starting-blast landlocked

Category: family

In which life decides to happen all at once. And I fall behind again.

You know how you get all comfortable with a routine, you even manage to work your busted sleep schedule around that routine, then it all just kind of comes undone and before you know it you’re going 80 million different directions in the same 30-minute timespan? Yeah that. It was how I spent a few weeks here in December, after keeping things relatively quiet–periodic posts up in here notwithstanding–for the couple months before that. And somewhere in between there I still managed to remember to breathe. Actually that’s kind of how parts of 2013 in general went, but that’s a post for later. As for right now, life in a nutshell–or a somewhat rambling essay. Whichever.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling…

The folks over here at Accora Village, also known as the neighbourhood we live in, threw together an attempt at a sleigh ride earlier in the month. Pretty sure it was maybe the second weekend of the month–late enough, anyway, that things like wind chills in the vicinity of -30 C were a definite thing. What we didn’t have quite yet–it would definitely come shortly afterwards, though–was the actual snow. So instead, it was a horse-drawn wagon. Was still fun, though, if a little chilly. It was also May’s first, ever, sleigh ride in spite of the fact she’d been in Canada for a decade. Clearly we need to get the girl out more. I’d been on quite a few of them, both here and in BC, but it was nice to actually see it from the perspective of someone who hadn’t–she posted that perspective on her own site if you’ve got a few minutes. Definitely something I’ll do again if I’m here for it. Hopefully next time on an actual sleigh.

Somebody call for global cooling?

I mentioned the -30 degrees C wind chill already. That made a couple more reappearances after, sandwitched in around some pretty significant snow events–winter definitely showed up all at once in Ottawa. It wasn’t even the official first day of winter yet, and already we’d had to have the walkway/sidewalk in front of our place cleared a few times. Walking to class was quite on the fun side. Not to mention damn cold. I actually need to get used to such evils again, it would appear–it’s been a while since I’ve actually not had much choice but to stick my nose out the door and pray it didn’t fall off before I made it to the freaking bus. And I was getting paid to do such monumentally stupid things last time. I stayed my ass home on the coldest of the wicked cold days, though, which… Actually turned out to be probably the smartest brainstorm I had all year. Because…

I did not authorize death bug 2013, thanks.

I only grow a major, major health issue maybe once a year, if that. When I do, though, it’s quite the impressive one. This year’s episode came with everything but the kitchen sink–and the major inability to keep food down. Dizzyness, fever, wicked nifty cool cough, and a perfect combination of all of the above to pretty much guarantee my ass stayed itself at home, if not in bed, for the better part of 24 hours. And because I can never seem to develop these things any other way, it came perfectly timed to keep me off my feet a day before a test I was hell bent I was taking before I left for Christmas vacation, because like hell I was leaving that out there to be delt with in the new year. New year, new chapter. Besides–what the hell else was I gonna do on my last day there other than drag my feet? So instead, I stayed as close to comfortable as I could manage with a temperature, and just bounced what I needed to off my instructor from the comfort of the home office and college email–I do love that about this college, if we’re being honest (more on that in yet another entry). And the next day, not quite at a hundred percent yet but definitely better than I was, I went in and tossed off that test in about 15 minutes. Might have been 10, but like I said not quite at a hundred percent yet.

Death bug 2013, the sequel? Well crap.

I was getting over it just in time for May to be catching pretty much that same thing herself. So after dealing with college things on Friday, and then dealing with unplanned, unexpected and uninvited financial things after that, it was off to do 4 different flavours of running around in preparation for getting her well enough to travel and tying up the few loose ends that were left before we did so, which ended up being pushed back a couple days on account of a combination of she was nowhere near well enough (she caught it worse than me), and round 45 of let’s throw as much winter as we can at pretty much all of Ontario–at least this one waited until the first official day of the season before it nailed us but good. She was off her feet for pretty much the weekend, and part of last week while she kicked what was left of it. Though we did actually manage to leave the city for Christmas, I don’t imagine doing so was overly comfortable for her. We tried, though…

All your travel plans are belong to winter.

In a way it ended up being a good thing we weren’t ready to travel on the weekend before Christmas. Because right around the time we were thinking maybe it might be smart-ish to stay ourselves right at home for a day or two longer, weather was fixing to make sure we did exactly that. Major snow storm Friday and into Saturday, then apparently a wicked major ice storm in parts of Ontario (I’m looking at you, toronto) on about Sunday. Ottawa didn’t see a whole lot of the actual ice storm, but we did catch enough of it that roads got interesting for a majority of the day from what I’ve been hearing. We’d pushed our travel back to the 23rd of the month for health reasons, and that turned out to be the second smartest decision I was involved in of pretty much the entire year–look above for the smartest. By the time we got moving, things had cleared up at least enough that I wasn’t seeing news of delays, accidents and general traffic crappery every 5 or 6 minutes. So now all we had to do was beat our schedule into submission–not an easy thing to do when your schedule’s primarily out of whack because you’re out of whack, and you still haven’t quite corrected that malfunction just yet. But, hey, when you’ve been brought up in my family, you tend to develop the ability to take a messed up tangled up mangled up routine and turn it into getting where you need to be ahead of when you need to be–either that, or you get run over and left behind by the folks who know what they’re doing. That first thing sounds better, so we somehow went with that.

I’ll be home for Christmas…

On the Monday, we did actually manage to leave the city. As said it took some scrambling, because we were both running a little slow still what with neither of us being entirely over what ran us over the week before yet, but we managed to hit the bus station with more than enough time to get things situated so we could actually leave relatively on time–not bad for leaving the house a few minutes behind schedule. Which worked out just fine for us after all, since we gave the bus the room it needed to not actually pull out of the station until a bit after we were supposed to, and we still got to the other end about an hour after we were supposed to–a thing we, surprisingly, were both somewhat okay with and not a bit responsible for (Go us!). Pretty sure it was a combination of we were still in recovery and generally dealing with being tired from the trip, but travel day at the other end was pretty much spent barely conscious once we got situated, fed and made the people who needed to know aware that we were in approximately 1.5 pieces, but we made it. I… Don’t actually remember much more about that day aside from we made it. Which I suppose is really all that counts. Well, that and I was warned to expect a nephew ambush. Good thing one of us was mostly mobile…

… Please bring caffeine, and medication, and food, and…

The warning of a nephew ambush was not unjustified. As in at all. As in adoreable overload–again. The oldest was more than a little testy, but when he wasn’t pushing just about every limit his dad didn’t actually set down, he was pretty freaking adoreable. His brother, on the other hand, pretty much didn’t know how to be anything else but. Which worked out sort of well in our favour, given they stuck close to May and I every chance they got. When we weren’t having a nephew afternoon, or morning, or evening, or everything, there was plenty of good things to be had. My mother knows me and May both too well, so the caffeine was stocked. And because it’s Christmas and she can never resist doing it on Christmas, there was more food of more varieties than you can shake a cat at. Baked goods, healthy goods, grab some to munch on the way by goods, you name it it was out there. If you went hungry in that house, there was seriously something wrong with you. And just in case death bug 2013 followed us from Ottawa, or the kids left you with a migraine, she stocked up on medication. Because it’s not a Christmas vacation without someone needing at the very least to pop a tylenol or two. Of course it could also just be that she worries too much, but whichever. We came ready for christmas, and probably ate enough to see us through to, well, newyears.

It’s beginning to look a lot like giftmas.

Christmas morning came and went, and when it was all done and over with, the kids came out well ahead of the rest of us. Santa was at mom’s place this year, so for the first time since probably we were growing up, the tree was quite a bit on the full side. It didn’t last long, though, once the kids actually got up–maybe an hour or two, and all the evidence of a productive Christmas morning was all over the living room floor. The adults all pretty much got things they needed, or things that we figured would go right along with what they already had. I got to scratch a few things off my 2014 shopping list, which is never a bad thing if you’re a guy what can’t actually stand shopping. From a concert May got to go see in November (I’m still mad at you about that, by the way), mom got a CD from the two of us–she’d mentioned being a fan of the group, so that worked out quite nicely. No one went over the top this year, really. Well, except for things for the kids, but you can’t really not spoil the kids–it’s really their day, after all. But I think we all had a hole or two in our personal inventory filled. Or if nothing else, a little something extra that might could come in handy later.

One food coma, please.

As always, Christmas dinner was a stuffed afair. Turkey, potatoes, two kinds of stuffing, a couple different vegetables and of course a wicked selection of desserts. I think I may have gained a few pounds just in that one evening. One of my sets of aunts and uncles dropped in for a bit, which also meant we didn’t have to coordinate trying to find them while we were doing our visiting later. Which also had the advantage of meaning May and I didn’t need to go visiting later, as we’d already seen my grandparents the day before–so when it came time for food coma, all we had to do was waddle down to where we were sleeping and pass out. Which we had no problem doing. There’s something to be said for just shutting down for the evening while you try and find more room for that second piece of pie you couldn’t quite fit in earlier–which, I have no shame in admitting, I so very much did. Oh, and there may or may not have been a Big Bang Theory marathon tossed in there as well. Not entirely sure how much of that I actually saw after supper–see also: food coma, victim of. But it was there, and it was seen, so it counts. Mostly.

I need a vacation from my vacation…

As fun as christmas was, I think we were both pretty ready to come home, Or at least ready to be free of tiny things under the age of 10 for a little while. So after we took boxing day to pretty much recover from Christmas, we packed our crap up and my brother drove us back to Ottawa this past Friday. I took the weekend to relax, catch up on things I fell behind on while I was gone, and generally enjoy the piece and quiet. And at the same time I tried to pretend that us coming back home didn’t mean it was nearly time to get back into the same old usual routine. That part didn’t work so well. As I almost always do, I really enjoyed the Christmas vacation with the parents. I think I enjoyed it more this year because we weren’t piecing together a plan for how to handle things over the vacation about 5 minutes before they needed to be handled for a change. My only actual complaint is I freaking missed hockey in my absense. But in 2014, I will correct that. And hey, since I don’t have anything planned for tonight… I think I may just start right about now. Okay, so maybe getting back to the usual routine won’t suck entirely too horribly after all.

I may have just been holidayed to death.

Have you ever run a 10 KM marathon with a 20-pound weight on your back? Okay probably not. Have you ever had one of those vacations that felt like you’ve just run a 10- KM marathon with a 20-pound weight on your back? Yeah, that was kind of me after the week spent with the family. We got there on the 20th, mostly as planned. And pretty much from that day outward, it was almost non-stop doing everything under the sun and then some. Visiting with people, putting things together for this or that little thinggy we do on occasion, being visited *by* people, all that stuff. And somewhere in between all that I remembered to actually, you know, breathe. And mock ODSP a little.

May started out not feeling quite so comfortable with the family. Not that I blame her–I’m not always comfortable with the family. It has one or two things to do with why I don’t very often go home anymore. But as the holiday went on she got a little better about it. We enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And, uh, pretty much fell dead over at the end of the day as a result. Just in time to get up and do the whole damn thing all over again. It was kind of crazy, kind of whacky, and very much fun. And topping it off, we came back today to complete more of the paperwork for the new place–more on that in another entry.

All in all, it was a good holiday. Exhausting as hell, but good. And very nearly the death of me. As much fun as it’s been, though, the usual routine’s going to be nice to get back into–just as soon as I find it again. But first, I should probably go finish that entry I didn’t get a chance to finish before all hell broke loose. Ah, what the hell–it’s been sitting there this long. Where’s the vodka?

If my family had a theme song…

things have been relatively quiet on the home front lately, which actually somewhat surprises and disturbs me. Usually, somebody’s drinking something, breaking something, screaming at someone, throwing way too huge a party and not inviting me, or spending money they don’t have at a casino I wasn’t invited to. Hey, if spending money you don’t have’s the in thing, I should be the first one to get an invite. So I got to thinking. Parts of my family could really use their very own theme song. And around the same time that idea popped into my head, so too did this song. And because random songs don’t live in my head too long before they wind up here, I’d be somewhat negligent by not posting this one. Hey, I know two people this fits with no effort whatsoever. People who know my family and are still brave enough to read this probably know exactly who I’m talking about. But, hey, asking never killed anyone. Readers of the RSS or email variety will, unfortunately, need to click over to the site to listen. Sorry. For everyone else, here it is. Don’t be afraid to play it more than once. I already have.

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Trying the whole dusting off of the blog thing. Again.

Remember when I used to have a blog? Yeah, that blog. Remember when it used to be updated semi-regularly? That was a tiny bit before life decided, hey James? Have a punch in the face. It’s been fun, to say nothing of insane. But, now that things have started calming down a fair bit, I can actually stop pretending this thing over here doesn’t exist. Which makes the ranty mcranterson inside me very, very happy. So what the hell happened? A whole shitload. To summarize, because that’s the best I can do, I’ve:

  • Become very, very single
  • become very good friends with a few people–one of whom I’m attempting to convert to a life of geekery
  • laughed, snickered, and eventually cried at the nature of the still sucktacular job market
  • and oh yeah, did I mention I seem to have missed out on an entire phase of my oldest nephew’s growing up while life was happening around me?

And that’s just the basic, uh, okay not even close to scratching the surface. It’s been happening, and then some. The roommate’s doing, for better or worse, the guidedog thing–you can follow his progress on his own site, and I’m giving my head a couple years to stop spinning. But, hey, the rest of me’s finally stopped. Which means–yep, you guessed it. I’m back. And this time, I come armed with mockery. Now, if the Journal that is Live will permit this thing to post, I won’t have to slap it.

PS: Yes, I’m still considering hanging up on LJ. It’s just not happening–just yet.

Welcome to the house of food. Now accepting guests.

On this side of the border, it’s thanks giving weekend. In this house, that roughly translates to way too much food all at once, being way too full to do much more than fall over where you sit and optionally stay conscious, and having way too much fun doing it. So, basicly, the same thing as Christmas except with different music. Things have been cooking since about an hour after most of us were up, and the evidence can’t very well be missed. I don’t much like coming back to Pembroke, but this is a definite plus–the probably half a ton of leftovers that will be returning to Ottawa with me. This has officially become the house of food, no question. And we’re accepting guests.

The things that make a happy.

Random walks that result in much picture taking. And the accompanying road trip. Life is good. Cheering up Trish? Much better.

The obligatory post… from the iPhone.

I am about to break my own rule. But before I do that, it has to be said that this week, with no exceptions, was a box of awesome, packed in epic, with a win topping. Jessica came by for the week, as she’s known to do. We had several things planned, and I’m fairly sure we crossed most of them off the list.

A lot of reconnecting was done, and plenty of amusing fun was the result. She came in on Friday, and we went to Pembroke right from the station for my aunt and uncle’s 25th anniversary. We were able to introduce her to more of my extended family who, as I suspected, strongly approved. A ton of fun was had, alcohol–the bar variety–was consumed and dancing was done. Afterwards, it was back to Ottawa and the awesome waiting there.

Monday was getting Jessica used to the place, since she hadm’t been here before. Tuesday was our first official show on Mojo Radio, in preparation for something we’ve been working on for a few months. We test our usual setup for such things in a week or two if all goes well. Wednesday was more relaxing, and getting ready for Thursday.

One of the things Jessica wanted to get done was to meet up with a local friend of ours–you may know him as Blind Bandit. So we did the least recommended thing and mixed that with booze. The result? Posted on Shane’s blog and not fit for public consumption. Friday was more relaxing, and today, we sadly have to return her.

The week wasn’t all party and insanity, though. Sjhe cane up to belatedly wish me a happy birthday. And, in so doing, might have just removed my biggest–or, at least, second biggest–knock against the iPhone. I’ve been saying the thing needed a dedicated, physical keyboard since before I got one, and nearly screaming it after. Because she has that whole listening thing down to an art, she went and picked one up for my birthday. Hence, this post is being finished while on the road. I’ll write a review of this thing when I get home. As for now, I should probably go say goodbye to my girlfriend.

It’s a Pembroke party–and I’m making a guest appearance.

This has been in the planning stages for more months than I’ve been keeping track, and now, it’s officially almost official. This weekend would be 25 years since my oldest aunt and uncle married. And, because it pretty much took them going through some of their own personal hells to get here, Trish has taken it upon herself to put together a small party, of sorts, complete with a cerimony for the couple to renew their vows. It’s at this cerimony that I’ve been asked to perform one of their favourite songs. So for a change, I’m heading to Pembroke for the weekend later tonight, and not specifically for my own reasons. And this time, for the first time in a while, I get to drag Jessica with me–her bus pulls into the station in a little less than 3 hours, give or take. Not too unlike her first trip across the border, we go straight from here to the bus station, scoop her up–suitcase and all, and shoot out of Ottawa like a bat out of hell. That wasn’t our original plan, but hey, it gets her here and us there, so whatever works. So, this weekend. Family event. Pembroke. And for a change, Jessica gets to come along. Oh, and hey, she gets to hear something that isn’t me dinking around with the piano, also for a change. Will wonders never cease? Now, about this whole packing thing.

Signs of spring: my mailing address is now my parents’ front yard.

The parental units have found themselves with dogs for as long as I can remember. They’ve got two of them now–yeah, okay, so one’s mine, oh well. They’ve taken off for the weekend to do whatever they do when they take off for the weekend, and left me to keep the creatures from tearing the house apart in their absense. Which comes with its very own, double-edged benefit. The pups are awesome judges of the day’s weather–it could be just barely above freezing, but if it’s forecast to be into the 20’s (I’m using Celsius, for the curious reading from the US side of the border–hey, it makes more sense) at any point during the day, it’s guaranteed any outside time they get today–and they usually get a lot–won’t go quickly. Yesterday, they were in and out an average of 10 minutes. but yesterday, the weather threatened to suck out loud. So far this morning, none of the trips outside with them have been anything less than half an hour–and all of them have ended with me escentially guiding them back into the house. Hey, I gots stuffs to do, here. I’m convinced if I let them, they’ll very happily spend the day outside doing whatever they do when they’re spending the day outside. Only problem is, if they’re outside, so am I–another dog day entry for another dog day, I think. So I’m out there every hour or two, for between half an hour and an hour, until such time as the weather starts sucking again. It’s great–gives me something to do that doesn’t involve housework or draining the laptop’s battery for the millionth time. I’ll just be going ahead and changing my mailing address to be my parents’ front yard, that’s all. Hey, at least the view’s decent.

It’s the most chaotic time of the year.

Whoever said the Christmas holidays were made for relaxing and taking it easy has clearly not met me, my fiance, or my family. busy is probably the understatement of the century–or at least the year. After Jessica showed herself on the 24th, it’s been pretty well non-stop. christmas morning at home, then with the parents for visiting, food, gifts, food, conversation, food, food, and food. Shane joined us for the food and we all gained 25 pounds overnight. Jess and I also tagged along to the grandparents beforehand. after the appropriate amount of stuffing ourselves, we took off downstairs for movies and were later visited by the brother and his beginning family. Then we came back here and were escentially useless until boxing day.

Next morning it was up and gone, and early. The parents needed a house sitter, and Jess and I needed something to do. So, we all got what we wanted. We stayed overnight at the parents’ place, and subsequently missed the first post-Christmas hockey game–hey, LeafsTV? Get yourselves on basic cable/satelite. I mean right now. Got back from that semi-late, so didn’t cause much more mayhem. We saved that for the next day.

Tuesday was the thinggy of doom, which according to certain people actually wasn’t entirely too broken. If you actually listened to the thinggy of doom, I’m very, very sorry. No, seriously. So sorry, in fact, that I may just throw another post up here once I’ve sufficiently blocked it out of my memory with the archive link. We may or may not do another thinggy and call it a year end show. We will, if we do, do it significantly less drunk than we did the last one. That incredibly broken one. I’m still sorry. No, really.

As a result of that thing that broke so horribly all over the place, yesterday does not exist. No. Not a chance. It’s gone. we were all pretty useless for most of the day. So useless, in fact, that we’ve done something that, in this house, has never happened–put on coffee at about noon. When most of us were semi-conscious. If by semi-conscious one means looking vaguely like a dress rehearsal of Dawn of the Dead. And then, after we thought we’d sufficiently blocked out that thinggy of doom from our memories, we listened to the archive. Yes, it really *is* that broken. There were parts of the archive in question all three of us had to listen to again just to make sure what actually happened actually happened. Yeah, it broke. Badly. We’ll never do that again. Until next time.

Today’s been easy. Playing catch-up after the holidays, getting things ready for stuff that may or may not happen at year’s end, and generally continuing the recovery process. That’ll probably continue right up until we end up sitting back and watching our poor hockey team get trampled on by Columbus. I forget exactly what we did at the end of 2009. With a little luck, I might remember pieces of what we did at the end of 2010. Say hello to the most chaotic time of the year. But damn if it isn’t wicked nifty cool. Now, excuse me while I go back to it.

Hang on a sec. Where’d November go?

The last time I looked, I swear, it was just coming up on the end of October. I seem to have misplaced the first half of the month of November. Between halloween festivities, technical issues, medical issues and the back and forth and several other directions all of the above had me going in, I’m not sure “whirlwind” would quite describe the last couple weeks. Still, it’s the best description I can come up with, so have that.

Things have started to calm down now in most if not all areas previously of concern. Mom’s recovery’s going amazingly well–she was out with dad and I for the afternoon, which she wouldn’t have been able to do a week ago, which is a definite indicator. The computer my parents have been hanging onto for the last 10 years or so, who I’ve affectionately–okay, maybe not so much–nicknamed the frankenputer, has finally officially been declared dead, and been replaced with one that doesn’t look like it was put together from parts of a few other, less fortunate machines–and runs Windoes 7 like a dream, just for the record. Good things happen when the geek goes shopping. And life has generally stopped spinning in a hundred different directions at once. Which gives me plenty more time to get back to my regularly scheduled mockery of any and all things mockworthy.

I loved being super busy and internet restricted for a few days. Particularly seeing as I had plenty of offline things to keep me busy during that time. But as she who is my current patient, for lack of a better way to describe her, is slowly getting back to her usual self, I’m going to gradually have less offline things to do–which means a return to that which is my normal, everyday, usual routine. As much as I loved the last couple weeks, I’m going to love the slow return to normality just about as much. Or maybe it’s the excuses I’ll invent to play with a computer that can bring Facebook up in about 5 seconds, as opposed to 15 minutes–hey, the father unit checked that out for himself. I’m still resisting. Either way, I’m going to like this very nearly, if not equally, as much. Now let’s go see if I can find the rest of November.

Update of the mom variety.

While I try to ignore the ass kicking we’re most likely to receive tonight, for the curious, have an update. Mom’s recovering faster than I thought she would, considering the surgery she had. A bit over a week since the operation, and she’s already up and moving a lot easier than she was when she came home. We’re doing a lot more walking the last couple days; she went with me to take the muts on a rather lengthy spin around the block this morning, then did a bit of running around with aunt Holly while I cleared a few things up at the apartment. They still don’t expect her to be fully recovered until December, but she’s making nice progress anyway. By next week she should be able to drive again, which should help us both a little. She’s got a follow-up for next week to see exactly how well she’s healing. Not much longer after that, and she might be able to get rid of me. In the meantime, I think I’ll go watch this implosion.

Uncle for two?

This family just keeps on growing. Amidst all the other insanity going around over here, I very nearly missed something that may be a little more than slightly huge. The sister-in-law is confirmed pregnant with number two. Their oldest, pictures of whom show up here occasionally, isn’t even 2 yet. I can only imagine the sudden lack of boredom in that household.

In related news, this post serves a dual purpose. When next I happen to be in front of my own machine, I have Aiden pictures of a halloween variety that need to see the light of day. As for right now, I seriously need to see the inside of my eyelids. The mom update is tomorrow.

An update on the mommy condition.

I’ve been back at the apartment for the weekend, catching up on things and taking advantage of a keyboard that doesn’t fit in the palm of my hand for a change, but here’s how things on the recovery front are looking for the curious. She had the IV taken out on Wednesday, and was sent home to recover on Thursday. Apparently, we all had our expectations set too low–even her, as she did a lot better with it than she expected she would be. She was in hardly any pain, and what there was of it was easily taken care of with tylenol. And even that, she’d stopped taking after about 4:00 Friday morning. She wasn’t very mobile the first couple days–hardly at all on Thursday except the necessary, and Friday only enough to keep the circulation up and going, but by Saturday she was getting around fairly easily. She’s still not allowed to do hardly anything, so I’ll be returning there later today, but by the end of the week they’re figuring she’ll be able to at least drive to the grocery store, even if she can’t actually do the physical picking up of the groceries–that’s why she’s got me over there, among other reasons. They’ve given her a timeline of roughly a month, possibly a little more than that, before she’s back to being 100% herself. Gradually, she’ll probably start doing a little more as her healing permits, which will mean I won’t be so critcally required over there after a while. Barring complications, she should be more than ready to go by Christmas, and back to work by the new year. And it’ll be back to the same old routine for me by then, with a slight variation–more on that in an entry still to come. Now, back to catching up on things.

A quick mommy update.

She’s being moved to a room shortly, if she hasn’t been already. Recovery’s going better than it was earlier, though we still have no idea when she’ll be released. For the moment, though, she’s happy, healthy and in one piece, minus what they took out. More as I know it.

Miscellaneous medical mayhem and madness.

As I made vague mention to yesterday, I’m at the parents’ place for at least the week. Sans a computer, but I’ve already pronounced the frankenputer dead or near it. What has me here is the aftermath of a major surgery. Mom went in early this morning, and as of a couple hours ago is in recovery. This, of course, results in the chaos meter going off the scale. She’s off work for at least 8 weeks while she heals. I’m probably not going to be here for the entire time, but I’ll be here.

Folks who’ve been reading a while know how things get over here. The added twist of not having a real computer will probably make things a little more interesting. in the meantime, keep an eye on my twitter as well as the blog. Updates and random bits to come. And oh yeah, go Giants!

Fun, family and festivities, oh my!

Okay, so escentially since Friday life’s been kind of non-stop. But I’ve been meaning to start this update before then, so we’ll get to that in a minute. I had a meeting with the ODSP person who’s heading up the purchasing of a copy of the screenreader I’ll be using at whichever job I end up landing in the foreseeable future. The meeting only lasted an hour or two, and pretty much just confirmed what I already knew–I’d be having no problem getting the dollars for it, and they’d just be going right ahead with the wiring that to me ASAP. Wicked nifty cool–things in that sector actually doing what they’re supposed to without me needing to apply a liberal amount of drop kick. That can’t be anything but good. So I left a couple messages with the employment opportunity here in Pembroke that I’ve been chasing for the last few weeks. They’ve yet to get back to me, naturally, and will promptly be hearing from me again tomorrow. The job I’d applied for in Ottawa, I’ve pretty much decided, has run off a cliff. Calls to them resulted in them saying they’d be looking into why it is the screenreading technology wouldn’t work with their chosen software, and how best to get it to play nice. They said they’d forward my contact info on to the person(s) responsible for testing such things, but poking them on that hasn’t gotten me very far yet. Another thing to attempt to do tomorrow.

In more positive and non-employment-related news, after the near fail that was Greyhound’s website and an epic fail that had surprisingly absolutely nothing to do with Greyhound at all–I’m looking straight at you, Canadian customs–Jessica got in safely and in one piece on Friday. We left early for Ottawa to pick her up, hence my running out of time to throw together an update before hand. We finally, after the afore mentioned Canadian customs failure, got her off the bus and in the car with us at about 10:00, and it was pretty much right back here after where she promptly recovered from not having slept since wednesday night. Friday was the lazy day of lazy as a result; we took it fairly easy at that point and just stuck around here.

Most of the next three days were spent with the family–we hung out with them Saturday evening, did all manner of shooting the shit and watching a little TV, and generally kept it low-key. Sunday we went back over there for dinner again, and received a sound ass kicking in a game of Rummoli–I still think certain members of my family cheat, but whatcha gonna do? that was only Jessica’s second time playing that game–she played once before with us last Christmas–and she pretty much did better than me for the majority of the game. I’m blaming beginner’s luck on that one.

Today being thanksgiving, we took off late this morning to go for our usual round of visiting, then headed back to the parents’ for a dinner who’s overall quality and quantity resulted in at least two food comas. There was more sitting around and shooting the shit, with a M*A*S*H marathon in the background on the history channel–my father’s always had a fondness for that show; it’s a military thing. When food comas started to set in, we decided to shuffle on back home and let life kind of slow itself down for a while. Now, I think I’ve managed to regain some of my balance here, so taking the rest of the week at full tilt will be fun.

Life’s been spinning pretty chaotically the last few days, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. Now with the holiday coming to a close, though, we can start to at least pretend like there’s some kind of a routine here. Which means it’s back to my usual being pulled in a few different directions–including taking considerable chunks of my day just to hang out and do absolutely nothing with Jess. And really, if I could have it any other way, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even think about it. There’s no better way to spend any holiday weekend. And hey, if it ends up being back to the usual routine tomorrow, it’ll all have been worth it. Now, I think I’ll just go do that holiday thing a little more.

My non-gamer parents prove me wrong. And this time, I’m not cringing.

Remember that Wii I predicted wouldn’t get much use, on account of neither of my parents are really that much into the whole gaming scene? And, since unless you’ve achieved uber geek status, not being a gamer probably demotes the Wii from gaming system to glorified PC with a TV hook-up? Yeah, I think I’m brave enough to say I was wrong. I actually found them a use for it that doesn’t involve Facebook from the sofa. Like, say, Netflix from the sofa. Yeah, I know–I haven’t decided yet if I’m keeping mine, and I’ve already pointed them at it. They watch a crap ton of movies–way more than I do, even when I do have company. And there’s at least one TV series available that was being eyed up quite nicely by my father, so it balances out.

Since I already have an account on there, while I was over there for supper anyway I took advantage of the frankenputer to show them the ropes. They even took a look at actually playing a movie while I was there–and, surprisingly, had nothing bad to say about what they saw. High praise from a couple who rarely meets a piece of technology they don’t curse at. And I thought that was strictly reserved for geek culture–clearly, I was misinformed. They aren’t overly huge fans of the fact if they want to actually use it on the Wii, they need to order the disk from Netflix. Then again, neither was I upon discovering this fact but that’s Nintendo for you. Still, considering it beats the royal hell out of what Shaw Direct so far as on-demand stuff goes, I don’t think they’re about to pitch too huge a fit. So yeah, I can admit to being proven wrong. And hey, you don’t see me complaining.

Happy birthday, Aidan!

The only relative of mine currently unable to read this blog anytime in the near future officially turns 1 today. And holy crap has he managed to grow like a bad weed. He’s dangerously close to standing on his own, and as long as he has something to hold onto with one hand, he can give walking a fair attempt as well. And just recently, he’s made a semi-convincing attempt at forming words that consist of more than just muffled baby noises. This only just in his first year. If he starts actually walking this week, I think I’d call that a birthday present from himself to himself.

They’ve aranged a small little get-together they’re calling a party for him, an, folks have even shown up with gifts–though I think he’s still at that stage where the box the gift came in is more fun than the gift. Still, if it’s not insanely fun, someone’s not doing something right.

Happy birthday, kid. Hope you have as much fun on this trip around the sun as you did on the last one. Now where’d I put that can of coke I was gonna split with you without mommy knowing…?

Fun and amusement at fiddle fest.

I’ve written a couple entries referencing the anual fiddle festival held up at Pembroke’s Riverside park every September around labour day. On a random wim, the parents and I decided to shuffle over there tonight to see what we could find for entertainment. And, as often happens, we found exactly that. And this time, I even managed to recognise a few of the songs that were being played.

Just to get a general idea of how things are set up around there, everyone who’s competing in the events of this weekend–and probably a few spectators who just want an excuse to party–piles into Riverside park, which is escentially a special event grounds that just so happens to double as a beach and very nice area to walk when it’s not jam packed with people. From about a week before labour day right up until then, when the competition shuts down, there are trailers, trucks, buses, and all manner of other things. When they’re not competing, each site tends to do their own thing so far as performances. Most of them are little more than social gatherings among friends. When the competition isn’t going, it’s almost impossible to distinguish the folks who’re just there for the party from the competitors. At that point, it generally amounts to a very glorified outdoor kitchen party. They have guitars, at least one piano, some folks doing vocals depending on the group, and of course, a crap ton of fiddles. There are stepdancers as well but I think we showed up too late to see those. They’re selling food–mostly of the burger and fries variety, and if you didn’t provide your own alcohol you probably don’t have to go far to get some. Mostly though, people show up there for the music.

We spent the better part of the evening, or at least a good 2 hours and change of it, walking from one site to the next doing just that. We’d hear a decent song or two, hang out there for a few, then when they started getting into areas we weren’t in the mood for, we’d move on to the next one. The selections were almost all folk/country or some mix of the two–it’s a fiddle festival; what the hell do you want? The usual selection at least tonight was anywhere from probably 1960 through to about 1990, though I did catch a song or two that sounded newer. At the end of it, my legs were about ready to go on strike right there, and I don’t think I was the only one in that state, so we packed it up and slid back to our respective houses.

I try to make it to that competition–or, at least, the afterparty–at least once every year. This is one of those rare things that, even if I were still living in Ottawa, I’d have to make the trip back here just to check it out. It’s probably the one thing that actually makes Pembroke feel more like home than, say, the apartment I had prior to my moving here. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean I wouldn’t move away if given the option. But I’d definitely be coming back at least once a year, right during that first week in September. Call it one of my very few unwritten rules.

If you happen to have some free time this weekend and are in or near the area, drop by Riverside park in Pembroke and check it out. I believe the players start wrapping things up on Sunday, but if I’m not mistaken some may stick around until Monday instead. If you’re interested in checking it out, have a map, of sorts. And if you do decide to go, let me know what you think. I’d be curious to see if it’s just a Pembroke area thing. If I get bored enough, I might end up back there out of random curiosity myself. Hey, that wouldn’t hurt my feelings any.

My parents, the non-gamer gamers.

I got a random call from my father while I was down here, with the probably fourty millionth tech question the family’s posed to me since I turned geek. Only this one with a twist. It would appear my parents, who haven’t even looked at a gaming system since I was probably 13, just grabbed themselves a Nintendo Wii. His question? How to hook it up to the network I threw together for them. Why? They thought it’d be fun to browse the web on their TV. Ladies and gentlemen, I suspect the birth of a glorified PC. For the record? I’m so not fixing this one.

And somewhere in there, I threw a weekend.

Calling the last week or so busy would probably be an insult to busy weeks everywhere, but in a lot of ways, that’s exactly what it was. After the assessment of doom, I took it easy the rest of monday and did absolutely nothing. I needed the relaxation for the rest of the week. Tuesday night was pretty much the start of insanity. Small, relatively contained, but insanity.

Somehow, my nephew managed to be 10 months old without my knowing it. Which means if there’s something he could possibly get his hands on, he’s probably already done so. On tuesday, I went to give the mother a hand with minding him plus the two dogs. Fortunately for both of us, when I got there he was in bed and sleeping. Not fortunately for either one of us, by 7:00 the next morning he was up and ready to go, no questions asked. And go he did–all over the place whether we wanted to chase him there or not. We took him in to see the grandparents, and he was no less energetic when we got him there. This continued pretty much all day, with the exception of maybe an hour in the afternoon when we managed to actually convince him that it wasn’t, in fact, dangerous to his health to actually spend some time immobile for a few minutes. Right up until I think it might have been 9:00 or so, it was pretty nearly non-stop. We even took him for a short walk that afternoon–mostly because we could use the break, and then he’d pretty much just go where we pushed him. By the time we finally got him down for the night, we were more than ready to fall into bed shortly behind him. And, well, we did. And got just enough sleep that the 6:30 wake-up call he’d had in mind for thursday wasn’t quite as painful as I expected. As you could probably guess, most of thursday was spent–yep, doing the exact same thing. And taking turns trying to convince him to go down for a nap so we could get things done around the house that needed to get done–that to do list tends to get pretty long when the majority of your attention’s focused on one very adoreable, but very exhausting, kid. Of course, that didn’t actually end up happening; although between the two of us I think we might have managed to scratch one or two things off that list. Kevin dropped in to kidnap him back at about noonish or so, which gave us just enough time to try clearing off the rest of that list before we hit the floor from simple lack of energy. I don’t even remember most of what happened the rest of thursday beyond the usual routine, which is almost a safe bet for any day that isn’t overly filled with chaos. Of course, the couple days I just managed to survive meant I was pretty much a zombie for most of friday. I slept like the dead thursday night, and was the walking dead pretty well up until friday night.

While I was in recovery, and probably while I was less than conscious, Meka was doing her thing for the karaoke world championships. She’d made it to the state finals as of friday, and was competing there saturday night. My origional intent was to watch the event online, but technical difficulties–for once, not on my end–quickly put the breaks on that notion. I would learn later on that night that I ended up missing an awesome performance, giving her second place and a spot at the regional competition in August.

Yesterday was more time of the familial variety, with a meetup for breakfast then another run into the grandparents’ to kill a couple hours. Then it was back to taking it relatively easy for the evening.

This morning, I got my hands on the audio portion of Meka’s performances. And, with her permission, once she makes them available in video form on Youtube, they’ll make their way here. Now, I go chase after a couple dogs while the mother unit makes her way to work. She had a job interview this morning–glad one of us still gets those, so I’ve been over here since about 10:30. And will probably still be here at about 9:30 tonight. It’s gonna be a long ass day.

Busy or not, this week’s been surprisingly educational. A small sampling of things I learned, in list format. Because, really, who doesn’t like lists?

  • Just because the kid’s not walking yet does not, in fact, mean he’s easy to catch.
    • Or slow down.
    • Or stop.
    • Or keep track of if you’re not right behind him.
  • When they decide they are not going down for a nap, you are not putting them there.
  • Nor are you going to trick them into going for one. Don’t even try it.
    • This includes playing with him even while he’s within an inch of falling asleep. He knows.
    • This also includes his grandma sneaking off to the kitchen while his uncle plays with him even though he’s an inch from falling asleep. Again, he knows.
    • This also includes his grandma sneaking off to the kitchen after he’s already asleep. I still can’t wrap my head around how, but he knows.
  • I am apparently not the only one with a periodically screwed up sleep schedule. By the way, kid? This whole 6:30 thing is not healthy.
  • The face kids that age make when you let them sample your coke? Awesome. Sorry, no video–I didn’t have my cell phone handy right then.
  • Discovered by the nephew at breakfast: your food is good, but someone else’s food is always better.
  • Yes, a 10-month-old can, in fact, get on top of your end table if he wants to bad enough.
    • Or pull something off it.
    • Or pull out the end table’s drawer if you aren’t presently leaning against it.
  • Rules are meant to be broken. And gates that block off stairs to prevent infant head trauma are meant to be opened.
  • Related: The fact you’ve just wedged the afore mentioned gate against the wall so you’d practically need a sledgehammer to remove it? That’s not discouragement. That’s a challenge.
  • The second worst possible thing you could ever do is say no. The worst possible thing is mean it.
    • Of course, he’ll probably do it anyway.
    • Twice, just because you said no.
    • And once more just for spite, I swear.
  • 10 months old is not too young to start messing with people’s heads. Either that or this kid’s wickedly gifted.
  • If and when I ever get around to having one, I’m investing in a goddamn leash. At least.

Surprise, you’re engaged!

Folks will be aware Jess has been here since Saturday. what many aren’t aware of, at least until now, is what happened within 24 hours of her arival. More specifically, it became very official that she’d be stuck with me for about as close to forever as she could tolerate. On saturday afternoon, I officially asked her to marry me. And, surprising everyone except the two of us, she said yes. Effective as of then, we’re officially one step closer to that fateful dive off the deep end.

We haven’t set a date yet, but at least now we can start more seriously talking about it. The majority of the week thus far has escentially been mostly made up of doing just that–I had no idea just how many people actually end up getting told these things. So far, we’ve made and received quite a few phone calls on it, not to mention sharing the news in person. By the time she goes back she’ll probably be sick and tired of talking about it–just in time for the folks she hasn’t told yet to catch sight of the ring.

I had the ring picked out a couple weeks in advance, a bit before she finally purchased the ticket. I wanted it to be a surprise not just to her, but to family/friends on both sides of the equasion. So I was pretty much doing everything in secret at that point. That was probably the hardest part–talking to her and avoiding saying what I really wanted to say when she asked if anything eventful happened that day. But, shocking the hell out of me, I actually somehow managed to do exactly that. And keep it quiet amongst the non-immediate family–something ordinarily nearly impossible to do on account of info travels fasater than a wild fire in california on a bad day.

The rest of the week thus far was pretty low key, in comparison. Had a barbecue on sunday at the parentals’ place, for a combination of cellebrating all three month-end birthdays–mine, my mom’s, and the sister-in-law’s. The engagement became officially official there, when the parents, brother and sister-in-law all got a chance to gawk at the ring. And I was cautioned away from making the same mistake my brother did. Fortunately, that particular mistake can’t be duplicated so I’m safe in that department. Yesterday was equally low key–we stuck around the apartment, flaked out, enjoyed various degrees of lazy, had pizza brought in from the local place of awesome, cracked open the vodka and had our own, personal type engagement party. That lasted until 7:00 this morning, before we grabbed 4 hours’ sleep. the rest of the day, dead as it is, leads us to the announcement here.

This is something I know we’ve both been wanting for a while, so the decision to do it over the weekend was probably the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. I suspect the rest of this week will probably be devoted to spreading the news even more so–hint: it’s up on Facebook if anyone’s interested. I suspect the next couple weeks, at least for her anyway, are going to consist of telling everyone else back home who hasn’t already heard yet. And thhe foreseeable future? It will probably consist of marriage/wedding plans. As for right now? I still have some evening time to spend. And I think I’ll spend it trying to get a little more used to this whole newly engaged thing. On the bright side, we already know the family approves. On the not so bright side, the poor girl may end up suffering further brain damage as a result. But, she’ll survive. Either that or we’ll be taking up refuge in someone’s basement until the insanity passes. Whatever this ride ends up doing, it’s gonna be a hell of a lot of fun. At least, it’d better be. I demand it.

Happy father’s day.

Whatever your plans are today, try and at least take a moment to call up your father figure and see how they’re doing. And, hey, if you’re so inclined, throw a little good fortune his way–he’s probably done something to deserve it. The family’s getting together for breakfast later this morning as part of the whole father’s day thing, since he won’t be around for most of the day. Beyond that, it’ll just be business as usual–which is exactly the way he likes it. Whatever it is you’re planning, enjoy it. And have a drink for me.

You’ll note I said “father figure” as opposed to anything else. There are people out there–I used to know a few–who don’t actually acknowledge their bio father as their father figure. For that, they turn to someone else–a stepfather, an uncle, a family friend, a teacher–any number of people. They’re just as important to those who consider them a father figure as any father could be. This is as much their day as it is every other dad out there, and it should be no less important. If you look at him like a father, this is his day. Enjoy it. And make sure he does, too. He’ll thank you for it. Happy father’s day.

More nephew pictures, as threatened.

My family has entirely too much fun on a long weekend. Particularly on a May two-four weekend. It was no different this year. Food, alcohol, music, awesome weather, and time spent in the back yard with an 8-month-old future quarterback or something. My parents put up a swing of sorts for him this summer, so they could have an excuse to keep him outside on days when it’s not overly boiling–personally, I think mom just did it for the purpose of pictures like this one. I approve. Just a-swingin'.

As I hinted at in this post, perhaps aspiring to be just like your 8-month-old grandson may not be the best thing you could possibly do. As promised, the explanation, and the visual evidence. Dad’s looking at taking a course for the operation of heavy equipment, so he can get out of his current–well, now former–job, and into construction or something similar that gives him a little more free time to get things done that he actually needs to do. Mom made some comment about him being able to possibly make foreman shortly after getting this course and such out of the way. The nephew had himself situated on the floor, playing with a few of mom’s dishes–hey, it kept him away from the stove; work with me here. In the process, he decided to adopt this look. You don't need no stinkin hard hat. That's what your head's for.

I think he’s on to something here. We snickered about that all evening. Mostly because I’m not entirely sure my dad completely caught onto it. Hell, it took me a few minutes to clue in–and I was standing right there when he did it. Wonder if dad’s rethinking his career choice yet. Sometimes, living here has its occasional good points. Or, at least, amusing ones.

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