Monday, March 29, 2010

I love this city

Having grown up just outside of Halifax, I was fortunate enough to be familiar with the city from a very young age.  My dad was the type of guy that would drive different routes through the city whenever he had the chance and being the observant person I am, I learned pretty quick all the side streets to get me around traffic.

A couple of Saturdays ago, we were fortunate to have a touch of late spring weather in March.  I was lucky enough to have my son that weekend and as a result we spent the majority of the day strolling the city and enjoying a few parks. 

Here are a couple of shots I took in Halifax in March... I am so lucky to live in this beautiful city.

Disconnect, in our connected world

When I think of how much technology has changed in the years since I graduated high school (1995), I am dumbfounded by how far we have come in a relatively short period of time.  In 1995 my family did not own a computer or a cell phone.  Heck we didn't even have a microwave.

And today, kids in the single digits can be seen carrying a cell phone around the neighborhood or with facebook profiles.  I don't agree with that advancement, because there is a loss of innocence to some degree, but even more so are the dangers that come along with having such technology open to just about everyone.

I understand giving your child a cell phone, in the belief that you can always track down your child, but I think about when I was growing up and we never needed a cell phone.  My parents knew all of our neighbors and where we were at all times.  If it was supper time and I wasn't home, my Mom would call the neighbors house and ask for me to come home.  There was no inability to track me down. 

I am sure my opinion will change to some degree when William gets older.  I can already appreciate the thought of being able to call him on times when he is with his Mom, and being able to speak with him whenever I want.  Something I would love at this point in my life.  But I also worry about how easy it would be for him and his friends to have conversations that their parents do not have a chance to over hear because they can take their cell phone out of earshoot of an involved parent.  I was fortunate enough to have a phone in my bedroom, but my house wasn't big so my parents could have heard any conversation if they wanted, or they could pick up another extension too, for that matter.

It all boils down to disconnect, in our connected world.  Parents are allowing more distance between themselves and their kids, in a world where there is already too much distance because of the fast-paced world we are raising our children in.  I hope I can hold on tightly to the snuggle-bum I have now and raise him to be as connected to me in the teenage years, as he is now.

Wow... there was a tangent I didn't think I was going on today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dream Weaver

I am one of those people who can remember their dreams when I wake up, and if I take the time to think about the dream the thoughts will stay with me most of the day. Lately I have had dreams about friends that I haven’t seen or heard from in a while and it got me thinking about how interconnected we all really are.

I have wondered throughout the years about thought-transference and whether it is really possible and happening and no one ever discusses their dreams or thoughts enough to validate whether it’s a common occurrence. Part of me cringes at the thought that someone else may be on the receiving end of my thoughts and could know my feelings, and then part of me kind of likes the thought that they may be sharing the information.

In one of the recent dreams, I ran into a former female co-worker, who I think is easily one of the kindest people I have ever met. I have searched for her on facebook but have had no luck. She had even lived in my neighborhood when I was married, but moved shortly before us, to a new home. The dream was refereshing. I hadn’t thought about her in a long time, so it was very random that she popped into my dream… or was it?

Maybe we were both having that dream. Maybe it was a common thought about not seeing each other in a while, and the conversation we were having was actually us catching up on each other’s lives. Who knows?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I learned if from my Mama

The longer I am a single Dad, the more I respect my Mom for everything she did for my family.

Today for example, I got up got ready for work, ran to pick up some groceries at lunch and put in a full days work.  Came home, made supper, cleaned my dishes (no dishwasher here), ran to the gym, back to the grocery store to pick up eggs and bananas, that I had for gotten earlier, ran a load of laundry, cleaned up couple of rooms, took out the garbage and recycling.  And here it is 10:30 pm and I'm finally sitting down... but it's practically bedtime.  This was a day without William around.

As I sit here I think about my Mom's average day, when I was young.  She was up at least in the six o'clock hour.  She would get her two kids up and fed, get her husband up and ready and all of us out the door.  Drive us to another subdivision to our babysitters.  Some days I would beg her not to leave me there... how heartbreaking would that be?  Then she would work a full day, come home pick us up, make us supper, do the dishes, do a couple loads of laundry and run around doing other daily chores and helping us with homework.  She faithfully read us books and tucked us in at night and had a husband who was not involved in raising his kids.  And not once do I remember her complaining. 

I am just hoping that enough of that has rubbed off on me.  I try hard to maintain the household, doing most of the daily chores when I don't have William, so that our time together is just about us.  And I try not to complain.  Sure we all wish there was less work around the house to be done... but this is the part of life I think I looked forward to in some way.  The part where I build a home for William.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Passing lane hero

Picture it Sicily 1918... no, that's not right.

Picture it, Magazine Hill 9:05am and I'm going 100 km/hour in the right hand lane.  I'm a little late for work, but I have made an arrangement at work to be a few minutes late on those mornings I drop William off at preschool.  And as I look in my side mirror I see a black car coming up in the passing lane easily going 140 km/hour.  Now I'm not one to pretend that I don't speed, in fact the limit along that section of highway is 90.  I have had my speeding tickets before, but never for driving that fast, and not during the end of rush hour traffic into a bottle-neck of a busniess park.

I watch as he flies up next to me and past me and I think about how easily someone would die if they didn't notice him and make their way into the passing lane.  And as I make my way through an overpass I see a police vehicle coming down the ramp from Bedford and think ... if only he had been 30 seconds sooner he would have seen the reckless driver, but the Police are never around when it's an idiot like that, it's always when I'm over the speed limit.  HAHA!

And then I notice the police SUV cutting back and forth through the traffic and I realize that it's not coincidence, but he is in pursuit.  And finally he puts on his cherries (as my Dad would have said) and pulls the driver over to the side of the road.  It's a small victory, one more bad driver losing some money, points on their license and probably their license for a period of time.  And I think to myself that if my son had been in the car, I would have had the conviction to to pull over behind the officer and offer to be a witness if the guy decided to fight the ticket in court.

Who knows, that officer may have been someone's guardian angel today!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hard to get over a good job

It has been over two years since I found out that I had lost my job with GMAC; March 31st will actually be the anniversary of the day I cleaned off my desk and left behind a career I thought I would have until I retired.

I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work at GMAC. It was by chance that a co-worker at the Gap, my university part time job, was the wife of the Atlantic Regional Manager for the office and heard I was looking for a co-op placement. Next thing I know I’m being interviewed and offered a position. When that semester ended, I was offered a second work term, and then in my final year of university, I got a call from one of my previous supervisors asking if there was a chance I would come back part time. And part time is not something GMAC had ever done. It was great. Each step had earned me more experience, income to pay for another semester of university and I learned more about the automotive financing business. And upon graduation I was offered a contract and seven years and a couple of promotions later I found myself looking at a choice to move to Toronto or take a severance package.

I had been very spoiled at GMAC. I had a group of coworkers that were relatively close to my age and were easy to get along with. I had supervisors and regional managers who saw value in me, and at one point I was told I could easily go as high as I want in the company. Pair that with excessive benefits, thanks to the automotive union, which allowed me to reach five weeks of vacation and even a health care spending account over and above the amazing core plan.

Since losing that job, I have had three more. This third job seems to be one where I could have a future. The others offered me a future, but they just weren’t the right fit. But the job I have now gives me an environment where I feel my growth is possible, the money isn’t that bad and the benefits are standard in the industry. I don’t hate coming to work everyday, like I have in the past positions, but I don’t feel settled. Maybe settled isn’t the word, because I don’t feel like I should be looking for another job, but I guess it feels temporary.

Surely some of the temporary feeling is me adjusting to all of the changes that happened in my life in these last two years. Prior to that day I lost my job my life was pretty stable. Change wasn’t really something I was accustomed to.

Maybe part of it is my maturing into my thirties and realizing that I want to be passionate about my job. I know most people just go to work Monday to Friday and just push through the weeks and years to retirement, but I was always a kid who dreamt big and I always thought my job would be something I wanted to do.

And I can’t forget the fact that there are 28 years until I’m 60. Not that I want to be older than I am, but I want to retire around 60 (if not sooner). Is there anyway I can even stay in the accounting field for another 28 years? I guess only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The best part of waking up... is not Folgers in my cup

It's actually William sneaking into my bed for a snuggle.

I'm not sure what it is but for the last few weeks, when I have William over night (my access is 3 days every week on a two week rotating cycle... just in case you're wondering) I am woken up before my alarm by William crawling into bed.  He has developed this habit, which I love, of coming in to snuggle for at least half an hour before it's time to start the day.

He comes in quietly, and isn't trying to stir me, he just wants to snuggle.  I can drift in and out of sleep and he won't say a word.  He just wraps his arm around me, or if I flip over, so my morning breath doesn't kill the poor child, he'll climb over me to snuggle back in. 

I usually do wake up and we'll talk or he'll go grab his Nintendo DS and we'll play a game for a bit, before we start the day.  And everytime it happens I actively think to myself that I need to take this in.  That I need to cherish this moment, because a couple of months ago I was practically dressing him for preschool while his eyes were still closed in the mornings and because in a short period of time he'll be too big to want to snuggle with his ol' Dad.  Life is passing me by, but I'm trying to memorize the ride.

Monday, March 1, 2010

All for him

Just when I think we have reached a place of calm, something triggers my ex wife to try and exert unreasonable control over my life to a degree that is unfair and leaves me in disbelief.  For anyone who knew my dad would know that he was not one to avoid conflict and to a large extent I am the same way. 

I will defend myself and give it as good as I take it.  But there has been a big change in my instinct to react when my seperation became one of a legal nature.  I learned to bite my tongue.  It's a hard thing to do and since Friday I have been biting my tongue so hard that I can taste blood.  I want to lash out and tell the world the games that are being played, but alas my focus is on my actions in our divorce to be ones I will not be ashamed of.  I will be able to hold my head high at the end of all of this.  And all for him.  I don't ever want him to learn of my actions and be disappointed in me. 

I have fought hard for the shared custody I have.  I am still fighting for the right of first refusal.  But I am fair and above board.  I have tried to negeotiate fair terms with my ex, instead of pulling in lawyers everytime. 

I do it all for him.