Monday, February 24, 2014

Really, this is just awkward for both of us

It was just before we sat down for supper tonight that there was a knock at the door.

I can say it was before we sat down because we almost always sit down to eat.  Mostly it is on the couch while we watch TV, but it counts.

And before there was a knock at the door, there was a car that pulled up in front of the house and two earnest young men walking up the driveway.

I was sitting on the couch (I don't need to have supper to sit on the couch, they are not mutually dependent events) with RG on my lap.  We were playing a game where I was making funny faces and noises and she would make noises and faces that I would try to interpret as "That's funny!" or "Why can't you be awesome like Mommy?" or "Why haven't you changed me/fed me in the last twenty minutes?" or some combination thereof.

I saw the earnest young men walking up the driveway and my first thought was "Ugh, now I have to stand up."  Standing up would involve interrupting the game, and I think I was winning.  Or at least I wasn't losing any worse than usual.  Anyway, I called out to My Lovely Wife (who was preparing supper) "We have visitors that I don't know who they are!"  I considered letting her answer the door while I stayed put with RG, but then I had a thought.

I have the perfect "I can't talk right now" excuse in my arms!  She's the ultimate trump card, at least at this age.  So I pulled myself off the couch and, baby snuggled into an appropriately jumbled mess of a blanket, I answered the door.

Earnest young man one, who I will call Ernest, looked at me in a sort of mild kind of surprise.

"Hello," I said.

"Hi.  We're youth volunteers... and we're looking for, uh, Korean people that we might be able to talk with."  Said Ernest.  His fellow volunteer, who I shall also call Ernest, stood behind him and silently supported Ernest by not saying anything at all.

"Okay,"  I said.

Ernest looked at me and at my baby and said "Um, we're looking to talk with them in their own language."

"I'm not Korean," I said.

"Well," Ernest said, looking back at his friend Ernest, who I now realize you may have gotten them mixed up on account of their names being the same, but I can't go and change their names now. Besides the fact that I have already committed to the joke, I can't remember distinguishing feature of either of them other than there was an Ernest at the door and an Ernest behind him, and calling them Front Ernest and Back Ernest seems odd.  But I digress.

"Well," Ernest said, looking back at his friend Ernest and then back at me when salvation utterly failed to appear.  "Obviously no."

I started to reply but my brain caught on "Obviously no."  I mean, come on, I could be Korean.  Not all Koreans look alike.  I don't think anyway.  I don't know that many Koreans.  Or maybe I do, and none of them have told me they're Korean.

I was pulled out of this train of thought when Ernest asked me:  "Are there"

"No, I'm sorry."

Ernest and Ernest looked at each other again.

I had a thought.  If they had just looked in a phone book, they would have seen my last name and assumed we were Korean, as Cho is also a Korean name.  So I offered up an escape for them and said "You've got the right name, but the wrong house."

Ernest looked at Ernest again and said "Yes, sometimes people direct us to homes that they think there might..."  He sort of trailed off as I assumed his brain started to catch up with what he was saying and tell him that there wasn't really a good way of ending the sentence in a way that wasn't going to come across more racist than it had started out.

"Yes, I'm sure.  Sorry guys."  I said.

Ernest realized he was holding a pamphlet at this point and I could see him thinking about giving it to me anyway before putting it back in his coat pocket.  "Sorry to bother you," they said as they walked back to their car.

I felt bad for them.  I mean, here they are, tasked with going out and gathering as many Koreans together as they can, and no good way of doing it.  I guess they could have tried one of the many Chinese restaurants in town.  It's basically the same thing, right?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Home Alone, Re-Continued

Day 6 - Friday

Joke's on you Friday!  I'm babysitting, so I'm not at home being all alone and mopey.

Of course, I started watching a really scary movie, because that's what you do when you babysit, right?  And I'm an adult, so I can totally handle it, right?  Right?  

So the fact that I'm taking a few moments to pause the movie while I write this is just because I want to write this, not because there was a scary noise and then I saw someone outside under the streetlight (who was just waiting for his dog to finish his business, but he could have been casing the joint).  The noise wasn't that scary. It was just the furnace kicking in.  It's just a different furnace than the one that I'm used to so it makes different noises.

All right, I've changed movies.  Not because that movie was too scary or anything like that. It just didn't seem like it was going to be a movie that I was going to enjoy that much.  I've started another movie that seems to be a little better.  It's called You're Next and it gets a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, so that's pretty good.  

Hmm, well, there's some stuff that just happened that was a little bit...

Oh, that's... 

Well, now I'm a little bit tense.  

Waaaait, what? 

Ew.  That's... that's just not good.




I'm just going to take another break for a moment.  Not that I need a break.  I just feel like now would be a good time to maybe get a snack and perhaps look at some funny cat pictures on Reddit.  Oh,, you certainly are a site for sore eyes. Get it?  Cause it's a website?  It's a site instead of a sight?  

HOLY okay that was just the furnace coming on again.

Ahhahha okay, that was funny.  I mean, that was gross.  Gross and funny.

Home Alone, Continued

Day 5 - Thursday

Today was a pretty good day, all things considered.  I only sent two or three texts to My Lovely Wife begging for pictures, which feels like progress.  Started working with a friend for the first time in over a decade, which is pretty nice.  No car alarms were going off.  

It looks like Netflix removed The West Wing just as I was getting into it.  That saddens me.  I ate leftover sloppy joe's, singing the sloppy joe's song while I prepared them.  Received a text from My Lovely Wife with the lyrics, re-cementing that I picked the right girl.

Two sleeps away from seeing my little girl.  Feels like I have ants in my pants.

She's 5 months old now!

I mean, really, look at this. LOOK AT IT.  So cute.  Ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Home Alone

There was a time, not so long ago, when a week home alone would seem... fun.  Not that I want to spend time apart from My Lovely Wife.  I feel much more relaxed when she's with me than not.  So when she proposed that she spend a week with RG at her parents, my first reaction was "sweet".

That lasted for almost as long as it took for the "sw" sound to form in my head.  

My next thought was a week without My Lovely Wife and Daughter?  What was that going to be like?

I agreed to it, because it's good for her to bond with her grandparents and also good for Mommy to have an adult to talk to besides me (because as soon as I get home, I just want to talk to My Lovely Daughter, which involves a lot of stereotypical baby talk).  We set the date far enough in the future that I would give myself enough time to get myself steeled toward that moment when I would say goodbye to both of them.

That date, ladies and gentlemen, was this past Sunday.  The plan was that My Lovely Wife's parents would come down and spend the weekend with us, then leave with my ladies on Sunday.  That plan lasted right up until Friday night when the impending snow storm made us change things around.  Instead, My Lovely Wife's father would drive down on Saturday morning, pick up the ladies, and head back home.

And that's what happened.

I've been keeping a bit of a diary.

Day -0.5: Saturday

Everyone just left.  The house is oddly quiet - it is, in fact, the sound of our house from 5 months ago.  The quiet is oddly familiar, but strange at the same time.

I make lunch and watch Netflix.  Then I watch some stuff on the PVR to make space for the shows that I'll watch with My Lovely Wife when she returns.  I think about making another snack, but the snow hasn't hit us yet so I go grocery shopping instead. This has the added benefit of making me not think about the fact I am alone.

My Lovely Wife calls to let me know they've arrived safe and sound.  The snow hasn't started yet.  I think that they could have postponed leaving for a little while, but that's not really fair.  And better safe than sorry.  I watch some more Netflix and read a book.  I make supper.  I play some video games.  I watch a movie and eat chips.  The chips are way better than the movie, but that may be because I don't eat much junk food.  Or it could also have just not been that great a movie.

I watch Netflix in bed, then do a crossword puzzle.  I am luxuriating in staying up late (it's past ELEVEN!) because nobody in the house has to get up early to feed or change a baby.

Day 1: Sunday

The car alarm across the street wakes me up at around 4 AM. I put a pillow over my head and go back to sleep. 

At 6:30 AM, I get up and look out the window.  It snowed.  A great deal.  I can see the car across the street honking and flashing lights to alert everyone to the danger that it is experiencing.

I call the RCMP.  They say that they can't really do much about it, but they'll send someone to check it out.

I eat breakfast, do some email, read my book.  The alarm goes off and on.  I go on Facebook and talk about it.  I write a poem of sorts and post it here.  I call the RCMP again at 8:30 AM.  They say that the streets aren't plowed and they can't get anyone out there.  I say that it's just weird how it goes off and on like it does.  Almost like someone would if they were trying to signal that they were in trouble.  The RCMP say that they'll send someone out as soon as they can.

I do some laundry.  I run the dishwasher.  I finish my book so I watch some Netflix to the dulcet tones of the car alarm.

I eat another breakfast because it feels like that kind of a day.  

I see an RCMP officer walking around the car across the street.  He checks all the windows in the house.  He talks on his radio and then starts walking across the street. I think that he is going to come talk to me because I called in a complaint, but he keeps walking down the street.  That is when I realize that A) there is no RCMP vehicle in sight, B) the snow in the street is almost up to his knees, and C) he is walking down to the Shediac Road so that he can get picked up.  I feel bad.

I do another load of laundry and reload the dishwasher.

The car alarm finally dies at around 2:30, right around the time that I get a text message from a friend saying that they've been hearing reports about it on her police scanner.  I think the battery must have died, because there was nobody else around.

It is still snowing too much to go outside, but I shovel the porch and walkway just to get outside. 

I talk to My Lovely Wife about 5 times through the day.  I make supper and watch some TV, play a video game for a little while, and do some writing. 

I go to bed early.  

Day 2:  Monday

I at least have the day at work to distract me for most of the day.  I miss my family.  I forgot that it was casual week at work, and got dressed in my regular clothes like a sucker.  I vow to wear casual for the rest of the week.

I eat supper and watch The West Wing.  I started watching it on Sunday and don't know why I never watched it before.  It's a great show.  I think about waiting and watching it with My Lovely Wife, but I need it to keep playing to distract me.

I go to bed early after doing a load of laundry so I would have casual pants to wear tomorrow.

Day 4:  Wednesday

I wake up super happy because I've made it through half the week.  Only a few more days to go before I see My Lovely Wife and Daughter again!  

Breakfast is a cheery affair.  I use up all the blueberries on the last of the Cheerios.  I even woke up early enough that I could watch half an episode of The West Wing before I go to work.  I consider watching it all the way through, but decide to go to work a little early instead. 

On the car ride in, I hear the radio say that it is Tuesday.

Day 4:  Wednesday Day 3:  Tuesday

I am sad. 

The rest of the day is much like Day 2, only it feels like I'm further behind because I thought I was further ahead.  

I do more laundry.  Towels this time.

Day 4:  Wednesday (For real this time)

I used up most of my feeling good about today yesterday, but still, I'm at the halfway mark and I'll be driving up to see everyone on Friday night and that's only two sleeps away!

I ate all the blueberries and Cheerios yesterday so I have toast for breakfast.  

I go out for lunch with people visiting our office from Europe.  They are very interesting and lunch is great.

I buy more blueberries and Cheerios after work.  

I make sloppy joes for supper.  The whole time, I am humming Adam Sandler's "Sloppy Joe's" song.  My Lovely Wife calls while I'm eating and I say "I'm eating sloppy joe's."  She sings Adam Sandler "Sloppy Joe's" song.  This is one of the reasons I love her.  We discuss the weather forecast, and decide that I'll come up on Saturday morning instead.  It means three sleeps before I see them, but at least I won't be driving at night in the rain.

I decide to watch something other than The West Wing, but only get halfway through an episode of Burn Notice before I decide to do some writing.  I retreat to the basement and crank this out.

Now, I guess I'll go back upstairs and watch some West Wing.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

An Ode to the Car Alarm That Has Been Going for Four Hours

Hello, Car Alarm.
I hear you.
We all hear you.
Your voice cries out in the early morning.
Your wailing pierces my dreams.
You are like someone else's child that they do not care about that is crying.
Only, if you were a real child the police would have shown up a long time ago.
Therefore, you are not as important as a child.
Shut up, nobody likes you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stealing is bad yo

My wife and I had only been married for a few months when this scenario played out.  

We were at the grocery store, doing newlywed grocery shopping things (which entails walking around the grocery store while holding hands and discussing the virtues of every product that goes in the cart).  In our cart, among everything else, were two packages of stewing beef that I wanted to use to make supper and a Corningwear dish with a lid that My Lovely Wife wanted.

We get to the checkout and the cashier is running our items over the scanner, and she picks up one of the two packages of stew beef and she runs them over the scanner and it beeps.  Then she gets distracted.  She puts the package that she just ran though down on top of the one she didn't.  She gets out a plastic bag and she puts both packages in the bag.  Instant adrenaline rush.  I'm getting a free package of stew beef!  This is going to be the most delicious beef stew ever made because it will be illicit beef stew.

The cashier puts the bag down and reaches for the next item.  I can hardly believe that this is going to happen.  We were living on just my salary while My Lovely Wife went to school and this meant that we'd have a few extra dollars to maybe do something fun later!  My heart is pounding so loudly that I almost don't hear My Lovely Wife - the woman that I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with - say "Oh, there were two packages there, you only scanned in one."

Instant defeat. 

She had turned me in and killed my attempt to save money.  And it's not like I could be mad at her, since all she did was be an honest person.  I was the bad guy in this scenario.  I was the guy that had decided to turn his back on morals and all the values that I had been raised with.  I wasn't trying to get a good deal.  I was trying to steal, and My Lovely Wife stopped me from committing this heinous act and I was angry because I'd been caught.  Sort of.  Okay, not really caught stealing, more like inadvertently shamed for not doing something that nobody else knew at the time that I knew was going on.  

While all this was going on my head and I tried to keep the emotions off of my face, I almost failed to notice that the dish and lid that she had picked up were in the hands of the cashier.  Here's the deal about the dish and lid: They were sold separately.  The lid had a bar code on it and there was one on the bottom of the dish too.  My Lovely Wife had stuck the lid on the dish earlier, so the cashier opened it up to make sure there was nothing inside it (because that's something a dishonest person would do), then scanned the lid and put both items in the bag.

My first thought was "well, that would have been nice to score too," as I waited for something to be said. And waited.  And waited.  Maybe she missed it?  Or maybe she was waiting for me to say something?  Was she waiting for me to say something and prove that I was the man that she thought I was when she agreed to marry me?  Was this a test?  This had to be a test.

I looked over and I could just see the barest hint of a smile on her face.

The rest of this story has been redacted because we are parents now and we obviously learned a valuable lesson about honesty and integrity.  Mommy and Daddy love each other very much and definitely didn't have a fight over how we could have had free beef stew in her free dish.

We still hold hands when we walk through the store, but I no longer have to discuss every product that goes in the cart.  Also, we cannot testify against each other, so that's nice.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Do you know what will kill your child? 

Turns out, the answer is "just about everything".  

I get that there are things that you need to be careful about, like making sure there are no pots of boiling oil on your stove or bent paper clips loitering near outlets, but I can hardly believe that my brother, sister and I all made it to adulthood without being dead.

And no, I'm not just going to write about all the "hey, we could go for car rides sleeping in the back window of the car" or "remember when we hardly ever stabbed anyone to death with lawn darts" kind of stuff.  I'm talking about the change in your head that happens when you are suddenly responsible for a living thing that seems, at times, to be actively trying to cause serious injury to themselves.

I'm sitting in the kitchen right now, which you may be aware is the most dangerous room in the house (next to the bathroom, living room, bedrooms, hallways, stairs, basement, attic, crawlspaces, closets, garage...).  Here's the run down of how our kitchen is going to kill our child.
  • Magnets on the fridge: choking hazard
  • Frying pan with spatula sitting on front burner with handle turned to the outside: falling object hazard
  • Pile of cutlery in a bowl on counter: falling object hazard + stabbing
  • Unsecured cupboard doors: so many poisons
  • Open stairs: No child gate = falling hazard
And that was all without even trying.  Imagine what I'll come up with more time on my hands?

So let's talk about vaccinations.

Get your child vaccinated.  I am going to use calm, soothing words here to say that vaccinating your child against disease is the smartest, easiest and best way to protect your child.  As I said earlier, there are so many things trying to kill your child that you can see.  Now just think about all the things trying to kill your child that you can't see.  

Moving the fridge magnets isn't going to protect your child from catching whooping cough.

Securing the cupboard doors won't keep polio out.

A baby gate might keep your child from tumbling down the stairs, but diphtheria can be spread through the air.  

It amazes me that people of sound mind could say no to this.  

But I know that there are people that say vaccines are bad, and some of them are quite vehement about it.  I've even met a few that I could do nought but shake my head in wonder as they proudly proclaimed that they were not giving their little bundle of joy any needles.  

I may even receive some email or comments about this post.  I'm not even going to say that I'm taking a position on this, because that would be an awful lot like saying that I'm choosing to believe in physics and thermodynamics and choose not to throw a pot of boiling oil straight up in the air above me.

Send all the commentary and emails you like, just keep your child away from mine.  

Here's my plan.  We find a semi-famous celebrity who has some moderate sex appeal to start making wild claims like "my child didn't get vaccinated and they got sick!" or "there is a direct link to my child's Hepatitis B infection and the fact that they never got a vaccination for it!"  Get them on some talk shows, start generating some buzz around it, maybe get them to publish a book or two.

Thank god there was never a swimsuit competition requirement for Jonas Salk to publish his findings.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rock of Ages... Was It Bad?

We watched Rock of Ages, a musical romp through 80's power ballads.

It was... good?  There were a lot of people in it.  Alec Baldwin probably shouldn't sing rock and roll.  I'd bet he'd kill something like Sinatra, but rock was probably not a good idea.  Catherine Zeta Jones was kind of the bad guy, but not really, because that's what Paul Giamatti was for (because that's what he's always for).  Russell Brand was faintly amusing.  And Tom Cruise is in it a lot.  A lot more than the previews had us believing he would be.

Also, there was a guy that looked like Matthew McConaughey's younger brother and a girl that looked almost like the cheerleader in Heroes that were apparently the main characters.

Everybody sings!  Rock songs from the 80's!  Sometimes the songs make sense for the situation, like you would expect in a rock-opera.  Other times, the songs seem to be sung because they bought the rights to the song and they needed a place to put it.  It's not perfect.

I probably won't remember a lot about this movie.  It's not great, but that's okay because we weren't expecting Oscar worthy performances.  What I will remember, no, what I will take to my grave, is the tongues.  Good lord, the tongues.  It's not that the kissing was bad... it was more like... how can I put this?  You know how there is a difference between Hollywood and Reality?  Like, how in Hollywood a young man can pursue a woman and get into all kinds of crazy hijinks until she finally realizes that she's in love with him too and they kiss just before the credits roll?  And in Reality, that same young man would get the living daylights beaten out of him by the young woman's boyfriend, gets a restraining order against him, and ends up in a court ordered therapy?  That's not really what the kissing is like in this movie.

In this movie, the kissing is kind of like the kissing that I'm not ashamed to say that I have enjoyed with My Lovely Wife in private.  In private being the key phrase there.  While I have always enjoyed an over the top, goofy, make you laugh type of kiss, I know that nobody wants to see and we definitely don't want anyone to see us.  I am also only assuming that My Lovely Wife enjoys it to the extent that she has not yet threatened my life when I come at her like Slimer from The Ghostbusters.

I hope the guy that made this doesn't take it down, because I like it.
This is not unlike a typical Saturday afternoon in our home.  
The plot for this movie is forgettable.  The actors in this movie received a paycheque.  At no time in the future will anyone discuss the impact this movie made to the cinematic arts.  I'm not saying that this movie deserved a Razzie - it was, quite frankly, more forgettable than most Razzie winners.

The only good thing that I can say about this movie is that one day, a year or so after you watched it, you'll overhear someone mention it in the hallway at work.  And you'll think about it, and the more you think about it, the more you'll remember about it.  This will culminate in you remembering that not only did you watch this movie, but shortly after you watched it you started writing a review of it. And then you'll find said review in the drafts folder and you'll touch it up and throw it on your website.  All in all, a good day.

Any Last Words?

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but it turns out that time changes people.

No, no, it's true. Stick with me here.

I recently found a post from an old friend from university asking if anyone knew of an issue with hardware compatibility with the latest update of OSX, the Apple operating system.  Let's just say that when I knew this person, if Facebook had existed back then most of their posts would be a mix of "Woooooo!!" and "hey guys sup" and things that they typed into the status update bar instead of the search bar.

It got me thinking about growing up.  Sometimes it happens when you're a kid, sometimes it happens when you're already well past the age when society should have stepped in to make sure you don't accidentally choke yourself playing with a plastic bag like it's a toy.  BTW, how desperate do you have to be for a toy or a friend that a plastic bag makes for a viable fun time?  On second though, this being the internet, don't answer that.

My point is that as we get older, we change.

But my other point, which I haven't made yet but am going to now, is that technology today throws many traditional (dare I say romantic) concepts out of the window.  For example, there was a time that when going on a trip, the trip itself was as much of the adventure as the destination itself.  As people would board or disembark from your train or ship, you gradually transitioned into the culture or the local flavour of your final stop.  The people that surrounded you as you started your journey would not be the people that you ended your journey with.

Deep thought, right?  But here's what I'm getting at.  Last words.  There was a time when the last thing that you said before you passed away carried with it a certain amount of gravitas.  You would hope that when the end arrived that you would have enough time to utter a few words of biting wit, or pass along some dread secret, or maybe just gasp "you're standing on my oxygen tube".  Something so that could be recited at your funeral or perhaps placed on your gravestone as a testament to your character, your passion, or maybe just your last act of thumbing your nose at the establishment.

Now, there is a really good chance that the your last words before going into the light was that you "liked Candy Crush" or that you invited someone to take the "Find Out Which Bachelorette You Are Quiz".  Imagine that on your tombstone.  So I guess what I'm saying is please stop inviting me to play games on Facebook with you.  I don't want to give your eulogy and have to say "he was a good guy, but man, did he ever spend way too much time on Farmville."