The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World


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An Unexpected Loyalty Program

I’m note entirely sure where the idea came from, but Maya launched her own loyalty program yesterday. I answered a question from her and was rewarded with a coupon for 100 Maya bucks. Later during the evening while I was watching soccer, Maya asked for a snack. Since I paused the DVR and made her something, I received 1000 Maya bucks for my troubles. Both my wife and Milo are similarly amassing small piles of Maya bucks for various reasons.

When my wife and I inquired about about how we were to use our Maya bucks, we were informed that they can be used to “purchase” various commodities and services from her. In fact, we were told to refer to the program booklet which was quickly written up and provided for our reference. It seems that 100 Maya bucks can be traded for setting the table or having her play in her room for 1/2 hour. Not so bad. 1000 Maya bucks can be used to have Maya undertake a new habit for a week such as putting socks in the laundry basket or putting her lunch box on the counter at the end of the school day. 1000 Maya bucks is not enough incidentally to cover such things as eating her entire supper for a week, cleaning up her whole room once, or to go to the basement alone.

Here is the list of things I’m checking out for the Maya bucks price:

– Putting on a new pair of underwear each day for a week
– Returning my hairbrush to the bathroom each day
– Not singing in the car when her mom is in it (5 minute interval)
– Flushing the toilet after each use for one day
– Keeping a clear path to her bedside each night so I can walk her back to bed without fear of a crippling injury
– Turning down the microphone while she is singing (2 songs)
– Not arguing about which coat/mitts/hat should be worn to school (once, oh God, just once)

Wish me luck in accumulating my fortune.

Model Dad or Dad of a Model

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Model Dad or Dad of a Model

When I left the military, there were two things that I knew I wouldn’t miss; dusting and ironing. Thanks to L.L. Bean I don’t need to iron shirts or pants and can still look great at work. But, woe is me, my kid is a model. Today I ironed 15 pairs of pants and countless shirts to get ready for a photo shoot tomorrow. I just love that his success is built on my sweat. Thank God, the other one plays soccer!


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In the End, He Got a Promotion.

I came to the realization recently that I was doing too many chores around the house and I needed help.  It seemed too much to me that not only was I making dinner but I was also cleaning up from dinner while everyone else ran off to do fun things.  Now, I do have fun in the kitchen but loading the dishwasher is pushing things.  The obvious thing to do was to delegate part of the job to someone but that’s not so easy in my house and I suspect, it is not so easy in your’s.  What to do, what to do?  In the end, I had a brain wave.

I called Milo down to the kitchen before dinner and told him that I wanted to have a serious talk with him.  It had been a pretty stress free day so he didn’t resist, which was refreshing.

“Milo, ” I said, “I have some really important news to share with you.  I’ve been noticing that you are getting older and you can handle more responsibilities.  You’ve got a modeling job that you take seriously and I must say, I am impressed.  So I think that it’s time to promote you from child to child class one.  Congratulations!”

“That’s awesome.  I’m so excited. ” He gushed, “What does it mean now that I’m a child class one?”

“Well it means that I can trust you to do some things that I couldn’t before.  For example, I am going to trust you to clear the table after supper every night and put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I couldn’t do that with just a child.  But with a child class one there are no problems.”

“How soon do I get another promotion?  Do I get one every year?  How high can it go?”

“Oh, you got child class one, child class two then tween class one, tween class two and so on into the teens.  And at each level, I will know that I can trust you with more and more responsibilities.  Some day, I will trust you to use the lawn mower and to wash the car.  But those will come in time.”

“Thanks, Dad.  I’m so happy.”

The result:  For the past few weeks, Milo has been clearing the table, scraping dishes and loading the dishwasher proudly and with only a few reminders of his child class one status.

I’ve got to write a book.


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Embrace Your Jimmy

My wife mentioned to me that my genetics were gradually defeating all of the training that she had put into me.  By genetics, she was referring specifically to the genes that came from my dad, Jim.  Now, both my wife and I love dad very much but it’s not unfair to admit that he does have a certain quirk he’s famous for.  Dad can get easily distracted.  While this sounds harmless enough, allow me to crack open the pages of family lore to share an example of dad’s quirk.

One day, Mom sent Dad out to the garage to get something.  On the way from the house to the garage he passed our ancient bird bath, as he did many times each and every day for the 20 some-odd years they had lived at the house.  Since we lived in a centuries old former farm house, I’m quite certain that the bird bath had been placed there by early settlers to Canada fleeing American persecution before Canada was even a nation.  It was that old and it looked that old.  But today, for whatever reason, Dad looked at the bird bath and figured that two and a half centuries of weathering needed to be cleaned from it.  Immediately.  For the next few hours, he lovingly scrubbed the age from that pedestal with likely no less that 3 acid solutions, each carefully custom mixed, applied and improved upon.  At the end, he proudly brought my mom out to look at the now pristine altar of bird libations, waited patiently for her praise and heard this.  “That’s lovely, Jim.  But I needed the squash for dinner hours ago.”

So to celebrate Dad’s quirk, our family has adopted the verb “to Jimmy”.

Jimmy (verb):  to be sent on a short errand and enroute become distracted by a much longer and less important task completely forgetting the original errand.  The completion of the second task, while glorious in your own estimation, will not be appreciated by the person whose task was forgotten.  (e.g.  “Sorry dear, I totally Jimmied.  I know that you totally needed those tampons but look… the car is so shiny now!”

So to honour my Dad, whose genes are steadily eroding 18 years of conditioning, I charge everyone to go forth and embrace their Jimmy.  You’ll still end up doing twice the work and be in trouble, but now you’ll have the words to explain how it happened.


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Milo upgrades his family… temporarily.

My dear and patient friends will recall from a previous post that my son, Milo signed with an agency to do modeling work.  To our surprise, he was asked to be in a photo shoot for a national chain of resorts before his head shots were even available.  We enthusiastically agreed and just a few days ago, Milo worked his first job.  Child labour laws be damned.  He had a great time.

The part that I found most amusing and muse worthy was his new family.  This is a family resort so it goes to reason that the photo shoot would feature a family.  Let me tell you… the upgraded version of me is pretty great.  My height increased from 5’7″ to 6’2″.  The cropped military style hair cut grew out to curly shoulder length locks.  I don’t want to speculate on what ever else may have lengthened!  Milo’s upgraded mom grew at least 10 inches and looked even more unlikely to have 2 kids than she normally does.  Despite the fact that he gained another sister, Milo found them both to be fun, easy to get along with and in a slightly incestuous way, nicer to look at.

It was kind of odd to see another “mom” and “dad” smiling and encouraging my son.  Even weirder to see arms casually draped across his shoulders or for them to receive spontaneous hugs of thanks.  Not that I’m jealous.  Given how great the new me looked and how patient and caring he looked in the photos, I’d want a hug too.  But suffice to say, it’s odd to watch.

Once the shoot was over and the upgraded family congenially divorced, we were given free run of the resort for the rest of the day.  My hug came half way up a set of stairs when Milo stopped suddenly, turned around and said, “Dad, this was the best day of my life.  I’m so thankful that I have you and mommy and you let me do this.”

Who needs to feel jealous or weird with that?