Today, February 21st, is my birthday. It’s actually been my birthday since 1971, and I’m not posting this to solicit birthday greetings so please do not feel obligated to do so, but I realized this morning during my drive into the office that in the 8-years that I have been blogging, and the over 1100 blog posts between The Urban Daddy, Intaxicating, and Daddy Knows Sports (which I’m not using anymore) that I have shared very little about myself. So today, in honour of my birthday I have decided to open up my kimono and reveal 42 facts about myself to shed some light into who exactly has been writing these (long) posts for so many years.
So please sit back, enjoy, there is no need to take notes, and for those of you who actually know me, there are some things here that you will not have known and for total strangers who come by frequently, I hope you will still come back. LOL.
42 things about The Urban Daddy.
42. I am not in any way affiliated with UrbanDaddy.com, although many people “like” me on Facebook for this reason, then realize I’m a Canadian Daddy blogger, and they run the other way. That site, for the record, is not a “Daddy” and while it is “Urban”, it is not an “Urban Daddy”. I am.
41. I have a full-time job outside of being a parent, husband, etc. I have been working for 18-years in the taxation industry here in Toronto. I worked at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)for almost 11 years, then I joined the private sector and have moved from a Manager, to an AVP, and now the Managing Director at Tax Solutions Canada, where this great organization of professionals help people who have tax problems work with the CRA.
40. I am a level-3 CGA, but stopped taking courses when my father, who was a CA, gave me some advice. He said, “Son. Why are you doing this to yourself? You’re terrible at this. Pick a different course of study… Please.” So I enrolled into graduate school 3 days after our first child Linus was born, and completed my MBA 3-years later.
39. I was a typical 80’s kid, growing up. Overweight, bad skin, big plastic-framed glasses and a mullet. Thankfully I grew out of it.
38. In middle school I carried my baseball glove everywhere and was too busy with sports to do my school-work. I told my mother I was going to quit school to be come a professional soccer player – yet I was never good at soccer. I was also the kid who showed leadership in everything I did yet struggled in school. When I applied myself I excelled. I earned 50’s through grade 8, 70’s in high-school, 75 (B+) through University and 85-90’s (A/A+) in Grad school.
37. I was bullied as a child in public school. In middle school I was picked on for being Jewish. In Hebrew school, I was bullied for being over-weight.
36. After high-school, I lost 50lbs and found my voice.
35. After our second child, Stewie was born – he was such a difficult child for the first 10-months of his life that I herniated a disc in my back carrying him all the time. I asked my physiotherapist to please allow me to tie my shoes on my own. She got me into shape and one year later I ran a 5k race in 33-minutes (without stopping).
34. I tend to be a little right-wing in my political views, but fiscally conservative, not right-wing extreme in any way. I’m pro-choice – A woman should decide what she wants to do with her body. I believe marriage is for anyone and everyone, if they want to, and I don’t care who you marry, or sleep with. I believe no one deserves to carry guns unless they are protecting people and you have the right to free speech and practice whatever religion you want, until you either insult someone else, or try to convert them to your beliefs. Like my mother used to say, “Look at your own plate.” Don’t look at what I’m eating or how I’m eating it. Mind your own peas.
33. I’m left-handed and actually started a left-handed club while at University to help get left-handed desks in some of the lecture halls where they were all the way on the left-side of the room. Personally, I needed to sit front-middle, so I could see.
32. I have never tried drugs. Ever. Not a puff of anything. That being said, I do think that certain drugs should be legal and taxed. Take the criminal element away and increase revenues.
31. I see people as human-beings on one giant planet. I don’t see race, or colour and I was really embarrassed when working at the CRA where I delivered a lot of training and we had a new employee from West Africa with a VERY heavy accent and I could not for the life of me understand him. I was devastated. He kept asking questions and I couldn’t understand him. That was over 10-years ago, but it stays with me.
30. I’m a terrible friend. I never learned what it means to be a good friend and I don’t have any friends from when I was young. Certainly makes it challenging as an adult, however, we’re meeting lots of great parents through school events.
29. My voice is a little on the higher-pitched side and I used to mumble sometimes when I spoke very quickly, but I am also just under 6 feet tall and 225lbs, so no slouch at all. I used to deepen my voice when I answered my phone at the government so people wouldn’t call me Mrs. I even had a guy tell me he was coming to see me at the Tax Office so he could “kick the shit out of me” because I sounded like a “weak, little man”. He came. I greeted him in the meeting room, and he was about 6ft2, 350lbs, but when he saw me he apologized for his actions and within 5 minutes being in the meeting room, he was bawling his eyes out talking about his tax problem. It’s unfortunate that people feel violence is the best solution.
28. I have no tattoos, but I have my ear pierced. I wanted to pierce it so badly when I was 14 but my mother said no, and it wasn’t until my wife convinced me to do it at age 30 when I finally did it. Now, at my age, I’m not so sure I want or need it…
27. I’m a great defensive driver. I let cars out, I wave thank you, I don’t cut cars off and I do the speed limit. But if you piss me off, Karma will box you in and I’ll be on one side laughing to myself while you stew.
26. I say “bless you” when someone sneezes. Anyone. Anywhere.
25. I love Canadian music.
24. My musical influences were Queen and the Police when I was young. Then Def Leppard, Platinum Blonde, Bon Jovi, STP, Soundgarden, Green Day all the way through Rob Zombie, Saliva, etc. I like my music loud, hard, with a great beat and no screaming. I’m also awesome on SongPop. All genres, any year. Challenge me! I dare you.
23. I support the Canadian Armed Forces – I prefer if there were no wars – but there are bad dudes everywhere and we need our troops to keep us safe.
22. I’m in awe of my wife for so many reasons including the way she runs our household and has led the raising of our children. She’s been supportive of all of us and sadly I have not taken her out enough. She needs so time away from the house, the kids and the responsibilities. She certainly earned it.
21. I’m in awe of my children. They fascinate me. They’re smart, good-looking, friendly and they laugh a lot. I find myself looking at them, staring at them amazed at how they are developing and hoping they can stay that happy forever. They have no idea how nasty the world can be and unless we can create a nasty laser to zap away all the scumbags, they’re going to need to be watched over to make sure they stay safe while they find their way in the world. Oh, and at 8, 6 and 3, I have a little time.
20. I am externally motivated so I seek confirmation that I’m doing a good job / staying on track often. I’ve learned to read the signs so I don’t annoy. If you want to help me you can “like” The Urban Daddy on Facebook or follow this blog (or follow The Urban Daddy on Twitter).
19. The glass is half-full. Always.
18. My favourite number and the number of my ball-hockey jersey. I’ve played ball-hockey in a league (not floor hockey in a gym, but ball hockey in an arena – no ice and running) for 23 years and I’m getting better and better each year. I’m shocked at the improvement, but loving it.
17. I hate to lose more than I like to win. In everything I do. My ball-hockey team was 0-62 before we won a game and it felt okay to win, but when we lose I’m pissed. That goes to everything I do. Success and winning is great, but the other side really gets me going.
16. I used to have no sense of direction whatsoever until my wife taught me how to navigate my way out of a wet paper bag. Once, in France for our honeymoon, it was getting dark and we were in the countryside driving on a dirt road surrounded by lavender and sunflowers. I was beginning to worried that we would need to sleep in the car but my wife made me stop, she got out of the car and pointed off to her right, and within 10 minutes we were at the B&B we had booked. I have no idea how she knew to go that way, but she gets it and I’ve been learning from the pro.
15. Nice guys do finish last, and after being sick of being passed over and left behind, I’ve brought in a little bad ass / I don’t give a f*ck attitude and it’s helped me tremendously with my confidence and getting things done. I no longer take sh*t, but I’m still really polite and kind to service people no matter the place or the service. They’re people too, and deserve to be treated with respect. But when I have a task to get done for myself, my family or a client, look out. I play to win.
14. I’ve realized you cannot pick your neighbours, your family or your nose. You get what you get and you don’t be upset. Plus, I’m big into forgive and forget. I’m just hoping others are too.
13. I am passionate about things and sometimes that passion can get confused with a lack of patience. If I know I am right, I will do whatever I have to do to get others on my side and go that way. I had a keychain as a kid that read; “Diplomacy. The ability to tell someone to go to hell and make sure they will enjoy the trip.”
12. I don’t like clutter and sometimes in my odd way to keep my personal space in order, I line up things, like shoes, to keep them neat. I might be a little OCD on that side.
11. My father passed away 10 years ago, and my grandfather 8 years ago, right after we went on a vacation to Poland to visit his birth place. I actually have someone right now who is not speaking to me because “[I] don’t know what it’s like to lose a father.” I’m not upset. I feel for them because they said something in a time of grieving which was factually incorrect and one day they’ll realize it and I’ll forgive and forget. Life’s too short.
10. I love coffee. Flavoured coffee, actually, and have been compiling a list of the best coffee in Toronto for 3 years. My last ranking reached McDonald’s Canada, Tim Horton’s, Country Style and Starbucks Canada. These brands have amazing marketing and social media practices.
9. I had bells palsy as a child, which resulted in paralysis of half of my face for almost a year. I was lucky I recovered 98% of my functioning and only have the slightest sign of the virus when I’m tired. The left part of my lip is ever so slightly higher than the right side.
8. I have always had body-issues from being a solid shaped child and for the longest time I refused to take off my shirt to swim even though I love swimming and even though when I was running and going to the gym at lunchtime. I have been in pretty good shape since the end of high-school. I will never ever be that 150lb skinny guy. As it is, my shoulders and back are so big that I need a larger shirt / jacket to fit my shape. When I was 13-years-old, I fit into a size 56 jacket. I was in a 42 pant (maybe more – as high as a 48, I’ve blocked this from my memory), but now I’m a size 36 pant and a 46 tall jacket.
7. I was asked to contribute my thoughts to the OHIP4IVF awareness campaign and realized that I have found a cause that I strongly believe in. Now I just need to help convince the government the same thing…
6. I once asked then Toronto Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Riccardi for a tryout with the Jays, at a breakfast with the Blue Jays function. He must have thought I was nuts, but he asked me this; “Do you have any experience? Have you ever played ball?” I replied, “No. But I’m left-handed, I’ve been clocked as fast as 88mph and I’m deadly accurate with a baseball.” He then thought about it and said to me, “The day I sign a 38-year-old pitcher is the day I need to start looking for a new job.” Sure enough 3 weeks later he signed a left-handed 38-year-old pitcher from Japan with a career 5.38 era. Not long after he was looking for a new job.
5. I did some fundraising for Karen Stintz when she was just getting elected, and we raised a ton of cash to help her out. She was very appreciative and good to the community. I hope she can find her way again and help lead the right-wing on Toronto City Council move some stuff through.
4. After sponsoring 4 nannies over 8-years through the Canadian Live-In Caregiver program – and helping them settle in Canada once they fulfilled the terms and conditions of the program, I dubbed myself an expert on the CLICP. I regularly post about it and get contributing articles from others in the industry. As a matter of fact, readers from the Philippines are the 3rd most popular readers to visit here daily – after Canada and the US.
3. I used to be horrible with money until my wife (probably fiancée back then) taught me a great lesson about impulse purchases. She froze my credit card and debit card in a block of ice so when I needed it to make an impulse purchase, she said I could do that but I would need the ice to melt on it’s own first. And by the time the ice melted I didn’t want or need that purchase. The cards actually stayed in the freezer for almost 7 months while I got my spending under control. Now… I’m very good with it.
2. I, um, err, Ahhh, I… Fine. I like wrestling. It’s like a male soap opera with strong guys and girls in it. I like the music, it makes me laugh and and I’m impressed with their athleticism. Plus, my kids love it. My daughter wants to be Kane when she grows up.
1. I made it through the entire day without telling anyone – not one person – that today was my birthday, except the 2500 people who follow this blog, mind you. This was a first for me, who usually tells anyone and everyone. Now I feel better.
Honourable mention: I love escargots, but hate bamboo shoots and water chestnuts…
It seems like only yesterday when I was trying to figure out how to gear up for a tax-reporting season with our daughter on the way and unlike our previous two children, I was in no position to take any time off to spend with my family.
Then she arrived.
Now, today, she turned three years old!
Happy birthday Boo!
… and yes, girls are easier… at this age. :)
So, Boo had her birthday party last Thursday because our nanny, Gamay, headed off today for a 7-week vacation back home in the Philippines and we wanted to make sure she was here for Boo’s birthday. Gamay has been with us since Stewie was almost 3-years-old, or around 3 1/2 years and her and Boo are quite the team. Boo tickles her and Gamay has taught Boo how to speak, count and sing in Tagalog. The two of them run upstairs in the mornings only to return 20 minutes later and Boo’s hair is braided and clipped up in a wonderfully different way each time, the teachers and Boo’s school can’t wait to see what style Boo will be sporting each day. LOL.
When asked what she wanted for her birthday, Boo replied, “Hello Kitty cupcakes, cake and green beans”. So easy to buy for. I baked somewhere near 120 medium cupcakes for her party which my wife decorated the day before the event, Teamwork!
The funny thing about having a birthday party for a three-year-old before her birthday, then taking her out for her birthday dinner on her actual birthday is that she thought she had 2 birthdays this year, the party being her birthday and tonight’s dinner out being her “other” birthday.
The only hiccup today was Linus trying to explain to her that she was still 2, until after 11pm because she was born that late at night. She kept checking with us, “Am I still 2?” and the more we tried to explain, the more upset she got. So we gave up and said, “yes, today is your birthday and you are three”.
Having a three-year-old means we finally get to push through some parenting improvements her way, like getting her away from asking us to feed her when she’s lazy, or asking us to take off her shoes every now and then. She’s 3 now. She has been sleeping commando for a couple of month now, but we agreed when she turned 3, she could get out of her bed in the middle of the night if she needed to pee instead of calling for me and waking up the house.
That might result in sleep…
So aside from that, it’s amazing to see what an awesome little girl she has turned in to. Still a much smaller version of my wife, Boo loves to sing, loves the colour pink, her Hello Kitty’s, elephants, unicorns and her brothers. She looks more and more like she’s going to be left-handed like me and I think she’s going to be my only hockey player.
She’s sweet, she’s fun, she’s awesome and she’s 3.
Finally you are 6-years-old today (tonight to be more specific). Wow.
To be honest, it kind of feels like you’ve been 6 for a long time already. You and you almost 8-year-old brother are often mistaken for twins. You eat the most at one seating than your family, including me, and I’ve been known to pack back the food in my day. You are strong like a bull, like your father, which you proved to us and a bunch of 6-year-old’s when you singlehandedly helped your team win a tug-of-war where you were the anchor. You are driven, determined, serious, focussed and everything else that people look at and follow up with “wow”. Quite frankly if I didn’t see your birth with my own eyes, I would have thought you were switched at birth.
I mean you are the reason why I herniated the disc in my back – because until you were 10 months old, you refused to sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time. I carried you morning, noon and night – even though all you wanted was food and mummy. Mummy also had Linus to take care of, so it was me or the cry-way. Tough luck for you! You were stuck with me.
Looking back now I should have known how you would be at 6-years-old… When you were born – a planned home birth – your breathing was shallow so the mid-wives stepped out of our bedroom to call 911 (forgetting that our parents were on the main floor listening and becoming quite worried – I remember my mother calling me as the mid-wives were explaining that calling for backup just in case was a standard practice from babies with shallow breathing – asking me if everything was alright because she heard the call, whereas we did not. But after seeing what you did when you were given oxygen by the mid-wives – you ripped the tube from your mouth over and over again, we all knew you would be just fine! You didn’t want it. You didn’t need it. You didn’t have it.
Fast forward to today and you are the same size and weight as your 7-year-old brother. You look older than you are, you act older than you are and you have an old soul who comes across as a kind, compassionate boy who asks really great questions – some not so great mind you (If Big Show fought all the birds in the world, who would win?).
You love school but get frustrated that you’re not learning fast enough – like after the 2nd day when you wanted to quit school because you were colouring with crayons and you could do that at home, you certainly didn’t need to go to school for that – and you get frustrated when your classmates talk during class or (gasp) try to talk to you when there is work to be done. You also somehow failed to mention to us last year that you were reading at a beginning grade 2 level when you were finishing senior kindergarten. You excel at karate and swimming. You are a trusting friend until someone does you wrong, then you have a memory of an elephant, yet your big brother is your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time. You two fight, then within a few minutes you’ve made up and are playing together again like nothing happened.
You have a very strong sense of justice, and as a result you always protect your brother and sister and I’ve often told the story about how, when you were 2-years-old, a 6-year-old boy took your brother’s balloon. After he had asked for it back, unsuccessfully, you stepped in and grabbed this boy by the shirt, looked him in the eyes and said “I’m going to throw you in the garbage!” He handed you the balloon and quickly walked away. You passed that balloon to your brother and went on playing like nothing happened.
You are a piano whiz, and you said you want to try the violin and learn your way up, trying all the string instruments, until you get to the big ones, like a cello.
When asked what you want to be when you grow up, you replied with; “Everything!” I finally got you to confirm it was because you wanted to know what you would really be good at want to do for the rest of your life.
When I blog about things you have said, like punching G-d, my hits go through the roof. You’re very funny, and the reason we started a Twitter account for you, called @LittleBoyPurple which we don’t update any more, but you probably will one day because you’re a hoot!
So, son, I want to wish you a very happy 6th birthday. I love you and please, keep feeding me the material, and let me know when that middle child syndrome has set in. :)
My Grandmother (or Bubi as we call her) turned 89 on the 6th of July and we had her over for dinner along with my mother and my sister on her birthday. It had been a while… Too long, actually, but I came to realize that I think 89 is the new 69 because she looks fantastic.
When setting up the table for dinner, my boys, Linus and Stewie each wanted to sit beside their “More Bubi” (my mother is their Bubi, so Linus when he was almost 2, started calling my Bubi “more Bubi”, because there were more than one. Oddly enough, that stayed with her until Berry began to talk and she would always correct me and refer to my Bubi as “White Bubi” because of her beautiful white hair. On Friday night she called her “More Bubi). Thankfully, Berry wanted to sit beside my sister because she simply adores my sister.
So no sooner than the meal started when my kids began the unplanned interrogation of my Bubi;
“How old are you?”
“When I’m 85-year-old, how old will you be?”
“Who is your mother?”
“Where is she?”
“How old is she now?”
“How did 3 people live on one onion a day for food?”
“What was Russia (Ukraine) like?”
“Why don’t you come visit more?”
… and so it went.
I actually learned a lot about my Bubi and my mother from this attack, to be honest, things I did not know, such as; they left the Ukraine after the war (WWII) when my mother was 7 months old, and they came to Canada via Halifax when my mother was 3-years-old (that I knew). What I did not know was for that period in between they were in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
Not sure how that gets missed in ALL the discussions we’ve had over our lifetime…
I also did not know that my Bubi peels her potatoes because back in Russia they were so poor that they would eat peels that others discarded and my Bubi said if she ever had enough money to buy whole potatoes she would never eat a peel again.
My kids heard this story and were shocked.
I think more conversations like this might help put in perspective how lucky they are and treat them to respect the food the get to eat and the toys and technologies they have to play with.
I left it in my mother’s hands to set up another dinner… Soon… So we can continue on with the questions and my kids can get to know my Bubi as well as I do (thought I did).
I’m not going to start with the old adage; “Boy time sure flies” because it’s been a LONG, tiring 7 years, but Tuesday marked our oldest son, Linus’, 7th birthday.
I sat with him last night, reflecting on the first 6 year of his life – I mistakenly referred to him as being 7 when he corrected me. “Dad, I’m not seven. From when I was born until I turned 1 was one year. I’m already 7. This is my 8th year being alive”.
Right you are… Smart ass.
So I went further hoping in my pathetic way to get a good quote from him to tweet. His brother and sister are destroying him with tweetable quotes and here’s what I got;
On growing older and being a leader: “Respect is the most important thing in the world”. Not bad, eh? All this brainwashing is rubbing off, until this came out; “Actually, respect is the second most important thing in the entire world. Not dying before you are born is the most important”.
Who can argue that point.
So to my 7-year-old (or 8-year-old, whatever you want to call yourself) when you are reflecting back on this post down the road and you want to know what kind of child you were by this age I can tell you this. Before you I had hair. It was black, not grey. You have the best smile in the world, but not the goofy one, the real one. It is not correct that you “do not care” about absolutely everything, but instead you don’t mind, or are not concerned. Saying you do not care means all the cool stuff we buy you and all the trips we’ve gone on as a family are a waste of time and I know that is not correct.
It’s fun being the class clown, isn’t it. I was one too until I awoke one day to realize I was a joke with crappy grades. I turned it around and fast. Please don’t wait until grade 9 like I did.
If only you would practice… Anything. Karate, piano, swimming, then your brother would not be catching up to you and passing you. On the bright side while he may be your equal in these areas, you destroyed him at potty training and night-time diaper training and your math skills are off the charts.
You are hesitant to try anything new or different but trust me that will change when you realize what a rush it is. Then you’ll be looking for adventure in all the wrong places.
You love the cold. Aside from me, you are the only person I have met who does not get cold outside. No hat, no gloves, jacket undone, even at the coldest of temperatures. You look at me, I look back at you and we silently nod an understanding to each other than it’s Canada. It gets cold. We’re tough (and a little cool).
You are starting to like Star Wars. YAY. All I need is get you to practice baseball and hockey more, or dodge ball, then you will better fit in with all the boys. The ones you don’t get along with should respect your karate skills and the girls will continue to dig your awesome smile. Your parents… They want to see a more focussed son with greater patience.
Yeah, good luck. I told your mother that too.
Happy birthday son. I cannot wait to work with you and plan your year.