When I Listen to My Music- Everyone Else Does As Well

Driving to pick up the kids today I decided to crank the radio- as I usually do. I’ve always loved listening to music loudly. Anyone who knows me knows this to be true. No matter what song I am listening to, if I like it- I don’t get easily embarrassed playing it loudly.

As I sat in the pick up lane to get the kids, some classic 90’s songs were heard coming from my car. This also included some choreography as I sat there. As parents walked by, they couldn’t help but smile, hum along and dance as well. Hearing the Spice Girls played so loud that you could hear it in the school was my way of summoning my children out.

As my children entered the car, some complaining and embarrassed looks were had. But the volume didn’t get turned down. Their classmates headed towards their respective rides home and smiled and danced along. The ride home was eventually filled with fun from the kids as they realized that this was happening no matter what.

Our journey home was great. No fighting or complaining. We listened to Trans Siberian Orchestra: Wizards in Winter belt out holiday cheer. When we got home, the kids asked if I could put on Christmas music throughout the house. Something about loud progressive rock music made us all joyous.

Or else it was the ringing in our ears that reminded us of sleigh bells.

Either way, Christmas Cheer is here!

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

I saw my surgeon yesterday for a follow up appointment for all those tests I had done two weeks ago. My swallowing has still remained difficult, but I am hopeful that I can battle the frustration I was having. After I wrote about my experience: The Inner Me Hurts, I found out that others have had the same issues. Now I know what I am suffering from.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis. A big fancy medical term that sounds scarier than it is. The surgeon says it’s as if I have “asthma of the esophagus”. It causes a closing/tightening of my esophagus most likely caused by a food allergy. It also turns out that people with this condition also have asthma. Which is me. Fun. More allergies and tightening of throat tubes inside of me.

My surgeon talked to me about all of the possibilities to help me swallow. What I will be starting with is a prescription antacid. Followed by a meeting with a gastroenterologist in the future. Then an elimination diet to see if I can pinpoint what I may be allergic to. Now I have some mental relief, but a long way to go.

As I sat waiting to see my surgeon I stared at a poster of what our body looks like on the inside. It still amazes me at how complex the human body is and why our organs are the way they are. I had plenty of time to study the poster since the doctor had me waiting for over an hour. I began to wonder if it was something doctors do. Make people wait and get frustrated only to give them good-ish news. Pretty sure if it was something awful, I would’ve been told quickly.

I’m glad it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m still frustrated that there isn’t an easy fix. But I probably should focus more on a proper diet as I get older.

Just like what my wife has been telling me for years…

Doing Night Shifts with Day Plans

Days like today are a pain. I stupidly made a doctor’s appointment for mid morning. Which really isn’t so bad, except I’ve been on four straight weeks of night shift.

I went home after work to take a quick nap before my appointment. Before falling asleep, I didn’t feel that tired and thought, “it shouldn’t be that bad” when I wake up. I slipped into a deep enough slumber that I awoke to my alarm with my face in a puddle of drool.

I lay in bed. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Then I had to race to get ready and ran out the door. Now I’m hiding in the corner of the waiting room wondering how long it will be before the doctor sees me. Anyone who needs sleep counts every minute they need before getting on with their day. He’s already seven minutes late!

There’s nothing I can do about it. So I wait. Hoping to get sleep at some point today before work.

Holidaze are Coming.

I love the Christmas season. Every year I go all out and decorate our home. I also spend a small fortune on gifts for my family throughout the year to make it a special time. But there is one thing I look forward to every year. The Christmas Booze Tree.

We have had it for a few years now. I like to stock it up by the start of December. It’s a great way to enjoy the end of a night shift by spiking a coffee before retiring for the day. It’s also great for a day off of lounging around.

It originally started out being set up off to the side of our kitchen counter. We’d also add in different liquors to adapt to our fancies. We love fireball and eggnog while decorating the trees! Best concoction ever.

But over the years, the “tree” has made it’s way to being more easily accessible as we walk past with a glass in hand. But by the end of December, I’m quite done with the sweet liqueurs. Much like a live Christmas tree, this tree slowly dries up as each bottle empties.

Then the New Year begins with a small haze of how the last year ended.

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit Through Films

To me, Christmas and Christmas movies go hand-in-hand. We have a collection of Christmas DVDs that we bring out every year and start watching them as a family every couple of days or so until Christmas.

Last night we watched “The Polar Express” as a family. Usually we skip this one because the kids end up watching it in school at some point. It seems the teachers like this film or the live action “The Grinch” to show kids before Christmas break.

We also watched “The Powerpuff Girls” afterwards. PPG is what brought my wife and I together when we first started dating. Since then, we have gone out to meet the voice actors and had them autograph our PPG movie poster. I get good feels enjoying this animated short.

The last day of school, or shortly there after, we sit down and enjoy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. It’s a great way to realize that doesn’t matter what happens over the holidays, as long as you make the best of it.

And of course, on Christmas Eve, we watch “A Christmas Story”. This has always been my personal favorite film every since it used to be aired repeatedly for 24 hours on tv back in the day.

We also watch lots of other Christmas films throughout the next 30 days. “Scrooged” “Elf” “Gremlins” “Die Hard” plus many more. I love that we can spend time as a family just enjoying these shows. It makes the Christmas spirit come alive as we near the final day. I’m pretty sure my kids will continue to watch these and many more festive films as they grow up.

November 25,2017

Today is the pivotal point in my year. Not only is it one month until Christmas, but it’s also the anniversary of my father’s death. I wrote about him last year: Sixteen Years. Today marks year 17 without him on this planet.

As with my yearly tradition, I will visit his grave. I try and visit on his birthday in September, but if I can’t, I make sure to visit him today. I’ll be taking my family with me to his grave later on, followed by a visit to the Fort Langley Golf Course for a beer and hot chocolate. That was the place my father spent most of his free time.

It feels like I sense him more at that location than I do at his tombstone. Partly because of his love of golf, but also because he wanted his ashes spread on the golf course. My mother decided to not acknowledge his wishes and chose to bury his ashes in the graveyard instead, much to my chagrin and displeasure. I still don’t agree with her decision, however, the tombstone allows people a place to read his name if they so chose to visit.

Since my mother and sister moved away from Langley years ago, I think I’m the only one to visit his grave on a regular basis. Because it is so close to my children’s school, sometimes I’ll take a minute or two to stop in and have one of those “speaking to no one in the air” moments. It sometimes clears my thoughts, other times it brings forth strong emotions.

I’ve mentioned how I didn’t always know who my father was. Perhaps my idea of him is skewed in my memories. One thing is for certain- I’m raising my children very differently than he raised his. Hell, he had a daughter I’ve never met. I have a half sister somewhere in Europe that I’ll probably never meet. I could try and find her, but after my 41 years on this planet and only having my father in common, what’s the point? Maybe she’ll try and find me one day. But I doubt it.

So here it is- year 17 without him. And I’m doing quite well, thank you. The only thing I’ve done differently is I decided to grow a beard on his birthday and plan on shaving it off this weekend. I think I will make it my new yearly tradition to remember him.

Cheers grandpa. May you continue to be at rest.

Wrap It Up.

Pretty sure that my wife and I are ready for Christmas now. At least in the gift department area. We always do our shopping throughout the year and we try and make “Black Friday” the last day possible. Most years we don’t even do shopping this weekend. That’s how prepared we are for Christmas! Now to move onto wrapping the gifts.

I’m hoping to get most of the presents wrapped up over the next week or so before the kids get out of school. We won’t need tags either because of my Geniusness plan from years ago. Wrapping before hand also gives us a chance to decide if we are giving too much or too little to our kids. If it’s too much, a gift or two will stored away for a future birthday.

The kids in school makes it easier to wrap during the week. We can take over the dining room table and whip through the gifts in an afternoon or two. I want to try and get them wrapped up soon. I’m not sure if our kids hunt around the house for gifts or not.

I used to search for gifts.

I spoiled a few Christmases for myself as a child. I would search closets, attics, under beds, even in the trunk of my parent’s cars. All in the crazy search for gifts for me or my sister. I just wanted to know how to react on Christmas morning. After finding the stash of presents, I planned out each reaction I would give. Super excited or awestruck? Which is the best face to use? Should I jump up and hug my parents? Being a child is tough as it is. But the obligations to show enthusiasm is equally tough. Even for the things that weren’t exactly desired. (I didn’t want the cassette player boom box, but it definitely got lots of use later on as I grew up.)

Hopefully my kids didn’t follow in my footsteps over the past few years. Maybe I should pay attention to their reactions this year. Will dad get a hug for no reason? I guess I’ll find out.

Dystopian Life

Our eldest daughter just discovered the novel 1984. I had recommended it to her ages ago, but of course she only wanted to read it when she discovered it at school. Why would Dad know something about anything. But I digress.

I am happy she is enjoying it. I’m trying to recommend other novels as well. I loved reading about dystopian ideas as a teen. Sometimes the ideas, like the ones in the novel 1984, hit close to home eventually. You could easily compare “Fake News” to “Doublespeak” with today’s information sharing. Even terminology was derived from the novel- “Big Brother is watching.” Sadly, we’ve all just become accustomed to it.

I have even recommended a couple of movies to my daughter. Brazil is a personal favorite. I love Terry Gilliam films, always have. Somehow he envisions people working around “the system” with possible consequences. Not everything is a happy ending. Perhaps my children need to learn that not everything has Disney feel good moments. Sometimes the world just exists and the people are merely pawns.

And as we move forward through life, staring at smartphones, sharing our lives willingly on social media- I can’t help but think that we are somehow living in Orwellian Times. As said in 1984:

Ignorance is strength.

Group Messaging

I’m hardly a fan of text messaging. Most emotions or ideas get lost in a text. As well, you may inadvertently say or share something you wish you could take back. Texting has all the evils of misunderstood email, only quickly shared and quickly misinterpreted.

But group messaging is far worse.

It’s already bad enough having the regular messaging issues I mentioned. Now you have more people judging you. If everyone is active, sometimes the discussions get jumbled up. A question posed five comments before gets answered, but it could be relevant to the last message. It all becomes so convoluted. Even as simple as asking about getting together becomes a chore.

Humor also doesn’t come across very well in text messaging. In a group setting, suddenly someone could be offended and drama unfolds. Words are feverishly typed and sent. Then a second group message is created to talk about the first one behind someone’s back. More drama.

I just want to live in a simple messaging society of emojis and gifs. Don’t ask me to call though. Talking on the phone was so 25 years ago. Basically, I just don’t want the hassle anymore of deciphering group texts or phone calls.

I Fooled The Aliens

I used to grind my teeth when I slept. Sqeaking loudly as my pearly whites rubbed against one another. I put in a mouth guard now to prevent this. It has become such a habit that even when I nap, I need to use it.

I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do. I believe it stems from my childhood a bit. After my braces were removed from my teeth, I wore a retainer at night. It was so uncool and ugly- I hated it. So in order for me to use it, I psyched myself out. I played mind tricks on myself. Really, really stupid ones. If I thought the retainer was uncool, sharing this tidbit of info is even more uncool…

I have mentioned before how I had cable tv in my bedroom growing up. I would watch it until the wee hours of the morning constantly. It got to a point that I could only fall asleep with the tv on. But the shows I would watch that kept me up the latest were about alien abductions or “Unsolved Mysteries”. So paranoia would take over, keeping me up later and later.

As a pre-teen, my paranoid adolescent brain would conjure up crazy ways of not getting abducted by aliens. Such as leave the tv on so that they thought I was still awake. Or leave the lights on somewhere in my room. One Christmas I was given a psychedelic light from Radio Shack. I turned it on every night for months until the heat from the bulb finally melted the plastic.

I wouldn’t say I was afraid of the dark. But I was afraid of the unknown. Part of my falling asleep ritual became telling myself that if the lights are on I’d be left alone. The second part was making sure 99.99999% of my body was covered up. And the third was to wear my retainer because it had a metal bar in it. I told myself that this small piece of metal wrapped in a hard plastic, wedged between my upper and lower teeth would prevent the ufos from trying to zap me through my window.

All I can say is that I think it worked. I don’t remember ever being abducted by aliens as a child. Just don’t ask about when I was in my early 20’s… those were some strange times. But now I use my mouth guard regularly. I just don’t have to tell myself that it’s to prevent aliens taking me away. I do it to prevent massive headaches and sore jaw.