The Little Psychopaths

When I was a little boy growing up in Edmonton, I had two close friends who lived on my street. I think we were borderline psychopaths at the time. Good thing there was a large empty field behind our homes to do our damage…

My one friend enjoyed playing with fire. He would steal boxes and boxes of matches from his father. We would go out into the field and hide behind some bushes with me on look out- for what I’m not sure, there was never anyone out there but us. But it was a small thrill for a seven year old. Here we were playing with matches lighting small piles of straw and paper on fire. To this day, I can light a fire with minimal effort.

Sometimes we would light small rolls of cap gun powder dots. The smell of sulphur burning still remains strong in my memory banks. Little boy giggles as the flames exploded in small burst filled us with joy. Soon after I moved away, this friend ended up lighting this field on fire. As well as his attic. No one was hurt.

My other friend enjoyed catching frogs, mice, flies and grasshoppers. Tormenting them as little boys do. Pulling the wings off of the insects or poking at the tiny animals with sticks. Never really harming to draw blood, but not sure what happened to the frogs and rodents after each catch. His family never owned any pets, so these creatures became something to play with. We also lived in an area that was constantly filled with mosquitoes in the summer. Much like Dexter’s intro, my friend would wait and watch the blood get sucked out of him. Only to crush the bug’s body squirting his blood everywhere.

Then there was me. Besides being an accomplice to my two friends, I enjoyed breaking stuff. Mostly my Lego creations. I enjoyed building and then causing accidents only to rebuild again. One summer day, my friends and I wandered to an abandoned home that we would pass on our walk to school. As any rambunctious boy would do- I threw rocks at the windows. As a stone flew through the air, the anticipation of the crash as the glass exploded would last an eternity.

This thrill came from the first ever accident I had with my bike earlier in my life. My bike had rolled down the stairs on our back porch and smashed into our basement window. Why my bike was up on the deck is beyond me. Why my father didn’t get angry this time was also beyond me.

All three of us have grown up and have families now. None of us are convicted criminals or psychopaths. It was just another part of childhood- the thrills of doing something forbidden and getting away with it. I wonder if our children did similar activities? Maybe I’ll find out one day.

What’s My Age Again?

I went for breakfast with a coworker this morning.  We are fairly similar in age and are of the same mindset in many ways.  Talking with him we discussed work, people, children, movies, and the 80’s.  He has a similar outlook on life as I did. Where as I saw television as a “third parent”, he called it “the church of tv”.  TV was where we learned our moral compass and how to be decent people in this world.

I often forget how old I am. All it takes is a breakfast with a friend for the realization to creep up on me. We laughed about bad movies and the stupid people we know.  But what gets me is how right he was about our ages.  For some reason we grew up in the vortex of being able to relate to nearly everyone.  We saw the rise of cable tv, video games, portable communication devices, the internet… We are also witnesses to the decline of some of those things as well. And then the rise of nostalgia for it all.

I don’t need to share those lists that float around on Facebook about “growing up in the 80’s” or “being a kid in the 90’s” for me to understand that I did both.  I even survived the 00’s and the tail end of the 1970’s.  I can relate to nearly everyone I meet on some level.  Except for people in their 60’s-70’s.

That is the age group of people who would fit in to my parents’ category.  They are set in their ways.  They feel like they’ve done their share in the world and that they are owed something.  It’s the age of retirement. The idea of “I put in my time, now the world owes me.”  It’s as if that age reverts back to being a two year old that doesn’t need to give a shit about anything but themselves. Which is completely understandable.  When I hit retirement age, I’m pretty sure I won’t want to answer to anyone either.


I don’t ever act my age.  Sometimes I’m immature.  Sometimes I’m extremely serious. It all depends on the situation.  I don’t have a set age to behave like.  So I just enjoy life and being me.  Now get off my lawn!

The Old Razzle Dazzle

Give ’em the old razzle dazzle

Razzle Dazzle ’em


Some days it feels like all I’m doing is putting on a show for others to watch.  It also feels like they tune in when they’re bored…

Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it 

And the reaction will be passionate


I’m not sure why people love to complain.  I enjoy doing it from time to time.  I even get worked up over ridiculous things.  Like people who don’t use coasters for drinks.  That came from when I was five and we were visiting my aunt and uncle outside of Connecticut.  I got yelled at for putting a glass on their glass dining room table at breakfast.  Man.  The little things that make you who you are…

Give ’em the old hocus pocus

Bead and feather ’em

How can they see with sequins in their eyes?



Stringing together a story all the while hiding what I’m really trying to say.  There comes a point in almost all of my stories that I am deliberately talking about someone whom I know reads these.  It’s not always obvious who I’m speaking of- especially when I mesh together aspects of different people in my life.

What if your hinges all are rusting?

What if, in fact, you’re just disgusting?


I’ve gotten to a point in my life that I don’t much care for all the negativity out there.  I’ve also come to the realization that I don’t want sexist attitudes and racism around me or my family.  There comes a time that you have to choose what kind of role model you need to be.  Hiding sexism or racism behind “humorous” images is deplorable.  I don’t need it in my life.  I really don’t need to have my children think that I’m like that either.  I can’t tell them to do the right thing if either I myself or a “friend” is chauvinistic and sexist.  I want my son to be a gentleman and my daughters to expect courtesy and respect.

Razzle dazzle ’em

And they’ll never catch wise!


Camping Pt.2: Family

Yesterday I wrote about a couple of my previous experiences camping as a young adult.  As fun and memorable as those camping trips are, those days needed to remain in my past.  I am now on to creating new memories, only this time with my family.  

2014: A single night of camping.


A couple of years ago, I took my kids out for a night of camping just to see if they liked it.  They did.  We all wanted to go again, but it took me two years to convince my wife to join us.

The SUV packed full with kids and dog ready for camping.


Earlier this week, I had changed my work schedule and got a “three day weekend”.  From Monday-Thursday morning we hit the road and said farewell to our luxuries.  No electricity, no running water, no internet.  We still had our cellphones for music and photos- we aren’t savages- so I’d like to share some pictures of our trip as well as my thoughts.

An SUV in the wild? Beautiful BC.


We drove about two and a half hours from our home.  The last hour or so was down a 33 km logging road which included a few wrong turns.  But we made it to our destination at 20 Mile Bay by dinner.  We set up our tents and made our little piece of home in the seclusion of the wilderness (albeit still a Provincially run campground).  The campground had 50 sites, and we booked a double site on the south end.  No one was near us until the last evening.  The solitude and peace was just what we needed.

20 Mile Bay is right on Harrison Lake.  A beautiful lake that I’ve been boating on with friends in the past.  The bay itself is just that, a shallow bay with warm water that looks out into the rest of the lake.  For the three nights we spent there, we only saw a couple of other campers.  It felt like we owned the lake.  It felt like paradise.  


During the days we cooled off in the water.  The kids got along famously.  Our dog enjoyed a dip as well as all the new smells in the air.  My wife and I put our chairs in what felt like the middle of the lake and read our books.  We went for walks around the lake with our dog walking calmly beside us unleashed.  I even taught my children how to use a slingshot and skip rocks across the water.


In the late evening, we enjoyed a campfire along the beach.  We roasted marshmallows, some getting burned like they usually do.  We added a packet of coloring to the fire, making green, blue and purple flames.  The children were at peace and we talked.   The night sky was clear our entire trip and we saw more stars in the sky than we usually do at home.

Our last night there, a campfire ban was put in place by the Province.  So we sat around our table and played cards in the evening and enjoyed some hot chocolate. This was also when we received new neighbors at the site next to us.  

Happy Campers!


Ugh.  These new arrivals almost ruined our experience.  They were the epitome of “White Trash Glampers”.  Travel trailer got parked, the guy immediately fired up his chainsaw (what????) to cut a log to balance the trailer, the dirt bikes unloaded, tarps and lights strung out, the generator went on, the young kids (two of them under the age of five) dumped their toys everywhere around the beach and site, the mother constantly yelling at them while the kids fought, and their dog got tied up and yelped all evening into the early part of the night.  As it grew dark, the noise level increased and their friends also showed up with a travel trailer and in the darkness attempted to set up as well. Absolute chaos and pandemonium was happening next to us.~END RANT~


As we sat at our table playing cards under the light of a single Coleman lantern, with our music on at a level just loud enough that we could still talk and sing without yelling.  We were glad that we had a couple of nights without these people.  The next day, we packed up to head home.  Each of us working together talking already about our next trip.  My wife has now become a camper and it looks like we will do this trip again.

Our little spot of paradise.

May 16, 2016

Ten years ago today our third child was born.  He has become an amazing little person over the years. Since it’s his birthday, I’m going to discuss who this little guy is as he is today.

sleep

He’s only quiet when he sleeps.

Josef Bruno Theory Havelka V:

  • Goes by his middle name Theory.
  • His nicknames include: Theer Bear, T, & BearBee.

IMG_1894

  • He talks.  He talks A LOT.  There is always something on his mind that he needs to share.
  • He is an excellent speed skater (read about it here:My Son, The Future Olympian)
  • He loves playing with all things Lego.  He inherited my collection of Lego and has since amassed a substantial amount more.
  • He loves video games and is quite amazing at them, often beating me quite badly.
  • He loves spending time with me (I wrote about it here:Father/son Time) and is always trying to impress me.
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Best Little Brother

  • He is one of the kindest boys I have ever met.  He is always inclusive when it comes to playing with other kids.  He never wants anyone to feel left out.
  • He is smart.  Sometimes too smart.  He has a wicked memory and has put me in my place once or twice correcting what I have said.
theory xmas 2010

Always the center of attention.

I’m glad that he has completed our family dynamic.  Our life just wouldn’t be the same without him here.  I love the little man, and often see some of my childlike qualities in him.  I hope he has the  Happiest of Birthdays today!

Separation anxiety…

This weekend, our oldest daughter will be going away with her school concert band to perform.  She requested that my wife and I do not chaperone.  It makes me sad that she is at the age now that she doesn’t want anything to do with mom & dad.  I knew it was coming and could already sense that she is embarrassed by her parents (like most teenagers).  I dropped her off at school this morning, helped unload the suitcase from the trunk and offered to take it inside for her.  She refused my assistance and decided she could take everything herself.

She had her backpack on, her flute and music in one hand, & a suitcase in the other hand and was ready to head into the school.  I stood at the back of the car and as she turned to leave, I stole a hug.  At first she squirmed and tried to wrangle free.  But I held her a bit longer than usual.  I could feel her embarrassment slip away and she let me have a moment because no one was looking.  This phase in her life will eventually pass.  I know she cares about her family.  I remember acting in a similar fashion towards my mother at her age.

 

Father/daughter time.

 
Next weekend, my wife and I are taking our two youngest on another road trip.  Our oldest daughter will remain behind with her Oma & Opa.  With the end of the school year closing in, my wife & I knew that we couldn’t take her away from her studies.  Again, I feel that our family dynamic is changing, & my little girl is growing up (and apart from us).  I am saddened by this turn of events, but knew this day would come.  It will also make me sad when our other two children reach this stage in their lives.

I hate to admit this, but a little part of my wife and I are relieved to be traveling without our oldest.  Becoming a teen, our eldest child has made life for her siblings a tad annoying.  There is always a fight going on, bossiness taking over, mumbling under the breath, or a sarcastic answer being given.

The hardest part about parenting is letting your children grow up.  I love my kids and hope they understand why we do what we do as parents.  They need to explore the world and expand their horizons.  I just wish it didn’t come with the bad attitude.