Disaster At Disney


Many, many years ago, when my kids were much younger, I had a momentary bout of insanity, and booked a trip for all 7 of us to go Orlando, and visit Disneyland. 4 nights and 5 days at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and SeaWorld. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I mean, it was November in Ontario, and it was getting cold. Orlando, on the other hand was basking in temperatures in the low 80s. So, we packed, headed to the airport, and began an experience I have never been able to forget.

trip1The excitement started on the flight. My oldest son suddenly developed a fear of heights, and of closed spaces, and had a full blown anxiety attack. He required immediate sedation with some gravol. My youngest daughter, who was 4 at the time, decided that she could now longer sit still, and had to go to the bathroom every few minutes. Back and forth, up and down the narrow aisle, all flight long.. My middle daughter  disliked the food so much, (yes it was still at a time when airlines fed you) she refused to eat. The hunger strike was very short lived, and she began screaming about how hungry she was. She was able to be subdued with chocolate and candies my wife had smuggled aboard.

When we landed in Orlando, we were whisked away by a Disney Shuttle, and taken to our hotel. It was wonderfully surreal, as one of my daughter’s informed us that she was afraid of the costumed characters, that roamed Disney properties like gazelles on the Serengeti, by shrieking hysterically and hiding behind my wife, while implanting her hands into my wife’s leg. The resort was amazing. Our adjoining rooms overlooked the courtyard, the pool, and as luck would have it, a bar. We rested a bit, unpacked, and headed to the pool.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes.”, I told my wife. “I’m going to check the place out.”

My wife don’t even look up.  “If I smell beer on your breath when you get back….”, she said.

“Never mind, then.”, I said. “I’ll be swimming with the kids.”

trip2The following day was spent at Magic Kingdom, where I had to ensure that we avoided all contact with Mickey, Goofy, and all of the other members of the Disney gang. It was exhausting. My sons wanted to go off on their own, I don’t blame them really, I mean, I wanted to go off on my own as well, and they left. There was a 3D movie experience that I wanted to see, and my wife agreed that we should take the kids. Within 5 minutes, my wife and daughters had left the theatre. It seems the sensation of bugs crawling on their legs was too much to bear. I never did see the end of the movie.

We continued our journey through the park. The Jaws ride was closed for repairs, and no one wanted to go on any of the roller coasters. The kids just wanted to go back to the hotel and play in the pool. On the shuttle back to the resort I made a deal with my wife.  As soon as the bus pulled into the hotel, I headed to the bar, wondering what hell on earth I had to endure next.

I didn’t have to wait long. My daughter, who was afraid of the costumed characters, complained that her feet hurt. Apparently her shoes had become too small since we left home. She needed new shoes. Now. I took her to the store in the hotel lobby, and had her look for shoes. She decided that she had to get a pair of grey, fuzzy Disney slippers, and insisted that they would be fine to walk around the rest of the theme parks. It didn’t matter to me, I just wanted to go home.

The 3nd and 4th day were spent at SeaWorld and Epcot. The kids loved SeaWorld, while my wife and I enjoyed Epcot. “We should come back without the kids.”, she said. I agreed, and that night I had my teenage son look after the rest of the kids while my wife and I roamed trip3Epcot. It felt like a Disney commercial. We held hands, laughed, and  ate dinner in a Moroccan restaurant. We watched the fireworks. I drank beer.

The kids were all asleep when we returned to the hotel, so we went out and sat by the pool. “This was the best part of the whole trip.”, my wife said.

“That’s true.”, I replied. “We’re never taking the kids anywhere again. Ever.”

“Agreed.”, she said. “We should come back here without them.”

“To Disney?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she answered. “Look at this place. Its so nice here.”

“It is nice.”, I agreed. “Too bad they let kids in. Want to go get a beer?”

She let out a little laugh, and stood up. “I think so.”, she said.

The flight back was not as bad as the flight down to Orlando. We had pre-sedated the kids, and I drank beer and had a nap on the plane. When we landed in Toronto, we gathered our belongings and headed to Customs. “Anything to declare?”, the official asked.

“Don’t ever travel with your kids.”, I replied. The Customs guy laughed. I let out a heavy sigh, and my wife informed my kids that I was just joking.






Love Bites


My wife and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day in over 25 years. No reason really, except we felt that we should treat each other with love and respect everyday. I could live with the decision to ignore it, as I was rarely on the receiving end of the gift giving process.

My daughters and sons with significant others, took to social media to regale the masses with photos of the wonderful gifts they had received and given on this special day. There were pieces of jewellery, designer bags, and the ever popular flowers. My wife was viewing these images with some delight. “Isn’t that sweet?”, she asked me.

“Very nice.”, I replied, “but it seems a bit much.”

“It is Valentine’s Day.”, she reminded me.

“And?”, I asked for further clarification.

box-of-chocolate-cartoon-clipart-1“Nothing”, she replied. “But I wouldn’t mind a big box of chocolates.”

“We don’t do Valentine’s Day”, I reminded her.

“OK.”, she said. “But I would still like a big box of chocolates. A very big box.”

I suggested that she go to the store and pick up a very big box of chocolates. She sneered at me, with a look that was part derision, and part spite. “But it’s Valentine’s Day.” she stated.

“Do you want me to go get you a box of chocolates?” I asked.

“No it’s okay”, she said.

Now, I know my wife. If I don’t go, she will never let me forget it. There will be tales of this episode as another in a series of how I take her for granted. So, off I went in search of a very big box of chocolates on the afternoon of Valentine’s Day. I located several options quickly, however, the price would have sent my off on a tirade. “Are you crazy?”, she would ask. “Who spends that kind of money on a box of chocolates?”

“But it’s a very big box of chocolates.”, I would reply. But it would be to no avail.

“Take them back.”, she would insist.

So, the search continued. On my next try, I located an industrial size box of chocolates. Very over priced, but nonetheless, I was getting  this. I was tired. On the way home, I stopped at Tim Hortons and picked up her favorite donut, a Boston Cream, and a large coffee, one for her and one for me. I presented her with the offerings, and she eagerly ripped open the box of chocolates.

money-refund-clipart-cliparthut-free-clipart-cykuts-clipart“I hope they weren’t expensive.”, she said.

“A small fortune.”, I replied. “I had to refinance the house to pay for it. But it is a very, very big box of chocolates.”

She spent the evening trying to find the ones she liked the best by tasting them all and putting back the undesirables. She drank her coffee, and ate her donut.

“You really should decide in advance what holidays we will be celebrating.”, I said. “That way you could get me something.”

“Would you like a chocolate?”, she asked.







A Change Is Not As Good As A Rest…..

Every day, since we moved downtown about 6 years ago  I have come home from work and dropped my keys on the wall unit that has stood steadfastly against the wall in the living room. Imagine my surprise when, after dropping my keys, I heard them hit the floor. Something wasn’t right. I turned to retrieve the keys, and noticed, to my shock and dismay, that the wall unit was gone. Gone! Fear swelled giles-wall-unitup inside of me, and I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of dread. “Oh, hell.”, I was to myself, “she’s at it again .”

It happens every few months. My wife decides that she needs to move things. To change things. It starts off slowly, but then, as if possessed by some ancient deity of organization, she goes through the house from top to botto, moving and removing things. This has been going on for years.

“Honey,”, I ask, “where’s then walk unit?”

“I gave it to the kid next door.” , she replied.

“And where is the television and stereo that were on the wall unit?”, I continue.

“Oh, don’t worry”, she advises, “they’re safe”.

It is little comfort to me that things are safe and not where I left them. I anticipate a ransom letter which includes pictures of my stuff in good shape.

“Where is my stuff?”, I ask again.

She must notice that I am becoming agitated in this game we regularly play, and concerned that my stuff is gone. ” You have to stop doing this.”, I tell her. “It’s driving me crazy.”

“I’m sorry.”, she tells me. “But I just get so anxious, so overwhelmed by all of the stuff, by the clutter. I just can’t help it.”

And then it hits me. “Where are the albums and CDs?”, I ask her. “You have to stop moving my stuff around. You should at least talk to me about it, first.”

So, it seems that she moved all of my stuff to the storage room, and left the living room , which had always doubled as the music room, as a shrine to nothingness and emptiness. “Very existential”, I commented.

“No”, she replied, “Minimalist”.

“I want my stuff back.”, I said.

“Tomorrow.”, she replied.


“Tomorrow.”, she repeated. “I ordered a new wall unit. It will be here tomorrow. I also got a new TV that mounts on the wall, and your albums and CDs will fill the wall unit. If you want it. If not, I can cancel the order, get the old wall unit back, and life will be just as it was.”

“It has to stop.”, I told her. “I understand and appreciate what’s going on here, but please, no more surprises.”

” Okay”, she said.

“If you really feel compelled to get rid of things”, I advised, “there are still 2 of our kids here. See what you can do with them.”

The next day, I came home from work, and dropped my keys on the wall unit. The familiar sound not the keys hitting the wooden frame, downloadwas like music to my ears. I turned to look at it, and this was one hell of a set up. Big screen TV, mounted on the wall, CDs and albums filling almost all of the space of this walll long unit. Nice.

I turned to hang up my jacket. “Oh, hell.”, I said. “Not again!”

“Honey.”, I called out to my wife, “Where’s the couch?”






When Worlds Collide


I never knew my father-in-law. He passed away before I even met my wife. I did spend a lot of time with his brothers and sisters, my wife’s uncles, aunts, and her cousins. These are the Spanish-Moroccans.

7931076-sahara-lifestyle-and-camel-caravan-stock-vector-camel-cartoon-desertAt some point in time, the family left Spain, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, and settled in Tangiers.    There are stories told, about the family patriarch, my wife’s grandfather, who died long before she was born. Rumors abound that he may not be who he claimed to be. It is told, around a table, that offers Chicken Tagine and couscous, that he was a foundling, roaming around the Moroccan desert, where he was taken in by a man, who having no children of his own raised him like a son, and gave him his name. No one knows why he was wandering in the desert, or what his name really was.  It gets weirder. After marrying and spawning 9 children, he died after being kicked in the head by a horse.  No one can explain what he was doing to the horse at the time, but I have my suspicions.


One by one, this family left Morocco, with most coming to North America and settling in Buffalo, which, when they tell the story, and they often do, makes me laugh out loud. Of all of the places in The United States, they chose Buffalo. Any way, as they were all uneducated, with cartoonhousepainting1not one finishing high school, they took jobs as factory or warehouse workers. 2 of my wife’s uncles, became house painters. I was informed that they were the best, No body could paint a house like they could. I was shown their work, and it is true, they nailed the green paint in the living room!

As life went on, they all married, and had hoards of children. It was at the wedding of one of these offspring, a cousin to my wife, that I began to understand these people. Now bear with me, as the tale gets quite confusing. It will be difficult to tell the relatives apart, as all of my wife’s male cousins are named Michael and David, and the female cousins are called Lisa or Coty. It is their tradition to name everyone after their parents and grandparents. Even with a program, it is difficult to tell the players apart. I will therefor label them with numerical suffixes.

robberSo, at this wedding, I was able to meet a myriad of dysfunctional Spanish-Moroccans, all related to my wife.   David 1, a successful and prominent financial planner, was not able to attend the wedding, as he was living somewhere in Latin America, after having been charged with extorting several millions of dollars of his clients’ money. When caught, he packed up and vanished. Without a trace. It is worth noting, that he also absconded with monies belonging to his siblings and cousins. He was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement in absentia, and has never been heard from again.


David 2, operated a window sales and installation business. He actually lived just around the corner from me. He had 2 trucks, and what appeared to be a thriving business. While at the wedding, he approached me and informed me that if I ever needed anything, like a TV,  or camera, or jewellery, or fur coat, or stereo, or perhaps a refrigerator, I should let him know. He could get me a great deal. A few weeks later, as my wife’s birthday was approaching, I went to see him at his home, to see what he could get and at what price. He took me downstairs, to the basement to show me his wares. There were closets filled with fur coats, and suitcases crammed with assorted jewelry. There were cases ct-west-side-stolen-goods-ring-20160714of watches, and bins filled with cameras, and video. There were televisions, still in boxes, lined up against the wall. As you probably guessed, David 2 had never installed or sold a window in his life. He sold stolen goods. I don’t know if he was the thief, but he knew where to get stuff. Several years later, he left the country without warning. Rumor has it that he went to prison, but the romantic in me likes to think that he fucked off to Latin America, and is enjoying the sun and surf with his cousin.

Michael 1, a dimwitted insurance salesman, who had been under the care of a psychiatrist for a personality disorder,  had just branched out and opened his own brokerage, specialising in group benefits and accident insurance. During his sales pitch to me, he began making incredibly rude and provocative comments and gestures towards my wife.  It is quite fortuitous that he sold accident insurance, as the ensuing misadventure of my fist striking his face, required  him to be under the care of another doctor. I apologised to my wife, and we left he wedding, amid Spanish squawking.

Joseph, a cousin in law, was insanely wealthy. He was in the clothing business, manufacturing a line of women’s fashion and wholesaling it b9253c5a5b71f0a43b4b876658a365cdout to major, upscale retail outlets across North America. My wife took me to his house once. it was approximately 10,000 sq, ft., with an indoor swimming pool. I actually got lost on my way to use the bathroom. Their dog, who has been trained to locate and retrieve  lost and injured travellers, brought me back to the living room, after giving me some water so I could re-hydrate. About 5 years later, we had heard that Joseph had lost his business, boycotted by his customers for violating several labour and human rights laws in the manufacturing of his products., Seems the putz had factories in the Philippines, and was operating sweat shops. Now he dabbles in the sales of assorted items he imports from China.

Michael 2, one of the house painters, had retired from painting due to back issues. We would go visit them on Saturday afternoons, and he would fall asleep in his chair while talking. His wife, who was 15 years his junior, would often expose herself to me. Everytime she bent over, leaned over, or crossed her legs, I saw things I shouldn’t have seen. It was a regular occurrence, this dinner and a show routine she performed, and I often felt obligated to give her the $20 for the performance. My informed that it was not necessary, unless a lap dance was involved.

1-cartoon_sexy_womanSo, these 2 had opened a prepared food business with both a retail location, and a catering operation. My wife and I went down to the store to visit and to wish them well. My wife never fully believed my tales of Peeler Pearl, but all of that changed when Pearl called me into the kitchen area to see the operation. I went in, with my wife following, and there was Pearl, blouse unbottoned to her navel, no bra, and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains there for the taking. I kind of felt sorry for Uncle Michael, the poor bastard, but he was a mean S.O.B. anyway.

And then there was Aunt Coty, the family witch. The purveyor of potions and spells. The story goes that her husband had upset her by not permitting her to purchase something quite expensive. She put a curse on him, the hex of hexes, and turned him catatonic. The man never moved, or spoke again. He was tube fed, and had round the clock nursing. The official story is that he suffered a massive stroke, and never recovered. The family still talks, in clandestine gatherings, and whispered voices, about Coty’s ability to weave magic. Shortly after my wedding, my wife informed me that Coty had advised her to have a curse put on me that would have me remain in love with my wife forever. All that was required was a pair of my wife’s panties. Ya, pretty weird.

My mother-in-law, who is not Spanish-Moroccan. adores me. To the rest of my wife;s family, I am an outsider. I cant begin to tell you how pleased I am with this. They do not speak English when I am nearby. I wish I could tell them that their conversations, entirely in Spanish, are of no interest to me. My wife, however, insists that I be nice. They are her family. We have been invited to some Spanish-Moroccan event in April, although we are not sure exactly what it is celebrating. I have suggested that it is either the extradition hearing of David 1, or the installation of a stripper’s pole in Michael 2 and Pearl’s retail outlet. Either way, I am not looking forward to it. I have promised not to kick the crap out of Michael 1, provided he abstains from trying to get his hand down my wife’s pants. It is a moot promise at best, I mean, I don’t think he can help himself. And me, well I have been working out on the heavy bag, just in case.




When The Kids Are Away…


Many, many years ago, when the kids were still small, and there never seemed to be any time for us, my wife and I decided to go away, without the kids, for a mini vacation. We arranged for my mother-in-law to stay with the kids, and off we went. We had reservations at a wonderfully small, all inclusive resort about 4 hours north of Toronto, for 3 nights and 4 days of summer fun.

The drive up was surprising relaxing. We took our time, stopping at farmer’s markets, and shops that dotted the highway. We arrived, and images-6checked into our room. There was a king size bed, a jacuzzi tub, and a terrace that, from our 2nd floor room, allowed for a spectacular view of the lake. There were canoes, wind surfers, and sailboats, and there were no kids. Not only my kids, but no kids at all. It was quiet and serene.

We headed down to the beach. “Let’s go for a canoe ride.”, I suggested.

“Okay,”, my wife replied, “but don’t go too far.”

“It’s a lake”, I reminded her. “We can only go as far as the other shore.”

“No, no.”, she pleaded. “We can’t go way out there. Can’t we just stay close to the shore?”

So, off we went, with me paddling, and her holding on to the sides for dear life. As we began to follow the shoreline, she lost sight of the resort. ” We’re too far.”, she shrieked.

brannonlake3-1024“Not really.”, I said. “We just went around a curve.”

“I want to go back.” So we turned around and went back to where she could see the resort. She told me it would be alright if we just paddled back and forth in front of the compound. After 10 minutes of this nonsense, I headed in, and returned the canoe. “Imagine that,”, I said, ” we wasted time putting on the life jackets. We never got out of 2 feet of water.”

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach, drinking beer, and watching canoes, sailboats, and windsurfers disappear across the lake. We returned to the room and changed for dinner. She seemed distant and consumed. “I have to call home.”, she said. “I have to check on the kids.” And why not, I thought, it’s been 12 hours!

Everything was fine. She hung up the phone, and burst into tears. In between the sobs, she was able to tell me that she hated the resort. She didn’t like being so far away from the kids. What if something happened? It would take forever to get home from up here.

I went to the front desk, to see about a refund. None was available. We packed the car anyway, and headed back through the Near North of Ontario, through pine trees and maples, past farms and towns so small they don’t exist on any map. ” I have an idea.”, She said. “What if we find a hotel close to the house and stay there for a few days. It could still be fun, but I’d feel a lot better being closer to the kids.”

 “Correct me if I’m wrong,”, I said, “but wasn’t the whole idea of this trip to get away from the kids?”

“I know.”, she replied. “I just can’t relax being so far away. I’d feel better if we were close to them”

“Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t end up going to Vegas.”, I said.


After driving for 4 more hours, we were having different finding a room on a long, holiday weekend. Several hotels had no vacancies. We were forced to settle on The Emerald Isle Motel, the motel which coincidentally, during my high school days, I had been to with several female classmates, and a blonde French teacher I shall refer to only as Mademoiselle Nips.

When we got into the room, she called her mother to check on the kids. She spent the next 3 days calling her mother and verifying that the children were all still okay. 4 times per day.

We did have some fun, though. We went to Wonderland and Pioneer Village. We visited Klienberg, and St. Thomas. We saw the Elora Gorge, and revisited Centre Island. And through it all, she seemed happy. I, however, just wanted to sail, canoe, and lay on a beach, with a beer in each hand. Over breakfast on the last day, she thanked me for understanding, and for bringing us back to be closer to the kids. She took my hand, and gently squeezing it asked “What time do we have to be out of the room?”

I looked up at her, and she was smiling. “Not yet”, I said.  She winked. Man, how I love that woman.




Well, it finally happened. She’s sick. After 2 weeks of hearing about how she had ‘something in her system’, my wife is officially, undeniably sick. There was a significant amount of proactive warning. downloadThere was talk of  sore glands, and a sore throat, and some coughing, all accompanied by “something brewing’ in her system. She has a cold.

As a result of this untimely illness, I have been doing a lot of work around the house while she lays in bed, and reminds me regularly, that she is sick.  She has been like this for as long as I have known her, warnings of impending illness, and then sick. There is fluid coming out of her nose, and her eyes. I have no idea where all of this liquid is originating from, but it is scary as all hell.  I used to think that she was  hypochondriacal, I mean who knows 2 weeks in advance that they are about a_man_doing_housework_royalty_free_clipart_picture_090909-131226-088009to get sick?  When I once suggested it, she claimed that I was just an ass.    And so, I find myself completing numerous chores on my own, while she rests, and recuperates.

“I don’t feel good.”, she tells me.

“What’s wrong?”, I ask.

“I’m sick.”, she replies.

“I know. Do you want me to do anything to make you feel better?”

“Take care of me.”, she says. “I’m sick.”

I wish I knew what she wanted me to do. I offer tea, and she declines. I offer to make her soup, she doesn’t want any. I offer to give her a sponge bath, and she tells me to put my pants back on. There is just no pleasing this woman when she is sick. So,  I take her temperature, get her tissue, and sit beside her and rub her back or the top of her head, gently stroking her hair.

“How are you feeling?”, she asks me.

“I’m okay”, I tell her.

“You don’t sound okay,”, she responds.

“I’m just a little tired.”, I say. “And how are you doing?”

“Well”, she says, “I’m sick.”

“I know,”, I tell her, rubbing her back.

imagesI really don’t know how she gets sick so often. I suspect that viruses seek her out, like bees to pollen, skipping over the rest of us, and attacking her with a vengeance. The saddest part of it all, is in taking care of her I inevitably get sick. I can never let her know though, as I have always professed my immunity to all things viral. I would never hear the end of it.

And so, I go about my day, and continue to take care of her, even though my throat is killing me, and I think I may have a fever.