Slide Into This Feel-good Post…

Last Saturday, Nathan finally asked me to make our way to the sliding hill on the east side of our neighbourhood. I say finally because he’s usually spent the last few winters asking to go sledding as soon as there was snow on the ground. This year, he didn’t seem to be so into it, preferring to stay inside and melt his brain with his Netflix kids and Nintendo Switch. I’ve managed to get him outside to play in our yard, which is easy for him to come back inside and resume his hermit behaviour. So it was quite a surprise when he decided he wanted to go sledding.

The weather was quite mild at only -4 degrees and it was a perfect day to go hit the slope for an hour and get some fresh air. We slipped on our winter gear and made our way outside. Nathan had received a snow scooter for Christmas, which is basically a razor scooter with skis instead of wheels. I was anxious to see him use it but he refused, claiming he felt he would wipe out too easily. I brought it along anyway, in the event he changed his mind (and because I wanted to try it myself). We had the hill to ourselves as no one else was there. Not surprising as it was the weekend and it was before the noon hour.

Despite the mild weather, it was quite chilly once we got to the top of the hill and lost the protection of the houses and trees at ground level. Nathan had a blast, whipping down the hill and alternating his runs with his plastic toboggan and crazy carpet. I took a couple of short sprints down on the snow scooter and let me just say that I’m glad no one else was on the hill to see my sorry attempts. besides the fact that the handlebar was too low for me, the foot board was too small and I couldn’t keep both feet on it. This made it extremely hard to keep my balance.

At one point, we had a race with Nathan on his crazy carpet and me, using the plastic toboggan. My heavy weight, whipping down the hill, allowed my gratuitous posterior to feel every bump, groove and edge that was present on the slope. The result was every joint in my body objecting and asking what the fuck I thought I was doing… It was enough to get Nathan laughing at all the moans, groans and the sound of a hundred mousetraps closing as I tried to get up. Where has the time gone?

As with all things in life, despite the fun we were having, some negative aspects reared their ugly faces. The cold temperature and the exertion of climbing the snow hill over and over caused my blood sugar to drop below 4.0 mmol/L, which was a problem since we had only planned on being gone for an hour and I hadn’t brought anything with me. The cold also drained the battery on my pump, which is a bit more of a problem since having the battery go dead for more than a few minutes wipes out all my settings. I really should write that shit down somewhere. But it was fun and we got to spend some time outside, getting fresh air and exercise. ☯️

Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, not to be mistaken with the 1990’s comedy of the same name starring Bill Murray. Actually, since I brought that movie up, I highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it. It stars Bill Murray (as I said) as a television news reporter who goes to a small Pennsylvanian town to report on their Groundhog tradition featuring a furry little guy called Punxutawney Phil. Murray’s character is a miserable asshole in general and treats everyone like they owe him a living. When he finally goes to bed in a small B&B, he awakes the following morning to the same day he just lived through. He keeps reliving the same day over and over until learning an important lesson and falling in love breaks the cycle. But I digress…

The actual “Groundhog Day” is a holiday observed in Canada and the United States every year on February 2nd. The holiday is intended to mark the first day of Spring. If the groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, it’ll dash back inside its burrow to hibernate for another six weeks of winter weather. If the groundhog DOESN’T see its shadow and emerges, it’s supposed to indicate that the winter weather is over and the snow will begin to melt. It’s popular in a lot of communities in Canada and the US and are mainstream attractions that attract a ton of tourists in certain communities.

The holiday dates back to the late 1880’s in North America but owes its origins to European customs dating back to medieval times. The idea is that Spring comes when animals begin emerging from hibernation. How they decided to focus on a groundhog, I’ll never know. But in Canada, winters are longer, colder and harsher than they are in Europe, so most groundhogs in Canada need to be awoken from their slumber to make their prediction earlier than they would on their own. It’s all in good fun, of course. Although the tradition may have been rooted in what they knew in medieval times, logic and hard science have made way to better reasoning. But there’s no reason not to have fun with it. Happy Groundhog Day! ☯️

The Naked Shower…

Modern advancements in Diabetes therapy have made life significantly easier in most areas and have made it so that someone suffering from Type-1 Diabetes can take greater control of their overall health and ensure a better life span than they would, otherwise. When I think back to my beginnings in the early 1980’s, I find it hard to believe that there used to be so many steps to take for everything and my family was STILL overlooking important details. But I digress…

As with all things in life, even when there’s some good, there’s usually still some bad. And that’s to be expected. It sometimes means that the little things in life that the average person takes for granted becomes something valued and important. Something like say, taking a shower or bathing. Most people stumble into the shower in the morning (or the evening, depending on the person) and just wash up, get out and don’t give it a second thought. For me, the process is a bit more onerous.

In 2015, I started using pump therapy, which means I have a very small, very expensive device stuffed in my pocket at all times. The pump is also tethered to my body through an infusion set injected in my abdomen. This infusion set is basically taped to my body through the use of an adhesive, which keeps it in place and prevents the infusion set from slipping out. What’s more is that I use continuous glucose monitoring, which requires a sensor that happens to be injected in my abdomen or tricep. This sensor is taped down using a special adhesive called “Patchabetes.”

Patchabetes is a fabric-based adhesive that’s flexible and adaptive to wherever I happen to place my sensor. For the most part, it stays firmly in place despite getting cold, hot or having me sweat into it during exercise. The infusion set on my abdomen uses a provided, built-in adhesive that’s a little less tough. I could use a stronger adhesive over the infusion set but given that I can in lip it for little things like showering, getting dressed or using the washroom, covering it with an overall adhesive isn’t exactly ideal.

The issue that comes in and the point of the post’s title, is that showering usually requires a touch of limited acrobatics in order to prevent the steaming hot shower water from melting the adhesive’s glue and causing my Patchabetes to peel off. This will usually lead to the sensor’s cannula popping out, as well. And since the infusion set’s adhesive is reasonably flimsy, hot water will usually make it peel, as well. So when I shower, I need to cover/avoid getting direct water on both of these sites in order to maintain them for their expected lifespan (sensor is 7 days and pump set is 3 days).

Once in a while, I get treated to the pleasure of having either my pump due for a change or it’s time to switch up my sensor. When this happens, a shower becomes a more pleasant experience since I have one less thing to worry about beyond cleaning myself. The sensor replacement is a special treat, since the fabric adhesive tends to soak up more hot water than the infusion set would. But a few days ago, I had the extreme pleasure of the holy trifecta… My pump was empty, my sensor had expired and it was time to shower.

This meant that I could set my sensor to recharge and leave my pump out, so I was able to enjoy a shower without the worry of avoiding hot water on any part of me. The result was a hot, relaxing shower where I got to actually take my time, reflect on my day and appreciate modern plumbing in all of its glory. It’s true what they say; it’s the little things in life. ☯️

Kids Cause The Darnedest Things…

If you’ve spent absolutely ANY time watching television shows or movies, you’ll be able to name a show or movie that usually involves a harassed, overworked parent who is normally some kind of high-ranking executive or employee, stretched thin over very little time. Despite their success, this parent usually has no time for their spouse and children, missing all the important hallmarks of life while running around like a chicken with its head cut off before discovering the importance of happiness and being there for one’s family over having a career. Such fantasies usually play out by showing the mother or father quitting their big job, usually in some dramatic fashion, to go home and BE with their family.

The problem with this scenario is that although the harassed, overworked parent scenario definitely exists, suddenly walking out on one’s job because they’ve realized the important things in life is simply not a realistic idea. Outside of the big or small screen, a smooth-running household requires income, which can usually only be achieved by maintaining gainful employment. And if you have a house with a mortgage, bills, debts and dependents to take care of, it’s not a simple matter of just having part time employment so you can spend more time at home. So as romanticized as the idea is, it’s not something that should actually happen and there will usually be at least one parent in the household who will have to miss out on important activities in favour of being at work.

That’s why I’m extremely grateful that my job and my position allow me the flexibility to be absent on occasion. Last week, my son Nathan brought home an invitation to parents to attend his school on Friday morning for a muffin and juice while reading a book. At first, I explained to my wife that I would need to be at work by virtue of the meetings I had scheduled for that morning. I believe she initially had intentions of going herself with our toddler, Alexander. But when asked, Nathan didn’t really seem jazzed about having us there. My first thought is that he assumed he wouldn’t have to read a book if neither of us went. He’s sneaky like that.

Nathan scarfing his chocolate chips muffin while I read to him…

As I thought about it, I realized that Nathan may come to feel awkward if he realizes that he’s among one of the few who don’t have a parent who showed up. It’s one thing if one’s parents genuinely can’t be there for some reason but I thought it might be better for me to attend. This would prevent our toddler from being dragged out of the house, early in the morning and opening the gates of hell inside the school. He isn’t conducive to the “quiet time“ one needs to be in a reading environment. As a result, I got my boss’ approval to take a few hours off on Friday morning and I stayed home, got dressed and walked to school with Nathan and we read three books together in the school gymnasium while the kids all enjoyed muffins and juice.

It was a nice activity to share with him. It was also nice seeing all the families that had gathered to do the same. There were many flavours of muffin to choose from but of course, Nathan had to choose the one with chocolate in it. The comfy mats on the floor were all taken up, so we sat on a bench and managed to get through three books before our time was up. I noticed the school also had some of teachers taking photos of us for their social media pages. I’m assuming my unshaven mug has shown up somewhere. But it was worth it. I left Nathan at school for the remainder of his day and headed in to work. I was grateful and happy that I was able to put things on hold to be there for him. I think he was happy with that, as well.

It’s true what they say that life short. As time passes and our children grow, being able to share in their special events becomes all the more important, especially when one considers that one never knows how much time they have left. And although something like sitting and reading a book may seem menial to an adult, to my son, it’ll be the memory of the time his father came to school with him and spent time with him. He got to show me some of his projects that were posted on the school’s bulletin board, pointed out some friends and was quite happy that I was there, which in turn made me happy. Maybe quitting one’s job in a dramatic fashion isn’t possible. But it’s still possible and a good idea to make an effort to be there. ☯️

Why Would You Ever “LEGO” Of Your Childhood, Part 2…

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how Nathan got a box of LEGO with 1,500 original pieces. When I say original pieces, I mean they’re basic colour blocks that one needs to use one’s imagination to build things, instead of following instructions to an organized kit. That being said, I also mentioned that I ordered myself three kits so that I could relive the nostalgia of building my own shit. Well, I got the kits on Friday and decided that while Nathan was busy watching Minecraft video son YouTube, I’d start putting together my kits. Interestingly enough, because I ordered three kits and I hit a certain cost threshold (which I won’t mention here in case my wife reads it) I got a free, fourth kit. Much to my surprise, it was the Blacktron Space Cruiser, a kit I actually had when I was a kid…

The above-pictured space ship is a renewed LEGO set that I had been given decades ago by my parents. I must have played with that thing for hours on end. It splits into three separate pieces; the flight pod, equipment and drone pod and stabilizer/sensor pod. The can be flown as a single unit or used for their individual parts. Despite how much I was looking forward to putting together my lunar base and rover, I had to start with this one. Plus, once I had it completed, it gave something for Nathan to play with that allowed me to work on the larger sets without him swiping half the parts from my other sets.

What you see above, is the lunar base, combined with the lunar rover, which is a separate set. But the lunar rover can “park” and attach to the base, allowing its occupants to come and go. There are drones and moon rock samples, an excavator as well as a launch pod to “fly” up to the lunar station (the third set that I have yet put together). Nathan spent Friday night, as well as most of Saturday, playing with all of it, on the condition that he wasn’t to take any of it apart or alter it in any way. My plan is to purchase a large base plate to fasten it al and turn it into something of a display.

Since my son has started using actual LEGO blocks (because Mega Block or Duplo doesn’t count), it’s become something of a guilty pleasure for me. LEGO is a fascinating hobby. Created in 1932 in Denmark, it’s one of the world’s best-known building block companies, with blocks created in 1932 functioning perfectly with ones created this year. I’m sure this isn’t the last set I’ll purchase, and it’s a great hobby to spend with my son as it teaches creativity, imagination and self-reliance. Some people do a cross-word puzzle every day to stay sharp. I build toy sets. Sue me…☯️

Black Adam: A Review (Spoilers Ahead)

One of the benefits of having recently purchased a large-screen television is that we’ve opened up the floodgates for a number of movies we’ve wanted to see. Although I’ve been quite happy with the 14” television we were lent about three years ago, there’s just something about having access to a larger, better television that brings something to the table in terms of the movie-watching experience. And since the lack of an available babysitter makes it difficult for my wife and I to hit the theatres, the next reasonable step is to bring the theatre to us. And here we are…

One of the first movies we purchased was Black Adam, which we watched a couple of nights ago. Let me paint you a picture; we have the 52” flat screen. We have a digital sound at with a wireless subwoofer, basically causing our chest to vibrate, every time there’s an explosion. I have a drink in my hands and chips in my lap. The movie logos kick in and the walls are reverberating with the deep rumble of bass. The evening has begun.

One of the fascinating things I’ve noticed with Hollywood and society in general, is that we’ve reached a point where remakes and reboots are often seen as something “new” by the public. But in truth, Black Adam is a comic book character who’s been around since the mid-20th century. Having first appeared in the comic books during the mid-40’s, he became a mainstream character in the DC universe in the 1970’s. He’s been one of Captain Marvel’s (or “Shazam’s,” if you wanna be a dick about it… Thanks, Marvel!) main antagonists since then.

I’ve seen some of his appearances in the comics over the years and was reasonably familiar with the character and the background, making me somewhat curious as to how he would be portrayed on the big screen. I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson and although he has his particular niche when it comes to roles, I feel he was well-suited to fill the black and golden yellow shoes of Black Adam. And unlike having Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill done the “S” shield, there were no predecessors for him to work off of.

The movie starts the way any film of the genre would; with Teth Adam as a slave, along with his family, in a city called Kahndaq. The movie suggests that Teth Adam steals something of value from Kahndaq’s king and is sentenced to death. He’s rescued and bestowed the powers of Black Adam by the old gods and becomes Kahndaq”s champion. He defeats the king and in doing so, disappears for 5,000 years. This is somewhat different from his original origin, which sees him defeat and kill an Egyptian pharaoh and take his throne.

Teth Adam is re-awoken 5,000 years later as a violent and unrelenting antihero. Unlike Superman, Black Adam seems pretty m,ugh unstoppable, with the exception of exposure to an element called Eternium, which appears capable of injuring Black Adam and even cancelling out his powers. He’s exposed very little to it in the film despite it’s appearance all over the bloody place, making it even less effective against Black Adam than kryptonite is against Superman.

Ultimately, Black Adam sees the more positive side of things and takes on the role of a hero by defeating the bad guys, restoring order to Kahndaq and saving the day. All in all, the movie rated pretty well for me and even my wife, who usually sits through DCU and MCU movies with me but isn’t usually taken by the genre. Would I watch it again? Absolutely. Was the experience pretty bad-ass thanks to the television and sound bar? You’d better believe it. I would recommend this movie as something to watch on an evening where you have the whole family and want something to keep them all engaged with the action and fight sequences. ☯️

Why Would You Ever “Lego” Of Your Childhood…

One of the fun things about having children is that you get to live vicariously through them and in most cases, you get to relive aspects of your childhood by playing with their toys. Namely, their freaking LEGO blocks… Most adult will joke about the aspect that they found themselves stepping on LEGO blocks left out on the floor. I’ll admit that I live that very thing on a daily basis and not just with LEGO. But I have to admit that playing with Nathan and his LEGO tickles the nostalgia bone.

I still remember the first LEGO set I got as a kid. It was a spaceship of sorts that included a storage pod and command pod but when assembled, it became a larger ship. I used to play with that thing for hours, taking it apart, putting it back together and losing myself within the realms of imagination. Given how much I enjoyed it, one would think that I would have had plenty of LEGO sets in my youth, but that really didn’t happen.

As Nathan has gotten a little older, he’s started to receive actual LEGO sets and boxes of bulk pieces, like the one pictured above. A couple of years ago, he received a pretty substantial LEGO set that built into a police station with multiple floors, multiple vehicles and a helicopter. It was pretty badass, despite how difficult it was to put together. Nathan loved it but has since completely dissembled it. Such is the case when imagination takes over; one won’t always follow the pattern or the instructions.

For years, I’ve been looking at different LEGO sets and thinking how cool it would be to make some them as a hobby. When I worked at the academy, I had a colleague who would often order LEGO sets of specific things. My favourite was one of the cars James Bond used. It had functional secret compartments and features. He was nice enough o bring that one to the office to demonstrate it. I had always thought I’d order a couple of sets at some point. The LEGO website even has an adult section. But some of my concerns was how to assemble such a set without my kids getting into it and then, what to do with it afterwards.

Nathan’s assorted LEGO bin

Last night, I finally broke down and ordered a few sets. In fact, I ordered three sets that interconnect with each other. One is a lunar rover, one is a lunar base and one is a lunar space station. From what I can tell, they connect and interact with one another, so it should look pretty sweet once it’s assembled. I figure I’ll buy a nice, large baseplate to build them all on to allow for stability and permanence. It likely isn’t a set that I would take apart or alter once I’ve put it together. It’ll likely be displayed.

Most aspects of our childhood get left behind when we grow into adulthood. But there are some aspects we can always revisit. And why not? There are still a lot of things that one can participate in, that can include your children and bring that nice, warm feeling of nostalgia rushing back. I’ll see just how deep that takes hold once I get my sets. I’ll keep you all posted. ☯️

Every Once In A While…

My entire household is a bit on the homebody side, preferring to binge-watch and relax in our living room than venture out to something outside the house. Although we branch out to our yard and the occasional play parks during the warmer months, the winter sees my family and I essentially turn into hibernating bears. This is why my wife and I try to make a strong point to take the boys out of the house to do something fun on the weekends. This lets us all get a bit of fresh air, leave the seclusion of our little nest and interact with the outside world. It also gets us some much-needed vitamin D.

This week, we decided to visit the Science museum. Both boys enjoy it, as it boasts several attractions including live animals, science experiments and even play structures that they can play on. The totality of the location makes it an ideal place to go spend a few hours on an afternoon where none of us are at school or work. On this occasion, we went to the museum last Monday, which was a stat holiday for me and Nathan still hadn’t gone back to school. It was a perfect way for me to wrap up my vacation time. We bought a 1-year family membership, which allows us to attend the museum as often as we want. Considering the cost of admission for a “per-visit” entry, we would only need to use the membership two or three times to make up our money.

Once the boys had played themselves out and mealtime was fast approaching, I decided I wanted to take the family out to a restaurant for dinner, since I would be back to the routine of a bagged lunch and supper at home starting the following day. Going out to eat is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Setting aside that the rising prices of everything continues to make it more and more difficult to justify eating out when one could simply make a meal at home. Plus, one usually needs to set aside their wonder about how the food is prepared, how clean everything and when it comes to an actual sit-down restaurant, the concept of tipping becomes an issue as well. (Just an FYI, I do provides tips, so let’s not have THAT argument here…)

I also have issue with how some folks choose to interact with paying customers. Although I consider myself a very tolerant person, I’m not always a patient one and this can often lead to unpleasant situations if I receive poor service. Having worked in the service industry myself in the past, I understand the pressures that can be associated with working as a restaurant server for long hours on end. So I usually approach my restaurant visits with a touch of cautious optimism. Like a teetering scale, it can often go either way. On this occasion, our waitress was quite nice and polite and answered all of our questions before getting our drinks and allowing us some time with the menus.

Since my children are quite particular about what they eat, we usually have to meet them in the middle with individual meals that suit their preferences but are similar enough that one won’t fight for the other one’s meal. In this instance, we ordered Nathan mini cheeseburgers with ketchup and fries and Alexander got the same but in hamburger form, since he won’t eat cheese (I know, right?). Long story short, after waiting for a brief period of time, I left for the bathroom and to check my insulin pump before my meal. When I got back to the table, I was pleased to see that our food had arrived. All, except Alexander’s.

I wasn’t there for the interaction but my wife pointed out that our toddler wouldn’t eat cheese and that we had ordered hamburgers for him, not cheeseburgers. The waitress took it back and they were currently correcting the problem. Satisfied that our concern as addressed, we asked that his fries be brought out so he could start eating with us, which they accommodated. His burgers were brought out a few minutes later, which he barely touched, rendering the point moot. But they corrected the issue and quickly, to boot. So, no harm, no foul, we all started wolfing down our food and enjoying our meal. The restaurant was reasonably empty, which I’m sure isn’t great for them but was comfortable for us.

Since I had already put the oversight out of my mind, what happened next surprised me. The restaurant manager came to check on us and ask how our food was, then explained that she had removed Alexander’s meal from our bill due to the mistake. We were grateful but explained it wasn’t necessary and she took it a step further by explaining that it was directly her mistake as she was helping to dress meals in the kitchen. She felt that since it was her mistake that it was only fair that she comp the meal to make up for the inconvenience. Look at that! Faith in humanity restored! We were so taken aback that all we could do was thank her and continue to enjoy our meal (which I was unable to finish due to the portion size).

As I said earlier, I worked a lot of years in the service industry before becoming a police officer and having even been a manager in a number of different industries myself, I’ve seen many of them take care of mistakes by refunding or comping certain services. But the willingness to take responsibility and explain that this was directly her mistake? I Don’t believe I’ve ever seen a manager do that. It was certainly the right thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But it was nice to see. And since we would have gladly eaten our meal and gone on our way, having received exactly what we paid for, we would have been no less pleased with our visit. But this was a significant dollop of icing on an otherwise delicious cake.

Given the nature and attitude of society, the inflated sense of entitlement and the attitudes, snowflakes and more popularly “Karens,” it can be easy to forget sometimes that not everyone is a total jackass looking to make your day worse. Sometimes, you hit a person who genuinely wants to make something right and there are those who still believe in taking the right responsibility when they believe they’ve done something wrong. When one has the opportunity to experience this phenomenon, it certainly goes a long way towards restoring one’s faith in humanity. Needless to say, this restaurant location just may have become my family’s new, “non-fast food” go-to spot. ☯️

When Your Pillow Is Stronger Than Your Will…

One of the big things that makes dealing with the winter months harder is the fact that it’s always dark when I start my day. This basically forces my body to say, “Nah, bro! Lay your head back down and relax, it isn’t light out yet…” As much as I would like to succumb to that little voice, duty and responsibility are usually the prevailing factors. This morning was no exception. I woke to my alarm, which is a pretty rare occurrence for me. I usually toss and turn and wake well before my alarm goes off.

I got out of bed and started on what is the first day of my family’s complete routine when it isn’t the holidays, which includes making a school lunch for my oldest. Today is his first day back to school and he couldn’t have been more thrilled. Kidding. Totally fucking kidding. He was like a bag of smashed ass when he woke up. In fact, lately he’s always carried a look as though he needs a cup of coffee to start his day. This is well in keeping with the fact that he’s developed a significant teenage-like attitude despite only being 8-years old. No idea where he gets it from…

Begrudgingly walking to school

I’m usually gone to work by the time he gets up for school but this morning was apparently the day he chose to view the world as I did, staring out his window and seeing that it was still dark. This led him to believe that his place was in his bed as opposed to braving the elements to head to school. It took a bit of convincing from my wife to make him understand that it was still dark because the nights are longer right now but that yes, he needed to get up for school.

He eventually made his way towards getting dressed, grabbing his things and heading out the door, albeit begrudgingly. According not my wife, he never said a single word from the time he woke up to the moment he stepped out the door. This is the basis for his first day back to school. Poor kid. I don’t think I’ve ever related to my son as much as I have this morning. It’s rough, heading back in after having been on break for a while.

I was extremely close to just saying screw it and staying in bed, this morning. Such is the effect that winter has on an aging body. So deep was my sense of fatigue that I actually caved and purchased an energy drink on the way to work; my first can of 2023, not that this is something I’m bragging about. But this morning has certainly made me appreciate the down time I’ve had over the holidays and the ability to simply sleep without an alarm (until my boys woke up). ☯️

Here Comes 2023!

Happy New Year, you bunch of fuckers! If you made it past the midnight line, you’ve made it this far. Hopefully , you have a bunch of ideas and goals for the coming year that will fulfill you and make you feel complete. As far as I go, I’ve decided to try something a bit different this year and will be avoiding the whole resolution thing. I think that this year, I’ll just be me. That almost sounds like a rougher go than trying to change but it’ll be different than anything I’ve tried to do in recent years, so why not? may as well as have a go at just letting the world experience all that is me without resolving to do anything different. Right?

Sigh… Happy New Year, everyone. Hopefully 2023 treats you better than 2022 treated us all! ☯️