The Art of Patience

I have none. Well when it comes to having to wait around for something. I am a busy guy with a lot of things that I would like to accomplish over the course of the day. My example today being at the 400 Flea Market to have the screen replaced on my iPhone 7 Plus which I’ve destroyed three times because well it’s just too big. I had to switch to a regular 7 and have had no issues since then.

Replacing the screen I’ve done before and was told 30 to 40 minutes. Fine no problems. We walked around the flea market looking for the car vinyl booth, which no longer exists.. 😢

Had some less than stellar cinnamon rolls and coffee while we waited. We sat there and chatted about various topics and after an hour we headed back over to the booth to pick up the phone. I was told that is would be another 30 minutes before it was ready… and this really irritates me for some reason. And I don’t really know why. Why am I letting this dumb little inconvenience ruin a perfectly good morning and afternoon.

As I was sitting there I was losing my desire to go out for a run when I got home. And it pushes back the timetable on the rest of the day, but is it really a big deal? Of course not, even as I type this I can feel the tension leaving my neck and shoulders. And the day will get back on track and proceed as normal I am sure soon enough.

But the why still remains. It will be something that I will need to work on as I can let most things just roll off my shoulders and carry on. Deep breath Edward it’s not that important.

I hope everyone else is having a great day.

I’m Not Dancing…

I signed up my little ones for a hip hop dance class at the YMCA on Monday nights. Tonight is week 2 of a 12 week run, I’ve watched my older daughters go through similar classes in the past but was unsure of what to expect with ages 3 and 5.

It starts with a warmup basically organized chaos and running all around the gym. Loosening up leg and arm muscles as they run back and forth working up a sweat. And now they are being shown and repeating some basic hip hop moves.

Austin for two weeks in a row, every time I mention the class says “I’m not dancing…” and makes a funny face.

While sitting here watching the class go down he is right there with his sister shuffling back and forth across the dance floor (aka gym) and seems to be having a great time as there is a big smile on his face.

I was slightly worried that he would be the kid that was distracted by everything that went by, or wasn’t listening to the instructor like this other little boy is who is currently running laps around the exterior of the gym instead of participating. Kind of funny…

I suspect that it is because his sister is in the class with him and had this been a solo mission for Austin he might be acting differently. It’s fun watching them have fun, get exercise and not be sitting there in front of the TV watching mindlessly.

I love the YMCA it has great programs for the kids that doesn’t cost any extra for the discounted membership price I was given. Perhaps I will give that Yoga class a try I’ve been itching to try out…

2017 Top 10 ~ The Courage to Make Change (#1)

To say my life was flipped upside down last year would be an understatement.  From where I started 2017 and where I ended 2018 couldn’t have been more different, and in the course of that year I had more experiences than some might have in several years.  Last year felt, to me that it was 10 years long in terms of what I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown.  Looking at my recent blog post, 2017 A Year in Pictures reminds me of just much has changed. Here’s a quick recap…

I started 2017 living at the house I owned in Barrie, I had already separated from my 2nd wife (we decided to end our marriage in September 2016)and due to logistics, I was just waiting to list and sell our house to complete the physical separation.  Those 9 months of living in my basement, feeling sorry for myself I developed some very bad habits.  I had an addiction to marijuana, I started to drink more and I became miserable at work.  I was the kitchen manager at a very busy Keg location, but was transferred to a much slower location due to my attitude at work.

It wasn’t until May that I was finally able to move out and into my own place along with my four children.  I lived like a king for several months spending too much of the profit that I had made on my house trying to fill my life with material possessions as opposed to being fiscally responsible and purchasing another home, or investing the profits.  It was towards the end of the summer I pulled my head out of the sand long enough to realize two things…

First all this spending, and living the high life didn’t do a single thing to make me any happier in my life.  I was still miserable at work, I wasn’t any happier in my personal and I would even suggest that my kids were slowly slipping away from me due to my continued use of drugs and alcohol to escape reality.  This directly affected my oldest daughter the most and I saw her starting to emulate some of my behaviours.  That was the second and eye opening things that I realized, my actions were directly impacting my children.

I knew I wasn’t happy at work, I knew I needed to leave and had been given the chance to work a part time schedule at work.  They were overly generous to me, however due to some other work related issues that don’t really need to be explain I walked away from my job of 21 years in mid September.  I have been a stay at home Dad ever since.  This decision, this leap of faith, this tremendous amount of courage it took to simply walk away changed my life in so many unexpected ways.

The last three months of 2017 have seen me grow so much as a man, as a father, both emotionally, spiritually and physically.  I first started to journal a lot.  I would write pages and pages every single day, this was a long process that allowed me accept my past, forgive myself for the decisions I had made up to this point in my life.  I came to the understanding that I couldn’t change ANYTHING about my past, I had to accept it and where it had lead me.  It was a very sobering experience to understand where my path had led me, and now what I needed to do moving forward.

Spending all this additional time with my children has been life changing, having the time and energy and mindset to get down on the floor and wrestle around with them is a daily exercise that I so look forward to.  Living life again through my kids eyes has given me a different perspective on life and allowed me to a small degree to relive my own childhood in many ways.  I only need to say Star Wars for you to understand, I was 5 when the first movie came out, and as I type this my youngest, Austin is wearing his Star Wars pjs playing with his lightsaber.

I made lots of progress in my family life to end the year, learning about what it truly important and I so look forward to 2018 and the continuing chance to expanded upon and apply what I’ve learned.

I can very happily say that I’ve gotten over my chemical addiction issues through desire, hard work, stripping away many of my friends that I knew were a poor influence on me and pure will power.  Today would be day 54 since I last smoked, it had been a gradual weening off process through the end of last year, but I know deep down that in my heart that lifestyle is a thing of the past and those days will never return.  Part of that is the people that I have chosen to surround myself with and include in my life, getting help through various men’s support groups have also helped keep me on the correct path.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned this past year is being vulnerable, to open up and share what is going on in my life (at times to my own detriment) and more importantly my head and my heart.  To start to share myself with the world, I have found such a strength in sharing and connecting with other people I never knew existed before.  I so look forward to taking that to the next level this year, to transforming my emotional and spiritual life like I have never done before.

And I continue to look forward to sharing those thoughts and feelings with anyone that cares to read about them, you.  So thank you.  I will continue my physical transformation as I train for several triathlons this summer, to complete my 100 day running challenge, today being day 12.  I hope to expand and grow the startup business venture I am currently working on, and if successful will allow me to remain at home until at the very least Austin heads off to school full time in September.  And I want to continue to grow my own and my families happiness and appreciation for life in the outside world, as I am going to camping, hiking, fishing and spending as much time as I possibly can in the great outdoors.

So buckle up for an awesome 2018 that is going to be the best year yet!

2017 Top 10 ~ Camping Trip to Ottawa (#3)

To start July I celebrated my 45th birthday, and shortly afterwards I had 10 days scheduled off from work for a nice long vacation.  One I felt was sorely overdue after the events of the previous 11 months and the experience of separating, selling my house and moving on with my life.  I spent a lot of my down time trying to plan the perfect road trip with my kids…

One of my biggest fears was seeing this trip turn into something from the movie Vacation, where is something can go wrong will go wrong.  I also feared extended hours in the car with two teenage girls and the potential issues that might arise.  I had talked to the girls about what they wanted to do and the things that they wanted to see, and to be honest I didn’t quite get the reaction that I was hoping for from them.  They didn’t seem super excited as I was for this trip…

That being said I have learned so much about me, and my relationship(s) with these girls that next summer the trip of a lifetime will happen and it will become an annual tradition.  I was a different person back then as opposed to the man that sits here today.  At some point I decided to break this road trip into two seperate ones… a trip with my buddies (as I was planning on draggin my daughters to some US ballparks) and one with Emily and Megan.

So upon returning from the States (more on that later) I unpacked, and then repacked the Jeep and we were off.  The plan was to head towards Ottawa as I had booked a KOA campground for several nights, on all the back roads to explore this great country that we have.  One of the things the boys and I had talked about just a few days before was saving turtles when you would see one trying to cross the road, Ryan was telling the story about he rescues turtles and turns to me and says, “I am sure your the same Ed?”  I nodded politely and the conversation carried on.  In my head I was thinking that one I’ve never rescued a turtle, and two I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a turtle crossing the road.

Well wouldn’t you know it after only a few hours on the road, there right in the middle was the poor little turtle trying to make it across the road.

Hmmm, I love turtles.  Thanks for the rescue?  Nope I pee on you instead!

We immediately pulled over and ran out into the middle of the road to rescue the poor little guy, when I bent over to pick him up by the edges of his shell he did what all good turtles tend to do.  Pull his head inside of his shell and then proceeded to piss all over my left.  Thankfully my dexterity was up to the challenge and I was able to Tennessee two step my way out of the stream just in time.  We placed the turtle onto the side of the road, and facing in the same direction he was already headed, jumped back in the Jeep and we continued on the way.

Rescuing turtles will always be something that I will now be on the lookout for!

We continued to head North, stopping at not only the Candy Shoppe on the 400 North, we also hit up the Kawartha Dairy for a delicious ice cream cone and pulled over at several national parks to stretch our legs and have bathroom breaks as needed.

Once we got to our campsite in Ottawa and settled in, it was time for dinner.  Over the first few months of the this summer I learned how to cook over an open campfire.  Not the easiest thing to do as every single campfire will be different in terms of its intensity and distance from fire to food.  It requires constant supervision and adjustments throughout the cooking process as too not too burn anything.  Yes I’ve ruined a few hot dogs in my day but I pretty much have gotten the hang of it, and not once did I have to break out the Coleman stove that I bought as backup.

Nights around the campfire are my favorite.  Sitting there listening to good music, talking and sharing stories, roasting marshmallows and making smores.

My only disappointment with this trip was my inability to get Emily to re-engage with some family time each night.  She would retreat into the cabin with her headphones in, listening to her music and sending out an endless parade of SnapChats to her friends.  Megan was all in and I had just the best time with her playing frisbee, catch and other games around the campsite.  Emily was reluctant to join in on any of this family fun, she wouldn’t even go swimming with us at the pool and the lake.

The next day the weather was not the best and we did some shopping at the Tanger outlet mall in Ottawa and had some lunch while in town.  We did a lot of shopping over the summer, getting the girls some fun things along the way and I basically replaced my entire wardrobe and shoe collection this year.  I think this shopping trip was my last of this year in terms of clothing as my perception on money and how best to spend it was already starting to change… (more on the that in my #1 post for 2017.

I has asked the girls what they wanted to do while up in Ottawa and two common things come from this conversation, one was to go Zip Lining and the other was the chance to drive the Jeep.  Both of these were crossed off the list the next day!  I have a healthy respect for heights and was a little afraid of what the day might bring, but it was a beautiful drive over and across a large river dividing Ontario and Quebec that was a delight to see.

The zip lining course was at the top of a mountain and it was a long and winding road up to the top through some beautiful summer views.

We arrived on time, got all geared up and had the chance to watch the group ahead of us finish up with the final zipline back to the base camp.  We walked out into the woods, had our orientation and away we went.  My only other ziplining experience was in Jamaica and it was much different than what I experienced in Ottawa.  I figured it would be a guided tour through the trees with instructors in front and behind us, travelling in a large group.  Well that was not the case at all, we were pretty much on our own as the instructors kept watch from the safety of the ground.  Being the first three on the course we were able to go at our own pace, and with two adventurous girls leading the way we quickly were ahead of everyone else and having just the best time imaginable.

The course started off with several climbing in and around type obstacles to orientate one from being off the ground and to get more comfortable with the zipline to come.  It was actually a really fun time for me and I quickly got over my fear of heights to the point where it wasn’t even a factor.  Watching my girls hit each line ahead of me allowed me to see what I was in store for, how fast the line might move and to prepare for each landing.  The difference between an 80 lb girl and a 180 lb man are quite different in terms of speed and impact on each landing.  I was able to generate a lot more speed across the ziplines than either of the girls were able to do so.

We had so much fun this day, I was able to conquer some of my own fears and felt that I grew closer to each girl throughout the afternoon.

Up next on the agenda was some off road driving in the Jeep after searching for the right road to drive on.  With Emily turning 16 later in the year I knew that she would want to get some experience behind the wheel.  I didn’t want to just trespass in an open field or on private property so while drive around the water I simply followed a sign for an empty lot for sale.  The road turned from paved to gravel, and then eventually to no road at all and we ended up on an abandoned lot down on the Ottawa River.  It was perfect!

I drove the Jeep right up to the edge of the water and enjoyed a few minutes of sheer beauty and some peace and quiet.  Right up until the girls were attacked by a few wasps… hilarity ensued!

I was able to do some off roading across this lot and back up and down the “road” that led down to this cottage, and I even allowed the girls a chance to get behind the wheel of the Jeep for a trip themselves.  Both girls showed no fear and had a blast driving the Jeep with not another soul around.

After several trips up and down and back again we headed back to the campgrounds for another fire roasted dinner of deliciousness.  We would spend one more day in Ottawa before returning to the real world back here in Barrie.  I know personally I had a wonderful time and learned a lot about myself and what is truly important in life and spending time with my girls.  We would go camping several more times throughout the summer as I shared the wonderful world that is mother nature.

It was during this trip that I started to realize just what was important to me, the Summer of George has started with the idea of having the time of my life and doing a lot of crazy things that money could buy you.  Sitting in the best seats if you will, replacing a wardrobe, buying countless baseball jersey and matching ball caps, Star Wars battle drones, and many other things…  This extended road trip was the beginning of my understanding of what truly is important in life, my family, my friends.  Spending time with them, having fun, creating memories.  One that last a lifetime and are not easily forgotten or replaced, this thought process I would chase for the remainder of this year and wouldn’t fully understand until mid September.

Too much turkey…

And there goes Luke’s hand, as Darth Vader slices it off in the epic fight scene at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, I’m watching my fourth Star Wars movie of the day.

“No. I am your father.”

Perhaps one of the most mis quoted Star Wars references, as most would say, “Luke, I am your father…”  What started around noon with The Force Awakens, Rogue One, A New Hope and now Empire, with of course Revenge, er Return of the Jedi still to come.

See the real Star Wars fans will appreciate the above paragraph, and the other 99.9999999% of you will think I’m nuts, but that is okay!  This is what single guys do when they don’t have any kids at home as I’ve found myself today.  In the fun snowfall of Christmas Day I had the extreme pleasure of watching my four children experience the magic that is Christmas morning.

I always have such fond memories of my days as a child and the excitement to the build up of Christmas, it was my favorite time of the year.  Christmas hands down every time, I guess my parents did a great job of making sure that it was a magical time of the year and I’ve tried to do the same for my children.  This was my first Christmas as a single man, and (aside for some wrapping assistance, thank you) I had to do everything myself.  Funny what you take for granted in a couple, that you have to take care of on your own.  However I love this stuff, and I think I rose to the challenge pretty well this year.  Let the pictures speak for themselves…

And while my face may not have shown it that morning, I was feeling it inside.  I feel I took on just a bit too much with kids school functions, sugar cookie orders, my own Christmas baking, a full Christmas dinner at home on Christmas Eve and then driving my kids back to their mom’s houses in the blizzard.  The Jeep did what she was born to do and I zipped through with easy and control and a feeling of safety.  I love my car.

I had an emotional Christmas Day that ended much better than I thought it might, surprising what can happen when your open and honest.  While there is a mountain to climb, and a shit storm of things to figure out, it shall at the very interesting and the time of our lives to quote an old favorite song of mine…

This morning, I ate cookies for breakfast (thank you Mrs. Kershaw your Christmas treats where delicious as always) and I haven’t had them in several years.  I guess it was a thank you for driving out the girls from Barrie to Orangeville, I really don’t mind and that had become a Christmas tradition for me now.  Ha ha that’s kind of cool as I just realized that… As I type this the Imperial March from the end credits of Empire is playing and it’s epic!!!!

During that drive I get the listen to some great music, sing aloud take all the back roads I can find and just make it an awesome experience.  This year I killed it and everything about that drive was great.  Mrs. Kershaw even packed me leftover turkey, and with today’s feedings my turkey meal count stands as follows.  Dec. 23rd two plates turkey dinner, Dec. 24th two plates turkey dinner, Dec. 25th one plate turkey road snacks dinner, and one plate home leftovers, Dec. 26th two plates turkey dinner…

That is eight turkey dinners in a row.  What is wrong with me?  I’ve still got two more meals tomorrow to finish that bird.  I mean I like me a good protein but ten turkeys plates in a row is asking a bit too much, no?

In between the Star Wars marathon today I’ve been playing a lot of pool today as well, and I have to say I’ve found a recent mental clarity when shooting a rack that I feel I’ve improved by 200% in the past month.  I cannot wait for my buddy Ryan to get out her soon so I can dust that poore boy, he won’t know what hit him.  Ryan I’ve considered my measuring stick if you will, he is a 29 year version of me.  So when 45 year old me can beat him in golf this summer, and now pool well I am doing okay, ha ha!


I cannot tell you the number of comments and compliments that my Man Cave gets as it rocks the entrance to my house, and I love it.  It encompases everything about my childhood growing up and all of my current loves and interests.  I even take all my baking photos on top of the pool table…  It is my everything room and brings me such peace when I get to be in there, it has so many different feels and vibes to me all dependant on how you want to set the mood, just like a Transformer, just like my Jeep.  Anyone sensing a theme here?  Yes I am just abid kid at heart, and wouldn’t have it any other way!  I’ve got a few more games of pool to get to, as I continue to search for that perfect rack and run the table, as that day is getting close…

I can feel it, small goal of mine to see it happen in 2017.  Happy Holidays everyone!



Doesn’t Really Matter

Well perhaps this one is my favorite song, air drums every time I hear it.  Doesn’t really matter where I am… in my car, baking in the kitchen or in the middle of the bay while kayaking…

Doesn’t Really Matter ~ Platinum Blonde

vid1smIt’s been a hard day in the city
Affects you in the most peculiar way
A dull day don’t seem pretty
We’ve said all that there is to say
And if you were to ask me questions
You don’t really want to know
Your concern is just for show
Just for show
Your name’s a number, just press a button
Your memories lost but they’ve not forgotten
They try to break our, our lust for passion
They try to tell us that it’s not in fashion
And if you were to ask me questions
What are we fighting-for?
We’re just breaking down the door
It doesn’t really matter
I’ve been through this all before
It doesn’t really matter
They fight in England and Northern Ireland
The police they try to hold us still
They can bleed us and they can feed us
But you know they’ll never control our will
And if you were to ask that question
What are we fighting for?
We’re just breaking down the door
It doesn’t really matter
I’ve been through this all before
It doesn’t really matter to me
It doesn’t really matter
I’ve been through this all before
It doesn’t really matter to me
It doesn’t really matter
Oh It doesn’t really matter
It doesn’t really matter
It doesn’t really matter
No no
It doesn’t really matter
At all
It doesn’t really matter
At all
It doesn’t really matter
It doesn’t matter to me
It doesn’t really matter
No no no
It doesn’t really matter
Oh oh oh oh
It doesn’t really matter
No no no
It doesn’t really matter
No no no no no no
It doesn’t really matter
It doesn’t really matter
Matter, matter, matter
Matter, matter, matter
Matter, matter, matter
Matter, matter, matter
Matter, matter

Superman Song

Perhaps my all time favorite song…

Superman Song ~ The Crash Test Dummies

superman-cryingTarzan wasn’t a ladies man
He’d just come along and scoop ’em
Up under his arm like that
Quick as a cat, in the jungle
Clark Kent, now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sittin’ around in no jungle scape
Dumb as an ape, doin’ nothing

Superman never made any money
Savin’ the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair
The world will never see another man like him

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
Even though he coulda smashed through
Any bank in the United States
He had the strength but he would not
Folks said his family were all dead
Planet crumbled, but Superman he forced himself
To carry on, forget Krypton, and keep goin’

Superman never made any money
Savin’ the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair
The world will never see another man like him

Tarzan was king of the jungle
And lord over all the apes
But he could hardly string together
Four words, I Tarzan you Jane

Sometimes when Supe was stoppin’ crimes
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit
And turn his back on man
Join Tarzan in the forest
But he stayed in the city
Kept on changin’ clothes
In dirty old phone booths ’til his work was through
Had nothin’ to do but go on home

Superman never made any money
Savin’ the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair
The world will never see another man like him

And sometimes I despair
The world will never see another man like him

Sitting On Top of the World..

And I’m feeling fine!  To quote the famous singer Al Jolson.

My mom introduced me to Al Jolson as a young child, and we would sit and watch The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again.  Talk about someone chasing their dreams!

I cannot begin to tell how I awesome I feel this morning, it’s almost like the heaven opened up on me and rained down. (I have the feeling I am going to cry a lot while I write this, as I did last night).  It’s all good so please read on!

I had dinner plans with Tiffany last night, our plan was to go The Keg as I had not been to one since I walked away from my job this past September.  It’s always busy, at any restaurant, in the month of December and last night was no exception.  I did have the foresight to make a reservation which helped, and when we arrived there was a light smattering of snowflakes in the air.  Ahh the magic of Christmas and for the first time in over 20 years I am finally getting to enjoy it.

Dinner was as awesome as expected, the food was great but the company was even better.  Tiffany and I picked up right where we left on Sunday morning and sharing just an amazing conversation picking up right where we left off from Sunday.  Sharing stories from each of our pasts, and learning more about each other on such a personal level.  I sat there throughout dinner listening to, as we called it a Shitstorm of life events that she had to continually deal with her entire life right up to present day. What life has dealt her, well I don’t think that I would have had the personal strength to overcome it and at the same time have this wonderful smile still on her face.


We talked about how and why she was able to maintain such a positive outlook on life because what she has, the way she looks at life, the way she can continually turn lemons in lemonade is truly amazing and inspiring.  Sidenote, she ordered lemonade with dinner.  She told me that with all that life has thrown her way the only control that we have in our lives is way we react to it, how we let it affect us on a personal level.  We both agreed that there is much in life that is beyond our control and the only thing that each of us, everyone can, is themselves.

I’ve only recently been able to adapt this attitude, this mindset, this outlook on life recently..

Test 1 ~ literally just happened, driving Megan to school and noticed that my Jeep was broken into overnight and my sunglasses were stolen.  It’s just a thing, right Tiffany?

I want to be able to make sure this attitude towards life sticks with me for the rest of my life.  I honestly believe that it will as I have chosen to surround myself with people that this exact outlook on life.  That can take the weight of the world as it comes, can process and deal with these stresses in a positive and production manner, to battle the darkness with light as opposed to living in that darkness and feeding its vicious cycle.


Tiffany and I could have talked all night I am sure, and I am also sure that more opportunities will present itself in the days and weeks to come  Driving her home at the end of dinner, sharing stories about our most embarrassing moments and ending the night with a nice warm hug (we can all use lots of these) and as I drove I thought that I had a pretty great evening…

It turns out that this was only the beginning of the magic in store for me.

When I got home I checked in on both my teen-aged daughters, first Megan hugging and kissing her goodnight.  Then it was knock on Emily’s door, she was happy and in a good mood.  She was being the shoulder to cry on for her friend that needed some support last night, I asked if she had a chance to look over the house expectations that I had laid out for her a few days ago, which she initially refused to even acknowledge.

She told me that she had and was going to choose option one, staying at Dad’s house.  I asked if she was willingly to accept all of the conditions, again saying yes.  I knew instantly that I was going to cry as I could feel the hope and love flooding into me, Emily asked if I was going to cry to which I replied, yes.  Her friend turned to me and said that I could cry with her…  it was a very touching moment for me.

Emily and I still have a lot of work together moving forward and I need to see through her actions more so than her words that she really wants to change her life.  It is a process that we will work together on, and in time it will also help repair our relationship building a new one together.  One small step at a time, but I am filled with a new sense of hope.

Saying goodnight to Emily I returned to my room ready for bed, a few tears rolling down my cheeks.  I opened my email to read this…

I hope that your week has improved. I can’t imagine what you are going through as a parent and dealing with all you have on your plate. I want you to know that I give you credit for stepping up and being the best single dad that you can. I have seen a huge difference in Austin since September. You are a huge part of the little boys happy life now and he makes sure everyone knows it. As I said on Monday I am here to support you and the kids in anyway that I can. I have been a part of your family for the past 5 years. Stepping back from daycare was really hard for me because I truly care and believe that I am a small part of the child’s community that can make that difference. No matter what has happened with Emily know that everyday is a new day and never give up no matter how hard it maybe because one day she will need the great dad that I have started seeing in the past few months. 

Bonnie was our child care provider when we first moved to Barrie and as you can see continues to be an important piece of my support circle moving forward.  Upon reading this it just another wave of tears to my eyes.  The positive energy, the openness the love that I have trying to put out into the world, in such a short time has come back to me a 100 times over.  Just having hope and happiness in my life has really changed my world.

We All Need Good People in our Lives

headinthesandFor too many years I had my head buried in the sand.  And by that I mean I kept my eyes to the ground and really wouldn’t make eye contact when I would pass people on the streets, in the mall, even at work.  Perhaps especially at work, as the kitchen operations manager for The Keg I would often do laps of the dining room and I would look at people’s dinner plate, checking for food quality.  Ten to fifteen times a night I would lap the dining room and always, always had my eyes down looking at each table and the plates on it as I would pass by.

I realize now in retrospect that I had it wrong the whole time!  What I should have been looking at was everyone’s eyes and face, to see they were enjoying themselves and having a good time.  That information alone would have told me all I would need to know, having a good time then the food must be good as well.  Making eye contact, smiling at our guests would have made me and them feel better.  After all ins’t a smile contagious?

I was an introvert, and I didn’t like people.  I kept to myself, and presented a very business like front at work.  I presented a professional version of to keep everyone at an arms distance away from me and at the same time I didn’t go out of my way to get to know my co-workers on a personal level.  Since moving out on my own when I was 18 I already had this mindset and never in all the places that I lived (and there were a lot, I moved on average once a year for 10 straight years) did I get to know any of my neighbors more than a casual nod of the head in passing, some not at all.

Even friendships from childhood, friendships I had made when someone would ignore my walls and want to get to know me anyways on a personal level.  Those people I liked the most as they put forth the effort to see what was beyond the image that I had presented to everyone else.  Over the years, even those special people I let fade away and lost contact with.

Let’s take Facebook for example, those of us that use it most likely have some of childhood friends on our friend list, I know I did but I never went out of my way to actually reconnect with any of them.  I would have considered myself a silent Facebook stalker, as everyone once in a while I would see what they were up to.  At times ignoring or making up excuses to reconnect.  Too busy, too many kids, too caught up in my own head at times.

When I started this journey I have started to look at people much differently than I ever did and I have found myself doing things that I never would have before in my life.  And every single time that I push my personal boundaries and do something that once upon a time I would anxiety about or uncomfortable with I would jump in head first.  Let’s go back a few months shall we…

My neighbor Jodi came by my house one summer day offering me a couple of extra winter coats that her daughters had outgrown, and having two daughters slightly younger I thought that it was an incredible gesture and that was the literal start of our friendship.  Over the weeks to come we would continue to talk and get together a few times a week and converse almost daily now by email.  She has become a very close friend and important part of the support circle that I have been creating.  She helped open my eyes to new thoughts and new possibilities, she helped change my life.  Had I not been open to her and kept my old mentality that exchange at my door may very well have been the end of things, and I so very glad that I didn’t as she has helped me in numerous way.  I just returned from a delightful dinner with her, her husband and another lady that she is mentoring.  It was a delightful evening full of great conversation, and as I sat there I was thinking wow Ed, you never have done something like this before.  It was really great.

Thank you Jodi.

The other side of the coin is old friends.  Lot’s of times we bump into an old friend, chat for a few minutes and ultimately leave the conversation saying we should get together some time.  I know I would do this, and never follow through.  Far too many times.  This morning I actually reconnected with one of my best friends from grade school and high school, James.  We grew up in Milton together along with a circle of friends, and today I drove down to his house in Toronto to have an afternoon full of nerd adventures playing a Star Wars miniature game along with another old friend John David.

The old Ed would have had much anxiety meeting old friends, not to mention a room full of strangers that I had never met before.  I considered bailing on the outing last night and even this morning as I had a convenient excuse built-in with the issues going on with my daughter but I ultimately decided that a day reconnecting and catching up with old friends was exactly what I needed to take my mind off things.

And boy was I right!  Driving down from Barrie to Toronto taking all the back road to both enjoy the view, avoid the gridlock on the highways gave me such a sense of peace that I was able to think about the situation with my daughter and rock out to some great tunes.  I parked my Jeep, walked up to the front door and knocked.  The second James saw me through the window he threw up his arms in the arm with a big smile, opened the door and we immediately embraced in a big long hug.

It has been 28 years since I had seen my childhood friend and both immediately agreed that it had been far to long.  He was open and welcoming and we sat down and chatted for a few minutes about life and then headed down stairs to meet the rest of the crew.  I gave John David another big hug and spent the next several hours getting blown out of the sky (in the game) and reconnected with a couple of class gentlemen that I realized after I left had missed for far too long.  It was a great afternoon talking about the old days, meeting new friends and just enjoying life and each other’s company.  When it was time to go James walked me out to my car, exchanging another big hug and made plans to meet again real soon.


It was an incredibly powerful afternoon and evening for me.  I will definitely have to write more about these guys and some of our childhood adventures as they are some of the happiest times of my life.

Nothing about today was difficult or hard for me.  Once i started to drive I did not feel any kind of anxiety or feelings of nervousness.  It was pure joy and enjoyment in the company people who I call friends.  True friends with no motivation or hidden agendas, genuine people that honestly care about my well-being and that of my family.

I learned a lot today, not only about myself but about my view towards the rest of the world.  Quick side story, at a traffic light waiting for the light to change green I looked to my right and watched a wonderful old couple, perhaps in their 80’s laughing and smiling at each other just enjoying each others company.  I thought to myself we all should be so lucky.  It brought a tear to my eye.

All of my Children are HERE!

I am very happy to write that Emily is currently upstairs sleeping in her bed, in fact all four of my children and sleeping soundly under my roof for the first time in several weeks.  It has been one heck of an emotional day that started at 6:30am this morning with tears running down my face as I listened to a very powerful song from Simple Plan called This Song Saved My Life.  I instantly started to think of Emily and how much I missed her..

The first stanza is as follows…

I wanna start letting you know this
Because of you my life has a purpose
You helped me be who I am today
I see myself in every word you say
Sometimes it feels like nobody gets me
Trapped in a world where everyone hates me
There’s so much that I’m going through
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you
I was broken
I was choking
I was lost
This song saved my life
I was bleeding
Stopped believing
Could have died
This song saved my life
I was down
I was drowning
But it came on just in time
This song saved my life


When I picked up Emily today we had a long talk about the last few weeks, I (as nicely as I could without turning it into a lecture) about the expectations of coming home and what I expected of her in terms of behaviour and life goals moving forward.  I will get to those in a second.  I was as open and honest with her, which isn’t easy for me as I have been here with this blog.


I told Emily that she was my catalyst for change.  She was the reason that I wanted to change my life, to get better, to be a better father and dad.  Through her actions, and at times her words she was screaming out loud for a Dad that would be there for her.  I had spent too many years wrapped up in my own world, focusing on career and personal gains, wrapped up in addiction to both drugs and stupid iPad games.


July 2005 018.jpgWhen in front of me the whole time was this little girl, slowly growing up in front of me and I was too wrapped up in my own shit that I couldn’t see it.  Emily inspired me to make change in my life, to get better not only for her but for me as well.  I have really enjoyed reading about other people’s rise out of the darkness, we all share similar stories of overcoming the darkness in our lives.  The issues may be different, but we all share something in common, that there is something that triggers the change.

To me this was a father bearing his soul to his daughter.  I wanted her to know the power that a child can have.  Any person can have to inspire another to be better than the sum of their parts.  I hope to do that for others one day.

I wanted Emily to have a clear understanding of that, and what I expected from her coming home.  I explained to her that we are in this together, and that running away is just running away from your problems, and that I would always be here for her, that she wasn’t alone, and help comes when you least expect it.  It sure did for me.  In many different ways and many different forms, in places that I never expected as soon as I opened myself up to it.

I would love your thoughts in the 11 House Rules if you will for Emily, Megan, Jennifer, Austin and myself to follow moving forward.  In no particular order…

  1. Have a simple schedule in the morning, getting up with enough time to do what you need to get ready for school, including having breakfast.
  2. Get a minimum of  hours of sleep at night to get the proper amount of rest, phone turned off and put away at least 1/2 hour before bed.
  3. Go to school.  Complete projects and assignments on time.
  4. No drugs or alcohol period.  I’ve done too much research on the damaging effects on a developing brain.
  5. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, respect others property.
  6. Weekly chore list, including bedroom tidy and laundry done before going back to mom’s house.
  7. We will talk out our problems, anger hostility and disrespect don’t have a place in our life anymore.  Be honest with yourself and others.
  8. Ask for help when you needed.  Don’t be afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to need it.  I was and resisted for too long, we all need help from time to time.  You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
  9. Eat dinner and help clean up afterwards.  Your body needs fuel and if you’re not hungry you most likely filled up on junk before dinner.
  10. Exercise, very important for long-term feelings of wellness.  Something as simple as going for a walk will do the trick.
  11. Be happy, enjoy life.

That’s my list.  I also mentioned that I was not going to force family time upon her, and that she was free to choose to do what she wanted as long as the above guidelines were being followed.  I did suggest that spending time with her brother and sisters playing would take her mind off any stress or anxiety in her life.  I know I do…

I ended our conversation asking her what she needed or wanted from me, mentioning that I didn’t need an answer right away and wanted her to think about it.  Tomorrow we will talk about consequences as opposed to punishments.  Everyday moving forward I hope to learn more and more about being an effective, loving and awesome Dad.