Tag: love

Friday Fictioneers: The Third Chair

Copyright-Melanie Greenwood
Copyright-Melanie Greenwood

The third wheel; they called her. Where ever Sally and Tom went, Suzie would follow. This may have been cool for Tom, who got to brag about the two luscious blondes who accompanied him, but it was no party for Sally.

It wasn’t that Sally didn’t want her sister around, but c’mon, on an evening where she expected Tom to propose to her? That’s just too much.

Still, when Sally arrived at the restaurant, there it was, a table and three chairs.

On that night, to Sally’s surprise, Tom popped the question to his one true love… Suzie.

This is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers.

A Close Shave

Last week, my 12 year old step son came to me to ask a favour. He wanted to learn to shave. Sure, there were a couple of hairs growing under his nose, but I didn’t think he was ready for this step into manhood. Maybe I couldn’t accept the fact that he is growing up.

As I stood there and explained the basics of shaving, I thought back to my childhood, and the times where I stood and watched my grandfather shave. He used a straight razor that was nothing short of a beast. The thing looked like it fell right out of a slasher movie. I remember how he drew the blade against a long piece of leather that hung from the edge of the table, and then proceeded to lather up a homemade brush that he made from horse hair; carefully swirling it in a cup that he swiped from Gram’s cupboard.

He took great care in covering ever inch of his lower face, until he closely resembled Santa Clause. Then, with the care of a surgeon, he proceeded to drag the sharp blade over his face, cutting every hair, and thankfully no flesh.

He had a little razor for me too. He fashioned the thing out of a piece of alder wood, whittling the handle so that it matched the one he used. The blade was attached with a small screw, and although the edge was not filed sharp, I thought it was. Standing next to my grandfather, the two of us shared in a special moment together.

When we finished, he took boiling water from the kettle and poured it into the heavily enameled basin, and using a face cloth, he proceeded to wipe his face clean. He cooled the water down to wash my face.

“There, now you are a man!” he said.

I explained to my son just how easy it is to shave nowadays. I gave him the basics of shaving, and began to shave my face. He watched me first and then imitated my actions. He was shocked at how sharp the razor blade was, and how smooth it made his face feel. I explained how today’s razors were so much safer than the ones my grandfather used, and even the one my father uses to this day.

When we finished, he wiped his hand under his nose. “Wow, smoother than a baby’s bum!” he said. Those were the same words I used while my grandfather and I shaved together.

“Welcome to manhood” I told him, and winked my eye.

My Valentine post for 2012

I was 17 at the time, and heartbroken over a girl.  I remember my grandmother’s words, they stayed with me forever. (My grandmother passed fifteen years ago, and I miss her every day)

“Ted”, she said, “The girl who will make you happiest is not even born yet”. I looked at her and asked if she thought I was some kind of a sicko?. “A sicko? Why would you think that?” she asked. “That would make me 17 years older than her. I cant go with someone 17 years younger than me, that would be crazy!” I said. She just looked at me with her loving eyes and said “Whoever this girl is, I may not get a chance to meet her, but you will know from the minute you lay eyes on her. It will be love at first sight.”

My grandmother was a wise woman.

When I was 26, my marriage ended. The girl that I thought was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life turned out to be the person I wanted to be the farthest away from. Again, I was heartbroken. My grandmother was there for me again, and she told me the same thing that she had said when I was 17. “The woman you will spend the rest of your life with is still only a child. Give yourself time, you will know when it is right”

She began to scare me now. How could she know, how could she have been so sure? She was by no means a fortune teller, but yet, she held fast that she knew.

As a young man, I spent many days with my grandmother. My grandfather was killed by a drunk hit and run driver back in 1970, and she spent the rest of her days taking care of her grandchildren, offering them her insight and her love, and her famous chocolate cake, which she made from scratch. When Nana (we all called her that) needed someone to take her shopping, she would give me gas money and I would take her to whatever stores she wanted to go to, pushing the cart and chatting. She was so wise, so comical, and she always had a positive view of the world, no matter how tangled up it got.

My Nana developed diabetes when she turned 80, and by the time she was 86, she was totally blind. A strong woman, she did not let this get her down, rather, she continued shopping, telling stories, and baking cakes. Her garden grew as well as it did when she had sight, probably from the stories she recited as she watered and cared for each plant. I loved my grandmother so much. When she turned 87, complications from diabetes caused her to take a heart attack. On her death bed, she held my hand and again, assured me that I must be patient and wait for that special girl, the one who I will spend the rest of my life with, and the one who will make me smile each day. In a little while, my Nana was gone.

I had relationships afterwards, some of whom I had hoped were the ladies my grandmother spoke of, but none of them were.  I got to the point where I was about to give up. I knew that I was still grieving my marriage, as well as many personal difficulties, and that maybe I was not ready for a long term relationship.

When I turned 40, I underwent surgery to remove a possible cancerous tumor. After the surgery, I asked my family and friends why it was that I always treated people with kindness and respect, and yet, I was alone. Nobody had an answer except for my mom. She said that it was because I have never met the right person yet. Mom reminded me to think of what Nana told me. I replied to my mom that I am no longer 17, or 26, or even 30, and that this person probably doesn’t exist. I was about to give up.

Once I recovered from the surgery, I went back to college to do a two year course that would allow me the skills to run volunteer groups in the community, and I devoted my time to helping others, especially seniors and the poorer families in the community.

The first day at college was registration day. I was standing at the door when I saw her. My heart sank. I stuttered when I spoke, and I felt like I did when I was a kid and I was crushing the prettiest girl in school.  When I went to talk to her, I think I may have said something dumb, I am not sure because it was a blur to me. Here I was, a 40 year old man, unable to talk to a woman. That was never a problem for me, as I am not a shy person, but for some reason, I was horrified to say the wrong thing.

She made it easy for me. I remember looking into her eyes and all of a sudden all my fears, my nervousness, my speech, and everything else that were working overtime calmed down. We sat and chatted, and it was so easy to talk to her. We laughed together, and we spent the rest of the day together, in class, at lunch, back in class, and we said goodbye at the end of the day. She said that when she was 17 she had a child, but that didn’t matter to me. She called when I got home, and we chatted all night.

I still remember the next day of classes. The day before, we talked about everything imaginable, except for one thing, our ages. After class, our conversation got to the topic of how old I was. She guessed thirty. I was forty.  I figured her to be about thirty. When I told her my age, she backed off quickly. I wondered why this was, until she revealed that she was only 20 years old.

Just then, everything changed. She said that her dad was only a few years older than I was and it would be spooky dating someone twenty years her elder. I agreed, and said that I couldn’t do something like this either. We agreed to remain friends. We were great friends. On weekends, I went to her place and we made pizzas that the three of us ate together. Her little boy loved it when I visited, and I loved being there. She came to my home and we made snowmen in the backyard. We went to community events together, and we remained classmates, helping each other with assignments and we studied for tests and exams together. She was the best friend I ever had and I was happy.

When I arrived home, all I could think about was her. Nana’s words rang through my head but I quickly put them to sleep. I began dating another woman because I could not see myself in a relationship with a woman half my age, but the relationship ended in disaster.  She got into a relationship with some loser who was using her and I seen it. I feared that if I said anything, she would hate me forever, but when I found out that he was a drug user and small time dealer, I had to say something. I said “You are too good for a guy like this. I am not saying this so that you will go with me, I don’t care if you ever go out with me, I am happy to be your friend, and as a friend, I am suggesting that you run for your life  and stay away from this guy.”

She didn’t break up with him just then, but eventually she did send him packing.  One evening, while we were watching television together, she asked me if I was happy being her friend. I said yes, and she asked if I was REALLY happy, or if I wanted something more. She said that she enjoyed being my friend, but she also added that maybe she could deal with the age difference if I could. These were the best words I have ever heard. I didn’t tell her, but I had spent endless nights at home dreaming that she would say those words. I knew it would not be easy, but since when is life easy? I knew others would judge us wrongly when they found out that I was twice her age, but who cares? She made me happy and I made her happy, and we both loved her son, so what was really wrong with this?

That was eight years ago in January, and we have set our wedding day for September 21, 2013. The age difference is only an issue for people who don’t understand true love, and who don’t see how happy we make each other, and who don’t see how right my grandmother was all those years ago.

There are some who will read this post and make a judgement that I am too old to have a 27 year old fiance. There are some who will read this and see that True Love is a love that conquers all, and that even time cannot stop love if it is meant to happen.

Tomorrow is Valentines day for most people in the world. Every day is Valentines day for me and my beautiful woman. I love life, I love how this happened, and I love her.

The Guy’s Guide to Christmas Shopping

It’s that time again, that’s right, the time where guys spend their much valued time wandering aimlessly in shopping malls, grabbing anything they can find, in hopes of making their loved ones happy at Christmas.

If you are like me, there is nothing like last minute shopping to drive you over the edge, but we still do it. I don’t think it has anything to do with laziness, but it may have something to do with all the sports on TV this time of year. Whatever your excuse, stay tuned for a list of gift suggestions that you can give your sweetheart on Christmas morning.

  1. Women LOVE perfume, so make sure to visit the local bargain store, and buy lots of perfume. If you are lucky, you can pick up the 1 litre (3.8 gallon for anyone outside Canada) bottle for under a dollar, and your sweetheart will love you forever (and smell like your aunt Myrtle)
  2. Clothing. Need I say more? If you visit thrift stores this time of year, you are bound to find a ton of nice clothes for pennies.If you are real lucky, you may even find a sexy piece of flannel lingerie that will show your woman how much you care.
  3. Gift certificates for Curves and Weight Watchers. Nothing says “I care” like a three month pass to some weight loss program. Your lady will know just how much you care when you tell her how great she could look if she joined these fine organizations.
  4. Candy. The local bulk store has a ton of delicious candy that you can buy for very low prices. Look for the imported (from Hong Kong) candies that resemble the more popular varieties.
  5. A puppy. Even better, visit the local pound and bring home that one animal nobody wants, the one who has been known to pee on furniture and poop on the patio. Your woman will love the challenge of teaching this new addition to the family how to follow her rules.
  6. Power tools. What woman wouldn’t want an electric drill or even better, the newest cordless variety that you can borrow when you have some odd job that needs doing? Or better still, you can get her to do it now that she has her own power tools.
  7. Cleaning supplies. Your woman will be proud to call you hers when you give her the latest cleaning supplies. Mr. Clean Ultra, a new sponge mop and maybe a broom will have her grinning ear to ear on this Christmas morning.
  8. Appliances. Now I know what you are thinking. Expensive! That’s where you are wrong. Visiting second hand stores, a guy can find perfectly salvageable appliances that he can fix up for his woman. Even better idea, give her broken appliances, and she can fix them herself with the new power tools you bought her…now that’s a smart idea.
  9. A snow shovel. Your mate will be in awe when she sees that you went all out and bought her the best shovel you could find at Friendly Mart. If you really want to impress her, you can delegate her to do all the snow shoveling this year. Yeah you are da man
  10. Home made goodies are always a great choice as gifts for the festive season. Want to be a real man and have your lady know exactly how lucky she is to have you? Try printing a few recipes off the ol’ interweb. Make sure the food is stuff you like, like beer snacks for you and your buddies

There you are; a few great gift ideas that will have your lady carrying you around like a king through the entire Christmas season. Don’t thank me until you try the list. Merry Christmas from Sightsnbytes

You are fat, but we care…

My parents care. They care about my health and my well being. I guess that is why they are so critical of everything I do. Comments from “You are getting some fat” and “Are you still walking or did you give that up?” to “You must be living on potato chips and bars” are their way of telling me to take better care of myself. Please Stop!

“Your pants are getting a little tight in the waist area” is one of their favorites, and like that poor dude whose dad says all the shit, my parents’ team up to destroy my ego and my confidence and really test my patience. Hell, when I was a kid, they had me on some over the counter medication that made me hungry and caused me to eat everything in sight because they thought I was too skinny. Where I ask, is that middle area where they are happy?

The Vimicon years. I just remembered that one. This medication was used to fatten up underweight patients, and somehow, my parents got wind of this marvelous kid fixer, and demanded that I become depended on eating to achieve happiness. As a Vimicon kid, I suffered all the side effects of this drug, especially the drowsiness. My parents used to say “Ted, you are such a lazy kid” “Go out and play with the other kids, why you always want to sleep?” READ THE LABEL: ‘This product may cause drowsiness. Do not operate any machinery while under the care of this medication.’ “You are such a contrary kid” “Why can’t you be pleasant like the other kids?” Another side effect of Vimicon…READ THE LABEL FOR GOD’S SAKE!

“You look so confused all the time. Go out and do something. Why are you not as alert as your brother” READ THE LABEL, THOSE ARE SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THIS STUPID DRUG!!!

“You are eating us out of house and home, what is wrong with you?” AGAIN, READ THE LABEL!!!! “You must be eating chocolate again, you have a skin rash” I began flushing that damn medication.

“The pills are not working anymore, we found something better…cod liver oil capsules” . OMG, THEY WERE HORRIBLE….Think about this one, oil that is extracted from the liver of a codfish. How can that be a good thing? I had so many sleepless nights, burping up the taste of cod liver oil. Have you ever tasted cod liver oil? It was like mixing fish with vegetable oil and eating it before bedtime. I used to wake up stomach sick every night until I discovered that you could pop the capsule, squirt the cod liver oil down the toilet, and eat the outer shell which was made from corn syrup. I did this for about one year, and each day, my parents would exclaim how glad they were to see the cod liver oil taking effect. “You are looking much better now, thanks to that cod liver oil” They would say. “I think I see some fat on your ribs”. Hehehehe…it’s not from the cod liver oil, that stuff is in the toilet!!

I was a test mule for every over the counter “put meat on your ribs” medication on the market, from Vimicon to the above mentioned cold liver oil, and finally to a meaty tasting extract from a by-product of beef of which I cannot remember the name of the product, but it must have been an effective medication because I used to give mine to the dog, and he lived for years.

Throughout the years, my parents’ caring has affected me in many ways. My confidence never developed, and I have always been somewhat of an underachiever with terrible eating habits. They even bought a deep fryer, in hopes that deep fried potato chips would put fat on me. I lived in a time where fat people were thought of as healthy, and skinny people were thought of as sick, and my parents didn’t want any sick kids.

At 16, upon graduating from high school at way too young an age, my parents thought I should be an accountant. They had seen an accountant on a TV show, and they thought this would be a good career for me. They did not realize that I hated math and sucked at it, and even though I tried to explain to them that math and me were not compatible, they reassured me that accounting and math had nothing in common. Hey, I grew up in a rural community on an island in Canada with only one television channel where the Beverley Hillbillies was the main source of knowing what was new in the world. So I enrolled in a Clerk Accounting course at the local community college. I sucked at the program and eventually dropped out.

A drop out. “All our work” they said. “Now you will have to join your father in the logging industry”. I was okay with that, and had twenty years of working next to my dad, listening to his stories, sharing laughs with him, and oh yeah, listening to his advice (and ignoring it whenever I could).

A few years back, I moved to the big city (as big a city as Newfoundland has to offer that is) and the advice continued, despite the fact that I was now living over 10 hours away from my parents. On one occasion, my brother visited around the same time that I was having an adverse reaction to some cholesterol medication my quack doctor had me on. My stomach was swollen so that I went from a 36 waistline to a 44 in just three days. On the day my brother arrived, I had just finished flushing the last of the meds down the toilet, but I was huge. You guessed it, I got a call from my parents that evening. “We heard that you were huge, you have to walk more. You have to eat better. Why do you eat so much?”  “we love you and want what is best for you” Those words cut. I know they mean well, but wow, news travels fast for sure, and despite the fact that I tried to explain how the medication did that to me, all they said was that they worried about me.

They are still at it. God bless their hearts. They care, I know they do, but their words still cut deeply into my heart sometimes. I try and talk to them about it, and I hear the same thing all the time. “Now look, you made your mother cry” “What sort of son makes his mother cry?” I live with guilt…Just saying.

Letting go of the seat

I have a nine year old son. Well, actually,  his mother and I share him with a dad who is never in the picture, so I guess that makes him my son. At 40, he became my first child. (I know, late bloomer)

When I got into the picture, he was just two and a half, using a pacifier and traveling in a stroller wherever we went. Those were the easy days, when we were the teachers and we taught him important things like how to use the bathroom on his own (When we noticed that he would simply stand in front of the toilet and let it go, over the wall and shower curtain, I had to give him some pointers on how to control where the pee went. He was grossed out when I told him that he actually had to hold the thing on, and aim it towards the toilet), how to flush the toilet, how to brush his teeth, and how to wash his hands. Important stuff that he would use for the rest of his life.

I was also there to teach him how to ride his bike. He hated training wheels, and would not ride the bike with them on it. He said that they were for babies, and he certainly was not a baby. (Growing up too fast, he is!) I remember encouraging him to sit on his little Spider Man bike, go to the hill in the front yard and let gravity take its course. He had no part of this, instead, he got me to hold the seat and he paddle the bike like a bat out of hell.

This worked great until I realized that his little legs could paddle faster than my old legs could run. We both ended up falling, him on top of me. A few more times and eventually, I let go of the seat and away he went, until I was dumb enough to tell him that he was on his own. With this, he would crash at the bottom of the hill, and say the same thing all the time: “Okay Dad, but this time, don’t let go of the seat”.  My response was always the same. “I will hold the seat until you can do it on your own”.

Eventually I did let go, and he did make it to the bottom of the hill, and then to the bottom of the driveway, and then to the end of the street, and so on.  He was so proud to learn how to ride the bike.

I was there for many other first occasions as well. I helped pull his first tooth, taught him to use the lawn mower, how to use the electric drill and other power tools, etc.

I worked with him to learn to read (I can’t figure out what the teachers are doing in school, because for some reason, they don’t feel that spelling and phonics is an important skill, I was hooked on phonics as a child), and when I get a chance, I teach him computer skills. I love doing those things with him.

He just began grade four, and now he says that he doesn’t need any more help. Apparently, he already knows it all.  In soccer practice, he wonders why he has coaches, because again, he figures that he knows it all. I must have done some job in the last seven years, because at only nine years of age, he knows everything.

But I am not ready to let go of the seat yet. He still needs to learn to drive a car, I need to have the ‘Talk’ with him about sex and girls and life (I remember my dad having the talk with me. “You know everything you need to know about girls”  my dad asked. “They told us that in school, dad” I replied. “Thank Heavens” he said.)  and the most important thing, he needs to learn to be a dad. I want to be there for that.

Until that day, I am still holding on to the seat.