Not From Toronto

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

and now, minivan thoughts

Yes, the dreaded minivan. Not even a year ago my wife and I were in full agreement that we never wanted a minivan. Now, we're all but shopping for one. Why? Well, with our current vehicle we can *just* fit five people in it, and that's a pretty tight squeeze in the back. As a family of four, it can just barely hold the luggage (and equipment) we need for a weekend trip, or luggage enough for a week long trip to California. In short, it's serving us well, but we're at its limits.

What's more, if I do get into school, my wife wants to do some child care at home to earn some money, and unless we trade in for a vehicle that can seat 6 or more, that would sentence her to being stuck at home, or trying to corral 4 kids onto the city bus system. Not going to happen. Thus, we're starting to look at minivans, in the eventuality that I get into school. (Gotta love this waiting, huh?)
MrSka @ 08:50 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

laptop thoughts

I've been in contact with the university, and hopefully I should know whether I'm doing a year of school or looking for a new job sometime next week. It's getting down to the wire - the program starts on September 12th - and there's lots of ground to cover between now and then. I have to confirm that my parents are willing and able to front the tuition, I have to arrange some kind of loan that will cover my family's living expenses between the start of school and when I can next find employment, and I have to figure out what computer I'm going to get. Over the past couple of days, it's this latter issue that has been at the forefront of my mind.
MrSka @ 12:08 AM EST [Keep reading...]

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

this is my cat on drugs

For the past couple of years, our littlest cat has periodically peed on the carpet. Usually we've chalked it up to poor litter maintenance (which is now being dealt with daily), but after leaving the cats alone for nearly two weeks to go to California, he peed profusely, and has done so even after our return. Knowing that it could be medical condition making him do so, we finally took him to the vet today. Diagnosis - behavioural problem. So starting Monday, he's going on antidepressants. Go figure, huh?
MrSka @ 09:01 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

anybody have an at-cost source?

I'm still waiting to hear whether or not I get into school for September. If I do, I may need to purchase a wireless-enabled laptop. (Yes, the one my wife has would do very nicely, but it would also mean that she is without a computer for 95% of any given week. Not fair, I think.) Ideally, I'd like to get an Apple laptop of some kind, but if the price is right I'd go for a PC laptop instead.

So - who has friends/relatives/roommates/family members in legitimate places (as opposed to low places) that can get me a deal on a laptop? Anyone know of any places/programs that will apply a discount if it's for educational purposes? What PC laptops are good, and which are to be avoided at all costs?

Oh... and anybody got some spare lottery winnings sitting around, while I'm asking?
MrSka @ 04:15 PM EST [Keep reading...]

weapons of mass profanity

One thing I noticed very quickly when I arrived at this company is the propensity for certain members of engineering to swear, not just openly but quite frequently as well. The cuss of choice around here seems to be the F-bomb, although other common profanities are peppered throughout the ongoing dialogue as well. Even the president lets a "shit" slip out now and again. (Boy, that would mean something else entirely without those quotes, huh?)

Most regretably, the direct impact it's having is that I'm starting to swear more. I knew that there would be a tendency to do so, and have been both hoping and trying to avoid it, but I'm a creature of my surroundings, and I too am now an F-bomb dropper.
MrSka @ 02:46 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

what I ate on my summer vacation

That could very well be the title for my friend's blog, where he's been detailing his 2-week business trip to China. That's not criticism on his blogging, just an interesting observation. Plus, I thought the title was hillarious.

Mike, if you're reading, keep the blogging up! I'm finding it to be an interesting insight into an aspect of China that I'll likely never see. (Along with all the other aspects, but you know what I'm getting at.)
MrSka @ 03:03 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Friday, July 15th, 2005

cleaning while I wait

My flight from LA was fairly uneventful, and I managed to get home just before 1am EDT. I did get in to work yesterday, but much later than my normal time. There was no way I was going to do a full workday on not enough sleep.

Now that I'm home alone for a while, I'll clean up so my family comes home to a clean house (which will be a very big positive for my wife, and contribute to her mental health), and wait to hear whether I get to go back to school or not.

MrSka @ 02:16 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

homeward bound, COD

Today was the start of end of the mourning process. My M-I-L's ashes were laid at sea off of her sailboat, along with the ashes of her favourite cat from days gone past. So dealing with her body is done with, but dealing with the memories of her will last many years hence, I'm sure.

Tomorrow, I'm coming home.
MrSka @ 10:54 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

visitation, unrelated pet peeve

Today was the visitation. It was very intimate... there were only seven of us, including my son and daughter. My daughter took it quite well - she was a little bit scared at first (although she was still smiling), but after a while sort of warmed up to the situation. The gummy bears and cookies probably helped.

After the visitation, it was decided beforehand that we would go to dinner to one of her favourite restaurants, which also happened to be quite close to the funeral home. From that point, the evening unwound fairly predictably, leaving me rather aggravated. (Having no patience, it takes less these days.)
MrSka @ 01:02 AM EST [Keep reading...]

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

like the Beatles said, it's getting better

I must admit, I get somewhat embarassed both when I think of what I said the other day, and when someone calls me on it. As I said, however, the grieving process is my wife's and this blog is mine. This is where I come to deal with issues - by nature they will seem too self-centered than the situation(s) may allow.

What I wrote last was after a terrible afternoon. My daughter's knee hurt so much she couldn't walk, my son was grumpy, and once again I was left behind with kid duties as the others went out. Hopefully, it will be as low as this entire process gets. Things have been much better since, and improving, but still far from perfect. At least today I don't feel like demanding a ticket for Sunday night.

And thanks for all the feedback, encouragement, advice... Most of it I know in my heart, it's just a difficult time for all involved, and I'm not dealing well with being so far out of my element. Rest assured the imbibement isn't going to turn into a nasty habit, and that I'm not going to unload on my wife or in-laws during their lowest moments. NFT is my place to vent, and I've vented. The process continues, and things are improving. As my wife and I are fond of saying, "This too shall pass."

MrSka @ 01:01 AM EST [Keep reading...]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

it's not about me, but I'm still involved

Before people start judging me too harshly, let me clarify that the death of my mother-in-law is not all about me and my needs. I am fully aware of that and totally agree with it as well. That being said, this is my forum for my thoughts and feelings, and it is likely much more constructive to vent here than it would be to selfishly commandeer my wife's grieving process in order to serve my lesser needs. Thus, here it's all about me.

And sadly, there's some venting that needs to be done.
MrSka @ 06:43 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

the fireworks will remind us

On one hand, I got to see not only Canada Day fireworks, but Independence Day fireworks as well. Sadly, it took my mother-in-law's death to get me down to California to see the latter.

Things seem to be progressing here, although I'm decidedly out of the loop. It's frustrating for me, being yanked from my regular work routine and shoved into childcare duty. Don't get me wrong, I know that it's what I have to do and need to do for all involved, but I really feel like I'm not contributing in the ways that I could be if allowed to do so... cook, do laundry, vacuum, that sort of thing. It's not glamourous, but it's something that needs to be done. Ah well... there are worse things than being forced to spend time with my kids.
MrSka @ 04:14 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Saturday, July 2nd, 2005

we're off

In just over 13 hours from now, we'll be on a plane to Los Angeles. Word of my mother-in-law's sudden passing has spread quite quickly, but unfortunately I haven't really been able to tell people much, other than the basics. I have no idea when I'll be back (or my wife and kids, for that matter), I have no idea what arrangements have been made, if any, and... well, I was going to say that I'm unprepared, but who can be prepared for such an event?

Somehow I managed to get someone to look after our cats, someone else to pick up our mail (including the all-important reference letter I'm waiting on), and even figure out what all we need to pack. Of course, there's the issue of what to do with all the fresh fruit we bought recently... stupid thoughts like that.

I'll write more from L.A.
MrSka @ 12:44 AM EST [Keep reading...]

Friday, July 1st, 2005

...and now, not-so-happy.

I just found out not even an hour ago that my mother-in-law passed away at 56. Very suddenly. I'll be in California by tomorrow.

The worst part? We have to figure out how to tell our 4-year-old. Prayers and thoughts are welcome.
MrSka @ 01:48 PM EST [Keep reading...]

Happy Canada Day, all

Ah, Canada Day. For my family that means getting together with some other relatives, having a nice barbequed dinner, our signature Canada Day strawberry angel food cake jello dessert, and then a nice walk down to the fireworks. This year is no different, except that I had to beat the back lawn into submission this morning before the heat got too oppressive.

On an entirely unrelated note, I have a new favourite commercial. It's a Dairy Queen ad, and features two Indian-origin scientists. The first one is making buzzing noises and exclaims to the other (in a wonderfully Indian accent), "It's incredible, I have learned to speak bee!" I don't know why, but that line alone profoundly tickles my funny bone. The rest of the ad is suitably humourous as well. Now my wife is having to put up with me saying, "It's incredible, I have learned to speak bee!" over and over in my best Indian accent. It's a darned good thing she loves me.

Happy fireworks tonight, everyone!
MrSka @ 11:26 AM EST [Keep reading...]




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