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Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Heeby-Jeebies

I was having a discussion with myself the other day, and feeling a bit morbid. What’s the deal with funerals and wakes? Can someone explain? (Rhetorical. If I really wanted to know, I would Google it.) I don’t get the whole open-casket thing. Really, really creepy for me. I’ve been to my share of wakes in the past couple of years. Enough to last for my lifetime, and it’s just odd. What gives? I guess it’s part of the grieving process to view that person one last time. I dunno. It’s not like they can see or hear you. They paint you all up with more makeup than a KISS show (funeral parlours/undertakers are what keeps Loreal in business. or is it Benjamin Moore paints?). Sometimes it looks like the original person, but a much younger version, and sometimes it resembles Bozo the Clown. Whatever they do doesn’t matter, ‘cause after a few hours, everything begins to sag. Creepy. I know everyone thinks this, I just have the guts to say it out loud (or at least write it). Creepy, creepy, creepy.

I‘ve been to Jewish funerals. They got it right. They skip the whole wake and open-casket thing. Sometimes they have a bit of a memorial, and then the dead person gets put into the ground in a simple pine box. All the men stay and backfill the hole until all the dirt is put back. I’ve done this and I think this practice shows great respect for the deceased and his or her family. Goys (non-Jews) do the “ashes to ashes”, lower it down and then walk away and let strangers do the backfilling.

I had the honour of being a pallbearer at my Grandma’s funeral and that was really great for me. But, like I said before, I could have done without the open-casket part. It kind of makes me want to throw up in my mouth a bit. People talking to it and touching it. Jesus, it gives me the heeby-jeebies. Each to his own, I guess.
When my time comes, and I hope it’s not for a while (wow, this is morbid), I want to just be put in the ground the cheapest way possible and I want everyone to have a party. Play lots of metal music and drink and eat. Do I need to write this in a will? Hmmmmm….

And another thing I don’t like (well there is nothing to like about these events) is shaking hands with the masses (clammy, sweaty and cold hands—the flu, H1N1 etc.) oh, and I really like the people who explain who they are. Not! I’m being facetious. If I’m on the receiving end or if I’m doing the walk through, I don’t care to introduce myself. If you don’t already know me, then it probably doesn’t matter who I am at that particular juncture. I don’t need to know that you played golf with the person, or you are the former cousin twice removed, or the deceased was your grocery man, and so on. Holy crap, when you’re on the receiving end, you have to wear name tags. I think the people walking through should be the ones wearing the name tags and a little synopsis about themselves and how they knew the person – then you wouldn’t have to even speak. Much faster, no one holding up the line. Am I crazy here or what? I think I have a point. The last wake I went to, I switched name tags with my wife, just to mess with people. Peeps would look and say “Hey, you’re not Karen” … No shit! But it was funny for me (I’ve got a sick sense of humour). It also helped pass the time and keep my mind of the situation a bit.
Now that I got that out, I feel much better. This blogging stuff has its perks. It’s like therapy, good stuff, and now I need a large cool drink. … Wanna join me?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Cruisin’

Got to use my passport again. Yaaaaaaay!! (I need to relive my old vacations because I’m too poor to take a new one) We were bored and had nothing to do, so we wanted to go on a vacation. We decided on a Caribbean cruise. Karen’s mom and sister decided to come along, or was it their idea and we tagged along? Either way all 4 of us went on a cruise. We hopped a flight to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Let me tell ya, Air Transat, what small planes they have. I had to snooze in the crash position just to stay comfortable with my head on the seat in front of me and my knees touching the back of it. And this was after getting moved to “first class.”

This was my first cruise. Wow, and I went with the in-laws. Man that will either bring you closer together, or drive you apart. I still married into the family after this, so I guess it brought us together. When we got to the ship, we knew it was gonna be a good time. Music blaring, people laughing, the sun shining, the swimming pool open and food everywhere you look. We were on a Carnival ship, Carnival Liberty to be specific. It was great for a first-time cruiser like me, but next time I will choose one of those Blah, Blah of the Seas ships (Royal Caribbean).

Before the ship sailed, they had the evacuation test with all the ringing bells and announcements to grab your life jacket, located in your room, put it on and meet on the deck. This made me a little nervous. But I guess it’s better to learn what to do in a test then to have to figure it out in a real situation.

Wow, how about that horn when you leave every port. Wow, wow, wow. It almost made me shit my pants. So loud, it makes your heart beat faster. At least 100 times louder than a fire truck–Get the hell out of the way horn.
On the first day of the cruise, I had wobbly legs. Without even drinking, I was staggering down the halls, bumping from side to side. This eventually wore off and I got my sea legs. But I remember thinking, “Hmm … if I’m staggering now without drinking, will I walk straight after having a few?” My theory is correct. The more drinks you have, the straighter you walk. And that’s a fact.

Our first stop was Puerto Rico. We took a tour, but didn’t see much. Well it was at night for one thing, and most of the people on our tour were only interested in time shares, the new Marriott Hotel and corn bread and grits. No word of lie! For 2 hours, that’s all they talked about. So for the rest of the trip, we walked around saying “Hey, you gonna eat that corn bread? How’s ‘bout them grits? We should get time shares down here.”

Puerto Rico was a very important stop for us. We found the dollar store and bought sippy cups. Why was this so essential, you ask? Well, we brought lots of liquor on board, but had no way to walk around drinking it. Let me see, we had wine, vodka, peach schnapps and goldschlager. We were like a bar of our own. Since they let you take wine on board, we had to sneak some of it in other bottles/containers. The peach schnapps, I put in a Maalox bottle, and “D” put the schlager in a shampoo bottle. She said she washed it out, but I don’t think so. We ended up dumping it. The cleaning staff must have thought we were retarded. Every day we had our shampoo and Maalox chillin’ in a bucket of ice. Next time, I will just buy alcohol at the first island and sneak it to my room. Much more dignified than shampoo and Maalox.

Ima would wake up at 6:30 or 7 a.m. and go save chairs all over the boat. She would use her towels and tie 4 of them together so we would have a place to hang together. Then call us to wake us up and come get the ones we wanted to keep. It was early, but being awake this early gave us an excuse for an extra meal, sometimes we could squeeze in two or three extras along with snacks. Breakfast, second breakfast, snack, lunch, second lunch, dinner, and more often than not a midnight snack. Crazy how much food we ate that week. I did it for a safety reason. Just in case the ship sinks, you retain all the fat and you are more buoyant and can float easier. Yep, that’s why.

On top of Puerto Rico, we also stopped in Antigua, St. Thomas and Tortola. St. Thomas and Tortola are very beautiful. A little bit sleepy. We did a beach day and a tour of the island. Antigua was a little different. While we were there, I thought we were having a crappy time, but when I look back it was my favourite stop. We wanted to go to the popular beach, plus a small tour on the way, but didn’t want to pay the insane amount. We haggled and haggled and finally came to a price we all agreed on. The taxi took us to what we thought was the popular beach and dumped us off. Nice. No one was there. Only the 4 of us. Crazy, right out of a horror movie. We were a pissed at the lady, but what do you expect when you “Jew” her down from $25 per person to $10 flat for 4. A pontoon boat came shortly after us and the beach was filled, and everything was cool and a lot less scary. 

It was the cab ride back that was my favourite memory. Again, we haggled for the best price and got it. The driver said, “Yo, big mon, sit up front with me. The ladies can have dee back.” Yeah, ladies get to dee back of dee bus. Ha, ha, ha. I added the second part purely for entertainment. The driver and I were chatting about this and that and I asked him to take us on some site-seeing on the way back. He said, “Ya mon, fa sure.” Then took us to the “ghetto,” explaining where people get shot just for being there. Awesome! Who gets to see that? Showed us burned out building, druggies walking the street, drug dealers and where all the riff-raff hang out. All in all, very informative. Gets 10 out of 10 in my opinion. He also told us, not to worry. If any thing’s gonna go down, they will fire 2 shots into the air first. Everyone not doing business clears out and no one gets hurt. Cops even know this. Fortunately for us, there were no gun shots (would have been cool to see something go down) and we got back to the ship safe and alive… I will never forget my first cruise.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

First trip

And now, we plunge right back into the complex memories of Wes (That’s me).–My first trip out of Canada, I mean the first trip that I actually needed a passport for. (Back then you just need a driver’s licence to go into the U.S.A.) I had been to a few places in the U.S., New York State, Maine, Ohio, and Vermont, but I’m talking about somewhere warm, exotic and awesome. I’m talkin’ about a real trip. Dominican Republic. WOW!!

What can I say? Once again, I was conditioned to believe that I had no desire to go to one of these places. Why would I want to go there? When just the other year a friend of a friend’s friend (or a long lost relative‘s friend) went and almost got killed, or robbed, or food poisoned there, or it rained for their entire stay. This is what I always heard. This is what I believed. Man! Dumb, dumb, dumb. I mean, I guess it could happen. But I’m so glad that Karen talked me in to this trip. She opened my eyes to this kind of trip.

It was Christmas 2002. What a great trip, warm and sunny, excellent food and great entertainment. Dominican is mostly Catholic (OK folks, here’s another made up statistic for ya. Let’s say 90% Catholic. I didn’t totally make that up. That’s what the Interwebs told me.), so Christmas in the Dominican was great, even though I’m not Catholic. You haven’t heard or seen anything until you’ve experienced Jingle Bells, Silent Night and all your favourite Christmas tunes played on the steel drums while everyone dances around, dressed up and wearing Santa hats. In-freekin-credible! All the food was pretty much American type stuff. You want a cheese burger or some fried chicken and watermelon in the middle of the night, or any time for that matter, you could get it. And I like that. Yes, all inclusive … that’s the way to go, all you can eat and drink. That gets the Wes seal of approval.

I phoned the “rents” (parents) on X-mas Day. My mom said, “I bet your not having a big turkey dinner this year, are ya?” (Still a little bitter that we went south, and not to her for the holidays) I said, “No Ma, we haven’t had a big Christmas dinner. We’ve had two and we will be having another one tonight, along with lots of drinks and I will probably wash it all down with a cheeseburger or two and then go for a swim.” (waiting the necessary 20 – 30 minutes to avoid cramps, of course) Ha, ha, ha. That kind of put her in her place. What can I say? Me mum loves us, and wants us home for the holidays every year.

This was the first real vacation that Karen and I took together.A true test, no one else, just the two of us, and we can make it if we try. Oops, almost started singing. After two months of dating, our relationship became a long-distance one (with me travelling around for work). We would only see each other on the weekends, and even then, not every weekend. Don’t get me wrong … I wasn’t dating a stranger or a weekend ho,(that would have been nice) we’d talk on the phone every night. Got to know each other pretty well. But, could we survive each other’s company alone for a whole week? Yup, it was a true test and we passed it with flying colours.

Hola, dos cerveza, por favor. Or in Karen’s sake… dos “Banana Mama” por favour (who said, K doesn’t drink). No, no, you better make it quarto … All this heat, it’s making me dry. Gracias , senor.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Decent proposal

Finally, in 2007, after 10 and a half years of dating, Karen and I wed.(A story for another time). It takes a long time to make sure that you are a fit.We did many trips together for weeks at a time, and we even lived together for 3 years. I knew from the second year of dating, or even before that, that we would get married someday, but it took Karen a wee bit longer. I think she is scared of change. She tells me that I asked her once early on. (I can’t remember that.) Said it freaked her out a bit. Whether I did, or did not, ask her back then is beside the point. Somewhere, deep down in the sub-cockles of my burning loins, I mean my heart, I always knew we’d be together – AWWWWWW. (Insert Hallmark card here.)

On my 30th birthday, I asked her to marry me. It was in Niagara Falls. (How cliché) We stayed at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel. I think our room was on the 40th floor. We had a jacuzzi big enough for two, and a huge window over- looking the falls. Wow! Trés romantic. What can I say, I’m a real romancer. Actually, this was all booked and paid for by Karen for my 30th birthday. She wanted to do something special for me, and had no clue of my underlying plans. (Evil laugh as I twiddle my fingers and thumbs)
In the morning we stopped and got professional pictures taken at Sears. I told her I wanted pics because I was 30 and we didn’t have any real pictures together. In reality they were our engagement she just didn’t know it yet…

We rolled in to Niagara, got settled in our room and went for dinner. It was barley dinner time and Karen wasn’t hungry. I had to force her to go. She said something like we should chill, maybe go to the casino for a while first. Me, no way, I had been walking around all day with the ring in my pocket, nervous as hell, and just wanted to get the proposal out of the way.

So off we go to The Keg Steakhouse. It was so busy, so many people. As we were walking in I saw my favourite Q107 Classic Rock’s morning DJ, Mr. John Darringer, sitting at a table. I was a little bit star struck, but we eventually we got to meet him as he walked by our table. We talked for a bit. He asked what we were doing in Niagara Falls, so I told him “We’re in town for the Alice Cooper show”. More chit chat, then we took a picture. Awesome!!!! … Oh yeah, back to the real stuff. This all took place after I had already proposed. I was too shy to tell one of my heroes that that’s why I was in town, also too shy to tell him that I had proposed just minutes before. Yep, I’m a shmuck.

Let’s go back to the proposal. So, we ordered our food (delicious steak and lobster), had a few drinks, and then I asked Karen to read a poem that I had found, I played it super cool, I said “Check this out, I found this poem online and printed it out ‘cause I think it describes us perfectly. What do you think?” I also told her that it had been in my pocket for a while, and I forgot all about it. – The old shuck and jive. She had no clue what was coming next. I gave her the crinkled up paper and she began to read it. She said sure, that poem does sum us up pretty well. As she was reading, I put the ring box on the table and asked her to marry me. She said “yes”. Scratch that, rewind, she said “No way! Shut up!”(exactly the answer I was looking for) fanning her hands like women do, so I opened the box, she saw the ring and then she said yes. (A real gold digger) My favourite part about the night, I mean my second favourite part was due to the fact that Karen was so excited and had to phone everyone, I got to have 2 steaks and 2 lobsters. Expensive stuff, can’t let it go to waste. After that we went to the Cooper show, rocked it out, had a really awesome time, then retired back to our room, where I had 12 long-stemmed roses waiting for her…What a great and wonderful night…

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Canada Day

Something I looked forward to as a youngin every year was Canada Day and all its festivities, even as I got older I would still want to go, just not hang out with the ‘rents as much. Like clockwork, we would head to North Rustico for Canada Day.The town always had a parade, concerts and stuff for kids in the park. We would always take a tour of the harbour and out to sea on a big ole fishing boat, this was fun especially on the windier days, up and down and up and down over the waves. How much fun is that? We would follow up the day by watching the fireworks as they were shot out over the harbour. On years that the weather wasn’t up to snuff, windy or rainy, and they had to postpone the show, we would watch them in town at Victoria Park on the rescheduled day. They were fine, but not nearly as good. For a small town, North Rustico knew how to put on a show. Shit, nowadays I’m lucky if we even go to watch them. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the week. One day off and then back to work, and I do need my beauty sleep, so by the time you fight traffic and get back home, it’s late and I wonder if it was even worth it. If we do go, it’s to a parking lot to watch the Canada’s Wonderland show. It’s close by, but still you are standing in a parking lot. Ah, what are ya gonna do? Big city living. Don’t get me wrong, they put on a half decent show, 20 minutes or more, but it’s just not the same as being a kid and waiting for hours as the excitement builds for the big crescendo of the fireworks to close the day. And, in my opinion, no one does it up like that small harbour town village on the north shore of P.E.I. I loved spending Canada Day there, all the small-town comradery, It’s was great.Wow, time does fly by, I realize this now, writing these posts and reminiscing … it seems like only yesterday that I was that little snot-nosed kid running around wanting to get my face painted and watching the various types of shows with my folks. Some years we watched the fireworks in the car or on the shore sitting on the rocks if it wasn’t too cold (I liked this best). It’s July, but P.E.I. can still be cool that early in the summer season. Summer doesn’t really begin until late July/early August. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve grown up (Yep, I’m all growd up.) and I do kind of miss my childhood. Where the Hell did it go? And, can you ever get it back … Hmmmm, just a thought. Karen will tell you I still act like a child some days (actually, she’d probably say it was most days). I say she’s just foolish and what’s so wrong with being a kid. Ha, ha. I still get excited when watching fireworks (I just won’t let it show as much as I used to. It’s not cool.).Parades, I also like. All the wonderful floats and fire engines, I mean, who doesn’t like the fire engines? Maybe someday I can make it to P.E.I. in the summer with Karen July,1st (she’s never been there past June) and we can check out the Canada Day festivities – in no other town than North Rusticoville.

“Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end, we’d sing and dance forever and a day.”

Happy Canada Day!!!

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2010 in Uncategorized