Archive for September, 2009

Sorry for the late post, but an impromptu trip to MEC to find out about some minor repairs to a Gore-Tex jacket resulted in an even more impromptu trip to the ScotiaBank Theatre.  For the first time in my life, I saw a movie alone and given that it was a matinee in a near empty theatre meant that it was a pretty great experience.

It was the kind of movie that I would have ended up renting anyways as I’m not sure that Inglorious Basterds is really the kind of movie just anyone would enjoy.  To say it was violent and graphic would be a bit of an understatement, but it was also quite funny and very witty.  In classic Tarantino style, it also moved painfully slowly at points, but the heightened drama only made it a better film.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it’s not exactly a date movie.

Matinees are pretty sweet, but if I do this again, I might go to Rainbow Cinemas where you pay much less for a daytime ticket.

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Well, the shave was significantly less since I did it at home with a beard trimmer (so not so much a shave as a badly needed trim) and the haircut was significantly more (as two bits is a mere 25 cents) but still a bargain, thanks to the fine folks at Fuss Hair Studio, here in my ‘hood.  Check ’em out for great service and great conversation.

So now that I’ve made the physical transformation from Unibomber-lookalike to mature urban man, I can be let loose in public without fear of being picked up by Toronto’s finest as a potential vagrant; something that nearly happened one night last week while I was out walking the dog.

It was one of the warm nights and I was out in shorts and a t-shirt on Queen Street East at 11pm with the dog in tow, or more aptly in tow of the dog.  A cruiser pulled up behind me and lit up his lights.  The officer in the passenger seat waved me over saying that it was ‘suspicious’ that I was out at night wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the fall.  Given that it was the first day of fall and it was about 20 degrees out and slightly more in our house, I was caught off guard.

He asked what I was doing out at that hour dressed so ‘suspiciously’ and I told him that I was walking my dog, and I pointed to Mojo.  I mentioned that it was 20 degrees out so I was actually dressed quite comfortably and he just nodded.

“Where are you coming from?” he asked, and I told him that I was coming from my house.  “I see, and where are you headed?”.  At this point, his partner in the driver seat was clearly embarrassed, but kept quiet.  I told him I was headed back home.  “So you’re both coming from AND going to your house?  That’s kind of strange, isn’t it?” he asked.  “Not when you’re walking your dog.”  I responded.

After a bit more witty banter, and some questions about what was in my pockets (he asked to search me, which I politely and firmly declined, as is my right), I showed him that I was carrying house keys and poop bags.  I assured him that when my dog makes his nightly deposits, I do the responsible thing and pick it up, regardless of whether I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt or not.  The driver found this funny, but the ‘suspicious’ officer didn’t even crack a smile.

When all was said and done and I headed home, I could only assume that they were on the lookout for someone wearing shorts and a t-shirt, which would have been a monumental task on such a warm night.  I preferred not to assume that they were just hassling me because they had nothing better to do that night.

I hope they caught the guy, especially if he’s one of the criminals in our neighbourhood who doesn’t stoop and scoop.

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I haven’t had that many full days alone at home since I was laid off, but the few I’ve had have given me a bit of a taste of retirement and the one thing I’ve noticed is that time moves pretty slowly.  I have a daily To-Do List (also known as a “Honey Do List”) and even as I plow through everything, I find time doesn’t move as quickly as it did sitting behind a desk in an office.  I wasn’t expecting that.

It’s not that it’s all bad.  I’m surprised just how much I can cram into a normally hectic day without having to answer phone calls, respond to emails or attend meetings, not to mention not having to commute with the sweaty hordes.

Most of this week will be filled with some household chores and general stuff that I’ve been putting off for a while, like getting some tailoring done and a much-needed visit to MEC.  Once all of this little crap is out of the way, I’ll be able to focus more on some of the bigger things on my list that have been there for months, or even years.

So, in the meantime, wish me luck as I play houseboy.  🙂

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I can see why Wayne Gretzky stepping down as an NHL coach is big news, but do they really have to refer to him as ‘The Great One’ when referring to his mediocre coaching career?  I mean, in his playing days, he was a dynamo and that nickname fit, but once he moved behind the bench, the magic was gone.  He was just another guy in a suit yelling swear words at the ref just as the TV camera pointed directly at him.

As a kid, I remember wanting to be like Gretzky even before I really knew who he was.  Everyone in the hockey rink would ask me if I wanted to be the next Wayne Gretzky and the answer was always yes because it seemed like I should want to be like him.

So what’s next for Gretz?  Management?  Ownership?  Head of the NHLPA?  Who knows, but wouldn’t it be great if he came to Toronto as a trainer to pass along some of that former glory?

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Today is my first full day of just chilling around the house with nothing else to do, so I’m taking advantage of the time by doing some housecleaning and chores.  It’s great to have a free day to get caught up on all the stuff that gets ignored from time to time, so long as I don’t become a houseboy who spends all his time cleaning and preening.

I’m not avoiding writing either.  I’ve given myself a bit of vacation time to get settled and next week I plan to get down to writing in one form or another.

Right now, my only problem is that I find myself having WAY too many one-sided conversations with my only work colleague… Mojo, my dog.  I figure that I’m still sane if he doesn’t start talking back to me.

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Week number one of floor hockey went off without a hitch.  We easily won our first game and I didn’t suffer even the minorest of injuries, although I’m a touch sore today after using muscles that have been in a sorry state of misuse for some time.  The only low point of the evening was the humidity in the school gym being over 100% so that even standing still, you would find yourself sweating buckets.

When I got home, there was a second reason to celebrate as Danielle had a great day at work, so we cracked open a bottle of champagne (not real champagne, but sparkling wine from Spain) and polished off the bottle while watching The Hour.  Yeah, we celebrate in style.

Today I have a meeting with my outplacement agent and then I plan on spending the night relaxing at home, or more likely cleaning our house so we don’t have to do it this weekend.  Yeah, I’m a party animal.

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So if you had all the time in the world on your hands, and you were still getting paid for a while, what would you do?  You know exactly what you would do, and that means I need your help.  We’re looking for a cheap all-inclusive vacation filled with sun and sand for later this fall (maybe), but it’s not our usual sort of vacation.  Where’s the best place to go to find a deal on a trip that won’t be full of thieves and cockroaches?

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about cheap all-inclusives and I’d prefer to avoid having a similar experience, so we need your help.  Where do we want to go?  We’re not that picky, which should make any recommendations that much easier.

So, where have you stayed and had a great time?  What sites do you use to find a cheap deal on a great trip?  The comments are open and waiting for your input.

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I’m back from the cottage, and I’m absolutely beat.  With help from my dad, I managed to get the shed foundation nearly finished and all the work needing concrete is done, so frost can now come without any worries about finishing it up before winter.  All that’s left is some work with wood and she’ll be ready for another 60 years of abuse from the elements.

I realized this weekend that I could very easily live in pioneer times except for one thing.  I can live without running water, and I can easily get by with just candlelight but I cannot handle the constant fetching of firewood from the shed to fill the woodbox.  That’s just too much work for this old, weary body.

Being up there alone meant that all the little tasks of running an old house fell squarely on my two shoulders, which included putting up the storm windows for winter and hauling water from the well and wood from the shed.  All of that was on top of the work that I actually went there to do.  Needless to say, I’m pretty ragged today, but it’s a good kind of ragged.  My hands are raw and my muscles are sore, but all of it is just a testament to the hard work I put into a house I love.

Now I’m back for my first week of getting the next few months sorted out.   More to come!

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