Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year! This Is The Last Post For a While...

This is going to be a little bit of a hiatus for me - I'm fully expecting to be working an insane number of hours this week.  I don't think I'll be posting anything new until next week.

The news that I alluded to on Friday is that I am going to be participating in the CBC Hubcap Comedy Festival Open Mic contest again!

There are two phases to the contest:

Phase 1 is the online voting.  They take all the submissions that they received and you vote on which you like best.  The people with the highest number of votes goes on to phase 2.

Phase 2 is the actual open mic night at The Pump House (I assume that's where it is, since that's where it's been for as long as I've known about it).  The winner of the open mic portion usually goes on to perform a set at the final show of the Hubcap Comedy Festival.  The losers of the open mic portion are easily identifiable.

The voting starts on Tuesday, January 24, and you can find a link here.  If I can get away from the office with anything resembling a hint of energy, I'll post a direct link later.  The entries last year were really great, and I hope that you like mine this year.

That was a hint.

For you to vote for me.

Please.

Just kidding, vote for the funniest entry.

Then vote for me.

Also, by the time you're reading this, it will have been the Year of the Dragon for at least 8 hours, if not more.  Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sorry, Work Too Crazy

Sorry folks, no post this morning.  New job is waaaay demanding at the moment.  See, I even passed up a chance to make a "this new position is exhausting" joke.

I have something coming up next week though, so look for a post on Monday.

In the meantime, Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proof I Did It Before

I was flipping through yousuckatkijiji.com when I stumbled on a couple of things.  

First, I want to point out that prior to the snow blower ad, I don't think I had heard of yousuckatkijiji.com.  Also, I don't think he had heard of me... At least not directly.

BUT BEHOLD!

Two of my ads made it onto his site.  And neither were dissed.  At least, not openly.

First, back in August of 2009, he posted my ad where I was looking for a free scooter for My Lovely Wife.

Then, in July of 2010, he posted my ad where I was trying to sell our TV stands.

Normally, I wouldn't copy and paste things so directly, but as it turns out he has the only copy of my TV stands ad that I've seen.  I don't even have my own copy of it anymore, as it was on a hard drive that bit one too many bytes (get it?  I'm a nerd!).  However, since I wrote it and he is reposting it from a forum where it was reposted from kijiji, I feel justified in taking it back.
Two TV Stands $15
These aren't just any TV stands.
No, these TV stands represent pivotal moments in history. 
Sure, your first look at this first one and you think "It's a black, two shelf TV stand on wheels." I can't argue with you there, on account of that's what it is. But just like an iceberg or the dorky kids on Glee (not the ones that were popular to begin with, the other ones), there's so much more to it.
It's also the stand that my wife and I got to put the TV on that I bought her for Christmas. We'd been dating long enough that I knew a big ticket item was called for, but not long enough for that kind of big ticket item. She was happy. To be honest, we'd been doing the long distance thing for a while, and she didn't have a TV. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome seeing her and all, but it was a lot better when we could see each other AND watch TV.
Now about that second TV stand. It's like the big daddy to the other one. It has THREE shelves, and those shelves don't come cheaply. Okay, these did come semi-cheaply. I think we got it at Wal Mart. But I digress. 
This one represents our transition into adulthood. We got this unit after we were married and got our first place with a real living room. The taller unit raised the TV further up off the ground, which was good because now we had a couch and could show our parents that we were real grown ups now. On the other hand, we'd also gotten a VCR, a DVD player and a cable box. The other stand was fine, but when I added the Sega Dreamcast, it got crowded. 
Now, don't go letting the fact that I just said "VCR" and "Sega Dreamcast" get you concerned that these TV stands are old and falling apart. Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, the old part is kind of true - you don't get history like this without age! But they're still in great condition. 
So buy our TV stands, and make a little history of your own! 
Or you could, you know, just put stuff on them.
Don't you feel warm and toasty inside after reading that?  I know I do.  I miss those TV stands.  Not enough that I'd go get new ones, because we got rid of them for a reason, but we're pretty sure they went to a good home.  Or a home anyway.  Okay, fine, a place other than our home, are you happy now?


Monday, January 16, 2012

He's Got Legs, Doesn't Know How To Use Them

Before I get to the latest addition to my family of ads, I was asked to do a guest post for another site.  Jeramy from MyIncomeProject.com asked if I would do a little post for him about writing. Soooo, you should check that out.


In other news, my close and personal friend Jaymee Splude asked me to write an ad for something that her brother in law found that he wanted to sell on Kijiji.

How could I resist, especially with the picture she sent with it?  Text after the pic.

Posted by Picasa
I hope losing limbs doesn't become a thing.

Are you:

A pirate? It's time to upgrade!

A former lion tamer? Get back in the ring!

A hiker who didn't tell anyone where you were going and then you got stuck under a rock for a few days? This would be a great way to conclude your story if they make a movie about your life (and you should always leave a note).

A science fiction fan and collector of memorabilia? Then you should check out this early cybernetic limb replacement. It pretty much only goes "click - clap" when you walk with it, but you can add your own sound effects if you'd like.

A guy that killed a doctor's wife and then disappeared, forcing the doctor (who had been convicted of the crime) to escape from jail and hunt you down? You might need a spare for all that running.

A hipster? "I was replacing my limbs before it was cool."

Lonely, and looking for a clever way to introduce yourself to the ladies at the bar. "Why yes, this is a third leg and I -AM- happy to see you!"

Someone with a friend or loved one that meets the above criteria?

I have all my limbs and pieces (except for that part of your brain that governs fashion sense) so I don't need this prosthetic leg. I was saving it for a rainy day, but I think it's time to let it go. I also realize that I'm wearing it on the wrong leg in the picture, but that's just further proof that I really don't need it. Why should it languish in my basement when it could be walking around with you?

So send me an email to discuss the terms of how we can make this old artificial leg (that I totally didn't steal from someone) yours!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Very Well Done Indeed


Call it narcissism (you might as well, someone else already has), but I kind of like it when I show up in ads.  Like this new one for a Magic Door Knob that Patrick posted in my comments section.

Patrick, I salute you and your efforts - this really is some fine work.
FREE Vancouver Island BC Home of Dreams, cottage and 5 acreswith the purchase of this Magic Golden Door Knob - $525,000 
Weh-Ming Cho recently stirred up a flurry selling his east coast snow blowing menace. I have a west coast reply to his ad and a better idea - buy this magic golden doorknob and ditch your stinking, noisy snowblower relationship for one with this property. This doorknob faithfully, keeps several months of snotty slush and eye-lash seizing cold at bay. Divorce your snowblower, save the snow and ice for the polar bears and ride your Tauntaun west to Errington lotus land while there’s still space. This doorknob will open a portal to paradise - kick back and enjoy your beer on your green lawn in your shirt sleeves with the barbecue on. Take a deep breath and inhale in the pure air devoid of snowblower fumes, but scented with flowers and enjoy the marked absence of snowblowing racket. Review your heating bills and flaunt them to your ex-snowblower. The true path to ecstasy heads west. Lounge on the beach or enjoy the vibrant forest of giant mossy trees and amazing waterfalls. Nature’s at your door step and city amenities are within easy reach, including a university, huge library system, sports complexes, airport and a space-time portal. 
This paradise home is 2700 sqft, with two levels, cloud 8 and 9. There are three bedrooms with walk-in closets so big, you might land in Narnia if you crawl under the coat rack. Then there is an office so you can email photos of you sunbathing on Christmas day. There is an upstairs sitting room so you can watch the eastern snowstorms on TV, or listen to the radio report while soaking in one of the two tubs. There is a spacious cathedral ceiling living room so that you can put on a cozy fire and pretend its snowing outside. Invite your relatives from the Hoth ice planet to stay in the cute 720 sqft cottage (log post and beam inside, pottery sink, claw foot tub) or rent it.  
In the Garden of Eden, the trees grow like fur so you can’t see your neighbours and they’re all nice so you wouldn’t want to murder them even if they did have a snowblower. When you touch the door knob, you enter a time warp and arrive at a community where neighbours still look out for each other - in fact there is a “Hi Neighbour Day” and quirky parade. At the Christmas concert you can watch 16mm films like “The Snowman” accompanied by the local choir.
Flip your phone to Moncton weather and gloat over the snowblowing craziness. Don’t marry your snowblower and let it pull you around - I hear they bite if you try to kiss them. Show who’s boss and buy this door knob (magic limited to its existing location.) BUY IT and never whine about winter again! Don’t be a snowblowing knob. Save the snow before it goes extinct! Go ahead ...turn the knob and enter nirvana.
P.S. Do you really want snow? Head to the mountain where 16 meters of snow smothers small chalets. Spend your time playing in it, not blowing it around. 
It's what I imagine it feels like to have someone pay homage to me.  I have never been paid homage, I prefer cash, but I've heard homage is good too.

I decided I wanted to talk to the author of said ad, so I called the number listed on it.  This is not something I often do, because I don't like talking on the phone very much (that wasn't always the case, but then I worked in the call centre industry for ten years and burned out that part of my brain that likes to talk to disembodied voices).  However, I really liked what he wrote and if there's one thing that I've discovered, it's that I like hearing from people that they like what I write.  I have therefore made it a point to let people know when I enjoy reading their stuff.

I talked to two wonderful and confused ladies about the ad.  They had not seen it or heard of me (which saddened me twice), and one of them seemed intent that I was asking them to take the ad down (despite my repeated protestations that I was totally fine with it).  They eventually came up with the theory that the author is probably the son of the sellers of said property.  I sent them an email with my contact info, in the hopes they would pass along my email to the author.

But I need't have feared (when was the last time you saw someone use the word need't?).  Patrick got in touch with me directly through my message to him through Kijiji.  The house is truly for sale, and belongs to his in-laws who are looking to sell it to move closer to them.  Patrick wrote a more normal style ad, but then opted for something a little more interesting.  I'm glad he did.

I asked him if he would mind telling me a little about himself so that I may blog about it today.
I am a self-employed, under-employed biologist currently and I mostly do contracts for non-profit environmental societies. Right now I'm fundraising for marine conservation projects. I also run my eco tour company www.coastalrevelations.com and work on environmental education projects. I try to find ethical work that makes some difference in the world and that I like. So...if I get exciting job offers out of this ad, that is an added bonus!
When I asked about the confusion at the office, he confirmed that he did send them the ad to let them know about it, but it may have been overlooked in their email.  Hopefully, the nice people at the real estate office are aware of it now!

Best of luck to you, sir!

In other news, our house is only slightly larger than a "cute" cottage.  In fact, judging by the pictures on this ad you could fit most of our house into their bathroom.  I wouldn't recommend it though.  The cats do not like traveling very much.

That's it for now.  I have to go shovel the walk from the door to the car - BUT NOTHING ELSE CAUSE I PAID SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT FOR ME!  HOOOOOORAH!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hey - I Know That Guy!

A long, long time ago, in a sunnier, more innocent time known only as 1986-87, there was a show that made me think I could be a star when I grew up. A show that was so awesome that it made my teeth curl with delight whenever it came on - and you don't know delight until your teeth curl.  I think we may have even bought a VCR, just so we could record it and watch it over and over.

That show, ladies and gentlemen, was the Canadian TV phenomenon known as "Hot Shots".

I know what you're thinking, and yes, one of the stars of that show was, in fact, a relative of mine.  

You're probably also thinking that Hot Shots was a movie and not a TV show.  WRONG.  You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.  You'd have to find all the things that are right in the world and then do the opposite of that like Bizarro Superman would to be more incorrect.  The move came out in 1991, a full 5 years after the seminal show that was forced to share its name but not its story.

Hot Shots followed the exploits of Jake and Amanda, the hot shot reporters (get it?!) of crime magazine Crime World.  Guess what happens when Jake and Amanda investigate stories?  That's right!  It's kind of like Murder, She Wrote, only in this case the murders happen before they show up, instead of right after they are introduced to the guest star.

Jake was played by one of my mother's cousins, Booth Savage.  Look at that name again.  Booth Savage.  He pretty much had to become an actor when he grew up, right?  And, not to brag or anything, but he was also on an episode of The Littlest Hobo.  What has YOUR mother's cousin done?  Hmm?  Been on The Littlest Hobo much?  No?  Didn't think so.

Okay, I may be pushing the awesome bar a little hard, but it was pretty awesome growing up and seeing someone on TV that was related to me, but that I'd never met.  In that way, Barney Stinson and I have a lot in common.  And while I may have started watching it because my mother told me that her cousin was on it, I may have kept watching it because I may have been trying to figure out why I was becoming more interested every time his co-star would get in trouble...

Anyway, fast forward to last night.  My Lovely Wife had made several mentions about the fact that she was interested in watching the new CBC show Mr. D.  I took that hint and set the PVR to record it so we could enjoy it together from the comfort of knowing we were the masters of our own schedules. Later, when we were ready to watch it and not one moment sooner or later, I was super excited to point at the character of the principal and shout "I'm related to that guy!"  After the show was over, I actually rewound to the beginning just so we could see the credits and I could see his name which I had overlooked earlier.

It was nice to feel like a kid again.

Now we're going to settle down to watch episode 2 of Twin Peaks on Netflix, which is kind of like The Littlest Hobo meets Hot Shots.  Man, I love you Netflix.  You've made an honest man out of me.

Note to self, write episode of something called The Littlest Hobo Hot Shots.


Monday, January 9, 2012

My Lovely Wife's First Kijiji Buy

This weekend marked a significant step forward for My Lovely Wife: She made her first ever purchase through Kijiji.

For anyone that doesn't know her, My Lovely Wife is a very crafty woman.  I mean that in the sense that she has a flair for cutting paper into the shape of small flowers and animals, turning those cut-outs into stickers, then putting those stickers together with bits of twine and coconut shells to create visually pleasing images.

In the scrapbooking world, there is a device that is much lusted after called "The Cricut". For those of you that are not familiar with it, it's a machine about the size of a 1990's ink jet printer that cuts paper.  It's like a CAD for the paper world.  It also, I would say, costs a fairly ridiculous amount of money.
Somewhere out there, a scrapbooker is getting soooooo hot looking at this.
I was going to get one for My Lovely Wife for Christmas last year, but it just wasn't in the budget.  Just like it wasn't in the budget the year before that.  Or the year before that.  Or the one before that.  You get the idea.  This year, I had the awesome idea of checking Kijiji.  My theory was that what with it being around Christmas, there had to be somebody out there who already had one that might have gotten a new one.  This theory rests solely on there being somebody rich enough to afford a second one soon enough that the first one would still be in good condition, but not so rich that they wouldn't consider taking some cash to help pay off the new one.

Kijiji provided me with many possibilities, two of which were definitely in our price range.  Unfortunately, we were in Holiday Travel Mode by the time I was able to get responses.  I let both of them know that we wouldn't be able to look at or pick up anything until the New Year, and I wouldn't expect them to hold anything for us so no hard feelings if they're sold by the time we got back (because I am not a Kijijerk).

Low and behold, one of them sold before we got back.  But the other one was still up for grabs.  We had a couple of aborted pick up/drop off events before we were finally able to connect.  Great purchase - he had it still in box, still wrapped, and had even put twist ties on the cables so they'd fit nicely.  My Lovely Wife handed him the cash and we now own a Cricut (which she spent approximately, oh, Sunday playing with).

Now, I am not a crafty guy.  Glue and I do not see eye to eye, I have trouble staying inside the lines when I'm colouring and outside the lines when I'm cutting.  I usually end up covered in glitter, which is great when I'm heading out to the rave, but not so much when I'm going to work.  If I worked at a rave, it might be a different story.  But I have to say, this little thing is quite clever.

From a purely technical standpoint, it does incorporates a lot of stuff that makes sense - you get different cartridges with different design elements on them, you can use whatever paper or card stock you want, it will remember how much paper you had left on a piece you just used so you don't waste it, you can adjust the size of the cut-outs, and the things you can make with it are just so darned pretty.  Marketing it has to be easy - it's simple enough that your grandmother could use it, but it comes with enough bells and whistles that husbands will do that frowny face/head nod look of being impressed.
This one.

Just to recap: I had the idea, did the search, did the email and phone calls, did the negotiations and planning and set up the meet, and My Lovely Wife paid for it.  As first Kijiji buys go, I'd say she did pretty well.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Newest Creation

Considering that my fame and fortune are currently based on a funny Kijiji ad, I haven't posted anything on it in a while.  There are a few reasons for this.  First and foremost, I wanted to enjoy the wave of awesome that was the Snowblower Ad.  It was wicked good fun, and as long as you're not Paul Christoforo, a little celebrity is a pretty good time.

Second, I had enough other projects on the go that writing another Kijiji ad wasn't even on the horizon for me. Trying to fit another Kijiji ad in would probably have killed me.  Or, at the very least, it would have moved me to a more permanent residence out of the bedroom and onto the couch.

Third, I didn't have anything to sell.  Sure, I got a lot of requests from people asking if I would help them sell their junk, but nothing really caught my attention.  I mean, how would you follow up the snow blower ad?  I didn't want to be the guy that writes snow removal and snow removal related object ads.  I had a few things that I thought might be interesting, but the seller either turned out to be fake or not very serious about it.

Well, I think the publicity has calmed down sufficiently that I'm ready to do something else.  I've cleaned out enough other items on my to do list that I had time to write.  And I found something to sell.  Or, more accurately, something to sell found me.

Allen wrote me shortly after the snowblower ad blew up.  Like Alec's email, it caught my attention by being both funny and grammatically correct. He wrote:

A few weeks ago, while pretending to do work at my desk, I came across a newspaper article entitle "the snowblower that ate the internet". The next 10 minutes were spent cleaning my desk of the jasmine herbal tea that had exploded through my nose.

Besides providing a brief comedic relief in the middle of a droning regular desk job, I didn't think I would ever find myself writing to you with a unique proposition that I hope you will consider.
What Allen needed was help selling his business, or more accurately, one of his businesses.  He's something of an over achiever and an entrepreneur, holding down a full time job while trying to juggle his burgeoning empire.  Once I was convinced that he was for real and wasn't a Nigerian scambot, I agreed to consider his request.  And, like a great Kijiji sale, he agreed to all my terms and conditions (though I've had to forego my usual "you have to pick it up" as he is far, far away from me).

So, without further ado, I present to you my newest Kijiji ad.  I hope it will be my Empire Strikes Back and not my Back to the Future: Part 2.  Text below, screenshots will be taken.


For Sale:  The First (and Only) Feng Shui Approved Cell Phone Kiosk

2011 is over and what do you have to show for it?  Remember when you made your New Year’s Resolutions last year?  You said that 2011 was going to be the year that you took life by the horns, threw a saddle on it, and make your place in the history books.

But you didn’t, did you?  

No, you didn’t do it and now here it is, 2012 is upon us and you’re making the same resolution you did last year.  And you know what’s going to happen?  The same thing that happened last year.  And the year before that. And the year before that.  Unless...

You buy the First (and Only) Feng Shui Approved Cell Phone Kiosk.

That’s right, you read it correctly.  This cart of destiny was inspected and adjusted by a trained practitioner of the ancient Chinese study of feng shui.  

Did it make a difference?  Let me tell you a story:  

Getting any business off the ground is tough.  In this case, the trouble started when I was getting the business ON the ground.  The cart was delivered late.  Then we couldn’t get it off the truck.  Then we couldn’t get it through the mall doors to get it set up.  What should have taken a couple of hours ended up taking three days and costing more than a few scraped knuckles and bruised egos.  Once it was going, it felt like I was swimming against the tide.  Money was being made, but it felt like a constant battle.

Now, if you believe in the power of a 6000 year old tradition, everything turned around after the geomancer visited us.  The location became more profitable, business continued to pick up and people began commenting on how I seemed to be healthier, happier and handsomer.  The Cardinals won the World Series not long after, but I can’t say for sure that correcting the energy flow around the cart had anything to do with that.  On the other hand, you know what they say about butterflies in Brazil causing tornadoes in Texas.

On the other hand, if you think feng shui has all the power of a four leaf clover, then all the good things that happened came as a direct result of the time, energy and hard work that was put into this business and into becoming a part of the community.  The fact that it picked up shortly after the whole feng shui thing is a complete coincidence and is nothing more than a clever story to draw attention to this ad - I thank you for reading this far, you are obviously a keen thinker and are waiting for me to get to the point.  Also, the story about butterflies and hurricanes probably ends poorly for the butterflies in Texas.

Here are some things that you should know about this business opportunity:
  1. It is located next to the food court.  This means that you have an audience who, for the duration of their meal, are completely captive.  Put on a puppet show, dress up like an astronaut, or just showcase your products and you’ll have them eating out of your hand (metaphorically speaking).  I do not recommend doing all three at once.
  2. This is the first Mobilicity cart.  Number one.  Numero un. δΈ€ζŠŠζ‰‹. This means that any Mobilicity cart that you see in the wild is but a pale shadow of this one.  Once we proved to Mobilicity that it was an effective solution, they rolled the other locations out.  We did it first, and we did it right!
  3. This is a profitable, turnkey operation. Why would anyone sell a profitable business?  Because I’m currently working 22 hours a day.  If I can sell this location, I might be able to take a nap.
  4. This could be your best chance to get in with Mobilicity as an exclusive dealer.  If you want to stay on as a dealer, I will throw in my business plan - absolutely free - with the purchase of the business.  Everything that I’ve done, and everything that I had planned to do, is all yours.  Of course, you don’t have to do any of it, what do I know?  I’m just the guy that made it profitable.  Maybe you’re some kind of sales genius.  You could sell baby seals from it if you wanted to (illustrative purposes only, the mall will not allow you to sell baby seals).
Still not convinced?  

Okay, let me tell you about the Relaxotron 5000.  Yes, you are mere steps away from being the most relaxed you’ve ever been, whether you want it or not.  We will celebrate the conclusion of our deal with 60 seconds in the Relaxotron 5000, forever binding our paths together through sharing an incredibly awkward massage from a machine in a public setting.

Building an empire is hard work, believe me.

You have to work hard, make sacrifices, face challenges that others cower from and have faith that you are making the right decisions. It takes ambition, determination and sacrifice to carve your mark on this world, until you are finally able to stand before the rushing hordes and say “I SHALL NOT FAIL!”  Don’t let the spectre of another year of missed opportunities pass you by.

Finally, as if you needed more proof that this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for, I convinced the guy who wrote the Kijiji Snowblower Ad to write this ad for me.  (It’s true, he did. You can check out my website for confirmation!  Weh-Ming Cho)  This could also be your chance to rub shoulders with someone who has talked to someone that is Internet Famous!  

Make this the year you become the boss of you.  For more information, click the link up in the top right hand corner or send me a message.  




You will be putty in its relaxing kung fu grip.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Start of Another Fine Year and How I Spent My Holiday Season


Though this post may seem a little bit late, it was originally scheduled to go up on Monday.  Instead, I posted a link to the slowly growing fame of a young lady battling cystic fibrosis.  I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Some personal business first:

When it boils right down to it, I believe that everything turns out all right in the end.  Maybe that’s just because I’ve been raised on a steady diet of North American media, in which good always triumphs over evil, love conquers all, and you should always root for the underdog.

I’m not what you would call an optimist though.  I don’t think that everything is always good for no reason whatsoever.  That’s the Presbyterian in me – good things come to those who wait… and work hard for it.  I hope that I’ve been able to capitalize on the success I had at the end of 2011 and that I haven’t squandered too many opportunities (there are only so many hours in a day!).

I did pretty well with keeping a daily update going for a few weeks before allowing it to relax a little.  I’ve moved to a schedule that works for me – updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  That gives me a chance to actually have a regular life and work on other projects, and also means that I’ll be able to make genuine eye contact with My Lovely Wife instead of just casual glances from over a monitor. 

January is going to be a tough month – my new role at work officially starts when I return to work on Tuesday.  Based on the feedback and training I’ve been getting, I’m walking right into one of the two busiest and most time consuming periods of the job.  I’m expecting to feel like a zombie when I walk out of the office, but I’ve been finding writing to be more and more relaxing as I’ve been doing it so there’s at least a chance I’ll be able to keep my schedule up.

How I Spent My Holidays

My Lovely Wife and I grew up with very different ways of celebrating Christmas.  We always spent Christmas at home, I imagine as much an aspect of my father being a minister as my mother not relishing the idea of four hours in a car with children who were both hyperactive from over indulging in chocolate and candy canes and suffering the effects of sleep deprivation from staying up late waiting for Santa.  The very idea of going somewhere else on Christmas day wasn’t just foreign, it was entirely outside of reality.
"Hey kids, we’re going to spend Christmas with Grammy and Grampy this year.”
“Sure, Mom.  And I assume that Robocop will bethere dressed up like Santa Claus and handing out Nintendo’s and VCR’s?”
On the other hand, My Lovely Wife spent almost all of her Christmas’s traveling.  Her Christmas tradition always involved driving to her Nanny and Grampy’s.  I think that because she is an only child she may have rationalized the travel as the way things were to ensure that the rest of the family was given maximum exposure to her perfection and to give her gifts as was her due, but that’s just my theory.  As a middle child, I can only imagine what life must have been like when you were the first person to wear your clothes in your family (I sometimes think that my parents cut my hair different from my brother’s so we’d be able to sort out who was who in family pictures years later – my parents were forward thinkers like that).

This year, we spent Christmas with my folks in Saint John, NB, and New Year’s with My Lovely Wife’s Parents just outside New Glasgow, NS.  Like most newlyweds, we used to divide all our holidays equally between our parents – and by that, I don’t mean alternating spending Christmas between them each year.  I mean the much more fun seeing both of our families on Christmas Day, a challenge since our families lived about 5 hours from each other.  Eventually, like all couples who want to get some sense of holiday cheer back into their lives, we determined that trying to cram three days of visiting and traveling into one day was not exactly promoting marital harmony and welfare. 

We moved to the much more sensible one family gets us for Christmas, the other gets us for New Year’s.  This offered up such benefits as having real conversations and relaxing with family instead of just slowing the car down and chucking presents at each other.  I do miss that sometimes, and remember fondly choosing gifts for my brother based solely on weight and aerodynamics… for top speed and accuracy, I recommend snow-globes, particularly of Niagara Falls or the Pyramids of Giza (I do not recommend Mount Rushmore, as Roosevelt’s head tends to throw off the balance). 

The major drawback to the Holiday Switcharoo is that eventually you realize that you own a house and are looking at building a family of your own, but you have no holiday traditions of your own.  If we had continued down that path, I’m sure that if you asked our future children what the meaning of Christmas was they would say:
“Christmas is when you drive all the time and Mommy and Daddy drown out the silence of the increasing credit card balance by fighting over the relative merits of having to listen to one more Christmas carol and whether or not we should just turn the car around and that’s it Christmas is cancelled and keep your voice down you’re upsetting the kids no you’re upsetting the kids oh great now they’re crying no Christmas isn’t cancelled and Santa is still coming and good news kids starting next year you get two Christmases.”
To avoid this, we broke the news to our parents a few years ago that we were introducing a new Holiday event called “Christmas At Home”.  Held once every three years, Christmas At Home is a time for reflection on how wonderful is that we don’t have to go anywhere.  It also gives us a chance to catch up with friends who had already established this tradition.  We get together, eat, exchange a few small gifts and remark on how relaxing it is to spend Christmas in your own bed. 

Eventually, when we have children of our own and aren’t just borrowing them, we will institute the tradition of “You want see us, you know where we live”.  We’re probably a year away from that, so we have time to work out all the details. 

At Christmas this year, the highlight was by far my nieces entertaining us with the two Christmas carols they knew and the five that they didn't.  I would also like to thank my Aunt Betty for the socks.  Aunt Betty has given my brother and I socks every Christmas for as long as I can remember.  There was one year that she decided to give us Tim's gift cards instead.  That was a very sad Christmas indeed.  Without the gift of socks, I cannot do the Annual Sock Purge.  Such a magical time, Christmas is.

New Year's Eve found us rocking out to a live band at a bar in New York!  No, wait, that was someone else that wanted to be with a crowd of people.  We ate Chinese food with my in-laws (which is ironic, as we had no Chinese with my parents), then watching a movie and forgetting to watch the clock until we had almost missed the grand finale of the evening.  At 12:02, I was in bed.  I am a wild man.

By the way, have you noticed how popular Chinese take out has become on New Year's Eve?  When did that start?  Has that always been a thing, and I just never noticed it because we never did it?  We waited for over 3 hours for take out - yes, we actually waited for it and felt lucky to have gotten it.  Is that really a thing?  Because that doesn't seem like a good thing unless you own a Chinese take out.

In conclusion, I just want to say thanks to everyone that helped make this a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.  It also turns out that we had a decent Chanuka and an acceptable Kwanzaa without realizing it.  Good times.  

Oh, and one last piece of news: my next ad will be coming up soon.  Without giving anything away, I was contacted by an individual looking for some assistance in selling... well, in selling something that I felt was the next logical step to selling my snow blower.  It's coming soon, watch for details!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wish I'd Written That...

EDIT: Thanks to very keen observer, I was advised that I had somehow misspelled Heather's last name pretty much everywhere I wrote it.  I can only say that I'm an idiot and I hope the REAL Heather MacInnis is doing well.



A friend of mine put up a Kijiji Ad in Fredericton to help promote a note that a friend of hers, Heather MacInnis, had written on Facebook.

You can see the ad here, but you should probably just head on over to Facebook to read it.

Heather suffers from cystic fibrosis, which is exactly as much fun as it sounds.  Her "Dear John" letter to her lungs is funny, well written, and inspiring.

For those of you that do not have Facebook accounts, although how you made it to my blog without having a Facebook account is a mystery to me, here is the text of her note.  All credit goes to Heather MacInnis, who is traveling to Toronto on January 3rd for a double lung transplant.

All my best Heather.


Letter to my Lungs


By Heather MacInnis

Hey there everyone. So as part of a project for school I've been keeping a make-shift journal of my experiences during the transplant process. Once I get a handle on blogging I will post a few of the things I've done. After finding out last night that I'm leaving for Toronto Tuesday I've been in a state of perpetual panic. In an effort to calm down I did a little writing. I ended up with a Dear John letter of sorts which is dedicated to my lungs (not Sean, I'm keeping him lol). I thought I would share to those who might be interested (I'm sure I'll miss people :) Happy Almost New Year Everyone!!
Oh! And we're having a little get together here at the hospital from 2-4pm on Sunday for people to stop in and say their cya laters :) xo

Dear Lungs,

        I'm not sure how to say this...but this relationship is over. We have always had our struggles, our ups and downs but lately you've brought me nothing but misery. Please don't think that I'm going to change my mind this time; that you'll perk up, change your attitude and I'll decide things aren't so bad and give you another chance to get better. You have run out of chances.

        I'm not saying that it's been all bad, we've had some good times together. Hitting the gym, the beach, dancing with our friends but I never know when you're going to ruin a good time. You're unpredictable and the way you make me feel in public is embarrassing. I am sick and tired of making excuses for you and telling everyone that we're okay when we're obviously not.

        I've held on more tightly than I should have these last couple of years. This has been a long time coming. What can I say? You're a part of me. You've been there through the ups and the downs but I think we both know that you've caused a great many of the downs. You have always been high maintenance; demanding my attention constantly, ruining vacations and holidays with your bad behaviour and stealing away time that could be spent with my loved ones. Your high maintenance upkeep has become overwhelming and unbearable. I have to spend half of my day waiting for you to be ready to leave the house. I'm always having to take time away from my friends to check in and make sure you're still doing okay and most nights I end up leaving early just to keep you happy. Working to keep you satisfied used to be outweighed by how good I felt the rest of the time we were together but we've reached that point in our relationship where it's all work and no play.

        I realize that being traded in for a newer model might be offensive but you've left me with no other choice. Your expensive tastes and excessive neediness is more than anyone would willingly tolerate. This relationship has become all about you and I've slowly been losing myself. I forget what it feels like to be light-hearted, care free and full of energy because you've drained me of all of that. You make me feel ugly, boring and slow and I'm too young to feel this way. You have caused so much pain and have never apologized once.

        I'm sure some people wonder why I've kept you around so long. I guess I felt bad for you because I know the way you are is not totally your fault and you've done your best. I've always felt responsible for you and scared of what losing you will feel like. Letting you go means stepping into the unknown which is terrifying and up until now I've decided to stay with the devil I know.  You've pushed me too far this time however and I am ready to leave you behind. Ready to try something new, ready to rediscover myself, ready to let go of the pain, panic and fear that comes with being one with you. I have fought for this relationship for so long, but now, on the eve of the New Year; I'm ready to say good-bye.

 I'd like to say it's not you it's me, but we both know that's not true. Breathing is no longer optional.

-Heather