The Snow Guru


Unless you live on the west coast, you know that this winter has been too long, too cold and plagued by that stinging, feathery annoyance we call snow.  It snarled traffic, filled your boots, and gave those snotty little kids too many snow days.  Yuck!

But because I don’t have to traverse the frozen tundra as much as I used to, I spend more time out in the driveway, learning the deep secrets of this seasonal intruder.  It’s gotten to the point that people will now seek out my wisdom and advice when it comes to snow removal.  At least, that’s what I choose to believe.

“Oh great snow guru, I seek your deep understanding on a pressing matter. My driveway fills with white cold stuffs from the heavens and I know not how to deal with it.  Can you help, oh great one?”

“Listen to my words, child.  The great tides float all boats.  Be not the first boat to rise…”

“I’m so sorry great Guru, but I have no idea what that means.”

“It means, let your neighbour clear his driveway first, because he might have sympathy on you and clear yours, saving you from doing it.  Now go.”

“Thank you, oh master of the snow!”

I carry an assortment of implements to help manage the onslaught of winter;  scrapers, snow shovels, ice-chippers, snow blower, road salt, and a beer fridge.  Proper attire is also key…  me in hat

A big furry hat completes my ensemble.  It is my crown.  My head dress.  It tells the neighbourhood that I must know what I’m doing, because I look ridiculous in it!

Another frigid soul approaches….

“My great and powerful snow guru, I hear it will snow and then turn to freezing rain later.  Should I go ahead and shovel?”

“My dear child;  ‘snow before rain is a pain – snow before ice is nice.'”

“Oh…..I see…, should I shovel or not?”

“NO!  If you shovel now, the ice will collect on the ground and you will have a skating rink in the morning.  If you leave the snow, it will hold the ice on top and form a crust that will be easy to remove without using any salt.  Now begone, for I seek solitude…and another beer.”

Often, they don’t actually ask the questions as much as silently imply that I should come over and tell them what to do.  So I continue to dispense lessons in all that is winter to my cold and hungry pupils, even when they avoid eye contact and shoo their kids away, mumbling something about ‘stranger-danger’.

I serve the greater good in this frigid, desolate place, imparting deep wisdom and sage advice upon the great unknowing masses.  It’s a gift that I must share…

I think I’ve lost my mind….

please make this damn winter stop!


When I grow up


You know you’re getting older when you find your birthdays barreling down on you like an out of control freight train….and you can’t get off the tracks.

When I was a kid, I loved birthdays.  It felt like a national holiday just for me.  Lots of presents, maybe your name would be mentioned on the P.A. system at school, and you had amnesty from your parents for those things that would get you in trouble on any other day of the year.

Pretty sweet!  You just had to avoid the ‘Patty-Whacks’…that part sucked!

Overall, I still like birthdays, but the amnesty thing doesn’t work so well anymore, and you NEVER want your name called out on any P.A. system.  Flying under the radar is the key to birthdays when you’re old enough to remember life before microwave ovens and computers.

The trouble is, now I spend more time thinking of what I dreamed of as a kid and just how far from that path I wandered.  That sounds more morose than it is….I wanted to be either Spider-man or Bat Man.  I probably would have ended up as some sort of mutant 8-legged bat super hero thingy.

I don’t think that would have worked out very well.

I do spend time thinking of what I really want to be when I grow up, though.  I know, it sounds stupid coming from a guy past the curve of his working life.  I guess I just never really gave it a lot of thought.

I always envied those people who just knew what they wanted and went after it.  It didn’t even matter if that’s not what they ended up doing – just the drive towards something they could see down the road always left me in awe.

My plan was probably a lot like a fugitives – stay one step ahead of trouble.  If I could do that, I’d be doin’ all right!  It also meant that I’d probably never reach any sort of destination.  Not sure if that’s good or bad.

But I think I finally got it down.  I think, that after 40 50 something years, I can say with some conviction that what I really want to be when I grow up is….rich.

That sounds pretty shallow I’ll admit, but honestly, I think I’d be really good at it!  I’m a fun-loving guy, and I’m generous, at times, to a fault.  I’d totally share in my riches….tithe, volunteer, help my fellow man and all that – even throw pool parties and invite people over, or have huge barbecues and feed the whole neighbourhood.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking Warren Buffet rich.  That’s too much pressure.  In fact, I’m not even talking ‘personal jet’ rich.  Just rich enough so that I don’t have to worry about prioritizing work over play. Doesn’t that sound great??

I don’t want to have to go to the grocery store in disguise, though.  I will – I just don’t want to have to.

bad disguise

Frankly, I don’t know why everyone else hasn’t thought of that as a goal for life.  I guess that’s what happens when you have enough time to contemplate your options, and have worked long enough to know what you NEVER WANT TO DO AGAIN.

Now that I have that figured out, all I need to do is get rich.

Who wants to help me?

The Faceplant

facebook logoThey must be handing out parkas in Purgatory.  This week, I joined Facebook.  Yes, welcome me to 2004.

Social networking has been one of necessity rather than desire for the most part.  Joining the awesome and exposed world of Facebook was a frightening thought for a guy like me, who uses this blog site as a semi-anonymous way to share deep thoughts and feelings (okay, sometimes not-so-deep thoughts) without losing control.  This can make for a pretty lonely existence – no disrespect to my current group of followers, of course.

Baring one’s soul to the cyberworld is an intimidating venture when you can’t just take it back, so I’ve put it off with lame excuses and procrastination.

The trouble is, when you’re used to 2 soup cans with a string between them (the kids will have to look that reference up), eventually there isn’t anyone holding up the other can, and you just look foolish talking to yourself.

But hey, I’m a modern, tech-savvy kind of guy.  Just because there’s a little snow on the old roof, doesn’t mean there’s not a hip party happening in the living room, right?  I know how to set up a printer and scan for viruses on my computer. I can link multiple e-mail addresses to my iPhone.  I’m in touch with how my kids talk and act – I just don’t understand them.  Facebook should be a breeze, right?

I’m 2 days in with my new profile, and I think I’ve already broken a bunch of covenant rules – at least that’s the impression I get from my 2 teens.  Lessons on an open-forum interchange like this will probably all be learned the hard way.  I didn’t even know there were rules.  I guess etiquette is a better word than rules, really.

Like a new golfer, it’ll be others who ‘shush’ you while someone is teeing off that you’ll learn from, unfortunately.

Here’s some that I’ve already broken:

  • Don’t ever tag photos of people who don’t want to be tagged
  • Don’t ever reply to a post that’s more than a week old
  • Don’t fill out your ‘timeline’ unless you know what you’re doing – I have a highlight about leaving a job a year ago….not intentionally
  • Don’t ‘friend’ your kids’ friends – you’ll see things you just can’t take back
  • Always think through responses or comments on posts before you hit ‘enter’

I’m up to 50-something friends already – whoo hoo!  Trouble is, I don’t know what to say to anyone.  Do I start sharing ‘selfies’ and posting photos of my dog sleeping with her tongue hanging out?  Does anyone else really care about this stuff?

Do I need to ‘like’ every inspirational message?  Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?

Is there an addictive component to Facebook that I should be aware of?  I find myself checking it every few minutes.  This can’t be healthy.

It’s a pretty steep learning curve I’m on, but as long as I don’t get ‘unfriended’ by everyone before I figure how to navigate this new world correctly, I’ll consider this deep dive into modern communication a successful experiment.  It can’t last that long anyway, right?

‘Like’ this post, or I’ll start sending pictures of me hitting the ‘refresh’ button over and over again…





What’s up, Doc?

When you reach a certain age, you spend more time getting prodded and poked and tested by the medical establishment. I hear that some people, especially when they are in their senior years, actually look forward to visiting their doctors, like it’s a lunch date or something.

I don’t. Like a lot of men, I don’t enjoy going to the doctor.   I don’t want bad news about my health, I don’t want them to ask for ‘samples’ to test, or to stand on the weigh scales in the open area of their offices.  And I don’t want to undress and lay on a cold examination table, especially when my clothes are out of reach and the door doesn’t lock from the inside.

It’s not that I’m unhealthy or anything, in fact, despite trying to prove Newton’s first law of motion of an object at rest tending to stay at rest, I’m actually in fairly good shape, against all odds.

But, when you hit that magical age, regardless of your perceived level of health, you really do need to suck it up and get on that cold, ugly table.  So, I did.

I’m starting to really understand why I find these things so unpleasant, and surprisingly, it’s not the reasons that you might think.  Things like giving a blood sample, while not a happy feeling, isn’t all that bad.  In fact, I even donate blood on occasion.

By the way, if you ever want to have a little fun when giving blood, there’s a question in the screening process about being close to or having contact with monkeys.  When you get to this questions, ask out loud, “Does anyone know if a lemur is considered a monkey?  I’ll just put down ‘no'”.  That usually gets their attention.

It’s not even the actual procedures that bother me, or giving ‘samples’ that I find difficult, although it’s totally gross.

It’s all the prep stuff.  I had to give some bodily fluids for testing, which seemed simple enough, since doing this is pretty normal, other than how it’s collected, but things get complicated to do that properly.  First, you have to starve yourself for 12 hours, then you have to deprive yourself of any fluids for 6 hours before going to give of yourself.

They tell me that this gives them a ‘normal’ reading.  Really? What’s normal about that?  If they wanted a normal reading, they should come by the house around 10 at night after I’ve finished a big meal, and I’m sitting on the couch with a bag of chips and a cold beer.  That’s normal!

Unless you’re a survivalist, or living in a 3rd world country, there’s nothing normal about not eating or drinking for half a day, and your body hates you for it!  I really feel sorry for women who are very pregnant then have to drink 4 gallons of water, wait for an hour, then drive to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound.  Then, just to test their constitution, they push on your bladder while sliding a cold, gooey devise all over your belly.

Years from now, the medical field will probably look at this like witchcraft or a weird voodoo ritual.

Hitting 50 means I had to deal with the ‘C’ word….yes, Colonoscopy. This word usually sends most men into the hills in fear, almost as quickly as the frightful ‘vasectomy’.  I probably just lost half of my male readers.

I will tell you that the procedure itself was a breeze (if you’ve had one, you’re probably laughing at the ‘breeze’ reference).  Really – it was not in the least way painful, uncomfortable, or in any way difficult.  I was given a nice dose of a drug that put me into a dreamy snooze.  I slept through the whole thing.  It was great!

That’s the good news.

The bad news is, again, the prep.  I won’t go into details, other than to say that they need ‘clean plumbing’ to do the procedure, so you’ll be spending a good 24 hours using a lot of bathroom supplies.  Oh, and you can’t eat for about a day and a half before hand.

Luckily, if you get the all-clear (hee, hee), you don’t have to repeat it for another 10 years. I even have pictures of my procedure.  I’ll share them if I don’t get enough responses to this blog…you’ve been warned!

I’d also like to know exactly when and how the medical profession, particularly dentists, figured they’d change the word ‘pain’ to ‘discomfort’.  With a small drill boring into my excited tooth nerves, the dentist will say something like, “this might be uncomfortable“. I don’t know what medieval school she went to, but my idea of uncomfortable is an itchy wool sweater, not a piercing pain shooting from my hairline to my toes.

There’s something else that you never expect when you get tests done.  Doctor’s who are surprised or don’t know what you’ve got.  I had a few instances where medical specialists had these reactions.  You don’t want your medical specialist to be surprised or baffled – ever!

A number of years ago, I was tested for allergies.  I had a pretty good idea of what I was allergic to, but they had to test me to see what could be done about it.  Apparently, they graph your back or arm, and do little ‘scratches’ with different types of allergens.  If something swells up, or gets itchy, presto – you have an allergy.

I was asked to lay face-down on one of those lovely exam beds, then the allergy doctor did his scratching.  He and his nurse left the room, and said they’d be back in about 5 minutes.  It only took enough time for them to leave the room and close the door, when it felt like someone had dropped a Molotov Cocktail on my back.

The nurse came back in to get something from the room, looked at my back and said ‘Oh, my GOD!‘, then ran out of the room, yelling for the doctor.  Trust me on this one.  It’s not something you ever want your healthcare professional to say.

Turns out, I was more allergic to cats than I thought.

Recently, I had a growth on my right foot.  Nothing serious, but the kids would tease me about the extra toe growing on the top of my foot.

Reluctantly, I went to the doctor, who sent me to a specialist to get it checked out.

While doing an ultrasound on the little growth, the doctor said, “Hmm.  I have no idea what that is, but I think we should remove it”.  No idea?  10 years of education, another decade of seeing people just like me every day, and she has no idea what’s growing on my foot?

I was referred to a surgeon to get my new little foot friend taken off. In the operating room, he introduced himself, examined my foot, then promptly told me what it was and what he was going to do about it.  Thank goodness!  Someone out there knows what they’re doing!

Like other procedures, the removal was easy…the freezing was another story all together.  It felt like he let loose a swarm of angry wasps on my foot, who kept stinging me over and over.  shortly, the freezing kicked in and I stopped crying.

The surgeon was performing his magic on my foot, then stopped and said “Hmm.  This isn’t what I thought it was”.  Super!  I was halfway waiting for him to ask me if I’d been in contact with a monkey recently.

In the end, the small lump was removed and I was sewn back up, almost as good as new, but a little wary of the medical profession.

I guess medicine is like any other business, really.  They’re just people who come across new things every day, and deal with them accordingly.  I only wish they had more classes on how to NOT react to something new.

I also wish more research went into how to get prepared for a test without putting your body through bizarre food and water deficiencies.  It doesn’t seem to make sense that preparing for a test is worse than the test itself…or the initial problem for that matter.

Anyone want to know what you need to do to prepare for a vasectomy?  Anyone?


Toronto Fashion Week – a guide for middle-aged men

When people stop me on the street and ask for autographs or pictures, the ladies will often ask me when I’m going to write about Men’s fashion, given my impeccable, age-appropriate style and looks.  It seems that their fellas are having some difficulty transitioning into middle-aged fashion-wear.

Although I do my best to steer clear from offering advice most of the time, I too have noticed the struggle many men have when it comes to their wardrobes.  So, in order to encourage and support my fellow mature male counterparts, I will walk you through some helpful hints, ideas, and logic that should make dressing yourself appropriately simple, easy, and comfortable.

Gentlemen – let me be clear about this.  Middle-aged fashion is ALL about comfort.  If it doesn’t feel comfortable, toss it.  You’ve complied with tight, itchy, bunchy and downright annoying clothes all your life – it’s time to liberate your body.  You deserve nothing less.

Lets begin by reviewing some of the common issues men often face when it comes to choosing and wearing clothing.


If you’re like me, you either play golf, talk about golf or watch golf on T.V.  What do you notice most about golf attire?  Colour!  Multi-coloured pants that do not match the shirt.  White shoes no matter what the rest of the outfit looks like.  There’s a good reason for this.  You see, in nature, it is the male of the species, not the female, that has all the style and colour and pizzazz. This is natures way of creating a visual distraction that temporarily blinds or confuses other males, allowing one to ‘swoop in’ and take its rightful mate.

In golf, although there aren’t a lot of ‘mates’ out there with the guys, the basic principal is the same – you want to create a distraction with your wardrobe so that the other players can’t focus on their game.

I get a chuckle when I’m leaving the house to go golfing and my wife questions my wardrobe choices.  She’s so cute!  She doesn’t understand that the colour choice of the golf outfit is almost as important as the club choice.  In fact, if you golf like I do, its a more important choice.

When it comes to colour, gentlemen, you need to dock the dockers, burn the beige, grind up the gray, and put on the loudest, mismatched outfit you can get your hands on.  Nothing will tell the world you’re over 50 and ready to take it on, more than a bold colour pallet on your back.


The debate over belt height is a contentious one, to be sure.  Because of a wardrobe malfunction on a ‘gang-banger’ in East L.A. back in the ’80’s’, kids all over the world, in an attempt to stay young, have abandoned their belts.  This has allowed their pants to continually droop down to the point where they not only look like they’ve messed themselves, they can barely walk at all.  Ironically, that’s exactly the same look you’d find in a senior’s home.

Most pants these days don’t allow for much freedom when it comes to where the waist sits on your body.  Many men with ample, trophy-sized mid sections, tend to hunker their pants below the waist, since getting them any higher would mean buying their clothes from a tent maker rather than a good men’s store.

Others are unnaturally slim, probably from a vegan lifestyle.  These people only wear clothing that has drawstrings or are made of spandex, and they ride bicycles.  Fashion is irrelevant to them.

There are some men, due to no fault of their own, perhaps due to a terrible illness or a meat allergy, have grotesquely small waists, and tend to wear their pants as high up as possible.  I assume that this is to hide an embarrassingly small mid-section.  I don’t blame them for doing this, but it isn’t a good look.

Either way, there is only one solution for all of these body types – do not tuck in your shirt.  Tucked in shirts are for uptight corporate types and people under 40.  What do you need to prove, anyway? Let it hang, gentlemen.  This negates any further conversation of where on your waist you should wear your pants – it doesn’t matter, as  long as it’s covered up.


This is a real struggle for most men.  Bottom line is, wear a shirt at all times.  There are hairy, lumpy bits that the rest of the world doesn’t want to see (I’m really hoping the guy at the end of my street reads this before he works in his yard again).

Okay, so now you have to decide what kind of shirt to wear, depending on the event.  Here are some basic ground rules:

  • If you’re wearing a t-shirt you got in a case of beer, or at a concert or NASCAR event, you should only wear it to flea markets, rib eating contests, doing chores around the house, or to your mother-in-law’s home.
  • Golf shirts are the ultimate fashion ‘must-have’ for men – casual as a t-shirt, classy enough for the office.  Because of the collar, it can be worn with shorts, jeans, or even dress pants.  It’s our version of the little black dress.
  • Long-sleeve button up shirts are for serious business only, or funerals and weddings.  They don’t go with shorts, unless you’re at a really hot wedding…

Again, be sure it fits comfortably, and isn’t too short – nothing is worse than a good old beer t-shirt that doesn’t cover the beer holder gut you worked so hard on. This will also take care of the whole pant height thing too.


I know – sandals and socks, right?  Well, it’s more complicated than that.  As a rule, if you’re wearing sandals, it’s because you’re wearing shorts, or God forbid, a Speedo, which means it’s too warm to wear socks. However, due to horrible foot fungus disfigurements or toe-nail removals, there are times when socks are not only a good idea, but a necessity in order to keep the general public from loosing their lunch as you stroll around town.

For all other purposes, slip-on shoes are the way to go.  You’ve bowed to the lace gods for far too long.  Stand up straight and slide those dogs into something that doesn’t ask anything in return.  Velcro straps are also a stylish and practical option as well, but they require bending over.  No one wants to see that.

I’ve heard that some people claim the shoes should match the belt, but I think that’s a sexual reference that I don’t understand.  Do what feels right.  If you only have a black belt, any kind of footwear is fine – please refer back to my comments on pants and shirts.


It used to be simple – boxers or briefs.  For the sake of any squeamish readers or the very young, I won’t post an image on undergarments. Today, there are any number of hybrid underwear styles, shapes, materials, and colours.  This is typical fashion industry propaganda, foisted upon an unsuspecting public who are just trying to keep the ‘boys’ from going where they shouldn’t go.  Let me make it simple:

  1. In warm weather, briefs will keep things from sticking to other things, if you know what I mean
  2. In cold weather, boxers are a comfortable, breathable vacation to your buddies, who have been crammed together all summer

If you’re wondering about thongs, you’re on the wrong blog page.

With these basic principals cleared up, there is always one question that remains for the fashion-challenged mature man;  How do I know I’m dressed appropriately?

Interestingly, the rule of thumb for men is diametrically opposed to the strategy of the fairer sex.  If a lady enters a party in a beautiful dress, the most embarrassing thing that could happen, other than toilet paper stuck to her shoe, is seeing another lady in exactly the same dress.  Horrors!

For men, if you enter a party and some other man,or even better, a group of men, are dressed in exactly the same outfit, it’s a very good thing.  This confirms that you dressed correctly. Since there’s safety in numbers, you now have a brotherhood of like-minded peers in which to discuss the game, the toilet paper on that woman’s shoe, or what to do with those little shrimp tails from the buffet.

There’s also another important rule of thumb to follow when it comes to dressing for the occasion.  I call it the rule of ‘wife’.  When you’re waiting at the front door for 20 minutes with the keys and a bottle of wine in your hand, you don’t want her to come down and tell you to go and change.  This will make you the reason you’re late.

When you’re dressed and ready to go, you should give your better half a ‘once-over’ twirl on your wardrobe selection.  This accomplishes two things:

1 – it tells her that you are ready to leave, and the clock is officially ticking.

2 – it gives her a chance to review your outfit.  If she says anything along the lines of “Are you wearing that?”, you better drop the keys and dig through the closet for a new outfit.

If she asks you to do some random job around the house, like water the tropical fish, she’s stalling for time.  This is okay, because it’ll keep you busy, and it tells you that your clothing choice will not embarrass her.

I think you’ll find this blog a handy and insightful guide when it comes to the problematic world of dressing oneself.  You might want to print this off and attach it to your dresser, so you can reference it when you’re standing there in your bedroom in your underwear and socks, scratching your head about what to put on.

Oh, one last thing. If your better half scoffs at this guide, be patient.  It’s only because she has spent decades being brain-washed by the fashion establishment, with those glossy magazines and impossible to walk in clothes.  Eventually, she’ll be dressing exactly the same way as you.