2017 Top 10 ~ The Man Cave (#8)

Most guys would either have their man cave in the garage or perhaps down in the basement.  I would argue the conversation goes something like, “You want to do what?  Not in my house…”  I jokingly say that as when the idea struck me to build my own recreational room I knew I would have no limitations and could put it wherever I wanted.

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The storage area this room was to start with.

The first thing I needed to consider was the room dimensions as I knew the centerpiece of the room would be a brand new pool table.  Living in a four bedroom townhouse with four children, well I didn’t have many options.  Had I been living at my old house, which had the perfect Great Room that would have been a pool and ping pong heaven, alas the choice here were down to three.  The basement offered the most room, but no thanks.  That left either the front room or the family room attached to the kitchen.

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The front room offered a few more feet of space and was the winner.  Originally this room had turned into a kid storage area, with some toys but didn’t really get used all that much.  So in July construction begun!  I cleaned out my basement, which in all reality didn’t have much in t to begin with and that area was turned into a kids play palace and Dad workout area.  The large floor space is enough for them to run around, ride bikes and wiggly cars, and when they leave all their toys scattered about well no can see it!!

I scavaged all my pop culture items that I had for a while, and some I haven’t put up on walls in years.  Can someone explain to me why I can’t hang Star Wars posters in my house when they are a big part of defining who I am?  I had to look at two ladies playing the violin for years and was never explained what was important about that painting or why I had to stare at it for nine years…  I would much rather have had Darth Vader scowling at me instead.  My Star Wars posters are originals back from when the films first came out, I have had them for almost 35 years and have been hard mounted on wooden frames and are the centerpiece of the room.

Growing up a big sports fan, and having the extreme pleasure of meeting 4 players from the 1992 and 1993 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays and I have some autographed memorabilia as a result of those meetings.  I also went out shopping for additional pieces to the room, and added my own homemade items as well.  I knew the room would need a chalkboard and or a dry erase board to keep score, etc… I had able to turn one are eisle into two custom scoreboards and four home made lightsabers that act as picture holders and chalk holders along the wall.

I’ve added Canadian flags, and some DC Comics items as well focusing on Superman and a few other items as well.  Walking around just looking at the room, I can tell you where each piece comes from and why is it important to me, why it was an important part of my history.

The room will never really be finished, as I continue to add more bling for the wall every once in awhile.  A new R2-D2 wall bust being the latest boxing day purchase to be installed this weekend… this room has quickly become my favorite in the house and one where I am completely at peace.  The kids enjoy this room almost as much as I do… almost.

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Megan and I enjoy playing ping pong together, and she is quite good.  She has already beaten me a few times playing, and plays smart.  Always putting that ball where I am not, and requiring me to make super athletic feats just to return the ball.  Once she learns how to hit an overhead smash, I am completely toast.

Jennifer, Austin and I love to play pool together.  At the moment they use their hands to  roll the ball into the pockets and have so much fun.  It’s spending time with Dad that they love, but both will grow up being excellent pool players, and it’s also great for working on the hand eye coordination.

I’ve have my circle of friends over many times and we always end up playing pool or darts, during baseball season I move a TV into the room and would come home after work through on a Dodgers game and shoot a few racks.  You could call it my happy place.

I have also received many positive comments on the room when it is seen for the first time, I remember the time I had ordered Domino’s pizza for the first time and the delivery driver was so enthralled with what he saw I invited him in to take a look around.  Twenty minutes later a different driver showed up at my door with a 2L Cola (that I didn’t order) and I suspect when the first driver got back to the store he was sharing the story of the awesome room that he just saw and this second driver had to see it for himself.  Got me a free 2L cola out of it…

Two final thoughts on the rec room, as it has turned into my favorite place in the house.  It will be fully transportable when it is time to move to another house and can re replicated and enhanced at the new place.  More items can and will be added to the walls as time goes by, but much more than all that is the memories that have been creating in this room with my friends, but more importantly my children.  Boyfriends are starting to come around and the kids entertain in that room, I have family events in there all the time and my pool game has improved by 500% over the past six months.

I love my man cave, everyone should have one of their own!

2017 Top 10 ~ Survivor Series Dinner (#9)

I’ve had the idea of making a special meal all made with love for several years now, in fact I’ve dreamed about it on several occasions.  To every single detail I knew exactly how this meal would go.  And while it took several years, and the right timing to actually get around to making it I don’t believe it could have gone off any better.

It was actually perfect…

The preparation for the event started on Saturday with all the baking that needed to be done, first off it was two different types of cookies, a banana bread and my first all love Apple Pie.  My goal is always to make sure that items made with love, actually taste good, not to know that even love exists in the product.  Home runs were hit with this baking my friends.

On Sunday’s menu was a full Turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Again never having made a turkey dinner filled with love before, I was slightly concerned about the deadly combination of tryptophan and love knocking out all my guests.  It turns out I would be partially correct with this assumption.

The stuffing was loaded with love butter, more crumbled on top and underneath the bacon layer.  As this would all melt into the turkey and help form the base of the gravy that was still to come.  This whole meal was done on the dreams and thoughts I had over the past few years, I didn’t consult a single recipe and just whatever felt natural to me.

The gravy came out perfect with the pan drippings of the turkey, plus a roux made of love and might have been the most potent item on the menu that evening.  The vegetables were sauteed in love oil, and the mashed potatoes turned out better than I could have imagined.  The whole meal from top to bottom was perfect…

We lost Corey early on, almost right after we finished dinner.  Patrick also needed a short winter’s nap and Ryan and I were the sole survivors.  There were a lot more friends that joined after they finished working to help with the leftovers and to enjoy the warm out of the oven Apple Pie and coffee sweetened with love honey to end the night.

I could feel the after effects of this meal for a few days afterwards, perhaps I was just basking in the glow of a job very well.  Ryan won the wrestling challenge that night as we always try and predict who wins each match and got to walk out with the ceremonial title belt.  I was able to cross something off my bucket list of things that I always wanted to do.  This meal also marked the last time that love was ever a part of my life, and it was a great way to close that chapter for ever.

2017 Top 10 ~ Monday Night Raw (#10)

I have decided to write about my Top Ten highlights from 2017, the things that really stood out for me on a personal level.  From the very tough start that was the early months of the year, I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  With the sale of my house and some financial security it provided me, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity this past summer and did some pretty amazing things.

I called this The Summer of George and from the idea of making the absolute most of my situation, I decided to cut loose and experience some of the best things that life had to offer.  For one summer at least.  Having been the king of #SixKidChaos for a number of years, the household finances dictated that when I needed new socks, it was a needle and thread to the rescue.  More often than not I would get practical gifts at Christmas, birthdays, etc..  So if I was going to do something this summer, I was going to do it right!

#10 ~ Monday Night Raw, Monday August 7th, 2017

I have always been a lifelong wrestling fan, and in the course of my life I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing some incredible things.  Any wrestling fan should be so lucky, the highlights for me include: Hogan vs Warrior WM6, Hogan vs Rock WM18, Hogan vs Michaels SS2005, and the Montreal Screw Job in 1997.  There have been many more, and its a love and passion that I now share with my son as we wrestle around the house on a daily basis.

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He wears Hanes boxers!

The WWF (as I will always refer to it as) was coming to Toronto for one of it’s main TV shows, Monday Night Raw and I knew I wanted to go.  Not only go, but sit in the best seats possible, with the thanks to Stub Hub that is exactly what we got!

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Ambrose incoming!

Part of this summer for me was to also pay it forward to my friends who had always been there for me over the years.  I invited my friend Corey and Ryan, both big wrestling fans as we had the time of our lives.  Sitting this close to the action, we literally had beads of sweat land on us as the action got the close to where we were sitting.  Dean Ambrose was literally dumped into the stands right in front of us, to the point where we could see the brand of underwear that he wears. (True story…)

Watching on TV my whole life, and I guess with all sports in general you have a forced perspective to watch.  You can only see what the camera wants you to see, being live and in person your eyesight, your natural curistoy is allowed to take hold and you can watch whatever you want.  I know this night I started to watch other people’s reaction to the action and mayhem that was surrounding us.

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Taken with my Iphone, and holds a place of honour in my  rec. room.

When we first arrived at the Air Canada Centre, you could feel the energy and excitement in the air, so much that you could cut it with a knife.  We entered the building and headed down the 100 level to the floor where our seats were, met by a nice elder gentlemen who looked at our tickets and then lead the way.   As we walked closer and closer towards the ring we all started t get giddy like a kid on Christmas morning, we were seated in the 2nd row right beside the time keeper and announcers table.

The card itself (in terms of matches) was rather unforgettable.  The main event featured a Last Man Standing match between Roman Reigns and Brawn Strowman, two HUGE men that had no issues throwing each other all around the ringside area.

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Staring holes into the crowd.

Being this close to the action you get a great perspective on just how big 6 foot 8 inches and 380 pounds really is.  That being Brawn Strowman who during one of the commercial breaks just glared a hole into the crowd, and in particular Ryan whom he made eye contact with.

The night went by far too quickly, as these nights often do.  We had such a blast that night and it gave new fresh perspective on an old favorite project of mine.  This same group of guys gets together a few times a year to watch the major WWF Pay per Views, the new one being the Royal Rumble in late January.

Up next on my list of highlights (#9) will be the Survivor Series dinner I had in November, as it might have been the best meal I’ve ever made… all laced with love!