The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World


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What’s Been Goin’ On

If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been and what the heck I’ve been doing… well, you’re not alone.  I can’t believe that it is July 17th already.  What happened to all that time?

Transitioning from school days to summer daze hasn’t been smooth around here.  For the past 10 years, we’ve launched off on vacation as soon as the school bell stopped ringing.  This time we’ve been taking a more measured approach and we leave for various parts in two days.  Milo and Maya have been working on their arguing skills.  They’ve moved from their Master’s level studies and are well on the way to their Doctorates.  It’s been such a delight to watch them develop new and improved ways to irritate each other… I didn’t know there were special techniques for car, hot tub, TV watching and for during washroom use.  My wife and I have started to carry cards with numbers from 1 to 10 so that we can score each effort.  Oh yeah, we’ve taught the kids how to pour drinks for us.  It may just save their lives.

We’ve been getting Milo ready to compete in New York City at the International Modeling and Talent Association show.  This has meant finding a new singing teacher and working to nail down monologues, commercials and sitcom scripts.  I really appreciated the part where the new music teacher mentioned to Milo that he really ought to explore some dance like ballet and the little bastard smiled at her sweetly and told her that it was his life’s wish to learn ballet.  Oh, I almost fell down the stairs since we’d been trying to convince him to enroll in some dance to no avail.  So of course, off we went to find a ballet teacher… and who can justify putting their son in ballet and deny their 7 year old princess… so that meant both kids.  Ouch, that hurt the wallet.

Milo’s acting coaches have been after him to feel more emotion during his monologue.  He’s doing a piece from Hansel and Gretel and can’t seem to channel the horror that a kid would feel abandoned in the woods for the second time by his father.  I’ve almost been forced to blindfold him and drop him off somewhere!  Finally last night we had a break through when I frustrated him to the point of tears and then made him channel the emotion into his monologue.  My wife’s stress level is looking like a meniscus.  One more lost email, undelivered photograph, new demand for audio files slightly different from yesterday’s file etc, etc, and etc then BANG, she’s a gonna blow.

Only two more days of prep and then the die is cast.  I’ll be blogging from the Big Apple next.  Pray for our sanity and some success too.


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Business Travel (also traveling alone)

I’m getting ready to head out of town for a couple of nights on business.  Under normal conditions getting ready to be away takes a certain amount of both mental and physical preparation.  With my current personal challenges preparing myself to be away is much harder than I’d like to admit.  I’ve been letting the nerves get the most of me too much lately and have canceled at least 3 overnights in the past few months.  I’d like to thank Marriott for having a cancellation policy that lets me cancel up to 6 pm the day of travel.  Then again, maybe some day, I’ll sue them for enabling me to avoid my problems.  That sounds better, doesn’t it?

Getting ready to travel means I need to anticipate everything  I might need to do while I’m gone and arrange for it in advance.  Things like getting garbage out to the curb or cleaning up the house can be easily done ahead of time.  There are other things more tedious however.  Since I make everyone’s lunches, it means I need to clear space in the fridge to lay out everything for each person in nice straight lines.  Not so hard for one day, but this time I’m away for two.  So sandwiches need to be pre-made, juice boxes staggered, spoons balanced a top yogurt cups and fresh fruit needs to find logical spaces to dwell.  Two nights away also means two dinners I won’t be home to make.  I try to encourage my wife to eat at her mother’s or to go out for dinner when I’m away.  It tends to reduce the number of phone calls around dinner time asking where the fuck do I hide the ketchup or letting me know what an asshole I am because I didn’t specify which of the 2 fridges something was in.  The worst phone call I ever got went something like this:

Wife:  I’m making macaroni and cheese for the kids tonight.

Me:  Why?

Wife:  They laughed at me when I said we were going to Tim Hortons.  They teased me and said I couldn’t cook.

Me:  Oh.  So what’s up?

Wife:  I can’t get the stove top to light. (Gas stove)  How do I do it?

Me:  Turn the knob to light and then  (BOOOOOOM!  Massive explosion echos through the phone.  Screams.  Shock wave creates a tsunami my beer glass 150 kilometers away)

Me:  (frantic)  What happened, what happened?

Wife:  I had it on high while I called you.  It’s ok now.  I was just scared.

Me:  (cancelling auto dial to my insurance agent my other phone)  Jesus Christ!!!  You were scared?  You’ve got to stop letting pride fuck with you that way.

So you can see why I need to be better prepared with meals.  I’ll make a big dinner tonight and leave left overs for tomorrow.  Microwaves are safe.  I may also take the knobs off the stove.  The next night I’ve already called my in-laws and launched a preemptive dinner.  As for me, I’ve got to get myself prepared too.

Generally, work travel also includes after-work social time.  Having established myself as not afraid to stay until the last drink has been drunk, it is going to stand out that I am not drinking (that much) and I’d prefer to avoid explanations.  Admittedly, there is a perverse imp that wants to shout “because drinking on my meds will leave me a gibbering idiot all day tomorrow, OK?”  But, it’s my problem not theirs.  So for now, I will attend socials and not host them.  It really breaks up a good party when you throw everyone out at 9:30 pm.

Those of you that do travel will also appreciate the importance of the check in phone call.  I’ve been traveling for about 9 years now and not once have I ever manage to schedule a call home, when the kids are still up and my wife can still speak civilly, that isn’t when I’m still out at dinner or at a social.  So, I generally end up standing outside a Toronto restaurant in the freezing cold trying to catch the gist of whatever the Hell Maya did at school that day.  Oh, how traffic noise, gusting winds and street people make it easier to listen to a 6 year old try to talk over the TV.  I can’t figure out why my colleagues need to have 3 hour dinners beginning at 7 pm.  I guess they’ve already paid a retainer to their divorce lawyers.

Anyways, wish me luck.  If anything interesting happens, I assure you, it will end up blogged here.