Posted in Canada, Coffee, Daddy, Life, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

September in Canada


September in Canada is unlike any other month. School starts, people return from vacations, the Canadian National Exhibition comes to an end, and the weather… Oy, the weather.

Two days ago, the temperature was 20 degrees Celsius and people went nuts. You would have thought it was -20 degrees.

“Summer is over”.

“It’s going to be a very long and very cold winter”.

Those were just some of the comments being fired around social media and in the news.

Then yesterday… Yikes. It was 29 degrees with a humidex making it feel like it was 38 degrees.

Sweat.

As I walked along the TIFF route, all I saw was tank tops, shorts and lots of hot, sweaty people.

And then there is today… 15 degrees in the morning with an expected high of 20 degrees to be reached later this afternoon.

It’s down right confusing. Not the weather. It’s always been like that in September. What’s confusing is what to wear!

I happen to be typing this while sitting in a Starbucks location awaiting a client. I’m clearly not the only person confused by the weather.

Waiting for their orders are 5 people;

  1. A girl in short shorts and a t-shirt
  2. A guy in khakis, wearing a dress shirt with a sweater-vest over it
  3. A woman with a long-sleeve shirt, pants and a toque
  4. (and 5) 2 men, both in shorts, but one is wearing a jacket and the other is not.

That’s quite the range!

Worth noting, however, is that every single one of those orders was for a hot drink.

That’s September in Canada, eh?

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Parenting, Toronto, travel, urbandaddyblog, US

It’s All My Fault!


canadian iglooIt’s all my fault.

Not the fault of the many who removed their snow tires, or put away their shovels, but my fault that it’s snowing in Toronto on April 4th.

And for that, I’m sorry.

You see we have family just south of the border in The United States of Donald Trump, and for what seems like the past couple of weeks, that area has been pounded by snow.

Snow.

I know, crazy, eh?

Since it is my long-lasting belief that most Americans believe that north of the boarder Canada is always covered in snow, I mockingly sent a Facebook message to said relatives telling them that they needed to move to Toronto, not the Southern US because it was plus 8 here and we hadn’t seen snow in quite a while.

I mean really…

Spring weather in Toronto.

Snow in the US…

In April.

 

Clearly Trump saw my message and commended Mother Nature to sick light snow flakes on the City along with 90 km/h winds.

 

Heck… I’ll take the little bit of snow and I’m okay that Americans generally think we live in igloos in exchange for not having to arm our school teachers with guns, and not electing incompetent leaders…

Wait.

Disregard the leader comment, and let’s stick with no guns!

Brrrrrr.

Posted in Life

OMG. A dead Raccoon… Or was it a Duck… Or maybe a…


During this long Passover break, we sent our boys to an outdoor camp north of the city for 3 days, and of course it was the three coldest days of the spring.  Being my typical children, Stewie brought his hat and mittens, while Linus brought neither and boy, was Linus cold!  He was so cold that he could not take more than 2 turns at the archery course.  Poor kid.

But after 2 days there, I finally found out something of interest when hanging out with Stewie last night in bed for a few minutes after the three of us watched a couple of innings of the Toronto Blue Jays home opener. (They wanted to see Grampa who was at the game.  lol).

The conversation went like this;

Stewie: “Oh! Next summer I want to go back to this camp!”

Me: “Great, why?  You really liking it?”

Stewie: “Yeah!  Today we saw

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Français : Raton lave...
Raccoon – with skin and still alive

a dead raccoon, and if we go back next year, then I’ll get to see the raccoons skeleton!”

Me: “Errr, okay.  We can see skeletons at the Museum, if you would like.”

Stewie: “I know.  But I want to see this raccoon… or maybe it was a duck…”

Me: “You couldn’t tell what it was???”

Stewie: “Not really… We thought it was a raccoon.  Our teacher told us that, but some people thought it was a duck.  The other teacher said that too.  But then someone said it was a moose.  And can you believe that someone actually thought it was an elephant… They’re so silly.”

Me: “Was that your brother who said it was an elephant?”

Stewie – smiling.  “No, but your right.  If anyone was going to be silly about that, it probably would have been Linus.  But it was a small child who said that.  Linus thought it was a raccoon.”

Of course…

Posted in family, Linus, Stewie

Mitzvah (Good Deed) Day 2011


This past Sunday, May 16th was Mitzvah Day (Good deed in Hebrew) at my son’s school.  So instead of taking him to see the Toronto Rock win the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup with a 8-7 win over the Washington Stealth, I took him and his younger brother to his school (next year it will be their school) so we could help the community and to help others not as fortunate as we are.

In cold, pouring rain, we arrived and helped the few soggy adults outside dig, plant and cover the newly dug garden in the front of the school with sunflower seeds.  If 1/5th of them take root there are going to be 50 plants.  🙂  My boys did a fabulous job in this rain and with all the mud – planting, raking and clearing.  It didn’t matter that it was freezing or that it was raining or that there was mud up to their knees, they knew we had to get those seeds into the ground and get them deep enough to cover so the animals can’t dig them up and eat them.  The boys were focussed and yes they tried every single outdoor tool.  It was funny.  I think all those years of having our own garden and getting the kids to help out finally payed off.

After that, we went inside to dry off and warm up and decorated some gift bags for the underprivileged.  These bags were then filled with toys and taken to a shelter.  Once all the bags were decorated and the toys all gone, we moved to a different station and we decorated some Canadian flags which went into backpacks stuffed full of school supplies headed for Kenya. 

After that, we were looking for more to do so we sauntered into the school’s kitchen to watch them put the finishing touches on the decorations on the brown bags filled with sandwiches heading to a homeless shelter.  The kids were also putting notes into the bags. 

The birthday / get well soon card station was packed full of kids decorating cards so we moved back to the backpack station to assist in the transportation of these items to a truck.

One our way out of the school, I found my kids pounding back freezies.  Stewie said he had 10 of them , Linus 4.  I think 3 each might be a more realistic intake. 

So in the cold and rain we agreed that a nice warm bagel would be the best fit for two hungry boys who pitched in for their community.  So off we walked towards the bagel house.  Problem was, we passed the parking lot of the school and there were 2 adults washing a car.  The boys REALLY wanted to help wash that car, so the organizer gave them sponges filled with soap and off they went, cleaning the entire car.  No totally drenched, we walked on to St. Urbains.

Once at St. Urbains, I was happy that the chocolate chip bagels we all gone, so the kids instead received a whole wheat sesame seed bagel which they happily chomped the entire way home.

A good end to a fun morning.

Helping others is a big deal and I want to encourage my kids to give back to the community.  Thankfully the school set this up and my wife suggested it was a better idea to take him here instead of to the lacrosse game.  Time well spent.

Posted in family, Life, sleep, urbandaddyblog

It is that time of year… Tax time!


For those of you who are new to this site, or who drop in occasionally, you may not know that in my real life, I play a tax manager.  I post tax information that I find interesting, or that I have to dig up and research on at www.intaxicating.wordpress.com, soon to be at www.intaxicating.ca once I find the password and username that I misplaced.

So what that means is that this time of year – actually beginning in August -is super-hectic.  Beginning December 1st, my walk hurried into a jog, and now in mid-January I am already in full sprint.  I’m not sure ho long this pace can keep up with 2 1/2 months to go…

I had an idea how this day was going to shape up, when the first song I heard on my iPad was “Under Pressure” by Queen.  I spent most of the day pushing ahead tasks and projects where there was room to move them, while trying to get other projects completed ahead of schedule, while putting out fires that happened throughout the day.  Nothing new for me, and to be honest, since I really like doing this a lot, it makes for a fun time.  I’m just reminded as I get more and more tired that I need to get to the gym as that got me through 2 previous tax seasons.

I also realized today that taking care of my kids on Saturday, while awesome, really set me back a bit, when on Sunday I took the boys tobogganing for a couple of hours in -25 degree celcius (with windchill) weather and boy did that fresh air mess with us all.

Both kids were exhausted at night and I was a disaster on Monday. I actually went right to sleep at 8pm after all the kids were asleep and slept right through until 7am the next morning.  I would say that was the most uninterrupted sleep I have had in 6 years.

It was also today when I realized how much I appreciate my wife, and that she does what I did on Saturday each and every day.  Sure we have a nanny to help her out but she still works, feeds us, pays the bills, programs the entire family and keeps the house running smoothly…  Zowie.  I feel like such a wuss now.

I often ask her opinion on how to manage a situation because while she has not managed people per se, she manages the household, the kids, the nanny, and in her former life as a high-school teacher, she managed to stay sane.

I think the task of managing kids is very similar to managing adults as in both cases you are looking to make sure both groups do what is right for themselves and for the rest of the team / family, while at the same time you want to make sure there is no conflict and you have to work together to get the job done. 

For both kids and adults, working towards a goal is key.  IT’s easier to track progress that way and having a prize at the end of the maze makes the race more worthwhile.

In reading “Honey, I wrecked the kids” by Alyson Schafer, I am learning new less physical ways to interact with the kids and get them to do what my wife and I expect from them.  I am finding success.  Instead of asking Linus to remove his plate from the table night in and night out, Alyson suggests that since kids know their responsibilities, a simple one word reminder should suffice, so this morning when Linus got up and walked away from the table, I said; “Linus.  Plate.”  He turned around, walked back to the table and removed his plate.

Another tool is the re-direct.  Linus was making a spitting noise that I cannot stand and instead of asking him to stop and give him all that attention for the wrong reasons, I merely asked him different questions until he forgot what he was doing and started chatting with me.

Good one Alyson!

The last technique that I am finding to be a great help (I’m halfway through the book) is the introducing of consequences.

You don’t have to clean your room if you don’t want to put I will not read a book to anyone is a messy room, worked wonders the other day.  As does the line, you can stay downstairs and play if you want.  You will miss snack before bed and if that is your choice, that is okay with me.

Can’t wait to get through the book… One night parenting, next night taxation, following night parenting…

As an aside, I’m looking for a beginner yoga class in the Toronto area that begins after our kids are in bed, so around 8pm.  Anyone?