Oct 12

The Circus Was In Town

mindofbirdman

First of all, I want to let you know that I’m probably embellishing this story, so if you know the story, don’t get all pissy because the details are off. I heard it in camp about 8-9 years ago, and we all know that sometimes guys lie. That being said, I’ll tell you about Mumbles, his son-in-law (we’ll call him Cletus) and the fucking circus, because Dennis reminded me of it today, and it’s pretty funny.

Mumbles was an operator with us a long time ago, and I don’t know if he’s still around or not. I didn’t know him very well, maybe rode to work with him a few times, or saw him at dinner here and there, but you wouldn’t say we were buddies. I think the only reason I remember him is because of this story and the fact that his nickname was Mumbles. I am not going to explain how Mumbles got his name, and if you need me to, I want you to walk out your front door, find the first person you see, and ask them to kick your ass until you cry.

Doot doot doody doo do, doot doot doody doo do....

Doot doot doody doo do, doot doot doody doo do….

Anyhow, Mumbles’ daughter was with a real asshat, who wanted to borrow some money for a vehicle or a house payment or something like that. I don’t even remember the exact amount, but $2000 seems to stick in my mind. So Mumbles got out of camp and lent this dude the money, thinking it was going to help his daughter out of a jam, even though he was less than excited about her choice of men.

When he heads back to work, Mumbles finds out that his idiot son-in-law took his daughter to the circus while it was in the area. A LOT. It seems that they spent all of the money that he lent them, minus $200, going to the bloody circus.

How the fuck do you do that? It’s a goddam circus for Christ’s sake. (Sorry for the taking of the names in vain.(not really)) I find it hard to believe that two people could spend $180 at six circuses, let alone $1800 for however many they went to. (I’m guessing three). Are they twelve year old kids in the 1920’s?  Two crazy kids, falling in love with the romantic, nomad life of the circus, losing their money in a con game played by a one-eyed roustabout who promised he would let them run away with the rest of the filthy transients. Perhaps they paid a lion tamer’s assistant to have a three-way while he dressed up as a clown, or maybe the handler got the elephant to give him some sort of trunk job. How else could you blow a large wad of dough at a circus? The possibilities are truly endless if you ask me.

How the hell could you be sad at a time like this, Mr. GreenFingers?

I can’t say whether or not Mumbles really knocked Cletus out to get the two hundred bucks back from him, but I want to believe he did.  I like to think he was whistling that old, familiar circus tune while he did it.

“Doot doot dootle ootle, doot doot dootle, doot dootleootle, doot dootleootle…”

Kick that dumb bastard once for all of us Mumbles.

 

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,

Birdman

Oct 11

Do you know what I really enjoy?

Seeing Indian couples holding hands in the street. It makes me proud to live in a country that allows them to do that. A lot of people are down on immigration, and go on about the government letting all of these people in, while we don’t have enough jobs for the people that are here. I know our system needs a lot of work, and I’m not here to argue for or agin, but I always feel happy to see people enjoying freedoms that they wouldn’t have in their homeland.

I couldn’t imagine all of the horrible things that go on in some of those places. I know I wouldn’t want to live in a place where women aren’t allowed to drive. How the hell would I get home from the bar when it’s my turn to drink? Jesus, I’d have to drive Mrs. Birdman’s drunk ass around every time we went out. No thank you, not in my lifetime. I like the fact that we can take turns realizing how annoying we are to each other, it makes things seem more fair somehow.

That’s why I don’t begrudge anyone the chance to move to a place that allows them to live with the same liberties that we take for granted on a daily basis. Most of us don’t live in fear, we aren’t dying in the streets or in sweat shops. Sure there are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole, we are a relatively lucky society. Well, except for Christianity and global free trade, that’s still a fucking pile of horseshit. I dare all of you to find some locally made products to give out this Christmas. The people who are making the stuff will thank you, and maybe they will be able to put a nice dinner on their table this year.

Oct 04

Still no God

Before you start, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this.

I’m going to start up where I left off last time, with me crawling back up the river to find a place to light. When I got myself to a flat enough spot on the shore, I thought maybe I’d have a little nap and get some much needed rest. I thought that was the most important thing at the time. Just a few minutes is all I’d need, and then I could worry about finding Aaron and getting our asses out of there. In Hudson’s Hope, the river is about ninety feet or so below the town, and the cliffs where we were are unclimbable. As I started to doze off, I heard yelling and whistling. Oh right, I was just with someone in the river. A few more yells and whistles, oh right, it was Aaron. I came out of my stupor, and started clambering towards the voice. It was starting to get dark by now, and the temperature was beginning to dip, but I saw him trying to find a spot to climb up the face and I tried a yell, but my voice wasn’t working very well. I was finally successful in getting his attention, as I got a bit closer and there was much rejoicing. I guess Aaron had watched me going down the river and figured I was dead already, so when I showed up there may or may not  have been hugging, I’m not at liberty to say.

We had lost our cell phones, wallets and keys, not to mention the matches, when the tube fell out of the canoe, so we had no fire and I was losing body temperature pretty quick. I had also lost my new glasses, but I wasn’t too worried about driving right then. Aaron hadn’t been in as long as I had, and he seemed to be in better shape. He was whistling and hollering up the cliff, but we didn’t know if anyone in the houses would be able to hear us over the roar of the water. My kidneys were starting to hurt pretty bad from the cold and being bashed around on the rocks and I got Aaron to rub them really fast to warm them up. I don’t know if it made any difference physically, but mentally I could feel warmth from the friction making it’s way through me. We were hoping Lannie had missed us by now and had called someone, but we had been known for dawdling before, so we weren’t counting on it yet. We started planning to wait it out until morning, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make the night at that temperature. I think I was hyperventilating, or something that was making me breathe very rapidly, and because of that my mouth and throat were getting really dry. I kept going to the shore and drinking out of the river to try and wet my whistle, but I would just puke it back up. I didn’t mind, because at least there was moisture in there.

By now it was really dark, and I was getting worried and just wanted to lay down, but Aaron was able to keep his wits about him enough to hear a boat in the dark. I couldn’t hear anything but blood pounding in my ears and him whistling. I’ve never been so glad to be with a person who whistled so loud in my life, because all of a sudden he saw a light on the water where he had heard the boat downstream, and when he whistled again, their spotlight started searching in our direction. He yelled to me to get up and wave my brightly coloured life jacket in the air, and I happily obliged. They came a bit closer and killed the engine, and Aaron let out another high-pitched tweet. The spotlight hit us that time and the engine fired back up and started heading towards us. I have to admit that I could never see the appeal of riverboats, but after that night I had a new found love for any craft that can run through rapids, sandbars and rocks, and not sink. When the boat thrust up onto the shore with the two RCMP officers in the bow, and my new boss driving, I almost cried, I was so happy. I may have really cried, I don’t know. I do know I hugged Rich Brown and the constables for saving us, and Rich gave me his survival coat to keep me as warm as possible as well as the welding tube full of our things that they had found on their way up. I felt like I should have went out and got a girl pregnant, just to give them my first born, that’s how happy I was.

It turns out that the people that were having a fire at the landing, saw the canoe go by upside down, and called 911. While the police were rounding up Rich and his boat, and making their way to us, one of the folks at the top of the cliff had called in to say he thought there was someone trapped below his house. I am forever indebted to those people, because I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. We were taken back to the landing where the fire was still going, and I stayed by the fire until the ambulance got there moments later. We went back to Aaron’s after the paramedics got us fixed up and his wife and son were more than a little happy to see him, as he was elated to see them.I had a hot bath and put on some dry clothes, but I was still having troubles with my lungs, so I ended up getting taken in to Fort St. John hospital and got something called a nebulizer to dry the water and crap out of my lungs. I guess my kidneys took a bit of a beating as well, but they were still working fine and I was alive, so what more could you ask for?

I was going to go looking for the canoe the next day, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t have it in me. Aaron said that if I got the canoe back, he was going to buy it off of me and burn it. I think he probably would have, but I wouldn’t have charged him for it. I went out with my friend Randy, who is a very experienced canoodler, to get back in and try it again the next week. We did it, and I’m glad I did, but I have to admit I was pretty shaky until I found out that you can go across the river and the rapids are minimal there. Hindsight, eh? Ah well, what’s done is done, and there’s no point in analyzing it to death. Where we went through was bad, but it wasn’t treacherous. We were ill prepared, and uninformed. We shouldn’t have gone in there without knowing what lay ahead of us, and we should have had our life jackets on, instead of laying in the canoe. I don’t think either of us will make that mistake again, and I hope you never do either.

I think it’s safe to say that the experience that day changed our lives. I still don’t believe in God though, but think Aaron might have gained a bit of faith.I know he quit smoking because it was one more thing that might prevent him from spending every possible moment with his family. I imagine he’s a lot more careful around water too. I know my outlook changed drastically. I no longer waste time on stupid shit, and I try to enjoy every moment I can, because you never know when it might be your last. This weekend at Thanksgiving, I think I’ll raise my glass to my pal Aaron, and give thanks that I had him with me that day. I can’t think of too many people I’d rather have in my corner when the chips are down, so here’s to you my friend. I credit you, most of all for us surviving that day.

What Aaron was fighting for

Aaron and his oldest boy

Make sure you look after each other,

Birdman

Oct 04

What…Yo Mamma Never Made You Do Dishes?

Sometimes the Bird has a rough day, and doesn’t have the three hours he needs to create a blogging masterpiece. (He types like a little girl.)

Enter Mrs. Birdman. Or, for now, Mrs. Birdman-to-be. 🙂

My sweet baby has had a long day of being over extended and under-appreciated (imho). I’m here to take a bit of the blogging off his hands, so you fine people will still have some lovely tripe to read on the morrow.

I have to tell y’all, that life around the Bird’s Nest is usually pretty sweet. There are the extended dance parties, the kitchen-window-makeout sessions, and the moments of pure, sweet, total love and adoration. Of course, to counter all of the rainbows and lollipops, there is also the never-ending pile of crap that ends up on the floor, counters, couch, tables and every other possible surface we own.

YOUR turn to do the dishes, asshat.

Let me start off by saying that I love my man, and there isn’t another like him in all the land. He is sweet, kind, romantic, thoughtful, affectionate, honest, loyal, hard-working AND he’s an amazing step-dad already. However, he does have one flaw: He is a total slob.

I realize that I am far from perfect myself. God knows I won’t be winning any awards for housekeeping or decorating, but I do have a tolerance level for mess that is way, way, WAY lower than the Birdman’s. I do believe that we could have piles of fermenting food in the sink that would be left to their own devices, to percolate to fruition and possibly create the cure for cancer, before my beloved would decide there was a need for some soapy water and a cloth. Even then, I suspect it might be a well-meaning relative or neighbour calling in the Haz-Mat Team to forcibly remove the offending science experiment for the good of public safety.

Over the weekend, I went into one of my famous Mess Meltdowns. This is generally preceded by a busy weekend in which my children take full advantage of the fun and enjoyment we create for them, whilst doing nothing to tamp down the urban spread of dirt that they blow through the house. At the conclusion of said weekend, I looked around the wreckage of our happy home, and began to unravel. I started in on a Mom Crusade that would end with the children voluntarily cleaning their rooms (and their closets) and my beloved scrambling to push some dirt around while smiling nervously at me, hoping this state of hysteria would soon pass.

Stand back kids…Mommy

In the end, the room that got the brunt of the cleaning cyclone was the bedroom. The state of disaster in that area was at Defcon 1. By the time I was finished, the hanging closet had been reassembled, the piles of debris had been removed, and no less than 4 loads of laundry had been evacuated from the disaster area. Some of the items recovered from the destruction zone: A book I forgot I borrowed (sorry Jennifer!), enough change to buy coffee for two weeks (score!), at least 4 pairs of long-lost earrings and some other items that really should remain nameless.

I am proud to say that we are now sleeping in a room that resembles a bedroom, even if it is still a den of iniquity. You can tidy up the Birdman’s bedroom, but you can never get all of the dirty out. *WINK*

Hold me closer, Tony Danza,

Mrs. Birdman

Oct 03

Well, that’s gonna take a while

If you haven’t, you should read Part 1 before reading this.

 

I guess it’s a bit more work than I thought switching the blog over, so Mrs. Birdman told me I should finish yesterday’s story. Seeing as she wears the pants in the family, I guess I had better do what I’m told and not dilly-dally.

So I’ve made a bit of an error on yesterday’s post. I didn’t have the homemade chicken balls before drinking the caesers, they were the next day. I guess it was just chips that I was eating with the booze. I went over to Aaron’s place for supper the next night, and we made the chicken balls then. I was still not feeling totally myself from the night before, but we decided after supper we’d take my new canoe for a trip down the river a ways. It was a pretty skookum canoe, and I was quite proud of it. I had taken it out only once by myself earlier in the week, and left it at Darcy’s, (the guy whose cabin we were drinking at) because he was right on the river and a handy place for a new canoer to take off from.

That was the canoe I had. Well, not this exact one, but that model. Old Town Tripper 172

We dropped Aaron’s truck off at the landing and there were a few people there having a fire and fishing. We then took the canoe in my truck, to Alwin Holland Park and launched from there. There were quite a few things that we forgot to do at that time. The most important was to find out where the rapids were, second would be to put on a life jacket. I had a welding tube to keep our keys, wallet and cell phones dry, and we threw that and the life jackets into the canoe and started our float downstream. I call it a float, because that was all it was supposed to be. From what we understood, the big shelf was up from Alwin Holland, and it was just a nice little paddle to the landing. As we were floating along, we started to hear a bit of rushing water, and asked each other what the fuck that noise was coming from around the bend? It sounded like a waterfall, but it couldn’t be, we dropped in after the big rapids. As we rounded the bend, we realized that there was in fact some pretty decent rapids there. Apparently, the amount of water the dam lets out, governs the depth of the river, which in turn governs the severity of the rapids. I guess the dam hadn’t let much out, because they were pretty rabid right about then.

This is up by the bridge. The shelf is downstream further.

Now I’m not an expert when it comes to canoeing, and Aaron hadn’t been in one since he was young, so we didn’t know that the little guy should be in the bow, and the big guy should be in the stern. That explains why it was so hard to keep us from turning around. He has at least a hundred pounds and almost a foot of height, not to mention he’s about two axe handles across the shoulders and a little top heavy. We were probably at least fourty yards from shore when we hit the shelf and went a bit sideways. Water started coming in behind Aaron, and then we hit the second one and flipped the canoe. I came up, grabbed onto the canoe and threw Aaron his life jacket. He had come up with half a cigar hanging out of his mouth, and spit it out, yelling for me to head to shore. I had always been told to stay with the canoe when you capsize, so I was trying to drag it with me. I had just bought it used for $750, and I sure didn’t want to lose a gem like that. The thing was, when I learned canoeing it was on the lakes and rivers of southern Ontario, not a river whose waters come from a hydro reservoir and are around 4C when they blast through those turbines.

I should have followed my friend’s advice, because the time I had wasted trying to save the canoe kept me in those frigid waters, bouncing off rocks and stiffening up my joints for a lot longer than I should have been in there. When I figured out that it was less than tropical and I was finding it hard to move, I let go of my precious watercraft and started kicking for higher ground. I looked back and saw Aaron make land, and was fighting to get to the shore before I went around the point. My body was giving up on me, and I remember thinking that I wasn’t going to get the chance to see my mom again, and tell her how much I had fucked up this time. I was too tired to even kick, and as I watched the point approaching fast I felt a hard rock smash my legs and my feet started touching ground.

With a renewed hope, I began to kick my way to shore, and made it, about twenty five feet before it would have been to late. I couldn’t make it up the bank because it was too steep and sandy, so I crawled on my hands and knees back upstream until I could get out of the freezing cold water. It wasn’t that I could feel anything but sleepy at that moment. My body was numb, and I could barely move. Everything I did was in slow motion, and I was just trying to find a spot I could rest. I had inhaled quite a bit of water and I started puking up my chicken balls and river water every time I tried to breathe.

I am going to leave off there, only because it’s time for bed, and I’m beat. I’m just going to let you know that you don’t have to worry. I live, and so does Aaron. Well, up until I wrote this we were alive. I can’t guarantee we’ll still be here tomorrow. Now kiss me goodnight and pass the sleepytime medicine.

Your dog just shit in my yard,

Birdman

P.S. You can find Part 3 right here