Excuse Me, I’m A Rookie Hockey-Dad

My Takes

It’s been a couple of weeks since my two oldest sons started their foray into the hockey world and I am still lukewarm about this venture.   Coming from soccer to this organized mayhem, it’s a shock to the system.  Maybe next season, if there’s a next season, all that would change and I’ll plunge headlong into being a full-blooded hockey dad.  For now, let’s just go with lukewarm.

“Why don’t you like it?” You might ask.  “After all it’s fun.  The parents are very friendly and willing to help when needed, so why don’t you like hockey, Carlos?”  Maybe I’m cheap? I never thought I was but after paying a high price to sign up for this fun sport, I thought I was done dishing out the coin.  Not even close.  I didn’t reckon on the game ice fee and the jersey fee and the…

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Why Our Kids Lose Or Misplace Their Stuff

Ever wondered why your kids are always losing or misplacing their stuff? Well read this.

My Takes

During the first week of school, our 5 year-old came home without his jacket.  How does one forget their jacket that they wore to keep warm? Wouldn’t the sudden drop in temperature be an instant reminder?  Apparently not to these kids who lose their gloves on the coldest of days.

I asked Treyton to check his school lost-and-found as I had no time to drop by his school to look myself.  He claimed that he did but it wasn’t there.  That was in September.  A week ago, I got a call from his school that he didn’t have a lunch.  Yes, he forgot it at home.  I went to his school bringing him MacDonald’s.  While there, I took the opportunity to inquire about his missing jacket.  I was sent to look in the lost-and-found.  It wasn’t hard spotting his jacket almost immediately.  I also saw one that looked suspiciously familiar…

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Best Halloween Prank

The boys in their costumes

If you know me well, you would know that I love a good prank.   So it was no surprise that when my brother called me from the airport this evening to let me know he was in the city, I immediately went along with him in his devious plan to surprise our mom.  Mom was at my house with Amie’s parents handing out candies while we took the boys trick or treating, with people in costume walking up to the house, it was the perfect condition for a good prank.  We decided that he would pretend he was a robber disguised as a trick-or-treater.  Unfortunately, and sadly, I was not at home when Sheldon dropped by but he gave me a play-by-play which was later confirmed by the victims of the prank.

Apparently, Sheldon walked in the door dressed in a balaclava and sunglasses.  Amie’s mom, Rose, was at the door doing candy duty.  He walked in, locked the door behind him and announced he was a robber and was robbing them.  Rose, trying to maintain a cool composure, told him there were kids outside waiting for candies and he should open the door.  Sheldon proceeded inside and grabbed hold of my mom’s arm asking for her money.  She yelled for him to get out and commanded Gilles, Amie’s dad to get the gun.  (there was no gun). Gilles himself hid in the kitchen and stayed out of sight.

It was a great prank but good thing he ended it when he did as Rose later stated that she was gearing up to kick him down the basement stairs.


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My Crazy Saturday

Today was crazy!  With 3 young boys, chaos is the norm in my household.  With 3 young boys in sports, this chaos takes on a whole new meaning.  Take this morning for instance…

Kenyan had an 8:15am hockey practice but needed to be at the rink at 7:45. Mikhail had his first hockey game in the south end of the city at 11am but had to get there an hour early.  Treyton, not to be outdone, also had an indoor soccer game starting at 10:45am.  This was at the northern part of the city.  To make it chaotic, the wife had to be out of town so I was on my own.

We were all up at 6:30.  Our 15 year-old International student, Hanna, offered to come with us to help out.   We got to the first rink on time and without incident.  Well almost without incident.  While there, Mikhail realized he did not bring his game jersey so I went back home and got it.  Good thing the practice was a few blocks from home.  I left Hanna and Mikhail to watch Kenyan while Trey and I went to retrieve the forgotten item.  Later in the afternoon, I also had to take Hanna to Amie’s aunt’s place.  Her aunt was taking her to her first ever football game.

As soon as Kenyan’s practice was over, I literally snatched him off the ice and whisked him in and out of the change room, then took off to Mikhail’s game.  The venue was very close to where my mom lived so I to picked her up on the way so she could provide some adult supervision and assist Hanna who agreed to stay with Mik while I get Trey to his soccer game.  One parent seeing my plight or maybe the stress on my face, offered to help him with his gear.  I grabbed Treyton and ran!

We made it on time.  It was definitely a coffee morning but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  No time to stand in line or wait in a Saturday morning drive thru.  Treyton played a heck of a game and I was settling into the tail end of my stressful day.  His game ended 15 minutes earlier than Mikhail’s was scheduled to end but the drive to Mik’s game was about 20 minutes.  I grabbed him like a kidnapper as soon as he stepped off the field and made a mad dash to the change room.  “Just your shoes, we have no time!” I ordered.  I was doing good for time until the water bottle.  He couldn’t find it!  We finally did find it but it was broken!

While driving, I decided to call the wife to check in.  She informed me that her cousin had called and needed me to get Hanna to her house at 1:30pm so they could catch the game bus.  Too bad I didn’t know this before or I would have gotten the girl to dress in her game clothes as the cousin’s house was 3 minutes away from where she was watching Mikhail’s game.

Back to my house, back to the south end of the city then back to my house for the final time.  2:15pm!  Ahhh…coffee!

And a blog!

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New Hockey Parents On The Block

Hockey mikMeet the block’s newest hockey mom and dad! Albeit a tad unwillingly.  Amie and I weren’t exactly bursting at the seams to put the boys in hockey.  We wanted them to learn how to skate but wanted to steer clear of hockey and all the ‘fun’ things it brings.  Expensive fees, overzealous hockey moms and dads, hectic schedules, no, we wanted none of that.  Especially not when soccer was so much cheaper and played during the summer when one could enjoy the outdoors.  Unfortunately, you can’t keep a kid from playing what he wants to play and that’s how we ended up in the middle of U9 hockey tryouts.

Mikhail and Kenyan are both signed up for their first year of hockey. Neither of them have had nothing more than a few hours of community public skating under their belts.  Mikhail, because of his age had to tryout to determine where he would be placed depending on his skating and puck handling ability. Lol.

On Sunday, I took him to the rink having no clue what to expect, being a virgin hockey parent and all.  I got him all suited up and released him into the care of the coaches and evaluators.  I later learned that he was as surprised as I was.  We were expecting kids at all levels to be among those trying out for placements but no, the gate opened and out skated about 40 kids plus 1.  They were gliding around the ice as if they were born doing it.  I groaned inwardly and felt bad for subjecting my little guy to this.  I imagined how he must have felt as each routine was introduced, with increasing difficulty level.  Stick handling around pylons, one-on-one races, puck handling, skating backwards.

I was extremely proud of the kid for sticking it out like a trooper.  With grim determination, he plodded around the ice trying to obey the evaluator’s commands as best as he could.  I must admit that he was stronger than his daddy was at that age. I would have found a way to sneak off that ice, never to return. I would have been so angry at my parents for subjecting me to such utter embarrassment. Not Mikhail.  He lasted until the end and when it was finally over, he voiced his thoughts.  “Dad! they paired me up with a professional!  It wasn’t fair. I could barely skate and they paired me up with him.”  No, he did not want to go back.

Unfortunately, he had to return to the scene of the crime today for phase 2.trying for the A1 team.  He was even more reluctant to go and asked about missing it.  Of course we said no.  He was glad we did and we were glad we did.  The marked improvement in his skating and confidence was noticeable by all.  He was turning without falling and seemed much better on his skates.  the kid is going to be just fine.  Not so sure about his parents though…

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When My Kids Make Me Shut Up

I am blessed with three of the most smart-ass kids that I have ever met. Every word that I say has to be carefully analyzed and scrutinized before I say it.  I have to make sure I have explanations prepared for their comebacks.  If not, I would be caught flat-footed and wordless, like I was today.

Today was our Communion ceremony in church.  I went with Kenyan the 7-year old.  As the ‘wine’ was being passed out, I explained to Kenyan that it symbolizes the blood of Christ.  Being a parent, this was also an excellent opportunity to use this to my advantage.  “When you take it, it’s like having his blood in you so you will be nicer to your brothers, your parents and others too.”  His reply was immediate. “It doesn’t work for Mikhail”, referring to his 9-year old brother who has had communion before.  I shut up.

Hours later and back at home, Treyton, the baby at 5-years old, called Mikhail a jerk.  I immediately reminded him that it was on the list of words that we don’t say.  Like his brother, his response was without hesitation.  “Well mommy said it before.  If it’s not illegal for adults then it’s not illegal for kids either.”  Again I shut up.  Kids!

He was right but he was also wrong.  There are certain things that are not exactly ‘illegal’ for kids but maybe not ‘appropriate’ for kids.  Certain movies, words, foods and drinks are some of them.  Saying this though, just imagine what a world it would be if the things that we deemed inappropriate for kids, also remained inappropriate for adults too.  In the words of the great Sam Cooke, Oh What A Wonderful World This Would Be.

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Grandma Doesn’t Like Papa!

I sat in the boys’ room early Monday morning before I left for work to let them know that they would be having a sitter for the day.  Trey was excited.  “Is it Shay?” He asked, Thinking it was their favorite sitter Shay, who has been their sitter since they were born.  “No, it’s Papa,” I said, trying to drum up some excitement in my voice.  It didn’t work.  “I don’t like Papa babysitting us!” 5-year-old Treyton said with a pout.  “He just sits there and don’t let us do anything fun!” He added.  I tried to explain that Papa was fun but with a serious voice Trey added, “Even Grandma doesn’t like him!”  “Oh really, Treyton?”  “Yes, I am serious, Grandma doesn’t even like him!”  Nuff said kiddo.

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Ten Years Already?

Oh Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day!

Last Thursday marked ten years since Amie and I exchanged vows in front of friends, family and Father Henry in an old Anglican Church. I am not sure if it was a hot day or I was just sweating because it was a BIG day.  Let me take you back…

As I waited in church for my bride to make her appearance, my Attention Deficit Disorder kicked in. I started to think, Do you really know what you are doing? Is she the one?  What if she’s late? Or worse, doesn’t show? Who is that man/woman? Can’t remember inviting so many people.  Why are black on one side and whites on the other? What if I faint? I have heard of grooms fainting. Oh here she comes…

I didn’t faint and I didn’t forget my lines.  Everything went perfect and it is still the best day of my life in every way.  Throughout those years, we have experienced a lot.  Three homes, three kids, one for each house, two dogs, eleven International students, one Foster son, trips, sadness, joys and pain and illness scares.  So many things have happened in that ten years that I ask, ‘Where has the time gone?’

As we celebrate what passed, we look ahead forward to the future.  The uncertainties, plans coming to fruition…  It’s a journey with a lot of blind corners but with my very able and capable co-pilot with me, we will navigate through whatever obstacles lie in our way.

Happy Anniversary baby cakes!

House #1

House #1

House #2

House #2

House #3

House #3

3 handsome boys

3 handsome boys

I said 3 handsome boys!

I said 3 handsome boys!

Lots of fun times!

Lots of fun times!

Fun times!

Fun times!

Still together!

Still together!

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Memories Of My Centenarian Granny, Part II

Note:  Last week, my grandmother hit another milestone.  She tied her own mother in terms of longevity.  I spoke to her for her birthday and she boasted that she is the eyes of her daughter, my aunt Ermine.  “I still does thread the needle my boy.” She related.  “I do the reading for Ermine too because her eyes not too good.”  To commemorate her birthday, I dug up this blog that I wrote when she turned 100.  Here’s hoping that Nenny lives to see many more birthdays in good health.  What a blessing!

Nenny, as my grandmother is affectionately called by her children, grandchildren and villagers alike, celebrates her 100th birthday today, June 22nd.  No one in the family is surprised.  After all, her mother, my great grandmother, lived to 103.  Up until the day that she died she was still gardening and tending to her bananas and other crops.   Nenny is healthy for the most part and walks about 3 miles to church every Sunday.

I have many treasured memories of Nenny as a kid.  Her story telling was legendary among her grandchildren.  No one could bring a story to life like Nenny and even though we requested them nightly, we would still get the chills and cower in fright as she told us a jumbie, (ghost) story about some dead person coming back to avenge their untimely death.  Our favorites were the stories told about a cunning spider called Brer Anancy who would tricked the other animals to get whatever he wanted.  They were appropriately called Nancy stories.  Every Caribbean kid fortunate enough to have a grandparent tell them these stories, loved them.  We never got tired of hearing how Brer Anancy tricked Brer fox.  Nenny would also share her growing up stories with us and we enjoyed sharing in her memories just as much as she obviously enjoyed sharing them.

Some nights, Nenny just wanted to sleep but us kids had other plans for her.  We would beg and beg until we finally learned how to trick her into telling us a story.  One of us would start re-telling one of her favorite stories and intentionally messed it up.   Nenny would get so annoyed at this that she would interrupt with ‘That not how it goes!” “It is!” We would reply. “How does it go then?” She would then correct us and before she realized it, would be deep into telling the story.  We would look at each other and smile conspiratorially.

Coupled with her penchant for telling stories and a hard worker, Nenny also possessed one of the most colorful vocabularies of anyone I know, complemented with a great set of lungs.  She could cuss  you out in any shade you prefer and it could be heard for miles.  (Apparently, this is something she inherited from her mom and maybe a secret ingredient to long life).  Her use of profanity was also well known and shyness was not one of her weaknesses.  Young, old, black, white, rich or poor, no one was exempted.  (The poor Governor). If one of us did something wrong, Nenny would verbally tear a strip off us, dropping F- bombs like it was Hiroshima all over again.   Even though she never hesitated to go ballistic on us, she would not tolerate anyone else taking the same  liberties. No way! Not her grand kids.  If Nenny called us idiots, don’t mistakenly think you could too.  Many learned that lesson the hard way.  Nenny never hesitated to put on her fighting gloves and go to war for us.

Nenny had her own quotes for everything. “Bwoy, ah way oil ah oil yo?” was often used when I was misbehaving. It simply meant, ‘Boy, what is the matter with you?’  “Play Play does bring belly” meant that too much playing could result in someone getting pregnant. “Leave me ah Jesus feet” was one she used to tell us to leave her alone.  “Yo ah a watch me like how Johnny ah watch town basket” was one I never quite figured out. I know Johnny but not exactly sure what a ‘Town Basket’ is.

I remember Nenny would accompany us to dances and fetes and wait outside until they were over then walk us home.   She would bring a flashlight to guide us through the pitch-black darkness of the 3 mile walk home.  We would never get embarrassed by her escort. Well except for this one time when my cousin took too long to leave the dance hall and Nenny asked the doorman to let her in and walked around the dance floor looking for my cousin.  She found her slow dancing and untangled her from her partner and escorted her outside.  That was Nenny.

In her 90’s, my grandmother detested clothing that made her look her age.  “Yo tink me old!” She would often say when we tried to dress her in age-appropriate clothing.  She wore high heels and dresses and enjoyed the comments from her fellow church goers on how young she looked in her stylish attire.  She would often comment, “Did you see sikkay bikkay ah wear de same frock like mine?”  (Sikkay Bikkay was her code for anyone whose name she didn’t want to say). Yes, but you wore it better, Nenny, even though she was more than half your age.

Nenny is the consummate matriarch of  the family.  She is like the queen on her throne. the family revolve around her. It’s a blessing when someone lives to see 100.  It’s an even bigger blessing that in my 40’s, I still have my grandmother alive and well.  Incidentally, both my grandmothers are alive.

Nenny, thanks for all the stories and memories.  We hope that you will stick around for a few more birthdays.  Today, you will be in the presence of the Governor General and other dignitaries so please use restrain.   As you would tell us when we talked too much, ‘Piece ah yo tongue war clip!’

Happy 100th Birthday Nenny!!  Say hi to Sikkay Bikkay for me.

Nenny, (left) and her daughter


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Goodbye Uncle Rolly

Uncle Rolly was a good man. Great with the kids even though he had none of his own and just fun to be around.  I first met him when we took a family road trip out to Beautiful British Columbia some years years.  It was my first time out that way and it was very memorable.  Some of those moments were spent with Uncle Rolly.

He was Amie’s uncle but treated her more like a daughter than a niece. We enjoyed being around Uncle Rolly so much that we seriously thought of packing up and moving closer to him, especially since he had split up from his wife and moved to Vernon, living all alone.  On our last visit in the summer of 2014, he tried very hard to sell us on the idea of moving. Even offering to help us with the down payment.  We were leaning towards the idea but then I got a great job and it went on the back burner.  Temporarily.

Unfortunately, mere months after we left him, Uncle Rolly was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.   How was this possible?  When I first met him, he introduced me to some healthy options.  Eating oatmeal and blueberries daily plus fresh fruits and vegetables but here he was, stricken, with no regards to his healthy lifestyle.

Rolly was determined to beat this illness.  He promised Amie that he would but we feared the worse.  The worse came early on Monday morning.  Uncle Rolly was down for the count.  A good man, brother, uncle, friend.  Gone but not forgotten.

Goodbye Uncle Rolly, rest in peace.  We will miss you. A lot.


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