A Sweet Update!

My last post (which was far too long ago) talked about how Kat and I are trying to reduce the sweets we consume, and I figured I should provide a little update.

It’s actually going well, which surprises me a bit. It’s become quite easy, well, at least until I got past the first week. I found avoidance to be the best solution early on, but now I can tempt myself without falling victim to the sweet sugar, like the bakery we used to stop in at when we went for walks. I would get this delicious apple square there, and while I still crave it, I can safely walk past without needing to stop in and get one. I’d also buy donuts at Safeway every time I’d go to pick something up. I’d eat them in the parking lot so Kat wouldn’t find out (I came clean about this, so I can safely blog about it), but now I can walk through the bakery section without looking at the wall of sugar.

Neither of us has completely cut sugar, but we didn’t set out to do that, either. I’ll still enjoy a small piece of quality chocolate (and by small, I mean 1/10th of a 49g chocolate bar), and we’ll get a dessert if we’re out at a nice restaurant (which is rare these days), but my daily sugar craving is gone.

Do you have anything you’re trying to cut down on, and if so, how’s it turning out for you?

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Giving up Sweets (well… almost)

I have a sweet tooth. Actually, that’s incorrect; I have a sweet mouth. I love the sugary taste of sweet treats; cookies, cakes, syrups, and chocolate… ohhhhh how I love chocolate. But things are changing… I’m trying to cut down.

Kat and I are trying to become healthier as a family, both for ourselves, and for Broderick. We don’t want him growing up exposed to tons of sweets, so we’re cutting things down now. Kat was really the one to start this, and I agreed to it initially to be supportive, but now I’m making the conscious effort to cut down as well. When she first started trying to reduce the sugar in the house, I was fairly good, not bringing stuff into the house that would tempt her, but now I’m not even going after sweets outside the house when she’s not around.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to completely cut sweet treats out of my life, but I won’t have as much. We’ve both agreed that anything we do have around should be homemade, and hopefully with reduced sugar (and natural sugar, like sugar cane, when sugar is used). Homemade cookies, brownies, or pies will be better for us than things bought in stores because we know exactly what’s going into it, and it’ll be more of a treat.

I think it’s been about a week since I started this, and I feel good. It’s hard, but the cravings are slowly going away. I can do this…

The Edmonton Police and the Shameful Journalist

Let me start by saying that I’m absolutely livid right now… So, earlier tonight one of my favourite Edmonton tweeters, Constable Power with the Edmonton Police, posted this tweet:

He’s part of a recruitment program with the Edmonton Police where officers tweet what they go through while on shift. Yes, there are other officers that tweet as part of the program, but I’d say Cst. Power tweets 10 tweets to every 1 tweet that the other officers put out there COMBINED. I’ve engaged him in interesting conversations at 2 am after he’s posted something interesting during his shift. I’ve never met him, and I doubt I ever will, but I enjoy following his tweets while he’s on shift. He’s never given away confidential information, and often tweets about things long after they’ve occurred.

So the other day (July 29, to be exact), he tweeted this:

Cst Power Gun Tweet

It’s him looking down the barrel of his gun during an armed standoff. It was posted at 8:30 pm, long after the standoff had been resolved. When was the photo taken? No one knows, but it’s an interesting glimpse into what he encountered on his shift. The thing about policing is that you don’t have a “normal” day, ever. You have no idea what you’ll encounter when you show up for shift, and that’s what draws some to the job. I spent 2 years as a volunteer with the Edmonton Police, so I have a better understanding of what they go through than the average person. I worked behind the counter at a community station, assisting the officers in writing up reports, usually from people that came in to report an accident, or a theft. It was great, and if I had the time I’d volunteer again.

So, why am I livid? CTV Edmonton decided this tweet was news, or rather they would make it news. They aired a story on the 6:00 news, and posted it online with the headline:

Reaction to picture tweeted by EPS officer mixed

The nice thing about Twitter is that you can go and read what others have said to someone. So that’s what I did. I counted 30 tweets in response to the photo, and two people showed any kind of concern over it, responding with “Do u think that taking ur eyes off the residence to pull out ur cell phone and take a picture was wise”, and the other a mocking tweet. Cst Power responded with “It was long over then. You can rest assured I won’t be getting killed over a picture.” So, an officer takes a photo looking down his gun AFTER the situation had been resolved, and it’s turned into a news story by CTV. They took this tweet to the streets of Edmonton to ask for reaction from people. Of course they got a few people who took issue with it, but you’d find people that take issue with almost anything depending on how the question was phrased. I’m almost certain the CTV reporter didn’t say, “Do you have a problem with an officer taking a picture of his gun after an armed standoff has been concluded peacefully?”

I have a big problem with this story, and CTV deciding to run it. This is a case of a media outlet creating the story, not reporting on it. There was NO mixed reaction to the photo. There was one question about it, which was promptly answered. Everyone else was happy the situation was resolved peacefully, thought it was a cool gun, or were amazed by what an officer has to deal with.

The Edmonton Police realizes the power of Twitter, and is using it to engage people in a positive manner. Cst Power is a public face for the organization, followed by over 3,000 people, some of which the EPS hopes will be inspired to join the ranks of the men and women that protect our city. This manufactured CTV story has done a few things, all of which are negative. It’s taken a non-event and twisted it into some kind of story, but more importantly it’s dragging the name of an officer into a controversy he shouldn’t be involved in. Cst Power posted other tweets later, which I’ve edited into the following:

My voluntary participation in this project has been primarily on my own time, and as such, this is not worth the headache. I will continue to try and answer your police / recruiting questions in addition to posting #JoinEPS or EPS releases. I sincerely thank all of you for your participation and support over the last 2 years. Please continue it with our other Twitter members. I hope I’ve accomplished what I came here to do, which was inspire people to become Police Officers & educate you on what we do. Thanks all.

Sincerely appreciate the overwhelming support. Ill try to explain my position: There is no question that I took an official police account into new territory. My goal was (is) to provide a first hand glimpse into the careers of the Police you see every day & not the media release, TV Show or 6pm news cast that doesn’t necessarily represent Policing. With that comes bad press. One bad story can destroy a police officers career even if it is unfounded. The point is, what about the next one? Or the next? I am taking that into consideration as I decide where I go from here. I have no less then 22 years left to serve, and I’d like to see them through. Hopefully I’ve explained my predicament. We’ve done a lot of good I think and I’d like to see the EPS continue this trend, even if I cant.

His position is very clear. Why put his professional career on the line for an optional thing designed to get people interested in policing? Why should he risk being smeared by some idiot journalist looking to make up a story?

I’m disgusted by the “story” Amanda Anderson at CTV cooked up. It had absolutely no place being broadcast, or put online. You’ve jeopardized a project that EPS has been working at for a couple of years, and tarnished the reputation of an officer. Shame on you, CTV, shame on you. Don’t invent the news, report on it.

You can bet I’ll be writing a letter (a real, physical letter) to CTV tomorrow. They can’t undo what’s been done, but they can make sure it never happens again.

P.S. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, but I don’t feel like proofing this before posting it (and I need to get some sleep).

Having a Baby? Get a Doula!

I had always intended on discussing baby stuff on the blog, but I haven’t done much of it yet. Brody is just over 7 months old now, so maybe I should discuss some of the things that brought him into this world, like a doula.

Kat had decided she wanted a doula for her birth, and being the smart husband I am, I agreed to it. When I was working at Grant MacEwan we had a doula training class offered through the division I worked for, so I knew a little bit about what they do, but not a lot. We had gotten a couple of names of doulas from people we knew, so I decided to call them and set up an appointment. The first one was waaaaay over-the-top, gushing about how this was a blessed event, and she was so privileged to be considered for this event. After that call, and an email, Kat and I both decided she wasn’t right for us. A doula shares a special moment with you, and you have to be comfortable with them, and we weren’t comfortable with her at all.

The second person I called was Ricky Issler at Comforting Hands Doula. The first call was just to get some information on another service she offers (more on that in another blog post), and to set up a meeting to talk about her doula services. She was warm on the phone, but definitely not over-the-top like the first girl was, and we arraigned to meet in a coffee shop nearby.

I think it took 2 minutes for me to decide I wanted Ricky as our doula (though, the decision wasn’t really mine). She carried herself well, spoke softly, but with confidence, and looked like a warm person. They say first impressions are important, and Ricky gave off a great first impression. She explained that a doula will work for us to facilitate the type of birth we (meaning Kat) wanted to have. Kat wanted to have a natural child birth (nope, no drugs), so Ricky would work with us to help us achieve that. One thing that’s important to have is a “birth plan,” things you want, and don’t want when it comes time to have the baby, and while all the craziness it happening in the room, the doula watches over things to make sure your birth plan is being carried out. If things aren’t going according to plan, she’ll mention it to the father to deal with. This was our first child, and we really didn’t know what to expect, so the thought of someone being there for us was very appealing. If complications arise, doctors may not always give you all the options, and the doula is there to step in an advise of some other choices that can be made, or say “Well, you could do that, but that goes against your birth plan because of these reasons.” It’s like having an advocate with you… a warm, caring advocate.

We kept in touch with Ricky before the birth, calling her a couple of times when we had questions or concerns. She came over to our place on Christmas Day when Kat was starting her labour, and helped get everything ready for the hospital. Ricky and I took turns giving Kat massages to make her feel more comfortable, and Ricky told us when we should leave (actually, it was more of a “we need to go now, or she may be having it in the car”). She stayed with Kat when we got to the hospital and I had to do paperwork, massaged her when I got too tired, and we exchanged looks when the nurse was being a pain-in-the-ass. She was also there to take photos when he was born, which was great because I was busy having my hand crushed by Kat.

I can’t imagine going through the whole birthing process without having Ricky as our doula, and I recommend everyone get one if they’re having a baby. Doulas are awesome!

An Info-Junkie Marriage: Zite and Pocket

I love reading news on the ‘net, whether it’s local news, international news, or just an interesting article about a movie, TV show, new gadget, or a metal that’s 100 times lighter than styrofoam. I came across Zite when it was first released last year, and I instantly fell in love with it. The app, which is available on iOS and Android, allows you to select subjects that interest you from their list, or add your own topics. Then it pulls in articles relating to those topics, and presents them in a “magazine” format. Click on an article and it’ll open up, allowing you to read the entire thing. I’ve come across a ton of interesting articles on sites I’ve never heard of before, or rarely visit. This sets it apart from RSS readers, which allow you to easily read articles for sites you frequent. Zite also uses a “thumbs up, thumbs down” way to rate what you enjoy, and then it factors that into what it’ll display for you. My “Technology” section in Zite will look different than yours because of the way we use Zite, and the articles we’ve given a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to in the past. That personalization is something that sets Zite apart from other apps that do similar things, like Flipboard. The Zite magazine that it creates for you is always changing, so an interesting article you read may not be there the next time you open the app. That leads me to my next app that completes the Info-Junkie Marriage, Pocket…

Pocket used to be known as “Read it Later,” a name which describes what it does; it allows you to save an article for reading later. There are apps for iOS, Android, the Amazon Fire, Mac OS, browsers… it’s all over the place, allowing you to save articles, and read them later, on pretty much any device. If I find an interesting article in Zite I’ll use the “Save to Pocket” feature so I can read it at a better time, or so I can refer to it later. I use the browser plugin for FireFox to save articles as well, because some times I just don’t have a chance to get through a 5 page article about an interesting topic, and I know I’ll forget to read it later. Pocket also allows you to read articles when offline, you just have to download the article to the app when you have a connection. That’s a great feature if you’re boarding a long flight and want to catch up on some news.

If you’re an info-junkie like me, download both these apps (they’re free). Zite and Pocket were made for each other…

Neighbours – You Can’t Choose Them…

People will search long and hard for the perfect property to buy, whether it’s a condo, or a house, but there’s always one thing you can’t control, and that’s who your neighbours are.

I remember having great neighbours when I was a kid growing up in Ottewell, in the East part of  Edmonton. The neighbours to our South would give us apples from their tree, and we’d laugh and play with their dog across our front lawns. The neighbours to the North were 3 boys and 1 girl, all older than us, but all very “cool.” They were a hockey family, with all 3 of the boys playing professionally, and the youngest was drafted second overall in one of the NHL drafts (he went after Mats Sundin, and before Scott Thornton, but sadly didn’t have a long career). The three boys across the alley would babysit us (my brother and I put them through hell). We also knew most of the people up and down the block, and my parents still keep in touch with some of them. They were all great neighbours.

Our next long-term house was out in the suburbs, and it was a drastic change from our house in Ottewell. Our next-door neighbours were a pain-in-the-butt; they called bylaw on us for having gravel that was partially on the road (it was dropped off for landscaping, and was there for 2 days before being used), and reported us because we pushed some snow onto the road. Seriously? Neither of those impacted the ability to enjoy their property at all, and since it was a cul-de-sac, it didn’t impede the flow of traffic. We hardly knew our other neighbours; people would get into their cars in their attached garages and leave. People didn’t go out walking because there was nothing around to walk to except the mailbox. We were living in bubbles that happened to be near other bubbles.

Moving to my apartment, and then condo, was a new experience as well. I found that I hardly knew anyone in either of my buildings. There were 120+ suites, so probably over 200 people living in the building. I think I knew 2 people in my apartment building, and maybe 10 in my condo building. People would ride the elevator together, get off on the same floor, and yet never speak. It’s almost as though being closer to our neighbours made us want to be more insulated from them. The people above me in my condo drove me insane; they had hardwood floors and little kids that liked to run around a lot, and they brought a piano into the building. For half an hour every day I’d have to listen to the worst rendition of “Old MacDonald” I’ve ever heard. I finally had enough and reported it to the condo board (musical instruments were banned in the condo bylaws). I didn’t want them to get rid of it, just put a dampener on the thing so I didn’t have to listen to it. The guy below me would crank his stereo and watch kung fu flicks at extremely loud levels. A few times a month I’d have to go downstairs and bang on his door for a few minutes before he’d realize there was someone knocking, then ask him to turn it down. There are things I miss about the condo, but I certainly don’t miss my neighbours.

When we bought our house in Strathcona the sellers told us the neighbours were awesome, so when I picked up the keys I said, “So, now that the deal is done, really, how are the neighbours?” Ron, the seller, assured me the neighbours were awesome; it wasn’t just something he said to sell the house. We stepped outside and one of the neighbours, John, came outside to greet me. “So, you’re the new guy?” he asked. I knew we’d get along well.

All our neighbours are awesome. John, and his daughter Camilla, are always playing with their push-scooters out in the alley, often with the kids from across the lane. The family across the lane actually lived in our house for awhile; Charlie is a builder, and he built the house, then they lived in it for 4 years before selling it to the family we bought it from. I tell ya, it’s pretty handy to have the person that built your house living across the alley! We don’t see our other neighbours too often, as they’re extremely busy with various sports year-round, but they’re quite nice, and their kids are great. Their neighbours are a single dad, Al, and his two kids; a boy and a girl (twins). There are other neighbourhood kids as well, and all the kids seem to get along. When we first moved into the house there was a soccer field that spanned our yard and the two beside it, and I was told if I didn’t want the kids playing on our yard, just tell them to stay off. No way, I think it’s great! Some of them will hang out on our steps and porch, reading a book, or sitting around chatting with each other. They used to ask us every time if they could sit there, but Kat and I told them they can hang out whenever they want, so it’s not uncommon to hear little voices coming from our porch.

The neighbourhood is really diverse, and it’s nice to know Brody will grow up being exposed to different ideas and cultural backgrounds. There’s a family where the husband is from Russia, and the wife is from France (they also have a new baby), an Asian family, a Jewish Family, a gay couple, a homeschooled family, a French-speaking family, someone with special needs, plus our Canadian/Ukrainian household. There are families with 1 kid, 2 kids, and 3 kids. Two families have twins (fraternal, and paternal), and it’s a nice mix of boys and girls. The best part is that everyone seems to get along well. People are always borrowing things from each other, knocking on doors to deliver freshly baked treats, or hanging out chatting in the alley (Kat calls it the “man meeting,” because it’s usually the guys out there).

Every time I wake up to fresh snow on the ground and see my walks have been shovelled, there’s a knock at the door with some freshly baked treat, or I get a little wave as I walk down the street, I’m thankful for the neighbours I have. I was able to choose a lovely house, and I’m so thankful it came with great neighbours.

Have any neighbour stories (good or bad)? Toss them in the comments below…

P.S. Avenue Edmonton has named my neighbourhood (Strathcona), the best neighbourhood in Edmonton. The best neighbourhood with the best neighbours… awesome!

Reading TV and Movies

I’ve been reading a lot of TV and movies lately. Well, watching them, but reading the subtitles. Movies and shows from France, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and I have lots more to go.
When I was a kid I HATED subtitles. Why would you want to watch a movie in another language in the first place? Everything should be in English, because that’s the language I speak. Just dub everything!

I don’t recall when it was, but sometime over the last 15 years my opinion on subtitles changed. I realized that dubbing removes part of the performance the actor is giving. Instead of listening to the person on the screen, you’re listening to someone in a recording booth that has absolutely no connection to what’s happening on the screen. You miss the delivery of the lines as they were intended. Sure, subtitles can be a bit difficult at the start, but I find that after watching something for a few minutes I forget that I’m reading the screen at all.
I’ve also discovered that there are a TON of awesome foreign-language shows and movies out there, and I’d really be missing out if I refused to watch anything with subtitles. I’ve discovered a few really good crime dramas from Sweden (Wallander), and Norway (Varg Veum), as well as an increible cop show from France (Braquo). I have a few Danish shows to watch, as well as movies from Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Norway, France, and Russia. It’s awesome.

P.S. Woohoo, I blogged.

The Day I Nearly Died

At the end of August, 2008 I went with Kat to Ukraine for the first time. It was a bit stressful because I’d be meeting her friends and family for the first time, and also because I’d be in a country where English wasn’t spoken very often. It was a great trip, but my strongest memory of the trip was a little event that happened on a train… I almost died.

We were taking a train from Kat’s hometown of Donetsk, in the East, to the Crimea area in the South. We left in the early evening and wouldn’t arrive until early the next morning, so that meant sleeping on the train. A private sleeper was too much money, so we opted for a shared sleeper – 4 beds in one cabin.

After an hour I started to get hungry, as we hadn’t had a chance to eat before getting on the train. Kat’s mom had packed us some chicken and bread, so I decided to make myself a nice chicken sandwich. Ukrainian bread is absolutely delicious; it’s just ever so slightly sweet, and freshly baked bread can be found nearly everywhere on the streets. I finished making my sandwich, and started eating it, as I was extremely hungry at that point. A few bites in, and I realized I had a problem. The nice moist, fresh Ukrainian bread had gotten lodged in my throat. Not a huge problem, as I could just wash it down with a bit of water and clear it out of my throat.

The problem, it turns out, was bigger than I thought. When I attempted to drink a bit of water to help the food down, it actually plugged my windpipe completely. I couldn’t breathe.

If you’ve ever seen a movie where someone chokes they usually get up, make a bunch of noise and someone rushes to their help. The reality is that you can’t make ANY sound at all because there’s no air that can come out of your mouth. Kat was busy talking to an old lady sitting across from us, so I grabbed her arm to get her attention, make the international “I’m choking” sign (hands around my throat), and turned around so she could give me the Heimlich Maneuver.

*WHACK*

Apparently the Heimlich Maneuver didn’t make it’s way to Ukraine. Instead they employ the “smack the back” method of dislodging food that’s stuck in someone’s throat. It didn’t work, and I quickly realized I’d have to teach Kat the procedure. The old lady that Kat had been chatting to went back to reading her book.

I turned to face her, put my hands together and made the motion that you make while giving the Heimlich Maneuver, then I turned around so she could give it to me, and placed her hands in the proper position.

*Hug*

I love to get hugs in any normal situation, but in this case the food couldn’t be hugged out of me. I looked around the small cabin to see if there was something I could use to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on myself, but the only thing I saw was a hook on the wall, and that wouldn’t work at all. I quickly turned around and made the same motion as before, only more aggressively, so she knew she had to do it harder, then I turned around.

*UGH*

This time it wasn’t a hug; she did it properly, but the food was still stuck. My mind began racing, not like my life flashing through my mind, just thoughts about the situation.

*UGH*

Her second attempt didn’t work either. My mind returned to my thoughts:

Kat brought me to visit her country and meet her friends and family, and I die. She’s going to have to call my mom and explain to her that I’m dead. Wow, that’s a shitty call to make. Is now the time to pull the emergency break that stops the train, or will people just be mad at me because I made them late. Nothing like a dead guy that made an entire train full of people late. Will they move my body somewhere else, or just leave it in the room? Would the other two people in the room like to sleep with a dead body in there? I hope they move me so those people can sleep. Maybe I should leave the room and run up to the front of the car where the lady in charge is… but she may just smack me on the back…

*UGH*

She tried a third time. Still didn’t work.

My mind floated to the conversation I had about travel insurance.

“…and if you die, this policy covers shipping your body home.”

“Well, that won’t matter much to me because I’ll be dead!”

Wow, that’s ironic now… “…isn’t it ironic… don’t you think” Oh man, Alanis… not a good time… Maybe I should go and die out in the hallway where the guy is smoking. Then at least I’d be out of the room and less of a bother, and they’d have to move me somewhere. Yup, that’s it, I’ll go out and die in the hallway.

I went to stand up…

*UGH*

The combination of me getting up, and Kat trying for the fourth time worked, and the food came up and out of my mouth and onto the floor. The old lady continued to read her book.

Kat and I sat there quietly for a few minutes before I said, “Yeah… sooo… thanks for saving my life.” She got this shocked look on her face, and I realized that she didn’t know how screwed I was. The whole thing lasted a minute or so, and I was without air the entire time. I may have had another 30 seconds before I’d pass out and likely die on the floor of the train. Yeah, I was pretty screwed, and luckily she didn’t realize it because I was completely calm the entire time. I’m thankful that Kat is a quicker learner.

Another minute passed and she said, “CHEW YOUR FOOD MORE!” She was right.

If you don’t know the Heimlich Maneuver, please take a moment and read this. You never know when you may have to use it, or quickly teach someone else.

Nearly Two Months of Fatherhood

It’s been nearly two months since Broderick was born, and I’ve learned a few things:

  • I’m not as patient as I thought I was.
    I can only take crying for a bit, then I snap. My frustration level creeps up slowly, slowly and then it jumps all the way up and I get angry. He’s a little boy, and I need to learn to chill.

  • Listening to music helps me chill.
    If he’s freaking out, listening to music with headphones on helps a lot. Sure, I can still hear him crying, but it’s not the predominant sound, so I don’t get frustrated. I never hit that 100%, and a chill dad can help to chill a crying baby.

  • I like smiles.
    In the last week Brody has started to smile while reacting to things we’ve done, and it’s awesome. The other day I was making funny faces and sounds and he gave me the biggest smile, and it was so rewarding.

  • I like making funny sounds.
    I think I’ve always liked making weird sounds, but having a kid allows me to make weird sounds for a reason. He likes the silly songs I make up while changing him, or doing his exercises, so I’ll keep making them for him. I’m sure that’ll change when he hits his teenage years…

  • I’m getting used to this.
    We’ve started having a routine with him, and everyone seems to have gotten used to it. I have my tasks, Kat has her’s, and Brody seems fine with everything. We’re getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and he’s sleeping 6-8 hours in one stretch in the night… I can deal with this. It’s still a bit odd to look at him and think “wow, I made this little guy,” but I’m getting used to it.

  • I’ve become obsessed with having a clean kitchen.
    I have no idea if this is related to having a kid, but in the past week I’ve become completely obsessed with the kitchen being clean before I go to bed. No, it’s not spotless, but I want all the dishes away, and the mess gone. We have a habit of leaving something on the counter, then 2 days later there are 15 things on the counter and it’s a pain to clean, so I’m trying to do my part to keep the house clean even night. I think I’m driving Kat crazy because I get after her if she leaves something out for 5 mins. Oops.

  • I’m starting to remember things from my childhood.
    We’ve been learning some children’s rhymes, and that’s triggered memories of my childhood – mostly rhymes my parents used to sing to me. Sometimes there are other things, like games I used to play, places I’d go with friends, or toys I had. It’s neat to have 30 year old memories triggered. At least nothing has been traumatic!

  • Babies get you smiles.
    I’ve taken Brody out for walks by myself in the stroller a few times, and older women give me the biggest smiles. Maybe they aren’t used to seeing fathers out with their kids, and seeing one makes them happy? I’m not sure what it is, but it’s nice to have people smile at you.

I’m sure I’ve learned a few other things in the past 2 months, but that’s all I can think of right now. Or maybe it’s that I know Brody will be up in 6-7 hours and I want sleep. Yup, that’s probably it.

A little story for Valentine’s Day

I was cleaning my office the other day, and I came across something that made me smile. It was a Kinder Surprise that Kat gave me September 12, 2009. How do I remember the date? How could I not…

Our first date was May 20, 2005; we met at West Edmonton Mall and went to play a game of mini-golf (glow-in-the-dark), and then for a bite to eat at Boston Pizza (I ate while Kat watched me – apparently she wasn’t hungry). It wasn’t a typical date, as it was interesting, and didn’t involve two people sitting in a crowded movie theatre, but it worked. It was also the first time Kat had played mini-golf, AND she got a hole-in-one. We met on LavaLife.com and started chatting online before deciding to meet up (I remember wanting to meet her earlier, but I had a trip to Vancouver planned, so it had to wait). Kat would later tell me that she had no intention of actually meeting, because I wasn’t her type. The date ended with me dropping her off at her place, wondering whether I should try to kiss her when she asked me, “Well, are you going to kiss me?!” It was unexpected, and a relief; I didn’t have to worry about rejection. Phew!

That date lead to another, and another, and another. Kat would start spending weekends at my place, then she would move from the West end to an apartment a few blocks away, and then finally into my condo. It was the first time I had lived with someone that wasn’t a family member, and it went really, really well. Eventually we would move into our house; a sure sign that we were in this for the long haul.

So, what made that Kinder Surprise so special? Inside was a note:

Obviously I said yes. We already had a trip to Las Vegas planned, so we turned that into our wedding. We managed to keep it a secret; only our friends Tyler and Lara knew, and that’s only because we invited them to join us for the wedding. November 21, 2009, almost exactly 6 1/2 years since our first date, we got married in our hotel room at the Venetian. It was a wonderful day.

So there’s my little story of love for today. I’m glad I said ‘yes’ to the question Kat asked.

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