Throwback Thursday

If you have never been to Newfoundland, it’s a trip that I highly recommend.

Back in 2000, I moved to “the rock” on my own for a year as a traveling salesman. I lived for six months in Grand Falls and then the other six months in Paradise (a suburb of St. John’s). It was one of the most memorable times in my entire life.

I drove from one end of that island to the other; from the tip of St. Anthony (and yes, I saw icebergs in the water during the summertime) down to the scenic (but fairly desolate) seaside town of Harbour Breton back up to the tip of the province at Fogo Island. The scenery was spectacular and the driving never bothered me at all.

It’s been 15 years since I made that journey, and I stumbled upon a couple of pictures that reminded me of that incredible year.

002


HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUNSHINE!!

Hey gang!

Whether you know her or not…whether you read her blog or not…whether you follow her on Twitter or not…whether you “like” her on Facebook or not…PLEASE do me a favor and drop a quick comment or tweet to Sunshine on her birthday today.

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Twitter

Facebook

Sunshine, you are the love of my life and I couldn’t be happier to be married to you. I will do whatever I can to make you the happiest woman in the world. I love you.071

The proposal

CBG-SUNSHINEI am the luckiest man alive.

Happy birthday, baby.


It’s Only Getting Better

This past weekend was a really great weekend. It was one of those weekends where I’ll one day look back on pictures and say, “Yeah…that was really special.”

Fun in the back seatIt started on Friday when I picked up my son, Ankle Biter, and drove him to Halifax. We had supper together at McDonalds first, then jumped in the car for a 2.5 hour drive. He’s normally really good in the backseat. He plays his iPod or looks out the window, daydreaming about whatever it is he daydreams about. I try to play music I know he likes because I know it can be boring after awhile in the backseat of a car. He never complains, though…he’s awesome like that.

It was 9pm by the time we got home so Sunshine and I let him hang out with the girls (Kiddo & Lil’ Mo) for a little bit before sending them off to bed. After pancakes the next morning, we hit up a new local farmers’ market before visiting Pebbles at 11am.

The hedgehogThe girls get to see Pebbles on a semi-regular basis. Ankle Biter hadn’t seen his older half-sister since our wedding a year and a half ago. Needless to say, the two siblings were quite excited to see each other.

We hung out at a DQ and Pebbles brought along her pet hedgehog for all of us to swoon over. It was at this point that she said that she didn’t have any plans for the afternoon. I immediately asked her if she wanted to hang out with Ankle Biter and I as we were going ot the local museum while the girls went to a birthday party. She said “YES!” and we arranged to meet-up later.

002So here I was…with my oldest and my youngest…and we were at the Museum of Natural History, checking out the traveling dinosaur exhibit and “woodland creatures” exhibits. It was so much fun…just watching the two of them getting along (despite their 9-year age difference) and then laughing and talking with me…I felt like a million dollars. Obviously, I would have loved to see my middle child there, too (i.e. Rugrat), but this was something really special.

Once we were done, we went for a quick mid-afternoon snack so we could chat some more and hang out. It truly was a magical afternoon for me.

Ankle Biter in his WWE t-shirtWe said our goodbyes to Pebbles and head back home to meet the girls for supper. I BBQ’d some burgers before taking Ankle Biter to a WWE Live Event (his first live wrestling show).

I know it may seem silly to some, but this was an incredible bonding event for the two of us. I’m a life-long fan and since introducing him to the “sport”, he’s fallen in love with it, too. And because we’re now in a PG-rated era, it’s safe for kids of his age to watch. We had a GREAT time.  We laughed, we chanted, we clapped…it really was a lot of fun. Half of my fun was watching HIM have fun.

Point Pleasant ParkOn Sunday, Sunshine and I dragged the stepdaughters and Ankle Biter to a local park that used to be a naval base. Hey had a wonderful time in the sun, running around and playing games. It was nice to get outside and spend time together as a family.

I had to drive him 2 ½ hours back to his mom that afternoon, so we left by 2pm. On the way there, I reminded him that the new Avengers movie opened. He was super-excited to see it. I told him that if he wanted to see it, his mom could totally take him so he didn’t have to wait two weeks. He shrugged that off and said that he wanted to see it with me and would gladly wait the two weeks.

THIS is the type of relationship I never had with my dad and we lived under the same damn roof! I’m so glad that I’m being able to experience fatherhood like this. Who would have thought that life truly would get better with age?


Happy Star Wars Day!!

Star Wars Day 4

happy-star-wars-day

may 4th

Star Wars Day 2

Star Wars Day 6

Star Wars Day


That Helpless Feeling

Rugrat - Jan 2015My daughter, Rugrat, texted me the other morning. She’s been more communicative lately; a LOT more communicative. I’m absolutely not complaining, either…we’re finally having a decent relationship where I can talk to her like an adult (she’s 16) and I really appreciate that.

She told me about her life right now, and it’s not the life I want for her. I won’t go into details, but money is a major issue right now with her mom and stepfather. It’s one of those situations where I wish I could have her live here with Sunshine and I, but that’s not a realistic offer knowing how much she loves her friends in Ontario.

Rugrat 2So when she texted me to tell me that she wanted to borrow money. Of course I said, YES. I mean, we’re FAR from swimming in money, but it’s my daughter…y’know?

Two things came to mind:

1. She never asks me for anything, so if she actually asked me then it must be legit.

2. She obviously isn’t trying to take advantage of me by getting me to dish out big bucks. She only asked for a small amount for a very good reason. I respect that.

So I sent her some money and continued on with my day. Sunshine and I discussed the situation a little bit and, as has been the case over the past few weeks, we both have a helpless feeling about the entire situation.

Needless to say, I wish there was something we could do. It’s tough because a long-distance parent. I know she’s a good kid. She’s battling through everything as best she can. It just bothers me because the initial reason for them moving to Ontario was to “give Rugrat a better life” than the small town she was originally living in.

Rugrat 1But here it is over a decade later and things haven’t gotten better, only worse. I really wish them luck…I do. But that helpless feeling makes me wish I had fought more for her to stay. I wish she could be here so Sunshine and I could help her develop into a young woman…learning more about life and how to go out into the world.

In the meantime, I’ll just sit here and hope that her other side of the family can find whatever it is that they’re looking for. It’s all I can do at the moment.


Throwback Thursday

On this day seven years ago, I had flown down to Houston, Texas for the final two weeks of a four-week training session for my job at the time. What was important about this time is that I had just finished spending a weekend at my house as a little “break”.

I had arranged this weekend a couple of months earlier, as everyone who was training in Houston had the option of staying or coming back home. The problem is that my wife and I had split up about a week before I initially left for my training.

I came home to an empty house. Literally…I had a bed, a television, about half of the DVDs that I had bought over the years, the washer & dryer, and my computer.  I had actually called my parents to say “hi” and see how they were. I’ll never forget my mom asking me why it was “so echo-y” on the phone. I tried explaining to her that the house was literally empty, so my voice was echoing off of the walls with nothing in the room to buffer the sound.

I had an incredible time in Houston, though. It was one of those memorable trips that you never forget. Obviously, I wish I wasn’t in such a negative headspace at the time, but I tried to make the most of it.

For my Throwback Thursday, here are some of my favourite moments from my month long stay in the awesome city of Houston, Texas.

The Downtown Aquarium  - Houston

The Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston

Fogo de Chao - Houston

My favourite restaurant ever, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao!!

Cheesecake Factory - Houston

My first time eating at the Cheesecake Factory was awesome. I would love to eat there again.

Hard Rock Cafe - Houston

I was pumped to see the KISS guitar inside. Every Hard Rock Cafe has something interesting for the music fan.

Joe's Crab Shack - Kemeh Boardwalk

Got to visit the Kemeh Boardwalk, which is 30 miles outside of Houston. This place was fantastic, as was the meal at Joe’s Crab Shack.

Johnson Space Center - Houston

So lucky to have visited the Johnson Space Center. Got a tour of the entire area and was able to see some very interesting space-related stuff up close and personal.

Houston Zoo

LOVED the Houston Zoo! It was my first time seeing a giraffe live and in person! I also saw a monkey masturbating, but that’s a whole other blog post…

Ruggles - Houston

I’m not sure if the restaurant is still there or not, but had a wonderful meal at Ruggles on my last night in Houston.

Minute Maid Park - Houston

Beer and baseball. Picture was taken in the right outfield bleachers of Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros.


The Mini-Vacation

For the past couple of years, both Sunshine and I have pined to get away from the city for a much needed vacation. Heck, we haven’t even had an official honeymoon yet! We had planned on driving to Ottawa, Ontario this past weekend to meet up with one of her friends from high school, but finances dictated that not happen. 

What we decided to do, however, was find something closer that could still help us get out of the city and away from everything…the work, the financial issues, the kids, the cats…and concentrate on us, Obviously, with my issues over the past year or so, wanting to spend some time together was pretty important to both of us. 

So we drove 90 minutes down to the South Shore of Nova Scotia to a tiny fishing village called Port Mouton. Here we stayed in a great spot that we stayed at a few years ago: Port Mouton Bay Cottages. There was a 3 nights-for-2 nights off-season special and we jumped at the opportunity.  I mean, we had two bedrooms, a 4-piece bathroom, a fully stocked kitchen, an electric BBQ, satellite television, dvd player, a propane fireplace, a seaside view, and complimentary WiFi. What else could we possibly want??Port Mouton Bay Cottages

We packed the car with clothes and food and left on Friday morning. We didn’t actually do anything the rest of the day once we arrived. We just sat back and relaxed the entire afternoon/evening. It was weird to not have any cats jumping on us or whining at 3 o’clock in the morning, so we slept extremely soundly that night.

On Saturday morning, we each went out for some exercise. Sunshine ran and I walked, but we both got out there. After breakfast, we jumped in the car and drove a couple of hours to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The reason was that there was a lighthouse there that was supposed to be the #1 attraction in the area. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. Cape Forchu

We went to Cape Forchu and were told that there was a webcam set up for NovaScotiaWebcams.com and situated ourselves exactly where we could be seen: in the giant chair.

Yes...that's us in the big yellow chair.

Yes…that’s us in the big yellow chair.

We walked around the area and thought it was spectacularly beautiful. Cape Forchu Cape Forchu Cape Forchu

Once finished, we head to downtown Yarmouth to see if there was anything worth seeing. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much there but we did find a fantastic antique store called The Wooden Buoy. If you’ve ever seen American Pickers (or Canadian Pickers), then this would be THE PLACE for you.The Wooden Buoy

Almost picked up this Happy Days lunchbox but thought $45 was a little much, considering the weathered condition of a lot of the paint.Happy Days Lunchbox

We made our way back to the cottages, weaving in an out of the small villages and towns along the way (such as Shelburne and Lockeport). Once back, we had dinner and watched a movie before turning in early (*wink wink*). 

Sunday morning brought us both heading out again for exercise. It was a gorgeous morning with the sun beaming down on us. Roadside home in Port Mouton, NSPort Mouton, Nova Scotia

After lunch we decided to check out the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, another place we had visited a few years ago when I wasn’t very interested in walking anywhere. It’s a 4km round-trip walk to the shore and back, and on our previous trip I hated every second of it. Even though I’m heavier now, I quite enjoyed the exercise and had no complaints at all about the walk.Kejimkujik Seaside AdjunctKejimkujik Seaside AdjunctKejimkujik Seaside Adjunct Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct

On the way back to the cottage, we hit up Carter’s Beach; a tiny white-sand beach that is hidden from the main roads and only has a dirt path through the trees to the beach. But once there, wow.

How beautiful and white is this sand??

How beautiful and white is this sand??

I BBQ’d some steak for supper and Sunshine took the time to have a bubble bath while I wrote this blog post. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this has been one of the more awesome trips away that we’ve had together. We both concentrated on being happy, and that really made the weekend for us. 

We’ve been through our share of ups and downs over the past year, but now that we’re both in a much better head space life is presenting itself in a whole new way. This is the way we should have been feeling from the moment we got married.

At one point over the weekend, I said that I felt like a brand new man. Sunshine stopped me and said that I was the CBG that she originally met and fell in love with. So whatever changes these anti-depressants are making is TOTALLY fine with me.

Life is as good as it’s ever been. I’m more in love today than I was on Friday.  


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,098 other followers