The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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…shall be condemned to repeat the past.

fire ball

You may be wondering about how things went while I was away.  Well, there is an old military saying that the best laid plans will not survive first contact with the enemy.  My problem seems to be that I can’t predict which enemy I need to plan to defeat.  The lunch planning seems to have worked.  Both kids and my wife appear nourished and hydrated.  The things I made for them prior to departure were all used.  One battle won. The texts from wife wife throughout day one did not indicate any sort of challenges although there was an email from Milo’s modeling agency that came through and required photos and his resume be printed out.  Bed times and wake ups did not seem to pose any problems.  Kids made it to music lessons OK.  Dinner was pre-made and left for everyone.  Did you see any landmines yet?  I didn’t.  I didn’t until the phone rang during dinner that night.

RING.  RING.  RING.  I look down at the phone and see my own name looking back at me.  A shiver passes through me like I am feeling someone walk over my grave.  “Hmmm.”  I mutter, “This can’t be good.”  My friend graciously picks up his beer and looks towards the TVs.

Me:  Hi, what’s up?

Wife:  I’m trying to find Milo’s resume on the computer.  Where the hell is it?

Me:  It’s in the folder under My Documents called Resumes. (wincing at how condescending this sounds)

Wife:  I’ve looked at a bunch and there all wrong.

Me:  What do yo…

Wife:  I see all of these old copies and there is none of the updated info in any of them.  What the hell did you do last time?

Me:  (start talking and after about 45 seconds realize that the cold silence at the end of the phone line is not just from her) Oh my God.  My phone died.  My buddy starts to chuckle and hands me his phone.

Me:  Hi, my phone died.  I am so sorry.

Milo:  Hi dad.  What are you doing?

Me:  I’m trying to get a hold of your mother.  Can I speak with her?

Milo:  Hang on.  (muffled words) Um… no.

Me:  What do you mean, No?

Milo:  (getting upset)  She’s typing on the computer and she’s really mad.   Mommy.  PLEASE talk to Daddy.  She won’t do it.

Me:  Ok.  Don’t worry.  Tell her I’ll call her later.  Love you.  Bye.

My buddy:  You’re dead.  Waiter… more beer please!”

Fast forward to later that evening.  Having plugged my Blackberry in and assured myself that I can’t pull the cord out or anything, I attempted another call.  It seems that Milo got off the phone with me and ran downstairs to the kitchen.  He engaged in potentially life saving behaviour by taking the bottle of Schnapps from the freezer and pouring some into the biggest glass he could find.  He carefully approached his mother, set the glass beside her and fled.  My wife had mellowed to the point that we could smile and talk.  Oh, alcohol.  For every time you get me in trouble, you solve a problem for me.  Thank you.  Thank you again.

Here is how the evening went for her.  She got home from work and began discussing dinner with the kids.  They stood in a circle in the kitchen looking down at the pre-made dinner I’d left them disdainfully like Gods unhappy with the burnt offerings of mortals.  Unable to smite me, they chose to strike out on their own and have Kraft Mac and Cheese with a salad.  The pot is set to boil and the salad is made.  Hmm.  The water in the pot appears to still be cold.  Hey!  No flame from the burner.  Oh, yeah.  Daddy said to turn it to lite.  BOOOOOOM.  The children fling themselves to the ground.  The cats scatter.  Geese in the pond over by the golf course take flight.  Mommy is unfazed.  She knew that would happen.  Dinner gets made and the traumatized children eat every bite.  Nothing is left.  Music bags are packed and the trip to music class is unusually silent.  On the way back, the kids begin to make congratulatory comments that although well meant will eventually piss their mother off. Things like, “Oh, mom.  You stopped the car for the stop light.  Great work.” and “Wow mom, we didn’t think you knew where music class was.  Hat’s off for finding it.”  Arriving home, my wife heads to the office and plans to quickly and effortlessly print out a single page of paper and one photo.

My wife has a love-hate relationship with technology.  Mostly hate, actually.  There are times when I think that technology hates her back.  So as she begins to search through My Documents and realizes that she has no idea what the file is named.  And there may be some small, well… tiny or perhaps minuscule element of responsibility on my part since I  have a totally random naming convention for files.  It was at this point that she discovered 8 or maybe 10 versions of Milo’s resume, each different and apparently none complete.  She began to see the quick print job dissolving into a full editing job and called me.  Regrettably, I can’t remember where or what I named the last resume and may not have actually remembered to save it and to top it all off, I appeared to hang up on her.  Not so good for her temper or my future happiness.  Oh, did I mention that one of the 9 ink cartridges is almost empty and makes printing the picture a seat of the pants, nerve shattering experience.

Well, that is a glimpse of the first day.  The others got better and I made it home with gifts.  Not such a bad idea, I think.


The Easter Bunny Lives in Barrie: Travel Log 1

We went to visit my sister and her family for the Easter Weekend.  The odd thing is that we did it knowing that with everyone coming, the adults would be outnumbered 7 to 5 by the kids.  The little beasts ages ranged from 13 down to Maya who is five.  Girl to boy ratio was 4 to 3.  The actual bed spaces to persons ratio was 6 spaces to 12 persons, so the kids had to sleep on the floor in a pile of blankets and pillows much like a litter of puppies.  Oh well, more’s the fun.

Now it is 2 hours to Barrie which should be a dream trip compared to going to my mom’s place which is a staggering 5 hour marathon of pain and despair.  I figured that we were on the right track as we left.  Both I-Pods were fully charged, Milo had his headphones, stuffed animals and blankets were available and I had taken, confirmed and reconfirmed the Tim Horton’s orders for breakfast prior to leaving the driveway. I was smart enough not to comment aloud or even think to myself that things looked promising.  Why tempt the universe?

Tim Horton’s (a donut/coffee shop dominant in Canada) is less than 5 minutes away.  After handing out the bagels and drinks to everyone, my shining outlook began to falter.  I had previously been unaware that it was a form of child abuse to provide a bagel to Maya where the top and bottom halves were placed back together like a cream cheese sandwich.  Nor was I aware that to suggest to a five year old that they could take one hand and lift the top half of the bagel from the bottom half was akin to asking her to compose War and Peace while hopping on one foot whistling “When the Saints go Marching In.”  I was educated appropriately, I assure you.

Suitable chastened, we made it to the highway while bagels were consumed in a more or less quiet but more and more messy fashion.  That’s ok, when I drive I only look forward.  As the amusement of breakfast wore off, I suggested a traveling game that has worked for me in the past.  Each occupant of the vehicle was to look out the windows and search for orange cars.  There is a scarcity of them in Ontario so it requires a certain concentration and vigilance.  I’ve made the game non-competitive as the player needs to show the car to the others and no points are awarded.  I’d not counted on the fact that Milo looks forward out the front window to search out cars.  Maya on the other hand, looks out her window as exactly 90 degrees to the path of travel.  Suffice to say, Milo has an advantage.  The perception of how unfair his advantage was became clear to me as the volume of protest rose and rose and rose and rose.  The game was called on account of driver deafness.

I’m sure that there were other challenging moments in the car, but I’ve blocked them from my memory.  God only knows how pioneers ever made those months long treks in covered wagons.  I’d have strapped the kids to the oxen and left them to the elements.

There will be more stories of Easter Weekend forthcoming.

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Why do I bother?

As usual on Sunday mornings, Maya and I went shopping for groceries while the rest of the house slept.  An hour of father-daughter time spent picking out firm potatoes, the perfect strawberries, finding the freshest thyme and basil so that we don’t need to resort to eating boiled noodles and canned pasta sauce is time well spent.  I’d bought some croissants the day before and figured that making them into French toast and adding fresh strawberries and whipped cream might make for a nice Sunday brunch.  A quick stop at Starbucks ensures that the under-caffeinated won’t rise up and revolt at the extra time needed for a decadent meal.  A culinary delight is born.

The results:  one plate eaten, one plate with 2 bites from 1/2 a croissant – no strawberries left and a bowl with the whipped cream eaten and all of the strawberries abandoned.  Why do I bother?  One won’t eat toast, the other will only eat rye toast.  One won’t drink apple juice, the other demands Coke.  But assuredly, no one wants whatever I’ve slaved over.

After swimming yesterday, Maya and I were waiting to pick up Milo.  We were sitting in a little Italian cafe and she asked me for a muffin.  “What kind of muffin do you want?”  “Do they have banana?” she pondered.  “Yes, both with chocolate chips and just plain.”  “I like plain banana muffins”  I went and got in line, ended up buying dessert for dinner in addition to the plain banana muffin.  As we met up with Milo, Maya asks, “What kind of muffin did you get me?”  “Plain banana.” I reply.  She starts to cry.

“What’s the matter?  You asked for a banana muffin and I got you one.”

“I just wanted to know if they had them,” comes the tearful reply, “I wanted blueberry!”  Why do I bother?

I need to sign off now, as the most interesting comment from my wife has just floated down the stairs. “We will never make it out to breakfast if I have to keep doing origami in the nude.”  she’s just predicted.  This I’ve gotta see.  She’s likely asking herself, “Why do I bother?”