I watched the Toronto Mayoral
debate forum, between Olivia Chow, David Soknacki and John Tory and I had an epiphany. If I ever decide to run for Toronto Mayor, I want to be just like Olivia Chow.
Are you shocked?
I’m a fiscal conservative who would prefer to find efficiencies, reduce costs, tax less, and find ways to help everyone who needs help but as we have seen here in Toronto over the past 4-years with Rob Ford as Mayor, if you dare even make mention of cutting anything, look out.
When the Mayor commented about fact that there are a lot of libraries close together – some used much more than others – and some rarely used, he was branded a Neanderthal who couldn’t read and this fiasco even resulted in author Margaret Atwood being brought into the fray with jokes that she would be a better mayor.
If you cut, you must hate. At least that is what the left will tell everyone. Public service too large? You hate unions. Want to find cheaper ways to clean TTC busses? You hate transit. Want to not pay for things on the backs of the property taxes? You’re rich and entitled.
Who wants all that crap!
I would want to be just like Olivia. She was great in the debate.
Want better transit? “Invest”.
Want to build lots of transit lines? “Invest” and “No more studies!”
Want to engage the youth? “Invest”.
Want to fight global warming? “Invest”.
Olivia has all the answers, and at times, she had a very coy smile because she knew no matter what she said, there are around 28% of the population of Toronto who are going to vote for this modern-day Santa Claus.
You want transit? You have to pay for it. All Olivia needs to do is add a 1%
how dare you be rich taxto the land transfer tax for every house over $2-million. That will get me enough money to pay for whatever she wants.
Want more social programs? Sure! Once she adds that 1% “levy” (read: tax) on those nasty, horrible rich people (insert booing here) who dared to work hard and earn lots of money, and viola, there is money for social programs.
The debate, er, forum, went along like this through each and every question. Screw balancing the budget. Go away, you terrible rich folks. Whatever you want, Santa Chow is going to get it for you. Someone will pay for it, but let’s not let the details get in the way. With that 1% she’ll have enough money to have studies needed to build more transit (her words last night and yes the same studies she criticized John Tory for wanting to undertake instead of just building now!)
It makes no sense.
She makes no sense.
But honestly, when nobody is listening to the message, it’s easy to be generous with your promises and critical of others who don’t want to have to raise taxes in order to fulfill unrealistic promises. Where is the money going to come from to fulfill ALL her promises if the “rich” do not sell their houses or if they all move outside of the GTA?
My favourite exchange from the forum went something like this (paraphrased of course);
Q1: How would you get Toronto moving?”
A1: “More transit. Invest in Transit. Pay for it NOW. Get started NOW.”
Q2: “Google is trying unmanned transit in San Francisco. Would Toronto?”
A2: “Absolutely!! We need transit moving on all the lines. We’ll invest in that technology.”
A3: “I’ll get those too! I got free dental for seniors. Subsidized metropasses for students and I love giving away stuff. I can always raise taxes on the rich. I’m progressive. Buy now, tax now. The other candidates want to pay for studies. I say forget the studies and invest in unicorns. Why wait 10-years. Get them here now!”
Toronto may not need unicorns, but if more than one-quarter of the city blindly support Olivia Chow’s platform, maybe after the 1% land transfer tax levy, they should all be next.
Who needs fiscal restraint when you’re spending other people’s money, anyways.
This modern-day Robin Hood has it all figured out. Steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Psst… Want more trees too?
Looking For Structure While Adding Responsibilities To The Children? See How Our School-Year Started!
All things we want our children to have, when they’re older, so they are able to lead fulfilling lives and, to be honest, so we don’t have to do everything for them. But when is it the right time?
How about now!
A week before school started for my children – ages ranging from 9 to 4 – I started modeling the morning routine, while my wife and I continued to follow the exact same evening and bedtime routine she set in place when we had one child and he was still drooling and in diapers. That consistency has clearly displayed our expectations of the children and it makes the time we have with them after school more organized and enjoyable.
(Nothing screams routine than the summer when for one week the kids had no programs, no camp, and were going crazy looking for things to do. “I’m bored” was a common expression of frustration from the kids many times during each and every day.)
With all that being said, here is the schedule I presented to the children on Labour Day, and we worked through today, their first day of school. I’m sure there will be some tweaking done, but I can say that this morning’s routine was the smoothest it has been in a long time – for them and for me!
Children’s Schedule for the 2014 / 2015 School Year.
Before you come downstairs in the morning, please:
• Make Your Bed
• Get Dressed
• Clean Room / Tidy the floor
• Say good morning to your father and to each other
• Drink a glass / cup of water
• Have a piece of fruit
• Help with, or make your own, breakfast
• Eat it
When You Have Finished Breakfast:
• Rinse off your dishes
• Place them in the dishwasher, or
• Wash them, dry them and put them away
• Make sure your place is clean (no food on your chair or the floor)
Help with Lunches:
• Make sure your lunch box is out, and put in it;
• Apples sauce with a spoon
• Fill your water bottle
Go Upstairs To Your Bathroom:
• Wash your face
• Brush your hair
• Wait for Daddy to help you brush your teeth
*Hug and Kiss Mummy
• Sunscreen on / Snowpants on
• Make sure your glasses are in your bag
• Place your lunch and water bottle in your bag
8am – LEAVING the house to walk to school.
Home from school:
• Wash your hands
• Bring your lunch box to the kitchen and empty it
• Put dishes in dishwasher
• Put lunchbox on the counter
• Empty your water bottle
• Put water bottle on the counter
• Play / read / relax / enjoy.
• NO electronics during the week
• NO TV during the week
• Come to the kitchen to see what you can do to help with dinner
• Set the kitchen table – plates, cutlery, glasses, napkins, water, and the mats in the middle of the table
• Practice piano
• Spirit of Math
• Regular homework
• When You Are Finished, Ask to be Excused
• Thank Mummy for making you another amazing dinner
• After dinner take your plate, cutlery and glass to the counter. Put your napkin in the recycling under the sink
• Rinse plate and cutlery and place in the dishwasher
• Place glass in the dishwasher
• Put everything in your bag for tomorrow and place it at the front door.
• If you are having a snack, make sure you clean up properly afterwards
• Put your dirty clothes into your hamper
• Brush your teeth
• Hugs and Kisses
• NO coming out of bed! Get a good night’s sleep for another amazing day tomorrow.
Good night and sleep tight!
We love you!
The kids love the schedule, although my boys prefer a much simpler routine based on the current WWE Champion Brock Lesner;
Parents, how often has THIS happened to you?
I came into my oldest son’s bedroom this morning and on his night table was not one, but 2 tubes of toothpaste.
He was still sleeping.
I had to ask, so I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Good morning Linus!” I said.
“Hi Daddy”, was his cheery reply.
“Why are there 2 tubes of toothpaste on your night table?” I asked, without judgement.
“For the commercial!” he replied.
“Oh” I said as I thought better of asking more questions. “You can sleep more if you would like”.
I’ll tell you what’s up with the random posts that came infrequently to The Urban Daddy during the month of August.
I had a bunch of posts in my draft folder, and I scheduled them to come out while we were away on vacation. Unfortunately, I still have about 77 more of them to get through…
As for the vacation, all 5 of us filled our backpacks up and headed out for a 19-day adventure which saw us leave Toronto and arrive in Iceland, then on to The Netherlands, Belgium and Paris, France before heading back to Toronto via Iceland. The trip was fantastic, the kids were amazing and my wife is the world’s best travel planner. Seriously. She did not miss a single detail and I learned how to plan a vacation right down to places to eat, foods to buy, where to buy them and what souvenirs to seek out. She’s amazing at this.
Without getting into too much detail about the trip, I can say that we loved Iceland a lot! We rented a car, drove the Golden Circle and embraced the culture as much as we could. Icelandic people are beautiful and friendly and food is expensive, unique and tasty!
We saw waterfalls – especially the incredible Gulfoss waterfall – geysirs, hot springs and every now and then the sun would set so the kids could fall asleep. Instead of going to the Blue Lagoon, we went to a small hot spring at the base of a mountain, just past a church and peeled off our clothes, changed into bathing suits and hopped in with a couple from Denmark. It was very hot and very bubbly, like nothing we had ever seen before, and getting out of the water into the very cool air, we barely noticed the cold as we changed back into our clothes and walked back to the car.
We swam at night in the public pool near our rented house with the locals and warmed up in the hot pools where temperatures ranged from 37 degrees to 44 degrees. On the food side, we all tried the famous Icelandic hot dog (only I liked them) and Boo and myself were the only brave ones to try eating whale (which I thought was delicious and a bit gamey) but she did not like at all (insert face here). Stewie and I walked down to the bottom of the Kerið volcanic crater lake to touch the very cold blue-green water and to see there was a park bench in the water for people to sit on. I guess volcanos, lava and waterfalls are common for the locals. :)
From Iceland we flew to The Netherlands and spent 5 days in and around Amsterdam taking in the sites and sounds of this beautiful country packed with tourists. We toured the Jordaan district, the Jewish district (my wife and eldest son visited Anne Frank’s house) while me and the other 2 explored our neighbourhood. We took a day trip to beautiful Zaanse Schans to see and tour the windmills and we visited the medieval town of Bruges.
From our apartment backing onto the Vondelpark, we were close enough to pretty much everything we wanted to see, and in those 5 days, we mastered pretty much every possible method of transportation there except cycling – and we managed to not get run over or step in front of a bike on the dedicated bike paths. We took an all you can eat (Dutch) pancake boat ride plus a canal cruise, and we lucked into being there for the Pride parade on the water, which was packed and a lot of fun.
From the Netherlands, we took the train to Brussels for 5 fun days spent eating Belgium waffles, frites, chocolates and drinking the wonderful fruity beers (less than 3% alcohol).
Our apartment was close to the incredible Grand Place and we walked by the Manneqin Pis a couple of times to see what he little guy was wearing. We visited the comic book museum, saw the Smurfs, Tin Tin and Asterix and Oblix and had a nice meal out with the kids where I had, mussels, of course (I kept thinking about the Muscles from Brussels – Jean Clause Van Dam’s line from some movie where he said “How does it feel to be hunted!!”
I was disappointed with Brussels, but once I got past the site and smells of urine, vomit and litter, an insane non-functional transit system and a ton of graffiti on buildings and statues from the 1600’s, I realized how much Brussels had to offer if it could get it’s act in gear.
We took days trips to Bruges, the medieval town of Ghent and we found these areas to be beautiful and awesome for the kids.
From Brussels we took the high-speed train to Paris where we stayed in the Marais quarter for just under a week. Having spent 5-weeks in France for our honeymoon, we had high hopes for our time in Paris, hoping to show the kids the must-see sites. We saw, but did not go up the Eiffel Tower, we did walk up the Arc De Triomphe, walked the Champs-Elysées in the rain, visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and stood in the middle of Paris. We ate crepes, the kids played with boats in the Jardin du Luxembourg a we took a boat tour on the Seine.
We searched high and low for Berthillon ice cream (luxury ice cream and sorbet) only to find it closed in the month of August?!? Actually a lot of things were closed in August, and on August 15th the Assumption long weekend, there was very little open outside of the major tourist areas.
The weather in Paris was average and fluctuated between cold and rainy and hot and sunny which meant my backpack carried sweaters and umbrellas every day, plus snacks and water to keep the kids moving. We made the most of the weather, jumping into the Pompidou Centre and the Orsay Gallery when it rained, and walking around the streets when it was nice outside.
My wife managed to get a babysitter for one night in Paris so her and I went out for a lovely dinner and a stroll towards the Eiffel Tower until it started to rain and we realized that after 11pm we were getting tired, so we headed back on the Metro to our rented apartment. Getting away from the children was a much-needed break – if even for 4 hours – and the adult conversation was much appreciated.
On our last day we took the Metro to the airport, flew back to Reykjavik, then after a 2 hour layover, headed back home to TO.
The trip was awesome, the kids were fantastic, and neither my wife nor myself thought there was a chance that our 4-year-old daughter was going to be able to walk as much as we walked over 19 days, up and down stairs, in and out of museums, and without needing to be carried, but she surprised us all. She was awesome! She even learned words in Icelandic, Dutch and French.
We all came out of this vacation closer as a family, with a greater appreciation of what we have and thinner from all the exercise.
With school around the corner, I hope my kids will be able to recall some of what they saw and share with their teachers and their classmates. I can say that one week after our trip, my oldest son is watching the volcanic activity in Iceland, while my middle child has been working on a Powerpoint presentation with his pictures in it.
The break from work and school was great but it’s back to the grind come September.
While away on vacation with the family, this article was posted on the CBC website, under the Canada Writes section. It was written by Jennifer Warren, who is an amazing writer and she took my words, my thoughts and my ramblings and turned them into gold. For that I will always be grateful.
The link to the original article is right here; http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html
The article on me, The Urban Daddy, and my business, inTAXicating Tax Services and is below;
“Bringing the Modern Dad to the Blogosphere:
By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.
As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.
When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?
I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.
I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.
You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?
I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.
I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.
I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.
Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.
I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.
You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?
When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?
How does your family feel about your blog?
My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.
I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.
You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?
InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act. In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.
So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?
I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.
Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.
I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?
Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.
If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.
If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.
All images courtesy of Warren Orlans and The Urban Daddy.”
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