we decided that the next goal wins. Just then, I passed the ball (which was frozen solid, and hard as a cue ball) to Mike. He was about 10 feet away from the net, and as the ball was rolling towards him, he began the longest back swing I think I have ever seen. It was like watching Chi Chi Rodriguez lining up on a 400 yard drive.
The ball connected with the blade of Mike's stick, and launched at the goal at break-neck speed. Actually, it was launched at the poor goalie's, ahem, area at break ball speed.
He hit the goalie square in the nards, and he crumpled like he had been shot. After a few minutes of him trying not to cough up his balls, he got up and quietly whispered "I'm going home now".
Nobody saw him for 2 entire days. We thought he was dead.

One other time, I was invited to play on a team who was one man short. I borrowed the missing guy's equipment (all except his jock) and took to the ice. As I took to the ice for my first shift, I just tried to stay out of everyones way.
I was playing defense, and as I was entering the other team's zone, the puck scooted around the boards, and lazily bounced towards me.
I wound up to take a one-timer and fired the puck at the net. Just as I was completing my follow through, I noticed this big orange blur. It was my neighbor form the road hockey incident.
He crouched down just before impact, and that's when everything turned to slow motion. I remember him hitting me, my feet leaving the ice, and me lying face down on the ice, trying to figure out which way was up.
The hit itself wasn't too bad, nor was the impact of smashing down onto the ice. Actually, after I realized that the equipment actually padded my fall, I thought that contact wasn't so bad.
The only shitty part about this whole experience, was the fact that I was wearing one of those thin, flimsy Jofa helmets, similar to what Wayne Gretzky used to wear. No protection whatsoever. That's when the headache began, and my one game hockey career came to a screeching halt.

Since my back is feeling much better lately, I'm hoping to be able to take my skates and stick down to the local rink and have a good old fashioned game of non contact shinny.
Just another typical day in Western Canada.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I should be on ER

At my place of work, we have the occasional code, or "medical emergency".
Today, I was at the nurse's desk doing some paperwork, when I heard a little voice yell "Call a code blue!!! Room 47 bed 2!!"

I quickly jumped up, as I knew that this was my patient, and ran down the hall. I was in the process of transfusing blood to this woman, so the risk of her having a reaction was always a possibility.
I was surprised when I entered the room to find my patient sitting upright in bed, perfectly fine.
Her husband, on the other hand, was rigid as a piece of plywood in a chair at the foot of the bed.
Me and another nurse quickly scooped the man under the arms, and helped him back into the chair.
Within seconds, the "code team" was in the room. This is a specialized group of doctors, nurses, IV nurses, and Respiratory therapists which answer these medical emergencies.
As I was making my way down the hall to check on my patient, my mind was swirling, and I was preparing myself for the worst. I was thinking "o.k, I'll get into the room, put the head of the bed down, set up oxygen, do a quick blood pressure, assess the patient, and then initiate CPR if needed". All of this went out the window when I realized that this was a visitor to the hospital, not a patient on our ward.
I had to stand back for a second, and restart the whole process. First off, I didn't know who this man was. Secondly, I knew nothing of his past medical history, or any medications he was taking (or not taking).
As I was trying to assess the man, I was asking his poor wife questions about his health history, as she lay there in bed with a total look of terror on her face.
It was quite the distraction - normally, one would only have to focus on one patient and have the full support of the code team, but there I was, with one other nurse, a concerned wife in the bed next to me, a son who was frozen with fear, and a family friend who was crying hysterically.
I asked the other visitors to leave the room to give us some room to work. Just then, the team showed up with the "crash cart", which is loaded with everything from oxygen and dressing supplies, to Epinephrine and an EKG machine.
Luckily, the man came to his senses, and we were able to load him into a wheelchair, and whisk him down to the safe confines of the Emergency Department.
Still shaking for the events that had just happened, I grabbed my lunch and headed to the break room to have some lunch and gather my thoughts.
Just as I began my lunch, I heard on the PA system "Code blue, Adult Emergency".
I don't know if it was the same man or not, and I wasn't able to settle in and enjoy my lunch after that.
I now know why people try to find things to get their heart pumping. These adrenaline junkies love the way they feel during something that terrifies them. As much as I didn't want those events to take place, I found myself just kind of going into robot mode, and just doing what had to be done.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boy time


No, it's not a Boy George song title, it's a chance to hang out with some friends on Monday night, and watch a little football.
Ali and I have decided that once in a while, she can have a girl's night, and I can have a boy's night.
We do most things as a family, which I love to death, however I don't think Ali and Ellery would enjoy a football game and a platter of honey garlic wings, washed down with a nice cold beer.

As Ali stated on a previous post, a little time to yourself is needed to keep your balance.
This is why I need to hang out with my friends, and talk sports, bitch about work, and de-stress.
It's almost inevitable that our conversations turn to work, and we start complaining about our co-workers. I think this helps get all of the issues off of your chest, and allows you to keep plugging away at your job.

On a side note, it was nice having a conversation to a certain Southern gentleman the other night.
Please, don't ever mention my beloved Broncos and their disgusting blow out loss to those "untouchable" New England Patriots again. I had nightmares.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why the bad rap?

So, our Nurses union fought to get us a more competitive wage. Part of the agreement was that we remain 4th highest paid in Canada. Saskatchewan was without a contract while this was settled, so it was decided that once Saskatchewan reached a deal, we would go back to the table and get 25 cents per hour more.
Sask. settled, and after crunching the numbers, we received an additional 5%, resulting in a 10.2 % for this year.
The local media took it upon themselves to announce this to everyone on last night's news telecast. They should have just left it at "Manitoba nurses received an additional 5% increase in their hourly pay today." Instead, they went on to break down our pay with full pay scales for everyone to see.
I can see it now - The public will again be complaining how much the nurses are paid. There will be a trickle down effect, and our health care aides will consider strike action.
How often does the average working slob have their pay announced on the news?
Why do our patients give us the same B.S line that they "pay our wages?" The last time I checked, I pay taxes too (probably a lot more than most).
I can't recall seeing the bus driver's annual salary on T.V. or the local newspaper (who is currently on strike) advertising their pay scale.
I think this is another way to give the nurses more unnecessary bad press.
Thanks for nothing, media. Maybe some day I'll have you on my ward to "pay my wages" and we can discuss this like adults.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ALI vs. PINK

No, not that Ali, my Ali....

As Ali, Ellery and I were driving in the car today, we were listening to one of those crappy top 40 music stations.
There is one particular "artist" that I really despise. Her name is Pink, and all of her stuff sounds the same. This got me to thinking how much I hate her, and who could do something about it?
Most of her songs, she's singing about how much of a bad ass she is, and that she hates authority. First of all, you're like 30 years old. Disliking authority is something a 13 year old does. Second, anyone who constantly carries on about how tough they are, really aren't tough at all.

I looked over to Ali, and proposed a cage fight - between my beloved wife, and that hack they call Pink. I think she could honestly take her. I've had my fair share of wrestling matches with Ali, and I think she would rag doll all 100 lbs. of that dye jobbed-nose pierced-always-frowning-always screaming-always-punching-the-air "musician".
I would pay big money to set that up. Then Ali could take over the role of tough singer, who could actually fight, and actually sing.

If I had my choice, I would love to go toe to toe with Ryan Seacrest. He thinks he's God's gift to men, and is waaay over paid. I'd punch him right back to puberty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Election year

As we all know, there is a pending U.S. Presidential election happening this month.
Furthermore, there is a Canadian election brewing up this month as well.

I watched a poll on the news the other night, and the man was asking people if they knew there was an election. Everyone knew, the problem was that they knew about the US election, and NOTHING of the Canadian election.

This brings me back to high school. Our "world" geography consisted of mostly learning the American states, and where to find Asia and Africa on a map.
I've followed American politics, not enough to identify every state Senator, but enough to know who is running for President, and who their running mates are. I've heard their promises to the "working class" and their plan for Iraq/Afghanistan. (Send the troops home!)

Here in Canada, we are going to have a Federal election to see if Mr. Steven Harper remains in power as the Prime Minister, or if he can be de-throned. Personally, I think he will remain in power, with a minority government (as per) and nothing will change. His biggest challenger can hardly speak english, and is proposing a "carbon tax" that frankly sounds like it'll add extra taxes to anyone and everyone.....
The party I typically vote for has the right ideas, but can usually only muster up enough votes to hold 10-15 seats out of 100.
My party stands for the "working family", and fully supports the arts and healthcare.
We also have the Green party. They support all of the "green" alternatives to the environment, and want to re-negoitate NAFTA, which, thanks to former PM Brian Mulroney totally screws Canada...

Everyday, we're force fed news of meeting, lunches, and discussions involving the candidates. I can't wait for the elections to be done. Let's just hope that the new President and our PM can work together, and restore some good relations, just like our old friend Bill Clinton did. Just leave all sex toys (cigars) out of it.

Long live Queen Elizabeth!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some truths about men

It is in our genes that we cannot fold sheets or towels properly.

What we think is "clean" really isn't clean at all.

A dirty car makes us want to shit ourselves.

We can cram 2500 more pieces of garbage in a trash can than the average woman. It's never too full.

Most of us are scheming how we could make a living playing video games or watching sports.

We subliminally make our wives suggest buying them flowers, moments before actually suggest it ourselves. By then it's too late, and it looks like we're buying out of guilt.

We can trick our noses into not smelling the disgusting odours that linger in our home.

We have a hard time leaving the house without having our hair brushed.

We flex in the mirror whenever we have no shirt on. And yes, we still suck in the gut, even though it's just us looking at ourselves.

Ladies, I hope that helps a little. A quick glance into the mind of a gentleman, or a little boy at heart.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time to mix it up?

Lately I've been thinking of exploring my options in Nursing.
There are some other jobs available at a hospital which is literally 5 minutes away from my house.
Some pros of moving would be that I'm way closer, and would save the $105 per month in parking fees. The con would be that I wouldn't know what kind of nurses I would be with. (The brand new grads who think they're better than everyone else, or the old bitchy nurses that should have retired 10 years ago.)
My good friend Aaron is my acting manager right now. As luck would have it, I was talking about our current situation at my current job, and was saying that it feels like we're in a sinking ship, and things aren't looking up anytime soon. We have many nurses leaving all the time, and right now, we have about 8 vacant nursing positions. We're chronically short staffed, and the few full time nurses that we have (about 7 full time, and 30 part time) are getting worn out simply because the part time nurses are only working their scheduled shifts, and not picking up any extra hours. This leaves the full time staff to pick up the slack by ALWAYS being short staffed.
I really pity Aaron right now, and can see the stress mounting every single day. The kicker is, when he was asked if he was interested in the temporary management position, they told him that it was start in May, ending in September, with a tiny chance of it carrying on to January. Well, guess what....they've asked him to stay on until January.

I've always said that the work will be the same everywhere. It's always been the staff on my ward that have kept me where I am. How do I bring a better morale back to my ward? It seems like the fun is slowly draining away little by little each day.
Aaron and I have started the baseball team, but as soon as the season is over, there are no more activities planned.
I also told Aaron today that it would take a lot for me to leave, but I think I will fill out a few applications, just to see what is out there. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back

We've returned from Calgary. It was a fun filled week, with lots of quality time with my favorite cousin, sightseeing, and some shopping.

We ventured out for a little day trip to Lake Louise and Banff Alberta. If you ever have the chance, Lake Louise you must check it out.
The water is the most beautiful blue colour that you'll ever see, and the view is simply the best.
As we were walking around, with little miss Ellery in tow in her "Snugli" carrier, I noticed all of the tourists that were there. I heard some Dutch, some German, some Italian, and some other unknown language.

With rising gas prices, and the weaker American dollar than previous years, it was refreshing to see so many people making the trek North (or otherwise) to come to Canada. Even on the drive to Alberta, I noticed many RV's with American plates. Ali and I were talking about the prospect of renting an RV one year with some other friends and taking a nice leisurely drive down South somewhere.

It was a great trip, but I'm happy to return home to my own bed, my own comfy couch, and my own culinary prowess. Just for the record, we ordered Chinese 2 nights ago, and pizza last night.

Friday, August 22, 2008

ROAD TRIP!!!

As you may have heard, our little family is heading out West.
We lived in Calgary for 5 great years, and could see ourselves moving back there sometime.

My older cousin Kara still lives out there with her husband and two daughters. This is the cousin that I refer to as my older sister, because we grew up together, and are two peas in a pod.

Her husband Dave also keeps us in stitches. When the four of us are together, we always try to out-do each other, and it's one big laugh fest. They are how I picture Alison and I to be when we are around our other friends.

When I first moved to Calgary, I lived with Kara and Dave for the first six months. Everyday was an adventure, and there were always too many laughs to count. Dave is a musician (self taught), and is constantly writing songs. Some of his best hits include "Parking lot", "Welcome mat", and "You gotta make some room for Jesus". They are all equally hilarious....

Alison and I are both giddy at the thought of being around them for a week. We know we're going to have a blast, and just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we're also going to the Calgary zoo, and IKEA!!

Kara and Dave are two of my favorite relatives. They're the kind of people you want to always be around, and the kind of people who know how to make you laugh.

P.S. I know Alison will bring her "A" game too, so it'll be exciting to see what kind of shenanigans will ensue. I can't wait!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Retirement plans?

I'm fairly new at my chosen profession (only 4 years now), but from time to time, I think about when I retire.
I get quarterly statements about where my pension is at the moment, and it makes me laugh. It says I'm entitled to around $200 per month - so far. I can live on that right? Maybe in Mexico....
Thank heavens for savings accounts.
I think about when I was in the Military. Had I remained in my chosen field, I would have 12 years in, and a half decent pension.
When it comes time for me to "Hang 'em up", I hope to settle with Alison somewhere warm for the winter months, and remain in Canada through the summer months. Most Canadians do this, and they're appropriately called "snowbirds".
I would like to head South to Mexico, Texas, or maybe Florida, although is seems quite pricey.
All I know is, that I want a tan in February.

What plans do you have for retiring?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summertime fun

Some of my favorite memories of when I was younger included going to the beach on sunny days.
Most of my childhood pictures show me in a canoe, or in the water, fishing with my sister, or sitting by a campfire.

We used to take long road trips for our "big" vacations every year. We made it down to the East coast of Canada, then ventured down to Kentucky. We headed the other way, driving to Arizona/New Mexico, and back home through the Canadian Rockies.

In a few short weeks, we will be taking our first family road trip, as we head to Alberta to visit my favorite cousin, and her awesome family.
I hope to show Ellery as many good times as I had growing up, and if I can fashion myself to be like my dad, she'll have a blast.

I know Ali will keep Ellery entertained during our drive, and I actually think that the drive there will be one of the most fun parts of our trip!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Respect is earned....unless you're over 65

Ali and I were at Wal-Mart yesterday buying some necessities, and like any other day, it must have been seniors day.
If I am walking through a store and see a mother with kids approaching, I get out of the way. They have enough to worry about, with their kids pointing at things, crying, sleeping in the cart, or trying to fit that chocolate bar under their shirt before you make it to the till.

As Ali made her way down an aisle, an older woman was looking at laundry detergents. She had her cart in the middle of the isle, and she was bent over with her ass sticking out way too far for a woman that age. She glanced up at us, and went back to comparing prices. As we passed, she gave a look to say "how dare you bother me", and it was Ali apologizing for going by. That's our fault as Canadians, we're too friendly.

Other older couples were rushing around the store. The thing that separates these seniors form the rest of us "normal" shoppers, is the fact that they walk shoulder to shoulder to block off the entire lane. Again, they give you a look because we're in their space.

To top it all off, they had 6 cashiers open (all at the same end) so everyone was crowded in one place, with the lines twisting and turning through the women's unmentionables.
I commented that they always seem to do this, and an older guy in front of me said the he works at Safeway, and this would never happen. We'll see. The last time I checked, seniors shopped at Safeway too. 10% Tuesdays is waaay too tempting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sure I'll sign your jersey....

Some athletes put themselves above all others. I guess if you have scouts drooling over you while you're in high school, making you all sorts of offers once you're eligible for College, giving you discreet "gifts" like cash and vehicles, signing you to a huge signing bonus once you are drafted, and then have legions of fans follow you around donning your name on their jerseys, it might be possible to get an attitude.

Alison has said before that professional athletes are one of the most over-paid professions around. I could not agree more.
Some are smart with their money and open a restaurant or sports bar. Others invest in the stock market. Then there are the few who take $80 000 in $1 bills to a strip club, or those who can't resist the temptation of drugs while they're playing....
If I had a multi million dollar deal to play a sport, that would be my main focus for the few years that I did play, then I would worry about everything else.

This post came to me as I heard about yet another football player who failed a third drug test, and is now suspended (without pay) for the entire year.

I was listening to the radio one day and they had a discussion about over paid professions. Dentists were another suggestion, saying that their dental hygenists do all the work, then the dentist come in, look at your mouth for 10 seconds, then say "see you in 6 months".

In our fair city, it seems as though the city bus drivers are always threatening the public with a strike vote. Their biggest complaint is wages, yet the bus fares go up each year, as do their wages.

I say if you want the best "gravy" job around, work for the Federal government. They've got it goooooood!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pets

I grew up with dogs and cats for most of my life.
I consider myself to be a dog person, and hopefully one day, my family will enjoy a dog, probably after we buy a house.
It's amazing how attached we get to our pets. When they die, it's like losing a part of your family.
My parents adopted a shepherd cross from the humane society a few years back, and finally old age caught up to her, and my parents had to euthanize her. The way they looked at it was that they gave her another 3 good years of life.
My parents are now talking about getting two new puppies. They are a Jack Russel/Westhighland Terrier cross, and will be a little easier to handle due to their size...
Now Ellery gets to (indirectly) have a dog. They will grow up with her, and she will know the joys of owning a dog, without dealing with the mess.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've created (another) monster

My mom has been bugging me forever about Facebook. She always wants to go on there so she can see pictures of our family.
I finally explained to her that she needs to register, just like any other website.
Well, she has joined, and now it's Ali being bombarded with friend requests from my mom, and some other family that we really don't ever see.
Facebook is one of those things that we'd like to keep private. It's a chance to have some friendly banter with friends, and sometimes it's maybe some stuff that you don't want your parents to read.
Just like this blog, we keep this from certain people, because it's a chance to complain to your OTHER group of friends, without fear of backlash from family.

I just hope they keep it in control. Otherwise, I might have to take Facebook behind the barn and put it out of it's misery......

Friday, July 11, 2008

If you are who you say you are....

Why aren't Psychics weather forecasters?
They could say "It will rain until 11:07, then nothing but hot and sunny until 7:55 tonight."
We would never have any issues with the weather again.

I though of this at around 3 this morning, as I was in that half-awake-half-sleeping phase.

Furthermore, it is Friday night, time for a Bomber game, time for a win, and of course, there's rain in the forecast. Damn psychics. I want my money back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

When adults act like kids

One of my co-workers is turning 40 this weekend. She posted an open invitation in our staff room, so everyone knows that they're invited.
One of my other co-workers is celebrating her 5th year wedding anniversary this weekend. It's their tradition that they invite a bunch of their close friends to a BBQ, and have a friendly game of baseball.
The lady who's having her birthday party found out about this "other" party. She approached the other woman, and asked her to re-schedule her party because that was the day of her party....
The other woman was quick to respond that her get together was at noon and was expected to be done by 4 p.m. Suddenly, that was acceptable, and all is right with the world again.

The same woman who's having her 40th birthday this week was also mad at me.
One week before my birthday, I invited a few friends to join Ali and I, and go 5 pin bowling.
One of the girls that came out with us invited everyone back to her place afterwards for a few drinks. We declined, and headed home - unaware of the drama my actions were about to cause.
The next day, some of the people were talking about the bowling, and the shenanigans that followed at the "after party".
This woman overheard their conversation, and snipped "Chris never told me about this party. How come I wasn't invited?".
My first clue is, if somebody doesn't ask you to join them, you're probably not wanted. I guess that's just me...
Her next comment was priceless. She said "I WAS going to throw Chris a baby shower, but now he can forget it!".
What are we, eight?

So, my advise to everyone is to post a general invite, extended to all, even if you don't want everyone there. If you don't like the company, you can sneak out the back door.
There's never a shortage of drama at my workplace. It's a real-life soap opera, but with uglier people.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Today is the home opener for the Blue Bombers. Not only do I enjoy going to the games, it's the whole ritual of what my dad and I do.
We get to the stadium early, watch the pre-game warm up, enjoy a smokie or two, drink a cold beer, and just take in the smells and sounds of the game.
Again, I picture myself a few years down the road. My dad actually mentioned that once Ellery is old enough, we will have to buy a third season ticket so she can come out with us.

The best part about today is that I finally have a distraction away form the fact that I'm home alone for the entire week. It's wierd seeing an empty crib, or not hearing the usual baby sounds coming form the other room. After work each day, I come home and make myself supper, and then it's bedtime by 10:00. I feel like an old man....
I can't wait to see my girls again on Sunday night.

P.S. Thumbs up this week to Ali/Ellery, Theresa(thanks for the card) John, Reggie, and Zig.
Oh, and Phoung Nam Restaurant....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lonely

Ali and Ellery are still in Ontario. I have been back in Winnipeg since Sunday, as my holidays are now done, and I have the work week from hell ahead of me. Friday is my only day off (Bomber home opener!!) then back for the weekend.

I don't know what to do. Ali hasn't been feeling that great lately, and at least I know she has her mom to help out, and do some baby sitting. If she were here, she'd be all alone during the day.

Work is as hectic as always. After almost 3 weeks off, you would think that the pace would slow down a little. Wrong. I guess car accidents and workplace mishaps didn't get the memo to take the summer off.

I think I'll curl up on the couch, watch a movie, then go to bed early tonight. Wait, I did that last night too...

Hurry up Friday!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm snoozing, in more ways than one

My apologies for not blogging lately.
It has been steady around here, and we're all trying to establish some sort of rhythm to our daily lives.
Ellery is sleeping pretty well, but is WIDE awake form midnight to 5 a.m. like clockwork....

My mother in law was in the city for the last few days, and we appreciated the help while I was at work. It's now my mom's turn to offer a hand for the next couple of days.
I got to thinking about all of the single mothers out there, or just any of the moms who do not have the supports that most people take for granted. I have a new found respect for motherhood, not that I ever thought it was easy, but it truly is a 24 hour per day job.

Our baseball season is now in full "swing" (pardon the bad pun) and luckily, I've made it out for our first week, but have missed the last few. I'm a little leery to play as often as I'd like, because I don't know how my back will hold out. Lately it's been feeling ok, but I think I'm due for another visit to Igor my Russian mafia masseuse...

After six long cold months, Blue Bomber training camp officially starts new week. This, as my readers may know, is my favorite summer past-time. I look forward to taking my daughter to games when she's older. This will be "our thing" until she begins hanging out with her girlfriends at the mall, or dating. I'll be sure to keep my shotgun close. Alright, change of subject, I just panicked a little.

I just thought of one of my bad habits that Ali truly hates. You know when you have "something" in your nose and a good hard blow just doesn't get rid of it? When this happens to me, I twist up a tissue and use my patented corkscrew technique which is 1.) highly effective and 2.) a better alternative than my finger.
Ali hates this, and I think she even gags once in a while. That remind me, I saw another lady picking her nose and then eating it in her car yesterday. I'm going to start keeping a count of how many disgusting people drive to work each day. Blech!

For my next few blogs, I'm going to give a special "thumbs up" to a person/people who I am thinking about or noticing a lot of lately.

Today's blog will include my best friend Mike, Ellen Degeneres, the Mallard ducks living in our pool, and our moms.

Stay tuned to see if you make the next list...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I've got a staring problem

Since the first day we brought Ellery home, I find myself unable to peel my eyes away from her.
If we're watching TV, Ali and I both jump up a commercials to check on the baby as she sleeps.

It is such an awesome feeling to have her right in front of us, after many years and countless heart breaking nights, thinking of the prospect of never having kids.
I now know what all fathers feel when they talk about their kids, and how they want to nourish them and protect them for the rest of their lives.
The funny thing about this whole experience is that I'm the one who tears up when I hold her, or say anything related to my little girl. I have never been so emotional. It's so bad I bawl when I see a certain commercial, or hear a certain song. I'm such a girl....

One of the thing that I enjoy most is watching our parents hold Ellery. I remember my mom running into the hospital room for her first visit. She immediately started crying, and kept repeating "Oh my God, she's beautiful." At one point, she actually stomped her feet and flailed her arms a little. I think she might have a bit excited to finally become a grandma. Again, I cried, but so did everyone else in the room.
Our parents now look for any excuse to come into the city, or give us a call to see how she's doing.

I am so thankful to finally have this little miracle baby here in our lives. Now our family is complete.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Update

While I sit here at home, fresh from the shower and two whole hours of sleep, Ali is at the hospital right now with our little Bean....

Bear with us people, I want Ali to handle the introductions. Think of this as a final "teaser" until you get all the details tomorrow when we return as a family!!!


I hope you can handle the suspense!

(And sorry for leading everyone on, but you had to wait this long, what's one more day?)

Now, try to get some sleep before the grand announcement. I didn't.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I guess I'm not as patient as I thought

Yesterday consisted of getting an early morning call to the hospital, only to wait, wait, and wait some more.
After almost 7 hours of monitoring, walking, and more monitoring, they sent us home to hopefully have contractions and maybe even some labor symptoms....

It's easy to see that nothing has happened so far, and I can only imagine the stress that our parents and friends (and fellow bloggers) are experiencing. Every time the phone rings, we're hoping it's that call back to the hospital. I've done this trip so many times already, I think I can set the cruise control on our car and it can find it's own way there. I hate waiting by the phone.

To add to my impatience, daytime television is full of programs such as Bringing Home Baby or Baby Story. We're surrounded by babies, just not the one that matters to me the most.

So here we sit, bags packed, list of phone numbers I have to dial after the bean's arrival, MP3 player to listen to music, magazines to read, and snacks to enjoy.

All we need now is for that phone to ring.....and some comfy seats for support people in the hospital rooms.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hug a nurse


This week in the U.S., and next week here, it's National Nurse's week.
I've been nursing for almost 4 years now, and I can honestly say that this is the best career choice that I have ever made.
With nursing, some people think that we just hand out pills. I can assure you, in my workplace alone, we do way more than that.

The one thing that people may not consider about nursing, is that there is plenty of patient teaching, and counselling that goes unnoticed. We explain the patient's medical condition, common treatments for the same, possible options and expectations for their hospital stay.
We also advocate for our patients. Many people are afraid to ask a doctor to repeat him/herself, and say "yes, I understand" only to have more questions than when the doctor first arrived.

I think I enjoy the patient teaching the most. In a previous post, I mentioned that I would love to be a nursing instructor one day, and my everyday work experience will help me along the way.

I watched Martha Stewart today while waiting in the hospital lounge. I had to laugh when she appeared on camera wearing nursing scrubs. If only she knew what kinds of debris hits those pink scrubs, she would not think that "was a good thing...".

So this week (or next) hug a nurse. Tell them you appreciate them, and that they are doing an excellent job. And then buy them cookies.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

So, that's the name you picked...

A while back, Alison ordered a necklace with our baby-to-be's name on it.
Seeing it for the first time printed on something really made me happy. Even as we make lists now, and write down the name, it gives me goosebumps. This is the necklace to the right, and don't worry, the name has been blurred out.

We keep telling everyone that the name we have selected is uncommon, but hardly weird.
Probably the weirdest name I've heard from a friend was a co-worker naming her daughter Zuzu. Yes, Zuzu. That's not a nickname, as it was in "It's a Wonderful Life", but her actual first name. I hope for her sake, they call her by her middle name - Kaleigh.

When we were first selecting names, we had a laugh at the author when it was obvious that she had exhausted her baby name bank. After a while, it was like she wasn't even trying with names such as Post, Den, and Hall.

So far, the pool at work is about 50/50 with guessing if it's a boy or girl. My colleagues have suggested some pretty interesting names, but I am trying to listen to their parenting tips.

I have 13 shifts left until some much needed holidays. This is the first year I was able to get a 2 week stretch off together, and with my regular days off, it works out to be almost 3 weeks off.
We're planning on having lots of family/friends time (Hello Mike/Irene) and even a trip out West to visit my favorite cousin.

Bring on the warm weather, sandals, and of course, the diaper bag....

Monday, April 28, 2008

The click that changed my life...

Today we installed the car seat. Actually, it's now called a "carrier system" which includes the base, car seat, and the stroller. The colour won't give anything away either, it's called "green tea".

After I heard the clicking sound to say that the seat was firmly locked in place, it was official.
I had to drive down Portage Avenue to drop off our income tax, and I noticed that I had already modified my driving. I was more cautious, and was noticing all of the bad drivers.

I'm already dreading the first drive home after the baby is born. Alison and I joke that I'll be driving in the slow lane with my four way flashers on, cursing every driver that comes too close for comfort.

We've also installed a web cam, so if we can show our parents how to access the camera from their computers, they can see us and the bean, and capture how quickly he/she will change...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

As Canadian as...

There are a few stereotypes that Canadians cannot shake.
One is our apparent love of maple syrup. Granted, we love syrup, but no more that our American friends on the East coast that produce a similar sweet treat.

Another stereotype, which I cannot believe, is that we live in igloos. Seriously? It's 2008.

I've been asked by a Texan once if Canada had electricity. Ouch.

As Canadians, we say "eh". Not every second word, but we say it. It's very comparable to an American "huh" after every sentence.

The idea to this post hit me tonight, while I was watching hockey. (A true Canadian passion)
I thought of certain hockey fans booing certain hockey teams. I'd love to remind them that half of the roster for any NHL team calls Canada their homeland, but they wouldn't want to hear it.

On a side note, the riots that occurred in Montreal following their first round victory was deemed to be a well thought out plan by a small group of hooligans, who used the final victory as an excuse to burn police cars, and loot a few stores. It would have been considered a little more well thought out if the idiots didn't videotape this with their cell phones and DVD recorders. The police simply are searching Youtube/Facebook, and arresting these tools one by one.
I've been pretty excited about my teams in the past, but have never considered throwing a brick through a window or setting fire to a car to say "Wooo!!!". Maybe I'm not so hardcore after all....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The big 3-7

Today marks week 37 of the Bean's gestation.
Technically, it can happen any day now, and I think Ali and I are both ready.
I booked Ali an appointment to see my massage therapist. She went in to see him for 1/2 hour, and felt great. I complain when I'm a little bloated and gassy, I can't imagine how she feels lugging a 6.5 pound human around every single minute of the day. I give her full credit though, she gets through every day, and is still able to laugh and make me laugh at the end of the day.

In general, I want to thank all women for being strong. You know if it were up to men, most would stop after one kid if they even wanted to have one at all. We don't do well with pain, and we complain as if we're still 3 year olds...

Aside from that, my beloved Montreal Canadiens advanced to the next round of the NHL playoffs.
As we were sitting in our prenatal class last week, one of the other dads-to-be (who happens to be a Habs fan) was leaning over, looking across Ali, and whispering quick updates from the hockey game. Apparently he had a friend watching the game, and she was text messaging him the score.
Every time the nurse has separated the men from the women for different exercises, the men would undoubtedly start talking sports. I used this as a way for the guys to open up, get comfortable around each other, and ultimately, this would help us finish our task at hand.
I guess this furthers my thirst to one day become an instructor at a nursing school somewhere.
I love to teach, and to explain things to people.


Imagine that, professor Chris.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The last friday

Today marks Ali's official "last day" of work. Actually, her last day was yesterday, but I digress.
In a few weeks I'll be able to join her around the house. We're looking forward to spending lots of time in Ontario with our parents. We'll have lots of BBQ's and fish fry's, and be able to visit a lot of old friends that we haven't seen in a while.

It's tax time, and I haven't done ours yet. We tried to do them ourselves last year, but I think we'll take it in to somebody this year. They always know the ins and outs, and hopefully will get us a bigger return.

As we were resting tonight after our delicious steak dinner, we watched Butterbean press their little ass straight up in the center of Ali's belly. It's amazing how much they are still able to squirm around, and sometimes it's noticeable from across the room.

As the weather turns nicer, it's beginning to signal the start of baseball season. I'm excited, but disappointed that nobody wants to sponsor us. We've approached numerous businesses and sports bars, and all they're offering is 15% off the total bill. I'm sorry, but if I bring in 12-15 people on a Monday night, which typically is slow anyway, they should be a little more excited to host us. It's good money for them, and a tax write off too, so I don't know what their problem is....

That's all I've got for now. Time to tend to my wife and baby.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

30 years (young)

I had a pretty good birthday.
A few days before, I had a small get together with some friends, went went bowling, had some beers, and had a good time.
On my actual birthday, I had to work. Ali picked up some awesome take out, and we had a nice late supper together. I opened a few gifts (even one from Butterbean), and then we relaxed.

Today, we began our spring cleaning. We cleaned up the patio, washed down the BBQ and the windows, scrubbed the horizontal bird poo splashes off the screen, and threw out the random garbage that got stuck in the bushes. I always wondered how birds manage to swoop down under our roof, and poop on an angle against our screen. I think they hate us.

One month until our lives officially change forever. The room is finished, the diapers are stacked, the crib has fresh crib sheets, so let's begin!
It's hard to describe the feeling. The last few months have been going by so slowly, yet, it seems like it's still sneaking up on us.

I have a busy work week ahead of me, so I'm going to bed early. Goodnight moon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Interviews

I just got back from an interview with a personal care home. I applied because it's a 2 minute walk from my house.
This was kind of a different interview, because I actually met the Director of patient care a few weeks earlier. She was in visiting another patient, so I had the chance to talk with her before the actual "official" interview.

When I entered her office, the first thing she asked me was "Why do you want to work in a care home?".
I told her I enjoy talking with the residents, especially the old war vets. She must have been happy with that answer, because she then proceeded to skip the entire page.

I think the secret to my success is my "gift of gab". When you can talk to people, and find that one thing that you have in common, it goes a long way in establishing a good rapport with them.
I have never been at a loss for words with anyone, and I think it helps others relax when there's no awkward silence.

After a quick tour of the place, she then asked me if this place was somewhere I'd like to work. I said that everything looked good, and will be starting there probably next month. It will be just casual work, so I can pick up a 4 hour shift if I'm bored.

Have you ever had a bad experience during an interview?

I remember this one interview I had. I sat in front of a panel of 3 people, and as I was answering a question, the one man took a drink of water and started sputtering. He was choking and coughing, but pretending to listen to me. After a few seconds of fighting for air, he got up and went into the back room. We could hear him coughing again, and once I knew he was alright said "That must have been a good answer." The other 2 ladies laughed, and when the man finally returned, he thought we were laughing at him....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I dig music

(Title taken from a Rheostatics' song)

I was sitting here watching the Colbert Report today, and he had REM as a guest.
That's one band I've always really liked, even though I haven't bought many of their albums.
This got me to thinking of some other bands that I really like and know, and although I don't have many (or any) of their albums, here are still some of my "other favorites".

The list would be as follows :

Neil Young - A legendary Canadian singer whose lyrics are like no other.

U2 - One of the world's biggest bands, I had the pleasure of seeing these guys play in Calgary years ago.

The Dead Kennedys - A classic punk band. It's interesting to think what would have happened if Jello Biafra actually won his political seat....

Nirvana - They have too many good songs to list.

The Pixies - Another band whose reunion tour was too short.

Rush - Finally making another appearance after 25 years here in Winnipeg. They were mad that their last show only attracted 6000 people, and vowed to never return. On second thought - do we want them here?!?

The Sex Pistols - A must have for any "mad at your parents & I wanna be a rebel" teenager.

Tom Petty - Classic easy listening American rocker

This post really made my day. The more I think about music, the happier I get. Who are some of your "other favorites"?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Moving, but not at a snail's pace

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon packing up the guest bedroom, and converting it into the baby's room.
We ventured from store to store, picking up the necessary items, then returned home and made our place a bigger disaster than before. As Ali says though, "it has to get worse before it gets better...."

That motto can actually hold a lot of bearing to many things. Take for example my first (of soon to be many) visits to my massage therapist. It was rough going for the first day, but then I was actually able to walk comfortably the entire following day.

As I was driving home today after dropping the wife off at work, I saw one thing that made me want to pull this lady out of her car, "and give her a good talking to".
She was driving, one hand holding a coffee, the other holding a cigarette. Usually not a big deal right? The kicker was noticing the baby carrier in the back seat. She was kind enough to have the cover over the baby's face though....

In Manitoba, they are trying to make it illegal to smoke in a car while carrying children. This has already become a law in the East coast, and hopefully we will follow suit soon. I would love to be in charge of writing those tickets. I'd cut in front of the car, get out, and slap the ticket square on their foreheads. I'd be that guy that Ali complained about. Call it a stupidity tax.

As mentioned before in Ali's blog, I was surprised to see the hostility shown towards us while we were in North Dakota. I know it was only two Emo kids who probably aren't hugged enough by their parents, but it got me to thinking about growing up in a small border town.
We used to be chased out of Minnesota as kids, sworn at as teens, and given the finger and told to "go back to Canada" more times than I can remember.
I felt like telling those two jagoffs in Grand Forks that if it was not for the fact that Canadians are carrying the local economy right now, they would not have a mall to hang out at. They wouldn't have understood what those big words meant though.
As I said earlier, I have only really experienced this in smaller towns across the U.S.
When I was younger, we took a trip down to Kentucky with nothing but good memories. We spent one Christmas in Arizona treated like royalty. I talked to many interesting people in Las Vegas.

Do me a favour, my American friends - tell small town people to be nice to us. We're harmless. We're Canadian.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is it April yet?

And just when I thought things were looking up.... We got a small dump of snow the other day, just enough to cover the ground, then melt and make everything all sloppy. The sloppiness of the streets, and the gallons of windshield washer fluid signal spring to me. The snow just doesn't mix into my spring plans.

I'm excited for April to get here, not for the obvious reasons (ahem, birthdays) but because I think April is my favorite month overall. Of course I love June/July,but I enjoy writing the word "April" more than any other months.
This is the month that officially kick starts Spring. The robins and squirrels return, the air has that certain moist-dirty-wet grass smell, and the buds on the hedges start to bloom.

I was watching a dad take his young son for a walk this afternoon. The little boy stopped at every puddle, bent down to touch it with a single finger, then proceed to splash and frolic through the puddles with no holds barred. It looked fun, but the dad was a total killjoy.
He scorned the boy for splashing his khaki pants. If that were me, I'd splash right along with my child too. It's only water, and plus, I'd look cool to all passers-by.

I can't wait until our Butterbean is here. More so, I can't wait until they toddle around, constantly looking and exploring the neighborhood. Bad back or not, I'm following....

Right now, life is good. When I was 18 and thought "where will I be when I'm 30?", this is pretty much what I had in mind. I have an amazing wife, a good job, and soon I'll be that dad playing in the puddles.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Massage by the Mafia

Yesterday, I took myself to a sports injury clinic. The doctor came in, did a quick interview, then gave me some of the smallest shorts I have ever squeezed in to .

After a thorough exam, he told me that I have a very irritated back muscle (name is too hard to pronounce) and that I would greatly benefit from deep tissue massage. That sounds good, but I'm the worlds biggest suck when it comes to a massage.

I've booked an appointment with a guy named Igor. He's an old Russian man who was a physiotherapist years ago, and now does massage. When the doctor calls this man who he's referred to as "old, crazy, but very good" what can I expect? I quickly get visions of him having ties to the Russian mafia....

I quickly tell myself that's not the case. Then I made the call. He answered the phone with a thick accent, and had old classical music playing in the background. I'm convinced.

I want him to be gentle, but I understand the idea of deep tissue massage is to work out the kinks and knots which have formed and became quite comfortable in my back within the last 6 months. I wonder if he has a gag-ball for me to use? I hope it's not that kind of massage place.

In other news, my best friend is venturing to the city for the night. One last chance to play video games late into the night, and annoy Ali with some more high fives (after we score a goal while playing Playstation).

I'm also hoping to take my dad out fishing this weekend. He has a rare couple of days off, so I'm really going to bug him to get out. It will be good to have some father/son time. We usually only get this during football season, which happens to start in 2 months.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Last Thursday, we saw our little baby in 3D. This little person looked so real and perfect, and it looked as though they could be handed to us right that day. Alison quickly reminded me that they were still only about 3.5 lbs. and had a bunch more weeks to finish growing, but I'm starting to get impatient. I want them here - now.

Most people tell me to enjoy the quiet now, because it'll get louder when they arrive, but I say bring the noise.....

I say that Butterbean features my nose, and Alison's lips. I'm hoping they get Alison's bluish eyes and eyelashes, and my chubby cheeks, which, so far doesn't appear to be too difficult. See Ali's blog for photo evidence.

We've just finished assembling the"bouncy chair". I think we have all the big ticket items purchased, so now it's just hurry up and wait.

For the next day or so, I'll hang out with my parents. They've ventured to the big city for a quick shopping/Dr's. office trip. As usual, I'll probably get annoyed with them about five minutes after getting into the car. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feelin' good makes me feel good!!!

Today I was thinking of things that make me feel good, or happy.

1. Reading books to my unborn baby.

2. Resting my head and hand on Ali's belly, and feeling Butterbean kick.

3. A good slobbery kiss with my wife. (Mushy, I know)

4. Friday night in the Summer, especially during Blue Bomber games.

5. Visiting our parents in Ontario.

6. Road trips to anywhere. I heard a little rumour that the Broncos are playing in NC this year....

7. Eating fresh seafood, especially when it's somewhere in the Caribbean.

8. Hanging out with my best friend Mike, just playing video games.

9. Puppies.

10. Going to concerts.

11. Fishing with friends.

12. Drinking a big cold glass of water when I'm reeeaaaalllly thirsty.

13. Thinking of being not only a dad, but a great dad.

14. Buying my baby's first Bomber jersey. I got # 00, just like my first jersey....

15. Swimming and snorkeling in the Ocean.

16. Flying in a plane.

17. Enjoying a cold beer when it's hot outside.

18. Laughing at Ali's stupid jokes, or adding to a comment I just made about somebody.

19. Hanging out with my dad.

20. Talking about nursing stuff with my two moms.

21. Finding old baby pictures of me and my family.

22. Adding to our baby book.

23. Hearing my favorite band on the radio, and screaming the lyrics as loud as possible. (When I'm by myself)


I think most of these can happen, just by Summer coming around this year. 2008 will be the best year yet.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

ROAD TRIP!!!

Yesterday we ventured South, to a little place called Grand Forks, ND.
This town is the perfect size, and the streets are laid out in a way that you can go exactly where you want to go with little trouble.

On a side note, I don't know what our American neighbours are taught, but in Canada when an intersection is out, and there are no lights, we treat this as a four way stop.....
As we approached the very first light, they were out due to a huge power outage, and it was an absolute free-for-all for everyone in the area. Nobody was even hitting the brakes, cars were cutting in front of others, and there I was.....waiting patiently, until the van ahead of me sat there. And sat there. And sat there. I finally honked the horn, yelling every curse word that I could muster in one breath, while my beautiful 8 months pregnant wife did the exact same.....two peas in a pod I tell ya.

As we were driving back home, we received a phone call from a family member. They were in the hospital, but were medically stable. I have never felt so helpless, being two hours away from Winnipeg, and being stranded on a quiet highway. It felt as if I was standing still, even though I was going 110 KM/H.
This family member is now at home resting, and doing okay, but it sure did bring back some ugly memories for Ali and myself. Sometimes I think my family was cursed.

To end this blog, I will let you know that our Manitoba Government has come to their senses, and avoiding the Nurse's strike. As with any other strike, wages/benefits/pension were the main sticking points. Now we can all breathe easy.

Have a good work week everyone.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Coming of age

They say you're only as old as you feel. My best friend celebrates his 30th birthday today, and soon I will join him in the 30 + club.

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I feel like an "adult". I don't know why, maybe it's just a thing that "grown-ups" usually do. When I look around the store, there's mostly 40-50 year olds there. I see lots of parents pushing their kids in the cart. Maybe that's why I feel older when I shop.

Of course all of this is a moot point, when they look in my cart and I have granola bars, pudding, sweetened cereal, juice, and chocolate milk. My cart is the unofficial wish list for any kid.

I quickly jump back into my "adult" role when I load up the minivan to go home....

I feel that I am where I am supposed to be at this point of my life. Parenthood, and all of the things that come with it are all that I could have hoped for. I can't wait.

On a side note, I believe that I'm over the shock (see last post) and am coming to terms with it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm.....speechless.

Have you ever heard some news from somebody, and you honestly did not know what to say?

I had the pleasure of being blind-sided by some shocking news yesterday, and for the first time in my life, I honestly was speechless. I think back as far as I can remember, and I have always managed to make up my mind that instant - whether I liked it or not.

I'm having difficulty right now, because I am truly flustered.....
Maybe I'll share this info with you at a later date, but right now I don't know how I feel about it.

Not to worry though, we'll get through this, and no, it's not related to Ali or Butterbean.
I know that I can count on Ali to talk me through everything, and reason out all of the good along with the bad. That's one of the things that makes her so perfect for me.

Has anyone else ever had this feeling of being so indecisive?
If so, how did you cope?

Maybe I'll call Dr. Phil.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I should write Soaps...or sell couches

Man, my life lately has been like a bad Soap Opera....

I talked to my back surgeon yesterday, and he was "reluctant" to do surgery. He didn't rule it out completely, but he felt that there was one last option to explore.
He referred me to this guy who runs a private clinic in the city. He apparently has a PhD. in sports medicine, and he's a Physiotherapist who specializes in chronic pain, and different coping methods.
At this point, I'm willing to try acupuncture, massage, or hypnosis. OK, maybe not hypnosis, but you get my drift....

As a last option, Dr. J said he would fuse the affected disc, but I would more than likely need further surgery down the road. I've inherited my Grandfather's bad back, and have to play with the cards I've been dealt. I just wish I knew what to do so that Ali won't worry about me as much.

To take my mind off of my back issues, I went to scout baby furniture. That's right, you heard right, I went shopping - alone. I even had to steer away form the pushy salesman. The kind who lines you up as soon as you enter the door, then cuts down the angle like a linebacker coming in for the hit. I must have given him a certain "leave the the hell alone" look, because he fumbled his words, and totally messed up his approach. As he walked up to me, he said "Uh, good morning. Ah shit, it's not morning....good afternoon. It's afternoon now. 12:45 to be exact...."
I just diverted my eyes to the nearest piece of furniture, which happened to be one of the most ugly two toned couches I've ever seen. It was black, with tan leather.
As soon as I looked at it, he says "I bet that would look gooooooood in your living room."

Now, by the way he exaggerated the word "good", I figured I was on some kind of hidden camera show like Oblivious.
I told him I actually thought it was gross, and I wouldn't be caught dead with that in my house.
He asked what I did need, and directed me to the bedroom sets. I told him I wanted one dresser/change table, but they didn't carry that.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to work sales, just for one day. I could sell some real ugly crap....like that dreaded couch that will haunt me in my dreams.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

STRIKE!!!!

It appears that talks between our Nurse's union and the Manitoba Government have stalled. As a matter of fact, they've stalled so badly, it it believed that the union might ask us to strike in the next few weeks.

I was in another profession the last time the nurses had a strike vote here, and I really don't remember much about that time. Now that this will directly affect me and my family, I'm more interested in the events taking place within the next two weeks.

There is already a "work to rule" order in effect, where members are encouraged not to work any extra shifts or overtime. The first people who will suffer from this is unfortunately the patients.
It will all start in the emergency room. From there, all elective surgeries will be cancelled. Aside form that, all hemodialysis patients will suffer. I hope for their sake (and ours) that it doesn't come to this.

When we hear about other essential services (firefighters, police, etc) getting decent raises, it should only include the nurses as well. What the government has offered won't even cover the cost of living.

I say boo to the government.

On a lighter note, I will be going to see my favorite comedian of all time - Emo Phillips tonight with Ali and a few other friends. His distinct style stage presence and dry sense of humor make him truly stand out. I need a beer, and a few laughs.

As you may have noticed in Ali's blog, I too have experienced all of the sympathy pregnancy symptoms. I can still squeeze into my Bomber jerseys, so I think I'll be okay.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bumper stickers

Some bumper stickers make me laugh. Others make me roll my eyes. Some are controversial, others are offensive. I saw one the other day that made me think.

It said Health care before Olympics.

I never really put much thought into that, odd because I am in Health care, but this really does make sense to me. As you may or may not know, Canada is hosting the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler British Columbia.

There were a list of contenders, which was narrowed down to three. Canada "won" the priveledge to host them, then the mad dash began. There is the issue of building at least three new venues from the ground up. They need a new arena to host curling, a main staging area, and other various other buildings to host the athletes and the 25000 volunteers they need. That's right - 25000.
Ten times the amount of athletes they expect in B.C.

This doesn't even include the cost of the Olympics proposal, and the cost of naming the three cute, but expensive official mascots of the 2010 games.

If the Government was thinking, they would have stepped in and stopped the Olympics from coming here. How could they justify the millions of dollars being spent when we have emergency rooms closing, nursing and doctor shortages across Canada, and a tremendous lack of operating room time from coast to coast?

I'm obviously in favor of the whole Health care issue, but I could easily argue for Education, training and development for young Canadians, roads and highways, upgrading sewer and water systems, providing clean water to Northern communities, funding small buisnesses, and so on.
What I'm trying to say is, this money could have gone to people who actually need it.
What does hosting the Olympics really do anyway? It's basically the Olympic big wigs using the different countries as playing cards, just trying to "keep up with the Jones' " by playing host. In all honesty, we're a country that can't afford to host this party.

But it'll look good on T.V.!

That's my soapbox for the day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

How men shop, and "grandparents"

Today I was driving all around the city, scouting out the stores for a cozy glider chair.
This will be a very important piece of equipment for the baby's room, as Alison and I plan on spending many hours in that chair, rocking our Butterbean to sleep.

I checked out four different stores. Not a big deal usually, but I was done checking these stores in about 20 minutes (including driving time).
I walked in, asked which way the chairs were, sat on a few, and got the heck out.

The worst culprit for spending excessive amounts of time in a store has to be my mom. She can spend upwards of three hours in Winners/Wal-Mart/Sears etc.
I guarantee I know where to find her. She first spend a good half hour looking at sheets. Of course, she finds sheets so soft I almost weep (600 thread count) but I can't be bothered with linens.
Next, she moves to the kids clothes. My two cousins are 13 and 11, and my mom is constantly buying them jackets, pj's, jeans and everything else for the school year. This gives me the sneaking suspicion that she is going to want to buy our baby a lot of stuff.
My dad is always on her case to but stuff for herself, but she is just to generous,, and has to buy for everyone else.

My dad on the other hand, just sits back and plays the role of driver. He goes all over the city, not saying a word, but you can read his body language that he is getting bored. This is the point where I usually offer to take him to the Blue Bomber store. His face lights up like a kid in a candy store, and we both tend to come out of there with a bag full of stuff all bearing our beloved "W" on it.

Right now, my parents are vacationing in Dominican Republic. They try to take two trips a year, one in February, and another in October. Of all the places they've gone to, they prefer Cuba the best.
The beaches are beautiful, the people are very friendly, and the music can't be beat.
Ali and I went to Cuba for our honeymoon, and I would love to go back there again.
My parents might decide to change their holiday plans around, as they are both very excited about being grandparents.
My dad is so excited, he actually booked Christmas off for this year. I think this is the first Christmas he will have off in about 7 years.

I can't wait to call them grandma and grandpa. It's a name they've both been waiting for.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weddings and catchy but bad songs

My best friend Mike was married this weekend. I was the Best man, and therefore did a speech in honour of him.
When you're writing a speech about someone you've known for so long, it is very easy to write plenty of material. After about two pages, my hand was cramped from writing so quickly, and I decided to cut it back a little. I wanted to avoid the inside jokes, and opted for the "from the heart" type of speech. He's like an older brother to me, so I thought it was fitting to try to make him cry....

The wedding was good. A nice ceremony, followed by a good sized reception. It was pretty neat to see both sides of the family mingle so well. Most weddings I have gone to keep the two sides seperated for most of the night, until the drinks get flowing. Luckily, the Groom's family are huggers.

I like to think that I have a good taste in music. Once in a while, there is that odd song that comes on the radio, and I want to punch out my own eardrums because they are so terrible. Since they are on all of the top 40 radio stations, they are played every ten minutes for the next 6 weeks. After a while, I give up trying to turn the station, because I'd likely get blindsided by Nickelback or Good Charlotte (both of whom I hate) so I leave it. I regret to admit that I slowly start to like the songs, and before you know it, I'm actually hoping to hear it. Let's get one thing straight though, it's usually not the entire song that I enjoy, it's a few lines, or the way the beat picks up halfway through a song. That's how I can justify liking that Paris Hilton song that came out a few years back.....it hurts me to type that.
Anyway, this week's choice stinker song the I've grown to like is Miley Cyrus "See you again".

Don't laugh, it won't be me downloading this song. I'll leave that to Ali, so I don't feel completely like a 13 year old girl. I'll just be sure to slip it into my other better music when I make my next CD.

There, now you know one of my best kept secrets. Please don't think less of me.....