No. You Say Goodbye.

I’ve known my wife for nearly 18 years. During this time we have developed excellent communication skills. This is because we have a tiny quirk between us. It’s probably the biggest thing that keeps us together. It’s really simple actually.

We call each other on the phone. That’s it.

When we first met- my future wife gave me her phone number. A few days later, I called to ask if I could call her again later that evening. That was my first phone call to her. And it worked. We now call each other constantly.

Every time I drive to work, I call my wife. Whenever she is out on an errand, she calls me. Even a quick drive to drop the kids off at school- our phones are connected. We talk about dinner plans, schedules, people, politics, pretty much everything. We’ve even had conversations when we are a ten hour drive apart from each other.

It’s difficult to get into my car and not call my wife. I’ve done it since I first met her. Hearing her voice is a part of my daily drive. It brings me joy. I never want the phone calls to stop.

Because every call ends with “I love you“.

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This is Not Today’s Topic

I’m pretty sure I had this great idea for today’s blog post. Then I went to bed without writing it down or starting it. Now I have completely forgotten what I wanted to write about. All day- no idea…

Was it my children?

Perhaps my dog?

Was it involving our home?

Did something happen at work?

What stupid thing did I do as a child?

Did I want to mention cooking?

My father?

Travel?

Music?

Star Wars?

???

I really do not remember. So this is it. My blog post about nothing. Which is totally okay. Not everything or everyday will be inspired.

On the bright side- I got the heat working in my home again.

Doctor Says

At the end of November, I had a follow up appointment for my stomach issues: Some Medical Diagnosis I Can’t Pronounce. A couple of days ago on Wednesday I went to see a gastroenterologist to discuss what I can do further. My appointment lasted about five minutes.

We went over my stomach issues. He explained that my esophagus is having an allergic reaction and the effects internally are similar to suffering from asthma. Since I’ve had asthma essentially all my life, I knew the feeling. This was similar to what the other doctor had told me. He then listed off the foods that I can avoid and slowly reintroduce them into my diet again.

  • Shellfish
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Nuts

He then asked if I was taking any medication since my gastroscope. I told him that the doctor who performed the scope prescribed Esomeprazole once daily on an empty stomach. This new doctor asked if it was working. I told him I hadn’t had any swallowing issues or heartburn since I began taking it. Then came his advice.

He told me that I could go off the drug and eliminate all of those foods to see which one I was having a slight reaction to. Or I could continue to take the drug for the rest of my life and eat whatever I wanted. My decision was quick. I was out of his office with a one year prescription renewal and went straight to McDonald’s followed later on by pizza.

There may come a time that I decide to try eliminating certain foods. But I’m still young enough to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. Especially in the food department. I don’t over indulge in foods, so I haven’t ever gained much weight. I could eat healthier- and that is a goal this year. But I am not ready to eliminate foods. Especially ones I enjoy so much.

Two Years of Daily Musings

January 18, 2016 I began this blog. I’ve written one post every single day. It’s my baby and I’m proud of myself. Last year I wrote about My One Year Blogaversary. I thought that was special. But today is doubly as good.

Another year of stories with more positive thoughts than negative ones written. More shares, likes and follows from old friends and new ones. A couple of days ago, I surpassed 100 followers on WordPress. (Yay!) The majority of whom are folks I’ve never met in person. None of them trying to trade “A like for a like” which is respectable. If someone new follows me, I will read a few of their stories. Many times I end up following them. I’ve enjoyed the conversation and feedback through these interactions with complete strangers as well.

Twenty years ago, a friend of mine once said “Constant observation of myself has made me what I am today.” That phrase stuck with me as I moved forward in life. I often forgot to look back. Over the past two years of reflection and memories, I have re-discovered who I am:

I’m just a guy Making It Up As I Go.

The Little Psychopaths

When I was a little boy growing up in Edmonton, I had two close friends who lived on my street. I think we were borderline psychopaths at the time. Good thing there was a large empty field behind our homes to do our damage…

My one friend enjoyed playing with fire. He would steal boxes and boxes of matches from his father. We would go out into the field and hide behind some bushes with me on look out- for what I’m not sure, there was never anyone out there but us. But it was a small thrill for a seven year old. Here we were playing with matches lighting small piles of straw and paper on fire. To this day, I can light a fire with minimal effort.

Sometimes we would light small rolls of cap gun powder dots. The smell of sulphur burning still remains strong in my memory banks. Little boy giggles as the flames exploded in small burst filled us with joy. Soon after I moved away, this friend ended up lighting this field on fire. As well as his attic. No one was hurt.

My other friend enjoyed catching frogs, mice, flies and grasshoppers. Tormenting them as little boys do. Pulling the wings off of the insects or poking at the tiny animals with sticks. Never really harming to draw blood, but not sure what happened to the frogs and rodents after each catch. His family never owned any pets, so these creatures became something to play with. We also lived in an area that was constantly filled with mosquitoes in the summer. Much like Dexter’s intro, my friend would wait and watch the blood get sucked out of him. Only to crush the bug’s body squirting his blood everywhere.

Then there was me. Besides being an accomplice to my two friends, I enjoyed breaking stuff. Mostly my Lego creations. I enjoyed building and then causing accidents only to rebuild again. One summer day, my friends and I wandered to an abandoned home that we would pass on our walk to school. As any rambunctious boy would do- I threw rocks at the windows. As a stone flew through the air, the anticipation of the crash as the glass exploded would last an eternity.

This thrill came from the first ever accident I had with my bike earlier in my life. My bike had rolled down the stairs on our back porch and smashed into our basement window. Why my bike was up on the deck is beyond me. Why my father didn’t get angry this time was also beyond me.

All three of us have grown up and have families now. None of us are convicted criminals or psychopaths. It was just another part of childhood- the thrills of doing something forbidden and getting away with it. I wonder if our children did similar activities? Maybe I’ll find out one day.

My Unknown Half Sister

I’m turning 42 in two months. Of all the things in my life that have made me who I am, one event still surfaces randomly in my mind. I was 13 or 14 when I found out that my father had a family prior to the one I was a part of in my life. He was married at one point when he lived in Czechoslovakia. He had a daughter and wife whom he left behind before coming to Canada.

He started a new family out here and I was born. Then four years later, I had a sister. It was all that I knew for most of my childhood. Never was it mentioned until my father returned from a trip to his old hometown with some old Czech buddies. Suddenly there was an entire aspect of my father that shocked me. Here were photos of a young lady in her early 20’s hanging out with my father. An older sister I never knew about prior to that moment. Turns out she also had a son. I was now an uncle?

Years have gone by since that moment when everything changed. No longer was it just me and my little sister- there was now another person that was related to us whom we would never meet. But nothing ever really changed. A couple of years after the “big announcement”, this older sister was never mentioned again. That’s where it ends.

As I’ve grown up into an adult and father myself- I have made sure to put my children first. I have become a role model and shown much love and respect to my kids. This half sister (my children’s half aunt, I guess) in another country isn’t spoken of very often. My children know about her, the same as I do: She is a person whom was born to my father and got left behind.

As I think about her, I also don’t know how I feel about her. It’s been nearly 30 years since I found out and I have no urgent desire to search for her. It also seems she has felt the same- there hasn’t been any contact from her end. My mother doesn’t speak of her either because she feels it’s not her place.

In the end, the facts and the idea of a long lost sister died with my father back in November 2000. No crazy mission to find her. No Hollywood ending reuniting us. That’s all folks.

Dish It Up

Sometimes I like to focus on the mundane and bring it to the forefront of my writing. Today is a perfect example of it. The inspiration I have for my blog post- I am eating off of.

About a year ago my wife and I bought some new dishes. Not just one set mind you- we had to pick up two sets and matching serving dishes. We spent a small fortune on them, but I’m really happy about it for many reasons. First of all- they are square- even the bowls. Secondly, they are really heavy and durable- like high end restaurant dishes. They are stark white with no print or image. And lastly, they have a one inch edge around them framing the center of the plate.

The last point is the most crucial for why I love them. This rim has caused us to limit how much food goes on our plates. On our old plates it was filled to the edges. Mountains of food! Now we have taken out the overindulgence and allowed ourselves to enjoy the tastes again with healthier portions.

Having square shaped dishes also makes for cleaning them a breeze. They all stack neatly in the dishwasher and the cupboard. Not being round also changed the presentation ideas. A little more fun and frivolous with how the food looks…

Of course, we couldn’t just buy new plates. We also had to purchase new flatware to go with it all. We can serve up to sixteen people in a single sitting. Perhaps it’s about time that we entertain more often. Dinner anyone?

Quiet Sunday Roads

Turns out that not a lot of people were on the roads this morning. I was heading home with my son after we spent the night at a friend’s place. The roads were empty and the fog was blindingly thick. The sun was attempting to burn it away with hardly any success.

On our way home I stopped at another old friend’s home to pick up a bed frame for my oldest daughter. She’s kind of outgrown her twin bed. At age 15 and being 6’2″ I figured it was time to get her a bigger bed. So I packed in the dismantled queen size bed frame into my Pathfinder and headed home.

No one was on the back roads going home. It was eerie and calming. Usually there is too much traffic and bad drivers. Not today. My son and I had a pleasant journey home as I drove below the speed limit in order to not jostle the bed frame pieces around. Before getting home I was tempted to keep on driving around since it was a quiet Sunday and the fog was dissipating. But I needed to come home and rest before my night shift. Hopefully the roads will still be quiet later on for my commute to work.

Stop. Watch.

Today is another Saturday of Speed Skating for my two youngest. As the season progresses- their abilities increase. This is their first meet after the Christmas break but only a few race meets remain before the big three. Canwest, BC Winter Games, Provincials. This means my children need to get better times.

They each have personal bests. Of course the goal is to beat those PBs not just for themselves but to secure a spot in one of the 3 big races. Usually as I watch the races, I take pictures or video in order to reflect on afterwards with the kids. Seeing where their strengths were and what they could do to improve. Starts/stances/crossovers/etc… if my wife is at the races, she usually times them with her phone instead. I don’t like to use my iPhone in that way.

Today I decided not to film my children. I chose to watch them through my eyes-not the lens of a camera. I ended up buying a stop watch at this event in order to time them. It is much more accurate especially when a phone goes dark during the longer races. In fact, my time matched the official’s time exactly on a couple of the races.

Having an official stop watch will be handy. It also means that I can focus my attention on watching my kids more. This means more yelling of encouragement from the stands by dad. No more photos or videos for the next few meets. I can now put down my iPhone to stop and watch them.

I Am A Liar

Reimagining memories to make ourselves look better is common amongst most folks. We all want to be seen in the best possible light at all times. Sharing stories with people of our successes or romance that seem borderline improbable is commonplace. But hey, at least we look good in our own minds and in the eyes of others, right?

I share many memories and ideas here in my blog and on various social media platforms. Sometimes they are a bit exaggerated. Sometimes not. There are times that I add or take away a detail from my stories that make for better storytelling. Let me give you a recent example of such a story I told my children.

Yesterday, driving the kids home from school, Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” came on the radio. So I asked my oldest, who was sitting in the front seat, what the significance of this song was in my life. She said she was unsure. But from the back seat, my middle child piped up and she said that the song is from my wedding day. And she was correct. It was the song that was played at the reception as my wife and I walked into the room for “the first time” as husband and wife. I then explained to the kids the deep meaning behind why we chose the song.

How the singer is talking about sitting for a coffee- something my wife and I did regularly when we first started dating. And how the lyrics continue to speak about reading the paper at the diner- another activity my wife and I shared as we would do crossword puzzles together and read our horoscopes. Finally, the line about “Listening to bells of the cathedral…” corresponded with the ringing of the bell in the church as our wedding ceremony ended that day. I told my children that lots of time and thought were put into which song signified our love at the time. The song ended and they seemed impressed by what they just learned about mom and dad.

But what I told my children was a lie.

“Tom’s Diner” was played at our reception as we walked in as husband and wife for the first time. Yes, the fact about my wife and I going for coffees and read the newspaper together was true. But the reason for choosing the song was a lie. We chose the song the day before because we completely forgot to choose an entrance song. The part about the bells in the cathedral? I forgot that that was even in the song.

It was the first song suggested to us by the DJ. My wife and I figured, why not. It sounds neat at the beginning with the “Duh-duh-duh-da. Duh-duh-duh-da.” That was it. Nothing romantic or significant about the song. In fact, that was probably the first time I had heard it in the presence of my wife. The story I told to my children sounds more romantic and borderline fairytale.

No, my life isn’t picture perfect. Far from it. I do really enjoy making my life seem grand- even if I am “Making It Up As I Go.”