Posted in Life

Thursday 13: 13 Things that I do because, I’m a Dad. A Father. Therefore I do “Dad” things.


As a Dad and a father, things change, and there are now certain expectations or responsibilities which make me who I am. 

Here are just 13 things that changed when I became Dad.

  1. Changing expectations when eating vegetables.  My broccoli no longer includes the flourettes, instead my portion is the stems – the part that no one likes to eat.
  2. .. Yum.  But that would be plain cheese pizza because that’s what the family eats. Or, if I’m lucky. Otherwise, I get a whole lot of crusts, and I hope and pray that those crusts have some sauce or cheese on them.
  3. Leftovers? What are those? As Dad, leftovers are my meals.  After “Daddy, daddy, daddy, I want oatmeal for breakfast” and then after refusing to eat it, I pack it up, toss it in the fridge, and then I either eat that oatmeal for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the next few days.
  4. Sniffing or tasting food which someone suspects may not be suitable to eat. If it looks funny, smells funny, is close to the posted expiry date, or has been in the fridge just a bit too long to feed to the kids, it goes into my tummy. Yum.
  5. Cleaning up Poo.  All Poo, anywhere.  Kids, poo, toilet poo, poo in clothing, poo on floors, animals poo, things that might be poo…
  6. Cleaning up vomit… (see above). Nuff said.
  7. When there is a night walker in the house, I intercept.  If there is a line up to sleep with mommy, I move.  If there is a child falling out of bed, or anything nightly disturbance, Daddy is on the scene! That usually means that within a week, I’ve pretty much slept everywhere in the house, but that’s okay so long as everyone else has a good night’s sleep because I’m so exhausted all the time I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
  8. Carpool / Taxi service, call it what you want, but it’s daddy’s territory.
  9. Back-up school help in areas where I am so not qualified, often at the end of a long day:

“Do quotation marks go before or after the period or question mark?”

“Huh?”

“I think I missed that day in public school”. (Child not accepting that answer).  “There is an American way and a Canadian way.”

Still not buying it.

Stalling long enough to Google that question and come up with this answer:

“There is a difference between US and British/Canadian punctuation styles.  In the US, trailing periods and commas always appear inside the quotation marks, for example, “Let’s go to the zoo.” Or, another example, like the spelling of the word is “ampersand.” Or, final example, He said, “Go now,” and turned away.
But in Canada and in the UK, they follow the logical extension of the quote. The period or comma goes outside the quotation mark, except where the period is part of a quote. For example, He said “The day is long.” Or, the movie was called “Benji”.

How about question marks? Well, If you’re quoting a question then the “?” goes within the quotation marks, as in this example, Sally asked, “Where are you going?”

Not to be confusing, but if you’re asking a question about a quote, then the “?” goes after the quotation marks, as in this example. Did Sally say, “We are going to the zoo”?

Clear as mud, eh? I think I taught them to stop asking me questions.

  1. Act responsibly behind the wheel.  I can only slightly exceed the speed limit if everyone in my car is sleeping and if I do so without putting anyone in harm’s way (like weaving in and out of traffic).  Duh.  Learning to not swear at / talk to other cars was WAY more difficult.
  2. Going to the toilet will / has never been the same. If it’s not trying to figure out how the seat got wet when the boys are supposed to pick up the seat to pee, and how the floor got soaked when nobody in my family admits to having used that bathroom, like ever. Or when there is pee on the wall, or all the toilet paper is in the toilet, or someone forgot to flush, or the icing on the cake, whenever I’m in the bathroom and manage to lock the door only to have it unlocked and before I know it I’m face to face with a child.
  3. Promote the playing of sports for fun, while competing, but always within the rules.  I don’t want to be that Dad who forces my son to play a sport because I never had the chance or was good at it.  That’s the best way to build up resentment and that’s not what our generation does…
  4. Keep lines of communication open at all times, and make sure that children are able to read situations and most importantly that they are able to learn what it is that their mother wants / needs and to be sure that she gets it.  She did, after all, birth those kids which I think trumps (not the Donald) everything else that I can and do as a father / dad.

 

What’s changed for you?

Posted in Coffee, Community, urbandaddyblog

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Facts About Starbucks’ Canada and Naming Starbucks’ New Blonde Roast Contest


Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops
Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starbucks is the world’s top coffee retailer with over 19,500 stores in 58 countries.  Canada ranks second to the US in the number of stores (over 12,800 in the United States compared to over 1,245 locations in Canada).  Japan, Great Britain, China and South Korea round out the top 6, all under 1000 locations.  But you cannot really trust these numbers because Starbucks are opening nearly 5 new stores everyday.  Starbucks recently held a contest for Canadians to help name their new Starbucks Blonde Roast coffees, which are best described as their lighter roast with a subtle, mellow, lighter-bodied, full of flavor, and delicious.  I liken it to a roast which gently awakens the senses – the more you enjoy your cup, the more flavour you detect.When they first launched the Starbucks Blonde Roast, I immediately picked up the VIA instant packets and was shocked by the lack of flavour from the first sip.  Used to strong coffee I had added way too much cream and sugar and it drowned out the mellow flavour of this mild roast and once I learned to be gentle with this Blonde, I began to notice the subtle flavours and it has become my go to roast.

So of course I wanted to enter the contest to create the name for the Blonde Roast and in doing so, I found some interesting facts about Starbucks I felt compelled to share.

So, here are the 13 Most Interesting Facts About Starbucks, then the details about the contest …

13.  Starbucks currently employs over 137,000 employees, which may not seem like a lot, however this is twice the population of Greenland.

11.  There are currently over 87,000 drink possibilities – a free drink to anyone who can name all 87,000.

10.  There is a size called the “Trenta” which is 30oz / 916 ml or slightly bigger than the capacity of your stomach which on average has a capacity of 900 ml.

9.   A Starbucks grande coffee has 320 mg of caffeine which surprisingly contains over four times more caffeine than found in a Red Bull energy drink.

8.   The Starbucks cinnamon chip scone has more calories than a McDonald’s quarter pounder with 480 calories.

7.   Starbucks uses 2.3 billion paper cups per year.

6.   They currently serve 40 million customers a week.

5.   The owners almost went with the name Pequod, the name of the boat in Moby Dick, instead of the character Starbucks’ name

4.   After tasting the Clover at a small café in New York and claiming it the best cup of brewed coffee he has ever tasted, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz decided to buy the company that made Clover in 2008 and began introducing the dream machine at select stores around the country

3.   Most Starbucks stores have been equipped Swiss-made Mastrena, which was created to make “the highest-quality, consistent shot of espresso”. The machine also allows baristas to interact with customers due to it’s size and shape.

2.   My first choices for the new name were “Mellow Yellow”, “Platinum Blonde” named after the great Canadian band, “Ambition”, “Natural Blonde” and the “Have More Fun” Roast.  These have all been entered in the contest.

1.   The first Starbucks location to open in Canada was at the Seabus Skytrain Station in Vancouver on March 1, 1987. This humble store was Starbucks Coffee’s first international location.  My last suggestion was to honour that location with the “Seabus Light Roast Blend.”

On February 20th, Starbucks Canada will announce the 3 finalists and open up the voting.  What was your name for the Blonde Roast?

Posted in Caregiver, Life

Reading the Signs: What to do when your Boss is Upset with you.


full-time nanny
FULL-TIME NANNY.com

I came across a great article by the folks at FullTimeNanny.com entitled; “What Should a Nanny Do if her Boss is Upset with Her”, and I immediately saw the cross-over potential that this article brings for those new to the workforce or as a refresher to those already in the workforce for a few years.

Sometimes you know when your boss is upset with you and sometimes there will be no clue, and depending upon the severity of the situation and the potential repercussions, you may want to consider the possibility that your job could be in danger.  So once you figure it out, it’s best to get in the habit of coming clean with mistakes as soon as they happen, getting used to giving your boss the heads’ up where you think there may be a problem down the road, and documenting situations rather than waiting with bated breath for them to be found out.

This article highlights the following important things to remember when deciding to come clean;

  • Realize That These Things Are Rarely Permanent – Unless you have done something on purpose with the intent on causing someone harm, or damaging the reputation of your employer of the business you work in, the chances of your employer resorting to drastic disciplinary measures are fairly slim. Provided that you’ve been an otherwise good employee, most employers would rather resolve an existing problem than take on the task of sorting through dozens of resumes and conducting numerous interviews in effort to get someone who may be better than you, or may be worse than you.  Better the devil you know, is the saying.  That being said, it’s not wise to be too secure in your position; if you’re overly cocky and consistently go against what your employer decides for you, they will let you go.
  • Confront the Issue Head-On – If you know that your employer is angry but haven’t been approached with a reprimand or a request for an explanation, it’s best to take the bull by the horns and approach him or her with your concerns. It’s especially smart to make an effort to mend fences if you know why your employer is upset and agree that you are in the wrong. Letting the situation go unacknowledged for too long can cause resentment to build up and exacerbate the problem, so don’t dodge your employer in hopes that things will blow over.
  • Be Honest – Should your employer confront you with questions about an incident in which you know you were in the wrong, don’t give into the temptation to cover your tracks. Admitting that you were wrong and are willing to accept any penalties as a result of your poor choices shows strong character and moral fiber; in addition to being the right thing to do, it may also impress your employer enough that they second-guess their outrage.
  • Keep Your Own Temper in Check – Being accused of misconduct, whether you’re guilty or innocent, is enough to put almost anyone on the defensive. Taking this tack with your employer as a reaction to questioning or accusations will only escalate the situation, and perhaps lead to the loss of your position, which you would otherwise have been able to retain. Remember the old adage about flies and honey and realize that anger, even of the righteous variety, will get you nowhere in these situations.
  • Accept Responsibility For Your Actions – Attempting to pass the buck, or blame someone else for your failure to perform properly or your momentary lapse in judgment, isn’t likely to endear you to your already-upset employer.  Instead face the consequences of a poor choice as gracefully as possible. Whining or shifting blame isn’t just ineffective, it’s often downright counterproductive.  In addition if you blame someone else and your employer decides to keep you, then you run the risk of them finding out and that relationship is damaged for good.
  • Make a Concerted Effort to Make Up – It’s easy to hold your breath and hope that a tumultuous period in your relationship with your employer will pass without any attempts to mend fences on your part, but that’s almost never the case. Extending the olive branch isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you feel that you have nothing to apologize for; still, preserving that relationship, and perhaps your post itself, may depend upon your ability to do just that.
  • Keep the Conversation Behind Closed Doors – Never, ever, ever discuss a bad situation with friends, colleagues or staff.  They do not need to hear you air your grievances or discuss an ongoing problem you have with your employer. Even in the largest, most densely populated cities, most social circles are relatively small and people will talk. Letting news of your woes get back to your employers is a surefire way to make them give up on you altogether, so make sure that you keep any and all conversations about the state of your relationship with your employers and the details surrounding it away from the public eye.

If, after all this you notice that things are not getting better for you, then start looking for a new job – it’s so much easier when you are already employed – and approach your employer with a request for a reference letter or recommendation because not only will they give it to you if they want you out but don’t want to fire you, but also it gives them time to start the search process themselves.

Posted in Life

How the Mighty Have Fallen: Atari files for Bankruptcy.


I just read that the US subsidiary of Atari filed for bankruptcy.

If you’re too young to remember Atari,all the way back in the early 1980’s, then you probably did not know that Atari was the absolute bomb in its day!

Lumped into the gaming mix with Coleco and Commodore 64’s, Atari had gaming consoles (like Coleco) and personal computers (like Commodore). Atari was so hip in the day, that in 1975, two nerds both named Steve went to work for Atari to develop a game called Breakout and they eventually went on to start a company you might have heard of called “Apple”.

Man, those were the days… My parents would never buy me the Atari 2600 (known as the Video Computer system) game console that I wanted and the day I decided to be a thief and take the $75.00 from my father’s wallet to buy hockey cards and gum for my class was the day he intended on using that cash to buy the system. No cash, no system. I was busted and learned a huge consequence in life. Stealing is stupid and sucks. It also taught me that I needed to get a job and earn my own money!

So instead after the failed attempts to hone my gaming skills with our Timex Sinclair (look it up folks!), and the IBM “home” computer with it’s tiny green screen and it’s only game being that boring worm game, I dug out our Radio Shack device, hauled up the black and white TV from the basement and played pong until I blew the picture tube on the TV.  Damn.

So then one day my dad came home with the Atari 800XL game machine AND personal computer and it was over.  We played a couple of cartridges to death until he joined us up to the Toronto Atari Federation where we got to try tons of video games on floppy disks.  Within a couple of months we had over 300 games on floppy disk and 15 cartridges, plus I was learning to program in DOS;

10 “Hello Urban Daddy”

20 Got to 10

End

Or something like that.

I also got us hooked up to local BBS’ and as it turned out, one was run by a neighbour of my wife’s and she was a regular chatter so we probably chatted 20 years before we met… Tell me, that is cool, right?

But for all its coolness, power and influence, Atari’s run would be tragically short.  The Atari 2600 first hit stores in 1977, sold a ton, but by 1983 they were in the middle of the North American video game crash during which time a glut of consoles from competitors and mediocre games from everyone contributed to a rapid decline in sales.

Atari itself was later sold, gutted, and passed around from owner to owner in years hence. Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, went on to create the Chuck E. Cheese chain of pizza/video-game restaurants that use a rat as a mascot.

A testament to Atari’s impact can be seen in the movie Blade Runner which was shot in 1982 and set in the future, 2019. This sci-fi classic has plenty of scenes in which Atari’s logo features prominently. Back then, if you were thinking about the future, it was impossible to imagine it without Atari.

Posted in Community, urbandaddyblog

2012 Canadian Weblog Awards: I’ve been nominated!


My blog, The Urban Daddy has been nominated for the 2012 Ninjamatics Canadian Weblog Awards. What a great way to end up 2012.

I have always felt that as Canadians we need to speak up more and promote our own blogging talents.  We live in the best country in the world and we’re a little on the shy side, a lot on the polite side – not as in your face as some other countries (ahem: America).  🙂  So it’s really great that the kind folks at Ninjamatics are doing all of us bloggers a favour by creating and hosting these awards.

It’s always an honour to be nominated, which I have before, but as these awards grow in popularity it seems even less likely that I will ever win because the talent in each category is out of this world.  I’ve been going through the nominations in each category and with each blog I check out I am more and more impressed.  We’ve got some great bloggers up here in Canada, eh?

The Urban Daddy has been nominated in three categories;

2010 Canadian Weblog Awards

Family & Parenting,

General Interest,

and Lifetime Achievement.

The Ninjamatics’ 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards are a juried competition which means — no voting – so I don’t have to ask (or beg) people to vote for me.  Yay.

The nominees shortlist will be announced on January 15, 2013, and the winners will be announced on January 31, 2013.

A running blogroll of the nominees is kept on the Ninjamatics website throughout the year so that they can continue to highlight Canada’s blogging talent. 

2012 Canadian Weblog Awards nominee