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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

for this post to make sense, you may want to read this one first.

My wife was in the kitchen, her back to the TV I was in the living room and I happened to see the commercial for the new Robin Hood movie.  The first thing I noticed is that Robin Hood is being played by an Australian.  I suppose that could be accurate, after all Robin Hood was a thief and Australia was a penal colony.

But what prompted this post was the conversation that followed the comercial of which my wife had not seen:

Me: “Hey it looks like that guy is going to play Friar Tuck”

Wife: “What in blue blazes are you talking about?”

Me: “You know that guy from the comedy”

Wife: (The Look)

Me: “You know that new movie, I think Friar Tuck is going to be played by that guy in the comedy we liked”

Wife: “You mean Still Standing?, and he was in A Knights Tale?”

Me: “Yes”.

Oh my God!

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Friday was a bad day.  I bent down to tie my shoe and my back went out.  During the week we hit temperatures of  80 degrees , Friday it was snowing  and the heating system took a dump.  In the end however, our problems were not so bad.  Bear, a dog that had been lost for 7 weeks was found, We called the repair guy and our heating system is up and running.  I went to the doctor on Saturday and I’m  now on Vicodine and Flexerol, (yes this is going to be a short post) and while my back still hurts it doesn’t seem to matter as much.  In trying times you just have to remember things could always be worse and you have to remember whats important.

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Fate Or Circumstance, Part 3

Once at  Sandra’s we found the kennel, made sure Husky had food and water, we promised her that Sandra would be home soon and that we would visit during the week, and with great reluctance we walked away.

Husky screamed!  She didn’t bark, growl or howl, she screamed.  Never had I heard such a noise, it sounded like somebody had taken an old rusty spoon and used it to carve out her heart.  We couldn’t take her with us and we couldn’t wait all night.  Husky was safe, she had water and Sandra would soon be there to take her inside.  Being the cruel heartless people we are we walked away with heavy hearts and tears in our eyes and the most horrific sound echoing in our heads.  The neighbour promised us he would check in on Husky once Husky had settled down.   As we drove home with that god awful noise still reverberating in our heads we started thinking up ways we could keep her with us until we found a suitable home.  Logically we knew husky was fine, emotionally we were drained.  Some would argue that this was when we decided to keep Husky, and again they would be wrong. 

We made a vet appointment with Lee (the best vet ever) who gave us a lecture on dog ownership and given our situation and the temperment of our cats, how owning a dog was probably not the smartest idea.   Lee also forced us to see the obvious, if Husky did  kill one of the cats, how would that make us feel? then what would become of Husky?   Lee did admit that this husky was not a typical husky.   Husky took all her shots, gave blood and submitted to the exam without all the usual husky drama.  For the most part she lay on her back paws in the air waiting for somebody to rub her belly.  Lee who is not only the best vet, is also a friend who cares about her patients and despite her lecture informed us that she would support our decision and help us any way she could both as a friend and a vet.  Did our vet just open the door a tiny crack?  There were a lot of issues and the potential for deadly disaster, I was still focused on finding Husky a suitable home but maybe there was a way to share the household, maybe we could find a way to separate the cats from the dog when we were all in the house at the same time, maybe…just maybe…

During this time we took Husky everywhere getting her as much exposure as possible figuring the more people who saw her the better the chance we had at finding her a good home.   My wife was busy being a detective and with only Husky’s rabies tags she managed to uncover  a lot of  information.  The previous owner owed the vets money, making them reluctant to give us any information, but with a little explaining on our part each vet we talked to agreed to release Husky’s records our vet.  We found out that Husky was a mom but the dog law officer realized this guy was unable or unwilling to look after Husky never mind husky puppies and forced him to have Husky fixed.  He did comply but once again never paid the vet.  From there my wife was able to track down the breeder.  Husky was a purebred and we got all the information we needed to get her papers from the American Kennel Club.  We had no interest in getting her papers but it was a good ‘selling’ point to tempt a possible owner. 

Finding Husky an owner was a difficult task,  we were not about to ‘dump’ her on just anybody, how would that help her?  how would that put her in a better situation?  Most people want a dog that they can throw out the door on a cold day and then give a whistle and the dog will come running back, unfortunately with most huskies you can’t do that, once they are outside and unrestrained, they are gone.  Training a  husky is not as easy as training a lab.  Before a husky will do anything they ask themselves “whats in it for me?” and there better be something as they are certainly not out to please you.  Huskies are not always good with children or other dogs and other dogs don’t always like huskies.  In our studies we learned that huskies have their own language which other dogs don’t understand.  A husky owner in northern Canada who has working huskies warned us that huskies play a lot harder than most dogs and the difference between husky play and a husky fight is the amount of blood spilled.  To make matters worse our husky is very dominant and doesn’t play well with others.  If another dog doesn’t respond the way Husky wants them too she goes on the attack. 

One Sunday we went to Sandra’s to drop Husky off, (thankfully we could now do this without the screaming)  there was a pen set up in the yard with all the husky puppies playing inside.  We brought Husky into the pen and she immediately went into mothering mode.  She played with them, let them crawl all over her but when they crossed the line (as huskies are prone to do) she would roll them on their backs and hold them there until they calmed down.  We stayed for a while, playing with the puppies (we really liked zag and Sandra actually tried to get us to adopt zag) and really enjoyed watching Husky play with the pups.  Once again that dreaded time came when we had to leave we said goodbye to Sandra and the woman helping her, said goodbye to Husky who was only paying attention to the puppies but just before I got into the car I happened to look back and noticed Husky had stopped paying attention to the puppies, all her attention was on us. Later when my wife mentioned that particular behaviour to Sandra she told us that Husky always watched us leave and looked for us once we were gone and on Saturdays she would wait by the door for us to pick her up.  I though back to when we first met Husky, she didn’t look at her previous owner, she never looked back.  Some would say it was at that point we decided adopt Husky the truth of the matter is Husky had already adopted us.

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Just because this is a small town and the locals are all connected if not related  It really is a small world  doesn’t mean that it’s a tight-knit community.  Five years back we were having a campfire with some neighbours one of which works at the university.  I was working at the bank at the time and we started telling tales.  Turns out my neighbour worked in the same office as Joe the bursar who makes daily deposits at the bank.  Next day Joe walks into the bank and I mention that one of the people he shares an office with is my neighbour X.

Joe: “Oh” he says to me, “so you must live over on hill street” (location and names are changed to protect the guilty). 

Me:  “Yes, right next to x, in fact her father in law used to own both properties” 

Joe: “Really, you must be in the old Smith house, I grew up around there”

Me: “Yes”  my wife has always told me if you want to let a local know just where we live all you have to do is let them know that we are in the “Old Smith Place” so I was amused by the response.

Joe: “Oh so you are next to the Hatfields” 

 At this point my dear readers you have to know I am not always quickest horse on the track as Joe’s last name happens to be Hatfield.

Me: “oh yeah the entire clan lives on my street” and I started humming the theme song from deliverance ‘dueling banjo’s’  the middle part of the song

Joe: “You live near Jane?”

Me: “Yes Jane shares a property line with us, do you know her?” I innocently ask.

Joe “She is my grandmother”

Now I am seriously regretting my rendition of dueling banjo’s and I’m trying to find a way to dig my way out of the hole I’ve now found myself in, and this is not a little hole.  Joe is the bursar of the university, the largest business around, the reason the whole town exists, a town that for some reason has a bank on every corner and I just called his grandmother and most of his family redneck hillbillies. You would think at this point I’d know when to keep my mouth shut, but I haven’t  So I add, “I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather I didn’t know him well but he was always nice to us.”  His response? “what happened with my grandfather?”

“Uhm Joe, he died a year ago from lung cancer” 

“Really?” he says to me, “I don’t talk keep up with that side of the family if you haven’t noticed they are a little strange up there, see you tomorrow” and out the door he went leaving me scratching my head in wonder.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and what makes them work.  I’ve been told you should go on a canoe trip with your significant other and that should tell the tale.  I believe it, my ex-wife and I couldn’t even drive the car into uncharted territory without getting into some sort of argument.  My current wife and I have no trouble driving to new places and the canoe trip was a walk in the park.  It took us 2 days and lots of swearing to put together a dog kennel which the instructions said should take two adults two hours to put together.  We never swore at each other, well perhaps once or twice under our breath seriously though it was the total lack of instruction that was frustrating.  The point is that we were able to accomplish it together.  I guarantee that if we had to do it separately it would have never gotten done.  We also know when to back off and let the other do their own thing.  For example I built the dog house from scratch.  A few ideas I ran by my wife just to get a different perspective but in the end I pretty much did it myself.  I’m quite proud of it,  it has its own front deck, louverd windows, ceder shingles two rooms, fully insulated.  But thats enough bragging.  My wife knows how to decorate the house.  She has a great sense of what goes with what, Me? I would buy the cheapest paint they had in the store throw it on the wall and hope for the best.  Point is we know where our individual strengths and weaknesses are and how to work them together.  That is not to say we don’t have our moments, but we work them out and let them go and if the need should ever arise I’ve a pretty nice dog house I can move into.  Of course any relationship is more than the sum of its parts there has to be that thing!

When I was quite young we were driving by a cemetary my mother said, “Look, it is the dead center of town.”  My father replied, “People are just dying to get in there”  I probably won’t live this down as this is the first time I’m going to admit it, but I didn’t get it I figured cemetary’s marked the center of town and they were fenced in to keep all the people out.  eventually I figured it out.

For our honeymoon we went to Vermont.  It just so happens that there are a lot of cemetaries in Vermont.  I decided to see if my wife would take the bait.  We passed a cemetary and I made the comment,  “Oh look a cemetary it’s the dead center of town, people are just dying to get in there.”  There was no response except for The Look.  My wife is smart and she knew me long enough to know something was going on, after all she figured out that a beefmeoak is a porcupine  and ceilingchaos translates to a floor plan not to mention the host of others that I previously thought only my family and possibly Victor Borges could work out on their own and find funny.   Each time we passed a cemetary I said the same line.   It must have been the third or fourth cemetary we passed that my wife shocked me into silence:

Me:  “Look its the dead center of town and people are just dying to get in there.” without pause my wife responded completely dead pan: “I’m betting its the underground economy”

We sat in absolute silence for about 30 seconds before we both broke out in fits of laughter.  But in those 30 seconds a whole new door opened for me, I remember the exact thought that went through my head, It doesn’t have to stop there!  To this day I’m not sure when my wife figured it out but obviously she had been thinking about it for some time.  The very next time we passed a cemetary it started in earnest:

Me: “Look its the dead center of town, people are just dying to get in there”

Wife: “Must be the underground economy”

“Yeah and they listen to that 60’s music after all they are a bunch of dead heads”

“And you have to worry about catching a cold with all the coughin’ (coffin)”

“And the gambling! they really like to roll them bones”

With each cemetary we passed we kept adding more and more lines.  Not long ago we drove to California from Pennsylvania it got to the point where we could hold a 25 minute dialogue going back and forth with the puns.  I believe it was when we finally hit New Mexico where whoever was not driving would pretend to be asleep at the first sign of a cemetary.

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My favourite teacher in high school Mrs B told us that every once in a while you have to ask yourself  “when you dig down and push all the crap out of the way, are you happy? ”  There is a difference between being happy, and being unhappy in your current circumstance.  If you are unhappy inside and you decide it is because of your spouse, so you kick your spouse out, you are still going to be unhappy.  It may be that in the road to happiness you may have to make those choices but if you don’t find a way to make changes within it is not going to matter what happens on the outside.  I was married once before and I certainly was not happy in the situation but I was still a happy person.  It got better once I was free but only because I was already in a good place on the inside.

As an aside, for me, I think the key is to let blame go, come to terms with whats going on take responsiblity for it and move on. 

I suffer from Crohn’s disease it is quite painful and affects everything I do, but it is a part of me now and I’m not sure what I would do without it.  I can say this because I have come to terms with Mr. Crohn and there is no other option.  When people find out and they know what it’s all about they always get the look and I get the “oh thats horrible what a dreadful disease” and yeah well it is.  But you know what else?  It’s all good in the hood, honestly there is a lot worse out there.  I could have Crohns and not be a happy person.  Not only would that be unbearable but I would be unbearable. (pause for the comments from the peanut gallery) 

You may be wondering what brings this on?  My parents recently celebrated their 51st Anniversary.  In this day and age, (can there be a day without an age?) that is a remarkable feat.  Or is it?  My folks have given me a lot I won’t speak for my siblings but I’m sure they would agree that we had/have it pretty darn good.  More than anything they have given me the ability to be happy.  To be able to laugh, laugh at life, laugh at myself, and yes to laugh at with others.  I look for the absurd and embrace it.  Mom, Dad don’t ever forget that I love you for it. 

So how the heck do they do it?  I think they can laugh with each other, not the surface laugh but the one inside, the laugh that counts.  I called them from Vancouver, they were in Montreal.  My mother picked up the phone and started to tell me a story, my father believed she was getting the story wrong and picked up the extension and started to correct her so they started arguing.  Finally I interrupted “Hey, I am going to hang up so you can argue on your own dime” The response? “You call this arguing,  we are not arguing, we’ll tell you when we are arguing”  they both  laughed.   Then there was the time when my Mother was trying to remember the name of a TV show she used to watch.  The conversation went like this:

Mom:  “Remember that show on TV?”   pregnant pause

Me:  “I think we will need a few more details”

Mom:  ” It was a western and it is not on TV anymore”

My brave wife chimes in: “Gunsmoke?”

Mom: “No not that old”

Me: “perhaps a few more details”

Mom “They wore cowboy hats, somebody got shot and they had horses”

Dad to us and my Mom, “She is talking about Dallas.”  There was no hesitation in his voice it wasn’t a question he just knew.  We laughed then, and we still laugh about it now.   I can write an encyclopedia of similar incidents and I am probably not aware of volumes more and through it all we still laughing.

So, is it really so amazing they are still together?

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