Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

I’m Good With Faces… Names, Not So Much


When you first meet someone and they introduce themselves, do you remember their name?

If you are one of those special people who can do that, I am standing up and giving you a standing ovation. I’m super-impressed. I wish I could do that, but I cannot.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be able to do it, but I can no longer. Call it getting old, or call it a lack of paying attention, or maybe I’m just psyching myself out, over-thinking it, and as a result, I’m not going to remember their name even if it was the same as my own.

Back in the good old days, when I was working at the Canada Revenue Agency, I worked in an office that had around 1100 people in it, and one day, while walking into work, someone said “Hi Warren!” to me.

I had no idea who they were, but I said, “Hey…” and walked on.

I didn’t like that.

They knew me, but I didn’t know who they were.

I thought about it quite a bit, and realized that when I was walking towards the office I had my head down so I wouldn’t have to acknowledge anyone. I didn’t like that either.

That day, I decided to make a change.

I decided that I was going to walk with my head up, and if I saw a stranger on the sidewalk, I would smile and say hello, and if I saw a colleague, I would greet them by their name.

I order to do this, I would have to master the trick of repeating someone’s name when I meet them, and to ensure that I didn’t forget their name, and to show them the same respect and courtesy that was being shown to me, I was going to also learn something about them so that I could show them they matter.

From that day onward, I greeted everyone by name, and I would ask about something or someone close to them, and using those techniques, I was on a first name basis with almost each and every person in our building.

It felt great! I loved it because I got to meet and engage with so many incredible people and the hardest part of leaving the CRA was leaving the people.

That skill, however, has disappeared.

But a face… I will never forget a face!

Take last night, for example. I was walking through my eldest son’s school during their curriculum night, and in the crowd of parents, I spotted a face that made me stop and recall my past.

Way, way back in high school, there was a girl that I liked. She was new to the school, and I believe new to the country, and I recall wanting to help her get settled in the school by introducing her to our classmates, and the school.

Fast forward, and it’s the end of the year, and our prom is coming up. I didn’t want to go, but my buddy Wayne changed my mind, and I really wanted to ask this girl to the prom, but was very afraid of being rejected.

Dumb, right?

So I waiting until 3 days before prom, and I asked her for her number.

I called her that night and asked her to prom.

All I remember was her saying to me that it was 3 days before the prom and she didn’t have a dress, and it was very last minute, and it was at that moment that I realized that waiting until the last minute was a supremely stupid thing to do.

I felt like such an idiot.

I saw her the next day at school and apologized for being an idiot.

Then school ended, university began and all was forgotten.

Until last night, when I saw her through a crowd, at my son’s high school.

So, I walked up to her and her husband, and I said to her, “I know you! We went to high school together!”

Her husband said to me, “you haven’t seen her since high school and you recognize her?”

“Yup. I never forget a face!”

I was 30-years ago. She looked the exact same. Her and her husband have 4 children, and they are all doing well, and I told her about our 3-kids and I introduced her to my wife who was with me.

I did the adult thing. I needed to, especially after how I left it.

If you asked me what her married name was, I couldn’t tell you. But a face… I never forget a face.

Posted in cars, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

At What Age Will Parents Finally Get It? Re: School drop off


At what age / grade do parents finally have their “a-ha” moment when it comes to dropping off  their kids at school?

I’d like to know, because I’m shocked at the number of parents who just don’t get it.

I see you – every morning – doing the exact same thing, and I’m cursing you. So are all the other cars waiting in line that you have inconvenienced.

What are these parent not getting?

Common Courtesy!

Consideration for others.

Rules of the road.

Traffic laws.

Just to name a few off the top of my head.

You see, most schools have a very limited drop-off window for children and that window is at it’s busiest 15-30 minutes before school starts, and most often, the location for drop off is limited, thus, for drop-off to work effectively and efficiently, it has to be seamless.

The proper drop-off works like this;

  1. Car pulls up to drop off location – not exceeding the speed limit.
  2. Car stops.
  3. Parent says “get out!” or “goodbye”, or “I’ll pick you up”.
  4. Child opens the car door
  5. Child takes backpack.
  6. Child shuts door.
  7. Parent then looks both ways and slowly pulls away from the drop-off area and heads off to do their thing, or if the routine is really organized, then the car pulls forward and away, closely following the car right in front..

This method is so efficient. and so quick, but it never happens…

What really happens:

  1. Giant SUV driven by a very tiny woman zips up to the parking area and stops vehicle where ever she want. In a spot, diagonal facing the curb, on the curb, on the grass… blocking a driveway, or blocking oncoming traffic… Doesn’t matter.
  2. Driver opens the trunk by pressing a button
  3. Driver slowly exits the car in lululemon / workout clothes
  4. Driver then strolls around to the other side of the car and opens the door for the child.
  5. The driver then goes and gets the child’s backpack from the trunk.
  6. Driver helps child out of car
  7. Driver helps child get backpack on
  8. Driver looks child in the face and begins a seemingly long discussion with the child which likely could have occurred in the car.
  9. Driver kisses and hugs the child
  10. Driver points the child in the direction of the door.
  11. Driver waits for the child to enter the school
  12. Driver slowly walks back to the car hoping other lululemon mummy’s will see her outfit.
  13. Driver enters car
  14. Drive pulls away without looking, signalling or waiting, phone in hand, exceeding the speed limit and seemingly unaware that other children are walking on the road trying to get to school.

This is not a joke, nor meant to be a satire. It’s what happens daily.

Cars get frustrated, children are late, and there is a lot of honking.

 

Why can’t parents drop their kids of quickly and let the kids be responsible for getting out on their own?

These are likely the same parents who carry their kids backpacks and don’t get me started on that!

So please, parents… Teach your kids to be considerate of others around them even though you clearly have no hope.

Hopefully, you’ll get it…

One day…

 

 

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, hockey, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Laine + FortNite = Fewer Goals + Late For Work


For those of you familiar with Patrik Laine, the NHL superstar in the making who is playing with the Winnipeg Jets, you will know that his bread-and-butter goal-scoring has gone someone AWOL this season.

The forward who was chosen second overall in the 2016 NHL entry draft behind the Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews, has seen his production drop from 44 goals last season to just 29, so far, this season which is still fantastic, but for a player of his skills, there was expectations that he was going to score close to 60-goals this season.

His play has looked somewhat uninspired, and his plus/minus has taken a beating this season on a very, very good, Jets team.

Through Laine’s struggles media reports circle back to comments he made about FortNite, the uber-popular video game, which the Vancouver Canucks has tried to ban in order to prevent their players from playing too much and not being prepared for games.

Maybe Laine is not playing well because he’s playing too much FortNite…

Or maybe not.

The purpose of bring up the addictive nature of this game is to loop in a personal story about being late for work.

Earlier in the school year, and on more than one occasion, I had sent of my wife and 2/3rds of our children to school, and was going to drop the 3rd one off on my way to office, when suddenly, I noticed that he was no-where to be found.

As the clock continued to click, and time slowly went by, it became quite obvious that he was going to be late for school, I was going to be late for work, and the very real possibility that he was not feeling well started to creep into my head.

After spending a few minutes yelling instructions throughout the house – “I’m leaving!”, “If you want a lift to school, you had better get to the front door right away!” and “Hurry up, you’re going to be late”, I decided the better parenting technique would be to see if he’s really okay (at least that is what I imagined my wife asking me as I relayed this story to her).

I walked upstairs to his bedroom, and it was empty.

Maybe he left on his own, took transit to school, and I’ve been standing in the front hall yelling to myself…

So I called his name, and received a muffled, downtrodden response, “I’m in the bathroom… I don’t feel well.”

Ugh.  Poor thing.

So I started to notify my clients, my network and my wife that this was the case and that I would contact his school to let them know he was sick.

Every couple of minutes I would check on his, asking him through the door how he was doing, if he needed to stay home, and what hurt.

It was his tummy.

He would not need to stay home.

He just needed a few more minutes…

I gave him 20-minutes, and kept checking on him to see if there was anything that I could do to help him feel better.

He re-assured me that he was good to go, and just needed a few more minutes.

Then I heard it…

The noise.

It made me stop in my tracks…

I might even have stopped breathing for a few seconds…

He said; “YES!  Victory Royale!  Okay, Dad… Let’s go to school.”

He was playing FortNite.

Locked in the bathroom.

Feigning illness, making himself late for school, me late for work, and for what?  A Victory Royale?!?

I shook my head, told him he can’t do this, and restricted his morning access to video games (it’s never been an issue before) and on the ride to school I got to hear the details of his win.

Then I started thinking about Laine… the Vancouver Canucks, other parents, that I need to change the password on my iPad, and that someday this FortNite craze will be over.  All the kids will suffer withdrawal symptoms and then life will go back to normal.

That was the expectation until I was informed today by my son that “Apex Legends” already has 50-million players, or about 1/4 of the number of players that FortNite has, but Apex has only been out for one month…

Oh my.

So much for this being the exception and not the norm…

 

 

This is a NJN Blog Post (No Judgement Necessary)

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, disaster, government, Life, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto, travel, ttc

Can This Eglinton LRT Be Built Any Sooner?!?


Apparently the Eglinton Light Rapid Transit (LRT) aka should have been a subway, can be built faster, but in doing so, it’s found an even newer way to inconvenience the residents who live so close to it.

Forgetting the fact that they started this thing in 1971, okay, it started in summer of 2013, and that residents near the construction have been besieged by dust, noise, a significant increase in street traffic and near death experiences trying to drive, or walk in the community, but the roads themselves are falling apart.  Not only are the roads full of potholes, and one-way streets, speed limits and stop signs all “optional”, but as a resident, trying to get out to Eglinton Avenue or Bathurst Street has become nearly impossible.

Well, now that’s going to get even better!

This morning I received this lovely email letting me know that Bathurst Street north of Eglinton is going to be closed for 7-months!!!

GASP… Or is that GULP.

You see, the Cedervale community and to some extent, the Forest Hill community, have very few options when it comes to getting to Bathurst Street or even Eglinton Avenue.  For the past 5-years, we have given up on getting to Allen Road, because that is a 20 minute endeavor in stress and frustration.

The only street going north which has a traffic light, Glen Cedar Avenue, is backed up all the time and doesn’t allow cars to go straight or left in morning or evening rush hour.  Even if that changed, Eglinton Avenue heading towards Allen Road cannot handle all the cars so Glen Cedar would become a parking lot.

The other street that heads north is Hilltop road, which is steep, narrow, and when the Kings and Queens in the community stop to get their Starbucks and leave their vehicles on the road, it renders that road undriveable.

Not that getting out to Bathurst and waiting in that traffic is a boatload of fun either, but it means all the cars who can’t go north on Bathurst will swoop into Cedarvale and race through this community ignoring all traffic laws and the fact that there are a LOT of children walking to and from school.

This closure could start next week.

SIGH.

I can’t wait until it’s completed, to be so perfectly honest.

I’ve have 7 flat tires, lost 2 rims, and the traffic delays have brought in “people” who stand where the traffic crawls to go car to car seeking handouts.

I just hope at the end of the day it’s worth it, and that traffic on Eglinton doesn’t suffer the way it does on St.Clair Avenue (one major intersection south) which is impossible to drive.

Here is the email:

 Bathurst Street Closure

Beginning in Mid-December 2018, Bathurst Street will be closed for one block between Eglinton Avenue West and Wembley Road to accelerate construction of Forest Hill Station.

By closing Bathurst Street for seven months, the duration of the construction in the roadway is nearly cut in half. The intersection will be back to normal by June 2019.

You’re invited to an upcoming Open House at Forest Hill United Church. Come out to speak with experts about station progress, construction methodology, and ask questions about the upcoming road closure.

When: 

Tuesday December 11, 2018
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where: 

Forest Hill United Church
2 Wembley Road, Toronto

 

Parking available at Hilltop Road Green P. 

Posted in boo, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

A Random Thought From a Child…


Random thoughts and comments are the best blogging material on the planet!  They also serve the purpose of providing me with a permanent memory of cute, funny or unusual things said by my children while they are still quite young.

This ditty came from a six-year-old girl…

 

Her:

“Daddy…

The bald spot on the top of your head is very soft…

Cats’ fur is also very soft…

What kind of fur does Hello Kitty have?

Do you know what’s bad? Jealousy is bad…

Bullying is bad too.”

 

Me:  “Did they teach you in that at school?”

Her:  “No, I just knew that.”