Month: September 2014

the phone number from HELL

“Is Cliffie there? I want to speak to Cliffie!”

I am sorry, you have the wrong number

“I don’t have the wrong number, idiot! Now put Cliffie on the phone NOW!”

Insane person recites Cliffie’s phone number, which is exactly the same as my new cell phone number. Apparently Ole Cliffie must have either lost his phone, or didn’t pay his bill and lost his number. I recently got a new iphone and this is the number that telus provided me with.

Ma’am, this is no longer Cliffie’s number. Now please stop calling here.

[in a VERY drunken voice] “P-P-Put C-l-i-f-f-i-e on N-o-w!”

He isn’t here

“Where is he”?

How should I know. now please hang up!

“C-L-I-F-F-I-E! Please come homeeeee………”

The drunk lady finally hangs up. I finally settle down and try to sleep….at 3:30 a.m.

Until 4:00 a.m. that is.

“CLIFFIE! Some asshole said that you weren’t here. He won’t let me talk to you! I am calling the cops Cliffie!”

Lady, its no use calling the cops. Cliffie doesn’t own this number. Please go to sleep and leave me alone!

After three more calls, she finally settles down. I have half an hour sleep and it is time to get up for work.

As I am eating my breakfast, the damn iPhone rings again. I am ready to throw the thing thru the window.

“This is Cliffie. I hear you have been giving my Friens a hard time, you F**ker!!!” he says, in a very drunken voice.

Why are you calling me? this isn’t your damn number!

“I know. I don’t have a phone. I got D-D-Drunk once and lost the thing. telus took away my number, and all my ladies still have the number. can you take messages for me?”

I am dropping by Telus this evening. I have to get that number changed!

True story!


Sensitivity training maybe?

My first day on the new job a few weeks back and this is what I had to endure:

The very tattooed lady (I use that term lightly) who works in the cafeteria looks at me and noticed my hearing aids.

“You go to Deaf School?” she asks.

I pause for a moment, shocked, and I reply

“No, I learned it all on my own.”

She grins (way over her head I guess) and says

“Take em out, lemme see”

Ya right,  I am here for your amusement.

Can you imagine what ‘deaf school’ would look like?

A large building with the words “DEAF SCHOOL” printed on a huge sign, so we deaf people can read it.

Inside, a crowd of instructors teaching people how to be deaf.

I should consider myself lucky I guess,

my hearing aids come with a remote control. From this moment on, Tattoo lady will be on MUTE!

Flash Fiction: my sister’s lite brite

Copyright – Marie Gail Stratford

Word Count: 99

As kids, we spent untold hours playing with my sister’s ‘Lite-Brite’. A simple toy, featuring a plastic body and screen filled with holes. A light bulb in the back of the unit illuminated the screen while we plugged the holes with translucent plastic pegs.

My sister got mad when my brother and I hogged her favourite toy. We used it to leave funny messages such as ‘You Stink’ and ‘Your feet are big”

She would enter her room, the lights turned down low, and the Lite-Brite would relay our little messages to her. Ah childhood…sometimes I miss it!

This is my entry into Addicted to Purple’s Flash Fiction. Give it a try, great fun!

debunking myths: Spider-Man

“Spider-man Spider-man, does whatever a spider can”…What a pile of crap!

When was the last time you seen Spidey eat a fly? How about set a web up to catch a fly?

and the line “catches thieves just like flies”…does he eat the thieves when he catches them in his web? Not only that, but do flies catch thieves? I can see the headlines now



Old Spidey is a bigger rip-off than the tooth fairy!

living in an idiot proof world

My missus picked up a new can opener at Wally World yesterday. The thing claims to be ‘Idiot Proof’. Thing is, I couldn’t get it to work. Does that mean that I am an idiot?

In this world of ‘making things easier’, I think we have gone too technical. A can opener; why does it have to be so difficult? Instead of using the $15 piece of plastic garbage, I hauled out my old faithful pocket knife and using the trusty can opener blade, I opened my can of beans and wieners with ease. No batteries, no blister packing that cuts your fingers. Idiot proof.

Back in my grandfather’s day, there were no idiot proof crap things. Everything worked because it was made to work. Actually, my grandfather made most things himself, and if they didn’t work right, he started from scratch and worked at it until it did work. Idiot Proof.

I remember walking up to the fence he built to keep his cattle from leaving the cow pasture. He had this giant gate made from spruce boards that he sawed on a sawmill that he made himself. The gate fastened to the fence by a piece of rope that he hung over the top post on the gate and the fence. Simple, but it worked. The cows couldn’t figure it out, and that was all he worried about. Idiot Proof.

The sawmill itself was his creation as well. Powered by an old Austin motor, the mill, although small, was used to cut every board that he used to build the barn, the shed, and even his home. A blade that he picked up at a scrap yard in a neighboring city ran by a belt that was hooked to the little four-cylinder motor was not complex but it worked. Idiot proof.

He had a truck, but he didn’t really need one. The old Ford worked most of the time, and when it didn’t, he tackled his horse ‘Bess’ to a cart and used this method to haul hay and other farm essentials from one side of the pasture to the other. He even rode into town on horse and buggy from time to time. A handful of hay and drink of water for the horse.  Idiot Proof.

The tools he used to cut hay were also simple. Although my uncle bought my grandfather a John Deere tractor to cut the hay, my grandfather preferred to do it the old way. A Hand- scythe, which is actually a long blade scythe attached to a spruce handle that he made himself managed to work just right for my grandfather. I remember seeing him out in his fields at five in the morning, swinging the long handled scythe to and fro, hay falling behind him.

He did try the tractor, and at first he was amazed at how quickly the thing managed to cut his grass; but when the thing ran out of gas, he jumped off the tractor, and with his trusty scythe, he continued cutting the hay. The tractor sat in the field until he felt it was in the way. Then using his horse, he towed the tractor to the barn where it sat until the day he died. “don’t like those new fangled things that try to make things easier. Sometimes things are best left to the old way. A way that allowed a man to be one with the grass he cuts and the animals he feeds”

My grandfather was stubborn, but what he said makes a lot of sense, especially in this idiot proof world in which we live.


still in the game


Meet Farzana. Farzana is one little person who has never let her size stop her. At merely a 6 inches tall, most of her friends laughed at her when she took claim as the best  player in the game. Despite having to walk nearly twenty footsteps from block to block, she never quit and still enjoys playing.

In her sixty plus years of playing, Farzana’s record was nearly perfect.Throughout the years, in fact, Farzana has managed to beat opponents ten times her size with ease.

Though no longer the ‘spring chicken’, Farzana still excels in her favorite game of ‘Hop Scotch’.

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her Wednesday picture to create a complete story in 100 words.

Cajun Dogs and the BBQ Fire

Just finished helping out at the College BBQ. Its a yearly thing where the staff and administration offer free hotdogs, burgers and pop to the students. The lineup seemed to last forever as hungry students stood waiting for their free lunch. The thing with kids. Free and food are always guaranteed to bring a crowd!

We had a BBQ as a fundraiser when I was in college. Each class had to come up with some way to make money to donate to a worthy cause. Our town practically flooding away was a great and easy choice, and selling Hots and Hams was even easier. When other classes were planning elaborate methods of fundraising, all we had to do was BBQ wieners and burgers. Sounds simple, right?

The first thing we had to do was to canvass stores looking for donations; mainly wieners, burgers and buns. And pop. We did pretty well, I must say. We didn’t have to buy anything. All we had to do was find a BBQ.

When we exhausted all possibilities of having someone donate a BBQ, I chose to use mine. It was nothing fancy, but it was trustworthy and always delivered. Actually, that was the problem…delivery.

I lived a half an hour from our BBQ site, so we had to find some way transport my main source of summer cooking to the front of the shopping mall. One of the students in our group offered his pickup truck.

It took both of us to load the ‘Q on the truck, but he insisted on fastening it. He argued that he was a Ranger and knew all sorts of rope tying methods. So I let him. Big Mistake!

He was also driving, and he drove like a bat out of hell. I was too scared to look back, but should have. When he hit one turn doing well above the speed limit, something flew out of the back of the truck and came within inches of an oncoming car. The driver pulled over and began cussing at us.

Paul pulled over as well, and soon joined the cursing guy. The both of them stood cursing at each other. I am not sure whether Paul even knew what he was angry about, but being the number one shit disturber in class, he was gung ho and ready for a fight.

When I got him calmed down enough to get back in the truck, I discovered what object had almost hit the guy’s car. It was our BBQ. Paul only fastened one end of rope to one side of the ‘Q, and when he made the turn, the entire thing swung out of the truck and then bungeed back into the box of the truck.

Unfortunately it was not that simple. Most of the thing was smashed to ribbons, including the burner. Luckily we removed the propane tank before leaving the house, or the damages would have been much worst!

When we finally got to the site of the cooking, we unloaded what was left of Ole Faithful and carried the thing to the curb. The wheels were no more, probably sitting in the back seat of that guy’s car!

I turned on the gas and lit the thing. At first, we were surprised at how well the flame under the burner turned that perfect hue of blue and yellow. We loaded the grill with wieners and burgers. The stuff was selling like hotcakes when suddenly a loud “WHOOF” came from the ‘Q.

The flame went out and we were left with several half cooked hot dogs. I fired the thing up again, this time we didn’t have the pretty blue flame. What we did have was a flame thrower mounted on a BBQ frame. Our wieners cooked quickly, well actually they burned quickly. Only thing was, we were only half way through the allotted time frame and had no earnings to show.

Just then, a large tour bus with students from a small community outside town pulled up next to us. “Anything ready? Got a bus load of hungry kids!” the driver said.

When everyone was ready to give up, I came up with an idea.


When everyone was buckled over with laughter, I was at the table handing out hot dogs to the kids. I sold everything we had and we had to scorch more just to keep up. The flame from the grill reaching abnormal heights only managed to attract more customers, and we worked like dogs to keep up.

One kid hollered “Wow! Cajun Dogs. I heard of them but never tried them!”

He encouraged his friends to try them, and for some weird reason, the badly burned wieners sold quickly. He was even more amazed when I introduced him to a new menu favorite…Cajun Burgers. We burned everything we had and at the end of the day, we had reached our goal of $1500, plus made enough money to replace my broken ‘Q.

Who would have guessed how popular Cajun food was in Newfoundland?


insomnia: Parts I and II

For the second night in a row, I lay awake. Monday night I stared at a small lump of plaster that rested in the corner of the bedroom ceiling. I actually thought about fixing it, until I glanced at the clock and discovered that it was 2 a.m.

The wife probably wouldn’t be impressed to find me standing at the edge of the bed, plaster trowel in hand, fixing the lump.

So I simply watched it; possibly hoping that by staring at the lump, it would go away. It didn’t.

I tried turning on the television. Nothing on, of course. I tuned into Netflix and found a rerun of CSI Miami. Why does that guy wear sunglasses all the time? And why is it cool when he takes them off and offers his weekly cliche?

I watched other shows as well. Why was it that I chose to tune into an old Twilight Zone episode? When I finally managed to drift off, the episode that I watched became a reality for me. This was the one where the man sold his soul to the devil in return for eternal life, only to murder his wife and be sentenced to life in prison. Talk about irony. Anyway, in my dream, I was his cell mate. Only me!

Its amazing how the hours magically appear on the digital clock. At 4:30 a.m., I found myself amazed at how the ‘0’ turns to a ‘1’ and then to a ‘2’. Its easy to amaze me that late at night. I think I watched every hour change to the next.

There are only so many ways to toss and turn. Lie next to the wife, maybe cuddle her, feels good, but soon I have an ache in my side, so I turn over, and over, and over and over. I almost wore a hole in the sheets from tossing and turning. All this while trying not to wake her. She has work in the morning. So do I.

The time between 5 am and 6:30, my wake up time takes forever to pass. So I get up, eat breakfast, and sit on the comfy chair for awhile….and fall asleep. Since the alarm clock is in the bedroom, I don’t hear it. I am half deaf, and both my hearing aids are in the bedroom, tucked safely away in their little box so that dog doesn’t get them again. (another story for another time, but a funny story that I will have to tell, maybe on my next sleepless night)

All of a sudden my son awakes me. “What are you doing sleeping here? How come you didn’t go to work today?” he asks.

“OMG” I holler. I finally fell asleep, and slept until 7. It will be a quick breakfast, possibly on the way to work, and a coffee. I need Coffee NOW!

On the drive to work I chug down a cup of my favorite Tassimo coffee, Nabob Breakfast, except this was my breakfast! I see two moose on the side of the road. You have to remember, this is Newfoundland, and moose hunting season just opened! Poor thing will likely be cooking on someone’s bbq by the weekend!

When I get to work, I dive into another coffee, and one more before lunch. By now I am bouncing off the walls, but I do manage to get a ton of work done, despite my shakes.

The ride home was quick, thanks to all the caffeine, and because I never slept the night, I choose to get to bed early. Big mistake. All that caffeine. Insomnia again. Another night of no sleep! This morning, the one thing that made my day was checking out my favorite bloggers on WordPress, and seeing a nice post by one of my favorite writers on the web. Thanks Archon, I really appreciate the fact that you remembered my birthday. I didn’t!



Claustrophobic? Not me!

I have this fear of small, confined places. Most people simply accept this as part of a phobia that they were either born with, or developed over time. I know exactly where my fear of confined places comes from.

Back when I was a kid, we used to camp a lot. Every weekend during summer vacation, my parents would pack up mostly everything we had, our trusty canvas tent, and my little brother, and head for the hills.

One weekend we camped at a local park. The park featured a beautiful beach and very well groomed campsites. Dad set up the tent and my brother and I went on to the beach. The entire weekend was going great, and eventually, Sunday came. Sunday was the day in which we always headed home. God knows we couldn’t miss church (notice the pun).

Of course, being kids, we couldn’t just go home. We were hungry, we forgot something at the beach, we didn’t say good-bye to our friends, and naturally, I had to go to the bathroom. Poor mom and dad, possibly dizzy from all the complaints, I doubt they heard me tell them that I had to use the bathroom!

So off I went. You know parks, especially back in the 70’s in Newfoundland. Bathrooms didn’t exist in parks back then. OUTHOUSES did!  A wooden building covering a hole in the ground.

I was bursting to use the bathroom. Couldn’t hold it a second longer. I spotted the old outhouse hiding behind a spruce tree and went in. The stink hit me almost immediately. To make matters worst, the door swung shut behind me, the latch on the outside clicked down. I didn’t know the extent until I finished doing my duty.

The latch clicked down. I was locked in an outhouse. A very stinky outhouse that was built over a shithole in the ground. the only ventilation was a tiny hole above the door and the hole beneath the toilet seat. There was no flush handle, you simply crapped in the hole and ran for your life. Only I couldn’t run. I was barred in!

I had to pick the only outhouse that was hidden by a large tree. This little cabin of torture was completely hidden to anyone who either didn’t know it was there or like me, needed to crap so badly that it seemed to appear out of nowhere.

What to do, What to do! I tried running my shoulder into the door, you know, the way they do it on Cop shows on TV! My skinny shoulders were no match for the rugged old spruce boards that adorned the outhouse. Holding my breath probably didn’t help. But the stink. Crap from the hundreds  thousands (I don’t know how many people crapped there, but it was all there beneath the seat next to me).

I cried out but to no avail. In hell, nobody can hear you scream. I prayed, but again nothing! Where was my dad? Shouldn’t he be worried? I never brought a watch, so no telling how long I was in the outhouse. It felt like an eternity. I couldn’t even put toilet paper over my nose. I used most of the roll to cover the toilet seat and the rest I dropped in the hole by accident. I almost died from the smell.

What seemed like an eternity later, I could hear hollers in the distance. It was my dad, he came looking for me. There were a few other outhouses around the park, and I think he tried every one. That was, of course after he checked the entire beach and every campsite in the park. Finally, he found the one in which I was trapped.

By the time dad made it to the hell hole I was barred in, My lungs were sore from me holding my breath. When he clicked open the latch, the door opened and I fell out. I bawled my eyes out while my dad scolded me for not telling him where I was going. But I did. He just didn’t hear me with all the other crap I was going on with. Of course a kid doesn’t understand that.

On the ride home, I found it difficult to sit in the car. I held my head out the window like a retriever, opening my mouth and catching every breath of fresh air (and flies) that I could.

Ever since that day, I cannot stand it in closed spaces. They say that the only way to overcome your fears is to confront them, but there is no way that I plan to enter another outhouse and have the door closed on me! I rather die.

things in the fridge

Yesterday was garbage day, and like any other Thursday, I had to clean out the fridge before taking the garbage to the curb. Since this is the first full week of school for our kid, the wife went and bought all sorts of new stuff for the little guy’s lunch. Of course the one big mistake she made was bringing him shopping. You know that he wanted everything that came in nifty packaging, especially if it tied in with a popular movie or tv show.

So now the fridge is filled with all the things he HAD to have, tried, and didn’t like. Packages of yogurt that I knew he wouldn’t like, but since The Amazing Spiderman adorns the packaging, it would taste different than other yogurt, everyone knows that. Wrong. Eight packages in the original package, six left. He actually tried the first one and threw it out, and then for some reason figured that two days later the stuff would improve and tried it again. He should have listened to his Spider Senses.

The package of green turkey roll is definitely heading for the trash. Those new blister packs are a pain once they are opened, but as I have often suggested (you have to suggest things to 12 year old’s those days apparently), put the thing in a Tupperware container once you open them. Nobody listens. Another $7 wasted.

“The orange juice has lumps in it!” was his reaction when I asked why a practically full container of orange juice (Low Pulp) was left without the cover on it and now has gone bad. They weren’t lumps, just pulp.

He doesn’t like pulp…figured they were pieces of wood or something. Oh the Teens are coming up….good-bye hair.

The apples are all gone, save for one in the bin. He is all brown, especially where the bite was taken out. Guess that one is gone too. I don’t need the CSI team to discover who took the bite out of that one. My son again. “Had to find a sweet one” he says.

Speaking of Tupperware, there is one in the very back of the fridge. Upon opening it and nearly hitting the floor from the stink, I discovered that it was once a half can of beans and wieners, another of my son’s quick snacks he brings for school lunches. He must be a big hit with the ladies….This one must have missed last week’s refrigerator scan, because it appears that hair is growing from a few of the beans. Maybe it missed a few fridge scans. Maybe I could send the stuff to my Uncle Harold…he has started losing his hair as of late. Maybe a few of those hairy beans would do the trick!

Once all the spoiled and outdated things were out of the fridge, the thing was almost empty. My wife offered to take son and buy groceries this evening. NOOOOoooo!

Tomorrow I have to attack the deep freeze! Stay tuned