Wednesday, October 8, 2014

So you think your kid is going to love hockey

A fresh new season is upon us.  I'm excited.  All teams are tied for first.  

When I was a kid I loved hockey.  I still love it.  I'm not sure how it happened. My father was an immigrant from the Philippines. I've heard stories about immigrants trying to fit in at their new workplaces and so watching hockey would get them into the conversation at work.  Maybe that was it.  My earliest memory is watching the Leafs when I was 5 or 6 years old with my Dad. I remember Palmateer and Salming. Then we up and moved from Toronto to Edmonton.  Just like that. Then came my love for the Edmonton Oilers.  Things were just turning a corner back then in 1981-82. What do you do in Edmonton in the winter? Um, play hockey, watch hockey, talk about hockey. I wasn't able to play organized hockey.  I used to go and skate on the outdoor rink five minutes from our house.  I used to play in the living room.  I'd use a tennis ball and an old Pampers box as the net.  My brother was just born and we had Pampers boxes all the time. Pampers boxes back then had a cardboard flap that you pulled back to get to the diapers.  So I pulled the flap and tried to get the tennis ball in that opening as many times as I could.
Fast forward to spring 2014.  I'm sitting in my family room watching Ron MacLean interview Wayne Gretzky about the Stanley Cup Final - the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers, two of Gretz's former teams (sadly no Oilers yet again).  My seven year-old son is sitting right beside me.  His brother and sisters and mother upstairs getting ready to watch their favourite show So You Think You Can Dance.

We try as parents to encourage them.  Hockey, swimming, karate, piano.  Try everything, see what sticks.  Our seven year-old tried hockey.  He was 6 at the time.  New to organized hockey.  He was a beginner. He skated with the 4 year olds.  Did his best.  That's all I asked.  Of course he wouldn't get on the ice without me.  I ended up being sort of an assistant coach.  And so the season ended and it wasn't the best experience.  No problem.  We'll see in a couple of years.  

Back to the couch.  We're sitting there watching Ron and Wayne and I'm yelling 

"Do you know who that is?"
"That's Wayne Gretzky!"
"The guy on the right!"
"Who's the other guy?"
"It doesn't matter who the other guy is!" (Sorry Ron MacLean)
"That's Wayne Gretzky! He is the best hockey player ever!  He played for the Oilers.  He's number 99."

Then from upstairs...
"So You Think You Can Dance is starting!" 

And in a flash my son was gone.

Now if you ask him who Wayne Gretzky is he says:
"He's the best hockey player ever. He played for the Oilers.  He's number 99."
Like he's reading a grocery list.

So, to that end, please Oilers be decent this year.  We're in the zone right now, eight, nine, ten years old.  If you could start being decent and then start blowing the damn roof off the place you'll have another fan.  I don't want to even discuss the alternative. 

Let's Go Oilers!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Damn you Galaxy S4 and your futuristic features

A couple of things you need to know before we get to the good part.  I swear this stuff only happens to me.

1. Almost died.
My workplace is very close to a mall.  Sometimes I go over to that mall for lunch or to run some errands.  Today was one of those days.  I'm one of those people that is 50/50 with jaywalking.  Sometimes I do sometimes I don't.  I waited for the light to turn this time and for the little man walking symbol to show before I started walking.  I successfully make it halfway across the street, I'm at the median and am about to continue when a car zooms right by me and I am only two feet away.  I was stunned.  I was so stunned I looked up at the light and confirmed it was red.  Then I looked at the car and got the tags, make, and model just so I would remember.  I continued to cross and I looked back again to see if the person had realized that they'd just run a red light and almost killed me in the process.  Nope, just continued on doing what they were doing.  I couldn't believe it.  I did the same.  I mean, I was alright, close call, so what else could I do? 

2. Upgraded my phone.
I also just upgraded my phone to a Galaxy S4.  Went from Apple to Android.  Still getting used to it.  The S4 has this weird feature that allows you to do things by just hovering your hand or finger over it.  I've turned the feature off because it's annoying but for some reason it still does it.  


I got addicted to this Candy Crush game back in the summer.  I had not wanted anything to do with it.  We had taken a family vacation to visit some relatives and it was all the craze.  My wife and I are pretty competitive so it didn't take long to get me into it.  It's a time waster and it's pointless and I have no idea why I play it.  

I've been stuck on this level for about a month.  I don't really care so much except that someone who I was levels and levels ahead of, caught up to me and then passed me.  What the heck?  How did this happen?  How is this so easy for her? So my mission has been to kill this level but I just can't do it.

So there I was today playing at work, I know, but I got all my work done.  I've got 6 moves left and only one jelly to get rid of.  So no problem.  I am about to beat this level that I've been trying to beat for a month and here comes my supervisor around the corner.  Man what timing!  So I cover my phone with my left hand and pull up to my desk so that he can't see what I'm doing.  I pretend to be looking at my computer screen and move the mouse around confident that he has no idea I'm playing Candy Crush.  He drops something off at a co-workers desk and off he goes.  

I look back at my phone ready to enjoy beating this level and it already says "Level Completed".  What the???  

Damn it, stupid hovering feature on the S4.  You robbed me of the satisfaction of beating the level I was stuck on for a month!  A month!!!  I don't even know how I passed it.  No clue.  

This is what I almost died for? Really?!?

That is all. Run along.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vampire Weekend

It all started with this twitter conversation:

So usual morning routine. Except that I get to use my car to drive to work today because my wonderful wife has the day off from work. She will pick up the kids this afternoon. We have 4 kids so I still have to drive the minivan to school to drop them off but I can come home and switch to the compact car so my wife can pick up the kids in the afternoon. I know it may not sound like much but not having to drive that minivan everywhere is heaven. 

So I stick my work stuff and my morning coffee into the other car in anticipation of my future self having to only get in the car and go to work.  I proceed to get all of the kids in the van and leave for the school.

I drop off the kids at school. I make the switch between the kids' CD and the radio. CBC Radio 1 or 2 usually, today Radio 2 because of the tweets. So it's 8:07am and I hit 94.1 and there is Vampire Weekend - Unbelievers right at the beginning of the song. Unbelievable! Today is going to be an awesome day!

Off I go to work!

So about 20 minutes into my commute, halfway to to work, I am still in the minivan. Hello? Hello? Right, I forgot to switch cars. So there I am doubling back home to switch cars. Late for work. Seems to me this is all Tom Power's fault.

Thanks CBC Radio 2 morning for the great story! Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Too good to be true

I will never ever win the lottery. It's always someone old, or alone, someone that was laid off recently, or 30 people that share it. The way the universe works for me is that my 'lottery win' is finding a quarter in the couch, or not shitting myself when I'm nowhere near a bathroom (this one I actually haven't won but that's a story for another day).

Case in point: today. The morning to be exact. Everything is going better than planned. The wife is up, kids are up, lunches are ready, school things are all ready to go. It couldn't go better. The drive to work was bearable. I even made it to the gas station with the gas tank empty light on. Parked the van at work and headed to the office.

And then the universe decides to nudge me.


This morning was too good to be true.

That is all. Run along.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She's 4 and a half.

Our oldest, 6-year old E has been bothering us about buying popcorn at school. It's some sort of fundraising they do for the school. The older kids sell Kernels flavoured popcorn. E has been all over his mom and I trying to pry $2 from us. Like any Filipino family, and this is how it was when I grew up, we told him that we would buy our own popcorn at the store because its cheaper and we get more.

Now Tuesdays in our house is piano lesson day. A good friend of hours teaches the kids. We proceed to pay her and we never ever have exact change. This was the case this past Tuesday. The change that we receive, $2.50, sits on the counter in the kitchen.

Wednesday after school we make popcorn for the kids for a snack. E2 (middle of the triplets) goes into his back pack and pulls out a Kernels bag of flavoured popcorn. I'm on shock. This is the same bag of popcorn that I have been telling E the senior that he can't have.

"Where did you get that?"
"My sister gave it to me." Smiling.
"A, where did you get this popcorn?"
"From Jocelyn."
"Who's Jocelyn?"
"She's a helper."
"She just gave you popcorn?"
"I gave her money."
"Where did you get the money?"
"I found it."

Not only did our daughter swipe the change from the kitchen counter in the morning and put it in her back pack. She had the wherewithal (just wanted to use that word) to try to frame her brother. Genius. She's 4 and a half years old.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm about to become a hockey dad.

I'm about to become a hockey dad.  I'm pretty nervous.  I have received the e-mail for a pre-season practice on Saturday.  Judging by the e-mail list of parents and the last names, my son will be one of the visible minorities on the team.  Not to mention the fact that he is 5 years old turning 6 in a month, and just started skating this year.  It's amazing that so much has changed in (ahem) thirty-ish years and yet some things haven't really.  

When I was 7 years old, I wanted to play hockey pretty badly.  When you're a kid life is about play, school, and friends.  I begged my parents to let me play.  I had no idea how much it cost and what was involved.  For my birthday all I wanted was hockey equipment.  At the time we were living in Edmonton.  My father would walk me to one of the four outdoor rinks in our neighbourhood.  He would sit in the freezing cold shed and put my skates on and then he would get on the ice with me and be my goalie.  Imagine, a thirty-something Filipino father who immigrated to Canada standing in the freezing cold on ice playing goalie for his son. Oh the things you do for your kids.

I found out later in my twenties that while we were living in Edmonton my mom and dad were having a rough go of it.  My father didn't have a job for about a year and my mom had almost died while giving birth to my little brother.  My request to play hockey must have been the furthest thing from their minds.  Except that I bet that it wasn't.  On my 7th birthday my parents, who must have been struggling but never really let that show to us, gave me a pair of hockey gloves.  It was all they could afford.  I loved them.  They were black with red and white fingers.  I put them on and  played in the living room with my Northlands stick and a tennis ball.  I used my little brother's empty Pampers box as a net.  It was about two feet tall and a foot wide.  The flap would open in the front of the box.  I would shoot wristers into that box for hours.

Fast forward 30 years.  We were able to get some equipment for our son second hand.  I have to go out and get a neck guard, mouth guard, some elbow pads, a water bottle, and a couple of sticks today.  First practice tomorrow morning.  I'm about to become a hockey dad.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How I Slept in My Bed Last Night

We have a 5-year old and 3-year old triplets. My wife was able to sneak away to the bed left behind by the kids.