Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things That Happened While My Kids Were Away at Camp Arowhon


My children are growing up!  My boys actually went away to sleepover camp for just under 2-weeks earlier this summer and that marked the first time my middle son was away from us for longer than one day.  My oldest son had been away for a weekend at camp but never anything this long.  I think we worried more than they did, to be honest.

We got them ready for camp at the end of last summer but talking about it a lot, and spending considerable amounts of time speak with different camps and upon deciding on Camp Arowhon we then spent 304 more months getting them ready and buying the stuff they needed for their stay.

We chose Camp Arowhon because of the owner, Joanna Kates’ views on bullying.  She has a zero-tolerance policy and she also carefully chooses councillors and who attends the camp.  It almost felt like we had to get the go ahead nod before we wrote that cheque and there were times when I was not sure we were going to be allowed to send our kids there.

In the end it was all worth while as the kids loved it there.  They rode horses, sailed, learned to canoe, paddle their own kayak and most importantly they grew up.

Another wonderful feature about Arowhon is the 100% ban on electronics.  If it’s found, it’s taken away for good.  Not just for the campers but also for the councillors too.  Kids are there for fun, sun and learning, not for video games, texting and other electronic things.  The camp also does not have a parents day, there are no pictures on the website and if kids and parents wish to communicate it’s through hand-written letters.  We actually received 7 letters from our kids and sent 3 of them  That was a lot of fun too.

And the food… The food was great according to my kids.  My middle son even went as far as to say that the soup was better as good as the soup Mummy makes.  Joanne, if you were not aware, is the food critic for The Globe and Mail newspaper – has been for 25-years – so if anyone knows anything about good food, it’s Joanne.

So with our boys away for 12 days, we were left with our daughter – her first time as an only child - we were experiencing new and different things, so here are 13 things that happened / we did / while our sons were having the time of their lives at camp.

So sit back, grab the bug spray, leave the iPod at home, slap on the sun-screen and get read for the list!

 

  1. For the first time in her little life, our daughter had us all to her self, and she did not leave us alone for a second.  It was amazing getting to spend so much time with her, not having to share that attention with her brothers and not having to compete with them for our time.  Plus she’s still at that age where by 7pm she’s exhausted and ready for bed! .

  2. We hopped in the car and made a run for the border – crossing at Niagara Falls (no line up whatsoever) and even after being questions over and over again as to why we were heading across on a Friday morning) we went, shopped, slept, shopped some more and slide back into Canada (only one car in front of us) without a hitch..

  3. We took apart the kids bedrooms and put them back together again… Cleaner, with much less junk, and in a manner which we expect them to keep it in for at least one day when they get back.

  4. The garden grew!  Raspberries (red ones, purple ones and golden ones), green beans, yellow beans, currents… They all made an appearance and we eaten.  Yum.

9. We slept in.  All of us.  By sleeping in, I mean past 6am.  7am is about the latest I’ve slept in the last 8-years.  But 7:30am was an absolute dream!

  1. My wife and I went out… together.. on a date.  I figures since we actually had to speak to each other for 12 days, it might be nice to take advantage of the relative calm and go out.  You know what happened, folks… By 9pm we were exhausted.  But we trooped, stayed out until 11pm, then went home to sleep.

  2. We got caught up on laundry.  We washed everything!  Comforters, duvets, everything because we knew once camp was over and the house was back to 5 people, we would never catch up.

  3. I got to bed early… Twice.  Early for me used to be 11pm, but I’ve been finding that since I started my own business I never stopped having enough to do around the house, so early quickly became 2am.  I actually got in to bed at 9pm one night and by 10:30 another night.  Amazing.

5. I was outnumbered… In more than one way.  Aside from being one male to two females, many long-time readers will recall that my wife kept her last name when we got hitched, and before we had kids we agreed that any boys we had would take my last name, and any girls would take her last name.   I was in the minority.

  1. My oldest son returned with the new-found ability to play the guitar.  As a matter of fact, the day after he arrived home, he asked me this; “Daddy, is that Sweet Home Alabama playing on the radio?”  Then he said; “I can play that on the guitar!”  Sweet!

3. My middle child learned to horseback ride and he loved it!!  Who knew?!?

2. My boys grew up.  They just seemed so different.  My oldest son did not want to come home – he wanted to stay for a couple more weeks (even wrote a letter to us which arrived the day after he came home saying “send more envelopes!  I’m staying for 2 more weeks, and tell my sister I love her and I miss her.”  My younger son, clearly no longer worried about spending time away from home seemed older, more relaxed, and cooler.  Camp did him well.

As someone who never went to camp – I started working full-time in the summers when I was 14-years-old so I could buy plastic goalie pads for our street hockey games, I kept it up and paid for University.  Camp would have been nice, but University was better.  Now that I see how the kids have changed after just 12 days away, I wonder what it will be like next summer after a month away, and if this is the beginning of the kids independence.

  1. We missed them!  Not at first and not always but in those moments when the chaos slows down and we get to breathe, live, relax and look around we realize what a huge part of our lives those children have become and we miss having them around to share with, listen to and teach.

Now they’re back and we get to talk about camp next year!  2 weeks or 1 month…

 

Thursday Thirteen: You’re turn! 

Did you go to camp as a kid?  What did you like the most and what did you hate?  If you did not, what did you do instead?

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Ponders His Usefulness


The absolute best trait a person with ADD-like symptoms possesses is the ability to think about 45 different things over the course of one full minute.

Since today is Thursday, I’d like to put together 13 items that have crossed my mind in the past 13 minutes – many of course coming as a result of something one of my children has said to me, about me, recently when he questioned my (in)ability to help his with his homework.

  1. On the weekend my son needed help with a project for his math enrichment class. I wanted him to at least try it before asking for help, but I knew that he was hungry and when he’s hungry he is helluva cranky. Not realizing that his crankiness was meant for his mother whom he wanted to work with, my offer of help generated this reply from him; “I DON’T want your help! You’re useless!!”

This lead to #12.

  1. Being called “useless” by a 7-year-old child with low blood sugar is hilarious. I didn’t want to help him anyways! It’s the weekend and I have other things to do… Even things for (gasp) me!

Then I started thinking… See #11.

  1. Then as I set out looking to help one of my other children with schoolwork, I started to think about what my son called me when I came to the conclusion he’s off base. I’m 43-years-old. I’m married. I’m a great dad. I have 3 children, and have 3-years of accounting qualifications under my belt, plus a MBA which I earned while that child was a baby sleeping only 2-3 hours at a time for almost the first year of his life! I am far from useless.

Or…

  1. They say (and I don’t know who “they” are or if this even counts as a fact) that if you can question whether you are “crazy” then you must not be “crazy”. Granted terminology is terrible, but what if I’ve been telling myself that I am useful all these years but in the eyes of my kids, I’m already a dinosaur incapable of helping out wit Grade 2 math… Maybe I do belong in the museum of life.

  2. Or… If I was subconsciously pulling a fast one on my kids to get out of having to help them with their math. I mean when I was growing up and my family decided that I needed to help make lunches before bed, I sabotaged their lunches and was never asked to help out again.

  3. But after a hug from mummy and a handful of grapes, I could hear the cries for “DADDY!!!” from the child who actually needed my help… I think.

  4. I made him apologize. I didn’t need it, but I wanted him to get used to saying sorry. It’s not easy for everyone to say but it’s powerful and liberating to clear your conscience.

  5. Even at 7-years-old, children do not like to be forced to apologize, yet when they know they need help and you are their only option, you get the short, unemotional, “sorry”.

  6. Then we got down to business, and after 2-hours or being creative and cutting, solving, gluing and decorating this project, the light-bulb went on in both of our heads.

  7. It had become my project and it had to be good. Really good.

  8. Daddy was doing his project and it was looking good… Really good.

  9. I stepped back and said to him, “Hey man! It’s your project, not mine. We’re going to do whatever you want to do. Please don’t let me take over or tell you what to put where I think it goes. It’s all yours (and in the back of my mind, while he’s staring at this piece of art, I know he’s thinking it’s awesome and I’m thinking – still think I’m useless?)

  10. He takes over. He colours, aligns, decorates, fixes, alters, and adjusts the project and now it’s ALL his. It’s amazing,

He turns to me with his eyes wide as saucers and says; “I love you Daddy!”

Totally worth it!

Thursday Thirteen – Wrestling Edition


This week’s Thursday Thirteen is going to be all about Wrestling. With the Royal Rumble just last weekend and TNA Impact undergoing some sort of transformation I thought it might be a good time to air my thoughts and get some feedback from the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community).

So sit back, take your vitamins, say your prayers and don’t make me F5 you!

  1. Is it TNA or Impact? I watch these shows each and every week and I hope they are able to pull through, but after all these years I still don’t get it. For example, it’s “TNA Genesis”, and the World title belt says “TNA” on it, but the turnbuckles and ring apron say “Impact Wrestling”.

  2. Austin Aries is fantastic! This guy is gold. He reminds me of a young Ric Flair but he needs to stay in TNA. He’s the King there… He is someone who I would pay to see!

  3. I can understand why CM Punk left the WWE. Batista, Brock Lesner, the New (Old) Age Outlaws… Listen to the fans. They detest these guys. They’re boring. They’re old. I don’t want to see them more than once. I don’t want to even see them in a match beating 3MB.

  4. Speaking of 3MB… Is it not time for Drew McIntyre to step up and out of the group. He reminds me of a thinner Barry Windham. I could see them in matches and Drew doing all the work then developing a nasty attitude and taking off on his own. He could be a Paul Heyman guy!

  5. TNA / Impact does a terrible job of character development. I’ll fast forward through Gunner, and even Bobby Roode and James Storm lack charisma.  Plus, the Bro Mans???  How did that just sneak out of nowhere…

  6. Still on TNA / Impact – What’s up with the title changes? They come at the worst time. Gail Kim on a roll – destroying everyone in sight, and then back comes Madison Rayne who was a villain last time we saw her, and then boom. Title change.

  7. BroMans? Really?  I think the problem here is that I have been having a hard time taking them seriously based on their character development.  Then they become champs, and added Zena Ion, and now it seems they are just getting to that point where they look like a tag team.

  8. What’s up with the Daniel Bryan Wyatt thing? The build up was long and obvious, and then it happened and then it unhappened.  It doesn’t get mentioned, and now Bryan is back fighting the “Authority” and Bray Wyatt is all over the World title scene.  How?  Why?  I think they need to cover up this mess by having the Wyatt’s add another member coming into the fold / cult.

5.  Rumour has it that Sting has signed with the WWE.  Why?  It feels like it’s too little too late, no?  He’s old, wrestles with a t-shirt on and has been beaten by EC3 and other WWE cast-offs.

4.  Naomi.  She is the real deal.  Naomi vs. AJ and then Naomi taking off as pretty much the only female wrestler on the roster not named Tamina Snuka.  Then after so ass-kicking they can remove the “Divas” championship and bring back the “Woman’s” title.

3.  Dolph Ziggler is the real deal.  He needs to emulate Shawn Michaels and please, lose that pink hair!  He is the other guy I would pay to watch live because he works his butt off and takes all the bumps.  He’s a main eventer!

2.  So is Danial Bryan if they would let him go…  and so is Cody Rhodes!

1.  I appreciate that MVP has come in to save TNA / Impact but we’ve seen this gimmick before and it didn’t work.  I hope this doesn’t bust like the Shockmaster, but I hope it helps generate more interest and keeps the product alive.  TNA / Impact is NOT the WWE.  Never will be, but old WWE stars need somewhere to go

Honourable mention to the camerawork in the WWE.  They have got to STOP the in-and-out camera work.  It’s frustrating, annoying and makes it hard to watch the action!

Thoughts?

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Answers His Mail. 13 of them.


Something a little new today.

My Thursday Thirteen this week is going to cover the 13 most commonly asked emails that I have received at realurbandaddy@gmail.com.  I do get a LOT of email and if I had the time, I would love to be able to reply to all of it, and it does take me some time to reply, but I have some left over messages all along the same theme, which I am going to answer here.

Sit tight, get your pen and paper ready – or a Dictaphone if  you have one or even know what it is – and let’s get ready to learn how to reply to tough, challenging emails.  Urban Daddy style.

Thursday Thirteen Autumn

13. Why don’t you blog so much anymore?

Great and most common question.  I do blog as much as before, however, now that I have my own business, a lot of my posts are headed there.  The rest of the post for The Urban Daddy are sitting in my drafts folder.  There is something like 113 of them in there.

Another problem is that as my readership increases I feel some responsibility to actually make sense in my posts.  Gone are the days of 10 readers per day and me writing posts at 1am.  Now I write, edit, review, fact-check, edit then save to drafts.

I’m going to write more… I promise.

You can also find some of my thoughts when I’m too lazy to blog them over at my Facebook page; www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realurbandaddy.  I’m on Tumblr, Google Plus, Pinterest… Everywhere, but those are the main 3.  Please “like” me and add me where possible.  I always add back.

12. Are you affiliated with that big Urban Daddy website in the US?

Nope.  They did ask me, however, to kindly hand over my social media sites which are in the name “Urban Daddy”.  I politely declined since I was blogging as Urban Daddy before they came to be.  So I asked them kindly to hand over ownership of all their social media sites to me.  I never heard back, lol, but soon thereafter all the URLs which were close to mine were scooped up.

Point taken.

I also get a LOT of pitches and product-testing requests but I politely turn them down if they are not something I would not use, or if they are not going to directly benefit you guys – my readership – but I love to get them from local (Canadian) companies because it’s easy for me to toss something onto my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy) if you have not gone there, go there now and like me.  Please.

11. Why do blog about coffee?

Ohhh.  I love coffee.  But I’m more than just a medium roast kind of guy.  I like adventure, and something different so I’m big into the flavours.  I actually used to test the new flavours at Java Joe’s near my office – a treat for me – which is where I fell in love with Blueberry coffee.  Blueberry coffee, if you didn’t know is huge on the East coast of Canada and in the US, but for some reason has not hit the mainstream here in TO as of yet.

Blueberry is way better than, for example, Raspberry Chocolate coffee, and light-years better than Irish Cream or boring Vanilla Hazelnut.

So now where can you buy this coffee you ask…

Well since you all cannot come over to my house, you will be thrilled to learn that there is an amazing Canadian company called Java Works Coffee(http://www.javaworkscoffee.ca/) , out of Mississauga, Ontario, and they sell coffee and teas to restaurants, offices and – yay – customers through their factory outlet.  So on Friday I dropped in to this store and was blown away with the selection, the staff and the smell when you first walk into the door.  WOW.

I left with some teas and 1lb bags of the following coffees;

  • Blueberry Bliss
  • French Toast
  • Cinnamon Apple Spice
  • Mint Chocolate Chip

After testing them all I can say that each one is better than the next.

10. Do you really like Wrestling?

Yes.  Like it a lot.  And yes, I know it is fake.  I’ve been watching this male soap opera since I was a boy (which is a really long time ago!)  If you gotta problem with that, come see my and I’ll put you in a headlock, then powerbomb you.  :)

9. The best Daddy blogs usually are written by Stay at Home Dads (SAHD). Why?

Funny.  I’ve always felt that the SAHM (Stay at home Mom) blogs are the best, and clearly the Dads are right up there now because they are there with the kids and doing the things that many of us do on a daily basis.  I have always said that I felt no one wants to read a blog about kids from a parent who works full-time unless they are able to spend enough time with the kids, or capture a moment, which will make good print.  I just wish I had more time to read these great blogs…

8. Would you consider yourself a parent expert? Why or why not?

I would and only because I have 3 children and after changing many diapers, and being there for feedings, changings, programs, school, school events, I can honestly say that I sacrificed my career to spend time with my kids and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

7. Where in the world are you?

I’m everywhere!  LOL.  No really.  I’m in Toronto, Ontario. Canada.  A very large, beautiful city in the best country in the world.

6. How Conservative are your views?

Fiscally conservative – Very.

A lot of my other views tend to learn more towards the centre from the left side.  So I feel people should work for their money, and if they use that money to buy things for themselves, others do not have the right to steal from them, however if people are unable to work – really unable to work, that they should be a social network to allow them to live above the poverty line and be able to contribute to society in whatever ways they can,

5. I see you post a lot about IVF. Is it because you used it?

Actually no.  We were fortunate enough to not need IVF, however from a moral and financial perspective, I feel that governments should fund IVF treatments for those families who want it.  The savings to our tax system would be huge and it’s a really nice thing for governments to do while trying to figure out why infertility is on the rise.

4.  What are some other great blogs you can recommend?

I have actually been meaning to prepare a Friday blog post called the “Friday Follow Five” and use that to go to a favourite blog I follow, then read the first post, and use either the comments on that post or the blogroll on the side to go to another blog, then do the same until I have read and summarized 5 posts and provided details in the post.  In the meantime, please visit the blogs in my blogroll.  They’re amazing.

3.  How long have you been blogging and how long will it take me to get readers?

Well, I’ve been blogging since 2004 and to be honest, make sure you do it for love and not for getting famous because it takes a LOT of TLC to get a blog off the ground.  Essentially, you need to not use my blog as the model, because you need to post frequently, read and comment on other blogs often, build relationships with your readers, and write things others want to read.  Having a pretty blog, and nice title, and the proper length articles is also important…

Good luck!

2.  Your posts are too long.  Some are really off-topic.  Why do you do that?

LOL.  I get this a lot.

They are not off-topic for people who come here randomly looking for specific topics.  I do, however, agree that I am long-winded and I try to fix it, but I just can’t.  I talk this way too.  I have to build up the back-story before I get to the point.

Knowing that I blog under the title “The Urban Daddy” as a Dad in urban-Toronto, would you believe that my most popular post ever has to do with the Secret Menu at Starbucks, followed closely by my evaluation of the Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program.

So as I approach 1000 posts, I can honestly say that I get a LOT of views from the Philippines after Canada and the US.  I would NEVER have expected that back on 2004 when I had 10 views a week.

1.  Why are you still blogging?

I don’t really know.  I think I would feel lost without it and when I look back and see my earlier posts I am amazed at some of the things I have gone through since I had kids.  More importantly, and the real reason to keep it going is because as my kids get older (my oldest is 8-years-old) and they start to ask questions or look for stories about when they were young, I know I can pull up a post and let them read the details.  It’s always a good laugh.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Wrestlers Released from TNA Impact Wrestling


Whenever I hear of a mass release of wrestlers from an organization I think of two things.  First, it must be right after Wrestlemania which is the traditional time that the WWE releases a group of wrestlers, usually as a cost-cutting measure.  The second thing that comes to mind is that a wrestling organization is in deep trouble and they are releasing either over-paid wrestlers or they are trying to reduce their payroll in order to stay alive.

So with rumours of TNA Impact wrestling having difficulty making payroll, and with ratings being down, what do the following 13 releases tell you?

13. Tara – apparently because she wanted to run a restaurant she owns in Chicago.
12. DOC – The largest of the Aces and Eights.
11. RVD – Now in the WWE
10. Matt Morgan – I think they were setting up a feud for him against Hulk Hogan.  He took Hogan’s cape, grew a nasty beard, then disappeared in the middle of the Bound for Glory series – replaced by some unknown.
9. Crimson – This one I did not understand.  He was off for a LONG time nursing an injury, then he made his big return to TV, only to get squashed by Abyss / Joseph Park, and then he was released.
8. Joey Ryan – They forced this guy down our throats, then out.
7. Tom Pritchard – Brother Love; “I luuuvvvvvvvvyou!” and the Undertaker’s first manager.
6. A couple of guys from that Gut Check show who have a lot of tattoos and crazy hair but who I cannot remember their names… Give me a minute…
5. Madison Rayne – apparently pregnant.
Ah, Christian York…
Sam Shaw…
Damn, one more guy… Taeler Hendrix or something like that…
4. Announcer Todd Keneley – which means I have to listen to their horrible announcer Mike Teney and the awkward Tazz who was made a member of Aces and Eights in some boneheaded decision.
3. D-Lo Brown
2. Possibly Miss Techmasser
1. The kicker is the release of Jesse Sorenson, who broke his neck while wrestling for TNA, then after more than a year of rehab, close to being able to compete again, is released.

More important is not who was released.   With absolute stars like Austin Aries, Bully Ray, and Bobby Roode and what used to be the Knockouts, and some serious contention from the x-division TNA is not losing that much talent by these cuts.  What is unfortunate is that there were a few decent characters in this list who should still be there and there are a whole bunch of current wrestlers who should have been released, beginning with Robbie E, Robbie T, half of the Aces and 8′s – especially any names Bischoff, or Hogan who are still taking up valuable space when they cant or don’t wrestle.  Rockstar Spud, and any other guy / gal who are over 45-years-old, or who do not have a clear storyline need to move on.

Of all those guys / gals released, if it means I get to see more of the above, then good for TNA. Now if the can stop Sting from Wrestling and remove the Joseph Park story-line and Gut Check, I’ll be even happier.

And what kind of a company had the GM (Hogan) actively supporting the good guys and trying to knock off the bad guys? He runs the show and tells everyone week in and week out so why doesn’t he either suspend them if they bug him so much or admit he’s a front and he’s powerless and stick to making matches… Dumb, dumb.

I would love for Mike Teney to be the next out because he’s terrible at creating or following the storylines and someone please tell the announcers how the matches are going to end so they don’t gloss over the pinfall or submission, skip the replay and move on to the next poorly orchestrated plot.