Twas the month before Christmas

tangled lightsTwas the month before Christmas, and in my garage; the decorations crashed down in a thund’rous barrage. The kids had all vanished like a Copperfield trick; and my hopes of assistance were dashed in a lick.

The weather it whistled and howled bitter cold; “Get your lights up early“, my neighbour foretold. In full winter gear, I yanked and I tried; to get at the boxes in the rafters I plied.

With my ladder in hand I began to finesse; and sort all the lights and bows, what a mess! They tangled and fought at my greatest attempt; to free them but they were so filled with contempt.

The wind it picked up as if right on cue; and tossed the decors while I watched as they flew. The darkness descended on my efforts outside; “Turn on the porch light” I yelled to my bride.

I steadied myself on the roof near the eve; but with cold frozen fingers I stapled my sleeve. The contraption would jam and I’d let out a howl; “How could they invent something so foul?”

At last the nasty nest of wires and lights; were affixed to the house with more than a few fights.  The cords I did run in an ungodly course; that ended with the wrong end at the source.

The battle was fought through the cold and dark skies; but I pressed on as frozen tears stung my eyes.  I finally won with more than some doubt; Only to find half of the string had burned out.

A litany of expletives were on the edge of my lips; when I turned to see kids watching with hands on their hips. “Hello there kids” was all I could muster, causing a mild stroke from holding back all that bluster.

Back up the darned ladder I labored and fought; one of these lights is the culprit I thought. With steadfast conviction I tested 4 dozen; those tiny darned bulbs they can hide but can’t run.

When all of a sudden like a chorus of Angels; the lights flashed on and lit up like gold bangles.  I cheered and I laughed and my wife I did call; since in all the commotion, the ladder did fall.

I sat on the roof and thought long and hard; each year I proceed the same way and it’s marred. Next year I promised I’ll do it with care; I’ll put them away properly and try not to swear.

I hope that your Christmas is filled with delight, and as you look out in the cold winter night; if you notice the guy on the roof cross the way; bring over some rum – he’s been up there all day!

No Gravy for Old Men

“Are all y’all together?”, the overly sweet waitress asked while smacking on a wad of gum.


This was the first sign that I had landed in a foreign place.  I thought I had traveled to an English-speaking land, but clearly the geniuses at Wikipedia hadn’t mentioned any strange dialects associated with the native Floridians.  I knew I was in trouble, but like McGyver, I quickly adapted; “Jeez ya, B’y!  We’s all ta-geder”, I blurted out in my best Newfie accent.

My quick-thinking confused the poor server enough that she simply handed out menus and left us to form a plan.

What strange gastronomical concoctions would be thrust upon us?  Would I recognize anything?  What are ‘Towering Onion Rings’?  This could be tricky on my sophisticated, yet delicate pallet.

“I’ll have a burger with fries.  Gravy on the side, please”.  Surely, even in this strange place, a burger would be a burger.  I only had to assume that the ‘fries’ were made with potatoes and not some indigenous creature.

“Gravy, sir”? The young heavily accented girl puzzled.  I must have confused her with my proper English.  I might have to revert to sign language.  “Yes, brown gravy.  On the side, please”.  I made the shape of a small bowl with my hands, to help in case she still didn’t understand me.

“Ohhh…sorry.  We don’t have gravy.  We have a really great Chipolte mayo though”. 

What the hell is a ‘Chipolte’?  Is it a relative of the armadillo? I wasn’t going to risk it.  Plain fries would have to do.  How could such a world-renowned destination not have gravy? Asking for Poutine was completely out of the question.  Would they have assumed I was looking for the Russian President.

What other strange things would I be in for during my stay here?

I heard that the Orlando area had many fresh water lakes.  Being from Canada, I was sure I could find solace by wading through the clean, clear waters to give me a sense of home while trying to adapt to this alien land…

no swimming


Disney World!  Yeah, that would be great.  Skipping freely from ride to ride, I figured I could get in a half-day of kid-like freedom in this iconic park….

disney crowds Nope!

So, gravy was out, can’t swim in the lakes, and a theme park required elbow pads and 3 days time just to park the car.  What’s so great about this place?  Why does everyone come here?

Super-friendly giant rodents in human clothing…strange, but oddly appealing…


It’s warm. Like, all the time warm.  Shorts in November warm….bordering on hot…

sunny weather

…and the good citizens of Orlando have adopted a ‘Special Needs Palm Tree’ program, offering jobs to disabled palm trees on the sides of highways….Props!

palm trees

The gravy would have to wait until I returned to civilization.