Saturday 26 June 2021

Well Another Sad One

It will be a different kind of sad, but sad just the same.


When I was small and had to go somewhere special, my mom would dress me in nice pants a shirt (and tie) and slick my hair down to make me presentable. Can you be presentable if you pick your nose and hide it behind your knee? I’m going to say kid presentable. As I aged and selected my own clothes, Jeans with a cool belt and a t-shirt with a socially significant message was high fashion. I do mean high. Those fashion decisions lasted for many years and I still feel like that is the real me. Even my wedding found me dressed in a costume, we were going for 1880’s look.


I worked in a warehouse as a shipper/receiver for a few years and other than Christmas parties where a nice pair of pants and a shirt and or sweater was perfectly acceptable attire, I got away with my go to jeans and a t-shirt. Then I was hired by the Post Office and in their wisdom they provided me with four seasons of clothing every year for my entire career. I never had the anguish of deciding what to wear every day, it was uniform shirt, uniform pants, blue tie, jacket, peaked hat, black, lace up leather shoes  and of course a smile for the customers (optional). Life was good!


That was my clothing life. Well, there were a few bumps along the way. Sometimes we were invited to a wedding, but my usual nice pants and nice shirt worked. I was just a friend or distant relative. Those years when we went to church so the kids would know what they were objecting to and could honestly say that they went to church for a number of mind numbing years, my standard goodish clothes worked.


There have been the weddings of my children when “good enough” just wasn’t good enough. I had to buy a suit. I found that the cheap me found paying a lot of money for something I would wear once or perhaps twice if you count my funeral was silly. I wanted everyone to be happy so I bought a suit, shirt, jacket and uncomfortable shoes. Everyone was happy except for me. But, the next time a wedding rolled around I had a suit. I had a suit that no longer fit me that is. Yep, I had to buy another suit.


I don’t look good in a suit. Well, I don’t look like me in a suit and I don’t feel like me either. Sometimes you just have to look like someone else to make everyone else happy. The last suit I bought was for Maegan’s wedding and although I didn’t look very good, she looked like an angel. I felt that I didn’t let here down too much.


This weekend or should I say Monday coming I will be attending the funeral of Louise’s aunt. Yesterday I organized the clothes I would wear and managed to button up the pants (barely) and found that the shirt actually fit okay…ish.  I think that suit pants, a nice shirt and tie will be good enough for a summer funeral in Saskatchewan. The only thing I don’t have is a nice black belt. The belts I have are well worn and go with jeans very well but not with dress pants. I had to go searching for a belt. During my search, I found a garment bag downstairs that had my last wedding suit in it and wonder of wonders, everything fit! There was even a pristine black belt and shirts that go with the suit. Fuck Yeah!!!!


I am ready for the funeral and no nice pants and shirt for me, I will be wearing a somber looking suit that says “This guy may look like a loser, but isn’t it a nice suit?” Well, today Louise was talking to her cousin and was told that we should wear casual  dress. Nice pants and a nice shirt. But…but…but…but…


Oh well, at least I will be comfortable. Well unless everyone else didn’t get the dress casual message. I have a feeling that no matter what happens I won’t fit in. I should have become a rock star. Michael Jackson was always wearing a uniform.

Michael Jackson on Twitter: "All hail The King Of Pop! What is your  favorite Michael song?… "

Monday 21 June 2021

Here’s a Happy One

For the past year and a half we have been keeping a running total of the deaths due to Covid. Thankfully, for the most part I have been untouched. Up until a few months ago I didn’t even know anyone that had been sick, other than a few celebrities and the odd politician and frankly I wouldn’t be upset to see some politicians die a horrible death. So far, my hated few politicians are frustratingly healthy. I live to dream though.


While all of this Covid nonsense has been afflicting the world, our regular tragic deaths have continued. Somewhat less traffic deaths than normal and my province reported zero flu deaths this year, probably because we have been washing our hands on a regular basis, keeping away from other people and wearing masks. I for one will keep following protocol in the future. I didn’t get sick once this winter. Old age keeps creeping up on us, a lifetime of poor eating habits cause clogged arteries and our poor lungs have been dealing with any number of horrible things in the air. Life goes on, or is that death will out.


My wife’s cousin is going through a terrible time with her aging mother. She has had to move into a care facility and can no longer do the things she has done her entire life. Her body just won’t follow the brain’s orders any longer. She wakes up every morning being disappointed that she didn’t die in her sleep. There were times I wished the same thing at the Post Office, but I always knew that there would be better days ahead. She doesn’t have that luxury.


Recently a blood clot was detected and it had to be surgically removed. It was a dangerous procedure and there was a very good chance that she wouldn’t make it, but the risk had to be taken. Well, the operation was a success but she was terribly disappointed that she didn’t die. The last we heard, she has stopped eating and drinking and I suspect that the care providers are making her transition easier for her. It is a shame that we can’t help ease our loved ones into the next world as we do our pets, it would be kinder and much more humane.


My mom suffered a severe stroke and I had to make the difficult decision to let her go. The hospital stopped feeding and watering her but provided her with morphine to ease the pain. It took seven heart wrenching days for her to pass and I wondered if I had made the correct choice. I still wonder. 


If there is a God and a Heaven, I may show up at the Pearly Gates and be denied entry because I killed my mother. I hope not, because I have a few things that I would like to talk to God about…


Wednesday 16 June 2021

Every Time I Flush I Think of Them

I have a friend who gets quite upset that on our water bill we pay a certain amount of money for the water we use and the same amount of money again for sending the waste water into the sewage system. His feeling is that might be the case during the winter months, but during the spring, summer and fall a lot of that water going to water the lawn and garden, wash the cars and by the grand kids playing under the sprinklers. He has a point.


When he has called the city they just tell him that is the way it is and it is all very scientific. I tell him that even if he managed to get the city to agree with him, they would just up the charge for the water coming in by the same amount they deduct from his sewage bill. You can bet that during the winter the rate for water would stay at the same rate as the summer so in the end we would end up paying more for the same service. Shut up buddy!


I have no complaints about the city charging for water and I would gladly pay double for it. Our water in Calgary is good tasting and we have never had a shortage other than the odd hot, dry summer when they tell us not to water the lawns. My lawn always look like it is dying of thirst anyways, so no problem. There was that one time about twenty five years ago that the main water pipe in our area had to be repaired and the water was shut off. There was a water truck parked one house away and we could get as much water as we could carry. My oldest daughter took the broken pipe as a personal attack, keeping her from her 40 minute shower every morning while everyone else in the house had to wait. I was at work when she got up so missed the drama. She went to her friends every morning for the few days that the water was off. If I had known she would willingly get up early on her own, I would have turned the water off years earlier.


There are indigenous communities that have had to boil their water for twenty years. I don’t like having to wait two minutes for the kettle to boil my water for tea. In this country, in the twenty first century, no one should not have access to plentiful clean water. I think the native people took the Canadian government to curt and are finally getting access to good water. About time! What a crime. I don’t think I would wait twenty years for the government to get off their fat asses, I would get some smart members of the community and we would attempt to solve our water problem. That may not be easy, but it is far better than waiting for any government.


A number of years ago now I saw a man of colour riding a bicycle while balancing a two litre plastic bottle of pop on his head. I assume that he wasn’t born in this county and learned the balancing trick in his home country where water had to be carried a distance. I don’t like carrying a bottle of water when I go for a long walk. You can bet that young man appreciates how wonderful it is to turn on a tap in your own home to get water. He could have been trying out for Cirque Du Soleil, but I prefer my story.


Years ago (before kids), Louise and I stayed in a small town in Saskatchewan at one of her relatives and the water was horrible! It smelled and tasted of sulfur. The food they cooked had a taste of sulfur, the coffee tasted of sulfur and when you had a shower you had that clean as sulfur smell. I don’t know how long they went like that, but we couldn’t leave fast enough.


I will never take my first world access to water lightly. I give thanks to the Calgary Water & Sewer Department on a daily basis. Every time I flush the toilet I think of those hard working city employees.

Monday 14 June 2021

I Love Being a Canadian

In just six or seven months it will be -30C and there is a very good chance that I will be debating if I should turn the thermostat up one or two degrees and should I wrap another blanket around myself to get to that perfect temperature for not freezing to death. I will spend some of my day in front of the computer watching the waves coming in to some Hawaiian island.


I don’t have to think about that for many months and if I manage to win the Lotto MAX, I just may buy my own Hawaiian Island. I won’t count on that, but maybe the province will make me a millionaire because I got a vaccine. However, since I don’t trust the UCP and any promises that they make, I will just be satisfied with what I have.


I am writing this to complain that I am 60 degrees warmer right here, right now and I don’t like it any more than when it is minus fucking cold. If I take any more clothes off, Louise will charge me with mental and physical abuse. She would be right in doing so.


Listen…if anyone has a hotline to Mother Nature, tell her to cool her jets. I am getting too old to stand in front of the AC all day long. This weather is causing my boobs to sag, my skin to wrinkle and not only am I losing my hair, it is turning grey!


Yeah…yeah…yeah. I love being a Canadian! 

Thursday 10 June 2021

Nobody Wins!

If you are a friend and don’t believe in vaccines, don’t read this as you may get upset. If you aren’t a friend, I don’t care if you get upset.


Today, this afternoon I will get my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I am pretty excited about it. After today, well in a few weeks I will have as much immunity as it is possible to cram into my blood stream. It doesn’t mean that I will never get Covid, it just means that when I get it I will be sick for a while and not dead for ever.


For the most part, I have had little impact from this global pandemic. I am a retired, old guy who didn’t go anywhere much even in the good times. I like home and I feel that those people who can improve my life will somehow find me when I need them or they need me. I have lost a friend who passed due to Covid and I have another friend that has been in the hospital since late April. His prognosis is guardedly good for recovery but he will have to relearn how to walk and talk. For a guy that spent his life walking and talking it will be a struggle for him at first, but he is strong and I know he will pull through.


I know there are people out there that are hesitant about getting the vaccine but I just don’t really understand why. It may be that they just have yet to be touched personally by the disease, it could be that they believe the governments of the world are using this opportunity to gain control over their populations. Maybe, they don’t feel they should be putting foreign substances in their bodies. It could be that they never get sick and figure that Covid is just another flu which their superior genes will defeat as they always have. It could be that they have been listening or watching right wing wacko personalities and embrace what they have been saying. Perhaps the world they live in is so small that any change is immediately suspect. Maybe they just haven’t given enough thought to the issue. I don’t know…


The governments of the world are not that subtle. If they want to control the population there will be tanks driving down the streets and soldiers with machine guns on every corner. Most of us put foreign substances in our bodies every time we eat store bought or restaurant prepared food. The virus is a foreign substance that doesn’t belong in our bodies and the vaccine is the only way to get rid or it unless you are lucky enough to be one of the few with a natural immunity. Do you feel lucky? Those right wing DJ’s you listen to have read a bunch of articles on viruses whereas the doctors have spent a lifetime studying immunology and more than likely are much more intelligent than you or I. If your world is that small, come out into this frightening world and be assured that for the most part you will be looked after. ( At least here in Canada)


I have always believed that modern medicine improves my life. I have received shots for Polio, rabies, tetanus, tuberculosis, influenza, measles and other diseases that I couldn’t spell or pronounce. So for in my nearly seventy years of life I have not been sick to death from Polio, rabies, tetanus, tuberculosis, influenza, measles and other diseases that I couldn’t spell or pronounce. I am sure there are other seventy year old people out there that can say they are still alive and they never got any of those illnesses either. True, but there are far more of us that did get inoculations still alive than those that didn’t.


Get the Covid shot or don’t get the Covid shot, it seems as if it will be your choice. If I were running the world you wouldn’t have a choice, but I am just a retired old fart that wants to see his grand kids get married and have children of their own. Most of the time when I disagree with someone it is just a disagreement and at the end of the day they go their way and I go mine with no one convincing the other that they were wrong. With this particular issue, I don’t have to win the argument, I just have to cry  when they die.


Nobody wins!

Monday 7 June 2021

Anything to Worry About

I can remember the difficulty we had in picking names for our yet to be born children. Out of the millions of names that are available there are only so many that you like the sound of and lets face it, you are going to be yelling that name every day for at least 18 years. You may not know what names you like, but you are very sure about the ones you don’t like.


Part of the problem is that sometimes you are absolutely positive that the baby will be a boy because all of the signs point that way and the indications from all the old wives tales point one way or another. It turns out that babies can’t read the signs and aren’t old wives. Even if you guessed right, often when that little darling shows it’s face the name you picked just doesn’t fit the personality. Oh, I forgot that also into the mix is that you can’t pick a name that kids in the school yard will make fun of so shorten into something approximating a swear word. We ended up picking names that probably got the kids beaten up or at least ridiculed. I was a fan of Lord of the Rings!


I don’t know why I was named Kenneth, I guess I should have asked mom or dad while they were still alive. The biblical meaning is handsome and “ken” means to know. I’ve seen new born babies and although somewhat cute there is no way you could say they were handsome. I just did a Google search for famous Kenneths from the fifties, but no one is really a standout. When I was in grade 3 or 4 there were five Kennys in the class so I have to assume there was some famous Ken and I will never know who it is.


I was born Kenneth but for most of my childhood and until mom passed away I was known as “Kenny”. The banks, my employer, lawyers and all government departments know me as Kenneth. For the rest of the world I am Ken. There was a time in my twenties when a guy I worked with called me Dave and I never bothered to correct him. About three months passed and one of our coworkers asked him why he called me Dave and not Ken. He was a little miffed that I just let him go on, but we both knew who he was talking to.


Or current Premier in Alberta is Jason Kenney and I don’t think I will get much of an argument when I say that he is a humungous asshole. Well, I might from other right wing assholes, but not by anyone that I respect. I tend to live and let live, just hoping that the son-of-a-bitch will be assassinated, get sick and die from Covid or just stare up into the sky when it’s raining and drown. Yep, I a glass is half full kind of guy.


A couple of weeks ago my wife got a package I the mail with a cup inside. On the cup was the slogan “FUCK YOU KENNEY”.


Now, I know that my name is spelled Kenny and Louise always calls me “Ken” or “hey you” or “stupid” or “my first husband”, but is more than a little unnerving to walk into a room and see her drinking from a cup that says “FUCK YOU KENNEY”.


I am sure I don’t have anything to worry about.



Thursday 3 June 2021

Underwear, Escalators and Zombies

How long does underwear last?


That is a trick question, for some people a year or two is the answer, others figure a decade or two just about covers it and my way of thinking is that when there is no longer elastic on the waistband and holes worn out where the hole goes, then it is time to start thinking about replacements. I have also had to factor in that my ass has been getting larger over the years and it is now like putting ten pounds of fat in a five pound bag.


For the past couple of weeks I have been searching internet sites to find the elusive inexpensive, high quality, perfect fitting underwear. There are lots of options to pick from, but as we all know not all underwear fits the same. I have some bargain basement brand that for some inexplicable reason keeps moving further down my ass like I was some teenage hip hopper dickhead. So NO to that brand. Really, no to all brands other than Stanfields.


I mulled over making my own underwear, but I am not sure I could. Knowing me I would make it out of the cheapest fabric I could find. I am sure I would get used to burlap skivvies, but with brown cloth it would be impossible to see if I had a fart or a wet fart. The loose weave would give the boys nice air circulation I suppose.


Stanfields has been in business since 1856, is Canadian and I have to think they know what they are doing when it comes to underwear. I have been happy with their product for several decades and with any luck the underwear that I bought today will be covering my ass when I am laying in a coffin. The only thing I don’t like about the underwear is that the picture of the guy on the package is a little intimidating. There is no way I can match that guy’s package. I am going to have to keep it out of sight or I  will be reduced to tears of inadequacy.


Today I drove Louise to the doctors, and while she was being poked and prodded I popped into THE BAY to pick up some underwear. I don’t know why, but the Menswear Department is always on the second floor at THE BAY, so I headed to the  up escalator. It was making odd grinding noises and it has been a while since I stepped onto any escalator but I am pretty sure that wasn’t a normal sound. I stepped on and travelled back in time to when I was little and had to hold mom’s hand when I stepped onto any escalator. What a marvelous invention! Just like stairs but effort free. Can you imagine what people thought of the first escalators? Adults had to be cool, but us kids would go up one side and then run to the down side and then back up again. There was/is no down side! Well, there was but… I always loved it when the escalator was empty and I could walk down the up escalator or up the down escalator and stay in the same place . Well, until one of the sales staff told me to get off.

So, now I have four pair of Stanfields the I can put into rotation. I might just leave them in the wrapper in case I ever need pristine underwear. If the Zombie apocalypse happens then I will be able to run for my life in clean underwear. If I am surrounded by Zombies then I can soil clean underwear.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Ink…Pencil…Contact List…Memory

I realized just lately that I only remember three or four phone numbers, my home and cell numbers, my buddies home number and Louise’s cell…on a good day. For all of the other numbers that I use on a regular basis, I rely either on speed dial or my contacts list. I have a digital address book on my computer and on my cell I have all of the numbers that I could possibly need. If there is a number that somehow isn’t in my contact list then I just have to Google the person or business.


I suppose that with aging and potential lapses of memory this is a good thing. I am not convinced that I will be able to remember just how to access those contact lists, but then I wouldn’t be able to find a hard copy address book either. Hopefully, the people I need to talk to will willingly call me to either check up on my health or to verify that I have yet to die which may just be the same thing.


It wasn’t always like this. There was a time that I had thirty or forty phone numbers memorized. Of course there was no other option. If you wanted to call someone and were at home you would have an address book on the telephone table with the white and yellow page phone books provided free to every household in the country. The memory came into effect when you were out and about trying to track down your buddies that took off somewhere without letting you know. I always carried a few dimes so that I could call one friend or another that might know where everyone went.


I bought a wallet that came with a very small “little black phone book” that fit neatly into one of the card slots. I liked to think that I could fill it with the phone numbers of  girls that were attracted by my good looks and smooth patter. I think we all know that I filled it with those numbers I had trouble remembering, work and other business numbers that I needed from time to time.


A person’s life can be measured by the phone books that he uses at certain ages. A young friend recently moved from Calgary to Vancouver in September of 2020. We had to change the address in the book. In February there was another address change within Vancouver. We had to change the address in the book. A couple of days ago we found out that there would be yet another address change and we will have to change the address in the book. Young people move around and it takes a while for them to settle.


Because of this, I looked at some of our old address books and found that many addresses were written in pencil, erased and written in again. The names were written in pen, but the addresses and phone numbers were subject to change. Back in the day you couldn’t take your phone number with you always so often the number changed with the address.. I had one friend that I would put a replaceable strip of paper over the address and number lines because the paper itself was wearing out. That little black book I was talking about is almost illegible because I carried it in my wallet in a humid back pocket for years and the names and numbers blurred together on the pages that touched.


I had a special “work” little black book that I kept co-workers numbers in. . I didn’t often have to call them but it helped when I needed names to go with the faces. It was a nice find when preparing to write this blog, remembering some of the people I had forgotten. I carried it in my mailbag and it also had the office number in case some “Postal” emergency happened, like a vicious dog attack, injury or the need to be talked down from killing a customer.


Most people are written in ink these days as friends and family seem to be more stable. Any changes with the old farts can be handled with “white out”. I guess I will soon have to start writing the grand kids addresses in pencil because you can bet that I will be calling them, not the other way around. Their lives will be far too busy being lived and how will they be able to fit old Poppa in to the busy days.


So, what are you? Ink, pencil, contact list or memory?