Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Restart Again

It seems that whenever I plan to do things that I’ve been neglecting, other roadblocks arise.

Blogging, for example.  I have time to write, I have things to write about, but life keeps stopping me.  The same with going to the gym.  A few months ago I damaged my hand.  So I didn’t work out for a few weeks, it hurt too much.  The next time I went, I hit my head and got a mild concussion.  There was another month lost.  I had decided to try again this week.

Last Friday I had the mother(f**ker) of all seizures.  I’ve been having them for about 20 years, and the doctors can’t find the cause.  It’s not epilepsy, but that’s about all they can tell me.  There are certain triggers, like marijuana or strobe lights, so I avoid those.  But sometimes they happen for no apparent reason.  Either from age or better health, they’ve been rare in the last decade.  After enduring a few annually, I’ve probably had 2 or 3 in the last 10 years.  The last seizure was in December of 2008.

I had a really bad one during the night last Thursday.  I felt ill at around 2am so I went to the bathroom.  I remember being really dizzy and flushed, and wondering how I could possibly be drunk.  I’d had a couple of pints, but was definitely sober hours before going to bed.  I remember one of my cats frantically pawing at my head, apparently they can sense these things coming on.  I’d brush him away, but he kept climbing or jumping to touch my head.
The next memory I have is of Wife screaming.  I opened my eyes to see blood splattering from my face.  I was laying on the floor and I hurt.
Wife called 911, and the paramedics took me to the hospital for the night.  I had bruised a good portion of my head and face, some places were missing skin, and I had bitten into my upper lip pretty badly.  Also, the blood vessels in my eyelids had burst, and they were covered in tiny red spots.  I also put my head through the bathroom wall almost at floor-level.

At the hospital they took blood and gave me a CT scan.  All results were normal, so they sent me home after a few hours.

Right now there are only a couple of remaining issues.  My neck really hurts, I pulled the muscles there pretty badly.  Whenever I move my head, I’m in pain.  I’m having trouble sleeping because every time I move I scream and wake myself (and Wife) up.  My moustache hides the only skinned places that haven’t healed yet.

So I’m not going to the gym again for a couple of weeks, until I’m re-healed.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


AAAAAAnd another week goes by.  It feels like time is flying, but not much is actually happening.

Yesterday one of the cats peed on the dining room carpet again.  This is infuriating.  She was peeing there pretty often a few months ago, which is something she never, ever did before moving to this townhouse.  I took her to the vet and spent nearly $600 to be told that “she’s fine, it’s a behavioural issue.”
I covered ½ the floor in tinfoil and she stopped.  Last week we cautiously removed a few feet of foil, hoping to get our room back.   Nope, she peed again.
I’ve spent around $100 on various cleaners that guarantee cats won’t urinate there again, and they have all failed.  We added a 2nd litterbox nearby hoping that it might be a territorial- toilet thing.  It doesn’t get used.
Considering how bad the smell got when she was doing it before (I had to eat dinner in Wife’s studio or go to a restaurant), and we couldn’t invite guests over, the cat will be enjoying her new home at the pound if things don’t improve.  I can’t live like that, and the pound won’t take ME.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Last night I went to the pet store to buy the first batch of fish for the aquarium.  I had planned on getting 6 Zebra Danios to start with.  They’re fish that I want there longterm (as opposed to sacrifice for cycling* the tank), and are tough enough to endure the low-grade ammonia spiking that will occur while the tank cycles.
Unfortunately they were quarantined, so the fish guy suggested Dwarf Spotted Danios instead.  Pretty similar, but with a line of spots below the stripe.  And just as suitable for cycling the tank.  So I picked up a half-dozen of those.
While the bag of fish was floating in the aquarium to get the temperatures to match, I re-tested the water.  In fact, I read the instructions on how to test the water.  It turns out that I’ve been doing it wrong, which explains why I wasn’t able to cycle the aquarium without fish.  It turns out that I put the fish in after the ammonia had started to cycle the tank.  OOPS.   Oh well, it really just means that I’ll swap out a little more water than expected, a little more often than expected, for the next few days.
After researching online today, it seems that the Dwarf Spotted Danio likes to jump occasionally.  I’m a little nervous.  Maybe 5% of the tank is uncovered, where the filters hang into the aquarium.  I don’t THINK they’ll unconsciously aim for that spot, but you never know.  I made a point this morning of counting to ensure all 6 were still there.   Maybe that will have to become a habit.

The surprise of the evening:  The cats don't seem to care about the fish.  They've both sat at the aquarium and watched them swim, but after a couple of minutes they get bored and walk away.  No pawing, tank-climbing, meowing, or anything.  Just a 'huh, weird, don't care'.

*cycling the tank:  fish excrete ammonia, which is poisonous.  Bacteria is automatically created that erases the ammonia.  This bacteria creates nitrites.  Bacteria is automatically created that erases the nitrites.  This bacteria creates nitrates, which are okay in small doses.  Once the nitrates appear, there should never be ammonia or nitrites.  This tank is now cycled and stable.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday AGAIN?

Yup, another week just FLEW by.

I’ve been looking up on options for my aquarium.  I’m a geek like that.  I’m heading to the pet store tonight to buy a half-dozen Zebra Danios.  These are the first of 4 types I plan to include (3 have already been chosen), and the most appropriate for cycling a fish tank.

This weekend Wife and I went to London for my niece’s 3rd birthday.  We headed over on Saturday afternoon, did a bit of shopping, then spent the evening with a couple of friends that moved there from Toronto.  Great dinner, great wine, great conversation.  Sunday morning we headed over to the in-laws’ house for the party.  Again, it was another fun day.  I got to see my niece for a while, and hold my brand-new nephew. 

Wife and I had an interesting conversation on the way home, about “relationship status.”  Specifically that these 2 kids will NEVER remember a life without me.  Wife’s cousin’s children might remember me not being there, they were very young when I joined the picture.  And obviously my grownup in-laws remember Life Before Dickeybird, but for these kids I’m a fully qualified member of the clan.

While shopping in London, I also picked up a “Teach Yourself French” CD course.  I’ll need a bit of fluency when I head to the Caribbean in February, and it certainly can’t hurt my resume to re-learn that language forced on me in grade school and ignored/forgotten for 20 years.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fishy Family

It was an interesting weekend.
Wife and I drove to my Dad’s house for a day and a half.  I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not seeing him since my mum died last February. 
I was worried about him getting lonely, so went for a visit last August, but he misunderstood my reasons for coming and as soon as I arrived he went out with his church group.  I was really annoyed – he’s the reason I went.
So we went again on Saturday.  The family all seems to be doing well.  After asking how well life is in Toronto, and confirming that marriage is going well, he asked about grandchildren.  My mum used to ask often, but I assumed that would stop.  Now he’s started.  After my saying ‘no’, and him saying “oh, come on” a few times, I pulled out the trump card:  I told him about the vasectomy I had a couple of years ago.  That shut him up, unfortunately disappointed.
The good side of the conversation was that it also included him asking what we have planned regarding care for my 2 sisters.  They’re adopted and have Downs Syndrome.  We’ve got a good plan already set up, but it was encouraging to hear him ask about it.

A new addition to the family is an aquarium with a bunch of fish in it.  After looking at it for about 10 minutes, I turned to Wife saying “I want one.”  I posted about my unexpected desire on Facebook (I’ve never wanted fish before), and a few minutes later a friend offered me his 20 gallon aquarium for free.
It’s now in our living room and I’m researching what fish to get.  The plan so far is for two half-dozen little school fish (Neon Tetras and Zebra Danios), four Peppered Corydoras, and a Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish).  From what I’ve read, they’ll make a compatible and peaceful aquarium that will look good and be relatively low-maintenance.  The Siamese Fighting Fish really only fight when you have multiple males, and just to be safe I hope to get a female.

Wife is a little worried about getting attached to them just in case they die.  To accommodate this, we’ve come up with a unique naming convention.  They will ALL be named Eric, except for the one you’re focussing on.  That one will be called Larry.  So while you’re having a chat with Larry the Betta while she eats the fish food, she’s Larry.  But as soon as your attention moves to one of the Corydora catfish, it will become Larry and the Betta will be Eric.

Friday, October 5, 2012

New York City

Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it?
Wife and I had a fantastic time in New York.  No Rox, we didn’t get to see Fallon, but we were pretty occupied.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Seton Hotel – Nice, cheap, clean.  Shared bathroom, but otherwise perfect.
The Moth: “Grudge story-slam”  - Competitive storytelling?  AWESOME.
Breakfast at Bloom’s Diner – adequate breakfast
Escorted bike-ride through Central Park – Beautiful park, lots of history, a great time.
Museum of Arts & Design – Crappy art and no design.  Waste of time.
Lunch in Central Park - Relaxing
Guggenheim Museum – A letdown.  The rotunda was closed, and the rest of the exhibits were artists we didn’t particularly like.
FAO Schwartz/ FAO Schweetz – Giant toy store and candy shop?  Cool.
Broadway: “The Book Of Mormon”  - Hilarious
Connolly’s Pub – Pub dinner.  Beer and meat. What else would you expect?
Observation Deck of The Rockefeller Center after dark. - No lineups at 11pm, beautiful views of Manhattan and Central Park.
Breakfast at Cipriani’s – cheap diner breakfast, okay.
Museum of Modern Art – Not bad, but I really expected more from the MoMA, I’m just not sure what.
OldCastle Irish Pub – crap food, but the beer was good.
Museum of Sex – Boring.  I don’t care about the American “shock value.” I live in urban Toronto, Canada, where most of this stuff is pretty commonplace.  The political and historical significance of sex would have made for a much more interesting afternoon.
Show: “Sleep No More,” McKittrick Hotel – Not bad.  Not as creepy as I’d expected, but a great endeavor nonetheless.
Metropolitan Museum of Art – My favourite.  Next time we go to NYC, we’re spending a full day here.
The American Museum of Natural History.  - Not bad.  The gallery of musical instruments was really entertaining.
Walk the "High Line" elevated park.  – Nice.  It’s a park.
Tortilla Flats – Crap food.  I’ve never had BAKED beans and no cheese with a burrito.  Beer was good.
Shearwater Cruise through New York Harbour – Fun, we got great views of the city and the Statue of Liberty.  Big waves too.  My sailor geekness kicked in when they started the motor instead of trimming the sails properly…
Observation Deck at the Empire State Building – was foggy, we didn’t get to see anything.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – Beautiful day, beautiful views.
Lunch at reBar in DUMBO – Great pub, and the neighbourhood has really gentrified since I worked there 11 years ago.
Walk across the Manhattan Bridge – Nice views, but not as nice as the Brooklyn Bridge – the subway trains raced by a couple of feet from our heads so it was really loud.
New Museum of Contemporary Art – had a great exhibit on Bowery artists from 1969-1989, when the artists were really synched with the punk bands from the scene. LOVED it.
Broadway: “Grace” – Hilarous:  Ed Asner, Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, and Kate Arrington
Broadway Joe’s Steakhouse – was okay.  We were surprised that so many of the restaurants around Times Square shut down at 11 on a Friday night.
Breakfast at Smitty’s Diner – greasy diner breakfast.  Yum.

All that in 5 days!  And here’s a pic of the Upper East Side, from across the Reservoir in Central Park.  So peaceful…