Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Happy Birthday. Wish You Were Here.

Today would be my mother's 77th birthday. Not being able to call her and wish her a happy birthday or to bring her a cake I made or a beautiful bouquet of flowers to enjoy is a tough thing to accept. She's been gone 11 weeks and in some ways it seems much longer, but she's missed like she passed away yesterday.

I met with a friend last night who was complaining about how much her mother was driving her nuts. "I keep thinking to myself, 'Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. I don't want to hear your voice!', but then I realize there will probably be a time that I will wish I would be able to hear her voice and I won't be able to." Yep, it's a sad time when it comes. Appreciate what you have while you have it.

My sister-in-law called last night and left a message that she and my brother are taking my father across the border to Buffalo today for an MRI. By taking him to the U.S., it avoids a potentially lengthy wait to have the testing done here in Canada. I'm not sure how it all works financially, I'm sure it's out of pocket payment to get it done there, but it beats waiting, even if it's free here. We found out with my mother that time is not your friend when facing cancer. His doctor is supposed to have the results of his test this afternoon. It's after 5:30, so I'm just waiting for a call. Perhaps there will be a message waiting for me when I get home.

I'm hoping it's been caught very early and that he'll be alright, but deep down I'm terrified.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I Can't Go Through This Again

My sister-in-law just called me at work.

She and my brother accompanied my father to his doctor's appointment today. He's been having stomach problems for a while now. He often feels like throwing up (and often has) after eating. The doctor used a scope to see if he could determine what the problem was. The diagnosis is not good. It appears my father has esophageal cancer.

It's been just over two months since my mother lost her fight with cancer. I think I'm in shock over this news. I can't accept it. But I know I have to. I'm sure he's scared of what's to come. He watched his beloved wife rapidly fade away. Will it be the same for him? I'm scared of what's to come. I just don't understand this. It is so unfair.

His doctor is sending the results to the local cancer center so my father can be seen by an oncologist. The doctor said that surgery and radiation are options, but it is a major surgery. What will this do to him? I'm sure we'll know more in the next week or so.

As with my mother, I would greatly appreciate everyone to think positive thoughts for my father, and to keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008



Another whirlwind weekend! Friday night The Squeeze and I joined my business partner and his squeeze and the young lad who works for us and his girlfriend for a night of fun. We started by seeing John Pinette do his stand-up routine. It was a great show. If the name doesn't ring a bell, go to YouTube and watch a few of his numbers. Funny, funny stuff. In honour of Mr. Pinette, The Squeeze and I took in a Chinese buffet before meeting the others for the show.

We planned to visit the girls Sunday morning before taking my father out to the racetrack to watch the ponies do their thing. Knowing time was tight, we made alternate arrangements with Weezie, my baby-mama. She was thinking of going out to a movie Saturday night with her girlfriends, but her mother bailed on her and hit the bingo hall to get her fix. We decided to go see the kids that night so Weezie could go out, and we'd get to spend time with the girls and not have to rush out early Sunday morning.

We arrived late afternoon and Weezie and the girls presented The Squeeze and I with our Father's Day gifts. Zoe made us a cute card and a decorated mini-pie tin for my keys and change. Brynn made me a card in the shape of a necktie, and she had painted a coffee mug for me. Weezie also got us a card and some scratch & win lottery tickets. After we opened the presents, Weezie's friends came to pick her up and she was on her way.

We had a fun time playing with the girls until it was time for dinner. Zoe eats like a bird, but I managed to get her to finish her lasagna. Brynn...no problems there. She especailly loves vegetables, and asked for more three times. Guess that explains why I always find corn.....nevermind. TMI!

After dinner I cleaned up and washed the dishes while Poppy and the girls played with their huge Play-doh collection. Then the four of us went into the family room and played in there until it was time for Brynn to go to bed. She was pretty exhausted. I heated up a bottle of milk for her and took her up to her room, changed her, hugged her, kissed her good-night and put her in the crib with her bottle. She sucked on the bottle as I was leaving her room, then she pulled it out and said "Bu-bye Da-da". "Bu-bye sweetie, see you soon", I replied. I closed the door and tried to fight back the tears. Am I the luckiest guy in the world???

When I came downstairs, Zoe and Poppy were playing quietly until it was time for her to head off to bed. It's so strange how well-behaved she can be when it's just her, but when her sister is around, Zoe just refuses to listen and will do everything in her power to annoy you. The typical attention-getting routine, I guess.

We headed home shortly after Weezie came back from the movies, and we got into bed moments after getting in the house.

Sunday morning we headed out to meet my family at the track for Father's Day. Everyone was there except my one notoriously late brother and his wife. I still don't know why they didn't show. Maybe they were there but couldn't find us, but we're a pretty tough crowd to miss. I haven't been to a horse race in years, and I didn't have a clue what I was doing then, and I still didn't know that day. I placed a few bets and didn't win anything. I liked the names of two horses, so I asked my sister how I could place a bet for both of them.

"You could do an exactor," she told me.
"Ya-huh....and that means...?"
"Just tell the person in the booth that you want to box 5 & 7, for example. If 5 & 7 come in first and second, in either order, you win the exactor pot."

I decided I'd go for it, except I was thinking of 5 & 9. As The Squeeze and I headed to the ticket booth, I thought, "Hmmm...my sister wins all sorts of contests. I should probably play 5 & 7 because that's what she just happened to say." So I put down $4 on a $2 boxed exactor on 5 & 7. When the race started, 5 & 7 were in the lead right off the start, and I became one of those people who was sitting there yelling at the horses. They kept their lead and 5 & 7 finished first and second. On a four dollar bet I won $66.40. As I went to collect my winnings, my sister-in-law asked how much I bet, and I told her I put down $100, just to freak her out. Hehehe...it worked.

The Squeeze and I went together on a couple of triactors, but we sucked at trying that. Our problem was that we examined and bet based on the statistics of past races, or at least we think we did. We really had no idea how to read the race programmes. I tend to do better by picking a name I like, or riding on my sister's coattails. The sad thing is that my sister wasn't betting that day. She was just there to hang out and look after her hilarious 2-year-old grandson.

We all made our strategic plans for the last race. I picked a couple of horses for another exactor, and as I walked past my family, my father joking said, "Bet on #11 to win", and everyone laughed because 11 was a long shot with huge odds against him. I laughed with them all, but once I was at the ticket counter, I placed my planned bet and decided to place a bet on #11 to win. Wouldn't you know that #11 won?! Of course, by that time a lot of people must have bet on 11 and the odds dropped quite a bit, but I still wound up winning $56.50 on a $2 bet.

The Squeeze and I split the winnings, and much like at the casino the week before, we came out ahead. I announced to my family that I'm considering quitting my job and gambling for a living, and we laughed and laughed.

We discussed going out for dinner and decided upon a nice popular family restaurant not far from the track. The Squeeze and I raced there so we could put our name on the waiting list. We arrived, somehow managed to find parking, fought through the crowd outside and in the lobby and wrote my name and number in our party (10). We discovered that it would be at least an hour wait. My brother suggested another place down the road, so we headed over there, but left our name on the list in case that place was packed. Sadly, it wasn't. I think it took about an hour before getting our food. Most of us ordered fish & chips, and both were very, very greasy. My sister didn't get her order until we were all about half way through ours. We weren't even able to have a conversation because we were seated in the "dining room" about 3 feet away from the band which never took a break.

I envy the people who claimed to be us and took our table at the other restaurant.

Friday, June 13, 2008


A Life In The Day

What a time The Squeeze and I had last weekend. Friday night we had the girls stay overnight with us to allow Weezie to go out with the girls. Not THE girls...we had them, but I mean her girlfriends. Hooterville was having its huge annual festival, and there was a big dance at the firehall that she wanted to attend.

We got the girls to bed at a respectable time after their bath, and as usual I was awake in bed most of the night being hypervigilant to every little noise. At around 5:00, Brynn woke up and started crying. Not wanting her to wake Zoe up, I snuck into their room and picked Brynn up and brought her into our room I where reclined on the bed with her and cuddled her until she fell back to sleep. I tell ya, there's just something amazing about having this adorable little part of me asleep next to me. Babies rock. She turns 2 in just three weeks. Can I still call her a baby? Damn right I can!

In the morning, The Squeeze and I got things moving like a well-oiled machine. Breakfast, showers, dress the kids, and on the road to Hooterville. We watched the parade from my father's lawn, and it just amazes me how kids pay attention to the strangest things. This parade had a few bagpipe bands, a couple of marching bands, fire trucks, horses, you name it, they had it. But nothing got the girls as excited as when a dog walked by. "Doggie!!!!" I guess it's like how they play with the box that their amazing gift comes in.

After the parade, we had a quick bite of lunch and headed back to the downtown for some of the festivities. We watched a friend take part in a strongman competition, dragging a transport truck down the street. Brynn had a snooze in her stroller, and Zoe got to have a pony ride before she got her crank on and really needed a nap.

Weezie took the kids back home and The Squeeze and I debated what to do. Driving to Niagara Falls to take in a bit of casino life seemed like the thing to do. OK, in reality, we went there for the buffet that my father raved about the previous week. He went there with my sister and her family for their anniversary, and was quite taken with the buffet. He's not much of a talker, but he sure did go on about the buffet. And since it's right there in the middle of the casino, well, it just made sense to slip a few bills in the slot. The buffet was quite nice. We're definitely going back. All the peel & eat shrimp and desserts are reason enough to go back.

We hit the gaming floor and we each dropped $60 or so into the slot machines. As we pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd cut our losses and head home, I passed a bank of machines that called to me. "Hot Shot" it was called, and it was a progressive game. There was a jackpot of about $98,000 to be won. I slid a $20 into the machine and began to press the buttons. I was up, I was down, I was up again. I thought about cashing out when I was at $60. I played a bit more. Up to $80, down a bit, up a bit, down a bit, and then I hit the button again and wound up winning one of the lesser progressive pots. I was at $229 and that was good enough for me. I cashed out, handed half to The Squeeze and we headed home. That game paid for our gas, dinner, gambling, parking, and a few bucks on top of that.

Since the night was still young, we headed back to Hooterville to catch the festival fireworks from my friends' father's fenced-in fortress. Sorry, I was on a roll. Once the fireworks were over, The Squeeze and I headed over to see a few of my nephews in their band that was performing in the back yard of some guy named "Bubba". It was about 10:00 at night, and there was the band, jamming at a volume that was pretty much heard throughout all of Hooterville. In the dim light I recognized a couple of my nieces in the crowd. They greeted me and pointed off to the side of the audience. I looked over and saw my sister and brother-in-law standing there. Their son in the lead singer in the band, so I guess I wasn't too surprised to see them there, even though it was a much younger crowd. I figured The Squeeze and I...OK...I thought The Squeeze would be the oldest one there. As I walked toward my sister, I saw her pointing over beside her. What's with everyone pointing??? Then I realized who she was pointing at. The was my 75-year-old father standing there enjoying the show. Alright, maybe he wasn't enjoying it, but he was there. "It's so loud here, even the mosquitos are staying away," he said.

Two doors down from "Bubba"'s is a seniors' residence.
"Umm...wouldn't the seniors all be in bed at, like...7:00 trying to sleep?" I asked someone.
"Ya, but they've all got their hearing aids out."
"Good point."

However, at the crack of 11:00, in through the back gate and through the crowd marched several O.P.P. officers. One walked up onto the deck and ordered the band to shut down. I couldn't help but laugh when a young man behind me piped up "They wouldn't have to stop playing if they were indians!" A reference to a long-standing native standoff in a nearby town that the police seem to be powerless to do anything about. Sadly, there just may have been a bit of truth to his comment.

The party broke up and The Squeeze and I were on our way home for the night. We were amazed at how much activity we managed to pack into one day. Some days we barely have the energy to shop for groceries. But this was all fun, and it certainly didn't feel like anything we HAD to do.

This weekend we'll be visiting the girls on Father's Day. Still can't believe that day applies to me! We'll see them Sunday morning, and then my family is taking my father out to the race track to bet a couple of bucks on the ponies. Apparently they have slots there. I'll be looking for "Hot Shot"...maybe I can break even again.

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