The past is just a memory. The future is unforseeable. All we have is right here, right now. 

This very moment. 

I’m hearing stories of my father-in-law. 

Of how he grew up with a twin sister and they were the second youngest of 17 kids. 

Of how his first job working at gas station, he made $25 a week and would give most of it away to kids for new shoes, or to go to the circus, or for fries and drink, or to go to the movies. 

Of how much he loved kids, particularly his grandkids. He would walk for hours to get a granddaughter to sleep when her father just couldn’t do it. He always had a joke or would act a clown to make them laugh. He would pass them his spare change. He always had a treat for them.

Of how he knew so many people and touched so many lives in big ways and small. Whether through an act of kindness, the giving of a nickname, or just talking their ears off, he was an influence far and wide. 

Of his use of the English language. There were no swear words in his vocabulary, though he swore enough to make a sailor blush. To him they were just verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. 

Of his days working as a welder.  I’m told that whatever job he was on he was always one of the best. Though that doesn’t surprise me because he always took pride in his work. 

Of how he loved company. He truly believed the more the merrier. He’d invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to arrive with their friend’s friends. Then he would start up the BBQ and feed you. 

Of how some animals liked his home better than their owners’ home so they’d come live with him instead. He adopted stray cats. He adopted a bearded dragon that couldn’t travel with his granddaughter. 

Of how he would bail kids out of trouble. He would give them a place to sleep when they were tired. He would feed them when they were hungry. 

Of how much he gave. His money. His time. His tools. His Jeep. A listening ear or an earful. His home. 

He gave me his greatest treasure… His daughter and his family. For that I’m forever grateful. 

His memorial service was Saturday. There was food and a few swear words, the place was packed, memories shared and laughter rang through the tears. 

A snow at Night

I’ve got 17 minutes while my video Crash and I recorded this evening finished rendering so I can get up on the channel. Crash wants it on his channel, too.

Anyway, Bang is off to a sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house. The snow is flying here and we’re supposed to get 4 inches tonight and another possible 12 inches tomorrow night. The winds were calm so I suggested to Crash, “Lets take the drone for a fly.”

“But it’s dark and snowing!”

“So. It’ll be alright. There’s no wind.”

The grin he gave me nearly split his face in two. First, we were going to fly the drone. Second, it was slightly risky because it’s dark and snowing. Good father/son times. Excluding severe weather,  wind is our biggest enemy with this toy. Since there was none, we strapped on the GoPro (which doesn’t mind extreme weather) and took off.

It was calm enough that I fairly comfortable handing the controls over to Crash. Allowing a 9 year old to manoeuvre a done that doesn’t have GPS capabilities isn’t highly recommended. He didn’t do too bad. I was there to coach him. His only mistake was that he kept throttling down too fast so he kept “bouncing” it off the snowy ground. Fortunately, it was only falling from a few feet. No harm done and he got to experience handling the controls.

I got some neat video at the end, but because I had forgotten to wipe the snow off the camera on the last bounce there wasn’t much to see. You can just barely make us out through the snow crystals clinging to the lens.

Anyway, this little toy of ours has become something he and I can do together. Granted, the battery only lasts about 10 minutes… it’s still time together. After our flight, it was snack time, teeth time, then read time. We’re on chapter 29 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – another us time moment that we both look forward to every night. Now I’m looking forward to spending a few minutes with DW before we both crawl into bed between our new microfleece sheets.

Click here to see the drone in the snow at night video…


Go Ask Your Father: Heat Pumps, Fire Ants, Brains, and Bad Words

It’s been quite a while since I’ve answered some questions. I haven’t written many down either. I’m back on track now. Or at least it appears that way. I could be just running around in circles. It’s hard to tell.

How do heat pumps work?

DW asked this one and I can’t for the life of me remember why. I think she was talking to her brother and he was talking about the heat pump at their house needing replaced. Sounds right, anyway. Turns out it’s simple physics and science. When I say simple, I mean complicated. Imagine walking outside in winter naked as a newborn. It’s freezing outside and your body is warm (for a moment). Since heat flows from warm to cold, your body heat flows to the surrounding air and you cool off because you’re losing heat. This same process can happens in reverse in heat pumps to heat houses. Except to get heat out of cold air, you need to pass that cold air over something that’s even colder. In the case of heat pumps, it’s a refrigerant. Yep, exactly the one in your refrigerator. Another scientific part is that the “something colder” is a gas (CO2) filled coil. When gas expands it cools significantly. You probably felt this when spraying an aerosol can – a can of hair spray. So it passes through a compressor and allowed to expand again. Once it expands it gets cold. The heat from the air then flows into the cold CO2 warming it. The warm gas then flows by the fan that transfers the heat in the gas to the air and it’s blown into your house. See. Simple science.

Why do fire ants make our skin burn?

Because they’re little bastards that like to see humans terrified of such a small creature. I just read that most biting ants bite then spray the wound with an acid. Geez. I’ll pass, thanks. On the contrary, fire ants bite only for grip. Once gripped they sting from their abdomen. With the stinger they inject a toxic alkaloid (aka fancy pants chemical compound) venom called Solenopsin. For us human folk this fancy pants chemical compound gives a sensation of burning. To those sensitive to stings, this venom can be deadly.

What does your brain do?

Bang asked this one night at bedtime. For several nights he wanted to discuss brains. I tried to convince him to grow up to be a neurosurgeon. At first he said yeah, he would be one. The next night he had changed his mind because he doesn’t want to cut people’s heads off. Guess I didn’t explain it too good. Essentially, our brains are grey, wrinkly sponges that control our entire body. Everything from our senses to our organs to our movements to our thoughts and feelings and dreams. Though, in some people, we really do wonder what they’re using their brain for. Sometimes it does nothing more than keep our ears apart, right Ma?

Why do big kids say bad words?

Big kids say shit because it makes them feel like adults. It pisses me off when I hear “kids” saying bad words. These are adult words to be used during adult times. They are not to be just thrown out there like a common douche. Crash and Bang have been testing out the waters with a particular swear word. Arse. That would be the polite swear word for ass. One evening over their bowls of yogurt Crash tells us, “I farted in bed and it felt like my butt cheeks were flapping.” Bang responds without missing a single beat, “Flappy arse.” How could we not not laugh? Because we laughed, he continued. Now arse is nearly a household word. I’ve told them that’s an “at home” word and if I hear of them using elsewhere they’ll get their arses tanned.


Go Ask Your Father: 

What better time is there to get pummled with questions than at bedtime. There’s something about the darkness that provokes inquisitiveness. Their little bodies rest while their brains are still in overdrive.

What’s the flu?

Influenza is a respiratory illness caused the flu virus. No antibiotic will cure you. Antibiotics work on bacterial infections, not viral. It has a rap sheet of symptoms. Fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle/body aches, headaches, fatigue, and perhaps vomiting and/or diarrhea. It totals up to a whole boat load of a bad week. It’s highly contagious. You can pass it on before you start showing symptoms, while you’re sick, and for 5-7 days after. Wash your hands often. Cover coughs and sneezes. Get lots of rest. CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine once a year. Oh. And stay away from me. Unless you’re DW or one of my sons. As much as I hate my boys being sick, I do enjoy how snuggly they become.

Why do some people have dark faces?

Ah, here we go. Ethnicities. Races. I wish we could put aside that word “race” in terms of where you are from. We’re all part of the human race. We need a one world race, unity, and cooperation. Anyway, the short answer is different people of different parts of the world have different skin colors. It’s just the way they’re made. He was okay with that answer. However, if skin color is only skin deep, what does it look like? It’s a pigment called melanin which is controlled by at least six genes. Melanin is also due to the presence of melanin. No matter how light or dark you are, you have melanin. There are two kinds-pheomelanin which is red to yellow and eumelanin which is brown to black. It is indeed skin deep as it’s located in the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). They have the ability to detect and react to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Too much and you’ll end up with a sunburn. Over a bit of time in the sun the melanin will give you a darker face. We call this a tan. 

Why do big kids say bad words?

Bad words could range from “stupid” to “frigger” or “frickin'”. Or it could be worse. Big kids say bad words because it makes them feel older. It makes them feel like an adult. It makes them feel important. Our boys know they are not to say them anytime, anywhere. That goes for the really bad ones. The true swear words. Other words, the ones I call “at home” words, they understand it’s okay to say them at home but nowhere else. Frigger and frickin’ are two examples. When you slam the closet door on your finger or drop the staple gun on your toe you need a word to relieve the pain. Those two are acceptable. 

What’s an anus?

Awe frig. Really? 

Backstory: We were watching AFV America’s Funniest Videos. At a science museum a dad pointed out Uranus to his young son. His young son then questions, “My anus?” This is why I pronounce it Yer-uh-nus instead of yer-ANUS. Bang heard the word and immediately asked the same.

It’s your bum. More specifically, your bum hole where the poop comes out. That’s all I said. That’s all he needed to hear. Thank God.

Slang words for your sphincter: starfish, turd cutter, shitslit, poop chute, stinkeye, poop hoop, pirate eye

Go Ask Your Father: Days and Nights, TIE Fighters, Vaccines, and Flight Fees

Why is there night and day? 

globespinThere are nights so we parents can get a break from being parents and just be adults. We can drink alcohol and watch shows with bad words. We can use the bathroom alone. We can eat junk food without having to share it. There days so you kids can drive us bonkers again.

In truth, there is night and day because the Earth is rotating. It takes the Earth 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds to make one complete rotation. It rotates counterclockwise at about 1,040 miles per hour at the equator. But why does it rotate? The Earth spins because it formed in the accretion disk of a cloud of hydrogen that collapsed down from mutual gravity and needed to conserve its angular momentum. It continues to spin because of inertia. WTF? Seriously?

Don’t worry. I didn’t understand that either. What it means is that when our solar system was first forming, atoms were colliding. When they would collide they would stick together and average their movements. Imagine rolling two magnetic balls toward each other. When they collide they stick and spin. This collection continued building and continued spinning until this thing we now inhabit and call Earth was formed.  No one knows why it’s called Earth.

What does T.I.E. stand for?

Ah, yes! A Star Wars question! T.I.E., as in T.I.E. fighter, stands for Twin Ion Engine. It’s tiefightertwo engines that created positively charged particles (called ions) using a gas (like xenon) then accelerating the ion through an electrically charged field. When the ion is accelerated from the back of the fighter, due to Newton’s 3rd law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, the ion is shoved backward and the fighter is pushed forward. This is real science, not science fiction. NASA has it’s own ion engines currently in use! They’ve just upped one on Mr. Lucas though. The probe used in the Dawn mission to study two protoplanets in the asteroid belt , Vesta and Ceres, do one better than TIE fighters. The Dawn probe uses three ion engines.

What’s a vaccine?

The vaccine debate! I’ll keep it short. Some believe that vaccines cause autism and therefore do not vaccinate their children. PLEASE! Check out this fantastic study on how vaccines cause autism. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Bang had to get two shots (by needle, not by gun. That’s a different debate) before he could go to “big kid school”. DW and I also realized our tetanus shots were out of date so we got our vaccination as well. Vaccines prepare your body for an illness without exposing it to the disease’s symptoms. Immune cells, called lymphocytes, respond by producing antibodies to combat the disease and thereby making you immune to it should you come in contact with said disease. Your immune system recognizes the foreign body and is able to kill it before it can make you sick. Much like you recognize broccoli on your pizza before you eat it and thereby saving yourself from horrible pizza toppings.

How much does it cost to fly on an airplane?

An arm, a leg and a blood oath.

Depends on where you’re going. Are you flying domestic or international? Are you flying near or far? When I bought DW’s (back in 2003 she was DG – Dear Girlfriend) first plane ticket to come visit me in Virginia I paid $297. Today I could get it for $393 on a seat sale. Otherwise it would cost $479.

However we are not just one person any more. We are four. If we were to fly to BWI (Baltimore/Washington International) from YHX (Halifax) it would cost $2,734 for the four us according to one travel website. We can drive the 1,100 miles in our truck, as we did last summer, for $500.

Fuel prices, airport landing fees, supply and demand all play a role in driving the cost of flights.

Unfortunately, to fly to Hawaii for a week would cost us over $6,000. If only we had twin ion engines…

This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher! Today’s word was “have”.
To read more posts without the Taboo Word (have) or to join the challenge just click the blue frog…

To add the blue frog to your post get the InLinkz code.

Go Ask Your Father: Overflow, Driveways, Hitchhikers, Puberty

I’ve been having lots of fun with the GoPro. Yesterday I attempted my first time lapse video. It turned out okay. It ended up only lasting 8 seconds. DW’s dad has 16 cords of wood he needs split and stacked so I was going to try and do a time lapse showing how much we got done. When your help has a combined age of 14, you don’t get much done. Today I changed the perspective from the same vantage point. I set the camera in the same spot, but this time I focused on the stacks we were making. I’m still in the editing process so I’m not sure how it’ll turn out yet. Today’s combined age was 79 (DW helped). Nix that. My computer had trouble, or Windows Movie Maker had trouble with the 4,918 photos from the time lapse video. I will have something else for you, though. Also I have some exciting new blog linto share, too. See you tomorrow!

2. What does overflow mean?

This one is a spin off from a question that was asked earlier. That hole in the sink has a purpose and it’s not for getting fingers stuck in. It’s an overflow drain. But was is overflow? Sometimes in order to explain a certain concept, a more basic concept needs to be understood first. For example, to understand that dad is going to eat 1/2 of your chocolate, you need understand what 1/2 means. So while explaining the overflow drain I had to digress and discuss overflow. It’s when you pour too much milk into your cup and it spills on the counter. It’s when you put too much water in the sink and it spills onto the floor. And, yes, even the toilet can overflow when it’s clogged. Since finding this out, Bang now flushes twice. Once when he’s done his business. Then again after he’s wiped.



4. What’s a hidden driveway?

There is a twisty, turny, make-your-DW-carsick kind of road we travel sometimes on our way to the cottage at the lake. It makes me feel like I’m driving the Monaco Grand Prix.


via GIPHY (and Formula 1 via YouTube)

Except that on the backroad cars can enter and exit the raceway road at any given time. Around any given blind turn. Over any given blind hill. So I try not to do 104 kmh. I do more like 60. Our RAV4 isn’t quite the high performance, low center of gravity that the F1 cars are. And I am not Mario Andretti. My mother-in-law thought she was one day, though.

6. What’s a hitchhiker?

Typically, a hitchhiker is someone on the side of a road with their hand making a fist with their thumb sticking out and pointing skyward. As far as I know it’s the international sign for “pick my ass up”. I’ve never hitchhiked. I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker either. Mostly due to a story (the way I remember it) I heard about my dad’s sister being forced to drive from Maryland to Pennsylvania. Where we live now, it’s almost an acceptable means of travel. We see the thumbers frequently. Have no car? Start walking. Eventually someone might pick you up. The hitchhiker in question here is a much different kind. This one is of the insect variety and therefore has no thumbs. Be it a butterfly or a dragonfly or a horsefly or even a spider (all except the horsefly are welcome riders) land on our kayaks for a brief rest. If it’s a dragonfly, I say, “Hi, Grandma.”

8. Why do you have hair on your pee pee?

It was just a matter of time before this one was asked. This one was easy, a level one, beginner parent kind of question. 99.99% households with kids know the bathroom is the ideal location for a family gathering. One never goes alone. The shower included. It saves time and water, though, to shower with the little imps. You get clean. They get clean. The bathroom doesn’t flood like Louisanna from a toddler pretending to be Shamu. So when I was asked this I simply told him it was because I went through puberty and that he will too when he is 12 or so. I was seriously prepared for the “What’s puberty?” question, but it never came. I guess the answer I provided was sufficient. Surprisingly, there was no overflow of questions.


Go Ask Your Father: Bavaria, Blast Offs, Bible, and A Bottle

Just by sheer coincidence, today is all about B words. None of them is the word “Baby”, however. As we learned from Bang yesterday, they come from the Civic Center and cost over 900 million dollars.

1. Where is Bavaria?

2c57f931f3b7bb313f223d7a1c75ae66Nanny and Pop had just started a 2,000 piece puzzle of a beautiful castle. Neuschwanstein Castle, to be precise. This fairytale castle is located in the hills of the southern German village of Hohenschwangau. Constructed over a period of 23 years it was finished in 1892 and commissioned by  Ludwig II of Bavaria as his retreat. I have a hard enough time getting the boys to clean our place as it is. I’d never get them to clean this place. Though, I suppose if we had a place like this we wouldn’t have to clean it. We’d be able to hire someone to do it. 10 days later the puzzle is nearly completed. It looks just like the image here except it’s 2 feet by 3 feet.

2. Does a rocket launch put pressure on your chest?

Crash is concerned about this because he has expressed interest in being an astronaut when he grows up. I would be seriously jealous of him should he ever get the chance to leave Earth’s gravity. Anyway, he’s concerned that because of his heart surgery he won’t get to live the dream. We felt we needed clearance from his doctor to do Tae Kwon Do. Nevermind the g-forces getting to space would exert. It’s 3. Three g’s is equivalent to weighing three times what you do on Earth. I’m only twice his weight. So yes, there’s a bit of pressure. I explained to him that there are many other jobs than just going to space. There are the rocket builders, the space suit builders. There are astronaut trainers, doctors, high tech command controllers. There’s also a lot of math.

3. Who wrote the bible?

This one arose while standing in church one Sunday morning. It’s one the few places Crash and Bang play nicely together, even though they’re not supposed to be playing at all. Anyway, the Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years. It is comprised of 66 books and 1,189 chapters. It has about 40 authors – 30 in the Old Testament and 10 in the New Testament. Many regard Moses as the original author. I’m not that old. Though, if I keep being woken up at 5 am by two kids, I’m sure I’ll feel as old as Moses.

4. Did you get my water bottle?

True story. Yesterday morning we’re headed out the door. Bang and I were going to drop off Mom and Crash at school so we could have the truck to go to playgroup. Three of us were already in the truck, fully buckled and waiting patiently. DW comes out of the front door with her arm load of school stuff and hollers to me. I didn’t understand. All the windows were up, the heat was blasting inferno the boys were chatting. I give her a quizzical look and the I don’t know what you just said, hands in the air gesture. She repeats herself. This time I catch something about her water bottle. At a quick glance I see it in her hand (along with her lunch and school bag) and think she asked me if I filled it. I open my door and am about to tell her, “No I didn’t fill it” when she hollers, “Did you get my water bottle?” That’s when she realizes it’s in her hand.

We got a good laugh out of it. I told her that’s a question for Friday’s blog questions. So here it is. Have I seen your water bottle? Yes, it’s in your other hand. The last time you did that you were pregnant with our first born. And if you’re preggo now, you’ve got some explaining to do.


Go Ask Your Father: Speeding, Chicks, Blind & Implosions


First Down?

What a week it’s been. A finished igloo. A collapsed igloo in 6 (42) degree weather and now we have another snow storm targeting us today. We might get 25 cm (10 inches). We might get 40 (16inches). We’ll only know when it’s all done. I guarantee there will some igloo restoration taking place. But for now, the kids are asleep. I’m writing. DW is Facebooking and checking out the trailer for the up coming Grey’s Anatomy. We smell a three day weekend coming.

1) Why do cops go fast?

Presumably, so they can catch your father when he thinks he’s Mario Andretti. Speaking of going fast, true story 1. My mother-in-law was driving my parents truck one day after dropping us off to go kayaking. When she got home she was asked “How fast were you going?” My stepfather-in-law was following her but she was nowhere in sight. “100” she told him. Here in Canadaland, that would be kilometers per hour, only 60 mph. However, what she forgot was that she was driving an American vehicle. Yes, she did 100 mph all the way home. True story 2. A friend was pulled over for speeding and the officer asked why she was going so fast. Her response? “I was just on my way to the hospital to get the lead removed from my foot.” She was let off with a warning and a good laugh.

2) What do baby crows look like?

Well chickie (because DW asked this one), they look like baby crows, of course. We had to google it. They look like black peeps. Or more the typical yellow, fluffy baby chicken. Except black. And like most baby birds, they are also called chicks. And a whole bunch of them together is a murder. I like to say there’s a murder in the backyard. We like to feed them. Leftover peanut butter sandwiches mostly. Sometimes leftover pancake, if it doesn’t have chocolate in it. Sometimes we give them peanuts still in the shell because it’s fun to watch them crack it open. They’re really smart birds. I mean, check out this girl who started getting “gifts” from the crows she fed for years.

3) What do blind people see? Black or White?

Depends on which ref you’re talking about. But either way, bad calls will be made the entire game. Some refs can see light. However, everything is so blurry and fuzzy they can’t tell a soccer ball from a hockey puck. Other’s who are properly, or totally blind (NLP – No Light Perception) you would think see nothing. A black nothingness. Turns this is never true. Damon Rose explains,

How do I even begin to describe it? Let me have a go. Right now I’ve got a dark brown background, with a turquoise luminescence front and centre. Actually it’s just changed to green… now it’s bright blue with flecks of yellow, and there’s some orange threatening to break through and cover the whole lot.


And it’s ever changing…

4) What’s an implosion?

When Crash asked this, I asked him, “What’s an explosion?” in return. After he answered that it’s when something blows up, I let him know that implosion was the opposite. Kind of like what happened to our igloo in the rain, except MUCH faster. Mythbusters are famous for “blowing crap up”. But last week they tried to implode a train. See, when things get really hot, then get sealed off, it creates a vacuum as it cools down and the air inside condenses. -29 point something millibars of mercury is a perfect vacuum. They got the train car down to -27. It didn’t implode. They had to make an “accidental” adjustment to the tank car. The result was impressive


The Frequent Flyer

Frequent Flier on the Daddy Express
Taxiing down the hallway
cleared for take-off
by the mother ship.
We’ll fly through turbulence
of giggles
Smoothing into easy skies
of smiles.
Buckled in by blankets
cradled as my carry-on
We’ve enough fuel
to last until feeding.
These wings never tire
Daddy Express is
a non-stop lover.
It goes anywhere,
anytime. Free.
Cleared for final descent
Lets make a final pass
before touchdown
into your mother’s arms.
It’s your connecting flight
Mommy Express,
going everywhere that daddy goes.

*A little something I penned sometime during Crash’s infant stage. He loved flying around the living room. Then came Bang four years later following in his brother’s contrails.

Gaining Rank in Parenting

I’ve finally been promoted. After eight years (12 with their combined age) I’ve gained the rank of “Mean Dad”. Crash promoted me a few days ago when I wouldn’t let him walk to McDonald’s with the neighbors kids (as it turns out, the neighbors kids weren’t allowed to go either). He desperately wants to be independent and on his own and away from us parent types. However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of responsibility. Continue reading