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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Dad

My Dad (Sept 16, 1954 – May 27, 2009)

This will be a tough post for me. But I feel it needs to be done.Not only to get my feelings out, but to show others what a great man my Dad was. He lives on in my memories and I hope in yours, too. It’s been one year today since my father passed away. One year ago. That was the most horrifying day of life. I was on the other side of the world on a trip of a lifetime (Israel). I was flabbergasted at the news. I felt sick to my stomach, wanted to throw up. I wanted to hit something. I wanted to yell and cry at the top of my lungs. I couldn’t even get the emotions out, only tears and plenty of them. Was it anger? Was it sadness? I’m not sure, maybe both. Sadness for the loss of a great man and a great dad. I was angry at the situation. I was angry at God and at myself. I never phoned as much as I could have. I only called once a week (this is the norm for us). What would I have to say if I called more often than that? I guess I could have said “Hi.” I’m sure if I could phone him up right now, I could find plenty to talk about. Don’t get me wrong, when we would talk on the phone sometimes it was for an hour or more. We would talk about everything and nothing, from cars and jobs, to candy and dieting. I miss that…I really, really do.


Let me tell you about my Dad. He was a kind-hearted man that would give or do anything for anyone.Always surrounded himself with great friends and people. He loved to have house parties, eating lobster or just singing and playing the guitar. Jamming with whoever was around. He was loved and is greatly missed by all his family and friends. He was a good Christian, devoted to the church and to God. (hence my anger towards God) How could this being, this entity we call God take a man like that from this earth so soon? I guess we will never know what God’s plan is or even if there is a God. I question it each and every day since then.

My Dad drove a truck for most of my lifetime. It’s the only job I can remember him having now that I think about it. I always got to go to work with him even from a young age. Yep riding shotgun in the truck with my pops. I felt like king of the world all up high on that seat. Even as I got older, I would still go to work with him. If I had the day off school or was playing hookey, I would go and be his helper for the day. He would pick me up after school sometimes in the truck to take me home. It was great. Or deliver my forgotten lunch or take me with him to lunch if I had time. I loved all that. Not the truck part, but the spending time with the old man part. Just talking and listening to music, spending time together, maybe I’m simple, but to me that was quality time.


I remember my Dad teaching me to drive stick. That was a catastrophe. How friggin’ embarrassing. He would pick me up at school just before the buses came, you know while everyone was around, and make me drive. (it was a 1979 Volvo 4 speed, looked like a shoe box) I would try to go, and stall, and start, and stall. He just sat there and laughed. He would tell me to relax, let the clutch out easy and go. Easy for him to say, everyone wasn’t looking and laughing at him. But I did learn… eventually.

Old beat up cars was a passion for my Dad. We always had old worn-out cars, Volvos, Caddie, Buicks, big old boat for cars and old vans. It was always the same story. ”Wow what a car this was in its day.” (I can still hear him say that in my head) We would just say, “Yeah, sure Dad, but it’s not its day anymore.” Ah good memories, times and laughs we shared.

My Dad wasn’t a rich man, but always found money for us. School, trips and photos, and treats he was always buying us something. He would go without just to make sure that we were all happy. I always had a car to drive and money to take my girlfriend (at the time) out (even though I didn’t have a job or I had spent all of mine). He would say, “Here, take twenty or forty, but don’t tell your Mother. Drive safe and have fun.” Many nights he would have to come rescue me from a flat tire or the car not starting (battery dead) in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. Just me and the girlfriend. How funny. He would just come fix the problem and never say anything again about it. I loved that man.


The Doucettes, well us for sure, didn’t express their feelings as much as we should have. I never told him that I loved him. Well, when I was young I’m sure I did. I mean as an adult. I really regret that. I will regret that until the day that I die. I know deep down inside that he loved me and was very proud of me. Like on my wedding day. You could see it in his face. And I’m sure he knew that I loved him. But it’s just not the same as telling the person. One of the things that bothers me the most is not that he is gone, (believe me that bothers me a lot) but the fact that he will not be around for my kids. (maybe I’m just being selfish) He would have made an excellent grandpa,. just as his dad was for me. My kids (whenever they come along) will only know of him from pictures and stories. But don’t worry, there will be lots.


It is not the length of your life that matters, but the depth of it. Or so I’ve been told. Dad jumped into life and never touched bottom.


Rest in Peace Dad – I love you….

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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Jobless no more

Being jobless, well that pretty much sucks, nothing to do and no money to do it with. All this free time would be great if I had unlimited funds. I could paint the house or do some renovations, something to keep busy. Keep my mind off my troubles. I feel like such a failure. I can barely pay the bills. EI is shit, 55%, what a joke! But I guess it’s better than nothing. Definitely better than a poke in the eye with a stick. It ‘s been over 2 months, and my morale is low. I had some interviews, but nothing came out of them. I’m real tired of people saying they will call back and they don’t. If I ever get to a position where I do the hiring and I say I will call you back, then I will keep my word and call you back for Christ’s sake. In the job hunt it’s not what you know, it’s who. Unfortunately, I don’t know that many people. I’ve been pretty loyal to the companies I worked for, 3 years at one and 7 years at the past one. People left and I also could have, but I stayed. Would it have been better? Who knows? Hindsight is 20/20, but I still can’t see. When the owner asked me if I was going to leave, I told him that no way I wouldn’t, as long as my checks keep coming in I’m good, plus I like it here and I like the people I work with. This has happened at least twice at the last place. Maybe it was a hint for me to leave … ya think? Ha, ha.
I have lots of experience in my industry, but I feel like no one wants me. The wife keeps telling me to snap out of this “woe is me” shit, but it’s tough. It’s also tough keeping a positive attitude. I’m not known as the glass is half full kind of guy. I generally look at the negative side of things. I try to tell myself that I’m a realest. But that’s just a crock. It’s a catch 22, this positive thinking thing … how do you stay positive when nothing positive is happening to you? It’s easy to be positive when everything is going right in your life. I guess the true test is to remain that way all the time. Although, if you ask me, and I know you will, it’s all just a bunch of buuuuuuullshit. It’s like those AA quitters say, “take it one day at a time.”

I’m not depressed or anything, and this is not a cry for help, I’m just a little pissed off and venting.
I got laid off because of “shortage of work.” But in reality, it was because I got in a heated argument with a supervisor. My company hired a new guy to run our department (a field supervisor). He had been there for 2 months or so, and was treating us all like kids. No respect for us, ratting us out to the brass for every little thing, and always blaming us for things that went wrong or jobs that took longer than they should have.(you know the type. What do you call them? Oh yeah, “dick heads”) He didn’t always work safe, and I was the safety rep. and he wouldn’t listen to me. Never filling out the proper documentation or letting his guys know what they’re doing that day. Or crossing main roads, 6 lanes, with only 2 people and no pay-duty cops to help (it’s the law). So, finally, after weeks of being treated shitty and like a little child, I snapped and got into it with him. It almost went fist to cuff. My face and my fists turned red and we yelled back and forth up in each other’s faces. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to smack someone so much, and he deserved it too. He probably would have flattened me, but it would have been worth the try. I would have been a hero to a lot of people at the company, if I had. After I calmed down a bit, I phoned and explained all this to the owner (the president of our company), so he could have two sides of the story (‘cause I know the other guy was quick to get on the phone). I told him everything that was going on and how this clown was treating us. The owner said, “Just relax Wes. We will sort it out later when you get back to the shop. Don’t worry about it. We will discuss and fix this.” When I got to the shop in the evening after the day of work, you could imagine my excitement when the owner didn’t even wait around and my department manager handed me layoff papers. I was like, “What the fuck!!” (Pardon my French, and there were a lot more French words fired around) What kind of way is that to handle it? To work it out? To make everything OK? I see … just lay off the problem. That is the treatment I get after 7 years of loyalty? Toss me away like a piece of trash.(Insert many french words here.)
I have definite resentment towards those guys, but I’m trying to move on. Just let it be. Once I forgive them, I can get on with my life. Isn’t that how the universe works?
It’s still tough, but I’m trying … I’m not as angry towards them anymore, but I don’t know about total forgiveness either.(baby steps) I’m also trying to forgive myself for standing up for myself. Maybe I should have taken a better path than just snapping, I’m not sure. It’s not like I can go back and redo it. I can only learn for next time.

All my life I have never really stood up for myself. I grew a backbone and had some integrity and look where it got me. Unemployed!!! Maybe next time I should just keep my mouth shut and put up with all the disrespect and keep my job, or try and nip it in the bud, who knows? My home life was suffering. I was angry every night had headaches from stress … that’s no way to live. In the weeks since I’ve been off, my stress level has gone down, way down. On a positive note, I think I’m healthier by not working in that environment. However, I need to start working again because I’m starting to go loopy with all this time off. I could get a hobby. This blogging thing keeps me busy for a bit and I’ve been reading a lot more than I used to, that’s kind of a good thing. I’m sure I will get a job soon….Arrrrrgg! I hope…

Everyday I wake up and wait, wait for the phone to ring .What gives? Why don’t any potential employers phone? I have the training, I am a good worker, don’t people want that? Oh companies are hiring, they just don’t want to pay.
I had another interview today, actually I just drove an hour north to find out I shouldn’t have because they may have something closer to my home at the other shop, which is cool. Would have been nice if they could have let me know before I did the drive. Well, at least it was a nice day. And it wasn’t a total loss. I got to chit chat with one of the bosses and brag myself up some more, show him that I know what I’m talking about. And I also got to visit a bud for breakfast and it was Friday, such a nice day for a drive yep. It’s like Sunday without all the slow people. See I’m starting to find the positive in the situation. I’m changing.

So after all that, I did get a call back from a company, let’s call them “ABC Company.” I’ve now had three interviews with them and it’s promising. While a lot of companies are laying off and getting smaller, ABC is growing and expanding. They liked my resume and said that there are many opportunities for me with them. I did the driver’s licence abstract and police back ground checks for them and it’s looking good.

Ah yes, work at last, finally, after such a long time of being off. A 9-week sabbatical to clear my head and my wallet … It sure feels great to have a job again. Hi-ho, hi-ho… It’s off to work I go.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Bromance

Bromance = Best Friends
Some famous movie and television heterosexual friendships can be categorized as bromance: Joey and Chandler (Friends), Oscar and Felix (The Odd Couple), Dr. House and Dr. Wilson (House), Kirk and Spock (Star Trek), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Hawkeye and Trapper John (M.A.S.H.). Also, bear in mind that bromance has nothing to do with homosexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

RC was one of my roommates in college, well actually, I think he moved in some time after college had finished. He was friends with another one of the 6 roommates that I had, and he hung out at our place for so long, and for so much during and after college that the timeline is a bit skewered.
RC would buy beer, hide it somewhere in his room and then go off to work. (There you go, it was after college if we were working) Me and one of the other roommates, let’s call him ”J”, there were only 3 of us living there by this time – me, RC and J (the rest of the crew had all moved on to better places), would sneak (walk into) RC’s room (he didn’t have a door) and find, steal and drink his beer. He kept it hidden under the headboard of his waterbed. We would then replace it the next day, RC would never know. But then we’d drink the replacement. The cycle continued on and on. In reality, I think “J” was an alcoholic, but then again, who am I to say? Me, I just liked the exercise of walking to the beer store each day. RC eventually got smart to this and started buying crappy beer (Sol, Corona and such), but that didn’t deter us, we still would drink it. There is no such thing as a bad beer, only less good ones. (That’s Wes philosophy lesson number one). The same goes for liquor. No bad liquor, only less good.(philosophy lesson number two) I still hadn’t found a job, so I could drink and party every night. “Rock and roll all night, party every day.” –Gene Simmons. My poor Mom, if she reads this she will think I’m an alcoholic for sure. Well I’m not. At least I don’t think I am, and that’s what matters. Alcoholics are those who go to meetings, and me, no way, I would never go to one of them.

RC and I became friends and are still great friends to this day, despite my shananagins of stealing and drinking all his beer. I think I may still owe him a case or two.

I was trying to find work, but there was not too much going on at that time … you know, 11 a.m., when I would get up. I tried to sell natural gas discounts door-to-door,I even tried to sell Kirby vacuums. This was another life lesson. I’m not cut out for sales. RC told his old man one day about my, situation. His old man laughed. He must of thought I was pretty pathetic, but he gave me job anyway. What a good employer he was, gave me a job, a place to stay and food to eat. This was the beginning. Both RC and I eventually moved to Hamilton to work with his old man.

We worked and lived together for the next 6 or 7 years. Co-workers that we would meet along the way would often think we were gay. I can assure you that we’re not, although there was that one time in college … (ha, ha, ha)
We moved about, job to job, city to city. Hamilton, Dundas, Guelph, Cambridge and, finally, Barrie. The two-man interview was great. Both of us walk in looking for a job, both of us walk out with jobs. –Cable guys, everything from installations to plant balance and setup. Sounds like a cover letter. Experienced cable tech looking for…

Let me tell you little bit about RC. He was geeky red-head, constantly getting sunstroke or heatstroke, whatever you call it. Wore white T shirts, and only white T shirts, and jeans every day to work, and would wear them ‘till they were torn and not so white from so many washes. (How thrifty). I can’t remember totally what the deal was with his work boots, if the summer ones wore out or he was too cheap to buy them, or what? But, he wore the winter ones all year round, clunking up and down the road in these big winter work boots in the middle of July. Funny as hell, and it must have been hot too. (Not even sure how many times he glued, or apoxied the heal back on or fixed the toes. They were also worn out.) He wore those boots for at least 2 years. Ha, looking back to those days make me laugh. He really tried to stretch the life of every piece of clothing.
He also had a big yellow and green one-ton diesel truck with a dump box. This was his personal truck. We took it everywhere, load up the back with people and go to the clubs in Toronto, or put his brothers in the back and drive from T.O. to Hamilton, two road trips to P.E.I, or just spinning around Hamilton/Dundas in the worst snowstorm ever just to go get a movie. In reality, we were trying to get it stuck, wouldn’t happen. It had duelies (dual wheels on the back), no way to get that thing stuck … I miss that truck.

RC is not quite as geeky as he was and he dresses all GQ for work now (has a pair of shoes for every single day of the year) and drives a sedan, but I’m sure deep down inside, if he could, he would pull on those old winter work boots (he might actually still have them) and take that truck back in a flash.

It’s been 14 years, and we are still great friends. We try to get together at least once a week, so he can come and eat all my groceries (lol). We are both busy guys. RC with his new fiancée and wedding planning, and me with my blogging. Heh, heh, heh. RC was the best man in my wedding, as I will be his on his up and coming day. Looking forward to it… It’s open bar. Yeah, baby!

They say that a good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body. I’ve yet to test this theory, but when, or if I do, I’m sure RC will be there to lend a hand. So I raise my glass, full of crappy (less good–my bad) beer and say “Cheers to my best friend.”

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The second coming of Bigwes

Ah yes, college, one heck of a year. R.C.C. – a computer electronics college. I met so many people … like I said before, clubs, pubs and keggers. The second coming of Bigwes. This time, I got it ‘cause I was the big man on campus, I could out-drink anyone around. “Is this something to be proud of?” I hear my Dad’s voice in my head. Hells yeah it is. I could funnel or chug with the best of them. Paaaaarrrrrrrrttty. Such a social butterfly I was, and still am.

I had three roommates in a 3-bedroom apt. We converted the living room in to a 4th.It was great. I had the biggest room for a while. Here is something you have to understand, about R.C.C– the college had approximately 500 students and I can only recall maybe 6 girls. We called the school R.C.C. – “Real Cute Chicks”. Continuing on … with that awful ratio of men to women, any woman that you see becomes attractive. (To some) One of my roommates (idiot!) got one of the six gals knocked-up (Troll). My god, she was ugly. Each to his own, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (Insert your own Idiom here). The Troll, as we called her and her roommate moved in with us. Now, there were six of us. 4 guys, 1 girl and a troll, a pregnant troll. Rent was dirt cheap. $180 a month, which freed up money for BEER! Sorry, Mom, I mean groceries.

The place was full of people and cockroaches all the time. Six of us living there, it was insane. If one of us had anyone over, it would turn into a party. What a year. If I had it to do all over, I don’t think I would change a thing. Well, maybe I would have studied a bit more. Ah, who knows?
Beer cap art was quite popular in college. Take your beer caps and push them in the stucco ceiling. Who says I didn’t learn anything? I’m thinking about taking on a new beer cap project at my house in the basement. I’m sure it would do wonders for resale… Classy.

I don’t actually drink as much beer now as I once did. (Makes me bloated and the calorie count … WOW!). I still enjoy a cold one, or two, or even three with the boys on a hot summer’s day, but only if they twist my arm first and occasionally Bigwes does resurface or some variations, of it Big man, BW or Big Deuce U. However my taste buds are a bit more distinguished now and I would prefer a glass of single-malt scotch on the rocks.

When I was 19. We used to hang out at a bar called Crawdaddies – NE corner of Steeles/Dufferin. (condos are being built there now) We had been going there almost every weekend or after school for drinks for over a month. It was a very nice place, well in reality it was a dive. Very dark, loud rock music (I like that), pool tables, and urine-stained bathroom floors. I don’t actually know about the “urine-stained floors.” The hygiene level may have been better than I remember. It just flowed better with the story (and it was probably true). All the days and nights of going there (it was our local watering hole) and I had never been carded. Not until this particular night. My 19th birthday. The bouncer (a new guy) carded me as I walked in.”Hey Tiny. Can I check your ID?” “You bet your ass you can,” I said with a big dumb smile, having had a few before we left the apartment. I was feeling good and little bit cocky. It was my birthday after all. I was excited to be 19 and happy to be getting carded for the first time. I ended up getting in without any cover charge. Yes! I saved 5 bucks, more beer for me. We drank and rocked it out until the place closed. That was my 19th. A good time had by all … as always. The 30-minute stagger home through G. Ross Lord Park was fun, scary and dark. Very, very spoooooooky. Ha, ha ,ha (evil laugh). I can’t believe the park is not lit. Even to this day, no lights. Wow, some shortcut, I would definitely go around at night nowadays. (Wisdom comes with age and hindsight.) Not even sure I would walk there in the daytime. Ahh, I’m sure it’s OK. It’s not Central Park.

One day, right out of the blue, five of us decided to get tattoos. One guy said he can’t be any part of that, he opted out. (A Bible thumper. Super good guy, just hooked on the Bible. Not that that’s a good or bad thing.) So we jumped on the T.T.C. and headed downtown. We were such rebellious teens. Not really, we just wanted something to remember college. Since we had more money than brains, tattoos it was. This was before all these shows on TV about tattooing, before they were so mainstream. Now, tats are like a-holes, everybody has one. We wandered along Queen Street looking for shops and finally found one that was clean and not so scary. I think it was Waycool Tattoos. We walked in, and in two hours walked out with our tatts.

I don’t get these shows, always asking the meaning behind the tat and why you are getting it, what does it represent? Ours didn’t represent anything. It wasn’t a dead loved one’s face, our cats or a unicorn representing world peace. Ours were just for us. I guess now that I look back, it did represent our youth. Who knows? Mine is Yosemite Sam. He is holding a beer in one hand and a gun in the other, jumping up in the air about to click his heels. If I think about it, I can come up with something for it to represent. It’s a cartoon, so it is my youth, the gun represents my wild side, beer in one hand is for my love of beer, and the jumping up is my fun side. Or maybe the beer mug in one hand and gun the other represent the fact that I can multi-task and get things done on a deadline. That’s pretty good, pretty deep, I could be on one of those shows. It’s awesome – every time I look at my arm, I will remember when I was 19 and think of all the good times … My next tattoo will be of the greatest band ever– KISS, but who knows when that will be. Priorities are always changing and I guess it’s pretty low on the list. I thought I’d get it when I was 30, but that didn’t happen. (got engaged instead) Maybe when I’m 40 … who knows what’s to come.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

BigWes

Living in Toronto and attending college there had its perks. I turned 19, so I was totally legal, going to clubs, pubs and keg parties. And there were lots of them. I was the life of every party. Booya! BigWes. But, that was actually the second coming of BigWes.

BigWes came about some time in high school. I’ve always been one of or the biggest guy in my classes. Even from grade one. Not always a bad thing. No one picked on me in high school. (Too afraid that I would sit on them. Ha, ha, ha!) I was at the top of the food chain, or one would say I could eat it. There were a few other big guys on my bus. They were bus buddies if you will. One in particular named Jeff. Actually I think he was a “G. off”(Geoff). Everyone called him Big Geoff. I hung out on the bus with him, so naturally, I became BigWes. Hey, could be worse … they could’ve called me Slim or Tiny. ‘Cause they always call fat guys “slim” or “tiny.” Someone out there thinks it’s funny. (But it’s not. It hurts, I say as I rub away a tear from my eye. Ha, ha, ha. It was just some sweat. Typing takes a lot of energy.)

But, it wasn’t always like that. When I was little (I mean young. I was never little.), the kids used to call me “Fatty, fatty 2 by 4.” I also wore these stupid big glasses, (pimpin) so Four Eyes was also a popular nickname for me. In fact, some kids combined the two of them. They would say “Fatty, fatty four eyes”. Kids are so cruel.

In an effort to make me a better person, my Dad tried to teach me a life lesson. Too bad, it never took. Every day, the neighbourhood kids would come to my house and ask if I could come out and play. My Dad said that it was up to me. I always said “Sure.” We’d go outside and they’d beat on me and make me eat dirt. It was exactly the same the next day, and the next, and the next. Years later, my Dad confessed that he knew what was going on. I asked him why he kept letting me go outside with them. He just turned to me, smiled and said “I thought you’d learn.” It was tough love…truly.

My wife loves to bring up the story about me getting my butt kicked and eatin’ dirt at the hands of the neighbourhood bullies. The kids, or most of them, were from a neighbouring subdivision that everyone called the development. (The Development Kids) It was a new subdivision under development, hence the nickname “The Development”. Funny how some things never change, still has that name, ’till this day. Anyhoo, the leader of the pack was Cory Woods. (Amazing how I still remember his name). He wore Coke bottle glasses bigger and thicker than mine. He had the nickname Cokey Woods, or just Cokey. Everyone used to call him that – even the bus driver. That makes me laugh. [Laugh out loud, laughing my ass off (lol, lmao)]. No wonder he was a bully. Cokey. Ha, ha, ha. That’s worse than fatty, fatty four eyes.

Wifey constantly brings that time of my life up just to make fun of me. ”How stupid and naive can one person be?” she says. “You kept going out to play with them, without learning the consequences.” What can I say, there’s a sharp learning curve. I guess I trusted too much and tried to see the good in everyone. She also pokes fun at me because this all took place in a trailer park –Parkwood Estates. She thinks I’m some kind of white trailer trash. Yep, when I was young, I lived in a trailer park. Is there a problem with that? Every night, we would sit out on the veranda, the old dog near, and play bluegrass music with the fiddles, banjos, washboards, and pucker our lips and blow air across the moonshine jars… Not!!! Sounds kind of fun though.

Trailer park living is not like it is on T.V. It’s the same as living in any other community except instead of houses, it’s trailers. You have great neighbours and some not so great, the same as anywhere else. Lots of people think it’s trashy. This is because of T.V. shows like The Trailer Park Boys, giving it a negative spin. Negative, but very entertaining. But, it’s not just low-income drunk druggies living there and, it’s not just T.V. shows that give the parks a bad name. Every time a tornado or big storm hits in the U.S.A., all you see is white trash folks with missing teeth doing the interviews, talkin’ ‘bout their missing trailers or the twisted heap of metal and plastic that used to be their homes. I think the U.S. gave trailer parks a bad rep. In P.E.I., lots of respectable people own trailer homes because it’s simply cheaper than buying a house. I know many people that live in trailer communities now, and they’re no white trashier than you or I. We all have a little white trash in us. Most of the people I know are normal, hard-working people. Karen, always says “What’s normal to you is not always normal to everyone else. You come from a different world.” She is so conditioned. Ha, ha, ha…

We lived in a trailer home until shortly after my sister came along. It started to get crowded so we moved to a house in the Development. I became a “Development Kid” … a bully. No way, it’s not in my nature. However, I did become friends with a few of them… but only after the forced dirt eating stopped.

When you live on an Island with only 183,000 people, friends are scarce….

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2010 in Uncategorized