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.

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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…

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.

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?

Weekend Update


OY.

What a weekend!  I’m going to need a few days to recover, indeed.

Friday ended for me in the afternoon with a contentious call with the government and the phone being hung up on me in a conference call over some tax related issues.  I left the office to pick up my oldest boy and the other kids in his carpool and just made it in time.  (Heck, it was -16 degrees out there and the kids were outside waiting).  I dropped everyone off, went to get diapers for the baby and ended up dropping my son at Starbucks to hang with his grandparents while I ran into the grocery store.  I came back to pick him up with diapers and bananas only to find him and his grandmother using those wooden stir sticks to teach him about roman numerals.

Once at home I logged back into my office computer to catch up on some work – set the table for dinner, bathed the kids, ate, cleaned and went back to work until about 3am when I decided it was time for bed. 

6:30am wake up.  Got the kids ready for skating (Pancakes for the big boy, oatmeal and raisins for the younger son), and just made it to the arena in time to lace up and jump on the ice.  By just made it I mean my skates were still undone…  One the ice, my little – not so little – boy decided he was not skating and spent most of the time on his ass or his back whining and crying.  I asked him in front of his skating coach if he was having a meltdown and he said, “no”.  OK.  So off the ice we went so he could calm down / pee.  Once in the dressing room we call his mummy and he explained that his feet hurt from the skates.  Too tight.  Hmmmm. 

So back on the ice we went for the last 10 minutes of class.  I signed the boys up for the end of program ice show (LOL) and in my amazement turned to see my 5 year old standing by himself on his skates and jumping up and down on the ice.  “WOW”, I blurted out.  He said he taught himself that, not the instructor.  He’s getting it.  Yay.

So after class we went home – Stewie cried the entire way.  We ate lunch then packed up our stuff and went to the mall for the afternoon.  After finally finding a place to park, I woke up Stewie and Berry (2 month old baby) and in we went.  Part way through the mall trip the boys saw the Godiva store and they were making chocolate dipped strawberries.  Guess what the boys cried and whined for the rest of the afternoon?!?

I also walked into Harry Rosen – again – with the boys and again could not get a sales agent to come up to me.  Even after falling in love with a gorgeous $85.00 dress shirt but wanting to ask a question about it, no one wanted to give me the time of day.  You would think any customer is a good customer, eh?  They don’t know what I can afford and if I am going to buy one shirts to 10 of them… Their loss.  I’m going to contact the store’s PR department!

So from the mall – and another Stewie meltdown (“I can’t walk”) we took the kids to dinner at the Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill.  The kids “ate” while I held a cranky baby so my wife could eat.  I was glad we were all out together and the prospect of eating cold food didn’t matter to me that much considering my wife is with the baby all day and all night and she deserves to eat and have a few minutes to relax.  So we hung there for a couple hours and off to home and bed – 10:30 for both my wife and I.

Sunday began with a rush as we all headed out to the kids karate class.  Stewie and his friend were the only kids in the Little Dragon’s class with 4 sensei’s. They had lots of attention and both did very well.  In Linus’ class, he performed much better than last week, but he was distracted from 2 seriously goofy kids in his class.  One was jumping up and down like a frog and the other was a complete goofball – taking flying leaps at the karate dummy’s and looking out at the parents instead of paying attention.  Must get him away from these boys…

After karate we split the boys up and went to birthday parties – I took Stewie to a party where I knew no one and he was not being adventurous.  He fell in love with a giant gumball machine (he’s never eaten gum) and required me to hold his hand for most of the 2 hours we were there.   We left a touch early and met my wife and baby at a new outdoor mall to check out a new store called Anthropologie… Beautiful clothes there and Linus really liked the fancy door knobs.  We left there to go grocery shopping and from there she took the kids and I drove to the other end of the city to pick up Linus and his friend from their birthday party – set to end at 6pm. 

Once in the Car, I turn on the radio, listen to a little satellite radio, then bored, switch over to real radio only to find out that there were 2 blockbuster NHL traded made by my Toronto Maple Leafs.  The managed to get another team to take 6 average commodities in exchange for 5 new bodies who appear to have more upside and come with a name.  I get Brian Burke now… He’s building the team with young talent… He has my confidence now.  After an awful 5-3 loss Saturday night (after having a 3-0 lead) the team has totally transformed.  WOW.

So I picked the kids up from the party, chatted with some dads about the trades and off to drop my son’s friend, then pick up our nanny to bring her back home.  I learned a very valuable lesson with my son and I in the car… Don’t hold your pee too long or your kidney’s hurt and you pee in your pants… Hopefully we both learned this lesson!  When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Home, snack, bed for the boys, while my wife cared after the baby, I cleaned up the house, showered, and hopped back on my office computer to clean up some files and do some tax research.  Saw the Royal Rumble was last night – Toronto-born wrestler Edge returned from a ruptured Achilles and won the rumble.  Yay.

I started working,  blinked and decided it would be best for my sanity if I went to bed earlier than Friday night, so Sunday night’s bedtime came at 2am… UGH. 

Monday brought a tough, slow morning for me…  The baby is sneezing and her eye looks a little puffy and red, but I have some serious meetings today and an appointment at the gym with my personal trainer…  Also have to get my ass in gear so that I can be home for the kids swimming tonight at 6pm since it’s parent’s night and the one night of the year the parents get to watch the kids swim. Exciting.  My wife is coming to see – she’s never seen them swim.  The boys will be SO happy!

After that it will be some more work, then off to bed so it can all start again tomorrow…

Update: Linus was smiling and waving in the pool and having a fantastic time so we asked him in the car if is always this happy in the pool.  He said “no”.  Puzzled we asked him why he was so happy, and he said, “I don’t know”.  Odd, but he was REALLY REALLY happy.