Friday, May 12, 2017

Full Circle

On May 11, 2002 Brad and I got married.

We were practically babies, I was 24, Brad 25.  Now, I'll hear about people getting married in their early twenties and in my head I think they are so young!

If we were to do it all again now, our wedding would be an entirely different event.  But at the time, we were trying to please everyone while keeping it all under budget.

Our wedding reception was held at the Canad Inn Polo Park.  It was a great party with friends and family including Blue Bomber offensive lineman Matt Sheridan (this is only relevant for a certain reason... read on).  My cousins got my Grandma drunk.  It was definitely in my top 10 days ever.

Fast forward 15 years.

Dakota Collegiate Institute has been fundraising for 4 years to build an elaborate sportsplex that will include a football field, cricket practice cages, tennis courts, basketball court and an indigenous learning center.  Every year they have a gala event to raise funds.

Diamond Athletics, where Brad works, always buys tickets to the event.  However, his boss Ben couldn't make it this year and offered Brad a ticket to go.  Diamond does this a lot. They buy tickets to support various causes and then sends staff from the store to represent.  So given that, Brad would be going to the dinner with someone from the store.  He noted the date, May 11 and told Ben that it was our anniversary.  Ben suggested that Brad take me and we make a night of it.  The event promised a fantastic dinner with Bomber guest speakers Milt Stegall, Matt Dunnigan, Rod Hill and Troy Westwood.

Brad got the tickets a few weeks ago and put them in a drawer  We pulled them out as we were getting ready last night to figure out where we were going.  Lo and behold, the event was being held at the Canad Inn Polo Park.  We smiled at the coincidence and set off.

Once we got there, we figured out where the gala was and had even bigger smiles.  The gala was in the EXACT SAME ROOM that we got married.  Come On!  What are the chances of that?  I can count on my hand the number of times I have been to Canad Inn Polo Park since we got married and we just so happen to be there in the exact same room 15 year to the day later with the same blue bomber presence at an event raising money for the school our son is attending next year.  Now that is a series of coincidences I will not soon forget.

The event was lovely.  Diner was great.  Speakers were... um... varied?  The schedule of the event went something like

- Intro
- Soup
- Principal speech/teachers speech
- Salad
- Superintendent speech
- Dinner
- MLA Politician speech.... back to Superintendent to add more to his speech
- Dessert.

The superintendents speech was interesting.  Honestly.  Super awkward jokes carpet bombed with mildly motivating rhetoric. At one point he gestured to a picture on the screen behind him of a bunch of kids sitting on a bench looking happy.

There was a wonderful array of culture and ethnicities represented in the photo.  He then said, "This is the new Canada" followed by a long dramatic pause before continuing on saying,  "Look around the room", followed by another really long dramatic pause and he ended with, "Not a speck of pepper in a sea of salt" and cue awkward laughter...Uh....

He is a very tall black guy, so he was obviously referring to the large percentage of Caucasian folks in the room, but I just wasn't sure what he was trying to get at because he didn't follow up that comment with anything else.  He just continued to  ramble on like a prison letter, repeating himself a bunch of times, but I think that his main sentiment was a good one and you could tell that he really cared about the project.

With the Speech/Eat/Speech/Eat/SUPER long speech/ Eat playbill, it was getting really late, pushing 10 pm and they hadn't even got to the main event speakers yet and there were 4 of them!

I had no desire to sit through any more speeches, but I know that Brad is a bomber fan, so I ordered some wine and got comfortable.  I was pretty surprised when Brad suggested we bail.  The Bomber guys were just getting ready to take the stage, so it was a good time to sneak out.

 So that was our anniversary dinner.  We came home to Logan asleep on the couch and Zach chilling out playing some video games.  15 years has gone by pretty d*mn fast. Still in love, but there is lots more of it now.

Permit me to staple things to your forehead.

We are building a deck.  It's taken us longer than it likely should have, but hockey comes first right? Ah kids, disposable income suckers.

Brad does everything by the book.  Which means that in order to build our deck we needed a permit
because it was some height off the ground or some other random qualifier.

Generally speaking your contractor would do that for you, but since we are the DIY headquarters we had to fill out the permit application ourselves.

Brad detailed out the plans, filled out the permit and I got the glorious job of taking it in.  In my naivety, I thought I would drop the permit application in the slot and be on my merry way.  On no.  That's not how the permit office rolls.

I decided to pop in during my lunch hour (back when ignorance was bliss).  I walked into the office and there was one of those ominous "NOW SERVING" electronic signs, but no where in sight were any number tickets around or at the very least instructions telling you where to get one.

Finally after wandering around aimlessly, a fellow law abiding citizen took pity on me and said that I had to go up to the counter and ask for one.  A super nice girl with striking emerald hair handed me my number, 39.

Mr. 39 and I sat down.  Once settled, I looked up at the clock.  Now serving 23.


I waited for a bit, weighing the merits of continuing to stay or to go, but my decision was made for me when I got an urgent call from work.  I hustled back and decided that next time I would go before work.

Attempt #2.  Got there right as the office opened and still ended up being #4.    When my number was finally called some 20 minutes later, I handed my forms to the guy assuming it would be a rubber stamp and that would be that.  Again, my naivety got the better of me.

The guy was practically glee ridden while describing all the things wrong with our application.  At first I thought he was kidding.  My eyes must have gone like saucers, because he actually said, "I'm serious, you can't get a permit until you get these".  I had to sit there and let him rattle off an absurd amount of things we needed to get or correct or add.

We needed a site survey of the whole property.  We needed to list the brand, species and size of wood we were using (2x4 or 2x8 etc).  We needed to list every effing dimension you could possibly think of including the spacing between each individual railing, even though it was clear that they were all spaced the same way.  We needed to list the make, model and brand name of the screw piles were using.  We needed to list the load bearing capacity of the wood and screw piles.We needed to list what we were planning on having for lunch that day and whether or not we had any outdoor allergies.

Well, maybe not the last two, but it really felt that way.  What irked me the most though was the sheer pleasure the guy took telling me.  I just wanted to staple things to his forehead.  This is why people don't get permits.

I took note of the litany of problems and sent an email to Brad.  What then followed was us having to go to Rona to get the make, model and brand of the screw piles.  But how in the name of all that is holy do you get the brand name of wood?  Made by mother nature?  Rona was really great and printed us off the engineer details including the load bearing capacity.  Brad set out to redo his plan drawings and we tracked a site plan (which thankfully we had given that we recently built the house).

I was now armed and ready for attempt #3.  Honestly I would have preferred to poke my eyes out with hat pins that venture into that building again, but I had no choice.

This time it played out a little differently, the emerald angel of visit #1 was gone and replaced by a snarky and scarily commanding matronly creature.  The second I walked to the counter she flung her hand out towards me and without so much as a good morning, barked out, "FORMS!".  She proceeded to tell me that I had to hand in my forms for a pre-screening.  I was surprised and mentioned that I didn't have to do that for my two previous visits, but given her icy stare of a response, I quickly handed over my forms and scuttled off to find a seat.

About 10 minutes later some guy came out (different from the glee ridden a$$hole on visit #2) and said that for the most part things looked in order, but that I had to add one more thing to my form.  He handed me a pencil and showed me what to do; orders of magnitude better than the first guy I had gone to see.  He then asked why I had included the engineer printout for the screw piles.  I told him how the previous guy had insisted on it.  He just sighed and said, "I know who you got last time then.. it isn't necessary, we keep these engineer specs on file as a reference".  As nice as this guy was I would have almost preferred he didn't tell me that.   Essentially what he was saying was the previous guy was being a colossal a$$hat simply because he could and since I didn't know any better, I followed his instructions with military precision.

10 minutes after that I was called into the office.  The girl behind the desk was about my age and it was really obvious that she really didn't give a sh*t, she briefly looked at my forms, told me that they had been submitted and handed me my invoice.

Elated, I made my way to the cashier.  $178!  Apparently because we were using the more stable, safer screw  piles, our deck was deemed  "complex" and needed to be sent off for a secondary review, which cost $50 extra.  There was some additional $25 fee that everyone has to pay over and above the $102 listed on the website.  If everyone has to pay the $25, why not add it to the $102 on the website in the first place?

Now it's a waiting game.  Once we get the green light for the permit, we can start building.  During or when it's finished, we have to call an inspector to come out and sign off and then that is that.

I have my fingers crossed that all will go smoothly with the inspection.  If not, it's an additional charge of $100-$250 to have them come back out to reinspect after you fix it.

I am pumped to have the deck in though.  I won't miss our redneck pallet one, although the pallets are not going anywhere.  In the spirit of re purposing things, I am turning them into herb garden planters, thank you very much Pinterest!  Once the deck is in, soil, sod and a barkman patio are up next.
Backyard fire pits, Adirondack chairs and summer cocktails await.

Monday, May 8, 2017


 A month.  A MONTH!

How can it be a month since I last posted?

"I've been so busy", is such a lame thing to say. Because ( yes, I am starting a sentence with "because".  I don't see my high school english teacher anywhere, so we're good) you will always make time for the things you really want.

In this case though, I really would have liked to have spent more time writing, but I had so many things that needed to get done that the optional ones got pushed out of the way.

Let's catch you up shall we?

April 15 was Brad's birthday, so we had the crew over to our place.  Sean and Erin are usually the hosts.  It's totally organic, but we always seem to congregate there. The rest of us, the Doyle's, Visser's and us all seem to host sporadically.

No specific reason honestly, it just sort of happens that way.  But... when we do host, it's epic.  For Brad's birthday last year, people left north of 4 am and this year was no different.

For the party last year and I had a custom cake made.  This year, I made the cake myself.  Cupcakes specifically.  Dude cupcakes, Maple Bourbon bacon cupcakes.  I made some bourbon candied bacon and then a standard golden yellow cupcake base (with more Bourbon).  I topped it with a vanilla maple icing garnished with the bacon.  You would think that they are a strange combination,  but whoa... culinary fireworks.  So good.  Sean always teases me, I have a gift in my ability to spike any sort of recipe you can think of and still make it taste good.

Before we had everyone over Saturday night, Brad and I spent a whole bunch of time purging getting the house cleaned up.  We had accumulated tons of stuff that we decided there was no point in keeping.  While we were going through the paraphernalia in the basement we came across our poker table.

This poker table is wicked.  It had seating for 6, complete with leather bumpers, felt and built in cup holders.

We lugged the beast upstairs and set it up.  I don't even think we started playing it until about 2 am.  I prefer Blackjack.  The rules are so much simpler.  This whole little blind, big blind, call an fold is far to much to keep track of when you are shoulders deep in vanilla vodka.  It was a great night.  I think Sean and Dave were the last to leave around 4:30am.

The next day was Thanksgiving.  Brad and I had a good laugh at Dave's expense.  He went home at 4:30 am and had to be up to leave for church around 7:30 am

We had my mum and dad over for Easter.  It was just the 6 of us.  With GG in the care home, we didn't get everyone together.  It felt kind of weird to be honest not having her there.  Given the party the night before, Brad and I were exhausted and the triptophan from the turkey almost made us fall asleep at the table.

The following week was Spring Break.  We decided to go out to the cabin.  I hadn't been there in awhile.  It is nice to just get out of the city and relax for awhile.  Boys go into the standard fishing, go carting and general muddiness.  Our trips wouldn't be complete without hanging with Courtney and Dale, so we hung out and had a great time catching up.

In between these weekends I was working.  Full on working. Quarter ends are always crazy, but for whatever reason, this one seemed busier than the majority.  I'd venture to say it was the longest since I started in this new position over a year ago.  But in between the busy weeks, I tried to make the most of the weekends.

Last weekend, Brad took the boys back to the cabin for a guys weekend, fishing and turkey hunting.  There is something to be said for letting the boys get that guy time in.  Guy time of course implies a lack of estrogen, which meant that I stayed home.  While it sucked a little because I hadn't seen Brad and the boys that much the previous week, I secretly was so looking forward to a whole weekend of sitting on my couch, making a nest, streaming some shows and putting a straw in a good bottle of wine.  Which is exactly what I did.  I should have cleaned, I should have gone grocery shopping and meal prep for the next week. But I didn't, I gave myself a free pass to be a lazy sloth and it was everything I dreamed it could be.  I did venture out in to the sunlight once or twice.  The boys had bought lava lamps a week or two ago.  Zach's worked great.  Logan's was cloudy.  So I packed it up and took it back to the store to exchange it.  It was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk home from the mall.  The next bus that would get me home would take about 45 minutes, both from having to wait for it to arrive and the meandering route it takes. I figured I could walk home in that time. I didn't really think about lugging a big heavy lava lamp all that way, but I definitely gave it some thought about 20 minutes into my walk.  My calculations were correct though and as I came up to the turn onto my street, the bus that would have taken me home originally passed by me if you can believe it.

Next up was another busy week.  I would have been looking forward to a relaxing weekend and this marked the true finish of quarter end,   it's always a sense of relief when it's finished.  I couldn't sit still however, as we had the police half marathon this weekend.
This was a different year in that Logan was running the 5K.  It was his first solo race. Friday night we had to go to kit pick up to get his running number and other gear.  Saturday, the boys and I were at Assiniboine park by 9 am for race set up.  We worked all day and headed home around 2 pm.

 Logan was pretty confident in how easy the 5K would be for him.  I kept after to him to do some training, but he solidaly maintained he would be fine,  so it did make me smile to see him so nervous on Sunday morning. While waiting for the racing pistol to go off, he started talking to a middle age woman beside him.  I heard him confess to her that it was his first race and he was really nervous.  This lady was really kind to him and told Logan that everyone feels that way even if it is their 100th race.  She also told him not to worry about getting lost and to just follow her.  How sweet is that?

 I work the finish line, the set up, the volunteers, the medals, the works.  We get to the race really early, about 4-5 am.  One of the perks of being in charge of the finish line was that I would get to give my son his medal.  I was really concerned that with me being so busy I would miss Logan coming into the finish.    Brad works the relay and is situated right at the turn when the runners are about 15 minutes from the finish, so he texted me when Logan was on his way to the finish. Sure enough, I saw his sparking smiling face sprinting for the finish.  I was so unbelievably proud of him.  I put his medal on him and gave him the biggest hug.  It was a great moment for both of us.  Once it was all said and done, I asked him how it went.  He said it was farther than he though.  I smiled,  I'm so glad that it was a positive experience, but I was glad the kid got a bit of a wake up call there.  Not everything comes easy, you have to put the work in.

Each year, I have the same returning volunteers.  We give each other warm hugs and I am truly so happy to see them.  It's a mini reunion every year. Many of them are fighting cancer or are survivors and seeing them back every year is one giant F*ck you to cancer.

After the race was over, it was full on clean up mode.  It is kind of amazing to think that an entire race of this size can be set up in one day and took down by 1 pm when the race only ended at noon.

Once all was done, we headed home.  We were all so tired.  But I couldn't just flop down and relax.  I had an appointment to take Stella to get her nails clipped which were more aptly described as talons.  Logan and I got that done and he asked to go to the mall.  Even though I was really sore after being on my feet for 2 days straight, off we went. Once we got home, he announced he was going for a bike ride.  I wore my apple watch and by the time we got home, I had walked over 25,000 steps that day and I was done.  Scientists should really funnel some money into how we can bottle the energy kids had.  No sh*t.    Working all Saturday helping to set up the race, up at 4 am the next day to continue that set up, taking a break to run a 5K,  spending the next 5 hours running around the race village, helping tear down the race, walking around the mall for 2 hours and finally coming home and going for a 1 or so bike ride. Honestly.  Bottle that now.

I knew that I would be exhusted, so I took Monday (today) off.  I'm sitting here enjoying a large cup of coffee, wearing PJs at 9:30am and while I have the desire to do absolutely nothing, I am forcing myself to get caught up on all the things that have been neglected over the last month, including laundry and house cleaning.  Not exactly how I'd envision my perfect day off, but it'll be nice to get it all done.  Not sure if I'll hit 20,000 steps, but I'll be lapping anyone sitting on the couch.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wrestlemania and wine

It was a nice week off.

I kicked things off in style with the girls at the Albert Street Cocktail club.  If you have never been you owe it yourself to check this place out.  It's not a place where you go to get a beer.  Far from it.  The selection of cocktails they have is really out there.  I opted for a drink that included muddled rose petals, champagne and lemon.  It was a bizarre pairing, but it worked.  The decor is really cool too, having old school speakeasy vibes.

The last week of March we headed out to the cabin for Spring break.  It's so nice to get away, peace and quiet, decadent afternoon naps, reading by the woodstove and wine... lots and lots of wine.

Whenever we go to the cabin it's a guarantee that we meet up with Courtney and Dale our good friend who own the farm next to our property.  Saturday night they came over to our place.  There is something different about country folks.  They don't care about how your house looks.  In the city, I am always acutely aware of the cleanliness of my house when I have people order to the point where I am detailing my baseboards with a Q-tip (I wish I was kidding here).  My friends and I are so close, they probably wouldn't judge in the least if my house looked like a bomb went off, but it's something I just need to do.

At the cabin though, it's a totally different vibe.  It's not even something that crosses your mind.  Dishes can be everywhere, camo clothing strewn every which was from Sunday and it doesn't matter one iota.  Although, when you have no plumbing and your friends are perfectly comfortable using a composting toilet, I don't think they are expecting  a sheen off the counters.

Sunday the boys all went ice fishing and I curled up by the fire, read a book and watched some old movies on VHS.  Yes.  VHS.  It may seem crazy to keep these, but the cabin is actually the perfect place.  They are way more durable than DVDs and something about having to adjust the tracking fills me full of nostalgia.

Let's circle back to the naps.  NAPS.  In my recent memory, I fought with my kids to put them down for their naps, knowing that if they didn't have one, sh*t would go sideways by mid afternoon.  But as
an adult....sweet seraphim they are amazing.  Suffice to say that a few days at the cabin made a solid dent in my sleep debt.

We came home Thursday because Zach had an orthodontic appointment.  We were initially quoted a ghastly high amount to get braces and we wanted a second opinion.  We sought of the Dental school at U of M for two reasons.  One, they aren't focused on cost and Two, a second opinion is always a good thing.

Getting into the Dental school is a different ball game.  The waiting list is enormous.  When I initially called, I was put on a 6-9 month waiting list to get an appointment!  I kept calling once a month to check in and lo and behold we got an appointment after 3 months.  The process is that you are initially screened to see if you would make a good candidate for the school.  Super complicated cases requiring surgery are sometimes be beyond what the school is able to provide in which case you are not accepted into the program.  Also, there is only so many students and spaces each year.  So even if you have a qualified case, if they already have filled their quota you might be SOL.

The students are Dentists, they are just working on their Ortho specialization.  Any work that they do on your teeth is thoroughly reviewed by a supervising professor.  Now if we had a really complicated case, I wouldn't even really be considering this route, but we were told by Zach's regular dentist that Zach's case was pretty straightforward.   The Dental school confirmed that and said it is mostly cosmetic as he has some crowding on his bottom teeth and a bit of an overbite.  Given that, I want to make sure he is confident in his smile as an adult. I've seen some pretty gnarly adult teeth over the years and I didn't want that for Zach.

The next step is to wait until the acceptance letters are mailed out.  Yet again I am waiting to get accepted into University.  The letter will likely go out in the early fall when school starts.  I asked the receptionist what our chances of getting into the program were.  She said it was hard to say, but since we got into the screening program really early, we have a good shot.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday was my Mum's birthday.  She has been inundated with stress lately given the situation with my Grandma and moving her into a home that I really wanted her to have a nice day.  The boys and I went to a jewelry store and picked our a necklace and pendant for her and then drove over to take her for lunch.

We don't eat out all that much.  No particular reason, but we are busy and it's just easier to grab a quick bite at home.  We decided to go to Perkins for lunch.  I used to work at this Perkins all through University and I don't remember it being expensive at all.  For the 4 of us, for lunch... it was $70 some odd dollars.  WTF?

Maybe I am just out to lunch (HA!), but that seemed ridiculous to me.  As does serving wine at Perkins.  While I didn't order any of the Perkins wine selections, if I am going out to dinner here, I don't think I would be overly excited to try the what I can only assume to be a diverse, somalier approved wine list.

After lunch we hit up Dairy Queen for a treat.  It was a nice afternoon.

While we were out for lunch, Brad was making his sausages.  Every year Brad turns some of his venison into sausage and it is good. Abe Fromeyer, the sausage king of Chicago good.  This year, he opted to smoke the links.  It was a different take on his recipe and it turned out amazing.  The fancy new gadget he added this year was a commercial grade grinder that he went in on with my Dad.  This machine is insane and cut the prep time by at least 70%.  End result is that as the weekend drew to a close, we now have 70lbs of sausage in our freezer.  WOOT!

Logan had been bugging me about Wrestlemania the whole day.  He kept asking if we would be home in time and then was completely upset when he thought we missed it.  Thankfully he got his days wrong and Wrestlemania wasn't until Sunday.  This meant that I spent the better part of Sunday morning searching Kodi to find a WWE channel.  I couldn't seem to figure it out.  I did find some sport channels that said WWE, but I wasn't sure if they were they pay per view channels (which is what Wrestlemania would be on, even though we could stream it for free).  Google to the rescue.  I was able to download a rare WWE app that had a direct link to the big event. Hallelujah!

This app is amazing.  Not only did it have the Sunday night event, but it also had recent past events such as the Royal rumble from January.  More digging uncovered the archives.  Growing up I would spent some time with my Grandpa on my Mum's side on the weekends.  Grandpa wasn't a big talker.  But weekend visits would sometimes include watching him make us bikes out of spare parts (This was the norm when I was a kid and I just assumed that everyone did this).  Grandpa made all of our bikes my entire childhood.  How cool is that?

 But we would always seem to come inside a some point.  I'd watch him roll his own cigarettes and
he would even let me use the contraption that stuffed the tobacco into the tubes.  One of my favorite things though was watching wrestling.  We'd sit on their floral couch in their tiny living room staring at the tv.  At the time TVs were encased in a giant wood console.  We'd sit there for hours watching Andre the giant, Hulk Hogan, Brutus the Barber beefcake. We'd watch then battle it out for championship belts, hit eachother with chair, dump snakes on the loser and talk smack with the host Mean Gene.  It was awesome.

So now, looking at this Kodi app it was like a window back to my childhood.  Since we had some time before the main event, I school Logan on the classics.  Macho Man, Jake the Snake, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Rowdy Roddy Piper graced the screen.

My friend Sean and his son Evan are big into WWE as well.  They pay for a cable channel for WWE and Sean was interested in how the Kodi box worked. He told us to let him know when we had figured it out for WWE.  After my Hallelujah moment of figuring it out, I sent him a text.  Since they were also planning on watching the game, we decided to watch it all together.  Sean and Evan showed up and we all settled in.

It hasn't changed much to be honest.  There is still the same smacking eachother with chairs (always conveniently stored underneath the ring), open hand punches and last second twitches to avoid the count out.  There is just a lot more flash, a lot more technology and a lot more money involved.

It was a great way to end of a great week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hockey Season Recipe

Ingredients :
64  Games
2 Boys
43 Goals
2 Parents
128 cups of Tim's Coffee
6 consolation ice cream treats
7 rolls of tape
1 cracked stick
and a lost jock strap

Combine all ingredients and cook on high for 5 months.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Playoff (V02), a Play (V02) and a shot of whisky

On Friday night Debbie and I went to see the play Bittergirls.

To say that this musical is now one of my favorites is a wild understatement.  It was witty, uproariously funny with some of the most talented singers I have seen.

In a nutshell, the plot centers around 3 woman in relationships; a short lived romance, a line in boyfriend and a married couple with one child.  Who all, with no warning are dumped by their significant other.

I am sitting here smiling to myself just thinking about it as it truly was that good.

After the play, I did a quick costume change into my Irish attire and headed over to Sean and Erin's place for some well mannered whisky tasting in the name of St. Patricks.  Sean has an arsenal of whisky from the high end to the not so high end.  As I am not a whisky aficionado, I made sure to tell him to not waster the good stuff on me.

He insisted, but in the end we agreed to a taste off.  He would pour me out a taste test and I'd continue my evening with the one I liked best.  Thankfully my whisky palate is not a refined one and I ended up preferring the inexpensive one.

It was a really fun night.

Despite not getting home until somewhere north of 2 am, we had to up early Saturday morning for...yeah, you guessed it... hockey.  Logan is in a tournament way out at the Iceplex and Zach had playoffs in St. Boniface.  Logan's game went great!  They played a super game and walked away with the win!

Zach's team headed into game 2 of the playoffs.  The first game was really exciting, going into overtime.   To be honest, it has been such a blur, but I can't remember if this game went into overtime as well.  In the end though, the lost the game and the series was now tied 1-1.

Sunday came along with... yeah... more hockey.  Logan was out at the iceplex again.  The game was really close, but they lost 2-1.  Honestly, the boys have been playing so much better in the tournament than they did in the regular season, which is great.  It's nice to see them finish the season on a high note.

Zach's third playoff game was back out in St. Boniface.  The teams are so evenly matched that it went to overtime again!  Honestly, it was way too stressful.  The boys seemed a little sluggish (perhaps due to playing 100 games in a row) and lost the game and were down 1-2 in the series.

Cue Monday night and again, we have 2 hockey games to go to.  If you are keeping track, that is 7 games in 5 days,  It was a close game in the tournament and they boys played so hard.  I felt bad for them as there was one brutal call.  The game was getting down to the wire, and we pulled our goalie.  The decision paid off and one of our kids was blazing down the ice on a breakaway.  The ref was staring down the ice looking at the empty net, but apparently it didn't register and called us to too many men.  It obviously wasn't of course as we had pulled the goalie.  As a result, we didn't get the too many men penalty, but it did stop our breakaway and we lost the game.

Game 4 of the 5 games series for Zach followed shortly thereafter.  The boys had a quick lead of 2-0 and were firing on all cylinders.  In the third period we got 4 back to back-to-back-to-back penalties that ultimately cost us the game.

Zach came off the ice really frustrated and upset.  We figured it was due to the loss, but apparently there was more to it.  In the third, when Zach was stepping out of the penalty box, the puck was right there with a clear path to the net.  He seized the opportunity and made a good shot on net.  It didn't go in as the goalie made a great save, but any shot on net is a good one.

After that we noticed Zach didn't get much ice time.  After the game we found out that the coach benched him for the rest of the game because he didn't listen to instructions as he was supposed to come right to the bench after getting out of the box.

Ok.  I do my very best to support the coaching staff even when I disagree with them.  These coaches volunteer their time and you can't complain too much about their decisions because if you don't like it, then step up to do it yourself.

But in this case, I was upset.  Sure, Zach didn't listen, no disputing that, so bench him for a shift.  It seems overly harsh to bench him for the game.  It had been an odd lead up the game anyways.  Zach had played forward all season only to be switched to defense at the start of this 5 game city championship.  Zach was rusty on defense and justifiably so.

We found out later that the coach has pulled Zach aside before the game and told him if he didn't do a better job of clearing the puck from the zone he would bench him.  He gave out a similar threat to another kid on the team. Really?  Seriously?

Alright coach.  Lighten up.  This is A3 hockey.  These kids aren't going to the NHL.  At best, we are setting them up with skills to play in a beer league.  Benching kids for messing up is something that happens in AAA hockey, not A3.

I am LIVID.  Unfortunately this is just one more incident in a series of incidents this season.  There was one outdoor practice where the temperatures dropped below -25C.  St. Vital hockey stipulates outdoor games/practices are cancelled at those temperatures, so we didn't send Zach to the game as did many other parents.

The next practice coach layed into the kids for missing practice and told them they would be benched if they did it again.  Ok, here is my problem with that. Kids don't drive themselves to practice.  If a kid doesn't show up it is likely due to a schedule conflict or a parental decision.  Knowing that, don't get mad at the kids!  Send a note to the parents.

Ugh.  Another game the boys were up 3-0.  One of the kids made a goof that resulted in the other team scoring and rather than pumping the kids up with "It's alright boys!" or  "Let's get it back!, he told them "Well I guess we are going to blow this lead!".  Who does that?

I need to let this go, but I'm still pretty peeved.   I do need to get some closure, but I am letting it marinate for a day or two until my thoughts are more rationale before sending him an email.  I am simply going to ask what went down.  There are two sides to every story and perhaps there is more than what Zach is telling us.  In which case, I would need all of the information in order to make a judgment call.   

The sad part is that was the last game of the season and it's a big sour lemon that it ended on that note.  But there is always next season!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Playoff, A Play and one left foot

In recent years I have become close with my nephews Bennett and Braden.  They are great kids.  Not kids anymore actually, they are 15 and 17.

We text all the time and they keep me updated on the things that are going on in their lives.  I remember when I was a kid I was so worried I wouldn't be an aunt.  If I married an only child like myself, I wouldn't get to be one and for some reason that really bothered me.

Thankfully that is not the case.  Last week I texted Braden to wish him a happy 15th birthday and asked him if he had anything special going on.  He replied that he had a big playoff game.  Lightbulb!  Even though we were in the middle of some fairly crappy weather and driving conditions, we decided to head out to East Selkirk to watch him play. We picked up some birthday balloons and cupcakes and headed out.

It was a big surprise when we showed up!  So glad we went!  Gateway had a great game and went on to the A side finals!  Braden and his team played really well.  It's been a hard season for them.  One of their team mates was diagnosed with leukemia early in the season and was sent to Vancouver for treatment.  He is now back in Winnipeg and is doing better, but has a long road ahead.  The boys on his team took his jersey and hung it up on the bench at every game, so that even if he wasn't able to play, he made it to every game. Oh my gosh, right in the feels.

Having two boys myself, I know how brothers are and giving attention to one and not the other is a big no no.  Knowing that, I texted Bennett to see how things were going on his end.  As it turns out he was going to be in a play!  This took me by surprise as I never would have thought Bennett would have been into drama.  Since the last showing of the play was later in the same week as Braden's game, we made plans to head out to River East collegiate to catch the final showing of Sixteen Candles.

This is one of those iconic movies featuring the Brat Pack of the 80s.  I had seen most of them, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink etc, but I'd never seen this one, so I had no idea of the story line for the play.

In recent years, I have only gone to see elementary/middle school plays.  They are cute and sweet, but never really big productions.  High School is WAY different.  The play was performed in a big theater in the school instead of the gym with a professional looking stage... the whole nine yards.

Bennett was playing one of the jerky jocks.  He warned me ahead of time that he wasn't very nice in this play which was super sweet.  It was as if he was worried I wouldn't like him.

The play was GREAT.  The acting, the sets, music, lights... everything was on point and so well done.

During the last act of the play, unbeknownst to the audience, a light was didn't get turned off on one end of the stage when it should have been.  The art director asked Bennett to quickly run across during one of the "pauses" in between scenes.  Bennett ran across and just as he got the light turned off, he stumbled and tripped.  He said he rolled his ankle, but sucked it up and finished the play.

After it was all over, Bennett came out to see us where we all gave him our rave reviews.  He was limping a little and told us the story of his foot.  He didn't seem too concerned and was more focused on the cast party being held that night.

The next morning I got a text from Bennett.  His foot had swollen up something fierce and was black and blue.  They headed over to the Pan Am clinic to have it looked at and yup... he broke his ankle.

Now, if the drama idiom, "break a leg" did not just enter you head, then we cannot be friends.  Once I knew Bennett was ok, I couldn't stop laughing.  What a rockstar though!  Finished the play and went out to a party after all the while walking on a broken foot.

It made for a busy week driving around to East Selkirk, our boys playoff games, River East, but it was so worth it.

Bonnie and Brett came out to Zach's playoff game on the weekend along with my Mum and Dad.  It's really great when you a close knit family like that.

Love Love Love

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