Category: It’s True, I promise ya

making the people dance

I remember going to the bar with my friend Dave. Dave owned a piece of crap Disco system, and was hired to play a wedding for a friend of his….a very pretty friend of his. I agreed to help him out, but what I really did was discover how much I wanted to be Mr. Cool DJ.

This was back in ’93. Soon after, I went and bought my own ‘system’. Visiting the old Radio Shack store, my money ( all $5000 I borrowed from the bank) and I were soon parted. I arrived home with every piece of equipment my loan money could handle.

The salesman (a former Disk Jockey) said Ross Sound was the equipment that would last a lifetime. A set of  400 W speakers and an amp that cranked out even more wattage, this thing had a great sound. He threw in a mixer board, two cassette decks, and two CD decks. My dad and I made wooden boxes to hold everything. I couldn’t wait to start playing dances.

My first dance was for a dart party at a local bar. The crowd were used to the regular DJ, but since he was sick that night, I filled in for him. Armed with 29 music cassettes, I learned a valuable lesson…I didn’t know squat about DJing.

Luckily, the club owner used to DJ in his younger days. “You have great equipment, that stuff will last forever; it’s your music that sucks.” Sound advice (pun intended).

As soon as I got home, I joined Columbia House. They had a special on where you received 10 CD’s if you purchased one. I joined ten times. I made up names, I used my brother and sister’s names, hell, I even used my cat’s name. When all the tapes arrived, I was in heaven.

This was the beginning of a long career (try 23 years and counting) in which I was the guy who made people dance…like in the song.

In no time, I had gathered over 500 cassette tapes and CD’s, and soon made the move to digital.

One night, I spent hours transferring my cassettes and CD’s to mp3 files. When finished, I had over 5000 songs, some good, some not.

My next few gigs were easier than the first. I actually had a few songs people requested. In the years that followed, I took advantage of music downloading, using such ‘then legal’ methods as Napster, Sky Rocket, and eventually Torrents. I hit all the yard sales, and gathered whatever music I could find, and transferred those to digital as well. In the first ten years I played, I had amassed over 10, 000 songs. currently I have over 70,000 songs.

I was doing two gigs a week, and spent most of my young adult life in bars and night clubs. sometimes the room was so smoke filled, I had to crouch down to see if people were dancing. I put up with jeers, threats, and boos, but also a few ‘yays’. I was hit on more than once by pretty but drunk ladies, some offering to take me home for the night. I was offered free drinks and even a few joints, and one night, some guy offered me a white powder. Of course I always kept it professional, and turned down the booze and the drugs, and sometimes even the women.

These days are much different. A struggling economy meant many of the club goers have already left town in search of more money and stable jobs. This little town once boasted over ten night clubs, now there are only two. And nobody seems to want to go out and have a good time.

Still, from time to time, my wife and I take a gig. It is fun for us to sit and watch as the crowd dances and hoots and hollers, and every now and then, we get up and dance with them. Two years ago I played my best gig ever. I played my own wedding.

It took me three months to create the perfect playlist. I studied our guest list, and tried to remember  peoples’ favourite songs. When I finally compiled the list, I played it at another dance I was hired to do, and it went great.

On the night of our wedding, there was no DJ sitting behind the equipment. Everything was pre-programmed into the computer. We were able to spend the evening walking around talking to our guests while the music blared from the speakers. The dance floor was packed all night, from 9:30 until closing time at 2:00. Best gig ever!

I still do a few dances, maybe one or two per year. I enjoy playing the oldies. I don’t have much use for that ‘new stuff’, even the country songs have gone to hell…no way to dance to the stuff.

I thought about selling my stuff off, but having played for over 20 years, I feel my music is a part of me. So is the equipment, which is still exactly the same stuff I bought back in 1993. He was right, it does last forever.

 

our flight home

My brother in law got married last weekend, to a gal from Old’s Alberta. Naturally, we were invited. My wife was asked to stand in the bridal party. At first, I was reluctant to go, partially due to my lack of travel experience, and due to the cost. We went.

At 52 years old, I hate to admit, but I have never left the island. Nor have I ever flown. At first, I was a bit afraid of the flight, but my worries were soon put to rest. I loved it. My wife, not so much.

Upon our arrival, we were treated like royalty. The bride’s family, a long standing family of German-Russian heritage, were kind and gracious. The bride’s father, Gerry, works as an Oil consultant to some of the biggest oil companies in Canada, and in his spare time, runs a ‘hobby farm’ consisting of over 180 acres, over 30 head of cattle, a few pigs, and horses. I joked that if one bragged he had 180 acres in Newfoundland, he would be talking about Newfoundland itself.

We traveled to all the local sights and even hit some of the bigger stores, such as Costco, before heading home to Newfoundland. I was actually anxious to fly home.

This was until we began our flight. We got up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, and headed to the airport in Calgary, where we just made it to the gate. Our seats sucked, my wife some three seats ahead of me, and my seat between two strangers. That being said, I lucked out with my seat companions. One was a lady from Prince Edward Island, her husband sitting across the aisle across from her. We both waited for the window seat person to arrive, and he did, just in time for the plane to take flight.

The guy was a smallish person, who was quite silent at first, but I am not a silent person. I am a Newfie. “Hows she going” I asked him. Startled, he answered “you talking to me? You do know I am Pakistani, don’t you?”

I said “I don’t care if you are from Mars, if you are nice you are nice. now how ‘she going?”

With that, he began to tell me about his four daughters, how he and his wife tried for a boy, got a girl, tried for a boy again, another girl, and then tried once more and got twin girls. He showed me pictures of his family, which he displayed proudly. I cannot understand how people can be racist and judge people just from where they come from or by the colour of their skin.

Our conversation was nice, our flight was not. We hit about twenty minutes of solid turbulence and received an announcement that we would be at least 45 minutes late for our connecting flight at the Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Apparently the plane needed some repairs, and this is what delayed us. When we arrived, our flight from Toronto to Deer Lake, Newfoundland had already left…without us.

We were told to visit customer service. After an hour in a lineup, we spoke to the Representative from Air Canada, and he (after first suggesting we wait until 1:00 a.m. and fly from Toronto to Halifax and then to Deer Lake) found us a flight to Deer Lake (some two hours from Stephenville) which was leaving at 7:00. This wasn’t too bad, and we accepted. He guaranteed (ha!) our luggage would be on the same flight as we were.

We had from 12:30 until 7:00 to kill, stuck in an airport. What a great way to spend a day. The airport graciously (HA!) provided us a meal voucher (After we demanded it) of $10 each…you can really eat well for ten dollars…HA! two slices of stale pizza which we threw out.

While we were there, we watched as two Air Canada pilots were arrested by RCMP, after it was discovered that both of them flew over 250 people in from Scotland while the pilots were drunk to the gills.

The 7:00 flight was then delayed until 9, and although our tickets read Gate D43, they were really supposed to read D26, which was on the other side of the airport. An elderly gentleman, who chatted to us for awhile, informed us that our tickets were incorrect. After running the length of the airport to catch our seven o’clock flight, we were greeted by an Air Canada employee, correcting himself and apologizing. The gate was indeed D26. Oh, and the flight was delayed again, this time until 9:00.

We sat in the airport until 10:30, (two more delays), and arrived in Deer Lake at 2 a.m. in the morning. Our luggage wasn’t on the carousel and if it wasn’t for an airport employee, we would never have discovered that our luggage had arrived on time, with our original 1:30 flight, and were put in an office for safe keeping.

When we arrived in the parking lot (we left our car in the lot where it was ‘safe’ (HA!)) we found that we had a flat tire. The air must have been left out as a prank, because I filled the tire that night and this is Saturday and it is still filled with air. We were charged $40 dollars for our use of the parking lot, and attempted to head home.

Our back brakes were seized and the car wouldn’t move. Ever watch the Twilight Zone and see an episode where two travellers are not permitted to leave an airport, and even time works against them to ensure they never make it home? Me either, but they certainly could make this an episode!

Another few hours picking at the car and we are heading home. We walked into the house at 5:30, daylight. Our dogs were anxious to eat breakfast and play ball in the backyard. This was four nights ago and I am still tired. …I just set up a travel account with the bank. We are planning a trip for next summer….with hopefully another airline. not impressed with Air Canada!

 

 

I see….

Of all our senses, I would imagine Sight is the most used; at least in my job it is. I sit in front of a computer 90% of the day, staring at the screen ahead of me. I read documents and tests printed on bright white paper, and it hurts. Brightness hurts. I am sitting here at work today, wearing sunglasses.

My eyes have been hurting quite a bit lately. Especially my left eye. It is as if there is something there, but it can’t be seen. I tried to explain what I saw to the eye doctor at the clinic, and she wasn’t sure what I was talking about. As a precaution, she referred me to a specialist.

A week ago I visited an eye specialist. He put me through a ton of tests, everything from staring into a machine and pushing a button when a light blinked, to staring at a light brighter than the sun.

He even took a picture of the back of my eye, after he applied drops that burned like hell, and dilated my pupils.

I remember the look on his face. He didn’t have to say anything for me to know he found something.

He showed me the picture he took. He pointed to my left eye and explained how my Optical Nerve is inflamed and bleeding. He also noted the right eye was swollen.

What caused this? He has no idea, only guesses. ” MS could do it, but you don’t have that. Your vision is still moderately good. Good  colour vision too. A tumor I expect.” he said, calmly. He noticed on my paperwork that I had a Neurofibromatosis tumor a few years back.

I had a CT Scan on Wednesday, and I have an MRI scheduled for Monday. Hopefully he is wrong with the tumor guess. I went through the tumor thing back in ’03, and I really don’t want to repeat that again.

The day after returning home from the test, I remembered what I believe could have caused my problem. While doing yard work, I cut quite a few alders. One of the trees was especially long, and in an attempt to flick the thing in the woods, it bounced back and struck me in the head. I must have been at least twenty minutes trying to regain myself. worst whack in the head ever. I hope this did the damage to my eye. At least I hope if for now. God only knows what other damage it did.

I should get my MRI results at least a week from Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed it’s nothing. Anything but a tumor or MS.

my rebellious days

Back when I was a kid, like all kids, I went through a rebellious stage. No, I didn’t spend my time ‘saucing’ my parents or refusing to do my homework, I did something much more serious.

In the third grade, we shared our school with those dreaded protestants. Being Catholics, we had the best schools and apparently (although most would disagree) the best teachers (if you consider a cranky nun a good teacher).

The golden rule of getting along with the principal and the teachers was to stay away from any student who wasn’t a Roman Catholic. The school was virtually split down the middle, with a huge wall separating the two sections. A large sign read ‘NO ENTRY’ on either side of the wall, and most students did their best to abide to the rules. Not me.

I had a problem determining exactly who was Catholic and who wasn’t. Everyone looked the same to me. The principal even had a school assembly where he pointed out the rule, and threatened punishment by the leather strap if any Catholic kid was caught even talking to a protestant kid. We were taught that those kids were pure evil, and our protective school officials surely didn’t want any of us pure, innocent Catholic kids being led down the garden path by those sinners.

Anyway, there was this kid, Vincent, who worked like a spy on the playground. If he noticed a kid sitting alone, with nobody to play with, he would set that kid up with a friend….a protestant friend, for a price. Usually his price was a sandwich or some cool desert like canned pudding or jelly.

One day, Vincent noticed that I was standing by the sliding board alone, not another child in sight. Vincent slithered over to me and gave me a ‘Pssst’, and pointing to the wooded area behind the school, he invited me over. I remember feeling guilty as hell by going, but what did I have to lose, other kids said he was cool.

When I got to the bushes, Vincent stood there with two kids. A boy and a girl. They looked just like any other kid I had ever seen, no distinguishing marks to let me know that they were the spawn of the devil, so I decided to hear Vincent out.

“I like you kid” he said, “Just for today, I am going to set you up with not one, but two protestant friends. They just moved here from Ontario, and have no friends. I am not going to charge you anything, but mum’s the word if you get caught.” It was like he was a drug dealer or something, and I was drawn into his little scheme.

For the next two weeks, I actually liked going to school. No longer did I spend my recess and dinner breaks alone. I ate lunch and took off outside to play with my new friends. It was fantastic.

And then someone ratted me out. After lunch that day, like every day, I quietly left the cafeteria and actually went to the other side of the building. What did I run into but Sister Kotell (AKA Sister Kotex)!

Dragged by the ear from the playground to the office, and then twenty straps on each hand, my palms almost bled. Each time that leather strap came across my hands, the nun recited readings from the bible and told me how I was never going to enter heaven, and how my eternal soul was going to burn in hell forever….for playing with a kid of a different religion. I was eight years old for crying out loud. I hadn’t developed any prejudices at that time, so how was I to see my wrong doings?

Looking back at it now, I realize just how foolish the world was. My dad said that when he was a kid, he was told that protestants (anyone who wasn’t Catholic) all had yellow bellies. They were told never to check, but that they should believe in God, and God would protect them from the evil.

What would those morons think now that I am married to an Anglican, my brother to a United Church person, one of my sisters to a Salvation Army person, and my other to an atheist? You know what? They still don’t look any different than anyone else. Our school officials are probably rolling in their graves right now! Maybe they are burning in hell for teaching young kids racism and hate at such a young and innocent age.  I hope so anyway.

 

 

Lessons in life

I remember my first day; the sun was something else.

It didn’t bother Dad though. He was used to the walk, and used to work too. I was eighteen years old, and in for the fright of my life. ”How could this be hard?” I asked myself. “lifting wood and piling it up, not rocket science.” I was about to find out just how wrong I was, on both counts.

Dad was patient with me, which must have taken a lot out of him. I complained about the ride up, I complained about the walk in. I even complained about our dinner, which my Dad packed. God knows I complained about how hot is was and how hard the work was.

Typical teenager I guess.

The night before, we argued most of the evening. Dad really didn’t want me working as a logger. “Once you get in, you never seem to be able to leave. I want more for you than the woods. Its a hard living. Early up, early to bed, and often too tired to enjoy your life. The money is bad, and the weather will get you if the work don’t.”

Of course I never heard a word he said. I always wanted to do one thing, be like my dad.

It seemed that all the bad things happened to me on that first day. I got an eye full of tree sap. Want to talk about pain? Try something that not only burns like hell, but it actually sticks your eye shut, if you are lucky enough that it doesn’t stick to your eye. Nothing except tears gets the stuff off your eye.

The pulpwood was heavy too. And God knows, Dad was never famous for cutting the limbs close to the tree. There was ALWAYS something to stab you, and on my first day, every one got me. I was bleeding from the arms and even the chest.

And then there were the flies. Mosquitoes were bad, but the sandflies (or ‘no-see-ums’) were so thick that you had to scrape them from your face. They would crawl into your ears, nose and even your mouth.

Eating was something that the flies did more than we did. While the chainsaw was running, the oil mixed with the gasoline kept those little buggers away; but when you shut the thing off and tried to eat….they came back with a vengeance.

Pour up a hot cup of tea, and right away a few blackflies have found their way into the cup. “Scoop them out with a stick and eat your dinner” Dad would say. “If you let them bother you, you won’t be able to work, you have to eat to keep your strength up” He knew what he was talking about. By days’ end, I figured I had eaten over a million blackflies. Mmmm Protein!

Dad would cut the tree down and run the chainsaw across the trunk, cutting the heavy limbs from the tree. He would then use the ‘whip’ at the end of the saw to measure two four foot lengths, and cut the tree in eight foot lengths. My job was to pile the pulpwood onto skids so the Tree Farmer (or TimberJack) operator could tackle his cable around the wood and haul it out. This was hard work! The wood wasn’t very well balanced, so you had to pick the wood up at one end, stretch your arm out to balance the thing, and carry it to the pile. You can imagine how sore this was on the arms. Dad used to help out when the wood was too heavy for one person, or when he seen that I was struggling.

I did this work for twenty years. I never heard Dad complain once. The only complaint he had was for me to quit and do something better with my life. What could have been better than working side by side the the man I looked up to all my life?

In those hard times, I was taught a work ethic that I have taken with me to many jobs since. Be to work on time, work hard as you can. Never complain about your work, you are lucky to have work. Be pleasant and always make the best of a situation. Life lessons, taught to me by my dad. I am fortunate to have those memories and those life lessons.

 

A Dangerous Day in November

Driving to work this morning, I had a great deal to be thankful for. First, I was seated in a warm truck, a great heater and lots of power under the hood…and I had a roof over my head to shield me from the sloppy snow and brisk wind we get here in Newfoundland, especially this time of year.

While driving in (an hour on the highway gives me lots of time to reminisce) I thought back to some twenty years ago, to a time when my life was much different than it is right now.

It was November 4, 1994, and boy, was it a cold day. Dad had just taken the Yamaha Trike (Three wheeled ATV) out of the shed and had it idling. It was so cold that morning, the exhaust smoke went straight up and seemed to freeze there. The ground was soaking wet from the hard rain we had the night before, and small snowflakes began to fall from the sky and then melt wherever they landed.

My family were far from wealthy, and although my dad and I had steady work, the pay wasn’t very good; because of this, we couldn’t afford the proper safety equipment that was required of the job. We would visit thrift stores and purchase second hand polyester pants. Dad liked those because they had a good stretch, and once our safety pads (Kevlar linings cut from second hand chainsaw pants) were sewed in, the pants were perfect for the hot summer days. They sucked once summer ended though.

We both pulled on our rain gear and got ready to go.

When the ATV was warmed up enough to move, we set out on our way to work. My dad always drove, and I sat on the back. The seat was cold as ice, but thanks to the long johns I had on, my ass didn’t freeze right away.

That morning, the sky clouded up real quick. In no time at all, the few clouds had moved in together and everything turned a dark grey. We could feel the temperature drop quickly as we pushed on through the rough gravel road that led to the cutting site.

There were a few other loggers heading to work at the same time, but they had the convenience of a truck to ride in. Dad and I thought about buying something, but with the roughness of the road, we knew nothing would last. The trike was the best and cheapest mode of travel…but was it ever cold!

Without the help of a windshield, and the fact than neither of us wore a helmet (you didn’t have to back then), there was nothing to shield our eyes from the pelleting rain. In fact, with the wind and the rain heading right into your eyes, it felt as if someone was shooting bullets at your face.

By the time we got to the landing (the site in which the machinery is used to load the pulpwood), we were soaked. It felt like my ass was froze to the seat. We removed our soaking wet rain gear and tucked it into a bag and headed to our cutting site.

You have to remember that this was late in the fall, and we were heading into early winter. At any given time, the rain would change to snow and then back to rain. This meant we got wet and cold at the same time.

We built a fire in the clearing and hung our rain gear so that it would dry. Once we had to stop for a break, it would be nice to have warm, dry clothes to wrap up in. My pants were already soaked, and combined with the wood sap that caked the legs of my pants, it was difficult to keep them up. Thank heavens for the suspenders (we called them ‘braces’).

We had to be very careful that morning. The underbrush got a good soaking the night before, and with a glaze of ice coating everything, it made for some difficult walking. As we headed for the bigger timber, the tuckamores beneath our feet grabbed at our pants legs, making it tiring just to walk.

We passed several cords of wood we had cut earlier in the week, making sure that they were as tightly packed as we had left them, and headed into the deep woods. Dad began to saw a large wedge into the towering fir tree (we first cut a wedge into the tree, and then sawed the other side of the tree, causing a ‘hinge-like’ action to fall the tree), and commenced to cut the tree down. Just then, a terrible wind blew, causing the tree to sway from the original area we aimed it, to a location directly behind us. Huge limbs quickly flipped the chainsaw into the air, and just ducking, my dad barely missed being be-headed by the huge trunk. Once the tree toppled in the forest, one of the limbs slapped me in the back of the head, and threw me some fifteen feet from where I stood.

When I got up, I never seen my dad anywhere. A few of the other cutters came to our rescue, and none of them could find my dad either. Turns out, the ground was slippery, and once he had ducked to miss the tree trunk, his feet came out from underneath him and he fell on his back. The long limbs that covered him also held him to the ground. Luckily, nobody was hurt. I offered my hand and hauled my dad from the wet moss in which he lay. He was real lucky. We both were.

As for all the work we did last week, we weren’t so lucky. The huge tree had fallen directly on top at least five piles of pulpwood, flattening them to the ground. At least two day’s work to fix what we had broken. This week wasn’t the most profitable, but we didn’t complain. We were lucky not to have gotten killed.

Going home that day wasn’t exactly fun either. Snow had fallen at the landing, covering the seat of the ATV. The snow had froze on the seat, and the wet foam that stuffed the seat had froze like a rock. You can imagine how nice it was, walking out through the wet brush, pants soaked, and then sitting on the frozen seat. Despite our rain gear, I didn’t think my ass would ever recover.

Too hot in here now; one thing I can say about this Toyota Tacoma….one hell of a heater! Life is Good!

 

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!

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.

“CAJUN DOGS, GET YOUR CAJUN DOGS” I hollered.

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!

 

 

Pine Beer and Bikers from Michigan

this story never gets old…just funnier

SightsnBytes

a few years ago, my friends and I found out what Americans were made of. This story began in my basement, and with our home made beer recipe. This was the summer that the beer companies all went on strike, therefore, no beer on the island except some Old Milwaukee crap imported from the states, not the strong, hardy beer we Newfoundlanders are used to drinking.

On this particular weekend, we decided to make our own beer. All the stores were closed, and we needed a brewing bucket. My friend Dwayne said that his mom worked at a local school, and she should have plenty of plastic 5 gallon buckets lying around. When he showed up at the house, he had a white plastic bucket under his arm. The bucket’s label read “5 Gallons of Pine Sol.”

Before we had a chance to ask Dwayne if he had cleaned the…

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