Category: Family

Final Goodbyes

The trailer is rented, the final packing is under way, and we’ve made some trips tot he dump and the domation centers to help clear out the house.And through it all I haven’t really had much time to take it all in.

People keep asking me how I’m doing, and honestly, I’m just tired. It’s a full time job(currently my only one) to get this all done and really, there’s just no down time. I’m really looking forward to driving for 6-7 hours a day because it doesn’t involve packing and will likely be more relaxing than anything that we’ve been doing lately.

Tara should be given all the credit for organizing and getting things done. I’d like to think I’m the heavy lifing guy as all my past moves have gone so poorly. And of course she’s running on empty as well.

So how do I feel about all this?

I’ve been in this house for 10 years and there’s a lot of memories wrapped up in here. and it’s going to be hard to put them all behind me. It’s also going to be a big shift in”freedoms” that I enjoyed here.

Like not always having to wear pants. I liked that.

So it’s getting hard to say goodbye to all of this. And it’s not just the house of course. I’ve been in Ottawa for 26 years, and I’m finally starting to know my way around the place. Now I’ll have to start all over and find the good places to be. At least with that I’ll have some help.

And of course the people. Some tell me they are envious of what we’re doing. Going off, starting fresh. They wish they could do the same. They feel locked down where they are. And well, they might be right, but they’re here for a reason, and that reason is always a good one.

We’re moving for our own reasons, not just for the sake of moving. And they’re good reasons too.

So tomorrow morning, we double check that we didn’t forget anything, lock the house up for the last time, and say goodbye.

Feeling weird just writing that….

Starting Over

In just over one week, we pack everything we own into a 6×12 trailer and drive across the country to our new home in BC. When we land, we’ll land with family, but land jobless and probably tired.

We would leave behind family and friends, our own home and jobs that no longer exist.

It’s both terrifying and exciting, and I can’t wait to start the journey.

Tara and I have been planning this for more or less two years. It was during a dog walk in February, I think it was about -30 outside, when we both looked at each other and said “Who the hell colonized this area?!?” When we got home we spitballed the idea of moving out west, the money we would save and the future we could create. It was supposed to be a 5 year plan; we would live on my salary and bank anything Tara made, then move back and try to buy a house outright.

It was a good plan, and would have likely worked really well. So we got moving on it. We had someone come in to give us an assessment, and then we planned to make some improvements ourselves to squeeze a little more out of the market. Tara got pregnant, the improvements took longer than we thought, and time marched on.

Then it all really came to a head during Christmas. We flew out to BC to spend time with Tara’s family and realized that this was the place we wanted to be. So when we got home we committed ourselves to make this work. And we did, off and on, make it all work. There were some setbacks(flooring mostly) and we got on the market a little later then we planned.

Oh, and I got laid off from work(my last day is 3 days away) so that kind of put the fear of the future in us. But we got on the market, and with what we did, the market responded by having us sell our house in two days.

Two Days!

All of a sudden we were “This is really happening, holy crap, what do we do next?”

And that’s how the last month has been. Sorting and packing, letting go of things and arranging travel across the country.

That’s part of the exiting bit. We’re gonna drive, and it’s going to be great.

We’ve planned out about 7-8 days of driving across the country as I don’t think the kids can take 12 hour drives just yet. It’ll take us a little over three days to get out of the province and then the same amount of time to make it across the rest of the country. We’ll see Northern Ontario, the plains, the Rockies, all in a weeks time. And I hope, for Liam at least, it’ll be something he’ll always remember.

The whole lack of job thing does worry me. But not worried enough to put the brakes on everything. In fact, it makes more sense to get out there now so that I don’t have a whole house to support. The utilities are cheaper out in BC, and the rent isn’t bad either. So we’ll be able to make the money stretch out a little longer if we have to. I don’t see it taking too long for me to find something as there is a good IT industry out there, and who knows, I could end up working in the movie industry(a boy can dream!).

I’ll be trying to post here more often, but things like twitter/facebook/instegram make life so much faster and easier, so look there as well.

To touch the bottom

It amazes me, each and every day how much Liam changes. Last night we were at the pool, as we are most nights during the summer, and he was eagerly trying to touch the bottom of the deep end. It’s a new game for him since we let him in without a life vest. He lives the additional freedom it grants him in the pool.
Anyway, he had been struggling with the concept of how to go from the diving board to the bottom of the pool. I’ve been trying to give him some direction; legs straight, push up  with your arms, that kind of thing. During the last few visits he had managed to touch about three times per visit. And last night looked like no exception. Until that is, hr got number 4. Then 5, and in no time it was 25. 25 times touching the bottom. All pretty much in a row. He was super happy with himself, and I was incredibly proud that he managed to figure it all out and get such a high number.
He hasn’t been able to do it since, but I suspect that  if he really tried, it wouldn’t be a problem.
And this is what I see more and more in him. He has the challenge to do something, fails a bunch of times, or even just gives up trying. Then, usually when your back is turned, he just does it. And then keeps doing it, and wants to do nothing else.
This week he sorted out the monkey bars. The week previous he didn’t understand the concept of going hand over hand. He’s that kind of kid, and I’m proud of him.
I hope it never changes.

Gun Play

This morning Liam picked up a toy wooden block, with a toy screw in it, and shot me.

It was decidedly not a gun and couldn’t hurt me, but I just wasn’t going to let this slide. So I picked up a toy c-clamp(also decidedly not a gun) and shot him back.

This went on for a couple of minutes, each of us pew-pewing each other(some with more amount of spittle than others) until it escalated.

Liam picked up a toy plane and shot me with all the guns available on that plane. Sure, it was a commercial air liner, but one that was apparently armed to the teeth.

I held my own for some time, pew-pewing him back(with less spittle) and he escalated further. Picking up pretty much a copy of the first toy plane(also apparently armed to the teeth) he tried to end this conflict once and for all.

Again, I held my own, but I knew the end was near. Until I noticed he had dropped his wooden block, so I grabbed it and was now armed in both hands. I felt sure I was going to end this, properly, with myself being the victor!

Little did I realize that these two planes, once combined in a single assault, had the the ultimate “I stole all your power” power. I had no chance.

With one loud PEW, it was all over. All my power had been stolen. The end was near. Like the WWE, I tried a couple of times at retaliation, but every assault was met with another “I stole all your power” attack.

As I lie there, guns across my chest, I was thinking that daddy was going to have to find a different game where he had a chance of winning.

Haven’t found that game yet…

Ch Ch Ch Changes…

July was a bit of a stressful month, and for Liam it really showed.

I mean, the poor kid had his whole world turned around and he just didn’t know how to cope. It started the first week of July. Normally he would have gone to his grandparents on Mondays, three days of day care, then Dad day on Friday.

We changed that to a new daycare system completely, in the same school he would have gone to in the fall, for the full five days a week. WE knew that there might be some problems with this, the same sort of problems that he had when he first started daycare. And in one sense we were right. In another, it took a turn that we didn’t really expect. Tantrums. Blood curdling, mind bending tantrums. Daily. And they started after the first couple of days there. And he was really impossible to console. It just required him to be removed from the situation and then to calm down. And of course they would start at the drop of a hat. It really didn’t matter what happens. One day it was because I got to the front door before him. Another was that he wasn’t able to close the garage door. Or that I got a different cart at the home reno store. It really didn’t matter what would start it, but when it started, there was nothing you could do other than walk him out and set him down somewhere to calm down.

And this went on daily. One a day, sometimes two. This wasn’t out little boy, this was someone else entirely.

The real breaking point was in the last week of July. Tara had taken the day off to help me with some flooring, and Liam started first thing. We decided that was that and we would have to change some things back to the way they were. We were lucky that a private daycare person still had a spot available and it was someone that he knew. She agreed to take him the next day, and he’s been there ever since. And it has helped with the tantrums. There’s not gone mind you, but more sporadic and not daily. That breaking day we also found out that he was sad because, in his own words, that they were leaving him alone. We knew that he wouldn’t get the same level of personal care that he used to get, but we didn’t really think that he would be left to his own devices.

As mentioned, he’s going better now. I’m starting to suspect that we might keep him in daycare for now and possibly skip the whole JK thing. That’s all up in the air at the moment. Mind you, with JK, it might be more structured. Then again, maybe it won’t matter.

I would just like to keep my little guy, the one I know, the one that’s happy most of the time, and keep him that way.

I know I can’t protect him from everything, but if I can at least not screw up his head too much this early on, then I’ll take that at least.

Dexter as dad

I’ve been behind on watching Dexter so I’ve been trying to catch up.
Watching yesterday reminded me how different Dexter and I are in terms of fatherhood. Sure, one of us is a fictional character, but other than that we do have our parenting differences.
He’s off all day at work, and then doesn’t even blink if be has to run out again to do some serial killer stuff. Just leaves his son with the nanny. Doesn’t even blink I tell you. I couldn’t do that, just leave after having no seen Liam all day.
I mean, the character of Dexter is supposed to be all about providing for his family, he certainly mentions it enough, but Harrison just seems to be a convenient plot point when needed. There doesn’t seem to be any consistence there.
Anyway, it’s these odd things that I see on TV these days.
I think fatherhood has distorted my ‘suspension of disbelief’ somewhat.
I mean, really, Fireman Sam, that while town should have been destroyed sometime ago….

Brazil Day 1 (mostly)

The day really started with the trip to the airport.

No, the day really started with waking up with my wife and hearing Liam chatter on the monitor. We invited him into bed and he almost stayed for an entire 5 minutes, but wanted to head downstairs to watch Dora(or trail, or diggers, he kept changing his mind).

Then it was breakfast, pants hemming and just some last minute packing. I would like to think that, at some point in my life, I will be organized long before I actually have to do something. I don’t see that day coming anytime soon, but I like to think it’ll get here eventually.

Before we knew it we were in the car on the way to the airport. Tears were shed but goodbyes were quick(as they should be, like a bandaid) and I wandered into the terminal. The self checking thing was pretty useless(as always) but I was happy to find out I didn’t have to pay extra for my checked bag as I was just in route(American Airlines allows for two free checked bags). Not that it would have mattered, I think, as work would have covered it. I grabbed a coffee, muffin, some water(too much) and plopped down to surf and do some last minute work. The wireless at the airport takes a sec to authenticate but once it does it’s pretty quick. And little did I know it would be the last free internet access until my hotel room.

Oh, security was quick as there just wasn’t a lot of people, but I still got tagged as “random search guy” and had to go through the scanner.

I had previously setup another Skype account so that I could chat with Tara on the phone. As long as she keeps Skype running. We chatted and then off I went.

The first leg was boring, but kinda short. AC has built in screens for shows and movies. I just started to listen to music, but decided to check out the first 45 minutes of Alien. Told ya the flight was short.

Arrived in New York, tried to find out where I needed to go, found security, and was told to go back to ticketing. Security was quick as I had to ditch my extra water(didn’t expect to go through security again for some reason). And for the second time this trip had to go through the scanner. When you exit these things they show you the result, and both times, it appears there’s a problem with my head. I don’t know exactly, but a box appears on my head. Maybe an implant I don’t know about. Could be exciting! But not likely.


That’s what I got to see of New York. I mean, I could have bought some random “I ❤ NY” stuff, but as I’ve never seen it past the airport, how do I know I ❤ NY?

The next leg was about three hours, and they didn’t have something to watch. OK, not personally anyway. There were other screens that popped down, but everyone was watching the same thing. And, as I’ve seen that episode of Parenthood already, I opted out and read. And listened to music. Because I could.

When we finally landed I thought I would be really late for my connection. I wasn’t. In fact, I so wasn’t that I got some M&Ms and a drink and just sauntered over to the gate. I’m cool like that.

I was in the last row(44G) on the isle seat. I’ve been isle seat the whole way, and I don’t mind as I don’t have to crawl over people to get to the bathroom. Not as important on a 3 hour flight, but very important on an 8 hour one. The movie selection wasn’t all that great, so I ended up watching Beautiful Creatures and Identity Theft. I can’t really recommend either, but if you had to choose, go with…reading.

They did serve us two meals. “Chicken” and breakfast. I think it was croissants, but I’ve been known to be wrong about these sorts of things.

I must have slept for about an hour, as I put on an episode of Elementary and don’t remember anything past the opening credits. That was the only sleep I got. I think I’m a little bit picky when it comes to sleeping and actually need to be comfortable.

After that was done, I hobbled through security again and found the hired taxi. I am SO glad that I didn’t end up renting a car. I wouldn’t be writing this now if I had. In fact, I would be in one of two places; lost or dead. I mean, the drivers aren’t that aggressive, but just enough to get me in trouble. That, and I had been awake for almost 24 hours. Driving in a country where I knew all the rules would be tough enough. He found the hotel easily enough, I checked in and crashed. Actually, no. I checked in and called Tara. She was happy to know I had made it in one piece(as was I) and then I let her get back to sleep(it was 6am there). Then I crashed.


That’s the view from the hotel.

After a nap I wandered out a little. Not too far, but I was hungry. There’s an open mall attached to the hotel, and it has a Starbucks, movie theatre and some places to eat. Including a sushi place. Wonder if that’ll be dinner? Winking smile

The surrounding area was mostly closed shops. Shopping on Sundays is still not a thing here for the most part. But that’s ok. I grabbed something to eat at “New Dog” and it wasn’t what I thought I had ordered. I thought I had ordered a burger and a coke. The coke was right, but the burger ended up to be some smoked meat with a lot of cheese and a fried egg. Not bad really, and it totally hit the spot. I then headed down to something that could be a mini-grocery/variety store. It didn’t have a whole lot in terms of food, but it did have microwave popcorn. So I got some, even a bacon flavored one. I mean, why not?

Now I think I’ll do some last minute work stuff(tidy slides mostly) and then call it a day.

French Dora

A long time ago, or at least it felt that way, there was a rumor going round that when Dora the Explorer was going to be shipped up to Canada, that instead of Spanish she would have to speak French.

As it turns out, this wasn’t the case. She’s still speaking Spanish(and wearing shirts that don’t fit). But thinking of it now, I really wish she was speaking French. If that were the case, then Liam would actually know a useful language in Canada.

See, because of Dora, he does in fact speak some Spanish, and uses it in the right context.

He’s said Gracias to me more than once in place of Thanks. He knows that the ball goes arriba when he throws it, and eventually comes abajo.

Sometimes things are the colour rojo instead of red.

It’s cute and all, don’t get me wrong. And because I watch so much Dora with him, that I know what he’s talking about. It’s just that, if it were French, it would be that much further along.

We tried Ni Hao Kai-Lan for a little while, but it just didn’t take. Chinese would still be more useful than Spanish. At least around here.

Now, if he moved to Spain or Mexico, well, that’s different…

Disney Here We Come!

Our flights are booked, the condo is booked(and deposit paid) and we’re totally geared up for visiting the sunny land of Florida!

I’ve been to Disney World twice; once has a kid(9 or 10) and 7 years ago with a group of friends. Not sure which visit was more exciting 🙂

We’re going in April, sort of on the line between the busy and moderate season. It won’t be stinking hot, but a heck of a lot warmer than it will be here. While we’ll be in Orlando for about 10 days, I know we won’t spend the entire time at Disney(as that would cause a stupid fortune). I think there will be a fair amount of random visit time and hanging around the pool time.

The geek in me is trying to find a bunch of fun apps for my phone that would ‘help’ us while in Orlando. There are a few fun map apps for Disney, and Lego Land(more research is needed here…). I’m also thinking of the best way to travel to the US with my iPhone and not getting charged an arm and a leg for data use. I’ll have to call Virgin to see if/how much it will cost to unlock the phone and then I can get a local sim. Sure my number will change, but so what, it’ll be short term.

Actually, just found out that it’ll cost $75 to get the phone unlocked, but only if I’m off contract. There’s a place downtown that’ll do it for $40, so guess what 🙂

Overall, I’m stupid excited to go, more so because I’m the dad his time so I get to see all the cool reactions that Liam will have to things. Not to say that I won’t have any cool reactions, but I think mine will be to his.