Category: It’s True, I promise ya

um…where’s our chicken?

Back in the 90’s I partied pretty hard. Being a single guy with his own home, I had plenty of ‘friends’ who loved to party at my place, and as you might imagine, this made for quite a few funny stories to tell.

One evening, think it was a Saturday, we all got together at the house. They guys made sure to bring lots of beer, and I guess they figured I had lots of food, so nobody brought any. I didn’t have food, save for maybe a bottle of jam or two, maybe some peanut butter, and some beer in the fridge. I was single, and mooched off of my parents for food, so I never seen the point of buying groceries that would go bad.

My home is in the country, there are roads everywhere leading to wooded areas, farms, etc. Like I said, I live in the country. We had no numbers on our homes at the time, so giving a description of where we lived was always confusing. I had the number of power poles from the beginning of the road to my house memorized. I was at 38 power poles lane as we called it.

After we drank most of our beer, we all got hungry. One of the guys decided to call a cab to bring us some chicken from Mary Browns Fried Chicken, a popular fast food joint in the area. When the driver asked where to deliver it to, my buddy said “You drive into the community, then there is a road on the right, its the only road on the right in the entire community. Just come on down the driveway and we will be there. He left the driver my phone number in case he got lost. This was around 11:00 p.m.

We must have waited three, maybe four hours, when we got impatient and called the Taxi Cab stand, to ask where our chicken was. Dispatch put us through to the driver. He didn’t sound good. He asked “Do you live down a road off the main road, down over a very steep hill with trees all around?” I said “No, just down a lane off the main road once you pass the woods road on the right. ” Then I said “Oops, I am on the second road into the community. You went on the road leading to the country. Turns out the guy drove over the shoulder of the road, move than 400 feet over the edge of the road into a bog.

“Can you call me a tow truck please?” he begged. “My car is all beat up, I am lucky I lived.” He said, about the same time one of my friends hollered out…”so what about our chicken? Have you got it? We can come get it. How far down are you?”

We never got our chicken.

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Getting to where we are part 1

When I was 16 I graduated from High School. I didn’t do well, but High School was such a nightmare for me, I was not going back there, in fact, I had no plans to ever go back to any school; and I did everything I could not to go back.

My first job was a student job in my community. We used chainsaws to clear land for a playground. Although the other kids were using the chainsaws, my dad made me promise I wouldn’t touch one. I thought it was because he thought I would hurt myself, but that wasn’t the reason. When I asked him why he said this, his reply was that I was too good to be a pulp cutter like him.

My dad worked at any job he could find. He didn’t have a lot of education, or confidence in himself. That being said, he was (and still is) a very hard worker. I remember Dad coming home from working in the woods all day, his clothing wet and filled with mud and balsam, and him being beat out from the hard work. God I wanted to be just like him.

After this job, and a lot of preaching, my parents talked me guilted me into returning to school, this time at a local community college to do an accounting course. Did I mention I have always sucked at math?

At 16 years of age, I was the youngest student in the Clerk Accounting class. I was young and green, especially around girls. I felt like a kid (because I was) in the class. I did horrible on the tests, mainly due to my lack of math skills, the other reason was my overall hate for school in general.

One day the teacher called me into his office. He said my writing was atrocious. Well, I was so proud. No teacher ever praised my work like that. In fact, back in high school, I was actually asked to print, as my writing was unreadable.

I had to go home and brag to my parents and friends about the wonderful compliment the teacher gave me. My buddy heard me bragging and suggested I check out the dictionary, to see what the word meant. He didn’t think it sounded like much of a compliment at all.

I shouldn’t have looked in the damn book.

a·tro·cious

ADJECTIVE

of a very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant.

Well, maybe my writing skills had not improved. Upon realizing this, I lost all interest in my future as an accountant. Even so, I had to do a work term at a local building supply company. What a nightmare. They didn’t trust me because I looked so young. I only just turned 17, duh.

I sat in a cold office all day staring at an old ledger. I wasn’t allowed to mark in it, just stare at the numbers. I was so bored. I could not imagine doing this for a living, even if it paid well. After two weeks, I was ready to quit. I went home to talk plead to mom and dad, I had to get out of there.

My dad’s advice was to never give up. “You are working in a warm place with a roof over your head. I have never been that lucky. Stick it out, don’t give up, think of how hard I have to work.”

Once the work term was done, it was back to class. The only thing I was now interested was the bookkeeping class next door…all girls. I did so poorly in accounting, I got another call to the teacher’s office.

“Ted, you are not going to pass this program. We don’t want you to quit. Instead, we want to put you in the bookkeeping course. You can earn a certificate in bookkeeping, maybe make a few buck doing taxes or something.”

I didn’t hear anything past “we want to put you in the bookkeeping course”. The rest was just’ blah blah blah’. I was overjoyed. For once, I wanted to come to class. I was the only guy in the class, and unfortunately, the youngest person in the class. No matter, it was me and a crowd of girls.

I didn’t get the bookkeeping certificate either. I sucked in math bad enough, I couldn’t even achieve a certificate. The program ended after the grad. I may not have graduated from the program, but I did meet friends I still stay in contact with to this day.

Well, after that I knew school wasn’t for me. I applied for jobs but without an education besides a high school diploma with a 50% average, the jobs were not plentiful. Most of my friends were now heading for Toronto, where there were plenty of jobs. I had no desire to leave home, I knew where I wanted to work, if only I could convince my parents.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

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.