So long, 2008

December 31, 2008

I already posted this on my work blog because: a) I’m lazy; b) it’s New Year’s Eve and I have an evening of cribbage and backgammon (wife’s idea) and wine and beer and World Junior Canada vs. U.S. hockey (my idea) planned; and c) it translates well to this blog too.

And I know I haven’t blogged about Christmas yet, but I’ve been too busy and a) I’m lazy, in case you’re an idiot and forget already.

So here’s today’s serving of double-blogged goodness:

Can you believe it’s over already?

It’s completely cliché, but it does seem like just yesterday we were popping the cork on 2008, with a house full of friends who made the trip from Bruce County to our place in Port Hope.

But, as they say, time flies, and now that we’re heading into the final year of the first decade of millenia, I can now say boy, the decades sure fly by too.

I always thought my parents were crazy.

Oh, should I elaborate?

OK, I always thought they were crazy when they said how quickly the years and decades pass us by, but I completely understand now that I’m an ‘adult’ with a full-time job, and mortgage payments, and a wife (a wonderful wife, I might add) and a beautiful child. No longer are years decided by semesters and mid-terms and summer jobs and hockey and baseball seasons and prom parties and March Breaks and two-week Christmas vacations and the inevitable New Year’s Eve blow-out at a friend’s house.

This year, a mere decade since my 19th New Year’s Eve (I’m actually weeping now), my wife and I will be spending New Year’s Eve struggling to stay awake past 10:30 p.m., while knowing the alarm clock in the crib in the other room will still be up at 7:30 a.m., no matter what holiday it is.

But, when I look back at the joy I’ve experienced in 2008 with my family, and the progress I’ve seen The Hurricane make, from bum-scooting around the house, to walking, to talking, to singing her and her Mom’s night-time song (and saying the proper words!), to peeing in the potty consistently (well, at least for the past few days), 2008 has hands-down been the best year of my life.

And I wouldn’t trade a second of it for a return to my carefree teenaged years.

So here’s to 2008. I hope yours was as fulfilling as mine, and let’s hope for an even better 2009.

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Merry Christmas

December 25, 2008

Know what pisses me off?

Nothing.

It’s Christmas. Everyone is here, everyone is happy. I have the most amazing wife and the cutest, funniest 17-month-old on the entire planet.

Life is good.

I hope your Christmas is too.


Scrambling to get ready for Christmas

December 24, 2008

Christmas is but a few short hours away and I’m scrambling.

I was scrambling to get back home last Friday night for two family Christmases because of severe winter weather. I was scrambling to get back to Lake Ontario’s shores on Sunday because of more shitty weather (luckily, leaving The Boss and The Hurricane at The In-Laws), but made it because of my Dad’s great driving skills — yeah, I can still learn a thing or two from The Old Man.

This week I’ve been scrambling to get out three newspapers (thankfully I have an amazing staff), scrambling to shovel snow, scrambling to recover from Saturday’s binge drinking festival, scrambling to run The Boss’s errands that she didn’t get done before heading home for the holidays, scrambling to run my own errands, scrambling to put together a present for The Boss that isn’t too lame, scrambling to hang out with my Little Brother (Big Bros. program) — I hope he wasn’t too disappointed that his “present hasn’t come in yet” … his response … “Oh, it’s still in the store?” smart ass — scrambling to blog (and losing), scrambling to clean the house so we don’t come home to a mess on Dec. 28, scrambling to get all my work done by noon today so I can get on the road …

To relaxation.

Four days off.

With only two family gatherings, but a Boxing Day free and clear to chillax.

The light at the tunnel is here, and when it’s spending time with my family and extended family, it’s all good.


Christmas gonna suck? Blame Santa

December 19, 2008

An article shows that 44% of 1,000 mothers surveyed are going to hang the Big Guy out to dry this Christmas.

Yeah, the shitty economy is even causing reverberations at the North Pole.

Belts are tightening because jobs, brokerage firms, sub-prime mortgages and Wall Street suits are disappearing at alarming rates, and almost half the people surveyed said they’ll be telling their children that Santa has had to cut back on Christmas this year, because of the trying times.

Meanwhile, five per cent have actually said they’ll shatter the lore of Saint Nick for their kids and have a frank discussion on the economic downturn and why their present haul isn’t what it used to be.

And then there’s the oblivious troopers – the 49% who said they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure their child’s wish list is fulfilled. Because what good parent wouldn’t put themselves into more debt just so their kid can have an XBOX 360 or the coolest $500 iPod, or an iPhone or any other technological crap that a person without their own multi-million dollar corporation doesn’t need?

I’m definitely with the 44% who would rather pin a smaller Christmas on Santa Claus’s struggles than tell a six-year-old that Mommy, Daddy, Suzie and Billy are one bounced cheque away from standing in line at the soup kitchen while big men with back braces take everything out of their home – yes, your cute little Dora bed too, sweetheart – because the economy is in shambles and we can’t afford anything and Santa isn’t real, and what do you mean you lost your innocence prematurely and will blame me for your growing up too fast when you turn to drugs and alcohol at 13 and start turning tricks at 16?

Nope, not in my house. Santa is walking the plank, baby.

The Hurricane: Dad, why did Santa bring me a pair of old socks and a book of stamps for Christmas?

Smartest Dad Ever: Well honey, Santa is having a tough go this year. See, over the past 10 years he hasn’t paid much attention to the shift in the market and continued to make these huge, giant toys that his highly-paid elves produced at a steady rate, despite nobody really wanting them anymore. Then, when the fuel prices got too high for Santa to deliver his presents, he decided to move his business to China, India and Mexico, to save money on staff. This caused a terrible chain reaction in the North American toy market, and now, there’s just not enough toys out there for everybody. So, instead of you getting that (check the list) really big dollhouse and that super-awesome giant dog that barks and wags its tail and walks and licks itself and costs $200 at Canadian Tire, Santa has to spread his toys out to all the boys and girls and the kids that are a lot less fortunate than you get the best toys first, and the ones who get to eat turkey on Christmas get what’s left. So here’s your peanut butter sandwich with a candy cane on top, now who do you want to mail that stinky sock to?

Oh yeah, that totally works for me.


The return of Auntie Shan

December 18, 2008

The Hurricane has only met her Auntie Shantel on two separate, 10-day stints.

The first time was when Layne was a month old, the second time was this past spring, I think (March? Perhaps May – I’m sure she’ll give me shit for admitting how memorable her last trip home was for me).

My sister, who’s way older than me at 30 years and 351 days (but who’s counting?), lives in London, England, where I assume she sips tea, talks about dog’s bollocks, stays away from the dentist and Minds the Gap on the Tube (if you’ve never been to London, never mind, just use your imagination in any way you see fit).

But she’s coming home today for a 10-day Christmas holiday, and boy, is she in for a world of trouble.

The Hurricane is nothing – 100%, absolutely nothing – like she was in March/May/whenever Aunt Shan was home last. She’s walking running, talking, screaming (OK, she always did that – but now they’re real words coming out), dancing, skipping, jumping, climbing, biting, hitting, chastizing the dog, her parents, her grandparents, the TV, her baby, and the remote when it falls on her toe, conversing, hugging, kissing, rocking her baby, wiping her nose – and yours, and her baby’s, and the mailman’s if she could – and playing head, toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose (we still haven’t figured out shoulder and knees, but the gist is much the same).

Oh and she moos when she sees a cow on TV. And says “woof woof” when the neighbour dog barks or you say, ‘What does a dog say?’. And no train gets by in the distance without her saying, ‘Choo choo’, even when dead asleep.

I guess you could say she’s more of a person child human productive member of society kid (no word seems to fit here) every day.

Both of her Grandpas are used to being called ‘Papa’ now. Grandmas still can’t conjole a ‘Nana’ out of her though, which I think is good because Nana would make them sound old and they’re so totally not and it’s Christmas and they’re great cooks.

The Hurricane’s Aunt Janine (my sister-in-law that some may call evil, but really, she’s just a teacher – read post below) has experienced The Hurricane calling her ‘Neen’ both over the phone and in person.

But Auntie Shan never calls. My side of the family doesn’t talk on the phone and, though we get along just fine thanks, we’d all rather be running around a ball diamond or on a curling sheet and talking than sitting at a kitchen table having a heart-to-heart. Though we’ll do both if there’s beer involved. But Aunt Shan has pretty much just watched a few videos on Facebook, seen some pictures and read some (fantastic) blogs, and that’s it.

But we, being the greatest parents of the 21st Century (self-proclaimed, but what’s it to ya?), are being proactive and preparing for Shan’s arrival. The Hurricane can pick out her picture and says “Sha”, but the real test will be tonight, when the limey bird’s plane lands in Toronto.

So I look forward to both Shan and the little one’s reaction when they clash again.

Pretty sure I know who the winner will be.


Why I hate teachers

December 17, 2008

Know what pisses me off?

Teachers.

Not the good teachers who help their students get passing grades. Or the teachers who hoist the underachieving group of students onto their shoulders and help them find their calling instead of scuffling along a road to gang-bangin’ and drug dealin’ (OK, I’ve watched a few movies). Or even the teachers who drink, stink and have affairs with other teachers in their high school not to mention that ones fired for dinking their students (at least 10 teachers from my high school fall somewhere in those categories – one even falls into both the stink and sex with student block too, which made for interesting classes I tell ya).

Nope, the teachers that piss me off are the ones who tell seven-year-olds that Santa doesn’t exist.

(And the ones who complain because they’re not getting paid enough, despite having a ceiling of over $100,000 before retirement, the strongest union in Canada that owns real estate holdings and the Toronto Maple freakin’ Leafs, four per cent annual increases on top of their crazy salaries, two weeks off at Christmas, a week off in March, all the sick days they can handle, oh and two fucking months off in the summer…)

Whoa, what happened there? Oh yeah, back to the ‘No Santa’ supply teacher.

It’s not the fact that this teacher told Grade 1 students that the Big Guy is fictitious – which he so obviously is not – but the fact that she did it on her first day of supply teaching at this school.

How absolutely retarded is that?

Does this teacher ever want to work again? How in the name of Rudolph does she think she’ll ever land another supply teaching in not only her city, but most likely on her continent, after telling a group of seven-year-olds that the one thing – the only thing – that is still honoured by everybody in this day and age is that YOU DON’T TELL KIDS SANTA DOESN’T EXIST you don’t tell kids Santa doesn’t exist (sorry, I’m a newspaper editor, I just can’t bring myself to use capital letters in such a reckless way).

I’m sure it was a mistake, and all the apologies in the world will be given, while assurances will be made right up until Christmas morning, but I think this teacher needs to think again about her career choice, because right now, I don’t think her chosen path heading in the right direction.


Closure for America’s Most Wanted host

December 16, 2008

The host of America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh, has finally received closure on the 1981 beheading of his 6-year-old son Adam.

Walsh, it seems, always knew serial killer Ottis Toole was their man, and police finally admitted as much at a press conference today, although they gave few details about how they’ve now decided, a decade after Toole’s two death-bed confessions and retractions, that he did it.

Police said Toole was long the prime suspect in the case and that they had conclusively linked him the killing. They declined to be specific about their evidence and noted they had no DNA proof of the crime, but said an extensive review of the case file pointed only to Toole, as John Wash long contended.

The reason they had no DNA, the story says, is because police lost the blood-stained carpet in Toole’s car and – oops – Toole’s car, before the FBI stepped in and took over the case.

The cases of missing children and children who die before their time, like this 14-year-old from my area, who died toboganning on Friday night – something every Canadian has done a million times – have always disturbed me, but that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something like this happens has multiplied 1,000 times over since The Hurricane came along.

I guess you can never truly ache for a parent’s grief until you’re a parent yourself.

Because I just couldn’t fathom what I would do if my little girl ever went missing, or was hurt by some sick fuck or killed. I hope I would be a rock for my wife and my family, but I just don’t know if I could handle it.

In fact, it makes me sick just thinking about it, so I’m done with this one.

Good for John Walsh and his wife though, I’m sure they’ll sleep more soundly tonight.