So I have been working on a new blog that will talk about our ongoing lifestyle change. It’s going to be about the little things we are doing to get ready for when we can get an acreage and start the off-grid life we have been planning. It will also talk a lot about where we are coming from and the challenges people face when trying to change decades of programming by a rather uncaring society.
This has brought me to a sad conclusion.
I am not as computer literate as I had previously imagined myself.
I’m not saying that I dreamed myself into a life where I could hack corporate websites to give all the profits to the employees or anything, but I figured I had enough knowledge to be able to follow phone directions on what to search for to solve my problem.
It’s possible that it has more to do with my listening and memory skills than my programming ability, but even after all was said and done, I was on the WordPress forums with an improperly worded question that was probably stared at by a dozen people with blank looks on their faces.
Needless to say, I screwed up when I started Change The Topic. I was spending so much time with it, that I never dreamed of having more than one site, so it was never set up properly to accommodate multiple websites. Now I’m trying to do that, and it’s giving me grief.
I called GoDaddy to see what the problem was, and they found it, but it’s outside of their scope of business. I think they have people who do code and programming and all of that, but it isn’t included in the hosting fees, so being poor and also having nothing to do, I opted for learning it on my own. Brian was quite helpful though, as he did a search and found all kinds of help on the subject. He then told me what to search for and I typed it in before I got off the phone with him, so I would remember.
I should say that I partially typed it in.
As I was typing, a text came in from a friend who was bringing my new batch of worms up from Chilliwack, and I suppose that in the excitement, I didn’t finish the Google search.
Fuck you, self diagnosed ADD.
“installing wordpress into a su” was all that was there when I came back to the computer after getting the worms nestled away into their new bedding.
For the life of me I can’t remember what the rest of the search was, so now I’m waiting for someone to respond to my makeshift forum question.
So after a couple of peaceful days, I was starting to get calmed down. We let the dogs out before bed and then drifted off into a peaceful dreamland.
Until 11:40. That’s when Blue started pacing. I woke up instantly and ran him outside before he started pissing in the bedroom. After letting him back in, we got back into bed and drifted off again.
Until 12:45. That’s when the retching started. Luckily I caught it before there was enough saliva to soak through the sheet into the mattress. I ran him outside and waited for a few minutes, in nothing but my underwear, until he was whining to get back in. I figured that I would put him on the couch, as we just got new bedding that day, and didn’t want it soaked with puke.
As I was walking back to the bedroom I heard the retching again and bolted for the living room to see him with his back arched and mouth wide open. I called for him to come, but he was indisposed, so I picked him up and started running for the hall with him convulsing against my chest.
I thought I was home free until my feet shot out from underneath me and I went backwards, bouncing my head off of the mapledresser that the TV sits on as the dog flew forward down the hall. When I came to, he had just finished upchucking what was left in the middle of the floor. I got up and slipped again falling in front of the door with Dover barking behind it. I think he smelled all of the food on the other side, but was upset that he couldn’t eat it. I let Blue outside and started cleaning the walls and floor with a bath towel that was in the dirty clothes. I went outside and shook the moist kibble out off the deck and went back to get the cleaner and some paper towels to get the rest of the grossness off of everything. After twenty minutes of scrubbing with a splitting headache and what I thought was a broken foot, I let Blue back in and went to the shower to get the mashed nuggets and drying grasses out of my hair and skin.
I crawled into bed at 1:15 to a sleeping wife, who woke up and asked why I showered again. I started to explain, but she was quickly out like a light.
Fast forward to about 7:45 when I heard a shriek. “DOVER PEED ON MY IPAD.”
It figures. Par for the course. Needless to say, I was at the lady’s house where I got Dover’s kennel and bought the bigger one for Blue. They will be learning to enjoy sleeping next to each other in the living room from now on.
I put this up at a new blog I started, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to throw it on here as well. You know, in case anyone was wondering what we were up to.
This year we had had it with the whole Christmas thing. I have not celebrated it in many years, but this is the first time that Gerri had joined me in my hatred of this most wretched of holidays. We did the bare minimum for the youngest, who hasn’t been poisoned by having to take out a loan for a damned X Box and all of the niceties that go along with this bullshit season.
We went to the bush and cut down a Charlie Brown tree, the girls masking taped up one string of lights outside, and they decorated the tree.
End of story.
When their dad came to pick them up for some holiday time, Gerri and I took off for the Liard River Hot Springs in Northern BC. It was a nipple hardening -26°C. I called the lodge, but they were closed for the winter, so we decided to throw the mattress in the van and camp out with the dogs in the hot springs parking lot. We really aren’t fancy.
It was about 10 or 11 hours to drive there, so we probably should have left earlier than 10 AM. As it was, we ate some A&W in Fort Nelson and then had the bagels we had packed for a supper under the northern lights. It was Gerri’s first time seeing them, and while they weren’t the greatest, there were a few moments where they were fairly active.
We walked down to the springs in the dark, but decided not to chance it. It was so cold that the flashlight quit working, and we weren’t dressed for a frozen two and a half minute run down the icy boardwalk in the pitch black.
How do I know that it’s a two and half minute run? This guy right here.
I’m not sure if that’s a thing he does all of the time, or if it was a one off, but either way, I think that a GoPro would be the way to film that sort of thing. I have never used one, but I remember when my buddy Jay Sharp put one on his dog, Dewey. It was a lot less shaky, and while it may have got a bit more piss spray on it, I think it is all in all a better choice for filming a run.
The reason that I’m writing this is to talk about letting go of the whole Christmas lie. Gerri and I have never bought each other gifts for any holiday. It’s pointless, and life is expensive enough without having to worry about whether or not you got big enough gifts for the people you love. I think that your love should be enough of a gift. Well, unless you’re a complete asshole, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you are probably a pretty decent person.
I do miss the whole family aspect, but I figure that I can go home in the spring or summer and make some family time when flights aren’t an extra thousand dollars each. I will get more one on one time with everyone too, because you aren’t trying to mash a years worth of visits with ten people into a four hour pig out.
That’s why this year we chose to go on an adventure to celebrate the winter solstice. The summer here is fantastic, with eighteen hour days, and kids out playing in the streets until ten o’clock in the evening.
Winter? Not so much. It gets light around 9:30 AM and is dark by 4:30 PM, so when the longest night of the year was around the corner, we decided to go and celebrate the downhill slide into spring and summer.
That brings us here
This was the next morning when we decided to try again with proper clothing and precautions in place. We are responsible, carefree adults you know.
After we laid out a tarp to put our clothes on, we got ready to change into our swimwear. There was no sign of another human around, so we decided that it would be better to not get our bathing suits smelling like sulphur if we didn’t have to.
It was like we were free.
While we were creeping around the shallow pool, we were overcome with just how good life can be when you just do what you want to do, instead of following what the societal norms are. We were both brought up to embrace the festive spirit and give freely of our time and resources to keep up the facade of the perfect time of year.
Well it’s not the perfect time of year. The days are short and cold, nothing grows, and people get depressed. I suppose that’s why people make a big deal of Christmas, but they don’t have to. It’s much simpler to take off and do something you want to do. Something that you haven’t done before, or that you love doing so much that you would do it every winter. For us, I think it will be an annual pilgrimage to the Liard River, but it could really be any magical getaway. For you it might be to gather around a lit up tree and feel the warmth of your family all together in one place. Maybe it’s a cheap, last minute all-inclusive to Cuba or the Dominican, but whatever it is, you should do it because you want to do it, not because anyone else tells you that you should.
If you do what others think you should do, there is little chance that you will feel the excitement of hearing footfalls crunching on a frost crusted boardwalk as you stare at your clothes thirty long feet away from where your pale, completely naked ass is locked in a warm embrace with your beautiful wife and best friend.1)They are the same person
You will also miss the oddly comfortable conversation with the friendly park caretaker as your white ass floats out behind you at the steps in front of the pile of clothes that you couldn’t quite make it too before said caretaker rounded the corner by the change rooms. Also, it turns out that we weren’t the first to do this daring feat of almost hippie-like naturism.
As you can see, we weren’t bothered in the least at not having to shell out the probably seven or eight thousand dollars that it was going to cost for us to get back to Ontario and spend the holidays with our harried family.
For one thing, we didn’t have the cash to do it, and for another, we didn’t feel that we would get enough quality time with our loved ones as they rushed around getting everything ready for their version of Christmas. We bribed the girls with money and trinkets to not go home, and spent a few hundred bucks on gas and food to share a truly remarkable experience with each other, and the dogs, in a wondrous part of our picturesque province.
The ride home was pretty amazing as well. We stopped for lunch at the Toad River Lodge. That was worth the trip right there. I had stopped there in the fall of 2000 for supper on my first and only trip to Canada’s Arctic. We decided to stop for more than fuel on the way home after a sort of frosty welcome at the Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake. The fact that the gas was 40¢/litre cheaper in Toad River also helped make the decision.
At Toad River we met Darrel, the owner, after he was done helping some motorists with their vehicle problems. The people there were very friendly and the burgers were big and tasty. We dreamed of what it would be like to own and operate a roadside stop for weary and hungry travellers in the north, and what we might have to do to end up there. If you are ever travelling the Alaska Highway, I strongly recommend fueling your vehicle and yourself there.
We stopped at mile 135 to watch the northern lights, because they were absolutely fantastic and I was starting to get distracted by them. The temperature had warmed up to -10ºC so we decided to shut the van off and we watched the light show until the windows were frosted up and then we fell asleep.
The next morning we drove the rest of the way back and enjoyed the few extra minutes of daylight that we knew we were getting. It really is the simple things that we need to learn to love again. Being around mountains and the other wonders that nature presents to us should really be all that we need to embrace to find the balance that so many of us are missing.
I’m learning to find mine, and I hope that you can too.
It’s been a long time since I’ve woke up this happy.
Well, except for almost pissing the bed and then smacking my head on the door jamb as I stumbleran to the toilet.1)No more drinking two cans of club soda at 2 AM and “stumbleran” can be a word, you just need to use it enough.
Perhaps I should say that it’s been a long time since I was this happy, a few minutes after I’ve woke up. That’s a little more accurate.
On my way back to bed, I noticed the light blinking on my phone. I checked, and there were three text messages on there. One from each of my girls. The first one was exciting, because it contained this.
I got one last night during a hardcore hacking session, and was very pleased to see that my sweet baby got one too. It won’t mean much to most of you, but any Ingress players should be a little envious of us right now.
Imagine my joy at this, and then reading the texts from the girls wishing me a happy Father’s Day and telling me that they love me and miss me.
I’m still crying.
I really had no idea that being a stepfather could be so fulfilling, emotionally.
In a few days, I will be flying home for Liv’s graduation, and to pack my family up for what is to be the greatest adventure of our lives, thus far. It will be filled with every kind of feeling that you can imagine, and I look forward to most of them, but especially the ones like I’m having now.
Those are the ones where I feel truly loved. I really don’t think that there could ever be a more complete feeling of worth as when you are really loved. I’ve had it all of my life, from my mom, and I’m pretty sure from my sisters 😉 , but I think that finding and marrying my one true love solidified it for me.
She didn’t have to love me.
Neither did her daughters.
Courtesy of the fantastic Erin Campbell Photography (905) 372-7435
But they did, and I am forever grateful for that.
Happy Father’s Day to me, and to all of the other dads out there that get an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction when they think of their family. It’s probably the only reason that I’m not a crazy, eight dog owning hermit in central New Brunswick right now.2)Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
There was another time that I was driving taxi, and a man with two drunk, middle aged women got in the cab. He started talking about getting me out of my shirt, and then reached up over the seat and started rubbing my chest. I grabbed his hand, twisting his wrist back and maybe making him squeal a bit. Partly because he startled me, but mostly because he was wildly inappropriate and invading my space.
Him and his cackling hens started calling me a hillbilly gay basher, and a piece of shit homophobe, and when I tried to explain that it would be no different than if they were driving and some dude that they don’t find attractive did that to them, there would be charges laid, but the one chick said that there was no way she would ever stoop so low as to be a cab driver. Anyhow, they wouldn’t shut up or listen, so I kicked their drunk asses out on the curb.
Luckily for them, it was pretty close to a bar, so it was kind of a bonus. Free cab ride, and they got their excitement for the night. I should have had my wits about me and drove them to Precious Corners or something. At least then I would have got a little satisfaction from the deal.
I’m not painting gay men with the same brush2)unless they’re into it and there’s a cool sawbuck in it for me, because the overbearing, lecherous ones are a very small percentage. I just find it odd that people don’t seem to be as offended when a man openly does something to another man that may or may not be welcome. For all I know, it’s a globally accepted practice, and I’m crazy to think that the same courtesies should be offered to everyone, no matter who they are.3)Excluding the Welsh, of course
So what are your thoughts on it? If you are gay, would this offend you, or would it be a thing where it depends on the circumstances? If you are straight, please go out and do some field research for me. Remember to take precautions for your safety.4)mainly condoms, a panic button, and some lube