Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Museum Muse

I was glancing around the house the other day, trying to figure out which pile of debris to start clearing, when I just gave up and laid down on the couch. The debris was not yet at a level to set off my personal Disgust Alarm, which precedes a frenzied bellowing and cleaning period which appears to the untrained eye like the Tasmanian Devil of cartoon fame.

In Relax Mode I began to day dream about what it would sound like if a tour group came through the house right then. I set up the rope barriers and assumed my position...

“Ladies and gentlemen this is a working home so please do not touch the exhibits…”

“In the entry way here you will notice the scattered shoes, scarves, handbags, craft papers, hoodies, school lunches, binders and dog hair that is common to this type of human settlement.”

“As we move into the main living area please stay behind the ropes and don’t touch the scratching gentleman! Yes, this is normal behaviour for this species. The male of the house usually sits in this large reclining chair and proceeds to emit various sounds and gases, and also engages in grooming behaviour such as scratching himself like he is looking diligently for nits. Notice how the woman of the house rolls her eyes at this frequent phenomenon.”

"Now here is something interesting…see how the floor has been cleaned in anticipation of our arrival? This is known as Visitor Panic. You’ll see evidence of this in bathrooms and bedrooms as well. You can observe that the floor has only been mopped in the areas that reflect the light from the windows. Over here in the corner you can tell the floor hasn’t been touched in several years, if ever. Since the male of the house is usually placed in charge of these chores, you can draw your own conclusions.”

"Stay together people! We are moving through the kitchen now. Notice the collection of papers and debris on any horizontal surface. Most families of this type need a dump truck once per year to clear out the school crafts and projects that accumulate in these regions. Why yes, the smell of Elmers glue and macaroni is rather pungent isn't it? Let's move along..."

"Upstairs we have the master bedroom, or as the gentleman of the house quaintly refers to it, the 'Fornicatorium.'

What a charmer he is. Note how the wife has carefully made the bed and tidied up, while the husband has obviously taken a nap on top of the covers and messed things up again. Yes ma'am - you can tell it was him because of the drool there on the pillow shams - very good eye for detail you have!"

"I'm sorry - we cannot access the childrens bathroom at the moment since it has been declared a toxic hazard area by the municipal authorities, so just take a quick look at the childrens bedrooms as we head for the stairs.

Do be careful and don't step on a OUCH! Hot Wheel car...they do smart when you do that.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I care deeply about my children's education, and I devote a great deal of time to nurturing it.

This time usually begins half an hour before we depart for school in the morning, when I open their backpacks to prepare their lunches and find the Important School Documents that require our Immediate Attention for several parental hours. And by Immediate Attention, I usually mean a cheque. And Several Hours usually means time you should have devoted to your offspring last night when instead you let the kids outside to horse around somewhere and you and your wife were inside vegging out watching some idiotic dancing program on TV. This will ultimately result in your children becoming Illiterate Cretins, according to the Important Documents You Should Have Read Last Night.

Seeing these Important Documents in the morning usually sends me into paroxysms of hyper activity, as if getting lunches prepared and kids dressed and off the darn computer and stop beating up your sister and get dressed I'm not telling you again aren't frantic enough.

Often, the Important Documents mean signing up to volunteer several dozen hours per week in some helpful capacity at the school, such as Hot Lunch Coordinator, or envelope stuffer, or Person Dreaming Up The Next Big Fundraising Idea for Next Week and Every Week Thereafter Until The End Of Time To Pester You For Money I'm Getting Sick Of Selling Magazines and Cookie Dough Where Are My Medications!?!.

Two weeks since school started.

I'm not sure I'm going to make it. Please send money. Or just sign these forms here and here and here and put them in the backpacks over there.

Thanks a lot.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Deity

I’m not usually one to complain, and don’t get me wrong about any of this, but I’ve gotta tell you – I’m getting a little tired of waiting for this lottery thing.

I mean, is it really too much to ask of anyone, let alone yourself, to just check out my ticket, and THEN go to the lottery place and manipulate the balls a little? That didn’t sound quite right, but you know what I mean…?

Now, you know I’d make a good winner. I’ve told you many times. I feel rich with a twenty in my pocket and a new pair of pants, so I’m not going to go nuts with the Ferraris or anything.

I might get about 50 old pick up trucks, but not a Ferrari. They didn’t make a pickup anyway as far as I know. I would build my workshop too of course. A man must have tools, as I’m sure you’re fond of saying (carpenter and all). And a 200 inch plasma television is considered a tool in many circles, so get over that.

My wife and I would certainly be appreciative of your attention in this matter. Really. We’d help the poor, make sensible insurance choices, take vacations that weren’t too flashy or anything. That first year might be a little dicey for that statement actually. One vacation per week might pile up in a bit of a hurry. Forget I said that.

We wouldn’t flash piles of cash in nightclubs or anything though. Heck – we’re parents so we hardly drink or go out anyway. I’ll have a beer when I’m cooking on the BBQ but that’s about it. Even then I’m hung over the next day. You should see how the meat turns out too. It could be used as evidence on CSI sometimes. And that’s what I’m talking about. We wouldn’t embarrass you like those Hollywood people do all the time. We’d make great winners.

We could use some exercise, I know, but having the leisure time to get some (hint hint) would be appreciated. I’d love to get back on the mountain bike and go commune with nature, primarily by leaving scrapefuls of flesh deposited upon the rocks thereon, but no matter. You get my point. I’ll take care of the waistline and eat balanced meals. Promise.

Understand, too, that I’m not addicted to this whole lottery thing. I don’t spend my whole paycheque on tickets – I can do math. I know the odds of winning, which is partly why I’m talking here. Still – you know the odds too.

We could use a hand (a ‘Major Prize’ number of hands actually), and you’ve been a little shy in the miracle department lately so maybe we can help each other.

5 million would be about right. That would get us back up to broke I figure, and it would be about the break even point in lifetime lottery ticket purchasing. I know – it adds up doesn’t it? A few dollars each week sure goes quickly.

What’s that? Those same dollars, saved and invested, would equal $5 million by now?

You know – it’s that kind of snarky remark that makes attendance at your services drop each year. That was not called for.

Besides – those same dollars could have been dropped in your collection plate buster, so don’t even go there.

Anyway – see what you can do. We’d really appreciate it as I think I’ve mentioned several times now. And if you can drop a hint as to what draw you’re working on, I’d be even more thankful. You know my numbers.

Gotta run. It’s Sunday morning and I have some yard work to do.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


Let's just say you know it was a great party when you wake up 10 blocks from your home wearing nothing but a pair of Homer Simpson underpants.

'Nuff said.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marital Blowouts

I put this column on the blog ages ago but it was never run by the newspapers. I have since re-worked it and now present it for your profound enjoyment.

The Look.

Husbands know it. It is the fiercest weapon in a spouse’s arsenal. It tells the male that no matter what reasonable explanation he may have for what has just happened, he should just keep quiet – it’s a lost cause.

This is the story of how I got one.

It all started when, under the auspices of the governments Keep Your Husband Occupied at All Times program, I was winding up the garden hose. The cranking action of the hose reel took me back to the long ago days at school when we had to hand crank a Gestetner machine to make copies.

Every kid wanted to be the one to go get the newly run-off handouts from the office. We would sniff them deliriously as we weaved back down the hall, higher than kites, wearing a smile that only sniffing felt pens would later eclipse. Ahhhhhhh.

Do we have any Doritos? Wow – have you ever really noticed the lines on your hand before?

Ahem. Yes. Back to the story.

In addition to winding up hoses and raking leaves, those with irrigation systems need to drain all the water out of the tubes so they (the tubes) don’t go all sclerotic and have sprinkler versions of strokes or heart attacks over the winter.

What you do for this sprinkler angioplasty is pay someone to hook up a large hose to an air blower thing. The various zones of your sprinkler system use this air to blow their noses, while you stand around giving piles of money to the air hose guy while he politely listens to your grand plans for the garden.

When I had this done recently, a valuable lesson was learned.

Apparently there is a shut-off valve inside most houses, this valve being connected somehow to the irrigation system. Being a shut-off valve, it should be, uh, shut off.

I didn’t know that.

Further, when you hook up a large air blower thing to a hose connection and force a million gallons of air into it, a certain pressure is created, which must be relieved somehow.

Perhaps via the valve I left open in the basement.

My first clues to all this intriguing information were the jets of dust I saw shooting from what I thought were closed windows.

The other funny thing was the house seemed to be bulging.

“That’s odd,” I said.

“Did you close the inverse non-aligned dingle-whopper valve inside your house sir?” asked the blowout guy.

“Of course I did” I said automatically, unable to admit, like any male, that there wasn’t a single aspect of my home with which I was not intimately familiar.

“The what?”

He turned off the blower thing, the house slowly stopped hissing and shrank to normal size, and my wife and children emerged, coughing, from the house. Now that they could open the door, that is.

Some people believe that leaves change colour in the fall as a result of some natural phenomenon.

I believe it is a result of husband trees doing something that wife trees do not find particularly amusing, and receiving withering, frosty stares as a result.

Crisis Solved

I think I have this whole energy crisis thing solved. Partly anyway.

It all boils down to signage. Readable from your car signage.

I just went to my local convenience store to pick up something (can't remember - but it was important) and from where I parked I could not read their store hours sign. So I exited my still-running vehicle to go and tug on their door. Locked.

Peer down and see they closed half an hour ago.

So because I could not read their stupidly small sign, I wasted several precious grams of fuel as I walked up and checked. I know - I could have shut it off. In fact I could not - I had family with me who would have perished in the heat of the evening without air conditioning so there.

So multiply me times about a gazillion other people who drive up every day and waste fuel checking for legible store hours signs and look at what you've got. A global energy crisis that's what.

I am available for interviews on popular television news programs.

Zits Revisited

Do they still have leper colonies? I'd like to make a reservation.

I have written before (here) about Mr. Blemish paying a visit.

Zits on the face are bad enough - but now I have one in my ear. Ewww.

Not only is it painful and embarrassing, it is impossible to get to for servicing, as it were. It hurts when I'm on the phone (were speaker phones invented by someone with an ear zit? Investigate).

I also forget it is there from time to time and plunge my index finger into my ear for a scratch and recoil in pain and frustration when I hit it.

It is unsightly to have wads of Kleenex hanging out of ones ear, I have discovered. It REALLY hurts when a stream of water from the shower nozzle hits it.

Make it go away! Give me powerful drugs to ease my pain! Turn me back into the brave, manly man I once was, not this whining bag of zitty misery.

That's it. I'm off to wash my pillowcase. Good day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Disturbing Insight

So I woke up this morning (thank goodness!), thinking about a Ballet for Fat Guys. Weird huh?

I have no idea why that particular terpsichorean muse happened upon my fevered brain. Did I suddenly have a desire to star in Swan Lake? Was my brain in some way telling me to become more lithe and athletic such that I could fling tutu-clad females across the lighted stage?

Am I supposed to actually write a ballet and take it to New York and become a star choreographer?

I have no idea.

So the disturbing insight here would be into the mind of a humour writer, and where his idiotic ideas come from. This writer has no idea.

I also have no idea what to do with it (the idea). A column? A witty aside? An article about fat guys in ballet?

It actually may inspire me to stage an event I've wanted to do for some time. I read about it ages ago and it delighted me then and continues to do so today.

It is called a Fat Guy Marathon. One mile. Downhill. Stop for a beer and a hot dog half way.
Fun huh?

Maybe if I accomplish that feat, I could move on to ballet.

In the meantime I'll look up who George Wendt's agent is. He played Norm on Cheers - I could use him for the ballet. And the marathon too actually. Spokesman maybe.

I'll let you know what develops.


Monday, September 21, 2009

What I've become...

I was making the kids lunches this morning when a small irritant led me to believe I had become a crotchety old man. My father, in fact.

The source of this revelation were the mini-bagels I was working with. Specifically, they were supposedly sliced - but they weren't. They were partially sliced but had a remainder, deep inside the middle part of the bagel, that required cutting. I found this particularly annoying, and I'm quite convinced it is somehow responsible for the World Economic Crisis and Climate Change.

The bag says 'Sliced'. Right there. Sliced. If you grasp one and attempt to pull it apart though, you are in for a dreadful surprise. They are only partly sliced, and it is off to the cutlery drawer you go, in search of the serrated knife that works best for bagels. Which is in fact in the dishwasher, the door of which you bash your shin upon when stooping and rooting around the insides, searching for your knife which is at the back of the bloody cave you are stooped over peering into!!


If you just pull the bagel halves apart you are left with little bagel nubs sticking up, which burn and smoke upon insertion into the toaster. You wind up with pale, un-toasted bagel, with a strip of blackened bits running in a line down the middle.

This is unacceptable. It may cause me to go off on a rant about something that isn't really all that important in the overall scheme of things.

Oh just get off the lawn and leave me alone...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gift of Gab

In one short car ride yesterday I was challenged as a parent in two completely different ways within a single topic. Namely, the fine art of conversation.

The first challenge was presented by my daughter, who, while lovely and charming and wonderful up to yesterday, will now have to be sold into slavery.

You see, she has begun speaking in questions? Ending all her sentences with question marks? Like this? Which is so annoying I may lower my price for her when I sell her for medical experiments at the start of business tomorrow?

Thankfully she doesn't do it all the time (she saw my face turn sour in the rear view mirror yesterday and wisely chose to clam up), but it has been happening more and more of late and so I'm afraid the sale is inevitable.

Oh sure - the parenting pundits will say something about how parents are not teaching their children how to converse and listen and participate in a relevant fashion to the talk going on around them. WE can do that, but sadly we are not in charge of training the other 300 miscreant, illiterate peer-pressuring children my kids interact with on a daily basis.

The other parenting dilemma I faced during the same car trip was my son not really participating in Dad's chosen activity.

Now I know I should not be so insensitive as a parent to actually indulge in something I want to do for a few brief minutes, but I thought I could get away with it yesterday.

I was listening to a science program on the radio, about the possibilities of space-based power generation. Science intrigues me, and this topic was particularly stimulating.

In the middle of the best part of the interview, my son loudly said: "Dad? Jordan has a red Hot Wheel car - did you know that?"

This immediately brought a response from his sister, further drowning out the science program on the radio.

Sister: "Is that the one in the basement or the one in his bedroom?"

I comforted myself, face in hand, with the thought that the program I was listening to, now lost in the jumble of voices in the back seat, is also available in podcast form.

In the meantime, I have for sale 2 children, 8 years old, both with most of their grown-up teeth, house trained, polite, generally agreeable when not gagged. Will trade for new recliner or reliable automobile. Inquire within.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Update

Well the relatives are now dearly departed.

Not dead or anything - just dearly departed and off to the coast to invade/visit the in-laws out there.

Today I am recovering from a massive sleepover. 2 boys in addition to my own, and an additional girl from next door in addition to my girl, and all was raucous in the household last night.

I think the giggling, whispering, farting and carrying on subsided around 11pm, much later than my usual bed time of 10:20. I am pawning one kid off for a sleepover elsewhere today, but I'm still hunting for some sucker NICE FAMILY! excuse me to take my other one.

I myself will be working hard this afternoon at the area construction association golf tournament. I will be manning the hole in one hole, cowering beneath a tent in the jaundiced belief that I will somehow be protected from hurtling golf balls intent on denting my noggin.

Since I rarely drink, I will have to suffer this humiliation without the benefit of alcohol. I will, however, be able to secretly laugh at all the drunken louts attempting to swat a small white spheroid with a weighted stick. This alone will supply me with many happy mamories, and possibly the material for a column or two.

Until then...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacuum Control

The targets didn’t stand a chance.

I had carefully planned my route, staying stealthy, low down, hidden. Reconnoitered the target area, dialed in the killing zone, became one with my prey.

I was stalking.

My mission: eliminate the hordes of annoying fruit flies that had invaded our kitchen.

I was heavily armed. My weapon of choice is a pistol-grip, 1” caliber, built-in vacuum cleaner with a 3 inch barrel and cloth tube covering the hose to prevent damage to the baseboards.

It is a high-tech insect killing machine.

I am…The Fly Sniper.

For some missions I utilize a silencer – a couple of tubes for use with the carpet and drape attachments. These add-ons help to lessen the mental blow that dealing death brings into a sniper’s psyche.

Not that I need a shrink to help me understand what I’m doing. No need to ‘get in touch with my feelings’ here – I’m a known killer and I like it.

The enemy critters seemed to be congregating on the wall above the garbage can – no doubt licking their disgusting little fly lips, moaning and loosening their belts after a particularly satisfying meal of banana peel or discarded salad.

They erupt into flight at my approach, but my death-dealing weapon was upon them! Ha ha! Come within an inch or so of the business end of this Roving Vortex Tube of Destruction and in you go buddy! Not a chance of escape!

So there I was, lunging about the kitchen, sucking flies into the hose, trying to avoid bashing the cupboards too much, hoping the scrape marks on the walls would come off easily. The battle raged as I, surrounded, claimed victory after victory over my foe.

I narrowly avoided a tragedy when the nozzle came a little close to my wife’s chest area. By accident. Honest.

Over the fruit bowl I slowly circled my Wand of Death. In went the juice-sucking vermin as they rose to do battle. An over-ripe small plum also rose, unintentionally, thus turning our domestic dry vac into a wet one with a strangely satisfying “Glurp!” sound.

Fighter Command began seeing flies everywhere as I circled the kitchen, re-directing me to different areas of concentration. Nothing was safe – big game flies, fruit flies, those little jiggers you can barely see, all went into the Hose of Doom.

Flies on the ceiling could not escape, nor could the plaster that rained gently down as I bashed my way into fly-eliminating record books.

Seeing the demonic look in my eyes, the children and dog wisely scurried out of range. My wife was not so lucky and bears a perfectly round hicky upon her hip. The swelling from where she smacked me in retaliation should go down in a day or two.

Putting all exposed food into sealed containers, my wife denied my offer to drill holes in them so as to better facilitate fly-sucking at a later date. There goes that weekend of entertainment.

You know, there are some who decry the use of domestic cleaning equipment for murderous purposes. They say vacuums were meant for cleaning and not hunting. They call me a mass murderer.

To them I say – vacuums don’t kill insects. All the filth in the canister they bash into at two hundred miles an hour kills insects.

All this talk of establishing a Vacuum Registry in this country is a waste of time. There are too many unregistered built-ins, not to mention portables, for a registry to make any difference.

If they want to register my weapon, they’ll have to pry the plastic nozzle with the convenient on/off thumb switch from my cold, dead hands.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kevin Cummings Podcast

There's a funny fella in Utah who does a blog and podcast...and who apparently ran afoul of the law and had to visit my blog here as punishment. Poor devil.

Now, though, he is mentioning poor little old me in an upcoming episode of his 'cast - due on the airwaves Sept 19th. Thanks Kevin! I haven't a clue how you found me but thanks much for doing so. In honour of your endorsement I have added you to my blog roll, which is down there on the left hand side folks. These are blogs and websites that I visit regularly and which might even be edumicational to you as well.

Sorry for the dearth of postings this week...relatives visiting and all that is my only excuse. Well, that and recovery from the swine, chicken, avian, nile death flu/cold thing too. Sniff.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Relatives Visiting

You know - it's nice to have relatives stay with you from time to time.

Even if they do load the dishwasher funny.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back to School Lament

Well it is the start of another school year soon, and we can stop fussing about with our kids schedules. Gone are the camps, beach days, play dates, sports activities, backyard slip and slides, trail hiking, mountain biking, swimming, stargazing, kite flying, go-cart driving, golf ball whacking days of summer!

Now we parents can sit back, relax, and enjoy the sublime pleasures of school clothing and supplies purchasing, Halloween planning, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, greeting in-laws who have come to stay for weeks on end, celebrate the holidays, cleaning up, shoveling, hiding Easter eggs, spring break planning, school yearbook purchases, I am foaming at the mouth please help me find my meds, and so forth.

Readers of this column who do not have children should, at this point, just close the paper and go back to the coffee shop and have another latte. Doing so will slightly diminish the hatred we parents feel towards you, so get going for your own safety.

Yes– we remember the carefree days of summer in the days B.K. (Before Kids). Long walks, lazy mornings reading the newspaper, casual dining with friends, the ability to drink more than one glass of wine and not barf because you get out of practice, the whole ‘No responsibility’ thing. Yes – I said NO RESPONSIBILITY DAMMIT!!

Sorry. I get emotional sometimes, thinking of those halcyon days when there was…time. That most precious and rare thing – time.

I remember my wife and I waking up on a Saturday, and deciding to run the 10k the next day at some park in Vancouver. So we went and entered, got our shirts, and did it. No biggy. We were fit, we had the time, we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and *sniff* it was *sniff* a joyous time in our lives wah wah wah wah *sniff* I’ll be OK. Sometimes I just get this longing for when it was possible to do things on the spur of the moment. I’m sorry, let me go take a valium before I continue here…

You see, when we parents signed on for this whole kid thing, no one said anything about having to keep kids entertained 24 hours per day, every day of the summer. Our deal was to love them and keep them safe and fed and whatnot. The contract did not mention summer holidays when there is no school with which to keep your children occupied.

So we resort to inane methods of distraction, one of them being ‘crafts.’ As a parent I strongly advise you to purchase shares in paper companies and perhaps an Elmers Glue franchise. Like any parent, we are buried under several tons of craft paper covered with glue and bits of macaroni, elegantly pasted together with 4 gallons of white glue, which currently covers most of the dining room table, which we haven’t seen for several years. This is due to craft activities for the month of August alone.

We may lease a small warehouse to hold the coming fall collection of artistry from our offspring.

It is a little known fact that teachers are graded by Principals based on their output of craft materials, measured in tons per day.

Anyway, when not handing out sharp cutting implements to my kids, I have been working on a business plan for a new venture. It is a Scotch whiskey-themed summer camp for parents. Parents will drop off their kids and proceed into a room filled with reclining chairs. There they will toss back several ounces of magical elixir, then proceed to have a little nap for the day in one of our nice, comfy chairs. That is it. Simple business.

It is already sold out - sorry.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cell Phone/Shaver!

So there I was, running late, in my car, shaving on my way to an appointment. The foam was getting all over the steering wheel and...

Actually I was using my electric shaver, which us guys can do from time to time when in a hurry.

As I was merrily shaving while stopped at a stop light, a car pulled up beside me. Two women were chatting away and then noticed me shaving. They grinned and I could just tell they were somehow commenting on the shaving dufus in the car...

I thought "I'll show them..." so I stopped shaving, pressed a button on my shaver, and proceeded to pretend my shaver was a cell phone. I held it up to my ear and earnestly began speaking to an imaginary business associate.

I looked back at the women while 'talking' and noticed with much glee that they were now staring at me, amazed that they now had cell phones with built in shavers!

It was a true Triumph Of The Geeks moment.

Ever since then I have imagined these twits telling their friends about this episode, and continually pestering clerks at cell phone shops, dying to get their boyfriends or Dads this new cell phone!

I have dibs on royalties if they ever come out with such a thing for real though.

Mucus Man!!

I'b been sick. I'b godda code id by doze.

I haven't posted for a bit since I have been quite busy being a whining bag of misery to my children, spouse, and anyone else who will listen, roll their eyes, and slowly back away from my germ encrusted body. I'm over the worst now and can sort of function with a minimum of gasping. Thank you for your concern.

I'm pretty sure I had the Chicken/Swine/Black Death/Flu you know.

Today I think I'm well enough to take the kids to the pool, since I think the world should share my viruses, and also because I don't think I have enough hideous fungal growths on my feet just yet.

I'm working on about 72 columns at the moment and will actually knuckle down to finishing one of them in the very near future.


Thanks for stopping by!